Chunks and the Food Clock, and Monster Generation


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Halls Hopper

Posts: 55

Joined: Monday, 4th September 2017, 10:53

Post Wednesday, 6th September 2017, 08:44

Chunks and the Food Clock, and Monster Generation

Apologies if this has all been said before.


Crawl has a number of measures in place to stop a character from remaining on one level for too long (obstensibly because it is tedious but rewarded behavior), most notably the food clock and the OOD timer. The food clock in particular is immediately noticeable to the player, you might even be considering its effects at character creation before the game even begins ("hmmm mummies seem really good they don't have to worry about hunger, and kobolds aren't so bad either"). If you breezed past that decision without noticing when you chose MiBe, you are still reminded of the food clock as your hunger status is prominently displayed next to other imminently important facts like current hitpoints and AC. In all likelihood, even though you enter the dungeon on a nearly full belly, you will get the "hungry" status before leaving D1.

But here is the rub: You can fix that by killing an edible monster and butchering it for chunks. In fact, you can continue to do so pretty much indefinitely (assuming you are strong enough to deal with the OOD timer but that's the other side of this coin and we will get to it later), and in fact, this is pretty much the crawl hunger "equilibrium" for the duration of the entire game, including Pan and Abyss. There are plenty of edible monsters. So where did the clock go? We all know the reality of the situation, you just end up hoarding an ever-increasing stockpile of various permafoods. There is no clock. There is only an aggravating mechanic that requires thousands upon thousands of key-strokes, which punishes only the most uninformed, newest players.

This brings us to the other side of the coin: the OOD timer. That seems like it was put on as a patch for the first problem here: we can stop "bad-play" if we start feeding centaur warriors instead of rats into the dungeon after X turns. This is an ugly mechanism because it is completely hidden from the player. You have to read about the OOD timer to even know it is a thing, or you have to figure it out after dying a large number of times and putting two and two together, as the game communicates nothing to the player other than dropping heavy monsters on them after a certain length of time (which it does "normally" as well, so another layer of obfuscation here). At the very least, a message should be transmitted to the player : "A shiver runs up your spine as you feel the presence of a dangerous creature entering this floor of the dungeon." But that is awful, too. Why is the player semi-omniscient now? Or on a lesser level, what if they don't have a spine? Etc.

The solution seems clear (but I humbly submit that I might be overlooking something) : Remove chunks from the game.

Players move forward because they want to find items and gain XP (and get the orb maybe but I think a lot of people play the game for the game of getting there, not for the anti-climactic non-existant end reward). But don't just stop there. Remove additional monster generation from the game, instead of increasing it. When a player enters a floor, a number of monsters should spawn. Over time, more monsters may spawn, but this number should quickly dwindle to ZERO over time. Now hunger means something, because the only food the player is going to find is going to run out over time instead of being an infinite source, and the player will no longer gain XP for parking on a floor, so they have no reason to hang out. We also no longer have to deal with travel being interrupted by a lowly orc or adder if we decide to backtrack up to D5 to pick up that nifty item in a shop we couldn't afford before. (We also have to consider if we have enough food to justify such a back-track, as none will be found on the way back.) Having done all of that, now remove the OOD timer : no more ugly hidden mechanic. There is no reason for it to exist anymore.

The only other thing that sticks out to me here for parking was to wait out God Wrath, but that was correctly changed to be meaningful (for most Gods), and I believe also linked to XP gain rather than turncount? So not a problem.

tl;dr:
1) Remove chunks
2) Remove continual monster spawning
3) Remove OOD spawning as related to turn-count

This makes the food clock relevant, and fixes parking behavior by removing incentive rather than enforcing a punishment through additional mechanics.
Last edited by crawlnoob on Wednesday, 6th September 2017, 08:57, edited 1 time in total.

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duvessa

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Wednesday, 6th September 2017, 08:57

Re: Chunks and the Food Clock, and Monster Generation

You may not be aware but post level gen monster spawning was just removed in trunk.

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VeryAngryFelid

Halls Hopper

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Post Wednesday, 6th September 2017, 08:59

Re: Chunks and the Food Clock, and Monster Generation

1 for 3 is a start, but it's the weakest of the three and I would guess it was done for the smallest of the problems (annoying autotravel interruptions rather than major problems with intrinsic game mechanics).
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Wednesday, 6th September 2017, 10:11

Re: Chunks and the Food Clock, and Monster Generation

Isn't that 2/3? I guess it also removes OOD spawning related to turn count, if no monster are spawned after the floor has been generated.
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chequers

Halls Hopper

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Post Wednesday, 6th September 2017, 10:30

Re: Chunks and the Food Clock, and Monster Generation

The rational mind would make that conclusion, yes, but code is often compartmentalized so...

But if true, then yes 2 for 3 is a significant change for the better. However the player can still amass a large store of permafood by simply moving forward and eating chunks instead, so the food clock is still not so much a useful thing as a click-a-thon of tedius keypresses. And with that food store, making large backtracks or camping on a spot for whatever reason is still a non-decision.

Vestibule Violator

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Post Wednesday, 6th September 2017, 11:39

Re: Chunks and the Food Clock, and Monster Generation

chequers wrote:You may not be aware but post level gen monster spawning was just removed in trunk.


Gozag BTFO

Halls Hopper

Posts: 70

Joined: Wednesday, 13th April 2016, 01:37

Post Thursday, 7th September 2017, 21:01

Re: Chunks and the Food Clock, and Monster Generation

Rast wrote:
chequers wrote:You may not be aware but post level gen monster spawning was just removed in trunk.


Gozag BTFO


Well, Gozag is a super top-tier god so him getting nerfed is not a huge loss.

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