Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall


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Shoals Surfer

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Post Thursday, 14th September 2017, 22:52

Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

Let any monster in a pack recall all the members of its own pack. Specific ideas for mechanics:

  • Recalled monsters appear around the casting monster, not the player, so the player is unlikely to be surrounded immediately (which is probably too cruel). The Recall could be instant or delayed - personally I think instant is better.
  • A monster's chance of casting Recall increases with how many pack members are "missing" from your LOS and the monster's LOS. This should prevent monsters from uselessly casting it when the pack members are already attacking you.
  • Monsters can recall pack members across levels.
  • For monsters that can appear alone or in packs, perhaps they could be differentiated somehow (e.g. an "orc soldier" is a pack member, while an ordinary orc is not).
  • While this ability might be too harsh on really early packs, I don't think there's any issue giving it to animal-intelligence monsters: "The yak bellows for its herd!"

This almost completely removes the tedious "lure a single monster away from a pack" strategy. It also makes stairdancing significantly more dangerous, which I think is a plus.

For this message the author ion_frigate has received thanks: 2
duvessa, VeryAngryFelid

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Thursday, 14th September 2017, 23:44

Re: Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

I think most monsters are not in packs.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 17th September 2017, 06:56

Re: Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

I like OP. If devs create groups, those should stay groups
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 17th September 2017, 08:13

Re: Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

Does this mean we can finally get rid of packs slowing themselves down?

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Sunday, 17th September 2017, 10:23

Re: Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

My feel is that if you get rid of some of the goofy behavior like the free hit on corners and the lost moves in pursuit, then implement Patashu's pack tracking idea from the hellcrawl thread, you'll have dealt with the part of the problem specific to pack monsters.

The part of the pack monster problem that isn't addressed by the above is really a problem with stairs. Stairs need a comprehensive solution, not a patchwork of half-measures.

Additionally, the behaviors mentioned above presumably were conceived to achieve some useful design goal and, while from looking at the way the monsters behave it may not be clear what that goal was, they should serve as a cautionary tale. Naively it may seem like Recall will make yaks and such much tougher, but there's plenty that can go wrong with the sort of simplistic AI that would implement this feature and the considerable diversity of tactical situations it would have to work in, tactical situations that are largely under the control of a player whose interests lie in exploiting the AI.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 17th September 2017, 19:25

Re: Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

watertreatmentRL wrote:My feel is that if you get rid of some of the goofy behavior like the free hit on corners and the lost moves in pursuit, then implement Patashu's pack tracking idea from the hellcrawl thread, you'll have dealt with the part of the problem specific to pack monsters.


Link please? I'm interested to know what other ideas have been proposed to deal with packs, but really not motivated enough to comb through 500+ posts for it.

watertreatmentRL wrote:Stairs need a comprehensive solution, not a patchwork of half-measures.


My preferred solution would be to give monsters Brogue-style stair traversal abilities (any monster that's tracking you can traverse stairs to do so). Pack recall would work very nicely with that.

watertreatmentRL wrote:Additionally, the behaviors mentioned above presumably were conceived to achieve some useful design goal and, while from looking at the way the monsters behave it may not be clear what that goal was, they should serve as a cautionary tale. Naively it may seem like Recall will make yaks and such much tougher, but there's plenty that can go wrong with the sort of simplistic AI that would implement this feature and the considerable diversity of tactical situations it would have to work in, tactical situations that are largely under the control of a player whose interests lie in exploiting the AI.


While brainstorming can be useful to find obvious problems, at the end of the day, most of this stuff just needs to be discovered through playtesting. Also, you're kind of overestimating how deliberate Crawl's design is in places. The original Crawl and early DCSS versions were *very* simulationist, meaning there actually aren't any real "design goals" behind many things. Obviously more and more of these elements have been weeded out, but monster AI and monster group behavior are definitely one of the less-updated areas of DCSS. If you want to see a game with relatively advanced monster and group AI, look at Demon.

Incidentally, Demon has a pretty good solution to the whole luring issue: there just aren't any 1-wide corridors, anywhere. That's obviously a far more radical change than one could realistically expect to be adopted in DCSS, though.

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Sunday, 17th September 2017, 21:48

Re: Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

Here's the text of the post:

Patashu wrote:Yo Hellmonk, this fork sounds really cool. Have you considered implementing a solution to pack splitting along the lines of the following:

1) When a pack of monsters is spawned, they share awareness information such as the following:
1a) If one wakes up, they all wake up.
1b) If one is hunting you, they all are hunting you.
1c) The most recent pack member to see you is the destination all of the pack will use to hunt you.
2) If the pack is not aware of you, they prioritize staying close together. (I don't know how wandering works in Crawl, but an example behaviour that's good is something like: Chose a random goal tile for the pack, all pack members pathfind towards the nearest other pack member IF more than 2 tiles from any other pack member, else pathfind towards the nearest goal tile, and when all pack members are within 2 tiles of the goal tile (or after enough time has elapsed) another random goal tile is chosen.)

I don't know if packs should be as smart as in Sil, but you can play Sil if you want a worked example of what pack AI can look like. Orc packs have all kinds of nasty things they will do to you.

I bring this up because I was reading through a lot of proposals for making luring/escaping harder, and they all seemed to miss what I think is the actual fix - making it so you can't turn a group encounter into a series of 1v1 fights, because currently packs don't make any attempt at all to stick together.


I have not checked out Demon in spite of hearing good things about it. I very much agree that 1-tile corridors are a common and damaging solecism in roguelike games.

I think two way stairs are a fundamental error. At very least, you should not be able to go up two-way stairs while monsters are tracking you. Anyway, I'll be pleasantly surprised if a satisfactory solution to this issue appears in dcss in the near future. Stairs are there largely to support "dungeon geography" in a game about tactical combat. They have no place in the game and the problems surrounding them make that abundantly clear, yet they stay around for reasons of simulationism, as you put it.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 18th September 2017, 00:57

Re: Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

Packs already prioritize staying close together. In fact, this is the main reason that being in a pack usually makes a monster less dangerous instead of more; packs trying to stick together slows the entire pack down, letting you walk away with ease.

1a) is also already usually true in practice because noise exists.

Vaults Vanquisher

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Joined: Thursday, 16th February 2017, 15:23

Post Monday, 18th September 2017, 03:31

Re: Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

Yeah, the tracking behavior is clearly the main thing here. Should just turn off the tendency to stick together when tracking the player. Tracking is going to tend to bring them together anyway.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 22:31

Re: Anti-luring idea: give pack monsters Recall

The problem with unified pack behavior that I see is that it will be a gimp to stealth builds.

For example, as a max-stealth VpAs, I can usually go from one monster to another in a room and stab most of them to death without waking any others. This includes packs of animals, orcs, gnolls, etc. Now, sometimes one of the late-comers will catch on and yell/bellow/holler/whatever, waking the remaining ones. Fine.

If all monsters woke at the same time, the instant I stabbed one all the others would wake, defeating the purpose of max stealth. Now, say you have it so that stabbing is separate from waking, and that it doesn't wake the others.

Luring is still a useful tactic for light builds/low HP/out of MP characters. I personally like the tactical dynamic of seeing a group that can kill you, carefully breaking it up one at a time, and then going on your merry way. I know that many games my char would have been dead on D:2 if I hadn't been able to lure Gnolls off to their death one at a time, but instead had to fight them as a pack.

Sooo...for the sake of stealth builds, I think creatures should remain more independent.

Now, the staying close together parts and upgrading movement to be efficient make sense and would be fine, but I can see packs becoming fast-death for stabbers (esp on the early levels) if unified pack AI (or partially unified) became an element.

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