Don't make useless floor items


Although the central place for this kind of discussion is on the CDO wiki, some may find it helpful to discuss potential requests and suggestions here first.

Blades Runner

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Post Wednesday, 20th September 2017, 22:37

Don't make useless floor items

If an item generates that is useless for the player and will always be useless for the player, just delete it.

Don't let monsters pick up items from the floor anymore.

Generate monsters with equipment a little more often.

If a monster would drop a useless item on death, delete that item.
Last edited by yesno on Thursday, 21st September 2017, 17:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Wednesday, 20th September 2017, 22:52

Re: Don't make useless floor items

I think the argument for generating, e.g., naga bardings for non-nagas is that seeing the useless items gives the player a feel for their generation rates, so there's a discoverability advantage. I don't have a strong opinion about whether it's better to see these items for that reason or better to have less items around.
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Post Wednesday, 20th September 2017, 23:35

Re: Don't make useless floor items

Pretty sure the purpose of naga bardings on non-naga's is to openly mock the player.

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Post Wednesday, 20th September 2017, 23:40

Re: Don't make useless floor items

Yeah, some players have this sort of "aw dang a barding, and this time i'm not a naga, heh guess rng got me again" reaction... Which I guess is sort of funny

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 06:13

Re: Don't make useless floor items

I dont play a lot of nagas, but I cant think of a game where I didnt find a barding by midgame.

I like seeing cool items on the floor even if I cannot use them presently. I think the game generates too many mundane items in general (does every monster need to drop a leather armour?) but this is more about the clutter on the ctrl-f screen than on any individual screenshot of the dungeon floor. At least crawl hasn't reached Skyrim levels. You could goldify monster equipment, but that takes away from the early game where every kill can possibly net you a useful boost to your defenses, kind of like a walking-dead scavenging scenario which I find fun at least. If you removed their gear with respect to the player, then you might need to increase floor drops, at least for the early floors. Or maybe not. Perhaps the early game challenge should be extended.

I think putting more auxilary items/jewelry/whatever on the monsters sounds cool, but in the end it will reward the player for searching across empty dungeon floors while shouting which is tedious as hell and shouldn't be a thing. I will add that loading items directly into the monster's inventory is directly contradictory to not allowing monsters pick up items from the floor, so the OP is not very thought out in this respect.

Perhaps a solution is that any mundane item that drops, crumbles into dust after leaving LoS. Or you could use an aut-based mechanic like corpse-rot.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 07:25

Re: Don't make useless floor items

I will add that loading items directly into the monster's inventory is directly contradictory to not allowing monsters pick up items from the floor, so the OP is not very thought out in this respect.


The point is that if for example you play a felid then armors and weapons would be deleted, and monsters won't have access to equipment just because it's useless for your character. Monster equipment would be inconsistent between different kinds of characters. That's not desirable. Instead, don't let monsters pick up items, and compensate by generating monsters with items more often.

You could goldify monster equipment


Sorry, what?

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 11:00

Re: Don't make useless floor items

yesno wrote:

The point is that if for example you play a felid then armors and weapons would be deleted, and monsters won't have access to equipment just because it's useless for your character. Monster equipment would be inconsistent between different kinds of characters. That's not desirable. Instead, don't let monsters pick up items, and compensate by generating monsters with items more often.


What's the point? After you kill those monsters, their gear will be on the floor, and you are back to square one aren't you?
yesno wrote:
You could goldify monster equipment

Sorry, what?

The player doesn't actually have an item called "gold" which takes up an inventory slot. It's just an abstraction that gets added to every time you "pick up" a pile of gold, and subtracted from every time you purchase in a shop, etc. You could do something similar with monster gear, allowing an orc warrior to "have" a suit of plate in abstraction only, such that its AC etc is affected accordingly, but the item never drops and the player cannot interact further with it. It is a potential solution which has been suggested on occasion, but I think it is boring personally and it weakens the player in the early game.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 15:20

Re: Don't make useless floor items

You are misusing this word. 'Goldify' refers to reducing stackable items (mainly food) to non-inventory counters (like gold).

What's the point? After you kill those monsters, their gear will be on the floor, and you are back to square one aren't you?


No. You delete them.

The point is to reduce useless information ("You see a long sword of draining and a chainmail") while retaining useful information ("An orc comes into view. It is wielding a long sword of draining and a chain mail") and preserving monster equipment.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 15:24

Re: Don't make useless floor items

watertreatmentRL wrote:I think the argument for generating, e.g., naga bardings for non-nagas is that seeing the useless items gives the player a feel for their generation rates, so there's a discoverability advantage. I don't have a strong opinion about whether it's better to see these items for that reason or better to have less items around.


This post has a bunch of thanks so maybe someone could explain why they find this argument compelling? I guess the idea is that players learn important information about barding drop rates while playing a human, or about weapon drop rates while playing felid, so it's important to leave those items on the floor. Do players really learn a lot of important information about item spawn rates from looking at useless items, in a way that would make Crawl a lot less accessible if those items didn't exist?

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 15:25

Re: Don't make useless floor items

yesno wrote:
watertreatmentRL wrote:I think the argument for generating, e.g., naga bardings for non-nagas is that seeing the useless items gives the player a feel for their generation rates, so there's a discoverability advantage. I don't have a strong opinion about whether it's better to see these items for that reason or better to have less items around.


This post has a bunch of thanks so maybe someone could explain why they find this argument compelling? I guess the idea is that players learn important information about barding drop rates while playing a human, or about weapon drop rates while playing felid, so it's important to leave those items on the floor. Do players really learn a lot of important information about item spawn rates from looking at useless items, in a way that would make Crawl a lot less accessible if those items didn't exist?


Yes.
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 15:41

Re: Don't make useless floor items

NhorianScum wrote:Pretty sure the purpose of naga bardings on non-naga's is to openly mock the player.

New proposal:
If an item generates that is useless for the player and will always be useless for the player, turn it into a pre-identified overpowered randart. Bonus points for naming it something that mocks the player.
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 15:55

Re: Don't make useless floor items

Siegurt wrote:
yesno wrote:
watertreatmentRL wrote:I think the argument for generating, e.g., naga bardings for non-nagas is that seeing the useless items gives the player a feel for their generation rates, so there's a discoverability advantage. I don't have a strong opinion about whether it's better to see these items for that reason or better to have less items around.


This post has a bunch of thanks so maybe someone could explain why they find this argument compelling? I guess the idea is that players learn important information about barding drop rates while playing a human, or about weapon drop rates while playing felid, so it's important to leave those items on the floor. Do players really learn a lot of important information about item spawn rates from looking at useless items, in a way that would make Crawl a lot less accessible if those items didn't exist?


Yes.


Really though? "Study itemgen for na while playing your hu" sounds insane to me but apparently it's just agreed on. Maybe items like bardings are just dumb.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 16:23

Re: Don't make useless floor items

yesno wrote:
Siegurt wrote:
yesno wrote:[quote="watertreatmentRL"]I think the argument for generating, e.g., naga bardings for non-nagas is that seeing the useless items gives the player a feel for their generation rates, so there's a discoverability advantage. I don't have a strong opinion about whether it's better to see these items for that reason or better to have less items around.


This post has a bunch of thanks so maybe someone could explain why they find this argument compelling? I guess the idea is that players learn important information about barding drop rates while playing a human, or about weapon drop rates while playing felid, so it's important to leave those items on the floor. Do players really learn a lot of important information about item spawn rates from looking at useless items, in a way that would make Crawl a lot less accessible if those items didn't exist?


Yes.


Really though? "Study itemgen for na while playing your hu" sounds insane to me but apparently it's just agreed on. Maybe items like bardings are just dumb.[/quote]
It isn't a study/practice thing, you develop a certain expectation not for specifics, but more generally you get a sense of "this item is rarer than that item" by observing it in a consistent way across games. (For example without playing any nagas or centaurs, I can tell that bardings are rarer than boots.)

The positive effect of the useful information gained is small (because humans are bad at estimation) but most players consider what you are calling a problem (extra crap lying around that you can ignore) smaller, and there is no way to present actually accurate information in a concise, digestable fashion that doesn't detract from playing the game.
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 16:50

Re: Don't make useless floor items

It isn't a study/practice thing, you develop a certain expectation not for specifics, but more generally you get a sense of "this item is rarer than that item" by observing it in a consistent way across games.


Learning something through consistent repetition is like, the definition of study/practice though.

The positive effect of the useful information gained is small (because humans are bad at estimation)


Right.

(For example without playing any nagas or centaurs, I can tell that bardings are rarer than boots.)


It would be more useful to just put a line in the species descriptions, "Nagas/centaurs cannot wear boots, but they may discover and equip rare bardings to increase their defenses." How rare? Choko rare. Maybe it's already there. I know my preferred source of information as a new player at least was the in game manual

but most players consider what you are calling a problem (extra crap lying around that you can ignore) smaller


That's messed up. Why are they so wrong? What can I do to make people more annoyed by useless items? :p

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 17:49

Re: Don't make useless floor items

yesno wrote:
but most players consider what you are calling a problem (extra crap lying around that you can ignore) smaller


That's messed up. Why are they so wrong? What can I do to make people more annoyed by useless items? :p
Your suggestion in the OP is to make a change purely for your personal convenience, at the expense of making the game more difficult to learn. A "quality of life" change that actively reduces the quality of life for unspoiled players isn't a quality of life change, it's selfishness. There are plenty of ways to address this problem without making item rarities harder to learn:
- Generate fewer items in general (https://crawl.develz.org/tavern/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=23274)
- Remove item types that are useless for most characters: bardings, giant (spiked) clubs, scrolls of random uselessness, etc.
- Remove felids

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 17:52

Re: Don't make useless floor items

minmay that's an extremely rude bad faith response. obviously i am proposing it because i don't believe useless items are that helpful for learning anything important about the game, not because i'm a selfish jerk trying to make the game harder for new players.

your alternative changes sound fine to me though

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 18:10

Re: Don't make useless floor items

Another option would be to have finite set of specific rarities which were used to generate all items (including those on monsters) that could be readily communicated without the need for experiential learning, thereby removing at least one roadblock to your preferred solution.

That would simplify the game and object generation significantly, but also reduce game variance and design flexibility, probably a trade i wouldn't make, but someone out there designing a game might.
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 18:51

Re: Don't make useless floor items

yesno wrote:You are misusing this word. 'Goldify' refers to reducing stackable items (mainly food) to non-inventory counters (like gold).

There is no reason to limit the abstraction to such a narrow definition, and indeed other people do not. AC is a non-inventory counter and affecting it directly rather than having a place-holder in the inventory is a solution which has been brought up before to reduce clutter, at least for monsters and mundane gear. The term "goldify" was used specifically.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 18:59

Re: Don't make useless floor items

I don't see a problem with useless items. It's a problem that is a non-problem. In fact, don't crawl purposely create useless items? It could be bias but I notice massive amounts of runed armour when playing as an octopode for instance.

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 19:09

Re: Don't make useless floor items

Plantissue wrote:In fact, don't crawl purposely create useless items? It could be bias but I notice massive amounts of runed armour when playing as an octopode for instance.


No, it doesn't, and yes, it is cognitive bias. A good example of "players don't learn much about itemgen from useless items" imo.

It's just pointless cognitive burden and visual clutter. But I guess if it really hardly bothers anyone else I won't keep arguing for it. I expected it would annoy many other people the way it annoys me, and that is why I made the proposal.

There is no reason to limit the abstraction to such a narrow definition, and indeed other people do not.


i asked in irc "what do you think this person means by 'goldify monster equipment'?" and it was not clear to anyone! why did you name yourself crawlnoob if you're going to act like your name is crawlveteran :p

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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 21:35

Re: Don't make useless floor items

Modern games have white/blue/yellow etc. items and explicitly say "common/rare/unique" etc. In their description, dcss is very unfriendly in this regard, even uniques are not differentiated from randarts. Fix the standard and remove useless items i.e. white noise
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 22:32

Re: Don't make useless floor items

I'm with VAF on this, I don't get the point of studying item generation when you could simply have rarity described explicitly. Besides, does knowing barding rarity really make a difference in choosing to play na or ce? Shouldn't species offer an interesting and diversified gameplay, independently from what the floor throws at you?

Anyway, bardings are the least important factor in item spam. I think that Crawl would need a very different way of handling stuff in general, like being able to call back items directly from the search menu. Once you can do this, you can have items only drop once, and make duplicates of armour invisible. Weapons are more difficult because of branding.
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 23:05

Re: Don't make useless floor items

Shtopit wrote:I'm with VAF on this, I don't get the point of studying item generation when you could simply have rarity described explicitly. Besides, does knowing barding rarity really make a difference in choosing to play na or ce? Shouldn't species offer an interesting and diversified gameplay, independently from what the floor throws at you?

Anyway, bardings are the least important factor in item spam. I think that Crawl would need a very different way of handling stuff in general, like being able to call back items directly from the search menu. Once you can do this, you can have items only drop once, and make duplicates of armour invisible. Weapons are more difficult because of branding.


Note that duplicates are already hidden by default in the search menu.

If we had a set list of rarities to display, displaying them would make sense. However item rarity depends on depth, branch, vault placement, and monster generation in additon to what most people think of as rarity.

In order to display such a thing, it would have to be *vastly* simplified, or horribly misleading and innacurate.

Note that "remove all duplicates of common items" is a very different proposal from the OP's "remove all items the character can never use"
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 23:14

Re: Don't make useless floor items

There's a soft version of "don't generate," which is "don't display." This could be an option accessible via the autopickup menu. I like "don't display" a lot better than don't generate, since monsters can use items and the items theoretically might do something when they're being used. It's only when they're on the ground and you've seen them that the useless stuff is really out of play.

At some point, a player has maxed out on what can be learned from watching item generation in games. Or maybe the player just doesn't care to gain that extra bit of insight each game. Either way, there's a definite interface advantage in suppressing (or "squelching") useless items. Really, it's not even the literally useless items that are the big offenders. It's the usable but uninteresting items that are the real problem. There is absolutely no advantage to the player in learning about the generation rates of +0 daggers, leather armor, etc.

late addition: It is obviously possible to come up with reasonable criteria for coloring items according to their likely interest to the player. We should not take the suggestion that such a thing would be impossible or otherwise doomed seriously.
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Post Thursday, 21st September 2017, 23:54

Re: Don't make useless floor items

watertreatmentRL wrote:There's a soft version of "don't generate," which is "don't display." This could be an option accessible via the autopickup menu. I like "don't display" a lot better than don't generate, since monsters can use items and the items theoretically might do something when they're being used. It's only when they're on the ground and you've seen them that the useless stuff is really out of play.


That sounds great, especially since monsters can't equip seen items, so basically an item is relevant only if it's unseen anyway. That's obviously the least disruptive way to do it.

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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 00:59

Re: Don't make useless floor items

The reason i don't like this is because i don't trust the games definition of "useless", for example if i get resist poison though a potion of mutation then the game thinks all rings of poison resistance are "useless" even though i might end up wanting one, just put the item on the ground and let me decide if it's useless, thanks.

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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 01:46

Re: Don't make useless floor items

"Useless" here means really useless, not gray. "Useless" as in your character simply cannot ever equip it no matter what (weapons that are too big for you, armors you can't wear, food you can't eat, etc).

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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 06:32

Re: Don't make useless floor items

About the "I don't trust the game to decide X" arguments, you're talking about a game whose central feature is that it automatically explores an oversized dungeon for you (and to a large extent automatically resolves fights for you too). If programming the game with an ability to intelligently decide whether +0 daggers and ring mail are uninteresting to your character is a bridge too far for you, I just don't get it. Autoexplore makes far more consequential decisions for the player almost every time you hit "o," which is hundreds of times per game.

More than that, the amount of junk the game drops on you is extremely disruptive. It is not quite as unplayably bad as it would be to have to manually explore every level, but it's a problem severe enough that one of the first changes that led to dcss was automatic item searching tied to an autotravel system for collecting them. Whereas of course it would be best to have levels you can comfortably manually explore and items few enough and consequential enough to deal with without a search engine, hiding the garbage items or to some extent not generating them is a reasonable middle ground.
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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 06:41

Re: Don't make useless floor items

Siegurt wrote:If we had a set list of rarities to display, displaying them would make sense. However item rarity depends on depth, branch, vault placement, and monster generation in additon to what most people think of as rarity.


So you are effectively saying that studying item drops does not help much because chance of naga barding on D:10 can be different from chance of the same naga barding on D:15? It's yet another reason to remove useless items then, I don't think there is a single person in the world who keeps track of naga bardings AND floors they dropped on in literally hundreds of games (otherwise we have just anecdotes).
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Post Friday, 22nd September 2017, 07:01

Re: Don't make useless floor items

Btw, I haven't played web for a while: do you actually get to see useless items while autoexploring? I mean, does autotravel stop to show your spriggan about naga bardings? Afaik, search now doesn't show useless items by default. Both of these things combined would greatly reduce the utility of unusable drops from a learning point of view.
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