Solution to the Inventory Problem


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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 23:16

Solution to the Inventory Problem

We all know the problem -- 60% of your inventory is consumed by potions and scrolls alone.

In light of this, I say have a simple solution -- use a "handy haversack" like DnD to store potions and scrolls.

I can understand the 52 item limit on inventory due to keyboard shortcut limitations/ease.

Still, it would be quite simple to toss in another shortcut -- say, "H" for haversack -- to access your collection of potions and scrolls. Quaff and Read commands would work as normal. You could keep every potion/scroll without even coming close to the 52 item limit in the haversack, while on the opposite side of things your inventory would have much more room.

I honestly don't see ANY reason why not to institute this. It is possible to manage with a 52 item inventory, but only if you remove potions and scrolls. hitting the Lair and being forced to decide between a resistance-giving ring/armor and a potion of invisibility is a decision that should not have to be made.

Blades Runner

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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 04:03

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

Alphaeus wrote:"H" for haversack

thats beautiful

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 04:29

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

Rather than having two types of inventory, why not go all the way? Have fully separate inventories for potions and for scrolls. So when you pick up a potion, you can't see it in the (i) menu, only in (q), and ditto for scrolls.

My biggest complaint about this is that a non-unified inventory is much harder to deal with, conceptually. Especially for new players who don't remember if heal wounds is a scroll or potion. I'm not sure that having some inventory pressure in late game is really worth throwing away this simplicity.

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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 07:13

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

chequers wrote:Rather than having two types of inventory, why not go all the way? Have fully separate inventories for potions and for scrolls. So when you pick up a potion, you can't see it in the (i) menu, only in (q), and ditto for scrolls.

My biggest complaint about this is that a non-unified inventory is much harder to deal with, conceptually. Especially for new players who don't remember if heal wounds is a scroll or potion. I'm not sure that having some inventory pressure in late game is really worth throwing away this simplicity.


There are more benefits of having separate inventories:
1) We can set different limits for different inventories. For example, if potions are considered too powerful, we can limit potions inventory to have 5 different potions max.
2) Mummy and Felid will not have more inventory slots for useful things (assuming we implement a separate inventory for armour pieces too).
3) Different missiles for throwing will not decrease inventory size of other items. You will not have that annoying situation when you have to drop some tomahawks to free a slot, Hunter might be enjoyable if you never manually pick up or drop ammo.

I am not a new player yet I am really annoyed to check inventory in hard situations. I mean why am I shown which armour pieces, books or rings I have when all I want is to survive at low HP? We might have a separate menu for tactical items: potions, scrolls, wands, lamp etc., even if those items are stored in different inventories.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 08:07

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

I would love separate inventories for potions and scrolls. Perhaps evocables and ammo could be taken out too, but that may not be necessary.

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 08:12

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

The two inventory concept has been kicking around for a long time. It's a bad idea in my opinion. The best method of addressing this issue is reducing the number of item types, since reducing the number of types of items has other beneficial effects. The next best is merging things like wands and evokers of the same type, essentially changing item/inventory behavior.

We've had a lot of experience in recent years with elimination of item types. Some potions and wands have been dropped, some food items, some jewelry. These changes have improved the inventory situation as well as other aspects of gameplay. We also have forks that have tried different approaches to this issue: Circus animals, which apparently implemented the double inventory idea, and hellcrawl, which has gone hard in the direction of removing item types (both also have wand stacking, a feature planned for the next version of dcss). I find circus animals too goofy to play, so I can't comment on that route from experience, but I can say that reduction in number of basic item types in hellcrawl has massively improved the inventory situation there vs. what's in current dcss.

An idea that hasn't yet been tried, somewhat in the vein of the two inventory proposals, but that I think would be better than other proposals I've seen is an angband-style distinction between equipment (edit: that is, what you are currently Wearing/wielding/have Put on) and inventory. That would save a large number of slots for most characters, ten or so. It would also play well with the idea of a ranged weapon slot to reduce weapon swapping.

While it's useful to be able to browse a general listing of items you can use or swap to quickly, it's essentially never useful to have your current equipment listed among those items. This is something that other two inventory proposals I've seen generally miss by trying to divide items into categories by function (e.g. consumable vs. equipable): Swapping is unfortunately a tactical option for many equipment-type items. Once you've got fast-swapping equipment, evocables, and consumables in the same list, all your second inventory does, if it makes sense, is give you room for extra armor. You definitely don't want to encourage carrying extra armor.

I believe a separate equipment "inventory," which would really just be the '%' display, T, and R menus, together with hellcrawl removals and merging mechanics, would eliminate inventory issues for all but the worst pack rats.
Last edited by watertreatmentRL on Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 12:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 09:03

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

While I do think that, right now, having a larger inventory would make the game better, I also think that it would be a very short term solution. The truth is, the inventory is already too large. It gives you a lot of options that you will not use during the game. There are too many items and too many consumables. Not to say anything about items giving you multiple evocation options.

So I actually think that the inventory should instead get smaller (30 items?). Body slots could be extra from inventory, but that's not very important. But there should definitely be a number of item removals and mergers.

Just a few examples:

merge agility, might and brilliance
merge ring of flight and potions of flight into a single ring of perpetual flight
have books disappear when you pick then up, and all of their spells stored into your library, ready to be learnt
remove all throwables except large rocks, because there is no reason to have that many launch mechanics, especially if one of them is "like wands but doesn't always mulch"
add wand stacking
merge acid and digging

There could also be some more radical options (have far fewer wands) or some that would change how the game works (limit item generation to a set number of consumable types, which would increase variance between games, but also encourage start scumming).

Finally, there is something I consider a design weakness, which is that many items shouldn't be inventory items. These are things like scrolls of remove curse, identify, brand and enchant, potions of mutation, and food, which you probably don't need to carry on you, but you do because it's easier than having to go back across 30 floors when you want to enchant your end game weapon.
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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 09:26

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

My personal idea for inventory would be:

Open inventory is now limited to 25 or 26 slots.

For the rest, you have a nearly-infinite capacity bag of holding, either accessed as an inventory item or with its own command.

The bag takes ten turns to open. This is interruptible, and is automatically interrupted if you even see a monster. Putting an item in it takes .5 or 1 turns and can be done anytime. If your main inventory is full, newly picked up items automatically go in the bag.

As for interface, here's how it works: once you "open" the bag, you're transported to a little 3x4 room. In this room are piles of items, one for each type (so weapons, armor, potions, scrolls, evokables, wands, food, spellbooks, staves). The bag can accommodate 52 stacks of each type - so "infinite" for pretty much everything but weapons and armor. To retrieve an item you walk over to its pile and pick it up. The ^f interface would incidentally work very nicely with this, and overall I think it's an intuitive and flavorful way to retrieve items. There might be a "pit" or something where the player could drop unwanted items, though in practice this should hardly ever be necessary.

While inside, time does not pass, and you are unable to use any consumables - so the player will never be able to use the bag as a place to hide and heal/make monsters wander off, even if they somehow keep monsters out of sight for ten turns while in danger. You can, however, swap equipped items.

Picking up an item that is an *absolute* duplicate of a non-stackable item already in the bag (like an identical spellbook or staff, or a third identical ring) just silently destroys the duplicate.

I like this idea, because it uses Crawl's existing mechanics reasonably well, as opposed to introducing multiple "types" of inventory items. It also ensures that the player will never be motivated to stash items, while simultaneously forcing them to make meaningful decisions about what to carry in the main inventory. It's basically a cutesy way of doing what the stash tracker already does, while eliminating the pointless trips that dispersed items cause. And cutting the inventory to 25 or 26 items reduces the number of shift+key presses you have to do during the game, which is always a plus.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 13:20

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

@ ion

Wouldn't it be easier to get to select items you want from the search menu, and having them dropped at your location 10 turns later, if no monster shows up in the meantime?
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Slime Squisher

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Post Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 18:31

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

In the status quo if I want to try on an unidentified ring, I have to drop something, pick up the ring, put it on,(often) realize it's a piece of shit, drop it, and pick up my other item. In the bag of holding proposal, I have to pick it up, do a 10 turn interruptible action to open the bag, drop something from my inventory in the bag, grab the item from its floor pile, put it on, (often) realize it's a piece of shit, drop it, pick up my other item, and exit the bag. Part of this is a problem with identification but I don't really see the interface improvement here, and I'll have to swap stuff around more often because my usable inventory is half as big.

E: I think that a strictly limited inventory can add depth and that an unlimited inventory removes a lot of hassle, but I think you have to pick one or the other.

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 02:40

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

Shtopit wrote:@ ion

Wouldn't it be easier to get to select items you want from the search menu, and having them dropped at your location 10 turns later, if no monster shows up in the meantime?


Yeah, that sounds like a reasonable alternative, and I think could be used alongside the "bag room" idea. I still think the room idea is better for handling multiple items, though.

Hellmonk wrote:In the status quo if I want to try on an unidentified ring, I have to drop something, pick up the ring, put it on,(often) realize it's a piece of shit, drop it, and pick up my other item. In the bag of holding proposal, I have to pick it up, do a 10 turn interruptible action to open the bag, drop something from my inventory in the bag, grab the item from its floor pile, put it on, (often) realize it's a piece of shit, drop it, pick up my other item, and exit the bag. Part of this is a problem with identification but I don't really see the interface improvement here, and I'll have to swap stuff around more often because my usable inventory is half as big.


Shtopit's idea addresses some of your interface concerns, eliminating everything but the 10 turn interruptible action if can find the item you want in a ctrl+f search. Also, autopickup could be adjusted so it goes up to but does not automatically bag items you might want to identify (this should be an changeable option, though) - that way, you could do exactly what you do now with an unidentified ring on the floor.

Basically, I don't think "small working inventory" and "unlimited storage inventory" are incompatible goals. There are interface issues to work out, yes, but fundamentally I think it can be done. Throwing a 10-turn interruptible delay on "storage" items does a good job of making them tactically useless - it's just a matter of presenting this delay to the user in the most intuitive way possible.

Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 15:35

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

Regarding @Ion's idea, well, for reference we can go back to DnD and look at how, say, pack animals work. You can store tons of equipment in their saddles, but extracting that extra stuff takes more than just whipping it out of your pack. I don't really feel a "room" is necessary -- it could just be a special inventory screen. That said, I also know that the extra delay for exchanging items would still be a hassle that would become tiresome, especially if something you needed was in there.

I mean, let's say I'm exploring a branch and run across an entrance to the Ice Cave. Oh, well...I put my cold-resistance gear in my pack to make space for more relevant items/consumables. Now I have to take 10-30 turns trying to swap out all the stuff I need from inventory to pack and vice versa. Phew, finally have all the gear I need, rC+++ is ready to go....oh wait, the portal closed in the meantime. <<<This kind of irritation of delay is just attrition, which is why the idea of an infinite but delayed inventory isn't really practical. I already have a hard enough time resting when some random bat/snake/etc. popping in and out of LOS.

Also, @WatertreatmentIRL's ideas are also great, although I still think keeping potions and scrolls in their own "consumables" inventory would be helpful.

Practical inventory numbers are 26, 36, and 52. 26 uses the alphabet, 36 is alphabet + #0-9, 52 is (current) alphabet in both cases. I think, if many items were combined/stacked, and worn items hidden, the following format would work great:

"i" = Inventory, consisting of 36 slots. This shows evokables and any items not worn, equipped, or quivered.
"M" = Spells you can memorize, but divided by spellbooks, which would no longer be "items" on their own.
"H" = Haversack of consumables.
"E" = equipped -- shows you what gear you have equipped, quivered, etc.

Slime Squisher

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 21:07

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

On the subject of removing items, we have some thoroughly obvious candidates hanging around. Scrolls of random uselessness are literally randomly useless and there's absolutely no reason for them to still be here. Potions of degeneration are a mild annoyance at best and largely serve to waste identify scrolls. I really like Shtopit's Ring of Perpetual Flight idea because we could then axe boots of flying. Merge meat and bread rations, remove royal jellies and fruit (Fedhas can be tweaked to deal with this; IMO s/he needs work anyway). Better yet, just remove food.

It's not going to single-handedly solve the Inventory Problem, but it'd at least be somewhat helpful and it wouldn't do any harm to remove these things.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Tuesday, 3rd October 2017, 08:21

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

I'm not against removing random uselessness or degeneration, but it wouldn't do much for inventory, because, once identified, (nearly) nobody carries them anyway.

(Can you still get emergency butterflies from random uselessness?!)

Swamp Slogger

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Post Thursday, 5th October 2017, 11:42

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

I've written extensively about inventory issues. Without all the gory details, I'll restate what I came up with that I currently think is the best solution overall:

Set a total limit of number of items per category. For example purposes only:

Weapons: 5 (beyond what is wielded)
Armour: 5 (beyond what you are wearing)
Ammo: 1 or 2 types, but allows all branded variations of selected type(s) so you can have silver, steel, poison, etc.
Scrolls: (max # of scroll types in the game)
Potions: (max # of potion types in the game)
Wands: 1 of each type (helps prevent picking up of duplicate wands by auto-explore by default)
Misc. Evocables: Whatever, pick a number... 5 types
Rings: 5 (beyond worn)
... and so on.

* It's a hybrid system somewhere in-between the old weight based system which was too tedious, and the current one which makes little sense how you might need to drop 1 potion to pickup 1,000 javelins and also forces constant evaluation/re-evaluation of items in inventory across all types of gear.
* It allows an unlimited # of types for the categories which contain the largest number of strategic, non-tactical items such as amnesia scrolls, etc.
* It would greatly decrease the # of times auto-explore will stop you because inventory is full if not completely eliminate it as a problem.
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Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Saturday, 21st October 2017, 19:47

Re: Solution to the Inventory Problem

The Shiren Mystery Dungeon games have a similar concept that works very well. They have "Perservation Pots" that each take up an inventory slot, then have 3-5 additional inventory slots inside them.

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