Remove spell hunger


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 Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 20:28

Remove spell hunger

Spell hunger is rarely of strategic importance. You have to argue from ""blaster caster" of Gozag / Firestorm Spriggan / 0 spellcasting shatter rush" or some improbable food luck scenario for starvation to be a legitimate threat. You can play 100k turncount 3 rune "blaster casters" that spam bolt of x and still end the game with 20+ rations. Even if the strategic angle prevents you from firestorming every fight, it does not prevent you from firestorming every important fight and using lesser spells or 0 skill melee on the many, many trivial encounters in crawl. Supposing that spell hunger is of strategic importance in any scenario, it is neither an effective way to limit overpowered/degenerate play nor an interesting way to kill a player who has built so badly as to make spell hunger have an impact. We already know that spell hunger removal is not strategically degenerate because staves of energy exist.

Spell hunger is rarely of tactical importance and recent development has tended to make it even less tactically important (all food costing 1 turn to eat).

Spell hunger misleads new players. See every new player mage start morgue in existence and some new player guides. DCSS has a disproportionate amount of in-game focus on food and hunger relative to how important the mechanic actually is, and spell hunger is a particularly big offender. The constant messages about feeling hungry basically trick new players into bad skilling. It makes playing a mage start in Crawl harder to get into for no good reason.

Spell hunger is frequently annoying. The need to eat chunks after every fight is a major distraction that interrupts game flow. Characters that kill things with spells end up eating hundreds of extra chunks per game relative to ones that kill things with a weapon. You can mitigate these hundreds of extra meaningless keypresses (or the automation of them that's used because actually interacting with Crawl's food system is an unbearable chore) by overtraining spellcasting, a tedium versus power tradeoff that is explicitly against Crawl's design philosophy. But you often can't eliminate them. A character with 18 spellcasting and 26 int has #### hunger on level 6 spells, which is ridiculous.

Spell hunger is bad for Crawl's food clock. Ostensibly, the food clock should serve as a limit on degenerate play. It doesn't function very well in practice because it's extremely loose, and it's extremely loose because characters take very variable amounts of time and food to win the game. Spell hunger is a huge offender here. As long as Crawl has to be balanced around mage starts that eat 600+ chunks a game, the food clock is never going to work effectively. Eliminating this extreme, ridiculous outlier of food consumption would be a good first step toward a food clock that actually does what it's supposed to do, and you'd be able to follow it up pretty fast with a ration rebalance and chunk removal.

Remove spell hunger with no compensation.
Remove spell hunger.

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Shoals Surfer

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Post Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 20:56

Re: Remove spell hunger

I'd rather see things which cause actual damage to the game balance fixed rather than strip out mechanics which may be more subtle, but do still play a role. I do not think stripping/streamlining/removing all complexity to make it more like an arcade game and so that new players don't need to actually read anything or think about anything in order to play makes crawl a better game. If I want space invaders, it's out there. There are fewer games like crawl with depth. If anything, reduce mana costs and increase spell hunger so that food becomes more meaningful. Make swinging a huge two handed axe actually burn some serious calories versus poking with a dagger.

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Post Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 22:58

Re: Remove spell hunger

I want the complexity to be in places that crawl focuses on purpose, such as choosing where to move, using consumables wisely, and attacking. Not hitting tediously hitting c on every corpse after the fight is over.

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Post Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 23:44

Re: Remove spell hunger

svendre wrote: If anything, reduce mana costs and increase spell hunger so that food becomes more meaningful. Make swinging a huge two handed axe actually burn some serious calories versus poking with a dagger.


So instead of removing tedium from a particular playstyle, we should level the playing field and make ALL playstyles put up with that tedium?

Honestly, do you gain anything truly meaningful from the food mechanic? When I sit down to play crawl, I want to solve tactical puzzles, I don't really jizz my pants at the prospect of pressing 'e' and 'c' a billion times in a game when I play with a spell-using character.

Like, compare these 2 morgues, 1 primarily melee-using character & 1 primarily magic-using character:
https://crawl.xtahua.com/crawl/morgue/V ... 213240.txt

62 chunks, 72 rations ate in a 3-rune game - MELEE

(This character used Statue form + LRD in the later sections of the game, so the food use would, ostensibly, be even lower than this for 'pure' melee.)

https://crawl.xtahua.com/crawl/morgue/V ... 213418.txt

619 chunks, 47 rations + 53 fruit ate in a 3-rune game - MAGIC

(A fruit has 850 satiation, a chunk has 1000 satiation. So (53 * 850)/1000 = 45, which is the amount of equivalent chunks for a stack of 53 fruit. The equivalent rations would be 13 rations for 53 fruit.)
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Post Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 00:12

Re: Remove spell hunger

It would be fine if the maximum level you could be sated was higher so you didn't have to eat as often, but running out of food could still be an issue if you are reckless. The frequency of eating wasn't really my point. If you're going to remove spell hunger, then probably you should just remove food altogether because what purpose does it even serve then? Melee barely uses any at all. Make everyone a mummy.

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Post Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 00:46

Re: Remove spell hunger

svendre wrote:If you're going to remove spell hunger, then probably you should just remove food altogether because what purpose does it even serve then? Melee barely uses any at all. Make everyone a mummy.

Agreed. Remove spell hunger and then remove food.

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Post Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 03:17

Re: Remove spell hunger

I like this proposal.

Crawl has very few 'gotchas,' but spell hunger as it relates to skilling is one of them. One of the weirdest experiences I had in learning to play elementalist starts is that the best way to reduce hunger issues was to train less spellcasting, not more. Overtraining spellcasting ate up exp that should have gone to spell schools or to defenses and left me weaker, thus needing to rest more or run away after killing only half of a mob (and thus losing out on the chunks.)

Now most of my casters have plenty of extra rations and its weird to remember that hunger used to seem like such a big deal. I think this change would make Crawl both more convenient and intuitive.

Now most of my casters are swimming in food. Of course this change would affect things like Gozag worship, but would it be so bad if
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Post Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 10:15

Re: Remove spell hunger

A small pace towards hunger elimination. Mummies play surprisingly smooth and fun, and lack of hunger is a huge part of it.
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Post Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 11:22

Re: Remove spell hunger

Another bad thing about spell hunger is that it makes Vehumet/Sif Muna less enjoyable: both gods give you extra MP and "wizardry" to cast powerful spells earlier and then punish you for it by interrupting normal flow of fights with lunch break.
Especially annoying in poisonous branches where instead of having fun you pay attention to dropped corpses and manually chop anacondas and crocodiles while not even hungry.

Edit. Is it possible to replace poisonous corpses with normal ones?
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Post Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 13:45

Re: Remove spell hunger

Here's another problem with spell hunger that the OP mentioned --

It is rarely tactical because all you need is a super short little code in your rc to 100% automate the process of butchering and eating, meaning that for nearly all of a 3 rune game and most of a 15 rune game (where it matters, at least) you'll always stay satiated (or higher if you have gourmand). By the time edible corpses finally do become so uncommon as to possibly make an issue, you have already amassed more food than you'll need without ridiculous play style...and food shops/scrolls of acquirement and the fact that food still is a floor item in late-game means that you'll (effectively) never run out, because if you are doing extended then your skills quickly hit the point where you have dropped spell hunger as low as you'll feasibly get it anyway.

Any mechanic that has a work-around that for most of the game can be replaced by a piece of rc file and the rest of it you could ALSO replace by rc file/only requires 1-2 button pushes that are always the same is not a tactical mechanic. I am a really lousy player (okay, not THAT bad...but far from good because I tend to make serious errors in judgement) and I have STILL never had hunger be an issue. Only time hunger ever actually threatens me is when I play berserkers. I've blasted people silly and still had food to spare when the game was over.

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Post Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 21:24

Re: Remove spell hunger

I once played as a "blaster caster" of Gozag and died from spell hunger.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 23:02

Re: Remove spell hunger

If you really wanted to preserve spell hunger, there's theoretical systems where it could be made meaningful/interesting. But these would all be pretty radical reforms. Example: Remove all chunks; players can only eat permafood. Test and tweak the values of hunger for 1) time (aka base hunger per turn), 2) melee attacks, 3) evocables/items and 4) spells. Have things in each category which are "high hunger, high damage" and "low/no hunger, moderate damage". You now manage your food supply by limiting how often you do "high hunger high damage" actions vs your cheaper options.

Theoretically something like this could work, but it's a huge complex system which doesn't really add much. And the current spell hunger cost of spells would be broken in this system. The way spells work now isn't that the better spells cost more hunger, it's just that you have to train a few extra levels of spellcasting and then you get a no hunger high damage attack, which breaks the 'hunger matters' part of the above strategic system. For example on a Spriggan Conjurer of Vehumut, I escaped with 16 old rations/16 royal jellies (roughly 40 new rations?) despite casting spells all game. How? I just trained spellcasting higher. It isn't really an issue to do so.

You'd be better off designing such a system into a new game rather than trying to redesign/shoehorn it into crawl. All of this is really wordy way of saying "Yes, remove spell hunger". It could work in a roguelike in theory, but that roguelike isn't really modern crawl.

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Barkeep

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Post Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 16:24

Re: Remove spell hunger

The problem with a "keep spell hunger, remove chunks" kind of system is that it leads to a system where the tactical choices of what spells you cast (and at what spellcasting level) have long-term strategic implications - and we already have tactical systems in place regarding what spells you should cast and when.

Rationing your L6 spells because you want to save long-term food is not great... you get the same kinds of degenerate tactics as the "huge HP pool, no HP regen of any type" kinds of proposals. Casting a L4 spell four times instead of a L6 spell once because of hunger is something I don't think would improve the game.

So I'm agreed: a hunger-for-tactics thing fits better in a different game; food (if we need it at all) is much better as a strategic clock.
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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 01:23

Re: Remove spell hunger

The other issue is that a lot of characters never or almost never need to cast expensive spells, so you end up either with the foodclock being trivial for them or it being overly punishing for "blaster" type characters. Unless you think every fireball cast should require you to speed up your run by 150 turns I don't see how spell hunger is compatible with food as a strategic clock at all.

The thing is there's already stuff in place that makes big spells not always better - strategically you have XP investment and book rarity, while tactically you have higher mana usage and often louder noises. If you really wanted magic spells to be a limited resource you could introduce some kind of ammo for spells but that really doesn't seem necessary.

e: like if the food clock is to prevent degenerate behaviour like luring every monster back to the same killhole then surely you should be punishing excessive movement or resting actions rather than people using their spells to kill things
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Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 01:26

Re: Remove spell hunger

Should Spriggans keep spell hunger if it's removed for other species?

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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 05:32

Re: Remove spell hunger

To celebrate no spell hunger: take a low/mid level, non-undead character, try to find summon dragons spell, get it to 9x% chance to cast, sit on the stairs and repeat casting it until it finally works. Go down stairs, kill stuff. Rinse, repeat. Contamination.. oh noes, lots of bad mutations swapping in and out.
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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 10:21

Re: Remove spell hunger

svendre wrote:To celebrate no spell hunger: take a low/mid level, non-undead character, try to find summon dragons spell, get it to 9x% chance to cast, sit on the stairs and repeat casting it until it finally works. Go down stairs, kill stuff. Rinse, repeat. Contamination.. oh noes, lots of bad mutations swapping in and out.


Until one of the level 3 summoning miscasts kills you :p

And resting to regen that MP will be costing a lot of hunger anyways. Can't do this very many times per game.
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Barkeep

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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 13:49

Re: Remove spell hunger

svendre wrote:To celebrate no spell hunger: take a low/mid level, non-undead character, try to find summon dragons spell, get it to 9x% chance to cast, sit on the stairs and repeat casting it until it finally works. Go down stairs, kill stuff. Rinse, repeat. Contamination.. oh noes, lots of bad mutations swapping in and out.

Why not do this with Mu/Vp right now?

My guess is it's because training a L9 summoning spell to <10% fail on a low/mid-level char leaves you with a seriously unbalanced build and it would have been way stronger to just train a character with a normal way to killdudes and good defenses...

If you meant 9x% *fail* chance you'd *still* be dumping a bunch of XP in a suboptimal way and even if contamination explosions don't directly kill you, getting banished two dozen times and sitting in a cloud of hostile greater demons sounds like a terrible way to deal with whatever's on D:13.
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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 14:00

Re: Remove spell hunger

An easier solution would be just to disable high level spells when they are red (unless you are with Sif Muna probably).
Seriously, if someone is trying to cast a level 9 spell with 90% failure rate, it is an abuse of broken spell/mechanic.
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Barkeep

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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 14:25

Re: Remove spell hunger

I can see a "I have screwed up and will almost certainly die next turn but I have ddoor or borg's at 90% fail" kind of situation
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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 14:36

Re: Remove spell hunger

njvack wrote:I can see a "I have screwed up and will almost certainly die next turn but I have ddoor or borg's at 90% fail" kind of situation


It is still broken spell/mechanic IMHO. I mean having 10% chance to survive no matter what can be in gambling games, not in permadeath ones.
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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 17:48

Re: Remove spell hunger

Even if you think there should be something forcing you to thoughtfully choose when to cast higher level spells, it should not be the same as the turn clock. (Call this theoretical second timer thirst instead of hunger if you want.) This discussion might be more productive if it's focused around separating the two distinct uses for food rather than which of the two are valuable.
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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 17:56

Re: Remove spell hunger

Yeah I'm not arguing they're good spells, just that spell hunger is not the thing that makes it bad to cast highlevel spells at high fail rates.
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Post Friday, 4th May 2018, 20:29

Re: Remove spell hunger

svendre wrote:To celebrate no spell hunger: take a low/mid level, non-undead character, try to find summon dragons spell, get it to 9x% chance to cast, sit on the stairs and repeat casting it until it finally works. Go down stairs, kill stuff. Rinse, repeat. Contamination.. oh noes, lots of bad mutations swapping in and out.

banishment is a high tier summoning miscast effect so I hope your trip to the abyss was worth having some dragons for the next floor

anyway you don't need to wait until spell hunger is removed to do this, just wield a staff of energy

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Post Saturday, 5th May 2018, 02:59

Re: Remove spell hunger

I start casting dragon's call as soon as its around 50% fail chance. --Su^Sif ftw.

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Post Saturday, 5th May 2018, 21:33

Re: Remove spell hunger

CanOfWorms wrote:
svendre wrote:To celebrate no spell hunger: take a low/mid level, non-undead character, try to find summon dragons spell, get it to 9x% chance to cast, sit on the stairs and repeat casting it until it finally works. Go down stairs, kill stuff. Rinse, repeat. Contamination.. oh noes, lots of bad mutations swapping in and out.

banishment is a high tier summoning miscast effect so I hope your trip to the abyss was worth having some dragons for the next floor

anyway you don't need to wait until spell hunger is removed to do this, just wield a staff of energy


Well, there is Sif at least to stop the miscasts. As for the staff of energy being comparable to a no spell-hunger change, I would agree if all characters started the game with one.
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Post Saturday, 5th May 2018, 22:13

Re: Remove spell hunger

Is it at all likely to starve to death before finding a staff of energy?

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Barkeep

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Post Monday, 7th May 2018, 14:12

Re: Remove spell hunger

Why the staff of energy a thing? "To keep players from spamming high-level spells without investing in spellcasting and int, we're going to impose a hunger cost. Also, we will have a fairly common item that completely eliminates this cost at the cost of a weapon swap."

Like, I may not think spell hunger is a great thing, but I can see a design reasoning behind it. And even with gourmand, you'd chew through satiation pretty fast if you were doing that dragon's call thing; it could limit you if you were being careless.

I know I'm being a bit snarky here, but I'm genuinely curious: is there any situation where SoE introduces a choice more interesting than "do I care enough about spell hunger to spend an inventory slot on it?"
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Post Monday, 7th May 2018, 14:21

Re: Remove spell hunger

njvack wrote:Why the staff of energy a thing? "To keep players from spamming high-level spells without investing in spellcasting and int, we're going to impose a hunger cost. Also, we will have a fairly common item that completely eliminates this cost at the cost of a weapon swap."

Like, I may not think spell hunger is a great thing, but I can see a design reasoning behind it. And even with gourmand, you'd chew through satiation pretty fast if you were doing that dragon's call thing; it could limit you if you were being careless.

I know I'm being a bit snarky here, but I'm genuinely curious: is there any situation where SoE introduces a choice more interesting than "do I care enough about spell hunger to spend an inventory slot on it?"

Well, it's actual reason for existence is the channeling thing, I have always felt like the no-spell-hunger thing was kind of weirdly tacked on because someone thought it sounded cool. I'm also not sure how common it is, I reasonably frequently end up doing 3 run games without ever seeing one (Even more frequently I don't see one early enough that it would make a difference spell hunger wise)
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Post Monday, 7th May 2018, 15:59

Re: Remove spell hunger

Siegurt wrote:Well, it's actual reason for existence is the channeling thing, I have always felt like the no-spell-hunger thing was kind of weirdly tacked on because someone thought it sounded cool.
Except the channeling thing was recently added to the staff of energy. Previously, channeling was on the staff of channeling, and the staff of energy only had the spell hunger elimination.

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Post Monday, 7th May 2018, 17:26

Re: Remove spell hunger

duvessa wrote:
Siegurt wrote:Well, it's actual reason for existence is the channeling thing, I have always felt like the no-spell-hunger thing was kind of weirdly tacked on because someone thought it sounded cool.
Except the channeling thing was recently added to the staff of energy. Previously, channeling was on the staff of channeling, and the staff of energy only had the spell hunger elimination.

I'd always thought of it as they just decided to keep the 'energy' name when they merged the two, because it sounded more general and the prior staff of energy was a useless hunk of crap anyway. But sure, yes the two abilities were in two different staves some time ago (I guess 2013 is "recently" for some people in the context of DCSS) I had always just assumed the other option at the time was to just remove the staff of energy entirely.

I felt like tacking the existing no-spell-hunger thing *on to* the existing channeling thing was weird at the time, and I still feel like the two mechanics don't make much sense together, and that the no-spell-hunger thing wasn't an especially good mechanic to begin with.
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