New type of tournament ?


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

Temple Termagant

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Post Friday, 8th February 2019, 11:16

New type of tournament ?

Hi ! It's my first post here, but i'm not a new player though. I'm not sure if it's the right place to propose this, but, well, i've tried, at least !
Be nice : english is not my first language :)


Now that online seeds are a thing (aren't they ?), i wondered if, for future tournaments, we couldn't have something like..."Nemelex maps" included in tournament ?
For instance, something like a predetermined (and randomized) Race/specie/seed combo, which you couldn't change. You just play "Nemelex choice", even if it's a MiFE or a GhWz or anything else.

You have limited tries, like 1 or 2 or 3 tries, maximum.
When X people wins the game, Nemelex changes the combo. (I don't know what happens if noone can win this map, but maybe add a limited timer, too ?)

It will be necessary to add like a new button on servers like "Nemelex choice" ? (I'm not sure i'm not a coder). And maybe change the spectating rules to avoid cheating ?

Ranking in this gamestyle would be easy. And I think it could be fun, too.
It's just a suggestion. What do you think ? Thanks for your attention !

Shoals Surfer

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Post Friday, 8th February 2019, 18:16

Re: New type of tournament ?

I actually like the idea of seeded map series with limited tries even more (everyone in the tournament plays those same maps). With everyone playing the same start, it will be interesting to see how choices/runs diverge.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 8th February 2019, 18:44

Re: New type of tournament ?

The issue with these challenges is that you can watch other players before playing your own game, to find out what the dungeon looks like. Or if spectating and ttyrec creation is disabled (ew), you can play games on an a secondary account to find out what the dungeon looks like.

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Temple Termagant

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Post Friday, 8th February 2019, 19:00

Re: New type of tournament ?

Well, i agree there can be some sort of cheating, by spectating (well, it's not so informative), or playing secondary account. But i still like the idea, and think this is fun. I just hope you can trust people somehow to play the game without cheating.

After all if you want an easy win, you can already play MiBe-3runes. I just hope people who would cheat wouldn't be the best anyway, so that wouldn't be a big change. But it's a lot of would.
Or i just hoped someone else could find a solution to this problem. But it's a risk. (Watching people play isn't very informative, though apart in the very beginning)

Shoals Surfer

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Post Friday, 8th February 2019, 19:27

Re: New type of tournament ?

duvessa wrote:The issue with these challenges is that you can watch other players before playing your own game, to find out what the dungeon looks like. Or if spectating and ttyrec creation is disabled (ew), you can play games on an a secondary account to find out what the dungeon looks like.


True. Perhaps a workaround is to allow replays/spoilage intentionally, so it's just a matter of who optimizes/executes the runs in practice given a relatively limited time frame. This way there'd not be need to worry about pretense of cheating via knowledge or not.

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Post Sunday, 10th February 2019, 07:06

Re: New type of tournament ?

It would make the game feel like puzzle/chess where players analyze every shop/loot before even playing. And then they will start playing while having a detailed plan like "skip D:3 which has Siegmund, hoard gold for that unknown amulet on D:13 which is amazing randart, don't enter lair:5 before you have rF+ because it has Volcano etc.".
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Post Sunday, 10th February 2019, 07:25

Re: New type of tournament ?

For a casual competition I don't think the ease of cheating is a problem. If people want that advantage, let them. Just make clear it's against the spirit of the rules.

But for the official biannual tournament it could be a problem. We know that people take it extremely seriously. Relying on honesty wont work.

Temple Termagant

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Post Sunday, 10th February 2019, 18:31

Re: New type of tournament ?

The idea is not to let this kind of challenge very long, @VeryAngryFelid, to avoid this kind of behaviour.
Maybe we could change the rule a bit to avoid this.

1 : You can try the map 1,2 or 3 times, and after X people have tried the map (whether they have won or not), race/specie/map combo change. If a lot of people use secondary accounts, rotation will be faster. And if people gives information to other people...well...it's a competition so...why do this ?
Frankly i don't see people creating 3, 4 accounts just for a "map challenge" ? Or I am too naive ?
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 10th February 2019, 22:14

Re: New type of tournament ?

I could just generate the map offline, and examine each level in wiz mode. It's pretty fast.
Rand seeds are pretty interesting, but I doubt they'd be used in tourneys, unless it's a friendly game and it's no biggie if someone wants to cheat.
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Post Sunday, 10th February 2019, 22:59

Re: New type of tournament ?

Inarius wrote:The idea is not to let this kind of challenge very long, @VeryAngryFelid, to avoid this kind of behaviour.
Maybe we could change the rule a bit to avoid this.

1 : You can try the map 1,2 or 3 times, and after X people have tried the map (whether they have won or not), race/specie/map combo change. If a lot of people use secondary accounts, rotation will be faster. And if people gives information to other people...well...it's a competition so...why do this ?
Frankly i don't see people creating 3, 4 accounts just for a "map challenge" ? Or I am too naive ?
You are too naive, and making rotation faster hurts everyone else who isn't doing that sort of thing.

Just let people run it as many times as they like during a few days or a week or whatever so optimizing the run is presumed. otherwise you're endlessly gonna be trying to prevent this sort of behavior.

Slime Squisher

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Post Sunday, 10th February 2019, 23:46

Re: New type of tournament ?

Seed tournament consists of a series of micro-tournaments. A different seed opens on the hour and closes X minutes later. You have to start the seed within the window in order to compete in that micro-tournament. X is chosen to be small enough to limit the value of spectation / retries / offline study.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 11th February 2019, 05:49

Re: New type of tournament ?

You could generate a (largish) subset of seeds secretly in advance, and have players who join select randomly from among the secret seeds, then score people who used the same seeds against each-other (distributing the same seed to a similar number of people, say 4-8 or something)

That prevents offline generation (presuming the seeds are kept secret) and the large number of advanced seeds prevents you from being able to use secondary accounts to preview, it does limit competition somewhat (You'd probably want to run numbers of round and keep track of how people did inside their cohort for each round or something).
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Monday, 11th February 2019, 18:37

Re: New type of tournament ?

Even if this format doesn't make it into a tournament setting, I think having this option as some kind of series would be good as a teaching tool. Some players have enough experience and abstract thought to reason out "what could I have done differently throughout this run such that I'd have won rather than died" on their own, but many don't. Seeing how other people approach an identical scenario better would be useful information.

Temple Termagant

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Post Monday, 11th February 2019, 22:31

Re: New type of tournament ?

Siegurt wrote:You could generate a (largish) subset of seeds secretly in advance, and have players who join select randomly from among the secret seeds, then score people who used the same seeds against each-other (distributing the same seed to a similar number of people, say 4-8 or something)

That prevents offline generation (presuming the seeds are kept secret) and the large number of advanced seeds prevents you from being able to use secondary accounts to preview, it does limit competition somewhat (You'd probably want to run numbers of round and keep track of how people did inside their cohort for each round or something).



I agree with you. I think it's the best idea.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 19:40

Re: New type of tournament ?

I don't think it's a good fit for the existing tournaments, but I'd love to see something like Crypt of the Necrodancer Online Racing (CoNDOR) or A Link to the Past Randomizer Racing, basically a split screen with 2-4 people running at once. I don't think Crawl is as suited as those games as it's not real-time and isn't as visually clear but it's still something that might be entertaining once in a while.

As with most speedruns it'd probably require some rules to make it more visually interesting, like a large (15-30 second) delay attached to deaths (if deaths don't immediately end a run) to promote careful play in the beginning or a minor delay to autoexplore/autofight to ensure it remains legible to the viewer (both of these might be possible via Lua script, although I haven't tested it). It would be much clearer after a Twitch stream or two.

Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 1st March 2019, 21:29

Re: New type of tournament ?

Re seed displays, currently they are shown for online characters only in morgues at death, but I will sooner or later add an option (available from CLI) to hide them entirely, which I think we'd need for something like this. Then the admin could pick a seed and reveal it afterwards if they chose, but offline generation wouldn't be an issue.

Scouting is an interesting issue to think about. One idea in some competitive settings might be to somehow build it in to the challenge, for example by weighting earlier games more, or even just acknowledge that for more competitive players it's going to be potentially part of the strategy, and let people decide themselves how to incorporate scouting into their metastrategy. I'm not sure how I feel about that but I do agree that disabling spectating isn't the solution.

Without dungeon pregeneration, seeds will diverge sooner or later (taking levels out of order, e.g. by falling down shafts) results in this, so only spectating the first few levels will really be informative. Though I imagine some people here are imagining the kind of strong seeding you currently get only with dungeon pregeneration (I have some improvements to the CPU hit that this requires in mind for 0.24).

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Post Friday, 1st March 2019, 21:47

Re: New type of tournament ?

advil wrote:Re seed displays, currently they are shown for online characters only in morgues at death, but I will sooner or later add an option (available from CLI) to hide them entirely, which I think we'd need for something like this. Then the admin could pick a seed and reveal it afterwards if they chose, but offline generation wouldn't be an issue.

Scouting is an interesting issue to think about. One idea in some competitive settings might be to somehow build it in to the challenge, for example by weighting earlier games more, or even just acknowledge that for more competitive players it's going to be potentially part of the strategy, and let people decide themselves how to incorporate scouting into their metastrategy. I'm not sure how I feel about that but I do agree that disabling spectating isn't the solution.

Without dungeon pregeneration, seeds will diverge sooner or later (taking levels out of order, e.g. by falling down shafts) results in this, so only spectating the first few levels will really be informative. Though I imagine some people here are imagining the kind of strong seeding you currently get only with dungeon pregeneration (I have some improvements to the CPU hit that this requires in mind for 0.24).

Previously I had suggested using the global "game seed" to pregenerate (and store) level generation seeds for each level, that way you don't need to pregenerate each entire level, just the seeds from which the levels will be generated when you do eventually enter them. (You can pregenerate seeds for all levels including ones that won't occur, generating <100 random seeds should be trivial in terms of CPU time)
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Post Friday, 1st March 2019, 23:49

Re: New type of tournament ?

Siegurt wrote:Previously I had suggested using the global "game seed" to pregenerate (and store) level generation seeds for each level, that way you don't need to pregenerate each entire level, just the seeds from which the levels will be generated when you do eventually enter them. (You can pregenerate seeds for all levels including ones that won't occur, generating <100 random seeds should be trivial in terms of CPU time)


This is a common suggestion that I have ended up answering many times, so I guess the answer needs better telegraphing somehow :) .

This doesn't work for dcss, because level generation choices are not independent between levels. Here's a toy example: suppose the player is on D:10, and both D:11 and D:12 will, given their preset seeds, try to place Erolcha in the first attempt to build a level. If the player goes down stairs from D:10, Erolcha will place on D:11, and then when the player goes to D:12, the attempt to place Erolcha will fail, and something else will happen -- and because of the nature of rng, this will have a snowball effect on every random decision that happens after that (especially if it changes the number of random draws, not just the outcome of a single draw). Alternatively, if the player falls through a shaft on D:10 and goes to D:12 directly, then Erolcha would place there, and when they go up to D:11, Erolcha won't place and most likely they get an entirely different D:11 than what would have happened if they'd taken the stairs. This situation pops up for many, many placement choices that can happen during level building, not just uniques, and often times the outcome could be a veto of an entire attempt to build a level, with something new starting from scratch.

There are some rng techniques that can smooth out some of this, and other aspects could be designed around preemptively if one were designing a game from scratch, but crawl wasn't designed with strong seeding in mind. Consequently the only really practical option for completely replicating a dungeon is to build all the levels in the same order each time. (Actually, right now each branch has its own seed, but there's really not much point in making it as fine-grained as per level given all the confounds. In terms of debugging, at the moment it would probably just make my life harder to go per-level, because it would make seed bugs more subtle.)
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Post Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 01:11

Re: New type of tournament ?

I was going to say that between some kind of time limits/real time competition and inspection of ttyrecs in cases suspected of cheating, you could deal with the scouting issue, but it sounds like you can manipulate dungeon generation by taking different paths through the dungeon. That makes it pretty difficult to determine whether a player is cheating by watching a ttyrec.

If the player can influence dungeon generation in a seeded game, that's a pretty major flaw in the seeding system.
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Post Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 14:41

Re: New type of tournament ?

tealizard wrote:If the player can influence dungeon generation in a seeded game, that's a pretty major flaw in the seeding system.


https://github.com/crawl/crawl/blob/master/crawl-ref/docs/crawl_manual.rst#seeded-play
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Post Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 15:39

Re: New type of tournament ?

I see. I mistakenly gathered from this conversation that game seeding in the usual sense was some kind of work in progress, but in fact there are for some reason two options for seeding, one that produces seeded games in the usual sense and one that doesn't. And for some reason there is discussion about which of these two modes to use in this tournament format. Okay.

Anyway, real time speedrunning is a pretty popular game format these days and running a real time-oriented competitive format based on seeded games would be a good idea.
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Post Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 22:33

Re: New type of tournament ?

Perhaps seeded play should imply presentation. I can't see many use cases for seeded play without that.

Temple Termagant

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Post Friday, 8th March 2019, 09:25

Re: New type of tournament ?

I think that the only way to dissolve the advantage of "knowing the beginning" is to multiply maps.
If you choose to play "Nemelex Choice" you play one of the 7 (for example) maps with, in each map, a different combo and a different seed.
That's all. And when you click on "Nemelex Choice", you can't choose which one will be selected.

So, ok, you CAN spectate other games (you are right, disabling spectating isn't a good option, actually), but it's a lot of data to remember. It's 7 different beginnings.
Of course you can still select the game, see that you are playing this MiFE game, and wait until you see someone on it to foresee what you will encounter. But it's harder this way, because the "first levels" don't last so long, actually.

On a 3-7 hours games, the 4 first levels last...how long ? 10 minutes ? 15 minutes ? Even less ? It's only 5% of the total time, so if you consider there are 7 maps, it's only 1 people on 140 which will precisely play the part you want to see !!!

I really think it's the most simple and efficient way to resolve this.

And Tournament is over as soon as X people (X = a lot, let's say at least 1000 ?) have tried every maps 2 times. Or once. Or three.
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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Friday, 8th March 2019, 16:02

Re: New type of tournament ?

A lot of these scenarios would encourage more legwork scouting and trying to squeeze in even more games in a limited time of "the tournament". I'll acknowledge that current tournament results are not meaningless, but they certainly work better for people with more time and who also want to play more quickly. This also seems to encourage more tab-style builds.

I don't see trying to correct the seeded game to give more consistent experiences between players working out very well, or worth the effort. The game is already based on so many random factors, such as if an attack will hit or not, and for how much damage. I think the tournaments should go several steps further to reward the less commonly played combinations.

I would like to see a tournament released as though it were a version like for example (0.34t-1). This special version would allow players a fixed number of games until it wouldn't create any new games for them. It would run a fixed, fairly lengthy amount of time, such as perhaps 2-3 months (depending on the total # of games the tournament consisted of) Some tournaments might only allow certain combinations, or they could have customized code in the build so that certain variations or weird things in the game existed similar to the player-enforced challenges. There could be several tournaments at once, and players could choose whatever interests them. The main thing is that the results wouldn't highlight people just cramming in as much playing as possible to score more points.

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Post Friday, 8th March 2019, 16:16

Re: New type of tournament ?

advil wrote:
Siegurt wrote:Previously I had suggested using the global "game seed" to pregenerate (and store) level generation seeds for each level, that way you don't need to pregenerate each entire level, just the seeds from which the levels will be generated when you do eventually enter them. (You can pregenerate seeds for all levels including ones that won't occur, generating <100 random seeds should be trivial in terms of CPU time)


This is a common suggestion that I have ended up answering many times, so I guess the answer needs better telegraphing somehow :) .

This doesn't work for dcss, because level generation choices are not independent between levels. Here's a toy example: suppose the player is on D:10, and both D:11 and D:12 will, given their preset seeds, try to place Erolcha in the first attempt to build a level. If the player goes down stairs from D:10, Erolcha will place on D:11, and then when the player goes to D:12, the attempt to place Erolcha will fail, and something else will happen -- and because of the nature of rng, this will have a snowball effect on every random decision that happens after that (especially if it changes the number of random draws, not just the outcome of a single draw). Alternatively, if the player falls through a shaft on D:10 and goes to D:12 directly, then Erolcha would place there, and when they go up to D:11, Erolcha won't place and most likely they get an entirely different D:11 than what would have happened if they'd taken the stairs. This situation pops up for many, many placement choices that can happen during level building, not just uniques, and often times the outcome could be a veto of an entire attempt to build a level, with something new starting from scratch.

There are some rng techniques that can smooth out some of this, and other aspects could be designed around preemptively if one were designing a game from scratch, but crawl wasn't designed with strong seeding in mind. Consequently the only really practical option for completely replicating a dungeon is to build all the levels in the same order each time. (Actually, right now each branch has its own seed, but there's really not much point in making it as fine-grained as per level given all the confounds. In terms of debugging, at the moment it would probably just make my life harder to go per-level, because it would make seed bugs more subtle.)


That makes sense, I'd forgotten about unique placement interlevel dependancies (and IIRC there's stuff like overflow altars and food generation that's interlevel dependent too, probably some other things I'm not thinking of)

I guess you could (for performance at game start up, not now while you're still debugging obviously) just push of generating all the levels in your pre-set order until you enter the next ungenerated level (so if someone drops from D10->D12 by shaft, you generate D11 before generating D12) Basically do the same pre-generation order your doing now, just only down as far in the list as you need to whenever a player is entering a new level.

What *I* would personally love is if there was not an option for whether or not to pregenerate levels, as non-pregenerated seeded levels defeat most of the point, but I do see that pregenerating all the levels (particularly for a large number of people on a non-local game) would be annoying/terrible as things stand now.. If nonpregenerated seeded games worked as I suggested, the differences would be obviated.
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Post Saturday, 9th March 2019, 16:49

Re: New type of tournament ?

Siegurt wrote:I guess you could (for performance at game start up, not now while you're still debugging obviously) just push of generating all the levels in your pre-set order until you enter the next ungenerated level (so if someone drops from D10->D12 by shaft, you generate D11 before generating D12) Basically do the same pre-generation order your doing now, just only down as far in the list as you need to whenever a player is entering a new level.


Yes, incremental pregeneration is on the list; I have a draft version of it that does it per branch, but there were a bunch of technical challenges given how deeply intertwined level generation and level entry have historically been in the code. Basically after a few hours of trying to figure out why exiting lair when generated in the draft implementation this way put you on lair:$ instead of in the dungeon, I decided I needed to prioritize seed stability bugs, which are themselves incredible debugging time-sinks. I plan on returning to this after 0.23.2 is released.

Siegurt wrote:What *I* would personally love is if there was not an option for whether or not to pregenerate levels, as non-pregenerated seeded levels defeat most of the point, but I do see that pregenerating all the levels (particularly for a large number of people on a non-local game) would be annoying/terrible as things stand now.. If nonpregenerated seeded games worked as I suggested, the differences would be obviated.


Totally agree that this is the dream, and incremental pregen might be enough to accomplish this, though I think an optimization pass on levelgen will also be necessary. One main desiderata for online games is to smooth out any cpu hit from pregeneration, where doing the entire dungeon on game start is obviously the worst case for this. But the cpu hit if a player decides to dip into slime for a sec when they first see it (on the current generation order) also is not entirely trivial, even on an incremental version. There's also a non-trivial number of players (especially offline) who I think will not enjoy it if they don't have a way to rapidly/instantly restart after death. If/when I can solve these, I plan on removing non-pregeneration except as a debug mode setting.

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Post Saturday, 9th March 2019, 20:34

Re: New type of tournament ?

advil wrote:
Siegurt wrote:I guess you could (for performance at game start up, not now while you're still debugging obviously) just push of generating all the levels in your pre-set order until you enter the next ungenerated level (so if someone drops from D10->D12 by shaft, you generate D11 before generating D12) Basically do the same pre-generation order your doing now, just only down as far in the list as you need to whenever a player is entering a new level.


Yes, incremental pregeneration is on the list; I have a draft version of it that does it per branch, but there were a bunch of technical challenges given how deeply intertwined level generation and level entry have historically been in the code. Basically after a few hours of trying to figure out why exiting lair when generated in the draft implementation this way put you on lair:$ instead of in the dungeon, I decided I needed to prioritize seed stability bugs, which are themselves incredible debugging time-sinks. I plan on returning to this after 0.23.2 is released.

Siegurt wrote:What *I* would personally love is if there was not an option for whether or not to pregenerate levels, as non-pregenerated seeded levels defeat most of the point, but I do see that pregenerating all the levels (particularly for a large number of people on a non-local game) would be annoying/terrible as things stand now.. If nonpregenerated seeded games worked as I suggested, the differences would be obviated.


Totally agree that this is the dream, and incremental pregen might be enough to accomplish this, though I think an optimization pass on levelgen will also be necessary. One main desiderata for online games is to smooth out any cpu hit from pregeneration, where doing the entire dungeon on game start is obviously the worst case for this. But the cpu hit if a player decides to dip into slime for a sec when they first see it (on the current generation order) also is not entirely trivial, even on an incremental version. There's also a non-trivial number of players (especially offline) who I think will not enjoy it if they don't have a way to rapidly/instantly restart after death. If/when I can solve these, I plan on removing non-pregeneration except as a debug mode setting.

Sounds like you have it well in hand, plan-wise.
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