New launcher system


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Post Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 05:08

New launcher system

duvessa wrote:If taken literally, "remove ammo for launchers" would mean that large rocks would stay, since they don't correspond to a launcher.

DCSS's ammo system pretty much grew organically so it's unsurprisingly a mess; you have:
- Crossbows use bolts, which are somewhat uncommon early in the game but you absolutely drown in them later
- Bows use arrows, which are a little more common early on and a little less common later on (but not by much), but also they're possibly more valuable as Sticks to Snakes fuel than as actual ammo
- Slings use sling bullets, which are in moderate supply throughout the game, except slings also let you use stones to do almost as much damage, so you just use stones against all the less dangerous monsters and never run out of sling bullets
- Throwing has 21 different ammo items. The javelins, tomahawks, and non-poisoned needles are in short enough supply that it can actually be an issue. Stones are everywhere, but are special cased to do like no damage so there's no point, you just use poisoned needles on most monsters, which is really annoying by the way because damage-over-time sucks. Also you get tons of large rocks later on so the 13 different tomahawks/javelins stop mattering unless you went throwing on a non-ogre/troll for some reason lol

I have seen two competing thoughts on how to design launchers: people either think they should have infinite ammo and be like melee weapons with super-reaching, or they think they should have meaningfully limited ammo and be like wands that use a different skill and an extra inventory slot.
You can trial run both of those designs by playing a launcher character right now, because they have limited ammo at the beginning of the game and essentially infinite ammo later in the game. And yet people don't seem to like playing launcher characters very much! Hmmmmmm...
It turns out that neither one is compelling. Melee weapons without reaching are more interesting than melee weapons with reaching, let alone longer reaching. The interface is clunkier than melee's. They also have the huge issue of how every melee character wants to carry around a launcher to "soften up" approaching enemies instead of waiting. And we already have lots of wands, with more satisfying generation rates and flashier effects.

If you're looking to have ranged weapons in the game, and have them be unique, you need to come up with something more tactical than just having an ammo system. The microcosm of ranged combat that actually works pretty well, in my opinion, is launchers of penetration. Penetration rewards you for, say, putting vault guards in front of a lich, in a way that melee doesn't. And unlike using Airstrike or LRD to kill the lich while other monsters protect you from it, penetration has a self-limiting feature to prevent abuse: it eventually kills those vault guards.
It still has the problem of every melee character wanting to carry the launcher, so it isn't perfect. But it shows how to make ranged combat into something interesting: don't just make a melee attack at range and call it a day. You need something like a magic crossbow that penetrates; a spear-thrower that does a lot of damage but forces you to move forwards; a cannon that's powerful but makes a lot of noise (hey, Damnation is kind of like that!); a weapon that picks its own target at random instead of letting you aim; you get the idea. And don't restrict these with ammo or MP because we want these to be different from wands and conjurations too, not just different from melee.
To solve the problem of every melee character wanting to carry them even at 0 skill, you could try making them take a long time to wield/unwield, or just impose skill requirements, ugh.

That's all assuming you like the idea of spammable ranged attacks in the first place. If you don't, then man, just get rid of ranged weapons and make the parts you like into new wands or spells. A non-bouncing version of Lightning Bolt would have the same gameplay as penetration. The weapon designs I mentioned above would work as spells too. For all the spell system's faults, one thing it excels at is imposing soft, breakpointless skill requirements: you don't have to worry about every melee character learning conjurations to soften things up, because you need skill investment to use those, unlike a launcher.


I created a new post to cover this topic more intensively. I especially Empathize with the part "don't just make a melee at range and call it a day."
To solve the problem of lack of bullets from early games and infinite shots from later games, the following concepts were considered. the removal of ammunition; Introducing the concept of reloading a Launcher. Launcher has a magazine.
For example)crossbow that penetrates(10/10). In (A/B), A stands for the currently remaining ammunition and B for the maximum ammunition. Reloading speed is affected by the type of weapon and the level of weapon skill(First, let's assume that the loading speed is 3.0 turn when the weapons skill level is zero.). In addition, there are ideas to prevent melee from trying to circumvent the problem of ammunition by switching weapons at zero levels. Remove the loaded ammunition during Launcher's switching.
I think the introduction of reloading can differentiate between melee and ranger while eliminating unnecessary ammunition.

Secondly, I would like to talk about Launcher's new offensive style that distinguishes that from melee weapons. And the answer is already mostly duvessa.
- Crossbow that penetrates: middle damage, middle speed, low reloading speed, low magazine. But penetrates.
- Automatic Bow: low damage, high speed, high reloading speed, high magazine. a weapon that picks its own target at random instead of letting you aim. But if the acuracy is high and the weapon skill level is high, multiple shots are fired.
- Spear-thrower: high damage, high speed, middle reloading speed, middle magazine. But forces you to move forwards.
- Cannon: very high damage, low speed, very low reloading speed, low magazine. But 3x3 tiles attack. (Maybe it has a flame cloud effect, too?)

Throwing is remove. Their role will be replaced by magic and wand.
- Dart pocket: New miscellaneous. Effectiveness depends on evocation skill level. (low - poison / high - blindness and strong poison)
- Box containing part of the Eldritch tentacle(It's name is joke): New miscellaneous. Effectiveness depends on evocation skill level. (low - frenzy / high - paralysis)
I am aware of the concern that changing the role of the needle to evocation can make evocation too powerful. It needs to be adjusted.

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Post Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 05:21

Re: New launcher system

magazines are just another version of MP, which is making ranged weapons more like conjurations, which isn't good. (even if making them more like conjurations was good, you'd want to make them use MP, instead of making a second version of MP)

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Post Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 05:42

Re: New launcher system

duvessa wrote:magazines are just another version of MP, which is making ranged weapons more like conjurations, which isn't good. (even if making them more like conjurations was good, you'd want to make them use MP, instead of making a second version of MP)


Yes, this is a Ordinary compromise. As you point out, this is more like another MP. This is not elegant but intuitive. Infinite bullets? Or do I use up a mana in exchange for a bullet? How do I get a mana for the Ranger? Do you practice spell casting or invocation? It's going to get more complicated. Or should I get remove of it all because it's complicated?
The players is not interested in elegance. The player found the launcher and fire it. He ran out of bullets and reload himself. It's easier to understand.
And I think this method solves most of the problems you pointed out. bullet, inventory management, switching, unique attributes, These problems.
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Post Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 07:55

Re: New launcher system

This aspect of the game is a dead end, I think. It would be possible to make ranged weapons work cleanly and it's been done to varying degrees by different people. When you start bringing in other requirements, you immediately run into problems.

As long as you have spells and wands that essentially just fire a projectile however the player chooses, ranged weapons will never be very tactically distinct from those other projectiles. I doubt there's a thematically reasonable ammo mechanic that will satisfy the requirement of not being like magic projectiles and not being like melee at range. There's no reason to have ranged weapons at all outside of "theme," so there's a limit to how much you can alter their mechanics before you've completely defeated the purpose of having them at all.

Maybe you can do something on the magic side to clear the way for ranged weapon mechanics, though I see zero will to actually make that happen. There's a poverty to the game's mechanics that limits what you can do there without biting some major bullets.
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Post Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 09:27

Re: New launcher system

tealizard wrote:This aspect of the game is a dead end, I think. It would be possible to make ranged weapons work cleanly and it's been done to varying degrees by different people. When you start bringing in other requirements, you immediately run into problems.

As long as you have spells and wands that essentially just fire a projectile however the player chooses, ranged weapons will never be very tactically distinct from those other projectiles. I doubt there's a thematically reasonable ammo mechanic that will satisfy the requirement of not being like magic projectiles and not being like melee at range. There's no reason to have ranged weapons at all outside of "theme," so there's a limit to how much you can alter their mechanics before you've completely defeated the purpose of having them at all.

Maybe you can do something on the magic side to clear the way for ranged weapon mechanics, though I see zero will to actually make that happen. There's a poverty to the game's mechanics that limits what you can do there without biting some major bullets.


I think so, too.
The game's long-reach attacks exist somewhere between a range weapon attack or a magic attack using MP. We can't get out of this rail. All we can do is change the shape, paint, or change the layout of the trains on the rails.
To judge for myself, my opinion is more like a modified version of Rods. This is a easier and more convenient Rod. All you have to do is mount the launcher and press f. When you're out of bullets, press f again. Your character will reloading launcher.

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Post Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 01:54

Re: New launcher system

I'd argue that the reload mechanic is different from mana in that mana regenerates over time automatically, while reload would require an explicit command be performed. You can regenerate mana while running away, but in order to fire another bolt after you've used them all, you have to sit still for X time while monsters can fire on you. I'm not sure this is enough of a distinction to really matter, but it's at least not exactly the same. It's probably not a good idea to give any dangerous monsters free hits on you, so launchers would then be X melee attacks at range, after which you'd then switch to either melee or magic attacks, then rest and reload. If the leftovers were popcorn you could just reload and finish with ranged attacks. How dangerous this would be depends on how long reloading takes.

Imho this would be a fairly large nerf to ranged weapons as they'd be considerably weaker than just firing whenever you want once you have a large amount of ammo. It'd make them slightly better in the early dungeon before you have a lot of ammo, but overall they'd be weaker.

It's still 90% just a secondary mana system, just with a small difference in how it's restored.

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Post Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 16:35

Re: New launcher system

tasonir wrote:I'd argue that the reload mechanic is different from mana in that mana regenerates over time automatically, while reload would require an explicit command be performed. You can regenerate mana while running away, but in order to fire another bolt after you've used them all, you have to sit still for X time while monsters can fire on you. I'm not sure this is enough of a distinction to really matter, but it's at least not exactly the same. It's probably not a good idea to give any dangerous monsters free hits on you, so launchers would then be X melee attacks at range, after which you'd then switch to either melee or magic attacks, then rest and reload. If the leftovers were popcorn you could just reload and finish with ranged attacks. How dangerous this would be depends on how long reloading takes.

Imho this would be a fairly large nerf to ranged weapons as they'd be considerably weaker than just firing whenever you want once you have a large amount of ammo. It'd make them slightly better in the early dungeon before you have a lot of ammo, but overall they'd be weaker.

It's still 90% just a secondary mana system, just with a small difference in how it's restored.


Your opinion is valid. So I modified this mechanism.
Magazine still exists. Instead, reload's methods have changed. Reload now has two ways.
- Reload as moving: Reload some of the bullets while moving wearing a launcher. I think it's appropriate to charge 30-50% of the bullets.
- Fast Reload: Instant ability. The bullets are fully reload and briefly exhausts you.

Now, You can regenerate bullets while running away, You don't have to sit still for X time while monsters can fire on you.
It looks better than before, but I believe it can be better. What should I supplement?

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Post Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 16:48

Re: New launcher system

sdynet wrote:- Reload as moving: Reload some of the bullets while moving wearing a launcher. I think it's appropriate to charge 30-50% of the bullets.

So this is "Infinite bullets as long as you are willing to kite something"? That sounds identical to MP, except you have to walk instead of being able to just do anything that lets turns pass
sdynet wrote:- Fast Reload: Instant ability. The bullets are fully reload and briefly exhausts you.

This is either the *same* as above, but with a larger magazine (since you can walk off or wait off your exhaustion) or is effectively no limit at all (if exhaustion wears off before you've run out of bullets, you can fast reload indefinitely) but requiring extra keypresses to accomplish "unlimited bullets"
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Post Thursday, 31st January 2019, 06:31

Re: New launcher system

I agree with duvessa's original post, in that I don't see a need for an ammo system at all, either limited or unlimited (a magazine system). Something that could make ranged more interesting that "just like a melee weapon but with LOS range" is a mechanic that penalizes firing into melee, this could take many forms, say, -5 EV against melee attacks every turn you fire a ranged weapon.
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Post Thursday, 31st January 2019, 13:29

Re: New launcher system

There are many ways to distinguish ranged from melee attacks. For instance:
1) damage scales from zero to max as distance to target increases
2) you cannot shoot at the same target twice in a row, encourages you to fight several monsters at the same time
3) you get bonus for shooting in the same direction and penalty otherwise, encourages you to use main 8 directions for attacks
4) you are pulled towards monster every time you shoot at it so if you want to keep distance, use some magic spells instead. There is a chance that the monster is pushed away from you every time it is shot. Basically both you and the monster move into unknown territory.
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Post Thursday, 31st January 2019, 15:47

Re: New launcher system

Nasst wrote:I agree with duvessa's original post, in that I don't see a need for an ammo system at all, either limited or unlimited (a magazine system). Something that could make ranged more interesting that "just like a melee weapon but with LOS range" is a mechanic that penalizes firing into melee, this could take many forms, say, -5 EV against melee attacks every turn you fire a ranged weapon.


I'm confused.
'I agree with duvessa's original post, in that I don't see a need for an ammo system at all, either limited or unlimited (a magazine system).'
limited -> This is wand.
unlimited -> This is long range melee.
And if you don't like magazines, what's left is a magic called Launcher. Were we making a new magic school?

All right, let's review the conditions. And start from scratch!
First, you don't use your MP. It's not magic.
Second, provided that the launcher is not to be an ancillary means such as wand, it must be available independently, such as melee and magic. In short, it means that you can charge your resources by resting. (melee: None or HP, magic: MP)
Third, bullets(resources) should not be an item. If bullets are an item, it's hard to avoid 'limited or unlimited' problem.
Let's create a great idea that meets these conditions.

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Post Thursday, 31st January 2019, 16:02

Re: New launcher system

VeryAngryFelid wrote:There are many ways to distinguish ranged from melee attacks. For instance:
1) damage scales from zero to max as distance to target increases
2) you cannot shoot at the same target twice in a row, encourages you to fight several monsters at the same time
3) you get bonus for shooting in the same direction and penalty otherwise, encourages you to use main 8 directions for attacks
4) you are pulled towards monster every time you shoot at it so if you want to keep distance, use some magic spells instead. There is a chance that the monster is pushed away from you every time it is shot. Basically both you and the monster move into unknown territory.

My suggestion would be a minimum attack distance, which doesn't exist in spells and melee presently, and would serve to distinguish ranged and be uncomplicated and have tactical implications.
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Post Thursday, 31st January 2019, 17:03

Re: New launcher system

Siegurt wrote:My suggestion would be a minimum attack distance, which doesn't exist in spells and melee presently, and would serve to distinguish ranged and be uncomplicated and have tactical implications.

For example, is it that you can't attack the enemy right next to you? This sounds pretty good.

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Post Thursday, 31st January 2019, 22:12

Re: New launcher system

VeryAngryFelid wrote:There are many ways to distinguish ranged from melee attacks. For instance:
1) damage scales from zero to max as distance to target increases
2) you cannot shoot at the same target twice in a row, encourages you to fight several monsters at the same time
3) you get bonus for shooting in the same direction and penalty otherwise, encourages you to use main 8 directions for attacks
4) you are pulled towards monster every time you shoot at it so if you want to keep distance, use some magic spells instead. There is a chance that the monster is pushed away from you every time it is shot. Basically both you and the monster move into unknown territory.


2-4 are wonky as hell.

(1) is enough to distinguish ranged weapons, especially if you vary how quickly the damage drops off. Some types could do 40% damage at range 7, others could do 80%.

You could also give crossbows minor piercing -- pierces one square beyond. Less powerful than axes, for sure.

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Post Thursday, 31st January 2019, 22:12

Re: New launcher system

sdynet wrote:
Siegurt wrote:My suggestion would be a minimum attack distance, which doesn't exist in spells and melee presently, and would serve to distinguish ranged and be uncomplicated and have tactical implications.

For example, is it that you can't attack the enemy right next to you? This sounds pretty good.


This sounds awful both from a gameplay and a UI perspective.

Please don't turn DCSS ranged into Sil ranged.

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Post Thursday, 31st January 2019, 22:44

Re: New launcher system

Rast wrote:
sdynet wrote:
Siegurt wrote:My suggestion would be a minimum attack distance, which doesn't exist in spells and melee presently, and would serve to distinguish ranged and be uncomplicated and have tactical implications.

For example, is it that you can't attack the enemy right next to you? This sounds pretty good.


This sounds awful both from a gameplay and a UI perspective.

Please don't turn DCSS ranged into Sil ranged.


I'm not sure how anything changes from a UI perspective,The squares closer to you that aren't targetable are just like the squares that are too far away, and if something is in the way but too close, your shot just doesn't hit anything (I guess 'shooting past' something at something else might be implementable, like reaching past stuff, but that sounds like extra work for negative gain to me)

Gameplay wise, one of the things we are discussing is how to make ranged combat different tactically than melee/spells/evocations this is both that and a way to weaken it (which it sorely needs) This may not be the best way, but it's straightforward, easy to communicate, and not terribly hard to implement, and I haven't heard any other suggestions that aren't worse (other than flat out removing ranged weapons entirely, which would be ok, although personally, I'd prefer to just remove all attack evocables and leave evocables as the "does weird crap for no MP" category)

As an aside, ultimately, pushing ranged attacks into a forced secondary role also opens up the possibility for simply removing ammo (since ammo's intended, but not-effective use is to limit ranged weapon use to a subset of attacks, and a min attack distance would be a more effective way to take over that role) which would be a big UI benefit down the road (We'd probably have to remove throwing at that point, although the interesting(?) things about throwing are blowguns, large rocks, and one-handedness, which can all be duplicated without having the ammo-limited throwing implementation we have now.) Although even leaving ammo exactly as-is this still confers it's intrinsic benefit of differentiation from other types of attacks, and limiting ranged weapon power.

What do you foresee that's awful about this suggestion gameplay wise?
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Post Thursday, 31st January 2019, 23:56

Re: New launcher system

If you can maintain distance from your targets, you're going to do it. Whether you get a minor combat penalty on top of becoming susceptible to everything the target can do in combat makes no difference there. Making the player switch to melee doesn't help either. Switching to melee to conserve ammo against popcorn is already a problem with ranged weapons.
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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 02:15

Re: New launcher system

Siegurt wrote:I'm not sure how anything changes from a UI perspective,The squares closer to you that aren't targetable are just like the squares that are too far away, and if something is in the way but too close, your shot just doesn't hit anything (I guess 'shooting past' something at something else might be implementable, like reaching past stuff, but that sounds like extra work for negative gain to me)


So you have to switch to a different weapon. And then switch back to your ranged weapon when you're done. And you need to train both. A mess.

Gameplay wise, one of the things we are discussing is how to make ranged combat different tactically than melee/spells/evocations


Your suggestion right now is to turn ranged into an evocation that you can't use on adjacent monsters.

My view is that ranged should be simply another weapon choice, differentiated from the other weapon choices by damage/delay/attack pattern. Just as polearms are differentiated from maces, etc.

As an aside, ultimately, pushing ranged attacks into a forced secondary role also opens up the possibility for simply removing ammo


Ammo can be removed while keeping ranged as a primary weapon type.

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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 04:41

Re: New launcher system

Rast wrote:
Siegurt wrote:I'm not sure how anything changes from a UI perspective,The squares closer to you that aren't targetable are just like the squares that are too far away, and if something is in the way but too close, your shot just doesn't hit anything (I guess 'shooting past' something at something else might be implementable, like reaching past stuff, but that sounds like extra work for negative gain to me)


So you have to switch to a different weapon. And then switch back to your ranged weapon when you're done. And you need to train both. A mess.
What about that is a mess? That you are at an XP deficit, in exchange for getting to attack things from far away?

That sounds much better than repeatedly shooting things with a bow point blank like you do now.
Rast wrote:My view is that ranged should be simply another weapon choice, differentiated from the other weapon choices by damage/delay/attack pattern. Just as polearms are differentiated from maces, etc.
That's kind of problematic when the benefit of range is so powerful. If you nerfed the damage output of ranged weapons enough to try and balance that aspect, you would end up making them very unsatisfying to use.

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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 04:54

Re: New launcher system

Well... I'll put all of you ideas combine.

Common points
Delete bullets of Launcher. damage scales from 50% to 100% as distance to target increases. or damage scales from 75% to 125% as distance to target increases.

Unique attributes
Crossbow: penetrates scales from 0 to 3 as distance to target increases.
Bow: multiple shots scales from 0 to 3 as distance to target increases.
Spear-thrower: forces you to move forwards. The probability of pushing a target 0% to 50% increases as distance from the target increases.
Cannon: 3x3 tiles attack scales from 0% to 100% as distance to target increases.
The unique attributes of the launcher do not work for targets of range 1. If you want to use unique attributes, attack targets with a minimum range of 2.
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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 06:00

Re: New launcher system

The xbow, bow, and "spear-thrower" things sound reasonable to me. These are things you could couple to skill level too. Forcing the player to close in on a target at range is also good, I think.
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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 07:51

Re: New launcher system

tealizard wrote:If you can maintain distance from your targets, you're going to do it.


This is a wrong premise. Middle/late game there are many monsters who don't care if they are adjacent to you or not. Actually there are many monsters where you want them to be adjacent (Ancient Lich, Curse Skull, Yaktaurs/Centaurs, Boggart, Ice/Fire dragon, any fiend) because their melee attacks are pathetic in comparison with ranged abilities.
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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 09:07

Re: New launcher system

Is that how you think it works?
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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 09:12

Re: New launcher system

Being next to you doesn't affect the chance of monsters casting spells.

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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 09:20

Re: New launcher system

tealizard wrote:Is that how you think it works?


Yes. Centaur/Yaktaur stops shooting at you while at melee range.
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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 09:25

Re: New launcher system

This is a new take on the meaning of the word "that."
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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 09:46

Re: New launcher system

tealizard wrote:This is a new take on the meaning of the word "that."


Aren't you tired of asking stupid questions and pretending to be sarcasm master instead of accepting that your "If you can maintain distance from your targets, you're going to do it." was wrong? I wonder if you ever attack any normal speed monsters, no matter if they are ranged or melee only, dangerous or not, you seem to just retreat every time you have an action, lol.
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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 12:12

Re: New launcher system

I never ask a stupid question unless I expect a stupid answer.
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duvessa

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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 12:30

Re: New launcher system

I see, you are not tired.
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Blades Runner

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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 14:44

Re: New launcher system

To solve the limited or unlimited problem, I quite like the solution chosen for slings and throwing, where the good ammunition is (supposed to be) scarce, but you can always fire something meh.

I'd propose expanding this to crossbows;
e.g. allow crossbows to fire stones at -4 base damage and triple the bolt mulch rate.
This would make a early Kobold AM much more fun, I think.

For bows, you never really run out of ammo I think, which is fine. Bows are relaxed. You might as well make that explicit and remove mulching from bows entirely. That way players like myself don't need to worry about something irrelevant.

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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 16:05

Re: New launcher system

Shard1697 wrote:That's kind of problematic when the benefit of range is so powerful. If you nerfed the damage output of ranged weapons enough to try and balance that aspect, you would end up making them very unsatisfying to use.


Hence the damage reduced by range suggestion. You set launcher damage to be just a little worse than comparable polearms at range 1 and 2, then balance ranges 3-7 accordingly.

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Post Friday, 1st February 2019, 19:36

Re: New launcher system

Constantly switching weapons gets really tedious. While not optimal, a distance damage penalty would be preferable to forcing a weapon swap to attack adjacent creatures. This is from a fan of non-optimal, lazy play-style (autoexplore, tab, cleaving, etc). I would probably never use ranged if no adjacent attack were implemented. At that point, why not just train evocations and use wands without ever having to switch weapons.

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Post Saturday, 2nd February 2019, 01:21

Re: New launcher system

petercordia wrote:To solve the limited or unlimited problem, I quite like the solution chosen for slings and throwing, where the good ammunition is (supposed to be) scarce, but you can always fire something meh.

I'd propose expanding this to crossbows;
e.g. allow crossbows to fire stones at -4 base damage and triple the bolt mulch rate.
This would make a early Kobold AM much more fun, I think.

For bows, you never really run out of ammo I think, which is fine. Bows are relaxed. You might as well make that explicit and remove mulching from bows entirely. That way players like myself don't need to worry about something irrelevant.


I think slings are a good weapon, but switch bullets are annoying. Rather, I want to limit the use of stones to throwing.
And I want to get rid of the bullet item itself. The act of picking up bullets at the Abyss is driving me crazy.

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Post Saturday, 2nd February 2019, 12:20

Re: New launcher system

sdynet wrote:I think slings are a good weapon, but switch bullets are annoying. Rather, I want to limit the use of stones to throwing.
And I want to get rid of the bullet item itself. The act of picking up bullets at the Abyss is driving me crazy.


In the Abyss, with the current system, you can use rocks and set your character not to collect rocks whilst autoexploring or traveling. You lose some damage, but you gain a ton of speed. The rocks are worthless anyway.
Using this strategy, I found the abyss to be much easier and less frustrating than with any other character.
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Post Sunday, 3rd February 2019, 02:31

Re: New launcher system

rjrrt wrote:Constantly switching weapons gets really tedious. While not optimal, a distance damage penalty would be preferable to forcing a weapon swap to attack adjacent creatures. This is from a fan of non-optimal, lazy play-style (autoexplore, tab, cleaving, etc). I would probably never use ranged if no adjacent attack were implemented. At that point, why not just train evocations and use wands without ever having to switch weapons.
As another lazy player, I find the multiple button presses required for every evocation attack more tedious than just pressing the one button that lets you swap between (a) and (b) weapons occasionally.

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Post Sunday, 3rd February 2019, 17:42

Re: New launcher system

petercordia wrote:
sdynet wrote:I think slings are a good weapon, but switch bullets are annoying. Rather, I want to limit the use of stones to throwing.
And I want to get rid of the bullet item itself. The act of picking up bullets at the Abyss is driving me crazy.


In the Abyss, with the current system, you can use rocks and set your character not to collect rocks whilst autoexploring or traveling. You lose some damage, but you gain a ton of speed. The rocks are worthless anyway.
Using this strategy, I found the abyss to be much easier and less frustrating than with any other character.


Oh, you're right in most situations. But if you went to the abyss at a relatively low level, you would be short of bullets. And Javelin and Tomahawk are not enough if you are not with Oka or Trog. I can't throw it away easily. Plus, I don't want to worry about losing my bullet because of the deep water and the lava.
From the outset, melee, magic, wand, and god power don't have to worry about something like this. Only hunter must clean up after every battle :(

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Post Monday, 4th February 2019, 07:21

Re: New launcher system

Reduced damage when close by is a great idea. It allows you to kill popcorn in melee (which is great from a usability perspective), while encouraging tactical play in harder fights.

By the way, I just want to check if we're all in the same page: Launchers, as they exist, are significantly more powerful than melee, only "balanced" by the tedium of ammo managment. Right?
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Post Monday, 4th February 2019, 13:07

Re: New launcher system

I actually find the bow to be more relaxed than melee, because you can usually tab without worrying about position. Idem for the sling, except you have to think about when to use sling bullets. Crossbow is annoying because I do actually run out of bolts in the early game. Throwing is annoying because of the inventory management in the late game. I have no idea whether ranged or melee is more powerful.
I suspect melee is more potent in some of the game because my ranged characters end up in point-blank range quite often, at which point they deal less damage than melee. With 1-speed characters, I don't know how this can be avoided.
In the Abyss, ranged in definitely more powerful, if you have enough ammo.

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Post Monday, 4th February 2019, 17:38

Re: New launcher system

petercordia wrote:I suspect melee is more potent in some of the game because my ranged characters end up in point-blank range quite often, at which point they deal less damage than melee.


This is a common assumption because most games with a choice of ranged and melee weapons balance the advantage of range with reduced damage output. But currently, this is not generally the case in crawl. DPS-wise, the hand crossbow is the most powerful starting weapon in the game (for most species), and the fact that it is ranged and one-handed is a bonus on top of that. Admittedly the bigger crossbows are a bit lackluster in terms of DPS compared to weapons of similar skill investment. But bows are a different story. The longbow has the same damage and delay as a glaive, which is a very strong endgame weapon of similar rarity, plus the advantage of range (and the shortbow is not a weak starting choice - it is a ranged trident with an additional point of accuracy).

In brief, ranged weapons in and of themselves are overpowered, but unpopular among players because they are tedious for reasons already discussed.

From a meta perspective, there is some viability for melee due to the existence of Trog, the massively overpowered god of melee. In the crawl winrate/streaking meta, Trog altars are extremely valuable, and the berserker background is about as close to a free win as you can hope to get in crawl.

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Post Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 03:38

Re: New launcher system

The balance issues surrounding ranged weaponry are incredibly complex. It would take a lot of explaining to share how I've come to my conclusions, which I'm not really up to at this very moment, but here is what I see:

* Ranged weaponry are good to use at low (or no skill) early to mid game to help kill hard hitting melee monsters (like ogres), and to pull monsters away from unexplored territory to fight in more controlled areas.

* Ranged weapons are inferior to melee later on, eventually not generally being worth the time it takes to switch a launcher to a weapon. Thrown weapons are the only exception, and are probably the best investment of all the ranged weapons, but still just see ocassional usage past early/mid game.

* I rarely have any issues with running out of ammo, yet it is advantageous to collect all of it early game, in case you find a great launcher you can milk for a little while. This aspect is highly annoying because there are tons of different types of ammo.

* When I do use ranged ammo, it is more of a pain in the butt than anything else to pick it all back up again.

With all this in mind, I think it would be fine to simply get rid of ammo, period. I don't think game balance would be affected all that much, but a lot of annoyance would be removed. If a problem exists with balance, then it should be fixed by altering the stats (speed/damage/accuracy) of the launcher in question. Ammo for thrown weapons such as javelins would become the launcher, like as in "a pack of javelins", or "a pile of stones".

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Post Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 21:47

Re: New launcher system

From my perspective, the biggest problem with missiles now is that there are a ton of cases where you can either wait for a monster to walk towards you or damage it with a missile. And since doing some damage is better than doing none, it's best to do the damage — even if you have zero skill. So the optimal thing to do is carry the most effective launcher around switch to it and shoot stuff even if you'll be doing most of your damage in melee.

Removing ammo makes this worse, since you go from "I have basically infinite ammo" to "I have actually infinite ammo" Range restrictions don't change it much, either.

Conjurations get around this with MP and requiring skill training, evocables with limited quantity, and invocations (usually) with piety. Missiles get you full-LOS attacks with no downside except for real-world annoyance.

I'm generally kinda of the mind that maybe players have enough ranged damage methods without missiles. But if they're gonna be in the game, I think there should be some reason not to use them indiscriminately. A "miscast" with direct player damage, maybe based on skill and stats, for example — though this makes ranged tread even harder on conjurations' ground.
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Post Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 06:22

Re: New launcher system

njvack wrote:From my perspective, the biggest problem with missiles now is that there are a ton of cases where you can either wait for a monster to walk towards you or damage it with a missile. And since doing some damage is better than doing none, it's best to do the damage — even if you have zero skill. So the optimal thing to do is carry the most effective launcher around switch to it and shoot stuff even if you'll be doing most of your damage in melee.

Removing ammo makes this worse, since you go from "I have basically infinite ammo" to "I have actually infinite ammo" Range restrictions don't change it much, either.

Conjurations get around this with MP and requiring skill training, evocables with limited quantity, and invocations (usually) with piety. Missiles get you full-LOS attacks with no downside except for real-world annoyance.

I'm generally kinda of the mind that maybe players have enough ranged damage methods without missiles. But if they're gonna be in the game, I think there should be some reason not to use them indiscriminately. A "miscast" with direct player damage, maybe based on skill and stats, for example — though this makes ranged tread even harder on conjurations' ground.


It isn't true that it is always "the optimal thing" to switch to a launcher for the "free damage". The cost is mainly in the time it takes to switch back and forth between a launcher and melee. There are many times when you can find yourself at melee range without warning: coming around a corner, being shafted, teleported, etc. etc. Then there are considerations such as brands like vampiric. Then there are times when you run into a monster with ranged ability, but at a much higher level of effectiveness (at range) than you - and the time to get them into melee range and strike them is crucial to surviving. Then there is lesser beckoning, which is easy to cast... Throwing is an offender in the realm you suggest, but, I did suggest turning throwing ammo itself into a launcher. It's somewhat of a long running joke how you have to hold your bow to fire arrows (with no shield), yet you can fire boulders out of your eyeballs holding a large shield and a weapon.


So it isn't that simple. Should you switch back and forth with a launcher, and should you invest any points into related skills? The answer is, it depends, and this is a good thing from a game design standpoint that it isn't a no-brainer. Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no, sometimes you're just rolling the dice on a strategy. There are risks and trade offs to be considered, just like when you choose between a polearm or an axe, or other weapons. The primary thing that is left to consider is, is it balanced, and if not, then it can be tweaked from a power standpoint. Ammo, taking up inventory and splattering the dungeon everywhere, unless it's scarcity is some huge factor (and I really don't think it is, and if it is at all, it isn't for very long) then it's mostly just an annoyance without much at all to do with anything else.

I absolutely agree that there is an imbalance that spells have miscast effects but melee and ranged don't really. If you wear crystal plate with 3 strength and try swinging a triple sword with 3 skill, you deserve to impale yourself. Same goes for ranged. This is something I've been protesting a long time, but to no effect.

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Post Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 09:48

Re: New launcher system

njvack wrote:From my perspective, the biggest problem with missiles now is that there are a ton of cases where you can either wait for a monster to walk towards you or damage it with a missile. And since doing some damage is better than doing none, it's best to do the damage — even if you have zero skill. So the optimal thing to do is carry the most effective launcher around switch to it and shoot stuff even if you'll be doing most of your damage in melee.


ok. I'll take this matter into consideration and make a new proposal.
Opinion 1. launcher needs five turn to Wear on/off. This is extreme, but it can block most weapons Switching.
Opinion 2. Change the bullet to a rechargeable format. (maybe, Is the charging method XP or Exploration?) Magazine increases proportionally to skill level. And I will introduce the concept of miscast here. If your skill level is low, you are likely to waste additional bullets. For example, when your skill level is zero, the size of the magazine is five. When you use the launcher, you lose 1-3 more bulletins with a 33% chance. This probability is zero when the skill level is 15 or higher.
If you don't like misscast, you can set the charge speed low. These methods will make hunter's early game difficult, but... I think this is better than being neglected in indifference like this.
Opinion 3. Add +1 LOS to all launcher. This enhances the strength and weakness of launcher.

Throwing has four ways.
First, remove. Their duties are left to wand.
Second, change to the launcher weapon.
Third, change to the evocation item.
Fourth, Keep it the way it is. However, the concept miscast applies.

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Post Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 16:42

Re: New launcher system

sdynet wrote:
njvack wrote:From my perspective, the biggest problem with missiles now is that there are a ton of cases where you can either wait for a monster to walk towards you or damage it with a missile. And since doing some damage is better than doing none, it's best to do the damage — even if you have zero skill. So the optimal thing to do is carry the most effective launcher around switch to it and shoot stuff even if you'll be doing most of your damage in melee.


ok. I'll take this matter into consideration and make a new proposal.
Opinion 1. launcher needs five turn to Wear on/off. This is extreme, but it can block most weapons Switching.
Opinion 2. Change the bullet to a rechargeable format. (maybe, Is the charging method XP or Exploration?) Magazine increases proportionally to skill level. And I will introduce the concept of miscast here. If your skill level is low, you are likely to waste additional bullets. For example, when your skill level is zero, the size of the magazine is five. When you use the launcher, you lose 1-3 more bulletins with a 33% chance. This probability is zero when the skill level is 15 or higher.
If you don't like misscast, you can set the charge speed low. These methods will make hunter's early game difficult, but... I think this is better than being neglected in indifference like this.
Opinion 3. Add +1 LOS to all launcher. This enhances the strength and weakness of launcher.

Throwing has four ways.
First, remove. Their duties are left to wand.
Second, change to the launcher weapon.
Third, change to the evocation item.
Fourth, Keep it the way it is. However, the concept miscast applies.



Option 1, increasing the launcher swap time looks to me to be an excellent solution. You don't see too many people swapping their body armour mid-combat (but you can try). I'd like to see the concept taken further and all weapons have their time to be ready adjusted (instead of all weapon changes 0.5), similar to how different armour slots take different amounts of time to change. A dagger could be readied more quickly than say a giant sword. This would not only remedy problems, but would increase game tactics.

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Post Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 19:23

Re: New launcher system

svendre wrote:Option 1, increasing the launcher swap time looks to me to be an excellent solution. You don't see too many people swapping their body armour mid-combat (but you can try). I'd like to see the concept taken further and all weapons have their time to be ready adjusted (instead of all weapon changes 0.5), similar to how different armour slots take different amounts of time to change. A dagger could be readied more quickly than say a giant sword. This would not only remedy problems, but would increase game tactics.


So it looks to me like there's different opinions as to what the actual problem is with ranged weapons, I've personally never seen swapping weapons *itself* as the problem, you switch which spell or evocable or melee weapon (for a different brand) you want to use without it being a problem at all, this is solving the wrong problem.

Swapping time increases of any sort reduce tactical variation, the overhead imposed by swapping to a weapon above a single turn rapidly push things into the realm of not something you can do during combat, I would personally never take *any* action that took more than 30 auts while hostiles were on screen (If I have a choice), and even then I have a strong preference for things that take less auts (even if the net effect is theoretically the same) 5 turns swapping means you can either *never* use a ranged weapon, or must *always* use a ranged weapon, this reduces your tactics, rather than increasing them.

In particular this quote
njvack wrote:From my perspective, the biggest problem with missiles now is that there are a ton of cases where you can either wait for a monster to walk towards you or damage it with a missile. And since doing some damage is better than doing none, it's best to do the damage — even if you have zero skill. So the optimal thing to do is carry the most effective launcher around switch to it and shoot stuff even if you'll be doing most of your damage in melee.

Removing ammo makes this worse, since you go from "I have basically infinite ammo" to "I have actually infinite ammo" Range restrictions don't change it much, either.

Conjurations get around this with MP and requiring skill training, evocables with limited quantity, and invocations (usually) with piety. Missiles get you full-LOS attacks with no downside except for real-world annoyance.

I'm generally kinda of the mind that maybe players have enough ranged damage methods without missiles. But if they're gonna be in the game, I think there should be some reason not to use them indiscriminately. A "miscast" with direct player damage, maybe based on skill and stats, for example — though this makes ranged tread even harder on conjurations' ground.

Could be taken to mean that the problem is "they are effective with zero skill" or "they are tedious but optimal to use" rather than "you have to swap to use them" being the problem. Trying to solve the fact that you can swap them is solving the wrong problem (non-gameplay impacting swapping is just a symptom, it's not the disease)

So, some clarity:
*I* think the primary problem with ranged weapons is a game balance problem; they are always optimal to use over melee weapons, once you have cleared the 'running out of ammo' hurdle. They are literally just melee weapons, but better. There's no *gameplay* reason to use melee weapons over ranged weapons (other than slightly more limited availability, particularly earlier)

Some other problems mentioned are interface related:
1. It's annoying to pick up ammo (I get around this myself by using autoexplore/autpickup, which is frequently suboptimal, but I personally use it sparingly, and on floors where I've mostly/entirely cleared all the monsters, I also habitually interrupt autoexplore when using it to grab ammo, but that's not something the average person would enjoy relying on, I would imagine)
2. It's annoying to swap weapons (Which isn't actually true if you get in the habit of using the adjust keys to move weapons to item slots a. and b. and switch with ', and switch tab use "hit closest nomove", swapping to a ranged weapon and firing is actually less keystrokes than casting spells on average)

Long time period swapping actually doesn't solve the gameplay problems with ranged weaponry, they're still superior to melee, and long swapping just means you have to be even more railroaded into using them (even if you would prefer the convenience of using melee and not picking up ammo sometimes instead). It doesn't fix the interface problems with ammo.

Some QOL improvements that could be made to help fix the interface problems (that don't really impact the balance problem at all) could be:
1. Get rid of ammo as items, there's been a number of slightly different proposals over the years, from "increased generation+100% mulch rate, to some kind of auto-regeneration thing as mentioned above, all kinds of solutions, mostly centered on "don't make me walk around and pick up my arrows" there's not a perfect solution that exactly duplicates all the current flaws and gotchas around the balance of ranged weapons, but there's a lot of good enough ones. I feel like the real obstacle to action is a lack of consensus as to what exactly needs to happen, there are just a lot of decent-but-not-perfect choices.
2. Better defaults; a key specifically bound by default to 'hit_closest_nomove' would go a long way towards making ranged weapons *feel* less annoying to new players and people who don't spend time futzing with their key bindings.
3. A simple option-settable rule like "if you have no melee weapon, and you pick one up, move it to slot 'a', if you have no ranged weapon and you pick one up, move it to slot 'b' " would be a gigantic boon for new players, and be helpful for long time players, but it would have to be an option-settable thing, because people who don't want that behavior would otherwise be driven insane by it. This is *almost* doable with the current option set, but there's no way to tell "item_slot" that you don't want to overwrite item slots that contain the same type of item, only different ones.(You could write LUA to do this, but it's never been enough of a problem for me to do it manually that I've gotten any sort of urge to do so myself) Besides, this is also something that benefits new players the most, and probably would also be optimally a default for new installs.

Addressing the *gameplay* problem with ranged weapons requires a different take on ranged weapons, imposing some kind of limit that isn't imposed by any of our other choices, and also providing some kind of service that isn't provided by other choices. Presently "Full LOS, non-elemental single target damage" is being provided as it's basic service (this isn't *exactly* duplicated by spells or evocables, or melee, but there's a lot of overlap there) however the ranged-weapon specific limitations applied (ammo) are not presently impactful, meaning that ranged weapons *completely* overlap melee, and largely overlap spells and evocables (spells and evocables at least have some AOE, and DOT that is only rarely if ever duplicated by ranged weapons) I proposed one upthread (ranged weapons have a minimum attack distance) which got a lot of negative feedback like "but then you would be forced to switch to melee weapons, you couldn't use ranged as your primary weapon" that's kind of the point, though, if melee's advantage is that it's your no-cost default primary weapon, having ranged weapons duplicate that role, but also be superior makes melee dumb.

While it would be unique, it wouldn't be impactful *in combat* to apply a long delay to swapping to/from ranged weapons, because if it's long enough to have a real impact, you would just *never do that in combat* similar to how you never switch body armour in combat, the long switching time doesn't actually effect your tactics, it just *prevents* you from swapping your armour tactically.
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Post Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 21:07

Re: New launcher system

duvessa wrote:Being next to you doesn't affect the chance of monsters casting spells.


Death is pretty effective crowd control though.

This is a common assumption because most games with a choice of ranged and melee weapons balance the advantage of range with reduced damage output. But currently, this is not generally the case in crawl.


Right now it isn't, but isn't that a viable means to bring the obvious nature of utilizing ranged weapons more in line with alternatives?
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Post Thursday, 7th February 2019, 02:47

Re: New launcher system

Long weapon switching times would obviously go a long way toward dealing with the issue njvack brings up, namely the player gets free damage by carrying around a launcher and ammo without training and adding weapon switches to every encounter. It's important to note that the problem as njvack sees it includes a number of interrelated factors, some pertaining to balance (something for nothing, no training) and others to UI (additional key presses, item clutter). This is a common situation: we've identified a problem that has a number of interrelated causes and effects, which may be profitably taken together to make progress on solving the problem. We know that a long switch from melee weapon to ranged weapon will solve the problem njvack identifies because we know no one switches armor in combat, even though without the long switching delay it would be good to switch to change resistances, as people do with jewelry.

In other words, njvack has presented a nicely formulated problem with at least one fairly simple solution.

Now we get to a Siegurt post, where we learn that that's not the problem or anyway this wouldn't solve the problem and actually it's impossible to solve the problem. The first step is to find the weakest statement potentially solving the problem. This is the svendre quote. This quote has a lot of side bets and unrelated, questionable claims to pick at, so it's gold. The next step is to claim that actually switching weapons is not a problem in itself and therefore stopping the player from doing that doesn't solve any real problems. (The careful reader will remember that this is not, in fact, the totality of the problem and that the total problem probably can be addressed by stopping the switch.)

The next step is to rewrite the problem in a way that suggests that the proposed solution can't solve the problem. This is the weird treatment of the njvack quote in which we get into false dichotomies, setting up categories the problem could fall into and claiming that it can only fall into one of them, so there's some kind of category error at the root of the long-switch solution.

The last step is "let's be reasonable, gentlemen..." Interesting to note that the parting message of this wall of text is that long-switch solution actually would stop the player from using ranged weapons the way njvack describes and therefore does solve the problem he identifies. Indeed, what seems obvious on the face of it is true: The long-switch forces the player into an exclusive choice between melee weapons and ranged weapons.

Now I don't want to come off as too enthusiastic about the long-switch solution, I'm just saying it would solve the njvack problem, which is a real problem in my opinion, and the arguments given against it are nonsense. Many problems have both gameplay and UI aspects that have to be considered together. We should be suspicious of arguments that proceed by dividing a things into various pieces and categories then claiming that because there is some imagined mismatch between the kind of solution and the kind of problem, that we've reached a dead end. This is just a way of imposing imaginary rules on what we can do, in an effort to argue that we can actually do nothing.
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Post Thursday, 7th February 2019, 04:25

Re: New launcher system

Sorry, I didn't mean to claim the solutions can only fall into one of a particular set.
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Post Thursday, 7th February 2019, 05:15

Re: New launcher system

I never said I thought switching between melee and launcher weapons should take as much time as switching armour, just that the amount of time it takes to go between various weaponry and launchers could be looked at and be variable in the way that changing a cloak doesn't take the same amount of time as body armour. I think weapon changes should be significantly less than 5 turns, but still could be more than 0.5. Finding an exact number would take some time and thought, which is only worth it if the basic concept is agreed upon. It needs to be quick enough that it isn't a no-brainer to just never swap, but slow enough that it isn't a no-brainer to always swap (for some limited circumstances).

Ziggurat Zagger

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Joined: Tuesday, 30th October 2012, 19:06

Post Thursday, 7th February 2019, 05:49

Re: New launcher system

tealizard wrote:Now we get to a Siegurt post, where we learn that that's not the problem or anyway this wouldn't solve the problem and actually it's impossible to solve the problem.

Those are two very different opinions, I am of the opinion that switching weapons isn't a problem at all, and in fact it's reasonable and perhaps even desirable to encourage weapon switching. It's very very possible to prevent it, I never said it wasn't, I just think it's a bad idea.

The *reasons it's desirable to switch weapons* listed in Nvjack's posts are definitely bad *reasons* to want to switch weapons, and I think it's totally reasonable to address those directly. If you leave the causes, but remove one symptom of the bad behavior *the bad reasons are still there* For example, if you remove the abililty to switch weapons (through the suggested, or any other method) It's still optimal to use a an untrained ranged weapon if you have a shorter range primary attack that doesn't require you switch weapons (see most of conjuration based starts for some examples) If on the other hand you make it so that using an untrained ranged weapon is sub optimal, then you actually solve the real underlying problem (at least one of them).

In other words, if the problem is that "using an untrained weapon is effective" then fix that (I actually like the "weapons have something akin to miscasts" idea from upthread)

I just haven't heard any rationale why forcing someone to use one or the other exclusively is actually a benefit, and I don't believe it is. I personally am of the opinion that being able to select the correct tool for the job is a *beneficial* part of DCSS, and that the primary gameplay problem is that they occlude the role of melee weapons (with greater tedium). I'm also of the opinion that the primary problem with the interface is probably the ammo collection.
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