Items scattering


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

Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 13:00

Items scattering

This is a UI improvement proposal.

When a monster dies, it's belongings should not pile up. More specifically, each item should drop on a separate tile that is not yet occupied by any item and as close as possible to the death position. The tile must be accessible via walking from the death position by the player's species. The new position must be in player's LOS. Probably but not necessarily, the new position must not be the player's position. If there are no satisfying tiles drop the item on the spot of death. Corpses should drop where you kill their hosts because of Corpse Rot. Stackable and duplicated items may stack on top of the same item if that's the best spot for them.
Also, if a pile contains only one item and it's duplications, there should not be the 2 white strips that indicate the pile. So a pile of 3 identical plate armours and nothing else should look like one plate armour laying on the floor.

This way, after each battle you can see all your loot and you don't need to step on each pile and inspect in in the 'g' menu or in the log.
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Slime Squisher

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 15:20

Re: Items scattering

This has been discussed here before. The pro argument was pretty strong, while the con side was fairly weak.

As with many proposals, though, when you step back for a moment you see that the real issue is that items are bad. Ultimately what he have here is the result of having 5000 items in a game that could easily get away with 50. It's true that monsters create piles of items when they die and the piles are a pain in the ass to deal with both in terms of interface and gameplay, but on the other hand, the items they were carrying had almost no impact on the game in the first place and whatever impact there was could easily be compensated with normal monster abilities.

Now we could nibble around the edges and see a handful of item-related problems solved in the next five years or we can go all the way: 50 Item Crawl 2020.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 19:13

Re: Items scattering

Item scattering is a more appealing proposal than it used to be, since the work to move items around is already partly done (closing doors)... but it would be way better if monsters just didn't drop items at all. When a monster dies its inventory should just be destroyed. As usual, I've proposed this before.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 19:30

Re: Items scattering

I still don't see why items in a monster's inventory are inherently worse than items on the floor. I mean if you just want less items in the game altogether, that's a reasonable position, but if it's specifically the ones in monster's inventory why are those worse to have in the game than the ones that you find without a monster attached?

I actually find it more compelling (in the sense of accomplishing something) to get items as a reward for overcoming an obstacle.

Suppose the items were not actually *on* the monster, but killing it caused them to vomit them out, loot-pinata style, (or alternately killing monsters unlocked a vault where some items were stored which you could then go retrieve) would that be better or worse than having the same items on the monster's corpse?

Is it just the sheer number of items that's a problem or is it the fact that those items are on monster corpse squares?
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Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 20:01

Re: Items scattering

Why is every discussion on this forum derailing to some extremes in neighboring topics? Did I not say it was a UI proposal, not a balancing act? Alright, I understand that this has already been proposed and I've missed it, and that's my mistake, whatever. Is this minor inconvenience really that important when you have every major system in the game to overhaul, anyway?

I'm sorry, of course what I meant to propose was to remove every item (not only consumables, but also weapon and armour, apparently) from the floors and monsters altogether, and place them inside timed portals on every floor. And make them more like mushrooms instead of actual items, naturally. How about that?
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Slime Squisher

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 20:28

Re: Items scattering

It's not just a UI proposal. Eliminating piles and introducing some kind of splashing mechanic for items changes how recently dropped items work in an active combat situation and how they interact with apportation, probably among other things.

As for your complaint, all these things are connected and taking one route instead of another will have different consequences down the road. Insisting on a narrow discussion of one possibility, a possibility that has already been discussed, is not as a neutral a stance as you seem to think. There are competing ideas about how to do things here and narrowly conceived criticism with narrowly conceived courses of action to follow falls into a particular approach favored by a particular camp.

Now about what Siegurt's saying, I have no particular opinion about how "compelling" it is to kill individual monsters in crawl. Of course, in the vast majority of cases a typical crawl character easily flattens any particular monster, so the cases that it makes sense to consider from this perspective are few and therefore don't figure well into the numerical massiveness of the crawl item situation. I think we all have a general feel for the problem here though: Monster inventories create piles, the topic of this thread, they cause item destruction of various kinds, both those mentioned in the thread duvessa links and the kind considered in the deep water thread, they bring a massive number of items into the game via monster generation, clogging inventories and search menus, causing backtracking, etc. etc.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 21:13

Re: Items scattering

Alright, if my post did not add anything because the topic was already discussed to death, close the topic (not literally unless you are a mod; just stop answering). If you want to add something to the removal from duvessa, necro her thread.
Now if you would like a meaningful conversation about my proposal, then you must consider a version of crawl that does have any sort of monster drops - it does not even have to be consumables, as some usefull loot is still generated in gear. Do you have a problem with my proposal or do you think it's not doing anything? I don't understand your poing about apportation - are you talking about you killing a monster and then noticing that he dropped a healing wounds potion so you apport it to stay alive in battle? Because I would see this behavior an actually good, since it requires the player to pay attention to details which are not concealed in the log or some weird menu, but instead hidden in plain sight.

Again, item removal is tangent here because you frankly have to remove gear from drops as well as consumables to render the scattering invalid, and that would be a different game. Hydra slayer or something. So don't bring it up, unless you have an evidence that this change is coming.

Also, while we are on off-topic, is duvessa = tealizard?
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Slime Squisher

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 21:28

Re: Items scattering

I think this proposal is okay in isolation (as I said above), but I don't think it's worth acting on because there are other, better ways to handle the (real) problems it addresses. The point about apportation is that without piles, the set of items you can target on a given cast is different than with.

I do have evidence that crawl with the 50 item philosophy may be forthcoming, but that's another story. And no, I'm not the same person as duvessa.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 21:32

Re: Items scattering

Ok, I didn't know about the changes. This may be obsolete than. But not because of Apportion.
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Slime Squisher

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 21:40

Re: Items scattering

I don't use the word "crawl" to mean only dcss, so don't feel like you cannot continue to advocate for your proposal. You may well get dcss devs or other fork devs interested, though I think the issue here may be too subtle to get much traction. I haven't heard of any discussion of it since last time it came up on tavern.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 15th November 2019, 22:26

Re: Items scattering

Slap and stab wrote:Also, while we are on off-topic, is duvessa = tealizard?
I would never propose something like tealizard's conjure flame suggestion, even on an alt.
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Saturday, 16th November 2019, 08:16

Re: Items scattering

Item scattering can be good, if coupled with a reduction in the number of items dropped. What I mean is that, if you kill a orc band in a corridor, then you will still have piles, unless the items are sent beyond your los, because you have corpse+armour+weapon dropped for each of them. Once you have even just one pile, you still will need to walk over it and press g to know its content, which makes scattering useless and even damaging, since you now have to also walk all over the place to pick up something.
Last edited by Shtopit on Saturday, 16th November 2019, 14:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Slime Squisher

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Post Saturday, 16th November 2019, 14:30

Re: Items scattering

I had my own proposal for reducing item clutter a couple years back, which is similar but not identical to the "strong" version of duvessa's. I still think it's a good idea, and should be extended to monster armor. If you wanted to keep the "loot box" element of killing monsters, you could make it so that monsters occasionally (I'm talking like 1% chance for standard orcs, up to maybe 20% for orc warlords) drop something that's got a chance to actually be useful - higher-tier armor or weapon, or something enchanted. They wouldn't use the item in life - it would just be created in death.

I don't think item scattering *is* a UI improvement, though. Some people don't "read" tiles very well, and strongly prefer to read text descriptions of items - this proposal would actually make things worse for them. So I feel it is worthwhile discussing more "radical" options that would address the original problem mentioned - that reading thousands of items descriptions every game is inconvenient.
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Post Sunday, 17th November 2019, 00:13

Re: Items scattering

Is there a command to list all items on screen? It would make scatter more useful, and I guess it would be nice for blind players, too.
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Snake Sneak

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Post Sunday, 17th November 2019, 01:02

Re: Items scattering

This just seems like an impractical thing - a fair bit of work for something that won't solve the problem OP wants. Even if we don't run into issues where it dumps things in deep water/lava, any moderately-sized fight (let alone any fight at a killhole) will just result in piles of gear again.

Unless one also applies the related proposals for reducing gear quantities - and I'm not sure that we should, except perhaps for those involving launcher ammo - I don't see this doing any good.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 17th November 2019, 04:08

Re: Items scattering

Shtopit wrote:Is there a command to list all items on screen? It would make scatter more useful, and I guess it would be nice for blind players, too.

Control-X
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Blades Runner

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Post Sunday, 17th November 2019, 15:48

Re: Items scattering

Crtl-x currently only shows items that you have seen, either as the top item of a stack or in a stack you've stood on. If all items in a stack in LOS were treated as 'seen', that would partially solve the problem of having to step onto all piles.
It would also help with duvessa's deep water item suggestion on the other thread.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 07:25

Re: Items scattering

Why not implement a loot filter like the ones you see in games such as Path of Exile?

You choose which items (and categories of items) you want shown, others are hidden and accessible only with a separate command.

That way, if you set up a loot filter properly, if you see an item on the ground, there's a good chance you will want to pick it up, and if you don't see it, you most likely don't want it.

The best thing is, we already have a similar system in place - autopickup options. All you need to do is tweak the code a little bit so it's doing a hide/show instead of pick up / do not pick up, tweak the categories a little bit and you're set.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 07:44

Re: Items scattering

Items on the ground give you information about where monsters have been, vaults, and how many more items could be in unexplored space. You'd be putting yourself at a disadvantage by using that option. And item scattering is a prerequisite for it...

Slime Squisher

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Post Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 08:58

Re: Items scattering

Not to mention that your loot filter wouldn't be static - not even over the same character's lifespan. Your L1 fighter-type character is probably very interested in runed/glowing hand axes and war axes. Your L20 bruiser who already has a nice battleaxe isn't.

bel

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Post Monday, 25th November 2019, 13:32

Re: Items scattering

As mentioned, this has been proposed before. Several other games use this mechanic, including Brogue and Sil. Though it can create its own problems, like Sil destroying items if they have no place to spawn nearby.

Slap and stab wrote:Why is every discussion on this forum derailing to some extremes in neighboring topics? Did I not say it was a UI proposal, not a balancing act? Alright, I understand that this has already been proposed and I've missed it, and that's my mistake, whatever. Is this minor inconvenience really that important when you have every major system in the game to overhaul, anyway?

I'm sorry, of course what I meant to propose was to remove every item (not only consumables, but also weapon and armour, apparently) from the floors and monsters altogether, and place them inside timed portals on every floor. And make them more like mushrooms instead of actual items, naturally. How about that?

It is natural to have different visions on what the game should be like. For any given problem, there are many solutions, some small, some radical.

The way to avoid derailment into radical proposals (if you don't want it to), is to just stick to your small proposal and not spend too much time on the radical one. People keep responding to posts which they feel are derailing, which elicits another response, then a counter-response, then pretty soon we have forgotten about the original proposal. You don't have to engage with everyone if you don't want to.

However, at the end of the day, you can only do so much to decide where a thread on a public forum goes.

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