Remove the id game (new reason)


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bel

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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 13:43

Remove the id game (new reason)

There have been many posts before about removing identification. I won't rehash all the old arguments, but rather provide some new ones, based on my recent experiments.

As you can see from my plots in this thread, the early game is very hard (relatively speaking). This proposition is not seriously contested by anyone who plays Crawl, but perhaps my plots will give some perspective on how hard it is.

Why is the early game hard? There are many reasons, a major one being: there are very few options in the early game. On D:1, you don't even have upstairs.

A special case of the above statement is that there are very few consumables in the early game. More importantly, there are very few identified consumables. For instance, I looked at a few of the deaths on D:1-4 (the hardest floors). In virtually all cases, the player who died had some combination of might/agility and heal wounds potions, blink/teleport/fear scrolls in their inventory which could have prevented their deaths. In almost all cases, these escape options/buffs were unidentified. Indeed, the vast majority of the potions/scrolls in the inventory were unidentified at the time of death.

Now, one could argue that people underuse consumables anyway, people play badly, etc. and I will agree with you. But the point is that if people could see some viable options in their quaff/read menu, they might just try the options before dying. Ideally, we want people to have options which they could use, not just try to mindlessly bash an adder, a gnoll or an ogre and die a futile death.

The early game is also a part where consumable use really matters, because the gain from their use is very high (relatively speaking). And you typically don't have the glut of consumables which you have in the later game.

Finally, if you believe that the early game difficulty is pretty good, and it should stay that way -- that is completely fine. This preference can be accommodated by simply reducing consumable generation. The point is to have options; the difficulty level can be tweaked.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 14:02

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

ID scrolls could always be ticked down significantly in spawn rate and be left for IDing equipment and jewellery (mainly amulets and artifacts?), with potions and scrolls auto-ID'd. It would be nice to have a bit more options in the earlygame where you get into a bad situation and your options are "attempt to use unID'd scroll/potions and pray, or keep bashing and hope it doesn't kill me".
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 15:27

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

This argument isn't really new. The observation that removing identification makes the early game a bit easier and that this is okay because it moves the progression of difficulty in a more normal direction goes back years on this forum. The best argument for removing identification is that you can do it, it works fine as proven in hellcrawl, and it moves the game away from its roots as a roguelike version of Hand Simulator.

Incidentally, the plots from the other thread are essentially a souped up version of the Sequell query arguments that have such a dubious history here. Unfortunately, the data that goes into these arguments is either too sparse to be useful (when it's based on only players who do something that reasonably approximates optimal play) or just straight up garbage (includes games from players who win less than 80% of the time). Fortunately, there are good arguments from first principles that show how crawl difficulty works, namely starts pretty high as computer games go, then craters after about 3 floors.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 15:35

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

Counterpoint: Identified consumables are MUCH stronger on D:1 than they are later in the game. A difficult encounter on d:10 is unlikely to be resolved safely by a single heal wounds potion, for example, whereas on d:1 any single identified useful consumable is likely to solve any single difficult encounter, if applied properly.

Ergo, identifying consumables on D:1 has a much larger impact than having them identified later, to resolve this, you could remove all consumables from the early game entirely, but that obviates this specific reason for identifying them in the first place.

I also actually question your implied premise -- that the early game *should be* close to as as difficult as the later game. In fact, I think that would make the game much less appealing. I would argue to most people it *feels better* if their character, once established and leveled up somewhat, feels more powerful compared to the dungeon, and hence the experience is that they *gain power as they advance*.

I would argue that the ideal difficulty curve for this sort of game is a steady downward slope (probably curving so you never actually hit zero) all the way up until you win. If anything the problem with the power curve is that it flattens out so early, and we don't continue to make headway until the end. This is the way our stories and fantasies are built, the reluctant hero starts and manages to survive with luck and courage at the beginning, and eventually acquires enough skill to survive the challenges to win the day using the lessons that they've learned over the course of their adventures. The *reason* we build our stories that way is because that's the ideal we strive towards, as we attempt to make meaning out of our lives, if all challenges are the same difficulty throughout, then there doesn't feel like there was a point to the invested effort (it becomes a sisyphean task, repetitive and uninteresting) In short, we want to feel rewarded for our efforts.

While the ID game maybe should or should not exist, that it makes the early game harder and the later game easier is actually a facet it has in it's favor, as that brings us closer to an ideal difficulty curve, and as you suggest, there are other ways to duplicate this task (with generation rates at least), meaning we *could* remove ID, but that's not an argument for why we *should* remove it.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 16:11

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

Siegurt wrote:I also actually question your implied premise -- that the early game *should be* close to as as difficult as the later game. In fact, I think that would make the game much less appealing. I would argue to most people it *feels better* if their character, once established and leveled up somewhat, feels more powerful compared to the dungeon, and hence the experience is that they *gain power as they advance*.

I would argue that the ideal difficulty curve for this sort of game is a steady downward slope (probably curving so you never actually hit zero) all the way up until you win.

I actually made no argument about the shape of the "ideal difficulty curve" (I will give my thoughts on that topic in another thread). I merely made the observation that the early game is hard, indeed much harder than the later game.

As for the ideal difficulty curve, I agree that a steady downward slope is a fine goal to strive towards. I would add that the slope should be gently downward, not very sharply downward: otherwise you reach a very low value very soon and the rest of the game becomes a chore rather than a challenge.

So, to be concrete, suppose the difficulty of the earlier floors (D:1-4) is reduced by, say, 25%. And the difficulty of the later floors is exactly the same. Then curve would be the following ("all players tweaked").

This curve satisfies your condition of a downward sloping curve. I would argue that the tweaked difficulty curve is preferable to the old curve because it is more gently downward sloping.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 16:55

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

Removing the id game would make the game more boring imo.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 17:21

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

I have to say, the crawl as interactive fiction argument reaches new heights of creativity for this forum. It is a shame that these imaginative efforts tend to deflect criticism rather than address it.

The problem with declining difficulty, especially sharply declining difficulty, is that it turns most of a very long game into a victory lap and most of its features, those that don't appear until after the game has fallen off the difficulty-cliff, into decorative elements only consequential to the games of very new players -- of course, the interactive fiction theory tries to turn this into a selling point. This downward difficulty trend idea could make sense in a very short game, which crawl isn't, I suppose. Indeed, one could well fashion a short game with much greater variability from play to play from dcss or, better, hellcrawl.

Experience with hellcrawl provides some evidence in favor of bel's theory about flattening the difficulty curve and identification removal would be a good way to achieve that. As for the idea that removing identification makes the game more boring, again experience with hellcrawl says a lot about that -- namely that it's false. I mean, the idea that removing things from dcss will make it more boring should be pretty suspect in all but the most extreme cases.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 17:58

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

bel wrote:I actually made no argument about the shape of the "ideal difficulty curve" (I will give my thoughts on that topic in another thread). I merely made the observation that the early game is hard, indeed much harder than the later game.

I inferred from this statement, that you were trying to get the early game's difficulty to be closer to the later game, if your intent is to make it "still harder but not quite as massively different as the later game" then that's fine, that's a reasonable goal. However to get there you must change the generation rates as well, because identified consumables have a much larger impact on early encounters than later ones, simply removing the ID game with no other changes reduces the early difficulty by a lot more than 25% (Like on the order of 75%)

bel wrote:I would add that the slope should be gently downward, not very sharply downward: otherwise you reach a very low value very soon and the rest of the game becomes a chore rather than a challenge.

I believe for a majority of players we're already at the flattening point, normalizing the starting difficulty any lower than it is now, means we have less "downward" to go, so the later curve can never be made non-flat without violating our desired shape.

We could also ease the transition from early to mid due to identification by simply extending the ID game later, by generating many fewer identification scrolls, this would lower the slope at which we gain power by having already-identified objects without changing the difficulty at game start at all.

My point is not that we shouldn't remove identification, or that we can't do so without making the early game too easy, it's that the difference in difficulty between the early game and later *isn't a valid justification for it* because making the early game easier isn't actually a desirable result, and *by itself* removing id just makes the early game easier.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 18:00

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

tealizard wrote:I have to say, the crawl as interactive fiction argument reaches new heights of creativity for this forum. It is a shame that these imaginative efforts tend to deflect criticism rather than address it.

The problem with declining difficulty, especially sharply declining difficulty, is that it turns most of a very long game into a victory lap and most of its features, those that don't appear until after the game has fallen off the difficulty-cliff, into decorative elements only consequential to the games of very new players -- of course, the interactive fiction theory tries to turn this into a selling point. This downward difficulty trend idea could make sense in a very short game, which crawl isn't, I suppose. Indeed, one could well fashion a short game with much greater variability from play to play from dcss or, better, hellcrawl.

Experience with hellcrawl provides some evidence in favor of bel's theory about flattening the difficulty curve and identification removal would be a good way to achieve that. As for the idea that removing identification makes the game more boring, again experience with hellcrawl says a lot about that -- namely that it's false. I mean, the idea that removing things from dcss will make it more boring should be pretty suspect in all but the most extreme cases.

Comparing DCSS to hellcrawl is also suspect, because Hellcrawl has a *host* of changes which impact difficulty and boringness, when talking about removing id from DCSS using hellcrawl as a counterexample doesn't really work, because it's part of a set of changes all designed with a cohesive(ish) goal.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 18:20

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

Siegurt wrote:
bel wrote:I actually made no argument about the shape of the "ideal difficulty curve" (I will give my thoughts on that topic in another thread). I merely made the observation that the early game is hard, indeed much harder than the later game.

I inferred from this statement, that you were trying to get the early game's difficulty to be closer to the later game, if your intent is to make it "still harder but not quite as massively different as the later game" then that's fine, that's a reasonable goal. However to get there you must change the generation rates as well, because identified consumables have a much larger impact on early encounters than later ones, simply removing the ID game with no other changes reduces the early difficulty by a lot more than 25% (Like on the order of 75%)


I already said the same thing in the last paragraph of my OP: you can tweak the difficulty by changing generation rates.

That said, I think the 75% figure is very implausible.

Siegurt wrote:
bel wrote:I would add that the slope should be gently downward, not very sharply downward: otherwise you reach a very low value very soon and the rest of the game becomes a chore rather than a challenge.

I believe for a majority of players we're already at the flattening point, normalizing the starting difficulty any lower than it is now, means we have less "downward" to go, so the later curve can never be made non-flat without violating our desired shape.


I do not understand this paragraph. What does "we are already at the flattening point" mean?
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 18:28

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

At the time identification was removed from hellcrawl, hellcrawl was still quite similar to dcss -- the only really big changes at that point were probably food and lair removal. ID removal was a major improvement at the time. Hellcrawl development was actually fairly incremental, taking on a gradually broader critique of dcss as it progressed. It may look different because it went through as much change as about 15 versions of dcss would in a space of two years, but the intermediate stages of development are full of examples that inform what a transition from dcss to dcss with such and such removed would look like. Especially in the early stages, the design vision was literally implementing removals that had been the topic of tavern discussion for many years.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 18:31

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

bel wrote:That said, I think the 75% figure is very implausible.

Probably depends a lot on the person's knowledge and experience, I'm fairly certain I can get out of just about any dangerous situation in D:2-4 with all my consumables id'd (presuming that they have generated) D:1 of course you may encounter stuff before you get any consumables. I'll check for myself what my reduction in dangerousness is and report back (It will take me a while, give me like a month, I figure 100 with and 100 without identification will give a reasonable measurable for me, of course my personal results will be just a single person's result, rather than a useful abstraction)

Probably better to have at least one example than spurious speculation with no data :)
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 18:56

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

One should be careful of generalizing from veteran players' experience.

Almost 60% of all characters die on D:1-4. That "should" not happen, assuming reasonably competent play. One should not be designing game difficulty based on hypothetical optimal play, but rather how people generally play it.

I do not know why it's desirable to have a difficulty curve where 60% of characters die before completing even 10% of the game.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 19:48

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

bel wrote:One should be careful of generalizing from veteran players' experience.

Almost 60% of all characters die on D:1-4. That "should" not happen, assuming reasonably competent play. One should not be designing game difficulty based on hypothetical optimal play, but rather how people generally play it.

I do not know why it's desirable to have a difficulty curve where 60% of characters die before completing even 10% of the game.


A large portion of the reason so many characters die early is that a very large number of characters are played by people who are just really really new and have no experience at all, and also people skip optional tutorials and don't read manuals. I'm sure a significant portion of those deaths are not *from* reasonably competent play, but rather from totally *incompetent* play.

Do you have a way to tease out just the 'typical' games, where someone's neither totally incompetent (think like "What's the move right button again?") nor are they engaging in near-optimal play (FWIW I usually don't play anywhere near optimally, I use autoexplore, and don't always lure things back as far as I should, etc. because I'm mostly interested in having fun, not trying to micromanage my win rate) Maybe weed out anyone who's played less than an arbitrary number of games, and anyone who has a particularly high win rate from your statistics to get the difficulty for more typical users?

That doesn't provide for weird exceptions in playstyle (like when you do weird experiments, I once played for a couple weeks tweaking a macro that just did 'o' and 'tab' and '>' over and over to see how far I could get.) but it will probably give a decent-ish average.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 20:25

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

Though bel's methods of arriving at conclusions about dcss's difficulty curve are faulty, his conclusions are in broad agreement with reasoning from the rules of the game -- i.e. the correct way to generate knowledge about crawl. This idea of using sequell data is not new and people have gone over and over this kind of thing for years, working through all these sorts of exclusions and special conditions.

Similarly, bel's theory that you should reason from the practice of players rather than the rules of the game (including optimal play analysis) is faulty. This is a recipe for a game full of cheez, where the designers pretend they don't know the rules until sufficiently many players figure them out. You guys are just relitigating settled questions, either in the mistaken belief of having found something new or in order to forestall impetus for change.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 20:31

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

Siegurt wrote:
bel wrote:One should be careful of generalizing from veteran players' experience.

Almost 60% of all characters die on D:1-4. That "should" not happen, assuming reasonably competent play. One should not be designing game difficulty based on hypothetical optimal play, but rather how people generally play it.

I do not know why it's desirable to have a difficulty curve where 60% of characters die before completing even 10% of the game.


A large portion of the reason so many characters die early is that a very large number of characters are played by people who are just really really new and have no experience at all, and also people skip optional tutorials and don't read manuals. I'm sure a significant portion of those deaths are not *from* reasonably competent play, but rather from totally *incompetent* play.

Do you have a way to tease out just the 'typical' games, where someone's neither totally incompetent (think like "What's the move right button again?") nor are they engaging in near-optimal play (FWIW I usually don't play anywhere near optimally, I use autoexplore, and don't always lure things back as far as I should, etc. because I'm mostly interested in having fun, not trying to micromanage my win rate) Maybe weed out anyone who's played less than an arbitrary number of games, and anyone who has a particularly high win rate from your statistics to get the difficulty for more typical users?

That doesn't provide for weird exceptions in playstyle (like when you do weird experiments, I once played for a couple weeks tweaking a macro that just did 'o' and 'tab' and '>' over and over to see how far I could get.) but it will probably give a decent-ish average.

For tenpercenters, (who presumably know where the move right button is) about 25% of their games end on D:1-4. They also win about 35% of the time overall. So, about 40% of their deaths happen on D:1-4. I do not consider this a particularly desirable outcome either.

Another way is to look at the stats from the last Crawl tournament. A typical tournament game is not played by a completely incompetent player. The death rate on D:1-4 for all players was 56%.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 20:54

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

bel wrote:Now, one could argue that people underuse consumables anyway, people play badly, etc. and I will agree with you. But the point is that if people could see some viable options in their quaff/read menu, they might just try the options before dying. Ideally, we want people to have options which they could use, not just try to mindlessly bash an adder, a gnoll or an ogre and die a futile death.

The early game is also a part where consumable use really matters, because the gain from their use is very high (relatively speaking). And you typically don't have the glut of consumables which you have in the later game.

Finally, if you believe that the early game difficulty is pretty good, and it should stay that way -- that is completely fine. This preference can be accommodated by simply reducing consumable generation. The point is to have options; the difficulty level can be tweaked.


Would all consumables be identified by default, or just a subset?
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Post Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 21:16

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

My proposal is to remove all identification, and make all items identified by default. This would mean consumables, weapons, armour etc.

I am not opposed to identification of some subset, but I don't really see any advantages to this proposal.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 05:46

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

tealizard wrote:Stuff.

I haven't replied to your comments because:

  • You agree that id should be removed.
  • You agree that early game difficulty is harder than later game.
  • You agree that removing id would make early game easier.
  • You think this outcome is ok.

The rest of your points are about my approach rather than my proposal. This discussion properly belongs in the other thread. So I respond there.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 10:24

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

I don't like the idea of removing the ID mini-game because I find it often fun. There is some skill in choosing when/where/what to use even when you don't have stuff ID'ed, and in choosing what to ID, etc. It doesn't feel like a problem to me, just more game dynamic.

On the topic of difficulty, I'd like to see the game remove large "spikes" of difficulty. What I mean by spikes are things like, you're on d:1 and a pack of jackals and a couple other things just happen to all wake up and come at you at once before you've even had a chance to find anything. Then there is bumping nto a unique with a wand of acid... good luck with that. The best way to overcome d:1 swarms is to have an overpowered starting combination, but for many of the others it can easily be a death sentence with not much in the way of tactics, just luck.

Another big spike in difficulty is paralysis. It's encountered with grinder (very lame), in orc, and in zot traps (a ridiculous amount in Zot5), eyeballs, etc. I really hate paralysis. It's a lazy way of trying to kill of players that are otherwise too strong, but it also kills off everyone else, and has a huge favor towards high AC characters (and AC doesn't need any help). Paralysis is imo the worst mechanic in the game hands down.

For extended, the next big spikes are mummy curses (very bad because it nearly forces lichform or mak/tso). Mummy curses has my vote for second worst mechanic. Torment and hellfire are pretty rough, but at least you can try to play tactically around them. The only reason I bring them up as spikes is because it's pretty brutal to get tormented multiple times in a row (same with hellfire). I'd leave them alone mostly, but I think something should be done to tone Torment down a bit, that it does even less damage if you're already hurt, maybe it shouldn't ever be capable of dropping you below 50% health (or some other %).

That all said, I'm not in favor of making the latter half of the game easier, I think it should be harder. I'd like to see the early game easier, but the rest of the game should have more pressure overall, just the right kind of pressure. What is the right kind of pressure? Difficulty which has options to counter with smart game play. I'd present Vault5 as an example of good difficulty. I also think abyss is a good example. I think Zot5 has gone overboard with the traps, otherwise I might include it. Aside from torment, I'd say pandemonium is also a good example (the concept that you can't return later to get the rune if you miss it). Monsters could hit harder overall, be tougher, smarter, etc.

In summary: make early game easier, make average mid and late game harder, make the game harder without cheesey, gear-check style mechanics that lean too heavily towards a narrow style of background+build.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 11:33

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

I also enjoy the early id game.
And I don't mind dying early often. The early game is the most interesting part of the game, and if I die there I'll be able to play more of the early game.
Also, I sometimes play the early game sloppily, not really caring about a character until it's reached XL 7 or so. This way I can rank up quite a large number of dead characters in a short time. I don't know whether many tenpercenters do the same, but it could explain why they often die early, and if so it's not a bad thing that they do die early.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 12:34

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

tealizard wrote:As for the idea that removing identification makes the game more boring, again experience with hellcrawl says a lot about that -- namely that it's false.

I happen to like the id game. Removing it would make the game more boring for me. Finding unidentified stuff is exciting. Finding an id scroll when you have unidentified stuff is fun. Quaffing unidentified potions and reading unidentified scrolls in an emergency is interesting.

I understand that many players don't feel this way and that's fine. Also hellcrawl would be more interesting to me with the id game than without it.
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Post Thursday, 4th July 2019, 16:03

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

svendre wrote:I don't like the idea of removing the ID mini-game because I find it often fun.
[...]

On the topic of difficulty, I'd like to see the game remove large "spikes" of difficulty. What I mean by spikes are things like, you're on d:1 and a pack of jackals and a couple other things just happen to all wake up and come at you at once before you've even had a chance to find anything.
[...]
In summary: make early game easier [...]

My proposal is supposed to make early game easier.

Some people are indeed attached to identification. I personally do not see much skill or fun in randomly quaffing every potion or reading every scroll you have, but if (some) people like it, whatever.

I have proposed elsewhere that every character should start off with a potion of curing and a scroll of teleport. This would reduce the random deaths in the early dungeon and make the early game easier. (It would not make you invincible.)

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Post Friday, 5th July 2019, 16:43

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

bel wrote:
svendre wrote:I don't like the idea of removing the ID mini-game because I find it often fun.
[...]

On the topic of difficulty, I'd like to see the game remove large "spikes" of difficulty. What I mean by spikes are things like, you're on d:1 and a pack of jackals and a couple other things just happen to all wake up and come at you at once before you've even had a chance to find anything.
[...]
In summary: make early game easier [...]

My proposal is supposed to make early game easier.

Some people are indeed attached to identification. I personally do not see much skill or fun in randomly quaffing every potion or reading every scroll you have, but if (some) people like it, whatever.

I have proposed elsewhere that every character should start off with a potion of curing and a scroll of teleport. This would reduce the random deaths in the early dungeon and make the early game easier. (It would not make you invincible.)


That sounds to me like a good proposal. From a flavor standpoint, characters already enter the dungeon with some minimal skills rather than being infants who decided to jump into a hole in the ground known to be dangerous. I suppose the only hitch is that it would at the minimum auto-identify potions of curing and/or scrolls of teleportation, which is why I guess it ties in with the automatic identification of everything. If this were to be implemented, I'd probably rather it still be limited to just these one or two items being auto-identified at game start versus all items.

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Post Monday, 8th July 2019, 08:34

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

Identification mini game isn't such a one dimensional annoyance that it should be removed. It tests players' decision making in the early game. You need to prioritize what to identify and leverage the RNG and decide if using an unidentified consumable is the play to make and when to make it.

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Post Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 03:04

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

gameguard wrote:Identification mini game isn't such a one dimensional annoyance that it should be removed. It tests players' decision making in the early game. You need to prioritize what to identify and leverage the RNG and decide if using an unidentified consumable is the play to make and when to make it.


The ID game tests the players ability to make decisions that stop happening around lair, as the ID game becomes irrelevant. Simultaneously it doesn't test the player's ability to tell what consumable would be most relevant for an encounter, which is an extremetly important skill througout the game.

In both cases a hypothetical optimal player using spoiler knowledge about what consumables exist in the game (and possibly their drop rates) is hugely advantaged over a player just reading in-game displays.

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 05:50

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

cliffracer wrote:In both cases a hypothetical optimal player using spoiler knowledge about what consumables exist in the game (and possibly their drop rates) is hugely advantaged over a player just reading in-game displays.


Just as a player who reads the details about the capabilities of every automatically identified consumable can have a huge advantage over players who don't. The trouble with going after spoiler knowledge is that it's a never-ending crusade that wouldn't end unless the source code itself wasn't available. Removing access to the source code wouldn't even be enough though, you'd need Intel-SGX to stop debuggers reading local memory from the app and reverse engineering... but no, it doesn't ever end really. It's like DRM on media that is worthless unless it can be played somehow, someone's going to get it.

Anyone remember first person shooters? With clans? Serious business in the day.. lol. Well, people started cheating, loading modules to add cross-hairs, etc. So then comes the crazy complex security mechanism to prevent mods that add cross hairs to help with aiming. Here's what I did: I made cross hairs out of partially translucent tape stuck to the middle of a monitor. I digress...

My point was, instead of worrying about spoilery, why not just focus on what is fun. It's a single person game, and if what other people do or don't do bothers someone, it's an easy fix--just pay attention to your own game and if you're having fun. So does having unidentified consumables make the game more or less interesting for you?

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 15:12

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

My main point was that picking which identified consumable to use is an important decision making skill that's relevant throughout the game, and that the ID game is not only a weak gameplay decision but is a gameplay decision (rather than Russian roulette) if and only if the player has spoiler knowledge of consumables.

The only person to make a legitimate defense of the ID game (beyond saying that it was "fun" in a non-specific way) was gameguard saying that it tests players' decision making in the early game. My counterargument is that the ID game is for most players a rote task (rather than a decision) where testing is irrelevant because the mechanic isn't present in the mid and late game, and it prevents testing of an incredibly important decision making skill (when to use consumables and what consumables to use) that's relevant throughout the game.

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 16:54

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

One alternative to removing the id game would be to remove the ID *scrolls* and have consumables self-identify if you get a stack of a certain size (say 3) that would preserve the "your access to consumables is random and restricted in the early game", which is honestly one thing that makes the early game interesting, consumables are far too powerful to have unfettered access to them early, but random access to them provides some interesting situations, it also teaches new players how to use some consumables in unexpected situations (and reinforces the tactical implications of their drawbacks, think about quaff-iding lignification as a new player) so preserving that is worthwhile, and isn't the same as "all consumables are identified, and you just get less of them in the early game"

Paired with the above, I'd also, personally, select some consumables and make them "late game only" (I'd make a hidden, staggered introduction of the possibility of new types of consumables which was semi-randomly generated at game start) if we introduce new consumables later in the game, then they become ID'd that much later.

Personally I also use ID scrolls on amulets, because there's possible negative repercussions that last beyond simple cursing. However I'm not convinced that that use of ID scrolls wouldn't be better supplanted with removing the drain and piety removal effects from the related amulets and replacing them with other effects (for faith, I'd make it so you just couldn't re-wear an amulet of faith until you gained X piety, where X is what you would lose by removing the amulet presently, and for harm, I'd do the same, but with doing damage) once removing amulets doesn't have a detriment that can't be obviated by remove curse, we can relegate all equipment ID-ing to wear-ID, which makes the choice more impactful and for longer (I'd also like to see the number of remove curse scrolls go down, so that it's practical to run out, maybe reduce the late game generation significantly(?)) Putting more stress on RC by removing ID scrolls might be sufficient with the current generation rate, but I'd like to see some later-game choice around "do I wear ID this thing, it might be a small power increase, but I'm running out of remove curse scrolls, should I risk it?" which at this point becomes a non-thing at some point. Since there's fewer and fewer possible equipment upgrades as you go through the game, fewer and fewer remove curse scrolls might make sense.
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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 17:43

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

Siegurt wrote:One alternative to removing the id game would be to remove the ID *scrolls* and have consumables self-identify if you get a stack of a certain size (say 3) that would preserve the "your access to consumables is random and restricted in the early game", which is honestly one thing that makes the early game interesting, consumables are far too powerful to have unfettered access to them early, but random access to them provides some interesting situations, it also teaches new players how to use some consumables in unexpected situations (and reinforces the tactical implications of their drawbacks, think about quaff-iding lignification as a new player) so preserving that is worthwhile, and isn't the same as "all consumables are identified, and you just get less of them in the early game"

My proposal is supposed to make the early game easier. Your solution would not change the early game because you will typically not have a stack of 3 for most items.

In general, I do not think that having unidentified consumables teaches new players anything good. In general, the correct lesson is: "use your consumables". This is harder to do when you don't know what the consumable is. Most new players rarely blind-quaff or blind-read consumables, because they don't have enough knowledge of the game. There are far more beneficial or neutral consumables than harmful ones. Even some of the "consumables with drawbacks" (like lignification and ambrosia) are extremely strong in the early game.

Taking your potion of lignification example, a player who can see that they have lignification can just as well see the tactical implications as the player who doesn't have anything identified. I would say that the situation is better because they actually know they have the option, instead of executing the algorithm "blindly quaff some potions and hope for the best".

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 21:34

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

bel wrote:
Siegurt wrote:One alternative to removing the id game would be to remove the ID *scrolls* and have consumables self-identify if you get a stack of a certain size (say 3) that would preserve the "your access to consumables is random and restricted in the early game", which is honestly one thing that makes the early game interesting, consumables are far too powerful to have unfettered access to them early, but random access to them provides some interesting situations, it also teaches new players how to use some consumables in unexpected situations (and reinforces the tactical implications of their drawbacks, think about quaff-iding lignification as a new player) so preserving that is worthwhile, and isn't the same as "all consumables are identified, and you just get less of them in the early game"

My proposal is supposed to make the early game easier. Your solution would not change the early game because you will typically not have a stack of 3 for most items.

In general, I do not think that having unidentified consumables teaches new players anything good. In general, the correct lesson is: "use your consumables". This is harder to do when you don't know what the consumable is. Most new players rarely blind-quaff or blind-read consumables, because they don't have enough knowledge of the game. There are far more beneficial or neutral consumables than harmful ones. Even some of the "consumables with drawbacks" (like lignification and ambrosia) are extremely strong in the early game.

Taking your potion of lignification example, a player who can see that they have lignification can just as well see the tactical implications as the player who doesn't have anything identified. I would say that the situation is better because they actually know they have the option, instead of executing the algorithm "blindly quaff some potions and hope for the best".


Ah, but the new player has no idea what the tactical implications of lignification *are* they know "it turns me into a tree" and *maybe* they read the potion description, but probably they don't. They have no idea it's actually very beneficial, but with a tradeoff, and the "are you sure you want to quaff this potion" will definitely turn them off if they've never used one before, and even if they have read the potion's description (and remember it when they get into trouble), there's no intuitive relationship between that description and how much the benefit actually helps in combat. If everything is identified, they'll use the obvious consumable with the easy-to-understand benefit over the questionable cases every time.

Having them *randomly* be forced to use one in a terrible situation means they find out, that "hey this thing can actually be super helpful in some situations" which seems obvious once you know everything it does, but a new player doesn't know that stuff in any detail, unless they spend a lot of time researching a game before they play it, but most people prefer to jump right in.

"Use your consumables when you need them" is a good lesson, but until you've learned what you can and can't do *without* your consumables, you can't learn *when* you actually need them. A new player who doesn't yet understand how to optimize for good tactics, is going to just rely on their consumables to get them out of bad situations that they should be learning how to not get into in the first place, then you get to a point where you know how to use your consumables to get out of bad situations, and if you run out, or don't get enough, you just write off your death as bad luck, when proper tactics would've kept your need for consumables much lower or eliminate it entirely.

Yes, I see that your intent is to make the early game easier. I seriously disagree with that intent. I think it's a bad intent, based on false presumptions and bad evidence, and using the wrong priorities. Hence my suggestion for an alternate way to remove the repetitive, and non interesting choice-making part of the id game, without impacting the difficulty of the early game. That's why I presented it as an alternative to your suggestion, if the devs agree that the early game difficulty is good, but don't like the ID game as it is, maybe my suggestion would be an alternative that would work.
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Post Thursday, 11th July 2019, 00:00

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

I personally would like to see ID for equipment completely gone, and ID for consumables always present through the game. I am not sure of how it would work, however: making ID identify that precise potion, but not all potions of that kind, for example. The problem with this is backpack handling and, more importantly, removing some data (generation quantity) that is necessary to give the player the chance to make a meaningful choice.
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Post Thursday, 11th July 2019, 02:11

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

You can get players to learn about non-obvious consumables by generating fewer consumables so that they don't always have access to the good ones. This solution is a lot better for the game than generating a very large quantity of non-identified consumables with spoiler-laden generation rules. That said, if there's dev consensus that the game feel of using unidentified consumables is worth preserving, I would fully support a move toward non-spoiler id as I outlined in the last id thread.
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Post Thursday, 11th July 2019, 06:04

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

Siegurt wrote:Ah, but the new player has no idea what the tactical implications of lignification *are* they know "it turns me into a tree" and *maybe* they read the potion description, but probably they don't. They have no idea it's actually very beneficial, but with a tradeoff, and the "are you sure you want to quaff this potion" will definitely turn them off if they've never used one before, and even if they have read the potion's description (and remember it when they get into trouble), there's no intuitive relationship between that description and how much the benefit actually helps in combat.


It is a problem with potion of lignification, not with identification.
Why do we have "A potion which temporarily transforms the imbiber into an animated tree with branches capable of holding weapons. Such a tree is quite resilient, although it is rooted in place while the transformation lasts, and cannot teleport." instead of something like "This potion makes you unable to leave current tile for 15-25 turns, melds cloak/body armour etc., gives you AC 20, rN+++, immunity to poison and torment and also increases your base UC damage by 15?" (description is just an example, I have no idea if those numbers are correct).
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Post Thursday, 11th July 2019, 14:35

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

VeryAngryFelid wrote:
Siegurt wrote:Ah, but the new player has no idea what the tactical implications of lignification *are* they know "it turns me into a tree" and *maybe* they read the potion description, but probably they don't. They have no idea it's actually very beneficial, but with a tradeoff, and the "are you sure you want to quaff this potion" will definitely turn them off if they've never used one before, and even if they have read the potion's description (and remember it when they get into trouble), there's no intuitive relationship between that description and how much the benefit actually helps in combat.


It is a problem with potion of lignification, not with identification.
Why do we have "A potion which temporarily transforms the imbiber into an animated tree with branches capable of holding weapons. Such a tree is quite resilient, although it is rooted in place while the transformation lasts, and cannot teleport." instead of something like "This potion makes you unable to leave current tile for 15-25 turns, melds cloak/body armour etc., gives you AC 20, rN+++, immunity to poison and torment and also increases your base UC damage by 15?" (description is just an example, I have no idea if those numbers are correct).

While your suggested description would be an improvement, it wouldn't help the case of a new player, they have nothing to compare those numbers to (they don't know *how good*the AC is or what "your base unarmed combat damage" is, or how to relate it to the weapon that they have in their hand that they have some skill points in, and they certainly have no ability to remember all those numbers in an emergency, much less relate it to how much improvement in surviviability it would give them in a difficult situation.

It may be that this particular potion is too complicated (even an experienced player like yourself neglected to list the bonus HPs in your made up description, not because you didn't know about them, but because it's just a lot of things to list) For what it's worth the actual current description reads:
  Code:
"A potion which transforms the imbiber into an animated tree with branches capable of holding weapons. Such a tree has
minimal evasion but increased health and natural armour, and is resistant to poison and immune to negative energy.
However, it is rooted in place while the transformation lasts, and cannot teleport."

Which is slightly better than your version (I assume that's from an older version?)

Regardless, forcing a new player to do sometimes unexpected things leads them to discovery, which is one of the joys of the genre, always giving them obvious paths leads to them only learning how to take the obvious paths, because almost nobody experiments, particularly when they're a novice.
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Post Friday, 12th July 2019, 00:32

Re: Remove the id game (new reason)

IIRC, it also removes claws.
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