New rune lock proposal


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Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 20th October 2019, 19:21

New rune lock proposal

Proposal: Start the game with the gates of Zot open, and only lock the gates of Zot if the player enters any branch other than Dungeon and Depths (or Zot itself). Then it can only be opened again with 3 runes exactly like now. If the player enters Zot without a rune, all other (except Dungeon, Depths, and Zot) branch entrances are closed permanently.

Reason: There are many popular forks of DCSS which greatly cuts back the number of levels, and many players requested it in the past, so many players would really enjoy playing a short version of DCSS. This is a minimal proposal that keeps normal game for other players exactly as now, so nothing is lost, but opens up a new game mode for those who enjoy it.

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duvessa, petercordia, powergame, radzia

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 20th October 2019, 19:35

Re: New rune lock proposal

I worry that this will reduce both turncount runs and realtime speedruns to exercises in startscumming (even more than turncount runs currently are). Since you can conceivably just luck your way through Zot and orbrun after a few hundred or thousand attempts, whereas having to luck through rune branches as well makes it exponentially less practical. There might be an elegant solution to this, but I can't think of one.

Spider Stomper

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Post Sunday, 20th October 2019, 21:51

Re: New rune lock proposal

I'm worried about how this would interact with banishment to the abyss, especially considering any characters that find a distortion weapon can voluntarily banish themselves with a bit of patience. Maybe a flag in the options file would be better than waiting for players to reach Zot? Also, would this apply to timed portals or just stable branches?

Zot Zealot

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Post Monday, 21st October 2019, 15:50

Re: New rune lock proposal

duvessa: I am not a speedrunner, but I always thought they distinguish 3-rune and 15-rune speedruns? Then this will just create a new category, 0 rune speedruns, which is way less interesting, yes. Shorter game yields better gameplay for long streaks but worse for speedruns, I think.

Nekoatl: I do not think that the abyss would be a big problem whether it counts as a branch or not, but I agree it could cause some flavor loss for special treatment either way.

1. Abyss is a branch for 0-rune win purposes (i.e. entering the Abyss closes the gate of Zot like any other branch):
An involuntary abyss trip could be quite annoying, as you loose the possibility of a short (0 rune) win. On the other hand this may highlight the challenge part of such a win. I do not know however what to do if you got banished inside Zot. Probably nothing, or maybe you could lock the current levels of Zot, or escape to Depths and lock Zot.

2. If Abyss is not a branch, so entering it does not close the gate of Zot or other branch entrances, then there is the possibility to gain XP/items there. However, I am not convinced that the Abyss is that much safer than Zot itself to worth it. Also you could have a 1 rune win - with only the abyssal rune.
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Monday, 21st October 2019, 17:51

Re: New rune lock proposal

I assume that the Vaults would stay locked?
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Zot Zealot

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Post Monday, 21st October 2019, 21:22

Re: New rune lock proposal

From the point of view of this proposal the Vaults lock does not matter at all, so I did not want to address it: the proposal works with or without the Vault lock. It is a separate issue.

I personally see absolutely no point in the Vault lock, since the only thing it accomplishes that it prevents some challenge games where for some challenge reason you want to enter a harder branch before an easier one. It does not matter if you play only to win or do a speedrun.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 25th October 2019, 10:39

Re: New rune lock proposal

sanka wrote:duvessa: I am not a speedrunner, but I always thought they distinguish 3-rune and 15-rune speedruns? Then this will just create a new category, 0 rune speedruns, which is way less interesting, yes.
But I don't think 3-rune speedruns would stay around for long after this change. You'd get the lowest turncount/realtime for a 0-rune game, and the highest score for a 15-rune game. A 3-rune speedrun would get you neither, and so I suspect it would become about as common as 7-rune speedruns currently are.

You could try to make Depths/Zot less amenable to diving so that you really couldn't get through them with a weak but lucky character, though. Not sure what that would look like.

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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Friday, 25th October 2019, 13:45

Re: New rune lock proposal

In hellcrawl, there are no rune locks and runes are purely for scoring. This creates a situation where score is mostly unrelated to the difficulty of the run. By far the most challenging and interesting route is DUZH + hell rune, while all rune routes hit a plateau around vaults:$. Low completion challenge runs in dcss that share this focus on endgame content at low character level (DUHZ, DUPZ) compare similarly with high completion and 3 rune games.

The score system flattens out the most important aspect of a run: Its route. To be clear, by route I mean the set of branches and runes/orbs collected and the order in which they're done. Obviously there are ambiguities in dcss with respect to order that do not exist in hellcrawl, so some rules would need to be added to formalize the concept. (I believe some of these rules are already implemented in online database infrastructure and we would want route-enriched scoring to take similar factors into account.)

I would suggest improving the scoreboard in-game to include route and to sort games by route so that similar games are always sorted near each other at game end and ranked according to route. To make the route concept more coherent, runs that do cowardly nonsense like partially clearing branches and coming back later for runes should be penalized in score (beyond the normal penalty of increased turncount, something like counting the branch's rune as a fraction of a rune for scoring, 3/4 or something). Score should, in general, promote good crawl style and usefully distinguish among similar runs on that basis.

Formal recognition of route in the score system should promote new formats of speedrunning distinguished by route rather than only score and turncount.
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powergame

Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Saturday, 21st December 2019, 21:50

Re: New rune lock proposal

Given the frequency with which "exploration" is mentioned as part of Crawl's draw and design in discussions about stair-dancing nerfing (and elsewhere) I think that the current rune lock implementation ought to be reworked so that runeless (and other) challenge runs can exist.

With respect to scoring and speedrunning I have two questions since I don't know anything about the dev process. Does Crawl's design philosophy explicitly take these two things into account? Are scoring and speedrunning taken into consideration when debating whether to implement changes or new features/content?
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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 01:43

Re: New rune lock proposal

Historically, the position of active developers was that score and speedrunning in particular are not important design considerations. Many developers who publicly stated that position have retired though and it's always been a fairly misguided position, so maybe it's changed.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

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