Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)


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

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Post Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 22:20

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Implojin wrote:Several of the options listed in the quoted post are available from D:1. Your continued mischaracterization of previous posts is really not helping to make the case that your contributions here are anything other than trollbait.

Implojin wrote:Dang, you might just have to use blink or might or lig or agi or fog or fear or throw a net or use curare or throw some javelins or tomahawks or summon some dudes or cast a spell or use literally any of the dozen wands and evoker items that might help or invoke a god ability or use local terrain to LOS break or use positioning to force LOF breaks or find some nearby shallow water or find a nearby door to close or maybe just fight from good positioning with the short sword or spear or whip you probably found on D:1

I've marked all options which are usually available on D:1 in italic, and the one's that aren't in bold. It doesn't seem entirely fair to say that "some train to break LOS" or "a door" is enough to deal with a D:2 Sigmund or gnoll pack.

That said, I agree with your point that it would be more fun if the player was forced to use consumable more often.

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Post Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 22:35

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

That said, I agree with your point that it would be more fun if the player was forced to use consumable more often.


The problem is balancing rate of consumables given against rate they're "required". One of today's balancing factors is that good players use consumables with more appropriate timing, but also *need* to use them less often due to prior choices. I'm not convinced gear-checking previous consumable drops adds to this, other than a test of how effectively the player operates with consumables.

Nearly every death after the very early levels in crawl tend to sit on consumables, which suggests this isn't going to mean much to a typical player but might well cause problems if you get gear-checked too frequently. Especially early on, where you might not have a single ID'd consumable yet.
Last edited by TheMeInTeam on Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 01:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 22:53

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

okay
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Post Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 23:10

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Removed, was off-topic.
Last edited by TheMeInTeam on Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 01:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 23:41

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

(My apologies to chequers for the derailment.)

You've apologised twice but you aren't really sorry. Or you would have stopped. You have filled this thread with garbage and I no longer enjoy reading my own topic.

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Post Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 00:50

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

lmao @ this thread, but anyway...

About brogue stairs, I think it would have too many bad interactions with effects that allow the player to mass allies on the stairs or put clouds on the stairs. The only satisfactory solution so far is the hellcrawl no-upstairs approach, but maybe replacing stairs with some other means of connecting dungeon levels could work.
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Post Saturday, 28th December 2019, 11:08

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Stop making this game even more impossible (especially for pure-caster types, stairs are frequently the only survival option for them early game) just for forum likes.
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Post Saturday, 28th December 2019, 13:44

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

You should consider the possibility that people really do find the game too easy and tedious as it is and want to improve it.
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Post Saturday, 28th December 2019, 15:18

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

tealizard wrote:You should consider the possibility that people really do find the game too easy and tedious as it is and want to improve it.

You should probably consider the fact that the average player still never wins a game, and that catering to the handful of people who find it "too easy" is probably one of the worst possible ideas.

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Post Saturday, 28th December 2019, 15:32

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Sidestepping the question of whether the game is too hard or easy:

Arguments of the form "this change will make the game too hard" can easily be dealt with by simply buffing the players. For instance, If it is determined that caster types are too weak after some change, one can give starting characters 1 extra MP at the start of the game.

Or, to take a real-world example, in Hellcrawl, there are no upstairs (which is a nerf), but all items start identified (which is a buff).

Any mechanic in the game will affect some characters more than others. It's hard to change anything if one wants to keep everything just as it is (power-wise).

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Post Saturday, 28th December 2019, 19:19

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Aean wrote:You should probably consider the fact that the average player still never wins a game, and that catering to the handful of people who find it "too easy" is probably one of the worst possible ideas.


I considered the facts and opinions contained in the quoted post some time ago (they are not original) and have determined that they are not conducive to useful thinking about crawl.
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Post Sunday, 29th December 2019, 14:05

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

EDIT: Removed because Duvessa is right below me. I have nothing to add :)
Last edited by delarado on Sunday, 29th December 2019, 20:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Sunday, 29th December 2019, 19:59

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

chequers wrote:The purpose of this thread is to talk about how to nerf stair dancing. Talking about if stair dancing should be nerfed is off topic for the thread.
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Post Monday, 30th December 2019, 02:32

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

One way to nerf stair dancing is having larger levels in smaller number. Like having only 7 or eight floors in D. In branches it probably would be even easier, since I don't see much difference between non-final levels of a branch. If you keep the limit of 3 staircases per level, they will be harder to reach.

Other than that, you could treat staircases as small floors that connect normal floors and in which monster movement is completely normal.

For example, you are in D:3. There is a staircase.

  Code:
.............
.............
......>......
...@.........
.............


When you walk to the staircase entrance, you get this:

  Code:
......
......#######
......@......>
......#######
......


To your left you can still see D3. To your right is the end of the staircase to D4.

  Code:
......
......#######
......<..@...>
......#######
......


You get to the lower end of the staircase. To your left is the staircase do D3, to your right you can see D4.

  Code:
       ......
#######......
<......@......
#######......
       ......


You leave the staircase and enter D4.

  Code:
.............
.............
......<@.....
.............
.............


Monsters and monster packs who are following you should be able to do the same without any restriction. Staircases also don't have to all be corridors.
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Post Monday, 30th December 2019, 05:28

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

The proposal above works basically the same as Brogue-style stairs (proposal 2 in the OP). I think Brogue-style stairs would be an improvement over the current situation. However, there are some downsides.

Slightly digressing, but still related to the topic. I think the size of the levels in Crawl should really be reduced. Other things being the same, a bigger size allows more player freedom, and paradoxically enough, less strategy. Strategy often comes from constraints.

Consider chess which is played on an 8x8 board, or Go which is played on a 19x19 board. Among rogue-likes, you can see Hoplite and 868-HACK which are played on small grids. A game I'm currently playing (and enjoying) a lot is Slay the Spire, which also has a fairly small map. The smaller board sizes allow meaningful strategy choices (for instance, in Go, corners are more important, at least in the opening; while in chess the center is more important). If you make the board size too large, then there is too much freedom and too little constraint. Basically most of the board positions are the same, and the role of strategy is reduced.

(One of my long-term projects is to figure out a relatively easy way to reduce level sizes.)

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Post Monday, 30th December 2019, 08:07

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

tealizard wrote:About brogue stairs, I think it would have too many bad interactions with effects that allow the player to mass allies on the stairs or put clouds on the stairs. The only satisfactory solution so far is the hellcrawl no-upstairs approach, but maybe replacing stairs with some other means of connecting dungeon levels could work.


I misread your post and it gave me an idea. What if player was debuffed when going upstairs with monsters in view? Something like slow and minor damage? Then stairs would still be an ok way to escape dangerous monsters, but not that ok to stair-dance i.e. split packs.
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Post Monday, 30th December 2019, 08:09

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Aean wrote:
tealizard wrote:You should consider the possibility that people really do find the game too easy and tedious as it is and want to improve it.

You should probably consider the fact that the average player still never wins a game, and that catering to the handful of people who find it "too easy" is probably one of the worst possible ideas.


Yes, and "the war" will never end unless devs change their mind and add explicit difficulty levels. Some players want the game become harder, others want it easier, third want it stay unchanged. Nobody is happy :(

Edit. This post is not completely off-topic, as stairs might work differently in different difficulty levels. For instance, at the easiest level adjacent monsters might never follow you if use stairs, while at the hardest level stairs might not be used with monsters in view.
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Post Monday, 30th December 2019, 19:41

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Shtopit wrote:Other than that, you could treat staircases as small floors that connect normal floors and in which monster movement is completely normal.

We've considered that. I'm not sure it would work as well as one might hope, because it also reduces every staircase to a choke point, near-ideal fighting terrain. At least at present, more than one monster can come through stairs at one time.

More distant monsters following after a delay would, I think, provide the benefits of this idea without giving the choke point.
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Post Monday, 30th December 2019, 20:38

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

damerell wrote:
Shtopit wrote:Other than that, you could treat staircases as small floors that connect normal floors and in which monster movement is completely normal.

We've considered that. I'm not sure it would work as well as one might hope, because it also reduces every staircase to a choke point, near-ideal fighting terrain. At least at present, more than one monster can come through stairs at one time.

More distant monsters following after a delay would, I think, provide the benefits of this idea without giving the choke point.


That's true, but stairs don't have to necessarily be limited to a single tile. e.g.

  Code:
.........
.........
  #>>>#
 #.@.#
#...#
#<<<#


You consider all adjacent <<< and >>> tiles to be part of the same staircase, so you have wider entrances. You could even have something like

  Code:
...@............
................
...<............
....<...........
.....<..........
......<.........
......<.........
.....<..........
.....<..........
....<...........
...<............
................
................

  Code:
...
...#############
...@...........>
....<.........>
.....<.......>
......<.....>
......<.....>
.....<.......>
.....<.......>
....<.........>
...<...........>
...#############
...
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Post Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 20:08

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Out of these two options, I like the first one much, much better. It is easy to understand and removes only gratuitious stair dancing, you can still try to use it in an emergency situation. It doesn't solve the artificial loading barrier effect but that is a minor flavor issue that can be addressed separately.

Having every monster in LOS follow is not a good idea, IMO. It open the way for new forms of stair dancing (Vaults:5 becomes more danceable, for instance) and it will lead to a lot of tedium when you can't shake off a pursuing monster with stairs alone and have to run across multiple levels looking for a trap. I'd rather have somewhat broken flavor over endless chases.

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Post Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 23:43

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

How about we keep stair dancing, but let users chuck aoe spells down stairways to potentially scatter enemies waiting there?

Would make for some interesting strategies with the more delicate species.

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Post Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 15:29

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

How about taking a stair places you next to the other end instead of directly on top of it?
When there are multiple options, make it prefer placing you on an adjacent square with a monster in it, moving the monster onto the back stair.

To lower the chance of instakill surprises: when you first enter a floor a certain area is cleared of random spawns (but not of hand-crafted welcoming committees). This could be as small as just the up stair, up to clearing your entire LOS.

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Post Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 16:07

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

rigrig wrote:How about taking a stair places you next to the other end instead of directly on top of it?
When there are multiple options, make it prefer placing you on an adjacent square with a monster in it, moving the monster onto the back stair.

To lower the chance of instakill surprises: when you first enter a floor a certain area is cleared of random spawns (but not of hand-crafted welcoming committees). This could be as small as just the up stair, up to clearing your entire LOS.
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Post Thursday, 9th January 2020, 18:24

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Why not just make monsters NOT follow upstairs at all? You could even make them surround the staircase, or summon help from other parts of the level.

The way I see it any proposal promotes some kind of character and doesn't bother others. Can't ascend if you take a hit? Promotes EV, shields. Monsters surround stairs? Promotes heavy melee. Monsters come after a delay? Promotes ranged.
------

My 2 cents:

Staircases have cooldowns. You can't use one for a few turns after coming through one.

Staircases are always surrounded by empty squares to facilitate surrounding:
  Code:
...
.<.
...


All staircases are one way, but unlike escape hatches they're not single use. You just have to find another way up.

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Post Thursday, 9th January 2020, 20:27

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

b0rsuk wrote:Why not just make monsters NOT follow upstairs at all? You could even make them surround the staircase, or summon help from other parts of the level.
yeah stairdancing isn't good against zombies at all

edit: i am being sarcastic
Last edited by duvessa on Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 21:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Monday, 13th January 2020, 16:15

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

bel wrote:Sidestepping the question of whether the game is too hard or easy:

Arguments of the form "this change will make the game too hard" can easily be dealt with by simply buffing the players. For instance, If it is determined that caster types are too weak after some change, one can give starting characters 1 extra MP at the start of the game.

Or, to take a real-world example, in Hellcrawl, there are no upstairs (which is a nerf), but all items start identified (which is a buff).

Any mechanic in the game will affect some characters more than others. It's hard to change anything if one wants to keep everything just as it is (power-wise).


Changes have a track record of being sticky once implemented, often not being addressed further for year(s). So if there is a significant issue with a particular change for any reason, pointing it out and considering its consequences is worthwhile for the game's lifecycle for the same reason that using a consumable early in the game is worthwhile.

Yes, and "the war" will never end unless devs change their mind and add explicit difficulty levels. Some players want the game become harder, others want it easier, third want it stay unchanged. Nobody is happy


There are quite a few problems with multiple difficulty levels that fall outside the scope of this thread, including a pure development burden multiplier. I suspect it would do more damage to crawl than most potential arbitrary changes to stair logic.

Right now the biggest barrier to changing stair logic already is how it interacts with other things generated by the game. It's a significant issue even with one difficulty level (present one), because most changes to stair dance logic will force at least some kind of alteration to procedural generation to keep the situation fair for players. Getting that right one time will be hard enough.

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Post Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 07:38

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

TheMeInTeam wrote:
Yes, and "the war" will never end unless devs change their mind and add explicit difficulty levels. Some players want the game become harder, others want it easier, third want it stay unchanged. Nobody is happy


There are quite a few problems with multiple difficulty levels that fall outside the scope of this thread, including a pure development burden multiplier. I suspect it would do more damage to crawl than most potential arbitrary changes to stair logic.


You probably missed announcement about Bloatcrawl2 which has difficulty levels. It is simple XP modifier, but is good enough and has almost zero burden multiplier as it can be copied from the branch. I am not sure what you mean as more damage because by default it does nothing.
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Post Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 18:00

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

"It does nothing" is an extremely optimistic assessment that has not held up to scrutiny in other games. I see no reason crawl would be an exception as there are lots of interactions in crawl where XP can disproportionately effect one thing compared to others.

Consider a combo of stairdance nerf + ambush vault with a "difficulty setting". Player can easily wind up in one-shot from full health scenarios, and not be guaranteed the resources to have even one correct response to that. That isn't "real" difficulty, it's bad design, and it's a trap many games that create "difficulty systems" by simply padding enemy hp/damage or reducing player growth fall into. At best, you get a "tedium = difficulty" conclusion (which crawl already does right now sometimes :p), at worst you get cheap-shot game overs.

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Post Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 21:15

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

duvessa wrote:
b0rsuk wrote:Why not just make monsters NOT follow upstairs at all? You could even make them surround the staircase, or summon help from other parts of the level.
yeah stairdancing isn't good against zombies at all


I'm not sure if you're sarcastic or not. Either way I realized a potential weakness of my idea. If monsters don't follow but always gather around staircase (up), you can safely exit then pre-buff using potion of Haste, Might, Agility etc. So a tweak to my proposal:

When you go upstairs, awake monsters in view of the staircase have 2/3 chance to gather around it, and 1/3 to wander a few squares away instead (all of them). This would make pre-buffing fail often enough that people wouldn't use it at least with consumables. Deflect Missiles is stationary I think, Ozucubu's Armor melts when you move too.

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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 07:37

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

TheMeInTeam wrote:"It does nothing" is an extremely optimistic assessment that has not held up to scrutiny in other games. I see no reason crawl would be an exception as there are lots of interactions in crawl where XP can disproportionately effect one thing compared to others.


"It does nothing" was a literal thing. Default difficulty level is 100% XP i.e. nothing is changed, you will play the same game you are playing right now.
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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 13:31

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Settings made before the game or out of the game in a configuration file to modulate its mechanics, notably including difficulty settings, are bad. Everyone should play same game. There should be no question about what various outside settings do, discussion of their effect on the game wherever the game is discussed, questions about what settings a player is using, etc. We should not leave it up to the player to design the game through settings.
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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 13:36

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Why is it bad? It is SP game, not a cybersport championship.

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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 13:48

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

lol i just said why it's bad
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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 14:34

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

tealizard wrote:lol i just said why it's bad


Yes, very detailed explanation. "If we change something by clicking a button in the game, it is ok. If we do it in some other program which immediately starts the game afterwards, it is really bad."?

Do you know what mod is? They are available for many games on the Valve's Steam platform. It's a modification of the game which is activated BEFORE the game starts. Players decide how to enjoy their games the most, really bad indeed.
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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 15:54

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

The problem comes with actually supporting XP gains other than 100%. If you don't, you almost certainly will get unfair interactions or the game performing differently than intended. If you do, you're now designing and managing mechanics for multiple difficulty levels.

DCSS is not Dark Souls, but there is a very good reason both lack difficulty settings. It doesn't have to do with elitism, accessibility, or any of that typical talking point stuff. If you implement a difficulty system, you wind up constrained with what you can do in the game and in the types of experiences that can be presented to the player.

That said, most people would agree that there is broadly a difference in difficulty between MiBe compared to OpAM, so it's not like we don't have some form of tuning already.
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Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 22:02

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

Not going to give a more detailed explanation on the basis of fatuous claims that I've actually given no explanation.
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Post Friday, 31st January 2020, 01:20

Re: Update stair logic (nerf stair dancing)

*sigh*

Yet another change that will end my DCSS play, if implemented. Luckily, the servers keep old versions...

Edit:
tealizard wrote:Not going to give a more detailed explanation on the basis of fatuous claims that I've actually given no explanation.

That's quite blatantly hypocritical of you.

You *have not* actually explained why it's bad for any given setting to be set outside the game, you just flatly stated that it's bad. Notably, you also seem to be unaware that this is already possible, using quite a few different methods. So once again: WHY is it bad for users to be able to set their difficulty this way, whether internally or externally to actual DCSS play, especially since you can set it to 100% XP (thus, no change)?

Of course, everyone here, including you, knows that you have no such explanation to give :mrgreen:.
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