some crawl despoilering tweaks


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

Slime Squisher

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Post Friday, 4th May 2012, 15:45

some crawl despoilering tweaks

A few separate ideas to help new players learn more quickly:

I. recolor '(Hit _)'

You can't give console players help if they don't see that message in the corner, and the blue doesn't stand out. I recommend a bright orange or magenta, or one of the glowing colors like mutagenic.

II. Have show_game_turns/show_gold_turns on by default

And have these numbers explained in the game's tutorial.

Speed in Crawl is not always intuitive. It may be the most important number in the game, yet it is completely hidden by default. Why? Is it any wonder why the uninformed praise Na^Chei when the only thing they see is the massive boost to their stats? How many new Troglodites have you seen die because they were exploring while slowed+exhausted? SwiftHaste are possibly the best spells in the game, yet neophytes rarely use them because (I'm guessing) they don't get direct feedback beyond the buff message. An explained turn counter could fix these things.

III. Weapon stats

The amount of times I’ve seen splatters wielding hand axes in Zot suggests something is wrong. A new player finds '+9,+2 falchion of killdudes {flame, +Inv rPois rN+ Str+1 Sinv Stealth+}' -look at all the things it does! - they don't understand why this weapon is outclassed by a vanilla demon blade. The trouble is the game doesn't actually explain anywhere that base damage and min delay skill are nearly always more important than anything else a weapon does.

I suggest that weapon and weapon skill texts are expanded to emphasize the importance of base damage, as well as explicitly stating the skill needed for min delay.

For this message the author eeviac has received thanks:
rebthor
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Friday, 4th May 2012, 15:59

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

I definitely agree with the second proposal (it's ridiculous that you have to set an option for gold and turns). I don't necessarily think it would help with the situations you outline, but they're good things to have regardless.

The first one could be solved by a simple force_more on "Beep! You have a message blah blah" since it's really easy to miss that line. Recolouring (Hit _) in addition to that isn't a bad idea, though.

As for weapon stats, more transparency would definitely be good, but I'm not sure of the best way to go about that.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 4th May 2012, 16:15

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

Representing weapon damage is non-trivial. You could calculate an average based on the current weapon speed using the player's skills. Weapon brands introduce some difficulty, though. Do you calculate the impact of a fire/ice brand on damage against non-resistant targets? Do you only do that if the weapon carries the brand itself, and doesn't just have it from the Charms spell? Do you update the number if the player is hasted? Using Heroism? What about Ashenzari's boost? Do you bother factoring in accuracy?

Then there's missile weapons...

I do like the idea of something like "Base Attack Delay: 14 Current Attack Delay: 10 Min. Attack Delay: 7 Min. Delay at Skill Level 14"

Slime Squisher

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Post Friday, 4th May 2012, 16:27

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

I don't think crawl should be displaying people's damage output, I think it should be giving enough information that people can reasonably judge which weapon is better. This should probably include info on how brands work.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 5th May 2012, 00:58

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

I think crawl gives you enough information as far as weapon damage goes. It's immediately obvious when you actually try out said weapons and take a look at how much damage you take while fighting stuff. The main trap that new players would fall into is switching to a different weapon class because of a not-very-good weapon but I don't see a need for crawl to hold hands there anyway.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 5th May 2012, 02:35

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

I do not believe that crawl gives enough weapon damage information.

A weapon should display base information alongside "current" information which takes into account character state (haste, slow, slaying, + on the weapon, speed, etc.) There shouldn't be a need for a separate excel spreadsheet to figure this out.
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Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 01:14

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

I have not paid any attention to base damage and attack delay, because I don't know what they mean. I'm one of the people the OP mentions as ignoring those in favor of flashy stats on a weapon. Where can I go to figure out how that stuff works?

Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 15:20

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

I we don't want to despoiler this, a simple displayed weapon effectiveness would probably be sufficient. Either in the @ text (You feel <wary,uncertain,comfortable,confident,certain> of your capability with your weapon) where the choice is some calculation of weapon delay, and ability to use the weapon without impedence of armour/shield), or just displayed as above: (Base Attack Delay: 14- Current Attack Delay: 10- Min. Attack Delay: 7- Min. Delay at Skill Level 14-)

you could also add the speed next to the weapon, if you wanted, so it displays (something like (falchion {ice, rF+} (delay:quick)) if there's room.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 16:51

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

@ already gives you a description of your attack speed, and show_game_turns will show you the exact speed, so i'm not sure what adding more potentially confusing text to @/inscriptions does that is good.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 16:53

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

I was thinking more along the lines of adding the speed info to the extended weapon descriptions, where you go to look for base damage/accuracy/delay now.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 17:41

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

Look I dunno why they don't replace the "weapon delay" thing with something like "You need <skill level n> with <weapon skill class> to use this weapon at full speed normally"
(p.s. this is stupid some dev please make it not stupid) - minmay

Vestibule Violator

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 21:41

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

sardonica wrote:Look I dunno why they don't replace the "weapon delay" thing with something like "You need <skill level n> with <weapon skill class> to use this weapon at full speed normally"

What's full speed? Min delay? 1 game turn? I'm sure that I'm not the only one who will go to the next weapon in a class if my delay is close to 1 game turn. Then you have something like a quickblade which is under a turn right away.

What I'm trying to say and maybe not making myself clear about is that the current information provided gives the player an exact number of game turns that each action takes and assuming you have show game turns on, it's right there in your face. Changing this to some text will not help matters.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Saturday, 26th May 2012, 09:02

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

of course full speed is mindelay...
(p.s. this is stupid some dev please make it not stupid) - minmay

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Post Monday, 28th May 2012, 20:16

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

rebthor wrote:
sardonica wrote:Look I dunno why they don't replace the "weapon delay" thing with something like "You need <skill level n> with <weapon skill class> to use this weapon at full speed normally"

What's full speed? Min delay? 1 game turn? I'm sure that I'm not the only one who will go to the next weapon in a class if my delay is close to 1 game turn. Then you have something like a quickblade which is under a turn right away.

What I'm trying to say and maybe not making myself clear about is that the current information provided gives the player an exact number of game turns that each action takes and assuming you have show game turns on, it's right there in your face. Changing this to some text will not help matters.


I have show game turns on (I think) and it doesn't clarify anything, in fact its pretty confusing what 83724(100.0) means after I search using o for example. Showing the turn speed combined with the separated information on weapon delay is confusing- when I look at a weapon in my inventory, the damage, accuracy, and delay numbers are not accurate for my character? That's hard to understand. It doesn't take into account my skills, whereas so many other things in the game do. For example kobold corpses change from green to white if I have rPois. Thus why can't the weapons description give me information that is accurate for my character?

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 4th June 2012, 19:59

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

eeviac wrote:Speed in Crawl is not always intuitive. It may be the most important number in the game, yet it is completely hidden by default. Why? Is it any wonder why the uninformed praise Na^Chei when the only thing they see is the massive boost to their stats?


It is precisely the case that I recommend playing Chei to fully understand the effects of game time on the character. It is entirely impossible to win a game with Chei if you don't completely understand what the penalty to movement time actually means. Taking 2.8 turns to step and not knowing game time is suicide. Playing Chei forces a knowledge of game time that no other god requires. In addition, if you play the recommended unarmed combat character, it has among the most complex attack speed mechanics compared to other weapons. Speed is reduced every 5.4 levels instead of 2, for example, there is an additional penalty for shields, etc. Using unarmed with game turns shown will show quite a lot of variation in attack speed.

I therefore clearly know very well the other effects besides the massive boost to stats, and calling me uninformed not only doesn't strengthen your case, but is also just in poor taste. Nevertheless, the suggestion to turn on game time by default is a good one and I'm not that upset, clearly I've stuck around through all the previous abuse, so hey.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 4th June 2012, 20:06

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

Monican wrote:I have show game turns on (I think) and it doesn't clarify anything, in fact its pretty confusing what 83724(100.0) means after I search using o for example.


it means you have spent 83724 turns on this character, and the last action you took required 100.0 turns.

Slime Squisher

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Post Wednesday, 6th June 2012, 22:14

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

tasonir wrote:
eeviac wrote:Speed in Crawl is not always intuitive. It may be the most important number in the game, yet it is completely hidden by default. Why? Is it any wonder why the uninformed praise Na^Chei when the only thing they see is the massive boost to their stats?


It is precisely the case that I recommend playing Chei to fully understand the effects of game time on the character. It is entirely impossible to win a game with Chei if you don't completely understand what the penalty to movement time actually means. Taking 2.8 turns to step and not knowing game time is suicide. Playing Chei forces a knowledge of game time that no other god requires. In addition, if you play the recommended unarmed combat character, it has among the most complex attack speed mechanics compared to other weapons. Speed is reduced every 5.4 levels instead of 2, for example, there is an additional penalty for shields, etc. Using unarmed with game turns shown will show quite a lot of variation in attack speed.

I therefore clearly know very well the other effects besides the massive boost to stats, and calling me uninformed not only doesn't strengthen your case, but is also just in poor taste. Nevertheless, the suggestion to turn on game time by default is a good one and I'm not that upset, clearly I've stuck around through all the previous abuse, so hey.


Sorry man, that wasn't meant as a personal attack. Chei has been a popular god among new players for a long time now (prior to your writeups), and I believe it's because crawl hides speed by default. Being uninformed isn't the new players' fault. I want people to understand core mechanics without needing the bots or wiki. Then they can go Chei if they want.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 7th June 2012, 04:27

Re: some crawl despoilering tweaks

Alright, apologies if I took it more personally than it should have been :) I think chei is popular among new characters because while the character might be somewhat weaker than "proper" builds, it is one that is much more easily auto-piloted and does have the power for 15 runes. Passive stats work with tab more than haste does, even though hasting and then tabbing is trivial to do as well.

Anyways to get back on topic, I'd love to see weapons have a line in their description along the lines of what skill level is required for min delay. Since there's already enough text improvement work to do, how about some recommended phrasing:

"This weapon requires $level in $SKILL to strike as quickly as possible."

So for a scimitar, it would be:

"This weapon requires 14 levels in Long Blades to strike as quickly as possible."

If you wanted to, 'strike' could be replaced with damtype, ie slicing, crushing, etc. Additionally, there could be an optional warning: "Other factors may effect weapon delay such as shields, or haste and slow effects." I'm not sure if that needs to be included, though.

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