UI FR: Hyperfocused Training


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

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Thursday, 20th August 2015, 22:00

UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

Currently, there are three normal modes for training: off, practice and focus. (I am not 100% sure these are the correct nomenclature.) In terms of xp distribution, focused training uses double what practice training does. I would like to be able to train a particular skill at double again that rate of xp, and we can call that hyperfocused training, I guess. (The terms are only used in the const names, I think, so it's really unimportant what it's called.) On the skill training menu, a + is practice, a * is focus, and I would suggest either a ! or ^ for hyperfocus, but again there is no preference here.

This change would require some modification to the toggling code, but currently pressing the skill menu item character cycles through the training states: on, focused and off. In terms of the cycling, this would require one additional keypress to turn training off for a skill. This might technically be a drawback, but it's a barely noticeable one, given the total number of keypresses already required to train skills.

The reason I would like this is that I prefer to train skills manually, but when playing species with abysmal aptitudes I have to spend more time going back and forth in the skills menu to arrive at my desired levels, when it would be more preferable to have more control over the balance of distribution so that I can "set them and forget them" for longer periods of time. I believe that this is the simplest possible means to address this. If implemented, then one can more adequately manually train skills with, say, -5 aptitude without so much tinkering with the training menu.

Example, currently (target skill: Spellcasting):
  Code:
    Skill           Level Train Apt      Skill           Level Train Apt
a + Fighting         5.0   12%  -2   g * Spellcasting     9.3   25%  -5
b - Short Blades     5.1        -2   h * Conjurations     8.2   25%  -3
c - Unarmed Combat   5.3         0   i - Charms           0.0        -4
                                     j - Translocations   0.6        -3
d - Throwing         0.0        -1   k - Fire Magic       9.2        -3
                                     l - Air Magic        2.6        -4
e - Armour           0.0        -2   m * Earth Magic      6.7   25%  -1
f - Dodging          5.2        -2   n - Poison Magic     2.7        -3

                                     o + Evocations       6.6   12%  -2
                                     p - Stealth          1.1        -4


Example, desired (target skill: Spellcasting):
  Code:
    Skill           Level Train Apt      Skill           Level Train Apt
a + Fighting         5.0   10%  -2   g ^ Spellcasting     9.3   40%  -5
b - Short Blades     5.1        -2   h * Conjurations     8.2   20%  -3
c - Unarmed Combat   5.3         0   i - Charms           0.0        -4
                                     j - Translocations   0.6        -3
d - Throwing         0.0        -1   k - Fire Magic       9.2        -3
                                     l - Air Magic        2.6        -4
e - Armour           0.0        -2   m * Earth Magic      6.7   20%  -1
f - Dodging          5.2        -2   n - Poison Magic     2.7        -3

                                     o + Evocations       6.6   10%  -2
                                     p - Stealth          1.1        -4


Anyway, it seems like a simple change, and I hope I'm not the only person who has ever wished for something like this. :)
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Barkeep

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Post Thursday, 20th August 2015, 22:14

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

I feel like if we went to that level of control, we might as well just allow allocating any arbitrary percentage of XP to a particular skill.

(also, afaik, people generally use "-" to mean off, "+" to mean training, and "*" to mean "focusing," but I don't know if there are like, precise defined terms for that stuff either)

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Thursday, 20th August 2015, 23:03

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

I see your point, but I think that from a coding standpoint that would be a far more involved. The suggestion I am making is pretty straightforward and doesn't impact the current UI negatively, but does allow a more granular approach to "fine tuning." A big part of the elegance of the skills training screen is the automatic allocation of percentages based on a few simple selections. My suggestion augments that elegance, but your suggestion would create an entirely new class of issues, one example being how to allocate/deallocate the other skill percentages once a new percentage for a skill is selected. Are they incremented/decremented equally? Do we allow some to be "locked" so that deallocation doesn't occur? I just think that would be an overreaching solution to an aspect of the game that doesn't even rise to the level of an issue, never mind a problem. I believe my request would be simple and barely noticeable, while also achieving the desired result.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 00:01

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

This seems like its a bit more than just a UI change to me, since it can actually affect your levelled skills.

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 00:24

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

I don't understand your objection, since one can already "affect" one's leveled skills arbitrarily. This simply reduces a tiny element of tedium in skill allocation management through a basic UI change that offers one finer level of granularity in the controls.

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 00:35

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

The main issue is, who actually understands the precise benefits of all the different skills sufficiently well to need this feature? Probably nobody.

Also there is the general advice to "train one thing at a time" so that you first devote all XP to getting your spells castable, then switch over to training melee skill and defense, etc., so that few skills are active at a time. When few skills are active at a time you don't need this feature.
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mps

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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 01:00

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

As Berder says, from the perspective of optimal play, you're supposed to skill only one thing at a time and switch frequently. The manual training screen is the way it is for simplicity, I would speculate, and for convenience, so that less fiddly, but less optimal, play is possible (i.e. skilling a bunch of stuff at once in various proportions). Giving significantly more control would lead people to believe there is benefit to be had from fine-tuning beyond what's already possible, which there isn't.
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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 01:01

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

Well, aside from philosophical objections, which I don't understand in this context, I have myself realized by really examining the code that it is not nearly as simple as I have assumed. I can see several modifications that must be made in miscellaneous support functions that test against training mode by explicit reference to the presumptive value of only two possibilities for training.

In spells.cc, there is the function _train_skills(), which starting at line 761, reads
  Code:
            if (you.train[sk] == 2 && you.training[sk] < 20 && you.can_train[sk])
                you.training[sk] += 5 * (5 - you.training[sk] / 4);

And dump_skills() has this as line 1671
  Code:
                                 you.train[i] == 2 ? '*' :


The '2's referring to the only "expected" state of training. So training state references maybe would have to be constified, or some other arcana, and it's always more work than one thinks.

And I haven't even found yet where the allocation actually takes place.

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 01:09

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

One of the best options I've changed in the crawl ini is to disable focused training. skill_focus=false

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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 01:31

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

skill_focus has a different effect depending upon whether one is auto-training. The effect of the proposed augmentation when one is auto-training would also have to be considered, but was not principal in my request.

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 17:22

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

Since auto training already can end up with any arbitrary percentage, and the game supports it, why not allow a certain hotkey combo to just set an exact % to train in manual mode?

So nobody has to do any extra clicking vs the current setup, but those who wish to fine tune their training are free to do so.

Before objecting, remember that the game right now lets me press m and change my training priorities after every kill, so we already have basically full control over where our XP goes, just at the cost of tedium.

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 17:40

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

It could work like the drop menu. d24t drops 24 of whatever is in stack t.

Typing m24a24b44gENTER could set skill a to 24%, skill b to 24%, skill g to 44%, and all the other skills that are activated to the same fraction of the remaining 8%. I don't think it's worthwhile to think about percentages smaller than 20%, though.

I guess I might use the requested feature to train at 80-20 instead of 66-33, but 80-20 is not usually better than 100-0 or 66-33. Maybe for Ogres training spellcasting along with a spell school?

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 18:47

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

It would actually be a lot more useful than the ability to drop numbers of something from a stack, since weight is no longer a thing. I realize there are still occasions where it makes sense to drop some of a stack, but I contend that there are at least as many occasions where it would be desirable to manually set training percentages.
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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 19:24

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

dowan wrote:Before objecting, remember that the game right now lets me press m and change my training priorities after every kill, so we already have basically full control over where our XP goes, just at the cost of tedium.

I think the most reasonable objection to this is that games should implicitly communicate how they're best played. Crawl in no way requires playing with such attention to min-max detail that one needs to fine tune their skill focus percentages, so providing that option is counterproductive in shaping the player's experience. The fact that the game lets you do something as tedious as opening the skill menu between every enemy kill isn't a strong argument in favor of instituting a new menu to automate that process; if anything, it's an argument for rethinking how we expect players to manage skills.

I don't know that this is a particularly convincing objection, but it's the one that I subscribe to. I don't want the game to encourage me to spend more time micromanaging my skills. If anything, I'd prefer changes that let me do less skill management, but autotraining is so bad that one of the first pieces of advice we give new players is to turn it off.

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 20:00

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

Remember that the default method of training is mislabeled as "automatic". You think opening the skills screen after every fight is tedious, how about spamming spells you have no intention of using just to get the 'automatic' training to put enough XP into those skills so you can cast the spell you actually want to use?

And yes, this is how I thought you were supposed to play the game at first, based on what I saw on the skills screen. All the talk on the wiki about victory dancing only confused things further, as it no longer existed when I started playing...

Now, letting me set exact percentages on the training screen means I actually have to open it less, ignoring weapon skill breakpoints and what have you. I just set my various skills to the percentage I want, and only look back when the dungeon causes me to want to change my training, or when I hit min-delay.
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Barkeep

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 20:34

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

I'm not saying the skill system is perfect. I'm saying that this solution is a kludgy patch on top of an already problematic system.

I have a hard time believing that setting arbitrary percentages would cause people to enter the skill menu fewer times per game, frankly. The fact that I can already set skills to a wide range of percentages suggests that even if I could fine-tune those percentages further, I'd still probably be entering the menu at fairly frequent intervals, because that's what I do now, because Crawl's system for managing skills isn't great.

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 23:14

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

It's true, realistically people who use it might end up going to the skills menu more often, if they like to adjust. But I assume those people are probably just doing 1 skill at a time anyway. If you're enabling multiple skills you're already deciding to play less than optimally for convenience. Still, maybe just another focus level as suggested in the OP would be better, as long as it doesn't make things harder in any way for people who don't want to use it.

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Aule

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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 04:11

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

dowan wrote:Still, maybe just another focus level as suggested in the OP would be better, as long as it doesn't make things harder in any way for people who don't want to use it.

It wouldn't, realistically speaking, and that's the meat of it. If you never used it, you'd have no need to notice it.

While I do appreciate the bumps, I do not believe that arguments about hypothetical unspoiled players or presumptively optimal philosophies are appropriate to the topic. It's simply a request to add an additional character to an existing toggle. {-, +, *} becomes {-, +, *, ^}. That is all. Were my request to only allow training one skill at a time, period, because people should only do that anyway, or whatever, then such philosophical byways would surely be germane, but merely adding to an already existing feature in this barely significant way hardly merits such depth of treatment, I think. Nothing would be given that isn't already present with a greater degree of tedium.

Can we agree on that, at least?

I just want to have a caret, please.

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dowan

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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 14:02

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

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Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 14:44

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

Aule wrote:It wouldn't, realistically speaking, and that's the meat of it. If you never used it, you'd have no need to notice it.


That is assuming the ability to hyperfocus is controlled by an option (skill_focus = hyper, maybe) and disabled by default. Otherwise, everyone who turns a skill off would notice, because they'd have to press the skill's letter one more time than before.

I think an optional version of this would be reasonable: I'd probably use it myself in some situations.

(In 0.9, after the removal of victory dancing but before I learned the virtues of manual mode, I still "victory danced" to exercise skills and set my skill XP allocations to the percentages I wanted. Of course those percentages were based on uninformed general feeling, but whatever. Good times.)

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 15:04

Re: UI FR: Hyperfocused Training

neil wrote:That is assuming the ability to hyperfocus is controlled by an option (skill_focus = hyper, maybe) and disabled by default. Otherwise, everyone who turns a skill off would notice, because they'd have to press the skill's letter one more time than before.

Currently, to turn off a skill, if training normally, one must press the same key twice. This is usually done in quick succession. Given that the time between two presses of the same key and three presses of the key in such succession is measured in milliseconds, I believe my characterization of the impact as barely significant was accurate, even were it not optional but a new standard. But I'll happily take optional, too, so, thank you. :)

@byrel: Don't be diacritical and try to circumflex the issue. :lol:

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