Examine yourself


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Dungeon Dilettante

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Post Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 11:06

Examine yourself

You know "xv" command to examine monsters, I was wondering why can't player examine his own character like this. It would give you so needed numerical feedback on you exp points investments into Fighting and explain how strength affects you damage output. Something like: "It's you. You do 5 damage plus your dagger of electrocution." The funny part it's already done for your doppelganger, you can summon using Nemelex summoning deck but when you try to examine yourself, it's like you aren't even there.
Last edited by JumpingArm on Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 12:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Lair Larrikin

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Post Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 12:24

Re: Examine yourself

That would be neat. You can already examine player ghosts as well, so I think it wouldn't be a problem to code 'examine yourself'. Altough monsters, nem phantom and player ghosts never switch their gear, so that could be an issue to code.
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Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 13:04

Re: Examine yourself

Well, there's already a way to get information about the player character, accessible via the % command. If it were the intention to give the player the information you're talking about, it would be on that screen.

Player ghosts are not the same as the player character by a long shot. Providing the information the player ghost would when targeted by xv when targetting the player character with xv would be very bad indeed.
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Post Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 14:07

Re: Examine yourself

tealizard wrote:Well, there's already a way to get information about the player character, accessible via the % command. If it were the intention to give the player the information you're talking about, it would be on that screen.

Shift+5 doesn't tell you anything about your damage in fact you can't even "?/T" how 'claws 3' translates into damage. It's difficult to decide when to stop investing into fighting or strength because you have no idea how they affect your damage. "Examine yourself" might be able to address this "wander in the dark" situation. And it's weird in general that "xv" treats you like you don't exist.

tealizard wrote:Player ghosts are not the same as the player character by a long shot. Providing the information the player ghost would when targeted by xv when targetting the player character with xv would be very bad indeed.

Can you elaborate on why is it bad?

Zot Zealot

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Post Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 14:30

Re: Examine yourself

Enemies and characters in crawl use completely different mechanics (that is, many things use different code paths, different formulas to calculate the number, the spells themselves are actually different spells with the same name, etc.). So the fact that you can get some numbers on monsters (like ghosts) does not mean that you can get the same numbers on your character. Yes, the ghost is base on the dead character in some way, but is actually a monster, so uses monster code. This means that some spells are way stronger on ghosts for example, than it was on the character the ghost is based on.

I would like damage numbers to display somehow, to make weapon comparison easier without fsim. But it is not trivial, for example you do NOT "do x damage plus your weapon", the formula is more complicated. It is an open question what is the best way to communicate complex formulas to the player. (I do not really know *why* the formulas are so complex, whether they could be replaced with something much simpler with roughly the same effect.)

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Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 14:48

Re: Examine yourself

JumpingArm wrote:Shift+5 doesn't tell you anything about your damage in fact you can't even "?/T" how 'claws 3' translates into damage. It's difficult to decide when to stop investing into fighting or strength because you have no idea how they affect your damage.


All of this is true, but that's the way it's intended to be. People are very much aware that there is little numerical feedback about how much damage the player does in combat and this has been judged to be a good thing. There are alternative versions of crawl, like hellcrawl and I believe jeremygurr's forks, that display a lot more numerical information than dcss.

re: sanka, it's not really that hard to directly compute the numbers fsim comes up without using Monte Carlo, game state altering weirdness like fsim. It wouldn't even be that hard to plot distributions. The position appears to be that the mystery surrounding these sorts of questions among many players is good.
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Post Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 14:57

Re: Examine yourself

I did not mean that it is hard to compute the numbers. I meant that maybe average effective damage against a particular enemy , for example, is not the number you would like to display. That is, I think the problem is not the calculation of numbers but the communication to the player.

I mean that there are many factors, and they are not simply added together, therefore it is not simple to display a few numbers and expect the players to obtain correct intuition.

Maybe I am wrong though, and you could display something like Attack speed: 0,7, Avg attack damage: 15 (reduced by AC) + 5 (reduced by fire resistance). Or something like this for every type of ego, etc.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 15:18

Re: Examine yourself

All I want is
  Code:
You hit the yak! (15)
...{HEMoDEHuDDAs}{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz
{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMo
HuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 20:52

Re: Examine yourself

xv on yourself should bring up the % screen though, that's a good idea.

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Spider Stomper

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Post Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 05:36

Re: Examine yourself

sanka wrote:I did not mean that it is hard to compute the numbers. I meant that maybe average effective damage against a particular enemy , for example, is not the number you would like to display. That is, I think the problem is not the calculation of numbers but the communication to the player.

I mean that there are many factors, and they are not simply added together, therefore it is not simple to display a few numbers and expect the players to obtain correct intuition.

Maybe I am wrong though, and you could display something like Attack speed: 0,7, Avg attack damage: 15 (reduced by AC) + 5 (reduced by fire resistance). Or something like this for every type of ego, etc.


There are other games with very similar combat damage mechanics that provide clean, readable digests of such data. I have no idea what currently active developers think about this issue or whether it's even on the radar, but my impression in the past has been that there was opposition to providing this data in principle and that controversy over how to do it was not the central issue.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 07:24

Re: Examine yourself

tealizard wrote:There are other games with very similar combat damage mechanics that provide clean, readable digests of such data. I have no idea what currently active developers think about this issue or whether it's even on the radar, but my impression in the past has been that there was opposition to providing this data in principle and that controversy over how to do it was not the central issue.


This. If damage numbers were hidden by default, it would not matter how well they are calculated for those players who do enable them by changing ini file. Non-perfect information is still million times better than no information.
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Snake Sneak

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Post Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 17:27

Re: Examine yourself

tealizard wrote:There are other games with very similar combat damage mechanics that provide clean, readable digests of such data. I have no idea what currently active developers think about this issue or whether it's even on the radar, but my impression in the past has been that there was opposition to providing this data in principle and that controversy over how to do it was not the central issue.

I think the intention here is to minimize the sort of endless optimization mechanics that can plague games like that, while simultaneously avoiding the "It's an X, therefore it must be better" game design.

So players aren't encouraged to try every combination of gear to find the one that gives them the absolute BEST bonuses, but neither are they encouraged to go "It's a heavier armor/weapon/shield/etc., so it must be a better one." Instead there's a balance that I think was intended to reduce that whole cognitive load: "Is X better than Y? Yeah, I think so, but if it's not the difference is probably small enough that it won't hurt, and I can always just switch back if I change my mind."
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Spider Stomper

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Post Friday, 23rd November 2018, 00:44

Re: Examine yourself

Optimization is not endless when the goal can be achieved with a bit of thought and readily available information. I don't know how much crawl discourse you read, from tavern, to the reddit, to irc, discords, and other forums, but if you tried to come up with the top three questions players looking for advice have, I think they'd be: "How should I allocate my skills?" "What equipment should I use?" "How should I allocate my stats?"

These are numerical questions whose persistence has a lot to do with two basic facts: 1. The game does not present numbers that would lead to informed decision making. 2. Coming to correct decisions (or even good ones relative to a well-versed player) is either highly unlikely, due to the sheer combinatorics, or takes an unrealistically large number of trials treated with an unrealistic level of care and attention. The best argument I ever hear in favor of continuing this situation is that it actually doesn't matter if you make the right call in every instance and that we should encourage players to feel things out. I would definitely agree that it doesn't matter if you choose the best weapon in the current game or the tenth best when you otherwise know how to play, but that's much less true for new players.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

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Post Friday, 23rd November 2018, 16:41

Re: Examine yourself

At one point I tried to get xv to just show that the player was there, for accessibility reasons (blind players), and it was weirdly hard to even do that -- never got it working. It's probably something worth returning to eventually though. Agreed that xv showing a monster-like display would be a bit odd, and most of this style of information wouldn't be that useful, but if I work on this again, the main purpose will still be accessibility. Given that I think there's a case to be made that it should have a similar formatting to other screens displayed by xv even if it's not showing much information (perhaps then with a button to go to the % display); I doubt it would ever be a sensible shortcut for % anyways.

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