The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging


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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 17:48

The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Finding a position from which it is safe to fight is the central tactical puzzle in Crawl. I assert that the best positions resemble the following:
  Code:
#####.#
##e#.##
#e#@###
e######


The key feature is the perpendicular intersection of diagonal, single-tile halls which means that only one enemy can hit the player, and furthermore, only a single enemy can see the players. The others cannot summon, smite, etc. This is a rare layout, and most often it is created by players themselves. These "killholes" are frequently employed against draconian packs in Zot and in Elf:3, but are ideal for engaging any group of enemies.

Most player races can create these layouts using strategic consumables (wands of digging, disintegration, mostly. IOOD is an exception which I'm ignoring) and as such must choose the most appropriate time when entrenching themselves in such a structure would be most helpful. Formicids, having infinite digging, should dig these as soon as possible upon entering a new floor and drag enemies back to the safe spot. This recalls the idea of player-created traps, which has been dismissed on the basis of the tedium that setting up an array of traps and dragging enemies across the map to step on them would have.

In fact, the status quo is even worse! Because many of the game's substantial threats aren't speed 10 melee-only monsters, it's handy to have one of these layouts nearby to entrench oneself in as quickly as possible. So Formicids should optimally dig many of these structures every floor! This is clearly a very tedious strategy to put into practice.

I propose one solution and then will list a few others which won't work. Formicid digging should be made into a strategic resource. The player will have a finite quantity of dig "charges" which is replenished by gaining XP, reintroducing the strategic considerations in digging "killholes" which other races face, but giving the ants a distinct advantage.

Proposals which will not improve the situation include increasing the hunger cost of Fo digging, increasing the turns taken for each dig, decreasing the turns taken to 10 aut per dig, introducing more monsters with the dig spell. One radical proposal which might be worth discussing is the removal of dig entirely, but that's a larger issue.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 18:15

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

In practice, Fo's digging is mostly useful in the early parts of the game, because after Orc there is usually enough digging available for situations where it's actually needed. Therefore I think it'd be simplest to give Fo the DD treatment and let them start with a wand of digging. Obviously this is a huge flavor loss, but with regards to the issues you mentioned is a gain.

I will say however, that digging is the most fun aspect of Fo and in my eyes at least the species takes a huge hit if it is removed. So your idea for leaving digging and tying it to xp gain is ideal I think.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 18:21

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

there is usually enough digging available for situations where it's actually needed.

The thing is, having infinite digging means that "situations where it's actually needed" isn't a useful thing to think about. You should instead ask: does digging improve this particular situation? And you do this for every single encounter in the game. If the answer is yes, you dig. Adding a limitation in some form means that instead you are closer to caring about "if it's needed".
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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 18:35

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

n1000 wrote:Formicid digging should be made into a strategic resource. The player will have a finite quantity of dig "charges" which is replenished by gaining XP, reintroducing the strategic considerations in digging "killholes" which other races face, but giving the ants a distinct advantage.
I also think Formicid digging has the potential to be problematic but I think your solution isn't as good as it could be. Rather than giving the player X numbers of dig charges (a hard cap), I would suggest something a soft cap, like a draining cost whenever formicids dig.
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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 18:47

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

crate wrote:
there is usually enough digging available for situations where it's actually needed.

The thing is, having infinite digging means that "situations where it's actually needed" isn't a useful thing to think about. You should instead ask: does digging improve this particular situation? And you do this for every single encounter in the game. If the answer is yes, you dig. Adding a limitation in some form means that instead you are closer to caring about "if it's needed".

What? I'm not disagreeing that infinite digging is an issue. I agree fully with all of the points n1000 made. I meant that because it's most useful early on, replacing their dig ability with a wand of digging at the start keeps the core usefulness of digging while eliminating the problems inherent in having it infinitely available. Sorry if this wasn't clear.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 18:48

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Are Formicids really overpowered? They seem to have a low winrate, half that of trolls and ogres, and well under deep dwarves, vine stalkers, and gargoyles. Stasis is a pretty damn big malus, and correct positioning is the best cure for not being able to escape bad situations easily.
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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 18:49

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

The point is not that they're OP, the point is that they encourage a boring tactic of digging killy holes at every screen.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 18:55

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

It's like a kind of inverse, preemptive kiting, and we certainly don't want that. So this is not at all about buff or nerf, this is about preventing players from making the game unfun for themselves (by optimal play). I like the idea of digging cap linked to xp. (The draining idea is also neat, but it's just a different way to tie digging to xp, and seems harder to convey: with n1000's proposal, it's pretty simple: if you ran out of digging charges, that's it; players cannot drain themselves to death -- much better when they shaft themselves to death :))
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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 19:28

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

WalkerBoh wrote:I think it'd be simplest to give Fo the DD treatment and let them start with a wand of digging.


Simple & effective. :ugeek:

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 20:11

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

So Formicid's infinite digging is tedious but playing a spriggan or a mummy isn't?

Besides, on every screen you generally identify the best killy holes to run back to anyway, Formicids just let you make them instead of trying to lure monsters to that one hallway on the map.
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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 20:18

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

TeshiAlair: Yes, kiting is tedious, too. But (a) that shouldn't mean we're happy with more tedious stuff and (b) new content is scrutinised more closely.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 20:38

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Note that if a formicid has infinite digging, it can dig several murderholes in different parts of the map, for example one near each dangerous enemy. If the digging is limited but affordable to be used on every level, then the optimal strategy will be digging one murderhole on most levels and luring dangerous enemies there. (Of course this doesn't work with fast enemies like centaurs, but still allows a formicid to handle the earlygame orc priest hiding behind the orc band.)

For me, digging a murderhole near dangerous enemies is acceptable, but digging one murderhole on the level and then luring everything dangerous there would be annoying.

As an alternative solution, what about replacing digging with a passwall-like ability with a nontrivial cost (draining, XP capped usages or even max MP)? That would give them a unique escape tool and disallow abuses of map modification.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 20:44

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

I think the idea with the xp cap is that it would regenerate slowly enough that you could not create a "kill hole" on every level. Or preferably even every other level.

Also, dragging enemies back across the level presents it's own dangers, e.g.: running into enemies covering your escape routes.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 21:56

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

n1000 wrote:Finding a position from which it is safe to fight is the central tactical puzzle in Crawl. I assert that the best positions resemble the following:
  Code:
#####.#
##e#.##
#e#@###
e######


The key feature is the perpendicular intersection of diagonal, single-tile halls which means that only one enemy can hit the player, and furthermore, only a single enemy can see the players. The others cannot summon, smite, etc. This is a rare layout, and most often it is created by players themselves. These "killholes" are frequently employed against draconian packs in Zot and in Elf:3, but are ideal for engaging any group of enemies.

I propose one solution and then will list a few others which won't work. Formicid digging should be made into a strategic resource. The player will have a finite quantity of dig "charges" which is replenished by gaining XP, reintroducing the strategic considerations in digging "killholes" which other races face, but giving the ants a distinct advantage.


Is the issue of the player spell 'dig' also on the table? That is a nearly infinite resource also. A solution, if one is needed, could be to treat the spell as a cone effect, rather than a beam. Or as a beam with a percentage chance of grabbing an orthogonal piece of rock as the beam passes through.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 22:00

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Dig was removed in trunk IIRC.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 22:01

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

I disagree. First, every character makes a tactical retreat everytime they meet a dangerous group. The difference is just that Fo retreats into a wall. There is no need to drag them around the level, since walls are almost everywhere. Besides, there's already one infinite, silent, and not too expensive way of digging in the form of summon elemental spell.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 22:03

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Tenaya: The spell is gone.

Yet another solution for Formicids would be temporary effect of their digging. If the walls close randomly after 100-200 turns, luring etc. lose all appeal.

Altogether, I am not really worried about this species. There are a number of ways how to address this, and formicids are fun (to me) when played honestly.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 22:06

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Why not make digging noisy as hell?
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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 22:13

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

TeshiAlair wrote:Why not make digging noisy as hell?

Because it'd get players instantly killed on some floors (crypt, tomb) while not doing anything on others (lair).

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 22:19

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

It's not like you can dig in Tomb (or Crypt, IIRC).

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 22:22

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Mummies do not encourage you to grind for experience, nor do they actively punish you if you don't. Mummies will ultimately punish you for pressing w on the character creation screen but that's just sort of their gimmick.

I agree with OP, but to clarify, I think formicids present a problem precisely because

1.) they have infinite tunneling from start
2.) tunneling works differently from dig and doesn't create instant corridor
3.) formicids have perma-stasis

I think it is a combination, and only a combination, of the above that may encourage tedious kill-holing with formicids, precisely because you know that more reasonable and effective methods of threat management (fast, teleportation, etc.) are lacking. This means you need to conserve all your other usable consumables much more carefully than other species, so any thing that can be handled via your innate infinite digging, should be. Plus the nature of how that tunneling works means that you are encouraged to plan ahead, since you don't have insta-corridor. dpeg is right, though, that there are *lots* of ways to address this so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

(One idea I had is simply make it so that too much digging/tunneling on a level "compromises its structural integrity." You get warning messages as you reach a limit, but once X number of tiles have been dug out, any further digging is blocked. "Excavating this level further would be suicidal!")

Anyway, the "kill-hole" tedium is not a problem for other species. I don't think digging is tedious in general. I don't think people (at least those who have any idea what they are doing) routinely drag monsters halfway across the level for any reason. Why they do not do that isn't just because it is tedious, but because it is actively bad play—you are tempting fate to throw an HP sack in your line of retreat. Short tactical retreats and repositioning are part of standard (good, non-tedious) Crawl tactics, so moving back to a (relatively) nearby corridor or spot with better terrain is smart, but if a corridor isn't nearby then you should just use a charge of your wand to create a corridor nearby. Dragging stuff halfway across the level for any reason is inviting a non-negligible amount of danger against your character in order to save a wand charge. That's dumb as hell.

Similarly what makes spriggans powerful is that they can run, not that they can "kite," because extended kiting, once again, invites unnecessary danger when you should just be running away from the thing that you can't take out quickly via normal combat means. There are exceptions, of course, but in general if you are "kill-holing" or kiting to such a degree that it is influencing your enjoyment of the game I guarantee you that you are doing things that are unreasonable and bad purely from a "winning the game" standpoint. The only problem in this regard is that certain enemies were basically designed to be kited as far as I can tell (goliath beetles, spiny worms) and those enemies are annoying, but using superior speed to do *extended* kiting against most enemies is actually not good play. (Backing up a bit to shoot a few needles into something is fine, I don't consider that kiting and I don't think anyone considers that "tedious" either.) Ditto with making kill holes far in advance and dragging stuff to them over 100+ turns or something.

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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 23:14

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Mummies do encourage grinding. Grinding in lair or whathaveyou helps make up for their terrible attributes. Everything else you said is very true however.
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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 23:43

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

So Dig was removed because it can possibly be used for something 90% of player would have never thought of? And now you are thinking about doing it to a race as well...ok.

I don't deny your logic, but...I'd never used any digging source for that. Never even thought of it, nor would I have if you hadn't brought it up and I still won't actually use that tactic, more because I don't see how it'd help enough to make up for the tedium. You know what I've used digging for?

  1. Making shorter paths between up and down staircases in order to make running between floors and the orb run faster. (Turn count reduction; score).
  2. Making walls thinner in order to make passwall more effective (Ashenzari/Earth Elementalist stabs).
  3. Remove slime walls in order to make navigation of the slime pits easier.
  4. Connect subparts of Orc and other floors that split into multiple rooms.
  5. Access the Slime Vault and similar closed access vaults.

On Formacids, specifically, with it being free from the beginning...I also just used it to go straight through walls from the beginning to get to enemies faster. (Since the antennae showed me where they were from the beginning).

You...are getting rid of all of that; because of one abusible usage?
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Post Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 23:50

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

You can still do all of that. Dig lead to silly strategies that had to be special-cased (like hollowing out the entirety of not-vault Zot:5 for easier tele roulette, which I've seen one person recommending ITT and which had to be specifically prohibited).

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 00:02

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

bcadren wrote:
I don't deny your logic, but...I'd never used any digging source for that. Never even thought of it, nor would I have if you hadn't brought it up and I still won't actually use that tactic, more because I don't see how it'd help enough to make up for the tedium.

The issue of tedium is where you make your mistake. If a strategy is optimal, then it is optimal; no amount of pure tedium or miniscule risk makes it not optimal. And the general antipathy towards optimal tedious tasks is part of what makes DCSS a great game.

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 00:09

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

One possibility to the OP's concern would be to make Formicid digging either shorter in distance than regular digging, and/or sloppy, randomly affecting one of three squares in the direction being dug towards.
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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 00:19

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

XuaXua wrote:One possibility to the OP's concern would be to make Formicid digging either shorter in distance than regular digging, and/or sloppy, randomly affecting one of three squares in the direction being dug towards.


No, that would actually make the problem worse, since the OP is proposing that the problem is digging out little corridors and zig-zags in advance for maximum control and luring folks back to it. How big of a problem this is may be up for debate. However if it is thought to be an issue, then making Formicid digging less precise without changing anything else leaves in all the problems but just makes the problematic behaviors more annoying to pull off. I don't think anyone has a problem with tactical digging or affecting your immediate surroundings for a battlefield advantage—that's the intended purpose, and that's what would be penalized by making the digging less precise.
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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 01:03

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

What if Formicid digging effected 2 squares (square you targetted, square one cw or ccw from it randomly) or 3 squares (square you targetted, square one cw and square one ccw)? Then there is no way you could dig out a 'killbox' out of diagonal tiles, it would always have space beside it for another monster to squeeze in.

Alternative A: If you dig a tile and the newly dug tile has only diagonally adjacent open space, "You had to dig out an extra square in the process" and a random square is taken out to give it an orthogonal adjacency.

Alternative B: You can't select diagonals when digging, only orthogonals.

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 02:31

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

My big thing about Fo digging is this:

Let's imagine that formicids are not currently in crawl. Someone proposes a race with permanent stasis, and in exchange you can self-shaft to act as a sort of "teleport".

Assume that race gets implemented. Now what's the gameplay justification for giving that race the ability to dig walls? I am legitimately curious.

This is enough of a game-changing effect that you cannot explain it away with "flavour" like you could with giving them antennae. It needs a gameplay justification.

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 03:30

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

TeshiAlair wrote:Are Formicids really overpowered? They seem to have a low winrate,[snip]Stasis is a pretty damn big malus, and correct positioning is the best cure for not being able to escape bad situations easily.

This sums up most of the perceived problem

dpeg wrote:played honestly.

This sums up most of the real problem. Sigh.

The mere thought that players can bore themselves to hell and back doing something because they can and they feel the need to have it forbidden baffles me. But next to nobody would get that here.

I also don't get why the only kind of player assumed to exist or worth considering is an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist with no sense of boredom and an infinite patience. But then, some people also consider sacrifice or butchering an unbearable pain.

A lot of people around here could do with being less rational and more reasonable, but of course, what the hell can I know if I'm an ignorant?
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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 03:37

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

@Psiweapon:
Dude, if this thread annoys you, then just ignore everything in it except this post by crate:
crate wrote:My big thing about Fo digging is this:

Let's imagine that formicids are not currently in crawl. Someone proposes a race with permanent stasis, and in exchange you can self-shaft to act as a sort of "teleport".

Assume that race gets implemented. Now what's the gameplay justification for giving that race the ability to dig walls? I am legitimately curious.

This is enough of a game-changing effect that you cannot explain it away with "flavour" like you could with giving them antennae. It needs a gameplay justification.

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 03:54

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Dig and shaft are both methods of escape to a race that is denied many. That seems like a gameplay reason. The main issue seems to be that there is an offensive use to it which is also "tedious" because optimally it would be used constantly.

Is there a reason this couldn't be just done as a passwall effect? That it digs through the rock and pushes it behind itself, thus refilling the hole?
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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 04:01

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

TeshiAlair wrote:Dig and shaft are both methods of escape to a race that is denied many. That seems like a gameplay reason.

Self-shafting is explicitly designed as the escape mechanism for formicid. That's fine, it has a gameplay justification for existing.

Digging is not actually an escape mechanism in general. Walls are typically better for escaping from enemies than not-walls are, and additionally digmoving is slower than moving across the floor (and then the enemies can just chase you). If you have exceptionally high stealth then it is possible to break LOS with digging and have the enemies stop chasing you (because of stealth), but this is a pretty niche case and does not convince me that dig is actually a useful escape.

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 04:14

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Psiweapon wrote:The mere thought that players can bore themselves to hell and back doing something because they can and they feel the need to have it forbidden baffles me. But next to nobody would get that here.


Self-improvement is fun. It's really nice to think yourself out of a situation that would have killed your character in the recent past, or to avoid that situation altogether. However, it is lame if self-improvement dictates a boring tactic; either you intentionally play worse than you could have, which makes for a dissatisfying death (if you do die), or it makes the game less enjoyable if you play to avoid that dissatisfying death. So, why should that mechanic exist? It should be changed to not be boring, or it should be removed—Fo would be harder in the second case, but that doesn't matter overmuch since Crawl's races cover a broad range of difficulties.

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 04:42

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Psiweapon wrote:I also don't get why the only kind of player assumed to exist or worth considering is an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist with no sense of boredom and an infinite patience. But then, some people also consider sacrifice or butchering an unbearable pain.


Because the core game philosophy mentions explicitly that the optimal game strategies should not require you to be an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist with no sense of boredom and an infinite patience. From the perspective of Crawl's devteam, players should never have to decide between playing an optimal strategy that is boring as hell and playing a fun game that ignores useful tactics. The best strategies should be fun to play as well.

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 05:30

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

nicolae wrote:Because the core game philosophy mentions explicitly that the optimal game strategies should not require you to be an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist with no sense of boredom and an infinite patience. From the perspective of Crawl's devteam, players should never have to decide between playing an optimal strategy that is boring as hell and playing a fun game that ignores useful tactics. The best strategies should be fun to play as well.


Yes, and I'd just add that even if, practically speaking, we don't think people would be unduly abusive with this sort of thing very often, it is still a good design ideal to try to remove them. Being very vigilant/zealous about OCD preparations outside of combat giving you an edge in combat helps keep all reasonable strategies fun, even ones that are not obsessive about eking out every advantage. Trying to be as consistent as possible about good design goals is a positive even if it is very unlikely that someone would, say, literally spend hours pre-digging a network of tunnels around the perimeter and large interior wall sections of all the dungeon levels, to take the idea to its extreme (at which point, after all, it would be fair to ask whether the player is abusing the game or just himself).

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 14:47

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

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nicolae wrote:The best strategies should be fun to play as well.

and into wrote: Being very vigilant/zealous about OCD preparations outside of combat giving you an edge in combat helps keep all reasonable strategies fun, even ones that are not obsessive about eking out every advantage.

I'd prefer taking already existing fun strategies and making them better, or removing the aggravating parts from things that are ok, than giving absurd amounts of attention to a new feature even though large amounts of old ones need some kind of help.
Sneaking up on monsters and slitting their throats is fun, but there are numerous vaults and branch ends that seem to be designed to prevent this being a viable option. (I'm looking at you Vaults 5.) Dimentos the Freshmaker is a nice buff to this kind of build, but he still doesn't do much to help against stuff like sentinel's mark, nor does he assist with the Orb run, which renders sneaking entirely pointless.
Jiyva's flavor is fun, as is her ability to mesh with almost any build, but her crippling your XP gain (via neutral slimes stealing most of your kills) if taken up early is less so.
Not having to worry about spell hunger as a mummy is fun. Being forced to grind lair to make up for their terrible aptitudes is not fun, and being insta-killed by confusion and having to wait around for ages in order for decomposed stats to go back up is even less so.
(Necromancy/vampires/trolls/ghouls/anything else that relies on corpses) is/are fun, but that changes when they cease to be viable in the endgame/extended without using Ash to radically alter their builds, or using alt-q to radically alter their race. (This also applies to venom mages, who can damage roughly 0% of endgame/extended monsters.)
Demigods... there's nothing fun about them really. Their gimmick is that they have less options and are more boring than any of the other races. Whatever happened to that abstracted followers thing?

Mod edit: off-topic. Read the GDD readme, thanks!

Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 15:36

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

crate has a good point but I immediately considered Formicids digging to provide spatial maneuverability (in one standard Crawl fashion: dig) as that maneuverability is radically severed (denial of teleport and blink). In this sense, there is a gameplay justification for digging.
Note that the other ability does something similar (as shaft is already a Crawl mechanic). It's just that self-shafting has immediate balance advantages over digging.

Personally, I don't have qualms about letting Formicids enter 0.14 without dig-abuse prevention measures. For 0.15, there is a range of possibilities:
  • Remove digging without compensation.
  • Limited digging, e.g. xp gives more digging charges.
  • Starting wand of digging.
  • Self-dug tunnels re-grow after a while.
Myself, I am not a fan of the starting wand of digging: while that cleverly solves the problem, it neglects that Formicids have their own special and thematic digging mechanic.

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 16:54

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

What if formicids absorb translocational energy and use it to move rock out of the way? So reading a scroll of teleportation or blinking gives you 3d3 more charges of digging. Walking over a teleport trap destroys the trap and gives you some charges. Evoking blink or teleport gives you some charges and causes serious glow. Enemies casting teleport other at you gives you a charge but anti-magics the enemy? Or perhaps they are just smart enough not to do that, or the spell is too weak to be absorbed. Distortion attacks charge you and cause minor glow.

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Speleothing

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 17:23

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Here's an idea, not sure if it's been mentioned earlier in the thread.
When Formicids dig, they don't destroy a rock tile, instead they swap places with it. This solves the problem of them digging bendy passages like those shown in OP, as monsters can't follow them, and it makes digging into a marginally acceptable escape mechanism.

Sar

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 17:28

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

...what. So you can just embed yourself into any wall thick enough and be invincible (unless your enemy can dig, that is)?

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 17:30

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

so you can write "i quit crawl" with rocks ingame

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 17:48

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Sar wrote:...what. So you can just embed yourself into any wall thick enough and be invincible (unless your enemy can dig, that is)?

Via channeling(Staff, because Sif piety would decay after a while), IOOD, and spell who's name I can't remember that creates a single cloud of fire to block enemy progress one can already do that.
You know why people don't? Because it's dumb and doesn't really accomplish anything. It's not even optimal play, because you lose piety for every turn you spend wasting time.
(Chei is an exception to that rule, but he's the god of wasting time, so that makes sense.)

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 17:54

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Conjure Flame doesn't block nearly as many enemies as your ability (and the enemies it does block are the enemies that aren't as important to block), rock blocks LoS, your ability does it quicker since it destroys the wall, moves you and blocks all in one move. Oh, and it also doesn't require a combination of specific spells including a level 7 one.

It's not even optimal play, because you lose piety for every turn you spend wasting time.


This is basically never a concern.
Last edited by cerebovssquire on Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 17:55, edited 2 times in total.

Sar

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 17:54

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

khalil wrote:Via channeling(Staff, because Sif piety would decay after a while), IOOD, and spell who's name I can't remember that creates a single cloud of fire to block enemy progress one can already do that.

I have absolutely no idea what are you talking about. As I understand your proposal, you can burrow into a rock, which means that you can put yourself into a position like that:
  Code:
###
#@#
###

heal up, read tele, escape from other side... Sort of like a more situational (but infinite!) Tomb.

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khalil

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 17:59

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

A "more situational" tomb that doesn't expire and works with monsters adjacent, at that.

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Sar

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 18:01

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

Sar wrote:
khalil wrote:Via channeling(Staff, because Sif piety would decay after a while), IOOD, and spell who's name I can't remember that creates a single cloud of fire to block enemy progress one can already do that.

I have absolutely no idea what are you talking about. As I understand your proposal, you can burrow into a rock, which means that you can put yourself into a position like that:
  Code:
###
#@#
###

heal up, read tele, escape from other side... Sort of like a more situational (but infinite!) Tomb.

Argh, no, not thank.
Yes, you could probably do that.
I was saying you could also do that with IOOD (because it destroys rocks) and that fire cloud thing(because it might as well be a wall so long as you create a corner afterwards like so:
  Code:
#,###
#*###
#..@#
####

Use channeling to keep your MP up, use that one fire cloud spell to keep monsters out and boom.

Sar

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 18:10

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

No you can't because a lot of monsters will step into it and those monsters will probably kill you also because they usually have a lot of HP and if you are in a situation like that you probably don't.
And you are comparing using two spells and a specific god to a racial ability, I mean really?

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 18:18

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

@sar
Point. I meant an item actually, but you are right.
Sigh. I hate having to be mature.

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Post Wednesday, 26th March 2014, 22:10

Re: The Problem of Formicid's Infinite Digging

In practice I do not find that having free digging leads to an excessive abuse of digging. The claim that it's a good idea to dig holes everywhere is far from how a real game plays. Yes, even if someone was determined to abuse digging (digging holes just because you can doesn't count as abuse, they have to be useful). Many level layouts do not give easy access to diagonal holes, assuming the player wants to not always stay next to the outer walls(Lair, Lair branches except Snake, some Snake layouts, Vaults, half of D and Zot levels). Vaults has stone walls. Fast monsters also prevent kiting back to holes. Anyway I don't care because a reasonable limitation on the use of digging doesn't affect the way I would play or the way probably most players play.

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