Change Searing Ray Interface


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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 15:33

Change Searing Ray Interface

The current interface for Searing Ray of using [.] to fire the next ray is dangerous, since if the player is not careful to note that the "Ray" status has expired they will with the very same key skip an action in the face of hostiles by resting. While it is appropriate to expect that players exercise care and attention to their game situation, I would characterize this as interface screw because the consequences of accidentally pressing this key once too many times can be so severe.

I propose changing "fire another ray" to the [/] key. This key is currently unused, and even looks like a ray. The key would need new feedback for when it is pressed while the "Ray" status is absent, perhaps, "You do not have any more Searing Rays to fire."
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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 15:59

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Better searing ray change: bring up the targeter again for each ray. This will make the spell actually usable at non-45 degree angles, and you can cancel with esc if you want to stop it early.

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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 16:07

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

I also have thought of another solution different than my OP: prompt "are you sure" on rest when tension is grater than an .ini-file-specified amount. When [.] means another ray, do that. (Incidentally, how does one currently cancel the ray, if "Ray" is on the status bat but you want to skip an action?)
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bel

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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 16:33

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

I seem to recall using searing ray at non-45 degree angles as well. It doesn't always work because the monster will not follow the path of the ray which you used to target the first time, but it works sometimes.

Anyway, i don't see anything wrong with the interface. It only lasts 4 turns, you don't need to press . too often.

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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 16:35

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

bel wrote:Anyway, i don't see anything wrong with the interface.


Do you check status every turn to make sure you are not passing turns for nothing? Or do you count turns (let's cast Searing Ray, let's pass first turn, let's pass second turn and the ray should be over by then)?
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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 16:37

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

MainiacJoe wrote:I also have thought of another solution different than my OP: prompt "are you sure" on rest when tension is grater than an .ini-file-specified amount.


I do not think a mechanic which is totally invisible to the player and constantly changes is a good idea for this at all.
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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 18:20

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Sandman25 wrote:
bel wrote:Anyway, i don't see anything wrong with the interface.


Do you check status every turn to make sure you are not passing turns for nothing? Or do you count turns (let's cast Searing Ray, let's pass first turn, let's pass second turn and the ray should be over by then)?


I check status to make sure ray is active, that's it. Most mobs die before 4 turns or on the 4th turn.

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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 18:22

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

bel wrote:I check status to make sure ray is active, that's it. Most mobs die before 4 turns or on the 4th turn.


But it's time-consuming, repetitive and error-prone. I passed some turns this way.

bel

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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 19:48

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Hardly: if monster dies before ray expires, it doesn't matter if you passed a turn or two. If not (which happens not too often), it is natural to check whether it has expired, especially as the last ray is a bolt, and easily distinguishable.

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Post Monday, 17th August 2015, 19:54

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

bel wrote:Hardly: if monster dies before ray expires, it doesn't matter if you passed a turn or two. If not (which happens not too often), it is natural to check whether it has expired, especially as the last ray is a bolt, and easily distinguishable.


It is natural to check weapon before attack but we have !a inscription, it is natural to check item before throwing but we have !f inscription etc., I hope you got the point. And again, I passed some turns by mistake as it is not exactly easy to look at the center for tactical position, at lower-left corner to read messages, at lower-right corner to check monster list and at upper-right corner to check status effect every turn. What can be improved should be improved!

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Post Tuesday, 18th August 2015, 00:28

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

I've definitely miscasted searing ray and passed a turn or two (or four) thinking I was shooting the guy standing in front of me.

The angle problem is that if you fire a searing ray at an orthagonal enemy, you will hit them every turn, as long as they don't have some kind of weird movement.
If you fire a searing ray at an enemy in a position like this:
  Code:
@....
.....E

He might on the next turn go northwest, while your searing ray was firing two squares east, then southeast, then east to the enemy. Meaning the rest of your rays don't hit him, only due to the weird gridstuff that happens in crawl. Trying to make searing ray follow the same rules as enemy movements might help, but that's a big undertaking. Just retargetting every turn is much simpler, plus, it fixes other problems with the spell. (What other spell in the game does anything special when you press '.'?

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Post Tuesday, 18th August 2015, 19:04

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Right, basically monster apthing uses the same logic as the ray spells, but starting from the other direction. It does make Searing ray a little tricky to use. Overall I don't find that bad though. It's way more interesting than magic dart or IMB.
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Post Wednesday, 19th August 2015, 00:58

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

I think having to dance around to manage the conversion from tiles to real life geometry was the main reason for the change to square los. I don't find it interesting, it's just annoying, tedious, and spoilery.

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Post Wednesday, 19th August 2015, 08:18

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

On the angle thing, IMO we should make Searing Ray homing (if you target an enemy or through an enemy, subsequent turns are fired at the enemy's current pos, not previous pos). That would really only be a buff in the case where you are getting screwed over by Bresenham's Algorithm.

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Post Wednesday, 19th August 2015, 10:31

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

savageorange wrote:On the angle thing, IMO we should make Searing Ray homing (if you target an enemy or through an enemy, subsequent turns are fired at the enemy's current pos, not previous pos). That would really only be a buff in the case where you are getting screwed over by Bresenham's Algorithm.

This would be good. But if the enemy is moving, you want to see the path of the ray, in case there are allies around. So the path should be visible all the time.
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{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE
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Post Wednesday, 19th August 2015, 17:37

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

I'm pretty sure duvessa's suggestion above (bring up targeter every turn) would create a homing effect using the normal "recast previous spell" targeting logic.
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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 03:13

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

What would homing do if the target dies before the ray gives out? I frequently use this on a line of popcorn in a corridor, aiming at the maximum distance permitted. When the wimp in front dies, the next one in line gets targeted, etc. until the ray is shot four times.
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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 04:47

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

well, if it used normal targeting logic you wouldn't notice the difference
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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 19:22

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Just forget targetting, make it pew pew at the closest enemy every time you hit "." and if there is no enemy in range it does nothing for that turn.
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Post Friday, 21st August 2015, 22:41

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Blobbo wrote:Just forget targetting, make it pew pew at the closest enemy every time you hit "." and if there is no enemy in range it does nothing for that turn.


"Nearest enemy" is likely a bad choice on the last turn, when it shoots a penetrating beam.

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Post Wednesday, 26th August 2015, 12:22

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

I dunno. Searing ray promotes tactics to use effectively, and provides tactical decision-making depth. I don't like the idea that I could retarget every turn because it takes away that depth (while being a buff in power.) I like hexes, and I like searing ray. More spells should be more complicated tactically than bolt and arrow spells.
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Post Wednesday, 26th August 2015, 15:16

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

I don't really see the depth in a spell that's locked into one firing pattern for four turns, even when your tactical situation has changed. With retargeting, you would still be locked in place for those turns, so your choice of where to position before you begin casting still matters.

Though I guess being able to stand in the open and target each of the four turns in a totally different direction would not really be thematic to the spell (if we're thinking of it as a constant ray that increases in power, not the four individual blasts represented by the animation) -- so I would be happy with a compromise that allowed retargeting in a narrow arc to either side of the last targeted location, as though you're "sweeping" the ray back and forth. I think that would solve all of the current problems with path-logic bullshit, and you'd still be encouraged to think tactically how to position yourself so you'll be able to catch multiple enemies with a directionally-limited beam.
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Post Thursday, 27th August 2015, 01:41

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

"when you see a monster, move back until the grid no longer stops your spell from working" isn't really tactical decision-making depth imo

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 02:36

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Allowing retargetting would literally take away the spell's only drawback. Despite how it may feel, the behavior of having to stand in one place and pass turns to cast increasingly powerful bolts at low mana cost is not in any meaningful sense a limitation. That is the feature that makes the spell powerful, and taking away its only limitation would make it drastically overpowered, requiring a dramatic nerf to damage, such that the spell would become entirely uninteresting and redundant.

The tradeoff for the high damage of this particular spell is that you give up some flexibility in how it's used. If we're being honest, any monster with greater than undead intelligence should be moving out of the path of the spell if such a move is available. That means you should be pulling monsters into corridors, of whatever shape you like, where no alternative move exists. Incidentally, the spell already works perfectly in those circumstances.

You are right that's it's silly for the spell to treat different directions differently. However, it's because the spell should not be reliable even in orthogonal directions in open spaces. If any changes are needed, it is that greater-than-undead-intelligence monsters in open spaces should try to move out of the path of all rays.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 03:49

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Well the thing is, currently it isn't a drawback, the spell is totally reliable in 8 directions and it's trivial to get monsters to follow you on one of those. You could totally redesign the spell to make it a drawback, of course (preferably not the way you suggest, since that way has literally the same problem).

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 14:30

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Which brings us back to my OP, that the interface needs changing to reduce accidental resting when you didn't realize the ray has run out.
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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 14:34

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

duvessa wrote:Well the thing is, currently it isn't a drawback, the spell is totally reliable in 8 directions and it's trivial to get monsters to follow you on one of those.


A retargetable spell would be useful in a much broader variety of tactical applications, far beyond what the current spell can do. That is why the current behavior acts as a limitation.


You could totally redesign the spell to make it a drawback, of course (preferably not the way you suggest, since that way has literally the same problem).


No, it only has a small fraction of the same problem. The problem is fixed for all monsters that can and should choose alternate paths of approaching if you're openly powering up a ray at them, and it's fixed in a way that adds tactical considerations and difficulty, rather than just firing on any old approaching monster in practically any terrain and hitting '.' until they die or the spell runs out. I did not know that was the intended tactical application of this spell, and I don't think it's a particularly interesting one.

I will certainly grant you that the problem remains for those monsters that don't mind to blunder into the path of your spell -- presumably the same ones that would blunder into flame clouds. (Note that the same "problem" exists for placing flame clouds in front of non-orthogonally approaching monsters, as you cannot predict which space they move to next, except perhaps with some fiddling with the targeting interface.)

Possibly this is fixed by reversing the direction monsters draw their path to approach? Perhaps that is a bit drastic to fix the behavior of one spell. Though you could also draw the path of Searing Ray in reverse from the endpoint to the player so it would follow the same path as an approaching monster, then cue the questions about why the targeting at Range 2 looks so different for Searing Ray than for every other spell, and if all spell targeting is changed to avoid special-casing, you might as well just go ahead change monster pathfinding as that is more opaque to the player.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 14:57

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Interface-wise, I would prefer If searing ray brought up the targeter every turn, even if every space but the original target was considered "out of range."

This would mean I press "zc-enter-enter-enter" instead of "zcsss" when I want to cast for 4 turns, and "zc-enter-ESC-l" instead of "zcsl" if I want to cast for two turns and then walk east. I'll see the beam before deciding what to do each turn.

I guess the downside to keeping the targeter up is that currently, I can conceivably bring up the targeter for a different spell or check to see what the fail rate is on some invocation and then either use s to continue the ray blast or go with my other move. But there's no reason zc-ESC-zc on the same space can't be the equivalent of zcs.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 15:10

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

MainiacJoe wrote:Which brings us back to my OP, that the interface needs changing to reduce accidental resting when you didn't realize the ray has run out.


Although it's a bit silly to have a key dedicated to one specific scenario with one specific spell, this or something like it is probably the right solution. Actually, I'd prefer just having a separate keybinding alias for continue_searing_ray or whatever, so one could change it if they like. If you are playing with such hasty abandon that you don't know how many times you are hitting '.', when the number of rays never changes, nor paying much attention to any of the three different places on the screen that give you feedback that the ray has just fired its last bolt, you should probably feel comfortable enough with the game that you can edit your rc_file.

I don't mean to be rude by saying that, as a player who often plays like that myself. I keybind '4' and '6' to do nothing because otherwise I will fatfinger them and move around when I'm trying to hit 5. I also set tab to autofight_nomove because otherwise I will blunder out of my cozy tactical positions hitting tab too many times when an open space appears. I know these are 'me' problems, not interface problems, and handily, the game provides config settings to help me address situations where my playstyle works better with some interface personalizations. In that vein, if there is a unique string associated with the last ray, perhaps you could set a --more-- ? This seems to be one option the game provides to alert you to an event that you don't want to fail to notice.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 15:14

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

jejorda2 wrote:Interface-wise, I would prefer If searing ray brought up the targeter every turn, even if every space but the original target was considered "out of range."
...
I guess the downside to keeping the targeter up is that currently, I can conceivably bring up the targeter for a different spell or check to see what the fail rate is on some invocation and then either use s to continue the ray blast or go with my other move. But there's no reason zc-ESC-zc on the same space can't be the equivalent of zcs.


This would be really handy because it would also allow you to doublecheck which squares are being targeted, particularly in the non-orthogonal-approach cases, giving you the option to recast the spell or cast a different spell. You would, however, need some way of distinguishing between recasting the same ray and starting a new one. Maybe the targeting path can have a different color when lies along on the original ray path, but you could choose a different path to start a new ray.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 21:18

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

Or you could just, like, make the spell less pointlessly rigid.

Think of it this way: If all bolt spells were changed to only fire in a straight line directly to the left, would it be a nerf? No, because repositioning to get full use of those spells would be trivial in 99% of cases. But it's still a bad idea, because it would be extremely tedious to dance around until enemies were lined up on your left, or always draw them into a left-facing corridor, or constantly take detours to approach fights from the right.

Searing Ray is just a low-level bolt spell that requires paralyzing yourself for up to four turns. The danger of standing still is the only significant limitation on when/where/how it is used.
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Post Monday, 31st August 2015, 15:38

Re: Change Searing Ray Interface

It could be like this too:
- casting searing ray adds a stack of status (white status = 1 stack, yellow status = 2 stacks, red status = 3 stacks)
- casting searing ray with 0-2 stacks adds a stack of status, doing any other action (or casting searing ray with 3 stacks) clears status
- casting searing ray with 0-2 stacks is same as normal cast of searing ray right now (same targetter same damage same mana cost)
- casting searing ray with 3 stacks brings same targetter as first cast of searing ray right now but with the mana cost and bolt effect of current beam searing ray

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