Monster threat level summary in offline tiles


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Temple Termagant

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Joined: Sunday, 7th July 2019, 17:17

Post Sunday, 7th July 2019, 17:55

Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

When playing console or webtiles, a list of monsters in view is present at the bottom-right portion of the screen, color-coded for approximated threat level (dark grey for "trivial" or "harmless", light grey for "easy", yellow for "tough" or "dangerous", and red for "nasty" or "extremely dangerous").

Nothing like this is currently present in offline tiles. There is the "monsters tab" (the only one of those "tabs" I care about, to be frank, as I hardly if ever use the mouse) which shows you a compacted collection of the monsters in view, but without the approximate threat level. Offline tiles is my favorite way to play the game, and I would really like to have an always-visible summary of the current nearby threats, as is available in console and webtiles. Some players, such as myself, find this monitor extremely helpful as a way to increase efficiency in moving through the game without sacrificing caution, as there is always visible a rough indicator of how careful you need to be. I know that I am not the only player who would like such a feature in offline tiles, as I have found numerous posts floating around the web from other players asking how to get the "monster list" from console and webtiles enabled in offline tiles, only to be told that it isn't present. So I have set about implementing this myself.

A lot of questions arise about the best way to do this. As far as the visual aspect, right now I'm working with little black-outlined "blocks" of (currently) 8x8 pixels (6x6 interior), using the same colors for the interior as the text-based monster list from console and webtiles. I am open to other suggestions in this regard.

The next question is whether the indicators should appear only on the monsters tab, or on the actual monsters in the main view.

A third question is where the blocks should be placed within the monster graphic tile. The three main candidates right now are: upper-right, next to the status icons like sleep/poison/etc; lower-right (would go alongside things like berserk icon, and demon tier indicator, if enabled); and lower-left (where it seems that no other monster-related indicators yet reside).

Finally, I think that this should be fully configurable. I've been batting this around in ##crawl-dev and so far there's a lot of varying opinion about how much of this players would want to see. It is trivial to make it fully configurable, such that you can either have all indicators displayed (default), none at all, or displayed only if they fall into certain threat levels. For example, as I have it right now, you can say:

  Code:
tile_show_threat_levels: tough nasty


In this way, only the yellow/red (tough/nasty) indicators will be shown and all trivial/easy indicators will be omitted.

Here are three screenshots showing what I've been experimenting with so far:

Monster tab only, lower-right positioning:
https://i.ibb.co/5KJvVmm/2019-07-05-192 ... -scrot.png

Main view included, lower-left positioning:
https://i.ibb.co/NVz0Wh7/2019-07-06-134 ... -scrot.png

Main view included, upper-right positioning:
https://i.ibb.co/Bfj8xQD/2019-07-06-145 ... -scrot.png

Main view included, upper-right positioning, configured with filtering so that only the red indicator shows and the grey one which would otherwise be present is omitted:
https://i.ibb.co/tBsb2qw/2019-07-07-104 ... -scrot.png

I have a reluctance about using the version where the indicators are visible in the main view, and that is that this requires (I think, though this is my first foray into Crawl code) the addition of a few tile foreground flags, consuming at least three (more elegantly done, all four) of what appear to be, possibly, the last four unused tile foreground flags of the guaranteed 64 bits for the data type (long long) being used for them. I'm only experimenting with including these icons in the main view because at least one user in ##crawl-dev suggested it.

So, I am asking for feedback about all four of these things:

1) The graphic itself, any comments or other ideas about what it could look like instead?
2) Should it go in the main view or only on the monster tab in the lower-right? (IMO, the latter)
3) Upper-right? Lower-right? Lower-left?
4) Does everyone like the idea of having it fully configurable?

Thank you all in advance for all feedback, constructive criticism, and suggestions. I do hope that I haven't been too long-winded.

For this message the author Psymania has received thanks: 4
chequers, Implojin, Nekoatl, petercordia

Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 7th July 2019, 19:39

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

2) I'd find that information more useful in the main view, instead of just the monster tab. This way it's visible at-a-glance in an area where I'm already looking.

3) Putting this at the top of the monster tile seems better. Monster HP bars are already shown at the bottom, and have similar colors. Having the two adjacent would lead to visual confusion: "Is that monster high-threat, or does it just have a sliver of red HP?"

1) It might be less visually noisy to implement this as an aura around/behind the monster tile, instead of as yet-another icon in front of the monster tiles. An aura would be super easy for players to visually differentiate: "Woah, that thing is glowing red. I'd better back off."

You'd need to ensure the aura is both a) always visible no matter the monster tile size, b) easily distinguishable no matter the monster tile colors, and c) not easily mistaken for clouds/TSO/Dith auras; but I think it might be preferable to display this as an aura rather than yet-another icon.

4) Fully configurable filtering seems preferable to a hardcoded filter, but players are probably just going to mute grey and leave yellow+ displayed. An off-toggle is obviously required, but exposing options beyond that might add maintenance burden with no real benefit?
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Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 7th July 2019, 22:49

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

3) Putting this at the top of the monster tile seems better. Monster HP bars are already shown at the bottom, and have similar colors. Having the two adjacent would lead to visual confusion: "Is that monster high-threat, or does it just have a sliver of red HP?"

This might cause equal issue with monsters vertically adjacent.

I like having the icon on monsters in the main view, but I think the icon design should be different to a simple coloured square, to prevent ambiguity with the health bar (as mentioned). The icon could be a yellow or red skull, similar to what borderlands does:

Spoiler: show
skull.png
skull.png (540.3 KiB) Viewed 1084 times


I also think you only need to show the top two tiers. The two grey tones can be folded into a single "normal" level and you can not display anything for "normal" level to cut down on UI clutter.

Temple Termagant

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Post Monday, 8th July 2019, 18:28

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

Thank you both for the feedback!

3) Putting this at the top of the monster tile seems better. Monster HP bars are already shown at the bottom, and have similar colors. Having the two adjacent would lead to visual confusion: "Is that monster high-threat, or does it just have a sliver of red HP?"


In my personal opinion the HP bar and the threat indicator block are highly distinguishable by thickness; also, I made sure to place the block up above the HP bar, with a pixel of spacing in between. But I understand what you're saying, it might not be as easily distinguishable for everyone; thank you for pointing that out.

1) It might be less visually noisy to implement this as an aura around/behind the monster tile, instead of as yet-another icon in front of the monster tiles. An aura would be super easy for players to visually differentiate: "Woah, that thing is glowing red. I'd better back off."


I had thought about that too. My concern about that would be interfering with, like you mentioned, other background stuff, other types of glows/auras, etc. But I understand your point about "yet-another icon." I agree that it's worth thinking about.

4) Fully configurable filtering seems preferable to a hardcoded filter, but players are probably just going to mute grey and leave yellow+ displayed. An off-toggle is obviously required, but exposing options beyond that might add maintenance burden with no real benefit?


Maybe yellow+ ("tough nasty") should be the default, with all other possibilities still available. When it comes to maintenance burden, configurability is the simplest and least cumbersome thing in question, by far. I'm a lot more concerned about the usage of the last guaranteed-available bits in the tile foreground flag array in the case that we choose to make these visible in the main view. At least for me, even the "easy" (not "trivial" / "harmless") indicator is valuable, because you need to be wary of even the "easy" ones, particularly if there are multiple of them ganging up and/or if they have one or more particular abilities that your character is susceptible to.

I like having the icon on monsters in the main view, but I think the icon design should be different to a simple coloured square, to prevent ambiguity with the health bar (as mentioned). The icon could be a yellow or red skull, similar to what borderlands does


Interesting that you say this, as there are actually already similar icons present in the source tree which were intended to be used for this purpose (I know, because I saw the very same icons on another thread discussing implementing this feature). Personally, I don't particularly like the icons that are already there; they are positioned in the center of the monster, and get bigger and bigger as the threat level goes up, and in my personal opinion are a bit overdone and gaudy.

Image
Image
Image
Image

Perhaps I should just try adding these in and see how they look, and/or shrinking them to uniform size / putting them in a corner. I don't wish to offend whoever initially created these, as some work obviously went into them and they do look nice for what they are. Does anyone else have any thoughts about them?
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Slime Squisher

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Post Monday, 8th July 2019, 20:45

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

psymania wrote:there are actually already similar icons present in the source tree which were intended to be used for this purpose (I know, because I saw the very same icons on another thread discussing implementing this feature). Personally, I don't particularly like the icons that are already there; they are positioned in the center of the monster, and get bigger and bigger as the threat level goes up, and in my personal opinion are a bit overdone and gaudy.
Perhaps I should just try adding these in and see how they look, and/or shrinking them to uniform size / putting them in a corner. I don't wish to offend whoever initially created these, as some work obviously went into them and they do look nice for what they are. Does anyone else have any thoughts about them?


Personally, I think you should implement this feature with your own graphical touch. The existing four icons are used to display detected enemies in range which are not visible (for Ashenzari disciples) and only really work because you do not actually see the enemy they are representing. For that purpose, they do work. For your contribution, they likely won't work. From the OP, I liked the first display best (monster tab, lower right corner) : it doesn't interfere with existing status indicators like poison or drain, and it shows the relative threats very simply.

If you're still open to suggestions, another way to highlight threats could be a full or partial outline around the tile in the monster tab: the colour scheme of grey/ white / yellow / red stays the same. The outline would be visible, also wouldn't cause visual interference, and would be simple and to the point.
There is always something new to learn.

Temple Termagant

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Joined: Sunday, 7th July 2019, 17:17

Post Monday, 8th July 2019, 22:25

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

The existing four icons are used to display detected enemies in range which are not visible (for Ashenzari disciples) and only really work because you do not actually see the enemy they are representing. For that purpose, they do work. For your contribution, they likely won't work.


Thanks for pointing out that those are used, and what they are used for. Obviously, I'm not a huge Ash fan. :)

I liked the first display best (monster tab, lower right corner) : it doesn't interfere with existing status indicators like poison or drain, and it shows the relative threats very simply.


Thanks for the feedback, I like those aspects about it too.

another way to highlight threats could be a full or partial outline around the tile in the monster tab


This is actually what I started out doing, like a border. I didn't like that because unless I do extra work for the special cases of taller-than-single-tile monsters, like the Lernaean Hydra and Pan lords, the border only boxes the bottom half of the monster, and that's absolutely hideous (arguably, there is already an ugly inconsistency present, in that status icons show up at the midpoint of such a monster's height).

I find myself agreeing more and more with the folks that say this is nice to have in the main view and not just in the monster tab. With the text-based monster list on plain black, like in console and webtiles, the colors (particularly yellow and red) are very good at catching your eye even in peripheral vision. However, modifying these little monster icons is a much more subtle effect, and I think it's nice to be able to see it in the main view where you're already looking.

I'd like to get some feedback on the idea I just tried out: https://i.ibb.co/vZpnLxc/2019-07-08-151 ... -scrot.png

Kind of a dashed underline, which I've made sure has one pixel of spacing between it and the HP bar area, with 1-pixel strips of black in between the 2-pixel strips of the main color to give it a distinct look. No interference with other icons, and no visual confusion with the HP bar possible because of the styling. Also, it's only 80% opaque to let the graphics underneath show through a little bit, and not be too stark/loud.

Currently, this is my favorite version and what I'll be playing with, to see how it feels. Anyone have any thoughts about it?

Temple Termagant

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Joined: Sunday, 7th July 2019, 17:17

Post Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 22:30

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

I'm trying another idea based on Implojin's encouragement of an "aura."

I created some icons similar to the friendly/neutral indication halos, but square-shaped instead of circular. Screenshots following:

All indicators enabled:
https://i.ibb.co/P6tRZd1/2019-07-09-151 ... -scrot.png

Only "tough"/"nasty" enabled:
https://i.ibb.co/6DL1KLL/2019-07-09-152 ... -scrot.png

I'm quite fond of these. I'm ensuring that they do not appear for friendly/neutral creatures, so as not to combine/clash with the circular halos behind such creatures. I still have mixed feelings about how a full-tile indicator looks on a bigger-than-one-tile monster (see the Lernaean Hydra in the screenshots), but the more I look at it, the more I warm up to it. This still uses some tile flags -- three of the last four guaranteed-available in the current storage for tile flags, or just two if we were to make the easy/trivial indicators unavailable completely and only the tough/nasty ones available.

Does anyone have thoughts?
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Slime Squisher

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 10:11

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

The full tile glow doesn't look that good to me, but that's a personal preference. The dashed underline solution posted before it looks elegant and much less intrusive, while providing the same information. Having it not fully opaque is certainly a plus imo.

I also think the full threat range should be there by default, and for the upper two to be available as an option. One benefit from having the full four indicators is for Okawaru chars, because then you'd immediately know which enemies would grant no piety at all and have a decent guess for the high piety (honoured kills) at the same time.
There is always something new to learn.

Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 12:19

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

Psymania wrote:Perhaps I should just try adding these in and see how they look, and/or shrinking them to uniform size / putting them in a corner. I don't wish to offend whoever initially created these, as some work obviously went into them and they do look nice for what they are. Does anyone else have any thoughts about them?


See https://crawl.develz.org/tavern/viewtopic.php?t=22436; someone's already shrunk them, with a few style variations. What you posted on IRC (coloured rectangles) also looks okay to me, but I think the indicators in the linked thread are more consistent with crawl's style. I don't have any firm opinions about placement or which of the styles would be best though.

Re. using four bits, if you have four possible indicators, you only need to use two bits (00: trivial, 01: easy, 10: tough: 11: nasty), unless you also want to allow for not showing an indicator at all, in which case you'd need three bits.

Blades Runner

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 12:32

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

This is slightly out of the scope of this project, but would it be possible to add an icon for actually-very-scary?
I've had characters who could tab through everything, including the enemies marked in red, until they meet a monster which can one-hit-kill them. And then I only realise when I'm adjacent and I've lost half my hp. (Because it's "just another 'dangerous' monster" :lol:)
It's great what you're doing either way. I actually prefer B from the thread aidanholm linked myself (viewtopic.php?t=22436)

Temple Termagant

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 16:50

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

Well, so far the consensus seems to be "Opinions are all over the place about what looks good and what doesn't." :lol:

Re. using four bits, if you have four possible indicators, you only need to use two bits (00: trivial, 01: easy, 10: tough: 11: nasty), unless you also want to allow for not showing an indicator at all, in which case you'd need three bits.


That's what I was thinking at first, but then it seemed to me that it would be no value for "no monster in this tile at all." Upon reconsidering, of course, these flags don't even get considered unless there is a monster, so you're right, it can work that way. Thanks for prompting me to think that through more fully. :)

This is slightly out of the scope of this project, but would it be possible to add an icon for actually-very-scary? I've had characters who could tab through everything, including the enemies marked in red, until they meet a monster which can one-hit-kill them.


I'd like to be able to provide that, but as you say, slightly out of the scope of this project :) This is my very first foray into Crawl code (and, although I have extensive programming background and expertise, I don't do it that often anymore and am actually not that enthusiastic about it now-days), and my goal is only to implement a graphic indicator based on the danger-determining-mechanics that are already present. :)

Temple Termagant

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 17:08

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

Re. using four bits, if you have four possible indicators, you only need to use two bits (00: trivial, 01: easy, 10: tough: 11: nasty), unless you also want to allow for not showing an indicator at all, in which case you'd need three bits.


That's what I was thinking at first, but then it seemed to me that it would be no value for "no monster in this tile at all." Upon reconsidering, of course, these flags don't even get considered unless there is a monster, so you're right, it can work that way. Thanks for prompting me to think that through more fully. 


Well, upon re-re-considering, there is a problem here, unless you can set me straight. The code which constructs dungeon tile graphics by looking at which tile flags are(n't) enabled doesn't seem to have any way of knowing whether a monster is present. It knows whether a "foreground" is present, but nothing more. So when I attempt to use the value 00 for either a trivial monster or no monster at all, everything with a "foreground" (including, for example, the player character or an item lying on the floor) gets painted with a "trivial" indicator.

Dungeon Master

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Post Sunday, 14th July 2019, 14:52

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

petercordia wrote:This is slightly out of the scope of this project, but would it be possible to add an icon for actually-very-scary?

The usual technique here is to add force-mores: this is more effective, since it forces you to stop tabbing.

Psymania wrote:The code which constructs dungeon tile graphics by looking at which tile flags are(n't) enabled doesn't seem to have any way of knowing whether a monster is present.

Ah, right. Three bits is the way to go then.

Temple Termagant

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Post Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 21:43

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

Reviving this thread, as I've been issued several reminders, from various sources, that this is a feature I am far from alone in wanting incorporated into offline tiles. I would really like to move forward on this. I feel "done" with trying out different styles and versions, and my big "hangup" right now is that I have perhaps no way to judge which style would be most favored by the most people.

In my opinion, the translucent boxes (last screenshot I posted) are not intrusive at all. The only fully-opaque pixels in that style comprise the one-pixel-wide border around the very edge, and from there, going into the center of the tile, it fades very quickly into high translucency. Also, the box is *behind* the monster graphic and everything else considered to be "foreground."

I have playtested this fairly extensively; yesterday I achieved my first non-minimal win, getting six runes -- those of S, S, Vaults, Abyss, Slime, and Tartarus (which I'm extremely proud and happy about) -- with this feature enabled, and ran into no problems with it. Also, to re-iterate, the indicator for each individual threat level can be very easily enabled or disabled in the options file.

Can anyone suggest a next step on this? Should I just go ahead and learn how to submit a pull request, and do so?
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Zot Zealot

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Post Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 22:40

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

Can the grey boxes be confused with staircases?

The next step is definitely to submit a pull request. You could offer the visual alternatives as a user-configurable option, as options to developers in the PR, or just only include what you think is the strongest.

Temple Termagant

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Post Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 22:52

Re: Monster threat level summary in offline tiles

Can the grey boxes be confused with staircases?


Not in my opinion. A staircase has quite a bit of definition that sets it apart from the grey boxes. Also, I suspect many players will be enabling only "tough" and "nasty" or perhaps even only the "nasty" indicators, omitting the gray boxes. If there *is* any confusion (I don't think it's very easily confused), you can always xv the tile. :)

The next step is definitely to submit a pull request. You could offer the visual alternatives as a user-configurable option, as options to developers in the PR, or just only include what you think is the strongest.


Okay, I will work on that. Thanks! :)

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