Neutral monsters bad


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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 5th October 2019, 02:20

Neutral monsters bad

"Good neutral" monsters (like freed slaves, unhogged humans, Jiyva slimes, that quokka in the Elyvilon altar vault) and "neutral" monsters (Lugonu's corruption, some other vaults) can be used as allies, but it's annoying to do so because you can't order them around, so if you want them to go to a specific place you have to painstakingly herd them there. And if you want them not to attack other monsters and steal your xp/piety, you have to kill them.

Corruption is the only use of these that actually has a point, i.e. making you run away and wait for the neutral summons to kill the level's regular monsters; this wouldn't happen if it summoned allied monsters (you wouldn't run away) or hostile ones (they wouldn't kill the level's regular monsters). For the rest of these there is really no advantage to making them neutral instead of fully allied. It would still be optimal to kill them much of the time but at least controlling them would be less bothersome.

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Post Saturday, 5th October 2019, 05:00

Re: Neutral monsters bad

or just ignore them like a normal person

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Post Saturday, 5th October 2019, 08:57

Re: Neutral monsters bad

I don't like that the Lugonu monsters get in the way and you can't have them move.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Saturday, 5th October 2019, 10:13

Re: Neutral monsters bad

duvessa wrote:"Good neutral" monsters (like freed slaves, unhogged humans, Jiyva slimes, that quokka in the Elyvilon altar vault) and "neutral" monsters (Lugonu's corruption, some other vaults) can be used as allies, but it's annoying to do so because you can't order them around, so if you want them to go to a specific place you have to painstakingly herd them there. And if you want them not to attack other monsters and steal your xp/piety, you have to kill them.


You're actually complaining that neutrals, which are not allies, don't behave like allies. But you still want to use them as allies for some reason, and you use #optimalworkarounds in order to use them in an obviously unintended way. You willingly inconvenience yourself and this thread is the result. You also don't like losing out on XP in a game with a literally infinite potential for XP gain. I'll try and cross a meme with this bad joke:

This complaint by @duvessa is an irredeemably bad idea. Just remove it and replace it with nothing.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 5th October 2019, 19:28

Re: Neutral monsters bad

Sorcerous wrote:But you still want to use them as allies for some reason, and you use #optimalworkarounds in order to use them in an obviously unintended way. You willingly inconvenience yourself and this thread is the result.
At no point did I claim that I, personally, do that
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 6th October 2019, 10:42

Re: Neutral monsters bad

duvessa wrote:At no point did I claim that I, personally, do that


Players that do, personally, go to such lengths to inconvenience themselves didn't make this thread happen. You did. I still find the idea of deliberately forcing neutrals to behave like allies unnecessary, and not worth the thought or effort involved. Again, I've stated above that having any gripes about XP makes no sense because it's potentially infinite by design. It's not even relevant in a 3-rune game. Slimes and items are a different matter, but then so is Jiyva worship. I don't have a problem with you (?yet?) but with the post you made.

What I dislike about this kind of gameplay derailment is the basic purpose of game elements having no priority compared to "I can make this happen if I really try, fuck game design". It just irks me when people come up with, from your own post "annoying/ painstakingly/ bothersome" methods to achieve some small gain or reduce an already insignificant penalty. I've read through old threads, and completely agree that degenerate gameplay is punishment unto itself.
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Post Sunday, 6th October 2019, 12:45

Re: Neutral monsters bad

Sorcerous wrote:I've read through old threads, and completely agree that degenerate gameplay is punishment unto itself.

I strongly disagree with this position. Crawl is a roguelike, and the gameplay draw of roguelikes is, traditionally, to survive a hostile environment using limited tools.

The problem with this kind of thing is that it undercuts that primary gameplay draw that got people to sit down and engage with your ascii o+tab simulator in the first place.


If the ruleset of your survival game has unintended interactions that allow for (degenerate, tedious) playstyles which disproportionately impact character survival, it surely sounds to me like the ruleset of that survival game needs to be changed to remove those unintended interactions, else you're effectively stating to your playerbase that not only is your game a hackjob of whatever you threw together that sounded okay at the time without thought to how your mechanics would interact, but you also don't really give a shit whether your players have a fun time playing your game.

[Such a position is only marginally better than writing your game to intentionally waste your player's time with a mobile microtransaction model. Okay, great, you're only doing this unintentionally, that's ethically better but still demonstrable evidence that your app isn't worth engaging with.]


I've made a habit of killing Pikel's humans since many many major versions ago, because they used to pickup floor items and walk off with them.

Admittedly, I don't do this much nowadays, but that's because I don't play Crawl much nowadays, rather than any shift in my practical application of tolerably-optimal Crawlplay.


If you make a game that says "Okay, your goal is to survive, good luck.", and then you go on to say "BTW, if you press Q 50000 times in a row, your HP will reset to full.", would that really be a good game? Would anyone want to play it? Would the community around the game just be like "Oh, hey, you used Q, your score doesn't count!", or would there be some portion of the playerbase defending the position of "Well, Q was written into the game intentionally, of course it's fair to use it!", thus turning an irritating little feature into a pointless player squabble? Some players would make macros, some would put a rubber band on their keyboard, some would be like "Woah dude, I'm legit, NO Q." Maybe someone would be like "Maybe pressing Q is its own punishment?" And then you'd have streakplayers, who would create complex scripts to press Q and then go post youtube videos about winning your game using One Weird Trick. Meanwhile the entire thing just sounds like kind of a shitty feature to add from the beginning, and maybe it would have been better for the developer to not leave it in their release build if the goal was to actually create a fun game?

I don't know dude, I don't even play theoretical broken games like that anymore. There are a lot of better things out there to occupy one's time.

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Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 6th October 2019, 13:07

Re: Neutral monsters bad

Implojin wrote:
Sorcerous wrote:I've read through old threads, and completely agree that degenerate gameplay is punishment unto itself.

I strongly disagree with this position. Crawl is a roguelike, and the gameplay draw of roguelikes is, traditionally, to survive a hostile environment using limited tools.

The problem with this kind of thing is that it undercuts that primary gameplay draw that got people to sit down and engage with your ascii o+tab simulator in the first place.


If the ruleset of your survival game has unintended interactions that allow for (degenerate, tedious) playstyles which disproportionately impact character survival, it surely sounds to me like the ruleset of that survival game needs to be changed to remove those unintended interactions, else you're effectively stating to your playerbase that not only is your game a hackjob of whatever you threw together that sounded okay at the time without thought to how your mechanics would interact, but you also don't really give a shit whether your players have a fun time playing your game.

[Such a position is only marginally better than writing your game to intentionally waste your player's time with a mobile microtransaction model. Okay, great, you're only doing this unintentionally, that's ethically better but still demonstrable evidence that your app isn't worth engaging with.]


I've made a habit of killing Pikel's humans since many many major versions ago, because they used to pickup floor items and walk off with them.

Admittedly, I don't do this much nowadays, but that's because I don't play Crawl much nowadays, rather than any shift in my practical application of tolerably-optimal Crawlplay.


If you make a game that says "Okay, your goal is to survive, good luck.", and then you go on to say "BTW, if you press Q 50000 times in a row, your HP will reset to full.", would that really be a good game? Would anyone want to play it? Would the community around the game just be like "Oh, hey, you used Q, your score doesn't count!", or would there be some portion of the playerbase defending the position of "Well, Q was written into the game intentionally, of course it's fair to use it!", thus turning an irritating little feature into a pointless player squabble? Some players would make macros, some would put a rubber band on their keyboard, some would be like "Woah dude, I'm legit, NO Q." Maybe someone would be like "Maybe pressing Q is its own punishment?" And then you'd have streakplayers, who would create complex scripts to press Q and then go post youtube videos about winning your game using One Weird Trick. Meanwhile the entire thing just sounds like kind of a shitty feature to add from the beginning, and maybe it would have been better for the developer to not leave it in their release build if the goal was to actually create a fun game?

I don't know dude, I don't even play theoretical broken games like that anymore. There are a lot of better things out there to occupy one's time.


This is a lot to read. Yes, Crawl is a roguelike. To me, it is first and foremost a game. It's entertainment, not a puzzle exercise in theorycraft and scumming. Can you survive many more encounters with killholes? Of course you can. Will that gameplay be anywhere as interesting and funny as blazing through with ball lightning and recite? I'd say no. Just having a feature in the game doesn't make it a must have for players. Not all players will notice the exploit potential to begin with, and even when it is pointed out not everyone will use it. It's still boring.

There is a difference, again subjective, between a legitimate complaint and a thread about something that makes next to no difference. This one about neutrals looks like the latter to me. You stated the goal of a roguelike is "survive, good luck". I've had a lot of fun in splats, because there is so much in Crawl to learn, and use, and experiment with. Losing is still fun.
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Zot Zealot

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Post Sunday, 6th October 2019, 13:26

Re: Neutral monsters bad

Sorcerous: My main problem with your position is that you do not assess duvessa's proposal. You just talk about general game design philosophy. Maybe you are not aware that crawl has an explicit design philosophy written down, available in the game (?N) and your position seems to be in opposition to it.

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Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 6th October 2019, 15:54

Re: Neutral monsters bad

sanka wrote:Sorcerous: My main problem with your position is that you do not assess duvessa's proposal. You just talk about general game design philosophy. Maybe you are not aware that crawl has an explicit design philosophy written down, available in the game (?N) and your position seems to be in opposition to it.


Right.
Major design goals

challenging and random gameplay, with skill making a real difference
meaningful decisions (no no-brainers)
avoidance of grinding (no scumming)

Minor design goals

clarity (playability without need for spoilers)


The proposal (to make neutrals fully allied) stems from possible advantages that are not only spoiler-reliant, but are also a form of scumming as far as I can understand it. My perspective could be wrong. More to the point, it is entirely overshadowed by the existence and diversity of actual allies to play with: everything from evokable summons, to spells, to divine allies. The justification is that:
1) neutrals can be forcibly used as allies (which they are not) and to do so is annoying because t+[action] doesn't work
2) losing XP (which I see as inconsequential, as above) can be avoided by killing the neutrals outright
Both things are up to the player to use, and are not necessary. Not in the sense of winning, which in a long-term game like this one is strongly influenced by player actions and decisions. Not in the sense of immediate survival benefits, because "herding" or stopping others from attacking is not something you'll be thinking about in a bad situation. @duvessa concluded that it would "still be optimal to kill them most of the time, but at least controlling them would be less bothersome". A choice that can't be made or conceived without enough knowledge about the game, which clashes with clarity.

Further on:
Another basic design principle is avoidance of grinding (also known as scumming). These are activities that have low risk, take a lot of time, and bring some reward. This is bad for a game's design because it encourages players to bore themselves. Even worse, it may be optimal to do so. We try to avoid this!


The use of neutrals in a way that ignores their basic standing (not in the way, but not actively trying to harm the player) for a benefit chosen and enacted by the player (not in the way, but made to help the player) and takes more time and other resources. As I've already stated before, it is not impactful in terms of XP. Having some brief buffer in between the PC and enemies isn't worth much in terms of XP (because ∞). Having some "unhogged humans" means nothing or close to nothing in L: when they get annihilated in short order by a pack of spriggans or a lyndwyrm or a hydra. And even if these neutrals make a difference in one encounter, it is not something that can be reused for a significant part of the level (let alone the game) without an even greater commitment in terms of time and other in-game resources and a players own use of [bigbrain]. Reducing risk, by using a lot of time for some measurable reward.

I'm perfectly fine with use of limited options to make my virtual buddy survive, but you have worded a stance that anything exploitable makes a game fun-impaired by virtue (or rather flaw) of existing, or that developers don't care if players have fun because not every potential balance wrinkle has been ironed out. I disagree. While Crawl has all sorts of flaws and unequal choices, a great deal of them have been tested and revised for much longer than I've played it. The Fedhas rework in a neighbouring thread is a good example of a game element that was not fun to use, as well as completely out of pace with other things (permaallies). It encouraged players to make boring and time-consuming plays.

I have no idea what you mean by "tolerably-optimal Crawlplay". My use of #optimalworkarounds is a derisive one, because people who would rather label things as "optimal" than actually play for the fun of it are a joke to me. Subjective. If you see [kiting a vault sentinel down to Z:5 and switching out MR for a +Mark to draw the guards out] as reasonable or necessary, we clearly don't see eye2eye on this.

I do have respect for the game philosophy, and it is my personal opinion that a proposal like this makes no sense.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Sunday, 6th October 2019, 18:05

Re: Neutral monsters bad

Sorcerous wrote:people who would rather label things as "optimal" than actually play for the fun of it are a joke to me.

Yikes.

Are you sure you want to be denigrating the value of other human beings over a difference of opinion of how to have fun with video games?


I'm not about to get into a discussion of how to approach designing for fun gameplay here since your contribution to this thread seems to be going downhill even faster than par for the tavern, but I'd suggest you take another look at section N of the manual, especially the bit about designing for interesting choices, and consider the implication that might have on your position of supporting tedious gameplay while "respecting the game philosophy".

Blades Runner

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Post Sunday, 6th October 2019, 18:41

Re: Neutral monsters bad

I don't see an articulation anywhere of what using neutral monsters (as opposed to allied monsters) is supposed to add to the game. Would anything of value be lost if the monsters in question were allied instead?
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Blades Runner

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Post Sunday, 6th October 2019, 20:58

Re: Neutral monsters bad

Permanent allies can follow you across levels. Being able to bring a half dozen allies humans into Pan/Slime/etc would be a bit bizar, to say the least ;)

Allied pikel humans could also cause unintentional Oka / Zin wrath, if you use AOE spells.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 7th October 2019, 01:15

Re: Neutral monsters bad

That's true. So on reflection I think I prefer a different solution: make most of these monsters hostile. It is much further away from the current behaviour, but gets rid of all the problems that these monsters introduce. The flavour change is easy for Pikel and Kirke: their enchantments persist even after their deaths.

The vaults nicolae_arrival_kraken_aquarium_a and b do rely on a monster being neutral. elyvilon_altar_4 could use an allied butterfly instead of a good_neutral quokka. The other vaults that use neutral monsters would work fine (usually better) with hostile ones.

For Jiyva, go the way of TSO/Zin/Ely and don't turn slimes neutral anymore. Make Slimify/splitting slimes into temporary allied summons. I can't think of a real fix for the item-eating jellies though - those are abusable no matter what attitude you give them.

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Post Monday, 7th October 2019, 10:30

Re: Neutral monsters bad

duvessa wrote:The flavour change is easy for Pikel and Kirke
But I like the flavour of freeing the slaves, "their enchantments persist" turns it into just a band of humans led by a kobold. Couldn't neutrals be changed to never attack instead?

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Post Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 16:19

Re: Neutral monsters bad

If the ruleset of your survival game has unintended interactions that allow for (degenerate, tedious) playstyles which disproportionately impact character survival


For a decent discussion this probably needs a clear definition that constrains anticipation. What is a "disproportionate impact" on player survival? It's hard to envision any set of standards whereby neutral monsters could meet the definition. They're relatively rare and have downsides for using them even beyond tedium. Conferred benefits are typically tiny, absent Lugonu corruption which is a costly/still useful ability.

We're not talking about a level 3 haste spell or something.

Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 21:18

Re: Neutral monsters bad

rigrig wrote:
duvessa wrote:The flavour change is easy for Pikel and Kirke
But I like the flavour of freeing the slaves, "their enchantments persist" turns it into just a band of humans led by a kobold. Couldn't neutrals be changed to never attack instead?


Seconded on making neutrals never attack. Honestly, that's more typical for neutral/peaceful monsters in other roguelikes I've played - I had never seen "not allied but attacks" until DCSS.

I'd also suggest making neutrals always be displaced by the player and by hostile monsters, in order to eliminate the possibility of their being used as meatshields.
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Blades Runner

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Post Friday, 11th October 2019, 07:29

Re: Neutral monsters bad

duvessa wrote: elyvilon_altar_4 could use an allied butterfly instead of a good_neutral quokka..


!
!!
!!!!!!!!!!!

Proposal to rename this thread "Fun, Joy, Bad"

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Saturday, 12th October 2019, 16:51

Re: Neutral monsters bad

gameguard wrote:or just ignore them like a normal person

But they're so tasty!
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Post Sunday, 13th October 2019, 01:39

Re: Neutral monsters bad

Also, at least with Lugonu's, you literally cannot ignore them, because they block autotravel, another behaviour I find rather tiresome.
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