shops -> machines


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Shoals Surfer

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Post Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 00:28

shops -> machines

In brogue, they have "machines," which are dungeon features that produce various effects, among them offering the player a mutually exclusive choice among various items. Brogue machines in general are fairly bad and create mandatory backtracking within levels for no compelling reason, but they are not as bad as shops in dcss, which create mandatory backtracking across many dungeon levels for no compelling reason.

The mutually exclusive choice among a small number of items offered in brogue is pretty similar to the function of crawl shops, but much, much cleaner. You make the decision on the spot and it's more or less final. You don't have the strange situation of crawl where by the end of the game you can buy almost everything of interest in all the shops if you're just willing to autotravel to them, in the end picking up marginal consumables that you're unlikely to use but that it's best practice to grab anyway. In brogue you never have to deal with massive lists of items available to choose among and the items available are meaningfully different, involving trade-offs that require no arithmetic to ponder.

The proposal here is to replace crawl shops, shop vaults, and portals with mutually exclusive item selection machines like those of brogue. This would eliminate shopping lists, price arithmetic, backtracking for shop items, gold as an item, and shops themselves in normal dungeon generation. Shops could continue to exist via the Gozag god power, if desired.
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Post Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 02:41

Re: shops -> machines

I think scrolls of acquirement are related, since they are pretty much the feature you describe here.

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Post Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 02:55

Re: shops -> machines

I described in an earlier thread (can't be bothered finding and linking, sorry) an idea of replacing scrolls of enchant/brand weapon with "magical anvils", which are like timed portals that randomly upgrade an item placed on them. It sounds related to this.

Shops, scrolls of acquirement/enchant weapon/brand weapon could all be replaced with timed portal-esque machines, which prevent backtracking by only being accessible if you find them within a fixed time (potentially much higher than the current portal time limit, if you want to be nice to players). The machines could have varying effects if you want to replace all of these (eg you could find an acquirement machine, or a weapon branding machine).

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bel

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Post Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 05:34

Re: shops -> machines

FWIW, players in Brogue backtrack to machines all the time to replace an item to pick up an alternate one. And it doesn't have to be within-level backtracking either. I know one person who picks up the amulet (this step reduces hunger), then backtracks all the way to D:1 to optimize his build to go for a mastery. The relatively less backtracking in Brogue is a function of Brogue's tighter clock, not a property of the machines per se.

Anyway, Brogue's quirks and design flaws aside, it seems to me that shops and machines have different functions. Shops are not a collection of mutually exclusive items; you can buy as much or as little as you want. There are also strategic considerations which one can have with shops (whether to save up gold for something, or to build your character to a point in the future which depends on the availability of a certain item at that point in the future). It's by no means clear to me that getting rid of gold (and thus these decisions) is a good thing. It may be more minimalistic, but less is not necessarily better.

Backtracking isn't really easy to fix within DCSS mechanics (because backtracking is built into the game with so many branches etc.). But a simple way to avoid backtracking is to just have a "virtual" shop which you can access at any time. Periodically stuff gets added to the shops. If you want to limit tactical usage, make accessing the shop take 10 turns or something.

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Shoals Surfer

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Post Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 11:24

Re: shops -> machines

chequers wrote:I described in an earlier thread (can't be bothered finding and linking, sorry) an idea of replacing scrolls of enchant/brand weapon with "magical anvils", which are like timed portals that randomly upgrade an item placed on them. It sounds related to this.

Shops, scrolls of acquirement/enchant weapon/brand weapon could all be replaced with timed portal-esque machines, which prevent backtracking by only being accessible if you find them within a fixed time (potentially much higher than the current portal time limit, if you want to be nice to players). The machines could have varying effects if you want to replace all of these (eg you could find an acquirement machine, or a weapon branding machine).


This sounds pretty good to me. I suppose it's possible that players would defer their decision with an item selection machine, so a timer may be necessary to prevent that.

@bel: I am not a keen observer of the brogue scene and I've only played through the game a couple times, enough to get a very general idea of its mechanics and so on. I know you can switch items out of machines in brogue, but that is bad in my opinion and shouldn't be carried over to crawl.

As far as backtracking goes, getting rid of shops and the remaining items people sometimes stash (?) leaves you with dungeon branches as the main culprits. It seems to me you can just spawn the entrances closer together and reduce the number of floors available between branches, e.g. reduce the number of post-lair dungeon levels, move crypt/tomb and slime into depths, elf into vaults. Generally placing branches at the end of another branch when the player is unlikely to do them in immediate succession is not great.

I suppose if all the long distance backtracking issues are eliminated and it becomes largely "optional" in a carefully played game, there's some hope for a food-like clock.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

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Post Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 10:59

Re: shops -> machines

chequers wrote:I described in an earlier thread (can't be bothered finding and linking, sorry) an idea of replacing scrolls of enchant/brand weapon with "magical anvils", which are like timed portals that randomly upgrade an item placed on them. It sounds related to this.

Shops, scrolls of acquirement/enchant weapon/brand weapon could all be replaced with timed portal-esque machines, which prevent backtracking by only being accessible if you find them within a fixed time (potentially much higher than the current portal time limit, if you want to be nice to players). The machines could have varying effects if you want to replace all of these (eg you could find an acquirement machine, or a weapon branding machine).

I think this is a very interesting proposal. I especially like 'acquirement machine, or a weapon branding machine'. However, if we apply this system, the price of things should be cheaper than now.

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