Need more numbers


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

Lair Larrikin

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Post Sunday, 13th May 2012, 15:16

Need more numbers

To me, it seems to be a tad arbitrary how Crawl determines what numbers and statistics are divulged. For instance, you could record your current hit points, then just subtract your hit points after receiving a single hit by a single monster to determine how hard it hit you. So Crawl is willing to provide concrete numbers in some scenarios, (IE: one turn, one monster, one hit). In the example of spells and effects, the game will provide a very specific probability of effectively casting a spell, but won't reveal duration of an effect beyond simple notifications/color codes (spell about to end)?

I was curious if anyone knew a way alter the game interface to provide a bit more information in the form of numbers or statistics. The two that spring to mind immediately are damage taken/received and duration remaining of spells and effects. I could easily think of many more I'd like to see. I played around (very briefly) with the developers God mode but that removes any sense of challenge or fair play. Would love to find any advice or workarounds for the information blackout.
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Sunday, 13th May 2012, 15:37

Re: Need more numbers

Numbers beyond an enemies maximum possible hit are rarely ever relevant. Who cares what you were hit for? Does it really matter? All you need to know is what your remaining health is and how much the enemy can hit in the future (which can't reliably be determined by previous hits but CAN be determined by using the knowledge bots).

Lair Larrikin

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Post Sunday, 13th May 2012, 15:48

Re: Need more numbers

snow wrote:Numbers beyond an enemies maximum possible hit are rarely ever relevant. Who cares what you were hit for? Does it really matter? All you need to know is what your remaining health is and how much the enemy can hit in the future (which can't reliably be determined by previous hits but CAN be determined by using the knowledge bots).


That was pretty dismissive. As someone who hasn't beaten Crawl 13 times, how much a particular monster hit me for is very relevant. For example, if I'm in a room full of 3 monsters I've never encountered before, or have limited experience with, how much each particular monster is hitting me for is INCREDIBLY relevant. In fact, I've died numerous times having found myself in situations where not knowing precisely what target to prioritize has gotten me killed.

Even if I have a rough range of possible damages a monster can do, I can factor in some amount of risk assessment the next time I encounter it that game. Why not make every monster encounter a crap-shoot and beat the game by brute forced trial and error?

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 13th May 2012, 16:22

Re: Need more numbers

I would also prefer to be able to see monster damages and how long spells last. I agree they aren't really critical, and you can get a pretty good sense for it as it is, but having that information is useful. I'm more interested in seeing a report of how much damage I deal to monsters, personally :)

I don't think they want to reveal the exact duration of effects, since some things are meant to be a bit unpredictable (what turn your form ends on exactly, how many turns of levitation you have left to see if you can get across that water, etc). But combat and spell damage I'd love to have revealed. Even if it's just an rc file option, off by default, I'd love to turn it on ;)

Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 13th May 2012, 16:23

Re: Need more numbers

In Wizard mode you can see all the numbers.

Why this is not a option for a normal game, I have no idea...

Lair Larrikin

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Post Sunday, 13th May 2012, 16:58

Re: Need more numbers

minmay wrote:You could probably make Lua scripts to get your spell power, hunger, average damage, etc. since those are determined by formulas that use visible information. But if you want any information on a monster more precise than a portion of its flags and resistances (e.g. its damage, HP, HD, whether it has rHellfire or just rF+++) you have to use external resources.

I know someone already made a popular script to show how much HP you lost in a turn, called Huge Dmg or something.


That is the exact kinda stuff I was looking for, I only named a few examples in my post but having concrete numbers for things like hunger/faith/speed would be amazingly invaluable. I'm off to see if I can find the Lua script you described, you wouldn't happen to know if anyone has compiled a list or useful scripts would you? Thanks.

Vestibule Violator

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Post Tuesday, 15th May 2012, 09:41

Re: Need more numbers

It might sometimes be nice to know these things, but knowing them certainly is not "amazingly invaluable". Precise damage numbers are omitted because it would be meaningless information spam. The number of exclamation marks at the end of the hit message specifies a certain damage range (this is not obvious at all, and also generally not very useful). Knowing the stats of a monster (such as base damage, exact speed, and whether it has high AC or EV) is very useful. Knowing how much damage a monster just did is not. Damage first goes through a to hit roll, then a highly random damage roll, and then is reduced by an AC roll, whose minimum is modified by guaranteed damage reduction for melee attacks on heavy armor characters. The end result will give you very little information about the monster. What matters is how much damage a monster *can* do, not how much it just did. If something hits you for less than 5 damage 3 times in a row it might still hit you for 40 damage the next turn.

A lot of monster descriptions got a lot more descriptive recently, and AFAIK one of the goals of the text improvement taskforce was to give unspoiled players more information about what each monster can do. I don't know if the new monster descriptions are in 0.10, you could try playing trunk (unless you're playing webtiles :( ).

I'm sure buff durations are deliberately hidden until the buff is about to end so you don't know when it will end (unlike hit damage, which you only get a rough estimate of because nobody should care). Note that buff durations are very random. Some spells have a much longer average duration than others, but the duration roll is usually something like 10+1d(50), so only a very small fraction of the maximum duration is guaranteed (also the 50 generally depends on spellpower).

Spell failure did not give exact percentages until recently. It was changed because the words used to describe spell success were amazingly confusing, and because the difference between 2% and 4% failure is actually relevant for many spells (but irrelevant for many others). The coloring for potential miscast severity was also added, because it is relevant information.
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Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 15th May 2012, 13:06

Re: Need more numbers

That was pretty dismissive. As someone who hasn't beaten Crawl 13 times, how much a particular monster hit me for is very relevant.

As someone who HAS "beaten" crawl more than 13 times, I totally understand your sentiment. I understand the design standpoint of not flooding a newer player with information when they will have no idea of how to interpret it; it would just overwhelm them and be generally not fun. And from that same standpoint I also understand that not everyone is into number crunching and optimization of builds. On the other hand, for a player who has experience and is willing to spend time to learn the finer intricacies of crawl, I find to be a disservice to not be transparent with how the game backend works. In my opinion, crawl's gameplay is deep enough to the point where even if you have all the exact numerical data available it will still be a challenging and engaging game.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Tuesday, 15th May 2012, 13:54

Re: Need more numbers

As someone who has also beaten crawl more than 13 times, I see no point to showing numbers. Crawl tells you what you need to know. More than that is almost always going to be useless message spam, diluting the important things and making players unsure of what to pay attention to. Crawl has actually been tending towards using numbers more often recently (e.g. spell failure rates), which is fine, but saying that more would be "helpful" rather than "convenient" is generally incorrect.

Essentially, precise numbers beyond what crawl gives are usually distracting, irrelevant, and unfun (especially for new players), so asking for more doesn't make much sense to me.
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Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 15th May 2012, 22:29

Re: Need more numbers

Don't get me wrong, I'm totally against having number stat spam on in game messages.

That being said, I am frustrated at how hard it is to find information on certain aspects of the game. For example, it is generally agreed that it is optimal play to stop training a weapon skill after the speed breakpoint is reached. How would a player figure this out in game, or is it expected that players will codedive/scour forums? Even if one does look at "spoiler sites" (wiki/knowledgebots) there are out of date formulae and things like throwing damage/speed documentation that are completely lacking.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 15th May 2012, 23:58

Re: Need more numbers

Yes the weapon delay thing is a bit spoilery. That's really the only number I can think of where that's the case. You can figure it out on your own if you turn on show_game_turns and connect your attack delay to your weapon skill, but admittedly figuring that out on your own seems unlikely to me.

Crawl seems to me to give you enough numbers otherwise.

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 02:58

Re: Need more numbers

This exact complaint comes up time and again, but I have yet to see a strong argument for showing all of these numbers. The arguments usually amount to "I think I need it (to win) but I can't exactly say why". Many players have won unspoiled - I am one of them, and like 300 wins later, you might be surprised at the features I do not know numbers for. Many experienced players/devs might refer to numbers to prove some points, and of course people will pick up some numbers as they play more and interact with the community. But this does not mean you need to know formulas for things like duration, dodge chance, etc., to play well. I don't know what they are and I have no immediate interest in them.

If you are interested (maybe you just like to 'spade'), you can use debug mode or the knowledge bots already mentioned in this thread (http://crawl.develz.org/wordpress/bots) or source dive if that is your thing.

If these numbers were in the game itself, for one it would look really weird, and two, it would emphasize something that is not actually that important. Crawl is a complex enough game that I would like to avoid giving people the wrong idea whenever possible.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 08:36

Re: Need more numbers

The OP asked how to show more numbers, not what numbers should be shown. Of course, after the quick answers (use wizard/debug modes), discussion quickly drifted, so I'm moving it to GDD.

One thing we could add, is brogue style damage info in monsters' description. "This monster will kill you on average in 3 hits and in a minimum of 2." And same for you.
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 12:04

Re: Need more numbers

chrysalis wrote: For example, it is generally agreed that it is optimal play to stop training a weapon skill after the speed breakpoint is reached.

No. For many chars it is useful to train weapon skills higher. For many others it is not. Training weapon skills certainly becomes a much lower priority after min delay is reached, so most chars will stop training weapon skill and focus on other stuff. But many will come back to weapon skills eventually.

On topic: I really like the brogue damage display. I don't know how well it would fit into crawl, though. For example damage is not fully known for monsters with weapons of unknown brand and enchantment.
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Barkeep

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 12:46

Re: Need more numbers

galehar wrote:One thing we could add, is brogue style damage info in monsters' description. "This monster will kill you on average in 3 hits and in a minimum of 2." And same for you.

This sounds like a great idea, except for branded weapons... hm...

"If this monster was bare-handed, it would kill you on average in 3 hits and in a minimum of 2. You don't know how powerful its weapon is."?

Or:

"It is wielding a puny dagger which has an ominous glow." or "It is wielding a terrifying giant spiked club."
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Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 14:13

Re: Need more numbers

Galefury wrote:On topic: I really like the brogue damage display. I don't know how well it would fit into crawl, though. For example damage is not fully known for monsters with weapons of unknown brand and enchantment.

With the recent changes to fsim, this is actually not that hard to implement. There's a function to clone a monster before starting a simple simulation. We can get rid of unknown brand/enchantment in it. Of course, if the dagger turns out to be a +9/+9 dagger of freezing... Would still be useful I'd say.
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 14:21

Re: Need more numbers

That kind of detailed warning sounds right up Ash's alley.

Vestibule Violator

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 14:29

Re: Need more numbers

fsim produces blood pools and ammo stacks (ranged fsim). It would have to be changed to not leave any traces if it was used for anything outside of wizmode. Also it would be a lot faster to analytically calculate expected damage. I have no experience with proper probability theory, so I don't know how difficult this is with he random distributions crawl uses. fsim has the advantage of automatically staying up to date. Analytical calculations of course have the advantage of being accurate.

Maximum damage could be easily calculated analytically (also fsim gives fairly bad values for that, as extremely high damage values are much rarer than low or average ones), average damage might be tricky (and a maintenance nightmare, especially with eventual combat rebalancing on the agenda).


Re mageykun: I think information you can just look up, calculate yourself or test in wizmode should either be available to all or no players, it should not depend on god choice.

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 14:37

Re: Need more numbers

Another important consideration: showing these numbers for player attacks against the monster would leak the monster's maxHP. Since they can vary by a factor of 2 for many monsters using the average would just be misleading. It is probably best to leave these numbers out.

However, I think it would be useful to add the monster's defensive stats to the description in an abstracted way. Something like "It is [very] evasive." or "It is [heavily] armored" for high EV and high AC monsters respectively.
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Barkeep

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 15:30

Re: Need more numbers

Galefury wrote:Another important consideration: showing these numbers for player attacks against the monster would leak the monster's maxHP. Since they can vary by a factor of 2 for many monsters using the average would just be misleading.

Well... monsters don't get randomized attack damage, AC, EV, or speed (AFAIK). Do they need randomized maxhp?

If every monster in an AoE spell makes the same damage roll, that'd be a problem; I don't know how that works, though.
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 16:00

Re: Need more numbers

Yes, non-unique monsters get randomized maxhp. Example from the knowledge bots:

ogre (O) | Spd: 10 | Int: normal (starting) | HD: 5 | HP: 16-40 | AC/EV: 1/6 | Dam: 17 | Res: magic(20) | Chunks: contam | XP: 119.
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Barkeep

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Post Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 17:50

Re: Need more numbers

I know they do get randomized maxhp. My question was: is this a very important feature, or one that's primarily around for historical reasons? There's randomization in every way you deal damage; does every orc need to have a different number of HP as well?
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Sunday, 20th May 2012, 03:22

Re: Need more numbers

Sorry if I wasn't clear in my previous post. You should use the knowledge bots to determine what an enemies maximum hit is instead of trying to guess it from the hits you've taken so far. The hits you've already taken, from a purely tactical standpoint, are completely irrelevant given the fact that the knowledge bots and the current game state give you all the information needed to determine your next move.

To be fair if you're trying to win unspoiled (and aren't using knowledge bots) I can see past hits being more relevant. Maybe some of the information from the knowledge bots could be presented in game?

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Post Monday, 21st May 2012, 12:16

Re: Need more numbers

@Galehar
I love that Idea, a 'this monster could hit you in roughly x many turns and can/can't cast spells' would be a fantastic way to introduce more tactics than 'I hope this new monster that I've never met before won't kill me in one hit' which to me takes a lot of the tactics out of the game. It also wouldn't be number spamming which I agree is something we don't want.
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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Monday, 21st May 2012, 18:27

Re: Need more numbers

If you implement this for bump attacks, you would have to implement this for ranged n' magic attacks, without too much interface cluttering.
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Pandemonium Purger

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Post Monday, 21st May 2012, 23:42

Re: Need more numbers

I don't think it would need to be too cluttered;
'It knows the following spells: X, Y, Z, Q.'
'With its current weapon, it could kill you in X attacks. With its spells, it could kill you in X casts(, but watch out: It can (paralyze/slow/confuse) you).'

Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2012, 08:01

Re: Need more numbers

Figuring out the particulars for those numbers when spells like Chain Lightning are involved would be incredibly hard, I suspect.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2012, 13:38

Re: Need more numbers

dtsund wrote:Figuring out the particulars for those numbers when spells like Chain Lightning are involved would be incredibly hard, I suspect.

Agreed. Crawl is a much, much more complex game than Brogue is, and what works for one game will probably not work for another. Crawl has a huge amount of monsters, many ways to attack, and massive variance in damage (and, for that matter, effects) that it seems likely that anything like Brogue's system would be misleading at best and blatantly incorrect at worst.

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 12:11

Re: Need more numbers

There was some IRC discussion about this a few days ago, and the result was basically what Blade said.

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