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Name dcss:brainstorm:branch: lair
Summary Brainstorm ideas for the Lair.
Further information
Added by dpeg
Added on 2009-12-08 07:26


  • Monster generation: The range for the Lair entry should stay as now, but total depth (which affects monster generation) should be changed so as to mean (latest possible Lair entry level) + (depth within Lair). Currently, you are doubly gifted by an early Lair. I think this is too much.
    • Personally, I think the 0.6 monster generation is ok. It's harder than 0.5, but does not implement the above (as far as I know). — evktalo 2010-03-04 12:58

Many of the monsters on Existing Monsters and New Monsters are relevant to Lair, as are snails.

Serial Vaults

I'd like to make use of the new “serial vault” concept to create a collection of 4 Lair Branch serial vaults with the intention of giving the branch an overall more “lair like” feeling. There should be a fairly high chance of these vaults being generated so that players will typically encounter a few serialized floors per game. Otherwise it wouldn't achieve the goal of making the branch feel more like an actual beastly lair.

There would be 4 serial vault collections with a good amount of sub-randomization:

serial_lair_beast.des - Would contain a bunch of small caves and connected rooms populated with hounds / yaks / bears / elephants. Generally I'd like the floors to feel “themed” so I'd favor sticking to one family of beast at a time.

serial_lair_insect.des - Would contain a bunch of winding passage and hive-style mini-vaults populated with scorpions / ants / worms / beetles / spiders. I wouldn't include bees or snakes since they already have their own branches.

serial_lair_aquatic.des - Would contain flooded caves/passages populated with frogs / snails / turtles / crocodiles and the occasional hydra. I wouldn't include fish or electric eels since they don't feel “lairly” to me. To distinguish this from Swamp I'd make the vaults closed and narrow, like underground rivers/pools, rather than wide open lakes.

serial_lair_dragon.des - Would contain larger, aerie-like caves (open rooms with many narrow entrances) Populated with griffons / drakes / hydras. Restricted to the lower Lair floors.

Some serials would contain a limited number of “boss” variants of their respective beasts where appropriate (ie: Alpha Wolf, Ancient Tortoise) to spice things up.

This is a reasonable amount of work (and would be my first substantial contribution to Crawl) so I don't want to embark upon it without a dev's blessing. — carwin 2011-04-10 21:54

Here I am! Sounds awesome. You know the basic rules: smaller vaults are often better than bigger ones (and I believe this holds even more for serial vaults). Randomise. Different weights for different vaults in the series. But you'll do fine. — dpeg 2011-04-12 22:35
Of note for consideration, non-bee spiders and insects have their own portal. Also, I'd love to see Hive show up in Lair more often than in the dungeon proper, but that's me. — XuaXua 2011-04-13 18:57
Thanks for the nod, guys! Serial_lair_beast.des is almost done. I'll post it first for feedback and whatnot before digging into the others. — carwin 2011-04-16 02:40

Skipping Stairs

So there's a proposal over at hopping that the player might get locked in the Lair until they find a rune. This is nice but it makes a particularly nasty unique or act of RNG a lot worse since you're stuck there and can't go around. The following is an interesting way to fix it.

Lair 2-7 are each guaranteed to contain one small (think 5 to 11 tiles across), entirely enclosed vault with an up and down staircase. Which stair they use rotates so they don't chain. Each vault is a nest of some sort of animal: not a terribly challenge, but there's no reason to miss a chance at some Lair flavor.

This makes it so if some awful unique spawns on L:4 you can go back to L:3, find the staircase that leads to one of these small stair vaults, and be certain to get to L:5 through it without running into that unique. It still sucks to have to skip a floor and come back later, but at least now you're guaranteed to be able to do it. — SquashMonster 2011-08-20 12:19

Each level has three staircases, it's extremely rare to have many bubly levels in a row so you can't find another way. — KiloByte 2011-08-20 17:38
I think the point has more to do with reducing the linearity of Lair than anything else. Unfortunately, while the proposed vault is a good idea as an occasional thing, I don't think it would work as a guaranteed vault for every level. The original proposal involved having one of the three stairwells on each Lair level leading directly to the Lair level that is two levels down, which would require some special-case coding for Lair but would leave two stairwells on each level to act normally. For this version of the proposal, though, one of the three stairwells on each Lair level would lead to the next level's bypass vault, and a second of the three stairwells would be in the current level's bypass vault, leaving only one stairwell to work with normally. If this is guaranteed to happen every level, we end up with more linearity, not less. More stairwells could be added, but that would just return to the special-case code problem this bypass vault proposal was trying to avoid in the first place. — KoboldLord 2011-08-20 18:17
Would you believe I didn't realize this would only leave one normal staircase per floor? I probably shouldn't submit commentary that late at night. Alright, even I think this is a bad idea now. — SquashMonster 2011-08-20 19:48

Random Plants and Bushes

A concern was raised on Mantis about the placement of random plants and bushes. Specifically, the Lair generator places plant and bush clumps randomly on the map, even inside vaults. and these sometimes block off parts of vaults, especially branch end vaults. They can presumably also block off other parts of the map, but that is less of an issue.

Some possible problems are:

  • Placing these in a thematically unacceptable position.
    • In the turned-to-stone portions of evilmike_catoblepas_cave
    • Inside buildings sealed off from the outside world
  • Blocking off parts of vaults, especially branch endings
    • This can trap monsters that would otherwise be a threat, possibly even allowing the player to skip them and just take the loot
    • It looks silly to have a bunch of monsters grouped together behind a bunch of plants with no way for them to have gotten there (maybe a wizard did it)
    • The effect is much worse if the vault also placed bushes or plants near there, because then it looks like it is supposed to be blocked. Otherwise, it just looks like some plants/bushes just happened to grow there
    • Parts of the map outside vaults can also be blocked off, but not as easily because maps are more connected

Some possible changes could be

  • Make plant and bush generation respect the no_monster_gen tag
  • Not place random plants and bushes in vaults at all
  • Decree this a non-problem because a) it adds randomization and b) the player can kill the plants

Branch End Comparison

I recently did a comparison of branch end XP and discovered that there is a lot of difference, depending on the map.

Lair is unusual in that it may generate one (larger) ending or two (smaller) endings. These are the current XP values for the endings. Note that XP values very a bit even if monsters do not change.

Single vault endings:

  • due_jungle_book: 12569 (including awoken statues)
  • evil_forest: 12383
  • minmay_lair_end_enchanted_forest: 6711
  • evilmike_catoblepas_cave: 17608

Double vault endings:

  • wormcave: 9978
  • bearwithus: 5060
  • kennels: 2672
  • minmay_lair_end_frog_pond: 9116
  • infiniplex_lair_end_felid_city: 4432 (on Mantis at time of writing)

There is a lot of variation here. The minimum value is around 7000 XP (for minmay_lair_end_enchanted_forest or kennels and infiniplex_lair_end_felid_city), while the maximum is about 18000-19000 XP (for evilmike_catoblepas_cave or wormcave and minmay_lair_end_frog_pond).

I propose adding a minimum and maximum desired XP for the endings (ideally as a comment in lair.des) and adjusting the outlier vaults in. A possible range would be 10000-15000 XP for single endings and half that (5000-7500 XP) for double endings.

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dcss/brainstorm/dungeon/branch/lair.1352144469.txt.gz · Last modified: 2012-11-05 20:41 by infiniplex
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