Table of Contents

Interface Improvement Ideas (Bulk)

Name dcss:brainstorm:interface: interface_ideas
Summary Suggestions for small improvements in the interface.
Further information See User Interface Implementable List for a list of approved suggestions.
Added by evktalo
Added on 2010-10-05 18:20

Add your ideas below under the appropriate topic. Create a heading if necessary.
Ideas pertaining to tiles and mouse-based play should be added here.


Displaying the potential damage of spells and weapons in game

I would like to be able to see the damage dice both for weapons and spells, as well as the attack delay on weapons.

It is easy enough to figure out the attack delay, except when you're hasted/finessed/berzerked/slowed/etc, which, if you're a melee character, you're likely to be fairly often.

Also it is frustratingly difficult to tell how much damage a weapon or spell has the chance to do.

Even after playing for a long time, I end up having to check the Wiki constantly to find out what spell damage will be (and that's if I'm lucky, since many spell pages don't list the dmg in 2d4 form, or only list it for min and max power). The fact that many spells do different damage at max power even when their power and spell level is the same is also very confusing to new players, who, by and large, assume they should do the same damage, and get no feedback (besides how quickly the monster dies-which is inconclusive due to the game's randomness especially when the spells are relatively close). Similarly, the amount of damage done by weapons is difficult to estimate when you factor in your skills, any racial bonuses, and brand damage (which is also unlisted in game).

I know that these numbers must all already be in the code, and I see no reason to hide them. I think it would really improve the gameplay experience if, for example, when you opened your list of memorized spells it told you how much damage the spell can do (for you at that moment with your skills and buffs) and if any of that is irresistible. Similarly, after equipping a weapon, I would like to be able to get the next delay, damage, and brand damage (as well as brand proc chance) when I open my character status screen.

I don't see why this wouldn't be included, it doesn't affect gameplay except to allow players to make informed decisions about what to do without having to reference the wiki or guess.

Remove throw/fire targeting self

There is no longer a purpose to ever shoot or throw something with yourself as the target. Currently when you try to fire or throw something and there's no targets it defaults to self target asking Are you sure you want to target yourself? And the annoying [Y]es, [N]o - You /must use caps/ to answer!!! demand. Just get rid of all this and have it do nothing if there's no targets around.

Hitting with a launcher

When trying to hit with a wielded launcher, “Really attack the goblin while wielding your sling?” should be “Really attack the goblin while wielding your sling? (' to swap)”, and answering ' should swap weapons (currently, you need to use 'n', then ').

Wow. It's like you read my mind, except that this was probably written before I started playing Crawl! I'd really like this; my only concern is that someone, somewhere, might not use ' for swapping weapons. — SamB 2011-08-30 19:47

Replace z menu with spell slot macros

Currently there is no way to cast spells directly in one command. I suggest making a default macro command to cast from spell slots, i.e Alt-1 for Spell slot a, Alt-2 for spell slot b, so on and so forth. This saves a lot of button pressing and is more intuitive.

Free up some keybindings

We are running very low on unbound keys, particularly ones that work in both tiles and console. Some possibilities for removal that are not otherwise mentioned on this page: — neil = |amethyst 2012-04-22 17:55

  • All the information from 'E', except for the felid time-to-next-life counter, is available elsewhere
  • Likewise [}” are all available from the '%' screen
  • Ctrl-c does the same thing as X Ctrl-c
  • ',' and 'g' do the same thing
  • ']' could be folded into an option on the 'i'nventory screen (toggle between all and equipped items)

More controversially:

  • '|' is not commonly used, but some players like it
  • 'p'rayer could be an 'a'bility. But then blood gods and Nemelex require more keystrokes.
  • 'O'pen could be eliminated, replaced by walking into the door.
  • '<' and '>' could be merged, but they they no longer match 'X<' and 'X>'.


Make 'Y'es 'N'o verification more user friendly

I think this feature could be improved. Currently the verification to do dangerous things asks: Really [insert dangerous activity here]? [Y]es or [N]o only, please.

The really only important answer to get here is if it is [Y]es. With that in mind, any other key entry taken as a not-yes and accepted as a cancel would be user-friendly. Also, the demand that only a capitol 'Y' is accepted also comes across as overly demanding. A lower case 'y' is suggested as sufficient.

Make inscription and command interaction consistent

Wearing an uncursed knobbly golden ring {tried, @*7}.

< or q - a ring of protection from cold {@*8}
> or h - a ring of ice {@*9}

I've started finding it very helpful to inscribe specific rings to number slots across games, to make it easy to swap common resistances in for common swap-worthy situations. In this case, I would find it much smoother to allow the player to select which ring to remove by pressing the key for its inscription. This would be far easier than pressing <, >, or hunting down the inventory key for the departing ring. P 7 8 would be my ideal ring-swapping command string.

Consistent description key (! and ?)

I've seen a few different screens where only ! or ? work for descriptions. I think it would be nicer to have single key that triggers description everywhere or to consistently support both.

ISarunasI 2011-06-13 00:06

Show porridge on the eat menu

The eat menu (e) doesn't list potions of porridge. Elliptic and I discussed this on ##crawl-dev several hours ago. It'd be nice if porridge wasn't just listed on the quaff menu (q), but also on the eat menu (e), since porridge gives you nutrition. — jasonspiro 2010-11-21 09:34

Add combined w/W/P and T/R menus

A combination menu to (un)equip any of weapons, armour, and jewellery would make it easy to view all of your gear in a place where you can also make changes to it. I (rriegs) sometimes find myself fumbling between the various equipment menus in search of equipment to add or remove based on the effects it has on my character. This process would be faster and more intuitive if I could work with all the different kinds of equipment at the same time.

Such combination menus need not be the default, but could be made available as keybindings for those who want to use them.

The only real drawback I see is the inability to distinguish between wearing a piece of armour/jewellery and *wielding* it. However, with the exception of arrows and chunks (which can't be *worn*, anyway), Stone Soup doesn't present much incentive to wield non-weapon items, so I don't see a real conflict. (And besides, you could always fall back to the original menus if for some reason you need to bash things with a suit of armour.)

Here's another drawback: having to scroll through a longer list of items. And if you try to remedy that by allowing me to press a key to select item category - you in fact force me to do it every time. So it becomes 3 keys to equip something.
Define “easy”. I think your system would make it easy to find (or memorize) the right key, but not easy to equip stuff fast. Low learning curve, but once you learn it it's inconvenient in the long run. Optimizing for short term use. In the current system, When I press P, I only have to consider pieces of jewelry. — b0rsuk 2011-05-21 22:14
Here's a less radical proposal: combine the T and R screens, allowing the player to remove any item they are currently wearing. We can also add the currently wielded weapon to this screen, as an alternative to unwielding via w-. This avoids the first issue with having to scroll the screen (this screen would now be showing the same list of equipment as the % screen displayed) and wouldn't add any overhead to equipping armour/jewelry/weapons and, as a semi-bonus, wouldn't restrict people from wielding whatever random thing they want. Plus, I always mix up the T and R screens anyway. :P — Wensleydale 2011-06-30 18:25

Expand last spell interface to wands and rods

You can currently cast the previous spell with Enter, I suggest that V would allow you to use the previous wand with enter if you're not wielding an evocable item, and if you're wielding a rod, would offer to use the previous rod spell. — LordSloth 2011-05-05 23:05


Attack misses

Regarding the current plan to put ! at the end of attack messages, depending on how powerful they are. Perhaps this is already part of the plan, but I'd suggest that the number of exclamation points decrease corresponding to an increase in either player level or player maximum HP. An ogre missing with a giant spiked club (for, say, 25 damage had it connected) is scary enough for beginning PCs to justify a very strong warning, but 25 damage in the endgame is quite a bit less worrisome. If ogres still display the same number of exclamation points at that stage, it might cheapen the legitimate warnings from, say, stone giants. — dtsund 2010-10-06 05:46

Ideally, the warning would be based on relative strength of monster attack compared to player HP. — b0rsuk 2011-05-21 22:05

More informative unequip

“You remove your +3,+3 ring of slaying.”

Which letter was that ? I'm trying a new ring. I don't like it. I want to re-equip the ring of slaying with just two letters, like “P R”. Instad, I have to bring up the list and scroll it.

I have two ideas how it could be improved:

a) “You remove your +3,+3 ring of slaying (R).”

b) a special key to re-equip recently removed piece of equipment. A bit like Firefox has “recently closed tabs” and Bash has “cd -” to enter previous directory.

b0rsuk 2011-05-21 22:13

Better sacrifice messages

Use a range of messages for piety gain from sacrifice, instead of a variable binary message.

That would help in no way and just confuse players. The messages already give you all information there is to give. — kilobyte 2010-11-08 22:51

Strongly Warn When Heretically Attacking Allies

Regardless of deity affiliation, all players get a helpful warning when targeting an ally with a missile, spell, or melee attack, presumably because it often doesn't make sense to kill the ones that are helping you. But if one's god disapproves of you attacking the ally, only the same gentle confirmation is displayed. I propose that the warning be made stronger. “Do you really want to fire in your Angel's direction against the will of Zin?” instead of simply “Do you really want to fire in your Angel's direction?” The message could be colored in the color of forbidden items or in the color of god-related messages. — jejorda2 2011-01-17 16:24

Notify when conjured flame disappears

Conjure Flame should give you a message and interrupt resting when the duration expires. This would allow people to press 5 to rest until the path is clear, rather than waste turns or spend a lot of time resting manually. This would also help if the flame disappears while underneath a monster.

Prompt or warn when entering particularly tricky branch endings

Pardon me if this is too friendly to unspoiled and clumsy players (not paying attention to level, accidentally dip into V:8), too mean to careful spoiled players who can't stand another prompt (or a config line, if it's that bad), or I'm simply proposing it in the wrong place (oops), but I think it would be quite nice to give said unspoiled and clumsy players a nice heads-up, at least. If explaining it purely as an interface assistant (like with disallowing stepping into lava) is out of place, flavour it as detection of a rune (or strong magic for Elf:5, the orb for Zot:5) or something like that (wouldn't work in Pan/Abyss, of course, but they have their own messages on level entry). But going on pure interface, if it doesn't exist already (in which someone please tell me how to do it), an option to automatically annotate branch endings would be splendid (use ! in the annotation to make them prompt), but that's yet another option (and it should be on by default, as it's best for newbies, but they also probably have the least configuration experience). — mrmistermonkey 2011-01-17 19:53

There was an idea somewhere to make the stairs to the branch endings visually distinct. I think that would serve both as a reminder for experienced players and a hint for new players that something is up. — evktalo 2011-01-18 07:35
Part of this problem is that branch endings represent such a huge jump in difficulty from the preceding level. It is technically possible to tell when branch ends are coming up even if you don't know the total depth of each branch by heart, using ^O, but for unspoiled players knowing about this jump in difficulty requires at least one visit to a branch end. One way to address this problem would be to make branches scale more gradually in difficulty, although personally I like how V:8 is especially murderous compared to the rest of Vaults. Printing a message whenever a player first enters a level with a rune (“You sense the presence of a Rune of Zot”) would be another option, like how Pan does it (for a different reason, obviously). — Wensleydale 2011-06-30 21:22

Condensed draining messages

“You partially resist. You feel drained.” could become: “You are partially drained.” — b0rsuk 2011-05-30 18:31

Going up stairs next to monsters warning

When going up stairs and surrounded by threatening monsters, the game should prompt if you really want to proceed. On certain keyboard layouts the '<' key (go up stairs) is right next to 'z' (cast spell). Intending to cast a spell but going up stairs while surrounded by monsters can easily lead to accidental death.

Also, on many layouts '<' is next to '>', which can lead to accidentally pressing both at once and going right back down the stairs you were trying to go up. Hard to think of a way to prevent either of these that wouldn't be really annoying… —minmay 2011-07-10 04:13

Prompt when hasting an enemy

Accidentally hasting a strong monster can kill. — ortoslon 2011-12-11 19:10


Extra encumbrance-causing inventory slots for convenience

Make it so you can pick up extra 5 or so items from the current inventory slot maximum, but those extra items cause you to be encumbered like you are carrying too much weight. This keeps the # of inventory slots effectively the same for optimal play while saving the player from having to drop something every time he wants to pick something up to ID it, and then picking the dropped item back up when the new item is subpar which is most of the time. Explain in character menu that whether you're encumbered by too many items or too much weight. The extra items can be indicated in the inventory menu under a new heading like, “awkwardly held items”. — ledtim 2013-10-24 12:37

Don't put frequently referenced, but unwieldy, starting items (like wands) in slot 'a' or 'b'

I'm finding it kind of annoying that Artificers start with a wand in slot 'b', because then when I go to put a newly-discovered weapon there, it messes up the wand lettering (and thus the order in which my wands are shown). I would prefer something less infrequently referenced, like armour, be put there instead.

Looking through _give_items_skills() in, I don't see anything like this for other backgrounds.

Otherwise, the closest thing I'm seeing to this problem for backgrounds other than Artificer is that some of them get a spellbook in slot 'b', but I don't think that's really an issue as one doesn't need to refer to spellbooks directly except in inventory management and to identify them. (Conjurer, on the other hand, is conspicuous in leaving slot 'b' empty and putting the book in 'c'. I suspect they may have once had some sort of headgear on slot 'b'?) — SamB 2011-08-30 20:12

Evoking evocable rings

Evokable rings should be evokable with V, rather than only by using the abilities. Confusion about this comes up a lot in ##crawl.

Should randart rings with more than one evocation give a menu of their different spells, like a rod does, or show up with more than one letter in the V menu? -jejorda2
In my opinion, evocation rings should only be ring base types (not additional types on randarts), meaning only one per item, but otherwise it should prompt which evocation to use. — tgw 2010-10-18 16:51
They can't show up with multiple letters under V, as the letters there are inventory slots. (Unless such rings would take up multiple inventory slots, which sounds really messy and probably wouldn't be any fun for the player.) A menu would be reasonable, I think; is that what staves do for spells? The v idea below isn't terrible, either, though I'm not sure if there are enough one-letter mnemonics to use it as proposed. And things would be complicated when dealing with devices possessing only a limited number of charges, whether or not those charges regenerate. — SamB 2011-08-30 19:08
How about this: pressing “v enter”, or “v v” (similar to “f f”) evokes the wielded item. Then we could have one letter for each kind of evocation and it wouldn't change between games. For example in each game “v z” would evoke Berzerk (actually it's spelled with “s” so perhaps “k” ? Or “r” like “rage” ?). “v l” would be levitation, “v f” - flying, “v b” - blink, “v t” - teleportation, “v i” - invis. As far as I can tell it doesn't matter if I evoke Teleportation from my boots or my ring, the result and cost is the same.

This change would allow to clean up the 'a' screen, there would be only natural/mutation abilities in there. — b0rsuk 2011-05-21 22:21
And deity-given abilities, though thankfully those are separately-lettered. — SamB 2011-08-30 19:20

Equipped item color

Given the large number of added colors to the inventory it's increasingly difficult to make out which items are equipped. A potential solution is to color the equipped items' background instead.

View Mutations during Triple Draw

Specifically, the ability to view one's mutation set when Triple Draw reveals the Helix Card as an option. If you don't know all your mutations offhand, it would be good to know what they are before drawing Helix. — XuaXua 2012-03-12 22:31XuaXua 2013-08-15 21:40

Inert Overlay Indicator for Evocables

New summons evocables go (inert), indicated only by text. In Tiles, apply a negative overlay, similar to wand charge count, to indicate inert. Remove when no longer inert. — XuaXua 2013-08-15 21:40

Display the presence of consommable chunk in main interface

It may be usefull to display (maybe with a yellow ”%”) the fact that the player got some chunk to eat for now in the inventory, so players dont have to verify that they already have chunks before sacrificing a corpse


Autoinscribe unknown scrolls bought from antique shops

In the early game, they're generally more valuable than scrolls lying on the floor, and the early game is when most identification happens. — ortoslon 2011-04-28 23:54

It also makes sense to autoinscribe scrolls and potions found in portal vaults (for example “Sewer loot”). “Portal vaults have predictable and spoiler-friendly rewards. — b0rsuk 2011-06-30 09:01


Include Danger Level on Individual Spells

Per 5331, there is room for improvement on the spell description screen (the one for individual spells), which currently says nothing about danger levels.

Sublimation of Blood

If the player has chunks in his/her inventory, and is not currently wielding one, casting Sublimation of Blood opens a menu allowing the player to select one to use for the spell, which will remain wielded. The player character will also show up in this menu to allow self-Sublimation. —????


Change Apportation to target furthest item first, instead of nearest. In theory, you could do all sorts of lua filtering, like you would with regular stuff you find on the dungeon floor, but I believe simply grabbing the item furthest away would be the desired action most of the time. — LordSloth 2011-05-05 22:59


Monster Speed Helper

Crawl strives to be a tactical game. Make it so. Monster and player speed is hard to keep track of, and in essence it results in monsters randomly getting double actions out of nowhere. This is not my idea of fun.

  • Double action indicator: monsters which are about to act twice are highlighted with a collor (yellow is unused…?)
  • Turn loss indicator: monsters which won't act in this turn are highlighted with another color
To the contrary, now that the double attack is gone, I'd make energy randomization last several turns. This would get rid of same speed chases, and remove spoily cases like “how do I create a gap?”. Plus, it'd get rid us of thinking like this: Crawl is no chess. I wonder, though, if it's possible to somehow avoid chess-like tactics like “this kobold is at distance 2, if I move forward, it will get a free attack so I should wait instead”. Having more fluid movement instead of turn-per-turn could somehow deal with it. — KiloByte 2013-05-26 17:19
This sounds plausible, and quite interesting. This could work in some way like an “initiative” system. When you arrive in a square adjacent to a monster, or a monster arrives in a square next to you, one of you gets to act next - and the chance of it being you should be equal whether it was you or the monster who stepped into that square. Perhaps Dex could be more relevant if it had an effect on who is more likely to get to act first. — mumra 2013-05-27 20:38

Display the effect of invisibility on EV and SH

Crawl already keeps track of nearby invisible items, and disables/enables autopickup accordingly. The same mechanism could be used to show the the change of EV and SH. While there are invisible monsters around, lines like

EV: 12 SH: 23

would read:

EV: 12 (4) SH: 23 (0)

Where the second number indicates the effective EV/SH against invisible targets. Yes, it's in the manual, but this would be nicer for newbies.

Non-innate stat increases

Innate stat increases, the ones you gain from leveling, should be differentiated in the display from the ones you gain from items and mutations. So instead of | Str: 22 |, it would be | Str: 17 +5 | or even | Str: 17 +4 +1 (with the pluses in two colors, one for items, one for mutations) |. Here's the link from the forum Things that should be more transparentdolphin 2011-03-09 19:04

When sickness or other effects temporarily change stats, it's shown as 20 (22) where the second number is the max stat. I'd like to see the second number be the value of the innate stat. That is, show the stat you would have with no equipment or mutations after drinking a potion of restore abilities in the parenthesis: Effective Stat (Innate Stat). I'd like to see it on the main screen, but the % screen would be fine as well. Sickness could be added to the “A” screen: You feel dopey at the moment (-2 Int). — jejorda2 2011-03-09 20:26

Pluses on % menu

Yellow draconians don't have rCorr. This is fine, what they have is just different, but it shouldn't show up as a + in the % menu. Usually I'm more concerned with equipment, not HP. Also, Zin gives a + for rMut starting at 150 piety (75%), which is misleading (rMut is normally 90%). There should be a different colour or symbol for special divine and racial resistances.

I submitted patch where such resistances are coloured yellow. On a side note, I wonder why resistance to corrosion and resistance to acid damage are merged into a single line. Sure, one effect is usually accompanied by the other, but it is not always the case. There are things that gives rAcid without rCorr, and there could be opposite (like corrosion attack which doesn't acid damage). I would like too see rAcid shown separately, similarly to rF/rC/rN as currently it can also have different levels, opposed to binary rCorr. Oh, and I really wonder how yellow scales manage to protect my armour from corrosion. — arxale 2010-11-02 23:44
Your patch is a bit “hackish” we should probably fix rCorr and rMut mechanism before. We should create a 3 level rAcid separate from the binary rCorr. Yellow scales even at level 3 shouldn't provid rCorr. I think it's fine that the cloak of preservation provides rAcid++.

Abou rMut, why the heck does the mutation resistance gives the same level of rmut at level 1 and 2? This should also be turned into a 3 level resist. Either (30%, 60%, 90%) or (66%, 90%, 100%) if we want to stay closer to the current system and keep rmut3 and zin to provide immunity. — galehar 2010-11-10 00:04
Uhm, because it's a binary resistance. There's absolutely no way to have more than one level of it – it comes from the amulet and amulet only, Zin gives a similar effect (but not identical) another way. — kilobyte 2010-11-10 00:44
It's not so binary since rmut1&2 gives 66%, amulet 90%, rmut3 immunity and Zin's protection from 75% to 100%. The current problem is that they all show up as a single +. The proposed solution (display the + in yellow for 150<piety<180) only address half of the problem. That's why I propose to change rmut into a 3 level resist. rmut1 (something between 66% and 80%) provided by level 1 mutation and 150 piety with Zin. rmut2 (90%) provided by amulet, level 2 mutation and 180 piety with Zin. rmut3 (immunity) provided by level 3 mut and 200 piety with Zin. The only problem with this system is that if we want to make it coherent with the other resists, they should add up and immunity will be too easy to get. Maybe it can be addressed by nerfing the amulet to rmut1 (and boost rmut1 to 80%). — galehar 2010-11-10 09:52
The mutation gives: 1. rMut, 2. rMut+rRemMut, 3. immunity. — kilobyte 2010-11-10 11:20

There was an old Mantis ticket also about the rMut issue:

Show relevant resistances in targeting

Display the target's resistances, when it's relevant to the spell you're casting/missile you're firing. i.e. fire resistance when using fire conjurations, MR when using hexes… — evktalo 2011-03-01 19:36

Highlight monsters with non-trivial gear

Highlight (with a brand) monsters that wield a non-plain weapon, wear non-plain armor or have been seen zapping a wand. Rationale: they are to be treated with extra care but they go unnoticed easily. Suggestions for presentation: accent marks in console, increase sprite brightness in tiles. — ortoslon 2011-04-18 12:47

Awesome idea. The branding options should accept accent commands (just like they allow underlining already). — dpeg 2011-04-18 14:24

Sacrifice Change

It can be a bit tedious to run around to each bee corpse in hive and pray over each one. Brainstorm: change sacrifice behavior for all relevant gods except Nemelex to be similar to Fedhas (all seen corpses). It would a convenience feature but I can see several possible drawbacks. 1). Accidentally sacrificing edible or dragon corpses (already happens, anyways). 2). Indirect nerf to the sword of Zonguldruk, skeletal warriors, shadow imps, and various necromantic casters. — LordSloth 2011-05-05 23:24

Add a Mutation Listing in Lookup Description

It would be helpful if the Lookup Description '?/' included a description of mutations. I have antennae 1 and it is not obvious what they do. — Tenaya 2011-06-08 01:19

Built in photo album

This is just a vague idea but I recently found myself in situation where I had amazing scene in front of me after blasting one orc into pieces and I wish I had some way of capturing it. I know that I could have just made a screenshot but I was playing fullscreen with tiles and I don't think I even have screenshot app installed. I was wondering how difficult it would be to have a key that dumps information required to render the screen to a file which could then be used to create screenshot (ascii/tiles or both). Basically it would be more a feature of “store this glorious/scary moment” that you could later preview in your gallery. What makes this feature appealing to me is the fact that one can easily maintain gallery without having to stop the game and that it can be previewed regardless of GUI that was used when playing.

Proposed changes:

  • new key to dump essential data for later rendering (if map file is not enough)
  • new main menu item 'Gallery'
  • gallery navigation implementation
  • rendering of screen dump for gallery display

ISarunasI 2011-06-13 00:06

High Score preview feature

Couple of ideas regarding high score list:

  • Change high score list so one can browse it and preview particular instance within the game. To start with would be enough to just have almost unmodified morgue txt file.
  • Make high score list accessible without having to play, new menu item? I already feel like I'm polluting main menu after suggesting two new entries though :(
    • There are already three commands to do that: –scores, –tscores, –vscores, with different levels of verbosity.

ISarunasI 2011-06-13 00:58

More sensible default beam paths

2697 The default beam path is often not optimal. Non-piercing missiles should default to a clear path to the target if possible. Piercing missiles should choose the path with most monsters on it.

I just noticed that cycling through possible beam paths is a wizmode only thing. So looks like this is not really an interface suggestion.

Information Screens

This is about changes to screens that primarily display information. Menus are primarily for executing commands or selecting items, that's how I define it. — b0rsuk 2011-07-13 20:33

Allow to modify and remove annotations at Dungeon Overview

It makes a lot of sense to allow players to remove and edit (but not to add) level annotations while at Dungeon Overview screen. It's been a while since I cleared Lair:8, and I really don't care anymore about my “worm end” annotation. I also don't like having to travel there just to clear annotation. — b0rsuk 2011-06-30 09:03

+1, it's annoying to either have to go there or stick with a misleading and outdated annotation. For example, before entering a portal vault, I always drop excess items and good but not tactical ones and annotate to remember to pick them back up. On the way back, I get the items but usually forget to remove the annotation… — KiloByte 2011-06-30 10:40

A sensible way to list unarmed combat stats

Players can already “equip” bare fists by pressing “w -”. This can be taken one step further: treat fists as a virtual item in some ways. Pressing “i -” would examine unarmed combat.

I think Unarmed Combat is badly in need of in-game documentation. Players generally don't know how effective it is without the use of spoilers.

b0rsuk 2011-05-21 22:34

Describe current form on 'A' (Mutations) screen

I think it would be neat and consistent to list special effects of body transformations (Spider Form, Ice Form) as mutations on 'A' screen. Many of them are not in spell descriptions. Ice form can float, Statue Form deals lots of damage unarmed (“Stone Fists” hints at that), shatter vulnerability, inability to eat, drink (Necromutation).

Default form's mutations could be grayed out (Caution: naga may be still able to spit poison in spider form). Current form's mutations could be shown in next paragraph, after a transition:

(transition - a long horizontal line to separate parts; for non english speakers)

Color Branches in the Dungeon Overview Screen

In the section that lists branches, currently branches show up in dark grey if you've been to their depth, but haven't found them yet, and change to yellow once you see their entrance. I suggest it also reflect where runes are:

  • Dark grey: as now, a branch you haven't seen.
  • White: a branch you've found which contains no rune, e.g. Elf.
  • Blue: no rune, but you've “finished” it, e.g. Elf once you've reached Elf:5, Temple all the time. (It would be nice if this reflected, say, whether you've breached the Elf:5 vault, but that seems unlikely.)
  • Yellow: has a rune you don't have yet, e.g. Swamp before you pick up the Decaying Rune.
  • Green: had a rune, but you've already taken it.

This is just to help you see at a glance where might be a good place to go next, especially if (like me) you tend to forget what you were doing.

ontoclasm 2011-09-13 20:14

I think the intention is good but the proposal is too colourful. We could indicate runes with a star (like with shops) or with the rune glyph (only for console), and absence/presence is indicated by colour (darkgrey when branch is not found, grey when branch is found and has its rune still, white if the rune is collected). — dpeg 2011-09-13 22:19

The ^x screen could be better integrated with gameplay

OG17 from 1103:

^x is very useful to see what a horde is equipped with, but to get any use of that information you have to leave the ^x screen and manually look at every creature until you find the ones of interest. Pressing a creature's letter on ^x already jumps back to the main window - it'd be incredibly helpful if when it did this, the selected creature was marked, either with the view cursor or some other sort of highlighting. This should work with enemies (eg, which orc has that glowing battleaxe, which zombie is the wyvern) and allies (eg, which skeleton to dispel for its gear).

Building off that, to streamline things, perhaps ^x could be usable when actually aiming a spell or missile - that is, when in targetting mode, press ^x, select a letter, and have the targetting cursor move to that position (though honestly, in practice I'm not sure how often this would be used).

Additionally, ^x shouldn't ignore status effects - it displays health, but not poison and the like. It'd be a great deal more intuitive if the different ways of looking at stuff (x, targetting, ^x) followed the same rules, with ^x showing everything - it makes little sense that ^x omits information included by more cursory examinations.

Distinguish Base Weapon Damage Rating from Weapon Plus

Currently, base weapon damage is expressed as a number, with no unit or context defining what this number means. This number is frequently conflated by new players with other combat-related numbers, most frequently the plus to damage of a particular weapon. While specific formula are unnecessary and probably useless, it would be beneficial to remove this source of confusion.

A simple solution would be to add a unit type to the base weapon damage number, which would distinguish it from other numbers that don't have that unit type. Describing a falchion's base damage as '8 dice' and a demon blade's base damage as '13 dice' would give a player the same information as the current notation, but '+N dice' would be more intuitively greater than '+N' for new players.

Another solution would be to abandon number ratings for base weapon damage entirely, and rank them according to an arbitrary scale. Letter-grade rankings, for instance, are familiar to most new players. Demon weapons are A-rank weapons, while clubs and daggers are F-rank weapons. This tells an unspoilered player absolutely nothing about the inner workings of the game, but nevertheless tells them exactly what weapons are actually useful without any potential for confusion.

Examining newest discovered object

When a new object comes in to view on the map and it looks like something I might be interested in, I often type x* to examine it (and then . to move to it). However, this process is not as efficient as it could be, as the default behavior for x* is for that command to examine the nearest object. So, if the nearest object is not the newest object on the screen, examining the newest object requires hitting * repeatedly until the newest object is selected, which can get pretty annoying – especially if there are a lot of objects on the screen.

My proposal is to make x* select the newest object (ie. the one that became visible on the screen most recently) by default. I think most players would be interested in this behavior rather than the current behavior, because the newest object is probably the one they're interested in.

If this proposal is adopted, it would probably make sense for repeated hitting of the * key to cycle through the next-newest objects rather than through the next-nearest objects.

There are may be many new objects. Also, I'd use a new key rather than changing existing *. Otherwise, a great idea! — KiloByte 2012-03-08 19:03
If more than one new object appears, then the one selected by x* (or whatever key you'd rather use instead of *) could be the nearest of the new objects. If more than one new object is equally near, it wouldn't matter which of them is automatically selected by x*. And I'd be fine with using some key other than *. As long as it does the job. — iliketurtles 2012-03-31 04:51

Reorder and Rename Choices on Starting Screen

Tavern Discussion


Dungeon Crawl
Tutorial for Dungeon Crawl
Hints Mode for Dungeon Crawl
Dungeon Sprint
Zot Defense
The Arena
High Scores

Proposed with Renaming:

Dungeon Crawl
Dungeon Crawl : Hints Mode
Dungeon Crawl : Tutorial
Dungeon Sprint
Zot Defense
The Arena
High Scores
Instructions / Help

Understandably, there is a requirement for screen height of 480 pixels minimum (to maintain 640×480 compatibility), and Instructions was moved to its position on the list, which keeps it at the bottom of 480px monitors. Possibly some of the other text on the screen could be rearranged or minimized.

Pre-game help

Document -edit-save option better

( crawl -edit-save ) launches an easy-to-use tool which assists users who insist on fiddling with save files outside of Crawl. ( crawl -help ) and ( man crawl ) should mention that the -edit-save option exists.

Move mention of seldom-used options into a second help screen

Move mention of -dump-maps, -edit-save, -no-gdb, and (maybe also) -seed into a second help screen, just like gnome-terminal includes a –help-gtk help screen to tell users about some of its own seldom-used options. (But if you decide to document the currently-undocumented -seed option, you should document it using text something like the following. “Initialize the random number generator to a given sequence: a hex number greater than zero. Please note: Crawl's levels are generated as needed, not at the beginning of the game. So this option does not allow you and a friend to run the same dungeon.”)

In-game help

Add Spell and Item Color Classification to Help

See Item Classification Color System - Add sections explaining color classification of items and spells to the in-game help documentation.

Allow searching through help

While viewing the Crawl user manual, if the user presses the '/' key, allow the user to search for any chosen string. This should be regexp search (like in less, vim, and the standalone GNU Info reader), not non-regexp search (like in lynx).


Allow menu_colour to affect inventory category headings

It would be nice to be able to customize the colours of the item category headings in the inventory or drop menu. menu_colour only affects the actual items, and doesn't work on the headings. — nickajeg 2014-09-25 01:48

Allow highlights for redefining glyphs

This would mainly be something for features - allowing you to get nice blocky walls without needing unicode and distinguishing walls/clouds using the same glyph. It would be nice to be able to have either “hi:reverse” “hi:darkgrey” or “brown hi:darkgrey”. — st 2012-04-14 17:29

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