The page has had quite a bit of discussion, see the history if you want to read it.

Unnanounced portals

Some people have problems with unannounced timed portals (wizlab, etc.).

  • They push the player into a particular pattern of exploration for no good reason (explore one level fully before entering the next).
  • Missing a portal vault is disappointing.
  • I believe that how the unannounced portals (timers) behave is spoiler material, and hard to understand in-game. — evktalo 2010-03-09 13:52
    • Agree with spoiler information although players can probably figure out how it works (catch some portals, miss some portals, and watch the timer messages). — dpeg 2010-03-09 23:34

Solution

  • Have two timers: one long (longer than the current one), one short (as above). The long timer takes care of find-Ossuary-late problem, the shorter timer can be made short enough to introduce a now-or-never decision for the player. — evktalo 2010-03-09 13:52
    • Sounds good to me. The best idea so far! — kilobyte 2010-03-09 14:06
    • I approve of this, too. This seems to be a generous and simple solution which does not require announcing. — dpeg 2010-03-09 23:34

Proof-of-concept patch with double-timed portals at 1147.

I suggest to apply this to trunk. — dpeg 2010-04-03 18:23

vadim points out the following problem:

  • D:14 has a branch entry, the player hasn't found it yet.
  • The player dips briefly to D:15 with a portal, the long timer triggers.
  • The player goes back to D:14, finds the branch entry, enters it and explores it fully (taking a long time).
  • Finally back to D:15, where the long timer has silently expired ages ago.
  • The “correct” pattern would be to fully explore all the levels you've been to before proceeding elsewhere (especially to another branch).
    • This is indeed somewhat awful, but not arguably a huge concern. — evktalo 2010-04-03 18:32

vadim suggests announcing the long timer. dpeg and evktalo (and rob?) are against this.

evktalo: One solution that comes to mind is to stop the timer when the player is in a different branch. More possibilities: don't spawn portals on the same level as a branch stairs, or the level below. I'm not sure that anything needs to be done, but it would be nice to address this at some point.

This might go without saying, but stopping the timer when in branches should only apply to the “long” timer - a player shouldn't be able to find a timed portal vault near a branch entrance and decide to freeze time, clear the branch out first, and then take on the portal with the assistance whatever was gained in the branch. I don't think that having to explore a level before heading into a branch to be “safe” is bad, though. — og17 2010-04-04 03:40

I don't want announcements for most portal vaults; I am rather willing to miss some of them. There are also times when you cannot feasibly fully explore a level and therefore might lose a portal vault (and eventually someone will) — that's completely fine, of course. The implications of the change are as follows: instead of discouraging stair-dipping (that's what the old timed, unannounced portal vaults did), the new approach discourages unfinshed exploration. I don't see what's wrong with either: some players will have to adapt; a subset of those will complain loudly. The real question is which discouragement we like more. Here I am undecided, both look interestig to me. (The old version had you restrict stair dipping to dangerous levels — making it a conscious rather than an automatic act. The new version has you try to explore a level fully before going elsewhere.) — dpeg 2010-04-03 22:19

That's a good summary of our discussions Dpeg. As for your question - I think the discouraging unfinished exploration is infinetly better than the current state (discouraging stair-dipping). Simply because discouraging what you've called “stair dipping” *also* includes discouraging unfinished exploration. In other words:

1. (The current optimal pattern) : You must not dip stairs(or go to any level other than current one) *and* you must not go to other branch before finishing the quest.

2. (The new optimal pattern 1 - for the solution with two timers ): You must not go to other branch before finishing the current level.

3. (The new optimal pattern 2 - for the solution of two timers and pausing the long timer when player is outside the dungeon/branch with active long timer): No limitations on how do you explore.

As you can see, both “2” and “3” give player much more freedom of exploration than the current situation “1”, which pretty much locks player at the current level. The level announcement I've suggested would achieve the same results as the (3), but since you are clearly against it, I am not going to mention it anymore. :) And besides (3) if implemented well (mainly - making long timer generious enough for the player to fully explore 3-4 levels before it expires), is pretty much perfect. (posted by Vadim 2010-04-03)

If you're a player that likes to “stair-dip,” it's natural to do it as you come across each staircase during the exploration of a level. Avoiding staircases while exploring and then backtracking through the completed level in order to safely “stair-dip” is annoying and feels like a waste of turns. Discouraging unfinished exploration seems much more appropriate for Crawl, anyway - the game is largely about exploration, isn't it? — og17 2010-04-04 03:40
My main point is that it's good if formerly standard behaviour needs thought. So if you're a mindless stair-dipper, announced, timed vaults may be your peril (we don't need unannounced, timed portal vaults for that). — dpeg 2010-04-04 13:46
If dipping players decide that it's a poor idea to dip during exploration, dipping is still useful enough that they're going to do it after the level's clear despite the annoyance and waste of time, which doesn't seem like a good situation. Or they'll decide that avoiding the annoyance and waste of time is worth possibly missing portals and just dip as they go (some players currently do this), which also doesn't seem good - annoyance and time-wasting shouldn't be the main factors of play decisions. I'm not sure what you mean by announced vaults, unless the idea is that the player is exploring level 11, goes to level 12 and gets a lab announcement, finds and enters the lab, and ends up missing an ice cave on level 11 because of it. — og17 2010-04-04 17:20
If you always dip, the announcement for a labyrinth or bazaar may force you to do the new level rather than finishing the old one.
I am not sure that stair-dipping is such a great idea in general. At least, I only use it when I think the current level is dangerous enough that I'll be happy to know the locations of stairs on the next one.
But this is all moot: I am happy with the double-timer approach. — dpeg 2010-04-05 02:35
How about shaft traps? sometimes you can get shafted twice in a row, and you need to frantically get to safer levels. the timed portal vaults will be gone by the time you discover them on the way back down causing player to miss some fun content, what do you think? Needs change or just bad luck for player? — porkchop 2010-04-09 16:32
The long timer should be long enough so that a single shafting wouldn't make you lose a portal. Multiple shafts - bad luck. — evktalo 2010-04-10 00:21

Exactly. The idea is not to make stuff foolproof (this does not just go for portal vaults, but also for almost anything in Crawl, the only exceptions being runes and gods). The idea is to create good gameplay. If you're shafted three times in a row, that's surely memorable; more so, if it also causes you to lose a portal vault. Also, it's really rare, so no reason to bother.
Eino, do you think we can just go with Robert's solution? (I do.) — dpeg 2010-04-10 01:41

Yes, we can. — evktalo 2010-04-10 17:49
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graveyard/unannouncedportals.txt · Last modified: 2010-10-01 21:59 by evktalo
 
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