Archive for January, 2010:

Play-testing: Alphabet Stone Soup!

You can catch any play-testing posts that you might have missed here! Windows builds will be updated shortly.

If you’ve played an ASCII build of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup recently, you might’ve noticed that some monsters have had a makeover recently. If you play tiles, then you might also have noticed a new addition to the tiles of imps, devils and other demons. We’re going to take a short moment to discuss some of the changes.

Insects and spiders

The most noticeable change is that the two large insect families of bees and ants have been standardised. Instead of using multiple glyphs, one for larvae, one for normal monsters, and one for “queen” monsters, we now use the same glyph and scale colour instead.

More: Read the rest of this entry…

Play-testing: Come Jiyva with me!

You can view previous play-testing posts here (you might need to scroll to get past the copy of this post)! Tune in tomorrow for the “great big list” of changes.

We thought we’d take a bit of time out of our busy lives to reflect on the religious aspects of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup: if you’ve played a recent version of trunk, you may have noticed two new temple Gods1, and if you’ve ventured into the Pits of Slime, you may have a third new God!

These three new Gods are Fedhas Madash, the Plant God; Cheibriados, the Slow God; and Jiyva, the Slime God. This article is going to give a quick run down of each of them, their flavours, their gifts, and the abilities they grant. Please keep in mind that these Gods are still being developed, and that the abilities listed in this post may not be in their final form.

1 A “temple God” is defined as one that is found specifically in the Ecumenical Temple (or in overflow altars, as discussed in last week’s post). Non-temple Gods include Lugonu and Beogh, as well as the newly-introduced Jiyva.

Fedhas Madash

We’ll start by looking at Fedhas Madash, God of plant and fungal life. The most noticeable, and indeed the first, gift gained is that all plant life in the dungeon (including Oklob plants, hooray!) turn neutral, and you gain the ability to walk and fire through all neutral and allied plants.

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Play-testing: Honey, I shrunk the Temple!

You can catch any play-testing posts that you might’ve missed here. Windows trunk builds will be updated shortly for this post.

This week, we’re going to talk about the Ecumenical Temple: with all the new gods (who you can read about here), it’s started to feel a little bit cramped. In order to solve this issue, we’ve devised a new system of “overflow” altars.

As normal, the Temple will show up between levels four and seven in the main Dungeon. It will have a large percentage of the altars representing each of the “temple” gods (excluding Beogh, Jiyva and Lugonu), but it may lack the one that you’re looking for.

Don’t panic! The altar that you’re looking for will appear as an “overflow” altar. These are small vaults that are placed throughout the dungeon, between levels two and nine, and which are dedicated to the god in question. Some of these overflow altars may prove to be a challenge, and you might not be able to get the god that you want when you want it. Rest assured, the altar to that god will always show up.

What else does this mean for you? Well, the positive side of this is that the altar that you’re looking for could show up as early as D:2. It also could be that the altar shows up as late as D:9, and that you might have to decide whether or not you wait, or pick another god.

Hopefully, the changes will not only aid us, as developers, in the addition of new gods (preventing the necessity for constantly changing the size and layout of the temple), but it will also provide interesting tactical decisions for you, the player! Good luck, and good religion.

And now, on to the great list of changes! We’ll start where we left off, at commit cd1279820c.

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Website: All the gory Details!

Players, who have joined us in ##crawl or ##crawl-dev on Freenode, already know there are two additional sources of information about Stone Soup available in IRC: Henzell & Gretell!

Our bots – willing to answer all kinds of questions you may have about monster, uniques, items, even about skills and branches and strategies.

All those gory details are now available via this website, too! Head over to the Knowledge Bots and check it out for yourself.

Note: During this weekend the queries should become considerably faster – after remote access to the great LearnDB has been simplified.

Update: LearnDB is now mirrored and parsing the entries is done locally. Much faster! Links in Henzell entries are now clickable. Colors have been slightly adjusted and screenshot of Sigmund added :) Enjoy!

Play-testing – There’s something on your Neck!

Another week, another play testing post! You can catch any that you might have missed in our play-testing category.

This week, we’re going to talk about amulets: there have been a lot of changes to them recently, and while they aren’t finished, I thought we could highlight some of the major changes and how they’ll affect you!

The most noticeable of the amulet changes is that the Amulet of Resist Slowing has been removed. The effect of resisting the slow enchantment has been merged into the new Amulet of Stasis (more on this later), but the ability to resisting the slowing and fatigue effects of berserk have been removed from the game.

The Amulet of Resist Slowing could previously be used to bypass all the negative effects involved in berserk, which made the ability, be it god-given, spell-given, or from potions or other sources, extremely unbalanced. We hope that this removal (read: nerf) will help to balance berserk once more.

The two additional amulets introduced recently are the amulets of Stasis and Faith. Stasis, as already mentioned, prevents the slow enchantment, as well as other enchantments that affect the player’s speed or movement. This includes teleportation and blink of any form, hasting, paralysis and petrification, as well as berserker rage. Wearing it will not affect current effects, such as pre-existing haste, or pre-existing post-berserk slowing.

The Amulet of Faith provides several interesting effects: piety gain is increased by one third; Gods which protect from harm have a higher chance of doing so, as piety in this check is increased by one third before performing the check; Xom’s “piety” is also one third faster when changing, and he has a higher chance of acting. Finally, removing the amulet will affect the player’s current piety, though it will never reduce it to the point of (or near the point of) excommunication.

Of course, these effects are not necessarily the final effects, and may be subject to change at a later date. Further amulets are also planned, so expect more changes in the future! And with that, let’s move on to the list of this week’s changes:

More: Read the rest of this entry…

Have You Met Mr Mara?

Meet Mara, Lord of Illusions; Elf twins Dowan and Duvessa; and Purgy, a rather thin troll–these are just a few of the characters that have joined the army of uniques. Since our last stable release (0.5.2), there have been a total of fourteen added, so sit down and get ready to be introduced!

We’ll start our list in order of addition, with the most recently added last.

  • Kirke, named for the minor Greek Demigoddess, can be found in the Dungeon between levels fourteen and nineteen (and equivalent depths). She comes with a band of hogs, and would very much like for you to join them! Don’t run into her without a stash of holy moly, or, if that is not forthcoming, a good source of magic resistance, unless you enjoy spending the rest of your short life as a swine.
  • More: Read the rest of this entry…

Play-testing – January 10th, 2010

Our second play testing post for the year! You can see the previous play-testing posts in the play-testing category, conveniently located here! (Thanks Napkin.)

We’re also going to try something new this week. I’m going to highlight some of the recent major changes and reflect on them, instead of just including them in the Great Big List(tm).

Starting last week, though triggered by the addition of the new Arcane Marksman class, we’ve been overhauling Ranged Combat. There have been a variety of changes, and most of these relate to the compatibility of the new brands and the various types of ammunition.

Also introduced were a variety of new needle brands (more to come), the removal of the Darts skill and the subsuming of these and blowguns into the Throwing skill. In combination with the recent changes to slings (they no longer have a penalty for being used with shields), Hunters that start with slings also now start with bucklers. As a result of this, and to differentiate them more from other small races, Halfling have been given a better Shields aptitude (reduced from 130 to 90), and had their HP increased to the same range as Sludge Elves. Finally, sling bullet generation has been increased to be similar to that of crossbow quarrels.

As the new needle brands (paralysis, slowing, sleep, sickness, frenzy, and confusion) have been found to be overpowered, we introduced a saving throw for monsters: if 2 + 1d(3 + your throwing skill + your blowgun’s to-hit enchantment) is greater than the monster’s hit dice, the effect will be applied. You also have a straight 2% chance of succeeding for monsters with a hit dice of 13 or below.

Some statistics: with no skill you’re still at 100% to succeed on HD1 or HD2 (gnoll, D1 monsters), 75% on HD3 (Sigmund), 50% on HD4 (Duvessa), and 25% on HD5 (ogre). With 4 skill as an early Assassin, you’re up to 56% on an Ogre, or 33% on a Yak. Hopefully this will make the new needle brands interesting and fun, rather than utterly overpowered!

And now, we’ll start from where we finished off last week, at commit 0c8fe019dd!

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Shoal Buildin’

The Lair is the highway most Crawl characters take to go from the
stressful early game (many players attribute later psychosocial
problems to D:2 bullying by Sigmund) to the more predictable
midgame. Along the way, you pick up lots of relatively safe
experience, and up to three runes from the Snake Pit, the Swamp and
the Slime Pits. Dying on the Lair superhighway is optional, but a
lot of players seem to enjoy it.

For a while now, players have been chafing under the injustice of
having to do the Swamp, since its devilish generosity with rune and
items and shops forces players to brave the menacing terrain to rescue
these poor lost items, in the process running into charming monsters
like swamp worms that get double damage attacks while the character
wades in shallow water. When not being torn apart by suave swamp worms
in shallow water, our heroes are usually demolished by humane hydras,
which can swim much faster in water than most characters can walk on
dry land, and the occasional urbane unique.

The Crawl devteam has naturally been eager to improve the situation,
and has turned to a new branch that has an even chance of replacing
the treachery of the Swamp with outright murder — tasteful, exciting
murder. Murder with turtles in it. A new branch called the Shoals!

The Shoals are set near the sea, in a little archipelago of islands
with beaches, tides, mangroves, and the occasional man-eating monster
thrown in for seasoning. It’s a long, fascinating story (you’ll never
guess how many useful things harpies can do with human entrails!), but
today we’re going to talk about how Shoals levels are generated, and
how the tide works in the Shoals.

More: Read the rest of this entry…

Play-testing – January 4th, 2010

Please see the previous play-testing posts.

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