DCSS variant: Crawl Light release announcement

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Derrick Sund

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Aug 14, 2011, 5:20:11 PM8/14/11
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I may as well get the inflammatory bit out of the way first. The
development of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup is in many ways at cross-
purposes with itself. On the one hand, with each passing version, the
game takes on more and more of the character normally found only in
lousy ROMhacks: difficulty for the sake of difficulty rather than for
the sake of fun, design based around the capabilities of the game's
best players rather than those of the average player. Having seen
games designed explicitly for expert players before and the quality
they tend to have, I find this troubling.

On the other hand, even as it makes the games balance increasingly
hostile to new players, the team also adds profoundly good
improvements to the game's interface. The game has excellent
tutorials, and the ease-of-use of the tiles version of the game is
quite possibly matchless. NetHack- and ADOM-style instadeaths are
nearly nonexistent, and one of the team's explicit goals is to reduce
the need for spoilers. The goals, here, are both admirable and well
done.

But many of those improvements will be of interest only to beginners,
which begs the question: who is Stone Soup being designed for? The
game, I fear, will soon find itself following in the footsteps of
monstrosities like The Legend of Zelda: Parallel Worlds; it will have
a friendly appearance belying a brutal, impenetrable nature. In the
future, the only people able to succeed in the game will be those who
have already learned how to play it in past versions.

And so, we come to this: it is with some solemnity that I announce a
variant of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, called Crawl Light. The code is
based on that of Stone Soup 0.8.0 (with the 0.8.1 fixes applied
later). This first version, Crawl Light 0.1, is intended to be
somewhat conservative in its changes (see the changelog below); my
estimation is that it is a bit easier than Stone Soup 0.8, but hardly
so easy as to be boring. More ambitious changes, such as a
significant reduction in the game's length and the addition of
optional challenges earlier in the game, are planned for future
versions.

The Crawl Light homepage can be found at:
http://crawl.aerdan.org

The page is currently rather sparse, but I hope to improve it.
Currently, you can find downloads for the Crawl Light 0.1 Windows
binary (both console and tiles), the OS X binary (just tiles,
presently), and the source code tarball.

The git repository for the project can be found at:
https://github.com/dtsund/dtsund-crawl-mod

I welcome any and all people willing to contribute to the project. As
is the case with Stone Soup, I intend for the development process to
be highly open; for now, the github page has a wiki for the project,
and ideas, bug reports, and code from any and all potential
contributors is welcome. There is also a (currently lightly
populated, but I hope for this to change) IRC channel on FreeNode,
#crawllight.

And without further ado, the changelog:

Crawl Light 0.1 (20110812)
--------------------------

Disclaimer: These are merely the highlights, not an exhaustive list of
changes.
Breaks save compatibility with the Stone Soup 0.8 release.

Crawl Light 0.1 Highlights
--------------------------
* Charms, Hexes, and Poison Magic reshuffled to make the new
Enchantments and Sorcery schools.
* Restored spell: Selective Amnesia.
* Restored background: Arcane Marksman. Now uses a different list of
spells.
* Removed species: Felids and Demigods.
* Acquirement now lets players choose between specific items rather
than classes of items.
* Haste and Slow nerf reverted.
* Tweaked backgrounds: Fighter, Gladiator, Monk, Assassin, Hunter,
Stalker, Wizard, Crusader.
* Automatic training of skills is now possible.

Character
---------
* Removed the Felid and Demigod races.
* Restored the Arcane Marksman background. Now uses the new book of
Distance, detailed below.
* High Elves' -2 Poison Magic aptitude improved to +1 Sorcery.
* Halflings' 0 Charms aptitude lowered to -1 Enchantments, -1 Poison
Magic improved to 0 Sorcery.
* Centaurs' -2 Poison Magic aptitude improved to -1 Sorcery.
* Spriggans' 0 Poison Magic aptitude improved to +2 Sorcery.
* Vampires' +1 Enchantments aptitude lowered to 0 Charms, -1 Poison
Magic improved to +1 Sorcery.
* Assassins now get a wider variety of needles to use.
* Fighters now get better weaponry.
* Hunters may no longer start with nets and javelins.
* Gladiators now get javelins instead of a buckler, or exploding darts
for small races.
* Monks now begin the game with a +3,+0 ring of slaying.
* Hunters now begin the game with more ammunition.
* Okawaru followers now gain access to Might and Haste, rather than
Heroism and Finesse.
* Removed "monstrous" Demonspawn.

Interface
---------
* Ability success rates are now displayed as percentages, rather than
adjectives.
* Automatic training is now available in the skills menu.
* Monster HP indicator tiles have been replaced with less misleading
icons.
* Autoexplore now fails if Str, Int, or Dex is at lethally low levels.
* The halo surrounding holy beings and TSO followers is now visible in
the tiles version.
* Fire Storm, Ice Storm, and Major Destruction now warn players if
they're likely to catch themselves in an explosion.

Spells
------
* The Charms, Hexes, and Poison Magic schools have been replaced with
Enchantments and Sorcery.
* Except where otherwise noted, new Sorcery aptitudes are equal to old
Poison Magic aptitudes.
* Except where otherwise noted, new Enchantments aptitudes are equal
to old Charms aptitudes.
* Slow is now level 2 Ench/Sorc (was level 2 Hex).
* Leda's Liquefaction is now level 5 Sorc/Earth (was level 5 Tmut/
Earth).
* Passwall is now level 3 Tloc/Earth (was level 3 Tmut/Earth).
* Replaced Recall with Passwall in the book of Spatial Translocations.
* Replaced Repel Missiles with Throw Frost in the book of Minor Magic.
* Replaced Silence with Haste in the book of War Chants.
* Restored Summon Butterflies to the book of Cantrips.
* New book of Stalking: Corona, Fulsome Distillation, Evaporate,
Blink, Ensorcelled Hibernation, Passwall.
* Added book of Distance for Arcane Marksmen: Corona, Slow, Poison
Weapon, Leda's Liquefaction, Cause Fear.
* The Stone Soup 0.8 nerf of the Haste and Slow effects has been
reverted.
* Skills sufficient to grant 98% success or greater now confer 100%
success for spellcasting.
* Restored the Selective Amnesia spell. Now found in the books of
Wizardry, Enchantments, and Dreams.
* Sticky Flame nerf reverted.

Monsters
--------
* Monsters may no longer invoke Zot traps against the player.
* Silent spectres have been completely overhauled to be fast but weak
Silence-casters.
* Skeletal warrior packs now have a chance of containing one, or
rarely more, silent spectres.
* Mennas' evasion lowered from 28 to 20, large shield reduced to
medium shield.
* Removed Silence from Mennas' spell list; instead, he has a band of
holy-flavoured silent spectres.
* Updated the megabat description.
* Added a special case message when attacking door mimics.

Levels
------
* Shoals has been temporarily disabled, pending an overhaul.
* Toned down the deadliness of a Swamp entrance vault with vampire
mosquitos.
* Removed the disco hall Pandemonium vault; it is extremely buggy in
the tiles version.
* Removed the ability for players to place shaft traps using Flight
and Minefield cards.
* Ghost moths removed from possible Spider's Nests.

Items
-----
* Scrolls of acquirement now let the player choose between specific
items rather than broad classes of item.
* Misc. acquirement replaced with potion acquirement.
* Manuals now increase the appropriate skill by 3 levels when read,
disintegrate immediately.
* Every non-randart spellbook now has a unique description.
* Crystal ball of energy nerf reverted.

Technical
---------
* All god invocation code is now in god-abil.cc
* mkrelease.sh script is now responsible for making build.h and
tarballs

getter77

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Aug 14, 2011, 7:29:33 PM8/14/11
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On Aug 14, 5:20 pm, Derrick Sund <detas...@gmail.com> wrote:
> And so, we come to this: it is with some solemnity that I announce a
> variant of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, called Crawl Light.

Well....talk about a bolt from the blue. Good luck in trying to make
this work, I can sort of see how a Pair of Paths for Crawl would shake
out if differing "modes" couldn't be integrated outright. Hard to
really reckon the nature of notions to put forth, but one comes to
mind:

Given the stated aims of making, roughly paraphrasing, things "niftier
and less nigh-arbitrarily punishing"----why would you outright remove
the Demigods at the least? I would've imagined something along the
lines of introducing specific existing Pantheon-specific, or at least
"Celestial" mutations along a contrasting line to the Infernal lot
that Demonspawn contend with. Perhaps I'm just going crazy, but
nowadays I generally shake my head at the notions of nerfing and
culling that which is already there in a game as an all too common
means to "balance"---seems much more fun could be had by all in many
cases to instead make things more interesting/ridiculous/etc to
rectify the issue. In a setting with as eclectic a Pantheon as Crawl,
duly eclectic in turn Demigod offspring fit well into the chaos.

Derrick Sund

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Aug 14, 2011, 8:37:44 PM8/14/11
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I removed demigods for the same reason I removed felids; they're a
race designed explicitly to remove interesting capabilities from the
player (that is, the ones you get from god worship) and replace them
with simple power. It doesn't particularly matter whether this makes
them a powerful race or a weak race; it makes them a *boring* one.

getter77

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Aug 14, 2011, 8:54:35 PM8/14/11
to
On Aug 14, 8:37 pm, Derrick Sund <detas...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Aug 14, 4:29 pm, getter77 <brian13...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> > On Aug 14, 5:20 pm, Derrick Sund <detas...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > > And so, we come to this: it is with some solemnity that I announce a
> > > variant of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, called Crawl Light.
>
> I removed demigods for the same reason I removed felids; they're a
> race designed explicitly to remove interesting capabilities from the
> player (that is, the ones you get from god worship) and replace them
> with simple power.  It doesn't particularly matter whether this makes
> them a powerful race or a weak race; it makes them a *boring* one.

Ah, I see. Though that raises the notion of a differing set of nifty
powers than mere Worshippers could attain instead of scrapping
outright, which I think have cropped up from time to time on the
Suggestions tracker and whatnot along with the flood of other random
ideas----perhaps harvesting some of the discarded ones would be a good
place to start? Similar with how removing the "monstrous" mutation
set seems a bit extreme versus just tweaking the nature of it to be
more palatable/interesting/desired versus the beginner-moderate
Demonspawn "foiler" it was last I heard. In spirit, this sort of
reminds me of the fledgling MoRe module for TomE 4---a potential
breeding ground for the experimental or at least not "canonical" at
present..

So, where are the lines then between "contracting"/remixing the
perhaps excesses of Stone Soup versus adding outright utterly new
content?

Derrick Sund

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Aug 14, 2011, 9:08:21 PM8/14/11
to
I may as well get the inflammatory bit out of the way first. The
development of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup is in many ways at cross-
purposes with itself. On the one hand, with each passing version, the
game takes on more and more of the character normally found only in
lousy ROMhacks: difficulty for the sake of difficulty rather than for
the sake of fun, design based around the capabilities of the game's
best players rather than those of the average player. Having seen
games designed explicitly for expert players before and the quality
they tend to have, I find this troubling.

On the other hand, even as it makes the games balance increasingly
hostile to new players, the team also adds profoundly good
improvements to the game's interface. The game has excellent
tutorials, and the ease-of-use of the tiles version of the game is
quite possibly matchless. NetHack- and ADOM-style instadeaths are
nearly nonexistent, and one of the team's explicit goals is to reduce
the need for spoilers. The goals, here, are both admirable and well
done.

But many of those improvements will be of interest only to beginners,
which begs the question: who is Stone Soup being designed for? The
game, I fear, will soon find itself following in the footsteps of
monstrosities like The Legend of Zelda: Parallel Worlds; it will have
a friendly appearance belying a brutal, impenetrable nature. In the
future, the only people able to succeed in the game will be those who
have already learned how to play it in past versions.

And so, we come to this: it is with some solemnity that I announce a

Derrick Sund

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Aug 15, 2011, 12:15:27 AM8/15/11
to

The thing about having a race that loses god worship in return for a
new set of abilities is that it's functionally little different from
just adding a new god. Either way, the player sacrifices the
abilities afforded by the existing gods in favor of these new ones.

Regarding the removal of monstrous demonspawn: I did it because it was
a bit startscummy. You can very easily learn that you're monstrous on
D:1, and decide whether you want to keep playing based on that;
alternatively, you can keep playing monks or transmuters through D:1-2
until you get a monstrous one, if you want the boost to Unarmed
Combat.

As for the last question, I don't know that I'm making a huge
distinction between the two. The main reason that it's called Crawl
Light is that, for the second version, I plan to reduce the game's
length by about a third (18-floor Dungeon, 5-floor Vaults, 3-floor
Snake Pit, and so on). The first version was intended to be somewhat
conservative and make changes that wouldn't seriously break things,
which is why I haven't done it already.

...also, I didn't mean to post the OP twice. Apologies.

Peter Huebner

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Aug 16, 2011, 3:13:38 AM8/16/11
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In article <a6afa30c-3c7f-4675...@m5g2000prh.googlegroups.com>,
deta...@gmail.com says...

> > > > On Aug 14, 5:20 pm, Derrick Sund <detas...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > > > And so, we come to this: it is with some solemnity that I announce a
> > > > > variant of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, called Crawl Light.

Tried it out and so far I am enjoying myself. In fact it's pulled me back into
DCSS which I'd mostly given up on since about 0.7 or early 0.8, and stopped
playing entirely shortly after the discussion thereof disappeared from here
onto some forum.

-P.

Gerry Quinn

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Aug 16, 2011, 6:14:46 AM8/16/11
to
In article <8392e6f2-a811-44b2-bdfc-
ee81c4...@m6g2000prh.googlegroups.com>, deta...@gmail.com says...

> I may as well get the inflammatory bit out of the way first. The
> development of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup is in many ways at cross-
> purposes with itself. On the one hand, with each passing version, the
> game takes on more and more of the character normally found only in
> lousy ROMhacks: difficulty for the sake of difficulty rather than for
> the sake of fun, design based around the capabilities of the game's
> best players rather than those of the average player. Having seen
> games designed explicitly for expert players before and the quality
> they tend to have, I find this troubling.

Each to his own, I guess. I admit I have not played V8, but up to V7 I
feel Crawl has been satisfactorily 'harsh but fair'.

Still, I can see some sense in a light version, and maybe it will suit
some players.

- Gerry Quinn

Christine Indigo

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Aug 16, 2011, 5:33:27 PM8/16/11
to
Derrick Sund <deta...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I removed demigods for the same reason I removed felids; they're a
> race designed explicitly to remove interesting capabilities from the
> player (that is, the ones you get from god worship) and replace them
> with simple power. It doesn't particularly matter whether this makes
> them a powerful race or a weak race; it makes them a *boring* one.

A species of sapient felines with no opposable thumbs that can carry things
in their mouth (but not do much of anything when they do) and meows when
they Shout is boring to play? Not in my book.


--
Christine "Green Leafy Dragon" Indigo -=UDIC=-

Miles Bader

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Aug 29, 2011, 3:24:07 AM8/29/11
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Derrick Sund <deta...@gmail.com> writes:
> I removed demigods for the same reason I removed felids; they're a
> race designed explicitly to remove interesting capabilities from the
> player (that is, the ones you get from god worship) and replace them
> with simple power. It doesn't particularly matter whether this makes
> them a powerful race or a weak race; it makes them a *boring* one.

It seems like that's a pretty arbitrary judgement ... in fact, I'd say
for _beginners_ (isn't this who you're targetting?) a race which allows
one to play without worrying about the whole god thing -- which some
might enjoy mightily, but is also very much a complification -- might be
a nice alternative.

[I've played crawl for a long time, but I still consider myself sort of
a beginner, as I don't play that _often_, and I've never had much
success at it...]

Anyway, the main disagreement I have with crawl's direction is the
excess nerfing they seem to do with every new release now -- as a
somewhat incompetent player, I _like_ finding little tricks that let me
gain a bit of an advantage (e.g., hives -- no running out of food!); I
don't really care if they might slightly unbalance the game...

-Miles

--
Apologize, v. To lay the foundation for a future offense.

Michal Bielinski

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Aug 29, 2011, 11:10:05 AM8/29/11
to
In rec.games.roguelike.misc Miles Bader wrote:
> Derrick Sund <deta...@gmail.com> writes:
>> I removed demigods for the same reason I removed felids; they're a
>> race designed explicitly to remove interesting capabilities from the
>> player (that is, the ones you get from god worship) and replace them
>> with simple power. It doesn't particularly matter whether this makes
>> them a powerful race or a weak race; it makes them a *boring* one.
>
> It seems like that's a pretty arbitrary judgement ... in fact, I'd say
> for _beginners_ (isn't this who you're targetting?) a race which allows
> one to play without worrying about the whole god thing -- which some
> might enjoy mightily, but is also very much a complification -- might be
> a nice alternative.

The trick is any race allows one to play without worrying about which
god to worship. In this aspect demigods add nothing. OTOH I find myself
usually picking Xom instead of going atheist. Too fun option to pass it
up like that.

--
Michal Bielinski

davidork

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Sep 6, 2011, 1:50:14 AM9/6/11
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My first roguelike was POWDER which has very simplified controls but still retains enough actions (quaff, open, sleep, pray, etc) to keep the game interesting.

Most roguelikes (even with tiles) tend to be a barely a step or two above interactive fiction and still tend to involve a lot of reading and mental wizardry. The main difference between most traditional roguelikes and stuff like diablo/torchlight/etc is that it requires a bit of imagination and a good bit of thought.

I remember once being level 10ish in POWDER and feeling invincible just steamrolling bats and rats. I ended coming across a kobold mage and getting instakilled with the first hit. That taught me to take my time and pay attention. Without the element of fear the game will turn into a very monotonous click kill grab loot repeat dungeon crawler.

Speaking as someone who is late to the roguelike party (the past 2-3 years) I will say the learning curve for DCSS is a bit daunting.

An "easy mode" or a re balancing/handicap of the game would definitely attract and help retain new users, but I'm not sure it would call for an outright fork, maybe just a patch or three to enable easy mode, change character buffs, etc.

Hell, i'd be happy starting out with a couple identify scrolls.

Xenócrates

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Sep 8, 2011, 3:22:14 PM9/8/11
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On 16 ago, 12:14, Gerry Quinn <ger...@indigo.ie> wrote:
> In article <8392e6f2-a811-44b2-bdfc-
> ee81c47c3...@m6g2000prh.googlegroups.com>, detas...@gmail.com says...
I concur with that. I've played up to 9, and it is hard but it is
fair, and even lenient in a certain way.

You can, for the most part, make *Safe assumptions* A lot of
consumables can usually be identified by quantity alone. The RNG
(unless you're playing under Xom) is more or less amiable... For
example with the brown meat, if you're not a sapprovore and are
FUCKING STARVING, eating contaminated meat is still an option... There
are character setups that are really lenient... like the DDNe and the
berserkers, and some others...

RjY

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Sep 8, 2011, 3:45:14 AM9/8/11
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davidork posted:
>I'm not sure it would call for an outright fork, maybe just a patch or
>three to enable easy mode, change character buffs, etc.

It's come up before. In fact I'm surprised "add easy mode" isn't on
https://crawl.develz.org/wiki/doku.php?id=dcss:planning:wont_do ...

--
http://rjy.org.uk/
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