The Castle Doctrine Forums

Discuss the massively-multiplayer home defense game.

You are not logged in.

#1 2013-05-30 18:27:52

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

I think the ease of making one-time-robbable houses is a big problem.

There will always be a scarcity of houses to rob in this game.  Each user supplies only one house to the game, but each user, on average, wants to rob more than one house.  Thus, the robbery appetite will always out-strip the supply.

Houses that can no longer be robbed (that owners haven't returned to to fix up) are annoying, yes.  The Ignore button helps with this.  But they also add to the scarcity problem (one less house as a viable robbery target).

Why is damage from a robbery ever permanent?  Because I want the owner to have the experience of coming home and discovering damage.  That's a thematic reason more than a gameplay reason.  Gameplay-wise, it would be best if each house reset fully, post-robbery.

But thinking about the one-time-robbable issue, it really centers around animal movement.  Currently, after a successful robbery, animals stay where they are at the end of the robbery.  Sometimes, these new positions makes the house impossible.

Thematically, it seems sensible that the animals would return to their starting positions, assuming that they're not dead.  So, maybe you'd come home as owner and find a few cut walls and dead dogs, but the living ones ran back to their dog beds.  You'd watch the tape, see the walls cut and dogs killed, and see other dogs chasing the robber.  No big inconsistency that they're not exactly where they ended up on the tape.  (Note that family return to their starting positions already, anyway.)

So, is this a fix for the problem?  Have all living animals reset positions post-robbery?

Yes, a house that breaks after a robbery is possible (if the robber cuts a wire on the way, for example).  But you can't count on the robber doing that (because, by design, the house must be passable without cutting anything at all).  What changes is that the "true" path through the house will no longer be able to leave the house in an unsolvable state.

Thoughts?

Offline

#2 2013-05-30 19:05:28

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 161

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

That would certainly make the process of fixing up a house after a robbery
less fiddly and error prone.

It wouldn't on its own be enough to prevent once-robbable houses, though.
It would just be a matter of ensuring that a successful robbery involves a
crucial pet dying to a trap.

You could however reasonably deal with that by making it a requirement of the
self-test that no pets die.

There would still be the possibility of making sure that the *easiest*
solution involves frying a crucial pet - which would likely work because of
the following.

I think any attempt to prevent once-robbability would have to be combined with
a rule that a house can't be robbed twice by the same player. Otherwise, even
with a protected family, anyone who solves your house will be able to take an
arbitrarily large proportion of your savings. That removes the motivation for
keeping any savings at all.

(This rule could be explained explained by the robber not wanting to risk that
he was seen pre-balaclava by some neighbour on his way to the first robbery,
and that they might see him again - and put one and one together and get one.)

Note that this would also do much to address the asymmetry between puzzle
setters and solvers - a puzzle would remain viable after being solved, so each
puzzle setter would serve multiple solvers.

Offline

#3 2013-05-30 20:12:07

ukuko
Member
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 333

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

I think that having all living animals return to their starting positions would be a good change. Everything else resets, makes sense that pets would too.

This would hopefully lead to less instances where a house has become 'stuck' without the owner even planning it that way. Pet positioning is such a crucial part of most puzzles and the moment it's too easy to screw it up until the owner next returns.

Preventing somebody from robbing the same house multiple times (before the owner has reset it) also sounds like a good idea. I would argue that this should be triggered on vault access rather than family member death, as sometimes there is some, ahem, 'collateral damage' during the recon.

Offline

#4 2013-05-30 21:09:37

dalleck
Member
Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

This wouldn't stop one-time robbable houses.  As zed said, they will just be created around pets dying instead of finishing positions.

The only way I could see it working is if pets didn't die AND their positions reset.  But then you are left with almost a complete house reset anyway.

Last edited by dalleck (2013-05-30 21:17:45)


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

Offline

#5 2013-05-30 21:30:20

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

Yikes, thanks for noticing that hole in my thinking there.

Yeah, duh, pets falling into pits, etc., are a cornerstone of many one-time-robbable designs, and resetting living pets wouldn't change much.

Actually, looking at the top houses in the current world, it seems like many of them are being visited by their owners regularly.  There's only one that is actually "stuck".

The others are just really, really hard.  Two that I've examined exploit the nuances of voltage-triggered switch behavior in some pretty extreme ways (even I didn't know they could be used this way...).  So, yeah, blueprints don't ruin anything on that front.

So, maybe the problem is just lack of money coming into the system to feed the smaller-scale good houses.  Upping the hourly salaries could help this (recall that from v6 onward, salary is only paid if your house hasn't been successfully robbed yet).

More thinking needed here.

Offline

#6 2013-05-31 03:01:11

ukuko
Member
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 333

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

It might help to reintroduce the 'minimum wage' and pay a higher wage to those houses which haven't been beaten  yet.

I'm not convinced that purpose built one-time-beatable houses are a huge problem. If you do this you are basically opting not to play the game, and if you're not playing the game then you're not playing a role in its economy either.

An idea:

If your house has been broken for X weeks without you checking in and fixing it up it could be repossessed. This could remove you from the house list and leave you with a percentage of your cash, your security tapes and an otherwise empty house.

Last edited by ukuko (2013-05-31 03:02:17)

Offline

#7 2013-05-31 03:35:21

colorfusion
Member
Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

ukuko wrote:

It might help to reintroduce the 'minimum wage' and pay a higher wage to those houses which haven't been beaten  yet.

I'm not convinced that purpose built one-time-beatable houses are a huge problem. If you do this you are basically opting not to play the game, and if you're not playing the game then you're not playing a role in its economy either.

An idea:

If your house has been broken for X weeks without you checking in and fixing it up it could be repossessed. This could remove you from the house list and leave you with a percentage of your cash, your security tapes and an otherwise empty house.

I personally think they are currently quite a big problem. They hold loads of money and there's no way of stopping them being at the top of the list.

Players with an unbeatable house can still check in on their house, watch tapes, and I think even AFK for 5 minutes to get kicked out of it and go rob other peoples houses. So they are still playing the game and they have a lot of unobtainable money.


I dislike the idea of having to check my house every so often and, even if it still functions perfectly fine and is a good puzzle, having it repossessed if I don't.

Perhaps players could vote if they think a house is completely unbeatable (not just uninteresting to them) and if a house gets enough votes in comparison to total people who've tried it, it is hidden off the list until the house owner logs in and gets to the vault again (Which they should have to do normally anyway if their house has been changed by robbers).

If a house hasn't actually been changed by robbers yet then it shouldn't be markable as impossible. So only houses that have been robbed but the owner hasn't fixed the damages yet can be marked, which should be the only ones that are actually impossible.

Last edited by colorfusion (2013-05-31 03:39:20)

Offline

#8 2013-05-31 04:30:58

ukuko
Member
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 333

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

Ah. I wasn't aware that you could AFK to get to the lobby on a house that you hadn't done the necessary repairs on.

Voting a house off the lobby list on the grounds of it being unbeatable wouldn't benefit the economy. It's effectively the same as adding it to your ignore list.

Take your point about not wanting to force people to check in if their house is still a viable puzzle. Repossession is perhaps rather harsh.

Perhaps there is scope for an automated take on your idea:

After a successful robbery the server re-runs your self-test on the new layout. If it fails then it marks your house with a skull (sort of a TRESPASSERS BEWARE! sign), or removes it from the lobby entirely until you successfully complete another self-test.

I imagine this would rely on pet positions resetting after robbery.

Offline

#9 2013-05-31 06:48:48

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

colorfusion wrote:

I personally think they are currently quite a big problem.

I was thinking so too, until I looked at the admin data.

Out of the six houses that are at the top of the list right now (the six that have value estimates over $6000), only ONE is in a "stuck" state (    Christopher Norman Doe).  The other five are just really hard houses.

Harold Mark Jones sure looks impossible, but it isn't!

Now.... as for the idea that people are going away-from-keyboard for five minutes to get their house to time out without fixing it up, I see no evidence of that.  Doe has just been away from the game for six days.

Remember, people can't even re-fill their backpack without fixing up their house if it's been robbed.

Right now, there are 9 houses that have not been successfully robbed yet.  Four of them have so little money that they aren't worth robbing yet.  These houses are earning salary, but only at a rate of $14 + $28 per hour (if wife is alive).  I think I need to turn this up a bit.  Will do that now.

Offline

#10 2013-05-31 06:50:42

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

Okay, upped it to $140 + $280.  We'll see what that does.

Offline

#11 2013-05-31 07:53:12

largestherb
Member
From: england
Registered: 2013-05-27
Posts: 381

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

jasonrohrer wrote:

Okay, upped it to $140 + $280.  We'll see what that does.

wages trickle into the vault, free to be stolen, correct? would it be a lot of effort to have partner's wages go into the vault, but your own remain 'in-hand' (as if you have just stolen them while someone is in your house)?

i wonder if the increase in wages will mean people not slaughtering partners willy-nilly and instead 'milking' empty/broken-but-solvable houses.. hmm!

Offline

#12 2013-05-31 09:46:18

ukuko
Member
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 333

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

Well at the moment you don't earn a wage if your house has been robbed and not fixed, so you couldn't exploit it that way.

Offline

#13 2013-05-31 15:19:43

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

Largestherb:  back in the v5 days, salary was paid to everyone, even abandoned houses.  This lead to a lot of "low-level house" grinding and farming.  Many people wouldn't even bother with the harder houses.  If a house even looked scary (even if it wasn't that hard to solve), people would skip it.

Regarding money going right into the vault:  that's why the salary exists.  It gives people something to steal, and turns a "not worth it" house into a "worth it" house over time.  It's really not meant as funds for the owner (though the owner can use the funds, obviously, if they're not stolen first).

Offline

#14 2013-06-01 03:43:43

largestherb
Member
From: england
Registered: 2013-05-27
Posts: 381

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

that seems fair enough

is there a way to un-ignore a house?

Offline

#15 2013-06-01 08:31:39

dalleck
Member
Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

largestherb wrote:

that seems fair enough

is there a way to un-ignore a house?

This.

I would suggest an overall 'restore all houses' button rather than a case-by-case un-ignore.


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

Offline

#16 2013-06-01 10:43:23

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

Well, the house will come back on your list right away as soon as ANYTHING about it changes.  Like, if the owner re-tests it, or some other player robs it.

But if you make a mistake and ignore a house?  Yeah.... I guess we need a button for that.

Offline

#17 2013-06-02 09:51:24

Matrix
Member
Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 137

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

jasonrohrer wrote:

Like, if the owner re-tests it, or some other player robs it.

Just to be clear, if the ignored house owner successfully robs someone, his house doesn't get off the ignore list?

Offline

#18 2013-06-02 17:06:45

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Thought about how to fix "stuck" houses

Right, it's only if the house itself changes, either through being edited or being robbed successfully.

The idea is that people usually use "Ignore" for houses that they think are impossible.  So if someone gets through, it might be worth another look.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB 1.5.8