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#1 2013-06-16 23:48:21

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

Balancing tool cost

v9, with the infinite backpack, gives me a powerful new way of balancing the game:  tweaking tool cost.

My thinking so far has been that the tool should cost the same as the obstacle it cuts through.  At first glance, that sounds like a $10 wooden wall should be cut through by a $10 saw.

But that doesn't work, because as single wooden wall is not an obstacle (just walk around it), and in fact a single saw can be used to bypass a whole row of wooden walls.  Worst case, the saw can let you pass through 30 walls with one cut.

So, to balance the saw against this worst case, it should cost $300.  A torch $600, and explosives $1500.

That seemed a bit extreme, because people aren't usually building whole rows of walls.  Maybe smaller structures, like 10-wall structures.  In that case, a saw should cost $100, a torch $200, and explosives $500, which is what I have in place now.

Applying the same logic to ladders, that would make them $1000 or $2000 (they can cross both pits and trapdoors).  That seemed a bit outlandish, so I toned them down to $600.  Essentially, the tool/tile cost balance becomes a curve, not a line.

For animals, things are different, because a single gun can't "cut through" 10 pit bulls, since they move around.  So, $2000 was too high.  I toned it down to $1000.  Still pretty expensive, because it kills at a distance, which is huge.

The crowbar does all sorts of things, so that was a tougher one.  Shouldn't be as expensive as the gun, because it's more dangerous to use against dogs.  But it doesn't cut through walls at all... compare it to a saw?  So, for now it's $100, which may be too cheap.  I'm having some trouble mentally getting away from how things might be priced in real life.  A $100 crowbar is a damn fine crowbar.  I've toyed with the idea of dropping tile prices down to make tool prices drop too.  $2 walls, $1 wiring, $20 saw, etc.

For things that don't do as much "bypassing" damage, and are more for meddling and analysis, I've kept them cheap.  Drugged meat is cheap (dangerous), wire cutters are rather cheap, water is rather cheap, etc.


Still, it seems like the bypassing tools might be too cheap.  For the starting $2000, you can buy 20 saws.  Still, you can buy 200 wooden walls.  Maybe it should be more like 30x the obstacle price?  Then you could only by 6 saws with the starting money.

Also, maybe there should be a well-defined fall-off curve.  So there would be a law of diminishing security returns to building more expensive walls.... where a metal wall costs twice as much as a wood wall, but where the tool to cut it doesn't cost quite twice as much as the tool to cut wood, for example.

Thoughts?

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#2 2013-06-17 01:38:33

bey bey
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Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Balancing tool cost

So how about increasing the price of something the more you buy? Say, the first five crowbars cost 100 each, the next five 200 each, the next five 400 each etc. It makes sense that prices go up the more demand there is... (The same was already suggested for house tiles, but there seems to be less of a problem there compared to tools...)

And yes, they are damn fine crowbars as they work against doors, windows, pitbulls and defenceless women...

By the way, I always liked the quirky imbalance of earlier versions, where metal walls were more expensive to cut through than concrete walls, but they were conducting electricity so you had to deal with that.

Last edited by bey bey (2013-06-17 01:38:56)


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#3 2013-06-17 02:49:29

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

The current prices seem to be working rather well.

Starting offence has a slight advantage over starting defence, but I don't know how much of an issue that is. Especially with more players — a new house with little in the bank is unlikely to be a target for the career criminal.

Last edited by ukuko (2013-06-17 02:51:45)

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#4 2013-06-17 03:04:50

bey bey
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Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Balancing tool cost

Well, I beg to differ. Especially until the family is dead, 20 crowbars and saved state of the house are INCREDIBLY overpowered. For 0 cost to a robber (or rather destroyer, happened to me a few times...) because he can just "respawn", he can do you 4000 damage, and that three times over (three family members), so you are almost destroyed just for kicks. That's not fair balance, or rather, that provokes houses like the top house right now which are just a pointless insult to the game...


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#5 2013-06-17 03:24:40

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

Ah, yes. I forgot about the poor old family.

I was working on the assumption that should you start out and build a house, you're likely to spend all of your starting money and thus not be a target for robbers.

But as you point out, the starting money can take down $3800 worth of pitbulls and a family member, which does seem rather unfair to a more developed house. I imagine this is in a scenario where the family is clearly located down pitbull alley, rather than hidden away in a maze.

So maybe pitbulls need to be cheaper?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'd love it if family members could walk over wires too.

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#6 2013-06-17 03:34:14

bey bey
Member
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Balancing tool cost

Well, I did put them somewhere down pitbull lane with an escape plan that didn't include malice (somebody spent 1500 in crowbars for 900 cash) and probably my fault was thinking v8ish. Why I was and am pissed of at this is that somebody just made various runs of destroying the most valuable things he could find all over the map (i.e. pitbulls) + ONE family member.

(But those cases are why I'll keep on disliking the situation where starting cash buys tools. A proper house can be raped to destruction by an idiot with starting cash who'll lose nothing from doing so...)

Last edited by bey bey (2013-06-17 03:34:34)


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#7 2013-06-17 03:37:39

bey bey
Member
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Balancing tool cost

I'd rather say that crowbars have become too universal. Probably, the door-opening feature should be kept but the smashy-killy-feature be put into a separate tool, say a baseball bat for 200 $.

Crowbar: opens doors - 100$
Baseball bat: kills animals, family - 200$


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#8 2013-06-17 03:42:49

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

bey bey wrote:

Crowbar: opens doors - 100$
Baseball bat: kills animals, family - 200$

Makes sense. The crowbar is an amped up multi-tool at the moment.

I've seen some rather vindictive robbers. Someone went to the effort (after finding my vault) of backtracking through my house to use up as many of their bricks on switches as they could.

Last edited by ukuko (2013-06-17 03:45:01)

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#9 2013-06-17 03:52:07

bey bey
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Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Balancing tool cost

That's terrifying... 50$ damage for 2$ value. (Are bricks permanent?)

That was probably the only upside to the whole thing at my end... all my trapdoors "laddered", all doggies dead, family murdered, doors broken, but the electrics were still alright. wink


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#10 2013-06-17 04:02:13

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

There's no damage, so the only benefit for the robber would be leaving me $2 less per brick.

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#11 2013-06-17 04:03:03

bey bey
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Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Balancing tool cost

Phew, I guess that's something. wink Did you know that $2 water bottles destroy $200 power supplies?! Only found out the hard way... hmm


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#12 2013-06-17 06:59:34

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

I think a bigger issue is the abuse (intentional or otherwise) of abandoned starting money.

During a busy period there are numerous ~2k houses popping up with unprotected family and vault. A robber can grab one or two of these and easily take out one of the top houses with brute force.

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#13 2013-06-17 08:35:43

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

I think that at the moment crowbars are too cheap. You can get through 20 pitbulls with just the starting money and, as they're the only defence you can have in the way of your family, get to the family of any house that hasn't had over $4000 to spend on specifically defending their family.

Guns on the other hand seem a bit too pricey. If you want to stop a dog then normally drugged meat does the job well enough and if you really need to step past them then a crowbar kills them.


A non linear pricing of tools could work well. If you want to just scout around with a crowbar and some water then it could be cheaper than it is now, but to completely smash right through to someones vault it should cost a lot more. It feels a bit strange to me that completely brute forcing to someones vault only costs a few times more than a normal looking around.

This could be added thematically as a "transport cost" which is perhaps made clear when you enter a house in some way. You could probably just walk to a house with some drugged meat and a voltage detector, but you'd need some kind of truck if you wanted to bring 30 explosives.

Edit: I don't mean you physically have to buy cars or anything, just a message telling you how much you'll pay for transport.

Last edited by colorfusion (2013-06-17 08:48:12)

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#14 2013-06-17 08:38:42

bey bey
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Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Balancing tool cost

Only now did I realise that the current mechanics directly encourage random destruction: Since you'll leave your tools to the robber after leaving, it's in your best interest of sorts to use all tools destroying the house before walking onto the safe. This can't be right...

colorfusion: yes, crowbar is way overpowered! (suggestion: crowbar opens doors etc. - 100$; baseball bat: kills animals and family - 200$)


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#15 2013-06-17 09:20:02

nathan
Member
From: A ditch somewhere
Registered: 2013-06-15
Posts: 61

Re: Balancing tool cost

What I think might work is dividing house material prices by five (e.g: wood walls cost $2, steel walls cost $4, concrete walls cost $10) and keeping tool prices the same they're at now. What this would do is limit destruction for the sake of destruction, as the damage costs less to repair, and encourages house building over just going out and robbing. It also lets Jason keep all other mechanics the same.

I agree with bey bey that the crowbar is pretty overpowered. It just has too many uses over the other items, the vast majority of which only have one use. The only exception there is are guns, but they cost half of the starting money.

Last edited by nathan (2013-06-17 09:22:24)


"I just robbed Mr. Rogers." -Ludicrosity "The wood is my desk, and I'm knocking it with my head." -Blip
"I'd rather pack 25 meats than 1 crowbar if you know what I mean..." -Jabloko
"This is one of the most disturbed things I have seen in quite a while. I blame global warming." -bey bey
"that seems like more resources than I'm willing to put into having my kids killed." -cbenny

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#16 2013-06-17 12:43:13

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

What about this crowbar-proof family dog?

9070350518_f4f79251f5_o.png

Dog is always two tiles behind you (unless you saw through a wall too or do something else).

The bad combo is currently drugged meat to stop them plus crowbar to kill them.  I'm thinking that a drugged dog should simply not be killable (it should turn into an indestructible land mine).

I like the fact that crowbars do a bunch of different things---that's thematically accurate and mechanically rich.  It's okay that some tools do more than others, as long as every tool is useful in some situation, and every tool has some situation where it is useless.

As far as family stepping over *just* wires... I don't think that changes much, and I'm resisting doing that because it would be a pain (family  are currently represented as objects, so they can stand in the same spot as an animal, but there's only one object in each map spot, so they can't cross anything but empty floor---each tile in the map currently has at most one object and at most one mobile object).

Obviously, if they could step over other stuff (hit switches, open doors, etc.), there would be no automatic way to verify that a viable escape path existed.

Also, it's thematically nice to have to design part of your house in a different way to suit the whims of your family (they don't want wires all over the floors in their hallways).  It's a natural way of getting you to build a separate "living space" in your house that looks and feels and functions differently from the trap parts of your house.

And yes, there are obvious clues for robbers (follow the empty, trap-free hallways to look for the family), but this is a rich, creepy side-effect that I like.... like looking for the heart stickers on the door to find the daughter's room.... yikes!

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#17 2013-06-17 12:54:22

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

jasonrohrer wrote:

What about this crowbar-proof family dog? ...

i have been sleeping dogs and waking them up after i've walked past them as a quite effective way of pushing some tricky buttons when i didn't have a brick. it definitely makes sense that clubbing a sleeping dog is too easy, but being unable to wake them up would feel like a shame. hmm

jasonrohrer wrote:

As far as family stepping over *just* wires... ...

i never thought of it like that. this makes a lot of sense and i graciously withdraw from the 'my family are such a bunch of prissy whiners, can't even step over a wire' party.

Last edited by largestherb (2013-06-17 13:05:00)

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#18 2013-06-17 12:59:41

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

jasonrohrer wrote:

like looking for the heart stickers on the door to find the daughter's room.... yikes!

antoine_dodson.jpg

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#19 2013-06-17 13:47:22

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

Oh, man, has Castle Doctrine gone there?  Yes, it has gone there.

Hmm... the problem is, if you can drug them and then wake them up with a brick, you can control how close to them you are before they wake up, thus enabling you to club them after they wake up.

There's a general complaint (that I think is correct) that "protecting the family" isn't interesting right now.  Would be good to fix that.

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#20 2013-06-17 14:15:41

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

i've been pondering windows or a single 'escape hatch' that everyone gets to place that your family (and the robber) can use to make a quick exit..

but how to prevent people just putting that escape hatch/window right next to the family, or indeed walling it off to keep the robber in..

ooooh it's tricky! the castle doctrine v10, let sleeping dogs lie. scary tunnels!

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#21 2013-06-18 03:24:26

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

bey bey wrote:

Only now did I realise that the current mechanics directly encourage random destruction: Since you'll leave your tools to the robber after leaving, it's in your best interest of sorts to use all tools destroying the house before walking onto the safe. This can't be right...

As long as you make the house safe to rob again (with no tools or less tools) you can come back and retrieve the tools that you left behind. I think this mechanic is more problematic than the lose-your-backpack mechanic. Both mechanics are interesting by itself, however they synergize in such a way so that they enable some playstyles that might not be desirable (personally I don't mind, I tried both playstlyes and I enjoyed both).

So players who vandalize might not know that they can retrieve their tools if they want, or, they simply want to destroy things. What I am saying here is that changing any of these mechanics won't prevent vandalism.

The other idea about tool cost progressively increasing can actually address this problem, but it would require a nice implementation where normal gameplay (scouting -> striking) is not penalized too much.

Last edited by Matrix (2013-06-18 03:27:15)

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#22 2013-06-18 05:04:06

bey bey
Member
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Balancing tool cost

Progressive tool cost ftw!! smile

Huh, just thinking however that resale value would be a problem if the entry price would be low enough to make scouting with 2-3 basic tools a viable option again without breaking the bank. Tool-starter-packs & building vouchers still sound like a solid idea to me.


tldr follows:
Well, as I said, it took me time to figure out that this is the way it may work out in some players' minds. I didn't think that, but especially if you are thinking in single robberies one at a time, it makes sense to use up all tools inflicting random destruction. It's one of the psychological possibilities created by the ruleset.

Even though this would imply that house owners who make their houses one-time-robbable are to blame for making robbers use up their tools, I wouldn't trust the people as much as to have my whole house open to n beatings in a row with only the kindness of the robbers in the way... There has been lots of random destruction lately.

Well, after all, most houses have become one-time-robbable now, so we'll see how that works out.

Last edited by bey bey (2013-06-18 05:06:57)


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck

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#23 2013-06-18 21:39:25

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

Regarding starting tool packs and tools that change price dynamically....

I'd like to avoid "forcing" anything, which tool packs would.  I want to keep the game organic and dynamic and very "up to you" feeling.  Here are these core mechanics, and the rest is a blank slate.  An empty backpack for you to fill however you want.  Spend the starting money on a house, OR spend it on tools for robbery, or your own mix of both---totally your choice.

Dynamic pricing has the problem that it's hard for players to reason about.  It's one more thing to explain, too.  And prices jumping around is confusing to new players.  I'd like to keep it so that "a saw costs X, always," and set X at whatever value is appropriate.  If 20 saws is too many for a fresh-start player to get a hold of, then the price should be fixed so that the number of saws acquired is NOT too many.


In my in-progress v10, I've change it so that animals remain still while a tool is used.  This changes the game in some interesting ways.  Most importantly, a dog that is 2 tiles away can't be brought one tile closer simply by cutting a wall.  But also using a crowbar to open a door no longer makes the dog behind the door instantly jump into crowbar-reach.  So, opening a door produces a dog that is super-dangerous (two tiles away).  Also, drugged dogs can no longer be clubbed, so drugged meat doesn't help as much in these situations.

In v9, people carry enough crowbars that they can pretty much feel safe against dogs.  That won't be the case in v10... I think that dealing with dogs will require more tactical thinking.

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#24 2013-06-19 01:18:40

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

jasonrohrer wrote:

Also, drugged dogs can no longer be clubbed, so drugged meat doesn't help as much in these situations.

In v9, people carry enough crowbars that they can pretty much feel safe against dogs.  That won't be the case in v10... I think that dealing with dogs will require more tactical thinking.

Will dogs still be able to be woken with a brick?  If so, then the meat-brick-crowbar combo will just become the norm....


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

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#25 2013-06-19 16:52:43

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

Re: Balancing tool cost

No, they can't be woken by brick or water anymore.  Nothing wakes them except stepping on them.

They can still be shot by a gun while sleeping, but that's just a waste of good meat.

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