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#1 2013-08-09 00:22:08

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

A number of different issues have come up in separate parts of the forum and I thought it might be useful to have a thread for people to list current problems with the game.

I'll make a start:

1. Monoculture of magic dance houses
It seems the only viable strategy to build a house that cannot be brute forced for less than $10k is to build a house with a magic dance and an extremely long path of trapdoors. These houses are not particularly interesting to explore and don't require much effort to construct. Further, in terms of optimisation there does not seem to be a lot that can be added to make these houses better, giving the feeling that part of the game has been to a certain degree 'solved' and leaving little room for innovation.

2. Not enough impetus to protect your vault
At present you can put your vault two steps from the doorstep and just put effort into protecting your wife and be fairly well off. This leads to uninteresting houses. (Though at the same time this makes interesting, non-magic dance houses more viable as allowing clever people to get to your vault does not lose you the game and can even save you in repair costs).

3. Susceptibility to multi-account abuse
It is hard to tell whether this actually goes on, but at present it at least seems possible in theory to get a significant advantage by using two separate accounts in a number of ways. The easiest seems to be simply to rinse and repeating starting a new house with one account and stealing the $2000 with the other. You could also use one to (suicidally) scout houses before attacking with the richer one.

4. Lack of players
A lack of players means that there are less houses to explore and so makes the game less interesting, especially to the newcomers we want to stick around.

5. Ability to store vast wealth in backpack
I'm not 100% sure of this as I haven't tested it but I'm pretty sure it is common. If you put your income into tools, store them in your backpack and leave the game running it seems that you can easily store vast amounts of wealth with no way for people to steal it. By doing this you can easily build up a ridiculous amount of tools to take on any house.

6. Inability to get rid of unwanted paintings
Currently the only way to get rid of paintings you don't want is to let someone rob you (and thus also lose all the paintings you do want to keep). Robbing houses that hold paintings you don't want becomes an issue.

7. Instadeath on crash/connection problems
This can be extremely punishing, especially to new players and discourages exploration (the more time spent in other houses, the larger the chance that you die because of a crash).

8. Difficulty of playing the game casually
It seems that to start a successful house at the moment you need to continuously log in through the day to spend your money. If you leave a starting house for a full day without spending your income by the time you get back to it will inevitably be robbed and your wife killed. It is very hard to play this game on a 'log in once per day' basis making it only accessible to people with lots of spare time.

9. Easiness of dying for non-game reasons
Two of my most recent three top householders died for stupid reasons. One because I accidentally pressed 'd' in someone's house, not knowing that 'wasd' could be used as controls (and so fell into a pit). Secondly because I accidentally held an arrow key down for a moment too long, running me into a pit because of keyboard auto-repeat.

10. Difficulty for new players
Currently the wiki is not particularly good and it can take quite a lot of figuring out before you can make a house that won't be sacked ten minutes after building it. I imagine this is disheartening to new players (though some would argue this is part of the experience).

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#2 2013-08-09 00:59:26

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

Some solution suggestions: (I'm not sure all of them would work)

1. Make animals not move if they can't see you? This is tricky, as it could get rid of interesting things like trapping people with dogs... maybe add a 'scent trail' that dogs can follow even if they don't see you?

2. Always lose 1/2 of your household cash when the vault is robbed? This would stop the wife amassing vast wealth while the vault remains empty.

3. Hmm, have rules against multi-account abuse and deactivate accounts that continuously do it? (It might be hard to distinguish this from just a good player exploiting a bad one)

5. Add a timeout, anything in the backpack after 10mins of inactivity goes back in the vault.

6. Allow paintings to be dumped or auctioned off (perhaps the householder gets the auction money if they are still alive?)

7. Allow reconnection within a certain timeframe with connection errors. Crashes are more difficult as progress through the house is lost - but you could possibly save an active account of the current move sequence to a file as each move is made (this probably already occurs?) and after a crash if you reload the game within a set time it will simply reopen that house and play out the move-sequence to get you back to where you were. I can imagine it would be hard to stop players abusing this though by simply saving an early version of the file and if they get trapped 'crashing' the game and replacing the move counting file with an older one. Maybe this could be worked around though with regular and simple check-ins with the server?

8. Allow income to be actively lowered for people who wish to log on less often. One suggestion that keeps coming up is to give players extra money to start that can only be spent on building.

9. Allow players to disable keyboard auto-repeat and make it clear from the start exactly what buttons will cause you to move.

4&10 - These are difficult as they approach the question of what the game is about and whether things should be compromised simply to make it accessible. I personally enjoyed not having a clue to begin with and how punishing it was, but I also wish more players would stick around. At the very least more work into the wiki would help.

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#3 2013-08-09 03:21:51

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

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

I think 1 is definitely something that needs changing to make the game more interesting. Your idea of a scent trail sounds interesting, so if a dog is actually chasing you then it could follow you, but not if it's on the other side of a wall where you've never been. Instead of that having dogs lose track of you after a certain amount of time of being unable to see you could bring in some interesting mechanics, trying to run and hide from dogs around corners.

I haven't seen a whole lot of successful houses use the wife as a vault. Vaults are generally easier to protect and don't die if they're robbed once. Also "here's my money, just don't harm my family" is quite an interesting design for a house. Money is spread out between the vault and wife when you enter your house. The idea is that if you've protected your wife then your house isn't completely bankrupt when you get back. Also it means it doesn't take dozens of robberies for the other person to keep stealing half of your wealth, just two different ones.

Jason rarely bans accounts, so I doubt he'd ban for something like this. He's unbanned people who just went and hacked through walls to get to vaults after their hacks were fixed. Suicide running only really works once because then the chills are in the way. There's not really anything to stop two people sharing knowledge of a house. I think there should be a 10 minute timer after you've started a new life to the moment it's shown on the list to other people. That makes getting money from new $2000 houses a lot harder.

5 is already implemented almost exactly like you've said, only with a 5 minute timeout instead. But before that people were storing money in guns, yeah.

I don't think paintings should be able to sold off, might make art trading a way to make money which isn't really what the game is about, but just throwing them away for nothing could work.

I think for 7 the best option would simply be to fix as many crashes as possible, and then maybe increase the connection timeout to 10 minutes or so. I think the problem would be a lot of people just quit the game when they're dead or about to die, which would mean a long wait for whoever has the house if it is going to kill a lot of people.

Perhaps as you spend more time away, your income starts to decrease. Then when you log back in, it resets to its full rate. A problem with actively lowering it would be the ability to have a good working house and completely avoid any people with a lot of tools by staying around the ~$500 area. At the moment your house is almost automatically sorted. If it's a strong house then it will last, earn money, and rise to the top so that it's worth robbing.

I haven't heard about 9 being a problem before. There is a safe move button already so that you can be careful around pits, and WASD and arrow keys are pretty much standard in most 2D games.

Last edited by colorfusion (2013-08-09 03:27:22)

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#4 2013-08-09 05:49:44

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

I'm not sure about the validity of the two steps to the vault idea, at the very least if lots of players do it it makes it less interesting for other players as there are less interesting houses to rob (and having a wife surrounded by dogs isn't interesting). I think it has been a springboard for number of top householders. On a different note Mr Anthony's house has been consistently easy to rob, and yet he remains in at the top with his rich wife. I just think it's too easy to put all your money into wife defence and this pretty much makes you invulnerable to all but extreme brute forcing. Still, as I said before, at least this lets you have a bit more fun with your house as you don't have to worry about your vault as much. So, I'm not sure what should happen here.

Hmm, if you can't store money in tools some of the behaviour I've seen is a little odd. Players robbing me with a $32,000 kit after I've never seen their value at over $20k. I guess they could have had a few successful robberies before hitting me?

I'm not sure it's true that a lot of people quite before they die, otherwise I would see more deaths without videos (perhaps I don't build the types of houses that trap people). It would be nice if a quick restart (within a couple of minutes) would put you back in place, but I imagine it would be a technical challenge.

Maybe 9 has just been a problem for me. It made sense that wasd worked after I killed myself with it, but before then I felt fairly secure thinking that the only way to die was to press an arrow key. The auto-repeat has almost got me a few times, could be something to do with my laptop keyboard. I really don't want to have to press 'enter' after each move in fairly safe houses. I guess when you lose a house you've put time into for something so petty it makes you wish it couldn't happen in the first place.

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#5 2013-08-09 11:29:35

Cent
Member
Registered: 2013-07-25
Posts: 41

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

You can't store stuff in your backpack and log out. After 10 minutes, your bag is emptied  back into your vault.

You will die on a crash if you are mid robbery, but that has never happened to me... As for connection issues, the game will retry until it can re-establish a connection if you leave it running.

Use movement confirm during robbery if you're worried about accidental keypresses.

Last edited by Cent (2013-08-09 11:30:04)

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#6 2013-08-10 01:35:14

Simoon
Member
Registered: 2013-05-12
Posts: 31

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

About the "$32,000 kit after I've never seen their value at over $20k" : I think the house display the "resale" value of the tools in the safe (50% of the "buy" value).
=> a player with a $32,000 kit will have a house with only $16k.

PS : In my original post, I inverted "resale" and "buy" but the example was right.

Last edited by Simoon (2013-08-10 06:02:05)

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#7 2013-08-10 03:30:38

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

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

I think this has been changed. I think at least tools in the safe are now shown at resale  value. Might be wrong though.


In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
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#8 2013-08-12 12:36:29

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

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

The idea of animals following scent or something else is interesting.

I'm still not totally happy with the way that they move behind walls.  Yes, they have to see you first, which is a big improvement (because at least its not a total, blind mystery).

I'm not sure that I want to go toward a complete line-of-sight rule, because I don't want them to be that mindless.  Like, you duck behind a wall, and suddenly they forget that you were even there?

If they go by scent, that means that they will only go where you have already been, which makes it harder for them to successfully corner you from a distance.

Maybe.... they always run toward you, if they can see you.  If they can't see you, they run toward the last place where they saw you.  But I'm thinking about the implementation of dog movement, which is historyless (given a current map state, you can always compute the next state without knowing anything about past states), and this change would violate that assumption.  Hmm...

Maybe it can be as simple as them only running toward you (or away) when they can see you?  Then they stop moving when they can't see you again.

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#9 2013-08-12 17:28:44

pottage
Member
Registered: 2013-07-01
Posts: 37

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

When the animal rules last changed to stop them moving until they had line-of-sight, I was initially unfavourable to it, but that was only because it would mess with my current house designs, forcing me to abandon some designs I had. However, once I realised how this rule improved the overall gameplay, ruling out completely invisible, behind the scenes mechanics that could kill you at any step, I realised it was a good move for the game to make.
   I think I feel the same way about changing the animal rules again to make them in some way not be able to track your movements forever behind walls (although I am not sure what exactly would be the best way to implement this) - I would be disappointed that it would make me have to abandon some of my current traps, but it would force people to come up with new, hopefully more interesting trap designs, as magic dances really aren't that fun to try and solve in my opinion.

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#10 2013-08-12 19:09:55

Cent
Member
Registered: 2013-07-25
Posts: 41

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

I really wonder how cats will be used at all then...

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#11 2013-08-12 23:58:23

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

In terms of scent trails:
You could make dogs follow you when they see you and otherwise follow the most recent trails. This would allow dogs to still effectively corner someone. As long as scent on each tile was stored as an integer that decreased over time this would be history free.

An example mechanic that comes to mind:
All tiles start with an initial scent value (SV) of 0
Whenever you move over a tile its SV is set to 20 (or some other value)
Each time you move, for each tile with a SV above 0 this value is decremented by 1
If a dog sees you it will move towards you
If a dog cannot see you it will move towards the tile with the highest SV within 2(?) tiles (and possibly line of site?)
If a dog cannot see you and no nearby sqaure has a SV above 0 it remains stationary

This would mean that dogs follow the most recent path nearby that the player has followed.
This would have some interesting effects, including allowing dogs that had have never seen you follow your trail after they are released. It could be a bit tricky for new players to get their heads around though.


Another interesting thing you could do is have dogs chase cats. It would be best if this could only be triggered by player action though to avoid things happening behind the scenes that the player has no effect on. Perhaps you could make dogs and cats that see each other from the start 'friendly' and not chase each other, but this would violate the whole 'no history' rule. Still, I like the idea of pressing a switch that sets off a 'mousetrap' like mechanism in the background that leads to you being surrounded by pitbulls.

Cent: I have created a number of traps using cats that do not leave your line of sight. If a cat suddenly appears outside of brick range it can step on a switch in one move that can cause all sorts of havoc.

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#12 2013-08-13 08:17:10

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

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

Your idea for historyless implementation of scents is really great.

However, I worry about this being a completely invisible property.  As it stands, you can LOOK at a given map state and compute in your mind what will happen next, and I think that's a good thing.

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#13 2013-08-13 09:10:01

Blip
Member
Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

jasonrohrer wrote:

As it stands, you can LOOK at a given map state and compute in your mind what will happen next, and I think that's a good thing.

Regrettably, this is not true currently. Using complex electronics, two states that look identical, with the same buttons pressed, can be very different. Also, when it comes to the scent values idea, it could be shown by mousing over the tile. The problem I see is that it would be very complex and make very little sense to newer players.


Current life: Not dead, but I have no clue who I am
The Life and Times of Christopher Alvin Harris
Record: 149 Paintings!

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#14 2013-08-13 09:33:08

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

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

thanks to it being the 90s, we are proud to live in an age where scent is visible not just to dogges, but to human-beans as well!

scent value is visually determined by number of 'stink lines' present in a tile.

Last edited by largestherb (2013-08-13 09:33:34)

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#15 2013-08-13 21:33:16

Ludicrosity
Member
From: US
Registered: 2013-06-22
Posts: 144

Re: Thread on current game issues and possible solutions

Blip wrote:
jasonrohrer wrote:

As it stands, you can LOOK at a given map state and compute in your mind what will happen next, and I think that's a good thing.

Regrettably, this is not true currently. Using complex electronics, two states that look identical, with the same buttons pressed, can be very different. Also, when it comes to the scent values idea, it could be shown by mousing over the tile. The problem I see is that it would be very complex and make very little sense to newer players.

This is where voltmeters may actually be useful if you could use them on more than just wires. It would be nice if they could be used from a distance too (I realize this is not exactly realistic).

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