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#1 2013-08-13 08:54:19

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

A proposal that needs feedback

First observation:  so-called "magic dance" houses are not interesting to rob.  They essentially require expensive, brute-force cut-through with tools.  They are also perplexing for new players.

Obviously, animal movement could be changed in simple ways to eliminate magic dances (dogs only move toward you when they can see you, and cats only flee when they can see you).

Second observation:  if magic dances are eliminated, then combo locks will return.  They are just as uninteresting as magic dances, if not more so.  (Actually, they never went away, and still exist---they're just not quite as perplexing for new players).

I'm now seriously considering eliminating wires through walls (and making metal walls not conductive) to bring hidden logic out in the open.

However, I'm then guessing that logic would just be protected by pit bulls instead of walls (wires that run back into a corner, where that corner is full of dogs, so you can't get back there to look).

So, first of all, I need feedback on these ideas.  What if there are no wires through walls?  What if animals can't follow you behind walls?  What kind of maps would you devise?  What are the new exploits in such a world?  Examples, please!



I've been thinking a lot about "interesting" houses.  I think the best ones are kind of maze-like, with various little devices along the way that need to be triggered in this way and that to get through.  Lots of little things to think about.  The PROBLEM with these houses is that a smart robber can bypass everything.  But that problem is actually what makes these houses interesting.  The game is good and rewarding if you can outsmart a house. 

The ideal arms race should be more and more clever house design vs. more and more clever robbers.  I've been outsmarted by a brick about a dozen times, and it's always amazing when it happens.  Those are great tapes to watch!  Or the tapes where the robber cuts through in just the perfect spot.

So, I want to figure out ways to force home owners to play this "cleverness" game.  To force them to resort to psychological tricks and such instead of combo locks and thick walls.

I do worry that there's no way to do this.  That no matter what, combo locks (in various forms) will find a way.

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#2 2013-08-13 10:41:54

Blip
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Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

If you simply eliminate wiring through walls, people will begin using traps as wiring; for example, having power flow though an alternating line of trapdoors and electric floors. This will only hurt the lower houses, who can't afford to wire their houses with anything but normal wiring, and are then at a severe disadvantage. As an example, I built a combo lock without many of the things people claim need removal: No wiring through walls, no voltage triggered or inverted switches, animals with line of sight, etc. http://castledraft.com/editor/U5SZLK

Instead, I propose a trinity of changes to fix these problems, the first two already being considered:
1. No wiring through walls.
2. Animals follow using only line-of-sight.
3. Traps cannot conduct electricity - power, instead of flowing through them, stops there. In a line of trapdoors, each would have to be hooked up to wiring to function. This would force wiring to be accessible, instead of being hidden behind the trap.

An example of a simple trap designed with this system: http://castledraft.com/editor/L2cyyX


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#3 2013-08-13 10:54:39

colorfusion
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Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

I think removing all wiring through walls/traps would be quite a large change to the game. Essentially if you found a pressure plate you could just follow the wire and find what it activates and how the wiring logic works.
It might go back to the complicated but open wire puzzles which came up when blueprints were added.

Perhaps adding some kind of scent/sight only movement to animals, and then removing steel walls, but not wooden wired ones?
This would still severely weaken combo locks.

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#4 2013-08-13 11:00:20

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

You want to know what kind of combo locks could persist without wired walls?

http://castledraft.com/editor/iiuB68

A 6-bit combo lock that uses alternating electric floors and trapdoors. As far as I can tell, the cheapest way to get through to the logic is ladders for about $6k. Obviously, it's not optimal. There's plenty of space to wrap the wiring or to add more bits. A roughly $6k barrier is not the greatest, but the point is that combo locks are probably inevitable.

It sounds like the goal here is to keep electronics (which is clearly the best part of the game big_smile) while discouraging the low discoverability of magic dances & combo locks. Have you considered bringing back some form of blueprint (e.g. wiring diagrams only)? There's so many directions you could take that, but the key is the blueprints would never punish maze builders.


[argh! Blip beat me to the floor/trapdoor comment]


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#5 2013-08-13 11:24:48

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

Yes!  Exactly the kind of outside thinking I really needed here.

You're right about the trapdoor/electric-floor combo to make unpassable wiring---nice work, Blip and Jere.

And, the suggestion about power not flowing through non-switches is a good one, I think.  I was never happy with the "whole line of doors" or "whole line of trapdoors" as an inevitable construction.  Even with no wires through walls (assuming that the trapdoor/floor combo wasn't possible), the outside, visible logic would still lead to a "line of trapdoors," most likely, which isn't very interesting.  But if the first trapdoor couldn't transmit power status to the next... then house designers would have to think a lot more.

Blip's example house looks much more like the kind of stuff I'd want to see.

I agree with colorfusion that this will probably lead to a return of the blueprint-style houses to some extent.  Still, that's better than logic hidden behind walls, right?  I mean, in principle, there's nothing stopping someone from making blueprint-still puzzle logic behind the walls now.  They just don't need to, because it doesn't matter.  And those blueprint-style houses were only a problem when limited backpacks forced people to actually solve the puzzles.


So, revising the proposal.  Imagine a world where:

1.  Power can't pass through walls
2.  Power is not transmitted from one powered object to another (Powered object eats the power).
3.  Animals only chase/flee when they can see you.

What sort of exploits to build combo locks can you imagine then?

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#6 2013-08-13 11:34:00

colorfusion
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Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

jasonrohrer wrote:

So, revising the proposal.  Imagine a world where:

1.  Power can't pass through walls
2.  Power is not transmitted from one powered object to another (Powered object eats the power).
3.  Animals only chase/flee when they can see you.

What sort of exploits to build combo locks can you imagine then?

Perhaps something like this:
http://castledraft.com/editor/xMLmqw
Where the wires lead off into a combination lock, then that would power/unpower the trapdoors/metal doors/electric floors.

You would be able to see the switches being pressed, but unsure of which need to be pressed and which do not.

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#7 2013-08-13 11:43:08

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

one powered tile with no power through walls.. scary

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#8 2013-08-13 12:00:51

Blip
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Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

I fleshed out colorfusion's proposed combo lock, like this: http://castledraft.com/editor/Zg4ajL, and realized that, while it may be impossible to solve at a glance, it can easily be broken. Laddering over the first trapdoor gives access to the wiring, which, with the dog drugged, can be simply set to the now visible solution.


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Record: 149 Paintings!

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#9 2013-08-13 12:19:52

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

1.  Power can't pass through walls

I don't know. I really don't like this aesthetically. The hidden "circuit room" concept is just so awesome. Like stumbling into the bowels of Aperture in Portal.

This might not be as intuitive, but what about walls repeating the power for only 1 tile? In other words, walls would pass power to adjacent tiles, but those adjacent tiles (if they are walls) couldn't propagate the power further. So you couldn't use a long stretch of walls as a wire, but you could power something from one side to the other. I'm not even sure if this is possible in the code.

Last edited by jere (2013-08-13 12:33:21)


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#10 2013-08-13 12:44:15

Blip
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Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

I thought about this for a bit, and came up with a simple wiring lock - a button on the wiring that, if deactivated by a player walking over it, flips a bit storage unit and breaks the trap: http://castledraft.com/editor/BznObk
In this example, the sticky button activates the pit. However, if the player attempts to walk down the wiring, they have to walk over the other buttons. Even if these are reactivated, the bit still stores the fact that they were turned off, and prevents the pit from activating.

jere wrote:

1.  Power can't pass through walls

I don't know. I really don't like this aesthetically. The hidden "circuit room" concept is just so awesome. Like stumbling into the bowels of Aperture in Portal.

I think that having wiring not pass through walls improves this feeling, because the player can actually access the circuit room and learn from it. Currently, most places that contain the logic are full of steel walls, making discovering what's going on very difficult.

Last edited by Blip (2013-08-13 12:50:44)


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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#11 2013-08-13 14:42:52

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

a house that costs $25,000 and is robbed with three ladders is going from one boring extreme to another.

as a compromise.. how about powered tiles only pass power if they are directly connected to a wire, uhh like this ~ http://castledraft.com/editor/oJWCU9
or something along that lines, perhaps a new 'repeater' tile, like you need in minecraft to keep redstone power going after x distance.

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#12 2013-08-13 14:59:55

jere
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Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

a house that costs $25,000 and is robbed with three ladders is going from one boring extreme to another.

I'm staring at castledraft trying to come up with exploits for these proposed rules and you're right! I can't for the life of me think of ANY kind of defense other than pitbulls. The problem is that each circuit can only be, at best, surrounded by a single wall of trap tiles. Worst case, you ladder over a wall of trapdoors one thick and now you have access to the entire circuit.

You can't even build a super obfuscated and complex circuit ala blueprint houses because... the circuit can't be used for anything. No more long trapdoor hallways.


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#13 2013-08-13 15:59:19

gyuri
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Registered: 2013-07-09
Posts: 231

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

I don't really like the general idea of this thread. Yes it's true, some designs ar just boring and frustrating. But guys, nobody's stopping you from building more interesting designs. I don't like the idea of ruling out some nice possibilities of this game to be forced to build more interesting houses. In another thread,

jasonrohrer wrote:

I want you to be able to build whatever you want

Well this thread doesn't sound like that anymore.

By the way, interesting is new and creative. With another set of rules there will be another mechanism that everyone will copy because it's cheap and reliable. It might be interesting now, it won't be interesting then.

I think there's another big problem. Recently there has been quite a few threads started by new players complaining about not being able to survive the night. There might have been many many more new players demotivated by this. I've been playing since v5 and I've only managed to build houses to last a couple of days in the past few weeks. With the proposed changes it will be even harder to build a house with starting money that survives a night or more.

Nearly everyone in this forum is an experienced player in some ways. Most of them are experienced builders as well as robbers and they do both. I think most new players start with building, so they don't really mind if there are not too many interesting houses. Also players who are mainly robbers get used to starting over every now and then, so to them death is much less demotivating than a devastated house is to a builder.

So IMHO it's not necessary to make houses more interesting but to help new players survive the first night. This would lead to more players, more houses and hopefully also more interesting houses without forcing anyone to anything.

There might be a clever way to protect newbies from experienced players (e.g. you can only rob houses worth a certain percentage of your own house or more), but in some sense this is a variation of the prisoner's dilemma. It's quite easy for experienced players to rob newbies and devastate their houses, but by doing so they make the game less attractive to a lot of potential players.

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#14 2013-08-13 20:20:22

Blip
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Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

Here's what I see the problem as being: newer players need more house security, as they don't have the experience to build the fortresses that more experienced players can. Experienced players, on the other hand, need less security, as our fortresses often rely on so much hidden information as to be not fun at all.

A change like this might simply make building a secure house impossible without pit bulls, but I doubt it. We just have to think outside the box about designs.


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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#15 2013-08-13 23:04:53

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

I have to agree with those casting doubt on these new proposals... These changes would drastically shrink the space of possible houses, and those that remain appear to be utterly defenseless.

During the conversation before the new animal movement rules were introduced, the consensus was that magic dance houses would not be eliminated, but would become more susceptible to cracking since one only needed to get through a single screen's worth of wall to get into the guts of each dance mechanism. In my experience, this is exactly what happened. Most of the houses are solvable piece of piece right now, but it takes some effort. Isn't that what we want?

It seems like the proposed rules are trying to encourage more maze-like houses and less combo houses. A while back I did spend a couple weeks experimenting with several "pure" maze houses that relied on only the basics. I put a lot of work into them all, and the problem was that every single one was robbed almost immediately. None of the robbers needed to bother with the complex tricks I built into the mazes because they could simply blast through a couple concrete walls and skip everything hard. Dogs were useless because of how cheap drugged meat is. Mazes just don't work. The reason everyone uses magic dances or combo locks is because they're the only (known) designs that actually work consistently.

I'm ultimately OK with whatever changes are made because we'll all be in the same boat, but in my view it's better to have a handful of houses that nobody can rob than to make it so that everyone has a house that can be robbed by anyone with a ladder or two.

Edit:

Blip, I must confess that I don't understand your first example house at all: http://castledraft.com/editor/U5SZLK

Is this possible as it is? And what is the purpose of the second power source (the one on the inside)? It's connected to an off switch, but nothing else (unless windows conduct electricity now)?

Last edited by Ludicrosity (2013-08-13 23:10:43)

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#16 2013-08-14 01:13:51

joshwithguitar
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Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

The proposed changes would certainly shake things up. You would have to dramatically increase tool prices to compensate for the dramatic reduction in house safety. Mazes are currently particularly easy to brute force as would anything else with this set up and current tool pricing. It's certainly hard to think of effective security solutions, even pit-bull mazes won't be nearly as effective with the new movement rules. Here is an early attempt at a $2000 house: http://castlefortify.com/c/009322e.

One of the most interesting houses I remember tackling was Cortez's, it looked something like this: http://castlefortify.com/c/50368d3
The thing that made it cool was that with only a cheap set of tools I was able to make my way through safely, though this required quite a lot of time figuring things out to make sure that I wasn't about to be trapped. I think it took me a few hours to solve but it was very satisfying to do so. The reason that it was interesting is because I was able to figure out when things would remain powered/unpowered so I didn't have to always leave ladders/cut wires/stopdoors behind me to ensure I could exit. For instance, with the row of trapdoors along the left side I knew that I could cross safely and be able to return because after the sticky switch is pressed they are guaranteed power. I still had to figure out how to effectively use tools to get around the pit bull though.

The problem with the way the game currently works though is that this is a bad house design because it is particularly easy to brute force and also possible to solve with minimal tools (also it is full of doors that cost $6 to disable and $100 dollars to replace).

The thing that causes you to *have* to brute force through well designed houses now is that after you pass a numbers of pit traps you cannot be sure that some cat at the end of the screen or dog that will see you isn't going to flip a switch that removes power to the doors, even if you figure out the initial magic dance. I guess you can take along a gun to shoot animals before they can kill you but I think currently you can set up situations where 2 guns won't save you so by the time you start bringing in 8 guns you may as well instead bring 16 explosives.

One idea that would completely change things up would be an expensive tool that allows you to place your own power source. This would make rows of pits less useful and allow for more interesting solutions than simply placing lots of ladders.

Blip: I'm a bit confused by your design idea - http://castledraft.com/editor/BznObk. If this works it seems that the current electronic setup is broken - power shouldn't be able to go through a voltage inverted switch if the same power will also trigger it (turn it off).

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#17 2013-08-14 02:22:57

Cent
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Registered: 2013-07-25
Posts: 41

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

These restrictions would cripple new houses as well, as they'd take substantially more money to just have simple lock systems. More simple lock/door systems are easy to overcome due to the low cost of door jams and such. Its worse that jamming doors doesnt cut the power, so there's no good method of detecting a bruteforce. Only electric floors cut power.

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#18 2013-08-14 02:33:23

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

joshwithguitar wrote:

One idea that would completely change things up would be an expensive tool that allows you to place your own power source. This would make rows of pits less useful and allow for more interesting solutions than simply placing lots of ladders.

Now that is an interesting idea. Along the same line, I have often thought it would be nice to have wire as a tool, so that you could place down wire yourself. If you can cut wire, it makes sense that you should be able to bring your own wire and hook up a connection. It would certainly force people to think carefully about where they place live tiles as those could be used as a power source when connected to other tiles in the house. Depending on how the wire was priced, it could be rather expensive to use since you'd need to place one down every square between the two spots you were connecting.

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#19 2013-08-14 03:22:49

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

Something we need to bear in mind is that by now, most magic dances are rather easy to solve again. Many can be figured out in a few tries, especially since owners tend to put in backdoors. I've seen mine figured out by people and I have figured out some of other people, at least partially, and that is a result of the need to have a strong enough dance one one hand but to not be too open to brute-forcing on the other (it's sweet if you can just cut through to the dancing doggies and take that corridor almost all the way to the safe). So with the dances, we already have a situation where people are trading different aspects (complexity vs wall thickness) which is brilliant - you either become too easy to crack with no tools or you become too vulnerable to people with a few of them. This is the way it should be - that one trades off and decides.

I have been thoroughly convinced of the aesthetics of cutting into the "dancing room", or electronics room, and exploring this part of the house. In V8 I hated those houses most where one could freely walk through an annoyingly complex set of electronics. They aren't interesting and (much more importantly) they look nothing like something somebody would call a house. More  like the insides of a computer.

I think something similar to the line of sight of dogs is probably needed for electronics (I threw that in some time back when we had this discussion), say any power source can only power anything within a square of 9x9 squares with it sitting in the middle - too much power is lost when longer wires are used, it's a physical limit on conductivity of your 5$-wirings. This would allow for the awesome "cutting" feeling, but limit bit-locks etc. AND it would make magic dances even less attractive since the restriction would also hit anything powered by a doggie. I think this might lead to some interesting developments since any bit-lock's insides could be cut through to with starting cash. That pushes creativity!

And it isn't entirely counter-intuitive. One can only wire so many 50.000 V electric floors with 5 bucks cables.....


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

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#20 2013-08-14 05:35:28

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

bey bey wrote:

... say any power source can only power anything within a square of 9x9 squares with it sitting in the middle - too much power is lost when longer wires are used, it's a physical limit on conductivity of your 5$-wirings. This would allow for the awesome "cutting" feeling, but limit bit-locks etc

This could also be show intuitively by having 'powered' and 'unpowered' wire sprites.  This kinda relegates the power analyzer tool obsolete, but, spoiler alert: IT ALREADY IS!!!


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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#21 2013-08-14 05:53:23

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

There are actually already powered and unpowered wire sprites — they just look the same.

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#22 2013-08-14 06:00:19

jere
Member
Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

There are actually already powered and unpowered wire sprites — they just look the same.

...

That would mean you could simply edit your sprites to have free voltage detection everywhere right? Ugh.


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#23 2013-08-14 06:25:11

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

jere wrote:

That would mean you could simply edit your sprites to have free voltage detection everywhere right? Ugh.

Correct. Although if the voltage detector is anything to go by that wouldn't be particularly useful.

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#24 2013-08-14 08:07:37

jere
Member
Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

Hmm. I'm pretty sure I used them effectively before, but maybe it was when blueprints were around.

It seems like the proposed rules are trying to encourage more maze-like houses and less combo houses. A while back I did spend a couple weeks experimenting with several "pure" maze houses that relied on only the basics. I put a lot of work into them all, and the problem was that every single one was robbed almost immediately. None of the robbers needed to bother with the complex tricks I built into the mazes because they could simply blast through a couple concrete walls and skip everything hard. Dogs were useless because of how cheap drugged meat is. Mazes just don't work.

Sounds like we need to encourage mazes. What if wooden walls were simply cheaper? With $2k, you can't even turn half of your house into a tight maze. And then you have no money left for traps/dogs. If wooden walls were $2 each, you could fill your house with a maze for less than $1k and have some left over.


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#25 2013-08-14 08:40:25

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

Re: A proposal that needs feedback

I think that's the wrong notion though. A maze isn't very interesting, it's just tense.

The best house in recent times was the one by a Mr Cortez - a house that was an endless mixture of corridors, doggie-switched-trapdoors etc. etc., all quite small, and every turn could be your last one. Something to be explored, cut through, thrown bricks at etc. A maze is just a magic dance with an added dimension - it's (limited!) electronics, animals, and small traps that make for really fun-to-play houses.


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

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