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Old May 29, 2009, 20:30   #1
Magnate
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What do you want from the list of visible monsters?

I'm talking about the [ command (or the equivalent subwindow). At the moment, it tells you:

- the number of each visible monster type
- uniques (shown in purple)
- OoD monsters (shown in red)

As of r1415 it lists them in descending order of depth. Earlier versions list in reverse order of monster number (which used to approximate to the same thing, but not since 2.9.6 or so). The rephial bug tracker (http://trac.rephial.org/ticket/848) has a few other suggestions:

- how far away they are
- whether they are awake
- whether they are in LOS

All these are useful info, but it gets harder to display it concisely. I'm thinking of something like:
Code:
You see 9 monsters in LOS:
W Barrow wight (x2, 1 awake)
E Water spirit (awake)
o Snaga (x6, 4 awake)

You see 8 other monsters:
W Barrow wight (x5, asleep)
o Snaga (x2, 1 awake)
m Yellow mold (asleep)
That costs two more lines than the current display but IMO is the best way to pack the most info into the available space. It does not note the distance to each monster - I can't think of any way of doing that, other than listing individual monsters one per line.

Let me know what you think, and whether there are better ways of doing this and/or more important things to include.
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Old May 29, 2009, 20:54   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
I can't think of any way of doing that, other than listing individual monsters one per line.
Well you could do it without listing individual monsters one per line.

Code:
You see 9 monsters in LOS:
W Barrow wight (x2, 1 awake, 20', 30')
E Water spirit (awake, 14')
o Snaga (x6, 4 awake, 10', 14', 2x20')
I'm not sure it's very useful though.
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Old May 29, 2009, 21:03   #3
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Personally, I'd like a bit more information about where the monsters are-- either relative location, or quadrant, and broken down by groups.

e.g. instead of one entry for 32 snagas, two entries: 8 snagas (NE) 24 snagas (S), or possibly snagas: 8(NE), 24(S)

This would be particularly helpful trying to avoid particularly nasty monsters-- currently if I see something in the list, I need to look all over the map to find it so I know where not to go.

Might it be helpful to sort monsters by type first, then depth (so all the beasts in a jelly pit group together with the nastiest showing first)?
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Old May 29, 2009, 21:06   #4
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What about having options? Not the current option menus, but something that will behave more like the key to swap inven and equip windows.

You could have something that behaves like environment variables in *nix. Set something like '\' to enter command mode then have some syntax to set interface options on the fly. The more esoteric options wouldn't have to clutter the menus and you could swap options with a single keypress using a macro.
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Old May 29, 2009, 21:13   #5
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My preferences:

Any lists or sub-lists should be ordered by monster depth descending.

As for splitting the lists into line-of-sight/not, I think it's worth the cost in vertical space. You WILL have to deal with all LOS monsters, so it's good to call those out immediately. As for non-LOS monsters, you might have to deal with them if they're close, or avoid them if they're threatening, so you'll have to check those individually, but you'd have to do that anyway, so no big deal.

As for the out-of-depth color indication, I guess it's nice if it's convenient, but I don't think it's all that useful. There are usually so many in-depth monsters I need to avoid, what determines if something is threatening isn't its depth, it's what kind of monster it is. What I mean to say is just because something is OoD, that doesn't make it any more threatening to me (ie everything is probably threatening all the time).

Sleep status is important to me. Specifically, I want to know if all enemies in a certain group (ie all known snagas) are asleep. I don't treat mixed groups and all-awake groups very differently. If it's a mixed group, you basically have to manually check the status, since it could be one straggler in a different part of the dungeon is awake, or it could be a few sleepers from a single group have stirred. If a sleeping group has started to stir, that means I either need to get away or be ready to deal with it, which is basically how I treat alert groups.

As for distance or location, I don't think there's a useful way to incorporate that into the monster list. Possibly you could just list the distance of the closest monster from each group, as a label on the right side of the window? It would also be handy to have in the 'l'ook command though, "You see an open floor, 50 feet away."

So my ideal might be something like you describe, except use two colors for each of normal/OoD/unique to denote if all monsters in that group are asleep or not. You could use white+grey for normal, dark red+bright red for OoD, and I can't think of anything else for uniques, hmm. And then have the distance of the nearest enemy from each grouping on the right side of the window, so it doesn't interfere with the quantifiers.
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Old May 29, 2009, 21:56   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marble Dice View Post
Any lists or sub-lists should be ordered by monster depth descending.
Yes. IMO ultimately they should be ordered by power (whether power should increase with depth is a separate discussion) - but the power algorithm needs a bit of tweaking first.
Quote:
As for splitting the lists into line-of-sight/not, I think it's worth the cost in vertical space. You WILL have to deal with all LOS monsters, so it's good to call those out immediately. As for non-LOS monsters, you might have to deal with them if they're close, or avoid them if they're threatening, so you'll have to check those individually, but you'd have to do that anyway, so no big deal.
Agreed again, though as I write about the importance of LOS-ness I realise that it's actually not quite what's critical. A pack of hounds outside LOS (but inside the 300' detection range) is actually more of a "must deal with" than a sleeping group of ogres (or whatever) in LOS.

So I think what I actually want to do is to divide the list into within and beyond detection range. That throws up a whole host of issues about monster memory - if the monster's detection range isn't in your monster memory, where should we display the monster?

I'm now wondering whether the list should simply be ordered by distance instead of by depth ...
Quote:
As for the out-of-depth color indication, I guess it's nice if it's convenient, but I don't think it's all that useful. There are usually so many in-depth monsters I need to avoid, what determines if something is threatening isn't its depth, it's what kind of monster it is. What I mean to say is just because something is OoD, that doesn't make it any more threatening to me (ie everything is probably threatening all the time).
Me too. It doesn't do any harm, but could go if colours are needed for something else.
Quote:
Sleep status is important to me. Specifically, I want to know if all enemies in a certain group (ie all known snagas) are asleep. I don't treat mixed groups and all-awake groups very differently. If it's a mixed group, you basically have to manually check the status, since it could be one straggler in a different part of the dungeon is awake, or it could be a few sleepers from a single group have stirred. If a sleeping group has started to stir, that means I either need to get away or be ready to deal with it, which is basically how I treat alert groups.
Having seen saarn's reply, I'm inclined to agree that we need to separate different groups of identical monsters. It's all getting a bit complicated.
Quote:
As for distance or location, I don't think there's a useful way to incorporate that into the monster list. Possibly you could just list the distance of the closest monster from each group, as a label on the right side of the window? It would also be handy to have in the 'l'ook command though, "You see an open floor, 50 feet away."
This is an excellent suggestion, and much better than putting it in the list.
Quote:
So my ideal might be something like you describe, except use two colors for each of normal/OoD/unique to denote if all monsters in that group are asleep or not. You could use white+grey for normal, dark red+bright red for OoD, and I can't think of anything else for uniques, hmm. And then have the distance of the nearest enemy from each grouping on the right side of the window, so it doesn't interfere with the quantifiers.
I'm not sure about colour-coding for asleep/awake, as I'd like to know how many are in each state - but I could see colour coding being useful for "awake and within detection range". Except that you still can't tell from colours alone how many of a group that applies to.
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Old May 29, 2009, 21:57   #7
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I would prefer simple rather than complex. I don't want to look through a log file on my screen every step I take.

Color code the uniques and super OoD monsters. I'd like to be able to (ideally) write a list in-game of monsters to flag, which would be another color, based on user preference.

Distance, quadrant, etc. doesn't matter to me, but it would be cool if they were marked with an "asleep" icon or grayed out or something.
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Old May 29, 2009, 22:00   #8
Magnate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atarlost View Post
What about having options? Not the current option menus, but something that will behave more like the key to swap inven and equip windows.

You could have something that behaves like environment variables in *nix. Set something like '\' to enter command mode then have some syntax to set interface options on the fly. The more esoteric options wouldn't have to clutter the menus and you could swap options with a single keypress using a macro.
Simpler than that would be to have the list displayed in depth order when you press [ the first time, and then by distance when you press it again, toggling between the two. That tells you the closest enemies and the most dangerous with the minimum number of keypresses.
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Old May 29, 2009, 22:30   #9
Marble Dice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
So I think what I actually want to do is to divide the list into within and beyond detection range. That throws up a whole host of issues about monster memory - if the monster's detection range isn't in your monster memory, where should we display the monster?
The point about detection range is a good one, but with the way "spoilers" are treated in the game, I don't think it's feasible to sort the list by detection. You'd probably end up with in-range, out-of-range, and unknown-range. Even then, LOS is still relevant - while inside detection implies possible or eventual threat, LOS (even out of detection range) still implies immediate threat since there is a clear line of attack between you and any LOS monster should they get alerted somehow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
I'm now wondering whether the list should simply be ordered by distance instead of by depth ...

Having seen saarn's reply, I'm inclined to agree that we need to separate different groups of identical monsters.
My opinion on both of these items is that the monster list is most important when you're aware of many enemies. You need to be able to easily pick through the list for the biggest threats so you can plan on a course of action. When there are many enemies around, the list grows long, and if you split an already long list into multiple groups for each enemy type, you're complicating it when it's most critical and increasing the likelihood the player is going to overlook something important. I do occasionally get into the situation of "Okay, where the hell is that ancient dragon?" and have to go scrolling around the map until I find it, but I don't know what a good solution to that problem would be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Simpler than that would be to have the list displayed in depth order when you press [ the first time, and then by distance when you press it again, toggling between the two. That tells you the closest enemies and the most dangerous with the minimum number of keypresses.
This might be an interesting solution to some of these dilemmas. Could have a mode for split groups by depth with relative location, individuals by distance, big groups by depth with min distance, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
I'm not sure about colour-coding for asleep/awake, as I'd like to know how many are in each state
I'll cede that point but maybe something like this would work (I don't want the quantities to get too busy):

Code:
You can see 18 monsters:
v Water vortex
o Snaga (x16 asleep)
h Smeagol

You are aware of 189 monsters:
d Mature blue dragon (asleep)
Z Air hound (x178)
h Gnome mage (x10, 3 sleeping)
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Old May 30, 2009, 00:34   #10
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Would checking projectability help as well?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marble Dice View Post

Code:
You can see and shoot 17 monsters:
v Water vortex
o Snaga (x16 asleep)

You can see but not shoot 1 monster:
h Smeagol

You are aware of 189 monsters:
d Mature blue dragon (asleep)
Z Air hound (x178)
h Gnome mage (x10, 3 sleeping)
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