Options menu cleanup

So. The options menu. It’s rather large and unwieldy, with many options that are best off not being an option at all. It can also fragment the game into many smaller harder to balance games if the options are gameplay relevant.

So, going over our current options menu, I have identified some options that are best removed from the game:

Gradual Night light: Set to true for everyone and remove the option.

Circular distances: This one is very contentious WRT trigonometric accuracy vs. how roguelikes have done it before. I cannot call which one should be the one for everyone.

Skill rust: One of the options that is toxic to the game. It needs to be a core setting that is not modifiable by the user. The current option of INT-based rusting is close to good, but It should be locked at whatever the devs decide at.

Delete world: Set to query after every death and remove the option.

Max trait points & Initial points: Remove both of these options. Add a “difficulty” setting at the beginning of character creation which has 3 presets of these two variables. Optionally just remove it completely, everyone plays with stock values.

Season length: Set to the default and remove.

Revive zombie: set to true and remove.

Static NPC’s and Random NPC’s: Set both to true and remove the option, AFTER they are no longer buggy as hell. Also tone down the rate on random spawns probably.

Mutations by radiation: Set to true and remove.

Sort crafting menu: Remove this option. Sort the crafting menu by primary skill required, then by amount of skill required.

Static vs dynamic spawn: another contentious option that has good arguments for both sides. It is also toxic to the game because this one setting turns the game into two very different games. My recommendation is to tweak dynamic spawn with noises and spawn rate and such, then set that the default. Just my opinion though.

I like having lots of options. I change several of them from the defaults!

From my perspective, having options that dramatically alter the game adds considerable replay value, and the ability to fine-tune difficulty is always a plus. I’ve played far too many games where “Easy” is a crock and “Normal” is a complete exercise in frustration. I don’t play games to be frustrated.

I regret that my preferences differ from yours, and I hope that neither of us is allowed to impose xyr playstyle on the other. Cata ought to be accessible for as many players as possible.

I don’t think there’s really a point to taking away options. The more a player can customize the game to their exact liking the better, no? People like different things.
A “large and unwieldy” options menu is certainly worth the cost, in my opinion. Not like you’re looking at it for more than a minute at most anyway.

I do however agree with you that random npc spawns could be lowered some, for the time being I play with it on and once an area starts getting a little populated I switch it off for a little bit.

I agree with KA101, I like the options.

I mean some people like different skill rusts, I for one like to base the skill rust off of the player difficulty.
Same for most of the other options, I dont like the game to pester me everytime I die about if I want to delete the world.

Also, the contentious issues you talk about are debates, we want to make a constructively better game. We want the community to have an active role in the creation of the game, not to just have the devs saying, yes, yes, no, whatever we want.

Immediately when I hear/read these options should be set to this and that’s that I get a little offended. I asked myself, so what if you want skill rust INT based, I don’t want it at all. The point of the options ever expanding is so we can “customize our Cataclysm*.” And plus once people are given choices in a certain area its hard to take that power away.

But I do agree that my options set up is ideal and should be the default, if you want it different you can change it.

*Changed apocalypse to Cataclysm

I think a lot of people are missing what Thorbinator has grasped here, which is that a lot of these options have a huge cost to the game in many ways. Some of them make balancing the game impossible, like disabling skill rust, because one set of players has strictly limited skill levels, but another has no such limit.

There are several categories options fall into, one has no game impact and generally only impacts the UI, like prompt settings, translations and automatic actions like auto-pickup, these are fine. Another is straightforward difficulty scaling, like adjusting starting points, or once we implement it monster type selection, these are also fine, and can be planned for. Then there’s options as safety valves for new features, to give them more testing but let players turn them off if they’re too buggy, this is spawn type, revivication, and NPC options, these need to be removed once the feature is done. Finally there are options that change the way the game works, like skill rust

Totally agree on this one, no idea why it was ever an option.

I think they’re both valid approaches, it’s not much overhead in the code to keep both, and it doesn’t mess with game balance, so this is a good one. Basically it’s a UI only option.

Agree, we need a system that works, not people turning it off, because then the game is broken in the other direction. We’ll probably do a release with the new system as the default but disableable before removing the option.

This is a legit UI tweak IMO, probably should just address it with better options layout.

These should just be built directly into character generation, but I think a permissive range of starting points is something we want to keep. That might cut down on people using exploits like taking non-functioning negative traits instead of just adjusting the option.

The only remotely sensible hard default is “real world”, and there’s massive contention about that, so let it vary. Has little to no impact on game balance or function anyway.

Yea, this was just a savety valve for the feature in case it acted up, it’s working as intended now, so the option should go. Work in single-command pulping before removing I guess.

Probably have a single NPC on/off toggle in case someone wants to play a “Last Man On Earth” scenario, but that will be less and less attractive as NPCs are fixed and then gain features.

There’s also 0 consensus on this one, personally I’d turn it OFF, as magic mutations from radiation is even more silly than magic mutations from mutagenic goop, but I’m pretty sure I’d have a revolt on my hands if I did that <_<

Yea, the crafting menu should just have a toggle for sorting order.

Need to add long-range mob interaction, at which point we can call static spawns at feature parity with dynamic and remove the option. This was NEVER going to be a permanent option, and dynamic spawn is steadily getting more and more broken as expected.

Basically I see every option as an admission of failure that the dev team can’t find the right answer. Sometimes alternatives are totally valid (squre/round distance) or inescapable for technical reasons (viewport size), and sometimes they’re temporary, but if the right answer can be found, it should be implemented and the option removed.

If skill rust and dynamic spawns were set as default, non-changable options I would stop playing.

Some good ideas. Options are nice but the dev vision is important also. Especially where the options include multiple threads of development that are not getting the same attention. Such as dynamic vs static spawns. Dynamic is broken as hell right now. I know some people use it anyway but I’d much rather see static turn into something which presents similar challenges to dynamic mode. Anyway, I digress.

Sorting the options into different groups would help too. Right now it is just a list without much rhyme nor reason. But you could split them up into ‘World’ and ‘Technical’ and ‘Difficulty’ options, etc. Could keep them on the same page, just with their own headers.

Since we’re on the subject of cleaning up menus, can we finally get the character creation process standardized with the rest of the game? It’s a little sad when you need to put ‘press spacebar to toggle’ and we’re using > and < to tab through stuff, which is wildly different from how every other menu is handled. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I imagine it’s already on the to-do list, but I thought I’d mention it because it amuses me every time I go through chargen and have to use a whole separate set of keys to navigate.

I certainly don’t want to be forceful or negative, but skill rust being mandatory worries me a bit. I appreciate the development so far and don’t want the vision to be skewered based on a few people wanting certain things their way, but I feel I must say I don’t like mandatory skill rust.

And was it a mod, or just like a loader that was being worked on that would have more options for the type of game, which mods to use, I think it was (going to be) called the DJ Box or something similar. Disaster Juxtaposition Device…

Seconded to Kevin Granade’s post, including the fact that some of them have quite a bit of contention on them and therefore shouldn’t be removed (such as magic radiation mutations, which I personally like :P).

I regret that Kevin feels that he knows (or ought to know) what I should enjoy more than I do. I believe that every option is a way to make the game more responsive to its player.

“Option=dev team fail” is probably the single worst thing I’ve ever heard from a Cata dev. D:

I feel the opposite. I don’t feel we have enough options. For example, there was one playthrough I wanted to do, but I couldn’t do it because the maximum trait points option goes up to 24. Even setting 127 in options.txt, the number maxes out at 25. This makes playing a near-sighted, far-sighted, heavy sleeping, asthmatic, bad back, illiterate, poor hearing, insomniac, meat intolerant, glass jaw, forgetful, lightweight, addictive personality, trigger happy, smelly, chemical imbalance, schizophrenic, jittery, hoarder, savant, mood swing, weak stomach, wool allergy, truth telling, ugly, hardcore character impossible. No, “If this is our Last Man on Earth, Mankind is Doomed,” character for me.

Besides that, players have wildly differing opinions on what is fair and what is not, what is believable and what is not, what is right and what is wrong, and what is fun and what is not. Trying to constrict everyone to one playstyle simply limits the replayability of the game. There will always be a baseline experience that will be considered “The Cataclysm DDA experience,” which will be the default settings.

Cataclysm is a single-player game. If a player wishes to play with non-standard settings, he’s only affecting his own game. There’s no need to balance for capped skill rust, because that’s not the vanilla experience, so the only player affected by playing with skill rust off is the player himself. If he doesn’t have fun as a result, he has only himself to blame for cheating himself of the fun (or the tedium). With that in mind I disagree with the notion that balance options are ‘toxic’ to this game. Whether you put the options in or not, there are going to be players who cheat, either a little or a lot. You can’t force people to play a game how you want them to if they don’t want to; they’ll either find a way to bypass it, bitch up the forums or stop playing. That’s why there are options; for players to to play the game in a way that appeals to them.

I can understand the feeling that the options menu is a bit of a mess. I personally don’t feel there’s enough options to merit a categorization menu at the moment, but if many more options are added into the game in the future, that’s an idea worth exploring. I also understand the desire to want to take the game in a certain direction, and the feeling that some of these options make doing that more difficult than it would otherwise be. My recommendation would be to settle on a ‘default’ experience, and work the balance with that default experience in mind. The options as they are at the moment wouldn’t interfere with that; we know that 6 initial points and 12 maximum trait points is what the game is balanced around. If we change them, and our experience suffers as a result, it’s on us, the players, not the developers.

I agree, these are the two least immersive and unrealistic game functions in CDDA. Infinite, magically-appearing zombies/animals/monsters and constant aggressive amnesia as default? No thanks.

If you do end up revamping the options menu, please consider that some players like having these as toggleable options.

I think skill rust being intelligence based with no drop limit should be the default but you can still change it to whatever you want.

Also can we ADD an option to remove the butcher prompt? What purpose does it serve, since both noise and damage interrupt a butchering? If you’re worried about mis-clicking and butchering in combat then just switch the key to something you’re not likely to accidentally hit…

It’s just really miserable to butcher 100 zombies “Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/NY/N Y/N Y/N Y/N” UGH TERRIBLE

Yeah, when butchery was mostly for food and crafting components it wasn’t a big deal, but now that revival is in place and butchery is pretty mandatory, it could serve to be streamlined a bit.

Maybe just change it so that it only prompts if there is an enemy in sight or something. I don’t think it needs a prompt under other circumstances - do we really have a reason to keep corpses as corpses?

I can see having to kill some Zs in one area, but leaving them behind to reanimate as a trap or deterrent for NPC’s, once they’re more fleshed out that would certainly be a strategy I can see a use for.

  1. Skill rust is planning on being completely reworked. Once the system is reworked then “skill rust” per say will be a completely different mechanic. At that point if we do have an option then it’ll look quite a bit different then now.
  2. Dynamic spawn is the old option. Once we have static spawn set up enough then it will be removed.

[quote=“KA101, post:11, topic:2490”]I regret that Kevin feels that he knows (or ought to know) what I should enjoy more than I do. I believe that every option is a way to make the game more responsive to its player.

“Option=dev team fail” is probably the single worst thing I’ve ever heard from a Cata dev. D:[/quote]
While I agree that the player should have many options (and you’ll get even more once we get the world builder finished). I would like to point out that there is a point where options need to be removed to promote game balance and enable forward progress (especially if the only reason the option was added was to allow the player to disable a [then] buggy feature). If devs need to spend their time ensuring that everything added to the game is balanced for game modes A-Zed, then we have less time to make new features and some things are simply unable to be added due to balancing difficulties.

At this point I only see two options that really should be removed:

  1. Gradual night light - was added in some ancient version because it was a new function. Doesn’t make any sense gameplay wise to turn it off, and other then removing intended game content does nothing.
  2. Sort crafting menu - same story here. Was added because it was a new function. Doesn’t cause any harm if it’s turned on and helps to add to gameplay ease if it is turned on. It’s removal will also help to clean up some menu interface code.

For the options menu I’d like to see a tabbed interface so that they are separated into more cohesive groups. IE: Viewport Width/Height, Move view offset, Circular distance, rain animation, Y/N prompts, and gradual night light might go into a UI tab while others may go into different tabs. Not sure on where everything would logically go at the moment but it could make sense. We could shift the option view down a little to allow for tabs without greatly disrupting it.

Suggestion goes with the idea of “cleaning up the options menu” but not so much with the overall discussion of the thread wrt balance and addition/removal of options.

Referenced in a recent pull request, I would still like to see zombie revival as a tab in the option under a difficulty tab: it helped me get into the game to balance what I wanted in classic zombies.

Pr 2865 , would have replied there but not sure on stigma, please keep some way to balance difficulty if not tailor experience

I would definitely enjoy a cleaner and/or better organized options menu, but many changes mentioned I would not be happy about (Like max trait points/starting points being a small set of preset values).

I’m curious as to what exactly you mean by balanced.

With Cataclysm’s in depth difficulty settings and worldgen options I don’t see how it could ever be balanced in the classic sense, and I greatly prefer these kinds of difficulty settings to the original Easy, Normal, and Hard that games have used in the past.