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Banjooie
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icon OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+1)  
Look, I--we all know how I feel about serpent manipulation, and I'm not going to ask anyone to explain how the Hs and Vs and the 1s and 2s of it work on every fifth move.

I just want to understand, reliably, how to make a serpent move away from me so I can push it somewhere. Like, what are the traditional sequence of moves you use given a reasonably open space? Can someone give me like, a series of screenshots, or something?

I understand reliably how to manipulate a slayer into doing things that we thought were literally impossible when JTRH was released, and I still do not know how, except by happy accident, to make a serpent run away from me into a one-tile-wide passageway. I really ought to rectify this.
04-10-2014 at 06:44 PM
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Nuntar
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+3)  
Let's say you want to get the serpent to move north (which is the easiest). Run around a bit so the serpent is approaching you from either horizontal direction -- specifying a direction will make the explanation clearer, so let's say the serpent is coming at you from the west. Also, let's say the column you want the serpent to go north in is column 20.

You want to be in column 21 and the serpent's head to reach column 19 while it has at least two horizontal preference turns remaining (so, if that won't happen, move north or south to adjust the timing). Then, move SW. The serpent, being still on horizontal preference, moves E. Move SW again. The serpent now tries to move W towards you, and can't because its own body is in the way, so it follows its second rule: when first preference is blocked, it prefers N, E, S, W in that order. It moves N. Then you move E into its column, and it will continue moving away from you.

I learned all this from Dan's Dungeon, Level 9, 1N4E, and the H&S thread for that room contains an explanation of all this, so I can't claim all the credit :P

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04-10-2014 at 06:58 PM
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bwross
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+2)  
I do it a bit simpler. I stand due south of the passage with the serpent coming directly from the east or west, so that it hits that square with at least one turn of horizontal preference. When the serpent gets close I move south, and then when directly between me and the target I move to the side so that I'm behind the head. The serpent can't go back onto it's own body (following the serpent second rule, it has horizontal preference and you're now suddenly on the other side horizontally), so it falls to the third rule and tries N, E, S, W in order... so it turns N (assuming that's still open). At which point I move to the target column and lock him into the first rule (must continue because I'm directly behind the movement of the head).

For directing it east onto a row, it's the pretty much the same, but rotated 90. Except something needs to be blocking the third rule N option at the right time to prevent that option so the third rule moves onto E. So typically this means bringing the serpent in from the north so its own body does the job like above.

You can extend this to south. Standing at the intersection where you want the serpent to turn, the serpent coming from the east (easiest way to block that option in the third rule). Square directly north needs to be impassible to the serpent (passable to you), square to the north-east needs to be passable to you from there, and one of the two north of the intersection need to be passable to you from that square (so you can move back to lock in the movement south).

For west, you need to block off all the other options.

I'd worked this out from the first hold demonstrating the three serpent move rules. I've even given out this advice before: for TCB: Lowest Proper 1W... which pretty much requires that knowledge to do well (or you could do it with fumbling, luck, and patience).

[Last edited by bwross at 04-10-2014 08:02 PM]
04-10-2014 at 07:18 PM
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west.logan
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+2)  
Don't listen to them. Serpent manipulation is black magic. Burn the witches!

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04-10-2014 at 07:22 PM
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Banjooie
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
quote:
(or you could do it with fumbling, luck, and patience).


That is how I clear /every/ room.
04-10-2014 at 08:28 PM
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mrimer
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
quote:
Banjooie wrote:
quote:
(or you could do it with fumbling, luck, and patience).


That is how I clear /every/ room.
Okay, so, serpents are just more of the same then :D

Great explanations above! This is helpful for *me*, since I had nothing to do with the original serpent design.

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[Last edited by mrimer at 04-10-2014 09:10 PM]
04-10-2014 at 09:09 PM
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Banjooie
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
Yes, exactly. It takes 100% of my fumbling to get through non-serpent rooms, so serpent rooms require an additional 10% that I just don't have.
04-10-2014 at 09:12 PM
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mrimer
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
Ha! Yeah, I hear you.

But, you could just start giving 110%...

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04-10-2014 at 09:29 PM
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Pearls
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+1)  
As annoying and un-intuitive as it is, if you watch some of my earlier LPs, that's all I did was fumble, too. I even vaguely knew the rules, and fumbling was my go-to.

Then Chaco contractually asked me to do a hold of his where you have to manipulate serpents from across the room, so I kinda had to know the rules. I'm wondering if a quiz would be handy. "If you're here, the serpent is here, and the time is this, what direction is the serpent going to move." Either way, I literally forced myself (it took awhile) to figure out how it works, and then I could sit in a position and reliability in my head say "And if I do this, the serpent is gonna move up into the hole. Understanding the N>E>S>W kinda gives you some idea how hard getting a serpent to go in a direction is going to be. It's very tricky to make a serpent go west in open space (and not facing you) unless he's already heading in that direction.

I know you don't want to learn it, so maybe this is a moot post, but I really, really began to appreciate them once I sort of quizzed myself in a few situations until I nailed it down.

Wraithwings and goblins are still 30% a mystery to me.

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[Last edited by Pearls at 04-10-2014 09:53 PM]
04-10-2014 at 09:47 PM
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Tim
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+1)  
The only reliable way to "make a serpent move away from me so I can push it somewhere" is to understand that the only reliable way that the serpent will move away from you is to stand directly behind him.

The easiest way to do that is to get near him, say 3 to 5 squares, and then walk diagonally to get behind him.

So, for example, if you want the serpent to move all the way north, move towards it, and when he's moving north (or if at that square it can't move south), walk diagonally, and place yourself directly to the south of the serpent. It will go all the way north until you move away.

(All of this is fiddling, and has lots of margin of error. So if you find a room where everything has to be done exactly, and it's not by a brilliant architect, then it's probably just a poorly designed room.)

The next question is of course, how to make your serpent go N/S/E/W in the first place so that you can stand behind it? That's where this N/E/S/W movement preference comes in. It prefers going after you, and then N/E/S/W. So if you need the serpent to go N, block its southern path and then stand directly to the south of it. And if you want it to go W, you have to block its N, E and S exit, and then stand E of its head.

As to those horizontal and vertical preference stuff, they only apply when you can't get directly behind it, and in those cases you can't push them away anyway. Those rooms usually requires counting, or you could test all the possible states it can be in. I tend to skip those rooms (because counting, or testing all of the possible states is NOT fun).

Good luck with your serpents. And perhaps it's now time to play my Penthouse (AE) hold. (I think I've designed it back in the days as a hold that most of the time doesn't require huge amount of counting, but a little bit of counting is necessary.)

(I'm going to lurk mode again, as I don't really have time for DROD nowadays.)


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[Last edited by Tim at 04-10-2014 11:45 PM]
04-10-2014 at 11:42 PM
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Jatopian
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+1)  
quote:
mrimer wrote: But, you could just start giving 110%...
In this forum we respect math, Mr. Imer.

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[Last edited by Jatopian at 04-11-2014 12:00 AM]
04-11-2014 at 12:00 AM
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Jatopian
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
I remember once on the KoL forums there was a contest to make an Item of the Month idea that a notorious hater would approve of. Maybe an unofficial "make a small serpent room/hold Banjooie likes" contest should be held, now that Banjooie might finally get the basics.

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04-11-2014 at 12:15 AM
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Moo
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
Better still, make a tutorial-style hold that teaches it all, from the very basics, and has some rooms to practice with. Other people with problems of a reptilian nature in the future would be more likely to find the hold(s) than this thread. It's often easier to learn by example and practice than by just reading, too.
04-11-2014 at 12:33 AM
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Rabscuttle
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
North gap:

...X.X.
.......
.......
.......
.......
.......
.......
..sSB..
.......

Beethro is directly south of gap.

If next serpent movements are HH, then move: S, W, E
Click here to view the secret text
If next serpent movements are HV or VVV, then move: E, N, S, SW
Click here to view the secret text
If next serpent movements are VH or VVH then move S once or twice respectively and use HH case


You can reverse this for the serpent approaching from the east.

[Last edited by Rabscuttle at 04-11-2014 05:02 AM]
04-11-2014 at 01:58 AM
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bwross
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+2)  
quote:
Tim wrote:
The next question is of course, how to make your serpent go N/S/E/W in the first place so that you can stand behind it? That's where this N/E/S/W movement preference comes in. It prefers going after you, and then N/E/S/W. So if you need the serpent to go N, block its southern path and then stand directly to the south of it. And if you want it to go W, you have to block its N, E and S exit, and then stand E of its head.

As to those horizontal and vertical preference stuff, they only apply when you can't get directly behind it, and in those cases you can't push them away anyway. Those rooms usually requires counting, or you could test all the possible states it can be in. I tend to skip those rooms (because counting, or testing all of the possible states is NOT fun).



The horizontal/vertical preference stuff is unavoidable... it's the second rule. You don't get to use the third rule unless you make that rule fail... if you don't then there's a 50/50 chance the serpent just turns towards you if the second rule is allowed to succeed. The first rule is about keeping the serpent from turning, the second will only turn towards you, and the third is what's needed to turn a serpent away. So the basic trick (in the abstract) is:

1) Use the first rule to get the snake to move towards you and the location you want it to turn.

2) Get out of the way so the first rule no longer applies.

3a) Get into a position when the snake is at the turning point where the second rule will fail. To do this well requires knowing the H/V preference. Or you could just try is once, and if that fails, try the other state. It's one or the other: being willing to fumble and test, or know the H/V state. I typically need to test occasionally to remind myself of which is which because I don't bother with a serpent clock.

3b) Make sure you also blocked any higher president directions in the third rule's NESW order. This is why north is always good... you don't need to worry about this at all.

3c) Make sure you can also move directly behind the head immediately after it turns.

4) Get behind the snake (using 3c) and use the first rule again to drive it to the destination.
04-11-2014 at 02:27 AM
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Rabscuttle
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+6)  
(I'm not sure what needed fixing in my last post)
East gap:
...........
....s......
....S.....X
....B......
..........X

Beethro is west of the gap.
Serpent must be heading south.

If next serpent moves are VV, move W, N, S
Click here to view the secret text
If next serpent moves are H+V, move W+, W, N, S (ie use up H moves, then do the VV case)
If next serpent moves are VH, move S, E, W, E, E, E, N (then you are at VV case so...) W, N, S


[Last edited by Rabscuttle at 04-11-2014 04:16 AM]
04-11-2014 at 03:18 AM
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Rabscuttle
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+6)  
South Gap:

You need a 4+ length serpent or an obstacle in the right spot

Obstacle:
Click here to view the secret text


4+ Serpent:
..........
..........
...BSsss.
..........
..........
..X.X.....

Beethro N of gap
Next serpent moves must be VVVV
Move: N, W, S, N, NE

Click here to view the secret text




[Last edited by Rabscuttle at 04-11-2014 04:24 AM]
04-11-2014 at 03:45 AM
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Rabscuttle
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+9)  
Go west (life is peaceful there)

Needs 6+ serpent (or obstacles)

....s..
....s..
X...S..
....B..
X......
.......

Beethro east of gap.
Next serpent moves must be HHHHH
Move: E, S, S, W, E, NE, N

Click here to view the secret text


[Last edited by Rabscuttle at 04-11-2014 04:17 AM]
04-11-2014 at 03:56 AM
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Banjooie
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
...this is delicious. Thank you so much.
04-11-2014 at 07:14 AM
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Rabscuttle
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+7)  
No problem.

Here's a more foolproof method for S and W so that you can always hit the right point in the cycle (as long as you have enough room)

To force south:
Start by getting the serpent to chase you North on the column one east of the gap until you reach the correct point in the cycle.
....
..B.
..S.
..s.
..s.
..s.
X.XX
At start of V-movement:
W,W,S,N,NE
-----
To force west:
Start by getting the serpent to chase you East on the row one north of the gap until you reach the correct point in the cycle
X.sssssSB.
..........
X.........
..........
At start of H-movement
S,S,S,W,E,NE,N

04-11-2014 at 08:01 AM
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Insoluble
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+6)  
Sorry for the necro. This thread came up in chat and I happen to have some gifs I made for forcing a serpent to move away from you. These were originally made for a contest submission and an H&S thread, so I only have them for forcing west and east. If there's interest though I can make some for North and South and some alternative ones for using obstacles and so on.

Force a serpent East:

It doesn't say in the image, but you need the serpent to be on Vertical preference when you step west and for the turn after that for it to work. Also, this can be adjusted quite a bit. you don't need to begin the process by leading the serpent from the front, you can be all the way across the room as long as you are in the same row to the west of it as it is moving south when it hits the row you want to push it on. If at that point you step North, the serpent will move East. This happens since he is on V-pref and would like to move North but can't because he is blocked by his own body. He next goes through the N,E,S,W preferences, and since N is again blocked, will move E instead.

Force a serpent West:

This is harder to pull off and is more of a niche tool. One detail that is not explicitly stated in the image is that you need the serpent to be at least length 6 to pull this off. The explanation for this one is a bit trickier, but suffice it to say, this sequence is pretty tight and you can't afford any deviations from the move pattern here.

What is going on (for those interested)
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[Last edited by Insoluble at 09-22-2016 07:22 PM]
09-22-2016 at 07:04 PM
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Banjooie
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
I...this old chestnut came up in chat?

I am touched.
09-23-2016 at 09:12 PM
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+2)  
I thought I understood how snakes work, but this one room consistently gives me "off-by-one" errors.

According to this screenshot:

Click here to view the secret text


The adder is currently on horizontal preference. However, when I wait, it moves North. If I release the adder one move earlier so that it arrives at its current position with the clock at 13, it will move East, as expected. What's going on here?

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08-22-2020 at 12:20 AM
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
One turn later:

Click here to view the secret text


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08-22-2020 at 12:23 AM
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Chaco
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+1)  
I like to think of it as "the clock moves forward by one, then the snake moves" - so when you wait, it becomes turn 15, that's a vertical-preference section, and then the snake sees that it can't move South, so it moves North.

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08-22-2020 at 12:25 AM
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averagemoe
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (0)  
Looks like the clock updates his preference before he actually moves.

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08-22-2020 at 12:25 AM
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Dragon Fogel
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icon Re: OK, you win, how do I serpent? (+1)  
Because the clock technically advances as soon as you move. Right now, it is, strictly speaking, the *end* of the 14th turn and once you make a move it becomes the 15th turn, which means the snake's preference is vertical.

This is similar to how, if the clock is currently at 9 and you step on a spike tile, you die.
08-22-2020 at 12:25 AM
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