Pressing the o key causes your character to autoexplore the current floor, mapping out unexplored territory until something of interest is discovered, such as monsters, items, or unusual dungeon features. This feature is primarily included for convenience's sake, allowing you to rapidly breeze through uneventful areas, but it does offer some unique advantages and disadvantages:
- Autoexplore forces you to pause after discovering an enemy. Careless manual movement may result in you taking a step or two before reacting to the new threat, wasting your opportunities to attack at range or flee, and possibly giving the enemy free attacks against you. This is especially true when opening doors or turning blind corners. Note that the shift-direction command will also stop whenever something "interesting" is found.
- You'll save time and mental energy. Realtime speedruns aside, time and tediousness are currencies for most players' gameplay. Crawl is a game about complexity, and breezing through uneventful areas tends to make you more alert for when something dangerous does happen. You could also be almost done with a floor, and use autoexplore to complete exploration in relative safety.
- Autoexplore does not explore in a terribly efficient manner. Oftentimes, it leaves the corners of rooms or ends of hallways unseen until after exploring every other part of a floor, forcing you to trudge around the floor once more to explore every tile. Of course if you don't intend to explore every tile in a certain area, or if you don't care about your turn count, autoexplore works just fine.
- When safety is of utmost concern, autoexplore might be dangerous. A spriggan won't like to uncover tiles too recklessly, lest they reveal an untimely orc priest just too close for comfort, or an ogre just around the corner. This is mostly only relevant during the upper half of the Dungeon, but is a minute but technical risk for the entire game.
Also, autoexplore hits some technical hurdles in certain branches. In particular, the tides in the Shoals result in erratic behavior, and autoexploring the Abyss results in a lot of fruitless backtracking as you re-explore areas you just forgot about.
Autoexplore functionality can be changed via rcfile settings.
explore_delay = #allows you to set the speed of autoexplore. In online servers, the default set to -1 (instant travel), while in offline the default is set higher.
explore_wall_bias = #sets autoexplore to favor traveling towards walls, the higher the more favored. Negative values instead travels away from walls.
travel_avoid_terrain = shallow water, deep watercauses water tiles of choice to be forbidden from autotravel.
- The travel patch, including autoexplore, was introduced to Crawl pre-DCSS and has been integrated into every Stone Soup version since.