Looting in Combat, and More Bug Fixes

Today turned out pretty productive as well. I started the day off with a few more bug fixes that have been stagnating on the back burner. One such bug was the issue with dropping items in bottles/etc. that sit on the right or bottom edge of a backpack. I made some changes which should make this possible again, whether using take/drop or drag/drop.

I also fixed a bug that caused blurry text in the game over page when multiple causes of death were listed. There might still be blurry words if the cause of death is really long and wraps lines, but at least multiple causes should look better.

After that, I decided to look into non-lethal combat stuff. So far, the only way to get items in battle is to murder one's opponent. Many have pointed out that, while grim and befitting the world, it's not always appropriate. Similarly, the only way out of a battle was to run away or die.

So I started planning a few non-lethal options for battles. One such change is to make unconscious enemies lootable. I made a few changes to the combat system so that the game treats unconscious enemies as non-threats. Combat will continue as normal, but the unconscious enemy doesn't count as an aggressor anymore, freeing up the other combatant to access inventory (even when at melee range). I also made unconscious combatants immediately drop anything in their hands.

In practice, this means that one can now knock out an opponent, and take any items they dropped without having to kick them to death. I also created a new battle move called "Check Body for Loot," which empties out all the target's items onto the ground. This way, players can get stuff and just walk away, rather than having to kill anyone for stuff after they're down.

It'll still be possible to continue attacking the downed enemy, and the result will be pretty much like before: killing an enemy leaves all their loot on the ground. I'll probably look into corpses for dead opponents, since that'll make it possible to do things like dogman fur clothes, or hunting larger-than-squirrel game: both popular requests.

This also lays the groundwork for surrender, since battle moves can now trigger "Drop all items." I plan to add a few new moves for "offer surrender," "demand surrender," and "accept surrender." "Offer surrender" will cause the creature/player to drop all their items, and make the "accept surrender" available to the opponent. If the opponent accepts, the surrenderer exits the battle into an adjacent hex, minus their stuff. If the opponent chooses not to accept, then the surrenderer is in trouble. Better grab their stuff and run, or maybe just run!

"Demand surrender" will be similar, with the opponent losing all items and exiting the battle if they agree to surrender.

Losing all items is harsh, true, but it's easier to code than complex bargaining, and better than dying. So let's go with that for now :)

I'm also interested in exploring the idea of "Declare Peaceful Intentions" as a combat move when entering combat at a range. I always thought it'd be cool to play out the tense moments when one meets a stranger on the road. Are they hostile? Friendly? Pretending to be friendly? Now that range is a bigger factor, this seems like a good struggle for the game's atmosphere. It also pairs pretty well with "Threaten." I haven't planned much yet, just jotted a note down. It'll largely depend on there being non-hostile creatures, so that might have to wait.

There may be some others in the works, too, but we'll see how tomorrow goes. Overall, though, it'll be nice to have a few battles end with fewer fatalities!

That's all for this evening. Have a good night, all!