It's Good To Be Back

I decided to focus on development today, and I was nice to be back in that frame of mind. I managed to knock out quite a few changes, particularly in bugs. I fixed an encounter load/save bug, fixed some broken encounter paths, and found and fixed the reason water testers don't need charges in crafting.

I also finally added a "ditch vehicle" battle move, so players can drop their sled/cart and run in battle. Previously, one had to be able to access inventory to do so. Now, it can be done any time.

And that's when I hit a tangle of interrelated issues: creatures and their shortcomings. There have been a number of issues reported with creatures in improbably large packs, melonheads reinforcing infinitely, lack of creature variety, and lack of friendly creatures. Combined with my plans to add more encounters involving new factions, it seemed like a good time to review the creature system and see how it could both fix these bugs and support the upcoming work better.

One of the first things I did was a pretty easy change that should have a big impact. I added support for variable conditions to creature spawns. Previously, all raiders were strong, tough, and had the melee skill. Similarly, looters were always frail, feeble, and cowards.

Now, I can specify creatures as being strong 75% of the time, or skilled in melee 50% of the time. This means it should now be possible to encounter weaker vs. stronger specimens of each creature type. An underdeveloped dogman, for example, may be slightly easier, or there may be a looter with a bit more savvy. No more gangs of carbon-copy raiders with Mike Tyson abilities!

This also lets me give creatures a bit more color. Maybe we'll encounter a drunk bandit, or a looter on sleeping pills. Perhaps that raider is really a coward? Some of these will be readily apparent, and others will be hidden. But it should make things a bit more interesting.

This also helps lay some of the foundation for factions. Many of you have probably experienced random encounters where the "Bad Muthas" or "Froggers" are mentioned. These will gradually take the place of generic "bandit" and "raider" templates. I'm going to start assigning certain factions to certain regions, and some will have encounters expanding on their lore.

Finally, there's the question of how to handle friendlies (or at least non-hostiles). I've long been meaning to add at least some DMC guards to help the player in that area and keep the peace. And if I can find a clever way to do so (i.e. not a ton of work), maybe I can make some wandering creature types more interactive.

It might just be a case of random NPC chatter or trading items (or even "go our separate ways peaceably"), but for many, it should be a welcome change from constant assault.

Work on that will continue Monday. For now, time to get some dinner. Hope everyone has a good weekend, and see you Monday!

Comments

Melvarius's picture
Melvarius

Would we be able to ditch our vehicle and run at the same time, or would ditching the vehicle take up your turn?

~The Pirate

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

I was thinking about that, and decided to go with dodge bonuses on the turn you ditch the vehicle. So there's a chance of moving 1 space away, but also a lower chance to be hit while ditching. The only reason I didn't go with retreat was because players might want to do it when they can't see their assailant (and wouldn't know which way to run).

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Melvarius's picture
Melvarius

Have you considered using that skill offensively? Like dropping your vehicle just to chase someone?

~The Pirate

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

That's a good point. I hadn't thought of that, but it makes sense.

If one uses the "ditch vehicle" as I've currently designed it, it might increase range by 1, and counts as a retreat move for morale/movement check purposes. I could remove the "chance to move 1 spaces" easily without harming the defensive nature of the move too much. But in theory, marking the move as "retreat" will give the opponent easier chances of escape.

On the other hand, having a separate "ditch vehicle to pursue" and "ditch vehicle to retreat" would likely be confusing. Players are already having trouble with the multiple surrender options (offer vs. demand), so I suspect the same would happen here.

I'll have to test it out in a few scenarios, to see if it really mucks with players trying to pursue enemies. Thanks!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Rovlad's picture
Rovlad

Myke Tyson, yeah, as if. I've been killing raiders left and right, the point is to parry whenever you can. :) Yeah, it's a bit more to it than that, but basically parry/dodge and wait for opening.

Better find a fuck-off gun though.