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Wavinator

FPS: Repositioning enemy units each game

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I''d normally think this is a no-brainer, but a conversation with a friend gave me pause... FPS games are pretty linear and predictable after the second or third time around. In most, AI start positions are usually set up beforehand along with all the other scripted sequences in the game. What if, however, the AI spawned or respawned in different locations each game? Example: You''re raiding a creepy mansion filled with shotgun totting, dynamite throwing zombies. If you play through a couple of times-- particularly if you get your butt kicked-- you can beat the game by knowing where the enemy will appear. You''ll be able to, in many cases, avoid surprises and even aim exactly based on memory. (Even in a game like Return to Castle Wolfenstein, where enemies move around alot, you can still memorize initial positioning.) Is this good? Initially, I thought that if enemies were positioned randomly, so that you never knew if when you rounded a corner whether or not they''d be there, it would be alot more replayable and enjoyable. A friend disagreed, though. He said that if enemies were randomly repositioned, many players would never be able to complete the level. He believes that most people who have to die and repeat a board win because they memorize enemy locations. What do you think? -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...

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A possible method could be difficulty level, where spawning in different locations, respawing and movement would be controlled by a level from, say, 1-4. A newbie to the game would like to be able to, as you said, memorize positions and be able to defeat them that way, and hopefully as the player progresses to a higher level of gameplay ability, they can notch the difficult up one and be able to play again, but enemies spawning in different locations, moving further from their initial start point, etcetc. DukeNukem3D had 4 levels of difficulty, the first was obviously, very easy, second was a bit more difficult, with extra enemies, third involved even harder, with stronger enemies, and the fourth, was where they respawned from around a corner when you weren''t looking

=Fuzz-Net=

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I think that this is an instance where realism would help tremendously. I was playing QuakeII this afternoon, and while it was moderately fun, I kept thinking, what are all these freaks doing standing around just waiting to attack me? I mean, I know iD isn''t exactly well-known for their deep games, but it illustrates just how much games of the past (right on up to the present) overlooked obvious improvements to immersion.

While it''s impractical to expect each enemy to go about its complex routine when the player is half a mile away, I would love to see enemies surprised by my presence, running away when they''re hurt, lunging, getting injured and dazed, and simply not being so darn robotic. The Law of Least Astonishment is paramount in making your worlds believable.

Without a visible purpose to the enemies, your game turns into a shooting gallery. Such a thing will ultimately be boring and unfulfilling.

Peace,
ZE.

//email me.//zealouselixir software.//msdn.//n00biez.//
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Continuing...

Summing up, I think that players shouldn''t be able to tell where enemies will be. If they can, the enemy is obviously not doing anything other than standing around waiting to get shot. If you balance properly, this won''t mean any additional challenge to weaker players, and it will make everyone appreciate your effort all the more.

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The thing that really gets me about all these FPS games (even though I like playing them) is that the enemy units stand around doing nothing, like they were expecting you to come. It would be so much more immersive if they were doing things - sleeping, eating, working on some small thing, talking, moving objects around, taking iventory... The only game that I have seen that is better than the rest for rectifiying this problem is Deus Ex. Some of the enemies would talk to eachother as you snook up on them.

Moe''s site

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
A friend disagreed, though. He said that if enemies were randomly repositioned, many players would never be able to complete the level. He believes that most people who have to die and repeat a board win because they memorize enemy locations.



How about this. Randomly position enemies when the player first starts a level. They should retain that position through saving/loading and player death. Of course some enemies should still be statically positioned (guards at a front gate or in a watchtower, etc.).

"If people are good only because they fear punishment and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." - Albert Einstein

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Today''s IOTD on FlipCode shows off a game/toolset that has this kind of feature - dynamic enemy placement. I can''t recall, but they might have a website with more info. I think they''re using the Torque engine.

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