Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Landfish

When Encountered Randomly...

Recommended Posts

Just finished off Jade Cocoon on PSX, and it led me to a good ol fashioned Landfish thought: Random encounters... Stupid and abstract? YES! Think back to the last RPG you played with these things. You''re walking along, trying to figure out whatever is going on currently in the game, and WHAMMO! You''re in combat. 99% of the time, this makes me groan, even if I''m out to do some leveling. The jolting interruption most give you doesn''t help, either. We now have the technology to do so much better. Some games do, but I thought it was interesting what they did in Jade Cocoon... If a monster sees you in the forest, he will chase after you. The areas are small enough so that it''s very difficult to escape from this, but I found myself very happy that each combat phase made sense in context and I had plenty of fair warning before it hit me. It was pleasant. After you reached a certain power level, the creatures would stop attack you, and eventually run at the very sight of you. This is... an ego-rub, to say the least. I liked it, alot. It''s a little like going up to your favorite website and finding a post that says "You are Cool!" and you didn''t even make it! If a creature was asleep, you could walk past it without awakening it. If you ran, it would wake up and attack or run away. There were other, subtle things, too! Like if the opponant got you from behind, they would go first in the combat! It was neat! Has anybody got any ideas about this? I''d like to find some really clean ways to seguay into combat, perhaps less of a "you have entered combat mode" feel. So, donations, please?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I''m with you, Landfish, surprise combat mode stinks, especially when you have no chance to try and avoid it if you want to. And you''re also right about technology nowadays- we don''t need random combat anymore.

As far as transitioning into combat, I have a few thoughts. First of all, whoever it is has to have motivation for their attacks- be it a troll who guards the bridge, or the black knight from Monty Python, or an ogre that just plain hates _____(fill in the blank). Maybe the location you are in has a reputation- Troll Forest for example- so that you know what you are getting into when you go there. Subtle signs that you are being pursued would help, too. For example, even before you see the bad critter, maybe you hear a twig snap sound. And maybe the program or plot would lay off of "combat on the road" after introduction of new puzzles, mysteries, etc.

Anyway, my $.02.
Best Regards,
Torus


"Impressive!!!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I totally agree with both of you on this (shamefully though for my first RPG I must go with Turn based random encounters) but it is definately something that should be considered in every forthcoming RPG. Although I do love an engaging RPG every now and then, heck all the time, but sometimes going through a dungeon and then a battle when you don''t need one! Argh! So Landfish, I have to agree with you. But since you are the bringer of graet thoughts..(so I have heard) what are some great ways of accomplishing these non-random encounter battles? I would love tobe enlightened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ferinorius you miss the ways of the Landfish...You see, Landfish does not tell you the answers. He merely asks the questions to force you to find the answers yourself.

Then, he explains to you why you''re wrong

Just kidding there, LF.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree totally w/ what you all have said about encounters. In Baulder's Gate, I began to hate it when a combat encounter came up. I'd be curious about what might happen next in the story, then this big spider attacks. I find it interesting how in Diablo all ther is is combat, and I didn't mind that. The combat system is fun if not kind of shallow. So maybe the combat random encounters are annoying cause the combat system is just plain boring. Just an alternative look at it...

Edited by - Nazrix on June 14, 2000 12:20:50 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stepping into a ravine here by saying this, but I loved Final Fantasy 7, including the battle system, but then part 8 came out, and the battles were simply APPALLING!!! now it seems that battles like this are getting more and more into the moats of despair...why!? Why can''t someone invent a great idea.....


Here is my brainchild, and use caution, he is not trained:

My artist Cody loves the fighting game. I do everyonce in a while, but the thing that irks the both of us is the fact that when someone says the battle system is set to "real-time" it is still primarily turnbased. Something revolutionary would be a full out fighting engine for the battle system, or something like that. I have it all planned out, but this is just the beginning. Real time spell casting, real time escape, real time party member exchange, it gets more complex as I think about it, but it has the potential to be something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nazrix: What, you didn''t mean it? =)

Many people have tried "realtime" combat, fighting game style in RPGs, but it always gets called "Zelda-like". If you''re going to do it, make sure you build it with the subtlty and handling of a fighting game. I think it could be done, but you could also end up with another Granstream Saga.

BTW, Granstream Saga is a perfect example of the bane of my existance... cliche. In the first five seconds of the game the main character is risking his life to save a nest of baby chicks. I kid you not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Landfish, yeah you're right I guess I do mean it

Ferinorius, well, everything is technically turn-based if there's only one processor processing everything. I'm not sure if I see exactly what you mean...

I'm starting to stray from the topic again, but I think the important thing in combat is to make it interesting. Not just player attacks...enemy attacks...player attacks...enemy attacks...

I think there should be an option for hitting different body parts as we discussed in the Damage post. Perhaps, options for differnt types of swings (stab, slash, etc)
The more options in the combat, the better.


Edited by - Nazrix on June 14, 2000 12:45:30 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To explain what I mean, I will elaborate...

You''re walking through the world, and (I''m not sure if there will be random encounters, but if there will, you can configure it to where you can have a lot, an average amount, or very little encounters) and you get into a battle. Ok, HP and MP or whatever I decide to do for magic is at the top of the screen much like health is in a fighting game. The opponent is standing there, and after the camera does it''s little cinematic fling the battle really begins. The player is then able to attack with combos and such, or press one of the buttons assigned for a magic spell. Now, the only time when someone can or cannot attack is when the magic is being cast, so the monster goes into a ''trance'' while getting hit by the magic spell, and vice versa if the player gets hit. Then the battle continues on like the fighting game, eachone doing combos and such. Bosses would be faster than normal monsters, also doing combos not yet learned, thus meaning new combos can be learned from the bosses. I''m not saying Legend of Legaia kind of battles, but full out fighting game style battles. This has a lot of potential, is new and exciting, and will possibly bring a lot of people to the RPG market if it is executed properly.

I''m not too sure if this will make the battles more interesting, but it does bring a new approach to normal battles, not to mention what it could do to the random encounters...go into the config menu and set the encounter rate yourself. What about that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Honestly landfish.. i disagree.

Random encounters are there to make up for a lack in computing ability. If you had a big enough processor, you could track several entities at a time in terms of NPC''s. This tracking ability would allow random encounters to be.. less random, in a way. But.. i think monsters wondering through the forest randomly, are perfectly acceptable. It''s not my fault people hate them when they pop up at the "wrong" moment. You can''t blame the game for that. It''s your fault for sucking

As far as random monster movement.. that''s realistic. I''d say have X number of monsters to begin with who aren''t set. Those then roam around. The computer makes checks of their daily movement if the character isn''t near to them. otheriwse it makes checks according to how close he is. If he''s nearby, obivously the computer will check to see if either one notices the other, and if not.. the creature will continue randomly roaming. It might roam right towards the person. This is where having a "mood" comes in great. If the creature is hungry, it might be hunting. Or thirsty.. it might be heading towards water. Well, assuming your character wishes to hunt something, he can track it down

Animals do move about rather pseudo-randomly.. so this would work well. They know they need certain food and water and temperatures. so the computer can keep track of things and keep them in their place. This way, the guys still show up randomly.. but they''re there before you run into them, and they''re limited. If you destroy all things along a certain path.. chances are nothing will be in that area anytime soon Trust me.. i hate purely random encounters.. but random encounters aren''t all bad. it''s true to life. i''d like to see you walk through the forest and not happen along a bear or anything hehehe.

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ya know Niphty, that is really something to ponder on! I''ve never thought about that until now. Can you imagine how could it would be to have creatures with thier own moods, wants, needs, ect? To go even farther, monsters can be kind, or evil, you could make friends with one by sparing it from death, and as long as the computer keeps track of the monster states...it can live and grow. Kinda adds a demented twist to an RPG, kind of like being on a Nature show...

quote:
Original quote from a Nature show

We have been tracking the goblin for days now, after we had marked him. He seems to have found a mate and is enjoying himself now. Everyday at four he goes to the watering hole.....




Whoa...that just got too weird for any rpg....hmmm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow, imagine an over-the-shoulder game that played like Ultima IX, until you switched to combat mode (at -your- option, not the game''s). When you did this, the camera swings round 90 degrees so it becomes a side-on view, and you get to fight with moves such as those in SoulCalibur Now that would be neat (if impossible to do online, for latency reasons.)

Random encounters suit the kill-to-level kind of game. RPGs with more depth might find that the random encounters start to break up the flow of the ''real'' game and become an annoyance. A system to make weaker NPCs not bother attacking you is a must, I think. I generally prefer the idea of placing monsters as a hazard in a predefined place, perhaps letting them wander, but once dead, they stay dead. With a few exceptions: things like deer in the forests or rabbits, which are there mainly for atmosphere rather than as an ''encounter''.

Also, I hate the Final Fantasy style of combat. Seems like all eye-candy and no game to me. Makes it something of a chore. I''d rather it was worked into the main engine, so that you can flee or hide or whatever.

Ok, so no amazing revelations in this post, sorry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here, free of charge, is a cool idea I have had for a long time.

What if there were specific NPCs/monsters roaming around according to their ai, and they could change their environment?

For instance, what if they left "tracks" (visual or in the code, depending on your game) which the hero could notice or not, depending on her/his tracking ability? The tracks would fade/become harder to find over time.

What if trolls hunt deer and rabbits too (after all, are heroes common enough to subsist on?), and you could find fresh kills?

Or, my favorite. When I see this in a game one day (hopefully mine), this will floor me.

You''re walking through the forest, and suddenly a rabbit runs by. Then a flock of birds flies past you. You''re wondering what''s up, as a bunch of creatures all flow past you, and then you start to hear crashing noises. You see trees shake. And finally, a giant bursts through the brush!

Ah, I can''t wait until computers are powerful enough to run all the particle systems I want in games...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
that is a really good idea. That will be the day when events like that happen, and aren''t scripted in for the story. one day we will be thrown in to a real world that lives and breathes off of it''s own creatures. A world that doesn''t need the playter to interfere, a wonderous place that grows, changes with the season, lives, and the player is there to watch.

one day it will happen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why not have the player able to holster and unholster his weapon, so if the player wants to look for a fight he could show his weapon, but this might also scare some monsters away. Then he could also be able to hide his weapon if he didn''t want to fight, but this could also makes theives and such attack him because he looked unarmed. That way, he still is able to choose when he wants to fight, but their is still the randomness of whether he will fight or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A few titles to study:
Final Fantasy I
Final Fantasy VII
Twinsen''s Adventure
Twinsen''s Odyssey

I like Piksel''s idea, but feel something is missing. Some scripted scenes should still happen no matter what, mostly because you shouldn''t have that much influence on all characters.

As for the whole visible monsters idea, I like it. I''ve never seen one instance where you getting attacked in a wide open field made sense. One would think that at least one of your party''s members would see or hear an attacker from a few hundred feet away.

The way it works in the game I''m desinging is that the more accustomed you are to a terrain or area, the less likely an encounter will be. So, if you''ve been navigating a forest for a while, creatures will less likely be able to surprise you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guys, rent Jade Cocoon. You don''t have to beat it, or even get halfway, just have a look, because it makes visible monsters work. It combines many of the ideas mentioned here, very well I think. Keep up the brainwork.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I''ve played it Landfish, and I know what you are talking about. You also got to admit that it''s way of breeding (or mixing) different creatures and combining them to form others is awesome as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Also, the "Zelda-style" 2D games don''t do "random" encounters, per se. They are a primitive version of the integrated fighting game idea, with their own combos and special moves. Hmmmm. I think I''m going use Kylotan''s idea some day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Humm.. some very entertaining and interesting ideas here.. Kylotan, i deffinately agree with the fighting thing. I dislike how the Final Fantasy just simply lines up characters, some over here and some over there. I can''t help but think of a gang war showdown, where each takes sides. It''s so flat

Anyways.. the really cool thing to remember is this: monsters have patterns. With the winter, birds move south. With the summer, north. For each creature.. develop migratory patterns. If they''re unsocial, then the roam in low numbers. If they''re social, in parties will they roam
Social creatures should prolly be the focus. Anti-social ones will still be mostly random. A bear will wonder about a particular wooded area without straying far unless something happens. Social creatures will send out hunting parties for food and such. They''ll have a den. This makes a great sub-quest in an RPG. If the person finds the hunting party and wipes them out, oops.. can''t find the lair now. Well, if the person follows them.. hehe Also, keep track of the numbers in then den. If one passes nearby to a bear, have a random thing check to see if the bear eats it hehehe. This is a dynamic world.. a real world.

Also, the fixed and non-fixed plot lines. There should be certain things which are unchanging in the game. Plot elements and side-plots. Anything people might scedual There should also be some random ones that can take place anytime, and perhaps those start the ball rolling on a plot item that will be fixed X days afterwards. This allows you to have plot elements that can develop anytime and has a set plot to follow. This could make life hard on the hero(s). If two plot elements happen at once.. well.. they''ve got to pick which is more vital to them. HEHEHEHE notice the evil programmer/designer laugh. This is something you should all learn and master, as you will often have evil ideas like this one, to which your players will have much stress. All items should be checked, some things happen any time, some happen set times, maybe. I personally like them to start anytime. In this case, you can say Plot A will start between the 1st and 5th days of the game, and plot B will start between the 2nd and 10th. This way they can overlap. Also, subplot item A can happen anytime, while subplot item B can happen only after main plot item A has been failed.

This creates a realistic world which changes based on what the player does. Very entertaining, very hard to design I do wish everyone luck in this.. and, as always, i''m here to talk to in case you have a mental breakdown like Landfish oh.. yeah, so i caused his breakdown.. but still

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree that your generic random encouter leaves a lot to be desired.
But if you add a few things (most already mentionen i guess) like different monster status (awake, asleep, grumpy, happy), perception rolls to determine placement, preparation time and the option to run away we should be in the clear.

But don´t do them away. Where should all the heroes go to hone their skills and collect treasures if the Desert of Random Encounter is gone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites