• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.

Archived

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

Wavinator

Sensible random encounters

28 posts in this topic

Okay, here''s a "what if" brainstorm on random encounters. With a very large world, you don''t want to track everything in the world itself. Yet you want to make it seem like entities are moving about realistically. What''s a good system? How about this: Random encounters aren''t totally random. The chance for encountering anything is based on the map itself. The longer you''re in an area, the higher the chance for encountering something. So if you hang out on a road, there''s a higher and higher chance that you''ll meet someone. What you encounter is based on where you are. In the forest you encounter wolves, on the roads you encounter merchants, etc. (Nothing special yet). Now, somehow, it seems that the encounters themselves should change the more you have them in an area. Say you''re a highwayman. You keep ambushing traders. Eventually guards should come. Maybe a good way to track this is to increase or decrease what type of random encounter should happen in any area mostly based on what the player is doing. That way, if you''re sneaking around, you have a smaller chance of encountering the guards than if you keep attacking and keep attacking. I think the strength of some encounters should increase the more you encounter them. So if you slaughter the guards, many more guards should come. Now, if you vary the pool from which guards (or whatever) can come based on what part of the world the player is in, this might seem realistic. Less guards for poorer kingdoms, and thus much more robbery! One problem tho'': Leftovers. If you encounter a caravan that''s heading north, then you should be able to see them again if you head north. So you won''t be able to completely get away from tracking things in the game world. Maybe the game system should track them awhile, then, once they''re out of a certain range, delete them. -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds like the fallout approach. Depending on your destination you get different encounters.

http://users.50megs.com/crazyvasey/
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It sounds like a set up that i had when i was running my last AD&D campain. These days i''m thinking about using pressure points in random encounters. The pressure points are area''s that generate crime. They act like cancers which amalgamate in area''s and when they are washed out then small parts of the originals start up else where. Ho hum

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Expanding the idea:
I think you could expand the idea to include modeling events happening outside of the player''s immediate perceptions, but that may be influenced by the player''s actions.

Something like chaos mathematics.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Those leftovers are not really a problem on current computers. Just track ''em all (=all that are necessary to track, not ogres wolves & such)! You must meet at least 1000 people until they start stressing the processor. Reason: you don''t have to track them every frame you move. Tracking a caravan you''ve encountered could be done only once per second.


-Hans
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Random encounters need to be more controlled by the player. I remember I used to save/load about 100 times in Baldur''s Gate and Fallout II just to avoid getting an encounter. That used to annoy me alot. Instead I think there should be a choice for the player. Because if you make the player fight every encounter, he''ll just save/load 1,000,000 times to avoid it (I will ).
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the big issue is is that random encounters shouldn''t come across as being random at all. They should fit in so smoothly that the player doesn''t think that there''s some sort of table generator in the background. It''s hard to believe that it''s still being done so poorly.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I''ve wondered about this, too. If you pick up any tabletop DnD module, (well, a good one, anyway) you''ll see a better random encounter table than in any CRPG I''ve seen. They''re modified by time of day, terrain, a slim chance of a "special encounter", (well, at least fallout had _those_) current status in the campaign; and then, when you go to the lookups, you see at least some sort of quickie description of what the creature/person was busy doing when you happened along. You would never see a creature "just hanging out". Also, not all encounters had to end in combat. Wouldn''t it be nice if in a CRPG, you once in awhile encountered something other than a group of hostile monsters, like a knight returning from a Holy War, a "monster" who was cast out of his/her tribe, some unemployed serfs from the castle you just sacked & looted, anything? What''s even worse is that DnD has some of the WORST handling of random encounters I''ve ever seen! I understand why they''re used in CRPG''s, but most human DM''s I know don''t even use them. The point is, all that CRPG designers would have to do in order to improve their systems would be to copy some look-up tables out of a book! How lazy *are* these game developer people?
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Personally, I don''t mind either way, as long as I''m not pulled away from my usual adventuring into some convoluted ''combat
system'' like the Final Fantasy systems have. I don''t want to be stuck watching some overblown 30 second video clip of a combat move in a battle I couldn''t avoid. Give me the Ultima, or even the Zelda system, where if you don''t want to fight, just run away.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you ask me, It''s simpler if you just make the game turn based.

But, unless you''re going for infinite accuracy...Try giving each npc priorities for running. Closer ones have priority 1. further have 2 etc..

then run them like 1 2 1 3 1 2 1 4 1 2 1 3 1 2 etc...

But keep track of "timeframe" in each NPC and give them orders long enough to bring them to the next time they''re AI runs.

So 1 runs every say 2 frames, 2 every 4, 3 every 8, 4 every 16 etc.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kylotan-

Right on. (god I hate that phrase) In fact, the Final Fantasy series is mainly what prompted me to post. Sure, the stories were great, and I''ve seen worse combat systems, but every sequel seems to take more control away from the player. In fact, when I beat FFVIII, I set the controller options to remember the last command, plugged in my turbo controller and walked away when there was a long fight, or when I had to Draw magic from beasties. Who plays games for the tedium? Show of hands? Yet these are some of the best selling "RPG"''s?!?! (and I use the term loosely)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I''d just like the ability to talk before entering combat. This way i will get motivated to fighting them. Just killing something because it''s some sort of generic enemy is soooo bad. Orc and Kobald my be extremely stupid but it doesn''t mean that they will always in the positiion to attack you or want to. How about catching them off guard and spying on them or something. There''s so many variations that can be put into a random encounter table that wouldn''t be that hard to implement which would lead to a lot more enjoyment. I don''t think that people make new crpg''s these days, they just copy what works and they don''t risk changing anything. Either that or they don''t know how to manage their development time.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Taunting is always fun...

My friend was suggesting that there should be a scream button in Diablo II for during the battle. Just picture the scene where the battle is drawing to a close against either a boss or a hoard and it is not clear who will survive. You have just used your last potion and you are standing your ground. As you are attacking, hold down the scream button and you just scream as you attack and I can just see the great scene it would make! We can only do this with text at the moment

-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
Check out our NPC AI Mailing List :
http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

My friend was suggesting that there should be a scream button in Diablo II for during the battle.



A friend was telling me that this is part of the Barbarian''s natural ability. He''s screams are so terrifying that he can make enemies flee...



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Kaon

Random encounters need to be more controlled by the player. I remember I used to save/load about 100 times in Baldur''s Gate and Fallout II just to avoid getting an encounter. That used to annoy me alot. Instead I think there should be a choice for the player. Because if you make the player fight every encounter, he''ll just save/load 1,000,000 times to avoid it (I will ).


I think you should be able to avoid random encounters. As mentioned in another thread, this should be a function of some ability or stat, like Perception.

I also think you should be able to run away from any fight, or you''re right, the player will just restore around it and get annoyed.


--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster.

If you pick up any tabletop DnD module, (well, a good one, anyway) you'll see a better random encounter table than in any CRPG I've seen. They're modified by time of day, terrain, a slim chance of a "special encounter", (well, at least fallout had _those_) current status in the campaign; and then, when you go to the lookups, you see at least some sort of quickie description of what the creature/person was busy doing when you happened along. You would never see a creature "just hanging out". Also, not all encounters had to end in combat. Wouldn't it be nice if in a CRPG, you once in awhile encountered something other than a group of hostile monsters, like a knight returning from a Holy War, a "monster" who was cast out of his/her tribe, some unemployed serfs from the castle you just sacked & looted, anything?


Whoa. OK, shame on me. I wasn't even thinking of making a table with this depth, and yet this is exactly the kind of thing I need. Any pen & paper suggestions to take a look at (geared toward science fiction, if possible)?



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

Edited by - wavinator on August 23, 2000 1:47:29 AM
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by C-Junkie

If you ask me, It''s simpler if you just make the game turn based.

But, unless you''re going for infinite accuracy...Try giving each npc priorities for running. Closer ones have priority 1. further have 2 etc..

then run them like 1 2 1 3 1 2 1 4 1 2 1 3 1 2 etc...

But keep track of "timeframe" in each NPC and give them orders long enough to bring them to the next time they''re AI runs.

So 1 runs every say 2 frames, 2 every 4, 3 every 8, 4 every 16 etc.


Thx! I''ll look into this. I''m (maybe overly) fearful of processor load because I''m shooting for a BIG friggin'' universe. Not all of it''s planned to be populated, but if you think a Star Trek RPG and the idea that you could travel to a number of worlds, you maybe see my fear.

I think what might work is tracking random encounters after the encounter, up to a certain point. So if you meet a merchant, and remain near him, he''ll be tracked. But as soon as he gets far enough away, the game can get rid of him.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How about having a random encounter system add to the games map locations. Say you run into a pack of trolls then the random encounter table would put a lair somewherer near by which stays there for the rest of the game. This way a random encounter doesn''t seem random at all.

Example Expansion...
If you clean out the lair then the encounter system only keeps track of the fact that there is a lair there and next time an enounter occurs in the same spot the encounter system will only put creatures there that have lair or a passing stranger enroute to somewhere else

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Of course, you could just do away w/ random encounters and make every encounter meaningful. But that is kind of unrealistic in terms of player expectations & development schedules, unless you''re going w/ the idea of making a short, compact experience. So the next best thing would be what we''re describing, basically giving the illusion of meaningful encounters through better random tables.

Paul, do you have an idea for implementing random lairs & such in pre-made maps? As a matter of personal taste, I''ve never liked random maps.

I think a good design approach would be to consider these random "encounters", not random battles. Let me explain: If from the start, you''re going w/ the supposition that not every encounter will end in combat, and allow many other options to the player before combat even starts, such as negotiation, stealth, tactical choices such as plotting an ambush or whatever would work w/in the context; and if there''s exp. pts. in your game, grant appropriate experience for each course of action (a barbarian would get less experience for negotiation, a thief would get more experience for using stealth to ambush or avoid combat). You could even have small side-quests based off of random encounters.

Still, I think overall that random encounters are a kind of clumsy feature to have in a game. I would much rather see logical encounters that further the story. In my eyes, any section of the world where you can''t travel twenty paces w/out encountering a malicious beast should be rather remarkable, and the existence of civilized towns in the midst of this turmoil is also something that should be explained.

If these are non-sentient creatures, it doesn''t make much sense for them to attack every passer-by, unless they''re hungry or you''re invading their territory. On the other hand, if these creatures think & feel, it would seem they would have some sort of organization & purpose to their attacks, however crude. This could be done w/ better random encounters, but once you''ve gone to that extent, why bother? I think that if I were working on an RPG, I would have randomly wandering wild-life that would attack if provoked, but I would be alot more careful w/ creatures that are supposedly able to think. One design goal that I hold dear is that when players think about the gameworld and characters, their actions will make sense in retrospect.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
unless you''re going w/ the idea of making a short, compact experience. So the next best thing would be what we''re describing, basically giving the illusion of meaningful encounters through better random tables.


This is what i was thinking when i wrote my previous post. I can see now how dangerous it can be to use randomness to add to the plot/storyboard or world for that matter. It could really screw things up. Which is why randomness is kept it place unless you were going for a more arcadish rpg like diablo.

quote:
You could even have small side-quests based off of random encounters.

That''s an interesting thought, but then you would be making random quests.

So what you are saying is is that if you''re going to put so much effort into the details of random encounter then you might as well just place them in deliberately. If so then that fair enough.

I''ve got to think more before i go on so i''ll come back later and reread all this when my minds clearer

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since I''m proposing the abomination of an RPG with almost no story, I think the idea of a heavily detailed random encounter system rocks. If the encounters are interesting, and they spawn other encounters, AND not all encounters are combat based, it could have the effect of creating vignettes, or "storyletts." Since I''m handling growth seperately, and it''s an open ended universe (no real ending), then this might work really well.

Course, it''d be difficult to prevent pointless, shaggy dog stories here... gotta think about this some more...



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In "The Bard''s Tale", apart from the usual combat random encounters, there would sometimes be a random chance that a wandering creature would offer to join your party.

Sadly, it just allowed you to choose from letting it join, refusing and leaving it in peace, or attacking it. No chance to interview it.

"So, Mr...er... Zombie... do you have a resumé?"
"UUUUUUHHHHHH"
"Any experience in this sort of adventuring position?"
"UUUUUUUMMMMMMMM"
"Ok... this kind of work can be quite difficult. For instance, if a cleric came along and decided to ''Turn Undead'', what would you do?"
"UUURRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH"

etc.

But yes... "random encounter" doesn''t have to mean "random battle".
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The last two posts remind me of monty pythons holy grail

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Wavinator
A friend was telling me that this is part of the Barbarian''s natural ability. He''s screams are so terrifying that he can make enemies flee...

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...


I know of this, it is true, and pretty lame from what I have seen. But I was talking about a little different, just some icing on the cake. It doesn''t actually do anything, but it would look cool to shout your opponent down


-Chris Bennett ("Insanity" of Dwarfsoft)

Check our site:
http://www.crosswinds.net/~dwarfsoft/
Check out our NPC AI Mailing List :
http://www.egroups.com/group/NPCAI/
made due to popular demand here at GDNet :)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok, inane as it was, Kylotan''s post really got me thinking. If random encounters consisted of the kind of thrilling interactions that he described, they could really suck. (unless you''re making Space Quest, but I think somebody already did that) So I''m thinking that one thing you could do would be to completely script short "vignettes", to use Wavinator''s word to come up at very random intervals, making them a kind of easter egg, but you could make it somewhat more than that by doing a very large amount of them, not letting one repeat, and not making them entirely random either.

You could also do things like make "wandering characters", perhaps other adventurers, that either follow a set path through the game, or randomly appear in the same area from time to time, and each time the player sees them, either play out a random scenario, checking it as "used" when the player has seen it, or incrementing a counter each time the player sees the wandering character, so that the scenarios play out sequentially. The reason for this, rather than a large number of independant vignettes, is to ease the burden of creating such an absurd number of interesting characters. Writing many scenarios for maybe twenty to thirty characters, rather than one or two scenarios for a few hundred characters, is alot more manageable a task.

The only reason I would personally do this is in a wide-open universe like Wavinator''s. If you had game-engine flags for in-game events, and this affected the random scenarios you saw as a player, you could have the appearance of cohesiveness and let the player feel he is impacting the world, even if the world itself was semi-random, like Wavinator''s "RPG inside an RTS". You could use all sorts of attributes for this, like player reputation, wealth, whatever.

If one empire were winning in the war, you might see more deserters from the losing side, wandering around. You also might wander into a battle that was going on, and depending on your game status, you might be radioed in to participate. It would be simple enough to have you lose face if you turned and ran, by a statistic tracking that empire''s opinion of you. You could also with this set a flag to increase the chance of the imperial police chasing you down and imprisoning you (which would have to be a larger, scripted event, since you would need much more to portray this). With careful design, you could get alot of results for relatively little effort. (compared to piece-by-piece designing an open universe, *ick*)

It just seems worth the effort. Random encounters w/ the same four faceless enemies every five minutes are too depressing. 8]
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites