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how should epic encounter areas work?

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how should epic encounter areas work?

 

the game in question (as usual): Caveman v3.0 FPSRPG / person sim hybrid. stone age setting. open world, sandbox, survival, emphasis on realism.

 

from my design notes / todo list:

 

special encounter areas

one every 25 miles on avg = 10,000 in the game world.
list of 10,000 LOCs (locations: map square x,z, and the x,z location in that map square ).
when player gets within some distance X of a special encounter location, they can have special encounters.
 
 
params to play with:
+ frequency of encounter checks 
+ chance of encounters                
make these work out to maybe one encounter every 15 minutes?
 
encounter type:
friendly 
hostile - valley of the badguys
quest hostile - valley of the badguys (no cap on num appearing)
animal encounter (by terrain type) - valley of the animals
common animal encounter (by terrain type) - valley of the common
uncommon animal encounter (by terrain type) - valley of the rare/exotic
quest animal (by terrain type) - valley of death!
a single type of animal or badguys - valley of the whatevers. from birds to sabertooth to badguys.
 
 
number appearing: automatically scaled to party strength (normal or epic). can be adjusted by a multiplication factor (twice as many, etc).
 
mark it with danger landmarks. make landmarks part of terrain chunks. dont draw on maps. less work.
 
add new dialog option: "any dangerous places around here i should know about?" tells you what to expect at special encounter area (if nearby).
 
 
 
questions:
 
does an encounter every 15 minutes or so on average sound too busy?
 
"valley of the goodguys" - not sure what could be a viable reason for this. but it would give a lot of socialization and trade opportunities to the player. perhaps some place where people frequently meet? and just trigger one or two friendly caveman encounters right at the location?
 
and "valley of the common animals" doesn't sound that thrilling. skip that one, huh? note that animal, common, and uncommon encounters can be predators or prey. quest animals are always predators.
 
would a valley full of birds be ok? it might be an interesting change of pace...
 
how tough should these areas be? normal or epic numbers appearing? or perhaps even some multiple thereof (double epic?). a mix of all of the above?
 
how big should these areas be? i was thinking a bbox with a radius of 1000 feet around the location for animal encounters and such.
 
should i do as many as possible that make sense and don't seem too hokey? i've reached that point with quest generators, i have 25 epics done, and still another 29 on the todo list.  how much is enough?      variety is the spice of life?   do all the ones that don't suck?  <g>
 
by mixing it up as to encounter frequency, type, and number appearing, you can get a very wide range of different gaming experiences.
Edited by Norman Barrows

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How much of the gameplay revolves around "valleys"?

If we are talking about a lush tropical valley, it's more of a zone, if it's a little cove, it could house a number of various creatures, usually predators, as grazing animals often migrate and pause in open areas.

Perhaps the common creatures should be wandering the open plains, while the dangerous creatures collect in caves and coves, occasionally venturing out to hunt.

A large valley environment would have a diversity of life, birds tend to saturate canopied areas to protect them from terrain predators.

Watching documentaries and shows on savanna and rainforest ecosystems might better inspire you to create organic environments and inhabitants.

You'd likely find human settlements around cliff caves, where the elevation and cover offer defensible terrain and shelter from the elements, or alternately things like tree houses and burrow homes.

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Watching documentaries and shows on savanna and rainforest ecosystems might better inspire you to create organic environments and inhabitants.

 

I really like this idea. It would allow things to feel more inline actual life. 

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Maybe encounter areas could be more natural spots then randomly chosen i.e. water springs, narrow paths through mountains, rich soils...

Also maybe these spots may act as a "theatre" where player may observe some animal fight (and get some warning feel not to contribute). 

Ïf I remember correctly you were thinking how to give players exploration reward, so observing fight (or some other event) and collect what is left can be one method...

 

As for the timing- consider randomness and different encounter density for the spots... 

Edited by Osidlus

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How much of the gameplay revolves around "valleys"?

 

none, its just another game feature. take it or leave it as you see fit.

 

and they aren't actually "valleys". just a random spot in the game world where there's a chance of special encounters on top of the usual random encounters. "valley of the sabertooths" just sounds better and conveys the idea a little better than "random spawn point of the sabertooths" <g>.

 

Watching documentaries and shows on savanna and rainforest ecosystems might better inspire you to create organic environments and inhabitants.

 

over the last 16 years i've probably watched 1000+ hours worth of documentaries related to this game. i never thought that "hey! a game where you can make a stone knife and take on a saber tooth tiger would be cool!"  would turn into me having to learn about archaeology, anthropology, paleo-zoology, and just about every other "-ology" under the sun! <g>

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Maybe encounter areas could be more natural spots then randomly chosen i.e. water springs, narrow paths through mountains, rich soils...

 

chance of regular encounters already takes terrain into account, so there are more critters near water, etc.  placing special encounter areas a specific types of terrain (like springs and waterholes) could effectively lock out the player if the critters there were dangerous.

 

regular encounters alone can already create the types of living environments described in the replies to this thread: grazing, migration, flocking, predators hunt when they get hungry, animals fight or chase each other off when they get too close to each other, and so on. its really cool to go running through a flock of birds and make them scatter like pigeons in the park! <g>.  looks just like the real thing!

 

the "special encounter areas" will  be places where in addition you also have a whole lot of <some critter or caveman type> or <critters in general>.  even though that may be somewhat unrealistic. yes! gasp! i'm considering something somewhat unrealistic for the game. well, it already has caverns, with unrealistically high population densities of nasty critters in them. the "special encounter areas" will be similar, but wilderness encounters instead of "dungeon" encounters.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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