Saturday, January 9, 2010

Monster classes and types - Making the opposition interesting

As I mentioned here, my plan is that every 2 months or so to have a "tech demo" release until I have enough of the game to release something fun and playable. While I have a lot of other nice things in this release, a list of which I'll cover later, one of the major bullet points for this release is better and more varied monsters. The last release just had a single type of identical monsters wander around. Current trunk has something that looks more like:

It's still in work, but the idea I'm most excited about in this area of the game is the differences between "Classes" and "Types". A class of monster is kinda like a base class, it defines behavior and types of abilities it has access to. A type of monster is a specific instance of a type with a given name and stats. Both Orcs and Brigands would be standard monsters, even if their equipment and stats are different.

Here's my current list of ideas (With a typical example):
  • Standard (Orc Warrior) - Average "intelligent" monster, able to use basic ranged attack if it has one as it closes the distance. Might try to escape when in trouble (unsure on that).
  • Healer (Human Healer) - Tries to stick near elite, standard, or ranged monsters (at range of player). Weak on its own, but can buff and heal other monsters.
  • Ranged (Goblin Slinger)- Ranged "blaster", either with traditional weapons or magic.
  • Sprinter (Wolf) - Fast monster that will quickly enter melee range (possibly with rush attack).
  • Swarmer (Giant Ants) - Individually weak monsters that try to stick together and attack en mass.
  • Elite (Dragon) - The big guns of the dungeon. A challenge in themselves. Ignores all other monsters (due to pride?) and charges towards player.
The issue in general is to make the game interestingly difficult without being impossible. I've modified the map generate to be intelligent in how it places monsters, so I could drop "groups" of monsters near each other.  After I write out the basic AI for each type, the trick will be balancing. Any thoughts? Obvious (in terms of other roguelikes) classes of monster that I've forgotten?


Erich T. Wade said...

To me, it looks fairly complete. You might consider an uncommon bruiser type somewhere between standard and elite -- the examples that come to mind are ogres and, later, orc warriors from Crawl. While not as tough as a dragon or the more powerful demons, it's still a bad idea to get into melee with these fellows until you've gained a few levels.

Forgive me if I'm just overlooking it, but where might these tech demos be found?

donblas said...

The first one was located here:

There has honestly been a lot of work that has been done since the last tech demo, so you might want to wait for the next one to come out if your only going to check out one. Timeframe is hopefully before end of the month.

XV said...

Nice idea, you might want to add Summoners. Identical to Healers, but will summon Swarmer monsters instead of healing/buffing. Player will want to destroy them quickly, then deal with the other monsters.

Also, these Swarmer monsters could have some sort of feat or special ability that makes them stronger for each Swarmer monster standing on neighboring cells, so the player will want to divide them with explosions, mass confusion or mass fear.

donblas said...

Summoners is a good call, probably at some point in the future. I'll have to work it so they don't drop anything useful so people don't farm them. I'll have to look at the AI/Skill distribution, maybe bruiser melee is folded into standard maybe not.

Roberto said...

A good list. I think there's enough variety to make for an interesting set of behaviours. I also vote for having Summoners (eventually anyway) as they can make for an interesting change.

The only other one I can think of is "Ambushers". Probably quite similar to the Standard type but hides/lurks so that its hard to avoid direct melee combat with them. Whether this is worthwhile or even feasible may depend on the rest of the game though!

Great blog btw, I've just found this and have really enjoyed your ruminations. Good luck!