Author Topic: Damn The Rats  (Read 5746 times)

Trowel

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Damn The Rats
« on: August 21, 2013, 05:21:29 AM »
So I'm working on my own roguelike at the moment and I started thinking about character progression. I really like the idea of being able to 'level up' or gain more strength as time goes on and come back to those level 1 rats I barely managed to hit when I started to just wipe several of them out in one shot. But of course once you can do that it quickly gets boring, there's no point to killing the rats anymore.

On that note I was thinking of alternatives to the whole 'you level up, they level up' system, and I thought, what if the stronger enemies could use the weaker enemies as a deadly weapon?

So for example, a high ranking goblin casts a spell on a couple of rats and turns them into dragons, or perhaps the goblin kills a few of the rats to summon death then casts a curse (curse of death perhaps) on you so when death shows up in a couple of turns you have to try to fight him off as well whilst the goblin runs and locks himself away somewhere. Excuse the wildness, I'm just a fan of novel AI.

Just a couple of ideas off the top of my head... Anyone got any thoughts?

Trystan

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Re: Damn The Rats
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 05:57:04 AM »
I like the idea of weaker creatures being used by more powerful ones. It would be cool to see them be changed into dragons like you suggested. I've had a few other ideas floating around in my head. They could kill them to gain xp and level up, eat them to recover health, sacrifice them to appease their dark gods, knock them into the player to hurt or slow him down, or be smart enough to use them as meat shields. With this kind of setup you could get away with having generic low level creatures.

guest509

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Re: Damn The Rats
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 01:17:58 AM »
I like your ideas and do not have a ton to add really.

I think the 'arms race' issue of leveling is a major RPG weakness. Many quite great roguelikes  have dispensed with it entirely.

I think the standard solution solution is that as the player goes deeper the enemies change and get harder. So there are no more rats really, but ogres. Then groups of ogres, then on to dragons, etc.... If you allow the player to revisit old areas and blast away rats en masse that can be cool but it's not really worth the time as these low level areas do not have good loot. That's how most RPG's handle it.

In the design I am fiddling with right now each bad guy has a chance of dropping 'crystal'. The generic resource for the game. Stop off at gear stations to burn crystal and alter your hero. Harder enemies will drop more crystal, lower level enemies drop less. You cannot revisit old areas or level up. So the arms race becomes only a minor design problem. So I guess it depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your game.

I know that many RPG's and Roguelikes link spells and abilities to leveling. If you are going with that design then I can see the arms race becoming a major design problem.

See World of Warcraft on how to have a great leveling system in terms of new abilities, but a complete and total lack of AI and enemy variety.

requerent

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Re: Damn The Rats
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 04:18:13 PM »
Keeping all types of enemies pertinent throughout, I think, is a mark of good design.

The challenge that new enemies presents to the player should have more do with the complexity and/or number of decisions that they must make to solve the problem. It shouldn´t be about numbers unless there are opportunity costs.


So, rats, for example, may deal more damage or be harder to hit when the user is wearing Plate Mail or wielding a Great Sword. Because we´re in an area where the diversity of enemies would demand Plate Mail, Rats are now a peculiar challenge. However, in earlier levels, where there are ONLY rats, we don´t even have to think about the equipment we´re using, we just pick the best for the job. Perhaps, instead, rats deal more damage the more rats are adjacent to you and now we´re in a wide open space... there are many ways to allow the rules of the game to weave greater complexity without messing with numbers.


Furthering the vein of complexity, the challenge should emerge from interesting configurations of enemies. Certain enemies should converge to produce a challenge that is orders of magnitude greater than what either provided separately or what increased numbers would provide.

Trowel

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Re: Damn The Rats
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 09:45:15 PM »
Thanks for the ideas guys, some real good stuff in there  :)

Quote
So, rats, for example, may deal more damage or be harder to hit when the user is wearing Plate Mail or wielding a Great Sword. Because we´re in an area where the diversity of enemies would demand Plate Mail, Rats are now a peculiar challenge. However, in earlier levels, where there are ONLY rats, we don´t even have to think about the equipment we´re using, we just pick the best for the job. Perhaps, instead, rats deal more damage the more rats are adjacent to you and now we´re in a wide open space... there are many ways to allow the rules of the game to weave greater complexity without messing with numbers.

I hadn't thought of it that way before, but you are most certainly right. One thing I like in roguelikes is the feeling that your decisions matter, I think creating that is definitely a mark of good gameplay.

joeclark77

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Re: Damn The Rats
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2013, 10:45:18 PM »
One thing might be that there's a cost per attack either of mana, or ammunition, or just "tiredness" from swinging that big sword.  And this cost increases as the spells get more powerful, the sword gets bigger, etc.  So the problem with rats at that high level is that they tire you out or force you to waste your ammunition... right before some serious enemy shows up...

guest509

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Re: Damn The Rats
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 06:49:15 AM »
Oh I like that Joeclark.

Rats are easy to kill, sure, but they still force you to swing your sword. After 10 swings killing rats you are a bit tired. -10 to owning...and that's when the Rat_King_Zor shows up to slap you around.

benmakesgames

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Re: Damn The Rats
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 07:10:04 PM »
I think a really cool thing about having rats as a resource like this is that it gives you two very-different approaches in combat (that I can see - maybe there are others!)

1. you focus on the rats. using weak-but-fast, or weak-but-AoE effects, you ignore the goblins, but by killing their source of power, preventing them from becoming so powerful that their attacks are a threat. the risk here is that the goblins gobble up the rats faster than you do, or that their persistent effects, though weak, add up to kill you.

2. you focus on the goblins. using strong-but-slow/single-target effects (stealth also fits here), you kill the goblins, regardless of their strength. the risk here is that the rats may swarm you, and you have no good way of getting through them to the goblins, such that by the time you do, there's a bunch of fully-leveled goblins waiting for you, and you've already taken damage from the rats.

I'm sure there are many different "builds" you could make within each strategy: weak-but-fast archer or brawler; weak-but-AoE wizard; strong-but-slow warrior; strong-but-needs-time assassin; etc

Soyweiser

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Re: Damn The Rats
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2013, 08:08:21 PM »
Why not make the rats stack? In the beginning of the game, you only encounter one or two at a time. And when they enter the same square they merge. A merged ratpack gets some attack and defense bonusses. With a aoe weakness.

Or create a flanking system, if you are attacked multiple times in the same round, you get a defense penalty. So attacking that big bad monster with a rat in your flanks makes it more dangerous. You could even allow the rats to enter the same square as one of the monsters. So now it isn't simply an ogre, but an ogre with his pet rats who all attack you at once.