Random encounters and random loot?

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Random encounters and random loot?

Postby youngneil1 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:24 pm

Actually I am not a big fan of random encounters and randomized loot in general (I rather disliked it when games articficially slowed my progress down with rather repeating random encounters every three steps), but there might still be occassions even a non-random fans like me might find them useful, like e.g. during rest or on overland travels.

It might therefore be helpful to have the option of encounter and loot lists for special circumsatnces. As it's rather cearly set out that level scaling is not the way to go, these lists most likely would be based on the local area the player is in right now (e.g. Mordor would spawn different encounters than the Shire ). Loot would be based on monster strength then in turn. Ideally the toolset would allow the individual set up of such lists and encounter probabilities.

Any thoughts welcome.
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Re: Random encounters and random loot?

Postby Lurking Grue » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:13 pm

One thing that must be implemented, with regards to random encounters, is a limit to the number of random encounters per area. Nothing, and I mean nothing, irks me more in a CRPG than endless and frequent random encounters (which is why I can't play many JRPGs). So, Jeremy, pretty please with sugar on top, please let us have a map variable, set by the map maker, that sets the maximum number of random encounters a certain map can have. So if (say) 6 is the set limit, you can't ever have more than 6 random encounters on that map. Ever. Perhaps even have a variable for the minimum interval between encounters, so you can't hit two random encounters back to back. This map-specific maximum limit to random encounters has the added benefit of limiting grinding, which I detest too. See, it's a win-win situation! ;)

As for randomized loot, well. I like hand-placed loot a lot more than random, but there is a place for random loot too. I think it's especially appropriate on the above-mentioned random encounters and maybe on a limited scale elsewhere too, but too much of it makes the game a farce, IMO. And too much of a lottery, especially if the loot tables are unbalanced (example, chest X has 1d6: 1-3 = nothing, 4 = a worn sock, 5 = an ordinary shortsword, 6 = Wand of Unlimited Fireballs). Thank heavens there won't be level-scaled loot in IB! I remember in Oblivion (Boo! Hiss!) I got to the end of a rather long dungeon and found a chest waiting for me. With baited breath I opened it, eagerly waiting what my efforts had gained me. Only to find a dinky, mundane dagger and a carrot in there. Well, hooray! A carrot?! Bugs Bunny would sure be pleased! Had I come there later, with more levels under my belt, I could have actually gotten something of use from the chest. Sigh. (Sidenote: It is OK for the game to "troll" you once in awhile with e.g. poor loot from a chest, but with level-scaling you're doomed to the fate of finding carrots as loot as long as you're lower levelled. Period. And that's abysmal game design.)

Where was I? Ah, randomized loot. With proper tools and reasonable game design, random loot can be a good thing. Same goes with random encounters. Both give unpredictability and variety to a game, which enhance replays if nothing else. Just don't go overboard with them, sez I.
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Re: Random encounters and random loot?

Postby youngneil1 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:44 pm

Totally with you, Grue. All the way for hand placed encounters and hand placed loot as the standard scenario. Random encounters and random loot should be really optional systems for the described situations of overworld travel and rest (and even there the chance of encounter and/or max. number of encounters should be able to set to 0, should the author wish so). Well, if 0 chance is an option nothing speaks against theoretically allowing them on any map, though.

As long creatures on creature lists and items on loot lists can be individually defined as well as probabilities and max. number of encounters can be set, these tools might be helpful though. Strategic resting in safe places might decrease random encounter chances(reach that sheltered hut), wilderness skills might decrease it whiel traveling, too. Chances could vary during day and night time (without good rangers in party night travel is not the best idea in very wild areas). They also could vary based on certain campaign events - e.g. have you taken out that spider nest already? Then less encounter chances from that spider random encounter table in that area. These mechanisms can be cool, but will have to be used very carefully.

One important thing to do is to avoid boring encounters - once the party is a certain level above monsters in a region, the monsters should - usually - avoid the party or at least the player should be able to skip such a fight. It would be just a time waster.

While we are at loot: I am no a fan of finding useless clutter all the time, like e.g. in TES games. Better less, but more meaningful treasures. That's in the hands of the adventure authors though, so no worries here. It might relevant for loot lists, but if we can decide which items go to them, that is also no probelm at all.
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Re: Random encounters and random loot?

Postby Pongo » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:36 am

Agree with everthing being said here. One thing to add - random encounters shouldn't just be about combat. It would be good to be able to include scripted encounters with dialogue etc as well. Dragon age origins and fallout had random encounters that included certain merchants for example. Also agree that random encounters should become possible only because of actions that the player had taken (in that case, having certain characters in the party, but could also be based on quest. What I have in mind is, for example, you complete a quest that angers a local lord; at that point, a tough as nails assassin sent by the lord is added to the random encounters list).
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Re: Random encounters and random loot?

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:47 am

I love Pongo' idea about non-combat random encounters. They might be dialogue with NPC situations or even descriptions of hazardous or interesing sitauations giving the player several choices on how to resolve that situation (like in a fighting fantasy/ adventure book: several options to chose from in a menu, see what the outcome is, factoring in skills of the party and/or things you've done beforehand, perhaps even on other connected random encounters). On rare occasions they could also be a transition to a formerly hidden sub map (one zoom level below e.g.), revealing a new mini-adventure area to explore.

It should be possible then to have certain random encounters removed from the encounter list when they have been triggered once (so there would be "one time encounters" and "potentially repeating encounters").

It's also great thinking to have triggers based on former player actions (like Pongo's assassin example). Oh, I see cool adventures coming :).
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Re: Random encounters and random loot?

Postby Dorateen » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:47 pm

The understanding I have is that every square on the map could potentially have an event attached to it. So if a module author wanted to design something like a gauntlet, with a combat encounter on every step or every other step, this should be feasible.

I can't see hard-coding a set amount of anything, which should be up to the author's discretion.
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Re: Random encounters and random loot?

Postby Lurking Grue » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:36 pm

Dorateen wrote:The understanding I have is that every square on the map could potentially have an event attached to it.

Yes, but these would be hand-placed encounters/events. What we are talking about are random encounters, which aren't attached to a certain square on a map, but are attached to the entire map and have a random chance of occurring. For example, on map XYZ, there is a 5% chance of a random encounter for every square moved (with a maximum limit of 6 encounters happening in total). If the encounter happens, the computer picks randomly from an encounter list (made by the module maker) what the player encounters. Like, 1d6: 1-2 = 4 goblins with scimitars and leather armour, 3-5 = 3 goblins with scimitars and leather armour and 1 goblin archer with a shortbow, 6 = as 3-5 but one of the melee goblins is a chief (higher level).
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Re: Random encounters and random loot?

Postby slowdive » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:34 am

(quick answer) Currently, like Dorateen alluded to, there is an option for an OnEnter script at each square. That script can do just about anything. You could turn an encounter on or off, reassign the encounter for that location, turn a narration dialog on or off for that location, etc. All of these actions can be based on any kind of conditionals (global or local variable checks, etc.). For example, you could create an encounter at this location or any location by changing the encounter tag for the square. You could technically create a whole new encounter that wasn't even made in the toolset like for random encounters. While this is all currently possible through scripts, I don't want scripts to be the solution or answer for everything. The purpose of the toolset was to make it easy for writers to make stories without needing to learn scripting or any other other complicated concepts. So I'll try and use editors with questionaires, dropdowns, checkboxes, etc. type features to help writers create these type of events. The editor could work like Lurking Grue is suggesting or something similar...
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Re: Random encounters and random loot?

Postby youngneil1 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:06 am

OnEnter function with the option of freely assigning self written script is mighty. I think I am gonna love this option in the long run :-).

Such dynmaic spawning of encounters/other events at run time is a very nice feature - so one could e.g. repopulate a dungeon once a certain field is entered, blcoking the way back with baddies (imagine the orc war band returning home and finding you in their lair with your hands in the cookie jar ^^). Nice.
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Re: Random encounters and random loot?

Postby Cross644 » Fri May 17, 2013 9:56 pm

youngneil1 wrote:Actually I am not a big fan of random encounters and randomized loot in general (I rather disliked it when games articficially slowed my progress down with rather repeating random encounters every three steps), but there might still be occassions even a non-random fans like me might find them useful, like e.g. during rest or on overland travels.

It might therefore be helpful to have the option of encounter and loot lists for special circumsatnces. As it's rather cearly set out that level scaling is not the way to go, these lists most likely would be based on the local area the player is in right now (e.g. Mordor would spawn different encounters than the Shire ). Loot would be based on monster strength then in turn. Ideally the toolset would allow the individual set up of such lists and encounter probabilities.

Any thoughts welcome.

I agree with you on the random encounters/loot. There are a few times that they may be necessary. If you have ever played a D&D module, there is a random encounter chart for areas. Every so often the DM roles on the chart to see if a random encounter spawns. The good thing is that the list is finite and every time you encounter one it is removed from the list. Eventually an area will have no more random encounters. I would like to see something like that implemented where you can set a certain number of per-generated encounters that will randomly pop up from time to time. Once you defeat them all you don't encounter any more.
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