donderdag 2 januari 2014

Grrr.. *cough* GRRRR

As you were able to see in the previous Screenshot Saturday’s, we have been adding a few monsters to the game. We figured it would be interesting to tell you a bit more about them. A week or two ago Dwight wrote this blogpost about our AI, in which you can read some of his more technical remarks on how the monsters ‘think’. I’d like to look at our monsters from a different, but equally interesting perspective: the perspective of a game designer.

As a start, we decided to divide our monsters into a few categories:

Regular Melee units
These units will make up the backbone of Enemy Hordes. They are moderate in everything: numbers, speed and strength, but they are persistent and not to be thought of too lightly.

They are meant to keep you on your toes: while you deal with the more specialised units in the game (see below), they will be there to catch you off guard, or to prevent you from attacking that tank from behind. They will not linger in the chambers but pursue you into the tunnels.

An example of this unit is coincidentally also the first unit we added to the game: the bandit. Armed with various cheap weapons, these vagabonds use the top floors of the Dungeon as their hideout.

Ranged units
The archers and mages of the Dungeon are few in number, but still very dangerous. They can easily reach you with their poisoned arrows and dark spells, while they hide behind the melee units.

Alas, no screenshot for this unit yet.

Tank units
These often colossal creatures are slow and dumb, but incredibly strong. A frontal attack is almost always fatal - instead the player should search for their weak spots or take them out from a safe distance using ranged attacks.

Our first tank unit was also featured in Screenshot Saturday VI: the Troll.

Swarm units
Swarm units are small, weak creatures. But their name probably tells you enough: They appear in large numbers, and will surround you if you don’t watch out - leaving you demobilized and vulnerable to other, stronger units.

Our first implementation of this type of unit is the bat. Don’t let the friendly squeaking fool you - they can be fatal.

These (admittedly rather abstract) descriptions are nice, but the real fun begins when you run into a combination of the above monsters. Sure, a single troll is not that hard, but if it is supported by a mage, some bandits and a dozen of bats, you may actually have to turn off the automatic pilot and devise a strategy.

In addition to the aforementioned units, we are also considering a few other, ‘special’ units that do not really fall into any of the above categories, such as units whose visibility or strength depends on the light level they are exposed to, or units that are able to navigate through walls. But more on that later.

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