How to make zombies more interesting?


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Swamp Slogger

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Post Wednesday, 14th March 2012, 23:12

How to make zombies more interesting?

Am I alone in thinking whenever I see a zombie version of a creature, it's simply free experience? They're essentially dumbed down, softer versions of their former selves, which I suppose accurately describes a 'zombie'. Necrophages and ghouls are about the only zombies that I fear. How about make them more interesting and tougher? How about all zombie creatures that formerly had breath weapons or projectiles now cast bolt of draining or fire distortion branded projectiles? Maybe melee zombies could drain a random stat on attack as a form of disease?

Sorry if this has been mentioned before or if it's a dumb idea...

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Post Wednesday, 14th March 2012, 23:17

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

I wondered about this too. One reason is slow movement speed. Slow monsters have a hard time to be interesting, zombies generally fail completely. So I might have suggested giving zombies normal speed (of the original monster) and, behold, make skeletons a bit faster than the original monster.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 00:04

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Or how about this? In addition to the proposed ideas, what if the zombies resurrect themselves after a short time like those in Infra Arcana? Of course, killing them again awards no experience. Maybe this is a bit much, and it could become cumbersome to keep wading through the same old zombies again and again. Unless the only way to permanently stop them is with fire?

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 00:08

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

The idea of a recurring enemy has appeal but I wouldn't use it for a staple monster like zombies. Chances are, if you killed one zombie, you'll kill the next one as well. That might be different with phoenixes, say, what with the holy background.

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 00:19

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

ClawlessVictory wrote:Or how about this? In addition to the proposed ideas, what if the zombies resurrect themselves after a short time like those in Infra Arcana? Of course, killing them again awards no experience. Maybe this is a bit much, and it could become cumbersome to keep wading through the same old zombies again and again. Unless the only way to permanently stop them is with fire?


Maybe zombies have a chance to come back as skeletons. It wouldn't actually make things much harder, but might make for nice flavor.

In the movies, zombies are the carriers of some sort of infection or contamination, supernatural or otherwise. Perhaps zombies have a chance to inflict a status ailment, like Sick. (Low-level zombies would be unable to spread the infection, of course, otherwise they'd go from being early-game popcorn to early-game death traps.) A similiar idea: if a zombie bites your allies, when your allies die they come back as hostile zombies.

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 00:51

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Eh, just spawn fewer of them. The occasional zombie in D isn't really a problem, and if you get a lucky early wyvern zombie it actually makes for an interesting problem. Bruisers aren't really a bad sort of monster, they just shouldn't be the only sort of monster you ever find. Animate Dead as a monster spell is likewise fine, because you had a chance to prevent it from happening and sometimes the zombies will be clutching interesting equipment or will spawn in awkward locations. Perhaps such zombies should not award xp, however, since you could have prevented their creation in the first place and you don't deserve a reward for failure. The problem comes in Crypt, where there's roughly 13,000 zombies to wade through, with breaks provided mostly by the 8,000 skeletal warriors you also have to wade through.

Really, maybe Crypt needs to be cut entirely. Plenty of newbies confuse Crypt and Tomb anyway from the wiki chatter, so it isn't like it's near and dear to anybody's heart like a couple other cut features I won't mention. The interesting Crypt endings could either be recycled as portal vaults or as large vaults for D and V, and the couple unique Crypt enemies could be given a small chance to spawn in D, V, Zot, or one of the post-endgame branches.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 01:26

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

I'm probably not as experienced as many of you, but I really enjoy the Crypt and see no reason to remove it other than dealing with boring zombies. It has a great atmosphere, not to mention an excellent tile set. Zombies should be more dangerous or at least offer a different challenge, then maybe that would add a bit of spice to the Crypt.

I suppose I'm going off topic a bit, but I would love to see more vampires in the crypt. Maybe something like an "elder vampire" with really nasty spells, but I suppose that could be likened to an ancient lich...

Hmm... or perhaps this elder vampire could employ more powerful summon spells than it's weaker counterpart, like Summon Greater Demon and Summon Horrible Things, though if I remember correctly Liches have the ability to cast summon spells as well.

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 01:58

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Man, what's with all this talk about cutting? Spider's Nest is the first added content in a long while. and people just keep wanting to take away parts of the game.

Anyway, I see the problems, but zombies do have a use since you can't see their HP, they're useful for piety, and an OOD zombie isn't as dangerous as its living counterpart. removing their speed penalty might be interesting, and I think zombies should have more AC (I see a dead thing as being "tougher" on account of not really needing those vital organs anymore).
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 03:26

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

What would be cool if there was this eerie pause between monster attacks, as if everything was scared away, before you get rushed by a mass of zombies moments later. In a lot of fiction, zombies tend to attack in large groups rather than the stray dead you mostly find in the dungeon.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 03:28

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Zombies in fiction are usually depicted as attacking en masse, so perhaps Crawl zombies could be restricted to special vaults which would confront the player with a huge army of them - like the room of orcs or bees but on an even larger scale and harder to just run from.

Another possibility would be going the 28 Days Later route and making zombies superfast and aggressive - they could automatically berserk upon seeing the player.

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 10:05

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Tiber wrote:Man, what's with all this talk about cutting? Spider's Nest is the first added content in a long while. and people just keep wanting to take away parts of the game.


I'd agree that cuts should be applied with a very light hand, but Crypt is really a textbook example of the sort of content that should be removed. It's only got a couple of interesting monsters that don't show up in the main Dungeon, like curse skulls, silent spectres, and ghoul packs. Ghouls could simply be moved to the main Dungeon, and the other two are really most interesting in intentionally-designed vaults anyway, where they can be guaranteed to have the support monsters needed for them to be interesting. Crypt is rarely challenging; Crypt 1-4 is almost always easier to clear than the Vaults level the Crypt entry spawns in. Nor is there particularly good loot. There's even advice floating around for melee characters with an eye on TSO to save Crypt until after conversion for the quick piety, which simply wouldn't come up as advice unless the Crypt was both unchallenging and unrewarding.

The tileset is a good one, but if Crypt became a timed portal vault the tileset would have even more impact because it would be paired with a fast and difficult area rather than five levels of non-challenging melee brutes. There are currently not all that many deep timed portals, with only wizlabs to break up your plans for late game and give you a one-time-only challenge that you might not be prepared for.

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 10:28

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Grimm wrote:Zombies in fiction are usually depicted as attacking en masse, so perhaps Crawl zombies could be restricted to special vaults which would confront the player with a huge army of them - like the room of orcs or bees but on an even larger scale and harder to just run from.


There is already a common vault that is basically a ton of zombies in one room, with a few vampires and lesser undead thrown in. It is really tedious, and between vampire summon and all the pointless zombies, it's one of the only times that I just hold down tab. The idea of zombies somehow being stronger when in a large group has some potential, I think, but just "let's have a ton of them" is not the best way to achieve that.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 10:56

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Combine Crypt and Vaults into a single branch called Catacombs that can have either undead-themed levels or normal Vaults type levels, maybe alternating, maybe determined randomly.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 13:22

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Grimm wrote:Another possibility would be going the 28 Days Later route and making zombies superfast and aggressive - they could automatically berserk upon seeing the player.

I like the idea of zombies being very fast but I don't like the idea of their going berserk. Undead in crawl can't berserk.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 13:39

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

crypt:5 has good endings that should definitely stay in the game.
crypt:1-4 are dull, but there's no need to single them out. vaults:1-7 are just about as bad, there are more of them, and since they are always open there's more to explore. and the last 10-12 dungeon levels aren't much better.

mikee wrote:There is already a common vault that is basically a ton of zombies in one room, with a few vampires and lesser undead thrown in. It is really tedious, and between vampire summon and all the pointless zombies, it's one of the only times that I just hold down tab. The idea of zombies somehow being stronger when in a large group has some potential, I think, but just "let's have a ton of them" is not the best way to achieve that.


specially when they're (nearly?) always funneled into a corridor.
the first time i made it to tomb:3 and i saw over a dozen mummies rushing in over a wide corridor felt pretty damn good.

there are one or two portals that spawn enemies randomly and close to you (hell can do that, but the threat is different). that may be interesting (think of undead rising from their tombs).
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 14:19

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Early single zombies are somewhat interesting to necromancers, ice elementalists, and venom mages because undead resist the primary attacks of those builds. They help encourage developing secondary attack methods. Or escape methods. Either way, they are sometimes useful and therefore worth keeping around in random encounters in some form. I'd rather see a goblin and an orc zombie on D5 than a goblin and an orc.

Taking Dispel Undead out of the Necromancer's starting book helps this along.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 16:03

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

dpeg wrote:The idea of a recurring enemy has appeal but I wouldn't use it for a staple monster like zombies. Chances are, if you killed one zombie, you'll kill the next one as well. That might be different with phoenixes, say, what with the holy background.


RESURRECTING MONSTER
Do it with Trolls then. All of them. If a Troll dies and leaves a corpse and you don't chop that sucker up toot-sweet, he comes back.
You can conceptually add this to player Trolls, but never have it actually happen as you can add that "You are quickly found by the denizens of Zot and chopped to pieces." on death.
You don't get XP if you have to fight it again.

ZOMBIES
* I don't understand why zombies (and maybe skeletons?) appear to be the only monster where there is no damage meter.
* IMHO, severely damaged zombies should become skeletons.

RUNNING ZOMBIES WITH INFECTION
Crawl already has these; they're called Ghouls.

CUTTING CRYPT
Crypt is a fun break, though I hate the Skeletal Warriors. Why can't I ever raise an undead skeleton with high Necromancy and it's a Skeletal Warrior?
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 16:07

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

jejorda2 wrote:Taking Dispel Undead out of the Necromancer's starting book helps this along.


You haven't looked at that starting book recently, have you? It's gone, replaced with Charm Undead.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 16:18

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

XuaXua wrote:* I don't understand why zombies (and maybe skeletons?) appear to be the only monster where there is no damage meter.


I rationalised this as "it's impossible to tell how damaged they are because they're already completely rotten and falling apart anyway".

It does seem a bit strange the player can't raise skeletal warriors but I guess they'd be pretty overpowered in a lot of the game.

Personally I find the tougher zombies occasionally quite menacing, mainly because you can't see a life meter.

Maybe zombies could have an "infected" mechanic to mix things up. So when they attack you get an "infected" status which gradually rots you, can only be removed by !cure and causes anything you kill to come back as a hostile zombie (perhaps even any adjacent corpse). This could make 1 zombie suddenly threatening in the right situation. (Of course, I realise that Crawl's zombies are necromantic rather than viral, so this wouldn't really make sense!)
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 16:33

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

minmay wrote:Monster trolls are nearly as boring as zombies, especially rock/iron/deep trolls - I'm not seeing any reason to single them out for resurrection other than "it's in D&D" or perhaps "it's in NetHack."


I just assumed it would happen because they regenerate damage, not because it's in any other game. It's pretty much why I always chop 'em up. That and the troll hide.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 18:28

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

How about making zombies exactly the same as the living creature, except for lower generation depth, low speed, reduced range on missiles and spells and inability to take stairs?

Basically they would be more powerful than the non-zombies on a level, in exchange for being slow and unable to hit you from long range (so you don't get one-shot).

As for Crypt, perhaps generating more liches and necromancers in the intermediate levels could be a start?

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 18:38

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Well, let's turn this around. Why are we keeping Crypt? Yes, Crypt 5 vaults are awesome, and they should be used somewhere, but timed portal vaults exist for exactly this sort of scenario. Take Eye to Eye with the Devil. It would actually be better as a wizlab-depth portal vault, because on a constricted map it would be harder to kite the entry committee, or run out the clock on the liches' summons with a single teleport scroll. You'd have to beat it fairly, and maybe not with all the advance preparation you'd like.

It's certainly possible to make Crypt interesting, but it has a whole lot longer to go to become interesting than Dungeon or Vaults, both of which are at the same depth. More liches could be added, but they could be added to D and V, too, and if anything they'd be even more interesting there with the varying monster set to work with.

As near as I can tell, the only reason to keep Crypt 1-4 is because those levels have always been there. And that's not a terribly good reason.

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 19:22

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

XuaXua wrote:
jejorda2 wrote:Taking Dispel Undead out of the Necromancer's starting book helps this along.


You haven't looked at that starting book recently, have you? It's gone, replaced with Charm Undead.

I think your point and my point are the same: removing Dispel Undead from the starting book makes weakish zombies more interesting and is, in that way, good.

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 19:32

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

What if zombies always had passive Animate Dead, such that all corpses created in LOS animate? Think of it as the disease spreading. Then you'd have to kill the zombies first or lure the faster living enemies away. And it wouldn't help Ossuaries or Crypt any, because there aren't often corpses there. Ossuaries are already pretty good, though, since they are hand crafted.

It would make Kiku's Corpse Delivery less versatile, though.

Maybe it would only happen when a corpse is stepped on.

A separate idea: zombies are relentless in some fiction; maybe they could always know where the player is regardless of stealth or distance? Then a level with zombies on it is more different from a level with worms on it.

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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 22:14

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Traditionally the point of zombies is numbers and relentlessness. They may be slow but there are loads of them and they want your brain. For that to be dangerous in crawl they would need to block your path to the stairs, which means making vaults.

Alternatively zombies could be spawned in packs with some kind of spellcaster leading them. A smite attack could let it use the zombies as shields while attacking you and/or casting slow on the player would bring them down to zombie speed.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 22:42

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

What about replacing zombies/skeletons standard placement on level creation with something similar (but not equal) to Zonguldrok wizlab mechanics - mindless undead start buried and roll a chance to rise and fight you every turn you are in line of sight of their resting place. All non-vault areas of crypt start completely deserted (well, apparently deserted) apart from some high-level undead (which upon noticing you would call on all still buried undead in a certain radius to rise and walk towards you). Heck, make skeletal warriors a crypt-only monster and bury them too, that'd make them more interesting than Yet Another Pack Monster You Always Fight In Corridors.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 22:53

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

ebarrett wrote:What about replacing zombies/skeletons standard placement on level creation with something similar (but not equal) to Zonguldrok wizlab mechanics - mindless undead start buried and roll a chance to rise and fight you every turn you are in line of sight of their resting place. All non-vault areas of crypt start completely deserted (well, apparently deserted) apart from some high-level undead (which upon noticing you would call on all still buried undead in a certain radius to rise and walk towards you). Heck, make skeletal warriors a crypt-only monster and bury them too, that'd make them more interesting than Yet Another Pack Monster You Always Fight In Corridors.

Nice. The chance to rise scales with the number of hidden undead in LOS. And when one rise, they all rise at the same time.
This is a nice way to give them "strength by number". I don't see them as wandering the dungeon in bands like orcs or yaktaurs.
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Post Thursday, 15th March 2012, 23:04

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Nothing changes the fact that zombies will remain generally boring unless some fundamental flaws are addressed: teleport to escape intial onslaught; use corridors and slow speed to return to standard battle patterns.

Some portal vaults get better than this simply because space is so limited.
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 00:26

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Or possibly have zombies buried in corridors, and have them emerge when you spend time fighting in the corridor:

  Code:
  ##########Y
        @YYYY
  ##########
   ^ Zombies likely to emerge here


This way, the slow speed doesn't much matter, as they're serving primarily to trap you. As dpeg mentioned, translocations are a cheap way out of it, but that's true of translocations in general.
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 00:47

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Teleport to escape is a problem with teleportation, not zombies. Rats, Death Yaks, Stone Giants, Cerebovs, it's a one-solution-fits-all ability.

I like the "rise from the ground and rush en masse" idea. If corridors are a problem in Crypt for these zombies to be interesting, then remove the corridors. I recall reading somewhere an idea to make all of Crypt's corridors 2-tiles wide at the narrowest, which would have a pretty significant impact. Consider, in a 1-wide corridor, at most you can have two melee attackers (reach and smite aside). In a 2-wide, you can have up to five. In a 3-wide, you can get fully surrounded.
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 01:33

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

ebarrett wrote:What about replacing zombies/skeletons standard placement on level creation with something similar (but not equal) to Zonguldrok wizlab mechanics - mindless undead start buried and roll a chance to rise and fight you every turn you are in line of sight of their resting place. All non-vault areas of crypt start completely deserted (well, apparently deserted) apart from some high-level undead (which upon noticing you would call on all still buried undead in a certain radius to rise and walk towards you). Heck, make skeletal warriors a crypt-only monster and bury them too, that'd make them more interesting than Yet Another Pack Monster You Always Fight In Corridors.

I really dig this idea. I was actually thinking along these lines, as in what are some classic zombie characteristics, and rising from the earth is certainly one of them. The idea of them swarming you out of nowhere is brilliant and could seriously spice up the Crypt.

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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 09:02

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

ebarrett wrote:What about replacing zombies/skeletons standard placement on level creation with something similar (but not equal) to Zonguldrok wizlab mechanics - mindless undead start buried and roll a chance to rise and fight you every turn you are in line of sight of their resting place. All non-vault areas of crypt start completely deserted (well, apparently deserted) apart from some high-level undead (which upon noticing you would call on all still buried undead in a certain radius to rise and walk towards you). Heck, make skeletal warriors a crypt-only monster and bury them too, that'd make them more interesting than Yet Another Pack Monster You Always Fight In Corridors.


One drawback with reusing that wizlab's mechanics is that whenever I draw that wizlab, I patiently wait for all the zombies to finish rising before I enter the middle part. I'm probably not the only person to do this. Sometimes I run back and forth past gravestones that persistently refuse to give up their zombie in hopes that this will somehow make the process go faster. I'm not really sure I like a whole branch using this mechanic, particularly since by that point the zombies are mostly a non-threat even in great numbers, except for blocking escape corridors.

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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 17:07

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Well the door in that wizlab doesn't actually appear until you've killed all the zombies (but it is sort of annoying to wait around for them all, yeah).
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 18:00

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

zombies could throw limbs, dealing damage to you and to themselves.
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 19:05

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Unlike the Wizlab, the zombies could be placed randomly. In walls, in the floors, in graves, not in graves, wherever. And when new ones spawn, they spawn buried. So, technically, nowhere is safe. You could also have killing a zombie cause more to immediately rise up.

The way I'd see things working, ideally, is something akin to the Silverfish in Minecraft. Individually they're slow, weak, and easy to kill. But you disturb one and start hacking away at it, more of them start popping out of the floors, the walls, the roof, and everywhere, eventually swarming you. It gets pretty scary when that one little slug you just finished stabbing has caused 40 of its friends to show up, and killing them causes another 200.

The rising zombies should be relentless and persistent with any lull making you think there's a bigger horde amassing, waiting to rush in on you. Crypt's zombies could be enhanced in some ways, such as getting Swiftness when they start rushing you, sometimes get right back up after getting killed, spread sickness and decay, and/or do other things to set them apart from the zombies you encounter elsewhere. Yes, they're technically the same as the others, but Crypt's should be nastier with some sort of branch effect(s).
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 20:45

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

dpeg wrote:use corridors and slow speed to return to standard battle patterns.

How about using the Lair ruination algorithm (is that how it's called?) in Crypt, but tone down? I think it would help in the lower dungeon too, to have less reliable corridors.
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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 20:56

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

galehar wrote:
dpeg wrote:use corridors and slow speed to return to standard battle patterns.

How about using the Lair ruination algorithm (is that how it's called?) in Crypt, but tone down? I think it would help in the lower dungeon too, to have less reliable corridors.


Have a random event where multiple sections of wall collapse near the player, sometimes revealing new undead. So in corridors you're more likely to get surrounded. Stealth and/or T&D reduces the likelihood of disturbing walls.

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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 20:56

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

galehar: Using terrain to reduce reliability on patterns is good. I think this comes up a in a number of branch proposals, I think. (For example for Vaults.)

Regarding the zombies, one idea I wrote down somewhere, and which came up here again, is hands coming from the ground and grabbing you. The idea is that while the zombies are slow, you're held and cannot easily get away. Of course, something very similar was attempted with constriction and completely backfired so I cannot wholeheartedly advertise this approach, unfortunately.

My proposal for faster (normal speed) zombies didn't come out of the blue: as we know, slow monsters are mostly nuisance or newbie trap (there are some notable exceptions). There is no gameplay reason to harm monster zombies like, and it would make player zombies a lot less tedious. (By no means I'd go back to shepherding zombies across levels, having those allies stay back on levels is good, in my opinion. But it'd reduce the amount of waiting while exploring, for example.)
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Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 21:44

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Zombies are mindless, slow, and spread their disease by attacking others, starting out as a few infected but slowly overwhelming with numbers

In practice, I imagine this would play out like a modified version of jellies. Zombies spawn randomly on a floor, like jellies do, and attack monsters they come across. The monsters they defeat join their ranks, so if the player takes too long...okay, I'm not sure how to get from A to B exactly, but the idea is that eventually the floor is swarmed with zombies.
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Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Friday, 16th March 2012, 22:00

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

inkydood wrote:Zombies are mindless, slow, and spread their disease by attacking others, starting out as a few infected but slowly overwhelming with numbers

In practice, I imagine this would play out like a modified version of jellies. Zombies spawn randomly on a floor, like jellies do, and attack monsters they come across. The monsters they defeat join their ranks, so if the player takes too long...okay, I'm not sure how to get from A to B exactly, but the idea is that eventually the floor is swarmed with zombies.

The problem is that zombies tend to be weaker than the original monster so the end result is a easier floor.
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Slime Squisher

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 13:29

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

You could have different types of zombies have a chance to explode into clouds of pestilence or something when they die, with different zombies having different types of clouds. Some of the early guys would be poison and confusion clouds while the bigger guys later would have draining and other nasty clouds. A shadow dragon zombie would be particularly nasty. It would make fedhas particularly more attractive though with their zombie stripper prayer. A faster zombie that blows themselves up like a spore would be a cool idea for an undead and would scare the shit out of me if I were dungeon crawling for reals. But yah, right now zombies are just boring.
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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Sunday, 18th March 2012, 15:45

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Just my opinion on a raw differentiation (no gimmicks) between living, zombies and skeletons for a same monster

Quickness: skeletons > living > zombies
Hardness: zombies > living > skeletons
Damage: living > zombies = skeletons ?
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Post Monday, 19th March 2012, 13:51

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Jabberwocky wrote:
inkydood wrote:Zombies are mindless, slow, and spread their disease by attacking others, starting out as a few infected but slowly overwhelming with numbers

In practice, I imagine this would play out like a modified version of jellies. Zombies spawn randomly on a floor, like jellies do, and attack monsters they come across. The monsters they defeat join their ranks, so if the player takes too long...okay, I'm not sure how to get from A to B exactly, but the idea is that eventually the floor is swarmed with zombies.

The problem is that zombies tend to be weaker than the original monster so the end result is a easier floor.

Exactly. It's not like rats and snakes or drakes and death yaks are neutral creatures who would suddenly turn hostile. Nearly everything wants to kill you in Crawl, so turning them into easier versions only makes you take out the zombies because you want more XP, not because they'll suddenly turn dangerous.
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Swamp Slogger

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Post Thursday, 29th March 2012, 01:42

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Funny you mentioned Death Yaks, that gives me an idea. Doesn't add much to the flavor, but what if zombies had a melee attack similar to that of a death yak that seemingly ignores armor and does huge damage? Would definitely make them more dangerous. But then what would separate them from death yaks? Personally, I think death yaks and yaks in general are kinda stupid and could easily be excised from the game in favor of uber-zombies. Just my opinion, of course.

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Post Friday, 30th March 2012, 18:12

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

inkydood wrote:In practice, I imagine this would play out like a modified version of jellies. Zombies spawn randomly on a floor, like jellies do, and attack monsters they come across. The monsters they defeat join their ranks, so if the player takes too long...okay, I'm not sure how to get from A to B exactly, but the idea is that eventually the floor is swarmed with zombies.

This is kinda what i'm thinking. A mix between jellies and spores.

I think the real question is what role do the devs want zombies to play? If they're supposed to be nothing more than speedbumps then they're "working as intended". Maybe just make some enemies who summon hordes of zombies with smite targeting? Having a swarm of zombies be summoned by a lich or necromancer right at your feet is probably something that could easily ruin a casters day. Most summons appear near the caster and are a one or two at a time ordeal. Make this a swarm sorta thing that surrounds the target. Of course blink and teleport are then your answers, but honestly I'd rather see those nerfed anyways.


If not then the tirck then is making zombie versions of monsters something you DON'T want to deal with, but i'm not sure that's possible in crawl, or at least with the methods i'd suggest. At the very least though I think they should be MUCH harder to destroy. The whole idea of a zombie is that unless you deal with it in a few certain ways it's going to keep going. Ideally they should also be able to infect you. I realize ghouls already do this, but maybe we don't need both. The idea that any zombified monster is 1. slightly slower, 2. MUCH tougher, and 3. A major hazard in melee would help a lot. Your average melee character is going to hate dealing with zombie trolls and what not and a caster would fear zombie bats if you make the infection dangerous enough. Having zombies appear rarely in packs on floors would be about the same as seeing a spore. You might not want to deal with it right away, but you know if you don't you're going to have a hell of a time dealing with it later.

Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 30th March 2012, 18:19

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

Some other things zombies do in films:

- Zombies can jump on you and pin you down. This would be functionally like being stuck in a web/net but they're clawing and biting you so you take damage until you escape
- When struck, zombies can themselves get knocked down. They can be stepped over, with a speed penalty (and a chance to grab your foot as you do so). They will get back up after a random number of turns.

The same would apply to player controlled zombies. The "knocked down" effect makes them far less effective as a meat shield, but the pinning down gives a new tactical edge.

Slime Squisher

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Post Friday, 30th March 2012, 23:25

Re: How to make zombies more interesting?

if there's one thing crawl doesn't need, it's more speed-10-or-less-vanilla-monsters-that-hit-really-hard-in-melee. I don't know what to do with zombies, but making them deal more damage is not the answer.
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