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dcss:brainstorm:monster:concept:dynamicalcrd [2017-01-12 02:21] (current)
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 +Email to crawl-ref-discuss by [[user:dpeg]] on 2016/12/13:
 +Dynamical monsters
 +This text sounds theory-crafting: I am thinking about Crawl like a board game, 
 +and want to make its ruleset more flexible. I have concrete applications in 
 +mind. Was waiting for a good opportunity to send this out; Corin's email is 
 +triggering this posting.
 +Current situation: monsters are static
 +What I mean by this: monsters are the backbone of Crawl's gameplay. Players are 
 +dealing with them all the time (even when choosing not to fight some monster), 
 +and monsters provide most of the relevant reward (experience, and often piety), 
 +and protect a lot of the item loot.
 +Right now, monsters are generated when the player enters a level. After that, 
 +almost nothing happens to them. Monsters can get added through extra generation 
 +and in very few other ways. Monsters can disappear by killing (most often), or 
 +in some more exotic ways (shafts, banishment). Most importantly to me, monsters 
 +that have been generated will not change afterwards. This is what I mean by 
 +"static", and I suggest we make them more dynamical.
 +Dynamical monsters: self-changing and self-removing
 +In my opinion, it will be useful to have a system where monsters can change or 
 +disappear. Let me start with the latter:
 +Disappearing monsters
 +I'll suggest a pretty simple mechanic and argue for it afterwards.
 +* Mechanics: Whenever you re-enter a level, the game looks at all
 +   monsters. A monster will be removed if it is considered to be no
 +   valuable threat anymore.
 +   If this happens: no message, and no compensation for food/xp/piety.
 +   Uniques are exempt. Vault monsters can be exempted by tags.
 +* Reason 1: Players can, and sometimes do, park harmless monsters for
 +             food or piety. (Death) yaks in Lair are an example.
 +   Reason 2: If you want to make sure that you get to collect all the
 +             xp/piety off a level, you have to refrain from skipping
 +             it for a while.
 +   Reason 3: It's not interesting to chase subpar monsters, just tedious.
 +Upgrading monsters
 +This is the more adventurous part of my proposal: I'd like monsters to get the 
 +ability to "upgrade", i.e. become stronger than originally created.
 +* Mechanics 1: monsters can upgrade, and can do so several times. This
 +   will be indicated by an adjective to the name, such as
 +      orc --> angry orc --> very angry orc
 +   Perhaps other adjectives work better, e.g.: fierce, grim, monstrous.
 +   Have to avoid reference to berserk rage (e.g. furious or mad).
 +   Each upgrade will apply the following modifications:
 +    - movement and action speed faster by 2
 +    - HP increased by 20%
 +    - HD increased by 20%
 +    - base damage increased by 20%
 +   There is *no* change to experience value, piety gain, items!
 +* Mechanics 2: I have two triggers in mind, the first one is more
 +   important to me.
 +    - For each monster, count time when it is aware of you.
 +      Have it upgrade as a function of that time. [0]
 +    - For each monster, count its time since generation. [1]
 +      Upgrade it as a function of that time.
 +      (These two functions would be different.)
 +* Analysis:
 +    - An immediate application of monsters upgrading when aware of you: we
 +      can get rid of energy randomisation. This was introduced to deal with
 +      pillar dancing, but monster upgrades do so in a better way: instead
 +      of monsters getting an additional move at random, you now see an
 +      actual change (such as "orc" --> "angry orc"), so the interface is
 +      much more clear.
 +    - My original motivation, however, is luring: that tactic would be
 +      alright if it was special. But it's not, rather it is ubiquitious,
 +      slow and tedious. On the other hand, I don't want to make players
 +      unable to flee from dangerous situations. Monster upgrades is a
 +      rather mild counter to that: if you lure a lot, then your battles
 +      will be a bit harder. [2]
 +    - This change does not really affect weak players, say naive newbies:
 +      they will attempt to clear levels, and walk towards monsters anyway.
 +      I like that: this nerf shouldn't make their games more miserable.
 +Full disclosure: this idea has been inpired by Brogue's monster mutations and 
 +by promotions in Japanese chess (Shogi). (In Brogue, a monster can get 
 +generated with special perks, e.g. "reflective ogre" and this is indicated by 
 +an adjective. Note that Brogue's mutations are static: bestowed on monster 
 +If we like monster upgrades, then a whole lot more could be done. This is a 
 +barebone proposal.
 +[0] I thought about this for a while, and think it's the best approach. 
 +Originally, I tried to measure "monster follows player", i.e. to gauge 
 +luring-ness. But that's hard. Much better to just make it a function of how 
 +long the monster is aware of you. Yes, sometimes you will get unlucky, and that 
 +orc turns into an angry orc right away. I think that's definitely worth the 
 +gain in simplicity. If we feel generous, then we can announce the change a few 
 +turns in advance: "The orc looks like it is getting angry."
 +[1] There are two versions of this:
 +     (a) count total time since monster generation (player on level or not).
 +     (b) only count time spent by the player on the monster's level.
 +With (a), you would know that entering a level, fleeing and coming back much 
 +later (think of a branch end you got chased away from) will have many monsters 
 +which are much stronger. That's a strategical monster/level buff, and I am fine 
 +with that. It would also mean that players are encouraged to try and pull 
 +through a level they enter or, put the other way around, enter levels 
 +conservatively. With the level cutting policy we've been carrying out since 
 +DCSS 0.4, I'm also fine with that, but I realise not everyone might be. (And it 
 +will draw complaints such as: "I stepped foot into Elf:1, was scared by the 
 +entrance party, and came back to realise they're even stronger." I'm ready to 
 +shrug that off because the player is also stronger by then.)
 +   By contrast, (b) only punishes dawdling on a fixed level.
 +[2] Luring is also about waking monsters one by one. My proposal purposefully 
 +says nothing about this (that'd involve noise and monster AI). I think monster 
 +upgrades are a good addition in their own right, and I believe that it's better 
 +to treat design concepts as separately as possible.
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dcss/brainstorm/monster/concept/dynamicalcrd.txt · Last modified: 2017-01-12 02:21 by dpeg
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