A battle encounters idea

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A battle encounters idea

Postby Roots » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:19 am

This idea was actually not my own, but something a co-worker was talking to me about today.


His idea was that after you beat the boss or "clear" the area in another sense, there are no more battle encounters. -UNLESS- the user specifies that they want battle encounters to be turned on (because how else would they level-up then?).

The reasoning here is that (for an example) lets say I travel from town X and through forest Y to go kill a boss monster that has been terrorizing the town and that lives in cave Z. After beating the boss, I don't want to have to battle my way through more random monsters on my way out of Z, back through Y, until I get to X.


I think it sounds like a pretty good idea, primarily because it gives the player a strong feeling of award since they can now travel that related area without encountering any battles (unless they want to). What do you guys think about it? :?:
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Postby visage » Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:33 am

I like the idea, but it seems like something that is a bit wierd as far as "toggling" it. I think it applies in certain situations, and not in others. I mean, if a monster and his minions are terrorizing an area, and you clear the area, I could see there being no more enemies there. However, random encounters in forests and such would still occur from non-plot related enemies (bears, giant bees, etc).

So, I like it, but I think other things have to be considered. I mean, non-peaceful non-plot related enemies exist (in my mind at least).

unfortunately, I see most non-plot related enemies existing in the most travelled areas (forests, plains, water, et cetera), which means it doesn't really fix the issue of random encounters in "cleared" areas.

Perhaps there could be a level cap in these sorts of areas? The monsters level up average with the player until a certain CAP, at which point, the monsters fear the player too much (they....sense....his power?) to attack him.

I dunno. That was pretty weak too.

Maybe as long as you don't "cause damage" or "tread lightly." I mean, animals normally don't attack unless provoked. Perhaps we could think of a system that involves that factor?

I'm at a loss, though I think this is certainly an idea to build off of!
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Postby EmreBFG » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:39 am

Visage, your idea about enemies fearing the player too much to attack him after defeating a boss is implemented in the game Earthbound. In that game, you can see the enemy on the map and there are three possible ways to enter into a battle:

1. The enemy catches you off guard (makes contact with your back) and you're put at a disadvantage - basically a pre-emptive attack.
2. You and the enemy make contact face-to-face, prompting a normal battle.
3. You catch the enemy off guard, giving you the pre-emptive move.

The 3rd option usually occurs when the enemy runs away from you because you are too strong, which usually happens after a boss battle and obviously if you revisit previous areas. Obviously, you can fight them if you want, or if one of them decides to pick a fight with you. But in general, after an area is cleared by defeating a boss, the way out is pretty easy.

Earthbound consisted of a lot of areas, or zones, unlike games like FF6 where a lot of time was spent in forests, plains, and other more neutral areas. So, the problem still exists in those cases.
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Postby Roots » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:47 am

Well I don't think enemies should ever be able to be "switched off" on the world map for one. I do like the "enemies run away from you" idea though. :) But right now we're still doing random encounters for the time being (because it takes no effort to implement, and I want to get a freaking demo out already ;)). Later though we may decide to add in monster sprites on the maps if we either find an army of pixel artists, or come up with some convenient but not-cheap-looking way in which we can require a minimal amount of map enemy sprite art. For example, different colored versions of sprite (think early Dragon Warrior/Quest games, or pacman and the colored wobby guys).


Anyway back on topic, you usually encounter enemies that are closer to your strength based on how our system operates. Weaker enemines are not encountered as often (because we say "they run away from us") and strong enemines are also not encountered as often (because we say that "we run away from them"). Only right now all this "running away" is completely transparent and abstracted from the user, since it is all random encounter based.


I see and agree on visage's points that he made in his post though. I'll reply later because I'm tired of typing by now. :heh:
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Postby Loodwig » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:28 pm

earthbound has one other cool "random battle" effect, and I noticed this in paper mario 2 as well. Basically, if you encounter a weaker enemy, they run. And really, some animal could sense the power of a frightened child in a forest, versus a skilled hunter. Or we can just go with the thought of "well, basic easy enemeies were encountered, but they posed no threat or were no challenge, so we decided to leave out that random encounter from the story". Random battles, too often, become filler material for RPGs. If there's a cliche to murder... I favor that one :) :approve:
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Postby Zorbfish » Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:29 pm

:bow: Earthbound :bow:

A suggestion for art on the map screen instead of random encounters:

SaGa categorized each enemy in each game into a species and just put one generic sprite on the screen for each one. I think there are 9 species in all (aquatic, avian, undead, unknown, demon, beast, humanoid, insect, plant). Beasts were just represented by a wolf-like creature on the map.

Ultimately it comes down to whether you think have unique art on the map for every monster is worth it. It may be a "oh, that's nice" first impression on the player but I don't really think it matters. But being able to see a monster coming is a real plus for me.
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Postby Roots » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:22 pm

<<< needs to play Earthbound apparently. ;)

Loodwig wrote:earthbound has one other cool "random battle" effect, and I noticed this in paper mario 2 as well. Basically, if you encounter a weaker enemy, they run. And really, some animal could sense the power of a frightened child in a forest, versus a skilled hunter. Or we can just go with the thought of "well, basic easy enemeies were encountered, but they posed no threat or were no challenge, so we decided to leave out that random encounter from the story".


Exactly what I was thinking. I find it very annoying in RPGs when you encounter a weak group of enemies, and then they run away before you can do anything. :bash: ARGH! All that did was just waste my freaking time to switch into battle and then back to the map! This annoynace needs to die die die! :axe: (ATM, I can't think of which games I have played that had this to one degree or another, but I know that I've played at least more than one like this)

Loodwig wrote:Random battles, too often, become filler material for RPGs. If there's a cliche to murder... I favor that one :) :approve:


Very true. But if you omit random battles from most FF games (actually, almost any RPG), you lose a huge chunk of the play time (at least 50%, if not more). But on the other hand if the player doesn't have fun battling random encounters, IMO the game will be better, even if the play-time is much shorter.

What we are trying to do here with Allacrost is change that so random encounters are both challenging and fun, instead of just an annoyance and a bore. That's one our key design tactics yah? ;) But trying to omit random encounters altogether (ie, have each battle meaningful to the story or characters in some way) is such a huge amount of work to do that it is infeasible.



Zorbfish wrote:SaGa categorized each enemy in each game into a species and just put one generic sprite on the screen for each one. I think there are 9 species in all (aquatic, avian, undead, unknown, demon, beast, humanoid, insect, plant). Beasts were just represented by a wolf-like creature on the map.

Ultimately it comes down to whether you think have unique art on the map for every monster is worth it. It may be a "oh, that's nice" first impression on the player but I don't really think it matters. But being able to see a monster coming is a real plus for me.


This is one of the things that I was thinking we should do to get rid of random encounters (I've played games that do this before). It is totally insane to design unique map (not battle) art for every type of enemy (except for bosses and such). Using a somewhat generic sprite set is a great idea.

Unfortunately this is not easy programming-wise because now you have all these enemy sprites running around trying to chase you. And since I'm in charge of the map code and that still has a ton of work left to do already, we're going to have to think about doing this only at a much later date (ie, post-demo or post-prologue module).
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Postby visage » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:21 pm

Now this may be totally whack...but what if we had no random encounters? Well, not entirely.

I am thinking a system like Pokemon: there is a path you can take on which there will be no enemies. This is much like real life: well travelled paths often have very little animal encounter. However, the further and further you stray from the path into the "wilderness," the more gruesome the monsters become.

This way, in areas like forests, et cetera, you can completely ignore enemies if you wish...or level up as you desire.

However, this poses a problem as far as the "world map" is concerned (if we are having one).

Things like castles and dungeons you have cleared, inhabited only because of a boss, would follow the rule you posted Roots. The general wilderness could follow the rule I posted.
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Postby Roots » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:24 pm

visage wrote:I am thinking a system like Pokemon: there is a path you can take on which there will be no enemies. This is much like real life: well travelled paths often have very little animal encounter. However, the further and further you stray from the path into the "wilderness," the more gruesome the monsters become.

This way, in areas like forests, et cetera, you can completely ignore enemies if you wish...or level up as you desire.


Hmm, I think I like that idea (even though it makes my life as the map mode programmer more hellish than it already is. :devil: And we could also place most of the hidden treasures in the deepest parts of the wilderness. Then the player has to choose "do I just want to avoid random encounters as much as possible, or do I want to grab all the treasures?" Kind of a nice little feature I think. :) Lets put it in the idea basket.


On a somewhat related note this post reminded me of Zelda II: Link's awakening. Remember how in that game after a short time on the map, random enemy sprites would start walking around, and if you were on a path versus a mountain path they would be harder to avoid? Hmmm.
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Postby Jetryl » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:53 am

visage wrote:This is much like real life: well travelled paths often have very little animal encounter. However, the further and further you stray from the path into the "wilderness," the more gruesome the monsters become.


:approve: I really like this idea, and it shouldn't be too terribly hard to use (so long as initial support for "enemies wandering around the map" is in place).
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Postby Rain » Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:40 am

earthbound is tha shiznet.

I absolutely hate when an enemy that is notably weaker than me attacks me every five seconds. Its a complete waste of my time and a rather large annoyance.

To combat this, perhaps we can make a special item that keeps the enemies away permanently. Final Fantasy VI had the charm bangle and the moogle charm with a 50 and 100 percent no encounter rate, respectively. Perhaps we can implement something like that?
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Postby Roots » Sat Apr 29, 2006 2:08 am

Rain wrote:I absolutely hate when an enemy that is notably weaker than me attacks me every five seconds. Its a complete waste of my time and a rather large annoyance.


Seeing as we are designing our battle system so that enemies are closer to the player party's strength and not complete push-overs, this hopefully won't be much of a problem.
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Postby Guest » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:22 pm

I don't think I'm part of the developement team yet, but... er... Is it too late to use roaming monster sprites, rather than random encounters?

Monsters are placed in an area on the map, and roam around similairly to NPCs. When you step into their line of sight, they react in a different fashion depending on their "personality":

Some roam indifferently, and chase if you approach (monsters)
Some are on patrol, and pursue unless you get far enough away (guards)
Some hide out of view (in holes, or on the ceiling), ready to ambush (predators)
Some run away (prey)
Some amble aimlessly (ghosts/blind folks)

That way, after treking through a dungeon, you don't have to fight them again (cause they're dead), you can run away from monsters, but be chased, and you can put more dangerous ones further off the beaten path, possibly guarding something special. See, it incorporates the above ideas too!
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Postby Jetryl » Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:37 am

Anonymous wrote:I don't think I'm part of the developement team yet, but... er... Is it too late to use roaming monster sprites, rather than random encounters?


Rather, it's too early. A good amount of code would have to be made for it. Making the actual sprites isn't that hard - I would start by coding using some NPC's graphics as the temporary monster sprite.

If we already have code for NPCs walking around the map, it's not a great leap to make some of them trigger encounters instead of speech (which is basically exactly how monsters would work - monsters are just NPCs with different movement behaviour, and who cause a battle when encountered, rather than a conversation - followed by them being removed from the map).

Anonymous wrote:Monsters are placed in an area on the map, and roam around similairly to NPCs. When you step into their line of sight, they react in a different fashion depending on their "personality":

Some roam indifferently, and chase if you approach (monsters)
Some are on patrol, and pursue unless you get far enough away (guards)
Some hide out of view (in holes, or on the ceiling), ready to ambush (predators)
Some run away (prey)
Some amble aimlessly (ghosts/blind folks)

That way, after treking through a dungeon, you don't have to fight them again (cause they're dead), you can run away from monsters, but be chased, and you can put more dangerous ones further off the beaten path, possibly guarding something special. See, it incorporates the above ideas too!


That is exactly what I would suggest doing!
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Postby outside » Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:39 am

The reminds me of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest / Chrono Trigger. There are a lot of things I like about the visible monster system.

In mystic quest, you can literally "clear out" a dungeon, as you've said, but the monsters don't move. Then if you leave, and re-enter it, you can clear it out again.

I never thought about the reactions aspect, that add a whole new element to it.
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Postby Roots » Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:48 am

Yes I like those ideas. :approve: Its a lot easier to say than it is to code though. :( Right now we don't really have anyone working on the map code because I am just strapped to the bone for time right now and haven't been able to touch it. :(
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Postby Loodwig » Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:41 pm

I think it's a capital idea, and one we should consider once the other major issues have been resolved. Given that we could have the artistic content for it, I would see implementation as not TOO difficult. My only gripe is that it's somewhat cliche in the mainstay these days. But I will agree: it's FAR less annoying that random battles.
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