Ideas about managing random encounters.

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Alation
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Ideas about managing random encounters.

Post by Alation » December 15th, 2016, 5:58 am

There seems to be a much divided player base on how to manage random encounters, or even for that matter if they should exist at all.
Aside from the just random chance method commonly used I have considered a few other methods of managing random encounters that will keep as many people as possible happy.

1: Random encounters have a set number. They reset after a set time or between moving into new zones. For example based on the zone size it may contain 10, 20 or 30 random encounters.

Strengths: Easy to implement
Weaknesses: Least control for the players to turn "on or off" the random encounters.

2: Destroyable spawning points. There are spawining points around the map that generate set monsters, for example a rat hole, a goblin village or a bandit camp. These points can be destroyed by killing a boss monster (rat queen, goblin king, bandit chief) and then destroyed by the party stopping the monsters spawing in that location.

Strengths: More interesting for rolplaying or potential quests and much more control for the player to determine when "too many" random encounters has been reached.
Weaknesses: Harder to implement on the technical side, could potentially break fetch quests (10 rat tail, when all rats nests have been destroyed).

3: Level based encounters. If you have a certain stat/skill/level reach a certain point it influences either positively or negatively on your chance to avoid random encounters. For example stealth or outdoorsmans skills or being two or three levels higher than the monsters.

Strengths: Easy to implement, no more level 50 parties being forced to fight common goblins or rats.
Weaknesses: Rather abstract way to handle when enemies flee (how does a wolf or lion know the players level).

Overall if anyone has any good ideas on how the devs should handle random encounters while keeping both the "we want to grind lots of encounters" and "we hate random encounters" parties, please feel free to add them.

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Re: Ideas about managing random encounters.

Post by thebruce » December 15th, 2016, 8:37 am

Hmm. I'm a fan of #2. I actually like that idea, and I think it can certainly be implemented without too much difficulty. Especially if the context is the idea that such tangible spawn points are per level, then it's easy to toggle whether a certain class of creature exists in a level -- and it makes sense, which is huge. And, more sensical, if a dungeon is effectively a dead end for example (3 levels and only one exit), how do they constantly fill with random encounters? The tangible destroyable spawn source(s) make sense.
You could have multiple sources for various classes, and the scope of a spawn source could be defined as well - current level, current dungeon, connected dungeons, etc.

I don't think those would have an effect on quests unless they were mandatory quests. For side-quests, if you destroy the resource for its completion, well that you're problem, ain't it? :)


I think #3 is very similar to what's already existed. And I doin't think it's odd for a wolf to run away from what what it has sized up as an opponent by whom it feels out-classed. That happens in the real world all the time. Sure, it's not by literal level numbers, but more an abstract judgement call which I still think makes sense. Then again the decision to face to run could be influenced by more factors than merely level number. A spell caster may not care about level or strength, but be more intimidated by high intelligence, or the appearance of masterful skills; whereas a brute may just look at the size and physical strength of a character also regardless of their level, and decide to run or attack.
I guess the weakness you mentioned I think is actually a strength :) We can't control when enemies flee, so I don't think it matter so much whether it's a literal or abstract calculation.


#1 just seems very very basic. Definitely the easiest to impliment. Enter a dungeon, game decides how 'busy' it is with a set number of encounters; though probably restricted to certain zones so it's well spread out. But then what about rate? Does it get a little slower the fewer remain? If you hang out in one corner could you meet all the encounters or will the math adjust to encourage you to explore a bit if you want more? ... enh. Not as big a fan of #1.
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Alation
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Re: Ideas about managing random encounters.

Post by Alation » December 15th, 2016, 8:08 pm

Thanks for the input, my personal favorite is #2 as well, but since I have absolutely no experience with game design I thought it may be hard to do. It is good to hear that it is considered viable by someone in the industry.

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Re: Ideas about managing random encounters.

Post by Drool » December 15th, 2016, 8:33 pm

Alation wrote:Thanks for the input, my personal favorite is #2 as well, but since I have absolutely no experience with game design I thought it may be hard to do. It is good to hear that it is considered viable by someone in the industry.
Might and Magic 4 and 5 had enemy generators. It was a double edged sword. Destroying the generator gave XP and stopped the spawning, making travel safe, but it also eliminated sources of XP later on.
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Re: Ideas about managing random encounters.

Post by thebruce » December 15th, 2016, 8:46 pm

Yep, but the good thing is it's the player's decision. I think in game design it's still good to have some other perpetual source of XP, but having such 'boosts' which is good for atmosphere, gameplay, speed, strategy, and player agency, I think is a good thing. :)
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Re: Ideas about managing random encounters.

Post by ZZGO » December 15th, 2016, 11:26 pm

#2 does indeed make the most sense. I remember that mechanism from Pools of Radiance back in the day - the city wanted your party to clean out the slums as one of the first missions, and two set battles (both challenging) would win the mission and stop random encounters with marauding goblins in that area fortwith.

Of course, Bard's Tale at its core is a grinding game so you can't completely remove random encounters. But successively "turning off" random encounters in this way that pose no challenge anymore would improve both gameplay and narrative, imho.

That's assuming BT4 gameplay design is incorporating random encounters at all, of course.

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Alation
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Re: Ideas about managing random encounters.

Post by Alation » December 15th, 2016, 11:34 pm

Drool wrote:
Alation wrote:Thanks for the input, my personal favorite is #2 as well, but since I have absolutely no experience with game design I thought it may be hard to do. It is good to hear that it is considered viable by someone in the industry.
Might and Magic 4 and 5 had enemy generators. It was a double edged sword. Destroying the generator gave XP and stopped the spawning, making travel safe, but it also eliminated sources of XP later on.
After I thought about it, I realized it was somewhat like what was done in the majesty games.

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