Some thoughts on random encounters

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Kattekwaad
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Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Kattekwaad » January 26th, 2017, 2:26 pm

I have a suggestion on random encounters that I would't mind seeing in the game.

Short version:
No Dragon Age Inquisition type big and empty maps filled with creeps that don't even make sense being there in the first place.
Lots of dangerous random encounters -> hell, let me fight an army if I think I am tough enough!

Longer version:
Many games make the mistake of making these a little bit annoying rather than fun, feeling more like an ammo-waste-encounter to fight weak mobs that force you to put away your BFG and use a boot to the head.

I would really love to see them more challenging and also more rewarding (get my damn ammo back) so that one can get the option of farming a bit of XP to level your char. This was done really well in Fallout 2 for me where you know that venturing around certain areas had certain types of enemies roaming (Remnants of the Master's army) so you won't venture out too far whilst being weak.

I know the focus on gaining XP is mainly on missions but if this is done right, the random encounters can be a lot of fun..An example would be that if you are in an area with weaker enemies (raiders or whatever), make them plentiful (which can scale a tad with your level but mostly in the area you are in). The 1 thing I had against WL2 was that if you didn't milk all of the XP out of a mission/area in the main story line, it wasn't easy to make up the difference with decent roaming/farming. This forced the obsessiveness in me to go lock-pick/hack/whatever little thing in a map just so I don't lose out on XP.

You can always sneak in a side-quest with a mean boss that would make you wish you did in fact, level your chars a little bit :) and no matter how high-level your char is, a well placed grenade can still sour your picnic

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by crimsoncorporation » January 26th, 2017, 4:02 pm

Wasteland 2 was overall a great experience, but it did have a few tedious elements.

Random encounters were one of those. Not because of the combat, because I do generally enjoy the combat. But the random encounters were just way too repetitive. After a while they are more of a chore than part of the enjoyment. (and skipping them is an option, but does cost experience)

An easy fix for this would be to let users easily create and share random encounters. It's really one of the most obvious choices for user generated content, and it would be quite easy to control parameters like difficulty, with a point system for example (for example if a Slicer Dicer is worth 10 points, then a RSM sniper is worth 3 or whatever).

Alternatively it would already help if maps could be randomly generated for random encounters.

Another thought: I'd like it if a successful random encounter would make one in the same area less likely for a while, and maybe some sort of management system around that. This could measure how secure the Desert Rangers keep certain areas, and could have reactive effects on the attitude of the people living there. [which might make more sense in Arizona, and less so in California & Colorado, where the Desert Rangers aren't established.]

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by NickAragua » January 27th, 2017, 9:06 am

crimsoncorporation wrote:Wasteland 2 was overall a great experience, but it did have a few tedious elements.

Random encounters were one of those. Not because of the combat, because I do generally enjoy the combat. But the random encounters were just way too repetitive. After a while they are more of a chore than part of the enjoyment. (and skipping them is an option, but does cost experience)

An easy fix for this would be to let users easily create and share random encounters. It's really one of the most obvious choices for user generated content, and it would be quite easy to control parameters like difficulty, with a point system for example (for example if a Slicer Dicer is worth 10 points, then a RSM sniper is worth 3 or whatever).

Alternatively it would already help if maps could be randomly generated for random encounters.

Another thought: I'd like it if a successful random encounter would make one in the same area less likely for a while, and maybe some sort of management system around that. This could measure how secure the Desert Rangers keep certain areas, and could have reactive effects on the attitude of the people living there. [which might make more sense in Arizona, and less so in California & Colorado, where the Desert Rangers aren't established.]
+1, although:

I personally dislike actually random encounters. Instead of wasting time on those, how about creating a couple more actual scenarios. I do like the idea of "random" encounters contributing to some kind of metagame though.

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by unkle » January 21st, 2018, 1:32 am

Yeah i probs did 1-2 random encounters where i had a choice in wl2.

Was boring.

Some good planned random encounters like in fallout tactics BoS would be exciting, they made their random encounters literally...RANDOM for every player. So you couldnt just go on the net and find a map someones made. Makes you want to explore, then get heaps excited when you come across something, sorry but those xp shrines were just boring.

Ever tried taking on a raider market place? And won?

Its the ultimate reward in weapons an xp lol
It took me heaps of attempts, but i ended up trading 3 of my squads lives in the end haha, trhe best i could do

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by demeisen » February 5th, 2018, 10:51 pm

crimsoncorporation wrote:
January 26th, 2017, 4:02 pm
Random encounters were one of those. Not because of the combat, because I do generally enjoy the combat. But the random encounters were just way too repetitive. After a while they are more of a chore than part of the enjoyment. (and skipping them is an option, but does cost experience)

An easy fix for this would be to let users easily create and share random encounters. It's really one of the most obvious choices for user generated content, and it would be quite easy to control parameters like difficulty, with a point system for example (for example if a Slicer Dicer is worth 10 points, then a RSM sniper is worth 3 or whatever).

Alternatively it would already help if maps could be randomly generated for random encounters.

Another thought: I'd like it if a successful random encounter would make one in the same area less likely for a while, and maybe some sort of management system around that. This could measure how secure the Desert Rangers keep certain areas, and could have reactive effects on the attitude of the people living there. [which might make more sense in Arizona, and less so in California & Colorado, where the Desert Rangers aren't established.]
I like your ideas. Good ones, all. I had a similar sense: while I feel random encounters are an important part of a game like this (it should never be totally safe to wander around a post-apoc wasteland), they did get repetitive. Your ideas or something similar to them could help inject some variety.

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by sear » February 6th, 2018, 5:41 am

Thank you for the input.

When it comes to truly random encounters - that is, those which have randomized locations, enemies, NPCs, etc. and that can repeat over the course of the game - which games have the best ones you've seen? I'd love to have some references to check out that hit on what you have enjoyed the most.

(Mote that I'm not referring to "special" encounters, like the Café of Broken Dreams in Fallout 2, or mini-locations that you'd visit once in the game. Those are great, but IMO are a bit different from "normal" random encounters.)

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Grohal » February 6th, 2018, 9:37 am

The first two Fallouts had besides the random encounters with one group, random encounters with two groups fighting each other (like a caravan attacked by raiders, radscorps attacking a wolf pack and so on) - I liked those random encounters a lot.

But besides that, it would make the fights more interessting if there were more enemies with lower average hit points than fewer enemies that are "bullet sponges". Most raiders should be out of action after one or two hits, either killed, seriously wounded or trying to flee. Fleeing enemies, especially raiders should be in this time. Raiders are not known for bravery and 3 or 4 wrecking crew raiders attacking 7 armed and trained rangers were always not very... realistic.
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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Godfather101 » February 6th, 2018, 11:12 am

Yeah, the Fallout random Encounters were good.

also it would be great to have more "special" random encounters, like there were in Fallout.
Not only things like a Star Trek Shuttle (or something along those lines) but more encounters where you can choose a side (like grohal said),
or can also do something like talk your way out/or do something on the social side.

That would be great.
And of course more varity with the enemies and locations.
The more, the better. :D

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Gizmo » February 6th, 2018, 11:14 am

Grohal wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 9:37 am
Most raiders should be out of action after one or two hits, either killed, seriously wounded or trying to flee.
What would your thoughts be if WL3 included standard combat animations that were similar to the Overseer's death in Fallout?
Godfather101 wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 11:12 am
Yeah, the Fallout random Encounters were good.

also it would be great to have more "special" random encounters, like there were in Fallout.
WL2 is (technically) the best Fallout game since Fallout 2 IMO. Alas, I mentioned this to two of the InXile staff in person (when they asked me what I thought of their game), neither seemed to like the idea; which I found odd, but perhaps I misinterpreted their reaction. :?
(...or perhaps they misconstrued mine; it was meant as a high-grade compliment; and not one I'd give lightly.)

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Grohal » February 6th, 2018, 12:26 pm

Gizmo wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 11:14 am
Grohal wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 9:37 am
Most raiders should be out of action after one or two hits, either killed, seriously wounded or trying to flee.
What would your thoughts be if WL3 included standard combat animations that were similar to the Overseer's death in Fallout?
I liked the death animations in Fallout (and I liked the death animations in Wasteland 2 too). Of course not every death should result in a gorefest, else it would get tiresome pretty fast. Let one of ten or twenty die in visualized agony and I am fine with that. :twisted:
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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Gizmo » February 6th, 2018, 1:39 pm

I guess that I also meant in the way he crawled away... As raiders in WL3, who got shot up badly, could perhaps spend their turn crawling away—or at least crawling for cover. In Fallout, a totally crippled NPC would flee.

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Zombra » February 6th, 2018, 2:21 pm

sear wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 5:41 am
When it comes to truly random encounters - that is, those which have randomized locations, enemies, NPCs, etc. and that can repeat over the course of the game - which games have the best ones you've seen? I'd love to have some references to check out that hit on what you have enjoyed the most.
This is a very out of genre example, but every time I think about excellent random encounters I think of System Shock 2. I don't know exactly how they did it. It seems like the levels started off with a number of hand-placed enemies, and then after you'd "cleared" an area it became activated for random spawns, e.g. the first ninja robot always appeared in the same place, but after that ninja robots could spawn on their own on certain decks of the ship.

One huge feature of SS2's spawn system was that it brilliantly only spawned things far away from the player character. It never felt like I walked into a room, roll for random encounter, spawn a mutant in front of me. It was always more like, I think I'll go back and check out the control room, oh wait I see another mutant wandering down that hallway, where did he come from? It always felt completely natural, and never like an empty area suddenly giving birth to new monsters ... that guy just wasn't here last time I was, he was somewhere else.

To me that is the essence of what random encounters are for. Besides giving players something to do of course, it's about keeping a sense of hazardous areas and discouraging a "clear cutting" mentality.

More generally, I don't like it when random encounters are the "meat and potatoes" of the xp curve - I enjoy it most when they are there to keep me on my toes, but if I have to fight 2 or 3 Leather Jerk ambushes every time I cross the street, it becomes less an interesting surprise and more a chore I want to get over with. In Wasteland 1 it was a bit much sometimes, especially in towns where I would seriously ask myself, "How much do I REALLY need to go sell this?" because just getting to the store took so damn long.

For WL3, I do think every map in the game (excepting HQ) should have some chance of random encounters at all the time. It can be a very small chance, but it should be there.
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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Gizmo » February 6th, 2018, 3:23 pm

Zombra wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 2:21 pm
One huge feature of SS2's spawn system was that it brilliantly only spawned things far away from the player character. It never felt like I walked into a room, roll for random encounter, spawn a mutant in front of me. It was always more like, I think I'll go back and check out the control room, oh wait I see another mutant wandering down that hallway, where did he come from? It always felt completely natural, and never like an empty area suddenly giving birth to new monsters ... that guy just wasn't here last time I was, he was somewhere else.
This was a real problem in D00M III. You could walk down a long corridor, come to a 90° turn, step around the corner, and have roaming monsters within arm's reach, directly behind you.

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Drool » February 6th, 2018, 3:37 pm

Godfather101 wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 11:12 am
Not only things like a Star Trek Shuttle (or something along those lines)
The fewer of these "cute" special encounters, the better.

I did like the WL2 special of ET carts, but that fit and was amusing. And had to be sought out. I'd rather not be exploring outside of Boulder and run into a Gorn because Star Trek was a thing that existed.
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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Zombra » February 6th, 2018, 3:55 pm

I hate pop culture references in games.

Zombra's Guide to Adding a Pop Culture Ref to Your Game
1) Ask yourself, "Is this a strong bit for people who won't get the reference?" If the answer is no, get rid of it entirely.
2) If the idea is strong on its own, then you can do it just as well without making a pop culture reference. Do that instead.

But I digress.
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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Drool » February 6th, 2018, 5:15 pm

Zombra wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 3:55 pm
I hate pop culture references in games.
I generally do too, but usually make allowance for "if you don't get the reference, you don't even know you're missing something". My biggest problem is when you know there's something there, but have no idea what it is. Taking from WL2:

1) Serpioids from Mars reference over the radio in LA
2) The Codex's shrine

1 was a callback to the original Wasteland. That said, if you'd never played WL1, it was still a lunatic calling in to a show and was pretty funny on its own. Frankly, had they excised Mr. Manner's final line about "it sounds like you're reading some old book of paragraphs!" it would have been pretty much perfect. 2 on the other hand largely had "INSIDE JOKE" stamped all over it. For an outsider, it was... irritating. But I've gone off on it before. Still I think it highlights the differences between good references and, well, Family Guy-style references.

That said, I'm still positive that the Sabre Marie sniper rifle is a reference to something, but I have no idea what. Unless, maybe it was a player-created item. It just the name and the huge damage range that makes me think there's something there.

Which, incidentally, is the very rare, nearly impossible to do right third kind of reference: The kind that makes you do research out of curiosity.
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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by demeisen » February 6th, 2018, 7:04 pm

Zombra wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 2:21 pm
It always felt completely natural, and never like an empty area suddenly giving birth to new monsters ... that guy just wasn't here last time I was, he was somewhere else.
Agreed - that's important. The dynamic changes a little if you can't see the encounters in advance in-game, such as BT1 say, or the WL2 overland map, but I think Crimsoncorporation's idea of area-based security plays into that spirit. Even just an (invisible to the player, but tracked by the game) coarse grid of random encounter chances would work. The more groups you kill in each, the safer it gets, and conversely, if you've never been there, or not in a long time, it's more dangerous, up to some % cap. Perhaps proximity to cities also makes an area safer: the real baddies are off in the boonies.

I like that idea a lot, because as you get at above, it feels less like a random number generator decided it was time for an encounter now, and more like the world is a reactive place that I'm having an impact on.

As well, I've always preferred that games don't stop me from going places where I'll get my butt kicked. I don't like feeling like the game is holding my hand too much. I can deal with "gated openness", where there are a few major acts and you're constrained within each one, kinda like WL2 did. But please let me go places that are much too dangerous for me, if I'm brave or dumb enough. I find that to be a key part of feeling like my group is coming to grips with the world they reside in, learning and becoming more capable as they go. If encounters are carefully doled out in bite-sized chunks designed for whatever my level is, it breaks the 4th wall quite annoyingly. I'd rather have that difficulty be location based: some places are on the safer side, and some are terribly dangerous.

(And on the other topic: it can be overdone, but I admit I got a laugh out of "The second to last of the V8 interceptors")

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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by undecaf » February 6th, 2018, 10:40 pm

Fallout’s random encounters were already mentioned... Stumbling into fights of others, facton vs faction, critter vs critter, faction vs critter, etc... and not just combat encounters either. WL2 had a few non combat encpunters, but the variety left a lot to hope for.
Zombra wrote:
February 6th, 2018, 2:21 pm
To me that is the essence of what random encounters are for. Besides giving players something to do of course, it's about keeping a sense of hazardous areas and discouraging a "clear cutting" mentality.

More generally, I don't like it when random encounters are the "meat and potatoes" of the xp curve - I enjoy it most when they are there to keep me on my toes, but if I have to fight 2 or 3 Leather Jerk ambushes every time I cross the street, it becomes less an interesting surprise and more a chore I want to get over with. In Wasteland 1 it was a bit much sometimes, especially in towns where I would seriously ask myself, "How much do I REALLY need to go sell this?" because just getting to the store took so damn long.

For WL3, I do think every map in the game (excepting HQ) should have some chance of random encounters at all the time. It can be a very small chance, but it should be there.
I’m piggybacking zombra on this. All maps should have random encounter chanches of some form, world- and location map alike.

There was a thread where I had a pretty long discussion about this exact thing with someone. It seems to start in pahe 6 of the ”pet peeves” thread.

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=16128&start=100


On another note, one of the things I had thought of at some point was ”wandering” weather zones on the world map that might switch the entire nature of the encounter (raiders might turn friendly as they’re only seeking shelter now, otherwise docile creatures might turn hostile, combat conditions are wholly different... all kinds of possibilities). Extremely low temperature zones, blizzards... Maybe at some point the player could get access to a prewar weather satellite that lets you track the weather (not pinpoint it, though).

Something along those lines.
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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Woolfe » February 7th, 2018, 4:03 pm

I second Drool on the References in games. Whilst I generally dislike them, sometimes they can be good. But they should be light touch, stand on their own, and ideally be internally referential (ie other wasteland games not any weird shit).

I do however like the faction vs Faction type encounters.

I'd kind of like to see situations where you can settle things down, or make things worse etc.

Also the whole small numbers vs large. Unless they have an ambush set up, most smaller groups should avoid a fight. And the Rangers should get a rep that eventually results in the "bad guys" either running away, or surrendering. I'd like to see that expanded on in fact where the Rangers behaviour dictates how they react.
So if group 1 surrenders, and the Rangers rob them blind, then Group 2 might not surrender, or when they surrender make some snide remark about Rangers being no better than any other gang of thieves etc.
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Re: Some thoughts on random encounters

Post by Zombra » February 7th, 2018, 4:50 pm

Note that a reference to earlier stuff within a series is not the same as a pop culture reference. In fact I expect a sequel to refer to previous installments. The Serpioid callback wasn't a pop culture reference; it was a Wasteland reference. Well and good.
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