Interesting Monster Behaviour

I just wanted to share how the recent changes to the game have made monster behaviour a lot more interesting.

The Goblin Archer

In a recent game, I just exited a level through the downstairs and ended up in a room cornered with small braziers. Since I was standing in the light of the braziers, I could be seen by anyone who has non-blocked line of sight to me. I suddenly got messages that something missed a surprise attack against me (i.e, an attack by a monster I cannot see or hear).

It was a ranged attack of some sort. I walked toward the source of the attack and got more surprise attacks against me (but they missed). As I went closer an attack hit me (due to the penalty of the surprise attack). When the attack hit, it was announced that the attack was from a “Goblin bow” (but I still didn’t know what attacked me). As I got closer I could hear that a monster was there (indicated by a blinking ‘!’). As I moved even closer a goblin archer came into view. The goblin continued to shoot arrows at me until I managed to corner it at the end of a hallway. When I was adjacent it could not use its bow, it had to use its weak fists instead.

Combat log

A goblin archer was hiding in the shadows…


After some fist-fighting the goblin got afraid (it got low on health) and fled through a door and I went after it. It then used its “panic” ability to speed up (while becoming louder and worse at combat). This ability made the goblin faster than me so it gained some distance from me.

Having gained some distance, the goblin started firing arrows at me again! Luckily it misses most of them (without the surprise attack bonus it was quite inaccurate with its bow). Since it was louder from its panic ability, I could still hear it (and therefore able to locate it, and not being vulnerable to surprise attacks). After some cowardly shots it runs out of arrows!

The goblin panics!

The goblin panics!


The goblin is now out of mana and arrows, I’ve got him cornered and he can only defend himself with his fists.

The goblin archer is out of resources.


As you can see, there are a lot more possibilities for emergent behaviour and an interesting combat dynamic. In the beginning the archer had a huge advantage over me, hiding in the shadows and shooting at me while I was in the light. As I cornered it had to fight with its fist and then run away. Using its panic ability, it could run and get a few shots at me before finally being cornered with few defences: the tables have turned.

Most of this is due to the recent changes to perception, noise , light, surprise attacks, monster magic and information about monsters.


The tables have turned…


If you look closely at the screenshots you will see quite a lot of other changes that I still haven’t talked about. I plan to talk about those soon enough!


  1. Awesome! It brings the aliveness of the dungeon a whole level higher, congratulations. I just can’t wait to try it!

    Why did you chose to detail the weapon (goblin bow) instead of the projectile (arrow) that has been used? So we may have a more precise idea of the menace?

    The new way you’re using mana for abilities is really cool as well. It gives a lot more tactical choices I think.

    So, I can see the Ep. I assume this may be the subject of the next article then. 😉

    Keep going! 😀

    1. It is called Goblin bow to hint that the bow can be dropped. You still get 100% information of the threat since it says what the attack does and how likely it is to hit.

      Yes, the new system really means that even monsters have to change tactics as their resources are drained. I feel it has added a lot. However, I am thinking that some monster abilities should be one time per day and not mp-based (just like rods for the player). The Panic ability is such a candidate.

      Yesyes… Ep is in place and still feels really interesting. I hope to write about it soon 🙂

  2. Very excited for the next release! Some comments:
    1. I think Queen Plate and King Plate have their stats swapped (based on the description)
    2. I enchanted royal crown at Enchantress, but nothing happened (bug?). Also, the Enchantress menu can get very full if you have lots of items (but no way to scroll the list)
    3. Grinded rust off worn equipment, but no benefit until I swap it out
    4. Fleeing enemies will run to a closed golden door and then just stand there.
    5. Surface level (after win) you can go off right edge and game crashes
    6. Are flight arrows supposed to be strictly worse than broadhead? These used to give +Range before that stat was removed.
    7. Way to use oil potion on rusted armor?


    1. 1. Bug! King Plate is supposed to be much more powerful. Missed that it should inherit base stats from Queen plate. Thanks!

      2. Hm.. it is categorized as jewellery and jewellery can’t be enchanted, but then it shouldn’t even appear in the Enchantress menu. Will have a look.

      3. This is fixed in the next release.

      4. Ah, thanks! I had forgot about that bug! (been there since #1 I believe)

      5. Yes, I noticed that too. Will fix. And congratulations for yet another win 🙂

      6. I think it is ok for now since broadheads are rarer and you find smaller stacks. The only penalty I can think of is making them noisier, but that would probably lead to excessive swapping.

      7. not currently

      Thanks for reporting, quite a lot of bugs there to take care of 🙂

  3. I like how TGGW was “mostly done” more than a year ago with its first release and initial updates, and yet we’re still getting posts like this–more and more changes and the whole game is just getting even more interesting 😀

    1. Me too! And my ideas are getting wilder and wilder :p
      Btw, it’s actually very close to two years now… time flies!

      1. Yeah, I know it’s around two years, but you were still doing other fixes and minor additions to the initial release(s) for some time before eventually embarking on the road to revamp everything. It’s definitely continuing to evolve in great ways, and picking up quite a following I can see. As deserved 😀

        1. It was never planned to revamp everything either, it just.. happened. I guess that’s one benefit of not doing a commercial game (although I still, at some point, would like to try that path as well). On this one I can experiment quite wildly 😀

          Yes it really is getting more attention, which is really nice. And still very much thanks to you who really helped the game kick off at the very beginning 🙂 Still very thankful for that 🙂

          1. It would’ve happened sooner or later with a roguelike this good–just a matter of time 😛 (And your many fans are obviously taking it from there!)

            I’m still hoping to see your tiles version one day, when you’re done adding features for a while. TGGW’s ASCII is beautiful, but with tiles you’ll get at least twice as many players.

            1. ASCII vs Tiles is an open debate…

              I not a veteran roguelike player at all and it has required me some times to get used to ASCII… but not with TGGW!

              It’s minimalist and wonderfully legible (thanks to the right column descriptions), I like it like that, I wouldn’t even want to have background colors which would add to much I think.

              What I do think is “needed” however, is more colors!

              At the moment, the most beautiful ASCII game I know (and like to play sometimes) is Drakefire Chasm.

              It’s just in between the exuberant cosmetics of Brogue and the minimalism of TGGW.
              It has no background colors, the VGA font is delicious, it can be played in fullscreen, and the many colors tones do gently stroke my imagination.

              And TGGW have so much content, Tiling everything would be titanous work!

              What do other players and BsT thinks about that?

              1. I really like the ASCII in TGGW too, especially since release #7 with animated colours I personally think it looks really good.

                However, I would really like to have tiles and as Kyzrati points out, it would really attract more players. I know many players ignore ASCII games without giving at a chance (I did as well before I discovered roguelikes).

                There is someone who have already offered to make tiles for the game, and it looks really nice. However, he is quite busy with his own projects right now and I am still busy developing the game, but it is something that I hope to happen in the future.

                As you say, the huge amount of content may be a problem. Tiles + items + monsters is getting close to a thousand by now. However, with tiles I think it is possible to do some shortcuts (all snakes use the same tile, etc).

                1. Ah, the great thing about ASCII roguelike development–add tons and tons of content without worrying about having so many unique assets to represent them.

              2. Yeah, I personally wouldn’t want to use TGGW’s tiles–I almost always prefer my roguelikes in ASCII, and TGGW’s ASCII is wonderful. But there are undoubtedly many, many people who would never touch the game unless it has tiles, so it’s nice when devs can also let them enjoy the game, too 😀

                I disagree on the need for more colors, though. As you add more colors to a roguelike, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell objects apart, and TGGW already has a pretty good color range while still remaining distinguishable.

                1. I would prefer tiles to be honest, but it is really a tremendous difference in amount of work.

                  I am a little bit disappointed about the colours offered by pdcurses I must say. 16 colours is really little, and it doesn’t help that many of them are too similar (light blue/dark blue, light grey/white) and that the blue colours are way too dark on most monitors.

                  I would not have used pdcurses if I started the project today.

                  1. That true blue, totally too dark :P. At least you’ve done really well with the colors you have to work with. One would hope you abstracted a lot of the GUI framework such that an eventual migration to SDL/etc would be more doable!

                    1. Thank you! PDCurses is completely abstracted away from the rest of the code, but unfortunately the whole graphical design and how I draw the map currently makes it quite a lot of work to port. But it should be totally doable.

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