As I alluded to in the previous post, the next release of TGGW features a major overhaul of monsters. In the previous releases there have been a few problems that have always been nagging me, but I haven’t had any direct solution to them. Fortunately, I have come up with a system that I hope will solve all of them! The problems I hope to solve are:
- Archers have always been a bit annoying and they use different rules than the player (e.g. in Release #7 they can make ranged attacks at melee distance while the player cannot).
- Much of TGGW’s mechanics are transparent, but monster’s attributes are hidden.
- Monsters are being a bit predictable because of their inflexibility in their attacks, others are too difficult because their attacks are unlimited and unstoppable.
- The monster display is limited even with the increased window size in Release #7.
- Monsters are using different attributes than the player which also obscures the mechanics (e.g. monsters still have a “range” attribute, while the player doesn’t).
- Unintuitive (and hidden) mechanics of monsters’ magic (I don’t think any player actually knows how monster magic works, it is also not described in the manual).
- Draining mana of monsters or confusing them does not have much effect.
- Monster abilities are described as just a sentence, and you might have to consult the manual to see exactly what it does.
The new system is much more coherent, consistent and transparent than the current one. I have taken a lot of inspiration from D&D to make it. It changes most of how monsters work without changing the feeling or gameplay too much. I will describe this new system in three parts, with one blogpost per part. Here’s the first:
Step one: Reveal all monster’s attributes!
It’s about time, isn’t it!?
How monster attributes currently work (Release #1-7)
When you examine a monster you can see some of it’s properties in the target windows. You can see it’s conditions and resists, but not it’s attributes. Furthermore you can get a hint (or even compute) some of the monsters attributes by observing their chance to hit, but you’d have to do these calculations and experiments by yourself. You can also see a monsters temporary effects, but not the effects it gets from the floor. In general: you get partial information, and not really the most useful information.
Monster’s attributes are also slightly different from the players. Monster’s have a hidden “range” attribute that determines the distance at which it can make ranged attacks (including magical attacks). The player had such an attribute as well prior to Release #5 where it was replaced by a “light” attribute. Monster’s mana also works significantly different from the player’s (I will talk about this in part 2).
My Thoughts about it
I have been considering revealing the attributes from the start. One of the reasons they’ve been hidden is actually that I’ve been attached to have the monster display in the little right panel and stuff everything I could there. But as mentioned, this leads to partial and inconsistent information. Another reason for hiding the attributes are that traditional roguelikes used to do this. I suppose the idea is to keep the player on the edge when meeting a new monster. Angband, for instance, has a “monster memory” that fills gradually the more often the player meets the monster.
But with everything being transparent, and the fact that TGGW is focusing on gameplay and tactics, I think it is only fair that the player have access to all information. After all, the classical roguelikes have spoilers, wikis and source code to get the info anyway (and I think most players actually use it). I feel that I can not come up with any good reason to keep the attributes hidden anymore.
How monster attributes will work
I am now planning to show a window similar to the “player character” screen when you examine a monster. That is, I am going to open up all attributes of monsters so you can see them. The idea now is that when you press ‘x’ to “examine” a monster further, the map window will be used to display the detailed statistics of the monster in a similar layout as is shown for the player. Here’s how one of the first monsters you meet will look:
As you can see, you will be able to see all attributes and effects as well as their source, just like for the player. The difference here is that monsters don’t have an equipment source, so their effects can be permanent, temporary or from the floor. Furthermore, I have removed the “range” attribute of monsters so that the set of attributes for the player and the monsters are exactly the same.
In part two I will explain the new magic system that monsters are going to use (hint: it’s going to be more similar to how it works for the player).
Good reasons for revealing the monster info; I think it’s more in keeping with the TGGW way.
Honestly most of the game felt transparent enough that it didn’t bother me that monster attributes were unknown, though I can see that information being useful especially later in the game where you ideally need to play optimally to avoid near-certain death 😛
Yes, I am constantly working to make it even more transparent. There are more plans for that too.
The real usefulness of showing attributes are also going to be revealed in the rest of the series 🙂