Author Topic: Spawn points - respawning  (Read 5830 times)

Offline Tayrtahn

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2011, 02:03:47 PM »
Looking at other games for examples: in the Metroid series, most monsters spawn once per room. They also sometimes drop health and ammo pickups. All the enemies in a room respawn every time the player enters the room. In the Metroid Prime series, enemies only respawn if the player has traveled at least two rooms away (when the room is dropped from memory).

I see two notable things in this example:
 - Enemies only respawn at player-controlled times.
 - There is an incentive for the player to kill basic enemies.

I'm not sure whether the "spawn once per room visit" setup would work for AVWW or not. It might be worth trying! The spawners wouldn't even need to be visible to the player or be destructible. This would give the player a sense of satisfaction as they clear out a room, and it would keep the room interesting if the player returns to it later. I can see maze rooms being much more enjoyable with this system, as the player would feel like he has really cleared out portions of the maze and made progress. It might be appropriate to make normal enemies a bit tougher with this system, as the player will have to deal with fewer of them. Having more spawners in each room would also be a possibility.

There would obvious be problems with boss fights... perhaps special spawners could be used in these rooms to provide a constant supply of enemies while the boss is alive and revert to normal spawners after it is defeated.

The other big issue I can think of is the tendency for enemies to pile up in pits and the bottom of the map, and to kill themselves off in water and and other hazards. Metroid solves this by having many enemies stand in one place until they notice the player, and by having some basic cliff-avoiding logic on the enemies that do move. I don't know how viable "don't walk off cliffs" AI is in AVWW's engine, but it could be a simple solution to the problem.


The high rates of health and ammo pickup makes enemies a bit more fun in these games, but it's not directly applicable to AVWW. The Metroid games don't have the health/magic potion system, so the player is more reliant on hunting down regular enemies to heal. AVWW doesn't seem to be trying for that kind of system, so the drop would have to be much less frequent, or not related to the properties that potions/scrolls affect. Frequent drops of something that the player would want a lot of could make fighting through hordes of basic enemies a lot more fun! Many games use XP in this way, but we don't want that here. Others have small amounts of currency drop from monsters, which also gives some meaning and progression to fighting the hordes. Maybe something like Consciousness Shards would be a good choice - it would give players a reason to get out and fight, but there wouldn't be a huge gain from farming. Making enemies only respawn when entering a room would also help prevent farming. Making higher-level enemies drop greater numbers of shards would encourage players to venture into more dangerous areas. This would certainly require a dramatic change in the quantities of shards required for various actions, and the existing shard drops found in dungeons would have to give more shards to still be worth something.


Whew! There's a lot of things to think about with this. From all of the complaints about enemy spawners, pesky enemies, players avoiding enemies, and so forth, it seems like this system might be in need of a serious rethinking and overhaul. Players are going to be spending most of their time fighting basic enemies - let's make it a fun as we can!

EDIT: My suggestion, in brief: Spawners should be invisible and indestructible. They spawn one monster each when the player enters the room. There may be more spawners in each room. Enemies do not respawn when killed. Boss rooms use special spawners that behave like normal spawners do now. Enemies are smart enough to avoid walking off of cliffs, and may be slightly stronger or have more health. Enemies drop small amounts of consciousness shards and occasional small health/magic pickups when killed.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 02:22:54 PM by Tayrtahn »

Offline Professor Paul1290

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2011, 02:15:35 PM »
One more tangent not covered here is that monster spawners are now guaranteed in every room - this doesn't make them more interesting. A bit of randomness could be more fun. Especially with both other changes which would mean that trash is there or not and killing it can give you something small for the effort and it won't respawn.

I don't think they are guaranteed in every room. Intentional or not, I've run into a few rooms that weren't destroyed but didn't come with a spawner despite having a pickup inside, but it's definitely very rare to see a room without at least one.

I think you are right though. The fact that there is a spawner in the vast majority of rooms doesn't really help that much and it would probably be more interesting if some of them didn't have any.

Offline brianc

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2011, 02:28:07 PM »
Hmm, for building interiors that could indeed be an interesting way to go.  Just monsters, but no monster spawners.  And then leave the monsters spawners alone elsewhere.  I think I'll try that as a first step.

EDIT: Although, actually, that would cause a lot of troubles with serialization and such, which I'd rather not get into.  I think I'll stick with the monster spawners not respawning except in boss rooms, actually.

Really?  I actually thought the exact opposite would make a lot more sense, I think I even suggested it somewhere on here.  If respawners were destroyed permanently areas would get very very boring, I love just simply jumping over weak enemies and dodging them, I couldn't imagine holding the arrow down to reach different areas.  Now, in regards to boss rooms, I believe destroying monster spawners would be very strategic but they should respawn when a room is left so that people do not exploit boss rooms.  I also couldn't think of a reason to go back to a boss room so I find it strange that they would respawn there exclusively since it would almost never have any bearing on the game.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 02:29:49 PM by brianc »

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2011, 03:05:58 PM »
Hmm, before we get much further on this topic, it seems like a more fundamental question needs to be addressed.
What role in the game are "non boss" enemies supposed in play?
In traditional games with RPG elements, their main purpose is grind fodder, either for exp, vendor trash, money, or whatnot. Their purpose as obstacles tends to play a very small role as the game goes on, because players just get so good at killing normal enemies (so long as they don't blindly rush into over-leveled areas)
Of course, one of the goals of this game is to avoid grind. So, now what purpose do the "normal enemies" serve?

I think before we can discuss how, how often, and the nature of how they should spawn, we need to know what role in the game they are supposed to play.

Offline brianc

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2011, 03:18:26 PM »
^^^^ Exactly, I like the idea of minor drops, maybe rather than potions something along the line of instantaneous health/mana pickups?  Say you are level twenty running through a level one area full of baddies.  You have the incentive to either avoid or kill them or both and this keeps the early areas alive in a sense because things never feel mundane but if these enemies were to drop a level one potion it would essentially be trash and waste inventory space.  If they dropped a little green or blue orb occasionally that equals the strength of the expected potion level but is instantaneous I think people would have less of an issue wasting mana or time on the creeps.

Offline x4000

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2011, 03:20:35 PM »
Okay, goodness.  Guys, I need to get some work done, so just brief notes:

1. Non-boss enemies are the obstacles you have to get past to get where you are going.  That's it.  There's also some "bubble wrap popping" satisfaction to killing or avoiding them, but that's it.  Basically the same as Zelda or Metroid here.

2. Monster spawners are presently the only way to have enemies in a chunk, because we're not saving the enemies when you save the chunk to disk.  I guess that could change, but we'd found it more interesting for enemies to reset each time you come in.  This decision was made long ago, before it was even a top-down game, though.

3. Monsters fall off cliffs because that way you get more interesting monster coverage.  Given that there are a lot of little platforms, and not monsters on each one, having monsters move vertically like you do is important for there to actually be monsters throughout a lot of the level.  We don't want to try to put monsters at a linear distance from one another throughout the level, because having clumps and sparsities is a lot more interesting and unpredictable.

4. Monsters die in water (and the water exists) to make them spawn more monsters and come after you a different way.  Kind of the pachinko (sp?) effect, haha.

5. Right now it's a bug that monsters aren't jumping out of non-water-filled pits more.  They are technically able to do so, they just aren't bothering to.

6. And I'm not sure how many times I can say that minor drops are already planned and coming. ;)
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Offline zebramatt

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2011, 03:21:52 PM »
Note: whilst I was writing this, Chris responded - so it's a little redundant now! (Ninjas!)  :)

If they're Metroidvania-like, then it's about always presenting interesting obstacles to overcome. This one weaves up and down; that one jumps out unexpectedly; this other one is tough and crawls slowly; that other one jumps about and shoots things. They're more an extension of the level itself than anything. Metroid especially.

Zelda enemies are similar. Some run at you. Some throw bombs. Some fly round in circles. Some have hard faces. That sort of thing. You have to pick the best weapons at your disposal and use just the right tactics to overcome them.

And sure, as you get stronger they become more trivial. But not until after they've given you a sense of accomplishment for learning how to best defeat them.

---

Anyway, that was just an interesting aside on the topic of interesting enemies. I think Valley's going the right way - the rhinos are a personal favourite of mine - and more variety will help to break everything up and make it more interesting. Especially as enemy types start to become more affiliated with certain regions and whatnot, giving everywhere a very particular character to its gameplay.

I think that since standard enemies are going to gain drops of some sort in the near future, I'm reserving judgement on the core topic here until that happens.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 03:23:25 PM by zebramatt »

Offline Tayrtahn

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2011, 03:44:04 PM »
I think there's some real value in the feeling of clearing a room of enemies, even if only temporarily. You can see this in the fact that players are taking the time to blast every spawner in a room, and how strongly people pushed for destructible spawners in the first place.

I'm really liking the idea of "enemies spawn once per room" as a possible new system. When I'm playing Metroid or Zelda for example, I find that I usually take the time to kill every enemy in a room, at least the first time I pass through it. It really adds to the feeling of fully exploring and looting a room. Having the enemies reappear when the player returns prevents the room from feeling dead and empty.

It shouldn't cause any problems with serializing the room data - it's just a change to the runtime behavior of spawners. You don't need to save any data about the enemies currently in the room, just keep track of the spawner locations (which I think you're already doing).

Offline Terraziel

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2011, 04:03:00 PM »
Surely drops are going to make monster spawning even more of an issue? in that unless the drops are entirely meaningless then you have essentially given people an infinite supply of them. I'm going to assume that there will sufficient enemy variation that spawn camping will be beneficial.

As to functional issues with my suggestion of switching spawners for monsters, the modder in me says (in that i'm used to coming up with oblique ways to get what I want), can you not just make the spawners self destruct after spawning a certain amount of enemies, which would obviously be functionally the same

Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2011, 04:07:08 PM »
At the moment, as I understand it, the plan is for them only to drop small, instant use mana and HP items. So camping a spawner for items becomes pointless unless you just want a really boring way to fill up your mana/HP.

Offline Terraziel

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2011, 04:18:49 PM »
At the moment, as I understand it, the plan is for them only to drop small, instant use mana and HP items. So camping a spawner for items becomes pointless unless you just want a really boring way to fill up your mana/HP.

I feel like i'm going off topic but still....

That would fall into the meaningless category then, rather diablo 3 health orbs something to encourage, and enable, you to keep going. Though my initial thought is to question the sense of having enemies drop mana in game where barring one spell you Have to spend mana to get it.

That said is there a reason for having no melee combat?

Offline x4000

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2011, 04:28:52 PM »
There's going to be some other less-trivial-but-still-miniscule drops from enemies, too.  But yes, generally speaking there's no substantial reward from the small enemies because we don't want people to ever feel like it's a good idea to farm them.  Rather, we want to give the feeling that you got a little something back for actually engaging them rather than just jumping over them.  Which, of course, you won't always be able to avoid all enemies by jumping anyhow (not that you can now, but still).

That said is there a reason for having no melee combat?

Yes: we don't want to do the art for it, and every fantasy game has melee combat.  We want this to be all-magic aside from some little items you can make and throw at the outfitter, or traps that you can do there, etc.  Why do the same that everyone else does?  I'm not going to a checklist of "here's all the components of generic fantasy game #347," heh. ;)
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Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2011, 04:30:03 PM »
Edit: Ninja'd by Chris! Shouldn't you be off coding something? :P

I feel like i'm going off topic but still....

That would fall into the meaningless category then, rather diablo 3 health orbs something to encourage, and enable, you to keep going. Though my initial thought is to question the sense of having enemies drop mana in game where barring one spell you Have to spend mana to get it.

That said is there a reason for having no melee combat?

Never fear going off topic. It's the standard of these forums.

It is somewhat meaningless, yes, but it's a step up from them dropping nothing at all. At least killing them doesn't feel like a total waste now.

And no melee is because that involves sprite work for melee attacks, which has to be repeated for every single character in the game. Right now fire touch is your melee attack, in that it is melee range and has no MP cost.

Offline Achillies

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2011, 05:09:43 PM »
Wow I see a post of mine has stimulated a lot of debate...

I guess it's good to be having this kind of debate now rather than later.

Just encountered my first boss tower, and on the whole handled it well. There's something about this game that makes me keep coming back and back and back over the course of the day since I've had Beta access, that can only be a good thing. Keep up the good work.

Offline zebramatt

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Re: Spawn points - respawning
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2011, 08:07:35 PM »
The spawners have way too much health right now for their destructible nature to make any practical difference in game terms, I feel.