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First steps in to the dungeon.

Today marks an important step in development.
It's the first time you can see a character in game moving around.

This screenshot should give you some idea of how the game will look when it's done:

The slime monsters are in the game right now animated, but don't have any AI.
they are just there so I can test their impact on the rasterizer.

I'm going to say a bit now about monsters and combat.

Because of the drain on computer resources (and for other reasons I'm going to talk about) you're not going to see dozens of enemies on screen all at once. Monsters are going to be pretty rare in the game, but when you do encounter them you'll need to do more than just charge up to them and hack them to pieces.

Most combat in the real world, especially the medieval world which fantasy draws it's inspiration from was not fought to the death, but until one side withdrew from the field, generally after suffering a large number of casualties or because of being outnumbered or fighting for too long without reinforcements or hope of winning.

I want the combat simulation to have a psychological aspect, in that combats shouldn't always be a slaughter, but you should try to get the enemy to flee the area, either by wounding them or knocking down their stamina so they can't keep on fighting, or just by terrifying them with magic. Most enemies won't stick around if you've killed all of their friends either (though some may go berserk and try to slake their vengeance).

In most cases if you can drive off an enemy they will disappear in to the depths of the dungeon, and once they've fled a certain distance they will be removed from the game unless they find reinforcements.

On the other hand, most normal monsters will not pursue you too far if you decide to withdraw from a fight that is going badly, or if one of your characters loses their nerve and flees from combat. I want combat to be difficult but failing a difficult encounter should not always result in player death (as there's no coming back from that ending). You may have to pull back from a hard fight and find another way around.

However some monsters will be immune to psychology, these monsters will pose a significant threat even in small numbers. The undead will be particularly nasty because they will combine intelligence (they will have the intelligent flag which means they will use some advanced AI tactics) with immunity to fear.

I'll also be developing some more "weak" enemies, smaller or less powerful monsters which will populate the upper levels of the dungeon. They will be less than human sized and you'll not have to worry too much about them unless they outnumber you, though if they have archers or a magic user they may be more troublesome. They might have pets too, which will give them confidence.

With all this you'll be seeing a different way of progressing character levels too. You won't get experience from slaying every enemy that you come across but from other achievements.

For example:
  • The first time you see an new monster type.
  • The first time you defeat a new monster type (kill or make flee).
  • When you find treasure.
  • When you find equipment which is much better that you already have.
  • The first time you are successful at crafting something.
  • The first time you do a difficult task such as picking a lock.
  • When you first read a book containing fiction about the setting.
  • When you first descend a level of the dungeon.
  • If you rescue some imprisoned slaves.
  • The first time you discover a monster's weakness.
  • Finding secret doors.
  • Finding and solving puzzles. 
  • The first time you find new items.
  • The first time you eat a rare kind of food or drink.
  • If you uncover the final resting place of a previous adventurer.
  • If you find a secret area or some statue or inscription.
 You will get feedback about what causes you to win experience, and there will be hints about how to get experience from a certain event or encounter, but the best way is just to try everything and explore everywhere.

This is hopefully going to eliminate some of the grinding which makes RPG games sometimes monotonous and hopefully make the game less violent. Since becoming a father I'm less attracted to violent games or movies. I want action and adventure, not killing and wholesale slaughter.

There should be some risk in exploring the dungeon, and it shouldn't be the kind of risk you can avoid by just reloading a saved game, but the main aim should still be exploration and overcoming adversity, not just kill kill kill maim slash kill stab wound kill kill kill.


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