Doing away with leveled creatures

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 18:26:01 GMT
Doing away with leveled creatures
Tags:dweller dcsb
After some consultation with the snarkmaster (a serious CodeSquares contributor), I have decided to do away with leveled creatures. Originally I was thinking about some sort of auto-leveling a la Oblivion (except one that worked better) where creatures would gain more skills, have higher chance of casting some spells or using abilities, and have better gear. There are a few problems with that though.

First, nobody likes autoleveling. It negates a lot of the sense of accomplishment when you gain a level when everything else does too. Second, it's hard to do well - Dead Island does ok, but that negation of accomplishment is certainly a factor. Third, in a roguelike where the numbers of enemies can be potentially huge, leveling negates the sort of instant recognition that a tile-based game should have - is that a level 1 goblin that I will swat, or a level 5 goblin that will just destroy me AND my army? That is something I would want to be instant, and there's only so much you can do in 32x32 pixels - but I could instead present a goblin champion as a different graphic, and the player will instantly see that it's different from the base goblin.

Another reason is technical; while I *could* create a system for equipment overlays (and this is in fact planned for the player, and at least weapon display for the creatures) and enhance it to show more "flair" on a stronger creature variant, I am fairly certain that I can't do as good of a job attempting programmatic tile variation as a hand drawn piece of tile art would.

So yeah, no leveling on creatures. There will be a standard progression of weak creatures near the start and stronger creatures towards the end, with creatures having an upper and lower limit of appearance. There may be a little stat randomization at some point, and definitely weapon randomization, but a creature type will always be that same creature type and behave consistently everywhere you see it. That just seems much more playable. This will all be in XML files for ease of tweaking, too.