Last month, we talked about player roles, and focused upon why players would want to play all the various roles that weren’t combat-oriented in nature. This month, we are going to go back and talk about combat roles and missions (combat or non-combat) in general.
First, we want you to meet the meat… by which we mean fluffy little creatures, and hostile ravenous beasts you will encounter in the game.
Like cultures, creatures are potentially quite heavily randomized/procedurally generated, so that creatures on a different planet (in a different savegame) are unique. Unlike cultures, creatures usually make their homes in lairs, rather than villages.
Welcome to My Secret Underground…
Lairs are designated areas where creatures congregate when they aren’t searching for food or for trouble. Creatures that, by classic RPG terms, would be considered “monsters” that adventurous players are expected to fight will probably be somewhat large cave rooms or a big nest that might have loot inside the creatures dragged in from their kills. However, even small, relatively harmless creatures might have lairs, like rabbit dens.
Lairs are a big part of the way in which we track the population of creatures, and make sure that they spawn properly. Lairs have a population of their given creature type, and if a lair is destroyed, no more of that creature spawns in that area. However, if the creature is thriving, its population might expand outward and build new lairs. It’s possible for all the lairs of a creature type to be destroyed, driving them entirely extinct, but it’s also possible for creatures to get numerous enough to threaten to overrun humanoid cultures!
Since creatures are tied to specific biome types, massive changes to the landscape can also cause accidental extinctions. (Flooding a whole forest wipes out the forest life, for example, and you aren’t guaranteed that planting a new forest will cause forest creatures to spawn in unless you can transplant the creatures as well as plants.)
Creatures eat other creatures (or plants), so there are also “carrying capacities” for different types of creatures, based upon the available food. Rather than nothing but predators living on a strict “adventurertarian diet”, you’ll be able to see the food chain in action. (And see what happens when you extinct a link in that chain.)
Lairs are also tied in with flags and the missions system we’ll be discussing more thoroughly in upcoming articles. Lairs of dangerous creatures can generate missions by the local townspeople to clear out those lairs, especially if they are interrupting daily village life.
This doesn’t need to be exclusive to “dangerous” creatures, however. Rabbits that have bred like.. well, rabbits, can be a threat to a town if they devastate the local farms. Missions against small creature lairs might take more creative solutions to combat rapid population growth rather than strictly good combat skills, however. Catching and killing 100 rabbits by hand is hard, but maybe introducing some wolves to the area will gobble up the rabbits for you. Hey, if the mission is just to reduce the rabbit population, then it doesn’t matter exactly HOW you reduce it, right? (Just try not to burn the village down.)
“Dungeons”, or rather, dangerous areas with unusual architecture or geography, regardless of whether they are humanoid-made or not, are meant to be prime locations for exploration and combat. Dungeons are also possible destinations for missions, and will, naturally, be the location of a good many dangerous creature lairs to keep the exploration nice and surprising. Because dungeons are somewhat isolated from the normal village life, they can be places of extreme danger without overrunning the village.. usually. This lets us create interesting missions for the players that are solid on combat, and don’t want to bother with rabbit hunts, but let the people who ignore that stuff not worry too much about things overrunning their industrious work at a factory or a farm.
We will have a new pair of monthly polls out to ask you about combat-related questions on the forums tomorrow. In the meantime, keep spreading the word about Imagine Nations and our crowd funding campaign. We continue to work hard. Look for an important update later this week in April’s Monthly State of the Game.
Thank you for supporting us.
– Imagine Nations Team