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How do you like your encounters?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Nathaniel3W, Oct 8, 2015.

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What's your favorite method for world-map/random encounters?

  1. 3D world level, random encounters, no visible enemy before the battle (older Final Fantasies)

    1 vote(s)
    3.8%
  2. Actual map, zone-to-zone quick travel, random encounters (Final Fantasy Tactics, Dragon Age)

    4 vote(s)
    15.4%
  3. Inside regular level, run into enemies to start encounter (Chrono Cross, Child of Light)

    7 vote(s)
    26.9%
  4. 3D world level, run into enemies to start encounter (Mount & Blade, Heroes of Might & Magic)

    9 vote(s)
    34.6%
  5. Other (explain in comments)

    5 vote(s)
    19.2%
  1. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    Hi everyone. Some of you have probably seen me plugging my game around here. To summarize development thus far, I started a Kickstarter way too early, fell far short of my funding goal, and now I'm going to actually build the complete game engine first, make a demo, and beg for more money sometime next year.

    I'm not yet sure how I want to do world-map random encounters, if I want a miniature world map, if I want an actual map, and all the rest. I'm making a large-scale tactical RPG, so maybe some of the listed techniques would work better than others. But regardless of what would work best for my specific game, I'm wondering what your favorite random encounter method is and why. Maybe I can take the best of everything and roll it all together.
     
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  2. taxalot I'm a spicy fellow. Patron

    taxalot
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    I like my encounters romantic, and if possible, at the Dome.
     
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  3. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Control over WHEN to get encounter is the key to NOT tearing my hair out~
     
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  4. Daemongar Arcane Patron

    Daemongar
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    Are you asking about "random encounters" in the classic D&D sense of in every given period of game time or movement, there is a chance that an enemy will appear to challenge the player? That is, random in that in an area there is a 10% chance per minute of finding an enemy, or every step there is a 1/128th of chance? When you are talking about random encounters, I believe most people would answer: none. Most people like set encounters, or scripted encounters if you can pull it off.

    Or are you asking about he combat environment in which the random encounters take place? Then why don't you just ask about encounters and leave the "random" off of it? Are you saying there will be a different arena used for random encounters and a different one for scripted encounters?

    However, hell, I like random encounters but I realize I'm in the minority. If I were to pick an encounter arena, it would be like Betrayal at Krondor. Hex map, tactical and includes facing, easy to determine blast radius for spells and distance, shield coverage, etc. A newer version is in the King's Bounty games, which aren't exactly RPG's, but have a hex grid environment and random obstacles, etc. Suppose an engine that uses squares instead of hex would be fine also.
     
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  5. Xzylvador Arbiter Patron

    Xzylvador
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    Divinity: Original Sin 2 Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Full Real-Time First Person.
    All the rest is old-skool faggotry for people who are out of date.
     
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  6. Karellen Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Karellen
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    This game you're making is basically a Japanese style tactical RPG, right? If so, I think there's a very clear model to follow. Elaborate tactical combat and dungeon exploration are diametrically opposite activities; the former is about utilising resources well and defeating the opponent quickly and efficiently, while the latter is about combing through an area meticulously to map areas expose secrets and hidden routes. They don't match. So to make a good tactical RPG, the correct notion is to have a small number of hand-crafted tactical encounters as the main meat of the game, in which case there is no need for an elaborate, explorable world map or dungeons. In Valkyrie Chronciles, the best tactical RPG in a decade, there are battle maps that are already the size of a small dungeon. A "world" beyond this would be superfluous and actually probably harmful.

    Random encounters, in and of themselves, are viable when they are very quick and result in resource depletion while inside a dungeon. This works best when the dungeon is elaborate and fun to explore and the random encounters are fairly numerous and very brief, ideally less than a minue in length so as not to distract from the dungeon spelunking too much. For combat to be that quick, you really don't have time for tactical movement of multiple unitls - it only really works with blobber combat or action RPGs, which reduces the amount of time a single fight takes. In a tactical RPG, a quality encounter could be expected to take half an hour or even an hour, in which case as much as possible of the content should be unique and hand-crafted, as repeating "random" encounters becomes stale and tiresome. Random encounters have merit in Japanese TRPGs as a failsafe to allow grinding to prevent the game from becoming unwinnable and to allow players to build interesting teams. Beyond this point, there is not much point in having them, which is why many games in the genre disemphasise them as much as possible.

    For movement in the world, a map with nodes like in Final Fantasy Tactics is not only sufficient, but preferable, because what you really want is to move from one tactical encounter to the other. Valkyrie Chronicles, the best tactical RPG in this decade, doesn't even have a map; you select missions from a scrapbook. The ideal thing, really, is to concentrate on are interesting, varied combat areas with interesting hand-crafted encounters, and have as little as possible of everything else.
     
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  7. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    I like the encounters to be varied, and not having to fight the same random encounters over and over again. Wether I can see them or not is not that important. But generally the more "realistic" and less abstract a game, the more it makes sense to see the enemies before fighting them.
     
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  8. Konflyto Novice Patron

    Konflyto
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    The second option (FF, Dragon age..) is what pleases me most. Fallout 2 got that too. Inside that model, i recently found out i want my enemies to give loot when reasonable. Why? In Wasteland 2 i felt like in Fallout 2 again when i travel, but soon i learned that bad guys with guns don't drop any guns, ammo, or anything they hold. So, more than just "How do you like your encounter to start", i find important the "What do you expect from an encounter" too.
     
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  9. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    This depends actually. I think it's fine to not see enemies on the map, but when you bump into an encounter (be it random or set) give the option to ambush so you can enter the abstracted battlefield but not necessarily already in combat.
     
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  10. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    I hadn't really thought about that. Thanks for the thoughtful input Daemongar and Karellen. I'll concentrate mostly on making good scripted encounters.

    I actually haven't played Valkyrie Chronicles. I keep thinking about buying it every time I see it under $10 on Steam, but I keep telling myself that I don't have time to play a game while I'm trying to make one. Maybe I'll have to make an exception for this game and call it research.

    I was planning on making somewhat intricate non-combat sections in towns and dungeons, but maybe that won't contribute as much as I was thinking, and I need to focus my limited resources anyway. Now I'm thinking I should just reduce the towns to small levels where there's no exploring to do; they'll just be there for resupply and scripted plot advancement. And the dungeons should just be there for battles, not for exploring and finding loot.

    As you mention, there is a need for random encounters as a grinding failsafe so the game doesn't become unbeatable, so I think I'll still have to implement something. But now that I'm thinking more about the purpose of random encounters and the purpose of world exploration, I think I'll be able to focus more on what matters instead of throwing features in for no real reason.

    I couldn't agree more. I really liked Neverwinter Nights 2, but I disliked the lack of random encounters. When they added random encounters in an expansion, they did it really poorly, and I hated it. I'll be sure to keep things varied.
     
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  11. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    I enjoy random encounters, if they come from a finite pool.

    And world travel on an abstract region map.
     
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  12. FuriousGamer87 Arcane Patron

    FuriousGamer87
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    As a fellow SRPG dev, I don't like to grind and I don't like random encounters.

    If you want side contents to let players explore the characters and the world of your game, why not try doing side missions/quests like I do.
    They can decide if they want to take it or not, and the reward is harder combat than the main line and further information about lore of the game, beside the usual XP and loot.
    For course, it's far more work than tossing a few preset into the rng and have it churn something out but that's how I dev and I believe it's worth it.

    All your main encounters should be set pieces and have a reason to be there, either story based or gameplay based, preferably both.

    But then again, this is just my opinion and you should decide what to do on your own after this.
    The game you are making is yours.
    It should reflect your vision the most, not ours.
    Remember the story about the old retards and their donkey meeting assholes who keep smugly giving their advice?

    Don't be that old retards.
    That's my best advice I can give.
     
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  13. Reinhardt Arcane

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    Mixed. Random encounters on the map and hadcrafted challenges at choke points or treasure guards.
     
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  14. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    What about handcrafted random encounters? :philosoraptor:
     
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  15. Gozma Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Gozma
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    At least one legit tactical insight per battle

    Failing that trivial battles should take <10 seconds

    Go
     
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  16. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    Thanks for the tip FuriousGamer87. I can do sidequests. I checked out your profile by the way, but I didn't see your SRPG listed. What have you been working on?

    Konflyto, I had thought about that too. I think a few games handle this well. Did you play Darklands back in 1992? That was the first game I played where the enemies actually dropped what they carried into battle. More recently, Bethesda's games do this well. For large battles, Mount & Blade was pretty good about giving you relevant loot. One thing I'm going to stay away from for sure is random loot tables, like World of Warcraft where you can get a magical axe off the corpse of a wolf or something.

    Xzylvador, I can see you're not going to be my target audience, but have you ever played a first-person perspective game in any genre that does group troop commands well? I think Ghost Recon handled it so-so, and that's probably the best I've seen.

    Excidium, if you can figure out how that would work, let me know.
     
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  17. FuriousGamer87 Arcane Patron

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    Currently?
    A SRPG I am will release a demo of, once my audiobro finish his stuff.
    When the times come, I will make a thread. Sorry, but I won't say more that than.
     
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  18. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    I mean selecting at random from a pool of handcrafted encounters. Often when you say random encounter people auto-assume randomly generated.
     
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  19. pippin Guest

    pippin
    The second option, plus a skill check to see if I can avoid it. Like in WL2.
     
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  20. rohand Arbiter

    rohand
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    I like the Fallout 1&2 approach, except with less fucking mantises that attack for 2 hours during their turn
     
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  21. Fenris 2.0 Scholar

    Fenris 2.0
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    IMO Storm of Zehir has the best Overland Map - you see the enemies as they travel - if you have a good Spot Skill; if you are good at hiding you can sneak around them. If they spot you, they move towards you, but if you are fast enough you could run away. Also there ware lots of Stuff to find with the right skills - nearly every skill was useful to find goodies; made no sense that the Checks were only made for the Party Leader - the Wizard wouldn't fall behind your fast Ranger while running from some nasties, but he also wouldn't point out the magical area south of the road - this should be changed IMO.

    Edit:
    But even with a Storm of Zehir like Map I wouldn't play a game with chibi(like)-graphics.
     
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  22. Invictus Arcane The Real Fanboy

    Invictus
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    By encounters it doesnt mean only combat encounters so the Darklands approach would be pretty much perfect for me; random encounters in an oberview map with set locations for more scripted encounters like the castles and mines
    That game was pretty much perfect by me
     
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  23. Xathrodox86 Savant

    Xathrodox86
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    I'm all for HoMM-style encounter system.
     
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  24. Shadenuat Arcane

    Shadenuat
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    Only thing you should avoid like a plague is Final Fantasy inspired encounters - aka random encounters with invisible monsters happening randomly at world map aka meaningless grindy shit.
     
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