The AI is a creature of about half of the Clonk's height. Because of the behavior (described in the next paragraphs) it makes sense to imagine it as some sort of "spider".
One important feature about the creature is that it uses some sort of tunnels represented by holes in the tunnel-material. The creature can either be actually in the landscape or in some sort of in-tunnel-mode where it is invisible and can not interact with the landscape.
On landscape creation every five (or so) creatures will form a group and start in a randomly created first tunnel entrance in the depths of the earth (this "nest" is always pretty deep down!).
They will a) dig a little cave around this first tunnel entrance (="nest") and b) start to move more or less randomly around the landscape in "tunnel mode" (=invisible).
When they hit a tunnel or another cave (for example dug by Clonks) they might spawn another tunnel entrance there. The amount of entrances per creature is limited (around 1 or 2). Only those tunnel entrances are an exit point for the creature from where it can actually enter the landscape. They might do that if they find objects of interest in front of one of their tunnel entrances - those objects are then collected and hidden in the tunnel system. When leaving a tunnel entrance in hurry, random objects from within the system may be scattered from said entrance.
The creature can, however, nearly instantly enter the tunnel system and go into "invisible mode". This makes getting stuck somewhere a lot harder and serves as a good escape if it finds itself in danger.
*Positive interaction with the player:
The player might be able to get random items that are hidden in the tunnel system if - for example - carefully placing other objects (or food!) in front of tunnel entrances.
The tunnel entrances sound like a natural way to (re-)establish vegetation in tunnel systems that have been harvested fallow (
Ger.: "brach") by the player or that have been freshly dug - they could for example spawn mushrooms or moss without it looking like that vegetation would spawn out of nowhere.
Since the creature is able to use some sort of silk thread to attach itself to the ceiling, the nest of the creature could be a rewarding yet dangerous place for the player to visit (in case we implement something like cloth).
*Negative interaction with the player:
Tunnel entrances pose a constant threat to Clonks. Especially in often used tunnels to your mine. You will not always (or even rarely) be attacked by one of the creatures when you walk past a tunnel entrance. But you cannot rely on that!
The creature is capable of attacking Clonks from melee range. (Or even shoot silk at them - that has yet to be decided ;) )
When the Clonk fights back the creature is very well able to put up a good fight or even decide to retreat if the Clonks fall back to something as cowardly as ranged weapons.
How I imagine them at the moment:
carrying items (does not necessarily need a walk animation while carrying. Only digging into background.) and dangling from the ceiling!
the width should be as small as possible for better movement in Clonk landscapes:
If you can think of possible problems about that please let me know! It's always easier to think of solutions before actually implementing the concept than to change it afterwards.
Also the creature needs a name! That's why I called it "creature" the whole time ;)
Seriously: That creature has almost no design at all. I - as the joyful Eke-player, now - don't care too much about it in Eke, because I don't care about the creature itself, because the whole gameplay is geared at dismembering as many of those as possible with a few bullets.
But if that is supposed to be a part of the standard world of clonk - saying, it's not just there to go "splat" - we really should put some more thought into the design.
I kinda imagine it like this: http://images.wikia.com/donkeykong/images/f/f9/Squitter.jpg (Squitter from Donkey Kong Country)
Leave out the shoes, but yeah, that's it.
And the whole interaction thing is a bit weak. Granted, a monster would walk over you and do nothing else - but sitting in front of a hole with food and getting a few loam out of it doesn't sound like a good time either.
So what exactly is the "wouldn't it be neat if..." angle here? I think it could be neat if you left a tunnel unoccupied for a while, and then find out that it has ben inhabited by a horde of those things. It might even be neat seeing them having dragged objects all around the place. But I guess that wasn't the idea here, judging from the way you describe them?
>Why not just spawn them randomly?
If I would spawn them randomly I would also have to remove them at will - to compensate that "being able to dig into the background" thing, which I find to be very important. Why? Because it solves a huge issue that all AI animals in Clonk had up to now: They get stuck. Nothing is less interesting than an enemy that you defeat by exploiting pathfinding or making it get stuck somewhere.
While that would work (randomly spawning and removing) I would like to have a consistent and persistent fauna. (Vertical) parts of the landscape will mostly be the territory of one of their nests. That means: If you manage to kill a bunch or even all of them you are going to notice it, because this one mine is suddenly left alone by those creatures - while they may still be active in your ore mine just two screens to the right!
>And the whole interaction thing is a bit weak.
I would not say it's weak. I would say it's just not much. And why is it not much? Because those animals will not be the main thing the player should want to care about. He should still want to care about setting up transportation lines and get an economy running.
If he however wants to play with the animals a bit for a change, he may do that.
>I think it could be neat if you left a tunnel unoccupied for a while, and then find out that it has ben inhabited by a horde of those things. It might even be neat seeing them having dragged objects all around the place. But I guess that wasn't the idea here, judging from the way you describe them?
Well, they are going to occupy tunnels or mines - and they are going to collect the objects found in there into their main nest (or the tunnel system) if you don't stop them. That was the plan
> While that would work (randomly spawning and removing) I would like to have a consistent and persistent fauna.
Well, there are other options - easiest would be to make them spawn close. We could also just allow them to "bury" themselves into earth, then "unbury" themselves at a randomly chosen close location.
> They get stuck. Nothing is less interesting than an enemy that you defeat by exploiting pathfinding or making it get stuck somewhere.
I beg to differ. An enemy that you can defeat by getting it stuck easily is strictly more interesting than an enemy that you can't get stuck at all. Not saying that this might not be a good course of action, just arguing the logic.
> Because those animals will not be the main thing the player should want to care about.
Not sure what to make of that. Animals should have the same role as, say, a granite wall at the same place: Normally just left alone, but for certain tasks a problem that needs to be solved. The more of these selective disturbances we have, the more interesting it becomes to play. Build an elevator through that granite or have your Clonk walk through the nest of spiders every time? Or try to clean up that nest? Trying to make that a non-brainer one way or the other isn't really helping anyone.
>We could also just allow them to "bury" themselves into earth, then "unbury" themselves at a randomly chosen close location.
That is pretty much what they do - with the only restriction that the exit point may only be such a tunnel entrance. That tunnel entrance is pretty much your granite wall from your example: You usually leave it alone, but if it, for example, is directly where you want to mine something you might have to fight the animals or work your way around it.
That's pretty different to animals just randomly coming out of the ground and killing your Clonk - I think the latter might just be pretty annoying. Especially for new players.
>An enemy that you can defeat by getting it stuck easily is strictly more interesting than an enemy that you can't get stuck at all
An animal that you can get stuck by baiting it into a trap or constructing a traphole out of loam, sure - that may be pretty interesting.
I am talking from my experience in CR with different sorts of AIs.
>Animals should have the same role as, say, a granite wall at the same place: Normally just left alone, but for certain tasks a problem that needs to be solved.
Well, you are saying exactly what I mean: The granite wall isn't the main thing the player has to care about either. It's just another part of what he needs to take care of. Like the animals.
>I still don't really like the idea of having random holes and quasi-invisible tunnels.
They are not completely random. And the (invisible) tunnels do not play a role when interacting with the Clonks. They are an implementation detail.
Also, you want to replace "random holes" with completely random spawning and removing? :o
PS: Also this concept does not exclude that we will have something ant-like at some point - the interaction is not that huge so that you actually can have multiple animals! ;)
Edit: Hm, it would be neat if you could somehow use those tunnels to travel. That could be another "positive" way of using them. Still feels strange to me.
>Exactly, I don't like them because there's no meaning for the player.
The tunnels have no meaning, right. The tunnel entrances, however, do.
>That's why I'd want to make them completely random - in most cases that works out better than any complicated plan you'd think about.
Might be. I'd still like to give it a try without random spawning first
> Maybe we could even add some sort of no-spawn-here mechanic, Minecraft-style.
Maybe we could even try to not copy Minecraft in every possible way. ;)
Seriously, I know Minecraft is addicting, famous and successful in the niche we try to fit in but we should try to not make the "Minecraft did it this way"-argument too often. Nonetheless I think your random spawning thoughts convincing.
>That's pretty different to animals just randomly coming out of the ground and killing your Clonk - I think the latter might just be pretty annoying. Especially for new players.
There was an ai animal for the GWE Eke pack, called sarkophag-something, it waited some time in it's coffin and all of a sudden teleported behind the clonk and tried to stab him. That was a really dangerous animal ai, but the surprising aspect was actually quite fun, so if the attack or the effect would be of some weak or nasty sort - it could actually work out.
It seems the main idea behind this is to create an AI which you can't sit on a hill and make quick work of the AI's. In sandbox-type games creating a ground moving AI that won't get stuck without allowing it to go through walls - I've never seen an AI that can cope with the odd shapes that show up in sandbox games. I would suggest a bird, perhaps a bat to go along with the cave idea. Bats live in caves but if you engage in combat they will follow you out to the surface. I have also seen in a 2d side-scrolling sand-box game a "Giant worm", a worm that can go through walls, although its movement is more of a "flying" movement than digging/crawling movement like you would expect from a worm. So it can go above the surface, but in the game this worm comes from, it does a sharp U turn as soon as it reaches the surface and goes back into the wall.
P.S. Incase you want to know the referenced game is Terraria.
EDIT: Rearranged second paragraph to be more clear.
I would really like to see this thing rideable for clonks. As said above with these necessary abilies as well.
By the way it could be used as "Scenario decoration" as well: mumbling some grass, towing little coaches and carts.. whatever.
to make it short: this "thing" could simply be a "small universal ultimative clonkish horse": Digging, Climbing, offering Wool, Riding animal(which can dig and climb!), living decoration,...
PS: I really would like to attach this stupid graphic now, but how? <- Ok solved!
and btw: the guy sitting on this thing is not(should not be) larger then just walking around normally.
Now it is this kind of "monkey". If this is not wanted, I could edit the face. I would just make it more fuzzy and the monkey turns to a yak-cat.
Some ideas, hints, opinions?
This way it could actually work in the landscape.
(I've really nooo idea what could be more important than a crazy complex climbing, digging and somehow "intelligent" semi-aggressive AI-monster which would be cool getting it domesticatable, which then offers resources as wool and the possibilty to use it for riding directly into the next battle... Indeed, there cannot be any more important stuff! Haha. /o\ )
If you need to touch any control libraries, I'd suggest doing that in the Controls-branch where they are already cleaned up
Anyway, I find riding the least important aspect for now. The main issue is that I want more dynamic interactions within the game and animals could provide that.
P.S.: You can already ride that big rocket hing, can't you?
>Anyway, I find riding the least important aspect for now.
And pluto finds riding the most important apect of that creature - that's basically where we parted ;).
That, and "it must use climbing on walls and hangling on the ceiling for movement"! :D
>P.S.: You can already ride that big rocket hing, can't you?
Yeah, but without using any items etc. That would be pretty easy to do I guess.
>My gripe is hat I haven't heard a compelling reason as to *why* we need to build the 10th unused, ridable creature instead of learning from our mistakes.
I couldn't agree more. The new clonk is already so fast (maybe even too fast?) and agile noone would use an animal to ride.
That's why noone uses the elevator. If you want to get somewhere you just hop your way up instead of waiting for the elevator to arrive and then get stuck every 5 meters because it went out of power...
Edit (and a little ot):
Oh and lorrys aren't used for mining and transporting anymore, becausethey are too bulky and not needed, because it's easier to just put 7 items into the clonk and transport stuff that way. I also think it's because you can't even unload big amounts of items quickly (stacking, anyone?). Atm they are just used for item storage at the base, because you can't put your random stuff somewhere else. Well I hope at some point lorries are worth usable again as linecarts :)
Elevators are still useful in imagined sky-island-scenarios or for making a base build on a cliff accessible for the owner, but not for the enemy.
But indeed, their usage in settlement missions is very limited (at the moment)!
That's why I guess climbing and hangeling and digging features for animals (is it really a correct translation for german "Hangeln"?!) could be a first step in make riding less negetive. To pay attention about the relative small size of the animal is important too, as said above.
But of course there must be some additional advantages for players to make riding more attractive, besides only increase the moving speed (which is just more negative for any fine controlling of the movement)
Such features could implement bonus effects or just damage using weapons like sword/axe, being less vulnerable, addional functionality of exising weapons like using a spear like a lance ( but no addional weapons which only could used while riding like a lance known from Clonk Rage)
By the way, the explained problems for riding animals belong to most of the vehicles which exist in CR too.
>(is it really a correct translation for german "Hangeln"?!)
"Hangling" isn't an English word, but we don't actually have a word for "Hanging off of the ceiling".
...Which, now that I think about it, is a bit odd, considering all the things we do have words for.
to brachiate means a kind of movement done by monkeys using their armes to swing from one branch to another.
I would say it is not really common, is it?
These control issues limited the ridable creatures to one or two type of maps where they didn't suck. (almost empty sky for dragons, flat arena for horses..)
Another strong point is that they couldn't climb anything. jumping was always a gamble, a few pixels too short, and the wipf/mosnter/golem/horse would slide down into some acid pit.
I think the lesson to be learned here is not "riding sucks in general". It's just that riding is useless because a walking clonk always always has the advantage against a riding clonk on "normal" terrain (movement-wise - attacks are another story).
I put some thoughts in improving it years ago:
-Make the horse just walk up small pixel blockades and half a loam obstacles without a problem.
-Trick jump: Jump against the wall and the horse jumps again from the wall in the opposite direction: Adds quite some mobility in small chasms.
-Riding is always possible with breathing, no matter if the clonk head is in material
-Swimming was cool, make the horse also jump out of the water - and put it a little higher, so that the clonk is actually not in the water (useful for going over piranha lakes, acid, lava - well the horse will carry one till it dies)
-vehicles should easily be attachable to the horseback with a rope, and just move with the horse (the vehicles won't get stuck). The horse can easily transport a lorry, catapult or some other small vehicle even over gaps with it's jump.
-- it would still be not suited for caves like that, but be useful. I especially like the transport ability.
I proposed a golem concept for Metal and Magic years ago (2008?). Maybe Zapper or pluto still have it.
-The basis is the Endeavour Gold Golem, but instead of its roll attack he can actually dig with the roll ability, like a normal Clonk.
-The golems jump should be effected from the way he moves: He stays still: Upwards high, he moves vertically fast: A lower jump, but wider.
-If stuck in stone etc, let the golem crack some stone.
-Combat: Golem has a weakness to explosives, and is strong against buildings (use it like a ram against a drawbridge).
-He can't regenerate health.
-He can collect vehicles and carry them
-He can climb, perhaps even hangel - but not very long?
-How to get the golem? Just like in Clonk Endeavour - find a statue and awake it, it will re transform to a statue after it's life time is over.
Maybe add some risks to it like: Damage shortens it's live time. If it's time is over, the statue breaks and the clonk inside get's damaged.
I still think those could work out.
> ... as a sort of throwaway vehicle. Like: Getting somewhere fast and abandon it.
>-He can collect vehicles and carry them
I always expected them to be able to carry lorries and such.
How about replacing "magical golem" with "Big ol' clockwork man"? Would that fit into the OpenClonk style more?
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