Creature attraction requirements

Creature attraction requirements

Postby Loobinex » 01 Apr 2016, 00:44

As this game is based on Dungeon Keeper I want to address what I think is the biggest flaw in both dungeon keeper games: The way you acquire your creatures. OpenDungeons seems to make roughly the same mistake, and that would be a real shame.

I hope we can all agree that the Dungeon Keeper games are about building a good dungeon, which attracts evil creatures, which in turn will help you improve your dungeon further to attract more creatures and kill of the goodly heroes trying to destroy you.

However, in DK1 if you build a treasure room, a lair and a hatchery, 3 rooms you'd need anyway you immediately attract Dragons and Bile demons, which are two of the most powerful creatures in the game. If beetles, flies or demon spawn creatures decide to walk into your dungeon you are crazy if you don't kick them out to make room for the stronger creatures. If you wait a little while you can build a training room to get dark mistresses in your dungeon, perhaps barracks for Orcs and you'll have all the creatures you'd even want. In other words getting the creatures you want is accomplished by kicking out weak creatures until only strong creatures remain, not by making tactical choices or building exceptional dungeons. DK2 is even worse, in this game you only want black knights, so build a combat pit as soon and large as possible to win the game.
OD has introduced a tiered system to try and address some of the issues in those games, where high tiered creatures are dependent on which lower tiered creatures you have. Still, the overall concept remains the same: build all rooms and creatures will stream in, kill creatures you don't want. In truth, this is not very engaging. To share my personal experience, when I played this game for the first time I received dragons and pit demons which are the strongest creatures I could get, and I didn't even know what I did to deserve that. At this point I'm still wondering if because the game is in alpha state you get all creatures all the time to test them, or if I accidentally met the criteria to draw them in.

However, getting powerful creatures should feel like an accomplishment, not an inevitability. I therefore want to propose a better system: Make high tier creatures be acquired through the use of your dungeon.

We want the backbone of the game to be: Dungeon -> Creatures -> Better dungeon -> Better creatures -> Better dungeon -> Better creatures -> ...
To elaborate on this, when you start out you can build a simple dungeon which can only attract better creatures. These basic creatures should use your dungeon to allow you to improve your dungeon. Use is the key word here, and on the first tier this is for example using the library to research new rooms. Those advanced rooms may attract new more powerful creatures to your dungeon. (So far this is the current scenario.) However, all further improvements to the dungeon and creatures should come from creatures working the available rooms somehow. In DK the prison, torture chamber and graveyard are already rooms that can be used to get new creatures, and not surprisingly they are the most popular rooms. These are all very nice, but all based on converting enemies so I feel it would be nice to introduce some mechanics where rooms/creatures are used to get higher tiered creatures without capturing/killing enemies. The specifics are to be elaborated and ideas are welcome, but to give some examples:
    * Cultists could use an altar room to summon a powerful demon directly from hell
    * A mad scientist would be able to kill several creatures in his lab to create his 'Frankenstein's Monster'
    * A troll could use his workshop to build 'golem' type creatures if provided the right ingredients from the map. Collecting lava could build you a lava golem or something.
    * A small fighter unit could turn into a powerful fighting champion type by training beyond the max. (Think demon spawn -> dragon in DK1, just don’t make the latter creature available directly.)

This all sounds a bit ambitious, and if this goes too far you could think of simpler methods making acquiring high level creatures more of an accomplishment. This could be that high tier units need the late game rooms to be attracted and those can only be researched when specific criteria are met, so that receiving them is not automatic.
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Re: Creature attraction requirements

Postby Danimal » 01 Apr 2016, 15:25

Some of that was already disccused, and we agreed on this:
- Dark Temple, like in DK, praying there gives mana and you can sacrifice creatures to get others (different recipes) -> emphasis on being evil
- Ligth Temple for heroes: a creature can be sent there to promote if they fuflfill some conditions (level and type) Adventurer->knigth-> Paladin

Your suggestions are fine, but involve the gameplay being slower and more micromanagement
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Re: Creature attraction requirements

Postby hwoarangmy » 01 Apr 2016, 20:30

That's not a bad idea. However, the risk is again about balancing. We tried to avoid what was DK biggest mistake IMO: Almost 1 strategy that always wins: get 1 vampire, upgrade it to max and unleash it anywhere where it would kill everything.

For this reason, the balancing rules are:
- There are 4 creature tiers and 3 creatures per tier
- Each creature is specialized in an attack type (physical, magical, elemental)
- In each tier, there is a triangle. Each creature wins 1v1 against one of the same tier
- For balancing simplification purposes, hero creatures are copies in stat from keeper creatures
- Tier 1 level 1 creatures should be able to hurt (lowly) tier 4 level 1 creatures (thats means that tier 1 level 1 attack > Tier 4 level 1 defense against specialized type)
- Between level 7 and 10, creatures are better than level 1 tier + 1 creatures of same specialization

For the record, the discussion can be found here:
https://github.com/OpenDungeons/OpenDungeons/issues/985
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Re: Creature attraction requirements

Postby Loobinex » 02 Apr 2016, 10:02

Danimal {l Wrote}:
Your suggestions are fine, but involve the gameplay being slower and more micromanagement


Micromanagement is not the right word. Here you'll all say that fighting should more or less be a 'set and forget' situation and that the outcome of the battle should for the most part be decided on how you've managed your dungeon, which is the composition and level of your creatures.
Having mechanics there on how to accomplish this, means adding dept to the core aspect of the game. Micromanagement would be something like having slaps train creatures a bit faster, or making manual payment of creatures cheaper than having them take their money. This is simply management.

hwoarangmy {l Wrote}:That's not a bad idea. However, the risk is again about balancing. We tried to avoid what was DK biggest mistake IMO: Almost 1 strategy that always wins: get 1 vampire, upgrade it to max and unleash it anywhere where it would kill everything.

For this reason, the balancing rules are:
- There are 4 creature tiers and 3 creatures per tier
- Each creature is specialized in an attack type (physical, magical, elemental)
- In each tier, there is a triangle. Each creature wins 1v1 against one of the same tier
- For balancing simplification purposes, hero creatures are copies in stat from keeper creatures
- Tier 1 level 1 creatures should be able to hurt (lowly) tier 4 level 1 creatures (thats means that tier 1 level 1 attack > Tier 4 level 1 defense against specialized type)
- Between level 7 and 10, creatures are better than level 1 tier + 1 creatures of same specialization


In DK there are several strategies that always win, getting a lvl10 knight or lvl10 mistress are more effective than vampires. The campaign levels are just easy and can be beaten by any method there is. A much more exploitable strategy is having lots of vampires, no need to get just one. And vampires get destroyed by spellcaster creatures with heal like wizards. That being said, you indeed get powerful creatures too easy in both games and DK2 multiplayer is just getting black knights, even though they have a blitzer-blocker-backstabber-ranged mechanic in fighting.

The problem with the system you're proposing is that it is also forcing you into a single composition: equal parts of each creature of a high as possible tier. And you'll have to offer all creatures on all maps all the times or balance is broken.

When you make the game so you simply can't just get the powerful creatures you want without effort, you no longer have the strategy of massing black knights to win. If a single creature that is too easy to get is too powerful so that is always wins, simply nerf that creature a bit. On this topic I also mention an alternative for letting low level creatures be more interesting by adding synergies.
Finally you'll get a lot more dept to the game if you'll make getting powerful creatures be risk reward - by making it a big investment in getting those creatures, putting you at a disadvantage for trying to get a high-tier until it actually comes into play and is trained a bit. This will enable different play styles in rushing toward high tier or making a push with well trained low tier creatures.
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