New monster ideas

It’s about time I wrote some sort of update I suppose 🙂

I’ve been taking a bit of a break from Knights development recently, but I hope to start work on it again soon. The first task will be to do a new release (version 011) which will just fix one or two minor bugs that are still outstanding.

After that, I thought it would be fun to try to add some new features to the game. Someone suggested new monster types. I’m not sure exactly what monsters I would add right now, but I tried to think up some ideas, and, well, here they are. (Disclaimer: these are really just random initial ideas – not to be taken too seriously at the moment…)

  • Orcs. Like zombies, but a bit more intelligent. Will sometimes pick up weapons that they find in the Dungeon and use them against you. Maybe could have different types (e.g. plain orcs vs. orcish warriors who are more heavily armoured).
  • Gnomish Crossbowmen. These annoying critters will run away, and try to shoot at you from a distance.
  • Kobolds. Like to group together into “packs”. If in a large group, will attack and try to surround a knight. If on their own, will run away.
  • Necromancers. Can use their magic to raise nearby corpses into Zombies.
  • Skeletons. (similar to zombies but perhaps faster and less tough?)
  • Demons of some sort. (Perhaps associated with pentagrams in some way…)

What do you think? Good? Bad? You have other ideas? Please post them in the comments 🙂

Another point is that I am no good at graphics, so before I could add any monsters, I would need someone to knock up a few sprites for me. If there are any artists out there reading this, who would be willing to help, then please feel free to contact me…

9 thoughts on “New monster ideas”

  1. Hmm.. Interesting idea.. But I feel there is already plenty of things to kill you in the dungeon.. The “stupid” zombies and bats do a good enough job of killing you as it is.. hehe
    Also, doing the AI for any more “intelligent” enemies wouldn’t be easy..

    Have you got a list of previous ideas/requests/to-dos?

  2. I do have a to-do list… although they are mostly “interface” changes rather than actual new gameplay features. For example:

    – Finish “Observer” support so that you can watch games in progress.
    – On screen display of quest requirements in-game.
    – Random Quest button.
    – Possible new control methods (e.g. joystick/joypad/mouse).

    I’m also working on a simple dungeon editor which will allow people to create their own rooms. This could be quite interesting – perhaps people could send me their designs and I could include them in a future version.

    Finally I’m thinking about how to extend the gameplay beyond the original Knights, but this could be a long process as it’s a matter of searching for the right ideas. That’s why I threw out this monsters post. I’ll probably keep throwing out “ideas” posts like this, and let people comment… eventually it should become clear which ideas are the “best” and those will be the ones that get implemented. At least, that’s the plan 🙂

  3. Aha.. All sounds good!
    New control methods would help for those people who haven’t played the game before..

    Other interface things..
    It’d be nice if it remembered your player name between sessions..
    It’d be more logical (at least IMHO) if the “player 1” controls were the ones used for network games, and not the player 2 ones..
    An option to highlight the window or make it pop to the front or something, when you are in the lobby and activity is detected..
    The game seems to be far more CPU-intensive than I would expect.. Even just sitting in the lobby uses a fair bit of CPU time, and playing the game uses huge amounts.. Anything that could be done about this?
    Add a confirmation when “escaping” from a game..
    Pause feature for network games? Preferably with chat still available while paused..

    Also, this previous change “* Fixed: game would not start if the dungeon was too small. (The dungeon size is now automatically increased if necessary.)”
    I would prefer it to either give a message that the chosen settings are incompatible, or, keep trying to generate a suitable dungeon until it succeeds.. It’s strange to be playing and find the map is bigger than you set..

    As for gameplay..
    Network games supporting more than two players?
    This may need changes to the quests etc to make them work.. Some new “more players” quests could be added too.. Also with more than two players you could have teams competing to do whatever..

    But what I think is really needed is… MORE PLAYERS!
    I can sit in the server all day and not see anyone.. And often if I do see someone, they are there to play against someone they know..

  4. Thanks for the feedback, it’s really useful. Let me answer a couple of your points:

    Player 1 vs Player 2 controls being used in network games: Originally I had it so that you could use either set of keys in network games. However, when I added the chat feature, the WASD keys were needed for typing chat messages, so I just disabled them for network games. (I suppose you could have a separate key to activate chat but I kind of like being able to just type a message without needing to press a separate key.) Maybe I’ll rethink the system if/when I add new control methods.

    Highlighting the window when someone shows up in the lobby – this is a good idea, thanks. I’ll see if I can get it into the next version.

    I’ll have a look at the CPU time issues. It should be fixable, but I have a nice fast CPU so I never noticed it 🙂

    Confirmation when “escaping” – that will be added in the next version. Instead of quitting, ESC will bring up the quest info (like TAB does at the moment), and also bring up options to return to game, pause, quit etc.

    Dungeon sizes – the game is currently just doing what the original Knights did. I’ll leave it how it is for now, I’ve added it to my list of things to look at though.

    More than two players – Yes I was thinking about that too. The dungeons already have multiple entrances so this could be done very naturally. However you’re lucky if you find more than one other player at the moment so I’m not sure how much use it would get!

    Which brings me to your last point. Believe me, I would like more than anyone for there to be more players, but how to achieve this? So far, just over 100 people downloaded the game but most of them don’t seem to be playing it, or at least not online. One problem is that the game is complicated to learn – perhaps it needs a tutorial mode or something.

    Also, I haven’t “advertised” very widely so far, so the game is not very well known. If you want to help with that, you could recommend the game to your friends, and/or post about it on any gaming forums you happen to be a member of…

  5. Hello, thanks for this great blog and website, Stephen.

    Comments to Moo:
    I discussed the concept of ‘optional’ additions with Stephen via email. All the ideas discussed above are fantastic (in my opinion), if he’s able to get time in for programming and nice graphical assistance. The best part about those changes, is they are just another ‘selector’ on the quest setup. If you don’t like them, they can be turned off. Many times, even the pesky bats & zombies are maxed out just to make the cycles of gameplay interesting – and impossible – just for the fun of it. I set a record with my brother on a TINY map escape from dungeon, with max zombies – over 5 hours – Amiga Version. We honestly just played the game with a new quest in mind after that time, who could survive the fatigue and not have to use the bathroom first… hahaha.

    Comments to Stephen:
    I welcome more creatures. All your monster ideas are cool, and seem easy enough to program too (that’s probably the best ones to star with). My favorite “dream” idea (forged with my brother’s assistance) – DRAGON! A single dragon can bring about many new concepts and excitement. Firebreathing, knight running around smoldering :). Requires a shield (hidden somewhere) to fight. Also, quests – intelligent dragon guarding treasure or exit, or must collect dragon eggs from series of dragons. Thoughts keep flowing on this, but you get the idea. I realize much of that is a programmer’s feast – and until you get more online gamers showing up, I don’t expect to see them anytime soon.

    The issue of “TINY” maps leads me to the point Moo mentioned above, about dungeon size. It’s true the maps on this new version do not ever seem to present a truly ‘tiny/small’ dungeon (just 4-6 rooms for tiny, 6-10 rooms for small for example) – as I know the Amiga version worked effectively with at least a several different tiny combinations. Moo & I experienced the issue a few times, expecting the tiny map but became “Basic” size. I understand it’s a low priority for you (since you have many other great enhancements on the way), but please remember to check into it eventually, since there’s a lot of fun gameplay in tiny maps.

    Regarding the subject of more than two knights in a dungeon: WOW
    I’m very glad that idea is gaining traction and especially glad that you would consider it. Truly – the concepts mentioned above on this subject will escalate Knights to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL.

    “I will die a happy man now that I’ve played Knights online, but until I’ve played Knights against a few other people at the same time online, I may not truly rest in peace”.

    To get folks online during waiting periods – maybe a pre-authorized user-list set-up where a text message or IM can be sent when somebody has checked a box called ‘waiting…’ Too much complexity abounds with this idea, I’m sure, but it must be possible to simplify and connect.

    Just like Moo, I’ve waited for hours on a random day with nobody around. Please consider an external system of communication to bridge that gap, or maybe a more simple method – in the game chat center, allow a user to ‘sort-of’ offer a window of opportunity, and anonymous external communication method when somebody is waiting.

    All of your ideas and to-do list items are going to be very well received – I’m excited to see this site become slammed with interest – it’s only a matter of time.

  6. David: Thanks for the comments and I especially love your dragon idea. Unfortunately it sounds like quite a project, but I love the idea of smouldering knights running around…

    Actually I do like the idea of having “themed” monsters for each quest. Perhaps we could invent a couple of new undead monsters and put them in the liche lord quest. Or maybe there could be a “vampire” quest where there is an ancient vampire stalking the dungeon, and you have to kill him with a wooden stake. (With tons of vampire bats thrown in of course.)

    Regarding “tiny” dungeons – it’s possible a bug has crept in somewhere. Do you remember which combination of settings gave a larger dungeon than you expected?

    Regarding waiting online – I will consider adding something to the lobby but perhaps what we need here is some good old fashioned organization. I can think of two things that wouldn’t need any extra programming:

    (i) We could agree a weekly time when a group of us get together on the server and play a few games of Knights.

    (ii) I could set up a Knights forum with a special “games wanted” area where people could post times that they are available.

    Anyone know how other online games handle this situation? (Maybe they just have enough players that the problem doesn’t arise…)

  7. I know the dragon quest will definitely not be easy. I don’t expect that anytime soon. I’m glad you like the idea though. Subtle comedy in this game is one of the things that keeps me coming back.

    If a vampire is easier to code for you, then bring it on… hah. I like the idea. “Knights of Twilight” – there’s a name for your new bat infested quest. Find the stake, find the vampire (which is always skulking around the dungeon – would be fun finding a moving target integral to the quest, other than your foe). Your life is slowly drained whenever you’re in the same room with the vampire – must “stake” quickly or die – everything else would be useless. There’s some ideas that come to mind.

    I agree about the connecting issue, as more people show up eventually, there won’t be any concern at all. Other games build a following of people over time, and I remember waiting on Far Cry several hours and nobody showing up too, so don’t feel bad – if you don’t know Far Cry it is one of the better 3rd person shooters for it’s graphical superiority over similar games.

    Definitely finish the “pop to front” concept for lounge activity, that would be awesome for now.

    I thought about the forum idea after my post, a meeting forum on your site, or one linked with xfire (game chatting software) would be great. I think they can link into your server list, and maybe that’s a place to draw in some new players that are tired of the ‘typical’ shooter games. It works well with voice chat while in game too, I’ve used it with my brother while playing Knights, but it’s impossible to hear him talking while I’m beating a zombie over the head. 🙂

    About the tiny bug, I don’t remember the settings, but will note the details if I run into it again. Thank you.

  8. Re: skeletons. Might be an idea to make them hard to kill with swords but reasonably easy to kill with axes and very easy with hammers.

  9. Skeletons sound like a great addition to the dungeon! Many possibilities exist with that concept. If there’s any graphic artists out there to draw the characters, I bet the coding side is easy to copy over from zombie logic.

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