Welcome to Devlog #6
Enemy Encounter System (Part 2)
As mentioned in the summary, this is article is a follow-up to “The Sixth Sun: Enemy Encounter System”, so we suggest you read it as well to better understand the context for what will be explored here, and also to be introduced to the Encounter System tool we've developed for The Sixth Sun.
Possible Encounter Scenarios
Through The Sixth Sun's encounter system, we can create several types of encounters, even being able of mixing them into creating more complex combat scenarios for the player to engage in.
Here, we use the Encounter System as it was made by design. The encounter's first wave starts whenever its starting condition is met, and the enemies spawn according to the position of their spawners, with the Encounter System automatically distributing the enemies between their specific spawners. This format works best with multiple waves, as they build upon one another, creating an escalating challenge.
Near identical to the Standard encounter, here we stick to a 1:1 ratio between the number of enemies and their spawners. What this allows us to do is to spawn each individual unit in a different position, allowing for a situation were the player is immediately surrounded once the encounter is started. This can be used in a single-wave format, as we put the player in a dangerous situation and a more frenetic and unexpected encounter with many enemies.
3) Spawn Gate
Inverse to the Ambush, the way we create this encounter is by restricting a certain unit type – with a big population – to a very small number of spawners for that wave, since what we want to simulate is a portal or a rift from where the enemies will pour out. Another important detail for this to work is setting a value – other than the default ‘0’ – to the variable that relates to the minimum distance a new unit must be from its spawner before it instances another enemy.
This type of encounter works best with Jaguars (short-ranged melee unit) as they have low health and short range, working as rank and file enemies to be exterminated (in the best possible sense of the word). Using it on Flyers (long-ranged projectile unit) can also give an interesting effect though not as practical, as the spawner would need to have connections to a number of waypoints equal to the population, demanding a very extensive grid that may not be achievable or even desired in certain arenas.
An example for an interesting combat encounter would be one where the player must manage fighting a set of Flyers while contending with a horde of Jaguars that appears to keep growing.
Another instance – and a possible insight into an encounter we're testing – would be in a tunnel or labyrinth where the player would look behind them and see a horde of Jaguars charging down the tunnel(s) towards them, and the only chance of survival for the player would be to find the way out into an area where they could actually move around controlling and fighting the horde.
Other use for the Encounter System
By twisting the structure of the Encounter System, using several waves active at the same time, we can create a more ‘theatrical’ introduction to a combat encounter.
Simply put [I hope], lets imagine we want to create the first wave in a new area, here we want to spawn five Flyers. The sequence we want to make would be the following:
- One Flyer in the front of the player.
- Two Flyers, at the player’s 11:00 and 01:00.
- Two Flyers, at the player’s 10:00 and 02:00.
(for this example consider the player is in the center of the clock and is facing towards '12')
The way we achieve this is by making each of the phases above a separate wave in the Encounter System, with the designated spawner positions and intended population. Afterwards, we set the condition for each wave to be considered ‘unlocked’ as a timer, setting it to 0.5 seconds, for example. What this will do is:
- Player starts the encounter, one Flyer spawns in front of it.
- Half a second later, starts the second wave and two Flyers spawn, one at the player’s 10:00 and another at their 01:00.
- Another half a second passes, and the final wave begins, spawning a Flyer in the player’s 11:00 and another at their 02:00
This system allows us to create a variety of encounters, and even gives us the possibility to mix them, creating a vast variety of combat situations that can be adapted to any arena, keeping the player guessing what they are going to face next.
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