Fear and World Domination
When you are conquering the world, fear will play a significant role for both the conqueror and the conquered. As the conqueror you must use fear to your advantage: scaring people just enough so they will bow to your will. A society too scared to fight will save you resources and manpower in lieu of a costly confrontation or battle. As the conquered, you can turn that fear into courage and rally people together. Fear is an integral part of a conquest.
As a mad scientist, fear is key to your success. People must be afraid of what you have done and what you could do. You need to keep enough mystery involved so they never know what to expect. Their imaginations will run wild, rumors and tall tales will spread, and they will be hesitant to stand up to your nefarious deeds. Striking hard and fast with everything you have could prove successful. You can subdue the unfortunate people into submission and sap their will to defend themselves. But people are resilient and stubborn. There will be those few that will not succumb to the fear, but will use it to bolster their cause to thwart your conquest. These people are leaders, they are effective, and they can be your undoing.
You must control how much fear you instill into your targets in order to succeed.
Scaring a Town into Submission
In Attack of the Gelatinous Blob, fear is an integral part of the gameplay. A scared civilian will act much differently than one who is calm and collected. When a civilian encounters a blob, especially for the first time, they are unsure how to react. Their fear level rises, but to a state of caution and curiosity. It is when they see a blob perform a hostile action that they become quite scared.
Civilians that are just slightly scared will try and avoid the blobs. They will run away from them and keep a safe distance. This is a very fragile level of fear that can change if the blobs aren't careful. If the civilians become more scared than this ideal state (ideal for the conquering mad scientist), they will begin to arm themselves with weapons. Their actions change and they begin to fight back at every opportunity they get.
Scared civilians will head to the nearest gun store or weapons depot to arm themselves. It is critical that these locations are neutralized lest you have a whole armed town ready to blow your blob's translucent heads off.
If civilians are scared enough and frequently, they will become to be desensitized to the violence and the blobs. They will band together and rally their strength to put up a truly difficult, but ultimately futile, fight. It is best not to have these desensitized and vicious civilians in the way of your conquest. Someone without anything to lose will risk it all.
How Fear Directs Action Choices
The amount of fear that a civilian has directly affects what actions they will choose. The AI uses this fear value to weigh the costs of each action available to a civilian. If they are not scared, their casual and everyday actions (shopping, eating, talking) are cheap, in terms of action cost. However as their fear increases, other action's weights are lowered. Actions such as ‘grab a weapon', ‘attack a blob', or ‘build defenses'. They are weighted such that the more violent and dangerous actions are performed when the civilian's fear is high.
Violent actions such as a blob eating something, be it a plant or a human, or a blob attacking something will increase the fear of a civilian. If a civilian is already scared, seeing a blob eat something will not scare them as much as the first time they saw it. These actions have a diminishing impact based on the civilian's existing fear level.
This graph describes the effect a civilian's existing fear has on witnessing something new and scary:
The X-axis represents the existing fear level of the civilian, from 0% scared to 100% scared. The Y-axis represents the scalar applied to the new fear value. For instance, if a civilian witnesses a blob attack a house it will receive a fear increase of 0.2 (a percentage value). If the civilian is already 50% scared, then their fear will increase to 70%. But with the scalar we can map that at 50% scared already, the value will only be 10% of what is passed in. In this case the fear will only increase by 2% resulting in a new fear of 52%.
The graph is quite dramatic. It doesn't take much to scare a civilian at the start, but to truly terrify them takes some work. This is a good thing for the blobs, you don't want the civilians fighting with everything they've got.
People Talk too Much
These townsfolk are chatty, very chatty. If Bob down the road sees something, he will tell his neighbours, and they will tell their neighbours. Rumors spread. "Those giant blobs in town, they aren't peaceful! Well I saw one go on and eat up a whole darn cow in one bite!" Tales from one person can be chalked up to the local town's fool, or some tall tale. But if enough people describe the same incident, then the tales will start to stick and become real no matter how bizarre they are.
Every civilian's fear level is affected by the town's fear as a whole. If there are enough truly scared people in town, then the rumors spread and everyone else becomes scared as well. So if you want to infiltrate a town and not have them all take up arms against you, you need to be careful not to scare too many people.
This graph demonstrates how different towns will react to fear and how fast rumors will spread:
The town's overall fear is added to the individual's fear. For instance, if the town is a scared and talkative town (red line) and 20% of the town is scared, then a value of 80% is applied to each civilian. In this case, even if a civilian hasn't seen anything bad happen, then they will still be quite terrified just from the rumors.
Some towns don't talk much and fear doesn't have an effect on the community as a whole. Other towns, well, the rumors spread like wildfire!
Wouldn't it be great if you could harvest a town's fear and use it to power devices of unimaginable terror? Well you wouldn't be a mad scientist if you didn't have a machine that could do just that!
Introducing the Cerebral Complex. Built from those 1000 monkeys on the 1000 typewriters writing that horrible novel. Their brains carefully harvested and sewn together to form one massive brain whose sole purpose is to collect and store the fears of everyone. This fear can be used to power up doomsday weapons or unleash deafening whales of horror effective at scaring a town into oblivion.