Having BOTH visual encounters and random encounters

somenick

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I am playing with the idea of featuring BOTH types of encounters. Granted, on most normal maps, it would only be visible encounters, but on maps with very tall grass / foggy climate / poor visibility conditions / extremely rainy places, I might also add random encounters. (Maybe hero characters may complain visibility is poor or something, so the player knows what to expect) Bad idea? Cheap mechanic? Opinions?
 

Doktor_Q

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I think it can be done well- a number of games (Etrian Odyssey, 7th Dragon, 3DS pokemon games) used both, and it worked decently well. If you're using both in the same map, then your visual encounters should be for strong enemies, probably something noticeably more powerful than the randoms.

A few points to consider:
1) if the player is used to being able to avoid visual encounters, will random encounters mean they're fighting dramatically more enemies? This could be a concern for balancing or pacing (too many strong enemies = die, too many weak = annoying, too much reward = grinding, too little reward = really annoying, etc)
2) no matter what, someone's going to complain about the random encounter section, especially if it's anywhere you could possibly get lost and just keep getting into fights
 

somenick

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Yeah, I can imagine it being annoying to players who are used to avoiding the visual encounters. I plan to use MOSTLY visual encounters. I plan on having an optional misty swamp-forest where there is some cool loot, but there may be random encounters too; in said dungeon visibility is considered to be compromised. This type of mechanic. Not something the player toggles on or off, but rather a characteristic of an optional dungeon. Just wondering if such a mechanic may sound OK or just cheap / lazy / out of place. :)
 

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7th stand user did that well, with virtually all the encounters being on-map, but occasionally having sections with random encounters (like when a bunch of assassins go after you)
 

Aesica

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I'm (possibly) doing something similar (both types of encounters) in what I'm making too, except visible encounters are in the dungeons and random encounters are on the world map. Since I've never personally been a fan of random encounters, they'll be skippable by renting mounts or getting some sort of blessing from towns. (Blessings would be easier, mounts would be cooler). Still not quite sure how I'll handle this though. I'll figure it out later in development.
 

Elissiaro

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The pokemon games kiiinda do that (before the switch games at least). In that on normal maps the only encounters are in the grass, so you can avoid them a lot of the time. But in caves there are no safe spots. (I'm pretty sure almost everyone dislikes caves in pokemon for that reason.)
 

Andar

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it can be done as long as the total number of battles doesn't drive the player away.

The worst thing that you could do is adding random battles to a map where the player has to carefully navigate around visible enemies, but if the visible enemies are far enough away so that you can easily navigate and the random battles don't happen every other step then it should be OK.
 

somenick

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Thank you, everyone, for your replies. In the end I think I will ax the idea. Optional dungeon will only have visible encounters like elsewhere. That, and some (perfectly avoidable) acid tiles that deal damage if stepped on.
 

Hero_Claive

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You only have a day's worth of replies, so let me chip in a bit.

I think the idea is feasible. I've considered it before, but settled for something similar but different. I think there's two basic principles to this idea:
  • Large areas that connect towns/are mandatory to move to different parts of your world must have visual encounters. There should always be a way to avoid enemies if you are simply trying to get from once place to another. Dungeons, places with rewards, etc. are a different story.
  • Include a way to manipulate encounter rates/areas. You will quickly accustom your player to choosing when/where they want to battle by using visual encounters. Be sure to be conservative in your use of random encounters - keep %s low and manipulation skills/items abundant. Random encounters should be used to add an extra layer of challenge to certain areas, but even then they shouldn't be overly-intrusive.
I'm not a fan of "tall-grass" concepts. This isn't Pokemon. If you are going to use random encounters, the player should be able to tell when they're going to encounter them rather than arbitrary conditions like low-visibility or rain. If they're in a dungeon, they know what to expect. If they're traversing the overworld, they know not to expect intrusive encounters.

See if this criteria works for you and maybe consider reworking this idea.
 

somenick

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Since I've never personally been a fan of random encounters, they'll be skippable by renting mounts or getting some sort of blessing from towns. (Blessings would be easier, mounts would be cooler). Still not quite sure how I'll handle this though. I'll figure it out later in development.
@Aesica I think Yanfly has a plugin where you can setup tiles/regions where the vehicles can go. So if you configure the regions to be on land, you can bring boats on land. Or better, replace boat image with horse, car, wathever, and you have a land vehicle! I think in RMMV you can run a conditional (in parallel process) where you can test if player is on vehicle or not. If yes, random encounters off. Or something like that.

---
@Hero_Claive Thanks for the input. In the end, for the sake of consistency, I decided to keep all encounters as visual encounters.
 
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Aesica

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@Aesica I think Yanfly has a plugin where you can setup tiles/regions where the vehicles can go. So if you configure the regions to be on land, you can bring boats on land. Or better, replace boat image with horse, car, wathever, and you have a land vehicle! I think in RMMV you can run a conditional (in parallel process) where you can test if player is on vehicle or not. If yes, random encounters off. Or something like that.
Oh I was just going to make a custom plugin to allow for a new land vehicle (same movement restrictions as players) or something like that. What I meant though was that I wasn't sure which approach I wanted to use yet--rentable mounts vs "monster repellent. Thanks though. ;)
 

bgillisp

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One thing I did was in areas with very poor visibility I had the monsters still use the same set up as visual encounters, but you just can't see them. As in, they had no sprite. That way the player can still clear them out and get no encounters after a while, but it appears somewhat random too. Also by doing it this way you can control how many of them the player will encounter at most.
 

10kk

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One thing I did was in areas with very poor visibility I had the monsters still use the same set up as visual encounters, but you just can't see them. As in, they had no sprite. That way the player can still clear them out and get no encounters after a while, but it appears somewhat random too. Also by doing it this way you can control how many of them the player will encounter at most.
That is pretty intuitive, creating a hard limit on encounters also lets you control the economy/power level of a game so if you really don't want people to grind, they can't go beyond a certain amount of drops/exp/money. For certain kinds of games trying to create a restrictive challenge in this fashion, it's a good practice.
 

MessiahComplex

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Definitely a good idea to cut that. As a player I would be very annoyed if my nice visual encounters suddenly switched to crappy random encounters, game mechanics be damned. Even if it was indicated by text or an encounter pointer or whatever, I still wouldn’t be happy and would likely avoid the area entirely, especially so considering you said it’d be optional.
 

Wavelength

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While there's not too much wrong with doing it that way, it sounds unnecessary to me. If you already have maps that can obscure the visibility of enemies (patches of tall grass, patches of fog, etc.), that's a built-in, engaging way to add some intensity to your already-existing system of visible encounters! Have monsters disappear into thickets of grass, becoming invisible and only showing the patch of grass shaking... fade into dense fog to reduce their opacity to 10%, allowing only the sharpest players to spot them... it will require a lot of creativity and some fine-tuning to make it fun and never frustrating, but I think it will be worth it in the end, and far more of an atmospheric and exciting experience than merely having random encounters pop up every X steps.

Moving this topic to the Game Mechanics Design subforum. It's admittedly a tough call between General Discussion and GMD, but the nature of the responses definitely justifies its inclusion in GMD.
 
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