Parallax Panda

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When creating an RPG the battle system is usually a big part of it. And a big part of the battle system are a varied set of fun enemies that you'll gradually encounter throughout the game. Now, how few UNIQUE enemies (not counting possible recolored sprites) do you think is the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM(!) that you could "get away with"? ...According to you.

I'm aware that the length of the game is important to consider too so try to incorporate that into your answers. Example;
"You'd at least need X unique monsters in each new area/dungeon" or "In an average RPG, I think about X unique enemies per hour of game-play would be appropriate" etc.

Bonus question: What about games with on-screen enemy sprites walking around? Is your minimum number of unique enemies/monster the same or does your opinion change?
 

SimProse

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For a game, I think at least 20 guarantees enough variety. My last game was 3-5 hours in length and had 62 different enemies (and not recolors).
 

Amarok

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for me it depends on the kind of game im playing, tactical rpgs usually get away with having very few enemies because of the tactical nature of the battle system where the variety must be found in the battles themselves.
But for more traditional rpgs that focus on exploration etc, i agree with SimProse, 20 is a good number.
 

Parallax Panda

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@SimProse

Wow, 62 different enemies (without doing re-colors) are A LOT. If your game takes on average 4 hours to beat then each type of enemy would only get ~4 minutes of spotlight... and that's if we subtracted any kind of story and the whole game was a non-stop parade of new enemies!

What I'm trying to say is that unless your last game was something like a roguelike dungeon crawler meant to be re-played many times then I think you went a little overboard? :kaoswt2:Not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, but it could be. While too few enemies might quickly become boring, too many could make the player confused too since it doesn't offer much familiarity.

Your second statement about 20 enemies is something I'm more willing to agree with. It sounds like a good number of unique enemies for an average ~15-20 hour RPG to me.

If we take a 20 hour RPG as an example then that's about 1 new enemy type per hour of gameplay, but lets assume that only 10 out of those 20 hours of gameplay are actually spent in battle (there are other things to consider too. Such as exploration, story and puzzles). That would give each enemy type about 30 minutes of "action", and that could be split in-between different color variations (with different attacks etc) for each one.
 

Aoi Ninami

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Absolute minimum? Three per dungeon, plus a unique boss. A big part of the enjoyment of playing RPGs (for me at least) is the excitement of facing new monsters in a new area. By the end of an area I should feel I've learned enough -- and probably have gained a level or two -- that the old monsters don't excite me any more, so in the next area I want to see something new.

It also depends on what other content your game has. If each area has a new type of puzzle to catch my interest, that's when I'm okay with a minimal number of monster types. If the only thing distinguishing the new dungeon from the old is new monsters, I'd go up to five.
 

OnslaughtSupply

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http://yanfly.moe/2017/03/08/comic-lets-make-a-dungeon/
Read this from Yanfly (its in comic form). Basically a "dungeon" should have around 7 or less different enemies and then a boss or mini-boss because that's all the brain can really process in the short term.
Watching let's plays on YouTube I've come to the conclusion most devs want to slap more monsters in but don't make them any different. They all just attack and some stats may very slightly but nothing really changes as far as strategy, so its really like 1 monster that just looks different 60times.
Don't do this! Its boring!

Enemies need different skills and strategy. They also need to make sense. So many devs just cram badguys into a "dungeon" just because they have the assests. Its a little awkward to say the least.
 

Parallax Panda

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@Aoi Ninami
3 unique monster types per dungeon sounds like a good minimum number too. I'd actually say if you'd add 1 or 2 additional color variations of one of those monsters (so that you'd have 4-5 monsters in total) that wouldn't even feel so minimalistic anymore. And about 3 monsters per dungeon is something I think most devs can manage. It does depend on the length of the dungeon of course and as you say, if it's puzzle focused or not.

@OnslaughtSupply
I've read it before, and while Yanfly really simplifies it to "how-a-generic-rpg-ought-to-be", it does have some good ideas! And I agree with the problem of slapping monsters that does not fit the story or the environment into the game just because that's what you have. It's especially a problem with many RM games I think. Another problem common with RM games is using sprites with art styles that does not go well together (because you got them from different DLC packs but you need monsters).

Even though I want a good number of monsters (but not too many) to encounter in the RPG's I play, I rather that the dev scale back a little then just using stuff that does not fit or make sense. In that case I think it's better to make the existing enemies more varied in their abilities and strategy. Or, maybe use the human sprites for bandits and other scum to fill the ranks. That's an easy fix when you don't have enough monster sprites/images.:kaopride:
 

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I would say something like 4-7 new enemies per major area (dungeon, story chapter, however it's structured). However, I generally count recolors and other sorts of "underground monkeys" as new enemies as long as they do something new (and aren't just "red centipede: just like a black centipede, but with more HP, ATK and AGI").

So 2-3 truly unique monster types per major area is probably enough, as long as you also use variations that do something new to increase variety.

Ideally, every boss should be unique, and mini-bosses probably should be too (unless they later appear as normal enemies, in which case underground monkeys are fine). At a bare minimum, bosses should be mechanically different from one another.
 

Parallax Panda

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@jade_angel

Interesting opinion. First of all I have to ask you, what is an "underground monkey"? :kaoswt2:

Like you, I'm okay with ~50-60% of the enemies in a game being a re-color as long as they present a different challenge (new attacks, abilities, immunities, tactics, etc). In some cases I actually LIKE seeing new variations of old enemies, especially if it makes sense in the game world/lore. Like there being toxic slimes in the sewer that spreads diseases and in the volcano region there are fire slimes that inflict burning. Not that I'm a big fan of slimes though, but it could be applied to other monsters as well.

As far as bosses goes I believe we're all in agreement that a good boss ought to be (somewhat) unique. Preferably both in it's appearance and mechanics. I mean, it's a boss after all and it's supposed to representing a milestone in the game for the player. Mini-bosses though I'm OK with just being super strong versions of an already existing enemy since those aren't as important.
 

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An underground monkey is a new enemy that's a variation on an old one - recolors count, but so do somewhat more significant changes. Consider para-goombas and giant goombas in Super Mario Bros. 3, for example, or babbles/metabbles in Dragon Quest (as variants of slimes). Most games are fraught with these - I can't think of a JRPG I've played that doesn't have at least a few. In most of the better ones, the new version is different in some way other than being merely stronger, and that's what keeps them interesting.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UndergroundMonkey
 

Daena Grey

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I will jump in on this and drop my fiddy cents.


My project currently has 96 different entries-of which, most are Bossfights! ... But some are repeated Bosses, 'cause it would be no fun if you like. Immediately vaporised the first thing that came and attacked you. I like RPGs where you actually Can and will fight the same Boss multiple times, as for why? It makes me feel like as I progress, as I build up my team's power, So does the game! Like, everything is not keeping static, every battle gains new challenges, difficulties and the such. New Gimmicks even! There is one veeeeery early Bossfight, which has a major gimmick that makes the whole fight quite challenging. But, as the game progresses, the gimmick with said Bossfight becomes trivial to the point it is Negligible. It makes me feel Accomplished, when Testplaying the Game.

That being said, Random Encounters are a must still, so I must agree on the Number 20. Despite the incredible number of Bosses in my collection of Enemies...

In example? A Boss you must Reach and Defeat within Five Minutes. With Random Encounters bugging you. Just wondering if I am the only one thinking that way... ( X ' D )

~Daena Grey
 

Parallax Panda

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@Daena Grey
Wow, 96 entries are a lot and I'm tempted to say the same thing I said to @SimProse. But you said you had (many?) repeat entries and that most of them were bosses which makes me believe that your game is built to be different from the normal RPG formula. Is it a boss-rush:ish game maybe?

As for your question (it's a little bit off-topic but I'll answer it anyway). I could easily see reaching (and defeating) a certain boss within a time limit be very frustrating if you have random encounters. If it was only about defeating the boss within a time limit then that would be fine. If it was about solving a puzzle and defeating the boss then that too, would be fine. It would also be fine if the enemies were dodge:able on screen encounters. But as a player you have no control over random encounters and that's what could irritate the player if they failed, I think. Random encounters introduces luck into the equation and it sucks when you feel that you died/failed only because you were unlucky and not because of your own lack of skill/strategy.
 

Daena Grey

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You stand corrected, that is my aim!

The bosses however, as I said, do gain new abilities, new everything-so you cannot face the previous encounter with them the same way, especially because the Party keeps rotating between 10 Actors. Sometime you'll have Actor X, some other time Actor Y, sometimes both! Or neither.

I would call it a Boss Rush-ish game, but that would be wrong, as Grinding and Exploration is actually a good factor... Until you approach the end of Chapter 1. By then most characters should be near the level Cap-Which is 40. Unique? Sort of not. You have forgotten that there are methods to reduce random encounters to 0, and I am glad I got you on that. Hue hue hue. I have already devised for one to be obtainable by the point in which said boss has to be fought, but you are warned before taking on the Trial to defeat this Boss that you are on a time limit. And if you fail, you actually get a Game Over. The encounter rate was also tweaked in some way-(Praise Yanfly) but I do get the point. Some enemies are also repeated, yet there are some new (And some, Unique) ones just in every new 'Area'. That is how I am handling the Enemy issue at the moment, but seeing as I am only 67% done with the game, I have a few 'Grind Areas' left to go... Which definitely made me think and decide I need something new and fitting for those new areas.
Appreciating the thread a lot! ( ^ o ^ ) /

~Daena Grey
 

lianderson

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I´m at 400 something right now, and honestly, 20 or 30 is all you need for a short game. Unless you got a wide array of different spells and abilities, don't create too many monsters.
 

Daena Grey

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I'm sitting at about... 550 Skills? Including Actor and Enemy ones... And the vast majority are different combat skills that aren't exactly upgrades and all.
 

AmazingKazuki

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Depending on the game's genre...

If it is like an hour and a dungeon crawler (short dungeon crawler?), ten.
Going up to two hours and up, twenty and thirty and so on. I feel like the player should get used to some methods of the unique enemies and then hit them with another unique enemy, making them get familiar with a whole new method of defeating the enemy.
 

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I can't really say that variations of a single enemy is actually a bad thing if doe right.
Look at Kingdom Hearths, 90% of the enemies are a variation of the same monster and may also be based on the world you're visiting.

EDIT: If you consider this you may notice that there are variations of the variations and there's a mixing between the weakest version with the strongest in the same encounter even on late game.
 

Parallax Panda

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@AmazingKazuki
If you're only concerned with the method required to defeat a new enemy then that new enemy could be a simple re-color with new skills and stats, no? The main question was more about unique sprite graphics that you as a player would want to see for it not to become stale or boring. Kinda.
 

starlight dream

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I come from the school of "Anything can work if you do it well". It's not a real school, so I like going there.

If we're talking classic rpg type I guess about 4 new enemies for a dungeon is spicy enough (besides recolors). On the world map I'd limit the area where each monster type is encountered. For example, outside of hero's village: 2 weakish types. As he approaches another location 2 more monsters added to the possibilities.
The stronger the character becomes, the more the world map fights would become varied.
Bigger dungeons/areas: more new monsters than 4.

I remember in some oldie rpGs, the final castle was packed with monster variety (some were not brand new enemies), like 15+ different ones. Going up a level in the castle would change the enemies. It was fun and felt tougher

As for on map sprites, when I don't like an enemy I tend to avoid it, which can become annoying. When I try to avoid a map sprite, by strategizing my way through the room and he still grabs me... it's twice the pain/frustration/nervous-twitch to fight him. :headshake:
I wouldn't expect less variety with map sprites. (I mean once you enter the battle) Because if it's a slime sprite, in the battle she can still be accompanied by a bat and a man (yes some slimes are a "she").

But if a game is 1 - 2 hours, including dialogue and shopping, and it's called Super Goblin Caves, and the only monster is goblin, with multiple upgrades, that could work too. It's pretty relative.

Something I'd consider is what is gained from each monster. Experience only? Dropped items? If Off White Slimes drop a potion every time, and it's one of 3 enemies in an area, it becomes a potion giveaway. So the amount and variety of monsters should take that in consideration too.
 

Parallax Panda

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@starlight dream

You make a fair point with the goblin cave game. I guess some games can actually get away with 1-3 enemy types (and variations of those) if it fits the theme. Each variation still needs to have new skills and mechanics though... I think. Considering drops is also valid I guess, although re-colors (or other types of underground monkeys:kaopride:) can also give different drops...
 

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