Better zombies

Here’s a few ideas for zeds :

  • make spitters and shockers maintain (or try to) a distance from the char, they don’t need to engage in fistfights
  • make zeds avoid fires/acid pool
  • make animals/other critters run when they are near death
  • make zeds slowly heal over time

well, what do you think?

The last one is implemented I think; zombies will actually resurrect on their own if you let them. I don’t know how zombies and stuff move, but I think for the most part it should be doable. Zombies avoiding fire would be a tough one to swallow!

Zombies are brainless goo, any real smart behaviour is kinda hard to swallow. I would rather get the enemy variety expanded with new challenging enemies (especially for non city locations) than keep buffing zombies. New players already have enough trouble staying alive for more than a day with critters as they currently are.

It’s really easy to start a decent-sized fire and lure lots of zombies into it to clear out an area on static. I think this is a significant problem, given that the only things standing between you and all the great loot in town are zombies. I can think of a bunch of options to make this less effective, but most of them are also arguable thematic issues:

  • Zombies could try to avoid walking directly through fires when given the option.
  • Zombies could be arbitrarily immune to fire.
  • Fires could be really hard to start, or die out really quickly.
  • Zombies could be infinite, and thus going out of your way to kill them in large numbers doesn’t accomplish anything.
  • Burning zombies to death could introduce a problem of its own. Note that attracting more zombies is not a problem unless the new arrivals have some other counter to fire.

In my mind, it’s not necessary to have Cataclysm zombies, animated by an alien goo unique to the setting, conform perfectly to expectations set by other media. Some zombies already display the tiniest degree of intelligence; necromancers hang back to raise dead zombies, scientists use their gizmos, and dogs hit and run.

As i said in another thread, most of these problems go away if you:
-Move high grade loot to enclosed locations where most standard “too easy” methods become problematic (such as underground.).
-Have a strong focus on visiting locations other than the open as heck town (Partially aided by the moving of high grade gear, partially going to happen when NPCs are properly set up and start sending you places in exchange for stuff.).
-Add new enemies (There’s a reality shift going on, with inter-dimensional monsters hopping into our world, and everyone just wants more zombies.)

As i have mentioned before, the fact that Zombies cause so much grief for new players (And even some intermediate ones) is more than proof enough that they are not weak. Rather, you have gotten experienced enough to deal with them.

If you start lift training properly until you can lift a150 pound load, it doesn’t mean the 150 pound load is light. It just means you are strong enough to lift said load.

On the other hand, being able to notice you’ve walked into fire or otherwise work around heat sources is something /slime moulds/ are capable. If brainless slime is significantly smarter than your slime-driven zombies, that’s probably an indicator that their behaviour could use a /bit/ of an AI boost.

Some simple heuristics would be fairly effective I think, and we’ve had conversations about a few. In addition, there are various things that could boost the intelligence of individual zombies, including various mutant forms.

Until just this last version everything was just as stupid as the zombies, and most stuff is still pretty stupid. So even ignoring zombies for the moment, we really do need some smarter AI in a lot of places.

It looks like any zombie will make a straight bee-line for you if they see or hear you, even if there is a house, a car chassis, acid pool, flamethrower flames, or smoke, or all of the above. What I can imagine coming out of this thread are zombies that can avoid large obstacles such as cars and raging fires, but still break windows and and stumble through pits.

The first time I saw Zombie Cop in the game, my reaction was, “Omg he is going to shoot me RUN!” I propose we could make “better zombies” by allowing certain undead military or police personnel to wield firearms with penalized accuracy. I’ve seen it in a few games and movies so I don’t think the concept’s entirely alien.
Also, flame-based pyro zombies that walk around burning towns to the ground roflrofl! To counter the flamethrower “problem”, not to watch the world burn of course, no no that would be bad.

@ Bladerock : you have some points here, about the game being difficult for new players, but making critters (in general, not only zeds) a little smarter would add to the replayability of the game and it would encourage new strategies in dealing with each type of them.
I didn’t quite understood your first suggestion, it’s actually easier dealing with enemies in closed locations, and what has “moving loot” to do with it?
From my point of view it would only make sense for ranged enemies to keep that range, instead of walking directly towards you.
As for fire avoidance, i remember i had a hell of a time trying to kite some Ooze into a fire, and also a hell lot of fun.
And yeah, variety is always good, but what is the point of adding Dumbest to Dumb and Dumber ? :smiley:

Closed locations (generally underground, so no natural light) make ranged combat a little tougher to sustain. So melee chars may find them no greater challenge, but archers would have trouble.

Moving loot, if I read it correctly, means identifying “high-grade gear” (that term needs defined, too) and hiding it underground, so players have to do more with less.

You average zombies will never wield firearms.

But I’ve been strongly considering boosting masters and allowing them to “command” other zombies, boosting their intelligence, giving them basic tactics and, yes, giving them ability to , well…

Then, that’s fine. They are essentially the same creature after all. Not that i have ever fought slimes (There is never anything of value around them, so i just let them be.)

Enclosed locations make the usual “too easy!” ways to deal with enemies invalid.

Your range is limited by the darkness, so you can force the player to only shoot as far as his light source allows. This naturally nerfs firearms and bows without gimping them in wide open spaces where they get to continue to excel.

You cannot drive your death mobile through a man sized hole down into the sewers/labs/whatever. So, you naturally restrict the player’s access to cars without it feeling forced.

If you set a fire trap in a lab or other enclosed building, you are in for missing out on loot, and possibly trapping yourself.

Gathering food may be easy, but you can only carry so much before you gimp your ability to carry loot and other equipment. So, being fed can become a problem when you are five stories underground and most enemies drop tainted and dangerous foodstuffs.

You can also dynamically spawn enemies inside rooms without the player feeling like the game is cheating them. “There’s a zombie in this room” isn’t quite as jarring as “there’s suddenly a zombie right in front of me.”

Setting up pitfall traps (and other non-deployables) takes time, time wandering monsters can use to sneak up on you in the darkness.

Moving high quality loot away from the extremely safe overworld means players have a reason to visit dangerous areas. How many times have you thought to yourself “I need a gun, i should make a plan to fight the zombies up to the nearest gun store to get one.”. The idea is to make the player go “I need a superflux 9000, i better make a plan to climb down into that underground vault that may have one.”. Once NPCs are added, it can become “This NPC has something i want, better make a trade/do something for them/plan a murder.” too.

[quote=“KA101, post:9, topic:1642”]Closed locations (generally underground, so no natural light) make ranged combat a little tougher to sustain. So melee chars may find them no greater challenge, but archers would have trouble.

Moving loot, if I read it correctly, means identifying “high-grade gear” (that term needs defined, too) and hiding it underground, so players have to do more with less.[/quote]

Basically, yeah. That’s the short of it.

how about a small chance that a zombie killed by fire becomes a flaming skeleton or a smoker

I can see these burning down all kinds of buildings as survivors run away from them, but I imagine they would have a very limited lifespan as they incinerate themselves.

There definitely needs to be some nerf to molotovs (which are currently one of the best weapons in the game), and I like the idea of trying to light a horde on fire only to have (some of) them continue towards you, lighting everything nearby on fire before eventually collapsing.