Monster upgrade chance is too high


// This will disable upgrades in case max iters have been reached.
// Checking for return value of -1 is necessary.
int monster::next_upgrade_time()
if( type->age_grow > 0 ) {
return type->age_grow;
const int scaled_half_life = type->half_life * get_option( “MONSTER_UPGRADE_FACTOR” );
int day = 1; // 1 day of guaranteed evolve time
for( int i = 0; i < UPGRADE_MAX_ITERS; i++ ) {
if( one_in( 2 ) ) {
day += rng( 0, scaled_half_life );
return day;
} else {
day += scaled_half_life;
// didn’t manage to upgrade, shouldn’t ever then
upgrades = false;
return -1;


// Limit the number of iterations for next upgrade_time calculations.
// This also sets the percentage of monsters that will never upgrade.
// The rough formula is 2^(-x), e.g. for x = 5 it’s 0.03125 (~ 3%).

… or 1/32 to be more precise.
In average, only one of 32 monsters will not ever evolve to something nastier, and other 31 will.
Maximum upgrade day that monster can have is half_life * MONSTER_UPGRADE_FACTOR * UPGRADE_MAX_ITERS
So with default upgrade factor of 4, for regular zombies (meaning literally “mon_zombie” type), we get this dynamics:
56 days - at least 1/2 evolved
112 days - at least 3/4 evolved
168 days - at least 7/8 evolved
224 days - at least 15/16 evolved
280 days - at least 31/32 evolved

Don’t you think that is a little bit… wrong? Let me explain.
With this high evolution chance and low time, it turns out that something transforms all humanity into new form of life, like it happens in Dead Space universe.
Or zombies are just monsters for player to kill - like in any default zombie game or movie.

If this is Transformation, then we are lacking a lot of higher forms. “Skeletal Juggernaut” and other “top” forms can not be the “best” thing that The Blob can make out of human. We can not leave it like that.
If zombies are just monsters, then evolution chance should be drastically lowered to 1/2 or even lower, turning higher-tier forms into anomalies rather than guaranteed bright future for every one infected moron.

If I understand my lore correctly, The Blob is a thing that invaded the Earth for whatever reason. It can live in living things, so it does. Namely mammals, which will revive endlessly when infested by the Blobs. Also Insects and arachnids, which will grow gigantic.

Among different symptoms between species, common symptom of blob infection is Rapid mutation/Evolution.(according to the lab notes, with extreme external stimulus such as radiation or mutagen)

Currently the Blob is not taking any active role in this world and is busy with whatever. This is why you -the player who is infected by the blob - can kill other zombies to the point where the body is inhospitable to blob. Because blob has better things to do.

So they are close to monsters in this case, because blob doesn’t give a damn atm and functions like infection. However it is infection that causes mutation. So I do not understand why you think zombies shouldn’t evolve.

…Which does NOT mean that those gigantic skeleton zombies is/should be final form. It is probable that we have not seen the next form yet - with or without conscious effort from the blob.

However we can all agree that blob can do lot better if they actually put effort into it.

Something like this…?

Screenshot of “Fleshworks”, from Grim Dawn: where inter-dimensional invasion apocalypse also occurs and where one sect of enemies manipulate flesh for inhibition and war.
Except they actually try to do something.

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Interesting. I like your point.
Well, in this case of wild uncontrolled mutation not affected by natural selection of any kind we are also lacking a LOT of weird forms.
What we have now is classic stupid “enemies are getting tougher, so also should the player” concept, that mindlessly copypasted derived from other games. Brainless are “evolving” into listeners and so on. Bigger-faster-stronger. Bah.
What we should have, is a myriad of various forms - not all of them should be “stronger” than predecessors, and not all of them should be even hostile.
Because that is what the outcome of uncontrolled mutation should be.
Am I right?

you can lower the upgrade speed in the world options I think. larger numbers slow down evolution.

You don’t say. Really? I wonder how I could miss that line in game menu given that I’ve already got through kilobytes of game code to understand how everything works.
Reading posts is for dumbies. Cool guys post random answers.

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cool your jets dude. I’m just trying to help. I wasn’t questioning your programming skills and you never mentioned anything in the starter post about menus, so I didn’t know if you were aware of the ability to alter mutation chances via the world options. I’ve seen people forget more conspicuous features.

You are not, because it’s not undirected evolution or mutation, it’s intelligently controlled modification. You need to understand the setting a bit more before trying to dictate how it should work.

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Well, than Reinhark is wrong and we have variant #1 - conscious and directed modification, “The Transformation” - of Earth in general and Humanity in particular - into something.
And I’m not “dictating”. I’m trying to understand where numbers and other mechanical details come from, and are they right or not quite so. I’m asking people what they think.
Should I instead take design document literally and post every single deviance from it into bug tracker? Why do we need discourse then?

You could try the happy medium of having a nice conversation and not snapping at everyone around you or acting like a complete know-it-all when you clearly don’t yet.

Reinhark wasn’t wrong, the blob as an entity is, for lack of a better term, unfocused on earth. Its mind isn’t like ours though; much of what happens here is still the result of processes that have a degree of intelligence and deliberation to them, despite the blob not investing any particular effort into it. Zombie evolution is one such thing. Eventually when game mechanics catch up to theory it might work much like player mutation, with zombies having some deleterious or at least less adaptive mutations they can pick up along the way, but for now we’ve got a simpler version where they just change into other monsters… Of course we’re not going to make a version where all the zombies randomly morph into useless twitching balls of undead tumour meat, we’re trying to achieve something that tells an interesting story.

As a side note, what it looks like when the blob invests a tiny bit more attention is what the zombie masters do. They’re a bit like little nerve ganglions in the distributed consciousness of the blob.