Right now, darkness and moving around is a bit of a binary proposal - it’s all or nothing, in a way. We’ve got things that are a bit inbetween, like traveling inside houses during the day, but I’d like to see it expanded. I’d like to see darkness play more of a varied role, mechanically, and contribute more thematically.
So I propose the following visual “changes”. Some of them may already be in the system in some form, but they all serve to form the foundation of my vision.
- Squares have light levels. At the very least, we need “well lit”, “poorly lit”, “dark”, “very dark”, and “pitch black”.
- We have three different visual states for objects - Identified, Seen but not identified, and Unseen.
- Seen (but not identified) objects should display as a grey “X” for barriers or walls of some sort, a grey “O” for large upright objects that aren’t walls (like playground equipment, zombies, etc), and a small grey “o” for small objects or prone objects like a pile of items, a corpse, a creature like a rat or a zombie that is lying down. When moused over, these are describes as “something blocks the way here”, “something stands here”, and “something is on the ground here”.
- Light level influences, but is NOT the sole determinant of, which state an object falls in. Proximity, perception, the size of the object, the number of objects on the tile, recent actions by the object (moving things are easier to spot, if not identify), and the object’s stealth value (if it has one) also play a role. For creatures stealth is obvious, but things like glass walls may end up getting a stealth value as well. Finally, having identified something already, you gain a bonus to continue to identify it until it is no longer visible.
- Night time is NOT (generally) “pitch black”. Even from a distance, you can see barriers fairly easily, and make out “things”, maybe even shuffling around, but you may have trouble identifying whether something is a potential loot pile or a corpse waiting to get up and attack you. You no longer have a “square of vision” around your character - instead, you have the same vision range as during the day, but the darker it gets the more likely distant objects are to wind up Unidentified or Unseen. Instead, night time time will be “dark” or “very dark”.
- Night vision simply raises the darkness level by one.
- Many lights sources will raise the darkness level depending on distance, but may not always raise it to “well lit”. A vending machine at night may only raise this level by one, meaning you’ll still fail to identify something standing in it’s light… but you’ll probably be able to determine much easier that something is, in fact, there.
- Indoors areas at night and many underground areas are often considered “pitch black” or “very dark” (at best).
Enemies suffer the same limitations (though perhaps in a simplified way). Even if zombies see you, they may not identify you as prey thanks to their fairly low visual perception. The longer you are in their range of vision, though, the higher the chances of you being identified.