Invisible relatively weak (about the strength of a regular Z) zombies that move in groups of 5ish. They can be spotted with any sort of infrared or heat vision, and if you get next to them, they will be revealed. They have extremely long vision/scent/sound ranges. They tend to stay 3-4 tiles away, and will only attack if you have been immobile for several turns, but a fire or another strong heat/light source will scare them away. If they manage to ambush you, the area nearby will spawn/attract many zombies for the next several days. A group will spawn near you every month/season just to keep you on your toes.
Basically, I want them to scare the shit out of you while you sleep and cure you of any false sense of security you may have. It may make sense to make them only attack at night to keep from being mobbed while working on your car or cooking, but these may be good times to be attacked too. I think as long as you are careful, you should be reasonably safe. Closing doors to your safehouse should be all you need to keep them away, but if you happen to become careless…
I like your ideas for a stalker type enemy, but I’m not sure about applying it to a zombie, it’s pretty far afield of the mindless menace they represent.
Some additional notes:
They could just move slowly (but silently) and have an ability to track you over long distances (which is a feature I’m planning on adding… sometime :P). They’d onlly catch up if you stopped moving for a while.
Similarly I’m not sure invisible is necessary, it could just be good at hiding/well camoflaged once we have stealth.
Interesting idea about them only attacking if you aren’t moving, they might simply be afraid of noise instead of attracted to it, so if you started moving around it’d scare them off, but if you stopped moving, they’d approach via their long-range tracking and scent and attack. Once they started attacking, they’d lose their fear of noise… or just scatter once a fight starts, that’d be interesting. That would make them more of a pest than anything though, have to think about that.
One thing that I feel is critical is that once they attack you, the area becomes a strong attraction/spawning ground, and I think that fits in with the zombie behavior. I definitely want to give an “oh shit, I just fucked up and now I’m not safe here anymore” feeling, at least for a few days. Also, they might give some incentive to leave bubblewrap around to wake you up when you sleep. Maybe if you get the jump on them and ambush them, they don’t have the chance to spread their pheromones or goo or whatever around that attracts others. And then you can butcher them, recover the pheromone gland and add it to traps so now they have an extra zombie attractor to them. And then you can have your vampire mayor pull the lever and drop magma on them! No wait different game…
So, basically, I have to do everything in an enclosed space or my home base becomes a zed spawn point? That might be a Nethercritter level of intelligence (except for the fact that the Blob doesn’t necessarily play well with others?) but zed-spawns as a weapon ain’t fun IMO.
I quite like the sound of this. I can just imagine going out of my mansion fortress to get some spider steak out of my punji pits, and getting jumped by some zombified ninja assassins. Really sounds like it would work, and the idea of it increasing spawns around makes it a really big event if it happens to you. Although, even without that last part, if you made them a legitimate threat on their own, it would still be a good addition.
+1 to the stalking idea
-1 to the increasing spawns idea
It would be cool to have enemies that stalk you over long distances and track you down to try to kill you (preferably losing their fear of noise once combat starts). I’m completely against having said zombies then increase spawns near where they fight you, that just seems a cheap way to ruin a good campsite/base (and wouldn’t make sense once dynamic spawning is removed anyways).
How about this though, the plan is you lay down a trail that enemies can use to track you down over long distances, but it’s going to fade over time (nothing outside some crazy hunter/killer robot is going to be able to track you after a week or so, less with weather), but these suckers could lay down a stronger and longer-lasting trail that more enemies could follow, therefore increasing enemy ability to find you. It’s not going to spawn extra enemies, just make you easier to find.
Particularly dangerous is if you move through an area with enemies that can’t normally track you while some of these guys are on your trail, like through a town full of zombies.
I think that works as long as getting discovered causes zombies to be more interested in your area that’s mainly what I’d like for it to achieve. It could be used as a spawning/attraction mechanism for the roving hordes that had been discussed, or it can just pull any zombies in the area towards your location. They should be a mere nuisance with proper attention and planning and dealt with before they are ever a major problem, but if you become careless and sloppy, they will bring the hammer down on you. I really think they should dynamically spawn too, and only once you have become reasonably stationary and set up a base (maybe something like spending 30% of your time over the past week within 10 tiles of the same spot causes them to spawn next time you leave that radius). And the group they bring doesn’t have to be something ridiculous like a dozen hulks, but it should be at least enough to force you to hunker down and defend your home for a day or three, and then after that the numbers thin again. I want to keep people on their toes, but not ruin their safehouse, just make them defend it.
So very no. An enemy that can track you over long distances and lead others to you is interesting, and you can do something about it. An enemy that spawns nearby and calls other enemies as punishment for “settling down” just breaks the immersion of the game.
“Why did it appear? Because you stopped moving.”
“Why did it appear? It followed you back from your last trip into town.”
“Why did it appear? It heard you running your generator or firing a gun.”
You might think that the end result is the same, and to some people it will be, but other people will notice that no matter what precautions they take, these guys always find them, and that’s a fundamentally unfair and frustrating situation to put people into. Or even worse, your “settling down” algorithm has a loophole, and good players discover they have to do sumething dumb like sleep in alternating corners of their shelter every night to keep it from happening.
Cataclysm IS out to get you, but I want it to kill you (with overwhelming resources) fair and square.
Dying of radiation because you wandered through too many craters? lol.
Being stalked because it caught your scent? Yep.
Being stalked because you enjoy listening to noise emission FM[sup]TM[/sup]? Yepyep.
Having something spawn nearby in the middle of nowhere and drawing a horde from hammerspace just because the RNG is being a bitch? No.
I’m still in favour of the general idea, but they need to be static. That way if they wander into you or your scent trail and follow you around it’s legit. That said making them hard to detect would be good, maybe a chance determined by perception and survival (aka tracking) you get something like ‘you feel like you’re being followed,’ or ‘you feel undead eyes upon you!’ or something like that. Maybe we could add a Paranoia trait that allows you to detect tracking easier.
That said If you’ve been encamped in your fortress of doom for the last few weeks never to see the sun, there really shouldn’t be these things tracking you. As for them making a better trail to follow you by, it sounds pretty good. How about making them moan every few turns or something like a shrieker, except zombies that hear it join the horde for X turns reset to X turns on the next moan if in range. So, as it passes through populated areas, it draws a larger horde.
As to general toughness, I’m thinking of 2 types: first type – Tank. Slow~Medium speed. Doesn’t need to be fast because of tracking stealth. Damage sponge, medium~high hp, pretty good damage resistance, low/standard damage output. Emphasizes the horde calling strategy.
second type-- Killer type. fast (something like zombie dog or brute speed) medium hp, average damage resist, high damage output.
Emphasizes the ninja zombie assasination stuff.