Spawn of Satan

Or spawn of me, at any rate.

Events in MFoN take place in the form of “Encounters”. There are combat encounters, store encounters, conversation encounters, and so on. Each 32×32 pixel square in the game can potentially contain any number of encounters (it’s the same “grid” on which the players move). Each encounter in each square can have a different chance to appear. For example, some of the Haystacks in the old version had a 10% chance to cause a sneezing fit when entered or searched, and a 0.0001% chance of giving you a Vorpal Needle (a particularly nice item). When checking an area, the game rolls a random number, then goes to get any encounters that have that high a chance. One of the resulting list is picked at random. So if the “roll” was 5.23, you would get a sneezing fit. A roll of 11.777 meant you got nothing, and a roll of 0.0001 or less meant you had a 50/50 chance of getting the Vorpal Needle or a sneezing fit.

With the changes to combat, some new problems came up. Your opponent(s) would need to show up someplace accessible on the screen. The initial solution was to let the combat encounter specify a distance at which the enemy would appear, and let the game find something accessible at that distance from your character, on whatever square he/she triggered the encounter. Unfortunately, “accessible” wasn’t necessarily anywhere close. If you were standing next to a wall, it could put the enemy on the other side of the wall, even though to get to you it would have to step 40 paces.

A prime example is the “Rats in the Garden” quest. It’s a simple kill-the-rats quest, where you’re supposed to hunt down and kill rats infesting the garden. It would make the most sense for them to therefore appear in the garden somewhere, but they were showing up on the other side of the wall, inside the fortified building, or behind the well…usually anywhere except the garden.

So I added Spawn Points. Now I can specify exactly where a particular actor can pop up on a given map. I can give the rats various spawn points in the garden, so that when they spawn, they’ll appear in the garden where it makes sense.

I can do other neat stuff with this too. If you’re walking through a dangerous town, I can have spawn points for difficult-to-reach snipers, which might not be anywhere near you, but could have a clear line of sight. The sneaky possibilities are tantalizing. And the action looks a lot better, too.