I’ve already made several attempts at the immigration system, which defines how you acquire new creatures for your dungeon. In the early versions of KeeperRL, minions were simply purchased for mana. This gave a lot of control to the player, but felt boring and made the game repetitive, as you would normally buy the strongest available creatures. About 2.5 years ago I implemented the current semi-random system, where various dungeon features, mostly rooms, attract different creatures. The randomness is good, but the attraction mechanics are too hidden, and players don’t understand why they are getting specific minions ([cough] orc shamans [cough]). This in turn causes players to banish or kill their own unwanted minions, which is totally unnecessary and sad.
What’s needed is a system that combines randomness with control, and whose inner cogs and levers are not hidden from the player. I claim to have found such a solution 😀 (jokes aside, this is something that has been suggested by several people). The basic idea is to use the existing attraction rules, but instead of simply spawning the immigrant, give the player the choice of accepting or rejecting them. Thus you have complete control on who ends up in your dungeon, although to some extent your fate is still decided by the RNG gods.
There is more though. Since a dedicated UI with accept/reject buttons is required for an incoming minion, it’s pretty straightforward to also display all the information on what they are attracted by. This teaches the player how the system works. All the stats of the creature will also be available, to help with the decision.
While we’re at it, the game will also present creatures whose requirements are not met yet. There will be a timer on every incoming immigrant, so you’ll have to make fairly quick decisions on whether to rush to fulfill the requirements, by building that bigger training room, for example. Since obtaining strong minions is one of the main goals of the game, I think this will give a lot of guidance to the players on how to proceed with developing their dungeons. It will also serve as a teaser of what you can get. 😛
There are some nuances to work through, for example immigrants with unmet requirements should be shown much less often than those that you can recruit right away. (Perhaps the chance of presenting an immigrant should decrease with each unment requirement). And of course I need to create the new immigrant UI, although I’ll probably ship a minimal working design in the incoming update, and improve it sometime later.
So summarize the new system: control, randomness, transparency, and guidance. I probably need to write that on the wall somewhere. Back to coding!
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