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printz

Are invisible Spectres a dick move?

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I've observed many times people reacting negatively at the idea of placing totally invisible monsters (even to the automap cheat) in the levels. Are they really that bad? Need monsters to be at least a little bit visible? Can't one rely just on their hearing senses and probably shoot in panic in the direction they think is the monster?

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Well if you keep getting shot by something and losing health and you have no idea where the thing is that's killing you, then yeah, it's a massive dick move.
Stealth monsters, on the other hand, who are only visible when they shoot you or if you hurt them...

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printz said:

totally invisible monsters (even to the automap cheat)

What, there are ports that allow that?

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NOSECTOR hack. It causes monsters not to be drawn (user-intended effect), not even in the automap. Pretty sure this is the way that teleport destinations are real things which can't ever be seen.

What, are cheats so sacred?

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printz said:

Are they really that bad? Need monsters to be at least a little bit visible? Can't one rely just on their hearing senses and probably shoot in panic in the direction they think is the monster?


The only time this is acceptable is if the context of the map is created specifically for this type of encounter, and designed carefully so that it's still fun for the player. If you throw invisible monsters into a crowd of normal ones, they're nothing but annoying. Good luck hearing them amidst the others, and finding out why you keep dying despite having appeared to kill everything already.

Even so, if you do construct a fun 1-on-1 or similar encounter that actually does give the player an opportunity to realize the monster is invisible and carefully hear it out for once, you should still provide very visible feedback for 1) how the monster attacks you, so that you can recognize the pattern and avoid/outsmart it, and 2) when the monster is taking damage, so you know you are actually progressing in the standoff and also to make things more satisfying as far as gameplay goes.

Bottom line, if you're using a maphack it won't be flexible, the monster will be 100% invisible 100% of the time, and you will have pissed off players.

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I hated invisible hell knights from Caverns of Darkness, present in both Nokturnus' maps. But another player hated them even more,

The other one...goddamn fucking invisible asshole hell knights. Yeah, you can tell I hate them. Seriously, in what universe is an enemy that's completely invisible, hits hard, and only is going to be hit when you see your bullets/shells/whatever hit empty air, but draws blood and/or it shoots at you completely fair? Sure they're only used in two spots, but that's two more then I would allow dammit (Which is to say, totally invisible enemies should be banned from any kind of wad :P).

(see demo txtfile)

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Then what can I possibly do, when:

1) I can only use the fuzz effect, no access to arbitrary transparency, and I find the fuzz too visible and too similar to the original settings;
2) The Demon frames are hard-coded to be the only ones which change speed on Nightmare, and I want these Spectres to keep pace with the -fast Demons;
3) The Demon already exists in this game?

I guess I found the solution!!!

I can make a stealth Demon just like in ZDoom. People seem to tolerate these. I'll just sacrifice one of the Demon walking frames to make it into the only Spectre walking frame, which will have the TNT1 sprite, becoming invisible.

Would a stealth and partially invisible Spectre be okay?

EDIT: for playtesting, I found that nearly all Spectre encounters in Doom 1 are in isolated situations, especially in E2 and E3. Too often it's just the monster, you can hear it and deduce its location.

EDIT2: it WON'T work. The Demon biting frames can only go to one destination. If such a "stealth" Spectre attacks, it will revert to the Demon frames. And as I said, I won't be able to give it custom bite attacks, because that won't be hasted in nightmare. And I want to make the mod consistent. So in the end, I'll just place 100% invisible monsters wherever they're clear and obvious, as Nick Perrin suggested.

Still, I might chop three more demon frames, making the animation uglier. I might even try to look at it.

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As soon as you feel inclined to ask "is it a dick move" about your own stuff, regardless of the answer it's likely you can send that idea to the trashcan. Antagonizing the player by design is childish and not productive to good gameplay.

It's unfortunate so many mods and even games succeeding despite that are interpreted by their creators as a success due to that, giving validation to the horrible, horrible practice that is considering the player as your enemy.

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I'm okay with totally invisible demons, as long as they're isolated encounters and not crammed in tight/dark spaces. Now if you go replacing the sounds and behavior with something else... I might be more hesitant... I'd prefer to be somewhat familiar with the enemy, even though it's completely invisible. I think that's the best way of handling the situation.

The player should know what they are dealing with. It's only a dick move when you're dead and don't know why.

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Specters are already kind of tricky in low light conditions. I've had them sneak up on me plenty of times, and making them invisible would prompt me to retreat to the nearest funnel and test the waters with chaingun fire until I'm satisfied with my relative safety. Specters already move at a decent pace and don't constantly alert the player of their presence, nevermind the fact that they share their "action" noise with tons of other monsters. Mixing them with others in combat would be pain incarnate. How do you feel about trying to dodge through enemies only to bump up against some invisible obstacle that promptly chews your ass off, or having what you think is a clear rocket shot at a monster only to have it explode in your face?

In a mod (or segment) clearly structured around fear and paranoia, I think invisible specters could work, but thrown into the normal mix of Doom gameplay, I'd be pretty peeved. Though, reading about your experiment, I'm intrigued by the idea of invisible "specters" that "decloak" and stay decloaked upon attack.

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EarthQuake said:

INow if you go replacing the sounds

Well, if I only replace the sounds, I'd make the invisible monster easier to hear.

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Lower the lighting of the room the monster is in, or use textures with a lot of noise such as the various ashwalls to let the spectres blend in. Or both.

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I think I'd only be OK with a totally invisible monster if it made movement sounds and/or had some other obvious cues to where it is. First thing that comes to mind is seeing footsteps plopping around in liquid as done in mods like Beautiful Doom/Brutal Doom. That would be intense walking into a big cavern with glowing lava pools, and seeing a wake of footsteps hoarding towards you, but not knowing what it is!

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Nomad said:

That would be intense walking into a big cavern with glowing lava pools, and seeing a wake of footsteps hoarding towards you, but not knowing what it is!


For sure. Anyone here played Amnesia? Invisible done right. And terrifying...

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40oz said:

Lower the lighting of the room the monster is in, or use textures with a lot of noise such as the various ashwalls to let the spectres blend in. Or both.


Flashing lights and spectres is always an amusing combination.

Nomad said:

I think I'd only be OK with a totally invisible monster if it made movement sounds and/or had some other obvious cues to where it is. First thing that comes to mind is seeing footsteps plopping around in liquid as done in mods like Beautiful Doom/Brutal Doom. That would be intense walking into a big cavern with glowing lava pools, and seeing a wake of footsteps hoarding towards you, but not knowing what it is!


This is an EXCELLENT idea!

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Marcaek said:

Flashing lights and spectres is always an amusing combination.

I guess I can use voodoo doll systems to make flashing lights of arbitrary frequency! Who needs scripting?

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Doom's sound code is too unreliable for players to rely on sound. Remember that the volume of a sound uses an approximate distance by X,Y method which completely ignores Z-height and treats the sound radius like some sort of square.

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For Mea Culpa, I made a Demon that is not invisible, but it is jet black, it moves as fast as a demon on Nightmare difficulty, and its bite animation has been set to 1 tic. So basically if it gets near you, it will always hit, and it will rip and tear through you very quickly.

So instead of worrying about total invisibility, you could consider making your demon move faster, hit harder, and not have that long 'pause' between it starting its attack and completing it, which gives any decent player enough time to take a step back.

Imho this black demon plays awesome. You see it coming at you nearly as fast as you can move, and you know they are terrifying. And they don't even have to be invisible.

Now picture packs of them running around a series of dark tunnels.

Invisibility Schmisibilty

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KiiiYiiiKiiiA said:

Now picture packs of them running around a series of dark tunnels.


Haha, I like the sound of that.

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