Building a Creature, Part 2

In continuing on from last week’s discussion of new creature dynamics in URR, we have a few more new factors being added to creatures. These are being coded at the moment at the same time as all the fixes I’m putting into the map; I expect the fixes to be done by the end of this week, hopefully, though obviously redoing creatures from the ground up is a rather larger task.


I’ve thought long and hard about how I want resistances to work in URR. I considered at first having fire/ice/shock resistance; then I added in things like poison/acid; but I felt this was getting too close to NetHack, and further away from the strategy game I was after. However, I knew there were two resistances I thought were particularly vital: there had to be creatures who took no damage from fire or lava (Fiends) and those who were unconcerned by the most deadly of poisons (Hydras, for example). Thus, there are only two resistances in URR; the ability to resist fires, and to resist poisons. These are not absolutes – they are on a scale, and while Fiends may have perfect fire resistances, some creatures have only partial. Same goes for poisons. There’s also going to be a variety of poisons with different sources and effects, but these will be the topic for a far future blog entry. As for how humanoids deal with these resistances; there will be some items that bestow varying levels of fire resistance, but poison resistance is a matter of finding the right cure/preventatives.


Different creatures like to live in different climates. You’ll never find a Cyclops or a Naga in the polar regions, and you’ll never find Yetis wandering around the desert. In general, this means creatures stick to their preferred biome as they become gradually less skillful and less willing to fight the further they go. This will have an impact if you recruit certain creatures from one biome to your army, then intend to march into another; Cyclopes will become increasingly unwilling to fight, and find it increasingly difficult to fight, the further towards the poles you go. It will take some time to become an issue due to the distances involved, but this is effectively to stop the player (or an AI commander) creating a stack of units that can win every battle, Civilization-style, and then simply moving it around the map. Similarly, humanoids recruited to your army will need slightly more appeasing the further from home you are. As for monsters, you may have to respond to the local fauna as you move…


Just as I wanted to get rid of the clear cut-off between “alive” and “dead” for health – hence the application of limbs – I’ve thought more now about how I want encumbrance to work. Each creature has a maximum encumbrance, which is determined by their endurance. This is for everything they carry, from money (which does have a weight) to armor, weapons and everything else. This is also modeled as a scale – the closer to your maximum encumbrance you get, your attacks become gradually slower, and gradually less powerful, and for creatures with a speed advantage, that speed advantage becomes very gradually reduced too. This decrease in skills increases in speed the closer you get to your maximum encumbrance, and when you pass that threshold, there is a risk of hurting yourself from moving or attacking, or performing any too-complex action. Will you be able to kill yourself falling down stairs like in NetHack? Probably not to that extent, but we’ll have to see…

Polyphemus and friends


Cyclopes are known within the as-of-yet-unnamed world of URR as far from a legend. They are large, powerful humanoid creatures, with a single eye. They wear clothing, but rarely anything much beyond rags and scavenged hides they can craft to fit their forms. They are believed to generally keep to themselves, but attacks on unwary travelers and even on remote villagers are not unknown. They have few material possessions (though this is not through lack of trying) and are easily strong enough to pick up smaller creatures.


Cyclopes can be found wandering the wilderness in all areas, though they normally only choose to live around the desert or the savannah. Very small numbers can sometimes be found around farms and similar tiny settlements. These will sometimes be within caves, where the location of the cave has been deemed appropriate by the community. They are often found about steep hills, mountains, or in valleys.

Cyclopes have also been known to hang about ruins. It is thought they do this to scout out potential locations for new settlements and to salvage anything of worth from the ruin. Cyclops settlements are notoriously spartan and scarce, and many will likely put a high value on material acquisition and comfort.


Cyclopes are not always automatically hostile, but are easily riled to combat and may decide a stranger whose armor and possessions look sufficiently valuable makes a valid target. They are generlaly found on their own if outside their communities, while inside their communities it is rare to find more than two or three Cyclopes present. If they are in the wilderness, they likely have a specific goal and might ignore travellers if they do nothing to bother them. By contrast, they will readily engage in combat against many other wild animals, especially those that can provide ample supplies of food with minimal effort. Regardless, once engaged in combat they rarely back down or give up.


Cyclopes are tall, and can therefore hit others who are positioned higher than they are with ease. They are strong, and tough, but lacking in any magical ability. They are not very dexterous, and prefer to use their bare hands for combat, though they can sometimes be found wielding particularly well-made weapons taken from fallen foes, or found on fallen soldiers elsewhere. They are particularly prone to throwing objects, boulders, and even smaller foes. Obviously, they have but one eye, and are rendered almost helpless without this faculty. If blinded, most Cyclopes will lose all interest in combat and try to flee the battlefield, horrified, while a small number might continue to fight anything they can get their hands on…

Coming Monday 19th: The challenges of realistic rivers, and the mysterious Penrose River.

Coming Monday 26th: Winter Screenshot Update!