Game Mechanics How to Best Handle an Enemy Log?

Mercerenies

Member
Hello,

I'm working on a haunted house exploration game, and I'd like to have a sort of "tattle log" to keep track of which enemy types the player has met, to encourage finding them all and to give lore about the different obstacles and things. Now the question is: When do I make an enemy appear in the log? Obviously, you should be able to see the enemy in the log when you've interacted with that enemy in some way, and you shouldn't be able to read about the ones you've never met. So I had a few ideas.
  • Enemies could be logged when you kill them once. This would be a good idea for a lot of game types, but it doesn't really work all that well for me. This is an exploration game, with a focus on exploring nooks and crannies and dodging obstacles, not combat or weapons. As such, many enemies are very difficult or even outright impossible to kill.
  • Enemies could be logged when they appear on screen. This would work, I suppose. But it would also get a lot of false positives, as it's very easy for an enemy to appear on screen just barely without the player noticing. Then random entries start appearing in the log and the player doesn't know why.
  • Enemies could be logged when they enter your flashlight's light. This is basically a better version of the above idea, with the same problems. And it may also be somewhat frustrating to players who see an enemy behind them but never think to shine their light on the enemy.
  • Enemies could be logged when they deal damage to you. This would also work, I guess. If an enemy deals damage to you, you've definitely encountered it. I'm just not a huge fan of the idea of rewarding the player for taking damage.
  • I could give the player a special "tattle" ability. So you press a button, and enemies directly in front of you are logged if they aren't already. Cons are: it adds complexity to the control scheme, and a lot of players simply won't bother, resulting in sad, empty tattle logs for many players. Also, there's a lot of potential for "directly in front of you" to end up being pretty janky and annoying, if an enemy is slightly out of bounds of the attack.
Of course, I'm also open to any other ideas I hadn't mentioned here. What do you all think?
 
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Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
You could combine several ideas:
  • If the player or the enemy attacks the other, you've got a close encounter of the third kind. You won't notice anything on a higher level than this, so it probably should be logged.
  • If the player shines the light on the enemy, or otherwise explicitly notices it (e.g. tries to talk with it, or tries to open a mimic etc), it could also be logged. This could apply to enemies getting so close to the player that they DEFINITELY have seen it, too (and save you the trouble to code special cases for the two types of attack logging)
  • Reading books (and doomed diary pages, etc) could give the player log entries, to reward them for thorough exploration (and could also give them tips on how to bypass undefeatable enemies that might kill them before they get a chance to do another loggable action). Hollow Knight did this to give you logs for a number of unkillable enemies, letting you investigate fossils of them to get their beastiary entries.
 
Definitely like Yal's diary entry idea. What I would do is have an enemy appear in the log if it comes within a certain radius of the player- but just appear, picture only, with no accompanying "flavor text", much like what would happen in the Pokémon games when another trainer uses a Pokémon that you haven't caught yet. Catching the enemy in the flashlight's light could add the text, with even more detail being added by finding diary pages/ancient demonic texts/notes scrawled on walls in blood. That way you somewhat fill out your log just by playing, but are rewarded more for being bold and exploring the environment.
 

curato

Member
The original ghostbusters game back in the day you had your PKE meter and you had to scan them to get them in your journal and it would tell you the stats strengths and weaknesses and such.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
The original ghostbusters game back in the day you had your PKE meter and you had to scan them to get them in your journal and it would tell you the stats strengths and weaknesses and such.
It did? I only remember the part where you were driving with a vacuum on top of your car to suck up ghosts automatically while avoiding drunk drivers.

(timestamped video footage)
 

curato

Member
It did? I only remember the part where you were driving with a vacuum on top of your car to suck up ghosts automatically while avoiding drunk drivers.

(timestamped video footage)
It did and at least in the remastered edition it dovetails into meta achievements for getting certain ones and scanning various things.
 

Mercerenies

Member
Thank you for all the great ideas, everybody! I hadn't thought of a gradual, pokedex like approach, and that seems like a good way to approach it. It provides a nice distinction between obviously seeing/interacting with the enemy and simply happening to encounter it. And I had actually already planned to have books and journals providing miscellaneous lore about the world, so adding lore about specific enemies fits in very well with that. Thanks, guys! :)
 
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