I am focusing my efforts on the behaviour of the monsters in my Gauntlet-esque game.
I want the player to be able to move freely shooting anything that comes at him. Similarly I want the monsters to move convincingly around the level effectively trying to sniff out the player.
I decided to take another closer look at Gauntlet courtesy of YouTube.
What struck me was how unintelligent the monsters actually are. In my mind the ghosts and wizards had walked around the walls to seek out the player. What actually happens is that they line up against the wall in a big huddle waiting for a clear shot at the player.
In essence they are happy to correct one co-ordinate at a time. That is: where the PlayerX co-ord is less than the MonsterX they will run to correct the difference. If a wall stands in their way they continue to correct the X co-ord but simply bump up against the wall.
Where the Y co-ord is different the monster will simply slide up and down the wall in an attempt to correct that co-ordinate as well.
What doesn’t happen is the monster intelligently looking for another route. At least I didn’t see that kind of behaviour.
This is hugely encouraging since my own game code would take an enormous hit if I had to implement paths.
It all boils down to what is acceptable to the gamer as a challenge. I am convinced that if I can get close to Gauntlet’s style of play I will have enough of a gaming challenge. I literally do want the monsters to line up and be shot. I want them to fall in to position such that I can hurl magic at them. I will have to address the one strike and your out element of the game just now. Perhaps re-employing the health status as before (and of course as Atari do it themselves).