I've spent many hours working on the monster catalogs for the Bards Tale games. They have always very reliably followed the 16 monsters per level rule (ie, there are exactly 16 different types of monsters that can be randomly encountered on a level, not including "specials" or monsters summoned by other monsters). This was true for Bards Tale I, and for all 416 randomly-encountered monsters in Destiny Knight. Thief of Fate looked like it was beautifully following along the footsteps of its predecessor.
Then I hit Gelidia. All of the sudden, I was only encountering 10 monsters per level. I spent hours crawling over the icy wastelands of Gelidia looking for those extra 6 monsters, trying stuff like walking zig-zag (It appears that at least the IIe and C64 versions of these games use a random-generator whose seed is derived from whatever your previous moves were. So if you endlessly walk in a straight line, or if you constantly stand in one place, you will cycle through the exact same 3 or 4 encounters over and over again)
Finally, I gave up, and concluded that for whatever reason, Gelidia has only 10 monsters per level. I shrugged, and reasoned that at least 10 is a nice round number, and it did make monster hunting noticeably quicker. Lucencia looked like it was sticking to 10 monster per level as well. Then I visited Cyanis' Tower, where I found 11 monsters per level. And THEN, in Alliria's Tomb I found 12! I feel like one of the very fundamental laws of physics has just been broken.
But I'm still going to have to go back through all these levels yet again to make 100% sure that I didn't somehow miss some random monsters that never came up thanks to a fluke of probability.
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No, not really. I believe it's "random", but the algorithm for generating random events is flawed. This causes you to meet from time to time a few recurrent combinations and numbers of monsters, but there is nothing consistent that lets you say, for example, sorcerers are always encountered with skeletons or something like that.Darendor wrote:As a bit of an aside, I don't suppose during your treks through the previous two games you found a pattern to how monsters were generated did you?
The flaw in the random generator becomes more obvious when you do things repetitively -- as I said, I believe the seed plugged into the random function is probably derived from whatever your previous moves were.
For example, in BT2 for the IIe, a trick I've used for my monster-hunting expeditions is to crank up the emulator speed to maximum, which dramatically speeds up the encounter rate and spell-point regeneration rate (everybody has a mage staff). If you stand in one spot, not touching the keyboard except to dispose of a group of monsters, you will continouously cycle through the exact same 3 or 4 encounters. As soon as you start moving around, you will meet other things. I've done this in the Maze of Dread level 1 to endlessly fight Dream Mages, who are one of the best sources of free experience points in the game. I haven't tried this with the C64 version, since VICE seems to be a bit less stable when it runs these games in warp mode.