ARCHIVAL: thoughts on Quake monsters

....I do think you need to think of the Quake monsters on an individual basis occasionally. And at least when I do, I start to see some strong distinguishing categories forming. There are monsters that absolutely define the encounter, like you’re saying with the Vore, Fiend, Shambler.

And then there is a large class of monsters that I think are more or less just padding for a fight, there to make the territory control puzzle harder to calculate. I’m talking like the knight, both types of the guys with guns, scrags, dogs. These monsters are the ones I am trying not to over use or have create a feeling of sameness. I think the size of this monster class is probably due to the multiple worlds thing in Quake, and it’s leading to an interesting challenge for me to puzzle out the nuances of each one of them to be able to design something smart.

A monster like an ogre and death knight, to my mind, feel like a third class because they just have slightly more versatility to them than these filler mobs. They are also not as forceful and won’t always define an encounter like a shambler, vore, or (given the geometry) a fiend will.

It isn’t useful to think one monster is going to do enough to create the complex friction of what we mean when we talk about a combat encounter, you’re right. A shambler may feel like it’s the main feature of one, but there are many things contributing to a good encounter. It’s just in my opnion the roster of monsters in Quake is a bit quirky. I’ve seen some say it’s uneven or that there are clearly best, and I understand these points but don’t agree with them wholly either. The subtle strengths and drawbacks and affordances of that filler class of mobs (which I admit to not fully understanding) maybe just kind of complicates a lot of the instinctual level design knowledge I’ve picked up on as a player, whose most formative FPS experiences were with the super readable and hierarchical monster roster of Halo.

Anyway, these are just my newb thoughts.

posted eleswhere maybe around May 2023