Day/Night Maps

You could have a night/day map that modifies the instantaneous spawn chances of creatures and nests.  It may only add a couple extra sets of calculations to the “does it spawn” roll.  I’m assuming the server only spawns nests (and creatures) within range of a player, and then drops them after some period of no player coming within range of them, though since you could “follow” a fleeing jedi by “following” creature nest spawns, the player range should be greater than his view or there should always be some percentage of spawns.

How would a night/day map work?  Each creature has a “time of day” attribute that determines when it tends to spawn.  This is just a negative, zero, or positive value.  The day/night map is a gradient map consisting of -1,0,+1 that is moved across the world map.  Every time the computer is calculating spawn chances, it just multiplies the two to get the “day/night” factor used in the “does it spawn” calculation.   The greater the negative in the “time of day” attribute, the more extreme the nocturnal behavior of the creature.  The greater the positive, the more “only daytime hours kept”.  If it’s zero, then it can be found equally in the day and night.

Every time the computer rolls a “possible spawn” opportunity, it gets what the current “day/night” factor from the day/night gradient map, uses that to eliminate the critter nest that would definitely not spawn at that moment, calculates which one actually spawns, and then spawns it.  So there would be two extra sets of calculations, in addition to database hits.

Immersion would be something else, and I think the implementation shouldn’t be too tough.  Besides, if we found the server load to be too high from it, all we have to do to drop it is eliminate the day/night calculation from the “does it spawn” calculation and disable the movement of the day/night map.

Imagine locations where player actually feel a sense of urgency to leave an area before it gets dark.  At night, the big nasties come out.  Imagine getting stuck out in the dark where you can’t see very far, and as your group is making their way back to the safety of a fort, your flash lights swing around to reveal an enormous, slobbering Rancor about to pounce on you.  You could do some serious horror-like stores and events.