So I have set up about a week to let multiple people playtest the mod that lead to some realisations.
- The FIRST and main thing is that dynamic monster ai is way too restrictive and unfun. It's ironic, but having to make EVERY SINGLE monster encounter dynamic limits my creativity and basically forces me to build every level with a monster in it around that. I can't just make any puzzle because it has to be one that can be done quickly while the monster is patroling somewhere else, and also I have to place it in a location the monster is sure to either completely miss in its patrol area or leaves for longer times. The best example to this is the puzzle downstairs in the Wine Cellar. You have to find a saw to cut down the goo from the path that blocks your way, but midway the puzzle comes the monster that never leaves and since the puzzle way built for the one way the player is supposed to play (evade the monster sneakily and do the puzzle when it's not near), it even broke the puzzle (it could basically kill you while you were completing it and finish it when you were dead resulting in the monster never actually returning). I even had to make adjustments to the level that only exist because the player needs hiding places just in case the monster goes that way after the player (dynamic pathing and such). Not only that but it is needlessly lengthy for me to make.
The only part that has been built around the player evading the monster and is actually good has such a small play area that the monster does not even need dynamic pathing to patrol the entire place. Just wanted to note that as well against monster dynamic pathing.
- The SECOND thing is dieing is not scary. One thing I noticed during the playtest sessions is that the players are more or less afraid of the monster for the first time, until they die. Then the more they die the progressively the monster becomes a nuisance that they try to skip by running past and throwing barrels at them. This is most likely the reason monsters disappear in the main game after you die to them.
- The THIRD thing is including the guardian into the mod was one of the best things from a horror perspective. Every playtester agreed on that the "unbodied sounds" of the guardian is the most memorable part of the entire thing which I am very grateful for because I spent a lot of time implementing it well and actually had more fun making guardian parts than monster parts.
So my plan is that I will rework the monsters into more like they are in the main game with a few parts deliberately built for dynamic monsters (mainly referring to one of the paths dedicated to one of the monsters) and try and make the entire thing scarier, more like a horror game whitout the monsters. The good thing is that most of the story is already thought out, I just need a way to tell it properly (perhaps flashbacks?). I will also (if I didn't already) rewrite the mod's bio to reflect my current plans.