So we've got a theme going as far as hostile mobs in Minecraft go. Undead.
In another thread I thought up the idea of two ethereal mobs. Here I'll try to improve them a bit and "flesh" them out.
A Poltergeist, and a Shadow.
Both would have some of the same qualities: They would die instantly in sunlight (bursting into flames, but not lasting a little while like Zombies and Skeletons do). Optionally, they could both float through solid materials, but not living matter (Such as wood, leaves, other mobs, or grass). Both should probably be immune to traditional attacks, but still be vulnerable to fire, sunlight, explosions, and perhaps gold weapons.
The Poltergeist would be a redstone entity. It would only be about as hostile as a pig (in the sense that it might push you off a cliff).
Poltergeists would exist purely to make life in dark caves deep underground hellish. They would be totally invisible for the most part (Becoming only slightly visible when in the brightest area of a torch) and would otherwise only be visible for short amounts of time as they flicker into view before disappearing again.
Poltergeists would spawn near Redstone sources, be they torches and dust placed by a player, or stone naturally occurring in the ground (provided the area is dark enough to spawn mobs). Additionally, the poltergeist itself would hold a charge, causing doors to open and close, circuits to malfunction, and in a worst-case-scenario set off TNT. They would be neutral, but would follow the player around (close enough to bump them, usually, making standing near chasms dangerous).
In addition, Poltergeists could perhaps twist a player's camera causing disorientation. To make this especially confusing, the "twist" would only happen at 90 degree increments, making the player's perspective of the surrounding area remain relatively the same (giving the illusion that the room in front of you just changed, until you figure out you're just facing a different direction).
If possible, it would also be neat if poltergeists could move objects around (so dropped ore could suddenly be whisked across a room, or into a nearby chasm), change the placement of torches/light sources, and change the words on signs (Scrambling them).
Shadows, on the other hand, would be far more malevolent. They would be totally invisible unless in the vicinity of a torch (just like a poltergeist), but would darken the area around them greatly. In addition they would increase the chances of mobs spawning in the areas near them. Shadows would be neutral as well, following the player around, but if attacked would attempt to suffocate the player by moving into them (Causing air bubbles to appear as though you were drowning). Shadows would only spawn near obsidian, making them relatively rare (as obsidian usually is not in a dark area, due to Lava nearby)
Both of these mobs would look mostly the same. Perhaps like translucent floating creepers, but the poltergeist would be a white shade, and the Shadow would be inverted.
Some parts are good. I like the idea of having them do what you said. My issue is, that they should be killable and visible. Sure they could be semi-transparent, but not invisible, that would be stupid imo. I also don't like how they could only show up near certain blocks, bad idea. You can make obsidian with water on lava source blocks. That would be bad, especially if done in your base since it takes so long to break. Walking through walls is also bad, but maybe jumping 2 blocks would do well since they don't hurt you directly.
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So you say 1.4 is fail because you don't know how to update your server? WTF
Thats like saying all cars fail because you don't know how to put gas in them.
Well, the idea is that they are mostly harmless, that's why they have strange spawn locations (Which can even make them end up in your base) and are very mobile. The invisibility is so you don't know what's happening. When stuck down in a cave for a long period of time, having a poltergeist following you around could make a guy pretty paranoid, which is the intended effect. If they weren't totally invisible (most of the time) then they wouldn't have nearly the intended fear effect and would become rather mundane nuisances.
Also, thanks. The poltergeists carrying a charge wasn't my original intent, but as soon as I thought of it I realized how perfect it would be. If Notch were to implement torches/lanterns being effected by redstone circuity, you'd have all the intended effects of a poltergeist haunting your base... Doors opening and closing on their own, lights flickering on and off... And you'd have the damn guy following you around the whole time spinning you in circles and trying to bump you off ledges? Perfect.
Also, it might be good for the poltergeist to have a slightly larger, but random field of redstone current, that way you can't attempt to trap a poltergeist and use it to power your circuits in some sadistic way...
Keep moving away and swinging wildly hoping to hit it sounds like the best choice of action of a Shadow's trying to kill you.
Considering it's literally moving on top of you, hitting it wouldn't be an issue. The issue would be having the MEANS to kill it (assuming it's made so that only gold can hurt it, maybe).
Also, the reason why I had them turn slightly visible whenever near bright light is to hint at their weakness to sunlight, I suppose. If they were visible in the dark it would be counter-intuitive, as most mobs usually dwell in the dark, thrive in the dark... Doesn't make sense that a mob would (technically) be weaker in the dark.
Though having them invisible due to light may make them more of a threat if these things spawn in your dwelling however (as dwellings are usually well lit).
Good, but PORTALS are made of obsidian. And I have enough crap from ghasts, I DON'T NEED SHADOWS SPAWNING NEAR MY PORTALS!!!
However, There should be these "DARK SPIRITS" that spawn around portals, and don't despawn. However, there is a max amount based on how many portals you have.
Portals DARK SPIRITS
...and so on, following the Fibonacci sequence. Remember, this is how many DARK SPIRITS are in the entire map.
They are hostile, and when in melee range will begin sucking your blood, one tick per second, draining 1 heart the first tick, 2 the second, and 3 the rest of the ticks. They would have 10 hearts, like most, and the speed of a spider. They would drop something awesome, like 0-2 bloodstone ingots. wait.....
i'll start a thread on that....
I had posted this idea before I even knew about the Portals being made of Obsidian, haha. Honestly I don't think it's that bad of an idea, still (but then again I'm a supporter of things coming THROUGH the gate to get at you).
Yeah, the Shadow is a far simpler design, I haven't thought of much to make it more interesting. Perhaps now that the Nether is around it could be a Nether Mob with some more malevolent traits to make it a darker aspect of the Poltergeist.
how about having shadows just a 3x3 moving zombie spawn? only spawning in light areas to spawn zombies in your base? just a small shadow on the ground, moving towards you, but keeping its distance and not malevolent and killable if you put a torch directly in its center or something?
I like the idea of poltergeists. I think they should have enough control over redstone circuits to be able to open doors to let other mobs in…except creepers. Poltergeists should at least not ruin your house like creepers, and it would be horrible to have one let a creeper in when you think you are safe. Although…that would make it more interesting…
I like this idea. They should definitely be kill-able somehow, but gold weapons seems too easy. Best case scenario is for these mobs to be implemented alongside official support for RuneCraft and have a large & complicated exorcism rune that preferably involves gold, redstone, and some obsidian (these things should be painful to get rid of), but I don't know how Notch feels about RuneCraft, so that may not be possible. Then again, if they're completely invisible except when one or two blocks away from a torch, that might be enough of a challenge. And direct sunlight shouldn't kill them outright, just prevent them from manifesting their powers.
First of all, bear in mind that this means you will have to pursue the ghost to get in Melee range in order to kill it, because there is no golden bow or arrows. Second, to carry around a second weapon that's only purpose is to dispatch ethereal mobs is difficult enough compared to the current mechanics revolving around killing existing mobs.