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04/29/06: THE MAIN EVENT

Some monsters are "soft-footed" and don't leave footprints, like The Gob. Others only leave footprints in softer ground (The 52-Foot Woman, Crawling Eyeball, etc). The largest monsters leave footprint craters everywhere, even on cement or asphalt. Footprints can also give away the position of an invisible monster, so you have to be careful where you walk when you're invisible.


Bombs impact the ground in much the same way -- if one lands in soft soil (sand, marsh, shallow water) there's a good chance it may not explode. Other bombs may be duds no matter where they land (earlier-era bombs are less reliable than modern bombs). At that point, the unexploded bomb becomes an unstable, possibly hidden (there may be a crater), hazard and could detonate if a monster steps on it, something damages it, or even just at random.

There are underground gas and water mains, electrical transformers and sewers hidden throughout the city. Monsters that leave footprints on cement can rupture these if they step on one. Gas mains and water mains are placed in our map editor (see image below), usually in major streets,and have a certain percentage chance of appearing.

Mains in MapEd

Each time the map is loaded, the game engine decides which gas and water mains will be active, so it's not the same every time you play the game. When a gas main explodes, it creates a fountain of fire that rages for a long time. When a water main ruptures, a stream of water splashes up -- normally not hazardous except to monsters that fear water. Sewer ruptures spew, uh, well, you can probably imagine. Be glad your computer has no USB scent-emitting device.

gas main water main

We also have land mines, but those are usually only found on military training bases or if the military's minelayer units have been deployed. Sea mines (see below) can be deployed by patrol boats as well. Any monster or large vehicle hitting these mines will trigger them. Near chemical and industrial plants, there may be underground steam, fuel or chemical lines which can rupture like the gas & water mains.

Mine, all mine...

An optional monster special ability is X-ray vision, which lets the monster see all these hazards and avoid them. For example, the Giant Plant has "root talk": it can sense the presence of mines or underground hazards by communicating with its fellows in the plant kingdom through their "root network". Ed: This is apparently the same means by which my tomato plants tell each other to commit mass suicide every year before I can get even one &%$%* tomato.


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