If I ever become a videogame antagonist

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Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:12 am

I've been commenting in IRC a bit on the sillyness of videogame antagonists. So I thought I'd put together an Evil Overlord List-esque list myself. I might add to it, but here's 60 or so to kick things off.

1. Whenever a lone hero with an improbable but iconic weapon arrives in my jurisdiction, I will not leave it to the lightly-armed police. I'll cordon off the entire area and send in the elites immediately.
1A: And when I say cordon, I mean “seal the area” rather than 'provide a satisfactory battle for the hero to win'

2. My soldiers will not run towards thrown rocks.

3. My soldiers will fire on targets immediately rather than waiting half a second so the other guy can shoot first. We can apologise and compensate for accidents later.

4. My soldiers will be trained in critical thinking, and thus recognise that a falling, bullet-filled corpse probably means there's trouble out there.

5. My research facilities will not be on/in an isolated ANYTHING where I cannot get help quickly if things go horribly wrong.

6. All important scientific devices that cannot be made impervious to damage will be carefully constructed so that they neither hum, glow or spin. If any of these things are unavoidable, I'll give serious thoughts to finding some other device that isn't asking for trouble.

7. If the hero can throw our unstoppable energy-projectiles back at us, we will stop firing said projectiles and switch to something they can't throw back.
7A. This also applies to grenades.

8. My vehicles will use a non-standard control system so the hero can't climb in and immediately drive off.

9. My troops will be trained in the use of close combat weapons, noise-detectors and periscopes. This will negate the need to wander slowly around corners to try and find protagonists.

10. If my trained soldiers call desperately for reinforcements, air support or outright nuking of an area, I will listen to their reason for asking for it before angrily denying the request. They are trained soldiers after all.

11. Actually, my trusted second-in-command and the officers under my command can do that. I'll be heading for a nice safe place to direct things from, unless I'm already in one.

12. I will live in a modest residential apartment and be friendly with the neighbours if I am not a military man, unless this is totally impractical. If I am a military man, I will live on-base in standard accommodation with my partner and small children (if applicable). That way it won't look good if the hero bursts in and tries to kill me.

13. I will memorise the Evil Overlord list, and all my trusted officers will be ordered to do so as well. Spot-tests with mandatory “catch-up” sessions for wrong answers will ensure the message gets through.

14. If I receive a job offer to look after a reclusive scientist and his research, I will turn it down. Those gigs never go well.

15. My troops will shout at the hero after killing them. Not before they even shoot at him. Police should challenge the hero to stand down as they would any other criminal.

16. My troops will never dismiss gunfire, movement or explosions as “probably nothing”. They will instead declare a full alert and hunker down until reinforcements arrive. Artillery bombardment of the suspect area should also be considered.

17. Likewise, movement in distant areas will be checked with patrols in the area. If the patrols are not in the area or fail to respond, napalm and/or mortar fire will be applied liberally.

18. My police, military and/or personal goon squad will not stand on rickety structures over the area the hero is transiting in a vehicle.

19. Hazardous chemicals will be stored in approved and regularly inspected areas only. They will not be strewn around in brightly coloured barrels.
20. This obviously also applies to explosives.

21. Our police will not use micro-calibre armor-piercing rounds when they're the only ones wearing armor. They'll use something with more lethality that can't get through their own armor.

22. We will not have insane mutant ANYTHINGS.

23. If we must have them as a result of being hired to protect another villain, we will have it in the contract that they have termination devices built into them so we can kill them instantly and without personal risk by pressing a button. These buttons will be placed liberally across all facilities, even in areas where we are assured it is completely impossible for the insane mutant whatevers to get to, if by some miracle they escape.

24. Before converting all my soldiers to transhuman cyborgs, beast-men, zombies or super-beings, I will make sure this actually improves their soldiering abilities.

25. My soldiers will be trained to shoot at brightly coloured human-shaped targets. Heroes may be stylish, but that's no excuse to miss them so much.

26. I will not have a set of carefully placed manipulable objects that allow a barrier to be bypassed by precise actions. A keypad is simpler, and it actually stops heroes from getting in.

27. My regional strongholds will not all be disabled if one of them happens to explode.

28. On that note, I will never have ONE regional stronghold. Always three or four, with different designs and defense profiles.

29. My troops will never rely on one central communications building, no matter how well guarded it is.

30. My troops will be taught to swim. If they're aliens, cyborgs, armored, or in any other way too heavy to float, we can probably arrange flotation devices. But not being able to pursue the hero across a fifteen meter gap is pathetic.

31. My patrol boat crews will wear approved helmets. No one likes concussion, and it makes shooting the crew and taking the boat much harder.

32. Quad-bikes, 4WD and buggy type vehicles shall also be equipped with appropriate safety gear.

33. If the going gets tough, the tough have an escape clause that lets them get out of their contract. This goes double for mercenaries. I will keep this in mind if I am running a mercenary outfit.

34. I will keep this even more in mind if I am hiring mercenaries.

35. Our elite cyborg soldiers will have at least two eyes. Depth perception is important, even for super-soldiers.

36. If we've got no alternative to POWs, the control chip goes in first, THEN we augment the unwilling victims into super-soldiers.

37. I will not condone crimes of war, crimes against humanity, or crimes against common sense and dignity. My underlings will be aware of this fact as well as the severe punishments involved for committing these crimes.

38. Any soldier equipped with an explosive weapon (rocket launcher, grenade, grenade launcher, etc) will be thouroughly trained in its safe and effective use.

39. When things go to hell, killing everyone who might be able to fix it isn't such a good idea. If I'm masterminding the whole thing, I can arrange a convenient blown fuse, fried mainframe or other crippling defect... and if I'm not then I can kill them after they've fixed it.

40. Our doors will have locks, and we will use those locks, dammit.

41. If we have rocket launchers, we will use them. If the rebel forces/brave heroes/anarchic hippies have rocket launchers and we do not, we will invest in some better rocket launchers.

42. Further to that, all weapons and ammunition will be stored safely in approved, storage areas, which must be kept locked at all times.
43. Wooden crates, tabletops, bookshelves and personal lockers will not be among these approved areas.

44. We will invest in camouflage gear for all soldiers. Said gear will be appropriate to the environment in which they will be fighting.

45. Faceless gas masks, while intimidating, are inappropriate when fighting enemies that don't use gas. Especially when our troops might need to have peripheral vision.
46. Glowing eyes on the combat suits are also right out.

47. If the entire world is opposed to my research that I consider critical to the survival of humanity, I will take the time to have an independent study carried out to see if they've got a point.

48. If I'm going to control the citizens through drugs and rationing, I will ensure these methods actually work. This should be done in a pilot project in an area where no one will notice poor conditions and potential violent insanity from drugged citizens. Eg. High schools and universities.

49. Our soldiers will be professional and courteous to each other and to the local population. That way they'll listen to us when we denounce the hero as a violent psychopath.

50. I will not make televised or radio announcements on a regular basis unless I've actually got something to say. My personal philosophies, while they may be very noble and brilliant and all that, do not count.

51. If the hero is in my personal stronghold, I'd better not be.

52. We will never conduct teleporter experiments. Breaching hell, destroying the universe or filling our facility with aliens is hell on the insurance premiums.

53. Human test subjects will be used only for final testing of procedures and products with their full consent, and will be fully informed and compensated for their participation. They'll also be people we trust, rather than random prisoners/slaves/whatever.

54. Troops will be kept fully informed of the folly of doing exactly what the guy in front of them did if that guy is now dead.

55. I will not use the same plan against the hero(es) twice, even if it worked the first time.

56. My cruel dictatorship will sponsor the arts and sciences and promote open source software. At the very least, we should get some nice stuff out of it, and at most it really hinders the rebels attempts to get the population fired up.

57. My super-serums shall remain out of my body at all times unless they've been tested to well beyond FDA standards.

58. My troops will be trained to dive for cover on seeing a thrown grenade, rather than standing still to return fire and being blown apart.

59. My snipers will be completely hidden from view in strategic areas, protected by a pair of like-wise concealed riflemen. They will not be standing around in full view where they can't use their guns properly.

60. Further to that, any snipers weapon that uses a visible targeting beam even when it's not being fired is automatically vetoed.

61. We won't turn people into zombies. It's really hard to tax dead people, and we want the popular jokes about our revenue department kept to a minimum.

62. We will install neurotoxin emitters in our rivals bases. Not our own. And we especially won't hook them up to unstable experimental AIs.

63. The stockpiling of empty crates will be banned. It's inefficient packaging, and we all need to do our bit for the planet if we're going to rule it.

64. If we are an inter-dimensional totalitarian empire, we will invest in an emergency inter-dimensional communications device that doesn't require us to blow up a city and sacrifice a lot of our forces in order to power it.

65. Our evil trains of evil will not look like anything other than normal rail traffic, and be combined with an efficient and rapid light rail commuter service. That way we can phase out cars, depriving heroes of vehicles and simultaneously making our Generic City of Totalitarian Evil a nicer place for people to live and work.

66. My helicopter gunship crews will be taught to aim.

67. Furthermore, our helicopter squadrons will not use any weapon that require the chopper to fly directly over a target, no matter how useful they might be. Our helicopters will instead hang back a safe distance away, and bombard the target with rockets and automatic weapons. Sure, it's not as visually impressive, but these heroes have annoying habits of using missile launchers on helicopters and/or throwing back our ridiculous inflatable timed-explosive thingies.

68. If I have a flying cyborg-thingie that's immune to missiles, I'll use it as an attack vehicle, not a troop transporter. Especially if my existing flying cyborg thingie with a gun is NOT immune to said missiles.

69. If I'm talking about killing off the regular military personnel and destroying the out-of-control facility, I'm going to at least look around to make sure one of said military personnel isn't in the building. Or the air ducts.

70. On that note, my air-ducts will (as well as being too small to crawl through, as per the Evil Overlord List) have numerous sharp edges, and no conveniently placed ladders.

71. In fact, when designing or converting a building, structure or city to my nefarious purposes, I will hire good architects and see about designing buildings that don't have air ducts in the first place. It'll save a lot of money, and remove a major means of bypassing barriers.

72. If I have doors, walls or other seemingly-fragile structures that are impossible to destroy with rocket launchers, shotguns or portable singularities, I will have my scientists examine them carefully and replicate their amazing strength for use in my soldiers body armor.

73. The breasts of my female soldiers will stay firmly ensconced within standard issue body-armor. It's both sexist and incredibly stupid to do otherwise, and I'm supposed to be a professional here. Likewise, patrolling with a bare midriff is grounds for immediate contract termination, regardless of gender.

74. If I'm going to immaturely taunt the hero, I'll be damned sure not to do it in person.

75. If we don't want the missile/rocket fired, we will blow it up, rather than elaborately guarding it. It's safer in the long run, and prevents the hero from launching it later.

76. On that note, I will drill the troops in the dangers of a liquid-fueled rockets in advance. A dropped WRENCH can make those things explode, and the fumes and smoke can literally melt flesh. So perhaps standing around it with loaded firearms and grenades while setting up tripmines isn't the BEST idea if for some irrational and stupid reason we decide not to just blow it up and stop the hero.

77. On coming to power as a totalitarian dictator (or puppet governor, alien invader or insane genius with blatantly bad ideas, I will have all missile silos, hardened bunkers and secluded forest villages destroyed in advance, rather than let them be used by the resistance later on. Even if they're historic sites, it's too much potential trouble.

78. My elite mercenaries will be trained to stay together and use appropriate weapons when fighting escaped prisoners/mutants/whatever indoors.

79. Silenced weapons and flash suppressors will be issued on an "as needed" basis ONLY when needed, and will never be used by troops guarding an area unless they really need them. We don't need to be quiet when the only people our troops will alert are the people on their own side, and we really do not need a hero sneaking around with a suppressed weapon.

80. All deadly toxins, experimental serums or chemicals with effects that look like they came out of DeadEarth's mutation tables will be clearly labelled and stored out of the reach of any children that might wander into the facility.

81. My soldiers will not rappel in front of moving vehicles.

82. If the hero has been throwing soldiers into walls and tossing them around like matchsticks with it, the glowing device he is carrying is something to be examined at the first opportunity by my scientists, rather than left on my desk while I gloat at my captives.

83. My attack helicopters will be immune to 9mm bullets.

84. My soldiers will not wear gasmasks or balaclavas unless these are strictly necessary. Dehumanising your own men may make them more frightening to the civilians, but it also makes killing them a lot more justifiable in the minds of heroes.

85. Soldiers with radios will actually use them.

86. Soldiers with radios will actually listen to them.

87. My soldiers will not rappel down in front of the hero ever.

88. While dramatic as hell, closing the blast doors on the hero and then moving in to kill him is far less effective than just planting a guy with an RPG on the roof by the skylight and killing him instantly.

89. My attack helicopters will not blow up random bridges, especially if the alternative is swimming through water inhabited by vicious aliens. We may need to USE that bridge later.

90. If my attack helicopters are harder to kill than my tanks, there's something wrong with my tanks.

91. If my soldiers weapons are equipped with underslung grenade launchers, they'll actually use them. The hero has no trouble doing this, so why should we?

92. My soldiers have both too much free time and far too little survival instinct if their first move on capturing the ordnance storage facility is to fill it with tripmines so no one can use it.

93. I will not use tanks in confined spaces.

94. My soldiers will be punished severely if their response to being told to "capture" the hero is to throw him in a trash compactor, still wearing his armor, and with his signature weapon lying around nearby.

95. This goes double if they then don't actually watch him die. Heroes thrive on that kind of mistake.

96. My Black-Ops forces will be trained to avoid tripmines.

97. Maybe it's easier to con people out of their city if I don't start a civil war.

98. If I create a hive mind, I'll make sure I keep it under control.

99. When using the protagonist as an unwitting pawn, I'll ensure they stay that way. Dramatic reveals, while fun, are bad for my long term health.

100. This goes double if my control over the protagonist is easily lost or broken.

101. Maybe banning the uninfected from owning guns isn't such a good idea in a zombie outbreak.

102. My killer robots will have armor plating over critical subsystems.

103. My policemen will be trained to retreat and call for military support if the hero turns up, instead of trying to arrest or murder him. While truncheons against a machine gun or rocket launcher is funny, it's better when my men have the heavy weapons.

104. Likewise, the consequences for use of excessive force will such that they will not attempt to murder the hero at the first encounter. It's really hard to get a protagonist to surrender when your minions have already tried to kill them in cold blood.

105. You know,maybe wiping out the human race is too much trouble to be worth it.

106. My brainwashed, heavily armored lumbering hulks will have a sense of self-preservation.

107. I will not chase random academics around the world hunting ancient artifacts when I could just put the money into more tanks.

108. I will blow up bridges to stop the infected before the infected actually cross them.

109. I won't mess around bombing individual buildings when trying to cover a retreat in the face of an overwhelming horde of infected. FAE and napalm exist for a reason.

110. If I've used the hero as a puppet to put myself in a position of power, settle an old score, overthrow a government, or do my weekly shopping, I will not immediately betray them once the job is done and cause them to take up arms against me. Instead, I will reward them, apologise for keeping them in the dark and explain my motivations in a way that makes logical sense. If necessary, I'll kill them a week later if they decide to turn against me.

111. Never too soon to break out the giant freaking owl. NEVER.

112. Rather than entering the crowded apartment complex to murder everyone in a way that will be easily noticed as something odd, I will stage a gas leak or crash an helicopter into it or something.

113. On covert operations, my men will not be colour-coded for the hero's convenience.

114. I will hire people with more than a 30m vision range. If a recruit is good enough that their poor eyesight does not disqualify them, I will subsidise their LASIK treatment myself if necessary.

115. I will not leave random crates of TNT around the statue of liberty while besieged within it.

116. Maybe I should stick to just taking over the world, and leave the 'merge with a giant supercomputer' thing out of it.

117. For that matter, I will build my giant world-controlling supercomputer merging hardware with a killswitch.

118. The failsafe on my invariably traitorous supersoldiers will kill them immediately. None of this "24 hours to death" nonsense.

119. Maybe I should ask my daughter before trying to merge her with the dead residents of the city to create an ultimate being or whatever.

120. Should probably disable the resurrection machines when it's clear the hero is using them as well.

121. I will lock the door to my super-secure lair.

122. Especially if I know it's the door the hero has to use.

123. Should probably format the sentient supercomputer after disposing of the person who helped me invent it.

124. Let's just avoid tearing holes in reality. Things seem to work better that way.

125. When fighting a supersoldier, my men will not carry gas grenades, flash grenades, or any other form of munition that is useless against their quarry, but very effective if taken from a dead soldier and thrown at their colleagues.

126. Even if it's a key part of my religion, I will not activate any ancient machinery without triple checking what it does first.

127. My troops will be informed of the hazards of opening carefully-sealed doors in ancient structures.

128. My experimental cures for Alzheimer's should not be comparable in effect to the Rage virus.

129. My experimental treatment experiments should not be designed by Doctor Insano.

130. Maybe we should have some security doors or airlocks or something on our orbiting research station so accidents don't spread through the entire station.

131. I will read the SCP wiki before designing any containment system for a reality warper. If this is not possible due to the time period, I'll get them to warp reality so it is possible.

132. If my stolen child has the special ability "Summon Plothole", I will try not to annoy her.

133. And if I'm trying to use her as a weapon against the entire world, it might be a good idea to bring her up with my own philosophies, rather than trying to impose them on her later.

134. I will not be a crazy racist douchekettle. Those guys never win.

135. My giant flying monsters will be taught to swim. Or taught to avoid the water, if the first option is not practical.

136. I will cut power to the medical wing where the cybernetically enhanced meatbag is recovering from surgery, rather than waiting several months for them to wake up and foil my plans.

137. I'll also try developing a faster-charging superlaser while I'm at it.

138. Any plan for world domination should preferably avoid requiring extracting the brains of small children.

139. Maybe avoiding unleashing an apocalyptically bad scenario is worse than not covering up our horrible experiments from a couple of decades ago. Congressional hearings and jail are bad, but at least you can survive them with some dignity.

140. Maybe we should stick to more traditional defense contractor work, rather than chasing the supernatural or ripping holes in the universe or building homicidal AIs?

141. If I can control the every action of my puppet 'hero', and just letting them go after I'm done with them isn't an option (See #110), I will order them to die immediately after I no longer need them, rather than giving them chance to escape and throw off their conditioning.

142. If the hero has rejected a massive bribe, I will not try offering a larger one.

143. I will not inject myself with mutagens when the hero gets close.

144. Maybe taking over the city is better done without levelling half of it and killing almost the entire populace.

145. I will not blather my evil plans into audio diaries. Ever.

146. Entering '0451' into one of my keypads will lock it permanently until reactivated by an authorised security officer, trigger an alarm, seal off the room and fill it with neurotoxic gas.


Games involved so far: Far Cry, Half Life, Half Life: Opposing Force, Half Life: Blue Shift, Half Life 2 & Episodes, Portal/Portal 2, Doom series, Quake II, Black Mesa, System Shock 1 & 2, Bioshock 1 & 2, Bioshock Infinite, Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Halo PC, Interstellar Marines, Ori and the Blind Forest, (although that's more an "if I were a game designer" one), Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis....and a few more I've forgotten.
Last edited by Song on Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:27 am, edited 20 times in total.
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Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:23 am

The good news is I downloaded this onto my Kindle so I can read it when I well.... Read! Thats a very long post, but it sounds like its going to be amusing.

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Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:30 am

63: When a transient threat (eg. a pilgrim of Domina) starts destroying my assets I will withdraw from the region of space until the threat has removed itself rather than throwing good spaceships after bad.

64: I will not base important blockades on ships most vulnerable to exactly the sort of one man spaceships player characters inevitably wind up flying.
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Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:37 am

Oi, my list. :P

I was considering putting things a little like that in later though. Transcendence does follow a few of these (the iocrym blockade relies entirely on spinny glowy beam-shooting devices) already, mind.
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Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:14 am

The Iocrym manipulators aren't spinny.
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Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:07 pm

Atarlost wrote:The Iocrym manipulators aren't spinny.

No, actually they are fluffy!

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Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:53 pm

It looks like Shrike is trying to recreate this list.

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Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:18 pm

Atarlost wrote:The Iocrym manipulators aren't spinny.
They're orbiting around a star. Of course they're spinny.
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Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:17 pm

Heh, I made a short list myself while going through better, harder guard-AI behavior that could be applied to some other games (not sure how applicable it would be to T)
(shpOrder gPlayership 'barrelRoll)
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Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:15 pm

Cirevam wrote:It looks like Shrike is trying to recreate this list.
Hmm, after reading that list, I think that Shrikes is much better...
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Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:17 am

Added 64-72
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Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:10 pm

Does anyone use that anymore, or keeps the quidlines !? I found those not interesting at all..

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Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:39 pm

Now Imagine Designing or Playing a game where the antagonist Did Adhere to these rules...
(func(Admin Response)= true){
if(admin func(amiable) = true)
Create func(Helpful Posts)
else func(Keep Calm and Post derisive topics)}

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Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:04 am

Added 73-80. The rocket-launch bit of Half Life (The end of "On A Rail") shows an AMAZING lack of common sense from the HECU and deserves all the condemnation I can give it in 75 and 76.
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Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:50 am

Added 87-96. Black Mesa has WAY smarter antagonists than any previous Half Life game, but there's still some stuff from it (and Half Life, obviously), which deserves a mention.
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