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Enemies that Learn


Guaigean

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Ok, one thing that's always gotten me, is going through a game the second time or so, and the enemies always have the same abilities and use the same attacks. (Roughly). I would like to see enemies with a high Intelligence that escape the player be able to contribute this knowledge to a basic database of player strengths and weaknesses, evolvable over time. It would have to be too complicated either.

 

Something along the lines of... If the player gets hit with a big cold spell, and takes a lot of damage, then you add a counter to the cold weakness, and it becomes more and more likely the AI in that "Faction" will use this. I've been playing with the idea for a game demo Im working on for employers, but its a free enough idea that using it wouldnt come to any infringement. Then these counters would be polymorphic, and could change throughout the game. Intelligent enemies would have a higher chance than less intelligent enemies to notice these flaws.

 

Just seems like a fun way to add more difficulty and generate an evolving gameplay.

 

P.S. If devs want to hire me for my extreme skills in coding and idea creation, I'm willing :) After I finish college...

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Ok, one thing that's always gotten me, is going through a game the second time or so, and the enemies always have the same abilities and use the same attacks. (Roughly). I would like to see enemies with a high Intelligence that escape the player be able to contribute this knowledge to a basic database of player strengths and weaknesses, evolvable over time. It would have to be too complicated either.

 

Something along the lines of... If the player gets hit with a big cold spell, and takes a lot of damage, then you add a counter to the cold weakness, and it becomes more and more likely the AI in that "Faction" will use this. I've been playing with the idea for a game demo Im working on for employers, but its a free enough idea that using it wouldnt come to any infringement. Then these counters would be polymorphic, and could change throughout the game. Intelligent enemies would have a higher chance than less intelligent enemies to notice these flaws.

 

Just seems like a fun way to add more difficulty and generate an evolving gameplay.

 

P.S. If devs want to hire me for my extreme skills in coding and idea creation, I'm willing :) After I finish college...

Is this for RPG's , or something else ?

 

Assuming its for RPGs then an enemy should not be aware of what you can do in advance. Even though the same player may be playing. It's not the same character. The game would then be taking on the sort of role as those DM's who make it their job to kill the characters by whatever means they need.

 

IWD II did it well on a small scale. If you hit someone with a firebased spell then they would react by casting protection from fire. Of course then smart mages hit them with some other type of spell but it was pretty effective against Sorcerers.

Of course like any counter measure they still have to have access to it before they can use it. Rats casting protection from fire would just be silly.

 

Generally by the time an enemy AI has figured out what you are upto then they are already dead.

 

One of the most fiendish things in IWD.. End encounter. You know its coming so your buffed to the gills in advance. First thing that happens is a dispell magic goes off and your buffs along with it.

 

I went through a phase of playing D&D in the following way. Because everyone knows the basic weaknesses of creatures in advance I came up with a random table.

 

The degree of vulnerabiliy stayed the same but the type was totally at random. So Troll A could be only permenantly killed by Ice and Acid and Troll B could only be killed by Ice and blunt weapons.

 

It wasnt D&D but it really kept the players on their toes and forced them to keep a much wider variety of equipment on hand.

 

Some found the lack of logic really disturbing too. But it was a fun experiment. :)

Whether or not its feasable in a computer game is a different matter. I doubt WOTC would be overjoyed somehow.

I have to agree with Volourn.  Bioware is pretty much dead now.  Deals like this kills development studios.

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I mean for RPG's. Although its rare, some NPC's manage to run away and get away with it. Whats to stop them from relaying information back to their unit? It just seems like an added twist, and an encouragement to make sure that if you do pick a fight, you better finish everyone off.

 

I'm not saying it should know in advance, I'm saying it should pick up things as it goes. At the beginning of each game, the enemy would start with a fresh knowledge base, and it would grow as the game progressed. I don't want to pretend to know what the character has, I want the NPC's to actually figure it out based on hit and run style tactics. Even in my P&P days, you didnt always finish off the enemy. Whats to stop them from building up and coming at ya again after knowing your weaknesses.

 

As far as programming this, it'd be fairly simple. Each faction could just have an array or struct or class (whatever you're familiar with) and it would be dynamically changed after every encounter where an NPC survived and got away.

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I'm not saying it should know in advance, I'm saying it should pick up things as it goes. At the beginning of each game, the enemy would start with a fresh knowledge base, and it would grow as the game progressed. I don't want to pretend to know what the character has, I want the NPC's to actually figure it out based on hit and run style tactics. Even in my P&P days, you didnt always finish off the enemy. Whats to stop them from building up and coming at ya again after knowing your weaknesses.

The Japanese beat you to it :)

Actually its more to do with the way they structure the games where you have several "stalemate" encounters with recurring villains. You might meet a villain 5 or 6 times over the course of the game before you finally get to finish them off for good. Of course in FF games (and in JRPG's in general) 0 hp's represents defeat not death. I got mucho annoyed when I wiped out Maleks Hps in KOTOR and he glibly ran off anyway.

 

(Although any time you get that sort of stalemate encounter would work. BGII with Irenicus. KOTOR with Malak etc.)

 

Aside from those sorts of scripted outcome encounters I dont recall much escaping. It's a very interesting idea though although I think you would kind of have to design the game around it rather than be able to just apply it to any game.

 

That sort of AI would be brilliant in a sort of Gladiatorial fighting game or any game where battles dont always result in death. Killing things is generally the most profitable route though for both Xp and loot.

I have to agree with Volourn.  Bioware is pretty much dead now.  Deals like this kills development studios.

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Killing things is generally the most profitable route though for both Xp and loot.

Sadly this is true, and has a tendency to create a slaughter fest rather than roleplay. What I was going for in mine was more of the fact that people don't always fight to the death. I think that is a problem that occurred in the game world over time. Many people if faced with death or running away will run away. Some games do this, and as a poor example even Everquest NPC's flee when they are severely hurt. In large battles, it would be very common for people to slip away while the player is too busy fighting off other things.

 

As far as implementing the code. All it would require is adding an array to each faction, and doing a single function call at the end of each combat loop where people got away. Could be added to pre-existing code without too much of an issue as long as its designed modularly.

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Sadly this is true, and has a tendency to create a slaughter fest rather than roleplay. What I was going for in mine was more of the fact that people don't always fight to the death. I think that is a problem that occurred in the game world over time. Many people if faced with death or running away will run away. Some games do this, and as a poor example even Everquest NPC's flee when they are severely hurt. In large battles, it would be very common for people to slip away while the player is too busy fighting off other things.

 

As far as implementing the code. All it would require is adding an array to each faction, and doing a single function call at the end of each combat loop where people got away. Could be added to pre-existing code without too much of an issue as long as its designed modularly.

Best of luck trying to sort that one out :)

 

As most people just see them as virtual avatars there isnt anything that would really stop you killing them.

 

I mean if you get into a scuffle with someone in a pub both the law and your own morality will probably keep you from killing them. Knocking them down is more than enough.

 

In a game neither law or morality exists in an enforcable way. So if someone starts with you in a pub you can kill them and rifle through their pockets. Its the most profitable route as well most likely.

 

Yep but in EQ its either nuke them down before they pull a huge train on you. Or simply follow them along and hit them till they fall over. Likewise if your in slo motion mode and there is a monster on your tail, more than likely your not getting away. One reason I liked the Beastlord class so much :)

Having to account for things fleeing does add strategy but in all the time I played very few critters actually escaped unless a train was coming.

I have to agree with Volourn.  Bioware is pretty much dead now.  Deals like this kills development studios.

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Partly that is due to the unrealistic aspects of many games. Players run away all the time, what stops an NPC? I realize that not a lot of games do it, but what stops them from starting. Innovation is the key to keeping the public interest. That and useless flashy graphics to distract the mob.

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Partly that is due to the unrealistic aspects of many games. Players run away all the time, what stops an NPC? I realize that not a lot of games do it, but what stops them from starting. Innovation is the key to keeping the public interest. That and useless flashy graphics to distract the mob.

Well you know that in battle the majority of casualties are caused when one side or the other routs.

 

If the AI breaks and flees. The rat packs do this in FOBOS. The rats split up and find a corner to hide in. Of course its then just a matter of finding them and hitting them once or twice.Althouh in the case of rats they could just as easily bolt into sewer grates or ventilation shafts. At least then you deprive the character of easy XP :)

 

In my experience the AI isnt very adept at spotting when the player is about to run, or dosnt have the abilities to keep up with them.

So the player has a much easier time of fleeing combat than an AI does. Bit like Zoning in EQ. After all the AI really has no where to go.

 

It would however make for some interesting battles where the leader tries to run and the minions try to hold you off long enough for them to escape. Otherwise you have those kinda cheesey disapearing enemies.

I have to agree with Volourn.  Bioware is pretty much dead now.  Deals like this kills development studios.

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