Author Topic: Are mobs too stupid?  (Read 18360 times)

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Aemon

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2013, 07:18:04 AM »
As a player, I haven't encountered a sky scout as a NPC (maybe I've just been doing the wrong zones).

I'd be willing to incorporate my skybot and healbot code into Arctic, both of which have been stress tested in pk. The NPC healbots like Amity and Walcanar are pretty dumb..

If the staff wants my druidbot or barbbot, I can contribute those as well.

Jorquin

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2013, 09:36:54 AM »
i noticed that a lot of dumb scout mobs try and shoot me when i'm rolling around on my thief

they never have bows, so if i fail the evade it doesn't show. but sometimes it's funny to see me evade their shoot skill as they engage

gulca

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2013, 12:30:06 PM »
i noticed that a lot of dumb scout mobs try and shoot me when i'm rolling around on my thief

they never have bows, so if i fail the evade it doesn't show. but sometimes it's funny to see me evade their shoot skill as they engage

I think its a bug of some sort. There are a few mobs that don't seem to do anything (beside melee) if you are using other classes. If you are using thief, they are actually using skills on you through the evade messages. Ghost skills?

Hoss

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2013, 07:28:19 PM »
Quote
5. Chain-bashing
  This would be avoided at all costs, but I would like to see mobs bashing casters more often, rather than bashing the tank.

BRB going to write a mob special so all feral cats chain bash at 100%

Alecto

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2013, 09:49:44 PM »
I distinctly remember a point where mobs starting bashing even when players were sitting (i.e. chain-bashing).  It really sucked.  I am glad that doesn't happen as often anymore.

If there were an improvement in mob AI I would really like to see it done mostly for end-game type mobs.  I don't think anyone wants the undead girl in the old solace magic school to start spamming color spray, or for Tultuk to start casting nightmare...

Joseph Norton

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2013, 01:44:07 AM »
Gulca, had a great idea going earlier in this thread.  I put it up to a couple of the University coders and they think this would be a great thing.  These guys code...all day...what a life.  One of them was talking about a Star Wars MUD that has implemented something like that already and it drastically changed the game, for the better. 

Joe

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2013, 07:47:04 PM »
I like it when watchmen enter a room with the corpse of a young boy or a girl and don't give a rats ass.

I know that's not the code you're talking about...but it's still pretty funny :)

Terk

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Yes and no.
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2013, 05:27:53 PM »
As a creator, I'd say I made mobs basically as smart as I wanted them to be.

Some trivial fights do some weird stuff. Druid mobs casting resist heat when fighting a tank.

Mobs are stupid. Making them smarter hurts primarily mid level soloers.

Any mob for high levels considered too stupid can probably be adjusted on a case by case basis.

Chisul

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2013, 07:46:33 PM »
I agree with Terk on this. At first I was intrigued by the idea of mobs that play more like players. I think, so some extent, we have that in a number of mid and high level zones. Especially the new zones. I really enjoy watching a scout or shaman mob doing things that scouts and shaman do. Cleric mobs that animate would be another great example of mobs being "smart".

I'm all for tailoring specific fights the players or staff feel are broken...I know it's labor intensive and if I could code worth a crap I would help out.

Matt

Jarrad

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2013, 01:21:49 PM »
Personally I don't think mobs are too stupid generally. BUT some tweaking could be done, scouts should be using some form of instincts and fencing and riposting and wildfiring and there should be some form of shooting system put in place for those with bows (give them quivers and arrows). Barbarians should use their dances... Thieves should stab after couping... Probably not much need for paladin mobs to be memorizing righteous indignation... I would also suggest giving some mobs legendary status/skills. I think the wondering mobs like cabre fordus raple shyn and newport guildmasters could all be made legend as well as most boss mobs in high level zones... I would personally suggest a case by case approach with some testing after it is added. I thought giving dragons nightmare and blastwave etc was cool, but the 30 minute wear off for blastwave effect was not cool...

By testing, it would be quite cool to have <GOD> chars shouting to form a group to run the zones to test em using the playerbase as guinea pigs...

Nasredin

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My thoughts on adjusting the mob AI, very briefly
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2013, 10:57:58 AM »
1)
Q: Why do we need smarter mobs at all?

A: To make the fights more challenging; in most games (and especially so in Arctic), challenge = fun.
"No more challenges" == "Game completed, move on".

2)
Q: Why not use alternative ways to make the fights more challenging?

A: The alternative way is to use brute force, make Cyan once again += 3000 hp and immune everything.
The downside is that extremely strong and extremely stupid mobs often have some trivial yet fatal weakness. Once the players discover it, the mob becomes easy.
If no such weakness exist, the only way to fight brute force is with even more brute force, which usually means a lot of grinding (run the same well-known zones again and again to gather 100 heal potions etc.)

3)
Q: Is it at all possible to implement smart AI?

A: Of course, yes. Many if not most of the players have lots of triggers and actions in their clients and issue fighting commands semi-automatically or even completely automatically (bots).

I have already suggested an idea to make a tournament of bots (the participants must submit their code for everyone to see). That code is exactly the AI we're looking for.

Unfortunately, that code may be written in a billion of different programming languages and would require porting to Arctic, which is a significant amount of implementation work.

4)
Q: Are there easy ways to implement smarter AI? Preferably in small increments, so that each part of the AI could be implemented and tested independently?

A: Yes. Each trigger or action usually implements some logic (a business rule). The examples could include:
- Bash the opponent only when they're standing (not sitting)
- Do not dispell the opponent when they're held
- If the opponent is a healer and is at low hp (or has a healer in group and the main tank is at low hp), disable (silence/hold/bash, even blind would work) the healer rather than concentrate on maximum pure damage
etc. etc.

A lot of such rules could be implemented independently.

5)
Q: Once we have some rules implemented, what are the easy ways to fine-tune the AI?

A: Some such rules are already implemented and work in the game. Without giving away too much info, I will just say that one of such rules work on mobs with int/wis > a certain threshold and dramatically changes their behaviour. I would even guess that most players consider it a feature of the mob, rather than an AI rule.

Further on, wis is currently an underused stat for the mobs, since there are alternative ways to set spell slots and skill levels. Thus I guess wis could be used as an AI parameter:
- Every AI rule gets a wis value
- Every mob uses only AI rules of their wis level or below

From the roleplaying (i.e. the background story) point of view, a frog may be very stupid and yet (instinctively) very wise, while a powerful renegade mage may be extremely intelligent (high int) and yet completely clueless (low wis). They made the wrong decision of not joining conclave, after all!

Thus, the low level zones may still have weak and primitive mobs, while the high level ones may be wiser, or buffer, or both. And all that is easily adjusted by using just one parameter of the mob. On top of that, whenever a new AI rule is implemented, all sufficiently wise mobs start using it immediately - there is no need to manually update any ob the mobs individually.

6)
Q: More fine-tuning?

A: Why not!

I see 2 very different stances of the AI, let's call them 'assassin' and 'survivalist':
Assassin tries to kill as many players as possible, not matter if they die too in the process;
Survivalist does just that and tries to survive for as long as possible, even if they occasionally miss the opportunity to deliver the timely fatal blow to the opponent.

For maximum challenge, the 'boss' mobs (any mob that loads something nice and shiny, or a key to the chest with treasure) should be survivalists, while the passable mobs should have assassin priorities.

Example:
I'm a healer, both me and my opponent are at awful.
Survivalist: heal myself (I'm Amity, I got infinite heals anyway) and let the opponent also be healed/flee/recall.
Assassin: harm the opponent to death, no matter if their groupmates kill me the next round.

Now, every AI rule may get a rating -100 to 100 on the assassin-survavalist scale (0 is a neutral rule, equally good for any mob). Every mob also gets a rating on that scale as a parameter and when choosing what to do, tries to chose the rules with the rating similar to their own.

Certainly, such fine-tuning would require a lot of implementation work (and will likely never be implemented). I provided it just as an example.


gulca

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2013, 12:04:42 PM »
@ Nasredin

I've said this in one of the "bot" post before, but I'm going to bring it up again.

The AI of the mobs or special mobs in general do not need to be from the Arctic code.

There is nothing to stop a local admin to start a session of tintin++ and connect to Arctic as a "mob" and load the AI codes like a regular player. Here you have a admin controlled "bot" player that loads tintin++ codes for AI.

The advantage of this is there are codes from the players that are available right now, and we can develop any new ones to fit the situation. You don't need to mess with any C code or whatever code Arctic is in.

So a normal reboot requires a main script to load up all the bot/player scripts and set them in the zone once the game has finish rebooting.

Leverage is the key. This allows user/player contents without ever needing to open up Arctic. 

jingo

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2013, 12:50:02 PM »
If mobs are both too stupid and too easy, then sure, an across the board AI buff could be reasonable.  However, if you're happy with the difficulty of mobs but want to boost the AI, then you probably should also reduce them in other ways to make up for the buff.

I've played on some MUDs where mobs fight like players, but they also had the stats of players.  Other MUDs have absolutely no AI and make mobs significantly buffer than players.  Arctic falls somewhere inbetween.  If you shift more towards the former AI-wise you should probably do the same with stats (meaning less stats).  Making mobs both smart and buffer than players makes for an increasingly frustrating game.

Alecto

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2013, 07:25:55 PM »
I misread the thread...I thought it was asking if SOB was too stupid...

the answer is no, they are the perfect amount of stupid as they are!

:)

Nasredin

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Re: Are mobs too stupid?
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2013, 03:21:28 AM »
The AI of the mobs or special mobs in general do not need to be from the Arctic code.

There is nothing to stop a local admin to start a session of tintin++ and connect to Arctic as a "mob" and load the AI codes like a regular player. Here you have a admin controlled "bot" player that loads tintin++ codes for AI.

Well, what you offer would be a brilliant solution for an imm-run quest or any other short-term activity. If we need to create some content with smart AI really fast (and throw it away after the event), a player script that runs out of the box sounds pretty good.

However, every IT admin knows that providing support in a heterogenous environment is a nightmare. All may work fine at the moment of implementing, but any changes - even minor, such as changing the wording of game messages - may break the client scripts. Similarly, a patch or an update to OS may break the client itself.

To give you an example, we both are oldtimers and you must remember the area tomb or Ramir. For whatever reasons (I'm not familiar with every detail of the issue, perhaps Aristox may bring more light on it) the creator of the zone decided to use custom code rather than rely on standard cretion specs. And all worked fine until the changes introduced during one of the wipes proved to be incompatible with the code that ran Ramir. Since the original creator was no longer around (or didn't care to re-write the code, not sure here too), and none of the active coders was willing to debug the mess written by someone else, the area became no longer functional and was deleted.

In fact, it's all about one of the basic rules of engineering: the fewer types of elementary components you use in your design, the more robust and reliable is your construction.