Ravenloft: Prisoners of the Mist

Suggestions, Feedback & Bug Reports (OOC) => Module Feedback and Suggestions => Topic started by: Ric on July 11, 2008, 04:26:30 PM

Title: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 11, 2008, 04:26:30 PM
Wanted to bring this up becuase it's been irritating me for the longest time.  As far as I've known for the last bunch of months, the AI for hostile NPCs have been programmed to target party members based on stats.  If I'm not mistaken, they aim for the lowest level (Or at least lowest members AC-wise) before targeting the tougher formidable opponents.  I think this needs to change, becuase it's more or less exploitive and bothersome over productive towards stopping players from bunnying their lowbie friends through dungeons.

The thing is:  No one really ever bases their parties on how high/low level someone is, since our server (thankfully) doesn't limit players to "You must be within x levels of range to party together".  Now, while some people will say "You shouldn't take someone who's level 5-6 in the were-wolf den or the alhoon lair", I can honestly say that there are advantages that some people have over others, stat-wise, regardless of levels.  Also, there are classes, such as rogues, that become useless most of the time when they travel with higher levels, since they can't even do sneak attacks without pulling aggro from the NPCs, and then you have the 'tank' characters that are constantly bitching becuase they're like "Dude, I'm tanking, stop pulling aggro" and the poor rogues are going "I'm not, the AI's meta-gaming me."

Can we please have the AI's respond to actual 'threats' rather than "I'm going to meta-game and go for the lower levels first" ?  The thing is, I like (and many others do as well) taking lowbies in dungeons, especially if IC takes them there, but in a lot of situations, the lowbies get buggered becuase if they keep drawing aggro, we have to cast invisbility on them and force them to not participate in the dungeon crawl, and then they get bored and force themselves to leech exp instead of participate.  I'm pretty sure the Devs designed this AI to prevent exp-leechers, but this doesn't stop the problem, it only encourages leeching, becuase since the lower levels can't participate, you have to feed them invisbility spells and keep them out of the battle.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: KoopaFanatic on July 11, 2008, 04:46:21 PM
Agreed.  I noticed this for the first time yesterday.  Mariska and Corvin were going after Gilos, and almost without fail the spectres and allips would ignore the giant wolf and the guy beating on them with a magic hammer to attack the archer ineffectually pinging them with arrows from the other side of the room.  Didn't really make a whole lot of sense. :|
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Zarathustra217 on July 11, 2008, 05:03:10 PM
There's no hidden philosophy in this change other than trying to make it more sensible - and less exploitable. As players you attack the monsters with much the same considerations.

However, I agree that it should be tuned to not go so much after the lower levels, especially when it should consider them harmless.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 11, 2008, 05:20:23 PM
I personally find exploitive/bothersome to a dangerous degree.  Here's an example (and one that I've seen done several times in game):

A super-DP'd level 10 character with high damage reduction traveling with a level 12 rogue.  The DP'd character is basically invincible, but becuase being low level, attracts all hostile attention on him.  Meanwhile, while that character is sitting absorbing all the damage, the rogue is spamming sneak attacks without ever drawing attention.

~

That same rogue partying with a level 15 tank now becomes completely useless.  The level 15 tank runs into a room and draws all aggro, and then as soon as the level 12 rogue sneak attacks a target, all of the hostiles turn from the tank to the rogue.


~~~

The thing that's irritating about this sytem is that it basically removes the whole idea of building a balanced party.  I built an archer-support character specifically to buff tanks and then fire arrows while they fight, and instead, I had to invest my buffs on myself, becuase when I did the former strategy, I left myself open to attack, and since my character was hanging out with higher levels 90% of the time, all aggro was leaned on him.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 11, 2008, 05:23:21 PM
There's no hidden philosophy in this change other than trying to make it more sensible - and less exploitable. As players you attack the monsters with much the same considerations.

However, I agree that it should be tuned to not go so much after the lower levels, especially when it should consider them harmless.

SMART monsters go for the Casters First.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Nightmare on July 11, 2008, 05:24:38 PM
Unless they have Mestil's Acid Sheath on *nod nod*
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 11, 2008, 05:26:17 PM
Unless they have Mestil's Acid Sheath on *nod nod*

Used to be called Blink Dog AI.  Goes for the Lowest AC First.

As for that Acid sheath crap.  The monsters that are facing Casters like that should be able to tackle it in quite a few different ways.

When in doubt though.

Bring in the Rust Mimic.  Stops all Farmers Dead in their Tracks.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 11, 2008, 05:27:39 PM
Smart monsters don't exist.  Most monsters are stupid and aim at threatening targets.  The way the AI is right now, my best strategy is to just cover the lowest level in our party with buffs enough to scale his/her AC to 30+, and then send that person in front while everyon else flank-rapes.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: failed.bard on July 11, 2008, 09:29:00 PM
Seemed like it went for the lowest AC and archers first to me.  I've seen quite a few creatures run right through front line characters to attack archers in the back rows, whether the archers were hurting them or not seemed to be irrelevent.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: ethinos on July 11, 2008, 09:35:23 PM
Seemed like it went for the lowest AC and archers first to me.  I've seen quite a few creatures run right through front line characters to attack archers in the back rows, whether the archers were hurting them or not seemed to be irrelevent.

Taking out archers, and spell flingers first seems like good tactics to me. But for the game to choose who to fight based on levels, is pretty meta-game-ishly silly.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 11, 2008, 10:00:55 PM
I'm pretty certain it's level-based.  I've seen high level rogue-archers never get attacked becuase low levels were present, and I've seen High level tanks completely raped of their purpose, since monsters refused to target them.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ruxandra on July 12, 2008, 12:03:34 AM
Smart monsters don't exist.

Feel free to load Jaspierre's AI and build monsters as useful as PCs and say that. You'll be dying so many times you'll complain it's too hard when monsters = players roughly. Heh heh heh.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 12, 2008, 12:23:18 AM
Hmph, that would at least be more interesting than meta-gaming AIs.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Nightmare on July 12, 2008, 01:05:51 AM
Noticed it again today. Was travelling with a level 4 for RP reasons, and got attacked.. things swarmed by me giving a crapload of AoO's and tried to attack her.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ryltar/ Robert Archer on July 12, 2008, 01:08:57 AM
Noticed it again today. Was travelling with a level 4 for RP reasons, and got attacked.. things swarmed by me giving a crapload of AoO's and tried to attack her.

also noticed this with calson today while traveling with a group of lvl 4,6,3 today all three were getting pummeled like crazy and its only cause of the sneak attack and AOO that they didnt all die against the wolves we fought
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Iconoclast on July 12, 2008, 02:11:33 AM
Hmm...one of the aspects I enjoy is having a challenging fight, and using tactics.  Now if we have characters, melle with a cleric with them, up front to form a line, and assign archers and another healer to the back, and a fighter to watch over them, even though you might icly try to hold a front line to keep archers safe, the AI in this engine is able to have ememies just swarm right through and past the front line after the archers, so the line ends up falling apart to go after them, and chaos unfolds.



At least that seemed to happen recently, where even with a well balanced party and attempts to use tactics, the npc monsters not having to make any rolls to push past a front line sort of makes things more of an ooc challenge than ic.

Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Zarathustra217 on July 12, 2008, 06:28:18 AM
It's not level based. It is AC and HP based to a degree, but that's really the only feasible way to make the AI evaluate the type of foe without being all too meta-gamish. We as PCs can get an idea of the AC of HP of creatures fairly easily too. It isn't measuring it by great accuracy either.

But as mentioned, I'll revise it to make it more lenient. First of all, I'll up the down-prioritizing by distance, and perhaps increasing the up-prioritizing by danger. I'll probably also make it intelligence and wisdom based.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: ThAnswr on July 12, 2008, 10:02:45 AM

But as mentioned, I'll revise it to make it more lenient. First of all, I'll up the down-prioritizing by distance, and perhaps increasing the up-prioritizing by danger.

That's what I would've done too.  (http://www.clicksmilies.com/s1106/fragend/confused-smiley-010.gif)
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Delphinidae on July 12, 2008, 10:16:48 AM
The ones the AI considers more dangerous will be the ones it'll go after first. It will also take more into account the distance between the chars and the monster for checking possible threats. At least that's what I understood.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 13, 2008, 02:21:54 PM
AIs are still the same as they were before, tested out the update.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 13, 2008, 02:38:55 PM
AI should just obliterate Casters.  Casters are Obviously more dangerous then non casters.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 13, 2008, 02:41:49 PM
We had a tank, a damage dealer, and a support ranged-attacker (lowest level/AC).  All the monsters went for the ranged attacker despite him not even doing damage.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 13, 2008, 02:42:52 PM
We had a tank, a damage dealer, and a support ranged-attacker (lowest level/AC).  All the monsters went for the ranged attacker despite him not even doing damage.

Yeah that sounds like Blink Dog AI where it goes for the lowest AC/hitpoints in the group, as opposed to the threat.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 13, 2008, 02:45:00 PM
I'm all in favor of a strong AI that actually adds challenge, but there's nothing challenging about having your tanks and damage dealers surrounding weaker party members becuase the monsters just can't help but go for them first.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: kenpen on July 13, 2008, 02:45:12 PM
Yeah. In the Ice Palace, the bleakborns and everything else kept swarming past us to get to a character that wasn't doing anything. Never attacked, never casted a spell. They went after him, even when he was a REALLY good distance away.

Players run through anything to hack at the wizards, and that's cool. But it's kinda silly for monsters to run after characters that never made an attack or casted a spell, while we're chasing them down and hacking at their backs. That behavior seems to have a certain disregard for basic survival. :)
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 13, 2008, 06:27:32 PM
Yeah. In the Ice Palace, the bleakborns and everything else kept swarming past us to get to a character that wasn't doing anything. Never attacked, never casted a spell. They went after him, even when he was a REALLY good distance away.

Players run through anything to hack at the wizards, and that's cool. But it's kinda silly for monsters to run after characters that never made an attack or casted a spell, while we're chasing them down and hacking at their backs. That behavior seems to have a certain disregard for basic survival. :)

While not the biggest fan of people dragging folks 10 plus levels lower then themselves on Major dungeon crawls.  I will say, it's a rather bad AI choice to have the monsters charge the thing that isn't a threat.  The AI should gear on the threat instead of the Bait, if it's a smart AI.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: ethinos on July 13, 2008, 06:29:57 PM
I was in the Burial Grounds and noticed the same thing. While attacking the mage was very smart, they'd often do it without her casting anything in their field of vision. I had to use a lot of Knockdown in hopes of maintaining my role as a tank. Maybe give the enemies a % chance of geeking the mage first, and going down if they are behind a wall of fighters.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 13, 2008, 06:32:03 PM
The idea of the AI used to discourage people from bunnying lowbies through dungeons is great, expect it doesn't work in this case.  If you want to bunny a lowbie, all you have to do is give them invisibility.

And besides, since our server has an awesome rating with a factor related to not having level-restrictions for partying, we shouldn't need this kind of implimentation.  Low levels like to get in on action, even if they're doing minor damage from a distance with bows.  Most lowbies hate sitting around watching the action.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: ethinos on July 13, 2008, 06:37:40 PM
The idea of the AI used to discourage people from bunnying lowbies through dungeons is great, expect it doesn't work in this case.  If you want to bunny a lowbie, all you have to do is give them invisibility.

Do you really think the AI was designed for this? It seems to me it was simply to give the enemies a realistic goal of attacking the weakest character. Unfortunately, for us, that does often implicate that the lowbie is going to get creamed if they join a higher leveled group.

However, if you have a line of tanks, I don't think every enemy should attempt to blitz the defense line to sack the lowbie. One, two, maybe. But not the whole offensive line.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 13, 2008, 06:41:30 PM
The idea of the AI used to discourage people from bunnying lowbies through dungeons is great, expect it doesn't work in this case.  If you want to bunny a lowbie, all you have to do is give them invisibility.

And besides, since our server has an awesome rating with a factor related to not having level-restrictions for partying, we shouldn't need this kind of implimentation.  Low levels like to get in on action, even if they're doing minor damage from a distance with bows.  Most lowbies hate sitting around watching the action.

I would say Half, with the other half being power leveled happily by their sugar daddy ooc friends.  I do EXPECT, certain types of monsters to go for the EASY kill first.  That's basic predator instinct.  But smart Monsters, should go for the threats first and save the lowbies for desert.

Some of this attack stuff though is quite simply due to the fact that many Higher level people, especially the dedicated casters, have no clue how to keep a party alive, since they are to busy grandstanding under the center spotlight to pay attention to their group.

Rez's are less "effort" apparently, then an In Scene Rescue.  I know I'm not the only one that's muttered the words "Worst Cleric/Magic User EVER."

~Rex

Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: ethinos on July 13, 2008, 06:50:00 PM
In an attempt at being constructive, what I've gathered is that the AI is set up to go after the "weaker" persons. They go about this by using a combination of AC and HPs. How about using different criteria that is less level based.

For example, all these can indicate a weaker person without having a bias towards levels.

Lower AC (Why charge the full plate knight when you can kill the leather bikini elf?)

Smaller Phenotype (Everyone picks on those smaller than them.)

Weaker CON score (Hey, you look sickly. I'd try and push the less than hale and hearty folks over first too.)

Weaker STR score (Scrawny folks always get pushed around.)

Injured folks (Not hps specific, but heavily injured folks are easy pickings.)

Maybe have all these factor in? HPs is really a vague concept in terms of trying to rationalize it as being a consideration I think.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 13, 2008, 09:34:59 PM
Right like I said pile on the weak is basic predator instinct.  But a Smart Monster, would not leave his backside exposed to the Uber sneak threat or the Tank threat.

~Rex  Bring on the Rhakshasa.

Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Bad_Bud on July 13, 2008, 10:05:35 PM
I was in the Burial Grounds and noticed the same thing. While attacking the mage was very smart, they'd often do it without her casting anything in their field of vision. I had to use a lot of Knockdown in hopes of maintaining my role as a tank. Maybe give the enemies a % chance of geeking the mage first, and going down if they are behind a wall of fighters.

And then she died. :P

Anyway, the AI feels stupid.  What I think should be happening, is when you're out in a large group travelling and werewolves are on the prowl, I would imagine they, as appropriate predators, would try and maul the weakest one first.  I'll restate: if fairly unintelligent monsters are going in for a kill on initial contact, I would imagine they would go for the easiest target first.  However, if you're in the middle of a battle and people are duking it out left and right with monsters, I would find it hard to believe that the monsters would take the time to switch targets.  That's what strange, the switching.  Even players don't do a lot of switching between targets in battle.  Usually if you're one on one with someone, unless something drastic happens, you're still one on one with that person.  If you're fighting someone strong and you're barely getting by, chances are you aren't going to stop and chase down the archer trying to hide in the corner, and neither would a monster or even an intelligent being.

I think the AI should be changed to be based more on the initial encounter, rather than target evaluation during the heat of the battle.  In any one on one situation, targets should remain fairly static.  If it's one fighter on a swarm of werewolves and a caster blows a firebrand at them, I think a switch of target is appropriate, but not if the battle is one-to-one.

Also, what about enemies fleeing?  Why don't they?

Oozes: Shouldn't they always go towards what is closest?

[edit]Also worthy of note, what about the arrogance of the enemy?  A lot of monsters would like to be the alpha male and prove that they can take on the hardest target rather than the easiest.  To do any less would be a bit of a shame, but then again it depends on the diabolicalness of the monster at hand.  Are they willing to fight dirty?  Do they fight for status?[/edit]
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Unana / Rapsutin on July 13, 2008, 10:17:35 PM
Quote
Oozes: Shouldn't they always go towards what is closest?

Agreed. Same with zombies and other mindless undead.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: failed.bard on July 13, 2008, 10:46:33 PM
Wolves and werewolves will break off combat to chase after mink and bats.

Really, it should be:

Threat level
Proximity
Wounded status
With a special note that, since all damage shields are visible and reasonably short duration, they should be a lower priority.

That's the only things PCs worry about.  Unless you have great cleave, or the low HP monsters are doing sreious damage still, you ignore them to get rid of the more dangerous enemies first.  The AI should never break off an attack with someone killing it, to charge after someone that can't hurt it.  That kind of intellect would have gotten it killed off long before the PCs got there.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Bad_Bud on July 13, 2008, 11:06:43 PM
I don't think there should be any single list of the priority in which the AI should target players.

It should be based on different types of creatures and subsets from that.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: penny on July 13, 2008, 11:45:46 PM
Some of this attack stuff though is quite simply due to the fact that many Higher level people, especially the dedicated casters, have no clue how to keep a party alive, since they are to busy grandstanding under the center spotlight to pay attention to their group.

Do you make this stuff up? I've been around more than a few high level casters and never seen any of them act like this.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 14, 2008, 12:05:43 AM
I don't think there should be any single list of the priority in which the AI should target players.

It should be based on different types of creatures and subsets from that.

Don't forget there are only so many things you can tell the AI to consider, that don't border on meta issues.  Hence, why it tends to key off of weak vs strong, HP and AC levels and stuff like that.  The Term Blink Dog AI comes from way back in the beginning, because the Blink Dogs, would auto port to the weakest people in the group, and start chewing on them.

I suppose you could set the AI up to Check Level, Check Class, and give it it's instructions then, but that still doesn't solve the issue of getting it to go after threats instead of tag alongs.

A lot work goes into the various AI set ups, and it seems easy to get the critters to do one thing or the other but almost never both.  Only so much room in it's little pea brain, but it would be nice if it could be tweaked a touch so that you don't run into stuff like the ADHD werewolf that's distracted in the middle of a fight to chase after a Mink (Even though that predatory lock on has probably saved many a newbie).

~Rex


Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Nightmare on July 14, 2008, 12:14:31 AM
No, penny, he doesn't.

Its gotten better, somewhat, but for the most part clerics and mages buff themsleves, then either polymoprh and Acid Sheath, or just go in flinging death spells at random.

I've seen it too many times while I sit back and stare with my fighter types.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: penny on July 14, 2008, 12:22:13 AM
Well I must be tagging along with all the right people, then. :D
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: ethinos on July 14, 2008, 12:35:33 AM
I suppose you could set the AI up to Check Level, Check Class, and give it it's instructions then, but that still doesn't solve the issue of getting it to go after threats instead of tag alongs.

Take a look at my list of what I consider reasonable considerations. You'll notice none of them really takes into account a person's level and could provide a solution to the "pasted lowbie" phenomenon.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 14, 2008, 12:38:29 AM
No, penny, he doesn't.

Its gotten better, somewhat, but for the most part clerics and mages buff themsleves, then either polymoprh and Acid Sheath, or just go in flinging death spells at random.

I've seen it too many times while I sit back and stare with my fighter types.

Seen worse actually.  :D  Always get a good laugh out of it when they DO get hit, and then run screaming for the hills leaving you to face whatever they trained into you to try and scrape off their hide.

As for Ethinos's considerations, Yeah some of them would be interesting if they could work.  Often though AI does stupid things.  If for example you set up a Smart AI to not gear on Lowbie cannon fodder that shouldn't really BE there in the first place, it should therefore be smart enough, not to charge Mr. Acid Sheathe right?  Eventually though you HAVE to give the AI something easy for it to work with like AC or Hitpoints otherwise you end up with a confused brainlocked monster that sits there and gibbers.

~Rex


~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: ethinos on July 14, 2008, 12:41:14 AM
As for Mr. Acid Sheath, I'd love to see more humanoids resorting to ranged combat in that situation. Arrows, axes, darts. If the average PC has both a melee and ranged weapon, I'd think the more humanoid NPC's would too.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: kenpen on July 14, 2008, 02:37:08 AM
As for Mr. Acid Sheath, I'd love to see more humanoids resorting to ranged combat in that situation. Arrows, axes, darts. If the average PC has both a melee and ranged weapon, I'd think the more humanoid NPC's would too.

It would be nice if more NPCs monsters had ranged weapons. As it is, there's like... the skeletal archers. And that's about it. Oh, Shades. In most cases, wouldn't matter, since any good mage also will have up a ghostly/ethereal (and most missile weapons problably wouldn't be +1, and if they were - I'd like to see them drop on death :P ). But, yah... some ranged fighters would be good.

And, the fleeing to regroup would be good too. Very few creatures do it. The shades will sort-of flee, and then start dosing themselves with the 309228347 healing potions they seem to carry (and, again, do not drop :-P)

We did Ghakis earlier, and the AIs were pretty retarded. Again, seeking the weakest members pretty much... which we turned to our advantage, by having the weaker people run around me in a circle while attack-of-opportunitied everything to death. Worked out pretty well. :)
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: engelfire on July 14, 2008, 03:58:10 AM
to be honest sometimes its necessary for mage o go around in acid sheats while in party becouse sometimes thats the only thing keeping the party alive becouse they all get cocky in large numbers and want to tackle insane hard dungeon.

from my own experience as i play mostly mage characters, most of the time i buff people, but yet some reason they still manage to fail and get themself killed m'kay. then im forced to ram through monsters with acid sheath and grab the corpse(s). i dont even bother wasting attack spells becouse i need to empty my whole selection of spells on few monsters to get em down, and shooting em with crossbow is just plain stupid becouse i wont hit anything with my crappy AB


so for me, it depends in what dungeon i am with party. i have got my share of fingerpointing and childish accusations when the entire party had been wiped out even if i gave them all the buffs i could cast....besides every buff i cast to party is away from possible attack spells, so in the end all i got left is acid sheath
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: kenpen on July 14, 2008, 04:02:31 AM
Acid sheath rocks for mages. It's a god-send when you get rammed by the AI seeking out the lower AC. It works even better when you're trollformed with ghostly visage, or zombie-formed with ethereal visage. :) Sometimes, I go naked just so things will actually hit me, and kill themselves on me. This has resulted in many an amusing scene, when the skins wear off, and I am left standing there with my pecker out...
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Bad_Bud on July 14, 2008, 01:38:14 PM
I don't think there should be any single list of the priority in which the AI should target players.

It should be based on different types of creatures and subsets from that.

Don't forget there are only so many things you can tell the AI to consider, that don't border on meta issues.  Hence, why it tends to key off of weak vs strong, HP and AC levels and stuff like that.  The Term Blink Dog AI comes from way back in the beginning, because the Blink Dogs, would auto port to the weakest people in the group, and start chewing on them.

I suppose you could set the AI up to Check Level, Check Class, and give it it's instructions then, but that still doesn't solve the issue of getting it to go after threats instead of tag alongs.

A lot work goes into the various AI set ups, and it seems easy to get the critters to do one thing or the other but almost never both.  Only so much room in it's little pea brain, but it would be nice if it could be tweaked a touch so that you don't run into stuff like the ADHD werewolf that's distracted in the middle of a fight to chase after a Mink (Even though that predatory lock on has probably saved many a newbie).

~Rex




. . .

I'm talking about manually putting monsters in catagories and setting priorities for each catagory on who to target.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 14, 2008, 01:40:56 PM
I don't think there should be any single list of the priority in which the AI should target players.

It should be based on different types of creatures and subsets from that.

Don't forget there are only so many things you can tell the AI to consider, that don't border on meta issues.  Hence, why it tends to key off of weak vs strong, HP and AC levels and stuff like that.  The Term Blink Dog AI comes from way back in the beginning, because the Blink Dogs, would auto port to the weakest people in the group, and start chewing on them.

I suppose you could set the AI up to Check Level, Check Class, and give it it's instructions then, but that still doesn't solve the issue of getting it to go after threats instead of tag alongs.

A lot work goes into the various AI set ups, and it seems easy to get the critters to do one thing or the other but almost never both.  Only so much room in it's little pea brain, but it would be nice if it could be tweaked a touch so that you don't run into stuff like the ADHD werewolf that's distracted in the middle of a fight to chase after a Mink (Even though that predatory lock on has probably saved many a newbie).

~Rex




. . .

I'm talking about manually putting monsters in catagories and setting priorities for each catagory on who to target.

Don't think that would work considering the sheer number of categories. and the differences between types of monsters Within that category.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Bad_Bud on July 14, 2008, 01:51:12 PM
If there were differences, they would be in a different catagory, Rex.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 14, 2008, 03:51:46 PM
If there were differences, they would be in a different catagory, Rex.

Category Undead.  Zombie.  Mindless.  Category Undead.  Vampire.  Genius. 

Different, yet same category. 

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: kenpen on July 14, 2008, 03:58:03 PM
Maybe the categories should be more along the lines of the way they react, like...

Picks off least visibly weak
Attacks spellcasters first
Always seeks the strongest

...etc.

Based on how they act, rather than their monster type. Undead like skeletal warriors are probably going to hack through whatever is strongest, then closest. Zombies will mindless come at whoever is nearby, not caring if it's a spellcaster or not. Vampire warriors will probably react more like skeletal warriors, and vampire rogues will sneak attack the flanks, etc.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: KoopaFanatic on July 14, 2008, 04:06:01 PM
Category 1:  Undead (mindless)
Category 2:  Undead (intelligent)
Category 3:  Spider (regular)
Category 4:  Spider (tricky)
Category 5:  Humanoid/giant (dumb)
Category 6:  Humanoid/giant (smrt)
Category 7:  Shapechanger (sneaky/stalking)
Category 8:  Shapechanger (brutal/stubborn)
Category 9:  Animal (solitary)
Category 10:  Animal (pack)
Category 11:  Ooze

I'm probably oversimplifying things, since I know nothing about how this actually works.  My point is that whatever the categories are, they don't have to match up with a creature's Type.  Just a description of how you'd expect it to behave.

Edit: What kenpen said too :)
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 14, 2008, 04:21:30 PM
Category 1:  Undead (mindless)
Category 2:  Undead (intelligent)
Category 3:  Spider (regular)
Category 4:  Spider (tricky)
Category 5:  Humanoid/giant (dumb)
Category 6:  Humanoid/giant (smrt)
Category 7:  Shapechanger (sneaky/stalking)
Category 8:  Shapechanger (brutal/stubborn)
Category 9:  Animal (solitary)
Category 10:  Animal (pack)
Category 11:  Ooze

I'm probably oversimplifying things, since I know nothing about how this actually works.  My point is that whatever the categories are, they don't have to match up with a creature's Type.  Just a description of how you'd expect it to behave.

Edit: What kenpen said too :)
Maybe the categories should be more along the lines of the way they react, like...

Picks off least visibly weak
Attacks spellcasters first
Always seeks the strongest

...etc.

Based on how they act, rather than their monster type. Undead like skeletal warriors are probably going to hack through whatever is strongest, then closest. Zombies will mindless come at whoever is nearby, not caring if it's a spellcaster or not. Vampire warriors will probably react more like skeletal warriors, and vampire rogues will sneak attack the flanks, etc.

Which is all well and good but if you categorize that way you end up multiplying things exponentially, and potentially causing gridlock while the AI tries to figure out if it's a smart undead that should attack the scariest looking guy, or a Dumb Undead that will attack whatever is close.

Roughly put, it works something like a truth table.  Truth Tables start easy, then just explode into complexity.  If you try and give the AI that many options you'll probably end up causing Denmark to Explode when the server goes super critical trying to make it all work.

There are more meta gamish options that good computer guys can make the AI do, but do you really want to face a monster THAT smart?


~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: tzaeru on July 14, 2008, 04:37:39 PM
Category 1:  Undead (mindless)
Category 2:  Undead (intelligent)
Category 3:  Spider (regular)
Category 4:  Spider (tricky)
Category 5:  Humanoid/giant (dumb)
Category 6:  Humanoid/giant (smrt)
Category 7:  Shapechanger (sneaky/stalking)
Category 8:  Shapechanger (brutal/stubborn)
Category 9:  Animal (solitary)
Category 10:  Animal (pack)
Category 11:  Ooze

I'm probably oversimplifying things, since I know nothing about how this actually works.  My point is that whatever the categories are, they don't have to match up with a creature's Type.  Just a description of how you'd expect it to behave.

Edit: What kenpen said too :)
Maybe the categories should be more along the lines of the way they react, like...

Picks off least visibly weak
Attacks spellcasters first
Always seeks the strongest

...etc.

Based on how they act, rather than their monster type. Undead like skeletal warriors are probably going to hack through whatever is strongest, then closest. Zombies will mindless come at whoever is nearby, not caring if it's a spellcaster or not. Vampire warriors will probably react more like skeletal warriors, and vampire rogues will sneak attack the flanks, etc.

Which is all well and good but if you categorize that way you end up multiplying things exponentially, and potentially causing gridlock while the AI tries to figure out if it's a smart undead that should attack the scariest looking guy, or a Dumb Undead that will attack whatever is close.

Roughly put, it works something like a truth table.  Truth Tables start easy, then just explode into complexity.  If you try and give the AI that many options you'll probably end up causing Denmark to Explode when the server goes super critical trying to make it all work.

There are more meta gamish options that good computer guys can make the AI do, but do you really want to face a monster THAT smart?


~Rex

Any well written software should be able to do that with ease - NWN's not one of those, though. Anyway.. - Imo the main problem with AIs etc is that it's just not essential when considering winning a PvM battle. Because of the huge, huge delay in the responses of the AI we already can hack things ~2 harder than we should be able to beat just cuz they lag.

Lag's the problem, not AI. ..Going little off topic, but anyway.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: ethinos on July 14, 2008, 04:46:35 PM
But lag isn't always a problem, and when it isn't, it's smear the lowbie/weakling. When you see EVERY aggro monster blitz past the tanks and smear the weaker guy, something is wrong and needs a bit of fixing.

However, I myself like intelligent foes. Keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 14, 2008, 05:52:58 PM
Don't forget that Lag issue can be a two edged sword.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Bad_Bud on July 14, 2008, 06:58:16 PM
Maybe the categories should be more along the lines of the way they react, like...

Picks off least visibly weak
Attacks spellcasters first
Always seeks the strongest

...etc.

Based on how they act, rather than their monster type. Undead like skeletal warriors are probably going to hack through whatever is strongest, then closest. Zombies will mindless come at whoever is nearby, not caring if it's a spellcaster or not. Vampire warriors will probably react more like skeletal warriors, and vampire rogues will sneak attack the flanks, etc.

Yeah.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 14, 2008, 07:46:36 PM
Maybe the categories should be more along the lines of the way they react, like...

Picks off least visibly weak
Attacks spellcasters first
Always seeks the strongest

...etc.

Based on how they act, rather than their monster type. Undead like skeletal warriors are probably going to hack through whatever is strongest, then closest. Zombies will mindless come at whoever is nearby, not caring if it's a spellcaster or not. Vampire warriors will probably react more like skeletal warriors, and vampire rogues will sneak attack the flanks, etc.

Yeah.

Alright, I'll try and phrase the issue again. 

Picks off Visibly Weak.  What are you using to determine this.  A Level Check, an AC check, a Hitpoint Check?

Attacks Spell Casters First.  Go with that I can already see the fallout thread, even though that is a logical choice for some monsters, Others, gearing on that charging automatically into Acid Sheath instead of pulling bows and such, well, Problems abound.

Always seeks the strongest.  Define Strongest.  What parameters.  AC, Hitpoints, AB, Insta leathel spells?

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: kenpen on July 15, 2008, 02:36:53 AM
An monster of human intelligence picking off the weak - who has better armor (leather, vs plate)... not AC, since that's hard to tell usually. Also, who has less constitution (examine function already gives you clues about that), and who is hurt (HP).
Less than human intelligence - who is hurt? Are they small, or big (this may be where being a half-ling sucks)
Spellcasters get harder since (and I don't think I'm saying this) most PCs end up attacking people based partially on OOC information on what spells they can throw or what they're named. Maybe clearly visible things like, who's carrying the glowing staff, or who's glowing like a cruiseliner.

Mainly, it would be nice if the monsters just didn't charge through me while I am beating the shit out of it, just to try to attack my weak friends, leaving me to hack the snot out of it. This may have been implemented to prevent lowbies traveling w/ highbies for the XP, but it doesn't work - people just alter their tactics, and I still beat the crap out of things. It's just a LOT more irritating. :-P
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Helaman on July 15, 2008, 02:40:41 AM
At least Yoshinaka has the opportunity to do even MORE damage as he spawns repeated sneak attacks.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Ric on July 15, 2008, 08:41:19 AM
I don't think having lowbies run around in circles to give the higher levels free AoOs is a real strategy.  Adventures are a lot more interesting when everyone has their roles (tanking, flanking, dispelling, etc.)
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 15, 2008, 06:19:50 PM
An monster of human intelligence picking off the weak - who has better armor (leather, vs plate)... not AC, since that's hard to tell usually. Also, who has less constitution (examine function already gives you clues about that), and who is hurt (HP).
Less than human intelligence - who is hurt? Are they small, or big (this may be where being a half-ling sucks)
Spellcasters get harder since (and I don't think I'm saying this) most PCs end up attacking people based partially on OOC information on what spells they can throw or what they're named. Maybe clearly visible things like, who's carrying the glowing staff, or who's glowing like a cruiseliner.

Mainly, it would be nice if the monsters just didn't charge through me while I am beating the shit out of it, just to try to attack my weak friends, leaving me to hack the snot out of it. This may have been implemented to prevent lowbies traveling w/ highbies for the XP, but it doesn't work - people just alter their tactics, and I still beat the crap out of things. It's just a LOT more irritating. :-P

Right and here we go repeating.  If you gear the AI to Key off of Armor Type, does it charge the AC 25 Fighter in Plate and Tower Shield, while Ignoring the AC 39 Rogue in Studded Leather?  Types are not indictive of threat.  Rusty Plate for example.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: archonzero on July 16, 2008, 01:39:21 AM
  While I do agree the AI should be tweaked for more threat assessment and take precedence for immediate threats versus lesser threats.  The only thing I felt that was a touch wrong with the AI's target acquisition and response.  I've a low level arcane character which I opted to pick a pet that has more melee combat features naturally to protect the character better, I use my arcane abilities to augment said creature as well.

  So.. if I stand stationary and remain a non-threat (ie don't attack or cast vs monster) they ignore me, the moment I begin to cast a spell, suddenly I've become public enemy #1.  Now the only thing I see wrong with this, is that by the time the spell casting is finished the creature has pretty much covered the ground to strike me, which A forces me to interrupt and run, or B hope my concentration level holds to make the spell and the spawn misses it's attack. 

  Now while this isn't necessarily a -BAD- thing I find it a touch unrealistic.  How and why would the creature instantly know I'm casting at it until the spell effect has gone off and dmg has been inflicted?  Premonition?  Now perhaps this has more to do with the way an attack registers with the NWN combat engine, as I'm capable of slinging a stone or firing a crossbow bolt much faster and hit or miss the target.  Though the creature does turn aggressively to charge me in the process of firing. 

  Either way I'm forced to hold and shoot or run and let my familiar/guardian chase the creature and hopefully kill it with an attack of opportunity. 

  I don't see the AC issue much of a big thing, though having read the post and replies somewhat I can find agreeable points to how it can seem silly in it's AC selection method.  Just thought I'd share my observations on the AI concerning low level/low AC characters, I just hope my feedback isn't seen in a negative manner and is constructive to tweaking or such.  :)


-Note-  My observations could have been the result of server side lag on my client.  Not entirely sure just yet.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: engelfire on July 16, 2008, 02:04:38 AM
for me it always happens as follows

if theres a group of monsters attacking lets say few melee people. i stand far, monsters dont pay me any attention, similar to what archonzero mentioned. also if i for example shoot firebrand to that group of monsters majority of them attacks me, but only after the damage has occurred. when i cast they dont pay me any attention.

ive noticed that when the group of baddies fghts in melee with others, and i target a single monster affecting spell, like lets say magic missile to that monster who the fighter is having melee with ( facing the monster ), rest of the monsters stay in the brawl, and dont attack me at all becouse i didnt provoke them.

so i usually target my single target spells at the monster the melee'r is facing to avoid getting over run by horde :D


hope that made any sense to anyone ehehe
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Kendaric on July 21, 2008, 12:05:30 PM
Category 1:  Undead (mindless)
Category 2:  Undead (intelligent)
Category 3:  Spider (regular)
Category 4:  Spider (tricky)
Category 5:  Humanoid/giant (dumb)
Category 6:  Humanoid/giant (smrt)
Category 7:  Shapechanger (sneaky/stalking)
Category 8:  Shapechanger (brutal/stubborn)
Category 9:  Animal (solitary)
Category 10:  Animal (pack)
Category 11:  Ooze

I'm probably oversimplifying things, since I know nothing about how this actually works.  My point is that whatever the categories are, they don't have to match up with a creature's Type.  Just a description of how you'd expect it to behave.

Edit: What kenpen said too :)

You wouldn't need that many categories... a possible approach might be:

Category 1: Mindless (includes mindless undead like skeletons & zombies as well as insects, spiders & oozes) -> Always goes for the nearest target irrespective of strength/threat
Category 2: Animal (includes most normal & dire animals with the exception of insects/spiders) -> Goes for the weakest possible target, can be distracted when easier prey is noticed (which is pretty realistic in case of animals)
Category 3: Intelligent (includes highly intelligent animals (e.g. Worgs), intelligent undead and nearly all humanoids) -> Goes for the greatest perceived threat

That should (at least in theory) suffice to simulate natural behavior for most creatures. An addition for pack hunters (e.g. wolves) would certainly be useful, not sure whether something like that would be feasible though.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 21, 2008, 01:55:19 PM
Right but now you need to figure out how to get the AI to recognize this thing is mindless and should act that way, or this thing is a genius and should act the other way.  I suppose you could have it check Intelligence but I can see that getting insanely messy.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Kendaric on July 21, 2008, 04:59:46 PM
Right but now you need to figure out how to get the AI to recognize this thing is mindless and should act that way, or this thing is a genius and should act the other way.  I suppose you could have it check Intelligence but I can see that getting insanely messy.

~Rex


It could be possible by setting variables on the various creatures in the toolset, but I'm not exactly knowledgeable when it comes to scripting so that may very well be impossible to accomplish. I guess it boils down to how the AI is set up *shrugs*
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 21, 2008, 06:02:49 PM
Right but now you need to figure out how to get the AI to recognize this thing is mindless and should act that way, or this thing is a genius and should act the other way.  I suppose you could have it check Intelligence but I can see that getting insanely messy.

~Rex


It could be possible by setting variables on the various creatures in the toolset, but I'm not exactly knowledgeable when it comes to scripting so that may very well be impossible to accomplish. I guess it boils down to how the AI is set up *shrugs*

That depends on the scripter as well.  I've seen some that can meta game the hel out of a creature AI.  Up to and including having the monsters Loot you if they kill you.

~Rex
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Bad_Bud on July 23, 2008, 04:47:11 PM
A suggestion:

I don't think an entire room of enemies (15-25 enemies) should all target the same person, no matter how easy of a target that person looks like.  I don't think they ever did this with NWN's base AI, and it made more sense.  There are only a few times when everybody, even in a human coordinated PC party, all attack the same target, and that's maybe on a boss fight or an "attack all of this specific monster first", which isn't actually all on the same target anyway.  So everyone in a coordinated party, thinking ahead, rarely all latch on to the same target.

So I'm wondering why when a room of uncoordinated vampires gets attacked by people (and the vampires don't even know ahead of time what they're going to be facing), the vampires all choose to pick the same target.  They do this even when it means that their swarm is so big that there's a circle around the target 2-3 vampires thick, and the guys in the back can't even reach.
Title: Re: AI Vs. Low Levels
Post by: Rex on July 23, 2008, 11:02:33 PM
A suggestion:

I don't think an entire room of enemies (15-25 enemies) should all target the same person, no matter how easy of a target that person looks like.  I don't think they ever did this with NWN's base AI, and it made more sense.  There are only a few times when everybody, even in a human coordinated PC party, all attack the same target, and that's maybe on a boss fight or an "attack all of this specific monster first", which isn't actually all on the same target anyway.  So everyone in a coordinated party, thinking ahead, rarely all latch on to the same target.

So I'm wondering why when a room of uncoordinated vampires gets attacked by people (and the vampires don't even know ahead of time what they're going to be facing), the vampires all choose to pick the same target.  They do this even when it means that their swarm is so big that there's a circle around the target 2-3 vampires thick, and the guys in the back can't even reach.

I think, it's just the new AI.

AI  *Checks Players, discovers Bad_Bud among them, Initiates eradicate Bud protocol.*

~Rex