The biggest problem with the game


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#1 DoomMunky

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 01:45 AM

We've all done it. Snipe, silenced. The AI will stand there and take it. Until it's dead.

Is there any way around this? This is, to me, the single biggest problem with this game. Rather than trying to hide, or look for the spotter or the sniper, the AI just stands there until it bleeds to death. Once you get the silenced sniper rifle, you might as well just not play, it's so easy.

What do you guys think? Is this as big a problem as it seems to me? I mean, it's not a game-breaker (I'm sure not uninstalling it!) but it sure does lessen my enjoyment of the game, and make me remember I'm playing a GAME rather than actually leading an elite squad of mercenaries through a dangerous and hostile environment...

Bleh.

Anyone know if this is moddable? Can we make the enemies behave better?

#2 Slaughter

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:43 AM

I don't know how easy this is to mod. Probably hard, but since I'm no modder I do not know for sure.

And it is a problem! In general AI is a problem in pretty much all games. It is never good enough. Basic stuff like the situation you mention however is a serious glitch in the AI. Annoying!!!


#3 Kret

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 12:45 PM

I don't normally get that problem because they're dead from the 1st shot :huh: since I have the sniper take as many turns as needed for maximum aiming and then fire a headshot. So far, normal enemies die instantly.

But yes the behaviour isn't right and even if the AI would hide, if nothing happens after a while it will return to it's post while bleeding to death.
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#4 KoMik

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 04:26 PM

I have noted those same stupid AI behaviours...
I make couple logic scripts to enemy (in my scenario):

-If enemy get hitted and can't see party they retreat to medic box (which usually I plant to their main defend area). After they reach box they get healed and crouch to new defend position...
-...or they just retreat to sheltered waypoint (in house usually), hide, use plaster to heal and start guarding while other group members attack

Problem is that I have to copy-paste those same scripts to map to map and if it appears many times while playing...you get bored to it. Thats why its should be used only in few missions...(and make more logic scripts :huh: )

But I'm not script maker inside me. I don't enjoy sitting on my arse hour after hour and watching functions and then test them working...blaaah. I'm in editing because I love S's visuality (after I get better g-card I will love it more) and I like creative scenario creating possibilities also.

By the way...have anyone hear the same rumor that russian game developers use ex-nuclear weapons scientists as coders and script writers...uhhuh(maybe just a "legend").

AI will never be as equal resistance as human player...but S's are good single player games and I think thats why there is need for more scenarios...c u

#5 DoomMunky

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 05:28 PM

Kret said:

I don't normally get that problem because they're dead from the 1st shot tongue.gif since I have the sniper take as many turns as needed for maximum aiming and then fire a headshot. So far, normal enemies die instantly.

But yes the behaviour isn't right and even if the AI would hide, if nothing happens after a while it will return to it's post while bleeding to death.
Dangit, how do you get a one shot kill, even to the head? Lately, on Impossible, I'll spend the 35-40 ap's on aiming, wait 'till next turn, and then check my headshot likelyhood...shoot, it's like, 14%. If I just sit there and pump more APs into it, will it go up? This used not to happen. I would do the same thing before and my hs likelyhood would be about 10 or 15% less than my regular hit%. Is one of my mods messing things up?

But still, how come you can kill with a single headshot? In the early game, before all the modifiers and critical chance increases, my headshots do maybe 50? 60? damage...

Tell your secrets, sensei!




KoMik, on Mar 7 2005, 08:26 AM, said:

I have noted those same stupid AI behaviours...
I make couple logic scripts to enemy (in my scenario):

That's pretty good, KoMik. How would you do that? What do logic scripts look like? (I'm brand-new to modding)

KoMik said:

But I'm not script maker inside me. I don't enjoy sitting on my arse hour after hour and watching functions and then test them working...blaaah. I'm in editing because I love S's visuality (after I get better g-card I will love it more) and I like creative scenario creating possibilities also.

Yeah, that doesn't sound fun to me, either. Maybe the whole thing will be pointless for me, as I have a deep aversion to sitting and testing for hours on end. On the other hand, maybe I'll get totally absorbed.

Man. My girlfriend will REALLY break up with me when she sees I'm addicted to MODDING S^2 and not playing it!


KoMik said:

AI will never be as equal resistance as human player...but S's are good single player games and I think thats why there is need for more scenarios...c u

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Damn right there is. Keep on modding, yo!

#6 Kret

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 09:06 PM

Maybe because I'm playing on normal? And yes, early on it is rare to go above 50-60s damage to the head, but after a few levels and better weapons I'm doing 100-120 damage headshots. Also, could familiarity have something to do with dealing extra damage?
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#7 DoomMunky

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 01:12 AM

Kret, on Mar 7 2005, 01:06 PM, said:

Maybe because I'm playing on normal? And yes, early on it is rare to go above 50-60s damage to the head, but after a few levels and better weapons I'm doing 100-120 damage headshots. Also, could familiarity have something to do with dealing extra damage?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually, I'm sure it would. From what I've been able to gather, "Familiarity" makes your damage and accuracy better (but both only by a bit per point). So yeah, I bet that would help, as would the difficulty setting. Why so easy? Are you still getting a feel for it? Or is it just dang hard for you? (not that there's anything wrong with that)

As for my teeny-weeny headshot percentage, what's that about? Have you ever seen that? I'll have 100% to hit normally, then I press '8' for a HS and it goes down to 8% or so! Wtf?

#8 Kret

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 07:31 AM

Yup, still getting the feel of it, restarted many times. The 1st few times because I didn't understood how the base inventory works. Now I do and it's a bit messy if you ask me. I believe I started a few months ago and don't play it more than a couple of hours a day, so that could perfectly mean just 1 mission.

Regarding the huge loss of accuracy to headshot. I only get that drastic reduction when NOT sniping, but doing carefull shots, but even so it only goes from 100% down to the 50's. Sniper shots don't get such a drastic reduction.
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#9 DoomMunky

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 11:27 PM

Hmmm...I wonder if my mods are screwing things up. Or maybe it's not my Sniper shot that I'm using. Need to go test more.

Now there's a modding mentality!

I restarted within the first day because my friends were playing on Hard and I was on Normal and felt like a wuss. Then I restarted again two days later once I felt like I had a feel for the game, and played for two weeks straight until I was sick of it. Then I reinstalled on a whim 4 months later and played for about 2 weeks straight until I got sick of it again.

Still haven't beaten it... Got Sentinels coming in the mail soon, though! "The excitement level is rising here in California, as one lonely DoomMunky waits for the game that will change his life. What will our hero do?! Tune in next week for the thrilling conclusion"

Hopefully it'll be here next week. I haven't even gotten the shipping confirmation e-mail yet. Poo.

And yeah, for the getting the feel of it? When one mission can take 2 1/2 hours, you have to take it slow!

#10 damocles

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 08:15 PM

I've been thinking about this problem too.  I think I have it figured out and when I get it working, I'll be sure to post the goods here.

Basically, the approach I'm thinking of doing is to have a ton of waypoints, each with the name safety_point_x where x is a unique number.  Then, at the start of the enemy turn, the script will check each enemy.  If they are in an alarmed state, but cannot see a hostile character, then they will be forcibly run to the nearest safety point.  The script will also mark that enemy as having just moved to there.  If the enemy is shot at again, they will run to the next nearest safety point.

As the modders, we are in a position to think how the players will go through the mission and see which enemies are likely to be sniped from silenced weapons.  We then place safety points in safe locations near the high probability enemies.


Another approach I'm looking into is to undermine the stealth abilities.  They are ridiculously overpowered right now.  You can walk up to enemies, wipe your nose on their sleeves and they won't even blink.  I'm thinking about adding a minimum distance check, possibly based off of the enemy unit's level and a value the mapper sets for each msision.
It would be pretty easy to run checks to see if they enemy can see the player.  It would simply require keeping a list of units that the player has seen recently and checking them to see if they have a line of sight to the player.  If the player is within the specified distance, then force the units to see each other.  I think there's a function that forces visibility somewhere...

Like I said, once I get around to writing these scripts I'll post them up here.  But my main concern right now is not AI but making dialogs :huh:

#11 DoomMunky

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 12:04 AM

Wow, damocles, that sounds like a great solution. Please keep us posted as to your progress.



(I read this last night, think it's an amazing solution, and want to post more, but get to go to work soon, so, um...; more later!! Keep up the good thoughts!)

#12 DoomMunky

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 04:01 AM

Okay, time for a little more. damocles, is there any more to your scheme for the waypoints? How complex would that system be to implement? And how did you learn how to mod this game? Did you use the tutorials on this site? If not, where did you get your info?

I'm interested in learning how to mod, and would love for you to tell me where you got your info so I could help you with your project, or just be able to know what the heck you're talking about when you get into the arcane technical minutae of the S2 editor.

Did that make sense?

#13 damocles

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:27 AM

I learned the editor when S2 came out.  A bunch of us over on the Nival forum spent ages fiddling and trying out stuff, and we started an "unnofficial manual" thread because this was all before the editor manual was released.  Then the manual taught me a few things, and the rest I either picked up here and there, or I figured out by fiddling around.

The scripting I learnt from the editor manual and from looking through the Nival scripts (there are several functions they forgot to mention in the manual).  I was already a good programmer in various languages so it wasn't hard for me to pick up Lua and the S3 function styles.

As for the waypoints scheme, I currently have it planned as a two stage process.  The first stage is to keep track of any unit that is damaged by the player using the onUnitDamageUnit function.  The second stage would then be, at the start of the enemy turn, to cycle through the units in the list and make them behave accordingly.

I'm thinking I'll use two approaches to their behaviour.  One will be to run to the nearest safety waypoint as described above, but the other will be to give them a kind of fake hearing range.  I always thought it a little odd that the enemy can't hear silenced weapons even when they are fired from a couple of feet away.  So I'll do some distance checks and if they can hear the weapon being fired, then they have a location where to begin investigating (there's a "swarm" logic that causes the unit to circle around a location).

I may also create a "communications distance" where any units that hear silenced fire will communicate it to nearby units and they will all swarm the area.

All of these distances and reactions can be setup as simple variables that the modders can change to suit their mods.

It would be pretty easy for modders to use this system once I create it.  It will simply be a case of copying the new functions to the s3common.l file in their modfolder/scripts/ folder.  Then adding a few small function calls within their mission scripts.

As for your learning to mod, stick with it and just keep experimenting.  As long as you are fiddling with a mod copy and not the original files, then you can't do any serious harm.  And look at the Nival maps, there's a ton of tricks they use that you can figure out by looking through them.  The S3 editor is one of the hardest editors around to learn, but once you get used to it's strange quirks, it is very powerful.

The one thing I haven't figured out yet would be making it possible for a team to work on a mod over the internet.  It uses SQL servers, which could be setup for internet access, but then someone would need to leave a server on all the time with the files.  Not to mention that the SQL setup for the S3 files is not very secure, and as such could leave the server vulnerable to hackers.  I think it was more designed to be used over a secure LAN rather than the net.

one final thing - if you want to learn to mod S3, it helps if you understand at least one programming language.  Almost every interesting sequence or event in the game is done via scripting.  The S3 scripting is easy to learn, but if you know how to program another language, it will give you the edge in making useful scripts.

#14 DoomMunky

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 06:58 PM

Wow! Great info, again! Thanks. I get to go to work soon, so no response soon, but I sure as heck can't talk computer language, ANY computer language. Even Windows is tough for me.  

So I'll do my best, some day... Thanks so much, dude!

#15 KoMik

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 09:28 AM

Damocles posts are so great that I have to try write my bad english (I'm still learning...)

One thing what make S^s modding in teams pretty difficult is that there is no way to make whole mission and then sent it to 'boss' modder, because map templates couldn't be moved to database to database (objects just vanish somewhere on the way). But scripts are easy to move: main modder have to do map templates with units and waypoints and then copy-paste script to it.

I have become little disturbed shooting human characters (or any lifeforms from this planet) in real life or in games... but if the enemy consist of mystics 'horrorfreaks' straigt from hell (demons, zombies, monsters...) or space invaders (aliens, big bugs...) I'm more than ready to empty whole clip to them. So if someones plans to make mod what includes these creatures I would be very interest to help in that project. I don't mean that there should be UFO-S^-mod because UFOs turnbase system is complete different.

I think there is missing many good turbase elements from S's system. AP-calculating is pretty poor: shooting and moving cost same points are u wounded or not. There is no different slots for 1hand or 2hand weapons. Arms and legs doesn't rip off (so u can allways use 2hand weapons). If somebody have ever played old DOS game *Paybacktime* (made by 2finns) it includes very good VP-system: All different bodyparts have own VPs and they rip off (me and my friends were complete hooked to that years ago), but it has not scenario and it visuality is poor (Nival had taken some sound effects from it).

I'm going to pack the first version of my scenario mod (called small_mod) before summer (summers here in Finland are so unique and beautiful that I'm not going to spend time with computer after work, but winters are so dark and cold that those can kill you). So test my mod then and you will see what I can do. If someones there are interested to take me to some project I'm free on next autumn (but we can always discuss about the project meanwhile).

Take care...c u

...and to Damocles "I'm waiting for your logic-scripts like a madman :D "

#16 DoomMunky

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 09:35 PM

KoMik, your english is perfectly good. Keep on writing a ton!

That's a shame about the team-modding problems: A big group project could be pretty fun. Oh well, though. Guess we'll just have to keep sharing tricks!

As for the turn-based system that S2 and S3 use, I think it's trying to be less hardcore than the systems you described. The addition, in S3, of weapon degradation is, in my opinion, a fairly big nod in favor of the more hardcore types of players. Since you mentioned it, in fact, S2 and S3 seem more and more like they were aimed at a 'popular' audience than the 'hardcore'. I would certainly have liked limb-damage to be more of a factor in the game ('weapon skills reduction' doesn't seem to affect your percentages that much) and it really bothers me how much AP is required to shoot a rifle vs. an SMG (but I guess that's required for game balance). Overall, though, I think they did a bang-up job of making a fun, accessible, but still challenging and detailed Turn-Based game.

What additions would you like to see? What features and/or game systems do you think were left out?

#17 KoMik

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 10:22 AM

Yep... I know that turbased games are risk games for developers and publishers and I really hope that Nival got their payment from S^s (so they can and will keep developing). S^s show to 'game-world' how goooood turnbased games can be and what they can be. I myself think that FPS-games have come someway to end of the road (next step would be 3D-classes, suits or rooms and developed multiplayer possibilities). Now it's time to start/keep developing turnbased games too. FPS-games got still better 3D-characters (horrorfreaks are so goddamn beautiful in Doom3, Half Life2, WoWarcraft and Resident Evil4) and something like those should  be added to turnbased games also.

Main thing why I like turnbased system over all is TIME. Realtime games basic thing is fast gaming (point, shoot and run like hell or build and conquer till your wrist tendon hurts like hell). So if we got time in turnbased games we should take all out of it. There might be lots of different 'character RPG-properties windows' free to open, check and use and those all should have some affects to your characters and the way how you want to play. I would understand the easy handling if player squad consist from 10-20 units but in S^s player got 'only' 6units...

About the rip offing bodyparts: S^s have so good 'physics-modeling (or how u say it)' that it would be 'funny' if your character arm rip off and roll down the hill so you have to run after it, pick it up to your backpack with your healty hand and run to medic who will fix it back :lol: . If you left character arm to map after leaving you lose it forever (so then you character would really be a veteran or in base you can buy a robot arm). Without leg you can only crawl forward and left brutally bloody line on your route (or is this too hardcore :D )?.

I hope that developers have noted also turnbased games possibilities to make good AI-system (to single players or coop scenarions). Everybody have seen how fast the CPUs and G-cards had developed in few years, so the problem is no more in slow prosessors. When the enemy turn starts the CPU might count from thousands different unit-logics and group-tactics strategy-variants what to randomly choose to that turn situation and it's not possible in realtime games.

I myself maybe have become too old but I'm now looking for 'the right one' :) : A game what will last years and is open to big add-ons. S^s are good but because of editor hardness it's not so open to free add-ons and developing (teamworks) but it's now best turnbased game what I have found.

"Oh yeah...I have been sneaking my ass off with this." (by Moe Z. from The Simpsons)
(damn how much time writing english take from me and I can't say all what I want)

#18 DoomMunky

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 08:20 PM

Jeez, KoMik, you write English very well. Your point comes across very easily. You have much to say, too!




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