Workable and Balanced, and quite likely Fun Suggestion for Monster Behaviour. =)

By on August 22, 2012 8:08:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

StevenAus

Join Date 06/2010
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Reposted from http://forums.elementalgame.com/429787/get;3211003.

If you make one change to the behaviour of the Monsters faction, give each individual Monster (or Lair) an area it protects, and EVERYTHING in that area is likely to be attacked if the monster or lair output has a good chance of winning.  I'd rather that monsters (within their "turf" or maybe can attack cities or units, but not outposts, one square further) always attack outposts, and also take a slight risk in attacking cities or units, then just have a random chance of attacking something next to them like it is currently.

So I suggest:

  • Give Monsters and Lairs a patrol radius (the Lair patrol radius would be for every monster produced by that lair).
  • The radius would be based on strength of the monster/s, tougher monsters would have a smaller radius, but smallest radius for really powerful monsters would be two or three squares from the starting point.
  • Monsters ALWAYS attack anything in that radius that it stands a good chance of defeating, ie. always moves onto outposts, attacks low level cities, champions and units, and the more powerful the monster the stronger the fight it will take on.  Dragons and Slags for example would be likely to take on most low to medium (or high medium) level intruders on their turf.
  • When quests or events spawn monsters over an area of the map, each group would be given a relevant patrol radius.
  • And when a lair upgrades to more powerful units, it could perhaps keep the same patrol radius for the more powerful units, since the monsters have become bigger and more hungry since they have been left to multiply.
  • The patrol radius could be automatically extended every (map-size-customized - and there could even be map start options to change this - probably make it mod-editable too) number of turns, and there could be an option for an automatic extend when a juicy target is close (including a city or outpost) or a "stretch" (moving just a little out of patrol radius to attack a juicy target or town, but would then go back to the current regular patrol radius if nothing else near.)

I like the idea of Monsters and Lairs having a patrol radius they consider their "turf", and have it increasing at points throughout the game to increase the danger, and being balanced by having more powerful monsters or lairs placed starting with a smaller radius.  But radius would never be smaller than two or three squares from the starting point even for the most powerful monsters or lairs.

What do others think of this suggestion?

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August 22, 2012 8:22:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Its partially a good suggestion, but a bit to static and predictable. An Umberdroth took two cities from me yesterday. Would not have happened if he had a radius and he would not wander about. I want the world to be dangerous.

I like that they protect their area, but sometimes a monster should feel the need to see the world and kill something

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August 22, 2012 9:05:45 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I agree with adding a radius but also keeping the random wandering that is currently in the game. I fully agree with Joasoze the game needs to be dangerous and Unpredictable.

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August 22, 2012 9:38:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would agree with that, but there also needs to be a way to prevent the powerful monsters going walkabout too early in the game.

How about keeping on increasing the radius of monsters as the number of turns reaches certain numbers, and/or allow a monster to extend or go outside its radius (do you think extending permanently, or a temporary "stretch" would be better?) if there are juicy snacks for the monster?  But again, it should probably be a smaller amount for more powerful monsters.

Edited OP with the extra suggestions.

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August 22, 2012 9:45:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Monster behavior AI needs some serious love.

I had a post a while back about monsters decimating towns that was something like this:

When a monster attacks a town (and wins), it should make that town its new lair.  Depending on the population of the town, there'd be a number of turns that you could retrieve the town (with some damage, and a drastically reduced population) before the whole thing just poofed into a pile of rubble.  (A new monster would automatically spawn on its old lair).

The same mechanic could be used for outposts, but without the delay.  So if a monster destroy an outpost it sets up a new lair.

Using your idea, once a monster takes a town (And reduces it to rubble), it's radius of attack would center on that town.

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August 22, 2012 9:47:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Monsters have a patrol radius.  It's actually (in code) called PatrolRadius. Modders can set what they want per monster lair using WanderingRadius (see coregoodiehuts.xml).

For for example, you could edit the Lair_Mites to have what it spits out have a smaller wandering radius if you wanted or have it upgrade, over time, into something nastier that spits out tougher, further ranged units.  This is in right now.

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August 22, 2012 9:48:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great ideas!  I like the idea of getting a chance to "retrieve" a city before it is savaged to death.

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August 22, 2012 9:51:30 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy, they need to get into a frenzy on their turf too, "not just maybe". So within their current patrol radius, they should be very savage against ANY unit, city or outpost that is placed on their "turf" that they stand a good chance of defeating.  Could you do something like this, and implement ideas from this thread?  I think this would be a great way of making the world feel more alive, without having the bigger monsters go on rampages too early.

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August 22, 2012 9:54:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you go into their turf (like a wildlands) they will swarm you.  In neutral territory, it depends on whether they think they can take you and their intelligence.  Beasts will just wander. You can set up a place next to a giant slag and it may never attack that city...or it might.  Set it up next to say an intelligent monster and you'll have more problems.

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August 22, 2012 10:00:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How do we set intelligence for new creatures?

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August 22, 2012 10:03:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

But you don't currently need to go into Wildlands to win the game, so it might be good to have the monsters a little more savage in neutral territory too.

Btw: aren't Umberdroths Beasts?  If all beasts go walkabout then no wonder units like Umberdroths can take you down really early in the game.

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August 22, 2012 10:05:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

And Sean - it would be good to be able to edit intelligence for existing creatures too.

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August 22, 2012 10:05:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

UnitStat_Intelligence I believe.  There are already lots of units with intelligence.

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August 22, 2012 10:06:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I must have posted a fraction of a second before you, Frogboy.

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August 22, 2012 10:08:46 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting sweatyboatman,
Monster behavior AI needs some serious love.

I had a post a while back about monsters decimating towns that was something like this:

When a monster attacks a town (and wins), it should make that town its new lair.  Depending on the population of the town, there'd be a number of turns that you could retrieve the town (with some damage, and a drastically reduced population) before the whole thing just poofed into a pile of rubble.  (A new monster would automatically spawn on its old lair).

The same mechanic could be used for outposts, but without the delay.  So if a monster destroy an outpost it sets up a new lair.

Using your idea, once a monster takes a town (And reduces it to rubble), it's radius of attack would center on that town.

Warlock does this and it works very well. In that game they have two types of monster AI. The Monsters and the Independant (not AI players they are different) and they hate each other as much as they hate all players (both human and AI.)

Both will take towns like a player and produce units from that town (and have improvments) so it is awsome because it is more powerful than a normal lair. Which means you want to capture those towns or your going to have a problem.

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August 22, 2012 10:11:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@OP: Are you talking about guardians or wanderers? The monsters that sit on lairs and don't move unless placed under ZoC are what I call guardians, and wanderers are those monsters that do wander around normally.

As stated by Frogboy wanderers already have a patrol radius. Although they tend to be very weak and not attack cities ever. Guardians on the other hand when aggroed wander around randomly.

I find the current system off but if you were to make guardians attack everything that came near them it would become easy to sneak in and destroy their lairs. They would also be a huge navigation hazard. I would rather see wanderers get a significant boost so that they become an actual threat, and have guardians only ever move if placed under ZoC. However when they start moving it should definitely only be within a certain radius as you have said. Right now guardians move around to much, are too random, and don't properly limit expansion.

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August 22, 2012 10:14:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That is why I didn't see it. I thought that was an old stat from .87 or something. Thanks  .

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August 22, 2012 10:19:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm talking about the wanderers and the creatures that are produced by a lair but are not the ones which are guarding the lair from being looted.

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August 22, 2012 2:22:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Here are some things I would suggest:

  • Lairs have "Guardian stack" that never leaves the lair.  It can increase in size slowly based on the monster type.  The maximum stack size is based on the highest level unit in the stack.
  • monster stacks have a "hunger level".  It increases gradually over time, but drops when they attack something.  The increase is based on game difficulty level.  The higher the hunger level, the more aggressive they get and the larger their patrol radius.  When the guardian stack's hunger level hits a point where their patrol radius is large enough to encompass something they feel like attacking, they spawn a patrol made up of mostly the lower level monsters from the guardian stack and go looking for something to attack.  The guardian stack hunger level is reset to 0 after spawning a patrol.  Hunger level has a minimum of 0. 
  • The closer you get to a lair, the greater the possability that you will be within their patrol radius.  It all depends on how hungry they are.  The guardian stack does not attack anyone, but it may spawn everything it has as a patrol in cases like Dragons or Golems.
  • patrols wander within their patrol radius and attack whatever they think they can handle.  That includes other monster groups.  This way, monsters gain levels and may get stronger.
  • Patrols do not respect borders or ZoC.  (What, are they painted on the ground in monster repellant?)  If they are hungry, they will attack what they can.
  • When a patrol's hunger level drops or they are badly injured, they return to their lair to heal.  They merge back into the guardian stack.  The patrol's hunger level is averaged in to the guardian stack's.
  • If a patrol loses its lair, it searches for a new place to establish a lair.  It looks for a place not within the borders or patrol radius of any empire or other monster and in the terriain type that it prefers.  Their hunger level is reset while they set up shop.
  • If the guardian stack's hunger level reaches a maximum, it may abandon its lair and the entire stack becomes a patrol looking for a new lair.  Hunger level is reduced to retain some aggression but not instigate a rash of rampaging monsters.

I think this gives the monsters a consistent motive and reason for what they do.  It makes them a living part of the wild world while balancing their aggression instead of rampaging endlessly or doing nothing.  Lairs will, on average, increase in size and difficulty over time.

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August 23, 2012 8:23:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy, the only value I see used is <UnitStat_Intelligence>1</UnitStat_Intelligence>

 

So monsters either don't have this value or have just 1 as their value. What does this mean> Does this mean they either have intelligence or don't have it> But then there is no way to define how intelligent.

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August 23, 2012 11:09:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Notice that other "monsters" have a higher intelligence.  There must be some minimum level before they will aggressively go attack people.   Try setting it to 5 or 6.

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August 24, 2012 5:24:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Okay I saw higher int values in there. Bandits are 10, darklings 5, etc. Dark Wizards are 12 int. Drakes and bears and stuff are just 1.

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August 24, 2012 5:30:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Maybe it's a boolean function, as in they have intelligence (and act a certain way) or don't (and act another way.)

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August 24, 2012 5:59:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well I confirmed that different units have different intelligence values, missed it last time somehow. I don't know yet what these values mean though. Obviously, higher the number the smarter but what does that mean exactly in game is the question. What will the monsters do if I set the INT to 5 or 6, or perhaps to 10> I don't know.

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August 24, 2012 9:36:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

all this modding stuff... In the end I really hope they upgrade the aggressiveness of monsters around they're lairs, when the monsters see a city and they have 10 times the strength of anything near the city, they should go have a snack.

Dex have an interesting idea too!

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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August 25, 2012 2:48:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well we don't know what the devs will do with the game so it is good to know how things work in case we want to change them.

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