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[Winter] Changes to NPC AI

First post
Author
Adigard
RubberDuckies
#441 - 2012-11-06 23:04:18 UTC  |  Edited by: Adigard
Meditril wrote:
One thing I really don't understand: Why does everybody here seems to think that missions (especially lvl 4 and 5 ones) or other NPC spawns should be runable in full-AFK mode?

The answers to this has been stated in these threads for months, but I'll spell it out for you again.

This change rewards the totally AFK sentry Domi fit. Those ships actually have an easier time than they did before. CCP Dev's proved this conclusively.

What was your point again?

Meditril wrote:
CCP wants to make PVE content being more similar to PVP content.

[citation needed]

A few CCP Dev's think this is a good notion, but does CCP as a whole want this? Certainly doesn't look like it.

Meditril wrote:
This is a good idea and improved NPC-AI is a good first step.

This Dev Blog is nearly three months old. That's nearly a quarter of a year. I don't actually remember the date of the last code fix, but it was months back when Fox Four disabled the AI on a few NPC's. So unless you think the second step being another :18 months+: off is a good follow-up... I think that's a fairly meaningless point. The Dev in charge of this Dev Blog has been pulled off this project and is working on two new things. Who exactly do you believe is going to do the magical PvP'ish code you're pining for?

Do I need to read your post beyond the third sentence?
Mund Richard
#442 - 2012-11-08 14:29:29 UTC  |  Edited by: Mund Richard
Vatek wrote:
Meditril wrote:
One thing I really don't understand: Why does everybody here seems to think that missions (especially lvl 4 and 5 ones) or other NPC spawns should be runable in full-AFK mode?


PVE is already mind-numbingly awful. There's no need to make it even more tedious for the same reward.

Not to mention how the true AFK dualboxing is the least affected (as stated a lot of times before in these threads, even by CCP, just saying it again, maybe there will be one less person asking it again).

In fact, I have 3 plans or so ready for these changes.
1) go for non-droneboats - less micro, maybe slightly more targeting, less buttons to press (no/less drone shortcuts, just F1, and I'm using guns/missiles anyways).
more dps, more isk/h for less pain than the way I run them now
2) go for MORE droneboats, and remote rep, making my drones an unlikely target.
Near my current dps (skills improved since I started the current), similar isk/h, requires almost no interaction on my part.
3) Quit.

Now, if you notice, I'm not looking forward to 2), but it is nontheless, a really viable answer.
For this and a bunch of other reasons is why us drone users arent really welcoming this change, being somewhat pushed from an @KB gameplay to AFKing

Vatek wrote:
Meditril wrote:
CCP wants to make PVE content being more similar to PVP content. This is a good idea and improved NPC-AI is a good first step. Drones have their benenfits like providing you a lot of flexibility and good damage etc. however they have the weakness of being able to get popped by enemy, which frequently happens in PVP too. A way to avoid drones being popped is constantly babysitting them and making sure you engage only enemies which are close to you.


Gun and missile boats don't have to manage their guns beyond locking a target and pressing F1, why do droneboats need to be punished when drones are already the weakest weapon system?

And that.

And how missions aren't becoming any more rewarding, just more sirens going off.
Or, as in the case of drones, no sirens going off at all, just poor them dying in the empty cold void with no one hearing them scream. That is, if you blink when the whole room (including battleships) swap to an MWDing drone.
Because based on their MWD sig, they are still a better target than a Shield Extended Shield Rigged Rattlesnake (sig over 600m easily) for all frigs, cruisers, and even apparently battleships at that point from what I saw.

"We want PvE activities to require active participation and mirror PvP more closely." Stacking penalty for NPC EWAR then? Lock range under 9km from over 100 in a BS is not fun. Nor is two NPC web drones making me crawl 10m/s. PvP SW-900 x5: 75m/s.

Bugsy VanHalen
Society of lost Souls
#443 - 2012-11-08 14:31:11 UTC
As the last reply from FOXFOUR in this thread was 10 days ago, I am curious what the status is.

Has this been put on the back burner to be released in a follow up update once the balance is worked out?

Has it been removed from the que for now in favor of more popular additions?

Or is it considered a done deal and will go live dec 4th regardless of what impact it may or may not have?

We would just like to know what this discussion has left us with.

The new A.I. was a great idea, the problem is the PVE part of this game is balanced around being able to control agro. By making this agro harder to predict and even harder to control, much of the PVE content that currently requires a lot of skill and knowledge to complete will be near impossible.

In PVP when you are faced by overwhelming numbers you die. In PVE you are almost always faced with overwhelming numbers. Making those numbers smarter will be a nice challenge for some, but will be game breaking for many others.
Mund Richard
#444 - 2012-11-08 14:33:48 UTC
Bugsy VanHalen wrote:
The new A.I. was a great idea, the problem is the PVE part of this game is balanced around being able to control agro. By making this agro harder to predict and even harder to control, much of the PVE content that currently requires a lot of skill and knowledge to complete will be near impossible.

In PVP when you are faced by overwhelming numbers you die. In PVE you are almost always faced with overwhelming numbers. Making those numbers smarter will be a nice challenge for some, but will be game breaking for many others.

And in a 0mbps soloing Tengu, it's not a change at all. Roll

That's why I am slightly less expectant over raging from Dec 4, though nontheless, I'm looking forward to it like some others said before.
Hope I don't forget my popcorn.

"We want PvE activities to require active participation and mirror PvP more closely." Stacking penalty for NPC EWAR then? Lock range under 9km from over 100 in a BS is not fun. Nor is two NPC web drones making me crawl 10m/s. PvP SW-900 x5: 75m/s.

James Amril-Kesh
Viziam
Amarr Empire
#445 - 2012-11-08 17:57:31 UTC  |  Edited by: James Amril-Kesh
Well on the latest iteration of Duality, NPCs in an anom refused to switch their targeting to my drones, even when the drones were the only thing doing damage.

Either the AI is broken (probable since belt rats aren't targeting players at all), it was changed to severely reduce drone aggro, or it was pulled entirely. It would be nice to know which.

Enjoying the rain today? ;)

Sentamon
Imperial Academy
Amarr Empire
#446 - 2012-11-08 19:23:58 UTC
James Amril-Kesh wrote:
Well on the latest iteration of Duality, NPCs in an anon refused to switch their targeting to my drones, even when the drones were the only thing doing damage.

Either the AI is broken (probable since belt rats aren't targeting players at all), it was changed to severely reduce drone aggro, or it was pulled entirely. It would be nice to know which.


Hopefully pulled until we have a better UI and AI for drones.

~ Professional Forum Alt  ~

Vatek
Ministry of War
Amarr Empire
#447 - 2012-11-08 19:32:59 UTC
Sentamon wrote:
James Amril-Kesh wrote:
Well on the latest iteration of Duality, NPCs in an anon refused to switch their targeting to my drones, even when the drones were the only thing doing damage.

Either the AI is broken (probable since belt rats aren't targeting players at all), it was changed to severely reduce drone aggro, or it was pulled entirely. It would be nice to know which.


Hopefully pulled until we have a better UI and AI for drones.


And hopefully pulled until they can revamp PVE content so that it's actually designed from the ground up for this AI.
ZhaoMin
Tennyson Court
#448 - 2012-11-08 22:08:29 UTC
Bugsy VanHalen wrote:
As the last reply from FOXFOUR in this thread was 10 days ago, I am curious what the status is.

Has this been put on the back burner to be released in a follow up update once the balance is worked out?

Has it been removed from the que for now in favor of more popular additions?

Or is it considered a done deal and will go live dec 4th regardless of what impact it may or may not have?

We would just like to know what this discussion has left us with.


CCP tend to do this "completely silent" for the past few patches since Incarna, they asked people to check out new/revamped features or blog/announce about new/revamped features and states that they'd completely welcome all sorts of feedbacks (+Hellmar's famous quote: "we like people bullshitting us"). and while discussion sometimes went foul, most concerns raised initially are valid and either constructive or tells the devs the true gut feelings on how players think about the changes.

Yet, CCP always like to fuel the flame themselves either by dismissing concerns or simply go completely silent, happend with Incarna, happened with Unified Inventory and it is still happening now with this AI thing. Not a single word, not a single comment / statement that can at least ease the communities' concerns. Yet, earlier in the thread and in the other thread Foxfour: "this is my thread!" , "We are actively monitoring this thread and every feedback!"

You make players feel more anxious (yeah, Dec 4 is approaching and no word on a major change as this date approaches) and it almost to the point that you make people think that "you don't really care, it's just a job someone handed to you and you show that you've worked on it a bit then off you go!"

A simple sentence/statement that says "We know your concerns, rest assured that we're still tweaking it" every 2~4 days won't hurt would it? even if it's a lie, it's better than current tactic of post a thread and forget that's been employed for the past 2 years no? Bad PR?

Adigard
RubberDuckies
#449 - 2012-11-09 00:43:17 UTC  |  Edited by: Adigard
Bugsy VanHalen wrote:
As the last reply from FOXFOUR in this thread was 10 days ago, I am curious what the status is.

Has this been put on the back burner to be released in a follow up update once the balance is worked out?

Has it been removed from the que for now in favor of more popular additions?

Or is it considered a done deal and will go live dec 4th regardless of what impact it may or may not have?


From everything CCP has said, if you're not betting on the last answer, you're doing something wrong.

From everything said by the Dev's in this thread the current AI is working as intended and they have absolutely no reason not to deploy it. I'm sure they're ignoring this post because they're of the opinion that this is a closed project and everything is ready for deployment. I don't ever recall reading anything FoxFour said in these AI threads that suggested they were not 100% confident that this was totally ready to be deployed.

Also, FoxFour completed a new project (containers) and is now working on another project for Retribution (honestly don't know which one though). Why would they come this far back on the project tasklist? This one is probably in the dead and buried folder.


James Amril-Kesh wrote:
Well on the latest iteration of Duality, NPCs in an anom refused to switch their targeting to my drones, even when the drones were the only thing doing damage.

Either the AI is broken (probable since belt rats aren't targeting players at all), it was changed to severely reduce drone aggro, or it was pulled entirely. It would be nice to know which.


Keep in mind... during the last few testing batches the rat AI would (roughly) target swap in 40% of the missions run. It's possible you simply didn't run enough missions to notice? I know the first four missions I ran on Duality I never had target swaps. There were missions that were run absolutely AFK without ever taking a bit of drone damage.

There was one mission where the rats were target swapping to my sentries (in a rattlesnake) but the sentries never took any damage.

I'd assume you're seeing the same things we all experienced unless you ran half a dozen+ missions.
CCP FoxFour
C C P
C C P Alliance
#450 - 2012-11-09 13:39:49 UTC
Hey guys, I have been a bit silent here and for that I apologize. An update on where we stand with the AI changes:


  • As it stands we are still going ahead with pushing the change to TQ.
  • While the change did not make it to the current version on Buckingham I have lowered the drone hate of the AI some more.
  • While we consider the fact that the AI will only shoot your first flight of drones (this is based on specific criteria such as sig radius) and not a second wave to be a defect, we are not publishing the fix with Retribution.
  • After Retribution we will be making a change to the AI so that they only consider damage being dealt to them as something to increase a targets threat. That way when you warp in to kill someone running an anomaly shooting the player does not make the NPC hate you.
  • Also after Retribution, and on the same topic as the previous point, we will be making it so that unless you do something like shoot the NPC or repair a player the NPC won't take your signature radius into account when evaluating targets. Even with the above change without this one frigates would still switch targets.


Now as I am sure many of you are wondering why we have been silent in this thread it is because we found a defect with NPC, nothing to do with the AI, that we decided needed to be fixed. After fixing it and realizing exactly how broken things were we decided to remove the fix until a later date when we can properly balance the content to account for this fix. We have spent the last few weeks attempting to fix the defect, figure out the risk of it, and figure out if we should delay it or the AI changes. In the end we decided to go ahead with the AI and delay the defect fix.

So yea, there is the update. I should hopefully have the lowered drone hate tested enough to put on Buckingham with the next update and will let you know when we do.

@CCP_FoxFour // Technical Designer // Team Tech Co

Third-party developer? Check out the official developers site for dev blogs, resources, and more.

Creat Posudol
German Oldies
#451 - 2012-11-09 14:14:55 UTC
While I like very much that the changes are coming and we are moving away from the ridiculously dumb AI (apparently with baby steps, but I'll take what I can get) you now made me incredibly curious about the defect that you did your very best to not specify. At all. Not even a hint... What is it? what? WHAT!? I need to know!

But yes, glad missions might at some point (in about 2-3 years at the current speed, including a possible redesign of the missions) become some sort of challenge again. I mean for any char older than 3 months. I understand you don't want to upset people who rely on L4s for income too much (as I'm sure there are not exactly few of them), but at some point there has to be progress, please :D
Singira
Heffalumps and Woozles.
#452 - 2012-11-09 14:34:10 UTC
CCP FoxFour wrote:
Hey guys, I have been a bit silent here and for that I apologize. An update on where we stand with the AI changes:


  • As it stands we are still going ahead with pushing the change to TQ.
  • While the change did not make it to the current version on Buckingham I have lowered the drone hate of the AI some more.
  • While we consider the fact that the AI will only shoot your first flight of drones (this is based on specific criteria such as sig radius) and not a second wave to be a defect, we are not publishing the fix with Retribution.
  • After Retribution we will be making a change to the AI so that they only consider damage being dealt to them as something to increase a targets threat. That way when you warp in to kill someone running an anomaly shooting the player does not make the NPC hate you.
  • Also after Retribution, and on the same topic as the previous point, we will be making it so that unless you do something like shoot the NPC or repair a player the NPC won't take your signature radius into account when evaluating targets. Even with the above change without this one frigates would still switch targets.


Now as I am sure many of you are wondering why we have been silent in this thread it is because we found a defect with NPC, nothing to do with the AI, that we decided needed to be fixed. After fixing it and realizing exactly how broken things were we decided to remove the fix until a later date when we can properly balance the content to account for this fix. We have spent the last few weeks attempting to fix the defect, figure out the risk of it, and figure out if we should delay it or the AI changes. In the end we decided to go ahead with the AI and delay the defect fix.

So yea, there is the update. I should hopefully have the lowered drone hate tested enough to put on Buckingham with the next update and will let you know when we do.


What is your standing towards the fact that 0.0 will now be a much safer place and much harder for solo pvpers?
The fact that this new ratter safety will be an ISK faucet likely causing a lot more people to PLEX their account bought with ISK, and thus devaluating the ISK currency substantially?

I tested today and gaterats and anomaly rats will instantly switch to anyone using a disruptor or scram on a player, but I can't see how this should be any improvement towards getting rid of botters and afk ratters..
Quite the opposite actually..

I thought that risk = reward in EvE but apparently this has changed?

Care to offer an explanation to why NPC's should act as bodyguards for their current nemesis and engage targets that show no agression towards the NPCs?
Theophilas
Zero Fun Allowed
xqtywiznalamywmodxfhhopawzpqyjdwrpeptuaenabjawdzku
#453 - 2012-11-09 14:41:32 UTC
Singira wrote:
I tested today and gaterats and anomaly rats will instantly switch to anyone using a disruptor or scram on a player, but I can't see how this should be any improvement towards getting rid of botters and afk ratters..
Quite the opposite actually...y NPC's should act as bodyguards for their current nemesis and engage targets that show no agression towards the NPCs?


Singira wrote:
I tested today and gaterats and anomaly rats will instantly switch to anyone using a disruptor or scram on a player, but I can't see how this should be any improvement towards getting rid of botters and afk ratters..
Quite the opposite actually...y NPC's should act as bodyguards for their current nemesis and engage targets that show no agression towards the NPCs?


Singira wrote:
I tested today and gaterats and anomaly rats will instantly switch to anyone using a disruptor or scram on a player, but I can't see how this should be any improvement towards getting rid of botters and afk ratters..
Quite the opposite actually...y NPC's should act as bodyguards for their current nemesis and engage targets that show no agression towards the NPCs?


Singira wrote:
I tested today and gaterats and anomaly rats will instantly switch to anyone using a disruptor or scram on a player, but I can't see how this should be any improvement towards getting rid of botters and afk ratters..
Quite the opposite actually...y NPC's should act as bodyguards for their current nemesis and engage targets that show no agression towards the NPCs?


CCP PLZ
Capqu
Half Empty
xqtywiznalamywmodxfhhopawzpqyjdwrpeptuaenabjawdzku
#454 - 2012-11-09 14:53:34 UTC
CCP FoxFour wrote:

  • As it stands we are still going ahead with pushing the change to TQ..

  • What a joke.

    Pushing something you know is broken with the promise of a future update; software development at it's finest. Plus, forgive me if I'm wrong but CCP's track record pretty much guarentees once it's live it's not getting fixed for years.

    Why are you updating the game with something purely negative, with the intent of fixing it later? Why not just not update the game? I thought you guys were better than this. I guess it's time to realise CCP are just another company that deliberately push patches they know were broken because a deadline arrived. Pretty pathetic.
    CCP FoxFour
    C C P
    C C P Alliance
    #455 - 2012-11-09 14:55:04 UTC
    Theophilas wrote:
    Singira wrote:
    I tested today and gaterats and anomaly rats will instantly switch to anyone using a disruptor or scram on a player, but I can't see how this should be any improvement towards getting rid of botters and afk ratters..
    Quite the opposite actually...y NPC's should act as bodyguards for their current nemesis and engage targets that show no agression towards the NPCs?


    Singira wrote:
    I tested today and gaterats and anomaly rats will instantly switch to anyone using a disruptor or scram on a player, but I can't see how this should be any improvement towards getting rid of botters and afk ratters..
    Quite the opposite actually...y NPC's should act as bodyguards for their current nemesis and engage targets that show no agression towards the NPCs?


    Singira wrote:
    I tested today and gaterats and anomaly rats will instantly switch to anyone using a disruptor or scram on a player, but I can't see how this should be any improvement towards getting rid of botters and afk ratters..
    Quite the opposite actually...y NPC's should act as bodyguards for their current nemesis and engage targets that show no agression towards the NPCs?


    Singira wrote:
    I tested today and gaterats and anomaly rats will instantly switch to anyone using a disruptor or scram on a player, but I can't see how this should be any improvement towards getting rid of botters and afk ratters..
    Quite the opposite actually...y NPC's should act as bodyguards for their current nemesis and engage targets that show no agression towards the NPCs?


    CCP PLZ


    All I can really say is this:

    Quote:
    After Retribution we will be making a change to the AI so that they only consider damage being dealt to them as something to increase a targets threat. That way when you warp in to kill someone running an anomaly shooting the player does not make the NPC hate you.

    Also after Retribution, and on the same topic as the previous point, we will be making it so that unless you do something like shoot the NPC or repair a player the NPC won't take your signature radius into account when evaluating targets. Even with the above change without this one frigates would still switch targets.


    I am pushing for this as soon as possible, but with Crimewatch it will need to wait until after Retribution.

    @CCP_FoxFour // Technical Designer // Team Tech Co

    Third-party developer? Check out the official developers site for dev blogs, resources, and more.

    Theophilas
    Zero Fun Allowed
    xqtywiznalamywmodxfhhopawzpqyjdwrpeptuaenabjawdzku
    #456 - 2012-11-09 14:58:41 UTC
    CCP FoxFour wrote:
    I am pushing for this as soon as possible, but with Crimewatch it will need to wait until after Retribution.


    NOT ACCEPTABLE.

    You are pushing a broken product to make a deadline.

    Who does this help?

    Just hold off on this content until it's correct. How hard is that?
    CCP FoxFour
    C C P
    C C P Alliance
    #457 - 2012-11-09 14:59:05 UTC
    Capqu wrote:
    CCP FoxFour wrote:

  • As it stands we are still going ahead with pushing the change to TQ..

  • What a joke.

    Pushing something you know is broken with the promise of a future update; software development at it's finest. Plus, forgive me if I'm wrong but CCP's track record pretty much guarentees once it's live it's not getting fixed for years.

    Why are you updating the game with something purely negative, with the intent of fixing it later? Why not just not update the game? I thought you guys were better than this. I guess it's time to realise CCP are just another company that deliberately push patches they know were broken because a deadline arrived. Pretty pathetic.


    Because we believe that this change is an improvement. The changes we want to make to the AI after Retribution are changes that will effect Incursion and Sleeper NPC as well. We don't deem them to be defects, just changes for the better. The fact that they also change Sleeper and Incursion AI is why we are waiting until after Retribution.

    The thing we consider to be a defect is the switching to drones once and not again which due to the fact that it makes it easier for players to fight NPC made it a lower priority to fix over other defects that affect players negatively, rather than positively.

    @CCP_FoxFour // Technical Designer // Team Tech Co

    Third-party developer? Check out the official developers site for dev blogs, resources, and more.

    Capqu
    Half Empty
    xqtywiznalamywmodxfhhopawzpqyjdwrpeptuaenabjawdzku
    #458 - 2012-11-09 15:04:55 UTC
    CCP FoxFour wrote:
    Capqu wrote:
    CCP FoxFour wrote:

  • As it stands we are still going ahead with pushing the change to TQ..

  • What a joke.

    Pushing something you know is broken with the promise of a future update; software development at it's finest. Plus, forgive me if I'm wrong but CCP's track record pretty much guarentees once it's live it's not getting fixed for years.

    Why are you updating the game with something purely negative, with the intent of fixing it later? Why not just not update the game? I thought you guys were better than this. I guess it's time to realise CCP are just another company that deliberately push patches they know were broken because a deadline arrived. Pretty pathetic.


    Because we believe that this change is an improvement. The changes we want to make to the AI after Retribution are changes that will effect Incursion and Sleeper NPC as well. We don't deem them to be defects, just changes for the better. The fact that they also change Sleeper and Incursion AI is why we are waiting until after Retribution.

    The thing we consider to be a defect is the switching to drones once and not again which due to the fact that it makes it easier for players to fight NPC made it a lower priority to fix over other defects that affect players negatively, rather than positively.


    If you could make an unbiased comparison of all the things this improves versus all the things it destroys, can you honestly say it positively affects the game as a whole? If so, I would be very interested in a post from you outlining the positives and the negatives and why you think it's an acceptable update.

    It's my opinion that you are too invested in this update to make these decisions. Thanks for the response, but it's not exactly constructive.
    Riot Girl
    You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack
    #459 - 2012-11-09 15:25:07 UTC
    CCP FoxFour wrote:
    Because we believe that this change is an improvement.

    Could you explain exactly what improvements these changes will bring to the game? How will these changes make the game better for the players and what is your aim in making these changes?
    Kan'loch Lacoud
    Ministry of War
    Amarr Empire
    #460 - 2012-11-09 15:31:08 UTC
    Pros:

    Makes nullsec pve much much safer
    Makes nullsec pvp such as roaming, soloing and catching ratters nigh impossible
    Theoretically increases isk generation in nullsec as ratters can afford to ignore hostiles and won't lose ships as often (or at all)

    Cons:

    NPCs kill drones much more now, costing hard earned pennies for each ratter using them


    This is obviously a good thing because in a pvp centric mmo pve comes first and must be risk-free a-la WoW, right guys?