The future of scavengers, again.

Ideas and suggestions for how to improve the Warzone 2100 base game only. Ideas for mods go in Mapping/Modding instead. Read sticky posts first!
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NoQ
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The future of scavengers, again.

Post by NoQ » 11 Feb 2013, 09:02

There are some bugs in the current scavenger AI that will be fixed, but that's not the point. I wanted to ask what exactly we want scavengers to be in a basic, unmodded skirmish game.

They can be, sorted by advancedness of behaviour:
  • STATIC: use only the stuff placed on the map (structures and maybe a few droids) and just wait to be eliminated. This is trivial to implement.
  • DEFENSIVE: Produce some droids in their factories, if provided with enough oil from their derricks, but never ever attack an actual player. This is what we currently see; this can be improved by binding all droids to their factories, so that droids didn't travel through the whole map when one of the bases is attacked.
  • AGGRESSIVE: Use some of their newly produced droids to attack the nearby player structures. This is currently implemented in the NullBot Scavenger AI mod.
  • ULTIMATE: Produce construction droids to build new defensive structures, capture oil derricks, build new factories and power generators. This is currently implemented in the Ultimate Scavenger AI mod and requires updates to the game data.
Feel free to add more items to this list.

We may also provide a GUI method to choose scavenger behaviour before the game. Since we need a button to turn them off, i think we are left with choosing from at most two variants out of the four described above. Also, the GUI part is something i cannot code.

When expressing your thoughts on the choices above, please note that we are also discussing map making standards in this thread. For instance, Ultimate Scavenger AI mod is known to be unusable on maps where scavenger counts are significantly above average. Whatever behaviour we choose, people who make maps would need to adapt to it, and gameplay on maps already made will change significantly.

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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by aubergine » 11 Feb 2013, 13:31

In the default scavfact.js, scavs will attack the player only if provoked. For newbies, that is probably desirable state.

But once you get used to the game, USM approach (where they are full AI and will launch attacks, etc) is much more desirable.

So IMHO 3 states should be:

* Off
* Passive -- only attack if provoked
* Active -- build a scav empire

EDIT: Even in passive state it would be nice to see them build up a little rather than just wait there like sitting ducks.

As for maps with too many scav bases, that can be offset by starting with advanced bases rather than no bases.

I think so long as there is some clear guidance for map makers, and they are able to test their maps against the new scav faction, there won't be much of a problem. Maps with too many scavs can be edited. I've played on lots of maps and most are fine with USM installed.

I do think scavfact.js needs to adapt itself a bit more to baseType and powerType though. Otherwise in certain scenarios it will be much too aggressive at the start of the game.
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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by Per » 11 Feb 2013, 13:46

What is the purpose of scavengers in multiplayer? I think the only feasible purpose they can serve is to act as a buffer to make rushing and expanding harder, that is to be passive only. Anything else and randomness calculations in the scav AI will decide games, which is not how the game should work.

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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by Reg312 » 11 Feb 2013, 13:54

Scavengers are good to make harder to expand, they block oil resources.
So scavs is way to make games more interesting, not just truck races.

Current problem: scavengers bases are invisible, to discover them players lose trucks and it is annoying.
I think it can be better if scavenger will be noticed by System like in campaigh
("Scavenger base detected").

I believe Active scavengers also can be funny in MP.

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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by aubergine » 11 Feb 2013, 14:02

@Per: Surely that's up to players to decide though - they have the choice how the scavs will behave.
scavs_off.png
scavs_off.png (635 Bytes) Viewed 2532 times
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scavs_passive.png (1.06 KiB) Viewed 2532 times
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scavs_agressive.png (718 Bytes) Viewed 2532 times
@Reg312: I like the fact you have to go hunting for them. Their bases are only as invisible as the enemy bases, you have to scout them and keep an eye on minimap. Also, better situation reporting would help (try Enhanced SitRep mod and you'll get notifications about scavenger bases, etc).
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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by Rommel » 11 Feb 2013, 14:12

Imagine if you could bribe them to let you thru ;)
Moving back instead of forward
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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by aubergine » 11 Feb 2013, 14:15

Yup - and even make allies with them... Or, if you're pwning them, they offer you vehicles / sensor info / tech in return for safety.

Also, the game should have a T0 level where you start as scavs.
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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by Reg312 » 11 Feb 2013, 14:16

aubergine wrote: @Reg312: I like the fact you have to go hunting for them. Their bases are only as invisible as the enemy bases, you have to scout them and keep an eye on minimap. Also, better situation reporting would help (try Enhanced SitRep mod and you'll get notifications about scavenger bases, etc).
I'm saying all in the realities of MP games.
I cannot use mods because it is hard to find players to play mod.

As i said several times: warzone have a problem. Low-oil classic games is not popular to beginner players. It is just boring to find oil, its just annoying when you have to find oil while your enemy already get this oil and attacking you.
Same with scavengers bases.

Oil memorising, oil hunting, scavengers hunting - such things is not very good for MP. In some maps scavengers appear on unexpected places, e.g. on map "Roughness" scavengers block your base. You cannot leave your base and expand. If you know this fact - you have to start with special build order.
So lets imagine: 1 player do not know what scavs blocking his base, another player had know about it.
First player can lose trucks, or fail in build order. Second player wins in this situation (if both player are at same level of skills).
Fail in build order - you definetely fail game. That is reality of MP games.
And all my ideas apply to MP games, because i play MP games.


So in every MP game some players know current map better.
When 1 player know map exactly, and another player does not know map - this is just uneven game.

(sorry for bad english, i hope i'm telling understandable)

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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by aubergine » 11 Feb 2013, 14:25

Yes, I understand what you are saying, but to me it seems not to matter. It's like saying you should see what your enemy is building and where otherwise you are at disadvantage not knowing what they are building. The scav bases are shown on map preview before game so you see exactly where they are.

And, if your opponent knows map better, it's because they've played it more. Once you play it more you will know it better than those that haven't yet played it.

I guess what you are really asking for is ability to remove fog of war, so you can see whole map?

EDIT: Maybe a fog option with 3 settings:

* Fog
* Show oils (removes need to memorise oil positions0
* Show oils & svavs (only the starting scav structures would be shown)
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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by NoQ » 11 Feb 2013, 14:35

Per wrote:What is the purpose of scavengers in multiplayer?
There is no purpose of scavengers in multiplayer; that's why i'm asking, not monologing :D
Per wrote:I think the only feasible purpose they can serve is to act as a buffer to make rushing and expanding harder, that is to be passive only. Anything else and randomness calculations in the scav AI will decide games, which is not how the game should work.
In fact, only the "ULTIMATE" option suffers from the problem. Current nullbot-scavenger is isotropic: on a symmetric map it will act more or less symmetrically, providing a fair amount of trouble to for all players/teams. It just attacks whatever is closest to each factory, and all factories work independently.

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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by Reg312 » 11 Feb 2013, 14:42

aubergine wrote: It's like saying you should see what your enemy is building and where otherwise you are at disadvantage not knowing what they are building.
NOOOOOOO.
i'm explained all. idk why you cannot understand :twisted:
Scavengers bases and oils is static information. e.g. you can open same map on your notebook and check oil and scavs in god mode. I'm saying about competitive games, not games when you have load of time to scouting and planning your actions.
aubergine wrote: I guess what you are really asking for is ability to remove fog of war, so you can see whole map?
nope

Current situation: player forced to see map in scirmish in god mode just before MP game.
Forced to memorise locations of oil resources, locations of players bases, locations of scavengers, shorten paths to oil resources and enemies.
When i started playing low oil classic games i was forced to preview maps many times, i forced to rememeber short paths ot oil and some several parameters.

I'm asking to make this easier. Why i forced to do preview map in god mode? in real competitive game each second has a value.
Well, this statements applied on to some maps like roughness. On flat high oil maps you need to know only size of map. But even to see map size you need play it at least 1 time


I think scavngers AI must be updated in 3.1.1, because now it working a bit buggy :)

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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by aubergine » 11 Feb 2013, 17:03

Well, would an option to keep oils visible at all times solve the problem with not knowing where oils are? Or maybe light the area around oils as if you'd previously visited it -- you won't see the resource/derrick, but the light patch on the map will let you know where to aim for. I think this "needing to memorise where things are" issue should really be in a separate topic? I certainly struggle remembering where things are - I screenshot the map preview before game just to remember.
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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by NoQ » 11 Feb 2013, 19:48

I think scavngers AI must be updated in 3.1.1, because now it working a bit buggy
Done.

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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by Iluvalar » 11 Feb 2013, 21:55

Scavengers should be another player. Ran with the same AI as other computer players. But I agree with aubergine as well, there should be a passive mode as well.
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Re: The future of scavengers, again.

Post by Originway » 11 Feb 2013, 22:10

having scavs in mp opens up new possibilities and has extra challenges as well
this will allow the map maker to build safe havens or death zones that opens up many possibilities. you can have them in passive mode to only go aggressive when a player tries to steal their oil or crosses their turf!

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