Author Topic: Enemy AI and Behaviours  (Read 1315 times)

Offline TechSY730

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Enemy AI and Behaviours
« on: May 12, 2012, 11:32:23 PM »
I've seen this being commented on a lot but I haven't seen a thread dedicated to it yet.
I am referring to the enemy AI, or rather the relative lack of it.

Enemies in this game generally
  • Wander left and/or right, possibly chasing you or shooting at you if they notice you
  • Wander all around if they can fly, possibly chasing or kiting you if they notice you

This gets boring, very fast.

Now for enemies you expect to be brain dead, like bats and those frost ball things, sure you can expect that.
But when the vast majority of enemies in this game feature this behavior, and the game was not designed from the ground up around that, this is not a good thing. (A game that was designed around that, for example, the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES, where it works in part because it was built for it)

Now there are enemies that avoid this, like the homing projectile enemies like faries (even if the homing behaviour itself could use some work; I am in support of giving "homers" a turning radius to make them feel more natural), some of the odd stuff like octopi, and even the fiendishly clever ones like the Utaraptors. However, these are far too few and in between, especially in the most common areas.

While I'm not advocating that every enemy be as smart or clever as the Utaraptors, it would be nice to see if some of the enemy types you would expect to see some level of intelligence from show some more variety in behavior, like skelebots.

This is especially true for bosses, which you expect to be a bit "smarter than the average esper". And even more especially true for lieutenants and overlords. These are after all the ones oppressing the land. The lieutenants had to be reasonably intelligent to win the favor of the overlords, and the overlord him/her/itself had to be pretty darn smart to pull his "reign of terror" off. Then why, in many cases, do they just act like dumb minions, with only slight buffs in behavior (larger detection radius, more shots, but nothing major)?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 09:26:56 AM by techsy730 »

Offline Hunam

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Re: Enemy AI and Behaviours
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2012, 12:09:00 PM »
I don't think the AI is particularly poor for this game as most of the games I play have pretty basic boring AI. Big titles (Skyrim, Oblivion) may have lots of awesome looking monsters but the limited AI makes it feel as though I am fighting the same enemy with different skins and stats. In my mind, AVWW as of now does not excel or fail in this area as of right now.

However, I would love to see more interesting behaviors in enemies as well. I believe this was brought up a while back in beta but I would enjoy the rare powerful slow enemy that appeared to track you down through different rooms in buildings or underground. You would have to make a fighting retreat through hallways and rooms or just try to loop around the monster to escape.

Additional monsters acting with basic teamwork would also be neat if they would just group and support each other.

Having a humanoid boss type that was agile, small, and ran around jumping, shooting, and using shields would be fun and a little different from the mainstream bosses. I could certainly see how this would be hard to implement however.

Offline TechSY730

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Re: Enemy AI and Behaviours
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2012, 02:18:03 PM »
However, I would love to see more interesting behaviors in enemies as well. I believe this was brought up a while back in beta but I would enjoy the rare powerful slow enemy that appeared to track you down through different rooms in buildings or underground. You would have to make a fighting retreat through hallways and rooms or just try to loop around the monster to escape.

Additional monsters acting with basic teamwork would also be neat if they would just group and support each other.

That's the kind of stuff I am talking about. Not extremely intelligent, but at least some nifty varieties in behavior and moderately intelligent tactics.

And I don't have a problem with dumb "chase you and attack" tactics being the only tactic of enemies you expect to be dumb. However, I would like to see additional patterns on top of that for some of the higher level enemy types you would expect to have at least some tactical intelligence.

Quote
Having a humanoid boss type that was agile, small, and ran around jumping, shooting, and using shields would be fun and a little different from the mainstream bosses. I could certainly see how this would be hard to implement however.

That would be awesome, but that falls under the "ultra clever" stuff that is hard to do and I do not expect at all for many of enemies to have.

Offline Hunam

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Re: Enemy AI and Behaviours
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2012, 02:58:30 PM »

Quote
Having a humanoid boss type that was agile, small, and ran around jumping, shooting, and using shields would be fun and a little different from the mainstream bosses. I could certainly see how this would be hard to implement however.

That would be awesome, but that falls under the "ultra clever" stuff that is hard to do and I do not expect at all for many of enemies to have.
[/quote]

Yup. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to design a platform AI capable of fairly dueling the player's character. It would certainly need some cheesiness added to it to make it viable such as using teleport or some ghost form that allowed it to float around to help it from getting stuck from time to time.

O well, I just like the idea of a rabid glyphbearer type of boss needing to be put down.

Offline zebramatt

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Re: Enemy AI and Behaviours
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 05:40:18 AM »
Cross post!

My thoughts here are that the devs do need to come up with more interesting attack patterns and to make enemies (and especially bosses) more varied. Live/homing projectiles seem to be their main trick, and I think this is a bad way to go -- it almost completely negates your jumping/dodging abilities.

This is an immensely good point, actually. Is Valley lacking some of the most basic boss attack patterns one would expect from this sort of game?

Where's the enemy which jumps into the air and comes crashing back down on you? Or the one which dives underwater/underground only to appear randomly somewhere else? Where's the one which grabs you and pulls you close for an explosive/electric hug? Ooo, and what about spurting globular things which roll and bounce at you? And things which fly off away from you only to come swooping back at you? And, of course, where's the one which charges up a beam which, when fired, fills up half a screen?

 :)

Offline omegajasam

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Re: Enemy AI and Behaviours
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 07:35:25 AM »
On that note, where's the baddies with boomerangs... nothing like having to dodge a projectile twice while everything else goes on :)

Offline Terraziel

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Re: Enemy AI and Behaviours
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 07:35:54 AM »
Cross post...

I was going to write a post explaining why I don't think many of the platformer boss types would work very well here (the basic point was that many boss attacks in platformers are dependent on limiting the terrain where you experience them), but it didn't seem productive.

I was going to suggest that they should do some more shmup-esque attack patterns. But the same problem applies there, they are all dependent on open space....

My gut feeling at this point is that they need to make the game LESS random. Separate both Boss rooms and Bosses into two categories, Shmup style and platformer style, and actually work within those confines, shmup style rooms would have lots of open space for you to fight flying bosses with complicated attack patterns in them (so basic projectiles used in an interesting way), where as platformer rooms would be more confined designed for close range combat with enemies with complicated individual attacks (massive beams, sweeping melee attacks etc), not that the attacks would be mutually exclusive.

How this could apply to normal enemies is uncertain....maybe platform style enemies in buildings, shmup style in caves and a mix in surface regions. Thats largely based on the fact that anything other than direct attacks are likely to fail miserably in buildings.

Offline zebramatt

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Re: Enemy AI and Behaviours
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2012, 04:44:59 AM »
Actually, you could even use many bosses in both types and have the boss alter its behaviour depending on the type of environment it's seeded into.