Arcen Games

Games => Bionic Dues => Topic started by: Tridus on September 14, 2013, 09:26:27 AM

Title: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Tridus on September 14, 2013, 09:26:27 AM
We had some talk about this before, but I think it needs its own thread. I won the last two missions I've done by doing this:

1. Find DoomBot
2. Use my Epic Ninja Exo (which now has around 30 continuous stealth turns) to get to said DoomBot.
3. Plant virus.
4. Watch the DoomBot murder everything. In one case it cleared the map, in the second case it cleared most of the map before an EMPBot shut it down for the rest of the game.

Now, planting viruses and watching mayhem is fun, but I could have done this seven more times in each level (assuming my stealth held out). That's not right. So here's a couple of ideas:

1. Viruses should cost more for better bots. Maybe they have a stat for their "firewall" or something and you need to spend more virus points to beat that as part of the action. Maybe they just have a cost multiplier. I'm not sure. But a DoomBot and a DumBot are not of equal value here.
2. Viruses should probably be temporary. Maybe after 5 turns the virus gets purged and the bot resumes normal function. That'd still make it useful, but one DoomBot wouldn't run around clearing the entire map for you.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Misery on September 14, 2013, 09:38:09 AM
One other small suggestion:

If a virused Doombot really is clearing all or most of a map of enemies, then I think it could do with alot less ammo. 

It's not like it needs a crazy amount of it to take out the player, considering it's ability.

Might curb it's virused rampages a bit.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Winge on September 14, 2013, 09:51:29 AM
Or make other bots respond more aggressively towards Virused bots.  I've seen them ignore the Virused bot, which allows that bot to go on the rampage.

A few other changes I think need to happen with Virused bots (some good, some bad):
1a.  Make the bot stay within 5 moves or so of the player, rather than run way off into the sunset (killing all bots it finds along the way).
1b.  Give the player shared vision with the bot, as it is now an allied.  Make all standard alert rules apply.  So, if the bot runes off into a pack of DoomBots with a LeaderBot nearby, you'd better start preparing for !FUN!.
2.  Reduced Health.  Maybe make it so that the virused bot loses X% of their current health, where X = number of virus points spent.  Could also be applied to ammo, if deemed necessary.
3.  Bosses should be immune.  They may be already; I haven't tried this (I should have when I saw the TethysBot invulnerability bug last game...).

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Aeson on September 14, 2013, 12:21:09 PM
"Bosses should be immune.  They may be already; I haven't tried this (I should have when I saw the TethysBot invulnerability bug last game...)."
As it happens, bosses are not immune to viruses, unless that has been changed since 0.909. I could understand them being harder to apply a virus to, but I wouldn't really care for immunity. After all, the only missions I can think of where you face bosses are Assassination missions (where 'defeating' bosses via viruses doesn't gain you anything for the end battle unless the boss dies), and the end mission(s). Having them cost, say, double the normal virus points would be reasonable, as would making it more difficult to get close enough to virus a boss bot.

"Give the player shared vision with the bot, as it is now an allied.  Make all standard alert rules apply.  So, if the bot runes off into a pack of DoomBots with a LeaderBot nearby, you'd better start preparing for !FUN!."
I kind of disagree with this one. If the bots were to start becoming alerted due to a hostile bot's approach, you'd think that RazorBots would set off everything on the map. I also think shared vision is too much; shared sensors might be more appropriate.

"Make the bot stay within 5 moves or so of the player, rather than run way off into the sunset (killing all bots it finds along the way)."
You want us to get boxed in by the traitors we created, don't you. I'd sooner just have it wandering around in the area where it last saw an enemy, maybe also not moving much if it doesn't see an enemy.

"Reduced Health.  Maybe make it so that the virused bot loses X% of their current health, where X = number of virus points spent.  Could also be applied to ammo, if deemed necessary."
Unless other bots start shooting back more consistently, this isn't really going to do anything. Ammunition reduction could work, depending on the bot.


I think that a better solution to the 'rampages through the whole map' issue would be to have the bot not do anything if it can't see enemies (aside from special actions like replenishing ammunition if the player Exo is in range and needs the bonus). After all, most bots don't do anything if they aren't alerted, anyways, so having it just sit still if it can't find a target would be a sort of natural expectation - you're reprogramming its IFF, not its whole target seeking process. It's still useful, just not to the extent that reprogramming DoomBots currently is.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: khadgar on September 14, 2013, 02:32:59 PM
I think that two things need to be addressed here; viruses, but also stealth.

Firstly viruses. I think that if you are able to get directly adjacent to an enemy, you should be able to virus them to your heart's content, boss or otherwise.. It should be a risk versus reward thing. If you take the risk of attempting to get that close and succeed, then your reward is being able to disable that/those bots. I DO think, however, that the virus is a little too strong right now given the wide variety of enemy bot healths and damages. Reprogramming the best bot on the field will easily win you the map as it stands now, especially given how little attention the enemy bots generally to pay to allied units, including turrets. To fix this, I think two things could be addressed. Firstly, make reprogrammed bots actually be shot at. This is an obvious one. Second, apply some kind of hard limit on the amount of mission a reprogrammed bot can be active, be it health depletion over time (-2% per turn for a 50 turn maximum?), ammo depletion over time (-1 shot per turn?), a straight turn limit before the bot shuts down, or maybe the reprogrammed bot can't move anymore. I'm not sure which of these, if any, would work.

Moving on to the second issue, stealth. Stealth is absurdly 'overpowered', though I loathe to use that word in the context of a singleplayer game. As it stands right now, it serves as a panic button (press button to not die!) as well as a number of free actions or turns where you are completely safe without fail from enemy bot attention. A large number of consecutive stealth actions / total stealth actions allows a player to clear an entire room with no threat, either by taking out the bosses using a couple shots then retreating and killing the rest as normal, by doing something stupid like filling the room with turrets / reprogrammed bots and then watching the havoc, or by using a long stealth-capable bot, moving into deadly melee range, and then switching to something else, like an epic siege or brawler. While I don't see a problem with those strategies in general, I think that stealth might be a little TOO safe right now. I mean, you literally can't die unless you kill yourself while stealthed, since all enemies basically shut down. Perhaps a small change to stealth mechanics is in order to bring the risk of using stealth (I'm moving really close to enemy bots) in line with the rewards (I kill everyone always forever). Something simple, like stealth instantly failing at melee range if you use a non-movement action perhaps?

This is a bit beyond the scope of this thread though, but I just think that virus wouldn't be so rampantly powerful if getting close to a powerful enemy bot was more of a challenge due to a stealth revamp.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: MaxAstro on September 14, 2013, 03:24:13 PM
On the stealth issue: For real OPness, try combining stealth with a well-kitted out sniper.

Just turn stealth on every time you fire an odd-numbered shot, and toggle it back off for the even numbered shots.  I've cleared entire rooms full of bots without any of them getting an action - you can keep this up until you run out of stealth turns or sniper rounds.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Winge on September 14, 2013, 07:40:48 PM
On the stealth issue: For real OPness, try combining stealth with a well-kitted out sniper.

Just turn stealth on every time you fire an odd-numbered shot, and toggle it back off for the even numbered shots.  I've cleared entire rooms full of bots without any of them getting an action - you can keep this up until you run out of stealth turns or sniper rounds.

Yeah, it's strong.  But you could do the same with an Epic Science Exo, and the new weapon (can't remember the name).  Plus, the Gamma Ray Laser has very, very little ammo.


@Aeson
Shared sensor range would be acceptable.  I say shared vision because I suspect that's how multiplayer will work (but I haven't tried that, so...).

What if the range for the bot to stay near the player was increased, so that they were less likely to interfere with the player?  I'm just trying to keep them from riding off into the sunset, not make them block a movement spot next to the player.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Misery on September 14, 2013, 08:35:50 PM
Possibly the thing to do for stealth might simply be that idea of having it break if you do anything other than move.

I would also say, put a bit of a cooldown on it, so that once you've used it in a fight, you dont just give the enemies exactly one turn to attack and then you're back in stealth again.   More importantly, such a cooldown should be a flat value and not affected by stats, so it cant just be undone by certain items.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Hyfrydle on September 15, 2013, 04:13:38 AM
Since were dealing with robots maybe stealth as it currently stands doesn't make sense. Maybe it could be a scramble skill which affects the robots in the local areas visual sensors giving the player a short time to move out of range. Perhaps a random element could be introduced so the actual time is variable each time the scramble skill is used. With perhaps a sound reminder when the time is coming to an end so the player hopefully isn't caught too off guard.

Just a thought.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Histidine on September 15, 2013, 04:27:21 AM
My ideas:
-Make firing when stealthed cost twice as many stealth actions (or even break stealth entirely).
-Using virus while in stealth tips off the other bots, and causes all of them to blind-fire at the ground spots adjacent to the infected bot.
-Remember when if you went stealth in the face of the enemy, they'd all get a free shot at you? I think we could go back to that; remove the "get out of jail free" mechanic. (But don't make it use up one stealth point the same turn it was turned on, like it used to; that part was really annoying.)
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Hyfrydle on September 15, 2013, 04:29:59 AM
Negating stealth when firing would solve alot of these issues I didn't realise this wasn't the case already.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Misery on September 15, 2013, 07:13:04 AM
Hm, really no particularly easy way to fix this one.   It does occur to me that if actions other than movement break the stealth, viruses will become almost totally useless, because there's no way to get in the enemy's face without taking a blast yourself;  and if it's a bot worth virusing, chances are that hit will HURT.  And that's if there's only one enemy nearby, more often you'd be likely to take 5 or 6 hits after placing the virus and breaking the stealth.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: nas1m on September 15, 2013, 01:23:36 PM
Hm, really no particularly easy way to fix this one.   It does occur to me that if actions other than movement break the stealth, viruses will become almost totally useless, because there's no way to get in the enemy's face without taking a blast yourself;  and if it's a bot worth virusing, chances are that hit will HURT.  And that's if there's only one enemy nearby, more often you'd be likely to take 5 or 6 hits after placing the virus and breaking the stealth.
Looking at the ideas mentioned so far, I think allowing all kinds of actions to be performed without breaking stealth but having some actions cost extra stealth points if performed in stealth would be a good (initial) approach to cope with the issue.
If this is not sufficient something like the proposed 'blind fire' could still be tried...
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: madcow on September 15, 2013, 08:56:26 PM
I'm curious now. Has anybody tried virusing the murderbot in that special murderbot mission?
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Winge on September 15, 2013, 10:33:26 PM
I have now.  The result is hilarity (http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=12493).
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: madcow on September 15, 2013, 11:22:12 PM
That. Is. Awesome.
Title: Re: Viruses & Mean Bots
Post by: Winge on September 15, 2013, 11:48:13 PM
That. Is. Awesome.

Thanks for suggesting it!  I never play that mission type, as there are always better options available (especially when playing with Axis; her bonus is extremely good!).