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Mynxee
Veto.
Veto Corp
Posted - 2008.11.19 12:01:00 - [271]
 

Edited by: Mynxee on 19/11/2008 12:01:48
Didn't read this whole thread so sorry if this is a repeat:

Have a special class of NPC that is a little more like a real player: has a unique name, travels a circular route within (perhaps) a given constellation, randomly appearing in missions of a level appropriate for the type ship he flies (might have more than one type of ship, one of which is selected at DT or if/when the NPC's current ship is destroyed). This NPC would acquire kill rights on players who aggress him in missions. When moving from system to system, if he encountered someone he had kill rights on, would attack. Would be smart enough to flee if he were in trouble (if he could).

Just an off-the-top-of-my-head idea, might not make much sense at all since I don't PVE. But for people who don't want to PVP, such an NPC would provide more PVP-like encounters. And if it was realistic enough, maybe they'd get a taste for PVP, which would be good.


Andres Talas
Posted - 2008.11.19 12:11:00 - [272]
 

Most obviously, I'd like the Pirate factions to scan their lossmails and go "hmmm. We dying to Lazor pew pew. Everyone, EM hardeners are FOTM. Buy them and fit them". Next month, if the losses change, so does the FOTM going down from the top.

Similarly, they should keep track of their killmails and do more of whatever is working.

Next, when gankers warp into the belt, the escorts web and scram the gankers so the mining ships and haulers have a chance to get out. Angel Trailers, That Means You Haul Ass When You See Me.

Next, Pirates should make more use of scrams and webbers, and preferentially target drones (btw, I rat in a Vexor. Make me recall the drones as they get damaged and send out the spares. Deciding to use type II drones should be like deciding to use type II ammo rather than an obvious decision).

Next, I'd like NPC pirates to learn2gatecamp. Guys, if you cant have a buibble, at the least get right up to the gate and web and scram anything you have a lock on.

Finally, I'd like a scripting language that those scum from the hive of villany that masquerade as EvEs playerbase can abuse on the test server, writing scripts for NPCs. These scripts should be aimed at Officer spawns, which arent that common - meaning if they are scary smart, then lag wont be too much of a factor.

Yes, this will make PvE tougher. But I dont care - if you dont like it, mine, run fuel to on contract to POS or fly the ships you can now afford to lose.

CCP Incognito

Posted - 2008.11.21 13:00:00 - [273]
 

Edited by: CCP Incognito on 21/11/2008 13:49:24
Bartholomeus Crane If you ever give a talk at GDC let me know. i think it would be incredibly interesting to hear you speak on what AI is out there and how it can be applied into MMO games.

I agree that a learning system would be interesting, but I think the game community biggest problem with it is a lack of reproducible and testable behavior. We need to know that the AI and npc will behave with in certain bounds. If they stray to far from those bounds then the players begin to suffer, as well as NPC need to be able to be told what to do and act predictably in a given situation. I am referring to in-=game cut scenes. Allot of engines just set the NPC up and know when they turn the switch on that a predicted outcome that is key to telling the story unfolds.

So any AI system that is in there has to be able to run in dumb robot mode. It has to be able to do A,B,C,D and not to do C differently because it learned it works better. The designer would be aghast that the AI messed up his story element.

As to not talking about things it comes under managing expectations. we are operating on a fixed time constraint for when the next expansion comes out. That means we have to pick what we can do in that time. I didn't want to say something that I would later have to say "We ran out of time, sorry!". It just isn't the time to talk about things that would be nice, but are coming Soon(tm) and then we don't do anything for 4 years..

I will write and blog about what is happening when we have a firmer idea of what will be done and when. Until then I can't say what will be done and what will be cut. I don't know myself yet.



Durzel
The Xenodus Initiative.
Posted - 2008.11.21 13:46:00 - [274]
 

Edited by: Durzel on 21/11/2008 13:48:13
Originally by: Huurtney Gurdsen
I was shooting rats in Pirate invasion yesterday and I got down to one last pathetic Thorax. I hadn't scarmbled him or anything and he just orbited me whilst I blew him to pieces. He could have warped off and it struck me that this is rather unrealistic.

I vote for better AI please.
Agreed.

It seems silly that an enemy frigate will orbit your battleship doing <1 damage per shot indefinitely. There's no chance it would break your tank, unless it plans to call in reinforcements it is totally pointless it being there. I would be keen to see some self-preservation mechanics, or a way for rats to call in support - it just seems totally illogical that it would just orbit you when it has no hope of destroying you.

As a starting point I would personally like to see some variety in mission spawning. Right now you can just look at the guides on eve-survival.org, know what you'll be facing in advance of warping in, know which ships are triggers, etc. There is apparently *some* randomness in spawns in some missions but it is not significant enough to make any kind of difference to a mission.

J'Mkarr Soban
Posted - 2008.11.21 14:32:00 - [275]
 

Originally by: CCP Incognito
Edited by: CCP Incognito on 21/11/2008 13:49:24
Bartholomeus Crane If you ever give a talk at GDC let me know. i think it would be incredibly interesting to hear you speak on what AI is out there and how it can be applied into MMO games.

I agree that a learning system would be interesting, but I think the game community biggest problem with it is a lack of reproducible and testable behavior. We need to know that the AI and npc will behave with in certain bounds. If they stray to far from those bounds then the players begin to suffer, as well as NPC need to be able to be told what to do and act predictably in a given situation. I am referring to in-=game cut scenes. Allot of engines just set the NPC up and know when they turn the switch on that a predicted outcome that is key to telling the story unfolds.

So any AI system that is in there has to be able to run in dumb robot mode. It has to be able to do A,B,C,D and not to do C differently because it learned it works better. The designer would be aghast that the AI messed up his story element.

As to not talking about things it comes under managing expectations. we are operating on a fixed time constraint for when the next expansion comes out. That means we have to pick what we can do in that time. I didn't want to say something that I would later have to say "We ran out of time, sorry!". It just isn't the time to talk about things that would be nice, but are coming Soon(tm) and then we don't do anything for 4 years..

I will write and blog about what is happening when we have a firmer idea of what will be done and when. Until then I can't say what will be done and what will be cut. I don't know myself yet.



Learning for general rats doesn't preclude scripted entities as well, if they are required for circumstances like you describe. I imagine that a certain level of situational scripting goes on even now for the effects you want to achieve for cut-scenes and news items, in which case the same would be true no matter what AI is used for the rats as a whole.

WarlockX
Amarr
Free Trade Corp
Posted - 2008.11.21 15:30:00 - [276]
 

i don't know if this has been brought up but how about if not all level 4 missions required BS class ships. How about a level 4 mission with lvl 4 rewards but a tiny gate that only lets in assault frigates. Or Cruisers ect, I'd like to see a mix up of the ships you need to use to complete the diffrent missions rather then just always using your pimped out BS.

Ancy Denaries
Posted - 2008.11.21 20:36:00 - [277]
 

I want more scrambling rats Twisted Evil. Hell, they have a literal FLEET of ships, and I warp in there ALONE. Yet none of them has fitted a scrambler? Wth?

Carl Druffee
Rising Ashes Inc.
Important Internet Spaceship League
Posted - 2008.11.21 23:59:00 - [278]
 

Scalable NPC's are not fun...

Instead of scaling NPC's for big ships, experienced players, etc. Make them behave like players and respond to threats on fights, depending on tactics, THEIR OWN tactics especially, but also tactics of the PC's. Make the NPC's react to player interaction, adjust themselves to changing conditions and give them a real chance to flee the fight to save themselves.

This way players might consider putting on a warp scrambler while PvE'ing.

Spurty
Caldari
V0LTA
VOLTA Corp
Posted - 2008.11.22 00:32:00 - [279]
 

the difference between PVE & PVP is that in PVE, you go in fully equipped to soak 1-2 damage type(s) from a well documented/dissected/predictable blob and having to be all things to all men (Shield / Armor Repper, DPS, Target painter, webber etc).

In PVP you ARE the blob (unless you are daft in the head and think you are going to reliably get 1v1 fights weighted in your favor) doing a very specific role.

The concentration on a role and the fact you have NO IDEA a what your opponent is, is what keeps you on edge!

PVE just has no edginess, its been dissected to the N'th degree and the mission runner just has to hit the right F buttons in order to succeed.

I'd like to see agents that give out bigger rewards as they have no details (mission names for example, big mistake) about the mission, only the 'level' they think its suitable for.

Definitely reduce the numbers of ships in missions in favor of harder tanks. If you can drop some of the 'space junk' in some of the larger missions as well, that might be useful as well.

Thanks for reading this thread.

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2008.11.29 13:23:00 - [280]
 

Originally by: CCP Incognito
Bartholomeus Crane If you ever give a talk at GDC let me know. i think it would be incredibly interesting to hear you speak on what AI is out there and how it can be applied into MMO games.


So busy with paper deadlines that I missed a reply! Well, I'm pushing the faculty to make a move into the game AI direction. I'm getting a lot of positive feedback, but wheels turn slowly when it comes to things like this (academia doesn't change curriculum over-night). I don't know if this will turn into me giving talks at things like the GDC, but I would certainly be up for it!

We're currently also looking at doing 'consultancy' sessions. I come in, give a session about AI in general, what it can do, what is out there. This mostly aimed at the management level. Then an AI surgery that is more technical and aimed at the developer level and maybe about a specific prearranged topic. We're hoping this will generate interest by game developers to do a project together with us bringing in the know-how and guidance, and the IP predominantly staying with the developers. Book now Razz

Originally by: CCP Incognito
I agree that a learning system would be interesting, but I think the game community biggest problem with it is a lack of reproducible and testable behavior. (snip for space)


This is a very valid concern, and one which I spend quite some thinking time on. It all comes back to verifiability and control. The solution, in my view, is that the AI, although learning, should provide something that a developer can understand, change if needed, and if necessary veto before it goes live. Basically, what is needed is to put the developer into the loop. Luckly, this is much easier than developers think. All it needs is a description language that developers understand (and can alter) and an AI to work within that environment. Within games this is actually easier than in other environments as game developers usually have a clear idea how their NPCs should act. The description is usually there, it only needs to be codified. This is useful even if no learning mechanism is there to back it up yet.

Originally by: CCP Incognito
So any AI system that is in there has to be able to run in dumb robot mode. It has to be able to do A,B,C,D and not to do C differently because it learned it works better. The designer would be aghast that the AI messed up his story element.


So, what is needed is for the AI to leave some or all behavioural scripts alone. This is already possible, and is what frequently happens within financial institutions. The QA there is rather vital, and the ability to turn the AI off is one of their most important features. Somehow those well-paid traders don't like to be second-guessed by a machine. And they certainly don't like to act on things they don't understand.

Originally by: CCP Incognito
As to not talking about things it comes under managing expectations. we are operating on a fixed time constraint for when the next expansion comes out. That means we have to pick what we can do in that time. I didn't want to say something that I would later have to say "We ran out of time, sorry!". It just isn't the time to talk about things that would be nice, but are coming Soon(tm) and then we don't do anything for 4 years...


This is why I'm always advocating an iterative approach. That way each iteration you implement something that you can manage but will bring you one step closer to your goal. You don't have to make promises you can't keep, yet still be able to show real progress over time. MMOs are particularly suited for this as they have a long life-span compared to standalone games. There will always be risks but even in AI they can be managed.

Originally by: CCP Incognito
I will write and blog about what is happening when we have a firmer idea of what will be done and when. Until then I can't say what will be done and what will be cut. I don't know myself yet.


Can't wait to read it ...

Solomon XI
Hidden Souls
Posted - 2008.11.29 16:50:00 - [281]
 

Keep in mind that you don't want to kill solo-PvE with these proposed changes.

That being said ...

I support any changes deemed needed to make missions a helluva lot more fun. Hell antyhing that makes the NPC's harder & more fun is a win/win.

CCP Gangleri


Minmatar
Posted - 2008.11.29 17:10:00 - [282]
 

Originally by: Solomon XI
Keep in mind that you don't want to kill solo-PvE with these proposed changes.

That being said ...

I support any changes deemed needed to make missions a helluva lot more fun. Hell antyhing that makes the NPC's harder & more fun is a win/win.


It would be impossible to create and apply AI for all PVE content in the game in one go. There are simply too many missions, exploration sites and various rat spawns out there for us to go through all of them and create something that works and is fun at the same time. What we can do is create some tools, and some broadly usable behaviour and then use them to slowly re-work existing NPC's, and maybe improving the tools as we go.

Thebro Nobrunder
Schrodinger's Renegades
Posted - 2008.11.29 22:32:00 - [283]
 

It would be very interesting to simply have missions which could be done with multiple players. Currently you 'can' bring friends but it's kind of pointless.


Cpt Bunny
Gallente
Syndicated Systems
Posted - 2008.11.30 00:12:00 - [284]
 

I would suggest expanding on the ship log mechanic,

you know, the little logs you loot sometimes that give you a clue to go look somewhere else, they used to point to static mob spawns. build on this, maybe even a dynamic mission or epic storyline quest chain starting from random drops of those items. those log books had loads of potential.

we also need some randomness, unexpected convos from npc's offering doddgy trades, scams and intresting offers. just something to break up the monotony.

there should also be some big corp / alliance content in terms of npc's, think of a whole new region, fanatically defended by a deadly and powerfull race, slowly the corp or alliance may be able to work their way through to the core of their empire after killing thousands of ships, for the ultimate rewards. then they have to defend it, no pos's allowed, just pure combat skill. hmm getting carried away on that one i think.

or how about npc faction invasions, maybe on a regular basis, or envoked from a player driven quest / event, think of it as an "alamo" event - players defending from wave upon wave of enemies, uncontrolable and in ever increasing numbers, the reward could just be a title, or something non material, just to be able to say "i saved the world" !!!

I wold love to see the skum of jita destroyed in this way, hell, even let them destroy the stations if the locals cant push them back.








Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2008.11.30 05:17:00 - [285]
 

Edited by: Bartholomeus Crane on 30/11/2008 05:18:29
Originally by: CCP Gangleri
It would be impossible to create and apply AI for all PVE content in the game in one go. There are simply too many missions, exploration sites and various rat spawns out there for us to go through all of them and create something that works and is fun at the same time. What we can do is create some tools, and some broadly usable behaviour and then use them to slowly re-work existing NPC's, and maybe improving the tools as we go.


Although it would be very hard, even impossible, to create a one size fits all AI that works for all types of rats in all circumstances, what is not impossible is to provide tools that describe the environment these agents live in. In fact, that environment is fully described already. Within that environment, and given a suitable description of it, a prescription of how the various types of agents should behave would be the next step. This can be done iteratively if necessary.

That would separate the behaviour (prescription) from the environment, and given properly developed tools, that would give a backdrop against which a set of AI types could develop, or learn, new and better suited behaviour.

The key is the separation though. There is no one-size-fits-all AI, just like there is not one-size-fits-all behaviour. You can not learn behaviour like that if there is no similarity in expected behaviour. That is why the current solution is received so poorly. It tries to fit a one-size-fits-all behaviour to a versatile environment and it 'feels' wrong. It doesn't work, and it's boring.

There is a problem though. You can not write good tools without knowing what you want to use them for. An iterative approach works only if you have at least an inkling of where you want to go, what type of AI you are working towards. No long term goal, no understanding of the underlying problems you will encounter means lots and lots of rewrites of the underpinning tools. Just making it up while you go will just lead to wasted effort with little return.

You may have been through this already (I have no way of knowing this), but you need to answer the following questions: what do I want to achieve in the long term (the smartest, most intelligent rats ever seen in a game?); how am I going to achieve this (what AI techniques am I going to use, how do they fit together, what are their respective restrictions, how do they fit the environment); what do I need to do to make it work (what tools are needed, how much effort is it going to take). After answering those questions can you begin coding and refactoring. Then you change the plan to fit the needs again.

BTW, you want to use AI because you simply don't have the manpower to handcraft all the different behaviours you need, the QA will be work enough. Writing scripts is not the same as writing AI.

masternerdguy
Gallente
Meerkat Maner
Posted - 2008.11.30 06:28:00 - [286]
 

GOOD! Maybe then the caldari will be a better race!

masternerdguy
Gallente
Meerkat Maner
Posted - 2008.11.30 06:29:00 - [287]
 

Originally by: VoiceInTheDesert
NPC AI would be difficult to deal with for drone ships. Domi's rely on NPC's being too stupid to shoot the drones, and if they learn this secret of mission runners, the drone boat mission ships are no longer viable.

AI that I think WOULD work and would be fun:

-Allow NPC retreat, possibly even to the next room of the mission so as to provide a bigger challenge in that room. Retreat would be based on how many of the commanding ships the mission runner had destroyed. Retreat could also be total in the sense that they leave the entire mission area. This would help reduce t1 loot since less ships would be getting destroyed per mission. To make up for it, make it so you still get bounties for retreated ships.
-Allow NPCs to switch targets to other ships (not drones) in the gang so you can't just fit a tank ship, 2 gank ships and go at it by getting aggro with the tank ship first.
-Switching ammo types would be good. Having them be dependent on one range is kinda stupid.
-Give AI ships randomly generated setups ranging from gank to tank. Make it ridiculously hard to kill some and hard to tank others. Every Angel Seraphim having the EXACT same setup and response/tactic/tank/damage is boring.
-Allow for tactics. Spider tanks (maybe, might be too hard to break for solo runners), moving out of range to avoid fire and recover tank before returning to the fight.

And one more thing....although, I bet I'm going to get "go back to wow" flames for this.

Bosses...

We already kinda have them: Overseers and Named rats. Why not make them even more intelligent than the normal rats? I would love to actually be challenged tactically against a NPC instead of just sitting there and having a better tank/gank setup than him and slowly chewing through his predictable tank and orbit pattern.

Also, I think it would be hilarious to scale missions to player gang size. The more ships you have in your gang, the more NPCs show up. Would reduce power level mentality of the uber carebear mission corps who sit and make money hand over fist. Would make missions harder with 27 BS for the main "tank" rather than just the normal 6. Twisted Evil


If drones dont work right then maybe caldari will be able to be on par with other races

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2008.11.30 22:22:00 - [288]
 

Well you can't expect more intelligent rats and then still do the same old thing you've done hundreds of times before.

Personally, I use T2 sentries. Don't think I've ever lost one on a mission before. Domi rules.

Sader Rykane
Amarr
The Dark Space Initiative
Revival Of The Talocan Empire
Posted - 2008.11.30 22:54:00 - [289]
 

Very simple, create missions that take as many as 10 players to complete. These missions would be extremely difficult (taking as much as an hour - 2 hours to complete) and offer insane rewards / benefits to participants.

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2008.11.30 22:59:00 - [290]
 

Originally by: Sader Rykane
Very simple, create missions that take as many as 10 players to complete. These missions would be extremely difficult (taking as much as an hour - 2 hours to complete) and offer insane rewards / benefits to participants.


Bit like L5s then, on steroids perhaps ...

How about missions that are difficult not because you have to plough through an ungodly amount of ships, but because the environment is difficult or the rats are difficult to kill?

J'Mkarr Soban
Posted - 2008.12.01 18:59:00 - [291]
 

Originally by: Bartholomeus Crane
Originally by: Sader Rykane
Very simple, create missions that take as many as 10 players to complete. These missions would be extremely difficult (taking as much as an hour - 2 hours to complete) and offer insane rewards / benefits to participants.


Bit like L5s then, on steroids perhaps ...

How about missions that are difficult not because you have to plough through an ungodly amount of ships, but because the environment is difficult or the rats are difficult to kill?


In fact, imagine a rat in the same ships that the players get, using the same equipment. Then imagine the same loot tables. Then imagine the rats use T2 kit. Why do you think pirates sit for hours for one single kill? They get rich that way.

It would also mean you could have less rats, but they could be better integrated into the game world - they fly between belts properly, they do their own camps sometimes - anything a player does. That would certainly keep me on my toes and help with immersion!

Andreus Ixiris
Gallente
Mixed Metaphor
Posted - 2008.12.01 19:29:00 - [292]
 

You know what I'd like to see? NPCs that hate each other, or like the player. This could be very well-applied to two situations:

  • Two factions of rats that fight each other. This could make missions like "Worlds Collide" very much more interesting, because you could decide whether you want to take out the criminal elements (and get money) or let them slug it out with each other while you save the crew of the stricken Heron. It might be an amusing spectacle just to watch the Guristas and the Serpentis fighting each other.

  • Two factions of NPCs that fight each other, where one is allied with the player. This would possibly make certain missions far more interesting. If you were having trouble with a mission, and you had high enough standing with the people you were running it for, you could call in a reinforcement fleet. Alternatively, you might be hired to back up a corporate fleet that was in trouble.

CCP Gangleri


Minmatar
Posted - 2008.12.01 19:48:00 - [293]
 

Originally by: Andreus Ixiris
You know what I'd like to see? NPCs that hate each other, or like the player. This could be very well-applied to two situations:

  • Two factions of rats that fight each other. This could make missions like "Worlds Collide" very much more interesting, because you could decide whether you want to take out the criminal elements (and get money) or let them slug it out with each other while you save the crew of the stricken Heron. It might be an amusing spectacle just to watch the Guristas and the Serpentis fighting each other.

  • Two factions of NPCs that fight each other, where one is allied with the player. This would possibly make certain missions far more interesting. If you were having trouble with a mission, and you had high enough standing with the people you were running it for, you could call in a reinforcement fleet. Alternatively, you might be hired to back up a corporate fleet that was in trouble.



We would like to do this, but in the sandbox environment that Eve is there are a great number of situations where this can be very tricky. Such as when you bring a friend along with you for hte mission, who happens to have very bad standings with the faction you side with. Do they attack your friend while the opposing fleet attacks you?

Questions like this make a system like the one you proposed very tricky to construct in an open environment like Eve is. So after considering all the time that would go into making this well it was lowered in priority to favor smaller more agile NPC behaviour systems.

CCP Gangleri


Minmatar
Posted - 2008.12.01 19:56:00 - [294]
 

Originally by: Bartholomeus Crane

Although it would be very hard, even impossible, to create a one size fits all AI that works for all types of rats in all circumstances, what is not impossible is to provide tools that describe the environment these agents live in. In fact, that environment is fully described already. Within that environment, and given a suitable description of it, a prescription of how the various types of agents should behave would be the next step. This can be done iteratively if necessary.

That would separate the behaviour (prescription) from the environment, and given properly developed tools, that would give a backdrop against which a set of AI types could develop, or learn, new and better suited behaviour.

The key is the separation though. There is no one-size-fits-all AI, just like there is not one-size-fits-all behaviour. You can not learn behaviour like that if there is no similarity in expected behaviour. That is why the current solution is received so poorly. It tries to fit a one-size-fits-all behaviour to a versatile environment and it 'feels' wrong. It doesn't work, and it's boring.

There is a problem though. You can not write good tools without knowing what you want to use them for. An iterative approach works only if you have at least an inkling of where you want to go, what type of AI you are working towards. No long term goal, no understanding of the underlying problems you will encounter means lots and lots of rewrites of the underpinning tools. Just making it up while you go will just lead to wasted effort with little return.

You may have been through this already (I have no way of knowing this), but you need to answer the following questions: what do I want to achieve in the long term (the smartest, most intelligent rats ever seen in a game?); how am I going to achieve this (what AI techniques am I going to use, how do they fit together, what are their respective restrictions, how do they fit the environment); what do I need to do to make it work (what tools are needed, how much effort is it going to take). After answering those questions can you begin coding and refactoring. Then you change the plan to fit the needs again.

BTW, you want to use AI because you simply don't have the manpower to handcraft all the different behaviours you need, the QA will be work enough. Writing scripts is not the same as writing AI.



We can make the tools, and we probably will. But we don't have the manpower required to manually go through all the different missions and exploration sites that would potentially be affected by a sweeping change to NPC behaviour. Instead we will start small, and build from there.

The benefit of this is that we will get feedback after the initial release of the few smarter NPC's which we can then use to make all the other ones smart and fun to play with. And we'll have a greater understanding of expectations and mechanics involved.

Brevada
Eternity INC.
-Mostly Harmless-
Posted - 2008.12.01 20:15:00 - [295]
 

Edited by: Brevada on 01/12/2008 20:27:19
Something I think would make 0.0 controlled space, NPC's in missions and ratting a lot more fun in general.

The addition of NPC's traveling and actually using your space, or something to that extent, maybe haulers and stuff that can actually haul things to empire for you, but could still be killed and such like normal, to make your 0.0 space feel more "alive"

I think another awesome addition would be be able to request NPC support or have npc's come in and help with missions, so it would be kind of like mini fleet fights inside the missions IMO that would be a blast to have 30 npcs helping you and have even more shooting at you, would feel like an actual battle/war. Maybe only do this for level 4 and 5 missions.

And for 0.0, more personable AI or more unique spawn types. Possibly just give them the ability to call in help or something, or making more types of spawns so its not just rats sitting at belt, maybe have them do something. A good way to go about this so you wouldn't have to go through and do it at all belts, is maybe make it just a new spawn, so if you clear the belt it has a chance to respawn and maybe just gradually add more areas/systems/and gradually increase the spawn rate. Examples of this is maybe either rats mining, or maybe attacking an NPC hauler, that way you have a feeling that your doing something besides just flying to a belt where rats like to hangout

Or maybe even make it so 0.0 rats will actually come and attack YOU or a pos. so if your in a safe spot or undocked at a station or on a gate or just anything, theres a chance for npcs to warp in and attack you, they wouldn't have to be strong or anything, it would just make 0.0 a tad more interesting IMO

EDIT: Just read the post above (sorry im at work YARRRR!!)

A solution to having another faction help you would be to make them hirable mercs at the station, this would add as an extra isk sink, and would spice up the game a TON imo, that makes them not faction based and completely neutral to anyone whos paying them

Mr Deviant
Posted - 2008.12.01 20:28:00 - [296]
 

Originally by: Brevada
Something I think would make 0.0 controlled space, NPC's in missions and ratting a lot more fun in general.

The addition of NPC's traveling and actually using your space, or something to that extent, maybe haulers and stuff that can actually haul things to empire for you, but could still be killed and such like normal, to make your 0.0 space feel more "alive"

I think another awesome addition would be be able to request NPC support or have npc's come in and help with missions, so it would be kind of like mini fleet fights inside the missions IMO that would be a blast to have 30 npcs helping you and have even more shooting at you, would feel like an actual battle/war. Maybe only do this for level 4 and 5 missions.

And for 0.0, more personable AI or more unique spawn types. Possibly just give them the ability to call in help or something, or making more types of spawns so its not just rats sitting at belt, maybe have them do something. A good way to go about this so you wouldn't have to go through and do it at all belts, is maybe make it just a new spawn, so if you clear the belt it has a chance to respawn and maybe just gradually add more areas/systems/and gradually increase the spawn rate. Examples of this is maybe either rats mining, or maybe attacking an NPC hauler, that way you have a feeling that your doing something besides just flying to a belt where rats like to hangout

Or maybe even make it so 0.0 rats will actually come and attack YOU or a pos. so if your in a safe spot or undocked at a station or on a gate or just anything, theres a chance for npcs to warp in and attack you, they wouldn't have to be strong or anything, it would just make 0.0 a tad more interesting IMO


Some interesting suggestion in there. Personally being a carebear and a paranoid one as well, I would welcome the ability to "hire" npc protection as I simply do not trust anyone and I play solo.

Such and option could make me venture into low sec and maybe beyond. I can already hear the piwates drooling.Crying or Very sad

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2008.12.01 21:35:00 - [297]
 

Originally by: CCP Gangleri
We can make the tools, and we probably will. But we don't have the manpower required to manually go through all the different missions and exploration sites that would potentially be affected by a sweeping change to NPC behaviour. Instead we will start small, and build from there.

The benefit of this is that we will get feedback after the initial release of the few smarter NPC's which we can then use to make all the other ones smart and fun to play with. And we'll have a greater understanding of expectations and mechanics involved.


Well, the argument I'm trying to make is that AI will affect a large part of the subscription base, in that it will affect all missioneers. I can see how you want to start small and build from there. It's safe and you can oversee the consequences. Also, you probably have a lot on your plate right now with the 'early' expansion and all the things that you said you were going to do in it at Fanfest. But it still makes AI one of the things that has the potential to make EVE a lot better for a lot of players!

But I would like to point out that starting small is in no way incompatible with how I proposed to do it. After all, if the tools work for a small subset of the rats, they will also work for a larger subset, especially with some refactoring done after the first iteration (based on player and QA feedback). But in order to do this efficiently, this also means having an overall gameplan, a roadmap if you will, in which even the modest beginnings will fit. And it is perfectly fine for this roadmap to be over-ambitious and over-arcing.

Ofcourse I would like CCP to make AI their top-priority, but that's not going to happen right now. T3 has been promised, and the roadmap until the next expansion has been set. I'm perfectly happy with that, because I can see that right now EVE needs T3 more than it needs AI. However, tactically speaking, I'm already looking beyond the next expansion, or even the one after that. And when the roadmap for those expansions will be drafted, I would like to see AI feature prominently on it.

One way of doing getting that done is to lay the foundation now, so that when discussions about the next patch come round, you'll be able to whip out an overall ambitious and compelling plan about AI, that ties several progressions together, and brings together work already done with possibilities that would bring EVE unto the edge of what is possible.

What I'm mostly afraid off is that: 1. AI will be pushed down to the bottom of the pile again once the limited option has been released; 2. CCP does not have the knowhow to write such a compelling plan, or to not recognise the possibilities that AI has; and 3. will instead opt for other options where it does have the knowhow but are (at least to me) of lesser consequence.

Now, I have no way of knowing any of these three things will come to pass. I'm simply not privy to your internal discussions. What I do have experience with though is the general idea that AI is 'difficult', hard to implement, error-prone, and hard to control. All are myths, but all are hard to dispell, especially to people who don't know much about AI. And really, the only thing we know about AI is Torfi's offhand remark at Fanfest that CCP is interested in actually doing AI. Lets be fair, that's not much really.

If I look through all the suggestions in the thread. All of them can be done with AI. Retreating and regrouping NPC, NPC warfare, tactical and strategical warfare by NPC, NPCs that act and use the same ships and modules like the players. All can be learned by an AI, presented in a controllable and verifiable way. Some things will be more difficult to do than other, all will use up manpower to achieve. In the end, they will put EVE at the forefront of game AI, give a big marketing boost, actually safe manpower the long run, and provide dynamic content for the playerbase to interact with. You just need to want to do it.

RedClaws
Amarr
Macabre Votum
Morsus Mihi
Posted - 2008.12.02 09:23:00 - [298]
 

I'm not really sure we should be looking into "that" much AI. Just a couple of changes will do. I'm think that we lost the "challenging" part on ratting in belts and to some extend in missions.

I remember ratting in 0.0 about 4.5 years ago. Back then everybody was on their toes when belt ratting, because all the frigates would scramble you and the npc's did a lot more damage.
If you would happen to come across a spawn with a faction guy or an officer and you couldn't kill those frigates fast enough you'd be one very dead pilot. We all equiped a large smartbomb just for that reason.

But then npc's got changed, they no longer scrambled a lot, damage went down a lot and officers or faction spawns are now barely any different from a normal rat.

It could ofcourse be that I was a noob back then and it just seemed that way but I enjoyed ratting loads more back than. Even lost a few ships. Nowadays you can't really lose ships anymore to npc's unless you frecked up or went afk and the ship's cap ran out.


Dihania
Gallente
SniggWaffe
Posted - 2008.12.02 09:27:00 - [299]
 

Originally by: Gimpslayer
GIVE US NPC AI


Why you want to be as dumb as an NPC I can't understand but hope your wish is granted. Razz

On a serious note, I'd love to see a carebears face when he enters a mission and all the NPCs go "hey this guy is thermal tanked, switch to explosive" and PUFF goes his ship.

NPCs are farely stupid yes.


Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2008.12.02 11:44:00 - [300]
 

Originally by: RedClaws
I'm not really sure we should be looking into "that" much AI. Just a couple of changes will do. I'm think that we lost the "challenging" part on ratting in belts and to some extend in missions.

I remember ratting in 0.0 about 4.5 years ago. Back then everybody was on their toes when belt ratting, because all the frigates would scramble you and the npc's did a lot more damage.
If you would happen to come across a spawn with a faction guy or an officer and you couldn't kill those frigates fast enough you'd be one very dead pilot. We all equiped a large smartbomb just for that reason.

But then npc's got changed, they no longer scrambled a lot, damage went down a lot and officers or faction spawns are now barely any different from a normal rat.

It could ofcourse be that I was a noob back then and it just seemed that way but I enjoyed ratting loads more back than. Even lost a few ships. Nowadays you can't really lose ships anymore to npc's unless you frecked up or went afk and the ship's cap ran out.


As to why rats are more easy now, there are two reasons I think. First because there have been a lot of changes to the players, but these have not all been transferred to the rats. The reason behind it is probably because there are so many of them that a complete overhaul of them everytime something changes takes too much manpower to do so. Case in point, the armour changes. Players got a lot more armour and cap, the rats didn't. So we're swatting them like flies.

Second because the rats all behave the same, and over time we've figured it out. It's basically a simple script. First do this, then do that, and after you've done that, do something else. All very deterministic, with no surprises. That means you can perfectly predict what they will do, what damage they do, etc. So, websites like EVE survival can give you exact scripts on how to finish all missions, and with spawns you know how to swat first so that they don't become a nuisance. Same with ship setups.

AI can fix both, and more, in one go. By planting AI into rats they can use the same ships and modules players do, in the same environment players live in. With a learning AI, it can relearn how to behave when changes are made, so adjustments when they are made will be automatically handled. It doesn't take as much manpower, because it's all automagically done by the AI.

And by using a learning AI, different types of rats will learn to behave differently as well. And as they evolve their behaviour to fit the environment better, that behaviour will become better over time. And because the behaviour reacts to the circumstances, it will be a little different everytime you encounter them.

So in the end, instead of simply swatting away hundreds of stupid rats, you'll be fighting rats that behave naturally and intelligently, which you can loot as if they are players, take into account changes made, of which there are probably less (less load on the server), and do things that may surprise you and keep you on your toes. Over will be the time that you can fit perfectly for one mission or spawn, and you'll probably have to fit for PvE in the same way as for PvP. Over will be the time that you can afk earn lots of Isk in missions as well, so the whole gold-farming missions issue will be gone as well. And building on this you can have NPC roaming gangs, NPC reinforcements and withdrawals, NPC fleetbattles and camps, NPCs defending their space, NPC faction warfare, NPC market warfare, and all these things that blurr the distinction between PvE and PvP, between rats and players. And suddenly, the world of EVE will be a lot more interesting to fly around in.

You probably won't need that much AI now to patch up the rats a little. You could spend lots of manpower to go over all the scripts and loottables. But with all these possibilities, things the playerbase will certainly like, why not spend the manpower to get on the road to deliver all of this?


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