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Kyra Felann
Gallente
The Scope
Posted - 2009.01.20 19:03:00 - [481]
 

Originally by: CCP Incognito
Wormhole NPC can now multi-target, and target switch. For instance a NPC can be shooting all guns and missiles at it's primary target. At the same time it can turn it's ECM on that pesky logistics cruiser that keeps remote repairing it's primary target.

If another target becomes a more desirable target, the NPC can switch it's primary target to the new target.



Very nice! :)

Kyra Felann
Gallente
The Scope
Posted - 2009.01.20 19:06:00 - [482]
 

Originally by: Abrazzar
Originally by: ry ry
rats are just a resource to be harvested, like mining with better rewards and marginally more player input required.

And this is everything that is wrong with rats, ratting and mission running.

+ 2349757243

That guy summed up exactly what the problem is. NPCs now are basically slightly more dangerous, mobile asteroids.

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2009.01.20 19:26:00 - [483]
 

Originally by: CCP Incognito
Bartholomeus Crane you are correct we abandoned the idea of a learning adaptive AI do to time constraints. We are doing a reactive AI, I know you would argue that this is not AI, but it will make combat with the wormhole NPC more adaptive and less predictable. And that is the goal.


Yes, I was afraid you'd drop the learning adaptive AI. I do understand why though, it's not an easy subject to tackle, and without knowing exactly what is doing what, is hard to get right. In fact, I expected you'd do this. The deadline you set yourselves is hard as it is, and it would simply not be realistic to expect a fully learning adaptive AI within the time frame. I'm not too disheartened though as, through the work you're doing on reactive AI on the various aspects if NPC/AI behaviour, I'm hoping you'll get a much richer understanding of the underlying mechanisms at hand, and hopefully how learning adaptive AI can eventually be applied to it.

Originally by: CCP Incognito
We have left the door open to work on a adaptive learning AI by allowing us to change the underlying code for each pirate in the game with a simple DB update. As you can see from the CSM note there is allot for us to be doing, so I would not hold your breath for us doing a learning AI in the near future. But it is still on the backlog as a mother of all story's.


Well, at least I'm glad the adaptive learning AI is still on the backlog as an option at a later date. I've said earlier in this thread that I believe that for truly superior NPC behaviour to be implemented, a more sustained effort will be needed, clearly surpassing a couple of sprints and maybe even a couple of expansion cycles.

As for the AI itself, there is a danger that me harping on about adaptive learning AI will mean to you that all behaviour of the NPCs should be governed by such an AI. Not only do I think that this is not needed, I don't even think that this is truly possible (conflicted objectives, multi-objective learning and all that jazz).

What I think is much more rewarding, even in the longer term, and not to mention safer, is to consider a hybrid system, where parts of the behaviour are done through reactive AI as you're developing right now, while other parts are (progressively) handled by more adaptive learning algorithms. This doesn't have to be done now obviously, as it can be refactored in at any time, but you might want to consider this even now to keep your options open for later on.

If I'm not mistaken, you're probably even now running into the problem of determining when to use what part of the reactive AI to be active at any point in time (based on circumstances no doubt/less). To that I would like to say that you shouldn't be daunted by the problem. There are several simple heuristics that can be used to handle it, and work in this area (to get it just right) well no doubt stand you in good stead later on as well.

In any case, you're probably getting valuable information and experience with how such a hybrid solution, should you opt for one, will have to be partitioned. As I tell all my students, do take note of that. And I do mean that literally.

Originally by: CCP Incognito
We are finishing up the third sprint as we speak (really should be working on bugs ATM rather than typing to you) and have added a major new capability to the NPC's.

< multi-targeting and target switching >



I snipped your description of multi-targetting and target switching for space. I just want to say I'm pleased that you decided to tackle exactly this aspect of NPC behaviour. Just a (couple of?) weeks ago I was discussing EVE NPC/AI behaviour with some students, and this was number one on the list of things that should be addressed for EVE NPC/AI behaviour to more closely resemble player behaviour. And yes, I do discuss EVE NPC behaviour with my students, although I have to admit, not necessarily in a positive way. I'm hoping that'll change come next expansion.

Thebro Nobrunder
Schrodinger's Renegades
Posted - 2009.01.20 19:33:00 - [484]
 

In response to some of the replies to base things on ship characteristics..
npcs should probably
* prefer shooting ship their own size
* prefer shooting "more dangerous" ships
* prefer assisting the "most important" npc on grid
* consider target speed, npc weapon type, and pc weapon type when evaluating targets.
* not participate in suicide attacks

Megan Maynard
Minmatar
Navigators of the Abyss
Posted - 2009.01.20 19:38:00 - [485]
 

Ships should really warp out more often if you don't have them scrambled and your ship is bigger then theirs.

Or vice versa, they should warp in and scramble you and bring in moar buddies.

And get rid of the damn cloaks on any ship that wants one.

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2009.01.20 19:46:00 - [486]
 

Edited by: Bartholomeus Crane on 20/01/2009 19:47:12
Originally by: CCP Incognito
< insert drum roll >

Wormhole NPC can now multi-target, and target switch. For instance a NPC can be shooting all guns and missiles at it's primary target. At the same time it can turn it's ECM on that pesky logistics cruiser that keeps remote repairing it's primary target.

If another target becomes a more desirable target, the NPC can switch it's primary target to the new target.

This task took allot of Re factoring of the current code, then a relative small change to make the NPC use the new feature. now in the future it is a simple matter of just writing a little bit of code to make the choice of what secondary target able systems should be use

I am not going to go into the criteria that NPC will use to evaluate what it should use on what. Have to leave something for you to learn the hard way:)


Haha! But I can guess! Seeing as you said 'desirable target', it's clear that you're using some system to grade targets. One such system could be DPS received. And earlier you mentioned using different systems (guns, ECM) on different targets, so clearly the grading system is multi-dimensional, a dimension for each module type. So guns could grade according to DPS (to get that out of the way fastest) while ECM would put a premium on repair ability (to get that pestky logistics ship out of the way). Maintaining that multi-dimensional list would be a lot of refactoring work to do, but actually using it is simple (a case of applying a sort algorithm before choosing a target), so that fits as well. Although the dimensions could be limited to primary and secondary systems to keep things scalable (which would be a shame). This would fit with the drone post as well, as repairing would count in the sort algorithm, but NOS may not (or to a lesser degree, depending on the amount NOSed), so this would fit in with the Domi example. Whether or not the drones are counted individually or as a group would be one of the rules for the sort-algorithm to use (I'd argue for individual because a group of Ogre IIs from a Domi has pretty high DPS). So, I think I've already got some idea about what the mechanism will look like.

Which is also it's Achilles' heel. By the sounds of it, it's very deterministic, and thus can be figured out over time. It's still lightyears ahead of what we have now, but good working counters can and thus will be found to work with it. On a whole this is a good thing (players have some idea of what to expect), but a certain amount of non-determinism would mix things up. Obviously I'm thinking learning adaptive AI here, but some random fluctuations in the mechanism could work will in the time being. No problem with NPCs now and then making a 'wrong' targeting decision. Makes them look more human!

Anyway, I'm glad you were able to tackle this aspect of NPC behaviour for this expansion. It really needed changing!

Abrazzar
Posted - 2009.01.20 19:52:00 - [487]
 

Oh, just while I remember, important addition to the AI!

NPCs should not shoot at abandoned/uncontrolled drones but instead scoop them up and drop them with their loot in the wreck (or at 50% chance). This would lessen the grief disconnects cause on drone using players.Very Happy

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2009.01.20 19:57:00 - [488]
 

Originally by: Abrazzar
Oh, just while I remember, important addition to the AI!

NPCs should not shoot at abandoned/uncontrolled drones but instead scoop them up and drop them with their loot in the wreck (or at 50% chance). This would lessen the grief disconnects cause on drone using players.Very Happy


As a drone user: this ...

Noveron
Caldari
Aitnaru
Posted - 2009.01.20 20:05:00 - [489]
 

Originally by: CCP Incognito
Originally by: Noveron
to CCP Incognito
I'd love if any of you guys take any of my ideas into consideration, maybe Im asking too much but..
Thank you in advance anyways.


Yep read your posts, I am reading all the posts.

I can not make any promises about what we will do. But all ideas are going into the mixing bowl.

Keep the ideas coming the more the better.




thanks a lot, thats more than enough for me. keep it up ;)

Spurty
Caldari
V0LTA
VOLTA Corp
Posted - 2009.01.20 20:11:00 - [490]
 

make all belt rats nuet, scram, web and target paint at 30km.

make mission rats able to scan your weakest tank and change ammo to that.

make rats that spawn at gates put up bubbles

then the NPC threat would actually be more of an issue to deal with than scenery you can skip.

Thebro Nobrunder
Schrodinger's Renegades
Posted - 2009.01.20 20:42:00 - [491]
 

Make npc's follow the same rules we do!
No more frigates hitting me at 100km+
no more unjamable npc's

btw... does anyone know if neuts eve work on npc's?

DaemonBarber
M. Corp
M. PIRE
Posted - 2009.01.20 21:01:00 - [492]
 

Make NPC's more like real players...

There are two kinds of players in belts, Rat Hunters, and Miners. So place two kinds of spawns:

Miners:
1 to N miners, with zero to heavy cover in the belt (based on sec). When you land in the belt, the miners try to escape. It's your job to scramble what you can and kill it before support shows. Support should be based on what you bring in. If you warp into belt with a ceptor, the response should be tiered to take on interceptors. If you bring in a BS, then BS's should come in to assist. The important thing is the fight should be interesting and have some variation, if not outright challenging.

Rat Hunters:
These should really be PC hunters. They should be jumping belts hunting you. Make them easier then a real player, but risky enough that you wouldn't always want to take them on. Same as above, have them call in support to balance the fight once they've got you tackled.

So long as there is always the chance that something will land that can kick your ass, it will remain interesting. Getting in, blowing up a few miners and running with the loot / bounty should be considered a success, and it's a way to train players for the unpredictability of PvP.


Could be fun, but would change an income source for too many to be popular.


Taylor timenenzi
Posted - 2009.01.20 21:18:00 - [493]
 

Originally by: Spurty
make all belt rats nuet, scram, web and target paint at 30km.

make mission rats able to scan your weakest tank and change ammo to that.

make rats that spawn at gates put up bubbles

then the NPC threat would actually be more of an issue to deal with than scenery you can skip.


In other words give player pirates NPC's to do their job for them. YAY FOR FREE POINTS AND WEBBERS

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2009.01.20 21:21:00 - [494]
 

Originally by: Taylor timenenzi
Originally by: Spurty
make all belt rats nuet, scram, web and target paint at 30km.

make mission rats able to scan your weakest tank and change ammo to that.

make rats that spawn at gates put up bubbles

then the NPC threat would actually be more of an issue to deal with than scenery you can skip.


In other words give player pirates NPC's to do their job for them. YAY FOR FREE POINTS AND WEBBERS


Gives solo play a whole new meaning. I like it!

Spurty
Caldari
V0LTA
VOLTA Corp
Posted - 2009.01.20 23:43:00 - [495]
 

Edited by: Spurty on 20/01/2009 23:44:52
Originally by: Taylor timenenzi

In other words give player pirates NPC's to do their job for them. YAY FOR FREE POINTS AND WEBBERS


Um .. not what I'm saying, but if you can't handle the npcs, you aren't ready for the players ... love it if npcs changed agro if there are more than 1 player on grid constantly, make people warping to your *belt* think twice ;0

edit: screaming 4 years old in left ear. Only my right ear is deaf from the Mrs.

Nova Fox
Gallente
Novafox Shipyards
Posted - 2009.01.21 10:46:00 - [496]
 

I would love to see some fleet commanders on the opposing npc side too that boost thier performance against you.

Maria Kalista
Amarr
Knights of Kador
Posted - 2009.01.21 11:02:00 - [497]
 

Originally by: Captain Politics
Does this mean that the NPC's in the wormholes will target drones as well ?

This could potentially be a stealth nerf of gallente pilots from doing the wormholes. Ogre II is too costly to just throw away. Or have you figured a way around this ?


Usually when you are losing your drones, you are way to late to pull them in. Their shield gone, armor already severely damaged. Only indication you get is zoomed out looking if any NPC is firing rockets at your drones. But usually you're to busy with other things to notice it.

possible fix:
There is plenty of room in the deployed drone window before the drones to put in a little icon that warns you your drones are being target. This should give you ample notice to pull them in before they're completely toast.

Venomae
Gallente
Quam Singulari
Posted - 2009.01.21 11:20:00 - [498]
 

So basically drones are totally useless after NPC AI if they switch targets. WTG.

Venomae
Gallente
Quam Singulari
Posted - 2009.01.21 11:22:00 - [499]
 

Originally by: Thebro Nobrunder
Make npc's follow the same rules we do!
No more frigates hitting me at 100km+
no more unjamable npc's

btw... does anyone know if neuts eve work on npc's?
Sure. After that you get hit like you do in PVP when 30 man blob hits you... Then you will have to have 30 guys doing the one stupid lvl 4 mission and you all can share that 1.2 M ISK what you get from it. Whee, buff more 0.0 alliances. More blobbing.

mcnuggetlol
Amarr
Via Crucis Inc.
Posted - 2009.01.21 11:39:00 - [500]
 

Would it be possible for a rat spawn to size up their target, and if they decide they have a good chance of winning, try to tackle the player and ransom him instead of outright killing? It'd be pretty hilarious seeing a convo with an npc pirate open with something like

BloodRadiersCaptain > Gimmie 5 mill or you lose your ship

Plus it would give meaning to them being pirates.

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2009.01.21 11:58:00 - [501]
 

Originally by: Maria Kalista
Originally by: Captain Politics
Does this mean that the NPC's in the wormholes will target drones as well ?

This could potentially be a stealth nerf of gallente pilots from doing the wormholes. Ogre II is too costly to just throw away. Or have you figured a way around this ?


Usually when you are losing your drones, you are way to late to pull them in. Their shield gone, armor already severely damaged. Only indication you get is zoomed out looking if any NPC is firing rockets at your drones. But usually you're to busy with other things to notice it.

possible fix:
There is plenty of room in the deployed drone window before the drones to put in a little icon that warns you your drones are being target. This should give you ample notice to pull them in before they're completely toast.


Although that would be helpful, the problem itself was caused when with the HP buff (remember that one?), drones and fighters weren't buffed as well. So you now have the problem that ships have become much more resilient but the drones and fighters are relatively fragile. Although this is a balancing issue, I still feel that drones and fighters should still get their buff because they 'feel' just too fragile right now.

Furthermore, with the large number of NPCs out there, when drones get targeted they're usually targeted by lots of NPCs, meaning lots of DPS. With the (now) slower drones, especially the heavy ones, even on medium range targets, they'll pop before they're able to get back to the bay, even if you're really alert. This is why I'm using mostly sentries these days. Although I can't move, if they get aggro, I can pull them in quickly. Unfortunately, even the shortest range sentry is mostly ineffective a the short range distances some NPCs circle. Choices, choices ...

Not that this has much to do with AI though ...

Mara Rinn
Posted - 2009.01.21 12:02:00 - [502]
 

Originally by: Bartholomeus Crane
Haha! But I can guess! Seeing as you said 'desirable target', it's clear that you're using some system to grade targets. One such system could be DPS received. And earlier you mentioned using different systems (guns, ECM) on different targets, so clearly ...


I suggest that multidimensional deterministic automatons are not as easy to predict as most players would like. Sure, turn on a remote repper, the enemy will start using ECM. But that's a simple heuristic that players use too!

If the NPCs learned too much too quickly, they'd quickly become impossible for any but the highest skilled, best geared characters to do combat with.

Be careful how smart you wish the NPCs to be. If your wishes come true, you'll find yourself wishing that they'd all go back to being as dumb as the Angel Cartel back in Heimatar...

Salliene
Gallente
Paktu Sjet Armada
Galactic System Lords Alliance
Posted - 2009.01.21 14:22:00 - [503]
 

Sorry if I missed it in the 10+ pages, but is the improved AI going to be implemented in non-wormhole areas? I would really like to see improved AI in missions so that they are no longer free ISK printing presses.


Nefto Taak
Posted - 2009.01.21 15:04:00 - [504]
 

Originally by: Venomae
So basically drones are totally useless after NPC AI if they switch targets. WTG.


And releasing drones after you've taken aggro, in your undefeatable ship, so they don't get targeted is right?
As long as you know your drones are being shot I see no problem, HP counter in the drone window perhaps?

Captain Politics
The Scope
Posted - 2009.01.21 15:32:00 - [505]
 

Originally by: Maria Kalista

snip

possible fix:
There is plenty of room in the deployed drone window before the drones to put in a little icon that warns you your drones are being target. This should give you ample notice to pull them in before they're completely toast.


This is a great solution Very Happy! But i don't know if that won't add to extra lag in large fleets. If the option is implemented there should be an option to turn it off Confused.

Durzel
The Xenodus Initiative.
Posted - 2009.01.21 15:44:00 - [506]
 

Originally by: Thebro Nobrunder
In response to some of the replies to base things on ship characteristics..
npcs should probably
* prefer shooting ship their own size
* prefer shooting "more dangerous" ships
* prefer assisting the "most important" npc on grid
* consider target speed, npc weapon type, and pc weapon type when evaluating targets.
* not participate in suicide attacks

All good & more importantly simple ideas that give the illusion of intelligence deeper than it actually is.

It is illogical that a lone frigate will orbit a player battleship (or anything else it has no hope of killing) forever, personally I'd rather see it have self-preservation instincts - whether it be trying to escape, giving up once it realises it can't break your tank, calling in reinforcements or whatever.

Remote repping should also play a big part - ships should come to the aid of the ones with the biggest hate list (or something).

NPCs shouldn't shoot further than they know they can hit (i.e. missiles that disappear long before they reach you), etc.

I can envisage a lot of small tweaks that make the current NPCs appear a lot more intelligent than they actually are.

Durzel
The Xenodus Initiative.
Posted - 2009.01.21 15:45:00 - [507]
 

Originally by: Venomae
So basically drones are totally useless after NPC AI if they switch targets. WTG.
At least wait until the changes actually exist before whining please.

Khanto Thor
Amarr
Imperial Academy
Posted - 2009.01.21 17:45:00 - [508]
 

..now imagine if the new NPC's were a new pirate race that come through the unstable worm holes in very small numbers at first..

...but they can attack player ships anywhere in a system at a gate, outside a station... and they loot your wrecks!

....if they build up enough resources, they start to multiply, then they could start to make undefended regions no go areas!

..it will be upto players to work together to defend against this new menace and reduce their numbers, stop them getting the resources where they can build up numbers.. Twisted EvilTwisted Evil

Bartholomeus Crane
Gallente
The Crane Family
Posted - 2009.01.21 18:21:00 - [509]
 

Originally by: Khanto Thor
..now imagine if the new NPC's were a new pirate race that come through the unstable worm holes in very small numbers at first..

...but they can attack player ships anywhere in a system at a gate, outside a station... and they loot your wrecks!

....if they build up enough resources, they start to multiply, then they could start to make undefended regions no go areas!

..it will be upto players to work together to defend against this new menace and reduce their numbers, stop them getting the resources where they can build up numbers.. Twisted EvilTwisted Evil


And this is exactly where I would like NPCs to go. From some mineable Isk faucet onto a 'real' player in the universe. Something that has a real but limited influence in the game world that you can counter if you want to and is always there if you need some pew pew.

The case I'm making though is that this level of sophistication needs something more than reactive AI. In fact, it needs adaptive AI that learns over time what it can do and what it can't do. Just spawning them won't cut it. It's not something that can be easily hacked together though.

I'm hoping that this will be realised at one point.

Nova Fox
Gallente
Novafox Shipyards
Posted - 2009.01.21 18:35:00 - [510]
 

Smartbombing npc battleships swarmed by drones maybe?


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