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Member Since 26 Jun 2000
Offline Last Active Dec 01 2014 12:04 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Taking A Group of AI Followers Indoors

15 November 2014 - 11:41 PM



(pre-baked nav meshes, also!)


I'll probably be giving myself a real headache with this, but I'm working on procedural environments generated at runtime ala roguelikes, although there might be some savings from assembling chunks of geometry almost like 2d tiles.




All followers without jetpacks become grouped into one sub-party, and get their own pathfinding call.


Sorry I really should have been clearer, as mentioned above I wasn't just thinking of solving pathing. If you come to a big door and you need the demolitions guy, or you come to a chasm and you're the only one with the jetpack, which is the better design: Let followers just teleport to where you are, or make the player deal with not being able to pass the obstacle (or one of the other resources  that might break down to the same thing essentially).


Teleporting is cheap, and I don't really like it because it doesn't fit the milieu. 

Blocking the player from taking a follower, especially with a randomly generated environment, means either the follower is left behind or the player has to wind their way back out of the level (potentially through multiple floors) in order to address the challenge by re-equipping. I don't know if that's horrible, as it may force players to haul lots of crap to deal with variable contingencies. That could be good (balance say looting vs. equipping) or bad (micromanagement).




I think not breaking stealth is quite important, maybe they try to stay in cover if you're sneaking, and the enemies ignore them unless they do anything too blatant.


Something like stealth might have to be solved with level design. Maybe there are set challenges and clearing rooms where followers can gather. You could take a few, deal with some sentry or trap or whatever, then summon the rest of the followers onto the next room. It would probably lead to needing lots of abandoned areas, like empty barracks or storage areas, which could be okay I guess.

In Topic: Taking A Group of AI Followers Indoors

15 November 2014 - 11:22 PM

I can't think of good examples of games that have followers ranging in the dozens.  Mount and Blade maybe?  Some starcraft missions?  Though they let you control the mob and do the work.  The Diablo games?  They do a lot of teleporting when players play a character than can have a large NPC mob.  (And they might range to a dozen or so at the high end)


Yeah I kept thinking of Mount & Blade posting this and how it works if you've got a large, open area. For indoors teleporting, especially if I confined the group, might be the way to go, but it's not my favorite solution.


If the party including the character is supposed to have a tank/dps split, unless the player is confined to one of these roles the player needs to be able to set whether one NPC should behave like a tank.  Traps are also an issue - in many games traps would be pointlessly easy if NPCs could see them, but if a tank NPC can't see them they're just going to walk into them all which is also pointless.


Good point on traps! In fact thinking about it, it seems like every instance of some sort of challenge test, like sneaking past something, making a jump or passing a trap, is going to be an issue for followers when they fail the challenge. If you have a group of two dozen followers, for instance, trying to bypass a sentry, as a player you're going to feel helpless if one character (like, say, the last in a long line) trips the alarm.


Maybe that's okay, though. Maybe it forces you to break up the followers, tell most to hang back while you go forward with more skilled groups. This can also answer your point about roles, too. Roles likely come from follower skills and gear, so I'm imagining positioning say a tank to guard a corridor or cover you while you move the group forward.


Meh, realizing having them all with you is a real can of worms. Can a follower take point? How do you tell them how far to go forward if they can. It would almost demand a dual interface, like a isometric game mixed with FPS. *claw eyes*

In Topic: Taking A Group of AI Followers Indoors

15 November 2014 - 11:10 PM

Is it turn based or realtime?
- Free move or grids?
- Does the player control them manually or AI is doing it?
- Can characters pass through each other?
- Can characters occupy the same space?
- Can characters occupy the same space temporarily (like they can pass through each other but can't end the turn at the same space)?
- Can characters "swap" places (a powerful trick, used in some roguelikes IIRC)?


Good questions! Likely real-time, as I'm leaning toward FPS controls. AI is meant to have behavioral settings like aggressiveness and the ability to select them, select an item or ability, and select a target. AI can be grouped under a leader so that the leader acts like a grouping key in an RTS. 


As noted above, I think it will really be bad if players occupy the same space. I remember an Aliens console game that did this and how weird it looked to see a half dozen colonial marines all merge and demerge from the same spot. That was using 3d with an isometric camera, so I think FPS would look even worse.


As for swapping, that might work. Two party animations are usually very finicky, though, so I'd have to test it out.

In Topic: Taking A Group of AI Followers Indoors

15 November 2014 - 11:04 PM

Thanks for the replies!


Allow the player to walk through their followers, or always leave enough width to fit the follower + player.


I think allowing walk through is going to produce some pretty hideous visual artifacts (characters faces merging, gear like guns sticking through chests, possible z-fighting as character polys overlap). Width requires uniformly sized characters, which isn't a limit I exactly want to take on unless there's no other good choice. 


Then they lose that follower, unless you teleport them. This isn't really relevant to the initial question though.


I think maybe you're thinking my consideration is more just pathing management. But I'm looking at the design as a whole and altering how it works to try and fit the problems. If you think of a follower as a resource that you've invested time developing, I'm not sure it's really a good decision to tell players that they suddenly can't use it. Teleporting, maybe at a resource cost, might work though.

In Topic: Has this game, or something similar, already been made?

07 November 2014 - 10:34 PM

I think procedural cities are cool. A lot of the difficulty, though, depends on what you can do with it. A bite-sized approach would be maybe to start with the idea of precreated tiles and do something with that, such as some sort of timed city builder or even a GTA 1. You might then branch out to randomization of each tile. Then you might zoom in with the same idea, making buildings that are, in effect, precreated room tiles / chunks (like boardroom with bathroom combo). You can then branch out and diversify the gameplay.


There are a lot of technical issues, of course, but taking steps toward what you want to make might benefit from pretending you're in a different time, with more limited technology. For instance, busting yourself down to a text-based game could show you how to deal with adding gameplay on a node-by-node  basis, which could lead to visualizing the city as collections of nodes, which THEN could fit nicely with the tile idea.


Doing this might help demystify things and help you set inspiring targets on your way to where you want to go.