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Enemies always attack

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Has anyone ever considered the difference between when, how, and why enemies attack in real life versus a video game? In the real world, it may be possible to walk right by your sworn enemy, and have him just be too tired or occupied to attack you. You may stroll right next to a predatory critter that already has a full stomach. Or have a gang that usually tries to mug you just ignore you in some particular situation. I've noticed this is rarely ever true in games. Your enemies are life and death, sworn to kill, and attack you on sight, regardless of unseen variables. I'm wondering if adding more complexity to it could enhance or disturb the gameplay? If some hostiles aren't always hostile, would it cause the player to think more before starting wars?

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If you were to offer your enemy a chocolate chip cookie, when things were not yet hairy, why would they attack? I mean the pavlovian response would be to say- "this guy is awesome. He gave me a friggin CCC!"

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It depends on the genre, I guess.
Most FPS's are based on "shoot anything that moves" game-play, and having an enemy stop to eat his lunch instead of try to kill you would seem quite strange in these games.

Enemies in turn-based-strategy (and RTS) games on the other hand will usually wait for an opportune moment before attacking.
For example, one of my most memorable moments in Rome:Total War came during a game as Greece where I had particularly tenuous 'cease-fire' with the Macedonians. I had millitary and economic superiority over them, but I had stolen their land thus we were sworn enemies. Eventually I convinced them to ally with me, but as soon as I shifted away my armies to defend against Rome, they started raiding my borders everywhere.
In this case, the complexity of their decisions enhanced the gameplay a lot.

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If you were to offer your enemy a chocolate chip cookie, when things were not yet hairy, why would they attack? I mean the pavlovian response would be to say- "this guy is awesome. He gave me a friggin CCC!"

[the preceding was doubleposted,but i'm keeping it]

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The answer to your question depends entirely upon the specific setting of your game.

In a game like Doom 3, or any other game where it is you versus the entire world and the sole purpose of the game is to make it out the other end, having enemies that don't always attack doesn't make very much sense.

On the other hand, in a game more like GTA or something where you have a large world, and your goal isn't quite so linear, it does make sense to have enemies that don't necessarily attack you all the time.

In short, it's completely your decision, and both paths are completely legitimate, in my opinion. It just depends on what you're trying to do. If you were doing a game based around gang wars or something, having times of relatively low amounts of hostility between certain gangs could be a fairly powerful plot motivator.

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Come to think of it, rememeber the Neutral Zones in Bionic Commando? If you shoot, they shoot. Awesome game! Also, the chickens in Zelda games. If you attack those SOBs they go after you squarely. Yeah.

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I've noticed this is rarely ever true in games. Your enemies are life and death, sworn to kill, and attack you on sight, regardless of unseen variables.


I've noticed this too in alot of FPS's, but truthfully the sole purpose of those games is to kill things (or at least thats what were lead to believe).

Its when this kind of thing strays more into FPS RPG's like Morrowind, Oblivion, and Arx Fatalis that it really starts to seem down right wierd. I can't count the number of times were some stray rat/cliff-rider/beast would incessantly come bounding out of nowhere with the sole purpose of attacking me, it all seemed downright cheap, i mean why would nature hate me so? Oblivion wasn't much better, what with the only "tame" creature in the whole game being deer. Xp

I think though that if the player were given the opportunity to not always have a violent encounter he might see those moments more as opportunities to "srike first" rather than to walk by without a fight, unless he's given some other incentives not to do so.

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I was generally speaking of enemies not attacking when it would make sense. If you were fighting a war or facing opponents with ranged weapons, they're not likely to trust you within killing range. But if a human-human battle won't result in death, or a critter doesn't know it could result in death, it seems more likely to happen.

If a hostile creature is threatened by your presence, it would be different. But I've seen giant lions turn and walk away from single humans out in the open wild. It looked like humans just made them nervous, but obviously not always enough to make them retreat quickly or attack to defend. It seems as though creatures in games are never this complex. Either all of a certain type always attack on sight, or they never do. I can't say this is bad, really. But it seems robotic at best.

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Realism doesn't necessarily make it more fun though, in my opinion.
Completely agree with Dragon88

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Original post by frus
Realism doesn't necessarily make it more fun though, in my opinion.

Indeed. But this isn't about realism. It's about complexity.

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Original post by Kest
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Original post by frus
Realism doesn't necessarily make it more fun though, in my opinion.

Indeed. But this isn't about realism. It's about complexity.


I think it's about both. If you create a grossly simplified game with a small handful of variables you might create a small number of realistic situations but you aren't capturing even a small sampling of human/animal nature. To create a truly realistic game you would need to factor in millions of variables. That is something no single developer has time for. Plus you are piling on overhead with every new variable.

So realism requires a level of complexity I don't think we are ready for. Maybe that is one reason why the old 2d insanely improbable games were so much better than the 'realistic' 1st person shooters of today. (most of them anyway)

With the old games we didn't say "This is crap. Those damn turtles would never walk back and forth between pipes!" In those days we were allowed to use our imaginations to interact in a world that couldn't possibly exist.

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Original post by JesseHopkins
If you were to offer your enemy a chocolate chip cookie, when things were not yet hairy, why would they attack? I mean the pavlovian response would be to say- "this guy is awesome. He gave me a friggin CCC!"


The psychology of a psychopath would tell him to attack you for the rest of the cookies.


It obviously depends on the situation. An enemy is someone who will not let you off because he just cant be bothered. Thats just someone who potentially could hurt you but doesn't. I gaurentee that if you murder someone and then walk past one of their family members, they will not think "*Sigh* im just too tired right now, I will get him later if I see him around".

I would say by definition, a real enemy will take any opportunity they get to screw you over. If they dont then they are not your enemy, perhaps they just dont like you much.

So I guess what you are trying to say is why do games classify everyone as enemies, unless they are classified as friends... kinda.
I think alot of people would attack someone who is not classified as a friend anyway. Yeah this guy is too lazy to mug me, but from experience i know he would do it if he had the energy to get off his @$$. So why dont i just get him first.

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Original post by duilen
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Original post by Kest
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Original post by frus
Realism doesn't necessarily make it more fun though, in my opinion.

Indeed. But this isn't about realism. It's about complexity.


I think it's about both. If you create a grossly simplified game with a small handful of variables you might create a small number of realistic situations but you aren't capturing even a small sampling of human/animal nature. To create a truly realistic game you would need to factor in millions of variables. That is something no single developer has time for. Plus you are piling on overhead with every new variable.

Why would you need to use millions of variables to represent a simple concept like a hostile critter randomly not attacking? Adding the ability for certain creatures to slowly add space between itself and an approaching player may add some detail. Adding other specific details is possible. But none of them are going to require any more than typical programming, like any other AI.

By complexity, I meant AI behavior complexity. Not implementation.

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Original post by HumanoidTyphoon
It obviously depends on the situation. An enemy is someone who will not let you off because he just cant be bothered. Thats just someone who potentially could hurt you but doesn't.

There's little difference in most gaming situations. Most critters that can attack you without reason will always attack you without reason.

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In the GTA games the police won't attack you unless you recently commited a crime. This is logical and works perfectly for the game as it is player driven.

So you are in some hack-n-slash, and you stumble upon a critter. While its true the critter may or may not attack you in real life...for it to do the same in a game doesn't speak of AI complexity...rather players will see it as a bug.

If it's not DRIVEN by player actions (turning off security, drugging the critter, some other interaction effect) and is instead purely random if critters attack. Then MOST will see that as a bug, and your attempts to explain it otherwise as excuses for not "fixing" the problem.

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but whet'll happen when chocho. stocks gets out..?
howewer this is realible idea.
that player can choose weapons chocho or army's standards.?
anyway all are finite.
and real/technical enemies will not chance just with choco completely.
this just can create a sleep event.
human brain stores information after some long repeat periods./and any animals or flash disks too.
and it hawe limited op codes.
so sometimes in real life peoples looks like cowers somethigs but they not.
...

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What about group behaviour?

What if, in any of the thirty dozens of WW2 FPSs, you randomly encountered FRIGHTENED soldiers, instead of hard-boiled vets? What if those were to retreat for a while, shouting alarm? They would most likely come back a little later if backed up by more soldiers, and "felt" that they would have the upper hand in the next encounter.

Now, let's say, in Oblivion, what if wolves, bears and mountain lions randomly backed away from humans, like any and all animals, unless they were feeding or close from homecave, which COULD be considered as random occurences? Would you go into the wild knowing that quite often, animals will run away from you, unless you threaten them directly? And that some of them will be hungry and will decide to hunt YOU? But, come on!! Not ALL animals will be huingry enough to try and hunt you! Sometimes, those pesky rats will try to run away, instead of running at you. Mudcrabs will more likely try to clatter away or to hide in their shells than attack...

What if there were group behaviors with animals? Wolves packs? One howls and the rest of them comes running? Wouldn't THAT add a little more excitement to your random encounters?

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I think with relatively few variables you could add psuedorealistic complexity to animal AI. Accounting for how hungry the animal is, how close to allies or home it is, and wether or not it is doing something that causes it to want to protect its location rather than leave (eating a large carcass it cant run away with)...all these things can affect how willing the animal(s) is/are to attack and their behavior when they do so. None of this so far needs more than a simple scripting language and if coded right, emergent group behavior could come from individual AIs without interAI communication.

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Original post by MSW
So you are in some hack-n-slash, and you stumble upon a critter. While its true the critter may or may not attack you in real life...for it to do the same in a game doesn't speak of AI complexity...rather players will see it as a bug.

Not if it behaves differently. If it just sits there like you don't exist, then maybe. Real creatures don't behave that way.

Here's a scenario. You walk into a room where a giant hellhound is feeding on a dead corpse, but it doesn't notice you. Since you know it will take 30-40 rounds to drop it, you decide to sneak by while it's occupied. Right as you pass by, it hears you and turns to face you, growling and barking. Rather than fire your weapons, you just keep inching in the same direction toward the door. It doesn't lunge at you, but it's staring you down, waiting for something to happen. As you approach the door, it slowly turns back to continue eating, and you continue with your mission.

Players that freaked out and fired at it lost 40 rounds and probably a bit of health.

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If it adds interesting complexity, sure. Don't just do it because "things don't always attack in real life". That's true, but games aren't real life. In a lot of games, I see it as only giving you the interesting bits. In shooters, the point is shooting. If they're not shooting at you, then why are they in the game? I place it along with furniture that, in reality, you could move, but, in the game, you can't. Unless it's interesting to be able to move it, I see no reason to allow you to move it. Unless it's interesting for them not to attack, then just have them attack.

Let me use it to my advantage. If some critters don't attack because they already have their meal, then allow me to placate hostile critters with a main course that isn't me. If they're between me and something I want, then make that an interesting choice between having to fight them and not getting what's on the other side. If my sworn enemy won't publicly attack me, then that makes public places a sort of safe zone (but maybe I should watch out for dark alleys).

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Original post by Way Walker
I place it along with furniture that, in reality, you could move, but, in the game, you can't. Unless it's interesting to be able to move it, I see no reason to allow you to move it. Unless it's interesting for them not to attack, then just have them attack.

Honestly, that seems like a weak argument. The furniture's very existence is often pointless and irrelevant to gameplay. It can be there to add depth and realism, and nothing more.

If you feel that creatures behaving this way would add no depth to gameplay, then that's a valid point. Otherwise, you're saying remove what you don't need. It's a video game. The entire experience is optional.

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Original post by Kest
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Original post by Way Walker
I place it along with furniture that, in reality, you could move, but, in the game, you can't. Unless it's interesting to be able to move it, I see no reason to allow you to move it. Unless it's interesting for them not to attack, then just have them attack.

Honestly, that seems like a weak argument. The furniture's very existence is often pointless and irrelevant to gameplay. It can be there to add depth and realism, and nothing more.


Yes, and if it's irrelevant to the game, it shouldn't be in the game. That's my point. If the furniture is relevant (e.g. it's a prop used during a conversation or something), but redecorating the apartment isn't, then I see no reason to be able to move it around (especially since that's not something you'd normally do with furniture, especially when not in your own house).

Quote:

If you feel that creatures behaving this way would add no depth to gameplay, then that's a valid point. Otherwise, you're saying remove what you don't need. It's a video game. The entire experience is optional.


Right, and unlike a lot of people, I don't feel the need to play games that bother me. Like you say, it's not required that I play games, especially the ones I dislike.

Anyway, I think you missed the point. I wasn't saying that it wouldn't add depth to the game; I was saying that if it doesn't add depth to the game, then don't add it to the game. Whether or not it adds to the game depends on the game design.

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In just about every MMO, if one lousy mob had the intelligence to run for help and fetch backup, the enemy could easily win.

The main strategy is to aggro as few mobs as possible at a time, so you don't kill yourself. Rinse and repeat. That's why there needs to be complexity, not to add realism, but to make it more fun! How fun is grinding one mob at a time for hours just so you can get to a boss?

A really robust system would make enemies use smarter strategies, and thus would need you to use smarter strategies. Of course, the more complex the enemy AI and tactics, the more you have to rethink player combat gameplay. So, that's why we still have the "Aggro Range = 10 yards" as the only trait of mobs.

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Original post by Kest
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Original post by MSW
So you are in some hack-n-slash, and you stumble upon a critter. While its true the critter may or may not attack you in real life...for it to do the same in a game doesn't speak of AI complexity...rather players will see it as a bug.

Not if it behaves differently. If it just sits there like you don't exist, then maybe. Real creatures don't behave that way.

Here's a scenario. You walk into a room where a giant hellhound is feeding on a dead corpse, but it doesn't notice you. Since you know it will take 30-40 rounds to drop it, you decide to sneak by while it's occupied. Right as you pass by, it hears you and turns to face you, growling and barking. Rather than fire your weapons, you just keep inching in the same direction toward the door. It doesn't lunge at you, but it's staring you down, waiting for something to happen. As you approach the door, it slowly turns back to continue eating, and you continue with your mission.

Players that freaked out and fired at it lost 40 rounds and probably a bit of health.


If players have the option of tossing corpses to hellhounds inorder to distract them then you have added depth. If hellhounds can only "see" you when you stand perfectly still, then you have added depth. If the player can perform the same actions each time in getting past the hellhound with the same resault...then you have added depth. That is good game design.

On the other hand if your scenario can repeatedly run with the same player inputs; and get different resaults. Then players will see it as a bug, or worse; bad game design.





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Original post by MSW
If players have the option of tossing corpses to hellhounds inorder to distract them then you have added depth. If hellhounds can only "see" you when you stand perfectly still, then you have added depth. If the player can perform the same actions each time in getting past the hellhound with the same resault...then you have added depth. That is good game design.

On the other hand if your scenario can repeatedly run with the same player inputs; and get different resaults. Then players will see it as a bug, or worse; bad game design.


Unless, of course, the player can see that the initial conditions are different. If the hellhounds only attack when they aren't feeding and the player can see whether or not they're feeding, then you can get different results and it not appear as a bug because it's not precisely the same scenario.

Games don't have to always start with the exact same initial conditions, and varying player inputs earlier in the game can vary situations later (e.g. if they killed less, maybe there wouldn't be enough corpses for all the hellhounds to feed on, so they'd get chased by more hellhounds).

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