bwight

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About bwight

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  1. Improving AI of MMORPG Raids

    [quote name='RevenantBob' timestamp='1351009742' post='4993134'] There's a fine balance between challenge and just being downright mean. There needs to be a feeling of reward for a player who does things right and can utterly dominate a situation because of it. Certainly they will learn the magic method of defeating a boss to where it becomes trivial, but I think that's part of the Static content problem and not a problem with the AI itself. [/quote] I'm not talking about being mean, I'm talking about making the AI more intelligent. Why do the players need to dominate a situation? For me once a boss is trivial to kill it becomes boring shortly after. What I'm attempting to find out is if there's a way to make it possible for the strategies to be more dynamic. Think about battlegrounds when you're fighting against other players, there are multiple strategies that can win. Players try out different strategies and when they find one that works they continue with that. If at some point the opposing team effectively counters their strategy they begin searching for a new one again. AI in raid encounters use 1 strategy once players find out how to counter it they post it online in a video everyone reads it and spends a few weeks practicing and then the boss is on farm status. There doesn't have to be a "Magic Method" of defeating a boss you've just been brainwashed into thinking that's how it should be. [quote name='RevenantBob' timestamp='1351009742' post='4993134'] Personally my problem with Dungeon Crawls in MMOs is the "Trickle" problem. You walk into a base and see monsters around you standing and having a conversation, you really don't feel like you just infiltrated an enemy stronghold where everyone would be on alert. I think there needs to be more dynamics on that front to bring immersion. [/quote] I agree with this. I think its funny how if you're 51 meters away from the NPC he does nothing and suddenly at 50 meters you become a threat... Shouldn't it be obvious that if you're accompanied by 20 other players that you're obviously going to attack? Maybe if you're alone the NPC isn't threatened as much.
  2. Improving AI of MMORPG Raids

    [quote name='FLeBlanc' timestamp='1349801748' post='4988408'] Most of the current ways things are done in MMOs are to overcome obstacles involving latency. Your ideas on positioning (intercepting attackers, physically blocking attacks, etc...) are of course good ideas, but they tend to fall apart in a simulation where oft-times large latency is present, which is pretty much every MMO. Everyone who has played with huge ping times is familiar with rubber-banding and other occurrences, and these issues are only aggravated by the requirement of precise positioning. A raid wiping because they failed the script is one thing, but a raid wiping due to latency issues on the tank's part is a whole different ball of wax, one that annoys the piss out of the players when it happens. With tight timing and positional requirements plus latency, this type of wiping would likely become the rule rather than the occasional occurrence. [/quote] You make a good point, running to a positioning to block wouldn't really be feasible because of latency. However, you could have spells that put a static object on the ground that players can stand behind. There wouldn't be any problems with latency there, or instead of running in the traditional sense couldn't you cast a spell where you want to jump? As long as the location is pre-determined doesn't that fix the latency issues? If the reaction time is less than the latency the player should successfully block the spell.
  3. Improving AI of MMORPG Raids

    [quote name='IADaveMark' timestamp='1349709768' post='4988015'] Ugh... I gave an entire lecture on this at GDC Austin in 2009. Wish I had the time to go into it but I'm currently catching my flight from a full 4 days of Indiecade straight to a full week of GDC Online (ex-Austin). Suffice to say there are plenty of places where MMO AI can be changed -- and some companies are in the process of doing so (not necessarily released yet). However, there is a sort of mystique about some things. One of the major comments about my proposals in 2009 was "but that will break Tank-Healer-DPS!" To which I replied, "so?" [/quote] I just went through the slides and I'd like to go through them a little more when i'm not at work. Your points about the currently problem accurately reflect the current market for MMOs. I'd be very excited to see some of this implemented in a new MMO I'm tired of just figuring out a script. Don't get me wrong its still fun, but it gets boring playing the same script after the first few times you do it. Encounters should remain a challenge even after the first time you figure out the script. I think its perfectly reasonable to remove the Tank-Healer-DPS but personally i'm a pretty big fan of it. I think the healers and dps can remain unaffected. What ruins the whole AI is that the tanks have Taunts and other abilities that artificially add agro for nothing. Please, someone tell me why the boss should be attacking the tank, its not logically at all. The tanks should be trying to protect healers and create barriers and slow down bosses so people can run away. Their job is to protect healers and DPS but not necessarily by taking damage even though that could come into play a little. An intercept ability is a good example, the boss attacks healer 1 and the tank realizes they're gunning for him so they attempt to intercept the damage by placing themselves between the boss and healers. Like the above examples, spells in the current state of the game are based on targets, but why should a spell go through 2 people and hit someone behind? Can't a tank use his shield to reflect or absorb the damage if he is correctly positioned in front of the DPS or healer that the boss has targeted? Something I think you focused on a lot Dave was formation and the bosses working as a team. This is a good idea as well, part of the problem with current raids is that we have 10-25 people vs 1. The boss if all alone needs to be extremely powerful to even stand a fighting chance. In essence this is what causes the tank roll, nobody can take these huge hits but the tank. Without the huge hits the boss would never be able to kill anyone. Lets say that we had a fight 10 players vs 10 npc where the NPCs were working together just like the players. WoW tried this in WotLK I thought it worked out pretty well thought it could have been improved since the NPCs were not working together and the taunts still worked (at least temporarily). Anyways I think that these responses answer my original question, its not a matter of computers not being able to perform this kind of AI real time in a game, its a matter of a game design that doesn't allow for this kind of AI in its current state.
  4. I'm kind of new on this forum so maybe this is something that has been discussed before. I'm no expert in AI or even novice for that matter, however I've been working as a programmer for 5+ years in systems non related to gaming. Gaming has always been an interest of mine and I'd like to start a discussion about AI and MMO raids. I'm not sure how these raid encounters are programmed in current MMOs however I assume that most encounters are just scripted events with minimal AI. I'd like to know the difficulties of implementing a better AI system for boss encounters. Based on my experience playing games I've noticed that with time almost every encounter once defeated becomes increasingly easier each attempt. This is expected as the players are going to be better each attempt and with practice they will have the script timing and execution down to a science. I'd like to discuss the difficulties of creating a better AI system for raid encounters. My goal isn't to make the encounters more difficult but less predictable without just making the entire encounter based on a random dice roll. Some simple ideas are: 1. Boss stops using abilities that are not effective. For example, if 80% of the players have a large resistance to ice abilities then change to a different ability. This may take a few tries to come to the conclusion that the ability is not being affective but once that decision is made the strategy should be changed. 2. When players run to a specific location to block line of sight why doesn't the boss position himself in the optimal location in the room to affect as many players as possible. Positioning is a big factor in current MMO raids. Why is it that the boss is so willing to move around if it puts him at a disadvantage. Having him fight at different locations in the room could easily increase the sense of a better AI. 3. If a player is low on health why not switch targets to kill the player who is low? Maybe this is too powerful or maybe it could only be used for players that are inside his vision. 4. Maybe even learning from previous battles how he was defeated and changing some of the encounter to counter the strategies of players. I'm not sure that all these AI changes need to take place in real time but the idea is that no two encounters are the same. Is this possible or will players eventually figure out every combination and it just becomes a more complicated encounter script with more possibilities?
  5. [quote name='Ashaman73' timestamp='1349085188' post='4985696'] Just want to add my 2 cents about the difference between accessibility and difficulty. The core of a game is the decision making. A game consists of a lot of decisions, making a game simpler often means to reduce the number of decisions you need to make in the same [i]time frame[/i]. So, when talking about accessibility you want to ease the handling and transparency of decision making, while to make your game easier you need to take decisions away. But be careful to not missunderstand the meaning of decision and variance. Choosing between an ice-spell and a fire-spell is only a [i]true [/i]decision, when they have really different effects, i.e. ice will freeze an opponent and fire will apply a dot, but if they do only slightly different damage, then this is not really a game relevant decision. The problem is, that making a game more accessible broaden the player base, while changing the difficulty shifts the player base. Really difficult games often have a much lower player base than really easy games (casual). WoW, like many other games, try to make a lot of money, this motivation is often the fountation stone to optimize accessibility and difficulty. Easy games in the meaning of lesser decisions, attract often the larger player bases, therefore WoW is shifting the difficulty to attract more player. [/quote] You hit the money on this one. I disagree with people who say something like a hunter/ranger standing outside melee range isn't a skill. Trust me I've seen people play who cannot stay far enough away form their target to do damage. What if their pet dies? Now they need to snare the target and strafe + run away while attacking. WoW could have easily made it where spells do more damage the further away you are. Part of the problem WoW has with balancing is that balanced in PvP does not mean balanced in PvE they do the best job they can but its not easy. Secondly I also disagree with backing the bet off when something is crowd controlled. Crowd control in WoW is a joke, nobody uses CC its used more in PvP than PvE. It takes a very good group to communicate which mobs will be CC'ed and which one will be killed first. It takes awareness to not used AoE attacks close to the CC'ed mobs. If CC'ed was required in wow for dungeons and raids a lot of people wouldn't be able to do it. Most people just go in an AoE kill everything in instances. The game turns into who can do more damage ( IE who has better gear ) and not who plays better. All the changes WoW has made are business decisions to make more money. The game is easy and made easier by the day because more people will play it. The amount of hardcore gamers who enjoy a more difficult game is very small in comparison to the general public. I was never happy with the Hardcore vs Non-Hardcore raids, completing a hardcore raid doesn't give me any more sense of achievement. Having the hardcore + non-hardcore + 10 man + 25 man raids is simply wow going cheap on content, 4 raids same bosses same environment is boring. This isn't necessarily a rant on all the things I don't like about WoW. I enjoyed playing WoW for a long time and I would still be playing WoW today if I had the time to do raiding but I don't have the time right now. I guess my point is that I think there is a niche market for a harder MMO than WoW. You'll never get to the size of WoW by making a hard game. If your focus is getting subscriptions then hard games don't work. If you just want to make a niche game you could probably succeed with a harder game.
  6. What programmers want from a designer

    [quote name='Legendre' timestamp='1348676926' post='4984009'] 3. It is much easier for artists to come and go, but not programmers. [/quote] While I don't agree with any one point completely, I think this is closer to reality than the other points. I'm a programmer and I know that it can be difficult to jump into code that you didn't write and start fixing bugs or adding new features right away. More so with code that is not well structured. There are times, depending on who developed the code that modifications are actually quite easy and take very little work. As far as the art is concerned I think that yes you can add and remove artists easier, but I think that each artist has their own style. The game will seem more polished if you can keep the same group of artists on board for the whole game.
  7. What programmers want from a designer

    If you want a programmer to work on a game for you its most important that you sell the project as being something he would be interested in. Most programmers do little projects themselves in their free time so working on a project for free doesn't seem like a horrible idea to us. If the project you want us to work on is to create a tick tac toe game then we probably wont be interested. There are programmers who like different genre and you need to find one who is passionate about the genre of game you want to create. Programmers work in their free time because they like to improve their skills and learn new technologies. It's unlikely that you'll get one to work for free if he already knows everything so be patient and understand that there will be some trial an error with the programmers if you don't pay them. Aside from that you need to give a programmer a reason to work on your project and not his own. What do you bring to the table? If you're not an artist or can't make music or any of those other skills that have been mentioned in this post then you MUST be able to gather people to do all of those jobs. A programmer will be much more willing to work for you if you have a team assembled that can do music, art, animation etc... There are some programmers that also enjoy doing the art, i'm not one of them, if you can provide all the artistic side of the game and give me a genre that I enjoy I'd probably work on the project.
  8. [quote name='MichaelRPennington' timestamp='1347758955' post='4980524'] I'm currently fiddling around with a few other ideas that will allow new and old players to experience the world they influenced.... Brainstorming... [/quote] WoW did this with Wrath of the Lich King came out. What they choose to do is actually have a separate phase of the world for different people. Completing a set of quests brought you to a new phase of the zone. There were sometimes new buildings all the NPCs were in different places etc etc. The only drawback is that only people who are in the same phased stage as you are visible. This was pretty confusing when they first released it as sometimes you'd be grouped with a party member who was on a different set of quests as you and you couldn't see them. However, in the end I think it worked out pretty well.
  9. I think i'll answer your question with another question. Why does everyone feel the need for so many quests anyways? We all agree that quests are boring and repetitive so why are we trying to fix the boring repetitive parts of the game and try to make them interesting? Why can't we just get rid of 80% of all quests? The ones that are left are purely optional to the player with huge rewards. I think its a great idea to make the quests puzzles and with more lore but if the quest doesn't have something rewarding at the end then nobody will be motivated to do it. In the early days of EQ quests were very special the rewards were unique items that either looked really cool or had special non-combat uses. Some examples were a pair of boots that make you run slightly quicker, a shield that made you invisible, items that allowed you to return to you're bind location. At higher levels classes got excellent items for very difficult quests that could take weeks and weeks to complete. By turning quests into a leveling mechanic instead of an optional game play feature you force the player to play the game through the eyes of a developer. Now you don't even have to explore the world, I find myself looking at the map half the time playing to make sure my character is running to the right place where the items are marked on the map. To make quests more interesting... get rid of all the filler quests that are just there for experience. Work hard on just a few quests and people will love them.
  10. [quote name='Legendre' timestamp='1347715218' post='4980359'] This, too is a common idea. Like others have pointed out: what about new players joining the game? They missed all the old events that have taken place over the last few years. Instead of selling a game with 5 expansion packs of content, your game only has 1 expansion pack worth of content...you're throwing away old content. Furthermore, it runs into commercial problems: what do stores do with the 4 older packs? They can't sell it because the content is gone. [/quote] This is a good point. Like I said in my previous post. You can't do this very much. I think you can get away with a few legendary bosses that are alive but essentially unkillable, and when i mean a few I mean maybe one every 5 expansions or so. It cannot however be the focal point of the game there must be plenty of other content. Maybe a good alternative is to make the bosses only respawn once every few days or even up to a month would probably be acceptable for a game with enough content. What you don't want to do is have a bunch of max level characters running around with nothing to kill... You have to keep them busy because once they get bored they're going to jump to another game.
  11. [quote name='PyroDragn' timestamp='1347632341' post='4980064'] Anyone who's thought about making an MMO at any point, has dreamed about the Mythical "Real World" where what you do matters. But even something relatively simple - Large Bosses that do not respawn - is not realistic. Supposing you have these three primevals. Dozens of players work together over months, manage to kill one of them, it's a great accomplishment. What happens to the players that missed out on the kill? People that were offline? What about players just joining the game now? Someone joins the game a few weeks later, the second boss is already dead, everyone is working towards killing the third boss. They still have to level up to a position where they can help, by which point the last boss could be dead. When the last boss is dead, then what? Are you going to release an update with a new boss, and a new calamity? If you are, and will continue to do so whenever the next boss dies, then maybe you could get this to work. Essentially, just by limiting the bosses you're limiting the endgame of your MMO, and that is always a bad thing. [/quote] While this is true on a large scale I think that you could have a few unkillable bosses. Everquest had a boss that was intended to be unkillable, with enough time and progression of gear after years of expansions they finally managed to kill the boss. Stuff like this is legendary, people in the everquest communities talked about it for months and months. The three largest raiding guilds on Rallos Zek, including the one i was a member of, managed to kill the boss after hours of dying with over 250 players. He didn't even drop any items because he was intended to be unkillable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EverQuest#Kerafyrm_-_The_Sleeper [quote]Kerafyrm, "The Sleeper", is a dragon boss in the original The Sleeper's Tomb zone. While sleeping, Kerafyrm is guarded by four ancient dragons (warders) in "The Sleeper's Tomb". When all four dragons are defeated by players and are dead at the same time, The Sleeper awakes, triggering a rampage of death. Kerafyrm travels through and into multiple zones from The Sleeper's Tomb to Skyshrine, killing every player and NPC in his path. This event is unique in EverQuest, as it only occurs once on each game server. Once The Sleeper awakes, neither he nor the original guardians will ever appear again on that server, unless the event is reset. As of 05 April 2012, Kerafyrm remains asleep on both the Al'Kabor (Macintosh) server and the official Test Server. Originally intended to be unkillable, SOE prevented a raid of several guilds on Rallos Zek server from potentially killing him, claiming the existence of a bug. SOE later apologized for interfering,[29] reset, and allowed the players to retry the encounter. Two days later, the same three guilds made a second attempt and after almost 4 hours, successfully killed the sleeper.[30][31] [32] "Kerafyrm The Awakened" appears in the expansion Secrets of Faydwer as part of a raid event "Crystallos, Lair of the Awakened" in the instanced zone of "Crystallos".[/quote]
  12. FFA PVP 'Ironman' MMORPG

    I'll be honest, it doesn't sound like a game I would play. There's way too much penalty on dying. I understand where you're going with this but I think what you're suggesting is a little too far. Lets say that I somehow manage to stay alive for a month without dying and have lots of really cool gear, then some clan ganks me and i'm back to the start. Nobody will like that, they will just quit playing. What if I can't even play for 2 days without dying? I will never have any cool gear or even get to see anything other than the starting area. Lets face it, if the game is based on PvP people will die... and will die frequently. Even really good pvpers in other games die frequently, easily 10+ times a day. If you put them on a new server each time you're going to run out of servers real quick. I don't think you want to reset everything, but you could maybe take some ideas from early Everquest. When killed in pvp the winner gets all of the gold on the corpse and gets to choose 1 item that is currently equipped and not in a bag of some sort. This adds a few more dynamics to the game and if its gear based progression it seems to fit right in. You don't reset their character but by removing an item you are essentially setting them back a level. Once a player dies they have a few options. If they were fighting with a group, someone in the group can try to drag their corpse to a safe location before being looted by the enemy and protect the corpse until the dead player is able to recover it. If you're passing through a dangerous location you can put your items safely in a bag in case someone is waiting to gank you. Maybe you could add a twist that if you kill the player that stole your item in the next hour you can take the item or all items he stole back no matter where they are on his body even if they're in his bags. Death wouldn't be fun, but it wont end your game. Dying multiple times could easily reset you to level 1.
  13. [quote name='NaturalNines' timestamp='1347462897' post='4979329'] [quote name='PyroDragn' timestamp='1347411198' post='4979126'] it wouldn't be very long before someone came up with a dominant strategy [/quote] I think you and bwight might be mistaking what is being referred to by dominant strategy. This link might clear that up. [url="http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/cogsci.htm"]http://levine.sscnet...eral/cogsci.htm[/url] [/quote] You're right, my definition of dominant strategy does not match with what is described in the article you posted. So i'll agree with you that Chess does not have a dominant strategy. A dominant strategy by definition in the article you posted is a strategy that works regardless of what the opposing player chooses to do. I think though that most MMOs do not have a dominant strategy, at least by that definition, maybe some RTS games do. [quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1347467458' post='4979353'] [quote name='bwight' timestamp='1347393754' post='4979032'] Chess only lacks dominant strategies when both opponents are equally skilled at playing. If a professional is playing a novice the professional has a few dominant strategies up his sleeve that give him the upper hand. [/quote] I'm not so sure. A lot of high-ranked chess players have to rake a few games before seeing any actual tendencies. A best of 7 could really end 4,3, which isn't that representative of difference in skill and/or use of a dominant strategy. The strategy would therefore be called a viable option, not a dominant one. [/quote] I was talking about a professional playing against a novice player. If a pro was playing a novice i'd be surprised if the novice even won a single game. However, still there is no dominant strategy because the pro will always change his strategy based on what the other player is doing, this goes against what we just learned is dominant strategy.
  14. Chess only lacks dominant strategies when both opponents are equally skilled at playing. If a professional is playing a novice the professional has a few dominant strategies up his sleeve that give him the upper hand. In MMOs you can look at it the same way. The NPCs are not as skilled as the players and have no knowledge of how to counter the dominant strategies and level the playing field again. For this reason its generally more difficult to find dominant strategies in PvP situations. Of course there will always be dominant players and gear but its not the strategy as much as it is the player. If the AI for the game could be improved to learn some basic counters to common strategy then the game would seem less predictable. Lets take a few examples If you're in a PvP arena and you're facing a healer + tank + dps what are some strategies? 1. Try to reduce the damage output of the dps player and stay alive until the healer runs out of mana 2. Try to burst kill the healer and then take out the other players 3. Try to spread damage out across everyone and see if the healer can keep everyone alive 4. Try to burst the dps player and use interrupts on the healer at strategic times to make healing difficult There are many more strategies that can be inserted here but my point is that the dominant strategy will often vary depending on your group makeup and how the opposing players are effectively countering your strategy. Players will generally try one strategy and make a decision if it will work or not. The NPC players have one strategy for all fights they attack the person who is doing the most damage or healing until a tank taunts them. I know that in a PvP environment unless the tank was being disruptive to my offensive or healing abilities I could care less about him, so why should a NPC treat a tank any different. You have to remember that the computer could be easily be programmed to be way to dominant. Players employ many different strategies for protecting healers in battlegrounds. Healers are almost always played behind the front line of attack; if they get too close they become an easy target. If they're being attacked by a ranged player they generally try to position themselves in a location that puts the other player vulnerable to their team and hope to stay alive long enough for their team to kill the opposing player. Other strategies include hiding healers in a group of people or on a cliff where maybe you weren’t looking. Line of sight is also a common tactic in combination with quick heals. I could go on but my question is, "Why can't the same tactics apply to the raids?". Its not about luck, its about adapting and countering attacks or defenses.
  15. [quote name='aattss' timestamp='1347109714' post='4977967'] Personally, I would enjoy a MMO which practically requires mutualism, but is also a persistent world where structures are player-made. If you lived in a community, not only would you be hanging out with nearby people, which means that you aren't hooking up with random strangers, but you can also help them out. Moreso, it would be good if low-level people can also contribute to other people. There are things that high level people can do that low level people can't, but there are things that both high and low level people need to do. [/quote] Yeah i think this was kind of my point a little. I believe that a successful MMO needs a strong community. I believe that a strong community requires that people help each other and that not everyone can do everything themselves. I don't like the multiple talent trees so that healers and tanks can be DPS to level etc. Now a healer doesn't need a group a tank doesn't even have to tank anything until the max level. Making classes have special utilities that other classes don't have is vital to creating a community as well because it forces people to work together. You make an interesting point that maybe lower level characters should also be able to help with something. I'm not quite sure how that would work but I think it fits, I mean in the real world you might not a 5 yr old helping someone with something but once people get to 20-30 they can start helping people who are much older. Not sure how the mechanics of it would work but the idea is pretty solid.