Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies


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Barkeep

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 05:24

Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

So this was something I noticed in some isolated instances, but which has really stood out with Gozag's Bribe Branch ability:

Some enemies make terrible allies, and not because they are weak and get killed easily, but because they keep AI scripts and/or retain abilities that make them incredibly annoying—and sometimes dangerous—to have as friends. The problem is compounded by the fact that killing or avoiding an enemy who is your ally is incredibly trivial but also tedious. It is simple enough to avoid using enslavement on certain enemies (that's not so bad), but with Gozag's ability, all humanoids that are susceptible to bribing and make for annoying allies really need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, because you don't have control over what (exactly) gets bribed. Probably just having the AI script change when allied will work in basically all cases and is the simplest approach.

I'm making this thread to compile people's experiences with bad interactions, since I'm sure I'm missing some, and I think it would be convenient and perhaps useful to developers if there is one thread in which all such experiences are compiled.

Anyway, I'll get things rolling with some examples that come to mind right off the bat:


Bad AI Interactions

+ Sirens: This was brought up in a thread about Gozag, but should be brought up here, too. Sirens have weird AI that is not over-written when enslaved. They will still keep their distance from you, which makes it hard to bring them up/down stairs, and also makes it hard to get them into a good position. Note that keeping their usual AI when allied is also bad/weird flavor.

+ Orb Spiders: Same as Sirens. They aren't susceptible to bribing, obviously, but I feel they deserve mention because enslaving one turns it from "annoying but also potentially dangerous" to "incredibly annoying and not at all dangerous," which is obviously worse. They aren't that hard to enslave either, and it is often not a bad response to them if you have a few wands of enslavement and a decent amount of evocations on a dude without a decent way to do damage at range. Allowing this very effective but also very annoying tactic is bad. Their "keep away" AI should be overwritten when allied. Again, minor but still nettling complaint about flavor also applies: If they are your servant, why do they continue moving as if they were your enemy?


Bad Ability Interactions

+ Several Draconians, and Tengu Reavers: I get that having allies potentially shoot at you if you don't position yourself well and they miss the enemy they were aiming at is supposed to make having allies more interesting, and that arguably works when you are only enslaving a few things, selectively, at a time. With bribe ability you don't have that control. Stuff that attacks with ranged combat and bolts can be bad enough, but friendly fire from cloud-generating attacks is much, much worse. Unlike with bolts/ranged combat, your positioning really doesn't matter; this means that if you get green draconian allies or tengu reavers with freezing cloud, you probably want to drag them somewhere and isolate and kill them unless you got the appropriate resistances. I'd suggest changing AI so that allies avoid using cloud attacks that will hit you. Black and green draconians probably should not use their breath when allied, and the AI from death drakes and the like summoned by draconian callers should be changed.

+ Draconian Shifters: These guys deserve their own entry. Having an ally who random blinks everything is extremely frustrating. When I got some of these dudes as allies from bribing Zot, I dragged them upstairs and culled them one by one. Which presented no threat, but was exceedingly obnoxious.

+ Satyrs: Haven't observed first hand, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine that having an ally that casts fear at stuff you are trying to kill will be really bad.

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Bim

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 10:18

Re: Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

This is a big problem with bribe branch in general, and I have to say I'm really not keen on the mechanic at all. Too many monsters make terrible allies (all the ones youve mentioned, as well as various other randomly annoying ones) and I've often found myself just leaving things where they are or dragging them away to kill them more often than not.

Overwriting AI to stop the 'keep away' or breath/cloud actions would help, but I imagine it'd be a lot of work to special case them.

Can we just have a better mechanic than bribe branch? Hiring a group of mercenaries would be great or putting a bounty on a creature would be better alternatives.
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 13:07

Re: Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

I like the idea of putting a bounty on a creature. In return for paying a lot of gold, you choose one monster and all the other monsters drop whatever they're doing and kill that one guy.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 14:28

Re: Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

and into wrote:+ Orb Spiders: ..... Their "keep away" AI should be overwritten when allied.
Have you tried this recently? This commit from around six months ago claims to fix it, and when I tired it in Wiz mode it appeared to actually fix it. (I haven't tried Sirens)
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Barkeep

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 15:06

Re: Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

I'm playing 0.15-a0-813-g5152fba (latest version I could find to download for a Mac) and orb spiders keep their usual movement AI even when enslaved (just confirmed in Wizmode).

A Siren didn't seem to exhibit the problematic behavior but it was kind of hard to check since they are extremely resistant to hostile enchantments. I would Wizmode and dive to Shoals and Bribe Branch, but that will take a while longer and I don't have the most up to date version of Crawl anyway due to my Crawl machine being a Mac, so I'm probably not the best person to test it.

Bim

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 15:39

Re: Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

I've just tried it out in Wizmode. They do seem to stay pretty close to you, but their AI/ability is a death sentence regardless.

(As an aside bribe branch didn't seem to do anything noticeable, so I ended up having to enslave a few instead.)
2012 Winner of fewest proposed ideas implemented by devs.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 16:04

Re: Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

A charmed centaur carrying a loaded Wand of Draining will shoot it through you to hit enemies beyond you.(Mantis Bug #3447)
Last edited by XuaXua on Friday, 27th June 2014, 18:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 16:08

Re: Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

and into wrote:I'm playing 0.15-a0-813-g5152fba (latest version I could find to download for a Mac) and orb spiders keep their usual movement AI even when enslaved (just confirmed in Wizmode).
I originally tested perma-ally orb spiders (by x'ing over them in wiz-mode and pressing F to cycle through the attitudes) and perma-allies do lose the range AI. However, enslaved orb spiders don't lose the AI.

I'll fix this by tomorrow or so.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 16:43

Re: Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

Should be fixed in 0.15-a0-1763-g7df3b23.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th June 2014, 17:02

Re: Enemy AI/abilities that cause bad interactions as allies

wheals wrote:Should be fixed in 0.15-a0-1763-g7df3b23.

Kill stealer. :D

Edit: Just fixed Sirens too. (879dee4)
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