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AI? (Friendly and Malicious)

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Applejaxc

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Hi. :)

Surviving through the night can get lonely, especially for people who either A don't have a strong internet connection or B hate sharing their gamespace with other people. I'm occasionally a member of the first category, and strongly a member of the second when it comes to survival games. Even a curmudgeon like myself can grow detached from a world solely inhabited by the walking dead, however. It is because of this I'd like to suggest that the world contain a low density of permadeath survivors, some of whom are decidedly unfriendly and some that lack a player's kill on sight impulses.

These fellow survivors (as I envision them, though I have zero familiarity with Unity and cannot pretend to understand what is and is not capable with it) would hopefully work similarly to the STALKER game series, arguably one of the best post-apocalypse series ever.
What exactly about the AI in STALKER I'd like to see mimic'd is two fold: First, AI should be "Unloaded" when the player is out-of-distance (unless the creators of this game intend all zombies, animals, and everything else to be permanently in the gamespace. If so, more power to them), but they would still be "Running." IE, if they are assigned a schedule like "Goes to this house at 3PM, then walks to that house," if the player is out of range at 3PM and comes into range at 3:05, the AI character should be halfway between the two buildings going about its business as if it had been there the entire time the player had been playing.
Second, I've always liked how when you were spotted in STALKER by non-violent AI, they would yell something to the effect of "Put your weapon away, or I will shoot you." If you complied, they would gladly trade with you or share information. If you didn't and got too close to them, they'd open fire. What was beautiful about them, though, was that if you had your firearm out and they came around a corner that put you face-to-face, it didn't automatically trigger the "He has a gun out and he's too close" reaction; you were still given time to show that you were friendly.

I mentioned above the AI being permadeathable; by this I mean there should be an option: If an AI dies, it's gone forever, or a new one spawns and takes its place. In the first (realistic) instance, there's 2 benefits: 1, it's important to go find other survivors and kill as many zombies as you can, otherwise potential allies are dead. 2, "Friendly" AI that become actual friends and potentially join you on your adventures are actually important. If you ask any not-hardcore Fallout: New Vegas player who their favorite follower is, the answer will probably be "Whoever carries the most." In HARDCORE however, where your followers can actually die (forever) and you either have to truck on or reload your save from 4 hours ago, there's an actual personal and emotional investment in not trying to let your followers eat bullets while you use them for cover. As an AI (or several) following you around can be a potentially infinite source of protection (they kill zombies for you, watch your gear while you're asleep/away from home/whatever, warn you of danger, and help you in gunfights) it becomes extremely important to keep them fed, clothed, healthy, and supplied, instead of (as all RPG players do) simply befriending them because you want to take their cool, shiny gun away and leave them for dead.
In option two, if survivors have the possibility to survive, it means that the looming threat of roving, player-shooting AI is a constant problem that will never be dealt with, like zombies but with guns.

In order to make the AI unique, there should be several different archetypes with different configurations for percentile chance to spawn, randomized gear, and randomized personality types. Each AI type should get an .xml (or other appropriate file) that stores this information, so they can easily be changed to allow for "Spawns 100% of the time, starts at 100% friendly to player, has 20% condition and no gear," allowing the community to make a gamemode similar to bringing medicine to your daughter in Dead Rising: "Who can keep their friend alive the longest?" There are other, obvious benefits to making the AI information easily modifiable, most notably for the developers, but it also would allow eventual mod making (if that is supported?) simple; the maker need only to provide a 3D model to easily all kinds of things to the game. Potentially, zombie types (?) could be given a similar, easy-to-modify-behavior file structure. While I do hope the vanilla release of this game includes no "Special Infected," it would be interesting to see what the community could do years down the line.

I haven't played with an .xml for games in a while, so none of this is accurate, but it is what I had in mind:

Name: (string) //name of AI, will display when they talk or are interacted with
Gear: (string) //supplies AI starts with. Structure is "Name_of_item"(number_of_item)_chance_of_item for Model: (string) //name of model used for this character example "Shotgun"(1)_0.3 gives a 30% chance to spawn with 1 shotgun
Disposition: (value, 0.0-1.0) //Starting amiability towards player AND AI. 0.0 = always hostile 1.0 = always friendly
Trait(s?): (string) //List what traits this AI has (violent, hungry, keen)
Threshold: (value 0.0-1.0) //At what level of hunger does this AI leave its home to look for food. 0.0 = always on the move 1.0 = would rather starve than face zombies
Habitat: (number or range in meters): //defines (in radius) AI is willing to travel to look for food and supplies. Can be a fixed value (5KM) for a consistent range or (4-6KM) for it to be random


AI would (like players) try to inhabit buildings and fortify them just like players. They could be hesitant to leave their fortress (even when supplies are low), or they could be all-devouring hoarders who can never have enough gear. They could be more violent when near their base (wanting to defend it from intruders) or inviting. Unless severely outgunned/outnumbered, they will almost always turn violent if you open a container they own or take a vehicle from their property. Some will roam, with no base at all, some desperate for shelter and some looking to murder you to death. Why AI travel and when they travel is randomized, making every survivor unique and every play experience different. Using the above .xml example, I will revisit the idea of the game starting with a companion character who is sick and needs to be taken care of.

Name: "Elizabeth" //her name
Gear: ""() //no gear
Model: "C:/gamedirectory/appropriatefilestructure/models/survivors/Elizabeth.filetype //hypothetically
Disposition:1.0 //starts as "Friendly"
Trait(s?): "Friendly, Sick" //never loses disposition, loses .1 "Health" perday after proper calculation (you have to Theshold: 1.0 feed her at least 0.2 food values to keep her healthy
Threshold: 1.0 //doesn't leave home on her own, won't betray player for food
Habitat: playerpos_x-playerpos_y //follows player. The "Habitat" value is superseded by "Disposition 1.0"

What is important to keep in mind is 3 things:
1: AI survivors should be very LOW DENSITY and have an option to disable entirely
2: AI survivors CAN DIE, by zombies, being shot, or plain starving to death
3: AI survivors DO NOT need to spawn with guns. The don't need to spawn with anything. Just like the player, survival for AI should be difficult. If every Buck, Bill, and Sandy spawns with a HMG3000KX ULTRA KILLER 9000 SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!, it will be too easy for players to stock up by shooting every AI they see.
 
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Applejaxc

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Applejaxc

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You know what I meant.
 

Madsl

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I enjoyed reading your post (Mostly because its an unique post from all the other ones) And your idea is by far one of the best for AI I have seen on this forum and the devs should definently have a look and maybe get a plan to implement this? :D
 
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While I like a lot of the ideas you've presented here (especially since I'm a fan of STALKER), I still don't really think there should be human AI in a game like this. It should be all about player interaction, not questing and fighting for NPCs. Also, it'd be kinda immersion-breaking to split the world into smart, actual humans and dumb AI ones
 
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Applejaxc

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Non-playable characters are being taken into consideration for a later date.
I appreciate the reply. I'd still like to have this suggestion thread done; getting my rough ideas out now will allow me to be more helpful when answering surveys/etc in the future and hopefully other community members can give me ideas. AI survivors is one of the many things that can make or break a game (in my opinion, at least)
 

Kirk

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I'm against AI because I want to be able to communicate with all the players around me, also I feel like having AI would break immersion since they would be silent characters who could just start shooting at you for no reason.
 

wraithh

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In my opinion, I love the addition of AI to games, it gives me a feeling that the world is still alive and thriving around you, even if you're on your own.
 

Crazypineapple55

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I disagree with AI like players as well, in these games you see a person and you get that intense feeling like, "is he going to blast me to bits or is he going to give me a cookie?". With AI you don't have to worry once people figure out where the friendly ones are and where they go you will see the AI and instantly know he is not going to shoot you. When you do get one to follow you run into problems with not being able to command it like you would a person

ex: AI stands in a door way oblivious the fact you want to walk out that doorway or you are sneaking and one zombie sees you and you follower blasts it with a shotgun alerting a horde to you.

These are just some of my concerns when in comes to AI as well as losing imursian

(i do not know how to spell imursian :( )
 
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Applejaxc

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In response to the nay-sayers (not to say their input isn't wanted or is invalid; I do appreciate it) I'd fully for AI being a toggle-able option, as well as being as random as possible. As much as I like books like the Postman (seriously, read it if you ever have a chance), I don't want AI bandits to all dress the same (unless they're in a gang separate from other AI bandits) and I don't want AI survivors to dress all the same (unless, again, there's a good reason)
 

Crazypineapple55

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In response to the nay-sayers (not to say their input isn't wanted or is invalid; I do appreciate it) I'd fully for AI being a toggle-able option, as well as being as random as possible. As much as I like books like the Postman (seriously, read it if you ever have a chance), I don't want AI bandits to all dress the same (unless they're in a gang separate from other AI bandits) and I don't want AI survivors to dress all the same (unless, again, there's a good reason)
If they do add this I do hope they make it toggle-able, as they still have the problem with communicating with the AI to do what you want. I cant count the amount of times Dogmeat has sat in a doorway barking at me oblivious to the fact I want out of a small room. I guess if they added a way to command your AI around then sure, but that sounds like it would be a lot of work for a game that is suppose to be about players banding together to survive the zombie horde.
 
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Applejaxc

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If they do add this I do hope they make it toggle-able, as they still have the problem with communicating with the AI to do what you want. I cant count the amount of times Dogmeat has sat in a doorway barking at me oblivious to the fact I want out of a small room. I guess if they added a way to command your AI around then sure, but that sounds like it would be a lot of work for a game that is suppose to be about players banding together to survive the zombie horde.
I shot Dogmeat and took the Puppies! perk so he'd respawn. I haven't forgiven myself for it... but it was my only option.

But yes I understand your concern. If the non-violent AI are useless, they're pointless.
 

Toastmaster

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I shot Dogmeat and took the Puppies! perk so he'd respawn. I haven't forgiven myself for it... but it was my only option
I feel that, Dogmeat always ended up running off head first and got shot by robots and while I could have reloaded the game I was always more like "eh" but I couldn't live with the guilt so I ended it all with an overdose of med-x. Tragic really...
(Sorry to go off topic :) )
 

Cole Polen

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NOOOOO! NO AI, Also stop reposting things that have already been posted. No ai it will ruin this game massively.
 

Crazypineapple55

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NOOOOO! NO AI, Also stop reposting things that have already been posted. No ai it will ruin this game massively.
I find it better when I am trying to voice my opinion it helps to explain why. Would you care to share why you think AI would ruin the game?
 
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Applejaxc

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@Crazypineapple55 I second this. It helps to provide a reason why you disagree, not to simply disagree.

@Cole Polen Why not? I am in full support of disabling AI at the player's discretion, but to completely skip over it is stupid.
 
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