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Old February 14, 2018, 07:40   #11
Nick
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I took a copy of the 4GAI manifesto and put it here too, in case the archive fails.

An example of 4GAI gone a bit crazy is the O/NPP/FA implementation of player ghosts, whose thing was that the player knew everything about them, but they also knew everything about the player. Most people would just leave the level rather than fight one...

Takkaria and I had a bit of discussion about V's monster AI recently and broadly came up with
  • it's actually pretty decent already and
  • the best way to improve it might be to have different patterns of behaviour for different monster types, rather than just clever or stupid.
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Old February 14, 2018, 20:18   #12
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If 4GAI is the point where AI is getting too smart, then maybe that's not a bad place to learn AI from. Dumbing down AI is probably easier than making AI smarter, so I'll start from the top and work my way down. Any change I make probably makes the AI dumber by accident

It's quotes like these from the 4GAI manifesto that really motivate me to want to learn more about AI: "At times, you will wonder if you aren't really playing MAngband.".

Doull's blog is an interesting read. I agree that the AI should show intelligence and personality, not necessarily be intelligent. I'd like the AI to be able to surprise me in behaviour like procedural generation can surprise me in level design. To be able to surprise the developer, like the original Rogue did.
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Old February 14, 2018, 21:27   #13
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The smarter you make AI, the harder it gets to support a highly-asymmetrical game design. There's no way the player can be facing down against a Great Wyrm of Balance if that wyrm is intelligently using all the abilities available to it. And the player is expected to kill thousands of foes that are statwise considerably more powerful than they are. Basically, if you make Angband with really smart AI, then you are making a very different game from Vanilla. That's totally fine, just be aware that 4GAI is variant territory for a reason.
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Old February 15, 2018, 08:37   #14
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Is that why Sangband has skills instead of classes, to make the game design less asymmetrical over time to compensate for gameplay changes presented by 4GAI?

I mean, with classes you'll have lasting strengths and weaknesses in combat. With skills you can first play to your initial favorite strengths, then over time compensate for weaknesses even if it takes a couple of levels. This also helps players gain access to abilities in the end game that would otherwise have been restricted by class, while stronger enemies have fewer to no restrictions on abilities. So asymmetrical game design at the start, but symmetrical at the end.

Or have I understood this all wrong?
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Old February 15, 2018, 08:39   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
The smarter you make AI, the harder it gets to support a highly-asymmetrical game design. There's no way the player can be facing down against a Great Wyrm of Balance if that wyrm is intelligently using all the abilities available to it. And the player is expected to kill thousands of foes that are statwise considerably more powerful than they are. Basically, if you make Angband with really smart AI, then you are making a very different game from Vanilla. That's totally fine, just be aware that 4GAI is variant territory for a reason.
TomeNET. Good luck killing Sauron there with a mundane character, as he will automatically use his HEAL or TELE_XXX spells when under x% life. Basically uses the same AI as any player. Oh and you have to suffer through Mt Doom (all lava, no digging, no recall) to reach him too
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Old February 15, 2018, 16:13   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droof View Post
Is that why Sangband has skills instead of classes, to make the game design less asymmetrical over time to compensate for gameplay changes presented by 4GAI?

I mean, with classes you'll have lasting strengths and weaknesses in combat. With skills you can first play to your initial favorite strengths, then over time compensate for weaknesses even if it takes a couple of levels. This also helps players gain access to abilities in the end game that would otherwise have been restricted by class, while stronger enemies have fewer to no restrictions on abilities. So asymmetrical game design at the start, but symmetrical at the end.

Or have I understood this all wrong?
It's been a long time since I played SAngband, and I was never very good at it, but my impression was that it strongly encouraged you to focus in a relatively small set of skills. You get to choose which skills to focus on, and which ones get priority when leveling up, but as a rule you won't be making a major course-correction at any point in the game because of how skill costs work.

But really, mostly what I'm talking about is how monsters tend to have hugely powerful abilities that they only rarely use. Pick practically any monster in the game, and they will "waste" the majority of their turns on low-value actions like moving, casting weak spells, or melee (even monsters with powerful melee often have an even more powerful spell they could cast). Imagine if the Morgoth fight consisted of him standing off at a distance and repeatedly casting only either Mana Storm or Summon Greater Undead? He'd be practically unbeatable. Even simple foes like Poltergeists or Apprentices would be vastly more dangerous if they used their limited abilities to good effect, the way a player would.

Really what you should do if you want to look at a game that's thought long and hard about monster AI and its effects on the scope of the game, is go play Sil.
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Old February 15, 2018, 17:05   #17
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And iirc half had to intentionally nerf the Sil archer AI because when archers played too intelligently they were no fun to fight, constantly backing away without getting cornered whenever the player tried to close. They're still a bit annoying, but at least they can be tricked into a pin against a wall if you shepherd them properly.
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Old February 15, 2018, 19:12   #18
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Oh yeah. If AI consists only of optimal spell choice, It's pretty much a disaster. I tried playing with smart monsters *once* with V 3.0.x, as a dwarf paladin. Big damage and unlimited healing, and I could barely scratch Morgoth. A ranger with Bard *might* have a chance, but no one else. And that was only optimized for healing, not for MAX offensive damage. It's why Mana Burn in O/FA is so powerful.
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Old February 15, 2018, 20:24   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
Oh yeah. If AI consists only of optimal spell choice, It's pretty much a disaster. I tried playing with smart monsters *once* with V 3.0.x, as a dwarf paladin. Big damage and unlimited healing, and I could barely scratch Morgoth. A ranger with Bard *might* have a chance, but no one else. And that was only optimized for healing, not for MAX offensive damage. It's why Mana Burn in O/FA is so powerful.
That reminds me of my one reasonably successful NPP character, which was also a paladin. Pretty much every fight against a unique consisted of spamming heals while the unique spammed attack spells, until the unique ran low on mana and I was finally able to start dealing damage.
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Old February 16, 2018, 02:30   #20
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Is that why Sangband has skills instead of classes, to make the game design less asymmetrical over time to compensate for gameplay changes presented by 4GAI?
No. Sangband existed before the 4GAI.
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