Monster behaviour is weird (several issues)

Things in RTC that do not work as expected (compared to Dungeon Master) or at all! Please read previous posts carefully to see if the bug has already been reported.

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Gambit37
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Monster behaviour is weird (several issues)

Post by Gambit37 » 13-Dec-08 19:20

I don't know if this is a bug or intended behaviour, but monster AI is a little weird.

Main issue is that after a while they simply stop attacking you. It's normally after you've whacked them a few times, so I imagine the AI stops them from attacking because they want to go off and hide. But often they don't, and then they just stand there flipping on their tile, waiting for you to finish them off.

I'd like to be able to create monsters that just keep on coming, you know, really mean and party hating, even if they are critically wounded, but this doesn't seem possible due to this self-preservation behaviour.

Is it possible to override it? Is it a bug?

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Post by Gambit37 » 13-Dec-08 19:41

Hmm. I'm creating a new monster for my test dungeon and the behaviours gone very odd indeed.

I had a party of two, monster attacked me killing one member and now it won't move or attack anymore. It's just flipping about on it's own tile. I didn't even attack it, so it's obviously nothing to do with self preservation.

Looks like a bug.

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Post by Lunever » 15-Dec-08 14:41

This is a big topic actually. Good monster AI is what improves the game experience more than anything else. Unfortunately, a couple of bugs & weaknesses have crept in.

- I guess when George added a routine to have monsters turn toward an invisible ranged attacker (which is a good and important thing), that routine got a too high priority. It seems to me that this routine overrides more vital AI aspects, like turning and moving to escape a closing door. Curently if you make a stand at a closing the door and choose the right attack interval, you will have helpless monsters spending their time turning away from you (because of the closing door on their heads) and turn back towards you (because you attacked them). The entire turning under doors business should be removed from the equation and be replaced by a backward step (that's what you do before actually turning and running, if you want to retreat from an armed opponent or from under a crushing door with space to escape only behind you - first taking a quick step out of the danger zone then turn and run (so you see where you are going).

- Single monsters of any magnitude are still completely helpless as soon as there is empty 2x2 space. You either run backwards in circles or afflict them with fear and chase them in cycles. I believe in FTL-DM this wasn't much better (since the game was all in all slower than RTC), but at least the monsters had an occassional (probably at random intervals) surprise attack, when the took a step and suddenly attacked in almost the same moment. That way a dragon could at least somtimes hit. I think RTC absolutely needs this, along with a monster taking a sidestep occassionally, so it can from time to time break the chasing cycle by sidestepping and immediately attacking.

- Having said that, the AI already was capable of a couple of amazing stuff in some very early release, but I think George removed the interesting bits because some people complained it was not originally FTL-DM enough. I think the AI should be allowed to be as tactical and interesting as possible. Best example is, monsters who got missiled a couple of times to be able to WAIT behind a corner, ready to immediately attack if something comes in their line of attack.
Monsters that actually FLEE should not walk back toward the party, just because following straight lines and 90 degree turns on obstacles lead them there, they should always make distance to the party, stand still (and slowly regenerate over time like a normal player character would in their place) if in a dead end, and only break from standing still if taking damage from any source (to avoid creating sitting ducks)

- Creatures with ranged attacks should not move toward the party on their own accord. They should leave that behaviour to creatures without ranged attacks. Range creatures should play hit and run. Range creatures should be able to retreat behind pits and continue to fire (again to make sense this would need sidesteps&backsteps or the intelligent creature would think itself to death by continually turning instead of fighting or fleeing).

And many other possibilities ... to avoid having to un-original behaviour, there might be creature flags or just a simple config switch to allow using such AI improvements once they are implemented.
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Post by Gambit37 » 15-Dec-08 17:07

Yes, I agree, there are definitely problems and you have some good ideas there.

I've been looking at this some more, and creatures that only have a close attack can attack from the back row even when other creatures are in front of them. That doesn't make any sense! They can't hit the party from there, and the party aren't allowed the same behaviour (back members can't use swords), so why should creatures get this attack? It looks really silly too with skeletons, for example, taking a swipe at you when they have skeletons in front of them.

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Post by Lunever » 15-Dec-08 18:14

Ah, but that one was deliberate by George because RTC monsters move in half-steps.
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Post by Gambit37 » 15-Dec-08 18:25

Really? How strange. It doesn't make any sense.

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Post by Lunever » 15-Dec-08 18:37

It does in a way - in FTL a creature would move 1 full tile and thus stand in front of the party ready to attack. in RTC it moves half a tile thus being on the rear position of the tile in front of the party, not ready to attack. The party can move or fire while the monster is busy taking another half-step, so to circumvent this problem monsters can attack from the rear and at the same time be attacked there by party members on the front. Kinda compromise, thought it would make sense to at least prevent rear monsters from attacking when other monsters are standing between them and the party.
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Post by Gambit37 » 15-Dec-08 18:44

We'll have to disagree! :-) I don't think a monster that's five feet away should be able to attack you with a sword, whether or not there's another creature in the way!

I've been investigating this, and it's controlled by ATTACKRANGE monster stat. Skellies have it set to 3 which is why they get this rear tile attack; if you set it to 1, they don't.

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Post by beowuuf » 15-Dec-08 19:12

RTC used to do just that, and the monster could never attack - once it got into the back row, you attacked it, once it moved forward you moved back.

original DM allowed monsters in the back row to attack if nothing was in front, simple because they were close enough to you.

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Post by Gambit37 » 15-Dec-08 19:16

Well, It's silly. Ranged attacks maybe, fair enough, but swords or claws? Nope, I don't get it. A tile is about 10 feet square, the back row is five feet away; gimme a break!

I checked ATTACKRANGE again and in fact Skellies do still attack from the backrow even when set it's to 1. :-(

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Post by beowuuf » 15-Dec-08 19:25

Well that's what the party do too, if you are on the back row and no one else is infront of you, then original DM knew you would dart forward to attack and so let you attack. If there were other people infront, then no. Same with monsters.

We had this discussion a while ago, and GG did do the behaviousr you suggested, and it played terribly.

Squares are more like 5 x 5 I think, and a pary or monsters being attacked are not going to really be standing on the furthest corner away from the party. Sure, if there are a few monsters or party members then the back row will stay the heck out of the eway of flailing limbs and swords, but otherwise they will be much closer.

D&D rules gives a 'reach' of 5 foot too, implying to would be able to step forward to attack.

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Post by Gambit37 » 15-Dec-08 19:32

I must have missed that discussion!

Are you sure FTL DM did this? I don't ever recall being able to fight from the back row with swords.

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Post by beowuuf » 15-Dec-08 19:38

I always play with my character in the back row, it gives a slightly longer chance to turn out of the way of spells single player - to the point I have fought toe to toe with spell slingers without taking a hit.

Still, most people don't do that, and monster wise single monsters always centralised themselves pretty quickly so the attacking form the back wouldn't be noticeable

I'm pretty sure this discussion is really old - like 0.14 - 0.16 type of old!

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Post by Gambit37 » 15-Dec-08 19:44

:oops:

I still think it's weird though. I'm testing some new bitmaps, and watching skeletons in the back row take swipes at me (despite there being skeletons in the front row) looks really, really silly. They can't possibly get me with other skeletons in the way, they look a lot further away and yet they are still gettin in successful attacks.

At the very least, back row monsters that only have close range attacks should NOT be able to hit you if the front row is blocked.

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Post by Lunever » 15-Dec-08 19:57

Well, many games including DnD assume that 5 feet is a suitable range for a melee attack. And mostly it does make sense - certainly if you wield a blade that is alone 3 feet long, and even with a shorter blade you can make a lunge. So IÄm fine with this behaviour.
If the engine could be modified to allow rear row monsters generally not to make melee attacks if another monster is standing between it and the party, I'd be fine with that too (but in that case there should be a reach flag for monsters that says "but this monster still can do it", like for spearmen).
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Post by Lunever » 15-Dec-08 20:04

PS: Oh, and I remember that without that current behaviour some early version had an extreme sitting duck monster behaviour. It just didn't fit in with half-tile movement. What could be done though is allowing instead of a melee attack from the rear row a combined move-half-tile (to any free front position) + melee attack at the same time (which would solve all problems - you'd have half-tile movement, monsters would fight in time, wouldn't do so visually from the distance, and obviously it couldn't work if the front row was already occupied).
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Post by linflas » 16-Dec-08 12:14

just my 2 cents on this.. i have also noticed that behaviour in RTC and obviously, the game is too damn easy.

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Post by Lunever » 16-Dec-08 16:45

I also norticed by now that monsters completely ignore the party, if a pit is between the monster and the party.
You can notice that behaviour with the CSB-DDD demons or the dragon under the Neta path of fire. Even if you start shooting at them they ignore you.

Edit: Seems that this only happens if there is only a pit between the monster and the party. If there is a situation like monster - empty tile - pit - party, the monster (i.e. a demon) does shot at the party.
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Post by Gambit37 » 16-Dec-08 17:15

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHH! That explains why my new monster keeps going to sleep!!!!!

I cloned a fake pit to create my 'grassy' flooritems and wondered why he would just stand next to me and not do anything!

TRantor reported this too so I guess this is either a bug or if it's by design, then it's too severe. Monsters should still use ranged attacks etc. if they are behind a pit.

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Post by Lunever » 23-Dec-08 19:03

Oh, and monsters like axemen that throw items get caught in a throwing loop even if out of ammo.

Gambit: Do you agree to move this to the RTC bugs sub-forum?
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Re: Monster behaviour is weird (several issues)

Post by Chaos-Shaman » 12-Jul-13 08:14

along with a monster taking a sidestep occassionally, so it can from time to time break the chasing cycle by sidestepping and immediately attacking.
this would be nice. it is too easy to 4x4 step kill monsters, but the quick attack sorta off sets it.
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Re: Monster behaviour is weird (several issues)

Post by Chaos-Shaman » 15-Mar-14 01:02

I believe this problem was solved in another forum thread. I forget where :)
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