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xbow
Vault Elite
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Joined: 30 Jul 2004
Posts: 337
Location: Mojave Desert

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:16 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I am not going to be so presumptuous as to school anyone on setting up the enemies logical defense especially not the master blasters that frequent this forum. But I will shoot my mouth off a little about what I am doing to make the enemies defense a bit more effective and less static.

First of all I think that it is wise to jam the mini map at critical moments, the mini map is just a monster cheat and tends to make things way too easy on the player. That leads to boredom and suckage.

Poor enemy ,marksmanship and weak weapons are other things that in my mind lead to boredom. players and NPC's using basic armor should go down hard after a few hits.

No Mini Map--- We all know that a choke point is often the gateway to an objective. With that being the case players can look the map over and figure out where the choke points are and then predict where the enemy is lurking. That map recon should cause the player adjust his/her movement and use the appropriate tactic when checking it out.
The mini map makes this too easy because it shows where the enemy is thats why I jam it.

Poor marksmanship and weak weapons---To eliminate these problems I find it useful to force close in fighting, that way the battlefield is more lethal for both sides. You can still cover the engagement area with long range weapons and use the maneuver section to get in there hack it out. Obviously the have a better chance to survive with the support of a long range over watch section. This of course requires that the map be designed with an eye to giving the player the opportynity to take advantage of high ground that could be the top of a few pallets or barrels.

Setting up ambushes. What I find that works well is using a zone to define the ambush area and provide a few options to the player once the ambush has been tripped.

That way to make the enemy better is to use several cooperative player indices that are defending a common zone.

Example: ZoneX is a wide alley that is defended by enemy troops on the far end, they are guarding an access point that leads to an objective.

ZoneXReactForce =PI = Whatever
ZoneXBaseOfFire=PI = Whatever+1
ZoneXblockingForce=PI= Whatever+2
ZoneXBaitForce = PI = Whatever +3

The React Force, Base Of Fire, and Blocking Force should be hidden (deactivated) until the player moves 1 or more troops into the zone.

The bait force should be up and moving around a few way points. They should be moving in the area where the previous mentioned forces will pop out once the zone has been penetrated by the player.

Ok lets say the player has moved into the kill zone and begins exchanging fire with the Bait Force. the activation of the React Force and Base of Fire should be delayed to allow the player to penetrate more deeply into the kill zone. that could be any amount of time the designer sees fit. The Blocking force should move out immediately with no delay along a rout that is masked from player observation (a side alley or whatever).

once the clock has wound down the base of fire and React force activate and enemy troops in the Base of Fire should begin firing aggressively with their tactic being 'hold' the react Force moves out and follows a short path of way points to their flanking position and then start engaging.

The triggers involved are simple and the combinations seem endless. it seems that some of the stock missions used something like I have described and others didn’t. They tend to be fast exhilirating bloody fights that are hard to survive unless you take immediate action.

The end of such an ambush could be when the individual PI's have suffered a certain number of casualties at that point triggers can be used to send the survivors to a retreat zone. If the player retreats from the Zone a trigger can be used to send the blocking force and the React force to the Retreat zone inside the objective perhaps.

The purpose of this post is really to get some dialog going and have some of you to tell us about your techniques of setting up the enemy defense so rail on!..please.
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Stevie D
Wanderer
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Joined: 05 Aug 2002
Posts: 427
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:28 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Can't really respond, mate. Still working on tiling at the moment. Properly adding entities is months away.

Interesting points about the mini-map. It's a shame there isn't a fog of war option.

I'd like to play a map where the AI used the tactics you've mentioned. Nothing like a live example to prove the point.
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requiem_for_a_starfury
Hero of the Wastes
Hero of the Wastes


Joined: 29 Oct 2002
Posts: 1820

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:36 am Reply with quoteBack to top

You know I never use the mini-map when playing I've always set it to text. smile

I'd disagree with it giving the game away though, on the mini-map you can't really see much beyond what you can see on screen and depending on the layout and premise of the mission you'd be able to work out choke points from scrolling around on screen anyway. The other way of doing it, which in my mind is better than turning the mini-map on/off (at least without some reason like jammers) is to design your map with multiple choke points most of which would be uninhabited so after going through a couple of (empty) potential ambush sites without an engagement they'd be lulled into a false sense of security.
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xbow
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Joined: 30 Jul 2004
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Location: Mojave Desert

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
You know I never use the mini-map when playing I've always set it to text. smile..


actually so do i love those splatter messages


Quote:
you'd be able to work out choke points from scrolling around on screen anyway.


Thats what I am saying. It dosent give the whole ball of wax away but its a crutch for some.

Quote:
The other way of doing it, which in my mind is better than turning the mini-map on/off (at least without some reason like jammers) is to design your map with multiple choke points most of which would be uninhabited so after going through a couple of (empty) potential ambush sites without an engagement they'd be lulled into a false sense of security.


good point I agree 100 percent .

in any case have a refreshing glass of NO_RAD milk

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OnTheBounce
TANSTAAFL
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Joined: 18 Apr 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

requiem_for_a_starfury wrote:
You know I never use the mini-map when playing I've always set it to text.


Same here. When my people are hitting I want to know how much they're hitting for, not to mention the "extraDeath" messages that I've stolen...erm...I mean the homage I've made of them to Wasteland is rather amusing. ("Super Mutant is reduced to an undertaker's nightmare.")

Basically, I think the mini-map really only comes in handy for seeing cover that's not visible on-screen due to the lack of a sighting bubble like they had in the RPGs. Other than that, I really don't see any advantage in it since enemies are invisible as long as no one in your squad has LoS to them.

I did make a mission where I jammed the mini-map and the players have to get a Motion Sensor and someone has to have it in one of their Active Item slots in order for the mini-map to function. I figured since the PCs were all simply mercs and not NCR Rangers or BoS-types they were rather low-tech and the mini-map/Motion Sensor was really more for feel than for any real advantage/disadvantage.

Regarding ambushes and the like, I usually have quick reaction forces that will reinforce based on some condition like an alarm going off or casualties occuring in a certain location. I don't like using deactivated PIs simply because it could interfere with stealth, and I would hate to have people popping up in the player's face if he snuck people around. I prefer to reward people who are stealthy and/or take the indirect approach. I know that if one assaults one of the main gates in The Refinery the arrival of the Quick Reaction Force can quickly turn the tide in the Slavers' favor, and if a patrol happens to get wind of what's happening on top of all that...well..."If I die in a combat zone, box me up and ship me home..."

BTW, I would also suggest using stealthy enemies. Setting opponents to sneak (and making sure that they have Sneak tagged) can be a very nasty little surprise when the player says, "Hey, let's go beat the shit out of those two guys!" and suddenly snipers open up from concealment as he launches his attack.

Edit: I do like Req's idea of multiple choke-points to lull the player into a false sense of security. That would be easy to do on a mission that takes place on an active battlefield where the unoccupied points could represent areas where the defenders had been eliminated or withdrawn from.

One thing I'd also like to point out is that while it's good to try to provide the player with a challenge, I think some missions go a bit too far in having defenders that are simply sitting around waiting to pounce on the attacker. If the defender is in such a posture it should be explained as to why they are like that. For instance, there could be an on-going battle, or the defenders are alerted due to something that went wrong (like the PCs' sister squad in The Refinery that was ambushed and alerted the Slavers that the Rangers were going to hit them.) Otherwise it's a bit distasteful to have rather robotic Raiders who don't use their down time to play cards or get some sleep.

Good job on the "No Rad Milk" sign. I like that. smile

OTB
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requiem_for_a_starfury
Hero of the Wastes
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 7:27 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

OnTheBounce wrote:
I don't like using deactivated PIs simply because it could interfere with stealth, and I would hate to have people popping up in the player's face if he snuck people around.
I think it's okay to use deactivate PIs if the actors are going to spawn in logical places, such as a guard barracks where all the actors are inside are deactivated and will only activate when an alarm sounds, if it's time for them to go on patrol or if the player decides to check out the barracks. That way people don't just appear out of no where. Though saying that, if you're using stealthed enemies there's not a lot of difference between the actor revealing themselves to the player (Oh... Sir!) or the actor on a deactivated PI becoming activate.

OnTheBounce wrote:
Good job on the "No Rad Milk" sign. I like that. smile
What he said. smile
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Retlaw83
Goatse Messiah
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Joined: 17 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:35 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Shut your holes, you Canuck 'tards.
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Stevie D
Wanderer
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Joined: 05 Aug 2002
Posts: 427
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If you gotta spam, spam the Wasteland, you dicks.

EDIT: Not directed at you, Retlaw
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Stevie D
Wanderer
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Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Incidentally, xbow, IF YOU ARE QUITE FINISHED GENTELEMEN, that No Rad sign kicks ass. Really, it really does.
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S4ur0n27
Mamma's Gang member
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Joined: 01 Jun 2002
Posts: 15143
Location: Motherfucking Plateau

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hey I'm not finished : I wanna call upon the mighty administrators to punish Retlaw for his flaming, flagrant, gratuitous and outrageous blind racism toward the Canadian people!
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Blargh
berkommando
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Joined: 09 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:59 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

OH TEH HUMNAITY !!111 icon_drunk


Last edited by Blargh on Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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OnTheBounce
TANSTAAFL
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 2:19 am Reply with quoteBack to top

requiem_for_a_starfury wrote:
I think it's okay to use deactivate PIs if the actors are going to spawn in logical places, such as a guard barracks where all the actors are inside are deactivated and will only activate when an alarm sounds, if it's time for them to go on patrol or if the player decides to check out the barracks.


In some of those cases I'd have to ask why deactivate them at all? If anything you're denying the player the chance to reconnoiter, which is something that I'd try to encourage.

I will concede that it is sometimes appropriate to have reinforcements spawn at some point by activating them. For instance, the guards that appear at the entrance of any bunker in the core campaign if the player "hurts the bunker folk". (Poor Robin was just trying to avoid the fight and...)

Requiem wrote:
...if you're using stealthed enemies there's not a lot of difference between the actor revealing themselves to the player (Oh... Sir!) or the actor on a deactivated PI becoming activate.


Actually, there's quite a difference. A deactivated enemy can't be detected by a player no matter what he/she does, whereas a sneaking enemy can be out maneuvered and detected and engaged when the player wishes to, not when he/she has met certain trigger conditions. I will grant that on the second go at the map (or on a reload) the player can take steps to engage the sneaker before it is detected (e.g. w/force-fired grenades), but there's really no stopping SFL players so I've given up on it. (Although I did take your advice about preserving the "Set Death Text" trigger...)

Another issue is that a deactivated entity can't detect anyone, so not having them lurking about can make it easier to sneak into a place. (Don't get me started on the fact that set up triggers to have conditions of "Not Sneaking"...)

OTB

PS Non-Modders not contributing to the conversation will please fuck off and die!
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xbow
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Joined: 30 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 4:38 am Reply with quoteBack to top

All good points Requiem and OTB

I think deactivated PI's that suddenly pop out and reinforce an ambush are alright as long as they are not over used.

The strength of that sudden force is however a concern. The suddenly activated PI should be reasonable in size and capability. The player should have a chance to react correctly or incorrectly. The player and his squad should be able to survive if they have used good tactics, the correct formation, and assumed good positions that are mutually supportive. The reality is that no matter how well a plan is executed shit happens so those deactivated PI's serve to inject a little reality or chaos into the mix. In military terms such an encounter is called a 'chance meeting engagement' generally the force that uses the best firing formations** and tactics wins hands down (in real life).

There are ways to defeat those deactivated PI's one way is to probe the suspect area with a point man and then pull him back to a defensive position and then see what happens.

The trigger might be that if the player has at least 1 alive in zone whateverthfuck. the deactivated PI activates after a delay but with no squad members in the kill zone the enemy ambush has been triggered prematurely. The players squad can then the shoot the crap out of them from their covering position outside the kill zone.

*** Formations: Diamond, V, Wedge, Line, echelon right, echelon left
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quietfanatic
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:13 am Reply with quoteBack to top

OnTheBounce wrote:

I did make a mission where I jammed the mini-map and the players have to get a Motion Sensor and someone has to have it in one of their Active Item slots in order for the mini-map to function.


I am planning on doing that as well.

In my alien/space hulk rip-off mission I had the very scary set up of deathclaws using sneak, moving around with random waypoints. There is no way to really exploit this, without wasting ammo shooting everywhere randomly. This actually set the player on constant alert.

I think it is more realistic if people sneak rather than have their player index activated. The greatest advantage of deactivated people would be stopping the map from lagging.
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xbow
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 8:20 am Reply with quoteBack to top

interesting quiet fanatic. what lighting condition are you using? I am working on a mission where the time is forced to -1 (total darkness) like the Ridick special encounter. My little special encounter mission is an aircraf carrier that is sitting in the middle of the desert ad infested by zombies.
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Mr. Teatime
Righteous Subjugator
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 8:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Ok, please keep the spam off this forum.
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requiem_for_a_starfury
Hero of the Wastes
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 8:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

xbow wrote:
My little special encounter mission is an aircraf carrier that is sitting in the middle of the desert ad infested by zombies.
Interesting, are you showing any of the deck? Or is it just the internals of the ship? I've thought about adding a ship tied up to some docks (similar to the tanker in FO2), to my campaign, using the BOS external walls and the industrial handrails for the hull of the ship.

As to using deactivated over sneak, agreed the player has a chance to discover the sneaking opponent but the main reason (as quietfanatic said) for using a deactivated PI is to keep the actual number of entities on a map at one time to a workable amount and avoid any possible slowdown. You could always trigger the actor to become active but still sneak before the player reaches them, perhaps using conditions based on the perception level of the unit etc. I'm not advocating having entities pop out of nowhere right on top of the player after all, I think it's best if they activate off screen (perhaps in a building) and have to follow waypoints to reach the player.

As I originally said, deactivated entities should spawn in logical places.
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xbow
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

About the carrier.

I am going to make the whole ball of wax like you plan to using vent and and industrial type2 walls. a picture is worth a thousand words soooo..here is what I have so far. IN the end there will be a hanger deck a berthing deck below that and the lowest level will be for machinery. lots of nooks and cranies for zombies to lurk in. Ill put plenty of detail and damage on the flight deck bomb holes etc. and a very nasty radioactive engine compartment swimming in goo smile



i agree that the best use of deactivated PI's is to keep the map from getting jerky. but a few surprises tossed in there by the goid of chaos would be ok.


Last edited by xbow on Thu Nov 25, 2004 12:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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requiem_for_a_starfury
Hero of the Wastes
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Looks interesting, I've just been using the industrial type 2 walls so I think I'll stick with the BOS retaining walls, they've got a nice curve to them which is reminisent of a ship's hull. Though I was going to have the bow and stern off the edge of the map like the tanker in FO2.

The other thing for using deactivated PIs is having some campaign triggers set up for certain events, say in a previous map you failed the objective. Instead of ending the game you just trigger some campaign variables which bring to life actors on a deactivated PI making the following missions that much harder.
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quietfanatic
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 7:25 am Reply with quoteBack to top

xbow wrote:
interesting quiet fanatic. what lighting condition are you using? I am working on a mission where the time is forced to -1 (total darkness) like the Ridick special encounter.


I was using 0. Is there any difference?

I plan on using deactivated entities to prevent all maps being for one use only.
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