Alpha 9 EXPERIMENTAL - Leveled Enemies

Discussion in 'Experimental Features Discussion' started by Hummel-o-War, Dec 4, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Hummel-o-War

    Hummel-o-War Administrator
    Staff Member Community Manager

    • Developer
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2015
    Messages:
    8,295
    Likes Received:
    12,147
    What are "leveled enemies"?

    In Alpha 9 you will notice an additional number when facing a NPC or a POI. This is the "level" of your opponent.

    20181205091015_1.jpg

    What effect does the level have?

    The Level of the enemy is basically a MULTIPLIER of its attack (Damage of his weapon) and defense (Hitpoint) values, pretty much like the decision, which Difficulty mode to start the game with does also multiply the attack/defense parameters.

    The Level is an additional multiplier.

    Basic Multipliers for Difficulty modes
    • EASY = 0.5
    • MEDIUM = 1
    • HARD = 2
    Level multipliers (0.1667-stepping)
    • Level 10 = 2.5
    • Level 9 = 2.33
    • Level 8 = 2.17
    • Level 7 = 2.00
    • Level 6 = 1.83
    • Level 5 = 1.67
    • Level 4 = 1.50
    • Level 3 = 1.33
    • Level 2 = 1.17
    • Level 1 = 1.00
    Reads: If you played on MEDIUM before and now run into a Level 10 NPC on the same difficulty level, the NPC is 2.5x stronger than in Alpha 8.

    >> THIS is also our main feedback request on that topic (see below)

    How does this work?

    Example 1: You start the game on EASY and run into an NPC with level 10. His attack/defense values are multiplied with (0.5 x 2.5 ) = 1.25

    Example 2: You start a game on HARD and run into an NPC with level 10 = 2 x 2.5 = 5 x attack/defense

    Example 3: You start a game on EASY and run into a NPC with level 1 = 0.5 x 0.25 = 0.125

    Why do POIs also have a level and what does this mean?

    The level of a POI tells you which NPC-levels spawn there - with a slight variance: In a POI level 10 you can run into NPCs of level 7-10.

    Note: the level also applies to turrets!

    For Creators: where do i define the levels?

    For SSG (Randomly created solar systems via SolarSystem Generator):
    • Levels can be set in the SOLARSYSTEMCONFIG.yaml in the parameter "PlayfieldLevel"
    • The level of a playfield defines the maximum levels of the POIs and Entities (on terrain) that will spawn there.
    • The level of the POI will then define the NPCs spawning inside
    You can give a RANGE for the PlayfieldLevel like: PlayfieldLevel: [6, 8]

    Example:

    • You set the range for playfield levels to [6, 10] in the SSG / Solarsytemconfig
    • This means you can bascially get playfields between these ranges when the solar system is generated on game start
    • On a playfield level 8 you can see a small variant of POI and Terrain-NPCs UP TO level 8 (like 6-8) but NEVER above 8
    For Fixed Systems
    The level can also be set DIRECTLY in the playfield.yaml, but WITHOUT a range.

    You can give an EXACT maximum Level for an individual playfield like: PlayfieldLevel: 8

    This means you will get POIs and Terrain-Entities up to that level (with the same variance, like 6 or 7 might show up, but never 9 or 10)

    (New) You can increase the Level for a BIOME with a new parameter added to the biome definition in the playfield.yaml.

    "LevelMod: +<level>"

    Use any positive Integer value for <level>, like +2 = the level of this biome is +3 higher than the game-start/main definitions have set it.
    biome-level.jpg
     
    #1
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  2. Hummel-o-War

    Hummel-o-War Administrator
    Staff Member Community Manager

    • Developer
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2015
    Messages:
    8,295
    Likes Received:
    12,147
    FEEDBACK REQUIRED: are these leveled enemies are now feeling too strong or too weak?
     
    #2
    Germanicus and Stryker000 like this.
  3. SoCalExile

    SoCalExile Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    486
    Re-installed and tried it out on the Experimental server. Being forced to use an underpowered weapon at level 1 to fight off raptors 3-4 levels higher isn't fun. Being frustrated and dying a bunch of times because you have to be some arbitrary lame level to build a Constructor so you can get a decent weapon that can actually stop a threat is flat-out crap gameplay.

    I liked Emp better when it could be enjoyed casually instead of how it is now where it seems the devs think it's fun to handicap the players to the point of frustration.
     
    #3
  4. Damion Rayne

    Damion Rayne Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2016
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    65
    This isn't fun. It's frustrating. It's also an outdated design concept that creates artificial challenge that shouldn't be used in modern games. Give us more variety in our enemies, how they attack us, make us THINK. Don't just go, "welp, this guy hits harder and does more damage, job done" and assume that that actually equates to proper challenge.

    This is a bad idea and it's outright lazy compared to updating AI, adding new enemy types with new weapons, tactics, et all.

    I want challenge in my survival mode, but this is just annoying.
     
    #4
  5. IronCartographer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    1,201
    To be fair, this is both Experimental and customizable--if you start a singleplayer game you have more control and options.

    ...That said, I'm with the general consensus about levels (both for NPCs and the players themselves) being detrimental to the game experience without a clear shift to more of a Role Playing Game genre...

    Don't get me wrong: I love RPGs done well. But is Empyrion meant to be one?
     
    #5
    geostar1024 likes this.
  6. Nikola

    Nikola Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2018
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    43
    I'm not a fan of level scaling, and making the game more "difficult" by turning enemies into bullet sponges. I don't think it's a good mechanic in FPS (Serious Sam for example), (MMO)RPGs and etc. If I were to add a "level" mechanic to enemies/POI, it would be something of a "suggested" player level requirement in order to meet the challenge properly.

    I say this, because right now player level is directly associated with his tech unlocks, so a level 10 POI would be better suited to level 10 unlocked weapons, while a level 20 POI would be best tackled with level 20 unlocks. Regarding any modifiers to enemies according to difficulty, I suggest a different approach: enemy behavior CHANGES with difficulty level.

    Let's take the spiders for example. Right now, they charge you a little, then run away just to charge again, and it's well explained why in the Empyrionpedia. Let's say that this is the "Medium Difficulty" Spider behavior. On Easy, they would wander in fewer numbers, maybe even not be hostile when alone. Now on Hard, they would be found in pods of at least 4, AND they would maul to death. No running away, just pure hate for the player. All this while maintaining their stats, only changing their numbers/behavior.

    Another example would be herbivores. On Hard, make them charge the player on sight when young ones are around. If it's just adults, they should get startled and then angry if you fire a weapon or use drills near them. Make the world not outright hostile for the player, but very unwelcoming for him.

    Regarding humanoid NPCs/Enemies, also maintain their stats and just change their numbers, equipment and variety of it. Sure their base stats can and should be different, but they should ultimately the "same" equipment as the players and make them follow the same "rules".

    I think that changing gameplay, rather than scaling stats up and down, would be a healthier way to deal with levels and difficulty in Empyrion.

    EDIT: just as an anedcote... Started a medium survival game, faced 3 spiders - apair of lvl 1 and a lvl 2. Just circle strafed them with my survival tool and killed them all without taking damage. But that took some 40s. Later on, faced a pair of lvl 3 with a lvl 2 spider in tow, same deal; the only difference is that I took more time to kill them with the survival tool. That's not really a challenge, just plain boring. If they all kept on top of me on a higher level/difficulty, THAT would be more terrifying.
     
    #6
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  7. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2016
    Messages:
    4,857
    Likes Received:
    6,647
    I agree; let higher level enemies become more skilled rather than simply bullet sponges. If hardier enemies are warranted, introduce a new enemy type (e.g. Armored Spider) that has more HP and stronger attacks.

    I just want to specifically highlight this part again. It's good and consistent if NPCs play by the same rules as players.
     
    #7
  8. Damocles

    Damocles Captain

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    494
    With the new AI capabilities (pathfinding ... ) the enemies automatically have more options to be a threat.
    I think the balancing of their HP and weapon-output (an accuracy) will have to be rebalanced from the ground up.
    The bulletsponge thing and very long melee attack distances where a workaround for their limited mobility.

    Since they can follow and chase the player now, they dont actually need so much raw power and can rely more on positioning and dynamic attacks.

    For example the troup transport cound now drop them near the players base, and let them actually enter it.
    the player has to build the base more secure to counter this.

    An elevator, door or ramp does not deter them anymore. (at least their own doors they can open).

    The drones can also track the player better. Hiding behind a pole is not an easy way out anymore.
    (They manage to reposition for an attack way better)

    Overall the game profits from leveling enemies.
    Empyrion has a lot of item inflation (resources gathered over time). So there needs to be some system that can adjust to varying capabilities of the player.
    (hence leveling them up)
    This will challange starting and advanced players alike, and can "soft-gate" areas.

    The level of areas should follow the players progression (starting area, exploring starter planet, first space flight + moon, first warp flight, exotic planets...) and be fixed at generation time. - With some high level POIs on the starter planet to have a reason to come back later.
    (Maybe when the player has very high equipment stats (maxed out), the game could boost the level accordingly for all areas.)

    But a predetermined level will make the player have more sense of achievement, and not be punished when getting stronger. The player can choose to first conquer the easy POIs, or go to strong ones earlier than intended.
     
    #8
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  9. fuzzyspyder

    fuzzyspyder Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    33
    I would really like to get the original "grace period" back. Getting swarmed by spiders very early on is bit much. At least make it an option on the config file .
     
    #9
    elmo and SoCalExile like this.
  10. IronCartographer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    1,201
    Yet another example of how different difficulties should change creatures and their behavior rather than simply being levels. Hard could have aggressive attacks from the start, while Easy could have an entire starting biome with passive creatures no matter how much time has passed.
     
    #10
  11. geostar1024

    geostar1024 Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2016
    Messages:
    4,857
    Likes Received:
    6,647
    I couldn't help but chuckle given your username. I think the spiders just want to hug you :p.
     
    #11
    Nikola, Kronoss, Pach and 1 other person like this.
  12. Evolvei

    Evolvei Commander

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2016
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    83
    I agree. More varied and smarter enemies are a fun challenge.

    Bullet sponges are not.
     
    #12
    Kronoss and SoCalExile like this.
  13. IronCartographer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    1,201
    Bullet sponges are, unfortunately, far easier to implement.

    We definitely need to push back on this if the shortcut is abused too much.

    RPGs use the level system effectively, but they also ensure that there is a real design difference between low- and high-level [versions of] creatures...not just an arbitrary number.
     
    #13
    Ian Einman and Kronoss like this.
  14. Kronoss

    Kronoss Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Messages:
    554
    Likes Received:
    516
    I can just see it now sponge-bob jumping out of the troop transport with a knife in his teeth and holding an automatic grenade launcher, saying I'm LEVEL 20 Ya'lll........ oh wait that probably would be cool....;p

    In all seriousness it would be better if there were enemy power suits on the higher levels.... bullet sponges yes but slow to move. hey look that one is wearing a huge set of armor... better keep my distance.
     
    #14
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    GenghisBob and Needleship like this.
  15. Needleship

    Needleship Master of Custom Terrain

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    499
    .... ArmoredGolems. - Already in the game, but very under-utilized. :)
    (For later troop transports these would be nasty ;) )
     
    #15
    Spirit_OK likes this.
  16. Damocles

    Damocles Captain

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    494
    An example in making the AI harder without giving them more HP and Weapon damage:

    -let them have a flee and regenerate behavior.
    If they get hurt, lets say below 40%, the flee to a safe spot (not in sight of the player, or a minimum distance away) and use a health kit or regenerate. Then attack again.

    Another ability would be their capability to altert friends.
    A high level NPC could call out to a larger distance, drawing in the whole group to attack the player.
    A lower level NPC could only alert allies in the immediate area.

    Sidestepping: higher level NPCs could use more side-stepping (strafing shots). And more forward-backward movement (as when in cover behind a corner). They do know where to stop already (first free line of sight to player). Then attack, then walk 1 meter back where they came from. (back into cover)

    Flanking: some enemies dont run towards the player, but to a position the player was at like 20 seconds before. (with a certain distance limit)
    Then run towards the player. Its a good chance that they will surprise the player to be suddenly behind him.

    Also higher run and charge speed makes them tougher enemies.
     
    #16
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  17. Ravis

    Ravis Commander

    Joined:
    May 17, 2017
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    115
    I'm going to assume the point is to have the planets themselves be harder as they go along and not have to rank pois. A commander of sorts wouldn't work well because the abandoned mine could very well be on the starter planet and an end game one. I think the question being asked is how to have a minigun guy be challenging on both start and end game areas. Honestly I'm not a fan of bullet spungs either , I would suggest separating the HP and damage stats. High HP low dmg or visa versa might be fun as well.
     
    #17
  18. Exacute

    Exacute Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Messages:
    1,021
    Likes Received:
    726
    This is a comment on the UI, rather than the concept itself;
    It feels somewhat awkward, how the info is presented. For almost any game I can think of, that does 'named NPCs' (optionally with level aswell), their nameplate follow them, rather than follow the screen.

    As it is now, the bar is displayed fixed, rather than relative to the NPC
    To me atleast, this feels rather awkward
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    #18
  19. Damocles

    Damocles Captain

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    494
    The game shows the stats of enemies pointed at with the crosshair (in the middle). Its not using a marker to select the target. So the UI info cant be outside the middle even if its moves with the entity. Might be as well fixed at one positon then.
     
    #19
  20. Exacute

    Exacute Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Messages:
    1,021
    Likes Received:
    726
    As my screenshots shows, it's rather noticeable that it is fixed to the screen, rather than the NPC.. to me atleast, this is a really weird feeling.
     
    #20
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page