Topic: Njerpez Intelligence  (Read 294 times)


« on: January 12, 2020, 03:14:20 AM »
Hi Sami + Erkka. I've been playing your game for 2-3 years now and I absolutely love it. As a matter of fact, I love it so much that I finally bought the game on Steam after years of playing the free version. There's nothing like a good wilderness survival game. I especially like how you've managed to make the wild animals feel and behave like living beings, like how they hunt each other down and hibernate and have certain behavior patterns that are specific to a species.

However, the human AI sometimes feels like it's lacking, especially when it comes to the Njerpez. One of my characters has lasted almost 3 ingame years, and he has killed 52 Njerpez warriors and 29 robbers (I only save-scummed once, and that was just because I was messing around). Most of this was done alone, and does not include the 2 Njerps and 7 robbers killed by my dogs and party members. That's a heck of a kill-count for this game, and it makes me feel like something is missing from the enemy's AI.

The problem is not that the warriors and robbers are too easy per se. I've had quite a few put up a good fight, although some go down very easily, and some even de-aggro or fall asleep in the middle of the fight (!). The real issue is that their AI is kind of... aimless. Both types of enemies basically just wander around the map until they bump into you and then (in the Njerps' case) 1v1 you. I feel like more structure is needed.

My humble suggestions are as follows:
1. Slightly increase the rate at which Njerp camps spawn. I have never seen one in years of playing other than the ones on my escaped slave playthroughs. This is coming from someone who lives almost exclusively outside of cultural borders and in the east every single game.
2. Have the camps send out patrols of multiple Njerps, possibly even with dogs.
3. These patrols should be able to track the player and other NPCs if they come too close to a Njerp camp. This could be implemented by having the patrols be able to follow either campfire smoke or human tracks (or both). Their ability to follow your trail would be dependent on the Njerps' tracking skill, and they would only follow it a certain distance from the camp before heading back.
If implemented correctly, this means that  the player has to watch their step if they know that enemies are about, and they have to give any signs of Njerp activity a wide berth. However, this feature also has some controllability, because the patrols will only become a problem if the player stays for a long time where Njerps have made camp.
4. Possibly even make it so that Njerpez camps come in sizes, with the biggest camps sending out larger patrols for longer distances.
5. Make it so that when the player goes to sleep while travelling with companions, you can ask one of those companions to keep a watch in the night to look for enemies.
6. Njerpez and/or robber raids on villages would also be a cool feature, but we'd need some way for villages to regrow or the Unreal World would become depopulated very quickly.
7. Last but not least, make it so that enemies don't de-aggro or fall asleep during fights. It doesn't happen often, and I've mostly seen it from Njerpez, but it is a weird and sometimes very funny glitch.

I hope you like the ideas; they seem like they would be fairly easy to implement, as most of them are in the game in some form or another already but just for animals instead of people.

Ara D.

« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2020, 03:24:25 PM »
Never seen the sleeping bit, but I have seen and enjoyed the occasions where humans has de agroed and fled. I felt it gave a certain realism. Not everyone would fight to the death. Some people would say oh crap I can't win this fight or I'm going to die and flee.

Would love to stumble across a Nerjp raid on a village. Or the addition of a rescue a hostage quest. Njerp have taken child X the went east and you gave to track them back to their camp. Or even the occasional slave at those villages.

Human AI could be improved by removing the default bum rush. Make it a priority that they try to flank or circle behind. As balance issue dogs need to be able to be de agroed and called back, sometimes, and companions told hey instead of running off in that sea of red why don't we fight side be side or back to back.


« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2020, 06:10:01 PM »
I'm not talking about fleeing. Fleeing is fine. My concern is when they just deaggro and walk away meekly in another direction. Usually it says something like "The Njerpez Warrior calms down." Seems like a strange behavior in the middle of a fight. I'll try to post it here if I see it happen again.

Also, hostage rescue is a good idea tbh.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 09:19:25 PM by SvenSvensson »