Re: [ Idea ] Smarter mobs...

From: Gary Barnett (gbarnett@POLARNET.COM)
Date: 10/18/97

On Friday, October 17, 1997 10:54 PM, David Klasinc
> Banzai!
>  Was anyone working on the mob intelligence? I mean somethign more than
> mobprogs and that it wouldn't be spec?
I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. Have also started implementing an
I think will eventually enable me to make mobs 'seem' smart.

> I was pondering this, first creating the list of spells and their counter
> spells (curse, remove curse) then making MOB_SMART flag or somethign like
> that and then imp few checks for this flags.
<snipped: examples of mob smarts>
> I think that there should be more smart mobs in the muds. Not just stupid
> looking mobs, that make 200d2 damage per round and players are afraid to
> go attack them.

Agreed. Given the right technique you should be able to plan the death of
95% of the mobs on the mud.. each mob should require you to evaluate
how you might best kill it. The other 5% are either designed not to be
killed, or require a technique that nearly everyone isn't capable of.

> I wonder why mobs don't have their resting rooms (like players have on
> some muds), why  mobs don't group, why mobs don't summon their friends
> when they are in troubles, why mobs don't call for backups and stuff?
Design.. Usually time constraints. If we only had 28 hour days in RL :-)

> Ok, there are tons of tons of stuff that would make mobs smarter, but I
> think that we can make mobs look smarter with many little things.. :)
Agreed. Mob AI comes down to having all the pieces right at reach.. The
ability to setup any sequence of events you might imagine. Once you have
all the pieces then you are in a position to install an engine that will take
inputs that mobs receive and output steps the mob will follow to respond.

My approach has been to do this:

1) Create a message interface that the mud can use to talk to another

2) Feed all the updates to the interface.. every time a mob moves,
   object times out, someone leaves/enters the game, someone drinks
   some water, ect - all events get turned into amessage and sent to
   the AI process.

3) The AI process will spend all it's time figuring out the next move for all
    of it's subjects. When it has a move to make, it will simply pass a
    message or set of messages to the interface and the mud will make
    them happen.

With this approach it's possible to remove the mud processing style from
the mob ai code. With a set of events defined, and access to all the
required information, it'll be possible to make routines to handle a group
of traveling merchants, complete with supply points and creation of
objects by the mobs themselves using the same set of commands
players can get with skills.

My thinking is that if you can make mobs do everything they need without
using out of character abilities, and if the players have access to the same
commands via skills, that you can create a hugely complex set of
interactions that the mob ai system can use to it's benefit. In addition, you
can create scripts for mobs when you want that level of control. Things like
a linked list of 'conversations' accompanied with data on the conversation
location, etc could allow mobs to talk between themselves automatically.
They would also pass on messages to other mobs based on what they
know vs what the other mob knows. This will make eavesdropping on mobs
a popular activity, as well as more natural means of starting a quest.

That's the mud I want to see. The standard elements, but with a complex
undercurrent of events changing how things behave in ways the player
isn't directly able to determine. Just like RL in a way :-)

> Hm,
> David is here saying, give mobs a chance!

Agreed there!


Neither sweat, nor blood, nor frustration, nor lousy manuals
nor missing parts, nor wrong parts shall keep me from my task.
  --Christopher Hicks

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