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Feedback [Nightly]About the procedurally generated monsters' attacks

Discussion in 'Starbound Discussion' started by hijinks, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. hijinks

    hijinks Subatomic Cosmonaut

    I'd like some feedback from both players and any devs if they see this post. Does anyone know why the regular mobs still don't have their special attacks that are tied to certain body parts? All the ones I've encountered still only have the charge/bash ability. It's quite strange and monotonous. Yes, this game has gotten FAR better overall with each iteration of Nightly, but when I suddenly found all the generated mobs having such drab and boring abilities, it just started feeling quite boring.

    I know the specific biome-tied monsters should be unique and quite different from the typical mobs, but it's only them I have to watch out for. I remember when in early builds, you had to be seriously careful in how you approached mobs before, as you couldn't tell if they could shoot lightning that basically two-shot you or some strange other ability that could do nasty things to you. Combat feels less exciting even with all the new tools when we don't have challenging mobs to use them against.
    Vaknir, Akre, Hawklaser and 2 others like this.
  2. Ludovic

    Ludovic Giant Laser Beams

    I'm not sure myself. I heard some players rants that it's just because the devs wanted to keep things "simple" and gave up on balancing procedural monsters more or less and thus relegated them to "generic melee mobs" but I have a hard time thinking that would be the only reason. The tones I've read from other players doing these rants often rubbed me the wrong way because they felt more like character attacks than thoughtful criticism.

    I mean, I'd LOVE to see procedural specials backs, but I like the rest of the game so much already it's not exactly a priority for me? So I guess my stance, especially with how every other aspects of gameplay evolved, is more one of puzzlement when I see NPC enemies whose behavior has evolved to use shields and even summon monster pet in one case I was witness to.... but then see procedural monsters who seem fully back to a "run into the player" attack patterns.

    Like said, I'm just puzzled. I figure there's a more complex reason behind it than "developers got lazy" as players rants because I know from aquaintances just how HARD game development can be. I'm just curious what led to the change, be it balances or coding difficulties(especially in sight of trying to get 1.0 ready) or other reasons.

    I don't mind if I ever see special attacks only post-1.0 or even if I only ever see that back through the work of modders. Just left puzzled after seeing the old GIF from the old 2014 blogpost showing the old special abilities in action as they made procedural monsters feel even lively thanks to the added animations? I know I might be recalling with rose-tinted glasses a period that may have had it's own issues though.
    hijinks likes this.
  3. hijinks

    hijinks Subatomic Cosmonaut

    Thanks for your insight. Like you, I feel extremely puzzled. However, I look at the whole thing like this:
    "Oh man, holy crap! Chucklefish has updated so much here! What the flapjack?!? Did an NPC summon a monster?
    Wha! They notice that I steal things? Geez, I said SB is beautiful before, but it just feels more alive now! Wow this is amaz- WHOA, they've got NEW monsters! :O They're so cool! Oh shi- there's a giant regular mob, I got no idea how this mofo is going to attack! Gotta keep my shield out with gun ready, I'm going to bait him to see what this horror show does. *boring mob only does charge attack* Oh.....Maybe the others would... *Sees other regular mobs* Oh crap, one of them is a bird! Those guys killed me a lot back then! Let's see- *bird only does charge attack* Oh.... *after some time going through a lot of planets* Oh. They only do charge attacks? After all the immersive and interesting changes made, the regular mobs only do charging? What happened to the enemies that healed themselves? What happened to the boulder throwing enemies?"

    See what I mean?
  4. Hawklaser

    Hawklaser Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    You know, the more I think about it now, I have kind of noticed this as well. The worlds don't quite feel as dangerous without the possibility of the random firebreathing parakeet that used to happen. Things get pretty simple when you see monster X, and can expect the same thing all the time.

    If they are worried about balance, maybe around Gentle stars we only get the normal enemies, but as we go from Gentle to Eccentric all the way up to Fiery, have more and more chances for the crazy procedural randomness to create evil monstrosites that worry even the best geared characters. After all, the better geared you are, the better you should be able to handle the unexpected enemies.
    hijinks likes this.
  5. hijinks

    hijinks Subatomic Cosmonaut

    This would be nice, but I get the feeling the balance on these fellas aren't exactly the issue. I'm getting the feeling it got too complicated too fast or they were trying to differentiate the non generated monsters.
  6. Campaigner

    Campaigner Giant Laser Beams

    The evil Glitch Castles with black knights sometimes have large flying enemies. These monsters have random projectile attacks. Guess what? They're perfectly balanced; they hit harder on lower armor, and sometimes leave nasty effects. I looked into that when I was making my own monsters, and the damage is tied to the monster's base damage. When they are higher level (on harder planets, that is), the attacks scale up and still hit hard.

    The only thing stopping them from putting it back in is that they're just not doing it. It's absolutely PERFECT in terms of balance (as balanced as the combat is, anyway), and the abilities work fine on random monsters as I've tried modding it back in. They've worked just as you'd want them to, being threatening at first and less threatening when you finally get gear. Of course, that Orb of Zots ability is complete bs, and rips through you no matter what you wear, but still.
  7. Ludovic

    Ludovic Giant Laser Beams

    So can you confirm this is something that modding is still able to toy with in the game? That was something I had been wondering a lot about lately so it's good to hear it's not a thing that was hard coded it anything.

    Do you know a bit more about the limits of modding for procedural monsters? Like, we now know you can mod in special attacks, but would the engine support passive abilities and traits too? Like a monster with a "fire damage" passive adding burning debuff to ask their attacks, or one who is bioluminescent and this produces a light glow at all times? Or is that beyond the engine's/coding's capacity for them?
  8. LazuIi

    LazuIi Void-Bound Voyager

    Not everything is shown in nightly, so i'm hoping that the devs are planning something cool to do with generated monster attacks, because honestly, having (almost) every bipedal monster use charge attack all the time is super annoying.
    Akre likes this.
  9. Ludovic

    Ludovic Giant Laser Beams

    Interestingly, I made a thread on the subject on the Starbound reddit and this is one of the answer(and possibly most helpful) on the subject that I've received:

    "A lot of the attacks fell victim to a behavior overhaul of the monsters for the combat update. All monster behavior (and NPC!) used to be based on state machines but has been changed to use behavior trees.

    It would be nice to have a larger variety of attacks for generated monsters but it's something that needs to be designed around the combat mechanics we have since the last update.

    With the exception of most projectile attacks which were easy to convert to the new behavior system the old attacks are probably gone for good yes. But that doesn't mean that there won't be new attacks!"

    This is possibly one of the more helpful comments I had on the subject so far. I do hope that in the future we might indeed see new attacks updated for the new system then.
    If anything, it does make me feel more satisfied with the current state of thing since I have more of a clear "why" this may have happened like it has rather than just comments that sometimes borderline on personal attacks against the devs as others have made elsewhere.

    Plus, the explanation does leave the possibility open we might see them back. If anything, it sound like it actually might open more possibilities for modders alone than the state of things as they were under the old system(though I mightjust be misreading the explanation, in that regard).
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  10. Hawklaser

    Hawklaser Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Interesting to know. I sure hope they do add in some deceptively evil and dangerous critters in the future or enable some random ones to get to play the part of the Bunny from Monty Python's The Quest for the Holy Grail. Always entertaining running into the one random lil monster that can easily tear your face of in games while adventuring.
  11. Aroxys

    Aroxys Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    I'm looking forward to monsters getting at least new projectile attacks. I've dreamed of being able to catch one of the doombirds from the Koala builds, but now that I CAN catch birds, I can't catch ones with projectiles.
    Ludovic likes this.
  12. Campaigner

    Campaigner Giant Laser Beams

    Sorry, I forgot to actually post my response earlier.

    You can add SOME passives to them. For example, the Crustoise can walk on walls because it's got a specific type of movement, compared to other monsters. Ixolings have a leap attack, Peblit retracts into a shell when hurt, and so on.You just need to check how the premade monsters work, both in the monstertype and animation files, and work from there.

    Status effects can easily be applied to attacks. My mod currently has a few creatures that apply poison, burning, and slow when they touch you. This is pretty easy to do, since you just find the status effect you want to apply, and find "touchDamage" in the monstertype file. There's a "statuseffect" line with blank parenthesis; put the status effect in quotation marks, and you're good. (Example; "statusEffects" : [ "frostslow" ])

    As for glowing, it's in the animation file for the monster. I don't have any glowing monsters in my mod, but there's a few in the base game like the Prism Elemental Critter. There's also a way to make only certain body parts glow (not give off light, but be visible in the dark). I'll write up a full method later on for that, since it's a bit more complicated and I don't want this post to be a huge wall of text.

    Modding monsters is pretty easy, as is modding in abilities. One monster I'm working on has special moves, and it's like this in the file, located just after the wander actions;
    "baseSkills" : [ "acidicSpitAttack", "chargeattack" ],
    "specialSkills" : [ "acidicSpitAttack" ],

    It's surprisingly simple to mod in, and it doesn't even require any effort to balance other than making the monster's base stats. I don't know coding at all, and I just copy-paste everything from other text files, yet it works wonders. There's also a line about the health regen of the monster at the very bottom of the monstertype, but that one's a bit fun to fiddle with so I won't explain how to do that correctly. Just be careful not to accidentally make the monster heal too fast!
  13. Ludovic

    Ludovic Giant Laser Beams

    Thanks for the infos! Those are all very helpful answers :3

    Just out of curiosity, how far can you go in terms of "abilities" and "passives"?

    For example, could you do something like "bioluminescent" monster to create a monster that is always glowing in the dark and producing light out of a procedural monster?

    Could you also have something like a "berzerker" passive where a monster suddenly get a 5 second(or else) immunity to damage once they hit 25% hp(possibly accompanied with a boost to damages against the player during the duration and a visual cue to reflect this effect)?

    Or even a variant of that one above that could be called "explosive rage" which bring a monster hitting 25% of their hp to get the same damage boost plus timed immunity deal.... but die in an explosive burst of damage once the immunity timer is over?
  14. Campaigner

    Campaigner Giant Laser Beams

    Always glowing procedural monsters;
    Possible, but you'd need a variant of the monstertype and animation files to match them. Just make a copy of the monstertype you want (ex; smallbiped.monstertype) and a copy of the same named animation (ex; smallbiped.animation), rename them both (ex; smallglowbiped.monstertype, smallglowbiped.animation), and add the glow you want into the animation file.

    As for timed abilities, I don't know. Haven't tried that. I know Paratail changes shape and color when it dies, just before exploding. Maybe there's some way to fiddle with that to get timed abilities, but I'm not so sure.
    Ludovic likes this.
  15. Ludovic

    Ludovic Giant Laser Beams

    Thanks for the response :)
    I guess I'm just kind of curious just how far the procedural monster generation system could be pushed.
    As for glow I was also specifically refferencing something like the ability to produces light like a torch more than any animation or visual on the monster itself. But then again I am unsure if that IS also part of what you were explaining when mentioning having to copy animations/etc as well.
  16. Campaigner

    Campaigner Giant Laser Beams

    Yep, I mean like how the Xenon Pack works; just a basic light. You can give it a flicker, I think, as well as particles. Positioning the particles is a royal pain in the butt though.
  17. Ludovic

    Ludovic Giant Laser Beams

    Does that mean such an ability would be tied to specific body parts?
  18. Aroxys

    Aroxys Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Ack, come to think of it, I've been missing two of my captured Serpent Droids for a while. Wonder how hard it'd be to mod 'em back in, because for landlocked monsters they're really good.

    (Like, I'm pretty sure that if you slap a healing III collar on them they may well be impossible to kill under most circumstances.)
  19. Ludovic

    Ludovic Giant Laser Beams

    It sound like it might very much be possible to bring them back i think,, based on earlier convo.
  20. Campaigner

    Campaigner Giant Laser Beams

    Oh man, I regret deleting old unpacked files now. Serpent Droids were REMOVED from the nightly files. Same with the other robots and the sewer spider. This is extremely disheartening, considering they had a lot of character to them. None of the new monsters even come close to those fun bots.

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