Raging Barbarians in FF

Discussion in 'Fall Further' started by Sarisin, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Sarisin

    Sarisin Deity

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    The past week I have been trying to play FF again. When the modmod first came out I really enjoyed playing, but I went through a spate of CTDs and that drove me away. I had been reading good things on the FFH forum from Gekko and others and decided to try it again. Honestly, I have had mixed results so far and would like to share my thoughts based on the 5 games I have 'played' so far.

    1. Has anyone been able to play an Epic speed game with the raging barbarian option selected? All three of my efforts have ended with me getting a Conquest Victory BEFORE TURN 160! All, I have had to do is build 5-6 units to defend my sole city (Warriors did fine) and just sit back and hit ENTER while the AI civs went down one by one.

    I think there is a problem with the when and maybe the how those raging barbs arrive on the scene. In FFH their arrival is tied to the number of cities on the map. In FF it has been my experience that they come between turns 40-50 no matter what. I think this is really too early for an Epic speed game. Yes, I can build my defenders and sit back and wait for the Conquest Victory, but there is not much fun in that each game. The AI is unable to cope with the onslaught and goes down fast.

    Also, the early appearance of the barbs IMO ruins one of the most fun parts of FF/FFH - the early exploration. When the barbs come, you can forget about sending your Scout out to explore lairs/dungeons, capture animals, pop goodie huts and graveyards. 45 turns is not much time to do anything in an Epic speed game.

    The barbs generally show up around turn 200 of an Epic FFH game. I really recommend you consider using a different timeframe or mechanism in introducing the raging barbs in the slower speed games.

    2. I decided to skip the raging barbs and try a game without that option selected. Sadly, I ran into those damn CTDs again and had to give up both games. They came around Turn 200 and they were those that if you re-load they might not come for a few turns, but eventually you get the CTD. That was with .42G and I am now playing a new game with .42L and hoping it makes a difference. I am at Turn 175 now.

    Also, while using the raging barb option in an Epic speed game makes the game a wipeout for the AI, I'm finding the opposite true when you DON'T select that option. As I said, I am up to Turn 175 now and I don't think I have had 3 barbs set foot inside my borders. I have seen some lallygagging around, but they certainly don't make a beeline for your cities/improvement. They seem almost comatose. ;)

    As a result, the AI has gone bananas with its expansion and in Turn 175 there are 3 civs (12 on a Huge map) with more than 10 cities. Yes, I know you can go out eventually and take them down, but the growth (and this is only at Prince difficulty) is just out of control!

    3. One reason I really wanted to try FF was the explorable lairs/dungeons I have been reading so much about. I hate to say it, but what a disappointment! As I said, in a raging barb game you are really limited to how many you can go out and explore. I would say in my six games I have been only able to explore 10-12. Only once did I get what you might call a positive result - I got a Traveler's Cloak, which was pretty neat. However, the other times I received a damaged or dead explorers for my trouble. Are the odds that bad for exploring these things, or am I just having a run of bad luck?

    Another problem I found was that almost immediately in the game the lair/dungeon gets a guard, usually a Skeleton preventing you from exploring. No way a Scout is going to take out a fortified Skeleton, so no exploration. Once I was amazed when I had moved my Scout to a Lair for my next turn to explore. I couldn't believe that a Skeleton had appeared on the Lair and pushed my Scout off! That doesn't seem right!:eek:

    I am a little overwhelmed with all the new civs, units, buildings (a Dowsing Bldg?), etc. and it will take a while to get used to it all. I just hope the CTDs leave me alone for a bit. ;)
     
  2. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    The only thing I can think of that may be an issue with Raging barbs is the change that allowed animals to spawn for the whole duration of the game. This possibly means that barbarians are spawning earlier too (and so when they reach the turn in which they're allowed to use "Attack" AI rather than explore, there are so many of them that the AI civs are really struggling. Xienwolf would know better on this one though as he made that tweak.
     
  3. Sarisin

    Sarisin Deity

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    Thanks for your response, Vehem. I will wait to hear what he says as I am thinking now that it isn't possible to play slower speed games with raging barbs. I'm waiting for other players to weigh on this.

    Some good news! I am up to about Turn 300 in my 6th game and no CTDs! The barbs are still pretty lethargic, though, and the AI is expanding out of their mind. I looked at one civ (Absaroke) and they had six cities (to my 3) and ALL SIX were building Settlers!

    Well, I have The Stooges and Loki and I will go out and slow these folks down a bit!:)
     
  4. Ambassador

    Ambassador Peacemonger

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    What are CTDs???
     
  5. Chip56

    Chip56 King

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    Crash to desktop
     
  6. MaxAstro

    MaxAstro Spiral Knight

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    Would you happen to know where the code that controls when the barbarians switch to Attack AI is, BTW? I have been having similar problems as the OP, although it's without raging barbs and is mainly due to Skeletons and Lizardmen, who hang around outside of borders until there are fifty billion of them and all attack at once. I think this scheme works fine for orcs (it's ideal for Orthus to no longer rush cities as soon as he spwans), but Skeles and Lizardmen are a bit too strong to be showing up in numbers of 15+ (sometimes EACH!) all at once around turn 130.
     
  7. xienwolf

    xienwolf Deity

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    I am planning to rewrite the AI to account for Raging Barbarians being set and desire more defenders. When I take a look at how Wiser orcs has improved the AI I am hoping that some of that kind of stuff is already done though :) Just not sure when I will have time to fiddle with AI things. Those adjustments take the longest as you have to decode complicated and intertwined functions, and then testing it requires quite a few test runs, or a nifty trick with adding information to the Chipotle interface.


    But as for what I tweaked: Both animals and Barbarians start to show up as soon as the Handicap settings say they are allowed to. So a shorter term fix might be to make those handicap settings be adjusted by gamespeed.
     
  8. Sarisin

    Sarisin Deity

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    Thanks, xienwolf!

    As it is now, I think this modmod is unplayable (unless you want a quick Conquest Victory for some reason ;)) when you play a slower speed game with the raging barb option on.

    It's fine as it appears my CTD problem is gone. I can play a 'regular' game here and go back to FFH when I want to play my raging barb games.

    BTW, this problem was present in earlier versions of FF, but Kael and Co fixed it nicely by delaying the appearance of the main barb units. Again, no problems for the human player the way it is, but the AI is too busy building Settlers and not worrying about defenders and gets creamed early!
     
  9. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    The odd part is that there is no difference in the XML between FF and FfH - both seem to start the barbarians on the same turns and have the same number of unowned tiles required to spawn (starting on Turn 10 and 13 unowned tiles per unit on Deity - ouch).

    The simplest short term fix would be to give the AI's a more significant BarbarianBonus (currently barbarians get -25% at all difficulties vs AI).

    ===

    It's interesting that the Barbs should be spawning relatively slower on Marathon than on Normal speed - the training rate is 200% of normal, Growth is 300% of normal and the Barb spawn time is 400% of normal (according to the gamespeed file). Basically means you're able to train twice as many units before the barbs arrive.

    The line that should be tweaked to reduce the spawn rate is probably

    Code:
    				if (iNeededBarbs > 0)
    				{
    					iNeededBarbs = ((iNeededBarbs / 4) + 1);
    That should probably be

    Code:
    iNeededBarbs / (4 * (GC.getGameSpeedInfo(getGameSpeedType()).getBarbPercent() /100 ))
    
    So that the Barbs only spawn 1/16th of the units needed to take them to their maximum amount per turn. Normally they spawn increase by 25% of the needed amount (minimum of 1).

    The downside there is that it would slow non-raging barbs on slow game speeds too. It might be better to do the above and also decrease the BarbPercent for Marathon to 300 (starts spawning on turn 30 on Deity, spawns 1/12th of needed units per turn).

    Currently the time before Barbarians spawn is related to the Gamespeed, but the actual rate of spawn isn't. As far as I know however, that this is no different to the base FfH mod

    ===

    Remember that the code doesn't mean that after 4 turns, all the barbs are spawned, it's a percentage of the amount needed.

    100 Max Barbs - None Spawned
    25% of 100 needed +1 => 26 spawned

    100 Max Barbs - 26 Spawned
    25% of 74 needed +1 => 20 spawned (19.5)

    100 Max Barbs - 46 Spawned
    25% if 54 needed +1 => 16 spawned (15.5)

    etc
     
  10. Sarisin

    Sarisin Deity

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    Vehem, the time when the barbs appear (talking Warriors, Goblins) is related to the total number of cities (not counting Barbarian cities) on the map and not game speed.

    I've played about a dozen FFH games with the raging barb, epic speed, etc. variables and the main barb force comes around turn 200, give or take.

    I've played 3 FF games with the same variables selected and the barbs come between turns 40 and 50. I could see a few turns difference between the two, but this a pretty big difference, so I think something is up and there is a difference somewhere between FFH and FF that is causing it.

    Again, the too early appearance of the barbs is significant for two reasons IMO:

    1. It provides the same uninteresting Conquest Victory (despite the number of ai civs selected) every time.

    2. It eliminates one of the best parts of the game - the early exploration phase. After turn 40-50, you can just forget about sending Scouts out to explore the map as they are quickly killed by the many barbs already introduced to the game. No animal capturing, no lair/dungeon exploration, no goody hut/graveyard popping, etc.

    Until this gets fixed, though, I am happy to play without the raging barb setting. ;)
     
  11. MaxAstro

    MaxAstro Spiral Knight

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    If you go into HandicapInfos.xml, there is a setting for the earliest turn that barbs are allowed to spawn, and the earliest turn barb cities are allowed to spawn, on each difficulty. Increasing these numbers by about 300% seems to balance out the barbarians a LOT, although Skeletons and Lizardmen still become a problem around turn 130; skeles and lizardmen should really be allowed to take Attack AI early, like they used to be before Kael's major AI changes.
     
  12. Sarisin

    Sarisin Deity

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    MaxAstro, I think that would help depending on the difficulty level of your game.

    However, I think it needs to be tied more to the GAME SPEED you are using. For example, spawning the barb force in turns 40-50 might be fine for a Quick or Normal game, but it is just too early IMO for an Epic or Marathon (haven't tried that speed, though).

    The other issue in this modmod mentioned in this thread is the way the barbs behave if you DON"T select the raging barb option. I haven't played many FFH games with this option not selected so I forget how it was there. However, in my 3 games here without raging barb selected it just seems like the barbs just float around the edges of your borders rarely entering them. They will attack if you happen to pull up your unit next to one, but their behavior in going after cities and improvements seems a little strange to me.

    I seem to recall you saying you play your games at Epic Speed. Do you use raging barbs or not?
     
  13. MaxAstro

    MaxAstro Spiral Knight

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    The "floating around borders" thing is actually the problem. All barbarian units are forced to use the Explore AI until turn 130 (normal, prince, which is what I normally play on). As soon as turn 130 hits, every barbarian unit in the world goes to Attack AI simultaneously, resulting in a MASSIVE flood of barbarian units of all kinds that is hard to survive as a human, and absolutely devastating to the AI. Raging barbs just means there are that many more barbs to all hit at once. The best fix I can find is to delay their spawning; not sure how to do that based on speed. What I would really like to do is delay their spawning AND for Lizardmen and Skeletons to always use Attack AI, regardless of the turn. That would, I think, fix 90% of the barbarian flood problems.

    That said, I think the "explore until turn 130, then attack" strategy works ~beautifully~ for Orthus; instead of suiciding against the first civ he can find, he actually builds up some decent power before attacking and is a real threat.
     
  14. xanaqui42

    xanaqui42 King

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    Yep, it's implemented in Wiser Orcs.

    The C++ code can be found grepping on "stronger response to barbarian offensive"

    There are also two XML fields:
    BARBARIAN_LOSS_MEMORY_TURNS
    BARBARIAN_LOSS_THRESHOLD_UNITS

    War footing (WARPLAN_TOTAL) for a player against the barbarians occurs when BARBARIAN_LOSS_THRESHOLD_UNITS owned by that player are lost within BARBARIAN_LOSS_MEMORY_TURNS, and lost when the player goes under that. Note that a player that is not at war with the barbarians ignores this check.

    Feel free to contact me if you want/need assistance putting this logic in your mod mod.
     
  15. Sarisin

    Sarisin Deity

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    Hmmm, that's funny because I just didn't see this massive flood of barbarian units playing my game without raging barbs selected. I am around turn 300 now and have to say the barbs are a non-factor in the game and only about 50% of the Huge map is full - there are plenty of Bears, though!;)

    Also, this is the game where Orthus stood guard on a goody hut for about 50 turns and left when a Clan Warrior came along and popped the hut. However, instead of attacking (I'm sure it was past turn 130) he headed right for the city where Acheron was holed up. I sent a couple of Freaks and Warriors to soften him up, then killed him and took his axe with Curley.

    I think the main raging barb issue here is WHAT makes the barb main force spawn? As I said, in FFH it is tied to the number of cities settled on the map, but here it appears to be something else because at turn 40, when they are coming, there is usually only one city per civ at Epic Speed.
     
  16. xienwolf

    xienwolf Deity

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    Cool, I kinda figured that you had something like that in the changelogs a while ago, but haven't read your work TOO closely. Mostly it is just personal time and a knowledge that you are still working on the mod which have kept me out of your codebase so far. Soon as I get some time though I'll be making a hefty bunch of feedback in your thread, either asking why you did something, or pointing out how I changed it during import and why I wanted to do so.

    One thing I am not sure if you have mentioned looking at yet which would be nice is changing the "Combat Risk" logic to do a "Power Protect" type of framework. That meaning:

    1) AI checks the stack for the highest level unit and evaluates his combat odds. If they are phenomenal (>95%?) then that unit attacks.

    2) Cycle all non-Temporary units in the stack and check for decent combat odds (>90%?) and attack if found.

    3) Cycle all Temporary units and attack with the best possible odds from this group, if any temporary units present.

    4) Run the normally coded Risk evaluation and attacker selection, but includes a "Cowardice" factor where the more XP a unit has, the less willing it is to take personal risks. (Probably should also reduce the acceptable risk factor if the unit has an Equipment Promotion and no other defenders in the stack)



    Also make it refuse any combat against a unit with a duration that has even moderate risk (<90%), especially if there is a valid non-temporary target available. And never be willing to attack a unit with a duration of 1, since that unit will die before it can ever move again. Unless it is phenomenal odds (>95%) and decent XP (Levels/Strength close enough you'll get more than 1 XP for the fight, or have a promotion/Trait which allows bonus XP per victory).



    Been on my planned code for a long time, but that was back before I was comfortable fiddling with AI routines, and it has gotten quite burried by other projects since.
     
  17. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    That one could be dangerous if you literally mean "never" - all you have to do to prevent attacks at all is keep a 1 turn summon with you with a strength sufficient to be the first defender (Earth Ellies should do it, or even things like Spectres at lower levels).

    It needs to take into account the units that can be attacked *after* the short duration summon is dead. I fully agree that a single summon on it's own should be ignored, but it's more troublesome as a stack member.
     
  18. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    hey Sarisin, it's good to know that you no longer have CTD issues with FF :goodjob: I'm looking forward to the changes that are gonna be made about raging barbs, I wanna try it out cuz it's gonna make the game more interesting I guess. and it's awesome to see that xienwolf is gonna implement the wiser orcs changes in FF :D

    @xienwolf: shouldn't points 2) and 3) in your last post be switched around? I think the AI should be more willing to attack with non-durable summons, otherwise they'd end up being useless, no? I'm curious to hear the logic about that ;)
     
  19. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    I think what he meant with 1 and 2 was for any permanent units with high odds to attack first, thereby earning xp, followed by summons, and then follow it up with step 4, which is currently the only step.
     
  20. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    ah, you're right I guess. that way the XP doesn't go to waste. thanx for pointing that out. :)

    not sure about point 1 though. personally, if I got 90%+ odds with more than 1 unit, I tend to attack with lower-lvl ones to get them to raise in level, instead of only getting a single uber-unit.
     

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