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The Loooser

Loot containers are not totally random (anymore)

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Hello!

 

So I was standing on top of the Shotgun Messiah Factory and looting the chests there.

 

In search for a good loot I was reloading / reseting the save all the time when I had only bad stuff in there.

 

During A13 and A15 you could just reload until you finally got what you wanted, also the same with the trader inventory.

 

 

But now it seems that it is NOT random anymore what you get.

 

I noticed if I open all the chests in the SAME SEQUENCE then the loot will ALWAYS be the same. Regular *chests* seem to count as the same container regarding this.

 

Let's say I do this sequence:

 

1. Regular shipping crate

2. Regular shipping crate

3. ammo box

4. Weapon bag

5. Regular shipping crate

6. (finally) hardened chest (that big one with the best loot

 

In any case I will get the same loot. And the bad thing about this is:

 

If I go to another Shotgun Messiah Factory and raid it until the end and open the chests in the same sequence, I get the same loot AGAIN.

 

Now you could for example switch the container of 3. and 4.

 

This will make you get the totally same loot in 1. and 2. But then you will get new loot starting from the 3rd container (which would be the weapon bag).

 

By doing this it is still possible to reload and check for better loot. But you will have to write everything down to know what patchs you already did.

 

 

 

Now one may say:

 

I dont want to *cheat* and reload my save to get items faster, so I dont care.

 

But according to my thoughts, as the loot is not even random at all, it is a problem also for other people, because if they dont write down how they opened a sequence of containers, then they will always get the same loot and maybe not even knowing / noticing it. Then it will even hinder you to advance in the game, if all those super containers wont give you new stuff ever.

 

Now it seems that this is based on other things too. For example: You can spend a skill point on whatever and then open all the chests and the loot will be different. So it seems like you create a new seed for the calculation of the loot. Therefore it seems that all actions you do may determine what the loot container will have and if you change all those variables again then it will recalculate. But in any case, it is not random anymore if you open a container.

 

 

 

Next example:

 

I was in a library with 10 book shelves.

 

I opened all 10 in a special row. I will reduce it down to 4 books to make it easier to understand:

 

1. Shelf1 = Fireman Alamanach V3

2. Shelf2 = 15 Paper

3. Shelf3 = Nothing

4. Shelf4 = Hunter's Journal V6

 

then I reloaded the save and I opened them in the OTHER WAY AROUND starting with the last.

 

And what I got was this:

 

1. Shelf4 = Fireman Alamanach V3

2. Shelf3 = 15 Paper

3. Shelf2 = Nothing

4. Shelf1 = Hunter's Journal V6

 

Exactly the same sequence of books, even though I opened that shelves the other way around. So it is not only PREDETERMINED what will be in those containers, but also you are FORCED to recieve a certain item, regardsless of the opening sequence.

 

Then I realoded and opened all the 10 book shelves totally random.

 

Guess what?

 

1. = Fireman Alamanach V3

2. = 15 Paper

3. = Nothing

4. = Hunter's Journal V6 ...

 

So right at this point where I was in game, I was FORCED to recieve a Fireman Alamanach V3 the next time I opened ANY book case. Also I was FORCED to recieve 15 Paper the next time I opened ANY book case. And so on.

 

You may argue that reseting a save to "farm" for special books is a dumb thing and ruins the point of scavenging. But also this new way of determining the loot of containers far off from randomness is also pretty dumb :/

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Well.. it is completely random. Just repeatably so.. :) The only way to witness it is to replay a save, which isn't exactly a planned game play feature, so I wouldn't expect them changing it.

 

Props for a good investigation/write-up though! While I'd rather just cm stuff in instead, if you want to keep at that, well, I'm not judging :)

 

Your first example shows that by looting something else, you'll get a change. For the book cases, try looting a trash bag first. Or anything else. It might just end up skipping one item of the book cases though. If so, you might be able to "use up" some random numbers, for example via combat - the dismemberment chance at least seems to rely on RNG... of course they can run their separate number generators, but could be worth a try hitting the next zed in the skull.

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Procedurally random is similar to true random but tends to limit save-scumming.

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Well based on regular play I would indeed say it *feels* random, but what about that situation that I described:

 

Going on top of the same Tier V building and opening the chests in the same order (which is very likely, as you may always start with the nearest one and conclude with the one to lockpick/break open) and then you will get the same stuff. Let's say you dont understand the background of this and you get angry to always reviece a Q4 Steel Helmet - would be bad - or you dont recognize it and just take it and never consider you get the same stuff and still only have your Steel Helmet - both cases would be not cool.

 

But actually much more important why I wrote this up:

 

It WAS actually totally random, so it was changed to this new system by total intention, which makes me wonder why?

 

It was definetly possible to reload a save 50x until you got that schematic from the library - so why was it changed to this new mechanic? I guess not to combat the guys that will reload their save all day long, did not seem as this was a problem or even used by anyone.

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There are two possible reasons as far as I can see. Either too unify the code so that you don't have two different types of random number generator to deal with or to prevent save scumming. The latter being what you described by being able to reload a save until you get the item you want.

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Having a fixed preset loot seed per POI container makes it easier to debug the loot balancing. (you can run a definite statistic of what will spawn over the whole map, and test if all items will appear at one point)

And of course to reduce save scumming, which is also a benefit.

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Must be a technical reason, likely just a side-effect of rewriting something. If I had to come up with a reason to actually do this it would be to have reproducibility.. as in, you could test things and everything would always behave the same. Not a bad thing, but not something I'd see being done at this rush-for-gold stage intentionally.

 

Can't see a reason to implement "save scumming prevention" in a game without save/load functions :) ... you'll need to essentially edit files to save scum here, which means you'll have the ability to 'cm' anyway.

 

And for the example of looting the different but same T5 buildings; if you're testing it, sure. One container type will have a single loot table, from the game's perspective they are the same container. If you have the same pile of containers on two different rooftops, they're still the same container..

 

Now actually, I watched someone on YT, (capp00?) who did several attempts at a horde night in a row, with increasing difficulty. Afterwards he was clearing out loot bags and plenty of them had the same content - he didn't notice, I don't think, but it was pretty obvious. It was half an hour or an hour between loots for him, couple minutes for the viewer so.. Problem is, he Was fighting them, so at least those random combat events don't use the same RNG root.. might be unique to loot.

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Posted (edited)

Very good point @OP, I would also like to add that when you start a new game, open the first container, remember what was inside, quit the game, delete the world, start a new game with the same world again, open the very same container as before, you will most likely get the same loot. Not to mention the game spawns you most likely at the very same place too. This happened to me a lot and the only semblance of variety of loot was when I installed mods that add more loot.

 

EDIT:

Also, if you install the mod that adds more cars to car spawns for more variety, even the cars are always the same cars on the same spots. If this isn't a proof that nothing is really random, then I don't know what would be.

Edited by mr.devolver (see edit history)

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Having a fixed preset loot seed per POI container makes it easier to debug the loot balancing. (you can run a definite statistic of what will spawn over the whole map, and test if all items will appear at one point)

And of course to reduce save scumming, which is also a benefit.

 

I was thinking possibly a loot seed stored per save, which would explain why if you loot containers A, B, and C in the same order, you get the same loot, but if you do A, C, B (where C is not the same type of container as B) then you might get something different. Seed is RNG updated after every loot action. Also explains why five bookshelves looted in order will have the same loot whether looted A-E or E-A order.

 

Now one may say:

 

I dont want to *cheat* and reload my save to get items faster, so I dont care. But according to my thoughts, as the loot is not even random at all, it is a problem also for other people,

 

I expect that exploiting the save/reload process for loot optimization is not a Protected Class of player behavior under the TFP Constitution.

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In any case I will get the same loot. And the bad thing about this is:

 

If I go to another Shotgun Messiah Factory and raid it until the end and open the chests in the same sequence, I get the same loot AGAIN.

 

Are you saying that if you loot the same chests of two Factories one after the other (without reloading!) the chests would give the same loot? I highly doubt that.

 

Or are you just saying that if you reloaded and went to a different Factory of the same type this would happen? In that case I'd have to quote William Shatner:

:smile-new:

 

 

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I was thinking possibly a loot seed stored per save, which would explain why if you loot containers A, B, and C in the same order, you get the same loot, but if you do A, C, B (where C is not the same type of container as B) then you might get something different. Seed is RNG updated after every loot action. Also explains why five bookshelves looted in order will have the same loot whether looted A-E or E-A order..

 

I have not tested any of this behavior. If it act as you say, then there is simply a separate random pool (own advancing seed) for the item drops.

Im sure there are several random draws per second for all other purposes (like the AI), so its not just taken from one single common random pool.

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If I go to another Shotgun Messiah Factory and raid it until the end and open the chests in the same sequence, I get the same loot AGAIN.

 

Well that part definitely doesn't sound great. I feel like the POI cell coordinates should factor in the random seed.

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It's possible the devs are using a randomly generated seed which determines the values of all objects just like in binding of isaac. You can start a new game but if you have the same seed the items dropped come in the same "random" sequence.

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Posted (edited)

 

I have not tested any of this behavior. If it act as you say, then there is simply a separate random pool (own advancing seed) for the item drops.

Im sure there are several random draws per second for all other purposes (like the AI), so its not just taken from one single common random pool.

 

Yes exactly. That is what I meant by "possibly a loot seed stored per save". A seed. For looting. I'm sure could be other seeds for other purposes, though there wouldn't need to be. The benefit to having multiple RNG stack going would be to avoid the type of repeatable behavior that OP reports (note that I haven't tested any of it either; I'm only positing explanations for OP's reported behavior).

 

Looting and crafting both have a sort of "user interface", if you will, to how the RNG is working. A combination of crafting and looting (specific items and specific loot containers in a specific order) might be able to uncover whether there are different RNG stacks for crafting & looting or whether they use the same RNG stack.

 

I wish we had someone around here who liked to go into the game and conduct experiments...

Edited by Boidster (see edit history)

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Well that part definitely doesn't sound great. I feel like the POI cell coordinates should factor in the random seed.

 

Or just milliseconds since game start. Seems reasonable that preventing "save scumming" could be part of the reason they elected instead to use a more unified seed-once-use-often RNG stack.

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Another topic:

 

I always get the same Rewards for Trader Tier 5 Quests ... that sucks.

 

When I reload it switches between Q6 Magnum / Iron Helmet / Steel Knuckles / Steel Pickaxe.

 

Then I thought: Ok I seem to just get that one seed for loot, then do another Quest.

 

Now after 7-10 (dont know how many) Tier 5 Quests in which I all reloaded like 7x every time I still only get one of that 4 items mentioned above - and of course stuff like a schematic or whatelse, but I'm talking about the A6 items.

 

Then I even invested into the Daring Adventurer Skill upwards to 5 to get more Quest Rewards possibilities and better Quest Rewards and also choose 2 of them instead of 1.

 

Now even if that items would be determined by a seed that never seems to change, then increasing the "Quality" of quest rewards (as described in the Daring Adventurer Skill) would definetly change my reward pool, as increasing Loot Bonus does the same for looting containers = new seed and new items.

 

 

Now guess what?

 

Now as I see up to 4 items I can choose between the following 4 Q6 items (always only 2 of them appear each time):

 

Q6 Magnum / Iron Helmet / Steel Knuckles / Steel Pickaxe

 

 

For 2 reasons this sucks:

 

1. I reloaded the quest reward 7x or more every time to still show basically the same - OK, that may be due to the seed.

 

But then I did 7-10 Quests and they all have the SAME SEED with the SAME ITEMS. Man, why do I do all these quests then?? I have 3 Q6 Magnum and 2 Q6 Pickaxes and so on, I want a Q6 (insert anything here that is not Q6 Magnum / Iron Helmet / Steel Knuckles / Steel Pickaxe), This kind of destroys the reason for questing.

 

2. Even fortifying the skill that is said to effect the queste rewards did not change ANYTHING. So something must be broken.

 

Anyone observed similar stuff?

 

 

PS: WTF why do I need to enter my password to post this?

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You did 7 quests without resetting your save and got essentially 2 choices from a pool of the same 4 items every time? That sounds like a bug report time, can't be intentional.

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Agree. Tier 5 trader quests ought to give you the following (if I am reading quests.xml and loot.xml correctly):

  • 2000 coins (+/- perhaps based on perks)
  • A schematic
  • A mod
  • Random ammo (higher quality e.g. AP or rockets)
  • Random tool (Quality 6 with small chance to be Quality 5, likely to be highest tier e.g. steel or auger/chainsaw)
  • Random melee OR ranged (Quality 6 with small chance to be quality 5, likely to be top tier)
  • Random armor OR medical (Quality 6 with small chance to be quality 5, likely to be top tier)

So the set of choices {Q6 Magnum, Q6 Iron Helmet, Q6 Knuckles, Q6 Steel Pick} doesn't seem to match what quests.xml specifies because you have both melee and ranged in there, but no ammo. Maybe I'm reading quests.xml incorrectly though - could be it can pick multiple times from the same group. But certainly completing a subsequent T5 quest ought to shuffle the choices based on loot.xml. The "tools" loot group has all of the tools in it, not just picks. If you only ever see picks, that is a bug.

 

I don't understand why it isn't a bug that all high-GS players are complaining about, though. It would be pretty quickly noticed by everybody. The kind of bug that might result in a hotfix patch even.

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This game isn't random. Extra-dimensional Aliens are conducting behavioural experiements on us, seeing how long it takes for the mice to work out what happens when they run around the maze pressing all the buttons.

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You did 7 quests without resetting your save and got essentially 2 choices from a pool of the same 4 items every time? That sounds like a bug report time, can't be intentional.

 

Well I reseted the Save every time I got one of the same 4 items to choose, but put it down after like 10 tries in all cases and continued to the next trader.

 

So it was like this:

 

1. Tier V Quest: Q6 Magnum/Steel Pic/Steel Knickles/Iron Helmet - reloaded X times with same results

 

continued with 2. Tier V Quest: same outcome

 

.... 7. Quest oder maybe even 10 - all same outcome.

 

So I reseted the save to check for another Quest Reward, BUT when I noticed that nothing else will show up, I of course accepted that Q6 Magnum/Steel Pic/Steel Knickles/Iron Helmet and went on to the next Tier V Quest.

 

Therefore yes - I got all these items in a row, each after accepting the nearly same reward from the last trader.

 

Maybe doing a new one today and tell results again. :C

 

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If two consecutive T5 quest reward lists were identical, that would be an amazing RNG coincidence. Dunno the odds but it wouldn't surprise me if it's 1:1,000,000 given how many different choices the game has to pick from when building your reward choice list.

 

Three consecutive T5 quests giving exactly the same reward choices is a bug. Just within the "tools" list there are 5 or 6 top tier items to choose from. If the game is always choosing Steel Pick, it's a bug. And you never get any ammo? Buggity bug bug.

 

Or I'm completely misunderstanding quests.xml and really what are the odds of that? :biggrin-new:

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Posted (edited)

Loooser. you are still leaving some room for misinterpretation. Did you:

 

get quest1 reward -> reset -> get quest1 reward -> reset -> go to other trade get quest2 reward ? If yes, that is perfectly normal when the game uses procedural randomness

 

or did you do:

 

get quest1 reward -> reset -> get quest1 reward -> go to other trader get quest2 reward ? This would be really astonishing and it is what Boidster is assuming and calling a bug if that happens.

Edited by meganoth (see edit history)

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Yeah, here's the test we need (I tried with T1 quests, but could not duplicate the problem; have not yet pop-tarted* my character up to T5 quests).

  1. Do T5 quest #1
  2. Turn in T5 quest #1
  3. Take T5 quest #2 from same trader (or different trader; it really doesn't matter for the purposes of finding a bug)
  4. Do T5 quest #2
  5. Turn in T5 quest #2 and compare reward choices

No resets at all during that test. If quest #2 has exactly the same choices as quest #1, it's a bug. If you further move on to do T5 quest #3 (no reset) and you still get the same results, it's <Stilgar voice> bugsign the likes of which even God has never seen. The bug forum ought to be aflame with such a serious bug.

 

* Pop-Tart (v): to artificially advance a game character's level and/or abilities outside of normal gameplay. From late 1970's, early 1980's table-top RPGs e.g. Dungeons & Dragons. Example: "We're going to run through Castle of Greyhawk so I want you guys to pop-tart characters at level 10."

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