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Horde Night feedback - less smart zombies


John Black
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So I’ve been playing a good bit the last couple of months and just want to give some feedback regarding Horde Night AI.

 

With the current AI it’s pretty much gauntlet style horde night with little variation. What I don’t like about this type of gameplay it the predictability and lack of scalability. The predictability makes it boring and due to the AI limits you can’t really scale out too much.

 

I want horde night zombies to be dumb and start bashing on my stuff from any direction and only revert to ‘smart’ AI when they can’t reach the player. A bit of smarts would be okay, I mean I don’t want them to try break steal when there is a wooden door around the corner.

 

From what I’ve observed, I’m assuming the following about zombie horde AI.

1) Zombies will try to path X blocks to player probably adjusted based on HP of blocks in between.

2a) If they’re unable to find a path within adjusted X, they’ll start bashing towards the player. (or maybe start closest to player in failed path)

2b) If they can’t reach the player, they’ll start breaking down supports or start digging.

 

So without changing things too much, I would guess that if we can get access to X, the variable that determines when the zombies will give up pathing, we can dramatically change how horde nights play out. X will of course have to be tied to Horde Night zombies only as we don’t want feral sense zombies(A20) turning stupid in POIs.

 

I have noticed AIPathCostScale & utilityai.xml but from my limited knowledge I don’t think there is enough to change things on horde night.

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Everybody seems to want a little something different when it comes to zombie AI.  Some want them completely dumb simply reacting to sounds or smells and smashing what is between them and their distraction.  Some want a little decision making by the zombies and others wand them feral stalkers/killers like in a Doom game.

 

I think the important thing is that TFP builds the tools to make them a range of things and allow people to mod their behavior to where they want them.  Which is, of course, what they are doing.  The base game once released will be TFP's dream and likely a large part of the population will be happy with that.  From there it will be mods and mayhem for years to come.  People will still be modding and playing this game in 2040 I suspect, as long as there is still civilization and the game is released by then, that is.

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Pretty much what @Maharin said. I doubt we will get actually challenging horde nights tbh. Unless you restricht yourself a lot. Like not using traders, turning down the loot, not using the tons of cobblestone and cement lying around in POI´s, not using augers and so on. But even then i doubt it.

 

Tbh i rather think that unity destroyed their dream a bit and their new game on UE is where the dream is now. I doubt that a pretty much empty world was their dream. (And no, feral sense is not gonna help here a lot. 8 Zombies max per chunk is not enough, especially not in a city, no matter how they behave. Give us the slider for the spawnrate back.) 

Edited by pApA^LeGBa (see edit history)
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56 minutes ago, pApA^LeGBa said:

Pretty much what @Maharin said. I doubt we will get actually challenging horde nights tbh. Unless you restricht yourself a lot. Like not using traders, turning down the loot, not using the tons of cobblestone and cement lying around in POI´s, not using augers and so on. But even then i doubt it.

 

Tbh i rather think that unity destroyed their dream a bit and their new game on UE is where the dream is now. I doubt that a pretty much empty world was their dream. (And no, feral sense is not gonna help here a lot. 8 Zombies max per chunk is not enough, especially not in a city, no matter how they behave. Give us the slider for the spawnrate back.) 

honestly the biggest problem is pc minimal setting

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59 minutes ago, pApA^LeGBa said:

Give us the slider for the spawnrate back

 

Technically it is still there but you simply have to change values in the xml. Don't even need a modlet to do it. Just go to spawning.xml and change the numbers for each biome for day and night. If you are feeling spicy you can change the values for the respawn delay. It is practically as easy as a slider if not as fast but you also get a lot more fine tune control over what you will get.

 

2 minutes ago, Matt115 said:

honestly the biggest problem is pc minimal setting

 

honestly the biggest problem is lack of education about spawning.xml

 

Regardless of the minimum specs posted on Steam, anyone whose rig can handle more can have more in less than 5 minutes of changing some number values.

Edited by Roland (see edit history)
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10 minutes ago, Roland said:

 

Technically it is still there but you simply have to change values in the xml. Don't even need a modlet to do it. Just go to spawning.xml and change the numbers for each biome for day and night. If you are feeling spicy you can change the values for the respawn delay. It is practically as easy as a slider if not as fast but you also get a lot more fine tune control over what you will get.

 

 

honestly the biggest problem is lack of education about spawning.xml

 

Regardless of the minimum specs posted on Steam, anyone whose rig can handle more can have more in less than 5 minutes of changing some number values.

this is changing files - i  mean if minimal specs were set higher game was making diffrent and for example - zombie would be stupid but in high number. now they are in small number but "smart".  honestly it could be so good if zombies coudn't find way in flat so they started to destroing all bulding and it will colapse

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1 hour ago, pApA^LeGBa said:

Pretty much what @Maharin said. I doubt we will get actually challenging horde nights tbh. Unless you restricht yourself a lot. Like not using traders, turning down the loot, not using the tons of cobblestone and cement lying around in POI´s, not using augers and so on. But even then i doubt it.

 

Tbh i rather think that unity destroyed their dream a bit and their new game on UE is where the dream is now. I doubt that a pretty much empty world was their dream. (And no, feral sense is not gonna help here a lot. 8 Zombies max per chunk is not enough, especially not in a city, no matter how they behave. Give us the slider for the spawnrate back.) 

I mostly agree, I think the dream of hundreds of mostly mindless hordes is not realistic with what we have now.

Also regarding a new game on a better engine sure it would be great but less building or digging would kind of suck but I am sure there is a happy medium somewhere.

I am more than confident everyone will figure out a way to block or remove stairs/ladders or whatever to get to the second floor no matter what the engine is unless you make the world really static like Survive the Night which isn’t a bad game but you have to understand nothing can be destroyed or modified beyond boarding up a door or window and stuff like that. Survive the Night does have a lot more zombies during the nightly “horde” but the inflexible world makes it less fun than 7D2D.

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I remember that when that slider was removed, that it was said that it´s only due to balancing reasons and that it will come back. I really should start screenshooting such posts from the team. @Roland

 

We really shouldn´t have to fiddle around with xml files just because we don´t play on a potatoe. I don´t even have a high end PC (CPU was 180€), but i can up the spawn at least 3 times with no performance issues. What is wrong with bringing back that slider? Won´t stop the game from running on old computers.

Edited by pApA^LeGBa (see edit history)
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14 minutes ago, Roland said:

 

So is a slider. A slider is a graphic representation of changing those same values. Its barely modding.

Yes. but this is not "devs" decision. i'm sure if they decided " well guys number of zombie will be x2,5 higher" it would have influence on pois , guns perks etc

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37 minutes ago, pApA^LeGBa said:

I remember that when that slider was removed, that it was said that it´s only due to balancing reasons and that it will come back. I really should start screenshooting such posts from the team. @Roland

 

We really shouldn´t have to fiddle around with xml files just because we don´t play on a potatoe. I don´t even have a high end PC (CPU was 180€), but i can up the spawn at least 3 times with no performance issues. What is wrong with bringing back that slider? Won´t stop the game from running on old computers.

 

There's nothing wrong with it. A slider would be great. The two sliders for damage we do to zombies and damage they do to us would be great to have back as well. I'm just saying that until/if they add them there is no reason to not enjoy having more zombies today.

 

I wasn't saying no slider because we can edit spawning.xml. I was saying learn how to edit spawning.xml so you have what you want starting now and despite whatever may or may not happen with the top menu.

Edited by Roland (see edit history)
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46 minutes ago, Matt115 said:

Yes. but this is not "devs" decision. i'm sure if they decided " well guys number of zombie will be x2,5 higher" it would have influence on pois , guns perks etc

 

What is more likely to happen than them overhauling zombie numbers and rebalancing everything to the new numbers is that they will cheat it in through the random encounter system they talked about.

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1 minute ago, Roland said:

 

What is more likely to happen than them overhauling zombie numbers and rebalancing everything to the new numbers is that they will cheat it in through the random encounter system they talked about.

well this could work good if  it will be make in logical way : car alarm, alarm in shop , random explosion etc

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They aren't necessarily going to be triggered by an event although some of them may be like that. Rather the game extrapolates where you will be along the path you are traveling and places zombies/NPC/Bandits in your pathway out of sight. So global zombie population is not increased-- just your locality much like a wandering horde. To you it will seem like at times there are more zombies.

 

Examples:

 

When you get to your quest destination the POI is surrounded by 20 zombies you will need to clear before starting the quest

 

When you round a hill you see some bandits fighting against some zombies

 

As you walk you come upon an NPC survivor who has a quest for you.

 

And it can be as you say as well, when you arrive to a particular spot an explosion goes off and screamers converge on you.

 

In most cases it will simply be a manager that makes sure more of the existing zombies in the area that you usually never see end up in your vicinity

 

 

They haven't talked about this since A17 so who knows if it is going to go in or be judged beyond the scope....

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20 minutes ago, Roland said:

They aren't necessarily going to be triggered by an event although some of them may be like that. Rather the game extrapolates where you will be along the path you are traveling and places zombies/NPC/Bandits in your pathway out of sight. So global zombie population is not increased-- just your locality much like a wandering horde. To you it will seem like at times there are more zombies.

 

Examples:

 

When you get to your quest destination the POI is surrounded by 20 zombies you will need to clear before starting the quest

 

When you round a hill you see some bandits fighting against some zombies

 

As you walk you come upon an NPC survivor who has a quest for you.

 

And it can be as you say as well, when you arrive to a particular spot an explosion goes off and screamers converge on you.

 

In most cases it will simply be a manager that makes sure more of the existing zombies in the area that you usually never see end up in your vicinity

 

 

They haven't talked about this since A17 so who knows if it is going to go in or be judged beyond the scope....

this sounds similiar to skyrim or stalker so this is good

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Yes, there is no reason to increase the number of zombies globally if you are not in the immediate area.  That would be just a waste of computer resources for things that do not affect you.

 

Also, I believe that feral sense (based on @Roland comments on it from his experience) is going to pull in more zombies to your location.  And since I like to make my game playing painful, I will either set it to night or all the time  😁

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We use JaxTeller718’s x4 'Increased Wilderness Zombies', it's an amazing change and I would recommend it to anyone feeling that the apocalypse is empty. Just don't get stuck in the wasteland without ammo at night 😁. We had to go back to MaxSpawnedZombies=64 after the 2nd night in the wasteland but even after reverting things are still action packed all over the map(only 3 of us on the server).

 

As for the main topic, we just want to get back to building castles, 20 feet thick walls, 360 defenses, fallback areas etc. I understand we can’t have 100s of zombies, for that we’ll turn to block damage as an artificial alternative.

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I also can't see them doing much more for AI during the blood moon. I understand the concern though. The conclusion I have come up with for myself is that if things are too easy during the horde, then it's really because things were too easy leading up to the horde. If you aren't running your butt off trying to prepare for it, and this is what you really want to experience, then adjustments should be made so that it's really hard to prepare. For myself, I would love to survive by the skin of my teeth horde after horde. However, adjusting settings perfectly to get this while at the same time fighting with the gamestage is something I have yet to accomplish. It seems like no matter what I do, there is always some point where I catch up and then it's clear sailing to day 200 and beyond. I suppose that crescendo needs to be reached at some point, but I just wish it took much longer before getting there.

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1 hour ago, AtomicUs5000 said:

I also can't see them doing much more for AI during the blood moon. I understand the concern though. The conclusion I have come up with for myself is that if things are too easy during the horde, then it's really because things were too easy leading up to the horde. If you aren't running your butt off trying to prepare for it, and this is what you really want to experience, then adjustments should be made so that it's really hard to prepare. For myself, I would love to survive by the skin of my teeth horde after horde. However, adjusting settings perfectly to get this while at the same time fighting with the gamestage is something I have yet to accomplish. It seems like no matter what I do, there is always some point where I catch up and then it's clear sailing to day 200 and beyond. I suppose that crescendo needs to be reached at some point, but I just wish it took much longer before getting there.

Exactly, after a certain point the only challenge is not to trigger too many demos.

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10 hours ago, John Black said:

Exactly, after a certain point the only challenge is not to trigger too many demos.

True.  Starting fresh, I'm already thinking ahead about how I'm going to deal with demos this time. 
 
I always wished that there were things you could do to mitigate demo damage using select materials. For example, putting a layer of dirt/sand in between two walls. Or maybe make it so that wood is weak normally but better against explosive damage. Taking it a step further, if zombies had strengths and weaknesses with specific materials and if materials were less about linear HP and SI progression and more about utilizing their properties to handle different situations, we would have much more interesting builds and BM gameplay. Have rad zombies do area damage around them, but then change scrap iron walls to just scrap walls which require lead and iron and can block this radiation. Even let water squelch fire zombies to weaken the damage they can do, destroying the water block in the process.
 
A side effect of this is that now in between hordes you might have several different tasks to do to keep your base maintained including those things that were early stage stuff normally like digging, scrapping, and cutting wood. Lead becomes actually useful and now you actually have to get pails of water. Less of the same old grind and more thinking and planning.

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Totally next level ideas there @AtomicUs5000. That’s also exactly the type of scalability I mentioned in my first post the game lacks.

 

So just imagine you start out with 3 block thick walls. As you progress in gamestage and the enemy gets stronger you can add your special layers on the outside or maybe just build another wall to deal with the new threat.

 

Funneling zombies just kills the ‘bigger base’, ‘bigger castle’, ‘thicker walls’ idea. And with ‘bigger’ comes the need for alarms, more traps and defenses to cover walls under attack that you may or may not be aware of.

 

My last online game was on a hard-mode server, BM zombie block damage at 250% and multiple of us with 600+ GS. We could deal with the threat in a what I would guess was a 30x30 base with almost no repairs necessary during BM.

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21 hours ago, John Black said:

Totally next level ideas there @AtomicUs5000. That’s also exactly the type of scalability I mentioned in my first post the game lacks.

 
I had this in mind from many years ago playing Minecraft Factions. Countless hours were spent thinking of ways to prevent your base from getting raided by rival factions.
You had your super strong obsidian which was great for explosive damage and took awhile to get through with a pickaxe. But then, the next layer might be horizontal layers of sand/gravel and obsidian so that people would have to switch back and forth between shovel and pickaxe. Third layer might be a checkboard of water and wood. Wood because now you need an axe to get through easily and the water to prevent trying to burn the layer. Finally you alternate these layers as much as you think is needed depending on the strength of your enemy factions.  So, even as the supreme faction, it was important to still keep your stock of "weaker" material.

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