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AI Behavior (Grineer specific) study and discussion


TheTeamLiability
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I suppose I should precede this with the fact that I am not a regular on the forums, neither am I by any means a professional programmer, but I have been playing Warframe for quite a while, and the area of AI behavior in games and this game specifically has always been of interest to me. I have a good grasp of programming structure and analytics, so I'm not entirely unqualified to speak on the subject, but anything I do will inevitably be more by way of engineering than science.

What I have strongly been considering doing for some time is a study of Grineer behavior in-game using the tools and modes available to players. Movement speed, pathfinding, prioritization, fire rate, accuracy, the effects of level on all of the above, etc. etc.. Granted, all things that DE knows about already, but probably shouldn't waste their time putting into a neat, public-ready format to appease boring people such as myself. While I would be putting this together partially for my own fun, the main purpose would be to figure out ways to improve the threat and depth of the Grineer as an enemy in combat with minimal programming overhead (And through behavioral changes alone, not modifying armor or health or direct weapon damage).

My main two questions are,
1) Is this something that anyone in the community would be interested in figuring out and discussing in earnest?
2) Is this something that would be of any use to DE?

I don't expect miracles, but it would be an interesting project that some bit of good might come out of.

The Ropalopalollipop's Administrative Assistant,
TheTeamLiability

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1 hour ago, TheTeamLiability said:

1) Is this something that anyone in the community would be interested in figuring out and discussing in earnest?

I would be, can't speak for anyone else.

1 hour ago, TheTeamLiability said:

2) Is this something that would be of any use to DE?

I can't imagine why not. If nothing else, it could put some of the AI's glaring issues into perspective, and I'm not talking about bugs. I'm talking about things like Terra Plasmor Crewmen firing from over 100 metres away.

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50 minutes ago, TheTeamLiability said:

Is this something that anyone in the community would be interested in figuring out and discussing in earnest?

Yes. A few things come to mind.

Hitbox for parry. We have our block angle, but I'm curious of their required window for both angle and timing to parry.

Hitbox for "Punch Ground = Knock Down," shenanigans the heavy units use; what Does or Does Not interrupt that? What distance? Up to what frame in animation can they be stopped? Much like ancients, there are some suspicious moments what we may feel qualify to have interrupted them, that don't work. Knowing those specifics would be incredibly helpful to trouble shoot what does not work, and whether it should.

The distance at which they can hear gunfire. ...this ties to something that's always bothered me.. guns are Alarming or Silent, and nothing in between. (Surely some would be louder than others, right?) Never really tested it myself.. just sort of went all stealth, or went loud. Nothing in between.. and that's in part due to there being no (known) variation available. Come to think of it, this is an easy one.. I just need to go mark a stationary enemy, walk 100m away, and shoot while I walk closer. **I'll test this now and let you know what I find out momentarily.

This one is a little bit round-about, and not really about discovering anything in game, but still about adjusting AI... Average (human) reaction time. The Grineer were JUST given a 1s delay before reacting from unalerted.. which is an improvement! By what I'm seeing online from a cursory glance, the median human reaction time is around 215ms. So the 1s delay feels just a bit much. If that's going to feel natural (accounting for Grineer being just a touch necrotic) I would imagine a more comfortable time window to be somewhere within 300 - 600ms range. I also noticed they Vocalize when they are alerted, but don't attempt to raise their gun. So for the sake of a good feel, raising the gun shortly after alert, (around 200-300ms) but not properly looking down sights or firing (untill 350-600) would probably make them feel more organic.

Good topic, OP. Nothing else is coming to mind just this moment, but I'll let you know when it does.

 

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If the topic is on grinner specifically (In corpus its slightly different) Here's what I find about their behavior:

There are 2 kinds of grinner that we find the most. Ranged and melee. There is also, 3 states of consciousness: Passive, Alert, Aggressive.

Ranged units, when moved from alert to aggressive state, will try to find to cover to engage from. They will not engage unless the player is in view. Ranged units will still attempt to engage on players in unreachable spots (ie scaffoldings). In fact, The Loki warframe's Decoy ability manipulates this AI behavior. 

Ranged units will use shield lancers as cover.

Melee unites are simpler. If player is reachable, walk up to it. However, if player is unreachable, ignore player and look for other targets.

Eximus units: All ranged units will attempt to huddle up together with a ranged eximus unit. Melee units don't, as they just try to run to the player.

Prioritization: Enemy units prioritize targets based on their "Threat level". Higher Threat level means great prioritization by the enemy. To put it into perspective:

Allies have a threat level of 0. Players have a threat level of 1. Defense objectives have a threat level of 2. Loki's Decoy have a threat level of 3. Walking upclose to an enemy increases your threat level from 1 to 3. Alarm panic button has a threat level of 4.

The threat level of the panic button causes the grinner to prioritize on setting the alarm off when they move from alert to aggressive state. If there is already another unit on the panic button, then it is ignored.

Occasionally, they will throw grenades. Though I could not find any pattern of this.

Arc mines will alert nearby grinner.

 

What I like to see could be changed or implemented:

  • When the enemies move out of cover to shoot, the animation delay is way to long. They are dead by the time the animation is done. So I think it should be reduced.
  • I think there should be more enemies like that one nightwatch napalm we had during an event. Apparently, it had the ability to set up ambushes?
  • More Variation of enemies. Right now, we only have eximuses, snipers and heavies as any form of variations. I think we need more.

 

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Just learned... Some guns are louder than others! 5, going on 6 years, I Never knew that.

My Burston Prime was alerting grineer within 35m, my Mara Detron around 56m, neither of which have any silencer mods on.
These were lvl 1 and 2 units, but regardless of level (1 or 2), those numbers were consistent.

Thanks again for the topic. Had you not got me wondering about this, I would not have tested it.
Now, I've just got to convince DE to put that stat on our weapons. =P

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Excellent! All good points and information, it will help me refine what I'm looking for. I suppose I'll break it up into chunks instead of trying to take it all on at once. For now, I will look at:

  • Cover and cover animation speeds
  • Rate of fire/attack speed
  • Accuracy at range
  • Alert range, alert limitations, engagement range
  • Movement speed in various states and situations

That will be a decent starting place, I think. It will probably take me about a week to get all of the information together and distill it down into any meaningful format, so be on the lookout for that if you are all still interested. I know the thread will probably be buried by then, but hopefully no one will mind a week old thread getting bumped back up on activity.

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