Cataclysm Tactics

Good day everyone, heke here and I’d like to present to you an idea of a tactics mod.
Idea is that everyone wants useful NPCs, but implementing smart and authonomous NPC behaviour is clearly a pain, so why don’t we dump it all on the player?

So let’s say we take an Examine(x) screen and augment it with two additional commands available with a keypress:

  • Attack an enemy under cursor
  • Guard the space under cursor

This can be further improved with NPC selection option for coordinating a huge party of characters. For example you press “Attack” and prompt appears asking you which NPC in the party do you want to execute this action?

The tactics option would allow a variety of satisfying tactical maneuvers while limiting the hassle of complicated NPC behaviour programming.

I would be happy to know what you think in this regard and how exactly difficult it might be to implement such an option.
Thank you in advance~

Yes, I would like to have the ability to give orders to a party of npcs, but we need some basic behavior, for example, If a npc is guarding a place I prefer him to flee more than fight barehanded a Jabberwock, so orders are a good proposal, but they must be placed alongside some basic AI.

I do agree that better AI would be a great addition. I just hope that an orders system would be (presumably) much easier to implement, thus making NPCs (presumably) more useful right now.

Just for a little perspective, the thing that keeps NPCs from being usable isn’t specifically the AI, there’s a lot of issues with basically all the NPC handling code, in particular item handling is very badly broken which is what causes the “NPC eats a lighter” errors and a bunch of the crashes. I’ve tracked down at least a few of the things contributing to it, but had to shelve it for the current release because fixing it requires a large overhaul of the PC/NPC inventory system (they both use the same inventory system) which would risk making the player inventory more unstable in order to try and fix the NPC issues. Not a good tradeoff.

Even if we went to a system where NPCs didn’t do anything on their own except follow the player around, these inventory issues would still be present.

The REAL problem is that we need a developer that has the time, interest, and skills necessary to dig in, understand how NPCs work, and put in a lot of work to either fix or replace them. I have the skills, but I’m extremely short on time, and somewhat lacking in interest. Right now everyone else is in a similar state. When that changes, improvements can happen very fast, but until then, progress is going to be slow.