Thursday, September 8, 2011

Walls and Frustrations

I have to say first off that FNV 1.4 is beginning to annoy the holy living shit out of me.

Since I upgraded, a substantial number of spawn points don't fire when I run across them in the game world; but do fire after I load a save and enter their range again.

This has almost killed me twice now. Once in Gypsum Train Yard: we didn't see nearly enough deathclaws on the way in (no adults), and I made the mistake of saving inside the office. When I started playing again and went outside, all the adult spawns fired; and the engine prevented my companions from loading into the game world. It's like the game is trying to kill me. Fortunately, I recognized the situation for what it was and went back through the load door into the office -- where my quest script took over and force-spawned my girls -- and we proceeded to pick off the deathclaws as they came inside looking for me.

The second was at the cap counterfeiting shack. None of the cazadore spawns fired on approaching the place, but they all did on coming out. Again, the game prevented my companions (my three and ED-E) from spawning to help me; and again I valiantly ran the hell back inside, where my scripting got a chance to subvert the devs' knife in my ribs. The cazadores didn't follow, but the girls reacted as though they did... so while there were no visible enemies, the engine apparently still had its head up its ass again, and was trying to spawn the bugs inside unsuccessfully for whatever reason. Once the initial "fuck you, player!" that's hardcoded into the engine is survived, companions will move with the player again, so it was a simple enough matter to head back outside and stomp some bugs.

This is the sort of thing my 'companion management system' is supposed to preclude... but frankly I'm not sure what more I can do when the engine stops all quest scripts for the duration of trying to fuck me. Maybe if I run redundant code in an enchantment on the player...


I've also hit the wall on my 'long range' combat styles. That limit seems to be 30,000-ish units. The base game styles' combat radius is 10,000 -- so we can get 3x the range, at least.

I tried it at 40,000, and ended up breaking the companions. Whenever combat started, they'd lock into an infinite loop of equipping, drawing, and unequipping their weapon -- several times a second as long as combat was active. I don't know what exactly caused it, but lowering the limit helped. I know it worked at 30; and the issue was less at 35... so I just reset it to 30. Probably another engine bug similar to the merchant caps bug in FO3. The limit may well be more than 30 but less than 35... but I'm not spending the two weeks upping the combat radius by one unit at a time and trying it to see if the issue manifests. 30,000 has them tagging enemies the player can barely see, so it should be good enough.

After completing the Boomers' quests at Nellis, we headed into Vault 34 to strip the place of anything not nailed down. This resulted in a couple of other issues being noted.

Firstly, Obsidian's companions fucking suck. We lost ED-E inside Vault 34; when it was destroyed by some ghouls. The ghouls, I might add, that my companions were ravaging like a GHB'd up beauty queen on prom night. Can't readily resurrect the little shit, either, since his dying ended his quest and shut down most of his companion options in the main followers' quest. So, hell with it. We don't need it. Let it rot in the broken, irradiated vault. Natural selection.

Secondly, my girls had numerous problems in Vault 34. Their combat behavior was too good. They knew that there were ghouls behind that inaccessible door; but couldn't get to them to kill them... so they refused to leave that vicinity. Fortunately on changing cells, they got pulled with me and reset, but it was still annoying with the number of ghouls that IWS put in that place. The riot shotgun became a very good friend of mine.

This has led to a new idea. Indoor and outdoor combat styles. The long range outdoor style; but the indoor one with a shorter radius, to keep them from getting stuck on unreachable enemies as often. I'll need to play with the settings some, no doubt, but as an initial setting I've used the default 10,000 for the indoor setting. Their scripts will assess their locale when combat begins, and set the proper style.

Not sure if/how well it's going to work... but the theory is sound. Not that that's done me a whole shit-tonne of good in ideas passed...

I have to confess I'm torn between leaving them autonomous killing machines, and the idea of paring their indoor combat radii back to 5,000 or so -- so that they stay with the player and only move to attack close threats; rather than clearing entire cells on their own volition. While it's nice to have companions that act on their own, there is something to be said for team-work and massed fire -- especially on opponents like the armored glowing ones in Vault 34. Nothing to do but play and see, I suppose.

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