Friday, October 7, 2011

NCCS v0.8, Upcoming, Part V

So, few more updates that popped into my head today.

Firstly, I've reworked the combat radii on some of the NCCS combat styles. The thought occurred to me after commenting back and forth with Darksong that I had switched the radii in my personal companions plugin to get rid of an issue similar to one he described; but had forgotten to switch all of the NCCS styles to match.

It's a new issue that's only manifested since the last patch (Obsidian can't patch anything without breaking something else, can they? Incompetent fucks...) and seems to have to do with the combat radius -- that is, how wide an area they're allowed to notice enemies and engage in combat at. Default is 10,000. Prior to patch v1.4, I had been running them with good effects at 40,000. Since the last patch, however, anything over 30,000 seems to get them buggy. I know the limit is somewhere between 30 and 35k; but truth be told I'm too lazy to go ten units at a time trying to find the exact limit.

I realized this after seeing the issue again playing this morning -- a new companion I created for v0.8 is running the new "operator" style I copied direct from my personal companions, with the other two using existing NCCS styles. Two bugged, the new one didn't. Went back through, and sure enough I had left the "high" level Sniper combat style's radius set to 40,000. Checked and changed all the styles where necessary, and am hoping that will clear it up. Haven't had a chance to test yet, though.

Also, I've added compatibility to NCCS companions for players who take the "Ferocious Loyalty" perk -- the perk adds something like 50% damage resistance to companions when you fall below 50% health. Seemed kind of a waste to not have my companions able to use it while the vastly inferior vanillas can... so now NCCS can, too.

I'm also considering adding something I've mentioned before: a "hardcore" mode for lack of a better term. In HC, companions will have their essential flags stripped, and you will be limited to one NCCS companion per two points of Charisma (similar to the FO1 method). HC would also forcibly disable and preclude XP sharing. Vanilla companions and those from other systems will not be affected by this to minimize conflicts. May also add a need for companions to eat and drink in HC much as the player does in game-wide hardcore... but I haven't quite worked out how to keep a reliable running tally of food and drink needs. It should be straightforward enough to code... but we all know how far "should" goes in this game.

Also also: with all the bitching I've received about the equipment randomizers, I'm considering coding the companion scripts so that the companions spawn random gear once, and then the leveled lists are removed; not spawning any more items until/unless their plugin is clean saved and reactivated. This could be made a system option (I think), so I may plow ahead with it regardless of what the three people who actually comment on this blog think of the idea.

Edit: oh, and before I forget again, I've also edited my premade companions again. Their pip-boy plugins dialogue option will now appear on the top level of dialogue rather than in the equipment menu, and will disappear once they've given you the plugin -- rather than the option staying there and eating space uselessly in the already over-cluttered menu.

Edit, the second:

Just got through with some playtesting, and have reached a few conclusions.

1) the scripts failing are indeed the quest scripts. In NCCS, the 'sort all' (the command that doesn't work at the moment) is not in its own quest, but rather lodged into the main quest script. I can tell the entire script is locked, as the new campfire isn't being moved when I leave the cell it's in, and companions are not teleporting except at the end of combat (which is controlled by their individual object scripts).

I still have no idea why this is happening, and have found no method of fixing it except to clean save.

2) The issue with companions' weapons equipping/unequipping/reloading/et cetera seems to be a double-whammy. Even with the combat styles' radii reduced to a max of 25k, the issue was still persisting. I had it down to one cycle before initiating combat, but even that was annoying. I swapped out their ammunition for default types, and the issue went completely away through a couple hours of play (at which point the game locked on me while fast traveling, which is why I'm here typing this). So, the solution seems to be default ammo only and no combat radius over 30k.

Again, I have no idea why this is happening; but demonstrable, repeatable fixes trump "should be" every time.

3) this iteration of the game engine is still a piece of shit, even after four patches.


  1. I remember the discussion of the combat radius issue from earlier. I can just imagine how irritating and aggravating (to say the least) that scanning through a range of 30,000 to 35,000 by increments of ten could be. That could possibly run as many as 500 separate script alterations and in game tests. Not something I would want to hunt down alone.

    In the few hours I have logged into New Vegas, the "Ferocious Loyalty" perk is one I have never taken. Nor has it occurred to me that it might not affect non-Vanilla companions. Enabling it so that NCCS based companions could benefit from it, though, seems to be a good idea to me, especially since I plan on hope to bring my favourite FO3 companions into NV with the NCCS system.

    I also like the idea of a "hardcore" mode for the NCCS system. If the idea of playing the game in this mode is to make things as difficult and thus more rewarding as possible, the use of companions shouldn't diminish that too much. As a matter of fact, I believe doing this would increase the difficulty of game play. Now you have to share your food, water and medical supplies with the whole gang. Not to mention now that everyone, not just the player, will need to sleep.

  2. Sounds good so far. I'm not a big fan of hardcore mode myself, but I have a feeling that making the companions compatible with HC as an option will make a lot of folks happy and eliminate many of the complaints we've seen.

  3. @Druuler: I never actually took Ferocious Loyalty either; as the whole companion DR when you get below a certain health seemed less like 'loyalty' and more like someone was watching the incredible hulk marathon while coding the perks. That said, I'm sure someone is a stalwart user of it, and has been greatly annoyed that it doesn't apply to NCCS yadda yadda.

    HC probably won't include sleep for companions. I've tried it before, and getting an NPC to sleep in a bed on command is beyond a massive pain in the ass. They just won't do it reliably.

    So -- at least assuming I can figure out appropriate rates for the needs to advance -- it'll just be food and drink as needs. We'll just use the magical "off camera" solution for their sleep, and assume they catch a few hours when the player does.

    @Herculine: I kind of waffle on hardcore. I don't like the 'primary needs' type mods for FO3 and Oblivion, but HC mode is one of the few things I think Obsidian actually did pretty well. I like the ammunition weight, the need to eat and drink, and stimpaks not being magic healing spells in an autoinjector. I'm still not crazy about their algorithm for hydration resulting in player death if you attempt to sleep an entire night through, though.

    I've wanted for a while to make a similar mode for companions... but can never decide where the line should be. A few (very vocal) players want it as hard as can be; but most of "the community" seems to want a win button in companion form. I know if I go too far I'll never hear the end of the bitching.

  4. You can satisfy some of the people, some of the time, just not the whole audience at once.

    Even without having NPCs sleep on command, it is, I think, still a massive change to companion behavior, as well as a big change in game difficulty.

    I actually like using "Primary Needs" in FO3, but I haven't used it in Oblivion yet. Cameron is the only Fallout 3 character I have that I don't use PN with, as I don't consider it appropriate for playing an android, but that's just me.

  5. I tried PN as part of FWE months ago, and couldn't stand it.

    As with most of the rest of that monstrosity of an "overhaul" the authors had gone completely overboard. It was set up to use nutrition points or some such rather than just food. The problem was, the genius had decided stimpaks should remove nutrition points, but not empty your stomach -- so if you engaged in any combat at all and had to heal, you ended up starving to death with an overfull stomach.

    I have no idea if they ever got their heads out of an unnamed orifice and fixed that, since I got severely disenchanted with FWE on the whole several months ago and pulled it from my game completely.

    On the flip side, FNV's default 'hardcore' mode just has food and water points. No fuss, no muss. It's adds a nice extra layer of challenge and complexity without going into micromanagement territory.

    I still want to rewrite it though, so that your needs diminish when inside a player house -- so that you can sleep an entire night through without having to drink three bottles of water and eat a steak every four hours of sleep to avoid death.

    Haven't tried any Oblivion mods like that, mainly because I keep having thoughts of PN all over again and decide that fuck it: I'm running around a magical world of elves and Gods; even have a demon companion with me. I think I can allow a little lack of realism in my Oblivion game where eating and drinking is concerned.

  6. "A wizard did it" is always a good fallback for fantasy games, especially when you're the wizard.

    I suppose for Fallout you'd say an engineer did it which comes to the same thing :)

  7. I think in Fallout you're supposed to jump up and yell "It's nuclear powered, okay?!"