Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hardcore!

So, first off I've got to mention a milestone. My current FNV game has exceeded 100 hours now, and is still fully playable. I'm pretty sure that's a first for me in any Gamebryo title.

Anyway, with my interest in Skyrim rapidly winding down, I fired up FNV again the other morning.

Before Skyrim hit, I had finished the initial draft of the 'hardcore' code for one of my personal companions; but not tested it.

Since it's set to advance at the same scale as the player's needs (one point of hunger every 25 seconds, one point of thirst every ten) there was really no way to test but to play and wait and see if it fired. Unlike the player's needs, the companion needs are scripted; they only advance when the script is running in the Gamemode block -- not during fast travel, sleep, or wait.

This game is nearly done. All the DLC is done except Lonesome Road, and the main quest was left at the point where I had entered the Lucky 38 and spoken to Mr. House; but not gone after Benny yet. Otherwise, the only quest left active is gathering eggs for the Thorn.

I played through confronting Benny; splattering his head across the presidential suite, and taking the chip back to House. We got down into the basement, where House's droning is promptly interrupted when my companion grabs my attention and tells me she's thirsty. I give her a bottle of water, she thanks me; boring ass exposition scripted display continues.

Completed the rest of the chat with House without her interrupting; so it would appear that the 'thirst' counter reset correctly.

So, yeah... apparently hardcore mode for NCCS is going to work, after all.

I think I'm going to rework the values a bit, though. The more I think about it, the more I don't like one food or drink item completely resetting the counter. I'm going to reset it so that it only decreases the counter by the same amount the item would for the player; albeit at 100 survival skill.

I could script it to change based on the companion's survival skill... but we're talking about a lot of extra scripting, and I seriously doubt anyone other than me would ever even notice in the first place.

Currently, the code has the companion check their own inventory; and eat or drink something they have rather than bugging you to give them something. If they have nothing appropriate, then they ask the player. I'm planning to add a third possibility -- a new dialogue option where when they ask you for something, you can tell them to just grab something from the survival container -- this will be a randomly chosen item, ideally lending a bit of an idea that the companion looks through the container and picks what they're in the mood for at the moment.

I have to say, the last couple of projects I've tried have gone almost... unnervingly smoothly. I keep expecting something to blow up in my face. Must be getting a bit gun-shy after a year of modding FNV.

Anyhow, I'm not sure when exactly I'll have this ready for upload (it's a lot of dialogue to create and script) but it's working and in the pipeline, now.

Still trying to decide whether I want to add personalities for dialogue responses or not.

12 comments:

  1. Sounds like some good progress! I still haven't tried the game on hardcore mode yet, but if anything could motivate me to do so it'd be this.

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  2. No game play on Hardcore mode for me yet either. Come to think of it, no completion of the main quest (have not even started it with the current play through). Admittedly, I like the idea of my companions have the need to eat and drink, as it adds to the immersion level, but with my currently playing another android, that sort of thing doesn't make sense for me. Even just the drinking from the Vault 13 canteen is irritating for just that reason. I guess I should add a way to eliminate that to my growing list of mod ideas.

    That said, I also would be inclined to try Hardcore mode if everyone around me (besides the Willow companion) now has most of the same needs as I do.

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  3. Note to self: add an exemption faction to allow excluding specific companions.

    Anyway, aside from the food/drink thing, I like hardcore because of the facts that ammunition has weight (no more carrying every round of ammo you find) and no more instant healing. Crippled limbs require doctor's bags or such; and stimpaks don't work on limb damage at all.

    The game is just too blasted simple and easy in normal mode; and since Bethsoft didn't have their heads lodged as far up their own asses as the guy(s) who did PN for FWE in FO3, I see no reason to not leave the mode running -- it's far from ordeal-like, and just adds some more realism to a world severely lacking in it.

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  4. I also like the idea of making things more complicated for players who insist on taking a small army with them everywhere.

    "You want to use all ten companion slots? Fine; but you've got to feed them all..."

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  5. If I didn't know any better, I'd say your last post was aimed at me Nos XD Not that I'd complain about having to feed my compan...err, squad mates. I have a habit of "babysitting" them already :)

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  6. "f I didn't know any better, I'd say your last post was aimed at me Nos XD"

    Not specifically. Unless you do drag ten companions around with you; then yes, I suppose it was?

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  7. I can't seem to keep my number of companions very low for very long, at least not without disabling most of the companion mods I have in my load order. I think my main play through in New Vegas currently has five or six companions in tow, and I have already sent two or three off to one of my houses to keep the number down.

    I think I have had my companions numbering ten or so at one point in FO3, but that has not been since I got my current computer back in the summer. It also caused almost constant CTDs when a fire fight started, as my laptop's video card could not handle all the renderings, lol XD

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  8. I've been warning people for years about that, but no one listens.

    The engine flat was not made to render "epic" battles. There's a lag at the start of any combat where the game seems to be initializing all the combat AIs; put in too many, and it runs out of memory and crashes.

    Even if it doesn't crash, ten companions will drag even the best of systems to a crawl once the visual FX get going. And with FO3's memory leak, even if your computer survives battle #1, it will do less well on each subsequent battle.

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  9. Some of use have to learn the hard way Nos, and some of use are just plain slow on the uptake... Me, I sometimes need something new inputted with a hammer.

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  10. Yeah, well, in everyone else's defense; I'm so adamant about it because I did learn the hard way.

    It was one of the first things my fellow testers and I discovered when we set out to "fix" RR about two and a half years ago.

    Sadly, even once documented by multiple people, we could never get others to understand that FO3 just isn't Modern Warfare and never will be -- the engine just plain isn't set up to handle large conflicts without slowing to a crawl and/or rolling over and dying.

    For me, it barely survives the larger BoS/Enclave battles towards the end of the main quest.

    Since it's essentially the same game, the problem persists into FONV, as well. A few folks had luck getting the games to run large battles via arcane processes that even a fifteenth century alchemist would consider convoluted... but most of us are doomed to never witness a truly epic battle in either wasteland.

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  11. And don't get me wrong -- I'd love it if I could assemble a small army and turn them loose onto a several-times-multiplied-spawns wasteland... but I've never been able to get it to work.

    Something about the AI draws an immense amount of resources when combat begins; and the game can only survive so much even if you have multi-gigs of RAM to throw at it.

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  12. Note to self: Stop using Enclave Commander (any version) when I already have 6+ people in tow, especially during Zombie Apocalypse...

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