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 Post subject: Stablemaster NPC Suggestion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:01 am 
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I'm suggesting a small adjustment to the way Stablemaster NPC's are currently spawned in the world. Most of them have a large distance they can walk (about ten tiles) and they constantly move in and out of each others spawn range. Basically they like to fidget about and cause a bit of confusion for someone trying to stable an animal (or 100).

If I were to guess why people lose a few animals here and there despite their constant refreshing, it is likely this.

The suggestion is to tighten the spawn range of each Stablehand and distance them from each other so they don't overlap each others path. IMO clearly defining the "spot" each NPC has will greatly help the novice stable user and somewhat de-clutter the experience of using a stable.

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Last edited by Roser on Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:57 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stablemaster NPC Suggestion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:44 am 
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This incorrect walking behaviour is shared among all shopkeeper NPCs.

I brought this up a long time ago: a "fix" of sorts was implemented, in that the operative range of these NPCs was increased a little bit, but the improper wandering behaviour has never been corrected.

To be clear, it's the wandering scripts that are 'off', here: shopkeeper NPCs should not be almost constantly moving; in fact they should be mostly immobile, standing in one spot for many, many seconds, and then walk only 1-2 tiles and then, again, assume many, many seconds of immobility. This would be their 'unengaged' behaviour: called by name, or responding to "buy/sell", an NPC would stop immediately to face the player, and stay that way, again immobile, for an extended period; only when that 'business mode' timed-out would the NPC resume its wandering script; that 'business mode' could be ended prematurely by the player if the player said, "(good)bye".

On OSI, there had been an NPC "wandering-away" problem, that was fixed in the Sept. 16/'99 Update for the UO Live Access Patch. I bring this up merely to affirm that that problem/fix had nothing to do with the behaviour that I have described, above.

I don't have the demo to test this myself, but verification should hopefully be pretty straightforward: compare NPC wandering behaviour in the demo to currently-live-EA, and to UOSA.

I don't have many dealings with NPC shopkeepers these days, but their "caffeine+amphetamines+ADHD" running around, even while they are conducting business, continues to present itself as an inconvenient nuisance: anyone who has ever bought reagents at Encyclopedia Magicka knows exactly what I'm talking about ...

SS

EDIT: In some fashion, all of these activities must be ultimately tied-into the processor clock: is it that simple; is it that those "wander-/business- mode" timers were, somehow, simply left-out of corrections necessarily applied to all functions now running on Servers that are >5x faster?

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 Post subject: Re: Stablemaster NPC Suggestion
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:36 pm 
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Makes me wonder what suggestions are reasonable here. In this thread, (at least not yet, if it will happen) it hasn't gotten a "It's not T2A, so no way"


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 Post subject: Re: Stablemaster NPC Suggestion
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:39 pm 
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Much of the AI for NPCs in general is contained in the core of the demo itself, and is difficult to extract as a result. Much of what is in place here on UOSA is the product of Derrick effectively hacking the RunUO code into something that tries to resemble what we see in the demo, but there is little in the way of technical facts that are known. As an example, we know that there is a core function called 'loiter' that is called on occasion for NPC behavior. However, exactly what that function does is not well known.

Regarding the live access patch, it was a fix to keep shopkeepers from wandering too far from their shops so that players could purchase from them properly. By and large our behavior doesn't replicate this. In fact, on the demo there's a range check on NPCs where they'll teleport back if they're at an extreme range from their shops when you attempt to purchase from them, but in between that range and being within the range of their shops, they'll simply announce that they're too far away, and attempt to walk back to their shops. So far as I know, we don't replicate this behavior, at all for a number of reasons, which is another part of NPC behavior that's not currently on UOSA.

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 Post subject: Re: Stablemaster NPC Suggestion
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:56 pm 
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Yes, as I said, I only mentioned the patchwork done in the Live Access Patch to affirm that it had nothing to do with the behaviour at issue.

I don't know how convoluted the scripts Derrick devised are, and I certainly don't want to disparage his work: I don't know "what fix" to apply to tweak this, nor where to apply it.

If one compared UOSA behaviour to Demo behaviour and to currently-live-at-EA behaviour, I'm confident that the differences I suggest will be immediately apparent: Shopkeepers here move too often, walk too far when they move, and don't stay 'engaged' long enough when called by name or when responding to "buy/sell"; that's all, but it creates some frustrating situations, as we have described.

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 Post subject: Re: Stablemaster NPC Suggestion
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 5:44 pm 
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I don't have any knowledge of how our UOSA's scripts are put together in terms of AI. All I know is that the current AI has been described that way by Derrick in the past.

As for what we should do to correct the overall behavior regarding movement, that is an answer that is mostly buried within the core of the demo. While a lot of facts about how an NPC shopkeeper should behave are likely contained within a script called 'human', and the underlying 'human_funcs' script, I suspect that most of the behavior for controlling the actual movements of NPC's (frequency of movement, movement algorithm, exactly what it means to "loiter" in an area and how that interacts with regions in the demo, etc.) are all likely contained within the movement engine, and can't be easily understood by simply looking at a script. As a result, if anything changes regarding NPC movement, it will likely be a mere approximation of what is seen in the demo (as it has been up until now, by and large) coupled with any patch notes that have been released since then.

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 Post subject: Re: Stablemaster NPC Suggestion
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:11 am 
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Wouldn't it simpler to just simply have the nearest stabler answer, provided you use their name in the stable command. Yeah, it would be nice if they didn't walk near each other, but if they simply responded to commands under their own name it would work.


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 Post subject: Re: Stablemaster NPC Suggestion
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 5:22 pm 
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randale wrote:
Wouldn't it simpler to just simply have the nearest stabler answer, provided you use their name in the stable command. Yeah, it would be nice if they didn't walk near each other, but if they simply responded to commands under their own name it would work.


They already do respond to being called by name: for players "manually" buying reagents at Encyclopedia Magicka, calling each vendor by name is pretty-much the only way to proceed; it's also the only convenient method when the desired shopkeeper is blocked-in (by furniture, for example) on the other side of one or more undesired shopkeepers. On OSI-Chesapeake, I used to buy reagents at Encyclopedia Magicka quite often, and only had to resort to calling any NPC by name when the one I wanted was blocked-into a corner by the others.

However, here at UOSA, being called by name does not engage them as long as it should, and they can wander away: if they wander too far before you conclude your transaction, the transaction will fail, and you'll have to engage them all over again; a long time ago, the "operative range" was shorter and, so, "failed" transactions occurred more frequently; UOSA has applied an increase to that "operative range", but has not corrected the underlying excessive wandering behaviour.

On OSI, NPCs would eventually wander away, and spoil the transaction, if the player took an excessively-long time to complete the transaction (I remember answering the phone on one occasion and, while I wasn't on the phone terribly long, it was long enough for the NPC to start to wander off, and he wandered far enough to break my transaction). Here, engaged by-name or not, shopkeepers resume wandering almost immediately, which they shouldn't.

I do remember, on OSI, players keeping shopkeeper NPCs 'engaged' in ridiculous 'conversations', calling the NPC by name and asking some juvenile question, over and over: typically, the NPC would stand immobile, facing the player, saying things like, "I don't understand what thou art saying".

I wish I had some screenshots: there were some clever players who devised some pretty funny stuff to bounce off the NPCs ...

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 Post subject: Re: Stablemaster NPC Suggestion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:45 am 
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I stand by this being an amazing AAA grade suggestion.

Thank thee!

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