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kieranmillar
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icon Better ways to utilise special monster features (+2)  
Not all monsters in RPG are just bundles of stats, some of the stock monsters have special properties too. It would be nice to have easier ways to utilise these for your own custom monsters, as some of them present challenges currently.

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The 3 snakes, and Rock Giant
These monsters are big and take up multiple tiles. You can't directly turn characters into these monsters, and trying to script your own custom version would be a hassle, although it can be done (but I certainly wouldn't want to try and make a custom rock giant that animates and turns). In all custom holds so far, these monsters have only been used when the stock monsters with stock stats have been acceptable, but the stock monster stats do not always play nicely with the balancing of your hold. These 4 monsters make for great boss monsters, so it would be nice to have an easier way to place versions with different stats.

The problem is you can't modify the stock monster stats directly without using the global mutliplier variables. These have two problems:

1) Changing the values back and forth as you need to can be a problem, and the HP multiplier variable even has an unfortunate bug that currently renders it effectively unusable for all practical purposes. It's easiest to put the monster on its own in a separate room, and have an empty connecting corridor with the rest of the level where you can change the values back and forth. However as these variables are global and apply dynamically, if you look at other rooms via the minimap, these variables will change all of their monster's stats too, so either this monster's stats will be wrong, or every other monster's stats will be wrong.

2) The variables only allow changes in 1% increments, which means you can't always change the numbers to the exact value you want.

It would be nice to have some method of directly manipulating the base stats of these monsters, for example by placing a stock version in the room then having some script command to overwrite its base stats. But I don't really have any great suggestions on how this might work. A scripting command that when executed, checks the room for any instances of these 4 monsters and then modifies the appropriate stat?

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Tarstuff Mothers and Babies
Currently custom mothers are supported by the engine. If you place any character on top of tarstuff, you'll fight it when you cut any connected tarstuff. There are even two currently published holds that have custom mothers. But they have some major problems:

1) Resetting their health. In order to refight the custom mother on the next cut you need to make sure the monster does not die, and also give it its health back. Sadly there is no nice way to do this. Wait for defeat would force you to wait a turn before you could reset the monster's health, but for some reason fails to activate at all for characters on top of tarstuff (which is probably a bug?). If you try to check for health being zero on each defend, trying to reset the character's health on the same turn fails and logs an error. This means the only thing you can do is wait until next turn, and that usually means also throwing the character into a quick 1-turn cutscene, but this also has the problem of now preventing you from undoing past the cutscene. It feels janky, because it is. The current behaviour of a character on top of tarstuff acting like a mother feels only half-implemented.

2) You have to make sure the monster actually dies for real if you attack the tile it is on, so need to detect this. This is possible to script by checking player position and orientation, but is another major pain, and also prevents a behaviour of the stock mothers, that it's possible to body kill them in some instances while holding a weapon to make less cuts.

3) The babies. One of the biggest reasons tarstuff in general can be hard to use in custom holds is because of the way it spawns the stock baby monsters, and lots of them. This turns areas of your hold into major greckle farms, and the stats of the stock monsters are most likely not going to match what you need at that time. It would be nice to have a way to change what monster is spawned from unstable tarstuff.

Number 3 could probably be handled by a global variable that accepts a character id, one variable for each tarstuff type. I'm unsure about how to go about fixing points 1 and 2, it would be nice if the game could handle the behaviours properly for you, but I don't know of a good way to store the mother's original intended health to reset to if you wanted to change that value for your custom mothers.

-------------------------------------

Roach Queens
When you attack a monster, stock Roach Queens lay eggs. Now to be fair, it's possible to script an alternative to this, and arguably not even all that difficult.

Having said that, it would be nice to have an easy way to hook into the hardcoded behaviour of the stock monster and also change what is spawned rather than just the stock roach egg. I was thinking something like a _MySpawn variable that if set to a valid character ID would make that character get spawned in the way that roach eggs do. But it's not super important and I largely list it here for completeness.

[Last edited by kieranmillar at 11-09-2020 08:16 PM]
11-09-2020 at 08:15 PM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+2)  
As someone who has, not once but twice, tried to put "custom tar mother" behavior into level-sets, I just want to point out that issue number 1 has definitely come up in practice for me.

Also, for that first issue, my suggestion would be a "set stat at" kind of command, where you give it a location (by which I mean the x and y of a spot in the current room), a stat type (atk, def, gr, etc.) and a number to set it to, and then if there's a monster (custom or not, and including snakes/giants) at the given location, it sets that stat of that monster to that value. I could see mean architects abusing this to make 3 roaches in the same room all have different stats, but you can almost do that sort of thing with custom character monsters anyway, so it doesn't seem like too big of an issue.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 11-09-2020 09:48 PM]
11-09-2020 at 09:47 PM
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mrimer
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (0)  
kieranmillar wrote:
...the HP multiplier variable even has an unfortunate bug that currently renders it effectively unusable for all practical purposes.
BTW, this is fixed for 1.2.8.
Wait for defeat would force you to wait a turn before you could reset the monster's health, but for some reason fails to activate at all for characters on top of tarstuff (which is probably a bug?).
Wait for defeat in 1.2.8 should be fixed to now allow executing non-moving script commands like resetting the monster's health before waiting a turn. Would you please verify?

Not activating "wait for defeat" when on tarstuff sounds like a bug. Would you please provide a demo hold experiencing this issue in 1.2.8?

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[Last edited by mrimer at 11-10-2020 01:02 AM]
11-10-2020 at 12:53 AM
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mrimer
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+1)  
I like all your ideas here.

I'll brainstorm a bit.

Section #1: I have a couple thoughts on options for this:

(a) A script command "Set monster var <attribute> at (x,y) to <val>".
It will override the base ATK/DEF/HP/GR stat of whatever monster is at the indicated location. This may be a sufficiently simple workflow to configure boss stats, since they're by definition one-use enemies.

(b) A script command "Set monster <type> <attribute> to <val>".
Will modify the base stat that's applied to all instances of the given monster type in the hold (probably, applied to enemies in newly explored rooms only, so enemies' stats in explored rooms don't change retroactively, if that makes sense). Probably makes for easier stock monster management in the editor.

Section #2: How about a new NPC behavior "Act as tarstuff mother"? If on tarstuff, it will now act as a mother, i.e., be used for a battle when stabbing any connected tarstuff. I misread the post and misremembered how the game logic works.

#2a: Adding a _My{Mud/Tar/Gel}Spawn variable would work to override whatever entity will be spawned from stabbing tar/mud/gel

#Section 3: How about a new NPC behavior "Act as roach queen"? i.e., will spawn an egg on combat.

#3a: Adding a _MySpawn variable would work to override whatever will be spawned, either by roach queens or NPCs that spawn.

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Gandalf? Yes... That's what they used to call me.
Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
I am Gandalf the White.
And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.

[Last edited by mrimer at 11-11-2020 08:10 AM]
11-10-2020 at 01:20 AM
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kieranmillar
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File: BUG REPORT Wait for defeat tarstuff.drh (1.2 KB)
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+1)  
mrimer wrote:
Wait for defeat in 1.2.8 should be fixed to now allow executing non-moving script commands like resetting the monster's health before waiting a turn. Would you please verify?
Can confirm this is fixed in 1.2.8.alpha.2020-11-10.

mrimer wrote: Not activating "wait for defeat" when on tarstuff sounds like a bug. Would you please provide a demo hold experiencing this issue in 1.2.8?
Sure, see attached example hold.
11-10-2020 at 10:20 PM
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kieranmillar
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (0)  
mrimer wrote: Section #1: I have a couple thoughts on options for this:

(a) A script command "Set monster var <attribute> at (x,y) to <val>".
It will override the base ATK/DEF/HP/GR stat of whatever monster is at the indicated location. This may be a sufficiently simple workflow to configure boss stats, since they're by definition one-use enemies.
This sounds like a good idea to me. If it is a command that is allowed to be ran during minimap room previews, then as far as the player is concerned they will always see the monster with the intended stats, unlike say using the monsterMult variables.

This also might open the some possibilities for creative other uses that I'm sure some smart people might figure out, so this feels like adding maximum utility.

mrimer wrote: (b) A script command "Set monster <type> <attribute> to <val>".
Will modify the base stat that's applied to all instances of the given monster type in the hold (probably, applied to enemies in newly explored rooms only, so enemies' stats in explored rooms don't change retroactively, if that makes sense). Probably makes for easier stock monster management in the editor.
This one I'm personally not so hot on, as I wonder what the impact will be like for rooms you've explored on previous saves but not visited on this run, and therefore have the room pre-revealed. Would the monsters have the correct stats when you look at the room in minimap preview mode? Having said that if you set these only one time in the hold, in the first room, you would then have a slightly faster workflow when building levels because you can drop down the stock monsters and not have to worry about choosing the character from a list and ticking the visible flag and hold Alt in the room to see what monster the character actually represents.

I think this has some utility but could be awkward if you want to change stats again mid-hold. Also could have unfortunate consequences if you intentionally don't walk into some room until after the change mid-hold, could be exploitable?

mrimer wrote: Section #2: How about a new NPC behavior "Act as tarstuff mother"? If on tarstuff, it will now act as a mother, i.e., be used for a battle when stabbing any connected tarstuff.
I'm not sure a new NPC behaviour is necessary. The character acting like a tarstuff mother is already activated by placing it on top of tarstuff.

mrimer wrote: #2a: Adding a _My{Mud/Tar/Gel}Spawn variable would work to override whatever entity will be spawned from stabbing tar/mud/gel
Sounds good, but I'd drop the My prefix, as that implies it would only apply to that one character, when this only makes sense as a global change. You'd still want disconnected tarstuff blobs to spawn the same custom monster even if the mother is killed before clearing all of the tarstauff.

mrimer wrote: #Section 3: How about a new NPC behavior "Act as roach queen"? i.e., will spawn an egg on combat.
Sounds good to me.

mrimer wrote: #3a: Adding a _MySpawn variable would work to override whatever will be spawned, either by roach queens or NPCs that spawn.
So in this case there would be a single global variable (drop the My prefix if this is the case) and all monsters with Queen behaviours, including the stock Queen, would spawn the custom character? That works. Limits you to only one Queen type per room (assuming you wanted multiple types of Queen each with different spawns) but I can't see wanting multiple different monster spawning types in one room being a thing that would come up very often, if ever.
11-10-2020 at 10:45 PM
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (0)  
kieranmillar wrote: This also might open the some possibilities for creative other uses that I'm sure some smart people might figure out, so this feels like adding maximum utility.

Like these, you mean? :P

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11-10-2020 at 10:59 PM
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mrimer
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (0)  
kieranmillar wrote:
mrimer wrote: Not activating "wait for defeat" when on tarstuff sounds like a bug. Would you please provide a demo hold experiencing this issue in 1.2.8?
Sure, see attached example hold.
Thank you!

Fixed in this PR.

I think you will agree your concerns with NPCs acting as tarstuff mothers, with the exception of baby spawn type, should be addressed now. Your sample hold and script work perfectly as-is now.

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Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
I am Gandalf the White.
And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.

[Last edited by mrimer at 11-11-2020 08:12 AM]
11-11-2020 at 07:41 AM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+1)  
Well, I went to implement the fresh new behavior for the custom "tarstuff mothers" in my current hold-in-progress. It now works great, except for one inconsistency with how actual mother eyes would work. Namely, they're on mud, and if the player kills them when the tile of mud they're on isn't a corner (so wouldn't be cuttable), then it doesn't get cut. A real mother eye would cut at the eye when killed, even if it's a bump-kill. I can sort of fix this with a separate entity that waits for the NPC to die and then does "build remove item" at the relevant tile, but it has a weird 1-turn delay.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 11-11-2020 05:00 PM]
11-11-2020 at 04:58 PM
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (0)  
I haven't checked how it currently works in RPG, but what you described is how killing a mud mother works in regular DROD - the mud stays intact if it's not a cuttable tile. Tar and gel mothers break the tile under them no matter what, but for whatever reason mud mothers don't.
11-11-2020 at 05:56 PM
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Xindaris
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+1)  
Yes, but in RPG, if you kill any vanilla tarstuff mother, even by bumping, then it destroys the tarstuff under it no matter where it was. That's what I'm saying that I tested, and indeed specifically for mud since that's what I was dealing with.

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[Last edited by Xindaris at 11-11-2020 06:53 PM]
11-11-2020 at 06:52 PM
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mrimer
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Xindaris wrote:
Yes, but in RPG, if you kill any vanilla tarstuff mother, even by bumping, then it destroys the tarstuff under it no matter where it was. That's what I'm saying that I tested, and indeed specifically for mud since that's what I was dealing with.
Yeah, I can picture what you're talking about. It sounds like this is a detail that was missed. I'll fix it.

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Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
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11-11-2020 at 08:22 PM
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kieranmillar
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+1)  
Another minor detail. The stock tar mothers maintain a piece of tarstuff underneath them if the tarstuff would otherwise be unstable, but the custom mothers leave no tarstuff, allowing you to toggle black doors without killing the mother.
11-11-2020 at 10:27 PM
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mrimer
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+1)  
Thank you.

I've fixed both issues so any monster on tarstuff now acts equivalent to a mother for purposes of maintaining or removing tarstuff under it.

PR

So...now, basically any monster can now own its own pool of tarstuff the same as mothers do.

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I am Gandalf the White.
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11-12-2020 at 04:14 PM
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kieranmillar
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+4)  
Can confirm in 1.2.8.325 that custom tarstuff mothers correctly manage the tile of tarstuff between them. They hold on to a tile of tarstuff if otherwise disconnected from tar, and that tile of tar is destroyed when they are, including if you fight them with a body attack.

Also, I tested the two published holds that I am aware of having custom tarstuff mothers, and they still appear to work as they did before, so I don't think anything broke with regards to them.

I also want to say I really appreciate how much easier it is to now make a custom mother. The scripting is really simple and works perfectly.

[Last edited by kieranmillar at 11-12-2020 08:01 PM]
11-12-2020 at 07:53 PM
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Wonderful, on all counts!

I appreciate you testing the changes on published material. So glad you like the changes.

I think you're going to like these also.

I've implemented (2a) and (3a) above for 1.3 with four new global script variables that set what entity type is spawned from tar/mud/gel and roach queens. Haven't done the other two parts yet, but I hope to get to those soon.

Now we have fully customizable mothers and babies.

PR

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11-13-2020 at 05:33 AM
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mrimer
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (0)  
New script command for 1.3: Set Monster Var

PR

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11-22-2020 at 04:39 AM
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kieranmillar
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+1)  
Mud, Tar and Gel spawn variables working really well. I notice that when you use a custom enemy as the spawn, the spawned monster defaults to be non-visible, so you need to include an Appear command. I think it would be better if when any of these 4 spawn variables are set to a custom character that it was visible by default.

QueenSpawn has some inconsistent behaviour. If you set _QueenSpawn to one of the stock monster ids (e.g. 0 for regular roach) then killing any regular Roach, whether pre-placed or spawned by the queen, will not trigger a new roach to be laid, as expected. However if you set it to a custom character, then killing any instance of that custom character will cause a new egg to be laid.

I notice there is no new behaviour for custom enemies to inherit the egg laying behaviour. Is this just not implemented yet, or is using Set Monster Var on stock queens the intended approach to making custom queens?
12-04-2020 at 09:54 PM
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kieranmillar
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+1)  
Can confirm that Set monster var is working well in 1.3.0.368.

For large monsters that can be fought multiple times (tarstuff mothers and snakes from the tail), the HP reverts to the stock HP amount after each fight. I imagine it would be tough to fix this based on my understanding of what's happening here. But the good news is that the new Each victory command makes it really easy to set up a loop that changes their HP again after each fight in the room (and for mothers you could instead just script your own custom version really easily now).

So all looks good to me.
12-04-2020 at 11:12 PM
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kieranmillar wrote:
...when you use a custom enemy as the spawn, the spawned monster defaults to be non-visible, so you need to include an Appear command. I think it would be better if when any of these 4 spawn variables are set to a custom character that it was visible by default.
Agreed. I'll change this.
QueenSpawn has some inconsistent behaviour. If you set _QueenSpawn to one of the stock monster ids (e.g. 0 for regular roach) then killing any regular Roach, whether pre-placed or spawned by the queen, will not trigger a new roach to be laid, as expected. However if you set it to a custom character, then killing any instance of that custom character will cause a new egg to be laid.
Thanks. I'll fix this for custom characters.
I notice there is no new behaviour for custom enemies to inherit the egg laying behaviour. Is this just not implemented yet, or is using Set Monster Var on stock queens the intended approach to making custom queens?
It's not implemented yet.

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I am Gandalf the White.
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12-07-2020 at 07:46 PM
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kieranmillar wrote:
For large monsters that can be fought multiple times (tarstuff mothers and snakes from the tail), the HP reverts to the stock HP amount after each fight. I imagine it would be tough to fix this based on my understanding of what's happening here. But the good news is that the new Each victory command makes it really easy to set up a loop that changes their HP again after each fight in the room (and for mothers you could instead just script your own custom version really easily now).
That's a good point. You are correct this is practically the only way to implement this; this is the intended way to reset a large monster's hp to a non-standard amount after defeating it each time.

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Gandalf? Yes... That's what they used to call me.
Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
I am Gandalf the White.
And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.
12-07-2020 at 07:49 PM
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kieranmillar
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icon Re: Better ways to utilise special monster features (+1)  
Can confirm in 1.3.0.370 that setting the spawn variables to a custom monster makes those monsters visible by default, and roach queens will not spawn when killing a custom monster of the same type as the QueenSpawn variable.
12-08-2020 at 10:04 PM
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kieranmillar
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This thread has been marked as verified but its not all implemented yet, still waiting on custom queen behaviour.
12-09-2020 at 10:56 PM
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kieranmillar wrote:
This thread has been marked as verified but its not all implemented yet, still waiting on custom queen behaviour.
Hyperme, may I request you add a behavior to have an NPC replicate the roach queen laying behavior? Probably simply refactor the roach queen laying code into a method in CMonster that both queens and characters may call.

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Gandalf? Yes... That's what they used to call me.
Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
I am Gandalf the White.
And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.
12-14-2020 at 01:47 PM
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mrimer
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Thank you, hyperme!

PR

From hyperme's pull request:
Spawn Eggs behavior makes a character like a Roach Queen - it will create eggs when the player fights a monster. It can also spawn other things by setting either the new _MySpawn or the not quite as new _QueenSpawn. _MySpawn has priority over _QueenSpawn if it has a valid value, and if neither has a valid value, regular Roach Eggs will be created.

____________________________
Gandalf? Yes... That's what they used to call me.
Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
I am Gandalf the White.
And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.

[Last edited by mrimer at 01-08-2021 06:28 PM]
01-08-2021 at 06:27 PM
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