[MOD 0.12.20+] Misanthrope 0.3.7 -- Better Biter Mechanics

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[MOD 0.12.20+] Misanthrope 0.3.7 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Afforess » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:43 am

Type: Mod
Name: Misanthrope
Description: Vastly improved biter AI behavior, tweaks biter expansion mechanics. Memento mori.
License: MIT License
Version: 0.3.7
Release: 2016-04-10
Tested-With-Factorio-Version: 0.12.29
Category: Gameplay
Tags: Biters
Download-Url: https://github.com/Afforess/Misanthrope ... _0.3.7.zip
Website: https://github.com/Afforess/Misanthrope
Notable Mentions:
Long description
Future Plans
Version history
Contributions welcome.
Last edited by Afforess on Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:41 pm, edited 32 times in total.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.2 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by SirRichie » Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:26 pm

So does that mean with this mod, the player has to defend each single piece of railway, because it will be attacked by biters?

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.2 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by orzelek » Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:44 pm

SirRichie wrote:So does that mean with this mod, the player has to defend each single piece of railway, because it will be attacked by biters?
That was my conclusion so I skipped over the mod - I'm not into that heavy fortress building :D

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.2 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Afforess » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:57 am

SirRichie wrote:So does that mean with this mod, the player has to defend each single piece of railway, because it will be attacked by biters?
Any player built structure is fair game. So in short, yes.
orzelek wrote:
SirRichie wrote:So does that mean with this mod, the player has to defend each single piece of railway, because it will be attacked by biters?
That was my conclusion so I skipped over the mod - I'm not into that heavy fortress building :D
Yeah, There are two broad camps of factorio players. One likes building massive factories and disables enemies (peaceful) and the other enjoys the challenge of the harsh world with enemies. I write mods for the second group. Nothing wrong with disliking the combat, but I enjoy it myself.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by ssilk » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:48 pm

My really unimportant opinion is, that it is a bit unfair to attack rails. Cause it's really difficult to defend (and repair) rail-lines which go over 1000 or more tiles. Same for power lines.
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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Afforess » Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:25 pm

ssilk wrote:My really unimportant opinion is, that it is a bit unfair to attack rails. Cause it's really difficult to defend (and repair) rail-lines which go over 1000 or more tiles. Same for power lines.
It's fair for players to wipe out biter spawners, but it's not fair for biters to take out player's resource lines? Huge double standard IMO. Everything should be fair game.

From the biter's perspective the player is an alien invader who is destroying the planet, creating pollution, and killing their species. I see no reason for anything less than total war in return. We'd act exactly the same if the biters were the ones invading Earth.

Edit:

The name of the mod is a bit of a giveaway too. Misanthrope: Hatred of Humanity.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by SirRichie » Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:39 pm

I think it makes sense that biters fight back as best as possible.
And it is obvious you put a lot of effort and thought into your mod. So I say if it works for your target audience, then that's great.

However, I fall into neither of your two categories. I enjoy a world were biters pose a challenge, forcing you to build turrets and think about automatic repairs. But I also like to have large train networks with far away outposts. Now clearly with your mod this would mean a lot of tedious work - which is why I am probably not in your target audience.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Afforess » Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:38 am

SirRichie wrote:I think it makes sense that biters fight back as best as possible.
And it is obvious you put a lot of effort and thought into your mod. So I say if it works for your target audience, then that's great.

However, I fall into neither of your two categories. I enjoy a world were biters pose a challenge, forcing you to build turrets and think about automatic repairs. But I also like to have large train networks with far away outposts. Now clearly with your mod this would mean a lot of tedious work - which is why I am probably not in your target audience.
I am not sure I agree. On one hand, yes, you are right, it is a tedious pain to defend all your rails and power lines. No denying that. However, it is also true, as you say, that biters should defend their planet to the best of their abilities.

Well, how does one reconcile two equally correct situations? The dilemma is that there is something missing to bridge the gap between biters ability to attack, and the player's ability to defend against biters. There exists no "hardened" infrastructure (rails / powerlines with high HP) which can take an extended assault. There are no mobile repair platforms to move to far flung areas for repairs (construction bots are totally unsuited for far-flung outposts or extended lengths of rail repairs).

Now that you've given me the idea, I'm considering a companion mod which would add hardened infrastructure (reinforced rail, reinforced big power lines, 50x hp, uses extra steel and concrete, tweaked graphics).

Before you ever mentioned it, I was also working on a mod to create a small, mobile repair platform that might move along long stretches of walls for repairs, and not stay in one particular place for long.

Whether either of these is the right approach to the problem remains to be seen, which is why this mod remains in the WIP section for now.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by MrDrummer » Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:47 pm

Perhaps a train wagon that repairs everything within a radius with repair packs provided in its inventory, and it automatically goes from station to station?

Looks like a great mod, and i shall be sure to use it in my next playthrough (i was the factory builder type with peaceful on, but not i want to be both, large factory builder AND large defender)

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Adil » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:55 pm

Afforess wrote: I am not sure I agree. On one hand, yes, you are right, it is a tedious pain to defend all your rails and power lines. No denying that. However, it is also true, as you say, that biters should defend their planet to the best of their abilities.
Yes, but why do think that the "best of their abilities" amounts to "sum of humanity experience in guerrilla warfare"?
It's moot point of how intelligent are they, and unlikely that they've fought rail-laying humans before.
Afforess wrote: Before you ever mentioned it, I was also working on a mod to create a small, mobile repair platform that might move along long stretches of walls for repairs, and not stay in one particular place for long.
Maybe Choumiko could make his FARL work in maintenance mode without driver. (Assuming that has something to do with rebuilding broken stuff.
It's definitely possible to use same trick as in my gun trains to have constantly active moving roboport with construction bots.
Yet both methods will put a significant strain on the railroad throughput making it more dull.

Also, with RSO the railroad gets prolonged enough for biters to start placing bases atop of it and subsequently cutting the route due to basic wander behavior. (That's the reason guntrain mod came to existence.)

My opinion is there are enough of other ways to increase biter strategy, that bring forth interesting ways of defense and not just evergrowing deathsquares of walls.
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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by orzelek » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:17 pm

If biters make bases close to tracks you have a mod that removed the spawning restriction.

And this mod is really unfeasible with RSO and no ability to defend tracks in some automated manner.
Building thousand tiles of walls with turrets while possible would be very costly and doesn't add anything to game play for me other then annoyance.

I can understand that some people might like this so mod certainly has a point.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Adil » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:59 pm

Well, yes, that's probably that dynamic expansion code, which is also included in this mod code, which is also included in this mod.
And that's exactly what I'm saying. While explicit hunt for prolonged communication lines might get unfun, this behavior actually provides a quite reasonable compromise.
They don't always build the bases on the rails, but when they do... Unless some of your trains scoops them off they'll cut the railway branch and launch a serious attack on now unsupported outpost. (They tend to do that in the pollution range of mining facilities, effectively mounting a siege which also takes an effort to be broken.)
If anything it's probably this behavior that should be stimulated by commands.
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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Afforess » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:24 pm

I read through the last several posts, and had started a draft where I tried to respond to each argument individually. By then the end though, I realized my reply would encourage exactly the wrong sort of reaction.

I think the core argument here is that Misanthrope shifts the game balance from the player being more powerful, to the biters having the advantage. While the player can still achieve victory, the cost is so high, and the effort so tedious in terms of wall and turret management that it saps the thrill of the battle from the game, leaving the player with a nearly impossible to manage guerrilla war against a much more numerous enemy.

I agree, and while I think the vanilla Factorio biters are an unremarkable nuisance that is forgotten by the late game, Misanthrope makes biters unmanageably strong.

I think the core discussion here is about two issues:

1. Are the biters better with stronger AI
2. What tools can the player be given to face stronger biters, without making the game a tedious chore.

I know some players have suggested that the biters AI is now too strong, and they are too savvy. I disagree, but I think compromise is possible. Here are some suggestions I've considered, and let me know which is the one you prefer:

A. Do nothing
B. Don't have biters attack vulnerable infrastructure until some threshold is reached (player destroys first biter spawner, or player creates first purple science pack, or player power has created 10000 structures, etc)
C. Only have biters attack infrastructure when evolution rate is above a number (0.6?)
D. Other?

As for problem 2, I've already hinted at ways this can be solved. Here are some ideas I've considered:

Hardened Infrastructure: Rails, Big Power Lines, Reinforced Walls, with very high HP made of dense steel and concrete
Biter Distractors: Buildings which generate a high frequency noise, above the level of human hearing, which keep biters away from the building (50 block radius?). Side-effect is that each noise generator also speeds up the rate of biter evolution.
Mobile Repair Platforms: Seeks out and finds damaged player structures to repair them
Mobile Attack Platforms: Slowish (1/3 player walk speed?) moving turret on hover platform that engages biters that approach within 50 blocks of a player structure, must remain within 50 blocks of player structure. Consume solid fuel & ammo or battery + electricity.

Finally, I don't want to bundle this all together. I think I will keep each of the proposed ideas in #2 that I implement as separate mods, which can be used in addition to Misanthrope.

I'm not out to make the game un-fun, but I do think warfare could be much improved, without sacrificing biter AI.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.3 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Supercheese » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:35 pm

Well, autonomous mobile attack platforms sure sound like an awesome mod on its own, irrespective of the increased biter difficulty of this mod. :)

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.4 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Afforess » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:02 am

For the particularly brave users actually playing with Misanthrope, 0.0.4 improves performance significantly during biter AI. There is no more single frame of lag every 60s while biters are planning / attacking player structures.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.4 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Choumiko » Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:58 pm

Afforess wrote:For the particularly brave users actually playing with Misanthrope, 0.0.4 improves performance significantly during biter AI. There is no more single frame of lag every 60s while biters are planning / attacking player structures.
I'm really tempted to try it, but a bit scared: RSO 1.0.3, no victory poles, already have a lot of nests near my rails (and even trains running into biter groups occasionally :D ) On the other hand i should rebuild my base but keep delaying it, maybe Misanthrope will help with that :roll:
I think i'll do a backup and watch the destruction :mrgreen:

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.4 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by TheSAguy » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:38 pm

Hey Afforess,
Do you have a solution to biters getting stuck. I see them stuck a lot of maps with water.

Image

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.4 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Afforess » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:57 pm

TheSAguy wrote:Hey Afforess,
Do you have a solution to biters getting stuck. I see them stuck a lot of maps with water.

Image
That looks like a problem with the factorio pathfinding. I haven't seen that exact behavior before, but something a little similar. I am guessing from your screenshot, there is some structure on the other side of the water, and the biters are stuck on the edge instead of pathing around the water to the object?

I haven't come up with good solution to replace the factorio path finding. Theoretically, set_multi_command should allow you to queue up commands for biters to move to a destination, and you could chain this together to navigate a group of biters, but I haven't had success trying this so far. I don't know if set_multi_command doesn't support queuing commands or it's just a mistake I've made somewhere.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.4 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by TheSAguy » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:35 pm

Afforess wrote:
TheSAguy wrote:Hey Afforess,
Do you have a solution to biters getting stuck. I see them stuck a lot of maps with water.

Image
That looks like a problem with the factorio pathfinding. I haven't seen that exact behavior before, but something a little similar. I am guessing from your screenshot, there is some structure on the other side of the water, and the biters are stuck on the edge instead of pathing around the water to the object?

I haven't come up with good solution to replace the factorio path finding. Theoretically, set_multi_command should allow you to queue up commands for biters to move to a destination, and you could chain this together to navigate a group of biters, but I haven't had success trying this so far. I don't know if set_multi_command doesn't support queuing commands or it's just a mistake I've made somewhere.
Yeah, I actually used the set_multi_command and had a bunch of biters attack the rocket silo / player.
They just get bunched up on the way to their target.

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Re: MOD [0.12.11+] Misanthrope 0.0.4 -- Better Biter Mechanics

Post by Afforess » Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:46 pm

TheSAguy wrote: Yeah, I actually used the set_multi_command and had a bunch of biters attack the rocket silo / player.
They just get bunched up on the way to their target.
Right. So one of the commands that is possible is commands.compound, which would let you create a compound command that had multiple sub-commands and you might be able to use that to have biters move-to-location several times, around the water, to the target. I have tried it a little but haven't had much success using it with set_multi_command, but maybe you will have more success than I did.

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