Mid Ohio Comic Con – Oct 22, 2011

One of the things I rarely talk about on this site is my love for comics.  As a teenager, I collected them avidly and enjoyed the latest and greatest and even hunted down some solid back issues.  When I hit my late teens, I sold off all of my back issues to some local comic shop and moved on.  But my love for comics continued on and I eventually decided to just pick up collected works.  Anyway, basic background covered, I have always wanted to go to a comic con.  My goal is to one day get out to the San Diego comic con (as that’s one of the best in the world), but I started small in my home town of Columbus, Ohio at the Mid Ohio Comic Con (http://midohiocon.blogspot.com/).  As this was my first ever comic-con, I thought I’d share a little bit of my experience.  My wife (not a comic book fan) and I went on Saturday, October 22nd, 2011.   She was excited to come along when I mentioned that Adam West and Burt Ward (the Batman and Robin from the 70’s show) would be there.

So, even though I’m a Columbus native, it was a bit of a challenge to find any parking.  It took about 15 minutes of driving around to find a lot that wasn’t full (lots of conferences happen downtime in Columbus on the weekend and this was no exception).  Once we found a spot, we had about a 10 minute walk to the con.  As we get to the outside of building, we see more than a few folks outside smoking and chatting it up, but don’t really see any folks in costume.  Knowing that there is a price of admission, I’m wondering where I need to go to pay, but I’m surprised when my wife and I are just able to walk in (and there is no ticket booth in sight). 

As we enter the building, we see several small booths that appear to be selling game cards and things of that nature.  Nothing of any particular interest to me, but it made me wonder if this is really all there is to it… and if so, I would be quite disappointed. To our right, I notice several people sitting at tables with 12 packs of dr. pepper, etc, (these folks were clearly prepared to stay in one place for quite some time ) outside of a large ballroom.  My wife and I pop our heads in to see what’s going on in there.  There were easily hundreds of people throughout the ballroom sitting at tables playing various board/card games.  We see large countdown timers going as well, presumably to indicate when certain games begin and end.  Anyway, we figure that we definitely must not be at the main event (where is Billy Dee Williams?  Where are Batman and Robin?), so we decide to start wandering about.

So, this place is fairly huge.  We wander down the hall lined with those game card vendors I mentioned and off to the left.  We get to a place that looks like it might sell tickets or perhaps where we can get some more info, but we notice is registration for some sort of beauty school or something to that effect.  Off we go in the other direction.  We ride up an escalator and see my brother and a few of his friends going down the other way (my brother lives in Canton and mentioned that he was coming to Columbus for this event).  We ask them where everything is, they have no idea, and we eventually continue our quest to find the comic con proper anew – only now, we are a party of 5 – and we are beginning to see folks in costume.

We head back up that escalator we were originally on when we passed my brother when we encountered cosplay “Batman on an escalator” and the happy zombie (happiest zombie I’ve ever seen).  Delightful.  One thing I was soon to learn is that just about everyone in costume at a con apparently loves to have their picture taken.

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We continue onward and eventually get to the place where we can buy tickets.  As we aren’t 100% sure we need tickets, we continue to look around, never really finding the con itself.  Eventually, after roaming for another 20 minutes, we return and buy tickets, and then are told where exactly to go.  Mayhaps I could have saved some time if I bothered to ask for directions earlier, eh? 

Anyway, here are some of the folks we encountered before we even made it into the con proper.

The lady who poses.  This girl LOVED to pose.  As soon as she saw me with a camera, she went into all sorts of poses, etc.  She really seemed like she picked a spot where she’d have a ton of exposure and just strutted her stuff.  It was a bit surreal snapping pictures while she did her little poses and folks just kept walking on by. 

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Then there are the green lantern corps. 

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Here’s Steel – a spin off character from when they killed Superman a long time back.  He’s actually standing where my group needed to be to get into the con. 

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Here’s that… person with capt jack

 

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During our wanderings, I found this father and son combo starring out over the food court.  This is probably my fav set of pictures from the day.

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So, it turns out that we needed to simply go up some stairs behind the booth that you could buy tickets at.  It was right there the whole time and we kept wandering around like goof balls.  Anyway, we head up the stairs and enter comic con proper.  The first thing we see is the original bat mobile from the 70’s series with an Asian family inside (insert silly Asian driver joke here :P) with someone dressed up as Poison Ivy. 

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Glancing around quickly trying to get my bearings (the place was packed!), I notice Billy Dee Williams almost immediately.  I’m sure most know, but Billy Dee is most well known for his role as Lando Calrissian from Star Wars (and his Colt 45 commercials from the 80s).  He’s sitting at a both with many folks around him signing autographs and taking pictures.  At this point, my brother and his friends split up and I head off with my wife to wander.

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Just about everything in the comic con proper was contained in a smaller room than the ballroom I mentioned earlier.  At the middle of the room towards the front was the bat mobile.  Directly behind the bat mobile were booths for the various celebrities that were there (more on them in a bit).  Then everywhere else (wherever they could fit it) were comic book vendors, artists, t-shirt vendors, etc.  It was extremely crowded and we were often hard pressed to move at all with how tightly packed people were.  I believe it took about 3 ½ hours to have a go around and at least briefly see everything there was.  There was also a room that held about 200 people where they had panel discussions where my wife and I attended a Q & A session with Adam West and Burt Ward (more on that later as well).

And the wandering in the con begins.  The first thing I come to is a comic booth selling a wide amount of hard cover comic collections for like $5 a pop.  I pick up a couple (regular price was $20+, so it was a nice deal) and continue to move on.  We continue to move through all of the comic vendors, me hunting for any noteworthy deals and spying out for any interesting figures (I figure my office would still be fit for purpose if I add a cool figure as a decoration).  I see plenty of interesting things, but make no more purchases.  I decided I was going to save my money for some artwork from Bill Sienkiewicz (sin- KEV- itch).  Truth be told, I was most excited about meeting him in person and seeing/purchasing some of his work.  He has a very unique style of art, probably the most notable being his work on Electra for marvel.  Unfortunately, I think my decision to wait until I got to his booth kept me from picking up anything else.  Even worse still, it doesn’t look like he even showed up, as I could not find any sign of him.  Quite a disappointment. Bill-Sienkiewicz-art

We came across many, many more cosplay folks as you can see here.

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One of the more interesting things I came across was a booth that sold the original artwork that was used to make comics.  These are 1 of a kind works that this company acquires directly from the artists and then sells at a mark up to anyone that is interested.  In my nerdy mind, it’s the difference between buying a copy of a famous painting or owning the painting itself.  To give a better frame of reference, this artwork, though it’s used for an actual comic book page, is a good deal larger – they just resize the artwork for the comic.  I spent about 30 minutes looking through the original works of several artists.  They had the originals from various artists going back to the 70’s and as recent as the current run of astonishing x-men.  The prices for each work fluctuated quite a bit.  Some, not super exciting works  were as cheap as $50.  An original of a well know comic book artist, Andy Kubert, ran about $750.  Come to think of it, maybe it was a good thing that I was waiting to see Bill Sienkiewicz’s booth – I might have been very tempted to drop quite a bit of dough here. 

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Another thing I saw at the same booth was just gorgeous.  There apparently was a comic some time back that I never read that covered the origin of Ra’s al Ghul (a Batman character).  Anyway, they had full blown originals of the entire book, completely painted.  It was very impressive.  Pretty impractical to own, even if the cost wasn’t prohibitive, but really, really cool to look at the originals.  All of these were in protective sleeves and laminated so folks like me could thumb through them.

We continued on and looked at various artists work.  You could buy what they had, have it autographed, get them to sketch something for you, etc.  I felt a little awkward when I’d walk past an artist with no one talking with him – probably not a good sign if the place is packed and no one is even looking at your stuff, but I only encountered 3-5 booths that were like this.  One booth was a little sad.  There was a guy there that apparently carved/created miniatures of the OSU football band and had a booth all to himself.  Looks like he certainly put a lot of time and quality work into his craft, but it was something I certainly didn’t have an interest in.

So, back to the celebrities.  I didn’t really interact with any of the stars, per se.  I don’t really feel a need to shake Billy Dee’s hand or pay for an autograph or pose with him for a picture.  But Billy wasn’t the only star there.  I already mentioned Adam West and Burt Ward.  Walter Koenig (Chekov from Star Trek) was there.  Gil Gerard from Buck Rogers was there.  Doug Jones from Hell Boy (he was the fish guy).  There were several others as well.   I mostly just took a quick look at these folks while I walked around.  Walter Koenig looks a lot like Neil Simon.

Anyways, we walked and saw what we could.  Then we got in line and waited for the Batman and Robin panel to begin.  We waited in line for about 40 minutes with more people than would fit in the room and eventually were allowed to enter.  It was scheduled to start at 4PM but Adam West and Burt Ward did not show up until 4:10.  The panel was scheduled to last from 4-4:45PM.  You’d think they might extend the duration of the panel by an extra 10 minutes for showing up late, but they did not.  Anyway, they had a moderator that did a great job leading the panel.  He introduces the stars and after they enter, let us know that it’s a Q & A session and that if there were no questions, then the Q & A would be over.  So, he managed to herd several people to a microphone and we were off.  The 1st question came from someone dressed up as the old 70s style Riddler.  He bantered briefly with Batman and Robin and it was funny to hear Adam put on his Batman voice.  None of the questions were super interesting, but Burt and Adam fleshed things out nicely.  Burt told a few stories that I’ll briefly relate that really help paint a picture of what life was like starting out on the Batman and Robin show.

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On the first episode, there’s a scene where the Batmobile comes out of the bat cave and then makes a high speed turn onto a dirt road. Well, the director apparently chose to use stunt doubles as it wasn’t necessarily the safest thing.  So, not knowing this, Robin gets into the bat mobile and notices that the person in the Batman costume isn’t Adam.  After asking who he is and finding out it’s a stunt double, he looks around and sees Adam speaking with the stunt double Robin.  Burt yells for the director and says there must be some mistake and that his stunt double should be in the car.  The director shouts back that the stunt double doesn’t look enough like you.  Burt had to do his own stunt.  So, during the hard turn during the stunt, the door to the Batmobile flew open and Burt’s finger got caught in the door and ripped out of socket.  That was day one.

Another story he told is even worse than that.  There was a scene where Robin was kidnapped and tied up on the ground.  The scene called for Batman to break through a wall and save him.  Well, the set they were on didn’t have a breakaway wall.  So they came up with a solution.  They put 2 sticks of dynamite in the wall to make the whole.  Well, they set off the dynamite, it made a hole alright, but it also sent debris everywhere… and onto Burt.  Burt got a broken arm and some bruised ribs from that.  I trust you are starting to get the picture.

One of the last stories was related by Adam.  In it, he mentioned a scene where both he and Burt couldn’t stop laughing.  Apparently it was an episode that had Catwoman in it.  He said there were 2 golden cat statues that they apparently kept putting into quite inappropriate poses (I’m assuming this meant sexual poses).  Anyway, during this, they’d banter back and forth as their characters.  One of the things Adam apparently said was “Watch out for that giant pussy, Robin!  I think it may be radioactive!”   Anyway, with that, the time was up and the start were ushered out of the room.

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As we filed out, I said my goodbyes to my brother and his friends.  We saw several storm troopers doing script Ohio.

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Here’s what they are doing…

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Then I went and have a great dinner with my wife at Knead.  All in all, a pretty fun and memorable day.

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Updated Enhanced AI Mod

I created a post that tracks the history of the AI in Demigod and it covers a good chunk of the development that has already been handled by the modding community.  If you are interested, see over here for more details:  http://forums.demigodthegame.com/409712

The Project

Using the last version of peppe’s AI mod (0.26.35), I’ve started development on updated versions of the AI mod.  I’ll be releasing those versions here, tracking bugs, enhancement requests, rebalancing, etc.  I won’t be adding a new version to my combined DG installer until we make a decent amount of progress or come up with some sort of significant enhancement to justify a new release to the community at large.  It took us a long time to get reasonable adoption rate on the existing ai mod – I’d rather not force folks to redownload the bundle over and over.

The Project Team

  • Project lead:  pacov
  • Lead design/coder:  pacov
  • Lead support:  miriyaka – without miri, the majority of the changes we are looking at would not happen
  • Testers:  sledge, plaguewraith, and darkliath (on requests Surprised smile)
  • Contributors:  Lord_Orion

If you’d like to help in any way, we are happy to have you on the team.


Current status (what’s being worked on)

  • Build updates (removing inefficient builds and replacing them with new ones)
  • Reprioritization of citadel upgrades, items, trips to the shop
  • Implementing a fix for AI’s with summonable minions so that they do not waste mana summoning more after the have created the max number of minions (miri created some code and I’m looking to make it work)
  • Recoding the ShouldSave functionality to improve the coding efficiency and gives us additional flexibility.  If we get this working, it will be a very solid improvement and provide more options.

Bug list (unless otherwise noted, these are all bugs from the original 0.26.35 version)

  • Stuck AI – the AI can get stuck on occasion for > 30 seconds
  • Poor scaling based on AI difficulty
  • Not enough shopping trips for the AI unless it is killed or sent back the base with low HP (eg an AI could have 10k gold and still not attempt to shop and get better items)
  • AI is not always getting fs1 in a timely manner (resolved in 0.26.38)
  • Some abilities are not being used as often as they should (a sedna, for instance, with pounce as her only ability would use it once in a blue moon)
  • Some abilities are being used at inappropriate items and wasting mana as a result
  • Customized settings often throw the AI off.  For instance, if you set a game to being at WR10, the AI don’t shop (not sure if we want to try to code this to cover all possible settings)
  • AI standing around at the shop at the beginning of the game (introduced in 0.26.38 – happens randomly and seems to only impact 1 ai on a team)

Enhancement requests (these are changes that folks would like to see happen with the AI)

  • Better healer distribution.  The over all goal would be to ensure that monks/clerics/etc are sent to appropriate players.  The basic code works fine, so this is a lower priority change imo.
  • Improve da’s shadow swap usage – plaguewraith suggests removing it completely from his build (might be a good temporary solution until we can tackle this)
  • Better creep farming with skills.  Plaguewraith indicated that he never saw a tb use circle of fire to farm.  This is something we could tweak, but we’d need to think it through
  • Lord-Orion suggests we remove all ub builds except for Spit/Ooze life
  • Lord-Orion suggests we optimize all builds for skill dmg output as the AI cannot currently rationalize like a human can. 
  • Lord-Orion suggests we go with a basic item prioritization of 4 life/1 helm builds – I agree to some extent…
  • Come up with a way for the ai’s to intelligently chain stuns or interrupts to go for kills.  In theory, the AI could be even better than a human at this if it was tied to precise timing
  • Teach the AI to teleport for ganks (this could be tricky – would probably result in a lot of pointless tp’s)
  • Find a way to help the AI manage mana better.  Early game the ai’s are almost always out of mana
  • Teach the AI when to shop!
  • Have the AI always engage a simple enemy opponent if on a flag if hp is good, etc
  • Have the AI choose to engage towers on a regular basis
  • Have the AI refuse to run past towers in most circumstances and instead TARGET THE TOWER if no dgs around
  • Improve cataract map logic – the ai often goes into the middle of the map instead of staying in a lane.  This is probably due to the proximity of the creeps when the ai is working on capturing the middle flag (or if all flags are controlled by their team).  Ideal behavior would be to try to capture the middle flag and if its already controlled, then get into a lane on HP or Mana.
  • Override the flee functionality if there is an enemy dg and its likely possible to get a kill
  • Better decision making for flags – Ai heading over from mana side all the way to Hp without capturing mana.  this is likely due to flag weights… just not sure why it didn’t evaluate hp as the priority initially – could be some conflicting code?
  • Send the AI back to base if its low mana (sledge) – We might do something for this, but it would have to be a conditional statement – perhaps add a check to see if they are at low mana around X Ws have > X money, then run back and prioritze getting a helm as an override
  • Plaguewraith suggests removing mist from erb’s build – I’m not sure about this yet.  He says remove it or build a routine to cause erb to use it just to get rid of negative buffs – I agree that we could use a routine like that.
  • Encourage the AI to react quickly if they are losing a flag that is near 2 or more towers (eg gold flag)
  • Increase the frequency that the AI picks up sigils – not sure about this one – I agree a good player should generally have one, but the AI might just blow a lot of money casting when it doesn’t need to and fall behind as a result.  Perhaps this becomes a conditional statement to raise the priority after ws X
  • Add an override so the ai will only go for flags like gold if the tower is down.  Add another override so the ai doesn’t go for portals early (probably WS related)
  • plaguewraith – delete the tb builds and just stick with 1 fire tb build

Change log

version 0.26.39
pacov is learning things…
– reprioritized AI to purchase fs1 at ws2.  Previously, it only purchased it if made it back to base with enough money; this forces it back to base to get it if no one else has
– raised priority for currency 2.  Logic mirrors currency 1 as I want this purchased every time.  Also sending ai with the most gold to purchase at ws 5.
– removed assassin sedna build until I have a chance to look at the pounce training – assassin sed should be pouncing left and right… right now its like once in a blue moon – heal_tank sedna is solid though

version 0.26.38
removed unitstatussensors code – concerned it might be causing an issue
– tweaked erebus build so that he gets mass charm later – he’s not using it well as is

version 0.26.37
bugfix – just resolving a sytax issue

version 0.26.36
copy of peppe’s version 0.26.35
– removed 3 old sedna ability builds
– added 2 new sedna ability builds
– removed old qot ability builds
– added new qot ability build
– removed 2 old erebus ability builds
– added 2 new erebus ability builds
– uncommented some code peppe developed in UnitStatusSensors that might help resolve the frozen dgs
*note – all builds that have been added by me will be announced in team chat at the start of the game and will say “pacov” folowed by the build name.


Download links:

Link to the latest version of the mod:  http://www.box.net/shared/g8lbbhpojik4tbkjn6su

Link to the prioritization spreadsheet:  https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0An02sqdF5v-EdFdzMENSTlRsTEhJV2tlMjltSUpNUGc&hl=en_US

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The history of the AI in Demigod

Hi folks.  pacov here.  Thought I’d take a little time to bring you up to speed on the AI in Demigod and its current state via modding.  This article might be of some interest to the majority of you as it covers DG’s history or it might be a complete bore fest.  Anyway, read on if you like or pass it by if its not your thing.

Quick Background

First, let me tell you that I wasn’t fortunate enough to be around in the days of the beta (during development, etc).  I only found out about Stardock shortly after the release of Demigod.  That said, I’ve been an avid fan of Stardock since then for how they handed issues with DG and pirates at launch, etc, and decided to purchase the game a few weeks after release knowing it was something I’d be interested in – even if it had some issues.  I don’t regret my decision.  Demigod has easily been the game I’ve dedicated the most time to playing and being involved with a gaming community because I love it. 

The History of the AI

Anyway, that said, onto the AI.  It seems clear to me that AI development took a back seat at some point during the development process.  That statement will likely sound offensive to anyone involved in developing the AI, but frankly, it seems clear that AI eventually became an extremely low priority after launch.  If you doubt it, note the amount of updates that improved the AI in all of the patches.  The one AI update that I’m aware of happened with Demigod v1.2.  And that change gave us the ability to change the XP and gold rewards for killing AI players when we host a game.  This, is actually a HUGE improvement.  But it still meant that the AI was lousy and that no real effort was being made to make the AI better.  That said, 100% of custom games immediately started hosting AI high HP and low AI gold games to take advantage of the improvement provided to us.  Even if the AI was in the backseat, SD was listening to us that we needed a change to make the AI less of a liability.

How was the AI lousy?

Let me give you a few quick examples to help make the problem more clear. 

Example 1:  Let’s say I’m playing a 3v3 game.  My team is actually doing a pretty good job of kicking arse (let’s say we are up 5 kills).  Right around warscore 8, one of my teammates crashes.  Now, we have an AI + 2 players left to defend our portals and attack.  The enemy has 3 players that could coordinate 3v2 or 3v1 attacks.  As our AI teammate will likely be off somewhere doing God knows what, we are almost always in 3v1 or 3v2 conditions.  If the AI was a bit more useful and considered helping us or focusing on a useful target, we’d have a better chance.  Odds are though – even if you give me a very experienced teammate – if we are fighting against mid level players, we will lose.  The outcome of getting an AI on your team almost always meant a loss.

Example 2: This one’s a bit off the path, but also illuminates more problems with how DG was handled at points (note – the issue I’m describing has been resolved).  At one point you could fight AI in the pantheon for ladder rank.  This meant you could, more or less, pick on a dumb kid to rise through the ladder ranks.  Any experienced player could defeat the AI 1v1 or even 2v1 on a regular basis.  And in pantheon, there are no settings to make the AI worth less gold, etc – it was pretty much like getting the reward for killing a real player.  Anyway, this decision to allow beating an AI to count as a ladder win just went further to invalidate the competitive ladder in Demigod and lost us many competitive players.  Imagine that the #1 1v1 ladder player in Starcraft 2 never actually played a human opponent to get that ranking.  Pretty cool, right?  In Demigod, that was possible and actually happened.  The bottom line is that it didn’t matter if you beat the best player in the world; ladder stats would be determined by who could beat the handicapped AI the most.  That said, a fix went in that made it extremely unlikely that you would end up fighting an AI in the pantheon.  And as a result, all of those players that beat the handicapped quite playing pantheon and its no longer used by 90% of all players.  And then pantheon died.

Example 3: This ties in to example 2, but let’s say I decide to host a custom game today – right now.  I will take an AI as a teammate and fight against 2 mid level players (eg not expert, but certainly not new).  So, I’m an expert against 2 mid level players.  If those guys are truly mid level players, I have no chance of winning.  A game on cataract can be instantly decided by those 2 mid level players at warscore 8 by making an immediate dash to each of the portals I control and locking it. I can only defend 1 portal.  The Ai on my team will be off killing creeps or something.  In short – if you have a brain and even a wee bit of experience, you can beat any player with an AI for a teammate if it is that way at the beginning. 

Example 4:  The AI’s purchase silly upgrades and silly equipment.  Now granted, let’s say AI was a focus during development.  I can even buy that it was for a bit.  But consider any point after release.  Once there are a substantial amount of games played, it quickly becomes clear that the AI is using silly equipment, silly ability builds, and purchases silly upgrades.  Now, if I was working on AI development, I’d say “Oh – the ai’s are doing many things that MP users don’t do.  And the AI’s are dying a lot in MP.  I think I will make the AI’s mirror what MP users are buying, upgrading, and doing.”  But that never happened.  So, all we have is the vanilla AI that was dreamed up before DG was launched.  To my knowledge (and to Demigod’s change log), nothing has changed to improve the AI.

Should AI have been prioritized?

No.  At least in my opinion, as a MP gaming, I honestly could have cared less if the AI was good or bad.  Obviously, allowing players to fight against AI’s and get credit for the PvP ladder was a mistake, but I digress.  I played against the AI to learn the basic mechanics of the game and abilities of the all the DGs.  To me, it was simply a test ground to learn.  Playing the AI will never make you a good MP person, but it will give you the basics.  I stand by the decision to put resources into fixing the MP experience and rebalancing as appropriate (instead of putting time and money into developing the AI).  That said, if I was an offline player, I’m pretty sure I’d feel very differently (or have moved on to another game post haste). 

Why do I care now?

Well, the reality is that because there can be connectivity issues or people rage quitting, and because the AI is lousy, its generally a death sentence if my teammate crashes or the other team loses a player.  Whoever gets the AI is screwed.  Heh… I even worked it out at one point.  If there are about 2 minutes left in the game when I lose a teammate and an AI takes over, odds are I will still win.  > than that in an even game and I am done for.  So, I care because having a good AI teammate when someone drops gives me a chance to win.  I also care because if I can have a good ai teammate, I’d gladly play 2 mid level players vs me + 1 ai.  I don’t mind handicapping myself to get a fun game.  But if it’s a guaranteed loss 95% of time even if I play perfectly… then that sucks and its just boring.

AI Modding

The good news is that modding support via LUA was added to Demigod.  And so, someone eventually took up the call and started working on an AI mod.  Someone named peppe. 

AI modding version 1

Around November 2009, peppe started work on modding the AI.  He started by focusing on causing the AI to use builds that the MP community used.  This alone, is a huge improvement.  Peppe continued to focus on the mod for some time until he burned out for a bit, but certainly left a good legacy for someone to pick up.  Someone did…

AI modding version 2

In 2010, the_hunger stepped in after peppe vanished for a bit due to some family issues.  The_hunger worked to update the mod and continued to provide additional refining.  We are getting closer.  While peppe was away, he chimed back in during the_hunger’s development and said this:

“The code belongs to the community. I had always hoped others would contribute and it is very nice to see new releases come out of the base I built. The mod appears to be in good hands. Hope to contribute again in the future.”

AI modding version 3:  peppe returns

Peppe came back in November 2010 and worked with a passion on modding the AI.  I became the primary tester at that point (I provided testing and support to previous iterations but only became very involved around this time).  I’d provide feedback and request changes, peppe would make those changes.  We’d often even have 2-3 new versions per day – that’s how much time he was devoting to making the AI better and better.  And around this time, miriyaka started lending support and helped develop additional code.  We progressed quite a bit, but due to the extreme pace of the changes and updates, peppe burned out eventually and took a much deserved break (though he did pop back in 2-3 months ago to help with a critical issue we discovered and released a new version).  Peppe still checks the forums from time to time, but we have not heard from him in a bit.  That said, without his contribution, I don’t think anyone would have delved into AI modding in the community and we all owe him our thanks for his time.  Thank you, peppe!

AI modding version 4:  TODAY

Starting early in June, I’ve taken up the_hunger’s role.  I’m stepping in while peppe is gone and looking to do whatever I can to make the AI in demigod better than it is.  With my > 6k games, its not much of a problem for me to know what should be done in a given match and to observe the AI and note what needs changed.  Everyone involved gave us a great framework and I’m simply looking to refine it further.  And thankfully, miriyaka is still around and has been providing excellent support to me and has been a tremendous help in code development. I’ve been releasing test versions and thankfully some folks from the community have been willing to help out as testers (thanks plaguewraith, sledge, and darkliath (when I ask you to help, you always do).  So, we have a decent team working on this and I expect we’ll end up with a solid new version that improves upon peppe’s and the_hunger’s great work. 

How does the mod stack up in peppe’s version?

Well, let me put it this way:

  • if it’s a 2v2 matchup with a mid level player and new player on one team, I’d take an AI on my team EVERY time.
  • if it’s a 2v2 matchup with 2 mid level players on one team, I’d take an AI some of the time
  • If it’s a 2v2 matchup with 1 expert and 1 mid level player on 1 team, I’d lose with an AI.  And so on.

How does the mod stack up in my new version?

It’s pretty much the same right now.  Everything I’ve done has just been minor improvements (eg the ai getting currency 2, always buying fs1 ASAP, better builds for some dgs and removing weak builds).  Its getting better and I’m certainly hitting the goal of improving on the original version, but there is a lot of work ahead of us before we have a new release.  I’m going to keep refining things and continue to make logical improvements.

Anyway, that’s its folks.  If you find this sort of thing interesting, hope you were entertained and now know a little bit more. 

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facepalm and kitty hat

ironhide_facepalm

 

lemoncatsized7cb

implied_facepalm_RE_Twilight_Stupidity_Effect-s646x501-57572

facepalm

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[MOD] Enhanced Squelch/Chat

Background

Demigod has had some issues with squelching and muting other players in chat.  Originally, you couldn’t squelch a player unless their name was all in lower case.  GPG released a patch way back that sorted that problem for us.  But, the system has never been all that friendly or easy to use on the fly.  That’s about to change thanks to miriyaka.

What’s it look like?

Here’s what happens when you type in /? in chat

List of commands

I’ll add a picture of how the ui looks when you run /pl later

What’s the point of the mod?

This mod simplifies the in game squelch/muting system and provides enhancements to the chat system.  It does the following:

  • Provides the ability to quickly squelch/mute players using a menu driven system
  • Provides the ability to quickly squelch/mute players using /s /i /squelch + player name
  • Creates a persistent list of players you’d like to see banned each game and mutes them at the start of the game
  • Creates a popup window at the start of a game so you know who you are muting in case you want to unmute them
  • Enables you to adjust the chat font size
  • Enables you to adjust the chat history timeout

The bottom line is that this mod enables you to quickly mute anyone in about 3-4 seconds without having to spell out the players entire name

Why make a mod?

It’s a logical addition that improves the Demigod UI.

What’s the most common use for this mod (or how should I use it?)

Open chat and type in /pl + enter.  Find the number associated with the player you want to mute.  Type /s + that number and hit enter.  Player is muted.  Type /s + that number to unmute

How do I use the mod?

Download the mod and run the installer.  Then, use the Demigod Mod manager to enable the mod. As this is a UI mod, all players DO NOT need to have this mod installed for you to use it.

Where can I download the mod?

http://www.box.net/shared/qyu2pdke456v7nojp71n


Revision history

v1.0
– Release version – no changes from test release version 0.02
v0.02
– test release – minor change by miriyaka
v0.01
– Initial test release

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New UI mod design–feedback requested

Ok – I’ve been toying around with the UI mod code for a bit now and I feel like I can a new ui mod for us.  I’m not exactly sure what info I want to display and would like some feedback.  I’m going to post a few mock ups and I’d like some feedback. 

First – here’s just the standard UI with the latest enhanced UI mod on.

 

No dialog box

Now – here’s the basic stat info that already exists in game, but you have to go through a few clicks to get to it

normal dialog box

As you can see, there’s some useful info there, but at least imo, its annoying to get to and its placed way to high in the UI.  If I wanted to just keep that functionality, I’d move the box to a better location.  If so, I’d mod it to look like this and have it automatically displayed without any clicks required.

Here’s what that would look like, roughly. 

Mod1

So, I could just mod it like that and add in additional stats and make the dialog box larger/text small… w/e.  I could believe I could display similar teammate info (not sure if that info’s locked down or not atm.  But if its not, then I could make something like this:

Mod2

Of course – that’s using up a ton of space and probably not ideal – but it tells you at a glance if you have a teammate with no armor, who’s got speed on your team, etc.  I potentially try to shrink down the dialog boxes so that all 5 would fit next to each other at the bottom. 

And last thought – I could try to modify the existing team panel so that all of these stats would be combined… that would look something like this:

Mod3O

Obviously, I’d pretty this up and you wouldn’t see the crazy distortions, but this way you’d get the portrait with hp/mana along with all the stats.

Here are a few of the new stats we could display if uberfix is used:

New BuffAffects:

  • EnergyAdd
  • EnergyLeech

Existing BuffAffects:

  • Absorption
  • AbsorptionMult
  • MagicResistance
  • MissChance
  • Invincible
  • StunImmune
  • DebuffImmune
  • BountyGivenMod
  • BountyReceivedMod

Weapon BuffAffects:

  • SplashMult
  • DamageRadius
  • FiringRandomness
  • MetaRadius
  • MetaAmount

Anyway, what do you guys think?  Is it just way too much clutter?  Does anyone else think having some of this info more easily accessible would be useful?  I’m not planning on moving on this quickly or anything, but I do want some feedback and to gauge interest.  Thanks for reading!  Also, if you have an idea for some data you’d like to see displayed that I didn’t mention, do tell.

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DG Strategy–Healing using monks/clerics/high priests/bishops

Quick disclaimer: as I think of useful tips, I’m going to start writing up some articles. Each article will focus on a particular topic or game play element. The majority of these tips will likely be things that experienced players already know. I welcome any additional feedback on any of the tips and I’m happy to update any OP if you have something useful to add to the topic. Each thread will be originally posted in the Demigod general forum (at least for a bit) and then moved to the DG strategy forums.

Topic of the day: Healing using monks/clerics/high priests/bishops

My goal for this thread is to try to gather a fairly comprehensive list of strategies and explain how healing works in detail.  We’ve had several threads that have touched on the topic, but I’d like to turn this into a one stop shop for all the info you could ever want on the healing mechanic.  Understanding how the healing mechanic works through summonable minions (along with the bonuses associated with having a Sedna on the team) can have a substantial impact on staying power in lanes, late game kills – you name it.  I’m going to start with the most basic strategies and move onto specifics – but first I need to cover this:

How does healing work?

This is probably the most important thing to understand in this article.  If you get this, you are well on your way to using healers strategically.  You know how if you cast a teleport scroll, there is a cool down period before you can use it again?  Healing actually has a cool down associated with it as well – only you can’t clearly see that a healer is on cool down.  Each type of healer (for example, a monk is a type of healer;  a cleric is a type of healer and so on) is able to cast a heal every 5 seconds (eg it casts the heal, the heal ability goes on cool down, and they they can cast it again after 5 seconds).  Now what you might not know is that any time you are healed by a particular type of healer, there is a special cool down that is placed on your Demigod.  This cool down lasts 8 seconds.  That means that you cannot receive a second heal from that type of healer until 8 seconds have passed.  So, you have a healer that can technically heal every 5 seconds, but because of the cool down effect of 8 seconds, you won’t be healed every 5 seconds.  Make sense so far? 

So, you noticed I was talking about types of healers.  This is critical to understand.  Each type of heal casts a different 8 second cool down.  So, to give you an example.  If I have 2 monks with me and there is no other allied Demigod near me, I can receive 1 heal from only 1 of them because the 8 second cool down goes into effect as soon as I get that first heal.  So, even though I have 2 monks there that could heal me every 5 seconds, that 8 second cool down makes it impossible for me to get anything faster than a heal every 8 seconds.  The good news – each type of healer casts a DIFFERENT type of 8 second cool down.  Let me give you an example here as well.  If I have 1 monk with me and 1 cleric with me and there is no other allied Demigod near me, I can receive 1 heal from the monk and 1 heal from the cleric every 8 seconds.  This is essentially double healing.  This is why its more efficient to stack types of healers.  I also do want to stress that if I had 3 generals on my team and each of them purchased monks.  Even if they sent all 6 of those monks to me, I could only receive 1 heal every 8 seconds.  But if there were 2 different types of healers, I could receive 2 heals every 8 seconds… and so on.

Who do the healers decide to heal?

The healers do a check every 5 seconds to see if there are any damaged Demigods in range.  If so, they will heal the Demigod with the lowest HP (fact check plz?) in range.   This places that 8 second cool down on whatever dg has been healed.  But if there are 2 Demigods present, the healer can after 5 seconds heal the other Demigod (as there was no 8 second cooldown on him).   

The following is borrowed from a post from hedige:  [If a healer doesn’t find a damaged Demigod in range, it will then check itself to see if it is damaged. If it is and will not be “overhealed” (eg, if they only lost 5 hp, and the Monk heals for 200, there isn’t much point for it to be healed since it will “overheal” by 195 hp). If it won’t overheal, it will heal itself.]

Borrowing this from an earlier article I posted, but I’m not sure if its accurate – can anyone confirm?

1- they don’t heal a demigod with a larger % of hp than itself.  For instance, if a monk has, say 800/1000 hp (80% hp) and your demigod has 1900/2000 hp (95% hp), the monk will try to heal it self first.  This plays a very important factor when you consider characters that do AOE damage.  If they drop your healers to a lower % of hp than you, YOU won’t get any healing.  This is also another reason why the highest level healer (bishop) is more valuable due to its increased HP.  Anyway, player that constantly hits you with AOE, but doesn’t completely kill your healers, is more than likely stopping the healers from healing you. 

What are the stats?

 

Monks

Clerics

High Priests

Bishops

Healing (Non-DG)

200

230

260

290

Healing with Healing Wind I/II (Non-DG)

300

345

390

435

Healing (DG) – % of Target DG’s MAX HP

10%

12%

13%

15%

Healing with Healing Wind I/II (DG) – % of Target DG’s MAX HP

15%

17%

19%

22%

What are the strategies?

I’m going to several different strategies here and I expect you folks will be kind enough to add to them as you think up things I’ve missed.

Share your monk

This one is a no brainer for experienced players, but not so much for new folks.  If you are the only general on a team, buy monks at the start of the game and share them.  There are some strategies that don’t buy monks immediately, but generally speaking, you will always want monks at the start.  So, now that you have monks, you will want to share them with your teammates.  If it’s a 2v2, it’s a no brainer – just send a monk over to your teammate.  In many cases, you can just click on your monk and then click on the Demigod you want them to follow.  However, you are almost always better off if you micromanage the monk and guide where he will go to keep him safe and healing your allies.  If it’s a 3v3 game, then you’ll occasionally need to put a little more thought into it.  I’ll often move monks as they are needed in different places.  For instance, if I sent the monk originally to a Demigod on the mana flag (on cataract) and he’s at full hp and fighting no one, I might send that monk to the experience flag if someone on my team is trying to capture it… and then move the healer back afterwards.  The number 1 rule though is that you want to keep your healers safe and healing as much as possible.

Sharing with 2 or more generals

So, as I discussed in the section on how healing works, you can get a heal of multiple types if you share your healers.  At the start of any game with 2 generals (where I’m a general anyway), I’ll ask in chat “you monks?  me clerics?”  If they respond quickly, I just get whatever I need and head out, then buy clerics ASAP.  If they don’t respond quickly, I’ll just wait a few moments and see if they get monks or not.   If they do, I’ll often ask them to share one of their monks with me and tell them I’ll be getting clerics soon.  As soon as I make it back to base to get those clerics, I’ll immediately send one of them to one of my teammates and keep the other to myself.  Now, there are quite a few strategies here.  Some folks will skip clerics completely and just save up for bishops or high priests.  But if there are 2 generals, you will pretty much always want 1 player to get monks at the start of the game and share them.  And you will pretty much always want to have the other player pick up some sort of different type of healer and share that as well.  Double heals every 8 seconds can do a hell of a lot for team battles or even staying power on a flag solo.  The same rule applies if you have 3 or 4 generals.  Communicate in game and make sure each of you gets a different type of healer.  with 4 generals, that’s potential for 4 heals every 8 seconds… which is HUGE.

So, I have 2 generals – what healers should I get?

This question can have many possible answers.  If you don’t have a sedna on your team, I suggest going with monks and clerics initially.  You’ll note that the difference between heal levels on clerics and high priests is only 1%.  If you just want the best of the best, then getting bishops/high priests is the answer; however, monk cleric is great for early/mid game and ending the game having only clerics and bishops would be adequate in most circumstances.  If there is an enemy sedna in the game, its often best to just stick with monks/clerics as she will likely get counter healing – which will shut down a good chunk of your heals.

Sedna and healers

Sedna certainly deserves a section to herself for healing.  As you can see from the stat info section, there are some nice bonuses associated with having healing wind along with nearby healers.  In short, any type of healer in the healing wind aura will heal at increased levels.  You only need 1 level of healing wind to get the healer bonus.  Healing wind 2 only gives you additional health per second (and it isn’t bad for that) and allows priests (the type that come from portals) to heal at a higher bonus if they are near her), but it is not required to get the healing bonus.  As you can see, bishops and high priests are ideal if you have a sedna.  With the healing wind bonus, we’re talking about healing 22% of the healing targets max HP along with a heal of 19% of max HP.  So, its possible (based on all of the other factors involved with healing) to be healed 41% of a dg’s max HP every 8 seconds.  That can be gigantic.  Without healing wind, a combo of bishops/highpriests would yield 15% and 13% for a total of 28%.  That’s not bad, but you can see is a pretty sizable difference. 

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