Bjorn The Hound said:
Real solution is AI for challenging game. No one can deny that. But there is another indirect solution for this. That is damage dealt and taken. Correct me if I am wrong, in Warband hardest difficulty ratio is 1:1 as much as I remember. In other games, this ratio is more customizable than WB and not always but usually, this kind of difficulty settings enforce player use another intended features or the solutions they come up with. Ofcourse, in these games you only control your character not hundreds of troops so I don't know what could happen if this is implemented in Bannerlord.
Yeah I made a realistic fighting mod for Blade and Sorcery VR (which is basically a sword fighting simulator if you haven't played it). The game actually gets me thinking a lot about Mount and Blade, because it's basically a smaller scale version of it but in VR. This was my first mod ever, I learned how to do it because the combat was too easy but I saw the potential of what the game could be, an actual sword fighting simulator where you can feel like you are really in a sword fight. I am by no means a master at modding but I would say it was pretty successful for a first attempt.
In the original game the AI would just kind of stand there and their reaction time was so slow that kills were insanely easy and unless you were surrounded by like 10 people (even then it was possible and pretty easy to kill them all) you just wipe out the enemies without a thought, it's insanely fun, but the thrill doesn't last long, and I was yearning for more challenge to the combat, wanted to feel like I was fighting against another person because isn't that the point?
So yes, the first thing I did was lower my health to where I could only take a couple of major hits before dying, because I really don't think anyone could survive taking more than 3 or 4 full on sword slashes (if that). Then, for weeks I tweaked the numbers in the JSON files for AI combat, slowly bringing them to a point where the AI would dodge if you tried to stab them, they would keep their sword up in defence when anyone was near, they would parry and try to block your slash if they were too slow to dodge, if they had a large medieval shield they would be very hard to hit but it was possible with lots of effort, and they would attack you quicker but with more variability as to when they would strike, making parrying and dodging their hits harder to predict, like a real fight. I gave AI characters different "brains" so that they would behave differently from each other and not all act identical, some would strike fast and often, some would be more cautious, some are fast, some are slower, like how people are in real life, each challenger has different strengths and weaknesses. This not only worked making the combat better for me, but also for AI against AI, whereas before they just sort of sliced each other up all in the same mindless robotic ways, now they dodged and parried hits from ANYONE fighting them. I didn't realize how cool it was what I had made until I sat back and watched some AI fighting each other and it looked like they were actually fighting now, concerned about their safety, trying to not be hit by a sword, sounds of clashing swords and shields wrang out as the AI now seemed to fight for their lives instead of just kill kill kill without any thought of defense. And the beautiful thing was you could just sit back and watch the AI fight each other and it was INTERESTING, to see who would win. Obviously this is all done by just timing and numbers and chance and who has the better weapon or shield, but the game now felt more organic and real, like these people were individuals and they didn't want to die. And when it was 4 AI vs. 2 other AI, you could usually count on the larger group of 4 winning, but sometimes the group of 2 would take down the larger group, and it was exciting to watch. The underdog now actually has a chance of winning and the numbers are stacked against them, but it was possible, if they got lucky and fought just right, they could win.
I do however realize that implementing something like this on a larger scale like Bannerlord would come with a whole host of issues to work out, but if I can do it on a smaller scale with with ZERO modding experience beforehand in a couple of weeks, I'm pretty sure experienced devs could come up with some creative way of making the AI more intelligent with some tweaks of numbers. Maybe there could be different ways of thinking for AI, like when they are fighting as a large group they fight one way (more aggressive), and when they are mostly engaged with 1 to 3 enemies they could fight another way (more defensive minded) as just an example. I am pretty sure in a real fight I would find it hard to defend myself against more than 2 people at a time unless i'm surrounded by allies. Let's imagine for a moment walking around a large M&B battle where the AI isn't just mindlessly swiping at everyone who comes near, but also tries to not get hit by any means, the battle, to me, would be so much more exciting.