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Author Topic: Newbie Questions / Moving Civilians  (Read 3994 times)

Offline JeKylL351

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Newbie Questions / Moving Civilians
« on: December 23, 2011, 12:15:34 am »
Hello all,

First of all I would like to say thanks for making this game. I have enjoyed it alot so far, and it makes me glad to see people do this open source.  I am a big fan of the whole X-Com type game series, and of turn based strategy games in general.

My question concerns the situation where your troops are in a tight corridor, with a gaggle of civilians.  Is there an easy way to get them to move aside?  It seems difficult at times to get to the rooms that they are blocking off.  Maybe I missed the command on the list somewhere.  The best I can manage to do is either wait for them to move so there is an opening to sneak through, or take a long route around to them, if it even exists.  Is stunning them an option once you get ahold of that sort of weaponry?  I know on some games that was considered a lethal attack to a civilian.

I have scanned some of the civilian related threads, so I realize their AI is limited at best.  I wouldn't mind that much as long as I could get them out of the way and maybe corral them in a "safe" room.

Anyway, thanks for your attention, and keep up the good work!

Cheers,
JeKylL351

Offline MCR

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Re: Newbie Questions / Moving Civilians
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2011, 08:31:26 am »
Hey JeKylL351 (complicated name ;))

1. Welcome to the forums !

2. IMO a very good idea. In RL those civilians would beg Phalanx for guidance in such a situation and Phalanx would most likely give orders to civilians and tell them what they should do.

So in UFO:AI I could envision an implementation like this: A selected Phalanx soldier uses a few of his time units to shout an order to a civilian (go there, or crouch and hide there) and the civilian will execute this order, when it's the civilian's turn.

Opinions ?

Offline Crystan

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Re: Newbie Questions / Moving Civilians
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2011, 01:49:19 pm »
So in UFO:AI I could envision an implementation like this: A selected Phalanx soldier uses a few of his time units to shout an order to a civilian (go there, or crouch and hide there) and the civilian will execute this order, when it's the civilian's turn.

Oh i like that idea!

Offline homunculus

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Re: Newbie Questions / Moving Civilians
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2011, 03:29:54 pm »
but the civilians would have low morale, and they would panic whenever they see an alien and run in random direction anyway (or away from aliens, like they seem to be doing quite well atm).
yeah, shouting orders to civilians would be cool, as long as the orders are simple (like 'run here') and as long as the civilians panic and run elsewhere instead, especially when they see an alien : )
in his own mind, the panicked civilian knows better where the danger is, than the suspicious phalanx agent who might not really care about the bloodspider or plasma death approaching the civilian, doesn't he?

was mind control a 'no'?
was mind control a 'no' because it would be overpowered?
well, here's some mind control:
some aliens (tamans) could use mind control to issue a similar kind of 'run here' command to civilians, and maybe it might work better if the civilian is panicked.
this kind of mind control is what the ufologists have "reported", isn't it?

edit:
actually the civilians look like they are walking in park, while aliens are butchering people all over the place.
maybe they could look more like the panic animation.
maybe they could use the same animation as soldiers?
in this case they should be holding something in hand, like a bread, a bottle, a baby, a laptop, a handbag, a suitcase, a teddy bear, etc?
i guess i am getting carried away, but that way the civilians would look like they were living their life when the aliens suddenly appeared.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2011, 04:41:08 pm by homunculus »

Offline nanomage

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Re: Newbie Questions / Moving Civilians
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2011, 07:19:45 pm »
I think the civilians should try to hide from both aliens and player's soldiers. Look this way: your troops arrive several hours (at least) after the place is invaded by aliens. Most civilians already are evacuated or have fled by themselves, and some are already killed by aliens. Only those who hid well remain in place when you arrive. So  I think they should be hiding when noone sees them and try to run away from both aliens and phalanx soldiers on sight. After all, Phalanx agents in futuristic armor wielding alien weapons wouldn't seem any better than aliens to a panicked citizen, would they?

Offline mikehg

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Re: Newbie Questions / Moving Civilians
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2014, 02:13:52 pm »
I just had this exact same thought playing a jungle map with a walled compound in the bottom left (and... grrr... most of your spawn points in the open halfway across the map. Feels like an artificial way to make it harder, to be honest).

The only sane way to tackle the map is to retreat behind smoke into buildings and take up cover. Here you find civilians wandering around like nothing is happening, blocking access to rooms or walking out into a full on firefight - "Offer the Phalanx soldiers some tea while they're reloading would you dear? I'm just nipping down to the shops to get some biscuits..."

:P

This breaks immersion.

I think civilian psychology would be the most 'realism adding' element. If an alien approaches, or a human (Phalanx or civilian) gets shot in close proximity, civilians could have a certain probability of panicking / bolting / hiding (would be great to have extra graphics for that, but I suppose it isn't strictly necessary...).

If you could take some TUs to order calm civilians to a back room, even better. They could obey on a certain probability, perhaps weighted according to your reputation with the nation? (evil / desperate players could send them out as 'scouts' to expose enemy positions. A costly tactic, but hey, war is hell...)

Perhaps you could knock them out with the butts of your guns? Quicker than using antipsychotics on them... doing it could annoy the nation, but less than the civilian dying (perhaps it could have a small chance of killing them anyway).
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 03:21:07 pm by mikehg »

Offline Grug

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Re: Newbie Questions / Moving Civilians
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 06:16:10 am »
I think civilian psychology would be the most 'realism adding' element. If an alien approaches, or a human (Phalanx or civilian) gets shot in close proximity, civilians could have a certain probability of panicking / bolting / hiding (would be great to have extra graphics for that, but I suppose it isn't strictly necessary...).
The problem is the civilians take their turn just like the aliens and soldiers. They do move away from aliens when it is their turn.

It's difficult to picture how the scene would work an a realtime sense... in realtime, they would be panicking and probably going in different directions and generally getting in the way as there would be shots all around. So I think the current movement is possibly realistic (except for the not attempting to hide), but it looks odd because it is turn-based.

Visually, increasing their movement speed might give the impression of them panicking.

It would be nice if they tried to hide better but that would require a more advanced AI of course.

If you could take some TUs to order calm civilians to a back room, even better. They could obey on a certain probability, perhaps weighted according to your reputation with the nation? (evil / desperate players could send them out as 'scouts' to expose enemy positions. A costly tactic, but hey, war is hell...)
When I first started playing I kept trying to figure out how to get the civilians to go back to the "Safe Zone" areas. Eventually I gave up.

Interacting with civilians would be neat. I initially thought they might follow a soldier once they were in an adjacent square or something. That would allow you to lead them away without having to add anything to the interface, but would cause issues if you were just trying to pass them while hunting down an alien.

I also like the idea of being able to command them somehow. If nothing else, just to tell them to get out of the way. I've no idea what would be a good interface for this however.

Perhaps you could knock them out with the butts of your guns? Quicker than using antipsychotics on them... doing it could annoy the nation, but less than the civilian dying (perhaps it could have a small chance of killing them anyway).
You can stun them already, but knocking them out with your gun would save you having to switch weapons back and forth.

Offline mikehg

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Re: Newbie Questions / Moving Civilians
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2014, 06:40:22 am »
The problem is the civilians take their turn just like the aliens and soldiers. They do move away from aliens when it is their turn.

It's difficult to picture how the scene would work an a realtime sense... in realtime, they would be panicking and probably going in different directions and generally getting in the way as there would be shots all around. So I think the current movement is possibly realistic (except for the not attempting to hide), but it looks odd because it is turn-based.

Visually, increasing their movement speed might give the impression of them panicking.

It would be nice if they tried to hide better but that would require a more advanced AI of course.

They do indeed try to move out of the line of fire of aliens, but I've seen them wandering out of some quite sensible places into some really bizarre ones. It also seems rather static, in that they don't seem to react particularly differently if for example one of them gets shot.

What I was imagining is they could have three states:

1) Normal - more or less what they do now, which does create a fairly good illusion of intelligence in that they often bunch together somewhere out of the line of sight of aliens. Perhaps if other states were added, it would make sense to tone this one down - make them move around less.

2) Hiding - I'm not an AI programmer, so I have no idea how hard this would be. But I guess it's possible eventually. They could find a spot nearby on the map that is hard to get to (has few routes to it, or is behind bottlenecks in the available paths, or where you can't see much else of the map...), then just sit there and pray, gibber, cower and wet themselves like civilians probably ought to be doing in this situation.

3) Outright panic - running at full tilt to another point on the map, without much thought to what they're running through.

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I also like the idea of being able to command them somehow. If nothing else, just to tell them to get out of the way. I've no idea what would be a good interface for this however.
You can stun them already, but knocking them out with your gun would save you having to switch weapons back and forth.

Could be as simple as selecting one of your soldiers, then selecting a nearby civilian (would probably make sense if several in a group were all affected). A 'fire mode' type dialogue could pop up, with "Evacuate to (X TUs)" written on it. You click on that, then click on the destination. Would be useful even if it only worked over short distances.

And yes, you can stun them if you're equipped for it - I've taken a few out with smoke grenades entirely by accident. But I kinda wish I could whack 'em round the head with my rifle when I run round a corner and find one blocking a corridor... :)