Sandstorm Bot Difficulty

Hello Developers. First, I would like to say great job. You guys are doing gods work. Insurgency Sandstorm looks and sounds - immaculate. I only play coop. My problem is that the game play does not match the feel of the environment. I will do my best to explain. In the first game, there was (is) a culture of non-tactical play. It was frequent that players would race to be in front of each other in order to get the kills first. Reasons for this would include the following. First and foremost, the bots were not warrior enough to make us pay for it even with max bot count and Brutal difficulty when gunning against experienced humanoid shooters. Considering this, one person could race ahead and horde all of the kills. This prompts the majority of a server to do the same thing in order to see action. This type of behavior got embedded into the culture of online play of the game. A low kill count usually meant either you arrived late, were bad, or moved at a normal pace behind the horde of friendly runners that didn't die off. Steering the focus towards Sandstorm, I am noticing the same behavior. From a tactical perspective, the Sandstorm maps are very dynamic. On any map at any point in time it feels like there is an infinite amount of angles you can be shot from. The majority of the time, users are not paying for not checking every angle and corner as you would in real life - like your health depended on it. Players are running around the maps to get kills and capture points for what feels like the need to obtain the most points by the end of the game. There is no urgent need to try not to die or at least keep your head on a swivel. The lack of difficulty in coop makes playing feel less realistic (when comparing to the sound/look/feel of the environment) especially when witnessing the headless chicken game play from behind. I find myself launching the game specifically to enjoy just the look and feel of the game and not the game play aspect of coop (which hurts to be honest.) Beyond killing a technical or driver + shooter friendlies, there really isn't much 'cooperative' game play. It feels more like eight 1-man armies racing to see who can get to the eagles nest first. I want to pay for my own stupidity and I want other users to pay for theirs. To be clear, I'm not bashing anyone. Its just - if I hold a live grenade in my hand long enough, I would have committed suicide. The same would apply if I blindly race from one end of a battlefield to the other while ignoring caution and everything else but the sight of my enemy - but the game does not accurately represent this currently. As for the good about the bot difficulty, I will say this. For a short period of time after the 1.1.2 patch, the bots turned up so to speak. They felt far more hungry to kill us. There were several times where I found myself at the top of the leader board and last alive because the bots were harder and immune to the run and horde play style. Being quick, checking every angle and room clearing with intent on survival was the only way to survive. Finally the game play matched the sound look and feel of the game. Sadly, this level of difficulty did not last long. I assume other players will die often after a permanent difficulty change similar to the one I seen post patch 1.1.2. I am confidant they will adjust appropriately as playing any new game or difficulty is just a matter of experience and adjustment.

If you made it to the end of my novel, thank you for your time and hard work.

This is exactly why we need difficulty settings that appeal to the gamers among us who does not find the rushing through the maps either tactical or difficult enough. Higher difficulties forces players to play tactical or die and then adjusting. Custom servers will hopefully at some point fix this if the brilliant modders behind servers like Bef from Ins2014 finds the time to make mods in Sandstorm as well, but a difficulty like @Flair describes should also be in vanilla, as there is many gamers who enjoy a tougher challenge.

last edited by Pacalis

what we need is a better system of increasing difficulty.

making the game harder should require the player to improve skills, master new mechanics, or take a different approach to solve a problem.

but it should always be tied to player capabilities and punish players for making mistakes.

unfortunately, moving slowly and tactically makes one less likely to see action, and more likely to be killed by a randomly spawned bot.

I fixed this somewhat on my Sourcemod servers by awarding up to 3x points for actions when most of the team was involved, bonuses for kills with more than one attacker, and boosts for just being near teammates.

the lone wolf types ended the round at the bottom of the board, because they got wiped out for running headlong into a room and trying to clear it on the run.

just making the bots more likely to score a random headshot isn't really an improvement, the difficulty needs to be mapped onto behaviors rather than just making it even more superhuman.

Ideally it should be more complex bot behaviour and not only superaim that is used to increase difficulty - If NWI don't have the time and/or human resources to do that, they could consider the methods used by modder of Bef server in ins 2014. I never went to the download page myself, because i stumbled upon this server in the server list ingame which download the files when you just join. If this link is not for the whole mod, they could contact Artos, which I believe knows more since he is listed as author of said page:

Because super aim in itself will make all rushing players die very fast, so unless having a super organized team that watch all directions from inside a relatively small safe perimeter the team will fail - This I have experienced being the actual result for hundreds of hours on said server. Combining this with other adjustments like the bots not spawning too close to players etc, could at least make a option for higher difficulty that a certain type of players will enjoy.

The new enemy that bef server introduced who had shield was also pretty cool. You always played as insurgents on this server, so some enemies having a shield was somewhat more believable. Its also believable that it should be more difficult to play as insurgents as in most real world scenarios they are the underdog.

Yeah, I mapped out a system of "personalities", so that a map could be filled with a bunch of poorly-trained insurgents or a smaller number of well trained and equipped soldiers.

I really wanted to do things like have poorly trained bots panic and run, have well-trained bots use grenades and suppressing fire more effectively, and a bunch of other things that could have spiced up the coop mode, but there wasn't a lot of exposed touch points for me to modify.

I created a few configs to tweak the cvars, which got me halfway to where I wanted, but I wasn't able to really modify the core bot behaviors.

I'm betting that whatever server you played on was using my scripts and tools, and I'd be glad to spend some time doing something similar in Sandstorm, once the mod kit is released.

Happy to hear that you will continue your work. Hope you and other modders in all modesty creates a donator page - its nothing greedy about it, modders like you deserve some tangible respect for your effort.