Interesting "stare and approach" AI for certain Red Hulks...

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engrossed82
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Interesting "stare and approach" AI for certain Red Hulks...

Post by engrossed82 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:23 pm

Recently I've noticed that a few specimens of Red Hulks have a very interesting behavior pattern. Basically, if you stare at them from a very great distance (much further away than what triggers them to start firing missiles), certain Red Hulks will begin to slowly and steadily move toward you. If you drift out of sight or the line of sight is otherwise obstructed, they stop their silent approach. But if you keep staring they will eventually get close enough so you hear their "motors," and shortly after that, they start shooting.

The best example is in level 10, in the big room near the red door that contains two Smart Missiles and where you pass through to reach the Blue Key. There are a few Spiders and Red Hulks around the perimeter of this room, plus one Red Hulk in the central section. You can stand in the bottom part of the big lava room near the energy station, and stare through the tunnel to see this Red Hulk in the distance. After about 30-40 seconds of staring, it will come close enough to hear the motors. (If you keep teasing it with your stare and then duck into the room with the energy station, sometimes it will follow you in all the way to the back corners!)

There's another one at the start of level 12 if you fire straight forward from the beginning, through two doors and into a room at the top of the "tower." If you kill the Driller and stop firing, you'll see a Red Hulk off in the distance. You have to keep firing at the door from time to time to keep it open, but if you do this properly, sometimes the Hulk will advance toward you and eventually get close enough to start firing missiles.

However there are many other Red Hulks throughout the game that clearly DON'T exhibit this behavior. I'm curious which ones do, and if the game has a name for that particular AI script. I think the reason I find this behavior so intriguing is for its spook factor. One thing that makes DESCENT so much fun is that certain enemies in the game are especially scary - and scary for different reasons. Medium Hulks move around unpredictably; Red Hulks like to snipe at you with their missiles and a few will creep toward you from way off in the distance. Then of course the Vulcan Drillers have their hideous screams that are immediately followed up with mass damage from their vulcan fire....
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DarkFlameWolf
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Re: Interesting "stare and approach" AI for certain Red Hulk

Post by DarkFlameWolf » Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:10 pm

Check to see if those Red Hulks have 'Station' set as their AI, they will go and defend their 'station' to which they were original placed.
engrossed82
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Re: Interesting "stare and approach" AI for certain Red Hulk

Post by engrossed82 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:55 pm

I'm at a total loss as to how to use the programs to analyze levels, item locations, and the AIs of specific robot specimens. I tried to tinker around with one "level viewer" program but I couldn't find where the First Strike level files were located, nor how to operate the viewer properly. I'm not exactly a programming geek!
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Re: Interesting "stare and approach" AI for certain Red Hulk

Post by Naphtha » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:28 pm

No worries, I took a look at the Super Hulks you were talking about. And she was right, the AI mode was set to Station where most other Super Hulks seem to be set to Still (thanks for confirming what I sort of thought Station meant, btw :lol:).

For a quick check for something like that, I usually just flip open Descent Level Editor-XP and open up the level file. There's only three kinds of files it can open directly: an .RDL file is an individual Descent 1 level, an .RL2 is an individual Descent 2 level, and a .HOG file can bundle together multiple levels along with custom add-on data and more.
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engrossed82
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Re: Interesting "stare and approach" AI for certain Red Hulk

Post by engrossed82 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:37 pm

Well the .RDL file names sure don't seem to parallel the in-game names of the levels. And I see .RDL files spread across many different folders.

But thank you for explaining the difference between "Station" and "Still" AI...
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Re: Interesting "stare and approach" AI for certain Red Hulk

Post by Sirius » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:12 am

In the in-built campaigns, no, they definitely don't. It just goes by number (or for D2, system then number).

That's kind of funny though, that Still setting is making it either a lot easier or a lot harder. Means the ambushes are more effective for sure, but also means if you can get another angle, it is guaranteed to work.
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Re: Interesting "stare and approach" AI for certain Red Hulk

Post by Avder » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:58 pm

Red hulks that just stick their launcher out around a corner and fire at you are lots of fun.

Honestly, Descent's AI is the best and most devious AI I have ever seen in any video game, ever.
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