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IDProjectCategoryView StatusLast Update
0003415The Dark ModAIpublic04.07.2013 02:20
Reportertels Assigned Tograyman  
Status resolvedResolutionfixed 
Product VersionTDM 1.08 
Target VersionTDM 2.00Fixed in VersionTDM 2.00 
Summary0003415: AI greeting can occur too often for stationary AI or multiple AI in a group
DescriptionAI greeting each other (or now the player) can greet too often when there are multiple AI or the AI are stationary (like sitting, friendly card players).

The current setup (20s then a 30% chance) leads to about one greet per minute.

In some cases the sentences are ok (like "quiet night, huh?"), but since the greeting also contain lots of actual greets like "hello", "evening", the friendly AI often sounds like suffering from Alzheimer.

Possible solution is to increase the dead time (time until a specific other actor is greated again) from the default of 20s. Alternatively, some non-greet generic sentences could be added (but this seems much harder esp. as it needs voice actors).
Steps To ReproduceStart Dragon's Claw and go to the pub, walk around for a few minutes and listen to the multiple greetings that occur between AI and AI and the player.
Additional Information
TagsNo tags attached.




14.05.2013 23:46

administrator   ~0005461

Upon looking deeper into this, I see that once the decision has been made to attempt a greeting (20s has passed, and the 30% chance has been met), the greeting is passed to a task that disallows the greeting if 3 mins haven't passed since the last greeting to the same AI.

So there's already a minimum 3 min period of silence between greetings to the same AI.

AI->player doesn't have this second 3 minute check, because it doesn't use the greeting task.

I'm going to let the folks in the Dragon Claw pub tell me how often they greet their friends and the player, to double-check and make sure the periods of silence are honored.


14.05.2013 23:59

administrator   ~0005463

I definitely think there should be more than a 20 second delay for AI -> player greetings.


15.05.2013 00:21

administrator   ~0005464


The nice thing is that it's simple to change the delay, so we could try different values.


15.05.2013 14:46

administrator   ~0005472

Last edited: 15.05.2013 14:47

View 2 revisions

Here's the setup in the inn:

2 in a back room, playing cards together

2 in the front room, playing cards together

3 in the front room, sitting together at the same table

1 in the front room, sitting by himself

1 barmaid wandering around

The first greeting was at the 2.6 minute mark. I had arrived by then and taken up a position near the table of 3.

Over the span of the next 19.5 minutes, there were 81 greetings.

I was greeted 13 times by the table of 3.

I was greeted 3 times by the wandering barmaid.

The 3 people at the table exchanged 18 greetings among themselves.

The cardplayers in the back room exchanged 6 greetings with each other.

The cardplayers in the front room exchanged 5 greetings with each other.

The barmaid initiated 17 greetings while wandering.

The barmaid received 11 greetings while wandering.

The average silence between greetings lasted 14.5 seconds.


I think we need different rules based on whether AI are stationary or moving, and how long it's been since you last greeted a particular person, or they greeted you.

Not sure what they are yet, though.



15.05.2013 14:52

administrator   ~0005473

Here are the current rules (after some tinkering last night):

If I'm stimmed by someone and they're < 200 from me, I want to greet them. If 20s have passed since the last time I tried, check the odds of greeting them. There's a 30% chance of success. If that passes, and their eyes are w/in my FOV, I'll try to greet them.

If it's been less than 3 minutes since the last time I greeted them, I can't.

Otherwise, I greet them and they return the greeting.

These rules are the same when spotting the player.


17.05.2013 13:47

administrator   ~0005476

@Spring, you have any comments on this? I'm thinking one or more of these might be in order:

1. Extend the delay between greetings from 3 mins to 10 mins.

2. Eliminate the 30% chance check and add a random time to the delay. Same effect, but it prevents skipping a greeting opportunity, which could become a problem when the delay is lengthened.

3. Vary the delay based on whether one or both AI are moving or not.

4. Only allow a greeting to occur if the AI are within a certain distance from the player. Greetings carry no useful information; they're just there for entertainment value, and are worthless if they occur outside the player's hearing.


17.05.2013 19:50

administrator   ~0005478

Last edited: 17.05.2013 19:51

View 2 revisions

I think # 4 should play a factor; players probably spend less than 10 minutes in the vicinity of any particular AI, so that could result in the player missing many greetings. On the other hand, you don't want a whole bunch of AI suddenly greeting each other the moment the player comes in range.

Another possibility would be to separate the "hello" greetings from the other question/comment ("quiet night?") greetings. It's the former that sound odd when they come up frequently.

I don't know, to be honest I haven't seen this as a big problem during testing; but I haven't been in a big room with lots of AI yet either.



17.05.2013 20:12

administrator   ~0005479

Last edited: 17.05.2013 20:12

View 2 revisions

81 greetings in 20 mins is a bit excessive, so we should do something.

Separating the "hello" greetings from the others would help. Then we just issue the "hello" greetings once. It would require that # 4 be implemented, otherwise the player will never hear any of those.

The downside of that is that the pub in Claw should not allow any "hello" greetings because those AI have all been sitting around for a while before the player gets there, and would certainly have gotten all the "hello"s out of the way.

Perhaps the "hello" greetings should be reserved for when at least one AI is moving. In that case, it's believable that the two AI are meeting for the first time. Save it for when the player is w/in earshot, though, otherwise he won't hear it.



17.05.2013 21:31

administrator   ~0005481

Yes, I like the sound of that.

There may be a slight issue with greetings between special AI types, though. For example, there are no question/comments in the civilian to nobleman greeting, just a "Greetings your Lordship."

Ugh. There's so many moving parts to this one I'm having trouble wrapping my head around it.


19.05.2013 18:47

administrator   ~0005486

I looked at the task of separating out the "hello" greetings.

It's huge. There are 25 different "snd_*" definitions that are used to greet someone, and each of those can exist in all the different AI we have.

As you mentioned, some collections consist entirely of "hello" variations, so there'd be nothing left for "non-hello".

So I think I'll retract my suggestion of splitting "hello" barks into their own collections.

I'll implement a few of my other suggestions and see how it looks.


21.05.2013 23:06

administrator   ~0005488

What the 1.08 code does:

A. If Tom met Bill, Tom would assess his chances for greeting. 30% chance of success. If this failed, Tom wouldn’t try again with Bill for another 20 seconds. If Bill was gone at that point, no greeting would occur.

B. Once Tom got past the “chance” check, the GreetingBarkTask() would see if 3 minutes had gone by since the last time Tom greeted Bill. If so, the greeting was allowed. If not, the greeting was denied.

C. If a greeting occurs, Tom greets Bill, then sends him a message so he knows to return the greeting. Bill then acts like he’s the initiator, barking his reply and sending Tom a return message. Tom gets this message and tries to bark a reply to Bill, but the code prevents this from happening.

D. For Tom to greet Bill, Tom and Bill each need the other’s eye position to be w/in their FOV. This means only AI who are facing each other are allowed to exchange a greeting.

Problems with these rules:

1. If Tom and Bill are placed sitting at a table at spawn time, and don’t have any reason to get up, they will greet each other on average every 4 minutes, ad nauseum. This sounds silly after the first exchange.

2. If Tom meets Bill and at least one is moving, they probably only get one shot to exchange greetings. 70% of the time, this will fail. So the effect is two AI who might not have seen each other before, or who haven’t seen each other for a long time, don’t say anything to each other. An observer might expect them to greet each other.

3. In 2.0, if the player is friendly with or neutral to Tom, and encounters Tom, Tom is allowed to greet him. Following the rules A & B, if the player stands near a table full of Toms, the odds are high that he will be continuously greeted.

4. For Rule C, there’s no reason Bill has to act like he’s an initiator. He should just bark his reply and end the exchange. The return message back to Tom and having Tom discover he shouldn’t process it is a waste of cpu time.

5. If Tom comes up from behind Bill, then continues past him, no exchange will occur, because of rule D. In real life, Tom might very well say something to Bill as he approaches.


1. Don’t let seated AI greet each other.

2. Eliminate the “30% chance” check. Replace it and the 3 minute waiting period with a random waiting period between 8 and 12 minutes. This reduces the frequency of exchanges between the same AI, or an AI and the player, and guarantees that when an exchange can happen, it happens, and isn’t subject to chance.

3. Mark the greeting and the response differently, so GreetingBarkTask() doesn’t get run excessively.

4. Tom can greet Bill if Bill is in Tom’s FOV, regardless of whether Tom is in Bill’s FOV. Bill responds even though he can’t see Tom. Since the AI look at who’s talking to them, this has the effect of Bill looking over his shoulder at Tom as Bill responds.

Rev. 5798:


Tested with Dragon’s Claw, In the North, and a few other missions.


21.05.2013 23:26

administrator   ~0005489

Last edited: 21.05.2013 23:26

View 2 revisions

Are AI waiting for the player to be within earshot? If not, 8-12 minutes sounds a bit long. I would expect the player to move through an area in less time than that, so if the greeting happens just before he gets there, he's not likely to hear it before he's gone.

The other things sound good.

How does the code decide who initiates the greeting if both AI are in each other's POV?



21.05.2013 23:33

administrator   ~0005490

Last edited: 21.05.2013 23:41

View 2 revisions

AI are not waiting for the player to show up. That caused a slew of greetings to be queued up and executed when the player shows up.

The initial greeting is random, somewhere between 0 and 8 minutes. (I failed to mention that.) Regardless of what the delay is between greetings, there's always the case that a greeting occurs just before or just after the player is there. However, greetings depend on 2 AI and the player being in the same place at the same time, and the player is more likely to hear a greeting with the new code than with the old, as long as at least one of the AI's inter-greeting delay has expired.

We could reduce 8-12 to be less, but the closer we get to 3, the more we'll experience the previous bad behavior.

Between AI, the AI that gets stimmed by another AI is the greeter. The other AI is the responder. Now, the other AI may also be getting stimmed by the first AI at roughly the same time, but if the other AI has already been tagged as a responder, he won't initiate his own greeting.



22.05.2013 22:12

administrator   ~0005493

Last edited: 22.05.2013 22:12

View 2 revisions

@SH: Rev 13488 includes a Windows DLL with these changes.

Please keep an ear out for greeting frequency and circumstances.

If you want to reduce the delay, I can bring it down midway between old and new, perhaps a random time between 5 and 9 minutes.



08.06.2013 21:17

administrator   ~0005543

After testing this for a while, I can report that I'm not hearing greetings very frequently at all...about the same as it was in previous releases, actually. Sometimes I'll go the whole mission without hearing one.

Recommend reducing the delay. Also, I'm going to try and reduce the number of times AI use the "hello" lines when greeting.


09.06.2013 00:39

administrator   ~0005544

I reduced the delay from 8-12 min to 4-7 min.

Try that.


04.07.2013 02:19

administrator   ~0005633

After testing it for a while it seems pretty good to me. I'll mark this resolved.

Issue History

Date Modified Username Field Change
14.05.2013 20:06 tels New Issue
14.05.2013 23:46 grayman Note Added: 0005461
14.05.2013 23:46 grayman Assigned To => grayman
14.05.2013 23:46 grayman Status new => assigned
14.05.2013 23:59 Springheel Note Added: 0005463
15.05.2013 00:21 grayman Note Added: 0005464
15.05.2013 14:46 grayman Note Added: 0005472
15.05.2013 14:47 grayman Note Edited: 0005472 View Revisions
15.05.2013 14:52 grayman Note Added: 0005473
17.05.2013 13:47 grayman Note Added: 0005476
17.05.2013 19:50 Springheel Note Added: 0005478
17.05.2013 19:51 Springheel Note Edited: 0005478 View Revisions
17.05.2013 20:12 grayman Note Added: 0005479
17.05.2013 20:12 grayman Note Edited: 0005479 View Revisions
17.05.2013 21:31 Springheel Note Added: 0005481
19.05.2013 18:47 grayman Note Added: 0005486
21.05.2013 23:06 grayman Note Added: 0005488
21.05.2013 23:06 grayman Status assigned => resolved
21.05.2013 23:06 grayman Resolution open => fixed
21.05.2013 23:06 grayman Product Version => TDM 1.08
21.05.2013 23:06 grayman Fixed in Version => TDM 2.00
21.05.2013 23:06 grayman Target Version => TDM 2.00
21.05.2013 23:26 Springheel Note Added: 0005489
21.05.2013 23:26 Springheel Note Edited: 0005489 View Revisions
21.05.2013 23:33 grayman Note Added: 0005490
21.05.2013 23:41 grayman Note Edited: 0005490 View Revisions
22.05.2013 22:12 grayman Note Added: 0005493
22.05.2013 22:12 grayman Note Edited: 0005493 View Revisions
08.06.2013 21:17 Springheel Note Added: 0005543
08.06.2013 21:17 Springheel Status resolved => feedback
08.06.2013 21:17 Springheel Resolution fixed => reopened
09.06.2013 00:39 grayman Note Added: 0005544
04.07.2013 02:19 Springheel Note Added: 0005633
04.07.2013 02:20 Springheel Status feedback => resolved
04.07.2013 02:20 Springheel Resolution reopened => fixed