In this 6 minute video, Abraham Lee AKA ihonnyboy discusses how modders should use Combine soldiers to get the most out of them but also how players should play against them.
NOTE ABOUT THE AI BUG MENTIONED:
This is actually two separate issues. Due to the way combine use “attack slots,” its possible a soldier won’t be able to shoot after flanking the player. Typically, another soldier will be moving in, so this isn’t an issue unless the environment is particularly large. The soldier will than take cover, but this can often be at close range (Watch the scenes in the dev map and the stair case). This can be fixed with map layout, scripting, or staggering spawning. The other issue is when their cover “schedule” fails. This can be due to multiple reasons. Such as not being able to find cover or where they’re moving to has become invalid. If they can’t shoot AT THIS EXACT MOMENT IN TIME, due to the fact other soldiers are engaging, than they’ll charge. Ironically, the soldier charging can gain that “Attack slot” while charging, so they’ll end up running and gunning. The best way to fix this is node placement, cover placement, number of squad members, or controlling where a soldier can navigate. It’s very confusing. Use “ent_text” command to get more information on your case or check the Github code.
Some other facts:
– Scripted grenade throws don’t remove grenades from a soldier’s pool of grenades.
– Soldiers only use the Shot Regulator when moving and shooting. Basically, standoffs act funny.
– Soldiers will grenade allies, just not squad members.
– Soldiers use “combat” animations while in assaults, even if they’re not in a “combat” state.
– Soldiers won’t hide to reload if they’re current enemy doesn’t have a range attack. (hint grouping causes them to do so.)
– Soldiers don’t talk as much as Metrocops.
– Soldier will stop flanking or charging if they find a “new enemy.” (What exactly makes an enemy “new” is still hazy to me)
– A lot is done in their code to control when they begin moving and shooting. There’s everything from a shoot delay to out right disabling the ability in certain circumstances.
– There’s a lot of special conditions and fall back cases in their ai that controls how they function in large, open environments. Think a hilly plain more than 3000 units long, way past the AR2’s max attack range.
-Soldier are more susceptible too bad node graph placement than most other npcs, so be mindful of your nodes.
– Their ai often works best in groups of 2-6.
– Their ai was changed during the orange box update.
I’m considering redoing this focusing on the philosophy behind these ai design decisions or a collaborative work with Jim Partridge. Comment below if you’d like to see this.