Solo Play Robot
Hi folks! About three months ago, I began a project to develop a new solo play mode for Resident Evil: DBG. I had tried a few suggestions by others before but found the play experiences to be somewhat unsatisfactory. Many card-based games include solo play variants. Ascension and Thunderstone have fairly successful implementations, although you definitely play a bit differently than you would with human opponents. Race for the Galaxy’s robot AI is a train wreck when it comes to physical execution.
Here were my design criteria:
1) Simple execution – the robot turn shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to complete or involve any significant decision making; it has no deck, doesn’t buy or play cards, and doesn’t have to shuffle anything
2) Competitiveness – the robot must develop over the course of the game via consistent, higher damage output and additional explores
3) Realism – the robot explores the mansion and takes damage; it can heal and be killed; it uses multiple explores in the late game to press its advantage; the human player does not need to play much differently than he/she would with other human players
4) Synergy – the robot must work with my preferences for playing the game; it must work with my randomizer and the modes that I like to play
See attached files
Please bear in mind that the randomizer is configured very specifically for my play preferences. The actions are categorized to produce a balance of weapons and actions that I enjoy using. Some actions have no effect in solo play (i.e. Gathering Darkness), so ignore them. More information about the design of this randomizer will be in another post.
I have played about 30 games using the robot thus far and it is almost guaranteed that I’ll make further changes once the new skill system is fully revealed. Most games end with both players still alive, but not all. The procedures for wrapping up games where one player is permanently killed could use more testing and tweaking. My later test games involved the new basic resources and the most recent few incorporated the three levels of the Medic skill. I have used the Premier, Alliance, and Nightmare mansions, although I would recommend using the Nightmare mansion first.
Much like any game with decent human players, you really need to make every turn count. The robot will likely pile up early decorations before you have an opportunity to mount a comeback by using multiple explores and stringing together powerful turns. The robot’s damage consistency comes at a cost: it does not get +explore benefits until late in the game and it must explore every turn. You may be able to catch an occasional break if the robot gets killed, but death is a two-way street in this game, so watch out!
For the most part, the robot’s development scales with the capabilities of human players in games using my randomizer. Its aggressive late game is intentionally designed to encourage you to try to win before it starts paddling you with high damage and multiple explores. You can also play with multiple robots; it’s hardly more work than playing with only one. I also like to assign the robot a random character so that it has a face, even if I just ignore that character’s abilities.
For any who give this a whirl, I'm obviously interested in hearing about your experiences. Don't be surprised if you get your but kicked a few times. It's tough. And that's the way it should be!
Interesting concepts and it looks like you put an incredible amount of work into this. I'll have to try it out at some point when I'm not playing Resident Evil 6 haha.
My brain exploded from how awesome this is.
I think this is a great example of how to be taken seriously on the REDBG message boards. You clearly put alot of time into this, and given that I have noone to play with, I may consider using this.
I considered coming up with a more scripted single player mode based on the Assignment Ada mission (or perhaps The 4th Survivor)
Very cool. This inspires me to work on my custom play ideas.
I played a couple of matches with this and got my *** absolutely handed to me, haha. I like that it's difficult though; it really pressed me to stop being lazy or having throwaway turns.
I also tried a match that eased the robot up a little by having it decrease what turn it's on when it dies. I used a counter to indicate what turn the robot is on, and when it died, I had it go back one turn for every 10 health it needs to heal to get back into the game (eg, if the robot died for the first time, the next turn, it heals to 70, and goes back 7 turns). This made it a little bit too easy, but I think maybe it's a good starting point for a difficulty altering mechanic.
Glad you're enjoying getting your *** kicked! This game is all about customization, so I'm always interested to hear about others' modifications to the robot or new modes of play. I'll be posting a revised single character version as well as one for partner mode once I finally get my hands on Mercenaries. Skills definitely give the human player a major advantage and I've adjusted things accordingly. Come to think of it, it may be possible to give the robot some skills as well. I need to investigate that!
Originally Posted by Chud_Munson
For those who like going it alone (or just have no-one else to play with), I've posted an updated document with my solo-play robots and randomizer. Lots of new content here:
1) "Novice" and "Adept" versions for single character story mode
2) "Adept" versions for Partner and Outbreak mods
3) Updated randomizer incorporating Mercenaries cards
A few general notes on some of the design changes and testing results... Skills, as we all know, have fundamentally changed how this game is played. The benefits that they bestow are so significant that I literally chopped close to five turns off the robot and had its path to 40+ damage become slightly more aggressive. These changes are reflected in the "Adept" version, designed for experienced players that want a serious challenge. The original robot, with updated rules and templating, has been renamed "Novice."
For the Partner and Outbreak "Adept" mods, I probably tested between 25-30 games each. The Partner mod ramps damage very quickly and is designed for use with a mansion with an infected ratio similar to Alliance. In addition to +explore bonuses in the later turns, the robot also gains the grenade "frag" effect that damages all of the human player's characters with 5 damage/turn.
Outbreak mod was a real tough nut to crack. You need an intuitive way to increase the robot infection level that will result in different outcomes every game without having to actually shuffle up infection cards. My solution was to increase its infection level by +2 during the healing turns. Combined with the various infected abilities and Antivirus encounters in the mansion, this gives the robot plenty of variety every game. Sometimes it powers through, scoops up an Antivirus, and never turns infected. Other times, it gets railed by a Yawn, whiffs on Antivirus, and turns infected toward the mid-late game.
The mod also required the design of a sub-robot for an infected character and some basic AI instructions to deal with cards like Antivirus, Kevlar jacket, etc. Infection cards the robot gains just serve as markers to indicate its infection level; if it dies from infection, it begins using the "infected character" sub-robot. Rather than give the infected character base damage and force players to add that in each time, I incorporated it into the chart alongside healing and abilities that raise the human player's infection level. The robot infected character's end game revolves around high damage and attempts to turn the human player infected, thereby ending the game. Of all the testing components, this is the one that I feel may need some additional fine tuning.
The included randomizer underwent some changes as well. I removed the mandatory "+explore" weapon category because I found it more interesting to have a mix of games where that effect was not always present. It's certainly more difficult when you do not have access to +explore, but I'm cool with that. I also reconfigured the action categories to increase variety. I should mention, however, that I would recommend using only 1 "outbreak-specific" action card per setup, as opposed to the 2 suggested on the document. Since there are only four total, you don't always want such a high chance of picking a card that reduces infection level, Injection or By Any Means Necessary.
The "Adept" robots are especially challenging, but they will certainly force you into thinking and playing optimally. Hope you enjoy it!
playing solo doesn't sound very right.... find some friends man...
You have never lived in a sparely populated area or non english speaking country have you? If I had this game while living in Japan this robot would have been **** near mandatory!
Originally Posted by Evilbear
haha chill, I just feel that this kinda game is not meant to play solo.
It is like playing a mmorpg but you are the only player in the world. Why not play single rpg instead?