Offline quests

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Offline quests

Post  Aleron Ives on Sun Dec 26, 2010 2:20 pm

Well, there might as well be a dedicated topic to discuss this, I suppose. I've been thinking of trying to alter the offline quests for some time now. While the offline quests are certainly easier to do without Ludicrous mode, they are by no means easy or fun. Imagine trying to keep an NPC like ASH (or MOME) alive if you're a HUcast. Since you only have Star Atomizers at your disposal, essentially the only way to clear the quest is to spam Freeze Trap over and over so the enemies never get a chance to attack. Otherwise, you will run out of Star Atomizers fairly quickly, and then ASH will die, causing you to fail. The problem with the offline quests is that they are 100% fake difficulty. Having NPC death cause you to fail is completely unfair, because they are dumb as bricks and cannot dodge, combo, or heal properly. They are also far too weak to do much useful damage, and the fact that most of them have ridiculous weapons like Railgun in Ultimate is a joke. Are the offline quests difficult to clear? Yes. Is the difficulty something that is within your power to overcome? No. The difficulty is entirely due to having to babysit the incompetent NPCs, and no matter how much you level or how much good equipment you find, the quests will never be "easy" because moronic NPCs like ASH will always get instantly killed by Dark Bringers' rifle blasts. As such, doing the offline quests becomes a miserable chore, filled with dread and loathing. If Sega did nothing else right in PSU, at least they made the NPCs smart enough to combo, heal, and auto-revive themselves.

As such, I'm going to experiment and see if it's possible to make NPCs auto-revive or re-spawn when they die, instead of making you fail. Does this interest anyone, or am I the only one who abhors the offline quests? Rolling Eyes

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Re: Offline quests

Post  MuCast on Sun Dec 26, 2010 2:46 pm

it would be really nice to have that auto revive. I remember when I was doing the offline quests for my HUmar it took me about 15 tries to beat seek my master because shino would stand in the middle of the room and die while the bringers charged at her. Seeing as my resta was only lvl 15 I couldn't heal fast enough, thus having to start the quest over again. From the depths took me about 3 or 4 I think but I definitely agree that this should be done if at all possible, maybe even altering their weapons at least, but I'm unaware as to if thats feasible or not.
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Wing on Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:00 pm

I might actually have more fun in general and desire to play those quests again, if the NPC's were smart enough. xD

If you can at least improve the A.I. a bit, (have them carry a scape doll or two, and actually use it, cast reverser on teammates if they die, basically like PSU in that sense) I'd definitely be willing to actually clear the quests on my other characters. xD

They need the other modes unlocked so badly, and I might bother to do the quests along the way if they were actually more enjoyable because the NPC's weren't such a liability. In ultimate anyways...
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Re: Offline quests

Post  EvilMag on Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:47 pm

If you can, could you make Mome not join you in fighting DRL? Like he plays dead in v3.
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Moopthehedgehog on Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:16 pm

Aleron Ives wrote:
As such, I'm going to experiment and see if it's possible to make NPCs auto-revive or re-spawn when they die, instead of making you fail. Does this interest anyone, or am I the only one who abhors the offline quests? Rolling Eyes

If you can also do this to the DC version, by all means YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Aleron Ives on Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:10 pm

After some experimentation, I found a system that seems to work. It isn't possible to revive NPCs with the script, unless there's some hidden opcode that we haven't found yet. However, it is possible to delete the NPC when it dies and then re-spawn it at your current location. The NPC can die an infinite number of times, and it will always re-appear. It's really rather theraputic. I've been enjoying killing KIREEK over and over again... Twisted Evil

As much as I would like to make the NPCs smarter, that's beyond the scope of quests. How PSO decides what skills an NPC should have is unknown to me; some of them cast Foie while others cast Barta, and some use Dimate while others cast Resta, but I do not know how PSO defines such behaviour. Most likely, it is hard-coded in either pso.exe or some external NPC file. Unfortunately, the only known NPC file is merely an index of NPC appearances and contains no useful information to make them do useful things. Sadly, PSO's NPC AI is just bad.

At any rate, this seems to be a workable solution. Therefore, there are some things to consider, namely:

Should NPCs be given lives, or should they be allowed to die an infinite number of times? It is still possible to have failure based on deaths, but NPCs could be given a certain number of lives before they cause you to fail. While giving them infinite lives might be "cheap", I'm not really sure that NPC death should result in failure. As mentioned before, what if you're using a HUcast and you can't support the NPC? Should you be penalized if it dies over and over? The only way to "support" an NPC as an android is to use Star Atomizers, and even if NPCs have lives, you'd still have to pipe up and replenish your Star Atomizers every few rooms, which would be annoying. Giving lives to the NPCs would allow you some forgiveness from having them be OHKOed by certain attacks and such, but you'd still have to go around babysitting them. I would prefer being able to ignore them and let them do whatever they feel like, but I'm mean since I hate NPCs. Evil or Very Mad

The only exceptions to this would be Journalistic Pursuit and The Lost Bride. The NPCs in these quests specifically say you're supposed to help/protect them, so they should either be unmodified or the NPCs should have like two lives and cause you to fail on the third death or something. Since those two quests aren't that difficult to do, I would be inclined to leave them unchanged. That means the quests with auto-reviving NPCs would be:


  1. Magnitude of Metal (ELENOR)
  2. Battle Training (KIREEK)
  3. Forest of Sorrow (ALICIA)
  4. Gran Squall (BERNIE)
  5. The Grave's Butler (MATHA)
  6. Knowing One's Heart (ELLY)
  7. Dr. Osto's Research (SUE)
  8. Unsealed Door (MOME)
  9. Doc's Secret Plan (ELENOR)
  10. Seek my Master (SHINO)
  11. From the Depths (ASH)


These quests would be unchanged, as they either do not have NPCs, or you're supposed to be a bodyguard:


  1. Claiming a Stake (none)
  2. Value of Money (none)
  3. Journalistic Pursuit (NOL)
  4. The Fake in Yellow (none)
  5. Native Research (none)
  6. Addicting Food (none)
  7. The Lost Bride (CICIL)
  8. Secret Delivery (none)
  9. Waterfall Tears (none)
  10. Black Paper (none)


I could also deal with the download quests, and make:


  1. The Retired Hunter v2 (DONOPH)
  2. Soul of Steel v2 (MONTAGUE, ELENOR)


So those NPCs wouldn't get their asses handed to them anymore, either.

On a final and somewhat unrelated note, I could also upgrade Dr. Montague in Dr. Osto's Research and Unsealed Door to be able to convert Ver.2 monster parts like he can in GC. You'd still have to play Today's Rate to get the random percentages, but you could convert the Ver.2 parts offline if you just wanted the item without the percentages and the hassle of Today's Rate. What say ya'll? Is there anything else I've missed that I should fix while I'm in the process of mucking about with the offline quests? I could fix things like "I'm died!" and Bernie calling himself Barnie, but those things are kind of endearing... Laughing

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Re: Offline quests

Post  EvilMag on Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:17 pm

Couldn't you do something where you can use Moons or Reverser on the NPC?

Oh wait NVM.

If you're gonna give them lifes, give them a lot. Razz
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Aleron Ives on Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:57 pm

EvilMag wrote:Couldn't you do something where you can use Moons or Reverser on the NPC?
Unfortunately, no. NPCs don't have souls when they die, so there's nothing on which Moon Atomizer or Reverser can get a target lock. Mad There don't seem to be any opcodes to revive dead players, either. Doing this on GC would be easy, as I could just set the NPC to be invincible and then it wouldn't die in the first place. Sad

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Re: Offline quests

Post  MuCast on Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:01 pm

Aleron Ives wrote:NPCs don't have souls

It all makes sense now.
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Moopthehedgehog on Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:02 pm

So you cannot give them a mag like Soniti and force-trigger its invincibility to 100%?
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Re: Offline quests

Post  MuCast on Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:50 pm

Moopthehedgehog wrote:So you cannot give them a mag like Soniti and force-trigger its invincibility to 100%?

Ives made mention in the above post that he doesn't yet understand what controls skills and what NPC gets what gear, I assume Mags are along the same line.
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Aleron Ives on Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:57 pm

NPCs can have Mags, but you cannot define stats for said Mags. As such, they are presumably level 0. You can also define NPC weapons, but they cannot have stats either, hence they are rather useless. Weapons need to have either damage percentages or a high grind value to be useful, and NPC weapons can have neither. Go Sega.

Here's a look at what the auto-"revival" looks like:

http://www.filesavr.com/kB7RQfvg

or crappy streaming version:

http://tinypic.com/r/zkputy/7

I could make it look spiffier by doing a fade out, warping you back to the start of the dungeon, and then fading in, or I could warp you back to Pioneer 2, but since the main problem with NPCs is that they die when you get into a room full of enemies, they kind of need to re-appear without impeding your ability to kill said enemies. If you get returned to Pioneer 2, at least you didn't fail, but you're going to have similar problems every time you re-enter the room where the NPC died most likely, so this may be the best solution. Razz

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Re: Offline quests

Post  Moopthehedgehog on Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:28 pm

Your last paragraph confused me--can you set NPC revival so that YOU aren't affected at all (like what seems to be happening in the video)?
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Aleron Ives on Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:59 pm

The NPC re-spawning doesn't effect you. My point was that it may look a little "sloppy" to have the NPC fall over, vanish, and then suddenly appear next to you again. It might be more "professional" if you got returned to Pioneer 2 and the NPC was with you again, but since the reason NPCs die in the first place is that they can't handle large groups of enemies, if you get returned to Pioneer 2 every time the NPC dies, you may not have time to defeat the group of enemies before the NPC gets killed. As such, you'd get stuck in a loop -- you'd enter the area, approach some enemies, start attacking them, the NPC would die, and you'd get sent back to Pioneer 2, at which point you'd re-enter the area, and repeat the process... again. Razz I could make it look a little nicer by just doing a fade out and in while the NPC gets re-spawned, but then you'd be blind while the enemies that were attacking the NPC came after you instead. Razz

Also, on the note of making NPCs actually useful, I did run a test today to confirm a theory that does work, although it's not really practical. Since it is possible to change the equipment of a NPC, you can give them stuff that's better than their usual junk. The catch is, since NPC items can't have percentages or grind, the base weapon itself must be incredibly powerful. To make an NPC offensively useful, you must make the weapon it's going to equip have insane base ATP, so that it can kill stuff with 0% and no grind value. Of course, that weapon would be way too strong for a normal player to equip, so at the same time, you must remove that weapon from the weapon pool available to users.

Making NPCs not get raped by the enemies can be done the same way -- take a single shield and give it a ridiculous amount of DFP and EVP, and then make the NPC equip it. The NPC consequently will block all attacks (except set damage), but since that shield would also make normal players invincible to regular attacks, it too must be removed from the items available to players.

As such, if I ever make an EP 2.0, I may set aside one of the useless Ver.1 shields for this purpose, and then make any NPCs in future quests equip it so they can't die. Since PSO has so few weapons though, I don't think it's really practical to dedicate even one weapon (let alone several for the various types of weapons different NPCs use). The only potential weapons that I could see maybe being used for this purpose, would be some of the Ver.1 "basic" rares that nobody ever uses, like say Durandal and L&K35 Combat which don't seem to even drop. Even so, you'd still have to use the EP to cause the weapons to become strong, since there is no way for a quest to temporarily alter the stats of a weapon.

In short, there may be some potential to make NPC partners actually useful in future quests, but the best that can be done for the moment is to just stop them from making you fail. They'll still be dead weight, but at least you can ignore them instead of having to play babysitter. Razz

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Re: Offline quests

Post  EvilMag on Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:45 pm

I know Kireek uses a Soul Banish on H/VH/Ult and you made that weapon useful but here are some suggestion for what weapons they should use in each difficulty

Mome: Hard: Raygun VH: Custom Raygun Ver.00 Ult: Supressed Gun
Sue: Hard: Nei's Claw VH: Dragon's Claw Ult: Heart of Poumn
Ash: Hard: Twin Brand VH: Monkey King Bar Ult: Meteor Cudgel

Those are my only suggestions. Oh and why don't you just give all the NPCs Guard Wave or Lumi Field?

And about EP 2.0, didn't you say you were gonna buff Final Impact? Since there is no normal shot other than S-rank Shot. (Baranz Launcher doesn't count since its missing one shot and fires so slow.) that is useful in Ult/Ludi mode.
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Aleron Ives on Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:37 pm

KIREEK always has a Soul Eater, not Soul Banish, not that it really matters. It is possible for me to change the weapons equipped by NPCs to those you suggested, but it wouldn't help much. For example, ASH uses Twin Brand by default, and I made it stronger with the EP. However, even with level 30 Shifta and Zalure, ASH does maybe 100 - 200 damage in Ruins 3. Weapons aren't strong enough without percentages or grinder values, so the only way to make NPC weapons do stuff is to change a weapon like Durandal to give a raw 5,000 ATP. That way, since NPCs almost never combo and almost never use heavy attacks, they can do damage even if they don't have Force support.

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Re: Offline quests

Post  EvilMag on Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:45 pm

On v3/v4 he had a Soul Banish on other difficulties, guess he kept the Soul eater on v2.
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Aleron Ives on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:22 pm

Nobody has said anything about other stuff they'd like to see, so does that mean the consensus is that the NPCs should just made to revive and nothing else, like letting you convert Ver.2 monster parts offline?

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Re: Offline quests

Post  EvilMag on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:38 pm

I'm fine with it. Maybe I can be able to farm Soul Eaters easily now.
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Aleron Ives on Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:47 am

So...

I've put together beta versions of the quests, and the stuff I've tested so far seems to work, including the conversion of Ver.2 monster parts offline. If nobody has anything else they'd like to see done, I will hopefully be able to finish testing and release the pack soon.

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Re: Offline quests

Post  Moopthehedgehog on Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:20 pm

I just had an idea. Why don't you put a cameo of yourself in one (either as a sidequest or just another person walking around)? You could put a booma doing the YMCA in a forest room if you're editing any of those forest-using quests Wink
You haven't done that yet.
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Aleron Ives on Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:54 pm

The quests aren't mine to insert myself into like that. These are Sega's quests, after all. I'm just trying to polish them up a bit so they aren't so unpleasant to play. Razz I've been tempted to clean up the text, but things like "I'm died!" have a certain sentimental value that I think should be preserved. Cool

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Re: Offline quests

Post  Moopthehedgehog on Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:07 pm

Aleron Ives wrote:We're the new Sega; the game's development is in our hands now.

Ok... For sentimentality, I guess!
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Re: Offline quests

Post  Seby on Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:53 pm

Ives..where exactly are the offline quests?Theres no such point/ship when i connect...
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Re: Offline quests

Post  BlueCrab on Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:18 pm

Set your language to English, then try.

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