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DavidW

SCS v32: spell systems

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Continuing to discuss features of v32 while I'm killing time doing install tests of it:

 

"Under the hood", so to speak, SCS's system for mages and priests has undergone some major changes. There are a number of reasons for that, but one of them is to support a wider variety of different spell systems. In v31 and earlier, the core spell system was pretty much hardcoded in; there were various tweaks to allow for other spell systems (notably SR) but they were somewhat awkward and pretty partial. The restructuring of SCS makes it much easier to support multiple systems from the get-go.

 

SCS v32 will support three different spell systems:

 

1) The "vanilla" system, along with SCS's usual tweaks: antimagic can affect invisible creatures, mantle is slightly more powerful, Skull Trap is capped at 12d6, etc. In v32 these are installed by default (they can be disabled using the ini file). That's recognising the fact that for a long time, SCS AI has pretty much assumed these tweaks are installed, and its AI behaves oddly without them. (This is part of a general design goal for v32: if there's some option where I actively say 'I don't recommend this', I want it moved out of the ordinary install structure, without making it unavailable for power users who know what they're doing.)

 

2) Spell Revisions - specifically, SR v4b15. v31 and earlier were officially supporting v3 of SR, which - although still the "official" version - is badly out of date. v32 goes to quite a lot of effort to systematically allow for SR in its spell choices, sequencers, contingencies, targetting, prebuffing, and strategy. (And almost all of SCS's spell tweaks are disabled on an SR install.)

 

3) The vanilla system augmented with (almost) all the new spells from Icewind Dale. v32 will ship with its own conversion of these spells (for EE only), or you can use IWDification (and on vanilla BG2, you'll have to). Again SCS tweaks the spell system a bit (slightly more drastically than I do for the vanilla system, in a couple of cases); again, the tweaks are installed by default but can be disabled at the ini. As with SR, IWD spells are systematically mixed into spell choices, sequencers, and the like.

 

Version 32, slightly more than previous versions, errs somewhat on the side of using an interesting mixture of spells over making tactically optimal choices. I'm trying to strengthen the degree to which spellcasters of different feel different as opponents. (For instance, invokers basically don't use illusions any more; necromancers have a preference for cold-based energy damage when they use non-necromantic spells; fiend summoning has been cut back and mostly is restricted to liches.) This is still fairly subtle on the vanilla spell system but should be more noticeable on the other two systems, where I have a wider range of spells to choose from.

 

One goal of the new difficulty system is that even a player who doesn't really want to upgrade the AI can still use SCS, on the easiest setting, to let enemies use the new spells in SR or IWDification.

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Excellent news!

 

I have a couple of questions about system number 3:

 

1) What are the differences between IWDEE spells that come with SCS v32 and IWDEE spells that come with IWDification?

 

2) Could you provide additional details about the spell tweaks that will ship with option #3? I guess the same of option #1 but will take into account also IWD:EE spells, right?

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very very nice !

 

Just a question about SR : do you consider a 5turn duration buff spell like a long term prebuff spell or a short one ? because maybe buff spell in SR get a 5turn duration .

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1) What are the differences between IWDEE spells that come with SCS v32 and IWDEE spells that come with IWDification?

Fairly subtle. Under the hood, the implementation is very different: SCS's is an automated pull of the resources from IWD:EE, IWDification is more case-by-case. That *probably* makes SCS's more reliable, against which, it's been less tested in the wild. In terms of what's visible to players, I made some slightly different calls on harmonizing the spell systems from IWDification. e.g., I use the BG2 water elemental graphic; I include the IWD version of Mordenkainen's sword (renamed) alongside the BG2 version; I synchronise the two sorts of elemental summoning spells. It's plausible that the two will merge (for IWD:EE) at some point.

2) Could you provide additional details about the spell tweaks that will ship with option #3? I guess the same of option #1 but will take into account also IWD:EE spells, right?

Yes. I won't give all the details here, but as one example: Mordenkainen's Force Missiles gets a lower level cap. (The current version, put into a Sequencer, could do >500 hp damage, which I think is a little excessive.)

 

 

Just a question about SR : do you consider a 5turn duration buff spell like a long term prebuff spell or a short one ? because maybe buff spell in SR get a 5turn duration .

I'll say something about prebuffs in a later post, since they've been restructured.

 

 

when can we expect v32? :)

Sometime between next weekend and the impending collision with the Andromeda Galaxy in 3 billion years.

 

AKA I don't give release estimates. (The occasional times I have, I've usually regretted it.)

 

On the other hand, I don't usually give sneak previews either. So you can probably infer from the fact that I'm doing it that I'm confident of a reasonably close release date. (It's just a matter of testing the panoply of different install options that are relevant in the modern BG2 environment.)

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What happens if both SR and IWDification are installed?

I ignore IWD for AI purposes if SR is installed - partly to keep the combinatorics under control, but mostly because the whole point of SR (as I understand it) is to do a systematic rebalance of the spell system, so if SR is present, I want to work in its spell system, not a hybrid.

 

SCS's version of the IWD spell system is installable with SR present, and is compatible on a technical level (i.e., duplicate spells are skipped, NWN area-effect spell deflection gets implemented for IWD AoE spells) but I don't make any effort to achieve conceptual compatibility.

 

also how are you detecting IWDification?

MOD_IS_INSTALLED.

 

Would you be open to applying your IWD spell changes if SCS detects other similar-but-parallel mods?

 

In principle, if (a) it is a complete implementation of the arcane and divine spell systems with no missing spells other than Contact Outer Plane,(b) it doesn't make significant other changes, (c ) I'm given a simple way to detect it. But I'm not going to actively support it (i.e., do install checks with it present) because the combinatorics of install-checking is already almost unmanageable.

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Would you be open to applying your IWD spell changes if SCS detects other similar-but-parallel mods?

In principle, if (a) it is a complete implementation of the arcane and divine spell systems with no missing spells other than Contact Outer Plane,(b) it doesn't make significant other changes, (c ) I'm given a simple way to detect it. But I'm not going to actively support it (i.e., do install checks with it present) because the combinatorics of install-checking is already almost unmanageable.

 

Yeah my understanding is, that mod adds all IWDEE arcane and divine spells... at the time it was developed, IWDification had not been updated to use the new EE stuff, and we didn't know if it ever would be. So Grammarsalad rolled his own version. Now IWDification works great, but our sphere system mod uses b_Spells as a backup default in case the player doesn't install IWDification. From a player's perspective, there should be no difference: all of the IWDEE arcane and divine spells will be available by whatever methods the game or their mods make spells available. SCS can treat it exactly as if the two IWDification spell packs were installed.

 

It can be detected with

FILE_EXISTS_IN_GAME ~b_IWD.itm~

On the subject of sphere systems: I hope they are not a problem? Two of the three sphere system mods I'm aware of (DR and FnP) tick both cleric and druid exclusion flags on all divine spells, so none of them are available by default to either clerics or druids. Will that interfere with the way SCS adds spells to the spellbooks of enemy priests?

Edited by subtledoctor

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Yeah my understanding is, that mod adds all IWDEE arcane and divine spells...

An “understanding” is probably a bit vague for my needs, especially as the thread you link to suggests that wizard spells are work in progress. SCS will throw an install fail if it thinks the IWD resources are present but they aren’t.

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Sometime between next weekend and the impending collision with the Andromeda Galaxy in 3 billion years.AKA I don't give release estimates. (The occasional times I have, I've usually regretted it.)On the other hand, I don't usually give sneak previews either. So you can probably infer from the fact that I'm doing it that I'm confident of a reasonably close release date. (It's just a matter of testing the panoply of different install options that are relevant in the modern BG2 environment.)

Ok I am patiently going to wait :) in the mean I will go play Fallouy 4 lol

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Hurray to SR support!

 

Are you planning to update SCS scripts to work with SR? Those are wonderful, save so much time with pre-buffing.

 

Currently with SCS (v31) and SR (v15) installed:

  • Clerics cast Cure Light Wounds out of combat, but none of the other heals. They also do that even if the character is cursed/diseased and unhealable, wasting their spells. Clerics also never heal themselves.
  • Goodberries are auto-eaten but not auto-cast (by my Ranger, at least).
  • Sorcerers don't pre-cast anything at all, not stoneskin, not mage armor (not sure if it's vanilla SCS behavior or SR quirk).

Would be great if Druids and Rangers could cast regen spells out of combat too, just check if any of the characters are wounded and has regen status, if not use lowest available regen spell tier.

 

Would also be great if you could have settings where you could have automated Enchanted Weapons cast, doing so every rest for ammunition is optimal (since those last 24 hours, 3 rests) but so tedious.

 

SCS has pre-cast Death Ward and Chaos Command option, would be great if its use with SR's Wondrous Recall could be automated somewhat (e.g. a cleric with 2 Wondrous Recalls + 2 Chaos Commands should be able to buff the whole party with CC with a shortcut).

Edited by 475513a

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V32 sounds exciting! Can you say how much it changes BG1 compared to v31 in terms of encounter difficulty? Or does it mostly affect BG2 with it's high level casters? I was going to start a new playthrough but I'll wait if v32 is drastically different even in BG1.

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3) The vanilla system augmented with (almost) all the new spells from Icewind Dale. v32 will ship with its own conversion of these spells (for EE only), or you can use IWDification (and on vanilla BG2, you'll have to). Again SCS tweaks the spell system a bit (slightly more drastically than I do for the vanilla system, in a couple of cases); again, the tweaks are installed by default but can be disabled at the ini. As with SR, IWD spells are systematically mixed into spell choices, sequencers, and the like.

David,

 

I assume this means that both the MC, companions and NPCs will have access to the IWD spells, as well as relevant scrolls added to vendors, appropriate random lists, etc? If so, that sounds amazing. Can't wait!

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V32 sounds exciting! Can you say how much it changes BG1 compared to v31 in terms of encounter difficulty? Or does it mostly affect BG2 with it's high level casters? I was going to start a new playthrough but I'll wait if v32 is drastically different even in BG1.

Difficulty should be fairly similar - the difficulty slider is intended to let you move between the various SCS difficulties at install time, and to widen the range of options for easier difficulty. The higher difficulty levels of v32 are pretty similar to a max-difficulty install of v31.

 

Otherwise, v32,should install more quickly and has a bunch of incremental scripting improvements, but unless you use SR or the IWD spell system, you wont see a drastic change.

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3) The vanilla system augmented with (almost) all the new spells from Icewind Dale. v32 will ship with its own conversion of these spells (for EE only), or you can use IWDification (and on vanilla BG2, you'll have to). Again SCS tweaks the spell system a bit (slightly more drastically than I do for the vanilla system, in a couple of cases); again, the tweaks are installed by default but can be disabled at the ini. As with SR, IWD spells are systematically mixed into spell choices, sequencers, and the like.

David,

 

I assume this means that both the MC, companions and NPCs will have access to the IWD spells, as well as relevant scrolls added to vendors, appropriate random lists, etc?

 

 

Almost. There are some fiddly issues with including new spells in random loot drops. Otherwise yes.

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