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SCS enemy builds and behaviour - just what is SCS supposed to change?

Hello everyone, some months ago after reading some threads here I worked up the courage to try SCS. I tested it in BG1 and BG2 (EE versions) simultaneously. I did a really noob set up: I only installed improved general AI and improved calls for help. At first I was really enjoying it, but then I noticed a couple of unsettling things.

In my BG1 game, I discovered that SCS had changed Greywolf into a dual-wielder. The broad reading I'd done until then on SCS (including the readme and forums) seemed to indicate that the mod only makes enemies smarter, and that it doesn't change the enemies per se. Can anyone enlighten me on the real story on what and/or how SCS changes enemies? In my BG2 game I discovered the statues on level 1 of Watcher's Keep (I went there early) were much tougher. I didn't necessarily mind these changes, but I was wondering what the mechanics are behind it so I can anticipate other surprises that might get thrown at me later.

Now, in my BG2 game I discovered something I really didn't like. In the Planar Prison, when I made it to the third and fourth chambers to the east, the entire level attacked me at once. The Yuan-ti, the wyvern, the Master of Thralls, the Warden and the pack of thralls in the north made their way down and had at me. While it was a thrilling battle to say the least, it bothered me that SCS had changed the level so much. In the original game it's written so that you're supposed to experience each chamber as a series of individual encounters, not a big pile-on. Has anyone else experienced this in the Planar Prison, and does this phenomenon occur in other quests? I uninstalled SCS after this happened, but months later I'm getting curious about trying it again.

Thanks in advance for any insights. I apologize if this info is already available somewhere, but my initial searches didn't find anything addressing these specific issues.

CrevsDaak

Comments

  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,145
    edited June 2017

    Now, in my BG2 game I discovered something I really didn't like. In the Planar Prison, when I made it to the third and fourth chambers to the east, the entire level attacked me at once. The Yuan-ti, the wyvern, the Master of Thralls, the Warden and the pack of thralls in the north made their way down and had at me. While it was a thrilling battle to say the least, it bothered me that SCS had changed the level so much. In the original game it's written so that you're supposed to experience each chamber as a series of individual encounters, not a big pile-on. Has anyone else experienced this in the Planar Prison, and does this phenomenon occur in other quests? I uninstalled SCS after this happened, but months later I'm getting curious about trying it again.

    From my experience in my latest play-throughs (a no solo reload that ended in the Planar Prison, although I fought everyone individually and still died there, a save-abuse party run that in which I played the fight like twenty times until I won using no important consumables or getting anyone killed and another save abuse run, but solo), whether enemies approach you or stay at their places is a bit random, but it has something to do with how close each enemy ends of each other, and how close you are to the next group of enemies. Also, I believe some enemies do not make calls for help at all, but again, not sure about this, since it's kinda random.


    In my BG1 game, I discovered that SCS had changed Greywolf into a dual-wielder. The broad reading I'd done until then on SCS (including the readme and forums) seemed to indicate that the mod only makes enemies smarter, and that it doesn't change the enemies per se. Can anyone enlighten me on the real story on what and/or how SCS changes enemies? In my BG2 game I discovered the statues on level 1 of Watcher's Keep (I went there early) were much tougher. I didn't necessarily mind these changes, but I was wondering what the mechanics are behind it so I can anticipate other surprises that might get thrown at me later.

    SCS does a couple of changes like that to enemies, mostly so that they get the most out of their items or possible builds. Greywolf, a Fighter with a terrible armour and a great one-handed sword, does not benefit at all from getting more AC from Single-Weapon style, since his AC is already bad and players usually confront him early on (which means they won't normally hit him anyway, and, if his AC had gone lower, it'll make the battle frustrating since you might need to make a critical hit to hit the guy), the only other ideal build is to either have him take more (illegal) points on Long Sword, SCS drops them on Two-weapon style and gives him another sword to make him look awesome.

    Edit: Missed the point of the thread due to my lack of sleep. What I mean is, that the Planar Prison thing doesn't always happen (also I'm not even sure if it's actually intended to happen or just a bug), and that the change behind Greywolf's dual-wielding has an actual logical explanation, that is based on SCS's "AI plays fair and like the player" dogma, which also gives some underpowered enemies a buff they actually do deserve (also, Greywolf has the best Long Sword in the game generally speaking).

    Btw, I think you can completely disable the Planar Prison bug by not installing the Improved Calls for Help, although I'm not sure since I've never played SCS without them.

    JuliusBorisovOrlonKronsteen
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,720
    I'm not sure that the Planar Prison situation was a bug. Improved calls for help will result in nearby enemies hearing the sounds of conflict and piling in from the surrounding areas - that's intended behavior to prevent you picking things off individually. If you sneaked through to the east you may find a different situation, but if you're fighting your way along I could easily imagine other enemies getting dragged into the conflict. The Planar Prison is relatively unusual though in having so many enemies closely spaced - in most quests it would be easier to take groups on one at a time.

    JuliusBorisovOrlonKronsteensemiticgod
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,721
    edited June 2017
    Maybe @DavidW , if he has time, could look and explain the Greywolf improvement and comment on other similar cases.

    Post edited by JuliusBorisov on
    OrlonKronsteen
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,142
    edited June 2017
    Overall I'd say SCS gives some variety.
    That's the main change I find.

    So, as you mentioned the Planer Sphere quest, I've just completed that. And honestly, each time I never know how the fight's going to go. This last time, killed the warden almost before anything else, (he turned up just after the welcoming comittee) then had to kill thralls, then the air things, lastly found the keeper, then was attacked by all the Yuan Tee. So all mixed up. Meanwhile, quite a few enemies got caught in the trap that petrifies them including the wyvern.

    It actually made the fight easier than non SCS, but not having everybody in their spaces waiting for you to turn up adds interest. And next playthrough, well it's a toss up what will happen then as well, perhaps the wyvern will turn up, the master of thralls before I'm ready ect. ect.

    I'd say the Planar Prison, once you get over the shock of "OMG, people aren't where they are "supposed" to be" has been a big improvement.

    The other one where that happens a bit, the Planar Sphere.
    Yeah, we all know, kill the tough halflings, congregate to the side, kill the next batch, trigger the one chewing a bone, then move onto the second phase with mages (the ones who drop Tazok's hands).

    Now, nope got to be ready for everything.
    But sometimes, one still doesn't turn up.
    Variety.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 734
    Thank you all, this is good to know. I wouldn't mind some variety as long as it doesn't throw the game too far off-kilter (e.g. Firkraag attacking you as soon as you enter the ruins) and as long as most story scripts run as planned.

    As for improved enemies, I don't mind an improved Greywolf or the statues in Watcher's Keep (they gave me a royal ass whooping) - as long as it doesn't get too crazy. I wouldn't really like it if I got to the end of BG1 only to find that SCS had given Sarevok 30 levels of sorcerer, for instance. I mean, the reason I avoided SCS for so long in the first place is I feared getting ambushed by pit fiends on the way to the Friendly Arm Inn, or packs of demi-liches spawning in the Nashkel Mines. :)

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,463
    I think the idea of the Greywolf thing is, he is "smarter" insofar as he makes better use of the tools available to someone with his class. In the vanilla game he is basically just "sprite with sword." But he's supposed to be a skilled fighter - so SCS gives him some fighter skills, like proficiency in fighting styles. Giving enemies better use of proficiencies is one of the ways SCS improves them.

    (I dunno about the Planar Prison thing, but the last time I played with SCS it was v25 or so. Could be a bug that's cropped up in recent versions.)

    OrlonKronsteen
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 734
    Well, I haven't noticed many bugs. Davaeorn went catatonic in my battle with him so something was up there. But most of the battles in my run through BG1 were examples of really good AI. Kahrk was really playing hardball at the Firewine Bridge, lol. And the battle at the Iron Throne was epic as well. Overall a great mod, as so many on here have attested.

    Grond0UnderstandMouseMagic
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    SCS is the bread and butter of modding, it's the baseline against which most things are compared. In terms of difficulty, it's the gold standard, and by now it's so refined there are very few things to complain about.

    One thing I am a bit annoyed by at times, though, is that it still features uninterruptible spells in some spots. I'm talking casters that will keep casting like it's nothing even if you knock them back across half the map. I get that it adds a certain dimension of inevitability to some encounters, but I can help but notice a bad taste. Divine casters also seem incredibly resistant to damage-based interrupts and will often complete a cast through a barrage of incoming hits. And all that, of course, is only true for enemies - your own casters will lose their cast-time-1 spell as soon as the enemy as much as looks at them.

    OrlonKronsteensemiticgod
  • AasimAasim Member Posts: 591

    SCS is the bread and butter of modding, it's the baseline against which most things are compared. In terms of difficulty, it's the gold standard, and by now it's so refined there are very few things to complain about.

    One thing I am a bit annoyed by at times, though, is that it still features uninterruptible spells in some spots. I'm talking casters that will keep casting like it's nothing even if you knock them back across half the map. I get that it adds a certain dimension of inevitability to some encounters, but I can help but notice a bad taste. Divine casters also seem incredibly resistant to damage-based interrupts and will often complete a cast through a barrage of incoming hits. And all that, of course, is only true for enemies - your own casters will lose their cast-time-1 spell as soon as the enemy as much as looks at them.

    If you install Spell Revisions, this is intended behaviour. Bar the part where your casters don't enjoy the same benefits, that is.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    Aasim said:

    If you install Spell Revisions, this is intended behaviour. Bar the part where your casters don't enjoy the same benefits, that is.

    Fair enough, I didn't know SR adds uninterruptible casts.

  • AasimAasim Member Posts: 591
    edited June 2017
    They aren't interruptible, but rather depend on a wacky formula.
    From release notes:

    Spellcasting Failure (16669)
    The way that spellcasters fail after taking damage has
    been externalized to CONCENTR.2da. By default, any
    damage a spellcaster takes will cause them to fail their
    spellcasting.
    CHECK_MODE
    0
    Any damage
    1
    (1d20 + luck) vs. (spell level + damage taken)
    2
    (1d20 + Concentration ) vs. (15 + spell level)
    Note from the Developers:
    This is inspired by a feature
    from ToBEx. Be aware that Baldur's Gate games have
    no Concentration skill; using that option will use a basic
    1d20+luck formula for the caster's check.


    Spell Rev sets CHECK to 1.

    semiticgod
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    Oh, no, I'm aware of that one.

    What I was not aware of is protection from interrupts even against things like knockbacks that toss you a good distance.

  • AasimAasim Member Posts: 591
    Heh, I wish this thing would be a bit more "moddable" than it is. If you want vanilla behaviour, just edit the above file with an editor and replace the 1 with a 0.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,035
    "SCS is the bread and butter of modding, it's the baseline against which most things are compared. In terms of difficulty, it's the gold standard, and by now it's so refined there are very few things to complain about."
    Thank goodness its not. I'm not a fan of SCS at all.

    sarevok57WarChiefZekemlnevese
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    ThacoBell said:

    Thank goodness its not. I'm not a fan of SCS at all.

    You're free not to like it, that doesn't change the fact that's it's one of THE premier mods out there :)

    The great thing about modding is that it let's you do what YOU want.

    ThacoBellArctodusDemivrgvs
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 734
    ThacoBell said:

    "SCS is the bread and butter of modding, it's the baseline against which most things are compared. In terms of difficulty, it's the gold standard, and by now it's so refined there are very few things to complain about."
    Thank goodness its not. I'm not a fan of SCS at all.

    Are there other difficulty mods that you use instead, @ThacoBell? Or do you just not like using difficulty enhancements?

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,035

    ThacoBell said:

    "SCS is the bread and butter of modding, it's the baseline against which most things are compared. In terms of difficulty, it's the gold standard, and by now it's so refined there are very few things to complain about."
    Thank goodness its not. I'm not a fan of SCS at all.

    Are there other difficulty mods that you use instead, @ThacoBell? Or do you just not like using difficulty enhancements?
    I don't use difficulty enhancements. So, I'm not saying SCS is bad, I just don't play BG for those reasons. I'm more the story and RP. I'm just glad that difficulty enhancement is not THE standard for mods or I would find them all unplayable.

    sarevok57
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 734
    edited June 2017
    ThacoBell said:

    ThacoBell said:

    "SCS is the bread and butter of modding, it's the baseline against which most things are compared. In terms of difficulty, it's the gold standard, and by now it's so refined there are very few things to complain about."
    Thank goodness its not. I'm not a fan of SCS at all.

    Are there other difficulty mods that you use instead, @ThacoBell? Or do you just not like using difficulty enhancements?
    I don't use difficulty enhancements. So, I'm not saying SCS is bad, I just don't play BG for those reasons. I'm more the story and RP. I'm just glad that difficulty enhancement is not THE standard for mods or I would find them all unplayable.
    I don't play BG for difficulty, either. My conundrum is that I wish the AI was just a little smarter than in the vanilla game, precisely because the stupidness of the AI breaks my RP immersion. For example, I just can't handle watching a lich summon a pit fiend it then has to fight, presumably because it didn't cast protection from evil. So I've been trying SCS...

    Overall I'm enjoying the difficulty enhancements, but I have a feeling it's going to get tedious. In my BG2 run, for instance, I'm getting tired of random encounters where thieves are chugging a seemingly endless supply of invisibility potions and backstabbing my party. I get that some people enjoy that - and I found it fun the first two times - but the micromanagement required to be prepared for that at all times is getting old. And, while most encounters are manageably harder, occasionally you run into stuff that's insanely hard. Case in point: I just headed off to Firkraag's lair to test out the smarter dragons component, only to find Ruhk the Transmuter to be unkillable at my level. I'm unable to hit him with +3 weapons and he's immune to all my spells. I expected Firkraag to kick my ass, but there's no reason for Ruhk to be so hard. I read in another thread that the SCS version of Ruhk is immune to anything below 8th level spells, which agrees with my experience.

    ThacoBell
  • Mantis37Mantis37 Member Posts: 1,045
    There are one or two mods - e.g. Quest Pack- which contain slight AI improvements for Vanilla. I agree that certain encounters are far harder to take on at an early level. Thieves chugging potions is slightly alleviated by not installing the potions for npcs component.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,738
    I always have this problem with SCS' "smarter mages" component:

    If I trap an area where I know a particularly badass mage enemy spawns (e.g. liches) and then kill said mage instantly with those traps before all of their protections fire off, it causes BG2EE to crash. It's so irritating to have to shut down the game via the processes tab in task manager, restart the game, and try killing that mage again. This does not happen with any other enemy type. Lesser (but still strong) mages can die to this and not crash the game, either.

  • ArdanisArdanis Member Posts: 1,691
    If I were to hazard a guess, some of their contingencies try to fire after premature death, but something involving dead target makes them crash the game instead.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    Just another reason not to cheese things with Supreme Reload Knowledge >_>

    subtledoctor
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