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Greslin

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This mod substantially alters the attack/defend patterns of Mongrel Dogs (and their derivatives). It gives them a basic pack organization, where each dog will change mood and tactics based on how it perceives its immediate social and threat environment.

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Hi everyone!

I have ceased all development on this version of Pack Attack. If you are encountering any bugs, they aren't going to be fixed in this version.

This mod has evolved into Pack Attack: NPC Edition, or PA-NPC for short. All development is now happening there, and it includes all the functionality of this mod, plus a lot more. There's even an MCM option for using only the dogs, if you prefer that "classic Pack Attack" gameplay feeling.

Thanks for your support. See you over there!

- Greslin


Yep, it's happened again!

"As if the nuclear apocalypse, having my wife murdered and my son stolen wasn't bad enough,
Fallout 4's Mongrel dogs are about to get tougher. I hate Fallout 4's Mongrel dogs at the best of times,
thus the idea of them becoming more socially aware in battle makes me feel a little queasy. "


- Joe Donnelly, PC Gamer, February 18 2018

Gameplay (v1.2):



PACK ATTACK: Mongrels With Social Awareness

by Greslin
v1.21 - released 2/24/2018

NOTE: There is now an official release NPC version of Pack Attack, called Pack Attack NPC Edition.

I am now available for mod support over Discord.  Visit me here about this or any other of my mods: https://discord.gg/jMUnXDV


Another sleepless night, another pointless trek through the Northwest Commonwealth: a long walk near Drumlin Diner, with Blue becoming increasingly irritable as the insomnia reached deep into the second night.

"Blue.." said Piper.  "Let's just hole up somewhere.  Starlight, maybe.  It's just not safe out here - can you even SEE through that fog?"  But Blue wasn't listening.

A rustle.  Movement.  Piper squinted and struggled to see into the darkness, to make out the shadows rippling past.  Dogs, two of them.  She gripped her 10mm 6520 revolver tightly, waiting, knowing she and Blue had been seen.  It was only a matter of moments before the dogs would turn and attack.  Strangely, however, the two continued past, glancing at Piper and Blue but keeping their distance.  Piper drew a breath, relaxed her grip.

Then she heard it.  She realized.  She turned, Blue still a dozen paces ahead.  From behind Piper, the third dog attacked.

(Note: The above actually happened to me in final 1.0 testing of this mod.)


CHANGELOG
===================================

v1.0   - 2018/02/18 - Initial release/proof of concept
v1.1   - 2018/02/20 - Pack leader identification
v1.11 - 2018/02/20 - Pack members now respect faction relationships in pack assessments (only count friends/allies)
v1.2   - 2018/02/22 - Perception-based scan ranges, substantial overhaul of pack assessment, more combat styles
v1.21 - 2018/02/24 - Pack aggression detection, improved fight/flight (see "Fight/Flight", below)


DESCRIPTION

===================================

"Pack Attack" is my latest in a long series of attempts to make a substantial portion of the Fallout gaming community curse my name. :)

This mod attaches a script to all Mongrel Dogs (as well as any other dogs based on that template) that continually evaluates that dog's current immediate social environment and threat situation.  When a dog senses other dogs nearby, it will be more likely to be aggressive and bold in its attacks.  When it realizes that it's on the losing end of the battle (can't find others, has taken hard damage), it will be more likely to turn cowardly and run.

This essentially means that Mongrel dogs, especially when they hit in packs, are now a lot less predictable - and more dangerous.


HOW IT WORKS
===================================

IMPORTANT POINT: The Fallout 4 engine is designed to allow for the influence of combat behavior, but not the control of combat behavior.  All this or any other mod can do is coax an actor into a certain level of aggression and combat behavior.  So expect some strange behavior - once the combat starts, the dogs are making their own decisions.


In the vanilla game, an Actor (you, me, dogs, robots, etc.) has an Aggression stat (how likely it is to attack), a Confidence stat (cowardly/brave/foolhardy), and a general Combat Style (which specifies combat behavior in more detail).  Normally these stats are hardwired into Actors, including dogs.  If an Actor is a coward, they're usually - but not always - a coward forever.

Thing is, I've never been satisfied with how Fallout 4 handled Mongrel Dogs.  I like dogs, and I've always felt that Mongrels needed a lot more social awareness and cohesion than simply being a go-kill-em melee torpedo on four legs.  And, it turns out, the above stats can all be changed on the fly.

So.  When a Mongrel is loaded into the game, it will immediately do a threat assessment (am I being attacked?  is there an enemy nearby?) and an immediate area scan for other Mongrels.  If it finds other dogs, it will act more confidently and aggressively as a pack attacker.  On the other hand, if it realizes that it's the last dog standing, or it's been seriously hurt, it's a lot more likely to tuck tail and run.  Combat styles also change appropriately.

This threat-social appraisal process happens every few seconds with each active dog.  This means that a dog will often panic and run, catch its breath and calm down, and then loop back around for another attack once it's found its courage again.  

So far in my tests, I've been very amused at the collective pack hunts.  There have been quite a few "clever girl" moments, where dogs I thought were done from the fight actually flanked wide and came back around again hard.  Don't count the battle over until the last one is off the field for good.


PACK EVALUATION (v1.21)

===================================
v1.21 - nearby aggression influence

The heart of this mod is its pack assessment system.  Each active dog is constantly searching within a dynamic radius (based on its Perception stat) for other friends and enemies.  When it finds another friendly dog, it evaluates that dog's base health in comparison to its own, using that data to get a rough (and relative) collective estimate of the pack strength.  

A dog at 50 base health will see a 150 HP dog as a major asset; the 150 HP dog will see the weaker one as a pack liability.  Each will make its own decisions accordingly.

Each dog has a random bravery/anxiety factor that will make it a bit more skittish or bold than the others (to avoid clone behavior), and utilizes various other data points - wounded enemies (blood scent), its own health, and its most recent combat experience - to decide whether to attack, run away, be cautious, or go completely bloodthirsty insane.  

In general, as each dog senses a weaker and more damaged pack, it will become more and more likely to retreat, evade, and hide.  Likewise, if another dog enters the fray, the other dogs will react to the pack's suddenly improved fortunes and become more aggressive.

As of v1.21, each dog will also take note of the aggression level of its fellow pack members.  The average aggression of the pack will make a small but significant difference to that dog's bravery level, as it gets caught up in the fighting mood of the pack.


FIGHT/FLIGHT (v1.21)
===================================

In v1.2, dogs made basically proactive decisions, and then stuck with them for a short amount of time before reappraising things.  If a dog chose to attack, for example, they would take a 5-10 second timeout before reconsidering that decision.

v1.21 changes that delay system.  Rather than simply timing out decisions, each dog now operates in two modes: action and reaction, or fight and flight.  When a dog is in a post-decision timeout period, it is now almost exclusively reacting.  If its bravery goes sharply south during this period, or a feared threat gets too close, it will make a fast reaction decision to either run hard or fight hard.  Once the timeout expires, it will once again make a more measured decision.

I added this after watching a video review of 1.2 by DiscoGnome, where a dog was obviously in "don't know what to do now" mode and just stood there to take a shotgun round to the face.  Yeah, that shouldn't happen, and v1.21 should now prevent most of those outcomes.


FACTIONS

===================================

As of v1.2, Pack Attack now respects game faction relationships.  Dogs will now only count faction-friendly dogs as part of their pack.  


FUTURE PLANS
===================================

Version 1.x is just the very beginning.  Future versions will include more complex and nuanced decision making, MCM support, probably new combat styles, and a general expansion to include Raider dogs and other dog families.  This is an ongoing experiment in making Commonwealth dogs more interesting to fight.

If this mod continues to do well, my next major step is to extend similar functionality to other enemy creatures, and ultimately to NPCs such as Raiders, Gunners, and Supermutants.


NPC EDITION
===================================

There is now an expanded version of Pack Attack designed specifically for biped NPC gangs, such as Raiders.  This new mod is now hosted separately on Nexus as Pack Attack NPC Edition.

PA-NPC is based on the Pack Attack code base, but is significantly extended for use with intelligent enemies with guns.  The two mods can be used together without conflict.


INSTALLATION/UNINSTALLATION
===================================

Right now, only the base game is required.

Unpack the RAR to install, disable the ESP in your load order to disable.


COMPATIBILITY
===================================

No problems that I know of, but I honestly have no idea at this point.  If anything breaks, let me know.

I highly recommend my Companion Heal Thyself mod for use with this mod.  The combination borders on the hilarious.


AS ALWAYS..
===================================

Thanks to my wife (Overwatch/Destiny Assist Queen, fellow gamer, console girl, and partner in crime) for tolerating my Fallout fandom.

Thanks to Eden, our yellow Labrador, who is currently away nursing her new puppies and being a good momma.  We miss her and look forward to her coming home.

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded, enjoyed, and perhaps even endorsed any of my mods for Fallout 4 and New Vegas.  I write these weird little mods for myself, to try things out that hopefully keep the game interesting for me a little while longer, and it's nice to know that some of you good folks enjoy them, too.  I appreciate the kind words, support, and occasional gamer angst.

I have no intention of porting any of my mods to console.  I'm a PC player, and diving into the Bethesda.net pool doesn't interest me in the least.

This mod is still in early releases, meaning you should expect some bugs and items that need to be rebalanced.  Your game saves, however, should be fairly safe at this point.  Try it out and leave your feedback in the comments.  I want to hear them!


ABOUT ME
=========================

See my other Fallout 4 mods:

Stash Those Caps - Makes caps truly portable again, just like in FO3/FNV
Insult To Injury - Implements a working FNV-like limb damage/recovery system in Survival mode
Companion Heal Thyself - Give companions the power to patch themselves up in Survival mode
Passive Aggressive Piper - Add affinity checks to Piper's more annoying, sarcastic and flirtatious comments
Ferals After Dark - Makes feral ghouls a bit smarter and more dangerous after the sun goes down
More Realistic Cats - Buffs the cat race to make them behave more like, well, cats
Atomic Brahmin - When cows turn into mean, aggressive, highly unstable nuclear weapons
Pack Attack - Mongrel dogs shift attack behavior based on social awareness and threat assessment
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