TaleWords have released a new Dev Blog for the upcoming Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord dedicated to the Campaign AI that helps the team support the idea of a living, breathing world. It helps ensuring that lords make sensible choices and prioritize their actions on the campaign map in a logical way that accounts for their abilities, limitations, and needs.
Unlike Mount & Blade: Warband, in Bannerlord the NPC lords are following the same rules and restrictions as the player. This change required developers to make ensure that NPC lords can perform many of the actions that players are required to do to maintain their party and ultimately progress through the game.
To find an appropriate solution, we first had to consider the different factors that would be important when making these kinds of decisions. The first (and only consistent factor across all possible actions) is the distance that the party would need to travel to perform the action. Naturally, the NPC lord will generally favour closer targets, providing its requirements can be met, of course. In addition to this, the NPC lord will also look at several other factors when deciding which action to select and how to carry that action out.
- Go to Settlement – NPC lords will need to visit settlements to restock their supplies, recruit fresh troops and ransom prisoners.
- Patrol Around a Settlement – NPC lords can lead their troops on a patrol around their clan’s settlements, prioritizing ones where hostile troops have been spotted in the vicinity of recently.
- Defend a Settlement – NPC lords will ride to the defense of settlements when the need arises, either with just their party in tow or at the head of an army. If the besieged settlement is particularly prosperous or is owned by the NPC lord, then they will be much more likely to make an effort to defend the settlement.
- Raid a Settlement – When looking at enemy settlements, the lord will check to see how valuable the production of the settlement is, as well as, the strength of the settlement. In addition to this, the lord will consider the relations between their clan and that of the owner of the settlement, favouring to attack ones that they are feuding with. Finally, a lord may decide to raid a settlement that is providing supplies to a connected castle, with the castle being the true target of the action.
- Besiege a Settlement – NPC lords will try to lay siege to enemy castles when they are confident that they can succeed with the attack.
- Chase an Enemy Party – The final aggressive action that an NPC lord can pursue is to chase down enemy parties. If the enemy party is already being chased down then the lord may decide to safely ignore a particular party, however, if a hostile force is considered to be encroaching within the lord’s faction’s territory, especially if they advance near to a settlement, then the lord may decide to give chase.