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Thread: Pathetic battle AI

  1. #1

    Default Pathetic battle AI

    How's this for an example of the battle AI.

    My army:

    5 greek levies ( ~ town watch with phalanx capability)
    3 missile cav
    2 peltasts
    1 Illyrian mercenary peltast
    1 6 star general


    5 Greek hoplites
    5 peltasts
    1 ballista
    1 scorpion

    The enemy are ensconced at the top of a very steep mountain in the corner of the battlefield. There's no way to approach but straight up. I have visions of my army being shredded to bits by the peltasts and artillery from miles away, before my exhausted levies are routed on an immutable line of 20-defence pt hoplites with maximum height advantage. It's the sort of thing you would probably expect to face if you were, for example, playing Shogun.

    So I begin the ascent, slowly walking my troops up the mountain in hopes they won't be totally exhausted when they reach the top. But what's this? No rain of missiles from the defenders.

    I check to see what they're up to and, inexplicably, they have abandoned the crest of the hill and marched a little down the east side. What the hell, I might just charge my cav up to the crest before they change their minds. I do so, and now I'm the one peppering them with my cav missile from the height advantage. Pretty soon one of their hoplite units is very much the worse for wear.

    The enemy army continues to mill about in the most indecisive manner, neither attacking nor forming a line nor doing anything that might be conceived as a threat. However, one of the AI peltasts has marched quite a ways down the east side of the hill. There's nothing my cav like better than an isolated missile unit, so down the hill we charge and annihilate it. Turning, we see that another peltast unit has followed us some of the way down, so we charge him as well. Obligingly, he fails to skirmish on our approach, leading to another wipeout.

    By this time my cav are most of the way up the hill again, and my exhausted peltasts, which I previously ordered to run, have made the top of the hill, again without being challenged, and are peppering the enemy from above who again fail to respond.

    I note that a gap has opened between the hoplite nearest my peltasts and the remaining 2 1/2 hoplites further east, wherein the remaining AI peltasts mill about uncertainly. Emboldened by the enemy's lack of aggression, I decide to charge between the hoplites and smash the remaining peltasts, hoping not to get too many cav caught by the pointy sticks on the flanks. At the same time, I decide to bum rush the lone hoplite on the right flank with my peltasts to keep it occupied.

    The operation proceeds even better than I hoped, with none of my cav hitting pointy sticks and the pointy sticks showing no sign of attacking. The AI peltasts are therefore easy prey for my cav which quickly do them in.

    Now I check on the battle with my peltasts and that lone hoplite. My two exhausted vanilla peltasts have not responded to the attack command, but the Illyrian mercenaries have, and incredibly, won the battle against the hoplite unit which conveniently failed to assume phalanx formation when attacked. I check on the remaining hoplites, which still have made no threatening gesture, and notice they are shaken, so without waiting for my greek levies to arrive, try charging them with my cav to see if I can break them. Again, no phalanx greets the charge, but rather the cry of "Retreat!" breaks the air and now those foolish hoplites are mine for the taking!

    Result of battle: 400 enemy in a near-impregnable position wiped out by 4 cav units and 3 peltasts (use of the levies proved unnecessary) for the loss of 58 men (most of them from the Illyrian mercs who charged the hoplite).

    A few points to note about the battle:

    1/ The enemy made no attempt whatever to make use of their extreme height advantage;

    2/ I didn't see a single volley from any of the 5 enemy peltast units;

    3/ AI peltasts didn't appear to skirmish away from charging cav at any time;

    4/ Not once did any of the 5 enemy hoplites bother to form up into a phalanx;

    5/ Artillery were nowhere to be seen;

    6/ A total lack of aggression or co-ordination on the part of the AI.

    I know I had a 6-star general, but really one would expect just a little more resistance than this!
    Last edited by screwtype; 04-17-2005 at 06:32.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Pathetic battle AI

    Did their artillery do anything?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pathetic battle AI

    No, nothing at all.

    I saw the artillerymen now and then running about aimlessly from place to place but I never saw where the artillery pieces were. They must have been somewhere, but I was too busy fighting the battle.

  4. #4
    Barbarian Member Ldvs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Default Re: Pathetic battle AI

    Unfortunately,this has been discussed numerous times and the conclusions are unanimous: the AI is appallinggly bad.

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member tibilicus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Default Re: Pathetic battle AI

    Another annoying thing is when the army flees the battle before youve reached it and it masivly outnumbers you. How unrealistic is that.

    "A lamb goes to the slaughter but a man, he knows when to walk away."

  6. #6
    Elephant Master Member Conqueror's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    In the Ruins of Europe

    Default Re: Pathetic battle AI

    By far the biggest weakness I've observed is that when the AI is on the defensive, it won't react to massed missile fire. You can just march close enough for your archers to reach them and bombard the AI army with arrows, ballistas, flaming onager shots, etc. And they'll just sit still and take it. Sometimes they'll decide to retreat or attack after losing ~50% of their men, but sometimes you can keep shooting untill you're out of ammo.

    RTW, 167 BC: Rome expels Greek philosophers after the Lex Fannia law is passed. This bans the effete and nasty Greek practice of 'philosophy' in favour of more manly, properly Roman pursuits that don't involve quite so much thinking.

  7. #7
    Ultimate Member tibilicus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Default Re: Pathetic battle AI

    Ahhhhh yes get a nice set of pikemen park them close anoth then kill there whole army with arrows ! they wont even move !

    "A lamb goes to the slaughter but a man, he knows when to walk away."

  8. #8
    Revolting Peasant Member marcusbrutus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Wigan, home of the pie-eaters.

    Default Re: Pathetic battle AI

    The battle AI is pathetic but I have to confess I was utterly annaialated by it the other day...

    Sending some excess troops home after taking an Egyptian city that had fallen to the rebels I was attacked by a large egyptian army with a 6 star general, almost completely made up of chariots and mounted troops. I had no general, 5 infantry, 4 missle units and 3 cav. Thinking that if I could get some high ground the AI would crumble as usual I decided to fight.

    I lined my troops up: inf in front of missile and cav on either flank on a small hill and waited. The AI halted it's army just outside of missile range and then sent 2 units of missile forward and a unit of inf (which routed before it even reached my line). This missile exchange lasted a couple of minutes.

    All at once the entire AI army began to sprint around my left flank (this was amazing coordination for the AI). They were to far away to engage with my slow troops so to prevent my army being flanked and overrun by the entire Eqyptian army I got the inf and missiles to run just enough to turn and form a line facing what would be the Egyptians new position. To gain some time while they did this I sent my cav against the Egyptians that had made it furthest around my flank. No sooner had the infantry begun to move than all the chariots were smashing through their disorganised ranks. Totally defeated.

    Having the AI put me in a position where I had to react and then it taking advantage of it is perhaps the most surprising thing about the battle.
    "Semper in Mira. Solum Profundum Variat."
    - Geoff Lee, One Spring (2002)

    "Game graphics are like bikinis - it's not about what you show, it's about what you leave to the imagination."

  9. #9

    Default Re: Pathetic battle AI

    Quote Originally Posted by marcusbrutus
    No sooner had the infantry begun to move than all the chariots were smashing through their disorganised ranks. Totally defeated.
    One of the few things the AI is good at (if you can call it good) is charging infantry with mobile troops. They are quite good at timing their run to the moment when your troops are in disarray I find (or maybe it's because my troops always seem to be in disarray for some reason, LOL).

    Really though, these cavalry charges through infantry units, particulary the front of spear units, are a bit unrealistic.
    Last edited by screwtype; 04-17-2005 at 13:18.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Pathetic battle AI

    Quote Originally Posted by Conqueror
    By far the biggest weakness I've observed is that when the AI is on the defensive, it won't react to massed missile fire.
    Yes that is one of the big problems, but IMO an even bigger one is the way the AI will split itself up into separate units to chase after your own units, which makes it so easy to kill them off one by one. This behaviour is especially stupid when it's an infantry unit chasing a cav unit, which it has no hope whatever of catching.

    CA should make it an iron AI rule that foot soldiers NEVER chase cav units unless or until there are no enemy foot soldiers remaining.


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