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Thread: Define "better AI"

  1. #1
    Lurker Member Mongoose's Avatar
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    Default Define "better AI"

    OK, we all know that BI should have "better AI"...that's a no brainier.

    But what would you define as "better"... Most people on this forum would want an AI that doesn't't just charge at you.


    How ever, the majority of people playing the game (pre teens) might actually prefer the simple, easy to beat AI and the smaller battle maps.



    So why not have an option for the AI settings?

    "Suicide charge"
    "defensive"
    "balanced"

    Also, AR should not be related to campaign settings. It should be it's own option when you start a campaign.


    Just my 2 cents...

  2. #2
    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    I think that the reason why totalwar battles are so easy is that the communications are too damn good.If you could only see what the general is seeing it would be lot harder.Other thing is that the troops are reacting too fast to your commands.If you could give commands only trough messengers it would be lot harder to win battles against AI.Maybe bit too realistic,but i would like if there would be that kind of option.
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    Member Member Productivity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    On the other hand, teh AI could just get worse as it has to compete with the same constraints as well...

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    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Thats very possible. But i think it would be very much fun to see how badly your own AI commanders would mess up your own orders.I bet it would create quite a chaos in the battlefield.
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    A Livonian Rebel Member Slaists's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Quote Originally Posted by kagemusha
    I think that the reason why totalwar battles are so easy is that the communications are too damn good.If you could only see what the general is seeing it would be lot harder.Other thing is that the troops are reacting too fast to your commands.If you could give commands only trough messengers it would be lot harder to win battles against AI.Maybe bit too realistic,but i would like if there would be that kind of option.
    realize also, that in "real" battles you would have captains and leutenants executing control at the local level... they should know when to stop firing because you are at risk of hitting your own comrades in the back... They should also know that giving an order to regroup and realign in the middle of the battle is a bad idea... (the AI does it if u give it a group of units to control...)
    Last edited by Slaists; 06-21-2005 at 18:14.

  6. #6
    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Post Re: Define "better AI"

    What I want to see is coordinated AI. I would like to see the units act as a group with a battleplan, not like a bunch of independent armies. The grand plan of the army should take into account the strengths and weaknesses of each unit, and not compromise the overall line by trying to shuffle the units around at the last minute. At the very least, pick a tactic and stick by it. When the AI changes it's mind this usually does more harm than good.
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    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaists
    but realize also, that in "real" battles you would have captains and leutenants executing control at the local level... they should know when to stop firing because you at risk of hitting yoru own comrades in the back... They should also know that giving an order to regroup and realign in the middle of the battle is a bad idea... (the AI does it if u give it a group of units to control...)
    Yes im familiar with the concept.My thought was only to make it harder to human player to control ones army.The fact that the AI is stupid is in my mind much harder problem to repair.
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    Hǫrðar Member Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Quote Originally Posted by mongoose
    How ever, the majority of people playing the game (pre teens) might actually prefer the simple, easy to beat AI and the smaller battle maps.
    I don`t think that`s why CA has made a bad AI, or at least not any good. They decided to let graphics and other stuff have higher priority than the AI.

    Do bear in mind that it`s hard to make a good AI in a game like RTW, I can`t say I`ve ever stumbled over a game that`s so complex like RTW. There is so many things for the AI to handle; both campaign and battlefield. Also CA have to give the game good graphics and physics, so I believe that there simple wasn`t enough room for a better AI on those three CD`s
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    A Livonian Rebel Member Slaists's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Quote Originally Posted by drone
    What I want to see is coordinated AI. I would like to see the units act as a group with a battleplan, not like a bunch of independent armies. The grand plan of the army should take into account the strengths and weaknesses of each unit, and not compromise the overall line by trying to shuffle the units around at the last minute. At the very least, pick a tactic and stick by it. When the AI changes it's mind this usually does more harm than good.
    to my surprise, giving the AI improved formations actually partially achieves what you suggested... i've noticed coordinated unit AI movement in RTR and RTR Roma mods... however, this coordination was limited only to units in a single army displayed only on a couple of occasions and practically never (with one exception) between AI armies if it had several...

    i have a suspicion that certain player army arrangements and positions on the map actually throws the AI into confusion... something "it shouldn't be there so it is not there..." syndrome...
    Last edited by Slaists; 06-21-2005 at 18:21.

  10. #10
    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Post Re: Define "better AI"

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaists
    to my surprise, giving the AI improved formations actually partially achieves what you suggested... i've noticed coordinated unit AI movement in RTR and RTR Roma mods... however, this coordination was limited only to units in a single army displayed only on a couple of occasions and practically never (with one exception) between AI armies if it had several...
    Is this along the lines of the mod to change the formation priorities in descr_formations_ai.txt? Or are the formations themselves modified?
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    The battle AI in the Total War is very good at picking advantageous matchups. That's because it compares the combat power of the units, including the bonuses in effect. In STW and MTW, if you raise the morale level so that units fight for a long time, the AI is more difficult to beat. That's because getting correct matchups is more important than maneuvering to hit a flank. Once the suicide generals were fixed in MTW and the AI cavalry made to persistently flank, you got a pretty good challenge from the AI even on normal difficulty as long as the AI army was strong enough to actually carry out an attack. If the AI army was weaker, it would hesitate to attack, and you could do a lot of damage to its units with archers and xbows.

    On defense, the AI would setup on high ground, and many maps had good positions from which to defend. If the human player was stronger than the AI faction strategically, he could go on the offensive and attack these defensive positions. If the human player was weaker, he could play defensively and use the defensive positions to hold off a stronger AI faction. This means more of a difference in power was needed for provinces to change hands which made the strategic game more important. It was risky to go on the offensive and thin out your strength without a subtantial advantage in army power.

    The AI in RTW is probably basically the same as in STW and MTW, but other factors conspire to rob it of its main advantage which is making good matchups during combat. I think it's rather complicated the way various factors interact to do this.

    Probably the easiest aspect to understand is that the strategic AI doesn't sufficiently concentrate its forces when making an attack. This might be due to the game not being province based anymore and the AI not changed to reflect this, but I don't know. If the AI is going to tend to attack with one army, it should build that army up as much as possible and put a good general in charge of it. I see too many AI generals traveling around as single units as though they are scouts, and too many small AI armies instead of fewer larger armies.

    On the battle map, the high speed of movement and combat hurts the AI. It's wide flanking moves come too late, and battleline units break ranks seemingly in an attempt to flank enemy units whose flanks are covered. Covering flanks was an important tactic in STW and MTW, but the AI in RTW doesn't seem to recognize that the enemy's flanks are covered or that it should be trying to cover its own flanks. This isn't the AI trying to get advantageous matchups because you can see the effect with battlelines composed of identical units. Phalanx units in particular should never expose their flanks.

    The relatively weak rock, paper, scissors also diminishes the AI's advantage of making good matchups. I think this may be leading the AI to charge spears frontally with cav, and it definitely contributes to the suicide AI generals. The suicide generals are devastating for the AI because the entire army takes a morale hit and probably a combat hit as well when he dies. It's a cascading effect in which the entire army can be routed by getting the first unit to rout. LongJohn even said that the game is designed so that getting the first unit to rout is the way to win the battles, and he wasn't even talking about the general. LongJohn made it a high priorty to fix the suicide generals in both STW and MTW. Now CA is saying that suicide generals are hard to fix. Has there been a reduction in expertise at CA?

    The RTW maps don't have the prominent defensive positions of the previous games. When you couple that with an AI which can't handle the tactical maneuver aspects very well and doesn't sufficiently concentrate it's forces anyway, you get a gameplay where the human player can relentlessly expand without risk. The AI is additionally hindered in expansion by the supposedly designed in strategic reassesment after loading a savegame.

    I would say the tactical game should be slowed down, the rock, paper, scissors strengthened, the suicide generals fixed, the terain combat bonuses put back to what they were in the previous games, the maps enhanced with more terrain features, and the AI made more intelligent about handling maneuvering for positional advantage (don't break ranks in the battleline or try to attack covered flanks).

    The concept of Total War is leading edge, but the current gameplay is not. In Samurai Wars for MTW/VI, whether playing SP or MP battles, you have to process a lot of information throught a battle and constantly make tactical decisions as fast as you can make them right up to the end of the battle. Even chasing routing units is not a clearcut decision and can backfire. In Rome Total War battles, I don't have to think that much. Even players who like RTW multiplayer admit that the tactics are more about correctly anticipating your opponent's moves rather than reacting to them. That's a killer for SP gameplay because it doesn't take long before you can always anticipate a predictable AI's moves.

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  12. #12
    Cathedral of Despair Member jimmyM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    My defenition of a "better" a.i:
    -one that forms a battle line, and doesn't change its mind at the last minute...especially phalanx armies need this...it was done pretty well by the medieval a.i but with romes you get some kinda brittle "clumps" of easily flankable guys wandering round after the general skewers himself-I guess the point is a more robust basic a.i gameplan.
    -no more use of inappropriate units types for tasks (ref. the "suicide banzai charge" of otherwise really quite useful skirmishing/missile troops into melee..ahead of the main fight, rather than as some kind of "last reserve", also generals killing themselves far too soon (didn't happen in medieval - see "last reserve" quote/theory)
    -an extra layer of complexity(which is needed) - no more units getting "target lock" and skewering themselves as a result (probably feeding into the above point)

    As for campaign a.i? pheeew, where'd you start...don't envy the C.A guys with the layers of complexity involved (much as I don't like saying it maybe a risk-style map would've been better...) but definately no more lone-heirs-wandering-off-alone-to-die while armies of skirmishers grow old and get bribed away, maybe some way of getting the a.i to "batch produce" historical, balanced armies for themselves...
    Last edited by jimmyM; 06-21-2005 at 20:27.
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    Guest BrutalDictatorship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    just out of curiosity, do you really think the "majority" of TW players are preteen, or teen?

    seriously...no sarcasm, I've just wondered about this myself as of late.

  14. #14
    Cathedral of Despair Member jimmyM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    I'd say mostly teen/later, it verging on kinda wargaming/history buff territory (a vast oversimplification, I know, but i'm tired and high atmospheric pressure does odd things to my brain...)
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    Duking it out Member Grand Duke Vytautas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    If you want better AI in vanilla RTW, definitely try DarthMod 5.0 http://www.twcenter.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=71
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Quote Originally Posted by BrutalDictatorship
    just out of curiosity, do you really think the "majority" of TW players are preteen, or teen?

    seriously...no sarcasm, I've just wondered about this myself as of late.
    The Org has one of the oldest age groups of any gaming website I've come across, with the possible exception of the Paradox boards, which are really hardcore strategy games. even many of the younger patrons are mature beyond their years (BKS for example)
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    Lurker Member Mongoose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Duke Vytautas of the Lithuanians
    If you want better AI in vanilla RTW, definitely try DarthMod 5.0 http://www.twcenter.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=71
    Enjoy!
    It's slightly better, but not perfect. On Vh the moral bonus it gets means it can rout your troops even when you're wining! Very annoying...

  18. #18
    Von Uber Member Butcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Paradox forums are suprisingly mature, but I guess that reflect the nature of some of their games (no flashy graphics etc).
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Its always a constant struggle to make good AI the real task is to make it more human and by that I mean it has to have to capacity to make mistakes like we all do, every player has done stupid things mid battle or poorly formed up their army or attacked when they should defend etc.

    Real life generals made mistakes but thats what makes them human and the point is that generals should act more like their traits suggest, if an AI general is an excellent defender, why would he like the AI often does go and attack an army that he is best defending against? That leads to judgement, the AI reacts to much to what the player does it doesnt decide for itself and seldom takes the all important factor in battle, the inititive.

    A human player is always going to be better than the AI on a normal day simply because AI hasnt been close to perfected yet, and the problem is there is no variety. You take 100 AI generals and put them in the exact same situation as each other and I bet £100 they do practically the exact same thing as each other, the absence of AI with independant thought is the reason there is always a gap in class of player against AI.

    Even though AI is far from perfect I think it could have definately been better in RTW I mean what is the point in traits if the AI does not use them? if the general is a coward why does he charge head first into your army personally? it makes no sense.

    So my definition of "better" AI is AI that has variety in thought and its execution.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Senior Member katank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    The strategic AI should also have several settings

    Boom
    Rush
    Balanced

    Rush might also mean striking out randomly in all directions or focus blitz on a neighbor. Either case would involve heavy investment into units right away and agressive army movement.

    Boom should be focused almost exclusively on infrastructure, predominantly economic.

    Balanced would be balanced.

    Faction behavior should be randomly generated at the beginning of the game so that the same old thing doesn't happen.

    If the Eggy blitz Siwa and got smashed by a Seleucid blitz, that would be interesting for example.

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    Duking it out Member Grand Duke Vytautas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Quote Originally Posted by mongoose
    It's slightly better, but not perfect. On Vh the moral bonus it gets means it can rout your troops even when you're wining! Very annoying...
    Well in patch 1.2 IMO on VH battles the AI and player both get EQUAL bonuses, but the AI is much smarter on VH - and very sneaky in Darth Mod 5.0: e.g. protects the rear with cavalry, after little fighting retreats when overwhelmed, aims to kill your general - now that's really sneaky, etc. I'm playing DM just a couple of days so haven't noticed all the AI new features, but it sure makes you think in battle, I even lost a couple of battles where I had 3:2 advantage, because AI ambushed me from behind and killed my general! Isn't that cool? Must be more careful next time, this is not vanilla RTW walkie talkie cakewalk!
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Senior Member katank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Darth Mod sounds great. I should download it then.

    How does it compare with RTR and/or SPQR?

  23. #23
    Lurker Member Mongoose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    It's alot more recent, go with Darthmod


    I played it and the AI seemed pretty stupid...it did manage to kill half of my 4 units of hastati with a head on charge from one general unit though.

    I only noticed that the AI, though still stupid, did not attack one unit at a time. Battles are still easy, but you will no longer lose 5% and kill 90%.

    The one hard thing about Darthmod is that the AI attacks you alot...so winning a battles does not mean winning the war.


    I found that it gets somewhat boring after awhile...it would be nice if you fought fewer but harder battles.
    Last edited by Mongoose; 06-22-2005 at 17:41.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Senior Member katank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    The AI still stinks at proper massing upon the strategic map?

  25. #25
    Lurker Member Mongoose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Load/save is still there, diplomacy still seems broken, but the AI Attacks alot more...i would say that it's better.

  26. #26
    Deranged Rock Ape Member Zakor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    I think that even schizophrenically unpredictable random commands would perform better than the current AI. It would turn the fights into something a bit less formulaic.

  27. #27
    Guest BrutalDictatorship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    better AI= units not getting all jumbled up at the gates during a seige, bumping into eachother for 20 minutes while every ranged attack on earth just rains down on top of them...only to watch them then yell "RUN!!" and route up the hills.

    this is one example of "better AI" just for starters.

    I don't think ancient armies had that formation in their playbook

  28. #28

    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    Better AI means archers don't charge battle lines.

    Phalanxes should behave like phalanxes.

    Skirmishers should skirmish.

    It's not the hard to explain, but could be hard to implement.

  29. #29
    Member Member Elmar Bijlsma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Define "better AI"

    The prime objective of AI should be suspension of disbelieve.

    I fully realise it'll be some time yet before AI can match a human player. But atleast it'll has to fake knowing what it's doing to a credible level. I have no big problems with the AI not being able to defeat my wave of uber skirmishers. But I do demand it tries. Every time it just sits there hoping I will run out of ammo before it runs out of men:
    I don't demand that it should be very good at breaking into a town, but every time I see it standing infront of my towers until killed:
    It doesn't have to be succesful at repelling my sieging attacks. But every time I concentrate all my forces on a breach and 50% of the enemy troops guard intact sections of wall on the other side of the town:

    It doesn't have to be a tactical genius or even mildly competent even, AI can never be truely challenging to a competent player. It just has to prevent me from going GAH! every battle. I want to grab victory by the throat, not have it gifted to me on a silver platter by the opposing force.
    Last edited by Elmar Bijlsma; 06-23-2005 at 10:49.

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