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Thread: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

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    Member Member gunslinger's Avatar
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    Default Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    I hate the fact the the A.I. is so hooked on seige engines. In a recent battle, I was attacked by the Castille-Leonese (XL version of Spanish). They had about 5500 troops to my 2300. It had all the makings of a great defensive battle. Then, they take the field with no less than five seige engines, which of course couldn't move down the field to attack me, forcing the A.I. to attack my 16 units with only 11 of theirs. I know this makes the game easier for me, but I would rather beat the A.I. on more even footing. Does anyone know of a fix or workaround for this?
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    You can change what the AI "wants" to build. The problem with changing this is that it may build so little siege equipment that it won't be able to assault castles effectively.

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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    In my experience the AI doesn't assault stone fortifications effectively anyway. I've never seen the AI concentrate multiple artillery units against one wall section or the gates - they are always spread out round the whole perimeter so every arrow tower can have a potshot. I haven't seen them ever manage to take down even one wall section before they are wiped out.

    The AI seems to live (and die) by sending units one by one to hammer down the gates. Even then this would be OK if it used 'assault-fodder'...spearmen and the like. Instead it sends it's best troops to wear boiling oil as a hat, normally starting with the General.

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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Meh..I don't even bother playing through seige battles. They're too messy and the AI is as incompetent as I am..
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    Kavhan Member Kavhan Isbul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    I think that if an army has siege engines in its composition, they are placed in the starting line-up by default. This applies to both the AI and the human player. Of course, the human player can always change this, while the AI never does. I think the reason for this is that if you do not have a siege engine among your starting 16 units, you will not be able to use it in the battle. I guess the AI is programmed to make sure that it uses all of its units, which is obvioulsy dumb, and unfortunately I do not think this can be fixed in any manner.
    Last edited by Kavhan Isbul; 01-02-2007 at 18:04.

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    Member Member gunslinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caravel
    You can change what the AI "wants" to build. The problem with changing this is that it may build so little siege equipment that it won't be able to assault castles effectively.
    This is a fix that I would like to implement, since the A.I. never assaults my castles anyway. Caravel, do you know where to find instructions for this off the top of your head?
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    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by gunslinger
    This is a fix that I would like to implement, since the A.I. never assaults my castles anyway. Caravel, do you know where to find instructions for this off the top of your head?
    The AI may not assault your castles (I rarely get the chance to defend castles either), but it might affect auto-resolved fights between AI factions. Any knowledge on how the absence of siege engines affects auto-resolved castle assaults? This might adversely affect faction development.
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by SauveQuiPeut
    In my experience the AI doesn't assault stone fortifications effectively anyway. I've never seen the AI concentrate multiple artillery units against one wall section or the gates - they are always spread out round the whole perimeter so every arrow tower can have a potshot. I haven't seen them ever manage to take down even one wall section before they are wiped out.

    The AI seems to live (and die) by sending units one by one to hammer down the gates. Even then this would be OK if it used 'assault-fodder'...spearmen and the like. Instead it sends it's best troops to wear boiling oil as a hat, normally starting with the General.
    I'm afraid that the AI is poor at assaulting that it's almost embarassing to watch.

    It indeed sends troops in piecemeal and fires it's artillery at multiple walls or gates, breaking none entirely. When it does break a wall it may still send a few units to attack the gate manually braving the boiling oil. It will also act indecisively often marching it's cavalry up and down in front of the gate getting them shot up. Hopeless.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arciel
    Meh..I don't even bother playing through seige battles. They're too messy and the AI is as incompetent as I am..
    I also auto resolve all sieges.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kavhan Isbul
    I think that if an army has siege engines in its composition, they are placed in the starting line-up by default. This applies to both the AI and the human player. Of course, the human player can always change this, while the AI never does. I think the reason for this is that if you do not have a siege engine among your starting 16 units, you will not be able to use it in the battle. I guess the AI is programmed to make sure that it uses all of its units, which is obvioulsy dumb, and unfortunately I do not think this can be fixed in any manner.
    Yes, the siege engines are placed first, I'm not sure why. When the Horde arrive the AI often places alot of Warriors and artillery in the starting lineup. It may that it prioritizes foot missiles for some reason.
    Quote Originally Posted by gunslinger
    This is a fix that I would like to implement, since the A.I. never assaults my castles anyway. Caravel, do you know where to find instructions for this off the top of your head?
    The "unit choices" column in the crusader_unit_prod11.txt file should alow you to set siege equipment as unbuildable by the poorer factions, though this is not fallible. You could also change the Unit Class type. Removing the missile definition may help, who knows?
    Quote Originally Posted by drone
    The AI may not assault your castles (I rarely get the chance to defend castles either), but it might affect auto-resolved fights between AI factions. Any knowledge on how the absence of siege engines affects auto-resolved castle assaults? This might adversely affect faction development.
    Well missiles are not taken into account in an auto resolved battle, so I would say that the same goes for Siege equipment. The crews probably "fight" as infantry, along with the archers and javalinmen.

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    Wandering Fool Senior Member bamff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arciel
    Meh..I don't even bother playing through seige battles. They're too messy and the AI is as incompetent as I am..
    I agree when the AI is attacking my castle....but I will confess I love knocking down walls with my seige engines (especially when I get to build demi culverins and culverins - noise and smoke, what more could you ask for?)....of course the poor so-and-so's who form my "forlorn hope" still suffer massively....

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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by gunslinger
    This is a fix that I would like to implement, since the A.I. never assaults my castles anyway. Caravel, do you know where to find instructions for this off the top of your head?
    It's in the unit prod files, "Unit AI Choices", column 15. Basically the lower the number the lower chance that AI type will build that unit.
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    Wandering Fool Senior Member bamff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Actually it is not just the OVERALl attraction that seige engines hold for the AI that perplex me - it's the ones it seems to be most fond of. The AI is unnaturally fond of ballistas - the single most useless artillery piece, and bombards and mortars.....again I suspect it comes back to the AI not wanting to part with too many florins.....mind you, I do enjoy watching the enemy troops blow themselves up when their bombards explode....does this make me a bad person?

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    Believer of Murphy's Law Member Sensei Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    You got to admit, it is humorous to see yourself attacked by an angry horde 4 Spearmen, 2 Urban Militias, 4 Peasants, and the rest of this stack and a whole other stack comprised of nothing but ballistae .... in 1188.
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    Master of useless knowledge Senior Member Kitten Shooting Champion, Eskiv Champion Ironside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by gunslinger
    This is a fix that I would like to implement, since the A.I. never assaults my castles anyway. Caravel, do you know where to find instructions for this off the top of your head?
    You can "force" the comp to assult your castles by making sallies with only the troops from the castle. Notice that the comp doesn't always makes a counter-assult (usually to when the comp still considers himself to weak to assult), putting you in a bad position.
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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by bamff
    Actually it is not just the OVERALl attraction that seige engines hold for the AI that perplex me - it's the ones it seems to be most fond of. The AI is unnaturally fond of ballistas - the single most useless artillery piece, and bombards and mortars.....again I suspect it comes back to the AI not wanting to part with too many florins.....mind you, I do enjoy watching the enemy troops blow themselves up when their bombards explode....does this make me a bad person?
    That's down to the fact that the AI "attraction" integer for Ballistas is 230 something, whereas other siege engines have anywhere between 150 and 20.
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    That is the best way to stop the AI from producing too many balistas but doesn't solve the problem of siege equipment as a whole being fielded by the AI in their starting lineup.

    You may have noticed that the pope goes ballista mad? This may be down to the "pope" type of AI perhaps?

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    The AI has no idea what units it's fielding. What the AI does know is that the unit "Ballista" is labeled "MISSILE, CASTLE_DEFENDER" (column 18) and that it is one of the cheapest Missile units available. Column 18 seems more important than column 2, which labels Ballista as Artillery, in that respect.
    I'd change that entry into something sensible like "DEFENDER,MISSILE,WEAK".
    Then I'd change the initial cost of the unit. Try running the campaign in auto mode to determine if the changes take effect. To really balance the AI factions and to fix all those wrong labels in column 18 takes a while but is rewarding.
    The column 15 (Unit choices) has influence, too, as was pointed out. Iirc, Duke John successfully tested the theory that when you set the values of column 15 all to the same value (100 for example) and just work with the cost and upkeep that you're able to achieve a balanced unit setup.
    For Samurai Wars we tested a different approach and I've used values of 0-200 for column 15.

    You may have noticed that the pope goes ballista mad? This may be down to the "pope" type of AI perhaps?
    "POPE" is one of the personality labels that the AI factions can get. The Pope faction can and will get a different personality than Pope and other factions can't get "Pope". However, the personality label does not determine which units to build, it's more an overall behaviour.

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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Useful to know, thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by R'as al Ghul
    "POPE" is one of the personality labels that the AI factions can get. The Pope faction can and will get a different personality than Pope and other factions can't get "Pope". However, the personality label does not determine which units to build, it's more an overall behaviour.
    I know about the "personality labels". Every faction get's initialised with one of those in the startpos files, and they change throughout the campaign. The Papacy start with "POPE", so I was wondering if this had anything to do with the ballista building? Also when the Papacy reappear they seem to stop being "POPE" and change to something else, more warlike. Those influence lines do seem to relate to the personality labels though, I assumed that when a faction was using a particular personality label, that it would be more inclined to build and train certain things? How does that work?

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by R'as al Ghul
    However, the personality label does not determine which units to build, it's more an overall behaviour.
    Quote Originally Posted by Caravel
    Those influence lines do seem to relate to the personality labels though, I assumed that when a faction was using a particular personality label, that it would be more inclined to build and train certain things? How does that work?
    Erm, sorry! I should've been more precise but I was distracted and the org kept giving me database errors while posting.

    The personality labels that are listed in the startpos and are used in the unit_prod do determine which units to build, but

    1. the decision which unit to build is not based upon this factor alone but rather on a combination of factors like treasury, projected treasury, unit cost, unit upkeep cost, strategic situation, units the enemy has, etc.
    2. it's not the only thing that the personality influences: buildings, economic and strategic decisions (campmap decisions)

    Fact is, that not all points about the engine are worked out or disclosed. There're many columns that aren't used in unit_prod, there's a bug in build_prod, many entries are inconsistent and or illogical. I'm not bashing, just saying that there's lots of room for mod improvement and not all things are known. I'm always happy to share my knowledge but some stuff needs to be tested extensively.
    The column in unit_prod is defenitely used and my approach would be to bring some sense into the numbers. We know 0=no unit, 300=plenty units. Keep in mind that we don't know which personality we deal with as they change in game. So, for the ballista, we need values between 0 and 300 and spred them between the personalities. Give 0 to POVERTY_STRICKEN and 300 for CATHOLIC_EXPANSIONIST, for example. All else in between gradually.
    Now fix the Unit_label as described above.
    Then edit the unit cost and upkeep cost.

    Use the -ian switch to start the game. Switch "show ai movements" off and hit "a". Make coffee or tea. I prefer tea. Come back to check the worldwide production of ballistae. Post your results.








    I'll see if I can find my older posts about balanced armies.

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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    What gets me as well is when revolts turn out to be half a dozen siege engines and nothing else...

    You can imagine the word of mouth going around the oppressed and downtrodden of Silesia...'Our time is coming, Brothers!...Build yourself a trebuchet and await the signal...'

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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by SauveQuiPeut
    What gets me as well is when revolts turn out to be half a dozen siege engines and nothing else...
    That's because the rebels are too poor to afford anything except wood.

    Quote Originally Posted by SauveQuiPeut
    You can imagine the word of mouth going around the oppressed and downtrodden of Silesia...'Our time is coming, Brothers!...Build yourself a trebuchet and await the signal...'
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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    You can imagine the word of mouth going around the oppressed and downtrodden of Silesia...'Our time is coming, Brothers!...Build yourself a trebuchet and await the signal...'
    Funniest thing I've read in a while.
    #Hillary4prism

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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    @R'as al Ghul: Thanks for the info, that makes it clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by SauveQuiPeut
    You can imagine the word of mouth going around the oppressed and downtrodden of Silesia...'Our time is coming, Brothers!...Build yourself a trebuchet and await the signal...'


    I've often had a loyalist revolt of 1 trebuchet:

    King John II of England, after facing humiliating defeat in Normandy has pulled his forces back to Brittany to regroup. An Emissary enters the King's tent, out of breath.

    Emissary: "An army of men loyal to you, my lord are revolting in Normandy!"

    The King: "Make haste to reinforce these noble men!"

    The King marches his force to Normandy to join up with the loyalist forces.

    [Laurel and Hardy theme tune]Meanwhile in Normandy, twenty four men are busy felling trees and collecting rocks.

    Stupidest rebel on the face of the planet: "Construct a trebuchet worthy of the King!!"[/Laurel and Hardy theme tune]
    Last edited by caravel; 01-04-2007 at 09:07.

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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    #Hillary4prism

    BD:TW

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    Believer of Murphy's Law Member Sensei Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Every weapon has evolved from the same basic design, either a rock or a sharp pointy stick.

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    Member Member Alpha666's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Btw: In Vik. Patch 2.1 + XL - Mod this is quite fixed it seems.

    These siege engine armies from vanilla MTW are a past thing it seems :)

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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha666
    Btw: In Vik. Patch 2.1 + XL - Mod this is quite fixed it seems.

    These siege engine armies from vanilla MTW are a past thing it seems :)
    Indeed! I don't know how VikingHorde did it, but I see far fewer artillery-based armies in XL. It's especially happy to have not as many ballistas, given they're the most useless artillery piece.
    "MTW is not a game, it's a way of life." -- drone

  27. #27

    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Here is what I do to eliminate seige weapons from any mod I play.

    And it's easy. The following is a multiple way to help remove them from the game.

    Grab the Gnome Editor and:

    - make all seige engines take 4 years to build

    - make them all very expensive (800-1000f EACH)

    - make them all buildable in LATE only

    - allow only a minor, out of the way faction (such as the Swiss) to build them

    - do not allow them in rebelling armies

    - make them "0" in column 15

    heheh - that's about it
    Last edited by Pericles; 01-07-2007 at 16:35.

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martok
    Indeed! I don't know how VikingHorde did it, but I see far fewer artillery-based armies in XL. It's especially happy to have not as many ballistas, given they're the most useless artillery piece.
    XL mod uses very low numbers for the personality labels of balistae. That causes other units to be more favourable. That's a point I didn't mention above. The values for the personality labels are all connected. When the AI wants to buy a missile unit, it checkes all missile units it has available and compares. If the balista is not as favourable as another unit it won't buy it.
    XL mod has the same cost and upkeep values as vanilla, so a balance can be achieved by editing column 15 alone. But, to have good armies that make sensible use of the available units on the battlefield, balistas not included, one has to go further, imho. XL mod has also changed values for column 18 "unit class", which is important as I wrote above.
    Last edited by R'as al Ghul; 01-07-2007 at 18:28.

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    Member Member Alpha666's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Indeed! I don't know how VikingHorde did it, but I see far fewer artillery-based armies in XL. It's especially happy to have not as many ballistas, given they're the most useless artillery piece.

    True, but i noticed another thing while further gaming: Most AI armies ( in this case it were the Novghorods (SP?) and thePpoles have too much ranged units. Mainly i mean arbalesters and x-bows. They lack a bit staying power (perhaps some more spear and sword units)....true these ranged weapons are dangerous.

    But even if the AI does a perfect setup you can take some heavy armor and even fast light units to break those. Well you will have much casualities for the units that do the charge in the first line. But the following units will mostly chop up the AI units than if they are out of formation and/or on the move backwards....

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    Member Member gunslinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does the AI love Seige engines so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha666
    Btw: In Vik. Patch 2.1 + XL - Mod this is quite fixed it seems.

    These siege engine armies from vanilla MTW are a past thing it seems :)
    LOL. As I mentioned in my first post, it was a battle I played in the XL mod which inspired this thread!

    XL mod is awesome by the way. I think the smartest thing VH did was lower the trade income and increase the farming income. It seems like I never have "more money than I could ever spend," which is common in vanilla. Of course, the most obvious fix he made was getting rid of those stupid land bridges on the strategy map.
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