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Thread: So How has the AI improved ??

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    Member Member amritochates's Avatar
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    Question So How has the AI improved ??

    I am as my join date suggests a long time lurker, fairly recent member and dedicated fan of the TW series, well the last part isn't totally accurate and is valid only until MTW which is why this query is being posted.

    Needless to say RTW was in most respects a complete disappointment for me, especially with regards to both the strategic and the tactical AI. In fact in my opinion the overall game was sub-standard enough to put off my purchase of MTW II till the release of the initial set of patches. Now that I am contemplating purchasing the game I would like your input on certain matters.

    A continuous perusal of the forum seems to indicate a significant improvement in the AI, however that by itself is insufficient so I intend to ask a specific set of queries to judge the actual level of improvement:

    Firstly, one of the major problems with RTW and BI was the inability of the AI in a majority of situations to maintain a battle line. Even with Darthmod formations the AI would hold the battle line only until it was about 100 mts away from my battle line- at which point it would decide that to utilise tactics from the Homeric age and would then engage my battle line one individual unit at a time deliberately destroying the cohesion of its battle line.Has this major defect been rectified, because if not then we can end this thread right at this point for without the AI attacking as a cohesive whole there is no point in father inquiring about any subsequent improvements.

    Secondly, is the AI able to deal with severely depleted units or does one still face 20 unit AI stacks that have a roster of less than 200 men. Infact does the AI utilise any form of automerge or does it ever retrain its depleted units?]

    Thirdly, does the AI always aim to secure terrain and height advantages as It did in MTW and does it seek to consistently outflank my battle line?]

    Finally, is the AI able to co-ordinate multiple stack armies to present me in a position of numerical inferiority?]

    As stated above your response on the following points will be appreciated, so I wish to thank all those who contribute to my queries for their time and input.
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  2. #2
    Member Member Yun Dog's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Quote Originally Posted by amritochates
    I am as my join date suggests a long time lurker, fairly recent member and dedicated fan of the TW series, well the last part isn't totally accurate and is valid only until MTW which is why this query is being posted.

    Needless to say RTW was in most respects a complete disappointment for me, especially with regards to both the strategic and the tactical AI. In fact in my opinion the overall game was sub-standard enough to put off my purchase of MTW II till the release of the initial set of patches. Now that I am contemplating purchasing the game I would like your input on certain matters.

    A continuous perusal of the forum seems to indicate a significant improvement in the AI, however that by itself is insufficient so I intend to ask a specific set of queries to judge the actual level of improvement:

    Firstly, one of the major problems with RTW and BI was the inability of the AI in a majority of situations to maintain a battle line. Even with Darthmod formations the AI would hold the battle line only until it was about 100 mts away from my battle line- at which point it would decide that to utilise tactics from the Homeric age and would then engage my battle line one individual unit at a time deliberately destroying the cohesion of its battle line.Has this major defect been rectified, because if not then we can end this thread right at this point for without the AI attacking as a cohesive whole there is no point in father inquiring about any subsequent improvements.

    Secondly, is the AI able to deal with severely depleted units or does one still face 20 unit AI stacks that have a roster of less than 200 men. Infact does the AI utilise any form of automerge or does it ever retrain its depleted units?]

    Thirdly, does the AI always aim to secure terrain and height advantages as It did in MTW and does it seek to consistently outflank my battle line?]

    Finally, is the AI able to co-ordinate multiple stack armies to present me in a position of numerical inferiority?]

    As stated above your response on the following points will be appreciated, so I wish to thank all those who contribute to my queries for their time and input.
    Some may disagree with me but M2TW is basically RTW in a new dress

    1) As far as Im concerned this is how the AI attacks -

    a) frontal charges in with his general (alone) into your infantry line and archer fire - his general dies

    b) some of his units that arnt just standing around facing the wrong direction still getting shot to pieces may attempt to rush you in a piece meal fashion

    2) you mean you dont like being charged by a unit of 2 blokes and thier half lame dog - remarkably hard to kill those men youll find
    nothings changed there


    3) outflanking and army positioning ala MTW -

    4) If you played MTW you will find the strategic and tactical AI of M2TW like playing against an infant (and not one of those genius chess champion ones - one of the crying for a dummy tantrem ones - maybe THIS time that 1 stack naval invasion will work? )

    add to this it doesnt defend its castles/citys and most of its armies circle aimlessly looking for opportunistic targets (your citys) to seige while your armies roll its nation into the earth

    Im going to stop here... but I could go on and on

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    Last edited by Yun Dog; 06-21-2007 at 10:02.
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  3. #3
    Cynic Senior Member sapi's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Quote Originally Posted by amritochates
    I am as my join date suggests a long time lurker, fairly recent member and dedicated fan of the TW series, well the last part isn't totally accurate and is valid only until MTW which is why this query is being posted.

    Needless to say RTW was in most respects a complete disappointment for me, especially with regards to both the strategic and the tactical AI. In fact in my opinion the overall game was sub-standard enough to put off my purchase of MTW II till the release of the initial set of patches. Now that I am contemplating purchasing the game I would like your input on certain matters.

    A continuous perusal of the forum seems to indicate a significant improvement in the AI, however that by itself is insufficient so I intend to ask a specific set of queries to judge the actual level of improvement:

    Firstly, one of the major problems with RTW and BI was the inability of the AI in a majority of situations to maintain a battle line. Even with Darthmod formations the AI would hold the battle line only until it was about 100 mts away from my battle line- at which point it would decide that to utilise tactics from the Homeric age and would then engage my battle line one individual unit at a time deliberately destroying the cohesion of its battle line.Has this major defect been rectified, because if not then we can end this thread right at this point for without the AI attacking as a cohesive whole there is no point in father inquiring about any subsequent improvements.
    It's much better, imo, but there are still some issues (in particular the AI's actions when badly outnumbered or simply low on men)

    Secondly, is the AI able to deal with severely depleted units or does one still face 20 unit AI stacks that have a roster of less than 200 men. Infact does the AI utilise any form of automerge or does it ever retrain its depleted units?]
    I've never noticed a stack full of depleted units; although that's far from a decisive answer to that question.

    Thirdly, does the AI always aim to secure terrain and height advantages as It did in MTW and does it seek to consistently outflank my battle line?]
    They will deploy in the best possible position for the most part, but won't get engaged in a game of tactical merry-go-round in battle

    Finally, is the AI able to co-ordinate multiple stack armies to present me in a position of numerical inferiority?]
    It will take advantage of such positions, but I've never seen the AI attempt to create them.
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  4. #4
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    I suspect that the answer is that all of the the faults you perceived can still be found in MTW2. However, perhaps it would be wise to form your own judgement. Have a look at the battle report I published for the Battle of Nottingham and see if the performance of the AI suggests any improvement has occured.
    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showp...1&postcount=19
    This battle was fought after installation of the 1.2 MOD on Medium Difficulty setting.

    There are other battle reports in this thread and so overall it should give you a decent idea of how the AI performs both in campaign and battle. I make no excuses for how I perform however, I accept that I am no Alexander.
    Last edited by Didz; 06-21-2007 at 10:34.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    I think Sapi's answers match my casual observation. I find both the tactical and strategic AI much improved on RTW, although the strategic AI needs the most work IMO.

    However, I do have a suspicion that the AI deliberately keeps several stacks together for mutual defence; and I have also found it less likely to attack you piecemeal, one stack at a time in the same turn.

    Comparing the behaviour of the BI hordes and the M2TW Mongols/Timurids may provide the best test of this as both have multiple AI stacks. Unfortunately, my experience of the Mongols/Timurids is limited.

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    Village special needs person Member Kobal2fr's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    4) If you played MTW you will find the strategic and tactical AI of M2TW like playing against an infant
    You mean, the same MTW where huge armies zig-zag all around so your archers can have more time to have fun, and where cavalry cleverly feints a charge on a spearwall, then retreats a bit, then charge again in a huge blob that gets instantly routed because said archers completely depleted them, with only the jedi general destroying half your spearmen ? The selfsame MTW that has huge armies redeploying entirely because a lone cavalryman has farted on your flanks ? The brilliant and clever strategic MTW that has AIs with thousands of florins which keep pumping out full stacks of peasants and ballistas no matter what you do or how many armies of theirs you trounce, how many provinces you utterly destroy or how much of their trade you disrupt ? That MTW ?

    Just checking, you know. There might be another one I haven't played

    Aaaah, nostalgia, how thy rose-tinted spectacles deceive thee.
    Last edited by Kobal2fr; 06-21-2007 at 13:41.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Originally posted by cobal2fr
    You mean, the same MTW where huge armies zig-zag all around so your archers can have more time to have fun, and where cavalry cleverly feints a charge on a spearwall, then retreats a bit, then charge again in a huge blob that gets instantly routed because said archers completely depleted them, with only the jedi general destroying half your spearmen ? The selfsame MTW that has huge armies redeploying entirely because a lone cavalryman has farted on your flanks ? The brilliant and clever strategic MTW that has AIs with thousands of florins which keep pumping out full stacks of peasants and ballistas no matter what you do or how many armies of theirs you trounce, how many provinces you utterly destroy or how much of their trade you disrupt ? That MTW ?
    While all this is true it has for the most part hardly to do with the competence of the AI - it largely relates to the way the campaign is designed to play and not how well the battle/strategic AI operates.

    Also many of those factors are affected by the maps (and their huge hills that a human opponent would refuse to play), and by the "agressive defening" strategy where the player destroys the AI's armies just by sitting in a very defensible province.

    It follows that IMO they hardly constitute an argument over the AI competence issue.

    You can change most of the things you mention with simple modding in MTW btw.

    Also try playing MP (in any of the TW games) and compare the experience to the MTW AI and to the M2TW AI - you might be able to spot the difference better.

    Many Thanks

    Noir

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    Village special needs person Member Kobal2fr's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Errr... Sorry, you've got me confused there.

    How does "the AI can't attack worth a fiddlefart, oh, and broken terrain is a big no-no as it can only deal with smooth, flat, rolling plains" NOT constitute an argument over AI competence ? Or rather, how is it "not an argument over the AI competence issue" but "related to the way the campaign is designed to play" when we're talking about MTW, but "playing against the AI is like playing against a retard, and not the cute kind" when we're talking about the same kind of things, yet on a smaller scale, but happening in M2TW ?

    You can mod most of these things with simple modding in M2TW too btw. There's a clearly commented and fairly straightforward .xml file if you want to code your own clever battle AI. And another for the strat AI.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    While all this is true it has for the most part hardly to do with the competence of the AI
    Er, what? They are all specific examples of the poor quality of the AI.

    I grew sooo frustated with MTW in that the only way you would ever see an army of anything other than peasants and spearmen and seige engines was if some faction re-emerged.

    A good tactical AI is of no use if it only has peasants to command.

  10. #10

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Originally posted by cobal2fr
    How does "the AI can't attack worth a fiddlefart, oh, and broken terrain is a big no-no as it can only deal with smooth, flat, rolling plains" NOT constitute an argument over AI competence ?
    It doesn't because you should be comparing the competence of the AI when he has equal chances with the player and not when he doesn't. This clearly isn't a fair comparison.

    Originally posted by cobal2fr
    Or rather, how is it "not an argument over the AI competence issue" but "related to the way the campaign is designed to play" when we're talking about MTW, but "playing against the AI is like playing against a retard, and not the cute kind" when we're talking about the same kind of things, yet on a smaller scale, but happening in M2TW ?
    You are right it does play a part in judging both. However what you've missed is that the point i am trying to make is that you should judge the AI from custom battles in relatively uqual potential armies and maps that do not give massive advantages to the Ai or the player and not from how the AI got beaten by army X in campaign Y where many other (campaign related) factors come into it.

    Originally posted by cobal2fr
    You can mod most of these things with simple modding in M2TW too btw. There's a clearly commented and fairly straightforward .xml file if you want to code your own clever battle AI. And another for the strat AI.
    Very true - however once this is done the M2TW Ai is still inferior (in custom battles with equal troops and terrain that does not provide huge advantages to either side) from the MTW AI IMO.

    My comment was meant to show that that MTW, as you called it isn't as bad as it sounds from your post, in terms of SP game potential.

    originally posted by Ulstan
    Er, what? They are all specific examples of the poor quality of the AI.

    I grew sooo frustated with MTW in that the only way you would ever see an army of anything other than peasants and spearmen and seige engines was if some faction re-emerged.
    This is a hardcoded deficiency - a sort of a bug if you wish rather than competence of the AI choices. I repeat that the competence of the AI should be judged by what sort of challenge it gives to the player when he has the same chances of success and not when he doesn't.

    It sounds that you haven't played a single mod of MTW - much like the RTW mods they all moded peasants and the lower siege engines out. Have you tried the game that way? Its marginaly better.

    Many Thanks

    Noir
    Last edited by Noir; 06-21-2007 at 14:47.

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    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    @Noir
    I'm puzzled by your response to cabal2fr.

    Surely, if one tries to test the performance of the AI in a custom battle where the opposing forces are equal and the the terrain offers no potential advantages to either side then there is very little to test simply because no matter how good the AI is (or how poor) it has no opportunities to expliot and no disadvantages to minimise.

    Isn't the real measure of AI performance how the AI makes best use of whatever advantages it has, and how effectively it minimises any disadvantages. After all thats what human players do, and that ought to be the standard that the AI aspires to mimic.

    I'm curious about how you would judge the competency of the AI in such a situation.
    Last edited by Didz; 06-21-2007 at 14:57.
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Originally posted by Didz
    Surely, if one tries to test the performance of the AI in a custom battle where the opposiing forces are equal and the the terrain offers no potential advantages to either side then there is very little to test simply because no matter how good the AI is (or how poor) it has no opportunities to expliot.

    Isn't the real measure of AI performance how the AI makes best use of whatever advantages it has, and how effectively it minimises any disadvantages. After all thats what human players do, and that ought to be the standard that the AI aspired to mimic
    .
    You actually hit the nail in the head.

    having no exploits is what constitutes a good game:
    the battle is then decided by how good match ups you are making, how well you plan and execute flanking maneuvers and how well you time and execute all this in a well thought battle plan that takes into account the enemy forces and any existing terrain features (a little forest, a little bump of ground etc).

    All this becomes second nature to clearly see once you play MP. I have made the transition from SP to MP very recently, and i can tell you that a game that has exploits as you put it bluntly and correctly is no fun *edit*= neither can it be taken as an exhibit argument of "competence".

    MP players refuse to play maps that do have "exploits" after all - isn't it unreasonable then to expect the AI to play against them and judge him as bad when he (understandably/predictably) cannot?

    Many Thanks

    Noir
    Last edited by Noir; 06-21-2007 at 15:02.

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    Village special needs person Member Kobal2fr's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    You are right it does play a part in judging both. However what you've missed is that that the point i am trying to make is that you should judge the AI from custom battles in relatively uqual potential armies and maps that do not give massive advantages to the Ai or the player
    Why should I ? That's not what happens in campaign battles. In campaigns, one side is usually much advantaged in numbers or quality over the other (else there wouldn't be a battle) and terrain is also usually playing on one side, wether said terrain is a mountainous retreat or a big stone wall with towers and stuff.
    Custom battles on grassy plains with equal forces are all very well, but they have no "reality" whatsoever, and are an artificial setting.
    Also, wether the MTW AI is or isn't better at handling those (and frankly, I'm not arguing either way. Beating MTW on the field even on VH was a cakewalk too, and that's with AI soldiers having huge combat boni) is largely irrelevant because you won't be fighting those battles in an SP campaign.

    My comment was meant to show that that MTW, as you called it isn't as bad as it sounds from your post, in terms of SP game potential.
    I know. I liked MTW, even though I feel the whole boardgame thing didn't work that well on such a huge scale, which is why I like M2's strat map better for that setting.
    But my comment was meant to show that this M2TW isn't as bad as it sounds from old grog posts in terms of SP game potential ; and that one could focus on MTW's negatives just as much as people seem to enjoy poiting fingers at what M2 does badly and dismissing all the good stuff.

    Heck, I'm an old grog and I love it.

    EDIT : as an unrelated note, WHY DOES EVERYONE INSIST ON NICKING MY K ? K is a manly letter, the hardest consonnant of them all ! Only pansies and women and lily-livered hippies use Cs.
    Last edited by Kobal2fr; 06-21-2007 at 15:02.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Originally posted by Kobal2fr
    Why should I ? That's not what happens in campaign battles. In campaigns, one side is usually much advantaged in numbers or quality over the other (else there wouldn't be a battle) and terrain is also usually playing on one side, wether said terrain is a mountainous retreat or a big stone wall with towers and stuff.
    Custom battles on grassy plains with equal forces are all very well, but they have no "reality" whatsoever, and are an artificial setting.
    You should, if you wish to express an objective opinion on the AI performance. You should be basing that opinion then in objective criteria - ie you should be making conditions that do not favor any result and then see what happens.

    Unfortunately many things in all TW games are done for the enjoyment of the player only.

    Tech trees and the like are killers for the AI - however they are followed upon because the player would like them. In short the game follows what is "fun" and not what is "fun & what helps the AI". In the end the game lacks challenge because of this, as well as because of the lack of balance - but that's another story.

    Originally posted by Kobal2fr
    But my comment was meant to show that this M2TW isn't as bad as it sounds from old grog posts in terms of SP game potential ; and that one could focus on MTW's negatives just as much as people seem to enjoy poiting fingers at what M2 does badly and dismissing all the good stuff.
    I see the point, but there's a misunderstanding: people might be posting because the game falls short of their expectations or of the previous performance - it doesn't mean that they don't want to like it or that they enjoy "bashing" it. In all probability (at least some) are posting exactly because they are attached to it - despite it letting them down.

    Many Thanks

    Noir
    Last edited by Noir; 06-21-2007 at 15:22.

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    Member Member crpcarrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Noir

    based on your argument i would prefer an unbalanced AI. having a 100% level playing field (inall aspects) is well and good in MP but it doesn nothing for SP. Of course players take advantage on opotunities but the AI i would like to play against would be able to recognise when i am doing it and try to counter it. not enhance my advantage by doing exactly what i want it to. and it should also be able to recongnise when it has these situations to exploit and exploit them blatantly. it would make the game more interesting.
    "Forgiveness is between them and god, my job is to arrange the meeting"

  16. #16

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    I have to say, after reading all these nostalgic comments about how MTW was soooooo much better than RTW et al, I dusted off my old copy of MTW and loaded it up for another go. UGHHHHHH. I instantly remembered why I loved RTW almost from the first battle I fought. After chasing the AI army around the map for the entire time (yes time actually ran out with no fighting at all...) I was about ready to quit, but I thought I'd play on for a bit, maybe it gets better.... The next battle involved 5 BG units for the AI attacking vs 1 BG unit, 10 SPEARS, and 4 light cav for me defending. I won, with 5 spearman and my general left. I thought spears were good against cav? Apparently not..... That was it for me, I unloaded the game posthaste.

    For me, a good tactical AI is NOT characterized by the ability to run around the battlefield. I understand making use of terrain and all, but in real life, an inferior army would do it's best to outmanuver a superior army, but if brought to battle, they did their best, or routed wildly beyond the hope of their commanders to command them. One thing I think that is overlooked in all TW games as far as tactics are concerned is the fact that the defending army HAS to fight this battle. They have deployed on this battlefield for any one of a myriad of reasons, but no matter which reason, if the battle does not take place, they have not improved their strategic position, so playing ring-around-the-rosie or waiting for the timer to run out is not an option.

    For example, the last real Lancastrian army entered England. When Edward brought his army to face them, Lancaster decided to make for Wales to link up with Jasper Tudor's army. There was a desperate race to cross the Severn. Since Gloucester was closed to them, the Lancastrians made for the crossing at Tewkesbury. They covered 24 miles in 15 hours and got there first, but Edward had done the impossible, in 12 hours his army had covered 35 miles and were within 5 miles of the Lancaster army. Knowing they could not cross with Edward so close, Lancaster turned to fight. Also knowing they cannot cross, Edward encamps his army for the night.

    Why does Lancaster not slip across now, given the opportunity? Simply because they will not improve their strategic position. Edward's army is faster and Lancaster now needs to win this battle to "get him off their backs". Whether or not they believe they can win is immaterial (they do not, by the way), they are simply out of options. When the battle starts on the morrow, if Edward outflanks them, they cannot play ring-around-the-rosie, tiring their men to no good purpose, and in fact probably giving Edward possesion of the crossing. Even if no fight took place, their strategic position just got worse!! They would simply adjust their lines to meet the flanking movement, and fight. They absolutely HAVE to bloody Edward's army and slow him down, simply remaining in possesion of the battlefield will not suffice.

    Now, all these strategic concerns cannot be taken into consideration as TW exists now, but the one major change they made to RTW was that when an army comes to the battlefield it mostly (I'd say over 90%) COMES TO FIGHT. They didn't come to dance, or withdraw before a shot is fired. This is a VAST improvement over MTW, and one that makes MTW, IMHO, not worth playing anymore. I have had 2 battles I remember to this day from TW and they were both in BI (although I did love watching the sword saint destroy an entire unit in STW, as a warmup....).

    Anyway, I ranted a bit, but I said what I wanted. I realize some will look at my post count and think I'm a bit cheeky, but I have played TW for years and I have read the Guild for years, so I do actually feel qualified to make these statements.

  17. #17
    Member Member Tyrac's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    While I am not going to go out and say the AI is awesome or perfect I do remember MTW and RTW pretty well.

    I beat the current AI unless the battle is strongly in the AI's favor
    ..... or I am very drunk.

    However I utterly smashed the AI in RTW and MTW. I would win fights that were 3 to 1 odds with almost no losses all the time. It is the main reason why I drifted away from them.

    Also wasn't the AI given large bonuses for difficulty level back then that now it does not receive? Perhaps that might account for a great deal of the memories of it being "so much" better.

    It was NOT better. It was easier to trick. It could not handle "ranged" combat. It could not deal with terrain at all.

    I remember in MTW just making a line of ranged troops and routing multiple enemy stacks. That would not happen now.

    Give the current AI stat bonuses based on difficulty level and it would kick your ass.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    originaly posted by cpcarrot
    ...based on your argument i would prefer an unbalanced AI. having a 100% level playing field (inall aspects) is well and good in MP but it doesn nothing for SP. Of course players take advantage on opotunities but the AI i would like to play against would be able to recognise when i am doing it and try to counter it. not enhance my advantage by doing exactly what i want it to. and it should also be able to recongnise when it has these situations to exploit and exploit them blatantly. it would make the game more interesting.
    True yet, can it be achieved? In the Collosseum, there was an interesting discourse with Loudens some weeks ago, relative to the AI in the new and old engine. In short he seems to claim that the AI lost abilities in th engine transition, as opposed to my claim that he has them but they won't manifest due to the engine change.

    In any case it seems that it was clear to both of us that the tactical AI isn't as challenging as it was.

    I still enjoy playing SP and do so often - dont get me wrong. However one thing that puts me off i the unrealistic expectations that the game design imposes on the AI. What you also state there, are unrealistic expectations - and CA is putting up with them in the campaign design because the SP players want varied maps, varied units and tiled campaign map. The AI can't handle any of them neither are to his benefit, in the game.

    I also love varied maps and still play SP much more than MP - however many of them in MTW for example are plain cheats - the "hills" are so steep and long slopes that when the AI attacks is simply taken out by arrows as Kobal2fr is stating - he has no chance - but if you follow his treasury you'll see that he's attacking because he's on the red - again the campaign plays against him in the financies as is.

    Now if you make the slopes instead of say 45 degrees angle something more like 20 degrees angle with multiple angles of approach in the horizontal direction - then the "overdefence" advantage/exploit becomes more equal and the battle is more challenging. If you round the map edges units cannot be trapped as easily. If you follow the AI competence in making tech trees instead of human preference then you'll get full AI stacks and logical attacks. The devil is in the details.

    Does all that make nothing for SP? - with its allegedly labeled "boring" campaigns even from its most dedicated fans?

    Many Thanks

    Noir

  19. #19
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    My general opinion of M2TW 1.2 AI:

    The tactical AI is blunt and unimaginative, but it doesn't feel buggy to me. It favors direct attacks with solid lines, missile duels if it thinks it can win them, and flanking attacks with cavalry. These are good enough to defeat an unskilled player, but most people with a bit of experience can defeat the AI without any serious problems.

    The AI can win battles with it's blunt and unimaginative tactics when it has a sufficient advantage in men. However, the strategic AI is still relatively poor and does not produce those kinds of situations to allow the tactical AI to gain the advantage it needs.

    All in all, even on VH/VH, most players will have no problems winning the game with any faction (in vanilla). However, the AI is still likely to win a couple battles here and there and the loss of a settlement or two during the course of a campaign is to be expected. This is in contrast with RTW, where loss of a settlement was essentially unheard of.


  20. #20
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    You actually hit the nail in the head.
    Not sure about that, I suspect that you merely misread my post and imagined a nail which wasn't intended to exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    having no exploits is what constitutes a good game:the battle is then decided by how good match ups you are making, how well you plan and execute flanking maneuvers and how well you time and execute all this in a well thought battle plan that takes into account the enemy forces and any existing terrain features (a little forest, a little bump of ground etc).
    If there were no potential advantages to exploit then neither the AI nor the player can gain any advantage and the result of the battle would be determined purely by luck, and not tactical judgement. More importantly, as any AI is basically a mathematical routine designed to assess relative risk and identify potential benefits it can exploit, placing it in a situation where there are none is merely going to test its defaul sub-routine to 'do-something' when there are no intelligent options available.

    This was why I was curious as to how you intended to assess the performance of the AI when, in effect, you were planning to deny it any opportunity to prove itself.

    However, you appear to contradict yourself anyway, because you go on to mention that in your scenario there will be 'little forests and little bumps' which you would expect the AI to expliot. In other words there would be terrain advantages to be explioted and so you clearly didn't mean that the AI should be tested in a custom battle without any at all.

    That being the case you have answered my question, in that I can see now how one could judge the AI's ability to exploit the potential advantages you have allowed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    MP players refuse to play maps that do have "exploits" after all - isn't it unreasonable then to expect the AI to play against them and judge him as bad when he (understandably/predictably) cannot?
    In my experience MP players will use every trick in the book to achieve just the opposite. Their aim usually is to ensure that they have all the advantages and you have as few as possible. In fact I used to find it extremely difficult to achieve anything like a balanced game when I used to play MP. Perhaps, things have changed but it sounds a bit out of character to me.

    However, what players do or do not do in the MP game hardly has any relevance to the performance of the AI. The AI has to be able to cope, and provide a challenge, regardless of whether the playing field is level or not, and more importantly ought to be coded to try and ensure that whenever possible the situation is not only not level but heavily sloped in its own favour. Thats what a human player will be seeking and so the AI must be able to compete with its human opponent.

    This again comes back to the question of how one judges the effectiveness of the AI, because in reality it encompasses much more than its ability to micro-manage the units in a battle. It also has to manage its cities effectively, handle diplomatic situations to its own advantage, manage its trade and economy, work towards achieving its specific faction goals, assemble effective armies to counter the strengths of the specific enemy factions it expects to meet and deliver its armies to the battlefield of its its choice preferably securing advantages in both terrain and numbers over its human opponents.

    Only then when it has achieved all this and more does the issue of how it micro-manages the tactical employment of its troops become an issue.
    Didz
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  21. #21

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Originally posted by Didz
    Not sure about that, I suspect that you merely misread my post and imagined a nail which wasn't intended to exist.
    I didn't intent to "use" your post to the benefit of my statements - i honestly think that it touched the heart of the argument.

    Originally posted by Didz
    If there were no potential advantages to exploit then neither the AI nor the player can gain any advantage and the result of the battle would be determined purely by luck, and not tactical judgement. More importantly, as any AI is basically a mathematical routine designed to assess relative risk and identify potential benefits it can exploit, placing it in a situation where there are none is merely going to test its defaul sub-routine to 'do-something' when there are no intelligent options available.
    Pardon me for saying so, but you have no clue what you are talking about, this paragraph is just wrong, and shows IMO a poor understanding of the game.

    There are two tactical components in the battle gameplay; these are in use whether there are territorial (or other) advantages or not: match-ups & flanking. The AI is aware of both of them in TW since time immemorial (MTW) and uses them. Traditionally he is better in match ups as he can use all his units at the same time, in MTW he exhibited also the ability to flank decently with cavalry. These make up for "intelligent" decisions no matter the terrain or the army composition.

    If you have two comlpetely same armies in an entirely flat map the battle is not 100% of randomness, but 100% of match up and flanking maneuvers (and so skill, timing, reassessment and good judgement); this is precisely because there are no initial advantages and in fact in VI, MP tournaments were played in steppe maps. Despite no advantages initially, little enequalities that present themselves gradually as the battle progresses from the skirmish phase to the melee, to the finishing. Its up to the player to use them as they come and press them relative to its position at every moment of the battle, to achieve victory.

    A featureless map is admiteddly boring, however - so terrain features can spice up the game as long as they are accessible and can be feasibly claimed by all sides involved. If they are not so, then the "advantage" turns into an "exploit" - and you see the edge camping and aggressive defending that people do in the SP game concsiously or unconcsiously.

    This should answer the point where i "contradict" myself:
    Originally posted by Didz
    However, you appear to contradict yourself anyway, because you go on to mention that in your scenario there will be 'little forests and little bumps' which you would expect the AI to expliot. In other words there would be terrain advantages to be explioted and so you clearly didn't mean that the AI should be tested in a custom battle without any at all.
    You don't seem to differentiate between advantages and "advantages" (a little bump agains a hill), which does happen alot - but judging from your previous paragraph i understand; by the way there are excellent guides around for how the game works: froggbeastegg's unit guides are some of them.

    The point i am trying to make about the maps is that no "AI" then would be able to win (against an opponent defending a hill with reltively equal forces), no matter how much SP players want him to; since no player can win it also - statistically speaking.

    Originally posted by Didz
    In my experience MP players will use every trick in the book to achieve just the opposite. Their aim usually is to ensure that they have all the advantages and you have as few as possible. In fact I used to find it extremely difficult to achieve anything like a balanced game when I used to play MP. Perhaps, things have changed but it sounds a bit out of character to me.
    Sorry, but the MP community is the only sort of players i know that do care about balance of maps/units/unit types (to varying degrees admitedly) and that's because its no fun for them to beat up an opponent when they defend a huge hill - so if you mean that they go for that sort of advantages to my experience they don't and they will (bitterly) complain if you do or drop out of your game.

    Originally posted by Didz
    This again comes back to the question of how one judges the effectiveness of the AI, because in reality it encompasses much more than its ability to micro-manage the units in a battle. It also has to manage its cities effectively, handle diplomatic situations to its own advantage, manage its trade and economy, work towards achieving its specific faction goals, assemble effective armies to counter the strengths of the specific enemy factions it expects to meet and deliver its armies to the battlefield of its its choice preferably securing advantages in both terrain and numbers over its human opponents.
    True yet there are two Ai's to the best of my knowledge in teh game that operate independently on the fields you mention. If you notice above i mention that game design works against the way the strategic AI does things (against his routines) to the best of my knowledge because, features are included for the player (and his "enjoyment").

    Many Thanks

    Noir
    Last edited by Noir; 06-22-2007 at 12:08.

  22. #22
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Well, if I think of Mongol and Timurid stacks with all those experience advantages, they can be quite tough to beat, depending on where and with what you face them. I remember losing quite a few turkish cavalry armies to them in my first turkish campaign. Of course they do have all thos advantages and very strong units, but like many said, sometimes it's just that the build only peasants to face my guys in full plate what makes them weak.

    I think it shouldn't be all that hard to make them recruit units from further up the tech tree. You could make them save some money for building improvements every turn(so they get access to better units in the first place instead of going bankrupt from peasant upkeep) and then you could change the build preferences to favour not some relation between stats and upkeep or so, but to favour the newest available unit(if they are sorted by availability in the export_descr_buildings file, that should be very easy to program even). Now, there's some work for you CA.

    I'm having my hopes up for kingdoms. And on a sidenote, I notice the AI doesn't recruit knights all that often, they seem to prefer the dismounted version, which leads me to believe they actually do look at the stats(since I improved attack of twohanders, they actually recruit these in higher numbers as well) so erm on one hand it may explain why they love artillery(63 attack...) and on the other hand this needs a fix, I'll just be blunt here and say the recruitment routines are outdated or maybe someone was just lazy or whatever.
    Last edited by Husar; 06-22-2007 at 11:18.


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  23. #23
    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    I wonder what would be a good test of the battlefield AI in the various games? I think some custom battles would be useful. Doing some small scale custom battles against the AI for a RTR PBM really brought home to me the limitations of the RTW battlefield AI that had been hidden in a lot of campaign play. (The biggest problem I noticed was a "blobbing" effect, whereby the AI would pile in on a few of my units. This is wasteful, as only the front of the blob can fight - the rest of the AI units are wasted milling around at the back of the blob. By contrast, the rest of my force is free to flank and destroy the blob. Basically, the AI would not attack on a broad front and tie down my force. In M2TW campaign battles, I don't observe this - often the whole of my line is engaged and so the AI can often bring superior numbers or quality to bear.)

    If I were to do a test, I would try to choose a map with a gentle slope and defend it with a small force - say 5 spears, backed by 3 archers and a couple of flanking cavalry, with a general at the rear. Let the AI attack with a 50% bigger force.

    Then maybe reverse the situation.

    I suspect STW and MTW would give similar results. M2TW would be better than RTW. How M2TW would compare with STW/MTW is what is in dispute. I think it would be comparable.

    Is such an exercise worth doing? I might be tempted, but if people would just dismiss it, I wouldn't give it any more thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar
    Well, if I think of Mongol and Timurid stacks with all those experience advantages, they can be quite tough to beat, depending on where and with what you face them.
    Yes, the Mongols/Timurids are very souped up. But when I referred to them I was thinking of the strategic AI: do the stacks tend to work together for mutual protection in defence and to overwhelm in the attack?

    In BI, I think the horde stacks generally did not work together. You could often be attacked by one stack at a time in the same turn. [With the STW/MTW risk style map, this issue of coordination did not arise - the AI would be able to bring its numbers to bear, although typically that meant exhausting multi-wave battles.]

    In M2TW, I get the impression AI stacks do work together more but I have not got enough experience to be sure. Fighting the Mongols and Timurids would be a good test, because they have multiple stacks and so you could see whether the AI uses them for mutual support.

  24. #24

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    The only evidence i have seen of AI stack work together, was in my Polish campaign, where the Timurids came westwards from the steppes.
    My previously hidden cavalry attacked a lone Tim stack, inflicted heavy casualties and retreated.
    The next turn, all the timurid stacks drew up in a tight cluster, never to send out "loners" again.
    Might be coincidence, though.
    Last edited by Tambarskjelve; 06-22-2007 at 13:02.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Tambarskjelve
    The next turn, all the timurid stacks drew up in a tight cluster, never to send out "loners" again.
    Yes, the first wave Mongols "clustered" quite efficiently in our HRE PBM over in the Throne Room. I was thinking I could pick them off one, or at most two, a time as with the BI hordes but they made that hard. (Making many of their generals night fighters also helped.)

  26. #26
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    I think the cluster a bit too much and thus don't get to conquer anything until about 100 years after their appearance. Seems like every time reinforcements arrive they move back to meet them etc. And sometimes they almost get stuck walking around in the mountains to the east, walking abck and forth until years later they finally start to capture one of their target cities and spread like they should.


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  27. #27
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    Pardon me for saying so, but you have no clue what you are talking about, this paragraph is just wrong, and shows IMO a poor understanding of the game.
    I shall ignore this obvious insult and merely deal with the facts as you choose to present them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    There are two tactical components in the battle gameplay; these are in use whether there are territorial (or other) advantages or not: match-ups & flanking.
    Actually, that’s three but who’s counting:

    I agree the three tactical components are:
    - Effective exploitation of terrain.
    - Effective exploitation of troop qualities.
    - Effective manoeuvre

    However, if the battlefield situation is completely balanced as you originally suggested then the AI has absolutely nothing to work with and so the result is purely random and not a test of the AI at all.

    At best all you are really testing is reaction not intelligence. To understand this you need to consider what the AI routine should be doing. For example, it should be conducting a mathematical assessment of the risks associated with the various options it has and looking for the one which gives it the most chance of success.

    So it should be analysing the terrain within reach to see if it can gain any advantage from it, it should be matching its units against its opponents units such as it gains maximum advantage from each conflict and it should be manoeuvring to place its units to gain maximum position benefits.

    However, assuming that everything is equal as you suggest then the net result of this analysis will be zero. Any terrain advantage it can gain will also available to its opponent, any beneficial troop match it makes will expose one of its other units to a similar counter threat of equal disadvantage and everyone knows that flanks attacks only work if you either have enough troops to pin your opponent in place or you can catch them off guard.

    Therefore, having concluded just like the computer in the film ‘Wargames’ playing ‘Tic Tac Toe’ that nobody can be assured of victory the AI should either withdraw and avoid battle until it has a calculable advantage or it will perform a random default ‘do something’ action which cannot be justified by its assessment.

    So, my issue remains that if the playing field is totally level, what exactly can you be testing in the AI routine other than the fact that it has a default ‘do something’ action.
    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    Despite no advantages initially, little inequalities that present themselves gradually as the battle progresses from the skirmish phase to the melee, to the finishing.
    And those little inequalities come down to luck, which was the point I was making.

    Obviously, as luck begins to affect the balance of forces the AI then has calculable advantages and disadvantages to deal with. However, by this point it has already committed itself to some random action based on its ‘do something’ sub-routine which may already have placed it in a bad situation.

    A good human player would never deliberately commit his army to a battle where the outcome was simply down to luck and so testing the AI on how well it reacts to a lucky break is actually testing it for something which by rights we would not want it to rely upon anyway.

    The whole issue with the AI at present is that it does not present sufficient challenge and one of the main reasons it doesn’t is because it fails to engineer situations which give it an advantage. Worse still it seems willing to engage in battles and sieges where it is at a disadvantage and is therefore relying purely on luck for victory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    You don't seem to differentiate between advantages and "advantages" (a little bump against a hill), which does happen a lot
    There should be no difference. If a little bump is all that’s available then the AI should be as keen to exploit it as if it was a mountain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    The point I am trying to make about the maps is that no "AI" then would be able to win (against an opponent defending a hill with relatively equal forces), no matter how much SP players want him to; since no player can win it also - statistically speaking.
    Well actually point is that if the AI attempted to attack a human opponent defending a hill with relatively equal forces to its own then it has already failed its intelligence test before the battle even begins.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    Sorry, but the MP community is the only sort of players I know that do care about balance of maps/units/unit types (to varying degrees admittedly and that's because its no fun for them to beat up an opponent when they defend a huge hill - so if you mean that they go for that sort of advantages to my experience they don't and they will (bitterly) complain if you do or drop out of your game.
    Then your very lucky to belong to such a community, as everyone I’ve ever been involved with will use every trick in book to make sure the odds are stacked in their favour before the battle even starts, Including hacks and cheats if they can get hold of them.
    Didz
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  28. #28
    Village special needs person Member Kobal2fr's Avatar
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    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Quote Originally Posted by econ21
    If I were to do a test, I would try to choose a map with a gentle slope and defend it with a small force - say 5 spears, backed by 3 archers and a couple of flanking cavalry, with a general at the rear. Let the AI attack with a 50% bigger force.

    Then maybe reverse the situation.

    I suspect STW and MTW would give similar results
    I suspect M2 would come out on top of such a test. Now, I've never read Sun Tsu's Art of War, so I can only guess that his answer to the question "What to do when facing a well-entrenched, missile heavy force on high ground ?" is "endeavour not to". However, I'm fairly certain that if nudged enough old man Tsu (or is that old man Sun ?) would come up with something better than "prance back and forth like a pillock, under fire the whole time".
    At least the M2 AI knows enough to bumrush its way out of situations like that. Heavy missile superiority is not that much of an advantage in M2, because the AI will close as fast as possible. MTW will try to get "fancy". And die.

    Frankly, I'd be very interested in the results of such a test, and it would certainly go a long way to putting an end to all this ... rethoric

    Quote Originally Posted by Noir
    You should, if you wish to express an objective opinion on the AI performance. You should be basing that opinion then in objective criteria - ie you should be making conditions that do not favor any result and then see what happens.
    Nope. Cause it's never gonna happen in the field. I want to know it can deal with unbalanced forces, unbalanced terrain, unbalanced numbers, going either for or against it.
    I want the AI to be able to exploit all the advantages terrain and match-up provides it, I want it to be underhanded and cunning, I want it to punish every mistake, and I want it to be able to minimize the effect of MY advantages.

    If it's outnumbered, I want it to go for my general first, and with everything it's got. If it's outnumbering me, I want it to make me feel it and never give me a breather, etc... THAT's good AI.

    If the AI can severly beat me on an open plain, with exactly the same forces on both sides, then it's not really good AI, it's cheaty AI (Let me entertain the thoughts than I'm not such a horrible general that I wouldn't know about flanking with cav, flanking with archers, keeping reserves etc... On the whole, there's not a lot of room for creative generalship on a flat, featureless plain. In the end it all comes down to who fails his morale roll first.)

    The big letdown for me in M2TW is not the battlefield, but the strategic AI - it simply doesn't know how to bring the full economical force of its empire to bear, and enters too many fights it cannot win. And that's not desperation either - I've been attacked by "number 1 everywhere" Milanese, while I was scraping for militia myself, but they still insisted on sieging my castles with forces proportionate to the defenders. Needless to say, the sieges weren't a great success, when frankly with the armies Milan fielded at the time, and the state of my own forces, they could have been in Rennes by Christmas.

    By comparison, and I agree with TinCow here, the battle AI is rustic and unimaginative, but it's functionnal enough (sieges excluded. By the gods, the AI wouldn't take a sand castle with the whole US Army. It does better when it fields proper siege engines though, but when it only has rams and towers... yeh gods ).
    Last edited by Kobal2fr; 06-22-2007 at 16:04.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Originally posted by Didz
    I shall ignore this obvious insult and merely deal with the facts as you choose to present them.
    It wasn't meant as an insult - i apologise if it came about as such.

    I agree the three tactical components are:
    - Effective exploitation of terrain.
    - Effective exploitation of troop qualities.
    - Effective manoeuvre
    Partially Agreed. Your second point i term match ups that is straight engagement of units - flanking i term side/rear engagement of units that are locked in battle with reserve units/detachments: this is usually to offset unfavourable matching in trying to turn the tables.

    Your first point i included and i commented that is acceptable IMO only to the point that the battle remains equally fair to both sides - i doubt that its a gameplay component as it influences the two others rather than define them (much like the weather) - however that's a matter of definition, i guess.

    Originally posted by Didz
    However, if the battlefield situation is completely balanced as you originally suggested then the AI has absolutely nothing to work with and so the result is purely random and not a test of the AI at all.

    At best all you are really testing is reaction not intelligence. To understand this you need to consider what the AI routine should be doing. For example, it should be conducting a mathematical assessment of the risks associated with the various options it has and looking for the one which gives it the most chance of success.

    So it should be analysing the terrain within reach to see if it can gain any advantage from it, it should be matching its units against its opponents units such as it gains maximum advantage from each conflict and it should be manoeuvring to place its units to gain maximum position benefits.

    However, assuming that everything is equal as you suggest then the net result of this analysis will be zero. Any terrain advantage it can gain will also available to its opponent, any beneficial troop match it makes will expose one of its other units to a similar counter threat of equal disadvantage and everyone knows that flanks attacks only work if you either have enough troops to pin your opponent in place or you can catch them off guard.

    Therefore, having concluded just like the computer in the film ‘Wargames’ playing ‘Tic Tac Toe’ that nobody can be assured of victory the AI should either withdraw and avoid battle until it has a calculable advantage or it will perform a random default ‘do something’ action which cannot be justified by its assessment.

    So, my issue remains that if the playing field is totally level, what exactly can you be testing in the AI routine other than the fact that it has a default ‘do something’ action.

    And those little inequalities come down to luck, which was the point I was making.

    Obviously, as luck begins to affect the balance of forces the AI then has calculable advantages and disadvantages to deal with. However, by this point it has already committed itself to some random action based on its ‘do something’ sub-routine which may already have placed it in a bad situation.

    A good human player would never deliberately commit his army to a battle where the outcome was simply down to luck and so testing the AI on how well it reacts to a lucky break is actually testing it for something which by rights we would not want it to rely upon anyway.

    The whole issue with the AI at present is that it does not present sufficient challenge and one of the main reasons it doesn’t is because it fails to engineer situations which give it an advantage. Worse still it seems willing to engage in battles and sieges where it is at a disadvantage and is therefore relying purely on luck for victory.
    Disagree - "Luck" or randomness in the outcome of a TW battle isn't large enough when the balance of forces is equal to determine the result. It can be made to if the exact same moves are made yes - but the exact same moves aren't made ever. Statistically it sin't a possibility as the system is dynamic and not deterministic.

    What comes across from your post is that a game that's "on the line" is decided by "the hand of god" in TW. It isn't.

    Maneuvering around the enemy in order to skirmish, attack & flank, still happens whether there is unequal terrain or not. The relative positions of units themselves provide for advantages and disadvantages during the game that have nothing to do with "luck". The AI instinctively aknowledges good/bad match ups and moves around in order to achieve the good and avoid the bad. That is part of his "intelligence" - and his competence in that should be judged under equal conditions - not when it is being in a disadvantage (say his match ups will fail because the player holds the high ground or because the player will counter them with reserves or because the player's units are stronger).

    In skirmishing its the same thing - you are being outshooted (or not) because the opponent (player or AI) manages his shooters at better positions or more effectively (or not). There is an amount of luck/randomness in that you can't predict all the situational factors at all times as the game is dynamic and the accumulation of small things can have an effect in the overall result - but the player can be in charge of these (if he has mastered the interface) - they are not (lead to) random results, they depend on the player's/Ai's decisions/actions.

    In fact part of being a good player is managing the randomness in the game - in order to overcome the disadvatages - press the advantages and achieve results.

    If luck could purely determine the outcome of equal power armies clashing in flat terrain then the game has nothing to do with tactics altogether - let alone a tactical AI.

    Advantageous match ups can be achieved in such a situation by various tactics: for example by unbalancing a flank and luring the opponent (AI or not) to attack there; then you rely on the strong flank to rout the rest of the enemy and the weak flank to hold the assault while the victorious flank units come back to finish them off. Success depends upon the judgement of the relative positions and of the relative strength as well as in the execution of the maneuvers.

    This is only one of many strategies - it largely depends on the army composition and playing style of the player and that the composition dictates.

    There are indeed two qualities of the tactical AI to be checked as you say: the overall strategic decisions and army control. These two intermingle though especially the more closer two armies come to engage as well after they do engage - then the situation is continuously changing and so strategic reassessment and what you call "reactions" happen at the same time and influence so much that are inseparable (until the end game where you regroup).

    Initial assessment and plans govern a battle the more unequal the initial situation is (as you imply) - they don't though if it is equal - continuous assessment is needed in that case and skill (army cotrol) also plays a significant part. That is you have to be good at assessing, deciding and executing a plan and if things change follow them by adapting to the course of the game.

    That ensures tactical depth (devise ways to tip the situation - grasp and accumulate little advantages - adapt to the opponent) - while in the case of unequality tactical depth is low (just use the advantage whether that is terrain/army/whatever-is-to-your-favor to win).

    The AI is not advanced IMO enough to plan for such things in most cases as you mention (create situations) (they are embedded in the default formations he assumes, i guess) - but he's surely advanced enough to exploit holes and respond to changing density in formations broadly. He's also aware of the balance of forces generally in what when he has an advantage in melee he goes for head-on attacks - so he assesses and creates opportunities to some - lesser - degree.

    Originally posted by Didz
    There should be no difference. If a little bump is all that’s available then the AI should be as keen to exploit it as if it was a mountain.
    The AI may or may not exploit it depending on whether he attacks/defends, based on the relative potential of the armies and other factors IMO - however its the potential of the bump or hill to work for or against the AI or a player that i am talking about.

    If you play defense on the hill, then the AI or anyone else will lose. If he's called a "bad AI" because he "can't win" that one - then there's something wrong IMO.

    In fact in SP, battles against the AI defending a hill are won because the AI will lose his position when the player advances from another side. This is achieved by exploiting the "refacing" routine of the AI. Is the AI bad or good in that case? In your opinion is obviously bad. In my opinion its beyond his capabilities so i storm the hill from the side he defends head on in SP; i might not always win and i might have a lot of casualties but i get a much more challenging and fun battle than i would if i had bypassed him, forced him to reface and lose the high ground in the process and fought the battle in equal or even higher ground.

    Originally posted by Didz
    Well actually point is that if the AI attempted to attack a human opponent defending a hill with relatively equal forces to its own then it has already failed its intelligence test before the battle even begins.
    Very debatable and sort of unrealistic for the AI as it stands. I stated previously that in many cases the AI attacks because he's on the red - or other times because of hardcore limitations that tell him to "attack" in order to fulfil the "challenge" requirement from the part of the developer and the "TW" title of the games. In fact even the player could be (rarely because the player is richer most of the time) forced in such an attack if he is desperate to achieve a conquest result due to pressure - its not correct that you label it a bad move a-priori.

    The developers IMO should have been designing the game around what the AI can or can't do well instead. They don't though, because they'll lose customers (fewer options) and the result is that the game lacks challenge.

    Then many expect the AI to be able to do what they do in SP, that is exploit this or that, when he can't - exploiting single weaknesses/deficiencies isn't how AI's operate.

    Good game design should ensure that these deficiencies are out of the game -then you and i have less to exploit and the AI has more equal chances and challenging games are a possibility again. All mods work towards that goal to a higher/lower degree - that is tune the game with how the AI works.

    The TW AI was based originally around certain principles (such as a strong RPS) that the developer is slowly abandoning or overblending - but there is little evidence that the AI is adapting to the new conditions and game workings or that he can be made to do so at the moment for that matter.

    Originally posted by Didz
    Then your very lucky to belong to such a community, as everyone I’ve ever been involved with will use every trick in book to make sure the odds are stacked in their favour before the battle even starts, Including hacks and cheats if they can get hold of them.
    There are good and bad apples everywhere, i guess - and again it has less to do with luck than you imply IMO - one can choose to play with people that he feels fiendly with and respect and not with people that he doesn't. I am honestly sorry if all you came accross is people that do all this.

    If you read the MP forums here and elsewhere you'll find out that balance is the primary element of discussion whether talking about units-maps-gameplay-types of units-unit pricing.

    MP is affected by that much more than SP - however SP is also affected - how many of the battles of a campaign are not a chore task and how well one remembers the rest of them?

    Many Thanks

    Noir
    Last edited by Noir; 06-22-2007 at 19:47.

  30. #30

    Default Re: So How has the AI improved ??

    Oroginally posted by Kobal2fr
    Nope. Cause it's never gonna happen in the field. I want to know it can deal with unbalanced forces, unbalanced terrain, unbalanced numbers, going either for or against it.
    I want the AI to be able to exploit all the advantages terrain and match-up provides it, I want it to be underhanded and cunning, I want it to punish every mistake, and I want it to be able to minimize the effect of MY advantages.

    If it's outnumbered, I want it to go for my general first, and with everything it's got. If it's outnumbering me, I want it to make me feel it and never give me a breather, etc... THAT's good AI.
    Perhaps - but it seems to me that the AI operates upon certain routines that are triggered after some assessment rather than being able to identify singularities and exploit them as you (and many others apparently) expect.

    As good as your propositions may sound - they also sound (to me) equally unrealistic (at this stage at least). One of my points is that AI performance involves the design of the campaign&battle game as well as the AI competence. For the truth of it - notice that mods follow the way the AI operates and go to painstaiking efforts to restore balance of various kinds (unit balance - army balance - faction balance - etc). It obviously helps the game being more challenging.

    However everyone seems to expect that the AI will beat them at their own game of exploiting this or that: fair enough. You might be waiting more than you think though from my perspective.

    There is a way to get all that your heart is longing for, from TW battles though, instead of posting in the Citadel about it : get online - i'm sure plenty of people will be delighted to play with you and perhaps you'll see then after some tens of battles, what sort of "generalship" can be achieved in flat terrain.

    Many Thanks

    Noir

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