Highlights of AI work in pictures

By on November 29, 2010 9:53:58 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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I’ve spent the better part of last week working on the Elemental AI.  Without going into too much detail, here are some notes of what has been done and what needs to be done still.

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Starting out playing as Relias for the Altar.

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One of the things I noticed when I was playing was that after awhile, the monsters become simply fodder for experience and gold. The low level ones just don’t keep up.  So I made it so that intelligent monsters (like bandits) will tend to tame/combine up with other monsters into bigger and bigger groups as the game goes on (basically as they find each other).

This resulted in a problem in the game I’m having..

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Monsters can and WILL attack and destroy settlements if they think they can do it and if they are lead by an intelligent monster.

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And so MY participation in the game came to an end.

But the AIs could still play each other…

Year: 170 AC

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Turn 184 AC (around 60 turns later)

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By the year 222 AC, the world is claimed:

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So let’s see what they’ve been doing…

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It’s a lot better than it was but it has a long way to go too. Now, I’m playing with the AI on “normal”. 

Admittedly, I did get killed but if I hadn’t gotten killed, I would have been able to wipe them out.

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November 29, 2010 10:07:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

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November 29, 2010 10:07:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This indeed impressive work... but the library thing makes me scared. Technology improves too fast already, and we're spamming studies not because they're bad, but because they're too good not to make a lot of them (and because there's nothing else to build).

On a positive note, I like that there's a distinction for roaming "bandits" and mindless creatures. Will this have a corresponding flag in the xml structure? Are there plans to make this less binary in the far future (there is only war... oops), and add crude, basic personalities/behavior for monsters/roaming bandits? 

 

Edit: also, I'm not sure that the AI is doing so bad when equipping the units. It's difficult to assess yet because the game needs balance and some things aren't working at all yet... but on a small map, producing masses of "pikemen in boxer shorts" should be a viable strategy. There isn't such a thing as "too early' when it comes to using other kingdoms as target practice.

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November 29, 2010 11:10:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As of late, the AI seems to be very persistent about razing early, poorly/undefended settlements. Although a right piss off, it is not the end of the world as if your SoV is away, he/she can return and rebuild, or start up elsewhere. It does kill any sort of momentum but that is the price to be paid I guess.

I kinda of like that behavior personally as it does force you to have someone (Champ/Hero) stay at home, or spend Pop and resources buying some club wielding peons if you wish to explore immediately after settlement creation.

If I had to suggest a change it would be to have the AI seize the settlements, rather than simply raze them outright. That way we could fight to get them back, intact, and not have to start all over. Perhaps the loss of one structure could be implemented as the penalty for being slack in your defense of your newly found Capital.


 

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November 29, 2010 11:28:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting John_Hughes,
If I had to suggest a change it would be to have the AI seize the settlements, rather than simply raze them outright. That way we could fight to get them back, intact, and not have to start all over. Perhaps the loss of one structure could be implemented as the penalty for being slack in your defense of your newly found Capital.

 

 

I like that idea, although I feel like you should lose a number of structures randomly.  Say 2 to 5 or possibly more if it is a high level city with a lot of buildings.

A thought I had when I read this was in reference to GalCiv2.  In it when you take a planet if you don't have the right techs some improvements are out right destroyed because you don't know how to use them.  What if we had something similar here except I was thinking that maybe they work at half efficiency or cost double maintenance until you have the proper tech for them.

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November 29, 2010 11:39:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Re: that drota enclave. I noticed AI in 1.09e won't build improvements on world resources that require a technology, if they don't have the tech when it first falls within their influence. If they gain the tech later, it is never built.

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November 29, 2010 12:13:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

LOL if I hadn't got killed I would have killed them!  LOL Great statement there Frog.  I do have to admit, that I have had to guard my cities more, which I dont mind much.  And in some games, the animal attacks can get fierce.  Good fun though.  So from you above example it seems the AI isnt attacking each other?  Any idea if the monsters are attacking them?  This is something I always wonder in games, does the same monsters, barbs, or what not attack them as well as me.  In some games, it seems as if they are weighted to come after me first.  I dont mind this if they are stronger, but when my unit is better, and the AI's isnt,why do they come for me only? 

 

Hope you and your family, both at home and at Stardock, had a great Thanksgiving!  I know I have alot to be thankful for this year, even though it has been tough with job loss and such, but this game is on my list of thankful things.  I really enjoy it and look forward to what happens with it in the future(yes Im a fan of Stardock so dont start flaming me, because I show my appreciation).

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November 29, 2010 2:09:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Awesome! I'm excited for the new AI and these monsters grouping together. I think that's a badass trait-As civilizations get more complex-So do thugs, crime rings and all that. They band together-Tame some animals-You know barbarians and all that. I also like the fact of an intelligent creature being able to lead them!

Keep improving on this, looking forward to more AI updates soon.

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November 29, 2010 2:21:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One of the things I noticed when I was playing was that after awhile, the monsters become simply fodder for experience and gold. The low level ones just don’t keep up.  So I made it so that intelligent monsters (like bandits) will tend to tame/combine up with other monsters into bigger and bigger groups as the game goes on (basically as they find each other).

That is a very original idea and I like how you came up with it. Taking a design problem (how to make low level creatures relevant later in the game) and solving it in a way that still makes the game fun and not seem arbitrary is masterful. This is the sort of stuff that advances the entire genre. Awesome stuff.

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November 29, 2010 2:52:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hmmm what about half-intelligent critters like this swamp-drakes/dragons? It would also be interesting if some of the bandit take over a city instead of destroying it after all these guys nee also food and money.

 

As for equipment of soldiers: maybe you could give the Ai some guidelines for its units. Stuff like "matching" Def and Atk or for Tarth a bias towards longbows. 

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November 29, 2010 3:18:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Concerning the unimpressiveness of the AI city:

 

Are you looking into giving us more things to do with city building? Building a magic empire is awesome, but there isn't terribly much of that. I wouldn't want the game to lose focus on combat and the "War of Magic", but being able to build sprawling cities and the like may add something to the game. Assuming the AI could get a grip on it.

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November 29, 2010 3:26:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,


Monsters can and WILL attack and destroy settlements if they think they can do it and if they are lead by an intelligent monster.

Perhaps contrary to some, I don't actually want monsters to be *too* smart about attacking settlements. I'd prefer  there to be some fuzziness to the decision making.  Otherwise, every time monsters attack you at all, it tends to be a death sentence, since they know they have you outmatched.

 

There should always be opportunities for players to *win* defensive battles, and gain EXP for their defensive troops, as well as the troops in the field. There should be times for "Helm's Deep" style defensive stands, and not simply a choice between having so many defensive troops nobody bothers to attack you, or auto-lose monster invasions.  I'm not saying this is the direction Brad is going, but it's something I've seen in other games and it always frustrates me a little.

 

Perhaps if there were an increased period of monster *raids* on a city prior to a massive assault, alerting players to increased danger in the region, and allowing them to make strategic deployment decisions, rather than getting surprised  by the random giant stack of spiders that comes barreling out of the woods, one turn away from your city.

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November 29, 2010 3:31:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have often wondered if you could implement a GC2 type of unit development.  That AI seemed to build some really interesting units, and they would even respond to what you were building.

 

Assuming you like the GC2 AI, what are the main differences in the Elemental version of AI?  I notice that it cannot do several of the things that GC2 did, and I am guessing that is due to differences in the game design, but I am not sure what those are.

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November 29, 2010 3:53:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

>> One of the things I noticed when I was playing was that after awhile, the monsters become simply fodder for experience and gold. The low level ones just don’t keep up.  So I made it so that intelligent monsters (like bandits) will tend to tame/combine up with other monsters into bigger and bigger groups as the game goes on (basically as they find each other). <<

This is a good idea, but one that should be expounded upon. Not only should small groups consolidate, but there should be a method that when they do, there is a possibility that they get a weapon/armor bonus update. In addition, since the group gets bigger, the loot from a successful battle should be increased as well. In fact, there should be 'Dark Heroes' that look for these bandit groups and take them over thus making it a priority for a given kingdom or empire to hunt down and eradicate groups that become too big.

In fact, allowing an event to be spawned when a bandit group gets big enough that allows a given kingdom/empire to place a bounty on the heads of the group could be fun as well.

Just a thought.

 

 

 

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November 29, 2010 4:37:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm all for letting bandits develop into a minor faction if they band together enough and get a hero on their side.

 

 

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November 29, 2010 5:24:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

oddly enough.. i think i had some spiders attack my almost empty settlement. (janusk with no/crap weapon?) ... they killed the defender... and then... just sat outside the empty settlement... i think.

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November 29, 2010 6:01:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting alaknebs,
oddly enough.. i think i had some spiders attack my almost empty settlement. (janusk with no/crap weapon?) ... they killed the defender... and then... just sat outside the empty settlement... i think.

 

I had the same thing happen to me. Janusk didn't spawn though (i made a female char for testing and Janusk the clippy never appeared).

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November 29, 2010 6:03:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
Admittedly, I did get killed but if I hadn’t gotten killed, I would have been able to wipe them out.
Isn't that a basic tenet of Sun Tzu or something? "Don't die"?

 

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November 29, 2010 6:15:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looks good! Keep up the good work! Like how the AI is moving forward and it can think that is nice.

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November 29, 2010 7:15:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
More so then working on the patch as in AI and adding features I hope they fix up the game so it dose not crash to desktop so much, alot of people still having issues with that, I actully where not having any issues till the last patch but thats besides point just hope as much work is going into making game stable so that it is actully able to run game.
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November 29, 2010 7:53:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It looks great and all but...

Am I the only one seeing just too much resources on that last pic?

A shard, three gold mines, a fruit grove, that enclave, two farms, a crystal crag, and that beside it which I cannot identify...

Was that intentional to see how they reacted or just some unholy luck for Pariden?

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November 29, 2010 8:11:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

since someone brought up city invasions, when can we hope to see some work done on porting some viable tactical choices when invading a city from the planet invasion screen in GC2? Invading was like half the fun in that game.

 

Ooh! Catapults could even work like the toxin unit the drath had, though in this case giving a significant bonus to attack and damaging the enemy befor combat starts.

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November 29, 2010 10:31:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Everything AI wise sounds awesome. One thing from the pics bugs me though. Some of those cities look WAY too close together. In my mind we should have at least the distance of an entire blank screen between each city so they don't look so bunched up, close together, spammed.

Keep up the great work

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November 30, 2010 8:18:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Bingjack,

Perhaps if there were an increased period of monster *raids* on a city prior to a massive assault, alerting players to increased danger in the region, and allowing them to make strategic deployment decisions, rather than getting surprised  by the random giant stack of spiders that comes barreling out of the woods, one turn away from your city.

To me, it seems a lot of games talk about having a 'living world' but it does not really feel that way.  For example, Elemental has these towns with people going about their business, within and outside of the local village zone of control.  Wouldn't it make sense, then, to occasionally have one of the NPC, maybe the lumberjack or trapper, come around and say something like "Geez...there are sure a lot of spiders/wargs/wolves/whatever in the woods these days."  Or, "You would not believe the droves of dragons I saw flying aorund a week ago up in Blasted Falls..." or something similar.  These are the kinds of 'warnings' about buildup I think you would realistically get, and it would add a nice atmosphere to the game.

Too many games give you the feeling people OJNLY live within the city walls, and that they are completely oblivious to anything else outside the walls.

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November 30, 2010 8:23:06 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm all for letting bandits develop into a minor faction if they band together enough and get a hero on their side.

Here here.

Too many games give you the feeling people OJNLY live within the city walls, and that they are completely oblivious to anything else outside the walls.

Here here.

And Frogboy, I feel your pain.  I had one game recently were some demon-spawned troll trounced my frontline army and razed a city I had just taken from another empire.  It was terrible...gloriously terrible!  Oddly/thankfully enough, the troll did not advance into my territory.  It kind of disappeared.  Frankly, I was happy for that

I like the studies upgrading to libraries idea.  Will this feature be expanded to the other point-producing buildings?  If so, will an upgrade cost be imposed?  Will the requisite population to operate the structure increase? The maintnance cost?

Also, the AI really needs to give its dynastic members proper equipment when they take to the field.  I routinely slay princelings who are unarmed and unarmored.

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November 30, 2010 8:39:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Luckmann,


quoting post
Admittedly, I did get killed but if I hadn’t gotten killed, I would have been able to wipe them out.Isn't that a basic tenet of Sun Tzu or something? "Don't die"?
 

How about the misattributed quote to Patton...

"I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country."

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