AI Journals: Eastern Anthys

By on October 7, 2011 6:26:06 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1484

Elemental is a big world. Much of our game design for Fallen Enchantress has come from imagining how different parts of the world would drive different strategy.

Western Anthys & The War of Magic

For example, in Elemental:War of Magic, we envisioned the random make staking place in Western Anthys around a century after the cataclysm. This meant a barren, desolate world where the objective was to find the tiny spots of resources (fertile land for example) and gain control of them.  Where you built your city didn’t matter so much as long as it was close to a resource tile of some kind.

But Fallen Enchantress takes place in Eastern Anthys, a land that was once the seat of power of the Titans and whose land, while far more dangerous, is less desolate. This presents some interesting AI challenges.

Where should I build my city?

In War of Magic, that was easy. Find a resource and build near it. Voila.  Those resources were all pretty uncommon and so there weren’t a lot of AI decisions there. 

In Fallen Enchantress, the precise tile matters.  To the player, they can visually tell the “good” places because they’re green (or otherworldly violet).  But if that’s not good enough, you can turn on the resource overlay and actually see the initial output of a tile. 

image

Two obvious resources would be food and material. The more food, the higher the population the city can support. More material and the more productive the city can become. Since population and what improvements you build have a great deal to do with how “powerful” the city is, there is a natural inclination to have fewer, powerful cities.  The world has a limited population to attract and so the more cities you have, the more spread out your population gets. This is a tough thing for the AI because normally, having a ton of cities is always a good thing.  Here, it is an “interesting choice” that depends on your overall strategy.

 

image

Sticking with the concept of “green is good” let’s also bear in mind the importance of scouting now.  The AI not only has to train pioneers but he has to find a place to send them. Which means he needs to scout out territory to find the very best tile for his strategy. This is a challenge because players will quickly notice if the AI builds a city on a stupid spot. At the same time, taking too much time scouting gives the human players the opportunity to beat them to the punch.

image

Another challenge that has to be baked in a bit is that certain geographical features can act as short-cuts for the AI in terms of its scouting. Rivers, for instance, are almost always desirable to have cities around. So if the AI scouting party sees a river, he’s going to almost certainly send a pioneer out into that area in parallel with scouting. In fact, a lot of the time I’ve been spending on this code is deciding when I should “roll the dice” and send out a pioneer. What % of the tiles do I need to have explored before I send a pioneer?

image

Another AI challenge has been dealing with monsters.  In Fallen Enchantress, the monsters won’t enter your territory voluntarily. So if you stay within your borders, you’re safe.  However…if your territory expands into a spot where a monster is already hanging out, then bad things are going to be done to you (or the AI player).  Monsters won’t be attacking cities (or I should say, it’ll be extremely rare). But they will camp out in the outskirts waiting for meat to come their way. 

Now, there is also a new concept called the Wildlands. This is actually a new AI player that I’ve had to program that has been very interesting to do. The Wildlands control a portion of the map. Kill their leader and you get to colonize their awesome area and get to their fabulous quests and goodie huts (easier said than done).  If you stand outside their “territory”, they won’t bother you. Walk into it and they will hunt you down. Marketing won’t let me show you call the cool new monsters they’ve got in there but the art team has had a year to come up with some horrible, nasty things to have lurking around.

Next Time: AI dealing with quests and goodie huts, the new Quest and Notable Location system.

Locked Post 44 Replies
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 7, 2011 6:40:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I heard one of the Wildland players is called the Fremen. They are ruled by a giant sandwurm. If you defeat it you can summon it in battle. That's just what a friend told me. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 7, 2011 6:51:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Since population and what improvements you build have a great deal to do with how “powerful” the city is, there is a natural inclination to have fewer, powerful cities. The world has a limited population to attract and so the more cities you have, the more spread out your population gets. This is a tough thing for the AI because normally, having a ton of cities is always a good thing. Here, it is an “interesting choice” that depends on your overall strategy.

Will each AI have a strategic focus for city building or will they make their decision on the fly, without an over-riding strategy and always create lots of small weak cities.

Example: Trogs (75% Fewer Powerful Cities Strategy, 25% Tons of Cities Strategy)
Example: Altarians (50% Fewer Powerful Cities, 50% Tons of Cities)
Example: Wraiths (100% Fewer Powerful Cities Strategy)

At the same time, taking too much time scouting gives the human players the opportunity to beat them to the punch.

In the game vein will all the AIs follow the same strategy & time constraints in scouting for city location - or do they have the option to follow different strategies? Will they have the option to stop their search if they find an optimal location early? i.e. one with Food > X points and Materials > X points.

In Fallen Enchantress, the monsters won’t enter your territory voluntarily. So if you stay within your borders, you’re safe. However…if your territory expands into a spot where a monster is already hanging out, then bad things are going to be done to you (or the AI player). Monsters won’t be attacking cities (or I should say, it’ll be extremely rare). But they will camp out in the outskirts waiting for meat to come their way.

No spell thant enchants lurking monsters to attack a city?

Spell: Animal Rage (Strategic, Expert Spellbook: Enchantment, Mana cost based on Monster HP)
Effect: Targeted monster attacks nearest settlement, unless the monster resists the spell.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 7, 2011 6:56:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

On a serious note, how do you plan to tackle different map sizes if there is a limit to total citizens? Are you using an equation that gives a certain number based on map size?

 

Also, will there be AI modability with respect to expansion? I would really like tweaking the AI's strategy to fit my premade maps. 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 12:14:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

On the concept of "rolling the dice"- I really think this should be semi-random.

 

Reasoning:

It will allow some AI's to get lucky and be stronger,  If an AI has a bad game, it happens, this will make the other AI's stronger.  Usually it's one or two AI's that are the main challenge for a player.

 

I can sorta see the other argument as well- curious what other people thiink.  (and this is why I suggest it be random how risky AI's play, maybe with a slight push towards risk at higher levels)

 

I'm hoping there is magic that can improve land as a one-shot cost, or via technology in some cases (maybe rare tech?)

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 1:04:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Cool. Will there be minor factions?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 1:15:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"Now, there is also a new concept called the Wildlands. This is actually a new AI player that I’ve had to program that has been very interesting to do. The Wildlands control a portion of the map. Kill their leader and you get to colonize their awesome area and get to their fabulous quests and goodie huts (easier said than done).  If you stand outside their “territory”, they won’t bother you. Walk into it and they will hunt you down."

 

Any Diplomacy options?

 

I would love to send a bunch of supplies or sacrefices or troops, something to these wildland factions to help them become even more powerful

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 3:23:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How does a custom map handle the wild factions? Do I need to custom make each area or will it naturally blank my custom map with these areas?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 3:35:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Cool, good update, lots of new screen shots and whatnot.

 

I'm very confused by the 'limited population to attract.' I thought this was being changed in FE, with growth now based on population growth, not just prestige attracting refugees or whatever. I guess the lore explanation doesn't matter too much if the gameplay works. It will just be silly if I have a city with the ability to grow tons of food, but it can't 'grow' because the 'world ran out of people.'

 

I'm also a bit confused about the importance of the tiles around the city. Previous updates stated that these tiles would only really matter when the city was new and could help give it an initial boost. This update makes it sound like the local tiles will be much, much more important.

 

Also, I recommend having someone proofread these. Lots of weird typos that left me confused. I feel like a jerk for pointing that out, but I just would hate for someone new to the site to see a journal and get the impression that you guys are unprofessional.

 

Thanks for the update! Although everytime a new update comes, I'm satisfied for a few minutes, but then I end up being even more excited about the game, which makes the wait even harder!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 4:50:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

More information on the "world population" would be nice. Including: can I manipulate it by slaying all the citizens of a rival city? Can I conquer a city and move the population to own of my own cities, then raze the conquered city? Other forms of population manipulation?

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 5:41:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Does the maximum population increase over time? People get born afterall... 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 8:16:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The more I have thought about it, the more I am convinced that Brad was just being a bit unclear here, based on the various other oddities in this journal. I can't believe even for a second that FE will be designed to have some sort of 'maximum world population.' This would be like hardcoding the prestige bug from WoM as some sort of game feature, in which eventually you can't grow any larger. I mean, it makes sense at some point for your population growth to generally level off, but that should only be the case when you have completely maximized the ability of a given area to support further growth. It wouldn't make sense if you send a Pioneer to settle a new area with plenty of available  food, but that settlement never grows because there are a limited number of people in the world or something.

 

I'm just going to ignore stuff like this until we are told otherwise, because I think it was Brad mispeaking or typing or whatever.

 

Instead, I'm going to look forward to the next journal. Quests and stuff, sounds exciting! I'll be interested to see how the AI deals with that.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 8:25:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting HenriHakl,
More information on the "world population" would be nice. Including: can I manipulate it by slaying all the citizens of a rival city? Can I conquer a city and move the population to own of my own cities, then raze the conquered city? Other forms of population manipulation?

 

 

Hehe, that reminds me of how I had to play Warcraft 2 on my first PC. If the other guys built too many units, I couldn't do diddly until I whacked off some of his goons. 

I don't think it will work the same way in FE, since it doesn't make sense. The world is big enough for everyone, it's just that there aren't enough people around. Getting a larger population limit by absorbing other cities would be great though, because that way, you'll have even more reason to keep a city safe. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 10:12:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well hopefully monster attacks on cities aren't so rare that border cities don't need a garrison.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 10:40:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Is it only the single tile you build your city on that matters, or do the surrounding tiles matter as well?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 10:57:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

But if that’s not good enough, you can turn on the resource overlay and actually see the initial output of a tile. 

 

That is something essential for me because I am partially color blind. The color variation is too thin to see that there are actually greener tiles. IN the screen shots above, all the tiles looks the same color to me.

BY the way, do you accumulate the income of all squares in your city area (like in MOM), if the answer is yes, then there should be a dialog somewhere that addup the value of all the tiles together so that you could plan ahead how much a city's total income will have when it's built. There was a tool called the Surveyor (F1) in MOM that allowed you to do this. Since city radius increase, you could have different values for different radius.

 

The world has a limited population to attract and so the more cities you have, the more spread out your population gets.

What!, they don't reproduce?

 

The Wildlands control a portion of the map. Kill their leader and you get to colonize their awesome area and get to their fabulous quests and goodie huts (easier said than done).  If you stand outside their “territory”, they won’t bother you. Walk into it and they will hunt you down. Marketing won’t let me show you call the cool new monsters they’ve got in there but the art team has had a year to come up with some horrible, nasty things to have lurking around.

 

That is one of the ideas that I found interesting thematically and strategically. The wilderness becomes stronger has civilization expand. It's interesting because the wilderness difficulty scale up as the players becomes more powerful. Now that there is actually an AI to control that wilderness, it might make the impact easier to see.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 11:02:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

HOw about Auto-Scouting?

One idea I had to make AI management easier and remove a player's chore is that at each X turns, the area of the map which has been explored increase around cities automatically, so that you do not need to manually scout everything. Maybe you could implement this as an AI cheat, they don't build and send pioneer, their vision range increase with time according to their city locations.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 12:22:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There isn't a world population per se.  

Instead cities have a growth rate which is dependent primarily on city prestige (how nice the city is) and faction prestige (how prestigious your faction is). The more cities you build, the more diluted your faction prestige gets for each city.

We aren't modeling births or immigration specifically. The focus is on growing your city's population and strategies to increase the growth rate.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 12:36:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looks and sounds wonderfully complicated

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 2:28:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh thank Frog! I was worried there for a sec. It seems like the most exciting part of the game will be seeing what building you get from leveling a city. As it should be, so say we all. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 3:51:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Re: Autoscouting

Great idea, but maybe just make it a spell that you can cast. It would have different levels or be intelligence/3. That would be a major plus for magic users and the AI. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 4:25:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
There isn't a world population per se.  

Instead cities have a growth rate which is dependent primarily on city prestige (how nice the city is) and faction prestige (how prestigious your faction is). The more cities you build, the more diluted your faction prestige gets for each city.

We aren't modeling births or immigration specifically. The focus is on growing your city's population and strategies to increase the growth rate.

 

Ok, so...this seems to be slightly contradicting the last journal that mentioned population growth.

 

Quoting ,

Growth replaces Prestige and is the rate at which population is added to your city.  It is influenced by improvements, local resources, champions in the city, and the amount of cities in your kingdom (the more cities the slower your growth to balance small empires vs large empires).  Since population determines your production and taxes, your high population cities are the backbone of your empire.**

Whenever you build a unit the population comes out of the city that produced it.  In effect armies are population that isn’t contributing to production.  Making a stack of 9 spearmen is a serious investment.  Disbanding units returns the population to the nearest city (if you are in your borders).  When you build Pioneers you can build them at all the same unit sizes as your other units, and the amount of Pioneers in your stack takes that amount of population away from the building city, and starts the new city with that population.

Improvements have fun with these mechanics.  Slums increase the cities Growth and Unrest.  Governmental type buildings reduce Unrest, the Mint of Ruvenna provides +1 Gildar per Worker in the city, etc.

** When a city is taken in combat half of its population is lost.  Also when units die their population is forever lost, giving us some outputs for the population system, it doesn’t continually build.  And, although warring successful wars has its benefits, it can be costly too.

 

So is it growth or prestige? Or both? I think there is a place for immigration / emigration based on prestige and other factors, and growth based on births, influenced by available food and other factors.

 

The latest post makes it sound like growth is prestige based, while the earlier post made it sound like is is impacted by a wider array of factors.

 

Thanks.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2011 5:52:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great info here.   The AI challenges you need to handle are particularly interesting to me.   Thank you for sharing.   As a novice AI programmer, I love reading about your approaches to things.   How you "sneak" in information to the player so that the AI can use it too, without it being cheating.  

 

Great stuff!

 

Looking forward to getting my hands on the beta to test this out.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 9, 2011 9:23:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
I am in line with what Edwin99 said. From the opening post, the AI uses a bottom up approach to determine where a new city is built.  
This should not be the only approach.

But there should AI players that use top-down approach instead, especially when AI notices that there are multipe good choices for building
 cities at the same time. There should be AI player that try to choose a location where there is early access to horses, and know how to capitalize
 on these horses by researching related technology. Or found a city base on the special triats of the AI player, to utilize these choose traits.
Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 9, 2011 9:27:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
Kill their leader and you get to colonize their awesome area and get to their fabulous quests and goodie huts
 (easier said than done). If you stand outside their “territory”, they won’t bother you.


Wildland... sounds very much like minor fraction in galciv II, but much more rigid. The AI described above should be just one of the AIs used by wildland, but
 should not be of 100% used for unclaimed lands players. The leaders for unclaimed land should be able to use any other AI personality (of regular
 AI players) from time to time, although quite rarely.


Ideally, the only major difference of these Wildland players and regular non-wildland AI players is just having a completely different economics. They
 are the savages. They only build/love savage stuff. They does not build humanoid population/cities at all; instead they only develop
 lairs/monsters/magic/adventuring tech. They maybe more efficient in building more & more goodie huts, more lairs, dig up more crystals/shard,
 getting wild magic practitioners/druid/bard etc.


Diplomatically, they are different to other non-wildland players in that they are not displayed in normal diplo screen... until one of their champion/sovereign 
is /captured/killed or actively contacted. The diplomatic relationship with these savages are more geared towards war/trading of goods/exchange of
 goods/gaining passage/exchanging maps/selling mercenary. More sporadic/unreasonable/ad hoc.


Wildland AI players cannot achieve 'victory' condition, but some of them should be able last till end game if they played well. They should not be
 disadvantaged in any other way. They are just a different tech/magic/economic/diplomatic priorities. Maybe it is fun to married offsprings to these
 savages, to improve relationship, or have a chance to 'civilize' them slowly.
Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 9, 2011 2:56:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Rarely, very rarely should this wilderness factions turn into normal AI players with ambitions. That would be extremely cool. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108433  walnut3   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000375   Page Render Time: