Fallen Enchantress has several different levels of difficulty. The AI doesn’t “cheat” in the sense that it plays by a different set of rules. The difficulty rules have to do with what resources the players get. At Normal, the AI is the same as the human player which is, arguably not fair to the AI (since humans tend to load saved games and have, one presumes, gotten familiar with quests, mob milling and other strategies.
I tend to think “Challenging” is the fairest to the AI since all the AI really gets there is a little HP boost.
Anyway, today I’m testing out a series of 1 on 1 battles to see how easily I can cream the AI at different levels. To make it fun for me, I usually try to minimize the number of turns it takes to crush it.
Find a champion to join me, go monster hunting to raise level. Find AI and kill him.
Game 17: Normal AI 1 on 1, small map.
It is, admittedly, hard for the AI to deal with rushes. Not to mention, it’s hard strategically to decide when to attack an enemy city versus defending one of your own. Each play through I end up adding new parameters to the various AI functions to have it spit out, I hope, more intelligent responses.
Game 17 is the result of many many hours of this kind of iteration. I typically beat the AI within 50 turns (depending on starting locations – the AI had graduated to random maps at this point).
Victory in 36 turns.
(2 hours of coding later)
Game 18: Normal AI…
This one took a lot longer to win because the AI managed to snag two champions early and bottled me up. So I had to build up more first.
It did still expose some dumb AI decision making in the sense that it over defended it city area at the cost of expanding its empire.
So this would be the first real test of the tactical combat improvements.
So my strategy here was to stand back and cast haste on my units. Have my archers weaken them and then mop up.
Relias wasn’t in this battle (the enemy sovereign) which would be his doom. Without any champions in the city, it was easy. After that, whack.
In Fallen Enchantress, there aren’t many champions (I had none, just my sovereign in that game). But let me show you how powerful they are:
My sovereign is an army unto himself.
(game 19 aborted)
Game 20: Normal AI
This game I got a particularly good spot. 4 grain, 4 materials. That’s really hitting the jackpot (a normal good city would be like 3 grain, 2 materials).
Victory in 65 turns.
(it’s a real challenge to tell the AI when it should expand and when it should hunker down without it requiring tons of work and CPU time).
Game 21: Normal AI
Not quite as nice as my last game but still decent.
The problem, once again, is that it is very difficult for a 1 on 1 contest to end any other way when I’m intentionally mounting up for an attack.
However, the thing is, the game design should be such that it’s relatively easy, early on, to keep players from just doing this.
I think one problem is my use of an early game weapon enchantment (burning blade) that simply grants a numerical bonus to attack rather than a %.
On the other hand, what’s stopping the AI from using it?
coding coding coding…
Really REALLY need put some time into having the Spell data hooked up to the AI better. They’re all set at 5.
Game 24: Normal AI
Victory in 70 turns.
Strategic spell coding…
Game 26: Normal AI
In this game, it took me 40 turns before I found the other player.
Victory in 46 turns. I think there’s a bug with faction prestige for AI players.
Game 27: Normal AI
Win after 90 turns
AI still casting stupid strategic spells.
Game 28: Normal AI
Not a bad starting location except I’m right next to Wildlands.
Took 30 turns to find AI. AI had 2 cities and was effectively using them against me when I did my sneak attack.
Took 100 turns to win.
Fixed some bugs in the way spells are evaluated and distances evaluated.
[To be ccontinued…8:30pm]
Game 29: Normal AI
Up against a mountain. But good resources.
This time, when I encounter Altar, very early on, they’re slightly ahead of me (power rating 6 to 5).
This time, they can’t be just knocked over.
My concern now is that rushed for Civics to get Rush build and they spent their money.
I can’t take them though. So no riding rough shod this time. The question is, will they be able to expand faster than me?
The other thing the AI is struggling with is how much to be worried about monsters. On the one hand, you don’t want the monsters to take out the AI players enmasse but on the other, you need the AI to take some risk.
This time, my attempt to rush them has cost me the lead. Altar (AI) has taken an early lead.
And worse, my champion died in battle (they can die, it’s just extremely rare).
Monsters took out one of my towns.
OK. This isn’t good for me. I’ve never seen this before. I normally kill the AI before he gets horses.
My capital just got taken by monsters.
Getting placed near wildlands means more goodies but you gotta defend them better too. I didn’t.
This just get worse..
Son of a bitch…
And so where my capital is they sent in pioneers to take it.
I’ll take it back.
And I did.
Relias (AI) vs. Me.
1 on 1.
He hasn’t picked up as many good weapons as I have.
And he hasn’t shopped enough.
So he’s definitely not anywhere near perfect.
But right now…he is winning.
[Reminder: all tactical battles are on the same brown map for now in my build]
And here…come the archers.
So it’s just me (and pioneers) against his small army.
He never had a chance. I’m Sauron!
Unfortunately the damn Shrill Lord took out the city I had captgured earlier.
City destroying Shrill Lord
I started another city there…
Shrill Lord got it again.
I’m gonna kill that thing!
Quickie video of how powerful my sovereign is (too powerful?)
Sovereign vs. archer army
My opinion here is that my sovereign has too much HP. I like that he can mow down units, but it’s kind of crazy that he has over 120 HP (compared to just a few for others). Should probably be about half that with the player packing health potions and such.
[12:00am] TO be continued…
So there are 5 cities in the world at this point. I have 2, the AI has 3.
The problems with the AI that are affecting its play in this particular game include:
(1) Its researching isn’t very good. This is a known issue that is due to the AITraits not being hooked up yet. This means its armies aren’t as big as they could be.
(2) AI is too timid to send a major force around my strong point (I don’t have a choke hold) to attack my vulnerable rear city (I have a weak city and a strong city but the strong city is relatively close to their capital and they’re not sending units to attack the weak city because that would leave the capital city potentially vulnerable – but not really, they have a lot bigger army than I do).
I probably shouldn’t quibble too much since it’s not looking very good for me. The issue here is that players don’t usually have the opportunity to build up overwhelming force like this. If the monsters hadn’t taken out my capital, I’d not have let them get this far.
OK, I’m completely surrounded with only 1 town. It’s a bit of a stalemate because my sovereign is just so powerful.
OK, the AI finally won.
The AI is getting better but the monsters were as much the AI’s helper. You can see where we were neck and neck right until one of my cities got taken down by the Shrill Lord. So really it wasn’t a 1 on 1 battle, it was AI + Shrill Lord vs. me. Still, progress.
Now to spend the next couple of hours implementing fixes and additions to the AI based on what I saw.
1:42 am, signing off.