[Issue] Complex Unit Lameness

By on April 27, 2012 2:18:06 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

seanw3

Join Date 12/2007
+141

As I mod the game I find little things where lack of communication between devs causes one error that leads to hundreds more. 

 

The thing that bothers me the most about the game right now is the AI. It is annoying to test each faction and put thought and effort into a unit design, only to see the AI pump out 100 spear maidens that I can kill with some advanced archers without taking a single hit. Why is this happening? It is a complex issue. One dev made the wage cost from labor way too high to start. This meant that a unit with better gear and good traits costs double what a traitless spearman costs. Since it is about 4 gildar per turn in wages, another dev made all the units in CoreUnits.xml use no traits. The idea was probably that these units would need to avoid too many traits in order to keep wages low. Since wages are back-breakingly oppressive, this would seem to be a good idea. The problem is that human players would much rather have a few very strong units that several weaker ones. We find ways to prevent our units from taking much damage, while the AI loses every battle from turn one. Our units level up and gain tons of Hit Points. They make new units at level 1. The game spirals into a pwnfest after that. 

The next problem is that the AI Defs file uses the core units as a base to judge unit quality. There is a huge error here as it estimates how much labor and resources make up a cheap, decent, good, or elite unit. The definitions are way too conservative. It thinks a scout is a cheap unit, thus we see armies full of scouts. It thinks a Spear Maiden is a decent unit, thus we see 100 of them in the midgame when the AI is told to build decent units. The AI almost never gets beyond this point, unless you sit and wait for 300 turns while they get all the techs unlocked and cover the whole map, which I have done. Even then, they still have all those early game units floating around because you cannot upgrade effectively and the AI does not disband crap units. 

My hypothesis was that this was the primary factor affecting the lameness of AI units. I modded the files to allow almost infinite materials at all levels and various amounts of resources. Then I deleted the terrible units found in CoreUnits.xml and made my own units to replace them. These units use all 3 traits. There is a new unit for each tech. The results were quite positive. My battle win ratio went from 1000:0 to 3:1. I also found that the AI was able to upgrade my designs in some cases. Apprentice Axemen were seen holding Boreal Blades. I did not design them that way, so the AI must be capable of refitting units as the AI Defs tell them they can spend more resources. I would call on the devs to rebalance the AI Defs, Core Units, Labor for Traits, and the amount of wages caused from Labor. It will get us one step closer to a competent AI, without which it is hard to balance the game.

Locked Post 12 Replies +3
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 27, 2012 3:06:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Not being able to test this (or is that the mod you released earlier Sean?) (edit: found it) but it sounds very promising! I hope the devs take notice.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 27, 2012 3:16:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Meaby turn down wages a notch, since huge wages is my primary issue to ignore units most of the game, when my sovereign can blast through most of the map anyways.

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 27, 2012 6:48:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Excellent job seanw3!   Now if they can equalize unit usefulness per gildar with the new champion maintenance, then they have solved a lot of problems.  I strongly encourage the devs to use seanw3's finding to improve the game out of sight!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 27, 2012 7:14:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oddly enough in vanilla I ran into things like "Chosen" decked out in all sorts of magical gear. OF course, two units of chosen without caster support still die rather easily against a horde of archers, but I got hit, once, by a unit, and it did 330! damage to my archers. Who then promptly died.

 

 

But on the whole I agree Sean... wages are killing decent sized armies and wars. I tend to really focus on my designs... if its not a front line battle thingie, its not getting armor.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 27, 2012 9:05:37 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Devs please listen to seanw3 he is right on the mark.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 27, 2012 10:43:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, please listen. AI competence is absolutely crucial to game sucess!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 27, 2012 11:07:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is an issue that absolutely needs to be addressed.  If Sean has it nailed down, which it seems like he may, please check it out.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 27, 2012 11:25:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well issue or not, bossing the developers around is pointless
I can understand why they might get tired of the forum.

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 27, 2012 1:29:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think anyone is bossing anyone around. But it is important that the public testers express their needs so we can move forward smoothly. This kind of stuff has little to do with faction differentiation, other than that if they remade units, each one could have some faction based lore. This kind of thing is not likely to be a priority unless we ask for it.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 28, 2012 3:19:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In my game with Kraxis the AI uses much more then spearmaidens. Gilden had winterguards, deadeyes, mages, drolgards and what not.

But this is..

The problem is that human players would much rather have a few very strong units that several weaker ones. We find ways to prevent our units from taking much damage, while the AI loses every battle from turn one. Our units level up and gain tons of Hit Points.

...is true. I always try to manage not to loose any unit in a battle. If a unit takes too much damage i try ti retract this unit from the frontline.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 28, 2012 4:40:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I guess the CoreAIDefs.xml is not currently in use. The issue seems to be only that the AI does not have good unit designs. Taking out all of the units out of CoreUnits.xml that are not up to snuff will work just fine as long as you have lots of unit designs for each faction. Seems like the devs are probably waiting for a more solid set of game mechanics before they create premade units to avoid wasteful efforts.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 28, 2012 5:45:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Pop pop!

 

This is definitely my biggest issue with the game. Faction Differentiation is well and good, but I really want/need a complex AI that can outhink me.

 

Based on the absolute brilliant AI in Galactic Civilizations II, I'm surprised at the sub-par AI thus far. I have faith Stardock will fix it, but still.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #101114  walnut1   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000375   Page Render Time: