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#1 Lion

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 01:24 PM

Ive been studying the AI for a long time now, checked all the generals and so far never managed to make a non-cheating AI a challenge. I even went as far as using a money counter in which the AI "borrows" money up to a certain limit and after that the amount is slowly paid back in a trickling fashion (by reducing the counter and taking money off it). But although it wont get extra money in the whole view it will definitely have an unfair advantage still.
However, my beta AF general at the moment gets only half of the WSD (World State Detection) cheats, has about $50k by mid game and doesnt build any supply centers as it is far too loaded on cash to need it. and BOY it kicks ass, even quads get owned by it, even MY quads (unless i do a LOT of micromanagement) and once auroras start coming i might as well turn off my pc, as it does get hard. not impossible ill give you that but very hard nevertheless.
I believe this is the first step to making an AI that doesnt cheat but can be toe-on-toe with an experienced (but not pro) player...

There are the main disabilities for the AI:
-It doesnt have tactical awareness
-It doesnt handle rushes well at all
-USA Ais have the dozer bug, GLA ones sometimes harvest supplies with one worker only bug...
-It cannot learn
-It has a lot more bugs (people coming out of transports, etc)
-Its units get stuck in base
-It cant use all powers as smartly as we do

HOWEVER the AI also has some advantages over us
-It can be everywhere at the same time
-It has a natural maphack
-It can click as fast as it wants to
-It has a reaction time of 33ms (one frame, and this HAS to be tweaked in the AIData.ini for better results/more cpu)
-It can instantly analyze situations
-It can access which targets are closest
-It can keep flying planes NONSTOP, and direct them to exact, precise targets everytime, making its auroras its single mightiest force
-It can be efficient


After doing some research, I noticed the building 0% bug might be able to be circumvented (RVMECHs AI anyone?), as well as the transport bug. It seems the AI's advantages are more suited for the AF general as well so in the end i decided im striving for that goal now. To make the first non cheating but challenging AI, or as close as i can to it! Im gonna need a lot of testing as only me playing against it might make the AI great against my weaknesses but crap for others...

Anyways, if anyone else has the cojones to try, you are welcome :grin: id love if someone tried it out when it gets closer to done...

Edited by Lion, 29 August 2004 - 01:25 PM.


#2 thudo

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 03:31 PM

After doing some research, I noticed the building 0% bug might be able to be circumvented (RVMECHs AI anyone?), as well as the transport bug. It seems the AI's advantages are more suited for the AF general as well so in the end i decided im striving for that goal now. To make the first non cheating but challenging AI, or as close as i can to it! Im gonna need a lot of testing as only me playing against it might make the AI great against my weaknesses but crap for others...

Anyways, if anyone else has the cojones to try, you are welcome :grin: id love if someone tried it out when it gets closer to done...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I've never had an issue from my testers regarding the AI being too difficult just because he gets influxes of cash thus can build units or enhance them with upgrades. The SAGE AI system *MUST* cheat as its economy and purchase delegation system is flakey. However, its not impossible to stop UNLESS you make it send always send out, for example, continuous Aurora Alpha sorties which get a little silly.

Still.. if you can accomplish a good balance between AI economy and sound use of its units/forces + make it both tactical and smart while frustrating the Pro Player then you sir are incredible!

I'd love to do some testing with your AI.

Mithril - I have a file containing all my completely-fixed UNIT/BUILDING cameos! This will greatly make viewing what proper upgrades all 12 factions have for each of their respective units/buildings (ie. USA SupW General now does not show her ground units having the Composite Armour upgrade OR USA Air General shows the Stealth Cameo for its Stealth Comanches.. these are small examples..). It took time balancing these but they make the game MUCH MORE CLEAN!

Mind you, the only thing missing, which stupid EA forgot, was to add a PATRIOTISM upgrade cameo for the China Inf General - they have the NATIONALISM one but its already pre-upgraded anyway. Would love to make a new Cameo for it as its the last cameo to make!
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#3 Lion

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 04:34 PM

Yep im pretty damn confident i could make a very powerful AF general with just about no cheating (maybe only a bit at beggining to get it going)...
My current AI does feature a powerful AF general but it has too much money to know what to do with and builds a little too extremely fast, i have to reduce that drastically...
however once the 0% bug gets fixed ill be able to work on some really good anti-rush techniques, such as adaptative defense etc... possibilities are endless with a high end machine, since cpu is not a constraint for my personal achievement (at least for not it runs fine) it should give some interesting stuff!
You have to get your AI out even if its not complete (mine isnt)!

btw im not sure if thats a problem but the SAGE AI wont upgrade to patriotism because the lazy devs just pasted the china scripts for all factions (exactly why only normal china builds mines, they have the wrong prerequisites). However this can be fixed by making it research fanaticism, the actual name of the thing :grin:

hope it works out well but so far it seems VERY promising!
Ill keep you all posted

Edited by Lion, 30 August 2004 - 07:07 AM.


#4 Mithril

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 07:10 PM

-It cannot learn


Arhm I wouldn't say THAT.. there's the Failure and Success Priority Increase\Decrease after all.. but yes it doesn't really produce effective results. Maybe you need a lot of team templates to get this to work more efficiently..

Mithril - I have a file containing all my completely-fixed UNIT/BUILDING cameos! This will greatly make viewing what proper upgrades all 12 factions have for each of their respective units/buildings (ie. USA SupW General now does not show her ground units having the Composite Armour upgrade OR USA Air General shows the Stealth Cameo for its Stealth Comanches.. these are small examples..). It took time balancing these but they make the game MUCH MORE CLEAN!


Sounds good! Want me to put it up or do you want to release it with yer AI? It's about time the community gets a harder AI. It's about to die. Many RTS fans will most likely go to BFME..

This brings me to another point > a centralized scripting project for Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth! Let's look at it this way: there are so many independent AI's about - every one of them has a very own effective tactic or strategy. Merge them all and.. you'd get much further than anyone from EA would be able to imagine!

This is only a dark idea for now. EALA , as far as I have been able to gather, has just taken ZH and expanded upon it to make what's present now of BFME. Therefore the scripting should really be on the same basis - their dev WB is most likely based on our ZH WB, thus what I am assuming is that scripters in BFME will "only" encounter new additions, e.g. new script conditions\actions, new features etc.

But let us get back to ZH for now.

such as adaptative defense


Got a theory? The only thing that I could think of is to increment a group of (3) counters after every kind of attack - aerial, vehicle or infantry - and if any of the counters reach a certain level the build order for the appropriate defense is given. For example: The AI is attacked twice by an airplane - this gives the counter a value of 2, the AI then builds a gattling cannon.

But how do we check WHERE it is supposed to build its defences? The AI may only be attacked by aircraft at its backdoor, by tanks only at its front etc., but how do we check if that happens and tell it to build the defenses at the proper position?
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#5 Lion

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 09:06 PM

Well its this kind of little magic im working on at this very moment!
I just made my first ever temporary task force...
The AF general will build auroras as quick as possible (not quick enough only 1-2 at a time with 4 airfields, gotta fix that), and hit the safest targets according to its priorities...
they are a lot more effective as single units instead of attacking in group, but for certain things such a tech center, raising the priority for it might not be enough as if they come one by one the enemy might be able to repair it and it would be costly (as the TC would be well protected). so now i created a team with the priority decreasing and increasing according to wether the enemy has a tech center, if he does it will recruit 2 or 3 auroras and send them at the same time to the tech center, fire at it and if its dead, they will dissolve into the normal attacking pattern of one by one picking outer things first!

Also if theres something to detect what was attacked (use it for main buildings as 1 script per building wil be needed at least) then is it possible the AI could send a team near it, and order the AI to build a defense once it reached its destination?

Theres a lot more to WB than meets the eye from my own experience... ive been making a lot of advanced stuff out of dumb scripts, such as money management, superweapon timing for swg (so it wont fire lots of pcus at same time) etc...

lemme try this out ill edit this in a sec

#6 Akkrand

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 11:16 PM

I really like the sound of that temporary tf Lion. Sounds very promising. ATM the auroras in my AI will go kamakaze on your superweapon, often destroying it before it is finished building, so only one is needed; but sometimes there's a lot of stuff closer, they don't go the superweapon till its finished, then they just lose plane after plane as I repair it each time...
Gathering a bunch together and going at it at the same time is exactly what I do as a human, I sure hope this works.

Cheers,
Lord Akkrand

#7 Lion

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 12:35 AM

Well i done some testing and besides a lot of tuning to teach the AI to work on less money, i did add temporary TFs. They did work, but it took them like 5 mins to get the job done, which is very very annoying!
I used my new AF AI against my second-best SWG AI, upraded with infinite money (yes thats it, it gets about 5k a minute, and has free dozers, 7 of them at all times)... well it worked after 5 mins but the swg blew up the AFG strat center, and it wouldnt rebuild it coz there were little men that come out of it all over the place grrr
well funnily enough the SWG blew up the AFG's center with 2 auroras, in what seemed to me like a temp TF... even though i didnt program it in his directory.. go figure!
Among a lot of failed attempts to do stuff. Putting men in humvees failed, the AI started making combat nooks for no reason, lol everything was going bad, UNTIL:
I changed one (1) yes one simple variable, out of complete boredom and frustration, and guess what?? i think i fixed the USA 0% building bug (biggest AI bug in my opinion)... the AFG in that match build everything just as normal, no delay, no problem, and to boot i think i got a nice performance gain!

Ill delete tmp_chunk as i forgot last time and see if it really is what i done... if im right EA people need some spanking... I also fear that variable is the source of a lot of other bugs!!! ill see if fixing it on other units will produce a similar effect!

I also need to fix some very stupid stuff that im seeing like helixes and gattling cannons not being considered enemies therefore not getting shot and killing my AI!

Even my second attempt at a temporary TF seemed to go to hell (not even debug messages appeared as i programmed them to)? should i be in debug mode or something?

anyways im still working on it!

#8 Lion

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 12:49 AM

Right guys sorry for double post but I cant help it at all!
ok i need an announcement:
EA YOU SUCK AT MAKING AI
ok done i feel better...
The bug that got me thinking for months, that made rvmech make extremely complicated scripts to fix it, that made USA AIs a joke at building fast, the bug that made my AI mod look crap! the 0% bug!

well all you do is go on the dozer team and instead of agressive set it to normal! done you fixed that thing! at least on mine it did lol
argh cant believe it would be so easy :grin: done now though...
one of ai weaknesses fixed

By the by the Adaptative defense can also be used by analyzing enemy units crossing the combat zone or leaving their inner/outer perimeter, giving it plenty of warning on what to build against what (therefore anti-rush effective)

Edited by Lion, 30 August 2004 - 12:53 AM.


#9 Akkrand

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 12:58 AM

Lion you can make a simple team that has 0-10 Rangers, a priority of 1, automatically reinforces, and can be recruited from. Give it orders like garrison a nearby building, guard the CZ, or hunt... That will get them out of your base and put them to good use. Another option is using them to reassess whether there are still tech buildings unowned that can be captured, etc. They could even load into some humvees if you have any with spare space. Put the dead buildings' infantry to use!

Cheers,
Lord Akkrand

#10 Lion

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:00 AM

Thanks thats a nice way to do it :grin:
Have you got any idea why i cant get people into the humvee? i put load into transports in the attack sequence script but to no result...
Heres the semi cheats version... i played with it and i deemed it reasonably hard but some work to be done...
It still cheats in the vital things like first airfield, warfactory, expansions and strat center, but it has no WSD cheats (-50k already) no money for dropzones (-10k), reduced money for superweapon (-2k) and so on... it does cheat a bit still though
Please have a go at it, give me your comments/suggestions/questions/improvements so then i can advance into only critical cheating and finally no cheating!

Sorry about the .rar file instead of zip but i cant fit its 200kb into one post... you can get WinRar

Only the Air force general on hard is on these settings.. some others are greatly modified and some arent, on hard as well, as this is my mods scripts file!
Also do please play against the AI and not just watch it play against other AIs as it was made to play humans not AIs

have fun!

Edited by Lion, 31 August 2004 - 06:24 AM.


#11 Akkrand

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:23 AM

Sorry man I aint got time to test your AI... it's hard working on the scripts meself here at work, testing is one thing I can't do until the end of the day, when I get home :( You see, it looks like I'm working when I am editing scripts, as I'm a programmer, and so everyone assumes that WB is just the IDE I'm using for normal programming...
But the game itself... doesn't look anything like an IDE :( So no testing...
That's one of the main reasons when I do test, its AI vs AI... I can minimise the game and my test still runs... gotta check back every now and again, for a second or two...
Regarding the Humvees, what I now do with Battlebuses is not tell them to get into the transport in the attack sequence, 'cos often only 1 guy gets in then the transport is like "we're loaded, off we go" and the rest trail behind yelling 'wait up you friggin maniac!'...
Instead now I have in their OnCreate script, it runs a sequence: move towards the nearest building of type 'Base Buildings' then load into transports. So they all have time to load before LAUNCH_ATTACK goes true, and then its all good...

Hope that helps.

Cheers,
Lord Akkrand

#12 thudo

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:35 AM

btw im not sure if thats a problem but the SAGE AI wont upgrade to patriotism because the lazy devs just pasted the china scripts for all factions (exactly why only normal china builds mines, they have the wrong prerequisites). However this can be fixed by making it research fanaticism, the actual name fo the thing :grin:


Really? Fanaticism? AI China Inf General doesn't research Patriotism but will Fanaticism (which is the same as Patriotism)? Grrrrr... yep.. sloppy EA to say the least!

So then one could theoretically make a Cameo similar to the Nationalism Icon but this time make it for Patriotism/Fanaticism. I'd have to rip out where the Nationalism Icon exists, change it, add it in as a new Cameo and then see if the game takes it. Possible?
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#13 Lion

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 07:00 AM

lol i had just this feeling when i found out about it! Hey im good at finding out random things like that and the solution for the 0% bug... guess i wanted more fanatical soldiers and more peaceful dozers :p
now as for the cameo im not 100% sure how it works, but i imagine it replaces nationalism as it is already replaced (and also i think patriotism has its own icon already so you only have to put it in the right place!)

The EA AI designers do seem to suck.. SWG researching composite armor, generals getting upgrades only other generals have, the ABSOLUTELY STOOPID LOGIC OF CONTROL RODS FOR POWERPLANTS (lol they add a string in every script trying to get it to work when a script checking every 20 secs does the same), SWGs firing 3 PCUs at same time on same place (big waste), not to mention AFG droppping off parachutists on the enemies highest cost area (read: full of gat tanks quads or defenses)... ahh good job guys like me and you exist to show them whos boss ^_^

Guys come on 0 downloads! this really brings my faith in AI modding down, I tested all AIs ive ever seen so far, (ok maybe not all versions by akkrand, he does them too quick) and seeing that might even help you guys with yours. It did help me seeing others anyways (and not even ripping off, but opens my mind a lot and i get new crazy ideas)!
I think i know whats up, its the same reason all my beta testers disappeared while i was away! My AFG AI kicks butt so hard no one wants to play it anymore lol :laugh: :grin:

anyways if you get the chance... one quick match on tournie desert or something : :p thanks

Edited by Lion, 30 August 2004 - 07:06 AM.


#14 thudo

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 12:40 PM

lol i had just this feeling when i found out about it! Hey im good at finding out random things like that and the solution for the 0% bug... guess i wanted more fanatical soldiers and more peaceful dozers :grin:
now as for the cameo im not 100% sure how it works, but i imagine it replaces nationalism as it is already replaced (and also i think patriotism has its own icon already so you only have to put it in the right place!)


Yea thats quite bad on EA's part: the Patriotism Icon for the CHina Inf General is already shown as being researched YET you can go into your Propaganda Center and RESEARCH IT AGAIN! Bahhh.. I would want to change the cameo to show the same pix (China Red Flag) but for Patriotism have a faded watermark showing a group of Chinese soldiers opaque to the flag to denote its a different kind of upgrade.

I mean, its no biggie just looks so unprofessional the way it is now plus the fact its already highlighted as being researched yet u can research the same upgrade again which itself is the same cameo. Sad.
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#15 Mithril

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:12 PM

I just tested the AFG AI.. well I lost versus 1 on Tournament Desert...

HOW do you win against that monster?! I have NO idea at all how you could possibly gather a sizeable force to counter any of those aerial assaults..

This frustration may be due to my incompetence as a player - however, I do realize a brilliant AI when I see one, and this one certainly goes into that category!

Can't give ye much support though - all I was able to see was that it attacked me with king raptors initially then came with LOADS of auroras , hummers + rangers+MD's and groups of 2 tommies. No chance of success for a human :)


I suppose you need a pro player to test this thoroughly..

Edited by Mithril, 30 August 2004 - 05:12 PM.

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#16 thudo

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:51 PM

Oh I'm just gonna have to see this!! AiF General that is brillant! It doesn't cheat too much does it? :) I remember playing Lion's AI against the Demo General and damn it was good ALTHOUGH it really went ape-shiet on building 20-30 StingerSites at one expansion Supply dock! Ouch. Even worse, the GLA AI had 3 ScudStorms created a little too fast for it to be a Pro Player.

One thing to watch is to ensure the AI isn't IMPOSSIBLY HARD.. keep it real.. You know when its too hard when it has 3-5 SuperWeapons built in record time. Thats a little insane.

Btw.. found the Cameros in the EnglishZH.big file. The 4 China factions are in 4 .tga files where the one most important is the "SNUserInterface512_004.tga" file. Now its a question of adding a new one similar to Nationalism, editing the CommandButton or related INI and ensuring it shows ther right upgrades for the Inf General's MiniGunner/Rocket Soldier.
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#17 Lion

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 06:09 PM

Well those old MOD AIs are cheat masters... Currently they pay for 90% of their stuff...
As the thread name says the AFG tries not to cheat!
unless theres a serious bug round here heres what i changed:
-It doesnt get WSD cheats
-It wont get money for superweapons (it doesnt need them anyways)
-It wont get money for supply drop zones
-It wont have special expansions (NOT FIXED IN THAT FILE!)

The file you see there has actually one bug where it will get money for building expansions when it cant... it is already fixed and i noticed no main difference on performance as it only kicks in later in game (when youre already getting owned so its ok :p)


One thing ill guarante it doesnt feel anywhere as "cheaty" as the rest of my AIs.. thats the future (for the AFG anyways)... Im just exploiting as i can the ability of the AI to do everything really fast! It wont have 1000+ defenses, or lots of superweapons, or lots of units for that matter (it relies on not losing them to build an overwhelming challenge)!


theres a LOT to improve but im confident ive done a solid 10% of what i need for my ideal AI, that was in one night!
Ive now added MOABs (seems weird as it "gets it" without research but it pays for it and it wont use until it has it for about 4 minutes so sounds pretty human-like to me)
Got some more smart logic when shooting special powers (doesnt have real defined attack waves so why bother with waiting for flag? (fires some 20% faster now)

Ill post a new version when i made enough changes to it (so you only have to play a couple of times and youll see big differences!)


UPDATE:
Im just in a match against it and whoooaaa its beauty... Tournament continent versus my improved china nuke... Its evil! the AFG blown up the chinese supply depot, and built one for himself there... it even captured two tech buildings at the same time, without me doing anything about it!
I also noticed boy the AI can burn money! it has 6 supply depots going on full blast, 3 derricks and 4 drop zones and it wont go over 4k!
ill post this new version soon!


UPDATE 2:
took out some more cheats (it pays for airfield, fixed expansion bug, it now pays for some of its expansion, and fully for superweapon), so its some more 10k in a failry short game, at least 40k in a long one (the expansion bug gave it a LOT)
Added humvees with people in them, but not 100% reliable and tweaked the whole thing to bits!
It also manages money better when loaded it with!
Again this was made to be played against humans and it will look deceivingly weak against AIs!
I even have a challenge for those brave enough to attempt it:
play as any side but the infantry general against it on whiteout on opposite corners of the map. I DARE you to win... if you do i want a replay to make sure no cheats or exploits were used :)
Damn this thing gave me a hard time!

here it is:

Attached Files


Edited by Lion, 31 August 2004 - 01:14 PM.


#18 Lion

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 02:10 PM

Guys My priorities are behaving weirdly at times, sometimes picking the wrong targets at the wrong distance... Dynamic threat assessment seems to work fine (especially for comanches) however im seeing auroras bombing infantry right next to a higher priority target like a tank...
i deleted tmp_chunk and no results... seems to happen only a few times though... any ideas?

BTW a new version is up above

#19 Akkrand

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 11:26 PM

One thing to watch is to ensure the AI isn't IMPOSSIBLY HARD.. keep it real.. You know when its too hard when it has 3-5 SuperWeapons built in record time. Thats a little insane.

As far as I'm concerned, if you lower the AI cheating to zero, I don't care if it's so hard the best Pro players in the world can't beat it. If the AI doesn't cheat and a human can't beat it, the human needs practice.
There are so many things the computer can do that a human can't - like in-flight corrections due to new/dead targets, giving out 10 orders at once, etc.
But there are things you can't tell the computer to do - like when it sends out 2 rangers to capture tech derricks, they both capture the one, even when 2 are right next to each other. Capturing both at the same time saves a pro player about 1 minutes, advancing his funds $1000 1 minute earlier, and increasing his cash by $200 every few seconds for that minute. A human can tell a dozer to move to the supply dock, then the moment the power plant is complete, tell him to start building the supply center, saving 10-15 seconds travelling time.

A human can do some things, a computer others. Not only that, since to a large degree you know what the computer is going to do, it should be beatable; maybe not initially, but after a few (dozen :) ) games against it, you'll develop tactics to beat it. Eventually. Maybe.

Cheers,
Lord Akkrand

#20 Lion

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 11:41 PM

the AI can capture 2 derricks at one time in most maps, with one single guy for each if you wish to program so... it does not do so often however, so im fixing it for next version of my mod (guaranteed to work on some maps at the very least). I also have plans for a more extreme approach to the matter (works with any number of derricks) but i need to test a lot of stuff out still...
when an AF AI builds everything faster than you (as it can do), raptor rushes your puny SWG dozers, then chinooks and finshes your base off in under three minutes, you might KNOW it will do that but i doubt youll be able to do much against it! (unless you play with Fai)

Another approach (the one im taking with my AI, slowly) is making the AI as random as possible, random strat center strategies, random attack wave timers and base expansion, as well as order of upgrades and which attack groups to use. All that while still reacting to the player's strategy as well (eg, my comanches wont attack until most of the enemies defenses have been destroyed)...
afterall i rather have an easier but challenging experience than to get owned 9 out of 10 times from a raptor rush i can only counter when i build my barracks/wf fast enough... (considering youre using the same general that is)

Either way, ill post another version soon...
im stramlining the build order some more, adding a lot more randomness. Yup, no more hogging your army on one place and when you hear "hold the line" you just move them half a screen away and watch the b2 come past! its gonna get ya when youre not expecting it :)
Im doing a really nice project too, im adding on every script that gives it money an add x to a counter (where x is the money it gets) and have it up on display, so ill know EXACTLY how much cheat money it is getting... so far i took out almost 100k so i presume there can only be at most 15-30k still there...
ill keep you posted!

And when you guys have the time try the uploaded version out and tell me what you think :) doesnt look very cheaty at all to me (ok only a bit) but more like a player...

Edited by Lion, 02 September 2004 - 12:11 AM.





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