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 Post subject: AI Discussion
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:04 pm 
Sea Wolf
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 1:26 pm
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I'm uploading a replay that I think brings a few important AI points to light in a game where I start off with some bad declarations but come back to win.

1. AI think time

Watch, especially near the end of the game. The AI fails to eliminate units it easily had the firepower to take, often firing on the wrong unit and in doing so failing to take my eastern SA which it should have taken.

The only way the AI is going to figure out these problems is by throwing some more time at it. As a human, it's easy. You see those two units, you see their health which is X, you know unit Y could reach them and does the X damage. You see the other unit has 3 health and three spaces around it, can you get three single point damage units there.

Expressing that as code on the other hand is hard. Any half decent player throws out certain attacks in a second, because "common sense" tells them it's a nonsense. The AI has to think through their lines to realise they're rubbish, but that takes time, and the AI needs more time because it's not cutting it right now in situations where it should be taking the player down.

The AI also moved a Battle Platform complete with Rocket Launcher into range of my transport & bot. WTF?

2. Guerilla deployment

When deploying the AI doesn't seem to take into consideration neighbouring countries that it owns. Look at the number of times it used pillboxes, thus blocking off its own troops should I choose not to destroy the pillboxes.

In one country which it owns, it again chooses pillboxes on the back line, but the very fact that it owns the territory means it should have chosen a mobile force which would be complimentary to a declaration of the territory that turn, like a rocket launcher which then has LAVs deployed in front of it in the declaration phase, or two tanks which form part of a greater line in declaration.

The AI is far too fond of pillboxes for its own good. Just because I've invaded a territory doesn't mean I have to take it. If you build pillboxes in a corner all I need to do is take the capital and then I can drive off, having rendered your country useless without having to waste time fighting anyone. Had time been tighter in that replay, that's EXACTLY what I'd have done when I invaded his low from my medium, ignored that territory and driven through to the next, pausing only to take the capital.

3. Narrow borders

Note that the AI medium attacking my low has two tanks and two mechs attacking two spaces. That's all the firepower the AI needs against a low as I can't deploy more than two LAVs. The AI then builds a rocket launcher there... why? What is this unit for?

4. Lack of mobility

The AI still seems to treat LAVs as its fallback when it's not sure what to do. Look at when it declared its northen low behind the central one. It had a line of pillboxes to hide behind, so why LAVs? Why didn't it build enough to cover the gap (maybe one spare) and then put in mortars? What's the point of the pillbox line if you're not going to use it for cover. In the end it just got in the way of the LAVs.

When the AI had my easten low lines broken, it still continued to buy LAVs. When the lines are broken it should be punching through with tanks.

It also failed to use transports, but I think that's more related to think time.

5. Timer

BTW, when the "Opponent's Turn" box comes up, the AIs timer is ticking down but the AI doesn't do anything until I click OK. Possible exploit?


Without these mistakes the AI would have crushed me, as it should have. It's certainly a more interesting AI these days, but it's making a lot of the same mistakes, and I can't help the feeling that its tactical behaviour (destroying units) is actually weaker than it used to be, though this could well be due to the increased number of units in its frontline mix.

File comment: Examples of weaknesses in the AI
4111-S'-Quitch(W)-Emily(L)-16.rep [42.85 KiB]
Downloaded 235 times

"Massive Assault is a game for those, who like to think. In this game random factor exists without doubt, but it doesn't play a decisive role." - Tiger
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