Arcen Games

Games => AI War II => Topic started by: BadgerBadger on December 08, 2018, 03:34:08 PM

Title: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: BadgerBadger on December 08, 2018, 03:34:08 PM
Overall the AI is currently Not Very Smart in battles. It tends to fight around the wormhole it spawned at when attacking, and only gradually move out. In general, it's not very threatening, and this is a problem.

I'm looking for people to help brainstorm some things for the AI to do to seem scarier. Things like "Take the entire attacking force and bum rush the Command Station", "Take the entire force and try to rush past the player's defenses to a less defended player planet", "Take all the cloaked ships and try to snipe the Energy Collector".

Does anyone remember really scary things the AI in AIWC used to do?
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on December 08, 2018, 04:05:51 PM
AI Tractor units that had grabbed some hostiles would pull them to other planets is one that's not in yet. Though there's nothing like Raid Engines for them to trigger, so it's not super useful currently. Raid Engines are sort of in the code - just unable to differentiate player from faction, so it always sends it at you.

I think bum-rushing Command Stations is...something that would drastically increase difficulty. It would also force the AI to actually use things like Raiders immunity to nearly every slow (currently they all just stop at the first thing they can shoot, so it's useless to the AI. Heck, useless to every faction).

If things could bypass forcefields (and the AI had them back, fixed) there is some sneakiness for the AI there. Chris did bring up that it didn't work out so well when he tried it though, so doubt that'll be a thing.

The main AI being able to kite you would be handy too - currently they'll happily sit there until you catch up to all of the long range stuff it has. Hunter and Warden are fine there.

Syncing waves with a CPA isn't really "in-combat", but it was another thing it occasionally tried to do. Though it was fairly mis-timed (because the wave would go in and die before the CPA actually got to you).
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: Kesseleth on December 08, 2018, 04:48:27 PM
I'd like to see the AI make better use of its cloaked ships. Right now they just seem to target whatever is closest to them. It'd be much more worrisome if the AI was super smart - let's take a huge army of cloaked ships, and while the player is distracted dealing with all my other stuff, I'll sneak them around and try to burst down the shield. Even if the player manages to fight back the shield's been crippled, which will allow my other ships to hopefully finish it off and take the command station. That's something I'd like to see.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: BadgerBadger on December 08, 2018, 05:02:55 PM
Hmmm. I bet I could do another flavour of AI fleet like the Warden or Hunter fleets that focuses on cloaked ships only and does anti-Energy Collector strikes..... I'd keep it indistinguishable from the AI from the player point of view though; no need to show all the AI's cards....

Anyone have a name?
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on December 08, 2018, 05:28:39 PM
Infiltrators (very similar to Instigator though)
Saboteurs
Subversers/Subverters (Eh, not a fan but throwing it in)
Vandals? (Not a fan either)
Interlopers
Invaders
Trespassers
Meddlers

I'll edit this for more...these are generally just throwing words I can think of into a website to get synonyms.

Other than names...is the old Strategic Reserve a possible thing? Large store of Mark 5 ships, deployed only on AI homeworlds at full strength (100%) and Super Terminal worlds (just 10%), replenished over time, is added back to budget if no hostiles left. It's not really essential, just inquiring.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: Draco18s on December 09, 2018, 07:00:08 PM
This should not happen. There's nearly 2000 strength worth of Fortified Tesla Guardians, Plasma Guardians, and Concussion Guardians.

All they do is sit there. My entire fleet of 30 strength lasts about 15 seconds and can take out ONE stack, which the AI gets to rebuild in about 20 seconds (there are 3 instigators on that planet, THREE, two of which spawn 2.5% of a wave worth of units every 20 seconds). The planet is basically untouchable.

I was able to take out the AIP instigator and the command station (which, as it turns out, was irrelevant: the ships still sit there, the instigators still produce 2.5% of a wave every 20 seconds, and nothing's changed). But with that planet in on one side, a 116 strength nanocaust planet on the other (with 2 gravity guardians sitting on the wormhole) my only other option is to try and come around from the third (and last) wormhole I control.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on December 09, 2018, 07:16:31 PM
That's noted as being fixed in the next release, whenever it comes out.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: Draco18s on December 09, 2018, 09:41:46 PM
That's noted as being fixed in the next release, whenever it comes out.

Cool.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: BadgerBadger on December 09, 2018, 11:50:00 PM
It's also thoroughly off topic for the discussion :-P
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: Dominus Arbitrationis on December 10, 2018, 04:37:07 PM
It's also thoroughly off topic for the discussion :-P

This is Arcen. We don't do "on-topic". :P
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: AnnoyingOrange on December 11, 2018, 04:28:50 AM
It's also thoroughly off topic for the discussion :-P

I'm not sure it's entirely off topic, ideally the AI should automatically realize it has a nice fat deathball just lying around and put it to use.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on December 11, 2018, 06:44:56 AM
You refer to large amounts of threat just sitting there? I can poke the aggressiveness of it around a bit. I think the default is it would only attack if it has more than 2x your power. Would 1.5x seem better or lower?
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: AnnoyingOrange on December 11, 2018, 08:01:25 AM
I'm specifically talking about Instigator-spawned threat sitting there or even retreating when faced by enormously inferior forces: I'm aware that specific case is a bug, but it gave me the idea of a failsafe system detecting poorly located/idle threat and putting it to use (even just moving it to important worlds).
2x seems a tad high in my opinion, but then again all threat attacks I've seen were early game and consisted of one or two guardians reaching my defenseless homeworld and standing near the wormhole so I can't say for sure.

More importantly, threat-spawning instigators seem to produce way too much threat compared to everything else.
CPA 5 hours in with 300 AIP? Meh, 30 threat spread across a 40 planet map.
Wormhole waves on an undefended planet, with 300 AIP? 15 threat maybe.
Instigator base I see spawning three hops in enemy territory and reach in half an hour? 70 threat on one planet, and that was much earlier in the game, with less than 200 AIP.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: BadgerBadger on December 11, 2018, 08:12:53 AM
Well, Waves and CPAs tend to attack in a group or when they have an advantage. Instigators send their forces in piecemeal, where they can be easily destroyed by defenses. In fact, people sometimes leave them alive to generate more salvage.

I have tweaked the game to allow the AI 3 behaviours when attacking your planet. First is "Normal", where it just fights nearby player units. Second is that it will send all its forces right at your command station. Third is, if the AI is outnumbered (say a wave that is hitting a heavily defended planet), it will send its forces to a weaker adjacent player-owned planet; so it will try to rush past your strong point and attack your less defended territory in the rear.

These additional behaviours are only available on higher difficulties, and the % of the time it will try them is given in the AIDifficulty XML.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: Draco18s on December 11, 2018, 09:50:22 AM
You refer to large amounts of threat just sitting there? I can poke the aggressiveness of it around a bit. I think the default is it would only attack if it has more than 2x your power. Would 1.5x seem better or lower?

Wouldn't help. It was already sitting on 100x my power and not using it. Lowering the threshold would mean bugger all to numbers like that.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: RocketAssistedPuffin on December 11, 2018, 10:44:37 AM
I'm specifically talking about Instigator-spawned threat sitting there or even retreating when faced by enormously inferior forces: I'm aware that specific case is a bug, but it gave me the idea of a failsafe system detecting poorly located/idle threat and putting it to use (even just moving it to important worlds).

Wouldn't help. It was already sitting on 100x my power and not using it. Lowering the threshold would mean bugger all to numbers like that.

Yeah, this is a bug that was fixed last update just now. Instigators are not meant to act as threat, so when it was mentioned, I was thinking about Sentinel/Hunter units, like from CPAs, not Instigators. Bit of a miscommunication there. The threshold for attacking would apply to the mentioned Sentinel/Hunter units, not Instigators.

Instigator units are meant to, as Badger said, attack piecemeal towards your Homeworld. They don't care if they can't win, they just try anyway. When they work, that is.

Apologies for confusion!
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: BadgerBadger on December 11, 2018, 12:06:22 PM
Instigators, Hunter Fleet, Warden Fleet and main AI all are implemented very differently and have very different rules for when they attack. I'm interested here in the main AI.
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: AnnoyingOrange on December 11, 2018, 01:26:06 PM
it will send its forces to a weaker adjacent player-owned planet;

Nice, better start redesigning my conga line defenses
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: Draco18s on December 11, 2018, 02:32:17 PM
Wouldn't help. It was already sitting on 100x my power and not using it. Lowering the threshold would mean bugger all to numbers like that.

Yeah, this is a bug that was fixed last update just now. Instigators are not meant to act as threat, so when it was mentioned, I was thinking about Sentinel/Hunter units, like from CPAs, not Instigators. Bit of a miscommunication there. The threshold for attacking would apply to the mentioned Sentinel/Hunter units, not Instigators.

Instigator units are meant to, as Badger said, attack piecemeal towards your Homeworld. They don't care if they can't win, they just try anyway. When they work, that is.

Apologies for confusion!

Gotcha. In that case, I don't mind if they bunch up a little (2.5% of a wave is like 2 units), but definitely no more than 12% of a full wave. If they held station until the next wave hit, then attacked, they'd hit either as additional force or come in from another direction. Total strength wouldn't be much, but would at least apart to be semi-competent.

(Travel time from "where I am" to nearest player world to perform optimum timing doesn't feel arduous)
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: zeusalmighty on December 12, 2018, 02:44:54 AM
My response went too long to be read in this thread, so I posted it here: https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii/response-to-improving-ai-strategy/ (https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii/response-to-improving-ai-strategy/)
Title: Re: Improving AI in-combat strategy
Post by: Kesseleth on December 12, 2018, 10:58:23 AM
Power's a little arbitrary if you ask me. I know it would probably be hard to implement, but if possible I wouldn't mind seeing a heuristic system put in place - if the AI has five times strength and then goes on a planet and starts getting massacred, it would retreat before losing too much and then return when it has an even larger advantage, possibly considering your defense composition versus its own ships to decide how much strength would be needed.