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General Category => AI War II => AI War II - Interface => Topic started by: x4000 on August 31, 2016, 09:15:06 AM

Title: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: x4000 on August 31, 2016, 09:15:06 AM
How many difficulty levels should we have, and what should they be called?

Personally, I'm not sure that difficulties 1-4 were really used much in the past.  Difficulty 5+ were used by people to varying degrees, and 7 and 8 were used so much that we had to make decimal places to go in there.

We then had to have the tutorials say "play as blah blah if you have XY experience," etc.

Clearly the topmost difficulty (previously 10) should be "Literally Impossible - It's A Bug If You Win."
The lowest difficulty (previously 5) should probably be called "Relaxed But Interesting"
Difficulty 7 should probably be "Experience RTS Player" or something like that.

Anyway... thoughts?

Obviously there are a couple of things to note:
1. The names will be moddable.
2. What these do will be moddable.
3. How many there are will be moddable.
4. Longer descriptions that explain what these do will be there.

So let's not get into those parts just yet, at least not in this topic. :)
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Cinth on August 31, 2016, 09:23:54 AM
I actually learned the game in the sandbox (dif 1).  It's a good place to learn mechanics and play with other things without extreme AI pressure.  I still recommend 1 for those having trouble with the game.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: chemical_art on August 31, 2016, 09:34:33 AM
I actually learned the game in the sandbox (dif 1).  It's a good place to learn mechanics and play with other things without extreme AI pressure.  I still recommend 1 for those having trouble with the game.

Agreed, just name it "sandbox" mode.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: kasnavada on August 31, 2016, 09:40:11 AM
Well.

For me, AI War should have the image of being an difficult game, so I'd go for 5 or 7 difficulty level at most. I'd go for something that would look like this, more or less:

(lowest difficulty)
1) "Relaxed But Interesting"
2) "New to the genre"
3) "Experienced RTS Player" (old diff 7).
4) Experienced with AI War (old diff 8 )
5) Cyborg (old diff 9)
6) AI in disguise (old 9.6)
7) "Literally Impossible - It's A Bug If You Win. PS: the bug report with attached save will be sent to the devs for review and bug correction."
(Topmost difficulty)

Ok, I'm bad with names.
I don't know if "moddable" is good. I'd rather, if possible, have "pre-settable", like a bunch of sliders in the "main lobby", for each "settable" difficulty mechanic an,d the possibility to save (possibly steam workshop ?) the saved settings.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Lord Of Nothing on August 31, 2016, 10:45:06 AM
I'd argue that old diff seven should have at least four levels below it. Further, simplicity is king in a name. So maybe...
1-Sandbox (Old diff 1)
2-New to the Genre (There must be a shorter way to say this...) (Old diff 3)
3-Beginner (Old diff 5)
4-Casual Game  (This sounds a bit better than just casual, as it's not talking about the player so directly, but I still don't like it.) (Old diff 6)
4-Moderate (Old diff 7)
5-Hard (Old diff 8)
6-Expert (Old diff 9)
7-Master (Old diff 9.2)
8-Champion (Old diff 9.4)
9-AI in disguise (Old 9.6)
10- Time to Die (Old 10)
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Pumpkin on August 31, 2016, 10:51:49 AM
So... one central difficulty level, or still one per AI?

If it's the name that is important, then a naming convention is required. What is named? The AI? The player?

I will use a dummy naming just for you identify the difficulties:
1) Sandbox (1)
2) Easy (5)
3) Normal (7)
4) Advanced (8;9)
5) Extreme (10)

For instance, we can name the difficulty with an adjective for the player:
1) One Hundred Monkey and a Keyboard
2) Aspirant Strategist
3) Cryo Commander
4) Elder General
5) Lawful AI

Or we could name the AI having that difficulty:
1) Empty Loop
2) Basic Script
3) Emergent AI
4) Alien Software
5) Quantum CPU

Or the difficulty's name could be a taunt of a comment on the player selecting it (maybe not engaging for new players):
1) Don't you want to actually play?
2) Afraid of nasty AI, little one?
3) Brave but not reckless.
4) Are you ready for this?
5) You'll die. Or find a bug.

Or it could be a phrase the player would say when selecting that difficulty:
1) I just want to run some tests.
2) Could you explain me the game?
3) Let's play a game.
4) I'm ready to be challenged!
5) I will hack you.

I have a personal preference for naming the AI: Empty Loop, Basic Script, Emergent AI, Alien Software, Quantum CPU.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: kasnavada on August 31, 2016, 11:07:08 AM
5) You'll die. Or find a bug.

I love this one.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Kahuna on August 31, 2016, 12:20:30 PM
1. Sandbox
2. Training ground
3. Rookie
4. Intermediate
5. Seasoned
6. Veteran
7. Elite
8. Impossible
9. Doom

Or

1. Sandbox
2. Walk in the park
3. Piece of cake
4. Easy
5. Moderate
6. Challenging
7. Nightmare
8. Insane
9. Doomsday

Or

1. Sandbox
2. Tame
3. Very easy
4. Easy
5. Medium
6. Hard
7. Very hard
8. Impossible
9. Doom

Or

1. They must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel when they hired the programmers to program us
2. I have a money, give me the weapon
3. Puny humans
4. I've come here to kick ass and chew bubblegum and I'm all out of gum
5. Extermination
6. Alt F4
7. I'm no longer out of gum
8. Bring it on you little s**t
9. Welcome you new AI overlords
10. Get terminated
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: steelwing on August 31, 2016, 01:10:15 PM
1. Sandbox
2. Peaceful
3. Casual
...
8. Misery
9. x4000
 :P
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Mánagarmr on August 31, 2016, 01:24:25 PM
Why so goddamn many difficulties?

1. Sandbox
2. Easy (old 5)
3. Normal (old 7)
4. Experienced (old 8)
5. Hard (old 9)
6. Impossible (old 10)

Even THAT is too many to me, but I feel AIW needs the granularity.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Tridus on August 31, 2016, 02:31:33 PM
Because I want to avoid words like 'casual' due to the negative connotion it has with some gamers, and words like 'easy' because people tend to avoid it even when they shouldn't because they don't want to "play on easy", and 'sandbox' because lots of people won't understand what it means...

AI Aggressiveness (aka: Difficulty):

Maybe not a list you'd use as-is, but I hope it stirs up some ideas. :)
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: PokerChen on August 31, 2016, 02:42:12 PM
Oh, I did use 3 in my very first game. Then upped to 5, then 7 from there on.

Here is a computer-themed set of difficulty names for lols.
3.0 Hello World!
5.0 AI reprogramming for dummies
7.0 Summer of Code champion
8.0 Script-fu master
9.0 Zero-day hijacking
9.6 Single point failure mode
10.0 Chomsky Type-Zero Solution

= = = = =
And here's a more serious line of suggestions. The basic names, I think, need to be simple and clear-cut.
3.0 Sandbox (achievements disabled)
5.0 Easy
7.0 Normal
8.5 Difficult
9.3 Legendary
10.0 Real-life
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Mánagarmr on August 31, 2016, 03:04:24 PM
If it wasn't for the bug report name, 10 should be called "Grey Goo".
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Draco18s on August 31, 2016, 05:51:30 PM
For what it's worth, we shouldn't toss out 7, 7.3, 7.6, 8, 8.3, and 8.6

That was the sweet spot in terms of experienced players and that some of us were slightly better than others of us (myself, I'm probably really only a 6 on my lonesome, but with the friend that got me into AI War in the first place, we'd play on 7.6 most of the time).  And it had to do with the exponential nature of some of the effects, so jumping from 7 to 8 was really big--as big as the jump from 4 to 7.

So, whatever the names, the "values" I'd keep would probably be:
2, 5, 6, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10

Which...interestingly...makes for 10 difficulty levels.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Aklyon on August 31, 2016, 07:41:27 PM
I'll just agree on the 'We really only need one of the sandbox difficulties'. I don't think anyone used 2-4 for much, but I did use 1 occasionally for the sandboxyness.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Misery on September 01, 2016, 07:25:55 AM
5) You'll die. Or find a bug.

I love this one.

Same here, that's easily my favorite.  It's hilarious.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: BadgerBadger on December 29, 2016, 11:32:22 AM
I think it would be cool to allow a more fine grained approach to difficulty. What if there were different knobs for "How intelligent the AI is about exploiting weaknesses", "How heavily fortified AI planets are", "How many player-useful things there are (fabricators, progress reducers, design backups, etc)", "AI CPA recharge rate", "AI reinforcement rate" and so on. When a user sets it to Difficulty 7 (or whatever that's going to be called in the new regime), what that means it is sets all the knobs to the appropriate places for Difficulty 7. If the user then clicks on the "advanced settings menu" then they can further tweak things.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: dotjd on December 29, 2016, 01:08:05 PM
i don't think there should be so many difficulty gradients as there are in classic. the difference between 2 and 3 and 4, for example, or 7 and 7.3 and 7.6?  completely lost on me. or at the very least those kinds of gradients shouldn't be exposed by default. i wouldn't necessarily be averse to hiding an advanced options menu somewhere.

anyways, difficulty name (aiwc difficulty it would roughly correspond to)

Sandbox (1)
Be Gentle (3 or 4)
Easy (5 or 6)
Normal (7)
Hard (8 )
Extreme (9)
Watch Me Die (10)

I've been meaning to play Doom 64 sometime and it has great difficulty names...
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: NickAragua on December 30, 2016, 02:04:22 AM
Taking a page from Bungie's difficulty naming convention, a fairly straightforward name, and a longer description:

Trivial - You will face bug-ridden software programmed by inebriated college students as an undergraduate computer science project. Military experts are still puzzled as to how it managed to defeat humanity in the first place. When you are inevitably victorious, you will feel as if you have defeated a small child.

Easy - Your opposition is a decent combat simulator suite used to train officer cadets before a wiring mishap led it to take over the galaxy. You are very likely to be victorious, unless you lack tactical and strategic flexibility.

Normal - The foe is a fully sentient artificial intelligence spanning across galaxies, but its resources are not infinite. If you are clever and resourceful, you may very well defeat the enemy and be rightfully proud of your accomplishment.

Hard - An ever-evolving enemy will test your skills to and beyond their limits with a bewildering array of deadly weapons and tactics. If you survive and are victorious, all will praise your undeniable strategic ability.

Impossible - Your opposition is the gods striding across galaxies, and you are but an ant scurrying about underfoot. The machine may crush you without even noticing what happened. If you win, it's probably because you cheated.
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Peter Ebbesen on January 15, 2017, 12:14:21 AM
I love the simple numbering system with the fractional difficulty levels from #1, but if names are required, how about keeping it simple and letting the difficulty levels denote the requisite understanding of game mechanics to stand a reasonable chance of success?

This is based on my own AI War experiences, where difficulty 7 was fairly easy and required minimal strategic planning to succeed once I understood the fundamentals of gameplay, while 9 was hard and required that I pay attention to the logistics of mineral flow and production; Not that AI War has a great focus on logistics, but what little it has becomes increasingly important as the difficulty level increases and the player is pushed to achieve more with less, operating with razor-thin margins for error.


(An even better name for the final difficulty level would be "Kahuna" or "Faulty Logic" as in-jokes, but the former would be completely uninformative to the uninitiated and thus a bad idea on general principles and the latter might suggest that the player didn't fully deserve all the pain coming his way.)
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: Wanderer on March 04, 2017, 05:10:41 AM
I'd say the old AIWar, except at the extreme end of 9-10, was a bit too granular.  The reason for 7-8 granularity and 9-10 granularity was because of trying to tune just the right level for some folks... however, once I beat 6 I blew my way through to 9, so some of that granularity was lost on me.

I'd say five, perhaps six, levels of difficulty would be roughly right for a steady progression:

1) The AI's in the sandbox, go make a castle with it.   (old 1/1 equivalent)
2) Very distracted AI.  It's forgotten about the Humans. (old 5/5)
3) You're a threat the AI respects.  (old 7/7)
4) The AI hasn't forgotten you.  It's still angry.  (old 9/9)
5) Exterminate... EXTERMINATE!!!  (old 9.6/9.6)
6) Deux Ex Machina... and you owe us an AAR if you win.  (old 10/10)
Title: Re: Name the difficulty levels!
Post by: NichG on March 31, 2017, 11:41:57 PM
It's a bit ambitious, but could we do something like an ELO ranking of the various difficulty levels (or AI opponents for that matter)?

Basically collect statistics from volunteering players during the Alpha and Beta as to win/loss rates (with quitting the campaign after the first hour = loss, lets say) at the different levels and then make a sort of  '+1 point difference = *1.25 win probability' type of scale? That might help make things like 7.3 and 8.7 difficulties concretely interpretable (and as a plus, it's a way to give players feedback as to how easy/hard they're making their game by toggling various options).