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RE: AI Development and Our Hobby

 
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RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 6/29/2007 9:21:47 PM   
dinsdale


Posts: 382
Joined: 5/1/2003
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Warfare1

Hi :)

Overall in your post you made some valid points.

I wonder if game sales in our hobby isn't also related to the type of game being offered?

...If SSG decides one day to apply their AI expertise to a large strategic game of WWII, then they will no doubt garner even more attention.

Absolutely, I think you're expanding on the point I was trying to make: AI is hardly a consideration.

For reasons you point out about SSG (Korsun Pocket, BiN BiI) could have the greatest AI on earth and it won't necessarily make a difference to someone buying it if they're not interested in the scale or the subject. So it shouldn't be a surprise that games which seem to have better than average AI's aren't necessarily the best sellers.

------------

quote:

ORIGINAL: Iain McNeil
Just to clear up one fact - we do not use any of the AI from Chariots of War in our games. That AI is dead and buried and will never be returned to. AI is so game specific anything other than generic route finding algorithms are useless to other games and route finding is not even really what you woudl call AI.

Iain, are you really stating that game AI is unique among almost all code in that none of it is reuseable? I offered CoW as an example, that perhaps if process had been put in place then, that a significant amount of work could be reused and improved rather than thinking that each game must reinvent the wheel.

---------------

quote:

ORIGINAL: JoeDBoA has a decent AI, but it abstracts many features and gives the user fewer tactical options.

I'd be interested in why you think BoA has a simpler ruleset than CEAW.

---------------

quote:

ORIGINAL: dtx175
AI can't "see" the map - it only "knows" what the programmer has assigned as numerical representations on a map (everything a computer "knows" is numeric -ultimately just 0s & 1s). Similarly, each unit on each hex of the map represent a different number.

One might as well also explain that surround sound and 3d effects are also handled by what is ultimately just 0s and 1s. I'm not sure what the point is.

quote:


To give some sense of this, one of the programmers for Big Blue (the IBM supercomputer that played world-class chess) did his entire PhD thesis on the value of a knight in the center 4 squares of the board. Wargame maps and their units are far more complex than a chess board and we unfortunately don't have people doing PhD theses calculating the value of a invading division in the hexsides of the coast of France.

Why is BigBlue relevant? It was an exercise by a large team in trying to beat the greatest player on earth. Until everyone playing wargames is the equivalent of a world chess champion, then I hardly think the detail required for that task are relevant.

quote:

Also, the programming for computer chess began in the 1960s and chess programs of today benefit from these decades of development. Chess pieces and chess boards remain the same and the computer algorithms can be steadily refined. In contrast, wargame maps and their pieces constantly change.

Do you think that two wargames are more or less related to one another than the relationship between your cell phone and car? How about the difference between Amazon sales and Dreyfus Insurance risk assessments?

There are no technical hurdles to exponentially better AI today, only economic ones. If a wargame with great AI sold 5 million copies, the industry would be tripping over itself to emulate the success and technology would be utilized to make that happen.

The barriers to better AI are economic, nothing else.

(in reply to Warfare1)
Post #: 31
RE: Decades of Development - 6/30/2007 7:05:13 AM   
Yohan

 

Posts: 1045
Joined: 10/7/2002
From: Toronto
Status: offline
Give me a break pzngdr, your are a fanboy for SC2 (and tester I believe) and it is a very smelly pile of droppings. SC was a great game, for beer and pretzels, and consumed many an hour of PBEM effort for myslef and the lads.

SC2 was a joke, it was unplayable and I wish I had followed Irish Dragoons advice and not bought.

But i must admit, it wins hands down for PBEM at this stage as CEaW blows chunks for PBEM. I was on the phone explaining to an opponent last night that he had to check the value of his convoys each turn to see if they had been attacked, let alone where an enemy sub may even have been seen.

Add to this no replay for air attacks so you don't know wher his planes are.please patch soon and you can re-open your turn in PBEM 800,000,000 times with no cheat code pickinh it up :(

(in reply to dtx175)
Post #: 32
RE: Decades of Development - 6/30/2007 10:16:29 AM   
geozero


Posts: 1794
Joined: 5/22/2002
From: Southern California, U.S.A.
Status: offline
Okay... so since we are dealing with a STRATEGIC level game, perhaps one way to look at the AI issue would be sort of similar to real life military chain of command...

Have several "layers" of AI decision making. Upper most level would make decisions or "orders" to t he lower layer, then that layer would take info and make decisions, and so on... let me explain in layman's terms.

Suppose you play AXIS and the AI opponent is the Allies.

Typically, Germany invades Poland first. The Allied AI upper layer decides to a) declare war, or b) not declare war. IF decision A is made then it orders it's military and production to a war footing (If "B", then Allies remain Pacificst for now). This changes IF Germany declares war on Allies of course... assuming that decision A is taken, the Allied AI now has to look at the Situation... there's no combat yet in Africa, so nothing is done there. But a lower AI layer could decide to A) use bombers to attack Germany, B) have France attack in the West, C) send out the fleet in Search & Destroy missions against Axis subs and surface shipts, etc, etc.

Let's say decision B above is activated, Now a lower level AI decides which French units will attack and which will remain in defensive positions. Which targets present a better attack outcome? An undefended German city? A weaker Axis unit? etc.

That's how AI should work. Yes it takes programming. If, Then, Else commands as noted elsewhere. When enough of these scripts are programmed the opponent will make very good decisions, whether it is what type of production to build, where to attack or defend, when and where to invade, etc. We were programming this kind of stuff way back in the 80's using Basic.

Puts on fire retardant suit...

_____________________________

"I keep re-inventing myself"

(in reply to Yohan)
Post #: 33
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 6/30/2007 2:39:50 PM   
pzgndr

 

Posts: 1574
Joined: 3/18/2004
Status: offline
quote:

Give me a break pzngdr, your are a fanboy for SC2 (and tester I believe) ...
SC2 was a joke, it was unplayable and I wish I had followed Irish Dragoons advice and not bought.


That's a cheap shot Yohan. I made some specific comments about AI, since that's the point of discussion here. You didn't mention if you actually agreed or disagreed with any of the points I made?

SC2 "was" unplayable, or "is" unplayable with the latest patch? Is far too easy to play an initial release of a game, criticize the AI, and then proceed to ridicule the game. Many are doing just that with CEAW. It's a bit unfair, based on unrealistically high expectations for what a computer opponent is capable of. How nice it would be if all games were released bug-free and with perfect AI. (That's another issue.)

Truth is AI development is hard. Especially for a grand strategy game like this with its many combinations and permutations of possibilities which need to be scripted for. SC2 still has some weaknesses, even after years of development since SC was first released. You expect perfection? CEAW is brand new, with many of the same AI complaints players had about SC when it was released. If you expect CEAW AI to become perfect in a few patches then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. I expect Slitherine will eventually get there but it's going to take time. Give them time.

It's true I have been a playtester for SC/SC2/SC2-WaW, full disclosure there. Do you think maybe I have some insight after all these years? I'll admit to being a fanboy of the WWII ETO grand-strategy genre, which is why I locked onto SC when it appeared years ago. If Slitherine had released CEAW then, I'd probably be hip deep in CEAW, but SC was all there was back then. After being disappointed with Computer Third Reich back in the 90's, my quixotic quest has been to find something like Advanced Third Reich for the PC with a challenging computer opponent, or to use a game editor and make it myself. And I am doing exactly that, with the new SC2-WaW editor.

Back on subject. I believe the combination of generic AI plus event scripting plus AI scripting can and will result in some challenging computer opponent games for this genre. SC2 and GGWAW are doing OK. CEAW will get there. I'm optimistic that WiF will get there, but that's going to be a beast of an AI. And by "there" I mean challenging, not perfect. You still need a human opponent for the ultimate challenge.

(in reply to dinsdale)
Post #: 34
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 6/30/2007 3:11:49 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

Posts: 32565
Joined: 3/28/2000
From: Vermont, USA
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: jcorbin
1) Launching a coordinated large-scale amphibious invasion.
2) Effectively responding to a large-scale amphibious invasion.
3) Changing a nation's military unit production to counter what is actually occurring on the battlefield.
4) Changing a nation's technological research path(s) to counter what is actually occurring on the battlefield.


Out of curiosity, have you played Gary Grigsby's World at War: A World Divided? Significantly more complex and takes more time to play than CEAW, but some folks swear by it and the AI is definitely above average. You can never really have too many WWII grand strategy games.


_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

(in reply to jcorbin)
Post #: 35
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 6/30/2007 4:46:08 PM   
Joe D.


Posts: 3454
Joined: 8/31/2005
From: Stratford, Connecticut
Status: offline
I'd be interested in why you think BoA has a simpler ruleset than CEAW.

I didn't say it had a simpler ruleset/engine, but BoA doesn't encompass the entire world or take into account a myriad of unit types -- only infantry, lt. infantry, militia, rangers, Indians -- no air combat whatsoever, and only frigates and transports, not including its worthless bateaux.

In fact, BoA has so few "pieces," I'm tempted to compare it w/my chess computer; the longer the AI "thinks," the more effective it becomes.

As for difficulty settings, BoA can compromise on FOW, fighting ability, etc., but supply rules and wx are set in stone, at least until the next patch!

(in reply to dinsdale)
Post #: 36
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 6/30/2007 7:04:11 PM   
targul


Posts: 449
Joined: 8/25/2004
Status: offline
"Out of curiosity, have you played Gary Grigsby's World at War: A World Divided? Significantly more complex and takes more time to play than CEAW, but some folks swear by it and the AI is definitely above average. You can never really have too many WWII grand strategy games. "

Own the game and have played it.  AI is absmal as is game.  I regrettfully bought that pig while waiting for HOI2 since they released it a couple days prior.  All of Grigsby stuff is ameturish but this was one of his worst.  I swore not to buy his stuff before WAW's release and again I bought the oh this one works.  Hopefully I will never again make such a horrible and disappointing mistake.

(in reply to Joe D.)
Post #: 37
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 6/30/2007 8:31:53 PM   
IrishGuards


Posts: 406
Joined: 12/7/2006
Status: offline
This is just my opinion .... I hardly ever play against the AI ... other than to see what happens .. damage .. tech .. or develop a strategy ....
As far as other games go .. I am not here to say what a Game Developer wants when they design and put a game out ..!!
I am a Wargamer ... This means I play against people .. Yep .. Might be a strange concept .. Dunno ..
They might even be throwing dice around and smack talkin .. OK ...
All I know is that there is no way a computer has the "Experience" of playing some of the best games to ever see the light of day ..
Has the Comp played .. WiE .. TSS .. WiF .. EiA .. WV .. The scope and scale of these games are massive ..

Give me an AI that that can even remotely begin to understand .. what the hell is going on .. I will play against it anytime ..
Most of the best games .. and by that I mean ... games that can develop .. have a good enough baseline that with adaptability and flexability by both the game and the game player .. will continue to have flavor ...
If you have a game like World in Flames ... ... and you have played this game .. I know guys with 35 years Exp in wargaming and because each Start is a variable presents new and different aspects of what the pointy units in your OOB can do ..
If you think that a computer will even begin to understand ..
Economic .. Political or Military .. great .. but once they are all heaped together .. what a riot ..

A strategic level game is .. shall we say strategic ...
Until the first turn happens and the results of your " Strategy " .. are in effect ..
You can have the best AI or strategist in the world .. This does not mean they will be able to keep up with a seasoned Wargamer ..
The Tactical situation almost always takes precedence compared to the Overall " strategy" ...
I know by Experience .. how you gonna give that to a Comp ..
I play games for lots of reasons as I am sure others do ..
But .. Once the first turn hits the ground .. all those plans and such you have made ..
I'm gonna build this .. do that ... go right out the window .. why because you adapt to what is happening on " Board ".
IDG

(in reply to targul)
Post #: 38
RE: Decades of Development - 6/30/2007 9:29:00 PM   
Warfare1


Posts: 658
Joined: 10/20/2004
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero

Okay... so since we are dealing with a STRATEGIC level game, perhaps one way to look at the AI issue would be sort of similar to real life military chain of command...

Have several "layers" of AI decision making. Upper most level would make decisions or "orders" to t he lower layer, then that layer would take info and make decisions, and so on... let me explain in layman's terms.

Suppose you play AXIS and the AI opponent is the Allies.

Typically, Germany invades Poland first. The Allied AI upper layer decides to a) declare war, or b) not declare war. IF decision A is made then it orders it's military and production to a war footing (If "B", then Allies remain Pacificst for now). This changes IF Germany declares war on Allies of course... assuming that decision A is taken, the Allied AI now has to look at the Situation... there's no combat yet in Africa, so nothing is done there. But a lower AI layer could decide to A) use bombers to attack Germany, B) have France attack in the West, C) send out the fleet in Search & Destroy missions against Axis subs and surface shipts, etc, etc.

Let's say decision B above is activated, Now a lower level AI decides which French units will attack and which will remain in defensive positions. Which targets present a better attack outcome? An undefended German city? A weaker Axis unit? etc.

That's how AI should work. Yes it takes programming. If, Then, Else commands as noted elsewhere. When enough of these scripts are programmed the opponent will make very good decisions, whether it is what type of production to build, where to attack or defend, when and where to invade, etc. We were programming this kind of stuff way back in the 80's using Basic.

Puts on fire retardant suit...


Good post.

CEaW is programmed in JAVA. Does that make a different to say, using C++? Forgive me, since I don't know anything about programming.

Does using JAVA mean that things such as "IF, THEN, ELSE" can't be used?

(in reply to geozero)
Post #: 39
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 6/30/2007 9:33:02 PM   
Warfare1


Posts: 658
Joined: 10/20/2004
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: targul

"Out of curiosity, have you played Gary Grigsby's World at War: A World Divided? Significantly more complex and takes more time to play than CEAW, but some folks swear by it and the AI is definitely above average. You can never really have too many WWII grand strategy games. "

Own the game and have played it. AI is absmal as is game. I regrettfully bought that pig while waiting for HOI2 since they released it a couple days prior. All of Grigsby stuff is ameturish but this was one of his worst. I swore not to buy his stuff before WAW's release and again I bought the oh this one works. Hopefully I will never again make such a horrible and disappointing mistake.



targul:

Did you buy the World Divided version of the GG game?

I had it earmarked for purchase, since I thought the game had matured to the point where the AI would be a good opponent.

Where, in your opinion, does the AI fail? Is it poor even on a higher difficulty level?

Thanks.


(in reply to targul)
Post #: 40
RE: Decades of Development - 6/30/2007 10:18:42 PM   
geozero


Posts: 1794
Joined: 5/22/2002
From: Southern California, U.S.A.
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Warfare1


quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero

Okay... so since we are dealing with a STRATEGIC level game, perhaps one way to look at the AI issue would be sort of similar to real life military chain of command...

Have several "layers" of AI decision making. Upper most level would make decisions or "orders" to t he lower layer, then that layer would take info and make decisions, and so on... let me explain in layman's terms.

Suppose you play AXIS and the AI opponent is the Allies.

Typically, Germany invades Poland first. The Allied AI upper layer decides to a) declare war, or b) not declare war. IF decision A is made then it orders it's military and production to a war footing (If "B", then Allies remain Pacificst for now). This changes IF Germany declares war on Allies of course... assuming that decision A is taken, the Allied AI now has to look at the Situation... there's no combat yet in Africa, so nothing is done there. But a lower AI layer could decide to A) use bombers to attack Germany, B) have France attack in the West, C) send out the fleet in Search & Destroy missions against Axis subs and surface shipts, etc, etc.

Let's say decision B above is activated, Now a lower level AI decides which French units will attack and which will remain in defensive positions. Which targets present a better attack outcome? An undefended German city? A weaker Axis unit? etc.

That's how AI should work. Yes it takes programming. If, Then, Else commands as noted elsewhere. When enough of these scripts are programmed the opponent will make very good decisions, whether it is what type of production to build, where to attack or defend, when and where to invade, etc. We were programming this kind of stuff way back in the 80's using Basic.

Puts on fire retardant suit...


Good post.

CEaW is programmed in JAVA. Does that make a different to say, using C++? Forgive me, since I don't know anything about programming.

Does using JAVA mean that things such as "IF, THEN, ELSE" can't be used?


I am not a programmer...but I do know quite a few that are... JAVA is an open source software developed quite some time ago. It builds on modules. Many programmers like it as it can eaqsily be ported to other systems (i.e. MAC, Vista, etc). But it is this feature that also gives it inherent limitations from what I've been told. The modules must be scripted so that ALL systems can understand it.

Can "IF, THEN, ELSE" be programmed into a JAVA based application? I don't know that answer...waiting to hear from a buddy of mine. But I think the answer is no. Or atleast limited... which may explain some issues that can not be programmed.

This may also explain the way the difficulty setting only adjusts production and resources parameters. Fairly easy to do in comparison to a true "thinking" AI. I suppose you could tweak an Uber-Difficult setting where Allies get hundreds of land units and gazillion resources versus the Axis getting zilch. Taking the chess game references here it would be like playing chess with only one pawn against a full opponent set. That's not AI folks.

One last thing...I've always been a proponent of human vs. human play. A human has what I call the "stupid" factor...you know, when you make an obvious blunder of a move and regret it. We've all done it... THAT is the most difficult thing to program an AI to do. To make mistakes or changes in strategy that don't make sense.

Having said that, one reason people moved from board games to computer games was so that they can fire up a game and simply play. It's not always easy or convenient (even in this day and age of internet and PBEM) to find an opponent, let alone a worthy one who doesn't cheat.

Ease of play, good graphics, beautiful map, are all nice...but they don't amount to a $74 game.

_____________________________

"I keep re-inventing myself"

(in reply to Warfare1)
Post #: 41
RE: Decades of Development - 6/30/2007 10:33:09 PM   
Warfare1


Posts: 658
Joined: 10/20/2004
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero


quote:

ORIGINAL: Warfare1


quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero

Okay... so since we are dealing with a STRATEGIC level game, perhaps one way to look at the AI issue would be sort of similar to real life military chain of command...

Have several "layers" of AI decision making. Upper most level would make decisions or "orders" to t he lower layer, then that layer would take info and make decisions, and so on... let me explain in layman's terms.

Suppose you play AXIS and the AI opponent is the Allies.

Typically, Germany invades Poland first. The Allied AI upper layer decides to a) declare war, or b) not declare war. IF decision A is made then it orders it's military and production to a war footing (If "B", then Allies remain Pacificst for now). This changes IF Germany declares war on Allies of course... assuming that decision A is taken, the Allied AI now has to look at the Situation... there's no combat yet in Africa, so nothing is done there. But a lower AI layer could decide to A) use bombers to attack Germany, B) have France attack in the West, C) send out the fleet in Search & Destroy missions against Axis subs and surface shipts, etc, etc.

Let's say decision B above is activated, Now a lower level AI decides which French units will attack and which will remain in defensive positions. Which targets present a better attack outcome? An undefended German city? A weaker Axis unit? etc.

That's how AI should work. Yes it takes programming. If, Then, Else commands as noted elsewhere. When enough of these scripts are programmed the opponent will make very good decisions, whether it is what type of production to build, where to attack or defend, when and where to invade, etc. We were programming this kind of stuff way back in the 80's using Basic.

Puts on fire retardant suit...


Good post.

CEaW is programmed in JAVA. Does that make a different to say, using C++? Forgive me, since I don't know anything about programming.

Does using JAVA mean that things such as "IF, THEN, ELSE" can't be used?


I am not a programmer...but I do know quite a few that are... JAVA is an open source software developed quite some time ago. It builds on modules. Many programmers like it as it can eaqsily be ported to other systems (i.e. MAC, Vista, etc). But it is this feature that also gives it inherent limitations from what I've been told. The modules must be scripted so that ALL systems can understand it.

Can "IF, THEN, ELSE" be programmed into a JAVA based application? I don't know that answer...waiting to hear from a buddy of mine. But I think the answer is no. Or atleast limited... which may explain some issues that can not be programmed.

This may also explain the way the difficulty setting only adjusts production and resources parameters. Fairly easy to do in comparison to a true "thinking" AI. I suppose you could tweak an Uber-Difficult setting where Allies get hundreds of land units and gazillion resources versus the Axis getting zilch. Taking the chess game references here it would be like playing chess with only one pawn against a full opponent set. That's not AI folks.

One last thing...I've always been a proponent of human vs. human play. A human has what I call the "stupid" factor...you know, when you make an obvious blunder of a move and regret it. We've all done it... THAT is the most difficult thing to program an AI to do. To make mistakes or changes in strategy that don't make sense.

Having said that, one reason people moved from board games to computer games was so that they can fire up a game and simply play. It's not always easy or convenient (even in this day and age of internet and PBEM) to find an opponent, let alone a worthy one who doesn't cheat.

Ease of play, good graphics, beautiful map, are all nice...but they don't amount to a $74 game.


Interesting post. Thanks for the reply.

Pity about JAVA. I would definitely like to learn more about it, so when your buddy responds to your questions, would greatly appreciate you letting us know.

It would be a pity if "IF, THEN, ELSE" can't be used in this game. I see so many easy solutions to some of the problems being encountered that I shake my head in dismay.

I think some of the problems in some current games may be due to the programming language, OS, and huge graphic limits.

For example, let's compare Civ2 to Civ3 or Civ4. In Civ2 the gamer could tweak almost every aspect of the game. The programming was sheer brilliance in itself for allowing the game to be so flexible and mod-friendly.

In contrast, not as many parameters in Civ3 or Civ4 can be tweaked.

(in reply to geozero)
Post #: 42
RE: Decades of Development - 6/30/2007 10:39:04 PM   
geozero


Posts: 1794
Joined: 5/22/2002
From: Southern California, U.S.A.
Status: offline
Hey I'm a game junkie. Civ games have become a sham. Civ 4 in particular is a lousy game, can easily be played in one sitting...great graphics, poor game play...



_____________________________

"I keep re-inventing myself"

(in reply to Warfare1)
Post #: 43
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 6/30/2007 10:39:30 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

Posts: 32565
Joined: 3/28/2000
From: Vermont, USA
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: targul
Own the game and have played it.  AI is absmal as is game.  I regrettfully bought that pig while waiting for HOI2 since they released it a couple days prior.  All of Grigsby stuff is ameturish but this was one of his worst.  I swore not to buy his stuff before WAW's release and again I bought the oh this one works.  Hopefully I will never again make such a horrible and disappointing mistake.


Well, fortunately a lot of folks disagree with you on that, sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy it though. I'm honestly mystified that you'd consider that AI abysmal or amateurish, but these are subjective things. Hopefully the original poster will reply as well.


_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

(in reply to targul)
Post #: 44
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 6/30/2007 11:12:11 PM   
Warfare1


Posts: 658
Joined: 10/20/2004
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins


quote:

ORIGINAL: targul
Own the game and have played it. AI is absmal as is game. I regrettfully bought that pig while waiting for HOI2 since they released it a couple days prior. All of Grigsby stuff is ameturish but this was one of his worst. I swore not to buy his stuff before WAW's release and again I bought the oh this one works. Hopefully I will never again make such a horrible and disappointing mistake.


Well, fortunately a lot of folks disagree with you on that, sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy it though. I'm honestly mystified that you'd consider that AI abysmal or amateurish, but these are subjective things. Hopefully the original poster will reply as well.



I have been following the GGWAW forum for some time, and I haven't heard any complaints about the AI.

Currently, talk now is about tweaking the end game (especially for Japan - when it surrenders).

I also think GG games are anything but amateurish - UV for example.

I had GGWAW earmarked for purchase, but I would like to know why the AI in WAW is bad.

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 45
RE: Decades of Development - 6/30/2007 11:22:56 PM   
Warfare1


Posts: 658
Joined: 10/20/2004
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero

Hey I'm a game junkie. Civ games have become a sham. Civ 4 in particular is a lousy game, can easily be played in one sitting...great graphics, poor game play...




I love games too - especially history/strategy games.

I think the increased computer requirements, OS and programming languages must have a lot to do with why some current games cannot do what previous (even DOS) games could do.

I think it may be less that developers cannot do something, then it is more like they are unable to it (given the game's parameters).


(in reply to geozero)
Post #: 46
RE: Decades of Development - 6/30/2007 11:34:13 PM   
geozero


Posts: 1794
Joined: 5/22/2002
From: Southern California, U.S.A.
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Warfare1


quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero

Hey I'm a game junkie. Civ games have become a sham. Civ 4 in particular is a lousy game, can easily be played in one sitting...great graphics, poor game play...





I love games too - especially history/strategy games.

I think the increased computer requirements, OS and programming languages must have a lot to do with why some current games cannot do what previous (even DOS) games could do.

I think it may be less that developers cannot do something, then it is more like they are unable to it (given the game's parameters).





A lot of the big game companies are following proven consumer selling formulas... they also put out a lot of remakes of an old game idea... sometimes they get feedback from boards. Sometimes there's stockholders and board of directors putting pressure on them.

Whatever the case is, I don't think current graphics and OS requirements are what is causing them to put out dull games. If they came out with CIV 5 you and I would go out and buy it. Why? Well, basically three reasons: 1) we loved the whole empire building sim aspect, 2) we probably agree that we hated the last version and hope that they fixed it in the current one, and 3) it's good entertainment considering the lack of really good original titles.

The DEVs know this and so you will eventually see CIV 5, 6, etc.

Some companies rather put out single original games (like Matrix). They are brave in putting out new games and concepts, many times from smaller DEV's. The flip side is that there is limited ongoing support. Example: Will we ever see War In The Pacific 2? I'd love to see that whole game engine and map redone (maybe at 1 hex = 10 miles)...yes it would be HUGE. And also better develop the land warfare side ot it... but that's another story and another thread...




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Post #: 47
RE: Decades of Development - 6/30/2007 11:41:51 PM   
Warfare1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero


quote:

ORIGINAL: Warfare1


quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero

Hey I'm a game junkie. Civ games have become a sham. Civ 4 in particular is a lousy game, can easily be played in one sitting...great graphics, poor game play...





I love games too - especially history/strategy games.

I think the increased computer requirements, OS and programming languages must have a lot to do with why some current games cannot do what previous (even DOS) games could do.

I think it may be less that developers cannot do something, then it is more like they are unable to it (given the game's parameters).





A lot of the big game companies are following proven consumer selling formulas... they also put out a lot of remakes of an old game idea... sometimes they get feedback from boards. Sometimes there's stockholders and board of directors putting pressure on them.

Whatever the case is, I don't think current graphics and OS requirements are what is causing them to put out dull games. If they came out with CIV 5 you and I would go out and buy it. Why? Well, basically three reasons: 1) we loved the whole empire building sim aspect, 2) we probably agree that we hated the last version and hope that they fixed it in the current one, and 3) it's good entertainment considering the lack of really good original titles.

The DEVs know this and so you will eventually see CIV 5, 6, etc.

Some companies rather put out single original games (like Matrix). They are brave in putting out new games and concepts, many times from smaller DEV's. The flip side is that there is limited ongoing support. Example: Will we ever see War In The Pacific 2? I'd love to see that whole game engine and map redone (maybe at 1 hex = 10 miles)...yes it would be HUGE. And also better develop the land warfare side ot it... but that's another story and another thread...





You may be right. I also notice that the gaming consoles have taken over the gaming retail stores - all graphic games.

heh - I understand that WiTP burned out GG - I don't think he would revisit that monster ever again...

On the other hand UV is getting a revisit in the form of more in-depth carrier-based game play. I'm looking forward to that one.

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Post #: 48
RE: Decades of Development - 7/1/2007 12:06:47 AM   
geozero


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quote:

I understand that WiTP burned out GG - I don't think he would revisit that monster ever again


maybe it's time to hand over the reigns to someone else, or form a new group to re-design it. I understand the need to preserve ownership and copyright, I just don't understand how a successful game like WitP ends up being abandoned.

As for console games...it's what I call the "twitch" factor. These 4-5 year olds have faster finger reflexes than mankind has ever seen. Perhaps it's a secret Government development program of some future unmanned combat recruitment... okay, I've been reading too many spy novels...

Kids (even into their early twenties) these days don't even know who fought WW2. I've heard responses like "yeah we really beat the Chinese", or when asked who the Nazi's were I've heard "yeah, those zombie bad guys...cool!)... pathetic.

But I don't see why we can't combine some cerebral games with modern graphics... which explained the hugely successful Panzer General franchise.

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Post #: 49
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 7/1/2007 12:34:46 AM   
targul


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Have to be honest here. I havent played that game since the second or third day after I bought it. I really cant remember all its faults. I do remember the AI was childish and I beat it first game without even trying. Game looks and acts like Axis and Allies which is a game I really like but I would much rather play Axis & Allies.

Only descent game that man did was War in the Pacific and I must admit that is done really well. But it is so slow it was impossible to find anyone to play against.

The game is still on my computer as a reminder to not buy trash. Wish I actually had the common sense to abide by that but I am a fanatic about wargames and buy almost everything on WWII that is strategic.

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Post #: 50
RE: Decades of Development - 7/1/2007 3:30:00 AM   
Joe D.


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I suspect companies redo old, proven games for the same reason the film industry keeps making remakes and sequels/prequels; it costs too much $ today to invest in an unproven commodity.

PG was great in its day; I had a book that detailed it's scenario decision tree progress, i.e, total/minor victories, defeat, and where they all led the player to. But today the scenario decision tree approach wouldn't work for multi-player mode, and the simplistic graphics were time-consuming, which brings me to WitP.

Although I only have UV, the longer the game goes on, the longer the time required between turns, esp. for WitP. I think I would die of old age before I ever finished a WitP PBEM.

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Post #: 51
RE: Decades of Development - 7/1/2007 4:29:19 AM   
Lincolns Mullet

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero

quote:



As for console games...it's what I call the "twitch" factor. These 4-5 year olds have faster finger reflexes than mankind has ever seen.


You'd be surprised. My 56 yr old dad plays CoD3 for the 360 maybe 4-5 hours a night and is ranked in the top 5% of the players right now. I play online with him from time to time but I just end up getting my arse kicked.

I'm 28 and prefer the slower wargames these days.

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Post #: 52
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 7/1/2007 10:47:52 AM   
Charles_22


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quote:

ORIGINAL: targul

Have to be honest here. I havent played that game since the second or third day after I bought it. I really cant remember all its faults. I do remember the AI was childish and I beat it first game without even trying. Game looks and acts like Axis and Allies which is a game I really like but I would much rather play Axis & Allies.

Only descent game that man did was War in the Pacific and I must admit that is done really well. But it is so slow it was impossible to find anyone to play against.

The game is still on my computer as a reminder to not buy trash. Wish I actually had the common sense to abide by that but I am a fanatic about wargames and buy almost everything on WWII that is strategic.


I agree with you to some extent. I think GGWAW was a childish game, but I was perceptive enough to realize that before buying it. Seasonal turns don't cut it, I don't care how good it might be otherwise. But then, it was probably made more, as a less serious game of his. I actually find WITP more of a childish game instead. Childish isn't really a good term for it though, but just too neglected, as it has such an immensity wrong with it, and Gary made so many good ones in the past, I just can't believe this one got to be so sloppy without neglect.

Anyway, though playing it now may not meet with approval, I always enjoyed the living daylights out of GG's WIR, as my all-time favorite game. I also liked USAAF (definitely too old to play that) and "would" had liked it's successor BTR if it hadn't been for a bug that made the whole game a massive joke IMO (which the people have said they will not fix on the new version). That's what gets some of us guys, that we can see some brilliance from GG such as most of the dogfighting in USAAF and BTR, but then see the same thing go totally nuts in WITP. I think even PacWar had the dogfighting correct.

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Post #: 53
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 7/1/2007 1:22:20 PM   
Pocus


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As Dinsdale says, the barriers to do a better AI are mostly economics, at the level the AI are in wargaming, which is in my humble opinion rather low (and I include the games I coded here). Why, because most if not all the wargaming companies have tight resources when it comes to developement time. To give an example, if I can spend 20% of the week on AI, I'm very satisfied. It means one day of work from a single person in improving a very complex and intricate system. I'm constantly frustrated by what the AI can't do, because I know that I only need time to improve it, time I have not in enough quantity.

Now, if you jail me (or another garage developer are we are all in this niche) 6 months in a monastery doing only AI improvements, I'm sure we would have improved the AI by an order of magnitude, meaning we would pose a serious challenge to 75%-90% of the players around. There is so much room for improvements, without using excuses like "we need the level of expertise used by Big Blue scientists".

Last note, I would like to say that Panther Games has the best AI around, and we know why. Because Arjuna spend years to improve it.


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Post #: 54
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 7/1/2007 2:54:39 PM   
Joe D.


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I think mandatory monastery time would be good for developers; look what a monk named Lopez did for gaming theory back in 1561! European programmers know this algorithm as the Spanish game.

W/o giving away any trade secrets, in general, how does one improve AI, or does that vary w/the individual game?

As I posted before, BoA reminds me of my Kasporov chess computer; the more time you give it, the more possibilities it can search, so the better its choices. But it also has a selective search -- as opposed to a brute force -- algorithm to save some time. Otherwise, it would be "thinking" forever; like waiting for a turn to end in WitP.

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Post #: 55
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 7/1/2007 8:36:46 PM   
geozero


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Many of these games are developed by one or two people who have a passion for gaming. As a result they have finite resources, knowledge, and most importantly time to fully develop them. It is much easier to develop a game designed for PBEM these days, as a lot of that code is fairly accessible, being able to TCP/IP, etc. But AI, well that's something else.

If a large game developer (EA, Midway, etc) were to design a new wargame they would likely have dozens of people working on it. While this may never happen for financial reasons, it still leaves a void in this genre of gaming.

I just don't understand why several developers and/or programmers can't join forces to develop games together rather than individually. Wouldn't that make more sense?

I've used programmers for various non-gaming projects from all over the world (guru(dot)com). And there's always new college grads waiting to get into programming. Maybe you think there's no money to pay for all these people, but you'd be surprised how many might be willing to give time for free. It's called being an intern.

All I'm saying is that most people defending the poor AI we see today in games is due to small dev companies or single programmers...hog wash. Imagine if AH or SPI had put out board wargames WITHOUT all the counters or the boards??? That's what we're getting here these days.

I say... programmers UNITE!

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Post #: 56
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 7/1/2007 8:51:56 PM   
Joe D.


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I just don't understand why several developers and/or programmers can't join forces to develop games together rather than individually. Wouldn't that make more sense?

Too many cooks?

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Post #: 57
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 7/1/2007 9:19:33 PM   
IrishGuards


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Did someone say Battlefeild .. Did I hear that correctly ..
BGG .. TSS ... WV ..
IDG

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Post #: 58
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 7/2/2007 2:22:15 AM   
Laryngoscope


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quote:


ORIGINAL: geozero

All I'm saying is that most people defending the poor AI we see today in games is due to small dev companies or single programmers...hog wash.


This cracked me up especially in light of...

quote:


ORIGINAL: geozero

Can "IF, THEN, ELSE" be programmed into a JAVA based application? I don't know that answer...waiting to hear from a buddy of mine. But I think the answer is no. Or atleast limited... which may explain some issues that can not be programmed.


and...

quote:


ORIGINAL: geozero

I just don't understand why several developers and/or programmers can't join forces to develop games together rather than individually. Wouldn't that make more sense?


Just hilarious

Reminds me of an old GF who when asked "What is a computer?" responded, "A typewriter that talks back!"

At least she knew enough not to argue an advanced technical point founded on a vacuum of ignorance.

quote:


ORIGINAL: Pocus

Last note, I would like to say that Panther Games has the best AI around, and we know why. Because Arjuna spend years to improve it.


Agreed. Brad Wardell and SSG also do a reasonable job with comparable game design complexity.

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Post #: 59
RE: AI Development and Our Hobby - 7/2/2007 9:30:51 AM   
Marc von Martial


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quote:

ORIGINAL: geozero
from all over the world (guru(dot)com).


+

quote:

you'd be surprised how many might be willing to give time for free. It's called being an intern.



Yeah, that fits

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