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So how good is the AI really?

 
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So how good is the AI really? - 9/24/2010 11:57:43 PM   
hondo1375


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So I'm thinking of getting this game but I think my decision rests mostly on the strength of the AI. Can people that have it give me examples of things that the AI has done that has impressed you RELATIVE to other AIs?

I'm not thinking of getting beaten by the computer opponent as an indicator (unless bonuses and balance are definitely not involved as issues), but more about clever manoeuvring or decisions.

The best AI I ever played I think was the one in Achtung Spitfire: the computer was much better than me at finding optimal solutions to multibody 3D geometry problems (not surprisingly)! But AIs that develop and implement competent strategies are much much harder to do. So examples of clever strategic or tactical play would be welcome.

Thanks.
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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/25/2010 12:21:54 AM   
TJD

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: hondo1375


So I'm thinking of getting this game but I think my decision rests mostly on the strength of the AI. Can people that have it give me examples of things that the AI has done that has impressed you RELATIVE to other AIs?


It's hard to answer how good the AI is relative to other AIs because the game system is unique. There really isn't a common metric. I mentioned in another post how I wished there were something like an IQ scale to benchmark AIs and give an objective sense of how good one is relative to another, but of course there's no such thing and I guess ultimately you'll have to take it on faith from an experienced wargamer (like myself) that this AI is unique and deeply impressive. Better by far than anything I've experienced. Totally worth your while.

The best concrete examples of how good it is are in the second AAR I wrote but I don't think it has been published yet, unfortunately. Anyway, in that one, I got completely outplayed and looked like an ass. I should probably be grateful they didn't put it up.

HTH

Tim

(in reply to hondo1375)
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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/25/2010 2:46:54 AM   
Mus

 

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I have been impressed by the ability of the AI to recognize make it or break it situations and act accordingly. A couple of times I have felt very confident that I was going to win the game and the AI has pulled off what I would call "Hail Mary" type moves involving decisive naval engagements and forces landed in Spain or Africa followed by the corresponding revolt card (Spanish or Numidian). By doing this the AI has completely seized the initiative and when I react to whatever the threat is they usually have a followup punch planned that works out for them very well (retaking cities in Italy or attacking Spain if they had attacked Africa or vice versa for instance).

All in all I am pretty impressed and it is a challenging game.

< Message edited by Mus -- 9/25/2010 2:54:11 AM >


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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/25/2010 8:15:08 PM   
NefariousKoel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mus

I have been impressed by the ability of the AI to recognize make it or break it situations and act accordingly. A couple of times I have felt very confident that I was going to win the game and the AI has pulled off what I would call "Hail Mary" type moves involving decisive naval engagements and forces landed in Spain or Africa followed by the corresponding revolt card (Spanish or Numidian). By doing this the AI has completely seized the initiative and when I react to whatever the threat is they usually have a followup punch planned that works out for them very well (retaking cities in Italy or attacking Spain if they had attacked Africa or vice versa for instance).

All in all I am pretty impressed and it is a challenging game.


This.

Many AIs I've seen just can't handle amphibious invasions worth a damn, or even practice them much. But this one can, and will, do it. Not only that, but I've seen it withdraw forces (by sea if need be) to preserve them when I had planned on taking them out next turn. Such indicators point to quite good.

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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/26/2010 1:21:04 PM   
PJJ

 

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It's very good, probably the best I've ever seen in any wargame. I haven't won a single game playing at the hardest difficulty level - yet. I've seen the AI make a couple of obvious mistakes, but those have been extremely rare and such things happen to commanders in real life... in fact more often to me than the AI! 

Many times I've had a well-prepared plan that completely falls apart when the AI does something really clever, like attacks a weak area somewhere I didn't expect. And it knows how to play some truly evil card and offensive combos!

In my current game I'm now closer to victory than ever before; Syracuse is my ally, I have Spain under control, and Hannibal is in Italy with a relatively big army. But I still have this nagging feeling that something will go wrong and I end up losing the game in a few turns. It's something I rarely feel when playing against any other game's AI opponent.


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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/26/2010 9:45:25 PM   
ioticus

 

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How do the AI difficulty levels differ in terms of what cheats the AI gets?

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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/26/2010 11:11:19 PM   
mercenarius


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Well, the AI doesn't really have any cheats. At least, it's not supposed to. I mean, if we find one then I have to correct it.

I'll let the players answer your question in terms of their experience. But I'll try to give some of the most important differences.

When things go badly the Roman Senate will interfere in the Roman elections to get leaders with higher rankings. This effect increases with each level of difficulty. Basically, the criteria are made easier. This is also true for the criteria used to decide when/if to expand the number of Roman leaders to 5.

From the Introductory level to the Normal level the AI makes better decisions for using its naval forces. At the Introductory level the AI is intentionally stupid. It will occasionally make a good move, but it isn't smart about concentrating its squadrons into fleets that are hard to attack. As a result, you can peck away at it if you want to - much of the time.

The Normal level does a better job of concentrating its naval forces, and is more aggressive about "raiding" to attack your forces when it has a large enough fleet.

At the Hard level of difficulty the AI is a little more aggressive in naval engagements, and makes a few decisions a little better than at the Normal level.

Because the game introduces the ability to decline Pitched Battles, and to abandon sieges under certain circumstances, the decision making for the Normal level has many differences as compared to the Introductory level when it comes to directing armies. There aren't so many differences between the Normal and the Hard level in how land forces are handled. But the Hard level does a better job of assigning Roman leaders to move for the purpose of recruiting.

Also, the AI at the Normal and Hard level is designed to be streamlined. There are fewer cases when a leader is assigned a command phase and doesn't do anything, or merely moves into the field and then back again into a city.

The differences between the Normal and the Hard levels are really something that player should learn by playing. At least, that was my intention.

I hope that this helps.

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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/26/2010 11:58:16 PM   
NefariousKoel


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Note that each difficulty level implements a new game mechanic, too. Such as the ability to decline battle and hole up in a defensive camp (and the terrain's effect on it) on Normal and a Carthaginian senate that doesn't always listen to Hannibal's recommendations on the Hard level.

< Message edited by NefariousKoel -- 9/26/2010 11:59:01 PM >

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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/27/2010 12:33:15 AM   
TJD

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ioticus

How do the AI difficulty levels differ in terms of what cheats the AI gets?


"Cheating" is definitely the wrong concept for understanding how the AI works here. It's not that crude. This is a genuinely smart AI. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this game will change how players think about AI.

Tim

(in reply to ioticus)
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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/27/2010 11:33:05 AM   
Gbaz

 

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The AI can be very tuff. It will do things differently depending on what you try. If you make a mistake it will pounce. I have found every game to be different.

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RE: So how good is the AI really? - 9/27/2010 1:43:19 PM   
vonRocko

 

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I won on normal level on my very first try, by turn 10. AI wasn't that tough, although the battle for Rome did come down to the last round, and could have went either way. I will try the hardest level next. I'm not complaining, The game does run well, and it is fun, AI seems adequate but nothing special.

(in reply to Gbaz)
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