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Catch 22 - the AI

 
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Catch 22 - the AI - 1/7/2012 12:24:04 PM   
sajer

 

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From reading more than a few threads - and from my own playing experience it seems that (as in all games) the AI sucks.

You can adjust the difficulty settings all you want, but it seems all that does is put more troops in the field. It does absolutely nothing for strategy thinking. I am not blaming Matrix games, Gary Grigsby, playtesters...etc..etc.. That's just the way it is. Computer AI technology can only take us so far, gents.

I have seen this in almost 99% of the games I purchase.

If you play the Germans, you crush the Russkies until the mud sets in. Then you can most likely survive the winter. Even if he pushes you back through sheer weight of numbers. I have yet to see an intelligently planned offensive from the AI. A smash through the line and then an exploitation (or pincer move).

If you play the Russkies than you can stop the Germans well SHORT of thier Dec. '41 historical stop.

I guess that is not the fault of any creator of this game.

I mean we are are not playing "Deep Blue" guys. Even if we were, we would probably only lose in chess and jeapardy. It really says alot about how intricate the human mind is - able to process vast emounts of information and plan well ahead to move troops for a breakthrough in a well scouted areas of the frontline.

This brings us to the other piece of the puzzle.

From reading hundreds of threads it seems that "most" Human vs Human games do not last past the winter of '42. This is they know that the Russkies will eventually smash thier asses back to Hitler's Bunker - no matter what they do. (If I am wrong on this, please correct me).

The game designers tweak the system in order for you to kill less planes on turn 1, or to correct OOB mistakes etc..etc.. but they can't make the AI more intelligent.

Therein lies the true Catch-22. You can't play the computer- becaue it is to damn dumb! You can't play another human player, because he can see the inevitable coming and would rather resign than to continue on for months in a lost cause.

Please correct me if I'm wrong - or let me see some examples.....


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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/7/2012 1:01:54 PM   
Commanderski


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I think you should review some of the previous threads regarding the AI. There is a fairly recent one in the War Room. The general opinion is that the AI is one of the best for this type of game. There are also numerous suggestions from the developers and Beta testers on how to adjust the AI settings.

Also in Human vs Human games if the players stick it out they can go into late '44 and into '45.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/7/2012 1:36:04 PM   
sajer

 

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quote:

I think you should review some of the previous threads regarding the AI. There is a fairly recent one in the War Room. The general opinion is that the AI is one of the best for this type of game.


You might be right. But of course that doesn't happen to change the fact that in my game vs. the computer (I am now in Oct. '44) Not once has he advanced more than 10 miles in any offensive action.

quote:

There are also numerous suggestions from the developers and Beta testers on how to adjust the AI settings.


Well if there is I missed it. But if this were true wouldn't it be in the preferences screen? Or agin if this were true, why wouldn't it be set at the maximum setting already. If you could tell me how, or point out how this would be possible, please let me know.

quote:

Also in Human vs Human games if the players stick it out they can go into late '44 and into '45.


I'm sure there are cases where that is true. But I've never heard of a game going to the bitter end. Where the artillery was bombarding Berlin. But I'm sure that most cases games end in'42 or '43.



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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/7/2012 2:07:53 PM   
karonagames


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quote:

If you play the Russkies than you can stop the Germans well SHORT of thier Dec. '41 historical stop.


If you play on normal you will - challenging and hard are a much different story (check the AARs - there was an early one with the SU playing impossible AI). The AI settings do not increase manpower levels: if SU morale is set to 110+ they get bonus units to help maintain a solid front line but they are filled out from the normal manpower pools.

But you are right changing the settings does not make the AI smarter - the units just fight harder.

< Message edited by BigAnorak -- 1/7/2012 2:21:24 PM >

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/7/2012 3:05:23 PM   
Fänrik Stål


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sajer


From reading more than a few threads - and from my own playing experience it seems that (as in all games) the AI sucks.


Yes. But there is sucking and there is sucking. Compared to other games I know of, this is Einstein.

quote:

A smash through the line and then an exploitation (or pincer move).


I've seen that. Several times in the same game as a matter of fact. But this was not on normal level, and not with the benefit of experience. The AI knows how to do it, but the game allows countermeasures that are unrealistic from a historical perspective (checkerboard or carpet defense). The human learns, the AI doesn't.

quote:

If you play the Russkies than you can stop the Germans well SHORT of thier Dec. '41 historical stop.


Yes, on normal level there is no problem doing that.


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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/7/2012 3:15:21 PM   
alfonso

 

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The main problem, in my opinion, with WITE AI, in contrast to chess playing programs, is not about rule complexity or some intrinsic feature of the game. While during the last decades thousands of programmers have struggled to make the most effective chess evaluation algorithms and chess playing software, as far as I know the number of persons working in WITE AI can be as low as ONE. This has to be a bottleneck.

If there were the possibility to develop alternative WITE AI engines as there is with users-developed scenarios, and different AIs could play head-to-head as well as versus humans, Darwinian selection alone would create a boost in AI performance. The computers would tend to be rather “gamey”, though, and therefore the programmers should be alert to keep this gameyness in check.

Besides, it seems to me (with zero knowledge on this issue), that by the way the AI is programmed in war games, the do not benefit of “thinking” for longer time periods (or clock CPU periods). In contrast, the same chess programs that were of middle strength running in a Pentium II 10 years ago are unbeatable beasts in present day computers, with 3 minutes for each movement.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/7/2012 6:31:31 PM   
sajer

 

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Well.. my goal was to start some posts on this and see what your responses would be. I guess I got that.

I did not mean to imply (and you can look at my original post again) that the designers had anything to do with it.

It is the simple fact that our ordinary garden variety PC's/CPU's cannot handle the strategies that are needed to make a challenging opponent. We live in an age where the processing power is just NOT THAT INTELLIGENT.

Yes, they may make a small pincer move or offensive with a big buildup of forces - but we are always 12 steps ahead of them and we adjust.

For years, maybe decades.. I have dreamt of a great computer simulation of the War in the East.

This game is as close to a great game as can be. It has great detail/maps/design and correct OOB's. I also like the intricies of the game - like the transferring of units, command points etc... etc..

I would not have been playing this game on a daily basis for 5 months if I did not love all those things.

What I'm simply saying is that I have spent 1942, '43, '44 bracing myself for (at least) a little slap in the face and I haven't got one.

I am sure it is not the programmers,playtesters etc.. fault. It is deep down - it is the computer vs the human - no match.


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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/7/2012 7:13:43 PM   
alfonso

 

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If a computer can land a 747, beat the World Champion at chess, and help to make an image-based diagnosis, in principle it could also be taught to beat me at WITE. But the thousands of working hours needed to do that are not available.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 12:31:05 AM   
Joel Billings


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The bottom line given the reality of the situation with AIs is that the attacking AI especially needs an advantage to get moving (this goes for both the Germans and the Soviets). The German AI needs more of an advantage because a good German player can do more with encirclements than the AI that must be more about brute force. Given the dynamics of the campaign, there must come a tipping point where the Germans are no longer the attacker, and the initiative has shifted to the Soviets (if the Soviet has a chance to win). If you play on Normal as the German, even if you aren't a strong German player and you lose the initiative at some point, you'll probably do good enough that the Soviet AI, without help, will not be able to push you back to Berlin (or even Minsk). When you play at Challenging, once you lose the initiative the Soviet AI may be able to keep things interesting for you.

As several have posted, the AI does not learn, so once you as a human player has learned (whether through repeated play and/or reading the forums), you need to give it help. The basic rule of thumb hasn't changed in my opinion in 30 years. When you start out you can play at normal. After a game or two, once you know the basics of the game system, you have to go up one level of difficulty and this should provide a challenge for a few more games (switching scenarios allows you to stay at this level longer as you're dealing with some new/unknown elements). After a few more games, good players looking for a challenge should go up two levels of difficulty. At this level, we still expect a good player to win, but it could be a challenge, or may require a few repeated plays. Some scenarios and sides are more difficult than others (for both the AI and a human player) so there is some variability, but it's a good rule of thumb. Unlike games in the 80s, we give you several ways to customize your level of difficulty if you want. The AI code is much more complicated now than it was in the 80s because there is much more to the games now than there used to be. By using the play levels you can get hundreds or literally thousands of hours of fun against the AI. I consider that good bang for the buck.

We've been happy to see many posts in the past year by players detailing how they've liked the AI. Gary spent a lot of time on it, and continues to try to improve it where he sees reasonable opportunities to do so (by that I mean reasonable time investment, good probability of success and good chance he won't screw something up). We think it stacks up very favorably to other wargames. I've played many games against the AI and as long as I crank up the difficulty I can still enjoy playing against it. At the same time, I encourage players to try PBEM, if even in the smaller scenarios (I've only had time to PBEM in some of the new smaller scenarios we're working on, but I've really enjoyed these games). If you've got the time, it adds a whole new dimension to the game.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 12:52:05 AM   
Rosseau

 

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Myself not being the sharpest tool in the shed can be a blessing in AI games. Also, I don't analyze and instead play more on instinct - which is probably pretty historical. The commanders in these battles had far less information than we have in the game. They were also tired, hungry and under artillery fire while making their decisions. The opposite is the board game junky that will figure every odd. Of course, using my knee-jerk play style in PBEM will get me slaughtered.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 2:59:38 AM   
Flaviusx


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quote:

ORIGINAL: alfonso

If a computer can land a 747, beat the World Champion at chess, and help to make an image-based diagnosis, in principle it could also be taught to beat me at WITE.


I'm not so sure about this assumption. All those other things may actually be simpler to do.




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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 3:27:05 AM   
Klydon


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Landing a 747 by computer is not difficult at all. The technology has been around to do that for a long time. (Same thing for landing planes on carriers, which is how I know about it). That a chess program can beat a Grand Master at chess is somewhat interesting, but considerable time and expense has been spent in that area. Chess, while complicated, pales in comparision in terms of varibles compared to a game like WiTE. Chess only has to consider 32 playing pieces and a board that has 64 possible locations.

Part of the trick of a game AI is not only the time to invest in making it better doesn't really exist (not time effective) but the other issue is there is not time between turns for an extremely complicated AI.

Consider the AI is as good as it is AND it performs that well given the time constraints its under. One of the big complaints for game players is how long the AI turn takes (not necessarily the case for WITE; just in general), so most game designers are sensitive to this and design accordingly. Even if they redesigned the AI, what is an acceptable trade off time for a "smarter" AI? 30 minute AI turns?


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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 9:18:51 AM   
Aurelian

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: alfonso

If a computer can land a 747, beat the World Champion at chess, and help to make an image-based diagnosis, in principle it could also be taught to beat me at WITE.


No one has yet programmed a computer to play and win at Go on a full size board. The largest game of Go being completely solved has been played on a 5×5 board.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 10:44:08 AM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx

quote:

ORIGINAL: alfonso

If a computer can land a 747, beat the World Champion at chess, and help to make an image-based diagnosis, in principle it could also be taught to beat me at WITE.


I'm not so sure about this assumption. All those other things may actually be simpler to do.


Yep... they are... those tasks are more simple although they seem complicated at the first glance... the WitE has thousands of HEXes and thousands units... it is extremely complicated to program AI...


Leo "Apollo11"

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 12:08:38 PM   
sajer

 

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I think Joel Billings nailed it.

It is the fun you have playing the game that makes it worthwhile. I myself have played this game everyday since I bought it in (July I think). I am handicapped - so it is EZ to sit around and play. It also gives me a lot of "face" time with the computer. It has been a joy, but I have managed to figure out how to kick the AI's butt (every time).

I always loved Gary Grigsby games. I think that he is the best coder in simulation games....period.

As far as the discussion, which talked about computers and thier capacity...Well consider this.

In July 1969 Apollo 11 amde the moon landing with help from thier computer. It is now a fact that advanced cell phones NOW have more computing power than the cabinet sized computer that was aboard Appollo missions. It is amazing how far we have really come. But, alas we haven't come that far.

I think when the time comes that they have advanced to the stage of "thinking" computers - games will be awesome. Also it might even be scary. "Skynet" anyone? LOL

As far as this game goes I think that playing it non-stop fot 6 months has been a good investment. Money very well spent.

I think I might go on and play the 42-45 scenario and try to organize the German Army into something that can stop the Soviet juggernaut.
Crank up the difficulty...play that for awhile - and then I think...I am of to WiTP land. I LOVE detail.

Anyone here play that game? I played the original. What is the one they play now? - War in the Pacific (Admiral's Edition)?

I think that would be a good game to play - since the Japs were on the defensive since June '42 (Midway) anyway. I think it would be fun coordinating and conducting operations in the largest theatre of war on Earth - the Pacific Ocean.

Anyone here clue me in on that one?? Thanks

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 2:58:40 PM   
alfonso

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Apollo11

Hi all,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx

quote:

ORIGINAL: alfonso

If a computer can land a 747, beat the World Champion at chess, and help to make an image-based diagnosis, in principle it could also be taught to beat me at WITE.


I'm not so sure about this assumption. All those other things may actually be simpler to do.


Yep... they are... those tasks are more simple although they seem complicated at the first glance... the WitE has thousands of HEXes and thousands units... it is extremely complicated to program AI...


Leo "Apollo11"


I doubt that any carbon-based intelligent form considers the game as a set of thousands of hexes and thousands of units. Precisely the recognition of the limited human ability to deal with many units simultaneously led to the hierarchical structuration of military forces into Army Groups, Armies, Corps, Divisions, Regiments,…

I have with me a chess book written in the 60’s, “Modern Chess Strategy”, by Ludek Pachman. In the final chapter there is a short mention about the future of computer chess. It says: “This (abstract nature of chess strategy) is beyond the ability of the most perfect machine: is an activity reserved to the human brain, and it will always remain so”…Basically, this is an underestimation of what can be achieved by a dedicated groups of programmers working for a long time with steadily more powerful machines. Even GO playing software, arguably much more difficult to program than chess, although loses against professional players, defeats the amateur and casual player (even in 19x19 boards). There is no need to “solve the game” to defeat an amateur. Chess programs do not “solve the game” to massacre chess grandmasters.

One of the most “human” activities is pattern recognition, especially face recognition. It is thought that our brain cortex is somewhat hardwired to that task. But after decades of Government-funded and private research, the facial recognition software has improved a lot, and can even outperform humans. There is no reason to believe that thousands of persons working decades could not program a very skilled WITE AI. Already it seems miraculously able in relationship to the effort invested.

But perhaps I am wrong and the ability to play WITE is the non-plus-ultra of human achievements.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 7:30:40 PM   
Shadow666

 

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I think the AI for this game is good myself, the problem I see is that most players play the game with god like powers and do stuff that the Germans and Soviets of the time did not have the option of doing. If you want a more historic and hard game try holding everything as the soviets in 1941 even if that means having large armies destroyed and do not stop advancing in 1941 even when winter comes.

I think a lot of people forgets that a lot of the big losses on each side was because of Hitlers and stalin's crazy minds and not looking at what their Generals wanted to do. You just have to look at Stalingrad to know this, the German Generals could have saved the troops their with no problems if it was not for Hitler. So just play each side like you have Hitler or Stalin ready to kill you if you retreat and you will have a more historic and harder game :)

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/8/2012 8:41:22 PM   
Straticus

 

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I understand the need to give the AI help vs a human player, after all we are talking about a rather complex a detailed level of gaming considering all the forces and factors involved. There is no way to make an AI more clever, only to incease its ability to resist or recover more quickly. I really do not care for a-hsitorical settings, preferring to enjoy the game as a replication of history. But lets face it, the human player especially in the full campaign, has the value of hindsight, multiple game plays, and tremendous freedom to efficiently allocate resources from the top down to their full advantage.

I am of the opinion the smaller scenarios are in fact more challenging than the full campaign for a number of reasons. The time sensitive objectives and the unreasonable contraints placed upon his historical counterparts make for some good challenges. The most balanced scenarios seem to be the ones you start when the combatants are approaching parity as in 42-43.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/9/2012 3:52:12 PM   
juret

 

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my thoughts on the AI

When i first started playing WITE i played normal difficulty. I didnt use buildups and had bad knowledge of game. When i played axis i crushed AI before 43 in 41 campaign. When playing soviet it was even easier. Just used checkerboard defence of inf brigades and in 41. By 42 i was taking hexes in poland with an monster amry of guard cav corps (only made those nothing else ;) )

Game was boring by then and i tryed other scenarios. The 41 campaign is fun but it gets so boring making opening move as axis or make all retreat moves as soviets. So i started playing pbem games but they did goto slow for me.

For now i play 43 scenario as axis on challanging. I have to say the red hordes are strong and keeps attacking all over. i have very hard counter the AI.
We had huge HUGE HUGE tank battles around kharkov attacks counter attacks and static slugfests with tank units. When AI understood i moved basicly everything of my mobile units in center to check em he withraw. half of the forces are now attacking real hard in the south and hes rolling up my defences in the north. I still have my units depleted and badly hurt in the middle. I think this save is the most challanging and fun i ever played in strategy games during my 20 years of gaming. The scenario might not be balanced at start but ai acts realy smart.



< Message edited by juret -- 1/9/2012 3:54:06 PM >

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/9/2012 7:15:53 PM   
Redmarkus5


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I sense that a part of the problem with the AI is the objective setting. The AI seems to ignore city hexes and other key historical objectives on the defense. Perhaps this is why it doesn't attack aggressively as well?

Obviously, the human opponent can anticipate the AI's goals if cities and production are its focus, but guessing the enemy's goals is only one part of the challenge - Zhukov guessed that Moscow was the Axis main objective as early as June '41 and the STAVKA aligned its forces accordingly. As the player, you will still need to position your forces and supply them to face whatever AI plan is adopted.

By making the AI drive harder for certain goals and simultaneously toning down the magical Soviet ability to move masses of troops all the way across Russia in one week, a model could be developed where the AI makes a random choice between 3-4 strategic plans on turn one and then drives ahead to achieve the selected goals until Winter '41 (i.e. Leningrad AND Moscow, or Moscow only, or Leningrad AND Moscow AND Rostov, etc.). Then the Axis AI makes a line for the winter while the Soviet AI chooses 1 or 2 key cities as its goal for the counter offensive. In the spring it chooses another 1, 2 or 3 major objectives from those remaining and focuses on them, based on the balance of forces on the map.

Rough and ready, but better than what we have now. I am not convinced that the WiTE AI is the pinnacle of what can be achieved. A bit more abstraction would allow for a lot more flexibility, giving the impression of intelligence, or at least some level of free will.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/9/2012 7:47:57 PM   
Schmart

 

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deleted.

< Message edited by Schmart -- 1/9/2012 8:02:48 PM >

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/9/2012 8:40:20 PM   
janh

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: redmarkus4
I sense that a part of the problem with the AI is the objective setting. The AI seems to ignore city hexes and other key historical objectives on the defense. Perhaps this is why it doesn't attack aggressively as well?


It certainly doesn't ignore cities nor key terrain, but it doesn't treat them all the same, not does it cling to ground if it is threatened to be outnumbered, overtaken or even surrounded. I find it performs extremely well for an AI, especially if comparing it to any other strategic AI I have seen so far. Compared to the one in WitP/AE it is quite a bit better (though the former, to defend it, has to deal with even greater complexity as air is treated more explicitly, and the key naval component adds a completely new level which amplifies all logic challenges, even for a human sorting out his next amphibious landing).
It is smart enough to even start evacuating key cities if isolated and attempt a break-out. Often too little too late, but a human player would face the same challenges given how strong Germans tend to be in 41/42, or Russian Rifle Corps post 43/44.

If at all, I found it gives Moscow up a tid bit early (in comparison to what would have likely been the historical course), but to be honest that way
it has at least once in my GC saved a whole lot of Red Army units worth much more than a few city blocks in the long run. So taking into account that neither I and probably also all other players won't play the game in utmost historical fashion (kind of playing as if the own head could get separated from the body if you screw up or needlessly waste your troops), the AI has to in fact diverge as well from historical doctrine and behavior if it is to be competitive with inventive gamers that like employ all available hindsight and experience, perhaps even fight a modern war rather than a world-war where blitz krieg and close air-land cooperation were pretty new and large untried.

If it would stick to historical behavior or strategies, i.e. hold forward too long as a Russian in 41 (along Stalins orders), perform needles counterattacks to open pockets or hurt the Germans, push the Wehrmacht forward in increasingly bloody battles right up to blizzad (instead of digging early), or later not retreat German Divisions from cities once threatened by Russian envelopment (along Hitlers "Feste Punkte" orders), I would bet it would be extremely easy to defeat given today's knowledge.

For the lack of aggression, that clearly changed with the patches. Not sure what they changed, but it may either have to do with the improvements that affected the CV of units (if the attack decision is computed based on relative CV?), or with some kind of threshold they may have tuned up in the AI routines deciding above which odds to attack (or maybe even "pre-simulating" the outcome roughly and deciding on base of average losses?). If you tune the difficulty levels across the board up to >=110% for AI, it gets more aggressive, but not smarter (also with that also chances for it making small pockets seem to improve).

The best experience as Axis player I got so far out of the game (at 110% levels) if I did not start with rail repairs before turn 6, and not use HQ-Build-up before turn 8. I advanced under a lot greater supply strain, much slower which gives AI some extra chance to reorganize after each pocket or breakthru. That caused big headaches in front of Leningrad, or Moscow for me, which, however, felt very much as I would expect it.
In contrast I have tried to test how far Axis under optimal supply conditions and HQ-buildup use could advance prior to December, i.e. test where the supply model would put an inherent stop, but given the low Soviet MP and CV in 41 I succeeded in taking even Stalingrad, Tambov and Murov. I have not played the Soviet side into the late 44 phase when it theoretically should start rushing forward, but I would expect the same to be true. So putting a strain on your supply makes the AI cope much better with the fast movements the phasing player can make.

Certainly an AI could be programmed that would mimic smartness, and could follow "by the book" tactics as much as human could stick to a safe course by the book. And there are also groups today working on "learning algorithms" that for example work by trying to identify key parameters in a set of less important ones for the outcome of processes, but that doesn't sound like anything a game publisher in a niche sector (or even a large studio) could afford. Nor would I be willing to pay a couple of 100 or 1000 dollars for a license, or the 64 node cluster needed to run an AI turn in less than 7 days... As a mathematicians joke would say -- the problem is solvable. Just don't mention the time required...
One cheap way to allow a systematic improvement of AI exists, though: modders, if the routines were written in a sufficiently powerful scripting language and open to modification and enhancement. That I still find would add a lot to 2by3 or Matrix products in general.

For the price of the game, I can only say the they have done a great job with the AI, and I hope that will continue that when a real naval component and a more detailed air war (the closer to WiTP/AE detail levels, the better) will added in the future titles.

(in reply to Redmarkus5)
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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/9/2012 10:01:59 PM   
Redmarkus5


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Well, I posted more detailed results of my latest game vs. the Soviet AI under the last beta in another thread. All I can say is that you and me must be playing a different game.

Come December '41 the Soviet AI wouldn't even attack except in six hexes along the entire front and even there it attacked 26,000 Axis troops with a single brigade, even though there were several Soviet divisions in the adjacent hexes, unused.

I admit that I only had it set on 'normal' 100%. But really, only six attacks along the front and a complete failure to commit the forces that are already sitting right there?




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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/9/2012 10:27:53 PM   
janh

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: redmarkus4
Well, I posted more detailed results of my latest game vs. the Soviet AI under the last beta in another thread. All I can say is that you and me must be playing a different game.

Come December '41 the Soviet AI wouldn't even attack except in six hexes along the entire front and even there it attacked 26,000 Axis troops with a single brigade, even though there were several Soviet divisions in the adjacent hexes, unused.

I admit that I only had it set on 'normal' 100%. But really, only six attacks along the front and a complete failure to commit the forces that are already sitting right there?


You could try increasing the difficulty levels. Not sure it works here like in AE, where you can change levels in-game to give AI a boost for a couple of turns by providing for e.g. with supply benefits (no supply limitations/failed checks that is) that help a lot with rebuilding units or getting airframe replacements before switching back to a level where isolation and starving is possible. Never tried.

AI is naturally best on the defense, since that's inherently easier than organizing an offense. Since setting morale difficulty to >=110% allows AI to pass all admin checks for MP, and Soviet MP are inherently low due to poor leaders and proficiency (moral), this makes quite a difference. I recall the next level was about 125%, at and above which AI passes all dice rolls for initiative checks. That makes a huge difference, but I found that to be too much under patch 1.05 as AI to evidently started brute force grinding -- so I quite stopped that GC quite quickly. I guess AI would do the same as Axis and take Moscow with ease at this level? Perhaps someone has tried that and can comment?

To me it seems like the limit on AI aggression, at least for Soviet AI, stems to a good part from the poor MP, and, thus, poor C&C of the Soviet Army? Perhaps also for AI games the Soviet side is a bit to weak now in the early years, with 1.05.xx?

Not sure how sensitive AI is to being ground down prior to winter, though. A dev would have to explain what exact checks the AI would undergo to see how CV and so on are considered. I would guess you are facing pretty weak units?

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/9/2012 11:43:16 PM   
randallw

 

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Programming a good AI may be a challenge that will always be tough.  A human looks at the battlefield and can think "yeah, this looks good over here"...the computer has to compute odds, maybe the VP of the cities nearby, maybe ( or not ) look at units in the general area, all sorts of doodads.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/9/2012 11:43:50 PM   
Mentor


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I just finished my first '41 GC against a Challenging Soviet AI.  I won a decisive victory in Nov '43.  The AI put up a pretty tough battle until Leningrad fell in fall 42, and Moscow in winter 42/43.  After that things went south quickly.  The 41/42 blizzard was tough for me, and I even lost a Hungarian and German division in an encirclement outside of Kursk.  I found the AI would attack with reasonable aggressiveness when I overextended myself.  Overall the campaign was great fun, but both sides were hit by bugs in the betas that affected the overall result.

I made a lot of mistakes in my first GC, and can do a lot better.  Going to crank up to Hard and give it another go, perhaps with a more unconventional overall strategy.

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/10/2012 2:04:32 AM   
carlkay58

 

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I tried the 1.05 version with Axis set to 125% and Soviets at 80% (Challenging setting). I won it in version 1.03 in a fairly easy fashion. The 1.05 version, however, kicked my butt. By mid September I had no Soviet divisions that had any training left. Essentially the Axis AI just steamrolled me. So I tried it again with running all of the Soviets to the Urals and trying to allow the computer to have its own way - it penetrated only four more hexes than when I was fighting it. So in the game I lost 4.3M men by mid-September and could say I slowed down the Axis four whole hexes!

The new code and rules shatter Soviet formations MUCH easier. So I tried some tests and found that with Axis AI at 110% and Soviet AI at 100%, the Axis AI won a decisive victory in November 1944. So I now play the Axis AI at 110% and my Soviets at 100% and it is a much better game (for me at least!).

(in reply to Mentor)
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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/10/2012 2:33:28 AM   
Mentor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: carlkay58

I tried the 1.05 version with Axis set to 125% and Soviets at 80% (Challenging setting).


Those are Hard settings, not Challenging. Challenging is AI 110%, player 90%.

(in reply to carlkay58)
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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/10/2012 10:30:33 PM   
carlkay58

 

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OK, that makes me feel a bit better!

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RE: Catch 22 - the AI - 1/10/2012 10:58:05 PM   
Flaviusx


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Yeah, Axis AI set to hard is no joke in 1.05.

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