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RE: AI for MWiF-Italy

 
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RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/1/2006 8:01:19 PM   
trees

 

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that's basically a 'kitchen sink' 1941 barbarossa, which is definitely a viable Axis strategy, and somewhat of a high risk, high reward type deal, and pretty fun too. what you risk is possibly Italy being out of the war in 1942. there is no pressure whatsoever on the CW so they have no problem controlling the Med, maximizing CW production, sending aid to Russia and cleaning up all the approaches to Italy (Sardinia, Tripoli) at the same time. If the Russians know how to survive such a ferocious attack, which can be done, the Axis emperors soon have no clothes.

(in reply to sajbalk)
Post #: 31
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/1/2006 9:15:49 PM   
wosung

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: sajbalk

Italy would liberate the Baltic states so that it could use those countries as a new home country in the event that Italy falls. This is best dealt with in a convention or home setting by threatening to throttle the Italian player, but on the computer that would be more difficult.

A similar situation would arise where the USSR takes Bulgaria and Italy liberates it.




Please, could there be two settings for AI in MWIF?

Historical and "everythings possible, based on rules as written"?

Sure, WIF rules may allow Italian liberation of the Baltics and German total Mediterran strategy. But most of it was historically not quite thinkable. Fact is, in Nazi-Germany ideology was structurally quite central. That's a main reason why they lost the war.

And its ideology was not about liberating any Eastern people, nor just let the Italians liberate them. Barbarossa was absolutely central for the regime, and it was about extermination and absolute power.

I won't say that with German AI there should always be a straight Barbarossa. But personally, I wouldn't like a Mediterrane strategy every second game.

I'm quite sure, this is a minority position on this forum. But nevertheless.

Regards


(in reply to sajbalk)
Post #: 32
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 12:52:58 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wosung

quote:

ORIGINAL: sajbalk

Italy would liberate the Baltic states so that it could use those countries as a new home country in the event that Italy falls. This is best dealt with in a convention or home setting by threatening to throttle the Italian player, but on the computer that would be more difficult.

A similar situation would arise where the USSR takes Bulgaria and Italy liberates it.




Please, could there be two settings for AI in MWIF?

Historical and "everythings possible, based on rules as written"?

Sure, WIF rules may allow Italian liberation of the Baltics and German total Mediterran strategy. But most of it was historically not quite thinkable. Fact is, in Nazi-Germany ideology was structurally quite central. That's a main reason why they lost the war.

And its ideology was not about liberating any Eastern people, nor just let the Italians liberate them. Barbarossa was absolutely central for the regime, and it was about extermination and absolute power.

I won't say that with German AI there should always be a straight Barbarossa. But personally, I wouldn't like a Mediterrane strategy every second game.

I'm quite sure, this is a minority position on this forum. But nevertheless.

Regards

I am not sure where to draw that line. Hitler had a lot of ideas floating around about who to attack and with whom to ally. Sometimes he did both (USSR). Ruling out possible actions because they did not occur historically or seem too far fetched (weird/unlikely) could be difficult.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to wosung)
Post #: 33
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 3:04:41 AM   
ptey

 

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A '41 med, '42 barb strategy could probably have happened. However having italy liberate the baltic states seems alittle gamey. I doubt any significant amount of italiens would have kept fighting, even though one or more of the baltic states were "italien".
I would also like to atleast have the option for avoiding italien liberation of the baltics as standard procedure for the ai.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 34
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 3:11:59 AM   
wosung

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets


quote:

ORIGINAL: wosung

quote:

ORIGINAL: sajbalk

Italy would liberate the Baltic states so that it could use those countries as a new home country in the event that Italy falls. This is best dealt with in a convention or home setting by threatening to throttle the Italian player, but on the computer that would be more difficult.

A similar situation would arise where the USSR takes Bulgaria and Italy liberates it.




Please, could there be two settings for AI in MWIF?

Historical and "everythings possible, based on rules as written"?

Sure, WIF rules may allow Italian liberation of the Baltics and German total Mediterran strategy. But most of it was historically not quite thinkable. Fact is, in Nazi-Germany ideology was structurally quite central. That's a main reason why they lost the war.

And its ideology was not about liberating any Eastern people, nor just let the Italians liberate them. Barbarossa was absolutely central for the regime, and it was about extermination and absolute power.

I won't say that with German AI there should always be a straight Barbarossa. But personally, I wouldn't like a Mediterrane strategy every second game.

I'm quite sure, this is a minority position on this forum. But nevertheless.

Regards

I am not sure where to draw that line. Hitler had a lot of ideas floating around about who to attack and with whom to ally. Sometimes he did both (USSR). Ruling out possible actions because they did not occur historically or seem too far fetched (weird/unlikely) could be difficult.


OK. main points seem to be:

1. possibilities and probabilities

2. drawing the line between them both

3. gaming fun and historical stuff



1. possibilities and probabilities:
No other WW2 participant is better researched than Germany (vanished states are historical researchers friend, best access to to archives. Japanese is harder to access because of language. Italian changed sides in midwar).

German historicans do the main part of research about Nazi-Regime.
They probably always will debate about how to weight different aspects of the regime (Hitler, ideology, opportunities, polycratic power structures) in different fields (e.g. foreign-, social policies, the holocaust).

But there is quite a long lasting consensus, that war policy was neither totally opportunistic nor somehow traditionalistic (like napoleonic rationale of beating Russia, the last continental "weapon of weapon of England", if you cannot beat England itself).

The Nazi war against Russia was one of the few main targets of the regime and its ideological repertoire. "Lebensraum" and a new racial order just were in the focus.

Hitler Stalin Pact was just a tool to secure invasion of Poland and France. And this tactical move confused Germans and Russian population alike, which were used to anti-communist and anti-nazi ideological antagonisms.

Battle of France was about revenge for Versailles and a stepping stone for Barbarossa. The ongoing war against England was not seen as really necessary by Hitler, the "insulted admirer" of the aryan British Empire.

2. To put it bluntly: A Mediterranean strategy was secondary to the regime simply for ideological reasons. Apart from cheap victories. Even if this might hurt anglosaxon pride.

So from a German historical point of view, even a Mediterranean Nazi strategy seems quite unlikely.

Now Italian liberated Baltic states, well, is quite ridiculus: Why should the Grossdeutsche Reich give its Lebensraum away? Why to the mediterrean oriented Italians? Remember, the Baltics even had a German minority (Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi ideologue was a Baltendeutscher).

3.Where to draw the line between gaming fun and historical probability? Well, that's a matter of taste. And therefore I would love to see two AI settings. But I can see that this maybe might be difficult to accomplish.

And I can also see that for the anglosaxon gamer its fun play WIF with Wallies-German focus. It's the same with some of the anglo-american historicans: Nobody loves Rommel like them

Post Scriptum: I checked some references on the German consensus about Nazi Barbarossa focus. They are a little older now, but believe me, discourse here on that hasn't change since then.

Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt, MGFA, (ed.): Deutschland und der Zweite Weltkrieg, [Institute for Military-historical research, it's the "official" ongoing German war history in ten thick volumes, VERY detailed, lots of statistics. Quite expensive per volume, about 40 Euros. But sometimes you can get the eight already published volumes cheaper on ebay.de]

Vol. 1 Ursachen und Voraussetzungen der deutschen Kriegspolitik [ Origins and conditions of German war policies], Stuttgart 1979, p.700
Vol. 4, Der Angriff auf die Sowjetunion, Stuttgart 1983, p.12.

Andreas Hillgruber, Der 2. Weltkrieg: Kriegsziele und Strategien der großen Mächte. [War aims and strategy of the Great powers]. Stuttgart 1996, p. 66-67.

Regards

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 35
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 3:12:00 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ptey

A '41 med, '42 barb strategy could probably have happened. However having italy liberate the baltic states seems alittle gamey. I doubt any significant amount of italiens would have kept fighting, even though one or more of the baltic states were "italien".
I would also like to atleast have the option for avoiding italien liberation of the baltics as standard procedure for the ai.


And the same for the Italian conquest of France? Or Yugoslavia? Or Greece?

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to ptey)
Post #: 36
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 3:23:56 AM   
wosung

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ptey

A '41 med, '42 barb strategy could probably have happened. However having italy liberate the baltic states seems alittle gamey. I doubt any significant amount of italiens would have kept fighting, even though one or more of the baltic states were "italien".
I would also like to atleast have the option for avoiding italien liberation of the baltics as standard procedure for the ai.



41 med, 42 barb historically could have happen, IF it would have been a cheap option for Germany in ressources.

Remember, in 1940 Hitler perrrzonally (!) negotiated with Franco in Hendaye, Spanish-French border. But even Francos' price was too high for Hitler.

Now who/what would have had a higher price, a negotiating Franco, a German Invasion of Spain and/or English defences at Gibraltar??

Regards

(in reply to ptey)
Post #: 37
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 3:28:03 AM   
ptey

 

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Well excuse me, but i like having atleast *some* historical foundation.

Anyway, some italiens fighting on from yugo or even greece doesnt seem THAT unlikely, if said countries are italien controlled during the war. However italy fighting on from estonia is imo ridiculous.


edit: I just checked the rules. A new home country must be an aligned minor. That means that greece and france are out of the question for italy. That leaves the possible new home contries for italy to be yugo, iraq, persia, spain and whatever countries they have liberated after a russian conquest. Ie the baltic states.

< Message edited by ptey -- 12/2/2006 3:50:50 AM >

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 38
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 4:29:10 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ptey
Well excuse me, but i like having atleast *some* historical foundation.

Anyway, some italiens fighting on from yugo or even greece doesnt seem THAT unlikely, if said countries are italien controlled during the war. However italy fighting on from estonia is imo ridiculous.


edit: I just checked the rules. A new home country must be an aligned minor. That means that greece and france are out of the question for italy. That leaves the possible new home contries for italy to be yugo, iraq, persia, spain and whatever countries they have liberated after a russian conquest. Ie the baltic states.

Someone previously (probably in this thread) had discussed Yugoslavia as a second home country for Italy. His suggestion was for Italy to press Germany to make that happen.

My questions were not meant to be argumentative. I just wanted to know the level of "historical accuracy" you were comfortable with. For example, in some situations having Italy conquer France or Greece might be preferred to having Germany be the conquering country (purely hypothetical here). Historically, I do not see Hitler likely to grant that glory to Mussolini. According to the WIF rules it is clearly possible. Should the AIO be denied that choice?

Reversing roles, should the AIO have to defend against legal but non-historical actions by the human player? Yet still be limited to 'historically likely" choices for its own decisions?

I get the feeling we are drifting into "house rules" here rather than following the WIF FE rule set.



_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to ptey)
Post #: 39
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 11:13:50 AM   
wosung

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

quote:

ORIGINAL: ptey
Well excuse me, but i like having atleast *some* historical foundation.

Anyway, some italiens fighting on from yugo or even greece doesnt seem THAT unlikely, if said countries are italien controlled during the war. However italy fighting on from estonia is imo ridiculous.


edit: I just checked the rules. A new home country must be an aligned minor. That means that greece and france are out of the question for italy. That leaves the possible new home contries for italy to be yugo, iraq, persia, spain and whatever countries they have liberated after a russian conquest. Ie the baltic states.

Someone previously (probably in this thread) had discussed Yugoslavia as a second home country for Italy. His suggestion was for Italy to press Germany to make that happen.

My questions were not meant to be argumentative. I just wanted to know the level of "historical accuracy" you were comfortable with. For example, in some situations having Italy conquer France or Greece might be preferred to having Germany be the conquering country (purely hypothetical here). Historically, I do not see Hitler likely to grant that glory to Mussolini. According to the WIF rules it is clearly possible. Should the AIO be denied that choice?

Reversing roles, should the AIO have to defend against legal but non-historical actions by the human player? Yet still be limited to 'historically likely" choices for its own decisions?

I get the feeling we are drifting into "house rules" here rather than following the WIF FE rule set.




But that's more about programming, not about house rules.

I'm not a rule lawyer, but in WIFFE there seem to be lots of optinal rules about quite minor aspects of the war, to make everybody happy.

And, for example, the Italian Home country in the Baltics wouldn't be quite a minor aspect of the war.

I'm not a programmer, but if there would be choices for the human player for AIO foreign policy behavior, then couldn't AIO also be programmed to take activated choices into account for its defense against human player?

Like:
Option "rule laywers' AIO": AIO is programmed for playing and "defending" against all the RAW possibilities, like the Italian Home country in the Baltics.

Option "Historical AIO": AIO is programmed for playing and "defending" against only historical plausible strategies.

Historical plausible strategies could be defined by a forum vote for example.

Regards

I can even imagine, that the option "Historical AIO" is far easier for you to programm than the option "rule lawyer AIO". Far less choices with the former

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 40
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 11:16:07 AM   
wosung

 

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Maybe we should move the posts out of the "AI for MWIF - Italy" thread? These are more fundamental things.

(in reply to wosung)
Post #: 41
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 11:41:23 AM   
Froonp


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quote:

I get the feeling we are drifting into "house rules" here rather than following the WIF FE rule set.

Steve, I think that you are guessing right.

Steve said :
quote:

My questions were not meant to be argumentative. I just wanted to know the level of "historical accuracy" you were comfortable with. For example, in some situations having Italy conquer France or Greece might be preferred to having Germany be the conquering country (purely hypothetical here). Historically, I do not see Hitler likely to grant that glory to Mussolini. According to the WIF rules it is clearly possible. Should the AIO be denied that choice?

The WiF game is designed for everything to be possible, within the bounds of a 1939 historical start.

Wosung said :
quote:

I won't say that with German AI there should always be a straight Barbarossa. But personally, I wouldn't like a Mediterrane strategy every second game.

Well, I'm sorry to say that real WiF games, played by highly competent players, especially at Cons, are more than one Mediterranean strategy every second game. Highly competitive players nearly all favor the Med strategy, the "41 close the Med", because it is far more efficient and easy to achieve a victory in a WiF FE game this way than the historical way.

I've talked a lot with Harry about this sore point (to me), but Harry likes his game to be highly open ended. He does not like his game to always oblige players to follow an historical path.

So, if MWiF should be a computer version of WiF, it should be as open ended as WiF, and should not have an AI that only choose historical paths.


This said, my own opinion is that there could be an easy way to deal with this in MWiF :

We know that the global "path" that the WiF game is following is 90% influenced by the global path that the German AI will take. It is Germany that decides what the game looks like, in other words. The other Axis Power that either coordinate to go the same way as Germany, or do not.

The global path that Germany chooses is the global orientation strategy that it must choose when the game starts. Example :

Path 1, historical :
Variation 1 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 Russia (with Italian Med with German help) (real Historical path)
Variation 2 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 Russia (with kitchen sink thrown at Russia -- i.e. no Med at all)

Path 2, historical start, then deviation :
Variation 1 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 Spain & Gib & Close the Med + 1942 Russia (or Russia sitzkrieg)
Variation 2 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 Spain & Gib & Close the Med + 1942 UK (sitzkrieg in Russia)
Variation 3 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 UK + 1942 Russia (or Russia sitzkrieg)

Path 3, ahistorical path with emphasis on the west & Med :
Variation 1 : 1939 West + 1940-41 Spain & Gib & Close the Med + 1942 Russia (or Russia sitzkrieg)
Variation 2 : 1939 West + 1940-41 UK + 1942 Russia (or Russia sitzkrieg)
Variation 3 : 1939 West + 1940-41 Spain & Gib & Close the Med + 1942 UK (sitzkrieg in Russia)

Path 4, ahistorical path with emphasis on Russia :
Variation 1 : 1939 West + 1940 Poland & Russia (with Italian Med with German help)
Variation 2 : 1939 West + 1940 Poland & Russia (with kitchen sink thrown at Russia -- i.e. no Med at all)

So there could be an optional control in MWiF to tune up the AI, that you would check if you prefer a more historical oriented game, and when you check this control, the German AI would have a lot more chances of choosing a 41 Barbarossa as its global strategy (Path 1 variation 1).


< Message edited by Froonp -- 12/2/2006 11:47:04 AM >

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 42
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 12:04:34 PM   
Froonp


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ptey
Well excuse me, but i like having atleast *some* historical foundation.

Anyway, some italiens fighting on from yugo or even greece doesnt seem THAT unlikely, if said countries are italien controlled during the war. However italy fighting on from estonia is imo ridiculous.

edit: I just checked the rules. A new home country must be an aligned minor. That means that greece and france are out of the question for italy. That leaves the possible new home contries for italy to be yugo, iraq, persia, spain and whatever countries they have liberated after a russian conquest. Ie the baltic states.

Ptey is right, only aligned countries allow for a conquered country to be incompletely conquered.
Italy has a lot of aligned countries : Albania, Italian Somaliland, Eritrea, and can get Yugoslavia and a Baltic State during the course of the war.
The interest of being incompletely conquered, is that you keep all units that were outside the home country when it falls, and that you still are producing with the factories you have in your new home country, and that you still deserve to play, that is choose actions (Air, Naval, Land or Combined -- with half limits) and play impulses, so you still are of some help to your allies.

With those interests in mind, the best "back up" home country is Yugoslavia, as it has factories, and as it has naval bases in the same sea area that the original Italian Home Country had, this means that the surviving Italian navy can easily survive. Other back up home countries are worse, and some even useless as the African ones.

This said, an incompletely conquered Italy is nearly as powerful as another Axis aligned Minor country, because generaly Italy looses 90-95% of its fighting force when Italy falls. So it is not really a problem from then on.

(in reply to ptey)
Post #: 43
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 12:54:42 PM   
wosung

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp

quote:

I get the feeling we are drifting into "house rules" here rather than following the WIF FE rule set.

Steve, I think that you are guessing right.

Steve said :
quote:

My questions were not meant to be argumentative. I just wanted to know the level of "historical accuracy" you were comfortable with. For example, in some situations having Italy conquer France or Greece might be preferred to having Germany be the conquering country (purely hypothetical here). Historically, I do not see Hitler likely to grant that glory to Mussolini. According to the WIF rules it is clearly possible. Should the AIO be denied that choice?

The WiF game is designed for everything to be possible, within the bounds of a 1939 historical start.

Wosung said :
quote:

I won't say that with German AI there should always be a straight Barbarossa. But personally, I wouldn't like a Mediterrane strategy every second game.

Well, I'm sorry to say that real WiF games, played by highly competent players, especially at Cons, are more than one Mediterranean strategy every second game. Highly competitive players nearly all favor the Med strategy, the "41 close the Med", because it is far more efficient and easy to achieve a victory in a WiF FE game this way than the historical way.

I've talked a lot with Harry about this sore point (to me), but Harry likes his game to be highly open ended. He does not like his game to always oblige players to follow an historical path.

So, if MWiF should be a computer version of WiF, it should be as open ended as WiF, and should not have an AI that only choose historical paths.


This said, my own opinion is that there could be an easy way to deal with this in MWiF :

We know that the global "path" that the WiF game is following is 90% influenced by the global path that the German AI will take. It is Germany that decides what the game looks like, in other words. The other Axis Power that either coordinate to go the same way as Germany, or do not.

The global path that Germany chooses is the global orientation strategy that it must choose when the game starts. Example :

Path 1, historical :
Variation 1 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 Russia (with Italian Med with German help) (real Historical path)
Variation 2 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 Russia (with kitchen sink thrown at Russia -- i.e. no Med at all)

Path 2, historical start, then deviation :
Variation 1 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 Spain & Gib & Close the Med + 1942 Russia (or Russia sitzkrieg)
Variation 2 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 Spain & Gib & Close the Med + 1942 UK (sitzkrieg in Russia)
Variation 3 : 1939 Poland + 1940 West + 1941 UK + 1942 Russia (or Russia sitzkrieg)

Path 3, ahistorical path with emphasis on the west & Med :
Variation 1 : 1939 West + 1940-41 Spain & Gib & Close the Med + 1942 Russia (or Russia sitzkrieg)
Variation 2 : 1939 West + 1940-41 UK + 1942 Russia (or Russia sitzkrieg)
Variation 3 : 1939 West + 1940-41 Spain & Gib & Close the Med + 1942 UK (sitzkrieg in Russia)

Path 4, ahistorical path with emphasis on Russia :
Variation 1 : 1939 West + 1940 Poland & Russia (with Italian Med with German help)
Variation 2 : 1939 West + 1940 Poland & Russia (with kitchen sink thrown at Russia -- i.e. no Med at all)

So there could be an optional control in MWiF to tune up the AI, that you would check if you prefer a more historical oriented game, and when you check this control, the German AI would have a lot more chances of choosing a 41 Barbarossa as its global strategy (Path 1 variation 1).



I like your ideas with different paths and variants. It's more differenciated than my historical/RAW AIO proposal.

BTW: In juxaposition your 2 cites feel quite strange:

1. "Highly competent players nearly all favor the Med strategy, the "41 close the Med", because it is far more efficient and easy to achieve a victory in a WiF FE game this way than the historical way."

and:

2. "Harry likes his game to be highly open ended. He does not like his game to always oblige players to follow an historical path."

If everybody has to close the Med to be competitve, then WIFFE can't be as open-ended as Harry Rowland himself percieved it.

Rather, that would mean, Harry Rowland turns the players to follow another fixed path: a special ahistorical one.

And maybe it's no accident that WIF centres around a glorious Battle of the Med with Rommel and all, or a Sealion. These are the anglosaxon "dream" scenarios.(1)

As we all know, WIF wasn't designed by a "Russian Design Group"

Sorry can't resist:
(1) By the way, the Rommel Egypt scenario is not very plausible historically: Because of logistics. And I don't mean naval transport in the Med, which worked astonishingly well for the Axis.

Problem was the unloading capacities of Tobruk and Benghasi harbors. And Tripolis was too far away from the front. No real Railway network.

Because of the involved distances on land, for the Axis supplying Northern Africa was even harder than supplying Barbarossa.

Source:
Martin van Creveld, Supplying war, Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton, Cambridge UP, 1977, p.181ff.

Regards

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 44
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 1:40:26 PM   
Froonp


Posts: 7899
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From: Marseilles, France
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quote:

BTW: In juxaposition your 2 cites feel quite strange:

1. "Highly competent players nearly all favor the Med strategy, the "41 close the Med", because it is far more efficient and easy to achieve a victory in a WiF FE game this way than the historical way."

and:

2. "Harry likes his game to be highly open ended. He does not like his game to always oblige players to follow an historical path."

If everybody has to close the Med to be competitve, then WIFFE can't be as open-ended as Harry Rowland himself percieved it.

Rather, that would mean, Harry Rowland turns the players to follow another fixed path: a special ahistorical one.

It is exactly what I try to say to Harry, but I do not manage him to see this. He always answers me that he wants his game to be variable and open ended.

But it may also be because he has FAR more experience than me playing HIS game, and because I may have a biaised view that is not totaly right when I say "Highly competent players nearly all favor the Med strategy, the "41 close the Med", because it is far more efficient and easy to achieve a victory in a WiF FE game this way than the historical way."

I said this because it is what I witness in reading Con result, and having played Con players a couple of times (I hate those Con players indeed, those who are ready to play in any ahistorical way, provided they win).

quote:

And maybe it's no accident that WIF centres around a glorious Battle of the Med with Rommel and all, or a Sealion. These are the anglosaxon "dream" scenarios.(1)

Maybe, I don't know.


< Message edited by Froonp -- 12/2/2006 1:44:15 PM >

(in reply to wosung)
Post #: 45
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 3:26:44 PM   
trees

 

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WiF is based on the idea that you don't HAVE to re-create history. Italy is not forced to lay down Carriers, finish expensive Battleships and not build enough NAVs. Just as the weather is different in a game of WiF and perhaps there are a week of thunderstorms the second week of May, 1940, think of it this way...the political situation in a given country is part of the randomness, to a degree. Maybe Hitler fought at Jutland in WWI and developed an overriding hatred of the British, so WWII becomes an all-out Sea Lion. Maybe the Japanese had a political near-schism involving Communists in the early 30s and the victorious militarists determine they need to push the Soviets out of Asia. It's not hard to think of what-ifs. The only certainty is the basic sides and ideology. Russian/West cooperation won't be simple. The Axis ideologies will still exploit conquered countries and see the rise of Partisans as a result, etc.

The AI should have multiple options to pick from to pick from just as any human player would. One of them should be a fairly historical path. I think what would be a popular feature would be for one (and only one) "AI variant" where the player can force the AI to use a historical strategy for either side, only in so far as the major political decisions as to who to attack when (so Italy throws a wrench in things via attacking Greece, for example). Those decision branches would probably all be in there and if a player wants to explore what happens with them on purpose I think purchasers of the game would appreciate that. Even that might be more work than worthwhile to add to this already massive game. Anything more than that, asking the AI to avoid 'gamey' things should be avoided as extra layers of work for little reward. Everyone's definition of what is 'gamey' is different. If you don't like a given 'gamey' thing you had best play against human beings who agree to not do the certain 'gamey' thing. Whether to teach Italy to 'liberate' a Baltic State is a tougher call, but the decision making on aligning Yugoslavia should definitely be a part of the programming.

[And logistics are over-simplified in WiF, but wargamers don't like logistics. Logistics is something you deal with at work, not in a game. Any unit in any coastal hex being able to trace supply is exceedingly generous, especially for the Libyan campaign.]

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 46
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 6:36:17 PM   
wosung

 

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Well, yes, what-ifs are plenty, that's their nature. But personally I would love not to be forced to play what-ifs the majority of time. That's all. I don't want to change everything into a history lesson. That wouldn't be a defendable position. Chose your battles.

But it's really the question where to draw the lines in what-ifs. Include German laser swords and Luftwaffe Dark Stars? Italian home country in the Baltics? I don't know, but perhaps WIF is more generous with political what-ifs, than with tactical and unit what-ifs.

There are political determinants: WW2 was a global peoples war. The set of mind of a whole nation couldn't be changed in a blink, like from anti- to pro-fascist. Nobody understood the Hitler Stalin pact then. And in Studs Terkels' "The good War" (An american oral history of WW2) lots of the interviewed said, they didn't understand the abrupt switch from Sowjet-Russians from being Allies in WW2 to being foes in the cold war.

As I said before, maybe an AIO for RAW is even harder to programm than an historical AIO, because of numbers of options. And there is also a fair ammount of coaltion warfare involved.

A pity, we dont like logistics . Perhaps we should all play ego shooters, where we can point the gun at somebody. Honestly the van Creveld book about "Supplying war" became one of my favorite WW2 books. Very interesting chapter also about Barbarossa. The book was hard to get, but now I think there's a 2nd ed.

Regards

(in reply to trees)
Post #: 47
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 7:08:13 PM   
amwild

 

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As a programmer, I can guess that Steve will program the AIO to follow the rules, pursue victory conditions, and analyse and take advantage of its enemies' weaknesses. The real trick is making the AIO able to do these things well.

Basically an AI is a set of if-then statements, perhaps with a few random numbers thrown in to provide variation. Such an opponent, properly programmed, could execute some quite unexpected strategies that would make playing against it a challenge.

However, an AIO constrained to making "historical" decisions could be quite disappointing in that it would be more predictable and its choices may not be logical given the unpredictability of a human player, and it could have the additional disadvantage of being more difficult to code if we are given the option of it using either historically-based-only or any possible strategies.

I would prefer an AIO that will play as much like a human as possible, making decisions because they are the best it can make, not because someone made similar decisions around sixty years ago. If the AIO uses historical gambits, it should be doing so because it calculates that that is what gives it the best chances of success. Given that geography, politics, the composition of the various national armies, and military production imposes certain limits on what may be attempted with any reasonable chance of success, we should see the AIO attempt strategies that appear similar to historical strategies on a regular basis - because they were then and are still the best strategies available given these conditions.

Contrast this with a simple example: Historically, Germany invaded France through Belgium. Let's say the AIO is programmed to make the same choice - and the human player knows it... and places all sorts of "rocks" in Belgium and northern France for the German AIO's units to break on like a wave on the shore, even though "historically" Belgium was relatively lightly defended. The AIO's options being limited, it would have far less choice on how to avoid such an obvious trap than would otherwise be the case, and would appear to be playing stupidly. Does anyone think that disappointed players wouldn't then complain of the AIO's apparent stupidity in "historical" mode?

(in reply to trees)
Post #: 48
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 9:19:00 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: amwild

As a programmer, I can guess that Steve will program the AIO to follow the rules, pursue victory conditions, and analyse and take advantage of its enemies' weaknesses. The real trick is making the AIO able to do these things well.

Basically an AI is a set of if-then statements, perhaps with a few random numbers thrown in to provide variation. Such an opponent, properly programmed, could execute some quite unexpected strategies that would make playing against it a challenge.

However, an AIO constrained to making "historical" decisions could be quite disappointing in that it would be more predictable and its choices may not be logical given the unpredictability of a human player, and it could have the additional disadvantage of being more difficult to code if we are given the option of it using either historically-based-only or any possible strategies.

I would prefer an AIO that will play as much like a human as possible, making decisions because they are the best it can make, not because someone made similar decisions around sixty years ago. If the AIO uses historical gambits, it should be doing so because it calculates that that is what gives it the best chances of success. Given that geography, politics, the composition of the various national armies, and military production imposes certain limits on what may be attempted with any reasonable chance of success, we should see the AIO attempt strategies that appear similar to historical strategies on a regular basis - because they were then and are still the best strategies available given these conditions.

Contrast this with a simple example: Historically, Germany invaded France through Belgium. Let's say the AIO is programmed to make the same choice - and the human player knows it... and places all sorts of "rocks" in Belgium and northern France for the German AIO's units to break on like a wave on the shore, even though "historically" Belgium was relatively lightly defended. The AIO's options being limited, it would have far less choice on how to avoid such an obvious trap than would otherwise be the case, and would appear to be playing stupidly. Does anyone think that disappointed players wouldn't then complain of the AIO's apparent stupidity in "historical" mode?


Nicely stated. I agree with about 98% of this - Germany also went through The Netherlands.

============

As for the strategic choices of players at WIF tournaments, I believe the analogy to chess openings is appropriate. Over the years different chess openings have been popular. At different times one will be considered to provide the best opportunity to win. Eventually, someone comes up with counter moves that reduce the opening to a more equitable outcome, and the opening's popularity wans.

Clearly, chess, with its rigid rules set for the past 150 - 200 years, is not 'forcing' the players to play a certain opening. Rather the players are the variable and they are choosing an opening that they think gives them the best chance of winning. Over time, I suspect that WIF will evolve different responses to German/Axis strategic plans that will cause the choice of which strategic plan to employ to mutate too.

============
Getting back to a Baltic state as a new home country for the Italians, ...

Yes, it seems strange. But in 1939, wouldn't having the Free French government set up in Gabon have seemed strange too? And all those other countries who had elements of their fighting forces operate out of England (e.g., Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland)? The capacity of armed forces to continue fighting for their country after the war is clearly lost is really quite astonishing. So, if the Italians had been given the opportunity by Hitler to occupy Estonia and later set up a home-away-from-home there, the likelihood of remaining Italian units being willing to continue fighting doesn't strike me as completely far-fetched.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to amwild)
Post #: 49
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/2/2006 10:52:55 PM   
trees

 

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I'm just saying I think people might like to have fun by playing against the historical strategy. Heck that's just a guess anyone would want this button. That would make the AI weaker, but that's beside the point. I was only thinking out-loud about this being a 'variant' one could select, effectively setting up only some of the major decisions for the AI; things like Germany selecting 41 Barbarossa or the Allies not reinforcing the Pacific much before 1942, and Japanese/Russian détente. You lose some amount of the challenge but you get to ask "What If?" about WWII and WiF itself (and practice for games against real people) by seeing how you would have reacted to history, without waiting (how long?) to play a game where the AI obliges you by making historical decisions. Even play against an AI will be fairly time consuming across a whole game so people might want the option of controlling the AI just a tad, it is their time and money spent on the game after all. The AI should be the best possible opponent otherwise with the decision palette wide open.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 50
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/3/2006 12:54:58 PM   
wosung

 

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Yes all these are very fundamental questions.

I'm no programmer. But if MWIF's AIO decision-making is purely success driven, then Jap AIO probably shouldn't ever declare war on the US. Same for Germany. Sadly few decisions in WW2 in fact were success driven. And even definitions of "success" were highly different.

I don't think chess and WIF are always comparable. Chess universe is quite abstract and impersonal. WIF has more choices. Plus probably RAW and AIO "programming" in the end do reflect personal perceptions of WW2:

Clue is, nobody knows if IRL a German Med strategy would have been more successful. But apparently in the mayority of competitive WIFCON games it pervails. So maybe what is called "openess" (contrary to boring recreation of history) is also predictable. And maybe even "opportunity" might be preset or channeled by rules.

And finally to be less philosphical(!?) and more constructive:

I would have fun to play against historical strategy.

Personnally I do like the concept of giving the player options for AIO strategic opening, mid- and endgame. These options maybe could be formulated negatively so to make AIO even then less predictable. Like, for Germany, "No sealion". That would leave either Barb or Med strategy possibilities, the player has to deal with.

BTW: I know the if-then concept for AIO. But how will the big strategic choices for the AIO formulated? What exactly will be the trigger(s) for GER in 1941 to go for the Med instead for Russia?
Allied force allocation? Plus random numbers? When will AIO decide? It also has to plan it's production in advance.

Regards

(in reply to amwild)
Post #: 51
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/3/2006 2:21:20 PM   
Froonp


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From: Marseilles, France
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I just want to enrich the thread with some WiF FE facts :

quote:

ORIGINAL: wosung
I'm no programmer. But if MWIF's AIO decision-making is purely success driven, then Jap AIO probably shouldn't ever declare war on the US. Same for Germany. Sadly few decisions in WW2 in fact were success driven. And even definitions of "success" were highly different.

In WiF, Japan must DoW the US, otherwise it is the US that will DoW Japan. Same for Germany. The US Entry system cares for that.

quote:

I would have fun to play against historical strategy.

I agree

quote:

Personnally I do like the concept of giving the player options for AIO strategic opening, mid- and endgame. These options maybe could be formulated negatively so to make AIO even then less predictable. Like, for Germany, "No sealion". That would leave either Barb or Med strategy possibilities, the player has to deal with.

BTW: I know the if-then concept for AIO. But how will the big strategic choices for the AIO formulated? What exactly will be the trigger(s) for GER in 1941 to go for the Med instead for Russia?
Allied force allocation? Plus random numbers? When will AIO decide? It also has to plan it's production in advance.

Speaking for Germany (which strategic choices give the strategic orientation of the whole game), in WiF, this has to be decided from the start of the game, and you have very few chances of being able to change in the middle of the game. The reason is that you make your production from turn 1 with the global strategic path in mind.
The production must match the Strategic path, and failure to do so will result in 100% failure of the strategic plan.


< Message edited by Froonp -- 12/3/2006 2:25:48 PM >

(in reply to wosung)
Post #: 52
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/3/2006 2:45:02 PM   
trees

 

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Actually at WiFCon the Allies are racking up pretty impressive win totals, Med strategy or not. I've seen Allied coalitions come back from a closed Med to beat the Axis. I haven't heard about this year's EuroWifCon yet though. [and on an unrelated note, the new maps will put one more pebble on the Allied side of the scale with the new resource in Dutch Guiana in South America. A long time ago Harry suggested player's can always re-balance the game to their own taste by adding or subtracting resources from the USA. WiF takes so long to play, and now has the bid system as a balancing aid as well, that few players can ever come up with much of an idea of how 'balanced' it is. Perhaps scores of thousands of MWiF games will generate enough data and future versions can fine-tune this some more.]

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 53
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/3/2006 2:55:27 PM   
wosung

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp

I just want to enrich the thread with some WiF FE facts :

quote:

ORIGINAL: wosung
I'm no programmer. But if MWIF's AIO decision-making is purely success driven, then Jap AIO probably shouldn't ever declare war on the US. Same for Germany. Sadly few decisions in WW2 in fact were success driven. And even definitions of "success" were highly different.

In WiF, Japan must DoW the US, otherwise it is the US that will DoW Japan. Same for Germany. The US Entry system cares for that.

quote:

I would have fun to play against historical strategy.

I agree

quote:

Personnally I do like the concept of giving the player options for AIO strategic opening, mid- and endgame. These options maybe could be formulated negatively so to make AIO even then less predictable. Like, for Germany, "No sealion". That would leave either Barb or Med strategy possibilities, the player has to deal with.

BTW: I know the if-then concept for AIO. But how will the big strategic choices for the AIO formulated? What exactly will be the trigger(s) for GER in 1941 to go for the Med instead for Russia?
Allied force allocation? Plus random numbers? When will AIO decide? It also has to plan it's production in advance.

Speaking for Germany (which strategic choices give the strategic orientation of the whole game), in WiF, this has to be decided from the start of the game, and you have very few chances of being able to change in the middle of the game. The reason is that you make your production from turn 1 with the global strategic path in mind.
The production must match the Strategic path, and failure to do so will result in 100% failure of the strategic plan.



Thanx for enriching

About German AIO I also thought it would be this way: Grand strategic options would have to be, at least partially, chosen on turn 1 to get the appropriate production.

But on what exactly will the all important GER AIO grand strategy/production be be modelled, when there are still not many triggers by players' input? Pure randomness with, say, 50% chance for Med, 30% Barb 41, 20% Sealion? And if it's that way, how are the percentages been chosen?

Admittetly, I'm not deep into WIF rules nor into programming AI. Just curious.

Regards

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 54
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/3/2006 3:14:07 PM   
Froonp


Posts: 7899
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From: Marseilles, France
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quote:

But on what exactly will the all important GER AIO grand strategy/production be be modelled, when there are still not many triggers by players' input? Pure randomness with, say, 50% chance for Med, 30% Barb 41, 20% Sealion? And if it's that way, how are the percentages been chosen?

I see it as pure randomness, which is the reason why I wrote in post #41 :

quote:

So there could be an optional control in MWiF to tune up the AI, that you would check if you prefer a more historical oriented game, and when you check this control, the German AI would have a lot more chances of choosing a 41 Barbarossa as its global strategy (Path 1 variation 1).

I say I see it as pure randomness, because in real life, it is the way the German player wants.


Anyway, all this said, and if you take a few steps beck to see the broad picture better, you might see that a WiF FE game with a German AIO would be very surprising . I mean, Germany being the driving force of this game, having Germany played by the Computer would be very surprising and somehow weird .
It would be like a 7 players Napoleonic game where the French are computer controlled. Very strange indeed

Well, this said, too, a Germany AIO is mandatory anyway in the game, so let's be happy with a pure randomness choice of the German Grand Strategy plan.

But as I said in post #41, and as a lot of players seem to be asking for, let's have this German Grand Strategy Plan be chosen (or tuned) by the players, either directly, or indirectly through variable percentages that the player can change, either through messing up in CSV files, or with nice radio buttons in an AI Options interface.

(in reply to wosung)
Post #: 55
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/3/2006 3:55:51 PM   
wosung

 

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Do you think in single player modus everybody wants to play Germany??

Not me. First choice would be GB, then Russia. Same with Napoleonic games. Fun is to get GER/Nap out of the driver's seat.

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 56
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/3/2006 4:05:48 PM   
Froonp


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From: Marseilles, France
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quote:

ORIGINAL: wosung

Do you think in single player modus everybody wants to play Germany??

Yes, I would have thought that .

quote:

Not me. First choice would be GB, then Russia. Same with Napoleonic games. Fun is to get GER/Nap out of the driver's seat.


(in reply to wosung)
Post #: 57
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/3/2006 8:48:57 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 18316
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: wosung
quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp
I just want to enrich the thread with some WiF FE facts :

quote:

ORIGINAL: wosung
I'm no programmer. But if MWIF's AIO decision-making is purely success driven, then Jap AIO probably shouldn't ever declare war on the US. Same for Germany. Sadly few decisions in WW2 in fact were success driven. And even definitions of "success" were highly different.

In WiF, Japan must DoW the US, otherwise it is the US that will DoW Japan. Same for Germany. The US Entry system cares for that.

quote:

I would have fun to play against historical strategy.

I agree

quote:

Personnally I do like the concept of giving the player options for AIO strategic opening, mid- and endgame. These options maybe could be formulated negatively so to make AIO even then less predictable. Like, for Germany, "No sealion". That would leave either Barb or Med strategy possibilities, the player has to deal with.

BTW: I know the if-then concept for AIO. But how will the big strategic choices for the AIO formulated? What exactly will be the trigger(s) for GER in 1941 to go for the Med instead for Russia?
Allied force allocation? Plus random numbers? When will AIO decide? It also has to plan it's production in advance.

Speaking for Germany (which strategic choices give the strategic orientation of the whole game), in WiF, this has to be decided from the start of the game, and you have very few chances of being able to change in the middle of the game. The reason is that you make your production from turn 1 with the global strategic path in mind.
The production must match the Strategic path, and failure to do so will result in 100% failure of the strategic plan.



Thanx for enriching

About German AIO I also thought it would be this way: Grand strategic options would have to be, at least partially, chosen on turn 1 to get the appropriate production.

But on what exactly will the all important GER AIO grand strategy/production be be modelled, when there are still not many triggers by players' input? Pure randomness with, say, 50% chance for Med, 30% Barb 41, 20% Sealion? And if it's that way, how are the percentages been chosen?

Admittetly, I'm not deep into WIF rules nor into programming AI. Just curious.

Regards

The AIO design is to create multiple strategic plans. Within each strategic plan there will be smaller decisions/alternatives. Choice of strategic plan will be partially dependent on how the opposing players set up, and since a major decision point is the first turn's builds, what has transpired during the first turn. Similarly, a strategic plan will be abandoned if it is not working out and a better alternative arises. So, the lpan might be no Sea Lion, but then the CW makes stupid moves, so a Sea Lion is activated.

Ideally, the cjhoice of strategic plan can not be determined simply by watching what the opponent does on the first turn or two.

Saying there will be no Sea Lion really makes playing the CW much easier. To a lesser degree, so do all limitations on strategic plans.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to wosung)
Post #: 58
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/3/2006 9:05:50 PM   
wosung

 

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Speaking of making it easier for CW without Sealion:

With the option to turn on/off major strategical options, like "no sealion", apart from keeping the boring historical purists happy, you would also have created a simple, transparent tool for AIO difficulty setting. This might be interesting for the newbees.

Two targets on one stroke, now wouldn't that be a beautiful design ???

Regards

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 59
RE: AI for MWiF-Italy - 12/4/2006 12:54:19 AM   
ptey

 

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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

As for the strategic choices of players at WIF tournaments, I believe the analogy to chess openings is appropriate. Over the years different chess openings have been popular. At different times one will be considered to provide the best opportunity to win. Eventually, someone comes up with counter moves that reduce the opening to a more equitable outcome, and the opening's popularity wans.

Clearly, chess, with its rigid rules set for the past 150 - 200 years, is not 'forcing' the players to play a certain opening. Rather the players are the variable and they are choosing an opening that they think gives them the best chance of winning. Over time, I suspect that WIF will evolve different responses to German/Axis strategic plans that will cause the choice of which strategic plan to employ to mutate too.


This is probably true. However this doesnt change the fact that some strategies are 'gamey'(that is, very strong strategies in specific situations, which are possible by the rules, but highly ahistorical and (i think) not intended by the designers) and most likely will be considered so by most players. There will ofcourse be degrees of 'gameyness'.

I will personally prefer to play against an ai that doesnt employ gamey tactics/strategies in every situation possible. Some people will ofcourse have different preferences, however i dont think that im alone with this opinion. Thus providing an option to have the ai not use any strategies or tactics flagged as gamey, should be acceptable for all. This will ofcourse require more work, but i dont think it will be that much.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

Getting back to a Baltic state as a new home country for the Italians, ...

Yes, it seems strange. But in 1939, wouldn't having the Free French government set up in Gabon have seemed strange too? And all those other countries who had elements of their fighting forces operate out of England (e.g., Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland)? The capacity of armed forces to continue fighting for their country after the war is clearly lost is really quite astonishing. So, if the Italians had been given the opportunity by Hitler to occupy Estonia and later set up a home-away-from-home there, the likelihood of remaining Italian units being willing to continue fighting doesn't strike me as completely far-fetched.


Perhaps not completely far-fetched, but imo (based on my knowledge of history) extremely unlikely. I have never seen italy liberate the baltic states, but if someone did it in a game i participated in, with the intend of using them as back-up home countrys, i would consider it gamey. But i do ofcourse realize it is a legat move, and a house rule would be needed to prevent people from doing it.

This is in no way meant as a threat, but if you intend to teach the ai every gamey trick there is (and you can find quite a few by looking through the wiflist and from speaking with very experienced players i would think), i probably wouldnt have much fun playing against the ai and would buy the game only for pbem and netplay games.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 60
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