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RE: STILL no AI? - 5/15/2017 3:11:55 AM   
Kull


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My "personal opinion" on the AI is completely irrelevant. The reason I posted all the the AI reports was so people would have actual data to draw upon, and could critique (or applaud) based on the plan and the actions taken to implement it. Once again you've declined to make a case based on the facts, but that's the only thing I'm interested in discussing.

Steve has stated that he has a plan for the AI, and has presented a sizable amount of information on that subject. Accordingly, the burden is on YOU and all those who those who naysay the possibility of a functional AI. What is wrong with Steve's plan? Why won't it work?

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RE: STILL no AI? - 5/15/2017 7:19:14 AM   
juntoalmar


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[fact] Go is a game with two players, with games of 20-90 minutes, one set of rules, with 361 different positions and about 180 stones for player. All stones are the same and have no different behaviour or values

[fact] MWiF can have different amount of players, has more than 6000 unique units with different behaviours and values (not as Go), 70200 hexes with different characteristics (they are not all the same as Go), and a combination of 80 optional rules (not like Go) and a long and complex rule set. It has some other factors of complexity as production planning, resources, variable weather, entry options and random effects (use of dice) that need handling probabilities.

[opinion] MWiF complexity of playing or making a competent AI is several orders of magnitude greater than Go

[fact] AlphaGo beat Go world champion in 2016

[fact] Google created some own proprietary hardware to run AlphaGo and spent $500 million in buying the company that developed the algorithm. That company employees 400 people and was created by a former child prodigy in chess.

[opinion] There must be lot of resources, great engineers & developers working full time in that company

[fact] There is one developer for MWiF

[opinion] Steve has made a lot of work and I believe he’s very capable of programming and developing AI

[fact] AlphaGo runs on up to 1920 CPUs and circuits developed specifically for machine learning by Google

[fact] MWiF will run in one single computer PC

[opinion] Given the complexity of the problem (as stated before) and the amount of resources committed to it (as stated before), I believe that “being moderately skeptic seems a very sensible option" regarding having a competent AI.


[opinion] You say your opinion on the AI is irrelevant. From your comments I don’t think you have any background in AI, software development or engineering. You seem more interested in futile discussion of “you vs me” or “I’m right and you are not” than talking about AI or the possibility of developing it in this game.

[opinion] I would rather spend my time in an intelligent debate with someone more respectful and that has a relevant opinion than in such futile discussions

[opinion] There as a proverb/saying that says: Ignorance is bold. Science doubts.

[Edited]: added bold

< Message edited by juntoalmar -- 5/15/2017 8:27:54 AM >


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RE: STILL no AI? - 5/15/2017 12:44:41 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kull
Steve has stated that he has a plan for the AI...


Bingo, end of discussion. Unless and until Steve himself states something different, the plan remains to eventually implement the AI. After the bug fixes, after the NetPlay implementation, after the other optional rules, and after the half-map scenarios. After all that, Steve will get back to what he has already started and intends to finish.


quote:

ORIGINAL: juntoalmar
If you think that the AI for MWiF is not so complex as I think, please let us know, explain why and maybe you convince me. Let's debate.


No, it is not for you or others to be convinced, or for us to debate. Steve has his plan. The plan appears reasonable. It is for us to be patient while the plan unfolds, slowly but surely. I will wait.


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Post #: 33
RE: STILL no AI? - 5/15/2017 5:02:23 PM   
Centuur


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Steve has got his plan and it's not for us to be convinced if that plan will result in a good AI or not. That's something which can be concluded if the AI is there. However, to say that there should not be a debate about this, is not something which is productive. Good ideas are sometimes the result of a good debate...

Now, I'm not a programmer and I don't know anything of how an AI is coded, but one thing I'm convinced about. The more input somebody gets who has to do something, the better he can decide how to proceed. There's been a lot of discussions (of which a lot can be find in this forum if one looks at old topics) done for the AI in the past. So, if one really wants to see what's been done and also how Steve thinks about this AI, I suggest some good reading. Comments and questions are always appreciated. Discussions are always welcome.

But to simply say that it will be a good or bad AI? That's something only time can tell. To build an AI for this game is the real challenge Steve wants to take on. That's why he started coding this monster in the first place...


< Message edited by Centuur -- 5/15/2017 5:09:22 PM >


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RE: STILL no AI? - 5/15/2017 6:26:42 PM   
Kull


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Centuur

Steve has got his plan and it's not for us to be convinced if that plan will result in a good AI or not. That's something which can be concluded if the AI is there. However, to say that there should not be a debate about this, is not something which is productive. Good ideas are sometimes the result of a good debate...

Now, I'm not a programmer and I don't know anything of how an AI is coded, but one thing I'm convinced about. The more input somebody gets who has to do something, the better he can decide how to proceed. There's been a lot of discussions (of which a lot can be find in this forum if one looks at old topics) done for the AI in the past. So, if one really wants to see what's been done and also how Steve thinks about this AI, I suggest some good reading. Comments and questions are always appreciated. Discussions are always welcome.



I completely agree. The main reason I posted the full list of reports was to try and generate a more useful discussion. Based on Steve's plan and what has ACTUALLY BEEN DONE, what do people think? Are there specific areas where folks have ideas on how the plan could be improved? Are there areas where perhaps others could assist?

And thanks for noting that other AI suggestions have been posted. Anyone willing to do some research would do us all a service by posting some links (and perhaps a synopsis).

quote:

But to simply say that it will be a good or bad AI? That's something only time can tell. To build an AI for this game is the real challenge Steve wants to take on. That's why he started coding this monster in the first place...


In complete agreement again. My problem with many of the posts in this thread is they amount to little more than personal opinions - "it's too complicated" or "it will never work". Gee thanks, that is so helpful.

Edit: WIF is an extremely large, hex based war game, but it's not the only one. WitE has 25K hexes and over 4000 units yet still features a competent AI, so comparisons with chess and GO are meaningless. The "standard" isn't an AI capable of beating grand masters, but rather something that is reasonably competent by commercial war game standards.

< Message edited by Kull -- 5/15/2017 6:44:39 PM >


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Post #: 35
AI Plans discussion - 5/15/2017 7:29:40 PM   
Kull


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To hopefully move the discussion in a more positive direction, here are two things which I find to be particularly encouraging:

1) Decision Points:

quote:

There are 143 decision points in the sequence of play where the AIO needs to decide what to do. 122 of these use universal logic, in that they do not depend on which major power is making the decision (e.g., rail moves, strategic bombing, naval interceptions, placing partisans). For the other 21, the logic does depend on which major power is making the decision. Examples of those are: strategic plans, declarations of war, production plans, and trade agreements. I have 200 pages of text describing strategic plans. Each major power has their own section and the plans are well organized. For the French, I’ve started encoding their strategic plan as data.

For the 122 ‘universal’ decision points, I start by writing plain text that describes how the decision is to be made. I’ve done 73 of them as plain text so far. The second step is to translate the plain text into a LAIO script. All of that work remains to be done.


Comment: Since over 85% of the decision points are "universal", that consolidates a lot of the AI code. When the same subroutine utilized by the US is also used by Germany (and everyone else), that should greatly reduce the coding effort. It also means a fix for one is thereby a fix for all. Furthermore, 60% of the universal subroutines have already been created, just not coded.


2) AI Code Runs "in the background":

quote:


Another change I made for NetPlay, that has direct bearing on the AI Opponent code, was that I created a separate thread to run some code “in the background”. It is a minor technicality but I am happy to now have a working example of how to code background threads using Delphi. Virtually all the AIO code will execute in separate (i.e., background) threads. The intent is to have the AIO figure out what to do, while its human opponent is moving and clicking the mouse and using the keyboard. When the time comes for the AIO to decide something, it should be able to do so quickly.


Comment: To me, this is HUGE. In most strategy wargames, you have an IGO/UGO system where the human player completes their turn, and THEN the AI starts processing. In WIF, most of that processing will go on DURING the human players turn. So not only will the computer turns appear to proceed more rapidly, but it also means the code can be written to do a LOT of different things without having to worry about imposing huge delays during the computer-player's turn.

< Message edited by Kull -- 5/15/2017 7:31:36 PM >


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RE: AI Plans discussion - 5/15/2017 9:06:18 PM   
Klydon


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As a long time veteran computer war gamer (my first computer was a Tandy color computer I got in 1981 that had a whopping 16k of memory) and in chatting with a couple of my friends that happen to have backgrounds in computer programing along with other things I have read, there is one big factor in favor of a "good" AI for MWIF.

The programmer has a clue how to play the game and I assume is at least decent at it. In addition, the programmer has gotten a lot of input from the MWIF community for strategy, etc. Other computer games really don't get that type of input and feedback. This is possible for MWIF because it is closely based on an existing board game.

Many times "bad AI's" are not a result of poor programing, but rather a result of the programmer not having a clue on how to really play the game they are prepping the AI for or not being very good at it. This all too often results in a "dumb" AI.

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Post #: 37
RE: AI Plans discussion - 5/16/2017 12:16:45 AM   
pzgndr

 

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FWIW, I think Steve's approach is sound. Based on what I've read over the years. There's a high-level grand strategy routine to make the big decisions. Then there are operational-level routines to consider the strategies and the force levels in the various areas and assign forces to objectives, either offensive or defensive. And then there are the tactical-level routines to execute the nuts & bolts of game play. Sounds fine in theory. That's how people play, yes? Somewhere are numerous posts where players have submitted their setup and strategy ideas for each country, and AFAIK these have been considered (maybe not coded yet but filed away). Frankly, I'm not sure how much more debate and discussion Steve needs or wants right now? I'm not saying there should not be a debate, but I am suggesting this has already been debated over the years and there may not be much more to discuss until Steve gets into more AI work. There are other priorities and when the time is right he will circle back to working on the AI and probably ask for more comments and suggestions. I'm OK with all that.


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RE: STILL no AI? - 5/16/2017 5:48:31 AM   
Hansstory


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I greatly admire Steve for his work and am glad he has done it! So I don't mean to personally attack him, but I need to use an example. I think in the beginning he estimated that the game would be finished and ready to release in like 24 months. (It could have been 18 or 30) That was his estimate. He was off by an order of 4 to 5 if I count correctly. He underestimated the work necessary and how long it would take to do the easy part; make the game enforce the rules. I believe, with all due respect to Steve, that he is too optimistic about the ability of anyone to code the AI to be good enough to beat a reasonably good human player on a global scale and probably a small front of the war. It has to do with the fact that the computer is "blind" and unable to make the value judgments we can make where we take variables into consideration and make a judgment call. For example, with air units, we judge their type, speed, attack etc in deciding where to place them, and why to place them. The computer can't be programmed to do that for each chit and to relate that evaluation to other chits as well. It isn't lack of drive, or skill on the part of the programmer, it is because a computer still can't think like we do. There is no HAL out there. And all the AI programmers that have come before Steve have failed to, for the same reason. Can AI be developed that does a relatively good job for some games, yes. But not for a game like this.

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RE: STILL no AI? - 5/16/2017 7:07:31 AM   
joshuamnave

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kull

My "personal opinion" on the AI is completely irrelevant. The reason I posted all the the AI reports was so people would have actual data to draw upon, and could critique (or applaud) based on the plan and the actions taken to implement it. Once again you've declined to make a case based on the facts, but that's the only thing I'm interested in discussing.

Steve has stated that he has a plan for the AI, and has presented a sizable amount of information on that subject. Accordingly, the burden is on YOU and all those who those who naysay the possibility of a functional AI. What is wrong with Steve's plan? Why won't it work?


2 years ago we had the last "state of the game" put together by Eric and Steve. In it was a list of priorities. Although no set time frame was given, the post said they expected to have them finished over the next six months. Two years later, not ONE of those items has been checked off the list.

Coming up on 2 months ago we were promised a new state of the game. A month went by with not a word until I asked about it. Turns out that there was a plan to do one, but Eric had family issues and Steve had health issues, but we would get it soon. Apparently nobody else in the company was in on the plan or they might have stopped by the forum and given us a heads up.

What's my point? I don't doubt there is a plan. There is always a plan. Matrix has given me ample reason to doubt the execution of that plan.

When you consider that five years (we're up to five now, right? I've lost track) the AI for convoy routing still does not work, all the plans in the world are meaningless to me.

I plan to be the first man on Mars. The burden is on you to explain why that won't happen.

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RE: STILL no AI? - 5/16/2017 8:04:53 AM   
juntoalmar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zartacla

When you consider that five years (we're up to five now, right? I've lost track) the AI for convoy routing still does not work, all the plans in the world are meaningless to me.

I plan to be the first man on Mars. The burden is on you to explain why that won't happen.


Well, exactly. Actually when pzgndr wrote:

quote:


After the bug fixes, after the NetPlay implementation, after the other optional rules, and after the half-map scenarios. After all that, Steve will get back to what he has already started and intends to finish


I thought he was being sarcastic (apparently, he wasn't). I love this game, and I think that Steve is doing a great job. After step one from that list is achieved (bug fixes), I will be excited about achieving step two (NetPlay). After step 2 is achieved, I will be excited about step 3... and so on.

But we need to be realistic. It's been quite a few years on step one. I will wait patiently for the plans to become reality before getting excited about the AI. So far, I will be happy if we can finish the bug fixes in a 1-2 years period (and I don't think this is pessimistic).

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RE: STILL no AI? - 5/16/2017 3:09:15 PM   
Dabrion


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AI lol .. good joke!

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Post #: 42
RE: AI Plans discussion - 5/16/2017 3:14:53 PM   
Kull


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon

The programmer has a clue how to play the game and I assume is at least decent at it. In addition, the programmer has gotten a lot of input from the MWIF community for strategy, etc. Other computer games really don't get that type of input and feedback. This is possible for MWIF because it is closely based on an existing board game.

Many times "bad AI's" are not a result of poor programing, but rather a result of the programmer not having a clue on how to really play the game they are prepping the AI for or not being very good at it. This all too often results in a "dumb" AI.


That's a very good point. Furthermore:

quote:

ORIGINAL: Centuur

To build an AI for this game is the real challenge Steve wants to take on. That's why he started coding this monster in the first place...


So not only does Steve understand the game, writing an AI is something he WANTS to do. And it's not just reading tea leaves - look back at the opening AI posts and it's obvious that Steve had actually STARTED with the AI.

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RE: AI Plans discussion - 9/15/2017 12:46:09 PM   
Zecke


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IF....you make a decent AI of this game..will be the best game of matrix; as we all love BOARD GAMES

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Post #: 44
RE: AI Plans discussion - 9/15/2017 11:27:10 PM   
Viktor_Kormel_slith


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I am on the no Good AI is possible to MWIF team but like some of you said before, the important thing it is that basic game doesn´t work properly. Last betas are full of bugs, olds and news. I play and enjoy with hotseat mode but the true is that many times, we have to fix or round about bugs. Thinking in the AI when the game is where is it´s like talk about the genre of the angels and much more, if we consider the develpment rate and resources. In fact, I am afraid that sooner than later the game will be out of catalogue and the development cancelled by matrix.

< Message edited by Viktor_Kormel -- 9/15/2017 11:28:27 PM >


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Post #: 45
RE: AI Plans discussion - 9/18/2017 12:58:18 PM   
LeeChard

 

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I'm one of those who bought the game knowing there was no AI yet but that it would be developed.
I don't play live opponents as my erratic schedule would annoy anyone foolish enough to start a game with me.
I still have hope that my investment will help inspire the developers to carry on.

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RE: AI Plans discussion - 9/18/2017 4:24:41 PM   
Cataphract88


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ranger5355

I'm one of those who bought the game knowing there was no AI yet but that it would be developed.
I don't play live opponents as my erratic schedule would annoy anyone foolish enough to start a game with me.
I still have hope that my investment will help inspire the developers to carry on.


+1

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