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Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign

 
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Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign - 12/23/2018 8:17:40 PM   
Kornstalx

 

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First off, this game is incredible. I picked it up a few weeks ago and have played it incessantly. I pored over the manual back and forth to figure out all the nuances, and a bit of forum searching so far has answered every question I've had. There are so many beautiful systems at work here that you really have to dig to understand (like keeping a single ship near a port to block reinforcement, how supply works when the HQ is <5, etc).

This is probably the best medium-weight war game I've ever played. I'd go so far as to say it dethrones PG/Panzer Corps.

After finishing my first campaign (1.16 beta, 1939 Storm Over Europe, normal difficulties) I've noticed a few AI issues I just wanted to point out. I decided to play Allies as only the UK, and let the AI handle all the other Allied majors so I could watch and maybe learn some tricks. In doing so I noticed some definite patterns:

#1) The AI doesn't seem able to use Naval Cruise. For instance, the US would constantly send troop ships at normal speed (and sometimes even regular amphibious transports, gasp) across the Atlantic. I'm assuming the AI ran out of transport allotments for that logic. But I never once noticed them using Cruise mode on the ships that could do so. They slow-poked all over the map.

#2) The Axis AI seems very confused on how to use its Rockets units. They built them, but kept them inland and would only use them to attack other units. They never once used them to attack resources, only to impotently attack ships or even field armies. I even noticed the GER AI using rockets to attack RUS cavalry in the open over in the Caucasus.

#3) The Allied bomber AI needs better help on how to deal with Coastal Guns, and using its Strat Bombers in general. The US AI would waste, quite literally, 6-8 of its bombers (mostly Medium and Strat) attacking the same Coastal Gun every single turn. There was a huge stalemate with the Allied AI in Normandy because they would get focused on these Guns with their entire airforce, while the army was doing other things. Only once did I see a Coastal Gun get surrounded by land units and actually surrender.

#2 and #3 are closely related in the fact that both the Strat Bombers and the Rockets should be prioritized to do resource/supply damage, instead of ineptly suppressing units every turn, and not following this up with a land attack.

Hope this didn't sound like quibbling, I'm only trying to give some feedback. I'm not kidding when I say this is probably my favorite game purchase of the year. Absolute kudos to the developers! Gonna play a few more campaigns in Europe after the holidays, then off to get SC: World at War!


< Message edited by Kornstalx -- 12/23/2018 10:53:55 PM >
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RE: Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign - 12/23/2018 10:58:22 PM   
sPzAbt653


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I can agree with your points, well put.

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RE: Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign - 12/24/2018 4:05:19 AM   
DeriKuk


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From: Alberta
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AI = "artificial intelligence"? No; it's more like genuine stupidity.

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RE: Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign - 12/24/2018 4:48:15 AM   
Kornstalx

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: DeriKuk

No; it's more like genuine stupidity.



On a tactical level, it is a genius. The AI is capable of conceiving every possible outcome in a small area full of dozens of units much more efficiently than I can. I mean, at that point it's like playing chess with a Grandmaster supercomputer. Where it's rusty is on the strategic level. It does a good job of setting goals and making plans to follow through, but that's where a human will always have the advantage.

The fact that this game can pull off such a brilliant tactical AI without having to rely on cheats or crutches (looking at you, EU/CK/Civ) is amazing. Even on the "baseline" difficulty with zero cheats, the tactical AI is perfectly capable. Perfecting the strategic side of it though is like chasing rainbows and unicorns; almost impossible. What you have to live with is adjust it so the AI isn't using strategic patterns or predictability, maintains some element of focus, and hope the Chessmaster tactical AI can defeat the human opponent in the long run.

I'd say this game has that part of the AI perfected. The only other game I've played that could handle so many field variables in a completely efficient way is maybe Panzer Corps. Other than those three little points I made in the original post, I'm completely impressed by the AI in SC:Europe.

It can solve puzzles and crunch the same numbers that I'd spend hours mulling over. If only it would use naval cruise... :)

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RE: Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign - 1/7/2019 3:28:39 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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Thanks for the feedback Korkstalx and I'm really glad to hear you are enjoying the game

On naval cruise this is something that the AI up to this point has never been programmed to use but this has changed for the new game Strategic Command World at War as it now uses it there.

On rockets I can double check as it might have to do with the attack range they've achieved and if the range is too low or the level too low then the AI might just be thinking it is a bad attack option as the attack results are too low on far away resources. I can probably nudge this to be more optimal so that it attacks resources more often. Staying inland is probably its way to protect itself from enemy air attacks as well.

I'll take a look at Strategic Bombers and Coastal guns as well.

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RE: Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign - 1/9/2019 5:57:45 PM   
Templer_12


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From: Germany
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I do not need 70 hours of playing time for my impressions.
I've known Hubert's strategic command line for many years and I own almost all of his games
I spent endless hours with these games - they were good hours...

< Message edited by Templer_12 -- 1/9/2019 5:58:43 PM >

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RE: Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign - 1/14/2019 11:05:24 PM   
Kornstalx

 

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Joined: 12/14/2018
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Just finished my first campaign in World at War. Same issues really hamper the AI there, too. The AI will get fixated on coastal guns and waste a dozen bombers on it doing hardly any damage, then not follow up with a ground attack. Next turn the gun gets reinforced for mere pennies. The German rocket units are also not attacking resources at all in that game as well.

WaW also has one other dodgy AI pattern: Kamikazes really shouldn't be wasting themselves on submarines that just dive away...

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RE: Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign - 1/17/2019 6:49:52 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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Thanks Kornstalx, I've made some adjustments for the next build.

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RE: Impressions after my first ~70 hour campaign - 1/30/2019 10:22:52 PM   
nnason


Posts: 469
Joined: 3/4/2016
From: Washington DC Metro Area
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Kormstalx,

Hopefully you will join our ELO PBEM tournament.


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Live Long and Prosper,
Noah Nason
LTC Field Artillery
US Army Retired

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