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RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 5:57:36 AM   
Kamelpov

 

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Backstabbing Player in multiplayer often get a coalition against them in eu4 you know.

(in reply to diamondspider)
Post #: 31
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 7:03:17 AM   
Clux


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quote:

ORIGINAL: diamondspider

Another bit of opinion on air in this game: I am very much a "the more different ways to play the merrier" sort of guy, but after more thought and play, if anything beyond some kind of rickety low tech ornithopter or such, or GR levitation tech that is hard to come by is put into this game for air, I request that this can be disabled entirely as an option.

Why do I feel so strongly about this?
1) I love the interesting recon mechanics. Even though I play with the map showing, the FOW is excellent and a big part of the challenge. Flying around allows excellent collection of recon info, and so I'd think that would kill this aspect of the game for the most part. Sure, you could say with anti-air, interceptors, etc. etc. this could be defeated, but that starts to involve a very complex layer of addition (perhaps like War in the West). Nothing wrong with all of that, but I like the odd setting that includes not going back to WWII or modern to that extent. In any case, if I can turn it all off, no problem.

2) Terrain is the other thing I love about this game. It has very strong impacts on both battle and logistics. Among the best parts of air is being able to ignore terrain. Just bomb them until they glow. So, once again, this works against another one of my favorite aspects of the game.

On navy, that bugs me a lot less. I don't put much ocean on my maps, so that one is easy to avoid. Also, boats are much lower tech potentially than an airforce, so I could see myself perhaps doing something with a low tech navy. Still, about as far from the top of my own wish list as possible.

I realize that there is no point in arguing over matters of taste, and the more features the better, but we should be honest about the fact that if an entire air infrastructure is put into the game that it will probably need to change the rest of it quite a bit to balance for that, regardless of if I can turn it off. So while the poll didn't have a "I really DON'T want this" option, this is my comment on that.


One of the main problems with navy than I can think of, its than normally they take a long time to be build and without air force it would be just a game of who makes the biggest battleship. But also that would mean than we could have marines, military divers and we could have big deposits of fuel in the ocean.

(in reply to diamondspider)
Post #: 32
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 7:25:18 AM   
vendayn

 

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Soon there will be 10! that is right 10!!!! that voted story around shadow presence :( Right now its at 7! it was 3 a few hours ago

Okay the other choices were good too in that one. But I just like stories in games :P My 2nd choice would be terraforming and I probably could have voted for that instead. But I think terraforming would be amazing. Though way I picture it is changing a planets climate (for bad or good). So like siwa if you get a planet generated where can breathe outside and plants all over, but something bad happens or terraform badly can find themselves an unbreathable planet with no alien life or oxygen. Similar the Seth planet, be cool to turn the desert and make it like an oasis. Would add a lot of gameplay (at least to me it would).

Though you can actually slightly terraform seth btw if anyones curious. I'm not sure exact conditions needed, but you can build outdoor farms near canyons (or are they ravines? The stuff that looks like space going through the land, doesnt really look like a canyon/ravine...either way) and farms spread along the canyon turning the tile green. I had one seth game where this was possible and it was pretty cool.




< Message edited by vendayn -- 6/14/2020 7:54:27 AM >

(in reply to Clux)
Post #: 33
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 11:09:51 AM   
Soar_Slitherine

 

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For those wondering about whether the AI has fog of war, the manual states that it doesn't use spies, and instead has "a rather vague view on your empire". It does seem like it knows the location of (at least some) units in the fog of war - recently, an AI mobile militia unit I thought was too far away to get there in one move managed to cut off my supply line, and after I loaded the autosave and moved some units to guard the road, the militia drove off towards some completely different front instead.

For what it's worth, I've been making extensive use of spies in this playthrough and probably have better intel than the AI in the zones where the frontlines are, if the manual's statement about the information it gets being "vague" is accurate.

(in reply to vendayn)
Post #: 34
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 11:09:57 AM   
GodwinW


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I'm one of those

(in reply to vendayn)
Post #: 35
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 12:05:34 PM   
zgrssd

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: eyegore

I reject the idea A.I. can't play by the same rules as the player but that comes with a huge "????" because it depends how much time is spent on it and how much the particular developer actually knows about A.I.

It is nice for you that you reject reality. But until you figure out a way for AI to genuinly plan ahead, that is really just a "you" thing.

Until that happens, the reality is that no game AI can even plan 1 Hex or 1 Game Tick ahead. And it needs some changes to rules and incomes to offset this "planing inability".

The AI should be less willing to go through mountains - but only because doing so ruins the defensive effect mountains have for it. I can survive them getting free dirt roads, because I got human level planing ability.

(in reply to eyegore)
Post #: 36
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 12:14:02 PM   
olin0111

 

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One of the greatest changes would be if AI could play a bit more like human players in terms of supply network and retain being competitive. I am not saying the same rules but being affected by terrain just a little bit so it cannot spam roads in mountains or forests willy nilly. Right now harsher terrain is only an obstacle for the human player. Also anything that could improve dirt road gore would be much welcome.

Another thing that I view as a priority is a reduction of turn times and time for logistical preview calculations - these can be very long once you have a fully developed network.

In other words I would like to see improvements to the game and AI before introducing anything new. Of course any changes would be welcome if they didn't make AI perform worse. I know that I already mentioned that but I can't stress enough how important that is :)

(in reply to GodwinW)
Post #: 37
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 12:31:05 PM   
eyegore

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: zgrssd


quote:

ORIGINAL: eyegore

I reject the idea A.I. can't play by the same rules as the player but that comes with a huge "????" because it depends how much time is spent on it and how much the particular developer actually knows about A.I.

It is nice for you that you reject reality. But until you figure out a way for AI to genuinly plan ahead, that is really just a "you" thing.

Until that happens, the reality is that no game AI can even plan 1 Hex or 1 Game Tick ahead. And it needs some changes to rules and incomes to offset this "planing inability".

The AI should be less willing to go through mountains - but only because doing so ruins the defensive effect mountains have for it. I can survive them getting free dirt roads, because I got human level planing ability.

quote:

It is nice for you that you reject reality. But until you figure out a way for AI to genuinly plan ahead, that is really just a "you" thing.

Until that happens, the reality is that no game AI can even plan 1 Hex or 1 Game Tick ahead. And it needs some changes to rules and incomes to offset this "planing inability".

The AI should be less willing to go through mountains - but only because doing so ruins the defensive effect mountains have for it. I can survive them getting free dirt roads, because I got human level planing ability.


The A.I. in an average Chess program plans several turns ahead. There's nothing impossible about it. It's really the mindset of developers and the acceptance of the players that keep game A.I. crippled.

Sure the little Indy guy could develop it as he's the only one that'll ever allocate the time but he doesn't have the funds to use an engine that could pull it off. Likely he's using something that costs a couple hundred dollars. It's memory usage is basic at best, It likely relies on a scripting language which in turn makers the argument mute because the type of A.I. I suggest needs databases that are extremely fast and data can be accessed on the fly and that's something a scripting language chokes on. You end up with unacceptable turn times but the reality is that low budget engine isn't supporting C# or C++, and without such a fast language with full libaries your at best using a behavior tree and even then turn time becomes an issue.

(in reply to zgrssd)
Post #: 38
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 1:34:25 PM   
diamondspider

 

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It took many, many, years for computers to be able to play good chess. Chess has extremely simply and extremely bounded rules. The problem with writing strong AI for a game like this is that the rules are very complicated and a basic premise is that they will keep changing as the dev adds new features. You could have a chess program that can beat a world champion, but change one rule like that castling is not allowed and a beginner could have a shot at beating that program because it thinks it can castle when I cannot.

So I'd guess that millions of hours went into making chess play excellently. Not only can this not happen with any war game but, if it did, the author would give up on changing it because it would break the AI.

New programs like Alpha Zero have a way of abstracting rules and then allowing it to play against itself and get better. Even this kind of system, I think, would fail at S.E. because the rules are so complicated that the AI designers would give up on trying to define them long before they started the first iteration of self-play.

(in reply to eyegore)
Post #: 39
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 4:02:17 PM   
Laiders

 

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Joined: 6/8/2020
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quote:

ORIGINAL: eyegore


quote:

ORIGINAL: zgrssd


quote:

ORIGINAL: eyegore

I reject the idea A.I. can't play by the same rules as the player but that comes with a huge "????" because it depends how much time is spent on it and how much the particular developer actually knows about A.I.

It is nice for you that you reject reality. But until you figure out a way for AI to genuinly plan ahead, that is really just a "you" thing.

Until that happens, the reality is that no game AI can even plan 1 Hex or 1 Game Tick ahead. And it needs some changes to rules and incomes to offset this "planing inability".

The AI should be less willing to go through mountains - but only because doing so ruins the defensive effect mountains have for it. I can survive them getting free dirt roads, because I got human level planing ability.

quote:

It is nice for you that you reject reality. But until you figure out a way for AI to genuinly plan ahead, that is really just a "you" thing.

Until that happens, the reality is that no game AI can even plan 1 Hex or 1 Game Tick ahead. And it needs some changes to rules and incomes to offset this "planing inability".

The AI should be less willing to go through mountains - but only because doing so ruins the defensive effect mountains have for it. I can survive them getting free dirt roads, because I got human level planing ability.


The A.I. in an average Chess program plans several turns ahead. There's nothing impossible about it. It's really the mindset of developers and the acceptance of the players that keep game A.I. crippled.

Sure the little Indy guy could develop it as he's the only one that'll ever allocate the time but he doesn't have the funds to use an engine that could pull it off. Likely he's using something that costs a couple hundred dollars. It's memory usage is basic at best, It likely relies on a scripting language which in turn makers the argument mute because the type of A.I. I suggest needs databases that are extremely fast and data can be accessed on the fly and that's something a scripting language chokes on. You end up with unacceptable turn times but the reality is that low budget engine isn't supporting C# or C++, and without such a fast language with full libaries your at best using a behavior tree and even then turn time becomes an issue.


Eyegore the AI in this game definitely plans or gives the appearance of planning at least. It's not that hard to do, you're right.

The actual problem for a game like this is the balance of:

1. Developer time and skill
2. CPU time and requirements
3. Player perception and tolerance of AI/ ability to vary AI performance to player skill
4. Game engine constraints
5. Systems interplay

This is not a complete list of factors, just the few I could think of.

What do I mean by them all? Well dev time and skill should be obvious and you have already talked about it.

CPU time and requirements is one you have not mentioned but is key. Chess is a pretty easy game to get an AI to calculate. Modern systems (by this I means both CPUs and the AI software) can easily calculate all possible moves for both players several turns ahead of time. If players are willing to wait, the AI can push this further and further. This means it is easy to throttle AI to skill and it is easy to get the AI perfect, literally unbeatable (with enough CPU power) by any human. Solving this was a problem of CPU power/time and getting AIs to both simulate rounds correctly and 'understand' what those permutations mean such that it can choose the best possible course.

To pick an apt metaphor, AIs can approach Chess like the Bene Gesserit of Dune approach politics. They can see all possible paths ahead of time and, from that, prune paths to their advantage.

You have not mentioned the recent breakthrough regarding playing Go. This was huge news in the AI world because Go is basically not a game you can calculate, unlike Chess. Go has so many possible moves over so many turns that you must intuit. That is to say, an experienced player will know good or perfect moves not through calculation but through memory and a deep understanding of game rules and how game states evolve. Building an AI that can beat the world's best Go players means building an AI that can approximate human intuition and match the finely honed intuition of the very best Go players in the world. Subsequent generations of AlphaGo can now get to this point without the same level of training time and with smaller datasets. There is also a skill differential. Each new generation can beat the last consistently. Achieving this required big breakthroughs in implementing neural-net based learning and a metric ton of data and a huge amount of training time. Even with all of that, AlphaGo is not quick to make its moves, though it is not unusually slow for a high-level Go player.

Shadow Empire is more akin to Go than Chess. I have, in trying to help other players, sometimes just had to say: 'I don't know what is wrong and I cannot explain it to you but I know I could fix it if I had your save.' Why? Because my understanding of the logistics and combat systems is learned but also starting to become intuitive. I just manage my supplies and they work. Without having access to the actual game state and all the data it provides, I cannot troubleshoot some subtle or complex problems. Often because the player asking for troubleshooting does not know what data to provide to those trying to assist. Of course, I also sometimes cannot help because I'm flummoxed too. I am by no means an expert. Getting not one but 6 AIs to handle a system this complex in turn times players will accept (players are already antsy with turns times of 2 mins BTW) on a wide range of general-purpose personal CPUs... If you really think you can do that go start working for one of the deep AI companies and bring it to gaming please.

Player perception and tolerance is also crucial. I draw on RTSs here. It is relatively easy to get a RTS AI to micro perfectly. It wasn't always but you can now and you can probably do it with ordinary CPUs. The AI can click pixel-perfect thousands of times. It can and will out APM any human player every single time without fail if allowed to. Turns out players utterly, utterly hate this. It feels like the AI is cheating because no human player has truly pixel-perfect 100% of the time micro. Players f up and give opportunities to one another. So you have to get an AI to play very well but not perfectly in a way that feels like a person playing very well but not perfectly to a very skilled human player. Again this is not a trivial problem. AIs can now thrash the very best human players at SC. Players only stand a chance when they use very situational or off-meta builds that the AIs cannot train against, because they are rare, which the AIs do not always react to properly. Similar to how lower-skilled, though still very skilled players, do this in professional SC to get an advantage of a more skilled but conventional player.

This brings us back to points 1 and 2. The problem with cracking SC was not mirco but rather macro. Getting the AI to understand all possible build paths for all possible factions and the relative strengths of those build paths as well as figuring out the most likely build path of its opponent using limited scouting information. Solving that problem requires deep AI development with neural nets and lots of data. Like observing every single skilled ranked game of SC on a big ladder for days or weeks levels of data. Then playing thousands upon thousands of simulated games, with the AI playing both sides, to convert that data into skill. Ordinary game developers cannot do this. They simply cannot get enough data easily enough without releasing the game. Some niche games have AIs that learn as you play or, I think in the case of AI Wars, learn as all players play. This is generally a core selling point of the game and something built around from day 1 not an incidental add-on.

On to game engine constraints, the game may not be written in a way that makes it easy to plug in a neural net. I don't know enough about the technical details here but there will be technical limits to how the developer can construct the game with the available skill, time and money that will directly constrain what approaches can be taken to AI development.

Systems interplay I have already covered really. It's the Go or SC macro problem. SE has so many options and ways to play of varying levels of merit given how everyone else is playing that is really hard for a bunch of intelligent and increasingly skilled humans cooperating with one another to figure out best possible plays all of the time. Some intelligent players skilled in other games still cannot beat beginner AIs because they do not understand how some key systems interact yet and others are already only playing on extreme because regular is too easy. This I think gives an idea of the complex, almost chaotic, nature of how the game systems interact. This will never be a game you can just calculate your way through.

(in reply to eyegore)
Post #: 40
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 7:30:17 PM   
eyegore

 

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Great post Laiders :)

Of course if your using a 'planer' your by default having the A.I. think ahead. GOAP is exactly that and if set up correctly can be thinking multiple turns ahead. You just set up your goals accordingly. The end goal being the winner and several goals below that must be met to reach the end goal, with the A.I. choosing based on it's own state and what it knows about the enemy. Or perhaps the human player attacks so the 'Goal' changes to 'defend' with sub goals (how many units to send, etc)

This happened all the rime in F.E.A.R. The game didn't win awards because the rest of game was all that great but because the A.I. could think. It did plan. It called for help. It worked with other A.I. to set up flanking, flushing out and so on.

Diety Empires is another title that uses GOAP rather well...and again an Indy dev. That game absolutely has a planer as i've seen it ferry troops to an island and later pick them up once the island was explored..FSMs don't do that. And in your typical Civ game that unit would have wandered that same island the rest of the game.

Dev houses really are penny wise pound foolish. They could spend a couple years on an A.I. that is modular and then be done with it. Using it in every title going forward and gaining a reputation on that A.I.

(in reply to Laiders)
Post #: 41
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 7:34:46 PM   
eddieballgame

 

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Not every 4x/military game needs aircraft, particularly when it makes the game easier to defeat an AI/opponent.
Basically, less thought per strategy is required. imho
Certainly an option to not allow is a good thing. imho

(in reply to diamondspider)
Post #: 42
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 7:52:56 PM   
Laiders

 

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It depends right. I mean Vic can sort of do this, evolve his AI from game to game. At least on combat evaluation because his games use very similar combat systems.

If you have a diverse portfolio or radically iterate on game systems with each release and even each DLC, a la Paradox or Amplitude, developing a general purpose AI is harder. Paradox can at least develop a core module that understands basics of troop movement etc that then is tailored to the peculiarities of each game. Amplitude... Amplitude give themselves headaches. However, the AI is a reasonable challenge, especially if it is given a small to medium classic handicap as well.

If you release games across multiple genres, then you are **** of luck right. An example of this might be Kerberos. SOTS 2 was sadly a catastrophe that all but killed the studio but did put out things like a truly excellent roguelike (SOTS: The Pit definitely worth a buy if you like SOTS world and roguelikes) and an operational puzzle war-game similar in broad concept to the Panzer General/Corp series (Groundpounders more mixed but I think quite good; Steam ragged on it because it is difficult to understand at first).

Good luck getting a RT 4X/grand strategy AI and RTS naval battle AI understanding a roguelike or an operational puzzle war-game. Luckily the enemies in roguelikes and puzzle war-games do not need to be too smart so long as the scenario design and player constraints are good.

SE will get better over time as the AI is refined over time to cope better with conducting free-form operations without constraints of a historical scenario and manage the 4X elements. In an operational sense, it already appears reasonably smart. It does have a tendency to start far too many wars and make itself vulnerable but that might be different AI personalities rather than actual unawareness/incompetence.

(in reply to eyegore)
Post #: 43
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 7:58:11 PM   
Laiders

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: eddieballgame

Not every 4x/military game needs aircraft, particularly when it makes the game easier to defeat an AI/opponent.
Basically, less thought per strategy is required. imho
Certainly an option to not allow is a good thing. imho


But they kinda do right. Modern warfare is impossible without aerospace assets and aerospace power is the single most important military development facilitating modern warfare. Aerospace warfare can be applied to all planets currently implemented equally and different planet types raise different problems with exerting aerospace power.

Navies only really apply to Siwas, probably the main planet people are playing at present. I suppose Medusa and Limnos (barrens) can generate oceans and rarely Boreas can. Cerberus generates lava oceans I'd rather remained impassable to all but late-game tech but YMMV. Seth, Planetoids and Moons straight up cannot ever. It's a condition on their generation.

It's tight and I do understand concerns about air power too.

(in reply to eddieballgame)
Post #: 44
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/14/2020 8:31:46 PM   
GodwinW


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Agree. Air is just not really compatible easily with why I really like this game. It could be done well maybe.
But if so, an option to disable would be really great.
(and disabling it on planets with low atmospheric pressure doesn't cut it as I would want to play all types still)

< Message edited by GodwinW -- 6/14/2020 8:33:07 PM >

(in reply to diamondspider)
Post #: 45
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/15/2020 12:25:53 AM   
MC456

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: GodwinW

Agree. Air is just not really compatible easily with why I really like this game. It could be done well maybe.
But if so, an option to disable would be really great.
(and disabling it on planets with low atmospheric pressure doesn't cut it as I would want to play all types still)

Have you played the Decisive Campaigns series? Air assets are a bit more abstracted in that game, and it has a similar level of scope (in terms of manpower/unit sizes) to Shadow Empire. Air power acts more as a combat buff and the proximity of air fields has a lot to do with the calculations.

@Laiders, you weren't kidding around when you said there was some serious AI discussion in this thread :p
I got some reading to do but it looks like you guys nailed out the main points, especially in regards to the difference of complexity between something like Shadow Empire and a simpler game like Chess or Go.

(in reply to GodwinW)
Post #: 46
RE: Shadow Empire Poll posted - 6/15/2020 12:41:18 AM   
ramnblam

 

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Let us fix up the space ships so we can leave the irradiated giant raptor infested **** hole planet behind and go on a debauchery filled space pleasure cruise. Director of the Military council is not invited because he's a ****. :P

(in reply to MC456)
Post #: 47
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