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AI Artillery Control is NOT in our control after all

 
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AI Artillery Control is NOT in our control after all - 12/29/2001 10:45:00 PM   
richmonder

 

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First, a sincere apology to the community. Admins, you will want to delete that 'Hall of Fame' post on this subject now. At this point I am burnt, but will attempt to relay all I've found out so as to save some other half-witted fool such as myself the wasted time. OK... (can you smell the dissatisfaction?), let me preface this comment by saying that the existing problems in SPWaW in regards to the AI Artillery routine (that is, mission assignment) are really holdover problems from the original SP code and not Matrix' fault. So put away any pitchforks and torches as you read this - Matrix is not being assaulted.
To begin, I spent all of Friday (off work) and about 3 hours Saturday AM running the AI through every conceivable artillery assignment setup. That is, with onboard/offboard, using reinforcement status or not, etc, etc... Everything. Here, there, and everywhere. What I came up with in the end is what many have posted before - the AI is omnipotent as regards it's artillery control. It is just not possible to override it whatsoever. The thing that causes the problem is that once the AI sees enemy troop movement or feels threatened, it will override ANY type of setup you have and use the artillery. Let me give you the worst case, most definitive example: I set the AI up with 3 onboard arty units (mortar, howitzer, rocket). Tasked for turns 4,5, and 6 bombardment. I then set these to reinforcement status for each turn they were assigned to bombard. Further, as a last ditch effort to control matters I set them to arrive on Reinforcement Hex #1 which was also the Retreat hex for that side. Ok... So I always test first with that particular side as 'my' side - that is, I take what would be the AI side for the battle and see how the AI handles the assignment (all units on computer control). Well, it always does it according to assignment and the units bombard, then exit (are not available any longer). Try it again this time as the other side and let the AI run the side with arty. Well, wouldn't you know... IF I keep all my troops in place (the AI has a F.O. A0 unit that is about 10 hexes away from my force and 'sees' them), the AI fires normally as assigned. However, if I move any forces, by the second turn (before the onboard reinforcements have actually arrived!!), the AI has overridden the assignments and uses all the artillery at will. It enters the map on the appropriate turn, but does not exit (even thought it's on the retreat hex) and the AI continues to use it as it sees fit. That is the ultimate in proving that the AI cannot be manipulated as regards artillery. At least not consistently. I think that is what led to the first post - for a run through a scenario or two it worked. Then of course the situation in another run-through changed and it all blew to hell. My conclusion: neither onboard nor offboard artillery, whether with reaction turns, reinforcement status, even the cute Retreat & Reinforcement hexes the same trick works for reliable AI artillery assignment. It just cannot be done. Yes, you can get it to obey if you do not move your forces. But that isn't really working, is it? I could go on and on with every test angle, but none of it works. Thought this last trick would but not even that one did. My feelings: I will be overjoyed when CL arrives and hope it doesn't have this problem. I don't call this a bug; I call it a code failure, or really a software design flaw. Here's why - the AI artillery routine is nice as regards it's ability to quickly react to threats - this is necessary because the AI is naturally at a disadvantage against a human player. However, the *INABILITY* of the game as regards scripting in the editor (I don't know if it's really called scripting or what, I mean design control) is really the failure. The editor is great as regards terrain creation and a few AI controls. However, as regards AI design ability, it's probably the worst I've ever seen. I don't think it holds a candle to AoE or AoK or that stuff. Granted, it was created many years previously and that affects it. So I may be just pissing in the wind on this. Maybe I am just dissapointed because I thought I (we) had something. They (SP designers) could have done it had they chosen to, but maybe hadn't even thought of it. Well, sorry guys - let's just root for CL.. Please eliminate the thread in the Hall of Fame and open a Hall of Shame.

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Richmonder
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- 12/30/2001 1:57:00 AM   
skukko


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No reason to shame. This what you did is what we all have done; tryed hard to overtake AI -routines in scenario design. That is how lightbulb was invented in first place.. now back to testing; Did you try my favorite: Take radios away from arty. It works when arty is onboard and well hidden. Remember thou to take ammo out so it can't shoot nothing but that one mission And if that retreat and reinforcement hex thing works, it opens some doors: Set them aux-units to players side and let barrage arrive in time. Then arty is gone That would prevent Player to use arty (that designer wanted,) to his/her targets. I think that this is one treasure of your tests. Good job man, with this editor But I think that overriding editors capabilities is what we have done since spwaw was first released. mosh

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mosh

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- 12/30/2001 2:09:00 AM   
richmonder

 

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Thanks, skukko. That is true - you can assign pre-bombardment or during-game bombardment for reinforcement artillery units (set to post end-of-game reinforcement) that the player uses, and yes it will bombard properly. In fact, the player cannot alter the fire mission or the arty availability will be gone. But that is for the player's side. My efforts were mainly in the vain of altering the AI for solitaire use. And I've tried radios, all that. The AI is King for it's own artillery.

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Richmonder
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- 12/30/2001 2:34:00 AM   
Mark Ezra

 

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This is a hall of fame post! Your efforts, your hopes are greatly appreciated. It points out the one, final, absolute fact. SPWAW has taken the SP engine about as far as she can go. We all look forward to the new dawn of CL. It will give us a new set of building blocks to work with. In the mean time I play SPWAW as it is. It's was and is a great achievment in wargaming. The first sucessful game to be made by the wargaming community. We are all proud of specific people who have vreated so much to the sucess of this effort. David Heath, Paul Vebber, Bill Wilder and all the rest. But it is the imput of the wargaming community that should take a bow, too. There love, interest, and excellent ideas played a huge roll in SPWAW.

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- 12/30/2001 2:40:00 AM   
richmonder

 

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Thanks Mark. I agree with everything you said and feel the same way. I think I was just spent - I ended up taking a 1.5 hour nap due to the downer of it all. But now I am up and running! COME ON, CL!

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Richmonder
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- 12/30/2001 4:18:00 AM   
Grenadier


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I ran into this problem constantly in designing unique ways of artillery fire in Lost Victories. I had one node where I planned to let the Germans capture a bridge and cross a river by a certain turn then have the AI artillery fire on the bridge to bring it down and trap the core force. I finally got it to work by using the delay bombardment tool and limiting ammo so it could not be us3ed twice. I also similated engineers blowing up a bridge in front of ther Germans using the same technique

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- 12/30/2001 4:36:00 AM   
brianleeprice

 

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Here's a twisted idea - if it works for the player side but not for the AI - use the player's own arty against him, *laugh*. Friendly fire by design - would have to explain it clearly up front or you'd have a lot of upset players. Hope this helps,
Brian

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- 12/30/2001 7:40:00 AM   
richmonder

 

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Well, it is true that the delayed bombardment thing works for the first few turns of the game. Once the battle is met (usually about 3-5 turns after the start), the AI usually overrides anything we've put in. Brent, what turn (thereabouts) did you have the arty bombardment set for? Brian - really not a bad idea, except that there is nothing to stop a player from going in and canceling the bombardment and also finding out what areas are targeted. But I like your style! RUTHLESS, ba-beeee!

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Richmonder
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- 12/30/2001 10:52:00 PM   
RockinHarry


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Too bad,..Richmonder ,that it does not work.
I´m still successfull though with the "decrewed" onboard artillery. Have fun
________
Harry

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- 12/31/2001 12:02:00 AM   
richmonder

 

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Yes, and I've given some thought to that approach. It's pretty interesting. I'd just like to have artillery offboard that can't be touched by the player, but whatever. As far as the de-crewed trick, I guess you have to create the scenario, play one turn and de-crew the weapon(s), save, then change .sav files to .scen files? Then start with that as your scenario, correct? It's ingenious. Also a way to de-crew tanks so they are not 'immobilized', but just 'abandoned' - say they are fixing a flat tire (hehe), or taking a dump. So enemy forces can approach the tank without attacking it and the crew tries to reenter the tank. Good stuff.

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Richmonder
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- 12/31/2001 6:36:00 AM   
Grenadier


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Too much information will spoil the play. Suffice it to say it comes much later than turn 5
quote:

Originally posted by richmonder:
[QB]. Brent, what turn (thereabouts) did you have the arty bombardment set for? QB]


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- 1/3/2002 12:20:00 AM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

Originally posted by richmonder:

As far as the de-crewed trick, I guess you have to create the scenario, play one turn and de-crew the weapon(s), save, then change .sav files to .scen files? Then start with that as your scenario, correct? It's ingenious. Also a way to de-crew tanks so they are not 'immobilized', but just 'abandoned' - say they are fixing a flat tire (hehe), or taking a dump. So enemy forces can approach the tank without attacking it and the crew tries to reenter the tank. Good stuff.

Yeah...exactly like that! Awkward,..but no other way. __________
Harry

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