Disappointing AI(?)

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Jekky
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Post by Jekky » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:57 pm

It's supposed to protect marked units/tiles - might be a glitch in that particular case.

The version number is displayed on the about screen in the top right corner.

corey420
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Post by corey420 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:49 pm

bosworth field is the map where the ai is not protecting the marked unit.

Sammual69
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Post by Sammual69 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:11 pm

Jekky wrote:The AI takes a variety of factors into account when deciding on how good a move would be to take.

The AI will consider the value of a tile, how well defended it is, how much damage it will do to the enemy if it takes the move (in terms of the units that will die, both directly and as a result of not being able to pay for them) and the strategic importance of the tile (such things as how easily it will be able to defend the tile, if the tile will help it to connect separate territories together or if it will split an enemy territory apart).

At the moment it doesn't take anything other than the territory being targeted into account - the overall situation of the other player, or their general military strength for example - mostly this is because each territory is self-contained for the most part. It also lacks the ability to long term plan - it will in some cases make moves with a view to the next couple of turns, but most of the moves are decided on the current situation rather than the future one.
Is the AI hardcoded or scripted? Do you have a flowchart for it's decision tree? Would you like some (Free) help with the AI?

Sammual

Jekky
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Post by Jekky » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:50 am

The AI is hardcoded - i suppose it could use a script if we really wanted to, but since the game is relatively simple we decided there was no reason to open it up to modification.

I don't have any flowcharts for the AI - i'm not sure that it could easily be represented as a flowchart in any case.

Right now we're focused on getting the multiplayer update ready for patch 1.4, then we'll be taking another look at the AI.

honestabe
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This AI is Horrible

Post by honestabe » Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:35 am

Well since you unlocked the full game so one can really see how it plays I took the plunge and downloaded the demo.

It's a cute boardgame chesslike game as has been mentioned. But, if this is the AI that is in the main game it's very disappointing as I stomped it the very first try.

It's problems are it likes pikemen too much and waits too late to build counter units for the units I have on the map. I built a castle first of all, then waited and built an archery. Then with level 1's and 2's archers I made mince meat of the rest of the board until quite late in the game it made some castle defenses and a level 3 cavalry unit. lol By then I had 2 level 3 archers a level 3 cavalry and a level 3 spearman, along with a handful of level 1's just for blocking and it wasn't much of a challenge for sure.

It had a golden opportunity to hurt me bad by separating my land and cutting off the powerful income I had, but, instead with a level 3 cavalry unit that had two opportunities one to kill off one of my level 3 archers or two to split my land into two it decided to just "Sit There" in the same hex!

AI needs to be reprogrammed to build counters for what's on the board. If I put out a level 2 archer there shouldn't be very many turns before a level 2 cavalry unit should appear. Especially when the AI has the advantage on me. It clearly did in the early game too. Then it just pissed it off moving back n forth and making stupid spearmen units that could do nothing but be eliminated in my path. It should also take any advantage to split a factions income and/or kill off a powerful unit. I'm still shocked that cav unit just sat there with both of those opportunities available to it.

There were times when it had the opportunity to destroy my southern starting area. It took out one +1 market area and then left the town and the other two market hexes and my castle alone. This with a level 3 pikeman it was using. After that it turned to the north to hurt itself by attacking another ai area. It could have taken out my castle at least before moving on, but, nooooo.

Games like these are a love and hate experience. This would be such a fun beer and pretzels game if the ai would just do normal basic tactics. Counter build is pretty easy to do I think. Especially the one ai that is leading it shouldn't faulter and end up playing like an idiot.

On the other hand I think multiplayer vs humans would be some exciting fun as it plays quickly enough for TCP/IP I think and I'm not even sure what multiplayer it offers yet as I didn't look it up.

I give the game overall as fun to play a 7.0 [there were a couple of exciting moments when I thought the ai was going to play well.]
but, I give the ai a puny 4.0 and that's being nice I think.
Improve the ai considerably and this one could become a classic like Warlords.

I also downloaded the demo of Slay and played it. The AI in it is excellent. Beat me on clever twice in a row. See what you get when the graphics aren't up to par? The graphics are like an 8bit old commodore 64 game and the ai is like those good old commodore 64 games ai. Quite impressive.

Shame Conquest can't compare to Slay in the ai department as at least the graphics and the size of the screen are better. Slay has a very small window you have to play in or my maximize feature isn't working.

Hope you fix this game before it becomes forgotten as it would really be fun to play this as much as I will play SLAY and play multiplayer online. I don't buy games for the multiplayer aspect though so you're going to have to fix it.

Innocence
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Re: This AI is Horrible

Post by Innocence » Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:35 pm

honestabe wrote:AI needs to be reprogrammed to build counters for what's on the board
In a nutshell :P

I'm glad I read this post before posting myself, cause I was just about to write the very same thing. I've played a handfull of skirmishes on hardest AI level, and not once have I seen the AI use the appropriate counter unit, eg. archers vs. my pikes or cav vs my archers (and yes, the AI did own stables and the archer range).

I absolutely love the rock-paper-scissors aspect - it's what really puts it ahead of Slay. It does naturally complicate things for the AI, but this is definately the place where you should look for improvement next time you try to improve it.

After that, I suggest you work on improving the AI's priotity on cutting off supplies, ie. dividing and starving the enemy. The Slay AI is infamous for sacrificing it's army to split your lands, thereby killing off your entire army and splitting your income. A very useful strategy. Be fair, the AI (on highest level) does seem to try this, but currently it simply doesn't pursue it enough.

honestabe
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Post by honestabe » Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:00 pm

Hey here's one for yah Innocence

Today I was playing and had strung out my army but had units to block splitting my provinces with what the ai had around or could build and get this..The ai built a level 1 cav unit and didn't even have a stable! lol Killed my level 1 archer split my domain and killed my 3 best level 2 units out in front taking everything it had. How's that for cheating? lol I was playing on level 4 this time. I don't mind the ai getting extra resources and stuff like that, but, to blatantly cheat like that and just build whatever the hell it wants to when it wants to is pretty rediculous. Didn't even have a stable and builds a cav unit.
I was just about to buy this game anyway for the MP aspect, but, that pissed me off pretty good and now I'm steaming about it.

Innocence
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Post by Innocence » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:33 pm

honestabe wrote:The ai built a level 1 cav unit and didn't even have a stable
Hmm, haven't experienced this myself.

You do know you can build a stable and cavalry in same turn right? Did you check for stables after his move (remember it might be hidden beneath/graphically merged a unit). If there isn't one it must be a bug - the AI isn't allowed to cheat IIRC.

honestabe
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Post by honestabe » Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:06 am

Yep I looked it only had 6 tiles total under its control and most of those were filled with castles, town, mines and markets. There was NO STABLE on any of those 6 tiles. It had no lands anywheres else either. As I said I was stomping the map with my 3 level 2 units and then out of NOWHERE this level 1 cav unit appears and cuts my supply line and kills my 3 level 2 units and that 1 level 1 archer unit I had protecting the supply line. It cheated plain an simple. It created a unit it didn't have the building for to create. It had no other units.

Innocence
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Post by Innocence » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:01 am

Definately a bug then. I do on rare occations experience some very weird bugs, but I've been unable to reproduce them, like an enemy area containing 2 cities, or the inability to attack an isolated 3rd level enemy Pike with my 3rd level Archer.

My best guess with these errors, including the one you've experienced, is that they're using 'flags' to indicate state (ie. "player has stables", "land is isolated', 'unit is adjacent to 3rd level Cavalry' (thus protected from any attack)), and that the bug somehow forgets to reset this flag on rare conditions ('stable is lost', "land is rejoined', 'adjacent unit dies'). This is however, as I said, just a guess.

Sammual69
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Post by Sammual69 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:49 am

honestabe wrote:Hey here's one for yah Innocence
The ai built a level 1 cav unit and didn't even have a stable!
If the AI has a stable in any area it can build cav in any of them. It is a bug I have seen about a dozen times.

Sammual

honestabe
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Post by honestabe » Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:34 pm

Well it is the demo I am playing. Are you guys experiencing this with the regular game? And why aren't we getting any feedback from the devs and Iain on this?

This morning I played another and either experienced another bug or a new strategy of the game. The AI was running a level 3 pikeman and a level 3 cavalry unit together side by side and I couldn't attack either one with my level 3 archer vs pikeman (I got the protection X showing the cavalry unit) or level 3 pikeman vs cavalry (I got the protection X showing the Pikeman unit)? To stop its thrust into my territory I had to just keep following them around until I could separate them from their domain. I added more level 2's and 3's to get in its rear and kill that damn cavalry station and take its income away so it could no longer afford any level 3 units as well.

Is this working as designed? I didn't know level 3 units could block for each other? It worked for me as well so I can't complain as much as the mysterious level 1 cav in that other game that appeared out of nowhere to break my lines and end the game for me.

If this blocking by level 3's for other level 3's one is not a bug then one could just make a moving army of two level 3's and just march into the enemy territory without worry (as the ai was doing until I surrounded it) and take everything in sight. I don't think this is a fair feature of the game. It eliminates the rock paper scissors effect and nothing can stop or kill it save to surround it and cut off its upkeep supply. A level 3 should be able to move into ANY hex an eliminate the unit they are better than without being blocked by another hex counter unit. I should have been able to kill the level 3 pikeman with my level 3 archer and then move my level 3 pikeman in and kill that level 3 cavalry unit!! imho

Innocence
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Post by Innocence » Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:55 pm

honestabe wrote:The AI was running a level 3 pikeman and a level 3 cavalry unit together side by side and I couldn't attack either one with my level 3 archer vs pikeman... Is this working as designed?
Of course, I use the exact same strategy. Rules are very simple: You cannot attack a hex occupied by a unit you cannot beat, or an adjacenthex belonging to the same player. Since this is rock-paper-scissors, two level 3 units right next to each other are unbeatable - change this, and you're taking away the major reason to use "combined arms".

As you've figured out the ONLY way to beat them is to cut them off from their supply line.

This is balanced by the fact the upkeep on lvl3 units is so huge compared to lower level units. If for the upkeep price of 2 lvl3 units, you could buy a whole swarm of lvl1+lvl2 units, beeline to a weak spot in his line and cut his supplies.

On a sidenote, remember you can use this strategy on any unit level, ie. 2 adjacent different lvl1 units are safe from any lvl1 attack, meaning the enemy will have to buy (and pay upkeep) to a lvl2 unit to beat it. A large part of the game's strategy is about forcing the enemy to pay a higher upkeep - what he's using on upkeep can't be used to build infrastructure or new armies to counter the ones you build to counter his.

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Post by honestabe » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:20 pm

Hrmm I'm not sure I like that part of the game because it's like moving a level 3 castle around the map without anything that can kill it save cutting off supply. Cutting off supply shouldn't be the only way to eliminate a lesser foe.

Also they should have added catapults and catapults can take out anything but can be taken out by anything. You'd have to protect them of course but not even the two side by side level 3 units could stop them.

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Post by Jekky » Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:14 pm

I apologise for there being no feedback on any of these issues, it's been a busy week.

AI making cavalry that it shouldn't be allowed: this is definitely a bug - under no circumstances does the AI attempt to cheat in any way, it is always bound by the same set of rules that you are bound by. Thank your reporting this issue, we will look into it.

Level 3 invincible units: Not a bug, not a mistake either - this is the intended way for these units to work. While they are very powerful, they require a lot of territory and infrastructure to support them - you could have 3x the number of level 2 units instead (or 9x the number of level 1 units). They cannot be beaten directly, but at the same time they can only defend a very small area (the 2 tiles which they occupy) you can still go past them on either side using a level 3 unit of the correct type. Overall as far as we have been able to tell it balances correctly, and we have seen no need for a 4th unit type (we did consider one early in development, but the idea was discarded when it became obvious that level 3 units couldn't win a game on their own).

AI making mistakes: The AI is not perfect - i am the first person to admit that. People will of course compare it to the AI in Slay, given the similarities between the games - but remember that the AI in Slay was tweaked over a period of many years, we don't have that much experience with AI's yet. It is also worth remembering that in the demo, the AI is set to difficulty 3/5 by default - this means that in some cases it will make mistakes and not move a unit, or not build a counter. That said it does have it's problems - it currently only builds a counter if it actually needs one (that is to say it intends to directly attack a particular unit, or is directly threatened by it) -and- if it would be a cheaper option than combining units to make a higher level unit. The result of this is that the AI seems to like L2 and L3 units a bit too much and not build enough counters. Most of the tweaks to the AI so far have gone into making sure that it chooses the right moves to make on a given turn (although again, difficulty may affect how hard it actually tries), since that was where many of the problems were in earlier builds.

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Post by Cerbykins » Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:16 pm

First and foremost, thanks for all the feedback. We can only fix what we see, and it might surprise you to hear that not everything reported got picked up in the beta testing. We cracked a lot of bad bugs, but the beta testers didn't give the gameplay side the hard thrashing you guys have. The fact of the matter is that every game needs it's expert players to chip in and tell the devs what's going on, and Conquest is no exception. On a lighter note, also know that if it came to a multiplayer match I think the developer side would be in trouble! ;)

Expect us to keep patching and keep perfecting the game. We have no plans to release a certain number of patches and abruptly stop. For the foreseeable future at least, if you keep reporting these problems we will keep chasing them.

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Post by Jekky » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:06 am

I don't know if anyone is still reading this topic.. but we need a little information here - I've been trying to reproduce this bug where the AI can make cavalry where it really shouldn't be able to, but can find no evidence of it. Are you guys using the latest version (1.5 at time of writing)?

honestabe
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Post by honestabe » Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:06 am

Jekky wrote:I don't know if anyone is still reading this topic.. but we need a little information here - I've been trying to reproduce this bug where the AI can make cavalry where it really shouldn't be able to, but can find no evidence of it. Are you guys using the latest version (1.5 at time of writing)?
Well as I said jekky I was playing the DEMO so I really don't know what version the demo is. The thing hasn't happened again, but, then again I only played maybe 1 or 2 more times after that and haven't played since.

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Post by Jekky » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:33 pm

Ah.. right, I guess i didn't read some of the posts carefully enough. The demo (at least at the time) was on 1.4 so it could well be an old bug..

In any case, thanks for responding and clarifying that.

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