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Big Al

Brute Force - FEEDBACK please

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I work very hard on improving Brute Force. I work with Hubert to ever increase the effectiveness of the AI. But I need feedback from the players. I run AI vs AI sims till things work well and I knock out bugs. Then I play test both sides myself Human vs AI.

I look for balance and AI issues that can be exploited by a human.

The one thing I lack is feedback from the players. I havent gotten much. Anything you can give me helps except general comments like "its great" or "dude, it sucks".

There have been some posters who gave me great ideas and posted some excellent suggestions I implemented.

My main goal is to make the SC series the best AI possible.

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Hey, Al, let me be the first to thank you in this thread for your contribution, I love BF and I'm presently playing, the mechanized units are nice, I wish more designers would use them.

Anyway, I'll be giving you some feedback in the future, it's just I'm also playing the generic scenarios, not enough time, testing takes a lot of time, so hang in there. One thing though, I'm not playing the AI. If you want me to play the AI, give me some direction, you're the boss, what side, what settings? A particular strategy you wish me to conduct, some features you would like to be focused on? Just remember, time....time....has there ever been a more valuable commodity?;)

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Just feedback on the scenario is good enough. It was originally designed for Player vs Player. Then I decided to include AI.

Either feedback is good AI or heads up.

If you ever play the AI +0.5 exp or +1.0 exp is best for a more challenging game.

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Hey Al, we're about 5 turns in and I'm noticing that Japanese Fighters have a 1 de-entrenchment value, yet Jap TAC is 0. Did you design it this way, and if so, what was your reasoning?

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Hi Big Al

I am relatively new to modern SC having last played the original game some 5 or 6 years ago. Thus I regret it will take me a while to familiarise myself with the mechanics of the new standard games before trying your mod (by the way does it work only with Gold or with 1.07 of SC GC WW2?).

However I did notice in your post a mention of making the AI play itself. Is that possible in the pre-gold versions and if so how do you do it?

Regards

Mike

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In WWI and Gold, you can make the AI play itself by pressing F3 on your keyboard before clicking on New Game and then selecting the campaign.

In older versions of SC, if it is possible then you would have to press F4. Without checking I cannot be sure exactly when in the SC series this was introduced, but WWI and Gold definitely have it.

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Hi,

I have some feedback about Brute Force and the game in general, based on a cooperative PBEM, us (3) against a +50% MPP AI.

Overall Brute Force map and scripts are excellent. I just hope in the future that a map will be redone without the trick of splitting in half both hemispheres.

My main remarks are about the AI attacks and some Russian scripts, I have to say this almost ruined our game.

I - AI attacks, odds

The AI attacks with not good enough odds. You really need to up slightly the ratio where it will attack. Among hundreds of examples, the latest one is a 7 strength Japanese army, in grey cohesion (so 50% or less morale), without tech upgrade, attacking a 10 strength, good condition, Chinese Army, entrenched in city, without tech upgrade. This was a Japanese slaughter. And this example repeat time and time again.

I can understand that these attacks can be conducted, for that:

a) the AI is conducting a war of attrition and losing more than the opponent is still viable. Quite often, this is not the case...

B) The AI will launch a series of 4+ attacks against the same position so that in the end the last unit may have a chance to get the square. This can happen, if supported by planes, but this is super rare, as the AI is far too optimistic or aggressive.

So in any case, reduce AI aggressiveness or tell me how to mod that, this has been very detrimental to the game. Often the AI bring to the front a strength 6 unit... Not to fill a gap, but just to try pushing too hard against the enemy... But no, this is short term thinking here, the AI must maintain a better status on his unit in general... Too many are kept at strength 6-7 and then sent to the front, even if the situation is stable. I'm not talking of desperate measures to be taken... The AI could afford to rest and repair much more his units.

II - AI tech

AI is really bad in teching. Remember our game was a +50% MPP game. The German attacked Russia with tech 0 tanks and finally upgraded to tech 1 in January 42!! And all this time they were producing hundreds of MPP, I'm not talking of Germany on the decline, mustering its last strength.

same for the Japs. Can you believe that the Japs are fighting without any infantry upgrade in January 42? How it is hard to scrap 200 MPP and put them in Infantry upgrade asap? Not that hard.

So, a significant shift of MPP usage should be done...

While you are at that, I think you need to add safeguards, i.e AI scripts that give them a minimum level as time passes. i.e Germany AI should get for free Tank 1 in 1941, at the very least, Tank 2 in mid 42, and so on... This can only be good for the game.

III - Scripts

My problem is about a script that ruined our game. As the Russian, I got 3200 MPP because of the Patriotic war. This was plain insane. So I reimbursed 2400 MPP by throwing them to the sea, i.e buying US diplo chits and cancelling them. And even with that, the German are still to approach Kiev!

So Patriotic War script should be a one time 400 MPP bonus, nothing more. You already give 5 armies, 2 HQ and others events, this is enough!

Rest of scripts are a bit annoying but we can live with that, like Norway falling into German hands without fight, same for Greece, East Indies for the Japs. This feels cheating but I can understand, if to help the AI.

That said, very enjoyable game. I could not convince myself to play on the tiny Europe map and Brute Force was the answer to this problem.

IV - Bugs

Artillery tech can never be researched, is it normal?

The US can't station in UK controlled harbours (yes they are allies, they can pass Gibraltar or operate planes in Britain). This is a major bug believe me!

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I---

I have no control over how the AI conducts an attack, just where... usually. The scripts allow me to create strategic decisions. The engine makes tactical decisions.

II---

A: I'll adjust the Axis tech some more to see if it helps

B: Cant add tech scripts to auto-increase AI

III---

A: I actually reduced the great patriotic war effect to no units and increased production but not as much in a recent change that hasnt been updated yet as of 1/11/2012

B: I actually had real invasion and offensive scripts for all these locations. But their success was never guaranteed. Either the AI took to long to accomplish the goal, or the human player could easily interfere because it happened on X dates on a time table. The latter is a result of these operations requiring exact human tactical planning. For example setting up your whole airforce in Denmark while invading Norway. This is done to defend the fleet which must blockade 2 squares to let the invasion force land. If the UK throw their fleet in there they will lose lots of ships. The AI cant replicate this.

IV---

A: I will check artillery. I might have simply forgotten that tech. Artillery wasnt in the original version.

B: This might be a cause of the human US player not declaring war on the axis.

I appreciate the feedback. In the future I would strongly suggest giving the AI +0.5 or +1 experience. That makes the game far more challenging than +50% production.

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I came to this conclusion about giving a +.5 experience level, this help compensate low tech or bad supply, more than just adding MPP.

As Brute Force is an official campaign, I believe Hubert is reading this thread. The AI tactical aggressiveness is really a problem, all countries when led by AI play 'human waves' styles of attacks with sometime abyssal losses. Perhaps a bug in the evaluation ratio, or just some variables to cranks up a bit.

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Its really tough making a 2D wargame with a successful AI. Ive been gaming for 30 years and I have never seen an excellent AI. Its very hard to program. The best that can happen is what Hubert did. Make a system that allows strategic simulation and the AI handles tactical. Sometimes even programming the scripts requires manipulation of the system like maps and resources so the math behind the AI works better.

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Probably the best AIs are in territory-based games with a limited amount of territories (like Shogun I and Medieval I, Total War, that is), so in single-player focused games, it's always a shame to go for free movement or even a huge number of hexes.

However, those features are golden for the multiplayer portion, so it's always a toss-up....

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My general experience of wargame AI has not been that it is always too aggressive. AI faults have often been a failure to protect key positions. I like the way that SC seems to use its events mechanism related to the proximity of opposing forces to get homeguard type units to activate.

Regards

Mike

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Well I try to accomodate all possibilities.

For example in BF1939 I have some special codes to deal with allied landings and late war change of strategy for German AI based on the engine in ways people havent thought of. It works fairly well.

Im always working with Hubert to try and improve his AI.

But you will find a much better game putting the AI on +1/2 or +1 experience.

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We are about to restart a coop PBEM, us Axis vs AI Allies. The AI will get +100% MPP and +0.5 xp level. The Patriotic War Event is reduced to 400 mp for 2 turns though.

If you have an updated version of your campaign, that would be much appreciated though :)

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Its coming out with the next update. Im still working on fixing some things.

Mod whatever you like in the one you got.

Open it, save as another name, then open that new name mod and modify it.

If I was you all I would play heads up with another human not the AI. Thats far more satisfying.

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I did play several PBEM against an human with SC2 some time (years?) ago, but here we want a more relaxed game, plus one of the participant is my young son which is now well hooked into wargames thanks to Hubert and team (and you!) :)

I think I'll also change Koenigsberg to major city, seeing a German army with supply level 2 in the Polish campaign sounds unrealistic, plus Pomerania deserves that.

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Hi Big Al

If you are looking at a 1942 scenario for Gold I have a few comments for you. In historical terms it was almost impossible for the Axis to win by 1942 therefore to make an even game you probably have to veer on the side of helping the Axis in the OOB. In the standard 1.07 game in many ways the reverse of this has been done. In June 1942 the IJN actually had something like 11 ships capable of carrying aircraft, virtually all of which could carry similar or more (and better) aircraft than the typical UK carriers and 6 of which were pretty well comparable to the US carriers although one of these was damaged (Shokaku) and another (Zuikaku) had lost most of its airwing. In contrast the US had just 5 carriers of which one was returning from damage (Saratoga) and one was in the Atlantic (Wasp). The IJN had a new fleet carrier Unryu available in August 1942 (which is omitted from the scenario) whilst the next US carriers Essex and Bunker Hill arrive in line with their historic availability.

In the standard scenario the IJN has 6 carriers whilst the USN has 4 and the RN has 3. Thus the Allies are already given a superiority which did not exist before Midway and this gets more pronounced as the US new carriers arrive on schedule whilst IJN ones do not.

In the standard scenario Midway has a Bomber unit and a Tac Fighter unit. In game terms this is equivalent to around 500 aircraft in real life there were less than half that number of planes on Midway.

The situation with respect to Battleships in the Med is even more unbalanced. The RN had no battleworthy BBs in the Eastern Med in June 1942 as the QE was still damaged from the Italian frogmen's attack as was the Valiant which does not figure in the scenario. The Vittorio Veneto is omitted from the Italian Navy OOB making the true imbalance actually operate in reverse with the British having superior Naval resources in the Med with a carrier (which was not actually there in June 1942) and 2 x BB versus 3 Italian BB's.

The Brits had another damaged Battleship omitted from the OOB in Ramillies, which had been subjected to underwater attack by the IJN at Diego Suarez. The USN also had ships recovering from Pearl but the absent battleworthy IJN Battleships such as the Kongos seem to be offset against these damaged Allied absentees.

The RN also had the issue of deploying BBs to escort convoys but this is abstracted in game terms. Tirpitz is another absentee which is understandable for the AI as it does not make very clever use of lone Raiders but surely some more RN warships should be counted out to reflect their being held in reserve agaist Tirpitz.

In fact the Axis had a brief period when it had superior Naval resources counted across the globe in the first half of 1942 and this should be reflected in scenarios of this period to give players an opportunity to try to exploit the superiority in ways that the Axis did not e.g. by the IJN dominating the Indian Ocean and cutting off reinforcements to the Middle East or India.

Regards

Mike

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How I handled the scenario is I compared various board games OOB for that date and historical records. Im hoping its enough. I balanced this scenario a little more after running AI vs AI tests. The AI scripts follow the same path as BF1939, with some minor variations.

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I noticed that you didn't include anti-submarine warfare as a tech upgrade for carrier battle groups. As that was a large part of the battle of the Atlantic I was wondering if that was an oversight or a design decision?

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