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Combat Mission AI and scenario design

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Here is an example of unsatisfactory, immersion-breaking AI from the "Charge of the Stryker Brigade" campaign. These three enemy units had not yet been engaged... they are just hanging out in a group in the middle of a road with their flanks to the enemy (me). Two of their tank friends had been destroyed many minutes before this screen capture was taken.

Unacceptable? Yes. Will I continue this mission? Yes.

AI example.jpg

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It's a bit difficult to see in the Picture...

Are those two destroyed tanks anywhere close to these 3 guys ? Are YOUR units anywhere close (within LOS/LOF) to these guys ? Are you about to capture any significant victory point ?

How much time is left on the game Clock ?

These guys might be triggered to start acting if you are about to secure a high value objective or something...They may be part of 'the other flank' security...Have they spotted any of your units you think ?

 

 

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The point I am making is that it is unrealistic to have 3 vehicles parked next to one another on a road in an active combat environment. My artillery has been falling, tanks have been exploding. This would never happen in real life. It is utterly stupid. Do you disagree?

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No...i'm not neccesarely dissagreing.

What this might be showing is some of the limitations with the scenario editor currently.

As we have no conditional triggers as of yet and no other way either of giving AI-Groups several options of what to do in a certain situation...things like this might happen.

 

Let's say these 3 vehicles are part of an AI-Group. The scenario designer only have 3 options when it comes to deciding when these guys should start moving...and what is worse !

The designer may only specify ONE movement path ( a set of waypoints ) that these guys will follow...Regardless of what you as the player decides to do.

1. The AI-Group may start moving at a specific time in the scenario

2. The designer may specify an area on the map that will trigger the AI-Group to start moving if you move any units into it...The designer only has one chans here to get it right. If you do not move any units into this area the AI-Group will remain stationary...atleast until the game-time that the designer specified in option 1 is reached.

3. The AI-Groups movement start may be linked to another AI-Group (only one) reaching a specific location (waypoint). If that AI-Group does not reach that waypoint the other AI-Group will remain stationary until the game-time that the designer specified in option 1 is reached.

And as mentioned previously...regardless of what you as the player does...If and when the AI-Group is allowed to start moving...they will only have one set of waypoints to follow...There is no options to allow the AI-Group to advance to Point A if you as the player decide to advance along the left flank and to point B if you decide to advance along right flank for example...

If the AI Group is allowed to move...it will move to ONE location regardless of what you are doing.

In ceratin situations the AI-units will move on their own...that is..reacting to known threaths. If they spot an enemy they will usually rotate in that direction. If they spot an enemy that is considderably stronger they may withdraw out of sight...that kind of thing...and offcourse...they will open fire on their own...

But even if they do react like this on their own...Their next move will be along the -  one and only  - movement path designated by the scenario designer if any of the above conditions (1,2, or 3) are met.

The AI have no ability to chose Another movement path that might better suit the actual situation on the battlefield.

These limitations when it come to programing the AI will sometimes lead to less then ideal results...i agree ! Scenario designers are however getting better and better at designing scenarios so these failures will hopefully happen less often...B)

 

 

 

 

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Good points. I think your argument about having more AI-groups is strong (as in the Combat Mission AI thread). That would at least enable scenario designers to circumvent unrealistic AI behavior. 

 

 

 

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Its possible tac AI may have kicked in and backed these guys up to that location as a response to fire. I didn't look at the scenario in the editor. But that happens. The only  work around is to have a redundant or repeated movement order in line, but set to occur much later in time to "rally" the group to the intended position. If they are already there then having an extra order to the same place later on won't matter much.  

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1 hour ago, nik mond said:

Its possible tac AI may have kicked in and backed these guys up to that location as a response to fire. I didn't look at the scenario in the editor. But that happens. The only  work around is to have a redundant or repeated movement order in line, but set to occur much later in time to "rally" the group to the intended position. If they are already there then having an extra order to the same place later on won't matter much.  

 
I do not belive that is the way it works.
 
If i understand this correctly (it has atleast been my experience) the TacAI will not overwrite or delete any waypoints (orderlocations) in an AI-groups movement path as set by the scenariodesigner.
If the AI-groups comes under fire or detects a significant threath and the TacAI forces the AI-group to temporarely hit the ground or withdraw...the next waypoint in the groups movementpath will not be  DELETED. It will be put on hold...
 
There is no need for a new one.

As soon as the AI-group rallies (and a movement for this AI group have indeed been triggered) they will continue to the waypoint that is the next one in the que. Nothing will be deleted as far as i know.
 
The way that the AI-groups advances through its waypoints makes your suggestion to put in a redundant (repeated) waypoint at the same location at a much later time...Problematic
 
The AI-groups will NOT jump back and forth amongst its waypoints...It follows them in numerical order...number one then number two, number three, number four and so on.
They will not skip waypoint two or three for example to get to waypoint four.
 
If your example with redundant waypoints should have any chans of working...The redundant waypoint would have to be the very next one in the que after the one that got temporarely halted by the TacAI.
This would mean no problems if the movementpath only had ONE waypoint (plus the redundant one at the same location)...But what if the movement path consist of an additional 5 waypoints for example..
The scenariodesigners idea with the programing of the AI-group was to have them move to waypoint one and wait there for something like two minutes and then move on to the next one...and the next one.
Putting a redundant waypoint in as number two at the same location as WP 1 but with a long delay would ruin this plan...
 
Edited by RepsolCBR

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My example was for an end location, where a unit moved to an over-watch position, got beat back. The trigger condition was already met. I sometimes include a redundant last order later just in case. As I said, I didn't look at the scenario, and wasn't being specific to it, so if that example is at order 2 of 10 then fine.

Edited by nik mond

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It may simply be down to an area being 'block painted' in an AI Setup or Move order.....Setup is always best done manually and I've found that if you paint one tile per vehicle in an AI group, it will often attempt to assign one vehicle per tile when carrying out those orders in game.

This was what prompted my recent question about whether infantry carried by vehicles have to be in the same AI group as the vehicles (they don't), I've been attempting to use these two features to create more realistic behaviour for AI mechanised units, the big limitation being that once the troops dismount they can never remount.

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And there could be some pathfinding jiggery-pokery going on there as well. Image left you have a low wall with a street lamp, a road and then a tree. Some of those vehicles may be just figuring out where they should be going.

I agree it doesn't look great though and could be improved.

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Without knowing what the designer's intent was it is difficult to figure out why these vehicles are sitting where they are sitting.  My guess from looking at them is that the designer probably didn't expect the player to have LOS to that location at this point in time in the scenario.  I would also guess that perhaps they might be a reinforcement group that appears at that spot as opposed to somewhere near a map edge and that they are scheduled to move somewhere at some future point in time - either by trigger or by time.  Judging from their facing one of two things is going on.  Either, as a reinforcement group or as an initial force, the designer neglected to position and face them and it wasn't caught during testing (I don't know if this scenario came with the game or if it is additional community content) or this particular AI group's next waypoint is located in the direction that they are facing and they are waiting for a trigger or point in time before they proceed.  If this waypoint is not their initial waypoint then AI troops will face in the direction of their next waypoint although that was somewhat recently changed and additional tools were added so that the designer could face vehicles and even have them use reverse.  I haven't created anything in a while though so I don't remember exactly when those improvements were added.

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