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AI Setup Question


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Ok, I've made an AI plan and painted in Setup Zones (for the AI - the yellow paint) for the Italians. Now, for some reason I thought that if I don't place the Italians in their setup zones during the Deployment Phase, then the AI would do it for me. What I see in the initial play test though (Author Mode) is that these guys seem to set up almost anywhere (towards their side of the lines though - south in this case), and once you start the Scenario and hit GO, then they start moving towards where their initial setup is. So, my question is, should I place the units myself in their setup zones during the Deployment Phase and then let them follow their orders from there?

Thanks again, my long-suffering friends ;)  (must be tough tutoring a rookie, eh :D ?)

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I think we all like to see people interested in the Editor. Ask away.

Setup can be done by painting an AI area in yellow, or by hand placing the units individually.

I generally use AI Plan 1 for the hand-set-up plan, and go in and place each unit in the 3D view.

AI Plan 2 (and any after that) gets the AI plan setup, where I paint it onto the map. I never let the game engine drop forces - as you see, it is overly randomized.

The one thing to watch is getting your AI movement orders lined up correctly with your AI Plan 1 (if using the method outlined above). Since that isn't painted (which retains the hand-placement).

I have a Photoshop template that I do for complicated stuff like that, and load it as an Overlay when I'm doing the AI Plans. Way easier than remembering!

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Lets try and cover this for you.

Lets call AI Blue for ease of description. 

  • No initial AI set up zone (yellow square), No Blue setup zone (map editor) will mean the AI unit will start in the location you last placed it in the editor deploy Blue tab. (also should the player chose to play as Blue, he will not be able to alter the position of the unit at game start).
  • No initial AI set up zone (yellow square), but unit is within a Blue setup zone (map editor) will mean the AI unit will start in the location you last placed it in the editor deploy Blue tab. (however should the player chose to play as Blue, he will now be able to alter the position of the unit at game start, but only within the specific Blue set up zone that the unit is already in).
  • One AI set up zone created, no Blue set up zone  will mean the unit will always move to the AI set up zone at game start , but note the move does not occur until the game start button is clicked for the first time. (Blue Human player will still be unable to move the unit at game start.
  • More than one AI set up zone created will mean that the unit will randomly choose which AI  set up zone it moves to. 
  • However if you have units within a Blue setup zone (map editor) despite being able to paint AI set up zones outside of the Blue setup zone the AI unit will not move outside of the Blue setup zone if that is where it starts. So once a unit is in a coloured map editor set up zone the AI placement is also locked to within that zone (the coloured zones show in the AI editor to help with this)

This stuff is easier to do in the editor than to explain.

Try creating really small test scenarios with only one or two units and play around with the two types of set up zone so you get a feel for what you can and can't do. What Ben says above is good advice.

Hope this helps

P

Edited by Pete Wenman
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Ok, I read these replies over lunch and it clarifies things immensely. However, I think I actually did that and still got a bad result (obviously I didn't do it exactly the right way or I wouldn't have got an odd result). So, here's what I did, and what I got. Hopefully you can help me spot where things went south.

I painted in Setup Zones using the Editor ("Blue Zones" using Pete's really good description).

I then assigned various units to Groups using the F"n" keys (F1, F2, etc.)

Next I painted in AI Setup Zones (Yellow Paint) for each of the groups in the AI window

I did NOT use the Deploy function however, as I hoped the AI would place each group into it's AI Setup Zone as defined when I made the zones (yellow)

When I started the Battle using the Scenario Author Option, I noticed all the units were off to one side of the maps (the Italians side was the southern side of the map, and they were all located on the SW side (more or less) of the map). Some were in setup zones ("Blue"), many were not, and none were in their assigned yellow AI setup zones. However, as soon as I hit the first "GO" button to start the time (WeGo), they units started moving from their positions to the correct zones per the AI setups I had made. So the problem I'm seeing is that the game did not automatically deploy them to their assigned yellow setup zones (and in many cases, not even to the game ("Blue") setup zones). Now you stated Ben, that you never let the game deploy the units, which I understand, but you also state that you always do a "hand setup in 3D View" but for AI Plan 2 onwards, you paint in the setup (yellow) zones. That leads me to believe that all Plans start from Plan 1's position then reposition automatically for subsequent plans. Am I right on this or am I reading something in that's not there (or reading over something that is)? 

Ultimately it's just getting started that I'm having the problem with (and Pete's idea of making a test scenario is a good one for sure - I did that for terrain types and basic movement so I'm guessing I can use that, which I will). Any clarifications to the above though will really speed things up for me. 

Thanks so much guys, I'm getting it ever so slowly, but it is sinking in :) .

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9 minutes ago, Canuck21 said:

Now you stated Ben, that you never let the game deploy the units, which I understand, but you also state that you always do a "hand setup in 3D View" but for AI Plan 2 onwards, you paint in the setup (yellow) zones. That leads me to believe that all Plans start from Plan 1's position then reposition automatically for subsequent plans.

I do let the game deploy, only if I have painted the AI Zone - just not within the color zone. That's the alternative to hand-placing the units - which does not need painting (if there is, that will be followed, rather than the AI painted ones).

Pete and I are on a similar track, once again!

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6 minutes ago, benpark said:

I do let the game deploy, only if I have painted the AI Zone - just not within the color zone. That's the alternative to hand-placing the units - which does not need painting (if there is, that will be followed, rather than the AI painted ones).

Pete and I are on a similar track, once again!

Ok, so am I right here in saying that you paint AI Setup Zones outside the Game Setup Zones you make when in Map Mode?

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10 minutes ago, Canuck21 said:

Ok, so am I right here in saying that you paint AI Setup Zones outside the Game Setup Zones you make when in Map Mode

The AI painted areas must be within the map setup zone. Check that you don't have a stray yellow AI placement painted outside the map zones. I believe that can drop AI orders.

If you want a non-setup zone AI setup, you should do hand-done placements. The engine respects those.

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I may see what you mean - Some units start heading for one zone or another once the Go button is pushed. That is due to the Setup Zone AI areas that are painted being split between two map setup zones, so when the AI gets it's first AI order, it needs to regroup itself (into the entire AI Group assigned) to move on to the next order.

Assign the Setup AI Plan to one zone or the other, and you should be good.

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Ahh, ok. That I never would have found on my own. I'll remake the setup and see how that goes. Thanks so much once again Ben! I'll let you know how it goes (or let you know which psychiatric institution they've sent me to, whichever comes first :D ). 

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Just now, Canuck21 said:

which psychiatric institution they've sent me to

We have a wing dedicated for that here, step right in.

The map setup zones are a good way to direct the player's attention, or misdirect it. The ones you have might be a bit revealing as is - don't be worried to overpaint those, as players could use them - or be lead to think the attacks are coming from elsewhere.

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Oh, and here I thought I was setting precedence :D . Ok, I do have a bit of a question though as I think I misread something first time around. You're saying to assign the Setup AI Plan to one zone or the other. So does that mean I paint one AI Setup Zone over the whole area I'm spawning orders from (not sure I'm wording that very well)? Right now I have about 9 AI setup Zones over 3 Map Setup Zones. There are 9 Groups of units, each assigned to their own AI Zone, but (for instance), a platoon assigned as A2 is not setting up in AI Setup Zone 1 and 2 (I think I have that right, but maybe not). Maybe for me the real question is, are the AI Setup Zones that are made in a Plan dedicated to the group under which the zone is being painted for, or do they span all groups? In other words, are specific AI Setup Zones dedicated for a specific group? Jeez, I hope that doesn't come across to you as confusing as it sounds to me 😳)!

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You can use all three coloured set up zones for the AI, but each AI group can only be in one zone. So A1,A4,A5 can be light blue for example, A2, A6, A7 in dark blue, and A3, A8 in green/blue, but you can't have A1 split across light blue and dark blue.

Does that make sense and answer the question - I'm not sure.

P

Edited by Pete Wenman
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My God, you understood what I was asking 😳! You need help worse than I do :D  !!! THAT is exactly what I was trying to solve. And, I'm pretty sure I do have 1 group spread across a couple of map zones. Ok, now I need to go in and do some editing. I'll do that and come back with the results or ask a couple more questions (is that the sound of a couple of people buying airline tickets to a deserted island I hear???). Thanks!!!!!

 

Yep, I have a group spread over at least 2 and sometimes 3 map zones in several instances. Ok, off to fix that and then we'll see what happens. Man, you guys are life savers. Can't wait until I get this down so I can start firing these things out to the (poor, unsuspecting) members :D .

Edited by Canuck21
Added in findings of AI Setup allocations
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Yep that should work. Coloured set up zones don't have to be contiguous. But as you only have 16 AI groups and 27 zones (3x 9) there will be an element of random placement for those groups that have more than one AI zone allocated to them.

This can be good, but it can be bad if you want a certain weapons system in a specific location. For key weapons a degree of control is often better so as to get the keyhole or LOS that is wanted.

P

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Also just to add - keep in mind the size of the AI group vs the size of the AI setup zone. Not sure what happens if you try to put an AI group comprising an entire tank company into a 1 Action Square AI setup zone, but whatever the result I suspect its not good.

P

edit

And the answer to my question is one tank jumps to the AI setup zone, the rest remain where they were put on map, but then move to the AI setup zone.

That could actually come in handy on occasion.

Edited by Pete Wenman
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