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AI - fantastic!


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Last night i played CE as Germans. My tactic is to bring 2 StuGs in position on the Southend of the street leading to the north. I try with this maneuver to outflank the progressing Shermans. My StuGs are protected by the first Company of Volksgreandiers (6 platoons with full manpower).

As expected, the Shermans are approaching with the scattered trees to their right on the little hill right to the street, leading into the little village. Suddenly my Stugs beginn to outtake the first Sherman. He is knocked out and burning. Another Sherman is knocked out. And now it comes:

The third Sherman is targeted by my two Stugs. I think, he will step back to get cover by the scatterd trees, but, he is fast moving toward the burning Sherman - silly, isn´t he? But suddenly i notice, that he tries to get cover by the smoke of the wrack. And this really was succesfull, my StuGs lost LOS and the Sherman is sitting behind the burning wrack, shelling my infanterie in the forest at the north-west hill.

Hey, that´s really cool. Amazing AI. I´m really impressed.

My compliments to BTS.

BTW, my score in this battle was the best i ever had: German 92 to US 8. Only 36 casualties on German side (11 KIA), 186 casualties on US side (50 KIA).

In most cases i win against the AI, but it´s really funny to see, how "intelligent" the AI tries to plan his attacks - like a human being.

O.k., thats enough know - nothing new to you all, but, you know, sometimes there is a need to write about such battles.

Greetings from Germany

Jochen

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Guest aka PanzerLeader

Yeah, that AI is really quite an achievement compared to other wargames.

It just irks me to think that what you just described wouldn't have worked if the knocked out Sherman wasn't burning...The code makes all vehicles "ghosts" except if they are burning. I just hope it doesn't have a huge impact on the battles I'll be playing in the full game.

If something needs to be adressed first and foremost, then that is it.

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Guest Big Time Software

Thanks for the compliments!

We have already made the targeting choice "stick" more when stuff goes out of LOS. What happens now is that the unit will look for other targets, but as soon as the old one comes back into LOS, attention is refocused on it. This is the best solution as making it any more strict about keeping LOS would make the game frustrating to say the least. "Target Fixation" is just about the worst possible thing you can ever imagine happening on a regular basis. That is what CM was like before the TacAI was coded up, and I promise you it was a very bad thing wink.gif

Steve

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Stepping in here with a reality break. Is the AI better than what we usually see in a wargame? Yes. Is it "fantastic"? No.

In a game against the A/I, the first A/I controlled Ami units to probe my defences were mortars, MGs and HQ units. I mean up close and personal, and they were gunned down to a man. The infantry squads were nowhere to be seen. Not exactly brilliant.

CM is a definite improvement on what has gone before (at least that I've seen), but it will be years before any A/I can match a human opponent.

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When I die I want to go peacefully, like my grandfather, in his sleep -- not screaming, like the passengers in his car

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Guest Big Time Software

That problem with support units marching ahead of Squads has been greatly reduced, but it still happens upon occasion. I'd say the AI is "fansastic" compared to other wargames, but obviously not "fantastic" when compared to a decent human player. And although we can, and will, improve the AI it will most likely NEVER be "fantastic" vs. a decent human player. Best we can hope for is making sloppy and inexperienced play be punished, which means you have to cross your "Ts" and dot your "Is" or you will pay a high price.

Sigh... that is the reality of AI programming.

Steve

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Guest Big Time Software

Just another note... Combat Mission is the only wargame that I have ever played that I am forced to use realistic tactics to win. And therefore, even when I wipe out the AI I feel like I acomplished something. Contrast this with other wargames where I felt my victory didn't tax my tactical mind at all.

Steve

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>As expected, the Shermans are approaching with the scattered trees to their right<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Lets remember we have been playing chance encounter for 6 friggen months now! Every time the AI plays, it's the first time for it. Meanwhile we know his exact order of battle and starting positions.

It's really amazing how a handfull of scenarios are so replayable. The last time I beat the AI, I used a completely different tactic. I'm even looking forward to using the chance map with different units.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Big Time Software:

That problem with support units marching ahead of Squads has been greatly reduced, but it still happens upon occasion. I'd say the AI is "fansastic" compared to other wargames, but obviously not "fantastic" when compared to a decent human player. And although we can, and will, improve the AI it will most likely NEVER be "fantastic" vs. a decent human player. Best we can hope for is making sloppy and inexperienced play be punished, which means you have to cross your "Ts" and dot your "Is" or you will pay a high price.

Sigh... that is the reality of AI programming.

Steve<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

After just five scenarios it has been my observation that the greater advantage you give the A/I the more aggressive it becomes. I've seen it do stupid as well as suicidal attacks.

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Blessed be the Lord my strength who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight.

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Guest Big Time Software

This is correct. The problem with AI programming is that you can't write enough special cases to make it smart in each and every possible situation that might come up. All you can do is make a general "smartness" and hope that it applies itself well enough for most situations most times played through (remember there is randomness in what it does!). This means that the less conservative the AI is coded to be, the more potential problems it will create for itself in a greater number of circumstances.

As the old saying goes, the more you risk the more you potentially gain. The problem is that the AI isn't smart enough, on the whole, to take huge risks effectively. In CM's type of simulation aggressiveness=risk. The more a player is aggressive, the more it risks in terms of the ability to win and effectively deal the enemy casualties. So because it is not practically capable of effectively carrying out a highly aggressive strategy, the risk of failure of such a strategy is almost assured to happen.

The only real option is to make the AI play, on the whole, conservatively. Doing so makes it far less apt to make large mistakes in the average scenario on the average time it plays it. Of course this comes at the expense of certain "moves" that a human might decide is worth the risk. Again, practically speaking this is the best we can do for as far into the future as possible. Yes, we will improve the AI overall, but at best only incremental increases in aggressiveness will be added.

Steve

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Steve said the right thing - there is a much better feeling than in any other wargame, when you wipe out the AI.

There are still many surprises and individual situations, EVERY TIME i play CE. And this is only ONE Scenario. So, what will be with all the other scenarios included in CM? It is fantastic!!!!!

Thanks

Jochen

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I agree with Jochen,

The AI as it is now presents a suitable opponent and is far better IMHO than anything else out there. There are always surprises and these alone cause you to want to try it "just one more time." The replayability and flexibility of the full version CM is really something to look forward too.

Thanks again BTS for breaking new ground with CM and giving us all a game with literally endless challenges and excitment.

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When the situation is obscure....attack!

CGen. Heinz Guderian

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Last night, just for kicks, I played VOT as the Germans, giving the Allies an extra 50%. They didn't need it. I thought my placement of static defenses were very good, in an attempt to limit the amount of long-range fire I would take from his tanks. The initial two 105mm shermans started on my left flank, and promptly removed every fixed defense that opened up. Then, it was as if the computer said, "gee, there are pill boxes on my other flanks, and I have troops there". It promptly moved the two shermans over "Arty-Hill" and on to the other flank, where it pulverized all the pillboxes there. By now, reinforcements have arrived and some troops are moving in. At this point I have only faced the 6 tanks the AI starts with (without bonuses), a few squads, and no artillery. The only bonus I have seen was several extra HMG's, which is not a big deal at this point. I am quite literally toast, and the AI did it all intelligently and without any extra troops. Outstanding! (if not a little annoying frown.gif)

Jonathan

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The units AI is really great, and sometimes the complete AI (that is when it controls one side) has some good days, but mostly average.

One thing on tank wrecks. Most wrecks will give other tanks a good additional armor as with a good driver it can position itself in a way that most of his silouette is concealed but the gun & sights still got enough space to aim & shoot. So we all should be lucky that wrecks are rendered ghosts after disabled. Else it could be 50% harder to kill the second Sherman smile.gif

murx

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