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AI Aggressiveness

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I've really only played a couple of scenarios, Another Hill and Gathering Before the Storm, but I've played them several times from both sides. I've also played around with the scenario designer, completely replacing both forces in Gathering, then playing it out. I've noticed something, but never got around to aking about it.

Is it just me, or does the AI insist on fighting with one hand tied behind its back? In Gathering, only about half of the AI forces even attempt to approch the central ridge, while virtually nothing is sent against the village. In my experimental scenario, half the Allied infantry (the ones in trucks) stayed on the trucks and the trucks retreated to the map edge and stayed there. In Hill, the Allied tank is almost always the only unit to advance into combat; the jeeps and infantry usually sit outside the valley having a smoke. Playing as the Americans, the German sniper is the only unit that gives me a lot of trouble.

Am I missing something?

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The AI should just send tank/infantry platoons/companies against objectives. It should have seperate routines for arty/HMG/support formations.

It seems that the individually controlled units, be they squads/tanks/etc, are on lone missions and there is no overall command or concern for fire support, HQ control, tactics, formations, intermediate goals, etc.

I think the AI is overdone and simpler 'drills' that control the platoons/companies actions would have made a better attacker.

In the attack, the AI should think in terms like: Probe, Firefight, Close-in, Assault, Retreat.

In a Company-Probe, the AI should select one platoon to be the 'meet-the-enemy' force. It splits one or two squads, they get run, move-to-contact/hide, advance, sneak type orders. The remaining platoon HQ and squad and platoon weapons of that platoon use slower moves and more bounding type way points to get to terrain that the half-squad 'probers' have uncovered. The other platoons either overwatch or slowly move up one squad at a time. The goal or drill is to meet the enemy and then engage it in a firefight. Once the enemy is met, then the company should be assigned a different type 'drill'.

Firefight would be a drill where the company tries to pin the enemy and move weapons/squads closer only for better shooting. Units in the open sneak to cover. Enemy un its targeting friendlies in the open or poor cover get targeted. If a FO was attached he would only move forward to get a spotting round on either a flag or a enemy position.

Close-in gets the infantry squads in a position where they can assault/advance to obtain flags and eliminate the enemy. Close-In only gets activated once the AI determines the firefight is being won. Sneak, move to contact, short advances and assaults are used. Smoke is set up and area fire put on likely points. Those troops without move orders and known targets get area fire orders.

Assault is the execution. Troops go for the longer assaults/advances. Arty is shifted.

Retreat would use withdraw, run, shoot smoke, etc. to break off an attack.

[ April 24, 2004, 04:24 PM: Message edited by: Mr. Tittles ]

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The AI justifiably sees driving trucks into combat as suicidal (aka, hummers in Iraq), so the only way you'll see a truck during an AI assault is to sneak up and ambush it yourself. Unfortunately, the AI's attitude towards trucks often leaves the truck's passengers high-and-dry.

As to getting the AI to attack in a coordinated manner, that's the job of the scenario designer. The designer's got to give the troops useable routes of advance and well placed victory flags to draw them in the direction you want. That's why quickBattles are such a hit-and-miss affair against the AI. Sometimes the random combination of terrain, placement, and objective fall in place to produce a fun little battle, sometimes they don't.

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It is possible to have a decent fight against the AI. It just depends on how cleverly reeinforcements points have been set up. The AI normally sends his troops in a wedge-like stream, sometimes in several (depending on the terrain) "groups". Spreading out the reeinforcement points relatively near to the player positions may help to cause an approach on a wider front and maybe more firefights.

When the AI is (or gets) in posession of victory locations, it will let stay some units in this immediate area to defend it. A little victory flag in front of the players main position (where are more VL´s), let´s say in no man´s land, should keep some of its infantry back to produce a firefight (covering fire). It also forces the player to launch a counterattack if he wants to clear his area.

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