Omnius
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A Better Way to Betatest the AI

Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:26 pm

The feature I probably like the most about AGEOD games is our ability to turn off the AI so we can play solo hotseat easily. After a few games against the AI I end up turning it off so I can play solo hotseat for a better game even if I do tend to know what each side is doing and there's not as much of a surprise factor going on.

Back in the good old days of computer games the one feature I loved about those early games was the ability to turn the AI on to play both sides. After buying a game I'd install it and then set the AI to play both sides while I broke open the rule book and learned the game system. :happyrun:

When I got into scenario design and betatesting I found being able to turn on an AI to play both sides was extremely helpful in checking out how the AI worked for both sides. When doing scenario design for now defunct Talonsoft's Art of War by Norm Koger we were able to plot the AI movement path and having the program run the game playing both sides was invaluable in tweaking those movement paths to make both side's AI play better.

AGEOD would be smart to bring back this wonderful feature from the good old daze. This would be especially helpful for betatesting long scenarios like the Spanish Campaign which runs 295 turns. It's pretty impossible to betatest these long scenarios when patches come out regularly and there's no time for humans to play out the whole scenario for betatesting. Being able to turn on the AI for both sides would allow for betatesting AI's for both sides far more quickly and completely. Just imagine how useful this tool would be for the NCP2 campaign of the whole war. :p arty:

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Gray_Lensman
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Omnius
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AutoTurn Not Working

Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:28 pm

Gary Lensman,
Thanks for the tip on the AutoTurn feature but it does appear to not be working for the NCP 1.07rc3 beta patch file. I could invoke the command but when I closed the window it would only generate files for the side opposite what I was playing, same as the regular game. I even tried the AIFlush ON command but it didn't do anything either.

A real shame that game companies have gotten away from a feature that used to be standard in all computer wargames long ago. It sure would be nice if AGEOD would keep the AutoTurn feature functional in their official game release files, not just the early beta versions. Sometimes it's just fun to watch the show of seeing the game playing itself, especially when first getting into it. :p apy:

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Gray_Lensman
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Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:08 pm

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Pocus
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Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:07 am

There was always a problem with this feature... I must find time to fix it...
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Omnius
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Thanks for Attention!

Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:40 pm

Gary,
Thanks for the attention on my autoturn request. After closing the window the program started running all by itself so there was never any way to click on the Next Turn button. Still thanks for mentioning the feature and giving me a heads up on how it works.

Pocus,
I'd sure love to see the game play itself on autoturn, guess I'm getting lazy in my old age. :p apy: It used to be a standard feature in most games but then the industry seemed to abandon it. Sure would be nice if some enterprising game company brought an old feature back, you know something old becomes something new. I always used it when I first bought a new game and after installing the program I would set it to autoplay while I read the manual. Watching the game play itself would always get my gaming juices going so I wanted to play, and it was interesting to see how stuff worked.

One thing I wonder about is why no game company has caught on to using a screenvideo instead of just screenshots to advertise games. With our speedy DSL connections instead of modems now I wonder why no game company has thought to put up a section of screen dedicated to running a game on autoplay on their website. While screenshots are nice to look at and whet our appetites somewhat just imagine how riveting a screenvideo of the game actually playing itself would be. Featuring a game a day and having it set to autoplay a scenario, or a series of scenarios each day, would certainly catch people's eye and would certainly whet a gamer's appetite far more than static screenshots. :p ompom:

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Gray_Lensman
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Bohémond
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Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:50 pm

Hello,

There is a way to turn the AI on to play both sides.

See in NCP\Settings\system.opt, there is a line ;

aiAutoTurn = 0

Just change it in

aiAutoTurn = 1

AI will play both sides.


Regards

Bohémond

Omnius
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Tried Unsuccessfully

Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:04 pm

Bohemond,
I edited the system.opt file as you suggested but still couldn't get the AI to play both sides. I tried just clicking on Next Turn and by pulling up the little window with the "Alt ' " command suggested by Pocus and neither way gave me the AI playing both sides. Are you able to get the AI playing both sides and if so how exactly are you doing it? :bonk:

Omnius
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Grigsby Games Overrated

Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:10 pm

Gray_Lensman wrote:As a slightly OT comment... The new Gary Grigsby War in the East game just newly released last week does have the ability to play/watch the AI against itself (available to the player/gamers in the options.) :)


Gary,
Interesting that Grigsby's new East Front game (not new just another rehash of his old EF games) has the AI versus AI play mode. Looks like Gary is remembering to make what was old new again. One thing I've learned is to never buy Grigsby games because he never, ever finishes them properly. All he does is make new variations of his old themes expecting us to keep buying his broken games in false hopes that he actually did one right for once.

I sure hope that AGEOD will change it's tune regarding AI versus AI capability as it will give your games yet another new twist regarding playability. AGEOD does have that capability in it's early beta versions and it would be a nice added feature to make permanent. :p oke:

Omnius
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AutoTurn or aiAutoTurn?

Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:48 pm

Gary or Bohemond,
I'm wondering why in the system.opt file there is a setting for aiAutoTurn yet in the "Alt ' " box it's called AutoTurn. Shouldn't both commands be aiAutoTurn?

Also after I type in say "AutoTurn 3" after pulling up the window with the "Alt ' " command do I hit "Enter" so the command goes up with the other text and then click on the red X in the top right corner to close the window so the game processes? I get a bong when I hit the "Enter" key and wonder if that indicates I made a booboo. :(

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Bohémond
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Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:36 pm

Hello,

I don't know about autoturn feature via the game console.

I "play" always in FullDebug mode ( system options in MainMenu) maybe it's needed.

Before starting the game, I change the value in

aiAutoTurn = x

where x is the number of turn AI will play both sides.



Sorry if my explanations are not clear but English is not my native language.

Regards

Bohémond

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Pocus
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Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:25 am

For such 'debug' commands, the full debug mode must be on indeed.
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Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

Omnius
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Fly in the Ointment

Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:57 pm

Pocus and Bohemond,
Looks like we've found the fly in the ointment, I don't have that magical debug function. I looked at the options and the closest I see is error logging under System, which ofcourse I have checked off. I doubt that that is the debug function you're talking about. Oh well guess I'm stuck not getting to be lazy and watching the AI play itself. :p apy:

Bohemond - your English is just fine, especially for a second language. Much better than my very rusty German or Russian.

Pocus - maybe you should make that Full Debug option operational in the final offering - that would be a big boon for those who want to mod the game and for those old geezers like me who want to watch the AI versus AI show. :rolleyes:

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Gray_Lensman
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Gray_Lensman
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Omnius
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Eureka!

Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:41 pm

Gray,
Indeed I did have a very pleasant surprise as I clicked on the error logging and saw the full debug window. :coeurs: I tried the 1815 scenario and set the autoturn for 7 turns and it played through nicely. Then I saw that the French AI extended the game and set the autoturn for 4 more turns which it executed perfectly. That's what I get for being overly anal about wording, thought I was supposed to see a full debug option.

Oh just noticed I've been mispelling your first name but finally caught my dyslexic mistake. :bonk:

I sure hope that the "Alt ' " window stays in the final 1.07 official release!

Omnius
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How to Improve Autoturn

Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:19 pm

I really like the autoturn feature that allows us to be able to set the AI to play both sides. However I discovered that the input field for designating how many turns to set the autoturn to play is limited to one digit. I tried the 1812 scenario and set the autoturn to 30 turns but got only 3. When I set it to play 10 turns I got 1. I found that 9 turns is the maximum length of AI self play.

To make the autoturn feature truly useful, especially for modders, the input field should be 3 digits so someone could set the 1808 Spanish campaign to play all 295 turns at one time. Since AGEOD is being a good sport supporting modders I can think of no greater gift to the modder community than to expand the autoturn input field so that modders could betatest their work more easily. It would be great if modders could turn on the autoturn for 295 turns for the 1808 Spanish campaign before going to bed and when they wake up they could see the end result on turn 295. :wavey:

Considering the coming NCP2 game with the grand campaign expanding the autoturn input field would be invaluable. Plus AGEOD could easily convert their somewhat secret autoturn feature into another selling point feature. :p ompom:

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