LSSpam
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Union AI totally broken

Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:14 pm

"Standard" settings, normal aggresiveness, +1 activation, 75% convoy box rule, latest patch, KY Scenario.

As mentioned Butler took a tour with the majority of the Union forces around Virginia. He made a decent attack on Richmond, unlocked Lee, then got forced down the pennisula towards Fort Monroe. I left a decent blocking force dug in to contain, destroyed 12k at Harpers Ferry, took Baltimore, took Washington, destroyed another 25k south of Washington.

Union never formed anything approaching any army in the West. Beat off a decent sized division at Louisville, holding Kentucky.

Union made a small play down the Missouri/Arkansas side of the Mississippi river, chased them all the way up to Cairo, took Cairo.


Chased me out of Springfield once and then basically ceded all of Missouri and St. Louis to me.


The only real "offensive" moves they made were substantial landings at New Bern and Norfolk. I put a blocking force at Suffolk and have 25k men isolated and out of supply at Goldsboro. Lee's going to detach significant parts of his army in Baltimore over the winter to "clean up his flanks", then i'll probably win by taking Phildelphia, if not then New York. There is no viable opposition left. Only reason I dont have all the Western States is I don't feel like creating the logistics train to occupy and hold that entire area.




First and only game as Confederates but it seems completely broken to me. No large armies, no offense whatsoever between the Mississippi and the Appalachians, a fixation on the flanks of Virginia which exposes them to being surrounded/marginalized and uncovers Washington. The Missouri theater wasn't bad actually, because I devoted significant resources there, but I was able to do so because I had zero pressure in the West.


Not sure how you fix it or who would even try, but surely I can't be the only one to have steamrolled the Union to this extent? Maybe i'll try the 1862 scenario.

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slimey.rock
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Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:55 pm

Turn up the settings or try pbem.

I got frustrated with the AI a long time ago. I don't think I'll ever look back.
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It's a Trap

Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:07 am

AI will NEVER compare to a human. I don't even play single player unless I testing a game mechanic or trying a new strat. If you truly want to enjoy this game play PBEM. I can't think of a single game on this scale that has a worthy (creative) AI. Most games just give the AI cheats like more materials, faster units, and combat bonuses to give make up for it.

It's a Trap

Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:15 am

deleted

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bigus
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:18 am

There are commands out there for a more aggressive or passive AI. I've included them in my modded scenarios (aggressive AI). I'm not sure if the're in the "official" scenarios just yet. Its not much but it's a start. These commands can be changed by events as well.

Edit: I have them in all my scenarios exept the 62 East. I have'nt got around to testing this one yet. (ARMA 2 is eating up all my gaming time ATM).

Schattensand
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:00 am

I too find it very easy now to play CSA side, with almost same experience as you, so never a serious landing to my coast took place.
So if you do even minor mistakes, on the tactical level the Ai may be able to perform some astonishing moves sometimes.
But stategically it has no plan.
If one plays PEBM one agrees to a certain time level or so right?
Isnt it then really stress sometimes? I could like the idea, but I need a lot of time for every turn.
Are there players who are same same, or has it all to go very fast?

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cptcav
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:21 am

Schattensand wrote:I too find it very easy now to play CSA side, with almost same experience as you, so never a serious landing to my coast took place.
So if you do even minor mistakes, on the tactical level the Ai may be able to perform some astonishing moves sometimes.
But stategically it has no plan.
If one plays PEBM one agrees to a certain time level or so right?
Isnt it then really stress sometimes? I could like the idea, but I need a lot of time for every turn.
Are there players who are same same, or has it all to go very fast?


It is best to discuss the turn expectations. Some players can spend several hours a day on the game; others, like me, can only spend about an hour or so, which means that I average one-to-two turns a day with my opponent. I am normally playing it for an hour before bed. I then email the turn and my opponent works on his turn during the day.

Regards,
CptCav
Born Texan, Texan till I die!

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MrT
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:20 am

what about Fog of war.. i found that the AL is greatly improved with FOW bonuses...

Also to say its totally broke seems a bit disrespectful to me... its someones hard work and for an AL it does a damn good job of playing the game.

mjw
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:33 pm

I have the exact same issue with my game. Just slammed a huge union force that had not even been organized into corps and an army for some reason. BUT, in the end, its AI and when it is forced to be on offense it doesn't fair as well as when it plays defense. Also, even with activation bonus, early union generals suck...so there is little activation. Maybe raise the activation bonus and AI aggressivness.

This is my second game and after this, it on to PBEM. Such a great game shouldn't be wasted on a computer opponent.

vonRocko
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:24 pm

Here we go with the "play pbem" as an excuse for the AI. I want to play when I have the time,not on someone elses schedule. I would like to get more than one or two turns in when I play.What happens when your opponent isn't around? Do you just not play? or do you turn to a game with AI? I know an AI will never match a live person,but all the polls show the majority of people play solo against the AI. So like it or not,the AI is the most important issue in these type of games.Stop saying "just play pbem" when there are AI problems,that is a cop out. Or tell me,before I purchase,that the game is only good with pbem.


Just to clarify-I love AACW, it is the best civil war game around.

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Pocus
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:46 pm

The game is definitively not only for PBEM. We never said that the AI will be secondary for us, and more often than not we improve it from patch to patch. It is just that making a good AI is extremely difficult, and that the profile of the AACW community is very different from the WIA community. We have provided a few tools (and are willing to make more if someone would use them) which give very good results in improving the AI. Some modders for WIA made a truely astonishing job with it (Lodilefty, WIA coordinator coming first in my mind). For AACW, none have the time or interest in tweaking the behavior of the AI for the Grand Campaign, although some made quite some interesting improvements in AI for their own scenarios (thinking of Bigus and Clovis here, but some others exists).

We will still continue to improve the core (generic) AI, but for particular scenarios and campaigns, we need the help of modders. In all honesty. :neener:

Again, when I see what the AI can do in WIA, I see much potential. For AACW, these tweaks are still nearly non existents. Gray_Lensman (the AACW coordinator) can not do everything by himself, he is already doing quite much.
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Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

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Mickey3D
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:08 pm

Pocus wrote:We will still continue to improve the core (generic) AI, but for particular scenarios and campaigns, we need the help of modders.


@Pocus :

AACW would be a real challenge for AI students. Have you ever considered the possibility to open the game engine in such a way that generic (= Ageod) AI could be replaced by a module developped by third party (= enthusiastic and crazy developper :wacko :) ?

A less intrusive solution would be to have an extensive discription of the .trn and .ord files structure so that it would be possible to develop a program that reads the .trn file and generates the .ord file in return.

Edit : the second solution would also require to know how regions are linked (what are the neighboring regions and is there a road or a railroad). I don't know where this information is stored in AACW ?

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Gray_Lensman
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:23 pm

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Mickey3D
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:44 pm

Gray_Lensman wrote:Asking for additional game engine changes/rework to accomodate other forms of AI coding is the same as having Pocus perpetually work on the AACW.exe game engine itself which is quite demanding on his time while they are attempting to work on new games.


This was just a wish for a possible AACW[color="DarkOrchid"]2[/color] version. I understand very well that such a change in the game engine is not possible on existing game.

LSSpam
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:25 pm

MrT wrote:what about Fog of war.. i found that the AL is greatly improved with FOW bonuses...

Also to say its totally broke seems a bit disrespectful to me... its someones hard work and for an AL it does a damn good job of playing the game.


It's not performing at a base competency level for the Union. In my experience with these games (particularly Paradox games), generally speaking developers focus on perfecting game mechanics and rely on modders to work on scenario balance for multi-player and AI performance for solo play.

This seems like a fair allocation of man-hours since "game mechanics" are not easily moddable (though it appears the AACW has done a remarkable job with continued ageod support) while AI and Scenario are more easily modified.

Pocus' post bears me out.

Just in case there's confusion, let me reiterate, this game is wonderful. Easily the best ACW grand strategy game available. This is why I'm hoping for a better AI. Not because it's a bad game, precisely the opposite. I have no intentions of being disrespectful to the company that produced it.

LSSpam
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:32 pm

Mickey3D wrote:AACW would be a real challenge for AI students.


To achieve what I would call "basic competency" seems, superficially, to be pretty basic.

The Union AI needs an appropriate fixation on the Richmond/Washington axis, particularly a mania for keeping Washington defended.

Greater focus on reinforcing the West, particularly early on so that it can effectively blitz Kentucky/central Tennessee

I guess i'll take this to the mod forum and try my hand at it, but I don't think there is anything that should preclude the Union from avoiding the egregious errors it now commits (not putting significant forces in the West and an apparent lack of concern for Washington DC).

LSSpam
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:35 pm

mjw wrote:so there is little activation. Maybe raise the activation bonus and AI aggressivness.
.

One last note

I really don't think that's the answer. Part of the current problem right now is generals like Banks and Butler running around deep into Virginia without any supply lines or real concern for Washington. Making them run even more "wild" doesn't seem like a good idea.

The core problems, as I see it, again, are
1) Lack of appropriate focus on the Richmond/Washington access (and appropriate cover for Washington)

2) Lack of resources devoted to the West, especially in time to blitz Kentucky/central Tennessee as historically occurred.


Granted, as soon as you fixed those problems more might and probably will pop up, but that would at least get us to mid/late 1862.

mjw
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:57 pm

LSSpam wrote:One last note

I really don't think that's the answer. Part of the current problem right now is generals like Banks and Butler running around deep into Virginia without any supply lines or real concern for Washington. Making them run even more "wild" doesn't seem like a good idea.

The core problems, as I see it, again, are
1) Lack of appropriate focus on the Richmond/Washington access (and appropriate cover for Washington)

2) Lack of resources devoted to the West, especially in time to blitz Kentucky/central Tennessee as historically occurred.


Granted, as soon as you fixed those problems more might and probably will pop up, but that would at least get us to mid/late 1862.


Yes, I see your point. I had the whole union "army" try to flank through the valley in the east. They were beat and found themselves in western maryland in winter with no supplies...lost a ton of units. Meanwhile, no activity out west. Its only jan 63 though so there is time. I do think though that the AI is much better as the confederacy. I suppose this is because it can just react and need worry less about supply? My mistake was giving the ai same fow as me and realistic attrition...maybe too much.

Vonrocko, I wasn't saying that the game is only good as a pbem, just that, once you understand the rules and mechanics, there is no game where the ai is that good. At least, none I have found. This game is no different especially considering how complex it is.

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W.Barksdale
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:15 pm

The game is only good as PBEM. Anyone with half a brain for strategic moves will take out athena by 1862. IMHO!!@!
"Tell General Lee that if he wants a bridge of dead Yankees I can furnish him with one."
-General William Barksdale at Fredericksburg

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arsan
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:28 pm

W.Barksdale wrote:The game is only good as PBEM. Anyone with half a brain for strategic moves will take out athena by 1862. IMHO!!@!


Well, thanks for your "kind words". :non:
As i've been happily playing the game only against the AI since release i guess i should have less that half a brain...
Its a shame such "bright strategic" mind as yours don't have some neurones left to spend on politeness :(

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W.Barksdale
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:35 pm

arsan wrote:Well, thanks for your "kind words". :non:
As i've been happily playing the game only against the AI since release i guess i should have less that half a brain...
Its a shame such "bright strategic" mind as yours don't have some neurones left to spend on politeness :(


Hey man just my opinion. Don't take offense this was not my intention. After all it is just a game.

Anyway, let's be clear...I said half a brain for strategic moves...not half a brain in general...feel better?

Sorry bud if your offended...but the AI does not think strategically sorry :cool: Again IN MY OPINION

Not enough neuron's? If anyone is being offensive it's you bud... :thumbsup:
"Tell General Lee that if he wants a bridge of dead Yankees I can furnish him with one."

-General William Barksdale at Fredericksburg


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arsan
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:59 pm

Everybody can have his opinions, but it would be nice if you expressed yours in an educated form, not insulting the people who enjoy playing against the AI. No matter if they win in 1862 or 1864 or if they lose :cool:

AACW can be enjoined in different ways... i do it letting the AI some breathing space and time and don't abusing her shortcomings so she can work as decent sparring that lets you to replay the ACW.

Honestly, i have never won in 1862 because i have never tried it. Why should i?? :confused:
I don't give a shit about wining or losing. :bonk:
Its just a game and I just wanna play and enjoy an little ACW inmerison.
Because of this i don't play PBEM, but enjoy playing against the AI despite her limitations.
Does it make me second class player?? a half brainer??
Arrg! The arrogance of some PBEM players sometimes get on my nerves! :grr:

Regards
PS: of course, all this is also just MY OPINION :)

tagwyn
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:09 pm

HOI3 for me! :p apy:

tagwyn
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:20 pm

Arsan: I agree with you. t

MFogal
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:23 pm

I remember the days when I used to play Avalon Hill wargames in a friend's basement. We'd spread the map out over a ping-pong table, and the first day was spent organizing all the little carboard chits.

We couldn't play at my house because the cat would walk across the game and screw everything up. :D

The AACW is like that, only better: you can spend much more time actually playing the game, and there's no way in the old days that we could have dealt with (for instance) the supply functions that are in this most excellent game.

Now compare such a complicated game to chess, which is relatively simple: 64 "regions", seven different types of pieces, and usually the game is over in 40 moves. No supply lines. no simultaneous moves, no randomization (no dice-rolling, which complicates modeling a strategy), etc. And yet it took until the mid-80s for anyone to program a chess game that would give a moderately decent player any challenge.

Moreover, the way chess was ultimately programmed was to give the computer unlimited access to opening libraries, and virtually unlimited ability to calculate moves. Why was all that necessary? Because computers do not have instincts.

It is simply not realistic to expect POCUS, Grey, or anyone else to program the AI in such a way that it will be able to out-think a moderately decent human AACW player.

That said, I like playing against the AI. I can "waste" -- my wife's words, not mine ;) -- 8 hours on a weekend, and then put the game down for a couple weeks. I enjoy the fact that I win more often than not, but I can always bump up the difficulty level if I want it to be harder.

(Barksdale: have you ever played the CSA with the AI difficulty level on "hard?" -- How do you win, when you can't afford any troops? I end up having to use all my war supply to afford replacements.)

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W.Barksdale
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:27 pm

Arsan, If your style is to give only 50 or 60% of your effort to things thats fine...I just can't do that sorry even for a game. :cool:

MFogal, I did an AAR called "Bluebelly Rundown" or something like that. Check it out. Unforunately I think the pics may have disappeared when servers were switched. here it is!

Pics are still up! When a player (even an AI) lets you put an army between them and the place they are supposed to be defending it is quite hard not to win. :p apy: This is the "strategic thinking" I'm talking about.
"Tell General Lee that if he wants a bridge of dead Yankees I can furnish him with one."

-General William Barksdale at Fredericksburg

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arsan
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:46 pm

W.Barksdale wrote:Arsan, If your style is to give only 50 or 60% of your effort to things thats fine...I just can't do that sorry even for a game. :cool:
[/URL]


If giving 100% of my effort has the outcome of ruining the game for me, yes certainly it is. I don't like to sabotage my own fun. ;)
And having fun is for what i play PC games for. Not to demonstrate my worthiness to myself or the others.
It's evident we have different ways of enjoying the game... :)

gekkoguy82
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Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:19 am

I for one enjoy playing the ai, because obviously I can do it whenever I want, and all things considered I really think athena puts up a pretty dang good fight, at least for me. I haven't had an occasion where I've steamrolled her in the first couple years. But maybe that's just me being boneheaded, which is not nearly as stressful when I'm just playing her :) Then I'm the only one who knows what a dumb thing I did, and she'll always come back no matter how much I stink at it! :love:

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Colonel Dreux
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Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:06 am

LSSpam wrote:One last note

I really don't think that's the answer. Part of the current problem right now is generals like Banks and Butler running around deep into Virginia without any supply lines or real concern for Washington. Making them run even more "wild" doesn't seem like a good idea.

The core problems, as I see it, again, are
1) Lack of appropriate focus on the Richmond/Washington access (and appropriate cover for Washington)

2) Lack of resources devoted to the West, especially in time to blitz Kentucky/central Tennessee as historically occurred.


Granted, as soon as you fixed those problems more might and probably will pop up, but that would at least get us to mid/late 1862.


I like how the AI plays in the eastern theatre and the Far West. There are historical like plays the AI does make. I'm in total agreement with you on Kentucky and Tennessee, however. The Union AI should be running roughshod over the CSA forces in the area, but they don't ever do it.

I'd also like to see more consolidation in the east. One big army or two, with smaller forces holding ground or making moves along the coasts and in the hinterlands. This more or less happens, but normally they don't have a 100k army bearing down on Richmond which would be difficult to contend with I think as the CSA.

They should also fortify Washington and Cairo, which they never do in the grand campaigns (not that I've seen).
Oh my God, lay me down!

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