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Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 15:17:36


{rp} General Mac 
Level 53
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I have set up a game scenario which i have been testing and has been received really well. its called "Zombie Survival"

please see game link

[Link text](http://warlight.net/MultiPlayer.aspx?GameID=2379084)

it would work perfectly buuuuuut !!!!

at the end of the game the Zombies ( AI ) wont take down the Blockades

take particular notice in autrailia towards the end.

soooo annoying!! Dumb Zombies !!!

any suggestions on how to make this game style work better?
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 15:18:36


{rp} General Mac 
Level 53
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im going to try less blockades hopefully that will help
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 15:26:28


Muppet
Level 12
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I actually enjoyed that game you had set up. I've been trying to set up a balanced 3v1 myself and am having a difficult time testing it because sometimes the AI absolutely refuses to take any bonuses.
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 15:29:10


{rp} General Mac 
Level 53
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im always happy to help you test something like that if you can find 2 others
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 16:18:16


[REGL] Pooh 
Level 60
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Wierd in Australia at the end... wonder why it needed to see 'Fresh Brains" to reinitiate its attack. There were 1 bonuses there!

Maybe another way to start it is to give the AI all of Europe from the very start, so it doesn't have to think about getting the first big bonus.

maybe dial down the abandon cards to 10x?

Also, Please invite next time you create one!
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 16:37:45

Grzechooo 
Level 30
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Regardless of AIs, this template is great.
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 16:50:38

Fizzer 
Level 58

Warzone Creator
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That does seem strange.. I'm going to look into this.
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 17:02:24


{rp} General Mac 
Level 53
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Thanks Fizzer much apreiciated, i know you have a million other things to do but, it would be great if you could fix it easily :)
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 17:02:41

RvW 
Level 46
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This seems to be the same bug I posted two weeks ago: [Possible bugs in AI attack logic](http://warlight.net/Forum/Thread.aspx?ThreadID=3143). Note the second paragraph:
|> Okay, that leaves the starting positions in Greenland and Europe. Originally they were there to show it doesn't matter whether a huge amount of armies is surrounded by enemy single armies or neutral single armies. Turns out it does matter... I have no idea why they're just sitting there, but (if you watch the game a little longer) you'll see they just wait and do nothing, until an enemy AI captures a territory bordering on their starting location, then they counter-attack it.

For some reason, there seem to be circumstances in which the AI refuses to attack neutrals; as soon as they border on a non-neutral they start their all-out attack again.

The custom scenario I made for demonstration can be found [here](http://warlight.net/SinglePlayer.aspx?TemplateID=162511). (Note, it has zero base-income, so if the stall happens before any of the AIs complete a bonus, it lasts forever.)
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 17:03:02


{rp} General Mac 
Level 53
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@Grechooo thanks. once i get it balanced and the AIs are working a little better i have plans for a tournament with these settings on many different maps. not normal tourney but ill keep you posted :)
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 18:02:17


Rainbow Dash (Kurtis)
Level 10
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If you change the ai programing would that not change levels 1,2,3 europe, challege and insane?
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 18:14:13

The Duke of Ben 
Level 55
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He's looking to fix a particular problem with the AI locking up and not attacking blockades and other neutrals, even when it has the numbers to do it. If you look at the linked game, you can see the AI with 2500 troops next to a blockade of 200 and still not attacking (also never moving those troops forward).

I don't think this kind of change to the AI will affect any of the single player games.
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 18:36:20

[REGL]Nighthawk30
Level 7
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Hey mac, forgot to tell you how much i enjoyed the Survival map, and if you do make a tournament with this, PLEASE INVITE ME!

Now as for the AI not attacking the barricades, my only thought is that the AI prefers the open routes, and attacking people that it knows it can reach. Thats the only reason I survived and was the 2nd to last person standing, was because the AI knew there were easier targets to attack, and so it preferred to go after them instead of going through the barricades. My best guess at least
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 18:40:02

[REGL]Nighthawk30
Level 7
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Edit to the post above: Since i am an idiot, and didnt bother to look at the link until AFTER my post, that was a completely different game XD

Heres the link to the game I was in, and where i got my theory from (although i think it applies to that game as well) http://warlight.net/MultiPlayer.aspx?GameID=2376748
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 18:42:27

duffer
Level 2
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This single player template I just created often ends up with a few AIs stalled and not seeing each other, thus unable to finish the game. It has only AI players and no fog, so it plays automatically & you can watch.

[Single player template for AI stalling](http://warlight.net/SinglePlayer.aspx?TemplateID=165670)

I hope it is possible to share one's single player templates like this.

In case it is not, here is a short description of the key settings and what I see when I let it play. It has only one starting point for each AI to make them less likely to meet each other quickly, and a lot of random wastelands with 100 armies each. The AIs usually expand a little early in the game, then stop unless they see another AI whchi they will fight until only one AI is left per each connected group of AIs. Stopping seems to be related to seeing one large wasteland, but they don't always seem to build next to it, but also keep huge armies next to neutral 2's they could simply take with a lot fewer armies.

I'll remove this template in a week or so, so please look at it soon. I discovered that this happens when playing a practice game with random wastelands on this map (Europa Barbarorum) a while ago. It wasn't much of a game, since the AIs never completed a single bonus, except for one. I don't think it is specific behaviour to this map, but I used it in the template just to make sure it happens with these settings too. After watching a few games, I can confirm that they do get stuck quite often.
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 21:10:47


Wenyun 
Level 59
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*If you change the ai programing would that not change levels 1,2,3 europe, challege and insane?*

Obviously, this change to the AI wouldn't affect Europe since there's no neutrals. It most likely wouldn't affect Levels 1-3 and Crazy since there are only 2 army neutrals. It is possible to get a high neutral in the Insane Challenge via Abandon, so there is a possibility that the AI may be affected there.

Overall, I don't think this would require a wipe of Single Player scores.
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 22:14:25


Perrin3088 
Level 44
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I have complained about this issue before, ages past, but never provided an adequate example... mind, this was before templates, or my alt, existed..
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/12/2012 23:59:33

Fizzer 
Level 58

Warzone Creator
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I took a look into what the AI was thinking in that long period where it didn't move.

The AI looks at the bonuses available and basically decides that none of them are worth taking. I'd say this part is working correctly for most bonuses, with the exception of East Russia which is a +6 bonus blockaded only by 36, and Australia which has 12 enemy armies and an income of 4.

The AI currently uses (bonus value) * 3 - (armies we'd have to kill to take the bonus). If this comes out negative, it won't deem the bonus worthy in some cases.

One part of the issue is that the AI doesn't border any enemies. So when it comes time to deploy, it doesn't have any choice except to deploy next to a neutral. But the bonus-taking routine doesn't take into account armies it already has on hand. It just determines the bonus is a bad ROI and that its armies can probably be better used elsewhere.

Another part of the issue is that the AI doesn't have the concept of traveling to get to an enemy. It only looks at things adjacent to itself. This is why when New Zealand gets taken it reacts - it now has a target that's more tasty than the undesirable bonuses.

The real underlying issue is that this AI was designed for the built-in single-player levels. Outside of these settings, there are lots of situations you can put it into where it behaves very poorly - for example, it doesn't take advantage of multi-attack or most cards. This situation is just another one of those.

Eventually I'm sure WarLight will get a new AI that can be designed to handle more cases. However, this one won't be tweaked since it would invalidate the scores of existing single-player levels. Once we have a new one entirely, hopefully the game can be modified so that players have a choice of which AI to use, that way the existing levels can be retained as-is.
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/13/2012 02:14:36

RvW 
Level 46
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(I have a hunch what your answer will be, but there's no harm in trying...)

1) As Bakapon explained, if this can be solved with a minor tweak (something specifically aimed at solving this particular weakness, so it won't activate, *and therefore essentially NOT change the AI* unless this cornercase happens), then it isn't necessary to reset single player scores, since this situation can't happen in some of the single player levels and is incredibly unlikely to occur in the others.

2) Such a tweak could be a simple post-processing step: after the AI runs, look how many move/transfer orders it has issued. If none, then attack the least-unworthy bonus (the one where that evaluation function returns the value closest to zero).
Other options could be to attack "something" with the biggest available stack, or performing the attack with the best attackers-per-defenders ratio.
Either way, to prevent a stalemate it should suffice to give *an* order; maybe the AI will move slowly for a turn or two, but that's much, much better than it stalling completely.

---

Another idea:
Wouldn't it be relatively easy to allow for multiple classes of AIs, both in the code and in the user interface? You could have "AI" and "AI (experimental)". The experimental one would obviously be based on the normal AI, with just some tweaks (I don't even want to know how long a rewrite-from-scratch would take... :s ).
If it's not allowed in ranked games, it doesn't hurt anything, but it would allow for incremental changes. And by marking it "experimental" people know it might weird-out and be unpredictable (for instance when it gets updated mid-game: version 1 plays one turn, version 2 plays the next).

---

If this is just nowhere near the top of your priority list, please just say so and I'll drop the issue. The point is, in your post you explained why it isn't currently possible to update the AI, so I'd like to explain why I think it *is*. However, I can't read your mind, so there's a risk you're secretly thinking "Stop whining about the AI guys, I have other things to worry about" when you're typing a very polite, analytical reply...
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/13/2012 05:34:09

duffer
Level 2
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It would be interesting to have various AI personalities as options you could choose when making a multi-player game with AI seats. I'd suggest being able to pick each personality by random too, without knowing in advance which way the AI is going to behave in the game. This would only be workable when there are different versions of the AI that do play differently enough for it to be observable in practice (say when given different weights for how much they value expansion vs. attack vs. defense), so it's just a minor wish for the future.

Also, would it be anywhere near the realm of possibility for Fizzer or someone else to make a locally runnable and possibly reduced version of Warlight to which you could plug in your own AIs to play each other? This would let other people experiment with writing AI heuristics and you could even run tournaments between them to pick good candidates for future official AIs. This sound like the sort of thing people with programming experience would be interested in, and the off-line runnability would mean it wouldn't eat up resources on the server meant for human players :)
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/13/2012 07:46:05

RvW 
Level 46
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@duffer:
|> Also, would it be anywhere near the realm of possibility for Fizzer or someone else to make a locally runnable and possibly reduced version of Warlight to which you could plug in your own AIs to play each other?

Not only possible, it's already been done, see the blog post "[WarLight as a candidate to the Google AI Challenge](http://blog.warlight.net/index.php/2011/04/warlight-as-a-candidate-to-the-google-ai-challenge/)".

Just a small warning if you've never done any AI programming... I consider myself a pretty competent coder, but I'm not even going to attempt this; writing a decent AI is *incredibly* hard because there's *so* many corner cases to worry about. If you want to try, by all means, please go ahead, but be prepared for it to be quite a challenge...
Best of luck! :)
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/13/2012 09:22:38


{rp} General Mac 
Level 53
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Thanks for your input everyone

Not knowing anything about AI coding i did fear that it would be difficult to correct

However this below quoted by RvW does sound like a viable option

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2) Such a tweak could be a simple post-processing step: after the AI runs, look how many move/transfer orders it has issued. If none, then attack the least-unworthy bonus (the one where that evaluation function returns the value closest to zero).
Other options could be to attack "something" with the biggest available stack, or performing the attack with the best attackers-per-defenders ratio.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All this being said i would now like to show you even stranger AI movements regarding the blockades

I set back up the same game style but this time less blockades to see if I could avoid the stalemate
however around turn 17-20 we hit the dreaded AI stalemate However something very strange happens on turn 39.... The AI Decides to knock down pretty much all the Blockades in one turn. very strange

This is great but what made them decided to do that rather than stay behind them?

[Link text](http://warlight.net/MultiPlayer.aspx?GameID=2380358)
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/13/2012 09:23:38


{rp} General Mac 
Level 53
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oh im not sure why it made one section of my text bold...that was un intended :)
Why dont AIs like taking down Blockades !!!!! Grumble !!!!: 3/13/2012 10:11:37

duffer
Level 2
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@RvW: Thanks for the link.

I am not thinking of devoting a lot of time into making an AI myself (I know it is hard :-), but I'll at least try to get more people interested in the idea of making a Warlight AI and play with the tools a bit.

It would also be great to see Warlight in the Google AI challenge.
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