Post news RSS AI rework

I decided to postpone the Assault Squad conversion and rework the AI before that. I will fix the AI difficulty problem and spamming issue, and try to add a further modification to the game adding an upkeep system, so that a player with a small army will actually have a chance to revert the game.

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The current AI system is not very scalable as for the game difficulty, and it simply spams units according to its tech level and map points owned. In particular many players have experienced the following issues:

  • The AI spams a lot of units in late game, even if it owns less than 50% of points.
  • The difficulty is not very scalable: easy difficulty might be actually hard for some players.
  • When you are losing you don't stand a chance to revert the game.

The issues are caused by the following problems:

  • The current AI does not buy units as you do, but it spawns units according to a value called "threat level" and some basic heuristics (AT guns vs tanks for example). The more points the AI owns, the higher is the threat level (of course it is increased according to the point resources) and the faster the AI spawns units. This means that if it unlocks powerful units in late game the AI will be able to spawn a consisten number of units (actually elite infantry, tanks and support are not used by the AI if its threat level is below a certain threshold).
  • The difficulty level modifies only the time period between one spawn and the other.
  • The third issue is not related to the AI itself, but to the fact there is no penalty in owning a large army.

I will implement the following solutions to solve these problems:

  • The new AI will simulate a "buying enviroment" for units just as the one human players use. It will also buy units according to more intelligent heuristics (for example if the player has a lot of tanks it will deploy a lot of AT guns but only if it does not have enough).
  • I will add more difficulty levels (beginner, easy, normal, hard, insane) to make the AI more scalable. Besides the AI will not be able to use support and will have a resource handicap at easier levels.
  • I will implement an upkeep system so that an army will have a penalty for owning too many units: each infantry unit (except gun and vehicle crew) will cost 1 upkeep point, vehicle and cannons 3 upkeep points, and tanks and assault guns 5 upkeep points. The upkeep will be managed as follows: below 50 upkeep points you will have no penalty, between 50 and 80 you will have a 25% penalty on the command points income, between 80 and 100 a 50% penalty, more than 100 a 75% penalty.

I hope that, with these changes, the game will be more enjoyable for everyone. I don't know how much time it will take me to implement all this stuff so I can't tell you a release date.

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