Post news RSS LOUD AI - Jan 2018 - Notes from Sprouto

A January 2018 update on the development of the LOUD AI Project for Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance

Posted by on

December was a very positive month for the LOUD project. We've gotten lots of new data on how LOUD operates (and can be improved) in the late game - especially with regards to building and using experimentals, operating air platoons, and factional composition. We're beginning to develop some new 'factional' specific behaviors that will enhance not only the effectiveness of LOUD, but give him a 'flavor' that changes noticeably with his faction.

We've seen some new opportunities for implementing the 'personality' feature that was built into the original code, for something other than just a unique name. The idea of this is that the personality table will make minor tweaks to the AI's focus and aggression, so one day you might get the vicious AEON commander who is nuke happy, and then the next, get the timid one who is not as eager to attack, but prefers artillery. Anyhow, you can see the options that might be possible. Just dreaming for now.

Some corrections include an update to the AIx feature called 'spawn wave'. For those that aren't aware - AIx LOUD gets a very small periodic 'wave' of free air units. Don't be alarmed - it's very small (like 3 fighters, bombers, gunships, etc) - and only occurs about every 22 minutes of game time - and only after he's built his first T3 Air factory. The wave gets a little larger, and comes a little bit sooner, each time, and works ever so gently to 'nudge' the game along to an end. Of course, like many things about the AIx LOUD, the values are modified by this cheat level. The correction to this feature comes in the form of how LOUD was integrating those units into what he builds himself (unit specific behaviors - ie. self-preservation) and some optimizations. We've identified an issue that isn't resolved yet in how to suppress the spawn wave if unit restrictions prohibit those units.

Another correction is also the proper implementation of Naval Experimentals for LOUD. Since such units can only be built at the naval yard or DP, it's important that LOUD recognize the need to get a SubCommander out to those positions in a timely fashion. That was a bit problematic, but we are seeing it happen and it's really disturbing when LOUD smashes your navy with a few of those mixed in with his fleets.

Still refining the naval aspects, in particular, unit construction and platoon composition. The factional navies are quite a bit more diverse than their land counterparts, with some specific strengths and weaknesses that can only be addressed with unique platoon compositions. This primarily involves things like the UEF Shield Boat, the Cybran CounterIntel boat and the Aeon T1 Shard AA boat. New this month is unique compositions for the primary naval platoons (SeaAttack Small, Medium & Large) that should help LOUD deal with some of the specific 'holes' that each has in it's arsenal. I also have to deal with the overproduction or underproduction of certain units in order to keep LOUD actively busy with as much of his naval assets as possible, and faction specific compositions allow me to address those directly.

One important issue that I haven't addressed yet is the introduction of a new unit category -- 'BOMBARDMENT'. The idea behind this is to allow LOUD to identify which units are suitable for that role in the upcoming naval bombardment behavior. By adding this category to those units actually capable of doing this, LOUD can then build platoons specifically for the purpose of bombardment support. At the moment, the plan is that once LOUD has gotten a certain level of control over the water, he'll alter his construction priorities and begin more emphasis on the construction of these units, and then, of course, the formation of those platoons. Combined with the use of the NAVAL LINK map marker, this will allow LOUD to move into positions where these platoons can be most useful in assisting a ground campaign (you can see how such a platoon might force a resolution of a choke point map like Setons). Anyhow, much work to be done, both code and unit editing, to achieve this.

On the subject of unit editing, there has been a lot of that this month, in particular, flight mechanics for transports (sorry Dave, transports are not gunships) and air experimentals, naval unit acceleration and top speeds, some re-rigging of several multi-weapon experimentals (in particular UEF land experimentals), and a complete review of the quantity of torpedoes that are fired (reduced by half in most cases - but DPS is unchanged). It's always a work in progress, so if you notice anything truly strange creep in, but all means, speak up and let me know.

Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.