Post news RSS LOUD AI - Nov 2017 - Notes from Sprouto

An update on the development of the LOUD AI Project for Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance

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November 2017

Yes - it's been a while since I wrote any notes for public consumption. The last two months, and then some, has been consumed by a very vexing situation. Crash bugs. It became clear around August that something was amiss. We were getting a number of difficult to reproduce crashes and stalls and it has taken this long to dissect the issue. Long story short - I had (by my own hand), introduced several rare circumstances where things went sideways. It became clear that a complete review was required and thats exactly what I've been doing since then.

The process of a re-write (since this is what it became) is one of self-examination, and is often the case, we discover our own ego is at the root of things. True in this case, and I suppose I can be partly forgiven, since I work alone, but as my dearest friend Max will say, hubris.

At present, some advanced features have been disabled - the AI for now will no longer use carriers, Czar, Atlantis and Fatboy to produce units. These features will require a complete review before they get turned back on.

Quite a few minor issues with the AI have been resolved - and we've got more to do, but in this update the focus is upon the navy.

There are several things going on, as mentioned in last update, the PRIMARY NAVAL BASE concept has been implemented. In combination with the new NAVAL DP, the AI can now move his naval focus across the map with a series of staging positions. All the supporting functions are now aware, allowing naval platoons on RTB to return to the nearest naval position, and air units to not only repair and refuel, but stage air operations as well. Furthermore, and this is still being looked at, the AI can use these forward naval bases to stage Amphibious operations ! It will be necessary to review naval maps in general, since up until now, the Naval Defensive Point marker, and the Naval Link marker, have been little used. While I haven't implemented the Naval Link yet, it will take on an important role in helping the AI perform specific bombardment missions against land positions.

All of this excitement has forced me to revisit the reinforcement behaviors. Since we now have alternatives to the primary Land Attack base, we can direct certain air assets (Gunships and ASFs) to either PRIMARY base. Likewise, by making the AI aware of the difference between Land and Amphibious reinforcement, we can direct the Amphibious platoons to either PRIMARY base. Most importantly, this change will allow the AI to concentrate his naval assets from multiple places, and form larger, more dangerous flotillas, more quickly than ever before.

Some new naval formations have been implemented. These are more efficient formations, especially for movement, and they reduce bumping a great deal. It does spark the notion that we can accomplish similar things for combination EXPERIMENTAL/land unit platoons. It should be possible to form the experimentals into one formation, and the standard land units into another - and then have the two formations in the same position with minimal conflict (similar to the way submarines behave in a naval formation). We'll see.

The newest Nuke AI is in place, and seems to be quite an improvement - as he is definately using multiple missiles (when available) to overcome defended targets. It has been spectacular in some instances, and it's nice to see the AI reminding the human players that nukes are a part of the game that has to be planned for.

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