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FLASHPOINT GERMANY: Is the "strategic" AI really this dumb..

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Anonymous
February 6, 2005 10:02:35 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

I like FPG, and the TacAI that manages the WEGO turn execution is top-
notch...

....but I'm finding that the AI which directs a side when you're playing
against the computer is bone-stupid. In fact, the StratAI in FPG just
did the single stupidest thing I have *ever* seen a programmed opponent
do in any wargame I've ever played:

It ran over its own minefields!

I set up the "A Few Good Tanks" scenario, with me taking the Warsaw Pact
side. I laid a little smoke and started to move my reconnaissance
elements across the river to scout out the US position.

All of a sudden, I start hearing the "killed AFV" sound effects, and see
explosion graphics out in no-man's land. WTF? My artillery isn't
shooting, and I can't see anyone. Then minefield graphics appear - the
minefields that NATO player deploys in the pregame setup phase. The AI
is attacking me and running into his own mines!

In 30 years of wargaming, and twenty years of PC wargaming, I have
*never* seen a player - human or otherwise - dumb enough to place his
own minefields in front of his position and then attack over them.

After several games against the AI, I'm finding that the AI just charges
directly at me, regardless of whether it makes sense to do so, or what
the victory conditions are. This seems like a huge flaw in an otherwise
capable system.


--
Giftzwerg
***
"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around
for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys
like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of
a lot of fun to shoot them."
- Lieutenant General James Mattis, USMC
February 6, 2005 11:19:23 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"Giftzwerg" <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1c707a1e34117cd198a17c@news-east.giganews.com...
>
> I like FPG, and the TacAI that manages the WEGO turn execution is top-
> notch...
>
> ...but I'm finding that the AI which directs a side when you're playing
> against the computer is bone-stupid.

What really scares me is this is the same developer who is programming
computer World in Flames. I hate to think what the strat AI will be in that
game . . . .
Anonymous
February 7, 2005 1:58:52 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Close Combat 3 had the same glitch. The Russian AI would plow through
its own minefields on the Kursk maps , losing much of its armor support
before ever making contact. Boom Boom Boom!!! Sneak a scout unit
to the top of a hill to investigate the source of mysterious
explosions,
and survey a scene of smokig soviet hulks after they had committed
hari-kari.
Anonymous
February 7, 2005 2:07:40 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg wrote:
> I like FPG, and the TacAI that manages the WEGO turn execution is
top-
> notch...
>
> ...but I'm finding that the AI which directs a side when you're
playing
> against the computer is bone-stupid. In fact, the StratAI in FPG
just
> did the single stupidest thing I have *ever* seen a programmed
opponent
> do in any wargame I've ever played:
>
> It ran over its own minefields!

... or an extreme example of fow and communication breakdown :)  - in
which case it's brilliant programming :) 

Seriously : this must be addressed - could you post it at the FPG forum
? - they might try to convince you to become a beta-tester since all
the others seem to have missed this one :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
February 7, 2005 9:17:54 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg,

> And I'm not sure who their beta-testers are, but this isn't some
subtle
> problem that afflicts one scenario or so - this appears to be a
> reproducible AI flaw; it just doesn't know when it should sit back,
> cover its minefields[2], and play defense.

Yeah, it's a pretty dumb thing for the AI to do. Unfortunately, we
first saw it doing this only after release and it's already been
addressed for the v1.01 update, which should be out within a week. Rob
is going to take a second look at how the AI evaluates when to defend
and when to attack in scenarios - he made it more aggressive based on
beta-test feedback, but it looks like that may have gone too far. I
think once it's tuned back you'll find the FPG AI isn't bad at all.

Regards,

- Erik
Anonymous
February 7, 2005 9:41:51 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <1107760060.096794.278580@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> > It ran over its own minefields!
>
> .. or an extreme example of fow and communication breakdown :)  - in
> which case it's brilliant programming :) 
>
> Seriously : this must be addressed - could you post it at the FPG forum
> ? - they might try to convince you to become a beta-tester since all
> the others seem to have missed this one :) 

I'm not sure the problem is so much "minefields" as it is that the AI
just *charges*, like some demented Lord Cardigan[1], regardless of what
the situation calls for.

In this "Few Good Tanks" scenario, the NATO player should be playing a
defensive game - not recklessly dashing towards the WP; I'm getting the
impression that the AI was built to command the WP forces, and no
appropriate provisions were made to prepare it to fight the sort of
mobile, defensive action NATO should undertake.

And I'm not sure who their beta-testers are, but this isn't some subtle
problem that afflicts one scenario or so - this appears to be a
reproducible AI flaw; it just doesn't know when it should sit back,
cover its minefields[2], and play defense.

[1] Yes, I know it wasn't really his fault...

[2] You know, instead of charging *into* them.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around
for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys
like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of
a lot of fun to shoot them."
- Lieutenant General James Mattis, USMC
Anonymous
February 7, 2005 12:39:45 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <1107785874.598725.240140@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
erikr@matrixgames.com says...

> > And I'm not sure who their beta-testers are, but this isn't some
> subtle
> > problem that afflicts one scenario or so - this appears to be a
> > reproducible AI flaw; it just doesn't know when it should sit back,
> > cover its minefields[2], and play defense.
>
> Yeah, it's a pretty dumb thing for the AI to do. Unfortunately, we
> first saw it doing this only after release and it's already been
> addressed for the v1.01 update, which should be out within a week. Rob
> is going to take a second look at how the AI evaluates when to defend
> and when to attack in scenarios - he made it more aggressive based on
> beta-test feedback, but it looks like that may have gone too far. I
> think once it's tuned back you'll find the FPG AI isn't bad at all.

That's good to know. The current situation pretty much cripples the AI,
once a player realizes that it's going to "come to him" regardless of
the tactical picture. I've fired up a half-dozen scenarios now that
call for the AI to defend (or at least hang back and probe...) and, sure
enough, it just comes barrelling right at me.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"This really is the future I wanted. Although I expected
longer battery life."
- James Lileks
Anonymous
February 7, 2005 10:17:58 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

I've played all the Brit scenarios and concur, the AI just steamrollers
towards you. I have even had individual HQ units try to steam roller into my
lines, which is fine by me! The worst thing about the game for me (which
isn't really the games fault) is continually getting major victories with
the Brits, only to have the next scenario in the series tell me that in
actual fact (for story purposes) we had lost! It would be nice if a sequence
of battles could be linked in such away that the previous results have some
outcome on the next.

RobP

"Giftzwerg" <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1c707a1e34117cd198a17c@news-east.giganews.com...
>
> I like FPG, and the TacAI that manages the WEGO turn execution is top-
> notch...
>
> ...but I'm finding that the AI which directs a side when you're playing
> against the computer is bone-stupid. In fact, the StratAI in FPG just
> did the single stupidest thing I have *ever* seen a programmed opponent
> do in any wargame I've ever played:
>
> It ran over its own minefields!
>
> I set up the "A Few Good Tanks" scenario, with me taking the Warsaw Pact
> side. I laid a little smoke and started to move my reconnaissance
> elements across the river to scout out the US position.
>
> All of a sudden, I start hearing the "killed AFV" sound effects, and see
> explosion graphics out in no-man's land. WTF? My artillery isn't
> shooting, and I can't see anyone. Then minefield graphics appear - the
> minefields that NATO player deploys in the pregame setup phase. The AI
> is attacking me and running into his own mines!
>
> In 30 years of wargaming, and twenty years of PC wargaming, I have
> *never* seen a player - human or otherwise - dumb enough to place his
> own minefields in front of his position and then attack over them.
>
> After several games against the AI, I'm finding that the AI just charges
> directly at me, regardless of whether it makes sense to do so, or what
> the victory conditions are. This seems like a huge flaw in an otherwise
> capable system.
>
>
> --
> Giftzwerg
> ***
> "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around
> for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys
> like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of
> a lot of fun to shoot them."
> - Lieutenant General James Mattis, USMC
Anonymous
February 8, 2005 2:38:58 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

ROBERT POLLARD wrote:
> I've played all the Brit scenarios and concur, the AI just
steamrollers
> towards you. I have even had individual HQ units try to steam roller
into my
> lines, which is fine by me! The worst thing about the game for me
(which
> isn't really the games fault) is continually getting major victories
with
> the Brits, only to have the next scenario in the series tell me that
in
> actual fact (for story purposes) we had lost! It would be nice if a
sequence
> of battles could be linked in such away that the previous results
have some
> outcome on the next.

So basically your post boils down to "I want a campaign" :) 

Agreed, the problem with setting up a campaign system is that it's a
lot harder than it sounds.

A branching campaign (where certain scenario's are only playable after
completing and winning a certain set of predecessors) is maybe the
easiest the setup, but a campaign system in which carefully husbanded
units get carried over to the next scenario can be a nightmare for game
balance purposes, either turning it into cakewalks or impossible odds
fights.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
February 8, 2005 4:32:54 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Bloodstar wrote:

> Oleg Mastruko was beta tester :o ))) Now, there was one joke, he used
to code
> some program on C-64 for his elementary school in Zadar - one
profesor told
> me this long time ago and program did crashed after performing two
cycles
> something like that...

Uh - I can do better than that : my programs usually crash after the
first cycle :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 2:12:03 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> And I'm not sure who their beta-testers are, but this isn't some subtle
> problem that afflicts one scenario or so - this appears to be a
> reproducible AI flaw; it just doesn't know when it should sit back,
> cover its minefields[2], and play defense.

Oleg Mastruko was beta tester :o ))) Now, there was one joke, he used to code
some program on C-64 for his elementary school in Zadar - one profesor told
me this long time ago and program did crashed after performing two cycles
something like that...

Oleg, just a kidding, no need to get mad :o ) Can you tell us whole story, is
this true? (hope that you will not be angry, it was not my intention! Gosh,
people get mad easily these days :o ))


Mario
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 2:40:40 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> Uh - I can do better than that : my programs usually crash after the
> first cycle :) 

LOL - I respect all people who can make joke on their own account, that's
good human characteristic ;) 


Mario
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 4:13:27 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

On Tue, 8 Feb 2005 23:12:03 +0100, "Bloodstar"
<george.washington@microsoft.com> wrote:

>Oleg Mastruko was beta tester :o ))) Now, there was one joke, he used to code
>some program on C-64 for his elementary school in Zadar - one profesor told
>me this long time ago and program did crashed after performing two cycles
>something like that...
>
>Oleg, just a kidding, no need to get mad :o ) Can you tell us whole story, is
>this true? (hope that you will not be angry, it was not my intention! Gosh,
>people get mad easily these days :o ))

I never go mad at you, it would ruin all the fun. Consciously or
subconsciously, you're one of my biggest fans.

Frankly I don't know if the story is true, I can't remember the
details. Could be true, since I was atrocious as programmer. For some
reason, kids who owned computers in those days (mid-80s) strived to
prove their supremacy over their peers, by using obscure programming
languages and skills, so I choose C64's 6510 assembler as my weapon of
choice. Kids don't do that anymore which proves there is evolution,
after all...

Anyway FPG! I almost never play wargames vs. AI as I simply
can't force myself to seriously play serious strategy stuff vs.
something that is by definition more stupid than me.

In FPG I jumped into PBEM vs. other beta testers as soon as I
felt I know what I am doing. My personal "beta score" is proven by
having received personal "commendation" from Robert the main developer
as one of three most active testers (read: most pesky bug-reporters).
I seriously thought Robert would simply cancel the access to the beta
list for us one day, so he can have one day free of our reports :o ))
But no! Robert, being the fantastic guy that he is, actually thanked
us for any and every new bug we found (even tho it meant more work for
him :o )

Having said that... I do have my complaints with FPG. They kinda
have to do with AI, sometimes. Playing too much games vs. AI may give
you wrong perception of the game balance, for instance. But, being
bound by NDA I will stop here. Very good thing is that Robert is
actively working on bug squashing and various game improvements (AI
and game balance included), and patch(es) is in the work, and AFAIK
should be out soon.

I enjoy(ed) testing FPG, it's a great game, challenging, fast
and fun, and realistic nonetheless. FPG is very promising game, and
game engine, and as Giftz said, there's certainly 35 USD worth of
wargaming in this package as it is. Patches and support will only make
it better.

O.
Anonymous
February 9, 2005 3:23:31 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> I never go mad at you, it would ruin all the fun. Consciously or
> subconsciously, you're one of my biggest fans.

Hehe, Oleg you certanly have one very good characteristic which is really
essential for Usenet - you have thick skin as a rhinoceros :o ) Which is
something that I have only when there is usenet joking around but if some
malicious post occures than... so that's why I have so many flames that get
out of control. Now, now, you can flatter (bah spelling :) yourself that I am
your fan but essentially I am fan of only great, great man. And you can
become great man but you must truly want that - that is not characteristic
that Gods will give you easily since they are very jealous. :o )
Eh, yes, you think that I have heard about TOAW from you, actually I knew
about this game before it was realesed. But, in some period I didn't
followed this group so maybe that's why it slipped is pbem good etc... And
you have heard about this game from this group or maybe, let me guess it was
forum from TalonSoft, aha, yes I didn't followed forum of TalonSoft then.
:o ) So if I am fan of you, than I am fan of Giftzwerg as well. I always love
to read good post on Usenet from intelligent persons - but that don't make
me a fan. You know that I am fan of Sid Meier, Branimir Stulic and Joe
Strummer (RIP) and many other historical personas like Napoleon, Manstein,
Rommel, etc... writers, Johann Sebastian Bach (only because he wrote such a
magnificent piece of music Air on a G String or simly Air - my favorite
classical music piece, immortal thing :) ... Etc... many great people I
admire so count me as a fan of them. But you are still not caliber of a
Manstein or Johann Sebastian Bach, but it's good that you are trying. :) 
But, I will admit you that I heard about G. I. Gurdjieff from you, I
bought many books that he wrote, I still didn't read it all so thank you
Oleg, Gurdjieff is really unussual writer. When I was in Belgrade I bought
4-5 books from him for some cheap money. Now Belgrade is exciting city.
:o )))
And I bought PC Play - so for two months I didn't buy BUG as I have have
told you, in fact that was you biggest mistake in taking side against users
of Internet in Croatia, sooner or later you will admit your mistake.
Yes, I was harsh on your newsgroup but your Editor was also out of line, I
didn't told that BUG was my enemy but that is really close.
But, I will not forgive your Editor for calling me insane - I respected him
and his work, so when I pay you for your magazine I expect at least that you
don't offend my sanity, because I have sanity no matter what you or Miro R.
thinks. Now, you can write a good article and also a lousy ones but if you
want to insult my sanity than you can forget that I will buy your magazine.
So that's it, you can write magnificent articles but I will not buy your
magazine. So I really don't care what someone writes, principles are
important. We all know that BUG will have a readers who don't have a sanity
so they will continue to read it :o )))
Not me. I will rather buy Svet Kompjutera and Vreme from Belgrade now. I am
big friend of Vreme editorial and maybe I will write for them.
I already wrote one great article and I am very proud on this article. It's
really, really deep, magnificent piece of writing, and shows what journalism
must be to be called journlism also talks about history and there is some
things that are really big and I was very proud when I wrote it. Even if it
will not be published because it's really hmmm strange, it is great piece.

It's great magazine that was always against that swine Milosevic and truly
good example of good journalism which many Croatian magazines lack. OK,
Feral is good example here, but Vreme is great.

> Frankly I don't know if the story is true, I can't remember the
> details. Could be true, since I was atrocious as programmer. For some
> reason, kids who owned computers in those days (mid-80s) strived to
> prove their supremacy over their peers, by using obscure programming
> languages and skills, so I choose C64's 6510 assembler as my weapon of
> choice. Kids don't do that anymore which proves there is evolution,
> after all...

OK, thanks for sharing this story with us. Nevermind...


> Anyway FPG! I almost never play wargames vs. AI as I simply
> can't force myself to seriously play serious strategy stuff vs.
> something that is by definition more stupid than me.

Now, I also think that bigger challenge is always to beat a human opponent
but playing against AI in some games can be fun. For example, playing
against AI in TOAW is God's curse for me and playing against human in TOAW
is God's blessing for me. In fact, I like how Norm Koger have made PBEM in
TOAW in spite of flaws, now this was truly Inspiration from Gods :o ) - I
like when I receive turn and when I play a movie of opponent turn also I
like beginning of the game and sound of turn beginning. Awesome! That small
details really adds to immersion in the game. I don't think that AI should
be neglected in games. Take a look at Heroes III AI, it's really great in
some cases and sometimes AI is before on the sea with his Hero - so AI is
not cleaning a map like humans but he is making priorities. So playing
against good AI can be fun and challenge if it is done really inteligent.

> In FPG I jumped into PBEM vs. other beta testers as soon as I
> felt I know what I am doing. My personal "beta score" is proven by
> having received personal "commendation" from Robert the main developer
> as one of three most active testers (read: most pesky bug-reporters).
> I seriously thought Robert would simply cancel the access to the beta
> list for us one day, so he can have one day free of our reports :o ))
> But no! Robert, being the fantastic guy that he is, actually thanked
> us for any and every new bug we found (even tho it meant more work for
> him :o )

OK, that's great. Stick with Matrix, I think it is good that you support so
much wargaming so that you even beta test some wargames. Beta testing of
games that are fun is great. Many games that I wished to be a beta tester
had closed beta testing so later I didn't bothered to ask someone. For many
not so good games I received pre-alpha or betas and I still have many of
them. Matrix is doing this a good way, they pick their fans for beta testing
and that is also ok, if QA is done good way ;) 

> Having said that... I do have my complaints with FPG. They kinda
> have to do with AI, sometimes. Playing too much games vs. AI may give
> you wrong perception of the game balance, for instance. But, being
> bound by NDA I will stop here. Very good thing is that Robert is
> actively working on bug squashing and various game improvements (AI
> and game balance included), and patch(es) is in the work, and AFAIK
> should be out soon.
>
> I enjoy(ed) testing FPG, it's a great game, challenging, fast
> and fun, and realistic nonetheless. FPG is very promising game, and
> game engine, and as Giftz said, there's certainly 35 USD worth of
> wargaming in this package as it is. Patches and support will only make
> it better.

OK, I will try it. Now, you as my biggest fan can boast around that I have
heard about Flashpoint Germany from you. har har


Mario
!