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From time to time I like to do a full AI evaluation to see where a given game is.  The reason I started programming in the first place was to write AI.  25 years later, we have Crusade.

So how does it stack up?

[[..]]

I've scored the other AIs Stardock (or I) have developed over the years and I suspect my literal score changes slightly due to faulty memory.  But here is where I see the various GalCiv games. 

BTW, while the score is 1 through 10, it is not a linear quality bar but rather more exponential in nature.  That is, a 6 is a lot better than a 5 and so on.  A 5 would be what I'd consider "game industry acceptable for the genre".

So here we go:

  • GalCiv OS/2: 8
  • GalCiv I: Windows: 7
  • GalCiv II: 1.0: 5
  • GalCiv II: Dark Avatar: 7
  • GalCiv II: Twilight: 5
  • GalCiv III: 1.0: 5
  • GalCiv III: 2.0: 6
  • GalCiv III: Crusade: 7

I may have some bias against GalCiv III's AI since I didn't write it.  I consulted on it.  I did work on the GalCiv III 2.0 AI which is where I started to learn the architecture.  With Crusade, I implemented a multi-core AI (AI jobs get spun out to the least busy core which is why turn times are fast...and why you get stuck turns).

Strengths:

  • Can beat most players on normal without cheating (and no, it can't see everything, 18% of its turn CPU time is spent figuring out what it can see or guess things based on my knowledge of how the map generation is done -- something an expert player would notice too).
  • Is REALLY good at trading overall (and yes, I just fixed that ship cost thing, very annoying).
  • It is quite good at military engagement.
  • It is quite good at colony construction

Weaknesses:

  • Incredibly wasteful with administrators.  No one needs refunding from constructors more than the AI. 
  • Not good at finding detours to get to a destination to route around problems. I wish GalCiv had a way point system. hint hint.
  • Still new to the promotion system, doesn't use Commanders well yet.
  • Still new to the global economy, doesn't use leaders well yet (still better than most players).
  • Needs to use starbases better
  • Still learning the new tech tree system. I would like to have the game send me your data but the PR people say we could run into issues. But if I knew what paths 100,000 players were using, the AI could start using it.

Turn 500

Let's check in on an AI vs. AI game on turn 500.

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So Jar Jar is allied with the Engineers, the Vorlons and the Irridium Corporation but at war with the Arceans, Federated Suns, and the Spathi.  So there's a big galactic civil war going on here that my race, controlled by AI, has stayed out of.

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Many of the good asteroids are not being mined.  However, he only has 109 billion credits (bc) to work with so there may be a reason.

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I'm playing as  a Xenophobe, Colonizer which, in my build, means a 100% boost to research and social construction and a 50% drop to ship construction and 1 admin point per colony.  Here, he's moved his leaders in a way that seems reasonable and is making 79 bc per week.

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Definitely did a nice job laying out the planet.  I don't know if I would have built the preparedness center and probably wouldn't have built the market center.

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Currently stealing tech from the Federated Suns.

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Gungan fleet is no joke.

 

So overall, it's looking pretty good.  But...it can get better. A lot better.  And over the next two years, in free updates, it will continue to get better.


Comments (Page 2)
on May 29, 2017

zuPloed


3) The decision of sending both starting constructors for ressources was WRONG. In the current balance the best thing you can do with starting constructors is claiming asteroid mines in your homesystem asap (at least one constructor). The diminishing returns are huge.

I understand your points, but disagree.  While the power of a few early asteroid mines cannot be denied, I don't consider it worth spending an Administrator on.  I suspect that we are talking significantly different map settings being used here.  I don't think it is an absolute strategy for all conditions, but could be one for the AI, as well as many people, to consider.

To my understanding, the telemetry being discussed is not about seeing AI behavior patterns, as you were doing, but about getting a usable summary of human player behavior to base future AI development on or to feed procedural AI decisions.  It is not about what the AI may or may not be doing now.  So I do not understand what overall point you are making about "results" in this context.

on May 29, 2017

The problem actually runs even deeper.

By now I also observed the AI not claiming asteroids, which are accessible to it by turn 2 due to influence growth and the asteroids being directly adjacent to the homeworld.

I thought I could make a little mod for myself, where homeworlds start out with more influence, so there is not need to make AI constructors go for asteroid mines. So much for that idea...

erischild

I suspect that we are talking significantly different map settings being used here.  I don't think it is an absolute strategy for all conditions, but could be one for the AI, as well as many people, to consider.
I run the default settings for galaxy creating. Large maps with suggested amount of players. For the test it was a tiny map with 1 opponent. I would hope the AI is somewhat optimized for those settings.

erischild

While the power of a few early asteroid mines cannot be denied, I don't consider it worth spending an Administrator on.
You can usually grab 4 or more mines (quite frequently while also claiming a ressource or two to boot) before turn 10. That's effectively a doubling of manuffacturing, research and wealth. You are less reliant on rush buying on your homeworld and can kickstart your colonies faster with that money. The research points enable you to squeeze in an administrator tech or two, when you need them.

I can't really imagine a scenario where dumping one or two admins on early asteroid mines does not pay off. It just gets you ahead all across.

And here I haven't talked about the fact, that those are my starting ships yet. So they effectively added 2 admins in the first place.

erischild

To my understanding, the telemetry being discussed is not about seeing AI behavior patterns, as you were doing, but about getting a usable summary of human player behavior to base future AI development on[...]
One of us is missing the point. To my understanding the telemetry is supposed to be used to see what are efficient human player strategies/ behavior patterns, which are to be used to improve the AI behavior patterns (maybe even train a neural network or other fun stuff).

My point is, that this is not even necessary for making significant AI improvements at this point. The AI is currently not set up in a way, that makes it 'understands the balance of the game' (e.g. not going for early asteroid mines).

erischild

It is not about what the AI may or may not be doing now. So I do not understand what overall point you are making about "results" in this context.
The result of gathering the telemetry and evaluating it or training the AI with it, will for example be:

 - being a lot more aggressive with getting asteroid mines. I'm confident enough to bet, that this is gonna be one of the results, if the issue is left lying around for that long
 -> so SD, will dedicate some ressources to teach the AI to grab more asteroid mines. At least I hope they will recognize it as an AI issue and not just nerf asteroid mines.
 - another one will be evasion. The AI will need to consider it a lot more. Stacking evasion is currently an alternative to researching defenses of any kind. The AI really needs targetting scanners and probably also command ships

My point is, sure, they can gather telemetry and start working on these things after that, but why bother? Why go through this just to diagnose things, which can be seen by a trained eye. I'm not saying these obvious things will make the AI as good as it can get with the telemtry. I'm just saying, they can start on these issues long before the telemetry data is in.

And I am somewhat afraid they might miss the obvious issues alltogether.

on May 29, 2017

zuPloed


My point is, sure, they can gather telemetry and start working on these things after that, but why bother? Why go through this just to diagnose things, which can be seen by a trained eye. I'm not saying these obvious things will make the AI as good as it can get with the telemtry. I'm just saying, they can start on these issues long before the telemetry data is in.

And I am somewhat afraid they might miss the obvious issues alltogether.

Thanks for the clarifications.  I see your points better.  Not that I agree completely, but that is unimportant.

It is my reading that what you are talking about is already in progress.  The AI is already constantly being analyzed and optimized and debugged as part of the ongoing development and support.  Devs regularly scan the forums even if they do not reply as much as we greedy fans would like.  They see issues and suggestions.  What they then decide and prioritize is likely not to exactly match what either of us would choose, even if they really should follow our always excellent advice.  

Presently, that process is highly accelerated because Frogboy is indulging in his favorite obsession, AI development.  This often involves way too much debugging to be totally fun.  But full team effort was always in progress and will continue when Frogboy's attention is demanded elsewhere.  I myself have never considered code development exciting before, but it is a constant surprise what progress is coming out of this burst of effort.  Smarts, performance, serious use of high end rigs, changelogs full of tweaks and adjustments , all sorts of geeky goodness. Fun!  I am enjoying having Frogboy go wild with the code.  I have sympathy for the team that has to catch up with him, but hey, they knew who they were working for!

I don't think the telemetry is meant primarily for debugging.  I think Frogboy sees it as a tool he could use right now for some additional value, just because he looks at all software that way.  I've known coders like that.  They will pull out some software tool and change code out from under you and you will never know what happened, but suddenly, everything works better.  Both scary and useful.  

on May 29, 2017

The original impression of GalCivCrusade was the ai the and the game was better but the more i play the more i feel like something is terribly wrong.

I have wasted around 30+ hours on crusade games with even taking away resources for weapons(for testing) just to have godlike AI 500 turns into the game still running basic weapons and defenses on all their ships. Having large/huge tech and still spamming terrible small ships.

 

I read the forums and feel like im not even playing the same game as everyone else, or everyone else is not actually playing the game outside of early game. Are people really getting quality games from the AI on crusade? At least gc3 the AI would play more than half the game. In crusade i dont think the ai is capable of actually playing anything but early game.

 

I am/was soo pumped about this expansion but for the life of me no matter what i do or try i cannot get a quality game from the AI after early game.  I cannot be the only one having this issue. I keep clean installing no mods etc just to see if maybe i was the issue on my mods and besides early game challenges the mid/late game is unchanged. I could play 1000 turns and the godlike AI would still be building and playing like its turn 20.   AI has full tech and 5000+ of every resource... spam small ships with lasers....

 

 

on May 29, 2017

goxwerd
In crusade i dont think the ai is capable of actually playing anything but early game.

I'm getting the same impression. The first ~50 turns are interesting but then after that its smooth sailing.

I wish for an AI that would make a concerted effort to obliterate me. Invade me. Blow something up. Anything more than posturing.

on May 30, 2017

The two biggest AI challenges remain The extreme logistics system numbers,which it really struggles with and the way they implemented the ship design system.

This weekend I improved on both which should show up in 2.3. (Opt in will come up soon).  But it's a non trivial AI challenge.

in GalCiv II I had the AI design it's own ships.  In GalCiv III hey chose to use xml templates for some reason. I will probably be replacing that whole system eventually.  But I think you'll find the ship quality in 2.3 better.

 

on May 30, 2017

Btw, if you unhide fow, it unhides it for all players. AI does not know where the good planets are or where your ships are. 

For 2.3 I let auto survey detect where anomalies are however for all players.

on May 30, 2017

Frogboy

For 2.3 I let auto survey detect where anomalies are however for all players.

Why?

on May 30, 2017

Frogboy

in GalCiv II I had the AI design it's own ships.  In GalCiv III hey chose to use xml templates for some reason. I will probably be replacing that whole system eventually.  But I think you'll find the ship quality in 2.3 better.

I think it's not principally wrong to choose from XML templates if they would be more flexible. Just specifying "BestDefense" or "KineticWeapon" in the blueprints doesn't give you that much possibilities ...

on May 30, 2017

Frogboy

The extreme logistics system numbers
Could you clarify?

Frogboy

Btw, if you unhide fow, it unhides it for all players. AI does not know where the good planets are or where your ships are.
Well, that makes troubleshooting harder... I guess I see where you are coming from with this implementation though. Other devs have done worse to cheaters :>

on May 30, 2017

The AI making its own ships would add a constant fresh new feel to the game every new game if I understand that right. Would be brilliant.

on Jun 06, 2017

Frogboy

Btw, if you unhide fow, it unhides it for all players. AI does not know where the good planets are or where your ships are. 

is that for all difficulty levels or only normal and below?

on Jun 07, 2017

I'm rather let down with the difficulty settings. The AI needs lots of procentual buffs to be a challenge.  Which I strongly dislike.

 

I really want the battles to intellectual. If they have just lots of advantages it feels very cheap.

Currently playing on incredible about 400 turns in (24 players, 24 player map). The early game was very rough, where I had to fight off multiple AI's. Later in the game, whilst I'm long way from finishing. Haven't seen a fleet that is a challenge. Even the strongest AI that is supposed to be 4x stronger than me, has not sent a fleet that would be a threat. 

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