Strategy and AI improvements

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Strategy and AI improvements

Postby HolySpirit » 18 Jan 2015, 13:06

Well revisiting this game and forum two years later. Happy that everything is still available. My son is now 8 years old so I got to introduc him to the game I played in my youth and he likes it which is really great.

Playing the game solo I found it a little bit too easy nowadays (Always playing with Atari ST and all computerplaysers at level 9) so I was looking for some way to tweak the AI but realize the Fusion AI never got implemented and even if it was I think I would prefer someone to tweak it to make a few harder implementations available since I'm not used to development tools.

I couldnt find anything written on strategy here but it would be interesting to know other users view on what country is the hardest to play when only playing vs other computerplayers? I would probably vote for Germany or France since the fierce battles in Europe tend to get really devastating and hard to avoid.

If we look at the AI-improvements for the computerplayers the main things I would like to improve are:

1. It's still too easy to sneak away with a victory as the computerplayers are too busy fighting eachother.
2. The computerplayers are too happy to attack and not building the right foundation and understanding the benefit of defence.
3. The computerplayers don't understand the importance of not fighting multiple oppontens at the same time
4. The computerplayers waste too much time attacking factories or regions close to factories in meaningless attacks
5. The computerplayer should pay more attention to attacking neutral countries before attacking major countries.

I don't think it would be very hard to build this into an improved AI but it would be great to get more experienced players input to what the main things too improve in the AI would be?
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Re: Strategy and AI improvements

Postby dizt3mp3r » 24 Jan 2015, 17:13

If you download some custom maps and edit the map.xml file, you will find a line similar to :

<RandomsRegionId>6,6,6,6,7,6,6,6,7,5,7,5,6,6,6,6</RandomsRegionId>

for each AI player. This causes the AI players to focus on these regions. If you modify this list to set several AI players to focus on a particular region, let's say Northern Asia, then if you play Russia you will find that the AIs will be hitting you hard and often.

I created the USA enhanced map which is available in the custom map section and one of the flaws of that map is that the AI players focusses on a particular region, Australasia tends to be ignored so it is a good are for the human player to focus upon with little contention from the AI.

Play with these lines and you can make the AI less combative with itself and more combative toward you. You'll have to modify the XML file each time you select a different country.

Question for Kroah: How long can this RandomsRegionId line be? Can it be extended and the AI will obey each instruction or is the length of this line limited and subsequent instructions ignored?
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Re: Strategy and AI improvements

Postby Kroah » 24 Feb 2015, 02:07

HolySpirit wrote:I think I would prefer someone to tweak it to make a few harder implementations available since I'm not used to development tools.

CoCoNet already allows for custom AIs to be made, loaded and shared like the custom maps, but it needs a good knowledge in C# and how to setup a Visual Studio environment (with shaders, direct X, XNA, etc.).
If someone is familiar with this, he can check the AI_Custom.cs file in the "Custom AIs" folder. It's a copy of the Atari ST AI.

HolySpirit wrote:I couldnt find anything written on strategy here but it would be interesting to know other users view on what country is the hardest to play when only playing vs other computerplayers? I would probably vote for Germany or France since the fierce battles in Europe tend to get really devastating and hard to avoid.

I always found the England harder to play because of the price of their armies.

HolySpirit wrote:If we look at the AI-improvements for the computerplayers the main things I would like to improve are:
[snip]

I totally agree with you.

The improved AI of the next release will fix some behaviors you mentioned:
- The defending forces will scale depending on the overall size of his forces.
- The AI will build his forces depending on the actual balance of his army/navy, i.e. he will build more army or more navy depending on what he lacks (actually, if the AI own 10M army but only 100 navy, he will not try to build more navy than usual).
- The AI will not declare war to multiple majors for the sake of loving war.

According to my tests, it gives nice results while keeping the feeling of the Atari AI.
I already wrote a whole new AI, but, while being stronger for the same level of cheating, it gave too predictable behaviors and less diversity, so i removed it.

dizt3mp3r wrote:How long can this RandomsRegionId line be? Can it be extended and the AI will obey each instruction or is the length of this line limited and subsequent instructions ignored?

There is no limit to the number of elements in the list.

When choosing a new region to conquer, the AI draws a random element in the list.
This means:
- You can omit some regions if you dont want the AI to focus on some regions (but the Atari AI is a little bugged on this).
- The probability a region is chosen is proportional to the number of times it appears in the list:
if RandomsRegionId = 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 4, 4 the odds are:
region 1: 50%
region 2: 20%
region 3: 0%
region 4: 30%
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Re: Strategy and AI improvements

Postby dizt3mp3r » 27 Feb 2015, 23:34

Kroah, good to hear from you and even better to know that you are making changes to the AI. Please make the alternative AI available even it appears flawed, I would like the chance to try it out even if it is a bit predictable.

Thanks for the explanation as to how the RandomsRegionId line works.
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Re: Strategy and AI improvements

Postby Ayoross » 22 Apr 2015, 21:35

Some thinking about colonial conquest AI flaws :

* AI seem to prefer using fleet where land attack is possible. Russia particularly should always prefer land attack (and land conquer).
* AI tend to implant everywhere instead of concentrating in few places.
* Some wars between AIs tend to last the whole game, or until one die ; it would be more realistic if most wars were short.
* AI should concentrate more on fights near their homeland than in distant colonies.
* AIs seem to declare war almost at random, instead of focusing on nearby threats.

I'd love to try to code an AI, but it seems quite complex now. Maybe if a scripting language was set up...
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