QUERIES ABOUT AI FOR A TURN BASED TACTICS GAME

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Hello Community <3 I need your help once again :3

How to scale the AI difficulty?

Constraints due to the game mechanics:
a) Cannot give enemies hidden resources - the information is available to the player and the cheat will be glaringly obvious
b) Cannot give better stats to enemy units - the stats for every type of unit is pre-determined and fixed, similar to cards in Trading Card Games.

These are some of the ones I have thought of:
a) enemies are simply given better unit types for more difficulty
b) AI makes less optimum decision for less difficulty
c) AI sometimes makes random decisions for less difficulty

How to make the AI unpredictable?
If the AI is always using the optimum path, can it eventually become predictable? How to avoid such a scenario?

Thank you for reading :) and pre thanks for all replies :)
Hexatona
JESEUS MIMLLION SPOLERS
3702
Well, for example, in a higher difficulty, the enemies will target healers, or will always use the skill with the higher damage - and maybe even have a better chance to hit?

IN lower difficulties, the skills they use could have a bit or randomness, or more skewed towards less effective abilities.

Alternatively, You could always do some of the thinking for your units and place them at choke points, with instructions to stay there.

You could give them just plain better abilities than is possible?
The last suggestion is not possible. Both teams in theory could have the same units. The game is a fusion between TCGs and Turn based tactics, hence I have these certain constraints to manage.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
27719
Adding to what Hex suggested, having enemies programmed to target units that are close to death.

Have enemies change tactics. Example: Player uses a heavy damage dealer to destroy an enemy unit and enemies react by focusing on taking out the heavy damage dealer.
Hexatona
JESEUS MIMLLION SPOLERS
3702
Although if this is more for like a card game battle like magic or hearthstone, the tactics are ... well, I think there's a reason any tcg game in recent memory doesn't have ai difficulty levels.
This is the one reason I haven't started a tactics style game in RPGMaker yet.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
27719
Illy
This is the one reason I haven't started a tactics style game in RPGMaker yet.


Oh, jeez. Forget the nightmare of coding an intelligent combat AI in Ruby or Javascript. Imagine having to do it with variables and switches!
I'd hesitate to make the AI change with difficulty. A smarter AI doesn't equate to a more fun experience.

When normally an AI would throw themselves fruitlessly upon a heavily armoured character, a smart AI would never attempt to touch them, thus rendering all their defense essentially useless. An AI that obsessively Silences your mages renders all their training similarly useless. It just makes things more stilted in favour of very specific playstyles. Now, I'm not saying the AI should always intentionally do stupid things, but there's a limit to how it should function. It also probably just wouldn't feel right if the AI started acting much differently, though that kind of depends on the systems in play.

I think it's better to try looking at secondary aspects to give them an edge. In Advance Wars, the AI was never smarter on hard, it just started with towns it wouldn't otherwise (or that outright didn't exist on normal), giving it extra money, or started with extra pre-deployed units. Or it was now Fog of War, and the game cheats blatantly in Fog, ignoring the sight limitations imposed on the player. If we're talking cards, they could always have things set up so they always draw syngergistic cards close together, or they just plain have innately better, illegal cards. Or take the good 'ol X-COM method and just have the AI completely fudge on the accuracy numbers.

Some of these methods are marginally less fair and fun to the player than others, but they're what's coming to mind. Pretty much all of them boil down to the AI having an unfair advantage, however.
Thinking about using a combination of the following:
a) less optimum decisions, for less difficulty
b) draws better cards, giving them the esge
c) enemy deck has better cards, that are currently unavailable to the player atm
d) draws cards according to what is needed atm (as opposed to completely random)
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