Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Team Assault is a 3D turn based tactical game where players fight in close combat action at a squad level.

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Xerkis
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Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:39 am

Did a bit of an experiment and to demonstrate the point on how vital the AI Upgrades are to the AI if you want to have a truly better experience with Team Assault.

The controls in the test are:
The map was Ponte Olivio and the game type was a 50 point Area Control on normal difficulty. I used a force I created and started both games with the same squads; placing them in the same locations and using the same tactics as the game was played.

The first game the AI had a force that is provided with TA, the “Fallschirm Panzer Division”. The game ended with the AI losing after only 4 turns and because of no longer having any more force left on the field.

The below data is from the game log and is the final calculations used to determine for each squad how the AI will use that squad for that turn. Remember, the AI does this check each turn (but I am only showing once per squad). These numbers are the percentages that comes from the “AI Upgrades”.

So basically the Sturmgrenadiers will most likely always be aggressive; if not that – then tactical. But next to no chance of being defensive. This is what you want to see in your squad designs.
The Jäger Recon now are about a flip of a coin on whether they will be aggressive of tactical. Probably not what you want in a “recon” squad. They should stay on the tactical side.
Elite Grenadier I have here twice – to show what happens when one of the squad’s soldiers is eliminated. The numbers will change on you – something else to keep in mind. Both times – and worst on the second one – we have an indecisive squad. Wavering between tactical and defensive. Two very different jobs on the battlefield. This can – and will – cause a squad to run back and forth between taking an enemy CP and defending his own CP. Rendering the squad pointless.

04-14-2012 19:10:25 | Squad Info: 1st Sturmgrenadiers
Aggressive:60.7143
Defensive: 3.57143
Tactical: 35.7143

04-14-2012 19:14:29 | Squad Info: 1st Jäger Recon
Aggressive:38.0952
Defensive: 14.2857
Tactical: 47.619

04-14-2012 19:09:34 | Squad Info: 1st Elite Grenadier
Aggressive:18.1818
Defensive: 36.3636
Tactical: 45.4545

04-14-2012 19:13:40 | Squad Info: 1st Elite Grenadier
Aggressive:20
Defensive: 40
Tactical: 40


Now for the second skirmish against a force I made. It isn’t a perfect force (as we will see) but it is much better. first off, the battle lasted twice as long – for 8 turns. My force’s squads are titled for what I want their jobs to be – so the numbers should match the name.
Tactical – passed with flying colors 90%. No indecision what so ever.
Same goes with the Defensive squad. They will head for the nearest CP that they have already captured and will stay there guarding it from any attempt of me trying to recapture it.
Sniper could be a bit debatable – although I think that is how a sniper squad should be; mostly tactical, sometimes defensive, but never aggressive.
I’m not as happy with the Assault squad though. They should have a higher aggressive score.

04-14-2012 18:29:23 | Squad Info: 1st Tactical
Aggressive:0
Defensive: 9.09091
Tactical: 90.9091

04-14-2012 18:40:44 | Squad Info: 1st Defensive
Aggressive:0
Defensive: 88.2353
Tactical: 11.7647

04-14-2012 18:30:22 | Squad Info: 1st Sniper
Aggressive:0
Defensive: 37.5
Tactical: 62.5

04-14-2012 18:30:10 | Squad Info: 1st Assault
Aggressive:55.5556
Defensive: 11.1111
Tactical: 33.3333


But with creating a force like this for the AI to use – you will notice a tremendous improvement in Team Assault and how the AI behaves.

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by rich12545 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:41 am

Ok, you guys talked me into it and I'm downloading now. I don't know if you're part of the company but, if so, since you're doing these better ai squads may I suggest you do a variety of good ones and offer them as a mod or with the next patch. The ai is very important as many people like me only play solo.

Also I read the beta manual and see how you actually have a form of reaction fire that looks like it will work fine with this game so I don't know why people are asking for it.

And, does the game support dual cores? Plus, I saw the vid card requirement and mine is in the middle. 450 with 1 gig ram. How will this work on the larger maps?

Thanks.

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by IronFist00 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:40 am

Xerkis, thanks for the post. That's excellent info. A couple of questions: Out of the included Forces, is any one suited better for the AI than the others? I've been playing extensively against the AI and as the various Wehrmacht Forces with the AI as the Allies. The AI seems to play best with US 3rd Marne Divisions of the Devil brigade but that's circumstantial evidence. If none of the released Forces work well, I second rich12545's request to either release some for us to download or add them in a patch. Either solution would be awesome.

rich12545, I have a dual-core laptop and Desktop and the game runs fine on both. It runs better on the Desktop since it has a better GPU but actually has less memory (4GB vs 6GB). On the Desktop I run everything on High/Max with no issues. On the Laptop I run everything on Low (closing most open programs) and it runs fine. It also looks good even on low. If you use the hotkeys, that'll help some too. The only issue I've ever noticed on the laptop is the mouse might become sluggish after a long game, if I have too much open. Both PCs are Windows 7 64-bit OS.

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:05 am

rich12545 wrote:Ok, you guys talked me into it and I'm downloading now. I don't know if you're part of the company but, if so, since you're doing these better ai squads may I suggest you do a variety of good ones and offer them as a mod or with the next patch. The ai is very important as many people like me only play solo.

Also I read the beta manual and see how you actually have a form of reaction fire that looks like it will work fine with this game so I don't know why people are asking for it.

And, does the game support dual cores? Plus, I saw the vid card requirement and mine is in the middle. 450 with 1 gig ram. How will this work on the larger maps?

Thanks.
Glad to hear it.
:)

But no, I’m not with Zeal – or Slitherine – just a long time beta tester a big time fan.
:wink:

Making forces you can do on your own with the Force Builder – which I think is as much fun as playing the skirmishes. But certainly more forces either made by players or offered through Zeal would be an exhalant idea.

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:22 am

IronFist,
If you check the AI Force Stat chart and look at the three columns that address this issue you can match that up to answer that question.

Three main things you need to keep in mind:
* A squad should have most of its number in one of the three columns (Aggressive, Defensive or Tactical)
* There should be at least one squad in the force in each of the columns. But you see that there are next to none in the defense column.
* The cost of the squads should be relatively the same – except for maybe a sniper squad might be much higher in price. This way the AI can afford to buy any of the squads and not just the lowest priced one.

It’s hard to say which one is the best. Honestly I don’t care for any of them.
I think I will have to work on making an Allied AI force next – since I only have Axis AI forces.
:wink:

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by IronFist00 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:56 am

Xerkis, thanks for the explanation. I have the chart and I see the columns you're referring to but while building a squad in the Force Builder, how do I tell if I'm building it for Offense, Defense or Tactical? That's where I'm confused. I just recently built my first test squad and it was only one, not the full 5. So I'm very raw with the Force Builder.

I hope you do get around to building an Allied force next too. ;-) While I'm American like you (I also live in the NE area of the USA), I've studied the Wehrmacht since I was in in college so I prefer playing them in most games, especially if the Fallschirmjägers are an option. So I would definitely be interested in an "elite" Allied AI to go up against. :D

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:54 am

Love to explain.
:)

If you take the AI Upgrade Stats chart (read the thread dedicated to it for additional details). Determine what kind of squad you want to make – let’s say defensive. So then, everything you give that squad should add numbers to the defensive column. In other words, the weapon you give the soldier, make sure it has a number that is in the defensive column. The outfits – are they defensive? The Disciplines – should be ones that are defensive.

Can numbers be added in to other columns? Sure, just not too much – or your squad will become indecisive.

Then to balance the force itself:
A good AI force is made up of one squad out of each of the three columns and then the last two squads are specialty squads. Those last two could be a recon or sniper or a faster “striker” tactical squad, etc.

And the real hard part is keeping the squads all priced about the same amount. This is very important, especially in longer games. If you don’t do this, you will end up seeing all of just one or two of the squads on the field – because that is all the AI can afford to buy. There are exceptions – like sniper squads. I really do not want to face 3 or 4 squads of them when I play – 1 or 2, fine. So these I will have them over priced. But that means then - when I do face a sniper squad, they are tough because they are loaded with disciplines and other “stuff” to make them a challenge. Thus making the AI even harder.

I hope this helps

And you can be sure I will build an Allied force. Most likely today I bet.
But then there is testing it. Yes, you might not think you have to test it but you do. But “testing” your AI force is playing and just being a bit more aware on what the AI is doing (looking for squads not doing what they should be, things like that) and then checking the logs after you are done with a skirmish – making some changes in the Force Builder – and playing. . . . I mean, “testing”. . . . another skirmish. . . . . it’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.
:wink:

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by IronFist00 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:37 pm

I'm checking out the other thread in detail and if I have time today, will give it a go myself.

Do you usually build these AI-friendly squads and play them on Normal, Hard, or Expert? I was curious if this exercise was so the AI played as well as it could on Normal, i.e. with no cheats? I have played the AI on all three levels and noticed it does play a more Soviet-syle as you ramp it up, i.e. flooding the field with masses. However since I've been concentrating on learning the game and then understanding all parts, I haven't paid much attention to what the AI was doing.

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:20 pm

On the harder levels of play, the AI gets more Combat Resources to spend each turn. So what you have noticed is very much true.

I have made AI forces and played on the Expert level with exactly this in mind. In other words, making the AI squads much more expensive than the one I might be using to fight against it.

My squads might average at say 550 a piece while I make the AI squad average at maybe 850 a piece. But then playing on expert level (giving the AI more CR) the number of actual squads on the field at any one time will end up being about the same for both the AI and myself – but the AI squads will be much more powerful and harder to handle. Thus making for a more challenging game.

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by IronFist00 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:23 am

Xerkis, I'm taking my stab at making my own AI specific squads after reading all the charts you uploaded (thanks) and the posts on the forum regarding it. I just built my first Aggressive Squad based on my understanding of what I read. I attached a screenshot of what I built. I armed a 5 man squad all with Thompson's in case that isn't evident. I gave it a Lieutenant and Second Lieutenant as Officers. No equipment. What do you think?

A couple of questions:
  • 1. What officers do you normally give? Is it standard across all squad types or different based on role?
  • 2. How many men do you usually have in your squads? If different based on role, how many in each role type?
  • 3. My squad came out at 695 points. while lower than your 850, I stayed with it since I figured I might play more on Hard and that would be a better amount. Reasonable assumption?
  • 4. I know you mentioned to make one of each type of squad and iirc you said a sniper squad. What do you recommend for the 5th squad? A second squad of the one of the three types? Something else?
I appreciate your help. This is exiting, more so than I thought. :)
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IronFist's Aggressive Squad
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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by IronFist00 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:03 am

I tried playing a game against my custom AI on Hard and I definitely could tell I was in a fight. I lost a lot more men than prior and the AI seems like a much better player. However it did start to make a preponderance of Defensive Squads mid-game onward. That might have been because it was trying to hold onto its one Control Point since I had the other two. If so, it did what it wanted since I could never take it. However by not going with any Aggressive Squads, it could never threaten the contested CP once I secured it.

I played as the 5. Gebirgs-Division on (M) Monastery Hill; 2000 CP start; 50 Area of Control Victory condition; AI on Hard (as mentioned).

For reference, these are the cost of my squads:
Offensive: 695 CR
Defensive: 685 CR
Tactical: 700 CR
Sniper: 735 CR
Artillery: 710 CR

I tried to cost them close to each other as you mentioned and made the Sniper Squad the highest. I did see a Sniper Squad and Artillery Squad but I think only one each. I did see one Offensive Squad iirc and lots of Defensive Squads. Do I need to cost them even closer to each other or might it have been the situation that dictated what the AI did?
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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:08 am

1) Officers all depend on imitative that I want the squad to have. You need a good mix. Some high, some low, some in the middle. And it does depend on what the squad is doing. Maybe you want your HMG defensive squad to have a lower imitative so as to mow down the enemy squads that just moved.

2) Number of men does depend on the roll. Sniper team 2 or 3, Tactical squad maybe 5, recon 2. Experiment with different stuff and see what works. After awhile you will end up with lots of forces but will get one or two that you really like.

3) Sounds good for a start – time will tell after a few skirmishes.

4) Recon, a faster or different tactical squad, demolitions, etc.

The CR numbers seem close – I actually push the sniper even a bit higher if you play really long games and you start to see too many sniper squads on the field. But you can leave as is for now if you want and see how it goes.

Have you seen the thread “What Are You Fighting Against”? I have in there one of my AI forces that I use. In fact it is the force I used for the above testing. You can download it and take a look.
:D

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Laxen » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:47 am

Interesting thread :D

First of all to clarify about reaction fire rich; There is actually a reaction fire to enemy fire available (returning fire), but there is currently no way to make reactive fire on enemy movement - that's that a lot of players miss and that's not available in the game. The principle is instead that if the enemy makes a careful advance on you, he'll get the benefit of firing first, while the defender gets the benefit from stationary fire (there are of course many other variables to take in account, but these are the basics) - unless the enemy makes a reckless advance and sprints, in which case you'll be able to react manually on the movement and fire upon the enemy first (since the sprinting enemy won't be able to fire).

Excellent work there on describing the AI Xerkis. Well done!

The reason why the AI will deploy the cheapest squad a lot is because if the AI can afford ANY squad while deploying reinforcements, it want to deploy reinforcements to keep the pressure up. If the AI only has resources for the cheapest squad, that squad will be the only squad selected from when choosing which squad to deploy.
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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:00 pm

Laxen wrote:Interesting thread :D
Excellent work there on describing the AI Xerkis. Well done!
Thanks. I try.
:oops:
Laxen wrote: The reason why the AI will deploy the cheapest squad a lot is because if the AI can afford ANY squad while deploying reinforcements, it want to deploy reinforcements to keep the pressure up. If the AI only has resources for the cheapest squad, that squad will be the only squad selected from when choosing which squad to deploy.
And that’s fine. Because it certainly is not only the very cheapest squads that gets deployed. If it can afford a more expensive squad it will purchase that one as well.

What I would like to see – this would have a huge assumption for it to work though – is that it deploys within the three categories. Only so many Aggressive, so many Defensive and so many Tactical squads. But one of the biggest issue in this would be the assumption that the force being used by the AI has reasonable squads in each of those areas. . . . . And I think there are some other issues with this “wish list” item as well too. But if they could be worked out – it might make deployment of the AI squads a lot better.
:)

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by IronFist00 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:52 am

I've been playing around with creating custom AI squads and in my latest games, this is what I have:

04-20-2012 00:37:47 | Squad Info: 1st Offensive Squad
Aggressive: 95.6522
Defensive: 4.34783
Tactical: 0

04-20-2012 00:37:10 | Squad Info: 1st Tactical Squad
Aggressive: 0
Defensive: 25.9259
Tactical: 74.0741

04-20-2012 00:23:20 | Squad Info: 1st Defensive Squad
Aggressive: 0
Defensive: 81.8182
Tactical: 18.1818

04-20-2012 00:36:40 | Squad Info: 1st Sniper Squad
Aggressive: 10.7143
Defensive: 35.7143
Tactical: 53.5714

04-20-2012 00:37:28 | Squad Info: 2nd Artillery Squad
Aggressive: 38.0952
Defensive: 28.5714
Tactical: 33.3333

Xerkis, how do they look to you? Based on my understanding of all you wrote, I'm happy with my Offensive, Defensive, and Tactical squads. My Sniper squads perform well in the AI's hands (I absolutely hate facing them) and the AI seems to only get two per game (around a 10 - 14 turn game). My Artillery Squad is so named because I arm it with a Bazooka. However no matter how I distribute stuff to make it unique, it comes out balanced. The AI does make a few each game and seems to use them. Not sure how. Any suggestions?
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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:39 am

What is your intent with the Artillery Squad? In other words – what sort of purpose or job on the battlefield do you want them to have?

Right now, I bet they seem to run about with no clear direction – but cause mischief whenever they happen to run across one of your squads. Unfortunately, I’m betting it isn’t all that often that they do – or if they do, it is after they have sprinted; so they don’t usually get a chance to use their power all that much.

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by IronFist00 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:47 am

The intent was just to use the Bazooka. I have one soldier armed with the bazooka and the rest Lee-Enfields. Since the Bazooka is Tactical iirc, I was trying more for that route (like the Sniper Squad). However whether the AI uses the Artillery Squad to camp and defend or attacks with it, either is fine with me. I just figured it would be unique compared to my other four squads.

I went ahead and attached my Custom AI if you want to check it out. I think I uploaded the only two files I need to but if I'm wrong, let me know. I play it on Expert but it will play on Hard. If you decide to try it, any feedback would be great. This is my second version of them. My first version I wasn't happy with the Defensive Squad and Tactical Squad's number.

I think they play tougher than any of the stock squads and I lose about 40% of the time depending what I play (I use the stock Forces) and what map (I random).
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IronFist's Custom AI
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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:08 pm

Having a squad being close between Tactical and Aggressive isn’t too bad – because those two tasks can be fairly similar. Although it can still cause some “confusion” in the AI. But having Defensive in the mix really throws the AI in to an identity crisis.

The bazooka is a defensive weapon – but that doesn’t mean that the squad has to be a defensive squad.
I’m at work at the moment, so I can’t “test” it out right now, but look forward doing so over the weekend.
:)

And just so you (and everyone else) know – you only need to exchange the “tat” file to exchange you TA force. The “team” file is created from the tat file each time you start up the game and only used within the game itself. But the tat file is used by the Force Builder.

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by IronFist00 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:26 pm

Xerkis, any chance to try out the AI specific squad?

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Re: Proof is in the Numbers – AI Improvement

Post by Xerkis » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:47 pm

Yes, quite a lot actually. Then I started experimenting with the “Artillery Squad”. Something just isn’t adding up there – literally.

I think I must have spent about 3 or more hours of making a change to that squad – start a game for a round – check the numbers – try to figure them out – then go back and make another change to the squad – and start all over again.

It simply is having way too high of a Defensive value that I cannot find where it is coming from.

I was getting a bit “bug eyed” from it – and a little frustrated too – so I set it aside for one to take a rest from it for a bit and to also see if something might pop in my head on where to check the Defense is coming from. . . . . . nothing has – yet.

I do want to get back to it – but just haven’t yet.

Either I am really missing something there or there is something very wrong going on. Because I simply can’t find its source for that high of a Defensive score.
:?

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