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Rottz

Member Since 25 Sep 1999
Offline Last Active Jul 11 2014 07:35 AM

Topics I've Started

Help on Game AI Design

17 September 2013 - 07:44 PM

Hey guys.

 

I'm "finishing" the development of a game, and one of the final tasks is to make a decent AI for the game.

 

I have already a very crude AI that took me like 2 hours to make 2 months ago, but it's way too dumb, and now I need to improve it to make the game challenging.

 

Of course there's no silver bullet in AI, so my plan was to give the experts some info so they can suggest the path they would take if they were developing the game, so I don't waste time on dead-ends.

 

So, as a background, the game is called Big Boss TV: it's a "Tycoon" game where each player runs a TV Station and compete against the other stations. For more info, this is the game: http://www.gamedev.net/page/indie/project.html/_/simulation/big-boss-tv-r11

 

TLDR:

If you're gonna skip the long explanation, think of the game as any other Tycoon (or business management) game. I believe the AI ideas will be similar. Old games such as Mad TV (which is the inspiration for this game), Pizza Tycoon, Detroit, Transport Tycoon, etc.

 

Full explanation:

On each stage there are 3 players competing for the same goal (1 human and 2 AIs). Lets say the goal is always the same no matter which stage you're playing (in fact it's not, but the AI don't need to be so flexible - as long as it plays well towards a fictitious goal, it's good enough for me). Let's say this fictitious goal is to accumulate $5 million before the 2 other players.

 

I'd rather have the AI not to cheat, so it would be better if it had limited knowledge like the human player does (for example, the human player doesn't know how much $ the other players have). But if this makes the AI programming much more complex (or too dumb), I can live with a cheating AI.

 

On a high level, the players have to do certain actions:

- buy movie tapes

- buy news tapes

- hire anchors

- buy antennas

- sign ad contracts

- schedule movies/ads

 

And the game is real time, so to do each of those actions the player must go to a certain place (which takes time).

 

One of the main challenges for a player is to know how much audience will a certain scheduled (future) program have. The better that guess, the easier is to plan ahead (which movies to buy, which ad contracts to sign, etc), so the outcome of the decisions is better. But the audience has 3 uncertainty elements:

- a "hidden complex formula" which the average human player will never know

- a random element

- and also depends on the actions of the other players (eg, if the competitor schedules a top notch movie on the same time, you're screwed)

 

Well, without making this post extremely long, hopefully this amount of info is enough to help you guys help me.

 

So, any pointers? I don't have experience and much knowledge in AI, so please use examples/references if possible smile.png .

 

EDIT:

Ah, forgot to mention: since the beginning I had this wish of having an API with the possible interactions (the game is designed as client-server, so I already have the API almost ready) and make the AI interact through this API. So far no big deal, but also I wanted to make the AI as an external script (Lua or something). Any pointers on this? I assume that since I have the API ready, this should be somewhat easy to implement.

 

EDIT 2:

My plan is to finish this AI tomorrow or mostly Thursday. So tomorrow morning I will start it, and I will keep this thread updated with my progress (even if it's to say "Finished already, thanks anyway" ;) ). Obviously your input will be very valuable and will make me lose less time, and probably do something with more quality, so hopefully I will get some input in time :) .

 

Best


Big Boss TV

06 September 2013 - 11:49 AM

Inspired by the 1991 euro classic Mad TV, BBTV is a "Tycoon"-like game that lets you play as the manager of a TV station, being responsible for the programming of a TV station. You have to buy movies, sign ad contracts, and deal with the annoying competition.

Click here to view the project

Overview on GameDev.net

20 July 2013 - 01:45 PM

Hello guys!

 

I believe the topic/suggestion I will introduce may have been discussed a few times, but I want to bring my 2 cents. I haven't planned what I'm gonna write (except for the suggestion itself), so lets see what comes up.

 

GameDev.net is a reference for game development for a long time, since GPMega days. I've never been a heavy poster, but used to read and follow the forum a lot (#1 source for game programming info, both technical and design). Then I leaned more to a corporate career for many years, while sometimes doing a little game programming as a hobby, and didn't follow the gaming scene much more.

 

Comparing GameDev.net from back then to today, I noticed an increase in articles: there used to be articles back then, but for me GameDev.net was a forum with some articles as reference, and now it seems to be an article database with a forum. I'm not saying this is BAD, I'm just saying it's different. But it doesn't feel very much alive anymore as a community.

 

The Game Programming and General Programming forums were the main forums back then, and they still seem to be, but with much less posts. This is understandable: back then we didn't have StackOverflow (and related) to find the solution to 95% of our programming problems, so most people would ask the questions on forums (or IRC). And GameDev was strong on that (when the topic was game programming, of course).

 

Another big change, besides StackOverflow, was the market itself. Back then Windows games were dominant, and now they are dying (lets not discuss this please, but as much as I hate this fact, since I'm a PC gamer - but yes, they are dying), and the mobile gaming industry is totally dominant.

 

Some may call it (the mobile/tablet gaming) a trend. Well, it might be, but I highly doubt it - well, unless you call a 10+ year multi-multi-multi-billion dollar a trend. In that case you could call Windows, Linux and Mac gaming a trend also. Mobile gaming will not die anytime in the next 5 years, actually it will only grow - and a lot.

 

Now I arrive on my point: hundreds of mobile games are being released every single day, several thousands are in production, and there is a legion of mobile developers. Then shouldn't GameDev.net shift a bit of its forum focus towards this market? This is still game development, I'm not saying to GameDev.net become a cooking website. Just give a bit more focus on mobile.

 

Let's create a community on this: there is not a dominant forum on mobile game development - GameDev.net could be it.

 

How to achieve it? Well, that is hard to answer, but for starters I would suggest: create an iOS sub-forum, Android sub-forum, Windows Phone sub-forum (or "Others"), Indie Mobile Gaming Scene sub-forum. Get people who know those markets well to post content, answer questions, create tutorials (informally, on the forum, similar to how NeHe started, and not formally published peer-reviewed articles), ...

 

Sorry for the long post, I just wanna see GameDev shine even more smile.png.

 

And hopefully my forum age/id will increase the credibility of my post: I'm not a kid recently seduced into mobile gaming buzz.

 

Best!

- Pedro / Rottz / RoTTer

 

(EDIT: Just to make it clear, all my suggestions are strictly related to the FORUM/Community part of the site. I would rarely read the articles back then, and I rarely read them today, so if there are a lot of articles on Mobile Gaming, which I dont know, good, but thats not my point)


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