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Silvermyst

Artificial Intelligence + Player Intelligence =

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What if Artificial Intelligence and Player Intelligence could be combined, like a symbiosis lifeform, each prospering from the other, always reaching the best results when working together as one? Was thinking up some silly thoughts about creating an RTS system (just thinking it up, no programming here ) when I started to draw a link to some football games I play on the computer (again, just playing it on computer, as I grew up in Europe and never got a chance to actually play the game, even though by now I''m in love with it). The football games are interesting on different levels. You can design your own plays, pick which players you want to play, design a gameplan book and of course you can play the game on the field. What if this can all be converted to other types of games? Take for example Command and Conquer, one of the leading titles in RTS gaming (right?). You can control your forces individually, or by group, and you can set somewhat of an individual strategy for each unit (''defensive'' ''hostile'' ''guard'' etc), but they don''t really have a mind of their own. Unlike the units of the AI opponent, which seem to act on their own (well, they''re controlled by the AI of course, but you don''t actually SEE this AI opponent). What if, before starting a game, the player can design strategies for his units, so that once play starts they will start to operate on their own account? The player can still make adjustments, can still take control, but with a well planned out strategy, in theory, the player could step away from the computer and let his forces do the job on their own. The goal of the design would be to create different types of AI that the player can pick from. And these should all mix perfectly with what a player wants from his troups and with commands that the player can issue during gameplay. I''m not sure if I''m clear enough about what my idea is, but I hope you get the point I''m trying to make (and I''ll try to clear up questions later on). I''m trying to design this system as mainly PvP (and I think it''ll be a good thing for players to know that even when they get disconnected they might still win if they just planned the right strategy beforehand) which would eliminate the need for a stand-alone AI (because if you give the player all the options the computer AI would have, you can''t really expect that AI to beat the player anymore).

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Somehow, I just don''t see this working for that sort of game. For a football game, where it is possible (and pretty much the *only* way to do it, since you can''t control that many players at once in the time given...) it works fine. But for an RTS or other similar game, most players will see that as a waste of effort on the part of the programmer. If I want to play an RTS, I will play it, not watch it play itself. RTS games that are already on the market have similar design concepts built into them already, such as in StarCraft, where if they see something bad, they will attack it, or stay put if that''s what you told them to do. Now, I know this is a basic basic basic example of what you are explaining, but it still applies. I just can''t see those soldiers in StarCraft leading a successful attack against any human opponent. Nor in any other game, until we get supercomputers that will play just as well as a human. It is a good idea, but I think the application needs to go in another direction.
farmersckn

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Well, I wanted units to be able to act on their own intelligently, because I didn''t want to create another ''build units as fast as you can, then send them out to their death'' type of RTS. I was envisioning more of a ''take your army to a certain location and fight another army''. Just a one-on-one match of wits between two players. No need to build barracks etc, you just start with a certain force of units and then you try to attack the opponent. As it''ll be impossible to control all the units at once (at least when a large number of units is used) you almost HAVE to give each unit a mind of its own. But, that ''mind of its own'' should communicat perfectly with whatever it is the player wants to do.

I was thinking of giving each unit a specific chain of commands, defined by AI, then give the player the ability to overpower that AI by issuing his own commands.

I know this wouldn''t work for the type of RTS that are out there now, but maybe with individual AI for each unit, a little bit smarter, more strategic (well, maybe not ''more'' but at least different) type of gameplay.

In my personal opinion, most RTS games right now are just a matter of speed (who can build up his army the fastest). I''ve had fun battling online opponents, but I kept feeling that I wanted it to be different. I like the real time grande warfare, but I also like to think things through a little more, and find satisfaction in seeing a plan unfold.

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I think this is a great idea. It''s really the next evolution. We got used to issuing waypoints, we got used to setting AI default behaviors. This would be a combination of the two.

I''m working on something similar for RTS fleet combat in space. I''m trying to give the player control of both a fleet and an individual command ship, and this looks like the only way to make that possible.

I think the key is higher level control of groups and scripted actions. These form manuevers that can be executed like macros (or football plays). Manuevers could be saved, named, and executed with a click of the mouse.

For instance, let''s say you have the Flip Shield Torpedo Run. For this manuever, ships:
1) Close to target with shields concentrated to the enemy
2) Drop sheilds when in range
3) Fire a salvo of torpedos
4) Raise shields, concentrated to enemy
5) Reverse 180''
6) Return to command ship

Each point in this strategy is a matter of location to go to, and action to be performed. I can see doing this with a fancy mouse driven waypoint interface, where you can define what AI behavior to take on at each point, and the priority of that behavior over default behaviors.

Traditional click-fest players wouldn''t have to use the interface, but I''ll bet you that if true tacticians had something like this they''d be able to stomp Tank-Rush Boy everytime.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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WAVINATOR: Exactly. Players would have the ability (if you don''t want to, you don''t have to... well, you do, because otherwise you''ll lose ) to set a chain of scripted actions, with IF/THEN (again, a link to football games, where when designing a gameplan you have to work with ''IF 1st down and 10 yards to go, on own 30 yard line, with 1:30 to go, THEN pick play X'')

If we already have the technology to design AI intelligent enough to ALMOST keep up with players (because AI can''t keep up without cheating ever so slightly), why not just use that same AI as standard op for the players?

I think the biggest task is to make units behave realistically at all times (if you can achieve that, the player will be truly immersed in the game, and finally feel like he''s controlling real armies... which would make him a real leader)

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This is the sort of thing I''d like to see in RTS''s, dumb units are the one thing that REALLY annoy me about RTS''s.

I was playing Stars! today (its a Turn based space empire building game thingy, but i''m gonna use it to demonstraite a point so hang on..) and they do something like that for thier space combat.. You have a serious of simple stratergies that u can customize, which I really like. Each strategy allows u to specify a primary and secondry target type (starbases, capital ships, armed ships, defenceless ships, etc.) and an attack method (do as much damage as possible, stay as safe as possible, retreat, try and do as much damage as possible without suffering too much damage, etc..).

As a minimum of this sort of thing, I would like to be able to tell my units to retreat (I''ve never player a RTS that allows me to retreat my units except manually.. which is a pain, when I''m trying to direct an attack on the other side of the enemy base [cuz my stupid units are wondering in and taking out the first thing they see]).

Actually I''ll make a list of some of the stratergy info I think you should be able to set:

* What to attack first, second, last.
* How to attack (Note: intellegent units like Marines should automatically seek cover if possible and so simple commands like this shouldnt be needed here) [choosing attack''s like Wav''s torp run]
* When to retreat (to stop things like one marine trying to attack a battalion of tanks)
* When to AVOID the enemy (see above)
* When to engage the enemy
* When to stop attacking (Namely for units with area damage weapons so I can stop them doing stupid things like attacking an enemy that''s totally surronded by my units [otherwise the result is 1 enemy dead 8 of mine dead.. which is V.annoying])

etc. etc.

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NIGHTWRAITH:
Yup. The design would have to be based on ''what do I want a unit to be able to do''. Not sure how it''ll work out with programming, but that should be the main goal in the design.

The commands that a player will issue during gameplay, will be mostly simple commands, affecting a large group (attack, defend, retreat etc), but would include all the special commands that the AI is using for each individual unit.

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Oh great-- another game idea that players are just going to be confused at.

Let''s face it. While you can put all the science you want into a game and make it work, it just might NOT work for all the regular, mumbly Joes out there. Older games like DOOM and Zelda both helped and hurt the industry in this manner-- they helped it by making sales soar and players wild; they put a curse on it because anyone who is used to the realtime, gun-blazing, head-to-head battle will have a hard time dealing with anything far different like this.

Now you could instead make a game where the enemy learns from your attacks. It''s entirely possible. And you could make this type of game and maybe make a few sales off it, but personally, I''d be too confused at the gameplay.

Make it so I''ll want to play it-- not break the CD in half.

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i agree w/ these ideas a lot. actually, i''m working on an rt rpg type deal and it involves some of these issues. what u can do 4 an rts is make each unit different. make each unit retreat after losing x amount of hp, make the units have different default objectives that can be changed. give them xp and let them grow and become stronger. add a perception stat that grows with the unit being in action(rookies might not see an enemy hiding, vets would) stuff like this. and this does not complicate the game for the user because they are simply acting like "people". these are things i''m doing, but not such a large scale. if this system works, i''ll probably use it 2 make an rts later cuz i hate the "build the bigger army" deal too. units should not be expendible. just my 2



--I don''t judge, I just observe

Stuck in the Bush''s, Florida

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quote:
Original post by Some Guy

Oh great-- another game idea that players are just going to be confused at.



Dude, you have NOTHING to worry about. You can trust the game industry to crank out the same stuff you''re used to without changes. If you like the way current games play, good: I can assure you you will be playing them the same way for years to come!

quote:

Let''s face it. While you can put all the science you want into a game and make it work, it just might NOT work for all the regular, mumbly Joes out there. Older games like DOOM and Zelda both helped and hurt the industry in this manner-- they helped it by making sales soar and players wild; they put a curse on it because anyone who is used to the realtime, gun-blazing, head-to-head battle will have a hard time dealing with anything far different like this.


Think Myth. Now think macros.

If people can remember 25 different combos per character in Fighting Game Retread v3.0, I''m not sure this would be asking much more of them.

quote:

Now you could instead make a game where the enemy learns from your attacks. It''s entirely possible. And you could make this type of game and maybe make a few sales off it, but personally, I''d be too confused at the gameplay.

Make it so I''ll want to play it-- not break the CD in half.


Ever play Total Annihilation?

Imagine this interface.

It handles like TA. You select units, hold down shift, and when you click on the map you get waypoints.

Only, you can right click, and select an icon from a popup menu that appears right next to the cursor.

When you do this, the waypoint changes from a star (like in TA) to the icon. The icons quick reference the AI action at that point.

I really don''t see what''s so hard about this.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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