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losethos

Bad AI is entertaining

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I just did a tank game on a hex map. The AI is brain dead--all enemy units move toward the nearest of your units and shoot at the nearest. I like exploiting knowledge of the AI to kick it's ass by placing a bait unit to direct its movement. Is it just me or is bad AI more fun, sometimes? Who doesn't like winning by a big margin. Many times I've played against humans and decided it wasn't as much fun ;-) If you're in the mood for doing some Ai for fun, you can improve the AI on this: LoseThos Tank Game

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Exploiting weaknesses and glaring problems in the AI is pretty much the entire idea behind Advance Wars, and a valid design choice as far as I'm concerned (and in general fighting numerically superior but brain dead enemies has always been a staple of the computer games). The obsession with making AI realistic often misses the point, unless your appeal is based entirely on immersion then the only relevant question is whether the computer is fun to play against.
Few things make you feel as clever as devising a strategy that's intentionally designed to be just beyond the event horizon of of the computer..

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A couple games I have played extensively in single player and gotten good enough to crush any computer. However, when I try playing online I get utterly annihilated. At first I thought, "Am I really that bad?" Then, I realized that I had just spent a long time training against computers. What I had learned wasn't how to play the game efficiently, it was how to exploit the AI's flaws. Humans, unfortunately for me, didn't have these flaws and my plans would crumple.

I was exploiting the AI without even fully realizing it.

Okay, so I'm not really sure what the whole point of that story was, but maybe you'll find it helpful or at least interesting.

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I find it fun when you are playing against computer and human opponents at the same time and you can exploit the predictable behavior of the computer opponents to create problems for the human opponents. For instance, I once won a StarCraft game against a friend and a computer opponent by sending an explorer to the base of the computer opponent and, once it was discovered, sending it to the base of the human opponent. This way the computer discovered where my friend was and started attacking him, I had time to develop while they were both busy fighting each other, and I then destroyed both of their bases easily.

I don't know if there are any games that make this kind of exploitation of AI weaknesses against other opponents play a central role in the strategy, but it's probably an idea worth exploring.

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I think it depends on what kind of bad the AI is. Bad as in silly tactical errors for no good reason is kind of boring, bad as in having a great overall method except occasionally forgetting something simple like flanking or jump points (in a space game) is really rather fun.

One example: Sins of a solar empire.
The aggressive AI loves to mass up units and attack, targeting defensive structures and planets first, mostly ignoring research and production structures. What it doesn't do, however, is remember any jump lanes which may be right behind it or protect its flanks. The AI can often be defeated (by a reasonably sizable force) by jumping in right behind it and opening up with long range weaponry, or you can just block them in by cordoning off phase lanes and starve them out.

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Quote:
Original post by InnocuousFox
Playing against and exploiting bad AI is about as fun as kicking a pillow.
Man.. You've got a vastly different taste in games then I do.

Some of the most fun I've had in games has been memorizing attack waves, finding the weakness in boss movements or slaughtering hordes of hapless enemy soldiers. I just don't see anyone clamoring for more intelligent enemies in Mario.
Granted in an actual strategy game you need to design with the weaknesses in mind, and think long and hard on what particular flaws the AI should have, but the end result can nevertheless be a very entertaining game (case in point: Advance Wars).

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Quote:
Original post by implicit
Some of the most fun I've had in games has been memorizing attack waves, finding the weakness in boss movements or slaughtering hordes of hapless enemy soldiers.

Then you should have stopped playing new games once Galaga came out.

Quote:
I just don't see anyone clamoring for more intelligent enemies in Mario.

Then you don't read the parade of game reviews that tend to say "... but the AI sucked."

Furthermore, if you don't want to make better AI, it's odd that you should spend time in a forum such as this one.

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Questioning someone's suitability to frequent an AI forum just because their opinion on AI differs from yours? That's not very polite. You both differ on what you find entertaining in a game, that's all.

In fact (as you know) many games are explicitly designed with boss patterns, AI weaknesses, etc, just to cater for people with those sort of tastes. Your generalisation that those sort of games are old fashioned IMO is bogus.

If the AI is buggy then that should be unacceptable in a game that people have paid good money for. If the AI is working as it has been designed, flaws and all, to give people a good experience then everything is right with the world.

Our job as game AI programmers is to help create the most entertaining product, not to make the best AI.

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Quote:
Original post by InnocuousFox
Playing against and exploiting bad AI is about as fun as kicking a pillow.


What if exploiting the AI flaws is precisely the point of the game? DROD certainly qualifies as a fun game, yet the AI of most monsters is completely predictable.

Then, it would be a matter of finding the most amusing AI instead of the most perfect one. Again, in DROD, it would be enough to have three low-level monsters with perfect AI to kill the player.

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