Talon Game

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Version 1.2 released; new game mode, new map, misc improvements

#1 2014-01-11 11:51:15

sdfgeoff
Beta Tester
Registered: 2013-09-27
Posts: 103
Website

The Bot AI: Running Away

Never seems to run away from a dogfight.

I just spent a fun hour playing the warehouse map, and noticed that the AI never seems to run away after it's entered a confrontation. I think running away is a big strategy, as 'he who runs away lives to fight another day.'
But maybe I just didn't notice it.

Also, as soon as a bullet hits a cloaked AI ship, it uncloaks. My strategy if I'm hit when cloaked is to turn a tight circle until I'm hidden again and continue where I was going.

I think both of these are because the AI doesn't ever 'go' anywhere. Sure, they fly from room to room, but none of them employ the strategy most descent players seem to have, which is to never stay in a room for a long period of time.
Interestingly, if a dogfight is going on too long, most humans will break and run. I find the AI simply tires me out, as they keep the performance level up indefinitely. I slow down over the course of a 30-40 second dogfight, as my brain gradually loses the sense of which way up my ship is, and where my opponent is. And if a dogfight has run into the minute to two minute period, I'm hitting walls and obstacles, and getting stuck. Hence I break and run.

But maybe I've simply not noticed the AI running, I mean the point is to get away without the other person noticing, so maybe they're good at it!

(And yes, another map is in the works this weekend. Yes I am seeing cracked windshields on my computer screen, and yes I am imagining hearing "We're under attack" from playing it too much today! You've created a great game here)

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#2 2014-01-13 06:41:30

Scott
Refractory Studios
Registered: 2012-08-07
Posts: 454
Website

Re: The Bot AI: Running Away

Thanks. smile I'm glad you're having fun, and I'm looking forward to your next map!

Interesting observations about the AI. I think it says as much about me as it does about "them".

sdfgeoff wrote:

Never seems to run away from a dogfight.

I wrote them to disengage and retreat when they run out of ammo, but not otherwise. It's not that I designed them to be tirelessly aggressive, it's just that I didn't think to program any other condition under which they should retreat; because it never occurred to me to that there should be any other condition under which they should retreat.

I think running away is a big strategy, as 'he who runs away lives to fight another day.'

You're not wrong; it's just not a strategy that I really use. Or even think about.

... That said, though, IIRC in team games I think I did program the AI to retreat and regroup when they find themselves outnumbered. That wouldn't apply in Anarchy, of course.

Also, as soon as a bullet hits a cloaked AI ship, it uncloaks. My strategy if I'm hit when cloaked is to turn a tight circle until I'm hidden again and continue where I was going.

Yeah. If a bot is taking hits, he will uncloak to fight. The "thinking" is that once you have been discovered it is better to engage rather than wait to be taken out without even returning fire.

but none of them employ the strategy most descent players seem to have, which is to never stay in a room for a long period of time.

That is an interesting point. I think it would improve their game if they were made to follow that strategy. It's easier said than done, though; because the AI doesn't really have any sense for what is a "room".

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#3 2014-01-13 12:14:43

sdfgeoff
Beta Tester
Registered: 2013-09-27
Posts: 103
Website

Re: The Bot AI: Running Away

That is an interesting point. I think it would improve their game if they were made to follow that strategy. It's easier said than done, though; because the AI doesn't really have any sense for what is a "room".

I don't think it needs to know whether it's a room or not, just move long distance more.

I imagine that you've got some chunk of code that handles moving to a specific point in the map (eg a checkpoint or repair pad)
When you want the bot to move into a different room, simply let it start navigating to one of these points, and then stop navigating before you get there. Or you can let it get all the way there, and simply not power down or try to capture it. Simply use them as other places the bot can go. Chances are they're in other rooms!

As to when it can do that sort of thing:
- When it's shield drops below a certain value (regardless of hull)
- When it's greatly outnumbered (flee)
- When it's overnumbered (why stay if there are so many of my guys here? So many times I've seen clusters of bots around a single checkpoint, and a single buster gets a 2-3 multikill)
- Randomly (to see if anyones there!)

----------------------------
Another thought I've had is that the bots don't have any sense of 'constriction points.'
Entrances to rooms are constriction points, and so rather than have everyone clump around a capture-point, human players tend to let one person capture it, and the rest guard the room or go off altogether. When playing with a friend, we sat in two Hydra's for the entire game guarding a pair of rooms in the Warehouse map using disrupter and darts through the constriction points: the doors. By the end of it we had a huge number of occ points, and a ridiculous K/D ratio (something like 30 kills per death).
But I've got no idea how an AI can detect points of strategic value. On the other hand, they know which way they'd go to get to a certain place, so instead of clustering around a point, they move a little way along the path's they would take if they were moving away from it.

I'll put a little thought into this, because it sparks some interesting ideas for my own AI's. (yours are already way ahead of mine though!)

Last edited by sdfgeoff (2014-01-13 12:24:51)

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