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Age of Empires III Heaven » Forums » General Discussions » What the Ai can and cannot do?
Topic Subject:What the Ai can and cannot do?
posted 01-08-08 02:09 PM EDT (US)         
Does anyone have a list of things that the Ai never does?

Does the Ai never use unit special abilities, explore for treasure, or build forward bases on different islands? Does it also tend to neglect counter units? How do you feel that the AI compares to the AI of Age of Empires II?

What else does it not do?

Surprisingly, I've noticed that the "5 units at a time" production strategy helps the AI a lot since the AI rarely builds multiple barracks (and thus it can build a surprisingly large army from a single barrack in a short amount of time). but this probably helps the AI more in the campaigns (where the AI is given barracks all over the map).

[This message has been edited by InquilineKea (edited 01-08-2008 @ 02:23 PM).]

posted 01-08-08 03:13 PM EDT (US)     1 / 20       
the ai is really smart now. say you keep using skirmishers the ai will use hussars. the ai also uses the explorer's ability against treasue gaurdians which means it does go looking for treasure. it still just packs its whole town into a mush. in deathmatch the ai has at least 20 barracks, 20 stable and 15 artillery foundries. in supremacy it only sends groups of 10-15 soldiers to attack your base.
posted 01-08-08 04:39 PM EDT (US)     2 / 20       
LMAO, are you like a mega noob or something lol. The AoE 3 Artificial Intelligence is quite possibley the dumbest AI ever. It doesn't micro, it doesn't use counter units effectivly (attacking my jans with pikes, what on earth). When you increase the difficulty level the AI doesnt actually get smarter, it just gives it an handicap bonus and makes it faster.

Don't play against the AI, only to get a feel for the game and practice strats. Log on to ESO2 and play against human players, so much better.

You know you play AoE too much when....
"You rob a bank saying im in stealth mode, im in stealth mode"...
"You Buy a house in Britain for a free kid"...
"Whereever you see the letters "ATP" you think it means "Advanced Trading Post"...

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posted 01-08-08 04:56 PM EDT (US)     3 / 20       
I've played a bunch of supremacy games vs. the AI to get more of a hang of the gameplay, and I find that it is really inconsistent. Sometimes it leaves free treasures right by its start alone, other times it takes on outlaw defended ones near my start. I guess this is probably down to the "personalities", which maybe mean more than just different civs.

Overall it does seem to be less intelligent than that in AoK, except that it seems to use the attack-move command because groups en route will usually react to being attacked now. But in both games the AI is highly susceptible to early attacks - especially with the 1v1 maps being so small in AoE3, it's too easy to go on a little settler raid and really slow the AI down, which it never thinks to do somehow.

I just don't know why ES can't design an AI that is good at their own games. By comparison I usually can't beat a normal AI player 1v1 in Warcraft III. I remember there being better AI scripts written for AoK; are there any around for 3?
posted 01-08-08 06:28 PM EDT (US)     4 / 20       
Does the AI even use cards?
Scenario Reviewer
posted 01-08-08 07:05 PM EDT (US)     5 / 20       
attacking my jans with pikes, what on earth
AI are programmed to value a unit's siege and attack damage as somewhat equivalent and this often produces the lopsided all-halberdier Russian armies or all-pike Spanish armies one sees in compstomps. It is also the reason why most computer European civs only ever upgrade their artillery, because they have excellent siege and this is considered cost-effective in the comp AI's "algorithm". E.g. Uhlans (un-upgraded) attacking with Imperial Horse Guns and a lot of mercenaries.

It's an odd bit of logic. Reason tells us that Jans have decent siege as well as a ranged attack and high HP, but the computer Suleiman mostly ignores his rax and makes Hussars, Mercenaries and Pistoleros instead, until he can start spamming bombards and horse guns. The truth of the matter is spies, most Mercs, and outlaws have hefty siege and anti-villager attack, which the comp preferentially treats.
I guess this is probably down to the "personalities", which maybe mean more than just different civs.
This is right. If you look at the xml files for the different civs' AI files, you find a spectrum of settings for each tactical or strategic approach. For instance, RUSHING or FAVORS NATIVES or NAVAL AGGRESSION or similar keywords describe rushing behavior, minor native TP spamming, and warship aggression respectively. A civ can have values of 0, 1, 2 or some such that determines the extent to which the civ uses that tactic. Each AI civ has access to a unique range for each tactic, which produces a unique "personality profile" for that civ - what the civ is likely (but not guaranteed) to do.
Overall it does seem to be less intelligent than that in AoK, except that it seems to use the attack-move command because groups en route will usually react to being attacked now.
I remember how lame it was in AOK to catch a convoy of enemy computer units en route to your could hack the entire army to bits with a few light cav and not a single unit would turn and defend itself. AOE III has been better about that, to the point that catching an army heading to your base might be a fight.
the ai is really smart now. say you keep using skirmishers the ai will use hussars.
I've noticed some improvement in the AI since 1.03 and especially with TAD:
  • Improvements in counter selection. I'll qualify this by saying that the comp will still tend to spend much of its military budget on units which siege well, and relies on superior numbers in most cases. So seeing some Hussars coming at my skirms may mean a true counter, or that the comp just happened to have a shipment included in his latest wave of attack and knows dimly what they're good against. But I'm starting to see armies which are essentially antipersonnel in nature: ranged cavalry for instance. So far this is true mostly of Russia and Sioux, although I saw/heard a couple of Zamburaks shooting at me on a compstomp against Akbar once.

  • Better use of the TC covering fire, including not garrisoning ALL the vils in response to a raid, but only those getting attacked

  • More "backdooring" and targeting eco than before. Gone are the days when a hueg army would show up at your gates and then just burn down the entire set of walls before proceeding into your base. Now at least a good few of the units will enter and start killing villagers. Sometimes an army will bypass your entire front lines and head directly into your eco in a giant wave.

  • More, not less, targeting of the weaker players on a team. This is sort of a dilemma. Against humans this tactic only works for a short time, until ignoring the stronger players bites you in the arse or you have crippled him enough to successfully ignore him for a little while as you turn to deal with the bigger threats. But for comps, this is successful because they rely on vastly superior numbers to isolate and cut down the laggards, further increasing their numerical superiority. The answer, of course, is strike early and use good teamwork. I view this AI tactic superior to merely always attacking the guy on the end or front of a grouping. He can simply send units to the other end and backdoor the comp, or move his eco around.

  • Better use of ships in groups to run interference for landing parties and soak up tower/fort damage. I saw this on Ceylon the other night and I was impressed. Way to go, Maurice! It was very consistent. Never mind that the comp is too stupid to race for the mainland and fortify it.

  • Continuing from post-1.03, better and more organized construction of forward bases. No longer just a fort, but a stables, rax, and sometimes a saloon or foundry. Still, no walls or supporting towers.

  • Decks look more like human players' decks. Fewer unit shipments, more things like factories and upgrades (especially those that come with a unit shipment, like Two Kettle Support). A year ago, you would hardly ever see the AI using a factory. Now, it's almost the rule. It makes raiding harder - and much more important.

  • Native AI are starting to use BB techs, I'm seeing more dog soldiers and skull knights than their decks' shipments would ordinarily justify.

  • AI still don't use firepit effectively; don't garrison or ungarrison vills in non-TC structures well; no walls, no evidence they use TP upgrades, rely on explorer/WC too much, no clue on whether they use age-up wonders effectively or place them strategically (last game I played, they just seemed clustered) ; Akbar doesn't build or use Karni Mata properly, it's in a corner and has maybe 1 plantation by it, Agra fort is almost never used or built like a forward fort or castle. AI don't manage eco well on some maps; I built a New Orleans Bayou scenario with well-balanced starting resources but yet the market wood rate was almost immediately at 250.

    There are other, better AI scripts out there, for instance the Draugur version, which are smarter by dint of being more exhaustive and including terms and tactics not found in the ordinary AI script, such as terrain control, use of technologies, use of trade routes and spies. But I doubt there will be an AOE3 AI which takes conscious and dynamic advantage of technology and information, puts together a diverse army,

    Crunkatog on ESO
    Bart331 balance suggestion: aztec: remove civ
    Voltiguer: Ender, Sioux in 1.04 will be a top civ, no matter how many layers of Sioux goggles you put on
    schildpad on Elephants: ...their mansabdar unit sucks so hard it looks like a black hole
    Crunkatog on Steam.
    posted 01-08-08 07:59 PM EDT (US)     6 / 20       
    Interesting stuff. I was interested to find the AI not using walls, as this was something it did do in AoK, even if they were often placed rather bizarrely, like with gates sometimes leading to dead-ends.

    In the AoE3 campaigns walls tended to be a pain, especially as it appears you can't go through enemies' open gates anymore. I think walls would be useful for the AI in skirmishes, but I've been playing on Great Plains and it's really a bit too open for it, plus the advent of villagers not returning resources to the TC means that you use more of the map - although the AI tends to squish up all of its buildings a lot of the time anyway. Curious.
    posted 01-08-08 08:57 PM EDT (US)     7 / 20       
    Hm nice responses.

    I haven't played the AI much but I have noticed that sometimes the AI sends a massive army to attack your base and then mysteriously brings its entire army back to its base in the middle of the attack (even when it is winning). The AoE3 AI is much better than the AOK AI when it comes to attacking only when it builds large armies - whereas the AoK AI was notorious for sending unit after unit after unit after unit to its death. It is quite easy to be defeated by the AOE3 AI if you're not careful (at least in the campaigns where the AI starts with a decisive advantage) - not as much so by the AoK AI.

    [This message has been edited by InquilineKea (edited 01-08-2008 @ 08:58 PM).]

    posted 01-08-08 09:09 PM EDT (US)     8 / 20       
    Some of the campaign scenarios were a pain in that respect - made to be so especially in the "survive until ..." ones, although thankfully those were nothing like as impossible as the warcraft 3 ones.

    Back to skirmishes though, I have also noticed the AI retreating curiously, and that it is possible to be beaten by it. I now have an almost level 10 Ottoman home city, and was beaten by the AI on hard a couple of times before I got the covered wagon card ... and realised that the explorer could build town centres. Some of those changes from the "AoK Way" are a little frustrating.

    It seems that if the AI gets a fort up it helps it a great deal. Is that based on personality as well, whether it even has the fort card?
    Scenario Reviewer
    posted 01-09-08 12:58 PM EDT (US)     9 / 20       
    1. The retreats are because the AI will now (I don't know if this has always been so) "regroup" just outside of LOS of your forward base and wait for the arrival of their slower units (cannon, infantry). I play with Japan and use Buddha tech. I see a clump of halbs and some Hackapells massing just beyond my LOS (not wall, definitely bounded by LOS) and somewhere further back, a battalion of falconets coming to join them. This is different from AOK, where units attacked as soon as they reached the enemy, not waiting for backup or siege engines.

    2. Forts = definitely. As of 1.04 the AI decks still have a predominance of unit shipments and the Fort is a convenient dropoff. The AI have always been very agressive with fort placement and it's an effective strat for a superior eco but inferior tactical personality. That said, you can always count on ambushing a fort wagon crossing the map at a certain point.

    3. Multiple TCs are the best way to boom and catch up to the expert AI eco. They also control terrain and protect your hunts.

    @Campaign AI vs. 'standard AI': Iv'e noticed some differences too. In campaigns, especially those where you start with few resources and only a handful of villagers, the AI preferentially destroys economic units: villagers, mills, TC, etc. This is by design, because the AI often starts with multiple raxes/stables/castles scattered over the "hidden" parts of the scenario maps, and effectively controls most of those resources and areas. You have only a small area to hide villagers in, and the fewer they are, the more aggressively they will be hunted down. This is not always the case in regular compstomps, where vills are sometimes left unmolested while the army bears down on your military buildings and especially forts and walls. The exception seems to be builders, which are always targeted first.

    Crunkatog on ESO
    Bart331 balance suggestion: aztec: remove civ
    Voltiguer: Ender, Sioux in 1.04 will be a top civ, no matter how many layers of Sioux goggles you put on
    schildpad on Elephants: ...their mansabdar unit sucks so hard it looks like a black hole
    Crunkatog on Steam.
    posted 01-09-08 02:03 PM EDT (US)     10 / 20       
    Interesting. I haven't had the AI on hard build a fort for a few games now; must be time to up it to expert.

    As the campaign scenarios usually have the player on the back foot to start, I think there are also built-in delays in the AI to make it possible at all. In skirmishes I have definitely noticed the AI trying to take on buildings first in early rushes - to the point of suiciding a bunch of units on the TC ... good old suicide AI, at least some things don't change. Run away from the building that is blowing you up ... no, AWAY .
    posted 01-09-08 02:05 PM EDT (US)     11 / 20       
    Biggest flaws in the AI (this is 1.12 vanilla with Supremacy)

    1. Garrisoning all its settlers and stopping its economy when being raided by an explorer.

    2. Not being able to come up with a good strategy on a sea map - putting the Dock as a low priority building, not trying to clear the caravels guarding the potential spot for a Dock, not changing the site of Dock when the original site is being guarded, not using artillery on ships even when being fired upon.

    3. Failure to upgrade half his army beyond Veteran even with a booming Imperial Age economy and 20000 unspent Wood, Gold and Food.

    4. Not repairing its buildings.

    5. Predictable starting strategies - Spain will always build only pikes and rodeleros at first even against the Dutch, Germany will not build anything else other than Uhlans at the start of the Colonial Age.

    6. Still over-dependence on unit shipment and resource shipment cards, even in Industrial - at the expense of combat cards and factories.

    7. Building its Fort inappropiately far forward.

    HG Angel
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    posted 01-09-08 02:40 PM EDT (US)     12 / 20       
    Upgraded AI you can download, bewarned though, don't install it if you play ESO.

    "Apparently, arguing for the right to do something no-one wants to do is the lifeblood of HG." - TaylorFlame

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    posted 01-09-08 04:36 PM EDT (US)     13 / 20       
    The docks flaw has always made me laugh.

    AI have never been too smart. But I have noticed that they pick on weaker opponents first.

    Another thing I realized. During a comp stomp, if the host leaves the game, the AI justs stop production and everything. And just sits there.
    Scenario Reviewer
    posted 01-09-08 05:08 PM EDT (US)     14 / 20       
    @Martin: no point in playing against hard computers, you can just rush them and they roll over and die. This is also true of playing against expert Spain, Sioux, and Germany.

    Our standard 'stomp is 4v4 expert with Classic rules.

    That's the other thing...comp AI will lame the trade monopoly button like there's no tomorrow. This adds some extra challenge, but is very annoying to deal with especially since they usually combine it with an all-out gang rush. If you avoid the melee and sneak around to the tp and take it down, you'll find they do not guard it very well.

    Crunkatog on ESO
    Bart331 balance suggestion: aztec: remove civ
    Voltiguer: Ender, Sioux in 1.04 will be a top civ, no matter how many layers of Sioux goggles you put on
    schildpad on Elephants: ...their mansabdar unit sucks so hard it looks like a black hole
    Crunkatog on Steam.
    posted 01-10-08 01:47 AM EDT (US)     15 / 20       
    Playing the AI has all the challenge of beating up quadriplegics

    posted 01-10-08 11:16 AM EDT (US)     16 / 20       
    The ai never seem to build walls. if it build walls it will be more hard to raid. And in the ceylon map the computer is not building a forward base on the mainland. it just stays in the starting island

    [This message has been edited by shankar (edited 01-10-2008 @ 11:18 AM).]

    posted 02-06-08 01:06 PM EDT (US)     17 / 20       
    Had the ai build walls the other day on plymouth map, hard setting 2vs2 treaty.

    First and only time Ive seen it.

    It was odd too that this game the hard ai actually played better than the expert ai in any of my games.

    Was a fun game.
    Felix Hermansson
    posted 02-09-08 10:52 AM EDT (US)     18 / 20       
    There are other, better AI scripts out there, for instance the Draugur version
    Do you know of any others than the Draugur? I've been trying to find some for quite some time now, but no luck so far. Can you provide any links?
    posted 02-10-08 09:21 PM EDT (US)     19 / 20       
    Well at least the AI is difficult to raid because they often spread their army around and they react instantly to raiding units.

    However, I have never seen the AI not build a factory. I thought a factory was programmed to be in the AI's deck. Then again, I graduated from AoE3 singleplayer in December 2005, and haven't played much since.

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    [This message has been edited by SahintheFalcon (edited 02-10-2008 @ 09:22 PM).]

    posted 02-12-08 09:15 PM EDT (US)     20 / 20       
    I wish the AI used counters effectively when they are on the field. How sad to see units going after the wrong types.
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