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Scenario Design
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Age of Empires III Heaven » Forums » Scenario Design » Tracking player progression to increase AI difficulty accordingly?
Topic Subject:Tracking player progression to increase AI difficulty accordingly?
posted 06-09-18 11:02 AM EDT (US)         
Hello, It's been many years since I played AOE3/ESO. I've been active since 2007 and gained experience in designing scenarios, with a lot of help from Sir_Hans and Sir_Constantin back in those days (sad to see they are no longer active).

Anyways, I recently reinstalled the game and felt like starting a new scenario, to counter boring trend of Colloseum and Risk games being the sole hosted scenarios nowadays.

I am working on a 4 teamed up players versus 2 AI scenario. The 4 players have to defend a fort and share military units as well as resources and utility units and each have a specific task or access to specific upgrades that are applied on the whole team, in order to successfully fight off incoming attacks. Without proper teamwork, the difficulty of the AI is meant to crush the players.

The AI consists of 2 computer players with each their own backstory attached to it. They spawn and send troops in waves (much like the comprehensive Tower Defense scenarios years ago, which I was absolutely a fan of and edited) without really defining the attacks as waves. The AI is supposed to come out of the bushes all around the fort all the time and grows in number and strength over time.

I have no issues whatsoever with setting up the triggers for shops, upgrades, events, spawning troops or triggering enemy waves. Upgrading the HP of walls and modifying proto unit stats will be the main source of progressing and staying strong, next to purchasing unique buildings or features at the right time, not too early and not too late, much like shifting gears.

I am however unsure on how to set up an efficient way to measure the progress of the players and adapt the difficulty of the AI accordingly. I don't want the players to ever have stacked up a bulk of units and be able to have a setup that can beat any incoming enemy waves. No matter the efficiency of the players, the AI must adapt and continue to put pressure on the players. Playing smart should be punished with having to play even smarter, so to say.

My question now is: What parameters should I keep track of and store as quest vars, and how can I use these to keep the strength of the AI even with the player's strength. At the end only teamwork and micro-managing combat should be what keeps the players from losing.

A kill rewards players with 1 gold, but gold is also used to purchase things. I therefore keep track of the gathered gold next to the actual current gold.

The variables I came up with so far to track and use as a basis to run the AI engine on:
- QV: total gold gathered, a simple integer
- QV: elapsed time, +1 for every X minutes that have passed
- QV: military upgrades count, +1 for every MP or set tech status upgrade bought in the shop
- QV: current player pop (if they camp and stack, that should be met with a greater enemy wave to wipe out the stack)

One or multiple mathematical formulas could then use these variables to come up with an appropriate increase in AI difficulty using tech status and MP. +1 set tech status for players = +1 set tech status for AI seems too flat for me, and would make the increase in strength of AI troops too predictable.

Any feedback on this matter is welcome.
posted 06-11-18 07:28 AM EDT (US)     1 / 2       
Hey, quickly


In the deploy count field
Sm t big g, q, v

Dial qv mods up and or down
Scenario Contest Winner
posted 06-13-18 06:00 PM EDT (US)     2 / 2       
Checking Player Population count as well as military count vs AI's counts would be the simplest way to set difficulty level.

You would then give the AI a certain number of military units if the AI's count is too low,

On lower difficulty levels you can make sure that the player's military count is always above the AI's.

On higher difficulty levels the military boost to the AI's military count would put it above the player's military count.
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