The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: Captain Smith on June 10, 2004, 12:13:31 am

Title: Stupid AI stunts
Post by: Captain Smith on June 10, 2004, 12:13:31 am
Just to help along the people that recode the AI, why not tell some stories of some of the stupid things the current AI does?

Granted, you want any computer controlled player to be competitive, but remember that you want it to not be so it is perfect - basically unbeatable.  That *is* possible - just witness some of the ultra-fine movements the Arilou, Pkunk, and Slylandro make on awesome to avoid enemy fire, and the fact that the Druuge is an ultra-marksman and *HARD* to catch on awesome.

I'll start.

1) What amazes me on any level is how the Androsynth just immediately blazes towards a Chenjesu or Mycon.  All it takes is two or three well placed shots and Andy goes down.  This of course points to the seeming lack of enemy-dependent coding.  Move away, fire or move forward, fire repeated again and again with every ship type.

2) The computer controlled Druuge and Melnorme (and many others) will turn and thrust against the tractor to fight its effects.  I mention these specific two, because it's much more advantageous for them to just sit and fire wildly towards the target (Druuge) or stun/let the red fear ball go into the Chmmr and thrust by using the tractor as a grav-whip (Melnorme) than to turn and fight the tractor with their engines.  Basically put, the AI (even in awesome mode) does some things a player starting out would never do after the first one or two encounters.

3) Improper use of resources.  Basically put, ships that are more effective on Standard mode than Awesome mode AI.  I'm thinking the Chenjesu ship primarily here.  One of my favorite (and rather easy to exploit tactics with faster ships) is to wait until the Chenjesu releases a DOGI, and while they don't have the energy just come in and hammer them hard. Actually, I think the Standard AI Chenjesu is much harder to defeat than the Awesome AI Chenjesu for that very reason.  The Standard AI tends to turn and hammer those crystals at you HARD, while the Awesome AI takes potshots while firing off the DOGIs.

So what's the thought here?  My thought if the AI is retooled is to just study the ships that aren't good and redo them...maybe scale back some of the ships that are TOO good, and make it a challenge.  A good challenge AI to play against should be beatable, but impossible to wipe the floor with...and incidentally like I'm sure other skilled people here are doing, I wipe the floor with the Awesome AI about everytime I play (as long as I don't place a restriction on myself on ship types I use).


Title: Re: Stupid AI stunts
Post by: wafath on June 10, 2004, 01:58:39 am
Out and out bugs:

1) Orz computer never uses marines against Utwig.

2) umgah does not use weapon or special to avoid getting hit.

Bad, stupid behaiviors:

The suppox is the computer's worse ship.  Against anything it can out run and has larger shooting distance for (about half the ships) it should be unbeatable.  But the computer does not bother following the simple proceedure:

 a) maintain proper distance.
 b) maintain proper angle to hit opponent
 c) while doing a&b, adjust position s/t it hits opponent.

Energy management.  If the damn earth ship would just turn in the general direction of the opponent before firing, it would be about twice as effective.  (Except against the utwig, where the near misses are it's best bet.)

Frankly, the computer should probably not fire with the earth, the Mmrnmhrm, or the Spathi unless there is a chance in hell that the shot will hit.  With the earth and the Spathi, the ship's turn rate is so much better than the missiles, it only makes sense to turn the ship, not the missile.

Orz tends to over use it's marines against fast ships, esp ships like the pkunk that have to come close to hit.

Heck... it might be easier to summarize the things the computer does RIGHT.

The three best computer ships are the Chmmr, the Utwig, and the Yehat.  (Data to support this comming soon.)  Two of those ships have shielding, and the third has active defence and the ability to crush anything else in a dead run, chase after opponent strategy.

The computer's next three best ships are the Kohr-Ah, the Ur-Quan, and the Chenjesu.  All ships that pack a serious punch.

The next block of three are the Androsyn, the Arilou, and the Slylandro.  All ships that are fast and manueverable.

Gah.  So many things to write about this, so little time.


Title: Re: Stupid AI stunts
Post by: Captain Smith on June 10, 2004, 08:07:00 am
I'm like you I could study the game and go on and on.

1) Agreed.  I think the assumption is that the Utwig can cut them down, basic same reason that the Ur-Quan never sends its fighters against the Earth ship and the Chmmr.  This is true if they just get sent without concern, but like any good strategy with the Ur-Quan or the Orz, you have to drop the presents on the other ship so they can't react to them.  Orz marines are the best thing to deal with an Utwig.

2) Agreed.  Umgah seems to follow the pattern: run cone if enemy is close, zip and turn if enemy is not and possibility of them being close is there.  Pretty dumb plan really, but you can't do too much with it.

3) Agreed about the Supox ship.  It can be pretty hard against some things (it's snappy about dodging shots), but just seems to randomly turn, use its propulsion, fire, rinse and repeat.  As I've stated here, I can last quite a long while against the big guns with a Supox.  The computer should be able to not match the feat, but should be able to handle the feat much better than it does.

4) Agreed about the earth ship.  It uses a lot of the same instructions that other ships use (Orz, Ur-Quan are big ones), and that is fire off shots (or presents) indiscriminately upon entering the battlefield.

On your list of what the AI does right...

1) I think a lot of the ships that are unhittable without a lot of work are the ones that are *TOO* good.  Maybe delay the reactions on these some so they're a little less computer-accurate and they'd be perfect (thinking Arilou, Pkunk, Slylandro primarily).

On your list.
2) Agreed on the Utwig, not agreed on the other two.  

Yehat is one of the ships I think is a little too perfect in terms of shield reaction.  I find that about the only thing that works solidly on a Yehat is something that can produce a sustained attack (Ur-Quan fighters, Orz marines) or can successfully make it fire but miss (Supox), or can outrun its turning capability (Slylandro), or just outlast it (Chmmr).  I really have very few ships that defeat the Yehat at all as compared to the whole.

Chmmr I would say is badly coded.  The basic plan for Chmmr is to tractor if enemy is thrusting against it or far away.  This works for the slower ships, but as I've posted in the distant past, this makes it so any ship that can successfully fight the tractor and move around the Chmmr can defeat it handily (Supox, Zot-Foq-Pik, Spathi, Yehat, Orz, Pkunk, Kohr-Ah, Mycon in rare cases).  While I think of Pkunk, this "flipping trick" stuff needs eliminated...where you can juke the computer into being completely turned around.   I do this with the Pkunk rather easily against the Chmmr.  In a sense, if the AI was written to be more aware, the Pkunk should be a dead duck with a Chmmr.  Then again the computer AI isn't coded very well to go against a Chmmr, so the Pkunk should at least do *some* damage.

In your next block of three they are only challenges because of their nature, not because the AI pilots them well.  I've already mentioned the fighter issue with the Ur-Quan.  Another similar issue is that it will keep sending fighters if you cut them down repeatedly - it's like WAKE UP, your opponent is slaughtering them, maybe time to try something different!   Zot-Foq-Pik, Supox, Shofixti, Arilou (through manuverability and asteroids) and Kohr-Ah can slaughter an Ur-Quan quite well by doing this.  

And onward to the Kohr-Ah.  Probably one of the top 4 most difficult ships in the game due to its nature...but still badly strategy with the blades.  It fires and then quickly gives up the blade and fires again.  Same with the'll discharge it for anything.  Both strats end up running the Kohr-Ah down to little energy...and we know what happens then...  True though, some of the ships seem to be a little aware of what it's fighting...Kohr-Ah won't blow it's energy against a Melnorme so it can use the FRIED against a red fear ball.  But if any ship blows it's energy, it opens itself up for attack...  Defeating this ship with the Zot-Foq-Pik is a prime example of this deficiency.

My thoughts have already been brought up about Chenjesu.

Agreed on your next three ships.  Always a challenge in general except for the exception with Andy I mentioned above.

And yes, I agree with the quote below too...I could go on and on about this.
Gah.  So many things to write about this, so little time.

Title: Re: Stupid AI stunts
Post by: FalconMWC on June 10, 2004, 06:33:37 pm
One thing that is just plain weird is (this is happening more often to me now) to have to ships close in on each other and fire. Then, all of a sudden they go flying across space at massive speeds that take a lot of thrust to slow down. It also loses chmmr zipzats too.

Title: Re: Stupid AI stunts
Post by: Death 999 on June 10, 2004, 08:50:36 pm
But that's not AI, that's game physics.

As far as AI is concerned, the Kohr-Ah are the most deficient in strategy compared to their opportunity for it.

Also, in an Ur-Quan vs Ur-Quan battle, it is very easy to win if you follow this simple strategy: launch three or four pairs of fighters and run away. The enemy will run towards you, right into your fighters, be torn to shreds. You meanwhile will be putting distance between their fighters and you... This reminds me of nothing so much as the K'Tang AI, which would drop mines while in a raging charge. And then run out of juice while nose-to-nose.

Of course the generally better Ur-Quan strategy is to launch fighters then loop around the screen to come in the other side. This sandwiches the enemy nicely. If they're fast, go diagonally and launch a second pair, then loop around with your main ship to close off the gap.

Title: Re: Stupid AI stunts
Post by: Captain Smith on June 18, 2004, 04:26:10 pm
I just thought of an out-and-out bug in the AI...well I just saw it playing the game.  The Orz computer will flatline...I mean do nothing against an Ilwrath.  It sits trying to launch the marines but can't because the marines don't have a target (cloaked naturally).  All it takes is driving up to the Orz and blasting it...mercy killing.

Oddly enough if you spare 4 crew on it, the Orz does a fine job with the Ilwrath.

Title: Yehat Shields
Post by: Zeep-Eeep on June 18, 2004, 06:06:06 pm
I also think that the Yehat is _very_ good with it's shield. Which is fine,
I think. Nice to have the challenge.

However, I recently found another ship that is _great_ against the Yehat
ships. The Syreen. The Penatrator is a little faster than the Yehat and (when it chases you) it's "suduce" has longer range than the Yehat firing range.

My fav stragegy is to get close and let the Yehat chase me while sucking out its crew. Since both ships are then travelling at full speed, the Syreen picks up all the Yehat crew. The Syreen can then turn and shoot at the Yehat until it gets a hit in (takes about 5-10 seconds). If worse comes to worse, the Syreen can sacrifice its new-found crew to charge the Yehat, firing wildly.

Title: Re: Stupid AI stunts
Post by: Terminator on June 19, 2004, 05:20:11 am
The computer's timing on blocking/evading/absorbing is awesome(referring to Yehat Arilou, Umgah and Utwig ships) but if you go long-range on them the AI will ignore all shots and charge after you (handy against the utwig and arilou). X-form vs arilou arilou should always evade the twinlasers but at the tip of the beam it doesn't react, likewise it will not evade the twin missle unless you are very close, i guess this is in the AI to give you a fighting chance.