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TW:W2 AI review and suggestions by a modder

CeltiKCeltiK Posts: 160Registered Users
Hi there,

I'd like to offer my feedback and discuss the AI with the team if possible. I have made several AI related mods for TW:W and recently released a compilation of those that quickly became the most popular AI mod on Steam Workshop: steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1120180673
The results are very good and the community feedback is excellent so far. Now based on all this work I was of course eager to see what you guys did in TW:W2 and here's what I think of the most critical issues.

First of all I won't be discussing the battle AI here as it is not moddable anyway. What I think of it is that it is very much perfectible but still the best in the series so far. I have no doubt it will be improved further in the next title.

- Passive and coward campaign AI
This was one of the most noticeable issue in TW:W1 and yes I said "was" because you guys fixed it in TW:W2, good job! Fix is in the cai_personality_strategic_components table, I have found that a sweet spot was a value of 0.85 for the enemy_strength_modifier (and threat too actually), but I didn't want the AI to be too careless so I use 0.9 instead. I see that by default you now use a value of 0.85 (0.65 for aggressive but hey, they are aggressive ^^). The retreat ratio was good at 0.6-0.7, nice to see you also tweaked this. Anyway, good job there I'm sure the players appreciate it.

- AI not assaulting fortified settlements
Another issue was the fact that the AI most of the time waited it out completely instead of attacking with a good chance of success. I found that the value for it in cai_variables was too high for CAI_VARIABLE_FORTIFIED_SETTLEMENT_FORTIFICATION_MULTIPLIER (value of 8). in my mod I use a value of 6 for it and a value of 2 for CAI_VARIABLE_FORTIFIED_SETTLEMENT_FORTIFICATION_MULTIPLIER_SIEGE_ENGINE_DECREASE. That did it nicely. Now I see you also fixed this in TW:W2 with a value of 5 and 1.75, nice job here as well :)

It'd be nice to see those above changes be applied to TW:W1 as well in a future update, if there is one.

- AI character building is completely random
This is also a big issue, not only when you confederate and inherit a useless Lord (or worse, Legendary Lord), but also for the overall difficulty of the game. Battling weak enemy Lords, especially at high level, kills all the challenge. I see that you added the hint USEFUL_ALWAYS for several key skills and mounts in TW:W2 and that's also a very nice change in comparison to the first game where everything was random. Maybe you should add the spells as USEFUL_ALWAYS too, I saw people get a Morathi or a Teclis by confederation who didn't have any spell! You also created the much needed USELESS_ALWAYS hint. Could it be created for TW:W1 as well?

Now let's talk about the two major things IMO, one very good and one... sorry guys... still very bad.

- AI settlements building
That's the good one. When I was working on my mod I quickly realized that good AI armies (by good I mean both fun and challenging) needed good province building. I managed to tell the AI WHAT to build by tweaking the score_inclusive in cai_construction_system_building_values and of course by adding many synergies in cai_construction_system_synergies. Still it was not possible to tell the AI WHERE to build. I see that now you added the scope of the synergy and it is now possible to tell the AI WHERE to build thanks to this. Well guys, thank you very much for this and I hope you will use it for Mortal Empires (as of now it is only used for the New World core races). Here also, could the scope be created for TW:W1 as well?

- AI recruitment logic
Now the bad... Sorry but the AI recruitment is still very bad. Better than what it was in TW:W1 at release of course but still, this is a major issue, the most important I'd say and unfortunately it didn't get the attention it deserves. I'll talk about the cdir_military_generator_template_ratio and cdir_military_generator_unit_qualities tables.

My most important question is: do the templates work in campaign or is it only for the random army generator in custom battle?

This is not a stupid question as I found out that tweaking the templates had next to no effect in campaign, while tweaking the unit quality values had an immediate effect on what the AI recruits. When you see the AI armies in campaign you'll see that almost all of them are absolutely not close to what they should be if they followed the templates. And of course I'm talking armies that were recruited while the AI had access to all unit types mentioned in the templates. That's the same in TW:W2. I'm sure many people here have noticed the Dragons/Phoenix spam among other things. We all remember the Norsca chariot spam even though the AI had access to the other units. The chariots value was so high that the AI only recruited those despite the template ratio for this unit being at something like 15-20% per army. I fixed this in my mod just by reducing the unit quality value and not even by changing the ratio. This is just one example among many. In the templates, those units should be limited by the ratios but that's not the case, their unit quality values being much higher than the other units in the roster, the AI tend to spam them. Tweaking the unit quality values immediately fix that issue with the AI spamming the highest one no matter what its unit type is. Tweaking the templates has no effect on it. Does the unit quality value takes precedence over the template ratios? If that is the case you can see how this work against unit variety in AI armies.

In my mod I achieved a great result with AI army compositions by tweaking the unit quality values and not the templates. The values you use (unit cost multiplied by the unit tier) is logical but lead to the AI ignoring the template ratios. I basically reduced the gap between tiers and even reduced a lot the value of the highest tier units and it works quite well. I'd really like your opinion on this and I wanted to check with you to see if you're aware of this (template ratios not taking into account).

That's all for now. @CA_Whelan and @Grace_CA if you guys could forward this to the team please? Thanks.

Cheers,
CeltiK

Comments

  • uriakuriak Posts: 3,420Registered Users
    The last point is pretty important and big time consuming part of the modding effort.

    As Celtik said, we can ponder whether the army templates that are indeed rather well designed are supposed to work in campaign but do not, or are really only a custom battle feature and the rest and there nothing to try to mimick their effect for the campaign recruitement.

    There is a ton of wonderful content made for the game, akin to cooking ingredients. Recruitement and skill selection would be the recipes and are important for the result :)


  • amdmcmamdmcm Junior Member Posts: 24Registered Users
    CeltiK, your AI mods for me, literally, turned WH1 from a game in which I would finish a campaign or two and move on, to a game I was constantly playing. So thank you!

    It's always nice to see, when a dev, is improving things in a game, instead of just saying "**** it, it's good as is". So props to CA, even if not everything is perfect.
  • vixho13vixho13 Posts: 36Registered Users
    Good topic to make suggestions to CA.
    I would add to those points the spam of hereos of the AI in the campaign, since equally this affects the armies that form, I have seen armies formed by 5 witch elves and two units of lancers, to give an example, it would be good to exist a parameter that will leave the AI that can only enter for army 1 or 2 heroes

    P.S. Celtik an equal thank you for your mods have made me play some great campaigns :)
  • FrontlinerDeltaFrontlinerDelta Senior Member Posts: 3,549Registered Users
    Oh man, please tell me this means you plan bringing your mod to Warhammer 2 Celtik!

    I too have seen dragon and phoenix spam from High Elves and it's super annoying to fight (especially as skaven who have no fliers and poor missile infantry) and it's also easy to beat at the same time...just spam stormvermin + magic. I love fighting balanced AI armies that feel like a "realistic" force and while it's better this time, it could still be vastly improved.

    I hope this means you'll be making your mod for WH2 (sounds like it won't be as hard this time?). I know that for me, it'll still be a "required" mod.
  • LeverkinLeverkin Posts: 38Registered Users
    edited October 2017
    CeltiK, though Warhammer 1 is a beautiful game, I would have stopped playing it long ago if it weren't for your mod. I really hope you'll be making it for WH2.

    Thank you for all your work.
  • unknown_oneunknown_one Junior Member Posts: 142Registered Users
    His ai mod is the most important mod in TW:W1 for me.
    Listen to this man.
  • BloodSpillerBloodSpiller Senior Member Posts: 540Registered Users
    CA this is some golden info right there!
  • Overlord87Overlord87 Posts: 819Registered Users
    Thank you for your mods Celtik, hoping you'll release one for WH2 as well.

    Also props to CA for improving the AI.
  • evind4levind4l Posts: 8Registered Users
    thanks for linking your mod for WH1!

    i couldn't get into WH1 but i'm enjoying WH2 a lot and it seems all that was missing in the first game was all the various AI tweaks that you did.

    now i can come back to WH1 (after i destroy those silly looking high elves, of course)!
  • BoldElfBoldElf Posts: 188Registered Users
    Celtik sounds like he knows what hes talking about. I will have to keep an eye out for his Ai mod :)
  • ShinayShinay Senior Member Posts: 278Registered Users
    Hey Celtik, any chance you will be doing a mod for WH2 aswell :)?
  • uriakuriak Posts: 3,420Registered Users
    He is already, but he hopes that the conclusion he has drawn on this specific topic are the same than CA. The less work required, the better !
  • CeltiKCeltiK Posts: 160Registered Users
    I started working on it, but slowly. Unless CA fix those issues themselves, the mod will be released after Mortal Empires because I don't want to do the work twice but all at once when I'm more focused.
  • kilijankilijan Junior Member Posts: 473Registered Users
    You mean, there is a chance to not see malekith with 20 shades???
  • blaatblaat Junior Member Posts: 3,037Registered Users
    thanks for your mod celtick

    snip

    It's much easier and more fun to get engrossed in lore that takes itself seriously and tries to make sense within its own frame of reference.

    the reason I prefer LOTR over warhammer fantasy and 40k

    I am dutch so if you like to have a talk in dutch shoot me a PM :)
  • RandomTagRandomTag Posts: 1,479Registered Users
    Queek with 12 Doomwheels!! Oooh Yeeeeeah~~!
  • uriakuriak Posts: 3,420Registered Users
    quoting @CA_Ato
    CA_Ato said:

    Added more AI army templates, creating more variety in army compositions and allowing for armies with special roles, like harassment regiments

    Are they the templates Celtik is talking about? The ones that kinda don't work for normally recruited armies (by opposition to those generated for custom battles) ?

    I'm really curious to know whether something is not working as intended.
  • CeltiKCeltiK Posts: 160Registered Users
    In the AI templates High Elves there is a ratio of 10% (template 1), 20% (template 2) and 25% (template 3) for flying units like Dragon/Phoenix. That's not what's happening in game where you can regularly see 50%-70% of those units in an army! Their unit quality value is so high that it seems to take precedence over the template ratios. Reducing the unit value by half or more fixes this. Same with Doomwheels people mentioned here and on Reddit, there is a ratio of 5% and 10% for this unit. Even if we take the rare template that allows 30% support, the AI shouldn't have armies with 10+ Doomwheels but it still happens regularly.

    Maybe you should consider NOT multiplying the unit cost by the tier in unit quality values. From what I've seen in my tests the army compositions are better.

    Another thing, you may also consider disabling AI recruitment for factions that don't have a building listed in cai_construction_system_unblocking_building when they want to recruit. And then enable recruitment again when the required building is constructed again (that's why you did this in the first place I guess). This will prevent armies being 100% made of pistoliers, mortars, balista/catapults, harpies etc...

    Like those:



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