[VM] AI Module: Behavioral Improvements

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HexCode
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[VM] AI Module: Behavioral Improvements

Post by HexCode » 2021-06-28 00:54, Monday

CONTENT LINKS
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Introduction
viewtopic.php?f=100&t=599#p10223

Defense vs. Attack Posture
viewtopic.php?f=100&t=599#p10224

Air Units -- Occasional Paralysis
viewtopic.php?f=100&t=599#p10225

Prepositioning Stationary Garrison Units
viewtopic.php?f=100&t=599#p10226


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The topic's contents may be modified or progressively added upon as time goes by.

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INTRODUCTION
==============

This topic should be of interest to Veteran Modders (VMs) who design custom content playable against PGF's AI Module. It is assumed that the reader is already intimately familiar with the information featured here:

[VP] AI Module Behavior
viewtopic.php?f=100&t=532

"Ambitious" Novice Modders (NMs) are most definitely welcome ! :)
Last edited by HexCode on 2021-06-28 07:07, Monday, edited 3 times in total.

HexCode
Second Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Posts: 751
Joined: 2019-09-30 18:54, Monday

DEFENSE vs. ATTACK POSTURE

Post by HexCode » 2021-06-28 01:20, Monday

DEFENSE vs. ATTACK POSTURE
===========================

Observations

Anyone who has ever played SSI's flagship content under PGF must have quickly concluded that PGF's AI is at its worst when its side is on the attack (i.e., proactive stance) as opposed to behaving... less badly when its side is defending (i.e., reactive stance).

Wishes

It is only natural that players would wish that PGF AI's behavior would somehow "improve". PGF is "abandonware". To boot, its source code is not in the public domain. Consequently, whatever can be done to improve the... lamentable "state of AI affairs" must be done indirectly. That is where appropriately targeted custom content modding comes into play (no pun intended). :)

Proposed Solutions

Very generally speaking:

Defense Posture: There is a lot that can be done to render AI's behavior more "rational". It is mainly (not exclusively, of course) about giving the AI Module appropriately "prepositioned / constructed" units so as to be able to present the human opponent with "credible obstacles" which must be removed / overcome with varying degrees of effort.

Attack Posture: The only "remedy" I know of is both crude as well as totally historically counterfactual. Namely, the AI Module directs the fates of many, many prepositioned units to begin with. Invariably, these units are being assigned grossly inflated Experience Levels and Strength Factors... A "slugfest" ensues; at least for a while !

HexCode
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AIR UNITS -- OCCASIONAL PARALYSIS

Post by HexCode » 2021-06-28 01:39, Monday

AIR UNITS -- OCCASIONAL PARALYSIS
================================

Observations

Absent a friendly airfield on the map, PGF's AI does not move its air units at all. Aircraft carriers do not matter either; ditto for enemy airfields...

Wishes

Well, can anything be done about this... paralysis ?

Proposed Solutions

One can mod a hex somewhere on the map's edge to visually display some "innocuous" terrain like sea / ocean while sporting a "concealed", underlying airfield terrain.

It so happens that the above solution necessitates the requisite editing of three binary files: *.SET, *.STM and MAPNAMES.STR. To do so, one may utilize FPGE, most likely in conjunction with remedial direct hex-editing.

HexCode
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Posts: 751
Joined: 2019-09-30 18:54, Monday

PREPOSITIONING STATIONARY GARRISON UNITS

Post by HexCode » 2021-06-28 07:05, Monday

PREPOSITIONING STATIONARY GARRISON UNITS
==========================================

Observations

PGF's AI Module is completely clueless when it comes to "understanding" the defensive advantages Entrenchment Level preservation confers upon its units. Whether a unit's entrenchment level is 0 or 255, well, it makes no difference to the AI Module... Worse, PGF's AI Module exhibits the most unfortunate tendency to aimlessly move its units about and away from natural defensive terrain such as urban centers. Consequently, PGF's AI Module cannot be relied upon to conduct a credibly strong defense of Victory Hexes (VHs), let alone of important non-VHs.

Wishes

Clearly, PGF's AI is in dire need of some "help" when it comes to putting up stiffer resistance in defense of certain important VHs and, possibly, non-VHs as well. To this effect, the emerging wish here is rather straightforward. Namely, are there some technical means to prohibit PGF's AI Module from moving about certain prepositioned units fully intended to remain essentially stationary in-game ?

Proposed Solutions

Two alternative, proposed solutions are described here:

"Anchored" Garrison Units
viewtopic.php?f=100&t=540#p8971

Ground Unit Prepositioning: NOT On Hexes Technically Traversed By Roads Or Adjacent to Port / Embarkation City Hexes

The solution involving Dual-Mode Composite Units (DMCUs) as outlined in the aforementioned post is both versatile and effective.

Ground Unit Prepositioning: On Hexes Technically Traversed By Roads Or Adjacent to Port / Embarkation City Hexes[

Important: Port / Embarkation City / Non-Naval City / Airfield hexes may be technically traversed by roads without a player knowing (based on map visuals only). Scenario designers are strongly advised to actually test whether such placed units are truly stationary.

Explicitly defined, self-contained units unable to retreat seem to be the only option here. To this effect, besides being assigned Movement Allowance (MA) ZERO (0), they must be assigned to the Structure (i.e., "Fort") Unit Class. Scenario designers might wish to "construct" such units to broadly emulate the attributes of some relevant, contemporaneous Infantry Class unit. However, the following important considerations should be kept in mind:

1) Structure Class units are relatively vulnerable to enemy Infantry Class unit attacks anywhere on the map; not just on "urban" hexes. Reason being, Structure Class units always defend against such attacks on the basis of their Close Defense values. Consequently, it is strongly recommended that units NOT intended to defend Port / Embarkation City / Non-Naval City hexes have their Close Defense values increased to match their respective Ground Defense values. Scenario designers utilizing such "enhanced" units to also guard Port / Embarkation City / Non-Naval City hexes is not without merit...

2) The aforesaid Structure Class units CANNOT be the beneficiaries of any Replacements unless they are on Port / Embarkation City / Non-Naval City hexes. To this effect, scenario designers might have some such prepositioned units enter play in an over-strengthened state (irrespective of their Experience Levels) in anticipation of their progressively diminishing strength due to potential combat.

3) Scenario designers assigning, say, 9 Entrenchment Levels to some of the aforesaid Structure Class units might be a very commendable idea...

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