Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

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ovarwa
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Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#1 Post by ovarwa » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:49 pm

Hi,

What game settings do you recommend for best AI performance relative to human players?

To be clear about what I mean, settings that show the AI at its very best but that are even better for human players are not 'best' for what I'm looking for; I'm interested in settings that give the AI its best shot at beating a human.

Thanks,

Ken

ovarwa
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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#2 Post by ovarwa » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:51 pm

Hi,

Hmm. We should probably exclude settings like 1 system per player, in which the starting game is a chaotic free-for-all. :)

Anyway,

Ken

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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#3 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:44 am

I dont really know so i will just guess ;)

No monsters, many specials, many natives, spiral galaxy, many starlanes.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Oberlus
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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#4 Post by Oberlus » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:22 pm

I find it is very dependent on the starting conditions (luck). So try to exploit that.

High density means easier expansion, that can help some AI to really shine at start. But we want this for the AI, not for you, so you must reject any map that gives you many good/adequate planets close to your homeworld. Usually, you can know that after two turns.
High natives means more options to complement their starting species. Again, not helping to increase difficulty if you get the same, so reject maps with good undefended natives close to your homeworld. Or just make the promise to not attack them.
High monsters means some AIs can be crippled at start while some could get some early nice monster nest and prey on the weak to grow faster than normal. If it is you who gets the nice juggernaut/krakken nest in your neighbourhood, you can keep the map even if you outpost the nest as long as you don't get the tech to breed them.
High lanes means less choke points, wider frontiers to defend, and AI is relatively good at making simultaneous attacks on far points. Coupled with you starting near the center of the galaxy, surrounded by several AIs, can be thrilling.
Choose settings that exploit your species drawbacks and other species' advantages. For example, choose ancient galaxy if you are phototrophic and young galaxy if you are not.

Talking about luck, in some ocassion, the best oponent AI was a Chato, in an ancient galaxy!

You can try setting games with not only Maniacal AIs. I have the feeling that one or two less levels of aggresiveness sometimes gives the AI better playing in certain situations, but it may be just luck.

And get out of your confort zone if there is any. For example, if you always played in a given type of map (say maps with 30+ systems per player and high planets), you may have developed a bias for certain strategies (fast, undefended expansion with no need for supply upgrades) that the AI won't be exploiting. Using new settings may help the AI exploit your weaknesses, appart from putting the things harder for you (pick a bad supply species in low density 15 systems/player map).

And as Geoff once suggested, you can give the AI some extra time. Do nothing at start (maybe teching) for a few/many turns (it's the closest we have now to a cheating AI / Insane difficulty mode).
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Dilvish
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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#5 Post by Dilvish » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:34 pm

To give more chances for a strong AI contender to arise, I generally play with at least 8-10 AI empires (Maniacal), and usually with a galaxy size of 25-30 systems per AI. Monsters at low or Medium, and I generally play with all the other settings at Medium also.
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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#6 Post by Jaumito » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:59 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:44 am
No monsters, many specials, many natives, spiral galaxy, many starlanes.
I disagree on specials, agree on the rest.

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Dilvish
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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#7 Post by Dilvish » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:06 pm

Jaumito wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:59 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:44 am
No monsters, many specials, many natives, spiral galaxy, many starlanes.
I disagree on specials, agree on the rest.
My recollection is that the No Monsters setting changes the availability of other content, such as Ancient Ruins, which I think would probably make for an overall reduction of the chances for one of the AI's to give you a good fight. Plus it just leaves all the bonus-special planets undefended, which I suspect probably slightly favors a human player. While the AI doesn't yet do a great job of handling their owned monsters, they overall cope with monsters much better than they used to, and I think that Low Monsters, or Medium monsters if the galaxy is not too big, works out better.

As for Many Specials and Natives, at least in the past I had thought that wound up being a bit more of a boon to me that it was to the AI, but perhaps we've made enough improvements to the AI so that it works out differently now, I'll have to give that some more tries again.
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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#8 Post by ovarwa » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:14 am

Why spiral?

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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#9 Post by ovarwa » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:51 pm

Hmm,

Tried spiral; it's rather different. I was playing Gysache, no longer a great species I think (offhand, I'd say George, Trith, Laenfa and of course, Scyllor are definitely superior), who are in trouble if discovered too soon. I was discovered too soon, and was expecting to have to restart after losing my starting ships. But somehow, no, I was allowed to live long enough to build my first usual LBz Carrier, fend off a (too late) attack, build a horde of incompetent Gysache troops and grab a Trith world, which I kept so that I could build better (non-Gysache) ships. I have reached (rp+pp)/Turn > 3 before Turn 100, which is better than my usual. It seems that I'm better able to take advantage of not being surrounded than the AI.

I also suspect that I get more out of Many Planets than the AI does.

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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#10 Post by ovarwa » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:25 pm

Hi,

I begin to think that there are no settings that help with this, except to the extent that some settings are more likely to create games in which the human player's starting position is poor and some AI gets a really great start.

If there are lots of monsters, the AI has difficulty fending them off because the AI has difficulty fending anything off. But if there aren't lots of monsters, the AI suffers because it isn't that good at expansion.

If the map has lots of chokepoints, a human knows how to exploit these for defense and how to deal with them on the attack; the AI does not. But if there are no chokepoints, a human knows how to maneuver 'in the open' and the AI does not.

If there are lots of planets....

...

Anyway.

I think the biggest issue is that the AI is pretty clueless about defending anything. Last night, for example, I have my initial frigate and scout camped out two systems away from an AI Laenfa's homeworld. The AI has seen my ships, both because they are Laenfa and because they blundered a scout into the system and got it destroyed; it also has to know I have a force in the area because I have disrupted their supply. None of this prevented them from trying to sneak an unescorted outpost past my ships to a nearby swamp planet, which failed because I simply moved my frigate to the swamp system and let their ship crash into it. (I'd have had trouble had the Laenfa built another frigate and some troops instead of that outpost ship, since it also knew where two of my colonies were...)

It does not know how to defend a system, or group a bunch of combat ships together so they can defend each other, or when it needs to escort a non-combat ship.

Hmm. A bit larger than this, because it also doesn't understand how to attack, beyond the basics. Sometimes it accumulates a moderate-sized fleet to do something, but it seems random.

There may be more than one missing component: How to assess strength of one's own fleet, of an enemy fleet, determine what is needed to attack or defend, what forces an enemy is likely to bring to bear, know what the enemy can see, remember what the AI player itself has seen... Most 4x games have difficulty here, and FO is firmly in this category.

Probably easier to disallow AI players from changing planetary focus once it is set, which would help the AI players a bit and is trivial to implement.

Anyway,

Ken

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Re: Recommended settings for best AI relative to human?

#11 Post by Oberlus » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:55 pm

ovarwa wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:25 pm
I begin to think that there are no settings that help with this, except to the extent that some settings are more likely to create games in which the human player's starting position is poor and some AI gets a really great start.
IMO, that is the way to go until AI is better. That and restarting with new seeds until you get something promising.
Also, you can restart a game with the same seed but different starting species. E.g. if you've been playing a game with Human and you were surrounded by tundra/desert/earth/ocean/swamp planets (and no undefended natives) and you foresaw a cakewalk, restart with Egassem.


Re: AI.
I don't think the evaluations you do about the AI are objectively expressed. I mean, the AI certainly know the basics of all you have mentioned, and more than the basics. But it's true that it ain't perfect and there is room for improvement.
Have you tried checking the source code to see if you can help the AI team?
Maybe, that you mention it, the part that calculates relative strengths, that is used to help prepare attack/defense movements. It works fine in some situations but not in others, and I think it is a limitation of the formula(e) used there.
Probably easier to disallow AI players from changing planetary focus once it is set, which would help the AI players a bit and is trivial to implement.
You mean the serrated graphs of research and production that some AIs have for most of the game? @Dilvish will correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember something about being and advantage of the AI against the human players.
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