Total War: Rome 2 Video Highlights "Very Hard" AI

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Total War: Rome 2 Video Highlights "Very Hard" AI

Creative Assembly has released a video showing off Rome 2's AI in action.

I will admit to not being the best Total War strategist. While I've had my moments of greatness, my usual strategy tends to be building an army so overwhelming that I can pretty much grind my opponents into oblivion. Generally speaking, I'm doing pretty good if I walk out of a battle with more than half of my troops still breathing. That in mind, Creative Assembly recently released some gameplay footage that demonstrates just how easily Total War: Rome 2's AI can destroy players like me when it really wants to.

The video, narrated by communications manager Al Bickham, pits a player controlled army of Macedonians against a Roman force controlled by an enemy AI cranked up to "Very Hard." The results are painful to watch. Bickham seems to do well enough at first, maneuvering and commanding his units with some hint of experience. It doesn't take long however for the AI general to start picking his forces apart, countering each of his moves with ease and using buffs to enhance its army's abilities. "AI generals are very much more able and eager to hunt around for situations where their activated abilities are going to be of use the army," explains Bickham, as own his own troops begin to waver.

In less than ten minutes Bickham's Macedonians are in full retreat, while the Roman's come out looking fairly unscathed. All in all, it's an impressive demonstration of the AI's abilities and one that's likely to leave middling players like myself feeling even more inadequate about their tactics. Meanwhile, more skilled players eager to test themselves against Rome 2's AI don't have much longer to wait. The game is set for a worldwide release on September 3rd.

Source: YouTube

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Is it just me who remember the AI videos for Empire, which promised awesome, responsive AI that would be able to utilize dozens of different tactics depending on how the player behaved. The actual AI in game, before a year worth of patches were applied? It lined all its' units up in a line and marched bravely into fire, never using special formations or attempting flanking maneuvers.

Ever since, I am very skeptical whenever CA claims to have drastically improved their AI.

I hope they also improve the campaign map AI. Even a military genius level AI can't win when they attack with scattered units and no infrastructure to back them up.

Yeah I'll believe it when I see it. It looked good in the video but the guy didn't play it very well, he must have invested a lot of points in his calvary then pretty much ignored his two units in the woods on the right while the AI peppered him with range units and what looked like a single strong counter. That left him over matched on the field, where he talked for a minute or two about the AI general using buffs before he finally did anything with his own.

That said if the AI can recognize and counter calvary that will go a long way towards increasing the difficulty, as that was always the most basic way to exploit the enemy. Hold a strong line in the middle while you maneuver you're cavalry (general included) to the flanks/rear for a moral crushing charge.

As much as I love these games the tactical combat has always been sort of a problem for the 4x elements. Same with a game like Fallen Enchantress which I'm currently playing. Where as in the Civilization series unit combat is a roll of the dice, give me direct control in tactical combat and I'll pretty much always win unless they bring an overwhelming force.

The biggest thing with AI's in my mind is letting them play well against you but at the same time, not allowing them to cheat. If they can cheat, they aren't winning fairly end of story.

RandV80:
As much as I love these games the tactical combat has always been sort of a problem for the 4x elements.

No, the AI has always been a problem in 4X games period. Tactics? Terrible. Long term strategy? Doesn't have one. Diplomacy? Thats what they put in when cheat codes went out of style.

I can't think of anything that any 4X AI does better than an experienced player.

Eri:
If they can cheat, they aren't winning fairly end of story.

If they don't cheat, they aren't winning, end of story.

Bad Jim:
I can't think of anything that any 4X AI does better than an experienced player.

To be fair, despite not be an expert in every game genre, I don't think I've ever heard of a game (Not counting Chess, okay?) where the veterans didn't find the AI to be fairly trivial to best unless it's cheating rampantly.

The real question is whether the AI provides enough of a challenge that you can have fun beating them.

StewShearer:
article

For the rest of us there's always "EASY PEASY" mode, right?

Bad Jim:

RandV80:
As much as I love these games the tactical combat has always been sort of a problem for the 4x elements.

No, the AI has always been a problem in 4X games period. Tactics? Terrible. Long term strategy? Doesn't have one. Diplomacy? Thats what they put in when cheat codes went out of style.

I can't think of anything that any 4X AI does better than an experienced player.

What I meant was that a 4x game like Civilization you have to be really good at the 4x part because unit combat is a role of the dice. But for a series like Total War I can be an amateur at the 4x part but still win the game because anything short of a mongol invasion the enemy throws at me I can repel. Well Civ V has stepped a little bit into the latter category with it's hex grid and 1 unit per square. While I love the change as it makes the game funner I can now repel what in earlier Civs was known as the dreaded 'stack of doom' with just a few well placed units. Though I here the recent expansion has done a better job with this, I just haven't checked it out yet.

And I can give you one 4X game that actually has a great AI: Galactic Civilizations II. Stardock managed to make an AI here where the computer doesn't treat you as the 'PC' but rather just another competing race, and increasing the difficulty only increases the effectiveness of the AI, no handicaps are given out.

Bad Jim:
No, the AI has always been a problem in 4X games period. Tactics? Terrible. Long term strategy? Doesn't have one. Diplomacy? Thats what they put in when cheat codes went out of style.

Still? I remember things being like that ten, fifteen years ago, but I figured they'd improve at some point. Especially in a long running series like Total War.

...I don't have time to play these kinds of games myself any more.

Falterfire:

Bad Jim:
I can't think of anything that any 4X AI does better than an experienced player.

To be fair, despite not be an expert in every game genre, I don't think I've ever heard of a game (Not counting Chess, okay?) where the veterans didn't find the AI to be fairly trivial to best unless it's cheating rampantly.

The real question is whether the AI provides enough of a challenge that you can have fun beating them.

AI flaws are worse in 4X games for several reasons.

1) The genre is far more complex, with so many more ways that the AI can do something stupid. Other genres avoid concepts that will give the AI serious trouble. In 4X you are expected to be able to do stuff like diplomacy, which AI never handles well.

2) The genre is a pure mental exercise. You spend your time analysing the situation and you notice all the subtleties that the AI completely ignores. In a lot of action games you can just turn your brain off and stab or shoot your way through, so you don't notice how stupid the AI is.

3) Multiplayer is not practical for grand strategy. It just takes too long. People who are dissatisfied with the AI cannot look online for better opponents.

4X is still fun, but I think the endemic AI flaws do detract from the experience.

RandV80:
And I can give you one 4X game that actually has a great AI: Galactic Civilizations II. Stardock managed to make an AI here where the computer doesn't treat you as the 'PC' but rather just another competing race, and increasing the difficulty only increases the effectiveness of the AI, no handicaps are given out.

Sorry to burst your bubble but the wiki says otherwise

http://galciv.wikia.com/wiki/Difficulty_level

The AI is as smart as it will ever get at the 'Intelligent' (tough) level. Beyond that, it's just getting material advantages.

Gethsemani:
Is it just me who remember the AI videos for Empire, which promised awesome, responsive AI that would be able to utilize dozens of different tactics depending on how the player behaved. The actual AI in game, before a year worth of patches were applied? It lined all its' units up in a line and marched bravely into fire, never using special formations or attempting flanking maneuvers.

Ever since, I am very skeptical whenever CA claims to have drastically improved their AI.

Don't forget the AI wasting its Cav in unsupported frontal charges which mostly wiped them out leaving their own Inf vulnerable to counter charges by your own Cav units. Even Darthmod didn't fix how easy it was to pull a Fredricksburg at every single battle.

Gethsemani:
Ever since, I am very skeptical whenever CA claims to have drastically improved their AI.

Yeah, I remember those!

It's worth remembering that Empire was particularly bad for AI. Even now, it has a strange habit of sending unsupported cavalry riding back and forth in front of infantry. I think Darthmod fixes most of these truly silly problems though.

Generally, I think complex games will always have problems with AI. The idea that an AI will be able to compete on equal terms with a skilled human player any time soon is kind of overly optimistic. I really don't like the argument that it's somehow laziness on the part of AI techs to fail to produce an AI which can beat you without awarding itself bonuses. They aren't working for Cyberdyne Systems.

I swear he was both outnumbered and out maneuvered. Seriously, he really misused his cavalry.

While I won't agree that the AI looks super brilliant, it does look functional. That is a pretty vast improvement over Empire: Total War. It is also reassuring to see that this battle doesn't look overly scripted like the 'AI showcases' from Shogun 2 and Empire. I actually recognize some AI moves in the video that are very similar to how the AI does things in Shogun 2. It will take a long time for AI to be able to compete with a skilled human player. I find Total War AI easy to crush, yet I know friends who are totally helpless against even a normal difficulty bot.

I hear this kind of whining in the Hearts of Iron III forums, but I actually think the AI is brilliant in that game. If people just stopped and thought about how much the AI in HOI3 is managing, it is pretty incredible. Sure a skilled human can stomp all over it, but that is to be expected.

What would be even more appreciated would be if they fixed the campaign map AI so that it occasionally behaves like something other than Skynet towards the human player. I have studied enough history to know that occasionally there did exist a few nations who developed in a slightly different fashion to the North Korean model of 'stuff all economic development and park a big fuckoff army on your neighbour's doorstep'.

I'm surprised the presenting player survived for as long as he did, considering the blunders he made from start to finish. He got himself locked and didn't manouver when opportunity arose. He could have gotten steamrolled much earlier had the AI been slightly more aggressive as well. Despite all this, he -still- had a decent chance to pull through near the end, but instead he felt the need to pursue routing units with his general when the frontline was in dire need of his support...

I understand that player skill isn't mandatory when showing how the game works. But considering the intent of this video was to show how difficult the AI was, this looked far from promising. A larger force, facing a human player that had no understanding of how to utilise cavalry (Alexander would probably be weeping if he had seen this video), and it still had to struggle and take heavy losses.

It just feels like a poor attempt at making the AI appear capable when they clearly throw advantages at it. I'd like to see it fare against someone who seemingly isn't with a bias of anything that the company says is true.

Am I really the only one out of all these supposed seasoned generals commenting on the AI here that noticed that the two cavalry in the forest were pinned down not by ranged troops, but cavalry? Sure he could have pulled out way earlier and moved his second cav to get the velites off his back. Sure he's showing off the AI, cutting it some slack or is genuinely one of those people that find the AI challenging (yes those actually exist). For example he made the absurd choice to not instantly withdraw his light skirmishers after the first volley of arrows. He could have literally dodged that first volley and then start to move in his spears.

There isn't a single AI in the world that can beat an experienced player and they aren't supposed to! The AI is meant as a hurdle, something you CAN pass. No matter the amount of training I do I ain't going to be the #1 Starcraft guy. However I will beat the AI, because the AI should be designed as something fair, smart and beatable.

To me I saw an AI that had lost most of the horrible quirks of the older versions. Like charging out their general alone, or keeping their general absolutely stationary or chasing a single cavalry regiment with half their forces or shifting their entire force to face towards a newly discovered enemy. It seemed capable of actually directing units separately and not as a gigantic blob.

A GOOD AI is a not stupid AI, one that you cannot exploit, not an AI that plays like an experienced player. For that we will have to wait till Skynet comes on.

My main points are however Diplomacy, Campaign AI and Unit Variety. Those are the three things I want to see changed the most. If they can fix it so Diplomacy is clear and logical and a city that you are besieging with 4x the amount of troops doesn't stubbornly refuse your surrender offer or that the AI doesn't spit in your face by offering you a treaty then breaking it the very next turn, thus ruining your relationship with EVERYONE for some reason because you broke a trade agreement.

Unit variety really should speak for itself. Playing as another faction shouldn't feel like just playing the same game from a different geographical position. Shogun 2 was quite bad at this but that was also a limitation of the game's subject. Here however I hope that a Barbarian will require a complete new way of managing units than for example Carthage or an Eastern Empire.

Those are the things I want fixed. Those to me are way more important than a hyper intelligent Battle AI, all I ask of the Battle AI is that it can prioritize properly. Hold and break formation when necessary. Doesn't get baited easily into exploiting it's behaviour. However most off all, that it actually recognizes lost battles.

The AI in Rome: Alexander actually often did something that fucking BLEW MY MIND! It RETREATED!!! Have you ever seen an AI actually order a full out retreat on the battlefield when things went poorly for it and the match became impossible to win? I sure haven't.

RandV80:
snip
give me direct control in tactical combat and I'll pretty much always win unless they bring an overwhelming force.

Yeah, this has always made the game a bit too easy. Except for in shogun where low unit variety made things quite a bit more balanced. That, and the fucking AI pulled entire armies right out of its ass. That wasn't very fun.

It did lead to some fun moments though, or ones where you really felt like a Badass.

Like holding a huge city in Rome 1 with nothing but 5 units of only somewhat upgraded pikemen against a nearly maxed out army of legionary and urban cohort. Phalanxes were so op. Put them in the town center at one of the road chokepoints so my units don't run, then watch the romans just TRY to punch their way through. After tiring them out, general's honor guard charge rout and their entire army disappears. 6-1 KD ratio. U mad, rome? (they were mad, they tried that shtick 3 with 3 full stack armies before taking the city, which i then promptly re-took with the relief troops i was sending that way. Heh.)

1337mokro:
Am I really the only one out of all these supposed seasoned generals commenting on the AI here that noticed that the two cavalry in the forest were pinned down not by ranged troops, but cavalry? Sure he could have pulled out way earlier and moved his second cav to get the velites off his back. Sure he's showing off the AI, cutting it some slack or is genuinely one of those people that find the AI challenging (yes those actually exist). For example he made the absurd choice to not instantly withdraw his light skirmishers after the first volley of arrows. He could have literally dodged that first volley and then start to move in his spears.

There isn't a single AI in the world that can beat an experienced player and they aren't supposed to! The AI is meant as a hurdle, something you CAN pass. No matter the amount of training I do I ain't going to be the #1 Starcraft guy. However I will beat the AI, because the AI should be designed as something fair, smart and beatable.

To me I saw an AI that had lost most of the horrible quirks of the older versions. Like charging out their general alone, or keeping their general absolutely stationary or chasing a single cavalry regiment with half their forces or shifting their entire force to face towards a newly discovered enemy. It seemed capable of actually directing units separately and not as a gigantic blob.

A GOOD AI is a not stupid AI, one that you cannot exploit, not an AI that plays like an experienced player. For that we will have to wait till Skynet comes on.

My main points are however Diplomacy, Campaign AI and Unit Variety. Those are the three things I want to see changed the most. If they can fix it so Diplomacy is clear and logical and a city that you are besieging with 4x the amount of troops doesn't stubbornly refuse your surrender offer or that the AI doesn't spit in your face by offering you a treaty then breaking it the very next turn, thus ruining your relationship with EVERYONE for some reason because you broke a trade agreement.

Unit variety really should speak for itself. Playing as another faction shouldn't feel like just playing the same game from a different geographical position. Shogun 2 was quite bad at this but that was also a limitation of the game's subject. Here however I hope that a Barbarian will require a complete new way of managing units than for example Carthage or an Eastern Empire.

Those are the things I want fixed. Those to me are way more important than a hyper intelligent Battle AI, all I ask of the Battle AI is that it can prioritize properly. Hold and break formation when necessary. Doesn't get baited easily into exploiting it's behaviour. However most off all, that it actually recognizes lost battles.

The AI in Rome: Alexander actually often did something that fucking BLEW MY MIND! It RETREATED!!! Have you ever seen an AI actually order a full out retreat on the battlefield when things went poorly for it and the match became impossible to win? I sure haven't.

I actually have, it was outright annoying because you'd get the AI into a corner and then they'd retreat again so you couldn't kill them. The reason they don't run instantly is for fun, not realism. Anyway, I didn't see any major improvements over shogun. The only noticeable one was the enemy general using AI buffs. The enemy still charged headfirst into a phalanx and let the skirmishers pepper them. If he didn't forget to use his cav/click on a roman unit thinking it was his (yeah, that happened) he could have easily baited and won. Not to impressed, but I don't mind, I know what i'm getting with rome and i love it.

Yelchor:
I'm surprised the presenting player survived for as long as he did, considering the blunders he made from start to finish. He got himself locked and didn't manouver when opportunity arose. He could have gotten steamrolled much earlier had the AI been slightly more aggressive as well. Despite all this, he -still- had a decent chance to pull through near the end, but instead he felt the need to pursue routing units with his general when the frontline was in dire need of his support...

I understand that player skill isn't mandatory when showing how the game works. But considering the intent of this video was to show how difficult the AI was, this looked far from promising. A larger force, facing a human player that had no understanding of how to utilise cavalry (Alexander would probably be weeping if he had seen this video), and it still had to struggle and take heavy losses.

It just feels like a poor attempt at making the AI appear capable when they clearly throw advantages at it. I'd like to see it fare against someone who seemingly isn't with a bias of anything that the company says is true.

Well I think that the defending force was much more "elite" so to speak. Unless the game was deliberately balanced AGAINST rome, then those phalanx units would need much improved weapons and armor to survive for so long against the mass of infantry that almost completely surrounded them. Same with the cavalry. The commentator's cavalry were clearly much more elite than the roman cavalry, surviving so long in a slugging fest with his even with the general buffing them.

I think that is why the AI seemed to be struggling as much as it did. It had quantity over the quality it needed to crack a phalanx, and not enough anti-cavalry to really counter the commentator's cavalry, which could have easily swept the field had he used them.

Dogstile:

1337mokro:
snip

I actually have, it was outright annoying because you'd get the AI into a corner and then they'd retreat again so you couldn't kill them. The reason they don't run instantly is for fun, not realism. Anyway, I didn't see any major improvements over shogun. The only noticeable one was the enemy general using AI buffs. The enemy still charged headfirst into a phalanx and let the skirmishers pepper them. If he didn't forget to use his cav/click on a roman unit thinking it was his (yeah, that happened) he could have easily baited and won. Not to impressed, but I don't mind, I know what i'm getting with rome and i love it.

No I think you misunderstood me.

I wasn't talking about the campaign map, that was complete bullshit how they could circle around your fucking army through your attack zone and end up behind you. They better have fixed that.

I am also not talking about them kiting you like a bunch of bitches on the battle map itself, that is actually a positive thing and something I totally would do just to win a match. It's annoying but tell me a human wouldn't kite you like a bitch if that was his only chance?

No I mean you started a battle, the AI outnumbered AND outmatched you. The battle started, you kill their general, run down their archers, pepper em with arrows and basically decimate them utterly, they will still not retreat with their intact units. That always baffles me because the rare chance that a battle goes bad for me? The first thing I do is retreat and set my cavalry to harassment duty whilst the infantry moves out.

It never does that, never in it's life will the AI recognize a lost battle and decide to instead support it's main town from the coming siege for example.

Also something I just thought about, I hope prisoners are back in the game! POW's were turned into slaves in Roman times so a good battle could net you a nice profit.

Quazimofo:

RandV80:
snip
give me direct control in tactical combat and I'll pretty much always win unless they bring an overwhelming force.

Yeah, this has always made the game a bit too easy. Except for in shogun where low unit variety made things quite a bit more balanced. That, and the fucking AI pulled entire armies right out of its ass. That wasn't very fun.

It did lead to some fun moments though, or ones where you really felt like a Badass.

Like holding a huge city in Rome 1 with nothing but 5 units of only somewhat upgraded pikemen against a nearly maxed out army of legionary and urban cohort. Phalanxes were so op. Put them in the town center at one of the road chokepoints so my units don't run, then watch the romans just TRY to punch their way through. After tiring them out, general's honor guard charge rout and their entire army disappears. 6-1 KD ratio. U mad, rome? (they were mad, they tried that shtick 3 with 3 full stack armies before taking the city, which i then promptly re-took with the relief troops i was sending that way. Heh.)

haha that was always fun. bottling up their entire army in a single street with a phalanx and hitting their rear with something and the slaughter begins

Well that was disappointing. I hope they keep trying but I'm losing faith in developers' ability to make smarter AI strategy. The only thing really explained at all is the buffing, which is nice, but not what I'm looking for. Much more depth on the AI's tactical decisions is required to sell me on this. Some proof of this tactical computing that the AI is supposedly doing would be nice, in regards to unit strength, morale and casualty likelihood. I just saw an outspeared player losing by the numbers. Maybe we'll just have to jump in to really get a feel for it. I really don't want the upgrades to consist of more cheating (rule consistency people!) and bigger number values than the player. I'll just have to stay tuned.

Ugh that battle was painful to watch- I can't help but think the guy deliberately lost. He had his cavalry dawdling around engaging heavy infantry when really he should have used them to quickly rout the skirmishes before charging into the rear flank of the enemy engaged with the phalanxes.

Anyway, i'll believe the AI's better when i see it.

1337mokro:

The AI in Rome: Alexander actually often did something that fucking BLEW MY MIND! It RETREATED!!! Have you ever seen an AI actually order a full out retreat on the battlefield when things went poorly for it and the match became impossible to win? I sure haven't.

Under certain circumstances in Napoleon:TW, armies would pack up their gear and march off the battlefield as soon as you destroyed their artillery.
The fact I don't know all the checkboxes required for them to do this is an indicator of just how rare this was; after some 400 hours of Napoleon alone I could pretty much let the AI do whatever I wanted, just by exploiting its behavioural triggers.

The funny thing about this trailer is that the human opponent quite obviously knows exactly how the AI thinks, as he's pulling all the tricks the AI can counter well.
But on the whole I'm not too concerned about Rome's AI. Shogun's AI already was a lot better than Napoleon, and it's nice to see them fiddling a bit more with general behaviour.

It'll just not hold up well against people who have thousands of hours /played in the previous games, and it'd be quite unreasonable to expect anything else. It's not like a human opponent would stay unpredictable after hundreds of matches played against him.

Quazimofo:

Like holding a huge city in Rome 1 with nothing but 5 units of only somewhat upgraded pikemen against a nearly maxed out army of legionary and urban cohort. Phalanxes were so op. Put them in the town center at one of the road chokepoints so my units don't run, then watch the romans just TRY to punch their way through. After tiring them out, general's honor guard charge rout and their entire army disappears. 6-1 KD ratio. U mad, rome? (they were mad, they tried that shtick 3 with 3 full stack armies before taking the city, which i then promptly re-took with the relief troops i was sending that way. Heh.)

Remember river crossings in Napoleon? Put two units at the bridge so it's not undefended, and park light infantry and artillery loaded with canister shot at the ford. It's a fucking massacre, every time.

Kargathia:

1337mokro:

The AI in Rome: Alexander actually often did something that fucking BLEW MY MIND! It RETREATED!!! Have you ever seen an AI actually order a full out retreat on the battlefield when things went poorly for it and the match became impossible to win? I sure haven't.

Under certain circumstances in Napoleon:TW, armies would pack up their gear and march off the battlefield as soon as you destroyed their artillery.
The fact I don't know all the checkboxes required for them to do this is an indicator of just how rare this was; after some 400 hours of Napoleon alone I could pretty much let the AI do whatever I wanted, just by exploiting its behavioural triggers.

The funny thing about this trailer is that the human opponent quite obviously knows exactly how the AI thinks, as he's pulling all the tricks the AI can counter well.
But on the whole I'm not too concerned about Rome's AI. Shogun's AI already was a lot better than Napoleon, and it's nice to see them fiddling a bit more with general behaviour.

It'll just not hold up well against people who have thousands of hours /played in the previous games, and it'd be quite unreasonable to expect anything else. It's not like a human opponent would stay unpredictable after hundreds of matches played against him.

Of course, that is not what I am asking for though. I don't require that super AI.

In the above, the bit you didn't quote, were my basic desires for what I would call a good battle AI. One that can recognize the strong points of it's army, both individually command units and command the entire army as a whole and has less triggers to be exploited.

I also played several hundreds of hours of Napoleon however never did any unit retreat on the battle map. It also didn't happen after the artillery because that got shut down as quickly as possible with the cavalry I had in each battle it was present in.

In short I have never seen a retreat since Alexander Rome. Mainly because they programmed a set of retreat variables, however I think they can do even better now and actually program dynamic retreats based on the generals and the odds. Rash, brave and reckless generals don't retreat, but cowardly ones might the second the battle odds go from 2:1 to 0.50:1 in their favour.

Oh dear.
I think Mr. Bickham deliberately threw that match. It does not take a veteran Total War player to know that tossing cavalry onto the points of the enemy's spears is an oafish idea- especially in forested terrain. Why, Mr. Bickham? Why?
Still, it is nice to see the AI not committing its general to close combat. The video also highlights the classical problem with phalanx type troops; once they're engaged, they're not going anywhere in a hurry. The AI realized this and got them into combat ASAP to pin them down. They still lasted far longer than I would have thought, though.

1337mokro:

Of course, that is not what I am asking for though. I don't require that super AI.

In the above, the bit you didn't quote, were my basic desires for what I would call a good battle AI. One that can recognize the strong points of it's army, both individually command units and command the entire army as a whole and has less triggers to be exploited.

Personally I'd be inclined to modify it such that the basic triggers still exist, but their conditions are dependent on the personality of the army / general, not a universally set distance.

I also played several hundreds of hours of Napoleon however never did any unit retreat on the battle map. It also didn't happen after the artillery because that got shut down as quickly as possible with the cavalry I had in each battle it was present in.

As far as I could tell the triggers were that 1) They had tried to retreat from battle on the campaign map (but got chased/caught) 2) You had the superior army 3) you destroyed their artillery 4) Your troops weren't in the vicinity 5) His general was alive. In practice this meant your artillery had a few lucky shots and killed their gunners. I'm not entirely sure about it though, mostly as artillery seemed to be hard-coded to be resistant to artillery fire, and such these conditions were pretty rare, and are mostly based on suspicion.

In short I have never seen a retreat since Alexander Rome. Mainly because they programmed a set of retreat variables, however I think they can do even better now and actually program dynamic retreats based on the generals and the odds. Rash, brave and reckless generals don't retreat, but cowardly ones might the second the battle odds go from 2:1 to 0.50:1 in their favour.

Distinct general personality is one of the things I've wanted to see for a while now, as it would make for much more variable AI styles without weirdly randomising things. And not just it triggering how quickly they retreat, but the whole shebang - favoured units, preference of hill-camping, aggressiveness, army formation, etc etc.

Jamous:
I swear he was both outnumbered and out maneuvered. Seriously, he really misused his cavalry.

Ya putting his cav into trees, was a mistake. It's fine if you want to burst out of the woods and flank the enemy that way but the second he was spotted he should of pulled them back and used them as a harassing force. Keeping them in the trees to fight just seems like a terrible idea.

But I'm terrible at RTS games, I'm a turn based kinda guy myself.

1337mokro:
Am I really the only one out of all these supposed seasoned generals commenting on the AI here that noticed that the two cavalry in the forest were pinned down not by ranged troops, but cavalry? Sure he could have pulled out way earlier and moved his second cav to get the velites off his back. Sure he's showing off the AI, cutting it some slack or is genuinely one of those people that find the AI challenging (yes those actually exist). For example he made the absurd choice to not instantly withdraw his light skirmishers after the first volley of arrows. He could have literally dodged that first volley and then start to move in his spears.

There isn't a single AI in the world that can beat an experienced player and they aren't supposed to! The AI is meant as a hurdle, something you CAN pass. No matter the amount of training I do I ain't going to be the #1 Starcraft guy. However I will beat the AI, because the AI should be designed as something fair, smart and beatable.

To me I saw an AI that had lost most of the horrible quirks of the older versions. Like charging out their general alone, or keeping their general absolutely stationary or chasing a single cavalry regiment with half their forces or shifting their entire force to face towards a newly discovered enemy. It seemed capable of actually directing units separately and not as a gigantic blob.

A GOOD AI is a not stupid AI, one that you cannot exploit, not an AI that plays like an experienced player. For that we will have to wait till Skynet comes on.

My main points are however Diplomacy, Campaign AI and Unit Variety. Those are the three things I want to see changed the most. If they can fix it so Diplomacy is clear and logical and a city that you are besieging with 4x the amount of troops doesn't stubbornly refuse your surrender offer or that the AI doesn't spit in your face by offering you a treaty then breaking it the very next turn, thus ruining your relationship with EVERYONE for some reason because you broke a trade agreement.

Unit variety really should speak for itself. Playing as another faction shouldn't feel like just playing the same game from a different geographical position. Shogun 2 was quite bad at this but that was also a limitation of the game's subject. Here however I hope that a Barbarian will require a complete new way of managing units than for example Carthage or an Eastern Empire.

Those are the things I want fixed. Those to me are way more important than a hyper intelligent Battle AI, all I ask of the Battle AI is that it can prioritize properly. Hold and break formation when necessary. Doesn't get baited easily into exploiting it's behaviour. However most off all, that it actually recognizes lost battles.

The AI in Rome: Alexander actually often did something that fucking BLEW MY MIND! It RETREATED!!! Have you ever seen an AI actually order a full out retreat on the battlefield when things went poorly for it and the match became impossible to win? I sure haven't.

Actually I saw that a couple of times in Medieval 2, sometimes if you were having a siege and you counterattacked with a large force the AI would literally just turn and run for the edge of the map. But that was more of an 'in the face of overwhelming numbers, retreat' thing. And I've seen the broken A.I. in Shogun 2, like generals charging into spearmen lines alone.

In regards to the diplomacy thing I read up on the changes awhile back. Apparently now they're going to have some kind of obvious indicator of why a culture does or doesn't like you (i.e. if you're attacking their ally, are expanding a lot, etc.). I'm hoping that will at least clarify diplomacy a bit.

I remember SupComm having superb AI. other than that AI has been mostly unimpressive in 4X games.

wombat_of_war:

Quazimofo:

RandV80:
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give me direct control in tactical combat and I'll pretty much always win unless they bring an overwhelming force.

small snip

Like holding a huge city in Rome 1 with nothing but 5 units of only somewhat upgraded pikemen against a nearly maxed out army of legionary and urban cohort. Phalanxes were so op. Put them in the town center at one of the road chokepoints so my units don't run, then watch the romans just TRY to punch their way through. After tiring them out, general's honor guard charge rout and their entire army disappears. 6-1 KD ratio. U mad, rome? (they were mad, they tried that shtick 3 with 3 full stack armies before taking the city, which i then promptly re-took with the relief troops i was sending that way. Heh.)

haha that was always fun. bottling up their entire army in a single street with a phalanx and hitting their rear with something and the slaughter begins

I remember there was one time I did that against a force attacking a germanic-sytle large town, and they got 2000 men bottled up in one of the 3 paths. Hit them in the back with cavalry and they were squeezed so close together ALL OF THEM died within 30 seconds.
That was nuts.

Kargathia:

1337mokro:

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[quote="Quazimofo" post="7.824832.19997400"]
snip, since it's above

Remember river crossings in Napoleon? Put two units at the bridge so it's not undefended, and park light infantry and artillery loaded with canister shot at the ford. It's a fucking massacre, every time.

Never actually played napoleon. Played empire, didn't like it. Wasn't fond of all of most things being ranged units. I did enjoy the graphical effect marking how far your units can shoot, and I MUCH preferred the naval combat in empire/napoleon (presumably) to shogun 2. But basically, I like the new ideas presented in the games (MUCH better diplomacy, naval fights, ranged unit range markings, spike defenses actually hurting cavalry rather than just acting as a wall, building garrison, infantry being able to burn wooden structures etc.), but I didn't care for the games themselves very much.

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