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Heroes Community > Library of Enlightenment > Thread: HOMM3 AI question -- does it cheat in a minor way?
Thread: HOMM3 AI question -- does it cheat in a minor way? This thread is 7 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 · «PREV / NEXT»
OhforfSake
OhforfSake


Promising
Legendary Hero
Initiate
posted February 07, 2014 04:16 PM

I too have experienced how difficult it can be to put a simple idea into the machine. My main approach is to ask what a human would do and try to make the computer behave from a similar planning processes.

E.g. day 1: Plan 1: First hero, scout the area, direction along the road. For each road split, a new hero may be bought, but only to a certain limit, depending on map size, etc. The AI should only recalculate whenever its information bank has been properly updated. When scout#1 has finished his planned trip, the plan for the next hero may change.

That's why I really like the concept of classes, because it usually make it very easy to apply human thought processes in stead of only dealing with functions all the time.

But you're certainly right that obsolete movement may occur under some circumstances, I know from chess if that you put two of the strongest engines in the world up against one another, you may see games a human would never play, e.g. where they move the same pieces to a given position, just to move it back to another position the move afterwards, despite that could have been done the move before, repeating this for several moves, but these machines are rated higher than the best human players, so it may indeed be "optimal" to waste turns like this.

When the map is scouted, and objects have been prioritized, a good path has to be chosen, which by itself can be very very difficult to program, but algorithms do approx the shortest path between several points rather well. Finding the shortest path to a single object on several map tiles on the other hand is pretty straight forward in my opinion.

Yesugey said:

OhforfSake said:


Something along the lines of a limited amount of moral bonuses, and the AI's units gets checked first, plus not a very random random output generator, means that the AI does get more morale.




Well I can't object that, but I must know that is it causes by the programming logic itself, or by malicious behaviour of programmers, in purpose of giving advantage to AI.


No idea, but one thing I do know is that it can be very difficult to figure out if the process you think you've implemented is also the process you've actually implemented. I like to think the best of people.

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Yesugey
Yesugey

Tavern Dweller
posted February 07, 2014 04:28 PM

OhforfSake said:
one thing I do know is that it can be very difficult to figure out if the process you think you've implemented is also the process you've actually implemented. I like to think the best of people.


Yeah, I also guess that they maybe did that imba calculation by mistake, regarding the other parts of the game. (Even if it is based on difficulty level, its still cheating though.)

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szilellis
szilellis

Tavern Dweller
posted February 17, 2014 05:56 PM

Depends on what you consider cheating.

Games AI work on a specific way. It only involves logic and no other human attributes like intuition for example. Anything has to be measured in numbers and be set to be 'think of'. Usually however AI are more scholastic than human thinking which is, in turn, more creative. That is why, in time, AI cannot beat the constantly improving human thinking.

For your example now with the Griffins. The game uses a calculator to estimate the balance of power with all data it is allowed to access. When you have lots of griffins the AI makes two estimations, one for 20 griffins and one for 49 griffins. It does not know how many you have, but it does know how many it has, so if it has 45-49 griffins there would be two outcomes in terms of balance of power, an easy one if you have 20 or so griffins and a hard one if you have close to 49. The AI also checks your strongest army through thieves guild daily, something that you do not, and if you do, you certainly don't remember all past cases. The AI however knows what it can know from this, so your hero stats will probably be calculated to AI balance of power calculator. If you have 4 black dragons on one stack the AI may attack while if you split to 4 stacks it may not, because at case one you have one stack of few but at case two you have 4 stacks of few, that is, case #1 is 1-4 dragons and case #2 is 4-16 dragons for AI balance of power calculator always.

So if the balance calculator shows green light the AI will probably attack, i say probably because on top of balance calculator there is another calculator managing all available action and their benefit. So if there is another more important enemy nearby the AI can also crash, it will certainly go there first because the other enemy has more 'value' than yours.

Furthermore, AI on maximum ability prefer close to full stacks if possible, e.g. 4, 9, 19, 49, 99 etch.

I hope this helps

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bloodsucker
bloodsucker


Legendary Hero
posted April 28, 2014 06:59 PM
Edited by bloodsucker at 19:36, 28 Apr 2014.

Yes! AI cheats on moral bonus.
I've been watching videos from other people playing (so I'm not so personally involved with the outcome of battles) and I have no doubt: neutral armys tend to have more moral then human armys, even when the hero has leadership. Besides that, it is almost always the stack that can make a critical attack in that turn that has it.
The oposite happens to human armys, if they have high moral is normally in a creature they end up deffending with and sometimes whose second move will locate in the range of a dangerous enemy.


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OhforfSake
OhforfSake


Promising
Legendary Hero
Initiate
posted April 29, 2014 12:36 AM

It may be.. but I think it's more likely they simply messed up the randomness of morale, so the defending army (usually a neutral stack) would have higher likeliness of getting morale.

It happened recently in my country they found out their random number seeds always began at the same numbers, making some outcomes more likely, and this was the lottery.

I'd not be surprised if the pseudo random numbers in various applications have problematic areas which can be exploited.
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bloodsucker
bloodsucker


Legendary Hero
posted April 29, 2014 12:52 AM

OhforfSake said:
it's more likely they simply messed up the randomness of morale, so the defending army (usually a neutral stack) would have higher likeliness of getting morale.


I have no idea of the why but I'm very secure of the what: neutral stacks get more morale bonus.


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JoonasTo
JoonasTo


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted April 29, 2014 11:31 AM
Edited by JoonasTo at 11:34, 29 Apr 2014.

Wrong, they do not.
If you wish to check it out there was a russian hack to the game where they could predict the stack going to get the next morale.

You have to note that neutral stacks always have +1 morale bonus from being of the same faction. They also have multiple stacks which means more morale.

Heroes tend to have neutral morale due to mixed faction units and as thus can't even get morale.
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bloodsucker
bloodsucker


Legendary Hero
posted April 29, 2014 02:58 PM
Edited by bloodsucker at 15:00, 29 Apr 2014.

JoonasTo said:
Wrong, they do not.
If you wish to check it out there was a russian hack to the game where they could predict the stack going to get the next morale.

You have to note that neutral stacks always have +1 morale bonus from being of the same faction. They also have multiple stacks which means more morale.

Heroes tend to have neutral morale due to mixed faction units and as thus can't even get morale.


I didn't found a way of systematicaly analize the problem so I can in fact be wrong but if you have leadership and +moral arties your moral should be superior to 1 and most of the players keep the arties even when they don't choose the skill.
On the other hand, it looks harder to create a trick for the AI to cheat then not and I remember to read that, by the time they published Heroes Chronicles, 3DO considered the AI too strong and wanted to introduce some limitations. This makes the will to consistently cheat improbable.
Maybe the problem is: we subconscently expect to win or see somekind of victory so we don't find player bonus remarkable but when something unexpected happens to a neutral army we notice it.
But I would swear my first impression is true and I'm not the only one who felt it. Curious, isn't it?



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OhforfSake
OhforfSake


Promising
Legendary Hero
Initiate
posted April 29, 2014 03:23 PM

I can tell you this much. I had a save where whatever info their random number gen. uses, did not change upon reloading.

That meant the same stack always got morale in that battle.
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Maurice
Maurice

Hero of Order
Part of the furniture
posted April 29, 2014 03:45 PM

bloodsucker said:
But I would swear my first impression is true and I'm not the only one who felt it. Curious, isn't it?


That's what's called 'confirmation bias'. You think to see a pattern where there is none. Actually, your post is mainly based on assumption, not on empirical evidence, so any claim you make regarding this cheating of the AI is on shaky grounds at best.

Record thousands of different battles against the AI, each time carefully registering the morale level of each stack present and note with each action if the stack in question gets a morale bonus or not. Aggregate your findings for each such stack to see if the amount of times of getting a bonus is close to the chance it should have, or not.

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bloodsucker
bloodsucker


Legendary Hero
posted April 29, 2014 05:56 PM

Maurice said:
bloodsucker said:
But I would swear my first impression is true and I'm not the only one who felt it. Curious, isn't it?


That's what's called 'confirmation bias'. You think to see a pattern where there is none. Actually, your post is mainly based on assumption, not on empirical evidence, so any claim you make regarding this cheating of the AI is on shaky grounds at best.

Record thousands of different battles against the AI, each time carefully registering the morale level of each stack present and note with each action if the stack in question gets a morale bonus or not. Aggregate your findings for each such stack to see if the amount of times of getting a bonus is close to the chance it should have, or not.


I'm considering return to the ERM classes (in russian).

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Storm-Giant
Storm-Giant


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
On the Other Side!
posted April 29, 2014 06:05 PM

bloodsucker said:
I'm considering return to the ERM classes (in russian).

To give up by next week?
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bloodsucker
bloodsucker


Legendary Hero
posted April 29, 2014 06:08 PM

OhforfSake said:
I can tell you this much. I had a save where whatever info their random number gen. uses, did not change upon reloading.

That meant the same stack always got morale in that battle.


The numbers for moral in a battle are saved in Heroes III and are always the same no matter how many times you reload (like the options when u advance a level as may have notice). Now if u change something, like make a different move with a creature or use a different spell the moral sequence will change too. And will be always the second or the first if you load and repeat the first or second sequence of moves.

This is different with the level up sequence. Even if you choose a different option sequence will keep unchanged unless impossible, for instance if you first choose advance and you reload and choose new, you will have the same advance and new options next level up unless u can't get more new skills.

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bloodsucker
bloodsucker


Legendary Hero
posted April 29, 2014 06:13 PM
Edited by bloodsucker at 19:09, 29 Apr 2014.

Storm-Giant said:
bloodsucker said:
I'm considering return to the ERM classes (in russian).

To give up by next week?



Yes!!! You got it.
I was using a figure of stile called IRONY. Have  you ever heard about it?

P.S. I want to add that I'm felling very proud of my persistence about Heroes III during this year.
I decided that if my main objective was to create good WoG maps and mods I needed first to became a good player. Only after that I could have an idea of what would or wouldn't be interesting to find in a map. So I consistently improved my gameplay from secure at 130% to secure at 160% and now I'm able to win most of the times at 200% on random maps, knowing by heart a lot of tricks against AI. I've been also playing more and more online games to challenge myself against other human intelligences.

I'm spending some time with the map editor, first map is almost ready for tests. But as I'm evolving many of my initial ideas seam inadequate. I no longer want to create an unbalaced faction that can easly beat computer and I find myself looking for ways of keeping AI strong during the whole game more often then trying to make Emerald Towers work on a weekly base or something similar.

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OhforfSake
OhforfSake


Promising
Legendary Hero
Initiate
posted April 29, 2014 06:26 PM

If their random number gen. gets locked, then it's a major issue, in my opinion, and it create circumstances where testing for randomness shows it's not.

E.g. take a battle where the fastest units gets morale on the first turn, if you use this battle in your 1k tests, you'll notice a tendency of this unit getting more morale than anyone else.
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Storm-Giant
Storm-Giant


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
On the Other Side!
posted April 29, 2014 06:27 PM
Edited by Storm-Giant at 18:27, 29 Apr 2014.

bloodsucker said:
Storm-Giant said:
To give up by next week?

Yes!!! You got it.

Yay!
bloodsucker said:
I was using a figure of stile called IRONY. Have  you ever eard about it?

Sorry, can't answer, my eyes are bleeding!
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MirSullich
MirSullich

Tavern Dweller
posted August 15, 2014 12:47 PM

While this topic is filled with truth on how the AI can do things that we cannot, there are some things that we, the players, can do that the AI can't. Many of which can be used to give an unfair advantage to us, while the game system doesn't consider them as "cheating".

Saving/reloading of course is a very obvious one. I have had many deciding battles (usually siege defenses), which I lost at first by a bad judgement. The last one ( I had just a few days ago was a really close call. It included several critical points like taking down the catapult (lucky it didn't hit the gate at first since it must've been expert ballistics) and overpowering the flyers that entered first (boosted by the immense skills that my hero couldn't really match). I had to always keep my cure spell at the ready since my lizard warriors were the main hitters this time and they had to fire every round. The end was the moste bizarre since it ended with the enemy stack of demons being in the inside of my walls while my lizar warriors were out (so the demons had to go through the moat to get me, but alas, the Fortress has a 2-hex moat xD). Anyway the point I'm making is that I reloaded twice to win this battle. The odds were just that close and I couldn't have done it without reloading.

There was also an instance when I saw an AI starting to dig for the grail while my puzzle map was barely started. I had made a "just-in-case" save some turns earlier. He showed me the place, then I reloaded and went for the spot and snatched it for myself.

When playing with an AI ally, you can always reload as him and let him give you all of his artifacts, and even the grail if he has just this very turn uncovered it from the ground. Then reload back as yourself. Also, the AI is willing to send resources to you and this can be abused pretty bad. Say I am playing a Rampart and my ally is a Fortress. I desperately need crystal for my dragon cliffs but I have like 2. I sell my crystals on the market place - my ally sends me a bunch of crystal since Fortress only needs crystal for mage guild and nothing else! We know certain things about AI behavior so deliberately and repeatedly abusing them is in a way... cheating

Another way to "cheat". Use the map editor when you are lost in the game. Just alt-tab and see where the key locations are. There was this AB map called "Brave New World". It has several neat seer's huts. One in the southwestern snow continent that requires 1 crystal dragon for +10 attack skill. One in the northwestern dirt continent that requires you to kill vampires, snatch their cloak, trade it for 100 sprites and trade 75 sprites for passing a quest guard to get a Celestial Necklace of Bliss. And the third in the southeastern rough continent that requires gaining the Orb of Inhibition from a horde of magic elementals, then trading the orb for a Dragon Scale Armor. If you have played this map, you know them.

I chose my starting point on the first snow continent since it was in between the two other continents which I was interested in. I rushed the necklace quest first since vamps were the easiest. Then proceeded to north east to kill the horde of magic elementals before the AI dared to take them on. I saved the crystal dragon = 10 attack skill quest for last since I knew my neighbor AI will not dare to enter the crystal dragon dwelling for a long time. So I got the necklace, the armor and also the +10 attack skill - all for myself.

What I wanted to say by this is that doing my homework on the map before starting the game gave me an unfair advantage. I learned all the valuable spots and abused the knowledge for my own gain. Another case of cheating without cheating. And why not - the AI cheats too as we all agree on

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OhforfSake
OhforfSake


Promising
Legendary Hero
Initiate
posted August 19, 2014 12:31 PM

I too think reloading is somewhat of an issue, but I find it more annoying that computer games tries to force the choice between finding a checkpoint or redo a section if you've to leave.

My own favorite solution to saving abuse issues is to make saving part of the gameplay itself, e.g. such as time travel.

Btw. the computer already knows the map.
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batoonike
batoonike


Known Hero
posted August 19, 2014 04:22 PM

bloodsucker said:
Yes! AI cheats on moral bonus.
I've been watching videos from other people playing (so I'm not so personally involved with the outcome of battles) and I have no doubt: neutral armys tend to have more moral then human armys, even when the hero has leadership. Besides that, it is almost always the stack that can make a critical attack in that turn that has it.
The oposite happens to human armys, if they have high moral is normally in a creature they end up deffending with and sometimes whose second move will locate in the range of a dangerous enemy.



In my games, the stacks who need morale get morale if they are in my army. Point being, this is obviously a problem with perception and not a hard-coded ai cheating.

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fred79
fred79


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted October 13, 2014 03:45 AM

i have a question, and i think it belongs here. playing era 1.8 + wog, and upon testing/playing one of my maps today, i had green(an opponent) appear from above-ground side, to subterranean, without the use of a portal, whirlpool, or subterranean gate. it just popped up out of nowhere(if i remember correctly, it came from either a cyclops stockpile or a dwarven treasury, but it might have just come out of thin air).

i didn't script anything yet, so it's not on my end. and i certainly didn't change some random object to a portal/gate/whirlpool. so, what gives? anyone else ever see this issue?

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