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Heroes Community > Heroes 5 - Modders Workshop > Thread: New (unofficial) patch for ToE / AI mod
Thread: New (unofficial) patch for ToE / AI mod This thread is 46 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 ... 10 20 30 40 ... 42 43 44 45 46 · «PREV / NEXT»
Quantomas
Quantomas


Responsible
Famous Hero
AI Wizard
posted May 18, 2020 01:52 PM
Edited by Quantomas at 14:22, 18 May 2020.

There seem to be quite a few misunderstandings what you can do with scripts for AI.

What New World Computing programmed for Heroes III and what is also in the vanilla H5, is a system that evaluates every tile a hero can visit. Beginning with the start position, it spirals out tile over tile, computing the possible ways a hero can reach to arrive at a tile. In Heroes III it was done for a three-turn-lookahead. H5 tried a fourth turn, but at that point the costs grow exponentially, making the process very slow.

This is not a sophisticated lookahead, but for H3 it worked marvellously, mostly because NWC did an outstanding job at balancing with mathematical tools. In principle it requires to keep in memory all the tiles of the map on all floors, plus all the information that needs tracking. There is basic information like the terrain type, the movement cost, what interactive objects are triggered, what resources are there. Plus more advanced information like what did the hero do to arrive at the tile, how much movement cost did it require, what other heroes can access the tile, what threats are there.

In C++ you can optimize this sufficiently to make it work on a regular PC, if you have the manpower. If you would like to do the same with scripts, just try to assemble all the information required for each tile on the map, it would take days for a single turn to process.

If you ask me what the modifiers in the .pak files do, they were most likely introduced to adjust the AI behaviour on specific maps shown in demos at expos. There is code that deals with features needed to do a Heroes V demo at E3 back in the day.

These modifiers were probably also used to test the raw balance of the game. In hindsight I'd say, Nival would have done better to remove these modifiers from the xdb, because then modders wouldn't have the impression that these are useful for tweaking the AI. They are not.

The new AI doesn't use these modifiers. They might still have an impact on functions that I hadn't the time to upgrade, like for example the code for hiring heroes.

To answer your question, naturally the hiring of heroes by the AI should be addressed properly by looking at the value that hiring a new hero has. This requires lookahead as well. The value of a secondary hero at the beginning for example is higher because the troops the hero carries can bolster your main. It also depends on how many resources there are in the vicinity, or whether they are needed at all. If there is an unguarded keymaster tent three turns travel distance away, but your main is busy clearing the area before the gate that is unlocked by it, then a secondary hero may have tons of value. The same goes for multiple heroes.

The new AI (3.2) will do this properly. Technically it converts the values of actions, like collecting a specific resource, into a lookahead value that reflects how much this action improves the power of your faction. Collecting recruits are an obvious example, collecting gold aids this, and a secondary hero can perform this. This is what lookahead is for.

Regarding 3.1k the last thing before the beta can hit the road and that I implement right now, is a partial implementation of these lookahead values. This should upgrade the AI behaviour a lot. How much I can already do to control the hiring of heroes needs to be seen. But for 3.2 that's definitely the plan, because otherwise you can't synchronize what all your heroes do. They should cooperate, shouldn't they?
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Gidoza
Gidoza


Famous Hero
posted May 18, 2020 11:12 PM

Quantomas said:
There seem to be quite a few misunderstandings what you can do with scripts for AI.

What New World Computing programmed for Heroes III and what is also in the vanilla H5, is a system that evaluates every tile a hero can visit. Beginning with the start position, it spirals out tile over tile, computing the possible ways a hero can reach to arrive at a tile. In Heroes III it was done for a three-turn-lookahead. H5 tried a fourth turn, but at that point the costs grow exponentially, making the process very slow.

This is not a sophisticated lookahead, but for H3 it worked marvellously, mostly because NWC did an outstanding job at balancing with mathematical tools. In principle it requires to keep in memory all the tiles of the map on all floors, plus all the information that needs tracking. There is basic information like the terrain type, the movement cost, what interactive objects are triggered, what resources are there. Plus more advanced information like what did the hero do to arrive at the tile, how much movement cost did it require, what other heroes can access the tile, what threats are there.

In C++ you can optimize this sufficiently to make it work on a regular PC, if you have the manpower. If you would like to do the same with scripts, just try to assemble all the information required for each tile on the map, it would take days for a single turn to process.

If you ask me what the modifiers in the .pak files do, they were most likely introduced to adjust the AI behaviour on specific maps shown in demos at expos. There is code that deals with features needed to do a Heroes V demo at E3 back in the day.

These modifiers were probably also used to test the raw balance of the game. In hindsight I'd say, Nival would have done better to remove these modifiers from the xdb, because then modders wouldn't have the impression that these are useful for tweaking the AI. They are not.

The new AI doesn't use these modifiers. They might still have an impact on functions that I hadn't the time to upgrade, like for example the code for hiring heroes.

To answer your question, naturally the hiring of heroes by the AI should be addressed properly by looking at the value that hiring a new hero has. This requires lookahead as well. The value of a secondary hero at the beginning for example is higher because the troops the hero carries can bolster your main. It also depends on how many resources there are in the vicinity, or whether they are needed at all. If there is an unguarded keymaster tent three turns travel distance away, but your main is busy clearing the area before the gate that is unlocked by it, then a secondary hero may have tons of value. The same goes for multiple heroes.

The new AI (3.2) will do this properly. Technically it converts the values of actions, like collecting a specific resource, into a lookahead value that reflects how much this action improves the power of your faction. Collecting recruits are an obvious example, collecting gold aids this, and a secondary hero can perform this. This is what lookahead is for.

Regarding 3.1k the last thing before the beta can hit the road and that I implement right now, is a partial implementation of these lookahead values. This should upgrade the AI behaviour a lot. How much I can already do to control the hiring of heroes needs to be seen. But for 3.2 that's definitely the plan, because otherwise you can't synchronize what all your heroes do. They should cooperate, shouldn't they?



Thank you - this is an excellent answer to my question!  I AM looking forward to this new AI...the current one is beginning to irk me with its dumbness.  




Related but unrelated - you had mentioned maybe a couple pages ago that there's quite a difference between a Heroes game where caravans don't exist (H3) and a Heroes game where they do (H5).  In Heroes 3, I could easily have 8 Heroes running around doing various tasks, but the majority of them would be tagging dwellings (especially because the creatures would disappear if you didn't get them before week's end), getting water wheels, and so on, on rotation every week.  Obviously, in Heroes 5, the need for Heroes to tag dwellings is unnecessary short of occasionally stealing them back if an opponent takes them.  However - Windmills and Waterwheels still need tagging and would require "runners" as I would call them.  Heroes 5.5 solves this problem too by having the automatic system by paying 1000 gold to "flag" it by script - although you can steal from your ally and AI players steal from me regularly if I'm an ally.

My point is - Heroes 5 has considerably less demand for "runners" of this style - and I half wonder if an implementation of the Heroes 5.5 flagging for Windmills, Waterwheels, and Leprechauns would be worthwhile in the upcoming AI just to make things more smoothe.

For my part however, I just design my maps without Windmills, Leprechauns, or Waterwheels - Dwarven Warrens do the job just fine and it's less of a mess.

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Quantomas
Quantomas


Responsible
Famous Hero
AI Wizard
posted May 19, 2020 01:45 PM

In principle once the secondary heroes "know" what they are doing, the issue becomes obsolete.

Regarding the micromanagement of visiting windmills, I guess that was what Magnomagus had in mind while designing this feature. Of course if you design such a feature without the AI in mind you create more issues than you solve, at least if you see HoMM as a strategy game.

In general I like to respect the original vision, if there are windmills in it, they are a part of the game, unless they are somehow diminishing the game. That doesn't mean that every map has to have them. There are possible solutions like tying the weekly income from windmills to the nearest town. Then the miller would have to respond accordingly if you visit a windmill not on your territory.

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Gidoza
Gidoza


Famous Hero
posted May 23, 2020 02:52 PM

Quantomas said:
In principle once the secondary heroes "know" what they are doing, the issue becomes obsolete.

Regarding the micromanagement of visiting windmills, I guess that was what Magnomagus had in mind while designing this feature. Of course if you design such a feature without the AI in mind you create more issues than you solve, at least if you see HoMM as a strategy game.

In general I like to respect the original vision, if there are windmills in it, they are a part of the game, unless they are somehow diminishing the game. That doesn't mean that every map has to have them. There are possible solutions like tying the weekly income from windmills to the nearest town. Then the miller would have to respond accordingly if you visit a windmill not on your territory.



Personally I think the best solution would be a collaboration between mapmakers and the AI - that is, not including Windmills, Water Wheels, etc on the map - the AI has enough things to think about without visiting 1 Windmill and 1 Waterwheel per week, and it just seems like a drag on the human player as well for such a small thing to do.

That said, I do think that Magnomagus's instinct was the correct one - the transition to Caravans was "incomplete" without including Windmills etc as well.  But indeed - without having a mechanism for the AI to respond properly to the new scripts, it will be a mess, and I'm not sure how worth it it is to do more coding just to accomodate this.

Consequently in the end we would have maps without Windmills, ideally - in my opinion.  I respect the idea of respecting the original vision...but I think I can say with confidence that whatever the original vision was, it needs to be put in perspective of how the AI was incomplete, the game balance was incomplete, etc...so I don't feel bad "tweaking" the vision ever so slightly (ever so slightly) if it generally makes the game better at an extremely minimal loss.  I'm playing maps without Windmills right now, and I simply do not miss them - it's fine.

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xuxo
xuxo


Promising
Known Hero
posted May 30, 2020 04:05 PM

I would like to make a suggestion, I do not know if it would be feasible. One is about the theme of town portal .... what if you include the characteristic of the water eddies and you lose a% of the army?

And the other feature that could boost the strategy quite a bit ... could caravans be added to mills and mines? The mines would produce their resources, but they would have to go through them to collect them, or send them to a city in caravans. With this, it opened that always keep the path clear, caravans could be attacked and resources stolen from another player and it would be a disadvantage to have mines away.

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Gidoza
Gidoza


Famous Hero
posted May 30, 2020 08:30 PM

Hi Quantomas,

Hope you don't mind the constant intercessions, but a couple notes that have come to mind after playing some more games and making observations.

1.  Double towns.  While some maps have a single town per player and that's it, other maps will have an "expansion" town readily available to take for each player.  I myself am sometimes undecided about how I want to invest in the second town because there are so many different factors at play.  Sometimes every piece of wood, ore, and gold is necessary immediately.  At the very least, though - I try to get a Town Hall to upgrade the town to 1000 gold per day and make it profitable; I may wait a while and save my Wood and Ore (in particular) for my main town until I generate a surplus enough to get a City Hall.  Then - and only then - do I really start investing in all the other buildings in the town, if at all (perhaps I can't afford two towns' worth of recruits, so there's no point in bothering).  I might very well upgrade the Mage Guild, though, and basic spawns.

Something to note here is that if these are two towns of the same type that are relatively close to one another, I make a point of not upgrading to the upgraded creature tier buildings in the second town - because I can just use Caravans to ferry the creatures from Town 2 to Town 1 to be upgraded - just as if Town 2 was a massive external dwelling.  I'm not sure the AI presently appreciates the nitty-gritty of this strategy, and it sure sets it back, because it spends its money needlessly on things that don't need upgrading, or else recruits units in various places and loses movement for no reason.

Of course, if I'm worried about losing a town, I'll spare the caravans and defend it or whatever, or not even bother spending the money.  This is just a note in terms of a design I thought was worth mentioning.


2.  Lookahead depth.  Now that I think of it, I actually need to understand what you mean that the new AI will have a lookahead depth of 21 turns or whatever it was.  I say this because I don't have that kind of lookahead depth - and sure, an AI can calculate more possibilities than I can, but it's not like this game is Chess and all the possibilities are set in stone.  I might have a plan for a whole week - sometimes.  But honestly - most of the time I'm not even sure how far my hero can reach because there might be stuff in the way or things to knock off.  Or an enemy Hero suddenly appears from out of the dark and messes up all my plans.  Or something else happens.  So as I said, I might be able to plan for a week (I don't even have a concept of a 21-day lookahead or even what that means), yet realistically with the enemy's movements, things end up being more like 2 or 3-day plans.  With that said, I'm curious what you mean by a 21-day lookahead, because I'm unsure how an AI or anyone could ever plan such a thing unless it was a really HUGE map and it takes ages to get from anywhere to anywhere.

3.  A note on secondary heroes - that the AI should make some efforts to keep additional troops (that is, 7 or so) on secondary heroes so they don't die instantly because the hero has only 1 unit that is easily killed.  While 7 troops is still killable to be sure - it's much harder.  Finally - while I realize that the combat AI will come later - the AI doesn't retreat if the secondary hero it's about to lose isn't "important" (not levelled or no artifacts) - but it still gives lots of XP if killed, so I always retreat even if my secondary who is dying is meaningless - but I just might not bother re-hiring him...while I would definitely re-hire (and should immediately re-hire) a hero of any kind of importance.


Those are my thoughts for today - thanks!

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Quantomas
Quantomas


Responsible
Famous Hero
AI Wizard
posted May 31, 2020 01:02 PM
Edited by Quantomas at 13:05, 31 May 2020.

Introducing a feature and then penalizing it, serves what purpose exactly? Unless there is proof that it makes the game better, it will only make the game more difficult to play.

A good strategy game thrives on simple rules that can be applied in a myriad of ways. But simplicity and streamlining are different things.

The caravan system is a good example how an attempt to streamline the game creates more complex issues. Things like the micromanagement that you need to do when a lot of caravans arrive at your castle and there are no creature slots free, or that caravans turn back if a point on its planned path is occupied, like your heroes blocking movement on a bridge, or that you would need to watch out for high value caravans to intercept.

It's more of a headache than a solution.

Something like causing losses for townportal may be worth a consideration for a shatter skill on a campaign map, though.

Gidoza said:

1.  Double towns.  While some maps have a single town per player and that's it, other maps will have an "expansion" town readily available to take for each player.  I myself am sometimes undecided about how I want to invest in the second town because there are so many different factors at play.  Sometimes every piece of wood, ore, and gold is necessary immediately.  At the very least, though - I try to get a Town Hall to upgrade the town to 1000 gold per day and make it profitable; I may wait a while and save my Wood and Ore (in particular) for my main town until I generate a surplus enough to get a City Hall.  Then - and only then - do I really start investing in all the other buildings in the town, if at all (perhaps I can't afford two towns' worth of recruits, so there's no point in bothering).  I might very well upgrade the Mage Guild, though, and basic spawns.

Something to note here is that if these are two towns of the same type that are relatively close to one another, I make a point of not upgrading to the upgraded creature tier buildings in the second town - because I can just use Caravans to ferry the creatures from Town 2 to Town 1 to be upgraded - just as if Town 2 was a massive external dwelling.  I'm not sure the AI presently appreciates the nitty-gritty of this strategy, and it sure sets it back, because it spends its money needlessly on things that don't need upgrading, or else recruits units in various places and loses movement for no reason.

Of course, if I'm worried about losing a town, I'll spare the caravans and defend it or whatever, or not even bother spending the money.  This is just a note in terms of a design I thought was worth mentioning.


2.  Lookahead depth.  Now that I think of it, I actually need to understand what you mean that the new AI will have a lookahead depth of 21 turns or whatever it was.  I say this because I don't have that kind of lookahead depth - and sure, an AI can calculate more possibilities than I can, but it's not like this game is Chess and all the possibilities are set in stone.  I might have a plan for a whole week - sometimes.  But honestly - most of the time I'm not even sure how far my hero can reach because there might be stuff in the way or things to knock off.  Or an enemy Hero suddenly appears from out of the dark and messes up all my plans.  Or something else happens.  So as I said, I might be able to plan for a week (I don't even have a concept of a 21-day lookahead or even what that means), yet realistically with the enemy's movements, things end up being more like 2 or 3-day plans.  With that said, I'm curious what you mean by a 21-day lookahead, because I'm unsure how an AI or anyone could ever plan such a thing unless it was a really HUGE map and it takes ages to get from anywhere to anywhere.

That is exactly what I am currently working on. In order to give mines and resources on the adventure map a proper value, you need to understand their use. And that leads to what you can build in your castles.

It's a tough nut to crack, and it took me a month, but I think this upgrade to the town management is well worth the effort. Like you guys, I rather would like to release 3.1k as soon as possible, but this will make the strategy game much more complete.

In the long run (3.2) the plan is to integrate the town management seemlessly with what your heroes can do on the adventure map.

That's what the lookahead is for. Don't think for a second you are just planning for three days ahead. If you observe an opponent's castle a week's travel away, you implicitly acknowledge the necessary travel turns and the time to prepare a potential attack. For example you will rationalize that your forces for a siege need to be stronger because your opponent has another week of reinforcements.

The same goes for adventure map resources. Surely, you will only survey your immediate vicinity again and again, but if you lack 20 crystals for your T7 building and see a nice stock of crystals five days of travel away, you will consider it in your plans.

And that is why the new resource buildings HotA introduced are great. They work because you see their value and you don't mind visiting them. Which also shines a different light on the previously mentioned issue with windmills. It's possibly not an issue with micromanagement, but rather the question that we are not sure whether it's worth it to visit them.
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Gidoza
Gidoza


Famous Hero
posted June 04, 2020 09:01 PM

Quantomas said:
The caravan system is a good example how an attempt to streamline the game creates more complex issues. Things like the micromanagement that you need to do when a lot of caravans arrive at your castle and there are no creature slots free, or that caravans turn back if a point on its planned path is occupied, like your heroes blocking movement on a bridge, or that you would need to watch out for high value caravans to intercept.


I'll push back a little here - I wouldn't call the issues created by caravans "more complex" - but I'll acknowledge that they are "other" issues:  it *is* rather irritating that caravans aren't satisfied to just stop moving if something gets in their way, but instead will go around the entire map because something is blocking them.  Perhaps how caravans work can be re-programmed - but that's another issue.

My real pushback against this is - once again - map design.  When I build maps, I take this sort of thing into consideration.  I consider where the dwellings are and where caravans from those dwellings are likely to go.  Hence, my use of narrow paths is restricted to certain areas; most places have paths at least 3 tiles wide; I don't have dwellings behind a Garrison unless it's literally in a corner and the Garrison is the only way out.  This won't solve *all* the problems, but overall it makes for a map that is actually very smoothe, functional, and predictable.  The map takes the idiosyncracies of the game's design into account and applies them in order to make the game better.  Overall, I prefer the Caravan system and 8 Heroes max anywhere to H3's no-caravan system and 8 Heroes outside of Towns (you could have them in garrisons then).

As for messing with Caravans @ your Garrison...meh, that's what getting another Hero is for.  Although I would advocate for having an 8th unit slot for Towns because defenders should have such an advantage - and the Fortress Town has that as a special building, so it's possible to do it at least in principle.


Quantomas said:
It's a tough nut to crack, and it took me a month, but I think this upgrade to the town management is well worth the effort. Like you guys, I rather would like to release 3.1k as soon as possible, but this will make the strategy game much more complete.

In the long run (3.2) the plan is to integrate the town management seemlessly with what your heroes can do on the adventure map.

That's what the lookahead is for. Don't think for a second you are just planning for three days ahead. If you observe an opponent's castle a week's travel away, you implicitly acknowledge the necessary travel turns and the time to prepare a potential attack. For example you will rationalize that your forces for a siege need to be stronger because your opponent has another week of reinforcements.

The same goes for adventure map resources. Surely, you will only survey your immediate vicinity again and again, but if you lack 20 crystals for your T7 building and see a nice stock of crystals five days of travel away, you will consider it in your plans.

And that is why the new resource buildings HotA introduced are great. They work because you see their value and you don't mind visiting them. Which also shines a different light on the previously mentioned issue with windmills. It's possibly not an issue with micromanagement, but rather the question that we are not sure whether it's worth it to visit them.


By town management what I assume you mean is just the *concept* of town management, and not the literal Town Management ability from H5.5, correct?

Anyways, your clarification here is well-stated and I appreciate it.

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Gidoza
Gidoza


Famous Hero
posted June 08, 2020 01:42 AM

Hey Quantomas,

I encountered something with the AI worth mentioning - perhaps you've already dealt with it, but better safe than sorry.

An AI attacked my strongest hero, and I ended up winning the battle handily.  I thought that was weird because usually the AI doesn't do that.  I finally realized however that the opponent had 5 groups of units - all of them were "large" size units.  I'm quite certain that this hero had 6 or 7 groups in his hero's army, but could only place 5 of them due to the unit sizes - if that extra group or two was actually in the battle, I figure I probably would have lost.

This brings several things to mind.

1.  When the AI has more groups in his army than he can actually place on the field, the AI seems to calculate his army strength based on ALL of the units instead of just the ones he can actually place.  This causes an overestimation of his power resulting in death.  Consequently - should the AI have such an army assortment - it should only calculate strength based on placed units.

2.  While there can be exceptions, if an AI hero does not have Tactics, it should aim to avoid having more than 4 "large" units in its army.

3.  Like #2, if the AI *does* have Tactics, then it should aim to avoid having more than *5* "large" units in its army (since with Tactics you can fit 5 large and 2 small, but not 6 large).

4.  Finally, just like in Heroes 3, the AI generally seems to save a slot of units with nothing in it and tends to run around with only 6 units, even though it could be keeping 7 for a stronger army.  My guess is that this is for picking up units from Diplomacy and Necromancy and the like - and while that DOES make sense and has its moments (if I'm depending on Diplomacy at all, I will keep a helper hero nearby to trade away units at opportune times), generally speaking I would say it's almost never worth depriving oneself of an entire unit slot because something opportune MIGHT happen.  This hurts the AI in plenty of ways; and even though the AI doesn't seem to know how to use Sacrifice Goblin at all for Shamans in battles - if it actually did know how to do this, it might not even have Goblins in the army because that was the 7th slot that was never used.

I think that's a good synopsis of issues relating to units in a hero's army.  While at the end of the day it's all combat-relevant, from a practical perspective this seems to me like an Adventure Map issue.

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Quantomas
Quantomas


Responsible
Famous Hero
AI Wizard
posted June 13, 2020 09:39 AM
Edited by Quantomas at 09:44, 13 Jun 2020.

Your observations are correct.

3.1j is a prototype developed within eight months back in 2008. You know how many skills, feats and rules H5 has. If I remember correctly, I went with the H3 behaviour to have something in place that works. There are possible solutions though, also for the battlefield size issue.

Besides it is an excellent example how apparently unrelated features interact on the strategic level, that effectively mostly all features of H5 affect each other. Like the possibility that a stack of neutral creatures can join your army having implications on the outcome of battles even if a map has no creatures that could join a hero.

The strategy game as a whole gains immensely if the AI can handle all features.

Conversely I cannot offer support for MMH55 as there are basic things like the effective movement cost per terrain tile that are altered while the AI processes its lookahead with correct values.

AI ponders messages can come if a verification of what the AI attempts to do on the adventure map fails. For example if the AI tries to reach a town, but because of the altered movement costs fails to reach it. It tries it a number of times, then it gives up. It would be impossible for it to figure out what is wrong, because it has no knowledge of what the scripts do.
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magnomagus
magnomagus


Honorable
Legendary Hero
modding wizard
posted June 13, 2020 05:37 PM
Edited by magnomagus at 17:39, 13 Jun 2020.

Quote:
Conversely I cannot offer support for MMH55 as there are basic things like the effective movement cost per terrain tile that are altered while the AI processes its lookahead with correct values.


That is changed in one minute work and would already have been done if it had any meaningful impact on the AI performance from ingame experience in 31j.

Quote:
AI ponders messages can come if a verification of what the AI attempts to do on the adventure map fails. For example if the AI tries to reach a town, but because of the altered movement costs fails to reach it. It tries it a number of times, then it gives up. It would be impossible for it to figure out what is wrong, because it has no knowledge of what the scripts do.


AI never ponders unless the AIprocess file is missing from the bin folder. Scripts do not affect the AI in the way you describe since scripts only add features to the game within the same limitations as the vanilla campaign scripts. movement changes are applied by hexediting not scripts.
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Quantomas
Quantomas


Responsible
Famous Hero
AI Wizard
posted June 14, 2020 02:06 PM
Edited by Quantomas at 14:07, 14 Jun 2020.

magnomagus said:
That is changed in one minute work and would already have been done if it had any meaningful impact on the AI performance from ingame experience in 31j.

Certainly, if you alter the game so much that you can defeat 10K size neutral creature stacks in week three with the troops of two mediocre developed towns, anything that the AI plans becomes meaningless.

Balance is not only about whether two different heroes at the same level have roughly the same power.

Imagine the HotA campaign, which is excellent, if you could handsomely defeat any stack ten times the size of what you normally could defeat. It would quickly turn into a rough-shod ride where you conquer everything that is in sight until you meet an opponent hero. And if the AI directing this hero hadn't been taught the same tricks, the fight would be painfully underwhelming.

The reason that made Heroes of Might and Magic great is that it has a strategy game at its core, where everything matters. How you can build up your towns, what resources you require, how many troops you can recruit, how strong the guards for a mine are, how difficult it is to conquer treasure vaults, the layout of the map, distances, chokepoints, the relative strengths of your opponents, everything impacts the path you choose.

But this strategy game would never have achieved the same greatness without an AI that provides your opponents with an equal level of skill to make use of everything that is on the map. The AI serves this gameplay by giving it persistence and integrity by playing in accordance with all the rules that make up a HoMM game.

This is the reason why I chose to develop a non-cheating AI for Heroes V.

Now, let's have a look at how you modded the game. You made most hero skills and feats stronger and gave those synergies that could be exploited by intent, until players who previously stated they had difficulty winning in H5 said it is a breeze now. As a response you created tools that made the neutral stacks that guard mines, chokeholds and treasure vaults many times stronger. To streamline the game you introduced a townportal spell that is in line with the most exploitive version of Heroes III's townportal with expert earth magic, which is by most veteran strategy players perceived as overpowered and decisive. You added a feature to convert towns and dwellings to your faction to further boost your factions power. You added a gouvernor feature and skills that give your heroes additional free troops each week.

All of these features use scripts and hex edits of which the AI has no knowledge.

Then you claim you see no meaningful AI performance and go ahead to change how terrain works and how movement costs are computed. And last, but not least, you reintroduce AI cheats, because otherwise the game is not challenging.

Make no mistake, you have a right to mod the game. But what you have created isn't resembling a strategy game anymore. It's more like a rogue-like where your hero gains power in PvE fights and then prepares for a final fight, ideally suited for MP duels. That is a worthwhile experiment and has its own place.

But it is not acceptable that you claim MMH55 uses the Quantomas AI like an advertisement signaling quality. If anything, you abuse the AI. It borders on deception that core MMH55 members tell everyone showing up on Discord that the AI always cheats, and frequently adding a @Quantomas to give the impression that I approve of MMH55, or even worse, have a hand in the AI of MMH55. It seems even to fool players like @Gidoza and @Lokiseto, who have a keen eye for AI behaviour.

Honestly, you would be much better off, if I made the vanilla AI as fast as H3. This is easy to do and would only require a week, not many years of dedicated work. It would give you a solution that can handle all features and is adaptable by the DefaultStats. It would only go through the motions, but that is all MMH55 requires.

Given all what I said here, you certainly will agree, that the only sensible solution to move forward is to draw a line between what is MMH55 and my vision for Heroes V with a quality AI.

MMH55 is its own thing, I can respect that. But please stop claiming that it is the pinnacle of H5, it is even questionable that it resembles the strategy game at the core of HoMM.

For myself I will pursue a mod much more in the vein of HotA in order to deliver a refined and polished strategy game.

I don't see why we couldn't cooperate in the future.

But with the upcoming release I will lay out some rules how modders can use my work.
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magnomagus
magnomagus


Honorable
Legendary Hero
modding wizard
posted June 14, 2020 07:14 PM
Edited by magnomagus at 19:18, 14 Jun 2020.

Quote:
Certainly, if you alter the game so much that you can defeat 10K size neutral creature stacks in week three with the troops of two mediocre developed towns, anything that the AI plans becomes meaningless.


This nothing like H55 and can be proven mathematically, H55 uses much lower Attack & Defense scaling, to achieve exactly the opposite, giving neutrals a better odds than before, possibly streams of Deadlyenvironment clouded your judgement on this, but that map starts with build up towns, stronger than normal neutrals and a sphinx, this isn't to blame on H55. Also 10k is a ridiculous exaggeration.

Quote:
Now, let's have a look at how you modded the game. You made most hero skills and feats stronger and gave those synergies that could be exploited by intent,


This makes no sense, H55 is exactly the opposite, it nerfs all overpowered skills and buffs the useless ones, it has also removed pretty much all exploits by rigorous multiplayer testing and will continue to do so until they are all rooted out. Vanilla H3, HOTA and H5 all have far more exploits and insanely overpowered skills compared to H55

Quote:
until players who previously stated they had difficulty winning in H5 said it is a breeze now.


I have never seen anyone comment on H55 saying it is a breeze, on the contrary people often claim it is too hard and get crushed by the AI, I have done many things over time to reduce the excessive difficulty for new players, since early in the process of making h55 I expected it to be much smaller and only for advanced players.

Quote:
You added a feature to convert towns and dwellings to your faction to further boost your factions power. You added a gouvernor feature and skills that give your heroes additional free troops each week.


These are all OPTIONAL features, that can be deactivated

Quote:
This is the reason why I chose to develop a non-cheating AI for Heroes V.


I have played 31j extensively in vanilla TOE, and it had one major problem which I have pointed out many times, the combat AI is too weak to keep up with 'good' human players, so with every neutral stack it fights it loses more creatures, when it falls behind on creatures it loses its motivation to attack things and gets weaker and weaker
Because of this the original TOE AI is harder to beat than 31j. What you call cheats are in my opinion nothing else than corrections for the lost troops to give 31j a fair chance against humans.
You have a theoretical vision on the AI that doesn't exist right now, only 31j exists and with some help it performs best as is currently available.

Quote:
If anything, you abuse the AI. It borders on deception that core MMH55 members tell everyone showing up on Discord that the AI always cheats,


I added a very clear option in custom game that deactivates all cheats, please do not blame me for people not taking the time to read.

Quote:
and frequently adding a @Quantomas to give the impression that I approve of MMH55


You joined the MMH55 discord server (ironically even before me), ofc people will think you approve of it. But if it comes to your approval, I'm completely open to deactivating stuff currently existing in H55 to make you approve of it and adapt it to any new AI that makes it work better. Please stop assuming that how it looks now is some rigid form that can't be changed and then needs to be criticized as not adaptable to an AI that exists only in theory.

Quote:
Given all what I said here, you certainly will agree, that the only sensible solution to move forward is to draw a line between what is MMH55 and my vision for Heroes V with a quality AI.


I don't care if an AI cheats or not, I only care if it provides a challenge, 31j didn't, so it needed cheats, if 31k or 32 or whichever new version can provide a challenge without cheats then I'm ofc totally happy with a cheatfree AI. Also you overlook the fact that human players are also cheating constantly in singleplayer, by saving/loading/replaying battles. Hard to keep up with that for an AI

Quote:
Honestly, you would be much better off, if I made the vanilla AI as fast as H3. This is easy to do and would only require a week, not many years of dedicated work. It would give you a solution that can handle all features and is adaptable by the DefaultStats. It would only go through the motions, but that is all MMH55 requires.


I would surely like to try that.
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funked15
funked15


Hired Hero
posted June 15, 2020 04:49 AM
Edited by funked15 at 05:54, 15 Jun 2020.

Wow Quantomas – what a grumpy old man.

You have continued to pursue this fruitless lone wolf venture with the source code, while Magnomagus and team work tirelessly to keep Heroes V relevant and actually grow the community.

The only decent perks that your 3.1j mod provide are reduced AI turn time and 8 skill slots (and the latter was mostly Cepheus). It doesn’t noticeably improve adventure map AI decisions, and makes no attempts to improve battlefield AI.

As an AI purist you are clearly blinkered and fail to understand the gravity of what the MM5.5 team have achieved from a community standpoint and on game design.

By balancing every aspect of what was a seriously flawed game, MM5.5 has made every race, creature, skill, ability, and hero relevant.
It gives the player an endless number of strategies and makes the game incredibly replay-able and fun!

In time we may or may not see the fruits of your labour (seems it has been close for a number of years), but the only reason people are still here to notice is because of MM5.5.

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xuxo
xuxo


Promising
Known Hero
posted June 15, 2020 12:53 PM

Well, for example, I am here by myself, and why I started playing heroes of might and magic 1 since I was 10 years old. (already 25). I am sure that many people are here already out of habit, tradition and "love".

PS: I think I am also very grumpy. We are ALL grumpy. Growling and debating is healthy.

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dredknight
dredknight


Responsible
Supreme Hero
disrupting the moding industry
posted June 15, 2020 01:13 PM
Edited by dredknight at 13:14, 15 Jun 2020.

I only can agree with Xuxo
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tihi85
tihi85


Hired Hero
posted June 15, 2020 01:51 PM

I played Heroes 5 with the new AI for years and H5.5 was actually more challenging.

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Quantomas
Quantomas


Responsible
Famous Hero
AI Wizard
posted June 15, 2020 03:17 PM
Edited by Quantomas at 15:24, 15 Jun 2020.

You have to forgive me that I believe a creator has a right to determine how his work is used.

Oh, I would love to cooperate with people, as programming alone, looking into how universal AI works, developing new innovative AI concepts, and writing the code for H5 day after day for *ten long years* makes you feel lonely indeed. Maybe I would seem only half as grumpy then.

I guess the time has come to begin revealing more what is being worked on and what the future holds.

If you are interested to see the new advanced AI of Heroes V come to live or take part in the project, you are welcome to join us on Discord: discord.gg/s7yaCz
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Greenpakto
Greenpakto


Adventuring Hero
posted June 15, 2020 06:14 PM
Edited by Greenpakto at 18:35, 15 Jun 2020.

I HATE (but that is UTTERLY hate) only one feature of 5.5. Magnomagus removed the last ultimate abilites slot... That was a horrible decision and made end game a little less fun (and now there's also like a "empty" slot in the UI that clearly looks as if something is missing.

BUT besides that 5.5 is a great mod, and is probably the main reason HOMM5 is still played today.

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magnomagus
magnomagus


Honorable
Legendary Hero
modding wizard
posted June 15, 2020 06:33 PM

I'm sorry to hear that greenpakto, but that slot did contain some of the highly overpowered skills that needed to be removed, to prevent forcing classes into the same buildup every time.

I thought I removed the slot from the UI, but possibly textures gets overwritten by another mod/map

theoretically 24 new balanced skills could be added in a reinstated 5th slot, but that faces lots of technical difficulties and complex skillwheel adjustment
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