AI - how much can one trust it?

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by Dr. Strangelove, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. Dr. Strangelove

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    So, after playing a few scenarios, I’ve noticed several things about the AI:
    1. It’s not very good at using reserves. It may keep a unit in reserve, but during the attack, won’t swap them when needed.
    2. It’s not good at using AT guns. It doesn’t deploy them where LOS is best, and sometimes deploys them way behind the infantry, blocking its LOS with trees or buildings. When I ordered the AI to defend a city in my last game, AI placed AT units roughly in the middle, and infantry units on the borders. Once tanks came, it did not shift anything.
    3. It very often sends one or two units way behind my lines, where they are often easily killed by my reserves.
    4. It keeps putting HQs on the front line as an enemy.
    5. When I order it to defend a position, it would usually deploy behind where I ask it to, even when I’m asking it to defend a town and it chooses to to deploy several hundred yards behind it, with no cover.
    6. Overall, it’s not good at defense in depth when asked to defend area by me. It won’t call reserve units to contain the enemy attack.
    7. Friendly AI doesn’t seem to be good at flanking, and the only way to utilise fast units is to detach them and control them myself, clearly specifying the route with multiple waypoints.

    Would you agree with that? Overall, when it comes to AI, I quite often found that it doesn’t behave plausibly as a military officer. It can be quite good, but I can’t really trust it to command friendly troops.
     
  2. john connor

    john connor Member

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    I wonder.

    By contrast, I'm playing - actually playing, as opposed to testing, which is how I normally get to 'play' this game - RDOA, stock version and having great fun. Still the best game I've got or played, even without all the tweakings and improvements that could happen, and, indeed, may happen, in the future, if Dave keeps going at it!

    Day 2 morning at the moment. We're doing really well. We've taken both sides of the road bridge and I'm trying to set up a safe supply corridor all the way back to the SEP on the heath..... The rail bridge was blown as we got to it, as it was historically...

    1.png


    But since I'm using the test build - because it's always testing, really - I can see what the enemy AI is doing, and what his strength is, and, most importantly, what his plans are (which I check periodically for issues, though it does somewhat spoil my enjoyment...). Looks good so far. Looks horrendous for the Brits. What an impossible operation! A supply drop zone so far away! And the enemy present in such strength. Ridiculous. I will play it out to see how well the AI does and let you know, DR Strangelove. It should beat me, of course. I'll be disappointed if it doesn't.

    The actual picture, with enemy forces shown:

    2.png
     
  3. ioncore

    ioncore Member

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    This is subjective, but these all are quite reasonable points, I'd say. Time to time I'm getting annoyed with the same observations.

    This is expected to be fixed with the next major patch.

    Some seasoned players here do recommend to use Battalions as the main planning level (i.e. issue orders to Battalion-sized groups, also combined arms groups).
    I have seen also some good Regimental AI actions, but I personally play Battalion level most of the time.
     
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  4. JArraya

    JArraya Member

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    In short, I trust it very little. I have noticed a lof of the things you comment. On defense it doesn't use guns or other supporting units correctly, and on attack it just leaves everything to the rear except one or two units that go forward without much consideration to the size of the attacking unit.

    I usually end up micro managing way too much, putting gun units on edges of towns, etc. which is fine for a human player, but the AI never does that so is quite weak on the defense and is almost useless attacking.

    I'm sure a lot of this can be fixed over time. Sadly the development of this game seems to have come to a grinding halt as Dave tries to get a large patch out.
     
  5. Dr. Strangelove

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    Here are some additional and more precise points after finishing six missions:

    1. The AI very often sends HQs and artillery units first - they keep moving forward, towards the objective, paying little attention to other units and their own safety. In one of the Bulge scenarios the AI basically sent its Corps HQ, two artillery units and two nebelwerfer units forward, along the highway, eventually stumbling upon my defenses - all these units were destroyed rather quickly. Most other enemy units were miles behind them.
    2. AI always dashes towards objectives, breaking frontlines and, I imagine, breaking its own supply lines. In scenarios where you have little or no reserves, at least initially, it makes some sense - disrupt enemy's rear and his supply chains, fine, but too often these small units are easy pickings for my reserves, making the enemy lose a significant amount of troops stupidly - especially when it sends armoured companies as far as possible, with no additional support, just to attempt to seize a very distant objective - it has no way of holding it and its little more than a waste for the AI and an annoyance for me. In some extreme situations it has sent a company or two about 15-20 km from the frontline.
    3. AI tends to deploy deep inside towns, which often doesn't really make sense from a tactical point of view, especially when towns are surrounded by open ground - it has a perfect opportunity to shoot enemy infantry from the distance while remaining covered itself, but it chooses not to.
    4. I don't think it has deployed an AT unit correctly once - they usually have their LOS blocked. Even when defending a town with only two obvious approaches, allowing for a perfect anti-tank defense, they still deployed them well within the town, and, in one instance, facing impassable forests.
    5. The AI does a terrible job of evacuating its Regimental and Divisional HQs and their depots and artillery units after breaking through the main defense line. It barely if ever does that and often lets me destroy them one by one.
    6. On attack, it has absolutely no idea how to use tanks. Example - when ordering a mechanized unit with tanks to attack a town, it will usually send the tanks straight away toward the town centre, resulting in very heavy losses, especially in 1944-45 scenarios where bazookas are abundant. It doesn't understand that it can shoot from a safe distance. Unless I do it myself, the AI will not utilize hills to provide fire support over longer distances.


    I certainly do hope it gets fixed. The point of this game is to command like a real-life commander, without too much micromanagement, but with AI as it currently is, it is tedious as you cannot avoid it. The only way to mitigate AI's shortcomings is by controlling most support units yourself, which is very hard and often ineffective if you play with command delay.

    You're right, it seems that this game can only be played with battalions as the planning level. Giving orders to regiments results in very ineffective operations - wide gaps and poor reserves on defense, or very poorly coordinated attacks on the offense.


    EDIT: I'm using the default Steam build. Would the AI work any better in 5.1.31 or beta?
     
    #5 Dr. Strangelove, Oct 15, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  6. ioncore

    ioncore Member

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    No, you should use default branch.
    "5.1.31" is the vanilla 5.1.31 release we keep as a separate branch for benchmarking / stability / reference reasons.
    "beta" was used before Steam Workshop release to test it.
    "default" is the 5.1.31 with a number of bugfixes and improvements on top (like Steam Workshop etc).
     
  7. ghibli

    ghibli Member

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    You could try editing (creating a custom) the Estab file and changing the role from support to line-support, maybe there is a greater chance of having AT and AA units support line units, but from what I saw that doesn't have any effect.
    Certainly it would be a necessary improvement, as support units tend just to sit near the HQ... I posted about these issues too some time ago.
     

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