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Old Feb 08, 2010, 08:47 PM   #1
wolf_brother
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Artillery & Blitz

So, there's been a lot of talk going lately about artillery, and getting the AI to use it properly. Well, I noticed some time ago that by simply giving artillery units the Blitz flag that the AI will use the artillery, especially in an aggressive fashion. If you than add more movement (at least two, even more with the blitz is obviously good), high range and high ROF the AI will especially love them. Jewmpaloompa, who I've been working closely with and bouncing ideas off of for each of our projects on and off for several years, has also noticed this, and both of us have play-tested this feature. To summarize it very shortly, by simply giving the Artillery unit Blitz, the AI will move said artey into a position to attack, and will Bombard enemy cities. There are caveats of course; the AI will still only use and move artillery into positions where they aren't at risk. Jewmpaloompa should be adding more commentary onto this thread some point soon, as he's done far more testing on this subject than I have.

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Old Feb 08, 2010, 09:19 PM   #2
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So even an artillery piece with only 1 MP and Blitz will be used more by the AI than 1 MP and no blitz?

Very strange indeed the Firaxsis programming. No wonder they are not releasing the source code, not because they are stingy, but because they don't want everyone to see all the craziness that lies within!

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Old Feb 09, 2010, 05:51 AM   #3
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Good find! Waiting for more info now!
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 06:00 AM   #4
Moff Jerjerrod
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I'm very interested in hearing the results of your studies. This could provide more of a challenge when playing against the ai.
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 07:09 AM   #5
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Having the AI produce and use land-based artillery would be VERY welcome indeed.
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 02:35 PM   #6
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You have no idea how timely this discovery is. Thanks wolf-brother.
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 06:27 PM   #7
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Alright, as wolf_brother said I have been doing some testing with the AI and Artillery. We were disscussing some ideas, namely charm, and he let me know that he had noticed the AI building and using Artillery that had been given a whole slew of flags/stats. The one thing that stuck out to me was blitz, so of course I had to play test it... After setting up a tiny map I gave myself a city and the AI a few cities the city I have starts out with 100+ culture and it's borders conflict with they AI's... Now I gave the AI several Catapults and defenders... I gave myself a few defenders... The catapults' stats are 0 atk, 1 def (this was to test a different idea... it did nothing), 1 movement, 8 bombard, 3 range, 2 rof, and blitz..

At the start I declare war on the AI and immediately I start to get bombarded. I then took away Blitz and started up again, declared war and.... nothing the AI retreated ALL of their catapults back into their cities... I tested several other situations and found.

-When an enemy unit gets within two tiles of the catapults, the AI retreats.
-When defending a city they will only bombard with one or two catapults... As long as they have a larger number of them in the city.
-They will usually guard catapults with defensive units in a one to one ratio out in the field...

There is still plenty to be tested and I am probably going to play through a game with all the artillery having blitz and try to see how the AI uses it in normal play...
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 07:03 PM   #8
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That is good info there! Here is what I have noticed about the AI artillery behavior, which goes hand in hand with what you observed also:

AI Artillery when setup normally, acts almost exactly like Workers do (probably uses the same worker AI code for all we know)
- Like jewmpaloompa said, when an enemy unit gets within 2 tiles, they escape to their cities.
- If war is declared with a neighboring civ whose borders touches the AI's, workers will usually go to a city or elsewhere? and artillery will sometimes do the same.

It was mentioned that a bombard range of 4 works very well for AI, but often that is too far to be wanted in 99% of games.

This is extremely interesting... I look forward to hearing anything else that is found; and may even join in on the testing

Tom
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 07:07 PM   #9
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So they turn tail and flee whenever an enemy gets within 2 tiles' distance... how do they get to shoot at all then? Or will they keep on moving forward until approached?
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[18:47:11] <@Lucy> i don't mean to imply that what's going on in tak's underpants isn't equally or more creepy
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 07:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takhisis View Post
So they turn tail and flee whenever an enemy gets within 2 tiles' distance... how do they get to shoot at all then? Or will they keep on moving forward until approached?
Who knows what odd things Firaxsis did there?

Perhaps, when artillery is in the AI's territory, it seems to always flee to a city.

But, very rarely, when the AI decides to stick a defender on an artillery piece, then it acts different and heads straight for a city to attack. When it does this though, I rarely see normal artillery bombard other enemy units in the open. Can anyone verify this?

That seems to be the base of what I've noticed. But that is normal artillery 1 MP no blitz 1 Range.

Hopefully these tests can give some insights on it.

Tom
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 07:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
So they turn tail and flee whenever an enemy gets within 2 tiles' distance... how do they get to shoot at all then? Or will they keep on moving forward until approached?
Quote:
But, very rarely, when the AI decides to stick a defender on an artillery piece, then it acts different and heads straight for a city to attack. When it does this though, I rarely see normal artillery bombard other enemy units in the open. Can anyone verify this?

That seems to be the base of what I've noticed. But that is normal artillery 1 MP no blitz 1 Range.
Hmm... 2 move, blitz, range > 2, requires escort?
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 08:00 PM   #12
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Hmmmm... how could we implement such a lovely thing as a battering ram? It'd be tricky, but with this and Charm, it might work.
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[18:47:11] <@Lucy> i don't mean to imply that what's going on in tak's underpants isn't equally or more creepy
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 08:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Weasel Op View Post
Hmm... 2 move, blitz, range > 2, requires escort?
Does requires escort work for land units?

Tom
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 09:15 PM   #14
Moff Jerjerrod
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Very exciting find guys. I may now have to begin playtesting myself to see how this works.
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Old Feb 09, 2010, 09:52 PM   #15
jewmpaloompa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom2050 View Post
But, very rarely, when the AI decides to stick a defender on an artillery piece, then it acts different and heads straight for a city to attack. When it does this though, I rarely see normal artillery bombard other enemy units in the open. Can anyone verify this
That's the thing with blitz the AI will move defenders to protect the catapults and use them to bombard any unit they want... even ones in the open
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 12:06 AM   #16
wolf_brother
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Another thing that jewmpaloompa and I have both noticed and have talked about in regards to artey is defensive bombard. Take for example this scenario;

Quote:
Originally Posted by jewmpaloompa View Post
When defending a city they will only bombard with one or two catapults... As long as they have a larger number of them in the city.
The AI only uses units with bombard, ie both Artillery pieces and units with a Defensive Bombard stat (so-called 'Missile Infantry' and the like), as long as they have plenty of free units in their cities to defend with the Defensive Bombard. In other words if the AI has ten artillery and you're at war with it and in a position to attack one its cities, it'll put 9/10 of those artillery into the city. Out of those nine, it will only actively hit you with maybe one or two once your units are within range - the rest it will use in a purely defensive fashion for when you make your attack.
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 12:35 AM   #17
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This is very interesting indeed. So if I understand correctly you have seen the AI move artillery out of cities, with another unit to guard it, and then bombard enemy units/cities with the artillery. So has it also actually moved these artillery units into enemy territory? Presumably it has if it is bombarding cities. Can't wait to hear more on this. Getting the AI to use Artillery somewhat effectively is high on the list of most modders wish lists for game improvement I suspect given the before mention spate of threads discussing the topic recently.

Thanks guys!

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Old Feb 10, 2010, 01:42 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by nick0515 View Post
This is very interesting indeed. So if I understand correctly you have seen the AI move artillery out of cities, with another unit to guard it, and then bombard enemy units/cities with the artillery.
Yes, though the intelligence part of AI is still under debate... I saw a few times where they moved four catapults into range of my city, proceded to bombard with a catapult that was already there (they had a stack of like 10 already there), and on the next turn move all but two back into their city...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nick0515 View Post
So has it also actually moved these artillery units into enemy territory? Presumably it has if it is bombarding cities.
The way I had my tests set up they did not need to move into my territory and I believe that the AI would find it difficult with it's "no unit within two spaces of my artillery" rule... I noticed a refusal to move within range of anything with the bombard range set on 2....
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 10:44 AM   #19
wolf_brother
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In other words, adding Blitz = aggressive use of artillery.

Increasing Range to three or more means the AI will be able to use artillery from a distance, possibly even hitting border cities with low culture, and not freak out just because you move a unit.

On top of this, if you give artillery two Movement or more, than the AI will move into position, fire, and retreat.

As we all know the AI values units on a unit-by-unit basis, so if you give artillery mid-to-high ROF and Bombard Strength, than the AI will see them as 'worthy' of production in some numbers.
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 11:25 AM   #20
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So... nomad tactics by horse archers and other skirmishers might actually be used... OH GREAT! Carrhae! Genghis Khan's armies will finally be used for!

Now: important questions...
What kind of escorts do they use? Fast? Slow? Attackers? Defenders? Both? Does the 'requires escort' tag affect it in any way?
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