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AI and Calvary

Benjamin Miller

Deranged Helicopter Pilot
Mar 11, 2002
Ontario, Canada
Is it just me, or does the AI reach their military peak with Calvary and Ironclads? In my current game we've had tanks availible for about 30-40 turns and all my spies report are one Panzer. In all 6 civs left, only the Germans have built a tank. ONE frickin' PANZER! :eek: Even when the Aztecs declared war on the Egyptians and I they were still building Calvary, Longbowmen and Jaguar Warriors to attack me. :eek: I had about 40 tanks at this point. :confused:

In addition, only the Germans have built anything better than an Ironclad, and only the Germans and the Egyptians are building ships at all! :confused: And the AI's amphibious invasions suck. Period. The best one I've seen is when the Germans took a frigate and a transport loaded with a knight and a longbowman and landed them in Aztec territory. They were destroyed by Calvary.

It's like this in all my games. I never see anything better than Calvary. I almost never see planes.

All in all, this makes the AI really suck with semi-modern to modern combat.

Sorry about the rant, :( but I just needed to say how much the AI sucks at modern combat. :mad:
Don't think so....I often face tanks and modern amour from the AI losers.
In one of my game i saw them using a LOT of plane on me to destroy road... but that was a special game since i only had build one citi, and i was making turn past as fast as possible, they also had tank!:)

but it only happen in this game since other game normally finish before.:)
They used bomber and ships to destroy my roads.

Some little sea invasion, easy to counter.

I had a city with lot of mech inf. tanks, bomber and artillery. The past right beside (with 8 tanks, no defensive units) to go to a less defended city. I destroyed them all and they are finish. I razed all their cities.

For the first time, I saw my fighter on air superiority mission shutdown by a bomber. I was surprised but this is supposed to happen sometime. After all, the machine guns in the turrets of the bomber are placed there to do that.
Originally posted by Benjamin Miller
It's like this in all my games. I never see anything better than Calvary. I almost never see planes.

I've never had this problem. I always wind up with AIs that get modern units soon after or before I do.

What difficulty level are you playing? Maybe it's time to up the difficulty. You should find lots of enemy tanks, etc.. playing a monarch or emperor game.
I don't get it: I've played about every leven and even on 'chieftain' I've never faced this 'problem'. Download the patch, that might fix it (d'oh!).

P.S. Panzers rule.
I have played Monarch a while ago and have noticed a certain restriction to use Tanks. On Emperor and Deity you will have other problems. My Yankee neibors in my last game used 5 Carriers loaded with Bombers and their bombing runs left a path of destruction. Americans didn't conquer a single city, though.
What must be stated is that the AI is not very good at handling it's military in any era, it simply shows up more once cavalry and artillery become available because of the extended movement/range of these units. With ancient troops the attack/defence rating are all small and similar 1/2/3 and some 4. And catapults (i.e. ranged artilley) that are at best flea bites. So quantity counts, and we know that the AI gets bonuses and free units (at least at higher levels) so will inevitably have more units.

Once you understand how the AI responds it is child's play to exploit its behaviour. If you attack or invade the AI will throw everything its got at you, fair enough if the Germans had managed to kick D-Day back into the sea who knows what the military/political impact might have been. But you prepare for the anticipated response.

The AI will bypass a 'stongpoint' to attack something weaker (or so it thinks). With ancient, 1 move units you do not see this as they stop right next to your stack/city. You either counter attack and succed in which case it withdraws, fail in which case it asaults, massively re-inforce in which case it fortifies/runs away or leave yourself so weak that you get wiped next turn.

How many times have I seen the AI cavalry horde ride 'past' my city stocked with 10 foot, 10 fast and 10 artillery aiming for the cities behind with minimal garrisons? No more cavalry after that.

It almost never uses artillery in an assault role, presumably by the time cannon/arillery are available they are too slow, and so don't support the cavalry.

Bombers and battleships concentrate almost exclusively on destroying terrain. This is valid if it is killing a reinforcement route or denying resources but just to irritate me by killing a coastal railroad when there is a hundred other routes is just that, an irritation. I usually got the workers available to rebuild, and workers can't be damaged by artillery.

My artillery and bombers are used to deplete the army in the field first, then take down the garrisons. If the AI was to hit my cities a little more then that would become a problem, in most cities the loss of a cathederal, or factory would be damaging at the very least.

So I don't agree that the AI is incompetent at in the later ages, I dont see that it is ever compentent in any age.

I suspect that this is just another symptom of the obvious lack of playtesting that this product underwent. To release the game with fighter interceprion broken (amongst other things) can only mean no-one ever tested the game to the modern era. Of course, it might just be an introduced bug caused by a change far removed in the program, but as a systems developer myself I know that these types of problems are a lot rarer than I would have you believe. It is usually just an excellent excuse fo my/our own errors and/or laziness!

And when you consider just how long it takes to get a game up to the modern era from scratch, especially if you are not a very good player and have to restart cause the AI whupped you again.

It throws a new light on Firaxis's boast before the game was released that no-one had ever beaten the AI at diety, perhaps no-one had ever beaten the AI at any level because they never actually completed a game all the way through.

Look at the way modern techs meld in with the spaceship components. The only games where I have built stealth bombers, or radar infantry or researched genetics, miniturization, smart weapons etc. etc. are those where I have disabled Spaceship victory )and domination and diplomatic). As to future tech, well.

A competent military AI is still very much a dream for games such as Civ III, but it would be nice in it were a little less incompetent!

For a laugh one day, try the LWC mod, get yourself into a nice strategic position, at war with good forces mobilised for a strike. Put most/all your cities on automatic and then automate all of your military, garissons included. That way you can see the Artificial Idiot at work. It is a sobering sight, "What the...?" being by far the commonest phrase.

Watch as it swithes you to Communism at the drop of a hat, bankrupting you and totally screwing up your research and wonder building. Gasp in amazement as it pop rushes and drafts your capital down from size 15 to size 3 in five easy lessons. I'll not go on, you've all seen what it does.

We used to have a fun game with SMAC where you would switch factions every so often and take over the weakest for 50 or so turns. I think a succession game where the AI played every other slot would stretch even some of our master players!

Someone over at Apolyton summed it up for me. The AI in this game is not really that much better than the AI in any other of the series. They just changed the rules so that AI activity is rewarded, irrespective of whether that activity is really a viable stategy.
Originally posted by Radegast
Once you understand how the AI responds it is child's play to exploit its behaviour.

Well, if you look for exploits in an AI game engine, you will find them, no doubt. Kinda spoils the fun, though, doesn't it?
Remember that cavalry are the end of the upgrade path for horse mounted units. The huge mass of cavalry you see in the industrial age is the result of thousands of years of building mounted troops that have been upgraded. Tanks have to be built from scratch.
Originally posted by Zachriel

Well, if you look for exploits in an AI game engine, you will find them, no doubt. Kinda spoils the fun, though, doesn't it?

I presume then that you, when playing Civ 3 and the AI put its troops in a stupid position that you refrain from attacking because that would 'just be exploiting the AI'? Kinda spoils the fun, doesn't it?

Well, if I was playing this game against a human, you for instance, and I'd played you 20 times and never once had you attempted a strike at my rear areas, I'd be tempted to leave them less and less protected every time I played you. But I'd still expect you to try sometime so I'd probably not denude my rear of troops anything like as much as I do against the AI.

The fun in any game of this nature is to discover how the game system works and devise methods to overcome it. Once you have discovered a trusted method and can repeat a victory at will, then you move on to another game, or try to play with self imposed limits/hinderances.

Which is why I no longer play CivI, CTP, CTP2, Civ2, Colonization, Imperialism, Imperialism2, SMAC or SMAX even though each of these games has devoured weeks of my life over the past 10 years. I'm a fanatic, I brought my first PC so's I could play Civ 2 (had Amigas till then), upgraded it to play SMAC/CTP and have just brought a new beast so I can play Civ 3. I can beat each and every one of the above examples 100% of the time at their highest level provided I last the first 30 or so turns.

So far, I've not beaten CIV 3 on Dieity, I have a spaceship and conquest at emporer and a number of others at Monarch. My current, Emporer, game looks like it will be the bes,t yet I've got most the mid game wonders by 1300AD, so perhaps its time to start deity again.

But I've had my posterior kicked a few times as well, but I think start position is more important than difficulty level, and these starts were often obnoxious.

What made these'civ' games last a little longer on my hard drive than, say Quake2 single player, is that because the world is generated new every time, I'm faced with a new set of early game challenges which, once overcome, turn into the usual formulaic victory. Now that's when the fun gets spoilt.

My point really is if I'm playing against you and you always preface your attack with three turns of artillery bombardment, I'm exploiting my knowledge of that when I leave my troops behind the lines until the third turn. But that is not an EXPLOIT in the terms of this (and other) forums. An exploit would be something like the 'add worker to size one city and pop-rush' strategy. Now that just does spoil the fun.

Above all though you missed my point entirely, that the military AI in civ 3 leaves an awful lot to be desired at all levels throughout the game. Those who have been commending the ancient era AI are missing the fact that its the same AI strategy being adopted throughout the game, it just appears to work in ancient times because of the AI's bonuses.

Sure, it avoids your strongpoints but then simply leaves itself in the open for destruction, yes it goes for your weakpoints or rather what appear to be weakpoints, you can lead it a real merry dance just by moving troops in an out of a pair of cities.

All of its drawbacks in later times are present in early times but it doesn't matter, the things in doesn't do well (artillery supoort, combined arms, the list goes on) are nowhere near as important to the waging of a sucessful campaign as they are in later days.

How many times have I watched a city being assaulted, thinking 'one more hit, that cities gone' only to see a Cavalry ride up to the border and trot round my city. Not even attacking anything!

It sometimes feels that whoever programmed the military hadd no concept of how to play the game, but then again I do understand how difficult a task it must be to program good game AI, so I'll shut up now and add my voice to the chorus of praise.

Me, I'm still enjoying the game.
I'm using 1.17f and playing on regent. I guess it seems like it is mostly bad luck that the AI really sucks against me. Once I finish my current game, I'm switching to monarch, hopefully the AI will suck less then.
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