New patch: AI walled city attack experiment results

wbjgr

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Perhaps the aggression level of the AI should be higher on higher difficulty levels - it can replace losses more easily and its units are tougher to begin with, so it can probably afford to be a bit more "suicidal crazy attacker" than it currently is.
tenno heika banzai
 
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Another thing that might be hard to teach the AI is how to look at what reinforcements it can bring into the attack on its 2nd or 3rd wave. Its 1st attack might not be enough to attack the city but if it has the ability to quickly bring in more units then it should still attack because it will wear the city down and take it on its 2nd or 3rd attempt. So just because the initial units are not enough to take the city, does not necessarily mean that it should not attack. But I suspect the AI only looks at the initial units and determines that it is not enough, so it pulls back.
 

Gort

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Test 2 settings (Capital can shoot):

My leader: Cleopatra
Difficulty: Deity
Game Speed: Online
Map Type: Pangaea
Map Size: Duel
AI Leader: Montezuma
Start Era: Information Era
Resources: Abundant
Start Position: Legendary

Domination victory only
No turn limit
No barbarians

Methodology:

Send all military units to find the Aztecs, declare war on same turn they're encountered, then disband all military units. Build a single city, see how long it takes the Aztecs to conquer it. Do not use Envoys. Do not build encampments. USE city strikes.

Turn 208: Game start
Turn 211: Meet Aztecs, declare war, disband all military units.
Turn 215: Aztec infantry corps appears.
Turn 217: Aztec infantry corps retreats.
Turn 221: Aztec ranger and ranger corps appears. They get shot by the city down to red health, then retreat.
Turn 223: Aztecs found a city four tiles to the south-west of our city.
Turn 225: Ranger wanders back into range and dies.
Turn 226: Aztecs offer me two luxuries for 30 turns and 13 GPT for 30 turns in exchange for peace. I refuse. Their ranger corps wanders into range of the city and dies.
Turn 228: Aztec settler enters our territory, just out of city strike range.
Turn 229: Some Aztec units appear - an infantry unit moves into range of the city and gets shot for 26 damage, but we can see a machinegun and a machinegun corps 3 tiles out.
Turn 230: The Aztec units all move adjacent to the city, and a new infantry corps appears. I shoot the infantry for 22.
Turn 231: The machinegun and machinegun corps do nothing but sit adjacent to the city, the damaged infantryman stands still on my industrial district and heals for 5. (Why aren't the machineguns shooting?) Three infantry corps appear on the boarder. I shoot the damaged infantry for 25.
Turn 232: Both machineguns pillage some improvements. The damaged infantry retreats and is replaced by one of the infantry corps. The Aztecs found another city four tiles to the northwest of ours. I shoot the machinegun for 25.
Turn 233: The damaged machinegun shoots our city for 1 point of wall damage. I shoot it back for 25.
Turn 234: More Aztec units show up - there's now a damaged infantry, a damaged machinegun, an infantry army, two infantry corps, a machinegun corps, and two artillery near our city. I shoot the damaged infantry down to red health.
Turn 235: An Eagle Warrior(!) shows up. I bombard it and it dies.
Turn 236: One of the artillery shoots the city for a bit of damage. I shoot it back for 36.
Turn 237: An infantry attacks the city for a bit of damage. I bombard the artillery again for 38.
Turn 238: Two artillery and an infantry attack the city. Walls are now at about 60%. I shoot the artillery and destroy it.
Turn 239: No attacks this turn, so I shoot the other artillery. Lots of pillaging though.
Turn 240: More pillaging, no attacks. I shoot the artillery again.
Turn 241: Artillery and infantry attack this turn. Walls are down to about 20%. I shoot the artillery some more, but it looks like it healed to full somehow (promotion, pillage?)
Turn 242: Looked like a combined artillery and infantry attack, and the city falls.

Total time to conquer city: 34 turns

Analysis:

Much stronger showing from the AI this time. A lot less waiting camped around the city, though there was still lots of stupid wandering through the attack range of the city - there is basically no situation where you would send a scout unit into range of an enemy city, especially if it's already low on health. The Eagle Warrior is worrying - I assume the Aztecs were able to build it due to the change in the patch that allows you to build obsolete units if you lack strategic resources to build their upgrade, but there's no reason the AI should ever choose to build one if it can instead build an infantry unit.

I notice in the first game the Aztecs only had one siege unit near the city, and it basically locked up the entire attack for 50 turns. In the second game they had two siege units and pressed the attack much faster.
 
Last edited:

Leyrann

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Are you also going to test what was proposed somewhat earlier, waiting for the AI to declare war and see how fast it happens in that case?
 

Gort

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Test 3 settings (Capital can shoot, build an encampment):

My leader: Cleopatra
Difficulty: Deity
Game Speed: Online
Map Type: Pangaea
Map Size: Duel
AI Leader: Montezuma
Start Era: Information Era
Resources: Abundant
Start Position: Legendary

Domination victory only
No turn limit
No barbarians

Methodology:

Send all military units to find the Aztecs, declare war on same turn they're encountered, then disband all military units. Build a single city, see how long it takes the Aztecs to conquer it. Do not use Envoys. BUILD an encampment. USE city strikes.

Turn 208: Game start
Turn 211: Find Aztecs, declare war, delete military units.
Turn 216: Infantry army shows up.
Turn 220: Second infantry army shows up.
Turn 224: Lots of Aztec units show up - there are now two infantry armies, two machineguns and an artillery near the city.
Turn 227: First attack on the city. The offending artillery gets blown up by a double strike from an encampment and the city.
Turn 228: An infantry army attacks the city. It takes 25 damage from the city and encampment.
Turn 229: The encampment gets machine-gunned for 1 damage, we kill a machinegun.
Turn 230: The encampment gets attacked by an infantry army, a machinegun and a ranger. We shoot the infantry down into the red.
Turn 231: More attacks on the encampment. We damage some infantry.
Turn 232: More attacks on the encampment. We kill an infantry army. The city is now under siege (an infantry corps and an infantry army are adjacent)
Turn 233: More attacks on the encampment (2 machineguns and a ranger are plinking away) - it's now at about 50% walls. None of the units sieging the city have moved, but it's no longer under siege. Odd. We kill the ranger with our encampment.
Turn 234: More attacks on the encampment. We shoot up an infantry army.
Turn 235: More machinegun attacks on the encampment. We damage a ranger corps and a machinegun.
Turn 236: One machinegun retreats from the encampment, another sticks around. We shoot an infantry and the machinegun that retreated. This continues for a few more turns, until the machineguns retreat.
Turn 243: A modern tank shows up. We now have an infantry army, an infantry corps, a modern tank, a machinegun and a ranger in our territory. They sit around pillaging and getting shot for a bit. Our city is at 75% walls, the encampment is on a sliver.
Turn 246: An infantry army attacks the city. It's now on about 65% walls.
Turn 247: A bomber comes out of nowhere and knocks the encampment down to about 35% health.
Turn 248: Bomber hits the encampment again. The other units kind of sit around.
Turn 249: The Aztec modern tank has run away, and now there's a barbarian modern tank in their territory. What is going on? (Maybe rebels?)
Turn 250: The encampment gets levelled by a bomber again. It heals for 20.
Turn 251: The encampment gets levelled by a bomber again. It heals for 20.
Turn 252: The encampment gets levelled by a bomber again. It heals for 20.
Turn 253: The encampment gets levelled by a bomber again. It heals for 20.
Turn 254: The encampment gets levelled by a bomber again. It heals for 20. A machinegun and infantry attack our city.
Turn 255: The encampment gets levelled TWICE by bombers. It heals for 20.
Turn 256: The encampment gets levelled TWICE by bombers. It heals for 20. The city gets attacked by a modern tank and an MG. It's on about 40%
Turn 257: The encampment gets levelled THRICE by bombers. It heals for 20. The modern tank takes our city along with what looked like an infantry army and a machinegun.

Total time to conquer city: 49 turns

Analysis:

An OK showing from the AI. Again, they could've taken the city much faster than they did, but it would've taken a lot more aggressive maneuvers. The AI seems a lot happier to use its ranged units on encampments - especially their bombers, which will just attack encampments over and over again regardless of their level of health.
 

V. Soma

long time civ fan
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2nd and 3rd test was kind of OK, wasn't it?
If I remember well, before patch it was that AI did not capture city...
 
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At least the AI learned to use Bombers, now they only need to learn to use them effectively...

Nice testing!
 

Gort

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Messages
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Test 4 settings (Capital can shoot, build an encampment, put the strongest ranged units possible in both):

My leader: Cleopatra
Difficulty: Deity
Game Speed: Online
Map Type: Pangaea
Map Size: Duel
AI Leader: Montezuma
Start Era: Information Era
Resources: Abundant
Start Position: Legendary

Domination victory only
No turn limit
No barbarians

Methodology:

Send all military units to find the Aztecs, declare war on same turn they're encountered, then disband all military units EXCEPT ranged units, which occupy the city and encampment. Build a single city, see how long it takes the Aztecs to conquer it. Do not use Envoys. BUILD encampments. USE city strikes.

Turn 208: Game start
Turn 213: Find Aztecs, disband all military units except the three machineguns, which retreat to the encampment and city, declare war on Aztecs.
Turn 225: Aztec ranger wanders over to our city, gets vapourised by the city and the machinegun corps.
Turn 226: Aztecs offer 16 gold per turn for 30 turns and two luxuries for 30 turns for peace. I say no.
Turn 230: Aztec ranger wanders over to our city, gets vapourised by the city and the machinegun corps.
Turn 258: After being pretty much ignored for 50 turns, I now have two rocket artillery armies - one in my city, one in my encampment. A modern tank army appears. Between the units, the city and the encampment, it's on half health by the end of the turn.
Turn 259: The modern tank army chases after my builder. A machinegun wanders in range of my artillery and explodes. An infantry corps and a rocket artillery army appear.
Turn 260: The modern tank army heals for 50 + 5. We promote one of our artillery armies.
Turn 261: We destroy the infantry corps, the modern tank army captures our builder.
Turn 262: Rocket artillery and infantry dent our encampment for about 20%. We destroy the rocket artillery and the infantry corps.
Turn 263: Two rocket artillery armies hit our encampment down to about 10% walls. We damage one rocket artillery army down to very low health.
Turn 264: A jet bomber hits our encampment. It now has no walls and cannot shoot. We damage the other rocket artillery to about 50%
Turn 264: The encampment gets hit about four times by jet bombers. The rocket artillery army in it is fine though. The city gets attacked by machine guns and rocket artillery. It's on about 40% walls.
Turn 266: We destroy the machinegun and the rocket artillery.
Turn 267: An infantry attacks our city. We destroy it. There are now two modern tank armies, a modern tank unit, and an infantry corps in our territory.
Turn 268: The city gets hit by a modern tank unit and an infantry corps. We destroy both.
Turn 269: The city gets hit four times by jet bombers. It has no walls and about 5% health. We damage one of the modern tank armies down to about 25%
Turn 270: The city gets hit four times by jet bombers. It is done for if it gets attacked. Another modern tank army shows up, making three units that could just walk into the city if they chose to.
Turn 271: The encampment gets hit four times by jet bombers. We kill a modern tank army.
Turn 272: The jet bombers hit the city four times and a modern tank army walks in.

Total time to conquer city: 64 turns.

Analysis:

A much more costly victory for the AI. Once it gets it into its head to actually attack your city with its bombers and follow up with a melee unit, the fight ends very quickly.
 

TrailblazingScot

I was kittenOFchaos
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Messages
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Location
Brighouse, England
Once again, all you have shown is how long Montezuma takes ;)

Kongo are possibly more efficient...

This will keep you busy :)
 

Dustbrother

Chieftain
Joined
Oct 12, 2016
Messages
69
I love these tests!

It's a good gauge as to whether it's worth coming back to play this game again. From what you're saying that's still currently a no.We're approaching 6 months after release and they still haven't sorted this fundamental part of the game.

I look on the steam store review page and it's a sea of red complaining about this issue. Also every BS Facebook post Firaxis makes has at least two or three people screaming "please fix the AI". Have they ever once even spoken to the fact this may be an issue?
 

Leyrann

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I love these tests!

It's a good gauge as to whether it's worth coming back to play this game again. From what you're saying that's still currently a no.We're approaching 6 months after release and they still haven't sorted this fundamental part of the game.

I look on the steam store review page and it's a sea of red complaining about this issue. Also every BS Facebook post Firaxis makes has at least two or three people screaming "please fix the AI". Have they ever once even spoken to the fact this may be an issue?

To be fair, I wouldn't be surprised if the AI is actually fixed more than these tests show, and that the AI simply isn't ready to attack yet when Gort declares war. But we'll see once he gets around to the other tests (where he waits for the AI to declare war). I wouldn't be surprised, at least, considering the AI needed less than 10 turns in my game against a walled city (ancient walls in medieval era though) to get it.
 

Siptah

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Messages
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Location
Lucerne
Thanks for the tests. While still not where we want it to be, it shows that Firaxis tried to increase the challenge when facing the AI. To me it is a good sign that they now use bombers (at all). This alone already makes it more interesting.
I would be curious how the AI reacts on an island map where it should come to your city with naval units. Will it build those in large numbers as well? And use it?
 

Gort

Emperor
Joined
Nov 7, 2010
Messages
1,518
Last one! (at popular request)

Test 5 settings (Capital can shoot, build an encampment, put the strongest ranged units possible in both, do not declare war but try and get the Aztecs to declare on you):

My leader: Cleopatra
Difficulty: Deity
Game Speed: Online
Map Type: Pangaea
Map Size: Duel
AI Leader: Montezuma
Start Era: Information Era
Resources: Abundant
Start Position: Legendary

Domination victory only
No turn limit
No barbarians

Methodology:

Send all military units to find the Aztecs, denounce them as often as possible, then disband all military units EXCEPT ranged units, which occupy the city and encampment. Build a single city, see how long it takes the Aztecs to conquer it. Do not use Envoys. BUILD encampments. USE city strikes.

Turn 208: Game start
Turn 213: Meet Aztecs. Disband all military units except ranged units, which come home. Tell Aztecs we have no time for pleasantries, then phone them up and denounce them.
Turn 214: Demand the Aztecs give us coffee. They refuse.
Turn 215: Demand the Aztecs give us oil. They refuse.
Turn 216: Demand the Aztecs give us a city. They refuse.
Turn 218: Demand the Aztecs give us uranium. They refuse. (gonna keep demanding things, but it doesn't look like it's affecting our relationship slider thingy)
Turn 222: Aztecs call us up to tell us how we follow Tlacael's words, presumably a compliment.
Turn 229: Aztecs declare formal war. I can see an infantry unit and an infantry corps nearby.
Turn 230: An infantry unit moves into range, I can see another infantry unit, an infantry corps, a machinegun and an artillery out there.
Turn 231: The infantry unit moves closer and dies.
Turn 232: The artillery moves into range, gets down to about 25% health, and withdraws. Two machineguns, an infantry corps, and an infantry unit advance. We destroy one machinegun and damage another.
Turn 233: The machinegun withdraws. Our defense now consists of the city, an encampment, a machinegun army and an artillery army.
Turn 234: The first attack against our encampment, a plink by a machinegun. We destroy an artillery and an infantry. We badly damage a machinegun and an infantry corps.
Turn 235: We kill some more units. There are now two machineguns and an infantry corps in our territory.
Turn 236: We kill a machinegun and damage the other down to a sliver.
Turn 239: We destroy the last of the units in our territory.
Turn 241: A badly damaged machinegun comes back and dies.
Turn 257: The Aztecs build an encampment across the border, and station an infantry unit within range. We use both for target practice even though they're not dangerous.
Turn 262: Aztec bombers are pillaging our farms.
Turn 268: A modern tank unit appears and explodes. An Aztec settler has been sitting two tiles from my city for about 30 turns now.
Turn 269: A bomber hits my encampment for a bit of damage
Turn 274: I get rebels, in helicopters. They capture the Aztec settler, then I kill the rebels. Now there's a barbarian settler.
Turn 278: A modern tank army shows up and gets shot into the red.
Turn 279: An infantry unit shows up and captures the barbarian settler again. We kill the infantry.
Turn 280: The modern tank army comes back and gets knocked into the red again.
Turn 281: We destroy the modern tank army.
Turn 287: The Aztecs bomb our encampment every turn with jet bombers. An unescorted Great General and traders wander past our city.
Turn 300: The Aztecs build a Mars Reactor for some reason (space victory is off)
Turn 343: A rebel helicopter pillages my encampment. With it destroyed, jet bombers start targeting the city.
Turn 344: I repair the encampment, and the bombers start targeting it again. However, my city now has no walls, and there is no way to repair them. (I've seen people talk about a wall repair project, but it is not a build option, ever. Maybe the walls you get for free can't be repaired? And I can't build any walls - the medieval and renaissance walls are a build option, but they're greyed out as they require ancient walls)
Turn 380: A barbarian modern armour rolls by and pillages my encampment, causing the bombers to switch to my city again. I repair the encampment and they switch back to it again.
Turn 389: Aztecs switch to Merchant Republic government in 2189 AD(!)
Turn 395: The Aztecs bomb my city ten times a turn.
Turn 400: Aztecs switch to Theocracy in 2199 AD. I give up.

Total time to conquer city: ??

Analysis:

Felt like the AI got into a bugged state in this one. It had victory in its grasp from around about turn 280 with uncontested control of the air over my territory and no return fire (my units got disbanded due to lack of money due to war exhaustion eventually, and once walls are gone in this era they cannot be repaired) but they never sent a unit over to conquer the city.

They need to remove the ability to waste ranged attacks on entities that cannot be damaged (EG: Cities and encampments on no health), include a way to repair walls of cities and encampments in the information era, remove the ability to switch to a medieval government type in the information era, improve the AI's handling of its noncombat units, and maybe put in some kind of "feeding frenzy" AI attack routine for when the enemy has no units and cannot do city strikes any more.
 

Leathaface

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Mar 11, 2012
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Location
Cork, Ireland
These tests are very good, but in my games when I've multiple cities close to each other the AI doesn't go for a single city, instead it ends up spreading its attack to go for 2 cities. It could take a single city with the size of the army.

The results of your tests are promising though, thanks for doing them!
 

bbbt

Deity
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Oct 21, 2013
Messages
2,483
I love these tests!

It's a good gauge as to whether it's worth coming back to play this game again. From what you're saying that's still currently a no.We're approaching 6 months after release and they still haven't sorted this fundamental part of the game.

I look on the steam store review page and it's a sea of red complaining about this issue. Also every BS Facebook post Firaxis makes has at least two or three people screaming "please fix the AI". Have they ever once even spoken to the fact this may be an issue?

It's not earth shattering but it's actually a solid improvement compared to pre-patch. In context (I.e. a diety game with multiple AI enemies that are ahead of you in science), it might mean more of a challenge.

A lot of the steam complaints are pretty mixed about what they actually want though - a lot of them call AI what I'd call 'diplomacy' - I.e. the behavior of the AI to the player rather than how the AI plays the game. Heck a lot of the complaints about the AI (on steam especially) is that the AI is too likely to dislike them and declare war on them.
 
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