Author Topic: AI and Roleplay  (Read 1817 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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AI and Roleplay
« on: July 13, 2019, 06:31:00 PM »
I'm catching up with the discord and I've seen a few posts relating to concerns I might dumb down the AI because its too good to allow me to 'role-play' :)

Firstly, I do believe the AI is a lot better than C# but my player-AI battles haven't been that extensive, so its early to make any definitive estimate on how much better. I am sure it will still do dumb things that I will have to fix after V1.0. Secondly, the whole point of my AI work is to make the game more interesting for single-player-race games (as opposed to me controlling several factions), so I will be trying my best to make the AI as capable as possible.

Based on the comments I have read, there seems to be some confusion about what I mean by 'role-play'. Role-playing isn't the opposite of optimisation. Role-playing doesn't mean deliberately designing terrible ships and therefore requiring a dumb AI to beat. Role-playing means starting with a general theme for your race, which might result in terrible ships, depending on how the theme affects design, but could also result in reasonable ones too. Future ship designs are based on the experience gained by that race in the game. To make that work you have to ignore your own knowledge and instead design ships based only on the knowledge-base of the race you are role-playing. That knowledge-base only changes when the race learns from experience in the game. It also means charging out into the galaxy before you are ready and losing ships to higher tech NPR enemies. I realise from many years of debates on these lines that this concept is completely alien to some players, who cannot understand why anyone would not simply use their own knowledge and experience to design the most effective ships they can. Despite that, I thought it was worth explaining even if my motivations seem strange to some players.

However, my focus on role-playing doesn't mean I am not interested in balance. I strive to make sure different weapons and other systems offer real choices. In my previous post about the changes to mesons being relating to campaign play, I was referring mainly to the effect on NPRs. Mesons were overpowered against NPRs, so I never used them. It made life too easy. That is why they were changed. Players are far better at designing ships to combat a specific threat, such as mesons, so the balance was different for human vs human. However, I am designing for human vs NPR play so weapons are balanced against likely NPR designs, not all potential player designs. BTW please don't take this as a signal I am re-opening the meson debate. I am just trying to address some misconceptions being debated on the discord :)


Offline Kristover

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Re: AI and Roleplay
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 08:53:29 PM »
I tend to tackle role play as world building in the sense of a game like City:Skylines....Aurora gives me a toolbox to live a very specific military science fiction fantasy.  I create military organizational tables which makes sense, promotion and rotational schemes which make sense, and accept playing sub-optimally conducive with the ground rules I set up.  For instance, prior to the first contact - I don't build warships.  Why would a unified nation who is going to the stars build a large and expensive space navy when there isn't anyone to fight?  For sure I'm building weapons and arming ships but the focus is on creating exploration, science, and utility ships.  I think I mentioned it earlier, I get a lot of enjoyment out of looking at the traits of individual commanders and imagining how that translates into crew dynamics.  Bottom line - Aurora 4x the space combat game is certainly interesting and but not so revolutionary that I couldn't get that fix elsewhere.  Aurora 4x the science fiction military RPG/builder/sandbox is WAY more interesting and how I derive my enjoyment.
 
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Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: AI and Roleplay
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2019, 06:09:25 AM »
I tend to tackle role play as world building in the sense of a game like City:Skylines....Aurora gives me a toolbox to live a very specific military science fiction fantasy.  I create military organizational tables which makes sense, promotion and rotational schemes which make sense, and accept playing sub-optimally conducive with the ground rules I set up.  For instance, prior to the first contact - I don't build warships.  Why would a unified nation who is going to the stars build a large and expensive space navy when there isn't anyone to fight?  For sure I'm building weapons and arming ships but the focus is on creating exploration, science, and utility ships.  I think I mentioned it earlier, I get a lot of enjoyment out of looking at the traits of individual commanders and imagining how that translates into crew dynamics.  Bottom line - Aurora 4x the space combat game is certainly interesting and but not so revolutionary that I couldn't get that fix elsewhere.  Aurora 4x the science fiction military RPG/builder/sandbox is WAY more interesting and how I derive my enjoyment.

Yes... this is pretty much how I approach single player mode of Aurora 4x as well. Military ships before there are anyone to actually fight are basically some policing force at best. I don't withhold exploration because it can be dangerous, the people living in that world don't know that it can be dangerous. Character traits are interesting because it can lead to interesting political conflicts and odd (or realistic) decision making.

The game work allot better (in my opinion) if you do roleplay which as Steve explains is that you only use the knowledge the people or societies knows about in game and you don't bring your own accumulated knowledge about game mechanics and previous games into the picture.

There are no contest (victory conditions or multiplayer) in Aurora 4x anyway and beating a scripted AI are not really much of an accomplishment in general anyway. Multiplayer in the game also seem to be best used as role-play in my opinion as the game are not really that well balanced for player versus player gameplay. As Steve said, game balance are more about AI NPR versus player which I'm fine with.

It is always good to discus balance in the form of choices. The more choices the better in my opinion, even if the choice is between two bad options.

With that said there is nothing wrong with treating the game as a contest and something you need to do better for every time you play it. That is a perfectly viable way to play and enjoy the game as well, not just my cup of tea in relation to this specific game. I treat different games differently but whenever there are role-play possibilities that is what I enjoy the most.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 07:11:10 AM by Jorgen_CAB »
 
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Tiki

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Re: AI and Roleplay
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2019, 01:33:02 PM »
Quote from: Kristover link=topic=10452. msg115308#msg115308 date=1563069209
I tend to tackle role play as world building in the sense of a game like City:Skylines. . . . Aurora gives me a toolbox to live a very specific military science fiction fantasy.   I create military organizational tables which makes sense, promotion and rotational schemes which make sense, and accept playing sub-optimally conducive with the ground rules I set up.   For instance, prior to the first contact - I don't build warships.   Why would a unified nation who is going to the stars build a large and expensive space navy when there isn't anyone to fight?  For sure I'm building weapons and arming ships but the focus is on creating exploration, science, and utility ships.   I think I mentioned it earlier, I get a lot of enjoyment out of looking at the traits of individual commanders and imagining how that translates into crew dynamics.   Bottom line - Aurora 4x the space combat game is certainly interesting and but not so revolutionary that I couldn't get that fix elsewhere.   Aurora 4x the science fiction military RPG/builder/sandbox is WAY more interesting and how I derive my enjoyment.

I am very much the same, though I do often deviate in how my empire approaches the unknown from game to game based on their general culture I have in mind.

So a paranoid military dictatorship for example might see enemies everywhere, even within their own 'unified empire'.  So after the first civilian home system vessels the first 'deepspace' exploration vessels actually look like small militant police forces in design in that they have active sensors, so very crude point defence and some very short range but high yield missiles. . . .  because the culture of the leadership suspects enemies anywhere they can't see.  Lots of military academies to the point of silly but with the highest grade of training possible to ensure all recruits come out highly capable and indoctrinated to be loyal to the empire and their leader.

Whilst if I am playing as a pacifist technocracy leadership culture will rarely build military ships even after encountering hostile forces.  Instead they'll work around the hostility and take a more technological approach to solving potential internal problems, so if planetary resources are running low or have low yields and a neighbouring resource rich system has hostiles.  They would just 'lock down' the jump point on their home territory end, leave the system alone and divert more resources into researching alternative ways to get resources like asteroid mining (I really hope we one day get some research expensive and slow process ship based planetary strip mining modules though). 

Due to the limitations in how officers and scientists come from the same military academies and use the same blanket training level, such technocracies still end up building a ton of academies with high training despite the fact they're meant to be pacifists and have absolutely no use for the hordes of military leadership that is being spewed out. . . .  so for better leadership management and for more sensible roleplay hopefully in the C# release we'll see a better separation between civilian and military leadership training. 
 

Offline Nyvis

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Re: AI and Roleplay
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2019, 08:10:59 AM »
Wouldn't it be possible to have an AI that starts with similar issues to a player race roleplaying the trial and error situation of getting into a space military? Make it have progressively more optimized designs as it encounters other player and non player races? Maybe have it start deploying specialized counter designs after encountering sets of situations? Like the AI using more AAM escorts after losing a fight to missiles?

Or just have settings to let players pick how much they want the AI to optimize.
 

Offline BasileusMaximos

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Re: AI and Roleplay
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2019, 01:59:08 AM »
Speaking of AI and Roleplay, what do you think of allowing us to completely customize NPR's before starting the game and saving them for future playthroughs?

I got this idea from Stellaris. I just loved making alien empires that I could fight against and give their own flavor.
 
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Offline Tikigod

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Re: AI and Roleplay
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2019, 03:57:34 PM »
Quote from: BasileusMaximos link=topic=10452.  msg115576#msg115576 date=1564642748
Speaking of AI and Roleplay, what do you think of allowing us to completely customize NPR's before starting the game and saving them for future playthroughs?

I got this idea from Stellaris.   I just loved making alien empires that I could fight against and give their own flavor. 

This would be pretty cool.   Even if it was just done on a more general level. 

Like if the galaxy settings are to establish 2 NPRs on generation, then two buttons are added to the galaxy settings that when clicked open up a new window that replicates the player empire settings but in this case dictating the specifics of that exact NPR.   

So we could customise their government type, starting research labs, shipyards and so forth. 

Maybe even have a list of 'allowed cultural types' that are then the only ones used for assignment to newly created NPRs post-galaxy generation. 
The popular stereotype of the researcher is that of a skeptic and a pessimist.  Nothing could be further from the truth! Scientists must be optimists at heart, in order to block out the incessant chorus of those who say "It cannot be done. "

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