Insane AI gets more resources? That's so cheap.

#1 Edited by BombKareshi (979 posts) -

My cousin and I play a lot of 2v2 against the AI. Last night, we had our first game against an "insane" opponent, and after getting our asses regally handed to us, we were shocked to discover watching the replay that the son of a bitch was getting 7 minerals per worker instead of 5 (and I'm sure it gets a gas bonus as well).
 
I don't know what to say. I just find this amazingly cheap. I refuse to believe that Blizzard could not have programmed a nastier AI without resorting to breaking the game rules. Barring cheese tactics and exploits, a computer player, with all its calculating power and micro-management faculties, should absolutely pound a human player when it goes all-out. I don't think the "very hard" AI represents the peak of the computer's abilities in StarCraft 2. I mean, I could beat it, and I'm not even that good a player!
 
I'm just very disappointed that the AI has to cheat to be more challenging.

#2 Posted by StarvingGamer (8559 posts) -

Starcraft is kind of interesting in that it's a game of regimented build orders and extremely fluid reaction based strategies that exist within an eternally evolving metagame. An AI that just builds whatever but tries to micro/macro well is just going to get stomped by these carefully timed builds and an AI that has what might have been strong builds at the release of SCII will quickly see those builds being demolished by newer builds one month into the game.

It's true that if Blizzard put a shit ton of work into developing an insanely complex AI and also did constant patches to update it based on whatever the current landscape of strategies might be, they might be able to accomplish a computer with diamond level mechanics and gold level creativity. Personally I'd much rather they spent all that time and effort developing Heart of the Swarm and working on multiplayer balance which is going to impact 99% of their users rather than the .01% that want to play against AI for an authentic multiplayer challenge.

#3 Posted by ShockD (2421 posts) -

Nothing new here. The AI uses cheats since StarCraft 1.

#4 Posted by Vexxan (4614 posts) -

Doesn't all RTS use this kind of cheat to make bots harder? Since the bots can't compete with pro players when it comes to simply playing the game they just give them more brute force to go with.

#5 Posted by lilburtonboy7489 (1948 posts) -

I could not agree more. They also get other cheats, such as having full vision of the map at all times. 
 
In my opinion, they should have just made the ai harder in the sense that they micro and macro better, get better unit composition, try to control the towers, etc..
 
That would be a much better system imo.

#6 Posted by BombKareshi (979 posts) -

I'm not asking for an AI that could keep up with new builds and can compete with pro players. I'm just saying they could have made a more challenging AI without resorting to cheats.
 
Yeah, the AI in the original StarCraft cheated anyway, that much Blizzard admitted in the commentary for StarCraft 2. But I'm sure they said in the same commentary that they no longer do that now. If you watch the computer in any SC2 replay, nothing it does is unreasonable. That is, unless you happen to set it to Insane.

#7 Posted by SexualBubblegumX (542 posts) -

Yeah the AI has been cheating since Warcraft 2. 

#8 Posted by JusticeCat (106 posts) -

If you want a more challenging AI, there are custom maps with AI that afaik doesn't cheat and are insanely good. Search Fyn AI or google sc2 custom AI, they are just custom maps with modified scripts running and might provide a challenge for you and your mate. If you're beating the very hard AI, why not jump on the ladder? It is programmed so that you should be winning 50% of your games and always challenging you.

#9 Posted by baldgye (757 posts) -

the AI also has like 1k apm

#10 Posted by Goly (843 posts) -
@StarvingGamer said:

Starcraft is kind of interesting in that it's a game of regimented build orders and extremely fluid reaction based strategies that exist within an eternally evolving metagame. 

So fucking deep maaaaan 
 
Don't mean to offend really, I just thought that sentence was funny. 
#11 Posted by BombKareshi (979 posts) -
@JusticeCat said:

If you're beating the very hard AI, why not jump on the ladder? It is programmed so that you should be winning 50% of your games and always challenging you.

Yeah, I still plan on doing that, but when I noticed I'm down to 3 matches left in the practice league, I got scared for some reason or another. It's not that I'm stuck for someone/something to play against, I'm just a shocked that Blizzard had to resort to a cheating AI.
 
@baldgye said:
the AI also has like 1k apm
That's not breaking any game rules, though, and it's exactly why I expected the AI to be harder to beat without resorting to buffing its income. Oh well.
#12 Posted by imsh_pl (3314 posts) -
@BombKareshi said:
I refuse to believe that Blizzard could not have programmed a nastier AI without resorting to breaking the game rules.
You're wrong.
 
The AI in SC II does not react how any decent player would. It does not know what triggers to look for, it does not know how to determine whether your opponent is 4gating or just 3gate expanding. 
 
The AI in SC II does not know the current metagame. It does not evolve, it does not learn gradually how any human player does. As far as I'm concerned the AI in SC II is not being updated and it still thinks how a player would think one year ago, before all the major patch changes happened and players learned more and more effective strategies and counter-strategies.
 
The AI's micro is also bad.
#13 Posted by BombKareshi (979 posts) -
@imsh_pl said:
@BombKareshi said:
I refuse to believe that Blizzard could not have programmed a nastier AI without resorting to breaking the game rules.
You're wrong.  The AI in SC II does not react how any decent player would. It does not know what triggers to look for, it does not know how to determine whether your opponent is 4gating or just 3gate expanding.   The AI in SC II does not know the current metagame. It does not evolve, it does not learn gradually how any human player does. As far as I'm concerned the AI in SC II is not being updated and it still thinks how a player would think one year ago, before all the major patch changes happened and players learned more and more effective strategies and counter-strategies.  The AI's micro is also bad.
Your response does not make sense. You quote my statement that Blizzard could have written a better AI and state that you disagree, then you proceed to explain how badly written the AI is. Doesn't that mean you agree with me?
#14 Posted by imsh_pl (3314 posts) -
@BombKareshi: The thing is that they would have to update that AI constantly. Which I imagine is pretty difficult.
#15 Edited by Tennmuerti (8174 posts) -

AI in an RTS game has been notably difficult to create since the start of the geanre.
There is a very very simple reason for this.
It's not actually an AI 
 
In other words the computer scirpts don't really posses proper inteligence or adaptability.
With time a player is always 100% able to figure out how to beat a computer simply by the fact that a human player can adopt. (if the AI is constrained by the same laws)
Hence in every RTS out there an AI always needs to cheat to play the game, sometimes it is just more obvious to see (like your mineral count) other times it's cheating and you just don't know it.
Programing for inteligence in games is not an easy task like you think it is, much more so for RTS games.

#16 Edited by BombKareshi (979 posts) -
@imsh_pl: Sure, but I still think they could have done a little better even without that.
 
Giving the AI more resources does not actually make it play any better, and it changes the core rules of the game. The computer opponent is simply given an advantage; it still sucks at micro, as you say. The skill levels Very Easy through Very Hard actually influence the way the AI behaves – I would have expected Insane to do the same.
#17 Posted by ShockD (2421 posts) -
@Vegsen said:

Doesn't all RTS use this kind of cheat to make bots harder? Since the bots can't compete with pro players when it comes to simply playing the game they just give them more brute force to go with.

But the AI should play better anyway, because it has a higher APM than any human player and can perform hundreds of actions simultaneously.
#18 Posted by Thule (692 posts) -

@antikorper said:

But the AI should play better anyway, because it has a higher APM than any human player and can perform hundreds of actions simultaneously.

It doesn't work like that. 1000+ APM does not equal a godlike skill level.

The "AI" for Starcraft is pretty good, when you compare it to other games' computer opponents. However, you're never going to get surprised by it, simply because it is not an artificial intelligence, but a series of scripts that sometimes might react to something you're doing.

If you want a real challenge just play against another human being. Humans are creative and will think outside the box.

Blizzard makes great games and does alot of polish, but even they can't make computer opponents leap forward in ability just like that, especially considering it's such a complicated game.

#19 Posted by tunaburn (1891 posts) -

you know that on insane the computer also has all vision right? it has maphacks and gets more money.

#20 Edited by Thule (692 posts) -

@tunaburn said:

you know that on insane the computer also has all vision right? it has maphacks and gets more money.

Yes, it's a common way to increase the challenge for the human player and it's done in almost every game.

I'm not saying that I like it either, but it's the only way to increase the difficulty without scripting in an AI response for every single permutation of what the player can do or could be doing. (Which is impossible considering Starcraft's complexity)

#21 Posted by Flaboere (343 posts) -

In Starcraft, the Insane AI form the editor didn't even need money to build.  
 
I'm pretty sure Blizzard intended the Insane AI to be overwhelming, which is why it cheats, and watching the GSL, the Korean players are much more hardcore it seems, when it comes to harassment. 

#22 Posted by BombKareshi (979 posts) -
@Thule said:

I'm not saying that I like it either, but it's the only way to increase the difficulty without scripting in an AI response for every single permutation of what the player can do or could be doing.

The only way? I'm not convinced. I'm not doing anything special to beat my Very Hard opponent. I'm just building an army, not even an optimized one, as quickly as I can and taking him on full force. I find it very difficult to believe that I, with my terrible macro and short attention span, can build three gateways and spam units faster than the computer can, and yet I still get pulverized by other players in the Practice League.
 
@Thule said:
If you want a real challenge just play against another human being. Humans are creative and will think outside the box.
Oh, I have and I will again. I didn't post about this because I'm stumped for a challenge, but rather because I'm disappointed at the AI.
#23 Posted by Mesklinite (816 posts) -

In civ they get more u nits!
#24 Posted by bkbroiler (1642 posts) -

I think you're expecting way too much from the AI. Perhaps they could have made a better AI - I don't really know anything about how difficult that would be to do. But instead they created a pretty competent AI and spent the rest of the development time making a balanced game with a lengthy single player with tons of unique units and one of the best multiplayers out there. Would it make any sense to spend more time on the AI? No, not really.

Not to mention the fact that RTS games have been making the hardest level AIs cheat since the dawn of gaming. That leads me to believe that creating a really challenging AI that doesn't cheat is not as easy as you seem to think. So give them a break, and just enjoy the extra challenge if you insist on playing AI opponents.

#25 Edited by BombKareshi (979 posts) -
@bkbroiler said:

Not to mention the fact that RTS games have been making the hardest level AIs cheat since the dawn of gaming. That leads me to believe that creating a really challenging AI that doesn't cheat is not as easy as you seem to think. So give them a break, and just enjoy the extra challenge if you insist on playing AI opponents.

Well, I don't play a lot of RTS, but the fact that everybody else does it doesn't make it seem any less cheap to me.
 
I appreciate the time spent on balancing the game etc, but StarCraft 2 has a lot of content that I would regard superfluous. Personally, I'd rather they left out the Insane difficulty than have it cheat. Especially since the other difficulties don't, at least not in such a game changing way. I mean, I remember watching the making-of DVD and the guys were all excited about how their new AI doesn't cheat. 
 
(Again, it's not that I refuse to play against human players – my cousin and I just got placed in Silver League, in fact.)
#26 Posted by Spectreman (232 posts) -

I win insane AI with cannon rush. Cheese vs Cheese! :)

#27 Posted by bkbroiler (1642 posts) -

@BombKareshi: Some people want that extra challenge of playing against an opponent that has many advantages over them. They shouldn't take it out!

#28 Posted by DG991 (1340 posts) -

That used to piss me off in empire earth.

#29 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

AI in an RTS game has been notably difficult to create since the start of the geanre. There is a very very simple reason for this. It's not actually an AI In other words the computer scirpts don't really posses proper inteligence or adaptability. With time a player is always 100% able to figure out how to beat a computer simply by the fact that a human player can adopt. (if the AI is constrained by the same laws) Hence in every RTS out there an AI always needs to cheat to play the game, sometimes it is just more obvious to see (like your mineral count) other times it's cheating and you just don't know it.Programing for inteligence in games is not an easy task like you think it is, much more so for RTS games.

There have been quite a few games with Expert Systems and Neurological Computing algorithms (the core tenets of AI) and Supreme Commander is one of those I can think of, but there are certainly others including a rather old Artificial Life game called Creatures.

#30 Edited by Tennmuerti (8174 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow said:

@Tennmuerti said:

AI in an RTS game has been notably difficult to create since the start of the geanre. There is a very very simple reason for this. It's not actually an AI In other words the computer scirpts don't really posses proper inteligence or adaptability. With time a player is always 100% able to figure out how to beat a computer simply by the fact that a human player can adopt. (if the AI is constrained by the same laws) Hence in every RTS out there an AI always needs to cheat to play the game, sometimes it is just more obvious to see (like your mineral count) other times it's cheating and you just don't know it.Programing for inteligence in games is not an easy task like you think it is, much more so for RTS games.

There have been quite a few games with Expert Systems and Neurological Computing algorithms (the core tenets of AI) and Supreme Commander is one of those I can think of, but there are certainly others including a rather old Artificial Life game called Creatures.

Both Expert Systems and Neurological Computing algorithms only poses one core aspect necessary for something to be defined as true AI, adaptability. (and expert systems in very limited form at that) Unfortunately you need much more then that. Biological viruses are adoptive too, that does not make them intelligent. An actual AI requires, among many other things, creativity (and not just randomization either). Edit: SC2's AI by the way is in fact a good example of an Expert System

It's interesting that you bring up Supreme Commander AI considering it is just as lacking as in any other RTS and has been criticized. Players just as easily found weaknesses, exploits and simple strategies to beat the hardest AI in SupCom just like they did in all other RTS games. Not only is it not creative, but it is not even truly adoptive.

I will honestly say that I do not know much about Creatures, other then it's not an RTS.

#31 Posted by keris (168 posts) -

The thing is that AI is really hard to program. It's got to be flexible enough that it doesn't require a rewrite every single time any type of balance patch comes out. Also, the AI routines have to be small enough and efficient enough that playing with the computer doesn't make the game slow down to a crawl. Did I mention that the bulk of its routines are written before the game even comes out (before any out-in-the-wild metagame has been established).
 
So given those constraints, it shouldn't be too hard to see why AI only serves as barely competent comp-stomp victims.

#32 Posted by BombKareshi (979 posts) -

A lot of you seem to think that I won't be happy with anything less than "the ultimate AI". That's not what I'm saying. I don't even care if it's considered a "real AI" or not. I just think they could have tweaked their scripts a bit to make the Insane opponent harder to beat without resorting to buffing its income.
 
@bkbroiler: I'm not demanding that they take it out, and I'm sure lots of people find it useful. I just think it would fit better under another game mode or something, since it's so different from the other difficulties.

#33 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

This is nothing new. Programming AI is very hard. Every "insane", hard AI cheats. That's the way they work.

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