Iron War - Official Thread

  • Admin

    @black_elk Yeah, only way to determine SBR balance is in a PvP game as the AI is helpless vs SBR on this map.

  • @redrum

    Yeah my gut tells me that in a PvP game, scrambling will not be enough to deter this sort of strat. The minor Axis powers don't really have much cash to put into fighter interceptors. I guess if the big 3 on the Axis team each sent like 2-3 fighters to prop up the minor powers it might be enough of a deterent, but then that's a lot of cash/fuel to keep the bombers away. Creating a halo of AAguns or cruisers might be another approach, but pretty expensive. The bomber only costs 30 per unit for the Allies, but probably costs almost twice as much for the Axis to set up proper defenses against it. They are also extremely effective as regular combat units to pick off transports or weak links on the ground, so for the Allies they are kind of steal, especially for the far flung minors that can really use the movement advantage.

    I think the most sensible approach would be to delay the arrival of the bombers by making them a tech advance for most of those minor Allies. Even 1-2 rounds to get prepared would make a big difference. My feeling is that 1941-42 would be ideal. Giving a chance for the Axis to get their act together before they start getting squeezed from all directions hehe. At least you could build up AAguns over a couple rounds.

    Right now on the Allied team everyone but Brazil has access to bombers from the outset. On the Axis side Germany, Italy, Japan and Thailand can buy them (Finland too if G sends cash), but Iraq and Iran don't get them at all. I wouldn't anticipate that everyone would go for the bomber game. Some just don't like the unpredictability of SBR, but right now it seems kind of one sided, with the Allies gaining a huge turn order advantage in the sequence if they start early and stick with it.

    Cutting out bombers for France, South Africa, French Colonies, KNIL and China would at least even things out, so a dedicated bombing campaign by the Allies would be somewhat more manageable. Again the most vulnerable targets are the smaller nations with just one production spot and limited income. For the Axis that's half the team, Balkans, Finland, Iraq, Iran, and Thailand. On the Allied side the most vulnerable to bombing is British India, followed by South Africa. France and China are probably hard pressed too once they are knocked down to just one factory. Although Urimichi and Gabon are easier to defend by spreading out with aa guns along the likely flight paths. The other Allied nations have safe spots over in the Americas so probably can come up with alternative builds. I haven't attempted a carrier based bombing campaign, but that might be an interesting option for Japan vs Australia or the US.

    On the Allied side defending against Axis raids against thr subcontinent, the cruiser in the India coast sz is probably key to detering bombers against the India/French India factories. With a cruiser and a couple AA guns fanning out, you can at least force the Axis to run a gauntlet.

    But yeah, that's all PvP. Against the Machine the bombers rule, so probably just have to go easy on the AI and use them only for combat hehe.

    One thing I do really enjoy is how the strat bombing game feels more nuanced and consequential than it does in traditional A&A. Something highly satisfying about knocking a factory off the board from the sky, even if they are relatively inexpensive to replace, the shock of a well timed placement phase vs the enemy stall can be decisive.

  • This one was pretty fun. After what felt like a solid performance by my Allies (especially in Africa and India), AI Japan made a sudden and dramatic comeback at the end there. In rapid succession they smoked the American fleet, knocked off China, and held the Russian's feet the fire in the Far East, setting up a recovery for their team. I gave the AI a 120% boost this time and made no bombing runs. As if to punk me for my charity, the Machine started doing bombing runs of their own! Out for blood tonight.

    The AI Japanese really tried to ice it too, spanking me in Philippines after MacArthur thought he had it in the bag, then stealing Truk and Hawaii before our yankee jaws had time to hit the floor heheh.

    It's definitely entertaining when the AI catches me off guard and doesn't pull any punches. Germany/Italy also did some nice coordination with a little Denmark trap to isolate the British fleet once I moved it through the strait to help stack Baltic states, alas those Brits are cut off. Now it looks like the European Axis are trying to blow the lid off Moscow pretty soon here. Throwing in the towel and calling this one for the computer haha. Nice job HardAI!

    0_1524113178159_Elk vs Hard AI Axis 120 bonus USA round 7.tsvg

    Will be back for the rematch lol

  • Admin

    @black_elk Out of curiosity, what engine version have you been using? The latest stable (9687)? Or a pre-release? As there have been a few fixes to the AI in the pre-releases.

  • I'll have to check for the latest when I get home. I was using, but that was from a few weeks back now I think.

    I've been enjoying the HardAI. The only downside compared with FastAI is that my laptop gets kinda fried if I let it go for too long. Like I'll get a map flickering and delay on actions if I go much longer than a full round. If I see the AI stall on noncom or something, that is usually my cue to quit tripleA and reload the game, which generally speeds things up. Saving at each block is helpful to keep the pace up. Not really sure if there's more I could do to help the machine crunch its numbers. I figure it has a shit ton to think about each turn, given the scale of the map, but I've definitely noticed stronger play from the Hard than the Fast, so seems worth the extra effort hehe.

    Anyhow, will give the AI Axis another try later tonight. Thinking to go 125% this time, just to see what kind of damage the Japanese can do.

  • Admin

    @black_elk Alright, pretty recent then. There has been a few small adjustments since that version and the default memory has been increased from 1 GB to 2 GB which could have an impact on AI speed as well. Be interested to see if that memory increase makes any difference for you.

    EDIT: I loaded up your last save game you posted and the memory should make a big difference actually. Trying to play Iron War with only 1 GB even without the AI is probably slow. As the map itself ideally needs around 1.5 GB to fully load everything up in memory so you probably had hard disk swapping the entire time.

  • Admin

    Decided to run an all Hard AI game and let it run til round 7 when Germany begins to overrun Russia and appears the Axis should have this one in the bag: 0_1524161355825_Iron_War_Hard_AI.tsvg

  • Admin

    @Frostion @Black_Elk So the first thing I noticed is the AI doesn't properly consider AA when purchasing as they are a valid land unit for attacking/defending. So I went ahead and fixed it:

    You'll most likely see the AI buy more AA guns now primarily for fodder. It seems to go for a blend of AA guns and infantry now given the costs which is fairly reasonable.

  • Admin

    @Frostion Next thing I notice is the AI attacks neutrals like crazy! This is because it sees them as another enemy player rather than neutrals. Do you think there is an easy way to determine which are 'neutral' players by looking at certain parameters we already have? Or does it make sense to add an attribute to player?

  • @redrum hey did you just adjust the AI purchases (AA and Infantry) for the overall AI or just for the Iron War map??

    I havent tested the latest AI in awhile since you have not been doing tactical improvements but your last post maybe you altered the AI than when I last played it ... was that a tactical AI update?? 🙂

  • Moderators Admin

    @redrum Isn't the neutral parameters already hard coded? I would have thought there are already things in the code that would allow the AI to omit them as a threat.

  • Admin

    @hepps I mean when you have an actual player that acts as neutral. Open up Iron War and you'll see what I mean 🙂

  • @redrum
    I think in Iron War there really is no 'Neutral'. 'True Neutral' is assigned the relationship 'Closed-Borders' which has the 'archType' of 'War'.
    I believe this is done so that the AI can attack 'Neutral' territories.


  • Moderators Admin

    @redrum You are nothing if not always correct. I should know better than to stick my thick neck out... lest it be hacked off with the sword of enlightenment.

  • Admin

    @wc_sumpton Correct. But what I'm getting at is that the AI should treat them essentially as 'neutral' when determining attack/defense. As those neutrals can't attack and its generally better to only attack neutrals if the territory value is high or its a strategic position. The AI shouldn't attack 'neutrals' for positive TUV trades. This is what it is currently doing in Iron War.

  • Admin

    So my thought is one or both of these player parameters determine if a nation should be treated like 'neutral' and not have the AI TUV trade:

    defaultType: "AI", "DoesNothing"
    isHidden: "true"


  • Moderators Admin

    @redrum As I reported in the past, this has always been a problem with Feudal Japan FFA. I remember to have reported the AI destroying itself to kill huge minor clan stacks.
    For some reasons, I believe none of those parameters are really very good, and there is the item that is not helping existing maps (for example, that is doing nothing for Feudal Japan, unless someone updates it).
    As you have said, the matter is that they cannot attack; so I would just have your AI consider "Neutral" whatever player that lacks a "Combat Movement" phase.
    A better, albeit likely less feasible to implement, way would be the AI being able to see who is lacking a win condition, and this would be better on a FFA perspective, as the AI should also take into account who is closer to its win condition (so, those having no win condition are always at 0%, and the others the AI would have to evaluate (so, practically, in a FFA a player in a very bad shape, that has almost no way to win, would be seen just like a "Neutral" one)). Obviously, this would cover the above point too, as not having a "Combat Movement" phase would almost assure you cannot win, aside from very strange victory conditions.
    But I'm guessing seeing who can and is closest to win the game is very hard to implement, so just testing for the absence of a "Combat Movement" phase should cover the matter at hand.
    Side note "Neutral" is really not a good definition, and I suggest to rather reference it as "Null", since "Neutral" (the player) is not "Neutral" (the relationship), but always at "War" with everyone.

  • @redrum I just wanted to poke my head in to say that this sounds like a smart idea. In the end, DoesNothing AI is functionally the same (from a player's perspective) to static neutral units. I would actually suggest dropping the isHidden and sticking with only checking for DoesNothing AI, as whether it is shown should probably not affect whether the AI should perceive it as a threat. This will be a great improvement to AI behavior on this map. Frostion may be able to expound on this, but I imagine this problem also exists in Age of Tribes, so we'll have improvements on a few fronts.

  • Moderators Admin

    @theredbaron Ah, surely. "Does Nothing" AI should be considered alike to the Null player, and the AI should do so also in case it is currently assigned, not only if default. Tho that is probably not covering a bunch of cases, in which you don't want to go as far as that, so I think that's a marginal item.
    The same can be said if a player is not "used". Practically, whatever makes you skip your "Combat Move" phase I considered it a subset of my previous advice, just like not having the "Combat Move" phase to start with.

  • Admin

    @cernel Given that many maps don't have actual win conditions that probably wouldn't work well.

    So there are a 2 different types of 'neutrals':

    1. Passive (Iron War & Feudal Japan) - neutrals have no combat move phase so treat like 'neutral' and don't worry about defending against them as they can't attack anyone
    2. Active (Caribbean Trade War) - neutrals (Pirates/Indians) have all normal phases but have defaultType="AI" isHidden="true". Need to defend against them since they can attack but shouldn't really be attacking them for TUV trades. Think maps that use 'active' neutrals for barbs, wildlife, pirates, etc.

    My thought is if defaultType="AI" or "DoesNothing" AND isHidden="true" then treat them as active neutrals. If they have no combat move phase then treat them as passive neutrals (this obviously overrides active neutrals). Might even just really need to check if isHidden="true" since I can't really think of any cases you'd use isHidden for a player that was a real player.

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