Before posting an issue/request at GitHub about this, I would like some input and thoughts concerning what to ask for and what request to actually make. It is concerning AI players, AI player names and the fact that they are displayed as players at the selection screen even though they are not meant to be played. These are my first thought about what to request at GitHub:
1) Please add XML option to mark a player to be played by the AI by default.
I maps like Dragon War, there are tiny nations that are not meant to be under any human control, Age of Tribes has AI players handling animals, plague and nuke radiation, in the Star Trek map there is an AI player that controls the random starting location of planets. Who knows what map makers could use the AI for in the future. It would be nice if these (non-)players did not have to be named like “AI-Murlocs”, “AI-Nature” etc. just to be set to AI control from start. It looks silly when playing. Maybe an XML solution could be something like this:
<player name="Dwarves" optional="true" canBeDisabled="false"/>
<player name="Murlocs" optional="false" canBeDisabled="false" isDefaultAI="true"/>
2) Please add XML option to remove specific players from the games launch menu completely.
If the above is implemented it would be great also to completely prevent certain players from being displayed in the launch screen. There is really no reason for players like this to be displayed at all as it would maybe just confuse players. Maybe something like this:
<player name="Nature" isDefaultAI="true" isNonPlayable="true" />
3) Please add XML option to remove players from being displayed in the Economy and Stats tabs.
As a supplement to the above, some AI controlled players would be nice to remove from these tabs as they are not really playing a part in the map. Like in the Star Trek map where the AI is just a thing used for placing planets at game start. Maybe something like this:
<player name="Planets" isDefaultAI="true" isNonPlayable="true" isHiddenFromTabs="true"/>
One might ask: If a player is meant to be AI controlled, why should it not just always be NonPlayable / non-selectable at the game start screen? Answer: I don’t really know. But if a player is non-selectable it removes the possibility to change what kind of AI it uses. Personally I don’t mind these sort of AI players to always be Hard AI, but since Hard AI is a bit slow on large maps it could be potentially problematic in future maps. Im not sure, but I would think it best to keep such options separated so that the mapmakers have some control. The three requests could be expanded with an forth: An option to choose what specific type of AI is meant to be used in the player-slot. But since I don’t know the future of the AI, so I hesitated making such a request.
So there are 2 new player properties:
defaultType - optional, default is "Human"; options are "Human", "AI", "DoesNothing"; sets player to this type by default in the player selection window
isHidden - optional, default is "false"; options are "true", "false"; if true doesn't show player in player selection window
<player name="Germans" optional="false" defaultType="AI" />
<player name="Italians" optional="false" defaultType="DoesNothing" />
<player name="Japanese" optional="false" defaultType="DoesNothing" isHidden="true" />