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Author Topic: a pet peve of mine in srpg's  (Read 6416 times)
Alisha
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« on: February 02, 2009, 06:08:27 PM »

it's the enemy AI they almost never have a sense of self. far to many times i've seen an enemy walk right up to my strongest character only to hit a unit in my back row only to be smited on the next turn by the character they walked up to.
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Gen Eric Gui
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 07:22:17 PM »

That's how the games are beatable.  If the AI acted like a human player you'd just dance around the edges of each other's movement ranges and never get anywhere.  The AI has to be programmed with flaws in it so that the game can be beaten by the average player.
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Willy Elektrix
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 08:03:16 PM »

That's how the games are beatable.  If the AI acted like a human player you'd just dance around the edges of each other's movement ranges and never get anywhere.  The AI has to be programmed with flaws in it so that the game can be beaten by the average player.

I agree that dumb AI is ever an intentional design decision. But, that being said, what are some strategy RPGs that actually do have good AI?
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Gen Eric Gui
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2009, 08:15:00 PM »

That depends on what you mean by good.  FFT has decent movement AI, but their ability to equip skills is awful.  Fire Emblem is usually pretty good about zoning in on weakpoints in your ranks and hammering them until they break, but they're also famous for just throwing themselves at you kamikaze style. Rondo of Swords abuses the shit out of the move-through battle system, but they're unable to fathom attacking with archers after moving, which is actually a godsend given that if they could do that like your party can, you'd never be able to finish the game.

Super Robot Taisen: OG2 has good AI, but that also has a lot to do with how ludicrously powerful most enemy mechs/pilots are, since just slamming headfirst into your army usually results in a win for them.  The first one has more balanced enemy units, but the AI is also far more stupid.

Operation Darkness has a pretty good balance between the two things.  The Nazi units are actually a threat for the most part(especially the unit types that show up later in the game), and they use pretty decent movement tactics.  They just completely lack the ability to use perma-skills and covering fire traps, which is how you outsmart them and defeat their forces.

So I mean, it's a process of give and take.  You're never going to find a game where the enemy has both good units and good AI, because the game would be nothing more than completely frustrating and in many cases, completely impossible to win without cheating/massive, massive amounts of grinding.  And that's just bad game design, in the end.
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Wild Armor
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2009, 08:26:19 PM »

I rather have a harder AI in a strategy RPG. I'm a fan of the "Come Face to Face with strongest character, aim elsewhere" AI at times, but I highly doubt the creators wanted an AI to be a glutton for punishment.

Luminous Arc had a smart AI at times, but other times they were just walking into their own death traps. I hardly call calculating moving one enemy unit into a group of 8 people an ingredient of victory.
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Gen Eric Gui
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2009, 08:39:22 PM »

Well, like I said earlier.  If they were to program the enemy AI with really smart tactics, the game would be boring and would require YOU to make stupid moves to get the game to progress any.  Because 99% of the time, the best strategy in an SRPG is to wait outside the enemy's movement range and wait for them to walk into yours.  And that's boring as shit.
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Akira
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2009, 08:49:55 PM »

Devil Survivor has pretty good enemy AI. The enemies are aggressive, very good about healing themselves and one-another, and will gang up on you. They aren't amazing at going for weakness and will sometimes go kamikaze, but overall it is pretty good.

Review coming soon! tee hee!
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2009, 10:32:31 PM »

That's a problem with strategy games in general, and a huge component of the "disenfranchisement of the unit" concept. I'm aware disenfranchisement MIGHT be a bit of a malapropism there.

http://dubiousquality.blogspot.com/2006/09/end-of-disenfranchisement-through.html <- Article on Dwarf Fortress which kind of addresses this, in regards to player-owned units. DF is probably the most interesting use of AI in a strategy game* because *everything* is AI driven.

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If the AI acted like a human player you'd just dance around the edges of each other's movement ranges and never get anywhere.

that indicates an underlying balance problem. Intentionally making the AI dumb is not good design. Intentionally bad AI is NEVER good design.

I think the biggest thing driving the problem in regards to SRPGs is that giving the AI human-like behavior isn't logical for this reason: The player's units level up and carry on from battle to battle. AI units don't. Self-preservation is slightly less of an issue for them because of this.

So, it's already got a different sort of behavior need. We need to address how they act in battle. In that sense, Alishia's point still stands: Suicide attacks, when purposeful, make sense here. Non-purposeful suicide attacks (IE not being aware of what the unit is doing) doesn't make sense.

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Because 99% of the time, the best strategy in an SRPG is to wait outside the enemy's movement range and wait for them to walk into yours.  And that's boring as shit.

This is also a symptom of bad AI. If good AI was present this would not occur. The enemy would ambush YOU.

This is also a symptom of bad map design, kind of.

Truth be told, the bad AI in a lot of SRPGs is why I'm not that fond of SRPGs as a whole. Other problems include stuff like huge and empty maps (Fire Emblem, Shining Force) or goofy artificial difficulty increasers.

* Arguably more RPG/city builder hybrid than strategy game. It's hard to classify.
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 01:38:27 AM »

The thing that always makes me laugh is when three enemies decide to attack my weakest character and leave him with less than ten HP, only to watch as the forth enemy, who is perfectly capable of killing him, decides it would be a good idea to attack someone else.

It makes me bite my nails for no reason every time.
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 10:17:46 AM »

I thought the AI in Wild Arms XF was good, save for the bodyguard mission, but any video game with a bodyguard mission has you guarding idiots. 

That game was challenging.  A lot of battles had you outnumbered and outclassed.  But then again, many of that game's battles did not have "kill the leader" or "destroy all troops" objectives, so getting through those battles required a kind of strategic thinking different from FFT, which is why a lot of critics didn't like it.  Every negative review whines that the game isn't like FFT. 

The easiest SRPG I've played was Vanguard Bandits.  The AI was so predictable, always surrounding a unit.  I totally used it to my advantage.  Kartia was another one where the enemy AI often made me go "WTF?" 
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2009, 01:57:41 PM »

I have to ask - did you spell "peeve" wrong on purpose?  Because if so, I salute your subtle cleverness. :)
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Willy Elektrix
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2009, 08:49:23 PM »

That game was challenging.  A lot of battles had you outnumbered and outclassed.  But then again, many of that game's battles did not have "kill the leader" or "destroy all troops" objectives, so getting through those battles required a kind of strategic thinking different from FFT, which is why a lot of critics didn't like it.  Every negative review whines that the game isn't like FFT.

Not to say that Wildarms XF isn't a good game, and certainly it was very hard, but the AI wasn't very good. Many of the missions were extremely scripted in the sense that the possible worthwhile moves for your team are very small and it seemed like the AI was just programmed to respond to those predetermined strategies. There was nothing fluid about the AI. Wildarms XF is more like a puzzle game than a tactical game.
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Gen Eric Gui
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 09:07:13 PM »

Honestly?  Any SRPG that has "good" AI is going to play mostly like a puzzle game.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2009, 12:42:22 AM »

Honestly?  Any SRPG that has "good" AI is going to play mostly like a puzzle game.

Plenty of non-RPG strategy games with good AI that don't play like a puzzle game. If we want to focus on squad-level, fairly-close-to-SRPG games, JA2 and X-Com have good AI and don't play like puzzle games. If you want a realistic example and all, I mean.

Also, if the missions do end up playing like puzzles, that probably means the AI is bad because it's not reacting to the player but following some sort of very rigid pre-defined pattern.

Also, again, the point is having human-like AI. Not AI that beats you every time. There's a fairly huge difference.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 12:48:30 AM by MeshGearFox » Logged

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Aeolus
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2009, 08:07:31 AM »

.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 05:28:21 PM by KillerArmoire » Logged

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