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  #1  
Old September 8th, 2009, 01:42 AM
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Septimius Severus Septimius Severus is offline
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Potion Noobs, Vets, & AIs: An evolving concept for a new series.

By the gods, i've had an epiphany! It is nothing short of divine inspiration I tell you.

In the aftermath of the great Noobs vs. Vets series, I had some ideas for possible follow up games. One of these ideas was a Noobs vs. AI concept where a small team of noobs would face off against twice their number of computer players.

Another of these ideas (not completely mine in origin) was having multiple small mixed teams of noobs and vets compete with one another.

While I think either one of these ideas has merit individually and could prove to be valuable learning experiences, combining these two ideas of mine, seems to make even greater sense and with twice the benefits:

1. It makes sense thematically: With the defeat of the vets, noobs and vets now co-exist peacefully. This explains why they can be on the same teams together.

2. The rise of a new menace (this time led by the AI) brings noob and vet alike together to confront this new threat. But the new teams are quarrelsome and can't get along so after dealing with the AI threat they vie for dominance.


3. 4 teams composed of 1 vet champion or hall of famer (acting as captain), 1 intermediate level player and 2 noobs allows for players of all skill levels to join in on the action.


4. The fifth team of AI players allows for some compstomping action, provides an interesting twist, and can be placed in between the competing teams forcing the teams to deal with the AI menace first.


5. At 20 nations (5X4) a series of games could be played in each of the era's without having to worry about water nations. Beginning in EA and proceeding to LA, the AI menace could be made increasingly more difficult.


6. A complete custom made map would not be neccessary, this could be done with either a random map or a suitable pre-existing map.


7. Noobs would gain greater experience vs. the AI and would benefit from learning directly from the more experienced players on each of their teams.


Feel free to post suggestions and to join in on the discussion. This post is a work in progress and will be updated to reflect game settings as they are formalized.

Thanks.

IMPERATOR.CAESAR.LVCIVS.SEPTIMIVS.SEVERVS.PERTINAX .AVGVSTV.SPIVS



Last edited by Septimius Severus; September 11th, 2009 at 06:53 PM..
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Old September 8th, 2009, 01:50 AM
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Septimius Severus Septimius Severus is offline
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Default Re: Noobs vs. AI's: New series. Conceptual thread/discussion.

Custom map specifications:

Whoever is available and has the time and artistic talents, I'd basically like something similar to Planet Rorschach, a circular central landmass, perhaps a bit smaller on the order of perhaps 300 total provinces (land and water).

Symmetry might be be nice, whether it be north/south or east/west. Whatever is required to achieve an equidistant placement of starts. Wraparound? probably not. The same map would be used for all 3 games in the planned series.

Other basic details:

Unlike Rorschach, the central landmass will be divided into a smallish circular land core surrounded by a circular ring of water that is not contiguous but rather has land gaps (perhaps 2 provinces wide) at the cardinal (N,S,E,W) and intermediate (NE, SE, SW, NW) points. In other words, broken into 8 narrow segements of water. A larger, also circular land mass will lay between the inner core and the outermost ocean.

The circular broken ring of water will be connected to the outermost ocean via narrow rivers at every other water segment which will effectively divide the larger outer landmass into quarters. Impassable mountains will further divide each outer quarter.

The innermost circular core would have potential starts for from 4 to 8 players (mixed terrain) while the outermost land portion would have potential starting locations for from 8 - 16 players (mixed terrain).

If possible, similar terrain types should be linked or exist near each other keeping with symmetry. Much like Rorschach.

The attached map will give you a rough idea of what I'm aiming at.

Note: < arrows indicate mountains or mountain provinces, white circles potential AI starts, and red circles potential human starts.

If you can create such a map, you shall be hailed as a god!

Thanks.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:01 AM
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Hoplosternum Hoplosternum is offline
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Default Re: Noobs vs. AI's: New series. Conceptual thread/discussion.

Good luck with this one Sept. The NvV games were great

As far as I am aware actually making a map from scatch inc. the map picture will be a lot of work. While simply making a map file with set starts and perhaps some special sites and possibly boosts for the initial AI armies is far easier and quicker.

I am also not sure of the virtue of a symetrical map in these circumstances. You have a team and your opponents won't care if they are being cheated or boosted. Mixing in sea like you are is likely to help human players more than AIs (who may not be able to handle the switch between the two well) and gives a huge boost to amphibious player powers. Remember what happened in NvV3? Those powers with easy access to water could get a dozen or so extra provinces almost for free. Even one AI sea nation changes this. And the choke points are both probably in the wrong place (not where the AIs will meet the players) and even if they were will simply be a big boost for the players who will use them and artificially boost certain powers with good PD.

So if you do have a problem getting someone to design a map for you then just pick a map you like and ask someone to set the starting locations for you.

I could do this. I can also make the AIs allied, add some special sites (if desired) and give the AIs some starting boosts if needed/wanted. I think the AI Pretenders can also be designed (but I am not sure) so I can probably give decent scales or blesses to the AIs.

But I can't design the whole map.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Noobs vs. AI's: New series. Conceptual thread/discussion.

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond with your input.

You are correct. The introduction of water is intended to be exploitable by human land based nations, though I wasn't sure how good the AI is at actually getting into the water. In the case the human players need an additional edge, this would give them one.

The custom artwork on this map will require some work and is the toughest part of the map making process. AI setup and placements will be the easy part. I am no artist, so I was hoping to get one of our resident Dom3 map artists to do the graphics. I believe Pasha, Ballbarian, Lutes, Cleveland, have done this type of work.

If not possible, the closest thing may a modified version of one of the WOG maps.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 03:55 PM

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Default Re: Noobs vs. AI's: New series. Conceptual thread/discussion.

Yeah, unless the AI is playing a naturally amphibious nation it does tend to suck at getting into the water. It basically has to luck into amphibious indies. So bearing that in mind, I have a suggestion (which will also make the game a little harder). Make a random map that is either tall and thin, or a map that is very wide and fairly short. Put the noobs in the middle with AI nations on both sides. You will more or less get the funneling effect since each player will only have to defend a certain number of provinces, and you can do this without needing someone to make a map for you. If you are set on having the map come out to your specification however, I think in all probability you'll have to make it yourself. So if you have any games with a map editor you think might be able to do what you want....

I would aim for making this game as hard as possible. Pre-set gods for each AI with sensible builds would help, as well as setting them to impossible. I believe that is doable with mapping commands, though you'd have to ask someone more knowledgeable about mapping than me. Set the AIs aggressive, low indies... I would not recommend putting the resource multipliers too high though, actually I would stick to normal.

The only problem with giving the AI "powerhouse nations" is that it actually tends to do pretty poorly with them. If you want to give the AI strong bless nations, I recall someone having made an auto divine bless mod that would be a good idea to use. And, probably the nation that the AI is best with is LA Ermor .
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Old September 8th, 2009, 04:03 PM

Illuminated One Illuminated One is offline
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Default Re: Noobs vs. AI's: New series. Conceptual thread/discussion.

Well, if you are going the gods by hand I guess maxing the resources of all units the AI shouldn't build (like the mid-cost warriors for Mictlan) really helps.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: Noobs vs. AI's: New series. Conceptual thread/discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoplosternum View Post
So if you do have a problem getting someone to design a map for you then just pick a map you like and ask someone to set the starting locations for you.

I could do this. I can also make the AIs allied, add some special sites (if desired) and give the AIs some starting boosts if needed/wanted. I think the AI Pretenders can also be designed (but I am not sure) so I can probably give decent scales or blesses to the AIs.

But I can't design the whole map.
Yes, apparently according to the mapedit.doc file and advice I received from Gandalf and others, the AI players can be set up entirely via map commands such as:

#computerplayer
#allies
#specstart

at a minimum, and further customization via:

#god 40 1026 -- Carrion Dragon
#comname "Komm Poast"
#dominionstr

and other commands which can be appended or added to the .map file.

If you'd like to handle this portion once a map is created or selected let me know. Of course if custom pretender builds are used this information would have to be kept from the human team to avoid spoiling any surprises or giving us another advantage. Since players won't see the .map file, it shouldn't be a problem but whoever does it would likely have too much information to actively participate.

I wonder if the computer would choose a random god is none is assigned via map commands.

Last edited by Septimius Severus; September 9th, 2009 at 01:23 AM..
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Old September 9th, 2009, 01:20 AM
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Default Re: Noobs vs. AI's: New series. Conceptual thread/discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdonj View Post
Make a random map that is either tall and thin, or a map that is very wide and fairly short. Put the noobs in the middle with AI nations on both sides. You will more or less get the funneling effect since each player will only have to defend a certain number of provinces, and you can do this without needing someone to make a map for you. If you are set on having the map come out to your specification however, I think in all probability you'll have to make it yourself. So if you have any games with a map editor you think might be able to do what you want....
A random map or a pre-existing one would have to to if I can't get a custom one made to my liking. Your right, I'd probably need to do it myself.

I think I understand the basics of it:

Create a tga or rgb file using GIMP, Photoshop, or some other suitable graphics program. Probably need like 4 layers, one for the underlying land and sea masses, 1 for province locales (indicated via white pixels), another for the province borders, and another for the drawing or placement of trees, mountain ridges, and other graphics.

The file can then be loaded into the map editor where the appropriate terrain masks and province neighbors can be added.

I might try and give it a whirl, though I think I may lack the artistic skills to make it look realistic rather than artificial (coastlines would need to look like actual coastlines with crags and irregularities, rivers wouldn't be totally straight, etc.).

Still hoping some worthy might step up to assist us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdonj View Post
I would aim for making this game as hard as possible.
I would like the games to get progressively more difficult if possible.

That being said, making custom pretender builds for 10,12, or even 14 AI nations each time may be a lot of work but would certainly add to the difficulty. I'd be fine either way really. Plain random gods, scales, and such would seem more like what one would encounter in a quick single player game though, which is sort of what I was aiming for.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 03:16 AM

rdonj rdonj is offline
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Default Re: Noobs vs. AI's: New series. Conceptual thread/discussion.

You could start the first game with quick random gods for the AIs, sprinkle in a few well-designed ones for the next game, and then fo the last game have all pre-designed gods. That is one of the largest factors in AI difficulty anyway. Another would be to start the AIs off with some thugs or useful magic items.

As for the map, you could maybe ask elmokki for tips. He made a bunch of custom maps based off of... cradle of dominion? I don't remember which map for sure, but he was able to make very nice-looking maps using pre-existing map images.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 03:16 AM

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Default Re: Noobs vs. AI's: New series. Conceptual thread/discussion.

Heheh, I can sense the hand of Gandalf in this game

Some comments:

1) Play EA -> MA -> LA. The computer will do worst in EA (high magic) and best in LA (good troops)

2) Consider the NI (No Independents) mod. I have heard SP players swear that it makes the AI far more functional since they do not uselessly spam garbage indies.

3) Give the computer premade pretenders - if you can, particularly give them non-crippling scales

4) Indies 3-4. Enough to make human players do *some* investment in indy forces, but not enough to confound the AI.

5) 1-3 Starting provs. Will prevent AI from crippling resource shortage w/ resource heavy nations

6) Step up resource multiple as you step up AI difficulty. You will be amazed at the armies it can build (however not feed, alas!)
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