Game's Ai has issues
The Ai needs significant improvement. Over the last few days of playing more SOC that I should have I have observed many faults in the Ai. For example: In a single player game the first Ai placed on a 9,10,11 of wheat and sheep when there were 8,5 and 6,5+ spots including a double wood 8,5 that was two spots away from the wood port. The same player then spiked me placing its second settlement in my face placing on the tile that bordered the 9,10, 11 it placed on placing it on a 9, 3, 4. This Ai player then preceded to out-produce everybody when it's production should have been 50% or less of the other players. I could ramble on with more examples, but here are the issues.
Game has slightly altered the true odds in the random to boost the production of the Ai players based on the Ai rating.
Ai players will play starting settlements in the face of the human player even when said position is significantly worse than other positions.
With resource card management there are multiple issues:
- A master level Ai will make trades with another player who just used a monopoly card and most of the time it's a 1 for 1 trade. This should never happen unless said trade will result in the non-monopoly playing winning the game or an extremely important upgrade AND the monopoly player has no chance to win because of said trade.
- The Ai will trade with a player who might be able to win if they make a trade. This should never happen.
- The Ai has a habit of holding many cards between turns. Granted part of this problem is the Ai boosted production that we players are not supposed to notice AND it is balanced out by a roll of 7 which almost always results in 1 or more of the Ai players discarding half their hand. From my experience after around turn 20 the times are few and far between when not at least one Ai player has too discard half their hand on a 7.
Ai players buy development cards like they are going out of style, but the game ends with most of them still hidden.
Ai doesn't seem to fight for Ritter Macht or Longest Road very hard. I get the feeling that the Development cards the Ai buys are considered blank by the Ai and then every turn it decides if it can play one and then after it plays one it generates said card and then plays it.
Turn order: I am last in 80% of the games I have played so far. I assume that this is scripted. Please make turn order a true random.
In a nutshell please make a true Ai and not a system that just gives the illusion of fair play. I would rather lose more often than consistently beating an Ai that has to cheat to compete.
@RollenZ Thanks for the feedback and your observation. I can assure you - even though some players won´t believe us- we are not working with a scripted AI behaviour which determines the behaviour of the AI before even starting the game.
I will try to explain in short words how the AI generally works in our game:
The AI makes its decisions based von so called "decision numbers". These numbers determine how important certain positions, resources or building projects are for the AI. These numbers will be re-evaluated every turn in order for the AI to adjust to new situations on the board.
The AI will act based on the principal of the "hohmo economicus" if you will. It will always try to maximize its profit with the least amount of resources it needs to get there. The stronger the Ai is, the more it is a "hohmo economicus".
The AI doesn´t have any kind of "sympathy" for other AIs or human players.
On the other hand we integrated certain rules for the AI. This includes a certain behaviour e.g. for using the robber. It will either use it to steal certain valuable resources (to reach its personal goals) or it will try to block the player in the lead.
The playstyle of the AI is based on extensive documentation we received from Klaus Teuber himself. We are in very close cooperation with the Catan GmbH regarding the balancing process of the AI.
Please note: Our work on the Ai isn´t finished yet. Therefore it will unfortunately still do silly moves or may just not act the way we want it to do yet. The balancing process of the AI is quite tricky and due to the fact that we don´t use scripts, little changes which are made can lead to an unforeseen and unintended outcome. The work of the community is therefore vital to us. If you observe an AI move which isn´t purposeful at all please let us know. In best case scenario add a screenshot to your description including the game log.
If you have further questions please let me know and I will try to answer them.
I have played several games where a Master Ai has finished the game with 2 or 3 points. This is not an acceptable level of competition. The decision numbers need to change because the Ai is failing miserably even when all 3 Ai are out producing me individually.
Other issues I have noticed after paying closer attention to the trades among the computer Ai players.
The Ai will frequently trade 4 for 1 to get a resource card and then trade the same resource card 1 for 1 to another player the next turn or two. The Ai will do multiple 4 for 1 bank trades in order to buy a single development card.
What about the issue of the human player going last 90% of the time?
Another major issue with the Ai. It will not defend longest road. I will be sitting at 8 points and will need to build one or two roads for longest road and the Ai will even trade me wood and brick.
@RollenZ Thanks again for the detailed feedback. Indetifying these flaws in the Ais behaviour is exactly what we are doing right now. We never proclaimed that we are content with the AI yet or finished with the developement process. The AI will get smarter with the upcomming updates but we have to take it step by step.
For seasoned players an AI will always lack a certain level of competition. But we are on the same page as far as it goes that right now it is to easy to beat them. What we are aiming for is the level of competition you are getting from the AIs in current mobile versions of the game.
As far as the issue regarding the starting player goes: As far as i can tell and based on my own experience the starting player is choosen randomly. To rule out that there is something wrong with this system I forwarded your question to the developers and they will have a look at it.
It seems that if the desert tile is in the middle ring then the player goes last. If the desert is in the outer ring then the order is a true random. I am not sure about if the desert is in the center, but when there are fewer prime spots available the Ai seems to cheat in order to deny the human player.
Thanks for your prompt and intelligent replies btw.
@RollenZ That is what we are here for Thanks for helping us making the game better.
The odds for the computer Ai players to produce are weighted in their favor based on what numbers the human are not on. 94 turn game and 5 was rolled 18 times. 7 was rolled 19 times. I was not on the 5 of course. It's not this one specific game, but pretty much every game. The computer players out-produce me on average probably 3 to 1. If they were not horrible in their card management then the game would be impossible.
@RollenZ Perhaps you can take a look at this thread here: https://forum.catanuniverse.com/topic/1706/dice-are-fair . A user is making a test of our dice rolle enginge. Curretly he is at over 1000 rolls and has found no significat difference between the normal distribution and our dice roll results in the game.
The AI has absolutly no influence on the dice roll or can´t predict it. It makes its decision where to settle based on the "attractiveness" of each crossroad. The atractiveness is influenced by its own needs, the probablity of a certain ressource gettng rolled (numbers on that certain tile and distribution of the same ressource on the whole map based on an assumed normal distribution of the rolles), the competition level toward other players ( are they near or far away) and so on...
After playing a couple dozen games over the past 4 days I am further convinced that your dice are rigged at least for the master level opponents. A couple games I have been on 4,5,6,8,9,10 to start and watched the computer roll 2,7,11 and 12 about 3 times as often as it should. Sometimes the statistics seem normal at the end, but when you factor in that your numbers come up about half the time with the robber covering the hex it's like that number only produces for the computer. It's pretty much standard that a master Ai will produce 2 to 3 times as many cards as I do regardless of number placement. I even had one game where the Ai had 31 resource cards on his turn without playing a monopoly. I know how game Ai works and I am disappointed that you are building a cheating Ai instead of a smart one.
I have noticed on the Master AI level that I may go six rounds and not get one resource, but the computer players are getting resources EVERY roll. A number that no one occupies seems to never roll up. Even more good fortune for the AI, I just lost a game as the AI had 4 (yes 4!) Victory Point cards. Hard to compete against that...