Thematic Solitaires for the Spare Time Challenged

A blog about solitaire games and how to design them. I'm your host, Morten, co-designer of solo modes for Scythe, Gaia Project, Wingspan, Glen More II, and others.

Archive for The Automa Approach

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How to make AI scoring feel satisfying – part 2

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Instead of writing a long and boring introduction to this second part of yesterday’s How to make AI scoring feel satisfying I’ll just jump right in .
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Fri Jun 3, 2022 6:58 am
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How to make AI scoring feel satisfying – part 1

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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This 2-part blogpost series is a (hopefully) improved version of a post from 2019 merged with parts of a 2018 post.

I try to make my Automas (artificial opponents) feel like playing against a human player, but as mentioned in a previous blogpost there are exceptions to this. One of them relates to scoring and simulating the skill level of human opponents.
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Thu Jun 2, 2022 1:21 pm
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Customizable vs. preconfigured bots (and games)

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Back in 2016 I read an interesting remark that I stumbled upon again recently. The way I read the remark, it implied that customizable bots are objectively better than non-customizable ones.

On the surface it makes a lot of sense. Customizability should give higher replayability and an experience that’s tailored to your specific preferences, right?

Well, I both agree and disagree with those two latter statements, and I strongly disagree with the claim that customizable bots are objectively better than non-customizable ones.

To me it’s a subjective trade-off between different kinds of play experiences and I’ve always made conscious decisions in favor of less customizability because it helps to achieve the kind of play experience, I want to give the player.

Right or wrong aside, I think that the remark leads to a discussion about several topics that are important not only to bot design but board game design in general.

Before we get started, I'll note that while I mainly talk about bots in this post, then most of it is equally applicable to games.
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Thu May 12, 2022 12:10 pm
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What veggie burgers can teach us about designing solo modes

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Can vegetarian burgers teach us about solo modes for board games? Read on and get the answer to that existential question .
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Mon May 2, 2022 7:39 am
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What is an Automa?

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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I’m often asked about what an Automa is and most times I’ve written the answer from scratch, which leads to answers of varied quality of answers and time wasted on my part. So, since there seems to be a lot of interest in the topic, I’ve decided to a blog post a once and for all definition (well, until I decided to tweak it ).
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Sun Oct 4, 2020 7:03 am
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How to make AI difficulty levels feel satisfying

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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I have published an updated version of this post [blogpost=132575]here[/blogpost]

I try to make my Automas (artificial opponents) so that playing against them feel like playing against a human player, but as mentioned in a recent blogpost there are exceptions to this. One such exception is related to simulating the skill level of human opponents.
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Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:23 pm
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Don’t let your artificial opponent be a random number generator

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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One of the goals of my “Automa Approach” for making artificial opponents (AIs) is that playing against an Automa should feel as much like playing against a human as possible while keeping the rule complexity and workload for the player as low as possible.

My main way of achieving this is to mimic the core player interactions in a game. There are exceptions to this, though, and somewhat counterintuitively the exception I’ll discuss today relates to games with low player interaction.
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Sun Jul 7, 2019 2:31 pm
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What goes into making an Automa?

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Our 16th Automa project is being wrapped up right now and we’re applying the final polish.

I’m sometimes asked how much work that goes into making an Automa and today I’ll give a very brief recap of the current one to answer that question. Before getting started, though, I should note that this one has been among the largest projects.
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Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:53 pm
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The Making of an Automa for Patchwork – a guest post by Lines Hutter

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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The Making of an Automa for Patchwork – a guest post by Lines Hutter

THE BEGINNING

Just like many other players I ignored Patchwork for a while after its release. It just didn´t look appealing to me. The theme didn´t grab me at all. Eventually it was the app that made me realized what a brilliant design it is. The button and time board concepts are great. You´re juggling three resources: Buttons, time and space. The set of shared tiles could also be considered a dwindling resource with various costs in the three other resources.

The way those resources are interwoven is new and fresh and exciting. In addition, you have to look for the right shapes and which ones your opponent might be going for. Furthermore, with careful planning you can manage to get two or three turns in a row. This is one of my most underestimated games.

After playing the App I immediately bought a physical copy but unfortunately didn´t find the right people to play it as often as I wished. I wished someone would create an Automa for it.
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Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:25 am
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How to design expert difficulty levels - as taught by Sylvion and its brethren

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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When designing solo games, solo modes, or coops you face the challenge that different players will have different skill and experience levels and so it will increase the appeal and longevity of your game if you include multiple difficulty levels. In this post I’ll discuss techniques for making harder difficulty levels.

There are many ways to go about his and as it turns out most things worth learning about doing this in solo and coop games can be learned from the game Sylvion .
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Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:59 am
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