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Xia: Legends of a Drift System» Forums » Variants

Subject: Bot for two player or solo play rss

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Gamer D

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I'm tinkering with ideas for a bot for solo or two player games, essentially an automated player to fill the game out to three players when three humans aren't around. The general gist would be something like this:

On their turn the bot looks at its hex and beyond for the closest hex that will potentially earn it a fame point or money. It then flies toward that point and does the corresponding action. It prioritizes target points depending on its current bounty state, cargo and mission as follows.

1) Mission
If the bot has no active mission and a mission point is nearby it will draw for a new mission and select whichever mission has both the initial target and the delivery point on the board, preferring a mission with the closest initial target. Once a bot has a mission it will attempt to complete the mission using the safest route possible.

2) Cargo
A bot with no cargo near a cargo buy or harvest/mine/salvage point will attempt to pick up cargo if there is a sell point for it on that board that it can safely reach. It will prefer to not have to fly through a shield if possible. A bot with cargo will attempt to sell the cargo.

3) Exploration
A bot near an exploration point will move over it to grab it

4) Scan
A bot near the unexplored edge of a tile will scan to add a new tile to the board

5) Attack
A bot near another player or NPC with a money reward will attack the other player if the bot is not already at half damage. A bot whose ship is half damaged will fly to the closest planet to repair. Bots always save enough money in reserve if possible to repair their ship once.

6) Outfits and upgrades
A bot with 7000 credits will upgrade to a tier 2 ship, and a bot with 10000 credits and a tier 2 ship will upgrade to a tier 3 ship. Bots pick their ships at random. When buying outfits they buy one engine, one shield and one missile or blaster of that tier (whichever fits the ship and leaves two cargo spots if possible). They will sell off and upgrade outfits after upgrading their ship.

7) Energy
Bots who have four or less energy after possibly using any recharge ability will head toward the closest planet to refuel.

8) Trade
Bots will not trade with human players

9) Titles
Bots will attempt to complete a title if it fits another goal, such as killing a ship by ramming instead of with a weapon if that title is out. It will not bother with titles that require complex actions such as visiting three harvest points in a single turn, etc.


That's the basic gist of it. Any suggestions would be great, hopefully with a reasonable "script" a bot could be a decent filler player.
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Chris
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Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars, where you will be forced to drift aimlessly farther into the vast, empty abyss of space until a lack of food, water and oxygen causes you to succumb to Death's cold embrace.
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Isn't that what npc's are for, no? Just tweak their behaviour if it's not good enough.
 
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Random Fleming
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It's a good start but I feel that there needs to be a die roll for Fame Point strategies...in the spirit of the game.

After all, the NPCs could roll a "5" on a d10 (given the list) and suddenly become an Outlaw assaulting other players, regardless of proximity.
 
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Scott Lewis
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
Isn't that what npc's are for, no? Just tweak their behaviour if it's not good enough.

For solo games, though, one problem is the NPC's alone aren't going to present much of a tense game - no hurry to complete goals or anything. To make Xia work solo, you'd need some kind of timer mechanism to keep you moving, or you won't be able to lose at all. None of the NPC's provide for that.
 
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Chris
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Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars, where you will be forced to drift aimlessly farther into the vast, empty abyss of space until a lack of food, water and oxygen causes you to succumb to Death's cold embrace.
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sigmazero13 wrote:
TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
Isn't that what npc's are for, no? Just tweak their behaviour if it's not good enough.

For solo games, though, one problem is the NPC's alone aren't going to present much of a tense game - no hurry to complete goals or anything. To make Xia work solo, you'd need some kind of timer mechanism to keep you moving, or you won't be able to lose at all. None of the NPC's provide for that.
So is there scope for genuinely original NPCs suitable for solo, rather than just emulating another player directly? That's got to be the way forward.
 
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Scott Lewis
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:
TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
Isn't that what npc's are for, no? Just tweak their behaviour if it's not good enough.

For solo games, though, one problem is the NPC's alone aren't going to present much of a tense game - no hurry to complete goals or anything. To make Xia work solo, you'd need some kind of timer mechanism to keep you moving, or you won't be able to lose at all. None of the NPC's provide for that.
So is there scope for genuinely original NPCs suitable for solo, rather than just emulating another player directly? That's got to be the way forward.

I'm sure you could do it either way. Doing it solo, I'd probably introduce a bunch more NPC's that are as "simple" as the built-in ones, and then have some kind of external timing mechanism or non-standard end-game condition. Perhaps X number of turns, perhaps some kind of counter that ticks up/down.

IE for the latter, you could have a non-player color start at 0 points, and if you used the 3 built in NPC's, have the non-player gain a point every time the Merchant reaches a new planet, and every time the Scoundrel or Enforcer kill something. That probably wouldn't be tight enough on its own, though, so you'd want more NPCs that have their own "flavor", and perhaps just trigger a point whenever they do their little internal goal. For the "invader" type NPC I posted in another thread, perhaps the non-player color goes up 1 point when the invader reaches the planet, and every turn (or every other turn) thereafter that it stays there.
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J M
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Over half the games I've played so far are 2-player, and I just use the NPC ships. I feel they give plenty of tension and interaction despite the vastness of space. There's been plenty of player interaction 2-player, too... especially blowing each other up when one gets a large lead in FP.

sigmazero13 wrote:
For solo games, though, one problem is the NPC's alone aren't going to present much of a tense game - no hurry to complete goals or anything. To make Xia work solo, you'd need some kind of timer mechanism to keep you moving, or you won't be able to lose at all. None of the NPC's provide for that.


I think for solo games the simplest option is to set a time limit, and try to rack up as many FP as you can. Then try to earn more on subsequent plays within that same limit.

~J
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Gamer D

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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
Isn't that what npc's are for, no? Just tweak their behaviour if it's not good enough.


No, the NPCs are there for normal games. I'm looking for something to allow for normal style play but with less than 3 players. (And yes, I realize the game plays "ok" with 1 or 2 players but it doesn't quite work as well as with 3, hence the reason the game box recommends 3-5 players and not 2-5).
 
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Gamer D

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wallabywallaby wrote:
...
I think for solo games the simplest option is to set a time limit, and try to rack up as many FP as you can. Then try to earn more on subsequent plays within that same limit.

~J


I don't think that works as well since if you're the only player alongside the NPCs it's fairly simple to just shuttle cargo back and forth and rack up a ton of points that way, picking up a few exploration tokens or missions on the way. For better solo play I think you need other players or bots that sufficiently simulate other players who can be aggressive toward you if you play too passively.
 
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Gamer D

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Randomfleming wrote:
It's a good start but I feel that there needs to be a die roll for Fame Point strategies...in the spirit of the game.

After all, the NPCs could roll a "5" on a d10 (given the list) and suddenly become an Outlaw assaulting other players, regardless of proximity.


After I posted this I thought about something like this. Basically you'd have a couple of different scripts for bots. For instance, you could have an Outlaw Bot script that focuses on aggressively attacking other ships and taking outlaw missions, or an Innocent Merchant ship that focuses on shipping cargo and running lawful missions. You could even have bots switch between the strategies based on whether they are currently innocent or outlaws.

I fiddled with it a bit earlier solo and it feels like with a little tweaking it could work maybe. Right now it still takes some personal judgement over objective rules but having the ships look at the closest point on the board that did "something useful" seemed to work ok. They earned points, shot at each other and my ship, grabbed exploration points and missions and scanned nearby tiles. It seemed to simulate normal play pretty well. So the concept seems to function, the trick is tweaking the details and actually writing it down.
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Barry Miller
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Joining this party late... has there been any further progress?

I'm enjoying this game a lot, but also find it difficult to get three or more players together.

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