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Subject: Man versus Machine. Thunder Alley goes Solo rss

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Jeff Horger
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For those of you that might be interested, Carla & I have begun work on a solo/semi-co-op version of Thunder Alley called Behind the Wheel. Right now is the time for suggestions and to get you wish list in to us for what you might like to see.

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Stig Morten
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Thunder Alley: Crew Chief Expansion - Coming soon to Kickstarter!
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Can you post about what directions your initial developments are going?
That way we can see what you are doing and suggest additions and adjustments.

I would like to see AI that behaves differently based on position and when in the race it activates.
Different behaviour for different teams.

If possible I would like to see "scenarios" or "challenges" where you are dropped right into a specified part of the race and have to get Max points from that situation.
Example: last lap, some cars on the team with wearpoints, some not, Maybe a specified hand too, and you have to try to manouvre to score as many points as possible. Could work as a shortish session and might teach players a thing or Two about strategy.

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Sean Tompkins
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I'd love to see

* multi-race point tracking toward a cup...
* AI "personalities", ie aggressive vs strategic

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Jeff Horger
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ad79 wrote:
Can you post about what directions your initial developments are going?
That way we can see what you are doing and suggest additions and adjustments.

I would like to see AI that behaves differently based on position and when in the race it activates.
Different behaviour for different teams.

If possible I would like to see "scenarios" or "challenges" where you are dropped right into a specified part of the race and have to get Max points from that situation.
Example: last lap, some cars on the team with wearpoints, some not, Maybe a specified hand too, and you have to try to manouvre to score as many points as possible. Could work as a shortish session and might teach players a thing or Two about strategy.



I am starting with an activation deck and a conceit that regardless of the number of players that each race will involve 21 cars (7 teams of 3). So 1-6 people can use the format.

We are basing the AI on driving styles, team strategy and race position.

The Non-Player Teams will have their own deck of movement cards based on positioning, spaces and directions. They will not use the movement point Race Cards that the live players will.

The scenarios is something I had not thought of. Man would I love to see this on my iPad.

Richard Launius is working on a new expansion as well. It is called Race Day and is focused on racing seasons. Everything in "Behind the Wheel" will be compatible with that expansion.

Drivers will be given unique personalities.

As you can see, this will not be out next month. I am just getting started and want to do it RIGHT. When it is done, I want the game to be challenging and exciting with the AI teams able to give the humans a run for their money. Also, Apocalypse Road is taking the lion's share of time right now so Behind the Wheel has time to grow and germinate.
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Mike Malley
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Holy crap. Crew Chief, Owner's Box, Race Day, and Behind the Wheel?
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The Redheaded Pharmacist
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I'm definitely interested in a solo option for this game. I was researching this game and wanted to see if it could be played solo. One question, would any of the above mentioned solo mode be compatible with the Grad Prix game? It's my understanding that the tracks are compatible between the two games.
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Peter Talbot
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Redheaded Pharmacist wrote:
I'm definitely interested in a solo option for this game. I was researching this game and wanted to see if it could be played solo. One question, would any of the above mentioned solo mode be compatible with the Grad Prix game? It's my understanding that the tracks are compatible between the two games.


Yes, the tracks are interchangeable between the Grand Prix and Thunder Alley's systems.

I agree that a solo mode or something akin to Grand Prix's system for intermixing NPCs would be beneficial to Thunder Alley. I'd love to play with more players but beyond 4 is tough to gather at my table.

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Keith Wynn
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Jeff Horger wrote:
For those of you that might be interested, Carla & I have begun work on a solo/semi-co-op version of Thunder Alley called Behind the Wheel. Right now is the time for suggestions and to get you wish list in to us for what you might like to see.

First of all - here's my money - take it!

Jeff, I'd like to see rival racing in Thunder Alley. If a racer bumps another or causes him to crash, there is a chance both will become rivals. Rivals in proximity of each other can 1. become focused and drive better, or 2. become shaken and risk wrecking. This can also build a narrative throughout a race and a long season.

Maybe Rivals are working to acquire Prestige points, and drivers can purchase better driving modifiers with prestige.

Don't forget: racing fans love their drivers, and love to hate their rivals!
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Jeff Horger
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I know. I wish there were more hours in the day. I am trying to wrap up (or at least wind down) my three active design commitments so I can begin some serious work on this. But things go slow around here.
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Sport Botaniker
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Hi

I have stated kind of an AI in a solo variant I designed.

Usually I am using 5 teams and 3 cars each, starting grid settled in order of 3 race deck cards and it did very well, some first improvements aready included in the summary below:

Still, there is kind of free to choose options with random inserts (but hey, on some human opponents I have similar impressions )

A) choosing AI car : using a D6
round1 - die result 1/2 for 1st car, result 3/4 for 2nd car, result 5/6 for third car
round 2 - die result 1/2/3 for 1st car, 4/5/6 for second.
( D8 or D10 used if played with 4 or 5 cars / team )
exception : restart cars from pit lane always first from best to worse car

B) draw race card from deck and follow

C) moving rules
c1) decision to make lateral movement before acceleration in following order :
c1a) move lateral if active car can link to a team-mate's lane
c1b) in case of a tie (f.i. one car in lane left and one car in lane right of active car ) = choose lane with teamcar which is behind (-> to keep cars best together moving forward )
c1c) if still tied, choose lane with fewer not activated opponents cars ( -> to receive best effects caused by opponents )
c1d) if still tied, choose lane with fewest not activated opponents cars ( including actual lane )

c2) lead movements generally : avoid bringing team-mate's cars into lane with fewer cars linked ( f.i. 7 cars surpass opponent, 1 MP ahead, 1 MP to the side, 2 MP ahead, 1 to the side back, 2 ahead, but team-mate is only being in a series of 3 cars )


c3) corner rules ( all from-decisions applicable before entering a corner, all to-decisions end of corner )
c3a) on lead movement's in following order :
c3aa) avoid team-mate's cars left behind, being lonely at corner-endings ( -> for not being left unlinked),
c3ab) avoid getting singled beyond corner,
c3ac) avoid bringing team-mates into a lane with fewer cars straight in line than at start of move ( see lead movement generally )

c3b) try linking to bigger group of cars if own group has less unactive cars than other group
c3c) on solo :
c3c1) try getting ahead as far as possible
c3c2) try positioning with fewer non-activated total cars

c3d) on pursuit & drafts : (from = decision to cars being behind / to = decision to cars upfront)
c3da) from and to lane with most team-mate's cars,
c3db) from lane with most not-activated-opponents cars behind,
c3dc) from lane with total fewest cars behind
c3dd) from lane with opponents car which teammate's best car is positioned worse
c3de) bring package to position in lane farest ahead
c3df) link to a group in lane with more not-activated cars


D) Event-decision via team bar affecting AI team
car choosen in following order
D1) total lowest tokens
D2) lowest temporary tokens
D3) being most back on track

E) pit-decision
E1) 0 or 1 wear marker - always no pitting
E2) 2 wear marker :
E2a) green flag - no pitting
E2b) yellow flag - pitting if distance to end-of-race is twice way to restart-line
E3) 3 wear marker :
E3a) green flag - pitting - exception : car within a group and distance to end-of-race is twice way to restart-line
E3b) yellow flag - always pitting
E4) 4 wear marker or more : always pitting


exception to standard rule : lapped cars remain on track
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Sport Botaniker
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I splitted this entry away from other one to distinguish the rule of play versus extra comments.

On first sight it seems being a long way to read and steps to follow while playing. In fact in many cases couple of checkings along the list are not happening that often. lateral movement decisions for instance are cut off if cards appear with not allowing to do so.

For instance you do not tend to drive slalom on a solo on free track or with just one car being around somewhere upfront.
Neither you do have always (all) options to be linked the way which would demand running through a decision tree noted
Toughest decision tree to follow is on corners where road is slimmed from 3 to 2 or widened from 2 to 3 lanes. Decision tree tries to simplify best to own teammates, best to own car, worst to opponents

For pitting I have reid using a die on 2 wear markers in the beginning. go pitting on having a 5 or 6 and run on with 1-4 but this felt too random.
Still there is gap on situation where you would be quite lonesome on the track around 3 moves to go and just 1 wear marker, perhaps human chooses to move in for being able to race until the end

I decided to keep lapped cars ingame, to have the full package of involvement and countereffects active.

one issue happening still... as cards are more likely to happen more permanent markers are used and violett gearbox seemed being a bit too few.
on trial scope : give 4 cards to team and pass 1 card.

Playtime with 5 teams : usually somewhere around 2 to 3 hours
Please feel free to comment.
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Ignacio Da Riva
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Jeff Horger wrote:
For those of you that might be interested, Carla & I have begun work on a solo/semi-co-op version of Thunder Alley called Behind the Wheel. Right now is the time for suggestions and to get you wish list in to us for what you might like to see.



I'll love to see this expansion happening.

I would like, thinking in season play, having different experience (expertise level if you prefer) for the AI teams, to avoid situations like team-A wining the first race and then going last in the next.

Also, would the system be compatible with Grand Prix too?
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