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Stellar Armada» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Simulated AI combat rss

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Inspired by someone's comment on Kickstarter, I implemented a Stellar Armada simulator that lets AIs fight each other. I have used the AIs listed in the single player Google doc for this.

(However, keep in mind my findings only apply to AI vs AI, it all might be different in AI vs Player or PvP).

First, there is no measurable advantage for the first player :-)

Second, about 1 in 100000 games ends in a stalemate.

Third, against each other, the best AIs are, from weakest to strongest:
3, 1, 4, 6, 5, 2
#2 wins 70% of the games against #3

Fourth, I then implemented a genetic algorithm to generate the best AI strategy. Here are two of the best results:

REPAIR_MISSILE,REPAIR_MASER,MISSILE,MISSILE,SHIELD,ENGINE,REPAIR_REPAIR,ENGINE,ENGINE,REPAIR_MISSILE,SHIELD,REPAIR_ENGINE,SHIELD,MASER

and

MISSILE,SHIELD,REPAIR_ENGINE,ENGINE,REPAIR_MISSILE,MISSILE,REPAIR_REPAIR,REPAIR_REPAIR,ENGINE,REPAIR_MISSILE,ENGINE,SHIELD,SHIELD,MASER,REPAIR_MASER

both target
MISSILE,MASER,REPAIR,ENGINE

both win against the default AIs 80-90% of the time, except #2, which they beat with a 60% chance.

Some more observations:
* All generated AIs relied heavily on missiles.
* They very rarely deviated from targeting first missiles and then masers
* They all charge their shield by one point early in their turn. This seems to be a very cost-effective defense.
* Masers only appear at the end of the action order. Nevertheless, more than one-third of all attacks are masers.
* When fighting each other, generated AIs end up in a stalemate 20% of the time. I think that's because their strategy becomes very defensive once they are out of ammo.

Based on these observations, I think AIs can be made more challenging by applying the following rules
* When ammo is zero, all missile attacks become maser attacks.
* Same when the opponent has a shield of 1 or 2.
* At least one point per turn must be spent on attacks, or weapon repair if weapons are down (shield and engine are to be skipped respectively) (actually, with the missle->maser rule, this one might not be necessary)
* Instead of
Quote:
The exception to this rule is if the human opponent has 2 or fewer reactor points and at least one destroyed system, In that case, the AI will attack an open system and destroy the reactor.

it should read
Quote:
if the opponent has 2 or fewer reactor points and targeting a certain system would destroy the ship, the AI targets that system.

(this would include cases where the system has 1 left, but damage overflow would destroy the ship anyway).
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Ok, so after a lot of evolving and testing and manual optimization, this is the best AI I could find:
Quote:
REPAIR_MISSILE,MISSILE,REPAIR_MISSILE,MISSILE,SHIELD,ENGINE,ENGINE,REPAIR_REPAIR,REPAIR_ENGINE,ENGINE,SHIELD,SHIELD,MASER,MASER,REPAIR_MASER

Targets:
Quote:
MISSILE,MASER,REPAIR,ENGINE
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Jerason Banes
United States
Des Plaines
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That is one mean AI. Looks like he gets a bit toothless once he runs out of missiles, though. I'd take a defensive posture with him. Prioritize shields, engines, and repairing. Target his repair system first and then his missiles if you happen to get early hits in. His greatest weakness is his aggression. Use it against him and target his preferred systems.

That's what I'd do anyway. ;)
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Thiago Colas
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São José do Rio Preto
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Is it possible to use these stats to update the solo cards? Like, putting all the AI in difficulty order?
 
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Jerason Banes
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I am considering it. I want to do a bit of human testing and make sure it holds up for them. Also, I'm not necessarily going for a super-hard AI (if such a thing turns out to be possible) as that may not be fun for most players.
 
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Jerason is right. I only tested AI vs AI. It's totally possible that the "strongest" AIs have a simple and effective counter-strategy that is just a bit to complex to work as a simple AI pattern.
 
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