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Subject: Looking to make a web-based AI (similar to Ava's for GAH) rss

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Palau Life
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This game is wonderful solo! However, though it can be played against yourself, or against a few other riders, there are a few issues with this. For one, if you do control another group as you would normally (e.g., choosing 4 cards and picking 1 from them), you are giving yourself some information when you go to choose your own cards. Granted, it's not a huge deal since some of us are adept at controlling each group's optimal move, regardless of what information we know. That said, it can still be a bit unwieldy.

As well, the proper solo variant (against the Muscle Group in Asger's document) is pretty easy to implement on the Web, but after playing hours with Ava's sleek and sublime Web-based AI for Grand Austria Hotel, I was inspired to create something similar for Flamme Rouge. However, there are some things to think of:

1) You don't want a "dumb" AI. Sure, you could just pull the top card off for the AI, but there are some issues with this: what if you pull all 9s first and then the AI is stacked with exhaustion. No-one would probably play like this in real life. Similarly, what if they only pull 2s/3s, also giving them exhaustion as everyone else pulls ahead; as well with this example, 2s and 3s can be wonderful for downhill descents (since you can maximize your turn with 5 moves there). This leaves an AI with blind pulls feeling empty and sometimes frustrating.

2) Utilizing exhaustion for handicap only also feels a bit empty

3) Creating an AI that has options can seem a bit unwieldy as well, because one must have various [if/then] statements in the script (e.g., a web-based AI would probably need to have an option for "is the rider is on any red hill square? If so.." or "is the rider on any blue downhill square? If so..." etc... There's probably even more you would want to include, like how far ahead or behind is a rider, etc).

4) The bottom line of any AI would be to balance the fiddly-ness of doing this by hand with some meaningful choices and ease of use for the end user. Why use a web-based AI if you can do the almost same thing manually? These are the things I want to balance. Granted, this will mostly likely just be me using this so I also apologize for whoever may read this long and boring post laugh

My ultimate point is, I feel like it can be done, and I suppose the best way is to just jump in and keep testing and tweaking and editing and trying things out, but I was wondering if anyone else had any input for this? I could very easily just adapt the official solo variant, which would take an hour at most, but I'd love to adapt something a bit deeper, if possible. Has anyone else thought about this?

Thank you to the entire design and creative team for this wonderful game!
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Ryan Keane
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Good discussion of some of the issues. Personally, I would be happy with a simple dumb AI app, per the official solo rules, that all I did was enter the bots and indicate whether their sprinter or rouleur, and then at the click of 1 button it gave me the numbers for each bot for that turn. This saves time spent on set-up, drawing cards, and clean-up

I find the fact that only I take exhaustion (and start the Tour with some exhaustion) is more than enough handicap to compensate for the bots sometimes making dumb moves. It adds some excitement when a bot loses energy on an early ascent or a big block, knowing I now have an opportunity to drop him at some point in the race.

It seems the big issue to a more complex AI would be having all the track setups (and updating it as new tracks are designed) and keep track of exactly where each cyclist is at all times. Obviously this could be implemented if the game was completely digital, but it doesn't seem worth it for just a companion app meant complement using the physical version.
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Palau Life
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Ryan Keane wrote:
Good discussion of some of the issues. Personally, I would be happy with a simple dumb AI app, per the official solo rules, that all I did was enter the bots and indicate whether their sprinter or rouleur, and then at the click of 1 button it gave me the numbers for each bot for that turn. This saves time spent on set-up, drawing cards, and clean-up

I find the fact that only I take exhaustion (and start the Tour with some exhaustion) is more than enough handicap to compensate for the bots sometimes making dumb moves. It adds some excitement when a bot loses energy on an early ascent or a big block, knowing I now have an opportunity to drop him at some point in the race.


This is almost exactly where I'm at, friend! I will probably just start with the Official Solo version (just a web-based AI to start, though it could easily be ported into an iOS/android version). Keep in mind, I greatly enjoy the official solo version, and to code it would take me pretty minimal time! I would also like to link this to a Grand Tour, which would take a bit longer, which is why I'll just start with the basic official solo variant.

That said, I also was looking at developing a bit deeper of a solo experience, which is where my discussion with myself breaks down.

Ryan Keane wrote:

It seems the big issue to a more complex AI would be having all the track setups (and updating it as new tracks are designed) and keep track of exactly where each cyclist is at all times. Obviously this could be implemented if the game was completely digital, but it doesn't seem worth it for just a companion app meant complement using the physical version.


So this, specifically, is where the discussion with myself breaks down. I see a few different ways of doing this, but each are a bit fiddly. Ideally, coding the various official maps (as well as some maps I've created and other BGG users as well) would be the best. This way, you can track the uphill/downhill parts, as well as some other if/then. However, I am not looking to develop a full digital port of this (I work in medicine and therapy and don't have that much time yet!). As such, I'm still tossing around a few deeper web-based AI ideas, but just can't figure out a few things. I guess the best is to just start coding and see what develops of it (either writing if/then statements out, etc). Again, my bottom line is only to make something on the Web that will streamline the manual version, because why go to all the trouble of doing something when the manual is just as easy? Balancing these major issues will be the crux of this project. In the meantime, I will just adapt the official solo AI play for web-based AI. If I can keep it to the design, theme, art and zest of the actual game, perhaps it can be adapted to an iOS/Android release (with the design team's approval, of course).

Until then, this will just remain a fan-made, Web-based AI project for those of us who enjoy this game solo (as well as with more!). Sorry for being this long-winded here, I just have so many ideas for this. Thank you for your input!
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Asger Harding Granerud
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I have a friend (currently on fraternity leave) who has discussed starting a neural network AI project, to see where it would get to. I'm super hyped to see that happening, and I'll make sure to point him in the direction of this thread

Regards
Asger
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Ryan Keane
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In English, you would call it "paternity leave." Fraternity means brotherhood - fraternity leave would be something like being temporarily kicked out of your Greek house at college.
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Palau Life
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AsgerSG wrote:
I have a friend (currently on fraternity leave) who has discussed starting a neural network AI project, to see where it would get to. I'm super hyped to see that happening, and I'll make sure to point him in the direction of this thread

Regards
Asger


Oh perfect! Congrats to him as well.

Please know that anything I do with this project (and wherever it may go) will be out of love and interest for the game. None of this will be for money and nothing will be billed as "official" or anything (that goes without saying, of course!). As well, currently, I only have eyes for adapting the official solo version for a Web-based AI, so fans may utilize your wonderful rules easily! If it is looking like it may be easily adapted to digital, I would only do it with your team's blessing!

Ryan Keane wrote:
In English, you would call it "paternity leave." Fraternity means brotherhood - fraternity leave would be something like being temporarily kicked out of your Greek house at college.


Or just possibly a lad's weekend laugh
 
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