Artificial Intelligence? Ok, we made it! After weeks of sleepless nights, we can say: “It’s alive!” It was really much more difficult than we had initially thought.
In action games, the AI opponent always has the natural advantage: perfect accuracy and lightning fast reflexes, so the challenge in designing the AI for those games is making it act more human (beatable). In turn-based strategy games the tables are turned. Speed and accuracy are no longer important factors and the cunning and intuition of the human player will easily out match AI opponents.
The task becomes even more complicated if we take into account that here we have not one, but two different goals: destroy opponent king, and save ours. Add to that the fact that each player can buy additional units each turn. These purchased units can be placed on several starting positions. It makes creating a believable AI even more extensive a process.
As I said before, we try to use an approach based on the chess-intelligence. And we have done in a few ways. In Tactical Legends, more combinations are available even at the start of a game because the player can move all the units during single turn.
Thus, in the first turn we can get over 100 action variants. Each variant should be considered in conjunction with the opponent’s possible actions. So, we have 100×100=10000 combinations in the first turn, and 10000х10000=100000000 in the second!
Yes, it’s “brute force”, but even after some optimization AI cannot think three turns in advance. Well…it could, but it will take hours.
Now we have several AI presets that can be treated as “easy” and “normal”. Their differences include such things as “favorite” units and tactics. We hope that in future we find a way to improve the AI and to make it think five turns in advance. That will be nice :-)
P.S. I’ll try to make some video that shows the AI capabilities in late September.