AI improvement

The AI is slowly getting more sophisticated. It can now rebuild devices and weapons that have been destroyed. As long as it starts with a reasonable armament it’s difficult to defeat and a lot of fun to play against. Having it build new structures and manage its resources intelligently will be a challenge though.

The AI is implemented using a Lua script, and it’s completely moddable by players. Perhaps one day there will be AI script competitions; pitting one person’s AI against another’s.

New HUD and Artificial Intelligence

Nick has been working hard to spruce up the in-game HUD. There is more to go, but it’s looking great already. This includes icons for building materials, devices and weapons, as well as victory and defeat splash screens. The HUD can be unpinned so it drops out of sight when not in use.

I have spent time improving the stability of the game. This has allowed us to do some serious play testing and balancing on a no-frills map. Once it’s fun to play without any special map features we can go on to experiment with level design properly.

There is a need for someone to play against more frequently; for testing and to just enjoy the game! At first I thought it would be difficult to make a general purpose AI, but after having implemented a very simple scripted AI I think it should be possible to make a reasonably challenging and believable computer opponent without too much trouble. Right now it will just open and close doors, and fire any weapon it already has at the enemy. It will need to be able to build forts, place devices and weapons, develop its economy, and repair and replace parts of the structure. It’s a lot of work, but it should increase the appeal of the game. Training agaist an AI will be necessary for some to build up their skills and confidence before tackling human players.

The AI script works with any combination of teams and players, so you can pit the AI against itself and watch, play co-op against the AI, or even have an AI assistant. It may be fun for the player to be responsible for building and repairing the fort, while the AI operates weapons, for example. The AI is deterministic so that matches can be watched again with the replay feature as normal.

Two AI players launch mortars at each other. New shiny HUD too!