Ceasar's Mind

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An AI for the RTS

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The two last articles on chess and artificial intelligence were written for two reasons. First, to show that the successful development of an AI reveals how a game is to be played optimally, or almost optimally. Second, the development of an AI often reveals how our minds work. 

Combined with the fact that, at least as far as I noticed, I have no idea why I make the decisions I do while playing strategy games most times leads me to want to try and make an AI for the RTS. Typically, when making decisions in RTS games I go by what feels right rather than analyzing my options. And while I suppose I could give reasons for my actions, I don’t think I could give reasons for my reasons.

This problem was especially apparent while trying to design an AI for Naval Commander, a simplified RTS game I developed, I noticed that I couldn’t understand my own decisions. And you’ll notice that my discussion of the RTS focuses on very narrow patterns in a very a complicated system.

As a designer, this is a bit of a problem for me. It basically ensures that my games will come out badly if I try to be innovative with the mechanics and it does a good job at throwing off balance too.

The solution therefore, is to design an AI. The better my understanding of the mind, mathematics, and game theory, the better I come to understand the interaction of the mechanics. From there, I can look at what makes it tick, and reverse engineer its workings to figure out how people think and supplement play and design. However, I’ve thought about RTS AI before, and it’s not at all as simple as the AI for chess. (To be continued…)

Written by Ceasar Bautista

2010/07/05 at 00:55

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