Dual AI for CO-OP Maps

Introduction

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After a lot of testing and trial and error, I wanted to share my experiences working on CO-OP maps. If you are thinking about creating a CO-OP map yourself, you will surely get some of the questions answered here.

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  1. Pointing out the method, which is so far best for games in network or online multiplayer gaming.
  2. How to create a computer opponent (AI) in a multiplayer co-op map?
  3. Dual AI – Skirmish AI and Civilian Player AI combined.

  1. Pointing out the method, which is so far best for games for network or online multiplayer gaming.
  • If you want to avoid people from having mismatches because of code in “map.ini”, leave it away. This is a big deal for online players. It should be avoided as much as possible. Still many people are not familar with that bug and why shall they as players. Mapper can know this for sure, and some players do as well of course too. But in the end it is important.
  • In relation to effort and averrage scripting skills of many mappers, method 2.2 “Civilian Player AI” is the easiest way to start with. However, players do not gain experience when killing units from the Civilian Player AI, so players must level up using scripts in order to unlock their Generals abilities.
  • In order to have the ranking and also 3 levels of difficulty in one map, you have to find a dual solution. For this the Skirmish AI has to be combined with the Civilian AI. Surely the most effortable solution.

2. How to create a computer opponent (AI) in a multiplayer co-op map?

2.1 Skirmish Player AI
Plus:
– 3 levels of difficulty are naturally available and implementable in the map.
– Native gameplay. Ranking and kill counters work properly.
– Access to different and already existing Skirmish AI scripts is possible. And you can use Team Builder Tool and work with teams in your scripts. Big Plus+
– Buildlist can be adjusted by AI Data in a map.ini file (number and position)
– Pre-placed buildings via map.ini easily possible. For this there is a tool for the X:Y values, which are needed for the map.ini.
Minus:
– With the use of modified AI Data in “map.ini” the game must be restarted after the map transfer to another player, otherwise there will be a syncronization error.
– Building or rebuilding after destruction must be secured by a script. Otherwise it will not be rebuilt.
– Rebuilding after destruction of pre-placed buildings relatively difficult to predict and requires a lot of testing. Often, new construction is done in the wrong place.

2.2 Civilian Player AI

Plus:
– Freedom with base designs.
– Use of buildlist tool in Zero Hour Worldbuilder is possible.
– Full control of Win/Loss condition in Sandbox Mode.
– No Enemy must be selected in Lobby. 2 Players just starting in same team.
Minus:
– Kills are not ranking you up. No counts of kills. You can use timed scripts or ini code to improve that.
– If you add code to realize that ranking via map.ini, then you will have a mismatch after map transfer until both players have started the game again.
– Team Builder tool of Worldbuilder does not work with a Civilian Player, you have to work with named units in scripts. Units must be spawned on the map, the warfactory can’t build named units.The door will not open by this.
– No choice for normal, medium and hard level possible, unless manually scripted

3. Dual AI – Skirmish AI and Civilian Player AI combined
The path of a dual solution is not easy here, when you have to test everything first to see what really works. In addition, there are all the bugs that already have to be avoided in the two individual variants. But it’s worth it when you consider the advantages together.

  • 3 levels of difficulty possible with one map (Skirmish AI)
  • Team Builder tool usable (Skirmish AI)
  • Build List tool usable (Civilian AI)

The Goal is a map with great dynamics in terms of gameplay and its implementability, while at the same time giving high priority to avoiding mismatches and syncronization errors.

An Example will be shown in a tutorial on the following pages. There we will use 1 Skirmish AI and 2 Civilian AI player.

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