First impressions

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First impressions

#1 Post by Eldin » Aug 03 2017

So I've played a couple of games as Germany and I've made some impressions I'd like to share.

First and foremost, I notice that trenches are finally in the game. Sadly though, when I build a line of trenches the unit AI doesn't seem to prioritise defending them. I'm left with micromanaging most of my forces I want left defending an area using a manual entrenchment order. The AI still does not use the entrenchment command, which I find rather lacking.
Also, when building trenches I'm left to guessing how effective they really are, as there is no stats displayed anywhere I can find on the unit card when building them. My main issue however is that the AI does not, to my knowledge, build trenches itself. This leaves me to manually build trenches and manually entrench my forces in them. Most wars fought are still Blitzkriegs and territory changes hands at a tremendous rate, even in AI vs AI wars. Thus I find the whole "trench warfare", defining WW1, rather lacking in game.

I`m also very disappointed that the naval AI is still as dumb as a bucket of nails. To my dismay I found a great many of my land forces lost to the UK navy because they want to use the shortest route when transporting by sea, which is of course through the English channel. Unit after unit is sent to their death completely oblivious to the obvious danger. This is nothing new for those with experience with earlier titles, yet it baffles me that this has still not been addressed. One obvious solution is to turn off military initiative, however considering the scope of the game this is hardly a real alternative. I strongly suggest BG looks into this issue as it adversely affects gameplay. My solution would be the possibility to forbid transit by use of battlezones. Right click an area and forbid transit through the selected battlezone. The AI should also learn to utilise such a command. Frankly, I think battlezones are very under utilised by the AI. Much could be solved if it would learn to use them properly, both at land and sea.

Finally, I'd like to address the AIs use, or lack thereof, of my air force. I often find that I have to micro manage using my air assets. Bombing runs are still very rare and I have not noticed the AI using strategic bombers to bomb facilities, in any SR title thus far.
I'd like to suggest that air units should be stationed along the border of hostile nations by the AI. Adding a separate choice for air units for theatre and battlezone commands could help in this regard (if the AI were to use battlezones). Most of the units produced are stationed where they are built, which leaves massive clusters of air units left unused by the AI.

On a more positive note, the game seems much much faster! This is an improvement many have requested, myself included. Big kudos to the team for focusing on this during development.

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Re: First impressions

#2 Post by YoMomma » Aug 03 2017

Well ofcourse it is faster, my modern mod superpowers also very fast because i removed tons of military fabrications.

For the rest like i said before i wont buy SRGW if ai is too stupid to entrench so thanks for the feedback. Also agree with the rest, seems it's just another mod which i was affraid for.

AI just gotta learn how to use these huh? When will that happen? 2030??
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Re: First impressions

#3 Post by SGTscuba » Aug 03 2017

I've got to agree on the points about the AI, even though I don't have initiative ever on. I've yet to go into a proper naval war though to test the enemies naval AI out.
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Re: First impressions

#4 Post by Eldin » Aug 04 2017

Some feedback from the devs concerning the main issue, naval AI, would be most welcome. It is intolerable that I lose so many forces because the AI suddenly decides to travel half way across the world unescorted, often through highly contested land or sea routes. I am very disappointed that this had not been addressed for this version, especially considering how nearly all of the great powers have several colonial holdings causing much sea transit. This needs to be addressed once and for all.

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Re: First impressions

#5 Post by Balthagor » Aug 04 2017

AI isn't something I'll be able to speak to. I'll see if I can get some info from George.
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Re: First impressions

#6 Post by Eldin » Aug 04 2017

Thank you and please do!

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Re: First impressions

#7 Post by golden.pole » Aug 28 2017

So far I am loving SRGW. Researching techs all the way from the beginning is fun, I always wanted to start researching from the beginning. Warfare is very different now, slow, planned and strategic. Setting up defensive points must be done way ahead of battles due to slow speeds of units. Trenches work quite well. You really appreciate your artillery fully. Waiting for the first planes to hit the sky.The only thing I need is a scenario with Poland.

Belgium and France fall very fast. Both countries should have defensive hot spots set up on the river crossings with artillery to survive. Garrisons do fall much too quickly to other units. I wonder if that is working as designed. Seems like they last longer in SRU. I really don't care if SRGW is a DLC or not. I 'll buy everything BG releases, because I support them and appreciate the game very much. Just keep the development going.
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Re: First impressions

#8 Post by GIJoe597 » Aug 28 2017

golden.pole - There is a tech in game now which increased the durability/toughness of Garrisons. They will get tougher as time goes on. It is not available during the WWI time frame I think. Others have mentioned the issue with Garrisons seems to be the timing of when they are ordered. If a country declares war on another, and at that time Garrisons are added, they will not be "mobilized" by the time an attack is made if the two nations share a border. One possible suggestion is to have a country Garrison if they share a land border with a nation which has a "high probability" to attack. The ai should not wait for a war declaration in that situation in my opinion.

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Re: First impressions

#9 Post by daztek » Sep 01 2017

Is there something wrong with the Russian AI? I am playing the Austro-Hungarian campaign and there seems to be nothing in Russia except garrisons and a few battalions of regular troops clustered around cities and bases

There is no Tsarist front line or maneuver force at all, they are completely static. I attacked from Krakow into Poland and defended around Lemberg, but after a while no Russians approached the east Galician border so I sent out cavalry patrols and there was nothing opposing my forces except minor garrisons. Where is the Russian steamroller?

The Serbs at least seemed to move around a bit, but a wall of stacks of 3xInf, Eng, Cav, 2xArt would slay anything that came adjacent, the artillery doing the damage. After most of their frontline was destroyed I moved forward to Nis which was a huge artillery camp and nothing else, so their build strategy isn't balanced.

Once I'd taken Nis and Warsaw I gave up for lack of meaningful opposition

Also the unit scales seem off, no power seems to have anywhere near their historical forces, even if you count infantry battalions as regiments, which I did do to get some sense of immersion, it made those stacks seem like divisions, but still there's way too few divisions even so

I'm interested in WW1 and have played HOI WW1 mods, To End All Wars, Serbia-Galicia in TOAW, Commander The Great War, etc, I was a disappointed there isn't more to SRGW

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Re: First impressions

#10 Post by Evil Overlord » Sep 20 2017

well, first off, i love that bgs has made a ww1 game, while the sr series never really been on the top of my playlist it is still fun to play, sr tgw even more so since i have a great fondness of ww1.

my impressions;
scenario - starting in june 1914 leave very little time to do anything before the war starts and the armies are exceedingly small compared to their historical counterparts, leaving a lot to be desired from my point of view on long term strategy, i would really have prefered to have had an earlier start, 1910 would have been perfect with enough time to do politics and everything else... but alas.

technology - nice to see the tech tree expanded but there are some rather nasty issues, first of an old bugger like the fact that you can just research later models fx the albatross d.v without working through the models as where done historically i.e. researching the albatross d.I. then d. II.... etc

the use of armored cars as infantry motorization(they should have been used as recon) is very wrong both historically as well as mechanically as the war runs amok in blitz warfare with armored cars happily leading the armies. (over abundance of fuel might be a contributing factor but by far one of the least important atm)

AI - it is and has always been the bane of bgs, the ai will throw units around willynilly without support and any micro management from a human player will defeat any ai attack by ensuring just some artillery support, failing to utilize defensive structures, not doing air reconnaissance or much of anything but sitting around doing nothing for years.

overall, i am feeling like this was a bit of a missed chance to do something interesting

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Re: First impressions

#11 Post by Clavs » Oct 24 2017

I'll share my story... Started with the settings pretty much all on normal, with volatility and events set in medium.
-Start as Portugal as usual... *not allied with britain* Developers don't know about it as usual...
-Germany and austria-Hungary open war on me still in 1914... convenient for me so i can take their african colonies. In reality they were at war in africa before WW1, but not in europe until later. So far so good. *britain rejects my offers of alliance because devs forgot to put it in game*
-As im busy building and taking a few territories in africa here and there, suddenly in 1915 germany opens war against austria-hungary *scroll over to central Europe* Germany is losing badly to UK, Austria-Hungary still has a massive territory but Germany still opened up on what could have been their ally... k, whatever...
-Germany gets eaten..
-Austria-Hungary gets eaten... i check the results over in Europe and UK has all what was enemy...
-1920 UK opens war on italy... *UK still rejects my alliance requests that should have been setup by default... even when both diplomatic rating and civillian rating are at max on both sides...*
-Opens war on spain...
-Opens war on me...
-I struggle for a bit in europe... i take over their land in africa. *they open war on pretty much the entire world, even USA...*
-France opens war on me... fine... I have an easy time in africa since the whole south african continent was mine, i only had 1 front in that continent to worry about against both the french and brits.
-Eventually they open war on a lot of other countries...
-1928 on what has been almost a decade of World war, France finally gives up... I ask USA for alliance... they accept (finally my first and only ally), eventually i conquer all of British Europe.
-Operation Overlord, coming from normandy, I land in england, finally i see american troops for the first time landing on the already captured coastal towns in south of england and helps me take over london.
-Halfway through britain and they give up.

Tried the game again this time with Sphere of Influence on, and still UK did not accept my alliance requests despite both being in the same sphere, both having diplomatic and civilian ratings at max and both having the same enemy... UK still opened war on the whole world afterwards, except those aligned with the same sphere, at least Germany this time didn't open war on austria-hungary... only because the sphere of influence is in play. Setting the diplomatic difficulty to easy makes them accept my offer... but so do half of the world...

Needs fixing:
-Alliances (Portugal - UK / Germany - Austria-Hungary / Others i didn't pay attention to)
-Alliance requests... (they keep rejecting every request, despite it being advantageous to them)
-Germany opening war on Austria-Hungary for no reason when Sphere of Influence feature is turned off.
-Ai throwing everything they have at you in the most predictable paths (not gonna ask to fix this... i know how hard it is).
-Merchant marine shouldn't be in game, 2020 was perfect without it, this was the single and only feature that made me dislike the game a little and made a friend of mine give up on the games entirely, having random units just sailing on a merchant vessel towards your port, without escorts is ridiculous... in 2020 landings would take long from an enemy, specially if they had to build amphibious landing ships, but when they did, they would come in groups along with warships and that is how it's supposed to be.
-Random lonely ships attacking your coastal zones (actually trying to capture water territory instead of searching for places to attack... they'll start bombarding anything they accidentally come across)

Still ignoring the issues... this DLC was worth it. Will be dominating the world again in more campaigns...

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Re: First impressions

#12 Post by Anthropoid » Feb 15 2018

My knowledge of how computer opponents function is still fairly rudimentary. But one thing is clear: making REALLY good "AI" (a misnomer, but I'll use it simply because it is so prevalent) is NOT EASY. In fact, I don't think anyone has yet to make such a thing for a grand strategy title, even a turn-based one, much less a real-time grand strategy.

I happen to know (but am NDA bound not to disclose details) that the "AI" in some of the most extravagant and popular grand strategy titles (well okay ONE of them anyway, but likely ALL of them) achieves the challenges it delivers to the human player primarily by "cheating," i.e., by having extra buffs given to it in ways that the player will generally not be able to detect. I'm okay with that. The point of a singleplayer mode is not to duel with computer opponent who can come even close to a capable human opponent, it is to be able to play the game WITHOUT the time and social constraints (and pitfalls) that come with multiplayer modes. It seems that VERY few game developers and even fewer publishers understand this basic principle as so many of them strive to: (a) perpetuate the myth that there IS such a thing as "AI," and likewise (b) feed players the line of bull that their "AI" doesn't cheat and/or that (c) the "increased difficulty" settings comprise "different decision-making" or "better/smarter decision-making" on the part of the "AI" rather than what they almost certainly are: larger cheats for the "AI."

BG games are fun, but their replay value and overall play value is easily half, if not one-third what it COULD be if they took a much more pragmatic, transparent, aggressive and engaged role when it comes to rebuilding their computer-opponent algorithms in consultation with players.

ADDIT: it is also worth noting that: for games like the SR series, in which the scope of possible play permutations is so vast, the task of creating "AI" that is satisfying within historical scenarios or "historically-aligned campaigns" and for all the hundreds of permutations of player roles versus computer-opponent roles is one that I reckon fundamentally depends on the architecture of the game engine. The proper foundation structures might do wonders at making it fairly simple to configure the myriad permutations of game settings that could make the human playing any of the starting positions engaging and believable. Because I do not have access to SR source code, I can only speculate that, given the games quite old roots, perhaps the foundation is in this case, not well-suited for the task at hand and even for the developers who know the code inside and out, it is a struggle to attempt to implement even small but universal changes that could begin to address some of the ever-present problems.

Based on my so-far limited experience with game development, it is sometimes better when dealing with code bases that trace ancestry back to late 1980s era C code to just give up and start from scratch using good C++ (or C# or Python or whatever one might prefer) with strict adherence to OOP principles and well-conceived architecture that can serve the goals of the game.

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Re: First impressions

#13 Post by evildari » Feb 16 2018

or you write an "AI"agent that connects as a player in a multiplayer game,
able to analyze (understand would be too much) what it can "see" through the UI - and act according to some (even simple) algorithms like those back in the golden age of RTS (ie. heavy base/economy and army buildup, and use local size advantage) for the stated purpose as defined in the game settings (complete victory and such)

with such an approach one could use quit some cpu-power for such an agent, without a single rewrite of the game code.

similar to those MMO-rpg/-strategy bots... but instead acting as opponents
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