ROLES OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
There has been three computer games made for Diplomacy where the idea was to have an A.I. that works against a single player. They have all failed miserably as a demonstration of the potential of the computer to reach the basic tactical ability of a retarded dolphin who was fed crystal meth for breakfast. While the commercial efforts have failed again and again, there is a hobby effort run by David Norman who advises:
There are a couple of AIs that are just starting to do negotiation - just offering and accepting Peace at this stage. But No Press, some of them are playing pretty well. The site for the project is www.daide.org.uk
Meanwhile the hobby goes along and especially the E-Mail hobby is Bleeding from the lack of computer support. Game after game on the Net is hurt or ruined by players who have No Moves Received or who have dropped. Players who get interrupted by real life and miss a turn get devastating results with an all units hold in civil disorder or when playing with a block on NMR's the game is dragged out for ever waiting for the player to come back.
What is needed is for us to have a modified AI that fits in with the EMAIL play of the game not one that is designed to play against a single player in the classic computer game. We need the AI to act as a Back Up for the player to keep his position viable and to have the possibility to act to take over abandoned position to preserve the game flow.
Here is an outline of what might be a step by step for the Back Up A/I.
Once we have the AI able to step in for missed Adjustments, and retreats, and then one off situations, then we can move to it being able to stand in for taking over abandoned positions for a few turns at a clip.
- Player creates a profile for his position: Allies, enemies, neutrals, priority of builds and removals.
- Adjustment Season: back up for Builds.
Builds are made in accordance with the profile unless there is a non-allied force adjacent to an open home center, in which case the build is there. Lacking priority of builds in profiles the unit builds are for example:
- England: if build is a Fleet it is in London, EDInburgh, then Liverpool
- If army, then it is in order of adjacent to a friendly occupied sea zone in the order of London, EDInburg, Liverpool.
- Adjustment Season: back up for removals:
Something like this only simpler was planned for the 2000 Hasbro Rule book but was over looked in the editing transfers at the final production deadline.
- Priority is units Not in a Supply center before those in a supply center,
- then those not next to an unoccupied center, (home center priority over non home),
- then units furthest from a supply center counting actual unassisted movement rates for the piece,
- then alphabetical.
- Back up of a missed turn:
The AI would be accessed to issue orders based on the profile provided by the player with the ideas being
- All units have an order.
- No unit is ordered to hold when it could support first its fellow unit or secondarily a profiled ally.
- Priority of defense of own centers over attack on others.
- Supports may only be used for allied units.
- Threats assessed against open owned centers with possible combinations of enemies and neutrals.
Finally once the above is done, then and only then do we move toward the creation of the AI as a player making proposals and what not, starting with a basic format of who is an ally, enemy and neutral to working on specific combinations with other powers to play.
This is at least a step ladder approach that will allow the hobby to have some benefit to each of the simple small steps in the progression of an AI than waiting for someone to come up and create a total AI package from the start.
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