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July 27, 2006
Re: The computer has no special advantages - yeah right!
Sean Kelly wrote:
> Walter Bright wrote:
>> Stewart Gordon wrote:
>>>  From the help file:
>>>
>>> "The computer operated players play by the same rules and under the 
>>> same conditions that you do. It has no special advantages, though it 
>>> may appear otherwise at times."
>>>
>>> This doesn't seem right.  Firstly, because computers are much faster 
>>> than humans at processing information, the computer can often 
>>> complete several turns in the time it takes the human player to make 
>>> one move. This can be seen by observing that human player is almost 
>>> constantly ten or eleven turns behind the computer-controlled 
>>> players.  (One improvement in my current working version is to bring 
>>> the turn counters properly into view, as they were presumably meant 
>>> to be.)
>>
>> The fact that the computer is smarter than you is a perfectly fair 
>> advantage!
> 
> The most difficult aspect of AI programming isn't making one that can 
> soundly beat a human opponent, but making one that will be engaging and 
> challenging and make "realistic" mistakes.  But this rule is just one 
> more that the player must adapt to, and I suspect a seasoned player 
> could play quickly enough to keep up with the computer, given realistic 
> timeslices.

A lot of game AIs make up for their general suckiness by cheating. 
Empire's AI doesn't cheat. The 10 turn hysteresis makes things a little 
more interesting by giving a pseudo-realtime effect, but it doesn't 
confer any significant or lasting advantage to any player. The 
hysteresis also applies when you have multiple humans playing.
July 28, 2006
Re: The computer has no special advantages - yeah right!
Walter Bright wrote:
<snip>
> A lot of game AIs make up for their general suckiness by cheating. 
> Empire's AI doesn't cheat. The 10 turn hysteresis makes things a little 
> more interesting by giving a pseudo-realtime effect, but it doesn't 
> confer any significant or lasting advantage to any player.

Of course, with the speed of today's machines, this pseudo-realtime 
effect ain't what it used to be.  And it may not be a _significant_ 
advantage, but to claim it's _no_ advantage is silly.

> The hysteresis also applies when you have multiple humans playing.

How does one do this?  Or should I ask: Which platform versions have or 
have ever had such a facility?

Stewart.

-- 
-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.1
GCS/M d- s:-@ C++@ a->--- UB@ P+ L E@ W++@ N+++ o K-@ w++@ O? M V? PS- 
PE- Y? PGP- t- 5? X? R b DI? D G e++++ h-- r-- !y
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

My e-mail is valid but not my primary mailbox.  Please keep replies on 
the 'group where everyone may benefit.
July 28, 2006
Re: The computer has no special advantages - yeah right!
Walter Bright wrote:
> Stewart Gordon wrote:
>>  From the help file:
>>
>> "The computer operated players play by the same rules and under the 
>> same conditions that you do. It has no special advantages, though it 
>> may appear otherwise at times."
>>
>> This doesn't seem right.  Firstly, because computers are much faster 
>> than humans at processing information, the computer can often complete 
>> several turns in the time it takes the human player to make one move. 
>> This can be seen by observing that human player is almost constantly 
>> ten or eleven turns behind the computer-controlled players.  (One 
>> improvement in my current working version is to bring the turn 
>> counters properly into view, as they were presumably meant to be.)
> 
> The fact that the computer is smarter than you is a perfectly fair 
> advantage!

Smartness is one thing.  Speed is another.  And if the speed is such 
that keeping up is well and truly beyond human capability, such as being 
able to make a million moves within the fastest human's reaction time, 
you can hardly call it fair except in a _purely_ turn-based game or an 
implementation designed purely to test computers to the limit.

OTOH most games that are released to the public are designed to give us 
mere mortals a fair challenge.  This is also why a lot have multiple 
skill levels.

That said, it gets worse.  If you've ever played Duke Nukem 3D in 
DukeMatch mode, you may have noticed the computer-controlled opponents 
striking with such speed and accuracy that most human players would 
never dream of.  Sometimes they'd even launch an RPG such that it kills 
you when they've barely even had time to see that you're there.  And no, 
they're not just firing continuously.

Stewart.

-- 
-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.1
GCS/M d- s:-@ C++@ a->--- UB@ P+ L E@ W++@ N+++ o K-@ w++@ O? M V? PS- 
PE- Y? PGP- t- 5? X? R b DI? D G e++++ h-- r-- !y
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

My e-mail is valid but not my primary mailbox.  Please keep replies on 
the 'group where everyone may benefit.
July 29, 2006
Re: The computer has no special advantages - yeah right!
Stewart Gordon wrote:
> Walter Bright wrote:
> <snip>
>> A lot of game AIs make up for their general suckiness by cheating. 
>> Empire's AI doesn't cheat. The 10 turn hysteresis makes things a 
>> little more interesting by giving a pseudo-realtime effect, but it 
>> doesn't confer any significant or lasting advantage to any player.
> 
> Of course, with the speed of today's machines, this pseudo-realtime 
> effect ain't what it used to be.  And it may not be a _significant_ 
> advantage, but to claim it's _no_ advantage is silly.

It really is no advantage.


>> The hysteresis also applies when you have multiple humans playing.
> 
> How does one do this?  Or should I ask: Which platform versions have or 
> have ever had such a facility?

The PC game does - you can connect other players with the serial port.
July 29, 2006
Re: The computer has no special advantages - yeah right!
Stewart Gordon wrote:
> Walter Bright wrote:
>> Stewart Gordon wrote:
>>>  From the help file:
>>>
>>> "The computer operated players play by the same rules and under the 
>>> same conditions that you do. It has no special advantages, though it 
>>> may appear otherwise at times."
>>>
>>> This doesn't seem right.  Firstly, because computers are much faster 
>>> than humans at processing information, the computer can often 
>>> complete several turns in the time it takes the human player to make 
>>> one move. This can be seen by observing that human player is almost 
>>> constantly ten or eleven turns behind the computer-controlled 
>>> players.  (One improvement in my current working version is to bring 
>>> the turn counters properly into view, as they were presumably meant 
>>> to be.)
>>
>> The fact that the computer is smarter than you is a perfectly fair 
>> advantage!
> 
> Smartness is one thing.  Speed is another.  And if the speed is such 
> that keeping up is well and truly beyond human capability, such as being 
> able to make a million moves within the fastest human's reaction time, 
> you can hardly call it fair except in a _purely_ turn-based game or an 
> implementation designed purely to test computers to the limit.
> 
> OTOH most games that are released to the public are designed to give us 
> mere mortals a fair challenge.  This is also why a lot have multiple 
> skill levels.

You shouldn't have any trouble beating the Empire AI. 10 moves isn't 
going to make any difference.
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