Does the AI cheat?

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Elvish_Pillager
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Post by Elvish_Pillager »

cedric wrote:
Elvish Pillager wrote:The Elves Besieged was recently 'rebalanced' very unfavorably, and now it's too hard for the first scenario of the first campaign...
Recently? Hmm, the Elves Besieged has not been changed in monthes (3 monthes). Do you mean as a side effect of a unit change?
Ack --- I must not have played the Elves Besieged for a while...
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Post by Dave »

sawchain,

Thank you for your description of your experience.

When I first started writing Heir to the Throne, it was the only campaign in Wesnoth. I didn't think anyone else was going to write campaigns, and so I thought it'd be the only campaign ever in Wesnoth.

I designed Wesnoth to be a challenging game. I like challenging games. I probably made it a little too challenging.

Then other people started making campaigns. Most people seem to want their campaigns to be very hard.

I do think that in such a situation, the main campaign; the one most people will play first, should be somewhat easier. I will work towards making Heir to the Throne more reasonable. In particular, the Scepter of Fire, and some scenarios after it, are just unreasonable in their difficulty. But some early scenarios could be made easier too, especially on 'easy' level.

David
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Post by Jetrel »

The tutorial does need a lot of work.
For one things, players need to have in hammered into them that wesnoth is VERY different from other games. Truth be told, we can sit on our high and mighty seats and say that whether players like our game or not is irrelevant, but it is quite important.

Statistically speaking, out of every x number of players, a certain percentage will be capable of contributing to the game in a meaningful way. Certain others will be capable of doing fundamental improvements to the game.

Imagine, for a second, that someone like Ayin, or Frame, or Neorice, or me, even had not joined the team. Pop goes the weasel.



If people are properly prepared for the quite unusual gameplay of wesnoth, they will not be so infuriated when their units keel over so easily. People start playing this game thinking that it is just like any other game out there - they need to have it hammered into them that it is not.

If people don't like the game, they may well look at it and assume that there is no way for them to shift the inertia keeping the game the way it is into their favor, into a game that they would like. And because it is forced to stay as a game they do not like, they decide that contribution would give them nothing in return, and they then leave, oftimes without saying a peep on the forums. They just throw the game away, and think of it no more.

We are lucky to have what major contributors we do - by and large they come from the even smaller demographic of people who actually like the gameplay, or simply don't care.



I just cracked open Elves Beseiged on Easy, and after save-loading five times to save my 24hp Delfador in forest from a single Troll Warrior during the night, I was reminded of why this game can be so frustrating.

I know now that he got attacked because he had the lowest defense and lowest damage rating of all his local peers. Fact of the matter is, the AI plays such small tactical situations perfectly - he attacked delfador every time.

There are many subtle things which could be done in campaigns to make them more easy - for example, we could create a counterpart to the high-priority-target listing, for use on easy. We could add [ restart ] and [ revert ] buttons to the Game Over dialogue; where revert would load the most recent save. We could make the "Oh No I'm Dying" dialogue play only once per run of the ... active level (that being as long as a person is continually trying to beat the thing). We could make the ai do deliberately stupid things on easy - perhaps by making it deliberately avoid obviously good choices.

Who knows. But, an easy mode should be "absolutely" easy, not "relatively" easy.
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allover
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Re: A different new user experience

Post by allover »

Invisible Philosopher wrote:
allover wrote:In general, I find it really hard to build up many strong units on Easy - just not enough enemies for my strategy (which is still oriented to winning with minimal losses rather than leveling-up units).
As long as your units don't cost 20 gold or more each, it is entirely to your advantage to throw away some inexperienced units in order to help get others more experience. There is no reason to keep them, no advantage to having them on your recall list.

However it is still a problem that the low number of enemies in Easy interferes with getting levelled units (especially for a player who isn't [very skilled]).
I know you're right, strategically; I had figured out the same thing myself. My problem was that I play Wesnoth for the story, so I see your units as characters, which I don't like to see exterminated. Moreover, my initial strategy was (necessarily) based on a guess as to how Wesnoth should work (I get to keep units that survive, so don't waste them) rather than how it actually does work.

As an aside, I should point out that I *still* don't know how experience works in Wesnoth. How much do you get for killing an enemy? (I think I saw a tip about this, was it eight points, or eight per enemy level? I can't go check...) How much for successfully hitting an enemy? (or is it just for attacking? being attacked?) I haven't found this in any of the documentation (perhaps it's just well hidden).

Also, are villages worth the same to enemy leaders as they are to me? (1 gold per turn + 1 free unit upkeep) If not, are they always worth the same amount? It would help me figure out when to worry about taking villages and when not to.
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Re: A different new user experience

Post by Integral »

allover wrote:As an aside, I should point out that I *still* don't know how experience works in Wesnoth.
Thanks to the magic of Wiki, the manual now explains this.

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Re: A different new user experience

Post by Elvish_Pillager »

Integral wrote:
allover wrote:As an aside, I should point out that I *still* don't know how experience works in Wesnoth.
Thanks to the magic of Wiki, the manual now explains this.

Daniel
If you're feeling lazy, a unit gets 4 XP for killing a level-0 enemy, 8*level for killing any other enemy, and XP equal to the enemy's level for fighting without any kills.
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allover
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Tutorials and Easy mode

Post by allover »

Thanks for the Wiki update - good to know.

I like the idea of expanding the tutorial, but it raises the question of what should be in the tutorial and what should people have to learn by playing (on Easy)?

I needed to learn to be more carful at night - but I didn't get the message until I started losing scenarios. Otherwise how was I to know I wasn't supposed to be losing that many units? I needed to learn how important building a collection of high-level units was - but how can you really teach either of these things in a tutorial?

It's quite reasonable to learn about hte game by playing it. So HttT (on Easy) can be viewed as a tutorial of sorts - and the real tutorial can be viewed as a way to teach the very basics without interfering with the story.

For this reason, I'm not too keen on the idea of making the AI dumber on Easy - so Delfador gets killed. You learn not to expose him (especially not to send him haring off after something that's not part of the scenario objectives - and especially especially since he's not going to level up). You need to learn tactics that work - and making the enemies weaker won't help you either.

It might not warp the game too much to give extra experience in Easy (or to lower the number of XPs needed to level). But I don't know. My point is just to be careful not to teach too many bad habits.
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Post by Worker Bee »

It does appear to be a relative vs. absolute problem. What I mean is:

I think there's a line somewhere at the end of the tutorial that says "if you've played a fair number of strategy games, you should consider normal". I've played a fair number of strategy games (including Master of Monsters and the various Genesis strategy games, which this resembles), am reasonably good at them, and was complimented during my first MP game of Wesnoth. So I think I understood as much about the system coming out of the tutorial as anybody who hadn't played the game before could reasonably hope to understand. But normal mode is too hard for me.

Now you have to understand that I'm used to games being difficult. I usually pick the normal or hard level to start in most games and I don't mind having to play through something dozens of times to get it just right (if you've ever played Vantage Master, you know how it can be). It's just that normal mode in Wesnoth is much harder than "normal" modes in most games (which are usually carefully playtested to give their audience the right fuzzy feeling) - you go in with a preconception of what the difficulty is based on previous experience, and it turns out to be wrong. The line that says "if you have previous experience" adds to this misconception.

Basically, just change the text at the end of the tutorial, or put a little text box underneath the section where you choose the difficulty that says "don't play normal mode until you've finished once on easy". The game difficulty doesn't have to change as long as people have a good idea what they're getting into.
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Post by irrevenant »

To me, the key messages of this thread is: New players are finding the core campaign frustratingly hard on Normal. Sure, they're making foolish newbie mistakes, but we want them to grow beyond that, not give up in disgust.

As a not-so-long-ago newbie myself, I suggest the following:

(1) Rename the difficulty levels - make them "Normal", "Challenging" and "Very Challenging" rather than "Easy", "Normal" and "Hard". I think this is probably more accurate. (And where special names are used for the levels e.g. "Hero", the meaning should always be in brackets afterwards).

(2) The in-game help needs to be expanded dramatically.

The Wiki is great, but most people will bypass it and dive straight into the game, and (most importantly) the wiki isn't available in-game.

Anything that can be learnt through the tutorial should be in the in-game help. (Because, again, the tutorial can't be referred to in-game).

Things like...
* You can hover the pointer over an enemy to see their movement range;
* You need to level up your units;
* A unit sees as far as it can move;
* Chaotic units are more powerful at night;
* losing a unit or two isn't the end of the world"
* etc.

...are basic facts of the game and it's paramount that players know them from the very beginning. I learnt most of these from the forum - and most new players won't bother to check out the forum.

The player should not be expected to learn basic features of the game through trial and error.

Features like these need to be emphasised in the tutorial, in the in-game help and probably also in the early missions of the primary campaign (eg. "Konrad, we will need a seasoned army to face the challenges ahead. It would be wise to give your men a taste of battle if you can.").

(3) The interface on the tutorial could be made more accessible.

When I played the tutorial, the interface was:

1. You get a yes/no choice as to whether you want Delfador to explain something to you or not (eg. "Tell me more about recruiting", "Never mind").
2. Repeat.

I found I got sick of this pretty quickly. (Note: I haven't played the tutorial since 0.92 or so, so maybe this has changed.)

IMO, it would probably be better if Delfador gave a brief summary, and there was a 'more info' button available (in the dialogue window or elsewhere) that launched the appropriate section of the in-game help. The help interface is a more natural way to interface with large (and inter-related) chunks of information than a dialogue tree.

Really though, I'd prioritise this far behind getting all the game info into the manual. If that's done, 90% of people should be able to muddle through without the tutorial anyway...

*edit* P.S. I don't know what format is used for the help file. Is it possible to use the wiki to allow collaborative development of it?
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Post by Elvish_Pillager »

I still totally prefer the old tutorial. The new one (as if it can still be called new anymore) is much less intuitive.

Grab a copy of Wesnoth 0.7.7 (or a newer version, I forget when it was switched) and try it out!
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Post by Disto »

Yeah i think the tutorial sucks too.
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Post by unsung »

Jetryl wrote:The tutorial does need a lot of work.
For one things, players need to have in hammered into them that wesnoth is VERY different from other games. Truth be told, we can sit on our high and mighty seats and say that whether players like our game or not is irrelevant, but it is quite important.

Statistically speaking, out of every x number of players, a certain percentage will be capable of contributing to the game in a meaningful way. Certain others will be capable of doing fundamental improvements to the game.

Imagine, for a second, that someone like Ayin, or Frame, or Neorice, or me, even had not joined the team. Pop goes the weasel.



If people are properly prepared for the quite unusual gameplay of wesnoth, they will not be so infuriated when their units keel over so easily. People start playing this game thinking that it is just like any other game out there - they need to have it hammered into them that it is not.

If people don't like the game, they may well look at it and assume that there is no way for them to shift the inertia keeping the game the way it is into their favor, into a game that they would like. And because it is forced to stay as a game they do not like, they decide that contribution would give them nothing in return, and they then leave, oftimes without saying a peep on the forums. They just throw the game away, and think of it no more.

We are lucky to have what major contributors we do - by and large they come from the even smaller demographic of people who actually like the gameplay, or simply don't care.



I just cracked open Elves Beseiged on Easy, and after save-loading five times to save my 24hp Delfador in forest from a single Troll Warrior during the night, I was reminded of why this game can be so frustrating.

I know now that he got attacked because he had the lowest defense and lowest damage rating of all his local peers. Fact of the matter is, the AI plays such small tactical situations perfectly - he attacked delfador every time.

There are many subtle things which could be done in campaigns to make them more easy - for example, we could create a counterpart to the high-priority-target listing, for use on easy. We could add [ restart ] and [ revert ] buttons to the Game Over dialogue; where revert would load the most recent save. We could make the "Oh No I'm Dying" dialogue play only once per run of the ... active level (that being as long as a person is continually trying to beat the thing). We could make the ai do deliberately stupid things on easy - perhaps by making it deliberately avoid obviously good choices.

Who knows. But, an easy mode should be "absolutely" easy, not "relatively" easy.
you think 5 is frustarting?
I don't saveload unless Ive beaten a level already and I'm just randomly playing, but Ive ended up save loading over 60 times more than once.
you should definitleyt workl on the tutorial, becaue it is NOT of much use, and actually made me think the game is different from what it really is.
(don't aslk me to explain that, because, I can't)
Oh no look out its a ray gun.
You should move to avoid the rays
the rays are coming out of the gun
if you are hit by the rays
you will be shot by the rays
the rays are fast so you should be fast to
can you win against the fast rays from the gun?
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Post by bruno »

irrevenant wrote:To me, the key messages of this thread is: New players are finding the core campaign frustratingly hard on Normal. Sure, they're making foolish newbie mistakes, but we want them to grow beyond that, not give up in disgust.

As a not-so-long-ago newbie myself, I suggest the following:

(1) Rename the difficulty levels - make them "Normal", "Challenging" and "Very Challenging" rather than "Easy", "Normal" and "Hard". I think this is probably more accurate. (And where special names are used for the levels e.g. "Hero", the meaning should always be in brackets afterwards).
Please don't do that. Just because commercial games mislabel their
difficulty levels to make people feel good doesn't mean we have to.
I know I read something warning me that the difficulty levels in
Wesnoth were reasonable before I started playing, so that I played
on normal instead of hard when starting out.

I don't think it is reasonable for people playing a game for the first
time who haven't played similar games in the past to think they
should start on normal instead of easy.

If I were to do the labelling I would do something like this:

Beginner - Haven't played this game or some very similar game
previously. Scenarios designed so that even the AI
can win.

Easy - Some experience with this game or similar games, but don't
have all of the strategy nuances down yet. Scenarios
designed so that a competent player can advance through
a scenario with no resources (minimum gold, no experience
for carried over characters, recall list empty except for
special campaign characters). So that a player should not
have to go back and replay previous scenarios to be able to
get through the current scenario.

Normal - Very familiar with Wesnoth strategy. Scenarios designed
so that experienced players with reasonable carried over
resources (gold and recallable units) should be able to
complete them with suffcient resources to continue
advancing through the campaign most of the time.

Hard - Very familiar with Wesnoth strategy and willing to replay
scenarios. Scenarios should be designed so that it is possible
to get through them without save loading during the
scenario with slightly below average luck. However making
a significant mistake will often require a player to replay the
scenario in order to have enough resources (gold and
recallable units) in order to continue advancing through the
campaign.
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Post by irrevenant »

bruno wrote:Please don't do that. Just because commercial games mislabel their difficulty levels to make people feel good doesn't mean we have to.
Actually, yes it does. If commercial games routinely mislabel their difficulty levels that establishes a defacto standard. It's what players are used to.

You (and others) might think the standard is wrong, but changing the standard isn't the point of the Wesnoth project. The point of the Wesnoth project is creating a fun game that people who are used to commercial TBS games can enjoy.
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Post by irrevenant »

P.S. I've taken this issue to the ideas forum where it more rightly belongs.
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