Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fake Players

I have started work on computer controlled players. I had intended to have working AI players before ever launching the game because of their value in testing -- two AI players could complete an entire game in 1 minute rather than the days it takes us humans. But I got too excited about getting feedback from people so I launched the site anyway.

The AI players will help a lot in tweaking the balance of the ships. The AI could be set up to run a battle of large ships against small ships 100 times and record the statistical outcome. Then we could use that information to re-balance the ship classes.

I have never coded an AI system before, so this one will probably be pretty simple, but it will know how to attack and defend itself. When complete, you will be able to invite AI players to your games just as you can invite regular players. I hope to have several AI players to choose from with different play styles.

The AIs will be just like regular players in every respect. They will have player profiles that you can view online and see their win/loss ratio and the number of command points they have, etc.

The AI will not cheat. They will use the exact same game information that you have access to in your browser, they don't have access to "privileged" information. They will submit orders to their ships the same way you do, they will not be able to issue Load and Fire commands on the same turn for instance. This may handicap them because people are smarter than AI (especially AI programmed by me), but you could always handicap yourself by limiting yourself to fewer command points, or by taking on two AIs at once.

I *hope* to have the AI done next week, but we'll see how it goes.

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