Will we get a better AI in Age4?

I’ve always wondered what it takes to write a good AI. I can imagine it is not easy, otherwise we’d have one. But there are still things that baffle me each time I play the game and I’d like to know why they aren’t addressed. Rather than a critique, I’m starting a discussion on this topic, to know more about what can or can’t be done, or what can or can’t be expected (time/resource-wise or else).

Things I’d like to see implemented:

  • Villagers and units differentiating between inside and outside (of walls, for example!!)
  • Villagers understanding they shouldn’t stand under a gate - keeping it open -after building or repairing it!!!
  • Units differentiating between important/unimportant buildings when attacking a town. Why do they concentrate on a lumber camp instead of attacking, say, a barrack???
  • If military units walk along a wall to find holes why can’t villagers distinguish holes in a wall or places that need a wall built in?
  • I’d love to see or define AI civ’s that really turtle! And I don’t mean using single-layered walls, but multi-layered walls, with a lot of towers and castles and archers behind them! And civ’s that isolate territory and defend it, not only try to attack and defeat you all the time.
  • This has improved, I recognize it, but when are civ’s going to stop sending you their armies from far away, creating these huge, long lines of units you can easily martyrize instead of building military buildings near your town and attacking from there??
  • To stay on topic: I’d like AI civ’s to understand the concept of attacking from several angles and -impossible wish- understand the idea of distraction attacks.
  • I’d like civ’s that understand the terrain, not only use it/walk over it. I.e. civ’s that understand expansion, land grab, resource theft, etc. (in other words, strategy)
  • Scouts realizing they are stuck and getting loose again.

These are some ideas I’ve got. I’ll post more when they come to mind.


Well to get a good AI, you need actually one thing.
The player should not memorize what AI does

Usually after some matches, you know what units AI does use and where it does attack.
Best way is if AI has several scripts what it can do.

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Well, that leaves intelligence to the player, then, hahaha! :wink:

Usually after some matches, you know what units AI does use and where it does attack.
Best way is if AI has several scripts what it can do.

Sure. Maybe I’m complaining too much, but that seems like automation instead of artificial intelligence, doesn’t it?

The thing is, I feel like at the start the AI is going to be bad, but after time as the devs see what build orders are “meta” they will make the AI able to comprehend meta builds and execute them.

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Please explain “meta”.

Most powerful/ popular , we don’t know how this game will be and it will take a while to determine the best build order, for example right when aoe2 originally came out, people didn’t know 6 on sheep was the key number


This is what I’ve seen regarding AI from official sources, so far:

Duffy: There were a lot of tactics that we wanted the AI to be able to handle. We also wanted to ensure the AI could play all parts of the game. It needed to be able to build walls and defend itself. […] With all of the unique abilities and options and upgrades that those civilizations have, it needs to understand those sort of landmark choices. So it’s all new from the ground up. We have our own AI systems.

We did some things that were really interesting in combat stuff as well for balance. It actually does machine learning on combat encounters, to build up its understanding of whether it’s outmatched, or whether it has a probability to win an encounter. And so it can retreat away from cases where it feels a little more nervous.


Exactly! Machine learning, evaluation of circumstances… very well!


interesting point there. I would LOVE if you could also set AI type tactics without having to gaia/ order spam them.

Like setting AI to type agressive, or type defensive, or defensive structures. Stuff like that.

Basically ayou should be able to set AI tactics to any possible strat in game, so you can specifically learn that strat or to counter it. Would be great, but I doubt that will happen.

However at least the general AI seems to be more sophisticated in Age 4 than 2. which makes sense in a new game xD

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Basically you should be able to set AI tactics to any possible strat in game, so you can specifically learn that strat or to counter it. Would be great, but I doubt that will happen.

You know what, I think that’s the direction the game should be going. It should include machine learning sooner or later, not only because it makes it more fun, but because that’s the direction AI is taking in general. I mean, it would keep the game up-to-date over time and even more interesting to play.

But if you view it from a commercial angle, that would give the game an edge over other games as well.

…so you can specifically learn that strat or to counter it

Well, the other way around is also nice. I’d like to see an ever more intelligent AI defying the human player, so that s/he would never be able to rest on his/her laurels. That way, an update of the game would be an update of the AI as well and make it fascinating to play. It’s smart playing that makes the game so attractive, let’s not forget it. Now, the “smartness” is given by the variety of gameplays the player can adopt + a certain number of AI responses, but the smash hit would be an AI that can come up with the element of surprise!!!

However at least the general AI seems to be more sophisticated in Age 4 than 2

You derive that from the previews only?

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regarding your last question - no.

I do get that from how Age 2DE works regarding code though. I asked a dev at gamescom if age 2 DE will have specific difficulty settings per AI instead of globally.
They said they would ask the rest, they didnt think about that option.

A few moments later I got the info: Age 2DE works mostly on the base code of Age 2 (so basically the game general code is old. very old). Back in the day in age 2, the campaign triggers woul trigger depending on difficulty of gaia, and therefore gaia got the same difficulty as the AI you chose.

For example plaing a scenario with extreme AI, Wolves will attack earlier etc.

Thats why there was no AI specific difficulty back in the day.
And since the basic structure of Age 2 DE is age 2s, there isnt even ONE part of code differentiating AI difficulty from gaia etc.
Thats also why, even though the devs did get that request and it is a common feature nowadays, age 2DE AI is still global, not per AI. They wouldnt have been able to change that, as that would have meant changing the very base code. Which wasnt such a good idea 2 months before release.

This is just one example of how age 2 DE uses old code and is therefore limited.
While the devs did issue multiple patches for AI and it did see major improvements in comparison to age 2 or even the previous versions of age 2 DE, there seems to be a coding limit.

since age 4 is a new game, I certainly believe that the AI will be more sophisticated. It also needs to be because the asymetric civs require more advanced AI than 8 base strats.
So heres hope that AI will be betetr in Age 4 and maybe even be able to have diffculty per AI (although it would be even betetr if you could set strategy. i doubt that could be combinded with difficulty though. we will see.

Also Your own AI (specifically pathfinding) of course also was meant by me although the example was regarding AI players.

There are several of concepts I only know because people speak of them in forums like this one, but that I don’t grasp in its enterity. Let me make a list and I ask you kindly to dwell on them deeper:

Difficulty per AI
Global, not per AI

Please :smiley:

Its late Here so for now Just a very quick orientation- also to confirm i understood what you asked of ne

Pathfinding describes the ability of any unit to move where its supposed to- this May even include actions. The Goal of a unit can BE given by Player Input, triggers in campaigns (eg Unit Starts moving once Hero unit reaches them) or by the ai Scripts telling IT to Go there.
Easy example of pathfinding issues is Units getting Stuck while moving to a Location (Happens in lumbercamps often).

Global difficulty of ai means that Everything controlled ai on the Map has that difficulty. Meaning attacking animals Like wolves(they aswell AS Units Not belonging to Players are controlled by the so Called “gaia” ai in age) but also Every ai controlled player on the Map.

Player specific ai would Simply meant yo can start a Game against ai Players of varying difficulty, eg 2 easy AI vs 1 hard AI vs you.

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I for one would love to see a Machine Learned-based AI so that devs can balance the game faster than by watching human players. Watching DeepMind play Starcraft II was incredible and I feel like AoEII devs have a real disadvantage that they have monthly patches and human games to pull information from, which is a brute force way of balancing.

Hopefully this AI will be more ML/AI than the scripted “condition/trigger” AI we live with in AoEII


I’d like for the ai to invade my island

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And do it in a smart and consistent way!