H4 neutrals and difficulty

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H4 neutrals and difficulty

Postby Taro » May 4 2015, 9:59

As we know, neutral armies are bigger if level of difficulty is higher. What do you think about it? Is it good idea or bad.

Personally, I think this is horrible solution. It makes game longer and hit AI more than human players. If this would be in previous parts oh heroes it would broke gameplay in the same way.

I wish EQ team will change this one day.

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Postby GreatEmerald » May 4 2015, 13:55

I think it would have been best split out of the difficulty setting. I like strong neutrals a lot, personally, since I like long games as well. And yea, I guess the AI can be quite derpy about it. I guess this is why people are saying the AI is bad? Because battle AI is pretty good, just the adventure one is quite unfortunate.

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Postby Taro » May 5 2015, 9:56

Well, I like long battles BUT with compuer players, not with every neutral stack on the map. You have to spam spells again and again just to capture mines. Or make turn, turn, turn........ until you have some army.

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Re: H4 neutrals and difficulty

Postby Namerutan » May 5 2015, 11:27

As we know, neutral armies are bigger if level of difficulty is higher. What do you think about it? Is it good idea or bad.
If the difficulty were just that, maybe it would be horrible, but with difficulty also changes the amount of experience you get with same amount of defeated creatures, the resources you (and the AI) get at the start, and the behaviour of the AI (even if bad/unfinished AI for the adventure map).
I wish EQ team will change this one day.
Do you have any other idea?

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Postby Taro » May 5 2015, 13:03

Yes, I have. I wrote this in eq section, but I will repeat most important things:

1) AI should see entire map without scripts.

2) AI should have better growth of level 1 and 2 creatures. Without scripts.

3) AI should have experience multiplier with higher levels, while humans not.

4) Marketplace should be locked. AI doesn't use this and it has to capture mines while human don't have to capture mines if they are well guarded. He will just buy resources for low price.
If not, prices should be like in h2 and h3.

Yes, I know you can do some of this with scripts. But most of players doesn't want to script every map they play. They just want to switch level and have bigger challenge.

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Postby GreatEmerald » May 5 2015, 13:52

1-3 is cheating and 4 is inconvenient. I don't like any of these suggestions.

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Postby Namerutan » May 5 2015, 15:21

Yes, I have. I wrote this in eq section, but I will repeat most important things:
Thanks for answering.
I totally agree with GreatEmerald: the first 3 are like a cheater AI, and the last one seems not good at all. Maybe without a better AI that could help to increase the challenge (even if I don't like it), but anyway what you said is a fixed change, or at least you hasn't explained how it would be different for each difficulty level.

From the game manual:
Novice
At this easiest setting, neutral armies are smaller, you get more experience from battle, you start with more gold, computer players start with nothing, computer players have fewer options in combat, and computer players don't build as often as they can.

Intermediate
At this normal setting, neutral armies are normal, you get the normal experience from battle, you start with more gold than the computer player, computer players have more options in combat, and computer players don't build as often as they can.

Advanced
At this harder setting, neutral armies are larger than normal, you start with the same amount of gold as the computer players, and computer players have no handicaps in combat.

Expert
At this difficult setting, neutral armies are much larger than normal, and you start with less gold than the computer players.

Champion
At this hardest setting, neutral armies are quite large, you start with no gold, and the computer starts with extra gold.
What I find very nice is "computer players have fewer options in combat" (Novice), "computer players have more options in combat" (Intermediate), and "computer players have no handicaps in combat" (Advanced).
If that were also for the AI about the behaviour in the adventure part...

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Postby PatFX » May 5 2015, 17:56

Hi guys,

Personnaly, I really like long battle too. I know computer can have some problem vs strong neutral, but the difficulty also change the initial gold for computer and player, so I think it's fair.

I know that not every player want to do script, but ... There is a lot of way to help the computer, but one of the easyest way is to put a script on each computer hero:

Encounter: If opposing army is Grey (color) = Give luck and moral to this army.

An other easy way (let say you play a map on Advanced) to get more challenge is to remove your gold/ressource (script) at the start of the game and give some gold/ressources to computer. Neutral are not bigger, but this will slow down your progression compare to the computer player.


For the computer problem on the adventure map, you can give 2-3-4 Viewing Crystal (for scouting radius) to the computer'heroes (I did some test few years ago). Then, you can put few place event to remove those viewing crystal when the computer finish scouting a territory (Let say 3 different place event (few place event of each to cover 3 parts of a territory): When the computer pass over place event#2 add +1 to a variable. If variable = 3 then remove artifact Viewing crystal(*X)... and don't forget to remove script#2, even if variable is not equal to 3. Same script for place event #1 and #3. That way, you help the computer for scouting a predefined territorry and avoid the computer to face some big neutral army by mistake (for map with strong non-stationnary neutral)


...sorry for my bad english....

Have a nice day!!

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Postby Taro » May 6 2015, 15:18

All right, thanks for fast reply.

Namerutan, I really would like to have better adventure AI in the game. That would be enough but we will not get it. So to make gameplay harder we have to boost computer players somehow. Because we just don't have any other option.

And yes, you can say that 1-3 are cheats. But what about resources which depend on difficulty? Can you say they are cheats too? If so, why do you like first kind of cheats (resources) and don't like others (map, more creatures, experience multiplier)?

I didn't write what will be on current difficulty because I didn't think enough about it. I'm open to suggestions.

PatFX -I can make a difficult map, believe me. But I don't want to change every map or campaign to have a challenge. That's why levels of difficulty should be improveed.

Great Emerald - why?

And about neutrals - you will not get better adventure AI, so that's why bigger neutrals are bad idea. Bigger neutrals only slow you down. Computer players should give you a challenge, but without better AI we can give them something other. Like 1-3. That's the point. Did computer player EVER beat you on champion? Like in h3?

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Postby GreatEmerald » May 6 2015, 16:46

And yes, you can say that 1-3 are cheats. But what about resources which depend on difficulty? Can you say they are cheats too? If so, why do you like first kind of cheats (resources) and don't like others (map, more creatures, experience multiplier)?
Yes, that's cheating too. No, I don't like it; which is why in both HoMM3 and HoMM4 I only play on "hard" which is the fair difficulty. I suppose I wouldn't be opposed to your suggestions on higher difficulty levels, because they in no way affect me.
Great Emerald - why?
Why what?
And about neutrals - you will not get better adventure AI, so that's why bigger neutrals are bad idea. Bigger neutrals only slow you down. Computer players should give you a challenge, but without better AI we can give them something other. Like 1-3. That's the point. Did computer player EVER beat you on champion? Like in h3?
That's your personal preference. The "slow you down" part is the most fun part for me. That's where you need to make choices about which neutrals to fight and whatnot, and it's straightforward. Dealing with AI opponents is annoying because they send their troops every which way, and it's hard to track them with the fog of war and whatnot.

And, uh, the computer player beat me on Easy at least five times. In the first scenario of the Chaos campaign, admittedly, which is quite unfair, but still.

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Postby Namerutan » May 6 2015, 17:15

Namerutan, I really would like to have better adventure AI in the game. That would be enough but we will not get it. So to make gameplay harder we have to boost computer players somehow. Because we just don't have any other option.
I see H4 game as 4 different kind of cases:
1- Solo play, role maps or campaign games; the challenge comes from the map design and quests, so the AI challenge has low importance.
2- Solo play, not role games; the challenge must come from the AI, and this case is the worst with the current adventure AI.
3- Multiplayer, not collaborative; the challenge would come from other players, so AI challenge has low importance.
4- Multiplayer, collaborative; the challenge should come from the AI, but this mode is the less used one, and you get a lot fun with your mates even with bad AI.

In the worst case (2nd, solo play on not role maps), we have 5 difficulty levels, but I think just the first 3 are actually good. For these who needs more challenge, bigger stacks maybe not the better solution, but at least it's something.
And yes, you can say that 1-3 are cheats. But what about resources which depend on difficulty? Can you say they are cheats too? If so, why do you like first kind of cheats (resources) and don't like others (map, more creatures, experience multiplier)?
Yes, resources depending on difficulty is like cheating too, but it is different in 2 ways:
1- It's a single time cheat, at the start.
2- It's a balanced cheat, as that little boost could be for you or for the AI, in the same way.
Anyway, it is not something I like much. I prefer options were the AI can play very well but it is limited to just a bunch of options, less options for lower difficulty levels.

If you talk about a boost for the AI creatures just at the start, that could be good enough; same for a little boost on the starting experience level, or even an extra building for the starting town, but always available for both sides, the player (on novice) and the AI (on high difficulty).
Did computer player EVER beat you on champion? Like in h3?
In H3 the AI hardly beats me on champion (except if using ceertain mods), while in H4 I hardly manage to finish some maps in champion (like Nature campaign, map 1). Anyway I prefer Advanced or Expert, for solo maps if the map has few or no role parts.
Actually this sentence is unfair from me, as I think it is very different to say "the AI cannot beat me" or "I cannot finish a map", where the second option does NOT mean that I beat or not the AI (just cannot beat neutrals).
Last edited by Namerutan on May 6 2015, 21:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby PatFX » May 6 2015, 18:21


But I don't want to change every map or campaign to have a challenge. That's why levels of difficulty should be improveed.
I understand what you mean.

I would like a better difficulty setting menu too: set each computer to defensive, moderate or agressive, set the gold/ressources at the beginning for each player (5 options:50%,75%, 100%, 125% and 150%), set scouting radius of computer and player (+0 to +4), set the player's growth (50%, 75%, 100%, 125%, 150%, but independant from level difficulty), neutral unit (novice, advance..... champion), set a difficulty to"normal" or "Hardcore" with no "save" and no "loading autosave this turn".....

For exemple:

computer attitude :
Green player: agresive
Red player: defensive

gold/ressource :
Blue player (human) : 75%
Green player : 150%
Red player : 100%

Scouting Radius :
Blue player (Human) : +0
Green player : +4
Red player : +1

Creatures growth :
Blue player (Human): 100%
Green player : 125%
Red player : 75%

Neutral units level:
expert

Difficulty :
Hardcore


...but about your suggestions: I agree with GreatEmerald and Namerutan.

PatFX -I can make a difficult map, believe me.
Make a difficult map is really easy, but make a challenging map is something else.

Right now, if you want more challenge, you need to change the map you want to play, that's why I gave you few easy things to script if you want a bit more challenge.

....but in my opinion, challenge comes more from creature type/number, spell and item.... that's why in every map I did create, I did always put a lot of restriction on: computer's creatures type/number and growth, spell and items you can get (when and where you can get it). The computer is never free of choice. Everything is predefined: Starting troop, creature type, growth, spell, item, script..... everything. I usually never put any dwelling or building to learn spell in the computer's castle.

For me, it's the only way of playing with real challenge and it's different for each map or campaign.

Scripting every map is not cool, but it's the best and only way to get exacly what you want.

Scripts are your friend!!

Have a nice day!!

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Postby Namerutan » May 6 2015, 22:05

Yes, I know you can do some of this with scripts. But most of players doesn't want to script every map they play. They just want to switch level and have bigger challenge.
About possibilities, I think I'm not skilled enough to implement myself alone the idea, but I could help if somebody wanna try this:
- Hook the "load map" method when starting a new game, then inject a script in the map.

This way a mod could "improve" difficulty levels for players with no scripting skills (or just then the players would not need to care about doing that themselves for each map).

An easier approach could be a program to add that script in batch mode for every map in a folder. This option maybe I could do it myself.
Maybe somebody cares to make serious suggestions for such script?

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Postby Taro » May 7 2015, 19:25

Namerutan - first idea is better in my opinion, but I hve no skills. I know how to edit tables and exe (very little bit).

Great emerald - funny. You got your ass kicked, because AI has less neutrals to defeat. But play this map on champion, you will have better chance because computer players will not get you to soon. Conclusion? Niovice and intermidiate are sometimes harder than champion.

Next example. I play Emilia campaign with equilibris mod. Gold golems, nagas and no combat skill, that's my own rule for fun. Barbarian army went through the portal, it had 8 thunderbirds, 30 ogre magi etc. While I had 2 thunderbirds in the castle. I was glad - AI will take my town, omg. But no.It was fighting some neutrals by the way and lost about 80% of its number. Conclusion? With normal neutrals AI would not have unnecessary loses and it will be more competetive.

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Postby Dalai » May 8 2015, 13:15

Next example. I play Emilia campaign with equilibris mod. Gold golems, nagas and no combat skill, that's my own rule for fun. Barbarian army went through the portal, it had 8 thunderbirds, 30 ogre magi etc. While I had 2 thunderbirds in the castle. I was glad - AI will take my town, omg. But no.It was fighting some neutrals by the way and lost about 80% of its number. Conclusion? With normal neutrals AI would not have unnecessary loses and it will be more competetive.
Right now it's not possible to actually improve the AI, but it it possible to fake better AI. It can be done with scripts.

For example, every AI army can triple upon contact with neutrals, and return back to normal after victory. That way AI will not engage in hopeless fights, but will suffer less casualties in fights it actually chooses to engage. Another script can help AI heroes to gain experience faster.

It's all cheating, of course, but at least it is very hard to exploit.

What Namerutan said - it is possible to add those scripts automatically. And I think it's a great idea. Second option, with utility, is even better - not all maps need this scripts insertion. Some maps have perfectly calculated balance and will be worse off after adding scripts like that. And using utility, player can choose if he wants to add all or just some of scripted AI powerups.

To do that a library of script-powerups is needed.
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Postby Taro » May 8 2015, 15:22

Dalai, God bless EQ team if you could make that army and/ or experience multiplier. I could even pay you some small "polish" sum if it will work.

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Postby Duzeom_ » May 8 2015, 20:36

For example, every AI army can triple upon contact with neutrals, and return back to normal after victory. That way AI will not engage in hopeless fights, but will suffer less casualties in fights it actually chooses to engage. Another script can help AI heroes to gain experience faster.
I don't think it is possible to script in an editor.
By the way: isn't that true that AI fight an army when he has got 100% certainty that he wins?

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Postby Namerutan » May 8 2015, 22:00

By the way: isn't that true that AI fight an army when he has got 100% certainty that he wins?
No, in fact the AI fights too often armies that shouldd not fight, and so you can see the tomb stones if there was at least one hero in the defeated army.
I don't think it is possible to script in an editor.
Do you mean a script to add creatures to the AI army when the opposite army's owner is neutral, and remove the extra creatures after the combat?
Something like this, for every neutral army in the map?
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Postby Taro » May 9 2015, 5:21

My mistake, i thought Dalai told it could be impemented in eq as general rule (like guardian angel for high level heroes).

Duzeom, AI fights indeed when it can win, but it doesn't care about loses.

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Postby Duzeom_ » May 15 2015, 18:14

@Namerutan

You convinced me. I thought that the script must be on an AI hero which can't be done for all future AI heroes. But as You showed me it is possible. I had a similar idea for my future campaigns but only for created AIs in the editor.


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