What do you want from FAFs default AI?

In an effort to help identify areas of focus and with the upcoming changes to the default AI I'd like to get community feedback. For those of you that don't usually interact with the community but play against the AI this is your oportunity to influence its direction. I've prepared some questions to help guide discussion.

Who am I
I'm a rather low key member of the community, creator of the RNGAI mod and having done some work on fixing some of the obviously broken parts of the Default AI. I would consider myself a senior citizen in the gaming community having started in the days when a Commodore 64 was the height of graphical fidelity.

How important is the default AI to you?
With 3rd party AI mods available in the vault that have more development freedom and quicker release cycles that provide a challenging experience for many. Do we believe its still important for those that pick up SCFA on sale to have a great AI experience. If so where should the difficulty to be aimed at?

What type of play styles do you want to see from the default AI?
People have different opinions on what they want from an AIs play style, some want something that can assist in preparing them for ladder, some want an AI that is focused on team games, others want something that will crash units into their firebases, others want 30 minutes of quiet time to build a city.

Do you want an AI that is adapting to what you are doing?
If an AI is seeing a weakness do you want it to be exploited. Or do you want it to maintain a predictable base state. There are currently a number of AI 'personalities', which is a smoke n mirrors way of saying there are some different build orders and configurations that the AI use to build in a way that is desired by the player.

How important is efficiency of the AI?
Gaps in AI efficiency have historically been covered by increasing multipliers. Is it important to you that the AI not cheat or are you happy for it to waste resources and aim for doing some of everything rather than focusing on efficient gameplay.

Do you want the AI to communicate with you?
Some AI's make use of taunts. Is this something that improves your AI experience or does it quickly annoy you? Do you want the AI to point out intel oportunities and request help during team games.

Is the AI's ability with the ACU important to you?
The default AI's ACU capability is weak, but its also one of the most difficult things to get right. Some of us have spent over 100 hours just on this one aspect of the AIs development. Do you care that the AI isn't using its ACU effectively?

What map sizes do you want the AI to perform best on?
The balance of FAF lends itself towards maps that are less than or equal to 20kms. Do you believe future AI development should focus on specific map sizes or types? If so which ones? Please don't say Astro.

What things about FAFs AI is most frustrating to you currently?
Do they steal your mass points all the time? Did they ignore you while you were being killed by gunships when they had a massive air force sitting doing nothing?

Do you see an obvious development focus for the default AI?
Is there something that you believe would give the most bang for buck in how the AI plays if it was improved/added?

How important is mod support to you for AI?
There are plenty of mods but not much mod support for AI. Is this something that the community feels strongly about? If so which mods do you feel are not supported at all that would be most beneficial.

Which game phase/Theatre is most important to you?
Alot of development effort goes into unit functionality for AI. Do you care about the T1 phase of the game when it comes to AI? Do you feel that the T4 phase or Naval is the most important to improve?

Other things that are important to you or you would like the AI to do better/ differently?
Open forum.

A note on the realities of FAF AI development.
The SCFA game engine is VERY old and people can only put in the time they have available after their commitments in life. So plugging openai into it or developing a neural net is not something that is going to happen, nor is it realistic to expect someone to to dump 20 hours a week into AI development. There are engine limitations that make some very obvious things very difficult or computationally expensive to work around. An AI being flabberghasted by a wall comes to mind.

Features I think would be nice:

  • Maintaining the idea of different AI types with noticeably different playstyles (e.g. 'turtle' (tries building firebases and doesnt push), 'rush' (focuses on T1/T2 spam), 'Tech' (rushes early factory upgrades), and 'Adaptive' (which aims to be more competive and pick the actions it thinks are most appropriate).
  • Tries to respond to what the player is doing within the confines of that playstyle, so e.g. a turtle AI would get T2 arti and TMD if its opponent is getting MMLs and sniper bots; a rush AI would get more MAA and inties if its opponent has a strong air force
  • Stronger focus on compatibility/mod support over competitiveness

However my main use of the core AI now is as a rough comparison in AI vs AI games as opposed to PvE games against it

I’d like to ai to communicate so it seems alive so I feel less alone when playing ai games

I’m a shitty 1k Global. Any balance or gameplay suggestions should be understood or taken as such.

Project Head and current Owner/Manager of SCTA Project

Would it be possible to get an AI that doesn’t even consider units but is purely concerned with optimizing for the fastest full t3 mex timing in a given area? Would be interesting to see how it approaches a variety of maps and if there is anything to learn from.

@ftxcommando said in What do you want from FAFs default AI?:

Would it be possible to get an AI that doesn’t even consider units but is purely concerned with optimizing for the fastest full t3 mex timing in a given area? Would be interesting to see how it approaches a variety of maps and if there is anything to learn from.

I think @maudlin27 achieves that with M28AI

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

@jip M28 uses a semi-decentralised approach but I don't think it's what FtX is referring to - i.e. M28 will still consider building units, and will just consider within a localised area whether to upgrade a mex / build storage / get reclaim (as opposed to trying to get a T3 mex as fast as possible).