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Stronghold 2 » Forums » Stronghold 2 and Legends: Scenario Design and Modding Forum » AI Castles .aic files
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Topic Subject:AI Castles .aic files
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Doomsword
Earl
posted 04-24-09 19:55 EST (US)         
I've yet to look at the castle editor and I was under the impression that it is used to change the footprint of an AI's castle. Is this change saved to the map file or does it change some other game file?

I just assumed it would alter one of the game files and that I would need to include this altered file in the DL. Any one dl'ing the map would then have to mod the game slightly to have the change take affect. Am I right or wrong with this assumption.

I would like to use this program since Barclay in my current map is not quite finishing his castle for some reason. He is leaving out 1 small piece of wall next to his keep allowing me to waltz right on in bypassing his inner gate. I'm just not keen on requiring people to mod their game to play my map.
I have been playing with the AI Castle Editor a lot recently. The Queen never finished her castle and after a little muddling around, the editor is really easy to use. It's got some issues that could be tweaked but they are more annoyances than anything else.

Fixing that problem with Barclay would not be hard and then yes you would have to supply the updated .aic file for downloaders to drop into the Castles folder. A wonderful path of opportunity for custom maps if people can follow along because you can get a lord to build to into custom terrain and timing. Some of the War missions use special .aic files for the lords.

I've been building aic. files to release as a bundle. Fixing existing errors and making more defensive castles that will work flawlessly with the existing files. You can just add more castles to a lords repertoire by increasing the file name integer e.g. Queen_01.aic to Queen_09.aic . I was thinking about seeing if anyone else was interested in getting involved to make a SH2 Heaven AI Castle bundle with a whole lot of working designs, because the default small AI castle in the game is pretty lame. There is plenty of room to design bigger castles too.
You can just add more castles to a lords repertoire by increasing the file name integer e.g. Queen_01.aic to Queen_09.aic
I never really noticed this before but from this statement I'm assuming that the AI's in the game already have a number of designs to use when building their castles. I wonder what factors are used to determine what design an AI will use? The space available perhaps or is it just a random choice? It would have been really nice if we could specify what design an AI should use.
I've been building aic. files to release as a bundle. Fixing existing errors and making more defensive castles that will work flawlessly with the existing files.
This is a great idea Doomsword! I wasn't impressed with the existing designs of the AI's castles either. I agree that most castles are quite small but size can be an issue on 6-8 player Kingmaker maps. Some just don't have the room for a very large castle layout.

I'm looking forward to this bundle to see and what you come up with! I would be willing to help with this but I'd need to know what you've done so far first. I was about to begin work on a new siege map but maybe I'll take a look at the AI castle editor instead.

ps...

It took me most of the morning but I finally got the Java version I needed to run the AI editor. I've only taken a quick look and so far I like what I see (mostly). I see what you mean by annoying. Too bad the editor doesn't default to the castles directory where the .aic files are stored in the first place when you go to open one.

I noticed that Barclay has 3 layouts to choose from yet he always uses the second layout in my current map. I'm glad it stays the same yet I wonder why that is? I also noticed that the missing wall tile in his castle should not be missing. In the editor it shows the wall in this spot overlapping the corner tower of the keep. I willing to bet that the person who created this layout knew about the missing wall tile and tried to fix it without success and just gave up on it and moved on. This suggests that getting the AI to build the way you want is as difficult as getting the AI to attack the way you want.

Anyway, I'm off to see what I can do with this and try to get the hang of it.

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AuthorReplies:
Doomsword
Earl
posted 04-24-09 19:57 EST (US)     1 / 83       
Too bad the editor doesn't default to the castles directory where the .aic files are stored in the first place when you go to open one.
Yes, thats one of the issues I was thinking of. Make a shortcut for the castles folder on the Desktop and the it is only 2 clicks away using the side menu rather than 4 or 5.
I noticed that Barclay has 3 layouts to choose from yet he always uses the second layout in my current map. I'm glad it stays the same yet I wonder why that is? I also noticed that the missing wall tile in his castle should not be missing. In the editor it shows the wall in this spot overlapping the corner tower of the keep. I willing to bet that the person who created this layout knew about the missing wall tile and tried to fix it without success and just gave up on it and moved on. This suggests that getting the AI to build the way you want is as difficult as getting the AI to attack the way you want.
Not so much, once you get it, it will work. The main thing is the Keep pictures are not accurate. They show up further back than you expect. Just add another block of wall on the end right on the keep, I bet it will work. Many Engineer Guilds seem out of place, one space too forward for many of the lords.

The AI Lords (I believe) Build the biggest castle they can staring from the highest numbered map. So, the biggest castles need to be numbered the highest and then if it doesn't have room to build that, it checks the next lower map. If you have a tiny castle numbered the highest, it will always build that, unless you have mutiple lords of the same name, then it will build several designs if it has the room. Grasslands is my current testing map, lots of flat room, 8 enemies, I start at Duke and just build a couple knights and all the crossbowmen I can, to keep away the riffraff.

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Ouly
Archer
posted 04-24-09 21:52 EST (US)     2 / 83       
I'm glad you started this thread. I was going to suggest it.
Too bad the editor doesn't default to the castles directory where the .aic files are stored in the first place when you go to open one.
I had a solution the moment I posted this. Copy the .aic files to 'My documents' and copy them back if I make any changes.
The AI Lords (I believe) Build the biggest castle they can staring from the highest numbered map.
I have a feeling you're right about the AI's building the largest castle for the space available but the largest castle has the lowest number in the sequence. I just checked to be sure. All go from largest to smallest in size.

I noticed that Olaf's (and at least 1 other's) footprints have a different naming convention. (Large wooden,medium wooden,etc.)

Also, it may be that 4 or 5 different castles sizes is about all you can have for each AI for all practical purposes. If the choice of footprints was random, I was going to suggest making all stone castles available to all the AI's that use them. After tweaking them properly of course. Oh well...

The main thing for me is to get the AI's to build finished castles that are reasonably designed and defended. None of this... triple thick walls on one size and then a single thickness wall on the next. I'm hoping there is also a way to get enough troops on the walls because most AI's are wide open to a ladder attack. Only the patrolling troops discourage this slightly.

So far I've just been taking stock of things in the editor. Tomorrow I'll see if I can fix Barclay's second castle.

I also noticed that some wall sections have the 'set special building option' checked off. These are usually next to a round tower. I'm wondering if this may be to merge the wall with the tower visually. The readme says it only seems to add hoarding to a tower.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.

[This message has been edited by Ouly (edited 04-24-2009 @ 09:55 PM).]

Doomsword
Earl
posted 04-24-09 23:23 EST (US)     3 / 83       
Some of the files obviously never get used, Barkley01 I've never seen in play. There must be default castles because several lords build the same tiny defenseless heap all the time. I haven't looked through them all, it's hard to keep them all straight in your head while renaming them constantly.

I've got a couple decent designs that limit ladder space with stone buildings and moats. I'm staring to experiment with using lots of gather points too. The game castles should fill in their walls before getting on to building towers and the thin walls I thought was an issue too.

I wanted to give each lord at least 3 castles, small, medium and large, maybe an extra large. Some only have one and a default. I agree more than 4 or 5 would pretty much be a waste.

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Ouly
Archer
posted 04-25-09 15:19 EST (US)     4 / 83       
Just add another block of wall on the end right on the keep, I bet it will work.
You were absolutely right! I had the fatal flaw in Barclay02.aic fixed and tested in about 10 minutes. I even got the wall to blend nicely with the corner tower of the keep! So far I'm liking the aic editor even if it is a little unstable.
There must be default castles because several lords build the same tiny defenseless heap all the time.
If this is the case, there may not be much that we can do except fix the ones that get used.

Perhaps 2 dl packs? One that fixes the existing castles that get used by the AI's without changing them too much. Sort of a third party update to the game. The other dl pack could contain a much more varied set of castles for a player to choose from as they like for each AI. What do you think?

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.
Doomsword
Earl
posted 04-26-09 12:06 EST (US)     5 / 83       
There must be default castles because several lords build the same tiny defenseless heap all the time.
If this is the case, there may not be much that we can do except fix the ones that get used.
Nah, I'm fairly convinced I know how the castles are chosen. When I build a new .aic I can get them to build that first or build a large firefly design.
Perhaps 2 dl packs? One that fixes the existing castles that get used by the AI's without changing them too much. Sort of a third party update to the game. The other dl pack could contain a much more varied set of castles for a player to choose from as they like for each AI. What do you think?
I think in the end there should be one dl pack that replaces the entire castle folder. It should be super easy for people who know next to nothing to drop in their game. Some of the originals will have to be renamed to mesh with the new ones properly and seeing new designs is an issue if they are not numbered right or you don't know what java means.

I was thinking people could upload individual sets and then we could come up with a 'best of' with the fixed originals but the SHK AI Editor has been out for 3.5 years and the only d/l is one for Sir William that turns a tower 180. /me thinks people are intimidated by the task of doing a quality job. I owned the AI Editor for quite a while and just got around to seeing what a great and not overly complicated tool it is. I still need to learn a few things about it.

So, IDK, I'm just going to build some castles, see if anyone else wants to add a design or two. If not we can trade files back and forth and come up with a bunch of files we think are decent if your into it. If anyone else besides me contributes I'd like to release it under some generic SHH name.

If anyone has ideas for a layout, but doesn't wan't to learn the editor, all ideas and comments are welcome.

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Ouly
Archer
posted 04-26-09 20:27 EST (US)     6 / 83       
the SHK AI Editor has been out for 3.5 years and the only d/l is one for Sir William that turns a tower 180. /me thinks people are intimidated by the task of doing a quality job. I owned the AI Editor for quite a while and just got around to seeing what a great and not overly complicated tool it is.
Well, people shouldn't be intimidated because it's not all that hard to use. I've now basically fixed all the default castles that the AI's have built for me so far except Edwin using a minimalist approach.(small changes) His is such a mess I'm not sure where to begin. At the moment that amounts to only 1 design each. I haven't gotten them to use a second design yet. I think a new test map may help there but some AI's that have multiple designs are building smaller castles than they could be with the space available. I've used Grasslands and Volcano so far but I'm going to give them each more space yet to see what happens and then try a map with very limited space.

I do see why most castles are designed small though. With only 10 range rally points and 10 block rally points, it's hard to defend a large castle very well.

When I'm done I'm going to include these modified maps in my 'First Command' scenario that will go up soon. That way people can just drop them all into the castles folder if they want to or only the one necessary for the scenario.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.
Sir_Vet
Swordsman
posted 04-27-09 13:12 EST (US)     7 / 83       
Hi guys,

I've recently been wiped out by a virus, but now I think all is back to brand new, I lost my 2 hard drives, I managed to get my 250 gig wiped clean so I could reinstall windows, lucky my 500 gig was under warranty, the PC store I deal with gave me a new one:-)

I did look at the SH2 castle editor, but didn't do anything.

But I have been working with the newly released Crusader editor, and have a different way of useing the castles created, with the C editor the files are AIV and they are put into the villages folder of the the Ctools folder.

If we want to play the new file we will put it into the aiv game folder, but before doing that we make a folder in the aiv folder and call it richard and we move all 8 of the richard aiv files into the richard folder, this way we can have only our "richard1.aiv" file in the folder, this way Richard will use our castle. The file name must be copied exactly as the original.

I do want to make some new castles for SH2 but now I have other projects to finish. I will be back:-)

Sir_Vet
Ouly
Archer
posted 04-27-09 23:41 EST (US)     8 / 83       
Hi SV. Good to see you back.

I've made a little more headway with this AI editor. As you mentioned Doomsword, each AI seems to have a default largest size that it can build even if a larger 1 already exists. Barclay01.aic never gets built. Nor does William01 or King01. It may be that FF couldn't get the AI's to defend the larger footprints very well so the more incompetent AI's ended up using the smaller castles. It may not be worthwhile to make a large castle for some. The Bishop is a perfect example. He seems to take forever to finish his castle and he doesn't even use towers in his default castle. Personally, I think his default castle is too big for him to build and defend. The Hawk or the Queen are done in less than half the time he takes.

I'm having trouble myself. I can't seem to get any troops besides range troops on the walls. And some AI's just won't put many range troops in towers and on walls period. Regardless how many rally spots I designate. I build them a nice castle and they hardly make the effort to defend it like I tell them to!

The Hawk and Queen were exceptions and actually put bowmen where I told them to.

I think I'll focus on fixing and making castles for the AI's who are at least partly competent for now.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.
Doomsword
Earl
posted 04-28-09 08:21 EST (US)     9 / 83       
Bummer about your PC Sir Vet.

Ouly, have you checked off the 'set elevated property' for wall troops? I know I've seen Outlaws on walls but haven't done much testing on this in a couple days with 'real life' cluttering up my time. I hadn't figured out the '10' rally points maximum, good to know. Coincidentally I started with the Queen and Hawk so I haven't noticed others being weak defenders regardless of what you do. It seem to take some time getting troops covering the walls.

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Ouly
Archer
posted 04-28-09 09:17 EST (US)     10 / 83       
Ouly, have you checked off the 'set elevated property' for wall troops?
Yes I did. I also let the tests run long after these AI's had their castles done while I was waiting for the Bishop to finish his so they had plenty of time to get the men on the walls. Lady Seren comes to mind as 1 who didn't put many bowmen on the walls.

I was trying to put blocking troops on the walls which is the equivalent to 'stand ground' but never tried to use guarding or aggresive troops this way yet. Kind of pointless though since only blocking troops can repel ladders properly and stay on the walls. I did notice on my last test though that a couple AI's had ground troops on the keep and walls in spots. I used an 8 player map called 'classic' which has limited space and got some AI's to build a second smaller castle footprint this way. I'll have to look over these files to see what the original designers did.
I hadn't figured out the '10' rally points maximum, good to know.
It appears that you can have 10 rally points for each type. The same goes for wall traps. I'm not sure yet, but adding more range rally points may not get more bowmen on the walls. The AI may just spread out a set number of bowmen among all these points. I'll test this today to find out for sure.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.
Doomsword
Earl
posted 04-28-09 23:39 EST (US)     11 / 83       
Ouly, have you checked off the 'set elevated property' for wall troops?
Yes I did.
I figured out 'Guarding troops' will show up on walls if that is not checked off. On the bad side, blocking and agressive gather points do not seem to do anything on the walls or the ground. I had thought I had agressive troops but maybe they had been guarding troops.

More bad news is the moats. You place them in the editor with single tiles but the game places 2x2 tiles. It would be easy enough to know which way the overflow goes except that the game will rotate castles to fit sometimes so moats can get in the way of gates and towers. Rotating the castles also developes problems with non-rotating buildings where the image ends up rotated but the actual model in game is not, some tile may appear black.

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Ouly
Archer
posted 04-29-09 09:44 EST (US)     12 / 83       
More bad news is the moats. It would be easy enough to know which way the overflow goes except that the game will rotate castles to fit sometimes so moats can get in the way of gates and towers.
I thought I had moats figured out but I hadn't considered castle rotation. Typically the moat extends up and to the right. Moats may need to be kept at least 1 tile from all the walls and they certainly can cause trouble near towers.
Rotating the castles also developes problems with non-rotating buildings where the image ends up rotated but the actual model in game is not, some tile may appear black.
What buildings are considered non-rotating?

Some good news. I think I've figured out how to get range troops on the walls quickly and why some footprints like Hawk01 don't work properly. A couple of factors come into play.

First, you need to give the troops early access to the walls. A good tactic is to extend walls from the barracks or engineer's guild to give quick access to gates and towers. If not feasible then place a stairwell and extend walls from that. How castle building progresses is important.

Second, when placing range rally points, place them in the order you want troops to take to the walls. Typically this needs to follow your build order. For instance, place your first rally point on the keep as this is the first building constructed. Then perhaps on the barracks and next maybe on the early built stairwell.

Regardless how well you build, an AI like Edwin will take a long time to place range troops because he only builds 1 fletcher I believe.

The footprint Hawk01, while a fairly nice design, is not getting troops in the towers or on the walls because I believe the first range rally point may have been placed on 1 of the last structures to be built. This castle may need to be rebuilt from scratch to be able to reset the rally points properly as deleting them can be problematic. I had to completely rebuild the Bishop's castle partly for the same reason. No troops were getting on the walls. I also build him a second smaller castle that he can build and defend properly much quicker. I'll have to see how both work on different maps in regards to rotation.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.
Doomsword
Earl
posted 04-29-09 16:19 EST (US)     13 / 83       
Luckily the buildings that do not rotate are not needed for the .aic files. These include; Stables, Apothocary, Pig Farm, Eel Pond, the theater stage thing and, the Veggi Garden (although being square it's not an issue). Using any of those buildings is not recommended.

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[This message has been edited by Doomsword (edited 04-29-2009 @ 04:21 PM).]

Ouly
Archer
posted 05-01-09 12:29 EST (US)     14 / 83       
At least these structures that don't rotate are not needed in a basic layout. The only structures I've had problems with are the engineer's guild (as you mentioned Doomsword) and the lookout tower. The engineer's guild shifts 1 tile to the left when oriented to the south. The lookout tower rotates 90 degrees clockwise from the orientation it is placed with.

I'm not positive but I believe that 3 range troops will be generated for each range rally spot. Giving the AI early access to some range rally spots is critical. The AI seems to generate range troops at a set rate for the rally spots that are accessible regardless if more fletchers are placed or the number of rally spots. If a lot of range rally spots are opened up to the AI in quick succession late in the build, the AI will take a long time to get these positions filled.

Regarding the use of blocking, guarding and aggressive rally spots on the ground, I think the determining factor is the type of troops an AI generates. If the AI doesn't generate aggressive troops like macemen or axemen, then the aggressive rally spot will not be used. I've had a couple AI's place troops at blocking spots but not the proper troop type. They used range troops for this. Only guarding rally spots seem to work consistently well with most AI's. The Queen guards with swordsmen and the Hawk guards with javelineers.

Fixing the castles that came with the game is problematic. Some will not allow me to remove rally spots without corrupting the editor. In these cases, a complete rebuild is necessary. A lot of the castles also have an erratic build order that makes it difficult to edit and fix. Starting from scratch is usually the easiest solution.

I now have 3 castle sizes each for William, the Queen, the Hawk and the Bishop that work quite well. 2 of the original castles that I fixed work ok but still need to be rebuilt from scratch to suit my tastes.

Thanks for the tip Doomsword. Grasslands has become my map of choice for testing. I place one AI in all seven positions and get all three of my designs for that AI on the map at once. Sometimes I even get a rotation change for some designs. It makes testing a lot easier. Of course, size of the castles is very important. Each AI has a castle that is as small as I can make it and it fits within the editor window at full zoom. The next biggest can almost all be seen in the window at full zoom and the largest fills the window at 3/4 zoom.

ps...I forgot to mention. You can use the troop pool rally spot to get more range troops with certain AI's on the walls. This gets you past the 10 range rally spot limit. I haven't placed more than 2 of these so I can't say yet if you can get say... 20 range spots total on the walls for the Hawk. That would be cool! More testing....

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.

[This message has been edited by Ouly (edited 05-01-2009 @ 08:28 PM).]

Doomsword
Earl
posted 05-04-09 08:14 EST (US)     15 / 83       
I took notes on who builds what. Probably type some of it up tonight, there's some interesting things I learned, like Sir Grey will not build a Merc Tent if you give him one and I had never noticed the Bull doesn't build Stone Quarries. Other useful info is who builds what royal foods, if any, so that can be improved. Edwin is so pitiful. None of his rally points seem to be effective.

I built a few decent castles but I will likely start from scratch as you suggest Ouly keeping all we have figured out in mind. Thanks for your input!!

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Ouly
Archer
posted 05-05-09 08:09 EST (US)     16 / 83       
Anything to help! If you like, I'll send you what I've done so far. I now have 3 castles each for William, Hawk, Queen, King, Bishop, Edwin, and Sir Grey.

While a couple are originals that I edited, I usually had to start from scratch because the build order would be a mess in these edited castles. I also gave up on the minimalistic approach to my changes. Instead, I've tried to build castles that suit the style and capabilities of a particular AI. Edwin's castles for instance, I left very basic. He's not worth the effort in my mind. Others are more intricate. I just finished the largest castle for the King and it took me an entire day to design and test it.

Most of my castles are quite small to allow them to be built on a variety of maps and because the AI is not very good at defending a large castle. It is also difficult to get large castles to build in the order you want once the starting resources are exhausted. Having said that, I am experimenting with some larger designs and may add a few to some of the AI's.

The reason I had trouble with the latest castle for the King was because of it's size and the fact that it has a lot of moat. I couldn't get what I wanted built before the moat began construction so I had to ensure that the moat did not interfere with tower footprints. Workers were also getting trapped by the moat so I had to try and leave escape routes for them in the castle. Maybe I should have built the moat first.

There is a way to build moat properly, I just got lazy. Start in the upper right corner and build moat in both directions at once. I do this because peasant huts are placed in this area and you want to build in the same direction of travel as the peasants are walking. While you can give all moat the same build priority, it tends to build too fast and trap people. This is what happened in my last castle. The best way to avoid this is to increase the build priority of subsequent moat tiles. Perhaps every second tile. There is a small delay generated between each build priority number allowing the peasants to escape entrapment.

This is also a good technique to slow construction of walls and to get them to build the way you want. If all wall tiles have the same building priority, then the AI seems to build them haphazardly and can trap peasants or troops in the walls. While the editor is easy to use, creating a nice castle that builds and works properly takes a bit of planning and practice. Even then, a fair bit of testing is usually required to tweak things.

I wish I knew why some rally points can not be deleted. Most times I can delete them if required, other times it causes the editor to go all weird and you need to reload the castle. If this happens you either live with it or need to restart from the beginning. This seems to happen a lot with range rally points placed on larger gatehouses or when you place all 10. Because of this, I try to test the castle before placing rally points to ensure everything builds properly first. This works fine on small castles that build fast but not so good on large designs that take a while to complete as the AI has trouble defending without bowmen on the walls.

I also noticed that the largest gatehouse shifts position 1 tile south from where you place it when oriented from the north with the gate facing south. So far, I can't bowmen onto it either for some reason.

Well, back at it. Only 4 more AI's to work on. I may not mess with Olaf much. His designs work quite well as is. The bull however, takes forever to finish and will need work.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.
Doomsword
Earl
posted 05-05-09 08:44 EST (US)     17 / 83       
Well it seems your ahead of me, I've only got one castle for the Queen, Bishop, Seren and the Hawk.

I was thinking the exact same thing about Edwin and Olaf. I tried naming a file Olaf01.aic, it did not work.

The AI editor froze on me after placing 10 points and then trying to delete one, I will try to keep it to nine.

The issue I had with the eraser it that the eraser icon's perspective looks wrong to me, it deletes from the other side from where I think it should.

I would like to do a little more building before I take a look at your castles but I am anxious to see what you've done.

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[This message has been edited by Doomsword (edited 05-05-2009 @ 08:50 AM).]

Ouly
Archer
posted 05-06-09 00:06 EST (US)     18 / 83       
I would like to do a little more building before I take a look at your castles but I am anxious to see what you've done.
I understand perfectly. Looking at someone else's stuff kind of kills the creative juices.

In fact, I'm starting to run dry on ideas myself. I've made so many smaller castles and there are only so many ways you can combine the basics into a compact effective design. At least larger designs offer room for variety, if you can get them to work well enough.

I found out a few more things.

I got troops on the largest gate by extending wall all along the side. I didn't have the wall extending far enough the first time.

Don't use the smallest stone keep with Seren. Peasants come out the door and immediately turn to cavalry getting stuck on the stairs. This will cause serious lag if the map is full of Serens, even at the start. The fortress works fine for her.

I haven't found the limit yet for bowmen at 1 rally spot. So far, I've seen Seren put 4 bowmen at each. I think I'll run a couple of long tests to see if there is a limit or if it differs with AI's.

The AI's economy suffers greatly if you use a lot of wood for things like man traps making the AI vulnerable to attack early on by an opponent with a smaller, less resource dependent castle. Adding a few production buildings yourself early on may help but care needs to be taken to ensure enough food and peasants for the AI at the same time.

Too tired to think of any more at the moment. Let me know when you want to swap designs.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.
Doomsword
Earl
posted 05-06-09 08:09 EST (US)     19 / 83       
Don't use the smallest stone keep with Seren. Peasants come out the door and immediately turn to cavalry getting stuck on the stairs.
I've had this problem with the largest Keep myself. Adding a Hut right away might solve it.
I haven't found the limit yet for bowmen at 1 rally spot. So far, I've seen Seren put 4 bowmen at each. I think I'll run a couple of long tests to see if there is a limit or if it differs with AI's.
In my test castle, after a while some Lords had 7 or more at each ranged point on the walls, 4, 2 pools and 2 ranged. I had the elevated checked off on one set and not the other, both made troops on the wall. There were quite a few archers. Might have been the Hammer, he builds 3 Fletcher. The number of weapons built may be the most influential aspect of wall troops. maybe everyone should be given another Fletcher or two.
The AI's economy suffers greatly if you use a lot of wood for things like man traps making the AI vulnerable to attack early on by an opponent with a smaller, less resource dependent castle. Adding a few production buildings yourself early on may help but care needs to be taken to ensure enough food and peasants for the AI at the same time.
The priority goes to 255. I am usually done around 45 but I want to start tuning this priority to game months and put in long term traps that are built very late.
Let me know when you want to swap designs.
This is going to be great!

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Ouly
Archer
posted 05-06-09 10:07 EST (US)     20 / 83       
The priority goes to 255. I am usually done around 45 but I want to start tuning this priority to game months and put in long term traps that are built very late.
I'm done around the same point unless I increase priority for each wall or moat tile. Even so, it doesn't seem to slow construction too much. I wonder what would happen if the priority jumped from say 50, to 100 or more. Would there be a long delay or would the program just jump to the next item immediately? I'll try to test this today.

I gave a design I made for the queen some extra production buildings(2 were fletchers)and an extra hovel. I never really noticed bowmen gaining the walls any faster though. I may not have tested long enough or paid enough attention to this particular design when testing. It should work though.

It can be difficult to tell sometimes if the AI is responding to rally points. It also seems to have it's own rally points for certain areas like the granery and the hovels. I didn't think Seren was using the troop pool spot until late in a test when I finally saw around 8 archers at the designated spot in each of her castles. I also saw her build 5 fletchers I believe.

I'm glad you suggested playing around with the AI editor. I'm having a blast doing this! It's a lot of work but it's fun!

ps...I did a couple of quick tests and found out the following...

Regardless what priority level you set for an item, the AI will simply jump to the next item in the list with only the normal delay. I do believe I noticed a different length delay for different AI's though. I think Edwin has a much longer delay than most of the others.

Olaf builds 4 designs on grasslands and are named as follows....

large_wooden.aic
medium_wooden.aic
small_wooden.aic
tiny_wooden.aic

Why he has a different naming convention from the others baffles me but at least he has 4 designs to play with.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.

[This message has been edited by Ouly (edited 05-06-2009 @ 12:09 PM).]

Odyss
Archer
posted 05-06-09 14:11 EST (US)     21 / 83       
Hello, guys . . .

Well, I have to say that you've put more effort into understanding this game than I have! I'm not sure I have the patience to be so methodical and thorough, so thanks again for all the time and effort!

Based on some of your comments, I don't see why some of the Lords' castle-building elements couldn't be incorporated into a future editor. For instance, you could pair a trigger with something like "Lord X builds X# traps at marker X" (X marks the spot, so to speak). Obviously, you could spread out this activity over the course of the entire scenario, and you wouldn't have to depend upon an imperfect AI making its own decisions. A truly well-conceived, full-featured and understandable editor would be . . .

But perhaps I've had one marguerita too many.

Odyss

Wendell: It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell: If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.

Maps you need to play (partial list based on my preferences)= anything by: HorseArcher06, Sir MichaelP, SirWhiteWolf, Gordon Farrell, lord dredde, Psycho Jester, Stratego, Sir_Vet, TwoDie
Ouly
Archer
posted 05-07-09 00:19 EST (US)     22 / 83       
Hey Odyss! Just having some fun with the AI castle footprint editor.

Just when I thought I had castle building figured out, my last creation was a total flop. It should have worked fine but the AI's building placement decision making is annoying.

I had decided this time to enclose a large area to the left of the keep centered around the stockpile. The entire economy could have fit into the area. I knew the granery and food buildings would be outside to the right as well as the hovels above, but thought everything else would have room except maybe a few farms.

Instead of using all this room, the AI placed almost everything outside of the walls. It seems the AI only places certain buildings near the stockpile like the mill or breweries. Farms apparently go outside the walls regardless. Weapon production buildings seem to be centered around the keep. Since the immediate area around my keep and to the left was full, the closest available area was outside the walls above. Talk about annoying. Now I need to do a major redesign to make this work.

I also noticed that the engineer's guild has some issues. 2 of the 3 castles I was editing for the queen are not sending out siege engines. One AI had 9 catapults(or more) sitting there and never sent 1 out. Strange thing is, they were not blocked in the slightest. This was a large castle so I had lots of room. Now I need to go back and check all my other designs to see if I have the same trouble in any of them. This particular engineer's guild was facing east.

ps... I may have been wrong about weapon buildings. It may be the armoury that the AI tries to place them close to.(confirmed)

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.

[This message has been edited by Ouly (edited 05-08-2009 @ 00:10 AM).]

Ouly
Archer
posted 05-10-09 07:08 EST (US)     23 / 83       
After 25 or so designs I only recently realized that the AI places weapon production buildings as near to the armory as it can. Up to this point, testing was done to ensure that the castles were building properly and getting men on the walls. I began more thorough testing with an eye on build times and castle efficiency. This is when I noticed that 2/3 of my designs have the armory on the wrong side of the castle. Since the stockpile is placed to the left of the castle, the armory should be on the left side as well to get the weapon production buildings close to the stockpile where they belong. Unfortunately, no other building has the same dimensions as the armory so rearranging the layout is not always easy in a compact design. I can fix about half of my designs, the rest I either live with or scrap. I'm so annoyed.

While placing the armory on the right side of a castle is a good way to handicap an AI, most need all the help they can get to give the player a decent challenge.

Back to fixing and testing.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.
Doomsword
Earl
posted 05-10-09 07:47 EST (US)     24 / 83       
Nice suggestion, but if the design gets turned it won't matter. Small estates might make the AI put the stockpile in any position so I wouldn't get too upset. Ever hear the expression 'its like herding cats'?

Did you know you can open mulitple sessions of the editor?

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Ouly
Archer
posted 05-10-09 17:37 EST (US)     25 / 83       
Did you know you can open mulitple sessions of the editor?
yup...it'll come in handy when I redo Barclay's castle that is used in my current project. I need to keep the outer dimensions the same or the game will use a different design.

As far as rotation goes, the AI will still try to place the stockpile to the left of the keep (perspective facing the door). Of course, if there isn't room it'll put it wherever it can.

Got more to talk about but need to run...

ps... Back....OK, up until now I've run all tests at the Baron level and all AI's worked fine. I tried this time to start at the Knight level and picked 4 random opponents for the map Baltic. I ended up with 2 that used mercs and 2 that didn't. The 2 without mercs never had a chance. Neither 1 got their keep enclosed before raiders showed up and both were eventually wiped out.

While I may be able to get some of the smallest castles to build faster and enclose the keep, I don't think I can get all AI's to play equally starting at the lower levels. AI's with mercs simply have too much of an advantage.

While on the subject of mercs, it's interesting to see how an AI that normally uses them will act without the merc tent. Several times during testing the Queen didn't build the merc tent because of placement issues. While she is not as expansionistic early on without mercs, she mounts a pretty good siege later on with lots of bowmen and swordsmen. In fact, I think I prefer her without mercenaries.

I'm still trying to figure out what criteria the game uses when choosing a design to build for an AI. I built a large 4 player test map to allow the largest castles to be built. 2 of the AI's built their medium sized castle and the third built the smallest even though all should have built their largest design based on keep placement and space available. Any ideas or insights into this?

I'm also batting about 500 when it comes to getting bowmen on the walls early. In some designs I get a few bowmen on the walls within seconds of starting. In another similar design it may be a very long time before I see any bowmen show up. Very frustrating. I wonder if the files may become slightly corrupted in regards to the rally points after a lot of editing and overwriting the same files.

What's with the old saying, "Like having your cake and eating it too"? That's easy.
Now, eating your cake and still having it, that's a wee bit harder to do.

[This message has been edited by Ouly (edited 05-11-2009 @ 09:15 AM).]

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