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Everything posted by OoALEJOoO

  1. Great discussion guys! As a campaign scenario, it would be great to have a mission where Vader flies solo in a TIE Defender and the other player tries to hunt him down. The opposing player (or AI) gets a set amount of points to field a hunting party. Other options could be that Vader faces successive waves of increasingly stronger ships until he either survives (say x number of waves) or gets overwhelmed. Variants from the regular competitive game is what makes campaign so great. This reminds me of Starcraft 2's campaign, where it had many variants/mechanics not present on the regular competitive variant.
  2. The benefit of the TIEs are numbers. The conflict arises when the game turns the dogfight into 1-on-1 or same#-on-same#, then the TIEs will be at a disadvantage. In the X-Wing vs TIE Fighter game (can't remember if also in X-Wing Alliance) you would "spawn" to the next TIE in the squadron once your TIE was destroyed. For example, your TIE squad was made of two craft. You would pilot #1 and the CPU would pilot #2. The moment you are killed in #1, you would spawn in #2 (assuming it was still alive). A good CPU AI could make the 2-TIE squad effectively as competitive as a single human-controlled rebel craft. Perhaps you can also give commands to this AI wingmate so that there is a layer of player skill involved. This way you could still have a balanced dogfight, be thematic (more numerous TIEs) and don't rely on silliness such as adding shields to a TIE.
  3. The power system is one of the things that made the classic PC games shine. I've been playing with transferring this idea to the table-top but haven't had the time to playtest much. I think it would add a nice dimension to the solo/coop variants of the game. The concept is described here:
  4. Except that waves of dumb/simple AI bots in X-Wing ends up being an overlap-fest. The more waves, the worst this problem becomes. The multiple waves logic does not translate well into X-Wing, unless it is a lot of waves with few AI ships. There is also inflection point: while it is true that a simple AI takes less bookkeeping, overlapping ships takes longer to resolve (fiddly). You might end up taking longer to resolve a simple/incompetent AI that overlaps a lot. I would rather have my X-Wing be about good dogfighting than turning it into a Zombicide with space ships! 🧟‍♂️
  5. Forgot to mention. Another alternative that I tried was to have all the AI ships move after the player. In this case the AI also runs a single maneuver logic and this requires less bookkeeping. The AI can be much more aggressive, efficient and difficult to beat since you've basically upgraded all AI ships to maximum initiative during activation. However, I did find this to be less fun. I got the feeling the game became too deterministic, i.e. things happen a bit too methodical which detracted from the flying in my perspective. Still, it could be an avenue for exploration because it does indeed result in lower bookkeeping. You would still need an AI maneuver logic more sophisticated and less exploitable than FFGs solo system for it to shine though.
  6. I've found that having the AI run through its maneuver logic during the planning phase offers the most elegant solution. Consider this: During the planning phase, none of the ships have moved. The AI could pick a target, then run a single logic to try to address its target. If the AI maneuver logic is run during the activation phase, then some of the enemy ships might have moved already and some not yet, this is particularly the case of a mid-initiative ship. Then the AI faces a dilemma, should it target a ship that has already moved and therefore its easier to aim? This would mean it would always give priority to lower initiative enemies. But what about that other high-initiative enemy ship that has not moved yet? Depending on the situation, it might be best for the AI to target these. How do you track an enemy that has a known position vs. another one which is yet to move? You are left with potentially several maneuver logic sets for the AI to run through in order to be effective. I've tried this method and it required a lot more bookkeeping and still didn't achieve a comparable AI performance. Bookkeeping overhead is a big con, I think we can universally agree with that. A fundamental rule of AI system design is to place bookkeeping where it gives you more "bang for your buck", i.e. you get maximum AI results for a given bookkeeping amount. In my experience, it is best to invest bookkeeping on nailing the AI maneuver logic. Nailing the maneuver logic during the planning phase gives you this bang for your buck imho. If you get this right, then the following Actions logic is simpler (less bookkeeping). The AI will have a better chance to be in a good spot during the attack phase thus simplifying the Attack logic as well. It is a cascading effect of progressively managing bookkeeping: invest early, enjoy later. This is the main reason I have stressed this point over and over again and I haven't really touched any other AI improvements (vectors, range, priority of actions, etc) because I think this is the starting point for a good AI, the rest comes after this. Another big plus of this approach is that it makes the AI play more by the same rules as the player, lending itself to be more expandable: it better follows normal rules, therefore human/AI tend to be more interchangeable which could be useful during campaign design, would require less patching to adopt content, etc. As far as the Tactical Droid system being predictable. The issue is not much with predictability but with "exploitability". The TD system indeed has a degree of predictability, as you say the maneuver tables have some common patterns. It is less predictable than FFG's solo system though, and far less exploitable. The tables are built so that the AI will track a ship reasonably well, so that even if you do end up anticipating its move, at least the AI would have higher chances to shoot and probably won't be caught off-guard too badly. Note that even a human player will play along some patterns, thus predictability cannot be at a 100% even for a human player. Having said this, I believe that the holy grail of AI design would be not a system that is totally unpredictable, but a system that has the same level of predictability of a human player. Predictability in and of itself is not a bad thing, it only becomes a bad thing if you can exploit it (another thing I've mentioned a couple of times on previous posts). For a given decision spot, among all the different possibilities, there is a narrower set of competent possibilities than of incompetent ones. Since the competent is a narrower set, then it comes that competence comes with a degree of predictability. The trick is to have the AI pick among the competent set of moves, instead of among the incompetent. There is no use if the AI were completely unpredictable and, in the process, become erratic and incompetent.
  7. As far as I can tell, FFG has not really mentioned what is their design intent. All we know is that they have these Alpha solo rules in mind and that they are requesting feedback. My thought is that the design intent would be a trade-off that could go three ways: A) They indeed aim to only require a core set and nothing else. The solo rules are made available online and it's up for the player to print/design his/her own reference sheets. This would pose severe have design constraints, the core set was not designed with solo play in mind. This is a good idea if the aim is to have a simple, short-term system out the door. On the long run, how are they going to release content, if any? Free online PDF campaigns? From a business perspective FFG would need to anticipate this free content would drive ship sales to go up. B) Sell a purpose-built solo pack. This pack would include reference cards and most likely a more sophisticated AI system, not bound/constrained to what already exists in the core game, and with the potential to expand on the long-term. It would also set precedent for high-quality campaign books and content. Personally, I would gobble this up and pay good money for such campaigns (e.g. something of the sorts of Imperial Assault). The boardgame industry is more and more catering solo players, I think FFG is realizing this, beyond covid19 lockdowns. There is a business opportunity here if they can have a grip on it. C) FFG can design a scalable AI system. This would be a system that has the ability to be very simple if only the core logic is followed. For advanced players, a second layer of logic can be added to have a more sophisticated AI. This option would be outstanding but would require more design/testing time. I guess there could be arguments made against either A), B) or C). There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on how FFG decides to approach this business opportunity. Running a dozen ships, be it AI or human, takes time. You can't simply say the AI takes time because running ships is the nature of the game. I haven't seen so far any X-Wing AI system (mine included) in which the AI takes on average longer to resolve than a human player. There seems to be confusion about my intent on posting on this forum. To be clear: - I am not asking FFG to copy my system. My system is not perfect and am sure it can be improved/streamlined further. - I see FFG making some of the mistakes early AI systems did and I am just pointing out the flaws so that they can consider improving it. Namely that ships should not determine maneuvers post the planning phase. - A lot of people seem to comment with statements such as "first glance", "looks like", etc. It is not possible to get a feel of the nuances of an AI system without playtesting and playtesting some more. My feedback is offered after 100's of hours of playtesting. An opinion is great, an informed opinion is better. - I am indeed proud of my creation. If I already have a system I love, why then bother posting here in the forum? Because again I think it can be further improved by FFG and also because I enjoy a good discussion. So far the only comments I've received towards the Tactical Droid AI on this thread is from people that have not tried it and think "looks like" its complicated. People who have tried it have loved it as stated on BGG and feedback I've received in person. X-Wing is a complicated game, far more complicated than any AI out there, if you already play it chances are you enjoy this type of thing.
  8. It was explained in the wall of text ;). In a nut shell, during the planning phase each AI ship gets assigned a family of possible maneuvers, called a Maneuver Code, which effectively is a row on the ship's Maneuver table. When it's the AI's turn to activate, it's only here that a d10 is rolled to determine the actual maneuver, thus remaining hidden until activation. The PDF manual has a full walk-through if anyone wants to see how it plays without physically trying it. *Edit: The PDF walkthrough runs through the AI version 1.0. The latest is 1.1 which is not that different.
  9. @HiemfireThe Tactical Droid AI is not software based, it is a printable card-based AI. The provided link points to its BoardGameGeek download page if anybody wants to try it.
  10. Dude, I'm not making any money with my system. I only wish FFG is given all the feedback they can get. I am giving away my work and ideas for FFG to consider, if they think relevant and appropriate into their system. @Hiemfiretoxic as always. Over and out.
  11. I think the AI really needs to pick a target during the planning phase. IMHO it is the best way to drive the AI behavior and prevent exploiting the AI. This is how it's done in the Tactical Droid AI system. A recap of the system (X-Wing 1ed): 1. Planning Phase: Human player proceeds as normal. The A.I. player chooses a target to track using the Maneuver Logic Card, then determines which Maneuver Table to use. Once the AI has a target, it references the position and heading of the target using Maneuver Cards (4 two-sided cards are used, front side shown, icon on their top right shows what's on their back side) and selects a Maneuver Code: For example, under the Maneuver logic, the AI ship does not have a retreating enemy inside art at range 1,2 or 3 (step 1) but has an approaching ship inside arc at range 4, 3. Under the Maneuver card, this corresponds to the value of C(12) (top diagram on left-most card). You write down this maneuver code for each AI ship. You can write it down on a table, or you can have AI dials, where you would dial a the Maneuver Code (e.g. C(12)). Each AI has sets its dial, the human players set theirs, just like in a regular game. 2. Activation Phase All ships activate as normal by order of Initiative. When its an A.I. ship, a d10 is rolled to determine which maneuver the A.I. ship will execute using a Maneuver Table Card. Reference the dialed code (e.g. C(12)). Only here the maneuver is made known, therefore you can't cheat the A.I. Let's say the AI is an A-Wing with a C(12) code, the d10 rolled a table rolled the d10 at 7, then the maneuver is a 5-speed K-Turn. Below front and back sides shown. You need one card per ship type. The A.I. ship moves. To choose an action, the Action Logic Card is used: 3. Combat Phase: All ships attack in sequence as normal. When its time for an A.I. ship to attack, use the Attack Logic Card. That's the gist of it. Once you are familiar with the system it plays quite fast, usually quicker than a human player. If you want to take the AI a step further, there are other logic cards for: Maneuver Corrections: avoid obstacles and other ships Secondary Weapons: when the AI chooses a secondary weapon Support Ships: when the AI chooses to buff/debuff Quick-build cards: AI cards with pilot abilities / upgrades and instructions on when to use them. The system was made for X-Wing 1ed. I haven't had an opportunity to migrate the system into 2ed -not enough free time! After testing HotAC for months, I realized the AI was too simple to pose a good challenge. I decided to design this enhanced AI for better ship tracking and overall better performance. https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/161995/tactical-droid-i-x-wing I would really love if FFG could design a solo AI that is complex enough to cater dedicated solo players. A simplistic AI won't have long term appeal imho.
  12. I'm basing this on the terrible job with the X-Wing squad builder and also since I do not want to have a screen next to a boardgame. I know some people are in favor of apps + boardgames but I'm more of an old-fashioned kind of guy 🙂
  13. Please no App. I would pay good money for an good official hard-copy solo system. FFG's track record with Apps isn't exactly stellar.
  14. True, each human interpretation is quite short. However, it only adds time, and if the AI needs frequent intervention, each of those stacks. You go through the AI logic, only to find out it is not clear-cut, then you have to intervene to interpret, double time! It's all about balance. The overhead of running the AI vs. the overhead of going through intervention. As a design principle, it's best if human interpretation is kept to a minimum. This is the way it's done in the Tactical Droid AI. Correct me if I'm wrong, even the newer HotAC still only choose maneuvers only after the planning phase. Which is my strongest critique of FGG's and HotAC methods. 😐
  15. Exactly, it's great to hear FFG's initiative is producing some great discussion, this will greatly help in shaping up their future AI systems! After exhaustive testing I can say that imho fighting against a large quantity of dumb AI ships is not as exciting as fighting lower quantity of ships with better AI. A lot of this is because of the playing area real state. The moment you have a lot of dumb AI ships, it is just an overlapping fiesta. My feedback is to improve their maneuver selection. The current one is way too simplistic. Random is good, purpose-less random is bad. Furthermore, the way FFG has it, you can game the AI incredibly easy. For example, on their tally selection logic: a) nearest object it has locked. If you have a locked low initiative ship, you would just bait the AI to pick you and then the skew the randomness in your favor. Same with b) nearest enemy ship in bullseye arc. You can just move one of your ships into their bullseye intentionally on your convenience. All this takes away from the solo experience, you can game the AI extremely easy. This is a solo system for casual/beginner players. FFG's system requires you to have/print the following: 1) 1X Tally ID logic, 2) 4X approach charts, 3) 3X attitude logic (defense, balanced, offensive). That's a total of 8 charts. 9 if you include linked actions. For the level of AI complexity, I wouldn't call this streamlined at all. The only benefit I see is that you only need to print 8 tables. The Tactical Droid uses: 1) 3X logic cards (maneuver, actions, attack), 2) 4X maneuver cards, 3) 1X Maneuver table per ship. If you are playing against say a swarm of TIE Fighters, that is the same 8 tables for an AI that is miles ahead. The disadvantage of the Tactical Droid is that you need to print a table for each ship, but if you have a printer handy that's a non-issue. Indeed FFG's method of dealing with red maneuvers is much better than HotAC but still based on choosing an action after the target ship has moved (which imho is the biggest flaw of this system). The instructions point out obstacles only when certain dice combinations are rolled, i.e. it is not built into the AI behavior as a whole. With this design, the AI ship is caught in a dilemma: if the rolls mention an obstacle (about 25% chance) then the ship ignores the enemy ship. If it rolls to ignore the obstacle (about 75% chance) then it likely lands on an obstacle. We know how easy it can be even for human players to land on obstacles, let alone the AI. With FFG' system you will game the AI by simply playing around obstacles. On the out of bounds, this is a silly workaround, the AI should not pick a maneuver that would make it exit the table to begin with. I'm afraid simple won't last long. You will game and exploit the simple AI in no time and here is where the fun ends. The AI rules need to be clear-cut, night or day. The more room you leave for human interpretation then you cause two things: 1) you're back at playing against yourself (like having no system at all) and 2) you really slow the game down. The numan interpretations is what takes the longest. Finally, I am saying all the above as a veteran solo X-Wing player with hundreds of hours under my belt and someone who has designed and polished an X-Wing AI system over 3 years. I'll be the first to say that the Tactical Droid AI system is not perfect, but I think the experienced I've gathered during all this time has allowed me to understand the X-Wing AI challenge fairly well. When I post my above opinions it's because I've been there many times, thought about solutions, tried things that didn't work very well, tried others that were good. I have playtested. Having said all that, I want to say this: thanks FFG for working on this! I am very happy to see solo gets some love. I understand that it is an Alpha and that there is still work to be done. I hope you can design a system that is complex enough that would make players invest on it. I fear that a system that is too simple will not have long-term appeal.
  16. It's great to see FFG is taking a step into this direction. The approach is quite underwhelming though. The solo system they propose is quite primitive, predictable and not really streamlined. It has several very significant flaws: "During the Planning Phase, solo ships are not assigned dials". FFG's system has the AI selecting a target right before activation. What if the target ship has not yet moved (will miss the target) or if it has already moved (easy target)? This creates a very predictable AI. You will learn to "game" this AI in no time. One essential aspect of X-Wing is not knowing which maneuver your opponent will select, FGG's solo system robs the game from this. The double dice rolling (one green + one red) makes it quite cumbersome for the level of complexity. More complex AIs (more on this later) have about the same level of tables with much richer AI behavior. There is no system for avoiding obstacles, overlapping, out of bounds, etc. There is no system for the AI ships to utilize pilot abilities, upgrades, etc. Flaws #1 and #2 will make this AI very predictable after a few games. It will all become pretty stale after a few games. Flaws 3, 4 and 5 could be corrected with future versions of this system and for now could be left alone. But I do urge FFG to look into improving 1 and 2 and later consider 3,4 and 5. The game gets very stale if playing against solo generic ships. Why do I mention this? Because I have spent dozens of hours experimenting with HotAC, before concluding that even this great system had its limitations. I then spent perhaps hundreds of hours designing the Tactical Droid AI system for 1ed: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/161995/tactical-droid-i-x-wing The Tactical Droid AI overcomes the above flaws by: The AI will pick & track a target during the planning phase, and not while player ships are activating. The AI selects a maneuver and remains hidden from the human player, just like in a real game. The AI ship maneuvers will then be revealed when the AI ship activates, just like in a real game. While there is comparable amount of dice rolling and look-up tables, this same overhead is used to drive an AI engine that is more complex and capable. One you overcome the small learning curve to use the system, the Tactical Droid AI actually plays faster than the human player. It has a system for the AI to avoid obstacles, overlapping with other ships, going out of bounds, etc. It has a system for the AI to use any pilot ability and upgrade. This is critical because otherwise playing against wave after wave of AI generic ships gets very stale. Perhaps a campaign or story-driven scenario can make playing against generics more compelling, but the fact remains that the combat & flying will get stale. Of course I am biased -I created the system!- but have a lot of experience on the subject and have managed to play incredible games against the Tactical Droid system both alone and in coop with other players against it. The result is that games are much richer. The AI is much more competent and unpredictable at the same time. This creates a solo system you want to revisit and invest on a longer and larger scale. What a missed opportunity, I was hoping FFG would create something of comparable game experience. TLDR, as a veteran solo player, FFG's attempt is underwhelming. As a solo beginner, it could be a good starting point.
  17. @MajorJuggler can you please add to the list the Tactical Driod AI system under solo play for 1ed. https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/161995/tactical-droid-i-x-wing Thanks!
  18. OoALEJOoO

    Sticker Shock

    In theory, the cost of the ships is also funding the development of the online squad builder. Not sure the cost is reflected on the quality of said product though. As far as ship quality, my experience is that 2E is more variable. All 1E ships seemed to be more consistent, you knew what you were going to get. With 2E, you do see product on the shelf with great paint sitting next to others with terrible paint jobs. Buying on-line is a bit like the lottery. It is not widespread, but you do see badly painted units here and there.
  19. After successful transactions with @CoffeeMinion, @Helias de Nappo and @SpiderMana Want: 2Ed Aggressor (IG-2000) Dial Have: Medium plastic bases 2Ed Dials of these ships: All Imperial, except Defenders and Interceptors All Rebel, except X and Y-Wings All First Order All Resistance, except T70 X-Wings Scum, one of each: G1-A, Jumpmaster, Lancer, Quadjumper and YV-666 Located in Texas, USA.
  20. The activation logic is meant to indeed choose the most sensible action with a bit of randomness thrown in. 😊 The shift to 2ed is a good opportunity to do some improvements. Things I've considered and would love to hear everyones input: Rearranging the maneuver card tables from C&F on one side / S&O on the other side to C&S / F&O. From my playtesting, it seems the C and S tables are the ones slightly more used and having them on the same side would reduce card flipping a bit. Seems the most elegant logic to apply to linked actions is the same logic used for pilots equipped with 1ed Push the Limit. Trouble arises for linked actions that have positioning (e.g. Barrel Roll, Boost) as their second action. The best compromise seems to be reversing their order (positioning is now the first action). My plan is to first complete the Empire maneuver tables, then update/tweak the AI logic for 2ed. Next in line would probably be quick-build pilots of the Empire.
  21. Hello! Absolutely yes! I finally was able to get a set of conversion kits and will start the transition to 2.0. Currently finished the maneuver table of just a few imperial ships. It will be a bit tricky to work out the logic for linked actions but I think I have a few solutions for that.
  22. Just got a good trade done, wishing to complete my last missing pieces. WANT: Aggressor Dial StarViper Dial HAVE: Medium plastic bases Dials of these ships: All Imperial ships, except Defenders and Interceptors All Rebel ships, except X and Y-Wings All First Order ships All Resistance Ships, except T70 X-Wings Scum, one of each: G1-A, Jumpmaster, Lancer, Quadjumper and YV-666 Located in Texas, USA.
  23. Got a good trade from @CoffeeMinion today, many thanks! Now only missing the following dials (Scum): Aggressor StarViper I have extras on all the ships called in my earlier post (see up). Let me know if anyone wants to trade.
  24. Looking to get the following Scum 2ed maneuver dials, one each: Aggressor Fang Fighter StarViper I have extras dials of these ships, to trade-in: All Imperial ships, except Defenders and Interceptors All Rebel ships, except A, B, Y and X-Wings All First Order ships All Resistance Ships, except T70 X-Wings Scum, one of each: G1-A, Jumpmaster, Lancer, Quadjumper, YV-666 Located in Texas, USA. This is the first time I would trade, but I've been around for a while. I'm the guy behind the Tactical Droid A.I.
  25. Thanks for the responses! This is exactly what I noticed, plus some of the Fangs having too much wash. A bit of a bummer since I have never seen a 1st Ed ship with similar issues and the 2nd Ed ships are more expensive. Nothing a bit of paint can't fix but the whole idea of X-Wings are to be quality pre-painted. Seems the consensus is that you can't go wrong with 2x of each of the packs. I'll make sure this goes into my wish list this Xmas. I just hope Santa has the budget!
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