Covering (but not limited to) all of my thoughts on the PC gaming scene.
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Published on April 15, 2008 By Phazon88 In PC Gaming

VolksgrenadiersLately something has been bothering me immensly with Company of Heroes (expansion Opposing Fronts included). What is wrong you might ask?


Well as you probably already know, Company of Heroes is a real-time strategy game set in WWII developed by Relic Entertainment. It features highly-realistic graphics and some really nice tactical gameplay (including a dynamic cover system for infantry, and different pentration ratings for vehicles).

The game has a really decent campaign with some nice cutscenes and voice-acting. The missions are pretty entertaining as well (thanks to heavy scripting).

That is until you discover the skirmish mode. As one would expect, skirmish mode allows you to play against the AI on a map to test your skills and abilities. The problem here is that the AI suffers some serious issues.

Firstly, it struggles to even achieve what one may consider to be a decent build order. The AI builds units erractically and randomly and rarely chooses the appropiate unit for a situation imposed upon it.

 

The second main issue is that the AI struggles to be aware of its surroundings and perdicaments when commanding its infantry or vehicles. It clearly does not understand where cover exists in the game-world and it does not understand that keeping your tank faced head-on or retreating back is the best option when faced by AT threats.

These two issues coupled together lead to an AI thats no real challenge to play against. The AI will not have a force that is as well constructed as your own. Even if it did have a decent force at its disposal, it would make some terrible decisions and I'm sure most average players would have no trouble eliminating it.


Now some might say "go play online Phazon, thats where the real strategy is that" and in some ways thats true. However when playing online you also get the smacktards and strategies that abusive certain gameplay elements as well - not to mention the inability to really pause a match whenever you feel like it and continue it later.

Sometimes I wish that someone such as Brad Wardell coded the Company of Heroes AI, he seems to enjoy the game but it surely can't be in the skirmish mode.

I just hope that the AI coders at Relic learned some lessons with Company of Heroes and improve upon the AI code come Dawn of War II.


Comments
on Apr 15, 2008
Well thats nice to know, any reason you decide to do this here instead of the CoH forums?
on Apr 15, 2008

Because this is my blog and I can post what I feel like.

We have already petitioned Relic heavily to improve the AI (especially during the big beta test held for 2.300 not to long ago) but they really didn't do much to address the issue.

on Apr 15, 2008
I use to play CoH all the time and LOVED it. The think you must realize about Relic is that they will take the time for multiplayer reasons before single player. Their games thrive on the multiplayer aspect. While I love single player games such as GalCiv2 and Sins, CoH definitely is improved over the multiplayer experience.
on Apr 24, 2008
What level are you playing on? Hard kicks my butt and is extremely intelligent. Normal makes me work and easy should only be played to test strategies and have a nice fun relaxing game.
on Apr 24, 2008
On Expert I've had decent games against the Company of Heroes AI.

It's not a game I play with much seriousness, so I mostly just play with friends or comp-stomps with random people online. But for my ability, the AI seems to do alright, nothing shocking, but also usually enough to put up a decent fight.

The most annoying thing about it though is the Puma spam. The Expert AI seems most prone to this tactic, where it will get Pumas fairly early (enough to spook my Infantry) and then begin this unholy torrent of them. With it's bonuses it can pump out a whole lot of the things, and they're a genuine threat for a little while. But once the real armor comes to play (Fireflies, Pershings, 17 Pounders, etc.) the Pumas get annihilated.

But the AI does not seem to realize this. If it were spamming a more useful unit, or even infantry with Panzershreks it would be a greater threat, but it just hangs onto the Pumas and keeps pumping them out. The end result is usually I have a ton of veteran armor roaming about that can even challenge the heaviest Axis tanks if the AI ever feels like using some.

It's a functional AI, I would say. Nothing incredible, but better than most AI's in strategy games, I would say.
on Apr 24, 2008
WWW Link

Will answer many of you're AI problems
on Apr 24, 2008

Warnstaff


WWW LinkWill answer many of you're AI problems

 

True that Warnstaff, I should have mentioned your modding efforts as I knew about them. Only thing is while your mod does fix alot of the issues, there are still some really annoying underlying quirks with the AI in Company of Heroes that just can't be fixed short of some engine edits. They still struggle to properly utilise alot of the gameplay utilised effectively by humans (using the cover, setting up ambushes properly etc).

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