Paper: Can a Realistic Artificial Intelligence be created for a Real-Time Strategy Game?

Can a Realistic Artificial Intelligence be created for a Real-Time Strategy Game?
[Dane Anderson, 2008]

In this paper, the author explains how is it possible to create a realistic AI for a RTS game. To make this task easier, the AI should be divided in two important categories:
  • Tactics: Combat and path-finding.
  • Strategy: Sub-goal identification, engaging the enemy, learning and economy management.
This involves individual units fighting with each other. This section boils down to choosing the correct weapon for each unit to use in specific situations. This is further simplified if the unit only has one weapon available.

This involves units, individually or as a group, finding the shortest path between two points. The author quickly states that the A* algorithm is a popular choice for RTS games but it suffers from two important flaws. The first one is the amount of resources needed to calculate the path for all the units. This can be solved with flock algorithms, from which Simple Swarms (SS) was chosen for its efficiency and easy control. The second one is unreallistic movement when obstacles are present. This can be solved by calculating the path before moving (the amount of resources needed are balanced with the use of SS).

Sub-Goal Identification
This involves the use of scouts to acquire information about the player to create sub-goals that will help the AI to win the game. For example, if the scout detects that the player has created an archer, the AI can deduce what buildings the player has built and adjust the units that will be created next.

Engaging the Enemy
This involves how the AI will use the units at its disposal. The author explains that most of the time, the AI sends the units unintelligently, making it easier for the player to kill them. Influence Maps can prevent this behavior because the enemy formations can be easily determined and the AI can make a better decision on how to move its units.

This involves the AI adjusting its strategy over time. This is intended to mimic the players own behavior, as they also adjust their strategies over time.

Economy Management
This involves the AI managing units, constructions and resources. The use of a resource chart will help the AI determine what units to build or what buildings to construct based on its current sub-goal.

The author concludes that the use of this architecture for the creation of the AI can achieve a better sense of realism for the player, because both players are given the same information and the competition becomes fair (no need to use 'cheating' techniques, often used in game AI).

Read the paper here

Anderson, Dane (2008). Can a Realistic Artificial Intelligence be created for a Real-Time Strategy Game? Obtained in July 10th, 2011 from

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