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MIAI Tower Defense

Moderately Intelligent Artificial Intelligence
  [vote for,

When you've got a weapon turret posted near the exit, there's a line of enemies charging past, and your health meter is rapidly depleting... what you don't need is your weapon turret wasting time firing at full- health enemies it has no chance of stopping when there are a LOT of enemies one hit away from death who just barely made it past your outer defenses that the last turret could easily stop large numbers of.

I mean... the enemies *have* a health gauge. #It would make sense if your AI turret gunners could see those health gauges and incorporate them into their auto- targeting algorithm so they assign targeting priority to enemies which have already sustained the most damage. If a single turret can take out all or most of the weakest targets, the other turrets can focus their fire one at a time on stronger units to bring them down to a level the last turret can deal with, then focus-fire on the next strong units until the last turrets in line can finish them off.# (^ that's the idea)

Because currently, all tower defense games seem to have only one targeting algorithm: shoot at the first enemy that comes in range until it is killed or no longer in range. That really does limit one's strategic choices.

21 Quest, Feb 17 2014

There needs to be an Andy Rooney... of computers http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BpJDg476Vkg
[JesusHChrist, Feb 18 2014]

http://www.kongregate.com/games/Ironhidegames/kingdom-rush http://www.halfbake...m/idea/Kingdom Rush
[Loris, Feb 18 2014]

bubble tanks tower defense 2 http://www.crazygam...nks-tower-defense-2
[Loris, Feb 19 2014]


       I think tower defence would be a very different game if the towers showed any intelligence - same was as tic-tac-toe would be a different game if the pieces, once placed, could move of their own free will. In a way, that basic "kill the lead nasty in range" targeting model is one of the defining features of what "tower defence" is.

       But - how about - in keeping with the existing tower defence model - adding optional "Intelli-Towers" (at a suitably high cost) that provide some degree of target-prioritisation? That way, you still get classic tower defence, for the die-hards, only now with a new feature.
Zeuxis, Feb 18 2014

       Hmm... ok yeah, I like that.
21 Quest, Feb 18 2014

       @ JHC... I agree. I grew up watching his show. That old man is dearly missed.
21 Quest, Feb 18 2014

       While I agree with Zeuxis that the tower intelligence (or lack of it) is something to deal with, this is a common wish.
There /are/ tower defence games which let you change the targeting algorithm - Kingdom rush, for example. (IIRC - doesn't seem to be the case from the start - probably a later upgrade).
Loris, Feb 18 2014

       Thanks for pointing that out to me, Loris. I often find myself looking for a decent tower defense game. I've found some with some truly spectacular visuals, but the game is nigh unplayable because the tower AI sucks and/or you don't get enough money per kill to build sufficient numbers of towers. I'll check Kingdom Rush out.
21 Quest, Feb 18 2014

       Okay, so I've checked the first few levels of Kingdom Rush, and it doesn't seem to have the targeting algorithm change feature. (It's still a good game though, worth playing.)

       But I'm at a bit of a loss as to which other game it was.
Loris, Feb 19 2014

       One way to implement it would be for each tower to have 3 targeting options: indiscriminate, target full health, target low health.
21 Quest, Feb 19 2014

       Okay, so I was hoping that I'd be able to find whatever it was I'd been playing before, but not so far. One game which does have this is bubble tanks tower defense 2, linked.
Loris, Feb 19 2014

       One wonders whether it would be realistic to expect soldiers / military vehicles / whatever you're shooting at to advertise their health status.
RayfordSteele, Feb 19 2014

       Really the solution here is an amalgam of Robot Battle with a tower defense game. One could choose offense or defense. Program robots with varying strategies. I think Robot Battle never caught on bigtime because of the need to write code which is offputting to the gamers. But if one could re-engineer the game with modular code blocks (like building code out of legos) it could be sweet. Not to mention educational.
bungston, Feb 19 2014

       Building a programmatic tower defence of some form has been something I've pondered for a long time. Every now and then I revisit it and try a slightly different take on it - I like the idea of manufacturing different sorts of ammo and ferrying it to the turrets.

       Selecting which creep to target is a more difficult sell, so it's probably best left to options as previously suggested.
The ones I like are: nearest to exit; furthest from exit; lowest health; highest health; most susceptible; even spread; designated target.
(The last would keep on shooting the same enemy until it left range or died, then pick another.)

       There are however still issues with how these work for different sorts of tower - for example do you need extra options for splash-damage towers like 'maximise damage'? You /could/ have an enormous user-defined weighting matrix to define the target, but that would just annoy most players. For most conditions there's going to be an obvious best, and so you might as well just use that and remove the interface complexity. At which point you might as well not bother, go with the simplest solution and spend your development time doing something players will appreciate instead.

       Interface complexity is I think actually a really significant issue in game design. It's very hard to do anything differently to how players are used to.
Loris, Feb 19 2014

       It could come in the form of specific towers. For instance, there could be a low-powered, rapid fire machinegun turret which only targets enemies which have already sustained damage, starting at the lowest health and work their way up. Others would start with the least damaged enemies and work their way down.
21 Quest, Feb 19 2014

       Loris is indeed right & So is 21 Quest.

       Having a useful, advanced feature, that helps you enjoy the more strategic aspects of a game would be wonderful.

       The challenge is how to reveal this choice to only those advanced users, & in a clean way.

       I think it could be done. Now, maybe I'll go build that game myself some day, as I'm dabbling in game dev lately.
sophocles, Feb 19 2014

       It would be simple to have the usual targeting and other buttons/controls/pop-up interfaces for more advanced features unhidable with an option. needed: the following and their inverse, including combinations:

       First, high armor, fast, highest attack, closest, target by preference list, target for highest [type] damage, target for highest total damage, don't fire unless [condition]

       Also this isn't really AI. AI would be where the towers select optimal firing patterns among themselves.
Voice, Feb 23 2014

       I am not sure giving the towers so much autonomy is safe. Next thing you know they will be swiping your credit card # and using it to video chat with Czech autonomous bikini turrets. And next thing - Skynet!
bungston, Feb 23 2014


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