AI EXPLAINED 3-31-2020
|Written and Edited by MarkEAW
Text Info by: Zero Pilot, McLane, Neal, Stanley99 and others.
ENHANCING A.I. FURTHER
This help document was originally just about tweaking the game rate there fore the behavior of the AI by way of the eaw.ini settings. However it has been expanded to note various aspects of the AI in the game, friend and foe. So this document will hopefully fill you in on what the AI is up to and how to beat it, as well as how to improve it, such as commanding your own friendly AI with better response.
It's been noticed over the years that many virtual pilots seem to consider themselves experts and yet they have reported that 'the A.I. does not black-out' and it performs outrages "UFO-like maneuvers"; With their UFO like abilities they can fly their aircraft to the edges of its performance envelope (more of a computer-like ability, than human-like).
One observation for an example is when a player pilot is trying to lead-turn the A.I. and the player blacks out but the A.I. pilot doesn't appear too. An other example is the player is trying to pull the same difficult maneuvers the A.I. does such as same speed and same sequence and you'll find out - you can't and have to break off.
Even more puzzling is that you may have noticed that AI planes seem to have much better acceleration than when you control and command them. So for an example when flying in formation with Hurricanes and you have given an order to the wingman to attack a target in front you, you'll witness him speed off to attack while your left behind, even when your at full throttle. With this observed, you would come to believe that they have more power, cooler engines and are generally faster overall.
So the question to all this superior behavior, is Why?
Maybe the AI's plane performance may appear to be 'faster' than some players planes possibly because they make changes slower and fly cleaner? or yet is it your flight control dead zones and sensitivity settings incorrectly optimized? or is it that you as the player are using the maximum difficulty settings, while AI uses an easy difficulty, with stalls & blackouts turned off? Keep reading to know the truth.
AI Use Simplified FM:
One of the community members when designing their own custom FM's
for EAW, had a talk with Tsuyoshi Kawahito, EAW's 'Game Designer'
and 'Lead Programmer'. Mr. Kawahito stated the AI in EAW uses the
"Easy" flight model, but can only fly their airplanes to 85% of
their capability with this FM. The EAW designers could not have the
AI employ the "Realistic" flight model and still create the kind of
large size air battles EAW has without imposing a severe penalty on
the user's computer system.
Some community members apparently hacked the eaw.exe (even source code changes in later years) and have forced player and AI to use the same realistic FM at all times, even during multiplaying. It was said that EAW was designed with the A.I. behavior (not the FM) but the aggressiveness (or lack of) hard-coded so changing it would be difficult. If its true that it can be changed, you'll end up needing fast connections to play properly. (The stock game with default settings run at 60 Frames per second, the AI apparently switch and use the 'complex' FM due to the fact the game is performing well).
AI planes (using simplified FMs) do not:
Never the less it is possible for human pilots to beat them, unless of course they outnumber you by more than 10:1. If the odds are overwhelming, try flying very close to the ground and keep turning. Eventually some AI planes crash on their own or you can once in a while get easily on their six (of course this doesn't work if your task is to intercept).
More AI Planes:
EAW uses a kind of a decision cycle that you can modify to affect the A.I.'s flight performance, behavior and command response by changing two or three settings in the eaw.ini file under [NETOPTION]. While changing these update rates to new values they can actually make the game easier in some ways, however in many different ways, others have found it will produce a fair fight. The real goal of these update rate tweaks is to at least prevent the enemy A.I. from having the edge all the time by eliminating their SUPER Enemy behavior and maneuvers. The rate changes can be done for offline and online play. (Note: Changing these rates in the eaw.ini on the Client side will not mess up anyone that goes online flying, it appears that these options are set by the Hosts ini and used for all players.)
Back in 2001 when this information was discovered, then it was used and
tested, many players where a bit skeptical at first if it really
effected the AI and you may as well be today, but the more you read
on and test things out yourself the more you will come to see the
differences. Because its just a concept and not about an absolute
"fix", much more testing
with EAW's default Flight Model (FM) and Difficulty Settings would
be needed to find the complete and thorough answers. But because of the reasons
mentioned here, this help document was created to
try it out for yourself.
The update rate values are in milliseconds per update. The default PlayerUpdateRate of 35ms means for the game to update the players inputs about 30 times per second. A default AI_PlaneUpdateRate of 350ms for AI means the AI gets to 'think' and adjust inputs about 3 times per second. As those defaults were set by the MicroProse EAW Team back in 1998 when a 300mhz machine was considered to be a fast computer, it's no comparison on today's machines which can possibly allow a lot more freedom for the already Super AI to do even more un realistic AI things, and he does!
It would be a good idea to consider what Computer you are running EAW on and how many AI pilots are 'in the air' before making adjustments since EAW uses a decision/thinking cycle that is based on the speed of the computer; If the PCs CPU and Memory speed is not up to running all of the AI's at full quality speed (at least 15 Frames per Second or smooth 'Flight') you could have faulty performance in the game with the AI. Slow and choppy game performance will make the AI behavior poor and won't exactly reflect the numbers you put in. You may also find in a slow performing game that the player's (yours) plane controllability may become delayed or lagged.
The values that are shown below where the result of 8 months of testing, however they are not completely universal and are just new starting points, as mentioned in the previous section they are machine dependant and in the case of the Player value, player dependant, no two are alike.
The AI_PlaneUpdateRate seems to have a restriction, with the lowest possible value of 140. The other two settings, PlayerUpdateRate and ClockSyncRate can be set for much lower values.
For online use, One Virtual Squad found the values 140, 16, and 100 respectively where rather enjoyable. Again depending on your computers speed and connection quality, You may need to tweak them out a bit.
In the eaw.ini file go down to where it reads "NETOPTION" And the Last three lines there read:
AI_PlaneUpdateRate=350......Change to 140 (alternative 140)
These are some of the helpful outcomes of tweaking the values as mentioned above.
To further enhance the the A.I. read the following section combined with various Help Document for more information to learn other ways than adjusting the delays.
There are a couple more things you can do to enhance the behavior of the A.I even more. These changes are the result of combining two or more patches and custom FM/DMs. These methods are not compatible for online play. However, this will make them more lethal and difficult to take out, even harder with the addition and use of the Rate change tweaks. You may want to read my MicroProse Patches Help Document to learn what those patches have pro and con.
Rate Tweaks and v1.1 plus ECA:
Rate Tweaks and v1.1 over v1.2:
Rate Tweaks and v1.1PC plus Realism Patch: