A.I. Getting To You!! 6-28-2017
|Written and Edited by MarkEAW
Text by: Zero Pilot, McLane, Neal, Stanley99, JWC, LLv34_BlauKreuz, Grendel, Prion and others.
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 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 control your own friendly AI for the better.
It's been noticed over the years that many virtual pilots seem to consider themselves experts and yet report that 'the A.I. does not black-out' and performs outrages maneuvers. 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, so the question 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 is it that you as the player are using the maximum difficulty settings, while AI uses a simplified difficulty, with stalls & blackouts turned off? or yet is it your flight control dead zones and sensitivity settings?
AI planes 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).
You may have noticed that AI planes seem to have much better acceleration than when you control them. You may have been flying in formation in Hurricanes and have ordered wingman to attack the target in front you. You'll witness him speed off to attack while your left behind even at full throttle. They seem to have more power, cooler engines and generally faster overall.
AI Use Simplified FM:
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 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 in this introduction, 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 back in 1998 when a 300mz machine was considered fast, 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 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.
Wingman and Campaign Difficulty Settings:
Just remember the difficulty setting in the game manipulates the effectiveness of your Radio Commands to your Wingman and Squad Members. The lower the difficulty, the more likely they will follow all your commands. If you fly a campaign set to "hard" difficulty, that effectively means that your AI wingmen are more independent, this effect is more true the higher the difficulty is set. Your wingmen and other flight mates will get better as the campaign progresses. Bear in mind that you will need to be the squadron CO to give orders to the whole squadron (not a problem in single missions, but something to remember in campaigns!).
Wingman and Individual Sections:
Remember that an "interdiction" mission is against ground targets, usually convoys of half-tracks/staff cars or else vs. trains. Check your Mission Briefing to see what your designated target is even in other mission types as your AI mates will have the designated target as their main target, so it IS helpful to always double-check this before take-off, just to make sure. If you order your wingmen to simply attack, they will probably go for the designated target (which is likely on the ground!). If you want them to attack fighters in the air, you will probably need to order them to "target fighters". You could also order each individual section to "target fighters". This seems to have even better effects in all missions than giving instructions to the entire squadron as a whole. Once you have designated the proper targets, your squadron mates should end up trying to attack them. In fact, in ANY mission, it seems to help if you tell your AI mates to target specific types of desired aerial targets (all, fighters, or bombers) before ordering them to "engage bandits".
Determining who is calling out for help in your squadron:
Also, once you have anything targeted, friendly or enemy, you can use F10 to pan around the target itself. When you pick out a friendly, go to F10, and find a bandit sitting close in behind him, and tracers flashing past the friendly, that's a pretty good indication that your friendly AI mate is in trouble! Once you have figured out who issued the distress call, you can next determine whether or not you should go to help. When they're a LONG way off, it could be very difficult to get there in time, on the other hand, it is pretty easy to sneak up on and get in close to a bandit who is concentrating on one of your fellow pilots (!), in fact you can get a lot of kills that way.
If your playing single missions, you should be less inclined to leave a bandit your trying to shoot down to help somebody else, but in a campaign this is not the case. In campaigns, most players fly with limited supply (so you need all your pilots and planes!), and also the guy in trouble could be one of your more experienced pilots!
One trick you could try with aircraft that has both machine guns and cannon (like the Spitfire MkIX/XIV, the Me109G/K, or the FW190A/D) is if you can't get there in time, you can fire a burst of machine gun fire (you certainly don't want to waste cannon ammo!) where the bandit can see it, or better yet, fly through it, even though you don't expect to be able to do any significant damage. If the enemy plane is hit by a round of two, it usually scares the pilot into breaking, giving your AI mate a chance to escape. In airplanes like the Thunderbolt, you have a lot of ammo and a better chance of a long range kill, so you may sometimes want to use longer bursts in the same situation, hoping for a long-range kill and figuring you can at least scare the enemy off you don't shoot him down. This is a more difficult decision in something like a Tempest, where your firing time is limited and you have all-cannon armament (with mixed armament, you shouldn't mind wasting machine gun ammo but cannon ammo is a different story).
Single Missions; Support Flight:
Here's some descriptions in example form of these wandering
Another example, When you hit Alt N you find that if you try to
fly manually (no autopilot) all other supporting squadron(s)
immediately turn in some other direction and go wandering off.
Actually it doesn't matter if it's Alt N or if you fly the whole way
Another example, You occasionally find yourself devoid of the supporting squadron even if you didn't need to use the ALT N because distances to targets are never more than fifty kilometers; however, there are still times when the aircraft you have selected for support get called to other hotspots (We assume). There's a war on and things don't always go as planned (my rationalization).
To further enhance the the A.I. read my 1.1 AND 1.2 Help Document for more information.