Solium Infernum Update

Work continues apace on the game. I’ve had some good ideas for blog entries here but after getting started each one hasn’t lived up to expectations so I thought I would just post an “I’m still alive” note.

I’ve been working very hard on the single player AI lately and it’s coming along in the usual fits and spurts. I’ve rewritten the new AI engine twice having not been satisfied with the way it was prioritizing goals. The problem has been the fact that unlike Armageddon Empires where you could have 2 or 3 goals going on simultaneously, in SI you really have to focus your goals. This is because early game you will usually have only 2 or 3 order slots available. Accomplishing most tasks requires that those slots be working together… moving legions to an objective, supporting them with rituals, playing events to disrupt your opponent or help your position. In Armageddon Empires the goals competed with each other with priority levels to grab action points and resources. The larger the spectrum of priorities and the greater the diversity in priorities (not all clumped together around a high value) the more efficient the AI system was. However when multiple goals all clump around a priority you find that none of them gets accomplished very well. The short of it is that I have come up with a system where each AI has one primary goal and 1 or 2 secondary goals. There is a meta process module for the AI that gets run each turn to determine the primary goal. It analyzes the game state and it also has a memory mechanism to prevent state flip flopping. I’ve also been able to add some AI personality type flavor by having the meta module draw from specific goal pools depending on its distribution on attributes…i.e. players who have high “Deceit” attributes tend to go for “deceit” type goals.

I’ve also been playing the game through to conclusion in hotseat mode against myself. This has precipitated several passes through the game data to adjust things here and there…. values for legions, artifacts and relics… costs for rituals etc. I’m very pleased with the flow of the diplomatic/player interaction portion of the game. Vendettas are not something that are entered into in a cavalier fashion or on a whim. You need to pursue them with deliberation and ruthlessness. The process for initiating them is a multi turn affair so there is warning available to everybody not just the two players involved in the Vendetta. This lets other players maneuver for advantage at the same time. It’s also very important to consider and adjust the threat ranking you have for your opponents as this drives costs for making demands and hurling insults. If you try and claim Vendetta on somebody you have ranked low on the list you will find that it’s very costly. You’ll also discover that differences in your infernal rank can become important. If you are a lowly Lord of Hell going after a Prince of Hell is going to be more costly than going after a fellow Lord. The Prince rank costs 12 out of 30 build points though whereas the Lord rank is free. But Damnation is all about trade offs. 🙂

Adamatine Golem

Adamantine Golem – Evil Artifact
Melee +4
A successful melee attack does double damage and reduces the opponent’s attributes to 0 for the remainder of the round of combat

Its mouth opened, and I could see the dark liquid from an unluckier beast against the luster that shone from the hollow of its head. It didn’t speak, nor did it make a sound save the bellow of the little men held by its fingers and the groan that came each time its elbow, wrist, or neck turned with deliberation. I had struck it once across the knuckles, but that left my hand pulsing with the sound of my blade’s song against a harder material. We needed something larger and more powerful than our legion could muster alone.

From the diary of Yfelber

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