Animosity – How much do I really hate you?

Armageddon Empires is a game about annihilating your enemies. There is no negotiation, no sweet words, and no co-existance. It’s a zero sum game. There can be only one. Even in such a savage environment there is an order of sorts. Some enemies are greater threats than others. Some need to be dealt with now while others just need a watchful eye until it’s their turn to feel the trod of your boots. Figuring out who poses the greatest threat is not always trivial.

The AI opponents in Armageddon Empires use an animosity system. There are two components to the system: a memory that stores a stack of animosity incidents and an animosity processor that calculates an animosity number at the beggining of each turn. The number varies between 0.0 and 1.0 and is assigned to each opponent the AI faces including human of course. The sum of all these animosity numbers across all opponents is 1.0. So if the animosity against opponent A goes up 0.05 then it must go down by 0.05 against opponent B in a 3 player game.

The memory gives the system some stability so that it isn’t flip flopping in its threat assessments. Things that generate animosity are your run of the mill aggressive actions like destroying collectors, capturing outposts, assassinating heroes, picking off recon armies and fighting full scale battles.

Critical Shift: Sometimes two opponents can be skirmishing on a border trading blows and building up animosity between each other. Suddenly from out of nowhere a killer stack from a different opponent shows up at the doorstep. Since animosity and threat are heavily correlated there has to be a system in place to account for sudden shifts in threat. This is accomplished by backloading a lot of animosity into memory if some specific threatening event occurs. Moving a large army two within a few hexes of an AI’s stronghold is going to generate a big spike in animosity and shift it considerably. This will affect the offensive goals that the AI generates.

Defensive goals will be effected as well. The AI’s have multiple tiers of defense goals. Two of the most important are Threat Readiness and Threat Response. Threat Readiness is keyed in to animosity. It determines things like patrol routes for recon armies, the types of attachments that should be created and…. “other good things too.” Threat Response is a set of goals that get created when any enemy threatens the AI. Animosity does play a part in assessing the threats but at this stage things like range, power, and assets at stake are going to weigh more in the fuzzy logic that generates a threat rating. Every threat gets a rating and resources are assigned accordingly.

I had a bit of fun with creating the threat response goals. Assessments are made on the threat and fitness numbers are generated to select the best goal objects to create. Some of my favorites are using an assassin to decapitate the army, finding a choke point to cut off supply, harrassment with air attacks and coordinating multiple armies to intercept.

Spaceballs, There goes the campaign!

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