- The units are so dumb I can't play the game! Why is the
unit AI so bad?
A - You're mistaken. Z:SS AI
is good enough to make units fire anything that's within
target *IF* the units are in aggressive mode and aren't
"stand ground" units, like spies for example.
Before patch 3, units had some kind of "aggressive
range", which the behaviour settings could do nothing
about. For example, if a unit got as close as 70% of the
attack range of a psycho, it *would* attack, no matter what.
Obviously this meant a psycho could generally be attacked
without response. But you couldn't, for example, attack
a tough without being fired back.
Toughs, mortar tanks and snipers, are some of the very "intelligent"
units, that will react aggressively to any attack. Since
Patch 3, the units in aggressive will simply react and pursue
their attackers, unless they're stand ground units.
- When I have a group of units in place to defend something
or whatever the comp will send one measly unit to stand
off at range and pick off your units one by one EVEN THOUGH
a majority of your units are in fact within range. Is the
AI/LOS system broken?
A - This was meant to avoid
units going suicidely pursue their attackers, sometimes
where you didn't want them to. Since this was somewhat disturbing
for newcomers, in patch 3 the Bitmaps pumped up the aggressiveness
while in aggressive mode, and made units around the attacked
one join it and pursue the attacker. Once this happen to
you when a sniper is just trying to attract you force toward
his mortars or defense, you'll quickly learn you need to
use the defensive/neutral behaviour settings more often.
- Why is the Skirmish AI in Z:SS worse than the Z AI?
A - To be sincere, I think
the AI in Z:SS is actually superior to the Z one, but it's
severely detracted by two factors:
1 - The much greater number of units in the battlefield.
In Z, the computer could easily build a bunch of 5 psychos
and one tank and send them in a semi-intelligent fashion
to attack you. In Z:SS the same happens, and the computer
is even more devious doing it. The problem is that in Z:SS
your groups are formed of 10+ units, so the computer is
almost always at a numerical disadvantage. Appalingly, in
the single player missions the computer will surprise you
with attacks of 20-25 units. But then you'll just "upgrade"
to 30-35 unit packs, and the computer will fall behind once
again. In Z, you never had that much 'resources', your groups
were always in the 5-10 limit, so the AI could easily measure
up. The refinery in Z:SS makes things even worse for the
AI, although it's a great element for multiplayer and adds
a great production strategy element.
2 - Much more different units - Z was easier to master,
and the game was overall much more predictable. Fewer unit
types makes the AI much less prone to making mistakes. For
example, the AI has the tendency of investing in costly
units/structures, just to be "surprised" by tons
of our cheap units. Try to lower the tech level and notice
how much it improves its efficiency. I think some AI tweaks
and more aggressiveness could severely improve it for skirmishes,
specially if the AI were set to cheat in the hardest setting,
with full LOS.