For our latest Hidden Gems feature Iím going to be looking at something a little different. Actually youíll probably say that most of these are not hidden gems at all, because the first one is used by practically every scenario designer ever. But this feature will act more of a guide on the uses of these different gems and give scenario designers a complete list of them. So without further ado Iíd like to present you a comprehensive list of the best and most useful AIs for scenario design.
Itís fitting that this list starts with the ultimate scenario design AI. Zanzard Lotharís Immobile Units AI is probably the most widely downloaded and used AI in AOK history. As its name suggests the AI makes all units owned by player in which the AI is set immobile, therefore creating the perfect blank slate for a designer to work with. Units only move as commanded by triggers ands therefore you donít have e to worry about villagers going to work, building random buildings or chopping down trees and ruining your map design. Neither do you need to worry about enemy soldiers randomly attacking the player when you donít want them too. Zanzard Lothar initially created Immobile Units in March 2000, and regularly updated it. ADVANCED Immobile Units AI, created in February 2002 is the ultimate Immobile Units AI and highly recommended for every scenario designer, no matter what style of gameplay youíre designing.
Next up weíve got an AI which was created by an AOKH legend - Ingo van Theil. This AI is effectively Immobile Units with a twist. Whilst the AI immobilises all of the players military units, it allows all of its villagers to continue to work and gather resources. This Ai is incredibly helpful for designers who want a busy looking map yet do not want their NPCs to be randomly walking around or building, yet saves the time of having to use Immobile Units and tasking every villager to their individual tasks. The AI comes with three different fills of varying Passivity, with solider only attacking players to defend themselves if the players units come within a certain radius.
Another useful AI, specifically for RPG scenarios. There have been a couple of attempts at this but the best I have discovered is a simple one made by Lord Basse who has uploaded it as part of a tutorial on how to use Taunt to Trig. The AI is designed to read a players taunts and then react accordingly. This is a great way for designers to create multiple options for the player without having to do complex trigger work. For example if you want your character to select from two different options you could send a message saying Taunt 1 to Fight the Demon or Taunt 2 to Run away. The AI will detect which taunt has been sent and then activate the appropriate trigger for that decision. Its a really clever way to save some work yet spice up your gameplay and make it more interesting. The AI also incorporates the Immobile Units as well which is an added Bonus.
This is AI by Leif Ericson provides designers with a fantastic way to improve the balance of their scenarios and stop players from cheating in their scenarios. The Cheat Detector AI does exactly what it says on the tin - it detects whether players have used cheats in game. The AI will be able to detect whether a cheat code has been used and will then send a signal to the scenario so the designer can set up relevant punishments or consequences through triggers in retaliation to the players cheating. The AI also includes Immobile Units AI and therefore allows you to have an Immobile team that can also detect whether the human player is cheating. A must have for designers who want to stop their players from doing this.
This AI is an inventive way to spice up your Build and Destroy scenarios and add some much needed realism in your games. What this AI does is detect the size of the players population and then removes food from their stores accordingly to feed the people. It can present a unique challenge to players, especially in the early stages of a B&D scenario, before their economy has really grown strong enough to preserve their mass of villagers and military forces. An excellent way to spice up the gameplay and also add some realism - people need to eat. Like the other AIs on this list it to includes Immobile Units AI so itís pretty much perfect for any scenario.
All the AIs we have looked at above are Immobile AIs, and therefore have inactive units for the whole scenario, unless attacked or specifically triggered to do something. But what if your scenario started off as an RPG that required Immobile Units but then became a B&D which needed a much better attacking AI? Well thatís where these next few AIs come into play.
This AI by Lord Basse is a mix of the Immobile Units AI by Zanzard Lothar and Aggressive AI by ENOTH. This AI starts off as Immobile AI but when triggered by tributing it 10 Food it switches to Aggressive and sends an onslaught of soldiers to attack its enemies. With a tribute of 10 gold it will then switch back to an Immobile AI again. This AI presents players the ability to switch a team from Immobile to Aggressive easily for portions of their scenario which switch styles but is very aggressive in its attack, barely giving the player an opportunity to build up its defences if switched too soon.
If you want a switching AI thatís far less aggressive than Lord Basseís then check out Lazarus IIís Immobile/Normal AI. Like the previous AI this one starts as an Immobile AI but when singled will change to a simple AI, not much different from the AIs made by ES that came with the game. This provides a far less aggressive AI for designers to choose from yet still provides Immobile villagers and units before the switch is activated.
Finally, a shameless plug for a simple AI I designed. This AI sits somewhere between Basseís Immobile/Aggressive AI and Lazarusí Immobile/Normal AI. It aims to be less aggressive than Basseí AI but slightly more challenging the Lazarusí AI by building up a quicker army and sending small skirmishers toward the enemy players in order to challenge them before they build up an army too quickly.
So there you have it; a comprehensive list of some incredibly useful and effective AIs that any scenario designer can use no matter what type of scenario you are designing. Donít forget that if none of these AIs suit your needs then we have a helpful community off scriptures in our AI Forums who would be happy to help with your questions about scripting and may also make an AI for you if you ask.
Which of these AIs do you use and is there a new discovery here that youíre thinking of checking out? Let me know in the comments below.