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Author Topic: Can we get Lord Rat to buy Dominate?  (Read 334 times)

Offline josh bornstein

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Can we get Lord Rat to buy Dominate?
« on: 14 May 2018, 07:12:46 AM »
(Not sure which forum this belongs in, since it's not, technically-speaking, an AI bug.)

Game 14494483, Oregon.  Lord Rat, turn 11.

He had 14 coins, but bought only the Prov, rather than getting the ton of extra points via Dominate.  And that was the difference in the game.  I do not want to win that way.

It should be a very easy programming fix to put in the command for Lord Rat, "Buy Dominate if you have 14+ coins."  There may be edge cases where one would not do that (eg, if you have extra buys, you might be aiming for Dukes/Dutchies).  But if you're gonna have a hard-and-fast rule, it should be the one that makes sense 99.82% of the time, and not the 0.18% of the time, yes??? 

I can't think of a single case where one would buy a Prov with your one buy, rather than getting that same Prov via Dominate, when you have enough money for either option.

Or, just take out Dominate in games with Lord Rat...it's just too big of an advantage if the computer programming has crippled LR's ability to make the best buy in that game.

Offline Ingix

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Re: Can we get Lord Rat to buy Dominate?
« Reply #1 on: 14 May 2018, 10:22:52 AM »
Programming is never easy to understand from the outside. What might be an 'easy thing to do' from your point of view might be really hard to do, given the (unknown) way the AI is implemented. Similiarly, some things that seem really complex from the outside are often easy to do.

It is well known (also by the developer) that the AI does some hideously bad things in certain situations. I *think* the plan is to lay the groudnwork for some general improvement first, instead of fixing the numerous 'stupid misplays' one by one. But of course I also see that you don't want to run into the same misplays again and again. For example, the AI seems not to 'use' Defiled Shrine at all, so I also don't use it when playing against the AI, because it will in the end accumulate a stupid amount of VP counters. As a result, I have no good idea when to buy a Curse to get the VP, when playing against humans.

As an analogy, if you have a cobblestone street with lots of holes, it is in the long run better to replace it entrirely with some better version, instead of filling the holes while new ones are discovered continuously.

Offline josh bornstein

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Re: Can we get Lord Rat to buy Dominate?
« Reply #2 on: 15 May 2018, 09:31:28 AM »
Thanks for the thoughtful response.  I am not a programmer, but I do know many of them...and many of them play Dominion.  Right now, there is a function that says, "If you have more than 8 coins, then buy a Prov.  If you have between 5-7, then buy Dutchy."  If someone can program that instruction, it does not seem to be too difficult to add, "If you have 14+, buy Dominate and not Prov."

But maybe we're wrong.  Of course it's possible that adding this is actually much more complicated than it seems on the surface.

What would be really helpful, of course, is if the Powers That Be would give feedback, so that loyal players (ie, the ones who reliably put money back into this site) would at least know what is going on.
"We're aware of the issue, but it's way down on our list of priorities."
"We did not know of this; thanks for the heads-up; it'll be fixed by mid-June."
"We're aware of this, but it's such a small problem that we're not going to take up valuable time fixing it.

And so on.  There have been tons of posts on this issue (on being kept informed) in the past, so no need to belabor this point...when we players are kept in the loop, we feel respected and valued.  If we are not...well, then we don't feel respected and valued.  And each individual company will come to different conclusions regarding the importance of that factor.

Offline Ingix

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Re: Can we get Lord Rat to buy Dominate?
« Reply #3 on: 15 May 2018, 09:55:53 AM »
Right now, there is a function that says, "If you have more than 8 coins, then buy a Prov.  If you have between 5-7, then buy Dutchy." 

We don't know how that works. In the beginning, getting $8 might still mean buying Gold. Even much later, getting $6+ makes me consider buying Gold. Of course, there must be some part of the AI that makes those buying decisions. And I assume that the current AI is rule-based, so it *might* not be much of a problem to add your Dominate rule, which is totally reasonable.

What would be really helpful, of course, is if the Powers That Be would give feedback, so that loyal players (ie, the ones who reliably put money back into this site) would at least know what is going on.
"We're aware of the issue, but it's way down on our list of priorities."
"We did not know of this; thanks for the heads-up; it'll be fixed by mid-June."
"We're aware of this, but it's such a small problem that we're not going to take up valuable time fixing it.

I totally agree. Giving estimates is a problem, though, as you never know if some problem comes up in testing. Happened a few times with fixes I did for some problems, that turned out to have unintended consequences. Sometimes testing cought it, sometimes not before it was released (like the not upside down cards in opponent's hand on Chrome).