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Thread: AI Army Control in FTM

  1. #1
    Corporal choward's Avatar
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    AI Army Control in FTM

    I am not a micro-manager and the idea of AI control really makes this game for me. But I'm having a tough time getting the AI to behave sensibly. How do I make this work?

    I did my normal build-up as Germany by just flipping on AI control at the theatre level and adjusting things as I get closer to war. Things go fine through the conquest of Poland, but once I shift my forces around for attacking Scandinavia and the west, the AI cannot seem to keep divisions/corps within command range of their commander. How do I detach an army from the eastern theatre and assign it to an army group in the west and have all the relevant pieces actually move across the country and line up in the front?

    The second instance that really confused me was that I let the AI (at army level) take Denmark. Things went great and Denmark fell in a week or so. I then set objectives in Malmo and Goteborg in Sweden and declared war with the intent of installing a puppet. A couple divisions attacked across the straight, but the army HQs, corps HQs and the majority of the divisions did a strategic deployment to the French border! That seems completely wrong.

    Am I just doing it wrong? What level should I be setting these objectives? I suppose it kind of makes sense to me that I should have one entity on AI level per logical front (ie an army group in charge of the French border and a separate army group in charge of the low countries), but then how do I setup more local objectives and axis of attacks? Do I really have to position each division myself? That seems broken.

    Thanks,
    Craig
    Craig

  2. #2
    For an attack on a whole country, even a weak one, it is best to create an own theatre and assign
    only provinces related to the target. This keeps the attacking AI from guarding it flanks in other theatres or at least is your best bet.
    You could still try to use army control below the theatre.

  3. #3
    I will be happy for your feedback by the because in earlier HOI3 versions it never worked fully to my satisfaction. Maybe with FtM they made it.

  4. #4
    Colonel shepherd352's Avatar
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    My early experience with FTM (up to Jan 1941) indicates the AI is no different to previously. I was trying to test the Theatre and Front management (in the Theatre Tab) so I did Poland and France with Theatre AI. What the AI does with units, scattering them everywhere is just unbelievable. I later did the invasion of Denmark and defeat of British landings in South France with an Army AI and it seems to take delight in sending some HQ out of range!

    I think joeenochs suggestion is a good one. Anywhere you are conducting AI operations, create a theatre for that operational area. As the front advances, keep adjusting (reducing) the heatre coverage at its rear, so AI deployed in that theatre is less likely to deploy forces for things it should not be concerned with (like the partisan uprising 1,000km away).

    I think Theatre AI can work with the threatre adjustment but my preference is for Army AI because you can have greater influence over thrust lines. Controlling 10 Army AIs in Russia is not micromanaging but you do feel involved in what is happening. If this is too much management, try Army Group level. I would not create a theatre for every army in Russia (although there have been some positive reports on this approach) but I would create a theatre for each army group (to try to focus its forces in that area).

    As much as I like using the AI, I will sometimes turn the AI off, move the armies to staging area and then turn it back on (setting the stance, objectives and axis of advance). This is not unrealistic as High Command often created operations and the orders to stage in preparation for the operation. As an example, I will do this in France, after my advance to the coast, I will order a Panzer Army to blitz down along the coast. The same approach can be done to achieve encirclements in Russia.

    As it turns out, the Theatre AI tab doesn't work, or more accurately, its WAD is to do nothing useful. Currently, setting a stance in the Theatre tab does nothing useful and it will revert to a vanilla stance after you exit the tab.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by shepherd352 View Post
    My early experience with FTM (up to Jan 1941) indicates the AI is no different to previously. I was trying to test the Theatre and Front management (in the Theatre Tab) so I did Poland and France with Theatre AI. What the AI does with units, scattering them everywhere is just unbelievable. I later did the invasion of Denmark and defeat of British landings in South France with an Army AI and it seems to take delight in sending some HQ out of range!

    I think joeenochs suggestion is a good one. Anywhere you are conducting AI operations, create a theatre for that operational area. As the front advances, keep adjusting (reducing) the heatre coverage at its rear, so AI deployed in that theatre is less likely to deploy forces for things it should not be concerned with (like the partisan uprising 1,000km away).

    I think Theatre AI can work with the threatre adjustment but my preference is for Army AI because you can have greater influence over thrust lines. Controlling 10 Army AIs in Russia is not micromanaging but you do feel involved in what is happening. If this is too much management, try Army Group level. I would not create a theatre for every army in Russia (although there have been some positive reports on this approach) but I would create a theatre for each army group (to try to focus its forces in that area).

    As much as I like using the AI, I will sometimes turn the AI off, move the armies to staging area and then turn it back on (setting the stance, objectives and axis of advance). This is not unrealistic as High Command often created operations and the orders to stage in preparation for the operation. As an example, I will do this in France, after my advance to the coast, I will order a Panzer Army to blitz down along the coast. The same approach can be done to achieve encirclements in Russia.

    As it turns out, the Theatre AI tab doesn't work, or more accurately, its WAD is to do nothing useful. Currently, setting a stance in the Theatre tab does nothing useful and it will revert to a vanilla stance after you exit the tab.
    This is one of the thing that turns me off on this game. The huge problem with AI is that it have the tendens to scatter units all over the theater to guard important key points, fight partisans etc and without any deep considerations.
    A solution to this would if they do the corps HQ units purley front units and let them fucus on the objectives for that contigent and let the units direct command under the rear HQ's (army, army group or theater) do the garrison and partisan duty and USE radio range parameters to keep the units together (it's unbeliveble that they dont use this parameter to keep organisations togheter) as a fighting organisation.
    This would probably need a lot of work but it's the only accepteble solution. Otherwise we will have units running around the map without any goal.

    Otherwise I think the AI command is a huge step forward in the game but they need to make this workable, as it is now this is a joke.

    Captain Jack

  6. #6
    Field Marshal Battlecry's Avatar
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    An interesting method might be to implement a "rear-echelon" checkbox for each AI-controlled unit or HQ. Checking this box would have the AI use these units as rear-echelon garrisons etc. (removing them from the front as soon as practical, if applicable). A more complete solution - two checkboxes (or a switch of some type) that sets a unit to be a) frontline-priority, b) rear-echelon priority, or c) "normal" (the AI may choose, as it does now). This would give the player some ability to affect the AI's use of units, while not greatly affecting things. It would also allow the player to relieve units from combat, for future use or whatever, without actually removing them from the Theatre's operational reserves. Some player input on the Theatre AI's planning and allocation is, I believe, sorely needed beyond the current stance settings.

    EDIT: It would be cool to have an expandable "customization" menu below the stance setting, which would allow further fine-tuning of a giving AI-command's operational practicises - but only if the player wishes to activate it. For instance "blitzing" might be moderated by a "blitz in stages" customization, which set the AI to blitz in waves with periods of recoup/line normalizing in between each wave. Obviously a detailed addition, but a very cool proposition I think.

    Another partial solution might be to add another form of stance to AI commands. Frontline-focus, balance, and/or depth focus. Frontline-focus would have the AI-HQ in question ignore things like defense in (great) depth and garrisons, and concentrate solely on the front assigned. The player, or another AI-HQ, could then focus specifically on depth & garrisons etc.

    As it is now, I find it best to use pure-front Theatres, which are assigned only the provinces currently within 3-4 provinces of the front line. That way, they will/should only move units within that area and keep things concentrated. On defense - especially if you expect to have to withdraw - somewhat more depth is advisable.
    Last edited by Battlecry; 07-07-2011 at 10:35.
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  7. #7
    General Laffertytig's Avatar
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    im currently having a major issue with AI control as well. playing as italy, i have to theatre hqs in north africa, one for west and east. the really annoying part is that units under the east hq keep trying to strat deploy 1000 miles to the north west cose of africa even though that land is under a different theatre control and there seems nothing i can do to stop this.

    im still playing SF but from the above posts it seems FTM doesnt improve things.

  8. #8
    Lord of Lost Hope Eddy Gemmell's Avatar
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    Your 'rear-echelon' and 'front-line' prioritisation idea seems a cracker to me.

    I was majorly hacked off a year or so ago in a German GC when the AI insisted on keeping 14 or so divisions guarding the Yugoslavian border after I had annexed the entire bl**dy country!!! I would love a way to switch off the AI guarding ports and the like and leave that to me and a few garrisons.
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  9. #9
    HQs attack again... its really stupid. Not sure if it was fixed.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Battlecry View Post
    An interesting method might be to implement a "rear-echelon" checkbox for each AI-controlled unit or HQ. Checking this box would have the AI use these units as rear-echelon garrisons etc. (removing them from the front as soon as practical, if applicable). A more complete solution - two checkboxes (or a switch of some type) that sets a unit to be a) frontline-priority, b) rear-echelon priority, or c) "normal" (the AI may choose, as it does now). This would give the player some ability to affect the AI's use of units, while not greatly affecting things. It would also allow the player to relieve units from combat, for future use or whatever, without actually removing them from the Theatre's operational reserves. Some player input on the Theatre AI's planning and allocation is, I believe, sorely needed beyond the current stance settings.
    I was also thinking first about tickboxes but didn't really liked the idea. This is a simple solution to let the rear HQ (Army, Army Group and Theater) take care of this duty as garrison and partisan fighting and use Corp HQ's assest as purley front units and focus on the objectives. That would probably easier also for the AI to handle.
    If there are no objectives the AI should send the corp units troops to the borders or beaches.

    Another thing which is highley enoying is that the AI send troops out of the radio range. It should be prohibit for AI to send units outside it's radio range.

    Captain Jack

  11. #11
    General Laffertytig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikematotski View Post
    Another thing which is highley enoying is that the AI send troops out of the radio range. It should be prohibit for AI to send units outside it's radio range.

    Captain Jack
    you would think that would be relatively easy to code. i would love to hear from paradox the reason it doesnt work this way.

    ps,

    about my AI issue above. it turns out that the objective i set (gaza) is impossible to get to from suez due to low infastructure which is why the AI is transferring all units to the still active nw front in africa. apologies to the AI.
    Last edited by Laffertytig; 07-07-2011 at 18:00.

  12. #12
    Corporal choward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeenochs View Post
    For an attack on a whole country, even a weak one, it is best to create an own theatre and assign
    only provinces related to the target. This keeps the attacking AI from guarding it flanks in other theatres or at least is your best bet.
    You could still try to use army control below the theatre.
    This helped some. It seems that the AI performs best when it has less information to work with. (Of course this makes perfect sense)

    To the other posters, I don't think more complexity is the solution. More complexity means the AI has more restrictions, which leads to more corner cases in the code and more bugs. AI is hard. Paradox will get it, but it'll take some more time.
    Craig

  13. #13
    General der Tso's Chicken Bullfrog's Avatar
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    Gotta chime in that this (crappy player country AI assistance) is really why HoI3 is not fun for me, even after 2 years of trying really hard to have fun with it. Controlling 200 divisions over hundreds of provinces is beyond me, but the AI is horrible at it.
    What is also poor is this new theatre tab, which does absolutely nothing. You can't even select the damn theatre unit or change orders.
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    Rear Guard Theater

    I assign AI control to the theater level and in order to ensure the AI uses the units for the purposes that I create them, I always create a rear guard theater behind the offensive theater and assign units accordingly. Based on my build plan for that game, I may assign only garrisons, sometimes small divisions, etc. to the rear guard theater.

    For example, when playing Germany, I will create a rear guard theater and assign it the middle third of Germany, then as my offensive theaters advance further west, east or south I assign the rear guard more and more territory to ensure that my offensive theaters have fairly thin area behind the front line. With time, the one or two rear guard theaters I have are my largest theaters and only contain the unit types that I built for that type of role.


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  15. #15
    Colonel shepherd352's Avatar
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    I create a guard/control theatre but I don't use the AI to look after it. The AI is likely to send several divisions (some of them garrisons in ports) to deal with a partisan group when it could just send the one cavalry division I have handy for the task. Although I use the AI in attack, I find it hopelessly inefficient in guarding or controlling rear areas.

    I like the suggestion that the AI should be limited to deploying units within radio range. This small limitation would increase the ability of each AI controlled force in staying together. It would improve its ability to get the job done and would eliminate the crazy deplyment of single divisions away from te front line to deal with partisan uprisings 1,000km away.

  16. #16
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    seconded.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Laffertytig View Post
    you would think that would be relatively easy to code. i would love to hear from paradox the reason it doesnt work this way.
    It doesn't matter if it's difficult or not, this is one of the most important features of the AI commanding troops. As long this doesn't function it's no use to play with AI commanding troops which leave us to micro the gamme to hell = boring. I really hope they fix this or we can stop playing the game at all. Military operation is all about cohesion and timing of the troops, as long you can't do this it's worthless.

    Captain Jack

  18. #18
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    I've had some success with army group or army level command. for instance, for France, you could set (if playing historically) AG north's objectives as Netherlands, while setting 4. Army's objective as brugge, panzergruppe Von Kleist's first objective as Sedan, 12. army would go to the province south of Von Kleist's, 16. army would march south behind the Maginot line, helping to keep them bottled up. much like they did in real life planning.
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