Soldiers are easily tricked into leaving their site defenseless

Bug #1136253 reported by Paul Pogonyshev on 2013-02-28
14
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
widelands
Medium
Unassigned

Bug Description

AI now played this trick against me (no idea if intentionally):
- attack a military building deep in territory (it was seen across a river basically on the other side of map);
- soldiers from my border barriers happily charge after attackers, leaving only 1 soldier in the barrier;
- attack and destroy the now defenseless barrier.

My soldiers returned just as the second attack reached the border barrier, but apparently they couldn't help much when "outside".

Game that itself claims that its warfare is mostly economy-based shouldn't allow such tactics (not to mention that it is bull, relying on dumb soldier behavior).

I can suggest a few improvements. I guess just one wouldn't be enough.

* Make soldiers never leave their building _too far_. If they fail to catch up with attackers within distance X of their base, they abandon the chase and return.

* Soldiers on "support" mission (as long as they are not fighting yet) should immediately return if their own building is attacked.

* Make attacker engage defenders if those approach too close. It seems now defenders have to "bump" into attackers for those to stop and fight.

* Don't let attackers enter and destroy a building as long as there are idle defenders just waiting for their turn to fight nearby. It seems that now attackers can sometimes destroy a building even if they are outnumbered, but are lucky enough to wipe its "inner" defense.

Doug Lomax (dlomax11) on 2013-03-01
description: updated
Hans Joachim Desserud (hjd) wrote :

Yes, I've seen this as well.

I think one of the main problem is that when soldiers leave a building to defend, only a single one remains behind. Thus, if that building is visited by multiple attackers it is likely to fall.

I like your first three proposals and think they could help improve the situation, though I am not sure about the fourth one though. The latter is mainly because I wonder how easy it would be to tell the difference between returning defenders and an endless stream of new reinforcements this way.

Another thing which could work is to reduce the amount of defenders so that there's a certain amount guarding the building. From what I can remember I certain other game had a military setting to adjust the number of defenders from few to many, and I guess that might be something to consider.

PS. To the person who clicked the "also affects me" link, could you please change the status of the bug report to "confirmed" too, next time?

Changed in widelands:
status: New → Confirmed
tags: added: military

Hm, another proposal instead of 4th. (I don't really know how it is
implemented, just what I gathered from a few games; I can of course be
wrong.)

It seems currently attackers that reached defending site "queue" to being
part of a siege. Such "queued" attackers are apparently immune from being
engaged by supporting defenders that come from other sites. I.e. I've seen
a bunch of attackers and supporting defenders just stand outside waiting,
while they could (and should) be fighting each other.

If you think this gives defending side too strong a boost, how about this:
supported that won his duel returns to base (it appears to be the case now)
and spends at least X (15?, 30?) seconds inside, to have some rest (but of
course if his own site is attacked, he will have to go and fight). This
should avoid problematic endless support.

On 2 March 2013 20:46, Hans Joachim Desserud <email address hidden>wrote:

> Yes, I've seen this as well.
>
> I think one of the main problem is that when soldiers leave a building
> to defend, only a single one remains behind. Thus, if that building is
> visited by multiple attackers it is likely to fall.
>
> I like your first three proposals and think they could help improve the
> situation, though I am not sure about the fourth one though. The latter
> is mainly because I wonder how easy it would be to tell the difference
> between returning defenders and an endless stream of new reinforcements
> this way.
>
> Another thing which could work is to reduce the amount of defenders so
> that there's a certain amount guarding the building. From what I can
> remember I certain other game had a military setting to adjust the
> number of defenders from few to many, and I guess that might be
> something to consider.
>
> PS. To the person who clicked the "also affects me" link, could you
> please change the status of the bug report to "confirmed" too, next
> time?
>
> ** Changed in: widelands
> Status: New => Confirmed
>
> ** Tags added: military
>
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to the bug
> report.
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/1136253
>
> Title:
> Soldiers are easily tricked into leaving their site defenseless
>
> To manage notifications about this bug go to:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/widelands/+bug/1136253/+subscriptions
>

Paul Pogonyshev (doublep) wrote :

Oh, just an idea for the root cause. Enemy attacked a site that was close visibly, but due to terrain was a long way away, across all the map. So, how about adding a check that pathfinded path is no more than say 3x as long as building's normal attack distance? So, if some military site can attack enemy sites at distance 10 ignoring any impassable terrain, it can only attack it if it is at most distance 30 after routing around any obstacles.

Nicolai Hähnle (nha) wrote :

hjd: That person was me. I do this sometimes as a poor man's version of tagging a bug report as "I'm personally interested in following up on that at some point". Sorry about the confusion...

Hans Joachim Desserud (hjd) wrote :

Nicolai: Sure, nothing wrong with that. :) I mainly commented because any bug report marked "New" signals the bug report is unconfirmed so we don't know if anyone else experiences the same issue or agree with the suggestion. And of course, when looking for something to fix, being able to tell something is a real, reproducible issue is valuable information.

Actually, for this purpose, Ubuntu has a bot which goes through their bug reports and mark anything affecting more than one person as confirmed if the current status is new.

SirVer (sirver) wrote :

Setting to incomplete for bug sweeping.

Changed in widelands:
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

[Expired for widelands because there has been no activity for 60 days.]

Changed in widelands:
status: Incomplete → Expired
SirVer (sirver) on 2014-08-28
Changed in widelands:
status: Expired → Confirmed
importance: Undecided → Medium
TiborB (tiborb95) wrote :

I can see two possibilities here:

- If there is no remaining defender around but some of stationed soldiers are away attacking an enemy site, it can pick one of them and use him as defender, thus preventing the fall of site. This would be quite rare scenario
- site can grab one of defending soldiers (stationed at some other site) just being around, reassign it to itself (change its home site to itself), the then it can use him as defender. But this would significantly change the gameplay.

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