Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I played in an epic 4 v 4 earlier tonight. 4 VH AI versus me, two of my students and a VH AI ally.

The map was Megaton, which isn't too difficult a map to play on. It is easy to wall in and later expand out into your naturals. Within five minutes however one of my students had disconnected, leaving us his minerals, but nothing else, except taking up some space in our main. My computer ally seemed determine to constantly all in rush and so for the first ten minutes he just led a stream of zealots, sentries and stalkers to their deaths. Eventually the computer, who was 4 zergs countered. We beat them back, just the three of us and when it seemed safe enough we started to expand. The computer, as if to accentuate that he had no ability to be a team player, took two expansions at once, leaving me with the one closest to my starting point, but also right in the path of the roaring river of zerg units trying to wipe us out.

I built my nexus, set up some quick pylons and canons to defend and moved out four immortals and two colossi to defend. My puny army was no match for the massive wave of hydras, roaches and infestors that came. I lost my nexus and was forced to retreat back to the main. Once we had beat them, I built again. Lost it again. Built again, lost it again. By this point the computer was aggressively encroaching on me. Hitting my buildings with brood lords, mutalisks and roaches sniping my probes as they minded what little minerals I had left.

At this point, 20 mins into the game, I suggested to my remaining student that we quit and start over. I have no qualms about giving up on losing battles, especially when my gashed open and bleeding carcass is now the battlefield. My student however, much to my surprise, ha na'gof manman yu' when he suggested that we could somehow win it. I said, ok, secretly hoping that once he had felt the pain of being sniped on all sides by irritating zerg units he wouldn't be so hopeful. The only thing which was actually helping at this point was the fact that zerg would be focusing on my buildings, allowing my student's small fleet of vikings and growing line of siege tanks to come in and slowly take out their advance units.

I saw that the computer was only attacking on the left side of the map, leaving the rght side almost completely open. I snuck my remaning forces out through the northern ramp and built my new nexus (with 400 of my remaining 500 minerals) at the closest northern high yield expansion. My gamble paid off. While my student and the mainly taisetbe computer ally fought literal building to building battles in the main, I gathered up slowly my minerals. Built a set of new gateways and a Twilight council, chrono boosted zealot charge and started trying to take the pressure off the main by sniping their northen set of two expansions.
One thing which I've learned about the computer ai is that even at its most insane levels it does not ever leave units to guard its expansions. Every once in a while you'll find spore crawlers or missile turrets, but rarely any mobile units.

It ended up working. With the pressure off, my student was able to expand and start building up quick M and M and M forces to start harassing the southern expansions. It took a while but we slowly pushed them back, prevented them from getting new minerals and forced the creation of smaller, more easily manageable clusters of units, as opposed to that horrid, ungodly varied unit mass that the AI somehow always makes.

As we mopped up the remaining structures of the 4 zerg, I realized that I need to stop saying that we should give up the moment something goes wrong and that you won't rally successfully every single time, but sometimes you might, and when you do it is truly epic.

No comments:

Post a Comment