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Another Fall From Heaven Interview

January 12th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 1 Comment · Modding

Since the strategy world is pretty barren at the moment, I guess I should think about writing another feature series or something. Maybe work up another board game AAR.

In the meantime, here’s another interview with Derek Paxton, the design lead on Fall From Heaven II.

On the AI:

The AI knows, “I can summon a demon that can move two steps, and I have an enemy that’s two steps away, so I better do that even though I can summon something that’s more powerful but only moves one step. I’m going to summon the one that can get to my enemy.” So the AI does all those calculations. It looks at if it has multiple damage spells it can cast, it looks at which one will have the greatest effect on the enemies within its range. So it does those things very well. The thing that the AI doesn’t do, is that it doesn’t consider moving and then casting. So it won’t go out and cast Spring on a desert tile to turn it into a grass tile, because it doesn’t understand “I need to move out there and cast a spell”. It only looks at the unit, where it is right now: “Let me look through my spells and see which makes the most sense to use”. From a summoning and damage perspective, it doesn’t know “if I move one step to the north and cast Maelstrom, then I’ll get a better hit and damage more units”. It doesn’t do that right now.


One Comment so far ↓

  • JonathanStrange

    Magic is not the “atom bomb” of Fall From Heaven 2 so the AI’s poor use or nonuse of magic affects more the atmosphere and fun of warring in a magical world than it does the AI’s ability to create a strong challenge.

    I would love to see the AI cast skeleton summoning spells, call down lightning from the sky, terraform the land, batter a city with fireballs – but while I can do that, they rarely do. Frankly, after many, many games I still hardly ever see more than healing spells being used.

    The game’s single player experience is as fun as Civ IV’s or GalCiv or most other of the better strategy games, but it isn’t as different or as magical as you’d think.

    It would raise the bar considerably, if one had to worry about an AI that could logically use a demon summoning spell or tsunami charm or cast fireballs at a fortified city. True, the AI can capture your city the old-fashioned catapult-heavy infantry Civ IV war but where’s the magic in that?