I have a habit of keeping a notepad next to my keyboard at work and using it to take notes, write out debug info I need, or making a list of things I need to get done. Not too long ago I went through my first full pad. Instead of throwing it away I decided to hang onto it. Judging from the last couple of pages it appears I finished with the pad back in April or May, since it has references to the work I did on the Protip notification system in Age of Empires: Online.

First page of notepad

It is interesting looking back and seeing where it all started, or at least close to where it all started. The first page of the notepad has engineering tasks for Supreme Commander 2 on it. Tasks that included engineer repairing while idle, making their auto repair functionality prioritize by need and veterancy, and a bug where engineers would keep moving along their last vector when told to reclaim. There are even scribbles where I was trying to figure out why the engineers were behaving the way they were.
Land AI improvement

Seven pages in you can see where GPG decided to give me a shot at fixing the AI. I gave each AI type a page where I outlined some of the things I wanted to fix specifically for that AI. As you can see for the Land AI the research needed to be re-worked, it needed reactionary platoons, and they needed help woth platoon retreating (although, that was more of an all around issue). There are pages of notes specific to AI.

Then, of course, many more pages in is my first written down idea for the AI Team Manager. The Team Manager for the Supreme Commander 2 AI was not originally planned to even be in Supreme Commander 2. I came up with the idea while brainstorming for the Kings and Castles AI. Since Kings and Castles did not have a functioning AI at the time, I decided to implement my idea in Supreme Commander 2. It turned out so well and ended up being such a nice feature that I was allowed to release it for Supreme Commander 2.
KnC prototyping
More KnC ideas

I also wrote out other things I had planned for the Kings and Castles AI. Lots of other things that I still have yet to implement. Things like the platoon manager, the frontline manager, improvements to the AIs influence mapping system. I even wanted to increase the AIs use of neural networks.

I still hope to get to implement them at some point. Whether it is on another Supreme Commander game, a complete overhaul of the Age of Empires: Online AI, or on an entirely new IP, it doesn't matter to me.

What matters is that AI is fun, challenging, and just plain awesome.


GaĆ«l Beaudoin said... / September 28, 2011 at 12:06 AM  

AOE:O is really nice, but I hope you will be able to work on something like SupCom 3, TA 2 or finish that KaC thing!

Thanks for sharing :)

Quitch said... / September 28, 2011 at 2:10 AM  

I also really hope you'll get a chance to implement these ideas at some point. You're the only dev pushing RTS AI boundaries and I really want to see where you run with it.

mrog said... / September 30, 2011 at 1:41 AM  

I love looking over my notepad. Revisiting your old thoughts is something special, and I often forget all the difficulties I have faced over the past 6 to 12 months.

I also like how my notes look like the scribes of some crazy scientist. Especially my recent work with radix tries, and prior to that my work trying to work out how to draw a straight line with n thickness.

I have several notepads now, and I keep them all - they are very special to me.

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lynx_nz said... / January 4, 2012 at 1:24 PM  

keen to hear about gpg's next project - fingers crossed for SupCom3 going back to its PC roots...

Dodanodo said... / January 5, 2012 at 9:49 AM  

is there any chance you guys are gonna continue on Kings & Castles this year or will we have to wait till 2013?

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