Oooh, now this is where it gets quite interesting. I’m going to discuss the AI of the game. To some people, the AI seemed quite fiendish. In truth, it isn’t that fiendish at all. The difficulty levels were mainly due to less resources for the player and more units for the AI team. So… how does the AI work?

Ok, let’s start with movement. Each game map has a set of location nodes. Two of these will generally indicate straight lines between locations. Duh! You may say. But this is important. Think of “Moonbase Assault” where you have to navigate corridors. Not trying to walk through a wall would be helpful there! Anyway, each unit has a patrol route. This patrol route is made up of a set of nodes which, each turn, the unit must make their way to the next node. Combine this with the fact that the units start within a ‘start area’ and you have a small element of randomness in the locations of the AI units each game. This also allows an element of unpredictability in when you expect a unit to turn the corner. For example, in Moonbase Assault, if a unit started in the same location each game, you can predict which turn they come around a particular corner and wait there with opportunity fire. You can still do that if you wish but you could be waiting a few turns which could be better used to complete objectives. Especially if another of your units distracts the AI unit in the mean time…

Which leads onto what happens with the AI unit itself? The unit will have its line of sight checked to ensure that any units that are visible to the unit are recorded accordingly. Then the unit moves and after each action, the AI will assess whether it should carry on with the route or do something else. Fatigue and Automatic Fire is updated and checked after each move to see if they are valid. Automataic Fire being for the non-team units, naturally. If Opportunity Fire has been triggered, the opposing team is given the opportunity to fire at the unit.

Now what happens when your AI unit is distracted by something happening? Well, They turn to face the distraction and are given a short period of time to remember something has happened. The AI unit then reserves action points so they can pop a shot at you if you decide to come into view. Otherwise they will happily pop a few shots off at you anyway. Fairly straightforward and simple really. If you don’t reappear after the timer has run down, they happily go back to their patrol route as if nothing has happened.

So there we have it. Once you know this, the AI doesn’t seem so smart does it? Nicely implemented but not that smart really. Bearing in mind the effort and capacity to fit the game into 48k and you realise that it’s more than adequate AI for the old 8-bit machines.

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Remakes – How Laser Squad Works (Part 3), 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings