This update aims to make diplomacy better. The old version was designed to be unforgiving and harsh – the AI wasn’t playing very well so it had to maintain constant pressure on the player to stand a chance. It is no longer the case, so diplomacy had to change to reflect this.
It’s been a long time but finally, I finished updating the remaining characters. With this update, every character’s frame data should be as intended.
I expect Master of Magic to take priority this year as well, but I haven’t given up on Mugen. I still want to make more characters, at the very least I want an Orin and Mai eventually. Aura and Seravy will need more extensive updates as well.
Aaaaaand, here it is, the moment everyone was waiting for, the next major version number for Caster of Magic, 3.0!
It’s a huge, yet tiny update…tiny from the outside, huge on the inside. Three high impact AI procedures have been completely replaced, buying buildings – small but important, next, the power distribution – pretty much the core of the AI’s long term magic strategy, and finally, the huge, vast, gigantic, over 7000 bytes large combat spell selection. It might not sound much in the era of terabytes, but that’s over 3 thousand lines of code in assembler…and it’s all gone and made completely new.
What does this mean? Mostly that whenever we notice the AI is casting a dumb spell in combat, it’s now easy to add any new rules on what to do for it. Even relatively complex rules. The new procedure is a single ASM file, so any changes can be easily recompiled into a new procedure to replace the previous version instead of having to manually insert each part separately, trying to find appropriate sized gaps like in a puzzle. And maybe most importantly, it’s less wasteful on space – there are over a thousand unused bytes still remaining, even though I added a million things already – important stuff like picking the spell that actually does the most damage instead of just the one that has higher “priority” even if it’s mitigated by enemy defenses.
Of course, this isn’t a magic button, we still have to come up with working logic the AI can follow to improve anything, but space won’t be a problem for…some time.
About the power distribution procedure, I think the only big change worth mention here : the AI is now aware of various Spell of Mastery research tactics – they can decide to push research up very high, or turn it off and ignore it, or do neither and spend normally. These decisions are not made at random, they are based on the game state, so be careful about that.
Since these are major changes on the inside and I had a quite limited amount of time for testing, there is an elevated risk of bugs, if you find any, please let me know ASAP! I made sure the AI is smarter in every combat situation I could throw at them, but I might have overlooked some corner cases. If you observe the AI to cast worse spells than usual in combat, or have troubles with overland resources (gold, mana, research, casting skill) when they aren’t supposed to, please report it (you burning down 90% of their cities does not count )
The next version of CoM will have 2 new spells in the Death realm. One is a rare combat spell that hits all enemy units for irrecoverable damage with a twist : the fewer units are hit, the higher the damage becomes!
The other one will be a replacement for Berserk. The new spell will be called Blood Lust, and will still provide double melee power, but only against normal units. However the zero defense drawback will be replaced by “unit becomes undead”, and the spell will be overland only, and much cheaper to cast.
I expect it’ll take about 4-5 days of testing before I can release, at the very least I’m going to play a whole game using 10 Death books to see how these changes work in practice.
It’s also worth mentioning there are new bugs found : Banished AI players lose their mana crystals due to a miscalculation in Alchemy, and the town data recalculation doesn’t trigger when it should. Be absolutely sure you update to the new version when it becomes available!
Meanwhile, Caster of Magic is up to version 2.81! I’m sorry I don’t update the site more often but this really is taking all my time. I’ve added the readme file included in the mod to the site so you can access it easily now, I hope I won’t forget to update it when a new version comes out.
Lots of thanks for the few people who donated, especially the guy who sent me $100, thanks man! I wish there were more of you around
Finally, my “todo” list is near empty, which doesn’t mean I can stop working of course, but it does mean I finally have some time playing more games and test balance better. It’s really hard to get that part right in a game with so many variables.
Caster of Magic 2.5 is now available for download!
There have been major AI upgrades again, please let me know what you think about the difficulty levels in the new version.
One more thing, even though I’m not doing this for money, donations are always welcome, especially considering it takes almost as much time to do it as an actual job would (or more, I never had a job so I have no idea lol). You can donate with the button on the top left. It’s kinda sad only one person ever used it in the 7 or 8 years since the site came online.
The results :
AI flyers not attacking : not attacking wins by large majority. (39 : 13)
AI search for invisible : searching wins by large majority. (35 : 11)
Treasure : Keeping the treasure wins 16 to 9.
Wizard’s name on their battlefield side : Changing the current behavior wins to follow the side the player is at wins.
Caster of Magic 2.0 is available for download. Additionally, the RC14 of the unofficial 1.50 patch is also available.
Furthermore, I’ve uploaded the Worst Wizard challenge game I played, you can watch it here : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLp4Lc8ltkTcvh1nT0tZpe_PLtApkGMW5z
This game was still recorded on the 1.4x version of the mod, during development, I had to actually stop playing to fix bugs a few times, and as the game took over 16 hours which was played over a span of 3-4 days, there were other updates happening during it as well.