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Artificial Stupidity / Command & Conquer

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The Command & Conquer games alone have many examples of this, most evident in the first game, Tiberian Dawn. Some of the Aritificial Stupidities may overlap each other.

  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn has the most of them all and are the easiest to exploit. Some examples follow:
    • Wall Ignorance — The AI would not target walls even if they were built into its base. This means you can literally build a chain of cheap sandbags right into its base, build armed buildings there and block all the exits with walls so that their units can't get out.
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    • Suicidal Overconfidence — The AI has a knack of fixating the first enemy it encounters until that enemy's defeated. This leads to almost total ignorance of anything else on the field, and will result in the AI sending loads and loads of units on suicidal runs against heavily fortified positions again and again until it runs out of resources.
      • When the AI sends all it's units into attack mode, the Harvesters attempt to attack, too. While this makes sense in RA2 where half the harvesters have mounted machine guns, that's several years down the line.
    • Blind Shortcutting — When given a command (by a commanding player or by the game's internal mechanics) units will use shortest route possible, even if it means running into a trap of a thousand guns (harvesters in particular like to go through the enemy base). And if they're shot, they don't fire back, either. This is can be either a nuisance or an exploitable flaw, depending on whether you're losing or winning. See this video (starting from 6:40) for a hilarious, satirical parody of this loophole, complete with Double Take, for a demonstration.
      • Also, the shortest distance is determined with algebra, not calculus; that is, it takes the distance from point A to point B, ignoring any obstacles, meaning a slightly farther tiberium patch will be ignored despite having to go much further to get to the "closer" one.
      • If the player has two Harvesters, one attempting to return to base and the other to go out and collect through the same narrow path, the units will sometimes meet, turn twice (each time continuing to block the other's progress)... And then center their orientation, and move right through each other... The last few seconds of the clip above demonstrates this.
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    • Blind Harvester Replacement — An easy way to defeat the AI is to make them broke. To do that, you have to kill the AI's Harvesters which the AI will insist on replacing until runs out of credits to replace them... or, for that matter, anything else in its arsenal. At this point, the AI becomes a pushover and is wide open to attack.
      • If you side with Nod, you can take a Recon Bike and attack an enemy Harvester without losses. The Harvester is programmed to cease harvesting and attempt to run the Bike over as though it was a crushable infantryman, but since the Bike is a vehicle instead, it will fail to run the Bike over and just stand in front of the Bike like a sitting duck. It will remain fixated to the Bike and following the Bike everywhere, even if it means driving into a trap.
      • This might have been changed with a specific patch, but at least in some versions of the game it was perfectly possible to run over a bike with a harvester.
      • If you side with GDI you can do this by attacking the Harvester with a Rocket Soldier and then ordering that Rocket Soldier to escape back to base in an APC.
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    • Targeting Fixation — As Nod, you could completely avoid GDI air strikes by leaving an infantryman (or something that doesn't require replacing after each strike) in the north-east corner of the map. The AI would always target this one man instead of your army or base. This was specifically fixed in Remastered, without removing the blatant Secret A.I. Moves the GDI AI can do with its bombers, making Nod missions much harder.
    • In general, the AI in Command & Conquer is purely scripted and does not respond to the type, number, or direction you attack in at all. Each map's data tells the AI when to build which units, and which path they should take to your base. This explains why the exact same enemy unit compositions attack after specific time intervals again and again, and why they keep getting blocked by simple sandbag walls.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert examples:
    • Pathfinding Stupidity — The AI would often decide that sending units as far as possible toward the north-western corner of the map, regardless of if there were enemy forces present, was an absolute priority. Cue a large multicoloured mass of AI units all moving to this one corner, ignoring each other completely in the process. This is most commonly seen in the V3.03 patch, but is also known to occur in all other versions.
    • The AI has a hopeless strategy in Skirmish games - it will typically build a base and send a single large attack at the player, after which it will cease most operation. The AI also builds its bases in a manner that contributes to the problem by making passages between buildings small and often crowded with infantry.
    • Wall-Hugging — The pathfinding AI for individual units often causes it to hug the closest edge of whatever terrain it's on (such as a shore or a cliff face), even when it would be shorter/more sensible to cut straight across. This is especially frustrating if you need to preserve something, as a lot of levels depend on the units just sneaking by the maximum range of enemy units, but if your units decide to hug the wrong wall...
    • Take a map where the sides are separated by water. The AI will never build a Naval Yard or Sub Pen.
    • The AI will only tech up if certain situations are met. Until then it will stop building.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 examples:
    • Targeting Fixation — When using superweapons, the AI suffers a similar problem to the one encountered Tiberian Dawn, only it was based on buildings. The AI would always target any super weapons you had, then any war factories, then your naval yards. And it would be the most recently built one as well. So all you had to do to avoid superweapons was place a targeted building away from the base.
      • When you play against hard computer with superweapons, just build a war factory right beside their base right when their superweapon is ready, they'll be stupid enough to nuke themselves. And sell the building as soon as the superweapon is launched.
    • The Allies' AI will also fixate when it comes to using its jets. It will always attack the first tank built until it is destroyed. You can exploit this by putting that tank at the back of your base behind heavy anti-air and the AI will keep wasting its jets over and over again.
    • The AI in general really doesn't know how to deal with garrisoned buildings, and will often completely ignore them as they chew up their forces en-route to your base. If it does actually dispatch troops to deal with the garrisoned structure, they will almost certainly be woefully ill-suited for the task at hand.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals examples:
    • Suicidal Overconfidence — Unless there's an enemy unit nearby, the pathfinder would always take the exact same path to the enemy base. This led to situations where the player could amass a gigantic wall of artillery pieces and have them auto-target a single small area in which all enemy units passed through, and enemy units would always blindly go through the massive killzone, never changing up their pathfinding at all.
      • Considering playing the Nuclear General in the Zero Hour expansion, upgrade to Neutron Bombs and have 4 Neutron Artillery cannons force-fire on the path the AI takes. Every five minutes or so, scoop up the empty vehicles with your own infantry. Instant tank army at a very low cost!
      • Generals (and ZH) has prelaid AI pathwork, if you look in the map editor. So this explains it. Made the SP/skirmish game far too easy if you knew the AI paths (or looked em up using the handy map editor included with the game!).
      • The AI tends to suffer traffic jams on a regular basis, especially when it comes to choke points and bridges. This applies to your units too unless you plan out their movement routes explicitly.
    • In Generals (without the Expansion Pack) the USA AI had very poor strategy . With their units thrown erratically at your base, they almost refused to build defenses, and could be defeated just because they went bankrupt from their stupidity.
    • The higher-difficulty USA AIs in Zero Hour also make a mistake that the lower-ones don't. The brutal AI doesn't seem to grasp the fact that the Avenger's an anti-air unit, and its anti-ground attack is a targetting laser that doesn't do any damage whatsoever.
    • Also in Zero Hour, the new Retaliation feature in the game options makes units automatically counterattack anyone shooting at them from outside their weapon range and move to assist nearby allies under attack. This sounds like Artificial Brilliance at first... until you realize that this also applies to aircraft bound to an airfield. This leads to bad decisions, such as an Aurora Bomber autonomously take off from its airfield and drop its bomb at an enemy infantry unit standing next to the airfield which ended up destroying the airfield, causing the Aurora to crash since it had nowhere to land anymore.
    • Similarly to the superweapon targeting issue in Red Alert 2, the AI seems to aim its damage-dealing Generals powers at the largest cluster of enemy units close to a building... which may lead to situations like the USA AI in Zero Hour's third GLA campaign mission calling in a triple A-10 strike onto its own power plants to kill a few Quad Cannons. The targeting of the superweapons themselves is a bit wonky at times too, leading to situations like the USA AI in the final GLA campaign mission of Zero Hour firing off a particle cannon at... eight Hackers tucked away in a corner out of reach from the player's base.
    • Units won't automatically attack non-defense buildings (unless told to guard an area) in case you want to capture them: fair enough. The fact that they don't attack revealed Demo Traps, which explode when units are nearby, is purely this trope.
    • The Chinese AI will occasionally send a wave of just infantry towards your base. Infantry are depressingly easy to kill, and every faction has at least one unit that can take out the wave before they even get into firing range.
    • In some cases, the US AI will sell off its structures in order to amass a large amount of Rangers and send them in a massive human wave of... again, depressingly easy to kill squishies.
    • The Skirmish AI tends to build far more resource-gathering units than what is necessary for optimal supply gathering. While this can be more excusable with the GLA worker who gathers supplies at smaller, faster increments (usually six Workers is enough to handle a single supply dock), the other factions tend to spam far too many Chinooks and Supply Trucks for their own good (a pair of each respective unit is enough for the average supply mountain), wasting away their own money for soon-to-be useless units once those supplies are depleted.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars examples:
    • Stone Walling — A base can become invincible against the AI with a good mixture of all usable kinds of turrets and aircraft for base defense. Then, after wearing the enemy's ability to attack, send in the aircraft to do bombing missions while selling off the turrets in place of more aircraft.
    • The unit AI in Tiberium Wars — and even more in Red Alert 3, which uses the same engine — was particularly vulnerable to long-ranged units because a unit under attack would not react if the enemy was outside of their acquisition range (contrast the behaviour in e.g. StarCraft, where a unit would close in and counterattack if it could, or run if it couldn't). Air units were particularly vulnerable, since so many anti-air units had ridiculously long ranges; a flight of Twinblades with an inattentive player, for instance, could be taken out by a single Bullfrog without reacting in the slightest as long as it remained at range. Unlike most AI bugs, actual AI players were unaffected by this, since they would always treat an attacking unit as a threat (indeed, they had rather the opposite reaction, sending tons of units at the slightest provocation), but human-controlled units were vulnerable.
    • Easy mode here was even mentioned as being unchallenging in the manual, but the expansion takes it to new levels. Often they will run out of funds to buy a Tiberium Refinery and sell some structures.
    • The harder difficulties go for bigger eco than even competitive players would. The problem? It doesn't scale with the map - on a 1v1 map, you can defend any Tiberium on your side and watch as the AI runs out of funds before reaching tier 3, which they reach very quickly.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3:
    • The AI in this game finally fixed the Suicidal Overconfidence problem that has plagued CnC from its earliest days. The problem is, they turned things waaaay in the wrong direction. The easy mode AI is ridiculously cowardly, often keeping back an assault force unless the enemy is hideously weakened. It was especially prone to fleeing from base defenses even when it gravely outnumbered the defenders, and teleporting an AI's units to an opposing base will result in them immediately retreating. Subverted on the higher difficulties, where they still retreat, but usually circle around to find another entrance or draw opposing units out of position.
    • Artificial stupidity now plagues your units first and foremost. Your troops will happily stand still while under attack without fleeing or returning fire if the attacker is out of range (most visible with fighter aircraft, who will stoically get themselves shredded over an Anti-Air turret instead of moving out of range), make no effort to attack the enemies capable of returning fire, and will cheerfully spread out over as wide an area as they can to ensure your vast army is very quickly reduced to nothing by one or two enemies at a time.
    • Empire AI turrets will switch to Anti-Air mode when there's an enemy air unit approaching... even if that unit is harmless (i.e. Burst Drone) or staying out of their range, even if the turret is being attacked by land units.
    • The skirmish maps Kodiak Lake and Caldera of Chaos feature huge units hostile to all players (Ursa Majors and the Shogun Executioner respectively). The AI often manages to kite these units into its base, leading to swift defeat.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade: The AI generally wasn't the brightest of the bunch. As a result, your rare allies would barely ever follow you to the area after the one you met them in, given that they survived against the respawning enemies while you killed the Officers (thus disabling respawns). The only allies that were able to follow you were Escort Mission targets, who didn't really follow you so much as they followed a series of checkpoints, mindlessly rushing ahead to the next one after you got near them and standing there, making no effort to shoot back or even get away from any enemies in the way. The plus side is that, since it worked by checkpoints and they only moved when you got close to the one they're currently at, it was possible in some levels to skip a checkpoint by rushing past it before the escortee got there, leaving them out of harm's way while you cleared out the next several rooms.


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