Soc2012 cnevin92 Total Defense AI

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This page is related to Summer of Code 2012
See the list of Summer of Code 2012 Ideas

This is a Summer of Code 2012 student page


Conor Nevin - Implementing a Total Defense AI

Implementing a defensive mode of the AI, so that it is able to heal units whilst holding ground against an advancing enemy.

Additional Details

My Proposal is developing the AI so that it can selectively retreat units into a safe area in order to heal them.

The AI needs to the ability to

  • Identify important and strategically important units
  • Be able to form defensive lines to protect important units or positions
  • Minimise loses against the enemy whilst doing so




1) Basics 1.1) Write a small introduction to yourself.

My name is Conor Nevin and I'm a 20 year old Computer Science student

1.2) State your preferred email address.

1.3) If you have chosen a nick for IRC and Wesnoth forums, what is it?


1.4) Why do you want to participate in summer of code?

  • To get more experience programming and working on a large established project
  • Better than spending my summer working and not furthering skills I need for my course and any future job

1.5) What are you studying, subject, level and school?

I'm currently in my second year studying Computer Science at Imperial College London

1.6) What country are you from, at what time are you most likely to be able to join IRC?

I'm from Ireland, though I currently live in London and I should be able to join IRC from 12 to 9 GMT, basically the time I should be coding

1.7) Do you have other commitments for the summer period ? Do you plan to take any vacations ? If yes, when.

I have tentative plans for a summer holdiay near the end of August or the beginning of September

2) Experience 2.1) What programs/software have you worked on before?

I have experience programming with C/C++, Java, Haskell, Ruby and Prolog. Using these languages I have coded various things including:

* Several Complex Data Structures including SkipLists and Red Black Trees (C/C++, Java)
* A Basic Game AI (Prolog)
* Some work with GUIs (Java)
* Other small Mathematical problems mostly in Haskell
* Basic OS (C)
* Some work with Compliers (Java)

2.2) Have you developed software in a team environment before? (As opposed to hacking on something on your own) I have worked in small groups (2 or 3) on both the OS and Complier Project .

2.3) Have you participated to the Google Summer of Code before? As a mentor or a student? In what project? Were you successful? If not, why?

I haven't participated in GSoc before.

2.4) Are you already involved with any open source development projects? If yes, please describe the project and the scope of your involvement.

I'm not involved

2.5) Gaming experience - Are you a gamer?

Yes, very much so

2.5.1) What type of gamer are you?

I play games quite often. I usually prefer single player though I do play online from time to time

2.5.2) What type of games?

Mostly strategy, RPGs and first person shooters. At the moment I'm playing Mass Effect, Minecraft, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and StarCraft 2.

2.5.3) What type of opponents do you prefer?

I usually like challenging opponents, though occasionally I play easier opponents in order to experiment

2.5.4) Are you more interested in story or gameplay?

I like a bit of both

2.5.5) Have you played Wesnoth? If so, tell us roughly for how long and whether you lean towards single player or multiplayer.

I only started playing when I saw the Project on the GSoC page, though it does resemble in part Fire Emblem which I have played intensively

We do not plan to favor Wesnoth players as such, but some particular projects require a good feeling for the game which is hard to get without having played intensively. 2.6) If you have contributed any patches to Wesnoth, please list them below. You can also list patches that have been submitted but not committed yet and patches that have not been specifically written for GSoC. If you have gained commit access to our S­­V­­N (during the evaluation period or earlier) please state so.

3) Communication skills 3.1) Though most of our developers are not native English speakers, English is the project's working language. Describe your fluency level in written English. 3.2) What spoken languages are you fluent in?


3.3) Are you good at interacting with other players? Our developer community is friendly, but the player community can be a bit rough.

I like to think that I am, I play Minecraft on a MP server and usually play StarCraft 2 online.

3.4) Do you give constructive advice?

Yes, as far as its within my experience to give

3.5) Do you receive advice well?

As far as I am aware, I do

3.6) Are you good at sorting useful criticisms from useless ones?

I often mull over any advice given to me, and hopefully I can sort any criticism

3.7) How autonomous are you when developing ? Would you rather discuss intensively changes and not start coding until you know what you want to do or would you rather code a proof of concept to "see how it turn out", taking the risk of having it thrown away if it doesn't match what the project want

I prefer to get the general problem in my head, and then to try to implement a solution. I often find that I will be able to tackle any immediate problems when I program my solution. Sometimes if I find that my solution is wrong, I will just start over. I always learn how to overcome problems by doing rather than thinking

4) Project 4.1) Did you select a project from our list? If that is the case, what project did you select? What do you want to especially concentrate on?

I have always been interested in the implementation of AI. The project that caught my eye is implementing a Total Defense AI. I am particularly interested in developing the AIs ability to retreat stronger units behind others in order heal. This is a tactic I always use in playing fire emblem, which follows a similar grid like pattern.

4.2) If you have invented your own project, please describe the project and the scope.

I haven't

4.3) Why did you choose this project?

As I said, I as always had an interest in AI, and in particular how the AI makes decisions. Another reason is that after a course during my second year at university based around AI, I have developed a particular interest in the actual implementation of AI in games, etc

4.4) Include an estimated timeline for your work on the project. Don't forget to mention special things like "I booked holidays between A and B" and "I got an exam at ABC and won't be doing much then".

I intend to spend the first week making a detailed list of all defensive moves and tactics that I can learn from both playing the game and discussing with people on IRC. The remaining weeks I will spend going with my list and implementing as many of the tactics as possible.

4.5) Include as much technical detail about your implementation as you can

As I am still not completely familiar with the AI implementation that currently exists, I can not give exact details.

I believe I will need a way to identify strong units and also to identify the smart places to move them if they are injured (on villages or besides healing units), as well as an ability to identify places to place units in order to create an effective defensive line

4.6) What do you expect to gain from this project?

I expect to improve my general programming skills as well as to improve my knowledge of AI implementation.

4.7) What would make you stay in the Wesnoth community after the conclusion of SOC?

This would be largely dependant on any free time that I have.

5) Practical considerations 5.1) Are you familiar with any of the following tools or languages?

Sub­­version (used for all commits)

Used on several projects, though I mostly use git

C++ (language used for all the normal source code)


STL, Boost, Sdl (C++ libraries used by Wesnoth)


Python (optional, mainly used for tools)

very basic working knowledge

build environments (eg cmake/scons)


WML (the wesnoth specific scenario language)


Lua (used in combination with WML to create scenarios)

not yet

5.2) Which tools do you normally use for development? Why do you use them?

I would use Eclipse for development in Java, and as i have said most of the projects I have done before were done with Git. Most of my work with C/C++ is done using Sublime Text 2.

5.3) What programming languages are you fluent in?

Java, C, C++, Haskell, Prolog

5.4) Would you mind talking with your mentor on telephone / internet phone? We would like to have a backup way for communications for the case that somehow emails and IRC do fail. If you are willing to do so, please do list a phone number (including international code) so that we are able to contact you. You should probably *only* add this number in the application for you submit to google since the info in the wiki is available in public. We will *not* make any use of your number unless some case of "there is no way to contact you" does arise!

I have no problem with the phone and/or internet phone

This page was last edited on 20 March 2013, at 21:54.