Game Difficulty And AI

OPPONENTS

Each venue features different opponents, and each opponent has their own supporting AI and playstyle.

There are 186 different opponents in all, and most opponents will only frequent one particular venue. Some exclusively play Five Card Draw, some exclusively play Texas Hold’em, a few play both.

However because there are more opponents who play at each venue than there are open spots for a game, it may take playing several games at each venue to encounter all of the different opponents who play there. Some opponents (such as those at High Desert State Prison) are only accessible based on your character’s gender.

Occasionally you’ll see the same opponent playing in multiple venues but it will almost always be within their cash-range – the most notable exceptions here are for Kelky and for special opponents (Andy the android, holiday opponents). Unlike regular opponents, special opponents do not have a preset playstyle, and they may show up playing at any venue throughout Vegas. Because they have so much money to throw around Las Vegas, special opponents typically play very carefree and/or aggressively, and basically serve as a means to shake things up during the game.

Each opponent has an equal chance of appearing when you enter a venue, unless you use the Hunter’s Cap which ensures that opponents with a bounty will always appear.

HOW THE AI WORKS

Every opponent has a preset playstyle, which you can subsequently view on the Rankings page after encountering and completing a game with them. This playstyle critically defines an affinity for how they approach each game; it determines how aggressive or how conservative they are by nature, and to what degree they are willing to bluff.

During each game, every opponent also has a fluctuating risk-factor. This risk-factor denotes how much risk they are willing to take on at any given time, and is essentially central to all of their decision making.

It impacts how an opponent gauges the value of their hand while taking into account the perceived threat levels of the other players still in the game. This in turn helps them determine an amount to bet or raise by, and also whether the increased risk of matching a bet and persisting through any rising stakes game is acceptable or not – once an opponent’s perceived risk passes a certain threshold (that is partially determined through their playstyle) they will fold.

An opponent’s risk-factor oscillates overtime depending on how the strength of their foothold within the game builds or deteriorates. For example, a winning opponent is more likely to take on increased risk, especially if they are the wealthiest player in the game. Conversely, should they experience a losing streak, the amount of risk they are willing to take on rapidly decreases and they’ll typically be inclined to take less chances. I say typically because certain opponents will bluff and continue to play riskily regardless of whether they are winning or losing.

Each opponent has a face for displaying four moods – normal, happy, worried and upset. Within the earlier venues an opponent’s facial expression usually provides a hint indicating their current appraisal of the situation. However as you progress higher through the venues this becomes less reliable as opponents grow more prone to bluff.

VENUE EFFECTS ON AI

The AI begins fairly restricted in the first few venues but ramps up over each following venue as opponents will have more options available to them for how to play any given hand.

For example, in the earlier venues the amount that opponents are willing to bet is capped, as is the number of times opponents will raise. As venues progress however these caps eventually disappear, and all opponents receive a boost to the amount of risk they are willing to take on. Additionally more actions also become available to them (such as check-raising, re-raising, opening the betting by going all-in when they don’t have the cards to back it up, etc.).

In all venues however, once the game comes down to just you and one other opponent, their true nature will usually be revealed as all betting/raise caps are removed. Some opponents will bluff like crazy, others will only bet when they have a great hand – this is where it can really helpful to know an opponent’s playstyle.

The game offers many variations of different card-games, and in some cases allows you to mix and match game rules. The AI is written to respond to any game-rule combination you come up with. It’s one of the more interesting components to develop and as always I love to hear suggestions for improvement – you may always submit your ideas through this site or email me at sundown@superfivecard.com