level of video game difficulty

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level of video game difficulty

Post by or2az » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:59 am

1. Winning the hand
2. Avoiding 4th place in the match
3. Not dealing into an opponents hand

Why is it that in some video games, it is easier to accomplish the above than in other video games?
Obviously, it has to do with the CPU level, or ai, programmed into the game. But how exactly does that work?
Are the tiles distributed randomly, as if from a set-up wall that you can't see, or is the distribution set in a pre-arranged pattern that favors some players over others?
If the former is true, then what does increasing (or lowering) the CPU level actually do, and if the latter is true, does that mean that you're not really getting a fair game? Do the tiles come out based on what is in each players hands, including my own, and are therefore, not random?
I am finding it easier to win and not get "ronned" on the two apps I play and much harder on the two latest flash games that I have been playing.
http://reachmahjong.com/en/forum/viewto ... 812#p58812
They get to riichi awful fast and usually have a mangan when I deal in.
I'm not complaining, I like the challenge, but I would like to understand why. My style of play is obviously the same, so something else must be different.
The games have 3 CPU levels. I use level 2. I refuse to lower it in order to win more easily or to raise it until I become a little more competitive.
I don't know very much about computer programming and would appreciate a short quick education, if that's possible.
Wasn't many computers around when I went to college.
Thanks for any knowledge you can provide.
Last edited by or2az on Sun Sep 20, 2015 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: in search of knowledge

Post by Shirluban » Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:30 am

It's hard to say how a program works without seeing its source code.

If the video game lets you see each player's hand, you could probably count each players' shanten / honors / ... got at dealing and check if it matches a random pattern.
You can also be suspicious if, for example, a player regularly wins four draws after declaring riichi. But beware of the confirmation bias.
is the distribution set in a pre-arranged pattern that favors some players over others? [...]
does that mean that you're not really getting a fair game? Do the tiles come out based on what is in each players hands, including my own, and are therefore, not random?
I've seen an arcade machine game working exactly like that.
I was playing through an emulator, so I could save & restore anytime, especially when the original game didn't allowed to do it.
It turns out when I replayed a hand to not discard the winning tile, the CPU roned on ANOTHER tile and even had ANOTHER HAND! It still roned on the same turn, nevertheless.
So, this particular game had scripted games designed to force the player to lose, and chose the CPU's hand AFTER winning.
Cats don't do タンヤオ (tan-yao) but タニャーオ (ta-nya-o).
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level of video game difficulty

Post by or2az » Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:13 am

Interesting. I guess, as you said, it depends on the individual game. Summarizing, I see 3 programming possibilities, all possible, I assume.
1. The tiles are random. (like the wall in a live-people game)
2. The "wall" is pre-arranged to favor one player, which can change every hand, and also include the human. (I have noticed that there are times when a computer player goes on a winning streak of a few games and bankrupts somebody, hopefully not me.)
3. The "wall" is programmed to yield needed tiles based on the content of each individual hand at the current time.
(Sometimes I wonder if there actually is a wall which gets broken at dice related points but the process is just not shown to conserve space.)

If a game follows #1, random tiles, then what does increasing the ai of the computer actually do. Would it be like an average player, who might make some mistakes, or overlook things, getting up from the table of a live game, and being replaced by a superior player who's not prone to making mistakes, except that it would be 3 average players leaving the table and being replaced by 3 superior players. Yikes!!

#2 seems to be the practice of games that want you to win a fair amount of the time so you don't lose interest and delete the game.

#3 is the worst one. Somehow, in this flash game I started playing, it quite often gives me a tile, totally unrelated to the rest of my hand, that when I discard it, WHAM!, I deal into a mangan or worse. So frustrating! I'm sure it's possible that this is all on-the-level random play and I'm just playing with 3 computer opponents at level 2 that are just smarter than me, but it sure does seem suspicious. (but still enjoyable and very satisfying in the games that I do manage to win)

Thanks again for your input.

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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by or2az » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:28 pm

After finishing that 5 league-13 level-246 match MAHJONG GRAND PRIX video game marathon, I became curious again about CPU levels vs video game difficulty.

Thinking I would now know what to expect and the strategies it would take to reach the top again faster, and against my better judgement, I decided to go for it a second time. Basically, this was an opportunity to conduct an experiment to see how the DIFFERENT CPU levels in the SAME GAME affected the outcomes. This game had 7 levels. I was in for a rude awakening.
http://reachmahjong.com/en/forum/viewto ... 210#p59801

I went through D-league and C-league, which ended in CPU LEVEL 4, fairly easily. It was like playing a live game with 3 opponents with less ability and experience, and the tiles seemed to be going my way, almost Saki-like. No doubt who was the stronger player here. It took 37 matches to complete the 6 levels, all East-rounders, except C-1. Managed to stay out of 4th place and rarely dealt-in.

B-league, CPU LEVEL 5. The weaker players have definitely been replaced by solid intermediates. Mistakes started to be costly, especially in level B-1, and it was imperative to be aware of the Wareme monster. It took 41 East-round matches to complete these 3 levels. Dealt in more often with some 3rd place/4th place finishes, where you lose ground. Still not too difficult.

A-league, CPU LEVEL 6: Here I felt like I was at a table with advanced players who, most of the time, were reading my mind and knew every move I was going to make, especially in level A-1, which increased to CPU LEVEL 7. This level was positively brutal. One mistake in tile efficiency, one careless discard, a choice of the wrong wait, one unlucky encounter with the wareme monsters, and you could be wiped out for the match, and back you go. Eventually reached the top, and into S-league, but got slammed back multiple times. Played over 140 hanchans in A-1 alone and still have not been able to put together any consistent forward progress out of there. Not quite sure how the programming works, but one thing is certain. At CPU level 7, the draws are not random. Even when you win a match, you are in for a pounding.

Here is a summary of the results. You can draw your own conclusions.
Not sure if I will reach the end a second time.
I might not have exaggerated when I stated previously,
THIS IS GOING TO TAKE FOREVER!!
.

CPU LEVEL.....................1-4...............5..................6......................7............
League.........................D & C............B.................A3/A2.................A1..........
# of levels.......................6................3...................2......................1..........
# of matches played..........37...............41.................39....................205*........
1st place........................32...............21.................13.....................50*........
2nd place........................4.................5...................9.....................66*........
3rd place........................1.................8...................13....................41*........
4th place........................0.................7....................4.....................48*.......
Dealt in..........................8.................18..................29....................204*......

*updated 12/16
Last edited by or2az on Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by or2az » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:49 pm

One of the side-effects of playing hundreds of matches in a video game which has an extremely difficult CPU level, like level 7 in the game above, where your opponents are out to destroy you, is that you must really concentrate on defense when necessary, or you won't ever stand a chance of winning a match. This improves your overall playing ability in other video games where the CPU level is not as strong, (and most likely in live games too).
I realized this lately in a different game when I got up to a honba count of 14, something I had never come close to before. It was a mixture of wins and tenpai draws. No Parenchan here. Too Bad.
Naturally, this also involved a lot of luck, but if not for the extra mandatory practice in defense, I don't think I would have even gotten that far.
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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by Ignatius » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:11 pm

Better play Mahjong God 2 ~Grand Prix~ to train my defense skills, which are lacking. :D
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by or2az » Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:46 pm

Finally, after a month, and a total of over 200 hanchans spent in level A-1 CPU 7, I made it back to S-League. Don't know how long I will be able to stay there but I had to savor the moment.
Don't mind the losing (it's only a game) but the Wareme pounding is so discouraging and depressing.
Makes you want to give up and go to an easier game, but naturally, I had to rely on it to get out of the level. These guys don't fold when I riichi, they keep attacking, but I must fold when they riichi, or else, and they riichi early, and often. And that Dai (BIG) wareme is just awful.

Well, only 3186 points more to go!!
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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by or2az » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:23 am

Mahjong Grand Prix/CPU level 7/S-League/The Final Act:
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You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.
know when to walk away, know when to run,
you can call your riichi, when sittin' at the table,
but don't think that you're a winner, till the wareme's done.

The tune is to Kenny Rogers, The Gambler, 1978.
If you're not familiar with the song, or the movies, you should give it a listen.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esAr0qGu2S4

And then, in the words of Paul McCartney, you may succeed,
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(you have to sing it for the full effect)

Although there were only 20 players in S-league (instead of 40), it still took an additional 57 frustrating, grueling hanchans to reach the top, for a total of 379 matches.
It took 47 the 1st time (total of 246). There will not be a 3rd time, though I have to admit, it was satisfying, but only because of being able to achieve the final result.
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references:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=53180&start=195#p59773
http://reachmahjong.com/en/forum/viewto ... 210#p59805

And to all of you out there in Mahjong-land, a great holiday season and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
...............................................................................STEVE

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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by Ignatius » Sun Dec 25, 2016 4:37 am

Merry Christmas, and happy New Year!

Awesome, you reached the top of S League!
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by or2az » Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:38 pm

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Awesome, you reached the top of S League!
Thanks! And this was my reward. A gift from my hiking group.
(and only one spelling error)
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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by Ignatius » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:24 pm

or2az wrote:
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Awesome, you reached the top of S League!
Thanks! And this was my reward. A gift from my hiking group.
(and only one spelling error)
IMG_2449(1).JPG
Yes because it should be:

"If mahjong is just a game, then the Grand Canyon is just a hole in Arizona."

Right?
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by or2az » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:50 pm

Right!! Muy bien!
Como este,
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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by Ignatius » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:39 am

You've made my day. (And I hope there are no mistakes).
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by Referee » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:27 am

はい、結構です。

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Re: level of video game difficulty

Post by Ignatius » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:16 am

Referee wrote:はい、結構です。
はい、分かった。ありがとう!

なあ、refereeさん、もし、咲の第一話がスペイン語の字幕で見られたらどうする?
Life is as beautiful as you want it to be, but it´s only one. That´s why you must not get tired of it. Don´t care if you don´t say something that seems "important" because your mere existence is important for someone.

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