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Stronghold Crusader AI design contest until the end of October 2019

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Hello everyone, my name is Krarilotus and today i want to invite you to take part in my AI design contest, which still runs until the end of October this year!


First i want to say a bit about myself. I ve been invested into Stronghold Crusader since back when i was a kid. I started making AIV files for the game in 2009 and was active on Stronghold Heavengames until Christmas 2012. I even had a little bit of online gameplay experience, when i joined the ?RQ Clan when it was founded, but i never really had the APM to keep up with the highest skill players.

Anyways, my passion for this game has always focussed on the characteristics of the AI. The unique feel of each of the AI lords, with plenty of customizability of maps and AIV's was what inspired me to create content for this game.


Recently there have been huge developments in the modifiability of AI's by the fact, that a modder named sh0wdown released AI characteristic values to be modified with the use of the Unofficial Crusader Patch. The possibility to tell the AI which troops to produce, how to run the economy and how to attack or defend was always a thing i wanted to do.


So to push the development in AI modding in the Stronghold Crusader scene, i decided to host AI design contests. The first contest took place in July this year and was more of an experiment if it could work. And there were alot of people interested in taking part and even enough participants for me to gift out prizemoney (20? Steamgift cards in total). After this contest there will be another one. But this onging contest takes part until the end of October.


I posted about it on the official Stronghold Discord Server and got pinged by @Mathew Steel, if i wanted to post it here aswell. I am very glad he showed me this place, as i was searching for an active place like the old Stronghold Heavengames.




So what is this contest about?


This contest is about making an efficient AI that is good in certain aspects of the game, which would be:

  • timing an attack and dealing the killing blow on an enemy AI
  • producing the most gold in comparison to other AI's which it is fighting with
  • defending for a certain amount of ingame years against enemy AI's
  • winning a free for all under a certain time limit
To know how to setup everything and how to participate, read the rules and instructions pdf in the downloadable files explaining every detail.

The link to download all necessary files from my googledrive, which you need to take part in the contest, can be found here.



To create the AI, you will have to modify gamefiles and have a running copy of Stronghold Crusader Extreme aswell as an AI village editor of Firefly studios and the Unofficial Crusader Patcher from sh0wdown (version 2.13). don't worry, every change is reversible.

You will need some knowledge about the game itself and about the AI concept aswell. If you want to learn how to modify AI's, there are some youtube videos explaining most of the basics and even some advanced tricks on my youtube channel. But i am sure there is alot of material out there to learn. The last contest was actually won by a newcomer, who just learned from my videos.


The 4 main challenges for the AI take place on 4 different maps, against 3 unique AI's. Each map has also a sidequest aswell as a multiplier, making sure that your AI is efficient.

So for example on the map with the challenge to produce the most gold out of all AI's, the sidequest is, to have a +5 fearfactor and the multiplier for the score is lower the more expensive the AI's castle is.


To enter the contest, your AI just needs to beat at least one of the challenges consistantly with the testing conditions provided.


If you have any further questions you can askthem here or write an email to shc.aicontest@gmail.com or text me on discord Krarilotus#6749.


I hope to find more people who share my passion for Stronghold Crusader AI modding.

Good luck everyone and have some fun!




Edited by @Mathew Steel

Reason: Loaf Cat is my alter ego ;)

Edited by Krarilotus

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Welcome to the forums,?@Krarilotus! As I explained on Discord, I'll run this by Chris and we'll likely put your post in the competition topic for more people to see!


Really glad to have you on board. Sounds like an exciting new competition and we're definitely looking forward to seeing what comes from it. If you have any questions, feel free to contact someone on the staff team!


Best regards,

Tom :)

"Gofyn wyf am galon hapus, calon onest, calon l?n."

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Welcome to the community, Krarilotus. Unfortunately, I won't be able to participate in this one, I've been busy with other stuff these days. But the idea seams great to me, and I love to hear the news that now we can edit the AI castles even further. For example, now we can have Lionheart with crossbowmen instead of archers. Or perhaps we could even make Lionheard build more than four stone quarries... These are great things!


Do you have some examples of custom castles somewhere, so we could see what have others done with this new tool?


There are many people who try to make AI castles on their own, but few of them are actually good. People mostly focus either on design or on efficiency, and neglect the other one. But I have seen some really great castles at Stronghold Heaven. Like, a complete set of castles for Wazir for example (not sure if Wazir, but there are definitely packs for more than one lord), which all look beautiful and share some common features.

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Do you have some examples of custom castles somewhere, so we could see what have others done with this new tool?

Actually the tool itself focusses only on the values like the amount of stonequarries or the troops that are build by the AI lords aswell as how and when they attack. There are some complete sets in the work, to overhaul all AI's with castles + new characteristica. I am myself working on a complete set with more efficient AI's that should also work with vanilla, but i am still in the prototype stage, where i just make one Castle per character and test it 10 or more hours to see if it fits its needs.


In the Patcher itself are some premade aic (ai character) sheets, which you can select in the AIC tab of the Patcher. Most of them just make the AI's slightly more efficient while adjusting their troops marginally to fit their theme. I ve my own take on this, which is also in there, which provides the AI with an overall more aggressive playstile.


If you want to look at an example, how AI's work with different aic values, i would suggest searching youtube for the last contest (?AI Contest summary July19) to see the incredible takes on the challenge that was setup, or searching youtube for the wolfkiller rat, which is itself an AI that killed 7 allied wolfs on the green heaven map with 40k startgold. The video is also not itself about the wolfkiller rat, but a tutorial on how to modify aic values to fit your needs.


Another good example might be my 4 Character Project, to setup 4 almost equal characters to fight together as one in a huge castle. I ll upload that to the download section on the site, when i find the time to do so. It seems like i am not able to attach a picture to the post, but you ll find it also through google search.


As far as i am told, i am not allowed to post links, and i don't want to advertise my youtube in any way. So if you want to explore the possibilities, i also advise you to read through the issues section of sh0wdowns github page from his project, the Unofficial Crusader Patcher.


And don't worry, there will be another contest after this one. But maybe it might be worth checking out the gamefiles or at least the instructions to get an idea on how theses modifications work ;)

Setting up your unconcious mind to think about AI design gives you a creative kick in my opinion :D

Edited by Krarilotus

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As far as i am told, i am not allowed to post links, and i don't want to advertise my youtube in any way.


The advertising rule is mostly spam-prevention. We don't want people using the forum as a newsletter for a YouTube channel.


In your case, you're welcome to post a link, as it's relevant to the thread at hand, and it is evident the thread was not created for the sole-purpose of advertising your YouTube channel. You can go ahead and post a link if you'd like to :)

"Gofyn wyf am galon hapus, calon onest, calon l?n."

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All this sound really great. I will check those out.


Though, when it comes to AI castles I would actually use in the game, those would be "almost original castles". Just like I did with some other castles: for Lionheart in Crusader, or for William in Stronghold 2 - I merely wanted to fix them. I don't want to lose what comes with AI lord's character. For example, one does not stop Pig from using macemen. :D On the other hand - improve his economy by making him build bigger production, or making him attack or defend more efficiently - all that sounds really good.


Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

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