AI opponents and their behaviors


Are you annoyed by the behavior of AI opponents? Do you think they are malicious? Maybe they deliberately crash into you to increase your time? Or you think you get a penalty for another boat hitting you? If so, keep reading and you will understand more about AI opponents and how to avoid (or adjust he amount of) problems with their "aggressive" behavior.

  1. AI opponents want to finish the race as quickly as possible, just as you do. This includes any penalties caused by collisions. AI opponents don't see any difference between YOU (a human) and any other boat. Also, any penalties are added according to the same rules for any boat (be it you or them). So it is in their best interest to avoid any penalties and collisions, and they struggle as much as they can to avoid collisions. It is only a human bias to think that they are malicious, aggressive against you etc. Again, they don't see any difference between you and other AI bots.
  2. AI opponents have no superpowers and no human intelligence. They obey the same rules as you. Their boats obey the same laws of physics. They can't turn immediately, they can't see everywhere, they can't predict what other boats are going to do. This is what should be appreciated: this game is extremely fair and unlike most other games, AI does not cheat. Actually, it is highly difficult to even develop AI that would navigate in such a complex, unpredictable, imperfect and constrained environment successfully. AI opponents will not display human-level tactical and strategic behaviors, so any collision is a consequence of their inability to avoid it rather than their goal to cause it.
    The game starts with the demo where only AI bots play. Watch how good or bad they are at avoiding collisions with themselves.
  3. There are six AI opponents, and they are calibrated so that they possess different sailing skills. This means that many of the six AI opponents have poor sailing abilities. Their reaction is delayed and their decisions are far from optimal. They are simply poor, inexperienced sailors, so you can easily win against them and improve your rank. Take this into account when sailing near them – because they are poor, their behaviors may be unexpected and hard to understand. They may cause a collision even though it will hurt their score. Note that you can activate/deactivate each AI opponent; there is a Help section that explains how the skill of your selected opponents influences your rating. If you are annoyed by poor AI opponents, you can deactivate them.
  4. Read about penalties in Help. Top Sailor assigns penalties to both parties involved in a crash, giving a larger proportion of the penalty to the party that violated the official rules. BUT both parties share the penalty (because there was a collision and some danger) and this may be unlike the real world penalty assignment. Note that penalty assignment is not perfect either and it is not alike a thorough analysis of an expert human judge. Wind changes, boats turn, multiple dinghies are involved, and it is often not easy to automatically tell, without any doubt, who is responsible and who had what intentions in conditions that preceded the collision.
  5. Finally, the time of the race is measured for each boat independently. If you want to have many opponents but don't like to sail in the crowd, just let them go first, wait a bit (no more than 60 seconds), and then pass the START gate. This way you will have more space and lower the risk of collision. Or, as mentioned earlier, deactivate poor opponents so the space is less crowded and you don't experience the consequences of their lack of skill.