Can you beat Blitzkrieg 3's Boris, the Neural AI?

A computer controlled opponent that thinks and learns like a real human sounds like a formidable foe

Can you beat Blitzkrieg 3s Boris the Neural AI  Everybody Plays
27th March, 2017By Ian Morris

If you think the idea of playing a strategy game against a neural AI that can both think like a human, and learn from its mistakes is the perfect recipe for a sci-fi disaster film, then you're in good company. Yet that's exactly what Russian studio Nival have done with their upcoming WW2 strategy game, Blitzkrieg 3. Along with the ability to play through three full single player campaigns and a competitive online mode, you'll also be able to take on their brand new "neural network" AI, a man they've dubbed Boris.

Neural network AIs are rather confusing things, but in essence, it's a way of modelling an AI after a real brain, to allow the AI to think more like a real human. Drawing connections between certain moves and units, it means Boris is smarter than your average computer controlled opponent, and can make more value based judgements, like a real human. Rather than rushing to attack a single tank, he'll realise it might be a trap; if he realises he's overwhelmed, he'll retreat; if he sees a scout, he'll know that might be where the rest of the attacking force are. Essentially, he's a bit more sentient than your average AI - but hopefully not enough that he'll try and take over your PC.

Blitzkrieg 3 Screenshot

See, Boris would have seen this ambush coming. Boris doesn't make mistakes

While you may wonder if it'll actually be possible to win against an AI that learns, and is apparently much more intelligent than your standard computer controlled opponent, you'll be pleased to know that the developers say Boris certainly can be beaten. Although he'll analyse the battlefield every few seconds to try and predict what's going to happen next, he doesn't have access to any special information, or anything extra behind the scenes - he doesn't "know" where your units are, and the best he can do is guess. Essentially, this is Nival's best shot at making a computer controlled opponent that plays like a human would - and if you fancy testing it out for yourself, you can.

Blitzkrieg 3 is currently available on Steam in Early Access, with Boris himself available for competitive multiplayer matches. Once you've completed the game's tutorial, all you need to do is launch a custom match, and choose to test your metal against big Boris. While we're not sure how much the idea of a neural network AI is over-egging things, Boris looks set to provide a pretty tough challenge - if you take him on, be sure to let us know how you fare.

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