Hi Manu! Hope all is well
I definitely have some thoughts about AI moving forward. Some of these things I've mentioned over the years, so sorry if it's redundant!
Adding 2 more play styles is a fine idea, but I suggest something different. The biggest strength and draw of Tennis Elbow is the customization. It's always been amazing and people buy the game for its cutting-edge flexibility. I think allowing the AI to be more customized will help Tennis Elbow shine even further. Instead of a more pre-set style, allow us to edit certain AI qualities in the .ini files.
Here are some examples:
1) Aggression level.
This number would determine how risky the AI plays. A value of 15 would mean they rarely go for the lines and play more conservative balls. A value of 90 would mean that they are extremely risky and often go for winners even in difficult positions, which could result in an error or a brilliant shot. Currently there is no way to change this reliably, and trust me, I've tried over the years
. This would be incredible to have and would allow us to customize not only real-world players, but our own created players. It would make the game much more lifelike. If we could only have one new change to AI, I think this should be it. Many people would really really really love this feature!
2) Surface Movement.
This would allow for a real-time
bonus or handicap for AI on certain surfaces for movement. For example, some players are excellent at moving
on clay, regardless of their play style, and this is what would give realism to certain players. For example, someone like Maria Sharapova, who does not have a game that in Tennis Elbow would be suited to clay, can move extremely well on the surface. In Tennis Elbow, only game style and topspin amounts really affect whether a player is strong on a surface. This would add a huge amount of realism with what I think would be simple programming: AI gets a bonus or malus to their "Speed" on a certain surface, that we can define in .ini. Imagine how much more realistic this would make the game!
These first two are definitely my biggest suggestions and more important than these moving forward, but I will list them anyway.
3) Playing Frequency.
This value in the .ini file would determine how often the AI plays in tournaments. For example, Roger Federer would have a lower rating because he is more choosy about his events, where as someone like Dominic Thiem would have a high rating, therefore playing more tournaments during the year. Would add realism.
4) In-game mental strength.
This could be directly related to the current mental skills, but having them affect the AI in actual matches would be amazing. For example, add some stress when they are serving for the match, or when they are in a tie-break, or down break-point, based on their Cold Blood skill. Just a simple bonus or malus to their skills would be enough. This would be so cool and instantly make the players feel like they are real. It would be cutting edge for a tennis video game, especially considering how essential this is to the real game of tennis.
5) Net Frequency.
Simple value of 0-100 on how often the player goes to net, without affecting their actual stats like the general play style does. Boom.
I know this all may require a lot of editing of the player bank, which you may find overwhelming, but there are plenty of us I'm sure, myself included, who would be happy to help out with this portion of it. If it seemed like too much work, you could allow these to me optional additions that we could add to each player. With these additions, we could basically make any type of player imaginable. It would be amazing! Please let me know if you'd like any assistance