I have only just stumbled across this project today!
Massive MOO/space 4x fan.
I'm going to be away for a few months, but I'm planning to learn the mechanics for the game as implemented at the moment, and then get to grips with working on the AI.
I have a background in python development, so in theory I should be able to understand how it works. In theory, if the AI is broken down into enough modules, you should be able to simply change the "weights" assigned to AI actions, in order to change it's behaviour under a new food model for instance.
No promises, but I'm looking forward to getting to grips with it.
Welcome. More contributors are always appreciated.
I would be careful about the AI however - significant changes such as eliminating a resource, as we have with food, will probably require more than just changing some weights to account for, regardless, since anything referencing that resource or the meters that produce it will need to be changed. Theoretically though, if the AI was adequately modular, that should really only be one "module", which would then communicate the priority of that particular resource to other "modules" which would use that information to enqueue techs, buildings, etc, which could be designed to be agnostic towards the types of resources that actually exist.
So yeah, being modular, with each module being as agnostic as possible with respect to content, I think, is going to be the key to making an AI that doesn't have to be completely redone every time a change is made.