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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:07 pm 
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Space Krill

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:56 am
Posts: 7
I had a huge message written. The forum ate it because it took me too long and I was autologged out or something.
Here's a much less comprehensive replacement post, hope it is still useful.

Thanks to everyone who has worked on this project. I've had a lot of fun playing and I look forward to future development.

Most of my recent play has been on the release version of 0.45. I play super-aggressive colonization, minimal military until necessary, research focus on growth and bonuses first. Typically chato, cray or gysache and with 30-50 systems per AI; I rarely have any trouble beating the computer.

FreeOrion_2016-05-19.4781a80_Test_Win32
All the new changes were a surprise; I hadn't checked the forum to know what to expect.
Gysache, 150 systems, cluster, manaiacal, 5 AI, all other settings default.
Troop penalty actually felt like a penalty for a change. First four natives I found were all bad troops as well.
It felt like I was moving slower than before; the game felt like a challenge until about 140 or so when I finally accumulated a big enough stack to block the one AI that was expansionist enough to pose a challenge.
By 170 victory was a foregone conclusion; all that remained was the mopping-up and waiting for experimentors to open up.
Ground attack weapons: new diversity is good but I still see no reason to use them unless xenophobic and planning to exterminate the galaxy.
New art: awesome. Especially like the planetary habitability panorama shots.
Core slots: spinal antimatter is not particularly useful against AI; the extra speed from an engine is more important. Consider making the singularity engine core a +40 speed and +1 weapon level bonus instead, since it has a deeper research tree. Also consider making the zero-point fuel module not just refuel the ship but actually refuel the fleet (possibly also increasing fleet speed and/or fleet weapon level). I might use these modules with those bonuses. If the antimatter cannon doubled as a planet buster (converting planets to asteroid belts) I'd be pretty motivated to use it.
Extinct species: awesome.
Starlane bore: awesome. Very much want a portable version.
Portable things: I'd also like portable planetary beacons and a portable nebula collapser. I'd really like to be able to move planets into systems with a star but no planets (especially the super-common black hole systems with no planets). Makes sense that an empire capable of making black holes should be capable of collapsing a nebula as well. As an aside a nova bomb should produce a nebula if it doesn't already. I think it could be fun to roll the dice on a star system by nuking it into a nebula and recollapsing it just to see what you get.
New supply mechanics: makes sense.
New repair mechanics: makes sense except that a captured orbital drydock should be useful immediately; the staff should be much easier to monitor than the planet's population at large. Even if it was just a reduced rate, simulating the ships' crews getting together and commandeering shipyard equipment for emergency repairs makes sense.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:47 pm 
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Vacuum Dragon

Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:15 pm
Posts: 506
zero wrote:
I had a huge message written. The forum ate it because it took me too long and I was autologged out or something.

With most phpBB forums, selecting Log me on automatically each visit and having cookies for the site enabled will usually prevent that. If you do get logged out, hitting Back on your browser might return you to your edit screen with the text still there so you can copy it, although that seems to depend somewhat on browser.

Otherwise, do your massive message creation offline in a text editor, then paste when ready.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:48 pm 
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Space Floater

Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:52 am
Posts: 34
zero wrote:
I play super-aggressive colonization, minimal military until necessary, research focus on growth and bonuses first. Typically chato, cray or gysache and with 30-50 systems per AI; I rarely have any trouble beating the computer.

Just like me:) So I more or less agree with all of your observations.

zero wrote:
Starlane bore: awesome. Very much want a portable version.

If you can open a new starlane, then why not be able to close one?

zero wrote:
New repair mechanics: makes sense except that a captured orbital drydock should be useful immediately; the staff should be much easier to monitor than the planet's population at large. Even if it was just a reduced rate, simulating the ships' crews getting together and commandeering shipyard equipment for emergency repairs makes sense.

Maybe it takes the new crew a few turns to figure out how to use the alien technology of the drydock? "Alien" not in the sense of species, but each empire codes its own technology.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:04 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:45 pm
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zero wrote:
Gysache, 150 systems, cluster, manaiacal, 5 AI, all other settings default.
Troop penalty actually felt like a penalty for a change. First four natives I found were all bad troops as well.
It felt like I was moving slower than before; the game felt like a challenge until about 140 or so when I finally accumulated a big enough stack to block the one AI that was expansionist enough to pose a challenge.

This is all very good to read, I'm still not sure we've got the balance right on the exact troop numbers and similar, but it's definitely been a massive step in the right direction.
Quote:
By 170 victory was a foregone conclusion; all that remained was the mopping-up and waiting for experimentors to open up.
Ground attack weapons: new diversity is good but I still see no reason to use them unless xenophobic and planning to exterminate the galaxy.

Yeah, I've been playing with them more recently and the strategic advantage to them isn't quite there—one other thing I did when playing stealthy Laenfa was to use them to depopulate planets to make invasions easier, so they tie in well for bad troop species, I think perhaps they should reduce troop numbers as well as population so they help invasions if you're not using them to wipe planets out. Something to ponder moving forward.
Quote:
New art: awesome. Especially like the planetary habitability panorama shots.
Core slots: spinal antimatter is not particularly useful against AI; the extra speed from an engine is more important. Consider making the singularity engine core a +40 speed and +1 weapon level bonus instead, since it has a deeper research tree. Also consider making the zero-point fuel module not just refuel the ship but actually refuel the fleet (possibly also increasing fleet speed and/or fleet weapon level). I might use these modules with those bonuses. If the antimatter cannon doubled as a planet buster (converting planets to asteroid belts) I'd be pretty motivated to use it.

That is actually a very interesting idea, have it able to bombard and blow up planets, perhaps needing one shot per planet size so you need either 5 turns or 5 ships to take out a huge world. The other ideas are worth considering, converting the fuel module into a fleet refueler might be a very good use for it.
Quote:
Extinct species: awesome.
Starlane bore: awesome. Very much want a portable version.

Ah ha ha ha ha ha. No. I have serious balance concerns about the bore as is, until the AI has been taught how to use it a mobile one really isn't a viable option (it is a good mechanic and idea, just horrifically unbalanced as is)
Quote:
Portable things: I'd also like portable planetary beacons and a portable nebula collapser. I'd really like to be able to move planets into systems with a star but no planets (especially the super-common black hole systems with no planets).
Hah! Beat you to it, download the most recent test version and move ALL your planets (especially good for phototrophes and for those annoying empty black hole systems.
Quote:
Makes sense that an empire capable of making black holes should be capable of collapsing a nebula as well. As an aside a nova bomb should produce a nebula if it doesn't already. I think it could be fun to roll the dice on a star system by nuking it into a nebula and recollapsing it just to see what you get.
This I don't disagree with at all, and making the nova bomb more, well, fun, is a good idea. Anyone scripting "Khaaaaan" into a sitrep will get A Look from me though.

So, Nebula collapser part. Someone write it and I'll test it ;-)
Quote:
New supply mechanics: makes sense.
New repair mechanics: makes sense except that a captured orbital drydock should be useful immediately; the staff should be much easier to monitor than the planet's population at large. Even if it was just a reduced rate, simulating the ships' crews getting together and commandeering shipyard equipment for emergency repairs makes sense.

Oh, agreed, sort of, it's mostly been done for balance concerns and to slow down speedy conquests, we have a steamrolloer problem, and captured drydocks were massively adding to that problem, we did playtest a repair rate based on planet happiness but it proved to be too complex and went for the simpler version now in trunk, it's subject to review as/when we do more work ont eh damage control techs (and parts) at some point relatively soon.

Some nice feedback, thank you, sorry the forum ate stuff, happens to all of us sometimes :-(

_________________
Mat Bowles

Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:53 pm 
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Space Krill

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:56 am
Posts: 7
I think what happened is I clicked to create a poll instead of to submit my post. Pilot error most likely. Thanks for the advice; I'll compose in notepad henceforth.

I went ahead and played an Egassem game, 300 systems and 15 AI. Wildly different experience, which tells me I need to get a little more creative with my settings. I'm only to round 160 but I'll have logistics next turn; essentially a done deal.

- Poor research was painful until I found some natives, which is good.
- The offensive troop bonus was a huge advantage. I could take most natives with a single troop ship. Later on a single organic troop was enough to take outposts. I prefer static hulls for troops and with the bonus I could add an armor plate and survive mines / monsters.
- I ended up trying to steamroll the map as hard as I could, which was necessary since I had six pretty aggressive neighbors. Good fun. In this context the drydock changes make a lot more sense and I think you've made the right choice. Repairs were the one thing keeping me from walking all over the map as fast as my troops could arrive. It was a nice change of pace... by round 70 or so I queued up some research and basically ignored tech for the rest of the game while focusing on conquest.
- I scrapped my starting colony ship. No other inferno planets within a 50-system area. Narrow tolerance is a significant hurdle in the early game and it definitely slowed me down. This also meant the industry bonus was only a big boost in the very early game.

In sum, I like the balance for this race. Definitely needs an aggressive style or you'll fall way behind, but not so overpowered that you can't lose. This run definitely felt like I was on the edge of losing, particularly when I had both trith and eaxaw right next to me; for some reason though they never bothered to attack.

There still seems to be an inflection point around 40-50 where I take the lead in colonies and the AI never catches up.

I wonder if they are spending too much industry on buildings and not enough on outposts. Most planets I take have a bunch of infrastructure in progress; mid-game it can be some pretty expensive stuff like geointegration facilities and empire-wide stuff like solar generators and industrial centers. Maybe it's a quirk of perspective; I am only seeing what they do as my invasion is in progress, not necessarily what they do when their territory is stable.

Are there any tweakable parameters for the AI? I'd be interested in boosting the priority of colonization to see if it makes a better midgame challenge. Apologies if this is an obvious one, I haven't looked at any of the game data yet.

Do the AI empires ever make alliances with each other?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:55 pm 
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Vacuum Dragon

Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:15 pm
Posts: 506
Scrapping an expensive ship like a Colony makes no sense. Instead of lamenting the lack of Good planets, you should be using Growth tech to improve Adequates and be able to use that ship.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:45 pm
Posts: 3291
defaultuser wrote:
Scrapping an expensive ship like a Colony makes no sense. Instead of lamenting the lack of Good planets, you should be using Growth tech to improve Adequates and be able to use that ship.

Agree with this, but Egassem don't have Adequate worlds, only Good, Poor and Hostile—it's still worth going for Xenological and Cyborgs to be able to use Poor planets and Hostile planets, but I've had many games with Egassem in which my initial colony ship has sat there for ages, and on one occasion I used it to create a colony I knew would die as the outpost/supply bonus was more useful.

It's one of the reasons why Egassem were very underpowered until we started giving them various boosts, I'm still of the opinion I've gone too far with them now. And they're my favourite race to play.

_________________
Mat Bowles

Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:49 pm 
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Vacuum Dragon

Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:15 pm
Posts: 506
It's been a while since I played them, so I didn't recall that. Might be time to go back.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:31 am 
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Release Manager, Design
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Posts: 4288
Location: Sol III
zero wrote:
Are there any tweakable parameters for the AI?
Not that I know of, but the entire AI is scripted. If you know Python and a bit of programming, you can take a look at the AI Python scripts (and tinker with them). You might want to keep some aspirin close by when you start looking at those scripts however, just in case... ;)
Quote:
Do the AI empires ever make alliances with each other?
No. Diplomacy hasn't been implemented yet.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:20 pm 
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Space Krill

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:56 am
Posts: 7
Thanks for the advice. I'm a plodding amateur at best but I learn pretty quickly; SQL has been taking most of my attention lately but learning Python could be useful. Certainly the best way to learn is to have a reason to use it.

I downloaded the latest (2016.05.30 win32) and fired up a human game. Haven't done one in a long time so I don't have a good baseline. The AI promptly whipped me three times in a row. Apparently my success so far has been entirely due to giving myself enough room to out-expand the AI. With 15 systems per empire instead of 30 I'm having a much harder time surviving the early game. The AI's caution pays off in this environment; I frequently got into an untenable position because of attrition and didn't take enough systems to recover. It's also the first time in a long time that the AI stole planets from me with troops early on.

I'm at round 210 of my fourth game and just getting into the higher-end tech, so I'll have to give the mobile planet beacon a try.


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