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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:51 am 
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Hello, I played some 4x games such as Civilization, endless space MOO and so on, and there is an AI behavior that all 4x games have in common which makes them so predictable...
there is mostly only *one* AI that rocks and plays strong game while the rest of the AI's stuck.
I don't know why is that so but I noticed this behaviour in almost every single turn based game, I really always wanted to know why is that so. and I assume is intentional and that you can give an good answer to this.

I started to play FO a week ago and the AI is really "go on maniac" and I'm having really hard time to defeat it on that level, I simply can't compare it's quality to any other, after replaying the game 2-3 times I noticed that fenomen happens in FO to but in middle-late game mostly, which is the main reason why I like this game so much..

so on turn 150/200 or so one AI survives and kicks my @ss while the rest looks like they have no chance to improve their downfalling status. so I just grab their systems as quickly as possible to counter the strongest AI.

In Civ V for example there are about 20 AI personalities, and by replaying the game for some time it's easy to conclude how the AI will behave even with "random personality" option enabled. there is always one that rocks and owns the planet while others forgot how to play. ( not hard to notice the one that owns other AI's)

and the worst AI I have ever seen is the one in endless space, the game it self is good, the AI will attack you realy bad in beginning, but after turn 50 or so you can just forget that there is an AI at all, because they will all stack their fleets into one system until you win. :D

I noticed when starting FO, in messages box there is a list of AI's included in game and their difficulty level, it looks that mostly one or two of them gets 1 level lower difficulty, and I am just guessing that there is good a reason for this. I have no idea :?

I'm pretty sure you guys play 4x games and it can't be that you didn't notice that?
why one AI rocks and the rest sucks?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:28 am 
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codekiddy wrote:
I noticed when starting FO, in messages box there is a list of AI's included in game and their difficulty level, it looks that mostly one or two of them gets 1 level lower difficulty, and I am just guessing that there is good a reason for this. I have no idea :?
That's why the setting is "Max" AI aggression. The distribution used to be a little broader, but is currently targetted at 3/4 being the specified level and 1/4 being one step lower. I don't really recall now if there was any particular "good reason" for this, or if it was just something I was in the mood for & that others were agreeable to going along with.

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why one AI rocks and the rest sucks?
I think that the pattern in FO isn't as strong as it seems to you, and is just due to randomness & statistics. The FO AI still has plenty of weaknesses, and so (in my observation) it's just somewhere between 1 out of 5 to 1 out of 10 AIs that winds up with a starting situation that it can thrive well with. I most often play with 6-10 Maniacal AIs, 40-50 systems per AI, low planets, low monsters, Irregular2 shape, and the rest defaults. That's enough AIs that I usually get at least one that gives me a bit of a run for my money, and sometimes there are two or even three that take some work to overcome.

Besides the inherent snowballing effect that tends to increase the gaps between winners and losers, and applies the same to the player empire, there is nothing in FO that favors only a single AI to thrive. Slightly related, I'd also like to point out in response to a comment you made some time ago in a different thread, where you had proposed that the AIs get 'increased' bonuses later in the game, in FO the AIs get no bonuses over the player whatsoever (keeping in mind that the player has the same starting species possibilities as the AIs).

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:07 am 
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It would be nice, when diplomacy is implemented with more than a random yes/no to alliance, to have a spread of different AI types as they're not really a "difficulty" setting more a personality type, I want to play with some Maniacal AIs but it would be nice to have some that are 'typical' or even "desperate to be my friend" as well as some bloodthirsty maniacs. However, that's an on-topic FO observation that's off topic to this off topic thread ;-)

I'm playing a LOT of c-evo (a Civ 2 rework that's really quite nice) at the moment, mostly on Standard AI/moderate difficulty, and yes, I have noticed that in most games you get one or two that are an early game threat, occasionally one or two that are a mid to late game threat, but most of the AIs seem to be absolutely terrible, I'm at the point now where I'm close to building my colony ship to win. Four of the remaining AIs (out of 12 initially) are allied to me, one won't talk to me but has also never attacked me, and none have any cities that are effectively developed—I'm spawning engineer/settler units out of most of my cities every few turns and mostly otherwise have them on trade, because they're maxed out on population and I've everything I need, they're having most of their tiny villages on 4-6 population.

There was one early game threat to me, an immediate neighbour, that I beat off and then defeated, and there was one late game threat that took me a long time to conquer.

I think in part it's random factors (all AIs have some random elements in most games I've played), combined with strategic situation—in FO, as it's a game we all play, sometimes AIs get stuck having not found systems to colonise and expand into without mid to late game tech, so you end up with a large fleet of low quality ships in orbit around their homeworld until, eventually, there's an attempt to colonise with Exobots or similar. This is less likely to happen on High planets, obviously, and also less likely to happen on High natives, as they're quite good at grabbing them and thus expanding anyway.

In other games, I get the impression it's partially intended to be that way—in C-Evo as a specific, if all the AIs were randomly on the "good" end of aggression/capability I think the game would be close to impossible, whereas that's not the case in FO. In FreeCol, the other game I play fairly regularly, the AI seems to vary in quality up and down with every release, but there's also a distinct "AI cheating" built into that where they get (needed) free units and bonuses to make up for the AI itself being fairly poor.

So I don't know overall, but I do suspect sometimes it's intentional on game design part, sometimes it's the AI making bad early game decisions on the random charts, and sometimes it's just that they get stuck in a bad tactical/strategic situation that the algorithm just doesn't know how to get out of.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:15 am 
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Dilvish wrote:
I think that the pattern in FO isn't as strong as it seems to you, and is just due to randomness & statistics.

In other 4x games by looking at in-game statistics it's usually enough to have 50% to max 70% military of the strongest AI to be able to attack, in FO this is not the case... there is mostly one or few choke points (a star) between the AI's and my empire where the AI and me will stack our units, the one thats is able to produce more military and gets advantage in damage/structure in that choke-point will attack first and win the chokepoint. so 50-70% of military approach is not enough in FO, I need 90-100% so my production queue is mostly filled with ships and constantly producing more ships :D
so aggressive military production is not required in many games I played in order to win, it may be because combat defines that ships deal damage and defend with structure so it's easy to calculate who have advantage.
you know better than me but I think the worst weakness is when the AI sends troops with no military backup and exposing them to be be killed and even if capture is success there is a need to secure it.
Dilvish wrote:
there is nothing in FO that favors only a single AI to thrive. Slightly related, I'd also like to point out in response to a comment you made some time ago in a different thread, where you had proposed that the AIs get 'increased' bonuses later in the game, in FO the AIs get no bonuses over the player whatsoever (keeping in mind that the player has the same starting species possibilities as the AIs).

this is absolutely great, since every 4x game guide proudly describes how much bonuses in % will the AI get according to difficulty level :)
MatGB wrote:
It would be nice, when diplomacy is implemented with more than a random yes/no to alliance, to have a spread of different AI types as they're not really a "difficulty" setting more a personality type, I want to play with some Maniacal AIs but it would be nice to have some that are 'typical' or even "desperate to be my friend" as well as some bloodthirsty maniacs.

this is absolutely yet again common behavior related to every 4x game, especially militaristic AI's, they refuse alliance, refuse deals and all they know is to kill everyone else, just imagine how much trouble you may have by 2 or 3 militaristic AI's forming alliance between them self, and then declaring war on you? rock'n'roll :D
Dilvish wrote:
The FO AI still has plenty of weaknesses, and so (in my observation) it's just somewhere between 1 out of 5 to 1 out of 10 AIs that winds up with a starting situation that it can thrive well with.

starting position, yes!, this makes sense to explain this common behavior, just how many times I restarted my games on turn 1.
MatGB wrote:
in FO, as it's a game we all play, sometimes AIs get stuck having not found systems to colonise and expand into without mid to late game tech, so you end up with a large fleet of low quality ships in orbit around their homeworld until, eventually, there's an attempt to colonise with Exobots or similar. This is less likely to happen on High planets, obviously, and also less likely to happen on High natives, as they're quite good at grabbing them and thus expanding anyway.

High planets, I will definitely set my next game that way, I think there is nothing bad with that since almost 30% of entry map systems end up free to colonize because it looks in late game the AI nor myself have time to spare PP for colony ships due to military buildup.


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 2:44 am 
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codekiddy wrote:
In other 4x games by looking at in-game statistics it's usually enough to have 50% to max 70% military of the strongest AI to be able to attack, in FO this is not the case... there is mostly one or few choke points (a star) between the AI's and my empire where the AI and me will stack our units, the one thats is able to produce more military and gets advantage in damage/structure in that choke-point will attack first and win the chokepoint. so 50-70% of military approach is not enough in FO, I need 90-100% so my production queue is mostly filled with ships and constantly producing more ships :D
so aggressive military production is not required in many games I played in order to win, it may be because combat defines that ships deal damage and defend with structure so it's easy to calculate who have advantage.
you know better than me but I think the worst weakness is when the AI sends troops with no military backup and exposing them to be be killed and even if capture is success there is a need to secure it.


I tend to produce far less military vessels (haven't measured but probably only around 30% of what the AI does) but I try to be technologically ahead (esp. in shields) so I can win most fights without loosing ships. For this, I ignore hitpoints modules (and also, the research into them) and go max weapons and shields, even on Robotic Hulls.

The rest 70% of production goes into colonization. Which will give me a better production in midgame, and once the ball got rolling, I can simply overrun the AI in all directions. That is, once enough military and troopships are available (and I can take worlds from the AI) there's no point in producing more military, I then spend production into terraforming (also, at this stage the game most likely will be won so I don't wanna deal with more ships in space)


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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 1:15 am 
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Kassiopeija wrote:

I tend to produce far less military vessels (haven't measured but probably only around 30% of what the AI does) but I try to be technologically ahead (esp. in shields) so I can win most fights without loosing ships. For this, I ignore hitpoints modules (and also, the research into them) and go max weapons and shields, even on Robotic Hulls.

The rest 70% of production goes into colonization. Which will give me a better production in midgame, and once the ball got rolling, I can simply overrun the AI in all directions. That is, once enough military and troopships are available (and I can take worlds from the AI) there's no point in producing more military, I then spend production into terraforming (also, at this stage the game most likely will be won so I don't wanna deal with more ships in space)


I do the same I rarely have more ships than any enemy in mid-game. Better units, yes, which last longer. My main focus is to hassle the AI and get their ships one by one with guerrilla tactics, or having them amass troops in a choke point I can defend (with a planet in def mod for instance, while another force gets to invade in their back. I build my ships by stacks of 3 last tech ships, and in between it is pure expansion (colonies, outpost bases or ships). so while my ships are battling, while future techs are researched, my empire builds power.

I agree with Kassiopeija that what makes ships durable are the shields. They are worth the investment.


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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 1:41 am 
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Meh, shields are overpriced. If I were an Ork, all my ships would be painted red, the faster the better. I'm really liking the dynamic at the moment with engines vs shields as design choices, but speed rules, especially in the outmanouvre then gang up game you play with an AI.

Having said that, in my current game the AI giving me the most trouble is an Eaxaw using Asteroid hulls that's unlocked Multi-Spectrals, they're annoying to fight through, but I'm doing it by sheer weight of numbers.

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 11:55 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
Meh, shields are overpriced. If I were an Ork, all my ships would be painted red, the faster the better. I'm really liking the dynamic at the moment with engines vs shields as design choices, but speed rules, especially in the outmanouvre then gang up game you play with an AI.

Having said that, in my current game the AI giving me the most trouble is an Eaxaw using Asteroid hulls that's unlocked Multi-Spectrals, they're annoying to fight through, but I'm doing it by sheer weight of numbers.


I'd love to have a game of such magnitude but at around 200 planets settings the game becomes much too laggy to be of fun anymore.

So I usually only use Robotic hulls as a start, and later Gravitating hull to win. Using shields on robotics is expensive, but IF the AI uses shields as well there is no option as to use them, otherwise my ships will get killed. Later the Gravitating hull has enough option to have both shields and engines.
It kind of also depends a bit on which type of hull you're using, every branch seems to have its own strength and weaknesses: Asteroids need extra engines, Organics need fuel...


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 3:43 am 
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Re lag as a specific, I find that 350 systems with Low planets is the best I can do without the lag becoming a problem, low planets is a different environment but it's fun to play in (a lot less asteroid hulls doing the rounds for a start).

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 12:32 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
Re lag as a specific, I find that 350 systems with Low planets is the best I can do without the lag becoming a problem, low planets is a different environment but it's fun to play in (a lot less asteroid hulls doing the rounds for a start).


Yeah I also only use Low Planets settings, because IMO there's still enough planets around. 1 or 2 techs that give additional support and usually it's enough for all supply lines to be connected. Actually I'd even love a more minimalistic setting (Very Low Planets) which should force the use of planetary logistics setting or strategic placement of outposts in order to ave sufficient range. But perhaps the AI will get problems to deal with this...?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 3:29 pm 
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I suspect most of the reasons the game turns out like this is caused by absolutely common in 4x games lack of diplomacy an every AI following 'might makes right' approach.

There aren't ever peace treaties uniting weaker civilisations against one stronger that threatens them both, there's no drive to seek peaceful coexistence. All peace treaties are usually a matter of groups being scared of each other and waiting to backstab the other one. All civilisations no matter their character are only interested in expansion and conquest - understandable from the standpoint of gameplay where actual conquest is the core of the game and a set of most developed features, but it leads to a situation where everyone prepares invasions against everyone else. Every failed invasion makes them weaker and more prone to be invaded by someone else, every succesful invasion makes them stronger.

Thus, we are led to situation that stronger gets stronger and weaker keep on getting weaker till at some point clear superior empire is left (though rarely it does happen in some games that someone will stretch themselves too thin - but it is rare).


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