Geoff the Medio wrote:I find the concept of an AI that surrenders in the general case a bit strange. To me, the point of an AI player is to play the other empires as long as the human(s) want to keep playing a game. The AI doesn't get bored with a game that goes on too long, or get frustrated with a clearly losing situation, or decide it's clearly won and so doesn't need to keep playing to be satisfied. It just moves around the AI-empire stuff and gives the human an opponent (or punching bag) as long as they want to keep playing.
Yeah, well, no one ever said we want to give the AIs the ability to surrender for their sake, so they don't feel bored, or abused, or whatever, because they have to continue to play a game that has become pointless to them.
As Dilvish pointed out (citing Mat), when waging war against an AI empire there almost always comes the "mop-up phase" before an AI is completely vanquished, and that phase tends to be exceedingly dull. To stay with your image of the punching ball: As long as the AI can be compared to an opponent which is still actively putting up a fight, everything is fine. Once it becomes nothing but a punching ball, not so much.
Some players might enjoy the challenge of actually hunting down all the ships though, so it should remain a possibility.
Which, AFAICT, everyone agrees to. Hence the game rules for conceding. A player who enjoys beating a dead horse simply turns off conceding completely, and have their fun.
There can also be "lose conditions", such as that an empire that loses its starting capital or all its planets is ejected from the game, and all its ships allocated to other players depending on influence considerations (though this would need to be adjusted if / when ship-only empires are possible).
That goes already far beyond the simple stop-gap solution we want to provide with the current proposals. But for a future approach these ideas are certainly interesting.
Preferably the AI code would be able to handle this situation, but until then, just having no-planet empires be eliminated would be reasonable.
Well, that's more or less most of us have agreed on so far, AFAICT. So I guess we should proceed accordingly?
This would be a game mechanic / rule, though... not a decision the AI script makes... and would also affect human players.
And also a bit more complicated to implement than just do that within the AI code for now. Which is why, as far as I understand, the current proposals are only meant as a stop-gap solution, until the game engine supports more sophisticated rules regarding conceding/surrendering. With how things are planned now, the AI would only surrender at a point where every human player most likely would have surrendered long ago.
The AI players should not decide who to give its ships (or planets) to when eliminated, though... Influence, and species-empire relations, are game mechanics to which AIs might react given how it affects their empire during a game. But a player cannot, for example, spend influence to make an AI do something, and AIs should not decide how to allocate ships when conceding based on influence-related considrations.
Agreed - assuming you mean that a human player shouldn't be able to make an AI do something by spending in-game resources anymore than they can make a human opponent make anything do that way.
Unless we can make sure human players and AIs are affected in the same way by a mechnic that allows e.g. to spend influence to make an opponent to do something. Such a mechnic would be ok IMO.
Instead, influence-related gamestate could be used by the game engine (ie. not by the AI script, ie. a player in the game) when an empire is eliminated but still has stuff that can be given to other empires. This could be done automatically based on the relevant species-empire opinions, or the ships could be left in the universe unowned but easy to take control of using standard in-game influence mechanics.
Yep, exactly that. However, these mechanics aren't available yet, so have no relevance for the simple AI surrendering currently proposed.
I think someone wrote about concerns that having formerly-allied ships suddenly turn rogue when an empire is eliminated being a problem, but I doubt this would be a major issue if an empire is being eliminated, and even if it is, then that's part of the risk of allying with and having ships around from an empire that's about to be eliminated.
Meh. Maybe not a major issue, but still annoying and definitely not fun. The risk in allying yourself with somebody (be it human opponent or AI) should be the possibility of being betrayed. That is an important, interesting and fun concept. Having to be wary of your ally because they are at the point of being defeated and their ships suddenly becoming hostile for no other reason than their empire having fallen doesn't sound very appealing to me.
That all said, if implementing a game rule that no-planet empires are eliminated is too complicated for now
Well, the proposal is to allow
a player to concede once they have no planets left, and to have the AI do that. As a stop-gap solution, that should be good enough? As I said above, a human player most likely would have surrendered long before they reach that point, so AIs doing this wouldn't give human players any problematic/unbalancing advantages...?
and something is needed immediately to avoid no-planet empires throwing errors, then I suppose an empire conceding when it has no planets is reasonable. In that case, all the empires' ships should just be left unowned and hostile, with possible exception that any ship that could be gifted to an empire allied to the eliminated empire is so gifted. I don't see a reason to scrap / destroy / depopulate everything en empire owned instantly if it is eliminated... Could someone reiterate or point me to that rationale in a post?
Well, having left over ships suddenly turning hostile towards former allies is the main reason why scrapping them has been suggested, if I understand correctly. So gifting them to the former allies would take care of this, however, that introduces the problem of having to choose which ally to gift the ships to (which brings us back to square one, more or less). Just scrapping them seems to be the easiest solution. I at least would definitely prefer that (and the minor balance issues connected with it) to them turning hostile on allies.
Depopulating colonies isn't an issue if the condition for conceding is not having any colonies left. The suggestion for outposts is making them unowned anyway, so it's just the ships which seem to be the major issue.