ovarwa wrote:Thoughts from playing more, especially regarding the UI:
* The AI is pretty incapable of using (reaching?) the upper half of the tech tree. Collapse a star system into oblivion? Build and exploit starlanes? Etc.
I've seen the AI collapse red stars to make black holes, but the black hole collapser and starlane bore stuff are very
new features that haven't had a proper balance pass yet let alone have the AI setup to use them: the latter will be awhile for the AI as understanding of basic topography is currently very limited anyway.
* I found a use for some probably overcosted and underwhelming tech: If you're Gyasche, better weapons mean bigger penalties, one tech advance worth: For most players, a basic Death Ray is 15 and a Laser-4 is 11 but for you it is 10 and 9 damage. Yuck! But this does not apply to the big Cannon. It also does not apply to the bonuses you get from using Organic Ships and lasers and the right tech: It's expensive, but 3 lasers and the special are cheaper than 3 Death Rays; 2 lasers+ is competitive. Most species would prefer the Death Rays (and on better hulls), but not you, not for a long time! And you get it earlier. The Cannon is the long pole, regardless of what hull type you choose (other than Solar), so even though Self-Gravitating Hulls grant an earlier Core Slot than Sentient Hulls, that doesn't matter.
When I changed the refinement bonuses from being %ages to be flat numeric changes it was mostly for balance reasons as Misiorla with Death Ray 4s were ridiculously overpowered and Mu Ursh/Eaxaw were close to that. A side benefit is that the different weapons can be more/less worth the cost depending on species meaning that Bad Weapons species can make different tech tree choices to their advantage.
Re the SAM, you're right, it's probably, currently, too expensive, but I haven't tried to balance it cost/benefit yet as we've discussed adding some extra 'bombard' features to it, it's a big enough gun to be a planet killer
Re the Solar Concentrator, it is, deliberately, too expensive at the moment, it's roughly balanced at about 50 pp production cost not 80pp as it currently is. It will go down in cost as/when the AI is able to take it into account when a human is using it, and possibly go down a bit again when the AI is also able to use it. But the AI team are busy working on far bigger and more important things and we agreed updating them for this, given it's a non-simple task, was a very low priority for now.
snip UI stuff I can't help with
* Does the AI understand stealth?
Sort of, but not very well. It knows that you can have hidden stuff, and is aware when it's got hidden stuff, and tries to remember if any given system may or may not have hidden stuff in, but it does all of this at a very basic level. It definitely doesn't try to play stealth as a strategy, nor does it currently give a higher priority to detection techs if it goes up against someone using stealth.
Getting this fixed is something planned, but we need to also do some tweaks to stealth to mkae it a more interesting/viable strategy as well: improving the AIs understanding of stealth and detection techs in priority setting is definitely, for example, a higher priority than the solar concentrator and terrain effects in general (partially as stealthed fighter carriers are lethal against them when they're introduced to master, coming soon we hope).
* The problem with being able to ignore most weapon and hull paths is that there is eventually nothing else left to research when you have 1000rp/turn (and it takes surprisingly few planets to get there!), because the useful techs are tightly constrained by turns. I suppose it might be possible to plan for this, in theory, but that won't happen because other techs are absolutely necessary in the early game. I suspect this isn't by design, and is probably a corner case of not caring overmuch for Death Rays or hulls beyond Sentient.
The tech tree is currently not at all balanced, some of the higher end techs are too cheap, you can get a stupidly high tech output near the end, etc.
Basically, yes, you're 100% correct here and rebalancing it all is planned: we have a fairly major project in the works introducing a feature called Influence, this will change the balance of pretty much everything cost/benefit wise and recosting the tech tree taking into account the effect Influence has is going to happen after that.
* Robotic species with broad adaptibility are a very big So What, because Exobots like barren planets just fine. (Robot Interface Shields are pretty eh.)
Again, sort of, yes, I think the techs that adapt you to planets are too powerful in many ways meaning being merely Adequate is more than enough, this is again something I want to balance but is a lower priority than the tech tree.
Ideally the ability to colonise a Poor world then terraform it to Good should be a significant boost for a species over having far fewer worlds you can initially colonise, but currently it's not as good as I think it ought to be.
* I find that I prefer the Organic hulls to asteroids... movement is king. If I'm 1 turn from an enemy I can do things even if he is 1 turn from me; once I'm 2 turns away, my defending force is pinned. A small difference in movement can often have a huge impact. (But I'd still rather have an energy hull.)
Agree completely, I far prefer a fast, fragile hull that makes me thing over a slow, strong hull that's harder to destroy, but that's a personal preference, I have used asteroid hulls very effectively to win, and in many respects if you've got a good system with a Belt in early enough they're a VERY powerful line, but they don't suit my playstyle.
* I wish it were easier to understand what an AI player can and cannot see, in terms of stealth. If we can see detection range, why not more? (Although I could also understand changing things to make detection range secret. Still, both human and AI players alike are more likely to use and defend against stealth if the abilities were more visible.)
The UI here does need some work, but again it's not an incredibly high priority. Relatively recent feature, on the Empires window, each empire has a column showing their detection strength. I have mine set to display at a size just big enough to show detection strength and in the bottom left of my screen, where the fleet window opens but doesn't cover the strengths, so I can easily see which colour has what detection.
If you know what stealth value your stuff has (which is displayed fairly well and you can easily work it out if you know your tech/designs) then you can tell what they can see, but it requires paying attention in an unintuitive way.
Given I love playing with stealth I would love it if someone suggested and/or implemented an easy UI method of telling you what your opponents can see of your stuff as it is fairly important. But I haven't come up with any ideas myself and I wouldn't be able to do the code even if I did.
Again, thank you for this feedback, you've given me an idea