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Serious AI overhaul needed


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Jevokan #1 Posted 09 April 2017 - 09:01 AM

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I'm at turn 200 on Extreme difficulty using the 5x mod.  

 

The game is a foregone conclusion.  I have the most colonies, the strongest fleet, I won't lose.  The AI has not attempted to attack me once again.  

 

Unless the AI is overhauled this game will be nothing but a shiny toy with nothing to make it go.  Even Moo 1 and 2 had better AI and those are over 20 years ago! lol

 

Oh well.  I guess I need to handicap myself and trying too hard.  But then where's the fun in that?

 

 

 

 



Laegad #2 Posted 09 April 2017 - 12:46 PM

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I am a Moo player who play on extreme difficulty with the 5x mod and i approve this message.

 

First problem is : AI does not play to win.

If AI win, it is by chance but not because of some planification.



Spud_Dastardly #3 Posted 09 April 2017 - 05:20 PM

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I agree. I can't even do much about it with modding (though I have made some modest improvements for the next 5X update). As Laegad says, they don't play to win. In wars they aren't nearly aggressive enough and make foolish decisions like moving their fleet away from their battlestation to attack one ship you left out as bait, and then you crush their fleet the next turn. 

Get 5X - The Ultimate Balance Mod on Steam or on Nexus Mods!

 


Jevokan #4 Posted 12 April 2017 - 10:16 AM

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I had just written out a lengthy post and I pasted over it and saved by accident... ugh.  I will retry.

 

 


Edited by Jevokan, 12 April 2017 - 11:00 AM.


Jevokan #5 Posted 12 April 2017 - 11:20 AM

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AI issues I've noticed playing on Extreme difficulty.

 

1.  The AI's are usually broke.  What are they spending their BC's on?  They need to better prioritize what they spend on so that they have money available to have trade and research treaties with other races.  Without ongoing trade it's hard to reach that level of partnership where you form an alliance with another species.  Are they buying out ships?  Are they buying out production?  Are they building too many spies?  I don't know I can't see but whatever it is they are doing is not working very well for them.   Spending priorities need to be fixed so that they can have more ongoing treaties.


2.  There should be different levels of trade treaties requiring different amounts of BC's to initiate.  As it is out of 7 discovered races only 1 can have an ongoing trade treaty with me.  They are usually sitting below 300 BC's.  For an AI that is supposed to have bonuses over me something is not right.  What are they spending so much money on and why are they always broke?  That could be a large part of the problem.  If they had lots of extra money they could push for more aggressive strategies.   If they spent less they could initiate more trade and research which would allow them more money to spend on whatever it is they are already spending on.  There needs to be something in place telling them that they shouldn't spend so much that they close out their opportunity for trade.  Some limit built in.  Besides that the developers should better guide their spending choices and habits to where they are increasing their income in the end and not diminishing it as the game goes on.  You should be making more money not less as you expand.

 

3.  A clue to the spending issue.  If you set your colony to autobuild you see the AI make some senseless decisions.  For example  I have chosen unwaivering as one of my species traits.  If I allow the AI to autobuild it wants to build a government building to increase morale.  This is pointless and a waste of upkeep credits in the future.  If the AI is making these kinds of decisions then perhaps that is why they are always broke.  Not every  building should be built on every colony if you want to have a healthy income.  If you go and build every single building on every colony you will go broke.  Some colonies should be production colonies with no research buildings.  Poor planets should be set as research colonies and built accordingly.  Make the build times reachable with production buildings and then set to build research buildings.  For production colonies go all for production and mass population but no research.  This would wiser and more money efficient.  If the AI followed these basic rules for certain planet types then it would have more money and be more of a challenge.


4.  Priorities for colonization.  The Alkari had just settled a large terran or swamp with poor rating in a system.  I had just began scouting this area because I was finally able to get past the unstable warp points.  I saw 2 Ultra Rich planets in that same system.  I quickly produced colony ships to colonize them.  The Alkari had access to these planets long before I did.  It was on their side of the unstable warp point.  They should have already been colonized.  Why pick the poor planet over the barren ultra rich?  Yes its easier to farm but with terraforming that medium barren ultra rich will become much more valuable.  Even short term it becomes quite productive with just a few structures in place.  AI colonization priorities and aggressiveness needs to be tweaked.  


I came along and colonized those 2 planets and the Alkari just warned me not to colonize near them but I did anyway.  I then set to work building a military post on the warp point blocking access to their planet if we were ever to be hostile.  So it was a clear aggressive move on my part which the Alkari should have gotten more hostile over.  It would have been easier at that point in the game for them to take those colonies and protect them than it was for me.  However I had enough time to move my fleet and build star gates so their window of opportunity was gone.  
They should be faster and smarter when given such opportunities.  They need to consider the long term and not just the short term.  I realize programming such AI is a difficult task.  Instead of trying to make them think of all the long term possibilities they need to default behavior to take ultra rich over poor despite the poor planet having a better environment.  In the end those ultra rich will be more valuable.

 

5.  Another example of AI lacking the needed aggression to compete.  I had just invaded the Trilarians whom I was at war with.  It was a move out of boredom because I had not seen combat all game except for pirates.  I got to their homeworld system and destroyed the military base protecting the warp point.  The Trilarian fleet should probably have stayed on their homeworld system but instead attacked me and brought their entire entourage of transports and colony ships as well (very dumb move).  After I decimated their combat ships I then took out all their non combat ships.  So now they just handed me victory when they could have just played more defensive and protected their homeworld.  A move that would have been victory for them since I could handle their fleet away from their static defenses but not with them.  I knew that because I saved the game and then attacked their home world.  I realized I would take some losses though I could win with major losses.  However if they had their whole fleet which they threw away I wouldn't be able to win.  So moving on from that.  The Trilarian were now without a fleet and their homeworld was open aside from static defenses.  I then saw the Bulrathi coming with a massive fleet looking as though they would finish the job if I wasn't going to.  So I ran off with my wounded ships not wanting to fight the Bulrathi when I couldn't even take the planet without transports.  I was going to let them have it and just pit the 2 races against each other.  However the Bulrathi didn't take the planet.  They had a huge massive fleet and they took out the military post leading to the system but didn't continue on to attack the planet itself and take it.  Judging by their fleet size and the lack of any defending Trilarian fleet they could have easily done it.  

 

6.  The combat AI which I discussed already in a previous thread.  The ability for the AI to control the movement without controlling the attack targets.  That way they can move the ships and stay out within a certain range while I control who the targets for attack are.


Conclusion:  This leads me to conclude that the AI is lacking in several areas.  The game has a potential to be great if these AI issues are dealt with.  If not it will just be a passing amusement and not a lasting one as MOO 1 and 2 were.  Everything else, good graphics, good voice acting, tactical beautiful combat, 1 more turn syndrome, refined and polished interface, simple but complex at the same time is there.  It just needs that extra work on the AI to take it to the next level.  It has the potential to be the best 4x game if this potential is seized upon.


Edited by Jevokan, 12 April 2017 - 12:54 PM.


Jevokan #6 Posted 12 April 2017 - 11:38 AM

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View PostSpud_Dastardly, on 09 April 2017 - 05:20 PM, said:

I agree. I can't even do much about it with modding (though I have made some modest improvements for the next 5X update). As Laegad says, they don't play to win. In wars they aren't nearly aggressive enough and make foolish decisions like moving their fleet away from their battlestation to attack one ship you left out as bait, and then you crush their fleet the next turn. 

 

You've done a great job man.  Its not your fault.  This company should be very grateful to you for all the work you've done keeping their product afloat while they should be working on these issues to provide this game with some lasting appeal.

Jevokan #7 Posted 13 April 2017 - 01:24 PM

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In continuation of these lines of thinking, instead of the auto-build we have now which almost never builds what you want, you select a colony type or building type to pursue.  Choices could include:

 

Research

 

Production

 

Food/Population Increase

 

Morale

 

Economy

 

Defense

 

Pollution Control

 

You could select a combo of these and the building types would be mixed accordingly.  This would save a ton of time and allow the player to focus on positioning, colonization, and combat if he so desired.

 

 


Edited by Jevokan, 13 April 2017 - 01:28 PM.


Jevokan #8 Posted 13 April 2017 - 01:31 PM

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The worst issue for me with the game at the moment is the combat AI.  It is very frustrating when I even turn off the AI (ships stop moving), I know it's off, and I select a target for my missiles.  Not all my ships are firing at my target.  I was trying to take out the smaller ship next to the Titan and my ships were firing at the Titan almost exclusively!  WTF Why?  This has got to be my most frustrating issue with the game.  How can I have tactical combat when my ships don't listen to my orders?  

 

The other thing is keeping ranges specified.  I tried selecting all my ships at once and selecting range but that doesn't work for me.   I have various size ships together and I have to go through each ship one by one and set the range I want them to stay in.  When I start combat that all seems to go out the window for me and chaos ensues.  They don't stay in the range I tell them to, they fire at targets other than my selected target.  When I click to check the range setting I see it has been changed on me.  I'm at the point where I'm giving up tactical combat and just going to let the Ai do its thing as frustrating as that is to see the stupid choices it makes.  I've just had it with the combat AI.

 

Another major annoyance for me is after I have left clicked on an enemy ship it closes the ship I was working with down forcing me to reselect the ship.  This combat interface and control is the worst part of this game.

 

 


Edited by Jevokan, 13 April 2017 - 02:37 PM.


Jevokan #9 Posted 14 April 2017 - 09:20 PM

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The game was not as foregone a conclusion as I thought.  The Terrans which I had yet to discover turned out to be even stronger than the Bulrathi and surprised me by actually taking Orion before I had planned on doing it.  So they became a powerhouse after that.  I've held off on going up against them until I've got some Titans of my own to match them.  Having a lot more fun than I initially thought I would.   Pretty sure I will win but it will be tougher than expected.  I have the highest colonies and GDP but significantly lower fleet size at the moment.

 

I have seen the AI go full on aggression against other AI and eliminate them, but have yet to see that against me.  Perhaps I should play a very badly handicapped game after this with uncharismatic and be a jerk every opportunity I get  and see what happens. lol

 

 


Edited by Jevokan, 16 April 2017 - 12:16 AM.


Jevokan #10 Posted 14 April 2017 - 10:22 PM

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I just got offered an alliance from the Silicoids who have been my neighbor all game.  I've stayed on good terms with them all game.  They were low on money for a trade treaty so I gave them 2000 BC for an annual tribute.  Then I offered a trade treaty. Got to do what you gotta do. lol  Works out nicely for both of us and it will surely strengthen them for the upcoming fight with the Terran.  I might give them tech too.  They are just the most lovable race in this game.  :)  Every other race comes off as arrogant or devious but they actually seem honorable.  My first glimpse of how an alliance works in this game.

 

 

 

 


Edited by Jevokan, 14 April 2017 - 10:59 PM.


Jevokan #11 Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:16 AM

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As it is now I think the tech from Orion is a little OP.  

 

I mean, I don't mind that I have a strong opponent to fight, it makes it entertaining, but if I had gotten Orion early it would have been an easy GG.  Deathrays are supposed to be the best beam weapon in the game.  I don't know plasma seem to have better stats but they feel like plasmas and mid game they are just impossible to combat.  They are strong for sure and until I could match them I was avoiding them for many turns.  If you can get Orion mid game or even just before mid game with the right build the tech you get is just too game changing.  I think it would be better if the player who takes Orion is the only one allowed to unlock Death Rays in the tree but it still requires effort and time to do so.   That would be balanced and would still offer a reward to the conqueror of Orion.  I tried stealing death rays with spies but I couldn't.  At a certain point I ran out of tech to steal without getting the death rays.  I suppose that's a good design choice so that taking Orion remains a special achievement that no one else has.

 

The game is pretty much over now.  I have decimated a large portion of the Terran fleet with a massive fleet I made mixed with Carriers, Gun Ships, and smaller missile barrages.  It was pretty one sided.  I didn't have to micro I just hit play it was that one sided.  However if I had gotten deathrays and the other tech early there would have been absolutely nothing to challenge me.  So right now, the best winning strat in the game is to take Orion as early as you can and then its just gg from that point.  If you want a challenge and a much longer game you let the AI take it.


Edited by Jevokan, 16 April 2017 - 12:23 AM.


Spud_Dastardly #12 Posted 16 April 2017 - 06:03 PM

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For the next update of 5X I've made the Orion guardian stronger so you can't defeat him quite so early. That should help balance those techs. Those techs are supposed to be a pretty good advantage though.

Get 5X - The Ultimate Balance Mod on Steam or on Nexus Mods!

 


Anguille_1 #13 Posted 19 April 2017 - 09:04 AM

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I find that the AI has more chances to developp in larger galaxies. Smaller galaxies are easier to win.

Edited by Anguille_1, 19 April 2017 - 09:08 AM.

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