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SMAC 444 - AI patch updated [p]

Discussion in 'Strategy and Simulation' started by kyrub, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. kyrub Augur

    kyrub
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    For me. the expansion should have taken care of too easy routes to victory. And the AI. On the very first place is the internal fonctionnality of the game, extra worms are nice but can wait.

    This is the point that makes the game boring after a while, you fire up the game, you spread some bases, you achieve pop-boom, you find fusion reactors, you bomb the world out with choppers. This could have been addressed easily, even innovatively with new features.

    Parts of the expansion go this way: you have something to counter Hunter-seeker algorithm, you have a defense against missiles. Nice, and it's the end of it. Because you get Cloudbase Academy SP as well, which makes Air power5x more overpowered. Instead of having an AI able to deal with probes, you have many unnecessary Probe enhancement facilities.

    Did they address the bad terraforming? Teach AI to simply use clean units to avoid mineral death? Force AI to have a probe defender in a base? Man, you've got new pirate AI starting on sea, it has a mineral bonus on sea. Great, I could not wait. What?? It was not taught to build Sea formers early!! - Some Firaxis stuff said, it was too hard to correct. You may succesfully doubt this statement from the perspective of the code itself.

    Bottom line: Holy cow, what a lazy, unfinished work.
     
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  2. DwarvenFood Arcane Patron

    DwarvenFood
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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    EDIT:
    Also, reading through this thread makes me want to replay the game.. what are the recommended settings for the modern PC, will turning DirectDraw off make it use the full resolution of the desktop, or does it just force windowed-mode.

    Can't wait to try it out.
     
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  3. Eyeball Arcane

    Eyeball
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    I found some things which make this game rise in my esteem, mainly putting cities in the ocean and the great amount of land improvements you can put down (as you said). I began messing around with forests and was pleasantly surprised to see that there's at least 1 building that gives you boni for having forests, meaning that yes, you can indeed play an ecohippie successfully in this game, as far as I can see.

    The other thing I found that I liked was the hilarious way the ultracapitalist Morgan declared war on my eco-communist dictatorship when he found it too socialist for his laissez-faire tastes. That was fun - what was less fun was the way he apparently had absolutely no idea what he got himself into, as my army dwarfed his, and I quickly beat his greedy ass into oblivion. The same went for the pirates - DOWed me for no apparent reason despite being vastly inferior militarily. AI DOES seem to need some tweaking, at least as far as not picking unwinnable fights is concerned.

    As far as the new factions in the expansion, you definitely seem to be correct about the aliens - I feel that they kinda mess up the diplomatic gameplay and they also seem to be way overpowered as far as the AI is concerned. In my first game, the aggressive alien faction destroyed 2 human AI factions in the first 150 turns or so!

    So yeah, I definitely see the appeal of this thing now. The factions have more personality than in Civ2 and it's fun seeing how you can change the planet from a barren, crappy-brown landscape to vista of lush forests. Or just stripmine the fuck out of it if you're playing as Morgan.
     
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  4. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    Tree Farm and Hybrid Forest. Building improvements in sea tiles is a major improvement over the Civ games, since it makes coastal cities an excellent option.
     
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  5. Eyeball Arcane

    Eyeball
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    Yup, I'm retracting my previous statement - while this game does indeed steal most of its features from Civ2, it adds enough of its own to be a highly enjoyable turn-based gaming experience.

    I'm playing with the expansion - is the expansion still decent if you just don't include any of the overpowered alien races or is the new content fundamentally unbalanced? Are there any mods which successfully balance the new content? And can I use kyrub's AI patch at all if I'm running the expansion or will it cause crashes?
     
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  6. kyrub Augur

    kyrub
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    My patch does not work with SMACX (expansion). On the other hand, it does not work well yet, apart from terraforming, so you don't miss anything. What you should certainly not miss is the unofficial anti-bug SMAC/X patch made by scient:

    :salute: http://rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=43832 :salute:


    (The download can be found here)
    Expansion with original factions, yeah I heard that recommended. Mods... ask somewhere, civfanatics, civgaming, weplayciv have active communities.
     
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  7. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    Well, it's made by Firaxis and it's supposed to be an offshoot of the Civ series. IIRC it was the first game made by Firaxis. (Wiki says it was the third)

    EDIT:

    Although marketed under Sid Meier's name, Civilization II, Sid Meier's Colonization and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri all credited Reynolds as lead designer. The credits for Civilization II and Alpha Centauri moreover imply that Meier had only advisory or peripheral participation.
     
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  8. Tails Arbiter

    Tails
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    kyrub, I :salute: you for making dreams come true.

    Even with the Standard races the game is really unbalanced, since the tech from expansion is still available.
     
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  9. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    Pity I don't AC on me now, but your initiative is awesome. Go on and make this even better, man! Can't wait until the AI learns to use its troops properly.

    Also, while I think the factions are nicely balanced, some ARE weaker than others. Namely, Morganites. Never had a game where they were a major threat to me. I usually see Super-Hives, Super-Spartans and Super-University, but never Super-Morgans. I remember a game where (University) I spent a good lot of the game in protacted total war against Spartans with nerve gas weapons and constant razing of cites (UN Charter was repealed. Helluva fun). I think the war was so EXTREME it only ended after I burnt every goddamn Spartan colony.
     
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  10. Calem Ravenna Scholar

    Calem Ravenna
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    For single player games, yes, the AI has no idea how to take advantage of Morganites' strengths. A straightforward approach of the AI just doesn't work for those and there's very little that can be done with that I'm afraid. In the hands of a player they're ridiculously powerful if managed properly.
     
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  11. MetalCraze Arcane

    MetalCraze
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    I had a game where Morganites were a powerful faction once. In fact they were the biggest faction in the game.

    Basically while all other factions were fighting each other Morganites quickly grew into a superpower with the financial resources of theirs, grabbing as much as 1/4 of the surface in the process.

    It took me quite an effort to win the war against them that inevitably had to start (in fact I think Morganites invaded me first) because they could easily hurry up their production and I, playing as Spartans, had troubles with money compared to them.

    I've built a huge army full of hovertanks and yet it simply wasn't enough and I was stuck halfway having to hold small passage between the continent where I was and the continent with the further territory of Morganites - until I've managed to build enough reinforcements to push anywhere.
     
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  12. kyrub Augur

    kyrub
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    Yeah, but it's clear that's more of an exception confirming the rule: AI Morganites are dumb.

    I must say I keep hitting the wall in my patch efforts, for various reasons. First, the AI in SMAC (Civ x-copy probably) is pretty complex compared with MoM. You may learn to drive a motorcycle, which does not necessary mean you'll be able to drive a tank. Ever. Second, some of the internal settings of the game were put so that they fit only half of the AI factions:
    1) aggressive expansion (Believers, Hive... Gaians to some extent)
    2) aggressive warfare (Spartans, Believers, Hive)
    3) focus on terraforming (Hive, University, Morganites, Peacekeepers)

    As you may see, Hive ticks all boxes in this. Not surprisingly, Hive keeps winning all my AI-test games. I am afraid its dominance gets even bigger with every new patch feature.

    I have tried to improve 1) and 3), more or less succesfully (less). Slight improvement for Morgan, big one for Hive. Now, either I totally change Morganites' behaviour (lots of small bases), or I am stuck. As for 2), I am getting more and more unimpressed by week armor in SMAC. Playing defensively is a certain way to hell, no matter how developped are Morgan bases. Maybe the biggest AI improvement could be: increase Synthmetal armor from 2 to 3 etc.


    Nice experiment: If anybody wants to have fun, try playing 7 Hive factions (change the 5 numbers in all faction txt files to Hive setting). The result should be interesting.
     
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  13. MetalCraze Arcane

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    Yeah Hive was already too powerful in vanilla as well. They can churn out whole armies in a blink of an eye and when they finally get clusters of cities invading Hive is like hitting the concrete wall with your head - so fast they reinforce their colonies.

    If Hive really gets even more powerful with your attempts to fix AI, maybe you should sacrifice some of those AI improvements because there will be no point in playing if one faction will constantly dominate
     
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  14. Malakal Arcane

    Malakal
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    Can you code custom building lists for AIs? This could help greatly.
     
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  15. Johannes Arcane

    Johannes
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    In a game vs AI, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have one enemy that will definitely be strong.
     
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    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
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  16. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    I've given the patch a spin. The AI factions (Spartans in my case) started building Tree Farms and Hybrid Forests. I'm not sure I've seen this before. Also, my air force was rendered almost completely useless. Every enemy and his brother had that AAA shit slapped on its ass.
     
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  17. MetalCraze Arcane

    MetalCraze
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    Same faction every time?
     
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  18. kyrub Augur

    kyrub
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    No no no. This is a misunderstanding and I have to explain it thouroughly.
    There are two basic types of distinction between the factions:

    1) The social agenda. Every faction has basic social settings with which it starts (Hive: -1 GROWTH etc.) and it has its preferences and dislikes. This shapes its Social engineering decisions and its diplomatic choices. It makes the "personnality" of the faction leader (along with the quotes etc.).

    2) The way AI plays. Everybody who's familiar with SMAC knows the AIs use different ways, timings of expansion, technological focuses, unit designs.
    Code:
    Human Hive, The Despot, Hive, M, 1, Yang, M,  1,  1, 0, 1, 0,
    Now, look at those 5 final numbers from txt files. These are ai_aggressivity, ai_power, ai_tech, ai_wealth, ai_growth inclinations. About 85% of what AI does is decided by these.


    My complaint: I love this AI diversity BUT the Hive combination (see above) seems to be by far the best. The SMAC game's mechanics do not give you enough balanced options to make this really work. Example: Having few big cities could have been better than having 30 smaller ones - but this does not work in SMAC, where bigger number of city bases rules. Expanding is always better (Morgan sucks). Terraforming is always better (Miriam and Deirdre sucks). Attacking units are always better (all non-aggressive factions suck).

    Bottom line: to make the AI better I probably need to make all factions play very similarly (but not identical, Metalcraze). Grrr. I dislike it.
     
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  19. kyrub Augur

    kyrub
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    So you see a change in AI behavior? Thanks a lot!
    I did not play SMAC for 3 years and I really don't remember.
     
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  20. kyrub Augur

    kyrub
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  21. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    Oh, and I lost the position of Planetary Governor. The AI factions united behind my leading contender (Spartans) and swamped me. Then, they repealed the UN Charter, which I didn't mind one bit.

    Is there any chance you could tell the AI "if you won't overlap your fucking bases, I won't raze them" or is it too much to ask?
     
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  22. taplonaplo Scholar

    taplonaplo
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    That's a smart move actually. Especially if it's capable of crawling now. It's not CiV 4, so no need to plant bases miles from each other.
     
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  23. MetalCraze Arcane

    MetalCraze
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    That sounds like a problem. Because some factions were designed to be non-warmongers (Zakharov) or late warmongers (Deirdre when she should get a shitton of worms). If everyone will just be fighting everyone that won't be too interesting
     
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  24. kyrub Augur

    kyrub
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    Back to your intial question: The best way would be: to teach Zakharov how to defend with counter-attacks and to teach Deirdre to farm worms. This is, sadly, technically unthinkable from my perspective. Then the choice is: either Hive wins 80% of time and we have the different AIs, or all factions will play more like the Hive.


    Surely, that is not a 100% truth and we can try to find a third way. To improve AIs cautiously without making them similar. Or to give Hive AI some internal strategical limitation, like make it unwilling to create many sea bases (AIs love them in my latest attempts and it seems to help them quite a bit).

    If there is some hope for non-aggressive AIs, it lies in Social engineering choices. Still, will players accept an AI Morgan running Green / Wealth, which is by far the best combination for him? :?
     
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  25. MetalCraze Arcane

    MetalCraze
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    If you can nerf Hive in order to give other nations a fighting chance - do it.

    Hive is already too powerful in vanilla anyway
     
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