Author Topic: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined  (Read 394 times)

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Offline bvanevery

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Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2019, 08:42:31 AM »
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  • MY 2232.  I'm gifted with Superconductor and Doctrine: Air Power on the same turn.  However air frames are expensive in my mod, even with a Skunkworks.  I shall prototype a Gatling Artillery instead, which will still take 3 turns.  Weapons and armor also increase greatly in expense, it's nonlinear.  Probably the mindworm is the best weapons deal now.  Whether this new regime of increasing expense is a problem, remains to be seen.  I haven't been playing version 1.28 of my mod for very long.

    MY 2236.  Realizing that the Pirates have almost completed the Virtual World, I'd say my Discover plan is not working.  I switch to Conquer, in the hopes of obtaining Advanced Military Algorithms.  In my mod that gives the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm and Covert Ops Center.  Having a free one of those in all of my cities could be useful.

    MY 2237.  WTH?  Morgan is now Pact Brother with the Cyborgs.  I went to war at the Cyborgs' behest!  Well that explains why the Cyborgs haven't been further devoured.

    Tactically, I'm doing ok.  Morgan can't seem to get past my defenses, and they're only improving.

    Strategically, I see an awful lot of city dots all over the minimap.  The Morganite cities didn't turn out to be small either.  Some of those cities have pretty big borehole production.  Not sure what to do about it, although I suppose it needs to be mindworms and probe teams somehow.  I don't like the idea of resorting to chemical or genetic warfare, but it might be necessary.  I'd need to get that legalized.  Sometimes it's easy, other times nobody wants it.

    I'll sleep on it.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #16 on: February 28, 2019, 04:52:21 PM »
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  • My thought this morning is that with -3 MORALE, Morgan might be a paper tiger.  My production is inadequate though.  I need to steal the Genejack Factory tech, build a few, then make a burst of units that can overwhelm the defense of a single city.  I don't think I can make enough money to just buy cities, as I am dealing with the Morganites.  I might be able to steal a fair amount of money though.

    MY 2240.  Floods are to rise to 400 meters.

    MY 2244.  Flooding has split my small civilization in half, severing my mag tube network because of an overflowing river system.  I have to be careful not to end any movement on the river, or my units will die next turn.  I've had to replay my turn 3 times due to gratuitous mouseclicking problems.

    I'm trying to build the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm but so are others.  We're into Fusion Power now.  Tactically I'm still safe, but I lack productivity.  I tried to build a rail network to get closer to Morgan's nearest city, but his air power and hovertanks put a stop to that.  I still haven't had time to make a hovertank probe team, which wouldn't be able to reach target anyways.  I do have ECM Fusion units now, but only enough for my defense, especially given the need to finish the HSA.

    Morgan is working on the Space Elevator and Conventional Missiles.  He has the productivity to make a lot of those.  If he starts shooting them at me instead of the Pirates, that may be the end of me.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #17 on: February 28, 2019, 05:36:13 PM »
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  • MY 2247.  I complete the HSA just before the Morganites and the Pirates were about to.  Now if I can just get my rail closer to Morgan, I can start stealing his tech.  I keep getting things from my faction ability, but Genejack Factories elude me.  I wonder if increasing my production is still the answer though.  Right now I'm building Hovertank Super Formers, to reconnect my rails.  I need to attack with my entire civilization against just 1 of Morgan's cities.  Maybe that will be enough.  The AI has the weakness of never building rails.

    I am having a weirdness where I'm suddenly unable to task switch between SMACX and anything else on my laptop.  I wonder if it is related to Secret Project videos?  I reactivated those recently.  I didn't have this problem with the stock .exe though.  I believe Thinker includes Scient's patches.  What if Scient's patch did something?

    Hmm, whatever is going on, it seems to have killed File Explorer.  Even with SMACX terminated, I can't switch between Firefox and the desktop.  Task Manager doesn't show any SMACX zombie process.  I wonder if the trial version of Malwarebytes is at fault.  Well the workaround so far has been a reboot.  I will try disabling Secret Project videos and see if the problem goes away.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #18 on: March 01, 2019, 06:52:17 AM »
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  • MY 2251.  As I'm about to assault one of those stupid probe teams with a Fusion Gatling Infantry, Morgan wants to talk.  He offers to call the whole thing off for a mere 150 credits!  It's a damn cheap price, and militarily, he hasn't managed to do a damn thing to me.  Yet.  Why should I see him as anything other than a game losing Existential threat though?  He's my big powerful continental neighbor.  I need to take him over and take him out.  I think his production advantage helps him, not me.  Pity to decline, but I really need to kill this guy.

    The Gatling gun finally makes those hovertank probe teams explode properly.  Technology is actually up to Missiles, but I've had no time to do anything at my Skunkworks.  Building a Hybrid Forest there, to make better use of the 2 boreholes.

    I infiltrate the Usurpers.  They don't have any new tech.

    The Morganites and the Pirates have launched a ridiculous number of Orbital Defense Pods recently.  Which all just got destroyed in a solar flare.  I hope those 2 keep whacking each other enough to get me a shot at killing the Morganites.

    MY 2252.  I have reconnected my rails, using new Super Hovertank Former units.  Morgan has only sent probe teams my direction, some of which have suicided against the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm.  I should be able to mop up what remains in a few turns.  I will have a Missile Infantry prototype completed next turn.

    MY 2253.  Flooding disconnected my rail again, but didn't destroy any Formers as I was building rails on high ground.  Hard to predict this stuff.  At least we're not Waterworld yet.  I wonder if we can vote to launch solar shade?  Problem is, Svensgaard is Governor and can veto.  He also completed the Empath Guild, so he will not be readily dislodged.

    MY 2254.  Svensgaard completes the Nethack Terminus, making me vulnerable to any Fusion probe teams he makes.  Fortunately, his probes have not been a real problem.  I acquire a number of techs from my faction ability, finally giving me Thought Control.  There's no downside to -4 RESEARCH as I'll never catch the tech leaders, short of outright conquest. 

    I switch a lot of production to Fission Super Formers on an Infantry chassis.  I need serious road laying capability, and these cost 30 instead of 40 for the Fusion Hovertank versions.  I have enough hovertanks to lay a basic road.  These can put the rails on top of it.  My production and economy simply suck too badly to make any factories.  I need to do more with cheaper units.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #19 on: March 01, 2019, 06:54:27 AM »
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  • MY 2257.  Flooding keeps on disrupting my rails and hence my invasion plan.  I only hope it's disrupting someone else's invasion plan too.  I played this turn almost but not quite being able to make a rail to the nearest Morganite city.  Then I realized one of my cities containing a substantial number of units was cut off due to flooding.  I replayed the turn, as I don't think my midnight brain is required to notice new gratuitous details like that.  Flooding is a drag!  It's not as bad as what I experienced in that Fission Armor test game, but this is still getting in my way and I don't want to be dealing with it much longer.

    I couldn't build a rail to their door, but I did get it close enough to send old infantry chassis fission probe team units in for sabotage and theft.  Failure rate threatens to be too high for targeted operations, so I just stir things up in there.  I also steal the 1 tech Morgan has that I don't.  Svensgaard is actually the tech leader now.  Perimeter Defense goes down... and then I realize they have the invulnerability of the Citizens' Defense Force.  Groan!  I went through this in the Fission Armor game as well.

    Well at least I've finally got Genejack Factories available.  They will take me forever to build though.  I've built up an awful lot of force, merely to take out 2 units in 1 city.  The flooding has been that disruptive, as well as my general production impoverishment.  I hope with what I've got, I eat away at Morgan's southern end without really being counterattacked by him.  Use up some units and get some support back.

    Hmm maybe I can take this city with mindworms this turn.  And if all my mindworms get destroyed, that's a good reason to stop bothering being Green.  I wouldn't mind having city growth again.

    A damn Sensor Array gets in my way, that I didn't previously see.  I pause the assault to get rid of it.  A probe team and an Elite Scout pillage it.  Dammit, there's a 2nd one that took me some time to figure out where it is.  A minerals icon was obscuring it in the city readout.  A fission Impact Battery is pretty useless at this point, so I send that.  My odds are improved, but I'm still going to lose the Demon Boil in the attack.  I'll check the rest of my inventory to see if I've got any Elite units lying around somewhere, that could do a better job attacking.

    Nope, that's a next turn thing, and only 1 such unit anyways.  Proceeding with the losses.  Despite the odds, the Demon Boil blows the defender completely up!  Guess the odds calculator was bogus in this case.  No losses as the other defender had no armor.  I send the rest of my probe teams to steal money and make a lot of dough!  120 credits a pop.

    I've put a massive number of troops into this new city.  Only real danger is getting nuked.  Or the enemy deciding to lob Conventional Missiles at my other cities that have Artifacts in them.  Saving my game just in case.  I didn't really want to pop my Artifacts just yet, but I will if they're otherwise going to be destroyed.

    Yeah, the Pirates took 1 cheap shot that way.  I reloaded my turn and moved my 6 artifacts to 1 city that has a viable air defense. 

    I was going to put a Punishment Sphere in this size 9 city, but with a +4 POLICE rating, my police are so amazing that I can just make a few and call it good.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #20 on: March 01, 2019, 10:02:38 AM »
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  • MY 2263.  By theft of Morgan's money, I surprisingly manage to build the Network Backbone in my capitol before the Pirates.  With -4 RESEARCH I'm not exactly sure what good it'll do me, but at least it won't help them.

    I seize the next city up the road, which contains the Merchant Exchange.  It took me quite some time to build a rail to its doorstep.  I think Morgan and Svensgaard must be in a permanent Orbital Defense Pod war.  I see a lot of them getting built every turn, and it would explain why no military units are really coming my way.  It says to me I'd prefer to take only Morgan's cities that have Secret Projects in them, as I want him to keep producing that stalemate.  The Pirates are the dominant power of the game; Morgan is just the threat closest to me to munge.

    One nice thing about taking this city, is I managed to do it without wrecking its infrastructure.  It's got a 27 minerals output.  Now for all I know, Morgan might destroy these boreholes imminently, but at least I've got a Genejack Factory.

    MY 2264.  I take a size 1 Caretaker sea base and precipitate a Treaty.  I get a massive payday going after a stack of mindworms attacking the Morganites.

    MY 2265.  Deirdre suddenly decides to hurl missiles at me.  No previous pattern of doing so.  I sign a Treaty with the Usurpers.  I've taken another Morganic city, although now I feel stretched thin.  The Pirates start attacking my Formers with their air force, so I retreat them to my homelands.  I decide to spend my big payday and complete all my Genejack Factories, for fear of losing that Morganic base I took over.  I don't want them getting any larger a chunk of cash from the conquest than necessary.

    And then...

    th th th th th th th thats all folks
    th th th th th th th thats all folks

    I don't know what exactly triggered Deirdre to start hitting me specifically with Conventional Missiles.  Maybe I stretched myself too thin and the AI sensed my weakness?  Maybe me signing Treaties with the Aliens changed the political status quo somehow?  All I know is I never had any direct physical interaction with Deirdre at all.  Nevertheless she stayed at war with me most of the game.  That made sense when I was Capitalist, but I've been Green for a long time.  Anyways it feels like a bit of an ass pull, and I'm definitely not willing to take further abuse.  If I could even recover from that, which I doubt.

    I always knew that someone could start hurling CMs at me, and that could be the end of me.  Part of me is surprised it took this long.  I guess other factions were busy fighting each other.

    Boreholes might be a great strategy compared to my usual drill.  It's probably been 2 years since I bothered with a "boreholes everywhere" style of play, trying to see how many I could pack into an empire.  It didn't really make any difference for beating the stock AI, so I didn't care to bother with it again.  I became more of a "Forest and forget" player.

    I am doubting the AI is made to pay the ecological cost of the boreholes and condensers, at all.  If I had an empire like I've seen the AI produce in this game, I think I'd be up to my neck in mindworms.  Indeed, taking that last Morganic city, I started getting a bunch of fungal pops.

    I could play another game to prove my point, trying to build an empire in the same style as the AI.  But I need to meditate a bit on what it's worth to me.  This feels like the AI is built around a massive ecological exploit in the AI's favor.

    Perhaps I should play my own mod, no Thinker, and see how long it takes me to completely trash the planet with boreholes and condensers.  Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

    I'd also like to understand some lines in thinker.ini:

    Code: [Select]
    ; Prioritize former/crawler/resource-lifting techs when selecting what to research.
    tech_balance=1

    This doesn't even make any sense except for the Alien factions.  Human factions should be doing blind research just like I'm doing.  And the correct focus for getting crawlers and boreholes, in my mod at least, is Build.  Factions are supposed to research whatever I tell them to research in the faction.txt files, not just any old stuff.  Factions either have a Build focus or they don't.

    Code: [Select]
    ; Set AI cost factors for mineral/nutrient production for each difficulty level respectively.
    ; All other difficulty level modifiers remain unaffected by this setting.
    cost_factor=13,12,11,10,8,7

    Is this some kind of resource cheat for the AI?  Like if you're on Transcend, make it suck double hard?  I wouldn't feel bad about losing to that.

    What I actually saw in play, is the AI seemed tactically as dumb as ever.  I mean, I survived an awfully long time as a puny empire, confronted by what should have been overwhelming force.

    However, Conventional Missiles are exceptional death weapons in my mod.  They can hit anything on the map no matter the distance.  It may take multiple turns for them to arrive somewhere, but not many, as they move 30.  They don't burn fuel, they can stay aloft indefinitely.  They are true ICBMs.  They're expensive, or at least I tried to make them so, relative to production levels I'm used to.  So if your production goes through the roof and you can spit these things out like spittle, well hey game over man.  I was proud of myself for raising their price above "the usual".  It cut down on all kinds of CM spam.  Now with Thinker, in my mod at least, the game is once again determined by CM spam.

    So there you have it.  Testing complete.  I scratch my head about what's fair and what's just cheating for the AI.

    Offline Induktio

    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #21 on: March 01, 2019, 11:20:57 AM »
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  • I'm not altering anything in the Thinker .ini.  Looking at it, the only thing that makes me wonder is:
    Code: [Select]
    ; Set AI cost factors for mineral/nutrient production for each difficulty level respectively.
    ; All other difficulty level modifiers remain unaffected by this setting.
    cost_factor=13,12,11,10,8,7
    I don't know what these do, or if these factors were in the original game.

    Well, that's an interesting story to say the least. Excessive sea level rise has been identified as a possible problem, that's why I recommend players lowering that "Numerator/Denominator for frequency of global warming" setting from alphax.txt.

    But I feel like I have to clarify cost_factor setting since you seem to complain about the resource cheats or whatever. In the standard game the AI always has a cost factor determined by the difficulty level relative to the players production cost which stays at 100%. The numbers are here: http://alphacentauri2.info/wiki/Difficulty

    In the cost_factor setting, these are just expressed as fractions of ten, like the game does. It can't have any more accuracy because the factor is actually the number of columns in the production box. E.g. 7 is 70% of human cost at transcend. In addition to mineral cost the factors also apply to the nutrients required for base growth. So that's all the resource bonuses the AI will get which should be the same than in the standard game. If they are somehow able to gain more production than this, it's probably a bug, but I haven't seen any evidence of that.


    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #22 on: March 01, 2019, 03:39:00 PM »
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  • Ok the production cost matches up fine.  I'm confused about whether nutrient costs are the same as in the original game, because the wiki doesn't talk about nutrient costs varying by difficulty level.  Nutrient cost differences are not something I've ever paid attention to.

    In my test game, I didn't find the global warming that I experienced to be excessive.  It is an annoying game mechanic though.  When you suffer global warming from something you did yourself, at least you as a player can feel you're suffering a consequence for your own actions.  But when it happens from stuff that other players are doing, that you can't basically control because the map is huge and the AI doesn't get tired of spamming cities, it feels like one is being griefed.  It was horrible with Fusion Armor mod and the stock binary, when I did a test game of that. 

    My biggest concern is if the AI is getting to do all kinds of borehole and condenser abuse, without suffering any ecological consequences for doing so.  If they can make empires that I can't, then we're not playing the same game.  I will try watching the AI play itself and see if the hordes of mindworms ever come to chew them up.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #23 on: March 01, 2019, 04:39:52 PM »
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  • I'm now watching an AI game that uses the same factions I had in my game.  New map.  One thing I'm realizing is that whichever AI completes the Weather Paradigm, gets to start on the deadly borehole stuff much sooner than the other factions.  In this game, Morgan started out trying to build it, and I don't know who else because I was watching Morgan expand.  But a little before MY 2181, the Data Angels completed it, so I'm going to switch to watching them now.

    Morganic AI loses Weather Paradigm race
    Morganic AI loses Weather Paradigm race

    MY 2181.  Morgan's empire is unremarkable from an eco-damage standpoint so far.  The AI has obviously done a good job of spreading on his large island, and he has built a fair number of Condensers.  I haven't seen any fungal pops, and I doubt it would be enough to trigger any mindworm hordes, if this were my own empire.

    Morgan is actually a weak player on the graph.  The Pirates and the Data Angels dominate, about even with each other.  I'm not surprised about the Pirates, as they have all those free sea minerals and a moat to keep anyone from messing with them.  They dominate in games with the stock binary too, ever since I made them pacifist and focusing on Wealth.  The Data Angels, well I guess that bears investigation.

    Data Angels AI completes the Weather Paradigm
    Data Angels AI completes the Weather Paradigm

    They are on the northwest portion of a large continent.  The Caretakers are neighbors at some distance east and they are at war.  To the southeast, the Pirates have made some land encroachment, but they are primarily at sea and not a naval threat to the Angels.  It's actually exactly like my own game, when I was the Angels.

    The Angels have substantially more Condensers than the Morganites at this point.  It makes me wonder if they started on inherently wetter land, and I'm seeing an amplifying effect of early nutrient advantages.  The Angels have much more tech than the Morganites, due to their faction ability.  They have obtained Environmental Economics, so they don't have energy restrictions anymore.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #24 on: March 01, 2019, 05:07:13 PM »
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  • Data Angels AI begins building Boreholes
    Data Angels AI begins building Boreholes

    MY 2196.   The Data Angels have obtained Industrial Automation.  Maybe they got it the turn before; things were whizzing by the screen.  I don't quite understand how they could have gotten a Supply Crawler this very same turn, but they do have 1 active.  9 in production.  I count 6 Borehole sites started.  It's mildly interesting that having the Weather Paradigm didn't trigger them to produce Boreholes, even though they could have.

    The number of Condensers that have been built is truly obsessive.  They don't seem to be used to make a general area wetter.  Rather, they are used to make specific tiles produce a lot of food.  They're quite redundant from a general aeration standpoint.  I don't know how much eco-damage this number of Condensers would do, but I know they do some eco-damage.  I've seen no fungal pops at all.  The Angels have chosen Democratic Socialist Wealth and have +0 PLANET, so maybe that's legit.  They have 5 Tree Farms and a fair amount of forest sprinkled throughout their empire.

    Nobody else knows Industrial Automation yet.  The Angels are 1st.  In my mod it's required for constructing Boreholes.  That fits the lore, as the quote for the tech is all about boreholes.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #25 on: March 01, 2019, 05:19:34 PM »
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  • a single locust
    a single locust

    MY 2202.  A locust appears atop some fungus in the water.  It might have been a fungal pop.  Difficult to tell with things going by quickly.  I see 2 Boreholes completed.  Multiple Formers will work on a single Borehole site, which may explain the speed at which these got completed.  I see up to 3 Formers working a site.  The Weather Paradigm is also going to prove valuable now, seriously accelerating the speed at which these get built.  Looks like it takes 16 turns instead of the usual 24.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #26 on: March 01, 2019, 05:46:30 PM »
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  • Angels have Trump in charge of the EPA
    Angels have Trump in charge of the EPA

    MY 2210.  Massive numbers of Supply Crawlers are working the conventional Mines of the Angels' empire.  This alone should be causing massive eco-damage, but it isn't.  I count 10 Boreholes completed.  I've seen no fungal pops at all.  I no longer believe that Locust was from a fungal pop, I think it just wandered in from somewhere and happened to cross a fungal sea square.  I saw another Locust do that one turn elsewhere.  In this particular future, global warming is clearly a hoax, and the Data Angels have obviously bribed Planet's mindworms not to get in the way of business as usual.

    Still a Democratic Socialist Wealth regime, +0 PLANET.  12 Tree Farms.  The highest level of eco-damage that any city lists, is 8.  The highest minerals outputs are 32, 29, 26, and 25.  I think the AI is getting a pass on eco-damage, but I haven't tried to build a comparable empire in awhile, so I don't know for sure.  Seems like I have to come up with Hybrid Forests and Centauri Preserves to keep things from going crazy.  Well at least now I have some target output levels in mind, if I do my own eco-damage test game to see what abuse I suffer.

    I could just take over this faction and see if the eco-damage changes.  However I want to see what kind of military threat this AI turns into.  I can have my cake and eat it too, if I just save the game, take it over, observe any new eco-damage, and then reload when done checking.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: playtest of Thinker and AI Growth mods combined
    « Reply #27 on: March 01, 2019, 06:04:17 PM »
  • Publish
  • Um, yeah.

    for me this does 25 eco damage
    for me this does 25 eco damage

    After taking over, I identified the worst offending city.  I certainly didn't see anything doing 25 eco-damage before.

    for the AI this does 8 eco damage
    for the AI this does 8 eco damage

    Then I switched it back. Eco-damage drops by a factor of 3X!

    The game cheats like a mad dog.  For eco-damage, it gives special dispensation to the AI factions.  Now in the stock game, not such a big deal, since the AI isn't that good at terraforming.  But Thinker mod is built to exploit terraforming to the hilt.  I will say unwittingly, it has leveraged a huge exploit in the AI's favor.

    I personally don't want to play a game where the AI is simply given a gratuitous 3X resource advantage over me.  While requiring me to ape its play style to keep up, no other choice because it's pretty much the golden path through the game.   Mindworms popping all over the place are difficult and painful, and the AI is not facing them at all.  Nevermind the flooding that results, which is a complete drag.  I strongly recommend, chasing down every last egg, every last slimy one, until they are all cooked to a smoking husk.  That species, will be exterminated, I tell you.  Exterminated!

    Seriously, please consider fixing this nightmare.  The AI should have to play by the same eco-damage rules that I do.  It's already got adjustable resource buffs, it shouldn't have this one built in.  I know it's probably the stock binary that did this, not your fault, but your AI terraforming improvements have seriously exposed this defect in the game.

     

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