Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 26217 times)

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Offline Rocky

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #750 on: July 14, 2019, 12:11:47 AM »
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  • Have you tried running the Pirates without the Explore setting? The research priorities may have an effect on the building preferences for an AI.

    The vanilla Pirate AI has always seemed weird like that with its transports and sea formers.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #751 on: July 14, 2019, 04:47:42 AM »
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  • Have you tried running the Pirates without the Explore setting?

    In vanilla SMAC the Pirates are an Erratic, Explore, Conquer faction.  I think I had them that way in version 1.0, which doesn't have any CHANGELOG notes for it.  In version 1.1 they became a pure Conquer faction, and this was true through version 1.7.  In 1.8 they become an Erratic, Explore, Build faction.  In version 1.20 I changed their personality to Passive.  It's been way too long for me to have a clear idea what they were like when they weren't Explore.  I think I may have tried them without Explore at one point, and thought they didn't do well, so I kept them as Explore.  But things change, and who knows how they'd behave now?

    Morgan down with death
    Morgan down with death

    Morgan is quite ok with -2 GROWTH.  MY 2271.

    The Pirates are freaking out with a depressing 117 Transports though.

    I removed the Synthmetal Skirmisher from the predefined units and ran a new test game.  Lo and behold, Transport production returns to sanity!  I'll watch further games to see if this holds.

    My theory is that AIs in these games often deal with "the Transport problem" by just sort of shuffling stuff around and producing according to perceived needs.  Like a ship moves "somewhat" towards a pickup target, but it's not really committed to doing so.  I read this in some development article somewhere over the years.  It's a way of dealing with the amphibious problem without spending a lot of development energy actually trying to solve anything.

    Another test game... so much for that theory.  MY 2280.  165 Transports!

    Trying the no Explore, Build only idea.  MY 2225.  Transports are reasonable, but only 14 sea bases, much less than usual.  Morganites are trying to Corner The Energy Market.  Need to go back a turn and find out what it cost them.  About 1200 credits.  So unfortunately, getting rid of ECONOMY and JUSTICE penalties isn't enough.  The Morganites just have too hot of a head start.  The turn before they started the Cornering, they had a +4 ECONOMY from Democratic Capitalist.  They eschewed Wealth.  After starting the Cornering they dropped Capitalist.  That's a little weird.


    « Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 07:29:30 AM by bvanevery »

    Offline Rocky

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #752 on: July 14, 2019, 12:12:53 PM »
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  • It's good to hear that transports seems to be less now with Build. If you wish, you could try to give the Pirates Build and Conquer (either Peaceful or Erratic), the latter priority may make the AI more expansionistic.

    What do the Pirates start with? Do they already have a pre-defined transport or do they get it later?

    For the Morganites, you could potentially move the economic victory condition further up the tech tree to delay it, or bring back some of his handicaps like Hab Complexes.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #753 on: July 14, 2019, 05:21:36 PM »
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  • It's good to hear that transports seems to be less now with Build. If you wish, you could try to give the Pirates Build and Conquer (either Peaceful or Erratic), the latter priority may make the AI more expansionistic.

    And Conquer may also just spawn Transports all over again.  Another problem is it's against my intent for the Pirates.  They will focus on getting weapons instead of going straight up the Build tree and pursuing Wealth.  I will see how they do as a pure Build faction for a few test games.

    Quote
    What do the Pirates start with?

    They start with C1 Doctrine: Flexibility.

    Quote
    Do they already have a pre-defined transport or do they get it later?

    Everyone who learns C1 Doctrine: Flexibility gets the predefined Transport unit.  This is true in the original game.  One has to be very careful about messing with original game units.  Now who knows, maybe if it's disabled and the unit designer simply has to make a Transport, there won't be an obsession anymore?  I suppose that's worth experimenting with.

    Quote
    For the Morganites, you could potentially move the economic victory condition further up the tech tree to delay it,

    That's what I'm currently working on.  I'm thinking all the way up to Orbital Power Transmitters.

    Quote
    or bring back some of his handicaps like Hab Complexes.
    It's not strictly a Morganic problem.  I suspect that anyone could buy the victory cheaply, if only they made the right ECONOMY choices.  We see the Morganic AI do it because they get a high ECONOMY easily.  A human player can probably do it with other factions, which is unacceptable.

    Offline Rocky

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #754 on: July 14, 2019, 05:49:01 PM »
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  • And Conquer may also just spawn Transports all over again. Another problem is it's against my intent for the Pirates.  They will focus on getting weapons instead of going straight up the Build tree and pursuing Wealth.  I will see how they do as a pure Build faction for a few test games.

    Good point. Yeah, in that case it's best to keep it on Build-only for now.

    I remember that in vanilla Alien Crossfire Cha Dawn and Miriam had the same problems with overproducing transports as well (Both used Explore and Conquer) but not in every game. They had a tendency to do it when they had sea bases or were at war with more distant factions. It's probably something that gets triggered in certain conditions. For the Pirates it might be worse because they can't move ground units freely between their bases without transports.

    The explanation in your earlier post about the AI and transports not really committing to pick up units might very well be the cause.

    Quote
    That's what I'm currently working on.  I'm thinking all the way up to Orbital Power Transmitters.

    Sounds great.

    Quote
    It's not strictly a Morganic problem.  I suspect that anyone could buy the victory cheaply, if only they made the right ECONOMY choices.  We see the Morganic AI do it because they get a high ECONOMY easily.  A human player can probably do it with other factions, which is unacceptable.

    Good point. In that case delaying the victory condition might be the best solution.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #755 on: July 14, 2019, 06:38:06 PM »
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  • Like many factions, the Believers and the Cult of Planet have Explore, Conquer as their research foci.  However unlike the Pirates, they are land powers.  I suspect that the inclusion of lots more land in my mod, at least when playing on recommended settings, keeps them from going crazy.  If correct, then bad behavior might manifest if one chooses to play a water world.  But if one chooses that, so be it.  I can't have a water world as a standard test case, as I don't have that much control over the internal workings of the game.

    The Pirates are also an AQUATIC faction, and for all I know, their Transport code might be different from other factions.  The 3 faction types are standard (no particular label), AQUATIC, and ALIEN.  The latter 2 were added in the Alien Crossfire expansion pack.  The ALIEN factions seem to do water colonization fairly consistently, and they do a better job of it than the original game code.

    I wonder if the ALIEN factions are also prone to generating ridiculous numbers of Transports?  They start on land though, so getting a small island start where they go watery, takes some doing.  Wouldn't show up very often with my default settings, and most likely they'll just be runted and killed.  The Pirates building 167 Transports is of course a sign of some kind of success.  The problem being how egregiously wasteful and pointless it is.

    Current plan for Economic Victory is B9 Global Energy Theory, which gives Orbital Power Transmitters.  It's a big delay and lore-wise feels correct.  Hey if you haven't gotten Economic Victory by then, with OPTs you jolly well should!  Cheap economic victory is pretty weird to me, as whenever I've been contemplating it, I've typically seen costs of 60K to 100K credits.  I probably wasn't thinking about doing it early game.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #756 on: July 14, 2019, 08:31:37 PM »
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  • MY 2361.  Build-only Pirates have built 185 Transports!  They also built 97 Isles of the Deep, which is more rational.  They are the dominant faction of the game, so Build clearly isn't a long term dealbreaker.  I did reintroduce the Synthmetal Skirmisher and they have 41 of those.  I can try again without it.

    The SE choices were weird.  1st time I pressed "E", they said Democratic Capitalist Survival Eudaimonic.  When I pressed "E" again, they said Fundamentalist Green.  I don't know what's up with that.  In either case I surmise that they don't want MORALE penalties while in a war.  They are at war with 3 factions.

    In another test game without Synthmetal Skirmishers, the Pirates only made 18 Transports.  In MY 2357 they had made 237 Isles of the Deep.  They also had the Pholus Mutagen and the Dream Twister, so this is pretty rational.  Government is Democratic Socialist Wealth Cybernetic.  The Data Angels are equal on the graph and they have a Truce.  Their technological level of attainment is B8 Nanometallurgy, so I think my redesign of the late Build tree to be a "straight ramp" is working.

    A few years later in MY 2363, the Pirates and the Data Angels are at war.  The Pirates have gone to Fundamentalist Green Survival Cybernetic.  They have got the prereqs for B9 Global Energy Theory but have researched 2 other Tier 9 techs.  I expect they'll get it soon.  I am wondering if things like "237" Isles is a screen printing error rather than a bona fide number.  Now the numbers show as 19 active, 35 in production, 82 lost.  That's a large number of units, but that's quite a bit less than previously stated.

    In MY 2371, the Pirates learn B9 Global Energy Theory.  It would cost them 190,116 credits to Corner The Energy Market.  They have 0 ECONOMY and +1 JUSTICE.  I take control of the Pirates and switch to Democratic Capitalist Wealth Eudaimonic, which gives me +3 ECONOMY and and +3 JUSTICE.  This cheapens the cost to 140,645 credits.  Of course it's prohibitive and isn't going to happen with the Pirates on their current trajectory.

    Additionally, the Data Angels have built a modest number of Orbital Defense Pods, 5 so far.  The Pirates are not in a position to dominate space and win with piles of Orbital Power Transmitters, assuming the AI actually knows how to do this.  In other games that got to an orbital race, I've seen vast numbers of ODPs built by both sides as a typical outcome.  Also as a human player, it's simply not possible to beat the AI's ODP output at this point in the game.  Ground intervention is required, to prevent ODPs from being launched in the 1st place.
    « Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 04:46:41 AM by bvanevery »

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #757 on: July 15, 2019, 06:24:48 AM »
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  • Well, crap.  New test game, MY 2300, Pirates have built 170 Transport Foils.  Looking at individual city support, that number looks credible.  They are at war with 3 factions and are #2 on the graph after the University.  Their government is Democratic Green Wealth.  They have 35 sea bases.  That alone proves that Build only is a perfectly good research focus for them, and the tests have been consistently showing them as the #1 or #2 faction over time.

    I guess now I start trying to remove the predefined Transport unit.

    The results are that without a predefined Transport unit, they won't get designed.  I even tried making a predefined Infantry Transport unit, just to establish the Transport module as already prototyped.  It didn't help.

    New theory on the nature of the problem.  Once upon a time, I cheapened the cost of a Foil chassis.  In vanilla it's 4, in my mod it's 3.  I think the AI has decided that a Transport is an incredible cost deal.  Fortunately I have a remedy: raise the cost of a Transport module.  Hopefully I find a threshold where the AI isn't enticed anymore.

    Another way to change costs, is to assign a cost to the predefined Transport unit itself.  In vanilla SMAC, the cost is set to be autocalculated.  I'm still testing, but a value of "6" seems to deter the AI.  For reference, an Isle of the Deep costs "8" and a Locust of Chiron costs "10".

    In a test game, MY 2307, the Morganites gain B9 Global Energy Theory.  They are Unsurpassed but the University and the Pirates are close competitors.  They have a +3 ECONOMY and +4 JUSTICE.  It would cost them 9622 credits to Corner The Energy Market.  Taking control of them, I change their ECONOMY to +5 and proceed to the next turn, but it still seems to cost the same.

    Meanwhile with the Pirates, I made the Unity Transport available with Doctrine: Initiative.  In my mod this is simply a Transport with a radar on it.  I was hoping that if I changed the unit slot number, the AI might become more reasonable.  No luck!  It built 248 of them.
    « Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 09:54:56 PM by bvanevery »

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #758 on: July 16, 2019, 04:25:06 PM »
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  • By adding a Synthmetal Foil and a 3-Pulse Foil as defensive predefined units, I have managed to divert the Pirates' obsession with building Synthmetal Sentinels, into an obsession with building defensive sea ships.  This is much more useful to them.  The land powers also build some of these units in their coastal cities and go after the Pirates!  There's quite a violent war raging on the seas in my current test game, primarily between the Pirates and the Hive.  The latter started on the Monsoon Jungle and seems to be the hegemon of the game.

    Changing the AI's general production practices, by providing other units for it to build and obsess over, is a general strategy worth exploring.

    Unfortunately I think it's no longer effective in the Fusion era, because predefined units are interpreted as Fission units, far as I can tell.  I'm not confident that the AI will upgrade any particular designs.  Especially, my Police units all disappear in the Fusion era.  But hey, at least I get them this far, and units are not necessarily upgraded or disbanded.  I've seen plenty of test games where piles of the old Fission Police units are still hanging around.

    Jade Dragon has pointed out how severe even a -2 JUSTICE Penalty is, to Economy and Labs production farther than 16 squares from the capitol.  Consequently, I have changed the Power penalty to -2 GROWTH.  The AIs seem to accept it just fine.  The story idea is people are getting killed in wars and political disappearances.

    Offline Rocky

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #759 on: July 16, 2019, 05:55:46 PM »
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  • Nice to hear you're making progress, bvanery. Thanks for the updates.

    Maybe I missed it, but did you make any progress on a solution for the Pirates not building any sea formers?

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #760 on: July 16, 2019, 11:09:56 PM »
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  • Yeah, it actually wasn't hard, and I have no idea why they do it differently in vanilla SMAC.  From my current CHANGELOG:
    Quote
    - Sea Formers: renamed from [sic] "*Sea Formers", and now available with B2 Industrial Base.  For some reason this unit wasn't getting designed until midgame, typically in the late 2200's.  Even in vanilla SMAC, the problem exists.  In original SMAC the tech for this unit is set to Disable, which implies that something else triggered the design of a Sea Former. 

    I have freed up Progenitor Psych.  I don't need it as an E1 tech anymore.  I'm trying to decide what to do with it.  In games without the Aliens, it is useless.  I also have to be careful about giving anything with it, because the Aliens will get it at the start of the game.  Someone did a mod where they made a completely optional part of the tech tree, that doesn't exist if the Aliens aren't in the game.  However when I tried setting it up that way, I found that no entry appeared in the Datalinks.  That's not a feature.  I'm still contemplating this one.

    Oh wait I think I remember how it was done.  The User Technology was used as prereq.  That way, only factions that start with the tech have it.  This could be done in general with any tech that one wanted to make faction specific.  Although the general problem is, having techs and gewgaws that can be completely out of the game.

    Quite awhile ago I reinstated the deactivated Global Energy Theory and Inertial Damping, even getting their quotes and dialogues to work.  I've never done the same with the User Technology though.  Its icon is a light bulb with a number 9 in it.  A bit goofy, but if anything, it seems appropriate for a Discover tech.  Thing is, I've never needed another Discover tech in the tree.  There aren't that many Discover gewgaws compared to other stuff.

    Oops, clicking around on those tech icons in the Datalinks seems to crash the game.

    prereqs are None, FldMod
    prereqs are None, FldMod

    I found a way to do it without a bug in the Datalinks.  1st tech requirement needs to be set to "None".  2nd tech requirement needs to be set to any valid tech.  Then it will appear in the Datalinks like the picture above.
    « Last Edit: July 17, 2019, 12:36:53 AM by bvanevery »

    Offline Vidsek

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #761 on: July 17, 2019, 02:31:05 AM »
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  •   Wow, cool research bvanevery!  You've uncovered and documented for us a buncha stuff quickly here.  Thankee!

     I've always been suspicious of that * before sea former in the UNITS section of alphax.  Never got around to playing with it, tho.
    All this talk of fungus and worms makes me hungry...

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #762 on: July 17, 2019, 03:11:01 AM »
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  • Pity my prereq trick doesn't work like I thought.  It merely suppresses the appearance of a dependency in the Datalinks.  A tech with a 2nd prereq is still researchable in the game.  Back to the drawing board.

    Offline Rocky

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #763 on: July 17, 2019, 07:34:31 PM »
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  • I was already looking forward to the next version but now I'm looking forward to it even more! I'm happy to hear the sea former problem with the Pirates was fixed. I like having the Pirates in the game because they add variation to the factions, but I had stopped using them because of their sea former problem.

    ===

    I haven't been able to play as much with my Caretaker game but I'm still enjoying it very much. It's 2413 and it feels each of the leading factions have their own identity now. I've started pop-booming around 6 years ago and the Peacekeepers are still keeping up with me. They have sea bases around the globe, over half of them fully developed because they've been building lots of sea formers.

    Peacekeepers have large bases and a tech output (1400 per turn) that surpasses everyone, including me.

    Morganites are slightly below the Peacekeepers but have the most energy reserves and the highest gold per turn.

    The Hive has ended their war against the Consciousness and are now in "peace" mode. They are running Capitalist/Wealth/Cybernetic, and have a respectable 700 tech per turn.

    The Consciousness is half the size of the Peacekeepers but have succeeded in becoming the technology leaders on Planet.

    The Usurpers are close to elimination but they're putting up fierce resistance. I've counted over a dozen Gatling Cruisers (inflicting heavy losses on my northern fleet) and nearly two dozen Gatling/Missile Infantry/Artillery used against me within the last 10-15 years. The Morganites broke their Pact with the Usurpers and are now wreaking havoc on them from the south while the remnants of my naval fleet are sweeping in from the north.

    The University has been kind of forgotten after I chased them off my continent; they have a small sea empire somewhere in the west. As long as they don't start building Planet Busters I'll probably ignore them.


    I've been at war with all human factions almost since the beginning of the game. Morgan, Lal and Zakharov declared war on me around 2160 and the other two human factions declared war on me before I even met them! Peace has become impossible as after 300 years of constant warfare none of the humans are willing to talk to me. Although at this stage there's not much to gain from peace anymore.


    My attempt to dominate the oceans failed. The Morganites and Peacekeepers have seeded the oceans with native life forms supported by a few Cruisers. Even my Resonance/Trance Cruisers can't stand up to their endless attacks. (The AI is surprisingly good in sniping my ships) I've retreated back to my territory.

    I want to try and breed Demon Locust Swarms and support them with a stockpile of missiles. If I can use the missiles to take out the toughest defenders and my Locusts to mop up any weaker units I might finally be able to force a breakthrough in this war. It's also the only option I have left as the oceans are closed off to me now.


    Having lots of fun with this game and your mod. I can honestly say the most fun with this game I had in years!


    « Last Edit: July 17, 2019, 08:31:13 PM by Rocky »

     

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