Author Topic: SMACX Thinker Mod  (Read 33227 times)

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Online bvanevery

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Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #150 on: December 20, 2018, 05:30:54 PM »
When assaulting neighbor see if they have strong psi defense. If not - build worms, otherwise not.

Not correct.  Successful use of mindworms on offense is usually a combined arms operation, not a monolithic attack.  There's a stage during city siege at which you throw mindworms, because now you're fighting units that aren't strong enough to stand up to them.  If something has Psi defenses, you just have to weaken those units first in some other way.  This is no different from ECM defenses, or AAA defenses.  Combined arms is the way you take all these buffs down.

You might not want to build mindworms for offensive assault, if you yourself have pathetically weak mindworms.  Like your PLANET rating is negative and you don't have Biology Labs etc. to level up what you produce.

Even still, weak mindworms are a good bush scouting and defense option.  The stock AI likes to sneak across big fields of fungus, and this is complete disaster for them if you bring a couple mindworms to intervene.  Having the mindworms be terribly strong is not all that important here, because likely to survive and level up, just getting fed all these human sacrifices.  A better AI would both plan to utilize these death traps as home defense, and also would be wiser about blundering into them.

I'm sure people could write better AI all day if they had a clear foundation to work from.  My point is that these AI problems are difficult, not simply reduced to cranking this setting up or down as a pass filter.  I'm sure Induktio knows that already and is allocating his efforts accordingly.

Defensive units, is more about cranking a pass filter up or down, as you suggest.  There's not as much tactics to defense, as you're just trying to withstand a siege that might be a complete ambush, no preparation on your part.  "Stack with cheap Trance units" is a good countermeasure to a mindworm spawning faction, or a mindworm apocalypse.

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #151 on: December 20, 2018, 05:41:34 PM »
When assaulting neighbor see if they have strong psi defense. If not - build worms, otherwise not.

Not correct.  Successful use of mindworms on offense is usually a combined arms operation, not a monolithic attack.  There's a stage during city siege at which you throw mindworms, because now you're fighting units that aren't strong enough to stand up to them.  If something has Psi defenses, you just have to weaken those units first in some other way.  This is no different from ECM defenses, or AAA defenses.  Combined arms is the way you take all these buffs down.

You might not want to build mindworms for offensive assault, if you yourself have pathetically weak mindworms.  Like your PLANET rating is negative and you don't have Biology Labs etc. to level up what you produce.

Even still, weak mindworms are a good bush scouting and defense option.  The stock AI likes to sneak across big fields of fungus, and this is complete disaster for them if you bring a couple mindworms to intervene.  Having the mindworms be terribly strong is not all that important here, because likely to survive and level up, just getting fed all these human sacrifices.  A better AI would both plan to utilize these death traps as home defense, and also would be wiser about blundering into them.

I'm sure people could write better AI all day if they had a clear foundation to work from.  My point is that these AI problems are difficult, not simply reduced to cranking this setting up or down as a pass filter.  I'm sure Induktio knows that already and is allocating his efforts accordingly.

Defensive units, is more about cranking a pass filter up or down, as you suggest.  There's not as much tactics to defense, as you're just trying to withstand a siege that might be a complete ambush, no preparation on your part.  "Stack with cheap Trance units" is a good countermeasure to a mindworm spawning faction, or a mindworm apocalypse.

Well, come on! I didn't mean to give specific tactical advice. Just to find out if this is possible or plausible at all. So read my "build worms" as "build more worms than usual", etc.
Tim

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Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #152 on: December 20, 2018, 07:42:31 PM »
Well, come on! I didn't mean to give specific tactical advice. Just to find out if this is possible or plausible at all. So read my "build worms" as "build more worms than usual", etc.

In general it's not a good idea for an AI to build units it doesn't really know how to use, and doesn't have a firm plan for using.  The stock SMAC AI isn't that smart about such things.  For instance if you crank up the Scenario Editor and watch AI vs. AI games from an Omniscient view, you'll see lots of units being manufactured and lots sent out into the wilderness to wander around.  It is incredibly and egregiously wasteful.  It runs cities out of SUPPORT.  It is not effective at stopping a human player from seizing cities.  How many times have you attacked a city, and wondered "Where are all those other units it's supposed to be supporting?  I didn't have to fight that many."  Well they're out in the bush being stupid.

So no, please don't ever recommend producing anything offensive unless it is known how it's going to get used.  Defense, it's much easier to crank up a setting that will help.  That's the main point I was trying to make, despite the number of words spilled on the "offensive" side of the equation.  Gotta convince people why it is so.

Every offensive thing built is a choice, that consumes production, and can be very very stupid.  Like planes in the stock .exe that just mill around doing nothing important.  The AI builds such sheer quantities of those planes, that it could take down entire empires with them, if only it knew how to use them properly.

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #153 on: December 21, 2018, 01:09:37 PM »
It turned out that AI does not attack well with native nor it defends well against them by mean of building cheap units with trance/song.
Did you pay attention to it in your mod? This alone would give AI great advantage if it can assess current situation and shift toward building normal or native attackers/defenders. I.e. when enemy sends waves of worms - build more cheap trance/song units, otherwise not. When assaulting neighbor see if they have strong psi defense. If not - build worms, otherwise not.

Would creating predefined units with these abilities help AI?
Yeah, so currently the AI has no logic for adapting the production to counter any specific enemy units. It just builds a little bit of everything. At least in the unmodded game I feel the worms are a little too weak, so the AI does not put much emphasis in producing them. Generally they need to have at least some kind of a faction/tech psi bonus before the worms are even considered for production. One good thing with the worms is that they don't need support when sitting in fungus, but this logic would also have to be coded in the movement AI. The prototype picker puts some extra value on trance/empath units, but this bonus is not adapted to the current game situation. Sometimes it might be pretty irrelevant, sometimes really useful.

There's at least one case where predefined units might be really helpful: if the AI knows how to use the unit properly but the prototype planner does not auto-design any comparable unit for some reason. Otherwise the results might be a little hit and miss.

Speaking of worm wars, I didn't see any AI in the latest version switching from FM to Green, even on the brink of collapse under worm waves.
Does the stock AI actually understand when its losing many units to psi attacks and try to increase the planet rating because of that? Not sure really. Anyway, the SE selection will get some further tweaks when I'll get back to it. Defining the conditions for when to increase the planet rating because of the psi attacks might be a little tricky though. It's just generally these strategies are a little bit rock-paper-scissors, so you can't go all in rock because then it would be vulnerable to paper and so on.

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #154 on: December 21, 2018, 02:32:51 PM »
Otherwise the results might be a little hit and miss.

I agree. I am not telling about making AI smarter at all. This is too big of a task for modding at least. Any attempts to make AI perform better boils down to giving it a right tool that it would stupidly use without thinking and yet succeed.
:)
Tim

Offline PvtHudson

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #155 on: December 22, 2018, 06:44:45 AM »
Does the stock AI actually understand when its losing many units to psi attacks and try to increase the planet rating because of that? Not sure really.
In stock AI I noticed only one pattern of "military situation - SE choice" kind, and fairly detrimental to him: after losing a base to mind-control, AI would often switch to Fundie, clear over-reaction in most cases. IMHO, this calls for a more generalized approach: in time of peace, choose SE maximizing growth, economy, research, etc; in time of war (and this means real danger, not some empty vendetta from a faction half a globe away), maximize morale, support, planet, etc. Mixed character of most choices makes this a little difficult, so basically "many enemy units in my territory - switch out of Demo/FM/Wealth and into PS or Fundie/Green/Power".

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #156 on: December 27, 2018, 02:48:30 PM »
Induktio,
More on generic "Probe team actions" topic.
Barring HSA, probe team success rate depends on unit morale only and not own or opponent's PROBE rating. Since middle game most probe teams are Elite as it is very easy to raise their morale level by various means. Elite probe destroys defensive facilities (perimeter, tachyon) with 75% success rate. As they are so cheap destroying enemy defensive facilities in front of your army becomes a very effective strategy. The problem here is that AI does not use it massively while human does. It essentially renders AI defensive facilities useless against human player.
As your mod targets AI improvement do you consider modding this aspect of the game? If yes, there could be multiple ways to do it starting with those I pull from the top of my head in this post.
http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21129.msg117489#msg117489
Tim

Offline PvtHudson

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #157 on: December 28, 2018, 05:04:07 AM »
The problem here is that AI does not use it massively while human does.
In my games on Thinker difficulty, AI definitely builds tons of probe teams (albeit without Algorithmic Enhancement, but with armor, Hypnotic Trance, Comm Jammer). Though he uses them not so smartly, they are a force to be reckoned with; a couple of defensive probes in border bases aren't sufficient.
Having said that, changes to probe system are begging. This is evidenced by frequency with which those proposals arise.

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #158 on: December 28, 2018, 02:34:51 PM »
The problem here is that AI does not use it massively while human does.
In my games on Thinker difficulty, AI definitely builds tons of probe teams (albeit without Algorithmic Enhancement, but with armor, Hypnotic Trance, Comm Jammer). Though he uses them not so smartly, they are a force to be reckoned with; a couple of defensive probes in border bases aren't sufficient.
Having said that, changes to probe system are begging. This is evidenced by frequency with which those proposals arise.

I didn't mean AI doesn't build them. It does all right: buys bases, steal technologies, incite drone revolt, assassinate researchers, even destroy random buildings. It does not destroy specific defensive structure targets. I never saw that.
Target destroying defensive facilities is relatively easy to do: Veteran 34/25, Commando 34/40, Elite 50/50. The effect of this is tremendous: you lose 3-5 times less units capturing a base. The cost of probe team is so small that it is incomparable to the cost of extra lost units capturing defended base. With all these factors combined this can be considered as a super effective strategy that only human is aware of = exploit.
Tim

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #159 on: December 29, 2018, 07:47:27 PM »
Not sure if this is Thinker bug or something from existing code. I've captured University city that was building some project.
Tim

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #160 on: January 03, 2019, 08:46:45 PM »
Induktio,
Did you see anywhere if AI is able to build units with Soporific Gas Pods at all? In general, are there settings for AI prescribing what unit types to build (chassis, weapon, armor, abilities) and in what proportion?
Tim

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #161 on: January 05, 2019, 10:48:24 PM »
Found a bug.

I am playing Thinker mod with my txt mod on top of it. SMAX. Usurpers.
Every time I found a base I see the base name edit window. In this window I can move cursor way beyond the right end of the name. When I keep pressing right arrow cursor does not move any further to the right beyond some position. When I then keep pressing left arrow it doesn't start moving left until some number of left clicks passed. It seems like the actual text is much much wider that the one displayed.
When I delete the whole name the text from script.txt appears in the name input.
Looks like program is reading the string and doesn't break at end of line of something. See screenshots. The cursor is not visible.

I tested the same playing Usurpers on original GOG version of SMAX. It repeats there too. Since I have a mess of different versions on my machine I am not 100% sure it is actually original one. Didn't do any more test yet. However, I don't remember noticing this bug before.
Tim

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #162 on: January 06, 2019, 01:36:15 AM »
Wow. Never mind. I just uninstalled and reinstalled a fresh original version from GOG. It has the same bug!
Tim

Offline Mart

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #163 on: January 06, 2019, 02:09:48 AM »
I have seen something similar in Unit Workshop, where you can move cursor, in unit name, if I remember correctly, on large number of spaces, that seem to be there for no reason. But I play Planetary Pack version.

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #164 on: January 06, 2019, 04:50:01 PM »
Mine is also GOG Planetary Pack (SMAC + SMAX).
Are you saying early SMAC version didn't have it?
Tim

 

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