Author Topic: SMACX Thinker Mod  (Read 13874 times)

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Offline PvtHudson

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #75 on: October 24, 2018, 01:54:55 PM »
I think it's impossible to code AI to successfully counter them, I'm not even sure a human player can successfully counter these, short of initiating nuclear holocaust.
This! One surgical planet buster at enemy HQ is all you need. Even before Orbital Spaceflight AIs could at least try to stop the offender with force. Particularly in that game I wrote last comment about, Mimi had resources of 3 factions at her disposal, and Yang those of 2. If they stopped their squabble and turned attention on greedy merchants sitting in 7 bases on medium island, in 20 turns all will be over for me.

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #76 on: October 24, 2018, 10:21:24 PM »
Question to all: are AIs always so indifferent to player's attempt at economic victory? I didn't tried it in ages, so don't remember. Not a single hostile action in those 20 turns, despite being obstinate to seething.

I don't remember them having any special logic for countering economic victory. That might change, however. There has been some talk of implementing the diplomacy mod for these kind of situations, but I haven't researched the variables much yet.

One thing that probably should be changed is the fact that AIs almost always stay content if you give them the techs they demand. A very simple way of changing the diplomacy behaviour would be to flip the "want revenge" or even "fight to the death" diplomacy flags if the AIs determine another faction is too weak or attempts the economic victory. I'm not sure if the latter variable strictly needs to be used, but always giving in to demands works a little too well as an exploit. These variables are also visible in the scenario editor, if anyone knows more of their effects on diplomacy.

Also noticed change in game behavior, could be bug: in kyrub's Unity pods inside base radius were skewed toward favorable pops - almost never worms, mostly monolith/resource bonus, oftentimes together with unit/tech/comm frequency. Now all 3 pods near HQ produced worms.

Hmm, was that an one time occurrence or does it keep repeating for you? This might be related to the faction placement patch but I'm not sure. Often the pods seem to produce goodies next to the HQ in my tests.

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #77 on: October 25, 2018, 09:05:33 PM »
Hi Induktio.
Thank you for your hard work. I started to play your mod and it seems interesting so far. One question about releases. I navigated to download page which leads to your GitHub project which has a link to your dropbox with releases. Latest one I see there is 0.7 from 10/3/2018. Yet somewhere in this topic you mentioned you created another on on 10/23.
Another thing is that I've looked inside of 0.7's thinker.ini and it is pretty small and doesn't contain all these configuration variables you mentioned recently - like including other mods, etc. Would you mind publishing your latest version in installation format? Or tell me how to make it out of your code or something. Much appreciated.
Tim

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #78 on: October 25, 2018, 09:38:04 PM »
> Would you mind publishing your latest version in installation format?

All the recent posts here relate to the develop builds which are also on the download page but on the "develop" folder. They are just versioned by their build date and their install process is also the same, just unzip to the game folder. There isn't any reason not to use them if you want to try the latest features. :)

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #79 on: October 25, 2018, 09:48:01 PM »
Cool. Thanks!
Tim

Offline PvtHudson

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #80 on: October 31, 2018, 10:27:48 AM »
Also noticed change in game behavior, could be bug: in kyrub's Unity pods inside base radius were skewed toward favorable pops - almost never worms, mostly monolith/resource bonus, oftentimes together with unit/tech/comm frequency. Now all 3 pods near HQ produced worms.

Hmm, was that an one time occurrence or does it keep repeating for you? This might be related to the faction placement patch but I'm not sure. Often the pods seem to produce goodies next to the HQ in my tests.
Doesn't repeat, must have been one-off bad luck.

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #81 on: October 31, 2018, 01:14:39 PM »
Also noticed change in game behavior, could be bug: in kyrub's Unity pods inside base radius were skewed toward favorable pops - almost never worms, mostly monolith/resource bonus, oftentimes together with unit/tech/comm frequency. Now all 3 pods near HQ produced worms.

Hmm, was that an one time occurrence or does it keep repeating for you? This might be related to the faction placement patch but I'm not sure. Often the pods seem to produce goodies next to the HQ in my tests.
Doesn't repeat, must have been one-off bad luck.
I believe pods can produce anything. It is just at the beginning they are more favorable probabilities that's how I understand it.
Tim

Offline Fibonacci

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #82 on: October 31, 2018, 02:16:55 PM »
Having done lots of save scumming, I can demonstrate that there is a difference between pods at the landing site of a base, and random scattering pods across the planet. Scattered pods seem to be able to produce anything, and can also fall within the batch at a faction's landing site at the start of the game. Landing site pods on the other hand seem to fall into one of four categories, just guessing based on what happened after several hundred save/reloads. "Blessed" landing site pods seem highly skewed in favor of a free tech, a comm. link to another faction, or a monolith. "Cursed" landing site pods seem skewed toward a mind worm, spore launcher, fungal growth, or alien artifact. "Vehicle" landing site pods seem to be skewed toward a unity rover, the 6r/3r police Mk1 thing whose name escapes me currently, or a unity foil (when along a coast). The fourth being regular chances at everything. The other thing that suggested to me that landing site pods are even a thing is the severely decreased chance of getting both a bonus resource (nutrient/energy/mineral) along with a "positive" (as in non-alien life based result). Taking a sample of rewards on different pod pops in the landing site radius suggests there are both landing site regular pods and scattered pods, based on similar reward, but vastly different secondary bonus along with the reward.

The last hint that "Cursed" landing site pods are even a thing at all, if you take units over to a neighboring AI landing site base, and there are any pods that the AI could have popped, but "chose" not to. I have saves of both Domai and Zakharov leaving a pod alone into the later game, I then come over and save scum a bit to test it out, and it was indeed "Cursed".

It's a game feature that settling a base next to a pod eliminates "alien life form" results from the pod, regardless of whether it was regular or cursed. Similarly, completely occupying all of the surrounding 8 squares of a "Cursed" pod reduce the "negative" rewards to just fungal blooms, but positive results seem to replace the native life rewards.

I have several saved games on turn one with Iron Man and Do or Die disabled, Look First enabled, and 3 or 4 pods that can be popped on turn one before disbanding the colony pods to cheat death and start again elsewhere. They are easiest to produce with Cha Dawn or Santiago when beginning on a river, although I suspect it's possible to get 5 or more pods if you start along a coast and get a bonus Unity Foil or Rover (unlike alien artifacts these bonus units get their moves the turn they're found).

I can probably dig out the saves to share if anyone is interested in verifying my observations. However since they're almost all first turn, they're fairly easy to replicate. Using Yitzi's 3.5D and Good Old Game's Alien Crossfire at the moment, but I'm willing to try out a few more in Alpha Centauri unpatched, or with official patches.

I can test using WINE, regular or virtualbox XP, virtualbox win98 (while I still have the installation disks/box/license for Windows 98, I no longer have a machine that reliably runs Windows 98 natively), regular or virtualbox win7, or regular win10. (Just in case one of the combinations gets some the entropy sources for the pseudorandom number generation wrong, I'm thinking WINE in particular)

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #83 on: October 31, 2018, 06:50:22 PM »
> Having done lots of save scumming, I can demonstrate that there is a difference between pods at the landing site of a base, and random scattering pods across the planet.

Interesting, but apparently you didn't run those tests with the Thinker binary? It would be mostly useful to know if there's any differences between Thinker and vanilla behaviour. Any significant differences should probably be apparent after a much smaller number of tests though.

> I can probably dig out the saves to share if anyone is interested in verifying my observations.

Thinker should not affect any RNG outcomes directly, however, there may be some indirect effects when a new map is generated with faction_placement enabled. There's one function call in the vanilla placement algorithm that sets some bits related to the starting location which might have an effect on pod results. Next version will include a small tweak so that the modified faction placement algorithm also calls this function. Note that this fix should not have an effect on maps which were already generated using a previous version.

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #84 on: October 31, 2018, 08:21:52 PM »
Induktio,

#1. Why your topic is not in modding section? I was confused when I couldn't find it there.

#2. Wow. Great mod! I really see how AI behavior changed. Now it tries to occupy the big continent completely. As well as some other improvements. Please keep up this work. I believe together with Scent's bug fixes this is the most complete/advanced mod base there is. I call it mod base as anyone can drop alphax.txt changes on top of it to finalize the experience the way they like. Maybe I've said it before but that's OK.

#3. Observation.
In vanilla game I noticed two things about AI expanding bases. 1) They easily go from land to water and vice versa for aquatic factions. In other words, shore doesn't stop their expansion a bit. 2) AI expands like crazy at the very beginning. Then when they reach somewhat 20-30 bases they suddenly slow down tremendously to the point when huge land areas right next to their territory stayed unoccupied for the rest of the game. Me or other still expanding faction usually go there in the middle of the game when it seems to be much easier for this landmass originated one to take over this territory.
In your mod I see these changes. 2) They continue producing colonies like crazy throughout the whole game and tend to squeeze in every tiny spot on their continent or ocean. 1) They somehow do not go over the shore border. Land factions do not go to water ever. Aquatic ones do not go to land at all and instead infest complete ocean. I am the only one who cross the body of the water to found bases on inhabitant islands or in water. Ocean is completely empty when there is no aquatic factions - not a single sea base.
It maybe this particular game fluctuation but I don't think so. With total of 100 bases on a planet some of them bound to be in sea. I wander if your fix to 2) somehow affects 1)? Maybe AI got priority in building colonies but this priorities got so skewed that they effectively nullify the chance of building colony of other realm (sea for land faction and land for aquatic).
Tim

Offline PvtHudson

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #85 on: November 01, 2018, 08:00:10 AM »
They somehow do not go over the shore border. Land factions do not go to water ever. Aquatic ones do not go to land at all and instead infest complete ocean. I am the only one who cross the body of the water to found bases on inhabitant islands or in water. Ocean is completely empty when there is no aquatic factions - not a single sea base.
Can't support this on both accounts. In my playtest all factions happily switched to seabases when they ran out of unoccupied land, albeit shrinking due to sea level rising. Also seen a few colony pods moved by boats to claim empty islands.

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #86 on: November 01, 2018, 01:21:24 PM »
They somehow do not go over the shore border. Land factions do not go to water ever. Aquatic ones do not go to land at all and instead infest complete ocean. I am the only one who cross the body of the water to found bases on inhabitant islands or in water. Ocean is completely empty when there is no aquatic factions - not a single sea base.
Can't support this on both accounts. In my playtest all factions happily switched to seabases when they ran out of unoccupied land, albeit shrinking due to sea level rising. Also seen a few colony pods moved by boats to claim empty islands.
This may be. My testing is not exhaustive. I'll keep looking.
Tim

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #87 on: November 01, 2018, 02:42:11 PM »
I call it mod base as anyone can drop alphax.txt changes on top of it to finalize the experience the way they like.

A big problem with this game has been the very convoluted ruleset which complicates AI coding greatly. They noticed that in the later Civ games and made some design decisions which made the game easier for AIs. It's maybe possible to write the AI in a really generic way that handles all kinds of modded values in the strategy, but that would probably balloon the codebase by thousands of lines at least. :-/

In vanilla game I noticed two things about AI expanding bases. 1) They easily go from land to water and vice versa for aquatic factions. In other words, shore doesn't stop their expansion a bit. 2) AI expands like crazy at the very beginning. Then when they reach somewhat 20-30 bases they suddenly slow down tremendously to the point when huge land areas right next to their territory stayed unoccupied for the rest of the game.

If you're talking about unmodded game there, it sounds quite unlike the performance I've seen. Often there's been instances where factions stagnate on 5 bases or something, so 20-30 would be a pretty good result for an AI. That was actually some of the reasons that prompted me to start this project. Also one of the eternal gripes with AI programming has been the coordination of land and sea units. I don't really remember the AI transitioning well from sea to land bases at all (in the unmodded game). I'm planning some features for the next version to address that issue.

Currently Thinker AIs will try to colonize sea but only if the land area nearby is already full. While occupying the land area is the first priority, they could maybe produce more sea colony pods but the AIs rarely seem to get any good production out of the sea bases.


Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #88 on: November 01, 2018, 02:45:52 PM »
If you're talking about unmodded game there, it sounds quite unlike the performance I've seen. Often there's been instances where factions stagnate on 5 bases or something, so 20-30 would be a pretty good result for an AI.
I meant it as a max limit which they almost never cross. Sometimes they could stagnate below that for sure.
Tim

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #89 on: November 04, 2018, 05:38:47 PM »
Induktio,

I understand you modified some exe functionality in your mod. I am working on balancing conquer strategy with development strategy. Here is the relevant topic I opened to discuss the thing.
http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21046.0

Regarding this I am quite curious if you can and like to extend your modding in this direction. Not that I insist. If you don't then I'll continue tweaking txt options to achieve it. However, if you do then I can build on top of it so it'll be slightly different txt tweaks.

Here are few things relevant to my work. Let me know your predisposition toward them.
* Disable healing completely or modify healing rates under different circumstances (territory, base, bunker, corresponding morale facility).
* Modify unit cost calculation formula. I am not talking about specific changes now - just a generic possibility.
* Modify how weapon picture is assigned to a weapon. Currently it is assigned by the weapon attack rate. Could it be done by the weapon name? This is to be able to change weapon attack rate without losing corresponding picture. This change is pretty minor and optional.
Tim

 

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