Author Topic: SMACX Thinker Mod  (Read 1946 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #90 on: November 05, 2018, 06:18:15 PM »
  • Publish
  • This might be a good time to give an update of the features I've been researching. After PvtHudson pointed out the Antimind faction, that got me really thinking about expanding the strategy to native-heavy factions. It will require some additional code, but actually it's not too much.

    I'm planning to implement some more ways to make use of fungus and probably the AI will also build native units if its psi bonuses are high enough. Antimind should be a pretty good test case for this since the bonuses are so abnormal. Another new feature relates to the way AI uses its colony pods and transports.

    * 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.

    Hmm, not sure about these. After all we're just dealing with a binary without source code here and changing some things is very brittle and time-consuming. This project just started as an AI coding exercise of some sorts so I'm not very inclined to go modifying the engine, at least not without a clear understanding of how the change is supposed to benefit AI performance.

    Offline tnevolin

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #91 on: November 05, 2018, 07:44:34 PM »
  • Publish
  • I agree that changing these formulas is very risky. Remember I didn't insist just asked if you inclined to do something like that.

    If you looking for reason it is explained here http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21046.0. I can repeat reasons for disabling healing here once more.
    The multi round combat strongly skews odds toward stronger unit. As an example, with 3:2 odds you wins not 60% of the time as would be calculated directly from the odds but nearly 100% of the time. So slight strength advantage gives you almost 100% winning chance. Combined with healing it makes army of such units indestructible. You can build like 10 needlejects capable of knocking out enemy base defenders and just bomb-heal-repeat conquer them without casualties. Once such slight advantage is achieved it makes conquest expansion not even exponential but explosive like.
    This breaks build-conquer balance. For AI it is even worse as it doesn't know about indestructible army tactics and doesn't use it. Humans do and that's why they beat it every time.
    Disabling healing breaks this vicious win-heal cycle. Now fully healed more advanced unit still wins all the time. However, it irrecoverably expends HPs and is bound to die at some point. This alone makes casualties proportional to unit strengths ratio. No more indestructible armies and grades of weaker armor now do matter as they wear attacker down proportional to armor rating.

    Unit cost is a different story. It doesn't help AI directly as it equally affects all players. So it may not lie in the path of your improvement. However, in its current form it makes infantry attackers ridiculously cheap. This again benefits conquer strategy where AI sucks. Changing this formula allows balancing attacker-defender unit effectiveness ratio to the extend where AI tactical choices becomes reasonable.
    Once again, unit cost is kinda generic improvement. So I do not advertise it to you. Merely sharing my opinion about it.
    Tim

    Offline PvtHudson

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #92 on: November 06, 2018, 08:44:02 AM »
  • Publish
  • You can build like 10 needlejects capable of knocking out enemy base defenders and just bomb-heal-repeat conquer them without casualties.
    So can them. AIs even before ThinkerMod were capable of amassing needlejets and destroying every former, colony pod and crawler in range, then switching to base defenders.
    For AI it is even worse as it doesn't know about indestructible army tactics and doesn't use it. Humans do and that's why they beat it every time.
    Sorry, I don't catch. AI builds units with highest available attack, and it uses healing, doesn't it? But probably we should talk about this in your thread, not here.

    It's indeed time to summarize testing experience of ThinkerMod. It aimed at improvement of AI performance, and in my opinion it achieved this goal brilliantly. Faster expansion, aggressive land claim, crawler infrastructure help AI tremendously. Maybe it's just my poor skill, but I fear I have to abandon long-customary Transcend difficulty. Bravo, Induktio! Looking forward for future developments. Is it time to improve diplomacy?

    Offline tnevolin

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #93 on: November 06, 2018, 01:18:48 PM »
  • Publish
  • You can build like 10 needlejects capable of knocking out enemy base defenders and just bomb-heal-repeat conquer them without casualties.
    So can them. AIs even before ThinkerMod were capable of amassing needlejets and destroying every former, colony pod and crawler in range, then switching to base defenders.
    For AI it is even worse as it doesn't know about indestructible army tactics and doesn't use it. Humans do and that's why they beat it every time.
    Sorry, I don't catch. AI builds units with highest available attack, and it uses healing, doesn't it? But probably we should talk about this in your thread, not here.
    Sure if you like I can copy your response and continue there.
    Tim

    Offline Induktio

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #94 on: November 07, 2018, 04:28:13 PM »
  • Publish
  • Oh, hellooo. I included a screenshot from the first test game I ran with these newest changes. It was a large random map with 4 standard factions plus Pirates and Antimind. Turn is 140 and the Gaian AI dominated throughout the whole game. Some of the fast growth is explained by the nearby jungle but it is not everything. Labs output here is about 4600 per turn, and the growth speed has been far above any typical test runs. Gaia would later transcend on turn 160 with labs output finally breaking ten thousand if I remember right. Manifold Harmonics contributed to this in a significant way probably.

    So, develop version 20181107 is now available from downloads. Changes summarized:

    - Rewritten colony pod movement algorithm
    - Sea bases are now able to transport colony pods to land
    - AI has an understanding of fungus production bonuses and will plant it if it's useful
    - AI will build native units whenever psi bonuses are high enough compared to conventional weapons
    - Other minor tweaks to production priorities

    Offline DrazharLn

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #95 on: November 08, 2018, 10:11:23 AM »
  • Publish
  • Fantastic!

    It still seems weird to see Gaians with loads of boreholes and so eco damage. It would be great to see their philosophy reflected in their play, but OTOH boreholes are crazy good.

    I can't see an immediate solution.

    Offline k3v

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #96 on: November 09, 2018, 05:51:23 PM »
  • Publish
  • Played a new game with the latest version. Huge transcend in 2236.

    This is the kind of carnage i wanted!
    (click to show/hide)

    Caretakers were booming so hard that a meteor took out his cap and 4 other bases lol. I think ive only seen this happen once before.

    I thought my start was average, but turned out very slow. Missed WP+ME, had to disband formers to get VW in time lol.
    Missed EG, slight beeline error, but I dont think it wouldve mattered, gaia goes straight for it. Hence lost Govenor. Didnt get governor till 2210! Two allies killed, forgot to set dont restart killed, so morgan came back but stayed on two bases rest of the game. So heaps of potential energy lost.

    I think without a really good start, first governor is impossible due to how well the ai booms now, 60 pop at first governor (I had 46 with PTS, turn 70). Ive havent played with Lal in the game yet lol, that would definately be impossible.

    Something ive never seen before was overall terraforming damage causing rising sea levels, because it was never a factor before (ai just didnt terraform enough). I lost a base and like 7 boreholes because of it.

    Angels maxed at 1000 science at the end. I got a few level 6+ techs from AI's which is huge. Usurpers kinda sucked, even though they were isolated. I think they're unable to take fm+wealth, which hurts them alot as well as no commerce.

    I think the only way to improve ai builder from here would be forcing them to play the builder strat. The AI cant really build space pods, cause they'll never get CBA and then only have a few bases with an aerospace academy. But with the 70% production boost forcing aerospace academies in all bases is easily doable. Do they treat pods as a base facility? Can they build more then 1 per base? I imagine space pods arent that easy for the ai to understand, but with the base spam they add up to a lot.

    I'd love to have this mod on a double size huge map with all 14 factions, too bad theres so many hardcoded obstacles for it.

    Anyway, the mod is amazing, really great work.

    Saves attached if anyone wanted.

    Offline tnevolin

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #97 on: November 09, 2018, 11:25:06 PM »
  • Publish
  • Hi Induktio.
    I was playing your mod with all but Fission reactors disabled. Works right in the way that I cannot equip unit with any other reactor. However, I see that AI equip their custom units with Singularity one!!! Like rover formers and armored sea probes. That seems like a glitch in a game. When reactor is disabled AI somehow can pick it up for new unit design. I saw only non combat units with Singularity reactor so far, though.
    Anyone observed something like that?
    Tim

    Offline DrazharLn

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #98 on: November 10, 2018, 11:25:46 AM »
  • Publish
  • If anyone has ideas how to get the SP movies working again, could be also useful to know.

    You need movlistx.txt from scient's v2 patch. Attached here.

    Scient added this file so that we can have different end-of-movie text for smac and smax (because hunter seeker alg does different things in each).

    Offline Induktio

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #99 on: November 10, 2018, 04:04:57 PM »
  • Publish
  • Lots of interesting stuff here to address.

    > Something ive never seen before was overall terraforming damage causing rising sea levels, because it was never a factor before (ai just didnt terraform enough).

    Yeah, I bet the original designers didn't anticipate AIs with 50 boreholes. The speed of the sea rise is getting pretty excessive with this heavy terraforming. I should probably recommend players to lower this setting in alphax now? Maybe put recommended settings in Details.md for documentation?

    1, 1     ; Numerator/Denominator for frequency of global warming (1,2 would be "half" normal warming).

    > Angels maxed at 1000 science at the end. I got a few level 6+ techs from AI's which is huge. Usurpers kinda sucked, even though they were isolated.

    I'm thinking the fact that aliens cannot engage in commerce is now a very significant limiting factor for them. With all the new energy being produced, the AIs seem to earn a lot from trade. This might be a good thing.

    > The AI cant really build space pods, cause they'll never get CBA and then only have a few bases with an aerospace academy.

    Do you just mean satellites here? They do build aerospace complexes and satellites pretty quickly after learning the techs. It seems your game ended almost just after they learned spaceflight. :-/

    > I'd love to have this mod on a double size huge map with all 14 factions, too bad theres so many hardcoded obstacles for it.

    There have been many modding ideas, but this is actually the one that will *never* happen without a full open source port. Consider the fact that there are exactly 8 bits in a byte, and single byte values are used all over the binary to store faction boolean values. Now you get the idea.

    > However, I see that AI equip their custom units with Singularity one!!!

    There was a bug in the old code where it didn't check properly for disabled techs. It is fixed in the most recent version but it can't undesign already designed units in an old save. It should work properly on newly started games of course.

    > You need movlistx.txt from scient's v2 patch. Attached here.

    So this file is basically a verbatim copy of movlist.txt if expansion is enabled? If I were to keep this feature, I think the game should read those modded values from ac_mod folder just like the other modified files if expansion is disabled. Does not feel useful to distribute a copy of a standard file with the patch. I'm not sure if some other files might have to be put into that folder too, currently the list is: alphax.txt, helpx.txt, conceptsx.txt, tutor.txt, labels.txt

    Also, what do the players think about these things:

    - Should the AI build armored crawlers in mass? After fusion reactors armor becomes so cheap I'm tempted to have them build crawlers with armor installed.
    - Is the colony pod production rate good enough now or should it be changed? Maybe the difficulty level should affect the desired AI expansion rate?

    Offline tnevolin

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #100 on: November 10, 2018, 04:56:18 PM »
  • Publish
  • > However, I see that AI equip their custom units with Singularity one!!!

    There was a bug in the old code where it didn't check properly for disabled techs. It is fixed in the most recent version but it can't undesign already designed units in an old save. It should work properly on newly started games of course.

    You mean in your old code? Good to know. Cool man. Thanks for fixing this! I can continue crunching unit costs now.
    :)
    Tim

    Offline DrazharLn

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #101 on: November 10, 2018, 07:41:18 PM »
  • Publish
  • Quote
    So this file is basically a verbatim copy of movlist.txt if expansion is enabled? If I were to keep this feature, I think the game should read those modded values from ac_mod folder just like the other modified files if expansion is disabled. Does not feel useful to distribute a copy of a standard file with the patch. I'm not sure if some other files might have to be put into that folder too, currently the list is: alphax.txt, helpx.txt, conceptsx.txt, tutor.txt, labels.txt

    The text files in scient's patch are generally better than the ones that come with the game. If I were you I'd just expand scient's installer (code available) and add thinker to it. If you really don't want to use movlistx.txt either make a copy on first run or just change the binary to use movlist.txt?

    This reminds me: have you had a look at the save-game logic? It would be good to save a list of the active factions in or related to each save game: at the moment you will end up with the wrong art etc. for factions if you load a scenario and you have to keep fiddling with alphax if you use custom factions a lot.


    Offline Induktio

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #102 on: November 10, 2018, 08:05:43 PM »
  • Publish
  • The text files in scient's patch are generally better than the ones that come with the game. If I were you I'd just expand scient's installer (code available) and add thinker to it. If you really don't want to use movlistx.txt either make a copy on first run or just change the binary to use movlist.txt?
    Hmm, yeah. Basically there are two behaviours one could choose from:

    1. If expansion is enabled, use "movlist.txt"
        Else use "ac_mod\movlist.txt"

    2. Use a filesystem call to copy movlist.txt to movlistx.txt if the latter is missing.

    Movies would work fine after either of these two steps, but not sure really which one is better. Option 2 would work better if one also plays the Scient-patched game without Thinker but I don't currently see any other reason to use it over option 1.

    Offline DrazharLn

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #103 on: November 11, 2018, 12:46:00 AM »
  • Publish
  • In scenario 1 what is the difference between the two files?

    And if you're distributing one of the scient variants why not both?

    Offline Induktio

    Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
    « Reply #104 on: November 11, 2018, 02:17:26 PM »
  • Publish
  • > And if you're distributing one of the scient variants why not both?

    I'm not distributing any of the txt files currently. Probably it's better for people to install the Scient patch files separately if they want all the stuff. My plan is to just have the binary either work with those or with the stock files provided by the game installer. The preference is to allow installing this mod without having to overwrite any other stuff. Keeping it very minimalistic with the dependencies.

    I'm not sure how much use the load_expansion feature is going to get or how much time should be spent on it, but in theory it would be nice to have a way to turn off the expansion related features.

     

    * User

    Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
    Did you miss your activation email?


    Login with username, password and session length

    Select language:

    * Community poll

    SMAC v.4 SMAX v.2 (or previous versions)
    -=-
    14 (6%)
    XP Compatibility patch
    -=-
    8 (3%)
    Gog version for Windows
    -=-
    60 (26%)
    Scient (unofficial) patch
    -=-
    22 (9%)
    Kyrub's latest patch
    -=-
    14 (6%)
    Yitzi's latest patch
    -=-
    83 (36%)
    AC for Mac
    -=-
    2 (0%)
    AC for Linux
    -=-
    5 (2%)
    Gog version for Mac
    -=-
    9 (3%)
    No patch
    -=-
    10 (4%)
    Total Members Voted: 227
    AC2 Wiki Logo

    * Random quote

    As the writhing, teeming mass of mindworms swarmed over the outer perimeter, we saw the defenders recoil in horror. 'Stay calm! Use your flame guns!' shouted the commander, but to no avail. It is well know that the Mind Worm Boil uses psychic terror to paralyze its prey, and then carefully implants ravenous larvae into the brains of its still-conscious victims. Even with the best weapons, only the most disciplined troops can resist this horrific attack.
    ~Lady Deidre Skye 'Our Secret War'

    * Select your theme

    *

    Facebook Comments