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Probably there is some way of disallowing prototypes that have not been researched, so is this a feature that is considered generally important?
Gravship formers are certainly a possibility, I've already thought about implementing them, but they feel a little like some late-game esoteric feature.
I don't know where your .exe is at with late game AI terraforming. For a stock .exe it's a non-issue. The AI is never going to beat a competent player on Transcend. The human player will get ahead, the AI is always going to be somewhat behind. Caveat: the interim periods when I didn't know how to play my own mod yet. But that passes. Anyways, I terraform every single square by hand. Gravships would never be useful to me. Too late game, I've already done everything needed by then.
The main problem with gravship formers automation is that the AI thinks they can only alter land when in fact they can alter both land and sea squares. I’ve been surprised at how poorly they are automated versus other key units I have added such as needlejet colony pods. Still, there aren’t many games that even see gravships so it’s not much of a priority.
In the original game they added lots of complex mechanics which the AI was not designed to handle very well.
Also, I don't think I would go on increasing prototype costs by such a large margin or even at all. It's probably going to make the game harder for the AIs because it's not well equipped to strategize around those limitations unlike a human player.
Yeah, gravship formers would need some moderate restructuring of the movement code because they can modify both types of squares. So I have to consider that.It's important to note here that the player's formers still use the default code when they are automated. They could be adjusted pretty easily to use Thinker's code instead, but the problem is that then they should obey the "automation preferences" selected by the user. Do you think we should have them use the new former code instead if the preferences are just followed? Probably it would be a good change.
I know that that means the player automated units will now be stronger, which flies in the face of what Thinker is about,
As for the optimal strategy, good luck with that. Humans weren't able to calculate optimal strategy for Go either despite thinking for a couple of millenia.
Anyway, sea crawlers are not currently implemented. So whether behaviour they were doing is the result of the standard movement code which probably means the AI doesn't understand how to use them.
I think, overall, having player's formers use the same code than the AI ones would make the game feel more consistent, since then the two types of formers wouldn't operate in a vastly different way.
AI sea terraforming is not incompetent. It just overemphasizes minerals instead of energy. It will even raise the ocean floor if you have the tech to do so and allow it to happen.
In principle it's a perfectly reasonable and obvious thing to do. In practice, you may have a transitional period where you invent new bugs and misbehaviors. Then someone might wish for that "dumb" original code. Especially irritating in other games, is anything that gets a Former gratuitously killed. Like moving the units right into the path of oncoming enemies, or failing to stop work and retreat.
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