highest difficulty not so difficult? (Full Version)

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adecoy95 -> highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/23/2011 8:35:15 PM)

does anyone know what the actual bonus to income is? for my first game at the highest difficulty i was hoping to see empires with impossible numbers of ships flowing across the galaxy like a scourge. instead, i seem to be unable to find much of a difference in the ai at all. i see mostly the same fleets i have always seen in the game. at first i thought that it might be a case of the money just getting stockpiled, but it seems to be going somewhere. i actually suspect its technology boosting. they get technology very quickly. but if that is the case, are they only building ships as normal and using all surplus money on tech boostings?

i was surprised by the new weapons tho, finally a reason to have more than just a handful of armor plates on a ship design :D

carriers defiantly fill that gap the ai had in the larger ships category as well, which is nice.




ASHBERY76 -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/23/2011 8:42:33 PM)

It just gives the A.I more money and you less.If you want the A.I to have bigger fleets mod all the A.I's race policy settings to MilitaryConstructionLevel2.




adecoy95 -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/23/2011 8:49:08 PM)

i know what it says it does, just wondering if anyone can confirm if they have seen a difference in ai strength
or has some numbers on what the actual % bonus is.




Gelatinous Cube -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/24/2011 7:00:22 AM)

It's just money. That's it. Hard gives them more money, Very Hard gives them even more. No actual numbers are given.

However, if that's still too easy, I recommend starting on a higher galaxy age and turning up the agressiveness. For both of those you will definitely see some new challenges.




El Vis -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/24/2011 7:09:07 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Gelatinous Cube
However, if that's still too easy, I recommend starting on a higher galaxy age and turning up the agressiveness. For both of those you will definitely see some new challenges.

From my expirience higher agressiveness make the game not more difficult.
Even with only ruthless most factions will have maximum war weariness most of the time, crippling their economy and tax income. You can check their values with the editor (Edit Empire).
The game is great but it has more than one balancing issue left.




the1sean -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/31/2011 3:09:09 AM)

I agree that maxing out aggression actually hurts the AI. I suggest just moving it up one notch max, then I find that they are more likely to press a strategic advantage without going so rabid that they are constantly overextended. Other things that increase difficulty without totally changing the traditional 4x startup:

1. Start AI empires with slightly better quality homeworlds

2. Start AI empires with a slightly higher starting size (like "young").

3. Don't custom design your own ships (or maybe just custom design warships). This will be less of an issue when Elliot finishes the next major patch that will let us mod the default ship designs for each race.

4. Leave taxation automated.

5. Turn off the all the storyline options, humans usually handle them better than AI empires.

6. Play to your weakness, try playing a race that doesn't suit your normal play style.

The last one can be lots of fun. One of my favorite games in ROTS was when I played as the Atuuk. They are complete morons and have horrifically crappy troops!




Rtwfreak -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/31/2011 6:05:45 AM)

Start games with the ai right on top of you also instead of distant or average. This makes it tougher to expand and the ai jump on you sooner.




Astax -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/31/2011 7:48:58 AM)

I think making things more difficult on yourself on purpose does not make fore a more enjoyable game.I wish the game had Multilayer so that real hardships can be experienced :)




themetalcrow -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/31/2011 8:49:07 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Astax

I think making things more difficult on yourself on purpose does not make fore a more enjoyable game.I wish the game had Multilayer so that real hardships can be experienced :)


if by using game setup to make it more difficult for the player is what you mean by on purpose than that's just idiotic.

it seems like you only enjoy games that are multiplayer by that whole statement. i get the feeling you never feel challenged in any way for any reason by any game.

to me, when it comes to video games im not one to just enjoy crushing ai anyway. maybe i play games different than others. that's just not why i play video games or how i get entertainment and enjoyment from them.

i love this game because it lets you play the role of emperor without being forced or even feeling forced to micromanage to enjoy the game. playing it that way i find it enjoyably challenging, but that's me.

i never pause the game and don't ever even slow it down really. i like to just let my people go about their business for the most part, but enjoy the ability to steer, and influence its direction strategically. in the way this game is fun.

maybe for people who play these games to pause and micromanage the crap out of it they don't find it very challenging, which i probably wouldn't either if i played it that obssesively. that's not where this game shines though. i don't even feel that's what it is primarily designed for.

to each his own i guess. it just bothers me that people do that and whine when as i said, i don't get the feeling that that's the way the designers intended the game to be played anyway.




J HG T -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/31/2011 9:01:38 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: the1sean

4. Leave taxation automated.

6. Play to your weakness, try playing a race that doesn't suit your normal play style.

The last one can be lots of fun. One of my favorite games in ROTS was when I played as the Atuuk. They are complete morons and have horrifically crappy troops!


Agreed on those. I always have taxation on automatic just 'cause personal taste. You can't abuse the economic system that much and I also hate microing taxes in general in strategy games. That's what economists are for.

Playing with races that you are not familiar with is great fun and challenging indeed. Currently playing as Dhayuut (hard, restless) monarchy and I'm finding myself far behind of many other races just 'cause monarchy doesn't give similar major peace-time bonuses like my favourite democracy, republic or technocracy.




Gelatinous Cube -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/31/2011 3:10:50 PM)

The enemy AI is certainly the area of this game most in need of improvement. In war it does okay, but only if it has enough ships, troops, money, ect. When it comes to the process of going from one system (or even several, if a young empire) to a large empire, the AI just cannot keep up most times.

As a player, I vastly out-expand the AI for two main reasons:

1.) I colonize where it makes sense, regarding imperial integrity. This game doesn't necesarrily invoke the laws of thermodynamic exchange, but there are very real and tangible benefits to creating your first large group of colonies close-by, and preferably in a neat little group. If you're careful about your first few colonial acquisitions, the rest are much easier, because...

2.) Fleet Management. AI is better than it used to be, but still fails to make some pretty basic risk-reward calls when it comes to building new fleets, basing them around effective locations, and safeguarding their posessions. I tend to give each world at least a few frigates--usually much more, if I'm not poor. And I'm usually not poor, because...

3.) Taxes. AI doesn't do taxes right. At all. I remember the first game where I used manual taxes, and it hit me: The AI is really bad at this. By keeping your people happy and taxes low you can have worlds of 2000-3000M after only a decade or two at most. By that time, you can begin to tax them heavily in order to pay for all the new worlds that you AREN'T taxing. In order to avoid over-taxation, you decrease the load on your older worlds and spread out the tax-load with time. With revisions only every couple of game years, I can manage my taxes infinitely better than the AI, apparently, and I don't think I'm doing anything all that special.

So, the problem lies in the AI's decision-making process, IMO, and not in some core mechanics of the game. If the AI only thought a little smarter, it would do what I do. By now, I have a system--my Empires all look the same after a few decades, and are much too powerful to make continuing anything other than a test of "How unfair can I make this against myself?" If the AI would consistently do the things that I do (which aren't, I don't think, any different than what most of you do--and probably a lot less impressive to be honest) then perhaps it would stand more of a chance. As it is, the game is single-player only.. which means providing a challenging AI should be a very serious and main concern.

Did you catch that? I meant three reasons. My dog, bad. Also, as a caveat, I understand that nothing in video games are ever as easy or simple to fix as they might seem. I don't mean this to sound antagonizing, but rather as an attempt at helpful insight and constructive criticism.




jpwrunyan -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/31/2011 10:39:20 PM)

How would multiplayer even work? First of all, the speed would have to be constant. That will be really boring if you are just sitting around waiting for a colony ship to build. On the other extreme, if everyone is attacking you and you can't pause, well, good luck with that. And then the sheer length of the games at just NORMAL speed is an issue. I guess people managed to play MOO2 multiplayer... somehow, but I don't see how this game will ever catch on as multiplayer. It would be a nice add-on for college kids and their weekend-long lan parties, but I agree with everyone else who thinks time is best invested in improving the AI for single-player.




jpwrunyan -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/31/2011 10:46:28 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Gelatinous Cube
3.) Taxes. AI doesn't do taxes right. At all. I remember the first game where I used manual taxes, and it hit me: The AI is really bad at this. By keeping your people happy and taxes low you can have worlds of 2000-3000M after only a decade or two at most. By that time, you can begin to tax them heavily in order to pay for all the new worlds that you AREN'T taxing. In order to avoid over-taxation, you decrease the load on your older worlds and spread out the tax-load with time. With revisions only every couple of game years, I can manage my taxes infinitely better than the AI, apparently, and I don't think I'm doing anything all that special.


Right. And correct me if I am wrong, but the reason those tax-havens grow so rapidly is because their population is taken from the rival AI opponents' tax-heavy colonies.




adecoy95 -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (12/31/2011 11:05:13 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jpwrunyan

How would multiplayer even work? First of all, the speed would have to be constant. That will be really boring if you are just sitting around waiting for a colony ship to build. On the other extreme, if everyone is attacking you and you can't pause, well, good luck with that. And then the sheer length of the games at just NORMAL speed is an issue. I guess people managed to play MOO2 multiplayer... somehow, but I don't see how this game will ever catch on as multiplayer. It would be a nice add-on for college kids and their weekend-long lan parties, but I agree with everyone else who thinks time is best invested in improving the AI for single-player.


it would not be unprecedented for a games speed boosting to work for others in multiplayer, total annihilation was doing that 15 years ago. the same goes for pause, strategy games have had pause tickets for ages now, adjustable as the players see fit.

like i have said before tho, multiplayer is usually something a game has to be built with in mind at the start. you rarely ever see it added in later.

there are some exceptions, like anno 1404 had a great feature full multiplayer added in later, but there is no way to know if the developers already had the groundwork for it beforehand

anyways, back to the topic at hand. after finishing my first game, barely (it got really unstable near the end), i can confirm there is defiantly an increase of ship construction for the ai, but its not enough. i am starting to think war weariness should be removed completely, or changed somehow, the ai just love staying at war, and the unhappiness just piles on up. i saw one of the enemy's of my dyhaat ally fall apart completely from just rebelling colonies (i am sure it did not help when i dropped 600 troops on its home world tho lol)




Kayoz -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/1/2012 2:18:11 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jpwrunyan

Right. And correct me if I am wrong, but the reason those tax-havens grow so rapidly is because their population is taken from the rival AI opponents' tax-heavy colonies.


I don't believe this is normally the case. Low taxation seems to result in population growth more from:
1. internal migration from your own high-tax (if you follow GC's advice, population-filled) worlds
2. increased growth rate of the population (high happiness = high growth, corollary is true)

I haven't seen much migration from neighbouring colonies - or I would have seen a massive growth in alien population groups. It happens, but those cases are usually isolated (eg: colony very close to a neighbour's heavily populated world)

I'd suspect that the AI prioritizes moving populations around from your OWN worlds far higher than those from your neighbours, so the result is you (tend to) get much more population coming from your own race than others.

One question this makes me ask, though is:
How much of an advantage is the "happiness" bonus enjoyed by some races? In a "epic" game, the boost to growth rates should make it a very powerful racial advantage. Has this been examined in any detail with respect to game (racial) balance?




Gelatinous Cube -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/1/2012 4:27:21 PM)

My observations show that most of the population growth comes from your own planets. Your homeworld mat well have over 20000M people, growing at around 1%. If its' at max population, that 1% is going to spread out to your other, lower tax, higher happiness worlds. The same goes for any others worlds you've managed to get to max pop. And even worlds that aren't at max pop, but that you are taxing heavily in the mid-game (usually 2000-3000M) a goodly percentage of people will migrate to your other worlds as well as increase the population on that world. Later, when you've got dozens and dozens of worlds, you can spread the taxes around much more evenly and everything will grow fast until it hits max pop--then you tax heavily, and make oodles of money, and the surplus pop will always go to the worlds that need it.

Its a very good system. Very, very good. The AI just doesn't take full advantage of it.

As for multiplayer, Europa Universalis 3 has multiplayer. Its pretty good. I don't see why this game couldn't have it too, but I agree that it should not be a priority. I would much, much rather have a challenging single player AI.




MartialDoctor -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/2/2012 9:37:09 AM)

Yes, I've still been discouraged with the AI as well and am waiting on a patch with more difficulty levels.  Even on Very Hard, with empires larger and more advanced than myself, it's still fairly easy for me to catch up and start tearing them apart.  Apart from the need for more difficulty levels, there's a few major issues that need to be addressed to make the AI more difficult.

1) The AI needs to make better ships (this sounds like it is being addressed).  In the last game I played, even against AI with higher tech levels than myself, my ships were still more powerful than theirs.

2) The AI doesn't put enough of their ships into fleets.  This is a big one.  I discovered this in my last game after I easily crushed an AI who had a military strength slightly higher than mine.  Perplexed by the lack of resistance to my attacks, I went into the editor.  I found that, while as I would put 70 - 80% of my ships into fleets, the AI only put about 30 - 40%.  So, my fleets would be larger and much more powerful than theirs, allowing me to easily win all battles.  If they had simply put a majority of their forces into the fleets, they'd be much better off.

3) The AI doesn't seem to make any sort of judgement on whether or not it can win a fight before it gets involved.  I've seen multiple times where the AI will just sacrifice a fleet that had no chance of winning a battle.  They will retreat, of course, but there was no point in them even engaging in a battle they can not win.  Due to this, the AI would lose a good number of their ships before they were able to get out of the fight.

4) The AI doesn't keep their fleets together effectively.  I've seen parts of the fleet show up and get destroyed before the rest of the fleet arrives.  It would be great to have a way to keep fleets flying together.  That way, the AI wouldn't break the fleets apart and we, the players, wouldn't have to micromanage our fleets to keep them together.

5) The AI doesn't use multiple fleets to attack a stronger target.  I guess this would go along with #3.

6)  The AI makes too many escorts and frigates (especially escorts).  You only need escorts in small numbers as they are only really good for escorting important ships (constructors, for example).  Frigates are more useful for defending of less important targets and for attacking / harassing of enemy weak points.  However, the majority of ships should be of destroyer class and higher, in my opinion.

If most, or all, of these were addressed, you'd find the AI would be much more effective in fighting.  That, along with higher difficulty levels, and I believe most everyone would get a challenge from the AI.




feelotraveller -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/2/2012 10:33:31 AM)

All good points. Hopefully 1) will be resolved soon...

2) and 6) are easy to modify yourself. The settings are in the policy files. Either start a game as that race, adjust and save the policy file or modify directly the text file. You might want to make a copy first for the sake of posterity.




Farrels -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/2/2012 1:55:28 PM)

A different perspective:

Is the Disant Worlds AI not fit for purpose, or are you guys putting so many hours into the game that you have it beat?

IMO AI has been the bane of almost all 4X games since MOO. Space Empires, GalCiv they all have AI's that pose no signigicant challenge when you learn the mechanics of the game.

Its the same as Distant Worlds, the first dozen hours or so the AI can hammer you, but then you notice the deficiencies and then it becomes a cake walk. The ideas in this thread are good, but im sure after another 20 hours or so youd be back at square one as further deficincies in the Ai would become apparant.

Therefore

IMO id like to see Civ style difficulty settings. Anything over Prince and the AI gets significant bonus's, where you get penalties. I know Legends has this but it needs to be expanded upon, with bonus's to fleets, maintainence etc. Although this leads to the AI 'cheating' in a sense, Civ is the only AI that has troubled me over a long period as it levels the playing field. Even though the Ai can still make dumb decisions, it has massive armies, lots of resources etc. This coupled with improvements to ship design could see a more challenging AI IMHO.




MartialDoctor -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/2/2012 2:03:31 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: feelotraveller

All good points. Hopefully 1) will be resolved soon...

2) and 6) are easy to modify yourself. The settings are in the policy files. Either start a game as that race, adjust and save the policy file or modify directly the text file. You might want to make a copy first for the sake of posterity.


Really? I wasn't aware of that. I'll have to check that myself later.

Thanks for the info.




MartialDoctor -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/2/2012 2:06:41 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Farrels

A different perspective:

Is the Disant Worlds AI not fit for purpose, or are you guys putting so many hours into the game that you have it beat?

IMO AI has been the bane of almost all 4X games since MOO. Space Empires, GalCiv they all have AI's that pose no signigicant challenge when you learn the mechanics of the game.

Its the same as Distant Worlds, the first dozen hours or so the AI can hammer you, but then you notice the deficiencies and then it becomes a cake walk. The ideas in this thread are good, but im sure after another 20 hours or so youd be back at square one as further deficincies in the Ai would become apparant.

Therefore

IMO id like to see Civ style difficulty settings. Anything over Prince and the AI gets significant bonus's, where you get penalties. I know Legends has this but it needs to be expanded upon, with bonus's to fleets, maintainence etc. Although this leads to the AI 'cheating' in a sense, Civ is the only AI that has troubled me over a long period as it levels the playing field. Even though the Ai can still make dumb decisions, it has massive armies, lots of resources etc. This coupled with improvements to ship design could see a more challenging AI IMHO.


Yeah, I totally agree. The AIs there had issues as well but, if you played Civ or Galciv at high difficulty levels, they'd pose a challenge.




Spaghetty -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/2/2012 2:29:32 PM)

Look on the bright side. You spent many hours finding out how you can beat the AI at more difficult settings. Time well spent I say. Isn't that the purpose of the game?

My ideal AI would not give the AI more money, resources, etc. But actually making smarter decisions. Yes, that means making less smart decisions at lower levels, while it can do better. A real challange for designers/developers I would say.




Gelatinous Cube -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/2/2012 2:51:10 PM)

While your point is incredibly valid, Spaghetty, I just do not think a single-player game can be justified if the AI is not challenging for all skill levels--especially the people who have devoted the most time into learning how to play the game.

*And the civ example is pretty valid. I consider myself a rather average 4x gamer, and I had a great deal of trouble trying to beat a game of Civ 5 on anything higher than Prince. That said, DW and Civ5 have very little in common other than a vaguely similar 4x background and yet still this would be the best solution. If you do not have the resources or the time to create an AI that can compete with the player on a somewhat level playing field, then please by all means MAKE THE AI CHEAT. There is nothing wrong with that in my book. AI War: Fleet Command has a famously enjoyable AI that is based completely on the idea that it does not follow the same rules as the player. One of the biggest reasons for 4x Games not ever being all that challenging without really notching up the difficulty is that people focus on creating an AI that tries (and ultimately fails) to act like a human, instead of creating an AI that provides a fun challenge.




Farrels -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/2/2012 4:02:47 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Spaghetty

Look on the bright side. You spent many hours finding out how you can beat the AI at more difficult settings. Time well spent I say. Isn't that the purpose of the game?

My ideal AI would not give the AI more money, resources, etc. But actually making smarter decisions. Yes, that means making less smart decisions at lower levels, while it can do better. A real challange for designers/developers I would say.


Absolutely, its the finest 4x game since MOO2, but like all other games of this genre is hampered by the AI. I have full faith in the devs improving the AI as well.





Kayoz -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (1/2/2012 10:35:30 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Farrels

A different perspective:

Is the Disant Worlds AI not fit for purpose, or are you guys putting so many hours into the game that you have it beat?

IMO AI has been the bane of almost all 4X games since MOO. Space Empires, GalCiv they all have AI's that pose no signigicant challenge when you learn the mechanics of the game.

Its the same as Distant Worlds, the first dozen hours or so the AI can hammer you, but then you notice the deficiencies and then it becomes a cake walk. The ideas in this thread are good, but im sure after another 20 hours or so youd be back at square one as further deficincies in the Ai would become apparant.

Therefore

IMO id like to see Civ style difficulty settings. Anything over Prince and the AI gets significant bonus's, where you get penalties. I know Legends has this but it needs to be expanded upon, with bonus's to fleets, maintainence etc. Although this leads to the AI 'cheating' in a sense, Civ is the only AI that has troubled me over a long period as it levels the playing field. Even though the Ai can still make dumb decisions, it has massive armies, lots of resources etc. This coupled with improvements to ship design could see a more challenging AI IMHO.


Well said.




radwyn -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (3/19/2012 6:54:23 AM)

Yes some very good points made. DW is such a beautiful game it would be great to see better mid to end game AI. I,d especially like to see improved invasion of home worlds.




jpwrunyan -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (3/19/2012 7:19:17 AM)

Ah, necromancy! But when a forum is as dead as this one the dark arts are one's only recourse to breathe some life back into it.

But I digress.

One thing I would add after more reflection on the ai: ai is HARD!
I dont get the impression that the devs have any background in ai. And most games like this really need that. We can look at a map and recognize strategic positions, but try programming a computer to do the same. I have actually and utterly failed. If any of you guys know some applicable techniques for this, I am sure the devs would love to hear it. Just please post publicly because I would use the knowledge too!




Jeeves -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (3/19/2012 1:25:43 PM)

Back in 1991-92 I started development of a game called "Galactic Zoo". It had pre-designed 255 ship types shared by all 16 races and no tech tree. The economy was fairly simple, with most cargo movement being the seven types of fuel. The code for the economy was 12000+ lines of c language code. I gave up on developing the game when I showed a demo to a friend and he said that with all the spreadsheets it looked too much like work. How times have changed! Anyway, the ship routing portion of the economy was 7000 lines and STILL not very good. As you said, AI is tough. In routing you have a multi-dimensional traveling salesman problem, shifting goods from producers to consumers. The more interdependent the components of the economy are, the more difficult it is to bring everything together. My estimate of combat code was another 10k+ lines and that was just to handle the combat functions without graphics... If I had sold 20k copies at $40 each for a gross of 800k, I would have gotten 80k for two years work, so it was just not worth the time to write the rest of the game. 20k copies would have been a HUGE strategy game sale back in the early 90s.

The AI in Distant Worlds will never be as smart as multiplayer human, because it depends upon strategies developed on the fly to exploit game features, which CHANGE as the game evolves. There is a lag between concept and implementation. The single player game versions are just a prequel to a multiplayer version, giving the developer some payback on getting the game fundamentals correct. Single player comes before multiplayer because once multiplayer is released the gaming community is going to be very resistant to changes in game concepts...

Just my thoughts, in no way do I represent the developers, but having attempted a game myself, I know their heartaches. LOL.

Lonnie Courtney Clay




Morelyn -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (3/20/2012 10:41:13 PM)

+1 for cheating AI.

The game has never really challenged me, even when I was first playing it. You have so much money you just build huge fleets and then the AI either gets intimidated or else loses every battle.

It would be far too difficult and take too much time to try to build a very much smarter AI. Just let it cheat at higher difficulty levels, a la Civ, I have no problem with that. Are the developers resistant to this idea or haven't they had time yet to get around to it?





Edward74 -> RE: highest difficulty not so difficult? (3/21/2012 1:32:01 AM)

I think making things more difficult on yourself on purpose does not make fore a more enjoyable game[image]http://www.infoocean.info/avatar2.jpg[/image]




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