Icemania -> AI Improvement Mod (1.05 Extended Release) (6/30/2014 11:11:52 AM)
EXTENDED 1.05 RELEASE (RECOMMENDED)
VANILLA 1.04 RELEASE
The AI Improvement Mod includes a variety of changes to assist the AI including specifically designed Research Build Orders, improvements to Ship and Base Design Templates, Race and Policy File improvements (which have a wide variety of effects), select Technology Tree changes and select Weapons Balancing. Wherever possible those changes have also been applied to Pirates.
Both downloads are structured as a new Theme i.e. stand-alone. Extract as a new folder in the "Customization" folder, then run the game and switch to the AI Improvement Mod theme.
- The "Vanilla 1.04 Release" file contains the AI Improvement Mod for Vanilla.
- The "Extended 1.05 Release" file is an "all-in-one" package, including both the AI Improvement Mod for Extended, and Haree78's sensational Extended Universe Mod 1.03.
Refer to Das's How to Install Mods Video if required.
The Mod is recommended for use on higher difficulties i.e. at least Very Hard. That said, it will work on Normal and Hard, but there are limitations in how well the AI can be improved, so the benefits only become significant at higher difficulties.
Use in Other Mods
Please feel free. No permission or credit is required or expected.
Each race has specifically designed research orders using focus areas in weapons, energy, wonders and colonisation.
For example the Ackdarian focus on Torpedoes, Speed and Agility, Research Wonders and Science Academies. In each download there is a file "AI Improvement Mod.xls" refer to the Summary sheet for further information on each race. The AI Empires use as much variety as possible whilst ensuring the strategy is coherent.
To provide more consistency in AI research:
Medium and Large Spaceports contains labs sufficient for a race appropriate balance
Research Priority is set to Normal (so Stations will be built at locations with bonuses) but with only 2 Labs per Station (to avoid upsetting the balance).
Racial Technologies get a high focus to ensure those advantages are used more quickly by the AI in game.
Francoy's Colonisation Rebalanced Mod has been integrated and includes changes to Research Orders, Race Files, Research Costs and Policy Files. As a result the AI will focus research and therefore expansion on colony types where it has advantages as a priority.
Gerax hyperdrive speeds have been reduced while late-game hyperdrive speeds have been increased. This helps prevent the AI from sending ships and fleets unreasonable distances before they are ready to do so, while late game mop-up operations can be done more quickly. It should also help the Shakturi if the human player has not given hyperdrive research sufficient focus.
Available ship sizes have been increased in each class to avoid AI ship design problems. The design templates use a fixed number of components so without this change the larger designs used in this Mod can be problematic early game.
Advanced Fighters Bay no longer have Medium Torpedo Bombers as a pre-requisite i.e. so the AI can focus on either Missile Bombers or Torpedo Bombers, without an excessive handicap, providing variety for the human opponent.
Death Rays and Super Lasers are included in the Tech Tree to provide more of a late game threat. Many AI races will research Death Rays once their Primary focus areas are completed and the Insect Races will research Super Lasers (restricted).
Ship and Base Design Templates
The templates have been changed to generally have a primary weapon type aligned with the AI research focus, providing more of a threat than the vanilla designs which often use a wide variety of weapons (requiring more research and also in some cases tactical conflicts).
Ship sizes have been increased wherever possible as follows:
Escort template designed for Size 230 (should be buildable at Size 160 however)
Frigate and Troop Transport template designed for Size 300
Destroyer template designed for Size 400
Cruiser template designed for Size 500
Capital Ship template designed for Size 650 (they scale up automatically as larger sizes become available)
Carrier template designed for Size 975 (buildable once Size 650 is available noting the 50% size bonus, also they scale up automatically as larger sizes become available)
Cruisers, Capital Ships and Carriers include Troop Compartments to buff AI fleet ground invasion strength
Exploration Ship template designed to ensure always available immediately from a pre-warp start
Many other improvements across all ships and bases including the private sector
Designs for the Ancient Guardians and Shakturi have also been upgraded
The Ship designs for each race apply the appropriate tactic for the weapons selected e.g. Point Blank etc.
Changes as per the OP summary in the Weapons Balancing thread.
The primary intent is to ensure that races which focus on particular weapons are competitive. Some weapons such as Rail Guns and Phasers are underpowered at default settings.
Racial weapons provide a strong advantage early game, limited advantage mid-game but it should be possible to catch-up by late game with enough research effort.
Missiles and Rail Guns should provide an advantage early game, be at parity mid-game, but be relatively weak late game. However, they should not be ridiculously weak so that races that use them still have a chance.
All Private Ship & Mining Stations designs improved e.g. increased extractors and more speed which should help them.
All other Pirate Ship and Base designs have been aligned with Race Weapon selection, a slight size increase for some designs, and there has been a general tidy up e.g. removed items that they will never realistically research.
Empire Policy Changes
In the Policy Files I have made only changes that improve the AI, otherwise the characteristics of each race have been preserved.
To encourage the AI to build more large ships the following ratios were set:
Capital Ships 50% (0% for Fighter focused races)
Carriers 50% (0% for non-Fighter focused races)
Troop Transports 20%
To ensure the AI prioritises selected Wonders for each race are applied in PrioritizeBuildWonderId.
As the AI typically overbuilds facilities leading to excessive maintenance costs:
Each race can only build one or two Academy types as appropriate to the race.
500M: Cloning Facility, Fortified Bunker, Terraforming Facility
5B: Ion Cannon, Planetary Shield, Armored Factory
10B: Regional Capital, Selected Academies
Robotic Troops and Troop Training Centre disabled i.e. in favour of Cloning Facility.
Any race with Low Military Construction Levels was set to Normal (as some races are far too weak otherwise).
Any race with Low Troop Recruitment Levels was set to Normal (as some races are far too weak otherwise).
All races have Exploration Priority increased to Maximum (since the AI massively underbuilds Exploration Ships at default).
All races have Trade Priority increased to Maximum (which means an early focus on Construction Ships to get mines going quickly to help prevent shortages ... to an extent).
Large Spaceports take quite some time to Construct so changed to build at 6.5M rather than 3M (helps the AI speed up the start of researching).
General increase in number of ships assigned to Fleets (20), Strike Forces (6) and the proportion of ships assigned to Fleets (75%).
Invasion Overkill Factor increased for all races (to help the AI invade with sufficient strength, otherwise there are too many attacks that have no chance of success).
Ship Battle Caution Factor increased for all races (to help the AI attack with sufficient strength, otherwise there are too many attacks that have no chance of success).
All Insect Races can build Planet Destroyers and will Destroy Planets at every opportunity.
All Insect Races will Bombard Planets at every opportunity. They are meant to be Nasty after all!
War Willingness generally increased and better aligned with racial characteristics i.e. so passive races still have a low War Willingness, but aggressive races have increased War Willingness.
Some races now do not flee from Battles, they fight to the death!
Willingness of all races to control Restricted Resources increased as the AI generally gives this far too little focus otherwise.
Captured or recovered ships are always disassembled for technology and resources (while set per the Modding Guide note that it does not work).
Medium Size Colony Tax Rates are now set to Zero to assist AI growth.
Increased Troop Garrison Levels where possible.
Racial biases are much more often negative for races in other alliance / racial groups.
Positive racial biases are now more strongly aligned with racial groups.
Racial biases now include a modifier for friendliness of the race to better align with their racial characteristics.
My Favourite Screenshots!
The Shakturi getting pawned by the larger Empire AI ship designs...
Some races now have a genuine focus on Fighters...
Late game threats...
Upgraded Shakturi... (as of patch 188.8.131.52)
Developer Support Wishlist (Outstanding)
Ships using Gravity/Area weapons should be able to avoid their own gravity wells, at the moment they often do as much manage to themselves as they do to others.
Tractor Beams on Spaceports pull in troop transports until they get very close and then hold them. Spaceport tractor beams should push away, not hold, as soon as a troop transport is in range. This should apply for all diplomatic relationships except for a Mutual Defence Pact (where there should be a massive diplomatic penalty for a surprise attack). This could be used to help prevent sneaky invasions by human players (which is an AI exploit). Maybe improved in 184.108.40.206, testing required
The AI should attack homeworlds far more frequently with multiple fleets as often they attack with a single fleet which does not have sufficient invasion strength. Any competent AI commander would combined with other available fleets (including Allies). The result would be that human players would be defeated more often and strong AI's would become more dangerous as the game progresses.
Even with the correct Construction Size technology and plenty of available cashflow there is a delay before the AI will build Resupply Ships. Please advise what the trigger is or remove the delay if hardcoded.
There are some fields in the Empire Policy Files that I cannot get working. Specifically the AI does not disassemble recovered ships (even when set correctly per the Modding Guide). Note: some problems previously mentioned appear to have been fixed but are not in patch notes.
Could the AI build more Construction Ships very early game? To help the AI with Research Shortages. Maybe improved in 220.127.116.11, testing required
Could the AI retrofit ships that are not in fleets and Construction ships (particularly around Warp Drive) more proactively? Often ships remain without upgrades for extended periods even when plenty of cash is available.
The AI will sometimes retrofit fleets during a mission (e.g. just about to reach a target) or even in the middle of combat. Retrofits should occur when the mission is complete and hostiles in the immediate system are cleared.
Could the AI use Protection Agreements with Pirates more often when they are too weak to defend themselves? And then cancel those agreements as soon as the Pirates leave their systems? This would help the AI better handle Pirates.
With the Securan (and other happy races) the AI does not optimise tax rates. Happiness is often set more like +50, suggest a target more like +20. They would remain a Happy race as designed but will improve income.
Use Research Build Orders when games are built that are not pre-warp starts.
Allow the AI to use troops on fleets to destroy Pirate structures. When Pirates build structures the Empire AI only seems to use the troops on that planet to attack Pirate facilities. On small worlds the AI rarely has enough strength and so Pirate facilities flourish. The idea was to allow friendly fleets to land troops and attack those Pirate facilities, just as human players do, so the AI is at less of a disadvantage. The probability that fleets are used to attack Pirate structures should maybe increase for more advanced Pirate structures. Maybe improved in recent patches, testing required
Occasionally some Troop Ships would not fire at enemies. Just attempt to flee, or hang around twisting and turning. Some turn up at well defended planets without support.
Fix the Double Population Growth Rate bug as reported in Tech Support.
It's not possible to modify the time it takes Damage Control technologies to repair a component. As this is part of the Modding manual I've reported it as a bug in Tech Support.
Gravitic Weapons do little damage to Space Monsters such as Giant Kaltors but from the description in Galactopedia they should, so reported in Tech Support.
Developer Support Wishlist (Completed and Thanks Erik and Elliot)
Fix the Bug which prevents improved Shakturi Design Templates being used for the Return of the Shakturi as reported in Tech Support. Resolved in Patch 18.104.22.168
Add the ability to configure the Ship and Base tactics in the Design Templates. The default AI settings for Stronger Opponents and Weaker Opponents leads to suboptimal choices and this setting could vastly improve performance particularly for Short Range Weapons. A ship with Titan Beams should attack Point Blank where it has the highest DPS. A ship with Torpedoes should attack by Standing Off. A ship with Phaser Lances should attack at mid-range (as it has no loss) to minimise enemy DPS. In that test Long Range Weapons were clearly superior. This change would allow Short Range Weapons in particular to be more competitive (depending on speed etc). Resolved in Patch 22.214.171.124
Add the ability to configure the Tractor beam tactics (i.e. push / pull) in the Ship and Base Design Templates. Refer Post 189-200 for discussion of test performance and benefits. Resolved in Patch 126.96.36.199
The game automatically designs Capital Ships to expand to the largest available Construction Size, but not Carriers. Please implement the same for Carriers so the Fighter focused races are not at a disadvantage. Resolved in Patch 188.8.131.52
Even with the correct Construction Size technology and plenty of available cashflow there is a delay before the AI will build Capital Ships. Please advise what the trigger is or remove the delay if hardcoded. Resolved in Patch 184.108.40.206
Allow Civilian Ships to be shrunk (again with minimum settings to ensure useful ships are built). Resolved in Patch 220.127.116.11
Fix the Energy Collector bug as reported in Tech Support. Resolved in Patch 18.104.22.168
Some Military Ships are built with no weapons (note I have a lot of larger sizes in the Design Templates) when they are shrunk by the game. There should be a minimum amount of weapons (say 50%) in the design before the AI should be allowed to build that ship. Significant improvements in Patch 22.214.171.124
In the Design Templates Fighters Bays should be counted as a weapon. Im trying to design a Fighter focused race but to avoid a crash I need to include another weapon that is not the focus for that race. Resolved in Patch 126.96.36.199
In monitoring the AI across various races, Helium Resource Shortages are very common, and Osalia Resource Shortages are common for Beam races (almost nothing is in stock). Could starting stocks of these resources please be increased to assist the AI? Resolved in Patch 188.8.131.52
Changelog: 1.05 Release (Extended Only)
1. Patch 184.108.40.206 introduced the ability to flee at 50% Armour or 20% Shields. Aggressive races with Short Range Weapons which were previously set to Never Flee now use the new setting.
2. Shifted Caleph Special Weapons Research Technology in the Tech Tree to match other races Special Weapons, otherwise the Caleph get to high tier weapons too early.
3. Shuffled Colonisation tree design based on feedback on the relative benefits and costs of each tier.
4. The AI now builds Planetary Shields at 1B population rather than 5B and Massive Shield Projection is researched much earlier. To ensure this change does not effect AI cashflow the maintenance cost of Planetary Shields has been reduced.
5. Zenox Shield Technology is nw an optional pre-requistite for Massive Shield Projection (so the Zenox don't need to research weak shields just to get pre-requisites for Planetary Shields).
6. Added Banoserit Special Technology for Long Range Scanners to their research build order.
7. Fix made to Kiadian Research Order which sometimes meant they would not research their Special Technology.
Changelog: 1.04 Release
1. Spaceports now use the Evade Stance (except for races that require Point Blank for their chosen weapon type). This effects Tractor Beams, pushing away ships, hence making it more difficult for Pirates to land raiders.
2. War Willingness generally increased and better aligned with racial characteristics i.e. so passive races still have a low War Willingness, but aggressive races have increased War Willingness.
3. Racial biases are much more often negative for races in other alliance / racial groups.
4. Positive racial biases are now more strongly aligned with racial groups.
5. Racial biases now include a modifier for friendliness of the race to better align with their racial characteristics.
Changelog: 1.03 Release
1. Corrections made to Colony Construction Speeds
2. Corrections made to Research Colonisation Costs and Colony Construction Speeds for Shakturi
3. Extended race graphics applied to modified help files for Vanilla races
Changelog: 1.02 Release
1. Escort Ship Designs for Keskudon and Zenox changed to Size 230 to align with other races and to ensure buildable early game.
2. Keskudon Ship Designs include Bombardment Weapons to align with their Research Order (Extended only).
3. Carriers for races that do not use Fighters/Bombers now use the updated designs i.e. that are used by Figher/Bomber races. While they are not use by the AI those designs maybe used by human players.
4. Resupply Ships now have 20 Docking Bays.
5. Ship tactics added for details refer to the "Extended AI Improvement Mod.xls" Summary Sheet. Carriers are always "All Weapons", however.
6. Tractor Beams added to all Spaceport designs.
7. Tractor Beams added to Capital Ships for all races using Point Blank Tactics i.e. to pull them in.
8. Tractor Beam research added for all races (except for Gravitic Weapons focused races that researched Tractor Beams already).
9. Galactopedia updated to include the Weapons focus and Energy Research preferences for each race.
10. Increased Troop Garrison Levels, where possible.
11. To resolve problems with Freighter shinkage, changed ResearchDesignOverallFocus to 0 (Balanced) for the Ackdarian, Gizurean, Kiadian, Wekkarus and Jintus. This should have no other effect as the Research Orders and Design Templates are customised anyway, but please report any problems.
12. Increased construction sizes by one class at each technology level. This resolves problems with Civilian Ship shrinkage and means larger ships are available for the AI earlier.
13. Resupply Ships now available at Enhanced Construction with designs optimised for Size 1200, which helps the AI with early game resource shortages.
14. Increased the number of docking bays on Gas Mining Stations.
Changelog: 1.01 Release
1. Fixed some design templates with Gravitic Weapons races to ensure that there was a mix of Gravity Beams and Area Gravity Weapons. As it takes a little time to research Area Gravity Weapons, some designs in the previous releases had no weapons until Area Gravity Weapons had been researched, putting those AI's at a disadvantage.
2. Advanced Colonisation Research is now completed by the AI much earlier in the Build Order i.e. so the AI uses the largest colonisation module more quickly. Inserted Optimized Cargo Storage in High Tech Research Orders to ensure Advanced Colonisation is researched, this was an error in the previous release.
3. Reduced Gerax hyperdrive speeds and increased late-game hyperdrive speeds. This helps prevent the AI from sending ships and fleets unreasonable distances before they are ready to do so. Pirates will be a little less effective which helps the AI Empires. Late game mop-up operations can be done more quickly. It should also help the Shakturi if the human player has not given hyperdrive research sufficient focus.
4. Modified AI Energy Research Build Orders to more strongly reflect the styles of each race i.e. balanced / speed & agility / power / efficiency. In the previous release, while Special Technologies always had focus, the Energy Build Order was fairly generic since I always felt AI Empires that focused on speed/agility were at a disadvantage. However, now that the benefits of hyperdrive research are greater, there is more balance.
Changelog: Alpha to 1.0 Release
As the community feedback to the Alpha was positive a decision was made to go straight to 1.0 Release. There were not a large number of changes from Alpha to 1.0 but they are important:
1. Changed Troop Transports so that they can be built at Size 300. It appears changes to how the game shrinks Troop Transports were made in the 220.127.116.11 Beta as this was definitely working earlier. Ive added Troop Compartments to the larger ship designs to compensate for the smaller Troop Transport design templates. We'll have to keep an eye on what happens with future patches as well and I'll update as needed.
2. Fixed the upgraded Pirate Ship Designs to ensure they include Assault Pods. My bad on that one, too much testing without Pirates, given the AI is poor at dealing with them effectively.
3. Implemented a temporary change so that Size 230 is available at the start of a pre-warp game. This way the mod's upgraded Civilian ships can be built immediately and Im not forced so put out two versions of the Mod i.e. one with seriously nerfed Civilian Ship designs for Expensive or above Research settings on a pre-warp start. As a result the Mod can now also be played on any Research setting. Note Civilian Ship Shrinkage remains on the Developer Support Wishlist as this would be the better solution.