Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (Full Version)

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Lyoncet -> Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (5/31/2015 5:53:57 PM)

Hey folks! I haven't played much DW, but I recently started an Extended mod game as the Ikkuro which I won with no problem whatsoever (TYVM Timotheus for the excellent newbie guide!) So for my next game I grabbed v. 1.05 of Icemania's AI mod, bumped it up to Very Hard as per his recommendations, and started up a new game. I figure I'll probably lose badly, but better to learn by losing to better AI than by beating lousy AI, right?

Settings are:
Race: Mortalen, monarchy
Spiral galaxy, 700 stars
10x10 sectors
Pre-warp
Normal aggression
Very Hard
Normal research
Few space creatures
Very few, weak pirates, average proximity, no respawn
Normal colony prevalence
Normal independent life
100% colony influence range
2 sector colonization range limit
No disasters
No tech trading

I was expecting a challenge, but holy hell, I must be doing something wrong. Because I'm getting absolutely slaughtered by the AI. No wars declared yet (I've only met the very passive Tairoshan), but I'm sucking everyone's space fumes. I gave up by year 2117, and here's how things looked:

Just got Gerax Hyperdrive, having set both agents on repeated 1-year steal research missions on the Tairoshan
Maxed out at 358K research output, split mostly evenly between branches
Only starting colony
-3.5K income - both before AND AFTER getting the trade bazaar wonder (paying off one pirate faction at 280/month) (23K taxes, 10K ship an base maintenance, -2K troops, -10K facilities, -1K fuel, -3K pirates) mining stations
A private sector that's losing money (69K colony revenue, -23K to taxes, -31K to ships and bases, -2K to fuel)
Only one ship - the destroyer I repaired and would probably retire soon anyways
1 medium space port minimally redesigned from the AI mod's base design (optimized slightly by removing some extra energy collectors, that sort of thing)
3 exploration ships, 2 construction ships, 2 research stations
13 small freighters, 9 medium freighters, 7 large freighters, 2 gas mining ships, 2 mining ships, 3 mining stations, 4 gas mining stations

Meanwhile, the Tairoshan had 3463 military strength in 2114 at first contact, and by 2115 had 6411. They also have 2x my strategic value, 237K GDP vs. my 116K, and 42K trade income vs. my 11K. They have 10B people on 4 colonies vs. my 3.5B on one colony.

I opened up the editor, and the Tairoshan are doing a little above average, but not by much. Everyone's beating the snot out of me in every way imaginable. I've been running at max research volume the whole time, and my research has just been Icemania's default Mortalen order. I certainly haven't overbuilt anything, except for accidentally upgrading from small to medium spaceport early on which was about a 1K difference in maintenance. The only thing I can think of I didn't do was do the on-again-off-again thing with pirate protection, which I don't like since it seems cheesy to me.

I must have totally screwed something up because I can't imagine the AI would be this far ahead of me otherwise. I've looked at some AARs too which have given me the impression something's not right at all. It also seems like I'm way behind my old games. In my Ikkuro game, I had a robust economy, 547K max resarch, and my first extrastellar colony by 2104.

Anyone able to give me a hand?




Bingeling -> RE: Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (5/31/2015 7:40:27 PM)

It sounds a bit excessive. How is your population compared to the home planet of the others? I believe the Mortalen may have a low reproduction rate, and that hurts in the early game.

It seems odd that the civilians are losing money. Are they doing excessive trading with your neighbor or something?




Lyoncet -> RE: Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (5/31/2015 8:06:51 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bingeling

It sounds a bit excessive. How is your population compared to the home planet of the others? I believe the Mortalen may have a low reproduction rate, and that hurts in the early game.


Very good question! Let's see...
Gizurean: 16.3 billion
Ortian: 6.2 billion
Ikkuro: 7.1 billion
Shandar: 9.1 billion
Jintus: 11.0 billion
Quameno: 4.6 billion
Naxxilian: 6.1 billion
Tairoshan: 9.6 billion
Banoserit: 4.3 billion

Mortalen: a whopping 3.7 billion...

Mortalen have 16% reproduction rate, so definitely nothing to brag about. But it's not that awful... is it?


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bingeling

It seems odd that the civilians are losing money. Are they doing excessive trading with your neighbor or something?


Oops, my mistake. Was reading the chart wrong. Civilian economy had 13K cashflow. The -1K was cash on hand. Although that also seems odd. Not sure how to check if my civilians are trading excessively; how would I go about doing that?

The tax situation is as follows:

69K GDP from homeworld
37% tax (on auto - high)
23K tax revenue - 93% compliance

10k ship/base maintenance
2k troop maintenance
10k facility maintenance (trade bazaar)
1k fuel costs

Civilian revenue: 69k
23k taxes
31k ship/base maintenance
2k fuel costs

Don't know if that sheds any light on the economy end of things. It seems like there's a problem from the economy side and the research side, but I can definitely see them being interconnected or both stemming from the same problem.

[edit]Also I should mention that the AIs were all set to auto-generate, so they should have used the settings I selected (right?)




Bingeling -> RE: Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (5/31/2015 8:19:01 PM)

I must admit that I don't remember the reproduction numbers, but I would believe you will find 16% to be among the lowest. The population influences the economy a lot, and also research.

How to see if they trade a lot abroad? Zoom "suitably" far enough out to see both a good portion of the galaxy and the civilian ships. If you see a stream of civilians returning from foreign lands, it is a hint that they trade a lot.

As for the cash on hand of the civilians, have you been spamming mines? Have the civilians lost a lot of ships to pirates? With few pirates and a protection deal, I would guess the answer to those are "no".

Also, are those research stations on bonus sites? In the AI mod they have very few labs, and should not be needed if you got the default medium spaceport of that mod. And I believe the small spaceports may have no labs at all, so having a medium one would be a good idea.




Icemania -> RE: Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (6/1/2015 1:29:53 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Lyoncet
Anyone able to give me a hand?

Be confident there are most certainly ways to win. Maybe allow technology trading to get comfortable at that difficulty first ... then turn it off again. If you need to, feel free to drop the difficulty a notch, the AI Mod will still work fine, but the benefits to the AI get less. Due to limitations in which I can Mod the AI does need more cash to make the AI Mod work as intended.

A couple of observations to get started:

1. Are you invading independents? I normally give this a vastly high priority than colonisation as they start with much higher populations. They are essential to close the gap with the AI particularly if you are playing a race with low population growth.

2. I would recommend more than 3 explorers. Good exploration can provide lost colonies, super luxuries and so on which again help a lot with population / cash flow.

3. When playing a low population growth race normally I target the population growth wonder first. I don't do very much with 0% tax until then (during which my economy is funded by super luxuries or cash reserves). And then Trader's Bazaar. Of course, that means you have to get them before the AI!




Lyoncet -> RE: Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (6/1/2015 2:03:54 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bingeling

How to see if they trade a lot abroad? Zoom "suitably" far enough out to see both a good portion of the galaxy and the civilian ships. If you see a stream of civilians returning from foreign lands, it is a hint that they trade a lot.

As for the cash on hand of the civilians, have you been spamming mines? Have the civilians lost a lot of ships to pirates? With few pirates and a protection deal, I would guess the answer to those are "no".

Also, are those research stations on bonus sites? In the AI mod they have very few labs, and should not be needed if you got the default medium spaceport of that mod. And I believe the small spaceports may have no labs at all, so having a medium one would be a good idea.


Ah, little to no trading outside my empire then. Everyone else is too far away for Warp Bubble-equipped ships to make it.

Not much mine spamming. 3 mining, 4 gas mining. Freighters are around 750 upkeep. 2 research stations on big bonus sites (in the 20-30% range I think). I made sure to add enough research stations onto my original small spaceport that I'd always be at or over the research cap too. [;)]

quote:

ORIGINAL: Icemania

quote:

ORIGINAL: Lyoncet
Anyone able to give me a hand?

Be confident there are most certainly ways to win. Maybe allow technology trading to get comfortable at that difficulty first ... then turn it off again. If you need to, feel free to drop the difficulty a notch, the AI Mod will still work fine, but the benefits to the AI get less. Due to limitations in which I can Mod the AI does need more cash to make the AI Mod work as intended.

A couple of observations to get started:

1. Are you invading independents? I normally give this a vastly high priority than colonisation as they start with much higher populations. They are essential to close the gap with the AI particularly if you are playing a race with low population growth.

2. I would recommend more than 3 explorers. Good exploration can provide lost colonies, super luxuries and so on which again help a lot with population / cash flow.

3. When playing a low population growth race normally I target the population growth wonder first. I don't do very much with 0% tax until then (during which my economy is funded by super luxuries or cash reserves). And then Trader's Bazaar. Of course, that means you have to get them before the AI!


1. Nope, no invasions yet since I just barely got Gerax. I'll definitely keep this in mind.

2. More explorers are next on the list since, again, just got Gerax. I actually crammed an obscene number of small fuel cells (like 22 or something?) onto my three explorers with Warp Bubble Generators to try to get exploration earlier since I was so far behind. I think I usually end up with 10-14 or so once I get Gerax up and running.

3. So if I gather rightly, stay at lower taxes to allow growth for early game when not much is happening? Sounds like a plan - I was under the impression that strategy was nerfed when they made low taxes have less effect on growth and more on migration, but that's certainly something I'll play around with now.

So overall, it looks like nothing's really out of sorts? I saw the huge expansion and military strength of my neighbors and assumed the game was already as good as lost, but it sounds like with some tweaking I can curb the effect of the low population growth and start making inroads. Thanks for the replies - will give it a try over the week as I find time! :)




Cruis.In -> RE: Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (6/1/2015 4:16:09 AM)

tax your colony at 0 at the beginning, let the private sector grow strong. (less tax means richer private sector) they buy more ships etc....Don't mind the negative cash flow, with space port trade and other things you will stay with a positive account.

Build about 7 constructions ships total. First get them out and get them building those critical mining stations for gas and resources. So you end your resource shortage issues quickly.

Look for and get luxury and strategic resource sources fast. More access to luxury = better colony growth. You've got to move fast the AI expand quickly. Look in your expansion planner, check for certain resources then select the 'resource by empire need' option. It'll show you out of the planets you have explored where to find that particular resource you selected.

When your expansion slows down...then you can start taxing your main colony and get money out of them.




accolade -> RE: Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (6/1/2015 9:13:17 PM)

quote:

The only thing I can think of I didn't do was do the on-again-off-again thing with pirate protection, which I don't like since it seems cheesy to me.

I've done that playing on Normal but since playing the AI Mod 1.04 Vanilla Extreme w/ Strong pirates; if you renege for the first time then reinstate the contract, they will send a vessel or two to camp your colony.




Twigster -> RE: Help - getting slaughtered (Extended AI mod 1.0.5, Very Hard) (6/3/2015 9:47:05 PM)

I have begun paying much, much more attention to resource distribution and individual resource Sources lately, and to how these effect economic performance. Maybe that would help?




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