I think the other empires already know what ship design they have, so it is no extra data beyond an "I know about this one"-bit. And a bit extra for each design (multiply by number of empires) is not expensive at all in a game of this scope. If it is worth making is a separate decision...
But a ship simulator is not that easy (nor is it really hard, but it is about developer time). And I think it is less about ship design than picking your fights, and having the correct number of ships. The AI should worry more about how it is utilizing its fleets.
Having attack targets on suggest is enlightening. Having the AI run core parts of your empire is generally enlightening, you notice what goes on.
"I think our fleet in system X should attack the 21st enemy fleet in system X". Well yes, we are actually already killing ships of that fleet, but we have not given the specific "attack fleet" order...
"I feel the Home Fleet should go kill the Urgleburgle mining station of our opponents". Well, that mining post is 4 sectors to the east, stretching its range. And the home fleet has just killed this medium space port and a bunch of ships in the system, and consist of 25 ships. I have 10-15 fleets. Do you REALLY think the home fleet should go 3-4 sectors to bust a mining station?
And sorry for an image a bit too large but... In my Swarm AAR, I finally got a deep cover agent into the blue enemies, so see positions by this galaxy map image too large for the job. I am the yellow guys. My enemy is dark blue and lives where the NW yellow colonies are. They are also at war with the dark greens who are not so easy to see, but make up the are just north of the blue home colonies.
So their scary 17th fleet or whatever of some 15-20 ships (they have more than one scary fleet), refuels at their resupply ship placed just next to my southern space port. That is a long way from home. It is also a long way from any fleet of comparable strength, but they probably don't know everything about me. I have a 3 ship fleet in that area, and it is mostly out of fuel... Target count was low down there anyways, pirates had made sure of that, and they had no troops after invading a colony further north thus could not invade anything.
What does it do? My spy informs me. "Attack station 005". I don't know where station 005 is, but it is not mine. Probably owned by the greens. I could see it disappear up to their home lands. It makes no sense. The AI lacks positional awareness. So it don't need to worry about optimizing designs to their opponents just yet. It should have stolen my territory map at least, and drop by some of my systems in the area in case there was something to kill. And refuel back at the ship. I should need to worry about a 17 ship fleet with a fuel source prowling my southern territories. At least as long as they have a troop on board, or there is something in the area killable by a fleet (which it hardly was) ... They move explorers into my systems. Why not jump into my home system and kill a mining base? They know there are a couple available to be killed. And then leave before dieing to some other targets in there (space port and defensive bases, but they won't help a mining post).
The AI spends way too much time moving big fleets between distant positions. They now make "fleets" and "strike forces", strike forces should mop mining bases (and if they tend to die doing it, take a hint and make the strike forces a bit larger).
< Message edited by Bingeling -- 2/15/2011 11:00:25 AM >