Just spotted this and grabbed the beta.
ORIGINAL: Andrew Loveridge
v18.104.22.168 Beta - May 5th, 2012
DESIGNS AND RETROFITTING
- added new AI design settings in Empire Policy screen.
-- Can now fine-tune how designs are generated with settings like how many shields, engines, weapons are used, etc.
-- Thus each race now has a particular set of focuses for their ship and base designs.
-- Also have multiple new tech focus settings (now 6, instead of 2) which are used to guide which research projects the AI selects
- reviewed base AI design templates for all ships and bases so that AI designs are more challenging to play against
- ensured that new designs properly obsolete old designs of the same type (e.g. Carrier, Resupply Ship)
- auto-retrofitting no longer downgrades spaceport sizes when population is below threshold at a colony (but will still upgrade spaceport sizes when retrofitting)
- toggling the auto-retrofit settings in the Designs screen now also propagates these changes to all individual ships/bases of that design. This ensures that ships are not auto-retrofitted when their role is set to not auto-retrofit
The ship fine tuning is the bulk of the design policy ideas we came up with, which is seriously cool. I saw this and thought Wow, already?! Looks like a few of the weapon types are missing, but as ASHBERY noted it seems the alt techs are used if that's where you tech focus instead. Very slick!
And 6 tech focus areas, thank you! Between those two things I think the AI empires will take on much more life of their own. Can't wait to get some play time this weekend.