ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins
I'd be interested in any suggestions to improve the AI's performance, keeping in mind the law of unintended consequences.
There are many things I could wish for but the top priority would have to be breaking the game's tendency to be 'static': http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3180858#
The war appears at a stalemate but I'm not sure how reliable the comparison really is.
Sorry, I'm going to be a real downer here.
The problem is that stalemate will never end. Due to problems with how the current logic of automated fleets work as well as certain aspects of diplomacy the AI is extremely inefficient at waging war. Even if the Gizureans had a considerably larger military it would take ages for them to take over anything more than perhaps a few cruddy systems. Basically, what will happen is the Gizurean fleets will spend so much time refueling/travelling back and forth/attacking insignificant targets (such as sending a full-sized fleet to destroy some remote gas extraction station) that no real progress will ever be made. Couple this inefficiency with the fact that all empires, even the highly aggressive ones, will sue for peace after a relatively short period and you have the receipe for a completely static game where no empire will 'ever' be defeated (maybe one will, eventually, but I've never seen it happen - it will likely take several hundred years of game time).
From a roleplaying perspective you should of course trade the spice. :)
Most of the problems are related to fuel.
Automated fleets - which includes all AI controlled fleets - need to be smarter in what missions they choose to conduct. Some of the errors I notice the automation makes is:
- Misjudging mission fuel requirements - automation sends a fleet or strike force against a target but runs out of fuel half way there which triggers a new refuel mission. The fleet in question thus never actually carries out the order. This one is highly noticeable when conducting pirate base destruction missions suggested by advisors.
- In other instances, triggers refueling mission even if fleet actually has sufficient fuel to stay a while longer. This causes situations such as a fleet having a mission of assaulting an empire's homeworld space port, succesfully wearing down all its shields then suddenly, instead of finishing it off, it heads off to refuel (even if most or even all ships still have 40%+ fuel).
- In all above cases, a subsequent problem is then the automation's decision on where to refuel. Often what will happen is it will pick a distant refueling point that doesn't have enough fuel to refill the fleet in the first place, especially not after said fleet makes the lengthy journey to the refueling point. That means this fleet can end up with less fuel than if it had never moved to begin with. The player can remedy this to a degree with the usage of refueling ships and aggressive construction of nearby gas stations but a simple check to see if the refueling mission is actually 'worthwhile' in the first place would help.
- Sending large fleets to destroy low priority, distant targets and, conversely, sending small fleets to destroy large threats. This could be a 20 ship fleet heading for a remote gas station or a small strike force suiciding against a large space port.
I set a game to 'rule in absence' and ran at 4x speed yesterday. My automated empire would bombard the neighbouring human planets but because they would then spend so much time refueling etc afterwards the Humans had time to recolonize afterwards. Basically, the Human empire was colonizing as fast as mine was bombarding. That doesn't make for a balanced system, it was indeed a complete stalemate. Part of the problem here was likewise that it was my large fleets bombarding tiny 30M systems. So, one of these fleets might bombard two planets then fly home for the lenghty refueling - and then come back to bombard the same two recolonized planets.