From: Vermont, USA
Universe development did include a lot of AI improvements, as a result of making sure that the AI could handle the things that modders could now do in terms of changing the game.
They are largely covered by these feature points:
- Allies will make cooperative fleet attacks against common enemies
- A multitude of AI improvements across many areas: resource transport, research pathing, fleets, etc
The AI is definitely smarter about research in Universe.
There were a few improvements to Ship Design AI but no major overhaul. Ship Design is based on the system that we put in place for Shadows, which allows tailoring of design strategies for each faction.
Explorer AI has been improved in each release. We solved most of the past issues in Shadows and it received a few more tweaks during Universe development. It does not have a new interface per the thread you linked from a week ago, but I'm pretty sure most players are not building and managing 50+ exploration ships from the start. However, if there's demand for more improvements to exploration we can do that.