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How do you use automation?

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How do you use automation? - 1/21/2017 9:32:59 PM   


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Pardon if this topic has been beaten to death, but I am very interested to hear how other gamers manage the automation and why; like which parts of it you use, and when/if you turn other aspects of it on. Some fresh perspective might help all of us tweak our games differently.

Here's my initial thoughts:
After the automation inefficiency made me dislike the game, give a thumbs-down review on Steam, and stop playing it (that review has since been corrected), I've come back because of the other well imagined aspects of the game and have tried to minimize the impact of automation on my gaming fun.

So in the pre-warp era, the only thing I automate is the colony policies, mainly because I have no clue what that is, heh. I set my tax to 0 for the massive population growth out of the blocks, and only inch it up as finances demand it. I make certain my explorers survey areas close enough to be useful to me (rather than letting them wander way out like they tend to do). Then once my home world is smoking, I turn tax automation on and let it do the juggling (it seems to handle new colonies perfectly, but then again, it's hard to screw that up). I personally manage my own defense fleets and pirate hunters, since that's so critical early on--I know from my last game that pirates can really stunt growth, and in my current game, I managed them so well I think that's why I was so far ahead of other empires, even those who I set ahead of me in tech/starting setup.

Once I have about 10 colonies, my eyes begin to cross from trying to handle everything, so I automate patrol fleets and exploration and (only if my income is substantial) the constructors. I will probably never let the automation handle heroes since in my first game it placed a fleet admiral on a weaponless troop transport (had 2 grouped together for convenience's sake). And I can tell from the preset designs that it'd be foolishness to let the AI handle my ship designs.

Do you handle things differently? How and why?
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RE: How do you use automation? - 1/21/2017 11:39:05 PM   


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I don't automate anything. Sometimes, when I get beyond 10 colonies or so myself, I regret my decision (and stubbornness). In order for me to use automation, I have to know exactly how a ship will act under AI control (and I mean *exactly*), so it takes much longer for me to acquire enough game knowledge to use automation rather than manual control.


Matrix Games video tutorials:
Distant Worlds Universe
Advanced Tactics Gold

(in reply to Gorde)
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RE: How do you use automation? - 1/22/2017 12:38:25 AM   

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From: Wisconsin
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I automate exploration, construction ships, ship design, spying, and sometimes research. I auto research only if I'm playing my mod.

For me this frees up time so I can concentrate on war.

As always this is my opinion.

(in reply to tortugapower)
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RE: How do you use automation? - 1/22/2017 3:22:47 PM   
Uncle Lumpy

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Joined: 7/1/2005
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I automate similar to Retreat1970, exploration and construction ships. I like designing my own ships, but I only do so if I can combine several major levels of new tech. That keeps design and retrofitting to a minimum. Unless I have a spy with decent espionage skills, all my agents are on counter-espionage. It really irks me to lose a whole base to a foreign agent (imo, that happens way too easily in the game). My "defensive" fleets are set to defend, and I really forget about them. I really only pay attention to any fleets in war set to invade (even with high over kill selected, I want all of the troops in an invasion to land to gain experience). I follow a pretty structured path of research in all three trees, and only leave it to automation near the end of the game. I never leave diplomacy to automation. Only once did I allow the game to run on complete automation. I had about 10 years left in the game and I had pretty much won. After I switched to full auto, I dropped from $150,000,000 to under $100,000,000. My empire colonized 20+ planets (most were of really poor quality). And I was drawn into one of those pointless and never ending petty wars between every little empire left in the galaxy. I still won, but after that automation seems much less attractive to me.

(in reply to Retreat1970)
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RE: How do you use automation? - 1/22/2017 4:30:10 PM   

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As you can see from the responses above, automation is a very personal topic and what works for one person does not work for another. All you can do is take these responses as a guideline to what might work for you.

...including my automation setup:

There are never more than a dozen Characters (spies, fleet admirals, etc.) so I handle them manually.
I let my advisors suggest things, but I never let them act without my say-so.
I like designing ships so I never automate that.
I manually control all research, but I queue up 6-7 research projects for each tree so I don't need to go back very often.

In the early game, I automate very little.
I target my scout ships to particular nearby locations such as sectors I have not visited and planets that might contain resources I need. I tell my constructors what to build. I automate taxation when I get more than one colony, but I have set specific thresholds for taxation based on population levels so it works the way I want.
I only have one or two small battle fleets so I manually control them too.

Later in the game, my large empire makes it difficult to watch everything, so I automate exploration and colonization. I switch from telling my constructors where to build to just queuing bases and stations where I want them and letting the next free constructor get on with it. Later I fully automate construction.
I design small fleets ("pickets") to guard my borders and they are automated on a defensive posture, but my big battle fleets are on manual.

Oh yes, I keep a couple of constructors on manual to repair derelicts and target building for new colonies.

If you're going to automate, I think it's important to get to know the Empire Policy screen. This is where you can fine tune automation so the AI really acts the way you want it to.


(in reply to Uncle Lumpy)
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RE: How do you use automation? - 1/22/2017 7:15:20 PM   


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I usually automate construction and exploration ships, the design of private sector ships and stations, the design of colony ships and construction ships, and the design of non-spaceport state bases. I also usually make use of automated postured fleets for system defense and very occasionally for attack (if you use a postured fleet for attack, be warned that the fleet will destroy its attack target if it can, and that upon loss of the attack target the fleet will be freed from the constraints placed upon it by the posture, meaning that it becomes in effect an automated unpostured fleet for the computer to employ however it wishes). On rare occasion, I'll also have swarms of automated unfleeted escorts. I control everything else manually.


There are never more than a dozen Characters (spies, fleet admirals, etc.) so I handle them manually.

It is not actually true that there are never more than a dozen characters; my empire in a test game I ran recently had 25 characters as of the most recent save (the empire had 39 colonies in 29 systems and 140 billion total population or something like that). As I understand it, the number of characters which your empire can have is scaled to empire population in some manner, though the scaling function is nonlinear and gives fewer characters per population the larger the total population is.

I do however agree that it is no trouble to handle them manually. For many character types (ship captains, fleet admirals, counterintelligence agents, and usually scientists), you can set them up once and more or less forget about them, and most of the rest (diplomats, colony governors, troop generals) usually only require infrequent management. Intelligence agents are the only ones who can really require significant management.

(in reply to RemoteLeg)
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RE: How do you use automation? - 1/22/2017 9:51:51 PM   


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As you can see from the responses above, automation is a very personal topic and what works for one person does not work for another.

Absolutely agree. The game is complicated enough (with enough options on the performance slider) that I expected many answers to vary from my own; however, especially because of the "why," I find it interesting even if it doesn't transform my playstyle. Thanks everyone for sharing (so far).

Happy gaming.

< Message edited by Gorde -- 1/22/2017 11:46:30 PM >

(in reply to RemoteLeg)
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