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Questions and Observations - 4/12/2020 6:37:22 AM   
balto

 

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I am watching all three Youtubers, so I cannot remember where I saw what.., but I believe I am seeing that you can build unnecessary stuff. For example, I believe I am seeing that you can build radiation shield buildings when there is no radiation on the planet. And an option to give your troops environment suits when again, the planet has a great ecology. Is that a bug, or does the Radiation thing still help when you have a nice ecological planet?

I was watching Tortuga comment on the Logistics thing sending trucks to nowhere so you need Road Blocks/gateways and that the previous Vic games did not do this. Will this be fixed/changed? Seems to be totally unnecessary micro.

What determines when you can advance to another Research box?

Does the AI difficulty scale with your planet selection? In other words, if you select a radiated crappy planet where everything is hard to come by (food, water, shielded biomes, special suits,.etc), does the AI also have to pay extra and thus face the same challenge? Or does the AI stay the same, so the selection of an earth-life planet make the game easier for Single Player? Am I writing this question properly?

Great game, cannot wait to get this.





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RE: Questions and Observations - 4/12/2020 4:02:03 PM   
DasTactic

 

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Hi Balto,

I'm getting more of a handle on the game the more I play it. :) Many layers of complexity.

quote:

I believe I am seeing that you can build unnecessary stuff. For example, I believe I am seeing that you can build radiation shield buildings when there is no radiation on the planet.

Eventually, you can build nuclear weaponry and indeed can find Galactic Republic nuclear launchers in the early game. These leave radiation in the tiles around ground zero. I have also seen Dissolution War details about nuclear fall-out and the game has reference to Mutants so I guess some planets will have radiation as a left-over of that. RAD is one of the main hex indicators so I guess it is important. If you are watching my series on YouTube I launch a nuclear strike in episode 13 which is probably about a week away. :)

quote:

And an option to give your troops environment suits when again, the planet has a great ecology. Is that a bug, or does the Radiation thing still help when you have a nice ecological planet?

Environmental suits provide basic armour (50) so even if you don't need them for thermal, radiation, biohazards, or breathing - they can still be a little useful. If you have a world that requires the enviro suit then you don't have the options to use none, thermal, filters etc.

quote:

I was watching Tortuga comment on the Logistics thing sending trucks to nowhere so you need Road Blocks/gateways and that the previous Vic games did not do this. Will this be fixed/changed? Seems to be totally unnecessary micro.

It is micromanagement (and a bit of a dark-art) but can be useful if you really want to force supplied into a specific area. It can work very well if you are finding you have a lot of blockages. You can also create one-way roads which can be useful if your truck network is struggling.

quote:

What determines when you can advance to another Research box?

From memory, I think you need three fully researched techs in a box before you can start to discover techs in the connecting boxes.

quote:

Does the AI difficulty scale with your planet selection? In other words, if you select a radiated crappy planet where everything is hard to come by (food, water, shielded biomes, special suits,.etc), does the AI also have to pay extra and thus face the same challenge? Or does the AI stay the same, so the selection of an earth-life planet make the game easier for Single Player?

My understanding is that the AI doesn't cheat other than higher difficulties get some added bonuses. One of the coolest aspects of the game is the way resources are directly related to the planet generation. If you don't have xeno lifeforms (plants etc) then you won't find fossil fuels other than in ruins - which means you can't really run mechanised forces - which means you really need to specialise in infantry until you get to tech to extract fuel from methane in the atmosphere. Again in the my youtube series the AI started to create incredible basic infantry. I thought it was a bug so sent it through to Vic but Vic showed me that the AI had just researched exactly what it needed to make them super soldiers. :) These don't appear until very late in my youtube series around episode 21 or so.

Cheers

Das

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RE: Questions and Observations - 4/13/2020 1:50:36 AM   
balto

 

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Thank you DAS. I watched your Twitch video. I knew once you re-grouped you would do well. Keep up the great work.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/11/2020 12:22:58 PM   
Palora

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: DasTactic


quote:

Does the AI difficulty scale with your planet selection? In other words, if you select a radiated crappy planet where everything is hard to come by (food, water, shielded biomes, special suits,.etc), does the AI also have to pay extra and thus face the same challenge? Or does the AI stay the same, so the selection of an earth-life planet make the game easier for Single Player?

My understanding is that the AI doesn't cheat other than higher difficulties get some added bonuses. One of the coolest aspects of the game is the way resources are directly related to the planet generation. If you don't have xeno lifeforms (plants etc) then you won't find fossil fuels other than in ruins - which means you can't really run mechanised forces - which means you really need to specialise in infantry until you get to tech to extract fuel from methane in the atmosphere. Again in the my youtube series the AI started to create incredible basic infantry. I thought it was a bug so sent it through to Vic but Vic showed me that the AI had just researched exactly what it needed to make them super soldiers. :) These don't appear until very late in my youtube series around episode 21 or so.

Cheers

Das



Are you sure about that, because from what I've seen ATM it looks like the AI is ignoring or heavily cheating when it comes to logistic capacity. Especially the major regimes seem to just be able to go across the planet in every direction at the same time on one private truck station.


< Message edited by Palora -- 5/11/2020 12:25:17 PM >


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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/11/2020 12:36:33 PM   
KingHalford

 

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The game manual states that the AI is mostly using the same rules as the player (although it doesn't specify how it differs, the game philosophy seems to exclude just giving the AI big resource bonuses on the regular difficulty).

I've not seen this issue with the Major Regimes just ignoring logistics personally: particularly in the later patches they seem to have the same range as I do and now they're way more expansive and aggressive rather than being content to quietly fume at you on the border.

< Message edited by KingHalford -- 5/11/2020 12:37:04 PM >


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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/11/2020 3:27:28 PM   
Culthrasa

 

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Wouldn't be surprised if the AI algorithms are just good at keeping up supply. The fiddling a player does with Traffic signals is probably trivial to an AI (conjecture here, not a programmer). Supply has a clear start point (the HQ) and clear endpoints (the units). So I hope Vic just made the AI that good without just generic bonusses...

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/11/2020 3:51:50 PM   
DasTactic

 

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The last version of the manual gives a lot of info now on how the AI plays. In a nut-shell...
- Same combat rules
- Same production and construction
- Same supply, ammo and fuel usage
- Same for profiles
- Same for unit feats
- Same for trade
- Same for recruits
- Danger zone doesn't apply
- Free dirt road construction
- Free LIS and AP range
- Doesn't use Orgs
- BP spent on buying techs, models and OOB
- No spies but has vague view on player empire
- Only gets diplomatic and posture cards
- Plus a slew of more minor changes

The biggest one is the free dirt roads and LIS usage. I originally thought the AI was chomping through its resources building roads.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/11/2020 4:19:48 PM   
Palora

 

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Ah yes, those are the "issues" I'm seeing in this beta version, with those advantages the AI just expands insanely wide in my games with the minor nations being unable to even slow them down let alone survive them. It's also hard to cut troops off without doing a full encirclement because they'll just build a new dirt road through the gap for free. And it's a bit sad to not have logistical points for you to target during your own advances, like supply bases or truck stations.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/11/2020 4:55:55 PM   
Culthrasa

 

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Well i was wrong Too bad... Would be awesome if an AI could be targeted the same way a human player can, by blocking their supply....

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/11/2020 9:44:22 PM   
DasTactic

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Culthrasa

Well i was wrong Too bad... Would be awesome if an AI could be targeted the same way a human player can, by blocking their supply....

You can block their supply. The only advantage they have is that their logistics doesn't degrade but they still need to trace a supply route back to SHQ.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/12/2020 10:37:10 AM   
Palora

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: DasTactic


quote:

ORIGINAL: Culthrasa

Well i was wrong Too bad... Would be awesome if an AI could be targeted the same way a human player can, by blocking their supply....

You can block their supply. The only advantage they have is that their logistics doesn't degrade but they still need to trace a supply route back to SHQ.


By encircling them completely, else whatever road you cut they'll just build another, going all the way around their nation if they have to and still be able to supply them. And you run into silly AI actions if you don't encircle them as they keep building a new road next to the one you just cut off, and the one after that, and the one after that, covering the land in dirt roads. Granted the units cut off are still affected for 1 turn before the new roads gets used, I think, but if you don't have the troops to take the new road on the turn it gets created it'll start supplying them. And that one dirt road will supply a lot more units than yours.
If the rules are not the same for the AI it makes it hard to create proper plans because you'll base your tactics on the way your logistic and road works.

< Message edited by Palora -- 5/12/2020 10:39:10 AM >


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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/13/2020 3:35:06 AM   
balto

 

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Whoa, is that free stuff also how ATG Gold works? I have not played that super awesome great game in years. Man, I hate hearing about that free stuff.., but now that we know, I guess the best way to deal with that cheat is to create a bunch of smaller units instead of the larger units?

Any chance that is just a 'beta-thing" and it will be phased out?

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/13/2020 5:06:06 AM   
DasTactic

 

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I'm pretty sure it is going to stay - but honestly it isn't that bad in game-play. With these rules the AI can be quite aggressive and that is a good thing. And the only time I've really noticed it is at the start of games when it is trying to gobble up territory, or if there is a static line where it needs to establish supply. Roads can only be built on hexes if you control them at the start of your turn - so the AI can't make inroads and then build roads that same turn. You can get the balance right through the difficulty levels.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/14/2020 11:08:53 AM   
KingHalford

 

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I'm a CS student and know enough about game AI to know why it's like this.

I highly doubt the AI would be able to be competitive if it used exactly the same rules as the player. Game AI is difficult to write for even a relatively simple game and Shadow Empires is one of the most complex games I've played. I also doubt Vic would do something like that unless it was absolutely necessary for the game balance.

To quote my friend Ray Fowler:

"I could make an AI that'd wipe the floor with any player, but would that be fun or fair?".

AI in games not only have to be able to play their own game and use the mechanics available correctly (which was why Stellaris was such a bad game for years) but they also have to be fun to play against. There's a balance there that's not easy, and I know players get upset when they find out the AI doesn't use the same rules but there really are very few games with a significant level of complexity (such as this) out there where they do, and I'm willing to bet that most of them aren't that competent.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/15/2020 4:39:06 AM   
balto

 

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HOI 4 does not cheat. I hate when AI cheats in mechanics. I totally understand when a game's instructions say "at level Intermediate, the AI gets 10 extra units" or "at level Intermediate, the AI gets 200 more resources at Start" etc..,

When the AI plays by significantly different rules (such as free Dirt Roads and free Logistics), that really takes a lot of the fun out for me and sucks.

I wish it was that the differing AI levels just give the AI a **** ton more units, or industry.

Am I getting Shadow Empires, of course -- but damn-it, I wish this was not true.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/15/2020 2:36:35 PM   
Malevolence


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The AI does not require a different set of rules to be competitive against a player. You could, however, provide a different set of capabilities to the AI to make them more difficult.

Those capabilities should be transparent to the player so they understand clearly the strengths and weaknesses of the AI's circumstances.

For example, "Raider" units could be an AI unit that forages the local hex for supplies. The forage capability should be explained to the player in the unit's description.

Another-- don't give the AI perfect information about the map and game pieces, but give some AI unit's high reconnaissance... or raider spies have an advantage bonus due to their ubiquitous presence as traders and refugees.

These might not seem different than cheating, but the player's perception is the reality.


< Message edited by Malevolence -- 5/15/2020 2:38:30 PM >


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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/15/2020 4:48:18 PM   
devoncop


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quote:

ORIGINAL: balto

HOI 4 does not cheat. I hate when AI cheats in mechanics. I totally understand when a game's instructions say "at level Intermediate, the AI gets 10 extra units" or "at level Intermediate, the AI gets 200 more resources at Start" etc..,

When the AI plays by significantly different rules (such as free Dirt Roads and free Logistics), that really takes a lot of the fun out for me and sucks.

I wish it was that the differing AI levels just give the AI a **** ton more units, or industry.

Am I getting Shadow Empires, of course -- but damn-it, I wish this was not true.



It's always interesting to see how different players have different perceptions.

I would take giving major factions free road building over a ton of extra units or resources every time in this sort of the game where a lot of the challenge revolves around obtaining sufficient resources in a hostile environment to sustain your army and society.



< Message edited by devoncop -- 5/15/2020 4:49:34 PM >


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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/15/2020 7:06:32 PM   
willgamer


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I'm O'K with the AI playing by a slightly different set of rules as long as it is invisible to me so that I can maintain my suspension of disbelief.

DC: Barbarossa does an excellent job of hiding the slightly different rules it plays by and the AI gives the impression of a reasonably competent opponent.

At the moment here, the problem for me is the free roads... it's blatantly obvious it's not legit and it looks silly to boot.

The rest of it I can live with.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/16/2020 4:22:13 PM   
KingHalford

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: balto

HOI 4 does not cheat. I hate when AI cheats in mechanics. I totally understand when a game's instructions say "at level Intermediate, the AI gets 10 extra units" or "at level Intermediate, the AI gets 200 more resources at Start" etc..,

When the AI plays by significantly different rules (such as free Dirt Roads and free Logistics), that really takes a lot of the fun out for me and sucks.

I wish it was that the differing AI levels just give the AI a **** ton more units, or industry.

Am I getting Shadow Empires, of course -- but damn-it, I wish this was not true.


Are you 100% certain that the AI in that game uses exactly the same ruleset as the player? Because that sounds highly unlikely to me.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/23/2020 11:19:35 AM   
Culthrasa

 

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Currently watching the Turtuga/Dastactic co-op, and both have trouble with the speed of the AI taking territory. Combined with the stuff said in this thread it seems like the AI is just sooooo much faster and can keep up the pace indefinitely. With the current bonuses the AI has, would it be more balanced if the AI starts with only foot troops and not motorized? (in the let's play i'm not sure they have motorized, but it would explain their speed and being able to envelop their positions).


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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/23/2020 2:57:53 PM   
Malevolence


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Culthrasa

Currently watching the Turtuga/Dastactic co-op, and both have trouble with the speed of the AI taking territory. Combined with the stuff said in this thread it seems like the AI is just sooooo much faster and can keep up the pace indefinitely. With the current bonuses the AI has, would it be more balanced if the AI starts with only foot troops and not motorized? (in the let's play i'm not sure they have motorized, but it would explain their speed and being able to envelop their positions).


This is an artifact of the map size. The impact of the relative mobility of the units is more pronounced because the map size is small.

Given static mobility values, the impact is less on larger maps.

On larger maps, the player is able to reach the tipping point where their faction can survive and grow.

That playthrough is "fighting in a basement".

< Message edited by Malevolence -- 5/23/2020 3:03:51 PM >


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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/23/2020 3:15:27 PM   
KingHalford

 

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I'm watching Das and Tortuga's game too, it's absolutely awesome so far. Really goes to show just how the game can change dramatically dependent upon the planet you're playing on. I love that kind of pressure (although not sure those two might agree lol!)

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/23/2020 3:42:16 PM   
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I have no issue with the AI's having motorized units at the start, but I wonder if it might make more sense to let the AI ramp up to unlimited free roads? Maybe on turn 1 it gets zero free roads, on turn 2 it gets one hex of free road, on turn 3 it gets 2, and so on until turn 15-20 when the truly unlimited free roads kick in? I just watched Das's latest MP video and the disparity between his complete inability to build even one road without crippling his ability to develop his city and the AI's being able to build a road from practically the southern part of the map all the way up to the top and along the northern map edge did seem a bit much.

< Message edited by FMBluecher -- 5/23/2020 3:43:49 PM >

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/23/2020 6:51:03 PM   
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I think Vic is going to look at the free road building of the AI. I saw it written somewhere - probably in the beta forum. I don't think the AI has any extra troops over what we have at the start. I'm assuming the motorised troops would just be the initial militia groups but I could be wrong about that.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/23/2020 8:15:20 PM   
devoncop


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I don't understand the queries about the AI resources...firstly the game is being played "hard AI" to increase the challenge. Several You Tubers including Das have beaten normal AI fairly comfortably so giving the AI certain non military advantages like subsidised roads would seem logical on harder settings.

Also bear in mind both Das and Tortuga gave themselves a free regular infantry brigade at the set up so minor factions would have been disadvantaged by this in any case. The fact the AI has motorized units is normal in any case..the player also starts with motorised militia units, sometime including a few tanks if I remember rightly.

Do folk want a challenge or not ?

I would

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/23/2020 10:03:00 PM   
FMBluecher

 

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Sure--but as far as I know (and I might be wrong about this) the AI getting free roads is not something that scales with difficulty. (If it is/were, I would be much more OK with it!)

I'm very OK with the AI getting a leg up on various things on harder difficulties. But, as others have said in this thread before, the issue is immersion rather than true balance. It doesn't matter if the AI is playing by the same rules as long as it's not so glaringly obvious that it breaks the player's suspension of disbelief. That's why the unlimited roads don't matter in the late game--by then, the player can also probably build roads wherever they want.

But Das literally has the IP income to build at most one hex of road per turn. Obviously, if the AI can build 2 or 3 per turn for free, it's not a big deal. The player could pretend that the AI is just slightly better at optimizing its resources. But the AI is clearly building far, far more road hexes than Das could ever hope to at this stage of the game, and that's when it becomes an issue (albeit only a minor one).

I'm also sensitive to the limitations Vic is operating under. I get that he's a one-man show, and he doesn't have an AI specialist that can focus only on those issues. If the AI needs to have unlimited roads in order to present a challenge, then bring on the unlimited roads! As I said, while I do think it's an issue, it's only a minor one. But I still feel like if there's a way to get a challenge in a more immersive way, or to tweak the unlimited roads to make the effects more immersive, then it can't hurt to ask! :)

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/24/2020 1:31:19 AM   
balto

 

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Willgamer, you mention DC:Barbarossa's AI not playing by the rules. I have not played that beyond belief super great game in years, so I may regret asking - but what are the cheats/advantages of the AI in this?

Also, I may regret asking this too, does ATG also have cheats/advantages?

Thank you,

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/24/2020 1:34:35 AM   
balto

 

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FMBluecher, well said.

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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/24/2020 2:26:48 AM   
Malevolence


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It's never an all or nothing prospect--free roads or not free roads. Not to repeat, but any design decision will have negative consequences that play out. It's the fun that ultimately matters.

If it was much earlier in development, I would have recommended some added smaller units, perhaps lethal and less so, that don't don't require lines of communication (supply lines) and/or don't actually change boundaries. Perhaps like Tuaregs. The minor factions already exist much like this now.

It's an interesting problem because units also leave a "trail of control-influence" when they move through an adversary’s territory. An enemy unit that moves across the territory impacts the touched hexes during the next turn, even though they are no longer located in those hexes. An enemy unit may have crossed a road two turns ago, but if not re-occupied the effect remains.

This might be a remnant of "world war 2" battlefield modelling. As I wrote elsewhere, these are really battlefields that focus on anti-access and area denial. Very limited “front lines”. Engagements are decisive.

However, there are many approaches and the current rules, in whole, work just as well IMO.


< Message edited by Malevolence -- 5/24/2020 2:27:44 AM >


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RE: Questions and Observations - 5/24/2020 2:35:34 AM   
KingHalford

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: FMBluecher

Sure--but as far as I know (and I might be wrong about this) the AI getting free roads is not something that scales with difficulty. (If it is/were, I would be much more OK with it!)

I'm very OK with the AI getting a leg up on various things on harder difficulties. But, as others have said in this thread before, the issue is immersion rather than true balance. It doesn't matter if the AI is playing by the same rules as long as it's not so glaringly obvious that it breaks the player's suspension of disbelief. That's why the unlimited roads don't matter in the late game--by then, the player can also probably build roads wherever they want.

But Das literally has the IP income to build at most one hex of road per turn. Obviously, if the AI can build 2 or 3 per turn for free, it's not a big deal. The player could pretend that the AI is just slightly better at optimizing its resources. But the AI is clearly building far, far more road hexes than Das could ever hope to at this stage of the game, and that's when it becomes an issue (albeit only a minor one).

I'm also sensitive to the limitations Vic is operating under. I get that he's a one-man show, and he doesn't have an AI specialist that can focus only on those issues. If the AI needs to have unlimited roads in order to present a challenge, then bring on the unlimited roads! As I said, while I do think it's an issue, it's only a minor one. But I still feel like if there's a way to get a challenge in a more immersive way, or to tweak the unlimited roads to make the effects more immersive, then it can't hurt to ask! :)


I think this is a fair point and I think Das/Tortuga's game has highlighted an extreme example where the AI's advantage here really makes a big difference.

However, release is looming. If I was the developer here I might be reluctant to make such a big change to the main branch of the game this late on to cover for this limited set of cases. I think changing how the AI builds roads is going seriouesly affect how the AI plays and that's something that would require some serious testing.


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Ben "BATTLEMODE"
eXplorminate.co

(in reply to FMBluecher)
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