AI Improvement Mod (1.05 Extended Release)

Please post here for questions and discussion about scenario, art and sound modding and the game editor for Distant Worlds.

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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.03 Release)

Post by Icemania »

Added the following to the Developer Support Wishlist in the OP thanks to comments from EnDSchultz in the Beyond Mod thread.

• Ships using Gravity/Area weapons should be able to avoid their own gravity wells, at the moment they often do as much manage to themselves as they do to others.
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Premislaus
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.03 Release)

Post by Premislaus »

Very good mod! But I thnik battleships (capital, cruisers) should be minority of the fleet.
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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.03 Release)

Post by Icemania »

ORIGINAL: Premislaus
Very good mod! But I thnik battleships (capital, cruisers) should be minority of the fleet.
Cheers Premislaus.

With respect to battleships, the mod is not intended to replicate the traditional fleet split, it's intended to do everything possible to optimise the AI, with the mechanics of the game as they are.

What you've described is basically the Vanilla AI, it builds a lot of smaller ships. The reality is that the game does not give those smaller ships bonuses so when battling against fleets of large ships, the large ships have the advantage.

Another factor is that the design templates in the game use a fixed number of components. If you build an Escort at the start of the game with 2 shields, it will have 2 shields late game as well ... I can't change this depending on the stage of the game for the AI. However, for Capital Ships and Carriers ONLY, once you have much larger construction sizes, the game is coded to increase the number of components to expand to fit the available size. So by using these designs more, the AI is much more of a threat late game.

For some broader discussion, refer here for ship designs in the AI Improvement Mod more generally.
solops
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.03 Release)

Post by solops »

I tried this mod for about three months but I have gone back to stock. I have found that AI Imp Mod 1.3 is easier to beat than the stock 1.9.5.9 or 1.9.5.10 in all of the different game set-ups I tried. It is simply too passive. It may build better ships or do better R&D or a host of other things, I do not know. I do know that it simply will not fight as well or as often, even though I always play with high aggression settings against a collection of opponents consisting of mostly hostile bug races. I won two games on hard against aggressive bugs without ever having anyone declare war on me. That NEVER happens in stock DWU.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.-Edmund Burke
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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.03 Release)

Post by Icemania »

ORIGINAL: solops
I tried this mod for about three months but I have gone back to stock. I have found that AI Imp Mod 1.3 is easier to beat than the stock 1.9.5.9 or 1.9.5.10 in all of the different game set-ups I tried. It is simply too passive. It may build better ships or do better R&D or a host of other things, I do not know. I do know that it simply will not fight as well or as often, even though I always play with high aggression settings against a collection of opponents consisting of mostly hostile bug races. I won two games on hard against aggressive bugs without ever having anyone declare war on me. That NEVER happens in stock DWU.
I have no doubt you’ve had two passive games. There are some options to explore which we’ll get to but to start with I need to respond to some of your comments.

Firstly I’ve had many passive games against Vanilla on Chaos Aggression, which I’ve posted about going all the way back to Shadows with my very first few posts on this forum. To suggest you always get war declared on you in Vanilla is simply wrong.

Secondly the vast majority of my testing was done with half of the races improved and half of the races Vanilla. I played a couple of dozen test games with this split and every single time an improved race won. Every time. Improved or not, some of the AI’s will find ways to gimp themselves, most commonly due to resources e.g. the AI still builds too few construction ships early game, something I can’t change, but is on my wishlist for the developer. On playing the mod myself, it’s clearly more difficult, and I’ve had many comments supporting the mod being more difficult from others. In short, stating this is easier than Vanilla is ridiculous.

Now with that said let’s focus on what was changed in the Mod and what we can do about peaceful games.

“All Insect races were changed to be more willing to go to War

Racial Biases
Increased positive and negative biases (without going overboard) with the races split into 4 groups (ensuring each group uses a variety of weapons).

By increasing the positive biases for races within a group they are more likely to form Mutual Defence Pacts. With the changes to fleet coordination in Universe this should mean more mega fleet battles.

Each group has negative biases set against another group, so they are more likely to go to war i.e. Group 1 v Group 2, Group 3 v Group 4. I've had too many games in the past where nobody declared war even on Chaos throughout the entire game. So now, if you decide to take a back seat and your partners go down, you could then be facing a strong alliance of opponents, without as much support ...”


With the Racial Biases changes you will find about 1/3rd of the races in the galaxy naturally dislike you, about a 1/3rd are neutral, and about a 1/3rd really like you. The intensity of the dislike and like is higher than Vanilla and is at the limit of what can done in the biases file.

The impact is that if you declare war, as other races are much more likely to be in a Mutual Defence Pact, you’ll find yourself in war against a bunch of other races as well, making it more problematic to go on the offensive. That said, you can still play in a silo like Vanilla and turn down any Mutual Defence Pacts that are offered to you, so you are not obligated to go to war. If the races nearby are friendly or neutral, absolutely you can have peaceful games. If the races nearby are part of the alliance that naturally dislike you, it can get rough, as all of them may gang up on you … but there are various way to avoid war being declared on you even then.

Initially during testing I had more of the races disliking other races i.e. the races in Group 1 all like each other, but they hate everyone in Group 2, 3 and 4. It’s far more likely you’ll be declared war against. It’s still possible to have a peaceful game but if you play on high aggression most games end up being like World War 2. Personally I like that; however, I was mindful that not everyone likes to play games where an all-in style Galactic War is almost inevitable.

Either way you can still sit in that silo, let others slug it out, let your friends fight without lifting a finger to help them and win.

So …

The other parameter I tested was War Willingness. I played a few test games where that was increased for every race not just the Insects and there is absolutely no doubt they declared war more often.

Now if you want to play with this arrangement, these changes are easily made, and I can upload a new version to test, but consider it a BETA.

I also see you are playing on Hard. Hard is the minimum for this Mod and I’ve been in two minds for a while about making the minimum Very Hard. While there are changes that help the AI economy (such as extra mining engines, faster freighters and so on) there are also changes that cost more (such as more exploration ships, tax at 0% for longer). Either way, you’ll notice the difference the most on Extreme difficulty, and more of a difference on Very Hard. Hard really is pathetically easy for an experienced player, keep in mind how complex this game is compared to many other 4X games (which makes it even harder for an AI to compete).
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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.03 Release)

Post by Icemania »

I had a closer look at War Willingness. The modding range is 0.5 (low tendency to go to War) to 4 (high tendency to go to War) but the majority are at the low end in Vanilla. Indeed the highest is 2 and even some extremely aggressive races are set at only 1. So not only can I increase the probability of going to war but improve alignment with racial characteristics i.e. I'll keep passive races at the low end but lots of room to move for more aggressive races.

Running a test game now with those changes.
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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.03 Release)

Post by Icemania »

Okay here are the changes I'm testing at the moment. If anybody wants to give it a try, let me know, and I'll upload it to Dropbox.

1. Spaceports now use the Evade Stance (except for races that require Point Blank for their chosen weapon type). This effects Tractor Beams, pushing away ships, hence making it more difficult for Pirates to land raiders.

2. War Willingness generally increased and better aligned with racial characteristics i.e. so passive races still have a low War Willingness, but aggressive races have increased War Willingness.

3. Racial biases are much more often negative for races in other alliance / racial groups.

4. Positive racial biases are now more strongly aligned with racial groups.

5. Racial biases now include a modifier for friendliness of the race to better align with their racial characteristics.
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Icemania
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AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Icemania »

[EDIT: 1.04 now released]

Comments welcome.
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Fishers of Men
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Fishers of Men »

Good job, Icemania! Listening to the folks.
Old............but very fast
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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Icemania »

Thanks Fishers of Men.

In test games so far, there is no doubt the AI declares war more often. Chaos was ... Chaos. You shouldn't find passive races declaring war unless you've earned it, and aggressive & unfriendly races declared war plenty, so seems well aligned from that perspective.

Many of us up the aggression well above Normal, I expect some people will now want to dial it back i.e. arguably more towards what you expect from the aggression settings when you first started playing.

There is still room to tune in either direction so feedback is welcome. I don't plan to formalise this as a 1.04 release without more testing and feedback. But it's nice to make changes that seem to work in an area that has annoyed me since I started playing Distant Worlds.
Kizucha
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Kizucha »

Coming by to say thank you icemania. ^.^ I only hope that you stay with us, i dont want a third modder, who changed something in the research in the way i can have more fun with the game, to leave the game.[:D]I hope lurchi come's back but from week to week, my hope slowly fades away.[:(]

Downloading now the new update and maybe tomorrow i play a bit with it. :3 Again, thank you.
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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Icemania »

Holy crap, lost my homeworld spaceport 3 times now on an Extreme difficulty game, with Maximum Empires and Restless Aggression ... having fun! [:D]
Kizucha
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Kizucha »

Now i have time to play yay. ^.^ But i think i'm not good enough to play on extreme. xD But good to see the ai is not to bad at extreme. ^^
marlin0
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by marlin0 »

I usually only play on hard difficulty, but even so I'll try out this new beta version of your excellent mod for a few weeks and report back. Thanks for still supporting this great piece of work, and enjoy the holidays!
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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Icemania »

So, erm, I hate to admit it, but I lost a game! In the past I've described Extreme difficulty as a cakewalk.

I played with the beta 1.04 version above of the AI Improvement Mod so the AI's are far more aggressive, Max Empires so a very busy map with very little room to expand and they were quickly annoyed, Extreme difficulty, Restless Aggression and spawned next to some very aggressive and unfriendly races. I played as the Kiadian.

I applied the usual house rules: fb.asp?m=3757719

Along the way my homeworld spaceport was destroyed 3 times putting a huge dent in my expansion plans (killed my scientists as well). Eventually I got through it and took over some nearby homeworlds and would have steadily expanded from there. But the Shakturi arrived (remember the AI is far more aggressive with exploring so you don't get to choose when to reveal them) and since they use the new upgraded Shakturi design templates (as of patch 1.9.5.10) they completely wiped the floor with me.

Loving this game again!
sayke
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by sayke »

Icemania - This is so cool! Thank you thank you thank you!!! I think you made it damn near impossible to beat now on a whole range of settings, which is as it should be =D
Sithuk
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Sithuk »

Ice: what is your view on the pros/cons of disabling tech trading?

Do you consider that the AI benefits more than the human player on balance, as the human player can game the system to take advantage of the feature? Or does the AI lose out on balance without tech trading enabled, due to being able to agressively trade the techs it is able to get quicker than the human player on the higher difficulty levels?
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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Icemania »

ORIGINAL: Sithuk

Ice: what is your view on the pros/cons of disabling tech trading?

Do you consider that the AI benefits more than the human player on balance, as the human player can game the system to take advantage of the feature? Or does the AI lose out on balance without tech trading enabled, due to being able to agressively trade the techs it is able to get quicker than the human player on the higher difficulty levels?
I consider active technology trading a key part of any 4X diplomacy system and so it's important that the AI is good at it. Unfortunately in Distant Worlds I don't think the AI takes advantage of technology trading and as a result any decent human player will outplay the AI. I still wonder sometimes whether the AI does any meaningful technology trading at all. That said, one of the implications of the changes in race biases in the 1.04 Beta is that a lot less technology trading is possible. I'm playing a game with tech trading on at the moment to see if I can still abuse it and looks okay so far ... so long as you avoid technology selling and diplomacy cash farming which remains completely broken of course.
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Icemania
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Icemania »

ORIGINAL: Sithuk

Ice: what is your view on the pros/cons of disabling tech trading?

Do you consider that the AI benefits more than the human player on balance, as the human player can game the system to take advantage of the feature? Or does the AI lose out on balance without tech trading enabled, due to being able to agressively trade the techs it is able to get quicker than the human player on the higher difficulty levels?
Feedback welcome.

For those that want a Peaceful game ... you'll probably have to use the Peaceful Aggression setting! [:)]
Bingeling
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RE: AI Improvement Mod (1.04 Beta)

Post by Bingeling »

ORIGINAL: Icemania
ORIGINAL: Sithuk

Ice: what is your view on the pros/cons of disabling tech trading?

Do you consider that the AI benefits more than the human player on balance, as the human player can game the system to take advantage of the feature? Or does the AI lose out on balance without tech trading enabled, due to being able to agressively trade the techs it is able to get quicker than the human player on the higher difficulty levels?
I consider active technology trading a key part of any 4X diplomacy system and so it's important that the AI is good at it. Unfortunately in Distant Worlds I don't think the AI takes advantage of technology trading and as a result any decent human player will outplay the AI. I still wonder sometimes whether the AI does any meaningful technology trading at all. That said, one of the implications of the changes in race biases in the 1.04 Beta is that a lot less technology trading is possible. I'm playing a game with tech trading on at the moment to see if I can still abuse it and looks okay so far ... so long as you avoid technology selling and diplomacy cash farming which remains completely broken of course.
The AI does suggest selling tech, though, and I assume they do not only do that to the player, but between AIs as well? And that the AI sometimes accept this deal?

I don't know a way to be sure, though, as if you run AI on suggest and try to track what tech the other empire have, you have to make the trade decision, and if you have it fully automated you will never know the AI did anything at all.

One AI trade that would be possible to see, is the contested base trades, but it would go far beyond normal obsession to track the contested bases of other empires and them changing hands.
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