Author Topic: Ackbar's Gambit  (Read 7002 times)

Offline Winge

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Ackbar's Gambit
« on: February 22, 2013, 07:02:17 PM »
My name is Commander Ackbar.  I was an admiral once, but was demoted after losing a Medical Frigate and making a cereal commercial.

I have watched from the shadows, while my fellow commanders fought the AI.  Fools, all of them.  Only I see the truth of this war.  They think the machines are ignorant of us, but that is only another level of control.  The truth is the AIs have trapped us in a virtual world.  That’s right…the whole universe we know now…is a computer!

Think about it, and you will see what I see.  Somehow, our commanders are able to turn back time to correct mistakes.  We have some control over what AIs come our way, and even the way the universe phase lines map out.  Even with all that, we never win this war.  Every time, a new battle arises.  The war starts anew.  We are trapped.  There is no Keanu Reeves to guide us out this time.  My closest allies are oblivious to our true plight.  There is only one path left…I must destroy the known universe!

My only hope of doing this is to cause such a massive drain on the Mainframe’s resources that the universe collapses in on itself.  The only possible way to do this, given our limited resources in every engagement, is to deceive the AI into sending an overwhelming massive wave of infinite death.  Even that may not be enough…but I have to try!

Universe configuration:
# Planets:   120
Map Style:   Maze C
Map Seed:   1891024011
Starting Plants:   All of them.  Yes.  All. Of. Them.
Complex Ship Types
Combat Style:   Normal
Unit Cap Scale:   High
Performance Profile:   Insane (17ms)
Visibility:   Complete Visibility
Human Resistance Fighters:   4/10
Role:   Normal+Champion
Enemies:   10 Retaliatory/10 Retaliatory




For great vengeance!!!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 07:04:07 PM by Winge »
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Offline Diazo

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 07:14:52 PM »
Enemies:   10 Retaliatory/10 Retaliatory

/boggles

/more.boggle

/lots of boggling

Wow, this is going to be a blast.

I mean in that in the sense that a lot, lot of ships are going to get blasted out of the water.

Do you have CSGs enabled? If you don't you only need to take 5 planets to reach the AI homeworlds. (On my best guess at their location anyway.) That might actually be doable.....

If you left CSGs enabled, that's 8 planets you have to take. Even with Data Centers, that is going to bump you AIP from really dangerous to crazy dangerous.

(Diff 10 starts at really dangerous by the way.)

Anyways, keep those reports coming, I'm not sure we've seen an AAR like this recently.

D.

edit: Two younglings? (If I remember the icons correctly.) That could get hilarious.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 07:19:32 PM by Diazo »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 07:17:31 PM »
My only hope of doing this is to cause such a massive drain on the Mainframe’s resources that the universe collapses in on itself.

(...)

For great vengeance!!!
Exactly: vengeance generators.  If you turned on Dark Spire, this task could be much easier ;)
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Offline Winge

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 08:12:30 AM »
Do you have CSGs enabled? If you don't you only need to take 5 planets to reach the AI homeworlds. (On my best guess at their location anyway.) That might actually be doable.....

Yes, but I think you misunderstand my purpose.  I am not trying to defeat the AI--that would leave us trapped still!  I am trying to defeat the universe that has us caged!

Quote from: keith.lamothe
Exactly: vengeance generators.  If you turned on Dark Spire, this task could be much easier ;)

Perhaps it would have.  I am actually trying to create even MORE ships than a vengeance generator would ever put out at once.  But, let me continue my tale...

After getting a look at my unit caps, I am certain that I can force a computing failure.  Some of my ship caps are over  1,000.  160 Scout Is should allow me to scout easily as well (not to mention the starting Scout IIs).  I use the Time Stopper (yet another inexplicable tool) just to be able to place my starting structures and choose my starting technologies.  They have a few mine-immunes, but Area Mines are still an obvious unlock.  Too bad I’ll only have 3,000 after unlocking them.  I will be VERY gratefully for the Line Place tool for my defenses…

I unpause for a few seconds and am horrified as I watch the AI instantly create 4 Barracks and 5 Carriers.  I’m going to have to get ready quickly.  Given the other enemies I’ll be facing, I’m going to want Modular Fortresses and Spider Turrets for sure.  Having 16 of them will be a pretty nice change.  I increase the engineer count on Eduh to 100ish.  It’s very hard to use the slider control to get an exact number…

With 4 Modular Fortresses, 1395 Flak Turrets, 1200 Laser, MLRS, Sniper, Spider, and Basic Turrets, 659 Lightning Turrets (I wanted more, but ran out of room), 1803 Area Mines (I wanted more of those too…), 1000 MissileTurrets (need a few for secondary world, in case of overflow), 63 Forcefields, and 17 Tachyon Drones (AIs have Etherjets) queued up, I decide that I can ignore my beyond dead economy for a few minutes (-185,229 metal/s and -219,372 crystal/s…just a minor expense, right?).  I take my champion into a nebula to pass some ‘real’ time.  It took me around an hour to just queue up my defenses.  I set the Rewinder up, just in case something goes wrong.  Which it does.

*Rewinding to just before increasing engineer count*

Ok, note to self:  don’t insta-crash economy.  I start out with 1631 Area Mines (dirt cheap, those things), and start auto-building Spire Maws and Zenith Reprocessors.  Even though my income is still (somehow) positive, I research Harvester IIs.  I’ll leave my Champion on defense this time, and drop my defenses a little bit more gradually (only a few hundred at a time).

This time, I’m getting 2x 1696 Cloaked Ships and 2 Starships (3392 total).  I have only 500 Spider Turrets, 400 Sniper Turrets, 500 Missile Turrets, but I built over 2000 mobile ships.  Let’s see how I fare this time.  Remembering the real danger of Ejets, I place a few forcefields near both the wormholes.  They won’t last long, but they’ll keep the ships from just wandering away.

Wave 1 survived with 5261 ships left on defense, and nearly unbearable lag.  The universe dropped my performance profile to the very minimum for that.  I can already taste victory…it tastes purple, for those who don’t know.  With a surplus of resources this time, I set a few (thousand) defenses to build.  I am just about to go to the nebula when I see 1357 Fighters, 238 Snipers, and 5 Starships heading for Eduh again.  If I can’t fend them off with over 5000 ships in FRD, I deserve to use the Rewinder again.

After 33 minutes, I think my plan is working too well.  The universe is moving at a crawl.  I put my rather bemused Subcommander in charge and head to dinner.
My other bonus ship is a TARDIS.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 11:37:44 AM »
Looks like progress towards non-termination ;)

Another meltdown scenario could be defender mode on a 120 planet map, picking 118 of the planets (it won't let you take the last two).  Of course, it might bug out in other ways, too.
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Offline Winge

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 10:38:42 PM »
I finally finish helping the silly Epsilon Eridani faction.  The last thug starbase took forever to destroy.  Moderately irrelevant, but having a stronger champion will help me find off the AI long enough to complete my master plan.

The interface is slow enough that I soak off my high-cap ships (anything with a maxed out cap of 1500) against Qapo.  The long term benefit is that I have effectively neutered the only bordering planet the AI has.  As such, I should not face much border aggression, even though it will take me a long time for my plans to reach fruition.  Special Forces come and wipe out my ships, helping me to speed things up.

Why do I want to go faster, you may wonder?  Is not my plan to overwhelm the computer running the universe?  Unfortunately, it is not that easy.  If the lag gets too strong, the universe automatically activates a failsafe, which works similarly to the Rewinder.  I need to hit it so hard that it is unable to activate that failsafe, or all my work will have been in vain.  Do not worry.  I will explain all soon.

I tank my economy by massing an insane amount of stationary defenses on Eduh.  Then, I enter the other nebula in my territory.  Neinzul Mourners; giving me some nice goodies.  Waves are so large that they start with carriers.  Yet, even with such high numbers, the enemy doesn’t get very far…I haven’t seen an enemy escape the minefield since my slipup earlier.  Works for me—I might be able to snag one more nebula in peace.  The only downside is that Threat is starting to build up a little bit.




« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 10:42:04 PM by Winge »
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Offline Winge

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2013, 03:32:47 PM »
Even with 2 rather brutal AIs, the war is rather uneventful so far.  After all, I am not trying to take any planets, only defend.  Eduh is a massive fortress by now…over 10,000 firepower strong, and I haven’t even finished my defenses there.  Even if anything managed to sneak past, Ashsamuyar has considerable defenses as well.  The most excitement I get is when I have to clear threat at Qapo.  I bring threat down from 6000 to under 1500 in only a few minutes, without losing all of my mobile fleet before the 10,000+ Special Forces fleet arrives.  The universe did throw an error back—never seen that happen before—which is a good sign.  Not nearly enough to destroy it though.

I can tell that you are confused.  What am I doing?  What is the purpose of all of this?  You have borne with me thus far, and I feel I can trust you with my ultimate plan.



With 2*10 Retaliatory AIs, there are 125 AI Warp Counterattack Guard Posts in the galaxy (number per planet indicated by priority number in galaxy display).  I plan to destroy all of them at once, and then stall any incoming waves until the counterattack arrives.  The massive number of ships will overload the computer in charge of running this universe, and allow us to escape from our virtual prison.  Incidentally, I will also applying for the Guinness Universal Records for largest AI wave incoming once we are free.



We have only one device that can destroy all of the Counterattack posts at once:  the Nuclear Warhead Mark III (Doomsday Device).  Actually, that’s a little bit misleading:  with 16 homeworlds, I can build 16 of them.  I plan to throw additional warheads in there, just for good measure.

As you can see, this is a one way trip.  Well, OK, there is the Rewinder.  But that will get us nowhere!  We must escape from this false universe and then overcome the AI in the real one!

Perhaps I spoke too soon about this being uneventful.  CPA of roughly 27,000 ships incoming.  To arms!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 03:34:37 PM by Winge »
My other bonus ship is a TARDIS.

Offline Winge

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2013, 04:28:29 PM »
Ok, so Threat is down to 4,408…unfortunately, a lot of that is Mark V Guardians, thanks to carrier combining—think I’ll stop Auto-targeting carriers for a bit.  I’m going to amass a full fleet to try and destroy this threat.

…It’s a trap!



That is the most resilient threatball I have ever seen  :o.  Back-to-back double-double waves boost the threat above where my raid brought it.  Looks like I’ll just have to hold the line.  Thankfully, my defenses are quite formidable.  Construction is finished on two of the Doomsday Devices (those things take forever to build).  The rest are getting close.  I still have a lot more warheads to build after that, though (need to make sure I can hold the line against what the AI sends me).  I also need to build up my starship fleet—those are the only ships that will survive my strike against the AI.



It is a very slow war at this point.  The AIs don’t want to commit their threat fleet, and I am not striking any of their bases.  I will most likely hold off on further reports until it is time for the final strike.
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Offline Winge

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 04:02:55 PM »
“Red alert!  Commander Ackbar to Strategic Command!”

The alarm jolts me out of my sleep.  I walk to Command, already knowing what’s coming.  My console showed me how many ships would be in this Cross-Planet Attack.  And when you fight the AI, you get used to seeing a lot more ships against you than with you.

“Commander, there is a massive AI fleet forming!  We’re doomed!” yells Lieutenant Jenkins.
“Calm down lieutenant.  What are we looking at?” I respond.  I know the risks—I might have to deploy Option Zero early—but I have to make them think that I am in control.  That’s how command works.
“Over 50,000 ships total.  Firepower total is over 25,000!  There are messages of Carriers forming up all over the place!”

Oh, is that all, I think to myself.  Really, you would think these soldiers would be used to the AIs’ response by now.  The attack does seem rather large considering how little I have irritated the AI this war.  On the one hand, he is right—our total defenses rate at around 20,000 firepower at most.  But, again, that is simply a part of resisting the enemy.  “Lieutenant, you are about to learn why I am commander and you are not.  Pull our mobile forces back from Eduh.”
“WHAT?  Should I paint a sign saying ‘please kill me’ on our Home Command Station, too?” Jenkins foolishly retorts.
My patience is at its limit.  “If you don’t follow my orders, you will be painting that on the Lightning Turrets right at the wormhole entrance!  You have your orders, follow them!” I yell at the worthless fool.

A loud blast sound echoes through the speakers.  Sure enough, the AI decided to free another EMP Guardian.  It’s still over 10 hops away, but I’ll want to kill it preemptively, if possible.  I know that I cannot count on my officers, so I order the Shadow Destroyer into a good intercept position.  The rest of the plan is simple:  bait the AI into attacking prematurely, if possible.  Flank their ships when they can no longer escape.  Avoid targeting carriers until I’ve trimmed their ships significantly (my Fortresses near our turret banks advertise ‘Counters Dark Matter’…I hope that is correct).  Force them back just long enough to finish my plan.

I kill the EMP guardian on Qapo with no difficulty.  Half of the AI fleet just sits on Qapo; I have nothing that can dislodge it (most of my firepower is from Fortresses, not mobile ships).  Two more waves are announced.  The AI isn’t taking the bait, I thought to myself.  This could be bad.  All of a sudden, the alert horn blares.  30,000 ships just warped into Eduh--only around half of the total threat.  I grin, in spite of myself.  Let’s see what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

Unstoppable Force:


Immovable Object:


AI Total War:



The resulting fight is absolute chaos.  I end up having to Auto-target carriers, as there is simply no way I can even give orders due to the strain on the interface system (I see that numbers can do some damage to the computational abilities of the universe…my ultimate plan will succeed!).  I smash AI threat back to 18,000 (11,000 firepower).  The remaining AI ships appear to be pulling back.  Which is good—I have a lot of rebuilding to do.  Option Zero, when fully ready, should take care of the rest of the resistance.  Immovable Object:  1; Unstoppable Force: 0.  I glare at a stunned Lieutenant Jenkins.  “That is how you stop an AI attack.”  Without waiting for a reply, I return to my ready room.  If they can’t rebuild without my intervention, then I need new officers.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 04:05:06 PM by Winge »
My other bonus ship is a TARDIS.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 04:10:30 PM »
Certainly a lot of boom going on in there, but you may find the universe to possess more processing power than you anticipate ;)
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Offline Winge

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 09:20:00 PM »
Certainly a lot of boom going on in there, but you may find the universe to possess more processing power than you anticipate ;)

I'm not so sure about that...my last run-in with the AI nearly trashed my computer (around 75,000 ship CPA).  Though I think it got closer to destroying my Home Command Station than destroying my CPU...  But don't worry...I'll post saves soon enough so that you can destroy your computers as well  >D

Addendum:  actually, I've seen more errors in this game than any other AI War game.  I suppose I could report them...but does it count when you are deliberately trying to break the game/underlying computer?  :P
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 09:35:59 PM by Winge »
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 09:43:54 PM »
Addendum:  actually, I've seen more errors in this game than any other AI War game.  I suppose I could report them...but does it count when you are deliberately trying to break the game/underlying computer?  :P
If you're seeing errors at all, I'd like to see them.  Just posting the ArcenDebugLog.txt file or whatever has the error text here would be fine.

It might out-of-memory crash, but it'd better be graceful up til then ;)
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Offline Winge

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 05:31:02 PM »
Addendum:  actually, I've seen more errors in this game than any other AI War game.  I suppose I could report them...but does it count when you are deliberately trying to break the game/underlying computer?  :P
If you're seeing errors at all, I'd like to see them.  Just posting the ArcenDebugLog.txt file or whatever has the error text here would be fine.

It might out-of-memory crash, but it'd better be graceful up til then ;)

Looks like out of memory exceptions to me, plus a minor file not found.  I've attached it just in case--I should have an addition to that file soon >D.  The odd thing about the 'out of memory' is that the last one happened AFTER a major battle, where the AI and I lost a total of ten thousand ships or more.  At that point, I had not fully rebuilt my fleet--garbage collector running late, perhaps?
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Offline Winge

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 09:33:14 PM »

It almost feels peaceful as I stroll towards the shelter, alone.  The other resistance members will make it to their own shelter, but I set up a place of my own, knowing that they would not understand my actions right away.  The AI aggression has dimmed—much to my surprise.  I thought we would encounter a 100,000 ship CPA, but the AI ran out of ships.  I can only surmise that, due to my inaction against the AI during this war, the AI simply chose to not commit any ships.


My preparations are complete.  The only real concern is possible ‘leftover threat’ or surprise waves.  I have a fleet of over 1000 Starships ready, just in case—Raid Is, Flagships, Zenith, Cloaker, and Scout I and IIs, Leech, Plasma Siege, Heavy Bomber, and Riot I, II, and IIIs, and the two “Nuke Immune” nebula vessels.  I also pulled out the Enclave I’s, just for good measure.  Since waves will have to travel, I have split off 192 warheads—all of the Tachyon and EMP, great to catch Etherjets and stall fleetships.


Option Zero is finally ready.  The warheads are arranged in a very careful pattern.  The Lighting and Armored warheads will supercharge the Nuke I and IIs, which will collapse on the Doomsday Dev…oh, who am I kidding?  I drew a Death Star out of warheads, and put a ‘nuke symbol’ in the middle.  It’ll still work.  Time to fire a proton torpedo in my creation, and finally break free of the grasp of the AI.  For anyone reading this journal—please don’t try this at home.

« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 09:36:13 PM by Winge »
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Offline Winge

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Re: Ackbar's Gambit
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 10:20:03 PM »
Upon firing the proton torpedo, time stands still.  I watch as the wave counter ticks upwards and upwards with no end in sight.  Threat oddly remains relatively stable at 50,000 or so.  Carriers, I grimace.  I guess they did survive the blast.  While possible, it will be very difficult to stop their advance long enough.  I will not be so lucky if a lot of Guardians are present--EMPs can only stop so much.



All of a sudden, I see red warning labels popping up on the right-hand side of the screen.  "It can't be!" I say to myself.  The universe is already throwing errors, complaining of "Unhandled Exceptions."  Quite a few of them, by the look of it.  The entire interface--not to mention everything outside--grinds to a halt.  I check my gauges, just to be sure.  The Time Stopper is not active, and the Rewinder hasn't kicked in.  I have successfully stopped the universe with nothing but the virtual counterattack aggression of the virtual AI.  A part of me feels almost dissapointed...I guess I'll never know what a wave of a 100 million ships really looks like.  Actually, it's probably Carriers packed into Carriers, which, for good measure, are packed into more Carriers.  My musings come to a halt when I wonder why we haven't escaped.  I glance once more at the interface, which consists of an old-style earth keyboard and mouse.  'Could it really be so simple?' I wonder.  I sit down one last time at the interface and hit Ctr+Alt+Del.  I see a manager covering a basic operating system.  The program, called "AI War" (I chuckle a little when I see the name) is showing up as non-responsive.  I click End Task, and all of a sudden the universe shatters around me.  I don't know what waits for us outside, but we are finally free.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 10:24:26 PM by Winge »
My other bonus ship is a TARDIS.