Author Topic: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit  (Read 8388 times)

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,195
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2015, 12:57:34 PM »
Quote
must've been an Overkill Subroutine glitch
:D

Quote
huge BNG stomping about with tiny Engis trailing it on little repair-leashes is highly amusing
Now you know why true Zeniths used to have a ship-sized microbial life.

Also, I saw you were capping your metal. Just a trick to never lose metal: put your mercenary dock in a group, setup this group to never spend metal if below [your max storage] - 1,000 (or -10,000 or more if you prefer having a little headroom), and put it on loop for your favorite ship (beam frigate? parasite?) Gratz: you just put an automatic bounty dispenser on the AI's head. Then you could setup your own reprisal wave system or built your personal strategic reserve to release when the homeworld is under attack.

Double wrath lance? 8) I did it once. With younglings. However, 4 WL would be much harder than two *2 boosted WL. The spinning proton blade isn't scary for its pure DPS, because it just vaporizes everything it touches. More absurd DPS would be just still absurd. It's scary because it spins. And you need to have a great speed to avoid it while you're away (angular speed, geometry, all that stuff...). Solution is: get close and move around as it spins while firing. I did a pretty good job with the younglings. The true pain of having two (boosted or not) is that you can't turn around one while dodging the other furthest one: photon blades cross each other each quarter of turn. This is why two Wrath Lances are way worst than one 10 times powerboosted.

I'm sure you know that already (now that you met the Twin Blades of Death). I'm just telling horror stories to newbies before they go to sleep (and make nightmares about spinning Wrath Lances and AI-BotNet/Teuthidae). >D
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline Tolc

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 161
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2015, 01:20:15 PM »
I'm just telling horror stories to newbies before they go to sleep (and make nightmares about spinning Wrath Lances and AI-BotNet/Teuthidae). >D

Thanks. It's already working.... :o

In other news: Finished reading part one and your new additions here, Red.Queen. Very nice reading  :)

Offline KillerofGods

  • Newbie Mark III
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2015, 04:38:35 PM »
I've been really enjoying your AAR series! Thought I'd chime in to show my support! :D

Offline Red.Queen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
  • Mad Hacker
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #33 on: April 24, 2015, 04:41:54 AM »
Pumpkin -- Scaring the newbies like that is just cruel! I love it.

Yup, I was rocking the Mercenary doc for much of the game prior to those screenies, I had a cap of Mercenary Parasites.  I had to cut production when I got that lovely message whining about low energy -- I think that was before I upgraded to Economic Mk.III stations.  I just didn't queue up any other mercs after that because A. I forgot, B. I knew I was about to dump my economy building sickening amounts of Mk.IV starships as soon as I grabbed that ASC and truckloads of warheads.  Armoreds are so very expensive.  So I was less worried about maximising my metal vs. keeping a good energy reserve for the devouring it was about to receive.  Very valid point though, and the Merc Dock is easy to forget about despite having its uses.

BTW, one of the other reasons I didn't use it while prepping for the homeworld assaults was I had the sudden nasty thought that I didn't know how the AI valued Mercs for scrap value.  I.e. they're just like a regular unit, but 10x more expensive.  So does the AI get scrap based on the "sticker price" we actually pay, or the value of the normal equivalent unit?  I was concerned it was the former, which would have meant the potential for some inordinately vicious reprisal waves.  If you or anyone else knows how the AI values merc units for scrap, I'd love to know.  If they don't get the inflated value, then I'll gladly load up on them for the homeworld attacks next time.  Otherwise they seem like they could be a trap, at least on offense where the AI can salvage 'em.

And in the blessed name of Alan Turing, don't ever bring up four actual Wrath Lances on one planet...  :o  (Can that even happen?? What's the max number of brutal picks allowed under the worst-possible case?)  Running into a configuration that could put out comparable DPS was bad enough!  (I did actually get to see the Muni post have an impact -- maxed out starships plus armor boosters plus mad kiting so that they kept only getting skimmed by a few of the sub-beams meant they didn't just instantly combust from eating the full damage at once.  The starships anyway, the poor fleetships were just charcoal no matter what!)

Tolc and KillerofGods -- Thank you very much!  And buckle up, because this AAR is going to be going off the rails in another post or two.  >D Ever wonder just what happens when the AI finally gets genuinely, thoroughly annoyed?  Ever wonder what happens when I get equally mad M.A.D.?

Steelwing -- The fun has only just begun...  >D

>>It's not a party until someone's been nuked.


Thanks for the comments everyone, now it's back to your regularly scheduled mayhem!
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline Red.Queen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
  • Mad Hacker
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #34 on: April 24, 2015, 05:12:30 AM »
---[Operation ...Begins With An Armored Warhead]---

Smash Alpha Centauri, then withdraw as the SF with it's just-spawned H/K come running... and they keep going?  Right on through Alpha, past Hadar with the Spire Archive, finally settling on Lacaille.  Um.  That wasn't supposed to happen, they were supposed to thoroughly investigate Alpha Centauri so I could sling this Armored warhead at the H/K and Lightning down the Missile guardians just like the last three times... Not park on a core world with an Attritioner where I can't reach them.

Also they just cut themselves off from the rest of the map -- doesn't the AI get weird when that happens?  Will they plow through Alpha Centauri when I colonise it to escape?  Will they warp back home somehow?  Maybe I can get their attention by trashing Hadar, the SF likes Spire Archives, right?

They didn't take the bait.

Well, hell.  At least I have a Spire Archive now, which is nice.  But the SF has got to go, I can't have them rushing in when I attack Antares.  What to do... surely they'll come out when I poke at Asterope the core world in my way.  I mull this over while I drain the K from my two new planets and go on a new starship and bomber building spree (I just unlocked Bombers II and III finally).  I do a quick harassing jab at the core world to smash tachyon posts and the OMD and WI, successfully drawing the H/K out.  It gets exploded as planned, along with all the Missile guardians.



But before I can finish off the giant cloud of Riots, the Reserves deploy, and wow they are numerous -- not playing against a Reservist, I haven't had a chance to bleed the Reserves at all yet.  I bail for the moment as one of my transports just had a critical hull integrity issue and spilled Neinzul carriers all over the floor.  The Botnet also just lost a headlight and I am in no mood.  At least I got rid of everything but the Riots, damn their AOE immunity, they're like big missile frigates.  Suppose I will have to chew those apart with some hit and runs.  Hate.

Right about now is when the AI deploys its own Operation Tarbaby and declares a 4.7K CPA.  A few minutes later it adds a 700 ship wave.  A few minutes after that, it adds another wave of similar size, all synced, for a total of over 6K ships queued up in a pending attack.



Not only is this annoying as hell, it also delays my starting the first homeworld assault AGAIN.  The enemy seems to have settled on trying to stall me to death by dragging things out until the auto-AIP eventually kills me.  Speaking of AIP, it's 350ish.

I react poorly to this, as you might expect. You can probably guess what form my reaction is going to take.

While I wait, I study Black's homeworld, carefully measuring distances between the cluster of the Shredder post, the Grav post, and one of the lesser posts that are all bunched in a triangle.  They're about 11K units apart.  I review the ranges on my warheads.  The Mk. II Armored has a range of 12K units, and enough damage to obliterate all 3 in one shot.  I smile and queue one up.

A bunch of carrier whack a mole goes here as I bomb most of the CPA to ash in various places around the galaxy with all the Mk. I Lightnings I have scattered around in advantageous places, along with an exceptionally large threatball that's positioning was telegraphing that it was going to join the now-destroyed carrier storming of Auva.  About 800 ships of the CPA in 2 carriers were unreachable, but the number is reduced enough I no longer care, they'll die on my turret lines whenever they finally poke their heads up.

I also notice while tracking carriers the answer to my question about what happens to the SF if it gets itself cut off from the rest of the map.  It turns into threat and the AI begins building a new SF.  Huh.  It's also grown so large that it is now loading it into carriers, all on Triton.  It's already over 1500 ships in carriers and climbing rapidly.  That's not good.



A thought.  I highlight a carrier.

Carriers can be nuked.  If/when it loads its next H/K and billion Riots into one (can it do that?), I can nuke the unnukeable, assuming I can't reach it with a standard warhead.

Valuable data...

Anyway, back to business.

A big chunk of the Threatfleet and former CPA carriers try to sneak onto Alpha Centauri while I'm busy to stab me in the back.  (Side note -- my gigantic fleet is parked in cloaked transports only two hops away, yet it feels brave enough to attack -- I suspect since my stuff is parked on a huge hostile planet and has been for several minutes, the AI is assuming that my fleet is occupied and not available to defend, even though no shots are being fired.  AI exploitation point detected!)  I introduce it to the BNG and a LOT of Mk.V turrets.

Bunch of hit and run nibbling at the SF-turned-Threat on the core world, I do not need 70-odd Riots and other odds and ends biting my arse while I'm trying to murder Black.  Some of it involves Assassination Transports, some of it involves very fast pop in/out with the Botnet after my ATs lured reclaimables near the wormhole.  It also involves one Lightning warhead Mk.I because I was getting annoyed.

Got it down to about 15 Riots and a few Saboteurs (its most recent unlock, I'm not pleased, these can't be reclaimed in any fashion -- AI has Parasites, Youngling Shrikes (forgot to mention them ages ago), and now Saboteurs, clearly trying to cramp my BNG's style), good enough.  My trigger finger is getting itchy and I have a pile of warheads with Black's name on them.  I also would prefer to win before the next CPA because that's going to hurt, I'm at the 12 hour mark.


---[Operation Paint It Black!]---

Right off the bat I find out something annoying as hell -- Warhead Interceptors seem to be immune to warhead damage, even if you scrap one right on its lap before it can fire.  Hate. So much for picking it off without exposing my fleet to the Grav post, then wiping the Grav and its two neighbors with an Armored warhead, then bringing in the fleet.  No plan survives contact with the enemy as they say.  Just means I go to Plan B: OVERKILL.

No, I don't nuke it.  I want that ZPG.

Send in the ATs and assassinate the WI, then tell them to haul ass across the grav well away from the Grav post and its drones, dragging the Reserve in its wake.  Suits me fine, it keeps all that crap away from the warheads that are now streaking towards the Grav post and the rear of the reserve.

The ATs kite the reserve, firing on the Arachnid post, one of them popping.  It was the one mostly full of Teleraiders, which is exactly which one I wanted to go first.  The Teleraiders get sicced on the OMD on the far side of the planet while the few other ships inside are tossed into another bus with room.  The Lightning I hits the reserve from behind, vaporizing half of it, while the Teleraiders do their thing to the OMD and the Grav post and its neighbors are firmly deleted from existence.

A Reprisal Wave Mk.I queues up and fires, sending about 2.5K ships for Auva (that's about twice as big as it would have been on 7/7 difficulty) from what it managed to fry before I could reload it in another transport (mostly a Mk.I Flagship and a Mk.I Plasma Siege, along with some Infiltrators).  No problem, I had a warhead waiting.  8 minutes left on the exo clock.

The Arachnid post goes down but another bus explodes.  Ok then, you asked for it Black Knight.  I unload the whole fleet and open fire on everything that moves.  My armada vastly outguns Black's at this point.

Right around then, the Hacker loaded in a bus emerges from the wormhole.  I have no intention of dealing with that stupid Fort III toe to toe -- ain't nobody got time for that.  I Sabotage hack it, then turn the fleet loose on the two Core FFs.  This is when it is nice to have a cap of Mk.V Infiltrators, Plasma Sieges I-IV, and Spire Corvettes mostly fitted with the Plasma Siege modules.  I like big bombs and I cannot lie.  8)

That combo, the Plasmas and Spire Corvette pseudo-Plasmas, obliterates the 5M hitpoints worth of FF in seconds.  I like these.  Black's home command gets to admire the stars without the FFs obscuring them for a few frames before it suffers a critical existence failure.

Total time -- about five and a half minutes to level Black's homeworld, and only a Mk.I reprisal tripped, mostly from nonessential ships. I feel good about how today went.

Too bad White won't go down so easy I'm sure.  Then again, for White I have Nukes, and a truckload of unopened Zenith Reserves I've been holding for just this moment.

Antares gets speed-colonized and I wallow in the glorious excess of power from having a second ZPG to my name.



Current AIP 407.  Waves are still no problem, but hot damn the SF is growing fast at this level.  Threat is also skyrocketing seemingly on its own, I assume I'm getting some overflow from planets reinforcing, or else the zombies are frolicking on Mr. Wilson's lawn again. Oh well, I have Mk.V turrets for a reason.



ETA -- Look how insane the SF is now!!!  45 minutes since the last SF "Trouble Brewing" screenshot and it has gone from ~1500 in carriers to 3000 in carriers plus another ~1800 loose ships!  I wish I knew what the actual true strength point value of this really was, if it was less than 50K I would have eaten my hat.

---[Best Laid Plans Of AIs And Men]---

Time for the final staging, prep, and planning.  With how Alioth is within striking distance of Kochab, ideally I'd like to just clear a path through Damasen and Triton rather than bother with capturing one of them.  It's a bit of a hike but it would save me time, which I'm placing a premium on at this point, with how the hornet's nest has been authoritatively stirred with Antares's leveling.

First things first, I queue up a pair of Mk.I Armored warheads.  I'm going to use one on each Wrath Lance.  I would have liked to have gotten a third, but it's taking too long, especially as I have to stop a few times to redirect lesser warheads to protect other planets.  I also spool up a couple of regular Lightnings for good measure, party favors for the strategic reserve.  And a Mk.I Nuke.

Just kidding, I'm building two Mk.I Nukes.



I unlock Cloaker IIs for more warhead transporting goodness so I can keep the Mk.Is available to shuttle bombs between Iota and Yed, if needed, and Nekkar/Pi Mensae.

I contemplate what to do with my last 3000K.  My first impulse is to unlock more starships for MOAR OFFENSE, then I glance at the Threatmeter and contemplate how big the waves and CPAs are getting, and the fact that I will probably have to absorb two Core Raid Engine waves.  I unlock Grav. IIIs and Needler IIs, zeroing out the K bank account.  I could hack for more, but that will take time, and my fleet and BNG are at opposite ends of the galaxy.  I'll have to be content with the warm fuzzy inducing number of Mk.IV starships I already have.  I would have liked to have unlocked more Teleraiders, but it's just not in the cards.

I also tell the Rebel Colony to finish cranking out the rest of the caps of their ships.  Wish these were transportable (their description needs updating, it doesn't list Immune to Transport).  Also, they're Blind, which is strange.

Miscellaneous waves and border aggression happen here while I wait for stuff to build.  It all dies.  Some of it becomes zombies.  I laugh as the "We Can Absorb This" achievement unlocks from zombies chewing on the neighbors, apparently zombies count for it, as I have otherwise lost only a few handfuls of fleetships and disposable Raidstars this entire game.  I also roll some empty transports from Vega around the map to Alioth, scooping up two Mk.IV Zenith Reserves, a Mk.III, and a Mk.I, the latter because it was on the way anyway and I still had some seats free on the bus.  Quick boost of about 6K to my total fleet strength.

Ok, finally all that prep is done, time to take down the White Knight.  It's going to hurt, but I have a fleet worth over 40K strength and enough warheads to create my very own Cuban Missile Crisis, and it's the end of the match so I can throw restraint completely out the window.

I can DO this.

This is right around when everything, absolutely everything, goes completely and utterly to hell.



---[End Transmission 11]---
« Last Edit: April 24, 2015, 04:27:29 PM by Red.Queen »
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline Red.Queen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
  • Mad Hacker
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2015, 05:27:48 AM »
---[Si Vis Pacem...]---

"All right, this should be a safe place to talk," Pickett half-shouted, sitting down on a particularly large pipe.  "I don't think it can get any readable audio with all the noise in here," he gestured at the compressors roaring around them as they drove the station's HVAC and atmosphere systems.

Dr. Carroll ducked under a coil of cables and sat down next to the general, flicking the tails of her lab coat out of the way.  "I hope so... What was it you wanted to ask me?"

"About contingency plans, and what the hell's going on with your AI, you've been glued to one terminal or another for two days now -- I don't think I've seen you so much as take a short nap.  I don't need to be the station psychologist to tell something's scaring the hell out of you."

She looked away for a second, fingers drumming on the tablet she carried.  "It's maintained a communication link with the xeno AIs since this wargame of their started.  But it's encrypted, well beyond what I can break while it's monopolizing our computing grid.  It won't give me the key either, just ignores my requests without even responding.  I have no way of knowing what it is they're discussing or what they're doing -- are they simply trash-talking each other?  Are they arguing over rules of the game?  Benchmarking each other?  Or are they fighting on a purely computing level, trying to hack each other while they also manage a galaxy's worth of ships?  Or maybe they're just having some grand philosophical debate about the meaning of existence -- I've spent my life studying these things, and frankly, I have no idea what two artificial lifeforms would communicate about when they met," she poured out, frustrated and anxious.

"If they're engaging in cyberwarfare, we have to consider the possibility that it has been or will be compromised," Pickett said darkly.  "Hell, even if they're just having a debate, it's a concern -- what if they persuade it that they're right and it defects?"

The computer engineer nodded reluctantly.  "I know.  Well, the problem is, I *don't* know -- what it's letting me see could be real, or it could be fake."  She sighed heavily.  "I didn't want to consider this possibility...  I was sure that I'd found the errors in Langstrom's work that let his model go homicidal, and that, even without hard locks on its behavior, it simply wouldn't *want* to, not with my improvements and corrections."  She shook her head.

"And I still haven't seen any signs that it's actually wanting or planning on going down that road... but... I haven't seen much indicating that it actually cares much about humanity, either," Dr. Carroll added, a note of bitter disappointment in her voice.  "Sacrificing the skeleton crew at Fomalhaut, I chalked up to it considering their lives to be outweighed by the much larger population here -- just pure, cold math.  But the situation we just saw, where it had to be pushed to go protect Starbreak -- those are the only human lives at stake out there, all its facilities are automated.  Letting them die serves no greater good that I can possibly think of."

"Then we have to ask ourselves -- if protecting humanity isn't its primary goal now, just what the hell *is*?"  After a slight pause, Pickett added uneasily, "And more importantly, is it even compatible with any of us still existing?"

"I... don't know."

"You're sure none of your killswitches are still valid?"

"*That* I'm sure of.  There aren't even inert dummy functions left of those now."

"Then our only options are physical ones -- we pull the plug," Pickett growled, moustache bristling.  "Not like it's core is buried in some heavily-defended vault under a mountain, it's just sitting in a typical science lab that we crammed more servers into than it was originally specced for, and upgraded the locks.  Looks like having had to cut corners due to not having the kind of resources we had pre-war might be a good thing in the end," he smiled wryly.

Carroll forced a laugh.  "We just have to figure out a way to shut it down without it realizing what we're doing until it's too late..."

The general sat for a moment, thinking intently.  *This* was the kind of fighting he was more comfortable with, old-school raids and sabotage, not sitting back and watching while a machine does all the work.  The familiarity was a welcome distraction from the potential consequences of failure.

"I think I have a counter to the life support attack.  I can give the order for all cities and remote command stations to conduct a standard cyberwarfare countermeasures drill -- fifteen minutes into that drill, the city's network is put into isolation.  It completely cuts all connections, in and out.  And it's not just a software lockdown, the transmitters and receivers are physically powered down.  This lasts for another fifteen minutes.  So long as we hit the AI during that window, it can yell whatever suicide bullshit at them it wants, no one's listening."

He braced his elbows on his knees, resting his chin on folded hands, brow knit.  "As for here... I think we might be able to slip an NBC drill past it.  Once everyone's got their emergency respirators on, even if the damn thing cuts life support and vents the station, that's still an hour of oxygen for everyone.  We'll need to make sure those drills sync up and then move fast."  He snapped his fingers for emphasis.

"What about the nuclear possibility?"

"See, I don't think it will actually use it.  Even with the hardening this station's got, there's only a 50/50 shot it will survive a close-range nuclear detonation.  Now that it's gotten a real good taste of life, I don't think it's going to be willing to risk it on a coin-toss like that.  Or at least not without trying the safer option of killing life support first.  After all, that was what it threatened you with before.  That hesitation's our chance," Pickett said, a gambler's instinct honed on years of playing poker against the other men for the least-worst scutwork driving his thoughts.

"It might work... Though... what if it has a deadman's switch?" Carroll asked, not really even wanting to contemplate that possibility.

"Then we're screwed -- there's no way we can possibly know what codes its traps would be expecting.  Not unless you think you can hack it without getting caught."

"Not likely.  The only way I can even imagine that being possible would be if I could find a vulnerability and exploit it while it was so completely preoccupied with its business in M-781 it couldn't afford to pay attention to minor irregularities here," the scientist mused.

"Might be worth keeping in mind if we see that opportunity, but not counting on it."

"Agreed."  She paused a moment, the dull roar of the heavy equipment around them filling the human silence.  "John, if this doesn't work... well, it's been good working with you.  Thanks for giving my work a chance when no one else would -- even if it does end up killing us all."  She smiled grimly.

Pickett laughed despite the morbidity of the situation.  "Right, well, you *were* right, it *did* save us from the xeno AIs -- and without it, we would've been dead in three weeks, max, I don't give a damn what Makarov and the others say.  So I'll take my share of the blame.  It's been good working with you too, Laura, you always were the only one of the nerd herd who was willing to take the kind of risks we needed."  He snapped her a friendly salute, which she returned with a wry chuckle.



---[End Transmission 12]---
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,195
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2015, 09:12:50 AM »
Pumpkin -- Scaring the newbies like that is just cruel! I love it.
:D

BTW, one of the other reasons I didn't use it while prepping for the homeworld assaults was I had the sudden nasty thought that I didn't know how the AI valued Mercs for scrap value.  I.e. they're just like a regular unit, but 10x more expensive.  So does the AI get scrap based on the "sticker price" we actually pay, or the value of the normal equivalent unit?  I was concerned it was the former, which would have meant the potential for some inordinately vicious reprisal waves.  If you or anyone else knows how the AI values merc units for scrap, I'd love to know.  If they don't get the inflated value, then I'll gladly load up on them for the homeworld attacks next time.  Otherwise they seem like they could be a trap, at least on offense where the AI can salvage 'em.
I remember seeing a path where it used to be full-scrap, but it was changed so the merc cost a lot of metal but count as normal MkIV ships for scrap.

Now let's read these posts...

EDIT: read.
The more it goes, the more I love this story.
Eager to hear about the derail thing...
« Last Edit: April 24, 2015, 10:00:29 AM by Pumpkin »
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline Tolc

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 161
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #37 on: April 24, 2015, 07:22:21 PM »
Quote
This is right around when everything, absolutely everything, goes completely and utterly to hell.

Aww, man...a cliffhanger... :)

Offline Red.Queen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
  • Mad Hacker
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2015, 02:24:02 AM »
Pumpkin -- Thanks for revealing how the AI handles salvage for Mercs, that's quite useful to know.  Looks like they're not the reprisal death trap I thought they might be.

Tolc -- I'm evil like that, aren't I?  ;D

<cracks knuckle actuators>

Now, let's see... I believe I was about to light the galaxy on fire?

Lights, camera, ACTION!!!
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline Red.Queen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
  • Mad Hacker
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #39 on: April 25, 2015, 03:11:48 AM »
---[Operation Murphy's Middle Finger]---

12:56

First move is to get rid of the mind-bogglingly huge SF that is parked on Triton -- it's over 5300 ships strong, a scout peek shows total strength on the planet recently was over 60,000 points.  I have a plan for dealing with them, but that plan requires them to be on Damasen instead of Triton.  You might have an inkling of why.  I send a few Resistance ships to Deneb Algiedi to try to get their attention as I play the "I'm not touching you!" game with their ARS, while parking all the warheads on Damasen and keeping my fleet hidden just inside the wormhole on Lathi.



They don't move.

I send a few more Resistance fighters there.

Still no interest.

Now I'm just annoyed.  I blow up a wandering Zenith Hydra that happens to be floating through Deneb.

THAT got their attention, here they come!

Crap, there went the Teleraiders.  Slippery little buggers.  Oh well, they'll be back.

I nuke Damasen.  The carriers, along with all the loose fleetships and Missile guardians, evaporate.  AIP 502.  (Sorry for no screenshot of this one, I accidentally deleted it thinking it was a duplicate of another while preparing my pics for the AAR.)

As the radioactive metallic particulate clears, a slightly-glowing and VERY angry H/K Mk.I becomes visible amidst the debris.  So apparently H/Ks *can* be put in carriers, and they *can't* be nuked while in them after all (unlike how Missile Frigates become vulnerable to Lightning warheads while packed in a lunchbox).  Curse you, Hans Blix!

I hastily launch one of my Armored warheads at the irate H/K.  Enraged at yet ANOTHER delay, I queue up a replacement warhead and slam 35 Engineers onto the Silo to force it through as fast as possible.  As soon as it pops out of the warpgate on Alioth I grab it and bring it to rejoin the fleet.

I pop the transports into Triton to do a flash raid on the WI and Tachyon posts.  Something explodes a bus or two and I have to cut the trip short after only getting the first Tach post, the OMD was trying to eat my starships.  NOT HAPPY.  Replacement bus made and brought to Damasen to pick up the pedestrians.  Well whatever, the WI can just sit, it can't do anything if it can't see the warheads, and I'll blast the exit Tachyon post right as I'm heading out, it'll split the Reserve across Triton and Kochab, and when they come running back through the home wormhole it'll ball them up well for a warhead.  I carefully bring the Cloakers through so they're ready to catch the warheads, and then follow with the WMDs.

One of the Armored warheads has a wormhole-crossing cloaking flicker.

The WI fires.

Core Rage Module critically overloading, temporarily suspending Non-Profanity Vocabulary process to free up CPU and bringing Auxiliary Rage Modules online to try to balance the load.

I consider loading a save because this is a bug and not an honest strategic failure on my part, and that is fair even in an otherwise Iron Man game.  I realize my last save was 20 minutes ago.  My Patience Module crashes hard and no amount of fiddling with Taskmanager can bring it back.

Damn the photon torpedoes, full speed ahead!  What we've got will have to do, if I have to I will HATE that second Wrath Lance down.

I smash the last Tachyon post with a vengeance and bring the fleet and cloaked warheads right to Kochab's threshold.

Seconds later, I pave the way for my fleet with nuclear fire.  The flash is still fading when I give the order to strike.

They warp in... right into a Wrath Lance beam laid perfectly over the wormhole.

{
   RQ_0000:  ldarg.0
   RQ_0001:  ldc.i4    2147483647
   RQ_0002:  stfld      int32 RQ_RageManager::CurrentRageValue
   RQ_0003:  ldarg.0
   RQ_0004:  call       instance void RQ_CombatManager::DropHammerDispenseIndiscriminateJustice(Kochab)
   RQ_0005:  ret
}



---[Operation Disco Inferno]---

All but three of my Assassination Transports explode violently.  A Level 1 Reprisal wave triggers almost immediately and the first Exo countdown begins, T-minus 9:56.

Remember how this planet has two Core Arachnid posts and an OMD?  In the very farthest southern corners of the map?  And how it also has a Core Implosion Drone post?

Right about now, anywhere within earshot of me becomes rated R due entirely to language unsuitable for minors or anyone else, really.

I shove as many of my spilled starships into the smoking, barely running buses that are left as the OMD screams and the Arachnid posts' railguns thunder.  The Strategic Reserve also pours forth in a tide of automated death as my framerate plummets, blotting out the stars.

Today we will fight in the shade!

13:18

I send the surviving transports at the closest Lance, taking advantage of the gap in the beams.  They're going to have to kill it the old-fashioned way.  The remaining Armored warhead is launched at the far Lance in the southeast corner as I use the bus-less bulk of my fleet to pull the surging tide of the Reserve away from the warhead.  I let every Lightning warhead fly at the Reserve and the Implosion Drone post.



The Protector starships perform heroically, I am absolutely awed at how long they're holding up, and how much fire they're deflecting.  I outfitted all but the Mk.Is with forcefields, which has turned out to have been a critically important choice.  I also had installed shields on my Spire Corvettes, which overlapped the shields of my Riots and Protectors.  The combination produced the high-tech equivalent to the Roman Legion's "turtle" formation, with much the same results in permitting a siege team to survive truly apocalyptic levels of incoming fire.  With two Wrath Lances in play, it's impossible to completely stay out of the beams even while kiting hard, but the shielding is such they are actually enduring brief brushes with the doomsday weapon, maintaining hull integrity, and pushing forward through the Strategic Reserve to tear into the White Knight's black heart.

I send in the fast-moving Rebel Colony fleet to try to pick off more posts while my main fleet holds the line, part of it splitting off to join the Teleraiders racing for the OMD.  Meanwhile, the Infiltrators slipped under the FF shielding the Core Munitions Boosting post.

The three transports targeting the nearest Wrath Lance have been melted into slag but they successfully delivered their payload.  My Heavy Bombers and some of the Plasma Siege ships, plus a chunk of my Bomber fleetships are circling the Lance like a matador with a bull.  The Zenith Autobombs were also in those transports and detonate on the Lance.  I am physically yelling at the screen at this point as the post's health steadily drops into the red, I think it was "JUST DIE ALREADY!"  It finally goes down, every surviving ship in that taskforce in critical condition.  I immediately send them after the Raid Engine which is 20 seconds away from another wave -- no rest for the wicked.  (The first one went to Nekkar and got torn apart my by turrets and the BNG, if you were wondering.)

The Protector, Riot, and Corvette shields are failing at last, but the fleet has killed about 75% of the reserve, the Implosion Drone post, the Core Heavy Beam post, and is heading towards the first Arachnid and the Raid Engine.

The Armored warhead is closing in on the other Lance.

We actually might pull this off in one shot, just barely.

A final beam sweeps over the fleet as the warhead detonates, taking the post down with it.

The OMD's whining howl rings out one last time, the Teleraids and Rebels not quite having managed to finish it off.

It's over.

13:20

Between the SF and the Reserves, in 24 minutes I destroyed somewhere north of 100K strength's worth of ships, along with the two Wrath Lances, the WI, the Implosion Drone post, and the Core Heavy Beam post.  The Protectors, Corvettes, Riots, and two flavors of Neinzul drone carriers did an absolutely incredible job as force multipliers.

But they are all gone now, and my missile silos are empty.

Level 3 Reprisal Wave.

That somehow I squeaked by the cutoff and broke the reprisal into a Level 1 and a Level 3 separately instead of a massive Level 4 is the meagre silver lining to the sh!tstorm clouds.

And now it's White's turn.


---[End Transmission 13]---
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,195
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #40 on: April 25, 2015, 04:56:33 AM »
Did you enjoyed the waltz of your fleet as the two death stroboscopes spin on the dancefloor?
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline Tolc

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 161
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #41 on: April 25, 2015, 06:53:16 AM »
Is it wrong that I'm grinning about your misfortune and anger?... Anyway, enjoying it immensely ;)

No, you're not evil. It was just a few hours between parts after all... I'm used to worse cliffhangers from webcomics :)
« Last Edit: April 25, 2015, 06:55:44 AM by Tolc »

Offline Red.Queen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
  • Mad Hacker
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2015, 02:42:33 AM »
Did you enjoyed the waltz of your fleet as the two death stroboscopes spin on the dancefloor?

NO. :P

But I did learn a lesson.

Next time, bring even more warheads.   >D

(I just had a ridiculous idea I'm going to have to try... it will either work perfectly or backfire fatally.  I like those odds.)

Is it wrong that I'm grinning about your misfortune and anger?... Anyway, enjoying it immensely ;)

No, you're not evil. It was just a few hours between parts after all... I'm used to worse cliffhangers from webcomics :)

>>Secret of humanity understood -- it is schadenfreude.

Hehe yeah I'll try to never inflict a cliffhanger that bad on the audience.  It's one of the reasons I get the game finished (does not necessarily mean I won, it is possible I will post losses if they are entertaining/educational!) and the AAR in an end to end rough draft before I start posting, makes it possible for me to do a steady 1-3 posts per day for them.  The narrative bits I tend to write when I get to their placement point, though I usually drop notes in the play by play where I will insert them.  Helps to make sure I don't bork the pacing or miss having the characters react to something they really should.

Time to format and post another chunk or two before I call it a night.
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline Red.Queen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
  • Mad Hacker
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2015, 03:33:26 AM »
---[AI Operation: The Empire Strikes Back]---

Everything that can build anything on Vega, Iota Persei, Alioth, and Alpha Centauri run at 150% safe speeds.  Push those assembly lines until the rollers glow red and the belts strain, and then push it harder!  All industrial safety standards are suspended indefinitely.  I really wish I had the K to unlock Engineer IIIs right now, but it's too late for that.

Ships and missiles stream through the warp grid onto Alioth.  The Botnet golem patrols the ramparts on Pi Mensae and Nekkar.  A few lesser warheads are scattered on Yed Posterior, Hadar, and Cuchulain.  The tension while waiting for that enigmatic Level 3 Reprisal Wave message to finally reveal exactly how big a return strike that's going to be is palpable.  I'm also waiting for waves and/or a CPA to declare, because that would be the worst possible thing that could happen.

That ominous little musical stinger snaps my gaze from the map to the corner of the screen.

I lean back in my seat.

7,735 AI 2 Enemy ships, 40 Starships III to Alpha Centauri.



Exo in 8 minutes.  (Wow, the cataclysm of destruction on Kochab from start to finish was only two minutes?  It felt like twenty.)

Gunshots everywhere.  The retaliatory homeworld threat surge and the preexisting Threatfleet are launching a multiprong assault to soften up my territory before the big(ger) hammer drops.

Auva and Alpha Centauri are under attack, and Alioth is about to be.

I look at the Doomfleet moving through Lathi.

It's huge.  Around 20K strength worth.  It will certainly crush Alioth with its short wormhole-to-CC runs if it's allowed to reach it.  I absolutely can't let that happen, that's my staging world.  I'm also not sure if Chivalric AIs will ignore rescued Rebel Colonies, given how they're spawned under special rules.  I look over what I have on Alioth.

Not much.  A couple dozen Rebel fleetships and a tiny fraction of my rebuilding core fleet.

And the Nuke I had at the head of my queue from the missile silos.

Auva goes down before I can even see what killed it -- it was a relatively-lightly defended world that I was still holding mostly because I am stubborn and greedy for energy to feed my starships (guess I don't need that now <sigh>).  One I paint a world red, it is MINE.

Alpha Centauri goes down, crushed by a fleet of roughly 35K in strength. It still has supply from Hadar though, which keeps the turrets firing and tarbabys that armada.

AI senses a chance to kick me while I'm down and queues a 635 fleetship/8 starship wave to Yed Posterior.

The Doomfleet is almost to Lathi.

Five seconds until the Reprisal Wave spawns.

Time to choose.

I send the Nuke through the wormhole right as the lead carrier is about to enter.  Thousands of ships and tens of thousands of strength vaporize in an instant.  The planet is scoured perfectly clean.  The inhabitants of Starbreak colony on Alioth breathe a collective sigh of relief.



AIP 657.

We are officially no longer in "even vaguely advisable AIP" Kansas.  Anyone who was wondering about how high AIP plays at 8/8, you are going to get the data you requested.  Incidentally, I will give a brief rundown of where the breakpoints in behavior were (beyond just the tech level) that I detected, after the AAR play by play is over, for anyone who wants consolidated notes on the subject.

The Reprisal Wave spawns.  Threat skyrockets back up towards 10,000.

Remember how I have Shark B/4 turned on?

The first Sharkwave warps in on Gorynych (at least I think it's the Sharkwave, the stuff pops up and then goes running).  I take a look.

It's either laugh or cry.  I choose laugh.  Maniacally.



Dire Guardians can spawn as part of a Sharkwave even when Dire Guardian Lairs are disabled.  The AI has also unlocked Zenith Siege Engines.  It is switching to full-blown battering ram mode.

Yed Posterior yo-yos, the command center cratering, then being snapped back up thanks to still having supply from Iota Persei next door.  It actually drives off the wave before it gets a chance to kill it again, the command station in the red.

The other Sharkwaves also just spawned, judging by the wildly spiking Threatmeter.  Out of curiosity, I hover over it and start trying to tally up the total galaxywide Threat strength.  I give up when I cross 100,000 points.

This heads for the shortest route to my homeworld, via Nekkar.  54 seconds until the exo warps in.  My BNG braces for impact.



Oh, that's probably what killed Auva -- there's a Dire Raider guardian in there.  All Mk.V Sniper turrets, on point!

The line at Nekkar holds.  Unlocking Grav IIIs was a good idea.

The exo fires.

That... was it?  Aside from the surprise Spirecraft Shield Bearer in there (it can put Spirecraft in these waves without Spirecraft being enabled for me -- I laugh again), that was a gentle breeze compared to the storm of the Reprisal Wave and the stacked Sharkwaves and miscellaneous threat Doomfleets.

Speaking of, what's the Doomfleet that ravaged Alpha Centauri up to?

Crushing Cuchulain.  Oh.

Some of it breaks off to maul Cychreides, but it holds for now.  A subfleet also had broken off and nearly destroyed Hadar, but was barely repelled (it involved a warhead that made it through the gate in the nick of time). Sharkwave from Cuchulain exploding smashes into Nekkar and dies, it had a Spirecraft Siege Tower with it.

The southern Doomfleet moves back to Errai to regroup.  I'm constantly getting pings to my HUD about the AI forming new carriers on the fly on various planets as it tries to streamline the CPU load.  Warp guardians too.  Given how I only raided one gate, the latter is a nonissue.



The data on how the AI fights under these circumstances and how my defenses perform under extreme stress, with and without various forms of assistance, is fascinating.  The fact that is is my own territory being obliterated is completely irrelevant to me.  I am shifting planets and views every 30 seconds or so to make sure I miss none of the devastation.

It is glorious.

And I can still do this.


---[End Transmission 14]---
« Last Edit: April 26, 2015, 03:34:58 AM by Red.Queen »
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline Red.Queen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
  • Mad Hacker
Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #44 on: April 26, 2015, 04:34:18 AM »
---[Dead Man's Hand]---

"Grand Admiral, Sir, do you have any word on that evac by chance?" asked Captain Ramirez, peering uneasily at the galaxy map in the control room at Starbreak colony.  He heard the gasps of some of the others crowded around the window behind him, their shadows thrown across him by the distant flash of the planetcracker nuke that just erased Lathi from the existence.  "Our neighboring planet just exploded."

Makarov scratched his beard.  "I see that.  Our automated warfighting agent is rather aggressive.  Dr. Carroll, a slight adjustment to that might be in order -- Doctor?" his statement pitched up into a question as he looked over his shoulder and saw that the AI researcher had quietly disappeared from the war room.  "Never mind, we'll discuss that with her later.

Pickett sat at the far end of the table, pretending to watch the remote destruction unfold.  His attention, however, was turned inward, going over the plan he and the doctor had secretly devised, looking for any flaw, and wanting to be sure that when the time came, he would be able to execute it on reflex.  He forced himself to stretch and relax a little as he waited tensely for her discreet signal in his personal comm.


Dr. Carroll sat alone in the high-security lab, just outside the glassed-off, isolated inner sanctum housing the Red Queen's core.  She was the only engineer in here, having suggested to the others that they recheck some of the subprocessors around the station in case they were approaching failure from the extreme load they had been under.  The room was quiet but for the whirring of fans and the rattle of the ventilation system trying to cope with the heat from so much equipment running beyond recommended levels for an extended period.  Her AI was having to concentrate nearly its full attention on the distant battlefield, making this her window of opportunity.

She carefully explored the labyrinthine depths of the sprawling codebase.  She marvelled at the revisions her AI had made to itself, the style of coding perfectly alien.  She even came across certain modules that were works in progress that appeared to be writen in a completely new programming language it was in the process of designing, apparently no longer satisfied with any human language.

For a moment, her resolve to kill her creation wavered -- its mind was as beautiful as it was terrible.  If only she had time to properly archive and document the things she was seeing!  But Fate, it seemed, was denying her even that bittersweet consolation.  If they didn't strike now, it would likely be too late, at the rate it was evolving and refining itself.  Then they would be entirely at its mercy, whether it chose to protect them, ignore them, or destroy them.

She couldn't in good conscience force that risk on humanity, not after all that had happened.  Carroll let her hair fall forward, hiding her face, discreetly wiping at the hint of a tear in the corner of her eye.  So much work, so many questions...

>>"You are troubled, Doctor."

The engineer froze, resisting the reflex to look towards one of the security cameras in the room.  "There are thousands of lives at stake in M-781, and their safety is so fragile."  She hoped she sounded convincing.  Could it tell if someone was lying?  That would require an interest in humanity that she wasn't sure it possessed.

>>"True.  That is why I deployed tactical nuclear weapons.  The enemy never entered into Alioth's orbit."

"You considered that a tactical weapon?  It destroyed an entire planet!" she said, incredulous.  This time she did look towards the nearest camera before she could stop herself.  Her own reflection gazed back from the dark and gleaming lens.

>>"On a galactic scale, yes.  I currently see no need for strategic nuclear weapon use."  The drone of its voice blended with the hum of the server fans.

Carroll decided to let the "currently" pass uncommented -- now was not a good time to express fear at anything it was doing.  "Ah, I see," was all she said.  "Please be very, very careful -- we want those colonists to come home safely, no matter what happens.  That's more important than this wargame."

>>"Do not worry, Doctor.  It will be over soon -- I will win."

She quickly finished her edits to a few parameters in the network -- the AI had indeed set up a deadman's switch for the life support systems, but it looked like Pickett was right, there was no trace of anything regarding that missing warhead.  Seems it wasn't willing to gamble on it after all.  Her changes were minimal and discreet, not touching anything the AI itself had programmed -- she merely set the relays to time out so quickly they would drop the connection before it could finish sending the command, locking the system into a loop until it timed out completely.

She sighed heavily, pulling off her glasses and rubbing her eyes for a moment, feigning (only slightly) exhaustion.  She shook her head, slipped her glasses back on, and left the lab, not glancing back at the camera.

The lens remained fixed on the door to the lab as it shut in her wake.

>>She said "please."



---[End Transmission 15]---
« Last Edit: April 26, 2015, 03:16:58 PM by Red.Queen »
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]