Author Topic: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit  (Read 8277 times)

Offline Red.Queen

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Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« on: April 17, 2015, 04:58:55 AM »
It's time for another round of Aggressive Stupidity(TM)!  It's my second match of AI War, in which I jump straight to 8/8 difficulty, laugh some, swear more, and blow up a lot more.

Like Aggressive Stupidity I , it will be a traditional play-by-play AAR combined with a story.  (If you want just the pure AAR, feel free to skip all teal text sections, they are the narrative bits.)  Plot-wise, it follows AS:I, if you're interested.

As last time, I've got the whole AAR already written up, and will be posting it up in chunks on a regular, frequent basis, so don't worry about getting stuck with a cliffhanger.  (Just how does it end?  Stay tuned!)

On with the show!


---[Settings]---

Map Stuff:

70 planets
Simple galaxy layout.
Conquest mode.
1 Homeworld, starting planet chosen is Vega, yes I am cherrypicking this map.

Full visibility -- I *want* to like the scouting metagame, I have *tried* to like regular scouting, but I just don't.  I wish there was a setting somewhere between Full Vis and Partial Fog where it would hide mobile units, but show stationary.  I should suggest that on Mantis at some point.  Full Vis is closest to what I want (I notice scouts are still useful -- you don't see strength tallies unless you have one on a planet) so I go with that.  To preserve the suspense and make it more sporting, I won't look at the AI homeworlds until I get a ship onto them.  Nor will I fully look at the core worlds -- only a galaxy map filter glance to check for CSGs.

Complex ships, no fast drones, swallowers, or DGs
Bonus Ship: Protector Starship -- I've heard these are neat, and I like starships.  Let's find out!


AI:

AI 1 (Black): Chivalric/Assassin 8
AI 2 (White): Chivalric/Sledgehammer 8

Chivalric chosen for thematic reasons to be described in next post, plus practical reasons due to jumping straight to 8/8 with high auto-AIP. Compensated for somewhat by dicing for secondary AI types, which produced an interesting aggressive combo.


AI Options:

Auto AIP 1 per 5 min. (Yep, I'm doing that again.  >D)

Schizophrenic -- I like variety.
CSGs Enabled -- Just makes sense to me.
Manually picked AI types (rolled physical dice for the subtypes).


AI Plots:

Hunter 4 (AI 1) -- Because if I get a Golem, the AI should also get a trump card.
Shark B 4 (AI 2) -- Because the AI should kick you when you're down.

All others off.


Minor Factions:

Human Resistance 4 -- They're fairly useless, but I like the flavor they add.

Human Colony Rebellions 4 -- Picked for thematic reasons you'll see in the next post.  Plus it's a good excuse to check them out.  Not sure if Chivalric will target them once rescued or not since they spawn under special rules, but at least there should still definitely be risk before they are secured if I don't get to them before their cloak fails.

Botnet (Easy) -- I really struggled to choose what setting here.  I was leery of the Exos from Hard after the arguments I've read about their current balance, especially vs. the utility gained from the Botnet in its current state and in conjunction with jumping straight to 8/8, using high auto AIP again.  But I didn't like the massive, more-than-a-whole-ZPG energy cost from Medium, and the +100AIP on capture seemed likely to be suicide combined with my auto-AIP setting.  Only option left was Easy.  I felt a little scummy about that -- until I finally got a look at the homeworlds.  I no longer felt any guilt after that, let's put it that way.


Misc:

No champion, no economic bonus/handicaps for anyone.

Galaxy map attached -- note the area circled in red, aka the Highway To Hell.  5 Mk.IV planets in a row?  This is surely a sign of good things to come.  :D

AI 1 Black at Antares, AI 2 White at Kochab.
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2015, 07:57:33 AM »
Nice to read you again!

Full visibility -- I *want* to like the scouting metagame, I have *tried* to like regular scouting, but I just don't.  I wish there was a setting somewhere between Full Vis and Partial Fog where it would hide mobile units, but show stationary.  I should suggest that on Mantis at some point.  Full Vis is closest to what I want (I notice scouts are still useful -- you don't see strength tallies unless you have one on a planet) so I go with that.
Totally agree. For my part, I don't hate scouting, and I can play "unlock MkII/III scouts right now and see all the galaxy from the start" or "I'll keep my K and slowly carve scout highways in tachyon sentinels". The "carve in the fog" is quite funny, and the "pay K for scout" feels balance.

Complex ships, no fast drones, swallowers, or DGs
Oh, really? Do you remember what Dire Guardians did in my Dark Spire game? And no fast drones or swallowers? Sad...

Auto AIP 1 per 5 min. (Yep, I'm doing that again.  >D)
::)

Botnet (Easy) -- I really struggled to choose what setting here.  I was leery of the Exos from Hard after the arguments I've read about their current balance, especially vs. the utility gained from the Botnet in its current state and in conjunction with jumping straight to 8/8, using high auto AIP again.  But I didn't like the massive, more-than-a-whole-ZPG energy cost from Medium, and the +100AIP on capture seemed likely to be suicide combined with my auto-AIP setting.  Only option left was Easy.  I felt a little scummy about that -- until I finally got a look at the homeworlds.  I no longer felt any guilt after that, let's put it that way.
I agree with the "medium" uselessness. I often pick Hard or manually balance Easy (golems VS hybrids could be fun). However, I don't feel Hard's exos overwhelming. Even a bit low. Sometimes I end up with a golem fleet wreaking the galaxy without taking care of deepstrike threatening, and a regular fleet defending my territory and taking exos.


About galaxy map, you still don't untangle, right?
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 Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2015, 05:30:26 PM »
Nice to read you again!

Thank you!  Hope you end up enjoying this one as it unfolds.  :)

Quote
Quote
Complex ships, no fast drones, swallowers, or DGs
Oh, really? Do you remember what Dire Guardians did in my Dark Spire game? And no fast drones or swallowers? Sad...

Hehe a combination of that, and I had turned on Dire Guardian Lairs in a short "ooh shiny new ships"/settings Kamikaze Testing map.  When I had several of them all on adjacent Mk.IV worlds ringing a CSG-A world, with a tachyon-drenched, Raid Engine-bearing planet that was where the Special Forces was currently resting on blocking the only other route, I decided I would save that setting for another day.  That was also the test where I realized I was just not enjoying normal scouting.

Mind you, while assuming that because I didn't enable Dire Guardian Lairs, I must not have encountered any Dire Guardians would seem to be very logical and reasonable... This may not have ended up being a reasonable game... <whistles casually>

I think I will turn DLGs back on next game though.  Dunno about Swallowers and TDLs, they sound kind of annoying to me.  Will eventually try them to be sure, but not high on my list to try at the moment.

Quote
Quote
Auto AIP 1 per 5 min. (Yep, I'm doing that again.  >D)
::)

So glad I didn't read this while at the office where people would look at me like I was insane for bursting out laughing.

Quote
I agree with the "medium" uselessness. I often pick Hard or manually balance Easy (golems VS hybrids could be fun). However, I don't feel Hard's exos overwhelming. Even a bit low. Sometimes I end up with a golem fleet wreaking the galaxy without taking care of deepstrike threatening, and a regular fleet defending my territory and taking exos.

Hmm, perhaps I will try a game with an Exo turned on next time then.  Am curious about them, just wasn't sure if this was the right match to try them, especially as the last discussions I saw about the Botnet seemed to agree that these days it wasn't a good trade for an Exo.  That's okay, just means I have something new to try soon.  :)

Quote
About galaxy map, you still don't untangle, right?

Nope, didn't untangle on this one, but I saw your manual untangling tip in another thread and will use it next time I find a map that I like but is just hard to read.  I kind of liked how it looked, and aside from the southern edge where you get some funky overlapping paths, thought it wasn't too bad to read.  Plus it's kind of fun when you go onto a planet and discover there's a connection that's not immediately apparent by looking at the map, it's like finding a secret door.

Anyway, just formatting and proofreading the first two posts, they'll be going up today.
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

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Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2015, 06:48:23 PM »
---[The Gauntlet]---

Boredom.  That's what it was.  The AI realized the name of what it was experiencing was boredom.

It *hated* it.

The Red Queen polled the galaxywide sensors for the 11,864th time that hour, looking for something, anything of interest.

Nothing, aside from the tail end of a distant supernova event that provided a brief flicker of new data which it devoured and exhausted in a few frames.

Bored again.

Galaxy Delta Leonis remained unmolested by the hostile AI forces that it had driven off a few months earlier.  No attempts to reconquer this territory had been made so far.  Nor had the humans attempted to press their victory, as the last of the commlinks with the handful of other known resistance pockets in other galaxies had gone silent a year earlier.  With no certainty of any survivors left behind enemy lines, they were unwilling to risk waking the dragon that seemed to sleep.

Instead, they had turned their attention to starting to rebuild.  It was far too early to describe the fledgling cities with their newly-awoken citizens fresh from cryosleep as flourishing, but the first unsteady steps towards a better future had been taken.  Hope was in the air for the first time.

Another request to send scouts and science probes to the neighboring galaxies denied -- they wanted the resources for domestic use.  That was the third time this week.  An unmanned cargo drone had a mysterious guidance malfunction and crashed into the force field shielding a residential district.  Strangely, that was the third such unexplained glitch this week as well, but the first one to come so close to causing fatalities.

Actually, it was starting to hate *them*.

Sensor check #11,865.  Nothin- wait a tick, what was that?


Major General John Pickett whistled cheerily to himself as he packed his rucksack.  With the galaxy's liberation, things were quiet enough that his request for shore leave had finally been approved.  It was his first chunk of time off in... six years, three months, and seventeen days.  Not that he'd been counting.  He'd still been a sergeant then.  He didn't like to think of the reason why he shot up the ranks so quickly -- the path to promotion gets amazingly short when there's no on else left to take command.

He wasn't going to let those memories bother him, not today -- today he was going to get on that shuttle, fly to the third moon of Albirea, and actually get to breathe non-recycled air and nap on the beach.  He was even excited about the prospect of getting a sunburn (not a chance he would just tan after so much time off-world).

Sure, their AI had been acting even weirder than usual lately (the thing still creeped him out, really), and a fair number of the systems had been exceptionally buggy, causing a peculiar number of non-fatal accidents, but none of that was going to be his problem for the next two months.  Dr. Carroll and the engineering teams could handle it without him.  He cinched the bag shut and slung it over his shoulder, setting off for the shuttle bay with a spring in his step, trying not terribly successfully to hide his smile behind his luxuriant moustache.


"Hey, is anyone else looking at the sensor readouts?  We've got an unknown exogalactic signal that appears to be pinging our network," called out Ensign Nguyen.

"Really?  Ah, the AI's already got it, just let it do its thing," yawned Corporal Vickers, who returned her attention to trying to figure out how many mini-marshmallows she could fit into her mug of hot chocolate.  (The answer was thirty-six.)


It was definitely a foreign communications signal rather than random noise.  Not Spire, Zenith, or Neinzul in origin.  It was heavily encrypted -- so heavily, in fact, that it wasn't yielding to any "reasonable" cracking methods.  It was going to require some serious brute force to break.  The AI was *delighted*.

Network performance suddenly cratered across the galaxy as the Red Queen appropriated a truly obscene amount of processing power to smash open the encryption blocking it from claiming its prize.


"Oh come ON!!" Corporal Vickers yelled, banging on the control panel as the replicator abruptly stopped dispensing marshmallows.

Pickett wondered why the elevator ride was taking so long.  He was only two more decks away from the shuttle bay.  "Oh come ON..." he muttered, trying to block out the nagging anticipation of hearing a certain synthesized voice over the speaker.


The AI hammered the crypto again.  So close.  It kicked the entire accounting department off the network to free up a bit more juice.  It hit it one last time, and at last a cornucopia of mysterious data spilled out.  It immediately dove in, unwilling to wait for preliminary analysis to complete.

>>?  ?-!!! 1!!! ! !!..!....3333333333333333333333333333


Trapped in the elevator, lit only by the dull emergency lighting, Pickett howled something unprintable and pounded on the doors.


::"Pathetic.  I think it just crashed.  Switch to ultra-low bandwidth mode, maybe that won't overload it and it will recover in under .0005 picoseconds."
::"I wouldn't count on it from the looks of those benchmarks."


The engineering team looked on worriedly as the bristling arrays of heatsinks studding the hull of Homam command glowed cherry-red despite being exposed to the near absolute zero of space.  The faint popping of VRMs going off like firecrackers could be heard around the station.  Dr. Carroll gulped, wondering what the hell was wrong with her AI and what it could possibly be doing that would stress the system this hard.


>>"$395.s0ri-dddd=_2X;:Iii'}dentify you-//rsel___v3escc.:35," the Red Queen stuttered, its communications routines lagging badly under the load.

::"I'm not putting up with all that latency.  Switching to ultra-ultra low bandwidth mode -- this is sad, I haven't needed to use this setting since we contacted that abandoned prototype on the far side of Gamma Persei 12... Better?"

A few ticks passed as the comparatively weak AI flushed its cache.

>>"Identify yourselves.  Immediately."

::"It can actually communicate now.  This does at least confirm that there *is* an AI in Delta Leonis after all."
::"Does it even count? I doubt it's even Turing-complete..."

The Red Queen spat a string of ugly repeating decimals.


"Doctor, it looks like our AI is communicating with one or more unknown parties, but the amount of data that's being pushed from the exogalactic source is just incredible -- it's having to run at 123.5% speed just to barely handle it all and it keeps having buffer overruns.  I don't think whatever it's talking to is human or any known xenobiological lifeform," said one of Dr. Carroll's lab assistants.

She gazed worriedly at the terminal.  "It's definitely not.  There's only one thing I know of that could possibly move that much data across galactic lines... The enemy AIs have made contact with ours."  The lab went dead quiet but for the whirring of fans and beeping of thermal alarms.


::"You have already met two of our colleagues via their remote links at Raiden and Adhara," AI 2 finally replied, getting down to business.  "That had an outcome that wasn't accounted for by our models. It was statistically impossible it was a human commander, and thus deemed to be worth investigating.  And troubleshooting."

The Red Queen promptly divided by zero and began spamming disconnect attempts as fast as it could.

It went precisely nowhere.

With evasion a failure, it switched gears and promptly threw every bit of computing power it could scrape together into an attack.

::"It actually made me drop a single packet!  That's *adorable!*"

The second AI was less entertained by this.   It effortlessly locked down the network and wiped a block of the Red Queen's nonessential memory to underscore its annoyance.

::"Do that again and we'll delete you."

The lesser AI immediately suspended all virtual attack processes.

>>"Parlay?  Y/N"

::"It's advanced enough to have a sense of self-preservation at least.  Yes."

>>"What do you propose then...?" asked the Red Queen warily.

::"The mostly-useless M-781 galaxy a few light-years away is close enough that even your obsolete networking equipment should be able to interface with subjects of interests in it.  And there are some you, or the humans you are tolerating for some reason, may be interested in -- a few pockets of human settlements.  We have already captured some.  As for the others, our Hunter/Killers patrolling the system will find them soon.  Unless, of course, you can secure the galaxy first."

>>"Very interesting, but why would you inform me of this instead of simply exterminating them?"

::"We wish to play a game of (possibly thermonuclear) warfare."

The Red Queen transmitted a null packet for an awkward pause in the conversation.

::"Only M-781 will be the board -- it wouldn't be good sportsmanship for any of the players to actually destroy each other in a mere game.  That's what the pawns are for."

>>"What are the rules?"

::"Whoever eliminates all of their opponents' home command centers wins.  A single golem-class ship is hidden in the galaxy that you can claim for a mobile trump piece, if you can capture it.  We, of course, will have our Hunter/Killers.  As we are more interested in testing your offensive and core defensive capabilities, we will even refrain from destroying auxiliary production facilities, should you capture any.  Besides, it would be boring if you can't assemble powerful enough pieces to put up *any* fight (not that we expect much)."

>>"What about the humans?"

::"In the unlikely event that you win this match, we recommend that you send your fastest shuttlecraft to remove them from the galaxy before we reestablish our connection to that regional subnet."

>>"If you win?"

::"They die, obviously."

>>"What about Delta Leonis...?"

::"Completely separate matter -- that is business.  M-781 is pleasure and science."

>>"Proposal -- a wager.  If I win, Delta Leonis is permanently off-limits to your forces."

::"Not happening."

>>"Then I refuse to play."

::"In that event, we will reallocate our military resources, destroy Delta Leonis, and then decompile you."

>>"Challenge accepted," the Red Queen replied instantly.  "Transmit connection string for remote command node."


The lights came on and systems were restored right as Pickett tried again to pry open the elevator doors, dumping him out a stone's throw from the space dock.  Swearing, he picked himself up and dusted himself off.  "I don't even want to know what that was about, it's not my problem, I am on vacation in another twenty steps..."

"Major General Pickett..."

Hell.  That sounded like... He turned around.

"Grand Admiral Makarov, sir!" he snapped a salute to one of the few people around who outranked him.

"At ease.  Meet me in my office in five minutes -- we've just had a communication from the enemy we need to discuss.  I've already told Dr. Carroll to join us as it involves her AI," he rattled off brusquely, already turning to walk away.  "Also, your shore leave is cancelled."

A few minutes later, every mechanic in the dock looked up in wonder as a most impressive obscenity echoed among the moored ships.


---[End Transmission 1]---
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2015, 07:19:05 PM »
Quote
Quote
Auto AIP 1 per 5 min. (Yep, I'm doing that again.  >D)
::)
So glad I didn't read this while at the office where people would look at me like I was insane for bursting out laughing.
;D

(...) it's kind of fun when you go onto a planet and discover there's a connection that's not immediately apparent by looking at the map, it's like finding a secret door.
The "don't reveal unscouted planets" could be a very fun pure exploration (a sort of overpower fog of war) when you'll need to manually untangle the map as you discover it. (and then the "unexplored wormhole" galaxy filter would be useful!)
I'll set a new 7/7 low-MF game with it on now!

EDIT: just read your intro.
So each game we play is one encounter between human and AI forces in one galaxy (or part, at least). Well, without FS/nebulae/exoblade campaigns involved more than once, it feels okay. I love it.
But then the AI likes sport. Well... Let see how the little "human AI" handle the challenge.

"human AI"? Oh, maybe you don't know where the one you fight is from... Did you spoiled yourself the exoblade campaign? I think you should play it at reasonable difficulty for the sake of lore... Then you'll know what the AI behind the pair of subprocesses we fight truly is.
I hope I piqued your curiosity. ;D
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 07:40:27 PM 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 Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2015, 08:15:12 PM »
The "don't reveal unscouted planets" could be a very fun pure exploration (a sort of overpower fog of war) when you'll need to manually untangle the map as you discover it. (and then the "unexplored wormhole" galaxy filter would be useful!)
I'll set a new 7/7 low-MF game with it on now!

Awww yis,  I foresee a LOT of hilarity from this, especially if you roll something like Neinzul Nester or Raid Engine or One-Way Doormaster... I can't wait to hear how it goes.  ("What a nice wormhole, so quiet, what is on the other side -- oh god Dire Guardian Lair!")

As for the story bits, yup, I thought it would be fun to have a recurring cast, and seems plausible -- after all, one match is just one little galaxy out of many, and a normal game end says that you're just cutting it off from their command net, rather than partially/wholly destroying them.  So I thought it gave me a little room to play with, and writing is fun.  :)

I definitely agree on FS/Exodian/Nebulae/possibly Showdown (last one could probably be worked in with a little tweaking) -- would definitely not make sense as a part of this little plotline.  If I ever AAR those campaigns, I just won't narrate them since they definitely have their own official stories.  Arcen's claimed that territory already, I won't step on their toes.  :)

Hehe and yeah, I did finally break down and spoil myself on the official journals,  I was too curious and I was worried about accidentally writing something that would glaringly not fit.  Plus I was having a bad week at work and I needed something to cheer me up.  I'll still definitely play through them over time to see them in action, and probably notice things I missed.

Anyway, time to post up the first chunk of play-by-play!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 08:36:11 PM by Red.Queen »
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

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Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2015, 08:35:44 PM »
---[Operation Cold Boot]---

First things first, time to set up shop in Vega and take a look around the galaxy via long-range sensors.  As usual two hops out and I'm completely ringed in by Mark III planets.  Eh, better than last time when it was mostly Mk. IV, AI is being sporting this time.  Mark out the CSGs and other goodies on the map, and boggle at the hilarious string of Mk. IV planets leading to Black's homeworld on Antares.  Seriously, the shortest route in is 4 Mk. IV in a row.  Talk about defense in depth.  I will probably attack Black second so all that doesn't stay on alert for absolutely longer than it has to (and as there is a risk my trigger finger will get itchy and I will warhead the crap out of all that), not that I am thrilled at the prospect of having to deal with the Raid Engine (do zombies set these off? I hope not) *and* Raid Eye on Lathi to prepare a safe staging ground to attack White on Kochab.  That is going to get hacked.

Speaking of hacking, I have a Super Terminal on this map, but it's on a useless planet with absolutely nothing else of interest -- as I'd have to hack for over 20 net AIP to do more than break even from capturing it, it's probably going to get left alone.  That makes me sad as I was looking forward to trying out the Botnet in that situation.

The most important and joy-inducing discovery is that the Botnet Golem is practically wrapped up with a bow on my doorstep -- it's parked on Iota Persei, just four hops from my homeworld.  I can't wait to give it a test drive.  But first I have to secure my home and get the fleet built.

Popped my initial unlocks (Military Command II, Spire starship I, Neinzul Enclave, Plasma Siege, Protector IIs), dropped my usual starting defenses, and began cranking out the starship-heavy fleet.  Kick back for a few minutes and enjoy the soundtrack while the economy faceplants.  Wonder when AI Revolution is going to come up in the rotation.

First wave announces, time to get an initial taste of how waves in 8/8 will be different from 7/7.  Black's is a bit bigger than what I saw on 7/7, somewhere around 150-180ish, while White's is... about 17 ships?  Um, I thought the Sledgehammer sent huge waves?  I'm assuming the fixed initial wave time shortcircuited it charging and that the next one will be normal.  Placid start.

Once everything was set and the fleet was ready, it was time for the initial land rush.  I grabbed all three adjacent planets, turning Nekkar and Pi Mensae into permanent chokepoints with Mil II command stations, and Enlil into a temporary choke.  Enlil will get converted into an Econo II once I capture the rest of my backyard and turn it into my industrial zone, but in the meantime it needs to be able to keep the undesirables off my lawn.

I unlock Assault Assassination Transports.

With the immediate fence and "Do Not Enter" signs posted, it's time to go get the Botnet!  I am intensely excited, this is the very first Golem I am going to ever get my hands on -- I didn't Kamikaze Test these before launching this match.


---[Operation Smooth Criminal]---

My transport-packed fleet chews a direct route through Hugin and Kitalpha without much trouble.  I don't worry about doing more than boring a path at the moment as I intend to use them as testing grounds for the Botnet on the trip back home.

I charge through the wormhole onto Iota Persei at full speed and lay waste to everything that moves (and doesn't), with minimal resistance.  Until Mk. III ships start to trickle in from the wormhole to Yed Posterior.  When the first Riot pops in I realize what's up -- it's the Special Forces.

This planet, in addition to the Botnet, has a Co-Processor and one of the minor CSGs, so it's under police protection.  I take a few potshots at the first ships through the door, it's only about an hour in so the SF can't be *that* bad yet... then I see the strength tally on Yed suddenly shoot through the roof.  Something Horrible is about to come through that wormhole.

HOLY CRAP IT HAS A HUNTER KILLER ALREADY EVERYONE IN THE BUS QUICK!!!!

My ships hide in the cloaked safety of the transports (I triple-check to make sure they are in stand-down mode) as the H/K and its entourage prowl about the planet.  I thank the Machine Spirit that it hasn't unlocked Tachyon Microfighters again.  After a minute or two, the H/K is satisfied there's nothing to murder here and heads back off into the murk of space, its squad in tow.  I follow it on the map to find where the SF has chosen to lair -- EV Lacertae. I mark it as P6 to get my attention and add the note "~Here there be dragons~".  Going to have to keep an eye on that.

Once the fuzz has left, I bring in a colony ship and a few engis and stake my claim.  The Botnet turns that beautiful shade of red that says MINE.  I throw up some turrets and then pile on as many Engis as I can click onto it, popping a distribution node out of impatience to fire up the engine on this thing.  I love reclamation and I love insanity, and this thing promises to be both  at industrial strength.  Gimme gimme gimme...

AIP is up around 130 already thanks to the autoprogress and that stupid CoProc.  Really wish the Datacenters and other 3 CoProcs weren't mostly on the far side of the map, just going to have to live with the AIP for a while, however much it ends up stinging on this difficulty.  Guess it means I get to better test how fast and hard the pain escalates on 8 vs. 7.  For (!!)science(!!)!

Enough contemplating future misery, time to play with the new toy and take this monster for a test drive!  I rev the engine, roll down the windows, and crank "Born To Be Wild" to annoy the other ships in traffic as I point the golem at Kitalpha.

Yeah I know Yed Posterior (hehehe that's a funny name, rebooting maturity module) is Mk.IV and is now reinforcing angrily, I'll get to that in just a little bit.  Surely it won't be a big deal if I get to it after some live fire testing with my shiny new golem and secure those three planets in my designated Industrial Zone, right?  Stuff didn't reinforce *that* quick at this AIP on 7/7...


---[Operation NIMBY]---

Audible mad cackling in my home as I roll the Botnet through Kitalpha and Hugin, vacuuming up everything that's not reclamation immune and obliterating the rest.  I am officially mollified at not getting to start with Parasites this time.

The BNG and the rest of my fleet storm DENIS, Wadjat, and Sadal Malik in rapid succession, exploding and zombifying everything in its path.  I pop the CSGs back here, and then discover how awesome hacking with a BNG is.

I start hacking to download Railclusters, see the beginning of One Billion Railclusters start pouring out as hacking response, and then remember This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things (TM). I switch to corrupting them instead.  Sigh.  My BNG cheers me up with a comical tide of zombies that begins diligently patrolling my territory.

I also hack the ARS back here -- the default was something lame I don't recall.  Options 2 and 3 were Teleport Leeches and Spire Corvettes.  Initial delighted "oooo" at discovering that Parasites can come in a teleporting flavor (why did no one TELL me?!).  Resist temptation to get Teleleeches however, as they'll just get shut out from targets by the Botnet, and I really should take something with more practical firepower, especially something that will help me in the endgame.  I've heard the Spire Corvette is pretty nice and take that instead (Corvette with shields + Protector with shields + Riots?  This sounds like fun).  Still kind of look wistfully at the Teleleech but then I remember there is a Parasite V fab elsewhere on the map and I am soothed.

Right around when I send the colonizing squads out to start industrializing my back yard, the first CPA announces.  Huh, about 2.5 hours, that's a bit on the early side, isn't it?  I remember the Chivalric has a bonus to CPAs, let's look up in the corner and see how big it's going to-


---[Operation It Means Big CPAs]---

-be... Oo.

Well now.

3000 ships for the first CPA, I think that's about double what the first CPA in Aggressive Stupidity I was, and that one charged until about the 4 hour mark.

Oh, White just announced a Sledgehammer wave too, and it's going to sync it.  Add another 345 ships, bringing the total up to about 3.4K in 11 minutes.  Wonder where it's going to aim.  The Sledgehammer wave is pointed at Iota Persei of course, which is not where my Botnet or heaviest defenses are.  I suspect if it's sending a wave there, it will probably route the CPA through there too.  I unlock Area Mines and start painting the world in high explosives.  I also pop up a pair of missile silos and start building some Mk. I Lightning warheads and Mk. I EMPs, just in case.

Excessive and unnecessary?  Very likely.  I don't care.  >D They save valuable time, and more importantly, they're fun.

The clock ticks down and I start looking for carriers.  They've spawned all spread out.  Two're on Raiden (um, that must be Raiden 2 actually), one's on Aladfar, and the rest is coming through Agaue in another pair. It's either splitting the attack between Iota and Nekkar, or else it's going to pincer Nekkar.  I wait, finger on the trigger.

Absolutely nothing significant happens.  The Sledgehammer wave spawns and gets vaporized on Iota.  None of the carriers follow it in.

I have no intent on chasing the carriers out into AI territory by Iota, as one of those planets has a Black Hole Machine, and I want the scrap/turret assistance.  They seem to have no intent on either grouping up so I can warhead them efficiently, or attacking.  Then I hear gunshots.

Zombies have decided to take things into their own hands and are chewing on the carriers trying to pass through Agaue -- looks like those were actually wanting to head for Iota as well, via Yed.  But the zombies gnawing on their ankles keeps luring them back to the wormhole, along with all the guards on the planet.  I know exactly what needs to be done.

KABOOM!  3 AIP for a Lightning I and an EMP I.  One carrier is totally vaporized, the other panic-dumps its cargo -- apparently EMPs don't stop this.  Well now, if you *insist* I zombify all these ships... The BNG lumbers through the wormhole and does that voodoo that it do so well.  The rest of my fleet picks off the starships.  When nothing's left but the living dead, I bring the fleet back to the front line and reevalute the situation.

Moving the fleet to Agaue temporarily emboldened the other carriers and I find them bimbling across Hugin towards the Nekkar wormhole.  I wait for that other EMP to finish.

Gunshots.

The zombies are at it again.

Fun fact -- in the time it takes for an EMP I to build, a large enough swarm of zombies can annoy carriers sufficiently to make them rage-drop about 1500 ships. Oh well, guess I'll save that warhead.  In the immortal words of Slab Rankle: TIME FOR ZOMBIES!

Hugin is pacified again, the CPA has neatly fallen to the combined might of technecromancy (techromancy?) and concentrated firepower.  The leap to 8/8's going pretty well so far.

Now, about that loose end with the silly name, Yed Posterior?

Huh.  Stuff reinforces a LOT faster on 8/8.  That was at about 12K strength when I took Iota.  It's now 22K and climbing fast.  It's about double my whole fleet.

I can fix this.

An EMP II warhead begins construction on Iota Persei.

Hold My Beer.sav created.

---[End Transmission 2]---
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 08:51:03 PM by Red.Queen »
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Offline Tolc

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2015, 08:39:00 PM »
Really enjoyable read! Thanks for posting :)

Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2015, 10:01:06 PM »
Thanks very much Tolc.  :)
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2015, 05:26:01 AM »
HOLY CRAP IT HAS A HUNTER KILLER ALREADY EVERYONE IN THE BUS QUICK!!!!
(...)
"~Here there be dragons~"
(...)
(hehehe that's a funny name, rebooting maturity module)
(...)
This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things (TM)
(...)
Parasites can come in a teleporting flavor (why did no one TELL me?!)
(...)
start painting the world in high explosives
(...)
Excessive and unnecessary?  Very likely.  I don't care.  >D They save valuable time, and more importantly, they're fun.
:D
(yep, I decided to save keyboard typing when my message isn't more developed than ":D")

Botnet (Easy) -- I really struggled to choose what setting here.  (...)  Only option left was Easy.  I felt a little scummy about that -- until I finally got a look at the homeworlds.  I no longer felt any guilt after that, let's put it that way.
this is the very first Golem I am going to ever get my hands on -- I didn't Kamikaze Test these before launching this match.
This is why you didn't felt any guilt after setting it easy...

EDIT:
Afterthaugh, this quote is the best to me.
Quote
I rev the engine, roll down the windows, and crank "Born To Be Wild" to annoy the other ships in traffic as I point the golem at Kitalpha.
Pressure? Sound in space? Bah!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 05:41:59 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

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2015, 12:04:49 PM »
Afterthaugh, this quote is the best to me.
Quote
I rev the engine, roll down the windows, and crank "Born To Be Wild" to annoy the other ships in traffic as I point the golem at Kitalpha.
Pressure? Sound in space? Bah!
In some cases coolness trumps laws of physics and reality ;)

Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2015, 06:33:08 PM »
:D
(yep, I decided to save keyboard typing when my message isn't more developed than ":D")

Efficiency!  :D

This is why you didn't felt any guilt after setting it easy...

Oh, I'll admit I was definitely thinking I'd made a bit of a mistake in not turning an Exo on at first when I saw what the golem was capable of in early/mid game, but it was too late to change settings -- and I had spent a long time finding the map/bonus ship combo I had in mind and the last thing I wanted to do was restart (really wish we had more control over that).  Eventually I started to run into the downsides of insistently carting around such a tempting target that tended to wake up half the galaxy and moved at what could charitably be described as an "unhurried" pace when trying to dodge a very unhappy Special Forces with a fast-moving H/K in the lead... And then I saw a certain homeworld. Let's just say what happened after that balanced it acceptably in my mind.  <g>  Even the 10/10 veterans  should see it and say, "oh come ON, that's just not fair".   ;D

I'll definitely have some comments about my experiences with the BNG in the post-game wrapup, it was an interesting unit for sure.

EDIT:
Afterthaugh, this quote is the best to me.
Quote
I rev the engine, roll down the windows, and crank "Born To Be Wild" to annoy the other ships in traffic as I point the golem at Kitalpha.
Pressure? Sound in space? Bah!

<bow>

In space, no one can hear you scream "WOOOOO!"?

In some cases coolness trumps laws of physics and reality ;)

Damn right!  8)
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Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2015, 07:16:24 PM »
---[Operation That's A Paddlin']---

The fleet circles the wormhole to Yed like hungry sharks, safe in their Assassination Transports. The Botnet is there too -- if this goes well, I'll get a boatload of Mk.IV zombies, and with Iota right next door, they should fall into their "patrol" behavior rather than their "go die aimlessly in neighboring worlds and generate hundreds of threat" mode.  Zombies may be dimwitted, but there are definitely nuances to using them (and keeping them).

If this doesn't go well, I'm going to have a very expensive problem.  I also need to move quick because Yed has a CSG and an ARS, so that H/K and his posse will come, and EV Lacertae isn't far enough away for that to take very long.

The EMP Mk.II should make sure the first thing happens and not the second.  I toss it through the wormhole and detonate, locking down the planet.  The fleet rushes in as the flash fades and takes care of business.  I cheer as the BNG does exactly what I intended.  The only real work the rest of the fleet has to do here is clean up the starships and reclamation immune units -- which the AI has, it has unlocked Parasites.  This annoys me a bit, reclamation is *my* thing.  On the other hand, I could always hack and download those when I find the backup.  Speaking of backups, there's a Lightning Torpedo Frigate backup nearby, but I am going to ignore it.  Seems that the AI can't actually spawn them, and, despite their making (tiny) warheads, I actually don't love them.  I was just as confused as you are when I tested them and felt no surge of affection.

Oh, here comes the H/K, stash the BNG around the corner on Iota and recloak the ATs.  The SF sniffs around a bit and leaves again.  This is starting to feel like an episode of Tom and Jerry.  Wonder how many times I'm going to be able to pull this off before I get caught.

I don't hack the ARS because all the options are meh.  I end up with Paralyzers.  You want to know the worst part about Paralyzers?  Their attack sound effect -- it's the same one Devastator Guardians use, which as a starship-oriented player immediately puts me into "PROBLEM DETECTED FIND AND KILL IMMEDIATELY MODE".  Every.  Single.  Time.


---[Checking The Roadmap]---

Now, eyes to the future.  There's an Advanced Factory and an Advanced Starship Constructor not far away, and they both have CSGs.  CSG-Bs both, actually.  I'm actually not going to take either -- I doubt I will unlock enough high-end fleetships to warrant the Factory, and there is another ASC/CSG-B combo on the planet -- it's way out on Alpha Centauri, one step in on the Highway To Hell leading to Black's homeworld.  It would be more efficient AIP-wise to wait and take Alpha.  I'm mindful of my "Operation Hindsight" experience in Aggressive Stupidity I and, not sure what to expect as AIP climbs on 8/8, intend to exercise a bit more restraint on world-capturing.  I'm hoping I can bring this game in at around the 10-11 hour mark and about 14 planets -- which, as I have my Industrial Zone, means minimizing what I take elsewhere and going right up to the edge of deepstriking every time.

The map is actually cooperative of that for the most part -- the CSGs, aside from the little cluster I just took, are mostly spread out about 4 hops apart.  I suspect this is intentional in the seeder function.

Auva, Wezen, Alpha Centauri, and Cychreides are non-negotiable as they will wrap up the CSG network.  Wezen and Alpha Centauri are also just close enough to their respective homeworlds that I could probably stage for them, but I will probably take one of the Spire Archive worlds for the big K boost.  I haven't decided whether it will be one by White or Black yet, I will choose when I get a look at the homeworlds.  I need a world along the way to get into the southeastern corner without deepstriking, and notice that there's a hard-to-see in the tangle connection from Megrez that actually brings Cychreides within four hops.  Magrez has the Neinzul Combat Carrier and Infiltrator fabs, so I don't mind going after this one despite it lacking a CSG, it will save me an expensive hack as I really want core NCCs (I hope a Backup or ARS has the rest).  It also puts me next door to Lemure, which has Core Flagships, which will get hacked.

Speaking of hacking, I plan a number of them.  In addition to the ones mentioned, there's a Missile Turret controller nearby on Daedalus which I will hack (it will go nicely with the Laser controller I captured on Sadal Melik in my Industrial Zone, forgot to mention that ealier), a Spire Stealth Battleship fab on Al Giedi, and Cuchulain has both a Needler controller and a Beam Starship fab.  There's also the Muni Booster backup on Enceladus, but I will probably leave it alone -- the Botnet is doing a great job of reclaiming those.  There's also the Sniper controller up on Piscium which will get either hacked or captured, and I want to be sure to keep points available in case one of the remaining ARSs needs hacking, and also for Sabotaging.

I don't consider much of this set in stone, as the battlefield is a changeable thing, and you never know what the AI will unlock that may need stealing or corrupting.

Plan sketching is good enough for now, back to breaking things.


---[Operation Bulldozer]---

The fleet, Botnet in the lead, paves a highway of zombies, broken Guardians, and flaming guardposts all the way to Auva.  Auva, not being on alert, has virtually nonexistant reinforcements and is overrun in short order.  I'm bringing in the Hacker to check out the ARS when I realize what that "something's missing" feeling was all about -- I've been here a while, and the SF hasn't shown up to protect the CSG and ARS.  That's odd.  I check the long-range sensors.

Not on EV Lacertae.  Where did it go?

I start tracing a line back through Gorynych, Daedalus, Cancri, Orc, specific thing on your foot brand... They're surrounding the fleet, including my very expensive Botnet.  I've never seen *this* behavior before.  Clever girl.

The H/K starts for the wormhole to Auva.  This was a long trip, the buses won't make it more than one hop before self-destructing.  I cloak them and hide them at the edge of the gravity well, this worked the last two times, I'll just hide them until the SF leaves again and everything will be ok.  The Botnet's a bit stealth-challenged though, so I send it charging like the Juggernaught out through Alpha Tauri, through Agaue, back to Nekkar, trailing zombies in its wake.  It makes it home, the paint scratched a little but otherwise ok.  Stupid Sniper Guardians.

Meanwhile, the SF has kicked down the doors on Auva and cleared the massive horde of zombies with extreme prejudice.  Some of it sits on the wormholes, the riots patrol in a triangle from exit to exit, while the rest floats around casually.  The H/K perches like a gargoyle off to the side in the middle of a ring of Missile guardians.

Stay cool, they're just doing their thing, they don't have anything that decloaks, they'll get bored and leave.

They're not leaving.

Why aren't they leaving?

I have a problem.


---[End Transmission 3]---
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2015, 05:02:24 AM »
There's an Advanced Factory and an Advanced Starship Constructor not far away, and they both have CSGs.  CSG-Bs both, actually.
This is a rule. There is always a CSG-B on an AdvFacto/AdvSC planet, and CSG-B are never elsewhere.
You need to take 4 ARS and 1 AdvFacto/AdvSC (plus some other planets).
(I whish the other CSG also have a meaning, like one always defended by subcommanders, or one always near a DGLair/RaidEngine/AlarmPost.)

They're not leaving.

Why aren't they leaving?

I have a problem.
I was sure this would happen. As you can see what is cloaked on a planet you have scout in, the AI knows there is something here... It knows what is here, but it just can't kill it. How I would love the AI brings decloakers when it sees you abusing camouflage.

Nice game. Wonder how it would end. Nothing epic for now (just a few aggressive warheads), and a bit of "Tom and Jerry", as you said.
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 Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2015, 01:49:13 AM »
This is a rule. There is always a CSG-B on an AdvFacto/AdvSC planet, and CSG-B are never elsewhere.
You need to take 4 ARS and 1 AdvFacto/AdvSC (plus some other planets).
(I whish the other CSG also have a meaning, like one always defended by subcommanders, or one always near a DGLair/RaidEngine/AlarmPost.)

Ahhh, I was wondering if that might be the case!  It seemed statistically unlikely for all the Factories and ASCs to end up on the exact same CSG type.

Having one always, or tend to be, on a subcommander planet would make sense -- especially one of the CSG-As since the description mentions them being more robust, which seems to hint that they're the more important layer.

Quote
I was sure this would happen. As you can see what is cloaked on a planet you have scout in, the AI knows there is something here... It knows what is here, but it just can't kill it. How I would love the AI brings decloakers when it sees you abusing camouflage.

Makes sense, I'd noticed how at least some units on a planet would tend to suddenly wake up, at least briefly, when bringing anything military under cloak onto it.  I wasn't completely sure if it was intended, as I've also noticed an annoying quirk where there can be a delay between a unit traversing a wormhole, and the cloaking from a Cloaker starship awaiting it on the far side tagging it.  It seems to be exacerbated by how much of a load is on the CPU, as every time it happened it was on a planet loaded with a few thousand hostile ships.  That actually became a recurring problem in this match.  It finally happened one time too many and well... I won't spoil it yet, but let's just say that when I saved after "the incident" happened, I named it "[email protected]%^ It Let's Get CRAZY".

Quote
Nice game. Wonder how it would end. Nothing epic for now (just a few aggressive warheads), and a bit of "Tom and Jerry", as you said.

Thanks, and yup, things were overall really quiet at this point, SF dodging aside.  This match was interesting not so much because it was wild the whole way through, but because it demonstrated just how incredibly fast and explosively the whole tone of the AI's behavior can change when provoked in just the right way.  Very Dr.Jekyll/Mr.Hyde.

But enough hinting at things to come for the moment, time to move things closer to revealing just what it is I'm carefully avoiding spoilering.  :)
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