Author Topic: Is there a possibility of a new AI War expansion anytime soon? And Why Not?  (Read 9036 times)

Offline Teal_Blue

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I know you have a lot going on, 3D Survival, then the Dinosaur game, then SBR rework. All of which is fine. But just for my own two cents, the expansions for AI War have always breathed interesting life and difference into that game. I still lose a lot, so my strategies aren't perfected. But everytime Arcen gets together to do a new expansion it comes with some interesting differences and changes, additions, sometimes new ships, sometimes new approach, sometimes new mechanics to try out here and there.
And they always seem to sell well. I love that game.
So I wanted to ask, even though i know there is alot on your plate already, when are you going to do a new expansion for AI War?

What about playing as just one of the smaller factions, and not the human race at all? Sort of a Misery mode for the new expansion because it reduces the resources of the player even further than they are in a 'normal' game. :)

What about a competing 'AI faction' that attacks the main AI host? But not religiously? So while they look like a friend? Maybe, sorta. We are never quite sure when the might just decide to turn on us? It might make things interesting. :)

What if 'sectors' of the galaxy map were like spaces on a chess board? that lead to successes, or failures, but have to be won, or countered in order to advance the chances for a total win overall? In this way, the numbers in a given area, vastly outnumbered or not, have less significance than the overall 'pin these forces in this area to neutralize them, destroy these forces in this other area, so that they cannot defend the attack that comes from this third area? And is less number centric ( ai has more ships than me) and more 'role specific' (like the AI bishop can't move there, because they are blocked in by my rook forces in that adjacent galaxy and that other adjacent galaxy)?  :)

Anyway, aside from all my amateur ideas for things it could be, it would certainly be nice to see a new expansion that i am sure more people than just me would agree would not only help Arcen, but the players would love to see.

-Teal


Offline x4000

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*cough*  ;)

With AI War, there's kind of a "worst kept secret at Arcen" that is mildly in progress, but which should bear fruit late this year I expect.  That's in Keith's pipeline for after SBR, and the timing will be something we see about in terms of what is realistic, etc.
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Offline Kahuna

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All I saw when I read that reply:
[...] AI War [...] secret [...] in progress [...] bear fruit late this year [...] is realistic [...]
;D
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline x4000

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Offline Draco18s

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Its all I saw too.

But hnnng, how I ache for a good, moddable version of AI War.  Being able to add, remove, or modify units to play with various balances.  Looks like the work in Starward Rogue might allow for that level of fiddling.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Looks like the work in Starward Rogue might allow for that level of fiddling.
How remarkably prescient.
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Offline Elestan

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Looks like the work in Starward Rogue might allow for that level of fiddling.
How remarkably prescient.

So, I have a list of UI rough edges from when I was first learning the game; missing hover text, unit placement clumsiness, overlapping widgets, filter issues on the Galaxy map, etc.  Is there value in reporting these, or is the game's UI likely to be so drastically reworked that they won't be relevant?

Offline x4000

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The UI is one of those things that's being recreated from absolute scratch.  And by recreated I actually mean reimagined in a lot of ways.  There will be a lengthy period where we ideally get lots of feedback from players on how they feel about various aspects of the new UI, and I suppose that hearing about design issues with the existing UI has value for planning purposes.  In terms of outright bugs with the current UI there's definitely no point, because those would not carry over to the new system unless we for some reason happened to code the same bug two different times.
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Offline tombik

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I got the new AI war will not be using steam multiplayer services, but what about mods? Even the existence of Steam Workshop is a selling point for some.

Offline Elestan

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The UI is one of those things that's being recreated from absolute scratch.  And by recreated I actually mean reimagined in a lot of ways.  There will be a lengthy period where we ideally get lots of feedback from players on how they feel about various aspects of the new UI, and I suppose that hearing about design issues with the existing UI has value for planning purposes.  In terms of outright bugs with the current UI there's definitely no point, because those would not carry over to the new system unless we for some reason happened to code the same bug two different times.

A lot of my notes were on little ways the UI could let the player do what they want more easily.  For example:


Constructing side-by-side clumps of units is bothersome because you can't see the collision circles of other units.  I'd propose two changes:  First, when in unit placement mode, the collision circles of units near the pointer should become visible.  Second, construction placement could be improved by a "slide flush" mechanism; instead of turning the placement image red to indicate "can't place here", the image should not be movable into an invalid location at all; it should always be displayed in the nearest valid position to the pointer (which is where the unit will go if the user clicks).


Hovering the cursor over a unit should activate the display of its flight path, range circle, and current target.


When you hold the ALT key on the planets screen, the cursor should be annotated with the distance from it to the nearest selected unit.


I would like to be able to see the exact beginning and end of a cross-planet movement order at the time I make it.



Plenty more where those came from, both on the UI and on more gameplay-related stuff, mainly focused on things that seemed unnecessarily complex (six different types of warp gates?) or obscure (line placement, customized galaxy layouts) as I was learning the game.

Overall, I am enjoying the game, but it does have kind of a patchwork feel to it, like it was added on to a chunk at a time, without always having had the time to fully integrate the new concepts into the foundation.

Offline Aklyon

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It certainly can sound like a patchwork if you read through the book and some amount of patch notes the wiki has :)
One that can beat you in a game of space war, though.

Offline Elestan

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It certainly can sound like a patchwork if you read through the book and some amount of patch notes the wiki has :)

Exactly so; the game has changed so much, so many times that parts of it just don't quite fit properly anymore.  Like, say, Cleanup Drones.  When I started playing, I read their description, which said that they prevent enemy rebuilders from rebuilding remains.  That sounded important, so I made sure to include them in all of my strike forces.  And then became rather puzzled when I never encountered an AI rebuilder.

Quote
One that can beat you in a game of space war, though.

Well....I hate to poke a sacred cow here, but it seems to me that most of the challenge of this game is built into the way the AIP system is set up.  Most strategic gains on the player's part increase AIP, which increases the AI's effective production rate.  So the game's challenge continues to grow as the player gets closer to victory. 

I think that this is a really innovative way to deal with the usual problem in strategic conquest games, which is that once one player has a sufficient resource advantage over the other, the outcome is usually inevitable, but may take a long and relatively unexciting time to play out.

However, this difference in resource treatment means that I can't really give full credit to AI War's AI.  At 7/7 (which is supposed to be "full smarts", I think), I'm inflicting 7-1 casualties on it (I assume a really good player would do far better than that), so the challenge of the game is mainly coming from the AI having a massive resource and starting position advantage, and not from it playing really intelligently.  If I'm to give the credit to the AI instead of the underlying resource rules, it needs to beat me with a better casualty ratio.

IMHO, the AI's biggest weakness is that its movements are too predictable; most of its attacks fly on the direct shortest-path line between the AI homeworlds and my home station.  If it mixed up its movements a bit more, especially at the tactical (in-system) level, I'd have to spread my defenses out more, which would let it win with fewer forces.

Offline Teal_Blue

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I seem to have uncovered a secret, oops. Sorry. Although it is really, really great to hear!!  :)
I'm looking forward to it when you are ready to start using the screw drivers and wrenches in earnest and let us have a look. :)

Thanks for the info! 

-Teal


Offline Cyborg

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So, is this the sign up thread now?

I'm an AI war veteran, of course I will volunteer.
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Offline x4000

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Quick notes:

1. Yes, modding is something that would be a key thing we'd want to make possible, same as we did with Starward Rogue.

2. Steam Workshop does not seem grand to me.

3. In terms of the AI having massively more ships than you... well, yeah, that's part of the simulation.  This isn't meant to be a human stand-in AI, and I never claimed it was.  It's meant to set up interesting situations, and it's meant to create some unpredictability via things like larger flocks and whatnot acting various ways.  Overall I think it beats most other games hands down in that department -- aka, creating unpredictable and interesting situations you have to deal with.  Not at a micro tactics level, but this was never a game about micro tactics (also processors can only handle so much).
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