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Games => AI War Classic => AI War Classic - After Action Reports => Topic started by: _K_ on February 12, 2012, 11:20:37 AM

Title: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on February 12, 2012, 11:20:37 AM
Decided i want to write down stories of my AI war games somewhere, so why not let other people read em as well? Making a thread for each game seems too much, so thread for all games i play should be fine.

I usually play the game for the challenge of it, so i have set myself some rules to keep the game challenging and fun for myself. Then i just set myself some goal (or challenge) and keep on trying to beat it. Once its done, i add something new and different and try to beat that one, and so on.

Self-imposed rules:

Challenge 1:

This is the current challenge level I'm currently trying to beat. Basically, there are 2 AI's, where the red one is the "Big Brother", who has more guns and uses hybrids, while the other one more of a supporter.

Game 1:
Status: Defeat.. Map seed:1380182673, AI types: Attritioner/Extreme raider. Game time: 1:50:17
Link (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg92253.html#msg92253)
Game 2:
Status: Defeat.. Map seed:882978692, AI types: The Core/Technologist raider. Game time: 5:57:51
Link (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg92253.html#msg92253)
Game 3:
Status: Defeat.. Map seed:636717294, AI types: Vanilla/Technologist Turtle. Game time: 4:49:34
Link (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg92253.html#msg92253)
Game 4:
Status: Defeat.. Map seed:1080103856, AI types: Sledge hammer/Spire hammer. Game time: 7:22:15
Link (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg92256.html#msg92256)
Game 5:
Status: Victory.. Map seed: 940662498, AI types: Experimentalist/Camouflager. Game time: 15:57:00
Link 1 (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg95599.html#msg95599), Link 2 (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg96716.html#msg96716).

Challenge 2

After the recent updates, i have realised how many things i have not tried beacuse i've been trying to play optimally. And since its a silly game anyway, why not add a whole lot of other things i havent tried: large map, trains, beachheads. I also intend to actually try and beat the game through spire campaign.

Game 1:
Status: defeat. Map seed: 590668480, AI types:Spire/One-way doormaster. Game time: 15:08:56
Link (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg100338.html#msg100338)
Link (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg107550.html#msg107550)
Link (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg107593.html#msg107593)

So i (probably temporarily) gave up on challenge 2 because of a 2-year hiatus.

Challenge 3:Get some rust off.

The point of the challenge is just to play a moderately challenging game to get some rust off and get used to the changes, of which many have occured. Luckily, i have been checking the updates throughout those 2 years so i have an idea whats going on.
Game 1:
Status: defeat. Map seed: 354001583, AI types: Assassin/Alarmist. Game time: 1:20:10
Game 2:
Status: defeat. Map seed 1369955652, AI types: Assassin/Vengeful. Game time: 4:07:58
Link (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg182493.html#msg182493)
Game 3:
Status: defeat. Map seed 1898931911, AI Types: Grav Driller/Extreme Raider. Game time: 5:06:47
Link 1 (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg183912.html#msg183912), Link 2 (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg183937.html#msg183937)
Game 4:
Status: defeat. Map seed 395346100, AI Types: spireling/Golemite. Game time: 4:56:39
Link 1 (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg183979.html#msg183979), Link 2 (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9829.msg184058.html#msg184058)
Game 5:
Status: In Progess. Map seed ???, AI Types: ???/??. Game time: 0:00:00
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on February 12, 2012, 11:21:38 AM
Past games
These games have been played before i started the thread, so i can only vaguely retell what happened. I have played these a while ago, peobably somewhere around 5.20-5.21

Game 1
Not much is remembered about this game. In fact, i dont remember it at all and there are no savegames left. But looking at the 1:50 gametime, apparently i got owned too fast. If i recall correctly it has something to do with me being careless, and dying to either the first exo-wave, or just some unlucky wave.

Game 2
Now this is where it got fun. The AI rolls have been pretty evil for me in this one.
(http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/486/screenshot2012021219502.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/214/screenshot2012021219502.png/)
This is the screenshot taken shortly before my game loss.
Basically the game was going relatively smooth, the AI was pressuring me, but not too hard, so i have taken over that nice cluster to the left, which had minimal number of connections to the AI systems, so i didn't have to overextend my defences.
The biggest problem was the Haju system, which was one of the first systems i have taken. It was being border-agressed and attacked all the time, sometimes even going down. Once i was done with that left system cluster, i have decided it was finally time to capture an adv. factory, which was in Vudoorsav (P8 marker). So i have sent my entire fleet to the Fuusyi... and met way more ships whan i could handle. That system, Fuusyi, has been on alert since i have taken Haju, around 1 hour from start, and i have never disturbed it ever since... until now. So the entire defence force of that system, which was something about maybe 500-600 Mk IV-V ships was unleashed upon me. My fleet died in seconds, then went down the Haju system. I was ready to make my stand at the home system. But the AI was more of a tricky dick, it sents its ships to that unprotected system cluster, which had minimal defence anywhere. In a few minutes, i was robbed of my entire resource income base, which would take a while to defeat. However, that gave me time to rebuild some ships at home and regroup. With AI fleet scattered and attritioned by light (but numerous) system defences, i have barely managed to clean up the mess and was about to start recolonising the systems. But then i got a wave alert. The game was lost 6 minutes later.

game 3
This time, i rolled a turtle AI. I didn't know if i should be happy about it, as handling waves felt like less of a problem than handling planets with over 1000 ships. Knowing from the previous experience how dangerous this can be, imade a new rule: NEVER let your fleet idle. If you have nothing to do with your fleet, go neuter some system, dont let it just sit around.
(http://img560.imageshack.us/img560/5528/screenshot2012021220054.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/560/screenshot2012021220054.png/)
I didn't have too much trouble with regular activities, slowly gaining systems and getting valuable stuff. I have decided to use the Isdrevar system as some sort of punching bag, letting the AI reinforce it and neutering it often. IIRC i didn't want to take it over because i didn't want to set the adjacent lvl3 system on alert, and i was too busy to go take that one over as well. So i've been slowly setting up my border and trying to get to the Tozor system (P7 marker), which contained an ARP+armor golem+blade spawner fab+bombard V fab+Yng Weasel V fab+A-Prime gen. Taking that system and turning it into a massive fortress of awesomeness was my short-term plan.
But none of that came to happen, because of the exo-waves. I have barely managed to survive the first wave, where i used my etherjets to push the enemy bombers away from my home station shields, saving it from inevitable destruction.
But the second Wave was of course much more brutal, and for some reason i didn't manage to kill it begore it got tomy home station and wiped it. IIRC, the second exo-wave was split in 2 parts, and i focused on only one, missing the other wave.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on February 12, 2012, 11:53:28 AM
Game 4, part 1
Here's the picture of my current situation:
(http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/6823/screenshot2012021220384.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/638/screenshot2012021220384.png/)
The most notable thing is the AIP number, which is extremely low for this number of systems.
When the game started, i had 2 AI Co-processors in systems advacent to my home. At first, i thought i was fucked, as keeping these alive makes me very weak against CPAs and exo's, but 40 AIP is quite alot as well, so killing them wasnt a good idea either.
Luckily, the other co-processors were not too far away from my home, so i just raided them once i got myself started, giving myself a nice AIP boost. Once i did that, i actually hot below my AIP floor, and could enjoy easy life for a while. But i still needed lots of knowledge and decent resource income. So i have decided to conquer the top-right corner of the map, which would give me some safe systems, as well as an adv factory (P0 system i control on the very top of the map), as well as an ARS, a Mk-V fighter fab, some golems and some decent asteroids, including ADAMTITE.
So far the progress is very nice: only 1 Mk-3 system is on alert, the AIP is low enough to make defence rather easy. The home is defended from all sides, hopefully giving me enough time to react if something nasty jumps out from somewhere. Resource income is great, even though i use eco-II's, i even built about 100 merc fighters when i was excessing resources.
Now off to take Riner and the rest of that corner.

Part 2, game over
Alright, here's a screenshot from my last save before the game end. I think i havent taken any new systems by the game end.
(http://img828.imageshack.us/img828/5350/screenshot2012030715202.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/828/screenshot2012030715202.png/)
I believed this game was pretty much in my pocket. I had a decent fleet, and A LOT of reserves:
Cursed golem, botnet golem, artillery golem, 12 MkI-II spire siege towers (used with riot starships as some kind of police force), even 130 Merc fighters i built when i excessed for a while.
I was able to neuter AI systems no problem, hold off the waves, and the mining golems werent really bothering me.
Hell, i even didn't have too much problem holding off a Spire Dreadnaught which was spawned when i disturbed an AI core raid engine.

The plan was simple:
Take 2 A-Core shield systems, each also containing an ARS, set everything up for the final push, take the C-Core shield at Moatbulp, and start assaulting the homeworlds. That all would put me at ~300 AIP, which is quite fine for endgame.
Assaulting the AI homes wouldnt be very easy of course, given that BOTH had a core raid engine, and also Amana system (top of the map) had a gravdrill. Would probably just have to kill it, 5 AIP isnt that of a big deal after all.
...

And then an exo-wave happened. Well, not a big deal, right? I have a full cap of everything and generally ready to kick its ass.
The exo came from 2 directions - Uoxici and Pienanmik. And apparently i sent my fleet to intercept the wrong one, because as result, a bunch of AI ships got in my home system, with a lovably (its ok if i dont use it excessively, right?) BLACK WIDOW GOLEM among them. Of course, it was absolutely no match for my massive fleet. Except it didn't need to. Apparently that thing is very good at pummeling shields (or are all golems like that? why dont i remember it?). And as result, 2 MKII and 3 MKI shields were not enough to hold that thing for long enough for my ships to kill it. Good bye home command station, "You lost".

Of course, it was mostly my fault and carelessness though. As i said, i had reserves. I had an arty golem in a nearby system which i forgot to bring and it WAS EXACTLY WHAT WOULD HAVE SAVED ME. Or, if for some reason i didn't have it, i had a SPIRE PENETRATOR IN THE SAME GODDAMN SYSTEM! Sadly, i realised i had these way too late, in fact when the game was already over. Oh well, no save-scumming, gotta go start up a new game, now in 5.029.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: zoutzakje on February 12, 2012, 02:18:09 PM
nice ^^ gl to you with completing your current game. In game 2 and 3 you were just unlucky having to fight against Technologist AI types, and even The Core in game 3, which can be quite deadly. luckily you won't have that problem this game. I used to play 40 planet maps myself, until I realized my games were ending so quickly (both wins and losses). I prefer the somewhat longer games myself (80-120 planets).
Have you ever tried playing with "show unexplored wormholes" off? It adds another challenge to the game and really leaves you in the dark.
I like the thrill of scouting for new planets and wondering what's on them. And the "OMG, holy crap!" effect whenever I spot a coreworld lol.
also, I don't know how low you want to keep your AIP, but it might be a good idea to do some Warp Gate raiding. your empire is getting bigger and it will be hard to send your fleet to the other side of your empire in time to defend from a wave.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on March 07, 2012, 07:08:10 AM
Game 5

part 1
Alright, here's the map of the progress so far:
(http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/3554/screenshot2012031021133.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/41/screenshot2012031021133.png/)

The start has been quite smooth, i have spent quite a while scouting the area, as well as taking out AI eyes in the systems before they could accumulate any decent defence.
Then i have noticed that nice chain of systems on the top and decided to take them to use as my resource base, and grabbed some ARS systems (P7).
The only notable loss so far is a MKV Missile Frigate fabricator, which i have lost during an exo wave. Seeing those things go for things other than my home had made them quite alot harder.

As you can see, theres an uncaptured system right beside my homeworld. The problem is that it contains a super-terminal, which i intend to take over in near future.
Theres also an empty system named Lartchul, which contains a co-processor. The other co-processors are marked as P3, and as you can see they are still outside of my reach.

Right now i have 2 waves coming in about 2 minutes, as well as a CPA with 750 ships. Also, theres a funny fact that i still havent built a single spire ship or repaired a golem. Why do i even bother enabling them?
Once these are done the plan is to see how long i can hold the terminal, then grab an adv factory, do the Co-processors, and get to the endgame. It all will largely depend on how much AIP i will be able to get through the super-terminal though, i guess. Well, we'll see.

Part 2:
Alright. Lots of progress has been made. First, i have taken the Super-Terminal planet and held it for 95 ticks. After that it started hurting my fleet so i decided to kill it early to be safe. At that point i wasnt sure which systems i wanted to take to take out all core shield generators and be ready for the final push.
So i decided to check how much knowledge i could get through raiding. As result, 2 planets have been raided, netting me a bonus MKIII fleet ship at minimal AIP cost. I was preparing to start taking out the co-processors, as the AIP started getting a little over what was super-comfortable, and i had about 6 systems to take over.
So i take out the first co-processor, located in a [P3] system on the top-right, lose all my raid starships in the process, start rebuilding them, and then THIS happens:
(http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/778/screenshot2012031402475.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/10/screenshot2012031402475.png/)

This is what was happening in my home system:
(http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/6884/screenshot2012031402471.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/171/screenshot2012031402471.png/)

Apparently, my Co-processor raid aggroed a whole bunch of MKIII ships, those guys grabbed some EMP guardians and decided to go on rampage. All while my main fleet was defending one of my systems against a wave.
3 EMP GUARDIANS. IN A ROW. 2 SYSTEMS cuddly hugged . Oh god i am so glad the gravity turret works even when EMP'ed. The slow it provided was BARELY enough for my home station shields to reactivate, but luckily they turned on in time. And then my reserve MKV frigates and Merc fighters swooped in to hold the enemy ships off.
Meh, i really though this was going to be the end of me.
Yeah, and once i fought that wave off, i had barely 5 minues to rebuild until the CPA comes. I quickly built 20 rebuilders+25 constructors and sent them on a grand tour of rebuilding. Resources were not an issue since my Economy stations got minimal damage, so they actually rebuilt really fast.
CPA didn't hurt too much, as the systems rebuilt by that time.
Now all i need is to wait for the exo-wave, and hope it doesnt destroy my home or the MKV ion cannon i have recently aquired in Harginvu (bottom-left, 2 jumps away from my home, refer to the older map to see where it is).
Once that is done, i will finish the co-processors, take over the systems with shield gens, grab an Adv. Factory and start the final preparations.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 11, 2012, 02:44:30 PM
Hadn't noticed the updates, edits tend to slip in under the radar.

The only notable loss so far is a MKV Missile Frigate fabricator, which i have lost during an exo wave. Seeing those things go for things other than my home had made them quite alot harder.
Glad they were able to score a point :)  The random picking of other juicy targets does tend to improve the overall chance of finding a hole in player defenses and actually accomplishing something.

Quote
As you can see, theres an uncaptured system right beside my homeworld. The problem is that it contains a super-terminal, which i intend to take over in near future.
Speaking of things recently made a lot harder ;)

Looks like this one has a chance of ending in victory :)
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: zoutzakje on March 11, 2012, 05:21:21 PM
yes I highly suggest you get some golems before trying the super terminal. I don't think you'll last long anymore with only your basic fleet.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on March 17, 2012, 10:30:02 AM
Game 5
Part 3: OH GOD WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG?
Alright, quite a while has passed since the previous update. The clock is now at 12:30, and this does not count all the time the game has been paused, which is like 3-4 more hours.

First, the second exo-wave happened. Nothing interesting happened there, i think the AI spawned an artillery golem, and it died halfway to the homeworld wormhole, along with whatever was escorting it.

Then i have decided it was time to kill the Co-processors ( [P3] on the map). As you can see, one of them is located on a core world. By that time i have already killed tachyon posts all the way up to Bangmi, so getting in there with raid starships+cloakers wouldnt be a problem. The problem is that even after that i'd have to cross 2 core systems to get to that co-processor. Something you cant do with 6 ships.

So i have decided the dumb straightforward approach. Grab my entire fleet of 1526 ships and go on a holy crusade against the Co-processor. With the main fleet on a crusade, all i had on defence was a bunch of riot starships, and a bunch of reserve units: some merc fighters, MKV missile frigates which i have carefully preserved, 3 MKI spire penetrators, and a regen golem.

The crusade itself was, well, i dont know if it deserves a word "success". It had managed to cross all those AI systems, but by the time it reached the final destination only about 200 half-dead ships have left. Gladly, there were i think 3 or 4 raid starships among them. While the fleet ships were distracting the enemy, the raid starships made a run for the co-processor. And one survived and managed to kill it.

So there i was, with no fleet, barely any money to rebuild because i forgot to accumulate some, AND A lovably CORE RAID ENGINE TIMER TICKING AT ME. And i could not rely on static defences as they were spread very thinly over my many bordering planets. Almost all of my systems got utterly demolished, because along with a core engine wave came some regular waves. Once again i made my stand at the homeworld, where my secret reserves have been resting, along with whatever ships that got rebuild by then.
Gladly, by that time most of the AI offensive power has been soaked by my other systems, so i managed to fight back. I had about 230 fleet ships, and all of my reserves except for the merc fighters. And about 4 or 5 systems under my control, completely messing up my resource income. I had to rebuild FAST. And, well, so i did. A group of 20 constructors and 30 remains rebuilders works wonders, especially when the shipyards are turned off and dont drain anything. I have recovered.

Now it was the time for the next step: taking over a system with advfactory (one of the [P8]'s) and getting rid of the core shield gens.
That part went quite smoothly. As some weird coincidence, all A-core shield gens contained ARS's, so i was quite happy to take em over ([P7]) and the only other shield group remaining was group C, with Aosivu containing one of the gens for that network. Once i have taken over all the systems i intended to take, the "final" layout was this:
(http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/589/screenshot2012031717473h.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/189/screenshot2012031717473h.png/)

At some point, when i was almost done taking over those systems, this happened:
(http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/1858/screenshot2012031717170.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/811/screenshot2012031717170.png/)

By that time i have already taken the Adv. Factory, as well as one ARS, so my total main fleet ship count has grown to ~2200, and the reserves were still there. In fact, these reserves have been improved a little, as i have built a full cap of MKI+MKII spire artillery towers. They would fly around with the riot starships and work as a "police force" of sorts. I have also aquired a cursed golem at some point.

I have split my fleet in 4 even parts, 2 would be sent to defend against the incoming regular waves, 1 would be sent to Adv. Fac system, and 1 to the homeworld.
The spotlight of this exo-wave was an armored golem. OH GOD WHY DOESNT IT JUST DIE? I HAVE HALF OF MY FLEET FOCUSING IT! 3 SPIRE PENETRATORS DAMAGE IT ONLY FOR 15% HP? WHAT THE HELL? The golem has picked my poor cursed golem as its target. Too bad the armor golem is slow as hell and the cursed golem can just kite.
And then i got distracted, because while cursed golem was yakety sax'ing with armored golem in the Adv. Fac system, another part of the exo has hit my homeworld. It was defended well, and all the AI had were some spire artillery ships, but while i was ensuring nothing killed my home station, the cursed golem ran out of his queued waypoints and decided to just stand around. By the time i got back, it was already at 3% HP with bullets flying in its direction. Bye-bye cursed golem.

Still, i consider this quite a success, as the core shield gen network is down, my main fleet is going to have about 2500 ships, there are LOADS of unused asteroids for spire fun, and i highly doubt the AI will have much to put up against all this.
The current plan is to somehow kill the core raid engines, neuter one of the AI homes, put a spire penetrator or two there, and go kill the other home.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 17, 2012, 11:20:28 AM
While the fleet ships were distracting the enemy, the raid starships made a run for the co-processor. And one survived and managed to kill it.
Ah, nothing quite like a desperate deepstrike with little/no survivors :)  Good thing those ships don't get a say in their orders.

Quote
So there i was, with no fleet, barely any money to rebuild because i forgot to accumulate some, AND A (beep)ING CORE RAID ENGINE TIMER TICKING AT ME.
While said raid engine certainly warrants that level of intensity when it comes to adjectives, around here we ask (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,1381.0.html) that you refrain from that particular one.  Creative alternatives are encouraged and generally more fun.  Personally I tend to use "Belgium", but I'm not sure how to make that an adjective.

Quote
And i could not rely on static defences as they were spread very thinly over my many bordering planets. Almost all of my systems got utterly demolished, because along with a core engine wave came some regular waves. Once again i made my stand at the homeworld, where my secret reserves have been resting, along with whatever ships that got rebuild by then.
Gladly, by that time most of the AI offensive power has been soaked by my other systems, so i managed to fight back.
Apparently the deepstrike looked like such fun that the AI wanted to try it :)

Quote
As some weird coincidence, all A-core shield gens contained ARS's
Actually that's how it's coded: all ARS planets get an A shield.  All Adv-fact planets get a B.

Quote
At some point, when i was almost done taking over those systems, this happened
That AI just loves messing with plans.

Quote
The spotlight of this exo-wave was an armored golem.
Armor, armor, more armor.  There's a gun in there somewhere.

Very interesting to see the result of letting golem/spirecraft exos have a chance of picking an irreplaceable as a target instead of always a command station.  For a bit there I was thinking "ah, maybe it shouldn't have gone after the cursed golem, it just gets kited".  But then the armored golem was vindicated in thinking that the cursed golem's master would get distracted ;)

Quote
Still, i consider this quite a success, as the core shield gen network is down, my main fleet is going to have about 2500 ships, there are LOADS of unused asteroids for spire fun, and i highly doubt the AI will have much to put up against all this.
Yep, you may well have won those trades despite having to defend at the homeworld more than once.  They can check all they want, as long as you're the one who gets to say checkmate :)
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on March 17, 2012, 12:26:47 PM
Quote
While said raid engine certainly warrants that level of intensity when it comes to adjectives, around here we ask that you refrain from that particular one.
Yeah, exactly the reason i hoped you'd let that slip.
But oh well, no profanity from now on.

Meanwhile, Game 5, Part 4

Now that my final borders have been established, it was time to pay the AI homeworlds a friendly visit. Once again i have decided to use the dumb "When you have the biggest stick, you dont need to talk at all" approach, and simply sent my entire fleet to go kill the core raid engine at Aiki. Half of that fleet would die on its way but it was fine because it meant the rebuilt ships would help defend against the core raid wave. I had plenty of reserves, the Adv. Fac system was heavily defended, as it would be most likely to get attacked, and i really didn't want to lose it.

This task was carried quite well. I mean, sure, i have lost my entire fleet, but i also killed the raid engine, along with a core neinzul spawner, and generally killing lots of ships. While the fleet was rebuilding,i flew around with what i had, neutering the less defended system, trying to drain the AI reinforcements.
Once the fleet was at full power again, it was time to go visit the other AI homeworld, which was not even scouted yet. First i aggroed the 1000 ships in murdoch and baited them to attack Asnobang. God, this trick is so cheap. By the time i rebuilt after that attack, Murdoch only got back to around 300, with a portion of these being the special forces patrolling.
Steamrolling through murdoch cost me only ~300 ships, and the next planets had minimal ship garrisons. As result, by the time i entered the AI home, i still had around 1800 ships.

The second home had a nasty thing called a planetary cloaker or something, which kinda confused me at first, but i have already beaten a cloak master a while ago so i knew what to do. Having to first go kill the cloaker of course drained alot of my fleet power, but the defences AI had in the system were meager. Who cares those 120 ships are all MKV? I have 1200! As such, i just cruised around, killing the guard posts, ion cannons and whatever else. Those all still hurt my fleet though, so by the time i killed everything except for the AI home station, all i had left were ~400 ships. They would surely not beat the AI home station, plus i didn't want that yet anyway, so the options were either to stay, go home, or just scuttle em. Scuttling is really inefficient though, so i have decided to just send them back, letting them kill whatever they meet on their way.

so the setup right now is:
Aiki home:
~70 ships, all posts intact save the raid engine and neinzul spawner. Tachyons down.
Umsiudon:
~30 ships, only the command station remains, but fully surrounded by the fortresses and shields.
Myself:
~2500 ships in the main fleet
14 SC siege towers+4 riots as police force
A bunch of martyrs at home for emergency defence (should have built them sooo much earlier)
2 Regen golems

Part 5: The finale
Remembering that i still had loads and loads of spare asteroids, i have decided to finally give them some use. Time to abuse me some spire rams. I mean, why send any real fleets to that half-finished AI home, if you could just ram everything?
Sadly, i forgot how clunky the Spire Ram AI was, so i wasted like 8 rams due to them aggroing at the AI units guarding the wormholes. Apparently the correct way is to give them a group move command with the cloakers so they dont have any opportunity to decide to ram anything.
Ramming the AI station directly yielded no result (i kinda hoped it'd automatically damage the shields), costing me 1 more ram, but then i just aimed the shields directly and they fell down quite quickly. With the command station exposed, i could just send a few penetrators at any time and kill it.

For the final push on the other home station, i have decided to use the traditional safe "cloakers+transports", approach. But before that, i had an exo coming for me. Basically that was my last real chance to lose, and i believed i was prepared. I even built a few shield bearers to add another defensive layer around my home station, as well as a few spire rams to ram them AI golems.

You know whats the worst part about exo waves? Its not only the waves on their own, no. Its also all that goddamn threat which finally gets released at your planets because now the AI believes it has the advantage.
Map right before the raid:
(http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/1747/screenshot2012032403581.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/11/screenshot2012032403581.png/)
The main fleet is split in 3 chunks, guarding the most strategic systems, plus theres a 22-ships Jotienly which is actually my new police force: Full cap of MkI-III spire siege towers+4 raid starships.

And then they come. Oh god how much i hate those multidirectional attacks, forcing me to try to manage like 4 systems at once. And with static defences spread so evenly, of course i have to have my fleet everywhere at once. Also, the exos always happen to come EXACTLY at the same time as regular waves. Resulting in a few thousands of attacking ships you need to kill before they do damage. So ffffrustrating.
Here's what i ended up with at some point:
(http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/1584/screenshot2012032404173.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/811/screenshot2012032404173.png/)

Fiuzve got attacked by a small exo group + loads of released threat, while Marseor got an armored golem cruising through it, aiming directly for my home (or the regen golems hidden in there), so i had to send my ships at Tides to intercept. And of course, once my fleet group left Tides, all of a sudden an exo-wave group appeared there as well. Goddomot. Meanwhile, Aecimi got attacked by a wave of zenith chameleon bombers. With only statics to defend it, the system got wiped out fast. Them bomber waves man. So, i send my spire towers over there form Jotienlu. They come out of the wormhole and meet ~500 hungry bombers. 2 towers die instantly, the rest get badly damaged. But the bombers dont care, Jotienlu itself has no defense now (because towers are over here huh), so they go in and proceed to kill the defences over there as well. And then they decide to go on a nice raid on my secure eco-3 stations. My main fleet which has just dealt with the armored golem only catches up to them by the time they have already killed 2 more stations. And then theres also agression coming through Tides, destroying Lartchul.

With exo-wave wiped out and me having ~700 ships, i manage to clean up the ravaged systems and rebuild. Takes a while as my resource base is damaged, as well as the fleet and pretty much everything else.

Time for payback.
(http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/2897/screenshot2012032404453.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/198/screenshot2012032404453.png/)

The other homeworld has 4 spire penetrators, ready to finish the home station. Their presence causes AI aggro, and as result the home system and the core worlds all have over 500 ships. This includes shield fleet ships, but i hope they wont stop the penetrators from penetrating the AI home.

And the main attack force, with its 2 regen golems, is probably going to be a massive overkill, but meh, theres no kill quite like an overkill. So we set sail, and somehow, the transports manage to get through all the systems without any one of them popping.
(http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/4020/screenshot2012032404580.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/256/screenshot2012032404580.png/)
The only real threat is the fortress. But god i hate that thing, its DPS against everything not-bomber is insane, and the range on MKIII is huge. AND WHY ARE THERE SO MANY SHIELDS? GODDAMN I NEED LIKE 4x MORE BOMBERS TO KILL IT QUICKLY ENOUGH TO NOT GET FRUSTRATED.
Doesnt matter though, we have regen golems. And who cares that my fleet ships dont have bonuses against shields, and those shields are all MKV's? I still have 2200 ships worth of pure DPS!
So yeah, with all ships focusing their firepower on those posts, they go down pretty quickly. Too bad its hard to maneuver aorund the fortress, especially with ships constantly respawning at regen golems. Still doesnt matter, who cares the fortress earned like 2000 kills. They all just respawn, cant stop me!

Meanwhile, my own systems are dying to incoming waves and stuff. At least the Adv. Fac is quickly rebuilding ships so if we somehow fail at the AI home, i WILL have a chance. But I'm in a hell of a hurry, so once all guard posts are down, i send EVERYTHING at the home station. Golems are completely exhausted by then, but i have plenty of ships, the shields should go down fast, screw the fortress. Meanwhile, the second AI home is killed by the penetrators.
(http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/8057/screenshot2012032405003.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/69/screenshot2012032405003.png/)

15 hours on a 40-planet game. Man I'm slow. This was quite fun though, the AI is such a dick with those exos.
I challenge anyone to play vs lvl10 AI with spirecraft-hard, and fallen spire off, on a realistic map. 
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: Wanderer on March 20, 2012, 04:44:55 AM
Quote
While said raid engine certainly warrants that level of intensity when it comes to adjectives, around here we ask that you refrain from that particular one.
Yeah, exactly the reason i hoped you'd let that slip.
But oh well, no profanity from now on.

I'm relatively sure the words "Core Raid Engine" IS considered vulgar language, at least it is to me.  Lousy mumble ruzzlefruckle sons of supernovas...

Looks like you've gotten yourself into a sound position though, you should be solid going forward.  You might think to go and blow out the FFs/fortress/Guardposts on the nerfed AI HW before you go re-tackle the other one though, otherwise it'll rebuild while you're busy.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: keith.lamothe on March 20, 2012, 09:54:19 AM
"Core Raid Engine" IS considered vulgar language
This is true, but I wouldn't want to attempt justifying the moderation of text that's quoted from the game :)
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on April 21, 2012, 09:18:11 AM
Now that the harvester nerf has finally arrived, i can continue with my stupid game. Yeah, my game was easy enough so with OP harvesters it would be way too boring.

Part 1

But alright, i use lots of new settings i have never seen before, so its fun to watch new stuff.
The time is almost 2 hours, and i havent seen the beachheads yet.

What i have seen alot though are the astro trains. I would really like to see a detailed explanation of their mechanics. Especially the turret train, the one that's killable. Do these respawn? Or do i just have to keep killing them until none remain?
In general, they seem more of a nuisance, not a seirous problem. There are not too many of them (though 1 AI has them enabled) and all they do is scratch the turrets a little and wreck the minefields. And you even can fight that by placing counter-DM turrets. What is also annoying is that they shoot through shields. Dont remember that being mentioned anywhere, cost me a few manufactories.
I'd suggest giving them some small regeneration, so if a player wants to kill a train, he actually has to chase it until it dies or else it will just regenerate. The regular trains probably also need to deal ALOT more damage, so that they can wreck more than 4-5 turrets on their way.

But anyway, here's the progress so far:
(http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/3315/screenshot2012042116583.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/441/screenshot2012042116583.png/)
God, scouting on 90 planets with no revealed map is a pain. Takes ages, especially with the astro trains sometimes messing the scout group.
After some initial scouting i have decided to secure my homeworld to ensure no random beachhead lets the AI blitz me, and then got back to scouting.
I have already made 2 mistakes with my research, going for raid starship MkII and the flagship.
The flagship cant be used at full potential because my fleet doesnt focus on fleet ships and starships have a cap on boost. And the reason the raid starships are unneeded is that one of the AIs is a one-way doormaster. This obviously means blackhole machines everywhere, and I'm not wasting AIP on killing these (even though i probably can afford it with level 6/7 AI's).
EDIT: "Immunities: Black Hole Machines". Do-ho-ho, Data Centers beware!

The number of MkIII and MkIV systems is annoying, as i kinda hate having these on alert, but i cant think of a way around em with this layout. Right now, my plan is to conquer some more systems, grab an ARS or two, maybe some fabricators, secure my borders as tightly as i can, and start focusing on the spire campaign. Which, as i have mentioned earlier, i have never got any further than hauling the second shard. The thing is so slow i never had enough patience to move it through 4-5 systems. By the way, what happens if it gets killed, is the spire campaign still somehow doable then?

Part 2
Yeah, i probably should have picked harder AI's.
(http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/2830/screenshot2012042915465.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/823/screenshot2012042915465.png/)
Shard hauling against a one-way doormaster is a pony. I just cant get myself to pointlessly waste AIP on killing the Black hole machines, so i have to take the systems over instead.
The first shard is at Qaswowo. Ugh, those things are so awfully slow.
The second "shard" is at Ticcaus. I get a little sidetracked, taking the ARS's in Ordic and Saslovaki and some Fabricators nearby.
I also grab Kildorbang for the ZPG, which would be very handy in my game as i intend to try using forts. Those things have such insane power cost, that i actually never used them before.
Then i take Pandes, along with that whole cluster of systems to minimise the size of my borders. Pandes itself contains another ZPG, so I'm literally overflowing with energy. Time to build some forts.

Once the forts are done, i finally go get the shard. And instead of a stupidly slow shard i get a... spire refugee ship.  "Immune to black hole machines". Damn, i could have used it without actually taking Ticcaus. The thing is also reasonably fast.
Get it home, get my outpost, get the first 4 spire ships out. Woo, these are nice.

And the next shard is at... Varna. 4 jumps away from home, and with 2 red systems in between.
I kinda want to advance in the campaign as fast as i can because I'm very curious about the next steps, but those 2 systems really make me sad.

Some additional notes:
Leech Starships are cool and fun when you get a full MKI-MKIII cap of them.
Not having to spend 6k knowledge on MKIII fleet ships leaves you with alot of K to spend on stuff.
Astro trains are completely irrelevant.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: zharmad on April 22, 2012, 08:07:34 AM
]By the way, what happens if it gets killed, is the spire campaign still somehow doable then?

IIRC if it dies, then the campaign is over. You won't get another one.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: Wanderer on April 22, 2012, 03:46:21 PM
]By the way, what happens if it gets killed, is the spire campaign still somehow doable then?

IIRC if it dies, then the campaign is over. You won't get another one.

If the shard dies you've lost the ability to proceed further into the campaign, another will not spawn anymore.  You'll either savescum or have to take on the AIs with what you've gotten so far.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on June 10, 2012, 10:59:24 AM
Yeah, I'm not actually dead yet, just have been busy with other stuff.
Actually, one of the reasons i have not been playing AI war is that I kept giving up on it for like 2-3 weeks after realising what I'm supposed to do next after completing one of the FS onjectives.

The screenshot in my previous post is at 5:21, and right now its 11:58. So what have I done in those 6,5 hours?

Quite alot in fact. Apparently, FS is pretty much all about incredibly slow processes. First you gotta escort a fat-ass shard over 5-6 systems, and then spend ~3 mil resources fully build a Spire city. Rinse and repeat.
It all takes quite a while, during which pretty much nothing happens. I mean, waves and exos come, sometimes they even hurt, but thats still not very much action.
And the "Oh so now i have to haul a shard from THERE?" were the main reasons i have been giving up on AI war for long periods of time.
And that is the point at which i am right now.
Hauling those shards was not too difficult, though having to split forces between defence and escorting is a little problermatic. Actually, my 4'th and 5'th shards were located in Masenan, so the 5'th shard was the easiest.
(http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/278/screenshot2012061018340.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/13/screenshot2012061018340.png/)
After building the 5'th city, i got my quest to grab what i understand is another damn shard. Yeah, its in a system i have not yet scouted. And given that i havent scouted one of the AI homeworlds, i expect it to be either a homeworld or coreworld. Either way, its so damn far away that i just have no will to get it. But i want to win the game by building the transceiver, so there are no othwer options.

The exos are really annoying, as they keep coming to my homeworld through Wiwep or Sworoadgen. I wish they just went for the Spire cities, which have their shield stacks and railguns and HBCs. The homeworld has lots of turrets and a huge swarm of ships i reclaimed with my leeches, so the waves dont actually deal much damage there, but they keep damaging the systems they pass through, which annoys me alot.

Also, one of my concerns are the Core Shield Gens. If i manage to finish the transceiver quest and get my super spire fleet, will it be able to kill the AI homeworlds if the stuff there is shielded by those shield gens?

Update: Yeah, there it is. 7 hops away from the my home, right in the AI home system. Seriously, why should i even bother getting that damn shard if that basically requires me to neuter the AI homeword and a coreworld? I mean, at that point i probably could just go and kill the other AI home.
This whole "The last shard is in AI home" also probably means i will have to kill finish off the core shields (Apparantly, only the B-network is still functioning), and play with the SuperTerminal a bit. And then yeah, go neuter systems all the way up to the AI's home.
(http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/2577/screenshot2012061023243.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/163/screenshot2012061023243.png/)
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: thelonecarrot on June 10, 2012, 03:07:20 PM
Also, one of my concerns are the Core Shield Gens. If i manage to finish the transceiver quest and get my super spire fleet, will it be able to kill the AI homeworlds if the stuff there is shielded by those shield gens?

It won't matter. Seriously; what happens at the end of the campaign will nullify anything. It might take a bit longer if core shiled gens are still up but their presence is ultimately moot.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: zharmad on June 10, 2012, 07:41:41 PM
The shard spawning logic forces it to spawn X distance from player held territory, so what you've encountered tends to happen on a well-connected realistic map.  That homeworld is the only planet more than 4 jumps away, I think...
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on June 11, 2012, 04:55:14 PM
After scouting the AI home, i have decided to go soften up the AI and get some knowledge to research Spire Battleships on the way. The ST is on zorcaveonno, by the way. 2 jumps away form my territory, and with a adv. fac in between. Adv. Fac is of course useless to me as i dont research MKIII ships anyway.

Holding a SuperTerminal when you have spire ships backing up your fleet is... not very hard. By the time my fleet and static defenses finally started getting overwhelmed, i already got the AIP down to 200 from ~380.

The next step is to clear all the systems all the way up to the homeworld. I grab my fleet and get to it. It all proceeds quite smoothly until i reach the coreworld. At that point, i trigger the core raid engine. Or exo-wave engine, whatever the thing is. The point is i am about to get some serious dicking in my face. I rush in the AI home, intending to destroy the engine. And right as finish it, i see a huge wave coming at me from the home command station. It says sometihng like "22 massive ships (3800 FP)", so i realise i need to GET OUT FAST.
Seeing the huge wave nom-nom my slower ships while the rest of my fleet flees is fun to watch, but i have to quickly get everything i have to the Phipira, where my forces will make their stand.
Once the AI arrives and the battle begins, i notice this nice little fella.
(http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/3311/screenshot2012061116024.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/225/screenshot2012061116024.png/)
Well that explains the insane FP value of the wave. And its a MKIV too!
doesnt matter though. The rest of the AI force quickly dies, and then the HK dies under focused fire of what remained of my fleet. Which is like 30%, so i have to spend a while rebuilding it.

Once the fleet is done, i start my Second Holy Crusade. This time i completely clear the coreworld and leave the homeworld with just the Command center fort+shields. I waste some time getting the survey ship to the Homeworld and then not getting it killed in there. The AI got sentinel frigates unlocked those MKV bastards keep harassing my fleet from under the shield.
I finally get the shard, and get it moving. The whole process ends up being surprisingly easy and uneventful. Waves come here and there, get destroyed, come again, die again.
When i get the shard home, i have 999k of each resource, so i basically have the transceiver 50% complete almost instantly. I spend some time reinforcing my home, expecting it to get attacked heavily, and then finish the construction.

Well, okay. I cant say i didn't expect serious waves. But, i am still seriously surprised. 3 armored golems, regenerator golem, loads of siege towers and other stuff, and probably other things i just havent noticed.
How is the size of those waves even calculated? It really felt liek they depend on the total AIP before the reductions are applied. Only that would explain those horrible spawns on a 6/7 difficulty.
During the battle, one of the AI forces meets the Devourer, which conveniently consumes a nice chunk of AI ships.
(http://img406.imageshack.us/img406/9760/screenshot2012061120043.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/406/screenshot2012061120043.png/)

I try my best to hold the AI forces off, mostly inside my home system. Yeah, at some point there were 3 armored golems there, but under the focus fire of my fleet and all kinds of spire ships, they go down fast enough, leaving my home system shields at ~40% power.
With my main fleet away, the AI kills some of my systems, and i dont have neither resources nor time to rebuild them.
At 20:00 on the transceiver timer the next wave approaches. This time the AI has brought some Black Widow golems and Artillery golems.

Thanks for buffing arty golems, Keith. Now they take only a minute and a half to completely obliterate a fully grown spire city.
Spire cities are starting to pop, and with them my resource income. And i need that income to rebuild my dying fleet.
Well, the AI forces are overhwlming, and I'm only at 18 minute mark, with a CPA coming soon. I barely hold off the homeworld against the waves that just keep pouring in, until a Black Widow golem finally arrives and finishes whatever is left of my shields.
(http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/7381/screenshot2012061120172.png) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/811/screenshot2012061120172.png/)

Seriously, how are those waves even calculated? Are they supposed to be that strong at 6/7 difficulty with 220 AIP?
Eh, whatever, not like i would try doing the FS campaign ever again anyway. Sucks that i couldnt see the spire mega-fleet thing though.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: Wanderer on June 11, 2012, 05:29:46 PM
Just a note: The H/K wave was from the 'defender budget' the AI gets on Fallen Spire.  It fires up when you head into the homeworld.

They are particularly built for Fallen Spire defense, so the AI ends up with at least one comparable superweapon.

Exos in FS are based on the # of spire cities built, and they go up FAST.  The more Spire Structure (from the campaign) you've built, the more force the AI starts to chuck at you.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on June 11, 2012, 06:00:45 PM
The more Spire Structure (from the campaign) you've built, the more force the AI starts to chuck at you.
Yeah, I've even seen the equations.
But right now I'm asking about the final waves that appear once you have the transceiver running.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: Wanderer on June 11, 2012, 06:09:46 PM
The more Spire Structure (from the campaign) you've built, the more force the AI starts to chuck at you.
Yeah, I've even seen the equations.
But right now I'm asking about the final waves that appear once you have the transceiver running.
Oh, the galactic Tranciever, that calls in the Spire Fleets from outside the galaxy?  I don't know the equations but they're MASSIVE.  It's basically a forced running retreat as you get pushed back further and further while sacraficing everything except the transceiver.

Without solid bottlenecking it's roughly impossible, and that's at reasonable AI Diffs.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: zharmad on June 11, 2012, 08:59:39 PM
As far as I know, transceiver spawns work exactly the same as other fallen spire spawns, except that the budget now fills up exponentially (fallen spire walk-through on the wiki, endgame section). Since the individual wave sizes also increase by 25% each time until the cap is reached, you'll be looking at a lot of ships about 15 minutes in (note that this is entirely independent of AIP).

This situation is where I personally think your choices become sorely tested. I would expand more on a realistic map like yours and warpgate-raid some more so that you can funnel the galactic transceiver exos into a limited number of lanes. You'll want the extra knowledge - your maximum number of planets is about 26? (Could do with a few more planets... fortresses to supplement spire-cities, reconsider on mark-III/IV bombers, since you can always do with more things that gets bonuses to spirecraft, golems,*and* hunter-killers... that kind of thing.)

The transceiver end-game ~requires more knowledge and associated firepower, while knocking-down-the-front-door is much more compatible with low AIP, I've found. When I explored the transceiver I had 35+ planets worth of knowledge, every fleet-ship to mark-IV (minus vultures, I think?), and possibly a sixth city to defend a rebel colony  that popped up somewhere inconvenient.

The game tried to warn you about AI retribution.... :p
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: keith.lamothe on June 12, 2012, 03:16:29 PM
A valiant stand :)

As far as how the calculations are done during the transceiver phase... well, numbers are descriptive, but "without a drop of sanity" is probably a better way to put it.  The game has no harder boss fight.  I've done it on 7/7 with two chokepoints on opposite ends of the map and maybe 18 planets worth of knowledge (but only about 10 worth of held territory), but that was before H/Ks were added and Golems were buffed, etc.

For more detail: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_How_Exogalactic_Strikeforces_Work (http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_How_Exogalactic_Strikeforces_Work)

Quote
== How is the timing of an Exogalactic Strikeforce determined? ==

* Each game-minute (not necessarily on the :00 second, but once a minute), an amount is added to the "AccumulatedEventWaveCounter" for each active source of exogalactic strikeforces.  When that counter is greater than or equal to the target raw budget (calculated above), the strikeforce is spawned with the counter's value as the raw budget (meaning that the raw budget is generally at least slightly higher than the actual target) and the counter is zero'd out.

* The amount added to the counter depends on the source:

(...)

* For "Fallen Spire":
** The counter is incremented by 1000 * the number of spire cities plus 1,000 if the galactic capitol has been built.
** If the exo-galactic transceiver has been built (not during the building of it, but after it has been fully constructed) then the counter is *multiplied* by 1.5.  Since this happens every game minute, that means the strikeforces will be coming in really rapidly.
The bit about 1000 * cities is actually not precise any more: it's based on the individual structures such that a fully built city causes 1000, but if you've lost part of one (or are still building one up) it doesn't count as much.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on November 05, 2014, 01:28:25 PM
Alrighty, after a quite long hiatus, i have come back to play some more AI war and feel the changes. The first challenge is simple - a 7.6 + 8.6 AIs with nothing overly special. A few minor factions and plots for extra flavour, and here we go. The usual "no scumming" and "no rerolling anything" rules apply, obviously.

But before we get to it, lets list the changes that occurred while i was away. I have been occasionally reading the update notes throughout those 2 years, so i have a good idea of what has changed, at least on paper.

The first game before i even remembered that i kinda write about my games, so no screenshots or anything remain of that game. But it didn't take long anyway. I dont think i even set up my HW defenses properly, mostly due to all energy being spent on the fleet. One of my attacks suffered some serious losses and as i understand, unleashed a bunch of special forces that took me by surprise.

The second game is the current one, and the clock is at 2:34:58 . Which was yesterdays evening and when i remembered about this thread.
(http://s15.postimg.org/mji0cyb8b/Screenshot_2014_11_05_22_57_39.png) (http://postimg.org/image/l4gfo8a53/full/)
As you see, not much progress has been made. Thats probably because i am playing too cautiously, and also because it has taken a while to scout all those systems.

Currently, i havent found a single MKIV factory yet, but there are plenty of interesting things in North-west: ARS in Wepicdic, Cehag, Edges, and the botnet golem in Osra (Middle-north). The fabricators you can see on the image.

The small cluster directly to my south, while cute and fairly isolated, doesnt contain much of note, so i will probably just stay out of it. Which is made even more likely by the fact Raeliu has a Black Hole Machine.

So right now the plan is to carefully neuter the MKIV world on the north-west and then quickly take over the entire region before reinforcements make it difficult. The turret change makes my playstyile much, much easier, as i have a love for multi-layered defences, which is much easier to do when you dont need to spend all your turret caps at one chokepoint system.

At 2:40:00 A neutering attack on Jobangtether triggers a reprisal wave to Savboatsuo, which surprisingly gets to around 1400 Zenith Polarizers. Apparently, fleetballing into a MKIV system and then mindlessly FRD'ing it there does result in casualties that feed the AI quite well. While the biggest wave so far, it does get repelled without any serious losses. 400 enemy ships flee, i have lost 80% of my attack fleet and some defences at Savboatsuo. With the first MKIV neutered, its time to repeat the process with Plumi, so that when i am ready, i can take entire region in 30-40 minutes.

At roughly 3:00:00 my entire fleet suffers a terrible fiasco at the hands of this.
(http://s4.postimg.org/yzdcqima5/Screenshot_2014_11_05_23_49_11.png) (http://postimg.org/image/vfrf0pjk9/full/)
An AI Transolcator Command station, huh? That's new. And it also has all of the guard posts and 2 ion cannons right next to it, behind 2 MKIII shields and a MKIV spire shield. Not only that, but this whole thing is located on the outskirts of the system, so just getting there costs me half my fleet because of that sniper post and the railcluster.
So, the question is, what do i value more, my time or AIP? Shall i just waste the next 1-2 hours slowly grinding at those shields, or should i just EMP this little thing? I have the +1AIP/30min, so wasting 2 hours is equal to using a MKII EMP warhead. I think i will just use it, 70 seconds should be more than enough to bring in the transports and murderboner the helpless guard posts.  But that's for tomorrow. First we need to repel that level-4 reprisal wave we got for losing the fleet. Its a good thing we have some reserves, turrets and solid economy. 2400 fighters certainly are gonna be a pain to deal with, but nothing to serious. Certainly more serious than an incoming 249-ship CPA.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: Zair on November 05, 2014, 08:33:47 PM
I think you just ran into an AI "Rude Gesture" planet.

Lucky you, they used to cram a pile of Warp Counterattack posts under there too.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: Kahuna on November 06, 2014, 01:15:58 AM
I think you just ran into an AI "Rude Gesture" planet.
F3 to find out
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on November 06, 2014, 01:42:33 PM
F3 to find out

The F3 told me it was a "bunkerer" subcommander. Well, he wont like when i show him my rude gesture, cause its gonna be so rude this forum will filter it into a picture of kittens.

Anyway, before i can do that, i have to deal with reprisal wave. As expected, it deals some damage, but mostly just feeds me metal. I send my fleet to camp Wepicdic while i prepare the transports and the EMP. But while there, they meet a fine group of AI special forces, and to my surprise my fleet gets almost wiped again. I assume that's what Hunter plot does? The special forces column consisted of a huge group of Riot Starships, along with a bunch of guardians, Railclusters and Sentinel Frigates (both are AI's unlocks).
After retreating, and more preparations, i finally find a moment to attack.

3:53:05 The EMP is finally sent in the system and promptly detonated, time to kill everything. The transports somehow die when halfway through the system. Wait what killed them? Wait why are my ships getting killed as well? WHY IS THE TRANSLOCATION station KILLS my ships with its railguns? And oh boy it kills them hard. This planet doesnt even need other defences, this MKIV station alone can demolish half my fleet. Luckily for me, half my fleet is not enough. I rush the station and quickly demolish it. Now time to kill the guard posts and the guardians before they wake up. Yeah, i am very, very glad i didn't go all greedy and not grabbed a MKI EMP. By the time the stun wears off, i have already killed a sniper post, probably another post or two, some minor unit escorts, and a guardian or two. But then i notice that my fleet is mostly ded. Well, time to refleet and deflect that level3 reprisal wave then. But at least the bunker system is almost taken. Some of my starships manage to retreat, leaving the local AI forces to deal with some dark spire spawns.

Meanwhile, the Exo force is sitting at 63%, reminding that i should hurry up and get myself ready for some big things running quickly to my home. I refleet,  and deflect some reprisal waves. Once again, this takes a bit longer than expected, this time because of a level 3 reprisal eyebot wave. While not too threatening, some slip through my defences and kill my command station at Savboatsuo, causing the shark AI to follow up with a bunch of extra ships. Once that is dealt with, i quickly
go to Wepicdic and easily demolish the heavily neutered command station.

This results in AI saying "look behind you", and suddenly there are like 200 MKIV-V ships rushing to Savboatsuo. I quickly start retreating my fleet, but apparently the scale of attack is not just 200 ships, but more like 400-500, of mixed ranks, but certainly including many high-mark ships. The fight quickly gets out of control as my fleet loses strength way faster than the incoming AI force, and not even the turrets can help enough.

Luckily, my homeworld contains a "control group 9" - a special group of reclaimed units i cannot build directly, and it counts roughly 230 ships, mostly polarizers and eye bots, but also some sentinels, and high-mark triangle ships. Realising how dire the situation is, i also recall my enclaves and riots from their guard duty at the southern border (Yefo). While the turrets at my HW are enough to stall and slowly wear down the enemy fleetships, the AI starships rush to my home command center. By the time my riots arrive, there is also a spire starship, a flagship, and a zenith starship pounding at my shields, with a... MKI siege tower also on its way.

The 3 starships are not grouped tightly enough so i fail to push them off my command station, and the damn things have insane health. The home command station shields drain way faster than their health, and there is nothing to help because my main fleet has been destroyed earlier when trying to defend Savboatsuo. Boom, game over.

This was certainly another loss due to carelessness, as this counterattack was certainly possible to hold if i took it with all seriousness immediately. But the AI ships kept slowly pouring into the system, and their counts were low enough to make me not consider this attack such a major threat. I look at the AI types - Assassin/Vengeful. Well, at least that explains where this counterattack wave came from. Dont know why i havent noticed it earlier. I guess the previous vengeful counter-wave was much earlier and wasnt nearly as strong.
(http://s21.postimg.org/6fg34w55j/Screenshot_2014_11_07_00_55_00.png) (http://postimg.org/image/50eig642b/full/)

Welp, time for another restart.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: motai on January 11, 2015, 05:49:26 PM
not a criticism but i stongly endorse hardened force fields for homeworld defense. also since you didn't mention it on version changes i will remind you. the human home forcefield now has a gravity field and so is ussually better redployed to slow advanicing ships over actual defense. hope this helps.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on January 14, 2015, 06:49:17 PM
Quote
the human home forcefield now has a gravity field and so is ussually better redployed to slow advanicing ships over actual defense. hope this helps.
Oooh, that's new, didn't know that!


So i have started another playthrough. Decided not to give up on my last challenge, so i generate a new seed and start the game with the same settings as before. This time i also have finally grabbed some altplanetnames. They may be a bit verbose, but at least they have actual words.

The first hour is relatively uneventful. Just as usual, i unlock MKIII harvesters and MKII fighters and scout the area around me. MKI scouts alone arent very potent so i also do some raiding to get rid of the tachyon posts. I notice a nice relatively isolated area to my south-east (Brain Fingerprint, Omoikane's Brain, Moonlight Wall). My plan is to first expand there, getting decent economy and gaining knowledge, and then start working towards the CSG's and homeworlds. The only real problem is Possessed by Phoenix, as it contains a CoProcessor. I will probably have to just kill it's gate and keep it neutered once i take adjacent systems. I first take Howl of the Horned Owl, and use the extra energy it provides to build some raid starships, transports and cloakers, and clear two data Centers - one in Red Magic and another in Nightbug Tornado.
Next step is taking Omoikane's Brain, as it contains an ARS, and it is my first priority to get a decent fleetball. Then back to Brain Fingerprint and slowly start working on Royal Flare and then Flower of Edo.
(http://i.imgur.com/TLeEJ1k.jpg)

At 1:03:57 i take Omoikane's Brain. Before going in, i check the ship options: Grenade Launcher, Spire Battleship, Zenith Bombardment ship. Both Spire Battleship and Zenith Bombardment ship are ok options. I am not entirely sure if the design choice is random or the option#1 is always picked, so i hope its random and forego the hacking - 2/3 i get somethng i want. But what i end up getting are the grenade launchers. And huh, i only get MKI from the ARS. That's also new, it used to give MKII as well. Well, that's a 2k knowledge nerf per ARS, considering it now gives 500 free knowledge. Not like i am complaining, humans got way more buffs over the years than the AI did.
After setting up the defences at Omoikane's Brain, i decide to neuter and gate-raid Possessed by Phoenix. It takes a little extra time as i have to deal with ion AI eye and the barracks, but by the time clock hits 1:23:00, the system is fully neutered. All that's left are the wormhole guardposts which i cant be assed to kill, the CoProcessor, and the AI Command station.

Next i go and neuter Royal Flare as i really dont want to deal with it when it gets on alert and gets decent defences. This takes longer than expected, as the two ion cannons deal quite a lot of damage to my fleet and i cant move quickly due to gravdrill. Once i kill a few guar dposts, a bunch of special-force guardians and heavy ships arrives, killing whats left of my fleet. I have to dealw ith level2 reprisal wave that consists of a huge swarm of vampire claws, and the bastards manage to kill one of my command stations despite the arrival of friendly human reinforcements. I deal with the shark wave aimed at my home, finish refleeting and then finish clearing Royal Flare.
Once that's done, i quickly kill the command station at Brain fingerprint and set up my own. The clock displays 1:55:55. The next goal is taking Royal Flare, then quickly taking Flower of Edo and Hallucinogenic Tuning as well.

2:30:00.  Royal Flare and Flower of Edo have been taken. I decide to keep the gravity drill at Royal Flare. While right now it is a bit of a nuisance, i dont think the system will be often traveled through by my ships, so its presence will only provide me with economical advantage and slow down the enemy.

3:00:00. The southern area is our now, and the AIP is now at 116. While not too difficult to handle, sometimes the waves get annoying, usually when its a level2-3 reprisal of some annoying ship type, like Spire Stealth Battleship or Vampire Claw. There is also a CPA, but it seems like for now the AI decides to just keep the ships as threat. I kinda wanna clean that up as it would be very unfortunate if that threat released during the inevitable exo strike.

3:03:05. Two Waves Hit, one containing around 1200 fighters hit the home, the other contained a bunch of vampires and hit Omoikane's Brain. Apparently, this advantage made the AI decide to move main forces in. I lose Omoikane's Brain because the little bastards are tractor and forcefield-immune. Meanwhile, AI attacks Brain Fingerprint with what seems to be arouns 100 Spire Battleships. My defences fall left and right. I send everything i got back to defend hope. Luckily, this includes a large force that was at Omoikane's Brain.
(http://i.imgur.com/Yu42tVD.jpg?1)
The Home shields get a bit damaged, and even the Home Command itself gets hit by a Raid Starship, but it gets focused down in time. 147 attack, 632 threat. I have 300 ships at home, 200 more on their way there, and 100 at Brain Fingerprint trying to hold of the enemy there. Time to unpause.

3:07:00. Threat is down to 398 and all my forces are now concentrated at home, friendy ship count is at 640. Remains rebuilders and engineers fly around everywhere reclaiming stuff, i micro my fleets to ensure no raid starships get through.
3:07:50. An AI Carrier gets popped in Royal Flare. It contains 11 Spire Blade Spawners and some triangle ships, with total count at 228. I feel relieved, as i'd rather see these ships there fighting my static defences and ion cannons, than destroying my home.
3:08:10. My homeworld seems almost safe. The shields around the Home Command are all almost destroyed. One of the last ships to die was a MKIV spire and it was REALLY pushing those shields. Luckily, it did not target the cryopods, as they were extremely vulnerable and could go down easily.
3:08:30. The shields have been swiftly rebuilt. Time to rebuild and refleet. Luckily, all those attacks maxed out my metal reserves, so it should not take too long. Time to retake lost systems and do some DC raids. These attacks are really getting out of hand, although it might be more due to the CPA than just the AIP and waves.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on January 16, 2015, 07:52:51 PM
Anticipating the Exo wave, i take the two systems next to my Home to get some buffer area where i could meet and defeat the exos. Once i am done there, i start slowly preparing for my next moves.
Nothing much happens for the next 2 hours. I spend most of that time dicking around, or to be more specific, cleaning out enemy systems which i intend to take in the future. My intention is to keep expanding to the east, taking Icicle Fall, Nuclear Fusion, Nightbug Tornado and Demarcation. In total, that's going to be around 10 more systems, which means A LOT of AIP. But with those under my control, i will only need to then take 2-3 more ARS system and i will be ready to take the AI homes. Plus, the supply of AIP reduction facilities is not nearly exhausted yet. There are still the CoProcessors, one or two Data Centers, and the SuperTerminal. And oh man, i am gonna hack the hell out of that SuperTerminal later.

At 5:05:00 an Exo strikes along with 2 regular waves. The Exo strikes at Terrible Souvenir, and is not too threatening. 1 shield bearer, 1 MKIV Implosion Artillery and 2 MKIV siege towers. At that point my fleet ship count is at almost 1000 and includes MKIII spire flagships and Spire Starships which i have unlocked because of an Adv. Starship Factory being pretty in a good position.
However, the AI plows through my defences surprisingly quickly. By the time my fleet arrives to Terrible Souvenir from Home, All of the wormhole defences are already down and the exo is quickly moving towards the command station. I use the Riots to push the eneemy fleetships so that only the bigger ships slip through into the home. The enemy ship count at my hope is at 47, however those 47 are all almost excplusively capships. And somehow, my main is mostly gone. I kinda dont understand, was i not watching with enough attention, where did everything go?
A few seconds later, all of the shields at my Home COmmand Station go down, and then down goes the Station itself. I check to see what the hell has caused all this damage and notice that there is another ship i have missed when checking the enemy power. Oh, its a MKII H/K. What the hell was that thing doing in the FIRST exo wave i got? i certainly dont remember exo waves getting MKII H/K's on the first try.

This game has left me completely baffled. I seriously cant think of a way i could have countered that, except maybe for some lightning warheads. I had my entire fleet there, i have specifically taken systems so that the wave doesnt hit my home directly, i have gathered and prepared my entire fleet to fight the wave. And yet it has completely overhwlmed me. I dont know how much damage the H/K has done on its way to my Home, but even without it it would have been a very tough fight simply due to the number of high-tier starships the AI had.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: motai on January 17, 2015, 09:33:10 AM
actualy i think you befell one of the minor changes along the way. each exo wave has a core ship(usually a starship but occasionally a hk) the entire wave inherits the core ships speed and movement immunities. for example if the lead is a raid everything zips thru the system but is countered by grav turrets. however if its spire ship lead its immune to grav and they will just plod along. targetting the lead ship to break up the fleet is vital. and would have lead you to notice the hk earlier hopefully. yes hk are brutal but they are kinda normal in exo waves at any level. the telegraph to this is alway pay attention to the incoming strength in that moment of announcement to anticipate likely composition. 29k+ strength usually means there is a hk to look for. best of luck on the next attempt. also added was a synchoronizer on the exo launch and waves so the ai really does abuse you when the exo launches.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on January 18, 2015, 07:27:00 PM
Quote
each exo wave has a core ship(usually a starship but occasionally a hk) the entire wave inherits the core ships speed and movement immunities.
I am familiar with that fact. I think i either have played with it or have read about it on the forums. The problem is that i dont think i had enough DPS to kill all those ships regardless of their bonuses. I was able to kill most of the small escorts as well as a bunch of high-mark guardians, but when i lost, i had like 40 capships sitting in my home system - the h/k, some spire towers, and lots of starships of varying marks. They didn't really need to use any of their immunities - they simply plowed through all defence, killing them in seconds.
Quote
also added was a synchoronizer on the exo launch and waves so the ai really does abuse you when the exo launches.
The AIP was fairly low at that point, so the waves were not a problem. Both waves got destroyed purely by the static defenses. 100% of my mobile fleet power was focused on defending against the exo.

So, meanshile, i have started a new game. I spend the first 30 minutes scouting. This time the plan is to get to the botnet as quickly as possible and then abuse its supposed OPness to fight the exos.
(http://i.imgur.com/ef6lJ8c.png)
The Botnet ends up being at Curse of Dreams and Reality, 5 hops away from home, inside a cluster of MKIII-MKIV systems. The scouting also reveals the AI types. The gray guy is certainly a spireling, as the systems are full of all kinds of spire ships - blade spawners, Battleships, Armor Rotters etc. The other AI is much worse - its a golemite. Or whatever AI it is that spawns golems on their planets.
The best path to the Botnet lies through The World-Nightbug Tornado path, as this path also contains 2 ARS and 3 DC's. However, those two systems contain an artillery golem each. Probably not the worst possible golem, but getting through these systems is gonna be a pain in the ass. And taking the system with the golem would also mean putting 2 MKIV systems on alert, which i HATE doing. We'll see how it goes.

Somewhere around 45:00 i take Radiant Treasure and set up a base there. Next stop is Galaxy in a Pot, as it contains an ARS, then i will probably secure the rest of that corner (Minus K, Purple Mirror, Lingering Cold), and start the preparations to take out the enemy golem at The World. The ARS options are: Yng Tiger, Prasite, Space Plane. Out of these three i'd prefer to have Parasite as i would allow me to obtain some reserves through reclaim, but i am not into spending HaP on picking bonus ship types, so i just let the RNG decide. I get Yng Tiger, which kinda leads me to believe that there is no RNG and the first option is always picked.

At 1:40:00 i finally take the rest of the systems i planned to take. Large part of gained Knowledge is invested in fleet power, so hopefully we are going to defeat the defending golems with minimal losses. At least the artillery golems are kinda helpless against a swarm of fleetships.

At 1:49:00 my forces enter the The World. Luckily there is no AI eye or Ion Cannons there, only the artillery golem and quite a lot of enemy ships and guard posts. I focus down the golem and then proceed to clean up the system. The fight proves to be much harder than expected as i meet the enemy Special Forces. Luckily, i have been trying to keep the enemy SF size under control, so my fleet destroys these as well, but suffers losses.
Meanwhile, a wave to Galaxy in a Pot destroys my Command Station. The CS there is located next to a wormhole to radiant Treasure, to ensure the enemy cannot pass through. However, that position is also very close to the hostile wormhole, so without my main fleet the CS got destroyed by enemy siege starship.
This results in a Shark-B mini-exo, and causes the threat to activate. Minus K gets destroyed as well, and i end up having a wave of MKIII-MKIV stuff running for my home. A massive battle ensues inside my Home. The 5 shields around my home prove to be barely enough to hold off enemy fire, and the shields keep getting hit by the enemy snipers. But eventually my fleet recalled from The World prevails. Over 2.5mil scrap is left after the battle, which is reclaimed at 40% rate, almost instantly filling my resource limit.
Sadly, The World itself is not yet fully secure - a barracks with 358 ships remains unpopped. The golem and all command posts are dead though.

By 2:12:00 The World can finally be considered secure. Even without the Special Forces guard post, the patrols still keep passing through it. I wonder if the SF patrols path through human-owned planets. Would be nice if they did.

At 2:18:00 i decide to lure the Botnet Golem at Mesh of Light and Darkness into attacking me, as i think it would be harder when its planet goes on alert. Mesh of Light And Darkness is a really diffidult system, its wormholes are all clustered up and covered by a MKIII fort. Just spending 10 seconds there costs me like 200 ships, some of which end up being reclaimed. I get an alert about an incoming huge ship, which means the golem is now in threat. I quickly retreat home and hope it follows me. After some fighting and reprisal waves, the Botnet wanders into Galaxy in a Pot. I try to avoid it with my fleetships, letting the Resistance units and turrets slowly destroy it. At 2:25:00 a wave hits Galaxy in a Pot, while the golem is still there, at 20% HP. The attacking wave contains 1600 ships for some reason. Shit, this is gonna be tough, my fleet is not even fully rebuilt yet. I manage to kill the golem with minimal losses, but that still leaves me with 1500 MKI-MKII missile frigates that are already hitting at the command station's shield. I use my riots to ferry ~200 missile frigates to my home where they will be reclaimed efficiently, while what remains of my fleet and defences tries to defend Galaxy in a Pot. Luckily, the forcefields dont look to be high in the missile frigates' priority list. When the Galaxy in a Pot falls, the Shark AI instantly sends a nasty wave to my home, but it enters it through the furthestt wormhole and i should be able to stall it.
At 2:29:00 the attack is finally deflected. 2.2mil metal has been delivered to our home, allowing for very quick fleet recovery. Well, those shark waves sure are nice. They provide a lot of tension and nervousness when they strike, and also allow for quick fleet recovery once you defeat them. I notice there are still 300 enemy missile frigates dicking around in Galaxy in a Pot, so i send my half-rebuilt fleet to cleanup there.

At 2:45:00 i attack The World for a hundredth time. My intention now is to get to Nightbug Tornado and pop the local golem. However, my main fleet mains the AI Special forces and gets destroyed after dealing some major damage. Getting destroyed on enemy territory sucks. I get 2 reprisal waves, each containing 1.5+k missile frigates. This also coincides with a 500-ship CPA. The reprisal waves really make everything else feel pretty insignificant. Enemy attacking ship count gets close to 2k once the CPA threat decides jump in my home. With things hitting my home, i am forced to abandon Radiant treasure which has roughly 1300 missile frigates remaining.
Home defence goes alright, with my fleet quickly responding to AI groups coming from different directions. And they do keep coming, because Radiant Treasure inevitably falls, causing a shark mini-exo, putting even more strain on my home defences.

By 3:03:00 the attack can be finally considered deflected. I rebuild Radiant Treasure. A wave is announced: 298 missile frigates. That sounds extremely funny considering the 1300-ship reprisals i had to face earlier.

3:08:00. The threat is down to 67, the Exo-wave is at 58%, and my fleet is at full capacity now. I really need to hurry up though. There are still many fortified systems left to get through, and the goddamn reinforcements just wont leave me alone in The World. Time to go there once again.
3:10:00. I invade and clean up The World. Now is the time to camp te Nightbug Tornado wormhole and kill the enemy special forces in a very efficient manner.
3:16:00. _K_ uses wormhole camp. It's super effective. The entirety of enemy SF is pretty much destroyed while i have suffered only minor losses. Time to go get than Golem in Nightbug Tornado.
3:17:00. I go in and start killing stuff. Once i see the warning about the incoming golem, i quickly retreat and get back to camping the wormhole. There is a level 2 reprisal warning due to all the capships i lost to the Artillery Golem, so i need to be careful.
3:20:00. The golem is too scared to leave Nightbug tornade, while the reprisal wave is announced - 1200 fighters.
3:24:00. Retreating to defend against the reprisal wave proves to be a great idea as the threatball in Nughtbug Tornado decides to move forwards and sets up at The World. Now that the wave is defeated, its time to go and finally kill the golem.
3:26:00. The golem is helpless against a huge swarm focus-firing it, and dies within a minute. Nightbug Tornado is now ripe for taking, the road to Curse of Dreams and Reality (the place with the Botnet) is finally open. The MKIV systems next to it are still fully populated, so there's that, but if we want to take the Golem ASAP we now can do it.
(http://i.imgur.com/cdYMYH5.png)
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: Toranth on January 18, 2015, 07:49:04 PM
So, meanshile, i have started a new game. I spend the first 30 minutes scouting. This time the plan is to get to the botnet as quickly as possible and then abuse its supposed OPness to fight the exos.
Unfortunately, the Botnet itself does nothing to help kill exowaves - The most dangerous stuff in them is starships, guardians, Spirecraft, and Golems.  And H/Ks, of course.  All of which are immune to reclamation.

The trick is to prepare the course for the Exowave.  Gate raid, so there are only a small number of systems the Exo can attack through, then load up those systems with turrets.  Log III and Mil III stations are good choices, as they'll do a lot more damage to the enemy as it passes through.  Do this in pushed out, semi-expendable systems, and you'll be much more likely to survive.
In your game, it looks like The World, Hallucinogenic Tuning, and Cold Snap/Midnight Bird are good places for your block point/whipping boy/speedbump systems.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on January 22, 2015, 11:42:42 AM
Quote
Log III and Mil III stations are good choices
Eugh, i dont have the K for this. I spend like 80% of my knowledge on increasing my fleet strength, getting MKII-MKIII fleet ships and starships.
Quote
Gate raid, so there are only a small number of systems the Exo can attack through
I admit i dont know the exo wave sawning mechanics very well. I kinda assumed they could spawn anywhere 1-2 hops away from any huma system so gate raiding wouldnt work.
Well, if they always spawn from 1 hop away and require a Warp Gate, then yeah, they are going to be much much easier to manage.

Quote
Botnet itself does nothing to help kill exowaves - The most dangerous stuff in them is starships, guardians, Spirecraft, and Golems.
I dont have much experience with Botnet either, but i'd assume it added a lot by providing a huge screen of friendly zombies, as well as working as a huge bullet sponge, redirecting fire from other ships. In my previous game my entire fleet got destroyed unbelievably quickly. Maybe there have been suicide guardians, i dont know...

Anyway, back to game. My fleet is camping The World. I guess now is the time to go clear Nightbug Tornado. First kill the fortress, then destroy the 300-ship barracks and clean up whatever pops out.

3:54:00. Nightbug tornado is cleared of all guard posts and defences and i decide that there's no reason not to take The World. Next i will probably have to do something about the MKIV worlds, and then take the golem.
I spend the next 30 minutes attacking Honest Man's Death, which contains a Regen Golem, a MKV Ion and barracks with 300 ships. Such barracks in MKIII-MKIV is always a pain. Eventually my fleet cleans everything up, including a 1800-ship reprisal wave and i take Nightbug Tornado.
4:28:00. I colonise Nightbug Tornado and gain a new ARS. There is no time to hack for a good ship as the Exo is at 86% at this point. I am not entirely sure if i will be able to take 3 more systems and repair the golem in the time i have remaining.
After some consideration i decide that i will have to fight the exo-wave on my own again. There is simply no time to take 3 systems (the one with golem and the two next to my home) and also repair said golem. Hopefully this time i will manage to focus down the enemy leader in time. I also have a bunch of merc ships on standby, and i will prepare some warheads as well. This time i am going to get very seirous about defending against the exo.
4:35:00. I take World Creation Press. The wormholes arepositioned very badly there, with the wormhole to Hallucinogenic tuning dangerously close to the wormhole to our home. Will definitely raid. Once the system is cleaned up and built, i decide to neuter Hallucinogenic tuning and Eternal Meek. First my ships go in Hallucinogenic tuning and quickly destroy everything there.
4:42:00. I invade Eternal Meek and suddenly realise it has an Ion AI Eye. I quickly retreat, split off my MKIII ships and starships and send them in again. The rest of my fleet rushes to Cold Snap as i am seriously running out of time - the exo is at 93%. As result, i have ships fighting in 3 systems as once: Raid Starships killing the Warp Gate at Hallucinogenic Tuning, high-mark ships and starships clearing Eternal Meek, and the low-mark fleet clearing Cold Snap.
4:52:00. I take Cold Snap, Eternal Meek is fully neutered. I am running very low on resources and i need to quickly get some defences at Cold Snap. The Exo is at 97%.
4:55:00. The defences at Cold Snap are up. I hastily build 4 power generators at Home to provide reserve in case i lose somy systems. Energy surplus is at 340 000, enough to survive the loss of 2 systems. The fleet is only missing 3 raid starships, with everytihng else fully stocked. Home is surrounded by a huge number of forcefields and turrets. The exo is at 99%.
4:56:00. The exo wave spawns and starts pouring in to Cold Snap from Midnight Bird. I react quickly and send my fleet from home to there. At 800 ships, it will hopefully be enough to withstand the attack. There are also some reserves left at home: 126 reclaimed ships, 150 Merc Fighters, and 2 warheads. And huge, huge loads of turrets everywhere, of course.

Let's see what the enemy has brought:
10 Spire corvettes, 6 out of them are MkIII
A Beam starship
3 Bomber Starships, including 2 MkIV's
2 Raid Starships, one being MKV
1 MKIV Shield Bearer
3 Spire Siege Towers, including 2 MKIV's
1 MKII Hunter/Killer.
A bunch of low-mark starships, guardians and fleetships.

Welp. Let's see how this goes. The turrets at the worhmole fall in less than 3 seconds. Time for the fleets to collide.
(http://i.imgur.com/Dc5fXvi.jpg)
The exo wave contains a bunch of tractor platforms and guardians, so my ships get pushed along with the advancing enemy force. Oh, also like 300 of my ships (out of 700) disappear in roughly 1 salvo. Trying to find what the leader is and focus it down seems almost impossible, at theres a huge shieldball of Spire Corvettes, and the H/K is actually flying a bit behind.
The exo-wave quickly destroys 2 shields that cover the entrance to my home and jump in. The reserves at my home react and the turrets start shooting things. However, just as the previous time, i simply dont have nearly enough DPS to kill everything in time. Meanwhile, the exo does have plenty of DPS and depletes the 8 shields around my home in seconds, killing the Command Station as well. And even if the shields did hold off somehow, there was still the issue of MKV Raid Starship, so it's not like the Command Station had any chance whatsoever.


So i decide to retry a few times. The game is already lost, but i really wanna see how much the RNG has screrwed me here, and what can possibly be done to prevent this bullshit.

Retry 1: The exo-wave splits not in 2 parts, but actually 3! I lose a few systems, but manage to survive and recover, the home sits at 3.5m reclaimable metal
Retry 2: The exo-wave splits in a few parts, but this time one of the groups succesfully destroys Nightbug Tornado, and after like 10 minutes of struggling against shark-induced waves i finally lose due to lack of energy. This was certainly winnable though, i lost due to getting too far in energy negatives and losing my Command Station to a bunch of SSBs.
Retry 3: The exo-wave hits Cold Snap and World Creation Press, but this time Cold Snap is also hit by a normal wave. I send my fleet Cold Snap and it succesfully destroys the attacking force, but in the meantime the wave at World Creation Press gets in my home and 2 MKIV Raid Starships kill the Command Station.
Retry 4: This time the exo finally contains a H/K again, and it hits Cold Snap. This time, however, there is also a wave coming there. Lets see what happens if i am more active with the warheads, maybe not actually using was the mistake that killed me last time. Due to shitty micro, 2 of my warheads get destroyed before they can be positioned properly and dont deal much damage. The last one, however, explodes right in the middle of the enemy column and destroys a major part of the attacking fleet. The H/K survives obviously, but most of its supporting fleet does not. In the end, it still mannages to kill the Home Command, but right before dying itself, so if i landed those warheads better i would have survived without much trouble.
Retry 5: A H/K exo to Cold Snap again. This time, however, the wave eats a MKII warhead right to the face, and suddenly it stops being nearly as threatening. The H/K and some MKIV Siege Towers still manage to get to the home and damage it a bit, but this time the H/K only manages to fire off 2 salvos befire dying. Even those 2 salvos are enough to nearly drain the shields around the home base though. I stuggle a bit due to a shark exo hitting and destroying World Creation Press, which causes another shark exo. But this last exo is stopped in time by main fleet, ending the attack and allowing me to recover.

So... yeah. Apparently lightning warheads are the solution, and not using this solution ends up in guaranteed defeat. I kinda didn't remember how huge their AOE was, thinking it would be much harder to hit the entire exo-wave. The "Only deals at most 100 000 damage to a single target" also kinda repulsed me as the H/K has much more. But apparently a warhead clears pretty much everything else sans the MKIV+ starships and spirecraft. And without the escorts, these guys get focused down quickly.
Another thing i learned is to have scouts in place in every border AI system to be able to react to the exo-wave in time.
And also that Shark plot makes the AI a huge dick and makes the game prone to terrible chain reactions that lead to game over.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: motai on January 22, 2015, 11:49:27 PM
oh i thought you read that note they were changed from a 5000 radius to like 25000 radius so yea much easier to hit. also with the hp adjustments they kill ALOT.if you absolutely want to kill hk use armored warhead instead but they take alot longer and more metal. but they hit the highest hp target first instead of mass damage spread
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on January 25, 2015, 08:41:19 PM
Quote
oh i thought you read that note they were changed from a 5000 radius to like 25000 radius so yea much easier to hit
Yeah, now that you mentioned it i remember something of sorts,but i think i didn't notice the change was so dramatic.

So anyway, new game start!

And right from the very start, a letdown: the bonush ship type is Youngling Shrike. I really dont like the amount of management all of the Younglings involve, and would very much prefer something that can be easily added to the fleetball. Also, at home there are 4 wormholes, positioned quite a bit awkwardly.

--- Game start ---

00:01:11. Holy shit, even more bad news. The very first system i scout appears to have a CoProcessor. And i am really, really not into getting extra AIP. Lets hope all other CoProcessors are within reach, then we'll be okay.

00:07:52. While scouting, i notice an Artillery Golem patrolling the systems. Oh man, not this shit again. Lets hope i dont meet any Armor Golems on any important systems.
00:08:09. The botnet is found. It is 4 hops away from Home, the system also contains a Threat Eye, a Captive Human Settlement, an enemy Artillery Golem and a Data Center. Well this is gonna be a pain in the ass to take. So far this entire game seems to be full of pain.
00:10:40. An AI wave with Youngling Tigers hits, with a bunch of Missile Frigates 1 minute later. Suddenly, a bunch of Enclave Guardians jumps out of a different hole. Apparently i angereed these guys when i was raiding an enemy system earlier. The Enclave Guardians turn the fight into a bit of a clusterhug, but i luckily the waves at 10 AIP are small so i survive.

For the next 40 minutes i continue scouting and raidiny tachyon posts.
(http://i.imgur.com/Koj9n9d.jpg)
The Botnet is located at Tunnel Effect. The current plan is to quickly take over the entire cluster with Phantom Dinning, Tunnel Effect and Red-Eyed Hypnosis working as border systems. The 2 other systems connected to Tunnel Effect contain some useful goodies as well - a Starship Constructor at Pentagram Flight and a Sentinel Frigate at Source of Rains.

--- Getting to the Botnet ---

0:46:09. I take Phantom dinning, now is the time to explore the wormholes at Prism Concerto and Pentagram Flight.
1:00:07. After spending a bit of time raiding the tachyon posts and scouting, i take Curse of Dreams and Reality.
1:07:59. I take Emperor of the East. With just 2 MKI research stations, my science gathering cant keep up with how quickly i take new systems. Not like its a bad thing, as we keep getting closer to the Botnet Golem.

Next is the long tedious process of taking Mercury Poison. That system has an Artillery Golem, barracks, and seems to be frequented by the SF patrols.
1:59:02. Yeah, it has been an hour already, and no real progress has been made. The time has been spent sending my fleet at Mercury Poison twice, losing a major part of it, and then defending against reprisal waves. The last attack has finally cleared the system, but then Special Forces started coming from Tunnel Effect, and apparently my entire fleet is weaker than said special forces. I managed to kill all of the Disassembler Guardians as well as some other stuff, but like 40% of the special forces still survived. And now there is a level3 reprisal warning.
2:26:19. I finally manage to destroy the entirety of enemy Special Forces by camping Mercury Poison with my entire fleet. SF has been extremely annoying in the past hour and a half so i really hope i will now start making progress.
2:33:00. I start working on Tunnel Effect. As first step, i send all of my ships in, then immediately retreat. This triggers the Artillery Golem. I retreat from Mercury Poison, which makes the Golem go there. Now i simply rush it down as it sits alone in Mercury Poison, without any guard posts or guardians.
2:37:58. Mercury Poison taken. Funnily enough, it has an ARS and a MKV Raider fabricator. The ARS gives me Autocannon Minipods, which in my opinion are a bit weak, mostly due to the fact everything has armor in AI War.
2:48:00. I use my starship ball to clear the guardposts in Tunnel Effect. There is pretty much no defence so this ends up being very easy. Next step is killing the Dire Guardian Lair. I am a bit scared to lose all of my fleet, so i use a small group of starship to pop it.
2:53:54. The Lair pops and the Dire Guardians Immediately kill my poor Raid Starships. There is 1 Implosion and 2 Tractor Dire Guardians. Let's see if they can handle my fleet.
2:54:58. The guardians are nice enough to jump in the wormhole and fight on my territory in Mercury Poison. A bunch of turret greets them, and so does my entire fleet. I suffer some minor losses, but kill the 3 guardians. And most importantly, i dont get any of the reprisal bullshit i would have gotten if i fought in the enemy system.
3:01:24. Tunnel Effect is ours! Time to get that Golem to work. Also there is a Captive Human Settlement, which in my opinion is more of a burden. Now i will really need to defend this system.
3:04:30. A 734-ship CPA is announced in 9 minutes. Well, good. By that time the Botnet will be up, and it will be very hungry.
3:21:40. Repairing the golem took a bit longer than expected. But now it is ready. The CPA has already been deflected, though theres 300 threat sigging Prism Concerto, waiting to get zombified. Once the Golem is powere, i move there.
3:22:56. The test run for the Botnet golem is complete. At 200k damage per shot, any ship the golem hits gets zombified. 100 ships every 4 seconds. Less than a minute to completely zombify a 1000-ship reprisal wave. Well, yeah, this thing is insanely strong, and not only because of zombification effect. Even if it killed units instead of reclaiming, 100 ship kills every 4 seconds is huge.

--- Raiding and Neutering ---

3:41:50. Another fleetwipe occurs when i raid the AI systems to kill the Tachyon posts. While not all of my fleet is destroyed, all of my starships die in Buddha's Stone Bowl, which has an AI Eye and as such only the starships were sent there. Before dying, the starships do destroy the Tachyon Guard Posts, so now my scouting depth should be increased by 2 more hops. Theres also a MKIII reprisal warning, but now it feels more like the AI wants to feed my Botnet.
3:44:28. A 2,468-ship MKI bomber reprisal wave hits Phantom Dinning. Wow, my CPU certainly was not ready for that. Lots of lags, and i think my fleet would get completely wrecked by these bombers if not for a billion friendly zombies and the Botnet zombifying 50 ships every 2 seconds. In the end, my zombie patrols only get an increase in strength thanks to all those bombers.
(http://i.imgur.com/XXCL5n8.jpg)
The state of the galaxy at 3:56:48. The plan is to first pop the DC at Unilateral Contact, then start working towards Tree-Ocean of Hourai to scout further. There is also Pentagram Flight which contains an adv. Starship con, and i will also eventually have to take The World before the exowave hits. And at that point it should be a good idea to take Hallucinogenic Tuning as well.

4:10:58. After a few cleanup raids to Tree-Ocean of Hourai, i finally clear enough guardposts to raid the DC at Unilateral Contact, and also to scout 1 hop further. Sadly, that only yields me the data on 3 more systems. Once that's done, i clear a Widow Golem which i activated somewhere during my raids. I also clear the Regenerator Golem at Pentagram Flight. At that point i decide that MKIV are probably gonna be worth the AIP, so i decide to take it.
4:38:14. I take Pentagram Flight. At this point i have MKIII flagships unlocked, and i intend to unlock Spire Starship with this new knowledge as well. Next i will probably get Siege Starship. Not a fan of the rest. Zenith Starship is focused on killing stuff about i dont care to begin with, bomber Starship is too fast and tends to get too far ahead of the main ball and gets killed, Raid is too specialist, and Neinzul Enclave i usually use defensively, and i have enough defense with those zombies i have.

--- Preparing for the exo-wave

4:42:50. The Exo-wave is at 88%. I guess now is the time to prepare for it. Gotta take The World, kill the gate at Double Score, get some warheads ready, put scouts everywhere, and then hope i dont lose anythine irrelaceable.
4:53:66.  The World is taken, and Double Score has Gate removed. Warheads deployed on Pentagram flight and Tunnel Effect. Most of my force is deployed at The World, with some reserves at Phantom Dinning. Scouts deployed to all bordering systems. The Botnet is on stantby at home. 3 Extra shields added at home. Literally countless zombie ships are patrolling the territory. I would say the outnumber my entire fleet by a factor of 5-10.
5:03:25. A normal wave with 520 tachyon microfighters is about to hit Phantom Dinning. The Botnet is sent to counter it. The exo is at 98%.
Title: Re: Heroes of Skill and Patience 3: K's Personal AI War Blog.
Post by: _K_ on January 28, 2015, 04:37:37 PM
--- Exo-Wave 1 ---

5:05:24. The exo spawns. It is a single group with a H/K, coming from Metal Fatigue. I dispatch the MKII lightning warhead from Home as i still doubt my forces can kill the incoming group fast enough.
5:06:16. The Lightning Warhead pops, giving the AI +2 AIP and dropping the enemy ship count by a hundred or so.
6:06:44. Most of the wave is dead, including 2 MKV Raid Sarships. However, the H/K and one bomber starship manage to bruteforce their way into Home, where they are met by... well lost of things. The Bomber was at 10% HP when entering home, and the H/K was at 50%, so it doesnt take too much time to finish them off. No systems were lost during the invasion, as even the Command Station at the World managed to survive despite losing the shielding. The attack is repelled, and in fact pretty easily, not counting the fact the H/K managed to get through.

So... what now? I decide that the first thing i need to do is take Hallucinogenic Tuning, as it contains an ARS so i'd have to take it anyway, and having a MKIV world on alert sucks. And once that's done i will probably also have to take the ARS at Nightbug Tornado. And from there i should be able to start digging deeper into the uncharted AI territory. Hopefully i wil find the remaining two CoProcessors and the Superterminal. I havent done any hacking so far, so i could milk Supeterminal for huge amounts of AIP reduction. Dragging anchor is controlled by a "Rude gesture" subcommander, so apparently taking it is going to be a pony. It has 2 Ion cannons, a MKII and MKIII, and i would really rather see them under my control than destroyed. So the current plan is to somehow kill the Arachnid Guardpost, and then use my starships to slowly demolish everything else.

--- Dealing with the Rude Gesture Subcommander ---

5:19:33. Refleeting is finally over (it took a while due to MKIV starships costing so much), let's see how the rude gesture AI survives this.
5:21:32. Well, my entire fleet apparently is weaker than this subcommander. There were a bunch of disassembler guardians under the shields that kinda ruined the day for my starships, and my fleetships diet to everything else. Now i have a wave of 8,400 tachyon microfighters incoming.
5:27:15. The massive battle at Red-eyed hypnosis is over. It certainly is a net negative for me, as it used to have a MKV Ion Cannon, and now it doesnt. The bobnet health is down to 70%, and i am not entirely sure if my zombie fleet has grown or shrunk due to all of this. But it does not end here. Apparently, if a planet is not under your control, the reclaim there goes to AI, even if its unowned. So now i have to deal with another 7,000 microfighters coming to Red-eyed hypnosis.
5:30:08. The new wave hits. This time there is no high-priority target, so the carriers just sit at the wormhole and get murdered along with their cargo. It takes a while, but the end result is a growth in my zombie fleet size at pretty much no loss.
Okay, now its time to refleet and go to hallucinogenic tuning, this time with an EMPnuke.

6:13:15. Refleeting takes way longer than intended, mostly because i try not to waste time and have my fleet flying around and clearing AI systems. This ends badly when it suddenly meets the Special Forces, which somehow contains around 250 ships, including 50 riots and 50 spire platforms. This results on partial fleet wipe at Source of Rains.
A bunch of reprisal waves are announced, and there's also a CPA in coming in 10 minutes. My PC is lagging due to all the zombies flying through my systems.
6:33:20. My attack on Hallucinogenic tuning fails. Apparently, it takes me roughly 60 seconds to get to the AI command post, so a MKII EMP warhead does not provide help. 4 AIP wasted, fleet wiped again. Sure, next time i will use a MKIII EMP and a lightning. That huging system is going down.
6:47:16. Refleeting is finally over and i seny my fleet to Source of Rains to bait out and destroy the enemy SF. My previous attack on Hallucinogenic Tuning showed that SF are going to come there if i attack it, and i really dont want to deal with SF over there. Not at their current power level for sure. I grab with me the BotNet, to make sure my attack doesnt end in another disaster.
6:49:00. This is getting really ridiculous. I am forced to retreat from Source of Rains. All of the Disassembler Guardians are destroyed, so most of my starships survive, but the fleetships are all dead, and there is a level3 reprisal warning. The golem is at 50% hp as well. The SF still have roughlt 100 ships, almost purely Riots and Spire Tractors. Welp, time for more refleeting.
6:53:30. The Mining Golems are announced. One is coming to The World, the other is to Metal Fatigue (1 hop away from The World). Should be easy to deal with, and i have more than enough time for it. I wonder if there is another golem going to some system i have not yet scouted.
6:54:26. The new exo-wave is at 50% now.
7:12:31. I finally clear the Special Forces by camping Source of Rains. Now i need to quickly clear the Mining Golem at Metal Fatigue (just in case), and then finally go take Hallucinogenic Tuning.
7:28:20. The MKIII EMP goes in Hallucinogenic Tuning and my fleet follows. 120 seconds certainly is better than 70. By the time the enemy ships lose their stun i have already destroyed all of the Disassembler Guardians, as well as most of other defences built around the command station. There are still many shields to get through, but the enemy ships underneatht he shields at least shouldnt be able to murder my fleet in seconds. While my fleet is hitting the things under the shields, i see enemy SFs coming from behind. Somehow they have rebuilt insanely quickly and now have a bunch of Disassembler Guardians, as well as the usual stuff. I pop the Disassemblers with whats left of my fleet and proceed to focus down the enemy command station. If it goes down, our suffering with this system will be over.
7:30:51. The Command Station is dead, and so is most of my fleet. I will try to escape with the starships, but the way to the friendly system is long and blocked by a bunch of Riot Starships. The AIP is now at 183.
7:39:49. After dealing with the reprisals i clean up Hallucinogenic Tuning and finally build a Command Station there. I get Viral Shredders, which are probably one of the better unlocks due to how hard they can scale. I have made a check earlier and knew the other options were worse.

Now that Hallucinogenic Tuning is finally ours, it is time to thing what's next. Core Shield B and D networks are destroyed and there are plenty of C-network shields in my sight, so it might be a good idea to take a system with one. Probably Source of Rains, as it contains a nice MKV fab and would make my  other systems safer. There's also an Armor Ship design at Royal Flare which i am probably gonna hack, because i love those guys.

I still havent found the AI Homeworlds so i also should start neutering the systems that lead to unknown areas. Specifically, that means fully neutering Buddha's Stone Bowl and Tree-Ocean of Hourai, and probably also clearing the tachyons a few more hops further.

I decide that the first thing to do is clear Royal Flare and Mercury Sea and then hack Royal Flare. Once that's done i can start focusing on exploring further into AI territory.

--- Cleaning up and preparing for a new exo-wave ---

7:58:28. I clear Royal Flare, set up some static turrets, and start the hack. I have no idea how exactly the new hacking works. Does the response attack me immediately or do they come later, when the hack is over? Oh boy oh boy, time to find out.
8:02:00. The reaction is actually a bit underwhelming, so i start doing a knowledge hack in parallel to the design hack.
8:03:27. The Design hack is over. The AI response is still pretty weak, so i pop a second Knowledge hacker to speed up the knowledge gathering. Hopefully this trick doesnt have any negative consequences.
8:07:59. Royal Flare has been robbed blind and the post-hack response has been dealt with. I will keep my turrets for the time being, its always a good idea to have something dealing with AI reinforcements. Meanwhile, the exo is at 87% and i probably should start preparing for its arrival.
8:27:30. The exo-wave is at 98%. My preparations are also almost complete. My fleet is at full power and ready to fight, warheads are deployed to valuable systems, all border AI systems have scouts.

--- Exo-Wave 2 ---

8:28:20. Here it comes. This time the exo seems to be split in many parts. Two parts converge at Pentagram Flight, while another one goes to Phantom Dinning. There is a missile at Tunnel Effect, 1 hop away from Pentagram flight, i immediately send it there. Also there are some of my police units (riots and enclaves), some raid starships and the BotNet. Hopefully that will be enough to defend the system and not lose the starship constructor. The wave at Phantom Dinning is 1 hop away from Home, so my main fleet goes there to quickly destroy it.
(http://i.imgur.com/I8lZ3nY.jpg)
8:29:16. Nope. Not even close. The  zombies and my meager defences are not nearly enough to defend against the AI exo waves. The Warhead comes too late and only clears one wave, and since there are two coming, it doesnt help at all. Meanwhile, my fleet at Phantom Dinning has lost about 30% of its strength and destroyed most of the wave. Some ships have managed to break through to the Home, but they dont have nearly enough DPS to kill anything of value, so instead of pursuing, my fleet is sent to defend Tunnel Effect and retake Pentagram Flight. The forces i have at Pentagram Flight are also ordered to retreat to Tunnel Effect and make their stand there.
8:31:56. Welp, thats it for the wave. The main exo is dead, one small shark wave is also easily killed at home. I really dont want to deal with more of those goddamn waves. Gotta speed up my game progress somehow.

---Clearing the path to unexplored systems---

8:44:30. I begin my raid to the unscouted systems. I go through Royal Flare and manage to get to Stardust Reverie, where i meet some resistance. While clearing said resistance, the damn Special Forces suddenly come from behind and force me to retreat. Luckily, the SF arent large enough yet, so while most of my fleetships get wiped, the starships survive. Survival of high-mark starships is very important as they are not renewable anymore.