Arcen Games

Games => AI War Classic => Topic started by: Pumpkin on August 21, 2016, 12:19:25 PM

Title: Missing AI Units
Post by: Pumpkin on August 21, 2016, 12:19:25 PM
I'm in a game where an AI has a Design Backup with the blueprint of the Lightning Torpedo Frigate. However, I never saw it used. (Thankfully.) I came to think that the AI never use Neinzul Enclave Starships (or NCC) or the Protector Starship.

However, I remember seeing AI using Blade Spawners and Tackle Drone Launchers, and "bonus" starships like the Lightning Starship and the Zenith Devastator. Also, the AI may have core fabricators of units it doesn't use (NCC, Protector, etc).

All that sounds very incoherent. I can't wait AIW2 to mod and sort that out.
Anyway. The point I ask answers for is: Am I wrong? Did you saw the AI use one of these units? Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Toranth on August 21, 2016, 06:00:50 PM
I'm in a game where an AI has a Design Backup with the blueprint of the Lightning Torpedo Frigate. However, I never saw it used. (Thankfully.) I came to think that the AI never use Neinzul Enclave Starships (or NCC) or the Protector Starship.

However, I remember seeing AI using Blade Spawners and Tackle Drone Launchers, and "bonus" starships like the Lightning Starship and the Zenith Devastator. Also, the AI may have core fabricators of units it doesn't use (NCC, Protector, etc).

All that sounds very incoherent. I can't wait AIW2 to mod and sort that out.
Anyway. The point I ask answers for is: Am I wrong? Did you saw the AI use one of these units? Thanks in advance.
There are certain units that the AI is restricted in using (they cost much more, and have a much lower pick rate during reinforcements) and there are units that the AI is flat-out banned from using.
The restricted units, like Tackle Drone Launchers, are because they can be a really annoyance in even small numbers, and nearly broken in large numbers.  Can you imagine trying to deal with a group of 1,000 TDLs?  Back in the day, hordes of a few thousand Blade Spawners wasn't too uncommon, and it was Not Fun(tm).
The banned units are similar, but they are broken in even small numbers.  200 Mk V Protector Starships is effectively an indestructible blob of GAME OVER.

On the other hand, the AI has Guardians - like the ones that replicate the Neinzul starships, or Spirecraft, or... well, worse.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Pumpkin on August 21, 2016, 06:31:53 PM
Yeah, sure, that why there are ship caps. Such a shame the AI doesn't play by the rules on that topic, heh?
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: zoutzakje on August 21, 2016, 07:03:38 PM
I remember a time where the Maws were bugged and didn't have the proper cost for the AI. They were spending as little points on them as they would for fighters. Waves of 100-200 Maws 10 minutes in the game were hilarious.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Draco18s on August 22, 2016, 12:10:11 PM
Yeah, sure, that why there are ship caps. Such a shame the AI doesn't play by the rules on that topic, heh?

AI specifically gives now fucks about ship caps. ;)
Ostensibly lower cap ships "cost" it more, but there are certain units (most of the ones with a cap of 5 or fewer) that are worth an infinite number of points for the AI because any quantity larger than the shipcap is fundamentally unwinnable and there's no hard-cap on the AI's resources (think: nukes).
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Pumpkin on August 22, 2016, 01:07:31 PM
So there actually is ships the AI can't use. Shame. I mean, between a four-digit TDL fleet and never use X and Y, I would like to see a middle ground.

Anyway, while my point was to document that on the wiki, is there a way to list these human-only ships?
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Toranth on August 22, 2016, 03:52:59 PM
So there actually is ships the AI can't use. Shame. I mean, between a four-digit TDL fleet and never use X and Y, I would like to see a middle ground.

Anyway, while my point was to document that on the wiki, is there a way to list these human-only ships?
The Protector Starship is the only one I am 100% certain the AI doesn't get as a regular unlock.
I think the LTF is also banned, but I'm not certain.
The Neinzul Starships don't seem to ever be used, but I'm not sure if that was deliberate, or just not done because there were Guardian versions.

TDLs, Maws, Blade Spawners, and all the other really low-cap evil units are available to the AI, but they cost more.  TDLs also belong to a separate category of unit, further reducing the likelihood of being chosen as a reinforcement.

In addition to the reinforcement restrictions, there is also a "Can be used in waves" flag and a Exowave flag.  Those you can see by exporting the unit list from the game - there are also touched up, more readable versions attached somewhere here on the forums.  Just look for the WaveName and EventAttackTier columns - if there isn't a value there, that unit cannot be used for that sort of thing.

Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Cyborg on August 22, 2016, 06:57:01 PM
I remember a time where the Maws were bugged and didn't have the proper cost for the AI. They were spending as little points on them as they would for fighters. Waves of 100-200 Maws 10 minutes in the game were hilarious.

That's what I loved about testing this game. Such an active, good-natured forum while Chris and Keith experimented with different ways of destroying us, some of which were accidental. Maybe. Right?  ;D
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Pumpkin on August 23, 2016, 03:47:21 AM
In addition to the reinforcement restrictions, there is also a "Can be used in waves" flag and a Exowave flag.  Those you can see by exporting the unit list from the game - there are also touched up, more readable versions attached somewhere here on the forums.  Just look for the WaveName and EventAttackTier columns - if there isn't a value there, that unit cannot be used for that sort of thing.
I saw that option only exports units available to Human players. I managed to somewhat circumvent that restriction with the "give me positively everything" cheat, but there are still AI units, for instance, that I wasn't able to get by this way. The F1 key is paramount for wiki work, but sometimes details like these aren't easily available.

Also, still thinking about AIW2, I'm looking for a way to improve that. IMO, AIW's main problem is its learning curve, and its learning curve's main problem is the game incoherency (not complexity... not only complexity). One of my ideas was to move all the ships with cap < 10 as starships. They already have tons of starship immunities. As AI better handle caps with starships (at least it use them without too much abuse), I think it would elegantly solve that problem. They would be "high cap starships" (5 or 8 per mark). (And also make the game much more coherent by respecting its own rule "low cap -> starship / high cap -> fleetship", but that's another story.)

So. Does someone knows the rule for starship restrictions? They are used as reinforcement and in waves but in reasonable quantities. I would be totally okay to have TLD and Blade Spawners at the "starship rarity". Even, maybe, the AI could get 2 cap-5 or 3 cap-8 units where it would normally get 1 cap-2 true starship.

Also, drone spawning starships (Neinzul Starship and NCC) seems to be forbidden for the AI to use. It's strange, IMO, because they seem to be units more useful in the hands of Human players (contrary to, for example, cloaked units which are more dangerous in the hands of the AI). I'm currently in a game where an AI has Sentinel Frigates (could have been Snipers, for that example) and it "cleverly" use them, keeping them in the back while other units charge their prefered targets and the bombers rush for FFields and OCStation. I know there is a "shield basher" flag for units somewhere deep in the game; Senith Siege Engines have the same logic as Bombers, for instance. I bet there is a similar "long range siege" flag (or easily could be one) for Sentinels, Snipers, and potentially AI Neinzul Enclave Starship and NCC. And I would totally be ok with AI (fast/slow) drone spawning units provided the AI doesn't (ab)use them more than starships.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: zoutzakje on August 23, 2016, 04:23:23 AM
turning all low caps fleetships into starships would make the Starship Commander AI type one hell of an opponent I imagine.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Pumpkin on August 23, 2016, 04:40:54 AM
turning all low caps fleetships into starships would make the Starship Commander AI type one hell of an opponent I imagine.
Not if they have a "fair" cost for the AI. Maybe adding a special-special rule enforcing a kind of cap for drone spawner starships for the Starship Commander AI Type (it can use 100 flagships, but no more than 5 TDL, for instance). I never played against that AI Type, I don't know how ridiculous it gets with starships. But I'm sure if everyone agree with the "cap < 10 = Starship" design rule for other reasons (game's coherency, AI "cap", increased ASC desirability, etc), that kind of edge case won't be a true problem.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Timerlane on August 23, 2016, 11:08:55 AM
Can we get an OMD Immunity attribute for them, then? Not only would it change that matchup for the player entering a hostile system, player-controlled OMDs attacking incoming Exos might now start wasting fire on these much weaker 'pseudo-starships', instead of being ready to smash that Spirecraft, Golem, Guardian, etc.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Pumpkin on August 23, 2016, 04:01:14 PM
Can we get an OMD Immunity attribute for them, then? Not only would it change that matchup for the player entering a hostile system, player-controlled OMDs attacking incoming Exos might now start wasting fire on these much weaker 'pseudo-starships', instead of being ready to smash that Spirecraft, Golem, Guardian, etc.
AIW2 modding ability will let us test that kind of things.
More specifically, maybe a "target biggest eligible ship first" would be enough for the OMD logic. I'm not a big fan (read "if I were in charge, I would entirely remove them all >D") of immunities. They tend to blur the game and ruin its coherency (which is already wonky). Ion cannons one-shot small things; OMD one-shot big things. No exceptions.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Kahuna on August 24, 2016, 05:32:12 AM
any quantity larger than the shipcap is fundamentally unwinnable
Zenith Siege Engines..
..a reason to uninstall the game. Or at least disable Ancient Shadows expansion.
Shield Bearers are pretty close to that too.

I mean, between a four-digit TDL fleet and never use X and Y, I would like to see a middle ground.
Aptly put.

turning all low caps fleetships into starships would make the Starship Commander AI type one hell of an opponent I imagine.
Starship AI types are already (almost?) harder than the Raid Engine type.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Pumpkin on August 24, 2016, 05:47:54 AM
Aptly put.
For me, browsing this wiki is like player Pokemon Go. I can find and capture new words!

More seriously.
Kahuna, I would like to hear you opinion on that "cap < 10 = Starship" proposed design rule. As I would like to hear every long-time players' opinions too.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Draco18s on August 24, 2016, 11:02:06 AM
Aptly put.
For me, browsing this wiki is like player Pokemon Go. I can find and capture new words!

I should go in and hide some good ones, like "suzerainty."
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Pumpkin on August 24, 2016, 11:33:32 AM
Aptly put.
For me, browsing this wiki is like player Pokemon Go. I can find and capture new words!

I should go in and hide some good ones, like "suzerainty."
Be careful, there is many words with Latin root that are more common in French than in English. Sometimes, when you see me employ an unusual English word, it might because there is a common French word very close to it. Maybe "manoeuver" is one of them (as in "tactical manoeuver").
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Kahuna on August 24, 2016, 12:14:20 PM
Kahuna, I would like to hear you opinion on that "cap < 10 = Starship" proposed design rule. As I would like to hear every long-time players' opinions too.
That could be good. Then the AI probably wouldn't get so many of those low ship cap fleet ships since it would treat them as starships. But if that was done I think their stats and costs should be updated to make them a bit more like the current starships.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Toranth on August 24, 2016, 01:41:33 PM
Kahuna, I would like to hear you opinion on that "cap < 10 = Starship" proposed design rule. As I would like to hear every long-time players' opinions too.
That could be good. Then the AI probably wouldn't get so many of those low ship cap fleet ships since it would treat them as starships. But if that was done I think their stats and costs should be updated to make them a bit more like the current starships.
Yeah.  Right now, I'd much rather face a a cap of Mk IV Blade Spawners than a cap of Mk IV Flagships, and Flagship is usually one of the least threatening starships.  If all the low-cap ships were buffed to be (cap-for-cap) the same as starships, it'd be interesting... but starships are (sort of) designed to serve a slightly different purpose.

IIRC, Starships all do less damage, but have more hitpoints, than equivalent fleetship caps.  So, they focus on toughness and survivability in a few hulls, at the price of higher Energy and Metal costs.  This is also why they have so many more immunities than fleetships.  If the low-cap fleetships were to become the offensive versions of starships, maybe?  That'd be more rebalancing than otherwise needed, though.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Kahuna on August 24, 2016, 02:01:04 PM
Right now, I'd much rather face a a cap of Mk IV Blade Spawners than a cap of Mk IV Flagships
Yes but because of the way the game works the AI would probably send like 3 or 4 (or more) caps of blade spawners for every capfull of flagships.

IIRC, Starships all do less damage, but have more hitpoints, than equivalent fleetship caps.  So, they focus on toughness and survivability in a few hulls, at the price of higher Energy and Metal costs.  This is also why they have so many more immunities than fleetships.  If the low-cap fleetships were to become the offensive versions of starships, maybe?  That'd be more rebalancing than otherwise needed, though.
Yep I did some math once and I concluded that low-ship-cap-high-health-ships in general are tend to be more effective than swarmers because they have so much health. Swarmers have very little health and every time one is destroyed the overall dps drops. High health ships keep their full cap dps longer so they tend to be more effective. The higher the mark the better.

So in that sense turning low-ship-cap-fleetships into starships and buffing their stats to be more like the current starships would be a bad idea. I guess it would depend on how (or if at all) their stats were changed.
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: tadrinth on August 24, 2016, 07:45:09 PM
By the way, the AI does not get Lightning Torpedo Frigates, but that Design Backup isn't just there for you to hack; if there are Neinzul Hybrid Hives in play, they CAN recruit LTPs as escorts in that case. 
Title: Re: Missing AI Units
Post by: Pumpkin on August 25, 2016, 02:16:29 AM
So in that sense turning low-ship-cap-fleetships into starships and buffing their stats to be more like the current starships would be a bad idea. I guess it would depend on how (or if at all) their stats were changed.
That fleetship / starship balance is interesting. However, there is a niche for long-range, fragile starships: the Neinzul Enclave Starship and NCC. Blade Spawners and TDLs may join that niche with absolutely no rebalance. They are already immune to Ion and reclamation; they would be targetable by OMD (and I feel they already must).

Hm, well, the topic already derailed into "starshipness discussion". Bah, so be it.

Some data:

Cap 5 fleetships:

Cap 8 fleetships:

Just above in the cap ramp, there is the Zenith Siege Engine, at 16, then the next ships are at 19. It's a shame because ZSEngines are largely overused by the AI. Might their stats be doubled and cap halved to pass below the cap-10 bar? But wouldn't that make them too similar to the Plasma Starship? Well, they are a special case.

For the other cap<10 ships, we have 3 drone spawners and 2 swallowers. The Spire Railcluster, Stealth Battleship and Tractor Platform: they seem to align with that low firepower and high survivability; also they have each a very distinct perk that no starship have. For me, they are all good to go in the starship category without more than a few more immunities in exchange for OMD targetability. The Zenith Medic Frigate, while more fragile, still have a special perk no starship have. This one might get increased cost and survivability, but I would also put it in the starship bag without further modifications.

The Zenith Reprocessor, however... Well, I would have better seen that perk at higher cap, somewhere around 25. Or at true starship cap, with a stat-design similar to the Leech. I don't really know what to do with this one.

Anyway, beside the Siege Engine and Reprocessor, what do you guys think of that? 3 drone spawners, 2 swallowers, 3 specialized tanks and the Medic. Sounds like a good addition to the "bonus" starship crew, isn't it?