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Not-AIP-Driven AI-Ship-Unlocks Proposal



--- Quote from: Design Document ---Section 3: Graveyard of Discarded New Ideas
1. Replacement of AI Progress
d. As it stands, making more AI mechanics that are not simply AIP-driven is our goal instead.

--- End quote ---

Keeping that in mind, I'm now butchering my old, cluttered post (Organic Design) to carve out a coherent and self-contained piece of meaty ideas.

The goal is to rework the AI ship-type-unlocks as a not-AIP-driven mechanism.

Here is the old piece.
Spoiler for Hiden:
--- Quote ---The AI has processing power and data. Processing power is the data gained per second. These scores are hidden but can be accessed from within the game.

The AI has 4 Data Centers in the galaxy, each on planets with an Astro Train Station on it (MkIV). When one is destroyed, the AI orders a Special Delivery (See [ Astro Trains ]) to create a new one at a random Astro Train Station (in reach of an exogalactic wormhole). Each Special Delivery also comes with a free fleet (that doesn't count in the exogalactic budget): players aren't advised to destroy Data Centers often.
The 4 Data Centers are all redundant saves; they need to be destroyed before the first Special Delivery arrives for the AI to lose the contained data. If, at any given time, there is no Data Center in the galaxy, the Data score of the AI is reset to zero.

The AI also has several Coprocessors in the galaxy; each have the perk "Quantum Processor". Each AI Home Command Station also have the "Quantum Processor" perk. Every second, the AI gain as much Data point as the number of Quantum Processor in the galaxy (so 2 + the amount of remaining Quantum Processors). Each time that score reaches a fixed, well displayed threshold (not like the current DGLair threshold), the AI gain one new ship design each.

The Human players can only access the current AI Data score if they have a stealth lab or hacker on a planet with either a Coprocessor or a Data Center. So players need to have one in stealth reach and not destroy it; the best thing to do is to carve a tachyon-free path to a Data Center, then wait for the Data score to be near its threshold and destroy the four Data Centers for a maximum data lose with a minimum number of Special Deliveries. The four Data Centers are then redistributed and the players will need to do that again a few hours later.

The AI can order Special Delivery for Coprocessor during the game. If players didn't take them down, this is an increase in processing power; else, it's a recovery. At higher difficulty, the Corpocessor Delivery are more frequent, to the point where players must struggle to not let the processing power raise too high.

Each time the AI get new ship designs, they order a Special Delivery for adding the new Design Backup Servers in the galaxy. As for AI War Classic, destroying one of these or capturing their planet is useless, but it can be hacked for download or corruption.

The Advanced Research Stations are not part of AI R&D but are old Human stations (their name might change to reflect that; "Derelict Science Station"?). TODO: research redirection hacking.
--- End quote ---

The AI has a "processing power" stat that is equal to the number of Home Command Station plus the number of Quantum Computer (new fragile AI structure) in the galaxy. Each AI begins with a number of Quantum Computer and gain a new one every fixed amount of time elapsed. The initial quantity and gain-rate depend on AI difficulty. New ones may be brought by special Astro Trains if they are part of the AI economy.

The AI has a "data" stat that increases by an amount equal to the current processing power. The current amount of data may be either always accessible to the players or only if they have a stealth science lab on a planet with an AI Data Backup Server. There are four Data Backup Servers in the galaxy. Destroying one triggers a respawn timer (or triggers an Astro Train special delivery) and summon a small, one-time, budget-free, Dire Guardian leaded, exogalactic strikeforce. Destroying the fourth before the end of the first's respawn/delivery make the AI loses its data (its score is reset to zero).

When the data score of the AI reaches an fixed, explicit threshold, it is reset to zero and the two AIs gain one new ship design each. Players are advised to kill the four Data Backup Servers when the data score is near the threshold (but not so near in case a bad surprise happens to a Raid Starship).

All ship designs accessible to AIs (except the triangle ships) are stored in Design Backup Servers just like in AI War Classic. They can be hacked for download or corruption. New ones may be brought by special Astro Trains if they are part of the AI economy.

Sorry, pumpkin, I'm going to derail that thread a bit.

Your proposal looks like this, a bit, from the design doc (dunno if you had seen it):

--- Quote ---4.d. AI Evolution and Devolution
Don’t get TOO excited by this, but basically there are a variety of ways we want the AI to get better and/or worse based on your actions.  This helps the game have more of an ongoing flow separate from what is going on with AI Progress itself.

Ship Tech Upgrades On Planet Capture
Whenever you capture a planet from the AI that the AI is losing for the first time ever, a random tech upgrade will be applied to one of their ships.
These are the same sort of techs that you’re able to buy for your own ships, but it’s more of a roulette for the AI.  We will set it up in such a way that it’s always the same order in a given campaign, though, so you can’t game the system by continuously saving and reloading if it rolls something dangerous.

--- End quote ---

I think both idea are very similar, yet, possibly, could try to "complement" each other a bit better.

I have seen it, but I didn't remembered. Thank you for that.

Tech upgrades at each planetary capture is an interesting thing. I bet it will be tweaked in the end, but something along the line sounds fine. But I think it's a bit simplistic. Not that it's bad for a few things to be simplistic, and I think this one is elegantly simplistic. Maybe a bit artificial, but at least easy to grasp. I believe the mechanism for AI-ship-unlocks, however, calls for something more complex; a mechanism with which the players could interact in a more advanced way. The "hit four co-processors at once" and "hunt down data centers" was really fun to do, but it was just tied to diminishing the AIP.

We have a "trigger" mechanism that is fun to do (hunting Co-Pro and DCenters) but with the result only affecting AIP.
We have a "result" mechanism that is interesting (AI unlocking new unit types) but triggered only by AIP.
I saw an interesting opportunity for removing the AIP in the middle and matching them directly.

However, in my reworked suggestion, I took care to no use the names "Data Center" and "Co Processor", because I think reducing AIP an interesting "result" mechanism, and without grander idea than "hunt down things" to match that, I suppose we could have DCenters, CoProc, QComputers, Data Backup Servers and Design Backup Servers all at once in a game.

In order to answer your remark more accurately, I think that AI-upgrade-unlocks and AI-design-unlocks are two interesting and different "result" mechanisms. They sure sound similar. Do they require a common "trigger" mechanism? No. Would they benefit from it? Probably. There is also the Advanced Research Stations that is lying around in the design space (because Human players too need to unlock new ship designs). And maybe AI-upgrade-unlocks and Human-upgrade-unlock could share a similar mechanism (Humans wouldn't spend Knowledge in unlocks, but like the AI, they would... something something...)

For now, I think these two mechanisms (AI-upgrade-unlocks and AI-design-unlocks) are fine: simple "1 for each captured planet" and complex "computing power & data storage". But I'll try to expand that idea if it's popular enough.


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