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1  Mayhem Intergalactic / General Mayhem / Re: Fog of War & A.I. on: March 25, 2010, 11:18:04 am
The AI does not cheat, and cannot see into the fog of war.

1. I had noticed that, because when I played against 7 comps at the highest level of A.I., and with the fog of war totally removed, I could see that my 7 adversaries started with the same number of ships and did not grow at an abnormal, excessive pace. I like that.

2. Consequently, my future games will have the fog of war totally on for myself. If it is turned off, it does grant me a very unfair advantage : I can see the ship strength of every planet on the map, and since I can perceive incoming attack trajectories, I can too easily prepare myself.

On Wednesday, I played 3 games (random/huge, max. planets, 7 enemies), on average, high & highest, and I won too easily : certainly, in a major part, because of my very unfair no-fog-of-war advantage. I'm certain that I will always win again, because I stockpile ships until I have a big enough armada to overwhelm my neighbours, and a big enough factory-upgrade level to generate a sufficient defensive force per turn (to secure my planet when my offensive armada has left). Since the A.I. don't seem to build enough factories, it won't be able to compete, in the long run. Not having the fog of war turned on will only make me more cautious & patient, but it won't change my factory building and ship stockpiling Strategy.

I prefer to play on vast maps, but I guess that the smaller the map, with the most enemies, the more the probability that very stressful, early threats can increase. I will eventually try that.  
2  Mayhem Intergalactic / General Mayhem / Re: AI Factory Upgrades? on: March 25, 2010, 11:02:04 am
What size map was this? The AI won't upgrade any factories unless it owns at least 3 planets.

A random "huge" map, with 333 planets in the game set-up (but the actual number generated was much lower than that).

3  Mayhem Intergalactic / General Mayhem / Re: Random Map Set-up on: March 25, 2010, 10:57:08 am
The random map generator always places planets in a ring, so that the distance between adjacent starting locations is exactly equal (unless there are rounding errors, but I've never seen that happen). The size of the ring does depend on the map size. You shouldn't be seeing players start so close together. Did you change the ship speed? How many AI players were in the game?

The AI, as you've noticed, is quite stupid; it doesn't do much in the way of strategy. I would like to improve it one day.

1. My very first game was set-up on a "huge" map, against 7 comps, with ship movement defined as "fast". I was located in the NNW position, at a 1-turn distance of a comp located at the North position and at a 2-turn distance of the comp located (below me) at the West position. I'm 100% certain of that, but I don't have a screenshot to illustrate it.

2. Concerning the "stupid" A.I., I find it strange that on the "average" level, my 7 enemies did not build one single factory. In my 2nd game, at the "higher" level, the 7 of them built factories, but some did not build enough. Strangely, in my 3rd game, at the "highest" level, the 7 comps did not build one single factory! I'm not a programmer, but I wonder if it would be so difficult to force the A.I., at the average, high & highest levels to always build factories. If you don't build factories and the surrounding natives keep on growing, it's difficult to overwhelm them with few losses.
4  Mayhem Intergalactic / General Mayhem / Re: AI Factory Upgrades? on: March 25, 2010, 02:31:51 am
On "Higher", they [= the A.I. players] do upgrades.

Yep. It's just one of the behaviours that the AI intelligence slider turns on and off depending on its value.

Are you certain that it happens 100% of the time?

Today, I played my third game, with the latest version of the full game (that I had just purchased), on the highest difficulty level. I won. When I exited the game, the screen indicated that my 7 A.I. enemies had built 0 factory -- all 7 of them! I then checked the options menu, and the slider was effectively set to the extreme right, at the highest level of A.I. "intelligence". Bug?
5  Mayhem Intergalactic / General Mayhem / Re: Introduction thread on: March 24, 2010, 09:20:52 pm
I purchased the game and joined this website on 24 March.

AGE > 59¾  Cry
LOCATION > Eastern Canada (Montreal region)
JOB > Professor of Greek Philosophy

I have been a passionate PC gamer since May 1994, when I started with Master of Orion (on DOS). I now own hundreds of games. That hobby has significantly reduced my intellectual book-reading and research time -- to the point that it has frozen me out of any deep academic career.  Grin

6  Mayhem Intergalactic / General Mayhem / Fog of War & A.I. on: March 24, 2010, 07:52:49 pm
As a beginner who wishes to learn by observing A.I. behavior, I have removed the fog-of-war in the two relevant game-setup options : allowing to see all the ships on the map, and allowing to see A.I. ship movements (very useful to learn that you're going to be attacked in a few turns).

The problem is that I'm already beating the comps too easily, even on the higher difficulty levels. I have this unfair advantage, with no fog of war, of seeing where the comps are weak, and of being warned of their incoming attacks against me.

But if I turn off the two fog-of-war options, am I going to play against computer players which will have the unfair advantage of seeing all the ship locations & movements -- at all times? Such is the case in many computer games : the A.I. players have the unfair benefit of having being granted a permanent God's Eye view of the map. I don't want to win against the comps if I have some unfair advantage, but on the other hand, I don't wish to be defeated by computer players that cheat in a major fashion.

So, my QUESTION is this : Can the computer players (A.I.) see all the ships & movements positioned on the map at all times? (No fog of war & God's Eye view.)

In this type of game, in particular, if one side does not have that advantage when its enemies have it, it becomes a very unfair competition.
7  Mayhem Intergalactic / General Mayhem / Random Map Set-up on: March 24, 2010, 01:31:20 pm
(I just purchased the game, directly from your website, instead of using Steam. Proceeding in that fashion had 2 advantages : my game program would be free from Steam's installation constraints, and your smaller "indie" company would get more revenues. I'm very happy with the ease of processing my credit-card info (no need to use Paypal or Moneybookers accounts, for example), and with the ease of re-obtaining the game's installation file if I need to reinstall.)

I first tried to set-up a random/huge game against 7 comps, but I did not know how many unoccupied "planets" to indicate. I first believed that the random-generation process would create a lot of planets by itself, to automatically fill-up a "huge" map. Consequently, having inserted no number, my very first random "huge" map only had 8 planets (the 8 home-worlds), grouped in a central ring! I then understood that I had to input the number of unoccupied planets. I tried 150 and then 300, but without counting all of them, I had the visual impression that the 300-star map did not contain much more systems than the 150-planet map. I wondered if the "small", "large" & "huge" sizes each had limits of planets they could accommodate.

QUESTIONS > What are the maximums of unoccupied planets we can indicate for the different map sizes? What is the absolute number of planets that the program code allows?

(I suppose that the "huge" size can accommodate the absolute maximum your design & coding allow. I prefer to play on huge maps, so I wish to learn how to play by having a lot of room to expand*, and by being able to watch what many enemy comps do on the "average" level of difficulty.

* PS > Well, what you mean by "huge" does not seem to match the definition of "huge" found in other space-strategy games! I created a random/huge map with 300 unoccupied planets (but I doubt it had 308 systems). The big problem was that my starting position was located at only 1-turn distance from an enemy home-world, and at a 2-turn distance from another enemy! So I got attacked very early. Of course, you can tell me to reduce the number of enemies, but on a so-called "huge" map, I expected that the distances would be greater. May I suggest that you revise your random-map generation algorithm to code-in a minimum distance between the starting positions, depending on the size of the map? A "huge" map should not have enemies so close to each other!

I was attacked after the end of my turn 5, but since I had upgraded my factories and had not attacked anybody (no losses then), the aggressor (an "average" A.I.) lost. But I'm very uncomfortable, as a beginner, to have 2 enemies so close to me. I will eventually restart, with the same parameters (random/huge with 300 unoccupied & 7 average-level comps), until I get a decent starting position. (I have removed the "fog of war" because I wish to learn by perceiving how the comps behave on the normal A.I. setting.) Before restarting, I counter-attacked at my turn 6, evaluating that the enemy had lost most of his ships in his failed attempt. I conquered his home-world! But it did not give me any feeling of satisfaction, since I realized that the comp had lost because it had  executed a risky attack in the context of a game's beginning, when it had few ships. Having an A.I. player set-up so close to another player, on a "huge" map, must open the door to such premature defeats -- if the A.I. tends to make reckless attacks.

I don't like to win by "exploiting" game-program flaws. In this case, the 2 obvious flaws are : starting positions located much too close on a "huge" map, and also, a tendency of the "average" comps to indulge into risky and reckless attacks.

The latter flaw was verified during the subsequent turns, when I observed that the 6 remaining comps were losing too many ships against neutral planets, conquering nothing! (Perhaps that situation was aggravated because I had set the "natives" on the "many" option, granting them a lot of ships to start with.) It is odd that the A.I., on the "average" setting, does not calculate a more prudent and patient strategic plan : instead of wasting its early ships against too-well-defended neutral planets, it should do as I did -- not attack the natives early on, upgrade factories, and amass an overwhelming armada before daring to assault neutral planets.

When I exited the (unfinished) game, I noticed, on the summary screen, that all 7 comps had built 0 factory. That partly explains why they remained so weak. On the hand, they did not upgrade their factories, so they never had sufficient ship-production output. On the other hand, they stubbornly wasted against too strong targets their fresh, small ship productions. I find it strange that you call that difficulty level "average".
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