Some interesting results after heavy tweaking

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Bfriudo
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Postby Bfriudo » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:15 pm

Thanks a lot for your replies. Is there any possibility to see a mod update with units added on those planets? I guess the game will be much more enjoyable as it was trying to set up a hold on Criticorum. Although the latter is hard to conquer until strong units are available, having different rebel presence on different planets adds a great challenge, combined with Li Halan's usual food shortage.
I have a few more questions: the Aliens Ruins seem to be always empty. No units defending and there's always the message prompting the warlock has given us 3 techs, but in the end I see no techs are given away (which is good probably, I think getting 3 free techs per ruin gives a severe advantage over AI houses). Is there some bug with this as well?
I didn't play enough to check whether the AI keeps overbuilding cities as in standard EFS. Does this happen? In relation to this, I was thinking whether it's possible to increase minimum distance between cities by 1 or 2 tiles, but this would make shield generators useless, unless their radius is increased as well (if possible).
I have noticed the game doesn't allow me to move ministry space units on a planet's orbit if other ministries' space units already occupy the space I want to go to, and the unit count for both goes over 20. An example in case I was not clear: my brother was appointed Fleet Commander and started gathering the fleet around the Symbiots. At a certain point, he was not able to move about 15 ships because an Imperial Eye fleet of about 10-15 units was orbiting on the same planet he wanted to move to, and the game prompted "Too many units in the destination area". I don't know if this happened in standard EFS since the Imperial Fleet was quite poor, and the Eye had no fleet at all and just that bunch of forts here and there, and facilities on Byzantium II, and such a case would be hard to see. Is that a new bug for the mod, or is it just something that was there already? And...can one try and fix this?
Thanks for your attention, I will be giving more feedback as soon as I have new data. And thanks for reading this!

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Eightball Maniac
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Postby Eightball Maniac » Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:37 pm

Bfriudo wrote:Thanks a lot for your replies. Is there any possibility to see a mod update with units added on those planets? I guess the game will be much more enjoyable as it was trying to set up a hold on Criticorum. Although the latter is hard to conquer until strong units are available, having different rebel presence on different planets adds a great challenge, combined with Li Halan's usual food shortage.


I can release an updated map to include some rebels on the empty worlds. I'll just need a little time to do so. I'm working on a whole new version of the mod, but that won't see a release for a long time.

Criticorum was meant to be something of a rebel capital planet. Its central location combined with several jump routes connecting to it offered an excellent fortress world opportunity. Its fleet is incredibly dangerous, though perhaps too dangerous for the AI Houses. A hard nut for the player to crack, eventually. I might change the location of the rebel stronghold in the new version so the AI Houses don't keep stumbling over it so frequently.

I have a few more questions: the Aliens Ruins seem to be always empty. No units defending and there's always the message prompting the warlock has given us 3 techs, but in the end I see no techs are given away (which is good probably, I think getting 3 free techs per ruin gives a severe advantage over AI houses). Is there some bug with this as well?


Strange. There's no way to edit what comes out of a ruin that I know of. All I can do is place them on the map. I'll test a bit to see what happens, but they should generally act like regular ruins. Do those work normally for you?

I didn't play enough to check whether the AI keeps overbuilding cities as in standard EFS. Does this happen? In relation to this, I was thinking whether it's possible to increase minimum distance between cities by 1 or 2 tiles, but this would make shield generators useless, unless their radius is increased as well (if possible).


Overbuilding is still possible, but unlikely. The AI doesn't build engineers anywhere near as often in this mod, possibly due to food shortages (as discovered in another thread).

Increasing the minimum distance between cities is possible, though only mines/farms/wells use this currently. Shield generators can have their radius increased as well, via EFS.ini.

I have noticed the game doesn't allow me to move ministry space units on a planet's orbit if other ministries' space units already occupy the space I want to go to, and the unit count for both goes over 20. An example in case I was not clear: my brother was appointed Fleet Commander and started gathering the fleet around the Symbiots. At a certain point, he was not able to move about 15 ships because an Imperial Eye fleet of about 10-15 units was orbiting on the same planet he wanted to move to, and the game prompted "Too many units in the destination area". I don't know if this happened in standard EFS since the Imperial Fleet was quite poor, and the Eye had no fleet at all and just that bunch of forts here and there, and facilities on Byzantium II, and such a case would be hard to see. Is that a new bug for the mod, or is it just something that was there already? And...can one try and fix this?
Thanks for your attention, I will be giving more feedback as soon as I have new data. And thanks for reading this!


This is an EFS problem, I'm afraid. If there's a way to fix it, I am unaware of how it can be done. All I can do to improve the situation is reduce existing fleet strengths, though the AI can still fill up all the slots when it has enough ministry ships to do so. I can reduce the Eye fleet since it doesn't really need one, though it would make the Eye less useful.

Bfriudo
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Postby Bfriudo » Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:07 pm

Standard ruins work as usual. Same garrison types, same treasures guarded. The problem is strictly regarding aliens ruins.
And about the mod, of course I did not just pop here from nowhere demanding a mod update. I would be naturally pleased if I could enjoy one, but that was not meant to be a direct request to you and I don't want to force you to spend more hours on it. It's all up to you! And oh, it's nice to hear you're working on a new one as well.

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Eightball Maniac
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Postby Eightball Maniac » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:22 am

I'll test the alien ruins and see what happens. Which planets did you check the ruins on?

Well, an update to the map would be a wise idea for this version of the mod, since the first release of the revamped mod won't be for well over a year or more. I need to at least add rebels to the empty planets, though I've thought of some other changes that would be useful for this map.

I have no idea when the update will be ready, but I'll post the link in this thread when it is.

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Postby Bfriudo » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:34 pm

I'll be glad to play both mods when time comes then!
About the aliens ruins, the file was overwritten so I can't tell you exactly, but as I was playing Li Halan you can easily try and check the surrounding planets. And, in the new game I'm playing as Hawkwood, I found the old, regular garrison on the first aliens ruins I stumbled upon. It seems it's working. Maybe it was just a rare case of getting multiple equal ruins, I will investigate more.
Another thing that I have noticed, the League doesn't restock on the two Hawkwood starting planets. So far I have never seen a League ship orbiting over Delphi and Ravenna, probably because the Haulers all get killed on the way.
EDIT: the League finally managed to restock. It took them about 30-40 turns but they finally did it.

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Eightball Maniac
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Postby Eightball Maniac » Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:34 am

Are alien ruins still working normally for you? I haven't noticed any problems with them during my tests.

The League may or may not restock your planets on a regular basis. It depends on what wars they may be waging (to an extent), what hostile ships might be along their route (Symbiot fleets), and random chance. Sometimes the League will constantly send ships for a century straight, other times they'll rarely show up.

The League has a lot of extra ships in my maps, both transports and warships. At least in my experience, they resupply worlds far more regularly than in vanilla and often include some escorts (which I never saw happen in vanilla) to protect them. Plus, the League haulers are a lot more difficult to destroy than regular transports.

I might give them even more transports, at least to test.
---------------------

In other news, the updated map is largely finished beyond some tweaking, but I still have a lot of testing to do.

I've been reducing the initial difficulty a bit in terms of food and firebirds so that the early game isn't so hard for less experienced players, but I'm not sure this is the way to go. Once you managed to get past that particular hurdle you generally had more food and firebirds than you could actually use. I'm afraid the situation will get worse if I reduce that. Any thoughts on this issue?

Besides the empty planets getting the rebel presence they should have had in the first place, I've been doing a lot of other map tweaking. Houses all have territory on four planets at start: their homeworlds and colonies as seen in the original version of the map, as well as small outposts on two border worlds. These border worlds also have similar outposts from the neighbor house.

For example, Malignatius has a Decados outpost and a Li Halan outpost, as that planet lies on the border between those two houses. From there, both houses can compete for territory on Malignatius as usual. These outposts are meant to offer additional possibilities for instigating war and less secure places to defend when at war. In the early game the surplus resources from these worlds can be a great benefit to the homeworld.

Beyond the map I've been adjusting the units and tech tree in various ways.
- All tech costs have been reduced. It doesn't take as long to research and the AI won't offer absurd amounts of firebirds for low end technology. An additional result is that the AI will actually hold onto the tech it researches/receives instead of losing it due to insufficient labs (though this will still happen if it loses labs).

- Direwolf heavy tanks can actually be built now! I had the wrong value for prerequisite techs before, so it never appeared in the applied tech area for researching.

- Pitbull battle tanks can now be built much sooner. Before you generally didn't see them available until after hovertech.

- Naval units can no longer be built. The AI focused most of its industry in building these largely useless units, which just didn't end well. I might change this later, but for now it is one less headache to worry about. Naval transports can still be built as normal so you can build sea wells. Towed Array technology has been removed, as only Nova hunter-killer subs used it.

- Engineers no longer require 100 food to build, but they require more metal (150). The AI is more likely to build them now while food is scarce. I might boost the metal requirement to 200 or use a second resource, but this seems to work for now. (Thanks to Madrigal for figuring this out!)

- Ranged space power is greatly reduced. While still powerful in fleets, individual ships can't decimate entire stacks in a single turn (though might kill 1-2 units).

- Symbiots are being adjusted. I'm hoping to reduce the chance that they'll rout instead of being destroyed so they can't be captured, but this may not be fully possible. I still suggest disbanding routed Symbiots that you might capture for some extra challenge, but play how you want.

I think that about covers it. After some more testing I'll post the update, but that may not be for a while yet.

Thoughts? Comments?

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Postby Bfriudo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:01 pm

Eightball Maniac wrote:Are alien ruins still working normally for you? I haven't noticed any problems with them during my tests.


Yes, things are running smooth with such Ruins. I'll keep an eye on them but it seems all's well.

Eightball Maniac wrote:The League may or may not restock your planets on a regular basis. It depends on what wars they may be waging (to an extent), what hostile ships might be along their route (Symbiot fleets), and random chance. Sometimes the League will constantly send ships for a century straight, other times they'll rarely show up. The League has a lot of extra ships in my maps, both transports and warships. At least in my experience, they resupply worlds far more regularly than in vanilla and often include some escorts (which I never saw happen in vanilla) to protect them. Plus, the League haulers are a lot more difficult to destroy than regular transports.

I might give them even more transports, at least to test.


Your effort on League behavior is much appreciated. They do restock more frequently, and yes, I have seen some Haulers with small escorts on the way as well. I thought they were somewhat stuck with restocking, but they still do it, albeit not regularly, which seems very good to me. They are dependant on wars and such, and that's not a bad thing at all.


Eightball Maniac wrote:In other news, the updated map is largely finished beyond some tweaking, but I still have a lot of testing to do.

I've been reducing the initial difficulty a bit in terms of food and firebirds so that the early game isn't so hard for less experienced players, but I'm not sure this is the way to go. Once you managed to get past that particular hurdle you generally had more food and firebirds than you could actually use. I'm afraid the situation will get worse if I reduce that. Any thoughts on this issue?


I agree with you, this might not be the way to go. I think less experienced players would enjoy the starting challenge anyway, and if you ask, I don't think there are many unexperienced EFS players around. After all these years, most EFS players are die-hard fans who know the game dynamics well enough to manage. I personally enjoyed that first part of the game very much, and so did my brother. Food is not a big issue after some time, except for some planets like Delphi, but firebirds can still be a problem, depending on labs and on how the player behaves. I don't sell maps to the Vau, nor I sell tech to the AI for money, though I might exchange a tech for another. Sum this with having 5-6 labs and one can still have trouble managing FBs. I have lost a couple of techs along the way as well, mostly due to distractions, but still. One might think of tweaking more with maintenance costs to keep FBs low, as long as this does not put the AI into trouble.

Eightball Maniac wrote:Besides the empty planets getting the rebel presence they should have had in the first place, I've been doing a lot of other map tweaking. Houses all have territory on four planets at start: their homeworlds and colonies as seen in the original version of the map, as well as small outposts on two border worlds. These border worlds also have similar outposts from the neighbor house.

For example, Malignatius has a Decados outpost and a Li Halan outpost, as that planet lies on the border between those two houses. From there, both houses can compete for territory on Malignatius as usual. These outposts are meant to offer additional possibilities for instigating war and less secure places to defend when at war. In the early game the surplus resources from these worlds can be a great benefit to the homeworld.


Sounds good to me. I had a hard time getting rid of Decados and local rebels in Bannockburn with Hawkwood's starting units in there since I chose to leave those troops there and not link them with the main army, and having such interactions benefits the game. My only doubt concerns the quantity of starting planets, 4 might be a little too much, but of course this will need testing, I'm not saying this is bad a priori.

Eightball Maniac wrote:Beyond the map I've been adjusting the units and tech tree in various ways.
- All tech costs have been reduced. It doesn't take as long to research and the AI won't offer absurd amounts of firebirds for low end technology. An additional result is that the AI will actually hold onto the tech it researches/receives instead of losing it due to insufficient labs (though this will still happen if it loses labs).


Taking long to research was not so bad, I think. It gives the feeling of getting out of a "fading" and decadent lifestyle that led to regress of Houses. But, if this helps the AI like you say, it's a very welcome tweak.

Eightball Maniac wrote:- Direwolf heavy tanks can actually be built now! I had the wrong value for prerequisite techs before, so it never appeared in the applied tech area for researching.


I didn't manage to get to Direwolves yet, but I was building Howlers and CQB tanks. I don't know if you meant to make Direwolves appear sooner than those. Good job anyway, I was not seeing them around. Oh, and I noticed Direwolves use Trackers' icon. Is it a mistake or did you use the old tank icon for something else? It's quite weird to see a tank look like an infantry unit. And, is it still possible to train Trackers? Although they were quite cheap (maybe too much) as spotters/explorers, one can re-insert them with different skills. A sort of sniper-like unit, for example, with good close accuracy (maybe direct as well?), low strength, moderate agility/camo, standard 4 move points and such.

Eightball Maniac wrote:- Pitbull battle tanks can now be built much sooner. Before you generally didn't see them available until after hovertech.


Sounds good. As I just said, I was building Howlers, CQBs, standard PTS weapons and no Pitbull yet. Being an upgraded version of Meds, you did good letting them be built sooner.

Eightball Maniac wrote:- Naval units can no longer be built. The AI focused most of its industry in building these largely useless units, which just didn't end well. I might change this later, but for now it is one less headache to worry about. Naval transports can still be built as normal so you can build sea wells. Towed Array technology has been removed, as only Nova hunter-killer subs used it.


This is very good. AI wastes lots of resources for ships, and you end up hunting destroyers on rivers and towns and sending Gunships against subs. And it was sort of odd to have the possibility of building destroyers on Farms. I hardly needeed a naval fleet and so did most of EFS players I guess. I don't know if this can free up any unit slot for completely new units, but if it does, it's one more great thing. And, besides, it allows to re-invent the Gunship unit and turn it to some kind of modern Helicopter. We might think of it, for example, as an air unit with lower speed and agility than airplanes, and maybe a good close ability, to make them different from Fighters/Dives/Strats.

Eightball Maniac wrote:- Engineers no longer require 100 food to build, but they require more metal (150). The AI is more likely to build them now while food is scarce. I might boost the metal requirement to 200 or use a second resource, but this seems to work for now. (Thanks to Madrigal for figuring this out!)


This is good as well. Although using up food for engineers was a good idea (and it's the right choice for a PBEM in my opinion) , it hampers the AI too much. I bought a map from the al-Malik after about 40-60 turns and it showed up a pretty low colonized Istakhr. I hope this will not lead to the old overbuilding issue, but I guess we'll have to play and see what happens. Energy and trace are perfect candidates as new resources, maybe both of them? Dunno.

Eightball Maniac wrote:- Ranged space power is greatly reduced. While still powerful in fleets, individual ships can't decimate entire stacks in a single turn (though might kill 1-2 units).


Good idea. I noticed very high acc/str ranged stats, and I had a hard time taking out a lonely Decados Dreadnought. We'll see what happens, but doesn't seem a bad idea to me.

Eightball Maniac wrote:- Symbiots are being adjusted. I'm hoping to reduce the chance that they'll rout instead of being destroyed so they can't be captured, but this may not be fully possible. I still suggest disbanding routed Symbiots that you might capture for some extra challenge, but play how you want.


I pray you can manage to do this since I noticed they rout too often. I am disbanding any captured one, but one might even not capture them and let them fight again, though this slows things down. I strongly suggest not to capture them since you'd get a too strong army in a single turn and with no expenses. It would turn the tides in the player's favor too much.

Eightball Maniac wrote:I think that about covers it. After some more testing I'll post the update, but that may not be for a while yet.

Thoughts? Comments?


Take your time, you are doing a huge work, and we appreciate it so much. I hope my thoughts will be of help.

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Postby Madrigal » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:24 pm

Thanks Eightball for your additional work.

I had worked also on a mod and came to new conclusions and discoveries about the AI issues that I'll share soon. Then I think I'll move to others projects, as EFS AI is really not top notch (and this is an understatement!).


March 16 edits:

Engineers should not cost trace or energy in my opinion. The only safe currency is metal, because metal is not used by industries but only by units. This mean you don't have any upkeep in metal, never! Contrary to say trace that can be sucked dry if your cities are using up more than you produce... So here you would be back to the food problem.

As for the starting position, I came to a conclusion rather divergent that you... For the AI to play correctly, its industrial base should be in good shape, meaning it can produce resources correctly without shortage. Also, its 'power base', i.e the starting location on its home planet should be a safe haven, so it has room to expand without being trashed. But I'm starting to digress, more when I create my own thread ;)

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Postby Bfriudo » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:26 pm

Madrigal wrote:Engineers should not cost trace or energy in my opinion. The only safe currency is metal, because metal is not used by industries but only by units. This mean you don't have any upkeep in metal, never! Contrary to say trace that can be sucked dry if your cities are using up more than you produce... So here you would be back to the food problem.


This makes sense. Adding up any other resource might make the AI economy collapse and won't solve the problem.

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Postby Eightball Maniac » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:09 am

Bfriudo wrote:Yes, things are running smooth with such Ruins. I'll keep an eye on them but it seems all's well.


I've actually run into that same problem in my test run, though later in the game. At first the warlock actually gave me techs (at least the one I was researching at the time), but later I didn't seem to be getting any techs. Apparently all alien ruins begin doing that if you are in last place tech-wise (and way behind), which won't happen until later in the game. Early on the alien ruins work similarly to standard ruins.

I've no way to change what happens (like removing the warlock thing entirely), so if you really want to check out the alien ruins you'd better do it early in the game or stay up to date with tech, though I'm not sure if this prevents the warlock.

Bfriudo wrote:Your effort on League behavior is much appreciated. They do restock more frequently, and yes, I have seen some Haulers with small escorts on the way as well. I thought they were somewhat stuck with restocking, but they still do it, albeit not regularly, which seems very good to me. They are dependant on wars and such, and that's not a bad thing at all.


I like seeing the League more active. Their warships were doing quite a bit of damage when Third Republic was declared in my current game. It's a shame they don't seem to send troops to other worlds. I might need to add a few League forts/factories to certain worlds so they can build up some forces locally, perhaps around Agoras.

Bfriudo wrote:I agree with you, this might not be the way to go. I think less experienced players would enjoy the starting challenge anyway, and if you ask, I don't think there are many unexperienced EFS players around. After all these years, most EFS players are die-hard fans who know the game dynamics well enough to manage. I personally enjoyed that first part of the game very much, and so did my brother. Food is not a big issue after some time, except for some planets like Delphi, but firebirds can still be a problem, depending on labs and on how the player behaves. I don't sell maps to the Vau, nor I sell tech to the AI for money, though I might exchange a tech for another. Sum this with having 5-6 labs and one can still have trouble managing FBs. I have lost a couple of techs along the way as well, mostly due to distractions, but still. One might think of tweaking more with maintenance costs to keep FBs low, as long as this does not put the AI into trouble.


Reducing the food/firebird problem is definitely not the way to go. After some initial trouble the problem almost went away entirely; I had absurd amounts of income for both food and firebirds. I'll change it back to the old way.

I noticed that other resources also started building to huge stockpiles, namely energy and trace, though other natural resources can do the same. Certain heavily industrialized worlds will usually eat through whatever energy and trace is produced locally, requiring shipments from other worlds (a good thing), but worlds without such industry had incredible stockpiles. I might start adjusting those as well, but am not certain yet. Thoughts?

Bfriudo wrote:Sounds good to me. I had a hard time getting rid of Decados and local rebels in Bannockburn with Hawkwood's starting units in there since I chose to leave those troops there and not link them with the main army, and having such interactions benefits the game. My only doubt concerns the quantity of starting planets, 4 might be a little too much, but of course this will need testing, I'm not saying this is bad a priori.


While it does seem a lot to start with, the AI seems to spread more quickly and start invading other worlds. This was only the first test, though.

The outposts start with three cities and a modest garrison. Certain outpost planets are more dangerous than others, but whatever AI you share a planet with will quickly start hammering your garrison after 20-30 turns, with raids occurring much sooner. I eventually lost one of my outposts due to an AI fleet obliterating any vehicles I had built, with an assault being launched on my infantry (immune to bombardment) later on.

My other outpost fell under heavy attack later in the game after war was declared over my refusal to vote for another house. I barely managed to hold onto a single city until reinforcements could start arriving, but even then the attacks kept coming until I had enough troops scraped together for a counterattack.

It didn't help that every enemy PTS unit in the area opened fire on my early landing attempts, wiping out the reinforcements I tried to land (and the valuable landers I couldn't replace). Eventually I managed to find a lightly defended area to land in, marking the turning point of the battle.

Bfriudo wrote:Taking long to research was not so bad, I think. It gives the feeling of getting out of a "fading" and decadent lifestyle that led to regress of Houses. But, if this helps the AI like you say, it's a very welcome tweak.


The AI has been doing significantly better in this test game. They held onto their tech and kept researching, quickly leaving me in the dust. They build lots of labs, so the changes seemed to be what they needed. I only built five labs and captured a few others, so I had to work harder for my tech. Lots of fun to fight fleets of enemy cruisers and dreadnoughts with frigates, fighters, torpedo bombers, and carriers.

I suggest that players limit the number of labs they build, increasing the time it takes to research. This gives the AI another advantage (if you don't raid their labs).

Bfriudo wrote:I didn't manage to get to Direwolves yet, but I was building Howlers and CQB tanks. I don't know if you meant to make Direwolves appear sooner than those. Good job anyway, I was not seeing them around. Oh, and I noticed Direwolves use Trackers' icon. Is it a mistake or did you use the old tank icon for something else? It's quite weird to see a tank look like an infantry unit. And, is it still possible to train Trackers? Although they were quite cheap (maybe too much) as spotters/explorers, one can re-insert them with different skills. A sort of sniper-like unit, for example, with good close accuracy (maybe direct as well?), low strength, moderate agility/camo, standard 4 move points and such.


Direwolves are meant to come after Howlers and Grim Reapers (CQB tanks), so seeing those first is normal.

The icon thing is due to Nova's change of the Heavy Tank Killer (Direwolf) into a slot for the Tracker Legion, which is originally in a sub slot of the Militia Legion. I actually replaced Nova's altered icons with the original icons in my own install, so I see the Direwolves as normal.

I'll have to fix that in the next release, though it also means the Genetic Warrior Legion is also returned to its original icon (Wraith cloak tank). I haven't looked into changing the bin files to alter the icons yet, and I'm not sure if I'll bother.

Does anyone actually use the Genetic Warrior Legion? I placed a few on the currently released map (Decados starts with some), and you're able to build more with the right research. I just don't use them due to their fairly mediocre stats (besides armor). They move as fast as Powered Armor Legions, but only have a modest close range attack. I'm more in favor of switching that slot back to the Wraith, though the icon for that is pretty bland. Thoughts?

Bfriudo wrote:Sounds good. As I just said, I was building Howlers, CQBs, standard PTS weapons and no Pitbull yet. Being an upgraded version of Meds, you did good letting them be built sooner.


Indeed. You'll now see them not long after Heavy Infantry, which makes a lot more sense.

Bfriudo wrote:This is very good. AI wastes lots of resources for ships, and you end up hunting destroyers on rivers and towns and sending Gunships against subs. And it was sort of odd to have the possibility of building destroyers on Farms. I hardly needeed a naval fleet and so did most of EFS players I guess. I don't know if this can free up any unit slot for completely new units, but if it does, it's one more great thing. And, besides, it allows to re-invent the Gunship unit and turn it to some kind of modern Helicopter. We might think of it, for example, as an air unit with lower speed and agility than airplanes, and maybe a good close ability, to make them different from Fighters/Dives/Strats.


That's exactly how I've changed the Gunship. Instead of being a sub killer as in Nova, it's a ground support unit with heavier armor than other aircraft, less move points and agility, and some decent firepower. It's vulnerable to other aircraft (weak Air damage), though.

Regarding the navy, the AI is far more potent when it can't waste time on ships. They've built tanks, aircraft, and whatever advanced units they can get from research. A far more interesting experience, I must say!

Bfriudo wrote:This is good as well. Although using up food for engineers was a good idea (and it's the right choice for a PBEM in my opinion) , it hampers the AI too much. I bought a map from the al-Malik after about 40-60 turns and it showed up a pretty low colonized Istakhr. I hope this will not lead to the old overbuilding issue, but I guess we'll have to play and see what happens. Energy and trace are perfect candidates as new resources, maybe both of them? Dunno.


I've seen the overbuilding issue start happening in this test run, but it mostly started getting ugly once I got closer to the year 5200. I'm going to boost the metal requirement to 200 (250?) and increase the build time to 6 turns to see what happens. I may also look into adding a radius (seen on farms/wells/mines) to some of the other cities to reduce the amount that can be built, though this may not end well.

Bfriudo wrote:Good idea. I noticed very high acc/str ranged stats, and I had a hard time taking out a lonely Decados Dreadnought. We'll see what happens, but doesn't seem a bad idea to me.


I reduced some of the accuracy as well, but the reduced damage has helped greatly. A single ship (even a dreadnought) can no longer inflict massive damage in a single turn. An elite cruiser or dreadnought might kill 3 units in a single turn, though this is mainly against basic tanks and aircraft. More heavily armored units are harder to kill without a large bombardment fleet.

Bfriudo wrote:I pray you can manage to do this since I noticed they rout too often. I am disbanding any captured one, but one might even not capture them and let them fight again, though this slows things down. I strongly suggest not to capture them since you'd get a too strong army in a single turn and with no expenses. It would turn the tides in the player's favor too much.


I haven't actually seen much of the Symbiots in this test game (playing as Hazat), so I can't comment on how things have changed yet. I'd consider adding upkeep to the Symbiot units if the AI didn't capture them, too.

Bfriudo wrote:Take your time, you are doing a huge work, and we appreciate it so much. I hope my thoughts will be of help.


Thanks for your patience! Also thanks to all who have offered feedback, as it's greatly helped me improve the mod. Keep it coming!

Madrigal wrote:March 16 edits:

Engineers should not cost trace or energy in my opinion. The only safe currency is metal, because metal is not used by industries but only by units. This mean you don't have any upkeep in metal, never! Contrary to say trace that can be sucked dry if your cities are using up more than you produce... So here you would be back to the food problem.


Agreed, though I've been considering the use of metal in the creation of Ceramsteel. I'll need to do some testing.

Madrigal wrote:As for the starting position, I came to a conclusion rather divergent that you... For the AI to play correctly, its industrial base should be in good shape, meaning it can produce resources correctly without shortage. Also, its 'power base', i.e the starting location on its home planet should be a safe haven, so it has room to expand without being trashed. But I'm starting to digress, more when I create my own thread


The AI actually does quite well when engineers don't need food to build. In my current test game they've wiped out opposition on their starting planets, built massive industries (getting all resource types), spread to other worlds, researched most of the tech tree and built the units gained from that. I'm quite happy with how things are going.

Let us know how the AI does with your own mod. I'm looking forward to seeing what you've come up with! 8)

Bfriudo
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Postby Bfriudo » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:54 pm

Eightball Maniac wrote:I've actually run into that same problem in my test run, though later in the game. At first the warlock actually gave me techs (at least the one I was researching at the time), but later I didn't seem to be getting any techs. Apparently all alien ruins begin doing that if you are in last place tech-wise (and way behind), which won't happen until later in the game. Early on the alien ruins work similarly to standard ruins.

I've no way to change what happens (like removing the warlock thing entirely), so if you really want to check out the alien ruins you'd better do it early in the game or stay up to date with tech, though I'm not sure if this prevents the warlock.


It's ok, I guess we have to live with what's hard coded into the game. Not a big deal anyway, Aliens Ruins are good for the challenge.

Eightball Maniac wrote:I like seeing the League more active. Their warships were doing quite a bit of damage when Third Republic was declared in my current game. It's a shame they don't seem to send troops to other worlds. I might need to add a few League forts/factories to certain worlds so they can build up some forces locally, perhaps around Agoras.


This makes sense. They should have a self-sufficient, though not too big, such garrison on the planets they have an agora on, so they have a less marginal role in the game. How about Leagueheim? Are the sceptors well defended? And what about Holy Terra? Do you think the freed up slots from ships can be used for unique units to give them better chance to survive (and to try to get their votes through diplomacy rather than sheer strength?)?

Eightball Maniac wrote:Reducing the food/firebird problem is definitely not the way to go. After some initial trouble the problem almost went away entirely; I had absurd amounts of income for both food and firebirds. I'll change it back to the old way.

I noticed that other resources also started building to huge stockpiles, namely energy and trace, though other natural resources can do the same. Certain heavily industrialized worlds will usually eat through whatever energy and trace is produced locally, requiring shipments from other worlds (a good thing), but worlds without such industry had incredible stockpiles. I might start adjusting those as well, but am not certain yet. Thoughts?


Some planets seem way more self-sufficient, and I agree with you, shipping resources adds depth to the game, and might push the player to research cheap space transports once the planets requiring shipments increase. Maybe you could try and reduce the raw resources on planets that seem too rich, to avoid huge stockpiling. I didn't play enough to see biochems and wetware getting involved; did you experience stockpiling in there as well? And what about singularities and/or gems? If those get easily stockpiled, you could increase their usage per unit, or increase their production requirements. I see the latter solution will probably lead you to a huge reverse work, having to modify raw resources available on every single planet, so probably the fastest solution is increasing the required resources per unit.

Eightball Maniac wrote:While it does seem a lot to start with, the AI seems to spread more quickly and start invading other worlds. This was only the first test, though.

The outposts start with three cities and a modest garrison. Certain outpost planets are more dangerous than others, but whatever AI you share a planet with will quickly start hammering your garrison after 20-30 turns, with raids occurring much sooner. I eventually lost one of my outposts due to an AI fleet obliterating any vehicles I had built, with an assault being launched on my infantry (immune to bombardment) later on.

My other outpost fell under heavy attack later in the game after war was declared over my refusal to vote for another house. I barely managed to hold onto a single city until reinforcements could start arriving, but even then the attacks kept coming until I had enough troops scraped together for a counterattack.

It didn't help that every enemy PTS unit in the area opened fire on my early landing attempts, wiping out the reinforcements I tried to land (and the valuable landers I couldn't replace). Eventually I managed to find a lightly defended area to land in, marking the turning point of the battle.



Allright, the way you paint it seems very interesting. It was only a small concern of mine.


Eightball Maniac wrote:The AI has been doing significantly better in this test game. They held onto their tech and kept researching, quickly leaving me in the dust. They build lots of labs, so the changes seemed to be what they needed. I only built five labs and captured a few others, so I had to work harder for my tech. Lots of fun to fight fleets of enemy cruisers and dreadnoughts with frigates, fighters, torpedo bombers, and carriers.

I suggest that players limit the number of labs they build, increasing the time it takes to research. This gives the AI another advantage (if you don't raid their labs).


That's exaclty what I was thinking to do: I will reduce the number of labs I build, so to keep a slower pace. And good the AI builds vehicles instead of ships, there'll be more to fight on the ground. And I had to build non-jump units as well to guard the space, since the starting fleet thinned to a couple of bombers after heavy fights. I think I'd have researched carriers soon as well, to gain an agility bonus. This makes units valuable and worth researching, rather than just following the old pattern non jump-space fighter-space destroyer-cruiser-then all the rest.


Eightball Maniac wrote:The icon thing is due to Nova's change of the Heavy Tank Killer (Direwolf) into a slot for the Tracker Legion, which is originally in a sub slot of the Militia Legion. I actually replaced Nova's altered icons with the original icons in my own install, so I see the Direwolves as normal.

I'll have to fix that in the next release, though it also means the Genetic Warrior Legion is also returned to its original icon (Wraith cloak tank). I haven't looked into changing the bin files to alter the icons yet, and I'm not sure if I'll bother.


Well I hope you will! :) I'm no good at doing all this, though I might learn how to. Or, you could share your own install so that one problem is solved.

Eightball Maniac wrote:Does anyone actually use the Genetic Warrior Legion? I placed a few on the currently released map (Decados starts with some), and you're able to build more with the right research. I just don't use them due to their fairly mediocre stats (besides armor). They move as fast as Powered Armor Legions, but only have a modest close range attack. I'm more in favor of switching that slot back to the Wraith, though the icon for that is pretty bland. Thoughts?


I see they might be used as strong meat shields due to low rank, but didn't play enough to see them on the field, so I can't say much about them. But I see one would produce some more fight-oriented advanced infantry (cyborgs, shock legions) at a certain point of the game, rather than investing resources on such genetic units. But still, the gen warrior is a nice unit I'd be sad to lose, "aesthetically" speaking. What about having both gens (maybe tweaking them a little) and cloaking tanks (as a weaker but hard to spot unit)?

Eightball Maniac wrote:That's exactly how I've changed the Gunship. Instead of being a sub killer as in Nova, it's a ground support unit with heavier armor than other aircraft, less move points and agility, and some decent firepower. It's vulnerable to other aircraft (weak Air damage), though.


Seems we both had the same idea; that's what I was imagining. Good to know we share some common views! :)

Eightball Maniac wrote:I've seen the overbuilding issue start happening in this test run, but it mostly started getting ugly once I got closer to the year 5200. I'm going to boost the metal requirement to 200 (250?) and increase the build time to 6 turns to see what happens. I may also look into adding a radius (seen on farms/wells/mines) to some of the other cities to reduce the amount that can be built, though this may not end well.


Adding radius reeks of future problems concerning the AI...I don't know how to explain this technically, that's just something I suspect, having first met this AI years ago, I expect trouble whenever something "radical" is changed. It's time-consuming, but the radius idea might be worth a try on some cities. I'd suggest not to add it to cities that are usually found around shields, so not to compromise this as well, but this, as well, seems difficult.

Eightball Maniac wrote:I've been considering the use of metal in the creation of Ceramsteel. I'll need to do some testing.


Nice idea. Really worth testing.


In conclusion, I apologize for my late answer. Since I have moved to a new house and I'm living alone, I don't have a PC, nor an internet connection yet, so I have to come at ma's and see what happens in here. I will still be checking from time to time.

beetlecat
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Yay!

Postby beetlecat » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:37 pm

I was just taking a break from some other work -- and happened to stumble on a screenshot of EFS. This, of course, made me think back to the still-modding community and I checked in here to see what was up.

I'm very interested in the progress of your new mod (can't wait to hear what you call it!) as well as the status of EFS modding in general.

I'll keep checking back!

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Eightball Maniac
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Postby Eightball Maniac » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:05 am

See below:

Bfriudo wrote:This makes sense. They should have a self-sufficient, though not too big, such garrison on the planets they have an agora on, so they have a less marginal role in the game. How about Leagueheim? Are the sceptors well defended? And what about Holy Terra? Do you think the freed up slots from ships can be used for unique units to give them better chance to survive (and to try to get their votes through diplomacy rather than sheer strength?)?


I haven't looked at Leagueheim or Holy Terra in a long while. Both are due for some work. Scepters might not currently be heavily defended, but keep in mind that scepter locations are a 'take and hold' deal. Scepters cannot be moved, so you'll have to be able to weather enemy counterattacks to hold onto them.

I could use the ship slots for other units, though I think I'd prefer to use them for existing units like Heavy Infantry so they can have their own icon. I haven't decided to do this yet, though.

Some planets seem way more self-sufficient, and I agree with you, shipping resources adds depth to the game, and might push the player to research cheap space transports once the planets requiring shipments increase. Maybe you could try and reduce the raw resources on planets that seem too rich, to avoid huge stockpiling. I didn't play enough to see biochems and wetware getting involved; did you experience stockpiling in there as well? And what about singularities and/or gems? If those get easily stockpiled, you could increase their usage per unit, or increase their production requirements. I see the latter solution will probably lead you to a huge reverse work, having to modify raw resources available on every single planet, so probably the fastest solution is increasing the required resources per unit.


I've already removed some of the resources from certain planets, particularly some of the abundant resource locations. It helps a bit, though I'd also like to increase resource requirements for producing other resources.

Energy usage has been increased to 20 across the board, though this might raise further.

Biochems and Wetware have the ability to increase to huge stockpiles, since neither are used too frequently until you have late game units and choose to build them. I might reduce the output of those two.

Singularities and Gems can also reach large stockpiles if they aren't used for anything. Singularities are only used in the construction of jump-capable starships, so until you have that tech they will just keep piling up. I'll probably vastly increase the requirements for Singularities, if the AI doesn't choke. Gems are only used for producing Singularities and hiring mercenaries, though they make a handy resource to sell to the League when you need firebirds.

I'm experimenting with it.

That's exaclty what I was thinking to do: I will reduce the number of labs I build, so to keep a slower pace. And good the AI builds vehicles instead of ships, there'll be more to fight on the ground. And I had to build non-jump units as well to guard the space, since the starting fleet thinned to a couple of bombers after heavy fights. I think I'd have researched carriers soon as well, to gain an agility bonus. This makes units valuable and worth researching, rather than just following the old pattern non jump-space fighter-space destroyer-cruiser-then all the rest.


Indeed, strike craft and carriers are often overlooked in favor of warships. I might make destroyers, cruisers, and dreadnaughts come a bit later in the tech tree. Frigates are still useful, and strike craft are replaced far more quickly. Not being able to get the heavier ships so soon makes for a much more interesting struggle against Symbiot fleets and the like.

Well I hope you will! :) I'm no good at doing all this, though I might learn how to. Or, you could share your own install so that one problem is solved.


Fixing the problem is actually simple. Take the EFSUnit.bin file from vanilla EFS and drop it into the BIN folder in your modded EFS install, overwriting the existing one. This will return the Direwolf to the proper icon, though the Genetic Warrior Legion will look like the Wraith tank.

I see they might be used as strong meat shields due to low rank, but didn't play enough to see them on the field, so I can't say much about them. But I see one would produce some more fight-oriented advanced infantry (cyborgs, shock legions) at a certain point of the game, rather than investing resources on such genetic units. But still, the gen warrior is a nice unit I'd be sad to lose, "aesthetically" speaking. What about having both gens (maybe tweaking them a little) and cloaking tanks (as a weaker but hard to spot unit)?


Their use as meat shields is helpful, but I prefer using other units anyway. Plus, the AI never seems to build them. Possibly because of their weak combat ability.

If I ever get to replacing unused slots with other units, I might give the Genetic Warriors one of their own. For now they'll have to share an icon with another unit (probably their old slot with Shock Legion). I'll review their unit data, too.

Adding radius reeks of future problems concerning the AI...I don't know how to explain this technically, that's just something I suspect, having first met this AI years ago, I expect trouble whenever something "radical" is changed. It's time-consuming, but the radius idea might be worth a try on some cities. I'd suggest not to add it to cities that are usually found around shields, so not to compromise this as well, but this, as well, seems difficult.


The AI might rebel against me, but it's worth testing. If it doesn't end well I can always revert to the existing values.

In conclusion, I apologize for my late answer. Since I have moved to a new house and I'm living alone, I don't have a PC, nor an internet connection yet, so I have to come at ma's and see what happens in here. I will still be checking from time to time.


No problem. I haven't been working on the mod as much lately anyhow, taking a break from EFS. Other games to play and mod, you know! 8)

I'll keep posting whenever I've got something to report on the mod, or if someone else posts.

beetlecat wrote:I was just taking a break from some other work -- and happened to stumble on a screenshot of EFS. This, of course, made me think back to the still-modding community and I checked in here to see what was up.

I'm very interested in the progress of your new mod (can't wait to hear what you call it!) as well as the status of EFS modding in general.


Welcome to the forum! We need more regular posters around here.

Naming my mods is usually the most difficult part of the modding process for me, so yeah... :x

As for EFS modding in general, there's a mod on the way from Madrigal. He'll make a thread whenever he's ready to unleash it. Otherwise, there hasn't been much mention of modding in quite some time, sadly.

Bfriudo
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Postby Bfriudo » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:30 pm

Keep up! Your works are precious and rare. I'd say unique. I look forward to see new stuff to download...reading how the game unfolds in the various setups of yours makes me want to try it asap! And nice to see one more EFS lover around! Cheers, til next time.

Madrigal
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Postby Madrigal » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:19 pm

Still on it, but I have slowdown because of daily (and weekend) work. I also want to publish some kind of read me and design notes, so that future generations don't have to rediscover the wheel on AI behavior... not that I made a ton of discoveries, so it is more about my feelings about how AI reacts.


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