Operative- any breakthroughs you have in the AI area would be of interest to all.
Well, just for starters, the one thing I notice is that they're not timid about using extra freighters for mining as long as you change the RTS_CFG.H file from the 3 freighter maximum to whatever you want. I ussually set mine to a max of five. More than that and the moon just gets crowded. That will yield the AI 66% faster dilithium harvesting. I have the starting units set to the default Starbase, 2 constructors, 1 scout, but the first thing I have the AI do is build a third constructor, a few turrets(I use standard turrets) at least two mining stations at different moons and add four additional freighters to each one, plus two orbital stations with at least one bieng at a class D planet. I have followed the BBOM for the priority locations as far as where to build. As the AI expands out ward, it will, in addition to building extra resource facilities, build extra starbases, turrets and even shipyards to facilitate defending it's newly acquired locations. I'm still learning how to make the number designated priority locations work for my needs in the build lists, but things are working out well. Sometimes like you say though for whatever reason, the AI just heads out 'into the horizon' to build some mining station next to some moon at an obscure location. But the numbers really do help. That chapter on AI is like gold.
I've had my number per moon at 4 for quite a while and it's been working so I am sure 5 is OK. More an they're waiting to get in line. It might be better to have that 3rd constructor in starting units instead of build list. I know it doesn't take long to build but it still lengthens the list and the 3rd one is going to get right to work anyway early in the game.
The extra freighters per station will work. I have had mine set to 3 in the 1st build list entry which increases amount of resources mined by 50% right away. I haven't given the AI a line to build a 2nd base yet. Do they build it at a smart location farther away? I'd think they'd just bunch up and do it near the main base area so how do you direct them where to build? I also have the AI build 3 colony ships to move things along.
My AIP build lists are just that. They're stripped down with all the pro-logue definitions removed. I screwed with all that before and never noticed much at all. Mine follow what the STgamer2003 did for his Dominion and Breen AIPs. And they work fine.
Modding the race ODFs will help speed things up too. Here's pertinent parts of my Card.odf: // How quickly this race repairs. Bigger is slower. repairStrength = 5.0f //number of crew added to the team per second per starbase //also used for planetary civilian populations. crewAccumulationRate = 8.0
//the modifier for the crewAccumulationRate for a starbase if it is close to a planet planetCrewAccumulationModifier = 3.0
// How relatively fast we mine any resource miningRateModifier = 3.5
As you can see these numbers are tweaked to give faster mining and more crew. And in my mining stations' ODFs I've upped the ore transfer rate to 30.0 from 15.0.
I find all this aids the AI do things better no matter how it is tweaked. Then the settings in the setup screen before instant action have been arrived at by my preferences and it all combines well for me.
I believe I will mess with the AI build lists more though and see what happens.
I haven't closely examined STGamer's build lists, but I do recommend Chapter 10 in the BBOM. The BBOM is written by Westworld, but Chapter 10 is written by Kleotol. He's got the real scoop on Armada's AI. You were wondering if the AI would crowd new bases at the original location. It won't if you follow Kleotol's information. He has those numbers that look so confusing at first glance broken down so easily. There's four numbers. 1) number to build, 2) number of times to repeat, 3) location, & 4) tech level. Now they may not necessarily go in that order, so I recommend double checking the BBOM. But like I said, I have the AI setup in such a way that it'll basically try to hijack a good portion of the map for itself. The reason I don't have the third constructor as a starting unit is that I play as all of the races at one point or another and I want the starting units for me to be as they are in a stock game. Besides, the AI can make better use of more constructors than I as a human player can. I can barely keep 2 of them busy plus building ships and pods.
In my experience with both Armada I and Armada II, the AI depends a lot on some stupid little details that many of us may blame directly on the AIP files. I agree, Twitch - looking in the race files in the odf/other folder is a good option. Say you start a game with the AI (whoever it is). If their starting crew is like 400 and the first starbase they have does not provide much crew to the crew pool, the AI may be able to build a mining station and two construction ships (depending on how many crew are aboard those). After that, if the AI has to build a shipyard (with 500 crew aboard) and they have like 200 crew left, the project's not getting done. And until the AI builds another starbase for additional crew (which it won't since it probably requires 400 crew and the AI only has 200), there will be no more building! The mining facility that the AI built may provide resources (metal and dilithium) but if your AI has no crew, you're AI is in trouble. Nevertheless, I built an AI for the Borg that is devastating. I editted the first mission map for Armada II (the one that was small where you had to destroy some weak Borg forces and colonize Regula). In this map (as a test), the Borg went insane on my ships and stations. I survived, but I was not flawless (needless to say). I did this using Westworld's BBoM to do this with all race AIs in my game. It made a hell of a difference (pardon the language there, but there is NO other way to describe the effect this had). Your game's AI will never be human-like in intelligence, but using Westworld's methods, I have found that there are several factors controlling the AI: ship and station odf files (buildTimes, costs of resources and crew), the AIPs (obviously), the techtree (if the AI is instructed by the AIP to build a unit that requires a non-existing unit, then obviously, the AI cannot go any further and has reached an impass), the race files in the odf/other folder (a slow AI may be good if you design your mod for slower ship building, but editting a race's odf file (like fed.odf) will change the build times, resource acquisition rates, and crew rates for that race or races), and the RTS_CFG.h file mentioned earlier (as it will also alter AI variables - setting the amount of damage done to the player in easy or hard mode will have an affect on how tough the game is for the player). In conclusion, the factors that control the AI once again are: unit odf files, AIP files, techtree, race files in odf/others folder, and RTS_CFG.h.