Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

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dwarftough
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by dwarftough »

Vendeeni vs Terran on Eta Quadrant, 21 turns. My opponent's eco was superior to mine, he set up the replicator on his homeworld and made so the HQ produced a unit per turn (and I was too blind with my play for gold that I considered normal to have a unit per 2 turns, I take this thing into account for further games). But I won because I achieved dominance in space with my ships. My opponent's mistakes were, I believe, three things.

First, in addition to the replicator and nanomite on the Homeworld he set up two more replicators and a nanomine on other planets. I think it was too early, setting up extrafacilities without having sufficient fleet to protect all your planets it's too risky, espicially vs faction like Vendeeni with their powerful Mites. 2 replicator and a nanomine is 100 gold, which is 3 fighters, which could help to cover things.

The second thing is that his major gold facility was set up on the borderline planet Rienna (43,10). And the fleet he had was too small to protect it. Two scouts were destroyed by my Mite, accomponied by an Arphid and a Stinger, after that I blockaded his major gold supply.

And the third thing, I believe ship upgrades aren't helpful early, while you have not enough ships in your fleet, and my opponent took quite a few.

So GG, a very interesting and insightful game, I learnt a lot from it.
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Bob_The_Mighty
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by Bob_The_Mighty »

Just catching up with all the replays posted above, very useful. Another update is needed, but I'd like to recap and discuss some of the suggestions made so far.

1. People seem to think blockade is overpowered. I'm reluctant to make things too complicated with a percentage deduction to economy, so I'm favouring the idea of making transporters unable to blockade. Let's see how that plays out.

2. The factions need some tweaking
- Nerf Mite/Mayfly/Mosquito damage by -1/-1/-2 (I think the original damage stats were based on the horseman line, but they do seem too powerful)
- Give Silverer electric tail as a counter to robots and HQ?
- Remove Moth from the Vendeeni leader options as the double bonus is overkill
- Terran Academy should give 6xp instead of 4xp to new units?
- Do Iildari ships need a boost somehow?
- Add probe to Terran ship list?
- Think of ways to limit Slingshot - One use per turn? Would it be confusing if you had multiple ships with this upgrade?
- Make Dwartha Reflector do double damage (it currently does half damage) This might make it more threatening?

3. Flagships
- Remove antimatter bomber ships from flagship list? (Destruction rampage should be a viable tactic so I'm hesitant to do this unless I see it being abused)
- Should players be able to replace their flagship? (I can see why people might want this feature, but I kind of like the fact it is a one-off. I removed the option to replace flagships as part of the drive to make combat more decisive and games shorter)

4. Ground invasions
- How to make invasions easier to launch and harder to resist? I reduced HQ hitpoints and buffed all soldiers for this purpose, but it seems something more needs to be done. However, allowing players to manually draft soldiers would only make it even easier to defend planets. What about giving barracks to all factions? Prevent HQs from producing citizens when damaged? Lower HQ hitpoints even further? Make hospitals only heal +4?

Thanks again for all the feedback.
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dwarftough
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by dwarftough »

Bob_The_Mighty wrote: May 9th, 2022, 11:27 pm 1. People seem to think blockade is overpowered. I'm reluctant to make things too complicated with a percentage deduction to economy, so I'm favouring the idea of making transporters unable to blockade. Let's see how that plays out.
I would add to that no blockade by petrified ships as folks have already pointed out
Bob_The_Mighty wrote: May 9th, 2022, 11:27 pm Give Silverer electric tail as a counter to robots and HQ?
.

a bit offtopic coz not related to stats, but in the help there is some mess with Sliverer, or better say with units supposingly "advancing" into it. There is some Sentry unit that is said to advance into Sliverer and some Sentinel, and those two don't have images
sentry.png
And yeah, Mosquito ship doesn't have its sprite as well, just in case to remind to fix that
mosq.png
dwarftough
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by dwarftough »

Dwartha vs Iildari, 27 turns. I had an eco advantage at first, succefully setting up a big mining site on the borderline Ice Giant. But then I messed up. First, when I invaded his planet at turn 16, I must've blocked the teleport by my 1st level unit. But I noticed that too late. Then he set up many more replicators than me. Also he made the trading hub early, he left his scientists on his homeworld and get 20/20 quickly. I instead set up a separate scientific facility on the dusty planet, so didn't have trading hub possibility early... But I wonder how much profitable it is.

I had a chance to catch up but I bought ships when I could wait and my eco became inferior. Wasn't aggressive enough and didn't invest in eco fully. The worst of two styles! :D The fights in space were also bad on my side, I lost many ships where I didn't have to. I started to seemingly prevail near the end with my heavy ships but my eco was already inferior and swarms of upgraded 1 lvl ships got me.

So GG, good work, a deserved loss for me and a deserved victory for my opponent. Took 5 hours btw, quite intense
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by Computer_Player »

Bob_The_Mighty wrote: May 9th, 2022, 11:27 pm Just catching up with all the replays posted above, very useful. Another update is needed, but I'd like to recap and discuss some of the suggestions made so far.
Thanks as always for you guys' hard work.
1. People seem to think blockade is overpowered. I'm reluctant to make things too complicated with a percentage deduction to economy, so I'm favouring the idea of making transporters unable to blockade. Let's see how that plays out.
I understand the reluctance especially since the idea seems almost guaranteed to introduce new bugs. I also agree with incremental changes to see how things work out. I believe static debuffed ships and probes should also not be eligible for blockading.
2. The factions need some tweaking
- Nerf Mite/Mayfly/Mosquito damage by -1/-1/-2 (I think the original damage stats were based on the horseman line, but they do seem too powerful)
This goes a long way towards balancing Mite and agree with this change (in accordance with the incremental change philosophy mentioned earlier). Will be happy to test this change out.
- Give Silverer electric tail as a counter to robots and HQ?
Agree with this change of buffing the Silverer unit. The strategy still suffers with the general problems of a invasion based method (see also academy) but this definitely makes it a attractive unique Tier 3 upgrade now.
- Remove Moth from the Vendeeni leader options as the double bonus is overkill
Agree,
- Do Iildari ships need a boost somehow?
Maybe a 1 cost reduction? I do think they are in a good place right now, but with the existence of early level 2 units and their fragility, they (together with the terran scout unit, although much less since scouts are much cheapter and can be reasonably sacrificed) pose weak deterrent in the early game vs some unit compositions (particularly vs dwartha). They need to somehow be buffed to still be credible deterrent given similar armada cost spending and favorable positioning.
- Add probe to Terran ship list?
Yes please. Terrans have the weakest ship composition, so anything to buff it composition wise would be good. I also don't see why probes should be Iildari exclusive, Vendeeni lack them for balance reasons perhaps i.e.backstab but in theory even Dwartha could have them. Perhaps we can keep the lore flavor by having probes be differently priced for the factions, with Iildari having the cheapest and Vendeeni having the most expensive.

- Think of ways to limit Slingshot - One use per turn? Would it be confusing if you had multiple ships with this upgrade?
One use per turn seems too much of a nerf as one of the biggest draw for it is the ability to use it on consecutive planets. I feel a -1 mv is reasonable balance wise for this, but am open with trying out alternative ways of balancing this.
- Make Dwartha Reflector do double damage (it currently does half damage) This might make it more threatening?
Double damage would definitely make it a big deterrent, but not enough that I won't stop attacking a planet that already has been damaged from a initial salvo. It still doesn't solve the issues with the technology itself being unable to change the situation (aside from niche cases) of the planet being attacked.
3. Flagships
- Remove antimatter bomber ships from flagship list? (Destruction rampage should be a viable tactic so I'm hesitant to do this unless I see it being abused)
- Should players be able to replace their flagship? (I can see why people might want this feature, but I kind of like the fact it is a one-off. I removed the option to replace flagships as part of the drive to make combat more decisive and games shorter)
I have advocated for this, but am open to waiting for more games from other players so we have a fuller picture. Like I said, the main issue is early game, enemy really has very limited means of stopping a planet destruction attempt especially since it concerns a level 2 antimatter ship. This goes double for 1P antimatter ships.

Which brings me to the replaceable flagship mechanic. I know where the developer is coming from in this attempt to make a snowball mechanic to help end games faster. Since the issue with anti-matter ships / special ability ships that exist for level 2 units is tackled elsewhere, I will not go over those again. I will just like to add that I really liked the flavor of assigning my own flagships for armadas - it feels very space operatic and improves immersion for me. We could balance re-assigning lost flagships with a monetary cost (maybe scale this to income so it still is punishing even in late game) - in this way we can have our cake and eat it too : keep the snowball mechanic, and yet still retain the ability to re-assign flagships.
4. Ground invasions
- Terran Academy should give 6xp instead of 4xp to new units?
- How to make invasions easier to launch and harder to resist? I reduced HQ hitpoints and buffed all soldiers for this purpose, but it seems something more needs to be done. However, allowing players to manually draft soldiers would only make it even easier to defend planets. What about giving barracks to all factions? Prevent HQs from producing citizens when damaged? Lower HQ hitpoints even further? Make hospitals only heal +4?

Thanks again for all the feedback.
I moved Terran Academy here since its more related to this question. The reduced HQ hitpoint and buffed soldiers has felt really good as well, I don't advocate lowing HQ hitpoints even further as aliens already do a good balanced job vs them. Hospitals are also ok as they are as they cost enough to matter.

I agree that manual drat might be too radical a change and something to consider only later on - however manual draft does not make it easier to defend planets, since you do eat potential economy /ships to do it - what it does is force more dramatic planetside battles. In short it would put planet side battles on similar footing in terms of economic impact as space battles (since they now cost gold/ food)

A less (but still impactful change) I believe is to give Tier 1 Tech barracks allowing for the creation of a invasion rush strat - but only if upgrading it automatically gives 1 free soldier unit (otherwise it would still take too long). Buffing Terran Academy to 6+ could be an experiment we could do, but we should nevertheless move this to Tier 1 to have the impact it should.

Thanks for patience and hope others will give their feedback as well so we can have more takes from more diverse viewpoints.
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by Computer_Player »

Vendeeni vs Terran on Ion Nova. Posting to give more data on this map, although this was introduction to GE for my opponent. I guess the main thing of note is I wonder if Orbit Tiles can be differentiated from regular space (perhaps some light highlight) to make it easier for new players to see how to recruit.
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Sire
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by Sire »

Played a bit of Galactic Empires solo using the AI Add-On, trying all four factions. Overall, I found it pretty enjoyable and hope to play it some more with the AI Skirmish, trying different builds with the maps and such.
-- The following is a bit of a commentary on the games I played. Hopefully it proves to be somewhat useful.

Versions Info
-- Battle for Wesnoth 1.16.2
-- Galactic Empires 4.2.0
-- Galactic Empires AI 0.1.1a

* * * * *
Game Settings:
-- 1st three games had Primitive Tech on, with the final game having T1 available. (This was mostly looking at the AI as they never seemed to upgrade anything, although they did some stuff in my final replay. I was surprised when one of their home planets actually had a defense system installed!)
-- All games had Thriving Aliens, so hostile mobs and artifacts were enabled. (Looking at the thread, it seems this option may cause issues with the AI, so when I play further I may turn it off and see what happens.)

1. Four Player, Isar's Sector (Terran + Player Gold Advantage)
-- My first game after the tutorial. I gave myself gold advantage so I could mess around some more, although in the end this mostly just resulted in me buying more ships.
-- I was still trying to figure stuff out, so my gameplay is a bit all over the place. Honestly, probably not the best replay to watch, unless one wants to see an absolute newcomer play.

2. MISSING LOG -- Four Player, Alpha Quadrant (Dwartha)
-- I then did a Dwartha game. My memory is a bit hazy on this match, although I remember not being too impressed with their ground option promotions. Perhaps I was still used to the Terrans "all-rounder" units and I was still mostly just focusing on the fighters instead of trying out "Offensive Workers/Scientists" at this stage.
=== Also keep in mind I was still trying to figure things out, so the Dwarven ground units may be better than my initial impressions.
-- I do remember being a bit disappointed with Terraforming, although in hindsight it makes sense that upgrade is better suited for "hostile planets" instead of "super upgrading" an already resourceful one. Perhaps the description can be altered to reflect this?

3. Four Player, Beta Quadrant (Iildarians)
-- At this point I believe I started to get a handle on game mechanics and a handle on strategy. I realized that getting T1 ships first is huge, as well as properly allocating my workers to set up my starting economy.
-- I did lose my Flagship early, as it wasn't as tanky as I thought it was (and potentially got unlucky with the rolls).
-- I love the Iildarian Teleporter ability. It easily allows me to make a planet focused on creating ground forces, and then I can rush them out to defend or teleport them to the front-line planets so they can be picked up for invasions.
-- My AI Terran ally seemed to do poorly throughout the match, or at least keep up in terms of a stalemate. I had to slowly crawl forward and make progress against the enemy teams myself. (This is one of the reasons why I raised the tech level in the final match.)
-- One of the things I tried to do here was go for an HQ Capture instead of just blowing up a planet. This was likely a terrible idea (Iildarians vs Vendeeni, no Bio Bomb) and it was a massive pain. Honestly, I'm not sure why one would go for an HQ Capture as the player would usually have access to other planets and it seems infinitely easier to just blow it up.
=== If I were to make a suggestion, perhaps take a page out of Advance Wars when capturing an HQ. In Advance Wars, capturing the HQ also capture all properties that player owned, which can be transferred in Galactic Empires as capturing all the planets that player owned. The remaining units are also destroyed/routed upon HQ capture.

As a side note, the replay gives a Lua error around turn 18 or so. I tabbed out to write this and when I looked back, it was giving me Lua errors. The game itself seemed fine for me though when I was actively playing, it's just the replay.
-- It also gave me an Out of Sync error in the replay around turn 21, although I wonder that may be because I might have rewinded back to that turn for a RNG Combat scenario.

4. Four Player, Epsilon Quadrant (Vendeeni)
-- I thought I was going to get another team game, but apparently this map defaults to a FFA. This match I got to showcase what I learned, as well as getting a few surprises from the AI when they actually built stuff.
-- Out of my beginner playtime fighting against and as these guys, the Vendeeni seems to be the most powerful faction available. Their ships have nice gimmicks and hit hard, and their ground forces also hit hard. I'm not sure what downside they are supposed to have, unless they are supposed to be the "expensive but powerful" faction. // Perhaps when I get around to playing the other factions again with "slightly more experienced" glasses I may be able to form a more proper opinion.
-- As for their GenePod unit, I found them relatively useful for invasions. The ability to skirmish in a limited area is huge, the backstabs are easy to access when invading with a full party, and poison is great in Galactic Empires due to the lower health pools.

As before, the replay gives me a Lua error, this time around turn 4. Its about attempting to index a "nil value" (local 'planet'). // Again, the game itself seemed fine while playing, so I'm not sure what it is.
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dwarftough
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by dwarftough »

Found a bug: if Aliens' HQ is destroyed by the splatter ability of a dying braineater, it's not replaced with players' HQ and can't be replaced ever after, the planet is eternally uncolonisable
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Computer_Player
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by Computer_Player »

Lol nice bug find. In this case I think the HQ should be replaced by Alien HQ since it was a Alien effect that destroyed it.
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by Sire »

Played a little more, this time just doing a single 1v1 match against the AI.
-- I think the AI performed better in the 4-man FFA match with Tech Level 1, so I may go back to that when I get back to round 2 of playing each faction.
-- As an aside, any reason why the Galactic Era doesn't show up in the Wesnoth Unit Database? I thought most eras/campaigns were automatically updated in the Database upon becoming an add-on, but I didn't see Galactic Era on there. It would help when comparing faction units to each other instead of trying to figure it all out in-game, but perhaps there is a reason why it is not listed that I do not know of.

Versions Info
-- Battle for Wesnoth 1.16.2
-- Galactic Empires 4.2.0
-- Galactic Empires AI 0.1.1a

* * * * *

Match: Two Player, Alpha Sector (Dwarftha) || Primitive Tech, Large Empire, Barren Worlds
-- Honestly didn't get to do too much this match as the AI mainly spammed Transports which were quickly shot down.
-- Also, the worlds being Barren allowed me to quickly expand and take over many planets while the AI mostly kept their initial fleet grouped together before it was annihilated.
-- I have a feeling the AI isn't able to upgrade their Tech Trees as well since they also send their Researchers out into the field, and they don't generate Research while inside transports unless they are Iilidari. // Looking at the replay, they spent their points on something (they actually had more Researchers than me), but I'm not sure what exactly they are getting. I know in the past I've seen them build Food Processors and was surprised in one game where they got Laser Defenses for their Homeworld, but otherwise don't see anything major. Perhaps they expanded their Ship Line, but they focus on Transports instead for whatever reason. Alternatively, they got Ship Upgrades, but I don't see any on the ships they built.

-- Back to the Dwarftha, I like this faction. When I looked at them a bit more closely (and tried some comparisons for their ground forces) I'm left wondering how useful the Shock Trooper may actually be. Perhaps I haven't met a threat (outside of higher-level Aliens) that should be slowed, or perhaps the Electric damage may be more useful in certain matchups than I'm giving it credit for.
=== As for their ships, it's simple and straightforward. While I haven't really had the chance to try out their Defensive ship with Steadfast as I'm usually on the offensive with the AI, their scout ships and "bomber" ships are fun to use. // I do wonder if the small defensive blaster on their transports is good enough when compared to the other factions (Terran Healing, Illidari Labs, Vendeeni Extra Slot), but am relatively content with how things are.
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dwarftough
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by dwarftough »

Computer_Player wrote: May 13th, 2022, 1:46 am Lol nice bug find. In this case I think the HQ should be replaced by Alien HQ since it was a Alien effect that destroyed it.
Aliens' HQ by Aliens' HQ? But if that would be better than now, at least you could destory the HQ again and capture after all :D
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Sire
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by Sire »

Played another single match against the AI, and this will likely be my last feedback post for the "quick starter experience." I think I'm experienced enough now to not be a complete newcomer, and I may have reached the limits for the AI in a standard play setting.
-- I may give more feedback on my opinions regarding the factions at a later date, as well as messing around more with the AI (such as giving it lots of gold and income to see what it does with it).
-- As for messing around in proper PvP Multiplayer, that's not really my style of play. I'm afraid you may have to rely on others for feedback regarding how human vs human matches fare.

Versions Info
-- Battle for Wesnoth 1.16.2
-- Galactic Empires 4.2.0
-- Galactic Empires AI 0.1.1a

* * * * *

Match: Four Player, Epsilon Quadrant (Terran), 27 Turns || Tech Level 1, Alien Artifacts
-- Having some games under my belt, I now get that Scientists and Workers can be used as combat units. While Workers should likely be avoided (especially for Terran and Illidari), Scientists can do well as support, especially if they manage to get their promotion. Of course, Soldiers will make up the bulk of any invasion/colonization, especially when Alien Life is present.
=== In other words, it took me a while to get that I should use the other units and not just Soldiers when colonizing/invading. When I started, I was under the impression that Workers and Scientists are strictly civilians and are meant to just stay home, instead of sending out some for offensive purposes. Having Alien Artifacts slowly nudged me to send out Scientists since they are the only ones who can pick them up, but it still took me a bit to actively use them as a unit.
-- Also, colonizing planets is easy (without alien life). Go to a planet, beam down, and scout for artifacts. Next turn, beam up and head to the next planet. When one reaches the front lines, either try to reinforce your own planet or try to go on the offensive with your starting soldiers (and potentially scientist).
-- Another trick I learned is to try and have a unit produced at least every other turn. By looking at the food supply, I can gauge about how many workers should be farming vs mining. If focusing on farming, I can see niche situations where one could produce multiple units at once with the Cloning Labs, but it just doesn't seem necessary (also, the extra gold from Trading Hub is far more valuable).

-- As for the AI, I didn't notice anything noteworthy save for the fact that I saw some of their ships having a Turbocharger. It's nice to know they can use ship upgrades, but I yearn for the day to see them make a Space Dock or buy higher tier ships. Granted, getting higher level ships immediately is not always the best choice, but it would be interesting to see.
-- For the Terrans, I found them to be fun. I didn't notice any issues like when facing them or having them as an AI ally, so I suppose they function just fine when in proper Human hands. I enjoy their well-rounded nature with their ground units as well as having a repair unit for their space forces.
-- As for Lua errors, I got one on Turn 13 during normal play. The Ice Planet Lenode didn't show stats on the surface after it was captured by the enemy. A part of me wonders if the error may be due to not having vision of the planet itself while I still had ground forces on it. // Aside from the Lua spam, everything else seemed to function normally.

-- Regarding the Nano Mine, which gives +1 Gold for every worker mining, I'm unsure about its value. It costs 30 gold and needs at least 8 workers for it to pay for itself in four turns, like the HQ Gold Generation upgrade. The fact that this likely happens around mid-point in a match means it has more competition on what to purchase, and getting ships or other HQ/Planet upgrades may be a better investment than Nano Mines.
=== I also feel like focusing on Farming and making a Trade Hub is far superior option, making green planets far more valuable than the others. At least with Farming, one can spam units if necessary and then convert the planet into a money maker, whereas Mining is strictly gold and nothing else. While this costs a bit more in terms of Research, planets don't tend to cap population until later in the game anyways, making it a perfect time to spec into T3 Planets for the Trade Hub upgrade.
=== Just remember this is mostly just me playing against the AI and doing some armchair theories. Perhaps things are different in an actual PvP match, but right now I'm not sure if Nano Mines are worth getting.
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by mattsc »

Hi Sire,

Thanks for testing GE and the AI and for all the feedback! I'll comment on AI-related things only here. Anything that is GE itself is Bob's domain. I haven't had time to go through your replays carefully yet, but I will do so and see if I can find additional issues that are "fixable" on the AI side.

As a general comment, GE has a lot of aspects that need to be balanced against each other. It is more complex in that respect than the standard kill-the-enemy-leader Wesnoth scenario and thus harder to play for the AI. Well, it's harder for the human player also, but humans have an easier time to adapt to changing circumstances. Bottom line is, I don't expect the AI to be able to keep up with a human player, that's true for GE even more so than for "standard Wesnoth." I am, in fact, quite happy that it was able to do well enough to let you learn at least the basics of GE without needing a human counterpart, that's really what we were trying to accomplish. Having said that, that does of course not mean that we won't try to improve it, so please keep the feedback coming. The more specific the better.

Anyway, some more specific replies:

Upgrades: As you noticed yourself in the end, the AI is capable of advancing tech and applying upgrades and does indeed do so. However, the gold it is allowed to spend on this is quite strictly controlled. The reason for that is that the initial version of the AI quite happily installed all upgrades it could and there was often no gold left for recruiting ships - which we deemed as worse than it not installing upgrades, so we might have overcompensated a bit. I'd be interested to see if giving more gold to the AI changes this enough that it is noticeable. This depends on the gold the AI has on the given turn though, so more income might actually have a bigger effect on this specific issue than more starting gold (but both will help).

There a three parameters that control how much gold the AI may spend on upgrades. They are set in a configuration file here with comments explaining what each parameter does. You could play with these (by simply editing this file), or if you prefer, I could add those to the Custom Options in the game setup and make them adjustable there.

As for figuring out what the AI did (e.g. if it installed an upgrade and which one), the AI writes all its actions to the log. There is also a custom option to add a menu item that shows all AI actions on the previous AI turn. Both only work while playing though, not in replays.

As for my previous comment that the AI struggles when there are aliens, that really just meant that this gives it yet one more objective to balance against everything else, which is one of the things I mentioned as being more difficult for the AI than for a human player. There is no technical problem with aliens for the AI.

Thanks for reporting the Lua error. We have figured out what that is and it should be fixed when Bob releases the next version of GE. It only affects the sidebar display, gameplay works just fine.
Sire wrote:A part of me wonders if the error may be due to not having vision of the planet itself while I still had ground forces on it.
Yes, that's it. See also this post.

I'll have to check out what the spamming of transporters you reported is about. The AI handles recruiting of transporters and combat ships separately, as they serve different purposes. How much gold to give to each is another one of those balancing tasks that is hard for the AI to do, but I see if I can find anything to be improved. (I know there are things that can be improved, the question is whether I can identify something that is both easy enough to code and will actually make a noticeable difference.)
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Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by Sire »

Hey mattsc,

Thanks for making the AI mod for GE, and thanks to Bob for creating GE itself!

I have some thoughts on how to potentially improve the AI, although keep in mind I am no expert in AI coding or their inner workings.
-- I can look into the files no problem, although other users may prefer using a GUI and having them customized in the Custom Options menu.

1. Upgrades
-- Looking at the GEAI_Config.lua file, it seems the AI needs a minimum of 34 gold at the start of the turn before they even consider upgrading anything (as the cheapest upgrade is 4 gold). This is following the assumption that Upgrading means all forms, such as HQ, Planet, and Ship.
=== This does seem to work, as I've seen the AI get Food Processors and Turbochargers, so the AI is capable of reaching the 34 gold mark and spending some on upgrades.
-- While this works well initially, getting upgrades such as the Food Replicator is 35 gold, which means the AI will never purchase it unless it has at least 140 Gold, which is not likely to occur. This may be why the AI never really builds the Space Dock, as it costs 40 and the AI needs 160 gold before it considers getting that, provided that I interpreted the code correctly.

-- My suggestion is to make an alternating "priority script" of sorts. Every odd turn the AI keeps its current parameters and focuses on recruiting ships, and every even turn the AI will focus on spending its gold on upgrades. It may even save 10/20 gold (or just 20% of the starting gold) for the next turn so it can purchase ships.
=== This can lead into issues where the AI buys upgrades that it may not immediately need (HQ Auto-Fix, HQ Hospital), or getting things that don't do much (Nanomines on a farm-focused planet). // Of course, it's always possible to optimize the AI and even go into specific build orders, but that can quickly escalate the amount of work required to code everything.

2. Adjusting Starting Gold and Income
-- A part of me thought about being fancy and suggesting that the AI-players get a special HQ upgrade that increases their Gold income (and this can be applied to Research and Food). This can also just be applied to their starting HQ instead of each one they have.
=== However, this does lead into the classic "Cheating AI" territory to make up for its shortcoming. Of course, there can be alternative AI types like in other games, with one playing by the rules the best it can while others get additional resources. // While Gold can be adjusted with the standard settings, Research and Food are Galactic Empires specific, so adjusting them may be a bit more work.

-- Instead, I plan on trying games with 150 starting gold and 10 starting income so the AI (and player) have more gold to spend on various things. I agree that income will likely play more of a role than starting gold, so testing this would be a good idea.
=== Previously I've just been using the standard 100 gold and 2 income as standard Wesnoth, and this seems to be the default for Galatic Empires. I'm not sure if there's another standard I should be using instead, so my further tests will try the different gold/income amounts.
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mattsc
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Joined: October 13th, 2010, 6:14 pm

Re: Galactic Empires (Wesnoth in Space)

Post by mattsc »

Hey Sire,

Thanks much for the suggestions, those are very useful.
Sire wrote: May 14th, 2022, 6:55 pm -- I can look into the files no problem, although other users may prefer using a GUI and having them customized in the Custom Options menu.
To be honest, even though I suggested it, I don't really like to have too many options unless there's a good reason for them. The problem (one of the problems) is that they are persistent. So somebody might play with them to see if something changes, and then forget about them and leave them set to something that might be useful in specific circumstances, but counterproductive in general (I've certainly done that). I'm happy to add options if they add something, like diversify the AI gameplay or adjust it to different maps etc., but I don't see this to be the case here (yet). So since you are comfortable with changing the file, let's leave it at that and see whether it makes sense to add options later.
Sire wrote: May 14th, 2022, 6:55 pm 1. Upgrades
[...]
Yeah ... I guess I had not quite thought through just how much gold the AI needs for the more expensive upgrades. Something definitely needs to be done about that. I'm not sure whether I like the alternating turn approach, but I'll think about it. For example, we had something in the code originally that allowed the AI to always install one upgrade each turn. The way we had it set up did not work very well, but maybe we should reintroduce something along those lines. I'll report back on it.
Sire wrote: May 14th, 2022, 6:55 pm === This can lead into issues where the AI buys upgrades that it may not immediately need (HQ Auto-Fix, HQ Hospital), or getting things that don't do much (Nanomines on a farm-focused planet). // Of course, it's always possible to optimize the AI and even go into specific build orders, but that can quickly escalate the amount of work required to code everything.
The upgrade code already has a lot of prioritizing ratings built in, so it's probably not too much of a concern. See the upgrade action code starting at the line the link goes to. Those are priorities I coded according to Bob's suggestions, but I'm sure they can be improved upon. I absolutely agree though, I really don't want to make that decision process a lot more complex than that. You hit the point of diminishing return very quickly.
Sire wrote: May 14th, 2022, 6:55 pm 2. Adjusting Starting Gold and Income
[...]
Bob and I discussed this and eventually rejected it specifically for the "AI cheating" reason. Also, as you say, gold and income can already be adjusted with the default options. Adjusting research and food are interesting suggestions. I don't want to make that the default for the AI, but it may be possible to add custom options that do that (it's surprisingly hard to determine which side is actually being played by an AI at the given time). I'll think about that too.
Sire wrote: May 14th, 2022, 6:55 pm -- Instead, I plan on trying games with 150 starting gold and 10 starting income so the AI (and player) have more gold to spend on various things. I agree that income will likely play more of a role than starting gold, so testing this would be a good idea.
I'll be interested to hear what you find.
Sire wrote: May 14th, 2022, 6:55 pm === Previously I've just been using the standard 100 gold and 2 income as standard Wesnoth, and this seems to be the default for Galatic Empires. I'm not sure if there's another standard I should be using instead, so my further tests will try the different gold/income amounts.
I don't know either, I think that's probably what most people use, at least most of the time. I'm pretty sure that Bob set it up so that maps should be playable pretty well with that.

Thanks again!
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