So I was playing a bit with harder difficulty after normal and the AI can finally muster a decent force on this level.
Looking at their income, money and metal wise they do not seem to be getting a big third leg so that is good.
What I do notice is that research wise there seem to be some odd jumps for large empires.
Does the AI get research advantage on hard?
I would recommend to have:
- Normal difficulty: AI does not get any advantage
- Hard: some advantage to the AI maybe at the beginning, but not research wise
- Everything above Hard can get clear bonuses
1. Research is already a derived resource (even more so as metal). The more planet and thus money a race has, the more research it will produce, so by giving it a leg up in money leads to better research results in two ways (via population and faster building).
2. The enemy does rarely have a problem with keeping up tech wise as research is pretty straight forward, and the way ships are designed also keeps the possible variations narrow. Thus it does not need help in this.