The AI doesn't use exactly the same rules as the player does regarding all resources; in particular, they deal with metals in a very different way, and so an AI empire will very rarely have stored metal. So it's not that useful to look at the AI's resource balances to judge its behavior. The AI can never be as smart as the player, so what we have to focus on is for the AI to take needed steps that make it a more interesting and challenging opponent on the whole, rather than trying specifically to get it to manage its resources like a player would.
I think getting the AI to spend excess cash more often is probably a good goal, but the problem is that bankruptcy in the game is catastrophic, and it's very important for the AI to avoid that situation. It was really not fun at all before when you'd be fighting a war and suddenly the AI would go bankrupt and his fleet would disappear. That happens a lot less now, but it means that sometimes the AI ends up sitting on a lot of cash.
onomastikon wrote:I would have thought that this is precisely the constraint an AI must consider: Not to bankrupt itself while attempting to prioritize its spending. So does the AI need money at all?
zolobolo wrote:The upkeep cost of starbases could surely be increased by now right?
This wouldn't upset AI economy as it is not spamming these anymore, but make budgets a but tighter and it feels odd that massive stations cost almost nothing to maintain
zolobolo wrote: The benefit here is that implementation effort is minimal and it would "slightly" decrease surplus of AI and player (the topic of this thread) withouth forcing the player into a fixed development path or the AI to go pankrupt (as the AI does not spam bases anymore). another benefit is immersion: bases would actually cost something to maintain which increases also their percieved value for meat-robots (aka: humans).
Arioch wrote:Decreasing the cash surplus of the AI is not a benefit by itself. Getting the AI to spend its surplus on something useful would be a benefit, but simply removing the cash doesn't serve any purpose. Keeping a large cash reserve has some value, at least.
Arioch wrote:Defensive structures are very often of questionable value unless you know the location is likely to be attacked, and so many players don't build them. Increasing the maintenance cost for a unit of questionable value makes the player less likely to build it, not more likely to build it. If defensive structures had the same cost and upkeep as mobile units (which can be used for both offense and defense), there would be no reason to ever build them.
onomastikon wrote:I've let a game run on for as long as possible, and I've noticed that NONE of the AI factions ever, ever has any metal and ever, ever has any use for its tons of superfluous money. Even the poorest AI factions on the brink of extinction have huge sums of cash and, apparently, cannot figure out how to spend them.
Certainly the AI will run into the same problems that the human player has, namely, there is not enough metal, no matter what you do, to use the production hammers you have to produce the things you want which require metal, which is basically everything.
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