Balance on Hard

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zolobolo
Posts: 1453
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Balance on Hard

Postby zolobolo » Sat Mar 06, 2021 8:22 pm

Ran a couple of games in the last few weeks on Hard difficulty (generally only playing normal) to get more challange and hoped the balanc is fine

My findings:
1. AI was very competitive and puts up a good fight at 50, 100, 200 and ven up till 300 Turns in
2. AI could roll over other AI and consume their territory which is important for forming large enemy empires later - very good
3. Tech progression of AI was believable as there was no traces of sudden technology surge like around release date
4. AI fleet composition was excellent - there was every kind of ship in most of their fleets reom small to doomstack they had them all: escort cruisers, military transports, missile cruisers battleships and a few light cruisers or destroyers
5. Economically the AI empires are blatantly punching above their weight: saw mutliple times empires fielding 6 battleships plus a sizable fleet of escort ships with only a handful of planets with only 1-2 markets altogether. This was especially obvious when I annexed my ally and inherited -200 coins by taking over its planets and ships (some income is of course lost due to the loss of mutual trade routes but that was negligable amount)
6. Planetary invasion calculations were a bit wild in most cases but I cant say I saw a clear pattern in fudging the numbers against the player on this difficulty level so its fine

Altogether, with the exception of obvious ignorance to ship maintenance fees, the experience was well balanced - I would just recommend to allign AI empires a bit more to what theys should be reasonably be able to maintain (somewhere around 20% less then what they do right now)

Serenitis
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:09 am

Re: Balance on Hard

Postby Serenitis » Sun May 16, 2021 11:55 am

zolobolo wrote:5. Economically the AI empires are blatantly punching above their weight: saw mutliple times empires fielding 6 battleships plus a sizable fleet of escort ships with only a handful of planets with only 1-2 markets altogether.


I've noticed the same thing on a number of occaiasions, and tbh, that's when I go and do something else for a while.
I'm really not a fan of 'large' battles in SiS, they're far too micro-heavy and become utterly exhausting to manage.
Especially when your opponent seems to be able to support many more ships than you can, and with a significantly smaller population base.

This is particularly egregious when you have a smaller neighbour straight up demand you give them an entire star system, and it turns out that the reason they did this was because they have a huge fleet that dwarfs yours both in numbers and capability.
How!?

One thing though, is that the AI (for empires at any rate) seems to be really good at threat assessment - it will not send attacks piecemeal, or even try to do anything aggressive unless it has local superiority.
Which is both good and bad.

Good because it's the sensible, logical, and correct thing to do.
Bad because it almost always guarantees a 'large' battle, which is tedious. And it means the player can spend a lot of time just clicking end turn with nothing to do because they don't feel like they want to be an aggressor today.

I do kinda wish the AI in SiS was a little more aggressive towards the player, but a little less 'smart' about it so you end up with several smaller battles over a period of time rather than a single larger one.

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PrivateHudson
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:59 am
Location: Chelyabinsk, Russia

Re: Balance on Hard

Postby PrivateHudson » Mon May 17, 2021 8:52 am

Hopefully the fleet size cheats could be reduced once AI fleet management will be improved somewhat. Suggestions thread has a few thoughts about that.

Dacarnix
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:28 pm

Re: Balance on Hard

Postby Dacarnix » Wed May 19, 2021 9:42 pm

I agree with the original post on all points. That's a very well-constructed analysis of what I've been experiencing as well.

Serenitis
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:09 am

Re: Balance on Hard

Postby Serenitis » Sun Jun 20, 2021 3:38 pm

\AI\navycomposition.lua

The function "target_navy_power" is set to 150x the AI empire income.

On the basis that the AI seems to be able to support ~3.5x the amount of fleet assets (from observations in numerous games) than the player can, I've set this to 50 and played a few games, and noticed the following:

Good
The overall atmosphere of the game feels a lot less tense and stressful, which is nice.
AI fleets no longer seem to be large stacks, all fleets seem of appropriate size for the power that controls them - no more hopeless 'might as well restart' occurances.
Battles don't devolve into huge tedious slugfests nearly as often.

Bad
The AI is very timid - it's threat assessment is not really letting it attack because it's 'expecting' to have numeric superiority, which it no longer has.
This also makes it somewhat less capable of clearing pirates and harpies.
Games seem to stagnate into 'cold wars' much more often - the player is now required to be an aggressor.

Maybe changing this value was not what I needed to solve this problem, but it has at least been instructive.
It at least highlights that there may be some value in revisiting how this function is set, and how the AI makes its threat assessments at some point in the future.

[e]
Just had a game where the AI still built a mad number of ships despite having this value set lower.
But they were all cruisers and smaller despite having the tech to build bigger.
That actually makes sense as they're 'low upkeep' ships.
Chalk this up to another unforseen circumstance of changing numbers.

zolobolo
Posts: 1453
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Balance on Hard

Postby zolobolo » Wed Jun 23, 2021 8:35 pm

Serenitis wrote:\AI\navycomposition.lua

The function "target_navy_power" is set to 150x the AI empire income.

On the basis that the AI seems to be able to support ~3.5x the amount of fleet assets (from observations in numerous games) than the player can, I've set this to 50 and played a few games, and noticed the following:

Excellent suggestion :)
But why not set to 100 to get a balanced result?

Played a huge map with all possible factions on Hard and this value set to 100 and had to give up at turn 182 thanks to the Orthin invading with superior ships:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/sfcqpwob86pav ... t.png?dl=0

What was interesting is that the amount of ships didnt feel at all like the AI is playing an entirely differetn game and in ase of the Orthin it is natural for them to have a tech advantage so I am quite happy with this result especially since I was playing with Humans in hte middle of the map and had almost no allies and did not expand - loosing the game under such circumstances are pretty much expectation unless I get very lucky

So I will keep playing such maps as its really intersting now how late game will look like with this setting: maybe I will get to see a Mobile Planet from the AI for the first time :)

zolobolo
Posts: 1453
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Balance on Hard

Postby zolobolo » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:17 pm

Another test with value set to 100, Difficulty: hard, huge map with around 133 stars and all 10 factions and what a result:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/mx5p00yk1bvay ... p.png?dl=0

I am now playing as Colonials (blue) to see how the difficutly pans out for an easy faction and have to say this is the best galaxy state I have ever seen in this game (after 1300 hours)

There is already an alliance of the 3 weakest factions holding out agaisnt my own ally:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ptz9rdkf6u69m ... y.png?dl=0

Was trying to take ove the Gremak to the south as they were demanding ransom several times now but while we were fighting with perfectly balanced forces the alliance of 3 declared war on my ally

So what to do? Join my ally to take on the weakest factions on the North while al my forces are gathered on the South or break my alliance with the Haduir and risk loosing the war agaisnt the Gremak? Cant get bether then this... already spent 30min thinking on this and assessing forces :)

Also note the perfectly balanced Haduir fleet in the corner: they have everything in healthy proportions
It seems like this setup hits the sweet spot just right

zolobolo
Posts: 1453
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Balance on Hard

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jun 28, 2021 4:20 pm


Serenitis
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:09 am

Re: Balance on Hard

Postby Serenitis » Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:26 pm

zolobolo wrote:But why not set to 100 to get a balanced result?

How would you know what's balanced until something is changed and the result can be observed and compared?
Observing the AI having three times as many ships as a player with a similar population suggested that reducing this value to 1/3 would be a useful starting point.
And it did produce sensibly sized (imo) fleets, but it doesn't work well with the current AI which expects to have more to work with.
So it just does nothing, ever. Which is not a good result.


One thing I've noticed in many of my games, is that there seems to be 2 specific empires which are almost always incredibly aggressive because they have economic advantages that translate directly into more ships via this fleet_power rating.

The Phidi, who have a really good economy by default so can support a larger than normal amount of ships.
Plus the ability to 'summon' ships on demand for cash+influence, which the Phidi have lots of.
And the Orthin, with thier odd hab preference can make decent use of almost all the 'good' planets they find. Along with the ability to also use one of the most common 'trash' planet types gives them a fairly easy time expanding and building.

The huge irony here being that these are the two guys who should, by rights, be the least interested in military adventurism. Orthin because it's wasting valuable science time, and Phidi because they explicitly don't like it (even if they are giant hypocrites who give you a diplo malus for being at war at all, but they throw thier weight around all the damn time - perphidious fish).
Of the two, the Orthin are by far the worst in this regard.
Starting with an Orthin or Phidi neighbour can be incredibly frustrating because they get really beligerent as soon as thier economies let them support more ships than you. (Granted, this would be the same for any empire, but its only these two that seem to be an issue.)
The Orthin also give you a diplo malus when they're ahead of you in tech, which they will be early on because they are Orthin.
This doesn't help. :P

Interestingly, the two empires you'd expect to be more aggressive; Yoral and Gremak, are actually really chill neighbours who are a easy to get along with.


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