Just finished a whole new AI design algorithm for ships and for their adaptations of their ships.
The existing designed worked reasonably well if you didn't have every single alien in the game. But over time, due to the nature of what it decided was "optimal" you'd end up with a fairly homogenous set of ships. I.e. every player would have similar ships equipped in similar ways.
Some of this has been solved by fixing a glitch that was introduced in one of the 1.1 betas that was an attempt to have the AI not trade high end weapons techs with other players unless they're very close. But the way I was doing it wasn't working the way I thought so tonight I was able to close that once and for all.
That went a significant chunk of the way. The other half was in taking a new look at how the AI should design its ships. Having had the opportunity to play the released game for a month now has given me new ideas on how ships should be designed. Just as players get better at the game from playing, that too can be incorporated into the AI itself.
The results...well the results have simply been astounding so far. It's too early to say but it should result in a very significant improvement in how the AI designs ships. I did a bunch of other tweaks to help try to get it to squeeze every last bit of space out of the ship.
To help offset the improved gameplay of the AI, Normal and Bright have been penalized a bit so that they'll be easier (Normal in particular).