I'll write out a full update tomorrow, but in short, Diplomacy really did fix a lot of oddities with the AI. Between Diplomacy's fixes and my resizes, the Ai is performing VERY nicely.
More screenshots and info to follow!
Imageshack just crashed firefox. Under normal circumstances, this is okay. When I restore firefox, I get my post data back. But not on these forums! Oh no! ... Gotta rewrite everything.
My friend and I played a nice big game on a single-star map last night. At about halfway through, the game dropped to 10fps, and then eventually to a steady 5. On my i7 and his Core 2 Duo that never went past 70% usage according to Sins itself, and my cpu only had one core at 50% and the rest at like 5% according to task manager. This is what we call inefficiency and a bunch of factors all knifing the game at once. No, this was not the graphics or the particles. It lagged no matter where you looked. I conclude this is from a few sources;
- Ironclad Online routinely gave us 1200 ping on our 15mbit connections and adjacency to each other of about a mile. When it gave us major lag, the game would "freeze" and we'd get 50+fps even in the biggest of battles.
- The AI and their damn fighters! All of the comps had sooo many fighters it was ridiculous. I'm going to be cutting down fighters down to 10-20% their original count per my GEC, but still... they lag. Especially when they all fire missiles; missiles seem to be a big strain on the cpu.
- Each comp had over 200 units in about 2 hours. Big units. The 1.5k Grand Vindicator with its 500 metal cost, and the smaller Thunderhead. Most comps were TEC, which will become the Anahn, and only have those two modded units. There were a few Vasari (to become the Undead and have some placeholder units), 1 Advent who somehow held off a Xy`Kranasha until we got an Armament and Structure pact and he just massacred the poor dames, and our Xy ally.
- I had increased the gravity well sizes 3x their existing sizes previous to my rescales to give each "planet" (which will become monuments) a bigger battlefield since the vanilla game is just way too damn even for Sins itself. I think the pathfinding for the AI started chugging on this when it hit a critical mass of units. I'll reduce them a little bit and see what happens.
The AI itself? Diplomacy has improved it. Yes, it still does stupid things. Here's a few quick observations;
- The Undead fleets whose ships I did NOT resize were moving around a lot more easily, except when Blood Moons showed up because since the Blood Moons still don't have modded costs or anything the comps got a LOT of them when you should only have 3-4 max at end-game. This made jumping difficult, but their fleet formations were definitely working better. Even the Crusaders were at the front of the fleet leading it into battle! Only to die instantly because they still only have 5k health at level 7.
- The AI is still notably lethargic sometimes. Our Orange ally was sitting on a tremendously huge fleet of Thunderheads and Vindicators and did not want to aggress a nearby Vasari who would have been easy pickings for the new ships. I told him to attack it with the AI commands and he acknowledged them and did nothing. With the crystal market bloated to 2k a pop, I offered him 20k crystal on numerous occassions through the offer mission dialogue, which he did not even attempt to do.
- Once when I gave an AI a mission to bomb a guy's homeworld I wanted them to clean up, the mission instantly completed, taking my 30k credits, and the AI did not even touch the planet. Something tells me AI and missions are still in dire need of bugfixing.
- With Vindicators and Thunderheads having both damage and health attributes, the AI's strength calculations worked decently well for the most part, except for Orange.
- The AI routinely ignored bringing capital ships or siege frigates into planetary engagements and his gigantic fleet would be standing around doing nothing until a lone level 1 capital appeared to slowly chip away at the planet's 6k health. Man, bombing in this game is slow. 1 ship takes like 15 minutes to blow up a planet. I dunno, watching a Zeral`Motakk that could vaporize a star in a few seconds sit there for that long barely scratching a planet makes me giggle. Hopefully when I add my new flagships and beef up their stats the AI will be more enticed to use them.
- Green had a fetish for me. He had little diplomacy ships at each of my planets molesting everyone who came by, and worked his way up to a Structure and Armament pact. Holy hell... those diplomacy buffs are INSANE. 55% bonus health?! 20% fire rate?! That's just ludicrous! I'll need to nerf those for sure later down the line. Imagine Vyru getting that bonus health. You'll see smaller ships with millions of health flying around. My vindicators got pushed from 18k to 23k and their DPS sky-rocketed. That's just crazy. All of his weak vasari and Undead ships suddenly became monstrously powerful.
- Lol @ the pirates. I bribed the pirates with about 30k credits into launching an "overwhelming" attack which tallied up to about a hundred ships. Pretty surprising for the pirates, but hardly a threat to the unmodified Advent I targeted. When I convert the Pirates to Nightfall, I wonder how they'll calculate the strength for Nightfall ships? If they launched any more than 10, whoever is targeted will die horribly. Nightfall ships will be... um.. crazy.
Oh. I did promise some screenshots, didn't I? The TEC computers for the most part participated in some utterly massive brawl and my new ships were used to their maximum potential.
I bought sins, Entrenchment, and Diplomacy pretty much exclusively for modding. So this was a very rewarding experience. And yes, I realize that sins mangles screenshots with no AA on. Oh well. I have some video footage too, buuut I'll wait until I make the trailer to show much ingame video. SC2 beta is announced to be coming out this month; this project will go on the backburner when it comes out because I'll be extremely busy with articles, video productions, PR, ect and coverage and stuff.
^ A Grand Vindicator. Yes, he's about half the size of a Kodiak, but this Anahn Heavy Destroyer has enough firepower to lay waste to an entire TEC fleet in a few seconds. If we talk on canon terms, the Grand Vindicator is a Heavy Destroyer in the Anahn fleet, about standard in size of around 100km in length. Anahn ships have different "engagement" zones - Vindicators' Slag Cannons are long-range weapons. Currently their beam weapons were way too long ranged so they ended up using those as well. The challenge of these ships for the AI was the broadside property. I wasn't sure how they'd react to all of their ships going broadside. Turned out quite well, actually. Here's some shinies.
^ Inside an Undead fleet late-game. Blood Moon spam turns their fleets into a giant ball of black, glowing marshmellows when they get into a good spot, tucking away dozens of transporters and harmless Blood Gorges, who are also pretty big. Their movement in Diplomacy is much better than it was in Entrenchment but I'll still be resizing their ships anyway since Undead are a race who can potentially get thousands of ships.
^ Huge Anahn broadside battles really brought back visions of the second-generation civil war that is a key part of Anahn history where warlords engaged in tremendously large battles with Adashim's Royal Family when he rose to take back his race. Virtually every effect on my new ships are custom, and all have custom sounds. Beam textures, the works. I dunno what causes these gigantic flashes and explosions on the ships randomly, though. It's not my guns, but it's really annoying and obscures the tiny vessels.
^ The Anahn scourge their nemesis, the Undead. But only now will they find the demons so frail and meek... for my next updates will grant their ships their rightful place as hell's knights.