Ha ha 06. I remember when you went 3-Skirantra on me when I was TEC then later you made a forum thread about how awful 3-Skirantra was, you hated it and we should all stop doing it... you were playing as your 'dark side' alter ego, that might have been it? And was anyone overboard with their comments on the Skirantra, or on the Illuminator bug?
I would agree that beta testing any game for free when it isn't yet up to the mark isn't fun, it might be considered dumb. I played it in the hope of being able to improve it. You don't play the single player FFA game 06, so why comment on it? AI-AI relations issues are nothing to do with all-player multiplayer, but are critical to a successful single player strategy game.
The logic behind an adjacency penalty comes from how an empire expands. When you play the game, you attempt to keep your empire compact. A normal sins game has the empires spread out in a circular fashion, so typically you will attack one side and and the other friendly. If you move into the centre you risk antagonising everyone. What is good for the player is good for the AI, they should always be seeking to have peace with all but one adjacent empire.
Without properly functioning adjacency you get empires attacking far across the map, often when it does not profit them at all, or if they do capture a planet it means that their fleet AI is messed up because of long travel distances. This used to happen in the original game, when empires would gang up on the player even when they had no reason to do so, simply because they had achieved truces with everyone else.
Adjacency can be made to function in one of two ways in current sins, you could simply establish the relative positions from the start and gradually increase the penalty, or constantly check for adjacency as the game goes on, again with either increased penalties, or by counting multiple points of contact. The first method is rather easier, though less subtle. The current problem is that a modifier exists but far too often it is not being used.
The only point I consider valid against a diplomatic penalty on the larger fleets is that the stronger economies would then profit. However this is easily countered by also having a penalty on the leading economies. Weaker factions are no a threat to stop you winning the game. The AI needs to be able to play stop-the-leader.
At the risk of posting more garbage I have to agree with dedjal when he says that the second expansion felt like a scam, where is the Diplomacy? There's someone that I know has tried to play the singleplayer FFA game.
However what we need is less open-ended complaining and more solid playtesting. When players like 06 complain about trolling and lack of content you have to laugh. Post some useful stuff dude, perhaps some 1v1 multiplayer beta replays?
Another beta test then. What I hadn't mentioned above is that testing the relations system is made even less fun because the relations screen doesn't function in replays, that might be a bug that could be fixed.
I'm going to test a longer game on the beta, hard AI settings, singleplayer FFA on Entanglement. To be clear on what I am testing, it is whether or not any of the AI at any stage of the game can get a truce with another AI. Not whether I can win, not whether I can defeat the AI fleet composition on hard. Only whether the AI can organise its relations so as not to have to fight each other the entire game. My experience of the game suggests that though the trade alliance bonus makes it very easy for the player to get a truce with the AI, the AI will not get to a relations level where they can profit.
[TL;DR Dont worry there are absolutely no balance changes demanded in this post though without any replays to make points- its all about technical issues with the AI relations modifiers.]