As far as i know, i'm probably the only one in the world with "Master of the Singularity" - since no one has "Basically Like Worf" which is the easier version of it. Though there are several dozen people who have beaten Insane AI according to the metaverse - the metaverse is somewhat incomplete, so we don't know the exact situation. Anyway, if someone else beat me, feel free to let me know and take the glory
No RAM hacks, etc, etc. Only used UI features freely available in the game, though it requires utilizing an enormous amount of bugs. So, while comments such as "wow such cheese" or "this is against the _spirit_ of the achievement" are true - i didn't just flat out defeat two Insane AI and their endless supply of dreadnoughts.
This is also a subtle "Substrate OP OP" thread because you could never do this against Sub (AI controlled Substrate bombers one-shot AA turrets since they micro the bombers perfectly and so the AA turrets don't even get the chance to shoot and you face down 6 squads of bombers @6 minutes on your base - and at @10 you face nine billion). Honestly, though, Substrate is just too good at harnessing the huge construction and production bonuses that Insane gets which doesn't exactly correspond to PvP
ANYWAY, this requires a significant amount of setup and i'm pretty sure that 99% of it can only be done with the exact settings i'm using.
Be Substrate. Start @1
Enable two opponents. Must be PHC. Make sure they start @5 and @6.
MAKE SURE TO:
-Turn Map Defenders off
-Set VPs to 500
-No need for the AI be on the same team ("unfair" doesn't mean 2v1 it just means FFA. This is how the other achievements work).
A huge part of the game is pausing and thinking about every single move you make. A 16-minute "in-game" actually took the better part of ~2.5 hours. (Plus another 2 hours trying a few different openers and restarting).
Start the game, immediately pause. Send your constructor to the one-and-only Tirinium Generator in the middle - this is why we turn off Map Defenders! Start your second constructor and cap radioactives, then capture and build metal. Keep building Constructors. You really don't need a single unit in your home base for a very, very long time, so don't even bother building an Assembly.
THE BIG BUG: Adjusting the Game Speed affects velocity and capture speed.
* Capturing Nodes is unaffected by Game Speed. So: if you are capturing a node, set the game to "Slower". All players in the game will end up capturing at normal rate (so 2x speed). If you aren't capturing any nodes, set the game to "Fastest" - you halve your opponents capture rate!
* If you have the game set to Fastest, wait a few seconds, pause it and set it to Slower, then restart EVERY MOVING UNIT in the game will have it's engines f*cked up and they lose all their velocity (and sometimes turn upside down, bounce on mountains get stuck, or fall into impassable terrain). So... do this a bunch?
That said, you need to make sure to build a few Blossom Launchers (and an Annihilator Cannon on your key nodes). The AI builds roughly 9billion Furies but they won't attack you if you have Blossom Launchers! At this level the AI definitely has FoW hacks - use it against it (though it cannot use Orbitals into an area with no nearby units/nodes). This will eat up their logistics. If you don't build Annihilator Cannons at ~4 minutes into the game, you'll be hit with a Pan+Incursion+Sentry and that's game.
Once you finish the Assembly @Tirinium Generator, start spamming Drone Hives (2x) > Maulers (3x) > Capacitors > Sky Cleansers. Why Sky Cleansers? Because they have high vision and Maulers/Drone Hives are kind of blind! Nothing else required until ~12 minutes into the game when you run into serious radioactive issues and you'll need to build some Reapers. Have your Engineer build 2x Annihilator, 2x Blossom, 2nd Assembly, ORBITAL JAMMER, Shield-Restorer-Thing. Then you can just spam Annihilators, Blossoms, Drone HRV. Also, make sure your very first Drone Hive goes to "the Bridge": the land bridge to the right of the Tirinium Generator. If you don't, you get flanked with Sentry+Incursion and you'll want to hold the Bridge as a defensive point.
Orbital Jammers are essential. Insane AI can perma-cast Plasma Storm, and will pretty much spam Incursion on cool-down. Luckily, the AI is pretty dumb about Sentries. Sentries eat up your Maulers so don't fight them, but Annihilators pretty much deal with them cleanly.
Meanwhile, back at the base, make sure to build a Quantum Generator and get your Gateway going. Yeah, you won't be upgrading your base stats much at all (i ended 1x Weapon, 2x Armor - just make sure to not upgrade Armor if you're building your Dreadnought because when it completes it will not have the bonus health \: ). You're going to drop 3 Avatars. 1 at the Tirinium generator. The 2nd at the "bridge". The 3rd at the top. Avatars cap things, build things. Back at base, start up some Assemblies and have them spamming 1x Dominator 2x Punisher.
The "Bridge" is sort of a silly thing: you have to put up a defense or you get rushed but if you don't put up a defense they won't attack it. Speaking of "not attacking" the AI will not push the top or bottom lanes for a very, very long amount of time (they will push your bottom lane @11 minutes, your top lane they won't even push!)... as long as you have an army and some defenses! So just keep a small sortie, (2x Annihilators, 2x Blossom and a few Drone Hives) and it'll be safe.
Once you have your Dom/Punisher, you need to do some "balancing". Usually, the bottom AI will beat the top AI (top AI doesn't capture its radioactive for awhile for some reason, and top AI doesn't have as easy access to a 3rd radioactive). So you need to just fly around and block up their resources. Just attack whoever has more points.
If you use pause, Punishers 1-shot literally everything because i don't know they have huge range and it's weird and they just obliterate everything the moment it is in vision if you pause. Probably a bug. But it's nice. But your #1 target isn't generators (though radioactive generators are #2!). It's engineers! You have to /murder/ every single engineer you can ever find. If you don't they will build up a forward base, and now you are having a line of Cruisers+Incursions running into you. Don't worry about their Smarties, they don't really do anything (that is why you have your Dominator - to take aggro from their AA defenses).
If you see that it's got a big gap in their defenses... don't get too cocky! You'll face a 2-3 Incursions and maybe a Plasma Storm if you advance. i like sending in a few maulers - they are fast enough that they can run in / out and since their 90% shields they are pretty safe. The AI never EMP'd me a single time.
And that's pretty much it! Once you get 250/500 VPs, the AI will start putting a lot more heat on you - make sure you're ready for it. Especially a ton of Hades. Then at 400/500 they go pretty crazy... but luckily Dreadnoughts are too slow to get to the VPs and they fight amongst each other.
But again, key things to note:
* If you aren't capturing turn game to FASTEST. Then just pause constantly to think
* If you are capturing, turn game to SLOWER.
* Alternate between Fastest/Slower if your army is mostly stationary (which it usually will be - you're mostly hiding behind Annihilator+Blossom).
* KILL ALL ENGINEERS
* Exploit FoW hacks: build small defenses and watch them never get attacked - just make sure to layer 3x Blossom Launchers on your Nexus or you /will/ get swarmed by 9billion Hades.
* JAMMERS: JAMMERS EVERYWHERE.
* Hold choke points. Top lane never got attacked, but bottom lane will be pushed hard @10-11 minutes. Hold the Bridge early or else you'll pay. The AI will form a "meta group" and just funnel into you. Hope they don't get an Artillery Dreadnought because they you just lose!
* It's really a macro game to a certain extent. You just funnel all your resources into defenses+jammers+maulers. Pause and think about everything you do.
Exploit AI build orders. PHC AI makes a few mistakes these are pretty obvious on lower difficulty levels too.
First, they build wayyy too many Hermes. Though Archer > 2x Hermes was really good at release (it was faster at capturing than Brute+Archer, even if it was worse at fighting - less resources too), Hermes are really only useful for radar for your Artemis.
Second, wayyy too many Brutes. Which is why Annihilator turrets are so effective
Third, the Fury Swarm. They will have... quite literally... a hundred Furies spinning around in their base. Brutes too. i think they get stuck on the buildings or something. (Watch an Insane AI ally play - you can see how much they waste).
Substrate Build order mistakes:
Wayyyyyy too many Avatars. If you try to play with a Tough AI, you'll watch it spam Avatar after Avatar and then just suicide it X.x i think it's coded to be used the same way as a Sentry
Armies of Capacitators? Sometimes you'll just see dozens of Capacitators running around in an army.
Anyway, another way to make the Insane AI even more insane would be for its first Incursion (~3 minutes) to be dropped on your base. They just need to save a little more Quanta up for a Sensor Scanner. In general, this entire strategy would be demolished if any AI knew how to do that, since your constructor would just get Incursion'd/Sentried when it captures the Tirinium Generator.
Hope this helps!