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Author Topic: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE  (Read 1350794 times)

Telgin

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9090 on: June 18, 2021, 10:47:21 pm »

I'm fairly sure the AI does mostly play by the same rules as humans, including espionage limiting knowledge of fleet power.  I say that because since 3.0 I've had several empires declare war on me early despite me having superior fleet strength that normally would have scared them off in earlier patches, which was only discovered when they didn't ever send any ships to attack me and I probed their systems with my fleets.  Or maybe that's just bugged, since the AI declaring war and never attacking is a bug that's been around for a while.

Yeah, the AI isn't cheating like, say, Star Trek: Birth of the Federation, where I'm pretty sure the AI gets free ships and such.  Either that or it gets massive economic boosts even at low difficulties.
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Criptfeind

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9091 on: June 19, 2021, 06:13:39 am »

I'm not totally sure, and afaik Paradox hasn't outright come and talked about it (and, given their past history with outright lying about the AI, even if they did make a statement on it, that wouldn't exactly be definitive :P). But I'm pretty sure the Stellaris AI is cheating in the way you're talking about as well MorleyDev. I've not really been able to find any confirmation on that for stellaris, but in other paradox games the AI does see though the fog of war and I'd find it odd that stellaris AI has a particular apparently hard to make work properly feature that their other AI doesn't have when the stellaris AI is so outstandingly poorly made in other respects. There's certainly a question of how much it's programmed to take things into account which for that sort of cheating is more important then it's ability to cheat.
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MorleyDev

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9092 on: June 20, 2021, 07:23:45 pm »

Modern Stellaris has the benefit that, unlike other games, the things a faction has available to do don't really require them to pay attention to things outside of their fog of war anyway*, and the 'rules' it has to follow for decisions like Technology are 'responsive' to a deck draw or even roll rather than 'active' and so can be driven by the possible decisions being given 'weight' and then selected using that weight with some RNG. So the design is well suited for not needing to 'all-seeing cheat' by giving the AI different rules to play by than the player.

An example is how if you compare this to a game like Warcraft where the AI can in theory always attack the player or be attacked, the rules of Stellaris are such that they can only declare war on known factions. So unlike other games, it's not difficult for Stellaris' AI to not need to cheat in that regard since it has no need to look at that information about any undiscovered factions in the first place.

And most of the buff-based cheats beyond the blanked AI difficulty buff are reserved for Awakened Empires et al, their special government types are purposefully unbalanced even by Stellaris' deliberately unbalanced standards.

* Post-espionage they may be able to see your full borders after discovering you if they didn't update that part of the AI to handle, but that AI will send science ships to scan your planets before establishing contact suggest they don't consider your borders or at least don't consider them with regards to science ship order issuing. And tbh with updating the AI to handle not seeing your full borders post discovery, I don't think that knowledge would noticably alter any visible AI behaviour (since a ship going near your borders would still reveal them).
« Last Edit: June 20, 2021, 07:41:04 pm by MorleyDev »
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Rolan7

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9093 on: June 21, 2021, 01:43:31 am »

All that, plus the in-game personality of the AIs ("Hegemonic Imperialists", "Honorbound Warriors", etc) is correctly more important than optimally playing the game.  If I wanted to play against optimal opponents then I'd play against humans, and not my friends who enjoy fun, and also I'd play a game more suited for such tactical play.

There's a quality-of-life thing that I think would really help the Stellaris.  At least as an option. 

Ever since the market was introduced we've had the option to buy a pittance of a resource, manually every month, to remove the debuff.  On the one hand that hassles the player into balancing their economy better.  On the other hand, that could be fully automated.

I really enjoyed an old game, Kohan Immortal Sovereigns, a RTS where the economy worked that way.  IIRC you were welcome to go into deficit in any resource, as long as you had the gold to cover it.  And running a surplus would similarly earn you gold.  Streamlined.

That's not necessarily a better system in Stellaris since player-attention is an actual resource in multiplayer.  Perhaps running an imbalanced economy *should* be a distraction.  But I think it's more elegant if it's just handled, rather than threatening a debuff which is (intended to be) so severe that no one would ever not just buy a little more of the resource in question.

And in practice you get wonky runs which write off a certain resource, not even bothering to buy it every month, going HAM on having a massive deficit of it.  Tanking the penalty.
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Criptfeind

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9094 on: June 21, 2021, 06:55:38 am »

Modern Stellaris has the benefit that, unlike other games, the things a faction has available to do don't really require them to pay attention to things outside of their fog of war anyway*, and the 'rules' it has to follow for decisions like Technology are 'responsive' to a deck draw or even roll rather than 'active' and so can be driven by the possible decisions being given 'weight' and then selected using that weight with some RNG. So the design is well suited for not needing to 'all-seeing cheat' by giving the AI different rules to play by than the player.

* Post-espionage they may be able to see your full borders after discovering you if they didn't update that part of the AI to handle, but that AI will send science ships to scan your planets before establishing contact suggest they don't consider your borders or at least don't consider them with regards to science ship order issuing. And tbh with updating the AI to handle not seeing your full borders post discovery, I don't think that knowledge would noticably alter any visible AI behaviour (since a ship going near your borders would still reveal them).

Well, there's the idea of watching fleet movements, trying to face enemy strength with strength and split up when not needed. Which would be the equivalent of the cheating that paradox AI uses in other games. However to the best of my recollection the AI doesn't do that even when your fleets are not in the fog of war, it's not smart enough for tactical fleet movements, so I suppose by that standard you're right and it doesn't really have a reason to cheat in such a manner. If the AI had some sorta tactical brain other then "Roll forward into nearest enemy system, repeat" the question of it seeing though fog of war would probably be more relevant. Another possible area where it would matter is actually finding your systems to conquer, although since the AI doesn't seem to really assign any particular weight to conquering important systems during a war I think that it's ability to find your systems would be pretty much only relevant in an early war where you have a discontinuous empire, but too be honest that's a bit of a contrived circumstance that I've never actually seen in game, so I'm not sure if they would cheat in such a situation... although I'd be very surprised if they didn't cheat during such a time if they had the brains to actually have an objective to cheat towards.

All that, plus the in-game personality of the AIs ("Hegemonic Imperialists", "Honorbound Warriors", etc) is correctly more important than optimally playing the game.  If I wanted to play against optimal opponents then I'd play against humans, and not my friends who enjoy fun, and also I'd play a game more suited for such tactical play.

This feels like a bit of a non sequitur tbh but I like it when the AI roleplay as well. In a way though it sorta makes the AI problems even worse? Since they are very immersion breaking to me... Does that make sense? The technocrats are too dumb to be able to build research? The Hegemonic Imperialists are unable to manage their economy so they can't actually build relevant fleets? The diplomatic roleplaying is basic but serviceable I'd certainly say, and it adds a lot of charm to the game, but with their terrible economic management all the AI empires sorta take on a grey blobby bleh flavor outside the very early game to me if that makes sense? If they AI can't stay relevant in the game, there's no reason to care about their personality and if they don't have a important impact on the galaxy the roleplaying just really doesn't matter. And I WANT the roleplaying to matter. I want their personalities to matter outside of some opinion modifiers in the first couple of decades of the game. But they just don't with how bad the AI is. Mods help a lot with this, but if the base game was better I think that it could go further then mods are able to in making their personalities relevant.

I think also to a certain degree that stellaris is a bit too 4Xish for too much roleplaying and I wish it had a more in depth simulation for more rp room, but that's a whole other topic :P

There's a quality-of-life thing that I think would really help the Stellaris.  At least as an option. 

Ever since the market was introduced we've had the option to buy a pittance of a resource, manually every month, to remove the debuff.  On the one hand that hassles the player into balancing their economy better.  On the other hand, that could be fully automated.

I really enjoyed an old game, Kohan Immortal Sovereigns, a RTS where the economy worked that way.  IIRC you were welcome to go into deficit in any resource, as long as you had the gold to cover it.  And running a surplus would similarly earn you gold.  Streamlined.

That's not necessarily a better system in Stellaris since player-attention is an actual resource in multiplayer.  Perhaps running an imbalanced economy *should* be a distraction.  But I think it's more elegant if it's just handled, rather than threatening a debuff which is (intended to be) so severe that no one would ever not just buy a little more of the resource in question.

And in practice you get wonky runs which write off a certain resource, not even bothering to buy it every month, going HAM on having a massive deficit of it.  Tanking the penalty.

I'm not sure I totally understand the idea here for what the quality of life thing is. A system that automatically buys enough resources on the market to pay for upkeep? If so, broadly speaking that's already possible with monthly trades.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2021, 06:58:48 am by Criptfeind »
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forsaken1111

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9095 on: June 21, 2021, 08:29:53 am »


I'm not sure I totally understand the idea here for what the quality of life thing is. A system that automatically buys enough resources on the market to pay for upkeep? If so, broadly speaking that's already possible with monthly trades.


It's possible but fiddly. You have to constantly go readjust your trades to match your upkeep. The idea would be that any shortfall would be covered with credits automatically without player action, possibly with a warning of some sort to inform you.
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Criptfeind

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9096 on: June 21, 2021, 09:51:02 am »

This is true, and I think that a better system to handle deficits is needed. Automatic marketing might be that better system for sure. I think I'd maybe prefer if the penalties were reworked so that they are always penalties worth avoiding.
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Damiac

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9097 on: June 21, 2021, 02:17:26 pm »

If the stellaris AI used incomplete information I would be utterly shocked, because that would be a big deal and if they did that they should have bragged about it.

But the cheating I was talking about was of the extra resources out of thin air variety, which was explicitly claimed not to be in the game, but was shown to be.

There is an open source space4X called FreeOrion or something similar.  The devs say it's inspired by master of orion. https://freeorion.en.softonic.com/

They set that game up so that the AI uses the same client as a player, meaning the AI truly does only get the same limited information a player would.  They have had a hell of a tough time making an AI that can play the game decently under those circumstances. It's hard enough to get an AI to do the right thing with complete information.

I followed that project at the beginning of its life, and the challenges that go into making an AI that doesn't completely suck are pretty incredible.
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Vivalas

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9098 on: July 01, 2021, 11:33:45 am »

On an unrelated note, I tried my first diplomatic run but my. God, are Federations OP or did I just get really lucky? Getting 600 naval capacity and then having the AI empires build it all for you while you slowly take control of all federation politics and just end up with a superfleet to police the galaxy with.. I ended up loving the run more than my genocidal asshole runs.. and the buffs Federations get against crisis for the higher levels compared with our absolutely astronomical fleet power mean the crisis just melted.

All in all good fun. The galaxy ended up in a wierd WW1-esque double entente condition where almost every empire was part of one of two Federations, and then there was a third federation that started from the common ground background.
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Telgin

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9099 on: July 01, 2021, 03:08:18 pm »

Federations can be quite powerful, yes.  If I join or create one, I prefer research federations because you can get insane research speed bonuses from them on top of naval capacity.

Having said that, I still prefer to play isolationists in general and dislike joining federations even when not playing isolationists because there are frustrating drawbacks.  For one, like anything in the game there are visible bugs, like how the AI will constantly propose open migration treaties, then once that's approved the AI will immediately propose forbidding open migration treaties, rinse and repeat forever.  Then there is the fact that the federation fleet will end up full of mixed ships instead of the ideal monofleets, which isn't really a bug so much as the AI just not knowing the current meta.  However, it does mean that the fleet manager ends up with two million single corvette fleets because of whatever it is that causes that to happen.  I think it happens when reinforcements have no path to the destination fleet, but that seems inconsistent.

The most frustrating thing to me though is that you can get stuck in endless wars if you're not the war leader.  The AI will never try to end wars early, and you have no way to suggest that it do so, so if you're not leading a war you don't care about, you have to either ignore it or go finish it yourself by most likely completely conquering your enemy.  Extra annoying because you can even hover over the white peace option and see that every last member of your federation would support it, but you just can't propose it if you're not the war leader.

Having said all of that, I do always join the League during the War in Heaven if it triggers for RP reasons, because it can give very big bonuses to deal with the crisis when it spawns, and because you have to destroy the awakened empires anyway if you want to get the victory screen, so the annoying war issues aren't such a problem.
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Rolan7

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9100 on: July 22, 2021, 03:06:00 am »

I have high hopes for the promised updates for necrons and hive minds.  Fingers crossed I guess, because hive minds need love.  (and I guess necrons need rebalancing?  I don't have that DLC but they don't seem extraordinary when I play multiplayer).

I also really enjoy a little game at the start of every round, where my two friends and I do our best to describe where we are.  First off, we always start as neighbors - I just realized that's really weird, actually, if we're supposed to be potential antagonists.  Did the game notice that we always collaborate?  I'm not sure our early starts were always so close, but it's hard to be sure...  Anyway, we enjoy describing our location using the galactic landmarks.

It's fun in the "blind men describing an elephant" way, even with practice.  "South of the two blackholes", "A line between them, eastward, the trinary south of the binary" "Wait which arm are you in, inner or outter?" etc.

Anyway.  I don't have any idea what to do with this economy and situation:
Spoiler: Image (click to show/hide)
I got an exceptionally good start I guess, I early-claimed 8 good planets and never wanted for anything.  I built my lithovore corporate empire entirely about mining and alloy production, never even building trade buildings on my own worlds.  Or generators (maybe like 8 on ONE planet).  Such things are handled by my massive trade earnings, by forming a trade federation less than two decades in.  I can just make every world with a significant amount of industry into a forge world.  Capitalism just magicks all the CG I need from the... trade!

Of course, I am fanatic xenophile for more trade value... also spiritualist.  With the prosperity gospel, natch, since we're all playing spiritualist psionic lithovores.  It's working extremely well.

I'm Custodian now too, which is pretty sweet since I don't own Nemesis.
Real talk, it's kinda nice that even our enemies have supported me becoming a strong Custodian and building up the Galactic fleet.  I am Defender of The Galaxy, as always, and I am fanatic xenophile, and maybe the most important thing is that I have no interest in conquering territory.  No militarist, no xenophobia (unlike the rest of my federation).  Me, I have a pure interest in keeping the galaxy safe... (and magicly profitable).

The Xenophile FE woke right before we had to call it a night.  I take it as a point of pride that they looked around, with their mega-doomstacks, and decided the galaxy was in good hands.  One of my friends had been wanting to bully them, the other had been a hard nay, and I had pointed out the spiritualist heretic FE in the NE (anticoreward counterclockwise) we could flex on.

Edit:
My original point for all this was another "what the heck does one even do with this much resources?  How would one prepare for a 25X Crisis?
It's a weird "blind spot".  I have more resources than I can give away, and yet I could get curbstomped.  As a clue, I hate to exceed the fleet limit.  But even spamming citadel-anchorages in every system, would I have the power to stop a 25x?  Can I trust the AI empires to even slow that shit down?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 03:10:05 am by Rolan7 »
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Mephansteras

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9101 on: July 22, 2021, 12:48:52 pm »

For MP there is a setting in galaxy gen that determines how you start with other players. I remember my friends and I specifically looking for that to ensure that we start as neighbors.
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Telgin

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9102 on: July 22, 2021, 06:31:42 pm »

My original point for all this was another "what the heck does one even do with this much resources?  How would one prepare for a 25X Crisis?
It's a weird "blind spot".  I have more resources than I can give away, and yet I could get curbstomped.  As a clue, I hate to exceed the fleet limit.  But even spamming citadel-anchorages in every system, would I have the power to stop a 25x?  Can I trust the AI empires to even slow that shit down?

Nope, you can't trust the AI to slow a 25x crisis down at all, at least in vanilla.  In my experience the AI more or less becomes incapable of helping or defending themselves past 1x.  Worse, the changed behavior of the current version means that some crises like the Contingency will bee-line the strongest empire in the game, so you can't even count on the AI slowing it down as just a speed bump.

Whether you could build up enough to handle a 25x crisis will depend on some things, like what your current tech level is, but I'm doubtful unless you've got a lot of players helping you.  I've soloed a 10x Contingency as my personal best, but that took me building up to it for most of the game.  I ended up fighting that with about 40 levels of repeatables in relevant tech and about 2k of fleet capacity used, which required me to spam anchorages, build maybe a dozen dedicated habitats for soldiers and run the unity ambition for it just to keep the fleet upkeep manageable.  My fleet composition wasn't optimal for the Contingency, which is to use arc emitters / cloud lightning / disrupters, so you could do better with an optimal build.  I think I was using 10 dedicated energy weapon XL+L battleships, 10 kinetic equivalents and 6 or 7 carrier dedicated battleships, all focused on maximizing shields to counter Contingency weapons.  I ended up with 8 fleets like that, each with about 500k power.  That plus Defender of the Galaxy and the relevant combat edicts let me consistently take on Contingency fleets with 2 of mine each and not take serious losses.

If you left the crisis at random you're going to get the Unbidden instead because you or another player has probably researched jump drives.  That would be easier, but in the current version of the game I've found that even they are quite hard on 10x if you're not gearing hard for the crisis fight and optimizing your build due to the decrease in pop counts.  On 25x it's going to be extremely hard.  Worst case scenario would be 25x Contingency with fleets of 2.5 million roaming the galaxy and I think 8 million defending hub systems.

If you and your friends can scrape up enough fleet power to deal with that you're doing pretty well.  Maybe it's easier with MP than I realize since I play single player exclusively, but coordinating enough ships to win battles is going to be difficult.  You also run a significant risk of the crisis blowing away your massive combined galactic armada, and if you lose it all then you'll be screwed as they take systems.  I've lost a couple of games that way trying to get to being able to solo 10x on my own.

I've seen videos of people soloing 25x but I don't think I want to try that hard.
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Rolan7

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9103 on: July 23, 2021, 01:41:16 am »

Thank you for the advice.  I haven't gone up against 25x myself, even with my friends.  Mostly I was chafing at the constant resources lost to the caps.

It's so strange.  I have more resources than I know what to do with, such that I'm desperately using the market (with automatic trades, of course, though I'm slow to update them as we play on fast).  So my question is: 

How does one use a resource glut to prepare for the crisis?

The weird thing is that I probably know, vaguely.  One makes more research worlds to utilize the CG into actionable tech.  One builds as many dedicated anchorage starbases as possible, and forge-worlds to give the resources- not just for building, but for replacing, the theoretical mega-navy.

I guess it's hard to think about such things until one's had some time.  I built a megacorp around mineral extraction and alloy production, and here I whine about having too much minerals and alloys.  I give them to my ally players and to anyone any NPC willing to work with me, but I know in my heart that it wouldn't be enough.

I consider that I have to abandon my concept in order to win-
And then (in every previous game) we smash the Crisis because...
It isn't scaled.  Why isn't the crisis scaled to how well the galaxy is prepared?  As an option, obviously.  I have never truly experienced the crisis because it has only ever been a curbstomp - on me or by me.  An option to let the endgame match the readiness of the galaxy would be nice.

Edit: also like the main thing is that I hate running up against resource caps and I wonder how to utilize them.  Research is the correct answer, but ship-building only goes so far.
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Telgin

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Re: Stellaris: Paradox Interactive IN SPACE
« Reply #9104 on: July 23, 2021, 06:32:50 pm »

Yeah, I build as much research output as my empire can handle, which is usually capped by exotic gas production instead of consumer goods.  The kinds of builds I do tend to have massive CG upkeep problems in the early game because I like life seeded and still colonize everything in sight.  Around midgame I start to finally get a handle on the situation with habitability techs, cybernetics and eventually gaia terraforming.  Once that happens I tend to go from struggling to "lol what do I do with these consumer goods?" in a few game years.  At that point I just kind of forget about CGs.

I honestly don't know what to do with massive resource surpluses either.  I tend to just ignore them, except for alloys.  Usually I can keep spending alloys as fast as I make them, either with battleship fleets or with Yet Another Ringworld or Yet Another Habitat.  That tends to get a bit boring eventually though, so I end up capped on alloys too somewhere in the late game.

It's a bit unfortunate that the economy can be looked at from the perspective of just alloys.  You can try to sell other surpluses to buy more, but the price explodes so fast that's not usually very helpful.  The other resources largely don't matter after a certain point, so you don't trade for them either.  I guess some players probably do set up automatic monthly trades for rare resources instead of producing them internally, at which point energy begins to matter, but I try to produce everything I need rather than rely on trade, and usually end up getting near my energy production in upkeep from ships even with a Dyson sphere, at least when they're away from my stations.
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