Artwork: Silicoids are done!

The artwork for the Silicoids is done, along with animations, and have been incorporated into the game. Bulrathis are next!

The new Silicoid diplomat, complaining about ships in their systems (this screen is still unfinished!)

Silicoid_Diplomat

And, the Silicoid scientist, with his glowy levitating cube:

Silicoid_Scientist

The Silicoid Soldier, showing off technology recovered from the ruins of an artifact planet:

Silicoid_Soldier

And the Silicoid spy, not incorporated into the game yet since I haven’t started on the espionage portion of the game:

Silicoid_Spy_11

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GNN notices

GNN Empire rankings are now in the game. The graphic below is a PLACEHOLDER from the original game until new artwork is ready, but the code infrastructure necessary to support GNN updates is now in place. 🙂

The actual GNN screen will obviously look a bit different than this when it’s  done.

There are 4 possible rankings that can show up: Population, Production, Technology and Fleet Strength. Once the player has made contact with all of the empires in the game, a random ranking update will display every 25th turn.

GNNPlaceholder

edited: the notices for empires that are expanding the fastest are in as well.

GNNExpansion

Improving the Fleet Commander AI

Now that the AI is smart enough to notice enemy ships in orbit around its colonies, it had to be smart enough to DO something about it. A few new “Fleet Plans” were developed and tested tonight.

The “Repel” plan is designed specifically to drive away enemy ships from colonies and is currently the highest-priority fleet plan. It currently sends a token fighter, but this will eventually scale up to the size of the orbiting fleet.

The AI needed to be smart enough to defend colonies that have not yet finished building their missile bases, so I added a new “Guard Colony” plan that does just that. The size of the defense force (+bases) depends upon the security of the colony.

If it is an “Inner” colony not easily reachable by an opponent, a minimum defense is established. If it’s a “border” colony,  a larger defense is used. If it’s a border colony in range of an empire that it is at war with, then it is considered an “attack target” and an ever larger defense is established.

All of this seems to work but there’s no resolution yet as I have not yet implemented auto-resolution of ship combat. I’ll probably start working on that this weekend.

Warnings from the AI

The first warning message is in: a “trespass” warning from the AI when you have ships orbiting his colonies. The severity of the warning is calculated based upon the firepower of your fleets vs. the planetary shields, and is doubled if you are at war or if he is xenophobic. There’s a minimum severity so that unarmed ships can potentially trigger this warning.

Since this is the first possible warning of many to come, it involved setting up some code infrastructure to look for  possible warning situations initiated in the current turn, determine their severity, and then issue a warning if their accumulated severity exceeds a value. If so, you are issued a warning about the most severe violation.

Since trespass violations are checked every turn, you will be warned continuously if you do not retreat your ships. Eventually the accumulating diplomatic penalties could result in a declaration of war.

Since the diplomacy system in MOO1 is overly simplistic and easily exploited, I am reworking the internals extensively although the outward effects to the player should appear the same.

To avoid AI spam to the player, an AI opponent will initiate no more than one message to the player per turn. The most severe messages are checked first (declare war?) and then progressively less-severe messages are checked (break treaty? issue warning?) until finally the AI is cleared to offer a request such as a treaty.

This means that constantly irritating an AI to cause warnings will result in him never proposing anything constructive. Why should he? You’re being a jerk!

Here’s a screenshot of an example trespass warning (note that the Meklar graphics are currently used as placeholders for all of the races).

WarningTrespass02

Erratic War

The first AI declaration of war is in… the easy one. When the AI has an erratic leader, then there is a 2% chance per turn that he will declare war on you. This one is easy because it is completely self-contained and requires no detection of what is going on in the game.

Below are first contact and declaration of war screenshots. Please note that the font will change (I don’t like it at all) and there are still no animated waving flags for the AI in the shots yet.

Currently, I am working on creating Diplomatic Events for the AI to detect and respond to. The first, and one of the most straightforward, is the Trespassing event along with the associated Warning that the AI may give you.  Hopefully I’ll have that working tomorrow. There are currently 26 planned diplomatic events to code for as well as 30 different notifications (praises, warnings and threats) to work on. So, as you imagine, there is a lot to do just to get the AI to the point where it can have an “intelligent” conversation with the player.

First Contact from the Meklars:

MeklarFirstContact

Followed later by the declaration of war that makes it clear that you are dealing with an erratic leader:

MeklarErraticWar

Fun stuff!