| Humanoids vs the AI!
|Mon, 18 July 2022 19:31
Registered: August 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
|Just finished my first game in 10-15 years! Was a lot of fun. For my first game back, I decided to keep it simple and play as the Humanoids. I setup a small universe with 5 AI opponents, all on expert.
It was a slow start - the Humanoids are a pretty bad race when you compare to any of the standard "monster" races, and I know I made a lot of mistakes along the way. The enemy Hyper Expansionist the "House Cats" was the main opposition, although the Packet Physics "Hicardis" did put up some good resistance. They taught me a lesson or two about building defenses and being prepared for packet attacks.
I was behind on tech compared to all of the AIs the entire game - luckily the leading House Cats AI never fielded any Battleships and chose to stick with Meta Morphs the entire game.
Some of the designs were passable:
Others were pretty hilarious:
In the end, even down 30 tech levels or so, a half-decent human player can whittle away the AI - it just takes a lot of micromanagement. I imagine it could be very fun to play against the AIs if they played even marginally better. I wonder if anybody has spent time and tried to write a program that could play, outside of the built-in AIs?
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how well Stars! holds up even to this day. Probably doesn't hurt that the game never relied on it's graphics, even on release, to be fun.
As a side note, there was one thing I couldn't figure out a good way to do while invading enemy planets. It's much easier and faster to be able to invade with your own troops - you don't have to mess with colonizers and you get free tech. However, when you have a large bombing fleet, the planet drops from 300k colonists to 0 in one turn. A waypoint0 colonist drop happens before bombing, and a waypoint1 drop happens after when the planet is uninhabited. Is there a better way to do this, other than guessing/splitting your bombing fleet so it doesn't wipe out the planet so quickly?
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