I’ve just discovered the “Remnants of the Precursors” project. In the words of Ray Fowler:
Remnants of the Precursors […] is intended to be a strict feature clone of the original Master of Orion game from 1993. Bugs and exploits will be fixed, the AI will be improved, and all artwork, music and user interfaces will be modernized.
Incredibly ambitious. Having perused his blog I can see that the project is well on track with lots of attractive artwork and some interesting posts on game development.
One article grabbed my attention in particular, concerning the state of 4X AIs.
Every fan of 4X strategy games knows the disappointment of suddenly realizing that his impending and crushing victory, made against seemingly insurmountable odds, turns out to be against a bunch of hapless AI opponents. Below are the top 9 AI flaws that I recall 4X fans complaining about in various game forums.
As a developer of a 4X game, these shortcomings weigh heavily on my mind. Since my pet theory about how to write a good AI starts and ends with “Don’t do stupid things”, the items listed below are those I have either already fixed in Remnants or have concrete plans to address in the upcoming developer release (just weeks away).
Source: 9 Ways that 4X AIs disappoint us
Every time a new 4X rolls around, the player base grumbles about the AI. We’re seemingly never satisfied. Civilization VI in particular has received a lot of flak for the erratic computer players.
In the post linked above, Ray talks about how he is actively tackling some common 4X AI problems head on. If only more devs took the problem as seriously as he!