Of course with my tests that give each faction a start of gold, library, refugee, and food, the Umber are the strongest. Maybe look into how they are starting their economy?
I bought the game in Sep '10 after being super impressed with GalCivII. Started playing a normal game, rolled it, then moved to ridiculous and rolled that too. Came to the forums to find out what the deal was with the release and the rest is history.
I play ridiculous each and every time. However, my daughter recently started playing novice and I help her with that. So with that perspective, I don't see the AI acting differently other than what they can build with the resource buffs on ridiculous level difficulty. Across all difficulty levels they don't gear their sovereigns, spouses, and champions for some reason. I suspect that either Brad hasn't had time to code the difference or the game becomes unbalanced on lower difficulty levels if the heroes roll the map all decked out.
Ridiculous level players certainly expect the AI to act like a human player as much as possible - which includes making the best units and hiring/gearing all heroes. It is counter intuitive to see the AI making good normal units with the best weapons and armor but then have a sovereign explore the map in their underwear, getting killed by monsters and ruffians or sticking their neck out so a human player can decapitate the entire empire by eliminating the sovereign.
I think Brad could do the following to make ridiculous even better:
- Code the spouse to chill in the capital to act as a defensive unit, check to max gear it on every season, and grant xp (would help with early-game player rush tactics)
- Code the soverign to explore, be careful, max gear and possibly grant xp
- Hire champions and max gear
We, the players, would then see the AI performing some common sense actions and help with the competitiveness of the game. Now the AI should probably not do that on lower difficulty levels (i.e. purposely act retarded for the more casual player) but maybe that's the problem with how to code it across multiple difficulty levels? Dunno.
[Edit] With all the memory issues maybe another prohibiting factor for improvement is competition for available memory. I have no idea how much memory the AI threads are using but maybe certain changes can't be made considering the ongoing struggle to fix oom problems. At any rate I remain optimistic that our AI arguments, supported with factual observations, will help the crew continue to improve the game.
[Editx2] I see the vision and passion from SD. I see the vision and passion of the community (especially modders). All of us who truly care are trying to constructively bring that vision to reality - which is why I'm still here bloviating.