Don't listen to this guy...
Please do not put too much effort into teaching the A.I. making better use of the current game mechanics. Elemental - as for now - is way too exploitable and while 1.1 was a good step into the right direction, there is a lot of work to do. Examples:
As it is now I fear there is no way to balance this game in a sane manner. There was another thread (which I couldn't find anymore) about the A.I. and how it should be diversified. I think several A.I. personalities should aim for different goals and therefore have their own strategies implemented. Let there be the warmonger A.I. besides the isolationists that turtle to build up a strong infrastructure and defense. There should also be some crossovers of that counterpoints as well. Then each of the approaches could follow the path of magic or prefer technology and regular troops.
Because everything is written in XML, balance is pretty easy to tweak.
The main problem is that the AI behavior is weird and unpredictable. It does not like to commit, and it does not calculate things properly.
-If the AI properly attacked when it has a strong combat rating, we can make it build things that have a strong combat rating, or make the things it builds stronger in combat.
-If the AI built cities with somekind of direction, we could make that direction stronger.
-Tactical AI is dumber than bricks and doesn't use magic. Not sure how tactical AI works or if it's hardcoded.
-The strategic AI doesn't really use magic either, I think.
Right now the AI has no sense of purpose or direction. It's just doing things. I'm not really sure what.
Frogboy, I know your AI techniques are secret, but does the AI learn things overtime? Over a period of games?
From a programmer's point of view, here are things you can analyze, and points to record for reweighting AI priorities
-What do good players make? How many of what buildings? What techs do they take? How many cities do they have? How many champions? What stats get leveled? What factor is distance? What spells do they research? How often do they cast spells, and what do they cast it on? What do they spend resources on?
-Record these statistics in any given game. Record them for the AI and players.
-At the end of the game, arrange the factions according to power level, and who won. Generally the winner and the top two statistics are the most relevant. Enter them into your Baynesian filter.
-calculate, reweight, and try again.
-Having your 'hooks' into these build statistics are really really vital. Just building the 'right' things and 'enough' of them can really make a difference.
PS, I totally applied to work for Stardock 2 years ago.