...and one that is designed around the idea (or just flawed enough) that the player needs sub-fields where he can dominate the AI, even on the highest difficulty. Little safe spaces so to speak, to which he can flee when the AI bullies him too much on the open battlefield. This thread contains a lot of mod-talk, but the core of it is really about game-design and my interest in your opinions about the AI, hopefully from a point of view that some haven't really considered yet, so don't shy away just yet! Anyway. I'm currently working on a mod that, besides doing a lot of other stuff, changes the way research works to be less about Academies and Flat Bonuses but instead goes hand in hand with general empire development. New techs would unlock new, much stronger Buildings that have a much higher production cost to create a scenario where the player has to balance growth, production and, because of increased Maintenance, Energy all at once, while trying to also push forward in science and culture. My idea was really to create an experience where empire-development is at the core of what the player does, so I was rather astonished when I first started to do some serious play-testing. The results on the AI were INSANE. On Apollo I had not the slightest chance of keeping up in science, empire development or really anything else. The AI just steamrolled out of control, later wrecked my with armies that almost made me whimper in fear and I felt completely overwhelmed by what was going on. Thinking about it... yeah, it should have been obvious to me that this would happen. AI-Bonuses go straight into stuff that help them develop their empire, so the lack of "intelligence" of doing so is less important. If I then focus the game on direct empire development, then that's obviously a direct buff for the AI. The amount of strength it gained is still astonishing to me though. I think this experience could be translated into many other fields of the game. Would wars really be more fun if the terrain was redesigned to not cripple the AI that much and if its "carpet of doom" was scaled down to more reasonable armies to make up for that? Would "strong" mechanics in general still feel "strong" if the AI uses them in the same way the player does? This really made me think about the bigger picture of having an "abusable" AI. I pretty much removed or reworked all "Totally OP"-stuff that the AI doesn't know how to use properly and what I was left with was an opponent that was, well... unstoppable - at least on my level of experience with the game and the mod. I wonder if that's really a good thing or a bad thing. Not being able to use "player-cheats" like specialist slots in Civ 5 and Academies in Beyond Earth and instead having only the "direct" playing-field - the one where the AI gets its bonuses - to work with, felt very odd. This experience actually made me reconsider my stance that "An AI should be as good as reasonably possible" - and led me to believe that there's some benefit to be had from having an AI that is not "perfectly capable" in all fields. An AI that has obvious flaws and having mechanics in the game that favor the player over the AI and give him the edge to overcome its bonuses in another area. It's probably obvious that the AI in BE is less capable than most of us think it should be (or at least most to whom AI-strength matters). But how far is too far? Are "Player-Cheats" necessary? And - this question is mainly addressing players who like to have a challenge - would it increase the fun you had with the game if you had to play against an AI that gets bonuses in every field that you have access to and the only thing that could make you win against it is playing "flawlessly"? Leave your opinions below. And don't forget to like, comment, subscribe.