qeqeqe wrote:All in all, I'd say all of AI problems stem from it being too fond of war. Endless war with no way to stop it. Basically, the best way to defeat AI is to let it have its war and waste resources for no gain, and meanwhile developing your cities behind walls and solid defenses.
qeqeqe wrote:Found out that 2.6 is out, so installed it and ran an AI-only match. Created 10 players: 5 normal AI and 5 hard AI. Predictably, all "hard" AI quickly set their taxrate to 100%, fell behind and eventually lost (got eliminated once "normal" players built technological advantage). So, normal is stronger than "hard". However, it too is lame.
I haven't looked at Freeciv for a little while but, inspired by your experiment, I thought I'd try something similar. Unfortunately I come to the same conclusion as you. I've mentioned elsewhere on the forums that fundamentally the AI's extreme aggression and total focus on war makes them very ineffective once you learn how to get ahead in technology.
I ran an AI only game with 5 normal, 5 hard and 5 cheating AIs. If you didn't know already, you wouldn't be able to tell which was which, since they all suffer the same problems. Tax was not always on 100% (in fact I thought this had been disabled for all except cheating?) but because all they build is military buildings and units, their science was incredibly slow. By the year 2000, two AIs had been wiped out (one was cheating level), and the AIs with the highest scores were only just researching conscription and tactics. No one had anything like planes or tanks, so a space race was out of the question.
I also had a quick look at some recent commits, and found that the civ2civ3 ruleset modification that allowed AIs to gain "love" with each other, thereby being less aggressive, has for some reason been removed in this bug:http://www.hostedredmine.com/issues/681976
In my experiments, the only way to have the AI develop their civilizations properly is to reduce their aggression, either towards each other, the player or both. When I've done that with a custom ruleset, they actually get to the end of the tech tree and compete against each other to build a spaceship. Whether that reduced aggression translates into a different kind of advantage for the player I'm not sure, not being an expert player.