There are several bugs in Crusade that are causing problems and should be fixed, hopefully before Intrigue is released. Two of these bugs allow the AI to cheat. Another cripples the AI when it is playing as Synthetic. I have reported them on support tickets. Today I found out that support tickets should no longer be used. See Reply #7 in this post.
AI-Controlled Ships Are Ignoring Movement Penalties That Some Tiles Have
All tiles cost at least one movement point (mp). Some tiles cost more. Asteroid fields cost 3 total mp. Some of the clouds in the galaxy cost mp. Each tile in a Nebula costs 75%. All starbases built by a race with the Vigilant trait cause foreign ships in the area of effect of the starbase to use 1 extra mp per tile. Arceans have this trait.
Every time I move a ship into one of these tiles, it suffers these penalties. The movement code of the game knows this and routes my ships around these tiles most of the time when I send them enough distance away and when I put them on autopilot. Every time an AI-Controlled ship moves into one of these tiles, the penalties are ignored. The movement code sends ships straight through these tiles as if they were empty. All you have to do is watch the AI ships in a game to see that it is true.
This did not occur before Crusade. It took a while before I noticed it, then more time before I was sure and verified it happened everywhere and in all cases. I submitted a ticket in August.
AI-Controlled Ships Are Ignoring Range Limits
All ships have a maximum range in tiles they can go from their planets, shipyards and starbases. Click on one of your ships, and you will see the range shown as dashed line on the galaxy map. Try to move the ship beyond the line, and you will get a message that the tile is out of range. You can't move the ship there.
The AI can move its ships anywhere in the galaxy from turn 1. This is not easy to see normally. I noticed it on a huge galaxy when I was in the corner. I had trade ships coming from places I couldn't find. When I went into Govern and clicked the Trade tab, I could see all the trade routes coming to me. All were all from the other side of the galaxy. I couldn't reach the center of the galaxy. I found a freighter near one of my planets and double-clicked on it. This showed the details of the ship, including its range. Its range was similar to the range of my trade ships, which couldn't reach the middle of the galaxy, but here it was on my side of the galaxy.
This has been mentioned by several others in various posts in these forums and on Steam. Some have also mentioned what I have also seen: if they start on the edge of a galaxy, the AI creates a lot of trade routes with them; if they start elsewhere else in the galaxy, the AI moves through their area and never creates trade routes to them. The AI has no reason to since a long trade route to the (supposedly unreachable) far side of the galaxy is better.
Anyone who can use the console can see this. Start a game in a huge or larger galaxy. After the game starts, use the fowtrans command in the console to reveal all objects. When you see a trade ship from one of the AI, click on it. You will see the range shown on the map, and you will see that the destination of the ship is the far side of the galaxy, well beyond the range. Next, double-click on the ship to show its details. The data on the left side includes the range. Is it enough to reach where it is going or enough to reach the line showing the range limit? After you see this, use the command soak to automate the game. When the AI that now controls your race builds a trade ship, click on it. You will now see its range and that its destination is the far side of the galaxy. Use the soak command again to regain control of your race, then try to send the trade ship to the same location. You can't.
When GalCiv3 came out there was a problem that occurred when your survey ship or an AI survey ship went through a wormhole and encountered a race on the far side of the galaxy. Sometimes the race would declare war on you, then do nothing because it couldn't reach you and didn't know what to do about it. In one of the patches they were taught how to build a chain of starbases in order to reach an enemy. They were very good at it. I have never seen them do this in Crusade. Have you? I doubt it. They don't need to because they ignore the range limits, giving them unlimited range.
I submitted a ticket on this in late December.
Synthetic Races Launching Colony Ships With No Population and Trying to Colonize Planets
I noticed this in February and submitted a ticket then. Changes were made in 2.8 that prevented anyone “cheating” and using empty colony ships to settle planets. This was usually done by upgrading a constructor to a colony ship with zero population, then using it to settle a planet, usually a high-quality planet. Raise your hand if you have done this (raises hand ). I tried after the update and found it no longer works. In addition to this change, a planet has a minimum population of 1 when loading colony ships. Once that is reached, colony ships cannot get population from the planet, so they would have zero population if they were launched. This is not allowed, so they cannot be launched. I have tried this as a synthetic race and verified it works.
The bug is that a synthetic race controlled by the AI ignores the restriction on launching empty colony ships. They launch them with zero population and send them to colonize planets. The problem they have is that the restriction on settling planets with a zero-population colony ship does apply to the AI, so they can't settle. The ship stops near the planet and just sits there unless the AI discovers another habitable planet, then it will send the ship to that planet and then fail to settle it.
This hurts synthetic races played by the AI because they spend a lot of time, and probably administrators, building colony ships that are useless.
This is easily seen by starting a game on a tiny galaxy with the Yor as the other race. You can just build scout ships to watch them if you want to, or you can use the console and the fow command to show the map. Watch the AI build and launch a colony ship with 2 population. The planet started with 5, so now it has 3 population. Watch the AI build and launch a second colony ship with two population. The planet now has 1 population, and it should no longer be possible to launch a colony ship because it would have zero population. Watch the AI build and launch a colony ship with zero population. When this ship gets to a planet, watch it stop and do nothing because the part about not settling a planet using a zero-population colony ship does apply to the AI. The AI may build and launch more colony ships with zero population, depending on how many unsettled planets are available. Sooner or later the AI will build and launch a colony ship with 1 population from one of the planets settled with a colony ship that had 2 population. Also, the AI will eventually get around to building more Yor on the planets, allowing them to build colony ships with population.
All of these exist in V3 Beta also.
This Part 1. I'll have more in Part 2 sometime later and at least one about V3 Beta eventually.