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News: Celebrating 30 years of Star Control 2 - The Ur-Quan Masters

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: A Modest Proposal on: June 28, 2004, 08:39:41 pm

This argument falls flat due to the fact that I can trash all of those 11 ships on Awesome AI with relative ease, some of them without batting an eyelash. I'll watch how the AI fights itself as Arilou, but my skill at the game really isn't the point. My suggestion is for the benefit of newbie and average SC2 players more than the melee fanatics who've been screwing around with the game on and off for a decade that you see on the forum.

Of course you can.  If you pick the right ship.  The computer, however, doesn't pick the right ship.  Using the Arilou, beat the Chmmr.  Or the Utwig, or the Yehat.  Not impossible, but difficult.  For me at least, I can't beat an awsome computer controlled fleet of Chmmr with a fleet of Arilou.  I, of course, can beat it with a single Thraddish.  The computer can't even kill one Chmmr with a fleet of Thraddish.

The most frustrating ships for humans are the ones that we can't control as well as the computer, like the Pkunk and the Arilou.  But let's face it, since the computer sucks so horridly with almost every one of the other ships, it should have something, right?

But, back to the Arilou, the following strategies work well:
Chmmr:  Just wait.  It will die.

Earth:  Point defense, or if you have full energy, missile.  Once in a blue moon you get lucky.  Also, the arilou doesn't like to charge in if you are aiming at it, so you can keep it at bay sometimes.

Mycon:  Again, by running away and then pointing at it, you can keep it at bay long enough to heal up from the times where it gets too close.  Eventually you will get a lucky shot.

Utwig:  Stay still, aim in it's direction, and fire.  shield if it gets too close.

Yehat:  Same as Utwig.

Yes, it is difficult.  That is why the arilou costs 20 pts for a ship that can be killed by an ur-quan with a single bolt.

2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: A Modest Proposal on: June 26, 2004, 01:52:37 am
For those of you who really hate the Arilou, I strongly suggest you watch what the computer does against it.  (See the thread titled "OCD" for background...)

On a 14vs14 ship matchup, an awsome computer arilou is beaten by an awsome computer fleet of:


It is tied exactly by the Shofixi.  Now, some of those would require skills beyond most players to defeat the arilou.  (like the Slylandro, or the lucky-shot Ur-Quan)  But at the same time I find that the arilou are very defeatable by the mycon, and if I am feeling lazy, an earthling cruiser can usually defeat them just by using the point defense.

In some ways, the arilou is the computer's best played ship... It is the only one I believe that the computer does smart energy management on.  (It makes sure it has enough to teleport out.)

But you are smarter than the computer, right?  You can adapt.  If the computer can consistantly defeat the Arilou with 11 ships, why can't you?

3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / OCD on: June 11, 2004, 03:46:59 am

Out of a sense of sheer boredom, obsessiveness, and curiosity, I have run a detailed analysis on which computer controlled ship is best, and which is worse.

Ideally this information could be used on "Enhanced" versions of UQM to improve the point scale, improve the computers strategic AI (ie, which ship to send against which ship in super-melee), and possibly to make for a more challenging AI.


Two fleets of ships were sent against each other for each match.  Each fleet would contain 14 ships of a single species.  Both fleets were controlled by an "Awesome Computer" player.  Version 0.3 of UQM was used running on a 1100MHZ Windows 2k computer.

Each species would fight all other species, for a total of 600 matches.  Each match would contain between 14 and 27 battles.

I recorded for each match the winner, and how many ships the winner still had surviving at the end of the match.  Fractional ships were only used in the cases where the winner still had all fourteen ships alive.  Fractions were calculated by the ratio of crew alive to crew available to the ship.

A few key notes:

With the shofixi, if the computer won the battle by self destruction, the shofixi score would not include the ship that self destructed, even though UQM displays that ship as being alive.

When a pkunk fleet wins a match with all of its ships intact but one ship damaged, it is not clear that a fractional score should be used.  Fortuneately this case never happened.

When a mycon or a syreen fleet wins a match with all 14 ships intact, fractional scores were not counted, since in both cases the ships have the capability to regain crew.

All matches were fought and recorded "as-is", and no match was re-fought because of  bad luck (planet crashes, bad initial placement, etc.)

(Data omitted.  Suggestions for posting?)

Data observations:
No ship won all of its battles.  The Utwig won all but one against the yehat, with yehat having two ships to spare.  The Chmmr and the Ur-Quan had two and three defeats respectively.

No ship lost all of its battles.  The ZoqFotPik only beat the Umgah, with four ships to spare.  The Umgah and the Thraddish had two and three victories respectively.

There are some oddities in the data.  For example, the syreen match against the Chmmr had the Chmmr win with all of it's ships intact, and one crew alive on it's first ship.  The syreen got the chmmr to this point after only 6 or so ships.  The syreen was never able to damage the chmmr with it's primary cannon.  

It was my original hope that I could come up with a clear-cut way to assign new scores to all ships s/t with two computer controlled ships of equal score, the end score would on average be zero.  I have yet to come up with a satisfactory method for this.

It is fairly easy to calculate between any two species how many of one kind of ship it would take, on average, to defeat another:

If (won) then (14-# of ships left)/ 14
else (14/(14-# of opponents left))

There is a bit of difficulty with ships that won with all ships intact and no damage sustained.  Obviously, as near as the data can tell, it would take an infinite number of
ships to defeat the one ship.

To get around this, the number of ships was weighted to 14.1 in the above formula.

Simply averaging the numbers resulted in some oddities... the Syreen, an overall average ship, was the best because it defeats the pkunk, the suppox, and the zoqfotpik consistently without damage.

Instead I went with the geometric mean.  This was multiplied by a weighted number s/t the sum of all the points resulted in the same total as before, 437 points.  This results in
the following point scale:

Mmrnmhrm 12.31306437
Mycon      12.75849905
Orz      12.77911675
Slylandro      14.05374101
Arilou      14.67790547
Androsyn      16.24530828
Chenjesu      21.53414373
Kohr-Ah      29.14688345
Ur-Quan      31.17697022
Yehat      41.5607365
Utwig      54.05230958
Chmmr      83.31581938

If I then declare that 30 is the highest possible score, and redistribute the points so that the total is still 437, I get:

New score:Old Score:

Error analysis:
There is insufficient data to do error analysis on this experiment.  Some matches, such as Shofiki vs Arilou (both fleets annihilated) are likely to have very low or insignificant standard deviation, whereas others may be very high.  I would estimate that between 5 and 20 matches would have to be run for each pair to understand the cumulative error.

Not counting fractional ships below 13 will cause some anomalies.  If I were to re-do the experiment, I would record fractional ships down to 10, or even 7.  Below 7 I believe is noise.

My data shows that most of the cheaper ships are extremely over-valued by the current point scale, with notable exceptions of species like the shofixi and the ilwrath.

The computer's tactics leave much to be desired.  For the ships at the top of the scale, it is clear that they are adequate, while ships at the bottom should probably be carefully examined.

(comments about what is wrong with the AI is reserved for another thread.)

4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stupid AI stunts on: June 10, 2004, 01:58:39 am
Out and out bugs:

1) Orz computer never uses marines against Utwig.

2) umgah does not use weapon or special to avoid getting hit.

Bad, stupid behaiviors:

The suppox is the computer's worse ship.  Against anything it can out run and has larger shooting distance for (about half the ships) it should be unbeatable.  But the computer does not bother following the simple proceedure:

 a) maintain proper distance.
 b) maintain proper angle to hit opponent
 c) while doing a&b, adjust position s/t it hits opponent.

Energy management.  If the damn earth ship would just turn in the general direction of the opponent before firing, it would be about twice as effective.  (Except against the utwig, where the near misses are it's best bet.)

Frankly, the computer should probably not fire with the earth, the Mmrnmhrm, or the Spathi unless there is a chance in hell that the shot will hit.  With the earth and the Spathi, the ship's turn rate is so much better than the missiles, it only makes sense to turn the ship, not the missile.

Orz tends to over use it's marines against fast ships, esp ships like the pkunk that have to come close to hit.

Heck... it might be easier to summarize the things the computer does RIGHT.

The three best computer ships are the Chmmr, the Utwig, and the Yehat.  (Data to support this comming soon.)  Two of those ships have shielding, and the third has active defence and the ability to crush anything else in a dead run, chase after opponent strategy.

The computer's next three best ships are the Kohr-Ah, the Ur-Quan, and the Chenjesu.  All ships that pack a serious punch.

The next block of three are the Androsyn, the Arilou, and the Slylandro.  All ships that are fast and manueverable.

Gah.  So many things to write about this, so little time.

5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Aftermath on: June 08, 2004, 12:36:07 am
Random suggestions for changing the economics model:

I would chage the game so that all the economics happen behind the sceens, but you are helped by building, pillaging, and killing.

A possible model:

1) player has a rank based on the number of kills, bases built, etc.  Rank controls how much revenue player gets from bases and mines.  For example, a player may get 1% of the revenue of a new starbase if they are the lowest rank, but 10% if they are the highest.

2) Starbases, mines, etc generate materials at a fixed rate.  Starbases and mines have two accounts for all ores... the general account, and the players account.  Player can sell ore from their account to the general account.  Player can only buy if the ore is available.

3) ships & enhancements require a fixed amount of ore (say 100 units per mine you have now.)  If you don't have all the units of ore you need at the starbase you are at, you can't buy the enhancement.

4) starbases will buy ships on it's own with the materials and credits it has.  Freighters will automaticly travel to nearby mines to move materials back.  Warships will defend freighters, and engage enemies inside the range of the starbase.

5) if a computer's freighter reaches a mine and the mine does not have enough ore to fill the freighter from the general account, the freighter will take back some from the player's account.  If the freighter makes it back, the player gets 50% of the ore at that station.

6) make the defesnive posts of a starbase a little easier to kill, and make it so a starbase will purchase more of them if it has enough materials.  Also, get rid of the uber nuclear missile.  Starbases should be difficult to kill head on, but easy to kill if you can blocade the system.

I think, with a little tinkering this will make for an interesting game:

if you build, raid, and kill, eventually you can build up a large fleet.

if you arn't careful and engage the enemies economic production, you are in trouble.

Just a suggestion
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