Some of you may be familiar with the Defined Roles mode in a few of my HW2 (and now HWRM) mods. The idea is that control over ships is divided among a team’s players. One player controls capital ships and production; another player controls resource collectors, frigates and platforms; and a third player controls fighters and corvettes. (I haven’t been able to think of a fourth role yet now that HWRM supports eight players.)
This is relatively simple to implement for human players. But for CPU players this requires many changes, either to the AI or to some other game structures.
Getting all three CPU players to cooperate with each other by modifying the AI scripts is a PITA and will probably never work. However, I have made some attempts in the past, and there is still some (currently disabled) experimental AI code in my mod files from this time that you can take a look at.
Another solution would be to rely instead on a single CPU opponent with the power of three players. The easiest (for me) would be if GearBox implemented per-player starting fleets and per-player unitcaps, which could then be tweaked/increased to make the CPU opponent stronger. But they (or at least BitVenom) have expressed trepidation about this and are unlikely to do so.
A third way would also rely on a single super-strong CPU player, but would instead simulate per-player starting fleets and unitcaps using current methods. To simulate per-player starting fleets, I could simply spawn all three CPU players’ ships, and then transfer them to the ‘lead’ player while leaving the other CPU players in stasis. However, the only way I can think of to simulate per-player unitcaps, would be to create four new CPU-only races, each with their own versions of common ships, and then alter the unitcaps for these races to give them more ships. It would work, but would be a lot of effort to set up, and a PITA to manage over time if GearBox decided to do additional balancing of ships and races at some point in the future.
Is there another option I am missing? Creating four new races is just too much effort for little gain, and could even be abused by unscrupulous players. What are your thoughts?