AI War - Minimizing Micromanagement

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How Do I Minimize Micromanagement?

Q: One of the main features touted on the game marketing blurbs is the lack of "painful micromanagement." From what I have seen with my early experiences with the game, there seems to be a ton going on that I have to keep track of. Can you explain what the marketing stuff is talking about?

A:

Contents

First, What Do We Really Mean By "No Painful Micromanagement?"

Perhaps the term that would best describe AI War is "facilitated micromanagement." In other words, the game is set up in such a way that you can micromanage to your heart's content, as much or more so than any other RTS game. There is more to do in AI War than most RTS titles (similar to most 4X games), so if you just leap into AI War and try to play it like any other RTS, you could indeed spend as much or more time than normal micromanaging all the various aspects of your empire. The difference is that the game actively discourages this, rather than encouraging it.

The key thing to realize is that this is too much for any one person to manage -- you have to start delegating. In many recent RTS games, this means simply taking out entire subsystems (the economy, for instance) and providing a simpler overall experience. This works for mainstream titles catering to people new to RTS or just looking for a lightweight experience, but grognards gravitate toward AI War for a reason: we provide all the complexity of an RTS married to a 4X game, but also give a huge array of tools for delegation of those complexities. For example:

  • If you want to fine-tune your economy, you can do so, but the game does not require you to.
  • If you want to focus on fleet composition and positioning to maximize every possible benefit, you certainly can (and the game, especially the most recent versions, has some tools to help you do so), but most people just use automated construction loops and then quickly divide up their forces (using easy tools for that also) before battle.
  • If you want to enact super complex tactical management, you can do that too, but many 4X fans focus more on fleet composition and just let the battles play out largely on their own. Most players, if anything, use some simple tactics (part II here) when they can, during particularly important battles, and otherwise set things up to be automated. In AI War, unlike most strategy games, there are a huge number of battles that play out in a very automated system based on what players previously told their units to do (and telling your ships what to do is also a pretty simple affair).

What does micromanagement even mean, really? In our definition, it means the stupid, boring, repetitive tasks that you must undertake in nearly all strategy games, but which don't have anything to do with strategy. It can also mean the stuff that requires you to hand-hold all of your units in battle to make sure they actually get the job done in a manner that is all satisfactory (thus giving players who click fast a significant advantage over those who don't, as seen in the majority of RTS titles). It was important to us that fast-clicking not triumph over strategic thought.

What we have not cut out is the complexity, as this is a complex game for very good reasons. When you get rid of all the micromanagement and boring, repetitive tasks, this complexity seems a lot less so because that is the game, that's what you are spending your time thinking about and acting on. When the above link was published, a lot of the AI War playerbase wrote in on the forums to protest that they didn't really think the game was that particularly complex, not in the negative way that a few reviewers have implied it was. Clearly they are part of the most central demographic for enjoying the game, so their idea of complexity be a bit different from the overall norm, but you could say the same of any 4X game fans.

How Does The Game Automatically Cut Out Micromanagement For You?

This section is a list of many of the things that the game automatically does for you -- that you don't even have to think about -- in order to minimize micromanagement:

Economy

  • Metal/Crystal harvesters are automatically built on planets you take over when there are no hostile enemies present, and are automatically rebuilt in the same fashion if they are destroyed.
  • When you start a new game, you start with a huge bunch of resources, in addition to your automatically-placed harvesters, as well as a lot of knowledge. So the first actions you actually take are typically to unlock some specific first technologies, to do a bit of scouting of the nearby area, and then get on with the attack. It's not uncommon for players to take their first planet in the first 10 minutes (during the same interval in many RTS games, many won't even have started building military units yet, as they are still focusing on their economy buildup -- online rushers aside, obviously, we're talking about standard players).
  • The entire economy is flow-based, meaning that you never have to spend up-front resources to build even the most expensive units. This means that you can start construction on any unit when you feel like it, rather than having to wait around until you hit some resource threshold.

Non-Combat Units

  • Engineers automatically work in a given area, keeping themselves busy. Putting them into FRD mode (see below) lets them cover an entire planet. We also made all engineers teleporting to cut down on time you might need to spend waiting for them to do stuff.

Combat Units

  • Ships automatically attack anything that comes into their range. Given that the vast majority of ships are ranged, the default behavior for them is to simply sit where you told them and fire, which keeps things organized but which keeps you from having to oversee every skirmish to tell ships to attack. The few melee ships are automated rather like engineers, in that they will automatically chase down enemies rather than requiring you to manually oversee them.
  • Ship auto-targeting is extremely, extremely good. Normally in a battle, your ships will automatically handle things just fine. You are responsible for ship positioning and fleet composition, but that's it. You can take more fine-tuned control, and you can give ships overriding target-type preferences, but you don't have to. The game lets you express yourself in an appropriate scale, letting thoughtful design and instructions override the need to tell each specific unit what to fire at.

Knowing What Is Going On In Your Empire

  • In-game tooltips give you the rankings for which ships are strongest and weakest against which other ships in the current game. This eliminates the need for players to have to memorize stats, which we view as a form of micromanagement.
  • The various toolbars and icon displays in the game tell you what is going on with your empire, as well as your local fleet, at a glance with the ability to drill down to get more information in most cases. This prevents another form of micromanagement common to most strategy games, namely the need to keep manually checking key locations for enemy invaders. In AI War, if the numbers in the upper right of your HUD are good, you know there's nothing to worry about. No more obsessive checking to see what's going on, you can spend your mental energy on something more productive to your strategy.

General Interface

  • The interface is set up to make the most common actions really easy, while not cluttering it with every possible action. Hunting through tons of on-screen buttons, or tabbing through multiple panes of buttons with multiple clicks to accomplish one thing, are another form of micromanagement we eschew.
  • There are a ton of hotkeys, as in most RTS games, but unlike most we don't hide them -- we have an index of them right in the game. With far too many strategy games, you have to go scouring forums to get a nearly-complete list of handy hotkeys.
  • Where needed, the game is intelligently designed to prevent common accidental mistakes that players often made in early versions of the game. One awesome usability feature that several reviews have strangely complained about is the fact that to send units through wormholes, you must Ctrl+click. "Why not just right-click to send units through?" a couple of reviewers have asked. Simple: in early versions where that was the behavior, players fighting around wormholes were constantly sending their ships through the wormhole when they did not mean to. The addition of the Ctrl key very concisely allows the players to explicitly state what their intent is, so that the game doesn't misunderstand them to frustrating effect; this is but one example of a wider approach to the game that prevents players from having to engage in pixel-perfect mouse clicks and other, similar, frustrations.


What Tools Are There For Players To Otherwise Eliminate Micromanagement?

This section is about the various features that help players express their will to the game in the most concise way possible, cutting out tedious or repetitive steps found in many strategy games. Some of these are unique to AI War, others are found in various other recent strategy games but are (sadly) not yet genre standards. There are a ton of practical tips you can use in here.

It may seem like a lot to take in, and it is, but all of these sections are geared at either: automating ship behaviors in various ways that you might want, or getting you quick access to data that will help you make better decisions, or quickly understanding some dimension of the current state of the galaxy, or otherwise controlling/selecting/sub-selecting your ships in the quickest and easiest way possible. In general, pretty much everything here could be accomplished by a really persistent player with way too many spare hours on their hands. However, using these various tools saves thousands of clicks and a lot of manual legwork, allowing you a degree of control that would otherwise be ridiculously impractical, though not technically impossible. When we talk about "facilitated micromanagement," this list of stuff is what we mean -- it lets you skip the tedious, repetitive stuff with just a couple of keystrokes or mouse clicks, and get on with playing the game while retaining a very high fidelity of control over the execution of your strategy and tactics.

Free-Roaming Defender Mode

  • This is probably the most useful mode for military ships in the game, and it is also really useful for things like engineers and rebuilders. To put a ship into FRD mode, simply hold V while right-clicking. The point at which you click will be the focal point of the FRD ships.
  • Military ships in FRD mode will automatically attack any enemy ships on the current planet, using helpful AI to do a good job of dividing up the work, and will then return to the FRD focal point.
  • Economic ships in FRD mode (engineers, rebuilders, cleanup drones) will ignore their normal target seek radii and will do work for the entire planet, then returning to their FRD focal point when there is no longer any work for them to do.
  • You can easily see that ships are in FRD mode by the purple outline in the icon view of far zooms.

Attack-Move Mode

  • All military ships in AI War are in a mode similar to attack-move in many other RTS games, because they will automatically attack any ships that come within their range. However, normally your non-melee ships will not move to follow enemy ships (or get into better firing range), they will simply go where you tell them.
  • To put ships into AI War's style of attack-move mode, hold X while right-clicking. The point at which you click will be the focal point of the attack-moving ships.
  • Military ships in attack-move mode will automatically move toward the focal point unless an enemy is in their range. If an enemy is in their range, they will attack it as normal, but will move into optimal range and will chase it if it moves away. When there are no more enemies in their range, they will continue moving to the focal point. They will stay in attack-move mode once they reach the focal point, so if more enemies come into their range they will again pursue them before returning.
  • Economic ships in attack-move mode function exactly like economic ships in FRD mode, since economic ships already have a small range in which they auto-target and pursue targets to assist, repair, rebuild, cleanup, etc.
  • You can easily see that ships are in attack-move mode by the yellow outline in the icon view of far zooms.

Group Move

  • Normally ships in AI War fly at their maximum speed to their target, which is useful in some cases but not all. To have a selected group of ships all move at the same (slowest in the group) speed, hold G while right-clicking to make them group-move.
  • This can be combined with FRD or attack-move modes.
  • Some players prefer to have ships group-move by default. There is a button at the bottom of the HUD that normally says LONE. Click it to switch it to GROUP mode.
  • When a player is in group mode, holding G will be inverted in function: holding it makes selected ships all move at their normal speeds, rather than the group speed.

Formation Move

  • Normally formations are counter to good tactics for individual ships; the individual ships will generally fare better when left to move into optimal attack ranges, etc, via a simple attack-move. Or they will fare better if using regular moves with some minor tactics in mind (see video tutorials for examples of this).
  • However, for some specific cases it can be useful (or fun) to have ships move in a formation to a destination -- specifically with munitions boosters, shield boosters, force field bearers, and similar. Details on formation move are here.

Preferred Targets For Military Ships

  • Normally, your ships will do an excellent job of attacking the ideal enemy targets within their current effective range (either their attack range under normal/attack-move circumstances, or the entire planet in FRD mode). However, what if you want to override that a bit for a specific group of ships?
    • To set a preferred target for a group of selected ships, simply give them an attack order onto an enemy ship.
      • The ships that were given the order will then prefer to attack that specific type of target ship above all others (for instance, Fighter Mark I if that's what you clicked on).
      • The ships that were given the order will then prefer to attack that class of target ship above all others if none of the specific type are available (for instance, Fighters in general if you clicked on Fighter Mark I and there are none of those directly around).
      • Assuming that none of the preferred target type or class are around, ships will then use their standard auto-targeting as if nothing had changed.
    • To clear the preferred target for a group of selected ships, hit the End key (that is the full Stop command for ships, which clears pretty much everything for them).
    • Please also note that when you are giving orders to attack something that is not auto-attackable (command stations, warp gates, etc), the preferred target will not be set or altered.

Unit Construction - Queue-Based

  • The most obvious construction tool is that of build queues for docks, factories, and similar. Simply place the dock on a loop, then put the ships you want in the queue, and it will keep building that mix of ships until you later come back and alter it, or pause the dock.
  • Each build queue slot can hold up to 50 ships of the same type. It would be a pain to click 50 times to fill each slot, so the game lets you Shift+Click to add/remove them 5 at a time, or Ctrl+Click to add/remove them 50 at a time.
  • Want to build something right now from your build queue without messing up the overall queue? No problem. Just Alt+Click queue items to send them to the front or the back.
  • To quickly cycle through space docks or factories at the current planet, use the D key.
  • To quickly pause queue-based constructors on any planet, click on the Docks quick button at the bottom of the screen, then hold Shift. Click on any of the items in the list to automatically pause or unpause it (this works with all the quick-buttons at the bottom of the screen).
  • To quickly adjust the content of a dock:
    • Click on the docks quick button on the bottom of the screen, then click on any of the items in the list to go to it instantly (this works with all the quick-buttons at the bottom of the screen).
    • If there are multiple docks on a single planet that you want to redefine simultaneously, first select them all. They will most likely have slightly different queues, so click the reset button if you want to blank them out. Then you can automatically add units to both queues. Otherwise, if you want them to still be slightly different but with a few changes to both, simply use the buttons like usual to add/remove items to both queues at once without first syncing them.
  • To temporarily pause all of the queue-based constructors in the entire game (such as if you want to build some fixed structures quickly, and don't have enough resources while queues are running), just click the Pause All button at the bottom left of your HUD. Clicking it a second time will return all of the queue-based constructors to their prior status, whether that was paused or unpaused.
  • Sometimes you want to automatically have ships that are constructed from a queue have some sort of mode enabled, or start with some sort of actions:
    • To make ships come out in FRD mode or attack-move mode, simply put the dock itself in that mode.
    • Similarly, to make ships come out in a specific control group, put the dock in that mode. Normally selecting that control group will omit the dock, as in other recent RTS titles.
    • To make ships come out and immediately go to a specific location on the current planet, or to another planet in general, simply select the dock(s) and right-click as if you were giving a move order (either on the current planet screen, or on the galaxy map to give a cross-planet move order). The dock is immobile and so won't move, but any constructed ships will inherit its orders.

Unit Construction - Directly-Placed Structures

  • If there are hostile enemy ships in your system (thus preventing your harvesters from auto-rebuilding), you can still repopulate them with ease. Ctrl+Click the icon of the metal and/or crystal harvesters to instantly start rebuilding any missing ones.
  • Want to build a lot of the same structure? Here are several tips:
    • Hold Shift while left-clicking to place structures in order to stay in placement mode for that same structure. This makes it simple to, for instance, draw a line of turrets.
    • Hold Shift and the left mouse button while dragging to build a line of structures in the pattern you draw.
    • To build 5 of a structure in a tight cluster, hold Ctrl while left-clicking. Can also be combined with Shift, to place multiple clusters, or Shift+dragging, to create a thick line of clustered structures (as for a minefield).
    • To build 10 of a structure in a tight cluster, hold Alt while left-clicking. Same as with Ctrl, can also be combined with Shift or Shift+Dragging.
  • To automatically bring up the build structures menu at the current planet, hit B. Hitting B multiple times cycles through any mobile builders or command stations you might have at the planet.

Managing Resource Inflows and Outflows

  • Sometimes you will have more of one resource than you need, and not enough of another. In this case, simply build metal or crystal manufactories to convert one resource into another.
    • If your balance of income later changes, it is easy to adjust how much you are converting from one to another from anywhere:
      • To quickly pause manufactories on any planet, click on the Manufactories quick button at the bottom of the screen, then hold Shift. Click on any of the items in the list to automatically pause or unpause it (this works with all the quick-buttons at the bottom of the screen).

* Sometimes, after a large battle that goes poorly, you will have a great excess of energy, but not enough metal or crystal. Since energy reactors require metal and crystal to function, you may wish to turn off some reactors if you aren't planning on using that energy capacity for a while.

    • To quickly pause reactors on any planet, click on the Manufactories quick button at the bottom of the screen, then hold Shift. Click on any of the items in the list to automatically pause or unpause it (this works with all the quick-buttons at the bottom of the screen). Update required for new energy generation system.
  • Sometimes your economy will take a huge dive, and you may not immediately know why -- usually it is because you started construction on too many stationary structures without thinking, but sometimes it can be an expensive starship having come up from later in a queue that had been running smaller starships, or similar. There is a very easy way to find out where your metal and crystal is going:
    • Simply click on the scores panel in the bottom right corner of the HUD (not in the galaxy map) to bring up the Stats window. There is a ton of useful info in here, but the tab of interest for the current purposes is Expenses By Player. Clicking to that tab gives you a quick breakdown of where all your metal and crystal is going, sorted by what is spending the most.
    • You can then go to the planet that is using too much and quickly pause those units. with the K button or the on-screen pause button when they are selected.
      • Later, when your economy is recovered, you can simply unpause their construction to have them continue right from where they left off.
      • You can always find a full list of ships that are in low-power (paused) mode via a quick button at the bottom of the HUD.
      • To quickly unpause those ships, click on the Low Power Ships quick button at the bottom of the screen, then hold Shift. Click on any of the items in the list to automatically unpause it. Ships that are already shown in another quick-button (Manufactories, Reactors, Docks, Engineers) are not shown.
  • Sometimes you want to minimize your energy footprint by putting certain ships into low-power mode. To quickly see a hover over all ships that cost 500 energy or more to operate, hold Alt+A. This display comes up automatically when you are very low on energy, and you can then hide it by holding Alt+A.

Controlling Where Ships Go Upon Entering A System (Rally Points)

  • Normally when ships reach their destination planet when moving through the galaxy, they will just sit at the wormhole and wait for more orders. Exceptions:
    • Ships in FRD mode will automatically focus on the friendly command station if one exists, and will rally around it. If there are enemies present, they will attack those enemies.
    • Scouts will automatically move away from the wormhole by a fair distance, to preserve themselves from potential passing astro trains or from fixed-position tachyon beam emitters at the wormhole. There is a Control Node that you can use to make them skip this evasive action on allied planets.
  • Cross-planet moves are considered fresh reinforcements, and so the default above behavior is an incentive to build docks or similar closer to the action if you are frequently sending ships from one planet to another (docks are relatively cheap, and can be paused -- and only one or two active docks is really ever needed in a game, with engineers assisting their speed).
    • That said, there is a way to cheaply upgrade your command infrastructure to make ships gather at more specific locations on destination planets. Under the DEF tab on the main build menu, there is an option for Rally Points. If you unlock that technology (250 knowledge), you can build as many rally points as you want.
    • When non-scout friendly ships enter a system with a rally point in it, they will automatically go to the rally point instead of whatever else they would have done. If multiple rally points are present, they will divide themselves between those rally points.

Ship Selection Filters & Subdivision of Selected Ships

  • Quite often you may want to select just a certain kind of ship. To do this, there are some hotkeys that you can hold while dragging a selection box around the ships to be selected. Please see the controls document for the full list, but here are some examples:
    • Hold Ctrl while selecting in order to select all ships regardless of military/non-military status (normally if any military ships are selected, non-military ships will be omitted, as in most other recent RTS games).
    • Hold N+(0-5) to select only the ships with the corresponding mark level(s).
    • Hold N+7 to select only ships with damaged engines.
    • Hold N+(8/9) to select only ships with 33% or less health remaining, or 66% or less remaining, respectively.
  • You may also wish to subdivide your existing selection once you have a selection:
    • Using the selected units button at the bottom of the screen:
      • You can left-click to just select a specific type of ship from the current selection (for example, all of the Mark I Fighters).
      • You can hold Shift and left-click to just select a specific class of ship from the current selection (for example, all of the Fighters in general if you shift-clicked any one of the fighters in the list).
      • You can right-click an entry to remove that type of ship from the list (holding shift keeps the selected units listbox open, so that you deselect multiple types quickly).
    • Using hotkeys, there are useful ways to instantly divide your forces to execute flanking maneuvers, defend multiple locations, or whatever:
      • Press L to select 1/2 of the currently selected units (rounding up per ship type).
        • So, therefore, press L twice to select 1/4.
      • Press Shift+L to select 1/3 of the currently selected units (rounding up per ship type).
        • So, therefore, press Shift+L twice to select 1/9.
        • To get 1/6, press Shift+L then L.

Leaving Notes To Yourself Or Your Team

  • It can be really handy leave notes for yourself and/or your team to later review (for example, if you are going to leave a savegame for a while, and will later come back to it and want to know what you were planning next).
    • To do this, simply go into the galaxy map and click the notes button on the left (or the / key). Then click on a planet at which you would like to leave a note. Planets with notes have a small asterisk next to them, and display the note when hovered-over.
  • To keep track of your strategic targets, and which targets are of no interest, the galaxy map also has a selection of 10 priorities that your team can apply to planets. Here is a suggested priority scheme, or you can make up your own.

Knowing What Is Going On In Your Empire

  • The upper right corner of the screen has a breakdown of attack, threat, and wave, which are hugely useful. They also show how many planets your team has, versus how many of those planets are under attack at present. Hover over those entries to see explanations of what they specifically are.
  • There are a huge number of galaxy map displays that can be selected from a button on the left of the galaxy map, or via hotkey. Notables include:
    • Q to display My Ships
    • A to display Allied Ships
    • E to display My and Allied Ships (Team Ships)
    • K to display Knowledge Found at each planet.
    • I to display Incoming Waves (and timers) at each planet.
    • W to display Hostile Wormholes (wormholes leading to an AI planet with a warp gate) at each planet.
    • R to display resources slots available at each planet.
  • There are a number of minimap display modes (military, wormholes and resources only, enemy ships only) that can make for quick viewing of what's going on at your current planet. There is a button for this next to the minimap, or some keyboard shortcuts (F5, F6, F7) that just toggle these displays while held.
  • There are also some galaxy map display filters that can be used to further modify the above to show just My, Allied, or My and Allied ships.
    • Many players prefer the Mobile Military filter option, however, which omits all of the immobile or economic ships from the tallies, making it easier to find fleets. This can be selected from the button on the left of the galaxy map (right below the display modes button), or via Shift+Comma.

Knowing What Is Going On With Your Allies

  • The Stats screens, and the Graphs screens, are accessible by clicking the score panel (click twice to go straight to graphs). These have a wealth of information about the economy, technologies, military, and so on of your allies.
  • To see the resource incomes and current values for allies very quickly, hover over the resource indicators at the top of the HUD at any time.
  • The Team and Ally Galaxy Map Filters (E and A, respectively) are also hugely useful for quickly seeing where your allies have placed their military at present.

Quickly Communicating With Your Allies

  • For the fastest coordination, it is assumed that you will use external voice chat (most people already have a favorite, even Skype works great with AI War). However, if not, the in game text chat (just hit Enter, and type a line to allies) works great.
  • To quickly point out a location to allies, whether you are using voice or text chat, create a flare by clicking the flare button (by the minimap, or on the left side of the galaxy map), or hitting F, then left-clicking.
    • Some players find it useful to "draw" with flares, creating several in a row to creating lines, arrows, or otherwise indicating proposed lanes of attack.
    • To quickly go to the last flare created by your team, hit the Tilde (~) key.

Finding And Gathering Ships On Many Planets

  • Wondering where all your scouts/starships/fighters/whatever went? With so many planets, on occasion you might forget where you put something, or you might have sent it to the wrong location. No sweat. There is a Find button to the left of the galaxy map that lets you quickly locate ships.
    • Once ships have been found, you can send some or all of them to a single planet to gather. There are on-screen instructions at the very bottom of the screen with quick notes about how to do this.

Finding Ships On The Current Planet

  • What if you've selected a ship or group of ships with a hotkey or via the planetary summary on the current planet, but don't know exactly where they are? No problem. Simply hold spacebar to center on the selected ships at any time. You can also hold spacebar to follow them as they move. Paired with the planetary summary list of ships on the right side of the screen, this makes finding ships an absolute breeze.
  • You can also cycle through your ships of a certain sort by right-clicking their icon on the planetary summary.
  • For enemies, since you can't left-click to select their ships via icon on the plenary summary, you can left-click or right-click their icons to cycle through them (you must own the planet or have a scout present for enemy data to appear in the planetary summary, though). This makes (for instance) finding an ion cannon on a crowded enemy planet very easy.

Seeing Target Ranges, Damage To Do, Percent Chance of Hit, Etc

  • Ship attack ranges can be useful for determining ship positioning, and staying out of range of ships that might attack you, etc. Please make sure that you understand that these are the maximum ranges assuming that targets have no shields, not the end effective ranges. See here for more information about how shields work.
    • Hold Z to see the ranges of all your selected ships, and the range of any ships you hover over.
    • Hold Z+X to see all the ranges of enemies in addition to your own ships.
    • Hold Z+A to show the range of selected units at your cursor location instead of at the current location of ships. This is invaluable for manually moving ships just into a specific range, although that's not a terribly common activity since ships do such a great job of firing at range on their own when in Attack-move or FRD modes.
  • To see what range of damage your selected ships will do to a given target, plus what their worst percent chance of hitting that target is, simply hover your mouse cursor over the target.
  • To see the hit % and damage for all selected ships, and/or all units under the mouse cursor, hold the I key. This shows the values based n the current targets of those ships, not any proposed target that you might change to.

Control Nodes

  • There is a very useful CTRL tab under the main build menu. These control nodes allow you to specify various alternate or automated ship behaviors simply by constructing the control nodes of each sort. Examples of this sort of functionality includes:
    • Allowing allies to control your ships.
    • Having every planet you control automatically keep n number of engineers or rebuilders functioning on your planet.
    • Having all of your military or engineer ships on your planets automatically stay in FRD mode if not explicitly acting on player orders.
    • Adjusting FRD mode to have a maximum effective range.
    • Adjusting engineer behavior so that they no longer automatically assist build queues, or allies, etc.

Maintaining Your Minefields/Turret Embankments, While Disrupting Enemy Ones

  • When you build a minefield or a bunch of turrets, and then some of them die, you'll notice that they leave Remains where they fell.
    • In the case of minefields, this can be excellent performance data about which mines are actually hitting enemy ships, for one thing.
    • However, the primary purpose of these Remains is to be rebuilt via a Remains Rebuilder.
    • Remains Rebuilders can be constructed from the main build menu like any engineer, and can be put in FRD mode or can just work locally, also like any engineer.
      • Rebuilders automatically convert remains of mines, turrets, etc, into half-health versions of that which was destroyed. The benefits of this are thus twofold: first, it prevents you from having to manually rebuild your minefields and turret embankments, and secondly it rebuilds them in half the cost and time that it took to originally construct them.
  • AI mines and turrets also leave remains behind. If you're not careful, AI rebuilders will rebuild all those turrets and mines that you so carefully killed.
    • Make sure that your military ships kill the rebuilders if possible.
    • Better yet, bring in Cleanup Drones of your own, which will get rid of the remains and prevent the enemy rebuilders from using them. The AI does not use cleanup drones because this would be a pain for players.
    • Even better, when you destroy the command station of the AI on a planet, all of the remains automatically die and mines/turrets of the AI no longer will leave remains when being destroyed on that planet.

For More Information About Ship Stats

  • If you want in-game information about the most relevant ship stats, simply hover over a ship of that type, or the icon of that ship type on the planetary summary.
    • If that type of ship is not on your current planet, you can hit F1 to toggle through pages of ship icons on the planetary summary (organized by mark level 0-5) to find the ship you are looking for so that you can see its data.
      • To return to the non-help view of the planetary summary, either keep cycling past Mark V help data, or hit Shift+F1 to jump there quickly.
  • If you want super detailed information about ship performance stats in a variety of Excel files, then do the following:
    • First, make sure that your current game has been saved, or that you do not care about the current game, because this will shut down AI War after it completes.
    • Second, hit F3 to bring up the in-game debug display.
    • Third, hold Ctrl+Shift+F8. This will shut down AI War almost instantly.
    • Lastly, look in your Game Data Location (visible via a large textbox at the bottom of your Settings screen) to find a Data folder, which will now have a bunch of Excel xml files in it, with all sorts of stats.

AI_War:Fleet_Command

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