It is my understanding that if you turn on fowtrans for yourself, you will also be turning it on for the AI. This is known to skew observations. They don't make it easy to reverse engineer what the AI is actually thinking. I don't think it is on purpose, but if it were my game, it would be.
Hmm, do you mean "Fog Of War TRANSports" or a cheat that removes fow? I am just playing a legitimate custom race and build transports with scanners (which is fair, since i basicly burn all my starting money + intuitive trait on two of those things). I don't think they obfuscated the game like this. IF it was my game ^^ and I was having time to produce such obfuscation, I would rather just improve the AI to play closer to an optimal way.
The last i heard, the top 2 difficulty levels get the FOW removed for the AI and it really does know everything from the start. On normal and lower difficulties it plays by the rules. That may have changed at some point.
I did some more testing and for normal ... well it plays fair enough that I don't care how it internally works. If it does play by other rules on normal, they did a very good job of hiding it. I think it starts on gifted where the AI just makes too many 'lucky guesses'. So it's the top 4 difficulties.
I wouldn't be surprised if scouting worked slightly different for the AI and the AI behaviour is the same on all difficulties but tuned such, that it effectively plays fair on normal. Running vision checks for all AIs each turn might become rather expensive in processig power (speculation).
Time to upgrade to Godlike. Don't be concerned about being way behind at the start, you can usually catch up.
Would be nice if the devs would tell us about any FOW AI cheats!
Well part of the reason for players being able to catch up is, that the AI is way too late on building more food improvements. Horemvores tweaked AI should be better at this. I didn't have time to test it yet, but I was curious enough to check out the GovernorDefs.xml ^^.
I wouldn't mind them telling us either. I mean given all the advantages the AI allready gets... doesn't really make a difference^^
I recall that brad once said the GCII AI knows how to detect patterns in the galaxy creation. Could that have been applied to GCIII as well?
Hmm, possible. But I don't think we will be able to tell with the means we have.
What the AI should know and take into account are map settings. My next guess would be, that for the random generation the map is split into a couple of sections in order to remove the outliers where maps are just too unfair. The AI could have information of total number of worlds in such a section for example.
One more thought:
What would be really nice, if you could see the type of star on the galaxy map, along with some stats about the likelihood of habitable planets and the different ressources. I mean, we don't have deep space travel and know, that there is stuff like white dwarfs and red giants. Why can't the folks in GC3 tell more about a star then it being a star?^^
It could look like:
Pigeon-pie - Purple star
habitable planet probability: very high
durantium probability: low
thullium prabability: low
promethium probability: medium
Could bring some more depth to the exploration phase, doesn't it?