Monday, January 21, 2013

A Tale of New Brains

In the latest incarnation of Solar Vengeance, this time written in Objective C and targeted at the iPad, I'm adding a few new computer Brain opponents to spice up the competition.

The most recently completed Brain is called Maximizar, and tries to get an early jump in resource development by building an early Refinery StarShip.  Refineries are one of three new StarShips types in this version, and they will double the value of any Resources deposited onto them by Freighters.  Once the Resources are at a Refinery.  But Refineries, like BattleStations, can build StarShips themselves.  Also, like BattleStations, they have a fixed value of 6 Engines.  However, Refineries don't have Hull to absorb damage, so they are relatively fragile platforms.

In the new SV, you don't explicitly select which Brains you want to fight.  Rather, you set a "Brain Calibration" level to control how tough you want your opponents to be.  The setting ranges from "Training" (where you go up against instances of Beginner only) to "Easy", "Moderate", "Hard", and  "Extreme", which introduces beat2k's masterpieces of StrategoV (converted by me from his Stratego4 source code) and Organism.  I rated Maximizar a challenge level of "Moderate" on this scale.

Speaking of StrategoV - believe it or not I managed to finally convert the 8,000+ lines of C# code to Objective C after a few false starts, some sweat, and some numb fingers.  Thank god for Search and Replace in Xcode!

The next new Brain I created is named Athenus, and follows a more straightforward play style, using WarShips, Drones, and judicious use of InkSpots and Startillery.  I rated Athenus a "Hard" on the above scale, although it has managed to hold its own even against Stratego5 and Organism.  It's kind of a spiritual successor to Argus (who also appears here, unchanged), but is much tougher.