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I wanted to try a certain BC concept, so I decided to setup a BC duel in Custom Battle.
Usually I never use autodesign, since designing ships is hands-down my favourite part of the game, but today I decided to give the AI a go (edit: in designing the enemy ship, if that's relevant somehow)
The results were... Underwhelming.
The first ship came out overweight (yet the launch button was active!), with a big weight offset and not the best gun layout in the world.

Autodesign1.jpg

Edited by Abuse_Claws
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Let's try again!
Engine efficiency and even weight offset A-OK this time.
The wonky rear-mounted secondaries that disrupt the main guns' firing arc are not ideal
The armament of just 6 11" guns for a 1940 BC... Well, not great, but whatever
The citadel being WAAAY longer than it needs to be is bad, but sure.
Oh, but the armor... This is light cruiser grade armor, and even then it's not good. 

Autodesign3.jpg

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Again!
And by "again" I mean that engine efficiency and weight offset are terrible again.
Also, what the hell is this gun layout? Why is the would-be-X turret not on a barbette? To save the precious precious firing arc of that secondary turret?

Autodesign4.jpg

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My 5th try. At this point I'm just trying to study the AI designer and have some fun along the way.
Weight offset and engine efficiency are not great once more, but I'm more interested in the highlighted turret.
What is this firing arc? How is there no "Some guns have poor firing arc" warning on this design? I get it for way less terrible gun placement all the time!
Edit: the main belt armor of 20" seems like an odd choice for a BC, but I like it!

Autodesign5.jpg

Edited by Abuse_Claws
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Patient #6
Severe case of weight offset overdose and lack of engine efficiency
Also weird secondary placement disrupts the firing arc of the X turret
And what in the world is going on with a flight deck in the middle of the ship? Are the secondary guns there really that important that it's OK to extend the citadel by a good quarter? Why is the funnel not in the secondary tower's slot? It would even help with the weight offset, there is just no reason to place it where the AI did!

Autodesign6.jpg

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I made 4 more attempts (won't upload the screenshots as my file size limit is reduced significantly already) with mostly the same problems as mentioned before.
And the same problems are quite common in the AI ships in the campaign, as far as I can tell.
To reiterate (in no particular order):

  1. Weight offset! The AI usually seems to disregard it completely, commonly producing ships with 30+% weight offset, and most of the time there is actually space to move stuff back (or, more rarely, front) to reduce that offset without removing more than a couple of secondaries
  2. Engine efficiency. This I can't tell from the campaign, but judging by my 10 attempts to get a functioning BC, 7/10 AI designs had below 100% engine efficiency, with two of them being in the red zone (45% and 65%)
  3. The priority of secondary guns is IMO too high. The AI places them where they get in the way of main guns, where the citadel has to be much longer just to fit a couple of extra secondaries or just where the secondaries themselves have a bad firing arc. And the AI does not (even in the late years) hesitate to use half a dosen different secondary calibers with seemingly no regard for caliber unification
  4. The main gun layout is often just bad with one or more turrets having a terrible firing arc to the point that just deleting that turret would've probably made the ship better because of options to get a more compact citadel, better armor and equipment or even bigger guns using the spare tonnage
  5. The AI doesn't seem to have a consideration for limiting the citadel size, often prioritizing putting extra unnecessary (IMO at least) bells and whistles on the ship over having a nice compact citadel
  6. * The armor sometimes seems at the very least insufficient, however maybe that's just me

I would love to see those problems fixed, as that would make AI-designed ships for much more challenging opponents

Edited by Abuse_Claws
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A few more attempts in, the AI just gave up. As in I pressed the "autodesign" button, watched the AI try some really ridiculous stuff while the text said "Building 3%... 5%..." all the way to 99% after which the building process just stopped and I ended up with an empty hull

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As much as I hate to say this: the AI rarely turns out a good design and with the main campaign being how it is (at time of writing), I guarantee you that AI auto-design is far from the dev team's top priorities. Sometimes, the AI turns out a good ship or two (I can remember back when only the European nations were available in the campaign...the British turned out some impressive BCs and CAs that were really balanced and very effective), but its all RNG.

Long story short, if you want a "competitive" or "good" enemy ship to fight...you'll have to design them yourself in Custom Battles or keep waiting for the Campaign to be running smoothly (or, at least...smoother than it is now) and pray the devs work on auto-design improvements.

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From my point of view it should be among the top priorities for 1.10
Certainly above adding features like Minor Nations and whatnot.

It's plain and simple: if the enemy ships are not competitive, the campaign is much less interesting to play. If you can go into a 1v3 (hell, 1v10 sometimes) battle and expect to win easily just because enemy ships are bad... What's the point? Sure, you can increase difficulty or choose a poorer nation giving the enemy more ships, but more bad ships ain't gonna make any difference, it would be more of a grind than a challenge.

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I want to add that engine efficiency is very important now because of fuel consumption, a ship with poor engine efficiency requires stops on the map (AI does not know what it is). And I see a lot of ships with a "fore weight offset", this often happens on those hulls that are difficult even for a player to balance. Also look at this beauty.

2022-11-25-01-57-44.png

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