Agreed but my point was not about the scores. Hopefully there is enough data for Stardock to validate what is being said rather than continue to be defensive.
I hadn't seen your post - you added it while I was writing mine, so it's not responding to you. I agree with your points pretty much entirely, especially on the defensiveness thing.
I actually am having some trouble understanding this one. Brad has always said that the Gal Civ AI is one of the only ones which plays the game rather than just simulating playing it. But then, in threads like this one, he makes it clear that he regards the AI and the scripts as separate things. So... the AI doesn't actually play the game. The AI just plays with the toys provided by the scripts. If he claims that it actually plays the game, then that relies on the scripts being classed as AI; yet if he claims this thread doesn't show any AI issues, well, that relies on the scripts being separate from the AI. Either is a valid standpoint - players will largely lump everything a computer player does into 'AI'; programmers will largely separate them into scripted modules and AI modules - but you can't really mix and match which definition you're using like this.
If scripted = AI then you don't get to say 'the AI's doing a great job here but just doesn't have the resources' when the scripts are falling down, like in this thread. If scripted =/= AI, you don't get to say 'the AI plays the game properly, unlike in other games', because the majority of the stuff that the AI actually does in this game is the same as the majority of stuff handled by the AI in, say, Total War (which literally just handles unit movement - it gets units and buildings handed to it for free at a rate based on the difficulty level and never does anything with the economy etc).
For what it's worth, the AI part of the AI is already good. It doesn't need much tinkering with. If you give it the resources it needs, it does a fine job. If we're going to use the programmer's definitions, then, we can say GC3 has great AI, but it doesn't actually play the game, and the scripts which do are very weak. If we use the player's definition, where scripts are conflated, then GC3 has below-average AI, as despite the good handling of the units it gets it's incapable of managing it's economy beyond the opening 25-30 turns.
There's two basic options from here:
First, they could basically dump the scripts and just switch to Total War style giving the AI units when it needs them, based on difficulty. This is largely the same result that we'd get from every-increasing handicaps anyway - we just cut out the useless script economy management and hand it the units listed in the build queue scripts on a turn rate. This is an easy way to do things, and is fairly cheap. I think most of us would also agree it's a bad solution; it might make the AI more challenging, but many players will be turned off by the cheating AI.
The second option is to seriously engage with us over the flaws in the scripts, open up more triggers and effects, stop quibbling over the AI/script difference or pointing to 'exploits' when players highlight problems, and actually start making the thing play the game in the way most game AI's don't. This is a more expensive and difficult option by far. It requires adding entire AI modules to the game, which are not glamorous and despite most of us complaining about the AI we're not likely to get and stay excited about AI improvements happening - they very much fall into the realm of 'things players expect to happen for free'. But it's also likely to pay dividends. Many players are already putting the game back on the shelf because the AI offers no serious challenge. These players are not buying DLC, because getting 5 extra Mega events and some ship parts is not making the game any more worth playing.
And really, if making designs exportable for 3D-printing was an important enough priority to be included in 1.2 (to cater to the massive 0.000003% of the playerbase who own a 3D printer and just have to own a model of constructor Mk 38), then I don't think the difficulty of implementing scripting improvements is really a justification for not doing them.
I'm trying to remain fairly civil in these posts, as I do love the game and I see enormous potential in it, and I'm more than a little worried that the easiest thing for SD to do would be to drop forum bans on those of us speaking out about it if we put a foot wrong. SD largely only ban those who are outright toxic, but we need to be able to offer serious critique on these problems. They're not value judgements of the developers, or personal criticisms of their abilities - only idiots think that a bad bit of code means that the writer is a bad person - but constructive criticism of flaws that are increasingly becoming fairly obvious, and will become more so as the game continues to improve. Once the exploits thatsjaminei raises are ironed out; once the economy is actually doing something; once tech prices start to be raised to prevent the player from picking up everything in 1 turn, the AI's flaws become clear. We're already seeing thread after thread on this, and the AI is actually holding back other areas of play.