You've probably have heard about the Custodian Initiative by now which has been created to keep improving the game on a more regular basis. A part of this initiative is also to put some more love and attention into the AI of the game.
Grand strategy games are made or broken by their AI. Stellaris is not different, and while the current AI is not that bad, the game has moved from its starting point, and the AI should keep pace with the quality changes as well. To ensure this happens, Stellaris devs have given themselves a set of goals to work on from now on:
- Always work on AI-related topics, regardless of what else is going on,
- Move the AI towards being challenging to players in an entertaining way, rather than be optimized to min-max its way to victory,
- Move the AI towards being more distinctive, so that not all empires feel strong in the same way,
- Support future DLCs from the get-go,
- Constantly make small improvements to the AIReact quicker to player feedback,
- Occasionally make a push for more significant improvements.
The code for the AI has been optimized heavily in the past in order to improve performance a lot. However, this has led to some unforeseen and unintended behaviors which have now been corrected. Some of the districts and buildings weren’t considered at all and city districts were weighted way too high. The AI is also now able to build temples and holo theaters, for example.
The AI has also been given a bit of support in how it will set up its starbases, especially in conjunction with the hydroponics starbase building, which can play a larger role in how you provide food for your empire. The AIs can now use more varied setups when building their starbases, making use of Curator Think Tanks, Nebula Refineries, and other special buildings where it makes sense.
What this has accomplished is that the devs have run a simulation in which there are thirteen AI empires, with all of them being able to manage their economy in a decent enough way. Almost all empires had positive income in all resources, with the ones with a negative income only have a small deficit.