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A Broken Obsession (Space Empires V)

I've still been wasting far too much time playing the demo of Space Empires V, a sorely broken game with what feels like great potential. My latest bout has me hacking the demo files to implement some of Captain Kwok's fixes. The developers astutely prevented me from doing most of this, but not the AI files. I noticed improvement in terms of diplomatic interactions and AI ship designs, but the good Captain has much to do before SEV's AI would be what I'd call remotely challenging.

While Space Empire V has its issues, the robust combat engine is capable of supporting hundreds of custom-designed units, leading to a truly satisfying strategy game experience.

To be fair, Space Empire's AI is being put under a severe test. First, I'm no stranger to space empire games. For example, I know that the initial land grab is vital, and so if the AI lets up even a little here I'll end up ruling it for the rest of the game. Second, I'm playing with a somewhat hosed balance. Foremost of them being perhaps in the space fighter units, whose maintenance and production costs are tiny but their capacity to harm without being harmed in return tremendous.

There may be better space empire games to play, but it's the mixture of tactics and ship design which keeps me coming back to Space Empires V long after I should have fled screaming. I have been putting some consideration into developing a module with a much more functional and interesting balance. However, I'll not be able to develop a mod in the demo version of Space Empires V, and I don't think I'll be buying it in the face of major problems like a lackluster AI.

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