Thanks for the hard work I am excited about the upcoming patch. Your initial thoughts reminded me of a post I made that never saw a response and the thread appears dead so I have reposted it below. This is most in regards to what you think maybe in the future involving diplomacy and invasion.
"I know it's one of the major tenants of Galactic Civ games to utilize an AI that is competitive without the need to get resource bonuses, scripting, or other "cheats". However I feel like there are other parts of the game that would give improvement more bang for its buck than tweaking how the ai utilizes its planet resources etc. I would be fine with it getting enough of a resource bonus to make it be able to produce at least at comparable levels to a skilled human player and in advanced difficulty beyond that. But with the building as is I don't feel like the ai's use of its resources is the biggest issue that limits the challenge it provides or makes it uninteresting to play against.
The biggest issue with the ai to me is that diplomatically and war related it just does not do enough. Even at it's currently efficiency level an ai that stays active an busy would provide a far bigger challenge. I play all of my games at gifted level with up to 16 opponents and use a very similar and simple strategy. I just colonize as many good planets and claim as many resources as I can early then build up my research. I basically just mind my own business and continue to increase my technology and build up my worlds. I occasionally buy techs from other races I cannot research myself. I use next to no advanced strategy and really don't even try to take over other civs. I keep my military level around the middle of the pack in regards the strength. Eventually their comes a point I start to inadvertently culture flip other races and the ai does not have any answer for me eventually assimilating them. It does not even seem to care.
The only interaction the ai ever initiates with me is to offer me really bad trades and threaten me occasionally. Every time the ai threatens me I tell it to pound sand because I know it won't do a thing about it. The ai does not actively pursue anything as far as I can tell. It does not try to create treaties or alliances with me or any of the other races. And every ai opponent seems to pretty much behave the same generic way and interacting with them is just not interesting. And the one time per game the an ai opponent actually declares war on me it never attacks me or tries to invade my lightly defended planets or starbases. The only time I have been recently attacked was by the new peacekeepers from the mega events who attacked my because the Krynn declared war on me. That was resolved in three turns however when the Krynn sued for peace even though I had taken no action against them and had my butt kicked by the much more advanced peacekeepers.
My suggestion is to make the ai more diplomatically active, aggressive, and give it more personality. It also needs to learn how to actually execute an offensive and invade worlds. Diplomatically diplomatic races should actively pursue alliances and ai's that have similar alignments that are both diplomatic and aggressive should form military alliances and work together. Of course if one of them is both diplomatic and aggressive but has a ruthless trait it will look for the first opportunity to back stab the other two for it's own advantage. Aggressive and xenophobic races should be nearly impossibly to culture flip and be hostile and warlike to just about every race in their path. The ai should gain advantages and also make mistakes based on its core personality and not take such a seemingly generic approach to everything. And for the love of god we need to option to accept or decline a culture flipped planet into our civs and should take a massive diplomatic hit with the race we flip it from based on its personality type if we do accept. Against races like the Drengin that should pretty much equal a vendetta and crusade for the entirety of the game. It would also be cool to see some complex diplomatic activity between the ai races themselves.
I greatly enjoy the planet building aspects of the game but beyond that I don't see much going on with the game at this time. Hope this does not seem like a negative rant but I am thirsting for some interesting civ to civ interactions and for the rest of the game to feel alive and engaging. I know you love games like Star Control and most of that is probably due to the complex and interesting races that inhabit those games. While I know Galactic Civilizations is a different kind of game it would really benefit from developing the ai races to have personality and give you the feeling your race lives inside and evolving story that you get from those games. Love the Galactic Civ series more than Star Control just FYI