Master Of Orion - Conquer the Stars
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-- Improved Challenge and Balance Mod v1.0 --

evertebrate - May 2021

- Description:
This modification for Master of Orion Conquer the Stars aims to make the game more challenging through improved AI scripts and several balance changes.
- Requirements:
This mod requires the english Steam version of the base game of Master of Orion Conquer the Stars. It is not compatible with the Linux, MacOS or GoG Versions of the game.
Please run the included Improved Challenge and Balance.msi and follow all instructions. The mod needs to be installed to the same folder where your MasterOfOrion.exe is located. After that, in the game, navigate to the "mod" menu and enable the "improved challenge" mod if it is not already enabled. Please disable all other incompatible mods.
Deinstallation: Have Steam verify the integrity of the game files to restore the original game files. Then simply delete the "improved challenge" folder from your Documents\Master of Orion\Mods directory.
- Disclaimers:
This mod is using code from the Unofficial Code Patch by WhatIsSol. Please refer to the text files found in the UnofficialCodePatch folder for further information.
- Compatibility with other mods:
This mod will be incompatible with any other mod that modifies or includes a new version of any of the following files:
AntaranSettings.yaml, RaceTypes.yaml, RaceTypesDLC.yaml, RacialPerks.yaml, ShipBlueprintTemplates.yaml, TechTree.yaml, TechApps.yaml, Assembly-CSharp.dll
Here are some examples of popular mods from the Steam Workshop and whether they are compatible with the Improved Challenge and Balance Mod:
5X - The Ultimate Balance Mod :: NOT COMPATIBLE ::
Unofficial Code Patch :: version 6.2b included in this mod ::
Pollution Structures Boost :: compatible ::
MorePerkPoints :: compatible ::
CheapPerks :: NOT COMPATIBLE ::

Please disable all incompatible mods in the mod menu of the game.
Please note that mods that change the amount of custom perk points will also apply to the computer opponents.

- Additional Notes:
Some races/perks are easier to play than others. It's not a matter of balance, but some computer races will still perform better than others. Passive perks like extra production or food are much easier to use than more active ones like shapeshifters.
There is a big difficulty jump between normal and hard difficulty now.
The computer opponents play best under default game settings with pirates turned off.

- Terms:
MOD - modification, plugin, a piece of software that interfaces with the original game to extend, add, change or remove original capabilities.

- Incomprehensive list of changes (copied from the Steam forum)
First of all there are a few balance changes: Most of these changes are about the race and racial perks. Now, all default races have exactly 10 points spent on their perks. Playing a custom race will no longer break the game as much, however it can still be an advantage for people that build their custom race smartly.
There are more technologies with choices now to make the creative and uncreative perks more interesting and to increase the value of tech trades and espionage.
I made several changes to make uber planets more valuable, so they are a real alternative to gaia transformation.
I changed the balance of fighter, bomber and heavy fighter bays to make fighters as weapons more viable and balanced.
I changed some values for the galaxy generation to make the distribution of planets more balanced.
Combat odds are now calculated more accurately, although they are still just an approximation and can be wrong.
Next, I completely changed how the Antarans work: They will now work more like a faction that is at war with everyone. They will attack a colony where they think they can win or do the most damage. There is now a simulation of the Antarans actually building their ships. If you destroy their fleet, they will have to rebuilt it. If you don't, then they will build more and more ships with every attack. (there is a max limit to the number of ships they can have though) Their production will increase as the game progresses. The Antarans will have a priority list of targets, instead of always attacking the player with the most score. There are other factors that come into play like how many relics you have researched that determine what player gets attacked.
Now lastly, the biggest changes are to how the computer players play the game:
The computer will now properly build up their colonies, skip useless buildings and specialize.
The computer can now build and use all buildings in the game, including Space Academies and Interplanetary Administrations.
The computer player will colonize faster, more effectively and fortify their systems.
The computer will terraform their planets if it is the best choice, instead of as a last resort.
The computer can now properly determine the value of technologies and will more effectively research through the tech-tree.
The computer will build ships more effectively, use custom ship designs depending on the tech available and even scrap useless ships or colony buildings. No more crappy frigates when titans are available or cloning centers on a full planet.
The computer will be a lot smarter about diplomacy and know the real worth of deals.
The computer will be very cuthroat in making demands when another player is weaker than it.
The computer will actively go after Orion if it is strong enough and destroy monsters to make room for more colonies.
The computer is better able to assess the different victory conditions and how to reach them.
The computer will no longer be totally random in using espionage.
The computer player will realize when another player is about to win the game and try to react to it.
The computer will be smarter about moving and deploying their fleets.
The different races will have different personalities depending on the emperor that is in charge. There is a lot more variety in each race's playstyle and the playstyles of different computer player personalities are more distinct.
On higher difficulties the computer will get extra perk points to spend on perks.