Hmm, I have been playing around a little. One change I am rather confident about is to the AITechGovernor.xml:
I am not sure about the hive tech yet, because I still have to figure out how to make the AI build hives as the first manufacturing improvement. But if I could figure this out, this would be a must have for the thalans.
I added planetary improvement in slot 3, because since the AI colonizes with 3 pop, it hits the 5 pop cap very fast and stays capped way longer then is good for it. Besides, you don't need industrialization that, because building more improvements, is more beneficial at this point in the game.
I removed advanced construction entirely, for the same reason + the AI isn't going for early manufacturing capitals in the current configuration.
I also added XenoCommerce, so the AI can add the approval buildings to its food buildings. (Not really relevant at genius and above)
Will keep playing around.
edit: btw, do you have some sort of benchmarking test to gauge the AIs performance?
I am trying to stay away from adding Specific techs to the Governor's, I know I added some recently, that was to fix the AI ignoring Hull techs. I am going down the route of just increasing Tech weights, although there does seem to be some weird design regarding AI choices, they ignored a weight of 30 + Strategy bonus in favor of 12 + Strategy bonus. So lots of tweaks and tests for this.
The AI should be building manufacturing capitals and any other Unique building for that matter. I'll pay closer attention.
My benchmark, when I first started playing I could beat the AI easily on Normal and Gifted, also beat them on Genius playing the long game. Now, Genius own me hard. Gifted is the Long game not tried normal in a while.
Bare in mind, I play with altered tech ages. In my games I am looking for the map to be filled by turn 80-100 (400 planets, 8 AI, Gifted), depending on what wars happen it could stretch to 120 ish, the AI to hit Planetary Invasion around 60-70.
I have also noted that adding "hated" faction or factions to a races configuration in FactionDefs.xml has a really big impact on how aggressive the AI is towards each other, this results in alot of invasions.
Oh i guess this mod is not for me.
I did not mean to put you off, or imply it can or does not work on Normal, it does, pretty well tbh (or used to last time I tested it). I just have not tested it on normal for a while so can not really give any decent feedback as to how the AI acts. All I know is since playing with these changes I can no longer play Genius
Even gifted is pushing me to my limit atm. I need to play more tbh, do far to much test games then alterations, more test games, more alterations, I do not think I have had a proper game in at least 6 weeks, I am getting rusty