AI much more likely to surrender if it is basically out of the game.
Before I explain why I have specifically chosen this quote I am definitely going to commend the people responsible for the production of this pretty epic game. I am a big fan of the general 'space' genre, and I have been recently interested in turn-based strategy games as well; this being a game that features both I have obviously had to put my money in and support the idea as soon as I could as it fills one of the many gaming voids that I have. I had stopped testing the beta since around 5, although I had not experienced any crashes so far, and the general game play was fine as it was; however, the one section that I wanted to explore more was the trading features and the full trade tree was still locked so I had decided to continue playing when the game fully came out (excited since as of this writing it will be in 16 or so hours). I kept reading the change logs and have been nodding at the improvements and fixes, even impressed at the performance boost you guys gave the game, so far I have been fine with everything you have offered.
This quote in particular, however, does concern me. I get it why developers add this: if an AI is, just as you said, out of the game why leave it taking up memory, especially in a one verse one game. The problem is most developers I have come across have just stopped there, the AI is done, if it's a one verse one the game ends or if there are more players sometimes they are just left doing nothing (the exception is when the AI is completely destroyed, all units gone all buildings gone). One good example for me was the Age of Empires games, AI surrenders and that's it, nothing else. So, although I have not yet seen this in action, in the event that this particular feature plays out stale I do want to point out a better way to handle AI surrenders, especially in this game that also features diplomacy.
Instead of just letting the AI surrender why not, before it surrenders, check it's priorities and decide to 'whom' it surrenders? For example: it is obvious if an AI's assets are surrounded by all enemies than its assets would be distributed amongst enemy with the most of it going to who it was at war with first; now what if some of it's assets are close to the AI's allies, then it could try to surrender its assets to its allies, and any ships that aren't 'captured' by the enemy can try to flee towards the nearest allied planet and surrender control to them? You get it, it keeps the game organic, it's not just the AI terminates and it really feels like you're playing a computer (although your are, heh) but even making an AI surrender has meaningful consequences. The idea in a nutshell is: if you or the AI surrenders, pick amongst your favorite ally to help further spread destruction and despair towards your most despised enemy.
This idea basically helps any solo players, like me, make sure the game doesn't just 'end,' it requires one to either make sure to fully wipe out the enemy or prepare a defense for the next enemy's surge of new toys it gonna get to use against you. The idea can get implemented in multiplayer as well because you can choose to exit either by choosing one ally to 'help' with your extra stuff or just leave it to be plundered or captured by anyone else. Now I do recommend this idea humbly, the 'if you can...' definitely influences me even writing this post; but, if you actually think about how the AI surrenders it would be a great feature to an already great game. Nonetheless, keep up the good work and see you in 16 hours.