Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => Command Nexus => Topic started by: sisko on March 08, 2012, 08:16:52 PM

Title: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: sisko on March 08, 2012, 08:16:52 PM
Rules for the fully patched game (including the unofficial patch):
1. A player is not permitted to establish contact with another player prior to having met them in-game.
2. A player may not use build queue manipulation or other loopholes to hurry production at a cost that would be lower than directly hurrying the item that one intends to build.
3. A player may not use build queue manipulation or other loopholes to build something you could not directly add to the build queue.
4. A player may not upgrade a particular type of unit using the design workshop, and then attack with that unit in the same turn.
5. A player is not permitted to make more than one social engineering change per line, per turn. For instance, one is not permitted to start the turn in wealth, switch to power mid-turn for the extra disbanded minerals, and then switch back to wealth that same turn, getting the refund.
6. Stockpiling in build queue allowed when building units. (of course when building sp/facility too, but it's not needed to do anything to gain those bonuses too)
7. Upgrading crawlers before adding them to hurry secret project allowed.
8. Reverse-engineering allowed.
9. Exchanging bases with AI forbidden. (It is not possible to do this in random tcp/ip anyway; this is obvious exploit cause AI trades everything; lets say I take over base level 2 with probe and then exchange this base for a base level 6 that has SP, more over I exchange it with my enemy's pact-friend so that to liberate this base my enemy would have to mess with his friend)
10. Additional move after former builds something and his flag is gray is not allowed.

Additional rules if you play without the unofficial patch:
11. It is not allowed to mind control with standard probe teams units or bases of any faction that runs a +3 or higher SE Probe rating.
12. A player may not use the F4 screen when infiltrated to change an opponent's workers to specialists.
13. A player may not make air drops using the right click "air drop to" function, when it is not possible to do so with the "i" button, ie. after already having moved or made a drop.
14. Insta-elite by patrolling forbidden.
15. Air dropping/artillery striking with units who do not have those abilities forbidden.

Notes:
New players are strongly adviced to read this (http://www.civ.org.pl/articles.php?action=ViewArticle&lang=Pol&type=SMAC&ArticleID=119) article about bugs, tricks and features before their first multiplayer game:
ALL features discussed in the link are allowed if not specifically foribbden in this set of rules. Note that some rules here may be more general than those in the given article and thus may forbid several things from the article though sentences may be written in different way.
Any feature that you may consider an exploit and which is not discussed in this set of rules should be agreed before the start of the game.

Posted: March 8th, 2012

If you don't understand one or more of these rules or if you want them changed please post in this thread.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Earthmichael on March 08, 2012, 09:46:35 PM
Great!  Thanks for posting this!  It should be sticky if it is not already, so it stays at the top.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Davyboy on April 29, 2012, 07:42:05 AM
+
Outstanding.
A couple of clarification points:

Quote
3. A player may not use build queue manipulation or other loopholes to build something you could not directly add to the build queue.

I assume this relates to such cheating as "dancing around the base priority buttons" coupled with "double hurry" exploits as being a no-no, and NOT something as mundane as (say) building a scout, hurrying it and upgrading it subsequently on a different turn.

Quote
10. Additional move after former builds something and his flag is gray is not allowed.

Presumably, if said former is greyed out but still on the job and some situation arises that you want to protect said former, then you are permitted to (attempt) to move it provided the production loss is acceptable to the player.

Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Earthmichael on April 29, 2012, 01:11:10 PM
3.  That is what I understand too.  You can always build something and upgrade it with energy.  That is fine.  One expoit I saw was to build something that allowed supply crawlers to help, and then switch to something where supply crawlers should not have been able to help you build.  Thas is not allowed, I don't think.  I am not sure if this is what is being addressed here, or if it is some other loophole.

10. I never have quite understood this.  If the former is greyed out after building, you can't activate it by clicking it.  If the former has not built yet this turn, you can certainly click it to activate it and move it out of danger.  It seems that the worst that could happen if you don't know if the former has build yet, is that the former either activates and moves (if it has not built yet), or it doesn't activate, so you can't move it. 
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Davyboy on April 29, 2012, 04:03:11 PM
Re:3

Yes, I think we agree. I was just after clarification regarding the use of Governor button preferences, because some unscrupulous player could enable their use base-by-base, select combinations of Explore, Discover, Build and Conquer, find something (or specify something) to be built that has a low hurry cost -- then switch by Governor manip to something more expensive but desirable and hurry again for minimal cost with the result that the total hurry cost is lower than a non-cheat.

I haven't tried that for donkey's days because I micromanage so regularly. It just struck me that that was a possibility. Less so for SMAC because multiple buttoning was a SMAX development (I think).

Re:10

Here's a hypothetical:
It's 2170 and you were lucky enough to build the WP and are in the process of sinking a BH, to which end you have a pair of Formers with a scout on top as a lookout. All goes well for six turns until a big meaty worm homes in and crisps your scout, damaging both formers. At this point the smart money has to be on doing a runner if you can't pop the worm. But there is an exploit reported where these formers can "carry" work-to-date to a different location. At least, that was my understanding.

Maybe I'm just sitting here in my cubicle - here on the Motherworld imagining this...
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: JarlWolf on November 15, 2012, 11:16:07 AM
With Social policies, are we allowed to chose multiple ones in different categories in a single turn? Say we want to change to Planned and Democratic with value knowledge, are we allowed to change to that in one turn? Or is that not allowed?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: sisko on November 15, 2012, 11:23:46 AM
With Social policies, are we allowed to chose multiple ones in different categories in a single turn? Say we want to change to Planned and Democratic with value knowledge, are we allowed to change to that in one turn? Or is that not allowed?
that is allowed but also more expensive than changing one setting per turn.
rule #5 forbids changing back and forth to gain an advantage.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: t_ras on November 28, 2012, 12:43:26 PM
I cant see the probe message issue here. was this fixed in the patch?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: testdummy653 on January 23, 2013, 03:26:07 AM
Insta-elite by patrolling forbidden

What is this?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on January 23, 2013, 03:38:26 AM
It's a bug where a unit is promoted to Elite if you set a four-point patrol route.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: testdummy653 on January 23, 2013, 03:40:27 AM
It's a bug where a unit is promoted to Elite if you set a four-point patrol route.

WOW. My mind would of been blown if i accidentally did that in a single player game. Crazy
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on January 23, 2013, 03:53:16 AM
I did accidentally do that in a single player game.  I was ruined.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Earthmichael on January 23, 2013, 04:09:40 AM
Why were you ruined?  Because you inadvertantly exploited a bug?  I don't see why it would matter much in a single player game anyway.

I never knew about this exploit, but then I rarely ever set a patrol route with more than 2 points.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on January 23, 2013, 04:24:21 AM
I, er, liked it and kept doing it.  Ruined.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: ikonoklast61 on March 20, 2013, 03:33:04 AM
new here; is there a specific place I can look for people who want to play online?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 20, 2013, 03:34:52 AM
Yessir; that would be right here.  Welcome to AC2.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: sisko on March 20, 2013, 06:26:27 AM
hello, ikonoklast61 and welcome to AC2! do you want to play PBEM or IP games?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: ikonoklast61 on March 20, 2013, 04:31:07 PM
I don't really know what those are. I've only played myself and the computer.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Yitzi on March 20, 2013, 05:05:28 PM
I don't really know what those are. I've only played myself and the computer.

PBEM=Play By E-Mail.  I think IP is over-a-network.  Basically, two types of multiplayer.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: ikonoklast61 on March 20, 2013, 05:25:40 PM
seems like email would take forever to play. i know that when i first got AC a decade ago, i played over the internet with the guy who gave it to me. but i haven't since then.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Yitzi on March 20, 2013, 05:58:53 PM
seems like email would take forever to play.

Yeah, but it's only a bit of time each day, so you can play more games at once (or do it together with something other than Alpha Centauri.)
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: ikonoklast61 on March 20, 2013, 07:09:15 PM
Ah. I'd like to play live. I generally have a few hours almost every day at about this time (around 8 PM website time), if anyone wants to play. Please don't mistake my inexperience with multiplayer and online playing for lack of experience with AC. I'm very experienced.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: t_ras on March 21, 2013, 11:36:06 AM
I think you could post in the forum and also in FB (http://www.facebook.com/groups/131175990236847/ (http://www.facebook.com/groups/131175990236847/)), but most of the players prefer PBEM,
If you would like a game please tell me.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: ikonoklast61 on March 21, 2013, 01:36:39 PM
yes, i'd like to try my hand against a human or two -- or six.  ;)
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: t_ras on March 23, 2013, 07:33:28 AM
Goos, just wait about a week til I have the game ready.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: ikonoklast61 on March 23, 2013, 08:19:57 AM
Can you tell me anything about the playing level or planet size, etc?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: t_ras on April 06, 2013, 08:37:44 PM
Playing level is almost allways tracend (anything less and the AI is useless).
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: ikonoklast61 on April 06, 2013, 08:44:54 PM
okay. I was thinking about this, and since the levels affect the interaction between humans and AI -- the battles getting harder and the tech coming in slower for humans at higher levels -- wouldn't it be the same for everyone if they were human at any level? We'd all have the same battle odds and the same tech rates (generically).

Anyway, how's the game coming along? Is the trouble finding enough human players available at the same time?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Yitzi on April 07, 2013, 02:52:00 AM
Playing level is almost allways tracend (anything less and the AI is useless).

I do, however, in one of my future patches, plan to introduce the option of having the AI be Transcend for strategy/mechanics, but be as aggressive as a lower difficulty level (so that it's not useless but still allows for a more builder-ish game.)
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: t_ras on April 08, 2013, 02:34:44 PM
THsi would be grate.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Kirov on August 08, 2013, 09:00:31 PM
Ah. I'd like to play live. I generally have a few hours almost every day at about this time (around 8 PM website time), if anyone wants to play. Please don't mistake my inexperience with multiplayer and online playing for lack of experience with AC. I'm very experienced.

Not to question your skills, I'm sure you'll find the MP experience quite different and refreshing, with many old habits going down the drain. I'm going to find another 1v1 game in a week or two if you're up to it, and maybe I'll ping you when I have time to play IP (currently I'm waiting for my new computer). The issue with IP is that it is hard to focus on the game properly and not to stall the turn for the other player (I always played too fast not to make the opponent wait and my performance suffered greatly).

What's your time zone?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on August 08, 2013, 09:03:02 PM
A fellow at 'poly was talking about IP yesterday; I should definitely point him this way, shouldn't I?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on August 08, 2013, 09:07:23 PM
Done.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Earthmichael on August 15, 2013, 04:20:18 PM
Are units allowed to move on the same turn that they are airdropped, take advantage of the airdrop movement and then move a bit further on their own?

I was thinking that had been banned, but my thinking has been a little muddled lately.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Kirov on August 15, 2013, 04:30:11 PM
Are units allowed to move on the same turn that they are airdropped, take advantage of the airdrop movement and then move a bit further on their own?

I was thinking that had been banned, but my thinking has been a little muddled lately.

They have a combat penalty after a drop, so I believe it's a part of the design. The fact that airborne probes do lose their movement proves the programmers though about it. The only thing you cannot do is that trick with multiple drops per turn, an obvious bug when you see it.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: MetallEater on September 24, 2014, 04:06:02 PM
8. Reverse-engineering allowed.
Can someone tell me what is the Reverse-engineering ?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on September 24, 2014, 04:22:51 PM
Something like if you capture, or are gifted, a unit with features you don't have the tech to build, those features are now available in the Unit Workshop.  Others will know more.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: sisko on September 24, 2014, 04:37:32 PM
example: Let's say you have Planetary Networks. You are not allowed to use the rover chassis of the probe teams to build other rover units until you research Doc:Mobility.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: MetallEater on September 24, 2014, 07:36:59 PM
10. Additional move after former builds something and his flag is gray is not allowed
I didnt understand, how possible to move former if he has no moves?

Who knows what is that rules mean?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on September 24, 2014, 07:54:04 PM
It's this weird thing with formers in a stack - if the job takes 5 turns and you have three formers start working on it the same turn, next turn, it will complete and all three will display as moved - but if you click on them, one will have a move left, and you can use it.

-I think I got some details wrong, but that's in the neighborhood...
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on September 24, 2014, 11:51:55 PM
Here's a thread with a lot more information on the former move thing - a really quick skim indicates I may have actually described it right...

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=4339.msg32979#msg32979 (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=4339.msg32979#msg32979)
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: MetallEater on September 25, 2014, 04:38:06 PM
Here's a thread with a lot more information on the former move thing - a really quick skim indicates I may have actually described it right...

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=4339.msg32979#msg32979 (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=4339.msg32979#msg32979)

Thanks!
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Peter Gray on January 30, 2015, 09:26:21 PM
So... according to that thread, the problem doesn't exist?
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on January 30, 2015, 10:57:42 PM
Not everyone agrees that it's an exploit...
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Kirov on January 31, 2015, 04:24:01 PM
As far as I remember, there is no exploit and no problem, people wrongly recall that you can get additional moves. That is simply not true, unused formers have their normal move.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: L29Ah on July 22, 2016, 03:03:20 PM
The bug/trick list referenced by OP looks unavailable.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Buster's Uncle on July 22, 2016, 03:24:23 PM
I got an index instead of the article directly linked, but you want SMAC Bugs, Undocumented Features, Tricks, and Traps by - Bingmann if you're getting the index...

Wait no, it just reloads that index.  Frustrating, and I've no idea what to do about it.  I'll try to get sisko on the case...
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Nevill on March 02, 2017, 01:49:56 PM
2. A player may not use build queue manipulation or other loopholes to hurry production at a cost that would be lower than directly hurrying the item that one intends to build.

I can say that I have never completely agreed with that rule.

I regularly swap production of units to buildings and back, because buildings can be hurried at a fixed cost, while unit costs are flexible depending on multiple factors, and I can't be bothered with counting how much I need to pay to hurry it partially.

I often hurry the first 10 minerals separately to be able to hurry the rest at regular prices later, and I use buildings for that. It costs me 4 credits per mineral, while hurrying a unit normally would cost 5+ depending on the unit. It is technically a violation of the rule as stated, or at least a grey area, except who is going to tell me what the item I intend to build is? I can change production at any time.

Retool penalty takes care of most of the abuse cases. If you hurry past 10 minerals and then switch, you are going to lose half of what you paid for. That's pretty fair, and generally not worth abusing. Therefore, it's only the cases where the retool penalty does not apply we need to be worried about.

The one case I can think of when it might be abused is when a base has Skunkworks, which... I think eliminates the retooling penalty within a category? But the facility is useless otherwise, so if a player builds it, all the power to them.

Essentially, I think the rule exists to protect the players from manipulations described in the Treatise on Hurrying (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=articles;sa=view;article=3) by Maniac, which was known since 2004. However, since it would be hard to formulate precisely what the exact problem is (because there are multiple factors contributing to it), it was simplified to a more digestible form, which infringes on normal gameplay.

Not sure what can be done about it. I suppose one can list the tricks that are definitely exploits (prototype hurrying to switch the production later, retiring the design to avoid the retooling penalty etc), but that'd have its own problems. I end up mostly ignoring it when I do not think what I am doing qualifies as an abuse.

Kind of like with Rule 5.
Quote
5. A player is not permitted to make more than one social engineering change per line, per turn. For instance, one is not permitted to start the turn in wealth, switch to power mid-turn for the extra disbanded minerals, and then switch back to wealth that same turn, getting the refund.

I know it exists for the sole purpose of limiting the effectiveness of Maniac Maneuver described above, i.e. to prohibit cheap hurrying by messing with the INDUSTRY stat. There is nothing else that can be exploited, so I switch back and forth between civics however much I want to (to estimate how much money/research I can make with various governments), simply making a note not to disassemble any units and/or not to use any crawlers while I am at it.

Here's a thread with a lot more information on the former move thing - a really quick skim indicates I may have actually described it right...

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=4339.msg32979#msg32979 (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=4339.msg32979#msg32979)

You described it right, but the thread that you linked to describes something that I don't think exists in the game.

There is a real problem where a former that was given a task some time prior and completes it this turn (greying out in the process) can be given another task the same turn, potentially doubling its effectiveness.

You can have 12 formers planting a borehole per turn this way, as opposed to per every two turns.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Kirov on March 03, 2017, 12:24:47 PM

I regularly swap production of units to buildings and back, because buildings can be hurried at a fixed cost, while unit costs are flexible depending on multiple factors, and I can't be bothered with counting how much I need to pay to hurry it partially.

I believe that hurry costs are a feature and I don't think 'not wanting to be bothered' is a good enough reason for me.

Quote
I know it exists for the sole purpose of limiting the effectiveness of Maniac Maneuver described above, i.e. to prohibit cheap hurrying by messing with the INDUSTRY stat. There is nothing else that can be exploited,

Off the top of my head, AI faction leaders judge you on the SE you have currently on, so there is an exploit which consists in setting 'Green' just to talk to Deirdre, etc. There's probably more.

Of course, you can mess around with the SE screen as much as you want and then e.g. change specialist allocation to see how much money you would make. Just don't take advantage of any SE immediate effects, is all.


You can obviously play the way you want, but multiplayer is multiplayer and rules are to be followed. You can also present your case for dismissing a rule for everyone, but I can't say I'm convinced with that rushbuild thing. Whatever you think about the rules and whatever you insist on, make absolutely sure that you follow the same rules as everyone else. The above is a default so you must clearly state that you offer an alternative. If that is complied with, I'm fine with whatever it is you want to do.
Title: Re: Rules for all Alpha Centauri PBEM and IP games hosted here
Post by: Nevill on March 03, 2017, 12:47:22 PM
I believe that hurry costs are a feature and I don't think 'not wanting to be bothered' is a good enough reason for me.
I believe the same about the ability to change production.

First ten minerals (or whatever is designated in the txt file) can be anything one wants them to be and can be retooled freely, regardless of what you are building. You can start a building and then switch production towards a different unit, it's the way the game was intended to be played.

Are you saying that starting a building, hurrying it up to, say, 10 minerals, then changing production next turn to something else would be breaking the rule? Because if you aren't, then I don't see how starting the actions list above with  'building a unit' would suddenly become illegal. And if you *are* saying that... well. I wonder how any games where one switches production get finished.

There is an inconsistency in the game mechanics that allows the first 10 minerals to be anything at all, and the game even has a separate ruleset for it, yet makes the hurrying costs different based on what you are building at the time.


On the other hand, retiring the design to switch production to Stockpile Energy, and then taking advantage of there being no retooling penalty when you switch from Stockpile Energy is clearly an oversight/exploit.

Edit: as for the change proposal, I think fitting the retool penalty in there somewhere might work if we agree on the principle behind the rule. This would definitely make the rules a bit more difficult to understand, though.

Edit2: did a quick math estimate, and if you at any point hurried a facility, then switched production to a unit that costs more than 50 minerals, then you are in violation of the rule as stated, because you technically have hurried the unit for less. That's regardless of the retool penalty. I somehow doubt that was the intent.


Edit3: I think simply limiting the exploits that enable Maniac Maneuver would be enough.
a) If you use a supply crawler or an alien artefact to hurry a prototype, you must finish the construction of the prototype before switching production
b) Retiring a design that is currently in production is not allowed.

Also, I think the rules are missing one MAJOR bug. Retiring a unit design retires it from the game entirely, including the units of other players. I think that the use of this function should be prohibited because it does not work right. So the second rule may as well be this:

b*) Retiring designs is prohibited. Players must use Obsolete instead.