Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => After Action Reports => Topic started by: bvanevery on March 05, 2018, 10:32:58 PM

Title: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 05, 2018, 10:32:58 PM
pirate faction
pirate faction

Questions and comments are welcome in this thread.

This is the first After Action Report I've written with an audience in mind.  Previously I've imagined someone tripping over my work in an archive somewhere, and hopefully learning a thing or two about how to play SMAC as a result.  But this one is intended to be viewed by hundreds of people, as a baseline for why it's been written.  What does anyone else want to know about a game I'm playing?  What do I want to tell about it?  Well, only the things that would interest a ~20 year veteran, to be honest.  And so this is the logical conclusion.

The pace will be slower than previous AARs I've done.  Long periods of time will pass in the game, and perhaps in real life, before new installments are added.  In the past I've done blow-by-blow reportage, of every conceivable minor thing that could be interesting.  That approach offers tactical meat, but is not sustainable.  Gets bor-rring! to write those up, and I don't know if people want to read those either.  It remains to be seen if my present "long snapshot" approach results in more satisfying work.  Games by themselves do not have to be satisfying, and that is part of the investigation.

What is of interest?  The AI.  It can challenge a new player; it can even challenge an experienced player if one starts next to an Alien faction.  But left on its own, it tends to spin its wheels.  The typical problem is it builds too many military units and runs out of minerals to support its efforts.  To compensate, I will try to give it room to grow.  I'm playing on a 256x128 square map, which is 4X the size of a Huge map.  4X, ha ha, get it?  I call it a Giant planet.  I minimized Erosion and made cloud cover Dense, to give the AI more resources to thrive in.  Helps me too!  I don't like starting on scratchy dry land.

It should be noted that I'm playing stock SMAC: Alien Crossfire, Good Old Games version with all official patches.  No unofficial ones; in particular, no Yitzi patch.  He did impressive work in the community, heroically creating binary patches for the game in assembly code, which may have helped the multiplayer experience greatly.  But none of it in my experience makes the AI play any better.  I believe he proved it can't be done in the real world.  There is only so much you can do if you don't have the source code, basically would have to write a new game.

Someday I will look into how others have tried to help out the AI, at the level of doing mods.  But it already gets pretty goofy resource advantages on Transcend as is, like 60% to 50% production costs for instance.  The equivalent of +4 or +5 Industry, respectively.  After that, the increase in Industry is capped.  It also gets research advantages that I don't even know how to calculate.

I'm playing as the Pirates.  Other opponents are random.  I'm interested in the idea of the Pirates trying to drown everyone, or at least, they can survive Global Warming better than other factions can.  I tried to give myself less ocean so that the land factions would have a lot more land.  The AI definitely does better on land, particularly when trying to conquer anything.  Unfortunately the world generator didn't cooperate and there's a fair amount of ocean on this map.  But the map is so big, that there's still a lot of land.  Some of the AIs will have enough room to do whatever they are capable of.

Another reason for the Giant planet, is I don't like being bothered early in the game.  All it does is create stress and put me behind when I'd rather be building roads, planting trees, and building Secret Projects.  That's my preferred play style.  That feeling of progress that you've banged out yet another SP.  I've done all the other play styles at some point, I can win any of them; it's a question of what I prefer.  If I wanted to get into immediate skirmishes, I'd play on a Tiny map.  Haven't done that in years, as they're way too trivial to win.

A final, important specification, is I'm playing without supply pods everywhere.  They're a crutch.  I guarantee that on such a map, the winner would be the faction that gathers the most pods and Alien Artifacts.  Which would be me.  The AI doesn't know how to do it.  Rather than a giant game of Pac-Man, I'll play SMAC.  Although, this does make a much drier game.  Why explore continents when there's nothing valuable in them?

Here is what I've managed so far.  Note the power graph.  Theoretically I'm better than even the Usurpers left to themselves.  Outperforming an Alien faction at the beginning of the game, says either I'm great, or they got a really bad start.

early kingdom
early kingdom

My capitol, Safe Haven, I managed to settle in a lot of shallow water on an energy resource.  Without wasting too many turns to find it.  Port Svensgaard, my 2nd city, I put next to a sea minerals deposit that needed fungus removal.  So it didn't immediately benefit me, and I cannot be said to have been handed a great start on water.  The surrounding land was tasty though, so I used it.  Un-Pirate-like, but in extremes of environment, we have to adapt.

safe haven
safe haven

I eventually had enough Formers and Sea Formers working my squares.  I eventually went Democratic, offsetting my -1 Efficiency and -1 Growth faction penalties, to net +1 Efficiency +1 Growth -2 Support.  My budget, I've jacked to 30-40-30 because I don't have the usual SPs to keep people happy.  Somehow I resent the idea of building Hologram Theaters just yet, although it'll surely happen.  I have built Children's Creches for efficiency and growth.  Now everyone is working on Network Nodes, for lack of better to do.

In all this time, I was unable to build even one Secret Project.  I believe the Pirates are not a good faction for early SPs, because they take too long to get their seaborne infrastructure up and running.  But it's powerful once they do, and they're a good Builder faction then.  Will I belatedly enter the SP races and finally dominate?  I don't have the crutch of lifting Artifacts out of the water with Transports to help me.  I do have the small consolation that the power graph consideres me Unsurpassed, so clearly my growth algorithm is better than the AI algorithm.

early SPs
early SPs

Lal built The Emapth Guild and called an election.  Surprisingly, even with his 4X voting advantage I could have beaten him with help from other factions.  Their price, however, was too high.  Lal must have had a crummy tiny island start to come up with such low numbers.  Roze also got shafted that way, but at least she managed to build The Virtual World while all cooped up.  She's my ally now, so I won't be taking it away from her anytime soon.

politics
politics

I have Domai and Roze's maps; others are unknown.  Deirdre declared war on me and I don't know where she is.  She's unlikely to be near me, as I've swept a wide perimeter on both land and sea.  Marr is a silent mystery.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 05, 2018, 10:45:06 PM
Yo - promoting this right away as a good-faith gesture and encouragement.  You can do it, and I look forward to reading.

Edit: Done, and I hope it's okay that I repeated the last image at the top of the post - that's so it'll show on the Front Page, because, look; a picture.  Feel free to change that to your own satisfaction, although pic showing is something you want.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 05, 2018, 10:54:08 PM
Ok, cool.  You put that 1st image there?  I thought my hand had slipped.  I'll find a better lead shot.

Never knew that inline images used Wiki storage, or that I had any kind of personal storage.  I'll figure that out.  As well as why things are getting downfiltered to 1024x768.  Vast majority of my previous work was done with attachments.  1200x900 and 800x800 are the optimal sizes for those.  Looks to me like pictures uploaded to an Album, have a largest dimension of only 1024 pixels.  Whereas one gets 1200 pixels with an attachment.

Hmm, more image inlining tricks.  Perhaps eventually I'll wrap my head around them all.  Width and height specifiers attract my more immediate interest.

BTW I'm using dead whitespace in previous posts to improve the web page density.  "Dead" meaning, the text hadn't yet gotten to the length of my user display area to the left.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 05, 2018, 10:55:55 PM
Great!

You CAN create your own dedicated album for images, and I encourage you to do so and stop following Green in hijacking the Wiki folder. ;)
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 06, 2018, 12:27:46 AM
-A couple of things about image display;

(http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=20773.0;attach=19944;image)
Quote to see the code for how I get a linked attachment to display in a post, in this case, the OP of Does Miriam suck? - but you can do the same in the body of the same post it's attached to, with an edit.  You will have it displaying again at the end, though.  It's a simple rightclick>copy shortcut>Paste and add ";image" on the end w/o spaces>wrap in image tags.  (In this case, it naturally displayed at 800x800, but I reduced those dimensions by half in the leading tag manually.  When you do that, it clicks to enlarge to actual size.  Go ahead and try it.)

The code on the last line on the page for an image in the album, wrapped in image tags, is the simplest way to display pics - the forum software has a 800 width display limit -and as an artist and someone who posts a lot of pics myself, I fancy I'd have found any easy user work-around by now if there was one- and I encourage you to size/crop to fit where that's feasible because bandwith/storage memory stuff you probably understand even better than I do, BUT - when the needs of the AAR demand it, you can go huge and it displays at 800 width, but you can caption "click to embiggen" or something, 'cause it will display way over the otherwise legal limit 800 width, right there in the post w/o loading another page the way what you're currently doing does.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 06, 2018, 01:50:37 AM
Gaia probe
Gaia probe

Can you believe this gal?  That's a Gaian probe team.  She boated from an awfully long distance from the east, to come bother me like this.  And it's pathetic that she'll die trying.  Glad of it though, as it makes taking a screenshot of her foolish, tedious action a lot easier.  Well AIs don't get bored, that's the problem with them.  I certainly won't be returning the favor anytime soon.  It would be a long trip even with a Cruiser Probe Team and The Maritime Control Center.

eastern enemies
eastern enemies

The Gaians, Peacekeeprs and Usurpers are all in a cluster substantially to the east of me.  Makes me wonder what the point of giving the AI a Giant map to work on, if it's just going to start factions next to each other anyways.  Well at least nobody started next to me.  Maybe there will be dumb consequences to this, like Marr summarily wiping them out.  More likely they'll prove incompetent at oceanic conquest.  I've seen factions survive indefinitely when confronted over water.

planetary transit
planetary transit

I researched Industrial Automation and seemingly no one else has.  I took my sweet time to get started on The Planetary Transit System, but now it's almost done.  I've been cashing in Sea Formers that I no longer need.  Every available shallow water square has been worked, and I don't have the tech or The Weather Paradigm to raise deep squares to shallow.  I don't need more sea bases, they would be ever distant from my capitol without good resources.  Also I've got Hab Complexes now and can go far more vertical.  I can fill out a few more land bases, as I've still got some centralized portions of rainy land remaining.  I need more land Formers, but I am too busy with my base improvements.  I'm redeploying what I've got as best I can.

Lal tried to extort me for Industrial Automation, and of course I blew him off, so we're at war now.  Don't you love the behavior of fellow Democracies?  Peacekeeper my foot.  I can't share the love with anyone else because we're in sunspots right now.  I've gone for Wealth because at present I'm a lover not a fighter.  I had to adjust my budget to 40-30-30 because I was running low on credits, but people are happy thanks to the Hologram Theaters I've built.

Gaian rover
Gaian rover

Deirdre is a persistent pest.  She showed up 3 turns later with a Rover and killed my Former.  Guess who's going to die now?  Recon Rovers are standard issue in all of my bases.  I replaced all my Green scouts some time ago and sent them off exploring.  I haven't built defensive units much of anywhere, but perhaps I'll need some in the east.  Maybe a little bit of navy too, gee whiz.  I've already completed 1 probe team for defense.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 06, 2018, 06:39:51 AM
energy grid
energy grid

50 years later I complete The Planetary Energy Grid.  That took awhile, but nobody managed to challenge me for it.  Somehow everyone else competed for The Citizen's Defense Force, and now The Planetary Datalinks.  For the longest time I refused to build even a single Energy Bank, thinking I'd get Adaptive Economics "any year now".  I solved the problem of running out of energy by stockpiling energy a lot.

I also refused to go Free Market for a long time, because for some silly reason I wanted to complete my continental exploration.  There are no pods to pick up, so perhaps my fixation was force of habit.  I missed a peninsula to the northwest as it was too remote, but otherwise I revealed everything.  There's nothing out there, but somehow I take comfort in knowing there's nothing out there, as opposed to encroaching factions.  Now I'll be able to monitor enemy advances forever.

expanding kingdom
expanding kingdom

I've built a mountain of land Formers and I've added a few land bases.  With the extra cash from the Grid, I can now afford to build Research Hospitals.  They are sorely needed as many of my cities are size 11 now, and I do not have The Human Genome Project to stop the Prometheus virus, should that random event occur.

Roze ditched me as an ally.  Deirdre is still at war with me, and occasionally sends a Probe Team or Impact Rover my way.  I'm thankful for the feebleness of her morale, and now I've built walled cities anyways.  Lal knocked it off awhile ago and made peace with me.  He's even tried to get me to ally against the Usurpers, but since he's a weak nasty cuss, I just let him twirl in the wind.  How do I benefit from a war?  I'm just a Democratic Free Market Wealth kind of guy, with a 30-40-30 budget until those hospitals get built.  I seem to be out-Building everybody so I will continue my Build only focus for now.  I don't even see The Maritime Control Center as terribly useful, as the map is so large, why would I want to invade anyone?  I'd rather get The Ascetic Virtues, get some extra police, and have my cities go to size 16.  I've already got Ecological Engineering, and with Environmental Economics I could raise deep ocean to shallows.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 07, 2018, 05:53:41 PM
lal cyberethics
lal cyberethics

Lal has been trying to get me to go to war with the Usurpers for a long time.  He finally made me a tempting offer.  Everybody is working on The Planetary Datalinks right now.  If I took him up on it, I could conceivably beat them all to it, in a mad rush of supply crawlers.  However others have been working on it for quite awhile now, and I don't have them infiltrated, so I'm at risk of someone being very close to completion.  The reality remains that war with the Usurpers is not strategic for me at this time, although it's going to be.  I finally decided against this, when I realized that I will never actually profit from The Planetary Datalinks.  I am in the lead, it won't give me any tech I need.  It blocks others from getting tech, but the other humans are all so pathetic, that it hardly matters if someone reaches parity with the dominant trends.  Blocking weak factions is not worth a war I don't want right now.

Marr rover
Marr rover

Ironically, immediately after that conversation, Marr shows up on my doorstep with an armored Impact Rover.  He talked about his missiles, which is more than I've got, but he's not close enough for me to care.  I got the bug where he acts as though I responded to him when I didn't.  Accused me of "such bravado" but didn't declare war, we're still in a Truce.  Of course he wants me to abandon my Free Market stance.  I ended our communication.  Now I've got something to do with my few Scouts.  They will escort Marr "off the property", if he keeps moving and exploring.  If not, I will quarantine him somehow.  My probe teams aren't currently good enough to attempt an untraceable capture.

eco damage
eco damage

I'm doing a lot of eco-damage, especially in this 1 city to the west, but also somewhat elsewhere.  I'm getting fungal pops regularly.  I'm fending off mindworms and killing "buttons" of new stalks.  My cities don't really have anything better to do than grow, make Formers, and wait for technology, so I'm letting this ride.  I just kill mindworms, ruthlessly and efficiently.  It has caused me to build Command Centers in all my inland bases, because I actually need them.  My vast array of Formes does form a warning buffer against incursions, whether by mindworms or Deirdre, who is still at war with me.

Deirdre pest
Deirdre pest

Deirdre has started working on The Xenoempathy Dome.  That's on a tech path I won't be getting to any time soon, so she is likely to complete it.  My capitol, having absolutely nothing better to do, did make a skimship probe team a few turns ago.  It's got a long way to go to get to her.  I've built supply crawlers from my capitol as well, hoping to pick up energy resources at a great distance from my city centers.  2 of those made it to target just fine.  1 nearly ran afoul of a Gaian garrison unit exploring my land, but I steered around it before she could attack.  1 got killed by a mindworm after a couple of turns slurping energy.  Send another land crawler.  I'm not willing to do sea crawlers yet because they're relatively expensive as fission units, and I also don't have any Sea Formers anymore.

capitol crop failure
capitol crop failure

My capitol has reached size 14.  I've spawned a few land colony pods when it has done so.  I just got a crop failure, so I won't be doing that for another 10+ turns.  Nobody's actually going hungry because I have so much kelp, so it's not a problem.  I don't even have an Aquafarm.  Generally I won't build those until either I've got Habitation Domes, or I need a newly founded city to catch up quick.  That would certainly not be my capitol.

I'm not sure what my long term direction for this game is.  What is the purpose?  Short term objective is simple: "grow".  I'm doing a great job at that.  But grow, grow, grow, for a long, long time, doesn't make an interesting game.

I'm coming to terms with the fact that I was given a good start, next to the biggest land mass I've found in the game so far.  The other humans were given lousy starts, they are crippled.  Really small islands on an otherwise huge world with tons of water in it.  I didn't try to generate that, I wanted this to be a mostly land planet.  I wanted a big lake to be safe in, and for the AI to have little difficulty spreading and conquering neighbors.  Didn't happen.

The only faction that seems to have gotten a decent start is Marr.  He is the only contender.  So the midgame, might become about some "Noblesse Oblige" where I systematically exterminate the Usurpers.  That doesn't really have any kind of Pirate-y theme to it, and that bugs me.  Perhaps I'll think of a way to resolve it somehow.

Drowning everybody with Global Warming isn't attractive to me right now.  I have a lot of nicely developed land, all hand worked.  It's the environmental accident of what I was given to start with.  If I'd started on one of these tiny spits like the other human factions, I'd be a lot more willing to turn the whole world into water!

I'm wondering if there's a sustainable level of nukeing I can do, to drown everyone except myself.  But I am remembering a further problem: the UN Council.  Using nukes gets you kicked out of the UN, even if Atrocity Prohibitions have been lifted.  That only covers minor atrocities, not planet busting.  And I can already commit minor atrocities against Aliens anyways, there are no economic sanctions for that.  Anyways, I have a lot of humans I wouldn't mind getting along with, for the income from trade relationships.

Deirdre will have enough Secret Projects to be conquest worthy, but it's still a serious long distance proposition.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 07, 2018, 06:29:01 PM
surprising Marr
surprising Marr

I knew this could happen.  I figured if he took my city, it would just be a fairly new one, and not the end of the world.  I'd be able to steal from him and infiltrate him in exchange.  I've even contemplated offering "bait" cities to make my life easier that way.  But, that's a cold, callous way to treat one's citizens.  I am a Democracy after all, and given my faction penalties, I plan to stay that way.

As it happened, Marr killed 2 of my units and then I killed him.  Killed Deidre's pest while I was at it.  She had a mindworm accompanying her that I hadn't noticed.

I allied with the other 2 Democracies, Lal and Roze, against the common threat.  Aki Zeta5 is Lal's ally as well, but wouldn't ally with me.  Ok fine whatever maybe she'll change her tune someday.  Domai is still Seething at me, but he's allied with Lal too.  Weird situation.

I haven't asked them to fight any additional wars, such as against Deirde, because I really don't care.  I figure they are so weak, it's better for them to use whatever they've got against Marr.  If they do anything at all.  This is reminding me that I haven't used the game's "Let's coordinate our battle plans!" feature since the stone ages.  Well, I'm at war with Marr at this time, I'm not invading him.  I don't even have a motive to commit atrocities against him yet.

useless ocean
useless ocean

I researched Planetary Economics and have begun The Ascetic Virtues.  I will continue with my Build focus because I still need Environmental Economics.  I need to build Tree Farms and I want my energy restrictions lifted.  It also gives me the option to raise land, or turn deep ocean to shallows.  I don't think I need Mag Tubes at this time though, as my empire is pretty compact.  I've been building as close to a perfect circle around my capitol as I can, to minimize economic losses due to Inefficiency.  Really the only thing missing would be to raise the ocean to the southwest, to make it more productive.  I certainly have enough Formers to do that quickly.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 07, 2018, 06:33:47 PM
At the very minimum of utility, the "Let's coordinate our battle plans!" feature is good for an updated map from whomever, so definitely worth using - and I've found they usually will agree to "I have a better plan". ;nod
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 07, 2018, 07:49:21 PM
governor
governor

With my new allies and strong growth, I'm able to edge out my buddy Lal for the Governorship, even with his 4X voting advantage.  The friendliest, least partisan election in human history!  5 of us are on the same side, more or less, due to our alliances.  Deirdre is the odd duck, she's allied with Marr now.

global trade pact
global trade pact

The humans unanimously agree to my Global Trade Pact.  I'm allied with 2, at peace with 2, and have the largest economy by far, so I should do very well.  Lal is in good shape with 3 allies and 2 treaties.  The only downside is I now have a very strong incentive to stay Free Market.  I suppose also, the AI cheats on Transcend and the other factions will probably benefit far more than they should.  But I'm gonna take my share of credits regardless.  They are all so weak, it can't really hurt me, and Marr doesn't benefit from this play at all.

Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 07, 2018, 09:20:40 PM
steal Deirdre
steal Deirdre

At last I work my Skimship Probe Team all the way over to Deirdre.  It ran into one of her Transports but otherwise I was not challenged.  She does have various defensive Probe Teams on her island which is why I'm going for the sea base.  For my trouble I got Synthetic Fossil Fuels and my team survived.  She has Centauri Meditation and Doctrine:Air Power remaining to steal.  I have a 2nd team approaching, maybe 5 turns behind.  She has stared to make sea bases at a distance from her island, so I will go for one of those, as they are less likely to have ships emerging from the bases.

In my capitol I have begun The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm.  I could rush it with the many supply crawlers I have out in the field extracting minerals, but at present nobody is trying to build it, so I see no need.  I'm making an awfu lot of credits now and could just save up to finish it with cash.

I have switched to an Explore focus as I would like to get The Maritime Control Center.  However Aki Zeta5 is already working on it and may beat me to it.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 07, 2018, 09:55:54 PM
lousy random events
lousy random events

I hate random events.  The bad ones are way worse than anything the good ones give you.  I have rage quit many games due to random events, and have gone through long periods of time playing the game option "No Random Events".  This particular one hasn't bothered me in quite a long time, and I have to wonder why it is doing so now.  I have the Planetary Energy Grid.  That's an energy bank in every single city.  It doesn't seem to be proof against this random event at all, as I've had this happen in a game before while having the Grid.

I think this is completely lazy game design and wouldn't mind seeing the genius who dreamed this one up, shot at dawn.  Then dropped into the Recycling Tanks to make some use of him or her.  Not to be outdone by losing all your research due to insufficient Network Nodes, but at least there is no "free Network Node in every base" Secret Project to make you feel helpless about that.  Or the asteroid that can completely wipe out a city, turning it into essentially another Garland Crater... isn't that a treat?  Yes I really wanted bonus minerals in lieu of the size 14 city you destroyed that one game.

I wonder if Yitzi patched this, and whether this is considered a bug?  I just lost ~1100 credits.  That's more than the cost of completing The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm, which I could have done last turn for ~900 credits.  In which case I probably wouldn't have lost any money this turn at all.  I was saving the money because I might get Doctrine:Initiative imminently and then I'd be able to do both Secret Projects quickly.  It's almost as if the game knew that and deliberately griefed me.

I could play a turn over to correct this.  However this is intended to be a wide audience writeup, so it's worth letting people know what the worst design decisions in the game were.  I mean really, when am I ever going to get a positive random event that is worth 1100 credits to make up for this?  What will really happen, is I'll get a new minerals deposit somewhere.  Oh joy!  I can't even get around to mining all the ones in easy reach of me.

Guess how much cash a "Market Surge" random event typically makes me?  50 credits.  "Here kid, go buy yourself somethin' nice."

Don't get me started on overpowered Probe Teams.  Let's just say I put defensive teams on my eastern side pretty early in the game.  I'm always glad when I get The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm because it eliminates an extremely tedious chore from the game.  You can build all kinds of units to go invade someone, but one enemy Probe Team can completely undo all those piles and piles of work.  You can lose an entire city with all the units in it, don't care if there are 20 or 30 units in there.  Everything within the base radius gets bought too, it's that bad.  I've always thought the cost of such buyouts should be somehow equivalent to the cost of all the units in the city, not just the population of the city, but it is what it is.  I wonder if Yitzi patched that one?

BTW this screenshot also demonstrates an actual bug, nothing to argue about.  I just experienced a market crash, but that's the graphic for a market surge.

prometheus virus
prometheus virus

A number of years later, Deirdre got hit randomly by the Prometheus virus.  Notice the severe population loss in her bases.  The Human Genome Project renders immunity to this, but only 1 faction can have that.  I think Clinical Immortality gives immunity as well, but that secret project is very late game.  Everyone else needs to build Research Hospitals in their larger cities to avoid this possibility.  I'm fine, did that awhile ago.  Research Hospitals cost a lot of credits to maintain and can easily bankrupt an empire with a marginal economy, so you have to be careful about building them.  Expensive infrastructure like that, pretty much keeps me committed to a Free Market economy for now.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 07, 2018, 10:10:02 PM
automated explorer
automated explorer

This is my original independent Unity Gunship from the beginning of the game.  I've had it on automated exploration for quite a long time now.  Finally it has come within sight of Marr's homeland.  I'm taking manual control now, because otherwise it's surely gonna die.  The unexplored black area around Marr is "too interesting" to the AI, and doesn't take into account the level of danger of the approach.  On a smaller map, by this point in the game I might have stolen or otherwise acquired Marr's map, but that hasn't happened.  So we make maps the old fashioned way, we explore it.  Swear that was the tagline for some stupid coffee commercial back in the day or something...
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 07, 2018, 10:35:00 PM
"Smith Barney: We make money the old-fashioned way; we earn it."
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 07, 2018, 10:50:13 PM
Yeah, coffee, just like I said.  Das becaaause uu doon't uuuse, neuuue eeimproooved, Forrrgers cuoeffe.  Mauntan groen ze fleevor zone....  Fleevor thaat keips uue cooming baak, cuop aftur cuop.

raised land
raised land

The F7 "Nautilus Security Nexus" screen says I own 56 Formers.  I've only lost 4 the whole game, despite all manner of mindworms, Marr, and Deirdre pests.  38 of these have been sent to raise land in the big bay southwest of my capitol.  Soon, 4 of my bases including my capitol will have nothing but shallow ocean water, no more deep ocean.  It's a lot cheaper and faster than raising ocean floors with Sea Formers, as that's typically 32 or 64 credits per square, and takes 12 turns to raise only 1 square.  I can spend perhaps 12 credits and raise several deep ocean squares at once, at the cost of creating gratuitous land.  I will of course settle it all eventually.  Working the coast in this way, tends to create new sea resource specials along the coast, which then becomes an obstacle I have to work around.  'Cuz, I really hate messing up sea resources.  I am pleased that so far, I have created no new resources.  The best result would be if I created them right as I'm raising oceans within base radii.  However whether they appear or not is random, so I just have to hope for the best and work with what I'm given.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 07, 2018, 11:11:39 PM
As I'm sure you know, you raise a sea resource to land, and it becomes a unity pod, which seems to never reveal a resource.  -I raise 'em anyway, 'cause IMO, a sea resource is unlikely to make a sea square worth as much as a developed land square, even if you're Svensgaard - plus, a chance at other pod goodies.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 08, 2018, 12:40:43 AM
Actually I did not know that.  I've observed the phenomenon of suddenly having a land pod, but I never figured out the cause and effect.  Oh no, you're saying I can actually create pods, essentially by prospecting for them?  What a dangerous micromanagement invitation.  I wonder if it still works in a No Unity Scattering game like I'm playing.  If it does, umm, I might have Evil uses for all these Formers.  I would do it with some land that doesn't matter, on the way to Deirdre or some such.  To be honest this kinda borders on a cheat, and maybe I shouldn't.  But if I don't come up with some other direction or purpose for this game, maybe I will consider a "massive pod raising demonstration".

monsoon jungle
monsoon jungle

Another vexing question is what will I ever do with the Monsoon Jungle?  It's been substantially north of me, on my continent, since forever.  It's too far away to make a good settlement, it would be grossly Inefficient.  Well, maybe someday I'll be Cybernetic or something and can handle cities fairly far away from me.  By that point in the game I am unlikely to care though.  Let's face it, I'm already Governor.  I can't win Diplomatic Victory until I slaughter Marr, so I don't know what use that jungle will be, long term.  I'd hate to drown it in a global catastrophe, though.  It would be like I'm the USA and wiping out Yellowstone National Park.  My heritage!  Oh wait I'm a Pirate, aaaargh.  Sink the landlubbers!  Oh that's me, aarrgh... I'm feeling very confused about my identity.

free naval yard
free naval yard

I research Doctrine:Initiative on my own and gain free Naval Yards in all my bases.  Even with that market crash a few turns ago, I still have over 1100 credits now.  I switch The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm to The Maritime Control Center and spend 800 credits to rush it.  I doubt anyone has anything to say about that!  Some people feel that switching Secret Projects like this is a bit of a crutch, or even a cheat, but it's a standard game rule and all the AIs do it.  I'm pretty sure you can set an option so that nobody can switch Secret Projects, and you're just shafted if you lose, but I don't think that's particularly fun.

sinking river valley around Grand Mesa
sinking river valley around Grand Mesa

This is weird.  There's a river valley running almost entirely around the Grand Mesa.  It is 10 meters above sea level and it's all in danger of sinking.  Sailor's Delight, a size 14 inland city, is in danger of sinking.  First I've ever noticed something like this, in any game I've ever played.  It would be fascinating to let that valley actually sink, as I'd gain a mighty inland canal.  However "Progress" dictates that I will continue building my Hybrid Forests, which might stop all the Global Warming and maybe nothing will sink.  Still, I'm going to have to put a Pressure Dome on that base now.  The Tree Farm it's building is about to complete next turn anyways, so I've put a Dome work order in the queue.  I'd like it to be stronger than cellophane, and I want a milkshake with that.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 08, 2018, 01:14:08 AM
Alpha Prime HSA
Alpha Prime HSA

Uh, oh.  By completing The Maritime Control Center I knocked everyone else out of the Secret Project races, but Aki Zeta5 had actually studied up Pre-Sentient Algorithms in the meantime.  Much as I griefed everyone by switching to The Maritime Control Center, now she's switched to The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm and is threatening to grief me.  She's about 2/3rds of the way through production and needs 9 turns to complete.  She has 471 credits, which might even be enough to rush the project, but fortunately the AI is very stupid about doing that.  She knows Industrial Automation but has only 3 cities on her home island, and none of them are producing Supply Crawlers.  So I'd say she can't beat me right this second, but I do have to step on this and get it done quick.

supply crawler reserves
supply crawler reserves

I'm calling up the reserves.  I've got piles of Supply Crawlers in the region which could bang out a Secret Project pretty quick.  Unfortunately the base that's ready to build something new, Crossbone Way, is a bit to the north of my main body of Crawlers.  So we will all start moving north.  That base has a lot of productivity anyways, due to the 3 minerals deposits its working.  It's a small base but I already banged out The Ascetic Virtues up there.  I've also got 763 credits on this turn alone, so I'm probably being overly paranoid about this, but I cannot possibly accept the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm slipping away from me for any reason.  Not when I'm this close to having it!  So northwards we go.

I'm starting to wonder if by pursuing Wealth, I'm letting other factions get too far ahead on technology.  On the other hand, I've got a Secret Project to complete, so now is not the time to change my tune.  I have switched my research focus to Discover though, as I don't need anything from the Explore tech tree anymore.  I'm way too far away from everyone else to make use of Needlejets, and I can steal Doctrine:Air Power eventually.  In fact, with faster ships now, I should have that next turn.

Oh !@#$@#$@#$@#$@#$#!!!! I can't believe I just hit Turn Complete while trying to move the camera in position to take a screenshot of my Skimship Probe Team upon approach.  None of those Supply Crawlers were moved an inch.  <GROAN>  Writing AARs is a "special hazard" to gameplay.  Well maybe I'll just buy the damn thing.  I do make a lot of money every turn, and that's a high yield base that shouldn't take long to make the 20% minimum for completing Secret Projects.   Otherwise there's a huge rush penalty that usually one can't afford to pay.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 08, 2018, 01:28:33 AM
Actually I did not know that.  I've observed the phenomenon of suddenly having a land pod, but I never figured out the cause and effect.  Oh no, you're saying I can actually create pods, essentially by prospecting for them?  What a dangerous micromanagement invitation.  I wonder if it still works in a No Unity Scattering game like I'm playing.  If it does, umm, I might have Evil uses for all these Formers.  I would do it with some land that doesn't matter, on the way to Deirdre or some such.  To be honest this kinda borders on a cheat, and maybe I shouldn't.  But if I don't come up with some other direction or purpose for this game, maybe I will consider a "massive pod raising demonstration".
...

"Progress" dictates that I will continue building my Hybrid Forests, which might stop all the Global Warming and maybe nothing will sink.  Still, I'm going to have to put a Pressure Dome on that base now.  The Tree Farm it's building is about to complete next turn anyways
In my opinion as the expert on exploits, sea resources>land pods>random pod pop is an intended game mechanic w/o the faintest whiff of exploit/cheating.

On the other hand, did you know that building that tree farm, on top of the extra eco-protection for that base, permanently lowers all ecodamage for your faction by one -and get this- you can sell it and rebuild it, getting the -1 for all bases again, over and over and over.  The base it's in loses some protection of having the tree farm, but it's cheaper to do that than build the hybrid forest, centauri preserve, and temple of Planet.  It only has that effect after the first fungal pop - but then you don't really need it much until that and the first pop yields no worms.  Very well-known exploit in the community.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 08, 2018, 01:43:20 AM
Yeah I knew about the rebuilding Tree Farms exploit, but I've never done it, nor needed to do it.  My economies are so massive, such as by this point in the game, that I'm often rushing Hybrid Forests.  They are as expensive as early Secret Projects, so that's saying a lot.  Generally speaking I know how to keep my eco-damage under control.  It's mostly a mixture of allowing enough fungal pops, which each decrease the problem a little, fighting off some mindworms, and building the needed facilities.  For instance in this game, for extra caution and just extra money, I'm building Hybrid Forests everywhere.  Even in sea bases that don't have trees.  I figure, I don't usually run Free Markets, and I've got a lot of extra eco-damage I need to contend with.  Also I know not to go too crazy on minerals per base, as it just isn't needed to stomp the AI.  20-ish minerals per base will do fine.

butterfingers probe team
butterfingers probe team

Here is the Skimship Probe Team that caused me grief last year.  Mission accomplished, I stole Doctrine:Air Power, but I lost the team.  I still need to steal Centauri Meditation from her, and I wouldn't mind her world map while I'm at it.

To add insult to my butterfingers injury, I hate the in-between turns period.  You get peppered with dozens of modal dialog boxes in a row that you can't escape from.  If someone in your family is calling you to dinner, you can't even save the game then.  All you can do is let your computer sit like some ancient MS-DOS nonsense and hope for the best when you get back.  Thankfully, game UI in general has become a lot more sane since the time SMAC was made.  I would not make "inter-turn" tasks part of the game design at all.  Pestering players endlessly at the beginning of their turn, in ways they can't ignore or deal with later, is not good UI design.

Marr bothered me in between turns.  He wanted to talk but I blew him off.  He's standing on one of my Mines on a minerals deposit right next to my base, about to strike and that's annoying.  I pulled all my Formers off that front before I could get Sensor Arrays completed.  The land was too rainy to put Forests on things, and that makes it a lot less natural to put Sensor Arrays up.  Also, to be honest, leaving Formers out that way was running the risk of getting them killed, due to these occasional interlopers.  Well he'll probably pillage my good Mine, but life will go on and it's merely annoying.  Does anyone ever nuke the whole planet just because someone's being annoying?

I've now got 1186 cash, but the insufficient completion penalty makes it 2040 credits to complete The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm.  If I had moved my crawlers last turn, I would have been able to add 3 crawlers to the build this turn, and I'd probably have it done next turn.  As it is, I will just move those 3 closest crawlers now, for insurance next turn.  Aki Zeta5 isn't showing any sign of rushing, but who knows what my stupid fingers are capable of next??  I think I'm getting physically tired and need to do something else for awhile now.

Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 08, 2018, 05:52:04 AM
With my 3 extra Supply Crawlers, it only cost 636 credits to rush The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm.  Aki Zeta5 still has 6 turns to go, to my 0 turns, so I suppose I worried over nothing.  As I'm hardly hurting for cash, I rushed my Pressure Dome at the inland Sailor's Delight as well.  I should probably spend more money or the game might decide to take it away from me again.  I have no more Secret Projects I need to complete, but I do get a new tech next turn, so I think I'll wait to see what the cat drags in.

raising nutrients
raising nutrients

My land raising finally created some coastal resources.  I'm happy with the mineral and energy resources, those are useful.  I'm realizing that a nutrient resource at a sea base that has enormous access to kelp, is not useful.  Such bases have an overabundance of food anyways.  Also, one of these nutrients is in the way of me turning 9 deep ocean squares into shallow water.  Surely, 9 squares producing ordinary food from kelp, is worth more than 1 square with a nutrient bonus.

So, I'm going to try BUncle's suggestion of raising it to turn it into a supply pod.  I still think it's a bit of a cheat, because it makes no basic simulation sense, that a resource should turn into a pod.  Kelp becomes hard metal, how does that work?  On the other hand, it could have been intended as a game mechanical "compensation" for the loss of the nutrient when raising land.  Or it could be an artifact of the assignment of bit layers on the map.

For now, I will treat it as something legitimate I can do in the game.  After all, it's not like every pod turns into an Artifact.  I could pull up dozens and dozens of pods, via all sorts of land raising work, before ever getting a technology out of it.  So even if it's nonsensical, it may not be overpowered.  Since I've never deliberately tried to prospect such things en masse before, I think it's legitimate to determine in the course of this game, whether it is overpowered or not.  By trying to make it overpowered.   ;lol

I'm wondering the pod making process works in reverse?  If I lower coastal land with a Sea Former, will a coastal land resource turn into a supply pod floating in the water?  That would give me a substantial justification for undermining a continent.  Although, it might cost more money than I'm willing to spend.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 08, 2018, 06:23:58 AM
no supply pod
no supply pod

Well that didn't turn into a supply pod.  Maybe the "No Unity Scattering" setting prevents it from happening.  It did turn a useless sea nutrient resource into a useful land energy resource though, so this technique isn't completely without value.  I also finally stirred up a mindworm while trying to remove fungus.  I happened to have brought down a rover to pop the pod I didn't get, so I'm ready to avenge the death of a Former next turn.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 08, 2018, 08:14:03 PM
river valley rerouted
river valley rerouted

I got a message that sea levels had risen "rapidly".  I have my doubts about it being all that rapid, because I've built a lot of anti-eco-damage facilities and am not doing any anymore.  I probably have lots more "safe" industrial capacity than I'm currently tapping.  Pretty much I think I've averted any natural disaster for Humanity.

The river valley encircling Grand Mesa did finally "sink" though.  It didn't turn into ocean tile like I thought it might.  Instead, the western half of the river valley dried up, and this portion actually raised in altitude to ~100 meters.  The eastern half did not, and actually rasied to 40 meters.  So the perceived threat of inland flooding was overblown, the map algorithm doesn't actually work that way.  Rivers have some kind of altitude factor that changes when they dry up.  All I really need to do is move in with Formers and rework the land.

I've got Fusion Power now and other factions do not.  I've built Hybrid Forests in all of my bases, and Fusion Labs in nearly all of my bases.  Just a few more turns and I will in essence be "done" building improvements to bases.  Then I have the problem of what to do, what to build?  In the interim, I'm building Fusion Speeder Supply Crawlers everywhere.  I've reallocated the vast majority of my Formers to mundane terraforming duties, as I don't really need to raise land in my "bay" particularly fast.  Cities that have gone to size 16, are producing Settlers to colonize the stuff I've already raised and prepared.  I may decide to make more Formers at some point, but the contingent I've got already is pretty large and it may be unnecessary.

We had sunspots for awhile but they're over now.  My allies, particularly Roze, have out-researched me to some degree.  She got Orbital Spaceflight before I did, although I've just researched it myself now.  I could have bought it from her, but I still consider buying my own Fusion Labs a higher priority than buying expensive techs from others.  Soon I think I will shift from Wealth to Knowledge, because I think I'm allowing people to get too far ahead technologically and that poses a long term problem.  I cannot have an AI dictate the technological pace of the game.  The endgame for that is, the AI decides it's going to Transcend now, and you are forced to stop playing the game at that point.  Sure you "win" by utterly stomping them in the race to Transcend, but they still forced you to stop playing.  And if you're going to conquer them at that point, might as well have conquered them far earlier in the game.

sail around
sail around

I've been trying to work my Cruiser Probe Teams over to Deirdre to steal from her, but the trip is very long, and fraught with her Missile Skimships nowadays.  I do not wish to waste money buying those off.  Under a Free Market, owning a warship in international waters just creates unhappy citizens, it's not an advantage.  So mostly I've just been outrunning her, as my ships are awfully fast.  I've lost 1 team so far, not that big a deal, but I do have to divert around her threatening ships.  It slows down my progress towards her.  In short, I might actually end up researching her techs before I actually get close enough to steal them.

I'm continuing with a Discover research focus because I definitely want to have the Supercollider and not let anyone else have it.  I'm 1 tech behind for getting that though.  I need Advanced Subatomic Theory, which I could be stealing from Deirdre, or buying from one of my allies.

Deirdre and Marr continue to provide minor hassles on my continent, the occasional unit landed that has to be dispatched.  It doesn't rise to the level of needing to build an air force, or even new Fusion garrison units.  I'm fine.  I do wonder if I will build a navy to destroy Marr utterly.  It would be a lot of unit pushing, but not impossible as my ships are fast.  Now is a good time to do it since I have the Fusion Power advantage.

If I don't do that, the question is what the heck else would I do?  I'm certainly not going to obsess about making more colonies for its own sake, I've done plenty of that in this game already.  My "perfect circle" from my capitol will be completed in due course eventually anyways, and there's no basic need to extend that perimeter indefinitely.  Rather, the civilization should be used for something.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 08, 2018, 08:47:47 PM
vanishing on the river
vanishing on the river

I swear there is something buggy about rivers affected by global floods.  Notice the diamond of 4 squares in the center of the image, that are not within the radius of any base.  1 of the squares has a Supply Crawler on it.  That's a non-river square.  I swear last turn, I had Supply Crawlers on the 2 river squares that are clear of fungus.  Now they are gone, like Bermuda Triangle gone.  In other games I've seen this happen with Formers as well.  I'll send them to the same river square over and over again, that was affected by a flood somehow.  I'll start to work the square, then I'll notice a few turns later that there's nobody there and the square has never changed.  I think somehow the flood has created a bug that eats units.

Perhaps I will test this condition methodically at some point.  For now, I'm going to stop sending units there.  The eastern half of the river valley was damaged by the flood though, notice that no terraform improvements exist upon it anymore.  Could that river now be permanently deadly?  I suppose I have to investigate that possibility.  I will try putting a Former on it somewhere, and taking a screenshot at the end of my turn, to make sure I'm being accurate about what happens.

FOLLOWUP: I forgot to take a screenshot, too busy mouseclicking and being distracted shifting back and forth writing this AAR up.  But I had a Fusion Speeder Supply that actually ended its movement on The River of Death, that I couldn't move any farther because I ordered it there and it didn't have enough moves remaining.  It's gone now.  So the only real question is whether it's every square of the river or not.

I'm realizing this river has a further consequence.  It cuts my empire in half!  I can't build a road over it.  The only point of crossing is the city Sailor's Delight, that I built a Pressure Dome on.  Well I guess that's going to be fantastic for the local economy, huh.  Nothing like a bottleneck to rake in the dough, just ask Constantinople.

Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 08, 2018, 09:25:12 PM
I've never been able to make a lot of sense of how rivers interact with altitude, either.  A new or diverted one will, for sure, make changes.

On AI trying to transcend - I believe you'll find that if you can get the lowest-level of scouts to the base building it, one suicide attack that does no damage -and I couldn't swear you don't have to at least chip 10% off one of the units inside- and it changes production to something self-defensive, no matter that it's throwing away hundreds of accumulated minerals accrued.  -So there's that, given a vendetta or releasing a mindworm or two into the wild adjacent, if you can...
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 08, 2018, 09:50:45 PM
manifold nexus
manifold nexus

I rushed an Aerospace Complex and then a Sky Hydroponics Lab, revealing the entire map.  I had the luck of starting next to the largest land mass in the game, and the skill of settling upon it.  The 2nd largest land mass, that I and probably everyone else was completely unaware of, is directly north of my continent and my empire.  It is as though I'm in a world where North and South America exist, are not touching, no other continents exist, I got South America all to myself, and nobody settled North America.  It really wasn't the "helping hand for the AI" game that I intended, it's pretty much the dead opposite.  Well at least some factions have gotten to the point of being able to compete technologically with me, even if that's about to end.

The Manifold Nexus is at the extreme north of the map, north of me.  Note the minimap and the small white rectangle indicating the enlarged display area.  It would be onerous but not impossible to colonize this.  I'd have to sail a Transport up that way for a very long time, without getting killed en route.  For mysterious reasons, both Domai and Aki Zeta5 have declared war on me, making the western route around the intervening continents dangerous.  Less mysteriously, Marr creates danger on the eastern route.  I'm not sure I'm motivated to do any of this, just to be a little more Planet friendly.  It's not like I'm an Alien faction, where controlling the Nexus would get me +1 Research as well.  And Marr will never colonize it, he's too far away and doesn't even know where it is yet.

Nobody knows except me, although if I keep my allies, they'll know soon enough.  And then my enemies will know, because we have some bizarre Pact relationships.  Perhaps I should insist that some people go to war with each other.  I guess the only weak link is Lal, who is in a Pact with both Domai and Aki Zeta5.  Problem is, if I talk to him, that information could get passed on before I can make him break his Pacts!  Grr.  I guess I can't count on this remaining a secret forever.

I finally stole Centauri Meditation from Deirdre.  She's got nothing I need anymore.  I bought Advanced Subatomic Theory from Roze because I was getting impatient about wanting all my techs.  She still has Silksteel Alloys and at last count, wanted an outrageous 775 credits for it!  "What are you trying to pull?"  I think I'm too wealthy and need to ask her when I'm poor.  Problem is, I have nothing to spend my money on anymore.

team en route
team en route

This makes me consider an alternate warfare idea.  Rather than trying to conquer Deirdre militarily, I could try to buy her out.  Buying a base on her mainland, like say the one with The Command Nexus in it, could be prohibitively expensive but also within my economic reach.  I do have a Cruiser Probe Team on approach, which has nothing better to do, but it also needs to reach the far side of her island without getting killed.  I guess I will try.  She's currently Democratic Simple Power, so hopefully the cost of buying her isn't too awful.  My approaching team is not special, it's merely Veteran.  It's the last such team I've got, as an older Skimship Probe Team is about to be killed by one of her Cruisers.

In anticipation of The Supercollider, I've started moving old fission Supply Crawlers towards my capitol.  Most were not doing anything truly useful, just parked on Rocky terrain and harvesting only 1 mineral.  I haven't had enough Formers to deal with anything outside my base radii.  I'm starting to make a wave of Fusion Fungicidal Formers so that I can complete my "bay sculpting" project and other "perfect circle" cities.

My budget was 30-40-30, a leftover from when I was struggling with happiness and needed to build Research Hospitals to keep people in line.  That's long since past, and arguably I might be wasting money or research making people too happy.  I will make good on my gambit against Deirdre and try to pile up a lot of money to buy her city with The Command Nexus.  Consequently I have now changed my budget to 40-30-30, and I will stay Democratic Free Market Wealth.  I now make 906 credits/turn.  It is about 5 turns to target, so the question is whether I can buy her city for ~5000 credits.  It is size 6 and only 5 squares from her capitol, so I really don't know what the math on this is.  If I do buy it, then can I reinforce it with money alone and hold it somehow?  We'll see.  It would be a pity if I flub the whole thing and The Command Nexus gets destroyed in successive waves of liberation.

Hmm.  Maybe I should go for a secondary target city if I can't secure the primary.  And I should probably be getting more Cruiser Probe Teams in the water to follow up on my good work.  Gonna finally build a Covert Ops Center, in a (now!) coastal sea base that has a lot of minerals.  I've rarely done that in any game.  I honestly can't say I've ever used a Covert Ops Center effectively, as I've often just gone Fundamentalist or something and how much more Elite than Elite does one really need?
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 02:24:17 AM
big money
big money

Boy I sure am glad I got one of these excellent positive random events and put that big money in my pocket.  If I can do that 20 more times it'll make up for the 1 negative event I got.  I hope that the addition of a Tree Farm, Hybrid Forest, and Fusion Lab to every city, will make me a little more immune to market crashes than The Planetary Energy Grid alone did.   ;sarc

You know, I'm realizing I only have 6 sea bases.  That's a little weird for a pirate.  Only 2 land coastal bases.  12 inland bases.  I'm not a pirate, I'm a farmer!  Or a miner.  Or a forester.  "OH I'M A LUMBERJACK AND I'M OK...."
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 03:33:54 AM
safe roads
safe roads

I accidentally moved a Fusion Speeder Former onto The River of Death.  In the picture it has a "G" for going to the next square north.  The square it's on, does have a road and other terrain improvements.  Maybe those indicate a safe square and not a "deadly" river.  Next turn will tell.  Well it didn't die, so I'm calling that provisionally safe.

Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 04:17:18 AM
buyout
buyout

Ok the moment of truth.  It took me longer to get here than I thought it would, so I actually saved the 5K+ that I wasn't managing to.  How much money does a Democratic Simple Power want for a now size 7 city with a drone riot?

secret project bargain basement
secret project bargain basement

OMG that is so cheap!  The Command Nexus alone would cost 800 credits to build from scratch.  1067 credits, yes Sir I've got that kind of money.  Coming right up!

slow conquest
slow conquest

Get this.  The AI is sad.  It doesn't do a good job of water invasions in the best of circumstances, and I seem to have handed it the worst.  In all this time, none of the AI players have conquered each other.  A whole lot of sitting around.  Oh well!  I think I owe it to this game to find a way to win relatively quickly.  It is not a good game, in the sense that it totally misses the "AI strengthening" objective I set out for it.  This is also a most un-pirate-like way to play the Pirates, but at least I did benefit from a lot of sea minerals.  It would be better to put the energy into a new game that gives the AI more of a chance.

Deirdre's captured peons are really unhappy.  I disband a Transport to make it cheap to rush a Recreation Commons, although truthfully, I have more money than God and could probably take the hit.  Still I won't.  I suppose this might be the appropriate circumstance for a Punishment Sphere as well, but I just don't have it in me.  I am a Democracy, after all, and plan to stay mildly in character.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 04:59:26 AM
starving
starving

I lack experience at this style of long distance Free Market probe team warfare.  I should not have spent my initial actions on happiness buildings.  Usually I have an army sweeping behind me and defense is not a big consideration.  Deirdre was smart enough to attack me with a Marine and to starve me at the same time.  I've rarely seen the AI use Marines, so it's more than I expected.  I haven't built one of my own stronger Fusion defensive units yet, and my captured peons may starve before I can do so, preventing me from producing the unit.  Deirdre could liberate this base.  If she does, I'll try to be more careful next time.  If The Command Nexus actaully survives all of this.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 05:17:17 AM
reprieve
reprieve

Deirdre screwed up.  She should have pressed her advantage.  Her Marine, she took home to heal, and I hope it stays there for a bit.  Her air force, well that could come back.  Knowing the risk of starvation, I build a Recycling Tank as fast as I can.  I've also got another Cruiser Probe Team ready to take over her next city.  It got spotted on approach though, ran into a Transport, so it might get strafed.

I am rushing The Longevity Vaccine, with the assistance of 5 fission Supply Crawlers left over from the old days.  I've already built The Neural Amplifier.  The Supercollider has eluded me so far, despite my Discover focus.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 05:30:48 AM
expensive
expensive

Drat, a size 10 city 5 squares away from her capitol is expensive.  Looks like I'm sabotaging her Conventional Missile prototype instead.  Success!  and it promoted my Commando team to Elite.

Umm, I just discovered the hard way that I cannot affect her stack of mindworms at all.  I'm save scumming, as otherwise I would have lost the city.  Forgive me for not having a clue about attacking strong mindworms with not very good troops.  I could be in a heap of trouble anyways.  My units are Trance and will defend better than they attack, but they may be too weak to stand up to repeated attacks.  So now I didn't actually sabotage her Conventional Missile after all.  I just moved forwards and dodged one of her air patrols.

She's changed to Fundamentalist Green Power, so that probably explains why her city was so expensive.  I hope smaller ones on the back side of her island are cheaper.  I need more of a foothold than I've got.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 06:05:07 AM
beat up
beat up

Getting a Conventional Missile in the face wasn't fun.  I'm badly beaten up.  If she doesn't chicken out, she could definitely liberate her city before my new unit gets built.  My only saving grace is I've learned some things about fighting her, and I have a fair number of probe teams accumulating in the area.  They could get strafed though.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 06:29:23 AM
your agonizer please
your agonizer please

Deirdre liberated her city.  At least The Command Nexus was not destroyed.  In retalliation, I bought out her sea base nearest to me.  It was expensive, almost 5000 credits, and it's not that big of a base.  I hope I have an easier time defending a sea base and getting it up to speed.  There's a point at which the effort I'm spending on this, is not smaller than the fullblown military solution would have been.  Although, by maintaining my Democratic Free Market Wealth the whole time, I have been able to buy all the improvements in all my cities.  Money may come a bit faster now, although I can't seem to resist the temptation to expand and perfect the circle from my capitol.

I've never really been a fan of Punishment Spheres, but in my recent attempt to quell Deirdre, they seem to fit the task at hand.  I need to pacify people quick, and this base is way too far away to ever be worth anything for research.  I wonder if this is an atrocity though?  Or does it make her unwilling to ever surrender?  At this point I don't really care.  I want Deirdre's Secret Projects and I want her gone, one way or another.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 06:43:56 AM
never good enough for you
never good enough for you

It would be reasonable to rage quit the game at this point.  I have every piece of economic infrastructure that exists.  What the game is saying, is I'm not allowed to have money.  And given the amount it costs to take over Deidre's cities, the game is also saying I'm not allowed to win or make progress.  If there's a next game, and I do an AAR for it, we're selecting No Random Events.  That's 2000 credits the game just stole from me, maybe more if I lose the 1100 I should be making this turn as well.  How many Market Surges would I need to make up the difference?  Oh, about 60.

I shall stick with it for now, but this is beginning to get old.  Do people commit genocide just because someone's bothering them too much?

I finally get Applied Relativity and begin The Supercollider.  I simultaneously complete my Fusion Planet Buster, then disband it to get most of The Supercollider done.  A little bit of cash and next turn it's mine.  With that in hand, I switch to Conquer focus to try to pick up The Cloudbase Academy and The Cyborg Factory.

My new sea base off Deirdre's coast does have an advantage: my Cruiser Probe Teams end up there when I accomplish a mission.  That makes it really easy to steal money from Deidre.  Just 1 team this year, I stole ~250 credits.  She's got 1463 credits remaining, so maybe I can drain her dry.  This is finally making me feel like a Pirate.

I've noticed that Aki Zeta5 has researched Superstring Theory.  She's still at war with me, so I'll need to go steal it from her.  I'm wondering about this Wealth strategy of mine.  Is it working?  Am I saving any mouseclicks doing this?
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 09, 2018, 02:32:14 PM
I just gave up on random events last year - it wasn't the EC crashes; it was the solar flares wiping out all my energy or mineral satellites at a stroke.  In late game, that's 127, and maybe 40 bases to put them back with, having to cycle through each pasting in build queue, and it's just a chore and a bore and an unvarnished pain when it happens three or four times in the last 300 years of the game, turns I'd otherwise have zoomed through.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 04:33:10 PM
Yep I've had the pain of complete satellite destruction as well.  At least last time around, it only destroyed my massive contingent of energy satellites and left my food satellites alone.  I did rebuild the energy satellites fairly quickly because I had massive productivity, but game design elements that gratuitously waste real wall clock time, are not fun.  Actually there's a very cynical school of game design called "forcing the player to maintain the status quo".  It's used a lot in MMORPGs, where you keep penalizing and wearing down the player, and they have to struggle just to break even.  Of course in that case the payoff for the developer is MONEY, in terms of subscription fees historically speaking.  In a game like SMAC, the designers were just lazy bums and thought it would be oh so kewl to reduce player agency.  What every Builder game player needs is to have their work randomly undone on a large scale, yeehaw!   :3rd:

military solution
military solution

I have decided that the "buyout" approach does not work at this stage of the game.  The AI will inevitably go Fundamentalist unless they have a faction restriction against it.  (How 'bout it Aki?   ;aki;)  The expense per city is way higher than I can produce, even at 1100 credits/turn.  I just had to steal 2 techs from Deirdre, Superstring Theory and Silksteel Alloys, so I'm obviously not keeping up with the Joneses scientifically.  I did research Organic Superlubricant at least, so I do have the best offensive weapons in the game right now.  It's time to use them.  A fleet of AAA Fusion Silksteel warships is being built and will come to summarily crush Deirdre.  It'll just be a slow wait, hurry up and watch paint dry, for it to get there.

Previously my probe teams concentrated on stealing money, but I've drained a lot of her money, so now they've switched to sabotage.  I have 6658 credits, enough to buy a small base but not a big one.  No point buying small sea bases because I'll just take those with ships eventually.  Based on my last experience trying to hold a land base without ground troops, I'm not sure I even want her island right now.    I could buy the city with The Command Nexus again, but that's not very helpful to a sea power, and I have plenty of Command Centers back home.  Gaia's landing contains The Weather Paradigm and The Xenoempathy Dome.  It's a worthy prize, but I can't buy it.  So I'm not sure what I'm doing with all this money.  The game has twice told me that I don't to keep it, so I have a bit of a thresholding problem.  It probably takes 10k credits to buy one of the big cities, and here I am sabotaging them.

I'll admit it, this has been a frustrating and boring campaign against Deirdre.  Very unsatisfying, nothing gets done.  Well, I knew a map this size was going to be a PITA some way or another.  I just wish my original goal had been met, to make the AI capable of spreading out and invading over land.

Well I just got an idea.  I do have an offshore staging point, and I've managed to build a Command Center there.  I should start rushing the production of ground troops.  Support will suck, although I could make them Clean.  I need to stop with the indiscriminate sabotage and only do targeted sabotage.  Use drone riots to keep her off-balance.  Ok, sounds like a plan.

Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 05:13:07 PM
minerals r us
minerals r us

That's a big pile of minerals, for not using any Supply Crawlers.  It's the result of adding Colony Pods to the local population.  As I still haven't found The Cloudbase Academy yet, I thought I would build something more expensive than Formers there.  I have 1 extant Aerospace Complex that slowly puts out Sky Hydroponics Labs, because I've already got an eastern wall of defensive interceptors and no actual threats.  Now I will have 2, and this one will go faster. 

Fair warning: I've decided that if another market crash vaporizes my accumulated 7710 credits, I'm quitting this game.  That would be just too much of a serious misfeature to put up with.  This ocean sucks hard too.  I would start a new game on a mostly land world, to help the AI like I intended in the 1st place, and No Random Events.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 05:59:59 PM
paltry sea minerals
paltry sea minerals

Belatedly I'm realizing that sea minerals a long ways away from my civilization, are not worth developing and crawling.  What do I get for all the trouble?  4 minerals.  That's equivalent to an ordinary Mine on rocky terrain on land.  Rather than send Sea Formers great distances to do the development, and Sea Crawlers great distances to do the crawling, I could just build land units close to home.  It might also be more productive to make Tidal Harnesses close to home, but outside of cities, and harvest the energy they produce.  In short, a minerals "special" in the ocean is not that special.

Energy specials are worth it though.  Typically I crawl them from my capitol when it has nothing better to do.

At least I figured out early in the game that nutrient specials out in the ocean are completely worthless.  Not like I don't get food from kelp.  Yes, I suppose I could prospect these various resources, raising or lowering land to turn them into one thing or another.  But even with my vast and continuous production of Fungicidal Fusion Formers since a very long time ago, I still haven't finished working all my ordinary land.  I had that much Rocky terrain to mine out.  I don't even know if those Mines are doing me any good, nor do I really care.  I've got Hybrid Forests everywhere and a full complement of 16 Sky Hydroponics Labs will be coming soon.

I'm up to 8303 credits.  I'm wondering if I'll be able to avoid a market crash long enough to buy one of Deirdre's big cities.  The military solution is proceeding very slowly, as expected.  I made an AAA Impact Silksteel Cruiser locally to try to capture Deirdre's Sea Formers, but the gun is still too big and just destroys them.  I guess I'll build my own.  My offshore staging point is Stagnant for lack of kelp.  The AAA ship can provide cover for them, as soon it will have no military duties.  Next turn I'll have a Gas Fusion Marine to begin torturing Deirdre with.

Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 09, 2018, 07:31:37 PM
It never ever zaps your food satellites, and agreed about deliberately building in too much grinding being bad game design.

-For the AI goal, have you considered building a scenario?  Build one, leave it for a month to try to forget all of the map you can, then see if that doesn't play out more satisfactorily...  Better, talk Mart -Kirov is too busy for sure- into making a you a scenario for that...
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 08:16:28 PM
Definitely have to do something to improve the AI next time around.  It already has plenty of resources.

rail system
rail system

Several turns ago I bought Monopole Magnets from Roze for 450 credits.  Her prices are more reasonable nowadays and heck, I'm rich.  I've nearly connected all of my cities.  I also researched Advanced Spaceflight and completed The Living Refinery in 1 turn, using a lot of supply crawlers to goose it along.  I still haven't gotten Mind Machine Interface and its 2 Secret Projects, despite my Conquer focus.  I've 9741 credits saved up to bother Deirdre with, but I'm getting closer to a military solution anyways.  The first of my AAA Fusion Silksteel battleships is about to arrive.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 09, 2018, 08:35:52 PM
Well, this community is a resource you can search for information -as you know, along with the old dead places w/ deep archives- and even have just posting to ask sometimes pay off in a big way.  Some members can give you a lot of useful advice about AI optimization via something like setting up a game designed/map laid-out to encourage that, as I was suggesting above - though it's entirely outside my own wheelhouse, and the community needs reviving via more of those sort of conversations.  (Activity drawing more activity and all that - to wit, me commenting on AARs while I'm in he mood is inevitably going to help draw more comments, hopefully more focused on whatever the current game, given a bit of time.)
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 08:39:49 PM
massive upgrade
massive upgrade

I bought Advanced Ecological Engineering from Roze for a measly 225 credits.  She must really like me!  Now for the low, low price of 4600 credits, I can have all my Formers become Super.  Heck, why not?  It's gotta be worth more than 1 of Deirdre's cities, which I will soon conquer anyways.  I upgraded my sea formers similarly for yet more money.  I don't seem to have an easy way to upgrade my plain old movement 1 fission Formers though, so perhaps I'll disband them the next time I have a Secret Project to complete.

Now that I've built rails, completed mines, have made deep oceans shallow, have worked 1 site for 1 new city, and have essentially doubled my terraforming capacity, the reality has to be faced that I don't need any more Formers.  What am I going to do?  I had the problem "don't need any more cash", now I've just traded it for a different one.  Everything is too far away for land conquest and more than half of my bases are inland.  I'm thinking a massive rail to one of my enemies is the only obvious course of action.

Being unsatisfied with my gross excess of cash, I cranked up the Workshop and learned to use it with greater precision.  Now I have fewer needed unit designs as old ones have either been disbanded or made into Clean units.  I put Shard weaponry on all my newly arriving battleships while I was at it.  Now I'm down to 373 credits, a normal amount of money.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 09, 2018, 10:29:11 PM
clearing land
clearing land

I found something to do with my Super Formers, for a few turns at least.  I'm clearing land for 3 more cities.  Pretty soon my circle from my capitol is going to be sufficiently round though.  I decided not to wait on disbanding the old fission Formers and threw them into whatever projects seemed advisable.  I still have "money troubles", in that my income is 655 credits/turn.  Since I don't have any facilities to spend it on, that's a little absurd.  I simply have nothing to blow it on.  My budget is 40-20-40.  I tried shifting it to 30-20-50 but I get an efficiency penalty, even with a +3 Efficiency rating.  I don't really need to be more happy, frankly many of my people are ecstatic.  Well, perhaps as I accumulate more and more clods of excess cash, I'll do yet more upgrades.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 12:01:10 AM
many missiles
many missiles

Deirdre hit me in the face with 4 Cruise Missiles, wiping out units that were about to take her city.  I retalliated by at least emptying her city, but I couldn't take it.  I sabotaged her production in the empty city, so she'll need to bring something else in if she wants to hold it.  The other city, my probe teams died yet again, so she'll be sending a Chaos Cruiser out to me next turn.  I guess we'll see if my armor holds up.

I've decided my citizens in various cities would be slightly happier if I gave them Clean Gatling Police as garrison units.  It's not really necessary, but it might put some cities into a Golden Age, and I really don't need more Super Formers.  The ones I've already got, just cover everything up and keep me from being able to see what I'm doing.  I can't tell where exactly I'm going to put the new cities, I just figure I'll terraform everything first and then decide.

Belatedly, I realize that the "T" key is for looking at terrain without all the stuff in the way.  Something I've almost never used, but helps with a vast fleet of too many Formers.

I'm experiencing serious "ship pushing fatigue".  They're starting to arrive and intervene, but Deirdre's building artillery, so they're not useful against her main island.  I suppose they will go after little sea bases and cut off her expansion.

foothold
foothold

In subsequent turns I did manage to take and hold her city.  However she peppered my sea base with Conventional Missiles, denuding it, and making it more difficult to reinforce.  I really am starting to wonder, why did I bother to invade her?  This has been piles upon piles of mouseclicks for not much result.

The game has been rather unsatisfying that way.  I build a "perfect" home base, but it still doesn't really have any power to do anything about another civilization, due to the vast distances involved.  I am beginning to think that only fast research and gaining The Space Elevator matters at this scale.  And what have I done that's actually Pirate-y?  Precious little.  I have a mostly land empire, and I find that raising land to make shallow water, doesn't result in much water remaining.  I could have done this with any other faction, and something quicker to Build at the beginning, would have had a better time with early Secret Projects.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 01:45:58 AM
end of the world as we know it
end of the world as we know it

You know what?  I've had enough.  BUncle is going to hate me for this, but I'm quitting.  This is way too many unsatisfying mouseclicks, for this "invasion".  I've been at it for a long time.  I have not played on a 4X Huge map for quite some time, and clearly I've underestimated the logistical problems involved.  Yeah I can think I'm going to push ships that far, but as I've observed in other games in the past, it's going to wear me out.

I want a new game with some things I'm going to put right:

I'm not sure if I'm going to do the Pirates again.  If I do, I'll need to play them rather differently.  Like Pirates.  In the water, not all this landlubbering.  Maybe if I generated the rigth kind of map, the "big lake on an otherwise land world" that I had originally imagined, it could work.  I could sit in the middle of my lake... and eventually turn the world to water?

Or, I will forget the Pirates for now, having worn myself out with them, and pick a better research faction.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 10, 2018, 02:18:24 AM
[shrugs] Plenty good enough for the front page - a tangible improvement.  Cruising for at least a B+ until the last post, and I'll still give it a C.  Don't sweat it.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 03:08:11 AM
No A for effort?  I've been playing this game for 3 days!  C'mon, the writeup of what's there is better than a C.  I can understand a B overall.  It is 4X Huge.

Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 10, 2018, 03:19:53 AM
The management wishes to consider that asking nicely, and raises grade to B, because major progress counts, and that's averaging an A for effort in. ;nod
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 03:58:25 AM
Thanks.  Wasn't a graded, for credit course anyways.  Been a long time since I've done one of those.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Green1 on March 10, 2018, 10:24:07 AM
The designers knew that 4x games attract Min-Maxer type player that hate randomness messing with their builds. They also knew some players liked the random events because they threw a measure of uncertainty and excitement.
Personally, I refuse to play without random events. It makes the game less tedious.

You can disable random events with the "Bell Curve" option in the custom rules menu when you set up the game.




Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 12:09:06 PM
Aha, the famous Green1 of the very long AARs.  Here's what I think of different random events:
I think events in games should be modeled after the Sunspots.  They should have an important but manageable effect on the game.  They should have benefits as well as liabilities.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Green1 on March 10, 2018, 12:56:25 PM
At least none of those are as bad as one event in Civ 4 : Beyond the Sword that spawned a stack of axemen or spearmen early, early game when no one had anything to counter it! lol. That was game over. At least none of the events are game ending.

Well, if it is any consequence, the AI has to deal with the random events too. I guess that makes it fair unlike a game like Fallen Enchantress which stuff only happens to the player.

One of your problems is you are playing on too large of a map for your patience. There is a reason why the 4x designers of a lot of games recommend against it.

It's like playing 100th level 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons. Sounds epic, yes! There was even a book for it. But, once your character sheets were 15 to 20 pages long and you are doing college algebra to see if you even scraped Mr. 800 Hit Dice world eater that took the DM 5 hours to draw up... less so.

Ever tried small maps with intense rivalry and abundant native life?




Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 01:08:35 PM
At least none of those are as bad as one event in Civ 4 : Beyond the Sword that spawned a stack of axemen or spearmen early, early game when no one had anything to counter it! lol. That was game over. At least none of the events are game ending.

But it's also game replaying.  I do not think that was good game design, but you could learn how to prepare for and deal with that stack of inevitable units.  The regularity of the occurrence, as opposed to it being "random from nowhere WTF?" like in SMAC, meant you got a lot of practice with it.  It's like a much worse version of the Prometheus virus: you learn to build the facilities to stop it.  You are forced to plan your early game around it.

Barbarians and other civs have always "tested you" by sending 1 lone catapult or something to mess with your cities, to see if you're being cheap and not garrisoning them.  That was just a particularly powerful test.

Quote
Well, if it is any consequence, the AI has to deal with the random events too.

Not really.  I'm playing on Transcend and resource deprivation events hardly matter to the AI, as it's got so many bonuses.

Quote
One of your problems is you are playing on too large of a map for your patience.

Yes and no.  I cannot play on too small a map for the challenge.  There is nothing game mecahnically interesting about the smaller ones.  "Summarily execute your nearest enemy".  Wet, lather, rinse, repeat, game over. 

Quote
Ever tried small maps with intense rivalry and abundant native life?

"Ever?"  You surely missed somewhere in these posts that I'm a ~20 year veteran of the game.  Yes I have turned over that stone at some point.  I've also played thousands of games of Freeciv that prove a tactically satisfying game can be had in a 16x16 square, surrounding your 1 city.  In short, been there, done that.  Low level tactics aren't where it's at for me.  I play Huge or nowadays Giant maps because that creates a strategic challenge.

BTW I don't believe in abundant native life because it cripples the AI players.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Green1 on March 10, 2018, 02:10:26 PM
Personal preference...

Did not mean to insult your play experience. I have had spurts of the game on and off. But, there are some settings even I have not tried. Even after all these years.

As far as cripple AI, not necessarily. Deidre, Cha Dawn, the Caretakers, and the Anti Mind do very well. Of course non natives will have issues. Only thing is that AI spore launcher bug.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 10, 2018, 02:36:05 PM
-He brings up something I'd been meaning to suggest, bringing up the  Anti Mind; you might find playing with or against custom factions to make your SMACX experience fresh again.

I didn't get Crossfire until '08, and that lame new set freshened my play so much that it's what got me digging around the nets for custom factions, and into modding, and ultimately got me to join the online community.  You might consider looking around the custom factions section in Downloads...
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 05:13:10 PM
As far as cripple AI, not necessarily. Deidre, Cha Dawn, the Caretakers, and the Anti Mind do very well. Of course non natives will have issues.

Well of the official factions, that's only 3 that could be expected to thrive in a bed of fungus.  If they even do, which I have my doubts.  They need to eat and grow, same as I do.  So let's say I'm player #4, that means factions #5 #6 #7 are going to be DOA.  Unless I doubled up those 3 factions that can actually handle it.  If they can.  Sounds like a pretty artificial game, one where one's only interested in fungus for some reason.  I'm inclined to stand by my claim that excessive fungus is bad for the AI players.  I've certainly seen enough games where it crippled them.

I have resisted modded factions for 2 reasons.

1) the fear that from a game design / balance standpoint, someone will have done something really goofy.  The 14 official factions are not all balanced, but they are the official factions and I know them well.  Other people's mods, I have to sort through them and gain experience with them, to tell if they are "worth it" or not.  I've played a gazillion third party things in the Wesnoth community, and I definitely have some opinions on the overall dynamics and discipline of modding communities.  And, I would add, I worked on a "top of the heap" campaign back in the day.  Lord knows if it gets any notoriety now.  Maintenance, archiving, and bitrot are serious problems.

2) When in the business of writing AARs for the nominal purpose of increasing traffic, I think writing about the standard game is a better public pitch.  If more of an ecology surrounded SMAC, I'd feel differently.  I'd also feel differently if someone explicitly requested I play a certain kind of game, but so far no one has.  Whether modded factions or otherwise.  I guess I'd call that a "demo" game.

Finding something in the game I haven't done in SMAC, or didn't know about, is pretty rare for me but occasionally happens.

Oddly enough, I've owned the SMACX expansion since forever, but I only played it a lot, relatively recently.  It definitely happened sometime after I started living out of my car.  Maybe 6 years ago?  I made up for lost time though because I had a few gazillion hours of free time available to play it.  The benefit of a no job, no wife, no kids, no rent existence.

I think going back to SMACX, in this period, is an artifact of "what you do once Civ IV lets you down".  I snapped that DVD in half, same as many games before, including Civ III, SMAC, Civ II, and Call To Power 2.  I've deleted Emperor of the Fading Suns repeatedly and have never finished a game of it.  I tried the Civ V demo but it didn't fix Civ IV's problems and added new ones.  That is the point at which I stopped expecting anything out of the Civ franchise.  I demoed Beyond Earth but found it very lame compared to SMAC.  Not even gonna bother with Civ VI.  I can't run it on my 10 year old laptops anyways.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Green1 on March 10, 2018, 05:32:03 PM
Ah...

But there is a market for you to be the guinea pig. Lots of folks are in the same boat. They want to spice up their game, but dwant to see whatever mod/faction/whatever in action beforehand. Balance be darned.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 10, 2018, 05:48:16 PM
Tough to NOT notice that Green's AARs were in what our circle came to call "monsters" - ridiculously OP custom factions as opponents for a challenge.  A rough sort of balance if you're playing a monster, too.  A quick easy game to refresh the pallet -that has a place- if you are and the opponents are only the usual suspects.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Mart on March 10, 2018, 06:54:50 PM
...
I hate random events.  The bad ones are way worse than anything the good ones give you.  I have rage quit many games due to random events, and have gone through long periods of time playing the game option "No Random Events".  This particular one hasn't bothered me in quite a long time, and I have to wonder why it is doing so now.  I have the Planetary Energy Grid.  That's an energy bank in every single city.  It doesn't seem to be proof against this random event at all, as I've had this happen in a game before while having the Grid.

...

Just had a thought, it is "Energy Market Crash." Are you running Free Market? I do not know this, but maybe this particular random event just often happens when FM is selected. And may have not be remedied by Energy Banks, as it is not overload.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 10, 2018, 08:20:25 PM
Well yes indeed I was running Free Market for 1/2 of the game, and all of the time the 2 crashes happened.  Maybe you're on to something.

I similarly noticed that when playing the Free Drones, I only got the Drone revolts where they join another faction, when I was in a Free Market.  Maybe that's an artifact of the effects of FM on my faction, in that game.  Or maybe it's actually coded into FM, that Free Drones don't like Capitalism and will readily revolt against it.  Anyways it was a severe PITA and caused me to stop playing the Free Drones so much.   Of all the factions I've played, it's the one I had the least experience with, until recently.  I do have several AARs about the Free Drones, but they might be text only.  I definitely remember doing a lot more Democratic Planned economies at some point.

Tough to NOT notice that Green's AARs were in what our circle came to call "monsters"

The only kind of "monsters" I've done so far are monster maps.  I do have a lot of text AARs about those, from about a year ago.  Then I thought better of bothering and went back to Huge.  Nowadays I'm realizing they offer something to explore that even a Huge map does not.  But I'm not crazy enough to go larger than 4X Huge anymore.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: PvtHudson on March 14, 2018, 11:11:08 AM
...maybe this particular random event just often happens when FM is selected...
No. I never use Free Market, and I've had market crashes.

To bvanevery: you cite 'no challenge' as a reason to not use sane map size. As I see it, you seek for strong AI opponents ('challenge'), and are averted by micromanagement and sheer number of bases and units ('too many mouseclicks'). So skew the game the way you need it: apply AI-beefing tricks, starting from satellite-boosted AIs, and cut on map size and amount of 'stuff'! 'Quick conquer grants me victory' you say? Take measures against early rushes, starting from upping intrinsic base defence. And is this easy victory concern true at all on maps larger than Small? While you conquer closest neighbor, others can run away with infrastructure and SPs, as you very well know. How experienced player finds balance between military and infrastructure is of great interest for less experienced ones. Also I once again second BUncle and appeal to add Antimind to the mix. Don't fix on 'standardness' of vanilla game, SMAX hasn't be so boring!
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 14, 2018, 05:13:42 PM
I'm not sure what needs to happen to SMAC to make it a challenging + interesting game for me now, after all the time I've spent with it.  One answer is I need to get on with writing my own 4X TBS game.  Another answer is to do these very long winded AARs, which provides diversion from the core problems of the game.  Acts of reportage take over.  However I think at some point, I will have done reportage and for the amount of time spent, what further role could that possibly have in my life?  I feel like right now I'm on a sort of death march to "bang out one good one" so that I can say I've been there, done that.  What would I explore in a game that I haven't explored in the one I'm currently playing?  Maybe something cantankerous with a lot of nukes, deliberately eschewing the kind of "build everything with Formers" approach I usually do.  But I feel like I'm running out of choice in this game.  I may very well have seen it all.

What I like about the current game on Giant maps, is I simply have no option to do certain things.  I can't just steal techs, if someone is too far away.  I can't just invade them.  At least, not yet, in the absence of orbital insertions.  I've been playing a very long time and still don't have that enabling capability.

My current game indicates that a better game would simply eliminate certain options and capabilities.  So that the player doesn't have "infinite options to go in every direction" and dozens of ways to whip the tar out of opponents.  I don't miss supply pods for instance.  They're such a crutch.  I do end up feeling a certain sameness about the map though as result, that everything is the same.  So many minerals, energy, and nutrient resources here or there, none of it of any great consequence.  The Civ series ended up developing the concept of strategic resources and I think that was a wise move on their part, that something on the map should be genuinely special.  We have a few things, like The Manifold Nexus and the Monsoon Jungle, but mostly the map is pretty much the same.  Where are the Himalayas?  The parts of the map that make it not easy to get from A to B?
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 14, 2018, 06:45:36 PM
A buncle challengetm for you, then: give us the anti-bvanevery AAR on the tiniest map the game will let you play.

It's extra-funny if you find a clever anti-bvanevery narrative voice, from full-Sam Kinison to full-Mr. Rogers.  It's extra less-work-than-usual for you being easy for a screenie to show everything nice and big, it's naturally a fast/short game, even if you play around not going for victory soonest, and I would be extra-pleased with you for having a game go at the notion and writing that there girldog up like a vulgar term.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 14, 2018, 08:13:34 PM
If only I was getting the nerd points for it to be worth it.  I do intend to complete the current AAR, as I don't forsee anything being able to stop me from doing so.  But after that, I think I'll be taking a break, in pursuit of other things.  I'm at web page 5, reply #74 now, after 4 days of solid play.  This can't be rationalized as a productive use of time.  Only as reaching a goal, and once that goal is met...?

I've got 9 upvotes on Reddit for my current AAR.  I had 10 upvotes when I checked earlier.  My Pirates AAR has held steady at 13 upvotes.  Ok so Reddit isn't much of a crowd, whatever.  Looking at forum views here, "Does Miriam Suck?" has 655 views, "The Pirate Kingdom" has 512, my current one "Continental Consciousness" has 381.  I think content authors call this problem "the long tail".  How long does content have to sit around somewhere until it is noticed?  "Santiago vs. Random", a text only AAR I did a year ago, has 1537 views.

I'm not seeing a pattern that producing more of these things does any good.  Rather, more content just buries the old content.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 14, 2018, 10:39:40 PM
There could be a diminishing returns problem, yes - though Reddit tends to bury everything fast, doesn't it?  And we're a better archive?

On the previous thing, you'd get buncle pointstm and I'm saying please.  Please consider the small investment in pleasing me. ;nod :D ;)
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 15, 2018, 02:26:05 AM
I shall, but I have to consider the time and timing, compared to all the other things I need to be doing.  I definitely can't sustain my current level of output.  Right now I'm just trying to cross the finish line.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: Buster's Uncle on March 18, 2018, 01:15:09 AM
On another challenge, I could teach you how to make custom factions - my basic competence is in the art and the creative elements, and I've taught every other art-modder SMACer active in the wider community in the last ten years except Kilkakon.  Now, I'm not all terribly competent at the .txt stats stuff, not since AcEdit stopped working on the last two Windows, but I can point you at the basic information and you're definitely an order of magnitude ahead of me at that sort of programming-ish stuff, and I can find you someone to coach if you have any questions or get stuck, if that's needed, which I doubt.

Interested?  I do think custom factions might freshen the game for you, and you have a real gift for GIMP and are a pretty good writer...
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on March 18, 2018, 04:34:47 AM
Seriously, those skills need to be going into my own game effort.  Lately I've been scratching my head about how to navigate on globes.  Looked at a lot of different kinds of projections today.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on April 22, 2018, 02:11:51 AM
A month later, I'm deep into completely reshuffling the tech tree.  I haven't added any techs, but I've moved all sorts of relationships between things around, trying to make the names for things "mean something" and have logical coherence, at least in my own mind.  I wonder if when I'm done and the dust settles, if anyone will think my take on "what these words mean" is any kind of improvement?  Or will it not matter.  We shall see.

There is the additional problem of deploying a mod, both in the present day, and getting people to use it in the future.  If one only modifies alphax.txt, that can make things easier.  However I've made tiny changes to the Hive and the Believers, so far.  From other archived posts, I've gathered that the AI behavior can be changed somewhat by tweaking some settings in the faction files, so I don't rule making out yet more tiny faction changes.  I will playtest for awhile before doing that, and ultimately all this work will lead to another AAR, to demonstrate the many results.

Another deployment problem, is whose work to write against?  I've written against plain vanilla SMAC.  My reasoning is that Yitzi patch is yet another deployment complication that I'm not prepared to solve yet.  Also, I'm not sure how many things in Yitzi are nice to have, really useful to have, or crucial.  I do know that the AI does not play any better in Yitzi, against myself in single player at least.

This may seem a bit OT from The Giant Pirate Kingdom, but there is a method to my madness.  The main one being bumping my own AAR work.   8)  The secondary one being that in my new extensive mods, Planet Busters are going full orbital ICBM.  You got 'em, you can make things die anywhere on Planet.  Up to a certain planet size that is; I'm not going to worry about planets larger than 256x128.  If someone wants to play on bigger planets than that, they can change the settings themselves.  The main tricks are to increase missile speed and also give it range, so that over a few turns at most, anything on Planet can be hit.  Max speed is 99 so I'm thinking a range of 3, meaning 3 turns until it needs to return to base, can hit anything on a 256x128 map.  It's only 128 squares to anywhere on such a map, so you could even go "the long way around" and hit yourself!

So, nukes that trigger Global Warming and cause everyone to drown, except the Pirates, will totally be a thing.  Having said that, I already played a non-AAR Pirate game, that I commented on elsewhere, where mere chemical weapons triggered quite the catastrophe.  I had to quit.  My early Pirate civilization couldn't survive the massive onslaughts.  Yep, chemical weapons used against humans do eco-damage.  Planet cries in anguish for Humanity, go figure.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: ih8regin on January 14, 2020, 02:12:27 PM
Just had a thought, it is "Energy Market Crash." Are you running Free Market? I do not know this, but maybe this particular random event just often happens when FM is selected. And may have not be remedied by Energy Banks, as it is not overload.
This is irrelevant. This particular event has a chance to happen if you are in the lead or second in the lead, you have 1000 credits or more, and you're playing IIRC Librarian or higher. Maybe there were other conditions for it to have a chance to proc, but there is NOTHING in the game to counter this event. Apart from stopping being the leading faction, or always having less than 1000 in your bank, meaning no subversions especially far from home. Same for meteor event that wipes you a city, but that thing also had city number restriction. The wiping satellites event is at least global, even if the AI is rarely to build a mineral or energy satellite to ever get affected by it.

The only kind of "monsters" I've done so far are monster maps.  I do have a lot of text AARs about those, from about a year ago.  Then I thought better of bothering and went back to Huge.  Nowadays I'm realizing they offer something to explore that even a Huge map does not.  But I'm not crazy enough to go larger than 4X Huge anymore.
Frankly, I'd rather you not run maps this huge. The problem is 256 in coordinates, which is exactly enough to roll over a byte-wide integer number, which were pretty common in the age of low memory like in '95. I recall you having a problem with an interceptor hitting some air unit which crashed your SMAX - while playing your 4X huge map, this can quite be the result of an uncovered bug with short integers. I'd advise you tone your 4x huge map down to 120x240, or 124x248, just to not reach 256. This might also solve some problems with AI placement.

On a side note, I have once played a very huge map in line of "4X huge", with a SSC as Morgan. Won with Transcend, but mostly because only Sparta ever arrived at my doorstep to pester with their sea bases and occasional noodle. Should there be more crowded around my lil' energy park, I might have been overrun instead. Therefore I believe that running on too big maps is detrimental to AI instead of being beneficial.
Title: Re: The Giant Pirate Kingdom - 256x128 map
Post by: bvanevery on January 14, 2020, 02:39:14 PM
Well that takes some of the mystery out of Energy Market Crash beatings!  I really really hate how it tells you to build more energy banks, when I have the Planetary Energy Grid.  Completely deceptive and disingenuous.

I have an actual thread about the map generator in the Modding forum I think.  I'll necro it.