Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => Altera Centauri => Command Nexus => GotM Archives => Topic started by: Mart on April 02, 2018, 01:47:02 PM

Title: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on April 02, 2018, 01:47:02 PM
(http://alphacentauri2.info/MGalleryItem.php?id=2917)

* * *
Sinder Roze awoke to the beeping on her nightstand.  Sitting up in bed, saw it was 5:36a.m.

Putting the headset on, she slapped the earpiece to activate.  "This better be good."

"Pwned, Datajack." Katt's voice began, "You wanted to know immediately - Tinker Junction reports the radiometric telltales.  The Gaians have initiated the Ascent To Transcendence."

God; this, finally.  "Where?"

"Seems to triangulate on Gaia's Landing, Datajack.  Recon tried a few system probes already, but they'd sewed up the interlocks and the firewalls look tight.  They were ready for us."

Roze pushed up her visor to rub her eyes, thinking.  "Have they tried the reactor control systems?  That's going to suck a lot of juice, to power the link with Planet, or at least at the last stage they --- crap; I can't think straight yet."

"No vulnerabilities found yet.  -It's my regular duty shift tonight if you need to get back to sleep, ma'am, and our people are on the job probing.  Watching won't help.  I'll ping you again if anything happens."

Roze considered, still groggy, "Yeah."  She'd only been offline two hours, and tomorrow would need her sharp, organizing the countermeasures and making arrangements with any allies she could get.  "Look in Contingencies folder of Protocols and open the Louis Armstrong file and review, okay?  Password forthelulz.

"But first, Katt, screen Free Drone Central now, make sure Domai knows - and that I'll definitely be talking to him tomorrow.  Logout." Roze put the headset down and flopped back onto the bed.

'The Group Mind,' she thought, looking up at nothing.  'All my life has been a war for freedom against groupthink and the human mob, dancing and scatting against something so vast and slow and oh, how it hates the independent mind, punishes style, and now that stupid, stupid Deirdre thinks she can suck us all into an alien plant making a Group Mind.  Over my dead body, she will.'

Mobs were vicious and stupid, to even call it mob psychology gave it too much credit for any thinking going on.  The human herding instinct had been the bane of Roze's existence, social cues a self-contained girl hadn't caught, making it feel like everywhere she ever went there'd been a meeting held that she hadn't been invited to.  Social rules and holoshows and fashions and turns of phrase and customs that didn't make sense and no one ever explained.

She'd never been interested in any of that; she had her machines and her jazzy, elegant code.  But an outsider noticed things insiders didn't - how on every systems analyst gig, every organization was full of people dressing alike, talking alike, telling her the same jokes, thinking alike, if you call that thought; how quickly and completely an outsider could become a pariah after a single quarrel with an incompetent IT worker or sysop.

Mindless mobs and humans herding, everywhere.  No original thought, no diversity in groupthink; no rhythm nor style, no jazz to it, just an empty white-noise hum.  Group minds, bad enough how people graze together in a herd by instinct, not-thinking together in lockstep.  Bad enough the natural way people always form group minds.

And the Gaians thought it was a good idea to drive the human race extinct making the biggest group mind of all.  A single life.  One mind; one thought, a dull carrier hum the soundtrack of Hell Forever trapped in the alien Group Mind.

'No, just NO,' she closed her sleepy eyes to get some rest, 'Never.  Domai will accompany my trumpet playing, and Deirdre, have I ever got some free blowing that will blow your group mind...'


* * *

Game of the Month
April 2018
Fusion Power is NOW!
[Requires Yitzi patch 3.5d]*
Bringing late game into spotlight. This time, we start two centuries after planetfall in Mission Year 2300.
*No longer requires this patch, there is UA version (unaltered alphax.txt), which can be played with official game installs and other versions just fixing bugs, like scient patch, etc.

Installation

- Unpack the zip file ("extract here" command or similar) to scenario folder, so that GOTM1804 folder is inside "Scenarios" folder.

- Start SMAX patched with Yitzi 3.5d, use:
Scenario > Play Scenario
and navigate to GOTM1804 folder.

- Choose the scenario, that you wish to play, there 2 difficulty settings:
1) Easier on Librarian difficulty: gotm18aprLIBRAR_2300.Sc
2) Harder on Transcend difficulty: gotm18aprTRANSC_2300.Sc

- After you open in MY 2300, confirm that you are playing with game ruleset, that is designed for this scenario:
Open F1 screen and make sure that the first Secret Project on the list, Ascent to Transcendence costs 3000.

- Do not change folder name of GOTM1804 to any other, or change the structure of the folders/files inside after you start the scenario, and
- Do not remove the folder GOTM1804 from scenarios after you started to play. That would screw up the game.


= = =
[Edit]
Added version for unmodified alphax.txt, which should work with Firaxis patched exe files, and any version, that did not modify alphax.txt file
patches by: scient, kyrub. Also official, like Planetary Pack, GoG, etc.
GOTM1804[UA]


UA stands for Unmodified Alphax.txt
Installation and checking is the same.
= = =

Scenario Objectives

Roze wants to prevent Transcendence. She can do it, among other means, by sabotaging the project of Ascending to Planetmind, but in order to do it, she has to gain knowledge on transcendence. Therefore, the objective of this scenario is:
A) Research, probe or trade the Transcendent Thought 1 (the first generic technology after all tech tree is discovered) in smallest possible number of turns, and prevent any other faction from Transcendence (Completing Ascent to Transcendence Secret Project).
B) Prevent any other faction from other three victory conditions, that are enabled too: Diplomatic, Conquest, Economic.
Note:
- You do not have to build Voice of Planet or Ascent to Transcendence, just prevent any other faction from this victory.
- Blind research is ON.
- Native Life is Abundant.
- Data Angels just traded Fusion Power from Morganites.
- Deirdre won Planetary Governorship in the first elections in 2181, against Santiago. In 2220 the second elections were held, also Deirdre and Santiago were nominated, but this time, Santiago received almost twice as many votes as Deirdre. Santiago is Planetary Governor still in 2300.
- Deirdre and Santiago united their factions and are not friendly towards Roze.
- Data Angels developed very well for the first several decades after arrival to Chiron, but then, till Mission Year 2300, Rose did not have very good advisers. Now it is your chance!

Contest

If you wish to enter contest, submit your save with turn, in which you posses Transcendent Thought 1, attach it here in the thread.
[Edit - after discussion we ease the requirements for Contest]
- It must be your first attempt in the game in order to be counted in standard competition.
- Standings for Librarian and Transcendence difficulties will be held separately. You have to choose in which difficulty you want to participate for regular standings. If you play later the other difficulty, it can be only for Consolation Standings.
- If you restart the scenario, because for example you lost the first attempt, even if changing difficulty, but still want to submit your game, you can enter consolation standings.
- Achieved victory conditions are not objectives of this scenario. If you win by, for example Dimplomacy (get elected Supreme Leader) or conquer whole planet, then you need to play further until you obtain Transcendent Thought 1, and the turn you have it, would be your sav file submission.
- Submissions after deadline are ranked in Consolation Standings.

Submission Deadline:
June 30, 2018.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on April 02, 2018, 01:53:49 PM

STANDINGS

- - - = = = * * * = = = - - -


PlaceMedalPlayerMY
1 :1st: KirovMY 2393
2 :2nd: BreconMY 2436


Congratulations to the medalists!
=====
Submissions till 2018.06.12


TRANSCEND
- Kirov, MY 2393
- Brecon, MY 2436

-----------------------
Other submissions:
- Kirov, MY 2403

-----------------------
LIBRARIAN
(none yet)
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Buster's Uncle on April 02, 2018, 02:20:12 PM
Reserved for random we-might-need-later.

PLAY!.  Mart's GOOD, and this will be GOOD.  -Note that there's ALSO an easy/librarian version for newbs, oldtimers who feel rusty, and anyone wanting a relaxing game.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Buster's Uncle on April 02, 2018, 05:40:52 PM
I offer by-request computer art -especially badge, avatar or other forum-goody- as prize for winners in each category, BTW.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Vishniac on April 02, 2018, 09:17:57 PM
It must be your first attempt in the game in order to be counted in standard competition.
That's not cool: we can't try different strategies!  :-\
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Buster's Uncle on April 02, 2018, 09:20:29 PM
Bragging rights when you post improvements and alternate tries?
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on April 02, 2018, 09:39:32 PM
It must be your first attempt in the game in order to be counted in standard competition.
That's not cool: we can't try different strategies!  :-\

You can try different strategies. Just when playing for the first time, use the one you consider the best strategy. Your next tries will be for consolation standings.


*Because subsequent tries are easier, AI most likely repeats its moves, you know what to expect when playing for the second time.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Vishniac on April 02, 2018, 10:43:14 PM
*Because subsequent tries are easier, AI most likely repeats its moves, you know what to expect when playing for the second time.
Easier, easier...

I still remember that GTOM, "A city called Armaggedon": was cool but any small mistake would thrash your game.
And I remember of few others which were pretty difficult.
We'll see here how high you set the bar.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Buster's Uncle on April 02, 2018, 11:05:44 PM
"A city called Armaggedon" was mid 2009 IIRC.  We've done a few hell-scenarios since; if you're looking for a challenge, Zookeepers ain't hard to find in the GotM Archives sub of Altera Centauri, and was alleged to give nightmares...
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on April 03, 2018, 11:17:30 PM
You can try different strategies. Just when playing for the first time, use the one you consider the best strategy. Your next tries will be for consolation standings.


*Because subsequent tries are easier, AI most likely repeats its moves, you know what to expect when playing for the second time.

I wasn't happy to read this rule, either. I understand it's supposed to provide comparability, but in my opinion a single game doesn't say that much about a player's potential. Allowing them to try out various approaches (and to try to beat each other's score) would represent their overall SMAC skills much better, in my opinion. And will be more fun to everyone involved.

And of course, you won't be able to make sure that the rule is indeed observed.

I wanted to download the game and "take a look at it", but with this rule in place, I will have to find a free afternoon and focus on doing my best. Takes a bit of fun out of the entire experience, IMHO.

Having said that, you're the CMN and if you don't want to budge, the first game it is.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Buster's Uncle on April 04, 2018, 01:06:28 AM
Mart?  These two are our core audience.  If they want to play your work over and over after the first run, you've succeeded, and I see no reason to not just change the rule on the fly...

Next time, at least?
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on April 04, 2018, 03:41:38 AM
Mart?  These two are our core audience.  If they want to play your work over and over after the first run, you've succeeded, and I see no reason to not just change the rule on the fly...

Next time, at least?

Yep, I concur. Like I said, I think I understand Mart's intentions, but the dynamics of a GotM challenge may work better with replayability. Let the first contestant submit their result and watch the others try to beat it. Sure the AI will remain stupid and predictable, but the race will be against other people's time, inching inevitably towards the shortest possible one. After a few submissions, just 'knowing the scenario' will not suffice to win and out-of-the-box thinking will beat luck. I'll definitely welcome a few retries.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Buster's Uncle on April 04, 2018, 03:57:13 AM
There's no reason to not do that on an informal basis, even if Mart feels like he can't change the rule after the start.  There's nothing at stake, after all, but bragging rights and a tiny badge, and the winner may not even be a member and get either.

I declare, in fact, as AC2 owner, that posting replays and talking about is not only allowed in this thread, it's encouraged.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on April 04, 2018, 07:33:41 AM
Ok, I see large support for the change, so let us change this rule. I will rework it.


Just changed the rules. I left the old ones strikethrough'ed, so that for those who read them before, would notice the change. But I can remove them later. So consolation are for time after deadline.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on April 08, 2018, 03:32:52 PM
First file submitted, 103 turns. Easily could have shaved off a few turns with this strategy, and of course there are other strategies to try out. I just wanted to submit my attempt as a point of reference, to give other players something to work against. Please beat this result and please let me try and beat yours. If you submit a better game on 29 June, I'll humbly ask Mart to extend the deadline.

This scenario quite literally starts when my usual games end, i.e. with Fusion Power, so I was out of my element here. I'm not especially good with the late game and I was surprised many times by all those neat techs. :D I didn't even manage to drive the tech rate down to 1 tech/turn (it happens only on the next turn, 2404, when I complete additional energy satellites).

I will share more remarks elsewhere, all in all I just want to say that I greatly enjoyed this scenario!  ;b; Late-game builders will feel like fish in the water here, while competitive players will finally be able to do stuff which promptly gets you killed in the MP environment. ;) Many thanks to Mart for this effort. Guys, please join and pick up the gauntlet.

I wanted to put some guidelines in the spoiler brackets, but I'll wait until somebody else shows up and wants to discuss the strategy. All I will say now is that the alphax.txt has been modified for this scenario so you want to pay close attention to any possible changes.

Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Vishniac on April 08, 2018, 03:58:51 PM
After downloading/installing 3.5 and 3.5d, the game says it's version 3.5c
Error in patch or error in Vishniac, could someone confirm?
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on April 08, 2018, 04:16:04 PM
After downloading/installing 3.5 and 3.5d, the game says it's version 3.5c
Error in patch or error in Vishniac, could someone confirm?
I have the same, 3.5c when I use 3.5d exe file.
I haven't asked Yitzi about it, but most likely he forgot to replace the version number.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Vishniac on April 08, 2018, 08:04:13 PM
Good. I'm ready to start then.
I won't read what people post except the number of turns: Kirov put the bar at 103.  8)

I'm happy we could allow for several tries because, from what I've seen, this faction's current situation is not only far from how I usually play but also as far as I can imagine from how Roze should be played.
So, assessing and revamping, or thinking outside the box? Fortunately we have time for options, even if they eventually reveal as fool's errands.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Vishniac on April 09, 2018, 06:25:48 PM
The Gaians have initiated the Ascent To Transcendence."

God; this, finally.  "Where?"

"Seems to triangulate on Gaia's Landing, Datajack.
Another question with a slight spoiler
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on April 09, 2018, 06:42:11 PM
Another question with a slight spoiler

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Buster's Uncle on April 09, 2018, 06:57:11 PM
MY take?
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on April 09, 2018, 07:12:46 PM
Gaians will most likely start Ascent to Transcendence, as soon as they research appropriate technologies. The story is somewhere in the future from 2300 year perspective. It shows the intent of DA, as they are not going to win by transcendence, but prevent it.
It would be for the player to "write" the actual ending. The condition for the contest is to acquire Transcendent thought 1, in order for Roze to undermine the Planet uplink.


That's true, good players would research fast enough to have TT1 before Gaians would have Voice of Planet, or other faction. But I think some players would actually see AtT initialization in their games.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on May 02, 2018, 04:55:01 PM
Quote

= = =
[Edit]
Added version for unmodified alphax.txt, which should work with Firaxis patched exe files, and any version, that did not modify alphax.txt file
patches by: scient, kyrub. Also official, like Planetary Pack, GoG, etc.
GOTM1804[UA]


UA stands for Unmodified Alphax.txt
Installation and checking is the same.
= = =

Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 03, 2018, 03:33:42 AM
The game fiction threw me for a loop once I actually started playing.  I thought I was going to be fighting the Gaians who are about to Transcend, with my lowly Fusion powered hacker faction.  That is not actually the case.  Rather, the story is flavor for the actual goal, "get to Transcendent Thought 1".  All factions start at roughly the same tech level, nobody is about to Transcend.  I see no possibility that they ever will.  They are way too incompetent to compete with the likes of me.

I kept "Democratic Free Market".  I immediately decided upon a "Wealth first" strategy.  I reshuffled and disbanded garrison units to more reasonable proportions.  I made Cruiser Probe Teams and infiltrated everyone.  Even Morgan, by way of the expensive Empath Guild.  I embarked on a massive campaign of fungus clearing, turning this into "proper" land.  Invasions from other factions were light and I repelled them easily.  I found barrages of conventional missiles to be highly annoying and lost some sea bases because of that.  Other sea bases, I managed to raise up to land, figuring they're much easier to defend and reinforce when connected by land. 

I'm at MY 2359.  Technologically I'm in the lead, even though my choice is Wealth.  I'm only slightly ahead on tech though, and that's pretty much deliberate.  Roze is supposed to be a tech poacher, not a tech powerhouse.  I intend to rapidly overtake everyone with tech when I'm good and ready to.

I am about to finish Hybrid Forests everywhere.  Labs all got built already.  I have Super Formers and a full rail network.  I will switch to Knowledge and start mildly muscling my way outwards in Free Market fashion pretty soon now.  I have already taken a couple of Pirate bases adjacent to my shores, which sorta makes up for the ones I lost.  I've raised land to get next to other Pirate bases, and writing this up, I just remembered I've got Shard weapons I haven't even prototyped.  Easy to get distracted when "fixing someone else's empire".  Got Tachyon weapons ready, prototyping Photon armor.

In the Secret Projects dept. I've managed The Empath Guild, The Xenoempathy Dome, The Theory of Everything in my capitol, and The Living Refinery.  Morgan is building The Longevity Vaccine in 4 different cities and I can't steal that tech from him as he's got the HSA.

Also Morgan is my ally and I'm not sure I'd steal from him anyways.  Domai is still allied.  Miriam got sick of my Democracy awhile ago.  Most folks are fighting with each other, as my Interceptor defenses have been decent and I wasn't fun to go after.  I got the Governorship awhile ago, a few turns late because I spaced out from some Benadryl and people interrupting me at the park.  Think Gaians and Spartans are still allied, but really who cares.  The AIs are all stupid and they'll all die.  It's just a question of whether "Wealth first" turns out to be faster than other contestant's strategies or not.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 03, 2018, 05:48:38 AM
MY 2363.  I switch to Knowledge, obtaining a modest 1 tech per 10 turns.  Budget is 40-20-40.  I could shift more to Labs and get 1 tech per 8 turns, but with an efficiency penalty, so I don't.  Income is 360 credits/turn.  Not sure what I'll do with so much cash.  Insta-build Secret Projects if I get access to something, or buy cities I suppose.

I begin a military campaign.  Objectives are to take 3 sea bases touching my land, 2 of which were mine at the beginning of the game.  Slightly stalled by needing to repel a small invasion force.  Built rails to some of the bases, using Amphibious AAA Photon units as cover for Formers.  Giant mass of Gas Shard Marines outbound next turn.

At this rate I'm not understanding how I'd Transcend in 40 turns to match Kirov's score, but I will play on.  My bases are rather large... I'm wondering why anyone else's bases would be large, without doing what I've had to do.  Fungus has to be cleared to be large. 

If all these games are really just about crawling a tech researching capitol, then I just won't bother with competitions anymore.  That ability is overpowered.  I don't like the idea that I've built every piece of infrastructure possible for research and it still could be not worth as much as piles of crawlers.

If the answer is really don't bother to build infrastructure, just conquer everyone and get research on sheer mass of cities, then I won't feel so bad.  It's a different strategy than what I chose, but valid.

I think tweaking citizens is a pretty stupid, micromanagerial way to go about any of the Civ-like games, but I may have to resort to it.  Noted for complete removal in any 4X TBS I ever author.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 03, 2018, 04:03:39 PM
It is still MY 2363.  After a night's sleep, I changed my budget to 30-40-40.  My goal is to put every one of my developed cities into a Golden Age.  I went to my size 16 cities and un-worked up to 8 tiles, since they can't grow anymore and only need maintenance food.  I changed those workers into Librarians.  For cities less than size 16, I un-worked my Mines, as I need the food for further growth.  I turned those into Librarians.

I find it a bit odd that Drones can be replaced with Librarians, and get a Golden Age, as long as you're willing to un-work tiles.  Granted, I did shift my budget to make this possible.  I just think all of this "optimality" should be automatically computed as one makes a budget, in some ideal 4X TBS game, rather than this futzy per-base micromanagerial tweaking.  At a higher level, I should be able to say "I want more research, subject to the following constraints" and the system should just respond.

These changes reduced my income to 45 credits/turn, which is fine as I certainly didn't need 360 credits/turn.  Now I discover 1 tech every 6 turns.  I've changed my research focus to Discover.  I really need Digital Sentience to get Cybernetic society, Thinkers, and the Network Backbone.  If I get it soon, then perhaps I can pull this off.

I reduced my allocation of forces for military expansion, restricting myself to only those 3 sea bases touching my land.  I'm making Supply Crawlers for the size 16 cities and AAA units to cover them.  I figure I will crawl all of my cities, not just my capitol as I consider that an overpowered exploit.  I might be production limited by how safe that is in practice though.

A number of my Formers have been beaten to a pulp by conventional missiles.  That's ok as I sent my ordinary Formers to do those jobs, keeping my Super Formers mostly out of reach.  Some Formers also got destroyed trying to improve a river system next to the Garland Crater.  It flooded, thanks to Domai, and now it's a 40 meter land of death for any terraformer that tries to improve anything.  Oddly the river changed course at one point and some of those tiles, I was able to work.  I raised some land to try to make the change permanent.  However some further climate change subsequently flattened the rivers back down again, causing hunger in some nearby cities.

The main job of my remaining Formers will be to plant trees.  I've got Hybrid Forests everywhere now, and trees are now more valuable than the cropland I made earlier.  Making too much cropland, I consider to have been a significant mistake in this game.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 04, 2018, 03:09:17 AM
After writing the above, I changed to Conquer because I realized that MMI was one of the prereqs for Digital Sentience.  I got Retroviral Engineering which wasn't helpful for anything.  No aliens to commit "free pass" genetic atrocities on.

MY 2375.  I finally got MMI.  I forgot that MMI gives the Thinker citizen.  Suddenly my Librarians all become Thinkers and my research rate jumps to 1 tech every 2 turns!  Not sure how many techs I have to go through to win, but this is starting to seem "possible".

All of my core cities have been size 16 for awhile due to the Golden Ages.  I am crawling from my capitol, but most of my other crawlers are to buff up the minerals outputs of cities that cut workers in favor of Librarians / Thinkers.  Now I need to build The Cloudbase Academy and The Cyborg Factory quickly, so a lot of those crawlers will get put to immediate use.  It's not a vast number of crawlers, it's modest.  I have enough to insta-complete The Cloudbase Academy this turn, but The Cyborg Factory will be a multi-turn project.

I haven't been able to afford to provide my crawlers any special protection either.  Rather, nobody's been flying air missions at me lately.  My air defenses aren't that great, as I've moved all my injured Interceptors to the 1 Aerospace Complex I built.  They keep shooting at this Fusion Silksteel Transport spam that Deirdre is forever throwing at my shores.  The ships are usually empty, but they get in the way and sometimes disrupt my food supply.  Any infantry that actually lands, I kill immediately, that's not a problem.  The problem is not making my citizens unhappy, which means I can't readily intervene at sea.

The Formers have done much of their forest planting job.  I don't have any resource problems in my core cities.  My recently conquered cities, however, have not been much developed.  Budget is still 30-40-40 but income has risen to ~160 credits/turn.  I'm still stabilizing and garrisoning the conquests.

Now changing research focus to Build as Industrial Nanorobotics is the next prereq for Digital Sentience.

Hey wait a minute... Librarians gave me +6 Labs.  Thinkers give me +1 Psych +3 Labs.  My research should be going down!  Did I improve my research rate already and not realize it?  I confess I don't know what's going on.  But I needed MMI to get Digital Sentience, so whatever.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on May 04, 2018, 07:27:25 AM
Librarians, Thinkers, Transcendi form a chain of specialists, so the subsequent ones should not give lower yields. They all have lab points increased to 6. This way it helps in early game and not much in late game. They are increasing psych and economy only.
If you check, Thinkers give +1 psych, +6 labs.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 04, 2018, 11:45:20 PM
Well the Thinkers didn't say that in the selection dialog box, so I'm guessing there's some text that didn't get changed.

MY 2379.  I research Digital Sentience.  I switch my research focus to Explore as picking up the Universal Translator is worth a 2 turn tech jump.  I go Cybernetic, which does not actually improve my research rate of 1 tech per 2 turns.  However it does allow me to switch my budget to 40-30-30 and maintain the same research rate.  Now I get 400 credits/turn, which will help with city improvements and the backlog of Secret Projects I need to complete.  I need to build the Network Backbone, the Cloning Vats, and the Nano Factory.  Morgan has started to build the latter and I'd like to block him from doing so, but the Network Backbone is top priority.  I suspect that as my prodigious rate of research continues, lagging on the completion of Secret Projects will continue to be a problem.  Most of my bases are building Fusion Speeder Supply Crawlers.

MY 2380.  With the extra cash, the Network Backbone will be completed next turn.  Fiddling with my budget, it seems that 20-30-50 will now get me 1 tech per turn!  Income is reduced to 51 credits/turn.

MY 2403.  What a groaner.  I've tied for 1st place!  The intervening years were a whole pile of micromanaging my budget, to extract the most cash while still maintaining 1 tech per turn.  Towards the end I did nothing but produce various kinds of supply crawlers.  I made them in 30, 40, 50, and 60 mineral denominations so as not to waste production.  I've built a lot of Secret Projects, and indeed I think I can finish them all this turn, except for the Voice and the Ascent of course.  I haven't actually played this year and am submitting my results at the beginning of my turn.  This is for people's curiosity, and in case anyone decides upon a method to resolve a tie.  In which event, I'll finish my turn by completing whatever Secret Projects I can, but I want y'all to admire my army of Supply Crawlers.

I'd be happy to share 1st place if nobody does any better.  I definitely won't play the scenario again, so if someone is motivated enough to play again to beat 2403, so be it.  I have proven that "Wealth first" is at least as good as whatever Kyrub did.  Which I'm wondering, was what exactly?

Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on May 05, 2018, 08:26:23 AM
bvanevery, there is indication in the sav file, that it was not playing with correct alphax.txt, when you were ending the game.
Check your research cost, it should be around 22-23 thousands, not around 4400.

What might have happened is that, you started the game in the folder:
"C:\GOG Games\SMAC Yitzi 35d\"
but later you changed gaming folder to:
"C:\GOG Games\SMAC Yitzi 3_5d\"
and the initial folder could not be found by the game, like you renamed it.
This will make the game to use default alphax.txt file. This is why we ask in the GOTM prep post, something, that may escape the reader:
Code: [Select]
- Do not change folder name of GOTM1804 to any other, or change the structure of the folders/files inside after you start the scenario, and
- Do not remove the folder GOTM1804 from scenarios after you started to play. That would screw up the game.

However, I see now, that does not cover all the cases.

Probably, it happened around the time you did not see, that your thinkers were giving +6 labs.
You probably can find the last save, that was with correct alphax.txt.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on May 05, 2018, 08:52:34 AM
Well the Thinkers didn't say that in the selection dialog box, so I'm guessing there's some text that didn't get changed.

Just a note for modding knowledge, that text would be assembled from the currently used rules in alphax.txt, so if it is not having values that we would expect from alphax.txt, that we want to use, this is indication of wrong file.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 05, 2018, 09:34:25 PM
Umm I switched between 2 different laptops due to running out of battery power, in MY 2371.  They both had GOTM 1804 installations on them, but slightly different toplevel directory naming conventions, due to different times I installed Yitzi on the machines.  I think you're saying that when I switched machines, the main alphax.txt got used, not the scenario alphax.txt?  Just checked my .sav and Ascent to Transcendence only costs 2000.  Oh well.  I'm not going to replay it.

If you were giving +6 research for Thinkers, but I was only getting +3, doesn't that mean I exceeded the difficulty of the scenario?  As in playing with a handicap.  If the only substantial change was a penalty against me, I think my time should stand.  But, I don't know what else you changed.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on May 06, 2018, 08:52:28 PM
Umm I switched between 2 different laptops due to running out of battery power, in MY 2371.  They both had GOTM 1804 installations on them, but slightly different toplevel directory naming conventions, due to different times I installed Yitzi on the machines.  I think you're saying that when I switched machines, the main alphax.txt got used, not the scenario alphax.txt? ...

Yes, unfortunatelly, in its implementation as it is in SMACX now, it stores the full path from "C:\ ..." so the actual folder where the game is installed matters too.
That can be changed, but it is not an easy task, when players start their own scenarios.
Quote

If you were giving +6 research for Thinkers, but I was only getting +3, doesn't that mean I exceeded the difficulty of the scenario?  As in playing with a handicap.  If the only substantial change was a penalty against me, I think my time should stand.  But, I don't know what else you changed.

Other main change is, that research rate is down to 20%, this is why we have meaningful late game, it does not rush with 1-2 techs per turn.
So defaulting to standard alphax.txt you returned to 5 times faster researching. It was not handicap here.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 07, 2018, 03:15:19 PM
Oh well!  And if tech is that slow, I have no idea how Kirov managed his time.  Maybe he can explain, but part of me almost doesn't want to know.  Sounds like every city sending crawlers to a research capitol, which isn't an interesting game to play.

Ok I looked at his .SAV file, and actually that wasn't it.  He has more cities and a denser array of cities than I did, separations of only about 3 squares between most cities.  This would not be any good for a terrestrial based society, but he built 21 Sky Hydroponics Labs, 5 Nessus Mining Stations, and 21 Orbital Power Transmitters.  I built 0 satellites.  I am forced to conclude that large numbers of Orbital Power Transmitters are the only way to overcome the research handicap of the scenario.

He did at least built a lot of labs.  32 Network Nodes, 11 Biology Labs, 24 Fusion Labs, 20 Research Hospitals, 16 Nanohospitals, and 19 Quantum Labs.  In contrast I built 20, 21, 17, 20, 0, and 0 of those, but played the 2nd half of the game with the wrong alphax.txt and 5x faster research.  I suppose that means "Wealth first" doesn't actually work.  Would need to get to better labs faster.

He also built a lot of thermal boreholes, I built 0.  I don't know whether they really help earlier in the game or not.  I think they don't provide that much for the Former production, terraforming, and mouseclicking effort, compared to Hybrid Forests.  I've done "maximum density borehole" worlds before and I never thought they put me on any kind of fast track to anything.  They carry ecological risks; actually so do any mineral increasing strategies for that matter.  I generally don't go buff on minerals.  Given all my Hybrid Forests, in any given game I probably use a tiny fraction of my actual possible mineral capacity.  When cities get to 20 minerals I'm like, eh, good enough.

BTW I notice it is not possible to load someone else's .SAV file with the correct alphax.txt, presumably because installation directories are different.  I'd have to replace alphax.txt at the toplevel.  I also noticed that all of my own .SAV occurred at the toplevel and I couldn't do anything about that.  The UI wouldn't seem to let me save in the folder I wanted, i.e. in the /saves folder.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on May 07, 2018, 06:27:40 PM
Oh well!  And if tech is that slow, I have no idea how Kyrub managed his time. 

Thank you, the assessment of your actual SMAC competence is now complete. Indeed you don't need to replay the scenario.

And it's Kirov.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on May 07, 2018, 06:32:32 PM
To other contestants:

Guys, I can assure you that this scenario is really really interesting, precisely because of the 1/5 tech rate. It’s going to be incrementally harder to improve your submissions as with each one, you have to cram a ridiculous volume of lab points into an ever smaller number of turns. So with the last tech at 22k, in order to go down from 100 to 99 turns you need to squeeze in ca 220 lab points more into each one of your turns (although obviously the end-game is the most important).

The bad news is, a contribution around 2400 won’t give you the first place because I intend to beat it. The 2403 is just my first casual attempt and I believe I can shave off, say, 10 turns from it (but please, try me).

The good news is, after a few initial benchmarks this scenario can become super exciting. I believe that I can provide insight, tips and motivation to bring us all the way down to 2390. This is where the real fun will start. Crossing this barrier to 2389 will take a lot of skill and joint analyses. 2385 seems ridiculous, but I still think it’s within reach. As for 2380 and below... well I know it sounds crazy, but in this decade of the 21st century, much crazier things actually happened. ;) My  vague intuition is that somewhere in the 2370s there’s a hard ceiling for the scenario, where our situation is already optimum and nothing can be done to go down further. But I would immensely enjoy trying to find that place.

Don’t accept wrong suggestions, this scenario doesn’t require any Excel sheets or meticulous comparisons of expected energy outputs per building times (although we can still do that if you’re keen to). On the contrary, there’s so much more which we can squeeze out of these circumstances and there’s a huge number of long-term and short-term strategies which we can discuss on various levels of complexity. What’s the fastest way to the Gov’nor office and the Global Trade Pact? (I did it in 2319, but this surely can be improved). What’s the most cost-effective way of keeping the AI at bay? Are the sea bases even worth keeping? Should we upgrade all, some or none formers to Clean Reactor? Should we relocate our HQ? Should we raise the land at Safe House City, at the expense of all those tidal harnesses? Should we consider rare improvements like aquifiers or echelons? What are the best options to protect our former fleet from missiles? What should be our priorites with the Secret Projects and blind research? How can we make Mart’s modifications work to our advantage? I can write a page or two about each of these questions, and I believe that if we find proper answers, ridiculous deadlines can be met. But I won’t do it alone, as I lack the commitment to beat only my scores all the time.

You can also consider it a good preparation for Mart’s upcoming democracy game. I promise that whatever happens and whatever your level is, you will take something out of this scenario. If you’re less experienced than me, I can give you a few juicy pointers for your future SMAC performance. If you’re better than me, I promise to put on you as much pressure as possible so you’re forced to do your absolute best, kinds of like you haven’t done for a long long time. We can do an incredible time if we put our minds to it.

This is not to boast, this is not to gloat, this is just to give you a nudge towards a friendly competition – I want to announce that I’m taking this badge home. Please, stop me. ;)
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 08, 2018, 02:32:13 PM
And it's Kirov.

Maybe there was a Kyrub in the archives somewhere.  Not sure where I got that.  I've corrected it in my earlier post.

As for your statement of my abilities, I think you're using sarcasm, but I'm not entirely sure.  You should consider that I thought we were playing the same scenario and we weren't, and that the rules aren't the same as a standard game anyways.  I don't invest tons of time pre-analyzing someone's mod to find the optimal way to exploit it.  I play it.  In fact that's what Mart wanted people to do, to just play and see if we notice anything different.  Well, mixed results on that, because "Wealth first" doesn't reveal a slow tech rate.  I don't even micromanage citizens ordinarily, I think it's a dull game mechanic and if it weren't for the scenario, I wouldn't have even noticed a change to +6 labs.  If you happened to decide that you could cream just about anything by building enough Orbital Power Transmitters, hey whatever dude.  I didn't play this for ego strokes, I played this because I was asked to give Mart feedback on his mod.  Which unfortunately, I only half did.  I've got my own mod I'm working on, almost 3 weeks of full time work so far, like that could have been paychecks in some other universe that isn't mine.  So pardon if I don't care as much about this as what I'm working on.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 16, 2018, 03:36:48 PM
Since I have now released version 1.1 of my own mod, I decided to take another stab at this yesterday.  But the bottom line is I rage quit on turn 24.

[rant]

Mart, I don't think it's wrong that you wanted to try out these changes in principle.  But you need to disclose things like, Fusion Labs being so egregiously expensive to maintain, that labs output actually gets substantially worse if you build them at the beginning of the game.  It's not a player's job to pore over every last detail of an alphax.txt file to figure out WTH is going on.  Or go over the entirety of the Datalinks with a fine tooth comb.

I eventually resorted to using a diff tool on your alphax.txt, to see exactly what you changed.  I noticed you also did things like jack up the AAA defense, and the expense of building Interceptors.  Which was the immediate trigger for my rage quit: I had just taken a painful 5 turns to build a fusion Chaos Interceptor.  I attacked a fission AAA ship that was 50% wounded to save one of those northern sea bases that's very hard to defend, and got killed.  Enemy ship barely survives and of course she'll float into my base next turn and fully heal.  In a normal game, that ship would have been dead.  It was the last straw, against a backdrop of no progress that had been building up for awhile.

You also gave the same "egregiously expensive to maintain" treatment to Tree Farms and Hybrid Forests.  I built some extra Tree Farms at the beginning, not knowing any better, because that's a fairly logical thing to do in an ordinary game.  So that helped tank my research and economy.  What your undisclosed changes did, is pretty much waste 5 hours of my free time.  You need to respect the time of the people who playtest or engage your stuff, as this is a long game.  "Just try it, do you notice anything?" isn't enough.  YES I noticed some things, eventually, painfully.  You need to say things like, "X Y Z are now very expensive to maintain, to the point of damaging your economy irreparably if you build them too soon.  You may not want to build them for a long time."

Also making Aerospace Complexes free to maintain, is a pretty cheap shot, given what you did to fusion labs, tree farms, and hybrid forests.  So now I know the basic secret to Kirov's success: for whatever reason, he happened to make Aerospace Complexes and go the Orbital Power Transmitter route.  And I'm betting pretty early on.  You made a "golden path" one way, and an egregious "tar pit" the other way.  Mart, how about next time you just tell players about these kinds of major changes, instead of griefing them?

Oh, and this is somewhat missing the forest for the trees.  20% research rate??  Yeah, I got that disclosed after playing with the wrong alphax.txt for half a game.  Think you could let people know that up front???

As for the scenario design rather than the rules, I'm not thrilled that trying to build The Supercollider is so high pressure.  It seems likely to be essential for getting along the tech tree in any reasonable time.  Yet Morgan starts to build it immediately, and he's protected from tech theft by the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm.  Nobody else has Applied Relativity initially and you can't steal it from them.  Your own research rate is too pathetic and random to come up with it yourself.  I didn't in that game I played, I got Bioadaptive Resonance despite a Discover focus.  Joy.  I already had Chaos weapons, that was completely useless to me.  Other factions do eventually research Applied Relativity, but then you've got like 2 turns before Morgan completes.  You'd need pretty much omniscience and a pile of supply crawlers that you started making from Turn 1, to pull that off.  I don't think people should have to replay a scenario repeatedly to figure out the importance and doability of stuff like this.  Especially for a game that can easily take 5+ hours, assuming one just quits and doesn't even try to finish.

[/rant]

I'm not completely sore about this, so I've started another game and am giving your scenario one more chance.  I'm not enthused though; maybe I finish the game, maybe I don't.  It would only take one more "this sucks rocks" incident for me to say, that's not what I want out of SMAC or a scenario.  In my current game I'm not going through special heroic efforts to obtain The Supercollider at all costs.  I'm making "a reasonable effort" at it, not a premeditated, omniscient, I-already-know-on-turn-17-I-need-to-do-X effort.  And I'm not going to be baited into Aerospace Complexes as the One True Way to play the game.  I value my ability to make choices as a player, which means, those large sucky fungus beds and dry patches of land are getting terraformed.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 17, 2018, 03:36:40 PM
I played that game until turn 35.  I had no realistic chance to get The Supercollider, as I refused to engage in premeditative heroics from turn 0.  No specific thing caused the end of my game.  It just became 12:30 AM and for the time I'd spent during the day, it was no longer worth continuing.  I was slowly winning an air war against Deirdre, with the emphasis on slowly.  The game plays like something whose research has been cut to 20% of normal.  I've done plenty of slow research games before, both in SMAC and Freeciv.  I know how it goes, so I am not inherently interested in that.  I'm done with worrying about the scenario objectives as stated, which are essentially "finish the tech tree".  IMO at 20% research it's a painful objective, an invitation to play the game much more slowly than usual.  That translates into real hours of time spent, that I don't want to.

I'm likely to play another game where I blow off any pretense of research, since it is unprofitable, and not what Roze is designed to do as a faction anyways.  Instead I will try outright conquest.  I'm tired of being hobbled by Free Market and a concern for research that doesn't actually go anywhere.  I am wondering if the scenario design is wholly irrational, or purely game mechanical, take your descriptive pick of my terms.  That is to say, if you kill everyone else, clearly they cannot Transcend.  So I wonder how long it takes to do that.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 17, 2018, 09:29:29 PM
I started again with a military focus, going Democratic Planned Knowlege, then Democratic Planned Wealth taking advantage of higher minerals for disbandment before each change.  I did build the 2 Research Hospitals in progress and later came to regret it, as eventually my research rate dropped to something like 1 in in 60 turns.  I don't even need protection from the Prometheus Virus as I have The Human Genome Project.

Further societal transitions were Fundamentalist Planned Wealth, which was costing me -30 credits/turn for awhile.  Then Fundamentalist Green Wealth, which was more stable and sustainable.  However for having jacked my probe teams to the max, it really didn't benefit me in any way.  They often died on missions, which I think is a bit stupid for having +4 Probe.  I couldn't seem to frame Deirdre for theft either.  My team would succeed, but but they'd still be allied and unruffled.  I wonder if Yitzi changed probe team behavior in some way?

I built a fair number of Penetrators.  They did some good damage initially, but then Deirdre started stacking her bases with AAA units.  The new rules seriously reward AAA against air assault, and I didn't even try to make a run at them.  Also they make planes more expensive.  I came to a point where I realized my pricey air force was actually pretty useless.  I could only use it to harass units in open terrain, as these new AAA units provide pretty much a perfect base of operations for the enemy.  Deirdre was slowly building her Conventional Missiles and those are very annoying.

There's also just overwhelming piles of fungus to remove.  I think I overproduced Fungicidal units.  I actually don't need nearly as many of those as regular Former units, since much land is already cleared and still needs to be developed.

So in MY 2314, I quit.  I'll try again with Chaos Marines.  I don't remember any new rules against those, and they work.  Perhaps with some AAA naval escorts, to really "game" these new rules.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 19, 2018, 04:23:20 AM
I played another game today, that may have taken 4 hours, that also happened to end at MY 2314.  It was 3:15 PM when I quit, which may be a rough "trigger time" of the day for when I begin to feel fatigue about something.  Maybe the park bench?  Maybe just sitting one place too long, who knows.  But there's definitely a time limit on my attention span if things aren't going so well.

Fusion Chaos Marines with a Synthmetal jacket definitely work better than an air force.  AAA Silksteel Impact Cruisers are also effective at suppressing enemy air force.  Yes the Silksteel garrison units don't take much damage, but planes are fragile and take a lot of damage from artillery.  They can't so easily come out to fly around at you, when they need to heal up all the time.  Yes the AI will eventually get around to putting land artillery in position, but it takes it time, especially when it has been depleting its minerals reserves from too much support.  So tactically, it's a good force investment.  I took Mindworm Pass pretty early, then I harassed that base north of it for awhile.

Strategically, this didn't help my cause at all.  Mindworm Pass is not inherently valuable.  I kept Deirdre from bothering my northern sea bases, indeed I was able to stock them with Disciplined or higher 1-4+-1 units pulled from my vast starting horde.  But having taken Mindworm Pass, I become somewhat obligated to defend it, otherwise why did I even do it?  And now here comes the probe team, a factor in the invasion I completely forgot about.  Yes I was able to block the 1st one with a Missile Needlejet, that wasn't in danger of getting shot down because I had been suppressing Deirdre's Interceptors with my AAA Impact ship.

But this isn't some blitz.  Despite all that cash and all those garrisons at the beginning of the scenario, Roze just really isn't running a wealthy, productive nation.  Her terrain sucks, there's all this fungus everywhere, and it takes a long time to clear it.  It might be tempting to think you're gonna just storm the enemy's beaches, but my experience is it just isn't gonna happen.  Roze doesn't have any inherent production advantage.

I concluded that the better strategy is to forget about invading anyone for awhile.  Roze is really not that strong at the beginning.  She has a lot of fronts that need defending, with a lot of enemies with plenty of productivity to just bore you to death with all the stuff they can spam your way.  I think the AAA Silksteel Impact Crusier tactic is good, since it exploits what was intended to be "scenario designer's punishment" to your own advantage.  Wanna take the power of my planes away?  Ok, I'll defend with AAA, I'm wise to ya.  But the Chaos Marines, they're really only a "win" against Svensgaard's 2 isolated sea bases.

I'll probably try again, with the "Fortress Angel" idea in mind.  But I'm definitely experiencing scenario fatigue.  There's only so many times I'm probably willing to throw 4..5 hours at the same thing.  Generally I need some kind of "new conclusion" to justify doing so... and it wouldn't hurt to see something resembling progress for a change.  Playing scenarios that resemble WW I trench warfare aren't exactly my idea of a good time.  As I said, I've definitely given up on the official victory conditions.  I'm just wondering if there's any style of victory where this becomes a satisfying game.  It could be that taking over someone's mismanaged empire isn't basically a fun exercise.  This much fungus this late in the game?

Like, there are plenty of my own games, written up in AARs, where I got to a point midgame and said, "You know what?  This empire ain't that hot."  Meaning, I know it's going to be a drag to keep playing, because I haven't established enough dominance over the AI.  I suspect that may be the problem here.  The AI has been allowed to grow way too strong in many places.  Well, we'll see.  But if it takes too many hours of my real wall clock time to issue a "corrective" to the balance of power, then I'd sooner put the time into fresh games where I control how things go.

Incidentally, although an initial round of Democratic Planned Knowledge mostly worked, I did have one annoying productivity phenomenon.  The base at which I was making the Interceptors, kept getting drone riots as it grew.  So my Interceptor production kept getting delayed.  With sufficient micromanagement, I could have prevented the riots by turning people into doctors before the population booms again.  But if you're just trying to have a life and play a game, it's easy to get into "D'oh!" because there are too many other things going on to attend to.  I'm not sure Planned is all that worth it, if I'm not actually going to do any invasions at the beginning.  Might be better to just re-home those 2 Missile Needlejets to cities that can afford the unhappiness and stay with Free Market.  Although, then my AAA Silksteel Impact Cruiser suppresion plan wouldn't work.  I suppose I could delay it, until I can steal Centauri Empathy and go Green.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on May 19, 2018, 02:42:57 PM
Also making Aerospace Complexes free to maintain, is a pretty cheap shot, given what you did to fusion labs, tree farms, and hybrid forests.  So now I know the basic secret to Kirov's success: for whatever reason, he happened to make Aerospace Complexes and go the Orbital Power Transmitter route.  And I'm betting pretty early on.  You made a "golden path" one way, and an egregious "tar pit" the other way.  Mart, how about next time you just tell players about these kinds of major changes, instead of griefing them?

Stop making things up about my game, you always get it wrong. It seems you don’t really know what happens in a good gameplay. Of course I had those Tree Farms up and running very quickly, in this scenario it’s crucial to popboom early, grab that Governor office and put the Trade Pact in place ASAP. An average player could school you about that.

Quote
I value my ability to make choices as a player, which means, those large sucky fungus beds and dry patches of land are getting terraformed.

This is a preposterous statement.

A good player comes to a scenario, analyses the circumstances and then carefully selects proper strategies from his wide arsenal of tools in order to deliver a good or winning performance. And you consistently fail to do so. In fact, you do the opposite – failing to win with some basic, ‘tried & true’ strategies, and then blaming the author that it's not enough. Throwing the towel on the grounds of ‘refusing to employ a specific tactics’ is a ludicrous excuse.

For example, I like to fight in SMAC, I really do. But the winner of this scenario will have fought as little as possible, or to be more precise – will have built as few combat units as possible. A tech race forces players to reduce non-tech cost allocations to an absolute minimum. This is the nature of such a challenge, not Mart’s mischief.

I assure you, there’s nothing wrong with this scenario, however it does pose a demanding challenge for good players. This is why I told you that you don’t need to play. A good score is clearly beyond your reach and it’s you, not Mart, who is wasting your time.

As for access to information, in my first attempt I knew much less than you do now. I never play late games (MP games tend to finish at the nukes, tops), so I didn’t even notice that the tech rate is nerfed (because I had no idea what it should be at that stage). I was just doing my best to improve my lab output. It’s not Mart’s fault that you can’t come close to it.

On the face of it, it seems irrational that first you blame Mart for wasting “5 hours” of your time and then proceed to play it over and over with made-up conditions (as you are required to get the Transcendence Thought, it’s right there in the first post). But I think that you think that if you’re loud enough, we won’t notice that your challenges are a string of failures, and that you have actually yet to prove that you are NOT the worst active player alive. But we do see that and I’m afraid your constant temper tantrums about fungus being too pink will only make matters worse.

Stop blaming everyone around for your failures, nobody’s falling for that. Your gameplay has numerous, numerous shortcomings and you need to learn some new tricks and grow beyond the ‘forest & forget’ strategies. In particular, it seems you need to find out about the clean mineral limit and how to collect much more than 20mins/turn per base. You will never win against humans at such a cap.

There’s one thing I commend about you – your commitment. I used to live and breathe SMAC for many years and I love the fact that this game still maintains its alluring charm. So keep playing, but also keep growing. If you change your tune, I can help you vastly improve your performance.

Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on May 19, 2018, 02:51:00 PM
They often died on missions, which I think is a bit stupid for having +4 Probe.  I couldn't seem to frame Deirdre for theft either.  My team would succeed, but but they'd still be allied and unruffled.  I wonder if Yitzi changed probe team behavior in some way?

PROBE just improves the probe team's morale and doesn't directly improve their chances to succeed/survive.

As for framing, there's one very little known fact that to make a frame attempt successful, you can't be at Vendetta with the victim of your probing mission. So in this scenario, you need to grab a Pirates' base, exchange it for truce ('trade land for peace' option) and then continue to probe the Pirates while framing Deedee and Sparta. In this way, you can actually get them to fight each other and have your borders much more peaceful. I must say I was every unlucky with the framing - with Elite units it should be at 67% or something, yet I had to repeat it some 6-8 times. The good news is, additional attempts are not that difficult - Deirdre and Santiago hate you anyway no matter what, while Ulrik will always 'trade land for peace' when he loses a bases. So if you lose a frame attempt, just take his base, give it back and frame the girls again.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 19, 2018, 04:19:30 PM
Stop making things up about my game, you always get it wrong.

When you don't disclose what you did, how would anyone know?  I actually wondered if you had just cheated your way through the thing somehow.

Quote
It seems you don’t really know what happens in a good gameplay.

In a scenario with arbitrary new rules that destroy economies, no I don't actually.

Quote
Of course I had those Tree Farms up and running very quickly,

Surprised you found them profitable, given their maintenance costs.

Quote
in this scenario it’s crucial to popboom early, grab that Governor office and put the Trade Pact in place ASAP.

Trade Pact??  Oh good grief.  My success or failure in the game is to be predicated on whether I thought I should do a Global Trade Pact or not?  That's a level of persnicketiness I have never gotten into in SMAC.  I figured if half are enemies and half allies, the enemies benefit just as much.  Well thanks for telling us all about the golden path you actually found.  This is reminding me of a jumping problem in a platformer game, where if you don't just jump oh-so-correct, you can't win.  Not in MY 2403 at any rate.

Maybe if you habitually go for Economic Victory, you would think of GTP.  I never do.  It has always seemed like vastly more work than straight conquest or Diplomatic Victory.

Quote
An average player could school you about that.

At the risk of getting banned again...

Suuure they could.  I'll go fetch one off of GOG right now.  Have you noticed I'm the only person other than yourself who has actually submitted a victory for this scenario?  Of course with wrong rules half the time.  I don't see any of these so-called 'average' players even making an effort.  So I think you are deluded about people's average abilities.  You have the perspective of someone who's an "indefatigable calculator" about SMAC, and you're not nice about it.  I'll take blame for having thrown down a gauntlet to anybody and everybody a few months ago, but there are clearly some areas of the game where I would never beat you.  I don't have the patience to worry that much about the stats, so if a scenario is actually all about grinding the stats to minimax them, I'll just hand you your victory crown right now.  And get back to work on gameplay that average players might actually enjoy.

Quote
Quote
I value my ability to make choices as a player, which means, those large sucky fungus beds and dry patches of land are getting terraformed.
This is a preposterous statement.

It is the perspective of a kind of player rather different from yourself.

Quote
A good score is clearly beyond your reach and it’s you, not Mart, who is wasting your time.

And this kind of thing makes me wonder why I should be singled out for 'rudeness'.  Although, it was in a different thread on a different subject.

Quote
As for access to information, in my first attempt I knew much less than you do now.

So it seems you think 'good' scenario design is to make the player learn by trial and error in multiple long games, rather than telling them up front what has changed.  As a game designer I don't believe in this at all.  I'm wondering if many real players feel similarly, given the lack of submissions.

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On the face of it, it seems irrational that first you blame Mart for wasting “5 hours” of your time and then proceed to play it over and over with made-up conditions

I'm investigating whether there's anything worthwhile about the scenario at all, or whether it's tedious on all fronts.  I have an entire year's worth of AARs you can read about the concept of tedium.  I don't think you're going to understand or appreciate this because you seem to be the "challenge" archetype of player, who feels rewarded for knowing all kinds of stuff oh-so-well.  People like you will beat their heads on inscrutable Kingdom of Loathing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Loathing) crafting problems to get the bragging rights of having figured it out first.

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and that you have actually yet to prove that you are NOT the worst active player alive.

Exaggerate much?  Manners much? 

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In particular, it seems you need to find out about the clean mineral limit and how to collect much more than 20mins/turn per base.


I know what the limits are.  They're easy enough to find because you just build stuff and see if you're doing eco-damage.  Against AIs it's not particularly necessary to have more than 20 mins/city, it works fine.  There's a point at which mouseclicks are not worth it to me.  The game has far too many mouseclicks as is.

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You will never win against humans at such a cap.

Of several reasons why I don't generally care about winning against humans, is that my reward would be interacting with attitudes such as your own.  You know, this is ironic, because years ago I was kicked out of a face-to-face board game group in Asheville for being too "hardcore" and giving people 'tude they didn't like.  I merely had the attitude of someone who had grown up on Diplomacy.  "I am about to win.  Why aren't you all trying your hardest to gang up on me and beat me?"  Because they're average players and don't think like that.  I think I lasted a year in that group.  You might last a few play sessions, with truly average players.

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There’s one thing I commend about you – your commitment. I used to live and breathe SMAC for many years and I love the fact that this game still maintains its alluring charm. So keep playing, but also keep growing. If you change your tune, I can help you vastly improve your performance.

I am good enough at SMAC for most of the human race's practical purposes.  You have helped me to realize there are players in the 4X TBS universe with temperaments and concerns rather different from my own.  This will be useful when / if I finally write my own 4X TBS and try to build a community around it.  So yes, thanks for that kind of help you've given me... I won't be needing the other kind.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 19, 2018, 04:34:16 PM
As for framing, there's one very little known fact that to make a frame attempt successful, you can't be at Vendetta with the victim of your probing mission.

Joy.

Things like this make me think that most of a game's rules should have source code available.  I read the "decompliation coordination" thread last night.  All that heroism from at least 4 people, did not result in sustainable effort over the long haul.

I wonder if the Civ IV ecology is any improvement.

If they insisted on having this rule, what they should have done is make it impossible to attempt a frame job, that cannot possibly succeed.  As well as saying, "you can't frame because you have a vendetta".  Not good game design.  Oh well, not everything in such a large game will be optimal.  Nor maintained over the product's life cycle.  Hence the need for source code to be available.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Green1 on May 19, 2018, 05:29:32 PM
As for framing, there's one very little known fact that to make a frame attempt successful, you can't be at Vendetta with the victim of your probing mission.

Joy.

Things like this make me think that most of a game's rules should have source code available.  I read the "decompliation coordination" thread last night.  All that heroism from at least 4 people, did not result in sustainable effort over the long haul.

I wonder if the Civ IV ecology is any improvement.

If they insisted on having this rule, what they should have done is make it impossible to attempt a frame job, that cannot possibly succeed.  As well as saying, "you can't frame because you have a vendetta".  Not good game design.  Oh well, not everything in such a large game will be optimal.  Nor maintained over the product's life cycle.  Hence the need for source code to be available.


Maniac did a Civ 4 total conversion for Alpha Centauri called Planetfall. It worked okay and I like some of the directions it took. Problem was they did a lot of changes to the tech tree and because of Civ 4's trade route calculations large and huge maps slowed to a crawl.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on May 19, 2018, 05:56:00 PM
I recently play only Caveman2Cosmos civ4 mod, from time to time. It is in the making for many years now, but for several years it is quite good in early game. And since maybe 2012, I only was able to reach Classical era only, starting from: Prehistoric->Ancient->Classical, I think it is like that. So the game complexity is tremendous there, but it can give a civer really enjoyable game.

Civ4 is like that, I remember reading about optimization of trade in that mod, but I am not sure what is the current state over there. They probably got something better, since standard maps play ok in Classical era.

Another thing, who would mod Planetfall further? After many years mostly people need to change their project.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on May 19, 2018, 06:22:33 PM
And this kind of thing makes me wonder why I should be singled out for 'rudeness'.  Although, it was in a different thread on a different subject.

I stop your obnoxious, disgusting rant against a much better player/modder and you dare to call the 'good-manners' clause? You're lower than I thought.

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When you don't disclose what you did, how would anyone know?  I actually wondered if you had just cheated your way through the thing somehow.

Some time ago I'd tear you a new one for this suggestion, but this time I'll let you go lightly. Just don't sin anymore.

You see, one of the perks of good players is that they recognize each other. Incidentally, that's why they never have to brag about their skills (hint hint). And I'm sorry, but I don't recognize you.

Conversely, losers call 'hacking' when they face a good game because they don't understand what just happened. As with everything, it takes certain awareness to truly appreciate good work.

Attached is my next submission for this scenario. I did it a week after my former one, but didn't want to publish it in order not to scare off the competition. When I said I can beat my score by ten turns, I knew that because I'd already done that. Fortunately, I saved almost every turn. All 93 of them.

And if you are still up to a challenge on your terms, go ahead and let me know. You can pick any faction, map size and shape, victory condition, etc., literally anything you want. Find your comfort zone.

I'm ready when you are.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on May 19, 2018, 06:26:22 PM
I recently play only Caveman2Cosmos civ4 mod, from time to time. It is in the making for many years now, but for several years it is quite good in early game. And since maybe 2012, I only was able to reach Classical era only, starting from: Prehistoric->Ancient->Classical, I think it is like that. So the game complexity is tremendous there, but it can give a civer really enjoyable game.

Civ4 is like that, I remember reading about optimization of trade in that mod, but I am not sure what is the current state over there. They probably got something better, since standard maps play ok in Classical era.

Another thing, who would mod Planetfall further? After many years mostly people need to change their project.

I'm so sorry dude, and I promise that the above is my last post when I add fuel (I just had to respond to the cheating accusation part). I tried to ignore this droning for so long, but it just wouldn't stop. I admire your patience, you're Buddha. To bury this flame in the topic, I'll try to post here some useful guidelines for other contestants.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 19, 2018, 07:58:39 PM
Another thing, who would mod Planetfall further? After many years mostly people need to change their project.

Yes, that's a strategic reality, even for one's career.  I could work on a specific game forever... if it's my game, where I own the franchise, and I make money from continuing to develop it over the long haul.  Otherwise, both boredom and lack of financial sustainability have to set in.  People need money for beer, bills, dates, houses, medical expenses (in some countries like the USA), wives / husbands, children to put through school, retirement... here I am living out of a car, I have none of those things.  I don't even particularly want to do it anymore, I'm just ok with it for now and I have to, if I want to keep having the freedom to pursue my real goals.  Survival jobs, that you never get any economic escape velocity from, been there done that.  Won't do it again.  Did a lot of open source contributions back then too, that nobody cares about now, and people didn't care about for all that long even back then.  Despite my professionalism, really making sure my work was polished when delivered to users.

I think important to any "grand vision" project, if one intends to sustain it for decades of content development, is that it must have sufficient scope to be worth that.  Like what would you imagine a SMAC to be, if it had gotten 20 years of active development to the present day?
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 19, 2018, 08:18:04 PM
I'm ready when you are.

Don't wait yourself up.

My issue with Mart is only how he has designed something.  What I view as the egregious flaws, are entirely fixable.  At a first go, simply tell the player what they're in for, when making major rules changes, so that hours of their time are not wasted.  I've play balanced a pretty major Battle for Wesnoth campaign, blew 4 full time man months play balancing that.  I've played a lot of Wesnoth 3rd party content.  I've seen a lot of things that suck, and things that don't, so I think I know something and have some credentials about designing content for users.  I hope Mart considers things in the future in terms of setting expectationsDocumenting is sort of the minimum, so that the player isn't just getting a pile of random-seeming "Tomato Surprises".

Designing things so that reasonably capable people can do well on the 1st try, is the next important step.  Well, Mart will do whatever he chooses in the future, in that regard.  I have my own standards on such things.  I note that the original contest rules expected people to submit only their 1st try.  Fine with me, if a scenario is actually designed for that in the 1st place, conscientiously so.  This one wasn't.

I don't have any issue with Mart personally.  I've given my design feedback such as it is, which is something Mart will either consider and accept or reject.  I've definitely fulfilled any obligation to give his modded rules a "fair shake" at this point.  Designers do need feedback from playtesters.

You, on the other hand, have decided to make things personal.  Ergo, I do not seek your company, Kirov.  I can already tell from numerous internet experiences with different personality types, that we are never going to see things eye to eye, which will make us unlikely to ever get along.  We just basically don't value the same things, at all.  So I will just minimize interaction with you, from here on out.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: bvanevery on May 21, 2018, 06:01:28 PM
I made it to MY 2335 again before quitting.  I think this scenario was designed with Abundant fungus, and that really slows things down.  Too much for my taste.  I only really wish to terraform piles and piles of fungus if the scenario is about fungus somehow.

Otherwise, I did some westward expansion into the ocean, on the theory that oceans would ultimately be worth more energy in the long run.  But it was very slow going to establish sea bases and get them terraformed.  With all the land terraforming I was doing instead, not to mention all the sea fungus, it was really pretty modest what I'd accomplished before I quit.  Too much to get rid of.

This concludes my efforts at this scenario.  It has made me think about how I'd design a scenario instead.  I'd certainly make something a lot shorter, with some kind of focal point and designed to be won in a few hours.  To me this not a scenario so much as a field test of "ultra stagnation" game rules.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Brecon on June 11, 2018, 05:34:02 AM
I also played through the scenario (about 1.75 times).  The partial attempt was playing without building colony pods and only defensively to see how it would compare with Kirov's time, in around 2370 it was clear that it would not be close and the Spartans and Pirates were becoming really annoying with missile/ air attacks against my bases and the interceptors to defend caused some drone issues in their home bases.

The second attempt continued from a save I had from the first try about 20-30 turns in.  Since early research was so slow I went planned/wealth for most of the game and, in order to get their tech and avoid losing the Theory of Everything to them, declared vendetta on the Morgans, and took the base with the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm in about the 2330s.  Until 2380 I mostly developed bases, terraformed, and fought against the Morgans.  In the later game once I had the 3rd/4th level engines I pushed further against the Gaians taking most of their bases as well.  The Pirates continued to be annoying with conventional missiles and a few times throughout the game I had to terraform one of their bases out of the water to take before it built a planet buster.  I focused on labs in the capital, only developing labs in most bases after orbital mining and energy satellites were up (probably after 2400).

So the end result was 2436, although for the last 5-10 turns units were ordered to hold and bases stockpiled energy since further management would not have changed the outcome much.

With hindsight I think it was a mistake to focus on the military between 2330-2380 and also a mistake to delay lab improvement in most of the bases for so long.

Thank you to Mart for setting up the game!
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on June 12, 2018, 06:29:39 PM
Standings updated.


The military focus was interesting choice, in 2436 only one SP is outside of DA faction: CDF in Drones base.
So even with tech rate down to 20%, it is possible to reach 1 tech/turn at the end of the tech tree. Increased lab points for Transcendi help a bit, but not that much.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on November 15, 2018, 02:01:17 AM
No more submissions.
The scenario was, however, tried more times, judging from number of downloads. I wonder how many times completed.


The summary is in order...
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Mart on November 16, 2018, 09:05:50 PM

STANDINGS


- - - = = = * * * = = = - - -


PlaceMedalPlayerMY
1 :1st: KirovMY 2393
2 :2nd: BreconMY 2436


Congratulations to the medalists!

- - - = = = * * * = = = - - -

So this GOTM can be considered concluded.
I have in preparation a prequel for it, not finished yet though. But I think about just a free-play/relaxing scenario meanwhile.
Title: Re: Fusion Power Is NOW!
Post by: Kirov on November 18, 2018, 05:02:46 PM
And thanks to you, Mart, for this captivating scenario!   ;b; :danc: