Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => Modding => Topic started by: bvanevery on May 11, 2018, 07:27:10 PM

Title: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 11, 2018, 07:27:10 PM
social engineering choices in version 1.36
social engineering choices in version 1.36
See .zip attached at bottom of post.
From the included readme_mod.txt:

SMACX AI Growth mod
Copyright 2018..2019 by Brandon Van Every
Contact: bvanevery@gmail.com
Version 1.36, October 21, 2019
see CHANGELOG at end of this file

I began this mod in mid-April of 2018.  Its design, and all the playtesting needed to improve it, have taken 8 PERSON MONTHS of full time work to produce.  It has been 18 months of psychological engagement.  In some other universe where I made money, this could have been 2/3rds of a year's salary.  I've moved on to designing my own commercial game from scratch, so that I can actually make money someday, but it is a slow and difficult project.  Any further development of this mod depends on input from playtesters, as I fixed everything I could think of myself.

This mod aspires to professionalism, to be substantially better than the original game.  I hope people will try and enjoy it, as that validates the effort spent.  Please let me know if you find any bugs or omissions.  Thanks to playtesters Rocky, Jade Dragon, Vidsek, and Esper for finding important bugs!  And to modders Tim Nevolin, JNM444, vonbach, PvtHudson, and Mart for ideas borrowed from their own work.

INSTALLATION

- Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri with Alien Crossfire expansion is required.
- This mod contains alphax.txt, the 14 faction *.txt files, and this readme_mod.txt
- Unzip the files and drop them on top of your SMAC installation, overwriting ANY existing files that have the same name.

COMPATIBILITY

- ALWAYS use the alphax.txt and faction *.txt files I have provided.  No one else's.  You are not playing my mod if you are not using my files!
- This mod will work with unofficial binary patches, if they do not REQUIRE changes to alphax.txt.
- Some unofficial binary patches messed with alphax.txt and changed how various things are encoded.  For instance, Yitzi's patch is broken in 3 places and one of them causes a crash.
- Some unofficial binary patches did a good job NOT messing with alphax.txt.  For instance, Scient's patch is known to work because all changes in alphax.txt are optional.  The PRACX graphics patch works fine, because it doesn't affect gameplay and doesn't use alphax.txt at all.
- Some unofficial binary patches are in active development and what they will do is unknown.  YMMV.
- I SUPPORT and PLAYTEST the official game binary.  I try to get the maximum I can out of it, without any unofficial patches at all.  If you see my mod causing a problem in the official game binary, then I want to fix it.
- I don't SUPPORT unofficial binary patches.  Things may or may not work.  It's not my job to make sure it works.  Talk to the unofficial binary patch author if you have a probem specific to their patch.  All of the things I do in the *.txt files work just fine with the official game binary.  It's a very simple system, there's really nothing for me to break.
- I do not PLAYTEST unofficial binary patches.  I may have tried them out awhile ago, but it's not a habit, and I don't try to keep up with their development.
- You can have many installations of SMAC on your computer.  They're small and won't interfere with each other.
- If you try out multiple combos of binary patches and various mods, I suggest you install the game separately for each of them, in distinctly named directories, to keep them all straight.

DESIGN SUMMARY

- I changed the faction research foci because they determine AI early game colonization.
- I made Social Engineering choices that the AI actually likes, uses, and does well with.
- I got the AI to stop overproducing defensive units by adding other predefined units.
- Factions are better rounded, and most don't have penalties.  This helps the AI.
- Aliens are no longer overpowered.  They are no better than normal factions.
- The world generator is tweaked to give the AI factions more land to grow in.
- Choosing 30%..50% land mass yields substantial continents, but still plenty of ocean for the Pirates.
- This mod is designed for a Huge map with 30%..50% land mass.
- Enormous 80x160 and Giant 128x256 maps are also defined.
- On a Standard map, 2 factions on average will not have room to grow.  That can be you!
- Facilities, abilities, and units are assigned to Explore, Discover, Build, or Conquer according to what they actually do.
- Techs, facilities, units, abilities, and Secret Projects are completely reordered to delay the game breakers.
- Costs of overpowered units, facilities, and Secret Projects are greatly increased.
- Clean Reactors are available at the beginning of the game.  This helps the AI with SUPPORT.
- No Secret Projects are available until Tech Tier 3, and they start at 300 minerals.
- Armor has been strengthened to match weapons at the same tech level.
- Sensors give more defense.  Infantry isn't special against bases.
- Mind Control costs are substantially higher.  The AI can no longer buy you for cheap.
- The AI uses Foil and Cruiser Probe Teams now.  Watch your sea bases!
- The AI uses armored Probe Teams now.  Better have a weapon when they come!
- Future Society choices become available in late midgame and are not overpowered.
- Planet Busters and Conventional Missiles can hit anywhere on Planet.
- Completing the entire tech tree is required to Transcend.

LICENSE

Firaxis made a statement in each of the modified *.txt files, that permission is granted to modify their work.  So, this work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA.  That means, if you make substantial use of this work, you must credit me as the author.  And you can't make money from it.

DESIGN DETAILS

Some people release complete, if trivial, commercial games in the time I've spent on this.  Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is a decidedly non-trivial game, one whose complexities have kept me occupied for nearly 20 years.  So it takes much longer to mod it, in any substantive way.  I am at times amazed, when various game developers do "game jams" and claim to produce quality in a short amount of time.  It has never happened with any mod I've worked on.  Adjusting all the variables of a complex wargame, requires LOTS of design iteration and playtesting.  It has "long tail" effects, when you don't realize something is a problem until a playtester tells you 3 months later.  And when you change something, like the narrowness or breadth of the tech tree, the AI behavior can change unexpectedly for the worse.

This mod started as an attempt to model "realistic" growth in the social engineering choices.  Unfortunately the "realism" didn't survive the cold, harsh reality of game mechanics, nor the AI's fixation on GROWTH as a choice.  For instance Green used to have a GROWTH penalty, but the AI would not choose it, even in the original unmodded game!  Only if the AI had learned how to make Locusts of Chiron would it finally accept the penalties of Green, and that was way too late in the game to be acceptable for an AI faction.  To work around this, I made Green not have any penalties.  To try to balance this "free lunch", I minimized the number of bonuses it gets.

"Explore" techs, I decided, are fundamentally misnamed.  Internally, the game files actually talk about "colonization and growth".  Consequently, anything that makes citizens happy, or raises population limits, or increases GROWTH rate, is now considered primarily an "Explore" tech.  Secondarily they are Build techs, because more happy citizens means more squares worked, increasing minerals and energy.  In my opinion the "Explore" category should really be called EXPAND.  But if I could rename it, I wouldn't, as it's unnecessarily confusing to veteran SMAC players.

The assignment of various techs to Explore, Discover, Build, or Conquer has been completely gutted, with no respect paid to the original divisions of the game.  Weapons, armor, and military abilities are strictly for conquering, and they comprise the vast majority of techs in the tree.  Firaxis actually wrote a game with a lot of conquering gewgaws, regardless of any narrative or marketing spin they put on top of it.  For instance, Secret Projects that award 2x votes are now considered tools of Conquest, as in practice, Diplomatic Victory is merely an abbreviated form of Conquest Victory.  Discover techs attempt to be "pure", awarding either new lab facilities, Secret Projects that double lab output in a city, or a free tech to the 1st discoverer.  Build techs directly increase either energy or minerals output.  Happiness and population increasing techs are considered primarily Explore, but they are given a secondary Build weight, since they indirectly result in more minerals and energy.

Because Explore, Discover, Build, and Conquer now reflect the realities of what's actually in the tech tree, the research priorities of many factions have changed.  The choice of Explore, Build, or Conquer also seems to change how the AI colonizes in the early game.  Explore factions seem to spread out more, and Build factions seem to cluster in a tighter group.  Conquer seems to allow for adequate early colonization, but Discover is not so good.  Still, the relationship between these and the rest of the tech tree is not clear, and has shifted over time.  It may be that certain techs also change AI colonization behavior, and I've never known which techs those actually are.  Colonization seems to be working pretty much ok lately though, and factions have a lot more variety in their strategies than they used to.  At some earlier point in my modding, an Explore Conquer focus seemed to be the only "good" choice.  This is what the Believers have in the original game.

The world generator options have been tweaked to produce large solid continents,
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 13, 2018, 03:46:49 PM
I found a minor bug: Gene Splicing is lacking a 2nd prereq.

I'm going to take 3-Res armor away from the Aliens in the next version.  They will finally be de-fanged and more comparable to other factions.

The Explore / ai-growth settings aren't working out as well as I thought they would.  I'm adding Conquer to everyone.  Except Zhakarov, who is just stomping everyone with his tech advantages, now that he doesn't have extra drones to hold him back anymore.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.0.  It was downloaded 12 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 15, 2018, 04:25:21 PM
CHANGELOG

Changed from version 1.0 to 1.1:

- All factions except the Morganites, the Usurpers, and the Pirates focus on Explore to promote empire growth.  The Morganites, unlike any other faction, focus on Build to make the most use of their energy credits.  The Usurpers are so aggressive and dominant that they do fine as a pure Conquer faction.  The Pirates, with the ocean at their back, seem to do fine as a more laid back pure Conquer faction.
- All factions except the University and the Cybernetic Consciousness focus on Conquer.  Conquer techs comprise the bulk of the tech tree and are needed to survive in a rough world.  The exceptions are 2 Discover focused factions with faster research rates.  They seem to discover enough Conquer techs anyways.
- Morganites: removed MORALE penalty.  Now he's Erratic, not Pacifist.
- Cybernetic Conciousness: removed GROWTH penalty.  They were doing doing poorly against other factions.  Made them Aggressive since they can steal techs by conquering bases.
- The Free Drones: removed RESEARCH penalty.  They were doing poorly against other factions.
- The Hive: removed INDUSTRY bonus.  Added +1 SUPPORT instead.  Without Police State available at the beginning, they were colonizing very poorly.  They often founded their first 2 cities, built a lot of Scouts, and then ran out of minerals.  It's as though they expected to start with more SUPPORT than they had.
- Data Angels: 2 Probe Teams given at start, to make up for not yet knowing how to make new ones.
- Aliens: no longer get a free Recycling Tank.  They were having too easy a time growing bases and then killing humans.  Many things can't be taken away from them because specifying "ALIEN" hardwires a lot of stuff, but this one was removeable.
- Gene Splicing: was missing a 2nd prerequisite.  Now also requires Ethical Calculus.

- Aliens: they are hardwired to have Progenitor Psych and Field Modulation at the start of the game.  It is unmoddabe.  Reshuffled the tech tree to compensate:
--> Progenitor Psych: now a C2 tech, with no useful attribute other than talking to the Aliens.  It is deliberately made a Conquer tech so that an Explore focus doesn't automatically trigger Alien interaction.  Social Psych and Doctrine: Flexibility are prereqs. 
--> Field Modulation: now a C3 level tech, and a prereq for Adaptive Doctrine.
--> Moved Hypnotic Trance ability from Progenitor Psych to Field Modulation.
--> 3-Res armor, Trance Plasma Garrison, Trance 3-Res Garrison: moved to Adaptive Doctrine, so aliens can't have them at beginning of the game.  Aliens have so many other advantages they don't need armor as well.
--> Changed various prereqs to make up for hole left by moving Field Modulation.

- Social Psych: set wealth=3 to make it discoverable by Build factions.  It is difficult to create wealth when stuck at size 2.
- Industrial Base: made Social Psych a prereq instead of Doctrine: Flexibility, since Social Psych is now partly a Build tech.
- Centauri Empathy: now Doctrine: Flexibility is a prereq instead of Social Psych.
- Doctrine: Loyalty: set power=4 making it a Conquer tech.  set growth=3 as Fundamentalism greatly increases population growth.
- Planetary Networks: set power=4 making it a Conquer tech.  set growth=3 as Police State increases police, making people happier.
- Adaptive Economics: set power=3 f to make it discoverable by Conquer factions.  Increase in SUPPORT is useful for militaries.
- Adaptive Economics: set wealth=2 to make it discoverable by Build factions.  WEALTH and EFFICIENCY go down, but INDUSTRY and SUPPORT go up.  The latter are effectively an increase in minerals, which is a kind of wealth production.
- High Energy Chemistry: made it a C1 tech with no prereqs.  The AI was obsessing about building Scouts and Trance Scouts at the beginning of the game.  Having Synthmetal armor available sooner slows it down.
- changed various prereqs to make up for hole left by moving High Energy Chemistry.

- Trance Scout: when specified as a Defensive unit, AI builds them obsessively and runs out of minerals.  AI doesn't understand the idea of building 1 such unit to fend off mindworms early in the game.  Now specified as a Reconnaisance unit.
- Troop Crawler: incorrectly specified as a Naval Transport unit.  This caused the AI to build obsessive numbers of them in sea bases.  Now specified as a Reconnaisance unit.
- Troop Crawler: now available with Doctrine: Flexibility since that's when Troop Transport becomes available.  It's not particularly mobile anyways, so Doctrine: Mobility seemed inappropriate.  It remains to be seen whether the unit is useful to anyone.  It was put in by someone's request, but the AI doesn't know what to do with it.
- Heavy Artillery: AI was building 2-1-1 artillery units obsessively at the beginning of the game.  Moved it from C1 Applied Physics to C3 Nonlinear Mathematics to slow the AI down.

- Telepathic Matrix: Changed ai-fight interest from Aggressive to Erratic.  It's mainly about making people permanently happy, which is useful to more than just Aggressive / Conquest factions.  Also made it of interest to ai-growth factions.
- The Cloudbase Academy: set ai-infra=2 and ai-colonize=2 since free Aerospace Complex allows for full resource bonuses from satellites.
- The Space Elevator: set ai-colonize=2 since cheaper Sky Hydroponics Labs grow colonies faster.
- Clinical Immortality: set ai-colonize=2 since it makes people happy.  Set ai-mil=2 since it doubles votes.  Set ai-infra=0 as it doesn't produce wealth.
- The Self-Aware Colony: set ai-colonize=2 since it makes people happy if police are available.
- The Cloning Vats: set ai-colonize=2 as it produces lots of people.
- The Nano Factory: set ai-mil=2 as in-field repairs are for conquest.
- The Dream Twister: set ai-fight=1 and ai-mil=2 as psi attacks are for conquest.  set ai-growth=0, it does nothing for growth.
- The Longevity Vaccine: set ai-colonize=2 because Planned and Green choices make people happy.
- The Ascetic Virtues: set ai-mil=1 because increased police allows more conquest with fewer consequences.  set ai-infra=0 because it does not produce wealth.  set ai-colonize=2 because population limit increases, and increased police make people happier.
- The Planetary Datalinks: set ai-mil=1, ai-tech=1, ai-infra=1, ai-colonize=1 because old techs are of mild interest to all factions.  ai-tech is only 1 because a Discover faction is probably in the tech lead and won't increase that lead by building The Planetary Datalinks.
- The Neural Amplifier: set ai-mil=1 because Trance is of mild interest to conquerors.
- The Xenoempathy Dome: set ai-mil=2 because quick fungus movement is of major interest to conquerors.  Set ai-colonize=1 because it's only mildly helpful for colonization.
- The Planetary Transit System: set ai-infra=0 and ai-colonize=2 since it's about bigger colonies and making them happier, not wealth.
- The Virtual World: set ai-infra=0 and ai-colonize=2 since it's about making people happier, not wealthier.
- The Empath Guild: set ai-mil=2 since it doubles votes and infiltrates factions.  set ai-infra=0 since it does not produce wealth.
- The Weather Paradigm: set ai-colonize=2 since faster farms and earlier Condensers allow more growth.
- The Human Genome Project: set ai-infra=0 and ai-colonize=2 since it's about happier people, not wealthier people.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.1.  It was downloaded 15 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 21, 2018, 06:13:02 PM
I will release a version 1.2 soon, but I need to do some more playtesting, to make sure I haven't overlooked more things.  Morgan's city size penalty is going away, because Hab Complexes are an E5 tech in my mod.  It's just too long to expect him to wait.  Social Engineering choices need a little tweaking.  Copters are getting slightly nerfed, I think by reducing speed from 8 to 6.  That's all I've seen so far.  I still haven't made it through a complete game yet.  Now I tend to get to midgame before finding something that needs changing.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Green1 on May 21, 2018, 07:51:43 PM
I found a minor bug: Gene Splicing is lacking a 2nd prereq.

I'm going to take 3-Res armor away from the Aliens in the next version.  They will finally be de-fanged and more comparable to other factions.

The Explore / ai-growth settings aren't working out as well as I thought they would.  I'm adding Conquer to everyone.  Except Zhakarov, who is just stomping everyone with his tech advantages, now that he doesn't have extra drones to hold him back anymore.


The Aliens were never supposed to be balanced.

When you play a game with an alien in it, you are signing up for a play style. An unstoppable monster is on the loose. Can you do something about it? Tech up and fight back? Form a temporary alliance to stop it? Try to survive? Hope you do not have "Do or Die" checked off in the rules panel if you start next to them?

When you defang and declaw monster and paint it's nails it ceases to be a monster.

I'd say keep their 3-res armor and recycle tanks.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 22, 2018, 01:37:26 AM
The Aliens were never supposed to be balanced.

I don't really care what things were ever supposed to be in SMACX.  I am making them into what I think they should be.  You could argue that Morgan was supposed to be a crippled faction, just as easily as the Aliens were supposed to be overpowered.  I'm having neither!

Quote
When you play a game with an alien in it, you are signing up for a play style.

Perhaps you are.  Perhaps you will hate this more "centrist" mod.  I still think the Aliens are powerful, because they have Directed Research and nobody else does.  They seem to be doing just fine and still dominant in all the short test games I've played with them so far. 

Quote
When you defang and declaw monster and paint it's nails it ceases to be a monster.

Yep.  And for the record, I am not now, nor have I ever been, interested in "monster" faction mods.  You can of course figure out how to load any custom faction into whatever game you wish.  That sort of thing won't be in anything I ship or support.

Quote
I'd say keep their 3-res armor and recycle tanks.

And I wouldn't.  The Aliens are interesting because they are allowed Directed Research, and have advantages and disadvantages compared to other factions.  They do not operate the same way as a human faction - no UN, no Commerce, they have an Energy Grid, they hate each other permanently, human and alien bases have mutually exclusive populations.  They have a tremendous vulnerability to nerve gas, because there's no punishment for using it against them.  Although they start slightly later than other factions, they get 3 colony pods and a Battle Ogre.  These are reasons to keep the Aliens in the game, and have them interact with other factions.  I am sure you are aware that some players would like the Aliens out of the game completely.

BTW also for the record, I think anyone who plays with the Directed Research option turned on for all the factions, is cheating.  Full stop.  Nobody gets my sympathy if that's how they want to play the game.  So in my universe, an Alien faction with Directed Research is a huge advantage.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Green1 on May 22, 2018, 03:27:47 AM
Merely a suggestion. Carry on.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 22, 2018, 04:10:51 PM
Have you played it yet?  My suggestion is that you do so, before worrying about things in the Changelog.  AFAIAC the Aliens aren't Monsters anymore, but they're clearly dominant.  Anyways wait 5 minutes, I'm releasing version 1.2.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 22, 2018, 04:15:18 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.1 to 1.2:

- Morganites: removed city size penalty.  In this mod, Hab Complexes are obtained substantially later in the game.  It's an E5 tech, comparable in difficulty to obtaining Hybrid Forests.  Morgan simply cannot make a beeline for it to solve his problem.  Having a reduced base size for that long is far too harsh a penalty.
- Believers: gave Social Psych back to them as a starting tech.  They often flounder badly at the beginning to the point of dropping dead, and it's not easy to research Social Psych even with a normal research rate.
- Hive: gave IMPUNITY to Planned economy.  Changed incorrect Datalink entry from INDUSTRY bonus to SUPPORT bonus.
- Police State: removed Economy penalty because it hurts a lot, and other bonuses don't make up for it.  In an unmodded game, people are made a lot happier with Police State.  Now you only get a little bit happier.
- Free Market: added +1 Efficiency.  It had too many penalties and not enough benefits compared to other economies.
- Green Economy: reduced Efficiency from +2 to +1.  It had too many benefits compared to other economies, and it is not realistic anyways.
- Progenitor Energy Grid: added description back to Caretaker and Usurper HELP entries.  I had incorrectly deleted them as I thought it was flavor text about Recycling Tanks.  Changed the description because it is poor, and added a hyperlink to the HELP entry for "Energy Grid".
- Copter chassis: reduced speed from 8 to 6.  They get way too many attacks in the standard game.
- Command Center: moved to C2 Planetary Networks.
- Perimeter Defense: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.  When it was a C1 tech, Believers obsessed about building them early, crippling their growth.
- The Citizens' Defense Force: moved to C4 Adaptive Doctrine.
- The Command Nexus: moved to C4 Advanced Military Algorithms.
- The Empath Guild: moved to C6 Homo Superior.
- The Neural Amplifier: moved to C5 Neural Grafting.
- The Human Genome Project: moved to D3 Gene Splicing.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.2. It was downloaded 8 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2018, 12:19:39 AM
I played a somewhat longer test game today to the Advanced Military Algorithms era.  I played the Pirates, intending to nuke everyone eventually, but I never got that far.  I was off the coast of the Monsoon Jungle.  I ran into the Spartans immediately, who settled the north of the Jungle.  The Believers settled the south.  Between these new "balanced" factions, the Spartans completely wiped the floor with the Believers.  The Believers mostly killed the Morganites, although they escaped.  The Spartans also killed the Cybernetic Consciousness, who seemed stillborn.  I've been playing on Standard sized maps with my customized "more land, but keep oceans" settings.  I think they are not large enough for everyone to survive and thrive, as there always seems to be at least 1 faction that's a complete runt.  The Planet Cult also did poorly, but didn't get wiped by the time I quit.

Why quit?  Well, I just didn't seem to have the right force mix to make effective incursions against the Spartans.  They couldn't, or didn't, do anything to me, but I didn't do much to them.  Took 1 city in their far north.  Soon lost it, as it wasn't that easy for me to reinforce.  My productivity rate seemed relatively low, so choosing the right force mix is important, and I didn't do that well.  I, uh, don't know how to play my own mod!  Spartans go Elite and that kinda hurts.

Technology also went slooooowly.  I kept the Pirates' default "Conquer only" focus.  I find that various Explore (Growth) technologies never get discovered that way.  Nor did anyone else discover them, because Sparta was too busy warring with the Believers.  Sooo for instance no Hologram Theaters, ever.  There's something about the density at which I've packed the tech tree, and the preponderance of Conquer techs, that can prevent Explore (Growth) techs from being discovered.  You keep getting new weapons and armor, which is fine, as that's what you said you wanted... but it has consequences.  Like not having enough money to afford more Command Centers.  Well, uh, yeah, I went for Power.  New version of Power penalizes Economy.  Granted just a HQ penalty, but it means I wasn't making money either.

Guess Morgan could have provided relief from those problems.  But he got killed.

I think next time I try Huge maps.  Just not enough land area for everyone to survive and thrive.  The world settings were originally designed with Enormous 80x160 maps in mind.

Yes I spent time defanging the Caretakers and Usurpers.  I'm not currently playing test games with them.  I'm wondering if I've created new monsters, changing the faction settings.  Are the Spartans going to be overpowered now?  Or are they just overpowered if they get the Monsoon Jungle?  What about the Hive?  I wonder if they don't have enough penalties anymore.  Time will tell.  I should probably put the 2 of them in a game together to see who dominates.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2018, 10:49:43 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.2 to 1.3:

- Police State: is back to giving +2 POLICE.  -1 ECONOMY is reinstated to offset the happiness gained from POLICE.  The PROBE bonus is removed.  The idea of a "lighter weight" Police State that would be easier for other factions to choose, didn't work.  A Police State needs to keep a certain number of people happy or it's just not worth choosing as a government.  There is no Political choice for PROBE bonuses now.  If you want more PROBE, you'll need Power or Thought Control. 
- Democratic: changed POLICE penalty from -2 to -1.  -2 doesn't allow the use of police, it is too harsh for early factions.  -1 merely doesn't allow the use of nerve stapling.
- Hive: removed +1 POLICE bonus, as when combined with Police State it would be overpowered.
- Pirates, Peacekeepers: removed -1 EFFICIENCY penalty.  It creates a lot of difficultly picking an early government.  Most other factions had one of their penalties removed, and these factions didn't.
- Gaians: changed back to +2 EFFICIENCY.  Making it +1 wasn't a good idea; the Gaians aren't especially strong and don't need to be weakened.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.3.  It was downloaded 10 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Green1 on May 26, 2018, 05:47:17 AM
I will be honest.

I am not wanting to post feedback or play test data I feel my suggestions would be cast aside or marginalized.

You say not to list changelogs.. just "try", but like Yitzi, you fail to know the reasons why...

I am a patient man and will go through it with you if you if you would like.. A community service really. You pissed off the MPers, but to be honest, you are not a pure MPer of any game unless you are pissed and elitist in some form. BU SLANDER!!!At least the 4x guys are merely passive aggressive. Hell, the MOBA guys would tell you to asphyxiate yourself with a lap top cord...



Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 26, 2018, 02:50:18 PM
I am not wanting to post feedback or play test data I feel my suggestions would be cast aside or marginalized.

When you give feedback to someone who has designed a game, or a mod, you have to accept the fact that their design priorities might be different from your own.  Things you don't like, might be deliberate on the designer's part, and very much intended to give a different experience.  A designer might not act on a particular piece of advice you give.  Indeed, much of designing is ignoring things that people have to say, as well as listening.  The designer is the Keeper of the Vision and has to use his / her judgment about what that vision is.  It's not mob rule.

Quote
You say not to list changelogs.. just "try",

I said not to worry about changelogs without actually trying the changes 1st.  Specifically I would say, don't complain about the Aliens until you've fought them.  From where I sit, they seem to spam an awful lot of 4-2-1's.  Now, as we discussed before, if you think the point of having Aliens is to have this godawful, painful, "Monster" faction to fight, as a designer I don't agree with you and I'm not going to do it.  Such pleas fall on deaf ears.  You can of course make any mod you like if you want "Monster" factions.  There are large archives of such things available; don't get me started on issues of curation.

I would also note, when interacting with designers of any game: if you start off not playing something, and with a complaint, designers don't like that.  Unless it's some bug or egregious oversight or gross imbalance where they were half asleep, when you've really saved them from some unnoticed foible.  Whereas, if your 1st reaction to their stated design intent is "negative, and I haven't even played it!" well guess how much consideration that buys you?  I'd say it buys patient reiteration of design intent, and no more.  I've put a month into this; your complaint took you what, 10 minutes?  You get out what you put in.  If you had playtested my mod and then complained, I'd take it more seriously.  You'd probably also have better feedback about how the Aliens have been "weakened".

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I am a patient man and will go through it with you if you if you would like..

You need to do what you like, what you believe in.  I'm not here to twist your arm.

This mod changes a lot of stuff.  Mostly when things happen, that's 90% of it.  What, usually stays the same, although there are some exceptions like the Social Engineering Choices, lessening faction penalties, and how (I hope) the AI works.  I've written extensively about what has changed, it's like it says in the readme_mod.txt.  I don't expect anyone to play this mod "blind", with no idea what has changed.  Now if you read all of that, and you aren't actually inspired to try, because the changes aren't speaking to your needs as a SMAC player, well maybe it's not the mod for you.  Why play something you think is likely to be a drag?  If you think "SMAC is great as is" then you wouldn't need any mod.  Or if you think "what SMAC really needs is more uber difficult Monster factions" well you can download those, it's not this mod.

Quote
Hell, the MOBA guys would tell you to asphyxiate yourself with a lap top cord...

I have wondered about the tenor of modding communities, especially when $0 is transacted.  So far, here's what I've seen.  Some people on Reddit have thanked me for even working on this, for such an old game.  Some people have downloaded my mod, that's a good sign.  Each new version has been downloaded, so interest hasn't dropped to zero.  I do not know if anyone has played it other than myself, because nobody has commented to say they did so.

You opened up with a complaint, without playing it.  Now you are talking about "MOBA guys" being extremely rude to some hypothetical designer who gives away their work for free.  Frankly at this point, I think anyone who thought they had a right to express such hostility about "free beer", doesn't have a leg to stand on.  I've chewed people out after playing their mod / campaign / whatever.  Then I ended up joining some guy's campaign team and dumping 4 months of my life into polishing up his work. I got out what I put in.  Too much in that case; long time since I've done a campaign or mod at this scale, because it doesn't help me put food on the table.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 28, 2018, 01:08:03 AM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.3 to 1.4:

- Bio-Engineering: changed it from an E5 to an E4 tech.  It enables Hab Complexes and the Ascetic Virtues.  I like delaying Hab Complexes some, but waiting for an E5 tech takes way too long.
- Intellectual Integrity: changed it from an E4 to an E3 tech.
- Single-Sided Surfaces: changed it from an E5 to an E6 tech.
- Advanced Ecological Engineering: changed it from an E6 to an E5 tech.
- Monopole Magnets: changed it from an E3 to an E4 tech.
- Polymorphic Software: changed it from a C3 to a C4 tech.
- Centauri Meditation: set wealth=3 because Empaths increase energy, and the Xenoempathy Dome removes fungus faster.
- The Xenoempathy Dome: set ai-infra=1 because it removes fungus faster.
- Centauri Psi: set wealth=3 because the Pholus Mutagen makes more minerals possible without eco-damage.
- The Pholus Mutagen: set ai-mil=2 because it gives combat bonus in fungus.
- Changed various dependencies to fill holes and balance the tech tree.
- Temple of Planet: was unavailable!  Now available with Eudaimonia.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.4. It was downloaded 15 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Esper on May 28, 2018, 07:43:35 PM
I'm liking the mod so far, it really freshens up the gameplay experience. There is one issue I've run into though: sometimes the AI will go crazy and start moving around its missiles in and out of the same base, in an infinite loop. The same sort of thing happens in the vanilla game, but with the massive boost to missile range in this mod, it's so bad that this went on for over 10 minutes and the turn processing still hadn't ended. I had to force quit and lower the missile speed rating in the alphax file to progress any further.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 29, 2018, 03:05:59 PM
Oh wow that's a really interesting bug.  I honestly haven't made it far enough in the game to make missiles myself, let alone see the AI make any.  It sounds like the AI is using the missiles as "super scouts".  Did you find a practical threshold to lower the missile speed to?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Esper on May 29, 2018, 04:41:49 PM
I haven't really had time to experiment, I just lowered the speed rating back down to 12. Sadly the missiles automatically return to base the next turn, even though they have plenty of range left on them before they'd crash.

Just another minor thing is that if you choose democratic on the social engineering table, Yang will eventually pronounce vendetta on you, but rant about your "brutal police state".
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 29, 2018, 10:55:36 PM
Try setting missiles to speed 64.  For testing, I made an "idiot nuke" unit that everyone could have at the beginning of the game.  I made it cost as much as a Scout so that everyone could get lots of testing.  I observed that speeds of 84 or higher would lock up the game, when the AI got around to trying to use them.  82 seemed safe, but as it was only a fission unit, engines at the end of the tech tree will introduce higher speeds and perhaps show the bug again.  I've currently got missiles with speed 64 and range 2.  That gives 128 fuel, enough to hit anywhere even on a Giant 256x128 map if you're careful.

I'm willing to credit you in the Changelog for having found this bug.  Do you want to be credited as "Esper" or something else?

As for the Democracy vs. "brutal police state" complaining, I have no idea.  Unless there's an "accidental paste" error somewhere from fumbling my keyboard, I didn't change any dialog lines for that.  I looked at the differences with a diff tool to make sure, and I found no dialog differences.  What faction were you?  Did you have a positive POLICE rating, say from building the Ascetic Virtues, or choosing Thought Control?  Maybe the game just looks at your stats and decides what kind of society you're closest to.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Esper on May 30, 2018, 01:32:18 AM
Seems to work fine for me so far with a speed of 64 like you say.

As for the Democracy vs. "brutal police state" complaining, I have no idea.  Unless there's an "accidental paste" error somewhere from fumbling my keyboard, I didn't change any dialog lines for that.  I looked at the differences with a diff tool to make sure, and I found no dialog differences.  What faction were you?  Did you have a positive POLICE rating, say from building the Ascetic Virtues, or choosing Thought Control?  Maybe the game just looks at your stats and decides what kind of society you're closest to.

I was playing as the Drones, standard 0 police rating, no projects that affect police rating. He said the same when using Fundamentalist politics too. It's odd but no big deal.

I'm willing to credit you in the Changelog for having found this bug.  Do you want to be credited as "Esper" or something else?

I don't need any crediting, but if you want to, Esper works fine.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 31, 2018, 02:29:33 AM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.4 to 1.5:

- Missiles: playtester Esper discovered that missiles with a speed of 99 hang the game when the AI tries to use them.  Reduced speed to 64 and refueling range to 2.  This seems to prevent hangs and is still enough range to hit anywhere on a Giant 256x128 map.
- Planet Buster missile: changed cost to 300 minerals, equal to many Secret Projects.
- Conventional Missile: changed cost to 100 minerals, due to increased range, and to stop the AI from spamming them so easily.
- Tectonic Missile: changed cost to 150 minerals due to increased range.
- Fungal Missile: changed cost to 120 minerals due to increased range.
- Missiles: added as basic unit types so that they have accurate costs in the Datalinks.  The entries for Chassis types and Payloads are misleading because some odd formulas are used to calculate final cost.  Also, permanent unit types ensure that they don't disappear as unit workshop designs fill up.  I've had fission Planet Busters, gotten rid of them, discovered Quantum engines later in the game, but had no design slots free, so suddenly I didn't know how to make Planet Busters anymore.
- N-Space Compression: set growth=3 because Tectonic Missiles create new land and access to land, which can be colonized.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.5.  It was downloaded 16 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 01, 2018, 12:54:03 AM
I have begun an After Action Report using version 1.5, partly to illustrate the changes, partly to improve my narrative.  It's written in a roleplay style rather than a straight "I did this".  I'm taking a new approach and writing the entire thing offline.  Afterwards I will look at the writing I've accumulated, and decide how to punch it up.  If I find any bugs or misfeatures while playing, I may change them for a version 1.6, but I expect that changes are probably done now.  I didn't want to start on the project while the mod was still in flux.

The theme of the AAR is a Pirate faction being extraordinarily violent ala the great dictators of history, and sinking all land masses with a plethora of Planet Busters.  I say "a" Pirate faction because they are named the Aquatic Hegemony.  I won't reveal the name of the pirate leader at this time, because it may change, but it isn't Svensgaard.  I've always hated that mamby pamby boy.  Only thing he's got going for him is a funky eyeball.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 01, 2018, 02:39:13 PM
Well my AAR effort folded pretty quickly.  The primary problem is I don't actually know how to play the Pirates with my new tech tree!  Lotta annoying stagnation occurred, shelling the Believers over and over again turn after turn.  The secondary problem is the narrative didn't have any meat on it.  I had initial ideas triggered by some items in the tech tree like Doctrine: Loyalty.  One might think of those tech tree entries as writing prompts or triggering events, excuses to tell a story.  But they didn't come often enough, for the number of turns spent, to develop into anything of substance.  It all felt very thin, and left me wondering, what would I actually like to see happening in a 4X TBS game, that isn't happening?  So at some point I might try again by completely making up gameplay, things that aren't actually happening and can't happen in SMAC.

Meanwhile I'm just learning how to play the Pirates properly.  I started out with a pure Conquer research focus, which is the default for that faction anyways.  This seems well advised because there are so many Conquer techs now, and it's important to keep up.  However there comes a point at which one really needs the Explore techs to keep people happy.  I didn't make a good transition on that.  Instead I just tried having "Doctor layabouts" while I continued with business as usual.  Typically I'd have size 6 bases with 2 Doctors.  I had enough food from all the kelp that this is doable, but my roleplay of "loathing the land" was counterproductive for actually destroying enemy cities on land.  Better luck next time.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on June 01, 2018, 09:26:25 PM
Interesting. I'm tempted to try it myself. I just solve the alien problem by removing them from the game.
I've never been a fan of them.  Drones with no research penalty is interesting. In the right hands that faction
is exceedingly powerful to begin with.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 02, 2018, 02:32:09 PM
But the Drones don't get that +2 Industry bonus either.  It's only +1 now.  They're also the only faction that gets an Industry bonus.  Yang's was taken away.  That said, all factions (except Morgan) can use the new Planned economy.  The Industry bonus is the same as before, but it also gives +1 Support, and the penalties are -1 Economy -1 Efficiency.  Easier to stomach, so it's a useful choice for anyone so inclined.

I played another Pirate game last night and did much better with the transition from Conquer to Explore.  However, I've repeatedly experienced an interesting research phenomenon compared to the unmodded game.  If you don't choose Discover at some point, you will never learn Information Networks.  This is a consequence of my "pure research" approach to the Discover track, at least trying to be as pure as the various lab facilities actually allow.  You can't count on getting Information Networks out of a pod, I popped tons of pods and never got it.  You can't count on the University or the Cybernetic Consciousness being willing to sell it to you.  You can steal it, if they're in the game, but what if you don't want to?  Or what if you do, but they're so far across the board that it's too tedious to push a foil probe team that far?  Well I guess at some point, a lack of research facilities becomes a real bottleneck, so you get more motivated to do something about it.  At midnight I just quit that game, lesson learned.

Probe teams BTW have nothing to do with Information Networks etc.  You get them from Planetary Networks, but the prereqs are Doctrine: Mobility and Doctrine: Flexibility (which is an E1 tech, no prereqs).  The idea is that probe teams are considered to be Conquer technologies.  If you think about it, an information network does not have to exist for something to be hacked.  What about units?  Mobility and Flexibiliy were chosen so that I could guarantee a Foil Probe Team was an appropriate thing to enable with Planetary Networks.  And yes, the AI does use them.  They will come all the way across an Enormous map just to bother your sea bases.  I've been building armored infantry chassis probe teams in my sea bases, defensive units that aren't expected to go anywhere.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on June 02, 2018, 08:05:39 PM
Bear in mind the Drones revolution has no effect outside of multiplayer. What you did with the believers seems a lot like what I ended up with. Minus the planet penalty
which I always found stupid. The way you balanced the factions is interesting. The Hive is especially interesting. The Cyborgs are overpowered now though that crippling growth
penalty was the only thing that kept them balanced.
As  far as the social engineering  changes. Free Market penalties are a bit extreme and Planned seems to good. Green is interesting.
Power the Industry penalty is crippling. I simply tried making life easier for the AI by removing most the penalties.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 03, 2018, 01:03:34 AM
Minus the planet penalty which I always found stupid.

I retained it for narrative flavor.  The idea that they think it's Eden, and not what it actually is, appeals to me.  It is reminiscent of the old Star Trek episode The Way to Eden (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Way_to_Eden).  Juicy ripe grenade fruits indeed!

Quote
The Cyborgs are overpowered now though that crippling growth
penalty was the only thing that kept them balanced.

I disagree.  You may not have noticed that their RESEARCH is only +1 now.  Zhakarov is the only "on steroids" research faction with a +2, and these are the only two bonus research factions in the game.  Hmm, steroids don't sound like the right drug, what do those lab rats take to keep working?  Gotta be more than coffee.  Besides, Roze surely monopolizes the coffee trade.

The only faction I'm wondering if it's really overpowered now, is the Spartans.  They seem to kick major booty.  I will be watching them.  I haven't actually fought them yet, as playtesting has tended to reveal "yet another thing that needs changing" before actually getting across an Enormous map to them.

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As  far as the social engineering  changes. Free Market penalties are a bit extreme

In my mod they are less than the penalties of the original game.  And you get +1 EFFICIENCY, because let's face it, Free Markets are more efficient in some brutal sense of the term.

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Power the Industry penalty is crippling.

Not as crippling as it was.  It's only -1 now.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 03, 2018, 01:09:28 AM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.5 to 1.6:

- Information Networks: changed it from a D1 to a D2 tech.  It explicitly requires a "Discover" focus to research it.  Failure to do so, causes prohibitive delays in one's research.  I don't mind having SOME delay compared to an unmodded game, but it was too much.  By giving it some prereqs, it is farther along the Discover research path, and doesn't interfere with other tech paths as much.  Removed it as a dependency for Industrial Economics, since it's not a Build tech and such a severe bottleneck.
- Biogenetics: changed it from a D2 to a D1 tech.  It is not a "pure" Discover tech, it also has a Conquer component due to the alien lifecycle bonus.  As such, it is better suited to be a "no prereqs" tech.  Every AI faction in the game focuses on either Conquer or Discover, so every faction will eventally research it.  It gives a small, constant bonus to Labs output, which is appropriate at the very beginning of the game.
- changed various dependencies due to the reshuffling of these techs.
- University: removed Information Networks as a starting tech, since it's now a prereq for important Secret Project techs.  He still gets a free Network Node at every base, so he doesn't need to start with that tech.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.6.  It was downloaded 12 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on June 03, 2018, 03:08:30 AM
Quote
I retained it for narrative flavor.  The idea that they think it's Eden, and not what it actually is, appeals to me.
By that logic they should get a plus to planet not a penalty. Its just the anti Christian bias again.
Quote
The only faction I'm wondering if it's really overpowered now, is the Spartans.
Spartans always do well because they're aggressive and they bring rovers. Its more that than anything else.
Drones always did poorly because their AI is passive. The cyborgs took forever to build for the AI but if left
alone were obnoxiously powerful. Its the Research paired with Effic.
Quote
In my mod they are less than the penalties of the original game.
Free market economics penalties in the base game were just stupid. Your mod makes it better but I think the penalties are still too much.
I just solved the problem of penalties by removing most of the penalties for everything.
Quote
Not as crippling as it was.  It's only -1 now
.
I never liked the industry penalty. The problem is Power is actually quite good.

Unfortunately I could not get this mod to work.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ultimo on June 03, 2018, 05:42:22 PM
Hello there! Very nice mod indeed! But any chance to make it compatible with Yitzi's unofficial SMAX patch?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 04, 2018, 04:08:44 AM
By that logic they should get a plus to planet not a penalty. Its just the anti Christian bias again.

Umm maybe you didn't watch that STTOS episode, but the ringleader died from eating poison fruit in the "garden of Eden".  Because, as Spock attests, this cult leader is actually insane.

The question is to what degree the Believers are completely delusional about what Planet actually is.  Narratively, the story doesn't actually talk about it all that much.  Maybe not at all?  I can't think of a single quote where Miriam rattles on about "we think it's Eden".  Of course the original SMAC opens with the passage from the Conclave Bible, but there's nothing about that reading which suggests the Believers take it literally.  All we really have is 1 line of text in the Faction description: "Believe Planet is their promised land."

Talking about Planet seems to be Deirdre's schtick.  Then in SMACX, the Usurpers get to fantasize about becoming gods.  I think the Believers' viewpoint on the Planet sentience is actually unknown and uncommented upon, other than that 1 line.

The Believers go on and on a lot about God really existing, "just behind the last theorem".  Zhakarov and Yang present the atheist points of view.  The Believers also get really worried about various "false gods" being elevated above humanity, whether nanorobots or self-aware colonies.

Then for the Universal Translator movie we get thrown a loop where there's something seemingly Biblical on a Monolith somewhere.  WTF?  Little too gratuitously X Files or Ancient Alien Astronaut theory for my tastes, mainly because it wasn't really set up to be intelligible.  I feel like someone just made a SP movie with a curve ball thrown in.  Narratively in terms of the entire story, it strikes me as pretty weak.

It might be an interesting exercise to write a more religiously themed story, as SMAC is being played.  I'm not sure if those occasional narrative "screens of text" can be modded or not, to put more meat in a narrative.  I'm not willing to do voice acting even if it could technically be done.  Writing is "cheap" and expensive enough in terms of doing a good job.  Voice acting, I think that's more appropriate for one's own intellectual property.  Frankly if I made my own 4X TBS I don't think I'd voice act it at first.  I think I'd make it an expansion pack and make people pay for it, either as an addon or crowd funded.

Quote
Spartans always do well because they're aggressive and they bring rovers. Its more that than anything else.

I took away their starting Rovers.  They have to research Doctrine: Mobility just like anyone else.  Basically the Spartans are now +2 Morale, that's it.  No bonuses, no penalties.  They do get their free prototyping as before.  Something seems to be a bit messed up with prototyping in general now though.  Maybe because I included basic unit designs?  Oh well, I'll investigate later.

Quote
I never liked the industry penalty. The problem is Power is actually quite good.

Social engineering choices are supposed to be tradeoffs, not just new free stuff.  I thought -2 Industry sucked hard, so I changed it to -1 Industry -1 Economy.  I general I find that all these -1 Economy penalties I put in lieu of other things, do end up hurting as they accumulate.  You start noticing you don't have enough money.

Quote
Unfortunately I could not get this mod to work.

I'm not sure what the problem would be?  You drop the .txt files on top of a plain SMACX installation.  I use the Good Old Games version myself.  If you are using something patched like Yitzi that also changes alphax.txt, then yes it's going to be completely hosed.  Install a clean vanilla SMACX in a different directory, then drop the .txt files on top of that.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 04, 2018, 04:19:45 AM
Hello there! Very nice mod indeed! But any chance to make it compatible with Yitzi's unofficial SMAX patch?

I'm not willing to do that unless there's an automated, scripted way to do it.  I'm not going to develop 2 versions of this mod.

If you yourself came up with an automated script to make it work, I'd be willing to test your script as part of my release cycle.  Assuming you have it properly in a GIT repository or otherwise readily released, available, and maintained.

If you wanted me to come up with such a script, well unfortunately, I haven't seen any indication of substantial value add from the Yitzi patch, for my purposes.  The bottom line is it doesn't improve AI performance at all.  The main modding features I noticed, are adding lots of options for controlling eco-damage.  My own mod doesn't deal with that.  It's about trying to improve the AI, different Social Engineering choices, more well rounded factions, and trying to make the pacing of the tech tree "better" with respect to how soon or late you get stuff.  My version of "better". 

In various threads we've debated the merits and demerits of Yitzi patch.  I honestly haven't been bitten by any standard SMAC bugs lately.  So for what I've been doing, I don't really need a patch.  Some people have commented that Yitzi may fix some bugs, at the cost of making other things unstable, in essence giving you new bugs.  Since I'm doing just fine with the old bugs, I'm inclined to avoid fixing what isn't broken from my standpoint.

YMMV.  I'm sure Yitzi had his reasons for pursuing such an extensive effort, but the visibility of the "fixes" just hasn't been apparent to me personally.

Bear in mind that if you do try to make an automated scripter, Yitzi actually changed the encodings for a few of the game's values.  I've actually wondered about "unpatching" these and releasing a Yitzi patch 3.5e.  However, Yitzi anything isn't currently worth me doing the work.  I've just gotten as far as noting, he created a minor problem for standardized modding.

I am curious, and should ask, why do you personally want Yitzi patch?  Is it for abstract feel-good reasons of thinking it's a "good" patch?  Or is there something very specific that it's doing for you, that you can't get any other way?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 04, 2018, 04:54:58 AM
Starting last night, and concluding this evening, I played my longest partial game so far.  It was on an Enormous 80x160 map and I played as the Pirates.   My changes for 1.6 did make the laboratory experience much more reasonable.  I made it to the Doctrine: Air Power era before quitting.  I stole that tech from others, and I did not actually finish building a plane.  Pushing the logistics across an Enormous map is pretty darned dull!  I got Doctrine: Initiative but there was so much land in the way, that Marines weren't actually useful for anything.

I had trouble with growth and cash flow.  The various -1 Economy penalties I've added to the game, really do end up hurting you after awhile.  I'm wondering whether or not I should tone it down, but for now, I'll continue to playtest.  I'd be interested to hear about other people's experiences with running low on money.  On the positive side, it's a kind of challenge.

As for AI performance, the Hive stomped the University pretty early.  The latter survived, but was a crippled sea based weakling that never recovered.  The Drones started near or in the Monsoon Jungle and were the dominant power of the game for awhile.  They made a long distance land campaign against the Cult of Planet.  Who also annoyed me, and so was summarily invaded on 2 fronts.  The Cult still sucks, they always get trounced and don't build anything any good, so in 1.7 I will be removing their -1 Economy penalty.  They need all the help they can get.

The Believers started on a modestly sized island.  They should not have had any trouble getting off the island, as Doctrine: Flexibility is an E1 tech now.  The whole "Believers are gonna grow" thing, that this mod basically started out trying to implement, simply doesn't work!  The Believers suck at growth.  I'm going to have to do things to try to fix this.  First is abandoning the idea that "population booming" is even useful to the AI, it isn't, it doesn't understand how to do it.  I'm going to try to make the Believers go after SUPPORT instead of GROWTH.   Maybe Miriam can make a horde?  We'll see.

The other problem is it's too hard to get Economic social engineering choices in 1.6.  The Believers never learned how to do a Planned economy, for instance.  Because of all these Conquer techs in the tree now, it can take a surprisingly long time to get anything else.  For 1.7 I'm going to make all the Political and Economic social engineering choices into Level 2 techs, with no Secret Projects blocking access to them.  So hopefully, Miriam will figure out how to do a Planned economy.  Or Green, whatever, anything other than just stagnating.

I myself never learned how to do a Free Market.  Granted, I was in violent war a lot of the game and didn't want a Free Market, so my technologies did reflect my intents.  But when you're running out of money you start thinking hey, where's Free Market??!  Keeping the 4 research foci "fairly pure" and separated from each other, has the ultimate effect of making everything take far longer to get, if you weren't explicitly looking for it.  That's really hard on any faction with stunted technology, or a bad start on the map.

At midgame, it was 3 ways between the Drones, the Hive, and myself as the Pirates.  All equal in power on the graph.  I was trying to build a rail to get to the Hive, but it was taking forever.  My bloated navy arrived first and shelled the crap out of the abundant Hive forests.  Sort of fun to watch things get torn up, but after awhile, I start feeling it's a waste of mouseclicks and doesn't really matter.  Probably had something to do with why I quit.  I was slowly taking the Cultist bases that the Drones took over, emphasis on slowly.  I'd have to send these Speeders all the way across the map, fortunately with a rail for half of it, but then across some water with sped up Isles of the Deep, then through Cultist / Drone territory.  The Drones of course were really spammy, and I had trouble getting enough Speeders together to do the jobs.  I did eventually do them but it was slow.

Clearly, I could have used a big boost in minerals output.  But I deliberately made Supply Crawlers a Level 5 technology, which means you ain't gettin' 'em for a long time.  And you don't get Fusion engines either, until nearly the end of the tech tree.  So units are expensive and decisions have to be made.  I don't think this is bad per se... but it did wear me out this game.  Maybe the Pirates aren't that enjoyable a faction to play on an Enormous map after all.

I intended to nuke everybody, and be waterborne when the flooding started.  But I had to take land bases to conquer the Cultists, and I wanted some nice rails on my coastlines as well.  I had a few inland bases to make my land claims, back when I was at peace with the Cultists.  The bottom line is, I got somewhat committed to terraforming projects on land, and I didn't see myself wanting to sink them.  Assuming I would have even had the minerals capacity for the nukes, which I very much doubt.  I think by the time I could crank out nukes readily, I would have been able to conquer by other means.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 05, 2018, 01:41:09 AM
The question is to what degree the Believers are completely delusional about what Planet actually is. 

I had a night to sleep on it.  I decided, in this mod the Believers are not fools.  Nor cartoon cutouts, to the extent I've been willing to change their story and dialogue, which admittedly hasn't been all that much.  So the -1 PLANET, and the throwaway line about thinking this is Eden, are going away.  The narrative will not miss it and that's the bottom line, narrative consistency.

There's also the subtext that "Planet friendliness" is treated as a proxy for Environmentalism in this game.  The idea that Christians are generally opposed to environmental stuff, is wrong, and smells rather 1990s dated to be honest.  Living in the Bible Belt next to the Pisgah National Forest, I know better.  Republicans generally speaking have been anti-environment, but this is driven by big corporate interests in fossil fuels, not religion.  The various potential differences between Republicans, Conservatives, and Christians are left as an exercise to the reader.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on June 05, 2018, 01:30:24 PM
I'm going to try out your government and economy choices in my game and see how they work out. :)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 05, 2018, 03:06:43 PM
I'm playing again as the Drones.  The Believers are my next door neighbors, and I ended up with an alliance with them against the Spartans and the Pirates.  Both of those factions have done well for themselves.  The new SUPPORT and earlier economic techs have benefitted the Believers and are a step in the right direction.  So far the Believers have lost 1 city to the sprawling Spartan empire.  It's too soon to say whether they will lose more.  Myself, I'm dealing with Pirate spam on the southern flank.

Roze is puny on a smallish island at some distance to the east.  She seems to have no enemies though, and might have the time to grow into something worthwhile.

The Hive has wiped out the Cult of Planet.  I haven't met either faction, despite having 1 Foil Probe Team probing the vast oceans of the Enormous 80x160 map.  I'm not ready to reveal the map to see what the starting conditions were.  My own situation hasn't become boring yet.  I'm tempted to say the AI has no idea how to play the Cult of Planet and needs an intervention somehow.  Maybe being a cult, it could use some SUPPORT.

I'm wondering about rails and hab complexes taking too long to acquire.  I might make them earlier.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 05, 2018, 05:35:17 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.6 to 1.7:

- Split this readme_mod.txt into INSTALLATION, DESIGN SUMMARY, and DESIGN DETAILS sections.
- Green economy: moved to Centauri Empathy, which is an E2 tech and not associated with a Secret Project.  When economic choices are associated with Level 3 techs and Secret Projects, factions with bad research or a bad start will never discover them.  The new plan is to make all Political and Economic social choices accessible as Level 2 techs and not have any Secret Projects obstruct them from being traded.
- Free Market: moved to Industrial Base, which is an E2 tech and not associated with a Secret Project. 
- Adaptive Economics: changed it from an E3 to an E2 tech.  It allows a Planned economy.
- Monopole Magnets: changed it from an E4 to an E3 tech.
- The Planetary Transit System: moved from Adaptive Economics to Monopole Magnets.
- Unified Field Theory: set wealth=4 because Corporate Lab increases energy.
- Changed various dependencies to fill holes in the tech tree and keep research foci more pure.
- Cult of Planet: changed their Social Priority from PLANET to SUPPORT.  They already choose a Green economy, which already gives them a total of +3 PLANET, the maximum that provides any benefit.
- Cult of Planet: removed ECONOMY penalty.  Added +1 SUPPORT.  Cha Dawn keeps getting killed by other factions, especially the Hive.  The Cult needs to be stronger.
- Believers: changed their Social Priority from GROWTH to SUPPORT.  Population booming was intended to be the "new" weapon of the Believer faction, but in the hands of the incapable AI, it basically doesn't work.  Instead, try to make the Believers a teeming horde.
- Believers: removed -1 PLANET penalty, and removed +1 PROBE bonus.  A strongly Christian playtester pointed out that the PLANET penalty is nonsensical and merely an anti-Christian bias.  I have to admit, when I first played the Believers, it didn't make a lot of sense to me either.  Could they really be that dense?  I also had trouble remembering that they have a PLANET penalty because there's nothing else in the story of SMAC to support it.  Miriam talks about false gods and being ruled by nanorobots, not Planet.  The Planet penalty is really not core to the narrative and pretty much a throwaway.  Removed the PROBE bonus to compensate, so that the Believers don't become a faction of too many bonuses.
- Fundamentalist: reduced GROWTH bonus from +2 to +1, and added +1 PROBE bonus.  The AI simply doesn't understand early population booming and the extra growth is not that useful.  Even a human player is going to have trouble making use of early population booming, due to the amount of time it takes to build the necessary infrastructure.  It's more of a mid to late game concern and by then, one could use Eudaimonia for growth, or the Cloning Vats.  As for PROBE, the Believers will go Fundamentalist, at least when the AI is playing them.  They will thereby still have a +1 PROBE advantage, it's just not an inherent factional advantage.  I don't want the Believers to have +2, that's reserved for the Data Angels.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.7. It was downloaded 15 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 07, 2018, 02:54:20 AM
I may have made the Hive overpowered, with too much SUPPORT.  He has IMPUNITY to Police State and to Planned, both of which give +1 SUPPORT.  Plus he has an inherent +1 SUPPORT for his faction.  That means with only Level 2 techs, the Hive can get +3 SUPPORT, as much as the size of his bases!  Some other factions can do that too, but they typically have to acquire C4 Advanced Military Algorithms and choose POWER to get the +1 SUPPORT among other things.

The problem I was trying to solve, is the Hive seemed to be getting killed awfully early.  I thought giving extra SUPPORT would fix that.  Well, I'm noticing that any faction that starts too close to me, performs very poorly completely stupid at initial colonial spread.  Like they'll found their 1st city, then wander excessively far away for their 2nd city, with tons of turns of lost productivity.  Possibly also, if they go to war with anyone immediately, they forget to expand.  I think this might happen any time factions start too close to each other.  Unfortunately I already modded the heck out of the world generator, maximized the land available to factions, greatly increased the odds that factions are "seeded" somewhere appropriate.  I don't think I can do any more from alphax.txt.

The randomness of the faction placement algorithm, probably guarantees that some AI faction will die somewhere, a stunted runt.  But by that some token, some other AI faction will be completely left alone and unmolested.  For instance, in the last game I played, Cha Dawn got a continent to himself.  I guess adding that +1 SUPPORT helped his cause some.  He didn't die; he sure sprawled!  Bases were ridiculously far apart.  I see that a lot with the Spartans too, and they don't have any SUPPORT bonus.  They seem to always end up with a "main" enclave and then a "satellite" enclave.  Maybe that's what happens when that 2nd colonist is sent a super long distance away.  If it runs into an enemy soon, that faction is toast.  But if it doesn't, then it develops a good number of cities in 2 separate places.  From an EFFICIENCY standpoint I think that's a really bad plan, but I'm not sure if the AI has to care about EFFICIENCY the way a human player on Transcend does.

Anyways I can only do so much to boost factions, before they become overpowered toys.  Maybe also the Hive doesn't need as much help now, since all of the Political and Economic choices are now much easier to get.  I will play some more against the Hive before deciding whether they need a downgrade.  I didn't fight them very long in my last game before quitting, as I hadn't really geared up properly for it, but they seemed awfully spammy.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 09, 2018, 07:57:07 PM
As I playtest, technologies are remaining stable.  However, social engineering choices are going through upheaval.  A lot of factions are getting changes.  I'm finishing the campaign of removing "gratuitous" penalties, as they just annoy players and harm the AI.  I'm experimenting with Passive factions again, and changing priorities away from Explore, Conquer.  It could be that all the other changes I made, have had a sufficient positive effect on the AI, so that adjusting research focus is no longer necessary.  This needs to be subjected to some playtesting though.  So although I've made all the changes that are likely to go into 1.8, it's not ready for release.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 10, 2018, 10:04:33 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.7 to 1.8:

- Democratic: added +1 ECONOMY.  Increased POLICE penalty to -2, bringing the number of bonuses and penalties in line with other Politics choices.
- Fundamentalist: removed PROBE bonus.  Added +1 POLICE bonus.  I believe that *all* fundamentalist societies are police states.  It's only a question of flavor.
- Simple economy: increased GROWTH bonus to +2.  The system had too much GROWTH removed from it, noticeably slowing down the game.  This is the easiest fix.  A starting faction now has a net +1 GROWTH, due to the -1 GROWTH penalty from Frontier politics.
- Free Market: reduced POLICE penalty to -1.  Reduced PLANET penalty from -3 to -2.  Free Market simply had way too many penalties compared to other economic choices.
- Green: reduced GROWTH penalty to -1.  Added -1 SUPPORT penalty.  Really shouldn't have so much stuff if you're recycling.
- Knowledge: reinstated +2 RESEARCH bonus.  Added -1 POLICE penalty.  Free flow of information, right?
- Wealth: removed POLICE penalty.  Reinstated -1 MORALE penalty.  Added +1 EFFIC.  Wealth didn't have enough bonuses compared to other Value choices.
- Power: removed PROBE bonus.  Power had too many bonuses compared to other Values choices. 
- Cybernetic: reduced POLICE penalty to -1.  Added -1 PLANET penalty.  A machine orientation is not conducive to gardening.

- Drones: set ai-power=0, and ai-wealth=1, making them an Explore, Build faction.
- Believers: removed GROWTH bonus.  Added +1 PROBE bonus.
- Hive: set ai-fight=0, ai-growth=0, and ai-build=1, making them an Erratic, Build, Conquer faction.  Removed SUPPORT bonus.  It was too easy for them to get support equal to base size with only Level 2 techs.
- Usurpers: changed social priority from {Economics, Planned, MORALE} to {Values, Power, nil}.  Marr is a Conquerer, not an economist.  The MORALE granted by Power should be enough for their purposes.  Instead of slavishly chasing more MORALE, maybe the AI will make more useful choices.
- Caretakers: changed social priority from {Economics, Planned, PLANET} to {Economisc, Planned, nil}.  This will hopefully give the AI more flexibility about what to do.  Also I've noticed when playing the Caretakers myself, I can acquire truly vast numbers of mindworms with only +1 PLANET.  I'm not certain there's much benefit to getting more than that.
- Morganites: set ai-fight=-1, ai-power=0, ai-tech=1, and ai-growth=1, making them a Passive, Explore, Build faction.  So many factions focus on Conquer techs, that the market for those is saturated.  It shouldn't be difficult for Morgan to acquire them through trade.
- Gaians: removed POLICE penalty.  Set ai-fight=-1, ai-power=0, and ai-wealth=1, making them a Passive, Explore, Build faction.  When playtesting, any faction that isn't provably overpowered is getting penalties removed, unless there's a strong thematic reason for a penalty.  Otherwise, stronger AI performance is more important than "flavor" penalties.
- University: set ai-fight=-1, making them Passive.  Reduced PROBE penalty to -1. 
- Data Angels: removed POLICE penalty.  Changed social priority from {Politics, Democratic, PROBE} to {Future Society, Thought Control, nil}.  Now allowed to make Power social choice.  Set ai-wealth=1 and ai-grow=0, making them a Build, Conquer faction.  This is a darker version of Roze that is corrupted by her ability to take over people's minds and gadgets.  PROBE is redundant because Thought Control is the only thing that gives more PROBE.
- Cult of Planet: changed social priority from {Economics, Green, SUPPORT} to {Politics, Fundamentalist, nil}.  May now choose Wealth; may not choose Free Market.  In this mod, Green is about an economic model, not recruiting the most mindworms possible.  Deirdre can be expected to be quite strident about economic policy, but it is out of character for Cha Dawn.  He is a cult leader and an aggressive conqueror, not an economic policy wonk.
- Spartans: changed social priority from {Values, Power, MORALE} to {Values, Power, nil}.  As long as the Spartans obtain Power, they will have +4 Morale for most of the game.  That's the maximum MORALE boost that one can have, so there's no need for them to chase additional MORALE.  Hopefully by not tying the AI's hands, it will make more useful choices.
- Pirates: removed GROWTH penalty.  Changed social priority from {Values, Power, MORALE} to {Values, Wealth, nil}.  Set ai-fight=-1, ai-power=0, ai-wealth=1, and ai-growth=1, making them a Passive, Explore, Build faction.  Like true pirates, they are more inclined to steal than fight.  The ocean gives them a solid defense against early enemies, so they really don't need to conquer anyone.  They can probably get all the conquer techs they need through trade or theft.  Their mineral bonus on the water actually makes them a very good Build faction in the hands of a human player, so we'll see if the AI can do likewise.  They don't particularly care about being a planetary mogul like Morgan, personal aggrandizement is fine for them.  So they're free to have an unstructured and haphazard approach to getting rich, but they do think people should fixate on wealth, so that's what they go to war over.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.8. It was downloaded 19 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 15, 2018, 06:02:05 PM
I am continuing with a global thermonuclear struggle, pretty much a field test of 1.8.  The only change I've made so far is to move fungical tanks earlier, otherwise I haven't found any defects yet.  So far my nuclear war is unilateral.  I have picked on the Spartans, who were far away from me, uninfiltrated, and didn't have nukes yet.  Good reasons to completely obliterate them with this mod's version of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.  Hitting the whole planet works pretty well, and I haven't had to leave a missile "vulnerable in flight" yet.

My own Morganic civilization is completely underwater now.  A fair number of foreign bases have drowned, although not enough to seriously knock anyone out of the game.  It has definitely spared me the effort of nukeing more Spartan cities though.  Mindworm assaults on my territory were horrific for awhile.  I did fend them off, with substantial losses in a couple of cities, but didn't completely lose any cities.  Going Green and building Centauri Preserves ended the mindworm attacks.  Due to drastically declining minerals production, I have not been able to launch nearly as many nukes in my 2nd and 3rd waves.  I'm in a slow process of building up sea minerals to regain my former hybrid forest based productivity.

Meanwhile Deirdre, who is as far away as the Spartans and I chose to leave alone, has advanced and built a substantial number of Secret Projects.  The Data Angels and Pirates are nearby and also powerful, if backwards.  I've been trying to get Advanced Spaceflight forever, which in my mod, confers Orbital Defense Pods.  There are so many Conquer techs in the tree though, that even with a Conquer focus, and Knowledge, and Industrial Labs, and having fulfilled the prereqs eons ago, I just can't seem to get that tech.  I need a nuclear shield, because it's been a long time and the Data Angels have Orbital Spaceflight now.  Maybe Deirdre as well.

It should be noted that Supply Crawlers come late in this mod, and I still haven't discovered them.  Similarly, sky hydroponics labs, orbital power transmitters, and Nessus mining stations come very late.  There is no superpowered fast track to whizz through this stuff.  You're working with fission engines, and so far AFAIAC, that's been a correct modding choice.  I actually have to think about unit designs and their expense, rather than just being granted piles of new toys.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 16, 2018, 02:51:42 AM
I have quit the nuke test.  It's definitely survivable, but it's a real slow PITA if you don't know what the consequences are going to be like.  The main problem is your land based minerals output will completely go away.  You will need sea based minerals to take up the slack.  If I had made sea mines in the 1st place and built sub trunklines, I wouldn't have had any problem.  But my usual "peacetime" habit is to build lots of tidal harnesses for the abundant energy, and only those, because I'm going to get plenty of minerals from my hybrid forests.  Doesn't work so well when the whole world drowns.  Yes I had a few ocean bases that did fine anyways, because they had The Ruins to make the production transition with.  All my other cities were reduced to ~3 minerals after all my support burdens though.  It was taking a long time to recover and I was being harassed also.  Nothing I couldn't handle, but it also wasn't basically enjoyable.  So I figured I'd start over with lessons learned.

I suppose I could have gone the "support to the size of the base" route.  That might have been a good idea.  Generally that sacrifices money though, and I was playing the Morganites.  However I'm realizing they're not ideal for a nuclear confrontation, because everybody hates and goes to war with you, and you get no Commerce.  Morgan's main advantage is being able to jack the Commerce ratings up.  He's really more designed for peaceful trade and perhaps mind controlling bases, not hurling nukes.  Not that anyone is necessarily designed for nukes, but I'd say it isn't Morgan.

I found some minor bugs and am kicking a new version out the door, so the exercise was not a total loss.  I do have an awful lot of "nuke porn" you're not going to see though.

Another odd thing revealed in testing, is it can take forever to get from Orbital Spaceflight to Advanced Spaceflight.  Even when you've had the prereqs forever!  There are just so many Conquer techs to research, that you can spend your time discovering everything else and never getting Advanced Spaceflight.  Which is really important in this mod because that's what gives you Orbital Defense Pods.  In short, I never got a nuke shield, and I eventually realized that I probably wasn't going to.

It's probably better to build up enough nukes to completely destroy your victim faction in 1 turn, rather than "building and launching what I could", as I could.  Some cities did sink due to the drowning though, so I didn't have to nuke those.  That was mildly satisfying.  It would be better if I could count on it to completely wipe a faction out, rather than just weaken them.


 
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 16, 2018, 02:57:05 AM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.8 to 1.9:

- Synthetic Fossil Fuels: changed from an E4 to an E2 tech.  Shouldn't take so long just to wipe out fungus.
- Centauri Genetics: removed D2 Information Networks as a dependency, instead using E2 Synthetic Fossil Fuels.  Information Networks is a "pure" Discover tech, and thus really hard for factions not focused on Discover to obtain.
- Changed various dependencies to fill holes in tech tree.
- The Neural Amplifier: actually moved it to C5 Neural Grafting.  Was supposed to be done in version 1.2!
- Removed many convenience units from the game.  They were making it unnecessary to prototype, which can matter a great deal.  Changed the order of the few remaining convenience units.  In total, this will mess up old saved games going from 1.8 to 1.9.  Be sure to start fresh.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.9.  It was downloaded 23 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 16, 2018, 06:58:05 PM
I've begun another test game, this time without any explicit intent or goal to nuke anyone, although I leave it as a perfectly viable possibility with previous lessons learned.  Rather, this time I intend to test what it's like to play with the most technologically retarded faction, the Believers.  My Believers aren't as slow as stock Believers, but I have chosen Fundamentalism so far, which definitely does slow their tech rate down.  I went for quite awhile in isolation, then suddenly met everyone in a 5-way election.  I had piled up a whole bunch of cash from popping pods, so managed to buy lotsa techs from the Cyborgs before they stopped selling so readily.  They had to complete their Secret Projects, then they did sell me some techs again.  So it seems that trading with a high research faction is one way out of the Believer slow tech dilemma.  I could also pop the Artifacts I've piled up, but first I'd have to build Network Nodes, which I don't care to do right now.

I'm in a major land war with Sparta.  We started far enough apart that I was able to build a substantial empire before we made contact and Santiago became hostile.  We've also got a huge lake between us that has only seen minor skirmishing action, as neither of us has many seaside bases.  The Spartans have generally been the heaviest hitters in my mod so far, at least when AIs fight other AIs.  They go Elite awfully easily, it seems, and they don't have the stock production impediments.  I've also got the Hive, the Pirates, the Caretakers, and the Usurpers in the game.  In short I wanted to mostly test all the most violent factions at once, with the Cyborgs thrown in to see if they could handle it.  So far they're doing fine.  I'm not sure they've got an active front with anybody, they may just be sitting back and collecting buckets of research unimpeded.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 16, 2018, 07:07:01 PM
My initial release of 1.9 had a showstopper bug in it, wouldn't even run.  To the 5 people who downloaded it, sorry!  It's fixed now, just redownload.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 17, 2018, 01:16:34 AM
I'm in a major land war with Sparta.  We started far enough apart that I was able to build a substantial empire before we made contact and Santiago became hostile.

Sparta arrived in force, but I had built a decent empire and there was a lot of land and fungus between us.  I took some unit losses, which the Believers can certainly afford, and never really had my cities seriously threatened.  This was however contingent upon playing correctly, and also gaining Advanced Military Algorithms from the Cyborgs.  Sopoforic gas pods are awfully useful against the Spartans.  I cut down some of the initial assault with 4-1-1 gas units.  They also brought a lot of artillery though, which took longer to clear, and was almost a threat.  Eventually I got smart and countered with a lot of cheap Recon Rovers.

While Sparta was attacking me, it lost at least one base to the Hive, maybe more.  In fact, it was the one sea port they had on our lake, so I got to infiltrate and steal from the Hive.  I'm glad the Hive did ok against Sparta, because I was worried that they wouldn't.  It seems that Sparta is not the supreme land force after all, at least if a human player is well prepared and using up some of Sparta's productivity.

The Cyborgs took some Usurper bases, proving that at least in some circumstances, they can be their equal.  That is good as well.  I was intending for the Alien factions to be closer in power to normal factions, and I may have succeeded.  I never bothered to reveal the map to find out exactly what everyone started with.  I honestly don't exactly care, as long as it isn't always the same factions trouncing everyone else.  Bad starts equal out for all, I figure.

After beating off the big Spartan assault, I came to a point of internal stagnation though.  The Cyborg largess for selling me techs dried up, and they went to war with me.  They were sufficiently far away that pushing foil probe teams to them was a PITA.  In fact I never managed it before I quit.  That was a historical weakness of the classical Believer faction: they were supposed to steal things.  Not much of a plan on an Enormous map, where it's often going to be too tedious for a human player to even get to another faction.

I thought the Believers had a really straightforward and useful strategy until bases get to be about size 5 or 6.  Garrison everything, lotsa Formers, work the land.  Problem is, then the land becomes sufficiently worked, assuming you don't have advanced terraforming options.  Which you aren't likely to have, because other factions research techs long before you do.  The Believers aren't that great on an Enormous map if you don't have someone next door to trounce.  The Spartans were near enough to me for the AI to be willing to attack, but trying to return the favor, there was quite a bit of land and fungus in the way.  It's almost like one-way access of tedium; the AI doesn't get tired as easily as I do.  I mean, I'd already hand worked a large land empire with a bunch of tiles, now I"ve gotta get through fungus and light enemy resistance just to invade?  It was a groaner.

Buttoning up and developing internally would have been a good idea.  Except the Believers aren't really suited for it.  They've got the support for all the terraforming, but that was done already.  With the +1 Police for Fundamentalism, it's tempting to slide along with that path of development.  The problem is, you arrive at a point where you feel you need the +2 for Police State.  And then your economy suffers.  Yeah sure so you go Free Market, but then your Police suffers.  Then you go Democratic and forget that it toasts your Police, so you end up having to play that turn over.  It all felt pretty uncomfortable with no clear way to go.  So I quit.

In a future game, I'd probably know more in advance how all the social engineering choices work, and what kind of techs are going to be key to me surviving in isolation.  Just setting it to Conquer and forgetting about it isn't good enough with the Believers.

I'm questioning my treatment of the Cultists, making them Fundamentalist "like the Believers".  I'm not entirely convinced that factions can handle being Fundamentalists, and I've yet to see the Cultists do a good job no matter what settings I give them.  It's just not clear to me what they should be doing to survive and thrive.  I don't think marching mindworms all over the map really helps a faction.  Deirde seems to prosper just fine, because she builds lotsa useful things and does research.  I'm not sure if the Cultists have an AI specific to it, but it plays pretty poorly.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 18, 2018, 04:21:37 PM
I started a new game as the University.  My goal was the opposite this time: what's it like to play with the best research speed possible?  Is the University overpowered now.  Well the basic and firm answer is no.  Yes I've had some technical advantages, but research on Enormous maps at least, is still darned slow even with the University.  My starting position was ok, but I found myself in the shadow of the Hive very soon.  They were aggressive and sent plenty of units my way, which I had to deal with.  I fought a defensive war successfully, but it was definitely a constraint upon me.  I really couldn't move in the direction of the Hive, and build Secret Projects I needed, and tour the oceans to pick up pods.

Ocean touring pretty much stopped happening entirely.  The Caretakers were on the water and usually violent.  They even took my few sea bases with foil probe teams.  It was trivial to take them back the same way, and mostly just gave me an opportunity to steal from them, although they really only had a map at that point.  Putting out a few sea bases as bait for long distance probes, is an effective way to infiltrate a violent enemy.

I deliberately accepted a period of Truce with the Hive once, even though I was starting to have the military advantage.  He was fighting the Caretakers on the other end of his large empire, and I wanted to give him the opportunity to withdraw all those units facing me and send them to the Caretakers.  It worked!  We did eventually go to war again, with far fewer units coming at me the next time.  The Caretakers are slowly getting crushed by the Hive, but the Hive has slipped a great deal in the overall faction rankings.  I'm considered stronger, neck in neck with 2 other factions in a 2nd tier of strength.  I think the Pirates are considered the best.

The various POLICE penalties in the Social Engineering choices are proving to be effective at constraining my behavior.  Going to -1 POLICE is doable, ala Free Market.  You still get 1 unit as police, just no nerve stapling.  I did this for quite a long time, just Free Market, no other social engineering choices.

Going Democratic is a hard choice because it guarantees at least -2 POLICE.  That means no more police units to keep people happy, so I waited quite awhile before I did that.  Democratic Free Market Knowledge is the worst POLICE rating at -4, which gives 1 drone per military unit away from your territory.  It's irritating, but I don't think it's unrealistic.  I actually think a bunch of academics would be the least likely people to want POLICE looking over their shoulder.

I never bought the idea that corporate capitalist regimes are averse to using POLICE.  Just look at the USA, we've got free speech and all of that, but we've also got the prison industrial complex.  I think I read that we incarcerate more people per capita than any other nation.  This is why Wealth imposes a MORALE penalty, not a POLICE penalty, and Free Market only gets a mild -1 POLICE penalty.

I have pursued a pure Discover research focus.  I've noticed an interesting phenomenon: I get all kinds of non-Discover techs anyways, like various Conquer or Explore techs.  This is not because my research speed is so amazingly fast, as I initially supposed about research factions played by the AI.  It's because the Discover techs are extremely "thin and vertical" in the tech tree.  The Discover techs aren't always fed by another Discover tech, because there are not enough of them to do that.  So the techs you get can become pretty random.  Since there are more Conquer techs than anything else, and after that more Explore techs early in the tech tree, that's what you end up with.  I'm ok with this behavior for now, not sure that I'll do anything to change it.

I managed to build The Virtual World.  I didn't have any real competition for that.  I was surprised that I didn't get Gene Splicing for a long time, which gives Research Hospitals and The Human Genome Project.  Eventually I did get it, possibly from The Planetary Datalinks, and did manage to get the HGP done.  This delay with a pure Discover focus, demonstrates how it's pretty close to pure blind research!  But you eventually get things that other factions aren't going to get, because they don't try to Discover.

Surprisingly, an AI that focused purely on Discover might do just fine, simply because of the randomization effect of discovering other techs.  I may test this, changing the University to pure Discover and see how it plays.

We had sunspots for a long time and I've been preparing for an invasion of the Hive.  I went Green for fear that my eco-damage might be getting severe in one of my cities, and I need it to produce The Ascetic Virtues uninterrupted.  I may not actually get that as Sparta has been working on multiple copies for awhile, but I will try.  Also to lower my POLICE to -3, which is "a drone for more than one unit away from territory".  Basically a Republic in Civ II terms.  That should be sufficient for taking the nearest Hive city.  I'm nearly done building an internal rail network, and will soon be driving a rail head into the Hive.  I thought I had enough Gatling Speeders to wipe the Hive, but we actually had enough border skirmishing, that I never even crossed into Hive territory the whole time.  Lotta Hive spam to keep killing; then my units get wounded and I have to bring them back to heal them.  Consequently, I've also been building a wave of mindworms to break through some of these unit slog stalemates.

Yep, the University is not overpowered.  I'm doing fine locally, but the Spartans and the Pirates have become rather strong, with nobody to constrain them.  The Caretakers are dying, and I don't think the Usurpers are doing much better.  The Believers are the runt civilization, having been eradicated early by Sparta and restarting somewhere else.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 19, 2018, 03:59:08 AM
I think the Social Engineering choices are basically working and may not need any more revision.

I do seem to have a ridiculous amount of Efficiency, as a Democratic Green Knowledge Cybernetic faction.  That's +2 +1 +1 +2 = +6.  Problem is, there are only so many bonuses you can give a faction.  It's inappropriate to give Cybernetic people more Economy, I think.  I like the thematic choice of saying that going all cyborg is actually bad for talking to Planet, and making Eudaimonic the mildly pro-Planet choice.  I mean, Paradise Gardens are a Deirdre sort of thing in my view.  So I'm not giving a Planet bonus for now, which is a pretty significant change from the standard game... if Future Societies were significant anyways, and for the most part they weren't.  Now they're mid-game choices and you're expected to juggle 4 Social Engineering choices.  I will definitely await actual playtesting feedback, if I get any, before changing it again.

I guess there's the completely unused "give a TALENT" social engineering advantage, but I'm reticent about that.  Sounds overpowered.

I've found it is actually possible to get to -5 POLICE.  That would be Democratic Free Market Knowledge Cybernetic, resulting in -2 -1 -1 -1 = -5.  I chose Green primarily to avoid Planet problems, secondarily because it lets my army tromp around more.  I did succeed in building The Ascetic Virtues, even though competition had it in progress.

Yang is hapless now.  He spends most of his time exterminating the Caretakers, also a weak faction in the standings.  This tussle occupies the immediate large lands to the northeast of me.  Every once in awhile, Yang pipes up and declares war on me again.  So I take 1 or 2 more cities to shut him up.  Then I get back to research and infrastructure.  I've got Photon armor available now, what's he gonna do?  Heck I should make some cloaks while I'm at it, Photon also gives you cloaks in my mod.  The general principle is, put "interestingly different" techs earlier, put boring techs (bigger guns, bigger engines) later.

The real contenders are the Pirates, the Usurpers, and the Spartans.  They are far away and I don't have the logistics yet to take them on.  Lotta water separating us.  I did complete The Maritime Control Center at the last minute, but previous experience on Giant maps, is pushing ships to a distant enemy is extremely painful, even with the MCC.  I've quit games from getting tired of all the pushing, so I won't try it this time.

I've built Industrial Labs and Research Hospitals almost everywhere.  Most cities are working on Hybrid Forests.  I'm filling in the empty patches of my interior with brand squeaky new settlements, since there's a lot of naturally spread forest to take advantage of.  I figure I've certainly got the Efficiency to be quite large.  I'm just naturally filling out the corner of the continent that was contested between Yang and myself.

If I get done with all of that and still don't have enough to do, I could make a shell of sea bases in the vicinity of my capitol.  It's inland but quite near water, basically 1 city away is water.  I have a few sea bases in shallow water, but I wasn't naturally gifted with lots of shallow water.  I'd have to raise it all manually.  I do have Advanced Ecological Engineering, which is required for raising or lowering land in this mod.  You also need it for Boreholes.  I figure those are big engineering projects, they shouldn't be easy.  I like the idea of putting the brakes on "boreholes everywhere" people unless they've put time into getting The Weather Paradigm.  Then they can get started substantially earlier.  Otherwise, natural terrain features are going to be a barrier until late midgame.

Maybe once I don't need money to build stuff anymore, like Secret Projects at the last minute, I'll just put most of my budget into Labs and get techs a lot faster.  We'll see.  I think I just achieved tech parity, having stolen the last missing tech from Santiago.  That was easier with my Maritime Control Center accelerated foil probe teams.  Even so, it has taken a long time for Santiago to get anywhere remotely near me.  I have no idea how big she is, and my last probe is going to try to steal her map.  It's a long open ocean journey to get to a new base of hers.

Nobody has discovered Orbital Spaceflight or Supply Crawlers yet.  In theory, maybe I could have.  In practice, I went pure Discover and wanted Digital Sentience, which I got.  These are all Level 6 techs, and don't come into play until late midgame.  You don't get to make Sky Hydroponics Labs anytime soon either.  Those are *way* later.  The Cloudbase Academy is way later too.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 20, 2018, 01:38:58 AM
impressive contempt for human life
impressive contempt for human life

Mission Year 2350.  Santiago nukeing the Pirates really took me by surprise.  I didn't think the AI was much capable of that sort of thing.

hands on buzzers doh
hands on buzzers doh

Sextant Cove was vaporized.  Looking at a previously saved turn, the city had no strategic importance and merely contained a bunch of Transports.  Nor did the Spartans have a decisive nuclear inventory, they just had that 1 nuke.  I don't see how this profits Spart and I suppose I can expect *that* from an AI.  Both Sparta and the Pirates have 1 nuke in production, with 20+ turns to complete either.

I'm only now working on my 1st nuke myself.  I could have it done in a few turns if I want.  I only discovered Supply Crawlers recently and have been throwing them at Secret Projects I needed to complete, then prototype units.  With this wakeup call, I've switched my research focus from Discover to Conquer.  I have the prereqs for Advanced Spaceflight, which confers Orbital Defense Pods and The Cloudbase Academy.  However my experience in a previous game is it still can take forever to get it.  Being the University I do have the option of dumping nearly my entire budget into Labs, so perhaps I can speed that up.  I hope I don't have to sweat too much too soon, as I'm hoping that Santiago's next nuke is directed at the Pirates again, not little old me.  And that the Pirates will likely return the favor. 

I'm also starting to build submarine carriers, on the idea of hiding some missiles out in the deep ocean and building a retalliation strike force.  Previous gameplay suggests that it's best to eliminate the enemy in 1 turn, then deal with the mindworm hordes and flooding.  Also one needs to have sea minerals available, as minerals will reduce to near zero as a hybrid forest economy is flooded out.  This time I've taken that precaution, so to the extent I've built anything at sea, I've built mining platforms.  I'm 95% land empire though.

I find that I'm questioning my decision to make Fusion engines come so late in the tech tree.  Some techs are prohibitively expensive and near useless without them.  For instance, I put hovertanks pretty early hoping that would jazz things up.  However at current prices I'd probably not use them for more than recon units.  It also becomes not straightforward to retire weapon designs.  Sure I might want the biggest and baddest weapons, but they're costly, and thereby tempt me to keep less expensive designs around.  This creates a lot of clutter in the workshop, a side effect I didn't anticipate.

The problem is that factories are also coming rather late in the game.  With my pure Discover focus, I haven't learned any factory technologies yet, and I'm substantially ahead of my adversaries on tech.  So it's starting to seem like everything will be painfully expensive for a very long time, which I'm not sure is all that much fun.  Also I wonder if the eco-damage will become prohibitive from factories once I do get them.  Or from supply crawlers: I'm starting to work all my rocky squares to make mines.  Well, I'll play on for now.  I do have a production route forward with supply crawlers.

As for the politics, the Hive came to understand my inherent military superiority, and eventually offered me a Treaty without me even having to take over any more of his cities.  I think it had something to do with consistently wiping out all the units he sent my way, and then not having any more to send.  The Usurpers offered me an alliance for reasons mysterious to me, as Marr was Noncommittal about it.  I took it, but I doubt it'll hold as he's now Belligerent towards me.  We don't have compatible political values, as in my mod, Marr fixates on Power.  He and Santiago would have gotten along just fine, if she hadn't nuked Svensgaard.  Nobody actually likes my politics, it's a burden.

I've been harassing the Caretakers' paltry sea bases off my west coast.  My sea bases occupy the good continental shelf area, and hers are just out in useless water.  These are relics of her probe team operations against my sea bases back when I didn't have the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm.  Every time I'd retake a base, its population would drop to 1 and she'd get a sea colonist to go settle somewhere.  She'd just do it nearby, not anywhere terribly useful.  These sea bases have been launch platforms for needlejet incursions, but aside from shooting those down easily, I think her hands have been busy with the Hive nearly exterminating her from the other direction.  Nowadays I just harass her with 2 locusts of Chiron and call it good.  These sea bases are a liability, and if I'm to do any heavy duty land raising it'll be with my own sea bases first.  These are prime candidates for extermination, but I'm not ready to commit atrocities against the Caretakers yet.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 20, 2018, 01:47:16 AM
that was quick
that was quick

MY 2351.  Got pretty much the best case, immediate progress.  Ok off to build a nuke shield!

MY 2355.  The Caretakers offer a Treaty and I take it.  Guess they didn't like locusts in the face.  I contact the Believers and they sign a Truce. 

MY 2361.  I complete Flechette Defense Shield in all my cities.  I have 1 Orbital Defense Pod launched.  I've also got 1 nuke.

aarg its nukes me hearties
aarg its nukes me hearties

MY 2363.  Svensgaard retalliates!

AAAARRRG!
AAAARRRG!

The Nano Factory is no longer part of this world.  At least Svensgaard had more brains than Santiago about taking out something valuable.  It really makes me think I should wrestle various Secret Project cities away from Svensgaard before they're obliterated forever.  Problem is, I'm not sure how I'd pull that off.  I think they're far away and at the dead center of the strength of his empire.  Really expensive probe teams maybe?

I think I'm also in a better position to wrestle away the Governorship now, since both Santiago and Svensgaard are now universally reviled.  However I have to wait a few years for the election to be available again.  I made the mistake of trying to install myself in 2350.  Svensgaard easily outvoted me at the time, even with me having the Empath Guild.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 20, 2018, 03:27:59 PM
some like it hot
some like it hot
MY 2369.  Sparta nukes the Usurpers!
Elvis like jelly doughnut
Elvis like jelly doughnut
What is their goal?  Maybe they don't have one, it's just from being "aggressive".

MY 2370.  I bribe Yang with The Will To Power to win the election.  I then propose a Global Trade Pact, seeing as how Svensgaard and Santiago will be permanently at war with everyone due to their atrocities.  Unfortunately everyone votes against me.
but they are just little insects
but they are just little insects
MY 2371.  Sparta nukes the Hive! 
frying ants with a magnifying glass
frying ants with a magnifying glass
I think I see what the AI is doing.  It's drawing everyone into a state of permanent atrocity.  If the 2 recently nuked factions do indeed retalliate.
tough to train at high kelvin
tough to train at high kelvin
MY 2375.  Pirates nuke Spartans!
there was an earth shattering kaboom
there was an earth shattering kaboom
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 21, 2018, 05:25:20 AM
MY 2395 now.  There have been more nukeings, but I won't bother with screenshots anymore as they're not terribly different from before.  There's less animation variety trying to capture these fission explosions with a manual screen capture keystroke.  I've got some great purple clouds from earlier games, from bigger bombs exploding.

steaming magma tubes
steaming magma tubes

Here is 1 unusual screenshot however.  I'm wondering if the peak of this volcano gets double bonuses?

Had a bit of a scare when a storm destroyed all of my Orbital Defense Pods.  No nukes came my way though.  Other factions don't have much inventory, and they've been using it up on each other.  I suspect Sparta's AI pattern is to try to rope all factions into retalliatory atrocities, so that it's the new diplomatic norm.  I'm the only human faction that hasn't nuked anyone yet.  I don't think the aliens have nuked anyone, they've merely been nuked.

I finally got some Genjack Factories and Robotic Assembly Plants.  I've definitely shifted too many minerals out of the early game, with removing Supply Crawlers, Fusion Power, and possibly delaying factories as well.  Something has to go back in.   I'm going to look at shifting factories earlier.  I really haven't gotten much chance to use my new mineral output much yet.  I've got 50..90 minerals coming out of various cities, and minimal eco-damage in only my most productive city.  No hordes of mindworms, just the occasional big stack with 1 solo nearby.  Easy to kill with the Elite units I've had around forever.

Mild flooding has started, but nobody's hurled enough nukes to really ruin things yet.  I couldn't propose solar shade due to sunspots.  Only a small amount of coastline eroded, no big deal.

I'm working on the Space Elevator.  I think I may do piles of Sky Hydroponics Labs and eventually declare Diplomatic Victory.  I may bombard the Pirates with fungus missiles to ruin their ability to make stuff.  Or not, we'll see.  But it's a good use of the mod, to strike very long distances with missiles.  I probably now have the production capacity for it, even with fission warheads.

In unrelated news, I've figured out how to solve the problem with the Cultists.  I'm going to give them IMPUNITY to Fundamentalism.  The excuse will be, they have abundant experience with native biology.  I'll remove their SUPPORT bonus and see how they do.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 21, 2018, 08:05:16 PM
I've quit the University test game.  I was working on The Space Elevator and had completed lots of Hab Domes.  Didn't play any more than in my last post.  I've made changes to the Cultists, and have moved Genejack Factories earlier in the tech tree.  I want to playtest these changes so that I can kick a version 1.10 out the door sooner.  I've already learned what I wanted to learn about the University: they are not overpowered under the new rules.  At least on an Enormous map, it still takes a long time to research anything.  I'd say the game was coming down to a 2 power finish, between myself and the Pirates.  We were about equally rated on the graph, and it wasn't clear exactly how I'd decide to beat them.  Everyone else was way behind.  That said, Sparta had a nasty habit of tossing nukes, often destroying Secret Projects in the process.  Perhaps they could have absorbed the Usurpers and made it into a 3-way finish.

Next up, I will play some kind of Builder faction, and put the Cultists in the game to see how they do with my new changes.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 22, 2018, 09:50:31 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.9 to 1.10:

- Cult of Planet: gave IMPUNITY to Fundamentalist social engineering choice.  Cannot make Democratic social engineering choice.  Can now make Free Market social engineering chioce; deeply cynical, yes I know.  Cult leaders are capable of that.
- Cybernetic Consciousness, University: changed to pure Discover focused factions.  Discover techs are so "thin and vertical" in the tech tree, that when prerequs for Discover techs haven't been researched, non-Discover techs are researched at random.  Thus, it is not necessary to have a secondary research focus.  It is better to have them make every effort to research Discover techs.
- The Living Refinery: moved it from Biomachinery to B7 Industrial Nanorobotics.
- Biomachinery: changed it from a B6 to a B4 tech.  Between supply crawlers, genejack factories, and fusion power, I removed too many minerals increasing or minerals cost reducing techs from the early tech tree.  Need to put something back in.
- Changed various dependencies to fill holes in the tech tree and keep research foci more pure.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.10.  It was downloaded 17 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 24, 2018, 04:04:55 PM
Played a game as the Data Angels where the Believers had several sea bases around an otherwise unoccupied Monsoon Jungle.  They came down to my northernmost sea base and took it over with a foil probe team.  I couldn't do anything about it because I didn't have a ship in the base to come out to kill the foil.  So for a few turns I watched it approach in the fungus.  I disbanded the defense to make it easier to take back, and moved my sea former out of the way so it wouldn't be captured as well.  I figured, ok, Miriam has just made it easier for me to steal from her, no problemo, will recover it soon.

Boy was I wrong!  She kept sending massive numbers of ships down.  I built so many ships and so many foil probe teams, and she just kept destroying everything as I sent it.  Her horde was unending, and there was seemingly no ship formation I could use, where she would not exhaust me.  The amount of my production she chewed up, as well as the number of mouseclicks, was sheer ridiculous.  Eventually I did take the base back, then tried to push a fairly substantial flotilla northwards to steal more from my tormentor.  All the ships get killed, leaving only the foil probe teams.  I think the AI probably just cheats about those, as it seems to always just zero in on them no matter where they are, like in the fungus, or how they've been positioned.  I quit the game in frustration, this was way too tedious to deal with.

I guess this is what coastal artillery is for, to keep such hordes at bay.  Straight battling in the ocean is just a recipe for despair.  The AI does not get tired of this, and you do.  The AI had not achieved +3 SUPPORT yet, in fact she was just Fundamentalist Simple Survival.  Lots of size 7 cities though, she was really spamming those units out.  Maybe I could have out-spammed her if I put everything in my civilization into the task, but naval spam is a tedious way to make progress.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on June 25, 2018, 09:51:27 PM
I have begun an After Action Report (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=20972.0) featuring Domai of the Drones.  I'm doing well enough, and the rules are stable enough now, that I will likely finish this AAR.  My writing policy is to wait until "well after the fact" before posting what has happened, so that I'm more likely to summarize everything in an interesting manner.  Screenshot after screenshot of "nuke porn" isn't very interesting, I decided.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 01, 2018, 03:19:51 AM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.10 to 1.11:

- Simple economy: lowered the GROWTH bonus to +1.  Other economic choices give 3 bonuses and 2 penalties, in a sense a "net 1" bonus.  A Simple economy shouldn't offer better than that. 
- Free Market: reduced PLANET penalty to -1.  Now it gives the same number of bonuses and penalties as Planned and Green.
- Wealth: removed MORALE penalty.  Added -1 PLANET penalty.
- Hab Complex: moved from E4 Bio-Engineering to E3 Monopole Magnets.  It was taking too long to get past size 7 cities on Enormous maps.
- Bio-Engineering: moved to B4 Biomachinery slot, taking over Biomachinery's role.  This restores Chairman Yang's narrative about Genejacks.
- Intellectual Integrity: changed from an E3 to an E4 tech.
- Ascetic Virtues: moved to Intellectual Integrity.
- Biomachinery: changed to an E7 tech.  Now it makes The Cloning Vats available, instead of Nanometallurgy.
- Changed various dependencies to fill holes in the tech tree and keep research foci more pure.
- Troop Slider: removed.  I don't think it's helpful in an age of mag tubes, and it gives away a free Hovertank prototype.
- Troop Crawler: removed.  I don't think it's helpful and the AI doesn't know how to use it.
- Slider Probe Team: removed.  It gives away a free Hovertank prototype, and I haven't seen the AI actually build one anyways.
- Cruiser Probe Team: removed.  It gives away a free Cruiser prototype, and I haven't seen the AI actually build one anywas.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.11.  It was downloaded 18 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 02, 2018, 07:29:57 AM
I finished my first COMPLETE game of this mod, after 2 person months of full time work on it. I wrote an After Action Report (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=20972.0) about it with lotsa screenshots. I played as the Free Drones on an Enormous 80x160 map. I crushed everyone except the Pirates. They insisted on fighting me instead of immediately capitulating. I was going to corner the energy market anyways, but in Mission Year 2316 I belatedly realized I could invoke Diplomatic Victory. I could have done it in 2309 because I was the Governor. D'oh!

What does this game say about version 1.11? Are the Drones overpowered, or am I just that good? There aren't really any "weak" factions anymore, I took care of that. So I can't just, say, pick Morgan to make life harder on myself. I should probably play another game with myself as "whatever", let the AI play Domai, and fill out the rest with random opponents. I expected Santiago to do much better, as she has dominated many test games I've played. But in this one, she was summarily crushed by the Believers. She must have gotten a really lousy start right next to them.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 03, 2018, 04:31:21 PM
I started a new game as the Data Angels, with the Free Drones explicitly included, and 5 other random opponents.  They ended up being the Caretakers, the Usurpers, the Gaians, the Pirates, and the Cult of Planet.  The Cultists wiped out the Drones immediately!  So they are in no way invincible or inherently badass.  I think the pattern is, any faction that starts in sufficiently cramped space, in the shadow of another faction with a better land start, is toast.  Except possibly the Aliens, who might still be able to threaten wherever they start.

I started right next to the Gaians.  We both had superior quantities of land available to us, so no need for immediate war.  The Gaians however put Gaia's Landing right next to me though, and I think they might have gotten their 2nd colony pod killed somehow.  That takes talent when you're Planet friendly!  I wish I could fix the stupidity of the AI's opening game at times, but I don't know of a way.  When I infiltrated, I saw that they were very nearly "mineral locked" on this 1 city.  I expanded around Gaia's Landing, cutting it off to either side, so it came to be a bulge in my own empire.  I allowed the Gaians to exist peacefully, even doing a Democratic Green society for awhile.  It's a viable choice, as you get +2 ECONOMY so 1 extra energy every square, but you get a GROWTH and a SUPPORT penalty.

Eventually Deirdre stole something from me, unprovoked.  I cancelled our Pact and went Free Market.  Much later, Deirdre declared war on me.  By that time I was totally built up with all sorts of mindworms, spore launchers, and gatling troops for this coming day.  Full rail network and probe teams protecting every city.  I hit Gaia's Landing with something like 10 pieces of artillery and 10 mindworms, it was a total cakewalk.  My speed of conquest will likely be limited only by how fast I lay rails.  I'm so confident in my built up forces that I'm not even building new units for now, I'm building Tree Farms that I just stole from Deirdre.  I will continue my campaign until I obtain her Secret Projects, which include The Weather Paradigm and the Planetary Energy Grid.  Then I'll see whether she surrenders or not.

I've been building a bunch of Network Nodes.  A major characteristic of my mod right now, is that D2 Information Networks is a "pure" Discover tech, a really serious barrier to anyone's progress.  If there are no Discover factions in the game, as in this one, then nobody's getting that tech for a long time.  This might be a problem.  Am I inhibiting AI growth with this policy?  The intent was to hide The Virtual World behind a series of successive Discover techs, and that works.  But the Human Genome Project is also in there, from D3 Gene Splicing, and I'm not sure I like that.  Maybe I should move it to an Explore tech.

The Build research path is similar in that "you must reseach Build" to get stuff, but it's not quite as severe as Discover.  Svensgaard has had no problem coming up with Secret Projects from Build.  I can't get to him to infiltrate him.  He's on the other side of the Enormous 80x160 map, past a significant water choke point.  Every time I try to sail foil probe teams through it, his ships destroy my teams.  I will have to come through in force, or eventually get past the Gaians, build a rail, and settle a new port city over land.

Or finally secure the Governorship.  Cha Dawn is strong, the IMPUNITY to Fundamentalism definitely works for them.  There were times on the graph when they were claimed to be the strongest.  Now they are in the same tier of strength as all of us, meaning we're all doing well.  Except Domai, who was eXterminated.  Anyways, he's Governor.  In our 1st election, which I didn't call, the votes were deadlocked between us.  In our 2nd election, he beat me out by a small margin.  There aren't enough human players in this game to bribe, so there was nothing I could do about it.  People have hated me for awhile, so I can't win Governor.  There was a time when Cha Dawn and Svensgaard were fighting, and that's when I should have called an election.  But I didn't, I forgot.  It was a mistake.  Oh well.

Once I crush the Gaians, I may have the raw population to win an election.  I concentrated on Explore forever, eventually obtaining my goal, the Ascetic Virtues.  I built Hab Complexes before that, so I've got a lot of cities that can get big.

That has to be done a somewhat slow, old fashioned way though, just growing.  I've taken a lot of GROWTH bonuses out of the social engineering table, so I'm not even sure that Pop Booming is possible from the table right now.  For a single player game, one can eventually discover The Cloning Vats, so I don't think it's a dealbreaker issue.  But I do wonder if the original impetus for the mod, the very thing that makes it "SMACX AI Growth mod", will turn out to be ultimately misguided.  Time will tell.

In 1.11 I changed Simple economy to merely +1 GROWTH, as I thought +2 GROWTH was way too good for not having researched any tech.  A rational change, needed to be done, but now only +3 GROWTH is possible from one's social engineering choices.  That would be Fundamentalist, {Simple or Planned}, and Eudaimonic.  The easiest fix would be to abandon the realistic "Wealth decreases population growth" idea, change all the game design text to protect the guilty, and put a +1 GROWTH under Wealth.

Alternately, I could put +2 GROWTH under Eudaimonic.  However, GROWTH is only useful for a time, and I don't like the idea of "watering down" Eudaimonic's benefits that way.  I suppose I could just allow Eudaimonic to award 5 benefits instead of 4, recognizing that GROWTH isn't the equal of various other benefits.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 03, 2018, 11:02:15 PM
I'm probably going with change Wealth, and move The Human Genome Project to an Explore level 3 tech.  There will be a 1.12 release but I need to playtest what I've got, and see if I find anything else that needs fixing.  I've quit that game with Roze.  I was doing great but once I have a bunch of changes I want to make, it's time to test those.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: JMN4444 on July 06, 2018, 10:12:31 AM
Thank God Free Market is no longer overly Crippling! Rather than that -3 PLANET and a Whopping -5 POLICE, the penalties have been toned down to a rather respectable number. Those penalties really threaten a faction both internally and externally (And we mean by externally, we mean these folks  ;deidre;  ;cha;.).

 Also another thing that I appreciated is that you removed the PLANET penalty for ;miriam;.

I see no reason why a PLANET penalty should be necessary since it just seems rather bizarre to think that the Christian faction would end up having that. It was even stated in The Bible that God made us the caretakers of Earth since the beginning (I'm pretty sure the Believers know that, being devout Christians and all), and yet in the end, the last folks who truly believe in God (Should others not go Fundamentalist as well) tend to innately rape the planet in the beginning harder than a no economy model ;morgan; ???? Also at the same time, it would put them at the mercy against ;deidre; and ;cha; should such unfortunate event befall upon them.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 06, 2018, 03:32:02 PM
I'm way, way happier with the new Free Market and Green economies, where both make you money and don't tie your hands about war.  I split the Planet damage between Free Market and Wealth and it's only -1 PLANET for each.  I've got more changes coming for 1.12, mainly I'm having to give up on "realism" for Growth and give Democrats like Lal the ability to pop boom.  Cybernetic is no longer going to be Planet hostile either, because of a bug with the Manifold Nexus where The Network Backbone doesn't give the net PLANET bonus it should.  Plus other things.

I'm in the middle of a test game as the Spartans on an 80x160 Enormous map.  I'm doing well, but so are the Pirates and the Hive.  We're in the era of Level 5 techs.  I share a continent with Miriam and every time she gets uppity with me, I take one more city to make her settle down.  We started off right next to each other.  I was friendly for awhile, but eventually went Democratic and of course she lost her mind.  New Jerusalem was in a vacuole waiting to be devoured.  I'm proud of myself for having out-spread the Believers at the beginning, it usually goes the other way.  Well, maybe my mod makes her not so spammy at the very beginning now.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 07, 2018, 02:23:57 AM
I just got super griefed by the Hive, courtesy of one of those planetwide Conventional Missiles.  He attacked a remote base where I had 1 Scout and 2 Alien Artifacts.  I was unable to get them to anywhere safe for a long time, because I was busy, and being locally attacked as well.  What a total dick move!

Perhaps 2 can play at that game.  I've contemplated the world destroying nuke idea, but it would take a lot of nukes to eliminate everyone at once, which would pretty much have to be the object of the exercise.  I could instead crank out enough Conventional Missiles to bring Yang to his knees.  Unless he's got so much unit spam that that's impossible.  Maybe it could help my ally Morgan invade him though.  They're next door and under heavy assault.  I've got the Elite military units, and my production is really ramping up now, but they're both really far away and I haven't wanted to do the unit pushing.  The unit pushing approach, would be a Marine invasion of the Hive.  Maybe I do missiles instead.
 
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 07, 2018, 05:46:25 AM
The Hive is deploying this massive, worrisome Orbital Defense Pod screen.  Fortunately, he hasn't made many nukes, nor shown signs of wishing to launch the ones he has.  Although, I would mainly wish him to not launch at me.  If he wants to piss off the rest of the world that would be fine / great.  Anyways, I think he's a little too successful at this.  So I do what all good game designers do: I change the rules to undermine his strategy!   ;lol

In 1.12 I'm taking away his IMPUNITY to Planned economy.  He still gets it for Police State, he wouldn't be Yang if he didn't get that.  I think it's a bit overpowered for him to have 2 IMPUNITYs though.  So, likely for the first time ever, the Hive will be able to have negative EFFIC if it really wants to.  That's not such a bad future for it, with Free Market being far less onerous, and Green being a viable economic choice.  I also took away their secondary choice preference for POLICE.  They already have a lot of POLICE, they don't need to obsess.  If they want to blow their POLICE on Free Market and researchy stuff, I say let them.  It might make the AI Hive more interesting.

Meanwhile the Pirates are also winning.  Not so defense pod oriented, yet, but they have put up a few.  They're out-researching most everybody, including me.  Thing is, I designed them to do this.  I designed the map with enough ocean to allow them to do this.  They're a Wealthy terror.  They're also too far away for me to want to spend the mouse clicks beating them up.  I don't even want to go after the Hive!  The Enormous map protects them with mouseclicks.  Just can't stand pushing units that far.

The University, on the other hand, is uppity, weak, next door, and declared war on me again.  They have a few Secret Projects worth having, so they're going down for good.  No more tolerance of harassment and insubordination.  My mainland is fully "built out", I even made Echelon Mirrors this game, something I never do.  Genjack Factories are online and humming.  Nasty ships and Amphibious Hovertanks will be ready soon.  The University occupies a small island to the northwest.  I figure those tanks will deliver the maximum number of strikes per boatload.

I'm Democratic Free Market Power Cybernetic.  And I am Elite!  With my pop booming earlier, thanks again to 1.12 rules, I secured the Governorship.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 07, 2018, 02:26:54 PM
I found a really good case use for Conventional Missiles.  You've got some remote enemy base, and you've got 1 ship near it, but you can't be bothered to push a bunch of military units that way.  Call for an orbital strike!  Worked wonders at suppressing a buildup of air force near my Manifold Nexus.  It's expensive, but if you've got the industrial capacity, it's convenient.

I have stolen Advanced Spaceflight and am now putting up a screen of Flechette Defense Systems.  I'm slightly behind on tech and need to steal some important Secret Project stuff.  I don't really want Zhakarov to complete The Network Backbone, I want it in my own capitol.  I've got my Hovertank Marines ready for the invasion, and I've launched some warships to screen my approach, but I haven't created all the needed Transports yet.  I could also stand to steal better armor and upgrade.  I have a lot of money due to my Free Market, but I have a number of disparate expensive concerns and will probably have to make choices for the next few turns.

the Hive are eco weenies
the Hive are eco weenies

My effort to raise a land bridge to the continent that has my Manifold Nexus on it, has been a bit of a morass.  I just raised the most spectacular of resource bonuses, 3 at once, totally cutting off my approach.  So now I'm going down to the South Pole again.  Meanwhile Yang has triggered mild flooding.  It's not much so far, only estmated 66 meters, but that's enough to wipe out the South Pole.  Most of my rail was not built on the South Pole, but a land strip next to it, knowing that this could happen.  I will reconnect my rail when the flooding settles.  If it's not obvious, the reason I adopted this circuitous route to begin with, is I fully developed those coastal shelf tiles before I had the excess Former capacity to make a bridge.  There's nothing to do on my mainland anymore.


Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 07, 2018, 04:57:27 PM
what Fundamentalist research looks like
what Fundamentalist research looks like

Oh my God!  I really didn't expect this.  Miriam just completely cold cocked Zhakarov.  Isn't it interesting that I'm the only faction not obligated to go to war with her?  Doubly amusing is that only 2 new factions declared war.  The rest were already trying to get her.  If Yang decides to nuke Miriam, this is very good for me.

Unfortunately The Planetary Datalinks was a casualty of this atrocity.  Nice knowing it.

Yang tossed Conventional Missiles at those 2 outposts I took over recently, with my own Conventional Missiles.  The AI has no problem contemplating orbital bombardment warfare.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 08, 2018, 06:06:28 AM
only time I ever liked this event
only time I ever liked this event

Well that's one way to gain parity in an Orbital Defense Pod race.  I didn't have a thing in the sky.  Too busy building Secret Projects I stole or researched.  Now that's done, I still have to build Hab Domes to make good on The Cloning Vats I built.

I've taken all 3 of Zhakarov's Secret Project cities, but my forces are barely alive for having done so.  Chaos Hovertank Marines aren't any good against ECM Photon armor behind a city wall.  Even with Elite units, many died.  My idea of getting multiple shots from the Hovertank platform was false economy.  They're horribly expensive units and I really needed that +25% infantry assault bonus against cities.

Zhakarov has got a substantial reserve in 1 city that could take it all back, if he had half a brain.  Fortunately he doesn't.  Yang occasionally peppers me with missiles though, making my situation even more strained.  I'm trying to build a land bridge to the island, but it will be awhile before it connects, or even gets within paradrop range.  I've got ok command of the ocean and could probably ferry units back and forth, if I have time to make ships before everything collapses.

I said I would have to make choices.  I did get all my Secret Projects done, and I think growing my population is more important even than holding the island.  The Pirates are unrestricted and they're the one I stole the Hab Domes from.  Their cities aren't as maxed as mine, and I don't think the AI is smart enough to do a pop boom.

A turn later... Yang wipes my feeble defenders with his air force.  I'm on my last legs, but I have the last laugh!  With one remaining probe team, I take the 3400 credits generated from that solar storm, and buy the last University stronghold!  How's that for pulling it out of nowhere?  And it was cheap too, only 625 credits, because I long since wiped out his Headquarters.  It's Zhakarov, you can buy him.  He has 2 dismal cities left in the water.  Still this fool won't surrender.

Garrisoning problem totally solved now.  Got fresh University donated troops to fortify everything.  When I get this land bridge finished, Yang's dead.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 08, 2018, 01:57:25 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.11 to 1.12:

- Fundamentalist: removed GROWTH bonus.  Added +1 SUPPORT bonus.  Reduced RESEARCH penalty to -1.  Added -1 ECONOMY penalty.  I find that a -2 RESEARCH penalty really cripples the AI factions.  Fundamentalist is deliberately made very similar to a Police State.  Historically, considering Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, cult behavior was a key part of their regimes.
- Democratic: reduced EFFIC bonus to +1.  Added +1 GROWTH bonus.  I want the Peacekeepers to be able to pop boom.
- Survival: removed MORALE bonus.  The Spartans can research C2 Doctrine:Loyalty, go Fundamentalist, and get Elite units.  That's way too early.  They should have to research C4 Advanced Military Algorithms and learn Power.
- Knowledge: reduced RESEARCH bonus to +1.  Added +1 PLANET bonus.
- Wealth: removed GROWTH penalty.  Added -1 MORALE penalty.  I made it too difficult to start a population boom.
- Eudaimonic: removed PLANET bonus.  Raised GROWTH bonus to +2.  I need to make it possible to pop boom.
- Cybernetic: removed PLANET penalty.  Added -1 PROBE penalty.  The Network Backbone has a bug.  It is supposed to cancel the negative effects of Cybernetic, so having it and the Manifold Nexus should yield +1 PLANET.  But it doesn't, it yields 0 PLANET.  As I don't know how to fix the bug, the simplest solution is to remove the PLANET penalty.
- Biogenetics: set growth=2 so that an Explore focus can research it.  It improves alien life cycles and those have traditionally been regarded as Explore techs.
- Information Networks: set power=1, wealth=2, and growth=2 so that non-Discover foci can research it.  It's too much of a bottleneck when nobody else figures it out.
- Optical Computers: set power=2, wealth=2, and growth=2 so that non-Discover foci can research it.  The Planetary Datalinks make every kind of tech available and is of interest to all research foci.  Optical Computers should be treated similarly.
- Digital Sentience: set power=2.  Reduced because all it does for conquering is increase probe team morale.
- Changed various tech dependencies to keep research foci more pure.
- Cult of Planet: removed SUPPORT bonus.  They already have IMPUNITY to Fundamentalist and now that gives a +1 SUPPORT bonus.
- Believers: removed SUPPORT bonus.  Changed secondary social priority from SUPPORT to nil, giving them more options to make social engineering choices.  Fundamentalist now gives a +1 SUPPORT bonus, so the Believers don't need that boost anymore.
- Hive: removed IMPUNITY to Planned economy.  Changed secondary social priority from POLICE to nil.  Giving them IMPUNITY to 2 choices seemed a bit overpowered.  They don't need to obsess about getting more POLICE, they can already use a lot of POLICE freely.
- The Citizen's Defense Force: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.  It was taking way too long just to get some free Perimeter Defenses.
- Punishment Sphere: made cost and maintenance equivalent to a Recreation Commons.  No regime has ever spent a great deal of money on torturing people.  It is a cheap way to make people behave.  Punishment Spheres cut research in half, that's sufficient reason not to use them.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.12. It was downloaded 12 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 08, 2018, 09:35:40 PM
that was a lot of mouseclicks
that was a lot of mouseclicks

Mission Year 2338.  I complete my causeway to the conquered University cities, the same year I complete the Space Elevator.  I have a lot of options for invasion.  None of them do me immediate good against the Pirate empire, who have a quite thorough moat around them that I can't orbital drop into.  The Hive is in the way by land.  The Hive is strong, fielding many Orbital Defense Pods and destroying whatever the Pirates and I launch to oppose him.  However with the Space Elevator my satellite costs become much cheaper, and that will turn the tide.  Messing with the Hive on the ground isn't going to help him any either.

To be honest though, my military machine has been constrained by the need to pacify the University cities, trying to build them into something worthwhile.  It's been expensive, and maybe I should have just put Punishment Spheres everywhere and called it a day.  I'm thinking Yang's citizens might be at home in a Sphere though.  Plus his cities are so far away from my capitol, they will likely never yield any energy or research.

The Pirates actually lead in research in some respects.  At least, they're building a Secret Project I don't have.  Those 2 little black dots on the screen, near the Pirate dots, are my attempt to throw my last 2 Cruiser Probe Teams at his lead city and get that tech.  I've stolen from this base a few times before, so there's a good chance they'll just die.  If so, then I'll need to do some kind of drop probe team, maybe with a drop vehicle to protect them from injury upon landing.  It's been awhile since I've done orbital combat, or frankly had any need of it.  I don't remember it going terribly well last time, hence my tendency to build massive causeways.

I have access to a lot of exotic armor and weaponry, including antimatter, and now Plasma Shards which do 14 damage in this mod.  But these weapons are so expensive to produce, I question the utility.  I could have built a bigger round of factories, but I haven't, for fear of the eco-damage they'll do.  Lack of fusion engines really ups the stakes on how many minerals you have to cough up, which makes global catastrophe pretty likely if you give into the impulse.  I will think about cheapening the unit mineral costs to make this all less painful.  On the other hand, I'll think about forcing people to build big factories if they want this badass stuff.  This is an area where playtester feedback would be most appreciated.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 09, 2018, 05:42:55 AM
I don't yet have the productivity I need for the super weapons I know how to build.  I find myself needing to upgrade to Robotic Assembly Plants.  I want to be able to chuck out 1 Gas Plasma Shard infantry per turn.  Then I can swamp Yang with Elite 14-1-1 units.  The Pirates I've realized are vulnerable along their coasts to Marine attacks.  I could take a number of Secret Projects that way, as long as I find places to orbital drop, then build airbases to reinforce.  I'm also starting to build up at the north end of my ally Morgan's land, but I've only moved Police units there so far.  I simply don't have much in the way of offensive units.  I'm using Heavy Drop Transports to move land units around.  These have a cargo capacity of 2.  My rail effort around the conquered University lands is stalled, as those cities needed some farming.

I'm thinking that hovertanks should be cheaper to build.  There's no point putting them earlier in the tech tree, if they're too expensive to build in practice.

I don't have any good way to steal from the Pirates.  They killed the 2 Cruisers I sent their way, it was pretty sad.  If Probe Teams could be amphibious, then I could drop and steal from coastal cities.  If I make that possible, unfortunately the AI will never figure it out, so it'll only be a player advantage.  I could predefine a unit, then maybe the AI would use them.

Units seem to completely stop their movement when they orbital drop, so this isn't going to be all that useful for drop and infiltrate anyways.  Units dropped in a Drop Transport still have all their moves used up.  I could have sworn there was some circumstance where one still gets moves remaining.  I can't seem to come up with that now though.

Militarily I may be stalled, but votewise I'm tremendous.  If I got Clinical Immortality I think I would win the game.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 09, 2018, 08:44:59 PM
There will be a 1.13 release.  I've allowed Amphibious Pods to be put on non-combat units, which include Probe Teams.  I created a Drop Marine Probe Team.  With my orbital insertion capability, I dropped into some fungus, 2 squares away from a coastal sea base deep in the Pirate backwaters.  That ended my movement.  Next turn, I stole the tech!  Very useful.

I'm also able to make land Transport units that can move into coastal sea bases.  That may seem weird, but it's a situation that does come up.  You want some kind of Transport available in your coastal sea base, because you want ordinary units without amphibious capability to be able to move to and from the base onto land.  Such as for terraforming, or for defense or assault.  Yet, you may not be able to get a Transport there by an ocean route, due to geography or intervening dangers.  So now, you can come by land.  If you have orbital insertion, you can land an Amphibious Drop Transport next to the base, then move into the base next turn.  So now my main, highly productive empire, has a way to supply distant outposts, without having to invade the Believers or drive a rail head to the distant site.

I'll be allowing Amphibious Pods for ships as well.  I expect that for combat units, it will be useful for attacking land units on the coast.  I wonder if it will allow me to invade coastal land cities with a ship as well?  This will need some playtesting, to see if allowing "invasion ships" is a good idea in terms of fairness or not.  My current thought is, since you have to research Doctrine:Initiative anyways, why not?

I'm building a Sea Former with amphibious capability to see if it allows me to do anything interesting.  I think it would be great if I could move such a unit on both land and sea!  Bet it doesn't do that though.  Need to make sure it doesn't crash the game, for being weird.

I'm going to look at expanding Drop Pod capabilities as well, such as for air and sea units.  I'd like to be able to drop such units from orbit, then have them sail in and attack.  I don't see why not.  It's the Future.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Brunost on July 13, 2018, 12:26:04 AM
I haven`t tried your mod yet but it looks very interesting. Good job.
Will try this one for sure.

I have been deciding for a while what unofficial patch I would stay with in the long term. I appreciate
Yitzi's work but it looks as if it introduces some new bugs and technical problems with it as well. Kyrub's patch for SMACX is probably more stable but lacks a bit in the AI department compared to his SMAC patch. What I really want is to play SMACX as close to vanilla as possible but with a more balanced AI. What is nice about your mod is that it doesn`t touch the exe, and that I believe is a good thing.


Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 13, 2018, 03:04:16 AM
I've tried to do what I could at the modding level to improve the AI's play.  I think the Pirates are definitely better now, pursuing Wealth.  Something interesting I'm trying in 1.13, is making sea units substantially cheaper.  A speeder and a foil now cost the same.  A cruiser and a hovertank cost the same.  I haven't fully tested it, but I think the effect is to make it substantially easier to run an empire on water.  That helps anyone who starts on an island that's too small.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 13, 2018, 07:22:47 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.12 to 1.13:

- Amphibious Pods: now allowed for non-combat units such as Probe Teams and land Transports.  Good for probing Pirate coastal sea bases!  Also useful for one's own coastal sea bases, as land Transports can move back and forth from the base.
- Foil, Cruiser: cut costs of chassis in half.  Now equivalent to Speeder and Hovertank costs, respectively.  With no Fusion engines until the end of the game, it's very expensive to outfit acceptable ships.  Moving by water is inherently faster than moving on land, in the absence of roads, so sayeth human history.  It should be a better deal to move with ships than with land units.
- Pulse 3 Armor, Resonance 3 Armor: reduced cost from 5 to 4, equivalent to Silksteel Armor.  These armors have the strength of Plasma Armor, which only costs 3.  In a mostly Fission game, these differences in cost matter quite a lot, and it shouldn't be so expensive for what it provides.
- Pulse 8 Armor, Resonance 8 Armor: reduced cost from 11 to 10, equivalent to Antimatter Plate.  They have the strength of Neutronium armor, which only costs 8.
- Resonance Laser: reduced cost from 8 to 7.  A Chaos gun has strength 8 and costs 8.  A Missile Launcher has strength 6 and costs 6.  A Resonance Laser has strength 6 and gives a 25% bonus to attacks in psi combat.  It should cost more than a Missile Launcher, but not much more.
- Resonance Bolt: reduced cost from 16 to 14.  Same reasoning.
- Cloaking Device: now allowed for Sea and Air units.
- Drop Pods: now allowed for Sea and Air units.
- Nerve Gas Pods, Sopoforic Gas Pods: now allowed for Sea units.  I don't see any reason why they shouldn't be.
- Drop Pods, Empath Song, Clean Reactor, Dissociative Wave: reduced cost from 2 to 1.  This is equivalent to 50% unit cost increase vs. 25% increase.  In a mostly Fission game, a 50% increase results in extremely expensive units, so I want to shave these costs where I can.  These are all "interesting" abilities, that players had to do a lot of research in the tech tree to gain.  I'd like players to actually use them, rather than waiting even longer to use them, because they cost too much without Fusion engines.
- Comm Jammer, Hypnotic Trance: changed to a straight cost of 1, instead of a variable cost of 0, 1, or 2.  As amusing as it's been over the years to design all kinds of units "so I can get zero cost for Trance or ECM" out of a weapon and armor combination, it's tedious as a game mechanic, and wastes a lot of unit design slots.  In a mostly Fission game this is a problem, because old unit designs aren't obviously obsolete, being much cheaper to produce than newer designs.  It's also super annoying when playing the Cult of Planet, because everyone else has piles of units that have a free defense against your primary offense.  If players want a defensive advantage against mindworms, they can pay for that.  They also now have a more reasonable offensive advantage against mindworms, as Empath Song costs less now.  I think this grand experiment in simplifying the mechanics, will work out.
- Heavy Artillery: now costs 0 no matter what kind of combat unit it is.  It's simply a choice of how you want your gun to work.  I see no military reason why an armored or fast artillery piece should have egregious cost.  It should simply cost more, and you are already paying more for armor or a faster chassis.  Interesting thing to note is, armor won't help you in an artillery duel at all.  It will help you if some other kind of unit attacks your artillery though.
- Heavy Artillery: now allowed for Air units.  I think flying bombardment is a really good idea, and so did people in World War II.  This can be especially useful against a big stack of Isles of the Deep that pops up at sea.  If combined with Air Superiority, it can be useful against a big stack of Locusts of Chiron that pops up in the air.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.13. It was downloaded 15 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 23, 2018, 03:14:10 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.13 to 1.14:

- Fusion Power: now a C6 tech.  Putting Fusion and Quantum engines at the end of the tech tree didn't work.  Game played fine before that, but then you got update spam for Fusion, Quantum, and Singularity engines all in a row.  No point bunching them up like that.  Had to either take them out of the game, or spread them out more like the original game.  I chose the latter.
- Quantum Power: now a C9 tech.  Removed Quantum Laser.
- Reshuffled endgame techs and changed various dependencies to fill holes in tech tree.
- Weapons: restored attack power ratings and costs of the original game.  The weapons artwork is tied to attack power, and I think it's better if the weapons look unique.  Fortunately armor doesn't have this problem.
- Armor: defense and cost is now equal to attack of weapons at the same tech level.  The strongest armor in the game is now the Singularity Shield with a strength of 30.  I found that in late game, an enemy's Chaos Gun (attack 8 ) was cutting my Neutronium Armor (defense 8 ) to shreds.  It takes a lot more research to get Neutronium Armor, so that's just not right.  Combat seems to favor the attacker too much, so armor needs to be beefed up.  For years I've heard people complain that armor isn't even worth putting on units, because it doesn't do any good.

- Believers: set their research focus to Conquer only.  They need to research Fundamentalist as fast as possible to get more SUPPORT.  Otherwise they risk stagnation.  Once they go Fundamentalist, they probably can't afford to spread out their tech efforts in multiple categories.
- Cult of Planet: set ai-fight=0 making them Erratic.  Before they were Aggressive, but the mindworms they accumulate from beating the bush aren't a decisive force.  They need to take their time to build up and not just make enemies fast.
- Gaians: got rid of incorrect text about them having a POLICE penalty.  They don't; that was removed quite awhile ago.

- Doctrine:Flexibility: set power=4 and growth=3, making it a C1 tech.  Ships are more important to combat and conquest than I had acknowledged.  Aside from rapid force projection, they are the earliest form of artillery.  That's really useful against Spore Launchers and enemy Scouts.  Ships need to be rapidly researched by all factions, as stillborn tiny island starts are still possible, if rare.  Some factions have a pure Conquer focus, but no factions have a pure Explore or Build focus, so having it as a Conquer tech will help more factions.
- Orbital Spaceflight: set growth=3 because missiles can be used to scout large areas of Planet.
- Advanced Spaceflight: set growth=3 because Orbital Defense Pods reveal all of Planet.
- Fusion Power, Quantum Power, Singularity Mechanics: set wealth=3 and growth=3.  Bigger reactors cheapen unit build costs and make air and sea units move faster.
- Mind/Machine Interface: made Digital Sentience a prereq instead of Homo Superior.  It had the same prereqs as The Will to Power.
- Secrets of Alpha Centauri: set power=3 and wealth=3.   It increases energy production in fungus squares.  The Telepathic Matrix gives probe teams +2 morale.
- Graviton Theory: set growth=3 because Antigrav Struts make units move faster.

- Battle Ogres: gave them Trance, Empath, and High Morale abilities.  Changed their AI "plan" from 0 "Offense" to -1 "Autocalculate", hoping it might improve their suicidal tendencies.  The AI wastes Ogres at the beginning of the game, marching them into fungus until mindworms kill them.  The extra abilities will help them hold up slightly longer against mindworms.  Even with these settings, defending against a mindworm larva and then attacking a spore launcher, will knock the Ogre down to 80% wounded.
- Terraforming Unit: reduced cost from 6 to 4, equivalent to a Troop Transport module or a Particle Impactor weapon.
- Carrier Deck: removed cost increase for land units.  A Drop Carrier can be a useful land unit for orbital insertions.  It allows drop air units to return to orbit without building an Airbase.  Generally speaking, I'm not interested in penalizing interesting unit designs with extra costs.  The game takes long enough as it is, and everything is expensive with Fission power.
- Antigrav Struts: now allowed for Sea and Air units.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.14. It was downloaded 17 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on July 30, 2018, 09:30:37 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.14 to 1.15:

- Believers: now immune to MINDCONTROL.  May now use Knowledge; may not use Cybernetic.   Added +1 GROWTH.  The Believers had become the most uninteresting, most penalized faction of the game.  A 25% attack bonus isn't enough to get excited about, nor is +1 PROBE actually helpful for anything.  I want them to have something that makes them worth playing as a faction, instead of the "please make my research go slow, for no benefit" faction.  The GROWTH bonus gives them more flexibility for pop booming.  The prejudicial concept of space Christians being anti-knowledge is done away with, so Isaac Newton can rest easily in his grave now.  However, the lore of the game indicates that Miriam clearly hates the idea of merging with machines, or having them run any aspect of civilization.  Denying the Cybernetic choice is actually more of a RESEARCH penalty over the long haul.  Also, Knowledge gives +1 PLANET, and I don't think the Believers should be denied a pro-Planet lifestyle.
- Drones: increased NODRONES to 2.  Added +1 GROWTH.  Changed secondary social priority from INDUSTRY to nil.  The Drones need to keep up with the bonuses of other factions, and now the AI has more flexibility in its social engineering choices.  I've played Drones as either Free Market or Planned, it often depends on where I'm at in the game.
- Hive: removed ECONOMY Penalty.  Reinstated +1 GROWTH bonus.  They need to keep up with the bonuses of other factions.  Pop booming is usually impossible without Democratic, so now they have the capability.
- Morganites: added +1 EFFIC.  Raised ECONOMY bonus to +2.  Changed secondary social priority from ECONOMY to nil.  Most factions can now do Free Market the beginning of the game without any serious consequences, readily achieving +2 ECONOMY.  Having the Morganites get merely +1 ECONOMY is underpowered.  Many factions get 3 social engineering benefits, so now the Morganites follow suit.  He has the flexibility to make money almost no matter what.  His bonus and Free Market alone put him at +4 ECONOMY, so he is freed from slavishly pursuing even more ECONOMY.
- Peacekeepers: added +2 GROWTH bonus.  Changed secondary social priority from GROWTH to nil.  The Peacekeepers need to keep up with the bonuses of other factions.  Previously the AI was compelled to try to pop boom.  Hopefully it will still try to do so, with more flexibility, but it is not compelled to.
- University: corrected text about PROBE penalty.  It's only -1.
- Nerve Gas Pods: moved to C2 Doctrine: Loyalty.  I thought Advanced Military Algorithms was too crowded with stuff.  The prereqs for Doctrine: Loyalty are Applied Physics and High Energy Chemistry, i.e. political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.  Science-wise, it's appropriate for nerve gas to be the next development.  Let the atrocities begin early and often!
- Soporific Gas Pods: moved to C2 Progenitor Psych.  Previously if the Aliens weren't in the game, it was a useless technology.
- Heavy Artillery: back to not allowed for Air units.  The keystroke "F" for long distance Fire, doesn't actually work for Air units and I don't see a way to fix it.
- Biogenetics: set power=1.  A Biology Lab increases alien lifecycle, so it is nominally a conquest capability.  However at the beginning of the game, the player can't make mindworms.  So as conquest techs go, this has marginal value.  Conquer focused factions with weak research, such as the Believers, end up researching this instead of something more useful for conquest.  However I don't want to set it to 0, because those same factions need a very basic way to improve their labs output.
- Centauri Ecology: set power=2.  Roads are important for land conquest.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.15. It was downloaded 27 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on August 12, 2018, 07:38:17 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.15 to 1.16:

- Cybernetic Consciousness: set ai-fight=-1 making them Passive.  They nuked me in a test game, unprovoked!  That in and of itself might not be bad, but their society was Police State Planned Power Cybernetic.  They were way ahead on tech.  I think they would be even more dangerous if they concentrated on tech, instead of arms industry build-em-ups.  An unprovoked nuke makes enemies with everybody.  That hurts their trade, and research benefits from trade.  They really should sit back and relax, it's to their advantage.   I made them Aggressvie because they can steal a tech when they conquer a base.  But they never need to steal a tech, they always have the best research anyways.  In the LONG term, Passive is better for them than Aggressive.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.16.  It was downloaded 21 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on August 20, 2018, 03:37:10 AM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.16 to 1.17:

- Cybernetic Consciousness: removed IMPUNITY to Cybernetic social engineering choice.  The Consciousness had too many advantages over other factions.  This IMPUNITY is much more advantageous than in the unmodded game, because Cybernetic becomes available much earlier in the game.
- Cult of Planet: removed the free Brood Pit bonus.  They had too many advantages.
- Gaians: added 20% PSI combat bonus.  Now they have a unique capability, enabling them to keep up with other factions.  Otherwise as a high EFFIC faction they were always inferior to the Cyborgs.  As a PLANET faction they were always inferior to the Cultists.
- Free Drones: removed documentation mistake about +1 GROWTH bonus.  Said I added that bonus in 1.15, but didn't actually do it.  Turns out they don't need it.
- Sensor Array: can now build on sea squares.
- Mind Worms: reduced cost from 5 to 4.  Mind Worms are too expensive for what they do.  I'd like to see the PLANET oriented factions (Cult of Planet, Gaians, Caretakers) build more of them.
- Spore Launcher: reduced cost from 5 to 4.
- Isle of the Deep: reduced cost from 8 to 6.  Cost of a Cruiser chassis was reduced from 6 to 3 in version 1.13, so this is a similar change.
- Locusts of Chiron: reduced cost from 10 to 8.  Cheapened because I'd like to see PLANET oriented factions build more of them.
- Unity Mining Laser: now a 4-1-1 unit and called a Unity Mining Drill.  A 2-1-1 unit is offensively too wimpy to take seriously.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.17.  It was downloaded 21 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on August 20, 2018, 06:08:58 AM
  I haven't commented on your work before, but I've been following it with great interest.

  Your overall philosophy and goals are essentially the same as what I've been doing with modding for myself, but tested much better with more understanding of what you are doing.

  I've been watching for you to get a build that you think is reasonably balanced and successful so I can try my hand at blending it into Yitzi's work (since I do like the vast majority of those .exe changes).

  It'd be easy to set up a separate install to play around with your work (and I'd like to do that) but just haven't found a place in my time budget yet.  And you seem to be retuning so frequently I'm not sure when to jump in.

  I guess I'm just letting you know your efforts are appreciated and ....eventually... I'd like to join in.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on August 21, 2018, 04:14:54 AM
I thought version 1.16 was going to be it.  I only changed the Consciousness back to Passive for that.  I made this "big deal" on /r/AlphaCentauri about how things were stable now and weren't going to be changed much at all.  Which is still mostly true but...

...PvtHudson had to go and tell us all about all the mod stuff he's been working on.  Amidst all those things, I found 2 items that seemed "conservatively sensible" to include.  Make Sensor Arrays available on water, and cheapen the cost of PSI units.  Ok...

...and then while playtesting, I realize the Consciousness is too powerful, the Cult of Planet is too powerful, and the Gaians aren't powerful enough.  So I make 3 more changes.  So, 1.17 is not a lot of changes, but I've often put this many changes in a new release.  "Enough to be worth shipping."

The reality is, I may yet discover things that need minor tweaking, because I've not played enough RANDOM games to see how all factions play.  Little changes could dribble out for quite awhile yet.

But I don't think there are any big changes to be had anymore.  Knock on wood.

With Yitzi, doing some kind of scripted merge would be much better than manually copying stuff, I think.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on August 21, 2018, 10:45:41 AM
  Hmm, yes, a scripted merge probably would be better and easier.  Shame I haven't a clue how to do that ;).
  I've just relied on the ancient line-by-line edit, with some cut and paste of blocks.  As long as I watch the line numbers and the necessary commas, etc. it has worked just fine so far.  Slow...yes indeed, but on the good side, I have a much better understanding of Alphax and the faction dossiers now.

  Don't worry, I haven't been waiting for your "final version" before I try it: projects like this are widely considered to never be finished, with the final version actually being the "Good Enough" version, or the "I'm sick and tired of doing this" version.

  You've done the lionesses' share of the work already (reorganizing the technologies and reweighting their values to the AI for instance).  It looks like you are now mostly fine tuning the faction balance, with a few other tweeks and "nice things to add" thrown in.

  It's certainly a great time for folks like me to jump in and give it a try, my delay is purely from time budget issues unrelated to SMACX.

  Thank you for posting all the after-engagement reports and updates on what you are doing and how.
That's been a huge help in understanding, and been entertaining at times as well ;)

  By the way, I've been using sea sensors/buoys for years now.  Have had no idea if the defense bonus is being applied or not, but my focus has been on the early-warning aspect (fog-of-war always).
A couple extra spaces/time to get my picket ships on the intruder(s) is nice.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on August 21, 2018, 04:21:54 PM
  Hmm, yes, a scripted merge probably would be better and easier.  Shame I haven't a clue how to do that ;).

I have a clue how to do that, but my policy has been and remains, I personally am not going to do that.  I've already invested plenty of person hours into release and maintenance as is.  I'm willing to test and cooperate with someone else who wants to make such a merging script, but I'm not going to develop it.  Nor manually cut 'n' paste, as that would double my workload every time I release. 

The basic problem is, Yitzi's patch doesn't do anything that I personally want or need.  The main thing I want / need is for the AI to play better.  I tried it in a number of games, and I could perceive no difference in AI performance at all.  I've looked through what it says it fixed or improved, and I didn't see anything about AI performance in all that stuff.  And while it may have fixed a game bug here and there, it also introduced some new bugs.  The old bugs haven't been harming me all that often, with the exception of my own Interceptors causing the game to crash and die.  So I guess I have to bloody the AI before it's ever attacking my cities with Penetrators lol.  At least I know how to work around that one.  Worst case I disband the offending Interceptor and accept the loss of something, typically a Former.

Quote
the lionesses' share of the work

Haha, that phrase is so naturally true.  What does a lion do except sit around killing cubs and fighting the occasional other lion?

Quote
It looks like you are now mostly fine tuning the faction balance,

I think that's basically correct.  I can really only fine tune that by playing a lot of RANDOM opponent games.  I have not quite played enough of them, to feel I have 100% coverage or understanding of the consequences.

I certainly consider the social engineering choices to be "baked".  I'm even getting good at the tradeoffs in my own mod now.

I haven't felt the need to change a tech in the tree for quite awhile.  Only thing that occurred to me, was not having Pulse and Res armor become available from the same tech.  But that was necessary to strip the Aliens of their armor, and give them Trance at the same time.  If I figure that one out, fine.  If I don't, the status quo is definitely acceptable.

Quote
Thank you for posting all the after-engagement reports and updates on what you are doing and how.
That's been a huge help in understanding, and been entertaining at times as well ;)

Well, glad to hear someone read it and cared.  I suppose if that's the case, I'm due to make another one soon.  I didn't want to make one for awhile so as not to "crowd out" the AARs I already did.  And some testing stuff was in flux.  In my current game, I'm kicking the snot out of everyone as the Cultists.  IMPUNITY to Fundamentalist is a really powerful capability in my mod.  I'd say the Cultists are now as tough as Yang used to be.  I wonder if Yang is still a butt kicker now?  He's got IMPUNITY to Police State so it should be really similar.  Maybe I should play a Yang game, after all this time.

Quote
By the way, I've been using sea sensors/buoys for years now.  Have had no idea if the defense bonus is being applied or not, but my focus has been on the early-warning aspect (fog-of-war always).
A couple extra spaces/time to get my picket ships on the intruder(s) is nice.

Yes frankly even if they gave you a penalty they'd probably be worth it!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on August 21, 2018, 06:40:05 PM
    As a fine example of my ignorance or naivete, I was assuming that such a merging script already existed in some form and I just needed to be pointed at it.
  As for writing my own....well I probably could do that if I can figure out where to start (maybe probably..).

   In either case, a script or line editing, I was (and am) looking at it as MY project, done for my reasons and to my benefit, undoubtedly customized to my personal tastes and playing style.
  It would probably take longer to explain my thinking to someone else than to just do it myself (which is what I was planning to do anyway.  Besides, it might be kinda fun in a mentally ill sort of way... ;lol

   And you are right that Yitzi has not addressed the AI with his work.  From what he and others have said (and my own rudimentary understanding of what programming an AI involves), modifying or rewriting it in the .exe would be the largest and hardest problem any of the .exe patchers could tackle.

   Your tactic of using the Alphax and faction texts to trick the existing AI into giving a better result may not be as elegant, but it's a heck of a lot more practical and likely to actually happen.

   By the way, I forget if you have mentioned it, but has your mod made any headway with the 'spamming-obsolete-garrison-troops-till-the-minerals-run-out' issue?  It's one of my all time top peeves. 

   What's this about Interceptors crashing the game?  That may have been happening to me now and then...if so, how do you go about identifying which one it is?


   And yeh, the "Lion's Share" is such a myth.  If some gluttonous sperm donor starts to starve the mommas and their kits, the ladies just gang up and kick him to the curb.  The species would have gone extinct if they didn't.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on August 22, 2018, 06:02:09 AM
   Your tactic of using the Alphax and faction texts to trick the existing AI into giving a better result may not be as elegant, but it's a heck of a lot more practical and likely to actually happen.

I dunno, I don't see anything elegant about mucking around in assembly code in a binary!  Pretty darned grungy.  Modding alphax.txt and faction.txt files is clean as a whistle by comparison.  And yes, it did happen already, I saw to it.  To the extent it could be done.  "Only" 3 person months of work... that's why I don't think anyone has done a mod that extensive before.  Maybe someone did in the past, in some archive somewhere, but I'm not currently aware of such.  In any event, things have to be kept alive and maintained.

Quote
   By the way, I forget if you have mentioned it, but has your mod made any headway with the 'spamming-obsolete-garrison-troops-till-the-minerals-run-out' issue?  It's one of my all time top peeves. 

Short of giving everyone egregious SUPPORT bonuses, nothing can be done about this at the modding level.  It takes direct mucking with the AI code.  Induktio is actually doing that right now BTW.  Hopefully when the dust settles, our work turns out to be compatible. 

Quote
   What's this about Interceptors crashing the game?  That may have been happening to me now and then...if so, how do you go about identifying which one it is?

Well first, one has the hunch that this is the problem, because one has seen it happen often enough.  Then, when you're watching the game just before it crashes, any kind of Penetrator attack would be a telltale sign.  Sometimes I think I see the plane flying towards me and attacking.  Other times I don't, but I might be able to guess that it's "air activity" because the enemy has got planes it's been using.  My basic defense against the bug, is not using Interceptors as God intended them to be used.  I have to keep them a line farther back, and use them as a counterstrike force.  No bug from shooting down an enemy plane next turn.  I just can't actually intercept anything, or the game dies.

Another longstanding bug, has something to do with the Secret Project movies on Windows 10.  Possibly with DirectDraw=0 to use the game on a wide screen.  Saw that a lot of times.  The workaround is never to watch SP movies, just turn them off.  Not a problem for me, I've seen 'em a zillion times.

These 2 bugs are worth patching, and Yitzi probably fixed them.  Yitzi was probably as aggressive about fixing stupid bugs like this, as I am about reordering the tech tree, the factions, the social engineering choices, and basically all of the gameplay.  Yitzi's patch was quite ambitious.  It's just ambition directed at a lot of things that weren't much affecting me personally.  Maybe the multiplayers got a benefit out of it, I don't know.  I never do that, so there could be even more bugs that multiplayers thought were important to address.

Quote
   And yeh, the "Lion's Share" is such a myth.  If some gluttonous sperm donor starts to starve the mommas and their kits, the ladies just gang up and kick him to the curb.  The species would have gone extinct if they didn't.

I will cheer for the females killing a lousy male.  I've never liked male lions ever since I heard about the cub killing thing.  Male dolphins do the same thing.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on August 22, 2018, 11:44:50 PM
    Progress Report:  Finished the initial merge of your and Yitzi's alphax.txt.  Game testing to begin promptly. 
    There was nothing to merge with the Faction files, so yours are good to go as-is.

  Scrutinizing the alphax did allow me to discover some aspects I'm curious about.  Might start a separate thread one of these days, but for now:

  In the (predesigned) Units section, is it know what all the flags are/do?  I've never found any documentation for them.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on August 24, 2018, 03:39:10 AM
The flags are just for the special abilities, in order of their appearance in alphax.txt.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on August 24, 2018, 07:43:00 AM
The flags are just for the special abilities, in order of their appearance in alphax.txt.

Ahh, thank you.  Nice when something turns out to be semi-reasonable and understandable :)

  Progress report on the merge: Bug-hunt phase initiated.
                                              :Voluntary advice from the AC II community welcome
                                              :What does work (most all of it, usually) seems to work as intended.
   

  Question for the general community here:   If the game crashes when you click on the Production Queue or Change Current Production buttons, where in alphax.txt would the problem likely be?
And what sort of error should you look for, other than missing commas and other typos?
Hitting U for the Unit Edit window, and working within it, functions normally.

@Bvanevery: In the Weapons section of your v. 1.17 alphax, did you intend for Tachyon Bolts to cost 2, or was that a typo for 12?  I assumed the latter and edited it in the copies I'm working with.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on August 24, 2018, 03:41:35 PM
                                              :Voluntary advice from the AC II community welcome

Yitzi did something screwy with the encoding of Conventional Missile attack strength.  I'm not sure how he reformulated it or what the game mechanical consequences are.  Be on the lookout for overpowered or underpowered CMs.

Yitzi changed the "Stockpile Energy" encoding somehow.  I'm not sure if there are game mechanical consequences to that.

Those are the 2 items I remember off the top of my head.  There may be a 3rd.  I know there are no more than 3 places that Yitzi "messed with" how things are encoded, thereby causing a compatibility / intent problem for other modders.  Fortunately, these wouldn't exactly be game wreckers.

Quote
  Question for the general community here:   If the game crashes when you click on the Production Queue or Change Current Production buttons, where in alphax.txt would the problem likely be?

Three possibilities:

1) you have predefined a kind of unit that makes the game barf for some reason.  Have you added units, or done something weird with their flags?

2) you have created some kind of pathological interaction between an old saved game and your change.   This could be due to Workshop units getting new / displaced values or something.  Start a brand new game and see if the problem is still there.  When testing, I generally give new units a tech requirement of "None" so that I can build such new units immediately.

3) The bug has nothing to do with alphax.txt and everything to do with Yitzi's patch.  To test that, see if you have the problem in a stock GoG .exe (assuming that's what you're working with). 

Quote
@Bvanevery: In the Weapons section of your v. 1.17 alphax, did you intend for Tachyon Bolts to cost 2, or was that a typo for 12?  I assumed the latter and edited it in the copies I'm working with.

Thanks for paying such attention!  but no such entry in my copy of alphax.txt.  I have:

Code: [Select]
Tachyon Bolt,         Tachyon,       12, 1, 12, -1, Tachyon,
I believe you created your own typo while editing somehow.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on August 27, 2018, 03:51:47 AM
   Took a while, but I have a full merge now that is (so far) functioning in all aspects.
  Next is some game testing to see if it holds up through mid-game at least.

   One issue that will take some thought and experimentation is determining which settings of the additional features Yitzi has implemented will not distort how your mod works.
  Pretty much all of them can be disabled or set to work the same as the original game, which is what I will probably do at first.  And there are a few that don't affect faction balance or AI function.

   When I checked, my fresh-from-the-ZIP stock copy of your alphax does have a 12.  Clearly, one of the ferrets must have slipped in a stealthy keypress while passing.  They do that now and then, since I forbade them actually *dancing* on the keyboard.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on August 27, 2018, 07:17:48 AM
Cats can win a game of SMAC.  Their Denial of Service attack is deadly.

I remember Yitzi's patch having a lot of stuff about eco-damage.  That really has nothing to do with my mod, it's a personal taste issue.  I guess I could bother to read what his options are and consider whether they have any impact.  BRB.

Looking at PatchReadme.txt, it would be tempting to give the Data Angels an IGNOREPREREQ for building Probe Teams.  However, I'd worry about that allowing chassis designs that aren't available yet.  I solved that by making Doctrine: Mobility and Doctrine: Flexibility the immediate prereqs for Planetary Networks, which grants probe teams.  Ergo, both Speeders and Foils are available when you get probe teams, assuming no weird tech trading at the beginning of the game.  So although it might be tempting, it's not an imperative.

Reading New alphax variables in Yitzi's patch (http://alphacentauri2.info/wiki/New_alphax_variables_in_Yitzi%27s_patch), only the alternate unit cost formulas look like they conflict with the intents of my mod.  I greatly simplified the costs of all Special Abilities, making almost all of them cost 1, and calculating only a straight cost increase.  The only exceptions were Artillery, which now always costs 0 and is merely a weapons choice, and Deep Radar, which costs 0 on sea and air units as usual.

I think what I've done, works.  I feel justified having done a lot of playtesting, but someone else could come to different conclusions.  I definitely wouldn't support a whole pot of new unit cost variations as somehow "my work", absent evidence that I broke something or seriously overlooked something.  You'd need to just call it your own mod, if you go down that road, and give credit where credit is due.  i.e. a variation on what I did, not like you substantially gutted the tech tree I made or something.  Boy tech trees are a lot of work....

Otherwise, an awful lot of stuff available for modding looks like what I'd call "Yitzi-isms".  You can try them, but I think the vast majority of them are unnecessary, and have no effect on my work at all.  You could experiment and tweak with the Yitzi-isms for an awfully long time.  To be honest, I could easily see you iterating through your own 3 person months, with all the potential changes at your disposal.  I'm not convinced of the actual value in most cases, but of course, I'm biased by having iterated for 4+ calendar months until I pretty much fixed everything I thought was broken.  If you do go down the dark, dark road of tweaking and deciding the relative merit of all the Yitzi-isms, you will definitely have created your own substantial corpus of modding work!  So you'd attach your name to all of that appropriately.  It's quite a project to decide what, if anything, of all those options has real value and impact to play.

Yitzi did a lot of bug fixing (http://alphacentauri2.info/wiki/Yitzi%27s_patch) as well.  Although none of them are critical in my view, many of them are on the "nice to have" side of the ledger of concerns.  I support the Official game mainly because at this time, that's the least complicated thing for a noob to set up and go to town with my mod.  If some exotic packaging regime rendered that concern obsolete, such that Official games and Yitzi games existed side by side easily without installation fuss, then I really wouldn't care.  I see it as an infrastructural burden, to arrive at that place.  At this time, I'll be working on all my own game programming projects that potentially have money at the end of them, before worrying about such infrastructure.  It would be great if someone turns out to be very motivated and up and solves those packaging / merging / infrastructure issues.

BTW, as far as my own mod stability goes, I've started an After Action Report for version 1.17.  I'm expecting to find nothing that I feel I need to change, in the course of playing it.  But of course my expectation could be proven wrong by something.  Really doubt it though.  That's why I decided to do an AAR.  I think I can just showcase the mod, once and for all.

My previous game before the AAR, I've all but beaten the snot out of everyone as Cha Dawn.  Could have declared Diplomatic Victory, but got greedy with some outstanding Secret Projets and voted a Global Trade Pact instead.  Which means I can't win for another 10 years.  D'oh!  Maybe I'll never finish that game and will just do my AAR, even though I was an inch from finishing it.  I made it to the R-bolt stage of technology, and didn't find anything in all that time that needed to be changed, or should in any circumstances be changed.  Pretty "baked" at least that far through the game.  It's only the late game / endgame where I expect surprises now, for lack of having gotten that far all that many times.


Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on August 28, 2018, 06:14:24 AM
I found a bug!  E4 Intellectual Integrity only has 1 prerequisite, E3 Monopole Magnets.  It should have 2, like every tech in the tree except for the very end.  I've added C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory as the 2nd prereq.  Because of this bug there will be a 1.18 release, but I'm not going to do it yet, as I may find other bugs as I continue with my current After Action Report.  Sometime in September.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 03, 2018, 12:09:26 AM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.17 to 1.18:

- Democratic: removed +1 ECONOMY bonus.  Raised EFFIC bonus to +2.  The game had too much easy money in it.  It made AI Morgan super powerful: it spent a mere 1000 credits to try to corner the energy market in mid-game!  I beat it, barely, but nobody should have a cheap shot like that available.  I've also felt for some time now, that it's hard to get EFFICIENCY in this game if you don't go Cybernetic.
- Intellectual Integrity: only had 1 prerequisite, E3 Monopole Magnets.  It is a growth=4, power=3 tech, so I chose C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory as the other prereq.
- Deep Radar: moved it back to Advanced Military Algorithms.  Got tired of needing to research Doctrine: Initiative to get radar for Needlejets.
- Repeal U.N. Charter: now available with Doctrine: Loyalty, which is when Nerve Gas Pods become available.  The use of chemical weapons is the main thing it pertains to, although it also covers obliterating bases and nerve stapling.  This only covers minor atrocities, and not the major atrocity of using a Planet Buster.  I see no reason for societies to wait a long time to make a decision about minor atrocities.  On Earth we made such decisions in the 19th and 20th centuries!  Most AI factions don't want to repeal the prohibitions anyways.  It takes some vote buying to pull it off, and getting the money together isn't easy for a warmongering, non-money-grubbing faction.
- Reinstate U.N. Charter: now available with Ethical Calculus, which is when Democratic politics become available.


The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.18.  It was downloaded 21 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 03, 2018, 01:22:40 PM
  I'll be incorporating those changes into my Merge of the Mods.  And starting a new game test.
            Note: now done.

  In my last test I found most of the gameplay to go well.  Had the Angels, Hive, Drones, University, Cyborgs, and Cult with me playing a custom faction.
  All the factions performed well, and in differing and interesting ways, except the Cyborgs, who seemed handicapped by being both non-agressive and interested only in research.  They had no motivation to build new cities or facilities and were lagging *way* behind everyone else.
However, that's from only two test runs with them in, so not exactly hard science.  I'll try them again with a different starting location.

  I know you've thought through most everything carefully, so I'm not going to argue for any changes on the (nonexistent) basis I know better.  Of course, there are some things I wonder about and would like your opinion on.
  First, some facility costs.  Several factions, including my own struggle with drones, even early on.  Perhaps making the Recreation Commons a bit cheaper might be a plus?  And in the same vein, reducing the maintainance cost of the Holo Theater?
  Second, since EFFIC is hard to obtain, reducing the cost of relocating the Headquarters might help a little bit?
  Third, would making Recycling Tanks a bit cheaper affect anything negatively?
  Fourth, certain very potent facilities and Secret Projects seem a bit cheap, considering what they provide.  Examples being: Command Nexus, Maritime Center, Empath Guild, Cyborg Factory, Cloning Vats, and the Cloudbase.

  And just as a jest: when's the full-color chart of your Tech tree coming out?  Or should I make that my next project?  ;lol
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 03, 2018, 04:13:07 PM
  In my last test I found most of the gameplay to go well.  Had the Angels, Hive, Drones, University, Cyborgs, and Cult with me playing a custom faction.
  All the factions performed well, and in differing and interesting ways,

How did the Data Angels do?  Based on my own games, I think they've become the runt of the litter.  I've got a solution in mind for them, but I haven't playtested it yet.

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except the Cyborgs, who seemed handicapped by being both non-agressive and interested only in research.  They had no motivation to build new cities or facilities and were lagging *way* behind everyone else.

What size maps are you playing on?  I've tested every Cyborg game so far on Enormous maps, and they've been the leading technical powerhouses of those games.  They've even kept up with the University, which surprised me.  You don't want an Aggressive Cyborg, they will nuke you!  They did it to me unprovoked in one game, there's a writeup about it in the Changelog.  When Miriam or Santiago wants to nuke you, it's ok because it takes a long time for them to get the tech.  When the Cyborgs want to nuke you, they get the tech quickly and do it.  So they are never, ever going to be put back to Aggressive.

My jury's out on whether Passive vs. Erratic creates different colonization behavior.  The Caretakers, Cyborgs, Gaians, Morganites, and the University are all Passive and in my games have been doing just fine.  Again, Enormous maps. 

What kind of geographic start did those Cyborgs have?  Any faction that gets bottled up too much behind some other faction's expansion path, does poorly.  Doesn't matter what faction it is.

Factions that start on islands often do poorly, although not as bad as in the unmodded game, because I made Doctrine: Flexibility have no prereqs.  It still takes time to research it though.  I haven't tried making Transports always available, because then players could use the Workshop to make warships available.  I don't want to enable that cheat.  Similarly, I don't want players to just start with Doctrine: Flexibility already known.

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However, that's from only two test runs with them in, so not exactly hard science.  I'll try them again with a different starting location.

Are you testing them with AIs vs. AIs and you not actually playing the game yourself?  I never do that.  All my test games, are me playing against 6 AI factions.  I don't choose where anyone starts.  So, all factions are inherently calibrated against my own play style.  I wonder if your play style is substantively different than mine somehow?  Oh, and sanity check: you are playing on Transcend, right?  Anything less than that, well IMO any faction is allowed to do poorly.

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  First, some facility costs.  Several factions, including my own struggle with drones, even early on.  Perhaps making the Recreation Commons a bit cheaper might be a plus?  And in the same vein, reducing the maintainance cost of the Holo Theater?
  Third, would making Recycling Tanks a bit cheaper affect anything negatively?

I think those are reasonable ideas, as long as the cost reductions aren't by much.  If they become a powerful bargain, then whoever researches those techs first gets a major advantage.  I'm forever annoyed that when I conquer something, I have to build a Recreation Commons and a Recycling Tank, that these always get destroyed.  But I don't think these should pop into existence basically for free.

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Second, since EFFIC is hard to obtain, reducing the cost of relocating the Headquarters might help a little bit?

A cost reduction is reasonable, but I don't think players should be able to get an insta-capitol wherever they want.  Now that you mention it, I do wonder why the AI can take so long to build a new one when their old one gets trashed.

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Fourth, certain very potent facilities and Secret Projects seem a bit cheap, considering what they provide.  Examples being: Command Nexus,

It now costs 300 and used to cost 200 in the unmodded game.  So no, this will not change.  Your view, or my view, on what it's worth and how much it costs, has to be balanced against all the people familiar with unmodded SMAC who expect things to be the old way.  I'm not driving the cost of this one off a cliff.  Aside from the fact that I don't personally think it's warranted, I can envision a lot of unhappy people gnashing teeth at me for an egregious change.  The next logical tier would be 400, which is double the cost in the regular game.  You put double cost in front of someone who thinks it should be the old way, and they're gonna say, how dare he!

In general, bear in mind that you're paying for these things by having to do the research.    Nobody starts the game with the ability to make a Secret Project anymore.  Nobody starts SPs at all until they get to Level 3 techs.  SPs chew up at least 6 Alien Artifacts.  I can tell you, the hit on your hoarded pool of Artifacts is noticeable, and IMO appropriate.  Nobody gets Supply Crawlers until late midgame, you don't have any substitute for Artifacts.

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Empath Guild,

Well the big debate is, is it really as powerful as some people say?  I put it way later in the tech tree.  You don't get it until late midgame, and you have to seriously earn it, there are so many techs in the way.  The cost went up from 200 to 300.  There are people who think this is the worst most grossly unfair SP ever.  My question is, are they a bunch of whiners?  Like the Command Nexus above, is it worth doubling the cost of this thing?  That said, the Command Nexus now comes from a Level 4 tech.  The Empath Guild comes from a Level 6 tech, and I have noticed it seems "cheap" by that point in the game.  I'd like to hear why this thing is supposed to be so godawful evil, to be deserving of this continual ire and elevation of importance on the part of some.  If I do nothing, well it's not like Deirdre is couging it out early game.

It's given by Homo Superior, a C6 tech.  Its peers are: Universal Translator (400), Longevity Vaccine (300), Nano Factory (400).  I'm inclined to say the Longevity Vaccine is too cheap, the Nano Factory is too expensive.  The UT, eh, don't care much, could cheapen it.

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Maritime Center,

Doctrine: Initiative is a C5 tech.  The MCC costs 300; it is "Command Nexus for ships" plus a movement bonus, which is actually more significant IMO.  What are its peers among Level 5 techs?  Hunter-Seeker Algorithm (300), Neural Amplifier (300), Pholus Mutagen (400), Supercollider (300).  I don't think the MCC is any more powerful than those.  While we're looking at this, I'd say the HSK is too cheap.  The PM might be too expensive, it's only another lifecycle bonus + eco-damage reduction.
 
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Cyborg Factory, Cloning Vats, and the Cloudbase.

They're all Level 7 techs, they come late.  Costs are 400, 500, and 400; note that Cloudbase cost was raised.  Peers are Network Backbone (500), Living Refinery (400), Self-Aware Colony (500), Dream Twister (400).  Of those, Living Refinery is clearly too cheap.  +2 SUPPORT is a huge bonus.  That's going to 500 right now.  Cloning Vats, it's already 500.  Not sure if it should be more.  I could see raising Cyborg Factory and Cloning Vats, but should either get 450 or 500?  Not sure.  Dream Twister, well it gives a 50% PSI attack bonus, which is large.  Mabye 400 is too cheap.

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  And just as a jest: when's the full-color chart of your Tech tree coming out?  Or should I make that my next project?  ;lol

Who the heck has a printer to scroll print such a thing anyways?

More seriously, I just counted 86 active techs in the tree.  Let's say you insist on printing this on one 8.5"x11" piece of paper.  Let's say it's possible to specify 0.25" margins left, right, top, and bottom in a portable way, and I don't know that it is.  That's an 8"x10.5" working surface.  Let's say you allocate 2" wide cells, 4 per row.  You will need 22 rows to cover all the techs, implying less than 0.5" height per cell.  I suppose it's within the realm of the doable, if you are satisfied with just text, boxes, and connecting lines.  If you want icon artwork, that's going to be a tight fit.  Feasibility of that is left as an exercise to the reader.

I suppose it could be landscape oriented.  A row could be conceptualized as 5 cells, 2" wide, with a little blank space between them already built in.  18 rows would be needed, again implying less than 0.5" height per cell.  A tradeoff has to be made on cell width vs. height, one way or another.



Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 04, 2018, 12:09:47 AM
Staring at this for a bit, I'm going to do the following:

Recreation Commons - drop build cost to 30
Recycling Tanks - no change, stays at 40.  Getting a food, mineral, and energy is valuable.
Hologram Theater - drop build cost to 50 and maintenance cost to 2.

A maintenance cost of 3 is really hard on a civ.  I've noticed in many games that if I build too many Research Hospitals, I go bankrupt.  I've been leery of Hologram Theaters for simlar reasons.  That and just being cheap about well, uh, I'll take over that Virtual World I didn't build, any turn now.   :D  Somehow it never happens and I end up having to build the damn things, and I don't like it.  Just to make it less of a sharp stick in the eye, would be a reason to lower the cost.  I do think Research Hospitals should stay as is though.

For relocating a HQ, the build cost is only 50.  I'm thinking it shouldn't be any cheaper than the price of, well, Netflix. 

I'm finding other things to change.  Like, a Skunkworks is too cheap.  6 to build, 1 to maintain.  Should be at least as much as a Research Hospital.  Bumping it to (12, 3) and calling it a day.

A Genejack Factory only costs 10 to build and 2 to maintain.  Why so cheap?  Yeah, ok, you get drones.  Still too cheap.  Making it 12 to build, 3 to maintain, same as a Tree Farm.

Robotic Assembly Plant, Quantum Converter, Nanoreplicator, are not in a good progression.  Their maintenance costs are 4, 5, 6.  Changing their build costs to match: 24, 30, 36.

Why is the maintenance on a Subsea Trunkline so godawful expensive?  It's 4, same as a Robotic Assembly Plant.  Dropping it to 3.  I could have really used the extra cash after the planetwide deluge!

Paradise Garden, why 4 to maintain?  It's a late game facility that costs 12 to build.  Is this some kind of tax on the successful?  Screw that, dropping maintenance to 3.

Ok, I've eyeballed the base facilities quite a bit now.  That's what I found to change.

I've noticed that sometimes the Datalinks display incorrect Maintenance costs.  Not sure why.  The Budget stuff that you get from hitting F3 seems to be correct.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 04, 2018, 07:15:32 AM
    Quick response and through!   I wasn't in any sort of a hurry, but thank you :)

  Bear in mind that I've not played past early mid game as yet, so much of the Tech tree is a semi-mystery to me.  Nor have I seen what the factions are like with a full head of steam up.

  My map is an Enormous (oh gods, could it be merely a Huge?  I so don't want to count tiles...).
  Anyway, it is quite large, with lots of ocean, but no truly vast expanses.  One large continent, two medium, and several large, but enriched, islands.  A few smaller islands and some scattered atolls, the last for nice sea bases, give some places for expansion but arn't intended as starting spots.
  The base map was random generated with the settings I have in alphax, but I extensively renovated it to even out the advantages/disadvantages of the landmasses.  The sizes and arrangement of them was partly inspired by the early advent of sea transport in the AI Growth mod.
  Overall, it's a fairly lush world, rather wet and rugged, with probably too much food, minerals, and energy, but my thought was to not bottleneck those and instead see how the factions would hobble themselves.

  To remove some of the random variance from the testing, Unity pods do not give artifacts, monoliths, or resource bonuses (the latter two I placed sparingly and evenly distributed).  They do give credits, completing current production, occasional tech and comm, angry wildlife, and rude tectonic events.
(one of my fond .exe editing wishes is being able to set all of the pod results, and their %/frequency).
  There was still the real possibility that the AI would dump factions on one of the lesser islands, or in a crappy starting location.  Plus the very real possibility that factions would dither about deciding where to settle, loose part or all of their units, and so on.   To forestall that I run the game as a scenario, place the factions on excellent (and pretty much equal) spots, and start their first base there.
I can switch around which landmasses each is on in later games to see if that makes a difference.
  Yeh, yeh, sounds like an experiment conducted at CERN, eh?  Um, well....I *am* a scientist....sorry..

   Oh, and insanity check, I was playing on Thinker level, because the first game I played on Trans the wildlife was brutal to several factions.  I will tone down the critters a tad and go Trans from now on.
   And yes, I play the custom faction (which isn't OP, just different) and don't mess with the six regulars through the editor.

   Also, long ago I found the Artifacts to be way too much of a crutch in getting Tech once you had Network nodes, and never thought of them as raw materials, hence my banning them from the pods.
A matter of playstyle, true, but do you think it affects the function of your mod as intended to eliminate them?  If you don't go the Scenario route, I'm not sure you always get the opportunity to set what the pods puke out, either...

   Since my test conditions were so different from yours, no real comparison or conclusion about the faction performance is valid.
But within my tests, the Angels were formidable, Yang quite effective, Domai all around excellent, the Cult capable in relatively harsh landscapes (ok, I might have thrown him a curve ball just because he did so well in regular games, and I don't much like him...soo not scientific :D), Zak and Deidre average good, and the Cyborgs slow starters in the early game.
  Further tests will hopefully remove some of the inconsistencies, tho I despair of evening out every difference between Yitzi and non-Yitzi.  Of course, that's actually the point of what I'm doing: seeing how your mod works under Yitzi parameters.

  Now, as to the facility costs: as I mentioned, I don't have a good feel for your tech tree yet, except maybe the very earliest part, so my questions were just questions.
  I don't see any reason to balk at your answers and reasoning, and I'm going to go with your conclusions, and the adjustments in your second post. <urk...more editing....><no, no, it's all good ;)>
  Actually, you've clarified some things I was unwittingly confused on, so you have my thanks again.

  Finally: who says you have to have the *whole* tech tree on one sheet?  I was thinking of doing it like I did the original one, on four (or even six) sheets that you just tape together.  If you set them up right, the worst is that you might have to trim the margin off a couple of them.
Changing titles and such, matching fonts, and drawing in all the go-to lines between them would be the hard part for old-school, paper and colored pencil me  ;lol
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 04, 2018, 02:33:22 PM
   Oh, and insanity check, I was playing on Thinker level, because the first game I played on Trans the wildlife was brutal to several factions.  I will tone down the critters a tad and go Trans from now on.

I think you may have identified "the problems".  As I said before, Thinker is likely not a favor to the AIs and could conceivably harm the Cyborgs.  But the other major point: if you're playing with Abundant native life, it is certain that some factions are going to be harmed.  They can't handle it, it's an AI crippler.  However much it may seem to be a challenge for you the human player, it is far worse on them.  I gave up ever doing Abundant native life about a year ago.  Played a lot of games where I kept seeing the same thing happening to at least a few of the AI factions.

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Also, long ago I found the Artifacts to be way too much of a crutch in getting Tech once you had Network nodes, and never thought of them as raw materials, hence my banning them from the pods.
A matter of playstyle, true, but do you think it affects the function of your mod as intended to eliminate them?  If you don't go the Scenario route, I'm not sure you always get the opportunity to set what the pods puke out, either...

My mod doesn't depend on Artifacts for anything.  In the past I've played many games with no pods at all, because getting all the Artifacts from them is indeed a crutch.  Having beefed up the AIs though, I worry less about that lately.  I mean, the AIs did nuke my 2 best cities last game, causing me to quit out of boredom!  Granted that's more about atrocities than pods.  I used 5 of my Artifacts that game to get a jump on tech, which barely got me Neural Grafting and the ability to build the Neural Amplifier at a time when I desperately needed it.  The rest of the Artifacts got used for Secret Projects.  I would probably have been a lot more grievously harmed if I hadn't had the Artifacts and hadn't built the NA.

I would suggest you play more games on Transcend before deciding just how negatively you feel about Artifacts.  One thing I do notice, is the AI doesn't seem to do anything with them.  They sit around in bases forever, it seems.  Some of my Artifacts have been captured from taking bases.

I could not endorse a mod as "my work" that doesn't allow players to have Artifacts at all.  It should be their choice.  You can of course call anything your own work, in that regard.   Reducing the frequency with which Artifacts appear, is another way to go, if you have control over that.  Just remember, Secret Projects are consuming at least six Artifacts nowadays in my mod, and there are no Supply Crawlers for a long time.  I think this really cuts down on Artifact abuse.

I don't endeavor to get rid of things when I make a mod, much as I may dislike them as game mechanics.  The most obvious pet peeve IMO would be the Probe Teams, since I don't know how to balance them.  Their ability to buy out cities full of military units is ridiculous!  To be honest though, once I took the +2 PROBE away from Fundamentalist, the game seems calmer about probe teams.  I don't seem to be getting hammered as much anymore, which is fine by me.  They can still just completely ruin your game because you forgot to bring them along though.

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I don't see any reason to balk at your answers and reasoning, and I'm going to go with your conclusions, and the adjustments in your second post. <urk...more editing....><no, no, it's all good ;)>

Unless you're in a hurry, I'd suggest waiting a week until I issue an official 1.19.  It would save you some typing.  I can't in good conscience do things any faster than once per week at this point.  Trying to put a fig leaf on looking chaotic and indecisive.   :D  That's not what happened here, of course.  I proceeded very methodically and stably, issued 1.18... then you brought up a whole new axis of concerns that were worth addressing, that weren't even on my radar.

This morning I'm pondering the Secret Projects.  My attitude towards making changes there is conservative.  They're all worth something... there's a slippery slope of getting dragged into raising all their costs.  At some point it becomes "I'm punishing you for building any Secret Projects."  Which is not fun.  I like ticking off my Secret Projects and don't want the game to become some huge PITA that way.

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Finally: who says you have to have the *whole* tech tree on one sheet?

I do!  I find the idea of scotch taping several sheets together to be kind of crass.  But you can go that way if you want, of course.  At least if you did do that, the techs are all in very clearly defined Levels of power.  I was very methodical about that.  Looks like the widest part of the tree is Level 5 with 11 techs.  On an 8.5" x 11" sheet, that's something less than 1" height per tech, progressing sideways in a multi-page portrait layout.  I'm going to guess it will all fit on 3 sheets of paper, in columns per Level, tweaking and zigging on the last sheet for the endgame.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 04, 2018, 06:41:36 PM
Note: I'm lowering Industrial Automation from a B5 to a B4 tech.  This has caused a fair amount of reshuffling of the Build part of the tech tree.  I would not advise starting on your tech tree printout project just yet, unless you have a way of doing it automatically.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 04, 2018, 09:57:12 PM
I've now stared at the Secret Projects long and hard.  Here are my changes, subject to playtesting, or a debate that says I picked a "wrong" price for them:

Now 300: Universal Translator.
Now 350: Maritime Control Center, Xenoempathy Dome, Pholus Mutagen, Nano Factory
Now 400: Planetary Energy Grid, Hunter-Seeker Algorithm, Empath Guild
Now 500: Cyborg Factory, Cloudbase Academy, Living Refinery, Nethack Terminus
Now 600: Cloning Vats, Clinical Immortality, Space Elevator

Others are unchanged.  At this point, I'm pretty sure that's deliberate on my part, not an oversight.  Feel free to debate anything I didn't change, except the Command Nexus, which is staying at 300.  A test question I asked when contemplating this stuff is, "If the enemy built X instead of me, would I lose sleep over it?"  If the answer is "yes", price goes up!  If "no", price stays the same or goes down.

Also noteworthy: I'm moving the Planetary Energy Grid to Planetary Economics.  For one thing, the name match-up sounds a lot better.  But mainly, Morgan was building the Grid too early IMO.  Like, I should have a chance at it myself! and not have to be Morgan to do so.

Living Refinery is moving to N-Space Compression because the video shows space.  Earlier I said game mechanics overrides narrative and just accepted the wart.  But on further contemplation, possibly due to other changes since then, I don't see a problem moving it.

I might move the Cloning Vats even later in the tree than it already is.  Need to stare at it a bit.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 04, 2018, 10:03:45 PM
  Fortunately, the Tech chart is barely a concept yet.  Better (just for me) would be to have each tech as a separate little piece that I could move around, either as paper or virtual.  Too much work, I'll make do.

  Transcend....uh huh, much better for the AI.  At least on food and materials, they have 7 units per row, so what costs you 40, only dings them for 28.  I forget what other bonuses they get.
Not that that bothers me, I'll still whup their butts.  Probably....well, or die trying.  If they can come back as a lone colony pod to settle in some godsforsaken wilderness, why can't we?

  Actually, the major, almost only, source of hostile wildlife seems to be from popping the pods.  Perhaps restricting the variety of what they produce increases the likelihood of fungus blooms and worms?  Seems that way to me.
  Since the AI doesn't seem to use artifacts to get tech, at least very often (and I've come to that conclusion on my own as well), one can just choose to not abuse them that way.  At the least, it might make you feel better about yourself and enjoy the game more.

  As of now, I've only made the changes you mentioned to the alphax I'm using in current tests.  I'll wait for the official to update the stock one.

  Meanwhile, I'll try to think up other things that'll make you reconsider whole chunks of the game  :D
I know, deep in your heart, that you enjoy doing this more than making a few bucks to buy food.  (and of course, who of us wouldn't eat vacant lot weeds and rats before letting the electricity be cut off, eh?  I hear even fig leaves are edible).

   Btw, being an Archaeologist, among other things, I sorta love crass :)  At least when it means ancient tech and basic make-do cleverness.  Actually, scotch tape seems disturbingly high tech to me, I fondly remember the days when glue was queen :P

   Addenda: the Secret Projects look properly covert to me.   And do remember to rest your eyes occasionally between all the staring.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 05, 2018, 08:29:38 AM
Not that that bothers me, I'll still whup their butts.  Probably....well, or die trying.  If they can come back as a lone colony pod to settle in some godsforsaken wilderness, why can't we?

So you believe.  It's actually been possible for the AI to nearly whip me at times.  Of course, that typically revealed an egregious bug in my modding, har har har!  Seriously though, 1000 credits for Cornering the Energy Market cannot generally be allowed.  Spartans with Elite troops before even getting Advanced Military Algorithms couldn't be allowed either.

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  Meanwhile, I'll try to think up other things that'll make you reconsider whole chunks of the game  :D

It's been a violent cascade today, but I think I've got it righted now.

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I know, deep in your heart, that you enjoy doing this more than making a few bucks to buy food. 

I don't make any bucks.  I buy my food with food stamps.  In a sense, Uncle Sam is funding half of this mod work.  The other half would be my sweat equity repairing my own car that I live out of with my dog.

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(and of course, who of us wouldn't eat vacant lot weeds and rats before letting the electricity be cut off, eh?  I hear even fig leaves are edible).

Recently I've learned the joys of eating luffa.  It is a prodigiously productive plant!

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Btw, being an Archaeologist, among other things, I sorta love crass :) 

I took my required archaeological area course for my B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology.  Chose Mesoamerica.

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At least when it means ancient tech and basic make-do cleverness.  Actually, scotch tape seems disturbingly high tech to me, I fondly remember the days when glue was queen :P

Various things like obsidian are nothing to laugh at.  You can tear a horse's head off with one of those obsidian clubs the Aztecs used, it's been demonstrated (on a dead horse).  I hate, hate Ancient Astronaut Theory more than all the other ridiculous conspiracy theories that people come up with.  It's a bunch of people who can't wrap their heads around copper saws, sand, and water.  You've got people's cultural biases as to why they don't understand this stuff, and also their ignorance or stupidity.  Sometimes the ancients took pains to tell us how it was all done, and people still goof it up for centuries.  Seen this one?

sandslide640
sandslide640

3 guesses what the "sprinkling water out of a jar" thing is about, if you need that many.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 05, 2018, 01:10:15 PM
  Yeh, who'd have guessed the ancient Egyptians knew about "greasing the skids"?  :D
I wonder who the twelve guys standing behind the statue are?  Sidewalk supervisors?  I'm sure the Egyptians had those as well.

  I'd been wondering if you were coming up with all these great ideas on your own.  Smart dog, eh? 

  Swiss Chard is another crop that's almost a free lunch.  Little care, lots of good quality food.  Winter hardy.  Don't forget bugs for that all important protein input.  I'll try to get the recipe for the absolutely scrumptious fried crickets that I had in Cambodia.  Crickets are much less crunchy than grasshoppers.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 05, 2018, 04:04:09 PM
  Yeh, who'd have guessed the ancient Egyptians knew about "greasing the skids"?  :D

It's not grease, though.  It's water.  The intent is the same.  At the right level of dampness, friction on sand is greatly reduced.  Not that hard to discover or contemplate either, when walking along a beach when the tide has gone out.

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I wonder who the twelve guys standing behind the statue are?  Sidewalk supervisors?  I'm sure the Egyptians had those as well.

I figure just supervisors.  You know, supervising!  Important stuff!

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I'd been wondering if you were coming up with all these great ideas on your own.  Smart dog, eh? 

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not actually copying these game design improvements off an Egyptian scroll.  Despite the popularity of the ancient 4X TBS game of MEHKUT, where one levels up various degrees of chariot warfare.

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I'll try to get the recipe for the absolutely scrumptious fried crickets that I had in Cambodia.  Crickets are much less crunchy than grasshoppers.

I have wondered about the palatability of various things.  Scorpions from the Southwest USA, apparently, are one of the most awful things you can eat.  But you can do it to survive.  Saw it on a survival show called "Fat Guys In The Woods".
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 09, 2018, 03:34:42 AM
      Minor update:  Currently playing another game test of the Yitzi-AI Growth Mod frankenstein.
  Transcend level, fairly large map (which I think is the same size as your Huge Planet), tho I am still placing the starting bases manually.  Native life is normal abundance, pods produce everything except monoliths and resources (tho I could change that to no restrictions).
  Factions are Angels, University, Drones, Cyborgs, Gaians, and Cult.
  I'm made all the changes from your v. 1.17 alphax.txt that you've noted in this thread, but not, of course, the ones that you are currently testing and haven't posted.  I did change Aki Zeta-5's Cyborgs from passive to erratic.  Currently, about 30 turns in, all the factions are running neck and neck on development (and matching me) with no contact or conflict as yet.

  Now it's back to get another century on it to see what happens when they encounter each other.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 09, 2018, 05:53:17 AM
I'm very interested in your results with an Erratic Consciousness.  (That doesn't sound right.)  It's too late for Aki in my game!  She will die.  That said, I think she's tried to start the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm, which surprises me given the mickey Roze has taken out of her.  I doubt Aki has any chance at the HSK before I build it myself.  I need it to go settle Marr's hash.

I wonder, who can stand up to Marr now?  Lately, I haven't seen anyone manage it on land.  I've seen factions do it at sea, especially Svensgaard.  A long time ago, at the beginning of all of this, someone complained about me defanging the Alien monsters.  I stuck to my guns because I hate the way they are in the unmodded game, as do some other people I've run into.  I thought defanging them was better than eliminating them.  And yet here we are, many months later, and at least one of the Alien factions is still powerful.  Perhaps Directed Research is worth that much.  Or perhaps it's DR combined with Aggression.

I could test that theory.  Do some Caretaker only games, see if they get slaughtered or not.  Recently I seem to remember them getting slaughtered.  In the unmodded game, the Caretakers are actually Aggressive.  I didn't like that, I wanted there to be more of a "sort of good guy" dynamic.  Umm, maybe I went too far... seems I made them Passive.  Gosh who else?

Morgan and Svensgaard are Passive.  They're doing great.  They're also deeply at war, this whole game.  Morgan did great last game too, although that's because I chose to leave him alone for a long time.  So there are circumstances where Passive does work.  Svensgaard has his moat, so it'll probably always work for him.  For the others, is it about quality of the land start?  Morgan I think started on a big island up north.  I've not managed to steal his map so I don't know for sure.

University is Passive.  They were getting creamed my previous game, by the Usurpers and also the Cultists.  They almost died.  Then I flooded the world in a chemical holocaust, and they were given Second Life!  So much so, that they eventually nuked me.  They did!  Passive my foot!  Evidence is that water slows invasions down and helps factions survive.

Gaians are Passive.  Don't recall a recent test game.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 09, 2018, 06:40:58 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.18 to 1.19:

- Data Angels: no longer needs infiltration to gain techs known to 3 factions.  Removed free probe teams from starting units.  The Angels kept getting whipped by everyone else and needed to be tougher.  Infiltration on any large map is difficult, and the AI seems to forget to infiltrate even when it can.  The AI probably used the 2 free probe teams badly, getting them killed quickly.  This means the AI starts with basically no advantages, especially on larger maps, and that's why they get creamed.  A human can use the probe teams to much better effect, as they can pop pods on flat / rolling ground and then get out of the way.  However, the impossibility of infiltration is still quite noticeable on a Huge map.  Having the equivalent of the Planetary Datalinks from the beginning of the game is a powerful ability, so the free probe teams are removed, to keep the Angels from becoming overpowered.  With their new ability, they will research Planetary Networks and gain probe teams much quicker, so they don't need them at start.
- Cybernetic Consciousness: changed to Erratic personality.  Playtester Vidsek, said they were doing poorly, and they also performed poorly in one of my test games, so perhaps Passive wasn't a good change for them.  I'm not going to make them Aggressive again, because I don't want a research powerhouse getting early nukes and then nukeing me!
- Caretakers: changed to Erratic personality.  Previously I made them Passive, which might be affecting their competence, and is also a thematic mistake.  They expect to be at war with the Usurpers.  I wanted them to be nicer with humans, to have a contrast, but they shouldn't be singing kumbaya.

- Centauri Empathy: now increases NUTRIENT production in fungus.  In the unmodded game there are 2 techs that grant this bonus: Centauri Ecology and Centauri Psi.  Now I have 2 techs as well: Centauri Empathy and Centauri Genetics.  I'm making the 2nd food available a lot earlier because my psi unit tech sequence is different than the original game.  I repurposed Centauri Genetics earlier in the tree, so there isn't an appropriately themed tech later.  My Centauri Psi is used to give a minerals bonus, comparable to what Centauri Genetics does in the unmodded game.
- Matter Transmission: no longer increases ENERGY production in fungus.  The original game doesn't do this.  A long time ago I added this to free up Temporal Mechanics for other uses.  I might have mistakenly moved the bonus twice.  The original game only had 3 techs that gave this bonus: Centauri Meditation, Secrets of Alpha Centauri, and Temporal Mechanics.  Now I also have 3 techs that give this bonus: Centauri Meditation, Secrets of Alpha Centauri, and Secrets of Creation.

- Centauri Genetics: set wealth=0.  It has no Build application.
- Advanced Military Algorithms: set growth=2.  Deep Radar is useful for exploration.
- Industrial Automation: now a B4 tech.  Supply Crawlers were coming too late in the game.
- Single Sided Surfaces:  now a B5 tech.
- Centauri Psi: set wealth=3.  It was supposed to be set that way a long time ago, because it gives a mineral in fungus patches, and the Pholus Mutagen makes more minerals possible without eco-damage.  But somehow that change didn't actually get made.
- Neural Grafting: set wealth=0.  The only "no additional cost" abilities nowadays are Deep Radar for sea and air units, and Heavy Artillery.  It can't really be said to be cheapening unit costs anymore, so not really a "wealth" tech.  Rather, you can pay to pack more military capabilities into a single unit.
- Organic Superlubricant: set wealth=2 and growth=3.  Hovertank formers can work on fungus and rocky terrain much more quickly, so counts as both wealth and growth.  Hovertanks can explore and colonize faster.
- Nanominiaturization: set wealth=2.  The Nano Factory cuts unit upgrade costs by 50%, so counts as a "wealth" tech.  Nanominiaturization is also a prerequisite for Industrial Nanorobotics, so this removes a non-Build research barrier.
- Homo Superior: set wealth=3 because the Empath Guild can win the Governorship, which is worth a lot of money from commerce.
- Industrial Nanorobotics: set power=0 because the Living Refinery has been moved elsewhere.
- N-space Compression: set wealth=3.  The Living Refinery is now available here.  Also, raising land instantly with missiles is an important Build capability after a planetwide flood!
- Unified Field Theory: now a D7 tech.
- Cyberethics: now a D8 tech.  The Network Backbone removes the penalties of D6 Digital Sentience, and I don't want it to be available too quickly.
- Biomachinery: now an E8 tech.  The Cloning Vats remove the penalties of Power and Thought Control, and I don't want it to be available too quickly.
- Nanometallurgy: now a B8 tech and set power=0.  SUPPORT bonus from Living Refinery is considered Build, not Conquer.
- String Resonance: now a C8 tech.
- Sentient Resonance: now a C9 tech.
- Matter Compression: now a C9 tech.
- Super Tensile Solids: now an E9 tech with set growth=5.  It now gives Habitation Dome.
- Secrets of Alpha Centauri: set power=0 because it no longer gives the Telepathic Matrix.
- Temporal Mechanics: now a C10 tech and set growth=3.  It now gives Clinical Immortality.  It already mistakenly had wealth=3, but this is correct now.
- Applied Gravitonics: now a C11 tech.
- Matter Editation: set power=0.  It doesn't have any Conquer application.
- Singularity Mechanics: now a C12 tech.
- Controlled Singularity: now a B13 tech.
- Threshold of Transcendence: now a D14 tech and set power=3 and growth=3.  It now gives the Telepathic Matrix. 
- changed various dependencies to purify the Explore, Discover, Build, and Conquer research paths.

- High Morale: moved back to E4 Intellectual Integrity.  This makes it thematically appropriate for Intellectual Integrity to be a prerequisite for Bioadaptive Resonance.  Centauri Meditation was previously being used for that, and it was becoming a prereq for too many things.
- Soporific Gas Pods: moved back to C5 Bioadaptive Resonance.  It's boring for humans having Progenitor Psych empty, especially if there are no Aliens in the game.  However, it's a bad idea to put anything interesting or worthwhile in it.  Anything made available, the Aliens get at the beginning of the game.  So we just have to live with a boring tech.   
- Skunkworks: moved to B5 Single-Sided Surfaces.  It saves mineral costs when building units, which makes it a Build tech.
- Neutronium Armor: moved to C8 String Resonance.
- Sky Hydroponics Lab: moved to E8 Biomachinery.
- Orbital Power Transmitter, Nessus Mining Station: moved to B8 Nanometallurgy.
- Habitation Dome: moved to E9 Super Tensile Solids.
- 12-Pulse Armor: moved to C9 Matter Compression.
- Transcend citizen: moved to D14 Threshold of Transcendence

- Universal Translator: lowered cost from 400 to 300.  Getting 2 free techs is not that exciting.  That's just 2 Artifacts linked to Network Nodes, and it takes at least 6 Artifacts to build a Secret Project!
- Nano Factory: lowered cost from 400 to 350.  Repairing units in-field is not that exciting.  Reducing unit upgrade costs is nice, but who actually remembers to do that?  I just disband them in cities to get the minerals.
- Xenoempathy Dome: raised cost from 300 to 350.  Zooming through the fungus is a powerful conquest capability.
- Maritime Control Center: raised cost from 300 to 350.  Zooming through the oceans is a powerful conquest capability.
- Pholus Mutagen: lowered cost from 400 to 350.  A lifecycle bonus and lowering eco-damage is not that exciting.  The fungus combat bonus is interesting but I haven't found it to be a big deal in practice.
- Planetary Energy Grid: raised cost from 300 to 400 and moved to Planetary Economics.  It's worth an awful lot of money, and in test games I've found that Morgan is building it too early.
- Hunter-Seeker Algorithm: raised cost from 300 to 400.  Being able to attack and defend without fear of probe teams is a powerful conquest capability.
- Empath Guild: raised cost from 300 to 400 and set ai-infra=2.  It's a game winner.  Aside from winning by Diplomatic Victory, gaining the Governorship is worth a lot of money from extra commerce.
- Cyborg Factory: raised cost from 400 to 500.  It's a powerful conquest capability.
- Cloudbase Academy: raised cost from 400 to 500.  It's way powerful for conquest, wealth, and growth.
- Living Refinery: raised cost from 400 to 500 and moved it to B8 Nanometallurgy.  It gives +2 SUPPORT, which is hugely powerful.  The video for it shows that it's a space tech, so it was a bit annoying not having it in the space part of the tech tree. 
- Nethack Terminus: raised cost from 400 to 500.  Too cheap in its peer group.
- Cloning Vats: raised cost from 500 to 600.  Not only does it give permanent population boom, but it removes penalties for Power and Thought Control.  That's powerful!
- Clinical Immortality: raised cost from 500 to 600, set ai-infra=2, and moved to Temporal Mechanics.  Like the Empath Guild, it's a game winner.  Winning the Governorship is worth a lot of money from extra commerce.
- Space Elevator: raised cost from 500 to 600.  Cheap satellites are way powerful.
- Telepathic Matrix: moved to Threshold of Transcendence.  It's a sort of "I don't have to do anything anymore" capability, more appropriate for sandboxing than the game itself.

- Recreation Commons: dropped build cost from 40 to 30.
- Hologram Theater: dropped build cost from 60 to 50 and maintenance cost from 3 to 2.
- Skunkworks: raised build cost from 6 to 12 and maintenance cost from 1 to 3.  Why should it be cheaper than other "serious" facilities?
- Subsea Trunkline: dropped maintenance cost from 4 to 3.  You really need some sea minerals after a planetwide deluge!
- Paradise Garden: dropped maintenance cost from 4 to 3.  It's an advanced tech, how hard can it be to maintain a garden?
- Genejack Factory: raised build cost from 10 to 12 and maintenance cost from 2 to 3.  That's the same as a Tree Farm or Research Hospital.
- Robotic Assembly Plant: raised build cost from 20 to 24.  Same as a Hybrid Forest.
- Quantum Converter: raised build cost from 20 to 30.  Not enough of a progression in factory costs.
- Nanoreplicator: raised build cost from 32 to 36.  Not enough of a progression in factory costs.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.19.  It was downloaded 24 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 10, 2018, 06:01:47 PM
   Large and wide-ranging bit of work there for the time it took, I'm impressed.

  V. 1.19 has now been Merged, with the Faction files along for the ride, since there is nothing to merge there.

  I got my latest game test up to 2150 or so before I saw the post of AIG 1.19.   I can provide a summary of the factions' performance under the v. 1.17 rules if still useful.
There were no dramaticaly lame or OP factions, just different ways of advancing through the early build/expand stage.

  Now I'll see whether the new rules break the old game or will let me continue on.  Perhaps I should just restart anyway?  I think Zak might have discovered a tech you changed...

  Edit: Took a look at the game and your changelog and answered my own question.   Since several of the Techs have been re-weighted, including some early ones, even the earliest research by the AI factions may be affected and need a restart from the begining.  Ok, I'm on it.  (it rained last night, good excuse to shirk my yardwork).
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 11, 2018, 05:30:26 AM
Yeah the re-weights for "dependency smoothness" probably do matter, even earlier on.  I started making those changes when I saw that Morgan had a bizarre set of Build techs compared to mine.  Like how do I know how to build the Merchant Exchange and he doesn't?  Moving Supply Crawlers solidly back into the midgame is also rather important.

I'm stalled on my own 1.19 game.  Having kicked 1.19 out the door, I'm a lot less motivated to keep playing!  But for sake of AAR form I will keep playing it.  I try not to quit unless I've decided the game sucks.  Which is what happened with Yang and the flooding.  Might be a bit slow getting my AAR done though.  I've got some real world car brake problems I've been fighting the past few days.

The main thing I'm worried about now, is whether some Passive factions get killed or not.  I'm sure that Svensgaard won't get killed and he shall remain Passive for all time.  It is so much more pleasant playing a game where he isn't spamming you with ships on your coast.  And he is a threat, the new way.  He's just a distant "gonna do better than you at building a big powerful researching civ" threat.  Rather than a never ending coastal pest.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 11, 2018, 05:57:22 AM
    I've started my v. 1.19 merge test, starting from scratch and playing a few turns at a time (the earlier four test runs sorta took the shine off of the early spread and build part).

  Two of my opposing factions (Gaians and University) are passive, the other four erratic.  Didn't actually plan that, just picked ones I hadn't played with much, or ones I wanted to see perform under your mod.

  In past games of mine, Zak was pretty effective in both building and war, Deirdre much less so.  Zak was a good ally, Deirdre rather fickle.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 11, 2018, 06:11:48 AM
Let me know if the Gaians and University turn out to have any near neighbors that they get in a real super duper snit about politics with.  Pretty sure political hatred trumps passivity, especially in Deirdre's case.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 11, 2018, 07:05:26 AM
   Almost everyone is fairly near each other, but separated by some water.  Early contact might happen through a pod drop of a comm number, but otherwise requires sea travel (pod Unity transports could be another route to early contact). 
  Actual conflict would still require building sea units.

  Gaians, University, Angels, Cyborgs, Drones, and the Cult.  Plus me.  Should be some snit-worthy interactions there.

  I specifically avoided the alien factions, since only having one sort of ruins the story, and with both (in past games), they went into unending war the instant they made contact.  Wore them both down and prevented any development by either, making them the lame ducks in the game.  In a later game, it'll be interesting to see what they do under your mod.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Dewbacca on September 11, 2018, 02:37:26 PM
Just some quick and dirty observations from v.1.19:

AI is growing FAST! In 2 different tests AI had outpaced my population despite my efforts to maximize my growth.

Shuffling the techs around is messing with my zen, but it seems fairly balanced.

AI hasn't been aggressive even to the point of defending itself. Morganites spawned next to me and I took out all 3 cities without seeing a defensive unit built, or active aggression.

Enjoying the new map sizes immensely.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 11, 2018, 02:55:37 PM
AI is growing FAST! In 2 different tests AI had outpaced my population despite my efforts to maximize my growth.

Some factions should.  The Drones, for instance, can go to size 4 now without any unhappiness.  The Hive was given its +1 GROWTH bonus back because it can't use Democracy for pop booming.  The Believers were given this as well, as they can go Democratic but the AI won't.   The Pirates grow tremendously because the oceans have a lot of food, and he has very little competition from anyone for occupying the oceans.  The University doesn't have any special growth bonus, but the impediment of having a drone every 4 population, was removed.  The Consciousness and the Pirates don't have growth penalties anymore either.  Any faction that lands on the Monsoon Jungle is going to grow like crazy and be the dominant power of the game, until someone shows up to take it away from them.  I'm looking at you, Morgan!

Quote
AI hasn't been aggressive even to the point of defending itself. Morganites spawned next to me and I took out all 3 cities without seeing a defensive unit built, or active aggression.

The AI can't defend itself at point blank range from a competent player, that's just reality.  The game lets such victimized players restart elsewhere via an escape pod.  If you're feeling really mean or controlling, don't wipe out the victim's last city.  Keep it around until later in the game when annihilation counts for good.  Sometimes I've done that, other times it's just too annoying being in my way and I get rid of it.

Also you took out Morgan, who is Passive Explore Build.  He's not going to be the 1st kid on the block with military hardware.  He becomes dangerous later when he's allowed to grow.  Looking back over my CHANGELOG, I finally realized why!  In 1.15 I upped his ECONOMY bonus to +2.  That's why he tried to corner the energy market for only 1000 credits in that one game, and why I had to take the easy money out of Democratic.  I totally forgot that he starts the game with +1 energy per square!  Time will tell if it's too much.  I should play a test game with Morgan and see how long it takes me to corner the energy market.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Dewbacca on September 11, 2018, 03:20:49 PM
Enjoying the new map sizes immensely.

You should release a separate patch for those or generally based around superior map options.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 11, 2018, 03:44:24 PM
Thanks for the coffee!

I suppose that's not a crazy idea, although my question is, how do I create visibility for something like that, so that people find and use it?  With SMACX AI Growth mod, I have forums I inhabit, threads established, a release schedule, and a track record.  Every time I make a release, I update here, Reddit, CivFanatics, and Realms Beyond.  Forgot that I recently started doing Apolyton, guess I'll tell them about 1.19.

The world map changes, in contrast, are long since done.  I'd release once and its over.  Any thread about it in any forum, will sink to the bottom of the pile, because I wouldn't have a reason to keep pumping it.

The visibility of mods, is a reason to write a proper mod manager and packager.  This issue is actually what got me blown out of the Battle for Wesnoth community.  I'd spent 4 person months working on the best campaign ever, polishing up this other guy's work, basically functioning like some kind of Editor or Script Doctor.  It was really exceptional work, an order of magnitude above what anyone else had done.  That's why I joined his project, to bring it to its logical conclusion, since he had fumbled on things like basic game design balance.  I wanted this great work to be readily visible in the Wesnoth add-on manager, to get air time.  But they'd only give that to their canonical main campaigns, leaving better authors like us out in the cold!  We had sharp words and their forums were administrated by rather young hotheads, so I got the boot.  One of my main goals in doing SMACX AI Growth mod, has been to not get sucked into 4 person months of work.  I'm at that threshold now, but at least I'm in control of the destiny.

I've started thinking about the mod manager / packager problem in the past few days, but not hard.  I had intended to keep quiet about it until I decided what is strategically best.  I also have enough "real world" stuff on my plate this week not to be embarking on any committments or setting any expectations.

So, your request is a general issue of curation.  How does the best stuff become visible?  How is it prevented from sinking into obscurity?  Currently I'm providing the visibility by driving the visibility.  Manually.  It doesn't scale.

In Wesnoth, their add-on system is modularized.  Map changes would just some module, that one would fork off from SMACX AI Growth mod.  It just becomes a dependency.  That's a much more ambitious idea of mod management than I originally had in mind though.  It means not just shuffling different alphax.txt about, it means having fine tuned control over merging things into alphax.txt.  Lotsa ways to get such merges wrong.

Now of course, anyone who's taking an active interest in modding, can just cut and paste my world settings out of my alphax.txt and call it a day.  So there is somewhat the question, who is the audience served by creating a standalone release, in the present technical conditions?  It's not like I've prevented the need to do modding, with such a release.  I've only prevented the need to do copying and pasting.

A mod manager / packager, in contrast, is designed to eliminate the need for modding.  Modders release mods, players consume them easily without them stepping on each other.  At least, that's the design goal.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Dewbacca on September 11, 2018, 04:22:56 PM
I like the way Wesnoth does their Mods, I like it LESS how they do their authors or various extensive mods.

I like the Advanced hydro mechanics mod, used it years ago, found this forum hunting it down once again. The map mod would be similar. Something simple with enough significance to have avid players keeping it close at hand for every reinstall.

For visibility, make "Gigantic" the "Bvanevery size", they'll see you at the start of "Bevery" new game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 11, 2018, 04:47:05 PM
I like the Advanced hydro mechanics mod, used it years ago, found this forum hunting it down once again.

Um, what is it and where is it?  I have no clue.

Quote
For visibility, make "Gigantic" the "Bvanevery size", they'll see you at the start of "Bevery" new game.

But the standard terms Enormous and Giant are already the bvanevery sizes.   :D  As much fun as it would be to have my name in lights for such a thing, the important goal is to have standard map sizes that people are used to, use frequently, and refer to when speaking about the game.  Giant was an easy term to come up with, but it took me awhile to come up with Enormous, which is between Huge and Giant.  Enormous is the last size that doesn't throw the faction placement RNG into fits.  On Giant it may work, it may not.  That would definitely be .exe patch worthy if I had the skill or time.
 
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Dewbacca on September 11, 2018, 07:56:55 PM
Also, check out the BotF forums and the repackager Thunderchero uses for packing all mods into a single download.

It might not work for EVERY mod in the community, but would be a neat way to install/ uninstall YOUR mods from a single left click.

Advanced Hydromechanics:
"The creator describes: "In this patch, several new game concepts are introduced that add a more interesting element to sea warfare and terraforming:
1. Advanced Hydromechanics tech (E7) [see below]
2. the Sea Sensor Array (same defensive bonus as land Sensor Array)
3. the Minefield (functions as a Bunker in the sea, not visible on map)
4. the Kelp Enricher (functions same as a Soil Enricher, not visible on map)
5. Altering alpha.txt to have Adv.Hydromechanics be the requisite tech for +1 mining platform production in sea squares"

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=16 (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=16)


Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 11, 2018, 08:28:59 PM
I believe I found it (https://www.armadafleetcommand.com/get-files?cw_action=fileview&file_id=1960).  I see several problems.  The 1st is this approach results in 1.1 GB of downloading.  I don't think that's bandwidth friendly to site owners.  Granted, a pile of SMAC mods may add up to quite a bit less than that.

2nd, it begs the question of curation.  I'm not personally interested in shoveling every SMAC mod ever made out to people, sight unseen.  My stuff works, it's tested, the quality is assured.  The same can be said of maybe a few other recent modders, although I haven't actually tried their work.  Extant authors could ensure their own curation, in a distributed setup like Wesnoth has.  That kind of system works over time, whereas, packaging everything dies the minute the uber-packager moves on with his life.

3rd, it looks like a Windows only installer.  SMAC does nominally run on 3 platforms, so to me, that affects logical choice of how a mod manager would be implemented.  I have been assuming latest greatest Python and some kind of cross-platform GUI.

I'm mainly interested in deploying my mod, the mods of extant modders that I'm currently aware of, and important patches like Yitzi and PRACX.  I don't really understand whether Scient's work has survived well into the present or not, but that should be considered.  I'd also like such a mod manager to be geared towards ongoing .exe patch work, so that new .exe patches aren't just stepping on everyone else's toes.  So that there's some order, discipline, and maintainability to such endeavors.  (That's why my new avatar says FUNDAMENTALIST PLANNED btw.)

If someone wanted to dig through all the old mods and curate them, making sure they work, making sure they offer something and aren't just steaming piles of half-baked crap, well that would be a worthy endeavor on someone's part.  And the goal of such a person doesn't have to be to find all mods, just to find some good ones, that they want to support and maintain.  I'm not going to do that work, personally.  Doesn't matter to me if someone may have already done something similar to what I did, 10 years ago or whatever.  I just did it.  I don't need a different version of what I did.  I'm doubting anyone did what I just did anyways, although who knows, I didn't check.

I expect that recapturing old artwork would be the most valuable kind of ancient mod hunting.  Wesnoth is sophisticated in that regard as well.  They have art assets, factions, rulesets, and campaigns all neatly separated out from each other.

We have one major advantage over the Wesnoth community: SMAC itself is not under active development.  That means the game isn't going to break modders' work over time.  Sure someone can make a new .exe patch that breaks stuff, but people can always go back to the original game.  Over time, it actually remains to be seen if anyone's .exe patch work is maintainable.  The infrastucture for that, at this point, is poor.  Left as is, I firmly expect all .exe patchers to burn out before anyone else is capable of maintaining their work.  Yitzi's gone, for instance, and delving into his work is not a joy.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Dewbacca on September 11, 2018, 09:50:55 PM
Also, check out the BotF forums and the repackager Thunderchero uses for packing all mods into a single download.

It might not work for EVERY mod in the community, but would be a neat way to install/ uninstall YOUR mods from a single left click.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 12, 2018, 12:23:00 AM
I'm ok with everyone else doing the gruntwork of unzipping a .zip archive and dropping the 14 .txt files into SMAC.  I actually think it's good training for people to know how to do such things, to not be helpless.  Similarly, I'm ok with people learning how to do multiple installations of SMAC.  That's why I put those INSTALL directions in readme_mod.txt.  There was a time when those directions weren't there, and that definitely wasn't good enough.  As it is, for a little bit of work on other people's part, I've got a really easy release mechanism.  Zip up 14 .txt files and call it good.  No need to mess with special installer format anything.  No problems diagnosing installs or uninstalls that didn't work.  No cross-platform deployment issues, they're .txt files.

The most important point is, an installer doesn't help with my mod and someone else's mod stepping on each other.  That's what a mod manager would do.

In some kind of ideal mod packaging universe, another feature I'd like to have is, the ability to mark someone else's package as incompatible with one's own work.  Because frankly, that's why I even started thinking about this recently.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Brunost on September 12, 2018, 02:40:59 AM
I have been following your mod thread since its inception, bvanevery, and it`s been very enlightening and enternaining reading. Thank you for your dedication to SMAC(X) and keeping the game alive. I`ve been on and off this game since 1999 (yes, I`m old) and SMAC is probably the most intriguing game I have ever played. The game atmosphere and the characters just sucks me in right away. SMAC seems to do everything right in the most subtle ways.

The funny thing is that no attempt of a remake comes even close to this original and probably never will. Back in the good old days one could really make a great game in a package less than 1 gigabyte, compared to the modern approach of gigantic bloatware packages and bugfests. Strategy games is still a niche game and is often driven more out of passion than big money and it`s obvious that Firaxis had the right people on the job back in the day. I remember even the game packaging was a real treat with a fold-out on the front cover with descriptions of the factions. AAHhhhh... nostaaalgia

Looking forward to zip 1.19 into the game directory and get going:)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 12, 2018, 04:14:07 AM
You're welcome!

The funny thing is that no attempt of a remake comes even close to this original and probably never will.

Hey, don't count me out just yet.  I already attempted "Ocean Mars" back in 2000-ish.  Went bankrupt.  There's a reason I'm doing what I'm doing now, it's prototyping.  But I'm of course not going to do a "remake", there's no intellectual property reward for trying to do that.  It would be whatever I decide as my stories, my themes.  So far I've read a biography of Mao Tse-Tung and now understand exactly who Chairman Yang really is, no question in my mind.  I'm working on Stalin.  Hitler after that.

The potential to do far better than SMAC has been there, these ~20 years.  They didn't nail everything.  They just did enough things well, and not many have really tried since.  Maybe nobody.  I keep hanging out in the 4X Reddit forum and I keep not ending up playing other games.  4X itself has some really hard problems in it, like the most basic one of unit pushing.  Really hard problems.  20 years, I still haven't solved it, or I would have written that game already.  Narrative problems aren't easy either.  But at least that means there's something to think about, and a basis to compete, if one arrives at an answer.

Quote
Back in the good old days one could really make a great game in a package less than 1 gigabyte, compared to the modern approach of gigantic bloatware packages and bugfests.

Smaller packages can still happen.  It has happened in other genres, for instance the RPG work of Spiderweb Software (https://spiderwebsoftware.com/), historically mostly the work of Jeff Vogel.  Only an indie is going to take such risks shifting the business model around though.  For example, not offering your 100 artists worth of eye candy, or 100 game gewgaws, in favor of an AI that can actually beat you without cheating.

Quote
Strategy games is still a niche game and is often driven more out of passion than big money and it`s obvious that Firaxis had the right people on the job back in the day.

From what I've read of the history, they also had the right conditions.  They were between "big" companies who would otherwise seek to control and limit their destiny.  So they went ambitious, achieved critical success... and didn't make as much money for having done so.

Quote
I remember even the game packaging was a real treat with a fold-out on the front cover with descriptions of the factions. AAHhhhh... nostaaalgia

Looking forward to zip 1.19 into the game directory and get going:)

Heh!  Now for me, there is some nostalgia.  How much open source code have I obtained that way once upon a time?  More recently, how many abandonware titles?  People should know how to unzip.  Especially since the OS does it for you nowadays, you don't even have to know how to use an unzip tool.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Brunost on September 12, 2018, 04:55:24 PM
Yeah. Back when I got my first PC, around 1998, I obtained files from the web that was zipped. Didn`t have a clue what to do.
Not surprisingly no one else knew either back then :D Quite on my own I eventually figured it out. Commonly people just didn`t have their own computers, apart from a computer at work or at school. The only people I knew that was kind of used to computers where people doing electronic music. I sometimes wish I had more knowledge of how to deal with programming but I`m probably a too lazy person. So eventually I am very happy that some people commit themselves to make a product\mod and share their work. Probably that have saved a lot of games, espec strategy games.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 13, 2018, 01:54:34 AM
I sometimes wish I had more knowledge of how to deal with programming but I`m probably a too lazy person.

If you mean, learning the very basics of programming, a popular public interest and a market for that has sprung up in recent years.  I'm not sure what is offered in that area though.  It doesn't apply to me as I learned to program at age 11, on an Atari 800 whose system fit into 64K.  That's a mere jpeg photo now.  I'm so far in the other direction, that I"m trying to design a programming language for games, and not succeeding much with it so far.  But I haven't given up yet.

If you mean, you know the basics of programming and don't relish it enough to do the work for a game, I feel you!  I think it sucks hard.  That's why I need to make a programming language for games, so it will stop sucking.  However in doing so, it's only going to stop sucking hard for the kind of programmer that I am.  Some kind of assembly code and pattern matching thing I think.

Jonathan Blow is supposed to finally have his Jai programming language come out with a beta within months.  I hope that happens.  It's been about 4 years since he started.  He's the only "high visibility" guy I know about who's taken on the problem of programming sucking in games.  His philosophy of programming language design definitely agrees with some of my own, enough that I would try his language and see if I can get something non-trivial done with it.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Brunost on September 13, 2018, 08:01:10 PM
Yes, it would be a lot easier if programming frameworks in general was not as elaborate as it is today. Until humanity recovers yet another alien technology we`ll probably have to struggle with what we have at hands for quite some time :D The last twenty years nothing has really changed in software production but mostly in presentation. That means, for me at least, that I can use older sofware, whatever it is, and continue doing so almost indefinetely. My only worry is what Microsoft is up to and their not so consumer friendly OS. Windows today is making it too difficult to get both new and old software to work properly. What we need is an alternative OS that is a more stable framework for both programming and running the final product.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 14, 2018, 05:12:54 AM
Historically, MS actually put far more work into backwards compatibility than anyone else.  They had business customers that demanded stability out of their binaries.  Of course, commercial products eventually go through "end of life" in that regard.  MS may have started to break things at some point, I'm not sure, and I'm not sure where they're at with this right now.

You can't rely on the open source people for backwards compatibility at all.  They think everyone's got source, everyone should recompile, and nothing should ever stand in the way of "duh progress!"  Meaning, young whippersnappers come along looking to make careers for themselves, and break everything in sight.  Nobody holds them accountable for it, open source just rolls merrily along.

I'm unclear on what Apple has supported long term.  I dropped them as a platform when Sculley was still in charge and Jobs hadn't come back yet.  They haven't recaptured me because their goal is to be everyone's walled garden / slavemaster.  They were also anti-games for a long time, I don't know about now.  Games succeeded on iOS in spite of Apple.

The Android ecology is a mess for developers.  The dark side of more openness of vendors is lotsa different versions of OS, and lots of variable quality as to how things are implemented.  Not fun problems for game developers at all.

I'm not seeing room in the marketplace for more competing business models.  You have MS, Apple, Google, and Amazon.  They all push things differently for different reasons.  I don't see why there's going to be any air left in the room for a newcomer, they've sucked all the air out.

Consoles are stable for game developers within their lifespans.  But once the lifespan's over, how are things going to get run?  You run into the problem of the console company controlling the platform.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Brunost on September 14, 2018, 08:29:30 PM
I actually agree to what you say there, bvanevery. MS have actually been trying to keep the backwards compatibilty more or less intact, but they sell a OS that is more leaned towards corporations, and therefore their security measures hit the ordinary consumers (think home computers). I have several laptops and computers and almost everyone have their own purpose. Just one of these is ever connected to the internet. The rest is completely offline, at any times, and optimized to make them a more stable platform for whatever software I use.

I have never owned an Apple computer and probably never will. But I think their ideology of make their own full platform helps with the problem of compatibility issues and keeping things run smooth. The way computers are assembled is a different story. They actually make them in a way that it is certain they will brake down in a few years. Looking inside a laptop is almost scary. A toaster is more sturdy built than a laptop. But all this of course boil down to that it is all business and I just have to accept that fact. But you can bet if MS saw any competitors trying a revolutionary move they would be sure to buy the company, whatever the price. MS is so big that even gigantic antitrust fines dont`t hurt them. But I choose to be optimistic for the future and I do believe something will change things around eventually.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 15, 2018, 03:06:30 AM
I spent a lot of time over my so-called career doing $0 open source.  The problem I see is the idealists inclined in that direction, don't get certain necessary things done.  Like, their consumer products are a disaster.  I was waiting for 3 years for the Steam Machines to become this new gaming platform, something worth sinking developer teeth into.  It didn't happen.  I learned why it didn't happen.  So I gave up on Linux.  They want to spend their time arguing about Free Software licenses and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

You're right about Apple.  They just go do something.  Unfortunately then having done it, they decide they're going to straitjacket you.


Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Dewbacca on September 16, 2018, 02:38:53 PM
Y'all got way off topic but was an interesting read.

Back to your growth mod, really enjoying it. Certainly seeing lots of large pop's from the AI in my game playing the Gaians, even the University has grown to 20+ cities hemmed in by Morgan and Sparta.

While the rearranging of the research has messed with my zen, I can see some of it is logical, other adjustments game balancing... mag tubes came early but have been useless on my game of many islands.

Late coming larger transports have kept warfare to a minimum between myself and others... they can't get a decent force to my shores. Of course that plays both ways and I can't get one to them either.

Game is still young, I will keep you posted.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 16, 2018, 02:55:55 PM
Raising land was deliberately made later.  On Enormous maps my standard drill is to build rails and raise land.  On the Huge map I'm actually playing right now, I started on an island and war broke out before I had time to raise any land.  I was in danger of getting nuked!  That danger never really went away the whole game.  In fact I've become a sycophant just to keep from getting a nuke in the face.

I have found what I consider to be a late game problem.  The Corporate Lab comes a lot earlier than Quantum Power and I'm not convinced having so many labs available is a good idea.  I'm thinking of repurposing "Secrets of Alpha Centauri" to be some kind of tech that gives a Quantum Lab.  Or maybe I'll just move it back to Quantum Power, saying eh, it's the end of the game who cares.  I do think separating Fusion Labs from Fusion Power was a good idea earlier in the game though.

Upon further reflection, I'm going to leave the Corporate Lab as is, for now.  I don't know that it's actually a problem for the game.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.  I think it should be playtested for awhile before deciding.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 19, 2018, 02:29:14 AM
Well, I think the Believers are probably the weakest faction in the game now.  They got completely clobbered in my last AAR and clearly couldn't keep up.  Maybe they had the bad luck of starting next to the Usurpers, but I think future games are going to show that they're weak compared to just about anyone.

First I got rid of the whole PROBE faction thing, leaving that only to the Data Angels.  Then I refactored SUPPORT to be something you choose, not something any faction gets.  The Believers were the biggest SUPPORT faction and basically I pulled their teeth out.  It had to be done, because it wasn't balanced at all.  But what have I given them in return?  Softened their RESEARCH penalties, but they're still the most backwards faction in the game.  In fact, the only backwards faction in the game now.  I figured it just wouldn't be the Believers if they weren't taking RESEARCH penalties.

Recently I gave them the minor advantage of being immune to Mind Control.  I don't think the AI cares overly much about this though.  Bases change hands, it doesn't seem like a big deal to AI progress or tactics.  It's really more of a convenience to a human player, to not have to deal with probe team spam if you don't want to.  That said, in my mod the probe team spam is not nearly as bad anyways.  I think disallowing easy PROBE bonuses until you get to Thought Control, has made it much less of a "golden tactic" that the AI would want to use a lot.  I just don't see the squares full of 3 to 8 probe teams like I used to.

What to give the Believers?  I haven't really thought of anything yet.

Meanwhile, the Cybernetic Consciousness is still under review.  They did poorly as a Passive faction.  Now they are Erratic.  I haven't yet tested whether this helps them.  Both the Consciousness and the Believers will be in my next test game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 19, 2018, 04:22:52 AM
Behold!

New happy wealthy militant Believers
New happy wealthy militant Believers

I'm testing them in an almost original SMAC matchup.  Cybernetic Consciousness replaces Morgan, to see if they survive ok with merely a personality change to Erratic.  I play the University, to find out whether I've made getting to the end of the tech tree too trivial with earlier access to Corporate (nee Quantum) Labs and Nanohospitals.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 19, 2018, 05:13:23 AM
   I have seen the Faction, and the Faction is frightening.

  In other news, a summary of faction performance in my current game will be forthcoming as soon as I gather the energy to study what happened and make some guesses as to why.

  Your ET Call Home AAR was entertaining and informative.  I'm sure it took a lot of time to do, so thanks for the effort :)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 19, 2018, 08:24:55 AM
She still got her ass kicked, by the Spartans.  I'm theorizing that an Explore focus is critical for early faction spread in many cases.  The Hive did poorly as well.  Both are going to get Explore next game.

The Consciousness did better than I did!  They beat me to the Virtual World.  We were allies much of the time, although I dissed them when they stole from me at the beginning.

How long did I take to do that AAR anyways?  I don't even remember.  Checking on it... 13 days!  Not continuous play but that was definitely more than a 1 week project.

EDIT: the fix turned out to be adding the Explore focus.  I didn't end up doing any of that other "New Believer" stuff.  The Spartans are still tougher than everyone else, but I've decided that for now, that's ok.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 24, 2018, 06:26:44 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.19 to 1.20:

- Believers: set research foci to Explore, Conquer.  Adding Explore substantially improved their performance.  It may trigger the AI to expand more.
- Cybernetic Consciousness: set research foci to Discover, Conquer.  They seem to do better with this than just pure Discover, and it's thematically appropriate.
- Free Drones: set personality to Passive.  Their cities can go to size 4 without anyone becoming unhappy, so they are better off growing than making war.
- Gaians: set research focus to Explore only.  In an automated test game they fought the Hive to a standstill, using the power of their mindworms.  Now that they have a 20% PSI bonus, they should focus on that weapon.
- Hive: set research foci to Explore, Conquer.  This made them do a much better job than Build, Conquer against other AI factions.
- Peacekeepers: set personality to Passive.  Lal is supposed to be a Pusillanimous Wimp.  More importantly, he gets into wars fairly indiscriminately when he's Erratic.  Maybe it helps him, but it's unpleasant to the rest of the political economy of Planet.  Let's have him sit back and develop a real civilization, one based on democracy and voting for planetary control!
- Pirates: set personality to Passive.  Said I did so in version 1.8 but didn't actually do it, they were Erratic.
- Spartans: set research focus to Conquer only.  They often wipe out any faction near them, and do not need Explore encouragement to get bigger or find new enemies.  In fact I wonder if I should bring back their INDUSTRY penalty but I will leave it alone for now.
- University: set research foci to Explore, Discover.  Now gets free Biology Lab at every base.  They were getting wiped out by every faction.  Their +2 RESEARCH advantage just doesen't seem to mean that much on Transcend difficulty.  The Biology Lab ensures that every base will contribute substantially to research, so that they can get ahead of factions who want to stomp them.   Explore helps them expand, instead of getting squished by factions that don't give them enough room to breathe.  With per city research bonuses now guaranteed, it's also a good idea for them to make more bases.
- Comm Jammer: now not allowed for fast-moving units.  The original game allowed it for speeders and hovertanks, which seems like a mistake.
- ECM Probe Team: added as a predefined unit, so that AI will use them for defense.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.20.  It was downloaded 28 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 25, 2018, 04:40:28 AM
   Looks good.  I've made the changes to the Merge, and can't wait to test them out.

 I have one suggestion on predesigned units: A Rover Former, same as the regular, but with a speeder chassis.
I've found them to be far superior to the slow ones, saving many many moves in doing the same work, but for some reason, with most factions, the AI never designs them, even when it is designing several other new speeder based units.  It *will* make Sea Formers on a foil hull without hesitation and it *will* build rover formers if I give them the design, so this omition may be a flaw in the AI that the predesigned unit would work around.

  Edit: I took a look at adding that unit and hit a snag: the speeder chassis is from Doctrine: Mobility, the former equipment from Centauri Ecology.  Both are early techs, and there is no certainty which will be discovered first. 
  Can a pre-designed unit be given *two* tech prereq's?  All the existing ones have just one.
  Otherwise, adding it in would be simple.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 25, 2018, 12:58:08 PM
Predesigned units are specified in terms of a chassis, a weapon, an armor, one tech prereq, and any ability flags you want them to have.

The basic problem with handing over predesigned units, is they make the chassis type available for free in the Unit Design Workshop.  If you've got Speeder Formers, you've got Speeder Kill-Yous.  A partial answer to this is to pick a later tech than what you strictly need to cook it up.  I did this with Planetary Networks for probe teams.  I made it dependent on both Doctrine: Mobility and Doctrine: Flexibility, so that giving out Speeder and Foil versions of probe teams wouldn't be a free lunch.  That could still be subverted by tech trades, or by sheer laziness in making prototypes, but I'm willing to accept those warts.

Making a chassis, weapon, or armor available as a predesigned unit, does have the undesirable effect of making a prototype of that capability available immediately.  This is why I've at times "given up" about offering predefined units, and just accepted that the human has an advantage that the AI does not.

My doctrine on Fission Rover Formers is to make very few of them.  They're good for laying roads, that's their main benefit.  I then send conventional Formers along those roads.  They're useful for reassigning terraformers to various parts of one's empire, but that is traded off against their additional expense of production.  The latter could impact the AI negatively.

Fusion Rover Formers have no cost issue.  Lately I haven't paid attention as to whether the AI makes them.

Cruiser Formers are desirable over Foil Formers, especially because in my mod, these chasses are half the cost.  They're comparable to speeders and hovertanks on land.  The main problem here is giving away a Cruiser prototype prematurely.  I suspect that sea terraforming is not actually a problem for factions, due to the higher movement rates of sea units, so I've let it be.  The Pirates, for instance, mine out all kinds of ocean stuff.  They know how to take advantage of their +1 sea minerals bonus, so much so, that I don't give them bonuses that other factions get.  They're pretty over the top!

Hovertank Formers are very useful for clearing fungus and building rails over rocky terrain.  As with many other useful Hovertank unit variations, the problem is giving away the Hovertank chassis without prototyping.  In the case of probe teams, I decided I don't even like being pestered by AI probe teams, so I let it slide.

What to do?  Well, I gave up on predesigned units for human convenience rather a long time ago.  There are a few nifty designs possible, but they're not worth giving free prototypes away.  The kind you can actually make available without penalty, is when only an ability is added.  That's why I've added an ECM Probe Team, and not armored probe teams or especially an ECM 3-Pulse probe team.  Sure it's better, but I don't want the player getting 3-Pulse armor without having to prototype it.

Sometimes some weapons are available without needing to prototype them, and I'm not sure why.  I think if you already know R-Lasers, you don't need to prototype a Chaos gun once you get that tech.  Tachyon and Shard guns often seem to show up without needing prototypes, don't know why.

I think for me, the test of whether to include more predefined Former units in the mod, would be whether they actually improve AI terraforming in some readily observable way.  If they don't, then no point.  It just becomes more expensive units in the fission era, a handicap.  So if you want to test this, feel free.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on September 25, 2018, 10:35:38 PM
         My intent with the idea of a predesigned rover former was to give the AI more parity with human players using them, however, if they cannot be delayed until *both* the appropriate technologies are discovered, then making some later tech the prereq for them could be a reasonable compromise.  I'll look over your tech tree and see if there is a choice that doesn't have negative impact.
  If fission rover formers are available, the AI does design similar fusion versions, at least for the player's faction. I'll need to check if that is also true for AI factions and if any factions actually build them.

  I should clarify that *some* factions *do* make rover formers when they can.  It's just that the majority do not.  Perhaps that is due to the cost.

  On the "killer formers" or "wall of formers" issue, I find noncombatant units being so potent in combat unrealistic and harmful to gameplay (at least as I want the game to play).  Therefore, in alphax, I make them *much* weaker by modifying the line:

50,      ; Combat penalty % -> Non-combat unit defending vs. combat unit 
    to
90,      ; Combat penalty % -> Non-combat unit defending vs. combat unit

and am thinking of making it 95 or 100%.

  They still attack with light weapon ("hand weapons") strength, but that isn't terribly unrealistic.

  Turning them into a "wall of tissue paper" makes them a resource to be defended, not a defence in themselves.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on September 26, 2018, 03:29:54 AM
I'll look over your tech tree and see if there is a choice that doesn't have negative impact.

To summarize, since I made such a wall of text previously: the issue is not whether a spot in the tech tree can be found.  If desirable enough, it can be.  The issue is whether it actually helps AI factions to terraform better.  If it doesn't, I'm going to leave it alone.

I wonder if clean reactors were available much earlier in the game, if the AI would use it much?  It could alleviate the problem of the AI running out of minerals.

Quote
  On the "killer formers" or "wall of formers" issue,

This is an issue?  I've often used mere Scouts to kill mere Formers.  Scouts take wounds but hey, I figure they're shooting all the drivers of the Formers in the head or some such.  A Former's defense might be a little too good on Rocky terrain, but otherwise I haven't seen a big problem with them dying appropriately.   Anything more than hand weapons is cake.

Are you disgruntled about the defense of Fusion Formers later in the game, against fission units?

If someone wants to pay extra to have a Former be armored, I think that's a legitimate tactic.  Although I wonder if some kind of combat unit or combat cost distinction should be made.  I wonder if Former armor can have exhorbitant cost.  Hmm, doesn't look like it... an ability can have exhorbitant cost due to speed and/or armor.  Such as for a Super Former or Fungicidal Former.  But a straight Former, I don't think anything can be done about tough armor.

Quote
  They still attack with light weapon ("hand weapons") strength, but that isn't terribly unrealistic.

I got confused by the double negative.  I think you're saying it's somewhat realistic.  I myself figure that Planet is a violent place and lots of people are carrying hand weapons.  Various parts of a terraforming crew could also be used as improvised armor, explosives, or catapults.  I mean, they're Planet wreckers... they're not just tractors.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: BFG on October 02, 2018, 03:49:18 AM
So, I'm just looking at this thread after a lengthy (i.e. several-year) hiatus.  Veeeeery interesting and I applaud your efforts!  I'll try to catch up as RL allows.  But, a few questions in the meantime.  Some may be due to my misunderstanding of what you're doing here.  I'm not sure whether you are solely tweaking INI files (factions, the game itself, etc.), or also making changes to the EXE to improve the AI's inner workings.

1. You mentioned reorganizing the tech tree.  I don't suppose you also reintroduced the two missing techs, Inertial Damping and Global Energy Theory?  (I always like to reintroduce those in my game so all 4 branches have the same number of techs total.  It also gives an excuse to add the unused perk, Heavy Chassis, and makes maxing out the tech tree take just a bit longer.  So...just curious.)
2. Pet peeve of mine, as I like to stretch games out: does the AI have any idea yet how to use Gravship Formers?
3. Personal philosophy: I agree the alien factions shouldn't be OP versus the human factions, but, I would expect them to get some healthy initial perks - both to counter the 10 turn delay, and realism (I'm sure they could salvage SOME of their tech...)  Is that what you did here?
4. I've never seen AI use Orbital Insertions or aerial troop carriers.  Both could be highly effective if used correctly.  Don't suppose either is addressed here?

Think that's it for now...thanks...
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 02, 2018, 04:53:22 AM
To be quite technical, alphax.txt and the 14 faction.txt files are changed.  .ini files are not within the appropriate scope of a modder's changes.  That's something you personally do on your own game installation, like whether you want sound turned on or off, whether you want to set DirectDraw=0 to enable widescreen on modern displays, whether you want to be warned about the end of a Golden Age, etc.  Nothing to do with modding.

I do not make any changes to the .exe at all and do not provide an .exe.  A side effect of this, is my work is fully legal and permitted by Firaxis.  Statements to that effect were made by Firaxis at the top of all the various .txt files I actually modified.  Not that much of anyone cares about the legalities, but I thought it interesting to mention the distinction.

1. Inertial Damping and Global Energy Theory... I looked at them at one point in the modding.  I could swear that in doing so, they broke something, like the game crashed.  So I quickly undid it.  I could look into this again, particularly if you yourself have a track record of enabling these and not seeing bugs / crashes as a result.

2. I haven't even used a Gravship Former myself!  I've used Hovertank Formers plenty, but didn't teach the AI about them.  Nor about Rover Formers.  The general problem is that giving predesigned units, also means those chasses don't have to be prototyped.  As you may know, we've had other recent discussion about "Former problems" in this regard.  I'd like to know, if the AI is given these things, does it have any observable effect on their ability to terraform?  If not then there's no point providing them, because it just becomes a way of giving away a chassis.

3. I powered down the Aliens.  An early set of complaints was made about them, by someone who never actually played my mod, and I find those complaints completely unjustified.  The Usurpers are still the leading faction for stomping everyone, even with my nerfs.  Directed research is that powerful.  At least, compared to other AIs.  I don't think the Usurpers are some uber threat to a real human player anymore, but that was the point of my changes, I didn't want them to be.  I wanted them to be "just a faction among factions", and I've achieved that.  The Aliens may be weaker now, but all other factions are also stronger now.  TBH the one I find myself puzzling over the most lately is the Pirates.  As economic competition at least, they uh, often get ahead of me now.  And it's such a morass to deal with them militarily, because they spawn all over the oceans and you can't just build rails between things.

4. I have not playtested the AI trying to make use of orbital insertion tactics.  TBH I knock the crap out of the AI long before then.  I see orbital insertion as an advantage that a real human player enjoys at AI expense.  Even so, it can get old.  By that late in the game, isn't it less effort to just win?  I haven't made it to enough late games to really have strong opinions on this.  I can make the game tap out with Marines if I want to, so...?

One thing I can confirm, is that my delay of Sky Hydroponics Labs etc., does allow the AIs to build plenty of Orbital Defense Pods to completely block you from getting easy access to space resources.  It is extremely tedious to fight their never ending screen of ODPs.    The only real answer IMO is ground intervention, or Treaties.  If you try to have satellite battles, well the AI doesn't get tired and you do!

ICBM combat is similar in that the thrill of being able to hit anything on Planet will quickly wear off.  It becomes too much whack-a-mole.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: BFG on October 02, 2018, 09:23:45 PM
Thanks for the reply and clarifications!  A couple quick responses to your questions.

1.  No, there's no instability inherent to these two technologies.  I've enabled them on my games and never had any problem.  The key is to make sure the tech tree is set up correctly...and, because the icons for those texts are duplicates of used icons, I've created my own.  They're uploaded on this site and you are welcome to them.
2.  The biggest problem with Gravship Formers is that the AI treats them like land based formers: the AI never develops sea squares with them, despite their being capable of both land and sea modifications.  Plus, they have the highest move rates, and no move limitations, so are effectively the "best" Formers possible.  (Same with Supply Gravships etc.  Now if only Probe Gravships were possible...)  They are more efficient for the AI than building separate land and sea units, which is why I asked.

Also, one other I just remembered...have you tried giving the AI Needlejet Colony Pods?  That's fun :)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 03, 2018, 02:14:12 AM
1.  No, there's no instability inherent to these two technologies.  I've enabled them on my games and never had any problem.  The key is to make sure the tech tree is set up correctly...and, because the icons for those texts are duplicates of used icons, I've created my own.  They're uploaded on this site and you are welcome to them.

Ok, I will look at what they do.

Quote
2.  The biggest problem with Gravship Formers is that the AI treats them like land based formers: the AI never develops sea squares with them, despite their being capable of both land and sea modifications.

I have no way of changing that behavior at the .txt mod level.  Ergo, it is pointless to add them as predefined units, as the AI will never use them differently than a cheaper Hovertank Former.  I'm presuming that the movement rate of a Hovertank is plenty good enough for terraforming, having used as many as a hundred of the things at a time.  Rail power!  Actually that's another reason to blow off Gravship Formers: they don't follow rails.

Quote
Same with Supply Gravships etc.

If you have not built a real rail network by this point in the game, your empire is stupid!  Or if you don't have cash coming out your ears to insta-buy Secret Projects, your empire is stupid.  I have made various denominations of Hovertank crawlers, and just various expensive crawlers, so that I can soak up the maximum production of a base when turning it into a crawler.  However this consumes more unit design slots than I think is appropriate to withhold for predesigned units, and I seriously doubt the AI knows how to utilize precise denominations of crawlers anyways.  So it's an optimization that I leave to the humans.

Quote
Now if only Probe Gravships were possible...

I believe Probes cannot be used on air units.  I think I tried to play with this, and got canned dialog boxes about how it could not be done.  Not sure if I tried to make a predefined unit to get around this.  I thought I tried and the unit simply didn't work, but I can go back and check on this again.

Quote
Also, one other I just remembered...have you tried giving the AI Needlejet Colony Pods?  That's fun :)

I haven't even tried it for my own empires.  I'm aware of the possibility, but by the time I could do that, I've long since created enough cities with enough stuff in them.  I don't even use Fusion Rover Colony Pods anymore, they come too late in the game to be of any importance to me.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: BFG on October 03, 2018, 03:33:19 AM
Yeah, several of the units I've mentioned are only practical for people like myself who like to prolong the game.  (What can I say?  I'm a bit odd...I like to AVOID winning until as late as possible, just to see how far I can develop.)  I'm probably the only one on here who would care about a Gravship Former or Supply.

The Aero Colonies do have two practical uses though: first, settling distant no-road points in far fewer turns than traditional Colonies, even when additional build time is factored in; second, settling tiny islands or polar caps quickly.  It's also (rarely) possible to place a colony on a new land mass with one before being informed it's already owned, thus avoiding AIs getting upset over encroachment.  The AIs I've given them to seem to utilize them well.

And you're right about aerial probe teams not being possible; that was my point.  It'd be fun if they were :)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 03, 2018, 05:02:40 AM
When you said "Heavy Chassis", did you really mean Heavy Transport ability?  I already enabled that with Silksteel Armor.

I've got Global Energy Theory and Inertial Damping working without any errors.  Of course, they are empty techs, so now I have to contemplate how or why I'd insert them into a tech tree that's already been through 5 months of refinement.  I'm not going to change their icons, for reasons of deployment convenience.

I found acceptable places in the tech tree to put Rover Former, Cruiser Former, Cruiser Probe Team, Hover Former, and Hover Probe Team.  In most cases I put them 1 tech later than when the chassis appears.  Rover Former is 2 techs later in Monopole Magnets.

EDIT: got Global Energy Theory and Inertial Damping squeezed into the tech tree.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: BFG on October 03, 2018, 04:28:06 PM
That’s fine regarding the icons; I can appreciate not wanting to deploy a new folder and two new PCX files.  Hopefully people won’t mind a couple of duplicates, and if they do, they can always download the modded ones themselves.

Yes, I meant “heavy transport”.  Going off of memory here.  I thought it made sense for that one to be paired with Inertial Damping but that was in the vanilla tech tree.  For Global Energy Theory I usually gave an energy production bonus, but again, that may only make sense in vanilla.

Thanks, as before, for your hard work on this!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 03, 2018, 06:16:56 PM
I thought it made sense for that one to be paired with Inertial Damping but that was in the vanilla tech tree. 

Where did you put Inertial Damping?  The point of using that tech at all, IMO, is to gain Santiago's voiced dialog.  It talks about ordinance simply stopping in mid-air.  The default icon is a Singularity icon and considering these 2 things together, it's an endgame technology of some kind.  I decided to use it for strength 30 armor, which I already had in my tree.  They were called "Singularity Shields" before and have the artwork of the old Stasis Generator armor, which in my mod doesn't exist.  Basically, I just made Inertial Damping one of the prereqs for Threshold of Transcendence.  That's as late in the game as it gets!

So in my tech tree, there's no reason you'd wait all the way to the end of the game to get an increase in transport capacity.  You'd already have Singularity engine transports by then anyways, giving you 16 units on a boat!  If you can't wipe someone out with that kind of cargo capacity, well I don't think you deserve to be playing the game anymore.   ;lol

I've questioned the wisdom of providing the extra transport capacity as early as I have, with Silksteel Armor.  Which incidentally in my mod is strength 5 armor, to match the prevailing weapons at that time.  Photon armor is strength 8, etc.  Armor is more significant in my mod, it's worth something.  Anyways, I decided to just throw it in there and have people playtest it.  I bet people don't even remember to use it, and I don't think it's going to break the game.  If some consensus of players in the far future says it's overpowered, I'll deal with it then.

Quote
For Global Energy Theory I usually gave an energy production bonus, but again, that may only make sense in vanilla.

I had a cramped situation with Orbital Power Transmitters and Nessus Mining Stations in the same tech.  So I uncramped it.  I wish Morgan's dialogue wasn't so boring though.  Sounds like a placeholder.

Quote
Thanks, as before, for your hard work on this!

You're welcome!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: BFG on October 04, 2018, 01:52:37 AM
I made an assumption, based on the fact that Inertial Damping / Tech 24's quote was from Santiago, that that should be a fairly early tech.  (Santiago's quotes stop fairly early on in the tech tree, making me think the "official" story is that the Spartans die early.)  Global Energy Theory / Tech 70 can't be placed that way since Morgan's quotes continue through the late techs.

In my modded game I put Inertial Damping after Photon/Wave Mechanics and Unified Field Theory, which put it at Conquer 8 (midlevel) if I remember right.  Global Energy Theory I put after Planetary Economics and Pre-Sentient Algorithms, which made it a Discover 6.  (I hated assigning Global Energy Theory to Discover instead of Wealth, but Discover had to have it to make sure all 4 branches had 22 techs apiece.)


And, just for fun, here are the icons I designed.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 04, 2018, 03:14:03 PM
Sadly, I am finding the AI won't make any use of certain new unit designs.  I ran a few AI vs. AI test games, and also tried moving these units to earlier spots in the tech tree.  Shuffling the order of units didn't make any difference either, on some theory of earlier units "overshadowing" later ones or something.

Code: [Select]
;Unfortunately the AI won't build the following units even when enabled,
;and even when given earlier in the tech tree.  Left here for reference.
;Rover Former,        Speeder, Formers,      Scout,      9, 0, 0, Magnets, -1, 00000000000000000000000000
;Cruiser Former,           Cruiser,     Formers,      Scout,      9, 0, 0, Orbital, -1, 00000000000000000000000010
;Cruiser Probe Team,    Cruiser,  Probe Team,   Scout,     11, 0, 0, Orbital, -1, 00000000000000000000000010
;Hover Former,        Hovertank, Formers,      Scout,      9, 0, 0, NanoMin, -1, 00000000000000000000000000
;Hover Probe Team, Hovertank, Probe Team,   Scout,     11, 0, 0, NanoMin, -1, 00000000000000000000000000

Some good news though: the AI will build a Fission Super Fungicidal Rover Former of its own accord without any help.  I saw Morgan do it.  This makes me wonder if adding Super or Fungicidal to a unit would get the AI interested.  Problem is, the guaranteed intersection of "Super" and the other chassis types would come rather late in the tech tree.  Not a problem for Fungicidal though, so I'll experiment with that.

I think a general problem of the AI, is it will build a few Formers at the beginning of the game, then get preoccupied with building all kinds of other stuff, never really revisiting the priority of making more Former units. 
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 08, 2018, 10:53:45 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.20 to 1.21:

- placed my work under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
- Biogenetics: set wealth=1 and growth=3.  Lifecycle improvements shall be considered Explore techs.  Make it of slight interest to Build researchers so that Synthetic Fossil Fuels is not blocked.
- Doctrine: Mobility: set wealth=1 and growth=3.  Clearly it helps Exploring.  Make it of slight interest to Build researchers so that Synthetic Fossil Fuels is not blocked.
- Synthetic Fossil Fuels: now has Centauri Ecology and Doctrine: Mobility as prereqs.  Made Fungi Rover Former predefined unit to help AI.  This completes a Speeder chassis prototype, so is done later than Doctrine: Mobility.
- Centauri Empathy: set wealth=3 because Green economy increases ECONOMY.
- Ethical Calculus: set wealth=2 because Democratic politics no longer gives an ECONOMY bonus.  The EFFICIENCY bonus is worth some money.
- Progenitor Psych: set power=0 and growth=1.  This tech only allows one to communicate with the Progenitors, who may not even be in the game.  Talking to them does not help Conquer anybody.  NOT talking to them is often the safest option for humans, so it is given a low chance of discovery.
- Field Modulation: set power=2 and growth=4.  This tech only gives Hypnotic Trance, which is only good for defending against mindworms.  It's not that useful for Conquering and is mainly useful for Exploring without getting killed so easily.
- Polymorphic Software: changed from a C4 to a C3 tech.
- Neural Grafting: changed it from a C5 to a C3 tech and set wealth=3. Decided that Super Fungicidal units really do help Build after all.
- Adaptive Doctrine: set growth=3 because it gives defenses against mindworms.  Moved the Neural Amplifier to this tech.  Changed ECM Probe Team predefined unit to ECM 3-Pulse Probe Team.  This tech has Advanced Subatomic Theory as a prereq, which makes Plasma armor available.  Completing a Plasma armor prototype also completes 3-Pulse and 3-Res prototypes, so it's ok to immediately use 3-Pulse here.
- Organic Superlubricant: changed it from a C5 to a C4 tech.
- Doctrine: Initiative: changed it from a C5 to a C4 tech.  Moved Deep Radar ability to this tech.
- Advanced Military Algorithms: set growth=0 as it no longer gives Deep Radar ability.  Moved High Morale ability to this tech.
- Single-Sided Surfaces: changed it from a B5 to a B4 tech.
- Bio-Engineering: changed it from a B5 to a B4 tech.
- Retroviral Engineering: changed it form a C6 to a C4 tech.
- Nanominiaturization: changed it from a C6 to a C5 tech.
- Doctrine: Air Power: set growth=3 as it does help Exploring.
- Silksteel Alloys: moved Deep Pressure Hull and Carrier Deck abilities to this tech.  Made Doctrine: Initiative a prereq.  Made Submarine Probe Team and Cruiser Colony Pod predefined units to help AI.   This completes a Cruiser chassis prototype, so is done later than Doctrine: Initiative.
- Homo Superior: moved Bioenhancement Center to this tech.
- Global Energy Theory: enabled as a B8 tech.  Set wealth=4, other settings 0.  Moved Orbital Power Transmitter to it.
- Inertial Damping: enabled as a C13 tech.  Set power=4, other settings 0.  Moved Singularity Shield to this tech, and renamed it as Inertial Damper.
- changed many prereqs to fill in holes and keep continuity of research foci.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.21.  It was downloaded 29 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on October 11, 2018, 11:58:07 AM
   Thankee for this update!   Several of the changes look good based on my (time-limited) play testing of v. 120.

  I too found the AI wouldn't use some of those former varieties in distant past games, but do love basic fungicidal and super ones.

  I'll update my Yitzi/Growth merge and look forward to a game or few with it.  I am sorry I haven't been able to test enough to be much help to you, but so far you seem to have caught all the things I would have mentioned.  Rest assured that I will return some feedback.  Eventually.....;)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 11, 2018, 10:19:26 PM
It's going to get harder to squeeze "need for improvement" out of this from now on, I think.  Some things are definitely subject to playtesting at this point.  Like is moving hovertanks earlier a game breaker, or not really that big a deal?  I can't answer that from my own experience because, after 6 months of this, I'm burned out.  I just don't sit down and think hey, I want to play a game of SMAC.  I'm told that's par for the course on any long project, that people get sick of their games.

I did use the excuse of wanting to know the exact method of combat resolution, to play the very beginning of a game.  I started randomly as the Peacekeepers.  Got a Battle Ogre.  The Spartans showed up literally right next to me.  I was unfriendly and stomped them.  I uncharacteristically let my reputation drop to Faithful, because I had the Battle Ogre, and all these AI vs. AI test cases in my head where the Spartans end up being the dominant land power.  Kill them kill them kill them now now now!!!    So after performing that surgery I had luxurious unchallenged space to make a 20 city empire.  Then I decided I'd stared at enough combat resolutions to know I wasn't getting the answer I sought, and quit the game.

So yeah, uh, if I get any external playtesting feedback on whether something is broken now, that would be good.  Cuz, uh, it's just not likely to be self-generating from here on out.  Psychologically, I'm working on my game programming language design, and on what my own 4X TBS title should be.  This has definitely been enough of a practice run.  I've definitely explored a lot of "the good and the dull".

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 14, 2018, 06:29:19 PM
I cannot get this mod to work unfortunately not even after a fresh install.

Update got it to work after some work.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 15, 2018, 12:45:36 AM
What kind of work?  Anything about the mod itself?  All I've ever done is straight drop the text files onto a clean installation.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 15, 2018, 04:37:26 PM
It turns out GOG was playing musical chairs with the file locations. I had to hunt them down after i  put it in the old location and messed that up.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 15, 2018, 05:30:09 PM
Well, now you can try the not so crippled Believers, free of Mind Control!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 15, 2018, 10:37:43 PM
I typically play as my own faction actually.Trying the money route to conquest. The Drones were tempting the Believers seem weak actually I'd add growth or support to them. Overall its definitely a new experience though. I like it.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 16, 2018, 01:30:06 AM
I do agree that the Believers might be weak now.  I've worried, possibly even the weakest faction in the game.  However my AI test games have been inconclusive in this regard.  They've stomped various factions enough times to make me think perhaps they are not that weak.  My questions now would be whether they are too easy for a human to fight, or too onerous for a human to use to fight against others.  Immunity to Mind Control isn't a minor ability, it turns out.  It's very convenient when one wants to storm the map and not worry about cities being retaken by probes.  This has an important effect even on AI play, because that's the usual "comeback" strategy for a faction on the ropes... and it simply doesn't work.  Once the Believers start taking ground, they keep it!  It's just a question of whether they ever start taking ground to begin with.

Nobody in my mod gets a SUPPORT bonus, and nobody will.  It has been democratized.  Everyone has to choose Police State, Fundamentalist, Planned, or Power to get SUPPORT.  Or someone can build the Living Refinery.  That's it, no other ways.

Oh crap.  Just realized I said I gave the Believers +1 GROWTH in version 1.15, but didn't!  That's a flat out bug.  I even changed their Help entry to say they get the bonus, and they don't.  Well I guess there will be a 1.22 release.  What else will I put in there?  This isn't going to fundamentally change their performance.

I wonder if giving them an extra Colony Pod would be too over the top?  Generally, only Aliens get 3 of them.  The excuse would be "lots of followers".  That could make them pretty terrifying in close quarters early game.  On the other hand, the AI might just misue an extra colonist and it might not matter much.

Now I'm remembering I had this "new Believers" thing a few versions ago.  But I scrapped it.  Let's see what I came up with, it's a few posts back.  Ah yes here it is:

proposed happy wealthy militant Believers
proposed happy wealthy militant Believers
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 16, 2018, 03:14:57 AM
I was wondering about that +1 growth. Now it makes sense. You might want to check on the other factions too.
Have you ever considered giving the Believers a PSI defense bonus? It seems like it might be appropriate.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 16, 2018, 04:12:09 AM
I considered it, but I gave the Gaians the PSI combat bonus, as a unique ability.  If I start handing that sort of thing out to other factions, it waters down the Gaians' ability.  I don't particularly want the Believers to be any kind of "antidote" to Gaian mindworm tactics, nor to be especially gifted against the Cult of Planet or the Caretakers.  I don't think being gifted against native life that appears in the course of the game, is important.  If they want to trigger Global Warming and survive hordes of mindworms, they can build the Neural Amplifier etc. like anyone else.  Or seize it before it's destroyed.

I don't think there's a setting for only PSI defense anyway is there?  PSI combat, yes, but I'm not seeing one for just defense.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vygov on October 16, 2018, 11:20:51 AM
Quote
Oh crap.  Just realized I said I gave the Believers +1 GROWTH in version 1.15, but didn't!  That's a flat out bug.  I even changed their Help entry to say they get the bonus, and they don't.  Well I guess there will be a 1.22 release.
Yes, +1 Grouth is not added. We are waiting for version 1.22.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 16, 2018, 12:51:08 PM
Heres a thought have you ever thought about giving the Believers a bonus to defense rather than attack? It seems a better theme rather than the fanatic attack bonus.
Make them a growth and defense powerhouse. Especially with no mind control.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 16, 2018, 01:34:16 PM
Make them a growth and defense powerhouse.

But that's the Peacekeepers, especially now as I have them.  Peacekeepers get +2 GROWTH, still have their extra Talent, and their relaxation of population limit by +2 citizens.  In addition I made them Passive, despite an Explore, Conquer focus, same as the Believers!  Lal is a pusillanimous wimp, and the payoff for this behavior is Diplomatic Victory.

The Believers don't have any special benefit for sitting back and relaxing.  Although I'm willing to give them a +1 ECONOMY tithe, that hardly makes them into an optimal "sit back" faction.  I don't think they should be, in the sense that, I wouldn't want to create the Mary Sue of factions.  Generally speaking I'm willing to make factions better rounded because it helps AI play and is important if a faction starts out isolated.  The only faction I've really stuck it to in that regard, is the Spartans.  They pretty much need to find someone to overrun, because they have no advantages just sitting back building stuff.  This is pretty much why the Spartans are an Aggressive faction in my mod.

The Believers and the Usurpers are the only other Aggressive factions in my mod.  I made the Caretakers merely Erratic because thematically, I wanted to see some contrast between the Alien personalities instead of them both being horrible cartoon cutouts of each other.  The Caretakers are now anti-Police State and the Usurpers are anti-Democratic.  Both can be Fundamentalist.

My view is that now, there are lots of factions available if one wants to sit back and defend.  My Drones are good for it, with their +2 happy people instead of just +1.  The Pirates are good for it, and that's now how the AI plays them, being Passive and pursuing Wealth.  Aggressive factions are almost an endangered species, and I don't want to divest the Believers of their historic role in that regard.

In addition to fixing the +1 GROWTH bug, I think I will give them +1 ECONOMY and kick it out the door.  Unlike most factions now, they start the game with a tech, Social Psych.  They can make people happy if they want to.  I'm leery of piling up too many bonuses for them too quickly, as it's not clear to me that they're all that weak compared to other factions.  I'd like to see humans playtest them with those 2 abilities before adding anything else.

I'm realizing that my proposed Believers faction also had +1 MORALE.  I think I will skip that for now, but will consider it in the future if they're still not strong enough.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 16, 2018, 02:18:16 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.21 to 1.22:

- Believers: added +1 GROWTH and +1 ECONOMY.  I said I gave them the GROWTH bonus back in 1.15 but actually failed to do so.  ECONOMY is to keep them competitive with other factions.  In essence it cancels the ECONOMY penalty when the AI chooses Fundamentalist.  Or a human player could go Democratic and make more money.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.22. It was downloaded 33 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 17, 2018, 09:23:21 PM
I thought I might give a little general feedback. The game plays quite differently.
The game is significantly harder, at least it seems to be. The Moraganites are now
a very powerful faction. Probe teams are very annoying and the AI seems to be better
with their use. The early game actually feels early and feels like I'm going something other than waiting
to the same old techs. Overall I like the changes so far its a new fresh take on an old game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 18, 2018, 02:03:14 AM
The game is significantly harder, at least it seems to be.

That of course was intended, but it's good to hear it's actually happening for someone else, and isn't just my own perceptual bias from having slogged at the thing.

Quote
The Moraganites are now a very powerful faction.

Yes, maybe not among the strongest factions in the game, but strong in the 2nd tier.  They aren't crippled by any lack of SUPPORT anymore, they don't have base size restrictions, and they get +2 ECONOMY not just +1.  Also, Free Market doesn't tie anyone's hands just by itself, so Morgan is perfectly free to make war if he wants.  Although, he is still Passive so it's not the 1st thing he goes for.  I think the only downside is the AI for the most part doesn't know how to use spare cash.

Quote
Probe teams are very annoying and the AI seems to be better with their use.

Hm, I actually think there's a lot less probe team activity than there used to be.  I took out all of the probe SE bonuses except for Thought Control.  I believe the AI decides that probe teams aren't superpowered, so doesn't make nearly so many of them, or use them as much.  On the other hand, I habitually play on Huge maps or larger, so it could be an artifact of my map choice.  What size map are you playing on?

I did of course give the AI foil probe teams, and those get used.  Yes, you'll lose a few sea bases, even at great distances on an Enormous map, because the AI is pesky that way.  But it's also an opportunity to infiltrate and steal from a distant enemy that otherwise you wouldn't get to on an Enormous map so easily.

The intent of the ECM 3-Pulse probe team is for the AI to use them defensively, but I'm not yet sure if they really get used that way or not.  The Cruiser Submarine probe teams do get used, but I'm not sure how much because they haven't been around all that long.

Quote
The early game actually feels early and feels like I'm going something other than waiting
to the same old techs. Overall I like the changes so far its a new fresh take on an old game.

Happy to oblige!  I made it a policy to push any "feature" earlier in the tech tree that wasn't obviously and compellingly advantageous.  So, you don't have to wait around forever to get Fungicidal Tanks, or mag tubes, things like that.  The open question is whether earlier Hovertanks breaks the game or not.  I haven't played enough games to know yet.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 18, 2018, 01:15:44 PM
I'm probably going to play with the Drones next or try Gaian's. One thing I've never tried is fungus farming.
I typically play on my own maps either Earth or Venus. Large or huge I believe. I stopped playing on non custom maps because I got
sick of seeing factions with three bases sitting on a tiny island. I noticed the AI seems to have no difficulties there
it simply builds sea bases. The probe teams aren't spammed like they used to be but the AI seems smarter with their
use. The sea probes they seem to enjoy playing with.
The Government and economy choices is one of the best features. It actually seems far more balanced.
Just as an aside if you were going to give an equivalent bonus to the + fugal nutrient what would it be?
I like to make my own factions and modify some others.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 18, 2018, 02:36:28 PM
I stopped playing on non custom maps because I got sick of seeing factions with three bases sitting on a tiny island.

I fixed the pathological 1x1 island starts up through Enormous map size.  Giant maps could still have that problem.

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I noticed the AI seems to have no difficulties there it simply builds sea bases.

I wouldn't say "no" difficulties, in that an island start can still put an AI behind the growth curve.  But it's far less of an impediment because Doctrine: Flexibility is a C1 tech.  The only way I could do better than that, would be to give away ships at the beginning of the game.  Due to Workshop abuse I don't think it's possible to give away non-combat ships and not give combat ships. 

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The probe teams aren't spammed like they used to be but the AI seems smarter with their
use. The sea probes they seem to enjoy playing with.

Heh, whatever makes the AI happy. 

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The Government and economy choices is one of the best features. It actually seems far more balanced.

Yeah, after all those design iterations, I think that one's a big win!  The ultimate principles ended up being "give the same number of bonuses and penalties for nearly everything," "give +1 instead of +2 whenever reasonable", "penalize -1 and -1 in 2 categories instead of -2 in 1 category," "SUPPORT is earned", "PROBE sucks", and "Police State and Fundamentalist have been nearly the same thing in all real world governments."

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Just as an aside if you were going to give an equivalent bonus to the + fugal nutrient what would it be?
I like to make my own factions and modify some others.

I'm confused.  The only thing equivalent to the FUNGNUTRIENT, 1 that the Gaians get, is exactly that.  Yes you can give FUNGMINERALS or FUNGENERGY, but I predict those will be severely unbalancing.  My evidence is the new Passive, Wealth focused Pirates are arguably the strongest faction in the game now, and that's largely due to their +1 Minerals on every sea square bonus.  I never found a need to give the Pirates any bonuses, I merely removed their penalties and changed their AI behavior and politics.  When they make good use of what they've got, which is pretty much an infinite ocean of defense, they do ridiculously well!

It should be noted that everyone unlocks additional fungal nutrients in the course of any game, even the original unmodded.  In my mod however, this happens fairly early.  E2 Centauri Empathy and E3 Centauri Genetics are the techs that give more fungal food.  Whereas in the original game it's E3 Centauri Empathy and E8 Centauri Psi.  I unlocked the food earlier on the basis that fungal food is not all that exciting.  AFAICT it's not basically useful and is no substitute for proper land development, it'll just keep you from starving in some cases.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 18, 2018, 07:25:05 PM
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I'm confused.  The only thing equivalent to the FUNGNUTRIENT, 1 that the Gaians get, is exactly that.  Yes you can give FUNGMINERALS or FUNGENERGY, but I predict those will be severely unbalancing.  My evidence is the new Passive, Wealth focused Pirates are arguably the strongest faction in the game now, and that's largely due to their +1 Minerals on every sea square bonus.  I never found a need to give the Pirates any bonuses, I merely removed their penalties and changed their AI behavior and politics.  When they make good use of what they've got, which is pretty much an infinite ocean of defense, they do ridiculously well!

It should be noted that everyone unlocks additional fungal nutrients in the course of any game, even the original unmodded.  In my mod however, this happens fairly early.  E2 Centauri Empathy and E3 Centauri Genetics are the techs that give more fungal food.  Whereas in the original game it's E3 Centauri Empathy and E8 Centauri Psi.  I unlocked the food earlier on the basis that fungal food is not all that exciting.  AFAICT it's not basically useful and is no substitute for proper land development, it'll just keep you from starving in some cases.

I was more curious what you thought an equivalent tier bonus would be. Like maybe giving them something else instead.
The pirates always were very strong simply because of the ocean start. I'd like to go and rename their cities just because
I always found their base names stupid.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 19, 2018, 03:24:51 AM
I was more curious what you thought an equivalent tier bonus would be. Like maybe giving them something else instead.

I think the Gaian FUNGNUTRIENT bonus is probably inconsequential.  That said, I've never played the Gaians with "farming the fungus" in mind.  I'm not convinced that growing and food is particularly important, aside from the obvious act of spreading enough at the beginning to have enough cities.  Eventually you get enough tech to make enough food and enough people happy.  Before then, you settle where the best resources are, and not elsewhere.  Fungus really doesn't start to do anyone any good until mid to late game, when there might be some minerals and energy for the trouble.  Any empire worth its salt will long have since settled into a pattern of land profitability before then.  I'm not even sure it's icing on a cake, I think the cake is elsewhere and wholly different.

So in short, I'm cynical enough to think an equivalent bonus, would be to give someone nothing at all.  But if someone has managed to invent a very specific play style to somehow exploit Gaian food in a way I haven't thought of, well ok, I guess school on that.  For the rest of us, I think this is pointless thematic stuff.

You could experiment with giving large FUNGNUTRIENT bonuses, to see what happens.  Like perhaps an Alien faction that finds the fungus quite tasty?

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The pirates always were very strong simply because of the ocean start. I'd like to go and rename their cities just because I always found their base names stupid.

I hate Svensgaard; in particular, his voice acting is awful.  He sounds like a pretty boy wearing a sweater.  Not a pirate, and not like an intellectual Captain Nemo character either.  Also his lines aren't all that good, the subject matter is ok, but the lines are a bit dumb.

It remains to be seen if I ever have the energy to redo any of that.  I have to be careful about what I spend my energy on now.  For instance, I work on two 10 year old laptops.  One of them blew up 2 days ago, something wrong with the screen hardware I think.  I've ordered a used ccfl inverter for a pittance on ebay, hoping that might be the problem, and only out a few bucks if it isn't.  I've got stupid things in my life to contend with like that.  Gotta prioritize.

But Svensgaard and Cha Dawn totally bug me.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 19, 2018, 12:54:38 PM
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I think the Gaian FUNGNUTRIENT bonus is probably inconsequential. 
There is a specific strategy involved but I've never tried it. The problem is it takes place even later than full forest.
Forests and farms are just easier. Not to mention they look better.
I like the idea of using mind worms but its almost easier to simply build your own. The problem is leveling them.
I'm not sure you even need to have +planet at all.
I've thought about making an alternate base list for the pirates but have never gotten around to it.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 19, 2018, 01:29:26 PM
+PLANET gives Psi combat bonus though, something I only clued into and applied recently.  If you intend to make war with mindworms as your primary weapons, you want to be pro-PLANET, preferably +3. 
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 19, 2018, 01:37:22 PM
Thanks for that one.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 19, 2018, 07:02:36 PM
I just realized that the Pirates have a longstanding bug in their documentation.  Says they get +1 PROBE and -1 GROWTH, when they get neither.  So there will be a 1.23 release, but I won't do it until Oct. 23rd, to keep from driving people nuts.  See if anything pops up between now and then.

I could do the Fission, Fusion, Quantum, Singularity engine scaling idea.  They would be sized 3, 4, 5, and 6, so that a Singularity engine is merely double the power of a Fission engine.  All sorts of armor and weapon costs would have to be redone to make this work.  Oops, just realized a fatal flaw: the blast radius of a nuke would become as large as the reactor size!  Darn, it otherwise seems like a good idea.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 20, 2018, 03:30:30 AM
Maybe I could think up some new base names for you. Maybe some generic sea military ones?
Or maybe some Viking and Norwegian themed ones.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 20, 2018, 04:08:32 AM
Actually these new Pirates are oriented towards Wealth, not conquest.  I'm not the only one who thought it was sorta pointless to have them as "the Spartans of the sea".  Svensgaard isn't even slightly convincing as a military leader.  Not that Santiago is all that great shakes either, but at least she has lines that make you think she could be a military leader, with a lot of hand waving.

I'm not in favor of riffing on Svensgaard being Nordic, because this is the far future, such distinctions don't matter that much to the human race anymore, and factions in SMAC are separated by ideology not nationality.  What I would like, is for the Pirates to come across as the kind of people who like a big freaking treasure chest of gold.  They like easy targets, not warfare.  They are indifferent to Economics, they care about Wealth.



Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on October 20, 2018, 06:39:19 PM
    I'm with you both on the base names and other "color" aspects of the factions.  In the files I actually use in my games I've done quite a bit of renaming, as well as changing titles, terms, comments that come up in diplomacy, and so on.
The original ones were thought up by (I assume) tech nerds somewhat lacking in the fields of history, sociology, anthropology, (and English studies), who relied overmuch on the topics and stereotypes current in the 1990's.

  I'd be happy to share the few I'm sorta pleased with, and explain the guiding concepts and attempts at humor.

  It's a fun pastime for when it's raining outside and you're bored with the usual distractions.  Plus, getting a good take on modeling, say, Yang's 'color' on North Korea/Mao's China or the Drones' on the labor/union struggles of the early 1900's, can lead you into researching some interesting parts of history that have real value in understanding our world as it is today.

   Oh yeh, a while ago there was some talk about voice acting for custom factions in these forums.  I don't know where that stands as of today or what it would take to do it yourself.  Another fun diversion for a rainy day, perhaps.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 20, 2018, 08:12:38 PM
   Oh yeh, a while ago there was some talk about voice acting for custom factions in these forums.

It wasn't that long ago.  But I have a serious money barrier for buying decent recording equipment.  Consequently, I'm currently trying to get a simple mono Logitech USB mike into shape.  With that, I can at least work on the acting part of voice acting.  But it may not be adequate for producing a final cut of acceptable quality.

Aside from other fires of Life I find myself putting out, my laptop speakers are buzzing when certain sounds are played.  It might be a problem precipitated by a Windows 10 update (https://appuals.com/windows-10-buzzing-sound/).  I am investigating.
 
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 22, 2018, 11:27:52 AM
Reverting to an earlier Windows 10 fixed the buzzing, thereby proving that Microsoft's April 2018 release was at fault.  I will wait another 6 months before trying to deal with that again.  Maybe by then the October 2018 release will be stable, and will have fixed what they broke in April.

I played a game as the Hive against random opponents.  I kept the default Explore, Conquer focus to see how it goes.  I played on a Huge map and made a big empire.  I eventually colonized a distant, fungus infested Monsoon Jungle.  I made it to midgame before getting utterly bored with all the administration.  I quit at 6 AM.  I don't think I need to worry about Hovertanks breaking anything, because I didn't manage to research them.  My opponents had only gotten Secrets of the Human Brain, which in my mod is done instead of Cyberethics.  It was a really slow research game.

I did Police State Free Market for quite awhile.  Once I got Industrial Economics, I switched to Police State Green Wealth, so as not to take a POLICE penalty.  Both of these resulted in +2 ECONOMY.  I ended up occupying the "Morganite" niche of the game, because there weren't any strong economic factions.  The Drones could have been, but they got a lackluster start and got bottled up by the Peacekeepers.  Maybe they shouldn't be Passive.

The Aliens got creamed.  The Caretakers had a stillborn start, got stuck behind Cha Dawn and never really expanded.  The Usurpers expanded fine, but surprisingly, Cha Dawn was beating on them when I quit.  Cities were changing hands but I think the Cultists were giving better than they got.  I guess they're tough!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: tnevolin on October 22, 2018, 04:05:49 PM
Merged yours with Yutzi's. Works without errors so far. Analyzing your weapon and armor progression. Here are my thoughts.

Overall much better than vanilla but still curious why you don't use a smooth numeric progression when you could. Like in weapons you have 2,4. It's a 100% jump. You could use smoother progression 2,3,4. For the same purpose you could modify values for special weapons like R-Laser and R-Bolt to occupy free spots instead of just repeating same values. It would add some variability. Like you may give them weaker basic rating in lieu of special power that makes them stronger against psi. Same story with armor. Look at 5,8,10 progression. Your second step is smaller than first one. Not that such small differences are critical but still.
Regarding keeping 1:1 ratio. I've analyzed technology research index and your progression seems more or less keeping to that on all path except first quarter of the research path when you have armor 3 for quite a long time while you already have weapon 5 and it takes some time until armor catches with weapon at 8 both.

Regarding accelerating progression. This is a mistake they did in Civ 2 and repeated in SMAC. With increasing reactor strength and number of HPs the winning odds tilt to the stronger unit even stronger. With the same rate of proportional difference in faction developments their absolute difference grow bigger and so is the technological difference. With increasing reactor power and accelerated weapon progression this technological race gives stronger faction relatively more and more powerful units. That pretty soon makes stronger army unstoppable regardless of all possible defensive measure weaker side can apply. Game turns into cakewalk. I guessed this is what you are trying to avoid. Vanilla game breaks around 50-100 turn. With your adjusted weapon to armor ratio it breaks around 200-250. That is an improvement but you can do better.
How to fix this inevitable breakage? I see these possibilities.
# Disable healing.
# Disable reactor progression.
# Decelerate weapon and armor progression.
# Make armor progress faster than weapon.
Out of these former two are pretty difficult exe modding. Latter two are easily implementable in txt. It seems kinda counter intuitive from RPG game style where you need to accelerate your growth to fight tougher and tougher monster. In strategical game it is fine. Especially if you remember that by decelerating the progression you are actually compensate for reactor boost. Reactors alone increase unit strength 4-fold to the end of the game. If you despise decelerating progression you can keep it more or less linear. That's fine as long as you also make armor grow a little bit faster. That account for the fact that more advanced faction tend to attack. So this reversed ratio will keep it in check. Besides, SMAC somehow manage to increase overall level of aggression toward the end of the game turning it into total war. Reversed weapon to armor ratio will keep weaker factions from quick total annihilation maintaining overall game power balance.

See attachment chart on your weapon-armor progression by average technology sequence index. That is how soon it is expected to be discovered providing you have no research preferences and you discover technologies at about same speed all the time.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: tnevolin on October 22, 2018, 05:50:24 PM
Keep also in mind that the research rate is generally increasing throughout the game. It is something 10-20 per tech at the beginning shortening to 2-3 at the end. So the accelerated weapon-armor progress that you see on a chart gets awfully more accelerated in practice.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 22, 2018, 06:23:49 PM
Overall much better than vanilla but still curious why you don't use a smooth numeric progression when you could. Like in weapons you have 2,4. It's a 100% jump. You could use smoother progression 2,3,4.

For early game weapons, it's the progression of the original game though.  I wasn't under the impression that there was any problem that needed correction here.  Bear in mind, the current approach uses all the weapons artwork that's available.  There isn't new artwork for a 3 gun, it'll probably look like a 2 gun.

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For the same purpose you could modify values for special weapons like R-Laser and R-Bolt to occupy free spots instead of just repeating same values.

Those slots are hardwired with the 25% anti-indigenous life form bonus.  Any size gun you make with them, they will have that ability attached.

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It would add some variability. Like you may give them weaker basic rating in lieu of special power that makes them stronger against psi.

The ability to change that doesn't exist at the .txt mod level.  It's hardwired into the binary.  In general, Firaxis was fairly generic but not perfectly generic about how they implemented stuff.  To me it's a big lesson how to write or not write a game's data files.

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Same story with armor. Look at 5,8,10 progression. Your second step is smaller than first one. Not that such small differences are critical but still.

The problem is there isn't any more unique artwork for armor.  I think I can add more armor, but it's going to look the same as some other kind of armor.  I'm not sure this is worth it, as it's going to create more pressure on the limited number of Unit Design Workshop entries.  I will contemplate it though.

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Regarding keeping 1:1 ratio. I've analyzed technology research index and your progression seems more or less keeping to that on all path except first quarter of the research path when you have armor 3 for quite a long time while you already have weapon 5 and it takes some time until armor catches with weapon at 8 both.

Not sure if your analysis is a static analysis of the tree, or dynamic in terms of actual length of time to gain armor as measured in a game you played.  Silksteel is strength 5 in my mod.  In the real world it could take a long time to gain Silksteel, maybe longer than Superconductor, because there are so many Conquer techs.  You would get other things of equivalent value in the same C5 tier of tech though.

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# Disable healing.

I'm not aware of any .txt mod for that.  Also I don't see why it helps.  The issue is determined by who wins combat.

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# Disable reactor progression.

That's possible, but I haven't committed to doing it.  I've wanted to hear from multiple playtesters whether they think the current state of affairs is a problem or not.  Fusion Power does at least seem to come later in my mod, in practice.

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# Decelerate weapon and armor progression.

This would have to be severe to work.  Basically, weapons and armor would have to stop progressing by midgame, leaving the job of progression to the reactors only.  It would completely mess up the unit artwork for weapons, making the cure worse than the disease.

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# Make armor progress faster than weapon.

It won't matter.  Bigger reactors will still blow the armor to pieces.

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Out of these former two are pretty difficult exe modding.

Incorrect: reactor types are easily disabled in alphax.txt.

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Reversed weapon to armor ratio will keep weaker factions from quick total annihilation maintaining overall game power balance.

Although I do not want the game to turn into a cakewalk, I also do want the game to be over at some point, and not drag out forever in a WW I style trench warfare stalemate.  This is especially true in Single Player, where between my quality of life and the AI's quality of life, only 1 matters!  The game has often penalized the player for having the temerity to try to win it, such as dire consequences for using chemical weapons or nukes.

The footrace doesn't have to go on forever.  It's ok to be badder ass than everyone else and wipe them out easily at some point.  To me it's all a question of how much work and challenge you had to do to get there. 
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: tnevolin on October 22, 2018, 07:06:54 PM
Overall much better than vanilla but still curious why you don't use a smooth numeric progression when you could. Like in weapons you have 2,4. It's a 100% jump. You could use smoother progression 2,3,4.

For early game weapons, it's the progression of the original game though.  I wasn't under the impression that there was any problem that needed correction here.  Bear in mind, the current approach uses all the weapons artwork that's available.  There isn't new artwork for a 3 gun, it'll probably look like a 2 gun.
I didn't mean to add a new one. Merely rearranging existing ones. Like making the one 4 to have 3 rating and 5 to have 4 rating, etc.
Same applies to armor. Just rearrange their ratings to make the progression look better. Just a single number change in alphax.txt. Easy and flexible.

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For the same purpose you could modify values for special weapons like R-Laser and R-Bolt to occupy free spots instead of just repeating same values.

Those slots are hardwired with the 25% anti-indigenous life form bonus.  Any size gun you make with them, they will have that ability attached.
Who mentioned the ability? Keep the ability! I meant to lower its attack rating keeping the price. This way you have the extra ability but lower attack rating and fill up in the gap at the same time.

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Regarding keeping 1:1 ratio. I've analyzed technology research index and your progression seems more or less keeping to that on all path except first quarter of the research path when you have armor 3 for quite a long time while you already have weapon 5 and it takes some time until armor catches with weapon at 8 both.

Not sure if your analysis is a static analysis of the tree, or dynamic in terms of actual length of time to gain armor as measured in a game you played.  Silksteel is strength 5 in my mod.  In the real world it could take a long time to gain Silksteel, maybe longer than Superconductor, because there are so many Conquer techs.  You would get other things of equivalent value in the same C5 tier of tech though.
It's static, of course. Dynamic changes with every game. It gives the rough understanding of what follow what, though. See also my comment in next post regarding actual research rate. You can keep it in mind while looking at the chart. I am sure you have your own sense of technology discovery rate at different game stages being played so many games already.

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# Disable healing.

I'm not aware of any .txt mod for that.  Also I don't see why it helps.  The issue is determined by who wins combat.
This is exe mod required for that, obviously. That what I mentioned below.
The issue is not about who wins a single combat. It is about how much each side invest to advance a front line. But this is completely different and much bigger discussion. If you like to have on it - go to my recent combat discussion topic.

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# Decelerate weapon and armor progression.

This would have to be severe to work.  Basically, weapons and armor would have to stop progressing by midgame, leaving the job of progression to the reactors only.  It would completely mess up the unit artwork for weapons, making the cure worse than the disease.
I don't see what artwork has to do with it. Do you mean the way weapon look affects game strategy??? O_o
You probably confused "decelerate" with "decrease". It definitely should increase but the advancement speed should decline in term of discovery time. In other words, you should invest more and more time (or more and more labs) to discover same incremental improvement. That would compensate to kaleidoscopic technology research rate toward the end.

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# Make armor progress faster than weapon.

It won't matter.  Bigger reactors will still blow the armor to pieces.
Common, man! Why are you feeling yourself obliged to criticize my every single sentence even if you cannot find a descent argument??? Don't you have better things to think of? If you feel like it is not important - just leave it alone. I am not a robot, you know. I am trying to formulate my thoughts to the best of my abilities to make it clear to you and other listeners. NOT to make them right. I am just thinking out loud, you know. Trying to offend me and showing how stupid I am for every letter I wrote is not constructive dialog and is boring. Let's keep it interesting.
Regarding the question itself. I does matter. Everything matters. Every single detail. All of them combined improve or break balance. The question is about quantity and proportion. Make armor progress at about the rate of reactor and voila! Nothing stops you. Make it even stronger and reactor won't be enough to penetrate it.


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Out of these former two are pretty difficult exe modding.

Incorrect: reactor types are easily disabled in alphax.txt.
Damn. I didn't even try to be correct all the time! There are things I don't know. You could just point me to where it can be done in alphax.txt, for example. I would appreciate that.

Although I do not want the game to turn into a cakewalk, I also do want the game to be over at some point, and not drag out forever in a WW I style trench warfare stalemate.  This is especially true in Single Player, where between my quality of life and the AI's quality of life, only 1 matters!  The game has often penalized the player for having the temerity to try to win it, such as dire consequences for using chemical weapons or nukes.

The footrace doesn't have to go on forever.  It's ok to be badder ass than everyone else and wipe them out easily at some point.  To me it's all a question of how much work and challenge you had to do to get there.
Err, you confused me. Why are you working on your mod then? ANY game is like that you just described. ANY game gives you a chance to end it at some point. Why did you complain about vanilla SMAX when you can practically "end the game" at about 100-150 turn? Enjoy. Somehow you claimed that you don't like it and want it to last longer. Not in these words, I know. Please don't argue with wording - I won't reply to it anyway. You says "balance" but it is the same. Generally more balanced game = less benefits from exploits = better AI playing = more challenging game = longer game. If you are working on more challenging but specifically shorter game - that is completely different story and different game. If so, make it explicit and I won't waste your time anymore.
My problem with SMACX and Civ 2 is that they were advertised to be played for 400 turns and they target Ascent to Transcendence as an ultimate goal and method of victory. It even cost 800 points more than any other victory in SMACX. That is what I want to fix. To make achieving that type of victory to be not boring and rewarding in term of scoring, for example.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 22, 2018, 07:12:18 PM
Keep also in mind that the research rate is generally increasing throughout the game. It is something 10-20 per tech at the beginning shortening to 2-3 at the end. So the accelerated weapon-armor progress that you see on a chart gets awfully more accelerated in practice.

I have realized that one consequence of eliminating reactor sizes, is your nukes, tectonic loads, and fungal loads won't have nice blast radii anymore.  That IMO is a serious consideration.  I may not use these things in every game, but when I do play a game where I want to use them, I want them to work.

I wonder if I made advanced weapons or armor disproportionately expensive, if it could even out the disproportionate cheapness of the advanced reactors.  You'd still have units that would wipe the floor with everyone else, but they could cost you a pretty penny to obtain.  That would mean your manufacturing infrastructure would have to be pretty robust to make advanced units.  It might also make mindworms the best possible deal, since they don't have reactors.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 22, 2018, 08:15:23 PM
There isn't new artwork for a 3 gun, it'll probably look like a 2 gun.
I didn't mean to add a new one. Merely rearranging existing ones. Like making the one 4 to have 3 rating and 5 to have 4 rating, etc.

The weapons artwork cannot be readily changed like that.  The "5" currently looks like a Gatling gun.  If you change it to "4", it looks like a Particle Impactor.  There's a fixed numeric range where the weapon looks like what it's going to look like, until the next weapon type appears.  You simply cannot have something that looks like a Particle Impactor and is strength 3, nor strength 5.  In those cases it will look like a simple Laser or a Gatling Gun, respectively.  The weapons artwork is hardwired into the binary, you can't change it.  You can only adjust it within ranges.  I believe the permissible ranges are:
1, 2..3, 4, 5, 6..7, 8..9, 10..11, 12, 13..15, 16..19, 20..23, 24..29, 30+

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Same applies to armor.

Armor fortunately does not have this problem.  You can assign any number to the armors that you like.  However, there are substantially fewer armor art assets than weapon art assets.  This requires compromises for spreading them over the entire game.  I'm not sure if a new armor can be added, or what artwork it will have.  If for instance it has to look like the Temporal Stasis shields, well that's simply not acceptable to stick anywhere earlier than the late game.  In that case I could add another armor to the late game and push armor back 1 slot, all the way to the beginning, and that might help alleviate "armor pressure".  But that may be all that can be done.  I will check if it's even possible.

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Just rearrange their ratings to make the progression look better. Just a single number change in alphax.txt. Easy and flexible.

Don't be quick to assume that anything is easy and flexible unless you've actually modded it yourself.   :D  The implementation is quirky.

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Who mentioned the ability? Keep the ability! I meant to lower its attack rating keeping the price. This way you have the extra ability but lower attack rating and fill up in the gap at the same time.

That might be reasonable.  It irritates me that Missiles are basically useless because of R-Lasers now.  The artwork for the Resonance attachment is generalized.  Any weapon can be made into a Resonance weapon.  It superimposes a module on top of an existing gun.

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It's static, of course.

How do you account for different probability of discovery according to Explore, Discover, Build, Conquer weights?

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I don't see what artwork has to do with it. Do you mean the way weapon look affects game strategy??? O_o

It affects mod enjoyability.  I'm not going to get in the business of throwing out the game's art assets without exceedingly good reasons to do so.  I'm not just trying to perfect progressions, I'm trying to get as many people as possible to play my mod.  People can rightly object to the stuff they like about SMAC, being taken out of SMAC.  They say "this mod sucks", stop playing, tell other people it sucks.  Or maybe they don't say any of that, they just stop playing, and don't think to say anything positive in the future.  That hurts my cause as well. 

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In other words, you should invest more and more time (or more and more labs) to discover same incremental improvement.

Any game fixing that relies on "more and more research" is doomed.  It is not possible to control a player's research.  It will exponentially increase.  There are simply too many ways to become tech powerful to avoid this.

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That would compensate to kaleidoscopic technology research rate toward the end.

It is not possible to compensate for this at all.  It's a fool's errand.  Not without severe "tech stagnation" changes, making the game pretty much unrecognizable.  Mart did something vaguely like that in the last scenario contest I participated in, some time ago.  There was this guy named Kirov, I think, who creamed the crap out of the tech regardless of all the super slow tech impediments that Mart put up.  Kirov and I got mad at each other, and I actually floated the idea that he might be cheating.  In hindsight, no, that wasn't the problem.  He's just an indefatiguable calculator and knew better ways to exploit the game than I did.  Part of his secret sauce was recognizing the Governorship is worth a lot of money, something that isn't high priority in my usual play styles.  Then I figure he did satellite abuse.  And he built like every lab you can think of.  These things are harder in my mod, but still not impossible.  It's all going to happen eventually.

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It won't matter.  Bigger reactors will still blow the armor to pieces.
Common, man! Why are you feeling yourself obliged to criticize my every single sentence even if you cannot find a descent argument???

First off, if you're wrong, you're wrong.  If you think you're right, you can mod a test case yourself, and then in the course of events find out that you're wrong.  I've been at this a long time.  Although I can be proven wrong on some things, I'm most usually not.  Due to that 1+ year of AARs and 4 full time person months of modding and all that.  I've got a lot of coverage of issues already.

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Don't you have better things to think of? If you feel like it is not important - just leave it alone. I am not a robot, you know. I am trying to formulate my thoughts to the best of my abilities to make it clear to you and other listeners. NOT to make them right. I am just thinking out loud, you know. Trying to offend me and showing how stupid I am for every letter I wrote is not constructive dialog and is boring. Let's keep it interesting.

I appreciate feedback, and you can ascribe all sorts of imagined motives for why I respond to a specific comment.  My responses are of the sort: "this might work... this is clearly not going to work."  Hey if you think you can brainstorm as a form of giving feedback, I don't see why I shouldn't be answering in turn.  You speak, I don't, what kind of arrangement is that?

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Damn. I didn't even try to be correct all the time! There are things I don't know.

Right.  So... don't ascribe negative motive too quickly to me.  I just may know more about the "endgame" of some approach than you do, since I've been at this awhile.

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The footrace doesn't have to go on forever.  It's ok to be badder ass than everyone else and wipe them out easily at some point.  To me it's all a question of how much work and challenge you had to do to get there.
Err, you confused me. Why are you working on your mod then?

Modding is authorship.  Games are not likely to be made or broken on one narrow concern, like whether the weapons progression has exactly perfect numerical intervals.  A proper analogy is writing a book.  There is no analytic formula that determines what a correctly written book is, you have to actually write the book.  Once you've done a draft, you see what you've got.  Then you might have to redraft, a lot.  In game design, certainly, your most basic tool is iterating on the design over and over again.  Until you personally find it to be "good".  And you get some corroboration from others that what you've done is good.

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Somehow you claimed that you don't like it and want it to last longer. Not in these words, I know.

"Last longer" is a highly material design dimension here.  It is not a term I've generally used.  At the extreme limit, there are people who want the game to last forever.  They sandbox, because that's what they like to do.  I'm not into that.  The vast majority of the years I've spent playing SMAC, have been about optimizing my path to victory.  I have to experience the path in order to win, I have to make choices along it.  My mod is about being able to make more satisfying choicesNot about artificially extending the life of the game.

Sandboxers, BTW, want bigger reactors.  And I want big nukes and tectonics and fungus, when I choose to do that in a game.  So I think this means they have to stay in.  I will consider the feasibility of adjusting various costs to compensate.

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Generally more balanced game = less benefits from exploits = better AI playing = more challenging game

With you so far.

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= longer game.

Nope.  Furthermore, one must distinguish between game time and real wall clock time.  It's Turn Based Strategy.  You could think for an hour about one game turn, if you were so inclined.  Actually in very long games, that can happen organically, just due to all the units you're pushing around.  I think of this all in terms of "the mouseclick budget".  If a game is wasting my mouseclicks, I am not happy.

So for instance, some of your design ideas in some threads have been of the flavor, hey, let's "solve" problems by more turtling up!  Well I've played enough Civ-style games where turtling up was the order of the day.  The early game of Freeciv was heavily that way, a city wall on a hill is basically impregnable.  Pretty much had to wait until you got Cannons.  Catapults were too expensive for not enough firepower and would tend to die en masse.  This has the effect of reducing choice, your realistic choice is to put all your civilization energy into getting better tech as fast as you can.

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If you are working on more challenging but specifically shorter game - that is completely different story and different game. If so, make it explicit and I won't waste your time anymore.

This mod is not "abbreviated SMAC".  I have imagined writing that mod, but realistically, I'm only ever going to write and champion one mod.  It is too much work to get a mod adopted by players, to split their attention 2 ways.  Let alone my development energy.  Any "abbreviated SMAC" ideas are going into a new game, to try to make money.  SMAC has lots more crap in it than is needed.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: tnevolin on October 22, 2018, 08:52:17 PM
I got your points generally. Thanks for sharing.

You didn't share how to disable reactor in alphax.txt, though.
 :)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 22, 2018, 10:04:33 PM
Reactors simply have a prerequisite tech.  Change it.  For instance, "Disable".

I wonder if the game barfs if I change the prereq to Fission reactors to something other than "None" ?

Setting it to another tech, like Industrial base, doesn't do anything.  Units are still shown with Fission reactors, but the Fission reactor choice in the Unit Design Workshop is greyed out.

Setting it to "Disable", completely removes the reactor from the available choices.  It isn't even greyed out, it is completely gone.  Units still have Fission reactors though.

I just tried adding a weapon and an armor to their respective tables.  It doesn't work, they are ignored.  So, have to distribute the ones that exist as best as I can.

Verified that a strength 3 weapon does indeed look like a Laser.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 23, 2018, 08:53:54 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.22 to 1.23:

- Free Drones: changed personality back to Erratic.  When they were Passive, I saw them get bottled up unnecessarily by the Peacekeepers, who are also Passive.  The Drones clearly should have fought for territory.
- Pirates: removed incorrect Faction Help entry saying they get +1 PROBE and -1 GROWTH.  They get neither.

- Heavy Artillery: moved to C1 Applied Physics.
- Bioadaptive Resonance: changed it from a C5 to a C3 tech.
- Soporific Gas Pods: moved to C4 Retroviral Engineering.
- Resonance Laser: now has attack strength 3 and cost 3.
- Silksteel Armor: now has defense strength 4 and cost 4.
- Photon Wall: now has defense strength 6 and cost 6.
- Probability Sheath: now has defense strength 8 and cost 8.

- Progenitor Psych: set power=4 and growth=3, making it a C2 tech.  Need it as a Conquer prereq.  Previously it only had growth=1, making it gratuitously hard to discover, which is probably not a good idea after all.
- Field Modulation: set power=4 and growth=3, making it a C3 tech.  Need it as a Conquer prereq.
- Nonlinear Mathematics: changed it from a C3 to a C4 tech.
- Silksteel Alloys: changed it from a C5 to a C4 tech.
- Carrier Deck: moved to C5 Doctrine: Air Power.
- Cruiser Colony Pod: moved to C5 Doctrine: Air Power.
- Submarine Probe Team: moved to C5 Doctrine: Air Power.
- Superconductor: changed it from a C4 to a C5 tech.
- Missile Launcher: moved to C6 Orbital Spaceflight.
- Chaos Gun: moved to C7 Probability Mechanics.
- Superstring Theory: changed it from a C6 to a C8 tech.
- Phaser: moved to C8 Superstring Theory.
- String Resonance: changed it from a C8 to a C9 tech.
- Sentient Resonance: changed it from a C9 to a C10 tech.
- Matter Compression: changed it from a C9 to a C10 tech.
- Clinical Immortality: moved to Matter Editation.
- Matter Editation: set power=3 and growth=3 due to Clinical Immortality.
- Temporal Mechanics: changed it from a C10 to a C11 tech.  Set wealth=0 and growth=0 due to removal of Clinical Immortality.
- Applied Gravitonics: changed it from a C11 to a C12 tech.
- Singularity Mechanics: changed it from a C12 to a C13 tech.
- Controlled Singularity: changed it from a B13 to a B14 tech.
- Intertial Damping: changed it from a C13 to a C14 tech.
- Threshold of Transcendence: changed it from a D14 to a D15 tech.
- changed many prereqs

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.23.  It was downloaded 60 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 25, 2018, 03:13:58 AM
Passive drones never do well. You have to play aggressively with them. Oh and as I recall revolt doesn't effect the AI at all.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 25, 2018, 05:53:50 AM
Actually I thought the Drones were doing ok with Passive.  Thought I did some AI vs. AI test games when I set them that way in version 1.20 almost a month ago.  But then I saw them corralled by another Passive player, Lal, who really spreads all over the place now.  So I thought it was less that they couldn't do well, and more that they do badly with Passive when presented with certain situations.  Like a Passive early colonization bottleneck.

I think it's been eons since I've seen any city revolt and change hands.  It's not generally something I allow my own cities to do.  Haven't really seen Drone Riots inflicted by foreign meddlers in a long time either, probably because of the way I changed PROBE bonuses.  I think the AI doesn't value probe teams all that highly anymore.  It'll make some but not tons, which is fine by me!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 25, 2018, 01:54:08 PM
As far as I know Revolt doesn't work on the computer in any way whatsoever. I've never seen it work. My favorite faction is the Drones actually.
But the computer never did well with them at all. It was far to passive and unless left alone for a long time
they simply got flattened.  Try making them as aggressive as Santiago and they would be far more formidable.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 25, 2018, 03:03:12 PM
I made Santiago Aggressive in my mod.  She isn't by default, she's merely Erratic.  The Caretakers are Aggressive by default and I made them merely Erratic in my mod, to try to distinguish them from the Usurpers.  The Believers are Aggressive, like the original game.  I don't actually believe that Aggressive is the One True Way to win, I think some factions are actually better off making less war or no war.  This is particularly true on Huge maps or larger, when the faction has some inherent growth / infrastructure advantages.  The Spartans, Usurpers, and Believers are Aggressive because their main advantages are for attacking people.  +2 MORALE, +1 MORALE, and 25% Attack bonus respectively.

The Peacekeepers, Morganites, University, and Pirates are all getting away with Passive just fine.  Doesn't mean they won't make war.  It means they tend to concentrate on getting huge, get big factional resource advantages, and then decide they will clobber somebody.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on October 25, 2018, 08:57:33 PM
Santiago is default erratic? I did not know that interesting.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 26, 2018, 01:20:58 AM
Yeah I wouldn't have guessed.  I think making her Aggressive made her tougher, and it makes sense, since she's got the +2 MORALE advantage to feed.  Of course, I also removed her INDUSTRY penalty.  Although, I removed her POLICE bonus as I couldn't have her with better police than Yang.  She also has to walk at the beginning of the game, same as anyone else.  Most factions don't get starting tech bonuses either.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 27, 2018, 04:24:29 PM
I'm thinking it takes too long to get Command Centers.  Currently they become available with C2 Planetary Networks, which also gives Probe Teams and Police State.  Due to the breadth of Conquer techs available, it can take a surprisingly long time to obtain, even with a pure Conquer focus as the Spartans.

I'm not sure of any pattern with C2 techs, but it seems like Doctrine: Loyalty is more likely to be researched first.  The net effect is that learning how to make Command Centers is rather random, with some factions possibly gaining it much earlier than others.  Maybe it has made faction potential lopsided, I'm not sure, as I've never paid close attention to this issue.  But as a player I find it a bit frustrating, wondering "Where are my !@#$#!$ Command Centers??!"

I will move them back to Doctrine: Mobility and do a 1.24 release.  I will keep the "no more than once a week" rhythm and release on Oct. 30th.  If anyone has any other suggestions / issues, now would be a good time to make them known.

Once upon a time, I was worried about the AI building Command Centers obsessively in the early game.  The AI also seemed to obsess about building artillery, if it was available early.  The latter doesn't seem to be a problem anymore, so perhaps the former isn't either.  I actually enjoyed the delay in Command Center availability for awhile, but now it's taking too long.  It's as though a Conquer 1.5 tier of techs is needed.  It probably means tier 1 has gotten broader, and tier 2 as well, so just harder to get any particular tier 2 tech.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 29, 2018, 05:00:10 AM
I still don't know how to play my own mod.  I did a test game as the University.  Once again I demonstrated that the hefty bonus of a free Biology Lab in addition to the traditional Network Node, doesn't matter nearly as much as you'd think.  Sure you soar through all the initial techs, and it might be a great way to rush someone near you.  But in the early midgame on a Huge planet, almost everyone was at parity with me.  The Pirates, Data Angels, Drones, Peacekeepers, and Gaians were all doing fine.  The Morganites were slightly runty compared to others, but positionally they were fine for the moment, as next door neighbor Deirdre wasn't attacking them.

I had lots of allies and peace, except for Deirdre.  Who proceeded to send a foil probe team across the board and take over one of my sea bases!  And then Svensgaard, my newly made ally, took that over.  So I don't even get to liberate my own base.  It's like allying with the Soviets in WW II.  The whole point of me putting that base there in the 1st place, was to constrain Pirate expansion into my waters.  I quit.

I made some more changes for 1.24.  I split out all the strength 3 armors into different C3 techs that are discovered in parallel.  I made Lasers and Synthmetal Armor into C2 techs.  Marines and Marine Detachments come at C3 now.  Progenitor Psych is now C1 and it's how you get Nerve Gas Pods.  I figure if you have to talk to Aliens, you should be able to kill 'em!  Ecological Engineering and Advanced Ecological Engineering take over for getting more food and minerals out of fungus squares, instead of some more conquesty rampaging techs they were previously associated with.  These changes seem to test fine, to the extent I played them.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on October 30, 2018, 09:59:03 AM
   The near parity sounds like you've gotten *something* right so far, and made winning the game a proper challenge.
  Your latest changes all sound good to me.

  I'm looking forward to merging 1.24 with Yitzi's.  I may have some time soon to game test a bit.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 30, 2018, 04:01:28 PM
I've now embarked upon a profound rearrangement of weaponry.  Lasers will be strength 3 and will be a C3 tech.  Resonance Lasers will be strength 2 and also a C3 tech.  Since mindworms and spore launchers come at C3 as well, this means nobody's going to have the usual offensive weaponry for quite awhile.  One could use probe teams at C2, or nerve gas at C1!  Or just have a rockfight with a lot of scouts and scout rovers.

Part of what's driving these changes, is I've been pushing all the "interesting" gewgaws as early as I think they can reasonably go.  Like why wait around for Marines or Marine Detachments?  They will now be C2.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on October 31, 2018, 04:22:29 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.23 to 1.24:

- Command Center: moved back to C1 Doctrine: Mobility.  The Tier 1 and Tier 2 techs have increased in number, so any Tier 2 tech can take a surprisingly long time to acquire.
- Information Networks: changed it from a D2 to a D1 tech.  Set power=0, wealth=0, and growth=0.  It doesn't provide these benefits.  Even with "bread crumb" settings, the AI factions can easily take 150 years to research this tech.  Making it Tier 1 should alleviate that, because some factions will discover it earlier, it can be popped from a supply pod, and it will be perceived as less valuable to trade.
- Progenitor Psych: changed it from a C2 to a C1 tech.  Set growth=0 as it doesn't grow anything.  Tier 1 techs can be found in supply pods, so less concern about not being researched.
- Nerve Gas Pods: moved to C1 Progenitor Psych.  If you have to talk to the Aliens, you should be able to kill them!
- Social Psych: set wealth=0.  It doesn't provide wealth.
- Doctrine: Mobility: set wealth=0.  It doesn't provide wealth and isn't needed as a Build prereq.
- Centauri Ecology: set wealth=3 and growth=4, making it an E1 tech.
- Industrial Base: changed it from a B2 to a B1 tech.  Need more Tier 1 techs.
- Synthetic Fossil Fuels: set wealth=4 and growth=3, making it a B2 tech.
- Free Market: moved to Synthetic Fossil Fuels.
- Doctrine: Flexibility: set wealth=0.  It doesn't provde wealth.
- Biogenetics: changed it from a D1 to a D2 tech.  Set power=3 and wealth=0.  In addition to a lifecycle bonus, it increases resistance to genetic warfare.  It doesn't provide wealth, and it wasn't actually a prereq for Synthetic Fossil Fuels in version 1.21.
- Field Modulation: changed it from a C3 to a C2 tech.
- Ethical Calculus: set wealth=3.  Greater EFFIC from Democratic and Children's Creches can add up to a lot of credits.  It's also the only advanced Politics that doesn't penalize ECONOMY.
- Adaptive Economics: set wealth=3.  The INDUSTRY bonus is definitely a form of wealth.
- Adaptive Doctrine: changed it from a C4 to a C2 tech.
- Marine Detachment: moved to C2 Adaptive Doctrine.
- Amphibious Pods: moved to C2 Adaptive Doctrine.
- Applied Physics: changed it from a C1 to a C3 tech.
- Laser: now has attack strength 3.
- High Energy Chemistry: changed it from a C1 to a C3 tech.
- Plasma Steel Armor: moved to C3 High Energy Chemistry.
- Perimeter Defense: moved it to C3 High Energy Chemistry.
- Resonance 3 Armor: moved to C3 Bioadaptive Resonance.
- Resonance Laser: now has attack strength 2.
- Comm Jammer: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.
- Pulse 3 Armor: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.
- ECM 3-Pulse Probe Team: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.
- Ecological Engineering: now gives +1 NUTRIENT in fungus squares.
- Centauri Genetics: set power=4 and growth=3, making it a C3 tech.  No longer gives +1 NUTRIENT in fungus squares.
- The Citizen's Defense Force: moved to C3 Centauri Genetics.
- The Command Nexus: moved to C3 Polymorphic Software.
- The Neural Amplifier: moved to C3 Neural Grafting.
- Ecological Engineering: added Rover Former predefined unit to help AI.  The Speeder chassis is not in the path of this tech, but since it's an E3 tech, I figure it's ok to research it by now.
- Fungi Rover Former: removed.  It is expensive.  Combining fast Rover Formers to lay roads, and slow Fungicidal Formers to clear fungus, is a better strategy.
- Submarine Probe Team: added Deep Radar ability.
- Centauri Psi: no longer gives +1 MINERAL in fungus squares.
- Advanced Ecological Engineering: now gives +1 MINERAL in fungus squares.
- changed many prereqs

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.24. It was downloaded 70 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 01, 2018, 09:22:23 AM
Made a small mistake.  The ECM 3-Pulse Probe Team unit is now giving away the 3-Pulse armor prototype.  This wasn't previously an issue, because Plasma armor used to be a prereq.  Now it isn't.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 07, 2018, 02:45:10 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.24 to 1.25:

- Heavy Artillery: moved to C1 Doctrine: Mobility.  Naval artillery is available with C1 Doctrine: Flexibility, so this is parallel and equalizing.
- Information Networks: set growth=2.  Although it doesn't provide this benefit, a "bread crumb" is needed to ensure it is researched by someone.   Few factions have a Discover focus, but many have an Explore focus.  Someone needs to research it, as supply pods do not necessarily produce this tech.
- Biogenetics: set power=2.  Although it does offer a lifecycle improvement and increased resistance to genetic warfare, neither are immediately useful.
- Perimeter Defense: moved to C2 Doctrine Loyalty.
- Deep Pressure Hull: moved to C3 High Energy Chemistry.
- Heavy Transport ability: moved to C3 High Energy Chemistry.
- Skunkworks: moved to B4 Industrial Automation.
- Clean Reactor: moved to B4 Bio-Engineering.
- Single-Sided Surfaces:  set power=4 and wealth=0.  Changed it from a B4 to a C3 tech. 
- Cloaking Device: moved to C3 Single-Sided Surfaces.  Now allowed for Probe Teams.
- Improve fungus squares: now available with B5 Advanced Ecological Engineering, instead of C5 Centauri Psi.
- changed various prereqs
- special tech flag 000000010: changed comment from "Improves Probe Team success rate" to "Improves Probe Team base morale".  The former is wrong, the latter is right.  Removed this flag from all techs.  Command Centers, Bioenhancement Centers, Cover Ops Centers, Secret Projects, Social Engineering choices, and inherent faction advantages already offer plenty of ways to buff up a probe team.

- Comm Jammer: now available for Combat units only.  Not for probe teams, terraformers, or other non-combat units.  The AI is quite happy to use ECM probe teams offensively.  When combined with armor they are surprisingly difficult to kill, as probe teams defend as combat units.  Such units can even be used as garrisons with no support cost paid on them!  Removing ECM reduces this exploit somewhat.  There's no way to take away probe team armor.
- Hypnotic Trance: now available for Combat units only.
- Dissociative Wave: now available for Combat units only.
- Blink Displacer: now available for Combat units only.
- Polymorphic Encryption: now not allowed for Probe Teams.  It's nonsensical: probe teams fight, they never get subverted.
- Clean Reactor: now not allowed for Probe Teams.  They don't require support anyways.
- Algorithmic Enhancement: turned off "Allowed for Terraformer units", and turned off "Allowed for Combat units".  Neither makes any sense.  A probe team is considered a Noncombat unit with regards to Abilities.

- Light Artillery: new predefined unit to help AI.  Available with C1 Doctrine: Mobility.  Without this cheap (1)-1-1 unit, the AI produces excessive numbers of (1)-2-2 units.  They cost twice as much and are no better at artillery duels.  To keep this unit from being produced excessively as well, it is given an AI Plan of 3 = Reconnaissance
- Heavy Transport Foil: new predefined unit to help AI.  Available with C3 High Energy Chemistry.
- ECM Synthmetal Probe Team: removed.
- ECM 3-Pulse Probe Team: removed.
- Synthmetal Probe Team: created as new predefined unit to help AI.  Available with C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.  The AI never uses armored probe teams defensively, so it's on a Speeder chassis to be used offensively.
- 3-Pulse Probe Team: created as new predefined unit to help AI.  Available with C4 Silksteel Alloys.  Speeder chassis.
- Submarine Probe Team: removed Deep Radar.  It no longer has Neural Grafting as a preceeding tech.
- Battle Ogres MK1, MK2, MK3: set unit cost to autocalculate.
- Battle Ogre MK2: set weapon to Missile Launcher and armor to Photon Wall.  I got the old version of the MK2 on turn 46 of a test game.  It was clearly overpowered.
- Battle Ogre MK3: set weapon to R-Bolt and armor to 12-Res.  Added Blink Displacer.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.25.  It was downloaded 134 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Brunost on November 11, 2018, 02:09:34 AM
Hi, bvanevery.  I`m interested in playing with a merge of your mod and Scients v2 patch. Is Alphax.txt the only file I will need to edit? If so, what parts of your alphax file do I need to change in this case?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 11, 2018, 02:19:10 AM
I've never personally worked with Scient's patch, so I am not familiar with its version of alphax.txt.  The general drill with these sorts of things, is to acquire a "visual diff tool" such as WinMerge.  Put the 2 different versions of the file into the tool, then look at the visuals of what's diffferent.  For clarity: you want to compare stock SMAC alphax.txt to Scient's version of alphax.txt.  That way, you learn what he changed, and how it would likely affect some other mod like mine.

For millions of laughs I'll try this exercise in a moment and tell you what I find. 

You might be grumbling about the need to haul out a diff tool to play something.  "Exactly".  This is why I don't support patches in my mod.   It would greatly increase the work I'd need to do with each release.  The "slick" answer to this would be some kind of automated script, and content installer, but the SMAC community hasn't made it to such sophisticated tools yet.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 11, 2018, 03:18:50 AM
Good news!  It looks like Scient's version of alphax.txt is limited to minor capitalization and punctuation changes, and a few descriptions edited for clarity.  There is an optional reactor size in the predefined units section.  I've read that getting rid of that doesn't matter.  I think you can drop my files on top of a Scient 2.0 installation and call it a day!  You will lose his nice clarifying descriptions but otherwise it won't matter.  I could even poach those description tweaks to the extent that they matter.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Brunost on November 11, 2018, 04:14:47 AM
Exellent, bvanevery. I did fool around with WinMerge yesterday and it`s a nice tool to work with. In the end I will try as you suggest and just drop your files over the Scient v2. Too easy to resist:)

I had a session yesterday with the Scient 2.0 patch but it became quite boring. Playing as the Angels I ended up on a semi-large island all alone with almost no encounters until late in the game. As always I ended up with a troubled relationship with everyones nemesis, Charman Yang, but he gave in to a truce shortly after I sunk some of his navy outside my shores. Usually he continues on with no mercy, so this was a rather unlikely behaviour from him. The "weak" factions ended up eradicated quite early in the game(as always) and the usual suspects was the only factions left (Spartans, Hives etc). So definetely your mod is needed in the mix.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 11, 2018, 05:10:01 AM
Yeah in my mod the Hive is ok but he's not the toughest kid on the block.  I'm not sure who is now.  It depends on your play style and how big a map you start with.  The factions I find myself actually worrying about are the Pirates and the Morganites, because they seem quite capable of keeping up "peacefully" with me, or even getting ahead of me.  On Huge maps at least.  On Standard maps, I can almost guarantee that 2 factions are going to get "runted", stuck behind some other faction with insufficient room to grow in.  They will not likely punch their way out, they will shrivel up and die.  That's why I recommend Huge maps, but lately I've done testing on Standard maps to get to the violence faster.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Brunost on November 11, 2018, 09:46:47 PM
I feel that the maps generated in SMACX have a big impact on how interesting games will be, and it`s often a hit or miss. I`ve read somewhere that maps on regular SMAC is a bit better in that regard. Apparently the developers did something in the code in SMACX in order to make free space on the maps for the invading aliens. In my games I never include the alien races and I`m not sure how this affect the map generation with that setting. On big maps tough it often seems like there`s a lot of empty landmasses and the human factions are often squeezed together. I think I`ll have to look into this and maybe see if i can make a custom map or use a ready-made one.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 12, 2018, 12:06:18 AM
Or you can just try my mod and see if my newer arrangements of continent, water, and island ratios work out for you.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Brunost on November 12, 2018, 02:53:40 AM
Or you can just try my mod and see if my newer arrangements of continent, water, and island ratios work out for you.

That didn`t cross my mind. Thanks for the reminder ;b;
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 12, 2018, 03:04:32 AM
Remember, per the README, it is intended to be played with 30%..50% land mass.  I made sure there was still plenty of water for a Pirate should one happen to show up.  This can work because the land masses are more "continentally".

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 18, 2018, 07:06:31 AM
The one issue I have with the governments is Fundamentalism still seems weak.
If theres one government that has +growth it should be them and not Democracy or at least more than Democracy.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 18, 2018, 12:54:53 PM
Per my avatar, Fundamentalist gets +1 SUPPORT, +1 POLICE, and +1 MORALE, at the cost of -1 ECONOMY and -1 RESEARCH.  This fits the "3 benefits, 2 liabilities" scheme of all Political, Economic, and Values social engineering choices.

This is entirely comparable to my version of Police State, which gives +1 SUPPORT and +2 POLICE, at the cost of -1 ECONOMY and -1 EFFICiency.  From a gaining or losing abilities standpoint, they are a choice, an equal trade.

You might be feeling weakness because the Believers do not have +2 SUPPORT as a faction advantage anymore.  Excessive SUPPORT is a game killer and I don't allow anyone to obtain it easily / gratis anymore.  You have to make choices on the SE table and you have to take the negative consequences of those choices.

Unless you have IMPUNITY to some SE choice, and even then, it'll only be for that 1 choice.  The Hive has IMPUNITY to Police State.  The Cult of Planet has IMPUNITY to Fundamentalist.  No research penalty!  The Believers don't have that, but they do have +1 ECONOMY, which cancels half of the penalty you get from Fundamentalist.  Also if the Believers don't go Fundamentalist, they can make money.  Consider that +1 ECONOMY is what the Morganites get in the stock game.  No other faction in my mod gets +1 ECONOMY.  Morgan gets +2 ECONOMY so he can really make money.

Fundamentalist doesn't give any PROBE benefit anymore and that's by design.  If you had a probe team heavy play style then yes, you would definitely feel that it's weaker than the stock game.  I have nerfed the propensity of AIs to take over everything with probe teams, by taking away its ability to have a gigantic PROBE rating.

I don't think Fundamentalist is weak, and I've done a lot of playtesting by now.

If you think the Believers are weak, that's a different issue, one that I've worried about and struggled with.  Nowadays, they can make money and they are immune to enemy mind control.  Those aren't trivial abilities, as only 1 other faction has an ECONOMY advantage, and no other factions are immune to mind control.  Of course, the latter probably doesn't seem like that big a deal compared to the stock game, because Fundamentalist Believers would have a +3 PROBE rating anyways, which gives the same ability.  But you can be Democratic Believers and still have that ability, and make money, in my mod.

I don't think the Cult of Planet is weak.  You may not be used to them as "the other Fundamentalist faction".

The Aliens have always had a propensity to go Fundamentalist.  Their directed research is still a major advantage, even though I've nerfed them in other respects.  I don't think the Aliens are weak.

Other factions may go Fundamentalist as a matter of circumstance.  I don't think it's been harming them.

Myself, I've done Fundamentalist and Green a fair amount.  My Green gives +1 ECONOMY, so that cancels the -1 ECONOMY of Fundamentalist.  Similarly, SUPPORT bonuses and penalties are canceled.  I've done similarly with Police State and Green.
 


Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 18, 2018, 02:04:29 PM
I have no problems having to go police state for +Support.
The main issue I have is having to go planned Democracy to have
+Growth which is silly. Never mind the fact that planned economies
actually shrink growth (just look at Europe or the USSR). Fundamentalist should
have a +Growth in there somewhere. If theres anything that should give Growth its that.
Its penalties are very high. Both Police State and Democracy are simply better.
I was thinking something along the line of a hybrid of Democracy and Police state
offering growth and population control at the cost of research.

I usually play custom factions actually. Usually based on one of the main factions just modified.
Believers do ok in most of their games.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 18, 2018, 03:15:54 PM
But my Believers get +1 GROWTH, and they do not get that bonus in the stock game.  With Eudaimonic that gets them to +3 GROWTH.  Now you would have to choose 1 of {Democratic, Simple Economy, Planned} to get to +4 GROWTH.  Then build a Children's Creche and you're pop booming.  I have deliberately made it an effort to pop boom, it is not a giveaway.

The Cult of Planet does not get a GROWTH bonus, and unlike the Believers, they are not allowed to use Democratic.  They have a number of advantages, but this is one of their disadvantages.  They are unlikely to give up their IMPUNITY to Fundamentalist.  They would have to get a pop boom by making people really happy, or by building the Cloning Vats.

The Hive gets +1 GROWTH, same as the stock game.  They cannot choose Democratic.  Their bonus makes up for that, so they can pop boom just fine.  They have to choose either Simple or Planned economy, and Eudaimonic, and Children's Creches, to get a pop boom.

My mod actually did pass through some versions where Fundamentalist was giving a GROWTH bonus.  However, I eventually needed it to have other bonuses, and I'm not willing to violate the "3 bonuses, 2 penalties" paradigm.  +1 POLICE is definitely worth more than +1 GROWTH, especially since I made the Believers have +1 GROWTH to compensate.  I think if you want to grow a lot as a Fundamentalist faction, you should play the faction that was designed for that play style.  I gave my Believers options.  Democratic is viable strategy for them.

From a realism standpoint, per my design notes, I had to give up GROWTH realism in favor of acceptable game mechanics.  At least the GROWTH stuff is not quite as goofy as the original game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 18, 2018, 06:35:29 PM
Your mod is a real improvement on the original game thats for sure. I just think Fundamentalist is a bit weak is all.
Especially with the Research penalty. I'm testing the games ability to terraform and it seems much improved.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 19, 2018, 12:40:34 AM
In the original game's lore, Fundamentalist has to have a research penalty.  I've minimized it.  Both in the amount of penalty for the Fundamentalist choice, and for the Believers faction specific penalty.  I also changed the choice the Believers can't make, from Knowledge to Cybernetic.  I think it's more realistic, and it fits the game's lore better.  It's a better short term arrangement for the Believers, but a worse long term arrangement.  I wouldn't think of apologizing for denying them the Cybernetic choice, as it's totally the game's lore, even moreso than stuff about research.

I could remove the Believers' inherent research penalty completely.  I would only do that if I also changed the Fundamentalist penalties to -2 RESEARCH, so that the net effect as the AI plays the Believers is the same.

I'm an Atheist.  I don't have anything against Christians per se.  But I think it's totally fair that if you go Fundamentalist, you're going to do bad science.  There's a Creationist museum in Ohio, for instance, that has got people and dinosaurs walking next to each other contemporaneously.  There are fundamentalist movements to stop kids being taught evolution in schools.

From a game mechanical standpoint, I think the ability to make plenty of money in a Fundamentalist government, might be interesting.  And as more of a contrast with Police State.  However it's also a big change, so I think I'd like to hear someone else's opinion too.

Of course it is not a big change from the original game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 19, 2018, 03:43:08 AM
Quote
I'm an Atheist.  I don't have anything against Christians per se.  But I think it's totally fair that if you go Fundamentalist, you're going to do bad science.

Many of the people that started science were monks and nuns actually. Thats what monasteries and convents were for.
This game is very anti-christian. Miriam is literally the "church lady" from Saturday night live.
She's basically every atheist talking point rolled into one. Mind controlled followers (silly),
hyper aggressive (like Christians are muslims, the crusades were actually a defensive measure)
and backwards (research penalties).

The changes made to Miraim and Fundamentalist are nice but theres only so much you can do.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 19, 2018, 05:36:38 AM
Many of the people that started science were monks and nuns actually. Thats what monasteries and convents were for.

But were they Fundamentalist?  What does it mean?  I have no doubt that ISIS is Fundamentalist, for instance, and mostly harmful to the world.  The only thing positive I can say about them, is they've brought a kind of order to a chaotic part of the world.  It still seems a very dangerous place, regardless.  They're also dominating and exploitative, treating women like @!#$ and throwing gays off of minarets.  Is it correlated with bad scientific research?

Quote
This game is very anti-christian.

I think we agree on that.  You're even acknowledged in my release notes, because of your contributions of thought on this issue.  It's a question of to what degree we agree.

Quote
Miriam is literally the "church lady" from Saturday night live.
She's basically every atheist talking point rolled into one. Mind controlled followers (silly),
hyper aggressive (like Christians are muslims, the crusades were actually a defensive measure)
and backwards (research penalties).

The changes made to Miraim and Fundamentalist are nice but theres only so much you can do.

I have a bold proposal.  What if I got rid of Miriam's RESEARCH penalty entirely?  No inherent disadvantage to being a Christian.  And, remove the AI's compulsion to play Miriam as Fundamentalist.  Maybe they choose that.  Maybe they go Democratic.  Maybe even Police State.  I already have a faction in the game now that's an absolute dedicated Fundamentalist, that's the Cult of Planet.  They're a cult, they're awful, they sacrifice people to mindworms.

I think I'd even be willing to edit Miriam's faction dialogue, to the extent I have access to her lines in believe.txt.

Fundamentalist though, has to mean something.  I'd leave the -1 RESEARCH penalty intact.  And upon further contemplation, I think -1 RESEARCH -1 ECONOMY is still better than -2 RESEARCH.  I'm not interested in protecting the identity and sensibilities of Fundamentalists.  These are people who believe in burning people at the stake.  Inquisitions.  Stoning to death.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 19, 2018, 05:55:10 AM
Quote
But were they Fundamentalist?  What does it mean?

Thats actually a good question really. Fundamentalist is a holdover from civ 2 and I never liked it. I usually remove it for something like "nationalist".
Fundamentalist in game terms seems to mean a repressive religious state and thats not what Christianity is.
Quote
I have a bold proposal.  What if I got rid of Miriam's RESEARCH penalty entirely?  No inherent disadvantage to being a Christian.  And, remove the AI's compulsion to play Miriam as Fundamentalist.  Maybe they choose that.  Maybe they go Democratic.  Maybe even Police State.  I already have a faction in the game now that's an absolute dedicated Fundamentalist, that's the Cult of Planet.  They're a cult, they're awful, they sacrifice people to mindworms.
Thats a good idea actually. I would and I sometimes do when modifying my own game. Power is one thing she seems interested in. Eudianomia is actually a decent ideology for her as well.
Quote
I'm not interested in protecting the identity and sensibilities of Fundamentalists.  These are people who believe in burning people at the stake.  Inquisitions.  Stoning to death.
So do communists they just do it through doxxing or gulags really.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 19, 2018, 06:13:03 AM
So do communists they just do it through doxxing or gulags really.

That's why Police State and Fundamentalist are deliberately similar in my mod.  You really couldn't tell the difference in Mao's China.

I think the Believers would be more interesting, if they're the only faction that doesn't have a Social Engineering compulsion.  They have an aversion in my mod, that's to Cybernetic.  That fits all of Miriam's lines in the tech blurbs and Secret Project videos.  But I don't see a reason why they'd have to prefer Eudaimonic over Thought Control.  Christians have gone both ways.

Inventory of compulsions:
Hive - Police State
Peacekeepers - Democratic
Cult of Planet - Fundamentalist
Morganites - Free Market
Caretakers - Planned
Gaians - Green
Spartans, Usurpers - Power
University - Knowledge
Pirates - Wealth
Cybernetic Consciousness - Cybernetic
Free Drones - Eudaimonic
Data Angels - Thought Control

Pretty well got compulsions covered by everyone else.

Suddenly makes me wonder: why would the Believers ever acknowledge Planet and Transcend with it?  It's not God.  Seems like Transcend shouldn't even be allowed as a Believer victory condition.  But, there's no way to deny a victory condition in the official game on a faction basis, that I know of.  I think one of the unofficial patches does allow that sort of thing, but I'm not going to require a patch for my mod.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 19, 2018, 06:27:12 AM
Quote
Suddenly makes me wonder: why would the Believers ever acknowledge Planet and Transcend with it?  It's not God.  Seems like Transcend shouldn't even be allowed as a Believer victory condition.  But, there's no way to deny a victory condition in the official game on a faction basis, that I know of.  I think one of the unofficial patches does allow that sort of thing, but I'm not going to require a patch for my mod.

The Gaians and Planet Cult worship the planet as a goddess. The idea is blasphemous to any Christian.
Heres a question how do the Spartans actually do? They seem a little weak to me.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 19, 2018, 02:38:06 PM
I don't think the Gaians worship Planet.  I think they seek to communicate with it, and to live symbiotically with it.  Yes they have "acolytes" but I think those prayers in the Weather Paradigm video are more like oaths, actions they swear to take or not take.  None of Deirdre's dialogue talks about Planet being a worshippable entity.

In AI vs. AI testing, the Spartans were utterly destroying everyone around them for quite awhile.  I'm not sure about lately, in my most recent releases.  A major change in their AI behavior is now they are Aggressive.  In the stock game they are merely Erratic.  They are not weak compared to stock Spartans, as they do not have the -1 INDUSTRY penalty.  I did take away their +1 POLICE though.  No faction gets a POLICE bonus, not even the Hive, although I did experiment with that at one point.  Instead the Hive gets IMPUNITY to using POLICE.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 19, 2018, 02:55:28 PM
The weather paradigm is a quote from "the Gaian acolytes prayer."
Quote
In AI vs. AI testing, the Spartans were utterly destroying everyone around them for quite awhile. 
Really? I'm surprised actually. On paper they seem weak.
How do you do AI vs AI testing?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 19, 2018, 03:21:57 PM
I activate the Scenario Editor.  I play the 1st turn of the faction I was given.  Then I transfer my view to another faction and select "No, watch the computer".  I put a weight on the Enter key and let it run for awhile.

On a Huge map, with 30%..50% land mass per my recommendations, AIs have room to do their thing and results are pretty consistent from run to run.

On a Standard map, 2 factions are likely to be "runted".  That is, stuck behind other factions on land masses, with too small an amount of land to expand.  They eventually get killed.  This can happen to any faction, nobody is tough enough to be guaranteed to break out of that.

So if you were playing on a Standard map, and you saw the Spartans lose, you need to consider what their starting conditions were.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 20, 2018, 04:27:16 PM
I have realized that if I remove the AI's compulsion to play the Believers as Fundamentalist, then they could choose Police State.  In which case their dialogue could become nonsensical when speaking to a Fundamentalist faction.  Imagine Miriam lambasting others to join the Third Millennium!

The game's equivalence of Police State = Atheist is nonsensical.  I realize that in the original game, it was a contrast between Yang's character and Miriam's character.  It also has overtones of historical Communist states being atheist, and that "Police State" is the game's synonym for Communism.  They did reskin Civ II after all.  But the Nazis were certainly a Police State and they were certainly not atheist.  The modern Taliban and ISIS are easily recognized as Police State and Fundamentalist.

So, what to do?  I could accept occasional nonsensicality, or I could get into seriously rewriting some game dialogue in xscript.txt.

This isn't the only nonsensical bit.  The Usurpers start speaking like humans in conversations about their new Power compulsion.  The Cultists talk about the good Lord when they're worshipping mindworms and Planet.

What I might do, however, is release game mechanical changes for a version 1.26, and save dialogue changes for a version 1.27.  I'm looking at longer release cycles now.  My metric of when to do a release, is when downloads of a given version stop happening.  Posting a big message to /r/4Xgaming definitely increased my number of downloads, pretty much doubling them.  I'm not sure if more downloads are trickling in now or not.  If I haven't seen any more in about a week, I'll conclude that I've gotten what there is to get.  I'd say at least a 2 week cycle now, and a month cycle may be justified.

I suspect that including an After Action Report with a release also helps.  So there is the consideration of how frequently I wish to do those.  Not too frequently!  They take work.

Playtesting might reveal that the AI doesn't choose Police State in practice all that often anyways though.  After all, the Believers are an Aggressive faction with an attack bonus.  The AI might want the MORALE bonus from Fundamentalist.

Hrm, just realized the Believers could / will choose Democratic as well.  I bet this results in nonsensical complaints about religion as well.  Well for now, I guess I'll playtest and see what it's like to interact with them.

Hey wait a minute, maybe I'm off the hook!  In my mod they're only going to complain about Cybernetic.  I don't think I actually have a dialogue problem in this case.

I still could get into the business of changing anti-Christian / assuming Christian dialogue.  I'd like to fix the Cult of Planet to talk about mindworm horrors, not God.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 20, 2018, 11:24:45 PM
I would just ditch the Believer research penalty and put her compulsion to fundamentalist back. Its -1 Research not -2 and its not that bad.
I buffed Fundamentalist by removing the support for growth. If you need to get rid of one of Miriam's buffs just get rid of the probe it never made any sense anyway.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 21, 2018, 02:11:48 AM
Nah, I'm going for the Christian, not Fundamentalist interpretation of the Believers.  No more compulsion to be Fundamentalist at all.  I'm removing their Fanatic attack bonus.  I'm changing their personality from Aggressive to Erratic.  NODRONE, 1 bonus because faith in God makes people happy.  And of course, no more RESEARCH penalty.

I'm changing dialogue in believe.txt that describes them as inherently fanatic or fundamentalist, to something else.  Some of the insults will still have that flavor, just as Deidre gets called a nature loony.  But Miriam's designation will no longer be "The Fundamentalist".  It will be "The Christian".

Let everyone who plays the game, contemplate what it means to believe in God in this future.  Isn't it interesting, that if you take the "Church Chat Lady" dialogue away from the .txt files, that Miriam is actually a rather nuanced character?  None of the Secret Project videos communicate basic hostility, lack of sympathy, or one-dimensionality to a Christian point of view.  A person may not believe or agree with what Miriam says, but it isn't put on any lesser footing than, say, Yang's or Zhakarov's atheism.  The Christian philosophy is one of the philosophies thrown into the big hat of this universe.

The game starts with Miriam.  She friggin' teaches you High Energy Chemistry.

In general, I've noticed the diplomatic dialgoue has cartoonishness for various factions.  One-dimensionality, shrillness.  Consider Santiago's "right wing lunacy" for instance.  I wonder if all that stuff was done earlier in development?  The writing may have become more nuanced as time went on, but they may not have wanted to change what that had already written.  The Believers may not be the only dialogue I edit.

It may also be, Miriam's role was simply positional.  In the original game, there were 7 factions.  In the expanded game, there were 14.  Cha Dawn wasn't interpreted as a Fundamentalist religious leader, even though he obviously is one.  So now, I have the Cult of Planet taking up the role that the Believers had.  That leaves the Believers room to be something else.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 21, 2018, 01:01:35 PM
So Growth, Economy and NoDrone. Interesting. Make it so she expands her territory like crazy. "Be fruitful and multiply."
Honestly I always thought Miriam was the wisest out of all the faction leaders. Now that you mention it.
The polarization of all the factions was done on purpose I think. Just to make all the factions despise one another most of the time.
Just on another note I sometimes like to relabel Fundamentalism something else. I was thinking "Traditionalist" something that could mean
many things but basically growth and stability at the cost of slower progress. Without a police state. Something in between Democracy and Police state.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 21, 2018, 02:42:40 PM
The Believers still retain their Explore, Conquer focus.  Explore does seem to cause the AI to expand more than other options do.

I can't think of a better term than Fundamentalist, so much better that it's worth changing what an experienced player is familiar with.  I didn't come up with any greatly new category of what it's supposed to mean.  I did create a near equivalence, that Police State and Fundamentalist are very similar to each other.  Other games have used the term Theocratic, but that's less inclusive than Fundamentalist.  I've always figured that Lal is Fundamentalist about obeying U.N. bureaucratese, not that the Peacekeepers get a religion if they go Fundamentalist.  The Aliens don't worship a god either if they go that way, they're just even more wound up about the ideologies their factions already have.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 22, 2018, 03:30:53 AM
The Problem is the Believers without thier fanatic bonus will probably get destroyed.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 22, 2018, 05:18:59 AM
The Problem is the Believers without thier fanatic bonus will probably get destroyed.

Gonna quote my own release notes in response to that.

Quote
I began this mod in mid-April of 2018.  Its design, and all the playtesting needed to improve it, have taken 4 PERSON MONTHS of full time work to produce.  In some other universe where I made money, that could have been a third of a year's salary!  This mod aspires to professionalism, to be substantially better than the original game.

The next release will be 1.26.  That's twenty seven releases, and a month of work before I even made the 1st release.  This is a verified and tested act of game development, not some random crapshoot about what will or won't work.  Every single faction has what it has at this point, because it works.  At least, it works in my testing, under the conditions I designed things for.

Even with the changes I've made for 1.26, the AI may choose Fundamentalist for the Believers.  I've found that my version of Fundamentalist is a very popular choice for the AI.  Many factions do it at some point.  I'm not clear on what the effects will be on the Believers, as I haven't done the testing yet.  But the main key to Believer strength is probably the Explore focus.  It's possible that Aggressive might prove more important than I thought, but neither of these have anything to do with choosing Fundamentalist.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 22, 2018, 09:42:22 AM
I meant no offense. I must admit I am impressed with your mod. I think the biggest factor in the success of a faction is how aggressive it is honestly.
One thing I noticed is if you start out on a continent by yourself the AI goes nuts. As in start playing like its iron man or a level higher at least.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 22, 2018, 12:45:44 PM
I've only ever tested on Transcend, so there is no level higher than that.  I'm not sure I've ever played Iron Man.  Does it do anything other than limit your ability to save and reload the game?  Anyways I could not design around that.  Changes have to be in accord with the usual way people play the game.

I've seen some factions improve for being made Aggressive.  I think it's appropriate when a faction should be making war, like the Spartans or the Usurpers.  When the Believers had a fanatic attack bonus, it made sense for them too.  However I've also seen Aggressive not be helpful for a faction, not playing to its developmental strengths.

It can also be damn annoying for a player.  For instance, I'd never give Aggressive to a prolific RESEARCH faction because they're gonna get Planet Busters and use them on you.  Had the Cybernetic Consciousness as Aggressive at one point in my modding and that's exactly what they did to me.  Hadn't committed any atrocities on them!  Aggressive factions are nuke hurlers.

Explore focus is a big factor in how well factions do.  They tend to make much bigger empires.  It's as though that research focus has code that triggers empire expansion, and other foci don't.  For instance, the University performs much better with an Explore, Discover focus than just a pure Discover focus.  Even though I have their personality as Passive.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 22, 2018, 04:50:40 PM
I think it was the base game and not your mod actually. Its just one of those quirks in Alpha Centauri.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 24, 2018, 08:00:41 AM
Played a test game on a Huge map with myself as the Gaians.  Had the new Believers as a neighbor.  At first it was weird not having them be so violent, or in my face about my politics.  However they spread like the Dickens.  I noticed they went Fundamentalist at first.  They got around to threatening me, but I immediately trashed 2 of their cities with mindworms.  I agreed to a Truce even though I could get more stuff from them, and then signed a Treaty.  A bit later I noticed they had switched to Democratic Simple Wealth.  The Believers were rated as the most powerful faction in the game on the graph.  However if I had gotten serious with a mindworm offensive, I think I would have completely trashed them.  I almost wonder if the Gaian +20% PSI bonus is too strong.

The Morganites were the other neighbor on the main continent.  They were my ally, although they kept complaining because I went Green.  The Believers did attack them, but I asked the Believers to call off the offensive.  The Believers didn't have animosity with the Hive or the Peacekeepers, because they don't insist on any particular Politics.  Neither of those factions was as powerful because they didn't get as good a land start as the Believers and the Morganites did.  Still, I think they were geographically positioned to survive for awhile.

I didn't bother to find out, I'd had enough of that game.  Provisionally, the new Believers seem to be ok.  I won't kick 1.26 out the door yet though, because people are still downloading 1.25.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 24, 2018, 08:19:59 AM
The Gaian's are probably the second most powerful faction behind the Morganites in my opinion. I think the Psi attack bonus is unnecessary.
Heres a silly question what exactly does the tree farm actually do? Does it just buff forests? Or does it have some other effect?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 24, 2018, 03:37:05 PM
The Gaian's are probably the second most powerful faction behind the Morganites in my opinion.

Well neither of these have ever won the AI wars!  Usually the Usurpers destroy everyone on land.  The Spartans were also doing that for awhile but I'm not sure about lately.  Meanwhile, my version of the Pirates are clearly better than either the Gaians or the Morganites, as far as getting into the future is concerned.

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I think the Psi attack bonus is unnecessary.

I didn't want them to always be inferior to the Cult of Planet.

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Heres a silly question what exactly does the tree farm actually do? Does it just buff forests? Or does it have some other effect?

It increases food production in forests, lowers eco-damage, and provides a 50% PSYCH bonus to the base.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 24, 2018, 05:18:49 PM
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Well neither of these have ever won the AI wars!  Usually the Usurpers destroy everyone on land.  The Spartans were also doing that for awhile but I'm not sure about lately.  Meanwhile, my version of the Pirates are clearly better than either the Gaians or the Morganites, as far as getting into the future is concerned.
The Pirates will always dominate just because of water starts. I avoid playing them just because its too easy.
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I didn't want them to always be inferior to the Cult of Planet.

Interesting. I would think the efficiency alone would make them superior. The problem is the psi bonus is either too much or would get them in trouble if removed. Maybe dropping it might be in order. It seemed overpowered in my hands and the Gaian's always do well in my games. The cult of planet or aliens is one thing i never play with. I always mod out the aliens.

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It increases food production in forests, lowers eco-damage, and provides a 50% PSYCH bonus to the base.
Thanks! I've experimented with giving factions a Tree Farms just so i can do my "forest and forget" terraforming from the start sometimes.
I'm playing my first long game right now with a personal faction +2 efficiency +1 research and fanatic.  Doing the land bridge of doom right now.
One thing I do like a lot about your mod is short of modding in immunities (something I dislike doing) there are no easy choices in the social engineering tree.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 24, 2018, 09:13:16 PM
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I didn't want them to always be inferior to the Cult of Planet.

Interesting. I would think the efficiency alone would make them superior.

Nope.  Efficiency isn't a significant attribute for who's going to dominate.  All that Efficiency did in the original game, is enable a faction to pay for things that are inefficient.  Like the Gaians or the Cyborgs paying to have a Police State.  In my mod there are no -2 EFFIC penalties, it's always -1 EFFIC -1 ECONOMY, so having a pile of Efficiency isn't even that helpful.  I think the AI probably doesn't even suffer all that much from EFFIC penalties anyways, since they're so jacked up with bonuses from Transcend.

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The problem is the psi bonus is either too much or would get them in trouble if removed. Maybe dropping it might be in order. It seemed overpowered in my hands and the Gaian's always do well in my games. The cult of planet or aliens is one thing i never play with. I always mod out the aliens.

A human player can always do well with pretty much any faction.  The question is what the AI can do well with.  I'm not sure if the Gaian PSI bonus is helpful in that regard or not.  I used to think so, but I don't know about now.  Changing settings around tends to change who's dominant or not.  I suppose now I should test with the Gaians played by the AI to see how they do.  Perhaps turn the PSI bonus off and see what happens.

Actually, I know what I'm going to do.  Ditch the PSI bonus.  Give them free Biology Labs instead.

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Thanks! I've experimented with giving factions a Tree Farms just so i can do my "forest and forget" terraforming from the start sometimes.

All factions or just 1 faction?  All factions would be similar to modding the terrain so that forests output 2 food.  Which would pretty much make it the One True Terrain Type, whoever has the most forest wins.  1 faction, well I certainly wouldn't give them any other bonuses if they got a free Tree Farm, and they might need some penalties.

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Doing the land bridge of doom right now.

How many of those have I built...

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One thing I do like a lot about your mod is short of modding in immunities (something I dislike doing) there are no easy choices in the social engineering tree.

Yeah that's mostly a consequence of the uniform "3 benefits, 2 penalties" regime plus some balancing over time.

I've found there's a negative consequence to making the Believers have no Politics preference.  You never hear Miriam's Bible thumping dialogue.  I find I don't like that.  It makes her character more bland.

I do, however, however, favor the idea of the Believers having no inherent RESEARCH penalty just for being Christian.  And I like my removal of references to assumed extremism.  I'm going to make it so that you get "Believers as usual" if they go Fundamentalist, but not otherwise.  Fundamentalist will carry a -2 RESEARCH penalty instead of -1 RESEARCH -1 ECONOMY.  As you said, no easy choices.  I'm going to take away their Fanatic attack bonus, and also make them Erratic rather than Aggressive.  They will get a NODRONE, 1 bonus.  So if a human player wants to go Democratic, they can, and all the dialogue will be in character for that.  I prefer the message that you choose what to do with religion, that religion isn't inherently one dimensional.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 24, 2018, 09:25:45 PM
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All factions or just 1 faction?  All factions would be similar to modding the terrain so that forests output 2 food.  Which would pretty much make it the One True Terrain Type, whoever has the most forest wins.  1 faction, well I certainly wouldn't give them any other bonuses if they got a free Tree Farm, and they might need some penalties.

Just mine. Honestly I just like to plant forests everywhere. Even with the free tree farm it wasn't that bad. It might help with food and production but not with energy.

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How many of those have I built...

I've been playing on my slightly modified planet map. I subdued the Gaian's and invaded the continent to the right and forced a pact with the Feminine Union (Brittany Spears faction) and have a treaty with the Valhallans for now. The peacekeepers are untouched for now.

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I've found there's a negative consequence to making the Believers have no Politics preference.  You never hear Miriam's Bible thumping dialogue.  I find I don't like that.  It makes her character more bland.

Thats the one problem, I'm so used to the Believers being so aggressive I cant imagine them any other way.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 24, 2018, 09:34:54 PM
Thats the one problem, I'm so used to the Believers being so aggressive I cant imagine them any other way.

There's a difference between expansive and aggressive though.  In my mod they're still expansive.  When someone is swallowing the map, it does tend to lead to conflict.  Especially when a faction gets so big that they think they should own everything.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on November 25, 2018, 03:48:58 AM
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Actually, I know what I'm going to do.  Ditch the PSI bonus.  Give them free Biology Labs instead.

No! Don't do that!
 :mad:
I love the PSI bonus. It helps a great deal when you are playing on abundant life forms. It gives the Gaians a fair chance against other factions, especially the aliens.

Don't be so suggestible!!!

Remember, this is your mod!! We're just the consumers...
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 25, 2018, 06:15:04 AM
Biology Labs give a lifecycle bonus though.  So that's +10% for mindworms and spore launchers once you can make those.  Granted, that's not as good as +20% for all units at the beginning of the game.  However a pile of free science isn't exactly peanuts.

As it happens, I'm playing a game as the Hive where I immediately got the Manifold Nexus.  So I've got a mere +1 PLANET, like the Gaians get to start with.  On a Huge map I've collected a respectable number of mindworms, and an embarrassing number of Isles of the Deep.  I was capturing them so consistently for awhile, I wondered if it was a bug or an exploit.  This isn't the only time I've captured massive numbers of indigenous life forms with a mere +1 PLANET either.  I remember that being true of playing with the Caretakers as well.

In short, I don't think any of the PLANET factions need help flushing mindworms out of the fungus.  It's kind of cake, even with the new 4:3 odds.  And, 4:3 might actually help you settle abundant fungus, because when mindworms ambush your bases, they don't do as much damage.

Now, Gaians vs. other factions, I don't have a firm judgment on that yet.  In my current game, the Spartans seem to be hurting them.  However the Spartans started on the Monsoon Jungle, so that's to be expected.  I don't know how badly they're hurt because they're all the way across the map and I don't have map info yet.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on November 25, 2018, 03:55:10 PM
Biology Labs give a lifecycle bonus though.  So that's +10% for mindworms and spore launchers once you can make those.  Granted, that's not as good as +20% for all units at the beginning of the game.  However a pile of free science isn't exactly peanuts.

To me, early game is important. With the Gaians, even more so. Biology labs may seem a viable alternative, but will never make up for lost performance in early and middle game. The early combat bonus is important. Don't ditch it!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on November 25, 2018, 04:22:10 PM
A lot of silly posts on this board..
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 25, 2018, 05:16:03 PM
Biology labs may seem a viable alternative, but will never make up for lost performance in early and middle game.

I dunno, what if they make up for it by whipping you through all the other techs you need to survive and thrive?  I will try playing this new version of the Gaians on a Standard size map and see what happens.  Standard will ensure early conflict.

Frankly I got bored of my Huge map game.  The Monsoon Jungle driven Spartans were definitely going to wipe out the Gaians though.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 25, 2018, 06:34:28 PM
the efficacy of Scouts
the efficacy of Scouts

I'm in a bloody rock fight with the Data Angels.  I'm also nominally at war with the Cyborgs, but the Peacekeepers are in the way.  Just had one interloping Scout, which probably died on its own somehow.  It did curtail my eastward expansion for a bit, until I could bring up a mindworm to check out The Ruins.

I had the worst luck with mindworms starting out, I couldn't find any!  My feet tread too softly on the fungus, they didn't stir anything up.  Eventually one ambushed a Former and I counterattacked with a Scout along a road to capture it.  Similarly a spore launcher started destroying roads and I sent a Scout to go get it.  That's all I've got, 1 spore launcher and 1 mindworm.  And the mindworm is on the wrong side of my empire right now, although it's coming back.

Even if I'd had a PSI bonus, I wouldn't have been able to use it!

At least I'm "only" fighting the Data Angels.  That said, in my mod they get any tech known by 3 factions, without needing to infiltrate anybody.  A long time ago, I concluded that it was way too much to expect the AI to perform infiltration missions on Huge maps.  I made life substantially easier for them.  I don't know what techs they've got, but not any armor or weapons yet.  They do have probe team ability though, which is disheartening.  They don't start with that, so they either got lucky on research, or a bunch of other factions figured it out.

When they first declared war, they had a probe team in range of one of my cities and there was nothing I could do about it.  They stole Information Networks; at least that wasn't terribly consequential.

Subsequently, they mind controlled one of my cities!  Fortunately they were stupid on the follow-up and put a probe team right next to one of my advancing Scouts.  I was able to kill it.

A 2nd probe team, I shelled with my spore launcher.  That made it take 90% wounds and reduced its movement next turn to 1 square.  Thus, the spore launcher can stay next to it, as probe teams have no effect on native life.  I've brought up a Scout Rover to finish it off.

This mod has the new 50% defense bonus for Sensor Arrays, so I'm fortifying a front line.  After that, I suppose it's going to be guerilla stalling tactics.  I'm going to stick to my Explore only focus to see what the AI would have to deal with.  Without the ability to get more tech, I'm thinking the AI would just die.  However I do have free Biology Labs, and it's not that difficult to get into contact with other factions.

Case in point, Lal is trading me Doctrine: Loyalty which gives Synthmetal armor.  Perhaps the Labs have provided me some tech trade commodities, even though they don't have direct military value.  I acquire Centauri Empathy in exchange for my Industrial Base, putting me in range of Centauri Genetics and making my own mindworms.  I've also got Cha Dawn's comm frequency. 

All this trading gets me a Pact with Lal, another unexpected benefit of the Labs.  I sign a Truce with the Cyborgs, who are neighbors with the Peacekeepers.  I sign a Treaty with the Cult of Planet, but they won't trade techs.

I'd say I'm a lot better shape now for dealing with the Data Angels, but they probably get techs from all the trading I've just done.  Oh well, getting closer to Centauri Genetics is worth it!


Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 25, 2018, 11:10:09 PM
Thats the one problem with mind worms. Just because you have +planet is no guarantee you'll get any.
Once you can make the things though you can go berserk and make zillions of the things.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 26, 2018, 02:00:59 AM
Except that in my test game, I'm finding I cannot go berzerk with mindworms.  I don't have the production capacity to do so.  I've been under pressure since pretty early in the game.  I did make a mistake in not expanding more at the beginning, and in building Network Nodes inappropriately.  However I'm still suffering a lot more than I think I should, for having made those choices, and the Biology Labs do not make up for it.

piles of 3 Res soaking up mindworms
piles of 3 Res soaking up mindworms

The Data Angels have outclassed me in technology due to their sucking in of all the world's basic tech, and they're outproducing me too.  Every single one of their units has 3-Res armor.  The last straw for me, is the unit I just lost was a Great Boil attacking from a fungus patch.  Yet the enemy lives through it.  Granted that unit started the turn as a Commando, but that just says to me that it's easy for the enemy to come up with Commandos.  Much easier than for me to come up with Great Boils, which don't win.

At a minimum, I think the idea of changing the odds ratio from 3:2 to 4:3 has to be scrapped.  The Gaians need to be able to use mindworms offensively, otherwise they're not really worth it compared to other units.  Also, the new ratio does nothing to change the ease of capturing a mindworm army.  In fact I found that no ratio changes the reality of that at all.  It just makes it better or worse to attack or defend when trying to capture them.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 26, 2018, 03:11:05 AM
Ahh. That explains it. I always build as many cities as early as possible. My goal in my games is to run out of city names. So always have plenty of production. Maybe the Gaian's need another  buff besides the +psi then?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 26, 2018, 08:47:11 AM
I've decided that barring more egg on my face from playtesting, I'm going with the "Gaians as scientists" theme.  I'm going to give them free Biology Labs and +1 RESEARCH, putting them on par with the Cybernetic Consciousness.  I will remove the PSI bonus, and I will reduce their EFFIC to +1.

It isn't actually all that helpful to have +2 EFFIC in my mod, because I don't have SE choices that have a -2 EFFIC penalty.  It's always -1 ECONOMY -1 EFFIC.  So if you take 2 of those, like Police State and Planned, you'll end up with -2 ECONOMY which sucks.  Well, maybe that's not the end of the world, but it is annoying.  Anyways +2 EFFIC won't get you out of that, so it's basically wasting a faction bonus.  Cash it in for RESEARCH!

Making the Gaians into researchers, fits the dynamics of the original game, as they tended to get ahead with their Centauri Empathy exclusive Biology Labs.  It also fits the lore of the game just fine.  I now have differentiated the Gaians and the Planet Cult, so that the latter is not simply a better and more powerful version of the former.

I'm thinking of adding xscript.txt to my modded files.  The Christian-specific dialogue for Fundamentalist bothers me.  I tried adding various xscript.txt dialogues to the Cult of Planet's fungboy.txt file, changing things to be appropriate to the Cult, but it doesn't work.  I'd have to make dialogue that's generic enough for everybody who insists on Fundamentalist politics.  Replacing things like God and The Lord with more generic things like "The Faith" might work.

Game mechanically I find the Christian Free Will version of the Believers to be more interesting than the Fundamentalist Believers.  For one thing, they can be anybody's friend, because they don't get in a snit about anything!  So you have Yang, Lal, and Cha Dawn trying to kill each other, with the Believers as a wildcard.  Given how much they sprawl, they might become the land version of the Pirates.  A faction that just keeps growing until it's really a problem.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 26, 2018, 02:05:56 PM
Thats an interesting take on the Gaian's. One criticism I saw somewhere is they weren't liked because they weren't  a good warmonger or a good researcher. Thats something you've solved. I think I'll modify them myself and see how they do in my next game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on November 26, 2018, 05:13:21 PM
I've decided that barring more egg on my face from playtesting, I'm going with the "Gaians as scientists" theme.  I'm going to give them free Biology Labs and +1 RESEARCH, putting them on par with the Cybernetic Consciousness.  I will remove the PSI bonus, and I will reduce their EFFIC to +1.

It isn't actually all that helpful to have +2 EFFIC in my mod, because I don't have SE choices that have a -2 EFFIC penalty.  It's always -1 ECONOMY -1 EFFIC.  So if you take 2 of those, like Police State and Planned, you'll end up with -2 ECONOMY which sucks.  Well, maybe that's not the end of the world, but it is annoying.  Anyways +2 EFFIC won't get you out of that, so it's basically wasting a faction bonus.  Cash it in for RESEARCH!

Sound reasoning on your part. Implementation is the next step..

 :danc:
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 26, 2018, 05:51:50 PM
Another thing I'm doing, is reinstating a more or less "straight Explore launch path" to get to mindworm production.  It isn't actually easy in 1.25, as I've been regarding the mindworm stuff as Conquer techs first, Explore techs second.  They're sort of cross-listed but Conquer is dominant.  Well now I'm reversing that, to make Explore dominant, more like the original game.  I've had a lot of months to contemplate the difference between Explore and Conquer, and the bottom line is the Gaians need a viable tech path to mindworms.  That wasn't previously a consideration when I was recategorizing everything.  Over time, I've realized just how many Conquer techs there are, and just how much they impact trying to discover any specific tech.  Especially, I've pushed more and more techs earlier in the tree that are an ability rather than a weapon or armor.  The early tech tree is really Conquer heavy.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 26, 2018, 07:13:15 PM
instant mindworms
instant mindworms

The Biology Labs, RESEARCH bonus, and Explore fast track have yielded Centauri Genetics (my Explore 3 mindworm tech) in 56 turns.  Granted I had a wide open land start with only the Believers competing for the space.  I seriously out-colonized them, I guess because they had another direction to expand towards.  Well I shouldn't say I out-colonized them, as they're rated equal to me on the power graph.  Rather, we have out-colonized everyone else.

These are the new Christian Believers, not Fundamentalist, and merely Erratic.  We have no political hangups but they don't like me anyways.  They threatened war already, but they backed off when I told them to stuff it.  I had supposed that's just because I'm a large proximate land empire.  But I'm also realizing, lack of a Social Engineering compulsion, means you don't have a SE choice to ingratiate yourself to a faction.

Despite this big mass of land, I have only captured 2 mindworms.  To me this confirms that getting to the point of being able to produce your own mindworms, is more important than having a PSI bonus.

I'm also testing a 200% prototyping penalty.  It hasn't really cramped my style, but then my starting empire is pretty big.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 26, 2018, 08:57:19 PM
Have you ever thought of making mind worms or future societies easier to get? One problem I've seen is most games are over for me before I even see most future societies. Have you ever thought of making them come sooner?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 26, 2018, 11:11:18 PM
I think making future societies easier to get, may have been as far back as my 1.0 release.  I didn't just think about it, I redesigned the tech tree around that premise.  Future societies come at tier 6.

Mindworms aren't currently any harder to learn how to breed in captivity, than it is to get strength 3 armor, a strength 3 laser, or a strength 2 R-laser.  So in a sense yes, I thought of that.  By making weapons and armor a bit harder to get.  Everything is locked to tech tiers.  Tier 3 = strength 3 armor and weapons.  Mindworms and spore launchers are on tier 3.

I don't think mindworms should be more of a giveaway than this.  You should need to be a PLANET friendly faction if you want early mindworms.  It's also not that hard to research Green in my mod, it's a tier 2 tech.  Of course it comes at a price, the -1 SUPPORT and -1 GROWTH penalties are harsh for fledgling factions.  On the other hand, all the various types of Politics are tier 2 as well, so some of those penalties can be offset.  You'll be living with something though.

Mindworms are cheaper in my mod than they are in the stock game.  I believe that was PvtHudson's suggestion.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 27, 2018, 01:51:22 AM
Mind
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worms are cheaper in my mod than they are in the stock game.  I believe that was PvtHudson's suggestion.
I was wondering why I could make them so fast.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 27, 2018, 12:16:36 PM
I don't think it's excessive though.  I actually needed all of that when the Believers and I came to blows.  They had this stupid Scout deep in my territory that kept pillaging stuff.  I couldn't get around to killing it, because I needed every single mindworm to wipe out the hordes of incoming troops!  Eventually though I did get ahead of the curve and beat the Believers back.  Then eventually I built a rail to their capitol which was right next to my territory and took it over.

Rather than continuing to fight, I signed a Truce.  I could have kept going, but in the balance of world power, I didn't feel like there was any advantage to taking over more Believer stuff.  I figured I'd be better off building up my own stuff, and I'm mildly curious to see how the Monsoon Jungle driven new Believers do over a longer period of time.  I've got a picket of mindworms to keep them from bothering me, and I'm planting a solid wall of fungus on my border.


Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 27, 2018, 02:12:04 PM
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I don't think it's excessive though.  I actually needed all of that when the Believers and I came to blows.
I don't think it is either. They are actually quite weak without facilities or monoliths. Even then they aren't overpowering just so so.
The best part is with a decent sized city and tubes you can funnel them to the front constantly and they are totally disposable.
Is there anything you needed me to test  for you?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 27, 2018, 04:29:50 PM
Is there anything you needed me to test  for you?

Hmm, presently no.  1.26 has been a longer release cycle than previous, so a lot of things have been tested already.  For instance, the various tweaks to combat odds that tnevolin was interested in.  Most worked out ok, some did not.

I'd be interested in your experiences playing a game with random factions, including your own.  That's a good way to shake out unforeseen problems, although I'm not expecting any.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 28, 2018, 10:09:17 AM
+3 PLANET mindworms are grotesquely powerful.  I think I need to teach the AI how to make Trance 3-Res units, because otherwise it's toast.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 28, 2018, 03:15:57 PM
Some things I have noticed. The Ai is much better at terraforming and is a better opponent as a result.
Using infantry or mind worms is a much viable strategy thanks to the tubes showing up so early.
Making the Peacekeepers an aggressive faction is actually dangerous they can be very nasty.
Those trance scouts are actually very obnoxious when you're doing a mind worm swarm.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on November 28, 2018, 04:43:17 PM
 ???
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 29, 2018, 12:16:55 AM
Some things I have noticed. The Ai is much better at terraforming and is a better opponent as a result.

I did make Rover Formers a predefined unit.  The AI does produce them, but not very many of them.  I don't know if they're responsible for any AI success.

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Using infantry or mind worms is a much viable strategy thanks to the tubes showing up so early.

I'm all about the rails, to a fault!  It's the only way you can move large numbers of units across a large map without driving yourself crazy.  I have found it also works just fine as an invasion method on Standard size maps as well.  Get a surplus of Formers, build a rail to the enemy's front door, blow the city away.  Wet lather rinse repeat.  Really too easy, the AI doesn't know what to do about it.

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Making the Peacekeepers an aggressive faction is actually dangerous they can be very nasty.

But they aren't.  In fact they are Passive.  Their research foci are Explore, Conquer, so what you're interpreting as "aggression" is probably Explore driven expansionism.  Historically it's the secret to the Believers' wildfire spread.  Many factions in my mod have an Explore focus for this reason, it just seems to drive the AI into making substantial empires.  This phenomenon is in fact the main reason my mod is still called "SMACX AI Growth mod".  Explore really means colonization and growth.

The Peacekeepers have a Conquer focus as well because they expect trouble.  Lotsa nasty undemocratic factions afoot.  Also, the Empath Guild is considered a Conquer tech, so that keeps the Peacekeepers heading in that direction.

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Those trance scouts are actually very obnoxious when you're doing a mind worm swarm.

I've somewhat noticed that, although it hasn't been too bad.  I've rearranged the tech tree for Trance 3-Res Sentinels now.  Time to test it.  I hope the AI actually makes those units.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 29, 2018, 12:22:21 AM
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But they aren't.  In fact they are Passive. 

I switched his aggression to max. I like to do things like this in my own games. After awhile you need something new.

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I've somewhat noticed that, although it hasn't been too bad.  I've rearranged the tech tree for Trance 3-Res Sentinels now.  Time to test it.  I hope the AI actually makes those units.

They build anti-worm units for sure. I'm not sure the 3 res ones came into play. The game was about over at that point.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on November 29, 2018, 02:39:10 AM
I switched his aggression to max. I like to do things like this in my own games. After awhile you need something new.

Fair enough, but my mod is something "new".  Personality settings have been put the way they have for various reasons.  In my mod, by making Lal Aggressive I actually think you're making life easier on yourself, with respect to him.  If he's Passive, he works on the things he's supposed to.  Like getting big cities and getting lots of votes.  Aggressive, he probably wastes his energy on pointless wars.  It's not like he has the inherent military potential to steamroller everyone, i.e. he's not the Usurpers.

Similarly, the Pirates are Passive because they are more of a strategic threat that way.  They just grow and grow and grow, harvesting all those minerals in the ocean, with almost nobody to bother them.  Until they finally decide they want to bother you.

Not having all the AIs at each others' throats, also allows various factions to grow side by side without wasting effort, on a Huge map where they have room for it.

In other news, I've had a curious phenomenon in my testing.  Huge map, I start as the Free Drones.  The University is on my modestly sized island continent with me.  They get uppity and immediately declare war.  They have probe teams, but they're always afraid to use them on me.  Perhaps that's due to the University's -1 PROBE.  They make tons and tons of probe teams, it must have consumed the bulk of their production effort.  I just killed them with impunity.

The University never discovered how to make any armor or weapon.  Their research foci are Explore, Discover.  There is indeed a categorical purity to my allocation of weapons and armor, but I've never really seen a faction not make any before.  Between a few Scouts marched all the way down the continent, and a large number of Scout Rovers made from 1 Command Center sitting next to a big mine, I conquered them.  They had made it all the way to E3 Monopole Magnets, not like they hadn't done any research.

Maybe the early tech tree is too broad.  Maybe the AI has no idea how to fight if it isn't handed some weapons and armor.  Maybe it's ok to cakewalk any faction that starts right next to you on a Huge map.

I've decided not to continue that game, and to remove the University's -1 PROBE penalty.  I'd like to know if they would have done ok with probe teams, or at least better.  The geography favored me, there was a long strip of land they had to march up to get to me.  All I had to do was double up my units even if they were coming for me.  But that would have at least made me move less freely, so maybe I wouldn't have conquered as rapidly.

The Spartans established a good enclave.  Somehow they managed to get Free Market and Synthmetal armor, without trading anyone for either.  Since they have a pure Conquer focus, getting the armor isn't surprising, but getting Free Market is downright weird.  In my mod it's available with B2 Synthetic Fossil Fuels, a (Build Explore) tech.

The Peacekeepers got caught behind the Spartans and had no room to expand, despite having C1 Doctrine: Flexibility to get out of their predicament.  The Cyborgs were next to the Spartans, blocking Spartan access to an even larger land mass.  The Cyborgs didn't do as good a job of spreading as the Spartans, but they were sitting on the Garland Crater, so maybe they had their reasons.

The Morganites and the Pirates were both going nuts, unopposed on land or sea respectively.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on November 29, 2018, 01:03:01 PM
Quote
Fair enough, but my mod is something "new".
Its quite good too. Sometimes I play random personalities and Ideologies as well. Lal doesn't do that bad because he builds huge cities pretty quickly. I've seen the mass probe teams before last time it was the Gaian's as I recall with the same result. Though at other times I've had them used on me to great effect. Some time they like to stash them for some reason.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 04, 2018, 09:40:31 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.25 to 1.26:

*FACTION changes:
- Believers: removed RESEARCH penalty.  Removed Fanatic attack bonus.  Removed PROBE bonus.  Removed Social Psych starting tech.  Changed personality from Aggressive to Erratic.  Removed AI compulsion to choose Fundamentalist and did not add any new compulsion.  Changed faction description from "The Fundamentalist" to "The Christian".  Altered faction dialogue to eliminate references to extremism or fanaticism.
- Cybernetic Consciousness: reinstated IMPUNITY to CYBERNETIC.
- Data Angels: altered faction dialogue to reflect Roze's darker late game propensity towards Thought Control.
- Gaians: removed PSI attack bonus.  Reduced EFFIC bonus to +1.  Added +1 RESEARCH bonus.  Added free Biology Lab at every base.  Changed personality from Passive to Erratic.
- Morganites: minor change in wording of COMMERCE bonus.
- Spartans: altered faction dialogue to eliminate references to being right-wing or speaking of God.  Instead Santiago's dialogue focuses on being a Citizen's Militia leader and training an elite combat force called the Warhawks.
- University: removed PROBE penalty.  In an early skirmish against the University, I saw them produce tons of probe teams, and they never used them against my units.  Neither of us had weapons or armor, it was a Scouts and Scout Rovers war.  They should have mind controlled some of my units.  They also failed to research any weapon or armor, despite getting all the way to E3 Monopole Magnets.  Alternate tactics are important for non-Conquer factions, so I don't think they should be suffering when trying to use probe teams.  In the original game various weapons were partly Discover techs, but now they aren't, so the University doesn't have as much of an advantage.

*SOCIAL CHOICES changes:
- Fundamentalist: removed ECONOMY penalty.  Increased RESEARCH penalty to -2.    The game had too many ECONOMY penalties, and this also makes it a different game mechanical choice from Police State.
- Police State: moved to E3 Intellectual Integrity.
- Free Market economy: moved to B3 Industrial Economics.  It's too powerful at making money to give away earlier.
- Green economy: moved to E3 Centauri Genetics.
- Thought Control: removed ECONOMY and EFFIC penalties.  Added -2 RESEARCH penalty.  Most penalties for Thought Control are not realistic because people can be made to do whatever is wanted.  Also, mind controlling cities takes money, so the previous penalties were counterproductive for that strategy.  Whereas, if a faction cared about research, they'd choose Cybernetic.

*MINDWORM COMBAT sequence:
- Centauri Ecology: set wealth=4 and growth=3, making it a B1 tech.  Not sure why I changed it in version 1.24.
- Progenitor Psych: set power=0 and growth=4, making it an E1 tech. 
- Aquafarm: moved to E1 Progenitor Psych.
- Nerve Gas Pods: moved to D2 Biogenetics.
- Hypnotic Trance: moved to E2 Centauri Empathy.
- Centauri Empathy: set power=3 because Trance is useful for combat.
- Centauri Genetics: set growth=5, making it an E3 tech.  Set wealth=3 due to Green economy.  Explore needs to be restored as the "mindworm combat" tech tree path, so that an Explore-only faction such as the Gaians can quickly learn to produce mindworms.
- Secrets of the Human Brain: set growth=4 because Knowledge gives +1 PLANET.  It's still a Discover tech because tech=5.
- Centauri Psi: set power=3 and growth=4, making it an E5 tech.
- Homo Superior: set growth=4 because Thought Control increases POLICE.  It is still a Conquer tech because power=5.  A strong growth setting will also call the Empath Guild to the attention factions trying to get more votes.
- The Will To Power: set power=3 and growth=4, making it an E7 tech.  Psi attacks are considered mindworm stuff.

*LONGER ARMOR sequence:
- High Energy Chemistry: now a C1 tech.
- Synthmetal Armor: moved to C1 High Energy Chemistry.  Having armor in Doctrine: Loyalty irritated me.
- Applied Physics: now a C2 tech.
- Laser: now has attack strength 2 and cost 2.
- Perimeter Defense: moved to C2 Adaptive Doctrine.
- Advanced Subatomic Theory: now a C3 tech.
- Plasma armor: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.
- Heavy Transport: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.
- Deep Pressure Hull: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.
- Bioadaptive Resonance: now a C4 tech.  Set growth=3 because Resonance weapons and armors help Psi combat.  The AI was obsessively making 3-Res armor.  The game doesn't need 3 armors available on the same tier.  This makes the choices more of a progression.
- Resonance Laser: now has attack strength 3 and cost 4.
- Field Modulation: now a C3 tech.  Set growth=0 as it no longer gives Hypnotic Trance. 
- Cloaking Device: moved to C3 Field Modulation.  It fits the lore of the hard-to-see Aliens.
- Single-Sided Surfaces: now a C4 tech.  This is being repurposed to make a longer sequence of armors.
- 3-Pulse armor: moved to C4 Single-Sided Surfaces.  The game doesn't need 3 armors available on the same tier.
- Comm Jammer: moved to C4 Single-Sided Surfaces.
- Silksteel Alloys: now a C5 tech.
- Silksteel Armor: now has defense strength 5 and cost 5.

*DIFFICULT SOCIAL CHOICES sequence:
- Planetary Networks: set growth=0 because it no longer gives Police State.
- Monopole Magnets: now an E2 tech.
- Adaptive Economics: now an E3 tech.
- Hab Complex: moved to E3 Adaptive Economics.
- The Planetary Transit System: moved to E3 Adaptive Economics.  Nobody will trade Planned economy until it's completed.
- Industrial Economics: set wealth=5 due to Free Market being moved here.  Nobody will trade Free market economy until the Merchant Exchange is completed.
- The Neural Amplifier: moved to E3 Centauri Genetics.  Nobody will trade Green economy until it's completed.
- The Command Nexus: moved to C3 Doctrine: Loyalty.  Nobody will trade Police State or Fundamentalist politics until it's completed.
- Doctrine: Loyalty: now a C3 tech.  Set power=5 and build=3.  It gives the Command Nexus and makes Fundamentalist available.  It gives SUPPORT, which is a kind of wealth.
- The Citizens' Defense Force: moved to E3 Intellectual Integrity.
- Intellectual Integrity: now an E3 tech.  Set power=2 and wealth=2.  The Citizens' Defense Force is more defensive than offensive.  Police State gives SUPPORT but also has EFFIC and ECONOMY penalties.
- Repeal U.N. Charter: moved to E2 Ethical Calculus.
- E2 Ethical Calculus: no change, still gives Democratic, no Secret Project associated with it.  Democratic politics may be freely traded, because it is simply not valuable in the early game.  It becomes valuable when an empire becomes large enough to need more EFFIC, and also has enough happiness facilities to overcome the -2 POLICE penalty.  That takes awhile.
- The Ascetic Virtues: moved to B4 Environmental Economics.  Nobody will trade Wealth until it's completed.
- Environmental Economics: set wealth=5 and growth=4.  It lifts the energy restriction.  Tree Farms grow food.  The Ascetic Virtues relaxes the population limit and raises POLICE rating.

*DISCOVER sequence:
- Optical Computers: set power=1, wealth=1, and growth=1 to make it harder for non-Discover factions to research.  Now has non-Discover prereqs for better thematic continuity.  Making a strict chain of Discover techs in the tree probably doesn't matter, because they were all bottlenecked by non-Discover prereqs anyways.
- Applied Relativity: now a D4 tech.  More Discover techs are pushed earlier to reduce the hurdles of getting to them, and to make faster research possible sooner.
- Digital Sentience: now a D5 tech.  Set power=0, wealth=3, and growth=2.  This tech no longer improves base probe team morale.  The EFFIC bonus can be worth some money.  It can also help with happiness, but the POLICE penalty works against that.
- Unified Field Theory: now a D6 tech.
- Mind/Machine Interface: now a C6 tech.
- Bioenhancement Center: moved to C6 Mind/Machine Interface.  This tech no longer increases probe team base morale, so needs a benefit when the Cyborg Factory has been completed by someone else.
- Cyberethics: now a D7 tech.
- Secrets of the Manifolds: now a D8 tech.
- Secrets of Alpha Centauri: now a D9 tech.  Set growth=1 because it reveals the map, but the map is probably known by now anyways.

*IMPORTANT TECHS:
- Planetary Economics: set wealth=5 because it's needed for Economic Victory, Global Trade Pacts are worth lots of money, and it gives the Planetary Energy Grid.
- Homo Superior: set power=5 because Thought Control and the Empath Guild are really good for Conquer.
- Orbital Spaceflight: set power=5 because it's required for Diplomatic Victory and it gives Planet Busters.
- Changed many prereqs to maintain continuity of research foci.

*COMBAT MECHANICS:
- Extra percentage cost of prototype LAND, SEA, and AIR units: changed from 50% to 200%. This makes it actually an effort to prototype.  A Skunkworks was made more expensive to build and maintain in version 1.19.
- Land based guns vs. ship artillery: removed bonus for this.  From a realism standpoint, it's nonsensical.
- Artillery bonus per level of altitude: removed bonus for this.  It affects ship to ship artillery battles, so that a ship in an Ocean Shelf square has an advantage over a ship in an Ocean square.  That's nonsensical.  The altitude mechanic on land is mildly interesting, but it's also yet another factor for people to fuss and stress about.  Forget it!
- Bonus for ships caught in port: removed this.  It even affects ships defending sea bases, and that's nonsensical.
- Defend in range of friendly Sensor: changed bonus from 25% to 50%.  This makes "fortifying by terraforming" more of a game mechanic.
- Heavy Artillery: changed back to "Increases w/ armor+speed value".  The AI likes to produce artillery spam and this will slow it down a little.
- Hypnotic Trance: now allowed for non-combat units, but not for probe teams.  Mindworms are pretty much the anti probe team technology, and they should stay fully effective against armored probe teams.

*PREDEFINED UNITS:
- Light Artillery: changed AI unit plan to "2 = Defensive".
- Rover Former: moved to C2 Monopole Magnets.
- Trance Scout: moved to E2 Centauri Empathy.
- Trance Colony Pod: new predefined unit, available with E2 Centauri Empathy.  The AI is extremely stupid about blundering into mindworms.
- Marine Scout: new predefined unit, available with C2 Adaptive Doctrine.
- Cloaked Scout: new predefined unit, available with C3 Field Modulation.
- Clean Scout: new predefined unit, available with B4 Bio-Engineering.
- Trance 3-Res Sentinel: new predefined unit available with C4 Bioadaptive Resonance.  Plasma armor is already available with C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory, so this doesn't give away a prototype.
- ECM 3-Pulse Sentinel: new predefined unit available with C4 Single-Sided Surfaces.  Plasma armor is already available with C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory, so this doesn't give away a prototype.
- Radar Transport Foil: new predefined unit available with C4 Doctrine: Initiative.  The game doesn't automatically make Transports Foils with Deep Radar even when it's free for ships.
- Radar Destroyer Transport: new predefined unit available with C5 Doctrine: Air Power.
- Submarine Probe Team: added Deep Radar because C3 Neural Grafting is now an ancestral prereq for C5 Doctrine: Air Power.


The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.0. It was downloaded 132 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on December 05, 2018, 01:48:55 PM
  ACK!!  My finished 1.25 merge is rubbish!  However, new and (most likely) better is good.  Back to work then and looking for a chance to settle down and test it out with Yitzi's.  Inductio's .exe mod looks to have some interesting parts to it as well, but haven't concluded it's finished enough yet to play with it.
  An integrated version of the best of Yitzi's and Inductio's stuff would definitely catch my attention.

  Of course, that would change the basic parameters and probably require a UI Growth Mod adjustment to conform.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 05, 2018, 07:07:50 PM
  ACK!!  My finished 1.25 merge is rubbish! 

In fairness, I did release 1.25 almost a month ago, and I've been communicating many of my intents the whole time since then.  This is the reason I don't personally support Yitzi or other patches that require alteration to alphax.txt.  The right way to handle the problem, ongoing, is with an automated rules based merge script that simply replaces whatever Yitzi needs to be happy, every single time.  And to ship that script with some kind of updated Yitzi package, like bundle it with Python or Lua or whatever, so that it runs when the user installs.

Pracx already has some scripted install infrastructure in it, BTW.  It's proof of concept, it alters some files, I forget whether just the Alpha Centauri.ini.  That might be worth looking at if you really want to solve "the Yitzi problem" once and for all.

Another approach is to alter Yitzi to not need any change to alphax.txt in the 1st place, but that would require going up a learning curve about what he did.  Not worth it to me personally.  I don't need his mod features, and I'm not victimized enough by the bugs he fixed to care.

By contrast, I checked on Scient 2.0 recently and it is compatible with my modding, as any changes it makes to alphax.txt are optional or unimportant.  Scient added the ability to specify the reactor size for predefined units, but you don't have to do that.  He changed some of the short facility and secret project descriptions to be more helpful, but those aren't necessary.

Quote
An integrated version of the best of Yitzi's and Inductio's stuff would definitely catch my attention.

Don't plan on that.  I do skim Induktio's development posts occasionally.  Last I looked, he wasn't interested in that as a priority.  He has very good engineering reasons to hold that view, i.e. lotta work figuring out what Yitzi did, not a lot of obvious payoff for bothering.  If he did change his mind about that, I would still expect him to put it at much much lower priority than his own new changes.

In the real world, that means it won't happen.  This is the sort open source problem that gets solved when someone who really wants something, steps up and does the work themself.  I fully expect Induktio mostly wants Induktio's work, not Yitzi's work.  I think if anyone with "ASM mucking chops" really wanted to follow in Yitzi's footsteps, they would have done so already.  It's a difficult arena to get into, much harder than writing new C/C++ code.

Quote
  Of course, that would change the basic parameters and probably require a UI Growth Mod adjustment to conform.

There's never going to be any "conformance" on my part for Induktio's work.  We do not have a good working relationship.  If he chooses to design a patch that will work with anybody's alphax.txt, no changes required, and he doesn't violate core assumptions about how alphax.txt works in the process, then we may finally have an entente.  Engineering-wise it's the Right Thing To Do when working in a community with other people, rather than assuming one's own work is the only thing that counts.

I don't know what Induktio's views are nowadays, nor what he's implemented in that regard, nor what his implementation priorities are.  I suspect he has his hands full with basic AI design, testing, and stability issues, because he bit off a lot to chew in that regard.  I know how many bugs or misfeatures I typically come up with per X number of changes on my part, and I think he's working at a factor of at least 10x mucking things around.  So unless he's a godlike release engineer, which frankly I have no reason to believe based on past interaction with him, I expect him to be stabilizing and polishing for several months yet.

I do think he may get there eventually, if he doesn't burn out, or something doesn't intervene in his life that prevents him from doing more work.  He's basically competent at shoveling out large quantities of work, i.e. he's made releases, he hasn't quit.  Engineers who keep that up, do eventually reach an endgame, a sort of "maintenance mode" rather than developing lots of new features.  And then they tend to exhale deeply and say, good grief, where's my time, where's my money....

I don't trust anyone to actually get to that point, until they've actually gotten there.  I've been through enough open source debacles to know what the lifecycles of people's energies are.  The main variables are 1) how much previous experience someone has doing "large scale" $0 work for.  Like if it's your 1st time doing something big, something is probably going to clobber you at some point.  2) how young the person is.  Financial realities become seriously pressing for most people as time goes on.  Where's my car, where's the roof over my head, where's my Significant Other....

I'm an outlier and not immune to the financial pressure problem myself.  I definitely am feeling a pressure that I need to move on from this, to start a real commercial project.  1.26 could be my last release, I'd be perfectly happy if it was.  I'd feel I'd crossed some kind of finish line.  But people have this way of showing up and saying, "What about this?"

Changing the Fundamentalist dialogue in xscript.txt so that it doesn't assume we're talking about God, is something I'd like to do.  However I already had enough stuff for 1.26, it was time to kick all that out the door.  The Usurpers talking like humans when berating people about Power, is another wart I'd like to fix.  But if my life moves on and these don't happen, then they don't happen.

What I can guarantee, at this point, is I'm moving to a 1 month release cycle at the earliest.  This has to do with getting views and downloads.  /r/4Xgaming got me 2.5 times more traffic than previous forums I tried, and the downloads seemed to keep coming for basically a month.  I cleared 70 downloads, a new high for me.  I'm doubting there are more forums to be had, but I haven't managed to make a Steam Community post with a proper URL in it.  They were blocking those, I think because I didn't have a posting track record, or at least I hope so.

The next frontier is YouTube.  In coming months, I will probably be focusing a lot less on developing the work, which I already did and it's good / fine.  I'll be focusing a lot more on getting exposure for the work.  I figure this is part of my learning curve as a game developer, something I can justify and has future value for me.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on December 08, 2018, 08:58:37 PM
   bvanevery,  commenting on redoing my merge was actually a very obscure complement on your continuing hard work.  I'm always delighted to redo or edit the merge if you've refined your mod :)  After all, I'm primarily doing it for myself as a quiet little pastime when I'm trying to avoid housework.  If and when I have a product that seems stable and faithful to your mod, I'll cheerfully offer it to everyone in our community who would like to use it, test it, improve it, or ignore it.

  The rest of my comment was actually never-gonna-happen-in-this-world wishful thinking.  I'm a semi-old guy with utterly trivial coding skills who's ok with being resigned to playing with whatever more competent people graciously offer :)

  I only referenced Inductio's work since he seems to have a bug-fix or two not in Yitzi's work that looked useful.

  Adjustments to preserve the intended balance and function of your AIGrowth mod I consider a proper and necessary part of any "merging", and to be done by the merger (eg. myself) as a part of that process.  Fortunately, with Yitzi's patch, it has so far been no more than setting some of his new parameters to match those of basic SMACX.

  I've found your insights, opinions, and advice to be informative and interesting, and to have given me a better understanding of the game mechanics.  For me, that makes actually *playing* the game more fun for various reasons.

  Much as I've enjoyed following you through your practice/learning experience here (with the bonus of a decent mod to play with), at this point I'm actually more interested in the game or games you'll produce yourself in the future.  Do keep us informed on progress, you know many of us would be delighted to discuss aspects of it with you.....obsessively.  Hmmmm, then again maybe you should keep us some of us out of the loop, just for sanity's sake ;lol

 
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 09, 2018, 05:21:18 AM
Heh, well I'm not always sure what people want, so thanks for letting me know.

I think you're going to find 1.26 plays rather differently than some previous releases.  Moving all the social engineering choices (except Democracy) to Tier 3 has a pretty substantial effect on gameplay.  I find I have to spend more time coming up with solutions for basic early game stuff, without a pile of tools and gewgaws to do it.  I'm ok with that, I think it's a good thing.  If ever it was a goal to get rid of the boring "here's another weapon, here's another armor" dynamic, well I've certainly done that.  I did relent from making it into a total rockfight though, there's Synthmetal Armor at Tier 1 and strength 2 Lasers at Tier 2.  Particle Impactors really do feel like the supreme weapon though, because they're strength 4 and are typically shooting at strength 3 armor.

I'm going to start my own game effort soon.  I'm just putting out real life fires right now, with my car having gone to Transmission Heaven unfortunately.  Almost got a really sweet replacement, a 2003 Toyota Avalon in immaculate condition, but for sentimental reasons the owner decided they're not ready to part with it.  So it's back to the drawing board.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on December 09, 2018, 05:23:12 PM
  Curious.  I had always assumed transmission issues were somehow associated with Hell...

  Condolences on the Avalon.  I'm fresh out of anti-sentiment drugs or I'd send you some to slip to that owner.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 09, 2018, 08:37:45 PM
Sadly, the objecting party may go his own way with dementia soon enough.  But in the present, his wife died of cancer, his daughter has his wife's car (the Avalon), and the high school age granddaughter does not in fact want it.  So he's very sad right now, things precious to him slipping away.  Too bad a high school girl can't see that car with the cold pragmatism I can!  I mean, what's wrong with driving around with a sun roof and 4 of you in the super nice leather seats?  I wonder what she thinks is a good car instead.  It's not my place to get into it though.  They're neighbors across the street, but I don't know them well.

In modding news, I hereby claim that earlier hovertanks is not in fact overpowered.  They don't fight any better than other stuff, particularly when attacking cities.  I'm really kind of bored with them.  I consider them grossly inferior to building rails right up to a city's doorstep.

Barring that, mindworms and a high PLANET rating are mostly more effective at attacking cities, unless the defender starts building Trance and Trance 3-Res units.  The AI doesn't do so much of that, probably because I made the predefined Trance 3-Res Sentinel unit a Tier 4 tech.

I think it's kind of dumb that I can't really do strategic bombing.  The distances I have to cover on a Huge map are too large for Penetrators to be viable.  Well I suppose I could build a bunch of air bases but it all feels so tedious.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 10, 2018, 01:17:15 AM
Sorry to hear about your car and his troubles. My condolences.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 11, 2018, 06:40:01 AM
I'm finding that Probe Teams are now really difficult to obtain if you haven't chosen a Conquer focus.  Planetary Networks is only a Tier 2 tech.  It does not give a Secret Project, so the AI factions will freely trade it.  However non-Conquer factions have just as much trouble obtaining it as I do, and it seems like all hell breaks loose before anyone is willing to give it to me.

Actually, I suppose my guarding of all the government models with Secret Projects is "working".  It doesn't just stop the trade of those specific techs, it tends to shut down trade in general.  Not exclusively so; sometimes, I've even gotten a Secret Project bearing tech because the AI wasn't thinking clearly enough.  But generally, the tech trading economy feels very much cooled off compared to previous versions of my mod.

One thing I did differently this time around, is I put weights of "5" on various "important" techs.  For instance, Environmental Economics gets "build=5" because it removes the energy restriction.  This tends to make discoveries have more depth than breadth.  This means Planetary Networks tends to get missed along the way.

With the much more focused and somewhat wider Explore tech path, I'm finding it's really easy to not learn Build techs.  Last game as the Cybernetic Consciousness I kept the default Explore, Conquer focus.  I never learned Industrial Economics!  I eventually quit the game out of boredom.  So many Missile Hovertanks, but my growth came to a standstill.

This game I'm the Gaians with a pure Explore focus.  Fortunately the Pirates were my ally and they traded me Industrial Economics early on.  I said I would be more flexible this game and just change my research focus if I needed to, rather than trying to play the game "as the AI sees it".  However I find myself wanting to hold out for Centauri Psi, so I can get the new Locusts of Chiron and completely ruin everyone else's day.

I'm not sure if any of these things are problems.  However it's definitely making some things awkward and once again, I'm learning how to play my own mod.  Morgan blitzed me with a whole pile of unexpected Probe Teams, seeming to move right past my border of Formers very quickly.  Maybe they were Elite teams, I'm not sure.  Maybe my border facing his direction wasn't as good as I thought.  Thought I had enough Sensor Arrays but whatever.  He trashed one of my cities with 2 big mindworms in it, and grabbed a lot of my Formers, which was an annoying dick thing to do.

I slaughtered everything in response, then "doubled the guard" anywhere I left units in the open field.  I had a lot of leftover Trance Scouts from a previous Police State phase of my existence, so they provided the anti Probe Team bulk.  It paid off, he sent one of those stupid piles of 4 Probe Teams after me and I slaughtered the whole stack.  I don't have Synthmetal Probe Teams in this version, only 3-Pulse Probe Teams, and he doesn't have that tech yet.  Probably won't for awhile either as it's a pure Conquer tech.

Admittedly, I could be trashing Morgan with high PLANET rating mindworms, if I weren't so greedy for making the Tree Farms I recently discovered how to make.  I'm fighting a defensive war presently, waiting to complete the Xenoempathy Dome and get the lifecycle bonus.  Then I'll stop doing Wealth, which penalizes my PLANET rating, and really let Morgan have it.

The Believers have been angry at me the whole game.  They're across the pond, and they're starting to put movement 12 Cruisers into effect.  Fortunately I've already built all the kelp and tidal harnesses I need off my coast, so if they start killing my Sea Formers now, it really won't matter.  I'm not sure I even know how to make artillery!  But I do know how to make Spore Launchers, so no matter.  Also I do have the Pirates as a maritime counterforce.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 11, 2018, 02:02:09 PM
One thing I have noticed is the AI is much more willing to trade technology. The Believers are quite powerful and the new
Fundamentalism is very interesting.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 11, 2018, 07:24:41 PM
In 1.26??  The Believers aren't Fundamentalist at all in 1.26.  Kinda wish they were.  Once you get on Miriam's bad side now, you can't butter her up with sycophantic Politics.

On the other hand, all she's really doing is pestering my coastline with long distance Cruisers.  Granted, that's 1.27 stuff.  Not released, won't be until January.  Gotta make sure I haven't overdone it on the Cruiser and Needlejet movement.  I definitely like Foils that move 6 though.  So much less painful.

Trade may be one of those relative perception things again.  Comparing 1.26 to 1.25, I think the AI factions are trading less, because of the Tier 3 Secret Project barriers for important technologies.  But compared to stock SMAC, they might seem to be trading more, because there are no Secret Projects until Tier 3.  Ergo, Tier 1 and Tier 2 techs are traded freely.  Whereas in the stock game, there are a number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 Secret Projects to block up the works.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 12, 2018, 02:32:10 PM
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In 1.26??  The Believers aren't Fundamentalist at all in 1.26.  Kinda wish they were.  Once you get on Miriam's bad side now, you can't butter her up with sycophantic Politics.
You misunderstand I've been experimenting with the same build and fundamentalism. The faction plays interestingly, its good for expansion and war. The Growth and Economy are nice. Fundamentalism with the -2 research is interesting. It's actually is better than the old version in my opinion. You can deal with the research penalty without much difficulty  and the bonuses it gives are nice. Not as good as Democracy but easier to deal with. It's also popular with the AI.

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Trade may be one of those relative perception things again. 

It very well could be. The AI seems very willing to trade tech to me. At least more than the original game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 12, 2018, 02:49:19 PM
Yeah, Fundamentalist with -2 RESEARCH works ok because no factions have inherent RESEARCH penalties anymore.  In a game I just played as the Gaians, I found myself doing Fundamentalist for a long time while I was establishing a front line against Morgan in the Monsoon Jungle.  Eventually once my front line was stabilized and everything was under control, I shifted to Police State.  I figured, I'm doing better now, let's ditch the RESEARCH penalty.  I forgot to check whether my research actually went any faster.

Sometimes with the EFFIC vs. POLICE bonuses or penalties, for Police State or Democratic, it seems like six of one, a half dozen of the other.  Granted, I never made any use of Non-Lethal Methods, because I anticipated going back to Democratic in the near future.  But ultimately I got bored, from too much destroying of Morganic border cities.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on December 13, 2018, 09:40:41 AM
    The experimentation with improving the functionality of air units has me interested.  I don't suppose a carrier deck on an aircraft would work as mid-air refueling, would it?  Probably wind up needing far too much tending to compete with airbases and carrier ships.

  While I intrinsicly prefer game mechanics that follow real-world physics (eg. ships are never as fast as highway land vehicles), the "physics" of SMACX isn't realistic in many many ways, I've given up on that bias in favor of decent gameplay.  So I encourage everyone to go wild exploring what the game can be tricked into doing.  We can make up rationales for how it 'works' after.

  Speaking of transportation, I have a suggestion for Avalon acquisition:
1) Convince the granddaughter to accept the car.
2) Buy the car from her.

  Win-win, right?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 13, 2018, 12:53:12 PM
I think I experimented with Needlejets with carrier decks, but I don't think the game allowed it.

The point is moot.  I am solving the problem by making Graviton Theory a Tier 7 tech.  Orbital insertion will also be Tier 7, and drop pods are going to be expensive.  Tier 7 already takes a long time to get to in my mod, so I don't know that this will change the game that much, but late game is better than the very end of the game.

With troops, you have to consider the logistical distances that units can cover, not just highway speeds.  And remember that land units are faster than sea units when they ride the mag tube.

I seriously doubt the teenage girl is going to be given title to the car anytime soon.  Nor would she necessarily be offered a new car by her parents, if she sold that one to me.  Probably would be punished for bucking the deal.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 14, 2018, 01:56:06 AM
Twice in your patch I've had my cities get asteroids dropped on them by the way.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 14, 2018, 05:05:41 AM
Huh.  I haven't seen that happen in eons.  Used to happen to me a lot before I started doing mod work.  Also grossly unfair events like market crashes where I lost all my money.  Haven't seen that in a long time either.  Since I didn't directly change anything about this, and there are no modding variables to control it that I know of, I'm wondering if we have some important difference of play style.  I seem to recall asteroid hits when I was "doing really well".  Like the game was deciding to nerf me maybe?

So, what is your play style when this occurs?  Faction, tendencies in your strategy, what the competition is up to, etc.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 14, 2018, 09:26:37 PM
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So, what is your play style when this occurs?  Faction, tendencies in your strategy, what the competition is up to, etc.

Same as it always is be fruitful and multiply.  I build cities until I can fill the map. I'm playing on mid tier difficulty until as I test/play with the mod.
The factions generally don't do that bad. But I'm always quite a bit ahead of the AI factions as far as power. Oddly enough It was the same city.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 15, 2018, 06:01:40 AM
I build cities until I can fill the map.

Well that's a big difference between your play style and my current play style.  Back when I was getting asteroid hits, I was playing on much bigger maps and probably building a lot more cities.  I suspect that if you've got cities in excess of some number, the game decides you can afford to have one blasted to smithereens.  Which personally I don't think is much fun, as the new Crater minerals bonuses are usually not worth as much as the facilities destroyed.

Lately I just tend to follow a combo of Bureaucracy and technology curves.  When I get a Bureaucracy warning, I go more vertical.  I get my cities up to some point of happiness.  Then I go for some social choice that gives me more EFFICiency.  Then I expand until I get a Bureaucracy warning again.  Tech keeps going and typically I've got a bunch of things to build in that regard by then.  I'm usually ahead of the AIs but not always.  If I get big enough, my next expansion is going to be by conquering a neighbor, not by building any of my own cities.  And I don't like to conquer neighbors unless they have bases that are "worth something", like they have a Secret Project in them.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 15, 2018, 11:07:27 AM
Thanks. I tried a smaller map and the AI is much better behaved. The AI apparently doesn't react well to me playing on my extra large Inverted earth map.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 22, 2018, 04:48:04 PM
Sigh, this mod is just becoming too hard. Every time I try to attack a base its always "the odds are strongly against this attack."
You either have to go pure research just to get the tech or go pure war just to have a chance.
Trying the pirates this time.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 22, 2018, 06:30:42 PM
If your difficulties stem from the AI spreading better and building more cities to produce more stuff, that's by design.  It's called "AI Growth mod".  If that's not the difficulty, then here are some thoughts.

Remember that Huge is the recommended map size, not Standard.  The AIs need the room to become an effective challenge, and you often need the room as well.  If you're "locked in a small room" with a deadly enemy at the beginning, unable to expand, you're likely to have a miserable time.  Unless you're rather good at every single detail of this game and don't really need any kind of advice on how to fight in any situation ever.  I think that kind of "crippled start, behind the 8-ball" is tedious as all get, so I tell people to play on Huge maps.  You're really not supposed to be forced into conflict on a Huge map.  Worst case, you might need to garrison some border cities so the enemy bounces.  Set up kill zones to wipe out hordes of incoming units all at once, that sort of thing.

You are going to need to destroy enemy Sensor Arrays now.  You can blame Tim for that one, although I took his idea and ran with it.  Sensor Arrays have serious value for defense.  I have tested this a lot and I think it's a good improvement to the game.  I'll put a note in the Design Summary about this new reality.  Don't know that people read the top of this thread, or my readme_mod.txt, but at least it'll be there if someone starts digging.

"Defense is too strong" is possible, but I haven't observed it lately.  My typical play style is to invade by rails, building them right up to the door of a victim city in 1 turn, then hitting it with unarmored infantry, which gets the +25% vs. base bonus.  If you are insisting on building armored infantry for your assaults, then this style of combat may be too expensive for you, and thus ineffective.  I usually don't have a problem gaining enough of an offensive advantage to making this sort of thing work.  I don't rely on any kind of pure research approach to do it.

Remember that at some point, Soporific Gas Pods become available.  These can help you crack open a city that's garrisoned with trained defenders.  Sufficiently large artillery, done often enough, can also weaken a base's defenders.

Finally if you are really stuck, consider chemical weapons.  If you're worried about the mindworms punishing you, go to the Planetary Council and legalize the chemical weapons 1st.  There are no mindworm consequences when the UN Charter has been repealed.  Planet cares so much for the ways of humans!

I actually think mindworms are possibly overpowered in my mod now.  I find offense with them to be rather easy, and I'm wondering if I need to adjust it somehow.

Speeders are going to bounce on city walls.  That's by design.  You simply cannot rush well defended bases with speeders.  That only works against bases without a Perimeter Defense.  Probe teams can be used to destroy walls first.

When it is not possible to actually penetrate a city, making lots of cheap units, pillaging and shelling the enemy, and killing whatever they send into the open against you, are useful strategies.

I do not believe in taking over every base out there.  All that does is invite Bureaucracy penalties and create a mouseclicking burden for me, dealing with all the unhappness.  Distant conquered cities aren't worth anything compared to cities I build myself close to my capitol.  I take enemy cities when there's profit in it, like it contains a Secret Project.  I often only take 1 city form an enemy, then ask them for a Truce.  That's to get their attention so they leave me alone.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 22, 2018, 07:08:15 PM
Infantry is my go to thing to crack open cities. The problem is that you need to be quite a bit ahead to be able to do so.
Especially if you play with random research as I always do. You end up with equal defense and attack strength and it simply becomes pointless.
Mindworms are nice but the AI builds trance units all over the place. Thats not good because worms  are often the only solution.
I'm trying an aquatic faction right now and its just an exercise in frustration.
I'm going back to normal factions.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 22, 2018, 07:57:30 PM
Infantry is my go to thing to crack open cities. The problem is that you need to be quite a bit ahead to be able to do so.

I don't agree.  If you're at parity, then you need artillery to soften the base up, and probe teams to destroy the Perimeter Defenses.  If you are slightly above parity, you don't need to do as much of that.  I've provided rails as a Tier 2 tech, so getting right up next to the base without getting wounded is not an issue.  Similarly, mindworms can attack a fungus connected base without issue.

If you don't have a good victim base in front of you, if the enemy has a strongpoint due to garrisoning and terrain, bypass it.  That's what real armies have to do, go tear the enemy up somewhere where they actually can.  I learned how to bypass in Freeciv, because that game was full of bitter little pills.    Walled cities on hilltops that you can't reduce until you get Cannons.  Building Catapults to take those out was economic suicide even if you could do it, and you often couldn't.

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Especially if you play with random research as I always do.

For human factions, I consider turning on directed research to be cheating.  In my mental universe if you want to direct your research, play an Alien and take their disadvantages along with it.  If I were writing a game like this from scratch, I wouldn't even give the players an option to have such a baby choice.  I'd rebalance the tech tree, I'd make the blind aspects of research more balanced or whatever, but I wouldn't give the players the ability to say I want this, and this, and this and this and this.  This is not Oprah Winfrey.

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Mindworms are nice but the AI builds trance units all over the place.

Trance or 3-Res?  3-Res are not tough enough to stop +PLANET mindworms.  Trance are though.  I made Trance 3-Res Garrisons as a predefined unit in 1.26 because I thought it was getting too easy to steamroller the AI when I have a +3 PLANET rating.  I didn't see the AI producing excessive numbers of the things.  Trance ability is not free in my mod, it costs 1.  Now Trance Scouts are pretty much getting it for free, but I haven't seen excessive numbers of Trance Scouts.  It used to be standard drill for the Aliens, but then I gave them Cloaking Device instead of Hypnotic Trance, so they don't do Trance Scouts much now.

Well if you are actually finding using mindworms to be a challenge, it tells me I should think twice about trying to nerf them again in 1.27.  I guess that's what playtesting is for!  My playtesting says they're overpowered, your playtesting is saying they're weak.  You do crank your PLANET high when going on a mindworm offensive, right?

It also makes me think that writing an AAR on how to crack bases in 1.27, might be a good idea.

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I'm trying an aquatic faction right now and its just an exercise in frustration.
I'm going back to normal factions.

Ummm an Aquatic faction should be cake under any circumstances.  You've got this huge Minerals advantage over everyone else, on top of abundant food and energy.  You've got a moat, nobody is likely to make their life on the water the way you do.  My Pirates sit back and pursue Wealth when the AI is playing them, they have no inherent need to conquer anybody.  They become a huge threat that way, because it's not easy to dislodge them at all.  They spread out everywhere and are pretty much like "map cancer".  It's not worth taking their bases, because you won't gain the Minerals advantage that they do.

Please reveal to me why you're having problems with Pirates.  They're pretty easy even in the stock game, and my version of the Pirates doesn't have any faction penalties. making it even easier.  On top of that, I also made Foil and Cruiser chasses substantially cheaper than the base game.  It sounds like there's something way different about your play style or habits than what I would expect.

I can think of one serious weakness regarding life on the water nowadays.  The Foil Probe Teams.  Best plan is a solid Probe defense.  You can build Sensor Arrays on water too.  Sometimes you have to accept "easy come, easy go" with sea bases.  If they've mind controlled your base, well at least now they've made themselves easy to infiltrate and steal from.  They might have even done you a favor that way, if they were otherwise all the way across the map, too tedious to reach.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 22, 2018, 10:58:08 PM
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For human factions, I consider turning on directed research to be cheating.
Honestly so do I.

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Trance or 3-Res?  3-Res are not tough enough to stop +PLANET mindworms.  Trance are though.  I made Trance 3-Res Garrisons as a predefined unit in 1.26 because I thought it was getting too easy to steamroller the AI when I have a +3 PLANET rating.
Both actually. I don't mind that much it makes it something of a challenge.
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Ummm an Aquatic faction should be cake under any circumstances.  You've got this huge Minerals advantage over everyone else, on top of abundant food and energy.
Yes they should but for some reason I find the opposite. I get unlimited room to expand and for all that I can't get anywhere.

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Please reveal to me why you're having problems with Pirates.  They're pretty easy even in the stock game, and my version of the Pirates doesn't have any faction penalties. making it even easier.  On top of that, I also made Foil and Cruiser chasses substantially cheaper than the base game.  It sounds like there's something way different about your play style or habits than what I would expect.
Honestly I'm not sure. Its like the game decides I'm playing with too much of an advantage and just throws stumbling blocks in my way.
The only thing I can think of is maybe the AI thinks I'm expanding too fast. I gave up in frustration twice early in the game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 23, 2018, 12:41:50 AM
I get unlimited room to expand and for all that I can't get anywhere.

Let's assume you made a civ of sufficiently centralized density, that inefficiency and bloat in your empire is not a problem.

When I'm "not getting anywhere", I have usually suspected that the game itself is filled with a lot of base facility gewgaws, that are ultimately pointless.  That it's all a charade, that doling out all these seeming benefits to you as a human player, is just a smokescreen to keep you invested in the game.  Thinking you got "40 hours of entertainment" out of your game purchase or some such rubbish.

In the modern game development context, you would be right to suspect that games are deliberately designed this way.  There are known methods, and they generally fall under the rubric of "Skinner boxes".  It's a bit of a pushbutton moral issue in the game industry right now.  20 years ago though, I don't know that they deliberately designed anything this way, or sorta accidentally empirically arrived at it.  Could have been what titles were doing well, what game production and art delivery processes teams went though, etc.  More of an evolutionary walk, feeling their way towards "player investment, profits, and sales", rather than a deeply sinister application of human psychology.

I think playing on Transcend, on Huge maps or larger, makes these patterns of utter uselessness much more apparent.  I play a game like that, I do all the right things building my Tree Farms, Hybrid Forests, various Labs, etc.  And still it seems like I make no great profit, I don't get anywhere, other civs just get bigger.  Then I start to wonder how many egregious bonuses the AI gets, how artificial it all is.  I may scrap the game, start another one, and vow to be a lot more violent this time.  Because clearly, sitting back and building all the gewgaws you're supposed to, doesn't seem to work.

I have likened it to a giant game of Whack-A-Mole.  The idea that you should be building stuff in your cities, could be one big distraction.  You do that, the AI does that, the AI simply gets bigger and it just gets worse.

Very few people have ever tried cut down a 4X game.  Instead, each generation, more bloat is added.  It's the same logic as putting more check boxes on the back of a box, more marketing / publisher "tick points".  Oh, there are 80 facilities you can add, or whatever it actually is, goody!  Must be a better game!  Firaxis went the way of bloat in Civ IV.  They added 6 religions.  I knew then that they would never attempt to solve the problems of the genre.  They were the problem, and they'd continue to keep making these problems, in the name of most profits.  After playing Civ IV extensively, I destroyed my copy in anger.  I played the demo of Civ V and said, more of the same, not buying.

The short course on Skinner boxes is, make the payoff for player effort random.  A random reward, maximizes the amount of work that an organism will perform to get the award.  First demonstrated with B. F. Skinner's chickens.  A good example of such design in action, was item drops in Diablo II.  Every once in awhile, you get a rare, powerful item.  So players drive themselves nuts trying to get item drops over and over again.  Every single crate or jar will be smashed open.

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Honestly I'm not sure. Its like the game decides I'm playing with too much of an advantage and just throws stumbling blocks in my way.

What specific forms do they take?  I have suspected that the AI might market crash you, or Planet Blight you, or the worst one, asteroid hit you, based on how well you're doing.  If those are the problem, turning random events OFF is an answer.  I don't consider that cheating, because I think the game design for these events is unfun and egregiously bad.  I have played many games where I was quite sure, that the abuse the game dishes out via random events, never ever remotely equaled the few paltry random rewards it would offer in compensation.  For some reason this hasn't been a problem for me as much recently, so I've left the random events turned on.  I went through about a year of play with it turned off though, before I started modding.  Energy market crashes were the biggest offender, just wiping out thousands of credits of accumulated advantage, 'cuz, game designers.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 23, 2018, 03:47:00 AM
I tried on a random map and the game was much better behaved. I cant think why that would be. The other game on one of my usual maps the AI was just being really, really annoying.
Every single pod a mind worm the AI getting stupid buffs like just the tech it would need to stymy any attack that sort of thing. This in the beginning of the game. Basically playing like it was two levels higher at least or Im playing Iron man or something.
I'm going to try again on that map and see if it does the same thing.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 23, 2018, 05:53:05 AM
I tried on a random map and the game was much better behaved. I cant think why that would be.

I can.  My randomly generated land masses may be much larger than yours.  My continents more shapely and continental than yours.  There are no 1x1 islands on maps that I generate, and no tiny islands.  All this has the effect of giving everyone more room, including you.

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Every single pod a mind worm

After a time, you do mostly pop mindworms.  That's just the game, nothing I did.  Now if you're using mindworms yourself to pop the pods on land, it doesn't matter because they're not going to attack you.

If you're sufficiently savvy and skillful at sea, you can avoid being hit by the Isle when it surfaces.  My early game drill is plain movement 3 Transports.  Park next to a pod that's not on sea fungus.  Next turn, move onto the pod.  You will have 1 move to pull away from an Isle.  You can often predict which way the Isle is going to go, it's generally towards the nearest city with a pulse.  Sometimes you guess wrong, or you just don't have enough room, and then you die.  Well it was a cheap Transport, the loss is affordable.  I used to use Trance Transports, but ever since I made Trance cost something, I've preferred the cheap ones.

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the AI getting stupid buffs like just the tech it would need to stymy any attack that sort of thing. This in the beginning of the game. Basically playing like it was two levels higher at least or Im playing Iron man or something.
I'm going to try again on that map and see if it does the same thing.

Hmm, that sounds weird.  If you're fighting an Alien, they could indeed do that, but I don't know that they do.

Anyone else... any chance it's selective observation?  What may really be happening, is they may be getting the early Tier 1 and Tier 2 techs rapidly.  Especially the Data Angels, will get them very fast because they have the equivalent of the Planetary Datalinks built into their faction now.  They don't have to infiltrate anymore, they get everything that 3 factions have.  So they go craaazy with tech at the beginning.  The University will also go crazy with early tech, just bang bang bang bang bang with the AI playing it.  The Cyborgs and the Gaians can go pretty fast early on as well, if not quite that ridiculously fast.  If there are enough of these "lit up tech" players early in the game, they could superheat the early tech economy, pretty much putting the early techs in the hands of everyone who wants them.

Tier 3, the AIs stop trading because many of those are guarded by Secret Projects.  When an AI has a SP in progress, they may trade a lesser tech with you, or they may refuse to trade anything at all until their SP is done.  Maybe it applies to other AI factions as well.  I wouldn't be surprised to see the door slam shut on tech trading around Tier 3.

Tier 3 and later, the AI really shouldn't be going very fast at tech at all.  Doesn't seem to, in the games I've played.  YMMV if you're facing off against the University on Transcend.  Also the AI often likes to choose Fundamentalist, which nowadays slows down tech.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 23, 2018, 12:26:59 PM
I tried it again and the game seems to have mellowed out. The default thing the governor does when it has nothing to do is build sea colony pods
so I think hat might be the issue.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 23, 2018, 10:58:28 PM
You use governors?  If so, I have no idea how that would change a game.  I don't think I've ever played a game using them.  I've used automated Formers, that's about it.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 24, 2018, 02:41:49 AM
I use governors but I have to be careful of what  I let them build. Generally it's a tool to keep the mousclicks down.
Theres a gap early in the game where the AI has nothing to build but colony pods and formers so it'll spam those
endlessly. I think that was the issue. I never automate formers though unless its sea formers.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: davcapoccia on December 28, 2018, 10:02:18 PM
I really like this mod and appreciate all the work put into it.

On my recent playthrough on version 1.26, however (on huge map of Planet with CX factions on Librarian), I noticed after datalink infiltration that the AI is spamming transport ships. Cha Dwan, Svensgaard, and Rose have many sea bases and are at war but just keep on building transport ships. I noticed an older version of the mod had the same problem reported on reddit. Was the issue never fixed?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 29, 2018, 01:54:10 AM
Thanks for the test info.  Do they happen to say "Radar Transport Foil" or "Radar Destroyer Transport" ?  Are they unarmored Transports with Deep Radar on them?  I put these 2 predefined units in 1.26.  If the AI is making excessive numbers of those, then it could be my bad.

If it's making armored Transport units though, then that's just the AI doing as it does.  It might be due to excessively cheap Foil and Cruiser costs.  They're going up a bit for 1.27, and the movement is going to increase.  I will keep my eye peeled for whether I see excessive Transports, as it is kind of baffling and annoying to witness.  Of all the possible spamming strategies, I think I'd rather see it spam something more obviously combative.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 29, 2018, 01:58:44 AM
The AI does and always has loved to spam transports. Especially for sea bases. You have to turn off transports for the governor or sometimes
it will spam them until you run out of minerals.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: davcapoccia on December 29, 2018, 02:09:59 AM
I am seeing some regular Destroyer Transports and Transports Foils, but mostly the AI is spamming Radar Transport and Heavy Transport foils.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 29, 2018, 01:33:08 PM
For 1.27 I've removed the Heavy Transport predefined unit, on the premise that the AI doesn't actually need the extra capacity for anything.

I wonder if I allowed armed transports, if that would improve the situation any.  Although, that might be impossible.  Yeah, every chassis has a defined transport capacity.  You still need a Transport module for it to actually become a transport, and that precludes a weapon.  The Isle of the Deep is coded as a special case.  Yeah, I can have one kind of predefined armed transport in the game.  I'm not going to give up the Isle of the Deep to have something else.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 29, 2018, 07:30:09 PM
Armed transports would be awesome. Have you ever tried to make SAMs? Surface to air missiles. Basically a conventional missile that targets aircraft.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 30, 2018, 07:04:55 AM
In 1.27 I'm changing the missile chassis so that it doesn't use fuel.  It will have unlimited range if you move it enough turns.  I thought I'd give it a movement of 30 squares/turn.

If I made a SAM, I think I'd want it to be a lot cheaper than a typical Conventional Missile.  A SAM needs to be at least as cheap as a plane to be worth using.  Otherwise you'd just use an Interceptor.

I'm concerned that if I make any kind of SAM, the AI won't really use it against planes.  It'll start pestering me by shooting at my units on the ground.  I don't like being spammed by the AI that way.  It's not a problem in my mod currently because Conventional Missiles are expensive enough that the AI doesn't produce very many of them.

A really weak SAM that can't do anything against armored ground units, might work.  But I'm not sure I can have a really weak SAM and a regular strength Conventional Missile at the same time.  They both would be using the same conventional warhead.  I can experiment with increasing the "Air Superiority vs. Ground Unit" penalty tremendously.  I wonder if affects attacks against ships?

I can also only make Fission predefined units.  A SAM would need to be strong enough to take down a Fusion aircraft.  Otherwise it would be a bit silly in my mod.  If it wasn't effective against a Quantum aircraft, I think I could live with that.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on December 31, 2018, 11:00:59 AM
I made a SAM once in one of my mods but I honestly don't remember how.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Mart on January 01, 2019, 02:42:20 PM
I remember, AI had problem using land SAM units. Human player can use them, AI was behaving weird, it "thought" to be it a plane.
Also, land unit would not attack a needlejet above sea tile, but on land tile it was ok.
There might be more weird things, but I do not remember now.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: tnevolin on January 08, 2019, 04:33:58 PM
bvanevery,
I was thinking about better tree structure and analyzed yours and mine as examples. Certainly there are more approaches to that including completely chaotic box version. Do you mind me polluting your thread with picture and findings and opinions? It seems to belong this more as I am thinking about switching to your structure and thus analyzed and compared it to mine.

Fission Armor structure: each level technology depends on one technology from the below level and one from two level below. Level 1 technologies do not depend on anything and level 2 technologies depend only on level 1. The opposite is also true. Each technology allows exactly two other technologies. Each level has six technologies. These rules apply up to level 12 something. Above that number of technologies per level decreases as they all converge to a single target.

AIG structure: each level technology depends on two technologies from previous level. Number of technologies per level is not fixed. Number of technologies allowed by each technology is not fixed.

Below are two charts for technology appearance time. There is an average value and min-max those depict boundary of standard deviation (60% of the cases). The wider standard deviation the more often and more stronger appearance time in specific game can deviate from the average value. Technology values do not change this picture much. The order of technologies may change slightly but deviations stay about the same.

As I guessed initially, the AIG structure is much tighter in a way that it prescribes more or less narrow path of research. I was thinking to use this structure but now I am reluctant due to this exact consequence. I believe it'll narrow the field of stealing and trading techs. Not completely, of course but to some extent.
Instead, I narrowed down tech per level to six thus effectively channeling research but leaving some room for selective beelining and variety for trade/steal. I have 12 levels by 6 techs in each + 3 more levels narrowing down to the top level technology.

Tried to apply 1+1=2 structure to my tree (picture #3). Quite expected result. It became tighter.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on January 08, 2019, 07:34:51 PM
Ok sure give it a go.

I'm still testing my 1.27.  I am experiencing a most curious phenomenon.  I have pushed so many techs to earlier in the tree, down to Tier 2 and even Tier 1, that the tree is now quite broad at the beginning.  This makes it entirely possible to completely miss certain key techs at the beginning.  For instance I'm approaching midgame and have not learned how to do probe teams.  I don't think anyone else has either!  My Planetary Networks is merely a Conquer 2 tech, there are no Secret Projects in the way, nothing to stop anyone from learning it.  A lot of factions simply haven't learned it, just due to all the other Conquer techs they could be learning instead.

Maybe it's because only 2 factions have a pure Conquer focus: the Spartans, and the Usurpers.  Explore, Conquer is the most common AI research pattern, with one Discover, Conquer and I can't remember if there's a Build, Conquer.  I think what happens is, the techs that are Explore, Conquer hybrids tend to get researched first.  That's positive in some ways, because it means mindworms and new chasses get researched.  But it leaves some of the weapons development impoverished, with probe teams being considered an early pure Conquer weapon.

I could consider a probe team to be mildly Discover oriented, because you can steal techs with it.  However adding a Discover component isn't going to help most factions research it.  Only the Cybernetic Consciousness and the University have Discover as part of their focus.  Also, the Discover part of the tree is deliberately bottlenecked by a pure D1 Information Networks.  Most factions will never research it themselves, they will either trade for it, or find it in a supply pod eventually.  That's how I got it in my current test game, after a long time.

If the AI were in the habit of stealing money with probe teams, I could call it partly a Build tech.  But it isn't, so I'm not going to call it that.  And probe teams definitely don't help with Exploring much, as they're fragile.

So I guess this interesting phenomenon is here to stay.  I can't put it any earlier in the tree.  The whole problem is I've put everything earlier, that I wanted earlier.  There's just a whole lot of stuff that's coming sooner rather than later.  Something gets randomly pushed to later, just by accident.

So, I've managed to discuss tech tree structure.  The other major thing I haven't tested, is air combat with longer range Needlejets, and earlier orbital insertion warfare.  At the rate my game is going though, it may not really come that much earlier.  That's part of why I've moved it up.  It's like I've taken my tree, assigned a heavier weight to all the stuff that I want to come earlier, then given the tree a huge shake.  All the heavy bits fall down to the beginning of the tree.  It's almost like I've got a heavy sack of steel ball bearings on a table, maybe with 1 hand still holding the bag up.

I guess I've inadvertently achieved blind research.  You really don't know what mix of early abilities you're going to get.  If you're used to "well I'm gonna get my this and then a this and then I'll do that", it's likely to be derailed.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on January 10, 2019, 08:26:53 PM
I have a small issue. I cannot see the replays of any of my games. There's just a black screen. Is there anything I can do? Replays are interesting and informational. I miss them.

 ;cha;
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on January 10, 2019, 08:31:18 PM
Nothing to do with my modding, there are no settings for that.  You could try the PRACX binary patch.  I can't remember if it changes alphax.txt at all.  It shouldn't do that, because it's just for graphics not gameplay.  I think it modifies Alpha Centauri.ini with additional settings. 

I'm not sure I even know how to replay a game.  I will look at 2 different installations and see what happens.

Well, actually just 1.  I tried it on my SMACX AI Growth mod installation, version 1.27 still under development.  I activated the Scenario Editor, then selected View Replay.  It worked just fine on my installation.  I am using the GOG version on Windows 10.  Generally when people have had problems, I've recommended they use this version and problems have often gone away.  YMMV.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on January 11, 2019, 11:59:12 PM
Thank you!  :)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on January 12, 2019, 07:39:03 AM
Did one of the things I said, solve the problem?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on January 15, 2019, 06:44:46 PM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.26 to 1.27:

*SOCIAL ENGINEERING NAMES:
- Free Market: renamed to Capitalist.  The lore of the game has always referred to it as such.
- Planned: renamed to Socialist.  The lore of the game clearly refers to Socialism, if not by name.  The name change is to stop people from conflating the modern Socialist concept with the behavior of historical Communist regimes.  In the game's terminology, the latter were Socialist Police States.  Democratic Socialist countries are readily observed in the First World today, i.e. France, Sweden, when a Socialist party wins an election.  This can't happen in some countries; for instance, the USA is always Democratic Capitalist because of its two party system.
- EFFICiency: renamed to JUSTICE.  Changed flavor text in social engineering table to match.  'Efficiency' is a bad label because it just connotes 'betterness' without giving a clear description of what is supposed to be better.  The main player visible effect of this choice is to make more people happy as one's empire gets bigger.  The secondary effect is loss of credits due to corruption.  JUSTICE covers both social justice, i.e. making people happy, and rooting out corruption.  It provides clearer guidance on what one is going to get out of a particular political choice, i.e. you're not going to get JUSTICE from a Police State.  Rather, POLICE are used to repress unhappy people. 

*SOCIAL ENGINEERING EFFECTS:
- Police State: moved to E2 Biogenetics.  Now gives +2 SUPPORT and -2 JUSTICE.  When combined with Power, this is going to be how most factions get free unit support up to the size of the base.  It costs money and requires cruelty.
- Democratic: moved to B2 Industrial Base.  Now gives +1 ECONOMY and +1 JUSTICE.  GROWTH bonus removed.  Free Market was overpowered when it had +2 ECONOMY, so I moved half of it here.  A lot of repression can still happen under a Democracy, so the JUSTICE bonus is modest.  Moving GROWTH from Democratic to Socialist, makes it easier for undemocratic factions to pop boom.
- Fundamentalist: now gives -1 JUSTICE.  The moral system is deemed to be not quite as bad as a Police State, as people who share the dominant ideology are well treated.  Mainly though, this is to provide a play mechanical difference.  I might get rid of Fundamentalist in a later version of this mod.  It has always duplicated and confused the concept of a Police State.
- Capitalist: moved to B2 Synthetic Fossil Fuels.  Now gives +1 ECONOMY, +1 INDUSTRY, and -3 PLANET.  JUSTICE bonus removed.  POLICE penalty removed.  Capitalists don't care about social justice.  They care about getting rich and will exploit anyone or anything needed to get there.  Industry does actually work better when a pro-Capitalist government is in power.  I wanted to stiffen the PLANET damage some, it was kinda weak compared to the unmodded game.  Capitalists have no objection to using police forces to repress people.  Aversion to police repression is a trait of Democratically minded people.
- Socialist: moved to E2 Adaptive Economics.  Now gives +2 JUSTICE, +2 GROWTH, and -1 ECONOMY.  INDUSTRY and SUPPORT bonuses are removed.  Socialism tries to make more people happy and it costs money.  It doesn't make industry work especially well, nor does it magically pay for maintenance.  With the GROWTH incrase, this becomes a major part of how a faction will pop boom.
- Green: moved to E2 Centauri Empathy.  Now gives +2 PLANET.  ECONOMY bonus removed.  I've gone back to the idea that this is about chucking out the mindworms.  A better Economy can now be obtained by going Democratic at the same time.  JUSTICE remains +1.  It is not as high as a Socialist economy because people will be controlled and marginalized if they're damaging the planet in any way.  Environmentalism is first and foremost planet-centric, not people-centric.
- Power: now gives +1 MORALE, +1 PROBE, -2 GROWTH, and -2 JUSTICE.  INDUSTRY and ECONOMY penalties removed.  There are lots of ways to increase the morale of a unit, and PROBE has been a bit impoverished in this mod.  GROWTH is penalized because people are getting killed in wars and purges.  Tyrannical empires aren't interested in justice.  Industry and economy really shouldn't suffer during a war mobilization, if anything they'd get better.  Just look at the USA in WW II.
- Knowledge: now gives +2 RESEARCH.  PLANET bonus removed.  PROBE penalty removed.  The University often became a pseudo-Gaian faction, and I don't think that improved the game.  I'm tired of Knowledge meaning you get probed.  Why wouldn't Knowledge make you better at cryptography algorithms?  More than anything though, having vulnerability to probes is a tiresome game mechanic.  Probes are overpowered as is.
- Wealth: removed JUSTICE bonus.  Removed PLANET penalty.  MORALE is now -2.  Rich people don't care about justice, they just convince people to get rich and join the country club.  The stiffer MORALE penalty makes this more of a tradeoff with a consequence, like in the original game.  It also gives PLANET friendly factions a way to make money, if they want to forego conventional forces.
- Cybernetic: now gives -2 POLICE.  PROBE penalty removed.  It really doesn't make any sense that Cyborgs would be more vulnerable to probes.  The POLICE increase picks up the slack from Capitalist not having a POLICE penalty.  It is possible to reach the maximum of -5 POLICE by choosing Democratic, Knowledge, and Cybernetic.
- Eudaimonic: added +2 JUSTICE bonus.  Removed ECONOMY bonus.  This is essentially futuristic socialism that works pretty well.  It's not going to make anyone rich, but people will be happier, it won't lose money, and more stuff will be produced.
- Thought Control: unchanged.

*FACTIONS:
- Believers: removed GROWTH bonus.  Added +1 MORALE.  Set AI personality to Aggressive.  Even if they don't choose to be Fundamentalist, I want them to be more threatening.  It's pretty easy to get GROWTH from Socialism in this version, so GROWTH doesn't mean much as a bonus.
- Cult of Planet: removed IMPUNITY to Fundamentalist.  Added IMMUNITY to RESEARCH going below 0.  I want the Cult to suffer the new -1 JUSTICE effect from Fundamentalist.  This can work out better for them in the late midgame if they chose Thought Control.
- Cybernetic Consciousness: JUSTICE bonus reduced to +1.  Cyborgs are not presumed to simply be "better at everything".
- Data Angels: now starts with Planetary Networks, so can build probe teams immediately.  Starts with 1 probe team.  Added +1 ECONOMY.  Changed personality to Passive.  Removed Conquer research focus, leaving only Build focus.  Added secondary compulsion to pursue ECONOMY.  The Data Angels need to make more money to be more effective with mind control.  The only conquer tech they actually need is a probe team.  Since it does not enable them to make any Secret Projects, nor any social engineering choices, they are given it immediately.  They will acquire large numbers of Conquer techs through SHARETECH, so they really don't need to research any of that themselves.  It's not to their advantage to make much war, they can frame more people if they're at peace.  They should sit back and make as much money as they can without getting into unneeded conflicts.  Roze is a reject from the Morganites so having an ECONOMY bonus fits the game's lore.
- Morganites: removed JUSTICE bonus.  Capitalists such as Morgan are interested in making money, not legal or social justice.  Greasing palms is considered ok.  "I felt compelled to have them nerve stapled" makes this pretty clear in the game's lore.
- Free Drones: reduced NODRONE to 1.  Added +1 JUSTICE bonus.  May now use Green economy.  Cannot use Police State.  The Free Drones are essentially proto-Socialists who freed themselves from the tyranny of factions like the Hive.  Eudaimonia is basically futuristic Socialism that actually works and has no disadvanatage, save lack of willingness to warmonger.  Factory workers that inevitably pollute is a stereotype that ignores modern notions of Environmental Justice and intersectionalism.  Do people really believe that coal miners in, say, West Virginia, are incapable of understanding what pollution does to the lungs of the working class?  A lot of factions now have Politics confrontations, but that's ok because we play with 14 factions and only 7 are in the game at a time.  Democratic vs. authoritarian behavior is a key theme of the game, and FREE Drones are clearly on the anti-authoritarian side of that ledger.  They're NEVER going back to their former masters, and revolting cities know that about them.
- Hive: now gets +1 POLICE.  Removed IMPUNITY to Police State.  Removed GROWTH bonus.  Democratic no longer gives GROWTH, so the Hive doesn't need to be compensated for its inability to use Democratic.  Researching Police State takes time, and benefits that are available at the beginning of the game, are better than benefits that one has to wait for.  Rather than make Chairman Yang magically immune to Police State problems, I make his method explicit.  He's just better at suppressing people!  When he gets Police State he'll be at +3 POLICE, making his police twice as effective as anyone else's.  Everyone else needs the Ascetic Virtues to get to this level of police effectiveness.
- Peacekeepers: now gets +1 JUSTICE.  Lal is always trying to do the right thing for humanity.
- Pirates: may not choose Thought Control future society.  They value the freedom to roam the waves.

*EXPLORE CHANGES:
- Children's Creche: moved to E2 Biogenetics.
- Biogenetics: set power=3, tech=0, wealth=0, and growth=4, making it an E2 tech.  Children's Creche gives a morale bonus and reduces vulnerabilty to mind control.  Police State gives a SUPPORT bonus, but penalties for ECONOMY and JUSTICE, creating no wealth.  POLICE makes people happy.
- Adaptive Economics: now an E2 tech.  Set power=0 and wealth=0.  It has no military application.  Socialist economics gives a JUSTICE bonus but an ECONOMY penalty, thus producing almost no wealth.
- Centauri Empathy: set power=0, tech=3, and wealth=0.  Lifecycle improvements shall be considered Explore, not Conquer.  Biology Lab gives tech.  EFFIC bonus can be worth money, but SUPPORT penalty penalizes production, so not much wealth.
- Centauri Genetics: set power=3, wealth=0, and growth=4.  Mindworms shall be considered Conqer-ish.  It no longer gives Green, so no wealth.  Having growth=5 creates too much of a beeline effect for Explore.
- Ethical Calculus: now an E3 tech.  Set power=0 and wealth=0.  It only makes people happy.
- Hab Complex: moved to E3 Ethical Calculus.
- The Planetary Transit System: moved to E3 Ethical Calculus.
- Intellectual Integrity: now an E3 tech.  Set power=0 and wealth=0.  It only makes people happy.
- The Ascetic Virtues: moved to E3 Intellectual Integrity.

*DISCOVER CHANGES:
- Information Networks: set growth=0.  A bread crumb to get to Biology Lab is no longer needed.
- Biology Lab: moved to E2 Centauri Empathy.
- Secrets of the Human Brain: now a D2 tech.  Set power=0, tech=4, wealth=0, and growth=0.
- Cyberethics: now a D4 tech.
- The Virtual World: moved to D4 Cyberethics.
- Knowledge: moved to D4 Cyberethics.
- Thinker: moved to D4 Cyberethics.
- Applied Relativity: now a D5 tech.  Set tech=4 because every Discover tech gives some major benefit and this one isn't particularly special compared to the rest.
- Nanohospital: moved to D5 Pre-Sentient Algorithms.
- The Universal Translator: moved to D5 Pre-Sentient Algorithms.
- Pre-Sentient Algorithms: now a D5 tech.  Set power=0, tech=4, and growth=3.  Nanohospital makes people happy.
- Digital Sentience: now a D6 tech.  Set wealth=2.  The Cybernetic JUSTICE bonus can make some money but it's not worth wealth=3.
- The Network Backbone: moved to D6 Digital Sentience.  Following the theme of allowing Discover stuff to be learned earlier.
- Unified Field Theory: now a D7 tech.  Set tech=4 and wealth=3.  Every Discover tech gives some kind of advantageous research facility, so no reason to set tech=5 for this one in particular.  The Corporate Lab is not as good as various Build facilities.
- Secrets of Creation: now a D10 tech.

*EARLIER BUILD SECRET PROJECTS:
- The Planetary Energy Grid: moved to B4 Environmental Economics.
- Environmental Economics: set growth=3.  It now gives the Planetary Energy Grid, not the Ascetic Virtues.
- Planetary Economics: set wealth=4.  It no longer gives the Planetary Enegy Grid.
- The Longevity Vaccine: moved to B4 Bio-Engineering.
- Bio-Engineering: set growth=3.  The Longevity Vaccine can make people happy.
- The Space Elevator: moved to B6 Eudaimonia.
- The Living Refinery: moved to B7 Industrial Nanorobotics.
- Matter Editation: now a B9 tech.  Set power=0 and growth=0.  Now increases MINERALS production in fungus.  It no longer gives Clinical Immortality.
- Nanoreplicator: now costs 30 and maintenance 5, because it comes before a Quantum Converter.
- Quantum Converter: now costs 36 and maintenance 6.
- The Bulk Matter Transmitter: moved to B10 Quantum Machinery.

*EARLIER WORLDWIDE COMBAT:
- Foil chassis: now has movement 5 and cost 3.
- Cruiser chassis: now has movement 8 and cost 6.
- Needlejet chassis: now has movement 10 and cost 10.
- Gravship chassis: now has movement 12 and cost 12.
- Missile chassis: movement reduced to 30, but range is now unlimited.  No longer uses fuel.
- Copter chassis: removed from the game, except for Locusts of Chiron.  No longer uses fuel.  Its multiple attacks are too powerful, and it's pretty useless when its speed is reduced.
- Locusts of Chiron: now based on Copter chassis instead of Gravship chassis, so that it can remain a fairly slow air unit.  Multiple attacks aren't that helpful for Psi combat as attacking units typically take lots of damage.  Even Demon Boil mindworms with a +40% Psi attack advantage can get surprisingly chewed up attacking a mere Scout.
- Orbital Insertion: now available with C7 Advanced Spaceflight.
- Graviton Theory: now a C7 tech.

*INCREASED ABILITY COSTS:
- Heavy Transport: moved to C1 Doctrine: Flexibility.  Now costs 2.  If the player wants to spend a lot more production to get a ship with bigger capacity, I say let 'em.  In the real world, moving lots of units around on ships simply doesn't matter.
- High Morale: now costs 2.  Shouldn't give offensive advantages cheap.
- Soporific Gas Pods: now costs 3.  This offensive debuff messes up the carefully orchestrated balance between weapons and armor.  It's like getting 1..2 weapon levels higher than normal.  Also the AI never builds them, so it's a human player's exploit.
- Drop Pods: now costs 2.  Earlier orbital insertion makes them more advantageous.
- Fuel Nanocells: moved to C5 Mind/Machine Interface.  Now costs 2.
- Dissociative Wave: now costs 3.  Offensive debuffs need to cost more to keep the game from being ruined.  At least this one isn't that useful in practice, because infantry gets the biggest bonus attacking cities, and there's no such thing as an anti-infantry defense.
- Antigrav Struts: now costs 2.
- Blink Displacer: moved to D15 Threshold of Transcendence.  Now costs 4.  There is no point in having a progression of weapons and armor all the way to strength 30 if this is simply going to ruin it.  This is a toy to be played with when the game is effectively over anyways.

*DEFENSIVE BEGINNING:
- Intrinsic Base Defense bonus: increased to +50%.  I want bases to be a refuge for defenders, and to mean something if someone has gone to the trouble of establishing them.
- Infantry vs. Base bonus: removed.  In a test game, I had a Disciplined Spartan Scout defending Sparta Command, get destroyed by a Green University Scout.  I don't think that should ever happen.
- Perimeter Defense: moved to C1 High Energy Chemistry.  AI factions need to be able to get a defense going against possible invaders.
- Applied Physics: now a C3 tech.  I tried making it a C1 tech, but that allowed factions to overrun nearby defenseless factions.  Later offense is better for AI growth.
- Laser: now has strength 3 and cost 3. 
- Heavy Artillery: moved to C3 Applied Physics.  It isn't that necessary for defending against early ships.  Other ships can be used against ships.
- The Citizens' Defense Force: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.

*CONQUER CHANGES:
- Nerve Gas Pods: moved to C1 High Energy Chemistry.  If anyone wants to wipe out the Aliens, it's available.
- Deep Pressure Hull: moved to C2 Adaptive Doctrine.  I think the AI cheats and can see all units anyways, in which case this isn't an interesting tech.  If a human player wants to play with this, they can.
- Field Modulation: now a C2 tech.
- Doctrine: Loyalty: now a C2 tech.  Set power=4.  Don't make it special compared to other Conquer techs.
- The Command Nexus: moved to C3 Polymorphic Software.
- Retroviral Engineering: now a C3 tech.  I had way too many C4 techs.  If someone wants to do early gene warfare, I say why not.
- Covert Ops Center: moved to C4 Advanced Military Algorithms.
- The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm: moved to C4 Advanced Military Algorithms.
- 2 abilities per unit: moved to Industrial Automation.
- Industrial Automation: set power=3.  The Skunkworks is important for new military unit designs, and 2 abilities per unit helps with some military units.
- The Neural Amplifier: moved to C4 Neural Grafting.  It might be interesting to have Psi defense techs not all be in the Explore path, so that PLANET friendly factions can't just cakewalk everyone else.
- Bioenhancement Center: moved to C4 Neural Grafting.
- Neural Grafting: now a C4 tech.  Set wealth=0 as it doesn't give 2 abilities per unit anymore.
- Mind/Machine Interface: now a C5 tech.  Set growth=3 as Fuel Nanocells extend range.
- Nanominiaturization: set wealth=3 and growth=0.  The Nano Factory gives 50% discount on unit upgrade costs.  It doesn't give Fuel Nanocells anymore.
- Missile Launcher: moved to C6 Photon/Wave mechanics.  Even though the lore doesn't make sense, it's a pure conquer tech and others are Explore or Build hybrids.  I want to keep pure Conquer techs together in one place.
- Self-Aware Machines: now a C6 tech.
- Sentient Resonance: set growth=3 because Resonance weapons and armors help Psi combat.
- Controlled Singularity: set power=3 because it gives the Black Hole Gun.

*EARLIER DIPLOMATIC VICTORY:
- Homo Superior: set power=3, making it an E6 tech.  Thought Control does as much to keep people happy as it does for conquest, and an Explore tech is needed at Tier 6.  This can guide the Peacekeepers better to the Empath Guild.
- Paradise Garden: moved to E9 Biomachinery.
- Clinical Immortality: moved to E9 Biomachinery.
- Biomachinery: now an E9 tech.  Set power=3, wealth=3, and growth=4.  Winning the Governorship is worth money.  No longer gives the Cloning Vats.

*LATER CLONING VATS:
- Super Tensile Solids: now an E8 tech.  Set power=0, wealth=0, and growth=5 because it doesn't give the Space Elevator or Habitation Dome anymore.
- Sky Hydroponics Lab: moved to E8 Super Tensile Solids.
- Habitation Dome: moved to E8 Super Tensile Solids.
- The Cloning Vats: moved to E10 Matter Transmission.
- Matter Transmission: now an E10 tech.  Set power=4, wealth=0, and growth=5.  No longer increases MINERALS production in fungus.  The Cloning Vats grow the population endlessly and make Power and Thought Control have no penalties.  Psi Gates are the last form of transportation.  It no longer gives the Bulk Matter Transmitter.

*PREREQS:
- changed many prereqs for continuity of research foci.

*PREDEFINED UNITS:
- Marine Scout: removed.  They were meant to attack coastal cities that only have Scouts defending them, but I've never seen the AI do it.
- Submarine Probe Team: removed.  The faster Cruiser chassis is more expensive, making a Deep Pressure Hull not a good choice.
- Destroyer Probe Team: added in its place.  It's cheaper.  It relies on speed rather than invisibility.
- Cruiser Colony Pod: removed.  The faster Cruiser chassis is more expensive, making it not a good choice.  The Foil chassis is now faster, so ordinary Sea Colony Pods should work fine.
- Heavy Transport Foil: removed.  The AI doesn't actually need the capacity for anything.
- Rover Former: removed.  It was giving away a Speeder chassis prototype too quickly.
- Light Artillery: removed.  Heavy Artillery now comes with C3 Applied Physics.  A pea shooter isn't that useful by then.
- Clean Fungicidal Formers: removed.  The tech to have 2 abilities is no longer a prereq for B4 Bio-engineering.
- Clean Fungicidal Sea Formers removed.
- Radar Transport Foil: removed.  The AI probably cheats about where other units are anyways.  The game clutters the Workshop with non-radar designs even when this is available.
- Radar Destroyer Transport: removed.
- Clean Scout: removed.  By the time a Clean Reactor is available, building a mere Scout is probably not useful.  Telling the AI that it can build these, is probably just wasting a small amount of its production time.
- Police Scout: removed.  The AI doesn't use them as police, it just marches them around in the wilderness.
- Trance Colony Pod: moved to C4 Bioadaptive Resonance.  Added 3-Res armor.  A colony pod with only Trance suffers the -50% non-combat penalty.  It is not tough enough to stand up to mindworms, making it a waste of production.  However with 3-Res armor it no longer suffers the non-combat penalty and has a total of +75% against mindworm attacks.
- Unity Air Supply: takes the place of the Unity Scout Chopper.  Uses a Needlejet chassis, has a supply pod instead of a gun, and Deep Radar.
- Cloaked Laser Speeder: new predefined unit, available with C4 Nonlinear Mathematics.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.27.  It was downloaded 141 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on January 17, 2019, 01:24:26 AM
Awesome!  ;b;


 :danc:
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on January 17, 2019, 03:20:11 AM
Enjoy!  I hope.  Well I think it's better than 1.26 or I wouldn't have made it.  Definitely took a wrong turn making Politics and Economics choices difficult to obtain, in that version.  There are so many "early" techs now, the tree has gotten quite broad at the beginning.  If those choices aren't Tier 2 it takes forever to get them, and that's just boring.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on January 18, 2019, 04:23:32 AM
I invite you to visit my website:

www.avsgs.us (http://www.avsgs.us)

It's about planet.

 ;deidre;
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on January 18, 2019, 06:28:18 AM
Methinks me needs some mindworm stew!  You know Cha Dawn had an answer for this, right?  Throw the humans to the worms.

I'd be happy to eat 'meat' grown from a vat, but we don't seem to be quite there yet.  '3D printed meat' is an area of active research though.

Insectivorism would be a rational choice.  Unless you grow your own crops and allow insects to rampage a lot of it, billions of insects are going to die for the vegetables you buy anyways.  That's the cost of outsourcing the labor.

My attempts to go vegetarian, not even vegan, have always been complete failures.  Within 2 days my brain stops working.  I don't know what the missing ingredients are, other than I get them from meat.  No amount of various supplements has helped.  I think a core problem of vegan movements, is some people's biologies don't seem to take it well.  I think I am one of these.  I did not choose my biology, so that's part of how I think about the moral calculus of these things.

I think Nature is evil, not neutral.  The evolution of predator species is based on violence and destruction.  I am part of the evil.  Nature also produces good though.  Good is usually reserved for your own family group.  Evil is an expense borne by others.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on February 18, 2019, 06:47:14 AM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.27 to 1.28:

ATROCITIES:
- Repeal U.N. Charter: moved to C2 Doctrine: Loyalty.  It should be with Fundamentalist politics.
- Reinstate U.N. Charter: moved to B2 Industrial Economics.  It should be with Democratic politics.
- Retroviral Engineering: now a C5 tech.  Genetic plagues in combo with chemical weapons attacks are extremely effective in wiping out bases.  It's not that difficult to Repeal the U.N. Charter.  Planet doesn't retalliate when minor atrocities are legal, so this strategy becomes consequence free.  Before it was a Tier 3 tech, which is too soon for such power.

PROBE TEAMS:
- Probe team module: moved to D1 Information Networks.
- Information Networks: set power=3.  Having it as a pure Discover tech is too difficult a barrier for non-Discover factions.  It's possible for all factions in the game to be non-Discover.  This creates de facto tech stagnation.  It's highly unlikely to have only non-Conquer factions in the game.
- Polymorphic Software: now a C2 tech.  Basically swapping places, so that this slot gives something other than just a probe team.
- Planetary Networks: now a C3 tech.  Basically swapping places.  The Command Nexus is global, so it sounds more appropriate.
- The Command Nexus: moved to C3 Planetary Networks.
- Probe Team predefined unit: now available with C2 Polymorphic Software.
- Foil Probe Team predefined unit: moved to C2 Adaptive Doctrine.
- C2 techs that give probe teams, now take D1 Information Networks as a prereq.
- Slider Probe Team: new predefined unit available with C5 Retroviral Engineering.  Hovertank chassis.

FACTIONS:
- Data Angels: set research foci to Explore, Build.  Removed free Planetary Networks tech.  They get every tech that any 3 factions have, so they will learn how to make probe teams fairly quickly.  Although a pure Build focus might enable them to make more money sooner, Explore tells the AI to put more effort into growing an empire, which will probably also make money.  The Explore tree has gotten fatter, making it a distraction from other concerns, but factions with only a pure Build focus do not have a good performance track record.

MINDWORM TECHS:
- The Neural Amplifier: moved to C4 Bioadaptive Resonance.  This consolidates mindworm oriented techs better.
- Centauri Preserve: moved to E5 Centauri Psi.  Reducing eco-damage shall be considered more of an Explore / Psi tech, even though it does also help Build.
- Neural Grafting: now a C6 tech.  Set growth=0.  It no longer gives a mindworm oriented tech.  I don't want Bioenhancement Center available early, it throws off the defensive balance.
- Brood Pit: moved to E7 The Will To Power.  Previously it was too easy to get.
- Temple of Planet: moved to D9 Secrets of Alpha Centauri.  Previously it was too easy to get.
- Secrets of Alpha Centauri: set growth=3, as it now gives the Temple of Planet.

WEAPONS TOO CHEAP:
- Particle Impactor: now costs 5.  25% cost increase.
- Gatling Laser: now costs 7.  40% cost increase.
- Missile Launcher: now costs 9.  50% cost increase.
- Chaos Gun: now costs 16.  100% cost increase.  Fusion reactors come late midgame and make everything far too cheap.  The Chaos Gun seems to be a game ending weapon in practice, so its cost is doubled.
- Phaser: now costs 22.  120% increase.
- Tachyon Bolt: now costs 30.  150% cost increase.  Quantum reactors come late game and make everything too cheap.
- Resonance Bolt: now costs 35.  150% cost increase.
- Plasma Shard: now costs 35.  150% cost increase.
- Chronoton Gun: now costs 40.  150% cost increase.
- Graviton Gun: now costs 50.  150% cost increase.
- Singularity Laser: now costs 72.  200% cost increase.  Singularity reactors make everything way too cheap.
- Black Hole Gun: now costs 105.  250% cost increase over attack rating.
- Needlejet chassis: now costs 20.  It was way too cheap with fusion reactors.
- Gravship chassis: now costs 30.  It was way too cheap with fusion reactors.
- Conventional Payload: now costs 15.  It was way too cheap with fusion reactors.
- Tectonic Payload: now costs 10.  It was way too cheap with fusion reactors.
- Fungal Payload: now costs 6.  It was too cheap with fusion reactors, but it's not a very good weapon.
- Unity Jet: new predefined unit which replaces the Unity Air Supply.  The latter became far too valuable with the change in chassis cost.

ARMOR TOO CHEAP:
- Silksteel Armor: now costs 8.  60% cost increase over defense rating.
- Photon Wall: now costs 12.  100% cost increase.
- Probability Sheath: now costs 16.  100% cost increase.
- Neutronium Armor: now costs 24.  100% cost increase.
- Pulse 12 Armor: now costs 28.  100% cost increase.
- Resonance 12 Armor: now costs 28.  100% cost increase.
- Antimatter Plate: now costs 40.  100% cost increase.
- Inertial Damper: now costs 60.  100% cost increase over defense rating.

BUFFS AND DEBUFFS:
- High Morale: moved to C3 Planetary Networks.
- Fuel Nanocells: moved to C5 Nanominiaturization.
- Nanominiaturization: set growth=3.  Fuel Nanocells increase movement range.
- Mind/Machine Interface: now a C7 tech.  Still has growth=0.  Wasn't actually changed in version 1.27.  Doesn't give Fuel Nanocells now.  I don't want the Cyborg Factory available early, it throws off the defensive balance.
- Soporific Gas Pods: moved to C7 Mind/Machine Interface.  Now costs 4.  They're exteremely effective.  I don't want them available early, they throw off the defensive balance.
- Dissociative Wave: now costs 4.  Debuffs are gonna be 100% extra cost.

TERRAFORMING:
- Rover Formers: new predefined unit available with B3 Ecological Engineering. 
- Drill to Aquifer: now available with B3 Ecological Engineering.  It shouldn't be hard to make an artificial river, even in real life.
- Thermal Borehole: now available with B4 Industrial Automation.  This is for lore, as the quote is about the borehole pressure mines.
- Organic Superlubricant: set wealth=3.  Hovertanks are rather useful for terraforming.
- Fungicidal Slider Formers: new predefined unit available with C5 Nanominiaturization.  Hovertank chassis, good for removing and building over fungus.
- Bio-Engineering: now a B5 tech.  I didn't have enough Build techs later in the tree.
- Soil Enricher: now available with B5 Planetary Economics.  I want to spread the improvements out some.
- +1 Mining Platform bonus: now available with B5 Planetary Economics.  This is in sync with availability of Subsea Trunkline.
- Advanced Ecological Engineering: now a B6 tech.  Set power=3 because it builds roads and rails faster, and allows land to be raised and lowered.  I didn't have enough build techs later in the tree.

SPACE:
- Missile Launcher: moved to C6 Orbital Spaceflight.  The lore fits better here.
- The Space Elevator: moved to B7 Industrial Nanorobotics.  Gaining this before Orbital Spaceflight didn't make any sense.  Now it is a prereq.
- Industrial Nanorobotics: set power=3 and growth=3.  The Space Elevator allows movement by drop pod to anywhere on Planet.
- The Living Refinery: moved to B8 Nanometallurgy.  It fits the lore better, as the Secret Project video is of asteroid mining.

MISC:
- Industrial Economics: set wealth=4.  It shouldn't be exaggerated with a 5.
- Optical Computers: set power=3, wealth=3, and growth=3.  It does provide all these techs.  The Discover focused factions already have a sufficient head start obtaining the Planetary Datalinks, it doesn't need to be a giveaway for them.
- Eudaimonia: set wealth=3, making it an Explore tech.  It doesn't give the Space Elevator, nor does it give an ECONOMY bonus anymore, so it's more about growth now.
- Homo Superior: set power=4 and growth=3, making it a Conquer tech again. 
- Sentient Econometrics: set growth=3 because The Self-Aware Colony gives an extra police unit.
- changed many prereqs to keep continuity of research foci.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.28.  It was downloaded 148 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on February 27, 2019, 12:07:42 AM
Where is the hub?  ::)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on February 27, 2019, 05:36:50 AM
The what?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: dweeze on February 27, 2019, 05:58:31 AM
OK, so I've setup an AI Growth game as Spartans. It's throwing me a bit with working out the tech tree progression (after ~20 years of std tree) but I'm enjoying many of the changes. It's 2214 and I am researching cruisers - Air power next? I've only seen Industrial Automation offered once in the research options and selected something else. Could I get planes before crawlers? Still don't have probe teams either. That said, I've hemmed in Morgan on our shared continent, traded tech regularly with everyone and only had a brief war with Deidre and am neck-n-neck with Lal for el Supremo.

One other odd one - just had a probe foil return after a successful infiltration mission and it got put in a base that has a 2 square lake (that is not connected to the sea), rendering the foil useless. Not sure if this is a generic game bug or mod related. I ran a test by building a Heavy transport on a Rover chassis (thinking that it might be like a boat trailer) but could not load the boat. Would this be possible in a future release? If not, guess I'll have to disband this veteran spy boat.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on February 27, 2019, 06:27:41 AM
Could I get planes before crawlers?

Yep.  Planes are primarily Conquer, secondarily Explore.  Crawlers are primarily Build, secondarily Conquer, and it's preceded by a pile of Build techs with no Conquer component to them.  If you haven't been focusing on Build, you're not going to get crawlers.  Similarly, if you haven't been focusing on Conquer, you're not going to get planes.

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Still don't have probe teams either.

If you are playing version 1.28, that should not be happening.  The probe team module is available with D1 Information Networks, and it's a Discover + Conquer technology.  Ok, if you didn't focus on either of those, maybe it's possible not to get it, but that would be your choice.

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One other odd one - just had a probe foil return after a successful infiltration mission and it got put in a base that has a 2 square lake (that is not connected to the sea), rendering the foil useless. Not sure if this is a generic game bug or mod related.

Generic game problem.  Enjoy your well defended lake.

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I ran a test by building a Heavy transport on a Rover chassis (thinking that it might be like a boat trailer) but could not load the boat.

Heavy Transport simply increases the capacity of a Transport module.  A Transport module does not load boats, ever.  It loads land units.  So you can have a truck that carries a land unit over land, but you can't carry a boat.  If you make the Transport into a carrier, then it can carry air units.  Land units or air units, that's all you get to do.  It's hardwired into the game and can't be changed by .txt modding.

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If not, guess I'll have to disband this veteran spy boat.

You don't have to disband it.  It's not costing you any support.  You could leave it there to defend against probe team incursions.  Now of course if the minerals from disbanding are useful to you, by all means do so.  If you want to be goofy, you could wait until you get Psi Gates at the very end of the game, and get it out of there that way.  Or sooner, you could dig a canal.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: dweeze on February 27, 2019, 07:48:14 AM

Yep.  Planes are primarily Conquer, secondarily Explore.  Crawlers are primarily Build, secondarily Conquer, and it's preceded by a pile of Build techs with no Conquer component to them.  If you haven't been focusing on Build, you're not going to get crawlers.  Similarly, if you haven't been focusing on Conquer, you're not going to get planes.
Gotcha. I've had my favourite pattern of IA for crawlers >> Cruisers (& Maritime project) >> Air Power >> ==DOMINATE for years. I haven't really followed Conquer / Explore / etc trees in the past. I might have to look at this one differently.

Quote
If you are playing version 1.28, that should not be happening.  The probe team module is available with D1 Information Networks, and it's a Discover + Conquer technology.  Ok, if you didn't focus on either of those, maybe it's possible not to get it, but that would be your choice.
Yes - 1.28 it is. Probes did come up, but only once & I picked something else. Ditto as per above re different approach required perhaps...

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Generic game problem.  Enjoy your well defended lake.
:)

Quote
Heavy Transport simply increases the capacity of a Transport module.  A Transport module does not load boats, ever.  It loads land units.  So you can have a truck that carries a land unit over land, but you can't carry a boat.  If you make the Transport into a carrier, then it can carry air units.  Land units or air units, that's all you get to do.  It's hardwired into the game and can't be changed by .txt modding.
Ok, hardwired it is then.

Quote
You don't have to disband it.  It's not costing you any support.  You could leave it there to defend against probe team incursions.  Now of course if the minerals from disbanding are useful to you, by all means do so.  If you want to be goofy, you could wait until you get Psi Gates at the very end of the game, and get it out of there that way.  Or sooner, you could dig a canal.
We'll see...
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on February 27, 2019, 06:07:16 PM
One of the basic ideas of this mod, is not to make it easy for you to abuse supply crawlers or factories.  You have to wait quite some time to get them, even if you're researching a straight Build path.

You might be interested to know that Drop Pods are available on ships and planes now.  I figure it's the future, why not?

Problem is, dropping a ship onto land will get it killed.  It'll sit there like nothing's wrong, then next turn it'll vanish because it's a ship on land.  So that sounds pretty useless, doesn't it?  Not quite.  You can drop ships onto a coastal land base.  This can get your ships to bodies of water that are otherwise landlocked or inconvenient.

It can also rescue a Drop Destroyer Probe Team from a landlocked city like you've been stuck with.  See, all you have to do is get Doctrine: Air Power and spend more time in the factory, then all is good!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on February 27, 2019, 11:35:57 PM
One problem I've noticed is its not easy to crack bases in this mod. Its easier to simply go mindworm spam.
Mostly because the weapons seem to keep level with armor the whole game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on February 28, 2019, 05:23:07 AM
Base defense is deliberate.  They're supposed to be strong points, and Sensor Arrays make a big difference as well.  It's pretty much standard drill now, that you have to get rid of Sensor Arrays to deal with a base.  And if it's got a Perimeter Defense, you might have to hit it with several probe teams until sabotage finally takes it out.  Then you have to have enough weapons and morale to overcome the defenders.  Even mindworms are not a certainty here, as AIs do make a certain amount of Trance Scout or other kinds of Trance units.  Bases are crackable, but getting into one is a bit of a drill.  You have to do some steps.

I'm not really worried if the player is challenged by this.  That's by design.  I do worry if I've made it too hard for the AIs, if they'll just stalemate on these difficult bases.  My jury is out on that.

One could of course resort to chemical attacks and genetic plagues.  They're very effective in tandem.  Chems are available at the very beginning, but plagues take a long time to get the tech.  It was too cake when plagues were early.  You'll probably also want to legalize the minor atrocities, as otherwise Planet will destroy you in vengeance for your transgressions.

I'm finally testing Thinker mod with my mod.  The early returns are, I'm the dead last faction.  But despite that, I'm safe, nobody's bringing war to me, and I've built just as many Secret Projects as anyone else.

I'm the Data Angels, which in my mod get any tech that 3 other factions have discovered.  No need to infiltrate, as it's unrealistic to expect the AI to ever do that.  I may have lucked out in the faction I got, in that the Data Angels do somewhat well when other factions are doing really well.  Not sure if I'd do ok with a different faction, short of building the Planetary Datalinks to get the same result.  But I haven't really been in any serious military conflict, so don't even know if the AI poses a credible military threat.  It definitely can't threaten me at a distance, when I deliberately made alliances with my next door neighbors early on.

Even before I started, I wondered to what degree Thinker relies on exploits in the stock tech tree.  Like thermal borehole and supply crawler abuse, for instance.  Not gonna happen so easily in my mod, because I made those come substantially later.  Then again, the AIs have got Industrial Automation now, which provides both crawlers and boreholes.  So now it's just about how Thinker prioritizes.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on February 28, 2019, 02:24:45 PM
I can get in them its just that I've simply found mindworm spam easier. All you need is some infantry or rovers to destroy sensors and
trance units and your good. I don't even bother with building conventional units  anymore. I doubt the AI gets in cities that well though.
Its a challenge for me at least.  I've never used genetic plagues or chemical warfare at all.
I'm curious on how your mod and the thinker mod will integrate. Good luck.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on February 28, 2019, 03:21:55 PM
The core design problem is, let's say mindworms are a cakewalk.  If I also make regular weapons a cakewalk, I don't think I've solved anything!  The game is still too easy.  I think I would need to make it harder to use mindworms, not easier to use regular weapons.

In my test game, Thinker is ramping up its borehole thing now.  Got some nasty Morganic cities with 40 minerals production coming at me now.  So far it's not using that output well though.  Morgan has got -3 PLANET and -3 MORALE, those are his weaknesses.  As the Data Angels I've got probe team strength, but not enough money to take over Morganic bases.  Although maybe I could steal a lot of Morgan's money...

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on March 02, 2019, 01:52:12 AM
Where's the smoking hub???  ::)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 02, 2019, 07:12:19 AM
Where's the smoking hub???  ::)

What on Planet are you on about?   ;nuke;
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: ChaDawnFanatic on March 14, 2019, 07:53:26 PM
The Great Lent has begun!

 :D
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 15, 2019, 12:27:49 PM
No eating of mindworm eggs for the duration.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 15, 2019, 09:06:38 PM
Here's a silly question. How does one alter when the buffs to fungus appear in the game? Is there a way?
The buffs to make fungus farming viable appear very late in game and I was thinking of making them appear earlier.
I've never tried fungus farming.
Thanks.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 16, 2019, 01:51:15 AM
It is controlled by technology flags.

Code: [Select]
; flags    = Special tech flags
;            000000001 = "Secrets": first discoverer gains free tech
;            000000010 = Improves Probe Team base morale
;            000000100 = Increases commerce income
;            000001000 = Reveals map
;            000010000 = Allows gene warfare atrocity
;            000100000 = Increases intrinsic defense against gene warfare
;            001000000 = Increases ENERGY production in fungus
;            010000000 = Increases MINERALS production in fungus
;            100000000 = Increases NUTRIENT production in fungus

In my mod, the same total amount of nutrient, minerals, and energy production is available as the stock game.  However I allow the edible fungus bonuses much earlier than the stock game.  You get them for E2 Centauri Empathy and B3 Ecological Engineering.  In the stock game it's Centauri Ecology and Centauri Psi.  The latter occurs rather late.

If you want to farm fungus roughly in the style of the original game, but you want to have an easier time of it, you should just play my mod and do it.  You would of course pick the Gaians, because +1 nutrient on fungus is one of their faction powers, and nobody else has that power.

If you want to play a game where it's substantially easier to farm fungus, you would either increase the number of techs that give a fungus nutrient bonus, or you would mod a faction to make their FUNGNUTRIENT bonus higher.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 16, 2019, 11:42:48 AM
What I was looking to do was make the buffs to fungus farming appear earlier. Thanks for pointing that out.
I might mod my game just so fungus farming takes place earlier than the end of the game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 16, 2019, 12:10:25 PM
Well if by "farming" you mean gaining all the resources, not just food, then there are several minerals and energy buffs sprinkled throughout the techs.  And building the Manifold Nexus and going +3 PLANET yields a lot from fungus.  In late game I tend to plant fungus on Rocky terrain.  It's more useful than doing eco-damage with a Mine.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 16, 2019, 12:26:21 PM
Yes thats what I was talking about. The problem is fully fungus farming only fully occurs when the game is pretty much over.
I was going to make the buffs occur much earlier.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 16, 2019, 12:32:52 PM
I think Tim Nevolin's Fission Armor mod the Manifold Nexus pretty early in the game for this reason.  I think that could turn into a giveaway for the 1st faction that gets it, but the idea that "it needs to be earlier so it does someone some good" is valid.  As is, it feels more like icing on a victory cake.

Makes me wonder about moving "Secrets of the Manifolds" out of the Discover tech tree and into the Explore tree.  Seems more like a "Deirdre tech" than a "Zhakarov tech".  Similarly with "Secrets of Alpha Centauri".  It gives the Temple of Planet, why have that be University oriented?

Well I looked over my versions of "Secrets...".  They're already cross-listed between categories, and there is not a lot of room for changing techs around that late in my tree.  In the progression of Explore techs, I don't actually want Secrets of the Manifolds to come before The Will To Power, and that's already a Tier 7 tech.  I think I'll be leaving my tree alone.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 18, 2019, 08:06:59 AM
   Just did some new-posts-skimming and hit on two topics that seem important or just interesting to me. (for personal reasons I've temporarily muddled my wits, so I'll be keeping this simple for my own sake and asking questions I usually would have researched on my own - sorry ;))

  First: the player/AI disparity with ecodamage.  Seems seriously gameplay important to me.  So....
On Transcend, the AI's special dispensation on ecodamage is coded somewhere in the .exe and hasn't yet been located, right?  Or has it been found but is not amenable to adjusting?  Either way it does not seem solvable by pure .txt modding, either with alphax.txt or the faction files (eg. by giving player factions an ecodamage grace not allowed to AI factions), without essentially removing ecodamage from the game entirely.  Is this correct?

  Second: brute-force removal and replacement terraforming verses working with the existing biota (fungus utilization).
 I see this as a technological and philosophical choice, which could be available as either/or but probably best as a mix-and-match.  The balance of benefits and downsides and when each are available in the tech tree looks like yet another matter that would require extensive testing to discover the fallout on players and the AI (big surprise there).
 Since it is a basic (if somewhat underdeveloped) feature of the original game, refining it to be more useful as a strategy without dramatically changing the game would be something I'd be willing to work on/assist with.

  And yes, I do see that it would have to be implemented separately for the basic game and each and every mod to the tech tree <heavy sigh>.

  Oh well, just some current thoughts.  I'll try to come up with a few better insights tomorrow.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 18, 2019, 02:14:00 PM
On Transcend, the AI's special dispensation on ecodamage is coded somewhere in the .exe and hasn't yet been located, right? 

Induktio doesn't know where it is.  I don't know if anyone else knows or knew where it is.

Yitzi isn't around to ask, and I'm doubting his work is structured in such a way that you could just examine his code to figure it out.  It would definitely be a project.

Scient is around to ask.  He's also been working on some kind of map of SMAC functions for a long time, but he never gets around to making a public release of it. 

Quote
Either way it does not seem solvable by pure .txt modding, either with alphax.txt or the faction files (eg. by giving player factions an ecodamage grace not allowed to AI factions), without essentially removing ecodamage from the game entirely.  Is this correct?

That is correct.  In Induktio's March development release of Thinker mod, he's shipping an alphax.txt that cuts eco-damage in half for everybody.  For the AI that's half of almost nothing.  For the human player that's half of what you'd usually experience on Transcend.  I don't know if that removes eco-damage from the player's experience entirely.  TBH I'm not that interested in testing it, as the design trajectory is "well we'll just make it a lot easier for the player", rather than make the AI pay anything for all the abuse it's doing.

Quote
Second: brute-force removal and replacement terraforming verses working with the existing biota (fungus utilization).
 I see this as a technological and philosophical choice, which could be available as either/or but probably best as a mix-and-match.  The balance of benefits and downsides and when each are available in the tech tree looks like yet another matter that would require extensive testing to discover the fallout on players and the AI (big surprise there).
 Since it is a basic (if somewhat underdeveloped) feature of the original game, refining it to be more useful as a strategy without dramatically changing the game would be something I'd be willing to work on/assist with.

Well here's how it currently is.  Fungus starts out as not good.  Even the Gaians, with their faction's +1 nutrient bonus, can't start an empire by relying on fungus.  They have to make forest and farms same as anyone else.  Fungus is a security risk when it's right next to your cities.  Mindworms can attack your cities directly, and faction enemies can use it to sneak up on you.  So removing some fungus is a good idea for most factions.  If you are a PLANET friendly faction, then you aren't so concerned, as you'll probably be actively patrolling the fungus with early captured mindworms.

In my mod by the time you get B3 Ecological Engineering, fungus produces 2 food.  If you're Gaian, that's 3 food.  I have found it will actually help empire growth.  In my just completed test game that I wrote up, when I'd click on the middle of my city's picture to have the computer allocate all the workers, it would often choose to work 1 fungus square.  It was typically offsetting my forests, which produce more minerals but not so much food.  I've never seen this happen with a faction other than the Gaians though.  And it's only 1 square.  I see it as a buffer or reserve of food.  Gaians are not likely to be driven to starvation by anything.

As time goes on, fungus starts being worth minerals.  You get +1 mineral at B5 Advanced Ecological Engineering.  You get +2 at Matter Editation, although in the course of explaining all of this, I've found a bug where it's not currently happening.  I'll have to fix that.  I was wondering where all the minerals went, now I know.  Anyways you get +3 at Threshold of Transcendence.  My timing on this is a bit different than the stock game, but the total amount of minerals you get out of fungus by the end of the game is the same.  Once you've got AEE, every faction will use fungus.  It's typically giving you 2-1-1, the value of an early game farm without having to do any work.  It may even give you 2-1-2, depending on what other tech's you've got.

I notice it a lot in ocean squares I haven't terraformed yet.  Since the ocean is minerals poor for most factions, it's often a good policy to just leave that fungus alone.  However if you're in the ocean, you need to eat kelp.  That kelp eventually displaces the fungus.  I've never really tried deliberately colonizing next to a large patch of fungus after AEE and then never planting kelp.  By that point in the game, I've probably long since established all the cities I'm going to.  I may conquer cities, but they will have terraforming around them that the AI did.  There's going to be kelp.

On land, the fungus is useful enough that I don't typically make Mines anymore.  I have all these various jobs to do with my Former fleet.  All kinds of game pressures, particularly with Thinker mod.  I typically send 1 Former onto a piece of Rocky terrain to cut a road, so that I'm not wasting movement for a lot of Formers trying to get to that dig site.  I think of that road cut as a "deferment".  I don't build a Mine yet, that does eco-damage, and I often don't have the food to work anyways.  I've established a place where I could build a Mine later, if I have the Formers and the interest in doing so.  Quite often, in the real world, I never get around to making the Mines at all.  I find we're entering late game, and I just go back to all those Rocky places and plant fungus on them.  It's like I planted a farm, although I can't put a solar collector on it, or a soil enricher.

But there's a reason I don't care.  If I build the Manifold Harmonics and go +3 PLANET, I get another +1-1-2 on top of all that.  Fungus becomes crazy good land!  I think by game's end you can get 5 minerals off these damn things.  Better than a Mine and doesn't do eco-damage for the existence of a Mine, although you may do eco-damage for minerals increase.

So that's the progression of what fungus does for you.  Starts out bad, becomes low effort ok, and by the end of the game is better than any other land out there.

So the question becomes, what would you want to do differently?  Making it easier to profit from fungus, can easily just throw the game, especially when we're talking about making minerals easier.

Fission Armor mod makes the Manifold Harmonics available fairly early in the game.  That's a pretty big giveaway.  I currently have it at the more boring late game time.  One of my concerns is, there are a lot of Explore techs in front of it.  I think there are aspects of the narrative that don't make any sense if the Manifold Harmonics comes too early.

I went back and studied the mineral progression of the stock game.  It's +1 at Centauri Genetics, +2 at Matter Transmission, and +3 at Threshold at Transcendence.  I use Advanced Ecological Engineering instead of Centauri Genetics, as it came at a similar point in the game and is more clearly minerals oriented.  I use Matter Editation instead of Matter Transmission, as I've moved things around a little at the end of the game.  In short from a minerals progression standpoint, my changes are pretty minor.  When they're not bugged.   :D
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: dino on March 18, 2019, 04:16:06 PM
Quote
In Induktio's March development release of Thinker mod, he's shipping an alphax.txt that cuts eco-damage in half for everybody.
It doesn't change ecodamage in the cities at all, neither frequency of fungus pops. It only changes how much ecodamage across the whole globe has to be accumulated, before sea level rises.

It's done to counter that thinker AI generates a lot of ecodamage, compared to almost nothing vanilla AI does, for which default drowning pace was designed.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 18, 2019, 04:32:48 PM
You say tomato, I say tomato.  The functional effect is the same.  We all suffer less consequences for eco-damage.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 19, 2019, 09:49:02 AM
    I prefer the (currently un-doable) option of making the AI suffer ecodamage at the same level as players.  Basicly nerfing it out of the game is unacceptable. 
 I'll be watching with interest any workarounds folks come up with for this problem (while I wait to see if humanity actually colonizes a planet in the Alpha/Beta Centauri system before the terranx.exe code for ecodamage is unearthed).

   Apparently I've been neglecting my fungus as well as not watching what the AI does with it.  The use of fungus *is* strategic both in the original game and your AIG mod, I just wasn't paying proper attention.
 I blame my (illogical) attachment to my hard-won terraforming making me subconsciously resist considering fungus appropriately, even when it is an equal or better option.

 In the real world, turning alien biomass into human food would almost certainly be difficult and not quickly mastered, while extracting minerals and energy from it would be much less challenging.  Applying this reasoning to the game (early minerals and energy, rather late food from fungus) would definitely change how fungus was viewed by both the player and AI.  Whether or not it would be a viable situation from a gameplay perspective is another matter.
   In my experience, the AI prioritizes food over either minerals or energy when choosing squares to work and rarely if ever picks a square with less than 2 food, even if the minerals and/or energy from it would actually be of greater value to that base (eg. when population is currently capped).  Players can be more flexible.

   Somewhere along the line, when I'm more familiar with how things work as is, I might play around with this out of curiosity as to what would happen.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 19, 2019, 10:43:33 AM
   Bvanevery: It just occured to me, with your recent changes to terrain enhancement costs, are you planning to keep some or all of these in your mod in general, or are they special cases only to deal with Induktio's mod/patch?

  I'm not planning to try the Thinker thing anytime soon, but am still working with my AIG/Yitzi merge where I want to be using your pure mod in the form you wish to present it to the game world in general.

  I'll start my next trial (tonight) without those cost changes, as I can always add them in (shouldn't have much affect in the few turns I'll likely complete).  And I can always just start over, anyway.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 19, 2019, 02:54:25 PM
I blame my (illogical) attachment to my hard-won terraforming making me subconsciously resist considering fungus appropriately, even when it is an equal or better option.

It's not just a previous investment fallacy.  Forests are also more aesthetically pleasing than fungus.  My standing policy is to retain all previously completed forests, even when fungus becomes a better deal.  Hey it's partly a builder game, like SimCity.

The one I really have a lot of trouble with, is farms with solar collectors on them, vs. Hybrid Forest forests.  There's a point at which you should just throw away those old farms and go all forest.  Also the conundrum of Rolling Moist land that I've saved "in case I want to farm it".  Lately once I get Tree Farms, I just accept that it's not actually going to be useful to farm, so I forest it.  I don't like covering up a mineral but that's the reality of forests being better by then.

Quote
In the real world, turning alien biomass into human food would almost certainly be difficult and not quickly mastered, while extracting minerals and energy from it would be much less challenging.  Applying this reasoning to the game (early minerals and energy, rather late food from fungus) would definitely change how fungus was viewed by both the player and AI.  Whether or not it would be a viable situation from a gameplay perspective is another matter.

Why would you get enough minerals or energy to be worth it though?  From a realism standpoint.

Quote
In my experience, the AI prioritizes food over either minerals or energy when choosing squares to work and rarely if ever picks a square with less than 2 food, even if the minerals and/or energy from it would actually be of greater value to that base (eg. when population is currently capped).  Players can be more flexible.

Mostly true.  You have to have a substantial surplus of food.  The AI is more interested if the mineral has to be very valuable i.e. a Mine on a minerals special.  Sometimes though I've had to manually adjust the workers to have Stagnant food, so that I can work my big Mine.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 19, 2019, 09:09:45 PM
Maybe its just me but I found attacking cities to be very hard in this mod. You nearly always ended up on parity with attack and defense plus sensors and perimeter defense. It got old really fast. I eventually went back to my base game. Its a shame really.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 19, 2019, 10:52:38 PM
Making cities into defensive strongpoints is definitely a change.  My intent is for people to find other ways around problems.  Like, Sensor Arrays can be destroyed.  Perimeter Defenses can be blown up with probe teams, although I'm finding in practice, you have to trash everything in the city to do it.  Cities can be starved instead of conquered, but admittedly, that takes time.  Cities can be bypassed or lands pillaged with field troops, instead of conquering.  Cities can be softened up with artillery.

But I do hear your vote that "this is a drag".  I haven't really heard enough votes one way or the other, and I'm not settled on whether I've overdone it or have done the right thing.

One thing I like about the more defensive cities, is early enemy Scouts can't just come and summarily kill me in the crib.  Nobody's tough enough at the beginning to do that.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 20, 2019, 03:20:27 AM
Ok, I've had a little time to reflect on various test games I've played, and what I do and don't like about the current defensive regime.

I like that Infantry doesn't get any kind of bonus for attacking cities anymore.  As fun as it might be to do that to someone's city while on offense, it's really irritating when on defense.  Typically it's some beginning of the game Scout vs. Scout battle.  Scouts are on an Infantry chassis so boom, suddenly they're some kind of urban siege engineers.  I really don't like that.  I'm glad I did away with that.  I don't feel like futzing with whether infantry, speeders, or hovertanks are best for attacking a city.  There's still a reason to use infantry: they're cheaper.  Especially when combined with rails, they can be very cost effective for blowing someone away.

I like that Sensor Arrays are worth more and take some thinking about wiping them out before making an assault.  I've come up with various tactics for sneaking around to get the job done.  Only just now I've realized, this would be a good use of the Cloaking Device, which I make available early in the game.  Not so much for being invisible, because the AI cheats on that anyways, but because it allows you to ignore zones of control.  Usually I've been either escorting with probe teams or with Gun Jets.  I should try making other Cloaked units.

I do not like that I'm using piles of probe teams to sabotage everything in a base over and over again, just to get at the Perimeter Defense.  I've been doing it because I felt like maybe I was morally obligated to do it or something.  I do think it is a drag.  Perimeter Defenses make a huge difference in a base's defensability, +100%.  My mod punishes probe teams pretty hard, you can't just get PROBE bonuses unless you are the Data Angels.  So it's taking piles of probe teams to bring down those walls.  I find that targeted attacks just have too low a success rate, you're better off wrecking everything until you finally get to the Perimeter Defense.

So a logical solution would be to cut the Perimeter Defense in half, to +50%, right?  And make it cost half as much.  Problem is, there's nowhere in alphax.txt to do that.

So I'm back to the drawing board.  I guess I have to come up with either +25% or +50% to cut off the defense buffs.  I have to assume the Perimeter Defense is going to stay put, if I don't want to have to mess with Probe Teams all the time.  That means I can't take off Sensor Array buffs, because I already destroy Sensor Arrays.  Base defense is still stiff.  I've already eliminated the infantry bonus.  I don't want to retool the weapons and armor ratios and progressions in the tech tree.  It takes a long time to figure that stuff out.

So really this only leaves the intrinsic base defense as something to waffle upon, prevaricate, and go back to how things were before.  I currently have ibd = +50%.  In the stock game it's +25%.  Going back to +25% would be easy enough.  Is it enough?  I don't know.  I suppose I can change it, keep playing my test game, and see if it helps.

If it isn't enough, I could do ibd = +0%.  That's helpful if a base has a Perimeter Defense, as it makes the combo 25% weaker than the stock game.  But it also means a newly established base is really vulnerable.  The old Scout vs. Scout problem at the beginning of the game.

I will try ibd = +25% and see how it goes.

Actually upon further consideration, since something clearly must be done, I will just do this for version 1.29.  I'm not ready to leave bases inherently defenseless.  I need to hear how people react to the change, before dialing it back even more.  I don't want to get rid of the stronger Sensor Arrays.  I already destroy Sensor Arrays when on offense.  It's a bit of a drill but it makes me think tactically about offense, how to get behind a base to eliminate difficult Sensor Arrays.  I think that's a good thing.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 20, 2019, 05:44:43 AM
     When I first started playing SMAC(X) several years ago (and discovered this site), I remember reading several strategy guides on various sites.  Most of them extolled the uberness of the Early Rush tactic as the best way to win the game.  I thought about how boring a strategy game with no choice of strategy would be and promptly raised the inherent base defense and sensor defense bonus in my rudimentary personal mod. I think I used IBD = 50 and Sensor = 40.
   I also thought the infantry base attack bonus was nonsensical (what?  Cities require room by room clearing maybe?  That would really mean that vehicular units should have an attack penalty).
 I removed that bonus from my games.

   The AI does use sensors fairly well, but I try to one-up them by not only spamming them around and within my empire (partly for early warning and to dispel the fog of war from unsettled interior areas) but also by doing a little trick I read about in some Civ forum or other: build a sensor where you want a base and then pop the colony pod right on top of it.  The sensor is not destroyed and becomes significantly harder to get at and destroy.  The delay in starting the base is a downside, but with some forethought (such as building a lot of rover formers as soon as possible) you can toss the sensors in good squares before the colony pods are even finished constructing.
 This obviously works best if you have some early unmolested build time from a larger map, and now, the AI Growth Mod.

   If early game Perimeter enhanced bases are making the game unpleasant to play, downgrading the IBD is certainly worth looking into, and easy to do.
 Another possibility might be to make Perimeter Defense come later (maybe early mid-game?).  I'm sure you have a much better sense than I as to whether that would cause more problems than it solves.  And I apologize for even suggesting something that requires messing with your carefully crafted tech progression  ;lol.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 24, 2019, 02:53:34 AM
   I've been following your game testing of Induktio's Thinker X AI Growth with interest, partly just for the entertainment, and partly to glean the improvements to your AIG mod which are not specific to dealing with Thinker's substrate.
  So I was wondering if you could spare the time to point out the ones you think should go in your version of AIG?

  The changes to the Peacekeepers, Pirates, and Believers seem to fall into this bin, and I can see their value outside of Thinker from my earlier non-Thinker game tests.
  Same goes for the changes to Defense techs and facility costs, the cost changes to Terraforming and moving Condensers to EcoEng2.

  It looks like much of your most recent (Attempt #10) changes to the Build techs and facilities will also have general utility.

  So I guess the real question is if there are any that are specific to the Thinker testing and won't make it to the next AIG version.

  To get my testing of AIG on a Yitzi substrate closer to your current work-in-progress version of AIG, it would be useful to know a few additional things:

  Perimeter Defense -  *which* tier 3 Tech is it in now?  (I really like this change since I too have seen the AI obsess over it to the detriment of things more valuable to them in the earliest stages of the game)
  Supply Crawler cost - crawler chassis costs 10, so will the Supply unit now cost 70 for a total of 80?  Currently that unit costs 80, so is this a decrease in total cost?  Or have I missed something?
  You're moving Adv. Eco. Engineering, Industrial Auto., and Bio. Engineering which means their pre-reqs and what they are pre-reqs for will change.   I know detailing all of it for me will be a time sink you might not want at the moment and I can wait if that's true.   If I did have that info, my current tests of the Yitzi/AIG merge could also be evaluating those changes.

  Yitzi's patch/mod seems to make fewer fundamental changes to the game mechanics than Thinker and practically none to the AI.  This has been viewed as a sad lack by many folks, but it does mean the AI behaves pretty much as in the basic unmodded game.  The Merge tests therefore have some relevance to how AIG works with an un-modded alphax.exe.  Or so my non-expert opinion currently is.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2019, 04:14:41 AM
  So I guess the real question is if there are any that are specific to the Thinker testing and won't make it to the next AIG version.

There's no such thing as me designing anything for Thinker mod's benefit.  I currently have no plan to recommend the use of Thinker mod with my mod at all. 

Rather, Thinker mod is a form of stress put on the game.  It validates whether various things in the game are exploitable or out of balance.   It does a fair  job of approximating an expert minimaxing powergamer.  Or as I called someone once, "an indefatigable calculator".  I've learned that some popular strategies are overpowered, and that some of my factions are overpowered.  Those things haven't been previously apparent to me, because they are outside my own play style, and nobody's offered up a demo game showing just how much Borehole stomping one can do in SMACX AI Growth mod.

Ergo, all adjustments are for what I feel will ultimately make a better game, regardless of who's binary is being used.  Assuming the binary merely implements AI or bugfixes and doesn't change how the game works.  I'm trying to harden my tech tree against these major exploits.  Yes in the upcoming version 1.29 you can still do all the stuff, but it will cost more and you won't be able to get started on it until much later in the game.  That may tick some people off, but I think it's a good thing.  It means there isn't a One True Borehole Strategy to get through the game.  While someone is waiting around to get enough tech to stomp everyone with Condensers and Boreholes, someone else might just build cheap Hovertanks and pillage the crap out of someone's terraforming fantasy.  Or someone might build Super Former rail heads just before someone else was going to get cranking on the Boreholes and Supply Crawlers.

I wouldn't necessarily call such midgame tactics a "rush" but I'm trying to give players more of a window for a military solution.  This whole "Thinker AI crushes you with productivity" thing kinda sucks, and it seems in the cutthroat multiplayer arena, some human beings do exactly the same sorts of things.

Quote
Perimeter Defense -  *which* tier 3 Tech is it in now?

I moved it back to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory, same place you get Plasma armor and the Citizens' Defense Force.

Quote
Supply Crawler cost - crawler chassis costs 10,

To be clear and exact, an Infantry chassis costs 1.  In version 1.29 a "Supply Transport non-combat package" will cost 30.  By some formula that I absolutely do not understand, this results in a Fission Infantry version that costs 80 and a Fusion Infantry version that costs 50.  The latter is the same as an Artifact and that's the design goal, to keep that "by 50" method of counting.  Of course that only works if INDUSTRY is 0, so I probably shouldn't get too hung up on it.

Quote
You're moving Adv. Eco. Engineering, Industrial Auto., and Bio. Engineering which means their pre-reqs and what they are pre-reqs for will change.   I know detailing all of it for me will be a time sink you might not want at the moment and I can wait if that's true.   If I did have that info, my current tests of the Yitzi/AIG merge could also be evaluating those changes.

I never, ever specify prereq changes in detail.   8)  Not even in my CHANGELOG.  What I can do is attach draft 1.29 files for your contemplation.  You can diff them against 1.28 versions if you like.  They are not final, as I'm still playtesting and conceivably, I could find out I did something wrong / bad.  However most of it is considered ready to release and unlikely to change.  I just can't say it's tested until it's tested.

Quote
  Yitzi's patch/mod seems to make fewer fundamental changes to the game mechanics than Thinker and practically none to the AI.  This has been viewed as a sad lack by many folks, but it does mean the AI behaves pretty much as in the basic unmodded game.  The Merge tests therefore have some relevance to how AIG works with an un-modded alphax.exe.  Or so my non-expert opinion currently is.

My memory is Yitzi changed 3 encodings in alphax.txt.  Conventional Missile strengths, stockpiling energy, and there's some 3rd thing I have trouble remembering off the top of my head.  So the consequences are what, overpowered CMs?  Game crashing because stockpiling is messed up?  And what about Naomi?

The most significant change still needing a test, is the new -1 INDUSTRY -1 SUPPORT for the Pirates.  Both whether stock AI does a reasonable job with it (I expect it will), and whether it's fine or sucks for a human player.

I'm good with the Peacekeepers losing their +2 GROWTH without any testing.  There were many versions of my mod where they didn't have that ability.  Maybe it'll turn out they need a further boost, but it's not going to become unplayable or suck.

I don't think the Hive or Believer changes require testing, but it'll be interesting to know how human players feel about those factions.

I just realized that giving the Hive any kind of MORALE bonus is really against the lore of the game.  They should all be miserable and depressed!  I'm not including my hive.txt, I need to reconsider.  There's a 5 file limit anyways.

EDIT: found a bug in alphax.txt.  Super Slider Former was supposed to be given by EcoEng2.  Reuploaded, fixed now.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 24, 2019, 06:36:37 AM
       Thank you thank you!!   This is just what I needed, and more than I expected.

   The draft alphax.txt is fine for my purposes, since I'm theoretically evaluating AI Growth in a (somewhat feeble) attempt to assist you with your testing.
   About a third of our community here claims they are using Yitzi's patch so I thought it might be worthwhile to see how it performs in that environment, imperfect as it is.
   So far it seems to be co-habitating very well, and I'm very pleased with the superior AI performance as well as the overall gameplay.  Making the "one best way to win" tactics just one way to win, no better or worse than others, is possibly the aspect that I approve of the most.  There is no strategy if you have no choices.

   With my Hive faction file I've changed a lot of the "flavor" parts (base names, diplomacy text, etc.) using primarily North Korea as an inspiration with a touch of Mao.  They're now the Peoples Hoard with a Great or Beloved Leader.
And so I must agree with you that +MORAL is simply unthinkable.  I might shy away from FANATIC as well.
More fitting for them is the comment attributed to Joe Stalin: "Quantity has a quality all it's own".  Tho precisely how to implement that effectively I'm vague on at the moment.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2019, 07:30:07 AM
I'm unwilling to give the Hive an INDUSTRY bonus as I think those are overpowered.  Also you can get 3 such bonuses from my SE table anyways: for Capitalist, for Wealth, and for Eudaimonic.  The Free Drones are the only faction in my mod that gets an INDUSTRY bonus and I want to keep it that way.

I just gave the Believers a SUPPORT bonus.  That's true to the original material.  I don't really want the Hive to have that as well, as it starts to feel generic.

In theory, +3 SUPPORT lets you support units up to the base size.  In practice, if your bases are big, you don't care about SUPPORT anymore because you have lots of minerals.

I could give the Hive free Recycling Tanks.  From a lore standpoint, one might wonder why.  Yes one of my favorite quotes is about that, leading to the phrase "Into the tanks!" and I don't mean the kind you drive.  But why should the Hive be more into recycling than anyone else?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 24, 2019, 10:29:09 AM
   
I could give the Hive free Recycling Tanks.  From a lore standpoint, one might wonder why.  Yes one of my favorite quotes is about that, leading to the phrase "Into the tanks!" and I don't mean the kind you drive.  But why should the Hive be more into recycling than anyone else?

  Rename them Soylent Green Kitchens?

  Between the limited number of options, and being somewhat faithful to the lore, most of the better choices are gone.
  Perhaps some IMMUNITY/IMPUNITY to one or more categories or something similar could let them have bonuses in the same ones as other factions without being exactly the same.  If they can be rationalized with the lore.

  Balancing them is the goal, I wouldn't be terribly put out if that required bending logic into odd shapes.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2019, 01:07:29 PM
I was actually proud of getting away from IMMUNITY / IMPUNITY and just giving them so much POLICE that they outright repress all those problems.  The original Hive has a serious -2 ECONOMY penalty for instance.  In my mod, you just end up with that by choosing Police State and Socialist.  The original Hive had EFFICIENCY that never drops below zero.  However now I call that JUSTICE, and I sure as heck am willing to have it drop below zero!  Also buffing that up isn't going to make any noticeable difference.  The POLICE already solve the problem of people becoming unhappy due to JUSTICE and Bureaucracy.

I guess there are actually 2 questions that aren't necessarily the same:

I strongly feel like (1) is true from my playtesting.  Yet the Hive has Explore, Conquer as its research foci.  Explore is the basic stimulus for forming more cities and covering more land.

There was a time when I suspected the stock AI wanted to play the Hive and the Believers as though they had +2 SUPPORT, when in fact they did not.  I never figured out whether that was a real problem or not.  I remember versions of my mod where I thought the Hive was doing quite well.  Also the Spartans did quite well at some point.  Then they somehow became less impressive.

I thought it would be seriously funny to give the Hive a Punishment Sphere at every base.  However game mechanically it doesn't work.  It defeats the purpose of the +3 POLICE play style, and it forces the player to play with a research retarded faction.  Making Yang bad at research is also totally against his lore.

I could give the Hive a free Children's Creche.  That does fit the lore, particularly as I now give it with E2 Biogenetics.  Yang has the quote for that: "We hold life to be sacred, but we also know the foundation of life consists of a stream of codes not so different from the successive frames of a watchvid."  That said, completing your 1st Children's Creche gets a quote from Santiago.  Won't usually happen with the Hive since they would start with them, but they could capture a base and need to build one.

Giving a Children's Creche shouldn't empower the Hive the way +2 GROWTH empowered the Peacekeepers, because it's pretty much a given that you must build a Children's Creche for pop booming.  You still have to come up with +4 GROWTH from somewhere else.  That could be Socialist and a Golden Age, but Police State gives -1 ECONOMY -2 JUSTICE.  Socialist gives -1 ECONOMY +2 JUSTICE, so you're dealing with a net of -2 ECONOMY.  That's not so easy to get a Golden Age out of.

A Children's Creche also solves some of the Hive's JUSTICE problems for a human player.  You'll still get the same Bureaucracy warnings because the JUSTICE is so bad, but the actual effect won't be as severe.

The defensive MORALE bonuses, and whatever resistance to probe teams one gains, are in keeping with the defensive nature of the Hive and its lore.  I think I'm going to put this into test.  If it overpowers them, I could give them -1 MORALE.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 24, 2019, 04:52:27 PM
The hive was designed for defensive infinite city spam. In the original game you couldn't run police state planned without immunity to effic.
The social engineering  was quite unbalanced really. Democracy was frankly overpowered and everything else weak. Green wasn't much better.
Honestly I don't like the chance to "justice". I also like the old choppers.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2019, 05:56:31 PM
Well you could, you just had to get the Ascetic Virtues and crank yourself to +3 POLICE.  Yang just has a much easier time getting to +3 POLICE than anyone else.  Granted another big difference in my mod is Socialist increases your JUSTICE as you grow.  Planned economy in the original game gives you -2 EFFIC, the opposite of the growth imperative.

The term JUSTICE is here to stay.  As my design notes say in readme_mod.txt:

Quote
Planned has been renamed to Socialist.  In addition, Efficiency has been renamed to Justice.  Stopping corruption by building a Courthouse was the original play mechanic in Civ II, and that's what SMAC is based on.  I dislike the term efficiency because it begs the question, efficient at what?  How about efficient at meeting people's needs and spending on social welfare programs?  The main player visible effect upon the game, is people becoming unhappy due to the Bureaucracy penalty as one's empire gets bigger.  In addition to stopping graft, why not have this also be about social justice, about providing essentials for a burgeoning population?  SMAC's Planned economy clearly refers to socialism in the diplomatic dialogues, but it insists on a kind of socialism found in historical totalitarian Communist regimes, that is not allowed to work.  It completely ignores the experience of socialism in Western democracies when a socialist party comes to power.  I have modeled Socialist economy as something that doesn't give you anything 'except' more, happier people, and it costs money.

Bold added.  How about being efficient at deploying death squads and disappearing people?  How about being efficient at throwing corpses into a hopper to utilize their fats and other organic products?  No, I want JUSTICE.

As for Choppers, I hate their multiple attacks, and I like having Gravships as a playable integrated part of the late game.  Play with the new Gravships for awhile, then get back to me about whether Choppers are missed.  The only thing I miss about Choppers is the goofy artwork, the crazy propeller thing.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2019, 06:14:39 PM
I think I'm going to put this into test.  If it overpowers them, I could give them -1 MORALE.

Under Thinker mod this is a disaster.  Giving a faction +2 GROWTH in every city at the start of the game, what could possibly go wrong?  Thinker mod coughed up 20 cities in the time it took other leading factions to produce 10.

This points out a big problem in trying to please 2 masters.  What works ok for the stock binary, can be seriously amplified and twisted by Thinker mod.  Sometimes a middle ground can be found, such as only bumping Condensers and Thermal Boreholes 2X, not 3X.  But Thinker mod's middle ground threatens to change at any time.  One can never be sure how something will be amplified in the future.  Still, it's clear enough that a free Children's Creche is not a good idea, it's way more powerful than I expected.

I'm not going to give Yang his INDUSTRY bonus back.  I'm quite settled on that.  Firm.

The original game gave him +1 GROWTH, but is it really going to help?  I suppose it could offset the GROWTH penalties of Green and Power.  It's not what I'd call a "big whoop" for a human player though.  Well, maybe it'll help the AI and maybe that's all it has to do.  I'll test it.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 24, 2019, 06:36:46 PM
"Justice" reminds me entirely too much of "social justice" one of those nice little orwellian terms that in practice means the exact opposite of what it means in real life. "Social welfare" in reality just means oppressing people with opposing views. Or bleeding people dry to pay for government programs. It's just a term I personally dislike. "Corruption" might be a better choice but efficiency works. We can agree to disagree i suppose.

The Problem with yang is I don't know any other way to make him work. Other than the idea of giving him immunity to both police state and planned and be done with it. Then give him something like +growth or something.
Choppers are what AAA is for. Another thing you might try is making a Surface to Air Missile.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2019, 07:01:38 PM
"Justice" reminds me entirely too much of "social justice" one of those nice little orwellian terms that in practice means the exact opposite of what it means in real life.

Politics are a matter of perspective, and since I'm the modder, you get mine.   8)  I'm not going to apologize for using Socialist or Social Justice as positive words.  I'm quite aware of the contemporary alt-right pejorative "Social Justice Warrior", and I'm doing my part to act against their twisting of language.  In real life I just went to court, I had a public defender, and a jury trial.  I'm not going to get into the details of what it was about, but I'm very clear on what's at stake for poor people in the USA, and the world generally.  Need me some JUSTICE!

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"Social welfare" in reality just means oppressing people with opposing views.

I can find you instances of verbal oppression in any news media political outlet.  I don't care if you're Right, Left, or even Center.  I have a B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology, which gives me a pretty good lens with which to analyze social control.  People attempt to control you with language because they want the world to be their way.  Whether that's fair nor not, depends entirely on what you personally believe in.  Why you believe it, depends on many historical accidents of your environment and how you make your own personal decisions.  Talk to me sometime in real life about how to get your opinion across to a jury, to get them to understand your point of view.  Over a beer would be preferable; I'm generally in either Asheville or Winston-Salem, NC.

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Or bleeding people dry to pay for government programs. It's just a term I personally dislike.

Most wealthy people have very little concept of the infrastructural advantages they enjoy on the backs of others.  The basic problem of Socialist revolutions isn't the Capitalist injustice they fought against.  Their basic problem is they were revolutions, with violence, merely empowering a new goon squad that changes the terms around as to how people are going to be exploited.

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"Corruption" might be a better choice but efficiency works. We can agree to disagree i suppose.

The problem is the factor in the game is stated in the positive, not the negative.  If you got more bad stuff the higher the factor got, then indeed I could have followed the Civ II precedent and called it CORRUPTION.  But that's not how it is.  You build a Courthouse to end corruption.  What does a Courthouse give you?  JUSTICE.  Who do you go in front of, in a courthouse?  A Justice.

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Another thing you might try is making a Surface to Air Missile.

I haven't forgotten the concept, nor of making chemical SCUD missiles.  But there's enough on the plate for 1.29, with all the terraforming changes, that I'm very much willing to leave missiles to some imagined 1.30.  Would hate to run out of things to do and actually be done with the mod.   ;lol

It speaks to a general development imperative of trickling out content.  There's the reality that it takes time to actually make stuff.  Especially to test it, to make sure it doesn't suck. That's something I've done a lot for this mod, I daresay as opposed to other mods.  No mod has put the level of testing effort into it that I have, unless we're talking about mods that have been around for a very long time.  Binary Dawn is the only one whose name I've heard enough times, that could possibly rise to that level today, and I haven't played it.

If I trickle out the content, in chunks that say, "There's enough here that it's worth you downloading again," then I can command top post attention on Reddit and so forth.  I've settled on 1 month intervals for dribbling out the content.  This current instance actually arose naturally.  I got bored, then I finally tried out Thinker mod to deal with the boredom.  I saw problems, blind spots in my own play style compared to what other powergamers do.  So I've gone on a crusade against the Borehole.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 24, 2019, 08:05:53 PM
"Social Justice" just means oppressing people with views you don't like. Its not a twisting of words either.
"Social justice warriors" like to dox people ruining their lives or simply beating them over the head then
getting away with it. Its a term out of Orwells 1984.

Socialism works until you run out of other peoples money. Wealthy people create jobs. You can't make people rich by taking other peoples money.

I just mod it back to Effic honestly.

I've made the SAM missiles before. That would be a good defense against choppers.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2019, 09:14:27 PM
"Social Justice" just means oppressing people with views you don't like. Its not a twisting of words either.
"Social justice warriors" like to dox people ruining their lives or simply beating them over the head then
getting away with it. Its a term out of Orwells 1984.

"SJWs" is a pejorative term to make sweeping generalizations about people who tend to fall on the liberal end of the political spectrum.  There's no substance to claims that "SJWs are doxers".  Doesn't matter if you got doxed by a SJW once.  I've been doxed by someone who was probably just a cyberbully and didn't have any particular political agenda.  He just didn't agree with me about game design stuff in a Usenet newsgroup.  Doxing is something that people do to each other on the internet because they want power over someone else.  There is no political creed that limits the behavior.

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Socialism works until you run out of other peoples money.

Money is a social construct.  There are all kinds of ways to abuse this construct, particularly if you are the one holding the bulk of the capital.  I firmly believe that all the evils and wars in human history, arose during the Neolithic due to trade surplus.  For instance if you've got all the food and other people around you don't have it, you can enrich an elite to conquer other people and take all their land.  You can enslave them, put them in the fields, and make them produce more food for you.  This isn't ancient history either, serfdom was still going on in 19th century Russia.  It has occurred with Jim Crow in the USA, and we still see versions of this in the prison industrial complex.  Money and labor are intimately related.  If you have wealth, historically you can force other people to labor for you, and much of the time there wasn't anything even remotely fair about it.

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Wealthy people create jobs.

Wealthy people usually have it due to privileges gained by birth, not their actions.  It is very difficult to bear all the costs of material productivity oneself.  Wealthy people often take for granted the embodied material costs of objects that enrich them, such as machinery, technology, public roads and infrastructure....

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You can't make people rich by taking other peoples money.

So you're a Morganite.  There are other philosophical voices in the game:

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##Adaptive Economics
#TECH81
Humans : correct in making the leap from wealth as currency to wealth as
energy. But logic failure : wealth ultimately is extension of desire, fluctuating
with emotions and state of mind. Desires : when all are supported in purely adaptable
system, true wealth is achieved.
^
^        -- Usurper Judaa Marr
^           "Human : Nature"

In my mod it gives Socialist.  That's not an accident.

Bugs me that the quote is attributed to Conqueror Marr though.  There's nothing Socialist or adaptively economical about him at all.  He wants godhood.  He will kill anything that gets in the way of that.  That's why in my mod he does not want Socialist or Planned, he wants Power.


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I just mod it back to Effic honestly.

Doesn't trouble me.  Most people won't, and my message will get through to the vast majority of people who try my mod.

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I've made the SAM missiles before. That would be a good defense against choppers.

This mod doesn't need a defense against Choppers, it doesn't have any Choppers.   8)  What I need is a Chopper that can only shoot once or twice, not every single time it can move.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 24, 2019, 09:54:52 PM
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"SJWs" is a pejorative term to make sweeping generalizations about people who tend to fall on the liberal end of the political spectrum.
 
Its also an accurate one.

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Wealthy people usually have it due to privileges gained by birth, not their actions.  It is very difficult to bear all the costs of material productivity oneself.  Wealthy people often take for granted the embodied material costs of objects that enrich them, such as machinery, technology, public roads and infrastructure....

Most rich people get rich through hard work and effort.

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So you're a Morganite.

No what I am is not a communist. The best way to make people more prosperous is to let them help themselves.
Also given the behavior of communist regimes  that quote being from Judaa Maar is apt.


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  What I need is a Chopper that can only shoot once or twice, not every single time it can move.

lower the movement on it. Or make a SAM unit to defend against it.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2019, 10:11:51 PM
lower the movement on it.

Been there done that.  Many earlier versions of my mod had that kind of Chopper in it.  It was boring.  I never made the things.

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Or make a SAM unit to defend against it.

The stock AI never does this.  Also you don't need Air Superiority to attack an enemy Chopper on your turn.  If it's out in the open, it's sitting on the ground and vulnerable to ground attack.

If you meant "make AAA units" to defend against it, well frankly I get bored having to make a special defense unit everywhere for all the different unit types.  The real problem is an air unit that can attack 8 times in a row.

Needlejets are still in the game, you can make AAA units all you like to defend against those.  But my mod's current regime, is a Needlejet chassis is expensive.  I may have overdone it, but I wanted it to feel like you're paying a military defense contract for a freakin' Bomber, not some cheap Speeder jalopy of the skies.  The stock AI would make mountains of the damn things and fly them all over the place to almost no purpose, save for destroying your Formers.  Now the game is pretty light on bothering with planes, or at least it has been.

I probably need some "Air Corps nut" to test my mod, because I'm certainly not one.  Can't be bothered.  I'm all about the rails.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 24, 2019, 10:33:03 PM
Honestly I just want the copter in the game so I can play with it.  I usually don't get a chance to build them. :)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2019, 10:56:18 PM
In previous versions of my mod, what kept you from building Copters?  They were given with Doctrine: Air Power, I didn't believe in making them come later than a Needlejet.  This is space, not WW II followed by Korea and the Vietnam War.

In the stock game, one tended to put a Chaos gun on the end of the Copter and systematically murder all the peons on the map, such as the Believers had spewed out.  Are you familiar with this play mechanic?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 25, 2019, 02:39:47 AM
Usually my games are over by then. They also have short range and aren't especially useful on offense. Thats by far the easiest way to deal with factions like Miram's Believers. Just attack her. The AI also has the bad habit of keeping old units about just cluttering things up sometimes.

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In the stock game, one tended to put a Chaos gun on the end of the Copter and systematically murder all the peons on the map, such as the Believers had spewed out.  Are you familiar with this play mechanic?

Yes, that's why giving the AI a AAA spec to use might be nice. Or an unlimited range SAM.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 25, 2019, 03:19:41 AM
I never thought the stock AI had any problem making AAA or ECM units.  The trick is to attack wherever one or the other is missing.  Dissociative Wave comes so late that everything is resolved by then anyways.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 26, 2019, 06:17:47 AM
Giving the Believers +1 SUPPORT didn't improve the AI performance in Thinker mod.  I found that odd, but there it is.  I'm inclined to not give this buff, as it'll just make it easier for the human player, and I don't think that was a problem before.

The Hive did ok with +1 GROWTH, but it wasn't a leading faction.  I think the change is minor and therefore ok.

-1 INDUSTRY -1 SUPPORT seems to restrain the Pirates, but I don't know if both are necessary.  I feel obliged to test it more.  Maybe run some AI games to see what happens.  I could make them all Pirate games!

I've decided to change the Cult of Planet's personality to Aggressive and to have them seek to increase their PLANET rating.  +4 PLANET is actually pretty dangerous.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 26, 2019, 04:11:59 PM


I've decided to change the Cult of Planet's personality to Aggressive and to have them seek to increase their PLANET rating.  +4 PLANET is actually pretty dangerous.


    The Cult has consistently underperformed in my tests.  Making them Aggressive should step them up to the plate, and feels right for their lore.  Also agree that high PLANET rating is powerful, if used well.
   (Between the stock alphax and Yitzi's additions, I have several ways to adjust the quantity and types of affects PLANET has.  For testing, of course, I stay at or close to the stock defaults.  Later on I can play with changes to the parameters)

Giving the Believers +1 SUPPORT didn't improve the AI performance in Thinker mod.  I found that odd, but there it is.  I'm inclined to not give this buff, as it'll just make it easier for the human player, and I don't think that was a problem before.

The Hive did ok with +1 GROWTH, but it wasn't a leading faction.  I think the change is minor and therefore ok.

-1 INDUSTRY -1 SUPPORT seems to restrain the Pirates, but I don't know if both are necessary.  I feel obliged to test it more.  Maybe run some AI games to see what happens.  I could make them all Pirate games!



  I read this as: don't SUPPORT the Believers anymore, let the Hive procreate, and watch the ARRRR!!!! series on the bvanevery channel for the latest on Pirate misbehaviour.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 26, 2019, 07:30:27 PM
Heres a question. You were thinking about replacing fundamentalism with another government. If so what one?
I thought about replacing fundamentalism with a "middle tier" on the oppression scale. Something like autocratic
or "corporate."

The believers were never that strong of a faction to begin with. The +support is nice but it would depend on what else they have.
They should be a +growth faction. Be fruitful and multiply and dangerous if left alone.

The reason the pirates were aggressive was a balancing factor in itself. The Pirates AI would spam military units until it
ran out of minerals. I thought making them passive would break them. Making them passive basically turned them into
sea morganites.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 26, 2019, 11:24:34 PM
Heres a question. You were thinking about replacing fundamentalism with another government. If so what one?


I never really came up with a clear idea on that.  Game mechanics aren't the only consideration, one should also consider the original lore of the game.  Changing Free Market to Capitalist, and Planned to Socialist, is mostly a change of name and not so much of substance.  I think the idea of a Theocracy is worth having in the game, whatever it is called.  It's just difficult to see why a theocracy is any different from a police state.  A debate to be had with the Iranians, the Taliban, and ISIS I suppose.

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I thought about replacing fundamentalism with a "middle tier" on the oppression scale. Something like autocratic
or "corporate."

It's not a bad idea in principle, but my Democratic is already corporate.  It makes money.  I think that's an accurate reflection of what industrial democracies do, as compared to alternatives.  I also have Socialist government, which loses money.  Again, accurate.  Capitalist is already corporate, you don't get any JUSTICE.  So I'm not seeing where a "make mo money" political choice would fit in, as I think I've already got it covered.

One basic game mechanical difference between choosing Police State or Fundamentalist in my mod, is one screws your money, the other screws your research.  Which do you prefer?  You may prefer either at different times of the game.  I have several Undemocratic factions: the Hive, the Usurpers, and the Cult of Planet.

If I were being honest, I would call them "Police State" and "Different Kind of Police State", but that's not catchy. 

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The believers... should be a +growth faction. Be fruitful and multiply and dangerous if left alone.

I believe I tried that at one point to some degree, although it was only +1 GROWTH, not +2.  The pop booming play mechanic is already owned and dominated by the Peacekeepers.  I don't think it's a good idea to just duplicate play styles.

I arrived at a hybrid for the Believers: they are Christians who could go Democratic and sit around making money, with their new +1 ECONOMY.  They're stronger than the Morganites of the original game, although of course the Morganites were completely pathetic, so that's not saying much.  The Data Angels also got +1 ECONOMY, so the Believers are not the only faction that has gone "Morganite lite".  In the case of the Believers, I like to think of them as possibly televangelists who are worshipping the Almighty Dollar.  I don't put that into their lore though, I leave it up to the player to imagine.  I do say, "Tithings keep the Church solvent."

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The reason the pirates were aggressive was a balancing factor in itself. The Pirates AI would spam military units until it
ran out of minerals.

And it got so old.  Ship after ship after blessed ship, bothering me on my coasts!  And the AI never gets tired of this drivel, it just keeps sending the ships.  Screw that, I'm not going to be pestered into submission.

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I thought making them passive would break them. Making them passive basically turned them into
sea morganites.

They are quite a bit worse than sea Morganites.  They are the economic superpower of the game.  That's saying a lot as the Morganites get +2 ECONOMY in my mod.  Ocean "land" is that good!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 27, 2019, 12:01:01 PM
Quote
It's not a bad idea in principle, but my Democratic is already corporate.  It makes money. 

Thats not quite what i had in mind for a corporate. I don't mean a government designed to make money.
I mean a government that doesn't so much rule the state as manage it like a corporation. Something like Singapore.
Or maybe Technocracy might be a good term. A middle ground between oppressive police states and Democracy.



As far as fundamentalist government goes it depends on what your idea of a fundamentalist government is.
The USA for most of its history was essentially a protestant fundamentalist state. Perhaps instead of Fundamentalist
you could call it a traditionalist system.
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They are quite a bit worse than sea Morganites.  They are the economic superpower of the game.  That's saying a lot as the Morganites get +2 ECONOMY in my mod.  Ocean "land" is that good!

I was afraid of exactly that when you made them passive wealth seekers.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 27, 2019, 04:16:33 PM
To most people, Technocracy would imply that you do better research.  I have no interest in giving research buffs for a Politics choice.  The current game mechanics are the opposite: with Fundamentalist you can make more war, and get a little bit more social control, but at the expense of your research.  People have to wait for Knowledge and Cybernetic to get research buffs.  A Discover research focus will get you to Knowledge by midgame.

I'm not sure there is a middle ground between oppressive Police States and Democracy.  What would be a modern day example of such?  For instance, Russia.  It's simply not a Democracy, it's the Vladimir Putin state.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant and doesn't know Russian history.  A Putin state is not as bad as a Stalinist state.  It might not even be as bad as a Khruschev or Brezhnev state, but it's in a similar category of government behavior.  If you say the wrong thing about Putin, you get a grenade tossed in your apartment.

I suppose a sequence could be Democracy, Autocracy, Totalitarian.  However this interferes with game lore.  It's correct to talk about the Hive as being Totalitarian, but the narrative emphasis is about all his "Taoist ascetic woo" stuff.  Turning your mind off from the stimulus of pain and so forth.  I don't think Totalitarian as a buzzword helps that at all. 

Also, other factions do typically go Police State.  Notably the Gaians, because in the stock game they have the Efficiency to afford it.  In my mod, they do it because they're a strong research faction, Fundamentalist harms research, and they don't need a MORALE buff to make mindworms effective.  Police State is located in the Explore part of the tech tree because it makes more people "happy".  Anything that makes people happy, is "Explore" in my mod.

The Cybernetic Consciousness often goes Police State in the stock game, because they have the Efficiency to pay for it.  When I changed EFFICIENCY to JUSTICE, I lowered the Cyborgs to +1 JUSTICE.  I'm not willing to regard them as "categorically better at everything".  I think we've all watched enough Star Trek to know that a logician's world view has some limitations and downsides.  It might be logical that the individual "has to" die for the good of the many, for instance.

Mainly though, I wanted to make Domai's "Freedom Workers Party" or whatever it's called, the faction with the most JUSTICE.  And I wanted that to be at most +2.

The Gaians got demoted as well.  You can argue back and forth about whether a Green economy is more efficient, but whether it's more just for the individual, that's a "yes and no" sort of thing.  The planet is deemed more important than you are, at least in this game.  And in real life, the needs of poor people in the developing world are often pitted against environmental concerns.

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Perhaps instead of Fundamentalist you could call it a traditionalist system.

Police State, Democratic, Traditionalist wouldn't mean anything.  The political tradition of what?  In the USA, the tradition is Democratic.  In Russia, the tradition is a Police State.

I'm still stuck at Democratic, Police State, Some Other Kind Of Police State.

One of the contrasts between Police State and Fundamentalist is the latter is a bit more militaristic.  I think it's a false distinction made for game mechanical reasons.  It's like, which choice are you going to give the MORALE bonus to?  I suppose, the one that doesn't flog people as much, so not Police State.  But doesn't ISIS flog people?  So does the Taliban.  Why do people get charged up to fight, vs. being dejected and moving along at the front of a punishment batallion?  If you try to retreat, we shoot you...
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 27, 2019, 05:57:43 PM
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To most people, Technocracy would imply that you do better research.
Not necessarily, it means a government run in an efficient, scientific manner. Not that it gives better research.

Traditionalist could cover a  lot of things. But the general idea is a government system that sacrifices progress for stability.
Less repressive than a police state but more stable than a democracy. This could cover many systems but its more the attitude
behind the system thats important. Possibly a Republic, Corporate or an oligarchic system or even a neo feudal system.

Basically the idea with any of these is to make a "middle tier" something thats not as good at growth as a democracy and not as good a
police state at keeping order but can do either. Just not as well.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 27, 2019, 09:46:24 PM
Not necessarily, it means a government run in an efficient, scientific manner. Not that it gives better research.

If scientists are running the government, you're going to get better research.

If the government is going to be run "scientifically", well just whose science are you talking about?  Is this like Tobacco Lobby science or Clean Coal science?  I can see the research grant papers now: The Perils of Unionization on the Human Genome.  Yeah, uh, the Nazis had "science" for how the government and society should be organized.

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Traditionalist could cover a  lot of things. But the general idea is a government system that sacrifices progress for stability.

In SMAC, RESEARCH is the metric of "progress".  It doesn't really have a metric of stability.  It has things that make people happier or unhappier, including forced happiness.

Galactic Civilizations II had the concept of a Mercantilist government, that focuses on industrial production, not research.  Very similar to Domai and the Free Drones, who have -2 RESEARCH in the original game.  I got rid of that in my mod, and I also downgraded his INDUSTRY bonus from +2 to +1.

Game mechanically I don't need a Mercantilist government in my mod though.  You already have the Values tradeoff between Wealth, Knowledge, and Power.  Additionally, in my mod Capitalist is production oriented.  I think that's realistic.  You get more money, and you get better industry, by frying the planet.  You don't get any social justice.

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Less repressive than a police state but more stable than a democracy.

What's a modern real world example of that?  Personally I can't think of any such thing.  I can think of political parties within Democracies that want to believe in such a thing, but they do not control the polls.

In Civ II you had Monarchy.  But Civ II also deals with ancient to early modern human history.  I think it's worth noting that when WW I began, many people in the U.K. still couldn't vote!  Says a lot about who you can conscript.  SMAC is quite beyond all of that.

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Possibly a Republic,

The Civ II game mechanic of a "Republic" happens when your POLICE rating is at -3.  You can have 1 military unit per city out on campaign without getting any unrest.

I don't think trying to contrast the labels "Democratic" and "Republican" government would mean anything when trying to describe government systems.  It also risks sounding like US political parties.  Which is historically pretty goofy anyways, as the Republican party platform has completely switched since Lincoln's time.  The Southern Democrats of the 1960s also have nothing to do with the Democrats of today, they were segregationists.  The party labels have pretty much completely flipped!

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Corporate or an oligarchic system

Don't need this.  Already covered by Capitalist, Wealth, and JUSTICE.

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or even a neo feudal system.

What would it mean in a 22nd century space game?  What would it be called?  "Police State, Democratic, Feudalist / Neo-Feudalist" sounds dumb in a science fiction game.

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Basically the idea with any of these is to make a "middle tier" something thats not as good at growth as a democracy and not as good a
police state at keeping order but can do either. Just not as well.

Well game mechanically I already have that.  +1 MORALE +1 SUPPORT +1 POLICE -2 RESEARCH.  It is called "Fundamentalist" for legacy reasons of game lore.  I'm not going to mess up the lore unless I can come up with a much better, more appropriate term for "halfway between a Democracy and a Police State".

You are of course aware that referring to the Believers as "Fundamentalist" has been banished in my mod.  The AI does not have it as a compulsion anymore, and does not insist that anyone be anything.  It's the only AI faction in the game with complete free will that way.  I plan to reinstate the FANATIC attack bonus, but the Believer description text doesn't say that it's for Fanatics.  It says it comes from "the strength of their convictions".  Well I could have Mel Gibson style convictions in that movie of his, "The Patriot", couldn't I? 

Militarism and cults are things to think about when trying to find a label.

I think the term "Nationalist" has too many racial negatives associated with it, for me to want to use it in the game.  It also doesn't make all that much sense in a 22nd sci-fi game that very deliberately states the factions are separated not by nationality, but ideology.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 28, 2019, 12:51:12 AM
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If scientists are running the government, you're going to get better research.
No its bureaucrats trying to run a government in a efficient "scientific" manner. There is a difference.

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What's a modern real world example of that?

A Republic for example. Almost anything is more stable than a Democracy. Theres a reason the founding fathers wanted a Constitutional Republic and not a Democracy. Universal suffrage democracies don't work.
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I'm not going to mess up the lore unless I can come up with a much better, more appropriate term for "halfway between a Democracy and a Police State".

Fundamentalist was a relic from civ 2 I just thought it might be refreshing to change it to something else.
I'm not trying to argue with you just hopefully give you a little inspiration.
I figured Technocracy might be good because frankly it fits in the lore and its never been tried.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 28, 2019, 02:09:05 AM
No its bureaucrats trying to run a government in a efficient "scientific" manner. There is a difference.

Bureaucrats don't know jack !#$$ about science.  Nor do police officers.  They will tell you they know all about science though, to make themselves sound good.  So that they have authority, so that they can be in charge, stay in charge, and collect more money.  Same for bureaucrats and police officers.  What their behavior actually is, in the eyes of scientists who actually spend their careers dealing honestly with peer reviewed journals, is pseudoscience.  Aka witchcraft, witch hunts, and woo.  More charitably, "their biases" as to how they see the world, how they think it works.

I remember the words of my Russian fighting instructor back in Seattle, after some bureaucrat at the front desk of the gym gave him a hard time for some reason.  About the potential deadliness of things in his pockets or some such.  He said, "We must never help such people."

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A Republic for example. Almost anything is more stable than a Democracy.

Pick a real government.  A real country that has this government, whose recent political experience we can look at.  Not an idea about what could or should be.  Where is this example of a government that's "more stable", that isn't a police state, that isn't just different parties coming into power and then going away in a typical industrial democracy?  When you've got some guy running a "democracy" that has been "elected" for 20+ years, that's a police state.  May not be as nasty as a Stalinist state but it's still one.

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Universal suffrage democracies don't work.

You'd have to define what "works" means.  "I want other people to shut up" doesn't mean you have a defensible notion of what "works", it just means you want to have more power than some other group does.

Some people don't seem to appreciate that a modern democracy such as we have in the USA, is a power sharing arrangement.  Power sharing means you don't get your way all the time.  People oppose you.  Things slow down and grind to a halt.  That's by design.  The Founding Fathers knew about sharing power, that's why we have the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial branches.  This is grade school civics stuff.  We should never, ever be interested in a government where these arms of government move in unrestricted lock step with each other.  That is the road to dictatorship.   

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Fundamentalist was a relic from civ 2 I just thought it might be refreshing to change it to something else.

It's not completely a relic.  The Believers were shipped in SMAC as the poster children for the Fundamentalist way of doing business.  You and I just happen to think that a one dimensional representation of Christianity isn't interesting.  It's not even true to the game lore as portrayed in the Secret Project movies.  It's more true of the canned caricatures that pervade all of the faction diplomatic dialogue, on all kinds of subjects.

Like Santiago being a "right wing nut job" because she's pro guns and armament.  Guess what kind of news segment I heard on NPR this afternoon?  It was about with all the violence escalating in Portland Oregon, between the far left ANTIFA movement and the far right white supremacist movement, that leftists are going the shooting range and arming up.  People like the transgendered are doing things I've said was a good idea for a long time.  If you are a minority group of some kind, capable of having a hate crime perpetrated on you, you should be armed to the teeth.  Don't be even slightly afraid or apologetic about shooting someone for your own valid self-defense.  That's half of the reason the guns are available to us, that's half of our right under the Second Amendment.  So say fairly recently decided case laws in the USA.

People don't seem to understand that historically in the South, a lot of the anti-gun rhetoric was about disarming blacks.  So that lynchings would go the way that various white people thought they should go.  The South is a region where otherwise, lotsa people have guns.  It's more rural and agrarian and people shoot deer and stuff.

Anyways I got rid of Santiago's stupid dialogue on that point.  Well, the dialogue said about her.  One dimensional 1990's political drivel is not something I cherish about the game, or think important to preserve.

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I'm not trying to argue with you just hopefully give you a little inspiration.

Well if only we could think of a better word than we've come up with.  So far, nothing is good enough to replace Fundamentalist.  I'm happy to replace it with the right word, but it hasn't occurred to me what that word would be.

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I figured Technocracy might be good because frankly it fits in the lore and its never been tried.

Technocracy offers no explanation for +1 MORALE.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 28, 2019, 02:34:16 AM
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Bureaucrats don't know jack !#$$ about science.

Hence the word trying. Basically its a didfferent philosophy of government. Honestly I just thought it sounded interesting.
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Pick a real government.

A republic is a real form of government such as the USA prior to the civil war.
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You'd have to define what "works" means.

Democracy is a farce just take a look at Brexit. You can vote as many times as you want so long as you vote the right way.
Or in the USA we have the courts deciding for us what we need in our country. Like abortion.
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Well if only we could think of a better word than we've come up with.

Republic or Nationalist? Found this on google.
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Some examples of fundamentalism are; Fascism, Nazism, Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Fundamentalism is not limited to a theistic belief, but references any form of belief that mandates a strict obedience to a particular set of beliefs.
What are examples of religious fundamentalism? - Quora
https://www.quora.com/What-are-examples-of-religious-fundamentalism (https://www.quora.com/What-are-examples-of-religious-fundamentalism)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 28, 2019, 04:49:32 AM
A republic is a real form of government such as the USA prior to the civil war.

But that's not modern.  It's not terribly helpful to coming up with terms for a 22nd century space game.  Also it's not clear to me off the top of my head, how one would distinguish between a Republic and a Democracy in that era anyways.  Sounds like variations on a democratic theme.

There's also very much the risk and danger, for us old timers with long memories, of confusing the issue with the Civ II notions of a Republic vs. a Democracy.  The former is "what the Romans did", the latter is "what the USA did".  They are modeled as having increasingly strict attitudes towards warmongering, as compared to a Monarchy.  One really has to wonder, in historical and game design hindsight, what crack they were smoking about the Romans?  Those guys went out and killed people, they didn't have protesters.  I think us old timers swallowed a complete game mechanical fiction because we didn't know any better.  The real contrast is between Monarchy and Democracy.  Much like we are struggling to come up with a term for "something in the middle" right now, they invented "Republic" as a fictional halfway house.

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Democracy is a farce just take a look at Brexit. You can vote as many times as you want so long as you vote the right way.

I've heard a lot on NPR lately about British politicans "making sausage".  It's not clear to anyone at this point where their political spinners are going to land.  A few more days or even a week may provide more clarity.  There are clearly people in Parliament who are resisting the idea that the previous public vote should count.  I think that kind of resistance is inevitable when the vote was close and the consequences are high.  This is further compounded by the many "slight variations" of how they could be doing the Brexit.  It seems that different contractual things happen if they agree to stuff with the EU vs. just exit without various agreements.  And of course the possibility of calling the whole thing off.  But I'm under the impression there are at least 3, maybe even 4, major scenarios in play right now.  With who knows how much wrangling over minor scenarios.

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Or in the USA we have the courts deciding for us what we need in our country. Like abortion.

Or health care.  Trump now wants to abolish all the Obamacare stuff.  That wasn't quite his position before, but it's his position, or at least rhetoric, now.  So the Courts can change stuff, the Executive can change stuff, and the Legislature can change stuff.  One party does something, then another party gets into power and tries to sabotage the whole thing.  Look at the farce we've had in the EPA under Trump for instance.

This squabbling doesn't mean Democracy is broken though.  It means that Democracy is about squabbling.    It's frustrating, but whaddya gonna do?  Line everybody up that you don't agree with and shoot them?  That's actually what the Romans did, in the Senate.  If you dislike the opposition enough, you murder them in cold blood.

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Some examples of fundamentalism are; Fascism,

Fascism was a Civ I term.  It was not used in Civ II.  It has historically been associated with the Nazis even though Italian Fascism arose earlier and provided a model for the Nazis.  As a term, it is too strongly associated with the Nazis to be used casually or loosely.  It is not topical to SMAC, there are no space Nazis in the game.  The Fascist movement mostly got crushed in WW II, which is why we don't have additional decades of political discourse about it.  Communism of course survived and thrived for awhile, and is still going in China and some other countries, so we still talk about it.

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Fundamentalism is not limited to a theistic belief, but references any form of belief that mandates a strict obedience to a particular set of beliefs.

This idea is fine, and was always thematic to SMAC.  For instance, Lal can become a Fundamentalist about the Sacred UN Charter.  I imagine a sort of Sacred Bureaucracy where forms must be signed the right ways to retain people's "freedom".

The Cult of Planet is a cult, 'nuff said.  In my mod they've taken over the ecological niche of being horrible religious freaks.  Christianity is debatable, but these guys, they clearly throw people to mindworms.  In my mod they are not allowed to choose Democratic, it's not in them to let anyone have a choice about lovin' on the mindworms.  They're like ISIS, they'd throw people off of tall buildings to see a horde of mindworms devour them below.  I also envision them as being pretty much liars, TV evangelist types on steroids.  They can choose Capitalist, they'll turn a buck and poison Planet in the name of Cult revenues!  Compare Scientology.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 28, 2019, 05:08:45 AM
BTW a term that the Nazis used to use to describe the USA, was Plutocratic.  Fits what you were looking for earlier, very similar to Oligarchy.  I don't need that concept in my mod though, I've got it covered already.

I'm playing the game of looking for synonyms of various things and so far, nothing is leaping out.  Lotsa stuff means the same thing as Police State.  Synonyms for Authoritarian for instance are Tyrannical, Despotic, Totalitarian....

As synonyms to Fundamentalist, I've found the terms Dogmatic and Fanatical.  However nothing about such terms is exclusive of Police State.  And they're not particularly catchy terms.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 28, 2019, 12:15:59 PM
Fascism and National Socialism are two separate things by the way. National Socialism is a state where the state exists to
serve the people in it. Where Fascism is better termed as a merger of state and corporate power.

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I'm playing the game of looking for synonyms of various things and so far, nothing is leaping out.  Lotsa stuff means the same thing as Police State.  Synonyms for Authoritarian for instance are Tyrannical, Despotic, Totalitarian....

As synonyms to Fundamentalist, I've found the terms Dogmatic and Fanatical.  However nothing about such terms is exclusive of Police State.  And they're not particularly catchy terms.

Nothing really does does it? Authoritarian might be a better name for police state though. I cant think of any alternatives right now for fundamentalist. I'm off to bed. Thanks.

Before I go Theres always the term Ecclesiarchy. But its not especially catchy.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 28, 2019, 12:50:29 PM
Authoritarian might be a better name for police state though.

I believe one of the Civs used that term.  However it's not really "better" as far as SMAC's lore and history go.  We've had Police State and POLICE for 20 years.  Now the betterness of a term can be a matter of taste: I think Capitalist is better than Free Market, and Socialist is better than Planned, and that both terms are true to the original material.

Random terms that come to mind that might be interesting to make a SE choice about, but don't help with the present problem: Anarchist, Gynarchist.  There's also the somewhat obscure Syndicalist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syndicalism) movement.

The hand that will rule the world
The hand that will rule the world

It occurs to me that Militarist wouldn't be a wrong description for part of the game mechanics.  But it's not exclusive of a Police State, and doesn't explain a RESEARCH penalty.

Demagogic could be useful, but again isn't exclusive of a Police State.  It's often what a demagogue implements.

Perhaps we are forgetting the historical importance of Islamic Fundamentalism to Civ II's game design.  Civ II's Fanatics unit animations unapologetically lambasted Islamic Fundamentalists.  Arguably it was even racist, in the Civ II: Test of Time version of the game at least.  Little guys out in the sand with scimitars make that Arabic (?) trilling noise when they attack, then summarily die!   It's pretty funny to watch, they're basically cartoons of killing themselves.

The contrast was never about democracy, totalitarianism, and something in between those two.  It was about world religious movements taking on the role of government.  This was readily seen in the power vacuum that arose after the end of the Cold War, with the USA and USSR no longer exerting firm control over Radical Islamic regional interests.  2 years after SMAC gets written, we get 9/11!

So yeah, uh, you could understand SMAC's 1999 political voice as "Christians are just as bad as Muslims".  Or at least they have been in the past, and could be again in space.  Whatever.  The point is they were trying to talk about Theocracies, a term that later Civ games adopted I think.  Fundamentalist is a slightly broader term than that, able to encompass stuff that's not strictly religion.

Well I might invest a little more energy in looking for a different word. But all this research is reinforcing my stance of "a distinction without much difference" between Police State and Fundamentalist.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 28, 2019, 07:12:26 PM
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So yeah, uh, you could understand SMAC's 1999 political voice as "Christians are just as bad as Muslims".  Or at least they have been in the past, and could be again in space.  Whatever.  The point is they were trying to talk about Theocracies, a term that later Civ games adopted I think.  Fundamentalist is a slightly broader term than that, able to encompass stuff that's not strictly religion.

The only reason they had Miriam in the game is so that they could make fun of Christians and pretend we're as bad as Muslims.
Miriam is basically the church lady from saturday night live.

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The contrast was never about democracy, totalitarianism, and something in between those two.

I usually just changed it to something else entirely. Something like republic, nationalist or even autocratic. I usually ditch the research penalty as well. I usually added a plus probe to police state because it weak to begin with.
Militarist might be a good term I suppose. I also liked traditionalist. Looking to preserve order at the expense of progress while not simply opressing its people. It doesn't matter if its a republic with a religious bent or a neo-feudal system.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 28, 2019, 08:45:14 PM
Miriam is basically the church lady from saturday night live.

Her diplomatic dialogue definitely is.  She's one dimensional in that.  I think it was an earlier round of writing, before they got a "real writer" involved.  The medium also limits what can be said. They wanted all diplomatic dialogue to be partly generic and easily modded on a per faction basis.  This menas they typically only give half a sentence for saying some faction specific catch phrase or buzzword.  Factions are going to sound equally stupid when such strict limitations are imposed, with rare exceptions.  For instance I think Santiago "polishing her beloved artillery pieces" is a great line.

I think once they got a "real writer" and did the quotes and Secret Project video scripting, they gave Miriam an actually nuanced world view and complex character.  Miraim does not suck.  The Believers suck, as far as narrative goes.

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I usually just changed it to something else entirely. Something like republic, nationalist or even autocratic. I usually ditch the research penalty as well.

In trying to produce "better SMAC than SMAC", it is incumbent upon me to preserve sensibilities of the original game, and not just ditch them without very good reasons.  I did rearrange Fundamentalist, in particular I got rid of it being "that PROBE thing".  That's because I think probing is stupid, overpowered, and not critical to the lore of most factions.  What's so important about the Believers being super spies?  Seemed like a game mechanical contrivance to me, not something narratively credible.  Heck I eventually got rid of the Believers being research retards.  But the idea that you can make yourself into a research retard, I kept.

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I usually added a plus probe to police state because it weak to begin with.

I went down that road early on, making Police State into "the probe team faction" but it didn't work in the real world.  I couldn't very well buff them up with PROBE and also let them keep all their other stuff.  But I found that running a Police State without at least +2 POLICE is painful and pointless.  You don't keep people happy enough for the negatives you suffer.  So at that point I got rid of PROBE entirely, except for Thought Control.  And the AI probe teams have been mercifully quieter ever since.  I think when the AI can't jack things up to +2 or +3 PROBE, it's not as enthused about spamming probe teams.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 28, 2019, 08:49:05 PM
I also added Probe to Power in the past. It makes sense that a government concerned with power might want to keep secrets or steal others.
The only problem is Power comes a bit late.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 28, 2019, 09:29:39 PM
Version 1.28 of my mod went with +1 MORALE +1 SUPPORT +1 PROBE for Power.  Less of a cakewalk for the Spartans, but better for everyone else.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 28, 2019, 09:44:10 PM
I always viewed Probe as weak. I just gave it to Power or Police State as a freebie.
Heres a question how does the AI get immunity to probe teams or just make the cost
of subverting a city prohibitive without +Probe?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 28, 2019, 11:10:11 PM
A faction can have immunity to subversion by giving it the MINDCONTROL power.  My Believers have this.  Probe teams can still do other things to you, like steal your tech or sabotage your stuff.  It does make a difference in AI to AI combat though.  When the Believers take a city in my mod, it does not change hands again.  No rich ass probe team to come bail the city out.  If the Believers get on a roll they continue to take ground.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 28, 2019, 11:47:20 PM
Every faction I play against will have probe costs raise until the cost is very prohibitive. I was wondering if its just the AI cheating.
I don't mind it keeps the probe teams from becoming over relied on.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 28, 2019, 11:56:29 PM
In the unmodded game, the AI typically goes Fundamentalist and gains +2 PROBE to raise subversion costs to something prohibitively expensive.  If it got to +3 PROBE, you'd be unable to subvert the faction at all.

Nobody's paying big costs for subversion in my mod.  The AI simply doesn't seem to be as enthusiastic about spamming probe teams if it can't get to +2 or +3 PROBE.  I'm thankful for the respite!  I have rage quit SMAC over the AI abusing me with probe teams, more than any other thing in the game.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 29, 2019, 12:06:43 AM
It does get old and I have rage quit because of Probe spam. But usually I just kill probe teams when the AI spams them.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 29, 2019, 12:23:41 AM
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.28 to 1.29:

FACTIONS:

- Peacekeepers: removed +2 GROWTH bonus.  Being able to do a pop boom from nearly the beginning of the game is overpowered.
- Hive: added +1 GROWTH.  They were underperforming, and they have this in the original game.  It doesn't make much difference but it might help a little.
- Believers: removed MORALE bonus.  Reinstated FANATIC attack bonus.  Changed personality to Erratic.  They have been underperforming, but I haven't found a solution for it.  I tried giving them a SUPPORT bonus but oddly, it didn't help.  These changes at least give them more flavor than a "generic fighting" faction.
- Cult of Planet: changed personality to Aggressive.  Changed secondary social priority to PLANET.  I've come to understand that +4 PLANET is actually pretty dangerous on offense.  They should take more advantage.
- Spartans: changed research foci to Explore, Conquer.  In version 1.20 I switched them to Conquer only, and they've been consistently underperforming ever since.  Explore stimulates the AI to colonize better at the beginning of the game.  Now every faction but the Usurpers has it as part of their foci.  The Usurpers don't seem to need it for some reason; maybe the AI code for an ALIEN faction is diffferent?  Or maybe starting with 3 colony pods avoids problems.
- Pirates: changed description text about prototypes and ocean / trench squares.  They don't start the game with the ability to make Sea Formers, they have to learn Centauri Ecology.  They do start the game with Gun Foils and Transports because they know Doctrine: Flexibility.  Talking about "Enhancements" made me think I could build advanced enhancements like Condensers and Echelon Mirrors.  Now it says "Enhancements for OCEAN SHELF squares" and that getting to build these on OCEAN and OCEAN TRENCH squares is the point.

BASE DEFENSE:

- Intrinsic Base Defense: reduced from +50% to +25%, the same as the unmodded game.  Playtesters said that in version 1.28, bases became too difficult to crack open.  That it was painful to the point of being boring.  Several things affect base defense, and this is the easiest one to lower. 

- Perimeter Defense: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.  When it was available at the beginning of the game as a Conquer 1 tech, the AI would obsess about making them.  That limits AI expansion, as they should be making colony pods, Scouts, and perhaps a Synthmetal armor prototype.  Similar problems have been seen with the AI obsessing about Heavy Artillery, if given too early in the game.  Nowadays that's at C3 and that solved the obsession problem, so Perimeter Defense now follows suit.  This will not change the midgame AI defense, as it likes to build lots of Perimeter Defenses.  Bases will still be difficult to crack then.  However if a human player gets caught in close quarters with an AI, it allows the human player to rush and overcome them, instead of having all their early game time wasted on an unproductive war.

BUILD TECHS:

- Skunkworks: moved to C3 Applied Physics.  Making prototypes is much more difficult in this mod, and the Skunkworks is expensive.  I'd like it to be available earlier and not be tied to Industrial Automation, which has other issues.  I'd prefer it to reside in a combo Build, Conquer tech, but getting new prototypes ready has always been primarily a military concern, and I don't have an appropriate combo tech at Tier 3.

- Technology to allow 2 special abilities for a unit: moved to C4 Organic Superlubricant.  I don't want it tied to Industrial Automation, which has other issues.  I would like it to be available when Super Formers become available, and it's also a prereq for C5 Doctrine: Air Power.

- Advanced Ecological Engineering: now a B5 tech.  I need a prereq for Build techs I've moved to B6.

- Super Slider Former predefined unit: replaces Fungicidal Slider Former.  Now available with B5 Advanced Ecological Engineering.  Has both Super Former and Fungicidal Tanks abilities.

- Industrial Automation: now a B6 tech.  Set power=0 as it doesn't give Skunkworks anymore.  Supply crawlers and Thermal Boreholes are extremely powerful build facilities, easily abused by both players and AI patches.  This slows down the abuse and requires the player to think about other means of boosting their civilization's productivity.

- Sea Supply predefined unit: now has Deep Radar.

- The Longevity Vaccine: moved to E6 Eudaimonia.  I want a Secret Project to block the AIs from trading Eudaimonia, as it's the key to pop booming.  This project is more about making people happy than making money, although it can make money.

- Bio-Engineering: now a B6 tech.  Set growth=0 as it no longer gives the Longevity Vaccine.  The Genejack factory is a powerful build facility.  I want all the big minerals buffs to come later in the game.  The Robotic Assembly Plant comes next, followed by the Nessus Mining Station.

- changed various prereqs for continuity of research foci

TERRAFORMING:

- Supply Transport non-combat package: increased cost from 8 to 30.  That means an Infantry chassis Supply Crawler with a Fission reactor now costs 80 minerals.  With a Fusion reactor it's 50 minerals, the same as an Artifact.  Supply Crawlers are made very expensive to curb the abuse of working Mines with them.  A typical strategy is to make Supply Crawlers, work Mines, get lots of minerals from it, make even more Supply Crawlers, and on and on and on, in a sort of exponential cascade.  This slows it down.  A similar kind of abuse is convoying energy to one's capitol, and putting a lot of research buffs in the capitol to make one's research go crazy.  Another major use is rushing Secret Projects.  This is not much affected, as one has always been able to make expensive Supply Crawlers and get their full value when applying them to a Secret Project.  A final use is speeding up unit prototypes, particularly important in this mod because they're 3X more expensive than the stock game.  Unfortunately it is now more difficult in the Fission reactor era.  Most players will design a cheap unit that only costs 60 minerals to prototype, and the Fission Supply Crawler costs more than that.  Fortunately this problem goes away in the Fusion era.  50 minerals is a very good size for instantly completing the cheapest unit prototypes.  Alternately one can build a Skunkworks, which is now available much earlier in the game.

- Soil Enricher: reduced cost from 8 to 6.  I have always hated waiting 8 turns for something that only provides +1 food. 

- Condenser: increased cost from 12 to 24 turns and moved to B5 Advanced Ecological Engineering.   In addition to providing a lot of food in their own square, they make many squares get more rainfall.  Soil Enrichers are cheaper now, so use those first.  Getting food from a Condenser is deliberately more expense per unit of food, depending on how well or poorly you place them.  Condensers are easy to abuse in conjunction with Mines, Boreholes, and Supply Crawlers.  Furthermore an AI faction suffers almost no eco-damage for this abuse, basically getting a free ride on global warming and flooding compared to a human player.  At least one AI binary patch is abusing this to the hilt becuase it is so profitable.  These changes are designed to slow down the abuse to something that's actually playable, rather than having SMAC become an "AI builds and wins everything" game.

- Thermal Borehole: increased cost from 24 to 48 turns.  It is severely underpriced for the amount of minerals and energy it  produces with only 1 worker.  Nothing else in the game provides 12 benefits per square.  They are equivalent to building oneself a resource special that does double duty.  Some players and AI binary patches exploit this to the hilt, as it's basically the most profitable thing you can build in the game.  In addition an AI faction suffers almost no eco-damage for this abuse, basically getting a free ride on global warming and flooding compared to a human player.

- Raise/Lower Terrain: increased cost from 12 to 24.  This may force more strategy and consideration about bridging continents and raising ocean floors, without making it impossible to do.

- The Weather Paradigm: now costs 400 minerals.  It cuts terraforming speed to 2/3rds time, and it enables terraforming capabilities that otherwise take a long time to get in my mod.  Thus it is quite a valuable project and its cost has to go up.  I find that AI factions complete the project rather easily when it only costs 300, before I can do anything about it.  This gives a human player more of an opportunity to grab and finish it, if they really want to focus on a Builder game.

- Airbase: reduced cost from 10 to 6.  10 is a strange number when trying to allocate Formers, and there's no particular reason an Airbase should be more difficult than other things a player might build.  Surely not any harder than a Solar Collector or Soil Enricher.  Airbases can be important to orbital insertion combat, and they shouldn't be a drag to make.

- Echelon Mirror: raised cost from 12 to 18.  It's an obscure game feature, but surely worth as much as as an Aquifer or 3 Soil Enrichers.

- Level Terrain: reduced cost from 8 to 4.  Usually used when an Energy or Nutrient resource special appears on Rocky terrain.  It's a drag waiting for that to get done, and there's not a lot of realism in it taking so long.  Farmers have been blowing up rocks and stumps in their fields for a long time.  It permanently destroys Rocky terrain, lowering available minerals, so it does have a consequence other than its turn cost.

- Matter Editation: now increases MINERALS production in fungus.  My CHANGELOG says it was supposed to happen in version 1.27, but somehow it didn't actually happen.  That's a bug and now it's fixed.

SECRET PROJECT WEIGHTS

- The Ascetic Virtues: set ai-mil=0.  It doesn't help combat, it just makes people happy and makes cities bigger.
- The Maritime Control Center: set ai-colonize=2.  Faster Cruisers speed up the exploration of Planet.  They make it especially easy to fish supply pods out of distant oceans, or return Artifacts home from distant lands.
- The Neural Amplifier: set ai-colonize=2.  It buffs Psi combat, and that's regarded as an Explore tech.
- The Xenoempathy Dome: set ai-colonize=2.  It buffs the indigenous lifecycle, and that's regarded as an Explore tech.  It also greatly speeds up land movement in the wilderness.
- The Pholus Mutagen: set ai-fight=1 and ai-colonize=2.  It confers the same combat benefit in fungus as indigenous life forms get.  It buffs the indigenous lifecycle, and that's regarded as an Explore tech.
- The Empath Guild: set ai-infra=2.  Winning the Governorship is worth a lot of money.
- The Nano Factory: set ai-infra=1.  It allows half priced unit upgrades.
- The Dream Twister: set ai-colonize=2.  It buffs Psi combat, and that's regarded as an Explore tech.
- The Self-Aware Colony: set ai-mil=0.  It doesn't help combat, it jsut makes people happier.
- The Telepathic Matrix: set ai-fight=1.  +2 Probe is a combat capability.

The attachment limit per post is 5, and I eventually ran out of room at the top of the thread.  Consequently, this becomes the new home of version 1.29.  It was downloaded 156 times before I moved it here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 29, 2019, 02:11:34 AM
   Hurrah!  Been waiting for this release.

  Nicely documented with clear explanations of the reasoning.

  I'll postpone any conclusions on how and whether the changes are good for gameplay until I've game tested the full release a few times, but from testing the preliminary versions and reviewing the release notes, I see no problems and several potential improvements.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 29, 2019, 04:39:09 AM
          Ok, I've made my new merge of Yitzi's 35d and AI Growth 1.29.

  In the process I noticed two typos in the AIG 1.29 alphax.txt:
                              In Techs, Nonlinear Mathematics: the prereq Physic is missing the comma that should be after it.
                              In Facilities, Energy Bank: the first prereq, IndEcon has an erroneous space in the middle of it.

  Otherwise, all looks good, and I'm looking forward to working with it tonight.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 29, 2019, 07:03:03 AM
In Techs, Nonlinear Mathematics: the prereq Physic is missing the comma that should be after it.

Not present in my version of alphax.txt:
Code: [Select]
Nonlinear Mathematics,      Chaos,   4, 0, 0, 0, Physic, Subat, 000000000

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In Facilities, Energy Bank: the first prereq, IndEcon has an erroneous space in the middle of it.

Not present in my version of alphax.txt:
Code: [Select]
Energy Bank,                   8, 1, IndEcon, QuanMac,  Economy Bonus
I think you have acquired 2 merge errors.  I'm thinking your alphax.txt wouldn't even work with such errors.  Mine works.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 29, 2019, 07:46:05 AM
   The errors were in the unchanged AI Growth alphax.txt that I downloaded and was using as a stock file.

 I'll download another copy and see what it shows.
Ok, new copy was flawless.  No idea what happened to the first, but you are right, it almost certainly would have crashed the game.

  My merge (without those two flaws) is performing perfectly, so I'll call it a false alarm with no harm done except to unnecessarily bother you......my apologies.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 29, 2019, 07:54:41 AM
You aren't using something crazy old school like a Telnet terminal, are you?  I just don't know what would account for random character insertions or removals, if not a cut and paste error.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 29, 2019, 06:42:41 PM
    Notepad++ is the editor I'm using.  I know it's different from the one you prefer, but wouldn't be responsible for errors like these.

  I truely do strive to do precise, rigorous, flawless work, but stuff can happen anyway and since there is no other clear reason, I'll give up and say it's all my sloppy fault, and sorry for the bother.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 29, 2019, 08:23:15 PM
Things like Notepad++ or the SciTE that I use, are way too venerable and battle tested to believe there's any possibility of them inserting random characters.

Now if you were using an editor with goofy command sequences, like arguably a vi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vi) based editor, I'd be willing to say that the expected editing sequences are so silly, that making human errors is likely, and that's the problem.  I'm sure there's probably some dyed-in-the-wool vi aficionado out there who will cry foul for me saying so, and how dare I??? but I've never been one of those.  I've been forced to use enough vi over the years that I can hum a few bars, and know that the full editor learning curve is steep and not mere mortal friendly.  I occasionally still encounter vi editing when on a unix terminal, am suddenly using the GNU Less utility to scroll a text file, and I use the limited vi commands to make things happen.

I've got plenty of Emacs experience and am not willing to call it a goofy editor, even if it has some funky keystrokes compared to Windows based editors.  I can still do my C-k C-y drill from 25 years ago, probably.  At least it would come back quickly.

A final issue worth noting: as keyboards greatly age, like for instance my 11 year old laptops, their circuitry can be less-than-perfect and they can cause editing errors.  Have you ever looked back on your typing and thought WTF, am I going senile, did I really type that?  Depending on what it is, it may not be you.  Might be your keyboard is going senile.

Cats are also a known source of typing errors.  And unexpected victories or defeats in games of SMAC.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on March 29, 2019, 10:18:08 PM
  Good points.  Fortunately my keyboard is fairly new and clean (my days of smearing them with orange Cheeto's gunk are past).  However, creatures kibbitzing is a real danger around here.
  I've trained the two housetigers to step over the keys, but the ferrets are having none of that censorship.   They  have things to say and games to play too, thank you very much.
  I read a story in a pet afficionado forum where a guy's chinchilla ran across his keyboard and managed to neatly rename his computer in Windows.  In Chinchillaese, of course.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 30, 2019, 01:37:40 AM
The social engineering choices all seem a bit harsh. police state seems to have too many negatives. Fundamentalism isn't much better.
Planned being the only early choice for plus growth seems a bit harsh. Free market should have some growth in there.
Wealth is too strong I think. Power seems weak. Just my opinion.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 30, 2019, 06:19:17 AM
The social engineering choices all seem a bit harsh. police state seems to have too many negatives.

It really only becomes useful when you crank to +3 POLICE.  Then it's useful.  Double police effectiveness is da bomb.  The Hive can do that easily, because in my mod they start with +1 POLICE.  Others can do it if they complete the Ascetic Virtues.  That's not that hard to do if you're an Explore faction, like the Gaians.  Police State is meant to be Yang's choice, or the choice of Yang wannabes.  It's not meant to be a general purpose, all around great choice.  I've used it transitionally, like with the Gaians at the beginning of the game.

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Fundamentalism isn't much better.

I have found in numerous playtests that it's genuinely useful in exactly the configuration given.  The AI players all seem to agree with me too.  It's very popular with anyone who wants to make war.

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Planned being the only early choice for plus growth seems a bit harsh.

I don't think so.  I don't want anyone just pop booming willy nilly.  You need to remember that as much fun as you may think it is for you to do it, there's Induktio's Thinker mod AI sitting around out there that will turn the game into an unplayable mess if it's got access to stuff like that.  So anything that puts anyone on easy street, that becomes a quick golden strategy through the early to mid game, has to be nerfed and go away.  You're not supposed to be able to pop boom early, not unless you can get some serious wealth together for the other +2.  I bet it can't be done, but I'm not totally sure because I don't tend to jack my happiness through the roof at the beginning of the game either.

Also it's Socialist, not Planned.  I don't just mean that pedantically, I mean that Planned crashes your EFFICIENCY.  Socialist increases your JUSTICE.  Of course it costs you money to do that, but "-1 energy at HQ" is a meaningless penalty, so there's that threshold where it's not such a horrible choice.

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Free market should have some growth in there.

I don't think so.  It didn't have it in the original game, and being careful and specific about GROWTH is part of what SMACX AI Growth mod is about.  Originally I tried to make it about "realistic" growth, but that didn't work out game mechanically.  So I ended up with a system like the original game.  Socialist (aka Planned) and Eudaimonic make you grow.  Democratic does not make you grow, it makes you money.  Various things keep you from growing.  Most notably, throwing all your population away in Power wars.

Don't ignore the fact that I gave you +1 INDUSTRY in that new version of Capitalist.  Go make some tanks or something, don't complain to me about needing to grow.  It's the American way!  Oh and that there's no POLICE Penalty for Capitalist whatsoever.  You can kick any citizens in the teeth that you want.  Like when they're protesting about all your tanks.  Capitalist is a great, powerful choice now.  The downside / Achilles heel is Planet can get you, and a PLANET friendly faction can really stomp you.

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Wealth is too strong I think.

It's the same as the original game.

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Power seems weak. Just my opinion.

Yeah, but I don't want it to be a bonanza.  Doing Power this way is probably the most recent and least tested change in the table.  It's been this way since version 1.26.  It should work fine with the Spartans, because all they need is Fundamentalist Power to get the additional +2 MORALE.  Then all their units go Elite.  It might not be so attractive for other factions.  I needed something that would give +1 PROBE other than Thought Control and that was the logical place to do it.

To be honest, none of my recent test games have made it to a military conquest stage.  I kept testing Thinker mod AI and I kept having to restrict its minerals techs.  The games would be stupid loopy runaways with no point playing them any longer.

On the other hand, sometimes I think we convince ourselves that we need all this stuff to fight a war, when we don't.  I mean in my current test game, I'm harassing the Believers and I've got -3 MORALE.  Yes I've got powerful mindworms but I'm not even using them, they're sitting at home on defense.  I just have all these air units that were given to me and I keep blowing things up with them.

I could try testing Power with +2 MORALE and nothing else changed.  I do think the -2 GROWTH -2 JUSTICE penalties are harsh.  But, Power always had a harsh penalty of some kind or another.  -2 INDUSTRY is horrible and doesn't make any sense either.  Quick history quiz, what happened to US and Soviet industry in WW II?  That's right boys and girls, it turned them both into superpowers.  An INDUSTRY penalty is like the dumbest thing ever, from a realism standpoint.  But killing everyone?  Yep, really happened.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 30, 2019, 11:46:41 AM
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I don't think so.  It didn't have it in the original game, and being careful and specific about GROWTH is part of what SMACX AI Growth mod is about.

The original game was very anti free market. It was just as bad as its treatment of religion. Free market should be a growth alternative to planned or socialist whatever.

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Also it's Socialist, not Planned.  I don't just mean that pedantically, I mean that Planned crashes your EFFICIENCY.  Socialist increases your JUSTICE.

The thing is neither of them increase population in real life actually they decrease it.

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It's the same as the original game.
It was too strong there as well. Free market in the original game had ridiculous penalties. Wealth should be where those penalties are.
Free Market should be more balanced I was thinking some variation of +Growth +Economy with a police or support penalty.

I think the negative penalties for nearly all of the choices are too harsh. Except socialist which is very overpowered.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 30, 2019, 02:45:15 PM
Free market should be a growth alternative to planned or socialist whatever.

Why?  Industrial democracies decrease population growth rate.  I've studied UN data on this.  The basic contrast is, agricultural societies have people birthing many many children.  They want more field hands.  In industrial societies, people have more career opportunities and it takes longer to amass the skills necessary for the higher paid jobs.  Especially, women choose to do something other than get barefoot and preggers.  This is why in my mod, Democratic and Capitalist don't get you any growth rate increase at all.

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Also it's Socialist, not Planned.  I don't just mean that pedantically, I mean that Planned crashes your EFFICIENCY.  Socialist increases your JUSTICE.
The thing is neither of them increase population in real life actually they decrease it.

Don't conservatives complain about welfare state babies on racist grounds all the time?  I don't actually know if it's a substantial population effect.

The Socialist I've put in the game is an imagined Socialism, and for all I know you may be right, an increase in GROWTH may be unrealistic.  But I already know that claiming Capitalism increases GROWTH is totally unrealistic, I've seen that UN data, so...

So one ends up having to make a game mechanical decision. Some choice has to give you GROWTH.  I'm not going to make Capitalist your best favorite category that gives you all the kewl stuff and it's a one stop shop, never choose anything else again.  Any given choice has to give you advantages and disadvantages.  So in my mod "Socialist is the way you turn the GROWTH on". 

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It's the same as the original game.
It was too strong there as well. Free market in the original game had ridiculous penalties.  Wealth should be where those penalties are.

I already spread out the -5 POLICE penalities to Democratic, Knowledge, and Cybernetic, which is IMO is where they should be.  I've tested that play mechanic for a long time now and IMO it works.

Wealth gets -2 MORALE.  That's a serious penalty.  It makes your combat kinda suck.  In particular, it makes it pretty easy for mindworms to chew you up.  Capitalist Wealth is -3 PLANET -2 MORALE, basically sitting ducks for mindworms.  You try to kill some mindworm with a Scout or whatever and it's like aaack!  I just died!  Or you sprouted a Scout garrison for that population 1 city out on the frontier and a mindworm just blows it to smithereens.

If you think Wealth needs even more penalty than -2 MORALE, I'd like to hear why, and how you'd do it.  But I'll probably keep the pairing of +1 ECONOMY +1 INDUSTRY because they realistically go with one another.

I mean really, what's this rubbish about Planned / Socialist / Communist governments producing better INDUSTRY?  They don't.  They never did.  Capitalism produces better industry, it's historically obvious.

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Free Market should be more balanced I was thinking some variation of +Growth +Economy with a police or support penalty.

I'm perfectly happy with Capitalist getting the -3 PLANET penalty nowadays.  It's realistic.  I did a lot of playtesting of versions of Free Market with a nerfed PLANET penalty, only -1 or -2.  I eventually came back to the way the original game did it, as I realized that floods, getting your cities trashed by mindworm hordes, and inability to fight mindworms effectively, were important parts of the game that mitigated the strength of the choice.

Capitalist is not anti-police, there is no realism in that at all.  Democratic is anti-police, that's very realistic.  I decided that academics are also against the police.

Why would Capitalist have a SUPPORT penalty?  Capitalism is all about chucking out massive numbers of goods and services.  I have a SUPPORT penalty for Green, which is totally realistic.

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I think the negative penalties for nearly all of the choices are too harsh.

The penalties are there to make it actually a choice, not just some free gewgaw giveaway without consequences.

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Except socialist which is very overpowered.

I've found my Socialist to be completely useless in the earlier part of the game.  +2 GROWTH just isn't worth losing all possibility of getting to +2 ECONOMY.  Choosing Socialist and Eudaimonic at the same time is what's useful, as with a Children's Creche it triggers a pop boom.  Eudaimonic doesn't come until late midgame.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 30, 2019, 08:02:59 PM
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Why?  Industrial democracies decrease population growth rate.  I've studied UN data on this.

Yes and our industrial democracies are riddled with social welfare programs.
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The Socialist I've put in the game is an imagined Socialism, and for all I know you may be right, an increase in GROWTH may be unrealistic.  But I already know that claiming Capitalism increases GROWTH is totally unrealistic, I've seen that UN data, so...

Capitalism does increase growth, Giving people opportunities instead of social programs paid for with other peoples money helps economies and populations grow. Socialism works until you run out of other peoples money. It also decreases population growth. Theres UN data on that.
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I mean really, what's this rubbish about Planned / Socialist / Communist governments producing better INDUSTRY?  They don't.  They never did.
They never produced much of anything except corpses and oppression really. Or in the modern European socialist economies oppression and lack of children because no one want to pay for someone else's kids.


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Wealth gets -2 MORALE.  That's a serious penalty.  It makes your combat kinda suck.  In particular, it makes it pretty easy for mindworms to chew you up.  Capitalist Wealth is -3 PLANET -2 MORALE, basically sitting ducks for mindworms.  You try to kill some mindworm with a Scout or whatever and it's like aaack!  I just died!  Or you sprouted a Scout garrison for that population 1 city out on the frontier and a mindworm just blows it to smithereens.
Just build Trance and trained units and morale and planet minuses don't matter at all. Wealth is the go to choice for values its a no brainer.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 30, 2019, 09:05:42 PM
Capitalism does increase growth,

Provide your data, from whatever academically credible source.  When you do, I'll provide the UN data I used.  It's on the UN website and wasn't difficult to find 15 years ago.  Bet it's still pretty much right there.

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Giving people opportunities instead of social programs paid for with other peoples money helps economies and populations grow.

Do not conflate populations and economies.  GROWTH means that more people get born.  The longstanding trend of the UN data is that industrialization decreases population growth rate.  Sure wealth goes up, that's the point.  Less people, delaying births, working on careers to get paid more money, longer and longer times in education for those careers, and machines to do work, means more wealth per capita.

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Just build Trance

Trance isn't a free lunch in my mod.  Have you noticed?  Every unit is more expensive if you put Trance on it.  Yeah you can "just build" Trance, but aside from the almighty Trance Scout (which I do use heavily), you will be paying something for your pursuit of WEALTH.  Having Trance Scouts everywhere isn't a free lunch either, because it's a weak unit that costs SUPPORT.  Tradeoffs tradeoffs tradeoffs.

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and trained units

Building Command Centers is a cost.  If you only build them in a few "military unit spewing cities", you still have to walk those units to other places in your empire.  If you want to move everyone quickly by rails, well building rails takes awhile, that's a cost.

If you're talking about the High Morale ability, it's substantially more expensive in my mod.  It costs 2, meaning it's a 50% increase in a unit's cost.  I never use it.  I hardly ever used it in the original game when it only cost 1.  I increased the cost so that players won't have any easy way to override the rigid weapons = armor progression.  You wanna have a big offensive advantage?  You're going to have to research a lot of Conquer, there's no easy way to get a weapons advantage.

Except mindworms.   ;hippy  They do require a commitment to something other than Capitalist though.  Capitalist mindworms pretty much suck!  They can be used to pop pods, as they won't get attacked after they do it.  But they can't kill whatever comes out of a pod, they'll die if they try.

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planet minuses don't matter at all.

You don't consider global flooding to be a problem??!  Haven't you played games where you were trying to get other things done, and every turn it's mindworms, mindworms, mindworms, pop, pop, pop?  Then you look at your SE and think, hmm, maybe my Free Market / Capitalist is out of control.  So you switch to something less polluting, which is a cost.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on March 31, 2019, 08:22:33 AM
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Provide your data,
Look in a history book of the USA. Before the current cleptocracy. Or for that matter of Europe when they actually had healthy economies. The EU is the EUSSR. The UN also says that climate change is a problem. The UN is a joke.


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Do not conflate populations and economies.  GROWTH means that more people get born.  The longstanding trend of the UN data is that industrialization decreases population growth rate.  Sure wealth goes up, that's the point.  Less people, delaying births, working on careers to get paid more money, longer and longer times in education for those careers, and machines to do work, means more wealth per capita.
It's not industrialization that is tanking out societies growth rate it's how poisonous our whole society is. Socialist governments do not provide growth.
Freedom and having opportunities provide it.  And you can't make everyone equal nor should we want to. Things are so depressing and miserable that no one wants to raise kids just so they can be tax cattle.


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Except mindworms.   ;hippy  They do require a commitment to something other than Capitalist though.  Capitalist mindworms pretty much suck!  They can be used to pop pods, as they won't get attacked after they do it.  But they can't kill whatever comes out of a pod, they'll die if they try.
Mindworms are dirt cheap and yes you can use them with negative planet ratings. Especially with a monolith and a wonder or two. It's not hard to defend yourself against them either. I've never had any difficulties in doing so. Normally all I lose is some former and then I just build another.
The only problem with mindworms is same as infantry units they were slow but thanks to the early magtubes in your mod this means nothing.
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You don't consider global flooding to be a problem??!

I've only had it happen in a handful of my games. I spam build forests and rivers maybe a condensor or echlon mirror.
Every once in awhile I build a thermal borehole for my HQ but thats it. It's almost never an issue.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 31, 2019, 02:56:29 PM
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Provide your data,
Look in a history book of the USA.

No no no, when a self-identifying Scientific Skeptic says provide your data, he means go find a specific book, article, whatever, that proves exactly what you are saying.  Give the actual page number of the material.  Then I will read it, assuming it's publicly available and doesn't cost me money.  Don't ask me to go on some wild goose chase to do your research.  I'm not trying to be obnoxious here, and I respect your intelligence, but telling me to go look at history books is not providing the data.  I've already researched lots of stuff, I already have my own ideas and opinions formed from the hard data I've looked at.  I wrote a game mod influenced by it, it even became part of the title.  I don't need a whole 'nother "general" contemplation of various materials, I did that already and concluded what I concluded.

I'll go actually dig up the UN data and present it, since I suspect it'll still be easy to find.  Once upon a time when working on my erstwhile Ocean Mars project, I used that data to calculate we have about 500 years until Earth fills up to the density of Singapore and Hong Kong today.

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It's not industrialization that is tanking out societies growth rate it's how poisonous our whole society is.

This isn't data.  This is an idea about causality.  I will admit, I do not have as much information on the causalities of industrialized societies having a provable decreasing growth rate. 

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Mindworms are dirt cheap

I did cheapen them in my mod.

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and yes you can use them with negative planet ratings. Especially with a monolith

Guess I'll have to see if Pre-Boil to Boil is some kind of threshold of mindworm strength where they start being able to kill other mindworms, despite a -3 PLANET rating with a -30% Psi combat penalty.  Pre-Boil mindworms definitely couldn't do jack out in the hinterland.

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and a wonder or two.

It'll take until midgame to get the Xenoempathy Dome or the Pholus Mutagen.  If it takes that long to become "usable" under Capitalist, then I'd say -3 PLANET is doing its job.

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It's not hard to defend yourself against them either. I've never had any difficulties in doing so. Normally all I lose is some former and then I just build another.

You're a human player.  Consider whether the AI can defend itself.  I find when it has -3 PLANET and builds normal units, no it cannot!  But when it builds Trance units, yes it can.

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The only problem with mindworms is same as infantry units they were slow but thanks to the early magtubes in your mod this means nothing.

It means a lot less.  It can still take time to build a mag tube.  Time which you may not have for other reasons.  Like in the current Thinker mod test game I've been writing up, I haven't had time to make enough Formers to build anywhere near the number of mag tubes I'm used to.  The Data Angels are hurling themselves too far and fast into the future.

And even with early mag tubes, I find in practice it takes me until midgame to completely connect my empire internally with mag tube lines everywhere.  Formers gotta work terrain to improve it as well, and cities need to manufacture lots of things other than Formers early on.

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You don't consider global flooding to be a problem??!

I've only had it happen in a handful of my games. I spam build forests and rivers maybe a condensor or echlon mirror.
Every once in awhile I build a thermal borehole for my HQ but thats it. It's almost never an issue.

I avoid building Mines for a long time because if I build them when I'd actually want them, fungus pops everywhere and the Mines get destroyed.  Then the global flooding comes, destroying all my hand terraformed squares!  I don't even think about Mines until after I've built Hybrid Forests.  Well, maybe the Pholus Mutagen gives one more wiggle room, I'm never quite sure of the threshold.  But in a Thinker mod test game, I'm not guaranteed to get that.  In my current test game, somehow I managed it, but I'm pretty sure the leading faction started on it before I did.  Anyways as the Gaians, I had a justification for building Centauri Preserves, so I actually haven't done many Hybrid Forests this game yet.  Many bases made it to size 16 without them.  I'm Green and only have slight pollution in a few places so far.  Only just beginning to build Genejack Factories en masse.  If I was trying to do all of this under Capitalist with -3 PLANET it would probably be POP, POP, POP, FLOOD.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 31, 2019, 03:09:54 PM
Web searching for "United Nations population growth" found me the UN population data (https://population.un.org/wpp/) instantly.  I figured they probably weren't going to get out of the business of talking about how much people give birth.  They've reorganized a lot of stuff since I last looked at it ~15 years or so ago.  I'm not super familiar with some of the terms they're using, like what "Total Fertility" exactly means, for instance.  But it probably means what I think it does, based on the shape of the graph, which I'm definitely familiar with in looking at industrial societies.

Total Fertility in the United States of America
Total Fertility in the United States of America

So here we have in the USA, people stop spewing babies.  There's a ripple, and one might wonder what the small upswing is about.  But clearly, people don't do it like they did when they were all farmers.

Actually I am now remembering, Total Fertility Rate (TFR) must be what I knew as the Growth Rate when I did my research before.  Because it's 2.1%.  That's this magic threshold that countries fall to when they industrialize.  My planetary population projections were based on all countries eventually dropping to this rate, like in the next 50 to 100 years IIRC.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 01, 2019, 01:05:54 AM
I had some further thoughts on "difficult to crack bases".

The extreme difficulty of getting into these bases with Hovertank units, just because of one ECM defender, makes me revisit Tim Nevolin's idea of dropping the ECM buff to +25% defense.  He also did that with Trance units, although I have less of an opinion on that at this time.  I think the balance of power still favors Psi attacks, even if I haven't been able to utilize them presently.  Finally there's the question of AAA defense.  Maybe overpowered.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 01, 2019, 08:30:57 AM
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So here we have in the USA, people stop spewing babies.  There's a ripple, and one might wonder what the small upswing is about.  But clearly, people don't do it like they did when they were all farmers.

Of course they don't because no one has any hope for the future. It's not the industrialization is the death of our culture.
When people have hope they have more kids when they don't feel secure they don't have kids.
Industrialization actually increased population growth in the industrial revolution.
In any case I think we can agree to disagree.

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https://core-econ.org/the-economy/book/text/02.html
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https://core-econ.org/the-economy/book/text/02.html#subheadline
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Guess I'll have to see if Pre-Boil to Boil is some kind of threshold of mindworm strength where they start being able to kill other mindworms, despite a -3 PLANET rating with a -30% Psi combat penalty.  Pre-Boil mindworms definitely couldn't do jack out in the hinterland.

Theres a strategy out there called the "Morgnaite mean green machine" I found once. You simply spam mindworms and eat the penalty. With a monolith, Biology lab, brood pit and maybe a wonder or two your mindworms start at decent level. Thenyou either eat the penalty or switch from free market and drown people in mindworms. I did this type of thing in an earlier version of your mod I think and it worked.
Just keep some conventional military units about just in case. The normal AI doesn't build trance units that much I don't think.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 01, 2019, 09:33:04 AM
It's not the industrialization is the death of our culture.

I'm pretty sure the data is repeating in all countries that are industrializing, not just USA culture.  To that point, I happened to look at graphs of India and China.  They show the same trends.  China's trend is more severe I think because of the One Child Policy.  Still broadly speaking the same trend though.

You can look up African countries and you will see the same trends.  You are going to have a hard time demonstrating any different trend anywhere.  The UN data is very thorough.

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Industrialization actually increased population growth in the industrial revolution.

I haven't studied that subject much, but my limited understanding is that Sewer Systems were the biggest single reason for population growth.  Just getting rid of that basic vector of disease.  To what extent is urban planning an industrial undertaking?  Probably people have written dissertations on that.

Textbook commentary when I have time.  4:30 AM here.

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Theres a strategy out there called the "Morgnaite mean green machine" I found once. You simply spam mindworms and eat the penalty.

Why Morgan, unless you are rushing mindworms with money?  "Wealth" choice doesn't require Morgan in any way, and that's what gives you +INDUSTRY.  Planned gives +INDUSTRY and Morgan can't use it.

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With a monolith, Biology lab, brood pit and maybe a wonder or two your mindworms start at decent level. Thenyou either eat the penalty or switch from free market and drown people in mindworms. I did this type of thing in an earlier version of your mod I think and it worked.

Is the point to use Morgan to get the needed techs faster?  Why not the University?

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The normal AI doesn't build trance units that much I don't think.

I've seen them "here and there".  I'm done with Thinker mod for a long time, I think. 
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 01, 2019, 04:15:08 PM
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I haven't studied that subject much, but my limited understanding is that Sewer Systems were the biggest single reason for population growth.  Just getting rid of that basic vector of disease.  To what extent is urban planning an industrial undertaking?  Probably people have written dissertations on that.

Textbook commentary when I have time.  4:30 AM here.

Most cities were so small they didn't really need sewer systems in the past.  The population increased first then the sewer systems were invented as I recall.
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Why Morgan, unless you are rushing mindworms with money?  "Wealth" choice doesn't require Morgan in any way, and that's what gives you +INDUSTRY.  Planned gives +INDUSTRY and Morgan can't use it

The reason its used with Morgan is because you can honestly. You don't need to rush mindworms with money. Spammed forests with a tree farm and rivers makes for a very powerful city. Even a normally terraformed  city works pretty well. Morgan is a builder and a dangerous one if left alone. Just rush buildings if you have to. In your mod he's probably the most powerful out of the factions. You cant use planned (thats one reason a growth alternative would be nice.) but you can use Green if you have too. Other factions like the University might be better at tech and can get them faster but they aren't as good at building.
Just like the base free Drones are just disgusting if played right. You don't even notice the research penalty. The reason they cant use Green is if they could they would be stupidly overpowered.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: dino on April 01, 2019, 05:54:03 PM
> So here we have in the USA, people stop spewing babies.  There's a ripple, and one might wonder what the small upswing is about.  But clearly, people don't do it like they did when they were all farmers.

Contraception, legalised abortion, feminism.
Women in their 20s are showered with money, dik and attention by thirsty men and  government. They believe they'll conquer the world, make a career and they will not let a baby ruin their life.
In their 30s all above rapidly vanish, fertility decreases each year, so it's the last moment to have a family, but even then 2 children is enough, more would be too much work.
Since they get around to start a family so late, many don't have enough time to get even these 2 babies, so fertility is slightly below replacement.

In partiarchal traditional societies women in their 20s can't fook around, but marry a man in his 30s, who wants and have means to provide for a family.
So they start this baby making bussiness almost decade earlier than western women. I don't say women don't have right to not have babies mind you, I just describe the end result.
Patriarchal society like Islam, that doesn't empower women have all the babies and will replace western societes demographically. Thankfully we won't live long enough to see that.

***
Back to the in game social policies:
If some country with regulated economy like China set a goal to produce babies, it could tax into oblivion, or sent to goolag people who don't do baby quotas.
So, I'd say planned and fundamentalist/traditional should have GROWTH bonus. Not free market, or democracy.
Democracy could be understood as "free society", as opposed to police state and fundamentalism and have efficiency and science bonus.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 01, 2019, 06:13:17 PM
In your mod he's probably the most powerful out of the factions.

I'm pretty sure that honor goes to the Pirates, but economically, Morgan is clearly #2 after that.  Militarily, my jury is out.  I don't know who is strongest anymore.  The Spartans got their Explore stimulus back for 1.29, so we'll see how they do.  And the Cult of Planet became Aggressive, so can they terrorize with +4 PLANET mindworms?

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You cant use planned (thats one reason a growth alternative would be nice.)

Morgan's rich.  He can afford to put people into a Golden Age to get that last +2 GROWTH.

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Other factions like the University might be better at tech and can get them faster but they aren't as good at building.

Morgan is good at money, not production, which is why I don't understand favoring him for chucking out units.  If you want a production advantage, the only actual choice in my mod is Domai with his +1 INDUSTRY.

Now of course in my mod, in recent versions, Capitalist is good at production.  So maybe you're right about Morgan now.   ;morganercise  Historically though, why chuck units with Morgan?  Doesn't make sense, he was the worst faction in the game for that.

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Just like the base free Drones are just disgusting if played right. You don't even notice the research penalty. The reason they cant use Green is if they could they would be stupidly overpowered.

Hm, my Free Drones can use Green, but of course they only get +1 INDUSTRY.  And no other faction gets an INDUSTRY bonus at all.  Most notably, Yang's was taken away.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 01, 2019, 06:29:57 PM
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Contraception, legalised abortion, feminism.
Pretty much. Modern society is what tanks growth. Fundamentalist/traditionalist societies should have a growth bonus.

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Morgan is good at money, not production, which is why I don't understand favoring him for chucking out units.  If you want a production advantage, the only actual choice in my mod is Domai with his +1 INDUSTRYNow of course in my mod, in recent versions, Capitalist is good at production.  So maybe you're right about Morgan now.   ;morganercise  Historically though, why chuck units with Morgan?  Doesn't make sense, he was the worst faction in the game for that.
You don't need to have a +industry to be good at industry. Domi is simply better at it. All it takes is good terraforming and good planning.
Any faction can be turned into a builder faction if done right. Just because a faction is good at money doesn't mean
you cant warmonger with him. Or that you shouldn't. You don't have to play passive with a economic faction. Also bear in mind you can ride the economy penalties of police state with the Morganites. He was the worst at chucking military units not anymore though he has no support penalties anymore. Also mindworms in fungus cost no support.
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Hm, my Free Drones can use Green, but of course they only get +1 INDUSTRY.  And no other faction gets an INDUSTRY bonus at all.  Most notably, Yang's was taken away.
Base Drones were weak if played by the AI but absolutely disgusting in the hands of a human player. Your mod is a bit weaker but has -2 drones which is nice. Basically the way to play the Drones is this. Big industry build lots of bases. Bases build lots of stuff. Big industry equals big army. Big army wins game. And it really is that simple.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 01, 2019, 06:37:48 PM
So they start this baby making bussiness almost decade earlier than western women. I don't say women don't have right to not have babies mind you, I just describe the end result.

I'll provisionally buy your analysis without a lot of inspection or nuance on my part.  I'm sure someone more invested would find some point to quibble with.

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Patriarchal society like Islam, that doesn't empower women have all the babies and will replace western societes demographically. Thankfully we won't live long enough to see that.

No it won't.  This is what data and observational science are good for, as opposed to arm chair opinion making.  It's not about "our values", or it's insufficiently so.  Saudi Arabia (https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs/Probabilistic/FERT/TOT/) doesn't have a lot of our values:

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia

People tend to forget that Indonesia (https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs/Probabilistic/FERT/TOT/) is the most populous Muslim country.  They have the same decline in birth rate as everyone else:

Indonesia
Indonesia

Frankly I doubt there is any country in the UN data, that exhibits anything other than this curve.  You're free to poke through all of them and see what you can find.  But data is data, it's not your opinion about what you "think" is going on.  We aren't up to our ass in Muslims no matter how many racist people say so.

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So, I'd say planned and fundamentalist/traditional should have GROWTH bonus. Not free market, or democracy.

I actually did go down the "be fruitful and multiply" design path at an earlier stage of my modding.  For some reason I didn't think it was working.  I remember trying to empower the Believers as the "pop booming" faction, and it just didn't seem to work out.  Then I remember feeling that I couldn't just pile lots of bonuses into Fundamentalist, I can't have a "giveaway" choice where you get everything and have no liabilities.  I was specifically working against the self-imposed constraint of "3 benefits, 2 liabilities" at the time.

I have subsequently abandoned that constraint in favor of a more qualitative appraisal of what different buffs and debuffs are worth.  They are not all created equal IMO.  In particular, I decided that +1 ECONOMY and +2 EFFIC / JUSTICE are roughly equal in power.  I thought +2 GROWTH was as well, but now I've come to see it can have skewing effects on early game pop booming.  In 1.29 I nerfed Lal, he lost his +2 GROWTH factional advantage.  Last test game I played he did fine anyways.  Granted it was a Thinker mod game.  I don't think I've tested him with stock binary, but I'm not that worried for him.

I can revisit the question of Believer pop booming, but first I need to see some playtesting of them.  It's been a struggle for me to figure out a pro-Christian or at least neutral Christian game mechanical role for them.  The religious wack job role, that's been taken over by the Cult of Planet, even down to being Aggressive now.  I don't think we need to belabor that throwing people to mindworms is bad, m'kay?

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Democracy could be understood as "free society", as opposed to police state and fundamentalism and have efficiency and science bonus.

I'm not going to give people a RESEARCH bonus at the very beginning of the game.  You have to work for it and gain Knowledge.  Even then, you only gain +1.  But you only have to take -1 POLICE to get it, so it's a tradeoff that way.

Democratic in my mod gives +1 ECONOMY.  You can plow that extra energy into your Labs budget if you like, and also take the consequences of not being able to use police.

Democratic in my mod already does give a mild +1 JUSTICE bonus.  Socialist gives more JUSTICE, +2.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 01, 2019, 06:49:59 PM
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No it won't.  This is what data and observational science are good for, as opposed to arm chair opinion making.  It's not about "our values", or it's insufficiently so.  Saudi Arabia doesn't have a lot of our values:

You do realize how bad the muslim invasion of Europe is don't you? Europe will be minority European by 2050.
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I actually did go down the "be fruitful and multiply" design path at an earlier stage of my modding.  For some reason I didn't think it was working.  I remember trying to empower the Believers as the "pop booming" faction, and it just didn't seem to work out.  Then I remember feeling that I couldn't just pile lots of bonuses into Fundamentalist, I can't have a "giveaway" choice where you get everything and have no liabilities.  I was specifically working against the self-imposed constraint of "3 benefits, 2 liabilities" at the time.

I'd just ditch the +Support or +Police for a +Growth. Fundamentalist societies aren't always repressive or warmongering.
The morale bonus could also get replaced by a +Growth but it seems apt.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: dino on April 01, 2019, 07:40:28 PM
Globalisation. Developed muslim countries are rapidly westernising and Islamists are loosing a grip over these societes, especially among younger generation.
Meanwhile, no go zones in western Europe have 2-3 times higher ferility than local population. Islamic populations in western countries tend to radicalise and originate from poor countries.

Generally if you give people freedom to not have babies, they don't want more than 2, and some will fail at that, or don't want any.
In the past people didn't have an option and only level of prosperity and development determined how many could survive.
The only way to force a free society that can control conception to have more babies, is to take freedom of choice away by cultural indoctrination/ societal pressure, or stright up enslavement by goverment.
The second one was never tried, but since China is one of the most hit by fertility crysis, some officials started talking about introducing baby quotas already, it'll be interesting to see how it'll work.

My society bonuses were meant as a part of an interesting offtopic discussion, what I'd give if my goal was to simulate reality, not as an argument for doing it in your mod.
But you are vastly overestimating research bonus, it's one of the weakest bonuses, first at the beginning it applies only to like 40% of energy output, second tech cost grow exponentially, so flat 20% research bonus doesn't translate to much advantage in actually researched techs, +1 industry easily outweights +2 research for example.

> Europe will be minority European by 2050.

No, but 2100 ? possibly. We are safe, our grand-grandchildren may have to convert.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 01, 2019, 08:07:35 PM
You do realize how bad the muslim invasion of Europe is don't you? Europe will be minority European by 2050.

It's basically driven by war in Syria.  Secondarily, a lot of economic migration under the guise of being refugees.  Separating the two isn't easy.  We have similar phenomena in the USA with Hispanics coming up from various countries.  There really are some violent, failed states down there that are threatening people's lives.  Like El Salvador is run by the gang MS-13 mostly, for instance.  Venezuela is in shambles although I don't know if anyone's coming up our way because of that.

The bigger picture point is, none of this stuff is because of population growth rate.  All of these embattled countries show pretty much the same declining fertility curve we see in all the other countries of the world.  For instance, Syria (https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs/Probabilistic/FERT/TOT/).  There's something bigger than people's culture or religion going on here.  It's probably all global economics and advances in medicine.  Some countries are just at earlier stages of being dragged forwards into the future than we are.

Syrian Arab Republic
Syrian Arab Republic

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I'd just ditch the +Support or +Police for a +Growth.

+1 GROWTH isn't interesting or all that helpful compared to the other benefits as they currently are.  +2 GROWTH has some serious early game pop booming problems that need to be thought about.

Remember that no faction has a SUPPORT bonus in my mod.  They have to get SUPPORT from somewhere if they want it.

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Fundamentalist societies aren't always repressive or warmongering.

I dunno, name a real one, modern day, that isn't.  The one that first springs to mind is Saudi Arabia.  They may be getting a little better but they still do beheadings and hand choppings over there.  If you're a journalist and say the wrong things, the Crown Prince has you killed!

I think we are back to arguing / struggling over "a label that isn't negative".  When there are definitely many examples of societies out there that are negative.  Iran is Fundamentalist.  When any of the progressive reform minded elements get uppity, the police start smacking them around.  Maybe killing them too, I get tired of following Iranian politics.

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The morale bonus could also get replaced by a +Growth but it seems apt.

I'm quite sure that the MORALE bonus is the reason AI factions choose Fundamentalist.  When they have the freedom to do so: Yang is compulsively Police State, and Lal is compulsively Democratic.  I don't actually have a faction that "cannot use Fundamentalist".  The typical prohibitions are cannot use Democratic or cannot use Police State.

What's Santiago going to do?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 01, 2019, 08:31:20 PM
Meanwhile, no go zones in western Europe have 2-3 times higher ferility than local population.

That's completely credible to me.  As is the ease with which you can get an AK-47 in Brussels in a few hours if you have the money.  European attitudes about gun control are a joke.  The proverbial ostrich sticking the head in the sand, even though ostriches don't actually do that.  The guns mostly come from Serbia and are smuggled in small quantities that no police force is ever going to be able to seize a large shipment of.  The guns are easily sold in the no go zones and if someone wants to do violence with a gun, they can and will.  Europe may have less murders overall but the level of non-murderous violent crime is higher.  It's all a herd mentality.  The herd overall does better, but the herd doesn't care if you are the victim.

This is why "God given right to keep and bear arms" and "Right wing lunatic" are out of the game, in my mod.  I'm a political independent.  I'm not a NRA member but I do understand why they exist.  I think they are well funded and don't personally need my help.  Meanwhile there are leftists in Portland finding a need to arm up, because they stand good chance of being victimized by the white supremacists.  Guns are an equalizer!

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Islamic populations in western countries tend to radicalise and originate from poor countries.

The question is whether it's here to stay or will be a passing fad, in decades to come.  The biggest strategic problem is the military industrial complex which likes to make the wars in the Middle East, over the flow of oil, but also just for the lucrative military contracts.  The systemic violence causes people to flee the region, for Europe.  Dependency Theory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependency_theory) is one possible explanation of why this is happening.  That rich countries have no interest in developing the Third World, rather they have every interest in keeping it poor and extracting resources for First World countries.  Blowing stuff up is lucrative, so need a battleground somewhere to do it!

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China is one of the most hit by fertility crysis,

What's the crisis?  Fear that the young won't be interested in supporting the old?  They could watch Logan's Run for inspiration, har har har!

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But you are vastly overestimating research bonus, it's one of the weakest bonuses, first at the beginning it applies only to like 40% of energy output, second tech cost grow exponentially, so flat 20% research bonus doesn't translate to much advantage in actually researched techs, +1 industry easily outweights +2 research for example.

I have noticed that AI factions that go Fundamentalist, do actually stagnate on tech.  Of course as you say there are multiple factors that determine final research rate.  Fundamentalist doesn't give an ECONOMY bonus, and in my mod it never will.

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No, but 2100 ? possibly. We are safe, our grand-grandchildren may have to convert.

Newsflash, y'all gonna be atheist.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 01, 2019, 08:55:41 PM
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I dunno, name a real one, modern day, that isn't.

The USA prior to the civil war or the 1960s. Yes I consider the last 200 years "modern" by the way. The USA was essentially
a protestant  traditionalist republic prior to Lincoln and the cultural revolution of the 1960's.
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The question is whether it's here to stay or will be a passing fad, in decades to come.
There won't be a Europe by 2050. It will be a European Caliphate and the former inhabitants will either leave or die.
You cant have a welfare society with third world populations or open borders.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 01, 2019, 09:37:06 PM
The USA prior to the civil war or the 1960s.  Yes I consider the last 200 years "modern" by the way.

That's not a useful term for talking about the past 200 years though.  Modernism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism#The_beginnings_in_the_late_nineteenth_century) refers to the late 19th century onwards.  At some point we've become Postmodernist or Contemporary.

Lots of things have changed since the US civil war.  Not the least of which is slavery.  Slavery was darned oppressive to the slaves, and Westward Expansion to the indigenous peoples.  Definitely worth at least +1 POLICE.   :whip:

Graph says US fertility rate peaked in 1960 and then started going down.  Didn't The Pill happen then?  And plenty of other things.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 01, 2019, 11:15:06 PM
So the problem I see with GROWTH, Fundamentalist, and Socialist, is I do not need two early SE choices that give +2 GROWTH.  I'm totally unwilling to give away a pop boom that early in the game.  In my mod Politics and Economics choices are Tier 2 techs.  You get those options fairly quickly in the early game.  They are readily traded by all factions, as no Secret Projects are blocking them from being traded.  This is by design.  I had them "all blocked up" with SPs at one point, and moved to Tier 3.  It turned out to be a serious player usability mistake, and I had to rescind in the next version of my mod.

I do not want a total of +3 GROWTH to be available in the early SE table either.  In 1.29 Yang got his faction's inherent +1 GROWTH bonus back.  If he can pick up another +3 somewhere, then he's got an early pop boom.

So if I'm determined to have only +2 GROWTH available in the early game choices, where am I going to put it?

If Socialist isn't about seriously kicking your GROWTH up, then what's it going to be about?  JUSTICE isn't much reason by itself to choose it.  I suppose some of you might say "well go back to it being about +INDUSTRY, like in the original game."  But then what's Capitalist going to be about?  And from a realism standpoint, why exactly does Socialist improve your INDUSTRY?  I say it doesn't.

And what about Lal?  His AI is always going to chose Democratic, never Fundamentalist.  His strategy is to grow.  He has a GROWTH imperative as his secondary compulsion.  (I'm a little unclear from another thread on whether such secondary compulsions are bugged.  I will see what I can observe in games.)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 02, 2019, 12:08:46 AM
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https://core-econ.org/the-economy/book/text/02.html
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https://core-econ.org/the-economy/book/text/02.html#subheadline

Ok, I think I see why you use terms like "industrialization" and "capitalist" as you do, and think they have various implications.  There are some ways in which we are both right.

It might be sloppy of me to use the term "Industrialization".  It refers to a specific historical period.  Much as I said it was inaccurate of you to use the term "Modernism" to describe things 200 years ago.  It's more recent than that.  I will simply refrain from using the term Industrialization in order to prevent any further confusion.

What is SMAC about?  SMAC is about the futureAll of what has happened in our present day, has already happened by the time of the game.  Technically things since the late 1990s may not have happened in SMAC's vision of the future, because the original game authors may not have anticipated them.  But I think we can safely contemplate what visions of Free Market, Planned, and Green meant to them.

Free Market is the kind of economy that Industrial Democracies practice today.  And were practicing 20 years ago.  And will still be practicing 20 years from now.  Farther than that, I'm not sure, but nothing's going anywhere in 20 years I think.  Free Market is the baseline of what we are used to.  We make money.  We ravage the planet of its resources fairly irresponsibly.  I think the POLICE stuff was goofy, I got rid of it.

Free Market is not about what people were doing in the 19th century.  Not in a sci-fi game starting in 2100.  These colonists did not get chucked back to the Stone Age to start everything all over again.  This is not Civ II.  19th century versions of a free market economy simply aren't relevant.  I've changed the term to Capitalist in my mod.  I'm aware that some academics talk about Late Capitalism.  That's what we're in right now.  I'm not exactly sure what it means or implies, but I do know that it's time and development based.

Now, what is Green?  It's a future looking government form, that doesn't exist right now.  Well, ok, it doesn't exist in the USA.  A nascent Green Party movement might like it to exist, but they won't get anywhere in the US political system.  The US system is a duopoly.  Green parties do get into power in Europe at times.  I'm not up on exactly what they do.  The Green of SMAC though, is a society where people like Deirdre have taken over.  People are forced to stop damaging the planet, and you learn how to control mindworms to kill your enemies!

I added some realistic touches to my version of Green.  I said GROWTH wouldn't be as bad as the original game said it would be.  I make it only -1 GROWTH.  I said you'd also get -1 SUPPORT.  I think that's totally realistic.  Green is not about conspicuous consumption, it's about conserving and regulating consumption.

The Planned of SMAC was backwards looking.  It modeled places like the Soviet Union.  It said such places had to be economic failures, grossly inefficient.  Nonsensically, it said people would spew many babies under such conditions.  It is a complete game mechanical contrivance that has no bearing on reality whatsoever.

I changed that to a version of Socialist that is forwards looking.  My game doesn't talk about EFFICIENCY, it talks about JUSTICE.  The goal of Socialism is more justice, at least, for those who aren't into revolutionary violence and think a lot of people need to be shot.  Shooting people doesn't get you justice, it gets you Stalin and Mao.  They're already covered by Police State.  What does justice cost?  Money.  I agree that Socialism doesn't make people money, it costs a lot of money.  It's a penalty, so I have -1 ECONOMY.  But money isn't the only goal in life, and people like welfare benefits.  Hence the +2 GROWTH.

It's an imagined Socialism.  We don't have any realistic actual society that's done it this way yet.  We've got people who talk about doing it, and sometimes a political party gets into power in Europe that suggests what is possible.  Sometimes we hear about countries with a lot of Socialist policies, like Sweden or Finland, are having some kind of economic trouble and people are wondering whether they're on the right track.  Sometimes we hear about the more wealthy of their citizens, going ex-pat because they can make far more money in places like the USA.  Except that, some people like the guy who owns IKEA stay in Sweden and make piles of money just fine.  So who knows?  We could cherry pick whatever available evidence we want to see about something that is imaginary.

But I do know that Contemporary Free Market countries, i.e. modern day Capitalists, do not demonstrate population growth.  That's UN data.  It's hard evidence.  Birth rates go down.  People worry about fitting into the industrial society and turning a buck.

Now if we were interested in imaginary societies for game mechanical purposes, we could contemplate Fundamentalist societies.  Real Fundamentalist societies are doing the same thing as every other country in the world is doing, which is having fewer babies.  But in an imaginary society, we could contemplate a Hitler Youth program, trying to birth as many new Aryan soldiers as possible.  I don't know what German fertility was like on the lead-up to WW II, but it was definitely State run.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 02, 2019, 12:51:54 AM
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Only in Fundamentalist?
Only in Socialist?
Spread between the two?
I would spread it out between the two. Realistically Fundamentalism should be
the growth one but having growth in one place would affect gameplay too much.


I have capitalism modded so it gives +growth +effic and +economy.  +Industry would be nice for capitalism but I thought it would be overpowered.
I made wealth were the serious penalties for the pursuit of money are. Thats ++economy +industry and --planet and --police.
I just wanted a growth alternative.

Have you ever thought of giving Socialism a +talent modifier?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 02, 2019, 01:47:46 AM
I would spread it out between the two.

I will consider it.

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Realistically Fundamentalism should be the growth one but having growth in one place would affect gameplay too much.

I'm not afraid of having a "turn on GROWTH" social engineering choice.  That's what Socialist currently is.  I typically don't use it until Eudaimonic is also available.  Although, it can be a good counterbalance to the penalties I've made for Power.

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+Industry would be nice for capitalism but I thought it would be overpowered.

I don't really know yet.  In my mod, it hasn't been there that long in the scheme of things.  I'm willing to revisit the decision if playtesters find it problematic in real play.

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I made wealth were the serious penalties for the pursuit of money are. Thats ++economy +industry and --planet and --police.

I'm not willing to put any more ECONOMY buffs in the game.  My Morgan has +2 ECONOMY.  I realized at one point in development that I had seriously overheated the ECONOMY and I had to take one out.  I think it was the game where Morgan cornered the energy market for 1000 credits??!?

I don't think pursuing Wealth is antithetical to using POLICE in any way, shape, or form at all.  I think the original game mechanic comes from Civ II, and the contrast was between Democratic / Republic and Communist / Monarchy.  I think they botched the job when they made all those POLICE penalties for Free Market.  Has nothing to do with a Free Market, look at China.  Has everything to do with Democratic vs. Police State.

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Have you ever thought of giving Socialism a +talent modifier?

No realism in that.  And in general, I dislike +TALENT modifiers because they have no actual visual depiction on the social engineering table.  It creates a problem when deploying the mod, that something "goofy" is going on that players don't really know about, or appreciate.  Whereas, POLICE fists, good game art assets!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 02, 2019, 01:57:53 AM
siccing the Spartans on the Gaians
siccing the Spartans on the Gaians

I'm playing a stock binary game now.  I wanted to see what happens with the new Explore imperative I've given Santiago, and the new Aggressive personality and PLANET secondary compulsion I've given Cha Dawn.  I put them both in the game as AI players, with otherwise random opponents.  I drew Domai.  I allied with the Spartans and the Gaians have gotten uppity with me.  The Spartans happen to be neighbors with the Gaians so here goes!

I count 7 cities for the Spartans.  Gaians seem to have 6.  Spartans do not have offensive weapons yet, but they do have Speeders and Synthmetal armor.  Gaians have not gone Green, although E2 Centauri Empathy is not difficult to research and they'll presumably have it soon.  I have it and so does my ally Cha Dawn, but neither one of us is using it.  I don't know if that means Cha Dawn is ignoring his secondary compulsion to go GREEN, or if Socialist is just a much better deal as far as the AI is concerned.

Spartans have gone Socialist.  I noticed this choice was popular with Thinker mod AIs as well.  They seem to like growth.  Maybe I should take a cue from that.  However as the Free Drones, I realized I have a much easier time going Democratic early than other factions do.  Without it, my cities can go to size 3 without unhappiness.  With it, they go to size 2, like a normal faction at the beginning of the game.  So I'm taking the extra money and running with it!

MY 2161.  Santiago researches Applied Physics, which gives the strength 3 Laser, Heavy Artillery, and the Skunkworks.  I trade her for it.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 02, 2019, 02:20:11 AM
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I'm not willing to put any more ECONOMY buffs in the game.  My Morgan has +2 ECONOMY.  I realized at one point in development that I had seriously overheated the ECONOMY and I had to take one out.  I think it was the game where Morgan cornered the energy market for 1000 credits??!?

I don't think pursuing Wealth is antithetical to using POLICE in any way, shape, or form at all.  I think the original game mechanic comes from Civ II, and the contrast was between Democratic / Republic and Communist / Monarchy.  I think they botched the job when they made all those POLICE penalties for Free Market.  Has nothing to do with a Free Market, look at China.  Has everything to do with Democratic vs. Police State.

I always viewed pursuit of wealth as the problem not capitalism itself. I always liked the idea of placing most of the economy bonuses in wealth and
making capitalism a more balanced choice. Its no so much wealth driven societies are not given to using police its what those policies end up
causing that lower the police rating.

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No realism in that.  And in general, I dislike +TALENT modifiers because they have no actual visual depiction on the social engineering table.  It creates a problem when deploying the mod, that something "goofy" is going on that players don't really know about, or appreciate.  Whereas, POLICE fists, good game art assets!

I thought it might be an option to keeping citizens in line other than +police reflecting social programs. Just a thought.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 02, 2019, 03:01:24 AM
    In my last few years of playing, both SMAC and SMAX, and both the stock binary and Yitzi's, I've consistently noticed the AI choosing social engineering on the basis of growth even when it conflicted with their ideological imperatives.  Diedre, for instance, avoided going Green even late into games until I reduced the growth rate difference between Green and the other two.  If I made Green the growth choice, everyone loved it.

  I suspect that, somewhere in the code, GROWTH is either given a higher rating than other socials, or is made the first selection and not allowed to be then overridden by others.  Or some other sort of rigging.
  Growth certainly is of paramount importance since since so many other factors vary directly with population.  So I wouldn't be surprised if the AI was deliberately restricted from limiting it.

  I think there is a reasonable chance that the designers didn't fully understand how all the variables in their game interacted for the AI, and went with outgrowing opponents as a reliable way to make the AI competitive.

  Makes me wonder if the way some of them spam defensive units might be another (simplistic) designed railroad for them, rather than the bug/design error it appears to be.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 02, 2019, 04:50:08 AM
I've consistently noticed the AI choosing social engineering on the basis of growth even when it conflicted with their ideological imperatives.  Diedre, for instance, avoided going Green even late into games until I reduced the growth rate difference between Green and the other two.
  I suspect that, somewhere in the code, GROWTH is either given a higher rating than other socials, or is made the first selection and not allowed to be then overridden by others. 

HMMM.  You make a disturbing point.  In MY 2222, my Deirdre is currently Fundamentalist Simple Survival.  She should have long since gone Green.  And yet:

Gaians rock Spartans
Gaians rock Spartans

Not bad for a mere +1 PLANET, eh?  But the fact that I give +1 GROWTH for a Simple economy, could be the big problem.  Maybe I have to gut it, and just do a face palm that SMACX AI Growth mod never worked out in the real world of modding.  Would get rid of the -1 GROWTH for Frontier as well, which I thought was so clever.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 02, 2019, 05:50:48 AM
   I thought your putting + and - GROWTH on Frontier and Simple was sort of clever.  But if the AI coding is buggering up how it's supposed to work......
  Hard info on how the AI works in this area would be helpful, so we're not just guessing and supposing.

  I could set up a scenario to empirically gather data, I think, at least for the early game.
First, let the factions run for 5, 10, 20, whatever years then with the Scenario Editor assign them all the appropriate Techs for the social choices.  One might have to watch them for a few years more just in case any of the choosing was delayed a bit.
 Doing this for mid and end game looks to be impractical to me.

  Maybe in a few months when the yard and garden calm down I'll find time to play with it.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 02, 2019, 02:45:44 PM
I can run AI vs. AI games as tests, that's not that difficult.  I'm just not going to do it right this minute because I just shipped version 1.29.  Minimum 1 month between releases.

If the AI is indeed fixated on anything with GROWTH, then I will definitely not spread it between Socialist and Fundamentalist.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 02, 2019, 04:54:10 PM
    I just took a good look at what the factions were doing in my current game test.  Year 2175, most don't have many choices as yet.

  AI Growth 1.29 merged with Yitzi's 35d, Angels, University, Believers, Cult, Peacekeepers, Hoard(Hive), and I'm playing my custom faction.  Map is handcrafted from a good random Enormous with seven small continents/large islands, none connected except by water.  Rather a lush environment overall.

  Everyone is neck and neck, except  ;miriam;, who's a bit ahead by dint of city sprawl and defender spam.
  Oh, well, actually I'm ahead of her due to going seabourne early and gluttonizing Unity pods.  I'm ashamed of my conduct, but more of theirs for not braving the placid, flat seas earlier.

  Those who have discovered some SOCIAL options are making choices both obvious and obscure, and some of those are for something other than maximizing GROWTH.
  Not enough choices yet to say if they are consistently choosing some GROWTH, just not all they can get.  Some would be proper, of course.

  I'll try editing the alphax socials so a favored one has 0 or - GROWTH  and see if it gets abandoned.

  For now I'm leaning toward discounting my hypothesis of a hard 'GROWTH uber all else' dictum.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 02, 2019, 05:56:17 PM
the dogpiling of the Spartans
the dogpiling of the Spartans

MY 2249.  The Gaians wipe out the Spartans!  The Caretakers also went against the Spartans, but I don't know how much of a contribution that made.  I'm betting the Xenoempathy Dome was part of Deirdre's success.  Maybe the Spartans need some toughening up.  I will be watching them in future games.

I tried eliminating the Frontier and Simple economy growth modifiers mid-game.  It made no difference to Deirdre's choices, she still hasn't gone Green.  Possibly the AI doesn't reload or recogitate anything mid-game and I'd have to start fresh.  I'll be watching her some other time.  I actually want to play out this game for now.  I'm doing this Domai sea empire thing, owing to a small island start I got.

Possibly the AI strongly dislikes the -SUPPORT modifier I added to Green.

Cha Dawn is ignoring his secondary compulsion to increase his PLANET rating.  He's Capitalist!  Now granted, I did intend for him to be cynical that way, all the way back in version 1.7:
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- Cult of Planet: changed social priority from {Economics, Green, SUPPORT} to {Politics, Fundamentalist, nil}.  May now choose Wealth; may not choose Free Market.  In this mod, Green is about an economic model, not recruiting the most mindworms possible.  Deirdre can be expected to be quite strident about economic policy, but it is out of character for Cha Dawn.  He is a cult leader and an aggressive conqueror, not an economic policy wonk.

Thing is, in the meantime I went back to Green being more about conquering Planet.   :-[  I didn't really understand the Psi combat advantage of Green back then either.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 03, 2019, 02:58:57 AM
I think having Hovertanks available at Tier 4 is making the game too easy.  It's also illogical that they come before Needlejets.  At the same time and parallel, maybe, but not before.

I put the +2 MORALE back into Power and am thinking it's more appropriate that way.  In 1.27 I pretty much made a mistake, thinking +1 PROBE is worth as much as +1 MORALE.  The -2 GROWTH -2 JUSTICE penalty is definitely enough to balance the +1 PROBE.

I've removed the Simple economy GROWTH bonus.  I'm going to start another game and see if Deidre goes Green this time.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 03, 2019, 03:45:29 AM

  Possibly the AI doesn't reload or recogitate anything mid-game and I'd have to start fresh.


  Reloading the game from a save has seemed to also reload alphax.txt for me.

  However, changes to the Faction files require you to (in-game) use the Scenario Editor to 'Reload Faction' or it just continues using some saved version.

  Perhaps Reloading all the factions would get them to start using the alphax changes?  At the least, it shouldn't hurt anything.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 03, 2019, 07:14:09 AM
I don't think having new choices in the Social Engineering table, and the AI actually acting on those new choices, are equivalent.  Somehow the AI made up its mind that Simple economy was the best thing to do, even though it is no longer worth +1 GROWTH.  Although, I suppose it's possible I could find out the AI dislikes my Green so much, that it would sooner take a Simple economy with no benefit!  I haven't started a new test game yet to know for sure.  Still ironing out my "later Hovertanks" tech tree.

I propose to change the name of a Missile Launcher to a Photon Mortar and move it from C6 Orbital Spaceflight to C6 Photon/Wave Mechanics.  This will make the weapons progression easier and Orbital Spaceflight less crowded.  Anyone think this is a horrible name for a weapon?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 03, 2019, 09:34:56 AM
I propose to change the name of a Missile Launcher to a Photon Mortar and move it from C6 Orbital Spaceflight to C6 Photon/Wave Mechanics.  This will make the weapons progression easier and Orbital Spaceflight less crowded.  Anyone think this is a horrible name for a weapon?

          It's a fine name for a weapon if it shoots light and is an indirect fire weapon.  Light, of course, is a direct, line-of-sight thing.  Photon Cannon (ie. a powerful pulse laser) would be less 'magical' but we already have lasers, so one might want to avoid redundancy/repetition.

  What the so-called 'missile launcher' sounds like to me is a RPG or anti-tank missile.  To have such old school weaponry come so late seems perverse, so I can agree with turning it into another type of weapon.

  But which type?  Hmmm.  Energy seems apt for Photon/Wave Mechanics rather than a kinetic or missile type.
You could have the motive force of the projectile somehow electromagnetic or quantum wave theory related.
Or perhaps some odd or obscure aspect of wave theory that could theoretically be weaponized?

   I just might have to give myself a crash refresher course in that part of Physics so I can be of more help.  Actually sounds interesting....

  K, a quick skim of the subject led me to two somewhat related phenomena of quantum wave physics that might be the basis of a new, high-tech weapon: the Uncertainty Principal and Quantum Tunneling.

  Uncertainty has a nice sound to it, whereas Tunneling could easily be confused with mining activities.

  So maybe "Uncertainty something", and yes I do know there is a tech or whatever with that name already.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 03, 2019, 04:30:33 PM
          It's a fine name for a weapon if it shoots light and is an indirect fire weapon


Look at the unit artwork for a missile launcher.  It can definitely be a mortar.  It definitely doesn't look like a direct fire weapon.

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Light, of course, is a direct, line-of-sight thing.


In the beginning of the Star Trek TOS episode Arena (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arena_(Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series)) an indirect fire weapon was used.  You launch something out of a mortar and over the horizon there's a huge burst of something that looks like area phaser fire. 

a little close for one of these little jewels (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9py5EdVJdbo#)

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What the so-called 'missile launcher' sounds like to me is a RPG or anti-tank missile.  To have such old school weaponry come so late seems perverse, so I can agree with turning it into another type of weapon.


Yeah, from a progressing future and weapons strength perspective, the original game's "missile" simply isn't working.  The problem is I've got C6 Orbital Spaceflight and C6 Photon/Wave Mechanics occurring at the same time.  This is just the weight of stuff that's actually in the tree, the content that Firaxis provided.  Santiago has to do this huge hand wave for the Orbital Spaceflight quote about how they couldn't get orbital stuff done any sooner, and that we're all "fools" to think so.  But it can't really take that long compared to inventing a Needlejet, so here it is.  Armor gets unnaturally strong in the SMAC fiction, like the Plasma and Silksteel armors before you even get to Photon Walls.  If they were being realistic about the time it takes to get back in orbit, they might have Synthmetal at best!

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  So maybe "Uncertainty something", and yes I do know there is a tech or whatever with that name already.


Nah it's gotta have Photons in it.  I've already got a Phaser for Probability Mechanics.  Much later, the Chronoton Gun is another Star Trek homage.  I actually started off thinking "Photon Torpedo" but decided that would be too Star Trek hokey.

The unit artwork is important.  It has to not sound stupid for what it looks like.  "Photon Cannon" doesn't work IMO.  "Photon Battery" unfortunately sounds like it's a piece of heavy artillery.  Confusion over direct vs. indirect fire is inevitable with this unit artwork, I think.  They illustrated a missile launcher, so there's pretty much always going to be a choice with those.

"Photon Grenade Launcher" is a mouthful.  It does describe how it works though.

"Photon Array" leaves a lot to the imagination.

I suppose "Wave Cannon" isn't awful, even if it doesn't have Photons in it.  The name of the tech is Photon/Wave mechanics after all.  You might need some weird shape to shoot waves.  Makes the later "Dissociative Wave" a little confusing but not a dealbreaker.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 03, 2019, 05:53:12 PM
    Nice bit of video ;)   Last night I thought of the energy part for propulsion and forgot it could be the warhead instead.  The term EM Pulse comes to mind, as in EM Pulse Morter or EM Pulse Rocket, altho the word 'pulse' is used elsewhere, so EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) would be better.

   I know!  Go with pure military acronym insanity: EMP-RPG.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 03, 2019, 06:17:23 PM
I think EMP risks confusion with ECM.  Also it's not clear why EMP kills non-electronic stuff.  I'm going with "Wave Cannon" for now until something better comes along.  It's better than "Photon Mortar", much as I like that piece of Star Trek footage.  I've also got it feeding E7 The Will to Power in my tech tree, which is when the Dissociative Wave is given.  So first you have a Wave Cannon, then you go all "Dune Weirding Module" and learn a Dissociative Wave.

Oops, just realized I'll have a weapon that's a Wave, and an ability that's a Wave.  The automated naming will be confusing.

Well I could call it a "Photon Wave Cannon" and the weapon name can be Photon for short.  But am I going to have Photon weapon Photon armor?  Geez!

I think I get out of this by calling it a "Photon Cannon" and having the short name be "Cannon".  Cannon is an unused weapon name, so will only have 1 meaning.  Cannon Speeder, Cannon Infantry, etc.  Gagh this sounds inherently dumb.

I guess the basic problem is having a weapon and an armor with the same name, "Photon".  I didn't have this problem when I combined techs for the Chaos gun and the Probability Sheath because they had different names.  This seems to imply I need to come up with a weapon name that does not have "Photon" in it, or "Wave", but has something to do with photons and waves.

Too bad I already used Phaser.  Well I guess I could conscript Disruptor for what's currently a Phaser and make the photon weapon a Phaser.  However I feel like I'd be biting off Star Trek a little too hard.  SMAC has a more militaryspeak feel to it.  I also think I like the Phaser where it is, having association with probability.

I mean obviously a frickin' Laser is what has to do with photons and waves, so this is all pretty arbitrary.

Could rip off Star Wars and call it a Blaster.  Blaster Speeder sounds dumb though.

Could think of it as a Beam weapon.  Photon Beam, Beam Speeder.  Well that still kinda sucks, just not as hard as some of the other options.

Could go Dungeons & Dragons and call it a Prismatic Cannon.  But... would a Prismatic Speeder be too pretty to take seriously?

Hmm what about an Ion Cannon?  Ion Speeder, Ion Infantry...
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 03, 2019, 10:43:13 PM
    I feel your pain.

  Names are important, they hold magic for us humapes. 

  Quantum Wave Theory has lots to do with atoms and ions, at least the electron 'orbitals'.  Not sure if it applies to quarks, gluons, and the Strong Force, but Ion would work.

  Ion Launcher?  To go with the graphic.

  See?  This is why it takes me ages to start a role playing game: I get stuck in character creation at the name selection.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 04, 2019, 12:00:26 AM
Disruptor hasn't been used yet.


Just as an aside have you ever thought that -Growth might be too harsh a penalty for Green?
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 04, 2019, 12:07:57 AM
I hesitate to refer to it as a "Launcher" because that can just make it sound like a Badly Renamed Launcher [TM].

the weapons of SMACX
the weapons of SMACX

So what does this weapon really look like compared to all the others?  I never thought it was all that great of a representation of a "launcher" anyways.  It looks to me like a honeycomb array of little barrels.  Like a kind of shotgun.

infantry mounted
infantry mounted

When rotated, you get a lighting effect which more clearly demonstrates the roundness of the barrels.  Another way this weapon differs from all the others, is it's mounted at a 45 degree angle.

To be honest the thing looks a little like a Claymore mine.  If it were a Napoleonic weapon, it would shoot grapeshot.  Makes me think of a cluster bomb, but dispersed in a particular direction.  Ion Blaster?  Ion Barrage?  Ion Belcher?  If I keep the name format "Ion Something-or-other" then the short name for a unit will just be "Ion" and I'm off the hook. 

Something Scattergun?  Photon Blunderbuss?

Rainbow Gun?  Pity the thing is charcoal grey.

Refractor Gun?  Refractor Cannon?  Bender Gun?

Photon Cluster?  Cluster Speeder, Cluster Squad, ?

Ion Disruptor?  Something-else Disruptor?  I guess Photon Disruptor could have a Disruptor Infantry, Disruptor Speeder, etc.  Come to think of it, the name Disruptor was taken by the String Disruptor, the strength 30 weapon of SMACX.  But I renamed it to Black Hole Gun.

Civ IV had the hwacha (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hwacha) unit, basically a rocket cart.  I don't think inserting Asiatic words fits the themes of SMAC though.

Hwacha
Hwacha
photo taken by draq - https://www.flickr.com/photos/hendry/189880458/ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/hendry/189880458/)
CC BY 2.0 - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1003522 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1003522)
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 04, 2019, 01:27:38 AM
Just as an aside have you ever thought that -Growth might be too harsh a penalty for Green?

The original game gave -2 GROWTH for Green, which was very harsh if you were the Cybernetic Consciousness or the Pirates and already had -1 GROWTH for your faction.  -1 GROWTH is a substantial improvement.  I've saved the harshness for Power nowadays, and none of my factions have a GROWTH penalty.

Green has to have some kind of penalty.  Every choice has to have liabilities.  What is Green going to mean if not less growth?  It's true to the lore too.  Deidre goes on and on about controlling population growth, both in the faction quotes and her diplomatic dialogue.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 04, 2019, 02:27:08 AM
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The original game gave -2 GROWTH for Green, which was very harsh if you were the Cybernetic Consciousness or the Pirates and already had -1 GROWTH for your faction.  -1 GROWTH is a substantial improvement.  I've saved the harshness for Power nowadays, and none of my factions have a GROWTH penalty.

Green has to have some kind of penalty.  Every choice has to have liabilities.  What is Green going to mean if not less growth?  It's true to the lore too.  Deidre goes on and on about controlling population growth, both in the faction quotes and her diplomatic dialogue.

Its a realistic penalty. I was just wondering if it was too harsh for gameplay purposes.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 04, 2019, 02:35:49 AM
My opinion is -1 of anything, by itself, is not too harsh for gameplay purposes.  In fact I've even started to get used to the idea that -4 JUSTICE might be ok if you've got 2X effective police to wipe it out.  Can't say I've seriously playtested that though.  But when the table in alphax.txt has penalties that actually go that low, I'm intrigued by the idea of a combo of social engineering choices that can actually get there.

I had another weapon idea, I forgot to write it down... oh now I remember.  Gamma weapons.  Well, I don't know if that has so much to do with Photons.  Also neutron weapons, as in a neutron bomb.  Although I think it's really naming that "honeycomb of barrels" that's the problem at this point.  It doesn't look like a cannon.

Ion Array?  Ion Bank?  Compare Phaser Bank.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 04, 2019, 04:03:02 AM
  Although I think it's really naming that "honeycomb of barrels" that's the problem at this point.  It doesn't look like a cannon.
Ion Array?  Ion Bank?  Compare Phaser Bank.

  Array works for me.  So my vote's for Ion Array.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 04, 2019, 07:11:25 AM
Well given the artwork, I think Ion Array is better than Ion Cannon.  Happy to have something better come along though.

What about Ion Sprayer?  Something-Else Sprayer?  Neutron Blaster?  Would call it Neutron Speeder, Neutron Squad....  Or could do Proton Blaster, Proton Speeder.... but I suppose a Proton Photon Squad would be lame.  Neutron Photon Squad sounds lame too.

Ion Blaster?  Then it's just an Ion Squad.  Yeah, I think Ion Blaster is better than Ion Array.

In a new game, I just had a diplomatic conversation with Deirdre.  She has E3 Centauri Genetics, implying that she has long since had E2 Centauri Empathy which makes Green available.  She's not Green!  She's Police State Simple Survival.  You'd think with the extra +2 SUPPORT she gets from Police State, that she wouldn't care about -1 SUPPORT from Green.  So maybe it's the -1 GROWTH that's the hangup.  I'm going to try removing it and see if she switches.  I still don't know if the AI will pick up on the changes mid-game.

Some time later, still Democratic Simple Survival.  I'll try -1 GROWTH and no SUPPORT penalty.

Some time later, no change.  Removing all penalties.  Yep, when I remove the penalties, now she goes Green.  So that proves the AI isn't hung up on stuff loaded at the start of the game.

Now, does she really prefer +1 GROWTH from Simple economy?  Or did she just hate Green penalties that much?  Adding the Frontier and Simple modifiers back.  Yep, she went back to Simple economy.  The AI does indeed fixate on GROWTH.  When I remove it, she goes right back to Green.

Now, is there any penalty for Green that Deirdre will tolerate?  Or is the AI allergic to penalties?  Let's try -INDUSTRY.  She seems to be tolerating this, so I guess that's gotta be the new negative.





Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 04, 2019, 01:13:25 PM
How about a molecular disruptor?

As far as green penalties go what about support or morale? It will weaken your conventional units but your minds worms will be ok.
Basically it would represent a lowering of military effectiveness from green policies. Industry seems appropriate but seems a bit harsh.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 04, 2019, 04:11:15 PM
How about a molecular disruptor?

Molecular Speeder, Molecular Squad... don't think it's better than Ion.  Also would like it to somewhat thematically go with Photon/Wave Mechanics.

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As far as green penalties go what about support

The AI barfs on -1 SUPPORT -1 GROWTH, -1 SUPPORT, or -1 GROWTH.

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or morale?

Illogical, and already given as a penalty for Wealth.

It would be logical for a Police State, but I have trouble imagining what further benefits I'd give to compensate.  Or why, play mechanically, one would want to choose Police State if one can't fight well.  I suppose PROBE, but I don't actually want more probe team play mechanics in the game.  I think subverting cities sucks and is pretty much broken, it's way too cheap to do.

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It will weaken your conventional units but your minds worms will be ok.

When playing a Green faction, I often choose Wealth because I really don't need MORALE to fight effectively.  But this is a player choice.

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Industry seems appropriate but seems a bit harsh.

Choices need to have penalties.  Any -1 can be swallowed by itself.  It's not like -1 INDUSTRY is somehow massively more powerful than +2 PLANET +1 JUSTICE.

If the player chooses Wealth too, then INDUSTRY bonuses and penalties cancel out.  It's all about how badly you want to be Planet friendly.  Maybe you prefer to belch out Secret Projects as fast as possible and have mindworms eat you under Capitalist.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 04, 2019, 06:37:48 PM
It occurs to me: the original game had +2 PLANET +2 EFFIC -2 GROWTH and the Gaians would choose it just fine.  Why not now?  Does the game have hardwired ideas about what GROWTH is worth compared to other abilities, and the problem is I'm only giving +2 PLANET +1 JUSTICE -WHATEVER?  Can I solve that by raising the amount of "positive crap" for this choice?  Which would trigger needing to raise other crap elsewhere, to keep the relative balance between choices.

Or is it that other things in the table have changed, like Democratic, and now the AI evaluates all of it differently?  Because the sum of choices changes the calculus...

I wish this wasn't a black box that I have to reverse engineer by trial and error.  It's unsettling to think that after months and months of authorship, I crafted an experience for the human player, only to belatedly realize that the AI is ignoring a lot of that experience.  I could see having to go through every single faction, to see if they're actually choosing their primary compulsions at least, and then try to get them to do their secondary compulsions if any.  Although, per another thread, secondary compulsions might be broken and ignored.

This all easily becomes enough work for a 1.30 release, justifying the minimum 1 month between releases.  You think you're done, then you find out you're not.

Deirdre won't swallow +2 PLANET +2 JUSTICE -1 GROWTH in my current table.  Let alone -2 GROWTH.  She's Democratic.  I wonder if only having +1 JUSTICE for Democratic is the problem?  Or what if the Gaians only having +1 JUSTICE as their faction ability instead of +2 is the problem?

I wonder if renaming EFFIC to JUSTICE is a problem?

Even when I change Democratic to +1 ECONOMY +2 JUSTICE +2 GROWTH, I can't get the Gaians to accept Green with +2 PLANET +2 JUSTICE -1 GROWTH.  Any -GROWTH in Green derails the deal.  I've got the same primary and secondary compulsions as the original game: Economics, Green, PLANET.

This is baffling, and makes me wonder if there's a problem even in the original game.  I'm going to have to go back to that, and start changing things one by one until I find what's causing this.

Well I'll be damned.  The Gaians won't choose Green even in the original game.  I'm filing a bug report about it.

Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 04, 2019, 10:44:23 PM
        Dang, man.   You're talking like a scientist.   Totally approve, of course.

  If there is some part I can help with on this new exploration, count me a Lab. Ass. and assign it to me.

  Oh, just occured to me: I remember a discussion about Dierdre refusing to wear GREEN in the forums here a couple three years ago.   Now to try and find it so we can see what conditions it was under (stock, a mod, etc.) and what was said and tested then.

  <minutes later> Fah.  Tried several combinations of words in our search engine and got bugger all.
                           I'll play with it a bit more since I'm sure it happened and happened here.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 05, 2019, 12:19:25 AM

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Even when I change Democratic to +1 ECONOMY +2 JUSTICE +2 GROWTH, I can't get the Gaians to accept Green with +2 PLANET +2 JUSTICE -1 GROWTH.  Any -GROWTH in Green derails the deal.  I've got the same primary and secondary compulsions as the original game: Economics, Green, PLANET.

This is baffling, and makes me wonder if there's a problem even in the original game.  I'm going to have to go back to that, and start changing things one by one until I find what's causing this.

Well I'll be damned.  The Gaians won't choose Green even in the original game.  I'm filing a bug report about it.
Its probably he growth penalty. Growth is a very heavy penalty and the renaming of social values probably doesn't help.
Thats one of the reasons in my mod I would sometimes simply remove all the negative social values from governments and economic systems.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 05, 2019, 02:10:23 AM
The AI considers either a GROWTH or a SUPPORT penalty to be too onerous.  But not an INDUSTRY penalty.

In my bug report thread I think I've found the answer.  The AI will only choose Green with those penalties, if it has learned how to make Locusts of Chiron.  It may also need to have life cycle bonuses.  It had the Xenoempathy Dome and was working on the Pholus Mutagen when it started building an air corps of Locusts.  4 extant, 4 killed, 12 in production.

In short, the Gaian AI is thoroughly unprincipled.   ;lol  ;hippy  Will not live within its means, only cares about war!

A good reason to mod this.  I mean, the +20% Psi combat bonus is helpful, and you do acquire many more free mindworms if you've jacked your PLANET to +3.  We need to hear less of Deirdre talking the talk.  More walking the walk.

I wonder if I'm going to find out that they nerfed the Gaians deliberately?  Well that would be ok.  I could always take away the free Biology Labs I gave them.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 05, 2019, 05:50:05 AM
prototype choices for 1 30
prototype choices for 1 30

MY 2200 and still nobody will choose my new Green.

Deirdre is Police State only, completely ignoring her primary compulsion to go Green.  She is trying to build the Xenoempathy Dome.  She doesn't have Locusts yet.  She's the leading faction on the graph, due to sitting on the Monsoon Jungle.  I'm merely #2.

Cha Dawn is Socialist only, indicating that he's ignoring his PLANET secondary compulsion.

The Caretakers are building the Xenoempathy Dome.  I haven't met them, but presumably they're Socialist since that's their primary compulsion.

I strongly suspect the AI hates my version of Power as much as it hates Green.  I expect I'll have to rework it.

If I remove the INDUSTRY penalty from Green, Deirdre will choose it.  Cha Dawn won't!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: Vidsek on April 05, 2019, 06:47:13 AM
   With further use of the site's search engine I found a couple threads dating back to 2015 which mention issues with Dierdre not choosing green, but unfortunately, nothing helpful on that or other AI Social Engineering matters.

  The problem definitely occurs in the stock, unmodified game and appears to have been unaffected by any of the *.txt or *.exe mods/patches that were around back then
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 05, 2019, 07:15:37 AM
Caretaker full choices for 1 30
Caretaker full choices for 1 30

Barring further testing explosions, I am adopting Vonbach's expedient of no penalties for Green.  Since I don't want to treat any of the other choices that way, I have to do it with no bonuses other than the +2 PLANET.  I try to draw a contrast with the rest of the choices; for instance, Green is neutral on JUSTICE, but Capitalist is slightly unjust.  I actually believe that, and I think it'll also work game mechanically.  I think the AI likes money and isn't going to balk at the added penalty.

I also adopted some of vonbach's ideas about Capitalist and Wealth being too strong, and Police State being too lame.  Power needed reworking.  Fundamentalist becomes a PROBE thing again, although not as much as the original game.  Now there are now GROWTH penalties in the game.  As the author of SMACX AI Growth mod, that makes me a little sad.  But hey, gameplay is king, and you can't very well play with a broken AI!   :dunno:
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 05, 2019, 04:20:11 PM
in fairness to Capitalism
in fairness to Capitalism

I found a better way to make the JUSTICE contrast between Capitalist and Green.  Just get rid of INDUSTRY in Eudaimonic.  Yes, Domai is gonna take care of Planet!   ;lol  You know, the original game didn't have the Free Drones in it.  Eudaimonia was part of the Explore tech tree, and I don't think it was conceived as a Worker's State tech.  I think they shoved it in because it was available, so I don't feel that bad about un-shoving them.  Little green Planet friendly drones.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 05, 2019, 08:21:18 PM
I hate you Deirdre
I hate you Deirdre

I hate this AI!!   :mad:  I put 2 days of work into trying to make it obey my will, and it still won't!  Green now has no liability whatsoever, there's no downside.  And it still won't choose it.  I just bought Centauri Empathy from her, so she's Green capable.  Is +1 PLANET not enough to get the AI's attention?  Is the original game broken too, even if I remove all penalties from Green?  I'm going to go find out now.

Well the story with the original game is weird.  Removing all penalties from Green, the Gaians learn it in MY 2172.  They refuse to go Green.  They keep this up through MY 2200.  Suddenly in MY 2201 they go Green.  There wasn't seemingly any change in relevant or profound circumstances.  I'm wondering if the choice is on a timer, i.e. do not do this on or before MY 2200.

Well if so, I've got some waiting to do.  Resuming my modded game, we're in MY 2135.  That's a lot of early exploration missed opportunity for the PLANET friendly factions.

Heck, I am going Green, because there's no downside.  That could be a problem with my fix, this lack of a tradeoff.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 06, 2019, 12:36:31 AM
perhaps mindworm manufacture is key
perhaps mindworm manufacture is key

MY 2181.  I notice that Deidre has gone Green.  I will see if I can figure out exactly what turn it happened.

That dispels the "on a century timer" theory.  Maybe it corresponds to obtaining Centauri Genetics, which in my mod gives mindworms and spore launchers.  In the original game, it occurs later and gives locusts.  That was the point at which it finally went Green in the original game, with a Green that had penalties.  It would be amusing if it's actually tied to the name Centauri Genetics itself!

I find that I seriously dislike this "easy street" version of Green where there's no consequence for choosing it.  Feels like a baby game.  I will now try to find what the Gaians will swallow for a penalty, if anything.

I think the idea of only giving +1 PLANET has validity.  That's all you actually need to get some mindworms.  I think you end up with a lot more if you've got a higher rating, but I remember games in the past where I only had +1 PLANET the whole game, and I came up with some pretty fearsome mindworm armies.  Recruitment might have more to do with map size and distance, and ongoing time, than how high your PLANET rating is.

My sampling of old saved games is limited.  I know that in MY 2170 the Gaians do not have Centauri Genetics.  In MY 2177 they do, but they have not gone Green.  I don't know if they obtained it that turn or earlier.  In MY 2178, they go Green.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 06, 2019, 01:23:45 AM
I would remove all government and economic penalties from the game just to make things easier for the computer.
Besides if everything is overpowered nothing is.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 06, 2019, 03:36:12 AM
I'm not willing to do that, because there have to be tradeoffs for the human player.  For instance, I'm not willing to make Capitalist a free lunch.  Planet should get damaged.  In the limit of what you suggest, if there are literally no negative consequences to anything, then troops always fight well, mindworms don't get terribly upset when a city has lots of minerals, research is never slowed down, and police can always be used.  You're throwing out a lot of the core game mechanics, in the name of making things easier for the AI.

a paucity of JUSTICE
a paucity of JUSTICE

In this version I have Green providing very little benefit, although it's a rather important benefit.  Capitalist becomes the moneymaker.  Democratic becomes easier to accept as you can use police, you just can't nerve staple.  The anti-police burden is taken by Knowledge and Cybernetic, which unfortunately are boring as they repeat each other. 

I've realized that I can afford to insert +3 GROWTH into the early economy with triggering any pop booms.  Democratic and Socialist are differentiated by how much GROWTH you can get out of them.  Paying -1 POLICE for Democratic is cheap, it doesn't even hurt you.  Paying -2 ECONOMY for Socialist is spendy.  You'll lose -1 energy per base and you won't be going Capitalist.  If you also choose Wealth then you can avoid -1 per base, but you won't be making any money.

Power is made easier to swallow, although the supply of JUSTICE is tightened so you are likely to experience JUSTICE penalties.  The idea of a Police State whose troops have bad MORALE is explored.  Fundamentalist goes back to being a lighter weight version of PROBE than the original game.  This lets the Data Angels go to +3 PROBE rather quickly.

<sigh> The AI for the Hive won't accept -MORALE.  It avoids Police State when I do that, even if -MORALE is the only penalty.  Well I guess I can live without that idea.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 06, 2019, 09:25:17 AM
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I'm not willing to do that, because there have to be tradeoffs for the human player.  For instance, I'm not willing to make Capitalist a free lunch.  Planet should get damaged.  In the limit of what you suggest, if there are literally no negative consequences to anything, then troops always fight well, mindworms don't get terribly upset when a city has lots of minerals, research is never slowed down, and police can always be used.  You're throwing out a lot of the core game mechanics, in the name of making things easier for the AI.
Like I said if everything is overpowered nothing is. The other option I've used is to halve the penalties for the negative effects.
Also Free market societies don't have that bad of a record on environmentalism. Nor are they simply about making mass amounts of money is about freedom of money and property. Wealth is about making money and where those penalties should be.
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In this version I have Green providing very little benefit, although it's a rather important benefit.
The best version of Green was the one that had +economy and +effic along with it.
 
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Fundamentalist goes back to being a lighter weight version of PROBE than the original game.
Probe is pretty much useless and morale is not much better. Besides societies like that tend to be worse at spying.

One thing I wish this game had is more values choices. I wish there more spaces for things like Eugenics values and Prosperity.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 06, 2019, 03:58:26 PM
Well the good news from last night's testing is so far, the AI factions are swallowing it.  They'll do my new Fundamentalist, my new Socialist, and my new Green.  Don't know about my new Power yet.

Also Free market societies don't have that bad of a record on environmentalism.

Deep Water Horizon <cough> Exxon Valdez <cough> Three Mile Island <cough> Trump's appointments to the EPA, are you kidding me?  In NC the Governor just ordered Duke Energy to dig up all the coal leftovers they've had in unlined ponds and put them into lined storage.  Finally, although I personally haven't quite figured out anthropogenic global warming to my satisfaction, I know there's definitely a difference between myself and a climate denier.  The extraction industries spend all this time astroturfing a bunch of FUD so they can do business as usual.  I'm not entirely sure if carbon dioxide is bad, but I know sulfur dioxide is bad.  Acid rain and groundwater contamination are reasons enough to shut down a coal plant.

Did you know that historical pollution in Montana from mining operations is so bad, that delegations from other countries come to that state to study what not to do environmentally?

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In this version I have Green providing very little benefit, although it's a rather important benefit.
The best version of Green was the one that had +economy and +effic along with it.

Narratively it is better, but it cannot be balanced when no penalties are available.  I'm not going to rewrite the whole SE table with no penalties. I don't believe in your approach to the design, because it sacrifices too many important tradeoffs and too much dynamic range of game behavior.  Having all those different stages of POLICE is an important play mechanic.  So is having your factories getting eaten by mindworms.

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One thing I wish this game had is more values choices. I wish there more spaces for things like Eugenics values and Prosperity.

Prosperity would inevitably be a derivative of other factors.  You might think about what kind of prosperity, i.e. Wealth, Workerism, Technocracy, etc.

I'd probably model Eugenics as +1 TALENT +1 GROWTH -2 JUSTICE.  In the real world it would basically be the Nazis or the Klan running things.  Poor women of color were being forcibly sterilized in North Carolina as late as the 1970s.  If genocide were an explicit factor in the game, with a range of genocidal options, then historical Eugenics movements could be readily modeled.

But as you say, only got room for 3 things in Values.

In other news, I was able to free up Synthetic Fossil Fuels.  It's going to be a C6 tech and have Missile Launchers again!
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: vonbach on April 06, 2019, 09:42:26 PM
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Deep Water Horizon <cough> Exxon Valdez <cough> Three Mile Island <cough> Trump's appointments to the EPA, are you kidding me?

Go take a look at the damage the USSR did to the environment and get back to me. The worst thing you can do for the environment or most anything else really is get the government involved.  The EPA needs to be gutted. They have people getting arrested for digging holes to collect rainwater on their own land.  The problem with the EPA is they simply have no foundation in reality then they make up stupid regulations on a whim and they have no checks at all. With a socialist government its even worse. Just take a look at Chernobyl.


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Prosperity would inevitably be a derivative of other factors.  You might think about what kind of prosperity, i.e. Wealth, Workerism, Technocracy, etc.
Growth and happiness as opposed to simple wealth. Technocracy is something I'd like to add just because.
Title: Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 06, 2019, 10:03:56 PM
Go take a look at the damage the USSR did to the environment and get back to me.

Damage done under historical Communist regimes, doesn't absolve Capitalists of damage they have done and continue to do.  Meanwhile you have modern China, which is both Communist an