Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => Modding => Topic started by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 02, 2019, 07:49:12 PM

Title: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 02, 2019, 07:49:12 PM
Latest releases:
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer/tree/master/releases

This is a continuation of Fission Armor mod. I've decided to rename it and start a new thread because of few drastic changes.
I forked Induktio's Thinker mod with his generous permission and embedded it into my mod. Now I can tap into exe patching and fix some things previously not fixable by text patching. The most important one is unit cost calculation formula. I cannot express how happy I am to remove this pain in the ass that poisoned all my modding efforts until now! As a consequence, I've returned back all reactors as I can now correctly price them without breaking the game. Hence "Fission Armor" name is no longer relevant. I've renamed it to "Doer" without much thinking (no pun intended) as it compliments Thinker mod in my mind. Namely, Thinker mod teaches AI to think better. Whereas my mod adds more things for human player to do. I was also thought about "Thinker-Doer" combo, but "Doer" seems to be shorter and simpler. Let me know if you like new name.

This is Doer-20 version. I've play tested it a little and it is quite playable and satisfies me. There are few things on my TODO list. However, I believe there is no point to wait for perfection. Instead, I'll be releasing new version as long as I have time and will to do it. At the same time I hope to solicit user input to add or update my future releases based on it.

There is quite extensive README in the package that explains my reasons and modding ideas. However, it is worth reiterating once more that I want to highlight maximum number of game features already in the game. Most of them are extremely underpowered in vanilla and not appealing. This mod strives to make them appealing and must have in some strategies. Thus increasing play style variability = even greater replayability = even more fun!
I plan to do minimal changes for that purpose and do not plan to create completely new experience or new strategies. It should still feel like old good SMAX just better.
:)

Release repository for latest releases. This place is no good to keep history. It doesn't allow more than 5 attachments.
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer/tree/master/releases
Title: Re: Doer mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 02, 2019, 08:25:17 PM
Weapon and armor progression for reference.
Title: Re: Doer mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 02, 2019, 09:14:47 PM
Interesting project idea.  I'm sure it will keep you busy!

Induktio licensed Thinker Mod under the GPL 2.0 (https://github.com/induktio/thinker/blob/master/License.txt).  You don't need his permission to use his work.  You just have to abide by the terms of the license.  It's basically a "you must make source code available and license it the same way to others" license.  Perhaps by "generous permission" you meant that he chose to license it under the GPL.

Also note that strictly speaking, his and your distribution of new game binaries is illegal.   :D  His use and your subsequent use of the GPL may not hold up in court in practice.  He has the right to the existence of his own source code (I think? not sure about reverse engineering laws), but no right to compile binaries or distribute them.

You also don't need my permission to utilize substantial portions of my .txt modding work.  You just have to abide by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  That means you have to credit me somewhere 'reasonable' as the author of my own work (not as the author of your derived work), and you can't make money off of your derived work.

Since I'm not messing with binaries, and Firaxis did give explicit permission to change the files I've changed, I'm on a better legal footing than you guys are.   :D  However EA could try to claim a right to distribute my work without compensating me, according to the license that comes with recent versions of the game.  I don't know whether that would hold up in court or not.  I haven't looked up any modder legal precedents in that regard.  It's a nice theoretical issue.  I have a hard time seeing it ever mattering in the real world, unless I become rich and famous, and well known for distributing my mod.

As for names: "Doer" suffers from a problem that it doesn't mean anything to most people.  "Thinker" refers to a level of difficulty in the game itself, and it does sound like something having to do with AI.  "Doer" doesn't sound like anything.  Some people might infer that it's a follow-on from Thinker Mod.  Most people have no idea that Thinker Mod exists, let alone any mod derived from it.  Most people have never played SMAC at all.   Getting people interested in SMAC in the 1st place, is mostly about telling people on /r/4Xgaming (https://www.reddit.com/r/4Xgaming/) that it goes on sale at GOG (https://www.gog.com/) at least 4 times a year for $1.49.  It's the best bang for the buck in 4X, so slowly, people come into the fold.  I get noobs asking me if they should try my mod as they learn to play SMAC.  Unfortunately I keep having to say no, go learn the original game first.  I don't have any kind of "noob mode" for my mod, and my changes really don't mean much to someone who hasn't played before.

So, on to the wordsmithing:

Whereas my mod adds more things for human player to do.

What does it add for the human player to do?  Not compared to Thinker Mod.  Compared to the stock game.  This is important as far as coming up with any short way of explaining it.




Title: Re: Doer mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 02, 2019, 09:23:15 PM
I agree the name is too generic but cannot come up with something else. My mod is generic too. It doesn't offer any specific distinct new feature. Just rearranges what is in game already.
Picking name from game lexicon is a good idea. I'll try few.
Title: Re: Doer mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 02, 2019, 09:34:04 PM
Let's say you have no particularly clear vision that can be communicated in a few words.  I mean heck, my own mod did end up with a lot more things than just AI improvements.

Your goal would be to make something memorable.  To people on /r/4Xgaming, because that's the only large source of new 4X TBS players that I've run into on the internet.  The historical Civ-oriented forums like Apolyton etc. do not count.  They do not have enough volume of new people to matter.  I don't even announce on those other forums anymore.  Got tired of crickets chirping when I'd make my mod releases.  On Reddit, specifically /r/4Xgaming, I actually get response, interest, upvotes, and people trying out my mod.  Nowadays I even get people giving me playtester feedback.  They mostly don't bother to come here!  Don't kid yourself, people aren't going to sign up for a new web forum for a new game unless they really end up loving the game.  Some do, it does happen.  But the point is, you need to be on /r/4Xgaming.  That's the audience, the demographic, that you're trying to reach.

So, what's memorable over there?  I'm not sure.  But I've been recently advised, acronyms such as SMAC and SMACX are not memorable.  I tend to assume that everyone in 4X gaming knows what they mean, and I'm wrong.  They don't.  Recently, I finally changed my ad copy for my mod releases.  I spell out "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri with Alien Crossfire expansion" at least once, at the top of the post.

So, "SMACX AI Growth mod" is only half good.  Because people don't know what SMACX is.  Then again, people have to figure that out to even use a mod, so it's not entirely bad either.  If I were to do it all over again, using Alpha Centauri as part of the name might be smart.



Title: Re: Doer mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 02, 2019, 09:47:23 PM
Wow, thanks, great pointers!

Alpha Centauri feature highlight mod
Alpha Centauri enriched mod
Alpha Centauri breathtaking development mod
Alpha Centauri blazing expansion mod
Alpha Centauri intense rivalry mod
Alpha Centauri flexible strategy mod
Alpha Centauri deep blue mod
Alpha Centauri lightspeed evolution mod
Alpha Centauri advantage race mod
Alpha Centauri strategical mastermind mod
Alpha Centauri dare ruler mod
Alpha Centauri mission control mod
Alpha Centauri Sentient conquest mod or probably even plain "Alpha Centauri Sentient Econometrics mod"
Alpha Centauri 4X Transcendence mod
Alpha Centauri The Will To Power mod - sounds cool
Alpha Centauri Stairway to Transcendence mod - another variation
Alpha Centauri the art of Social Engineering mod
Alpha Centauri elusive Power mod
Alpha Centauri Thought Control mod
Alpha Centauri Adaptive Doctrine mod
Alpha Centauri Controlled Biomachinery mod
Alpha Centauri Digital Sentience mod
Alpha Centauri Industrial conquest mod
Alpha Centauri Mind/Machine Interface mod - that has some sense in it
Alpha Centauri Neural Grafting mod
Alpha Centauri Nonlinear expansion mod
Alpha Centauri Polymorphic strategy mod - that does too
Alpha Centauri Sentient opposition mod - that does too
Alpha Centauri escape Singularity mod - that does too
Alpha Centauri Threshold of insanity mod - that does too
Title: Re: Doer mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 02, 2019, 11:49:24 PM
Alpha Centauri Thought Control mod

This one.  If it suits you.  It is memorable.  It's also good enough to have become part of my avatar in this forum.
Title: Re: Doer mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 03, 2019, 12:23:24 AM
Alpha Centauri Thought Control mod

This one.  If it suits you.  It is memorable.  It's also good enough to have become part of my avatar in this forum.

Interesting. I was thinking about "Alpha Centauri The Will To Power mod". Sounds powerful and highlights the never ending competition process. And The Will To Power unlocks Thought Control.

Do you still favor Thought Control over The Will To Power?
;)
Title: Re: Doer mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 03, 2019, 08:12:24 AM
I think more people are familiar with the dystopian / Orwellian (?) overtones of "Thought Control", than the Nietzschean overtones of "The Will To Power".  But there may yet be something more recognizable and memorable than either, so I wouldn't dissuade you from continuing to brainstorm.
Title: Re: Doer mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 03, 2019, 02:43:16 PM
I doubt I'll find anything catchier than that. Maybe equally catchy but I'm lazy to keep brainstorming. Most specific name from the game (like Transcendence) ring a bell for seasoned player but not to generic audience. Whereas these two we are discussing do both. And out of these two the latter seems to match ultimate game goal and the mod idea better. Former may match my personality but it is only a mean to the end among many. It doesn't cover whole idea. Besides, newcomers do not need to know me to play the mod. I try to leave as less imprints of me in it as possible, even though it is not possible to achieve 100%.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 03, 2019, 06:24:11 PM
More playtesting for next version.
Research seems to be rushing ahead too fast. Especially when faction get connected and start exchanging technologies. On default settings (100% research rate) I often end up with Fusion Laser having only 5 bases size 3-4 each. That is not enough production power to keep up with new discoveries. I set it to 50% in version 20 and this seems to deliver smoother technology progress. At least everybody have some time to develop before acquiring more expensive items.
Of course, it varies across different games and used factions. I believe slower research doesn't break the game as exponentially evolving factions will catch up with it pretty quick even if they experience slow down at some point. Whereas faster research is unfixable. There is in game mechanism to slow down research. Whole competition idea is to develop faster by all means.

This being said the acceptable enough discovery rate starts after acquiring terraforming and connecting with other players. Before that at the very very beginning when some don't even know terraforming yet, the discovery rate is noticeably slow. Many faction may struggle to get critical knowledge. To cope with that I decided to give 2-3 initial technologies to all factions. That should let them start quicker, build some facilities and units, overcome -2 POLICE hurdle, ignite early technology trading between players. In other words, give them some free stuff to start with - the rest they have to earn.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 04, 2019, 01:26:47 AM
Some possibility of old timers confusing Will To Power with Call To Power, an old Civ-style title by Activision.  Won't be a problem for younger audiences as it was before their time.

In my mod, I have the play mechanic that aggressive research is for the Discover oriented factions.  I've put weighted barriers in the tech tree to prevent non-Discover factions from going up the Discover learning curve.  Recently I also accelerated the number of advanced research facilities available, because the University was clearly getting its ass whipped most of the time.  The acceleration has made a noticeable difference in Discover faction viability.  For some reason the Cyborgs in my current game are doing piles of research, even as I eviscerate their empire with chemical attacks.  They got Nanohospital technology and it seems they weren't afraid to use it.  I've seen various games where the AI didn't seem much into building advanced research facilities, even when they were available.  In particular, some combo Thinker Mod + my mod stuff earlier this year.  So I'm pleased to see an AI faction actually building the advanced research facilities.  I don't think I've seen an Industrial Lab get built yet though.  Seems to be Research Hospitals and Nanohospitals, which give happiness and more resistance to genetic warfare.

If focusing on Discover isn't actually an advantage in your mod, then you need to think about how a faction like the University is supposed to survive and thrive.

Almost forgot, I use Secret Projects heavily to obstruct factions from trading techs to anyone.

My version of "free stuff" is that there are no Secret Projects on Tiers 1 and 2.  AIs will trade the early techs readily.  Tiers 1 and 2 have turned out to be "broad" though, so it's not certain you're going to get everything without focusing on it.

I don't give factions any free techs unless they're essential to a faction's initial operations, i.e. the Pirates get E1 Doctrine: Flexibility. 
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 04, 2019, 04:49:19 PM
I don't get it. Research advantage is always an advantage to some extent.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 04, 2019, 07:54:08 PM
In my AI vs. AI playtesting, Discover based research has never been enough of an advantage, compared to other advantages given to other factions.  Until rather recently when I seriously sped things up for the University.  Previously they were always getting their asses kicked.  They were wimps.  Even giving them free Biology Labs in addition to their free Network Nodes didn't make them powerful.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 04, 2019, 08:03:51 PM
That's right. Any advantage could be not enough advantageous in some cases. Are you playing unpatched AI engine? I am playing mine on top of Thinker mod and it does a great job. I see that all faction are competing more or less equally.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 05, 2019, 04:16:06 AM
Unpatched.  With my own mod version 1.37, another Discover oriented faction, the Cyborgs, were doing extremely well for themselves on tech.  So much so, that compared to myself as the Morganites, they were beating me on tech.  Even though they were the farthest faction across the map, I felt compelled to invade them first, by orbital insertion.  And complete extermination by gassing, saving only the cities with Secret Projects in it.  Even as their empire was crumbling, they were still researching more tech than me!  I found it remarkable.  It seemed my changes had created a bit of a threat.  I believe if I had left them alone, they would have become a problem.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 07, 2019, 10:08:38 PM
I think I'm pretty much done with first satisfactory version of unit cost and reactor things. Any further changes will be just changes.
Now I am onto my new crusade - combat mechanics. So long it annoyed my with its flawed formulas. I am not sure if it worth efforts, though. It doesn't seem that game breaking or changing anyway. At least nobody bothers. Feel free to vote either way.

Here is the essence of the culprit.

1. Combat round roll probabilities.
Game does apply pretty simple algorithm to decide which side wins each combat round. I'm glad that at least here they opted out for simplicity. Unfortunately, this is one of rare places where probability math does matter. In short, displayed odds are calculated linearly by attack to defense ratio. Meaning when attacker total attack strength is twice as more than defender total defense strength game expectedly shows 2:1 odds providing same HP left on both units. Here is the twist: real combat formula does not give odds as displayed!!! D'oh. Isn't everybody tired to discover game design flaws over and over again?
Just for an example, 2:1 strength ratio produces 3:1 combat winning odds. Odd, isn't it? Combat odds formula is not even linear. Meaning it favors stronger side more than it should. That is the problem as it economically renders even slightly weaker units much more economically ineffective and forces mod designers like me and bvanevery to bring armor and weapon values as close to each other as possible. Otherwise, with linear formula it wouldn't be too bad to fight with weaker units as long as you can match their numbers proportionally.

2. Multi round combat.
Another math probability catch. Probability of winning in a multi round battle is a power of singe round winning probability. Meaning that even if you have a slightest advantage this advantage multiplies tenfold (for 10 round combat). Example, 2:1 strength advantage ratio gives you about 99.9% winning chance with both units using Fission reactor (10 HP). One would think that slight 11:10 advantage should result in some slightly above 50% win chance. Nope. With Fission reactor it's ~70%. And with Fusion reactor it's ~87%. Even worse with higher reactors. Impressive, isn't it? You can see how even slightest advantage matters with these formulas since winning unit can heal and thus winning unit owner incurs no loss.

The only way to fix it is to match complete battle win probability to what displayed odds screen says: the chance of each unit success is directly proportional to this unit strength all effects combined (attack and defense modifiers, HPs left, etc.).

Your thoughts?
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 08, 2019, 12:29:54 AM
I think the odds checker, which I always have turned on nowadays, is completely lying to me.  It requires a 3:2 advantage to be very likely to win.  4:3, I might lose.  11:10, I'm going to die, I don't do the fight.  It does not agree with Part 2 of your analysis.

Psi combat seems to be particularly screwed up.  I've developed a gut feeling for how many 'grains of salt" to take with the odds checker.

I think a lot of combat systems could work, if the displayed odds were actually true.  A player gains instincts over enough iterations, if the phenomena are consistent.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 08, 2019, 12:40:50 AM
I think the odds checker, which I always have turned on nowadays, is completely lying to me.

That is what I am trying to convey.

It does not agree with Part 2 of your analysis.

This is not my analysis. This is what people extracted from disassembled code before me. I am not running a discussion on how it is implemented now. This is just an example of how flawed it is. I plan to change it.

I think a lot of combat systems could work, if the displayed odds were actually true.  A player gains instincts over enough iterations, if the phenomena are consistent.

That's the plan. Match actual odds with displayed ones.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 09, 2019, 04:43:09 AM
Version 21 is available.
Changes are in description. The most important of them are:

Conventional and psi combat now ignores reactor power. Combat is processed as if all units have 10 HP. This is done by hijacking psi combat mechanics that actually does ignore reactor power by original design.

Conventional and psi combat odds calculation now ignores reactor power to match modified combat mechanics. This is actually not only mod for conventional combat but a fix for psi combat. In vanilla psi combat ignores reactor power but psi combat odds calculation does not. Which is a bug that haunted and confused whole community for so long. I am curious why previous fixer like Yitzi and Scient didn't touch it.

Reactor contribution to unit cost calculation is simplified. Now each subsequent reactor drops whole unit cost by approximately 20%. This is configurable. This drop does not affect abilities flat cost.

-----------------------------

These are exe patches. I barely tested them to make sure calculation works correctly. However, there are plenty of other branches I didn't even traced due to limited time: battle involving artifact, probe, artillery, missile. If you see any discrepancies - please let me know. Thank you.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 09, 2019, 06:58:33 AM
Ok I finally get it now.  A reactor gives you slightly cheaper unit costs, but that's it.  No other benefit.  That puts beginning of game units much more at parity with end of game units.  Why upgrade?

Still working on my massive DAR, so not free to test this right now.  Got some other life concerns too.  But when I have time, I'll look at it.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 09, 2019, 09:15:24 AM
Judging on thinker.ini, you've included an outdated version of thinker mod, or is it just outdated version of ini file by mistake ?
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 09, 2019, 03:12:33 PM
Ok I finally get it now.  A reactor gives you slightly cheaper unit costs, but that's it.  No other benefit.  That puts beginning of game units much more at parity with end of game units.  Why upgrade?

Still working on my massive DAR, so not free to test this right now.  Got some other life concerns too.  But when I have time, I'll look at it.

Not sure what you mean by parity. End game units are much stronger. Acquiring next level item is always beneficial from both combat and economy point of view. Making end game units slightly cheaper makes them even more economically effective.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 09, 2019, 03:22:47 PM
Judging on thinker.ini, you've included an outdated version of thinker mod, or is it just outdated version of ini file by mistake ?

I checked it and it matches v0.9. Can you point specific things made you think so?
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 09, 2019, 04:24:12 PM
Judging on thinker.ini, you've included an outdated version of thinker mod, or is it just outdated version of ini file by mistake ?

I checked it and it matches v0.9. Can you point specific things made you think so?

Never mind. I think you meant alphax.txt. It is not even outdated. It is from prehistoric times when Thinker didn't distribute it with own changes. Updated it. Here is it. Didn't tested it myself yet.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: bvanevery on December 09, 2019, 05:52:07 PM
Not sure what you mean by parity. End game units are much stronger.

Only due to putting bigger weapon or armor on them.  A Chaos Fission unit isn't going to have any less of a punch than a Chaos Fusion unit.  The latter just costs less to build, if you're not dealing with minimum cost issues.  I can see cases at least in the stock binary, where if only your reactor difference was implemented, a Fission version of something might actually be better than the Quantum version of something.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 10, 2019, 06:16:48 PM
Added TODOs to my head post for my agenda.

I plan to fix some exploit related to unit hurrying and upgrading as discussed in http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21360.0.

Hurry cost for all production is flat - no initial mineral investment restrictions.
Unit hurry cost = minerals * 4.
Unit upgrade cost = difference in hurry cost.

These two combined solve crawler upgrade exploit to add to SP as well as any other hurry/upgrade exploits. They are no exploits anymore as all costs are linear. One just pay the full price of the upgrade target design regardless of how they ended up there.

Game does not allow downgrade to weaker weapon/armor so formula should never produce negative upgrade cost. However, in this mod higher reactors decrease unit cost so it is possible to get negative upgrade cost for only upgrading reactor. I need to implement this and test to see if it works.

Talking about changing hurry cost formula from quadratic to linear. I don't think it'll break anything. People already spend most of the money on hurrying facilities due to their lower higher hurry cost comparing to units. I never find myself hurrying units on a regular basis past initial exploration stage of the game. I don't think there are so much money in the game to turn flat unit hurry rate into an exploit. It is impossible to buy them all.
On a negative side it does not help to buy out last 10 minerals for unit. Vanilla: 15 credits, new: 40 credits.
On a positive side one can buy out complete expensive unit with enough money. Example for 100 mineral worth unit, vanilla: 700 credits, new: 400 credits.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 12, 2019, 07:00:35 PM
Summarizing tech cost point. They are not yet all clear for me.

Problems

#1 Analysis

Analyze or emulate average faction progress and use this as a baseline. It will never be exact as there are endless variations in games. However, it should reflect expected game stages and effect of map size correctly.
There are two important game stages to adjust: A) early game and B) finish run when map it fully occupied by bases. Finish run is not necessarily an end game. It could start much earlier on small maps.
A)
Early game is same on any map size until player actually hit map limits. Therefore, early techs cost should also be same regardless of the map size!
B)
Map size limits number of working tiles, obviously. After some point in the game whole map is occupied with bases, best terraforming technique is applied to each square, and all labs multiplying facilities are built. Then the only source of labs growth is base population growth which is quasi linear due to ever growing nutrient requirements for next citizen. So asymptotically labs grows about linearly proportionally to map size.

#2 Analysis

I don't think there is a bullet proof solution for this one. Even if we fix all tech costs based on their level (as dino suggests) player would still like to research cheaper technologies and trade more expensive ones. This time not based on research time appearance but based on their level. Either way player would try to minimize cost which is normal strategical choice. The only way to avoid this exploit is to price all techs same but this is unfeasible in 4X game. I believe the closest to this is to increase cost as proportionally smooth as possible. There will still be an opportunity to save small here and there but it will be also outweighed by losing trade opportunity saving big. After all, this is completely normal to avoid trading (and even researching!) unneeded technologies.

What vanilla design does wrong?


Data analysis

Assuming we are playing toughest difficulty level which limits game play to 400 turns. Tech costs should be set then to let player finish all research by then with some challenge. Assuming one acquire approximately every second technology by non research means (pods, trade, stealing). The last statement is disputable, of course. With that in mind some average faction should be able to research the rest of 45 techs in less than 400 turns leaving some time for ascent to transcendence. That gives us 400 / 45 = ~8 turns per tech. I'd say 6-8 should be good enough baseline to be not too harsh on player. However, building twice larger than average empire is another mean to achieve this even without trading.

What we can do to fix it with minimal efforts?

I am not going to apply precise math to emulate the above. Probably just something shape like. And then I'll introduce both adjustments as in vanilla: A) deviation from expected research schedule and B) deviation from other factions research progress.
A) is supposed to alleviate not exact matching between tech cost formula and actual development due to either not perfect formula itself or exceptional variation in development. If player falls behind in research techs become cheaper and vice versa.
B) is supposed to limit loss for least fortunate. Factions behind in research get technologies cheaper.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 12, 2019, 10:01:19 PM
As a pure theory crafting and entertainment, since I understand reverse engineering effort required would huge, so what I wrote below is rather unfeasible...
The best solutions, to various tech realted issues would imo be:

1) Have cost fixed and level based like in thinker mod and have the cost of each level match development speed to extend the research beyond 300 turns
2) Make AI agree to trade only equal level techs as baseline, +- 1lvl depending on diplomacy standing, +- 1lvl depending on how much more or less traded techs are weighted according to AI weights.
3) If trade would be not possible according to the above rule, AI should trade for money according to tech cost, adjusted by diplomacy, commerce and AI tech weights.
4) Make probe steal tech action have a cost like base mind control, it should cost half the cost of research as baseline, modified by probe rating like mind control.

As for the awkward solution with the first 10 techs in thinker revised cost formula. I think just having the first lvl techs cost 2 - 3 times more than the first tech in vanilla would be fine,  as long as you speed up a bit early game development with one free former at the start ( thinker mod feature, could be modified to give it to the player too ) and make sure AIs will research Ecology as one of their first two techs. A free former is also a great feature, to help with overcoming a bad starting terrain.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 12, 2019, 11:19:52 PM
Interesting suggestions. You are right that most of them would be very difficult to implement, though.
:)

Not sure they all are applicable to my modding either. I try to not create new experience. Rather fix some obviously sticking problems those render certain feature of the game unusable or deviating from original idea. I highlighted two of them in my previous post: research stagnation in the early game and the opposite in the later. These are problems in terms of this mode because this is not what one would expect from game. There, of course, could be deviations in research pace but not that big and illogical. So I am going to tune tech cost to smooth them to extent where it is not that noticeable problem anymore.

As for trading thing, I don't think this is a problem at all. Past the first 20 techs their cost grows very slowly. Next tech is about just 3-5% more expensive. Holding off the trade may win you these 5% at risk of losing trade opportunity and whole 100% of free tech. Ergo, is better to trade as soon as possible and as much as possible. You still can exercise it but its a normal strategical risk. Trade hold off is not some overpowered or must have strategy.

Now, the first 20 techs is another story. Due to this design flaw their average cost increase is somewhere 30%. This is something worth holding. After I fix this specific design flaw the hold off exploit will die by itself.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 12, 2019, 11:44:23 PM
1) Have cost fixed and level based like in thinker mod and have the cost of each level match development speed to extend the research beyond 300 turns

The rest of the game engine is not aware of fixed cost. It will be very difficult to integrate. This'll create more problems than it solves.

2) Make AI agree to trade only equal level techs as baseline, +- 1lvl depending on diplomacy standing, +- 1lvl depending on how much more or less traded techs are weighted according to AI weights.

Don't see a need. Why restrict it? AI is weighing trade benefit already and may reject worse offer. Level is not guarantee of need. You may desperately need level 1 tech and willing to give away level 5 for it and vice versa.

3) If trade would be not possible according to the above rule, AI should trade for money according to tech cost, adjusted by diplomacy, commerce and AI tech weights.

Even current rude rule of offering tech for 100 credits regardless of level does not have any devastating effect on game flow. Why bother with even smaller details?

4) Make probe steal tech action have a cost like base mind control, it should cost half the cost of research as baseline, modified by probe rating like mind control.

It does have cost already - vendetta! It's not monetary but not everything should be monetary in the game.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 13, 2019, 01:15:42 PM
Researched tech cost some more. It is quite convoluted. I don't think I need to change it entirely as it doesn't break game strategically or something. If I am going to change it then at most I'll make it doesn't grow faster than 10% and change multiplier from map size square root to just map size.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 15, 2019, 11:23:37 PM
I think weapon and armor progression in your mod is not a good idea:
W: 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,10,13,16,20,24,30,
A:  1,2,  ,3,  ,4,5, 6 , 10,16,24,   ,    ,

Shortly after Tachyon Field introduction, weapon rating equals armor.
With 1/3 combat round chance, the chance of defeating a defender in a base with a tachyon field is very small. AI won't be capable of conquering any bases imo.

I'd go with something like this:
W: 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,10,12,16,20,24,30,
A:  1,2,  , 3,  ,4,6, 8, 10,12,16,   ,    ,

The combat resolution function is fully disassembled by Scient, so very easily two binary tweaks could be done ( or better yet pull the whole combat resolution function into the mod ):
1) Reduce perimeter defense and tachyon field bonuses to +75%
2) Remove stack collateral damage, from defeating a unit

Results ?
Defending a base would have roughly same chances as vanilla, but easily knocking down with a small task force and little to no loses, a continous stream of AI units approaching without any tactics your bases would become no longer possible. I'm positive that AI would benefit from these changes a lot, while still giving a player some room to gain an advantage with clever tactics.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 05:32:19 AM
Do you suggest 30:16 end game W:A ratio *together* with weakening base defenses? When you say it helps AI - do you mean it helps *attacking* AI or both AI sides? If attacking only then you just tilt the balance in favor of more aggressive AI factions. This is an exact thing I am trying to  neutralize with new weapon and armor design.
I don't see much problem for more economically advanced AI faction to fight less advanced one. You are right that TF triples defense. That just makes attacker lose triple number of units more against same strength defenders in bases. Assuming they can supply three times more units to the front line they will advance without problems. And this is only the worst scenario for attacker. Outnumbering opponent means ruling the field between bases impeding enemy communications, and achieving artillery superiority. With artillery on their side, attacker halves base defenders HPs changing initial 1:3 odds to 2:3. And then with discovery of strongest weapon to 10:12. It's almost equal losses! Now you want to weaken defenders even more. If we do this we are back to attacker advantage and indestructible army nightmare.

I agree that all this math is merely an estimation and only play testing gives real picture. What I've observed so far is that even same strength defenders behind PD do not stop dedicated invader AI deploying enough units to battle. Thankfully that doesn't happen swiftly anymore as in vanilla when AI with slightest advantage ate neighbors for breakfast and grew out of proportions in a blink of an eye. In this mod I still see AI advancing occasionally but at slow enough rate when snowballing can be stopped.

Please feel free to share your play testing results. I'm also happy to provide modified version of the mod for you to test your theories. I am quite keep of such research too. :)
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 16, 2019, 09:30:19 AM
If you have 1/3 *combat round* chance, then the chance of the whole combat is much smaller than that, since after each damage taken the odds tilt even more in favor of the defender.
I assumed the odds of each round are adjusted for damage taken in the previous one. It'd 1/3 only if odds were always the same as in the first combat resolution round.
If that is the case with the combat function, please let me know, it's years since I've looked into it, I may misremember it.

The goal of the design presented is to make actively defending against AI ( by attacking incoming forces ) more difficult, without changing AI vs AI dynamics much.
Keep in mind that AI vs AI defender can replace/repair looses much faster and with thinker most factions remain of roughly equal power.
In vanilla AI mid game can conquer anything, *mostly* only after it gains a reactor advantage.
If you take reactor advantage out *and* tilt defenders odds so heavily as you did, in my opinion AI won't be capable of conquering anything.

Does AI use artillery to purposefully drop defenses to 50% ? With Tachyon field odds are already more in favor of the defender than in the early game.
If you calculate the odds, my proposal doesn't change base conquering odds at all from vanilla, only makes aggressor faction units take less damage in the open, from human defender attacks.
In my experience AIs with thinker are in permanent stalemate, I'd rather like to see more decisive actions between them, not less.

I'd love to have combat resolution function disassembled and it's source code as a part of the mod to tweak.
Or, you could just make 4 versions with binary tweaks: with/without collateral damage from loosing a unit in the stack and with 50%, or 75% facility bonuses.
With access to such tweaks I'd be interested in doing playtesting and experiments.
Some tweaks to the existing source code is the extend of my ability, if it comes to coding, so I can't make it happen myself ;)
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 04:01:19 PM
If you have 1/3 *combat round* chance, then the chance of the whole combat is much smaller than that, since after each damage taken the odds tilt even more in favor of the defender.

You are absolutely right. The chance of a 1/3 weaker unit win a singe duel is zero. However, we are talking about an end game assault saturated with units and multiple attacks against a base per turn. It that scenario we care less about individual unit winning chances but more of mutual HP depletion. Each defender will be hit by multiple attacker. Some of them may die but they eventually kill a defender. Let's say AI 1 have 4 defenders behind TF and AI 2 attacks a base with 20+ attackers of about same strength as defenders all at the same turn. As a result AI 1 will lose all 4 defenders when AI 2 will lose 12 attackers on average. That is all war math we need: proportion of losses matches combat odds.
This being said the actual SMACX combat odds are different from those displayed! But this is another story and potential fix target.

Back to the discussion. Battle win chances matter only when lone units meat in wilderness. In large scale war where each side can sacrifice as many units in a single turn to defeat target unit only proportion of losses matters. In this regard slight increase in base defense does not negate invasion completely but only how little the invader can bite with the size of their current forces. I never tasked myself with fine tuning this. Feel free to do that research and I'll listen to your suggestions.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 04:10:49 PM
I assumed the odds of each round are adjusted for damage taken in the previous one. It'd 1/3 only if odds were always the same as in the first combat resolution round.
If that is the case with the combat function, please let me know, it's years since I've looked into it, I may misremember it.

That is correct. Odds are calculated "taking damage into account" - this is an exact phase on odds dialog. However, the proportion of HP losses stays the same. For example, same strength units have 1:1 odds. Now if defender is half damaged already, odds displays 2:1 for attacker. However, the proportion of HP losses is still 1:1. Since defender has only 5 HPs that means attacker will also lose 5 HPs on average.

All combined the HP losses are proportional to unit strength. When you extrapolate it to large armies that translates to number of units lost since each dead unit loses 10 HP each.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 04:22:31 PM
The goal of the design presented is to make actively defending against AI ( by attacking incoming forces ) more difficult, without changing AI vs AI dynamics much.
Keep in mind that AI vs AI defender can replace/repair looses much faster and with thinker most factions remain of roughly equal power.
In vanilla AI mid game can conquer anything, *mostly* only after it gains a reactor advantage.
If you take reactor advantage out *and* tilt defenders odds so heavily as you did, in my opinion AI won't be capable of conquering anything.

In vanilla actively defending against AI is already impossibly difficult. When my neighbor amasses forces and invades my territory this is a certain death. Switching all bases to building combat units doesn't help. The only plausible way to defend is to amass striker units and invade enemy territory before they do. The one who does first strike wins. There is absolutely no viable "defend on your territory" strategy in vanilla. Why do you want to make defense even more difficult? In my mod I see that I really can defend with minimal efforts against some barging forces. Of course, stronger forces would break my defense but at least I can defend to some extent while in vanilla any wandering attacker is a threat of losing base.

Let me repeat once more. Please play test it and share your experience. Theorizing is often quite off.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 04:25:50 PM
Does AI use artillery to purposefully drop defenses to 50% ? With Tachyon field odds are already more in favor of the defender than in the early game.
If you calculate the odds, my proposal doesn't change base conquering odds at all from vanilla, only makes aggressor faction units take less damage in the open, from human defender attacks.
In my experience AIs with thinker are in permanent stalemate, I'd rather like to see more decisive actions between them, not less.

I'd love to have combat resolution function disassembled and it's source code as a part of the mod to tweak.
Or, you could just make 4 versions with binary tweaks: with/without collateral damage from loosing a unit in the stack and with 50%, or 75% facility bonuses.
With access to such tweaks I'd be interested in doing playtesting and experiments.
Some tweaks to the existing source code is the extend of my ability, if it comes to coding, so I can't make it happen myself

Not purposefully. I never saw them amassing artillery fire against a base but they do use it in quantities they have. I guess we can tweak the percentage of artillery built by AI to aid them in that.

Collateral damage: you mean disable it completely? It is already disabled in bases. Do you want to disable it everywhere?

Facility bonuses: do you mean absolute values or on top of intrinsic base defense? I.e. just list these defensive bonuses:
PD and TF are cumulative. Either defense facility in base disables its intrinsic defense bonus.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 16, 2019, 05:34:42 PM
Yes, vanilla game favor an attacker in the open so much, that you can keep destroying a stream of units from a few times bigger AI opponent with almost no loses with a pack of cheap rovers and clever tactics abusing predictability of the AI. By removing collateral damage and increasing armor to weapon ratio you could make it impossible.

But after you increase armor ratio, you should imo proportionally decrease perimeter defense and tachyon field bonuses, or AI won't be able to deal with conquering bases, since it usually won't prepare an attack with artillery properly. While we are at artillery, I'd reduce max damage from arty to 50%, and max damage in the base to 70%, for the same reason: AI can't use it to the full potential, by nerfing it you even the playing field a bit, while still keeping artillery worthy of using.

These are my ideas to make it more difficult for a player, to fight against strong AI opponent, while keeping dynamics between AIs mostly unchanged.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 06:32:53 PM
Yes, vanilla game favor an attacker in the open so much, that you can keep destroying a stream of units from a few times bigger AI opponent with almost no loses with a pack of cheap rovers and clever tactics abusing predictability of the AI. By removing collateral damage and increasing armor to weapon ratio you could make it impossible.

But after you increase armor ratio, you should imo proportionally decrease perimeter defense and tachyon field bonuses, or AI won't be able to deal with conquering bases, since it usually won't prepare an attack with artillery properly. While we are at artillery, I'd reduce max damage from arty to 50%, and max damage in the base to 70%, for the same reason: AI can't use it to the full potential, by nerfing it you even the playing field a bit, while still keeping artillery worthy of using.

These are my ideas to make it more difficult for a player, to fight against strong AI opponent, while keeping dynamics between AIs mostly unchanged.

AI uses artillery and in large enough quantities just not concentrated fire. Tweaking build priority may naturally convert amount of artillery units into bombardment quality. However, concentrated fire is the major AI problem not only in artillery but in general.

I agree that increasing armor theoretically calls for decreasing other defense components if resulting defensive strength become too high. However, equally armored defenders behind TF is still not too high defense in my eyes. I want defense to be three times more effective in the end game. Huge end game production results in massive armies. Economical strength also greatly diverges toward the end of the game. It is not at all unusual for one faction to be 3-5 times more powerful. That results in 3-5 times more units with more advanced weapon. In such conditions triple defense is just bare minimum to slow down the invasion. Without it weaker factions would be all gone long before end game.

Again. This is my experience based on my play testing. I haven't seen TF in action yet but I noticed that PD in the early-mid game doesn't completely block invaders. They eventually break through. I'm afraid it'll worsen toward the end of the game. So TF is not a luxury.

I'll see if I can find and expose defense values anyway.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 16, 2019, 06:44:12 PM
As I said these ideas are not about ultimate and fair game design balance, like for a multiplayer game, but about nerfing game rules that player can put to *much* better use than AI.

Also by increasing defense so heavily you make it easier for the player to concentrate defenses in a base and defend without any looses, with enough defenders and these defense values even rover raids won't be necessary, because it'll be almost guaranteed that individual attacker will loose and only damage defender a bit, with enough units in the base not a single one will be destroyed and they'll quickly heal.

As you noticed AI can't into concentrating power, this is the whole point of my proposals, that player unlike AI can, so I am thinking about changes that would allow AI wear down player's defenses even when he concentrates power in a defending base.

I am also not worried about decisive victories in the mid and endgame between leading AI factions, with large empires arising, that could rival the player.

I'll see if I can find and expose defense values anyway.

I was browsing through Scient's database in IDA few years ago out of curiosity and remember reading through combat resolution function, both facility defense bonuses and the part applying collateral damage were disassembled with named variables. This is the main reason I hammer about these ideas. I don't remember if artillery combat was also there, but very likely it was.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 07:31:30 PM
changes that would allow AI wear down player's defenses even when he concentrates power in a defending base.

That is the root of all SMACX combat problems. You can theoretically tune combat odds to be very close to 1:1 in one scenario. However, number of scenarios and variations are huge. Due to other odds modifications you'll see them ranging from twice as low to twice as high all throughout the game. And even slightest (!!!) strength advantage above 20% (like 6:5) almost guarantees survival in a duel. So you see it is absolutely impossible to balance each and every duel properly. Most of the cases units on one side will just drop like flies due to balance currently tilted in favor of one of them.

Due to this impossibility I do not even bother to balance this. Here is what I am for: if somebody's units inevitably should drop like flies let it be attacker. I am completely fine with attacker units dying in large quantities not avenged. That means that there is a certain economical advantage threshold below which invasion is just a waste of resources as you correctly noticed. So one should achieve certain power before invading. That was my goal! Such threshold doesn't exists in vanilla.
:)
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 07:33:09 PM
Scient's database doesn't open in my IDA version. But don't worry. It is possible to find all this.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 16, 2019, 09:38:56 PM
It's interesting, that we see an opposite problem with AI :)

In my opinion without reactor advantage, it's not effective in the conquest enough and you think it's too effective already.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 10:02:25 PM
It's interesting, that we see an opposite problem with AI :)

In my opinion without reactor advantage, it's not effective in the conquest enough and you think it's too effective already.

AI vs. human is completely different story.
If we are talking about AI vs AI both sides are equally skilled in combat, obviously. The problem is that both of them being quite sloppy it is often happens that one side that somehow amassed numbers already just beat the crap out of other who cannot organize proper defense. That being random you often end up with only one or two enormous factions those eat others by the mid game already. I am adding to defense to slow down such random beating to extent that most of faction can survive to the game end even if in shrink size.

That's all. I am slowing down conquest dynamic to match the game length.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 16, 2019, 10:53:40 PM
The problem is that both of them being quite sloppy it is often happens that one side that somehow amassed numbers already just beat the crap out of other who cannot organize proper defense.

It should be dealt with AI improvements, I have these ideas that I was thinking about trying to implement myself, but you can try too. It should took you 10 times less time then me.

The actual issues are:
1) thinker AI can sometimes remain completely without army even into midgame, if it has peace with neighbours and it's threat level was never ticked, no amount of unbalanced defense bonuses will fix that.
It's equally easy for a player, to steamroll such defended mostly by formers faction btw.
2) AI won't upgrade units,
3) Support level that gives free units up to the base size, is completely overpowered in the early and early midgame,

Solutions:
1) Modify thinker production code so it always produces some units up to certain producion percentage dedicated to support, regardless of the  threat level. I was thinking of making it configurable via thinker.ini for easy playtesting and tuning, I was thinking something like 35%( ini variable ) +- 5%* ai_fight ( so 30 - 40% depending on faction ). Tradeoff is 30% slower development, but AI would always be prepared for defense.
2) If 1) is implemented and player try to gain advantage by developing without any army ( more then 3x smaller army ), make *neighboring* ai_fight 0 and 1 factions without treaty change diplomacy status to vendetta ( with exception of early game ), or heavily deteriorate their disposition toward the player, if you could access this value.
3) Implement unit upgrade with money, in simillar fasion thinker implemented facilities rushing with money.
4) Modify SE settings and faction bonuses, so SUPPORT3 is not possible until MilAlg

By reading through thinker code, I believe that all of these can be accomplished with modifications to existing thinker codebase, without any additional reverse engineering.

It's not the combat odds that are real  reason for a problem you've identified, and such significant changes favoring defender odds won't really solve them, but will introduce other issues of their own.

Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 11:49:26 PM
Oh no, I didn't mean to solely protect human player with this. It is just game becomes pretty shallow when 4 out of 7 factions got eliminated early. I understand that someone has to win eventually just not that early.

Again. I am not defending my choice. Not much playtesting yet. I may be wrong.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 16, 2019, 11:52:32 PM
1) thinker AI can sometimes remain completely without army even into midgame, if it has peace with neighbours and it's threat level was never ticked, no amount of unbalanced defense bonuses will fix that.
It's equally easy for a player, to steamroll such defended mostly by formers faction btw.

You are absolutely right but this is completely different issue and completely different fix not fixable by attack-defense balance.

2) AI won't upgrade units,

Wha? I never knew that.

3) Support level that gives free units up to the base size, is completely overpowered in the early and early midgame,

Hmm. I tend to agree but how this is relevant to attack-defense balance per se?

Solutions:
1) Modify thinker production code so it always produces some units up to certain producion percentage dedicated to support, regardless of the  threat level. I was thinking of making it configurable via thinker.ini for easy playtesting and tuning, I was thinking something like 35%( ini variable ) +- 5%* ai_fight ( so 30 - 40% depending on faction ). Tradeoff is 30% slower development, but AI would always be prepared for defense.

Makes sense.

2) If 1) is implemented and player try to gain advantage by developing without any army ( more then 3x smaller army ), make *neighboring* ai_fight 0 and 1 factions without treaty change diplomacy status to vendetta ( with exception of early game ), or heavily deteriorate their disposition toward the player, if you could access this value.

I think something like that is already present in the game. The weaker you are the bolder the AI. It doesn't happen instantly. They go through threats and extortion first then to breaking pacts, etc. To get strong piece human has to not attack first and have strong army. Besides, factions become generally more and more aggressive with time. They attack you sooner or later anyway. Besides or the above two it is insanely difficult to implement (properly). I am sure I won't bother with it.

3) Implement unit upgrade with money, in simillar fasion thinker implemented facilities rushing with money.

AI didn't rush facilities either? What do they do with all these money?
:)
I guess this is a good TODO.

4) Modify SE settings and faction bonuses, so SUPPORT3 is not possible until MilAlg

I think you overestimate its value. Yes it's good but not that insanely. For small early game bases "4 or up to base size" essentially means just 4. For medium size best unit producer game bases have 10-20 mineral production. The difference between 4 and base size is probably somewhere 2-4 at best and supporting 2-4 extra units is not that hurtful comparing to base mineral production.

It's not the combat odds that are real  reason for a problem you've identified, and such significant changes favoring defender odds won't really solve them, but will introduce other issues of their own.

Yep. Combat odds is just one of the problem. I was disabling human indestructible snowball army exploit by this. Unfortunately, there is no other way to do it without making base defense noticeably stronger to turn cakewalk into a hard battle. So I suggest this change (attack-defense balance) stays at least to some extent and we'll work on other issues meanwhile.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 17, 2019, 03:59:00 AM
Found it.
Here is the deal, dino.
PD and TF multipliers can be directly changed by 50% increment only. Let me know if you like to try this.
Another option is to completely override the combat calculation function. This way I can change outcome in a more granular way. Somewhere in 1/0x100 or something. However, overriding whole function means there are a lot of conditions and variables I haven't even see = a lot of different use cases and testing to make sure I didn't screw them up by changing just one case. Are you up to it?
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 17, 2019, 06:06:08 AM
Implemented first option in version 22. Enjoy!
:)

I don't think there is a need for less than 50% step granularity but you'll tell me after tests.
Intrinsic base defense is in alphax.txt if you need to tweak it as well.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 17, 2019, 01:01:25 PM
Thank you, I'll play with your mod through the weekend.

I'll try to first give a shot to the values you've set and if I indeed encounter the issues I foresee, I'll start doing other experiments. With 50% granularity I'd go for PD 100% and TF 50% probably if had to change it.
As for skipping collateral from defeated  unit, there is a check to skip it if inside the base, it should be enough to modify its condition and artillery percentages are already avaiable in vanilla alphax.txt which I forgot.

I was disabling human indestructible snowball army exploit by this.

I think if Inductio implemented magnets only usable on owned territory and gave AI a magnet network, it would be the best counter to the player snowballing.
Since it wouldn't be possible to conquer in a single turn more then the outer ring of less developed bases, which could be met with a retaliation of the whole remaining AI army in the next turn.
If you just increase defense rating to the point even player will struggle with conquest, how can you expect AIs to deal with it during their offensives ?



Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 17, 2019, 09:46:47 PM
I'll try to first give a shot to the values you've set and if I indeed encounter the issues I foresee, I'll start doing other experiments.

I used vanilla values for default in thinker.ini, of course.

If you have plenty of time to test few games up to TF then sure do few games for comparison. Otherwise, I'd encourage you to test your theory first to get a taste whether it is something you expected or it is too much.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 17, 2019, 09:59:10 PM
As for skipping collateral from defeated  unit, there is a check to skip it if inside the base, it should be enough to modify its condition

Thanks for pointer. Will look into it.

I still cannot wrap my head around why you want to play with it? This one seems to be nicely designed and causes least problem. It is a natural defense against stack of doom when attacker can move ~100 unit stack of mixed attackers and defenders to the base and be sure none of their attacker will be even slightly damaged by preventive strikes from the base. Decreasing collateral damage from 100% in Civ 1/2 to 20% seems like a brilliant idea. Now you still can destroy whole stack but you need 5 successful attacks against it. If less then stacked attackers can still attack in their turn but with lower power.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 17, 2019, 10:05:33 PM
Tested version 23 with new unit hurry and upgrade cost formulas.
Negative cost for reactor upgrade works! Cool.
Overall both costs seem a bit not affordable for frequent use especially in early game. This is fine for hurry cost as they were not affordable before too. Upgrade is higher for lower tier units and lower for higher tier so OK too.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 17, 2019, 10:36:48 PM
Found an exploit. Refund for upgrade to cheaper unit is 4x minerals difference. That allows building more expensive units with obsolete reactor, upgrade them and use the refund to buy buildings twice as cheap.
I should limit refund with x2 or x1.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 18, 2019, 02:38:18 AM
v23 with collateral damage parameters.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 18, 2019, 09:10:10 AM
I still cannot wrap my head around why you want to play with it? This one seems to be nicely designed and causes least problem. It is a natural defense against stack of doom when attacker can move ~100 unit stack of mixed attackers and defenders to the base and be sure none of their attacker will be even slightly damaged by preventive strikes from the base. Decreasing collateral damage from 100% in Civ 1/2 to 20% seems like a brilliant idea. Now you still can destroy whole stack but you need 5 successful attacks against it. If less then stacked attackers can still attack in their turn but with lower power.

For this reason I use only large stacks of speeders, or elite infantry, so I can move my stack and attack in the same turn with full strenght and without a risk of loosing from retaliation if I successfullly conquer the base. AI doesn't do this and their stacks are free game, so it's another nerf that should benefit AI much more than the human player. It doesn't also makes sense, why should in lets say a 25 unit stack, killing 20% units completely doom remaining 80% ? It's not even necessary, with the way multiround combat works, even killing just 2 units in a stack renders remaing force completely useless for a base assault. It's a feature for a casual player imo, that prevents him from getting bored, evolution of which bacame 1UPT which ruined the CIV series. Of course such a huge change may break the game in a way that I can't foresee yet, but I always wanted to try it.

I hope you didn't loose too much time doing me these favors. I don't have any more of such ideas, so hopefully I won't bother you with more tasks ;)

Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 18, 2019, 03:11:30 PM
I still cannot wrap my head around why you want to play with it? This one seems to be nicely designed and causes least problem. It is a natural defense against stack of doom when attacker can move ~100 unit stack of mixed attackers and defenders to the base and be sure none of their attacker will be even slightly damaged by preventive strikes from the base. Decreasing collateral damage from 100% in Civ 1/2 to 20% seems like a brilliant idea. Now you still can destroy whole stack but you need 5 successful attacks against it. If less then stacked attackers can still attack in their turn but with lower power.

For this reason I use only large stacks of speeders, or elite infantry, so I can move my stack and attack in the same turn with full strenght and without a risk of loosing from retaliation if I successfullly conquer the base. AI doesn't do this and their stacks are free game, so it's another nerf that should benefit AI much more than the human player.

Exactly, man! For this reason. That is the whole point of any rule in the game - to counter some other tactics.

It doesn't also makes sense, why should in lets say a 25 unit stack, killing 20% units completely doom remaining 80%

You are right. Real life works differently. But this is irrelevant to game design. Let's avoid such arguments.

? It's not even necessary, with the way multiround combat works, even killing just 2 units in a stack renders remaing force completely useless for a base assault. It's a feature for a casual player imo, that prevents him from getting bored, evolution of which bacame 1UPT which ruined the CIV series. Of course such a huge change may break the game in a way that I can't foresee yet, but I always wanted to try it.

Sorry, I don't follow what ruined Civ series? The ability to kill all units in square with one attack? I thought this was a fresh innovation to introduce new distinctive tactical element in game comparing to predecessors. I recall it awed me in Civ1.

I hope you didn't loose too much time doing me these favors. I don't have any more of such ideas, so hopefully I won't bother you with more tasks ;)

Not at all. I like follow ideas and see what happens. This is all free time leisure anyway.
:)


At the same time it is better to have some sort of focus in mod. Otherwise, fixing never ends. That is why I am asking these stupid questions about whether some change is needed. Please forgive me.
For example, I can understand that stronger armor + TF  may lead to conquest stalemate. That hurts aggressive factions and tilts balance to economical ones. This need to be tested, of course, but I understand there could be potential problem.
With collateral damage I don't see a problem. Not that it doesn't exist - I just cannot understand if it exists. So I'm happy to give you all the configuration parameters to try and prove your point.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 18, 2019, 04:07:50 PM
Here is another example of my reasoning. Recently I've removed all hurry restrictions and made all hurry cost flat.

Vanilla implementation: different formula for facilities and units, different multiplier for regular facilities and SP, formulas use penalty thresholds, thresholds are different for regular facilities, unit, and SP. That results in player read formulas in help or internet, count tiny squares on the screen with pencil to get number of rows and accumulated minerals, use pen/paper/calculator to come up with answer, use knowledge of carry over minerals to not overflow current production, and on and on. This all distracts from actual playing the game.
The only meaningful rule here is to price SP higher than regular facilities. That is understandable because SP are one of a kind and there is always race to build it. Therefore, higher price limits money bags from buying it outright using previously accumulated reserves. In other words, it assures SP building does not happen instantaneously so other factions can participate in race.
Other rules are just garbage. Obviously, no one has that much money to buy more than 90% of all production. One may buy Recycling Tanks in one base but not in another. Thresholds forces player to not buy stuff when it doesn't have 10 minerals invested in yet. What does it change? Now player will just pay for half of Recycling Tanks in both bases. Same amount of money spent = same amount of mineral production substituted. No economical impact. Sure that prevents player to develop a single base very quickly using whole empire resources. What is the application of this? Building drone facilities in captured bases? In this case it would be more logical to penalize rushing in captured bases specifically and not to introduce rule affecting the rest of empire.
Same story with unit rushing. Beyond 6 rows of minerals the cost becomes exorbitant and keep growing even if no one ever spend money on it anymore. I don't see a point making later game units much more expensive. At any game stage the unit you rush is the most important unit helping you to organize defense or something. Just make them all expensive and be done with it.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 18, 2019, 04:53:50 PM
[...] Real life works differently. But this is irrelevant to game design. Let's avoid such arguments.
[...] That is the whole point of any rule in the game - to counter some other tactics.

For me it's too abstract and gamey and such simple tricks not only working, but being necessary, ruin the fun, by overruling the economy buildup advantage, that is the real meat of a 4x game for me.
But even if you don't care about versimilitude much and are fine with these kind of board game like, not simulationist rules, you have to at least admit that AI can't into these kind of tactics at all.
And improving AI in this regard would be a huge task even with full source code, so on top of me liking more grounded in reality rules, I think it's necessary to provide a challenge.

With vanilla rules, I can indefinitely hold off an AI faction of equal power to mine, by dedicating only 10 - 20% of my economy to it, while AI will burn all it's production on the same war.
I want rules that would put me under enough stress, to loose turns advantage against other uninvolved in war AI factions if I get attacked.

Sorry, I don't follow what ruined Civ series?
1 UPT = 1 Unit Per Tile, from Civ 5 and onwards, introduced because of all casuals complaing about stacks of doom. Civ 4 is the last one I've played and I refuse to even try the new ones on that account alone ( there are plenty other reasons, based on online discussions ). I want to play a strategy game, if I wanted an abstract board game, I'd stick to chess. In a strategy game economy and logistics should win the war and tactics should be able to only trip the balance.

Casual player can't stand when he ends up in unwinable position, while giving him tools to save the day even when confronted with superior power, provides him a great satisfaction. This the design goal behind 1UPT, or stack wipes, which allow wins against many times stronger AIs. What is the point of playing with rules like that, if you are a competent player ? I instead want to be destroyed, if I fail at "build" part of 4X.

[...] With collateral damage I don't see a problem.
In a strategy game of this scale, a confrontation between two stacks of units of equal power, resulting in a total destruction of one side with almost no loses on the other, being solely determined by which side happened to be the attacker is not acceptable to me and against AI, it'll almost always the player be an attacker and that alone kills most of the challenge in war part of these 4x games imo.

Of course I may not like it in practice, when I actualy try it ;)
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 18, 2019, 05:54:51 PM
Real life certainly has an influence on game design. Civilization series is probably the best example of them all. It does simulate real life!
The thing is when real life concepts and idea and vision are reflected in such games but mechanics is different. Game simulates real life with some under the hood mechanics. That is the reality of game design and it is impossible to simulate 100% of every smallest realistic detail. That is what I meant. I don't call for wiping out each and every resemblance of life connection from the game. On the contrary. I love such elements a lot.

Here is an example.
Unit is given 50% bonus do defend against artillery in open. Game helps explains this bonus as "ability to maneuver under the fire". This explanation is a nonsense. Designers did not introduce a "ability to maneuver under the fire" concept first and then decided how much bonus should be. The bonus was introduced first. Most likely to equalize defense against artillery in all kind of terrain: open, rough, base, bunker. I guess they thought it is easier to modify just one case for bombardment than three = more code reuse or something. Then they tried to "explain" their decision in more or less lifelike terms. That is the normal way to build and advertise a game and add a story to it.
Now some people take this "maneuvering under the fire" for real as a game concept and start actually discussing it and develop it and propose mod changes based on this random wording. THAT is what I warn everybody against. Don't go this path.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 18, 2019, 06:16:11 PM
With vanilla rules, I can indefinitely hold off an AI faction of equal power to mine, by dedicating only 10 - 20% of my economy to it, while AI will burn all it's production on the same war.
I want rules that would put me under enough stress, to loose turns advantage against other uninvolved in war AI factions if I get attacked.

True. Removing collateral damage helps AI attack human. However, it also helps human attack AI and in much greater proportions since human will exploit it better. You are solving one problem but creates bigger one at the same time. I am up for the challenge with my both hands but this one in particular is a questionable fix. Did you think about reducing it to 10-20% maybe? That would almost not hurt AI since it does not stack too much of them together but will still prevent human from humongous stacks of doom.

Sorry, I don't follow what ruined Civ series?
1 UPT = 1 Unit Per Tile, from Civ 5 and onwards, introduced because of all casuals complaing about stacks of doom. Civ 4 is the last one I've played and I refuse to even try the new ones on that account alone ( there are plenty other reasons, based on online discussions ). I want to play a strategy game, if I wanted an abstract board game, I'd stick to chess. In a strategy game economy and logistics should win the war and tactics should be able to only trip the balance.

Casual player can't stand when he ends up in unwinable position, while giving him tools to save the day even when confronted with superior power, provides him a great satisfaction. This the design goal behind 1UPT, or stack wipes, which allow wins against many times stronger AIs. What is the point of playing with rules like that, if you are a competent player ? I instead want to be destroyed, if I fail at "build" part of 4X.

Ah, got it now. Wasn't familiar with the term.
100% agree. I always say that mere combat fiddling is nothing compared to sheer number/quality of units. Still you want some combat balance to provide you a cushion of protection from slightly stronger opponent. They should reach certain level of economical superiority before they start breaking through your defense. After that there is no stopping. So holding them tactically, politically or otherwise is the way to protect and develop economical advantage. Both global (economics, logistics) and local (tactics, maneuvering) are important.

[...] With collateral damage I don't see a problem.
In a strategy game of this scale, a confrontation between two stacks of units of equal power, resulting in a total destruction of one side with almost no loses on the other, being solely determined by which side happened to be an attacker is not acceptable to me  and against AI, it'll almost always the player be an attacker and that alone kills most of the challenge in war part of these 4x games imo.

Of course I may not like it in practice, when I actualy try it ;)

You got your tool now. Go and try it. At the same time feel free to propose a fix that'll make it more challenging to player. Like do not apply collateral damage to AI's units but to human's only.

Have you played Thinker mod a little? Or this one since it is based on Thinker?
In Thinker AI is so economically savvy that I am usually a weakest faction for long long long time. That is already pretty challenging. I believe no collateral damage modifications can counter such economical power superiority.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on December 18, 2019, 06:53:45 PM
Removing collateral damage helps AI attack human. However, it also helps human attack AI and in much greater proportions since human will exploit it better. You are solving one problem but creates bigger one at the same time. I am up for the challenge with my both hands but this one in particular is a questionable fix. Did you think about reducing it to 10-20% maybe? That would almost not hurt AI since it does not stack too much of them together but will still prevent human from humongous stacks of doom.
As I explained, there is little that prevents me from safely using homongenous stacks of doom already and my stacks almost never suffer collateral from AI attacks, while I wipe enemy stacks quiet often. Removing them completely only removes this huge advantage from me, in return I gain an advantage of being able to use slower, but cheaper infantry units with +25% bonus on base assault, instead of only speeder chasis and that is only if I can't produce elite infantry anyway. Without collateral, a disorganised stream of AI units should have more chance of building up at my gates, into a stack that can overcome my defense.

I've played some early games with thinker, it's economy buildup is huge improvement over vanilla, but I still can destroy wastly larger AI forces.

Still you want some combat balance to provide you a cushion of protection from slightly stronger opponent.
This is why I fully agree with increasing armor values, I was only worried that maybe you are increasing them a bit too much in mid-late game.
As for collateral I hope it won't change AI vs AI dynamics much, it should make it easier for AI to conquer a base, but also equally easier to take it back.
Lets rest this discussion for a week, or two, since like you've said, I have my tool and there is nothing more to add, it's time to try it.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 18, 2019, 07:57:30 PM
Yep. Yep. I see your point about collateral damage now.
AI sucked absolutely in vanilla. In Thinker it sucks significantly less against occasional troops. You cannot just sneak a pure attacker to city walls anymore. That adds some challenge. However, it still sucks against fully prepared assault.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 19, 2019, 03:51:38 AM
Removed AQUATIC mineral bonus. Now it seems to get into the desired shape.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 19, 2019, 03:20:18 PM
Version 24.
Automated release procedure from project.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 19, 2019, 06:18:57 PM
Need to rethink cost of non combat units. Unit cost formula primarily targets combat units and it does it well. It is not possible to use a single simple formula to cover for non combat modules cost and effect, though. So they may need to be tweaked specially. Here are my thoughts on what these units should cost.

infantry colony
Still think it should be somewhere 6, maybe 5 but not lower. 4 is too cheap. I played with 6 for long time now and it seems to be on target. Bases do not get depleted of population anymore and overall expansion now is more controlled and not explosive like. Still one can dedicate whole resources for colony building and expand exponentially but this impacts economical development. Players's choice.

speeder colony
9 is fine. It lowers down to 7 with Fusion reactor and then further down to 5 with Quantum. With slower expansion there is still plenty of colonies to build after Fusion reactor discovery.

foil colony
Generally developed sea bases seem to be slightly better than land ones. However, initially they grow very slowly due to lack of minerals. Even with Recycling Tanks included they are stuck on 2 minerals production until sea formers start building mining platforms. Their mineral production stays pathetic until they reach significant size. Surely coastal bases have no problem building hem at this cost but it is an impediment for AQUATIC factions. I think it would be fairer to price it same as infantry one.
scheduled change

infantry former
4 seems to be a cheap enough. This is a lowest cost that doesn't pose problem for +25% abilities. Besides, it is comparatively better than some combat 2-1-1 unit.

speeder former
6 is perfect. It lowers down to 4 with Fusion. Later on clean super rover former will be somewhere 5-7 depending on abilities cost.

foil former
Same considerations as for foil colony. Sea former is more effective in terraforming than its land counterpart. However, limited sea base mineral production makes it difficult to build. So, I guess, it makes sense to price it same as infantry one to reduce initial sea base struggle.
scheduled change

infantry supply
Currently 8 to balance its resource crawling use. Delivering 4 minerals from rocky mine pays off for its price in 20 turns. It is still lucrative but not that insanely when it cost only 3.
I am thinking to raise to 12 maybe to reduce its profitability even more.
Should its cost drop by reactor? I think that is acceptable. It'll match ever-growing base production proportionally.
scheduled change to 12

rover supply and other more expensive modifications
Probably won't be used for mineral supply but for SP building only. In this case it doesn't matter how much it cost.

foil supply
Speed is marginally relevant for reaching to crawling tile and also marginally relevant for SP aiding. With than regard I don't think we need to make it more costly on basis of speed. From another hand sea squares are less attractive for harvesting. Rocky mine provides 4 minerals, 7 with bonus. The best things to harvest on sea are only nutrients (3, 5 with bonus) and energy (3, 5 with bonus). All together there is no point in pricing it more expensive than infantry.
scheduled change

foil transport
Currently 6 but I am thinking whether it is too high cost especially for aquatic factions. From the other side it is a perfect vessel for early pods exploration that can pick up unity rovers and artifacts. Gun foil with cost of 1 can be used as a perfect first line explorer.

cruise transport
That naturally should cost more than foil version due to its speed.

infantry probe team
Is it even needed? I thought it may be cheaper option for defensive probe team that sits in the base all the time. However, it becomes too cumbersome to handle different types of them. Probably should remove predefined design. Human can still design and build it if desired.
scheduled change: remove predesigned unit

speeder probe team
Cost 6 seems to be on target taking further reduction in cost by higher reactors.

foil probe team
It cost same as speeder now. No change needed.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 19, 2019, 06:53:57 PM
Rethinking cost of abilities in light of reactor based cost reduction.

Now with reduced cost some abilities becomes quite cheap. Need to rethink their price based on their corresponding reactor era.

Fungicide Tanks = 1.
Super Former = 3.
Price should reduce with higher reactors.

Hypnotic Trance = 32 (2 flat).
Empath Song = 64 (4 flat).
Shouldn't be affected by reactor same as native units. Price should be tied to native unit cost directly.

Clean Reactor = 32 (2 flat). Has nothing to do with anything but support. 2 flat rows pay off in 20 turns.

Non-Lethal Methods = 64 (4 flat).
Essentially provides second police unit without maintenance. Even better than clean reactor as extends police control beyond POILICE rating.

Algorithmic Enhancement = 4.
Essential enhancement that is going to be reduced by higher reactors anyway.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 19, 2019, 07:47:57 PM
Rethinking technology cost.

There are ~90 technologies and 400 turns to retirements on highest difficulty. Should be no more than 4 turn per acquiring technology. Researching it is just one of the acquiring methods together with pod popping, trading, and stealing. Assuming one gets about half of them in non research way average research rate throughout the game should be somewhere 8 turns on hardest and somewhere 4 on easiest.

Starting conditions are same regardless of difficulty and map size. So should be initial technology cost. Minimal labs at the beginning with two bases is 2 if player is exceptionally unlucky. Otherwise, with rivers/energies/monoliths/SE it could be up to 4. With 3 labs as average staring research power a 12-24 cost tech can be researched in 4-8 turns.

Higher difficulty allows faster development for AI and assumes the same for the player. So difficulty should affect how fast technology cost grows. Somewhere 7% on easiest and 12% on hardest.

Map size determines when expansion stops. It should not affect the rate of exponential price increase but should define when this exponential rate turns into linear and further speed of this linear growth.

Proposed changes.
Replace <map size square root> to <map size> in original formula.
Set first tech cost to 18.
Set tech cost growth rate to 7%-12% based on difficulty.
Limit tech cost to <first tech cost> * <cost growth rate> ^ <number of researched techs>.

Last rule defines exponential growth. It will outgrow default quasi linear formula at some point and won't limit it anymore after that.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 20, 2019, 02:56:15 PM
Tried new tech cost formula. It does meet all criteria.

There is a big BUT, though. This is drastic change in game concept. It is not documented anywhere, new players are unaware of it, UI doesn't highlight it anywhere, blind research engine doesn't take it into attention when choosing tech for research. There are all sort of missing links everywhere in the game. And even if all those links are fixed there is still a conceptual disconnect. Players coming from vanilla need to be educated and trained on it. A huge work that I don't want to do.
:(
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 20, 2019, 03:21:01 PM
Here is new formula visualized for those curious. Chart is by virtual tech sequence number assuming whole level got researched before going to next level.
Vanilla chart is calculated using discovered tech cost formula on wiki for highest difficulty (5) and normal map. No correction for time or for being behind. Of course, it is a pretty loose approximation. I've tested it and it seems to match more or less. Starting values are actually somewhere at 20-28, ending are 4200 or so.

My idea was to simulate accelerated growth in the beginning and then more linear after whole map is populated. Accelerated and linear formulas are used and then minimum is picked. Of course, the timing when map is populated depends on map area. You'll see the intersection point moves left and right when you change slope of linear part. That being said this is soooo inexact science that it shouldn't even match the actual development. It'll adjust itself: development or cost will catch up with each other.

I've tried to model accelerated growth with exponent but it seems to grow very sharp at the intersection point. May produce noticeable rate change. The quadratic one is somewhat smoother.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 20, 2019, 03:29:27 PM
Version with revised tech cost is released.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 21, 2019, 06:06:18 PM
Some more pondering about tech cost as it seems to be not a simple fix.

First of all, big variations in tech cost do not seriously break the game due to accelerating labs income. That is how game designers got away with vanilla formula in first place.
Example.
Let's suppose labs income doubles every 50 years. Also let's suppose a player discovers all techs in 200 turns. Let's double all tech costs now. Does it also double research time? Nope. It'll take somewhere 250-300 turns to get them all - you can do the math yourself. Moreover, smaller discrepancies won't be even noticed on the other game variations background (map size, difficulty, game play).

The exact formula is not important. We just want to bend it here and there to remove stagnation pockets and speed-runs. If we want to get 85 techs by turn 300 we need to acquire one tech per about 4 turns. A lot of this acquisitions come from trades. So very very roughly one should able to research a tech per 6-10 turns throughout the game.

Here is my analysis on research pace problem. Let me know if you experienced something different.

The conclusion is that we need some modified function that accelerates slower at the beginning, about same in the middle, and then faster at the end.

There are also two other concerns: world size and difficulty.

World size does not affect factions growth rate until available space is completely populated and expansion stops. From then on all factions combined progress is more of less linear due to population growth in already existing bases. The speed of such linear progress is roughly proportional to world size, obviously. Of course, this is not exact but rough approximation should do.

Difficulty is the tricky beast. A human player usually does not fall too much behind mainstream research. Trading, buying, and stealing helps to catch up quickly. For the same reason it is difficult to get too far ahead. Lack of trading, buying and stealing targets as well as total hate from other factions makes it difficult to advance further. That leads us to an interesting conclusion that human player research speed is defined mostly by that of other AI players! On a higher difficulties you generally get techs faster! I may speculate here as I never played on easy levels. Please correct me if this contradicts your experience.
Anyway, I think it makes sense to alter human player tech cost with difficulty but we should not alter it for AI players as they set up a research mainstream and everybody should research so many techs in allotted time anyway regardless of difficulty. So the world average research progress should not be affected by difficulty.

Now to my exercises. I tried exponential, quadratic, and cubic approximations. I've adjusted them so that their end game growth rate is the same and about twice as much as vanilla end game one for standard map librarian difficulty (solving problem #2). At the same time I adjusted them so that techs between 10-20 are about 3-5 times cheaper than vanilla (solving problem #1). The end game linear growth is proportional to world size. That defines how long accelerated growth continues before it reach desired end game growth rate. The bigger the world the longer accelerated growth continues.

All three approaches works more or less same for tiny and standard worlds. Mostly because growth stage ends somewhere in the middle. They start to diverge for huge maps as emulated growth stage may continue beyond the end of the game. Exponential is too fast, quadratic is too slow, cubic seems fine.

This being said, all adjustment parameters can be tweaked to match playing experience better. This is a matter of play testing. I am playing with cubic implementation now and I've got 25-30 techs by turn 100 which is absolutely perfect development rate.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 22, 2019, 02:29:04 AM
Bug fix in combat calculation. Please update.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 25, 2019, 09:46:07 PM
Exposed firepower multiplier.
Don't use version 28. I have to fix combat roll too.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 29, 2019, 07:41:47 PM
Version 29.

Combat parameters

Ignore reactor power for HP = 1. This is recommended setting for this mod. It organically works with unit cost and unit strength. Changing this value is not recommended. You essentially fall back to vanilla reactor power multiplied unit HPs.

Firepower multiplier = 1. This is the default vanilla behavior. Raising this parameters effectively decreases number of rounds, thus decreasing stronger unit winning odds. Play with it and see how odds change in new odds display dialog!
:)

Firepower randomization = 0. Highly experimental feature in attempt to emulate vanilla random damage that otherwise would come in chunks of firepower. Not tested. Could break disengagement for damaged units.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on December 31, 2019, 06:17:21 AM
Exposed repair rates.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 02, 2020, 03:58:26 AM
Version 32.
Finalized alternative combat mechanics based on dino's excellent idea. All the pieces of the puzzle snapped into place. This being said I do not guarantee it works flawlessly. It still needs testing.
However, updated exactly calculated winning odds should have a great help in testing activity. Now they display an exact odds of winning an individual battle! Happy testing.

With this release out of doors I feel like major problems I was focusing recently are resolved.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 02, 2020, 04:12:29 AM
Minor thing.
Do you like how odds are displayed before battle? I don't. Computer tries to find closest whole number ratio to represent it. However, it results in all kind of numbers thrown at me and it may be difficult to navigate among them. Yes, it is easy to understand 3:2 or 2:1 odds. What about 217:158 or 22:15? Are they better or worse? To understand them I actually needs to divide them with the calculator. And that is what I want to get rid of.
I've been thinking - would it be beneficial for player to convert all odds to common denominator for ease of comparison? The natural choice would be 10 as denominator or 12 or 16 or 20 or 25 or some other not too big number that is easy for people to comprehend. This way all odds will be expressed in same denominator and a numerator will show the battle success chance. The bigger the number the better. Player then can build their own decision strategy based on a single number only.
For example all above mentioned odds would turn into: 3:2 = 15:10,  2:1 = 20:10, 217:158 = 14:10, 22:15 = 15:10. Now it is absolutely clear which odds is better or similar!
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on January 02, 2020, 09:45:57 AM
If you want to make it really easy to read and accurate at the same time, just display as a percentage.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 02, 2020, 02:42:39 PM
You mean probability percentage? This is not the same as odds.
This requires changing the actual dialog text output format which is uncharted territory for me. I thought maybe I can get away with just tweaking two numbers instead.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on January 02, 2020, 03:39:44 PM
If percentage is problematic for any reason and you think your time would be better spent on something else, then what you are proposing is already a nice improvement over vanilla presentation.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 02, 2020, 05:00:51 PM
Calculating percentage is easy. I already have a code separated in DLL for odds calculation. I was just clarifying whether you meant probability percentage or odds percentage? Odds can be expressed in percentage as well since it is just a fraction.

I'll poke around a dialog to see if it is easy enough.

I also tried to play with denominator of 12 in my last release. Didn't like it. I think I prefer 10 or even 5 as I don't really care about ±10% or even ±20% difference in odds. I think other players too. The super precision vanilla offers is an overkill. It makes no bearing to check an exact value for every battle. I will also not get tired to reiterate that vanilla displayed odds super precision creates false sense of correctness while everybody knows the calculation itself is off by astronomical amount.
:)
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 02, 2020, 08:07:08 PM
Phew. It seems that all dialog texts are in Script.txt. Easy to alter.
:)
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 03, 2020, 04:55:03 PM
Version 33. Probability percentage in odds confirmation dialog.

I was playing this version for few hours and I am very satisfied. It seems that everything what annoyed me in vanilla went away. Is it just I am overexcited playing my own creation? Could be. Will play some more and try to confirm my feelings. Feel free to share your play feelings too.

Few notes on recently added key features.

alternative_combat_mechanics_loss_divider=2.0
Adjust winning probabilities. Value of 1.0 emulates vanilla 2:1 strength ratio wins battle with 14:1 odds. Value of 2.0 seems to relaxing it pretty significantly. Now 2:1 strength ratio wins battle with about 4:1 odds. It seems that values over 2.0 are not needed unless you want to relax odds skew even more. Feel free to play with it. This is float number and not integer so you have whole degree of freedom with it. It is easier to test now when odds confirmation dialog shows exact winning probability percentage!
 :D

collateral_damage_value=2
Collateral damage *10%. Dino recommended set it to 0. I am not yet convinced until he shares his play testing on this. But feel free to modify it.

repair_minimal=1
repair_fungus=1
repair_friendly=0
repair_airbase=0
repair_bunker=0
repair_base=0
repair_base_native=1
repair_base_facility=1
repair_nano_factory=1

Bunch of repair rate configuration values. Currently set to minimal 10% everywhere. Special SP for natives, base facilities and NF bump it by +10% each.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 04, 2020, 01:02:38 AM
Some battle analysis to ponder for myself. Chart shows how round odds are converted to battle odds with different divisor value (1.0 = vanilla). Easy to see that even 3.0 divisor still emphasizes odds quite noticeably. Others do it even more.

Remember that we don't care about battle odds in large scale war when many units fight many units every turn. In this case only round odds and total damage matters. Especially now when I reduced repair rate. Removing collateral damage may help too. With reduced repair rate AI does not need to attack base with many units simultaneously. Multi unit attack still may work even if it spans few turns.

Battle odds matter only for isolated battles when victor is safely repaired afterwards. Like natives encounters. For them I'd like to set parameters so that 1.a) base psi attack is not skewed too much, 1.b) psi attack with morale boost is still not a sure kill, 2.a) worm attacking Trance unit in base is not skewed too much, 2.b) same against morale boosted unit with sensor is still not a sure kill either.
Base psi attack odds in a field are 3:2 up to 2:1 with some morale advantage. Base defense in base against worm attack is 1:1 down to 1:1.5 against high morale unit in presence of a sensor. So we have a range of odds somewhere up to 2:1 which should not be skewed drastically. Divider values 2.0 - 3.0 seem to satisfy these criteria. Value 2.0 has "almost sure kill" threshold somewhere at 3:1. Whereas 3.0 gives chances to weaker unit up to 4:1 odds ratio. I am personally inclined to the latter because it is smooth enough yet it guarantees win somewhere after 5:1 anyway. However, the choice is not that critical for me.

Specially for bvanevery and other guaranteed kill defenders, I can just implement some odds threshold granting it. Nobody would probably care about weaker unit chances above 5:1 odds advantage. Simple solution.
Title: Bombardment mechanics
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 05, 2020, 05:33:21 PM
Max damage = (<attack strength> * <artillery damage numerator>) / (<defense strength> * <artillery damage denominator>), rounded down
Then it rolls for integer between 0 and max damage. That roll will be an artillery damage.

That formula produces 0 for all strong enough defenders above certain threshold. With vanilla 3/2 artillery multiplier 1.5 times stronger defender is completely immune to artillery fire. That is kind of ridiculous limitation since base bombardment is an artillery primary role. This multiplier should be at least 5 to ensure artillery cat hurt Caretakers defender behind TD in presence of sensor (3 * 1.25 * 1.25 = 4.6875). At the same time too large multiplier completely destroys weaker units. Like if we set multiplier to 5 then any 4 times stronger artillery (4:1 odds) delivers 10 damage on average - enough to do maximal possible artillery damage in one shot.

I don't like the above but don't know any nice way to modify it yet, though.
Maybe use some logarithmic scale for max damage: 1:8 odds delivers max 1 damage, 1:4 -> 2, ..., 8:1 -> 7?
Another option is to fix max damage to 1-2-3 and use random roll for odds to determine whether damage is at all to be delivered? This way attack/defense ratio defines how often bombardment hurts unit and even weakest artillery have a chance to hit target sometimes though rarely.

For time being I just set it to:
5,1      ; Numerator & Denominator for artillery fire damage
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on January 05, 2020, 07:38:15 PM
Maybe leave vanilla, except for "max damage" < 1, generate a random float (0-1), if it's smaller than "max damage" defender receive 1HP damage.
In your very extreme example, there would be 26% chance to deal 1HP damage.

I thought bonuses are additive ? Isn't it 1 + ( 2 + 0,25 + 0,25 ) = 3,5 ? In which case it'd be 33% chance for artillery hit.

***
In the previous post, aren't the axes on the graph mislabeled ? Shouldn't axis x be first round winning odds and y battle winning odds ?

I'm also excited to play your creation, so it's not only you...
Except you kept comming up with new stuff and I've kept postponing my playing, since I didn't want to burn my desire on unfinished product ;)
But since the last release, weeks of playing are guaranteed at some point and it's years since my last binge playing of SMAC.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 06, 2020, 01:27:18 AM
Maybe leave vanilla, except for "max damage" < 1, generate a random float (0-1), if it's smaller than "max damage" defender receive 1HP damage.
In your very extreme example, there would be 26% chance to deal 1HP damage.

Unfortunately, it is all whole number operations. So "< 1" means "0". Theoretically I always can substitute whole code with my own custom function where I can do whatever I want. However, I usually like to try spot changing just some hex codes in ASM instruction to see if it fixes the problem.

Your solution seems logical. I'll see to implementing it if nothing simpler works.

I was thinking about similar but less sophisticated solution. We can add 1 on top of original calculations. This way max damage never fall below 1 and we get 50% chance of damage 1 (or 0) in worst case. Simple and acceptable enough. That creates a micro exploit, though. It is cheaper to build weakest artillery possible for base bombardment since it never gets less than 50% damage chance.

I thought bonuses are additive ? Isn't it 1 + ( 2 + 0,25 + 0,25 ) = 3,5 ? In which case it'd be 33% chance for artillery hit.

Some same type bonuses are. Different types usually not. You never guess until you read them on combat screen and verify with calculator. For example PD and TF bonuses are added to 1 (bare base multiplier) to compose a final base multiplier. So PD+TF = 1+1+1 = 3 multiplier. Faction ability and sensor are independent multipliers. I think. Never verified it, though.

In the previous post, aren't the axes on the graph mislabeled ? Shouldn't axis x be first round winning odds and y battle winning odds ?

Yep. Fixed.

I'm also excited to play your creation, so it's not only you...
Except you kept comming up with new stuff and I've kept postponing my playing, since I didn't want to burn my desire on unfinished product ;)
But since the last release, weeks of playing are guaranteed at some point and it's years since my last binge playing of SMAC.

What are you talking about?

All of my releases are finished and completely playable. I implement and test my ideas and then bundle them and release. They guarantee to deliver what is described in release notes. Of course, it could be not 100% bug free as there are a lot of shady use cases around. However, I try to not touch anything that has long spanning tentacles across the code to avoid unforeseen consequences. Anyway, if you find any bugs or whatever irregularity - let me know.
The fact that a lot of small game elements work together doesn't prevent modder from modifying just one of them at a time.
Don't let release frequency fool you. They are not in any way under cooked. Sometimes I spend weeks to resolve one single thing but with recent changes I was either lucky or just insanely good at cranking it.
:)
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: dino on January 06, 2020, 10:25:54 AM
> What are you talking about?

I didn't want to suggest, that they are undercooked, but that my interest in playing the game is limited.
In the past every time I went into binge playing SMAC it lasted about 3-4 weeks and then I was done for few years.

So each time you've annunced working on something of interest to me, I was like, "ok I'll wait untill it's done".
I just didn't want to get bored on just testing the game, before you were done with the combat engine.

So, the "issue" wasn't that releases were "undercooked" on their own, but that there was new interesting stuff still coming.
The last release, I consider to be a milestone which I really want to both test and have fun with just playing and artillery stuff is not essential enough to stop me.
I think you were expressing the same excitement, regarding this particular release.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 06, 2020, 01:28:50 PM
Makes sense. Yes, I feel this is a milestone too. I didn't set a default collateral damage to 0 in last release. Feel free to set it yourself. Actually in current unreleased version that I am testing now it is disabled already.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 06, 2020, 03:30:19 PM
I'll package and release with my current parameters even if I am still testing them. It makes sense to synchronize testing experience as well.

There are no engine change. I just play with parameters.

Namely I've set collateral damage = 0 and combat probably divisor = 3.

The latter is new change. I played with divisor = 2 before but 3 seems more on a target.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 06, 2020, 04:17:59 PM
TheWillToPower-34
Remember that now you need to overwrite Script.txt as well to reflect dialog text changes. The file is bundled with release.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 06, 2020, 07:15:44 PM
Few things I've noticed playing version 34. I could be biased, of course.
Close strength battles are now produce close outcomes. Strength ratio of 3:2 and 2:1 give you somewhere 70-75% which is acceptable. No jumping from 0% to 100% as in vanilla.
Fighting significantly weaker or damaged opponents delivers 85-95% winning chances. Which is pretty acceptable too. As I mentioned before we can introduce some guaranteed winning threshold for 90-95% or so if anyone desires.
Native life is now relatively threatening as it should be. Previously the abundance of native life didn't require countermeasures investment. Now it does. When I send my patrol on exploration and encounter a worm with 75% chances to win I am thinking whether I want to go for easy money risking my unit or I get more by uninterrupted exploring. Same story with worms attacking bases. Worm base attack are half strength prior turn 50 -> 3:6 strength ratio against regular defender -> 100% immunity against such attacks in vanilla. Now there is about 25% chance to lose a defender in such attack. Player has to chose whether they want to build and maintain second defender or risk worm running over a base reducing population and production. Natives have even better chances fighting trance defender after turn 50: 2:3 = 35%. So having second defender becomes important. It could be a plain unit (not trance) to retaliate after trance unit is killed. When worm stopped next to base I do not always attack it if I have only one unit there. I usually prefer to convert my current production into second unit while current defender sacrifice buys me time to build it.
Morale now plays a tremendous role in improving my chances thus cutting on loses and achieving faster/wider conquest. At the same time even highly promoted units do die occasionally ensuring rotation and eliminating never-die-elite unit phenomena. It does pay off to build morale structures. It also pays off to build such structures to double repair rate in bases even if it is not instant anymore.
The flip side of smooth distribution is that my formers and transports occasionally survive natives attacks. Even if they still usually die I may use them to block natives path or protect bases to improve my chances especially with help of terrain and base defense bonuses. It is not futile anymore.

On non combat related features.
Map population is more gradual now, not as explosive as in vanilla. Expanding does takes resources. So faction either fights or develops or expands. It is difficult to do all at once now. Waging a war usually causes expansion delay. Makes faction leader to weigh options.
Technology does not stagnate around turn 50 anymore. It is steadily flowing. The range of building options is quite satisfactory at all stages of the game. Of course, one can have more or less depending on research inclination and investments and that is noticeable too. Research investment gives an advantage.
SP building feels like longer endeavor As SP should be. When I manage to get myself a high production bases I can easily compete for subset of SPs in early game even if I don't discover them first. If I don't - pity me. Artifacts still help but there are not enough of them to build first 4 projects for free as in vanilla.

I am playing Cult of Planet now. It has biggest inherent +2 PLANET rating which allows harvesting worms like crazy. Even Gaians with +1 PLANET could harvest quite a large native army in vanilla. In this mod this is put in check. Player still can go for work harvesting but due to adjusted battle odds they will incur some amount of losses. Survived worms will spread around harming improvements and bases requiring deployment of new troops to deal with them. Overall +1 PLANET doesn't allow building up an army quickly as 25% capture chance is negated by 33% battle lose chance. Gaians will lose units faster than acquire them. Of course, they can still build Scout Patrols to hunt for worms but that is an investment not a free stuff.
Cult with their +2 PLANET is still good for building native army but it won't grow tremendously fast. Still 10 worms/launchers by the turn 50 is a significant threat to neighbors which Cha Dawn can use.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 07, 2020, 04:18:26 PM
I am redoing documentation now. It's huge. I missed the point when simple weapon-armor balance idea turned into so many features mod. Will take some time to work on this. No functional releases for a while.
Title: Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 08, 2020, 05:27:57 PM
Everybody can see this or should I post in some other public place?
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer/blob/master/wtp_readme.md
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 10, 2020, 04:28:04 PM
Further modification ideas.

* Land and sea borders should be 8 and not restricted by shore.
Treating land and sea territories as completely unconnected realms is good for Civ type of games where sea was uninhabitable. SMACX is remarkable in the way that everything is suitable for base. Why then somebody builds a sea base next to my border two tiles away from my coastal base and takes my resources for free? I don't like it and I believe borders should expand equally across land and sea alike. Maybe we can make them smaller like 7 or 6 instead of 8 but they have to protect at least base radius and then a little bit some. Three tiles around sea bases and one (!) tile around coastal base over sea are just ridiculous distances.

* Artillery damage rework.

* Artillery duel uses armor as well.
This is just to encourage players to use armored artillery. Otherwise, they will always carry no armor.
From game lore point of view it makes complete sense. Artillery damage depends on attack/defense ratio. Meaning armor reduces artillery damage. Artillery duel is nothing more as mutual bombardment. So more heavily armored unit should sustain less damage from enemy fire and more likely to survive.
The only problem could be that AI won't understand the great idea and won't add armor on artillery.

* Interceptor fight uses armor as well.
Same idea as above. However, I am not sure how much applicable it is. Even if it has same perfect sense the air-air combat is rare and usually they attack ground units. Adding armor specifically to withstand interceptor attack? Not sure.

* Remove planet pearls.
That is actually done already. I don't like this Mario style hitting monsters for money thing. Natives should be a threat not the money source.

* Get morale by losing HPs.
The more HP unit lost in battle the higher chance of promotion. Probably something like -5HP = 20%,,, -9HP = 100%. Or whatever other scale - doesn't really matter. The point is there should not be a freebies promotions when you ended up with tons of elites running over the map. The promotion should be tied to the chance to die. This way you still get elite units but in proportionally lesser numbers. Probably 5-10% of your units will be elite and this is how it should be.
Also with such setup morale facilities and MORALE SE rating becomes of great importance as it was not in vanilla.

* Remove a permanent morale boost from building unit in a base with Children Creche.
Eh. It's too many morale boosting facilities already. All of them combined provide +5 morale = enough to convert Green to Elite. What the hell?

* Set basic morale to Very Green.
Same idea. Too many morale boosting in this game. Let's start from the bottom and work our way up. Keep in mind that the transition from Very Green to Green is a biggest proportional bump in a game: 16%! Whereas Commando to Elite is only 9%. Why lose that important stage? Again this way morale boosting facilities and MORALE SE become extremely important.

* Set PLANET combat bonus to 20%.
* Set PLANET combat bonus applicable on both attack and defense.
* Set land native combat odds to 1:1.
Currently native warfare is kind of everybody's weapon. I recall myself to switch to worms when I get them and then to locusts. In vanilla this seems to be prevalent war forces. That is not fair for PLANET inclined factions. They should have some kind of a bonus comparable to INDUSTRY/RESEARCH that other factions have. Above changes will do just that. Still anyone dedicated enough can build native forces and fight natives all they like but +2 PLANET faction would have quite significant advantage over -2 PLANET one now. I think this is only fair because INDUSTRY/RESEARCH work every turn war or peace. While PLANET only at war time and only for natives and only when worms appear. The benefit should be strong enough to compensate occasional application nature of this effect.

* Increase morale facilities cost.
The seem to be very cheap for the 30% boost in unit strength. Building them before amassing an army is kind of must. Now after I fix quick promotion they will become an important source of army strength and, therefore, army economical effectiveness. 30% more strength = 30% bigger army = 30% INDUSTRY (for combat unit building purpose). I am thinking high maintenance too so they do not sit idle when not needed. The problem is that sea and air facilities are two in one. Raise their cost would affect ability to build defense against sea and air attacks.
I am thinking this:
Command center: 8/4. This makes it slightly difficult to build early in a game but not by much. Just two prices of Recycling Tanks. Well one should earn 30% army strength boost. And if army is not big maybe it is not worth to build this facility.
Naval yard: 8/4. Slightly less demand in sea unit upgrade but it gives defensive bonus too so sea defenders at this base are both morale upgraded and double protected!
Aerospace complex: 16/8. This is a exceptionally useful facility by itself. AAA tracking gives good enough initial anti-air defense. Building this facility not only gives morale bonus but also quadruples anti-air defense together with AAA tracking.

Few more sea upgrades.
* Introduce sea sensors.
They do not give combat bonus but they add visibility which is extremely important to track fact invaders.
* Make ECM to affect sea units as well.
Sea bases do not benefit from sensors and they are extremely difficult to defend. It is impossible to build front line without ZOC on sea. So every base is vulnerable and every need protection. ECM against ships gives them extra chance to survive massive attack from out of the blue. Or, at least, to resist longer to let defender scramble for counter measures.

* Increase morale level bonus to 25%.
Very experimental. Not sure if I want it. The morale system is not too broken now with fixed promotion. Still 12.5% is kinda measly bonus now when combat system is fixed.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on January 10, 2020, 08:09:23 PM
> * Land and sea borders should be 8 and not restricted by shore.

Just make coastal bases count as both, sea and land bases for the purpose of border spread, I think inland bases shouldn't be able to project influence over sea tiles and vice versa.


Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 10, 2020, 08:18:53 PM
> * Land and sea borders should be 8 and not restricted by shore.

That also always annoyed me, but the soultion is simple:

Just make coastal bases count as both, sea and land bases for the purpose of border spread, done. Inland bases shouldn't be able project influence over sea tiles imo.

Somewhere deep in theory you might be right. However, it is too fine grain distinction that will be difficult for AI to recognize. By AI I mean AI code that somebody need to alter to help AI place their bases on a coast. Let's make the rule simple. After all borders are just area of influence. The 8 tile radius is there to help out not to leave gaps in territory when bases are slightly scattered at the beginning.
You can see that sea radius of 3 is not enough for that. Different factions manage to stick their bases in between existing ones quite easily. Such mix should not happen even on sea. There should be some notion of territory you claim.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on January 10, 2020, 08:44:51 PM
Oh sure, I agree the radius on sea should be increased to 8, but as far as connecting the realms, coastal bases should be the bridge imo.

As for AI, the vanilla code already favors *very heavily* placement of coastall bases and it's already a part of the thinker source.
Except thinker currently uses it only to give an initial goto order for a colony pod and then overrides this code the moment the pod leaves the base radius, to pop a new base as soon as possible.

I, for a long time think, that this is a mistake, the original code for base placement could be improved and then allowed to guide pods to a bit more distant, but better destinations and the gaps of empty arid terrain should be filled last. Benefits could be numerous: faster growth, faster land grab denying human player terrain to spread on without conflict and plenty of coastal bases like in vanilla.

In fact it's on the top of my list of things I wanted to work on, but unfortunately I was too lazy to start ;)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 10, 2020, 08:56:09 PM
Oh sure, I agree the radius on sea should be increased to 8, but as far as connecting the realms, coastal bases should be the bridge imo.

As I said I am completely agree with reasoning but it may be difficult to implement right. I propose to simplify it at least for first try and see.

As for AI, the vanilla code already favors *very heavily* placement of coastall bases and it's already a part of the thinker source.
Except thinker currently uses it only to give an initial goto order for a colony pod and then overrides this code the moment the pod leaves the base radius, to pop a new base as soon as possible.

I, for a long time think, that this is a mistake, the original code for base placement could be improved and then allowed to guide pods to a bit more distant, but better destinations and the gaps of empty arid terrain should be filled last. Benefits could be numerous: faster growth, faster land grab denying human player terrain to spread on without conflict and plenty of coastal bases like in vanilla.

In fact it's on the top of my list of things I wanted to work on, but unfortunately I am too lazy to start ;)

I think it does well already in Thinker. Even if the placement may not be impeccable the sheer number does the trick. After all you just need to cover all the ground with base radii to let workers in bases to chose best work tile. As for grabbing territory the Thinker AI on Transcend is amazing. They always squeeze me from every direction possible and even from sea. They go for landmarks first thing. They spread over ocean like plague. That is partially why I want territory to spread over sea: to protect human domain, not the AI.
:)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 12, 2020, 12:23:59 AM
It seems that the promotion probability formula is not that bad. See here my reverse engineering of it:
http://alphacentauri2.info/wiki/Treatise_on_Morale#Reverse_engineered_Battle_Upgrade_formula

I just need to remove these immediate promotion for two lowest levels.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 16, 2020, 07:47:12 PM
Release 37.
I think I am going to release it even if it wasn't heavily play tested yet. There are few cool features there and I'd like it to be a milestone even if I need to modify it later in other releases.

Among most exciting things are:

* Unified promotion probability for all levels.
Removes micro exploit when player may jerk their MORALE rating to get easy promotions.

* Removed Very Green morale level defense bonus and its (+) display.
Yet another example how game engine thinks that anyone having too little of something automatically deserves a bonus. Ugh.

* PLANET combat bonus can now be applied on defense as well.
* 15,      ; Combat % -> Psi attack bonus/penalty per +PLANET
* 1,1,     ; Psi combat offense-to-defense ratio (LAND unit defending)
Specially for bv and others. These number may not be final. I am going to test how it works with PLANET offense/defense modification.

* Territory extends from sea base by same distance as from land bases!
* Territory extends from coastal base into the adjacent sea by same distance as from sea bases!
That is a real milestone!
:)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 20, 2020, 02:55:34 AM
I believe I said it before but now I am staring at the screen and am positively out of improvement ideas. Which means there is no more super annoying issues anymore. Which means I can roll out to user maintenance stage and listen to vox populi.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on January 20, 2020, 01:42:29 PM
Inductio's idea to make tubes on enemy territory count as roads and make AI build tubes again.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 20, 2020, 03:53:00 PM
Inductio's idea to make tubes on enemy territory count as roads and make AI build tubes again.

It's on my TODO list. I meant anything that is a major annoyance and relatively easy to fix. So want to take a break now and play test the whole composition of changes.

The road stuff is kinda a complete game war style modification. It'll be a different game.
:)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 21, 2020, 04:17:14 PM
Adding to road idea.
It'll change land combat logistics but not sea and air. Would it skew the tactics and strategy toward much heavier use of sea/air units? We should think about this too. I may be not desirable.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on January 21, 2020, 07:36:39 PM
Land units should cost less for the same firepower, I've added 1 to the cost value of everything below hovertank.

With increased armor values, the combat outcome is no longer determined only by which unit striked first and with no stack wipes slow units are no longer as vulnerable as in vanilla, for this reason copters are no longer completely overpowering land forces, because their multiple attacks don't matter since after one strike they are too damaged to attack again and the assault of just 3 copters no longer can wipe a stack thanks to no splash damage.

So using land units will always be preferable over anything else whenever logistically possible, if they'll be more cost effective and they should.

That said thinker already doesn't build tubes anyway, so it doesn't matter and with all gameplay changes already implemented you could reenable tubes for AIs even without this feature and it'd already help them. Because each base assault costs many lost units now, and repairing damaged ones takes few turns, so unless you have few times units more then enemy, it's already impossible to take too many bases in a single turn and tubes would help AI to retaliate before you can repair your invading forces.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 21, 2020, 07:49:23 PM
Land units should cost less for the same firepower, I've added 1 to the cost value of everything below hovertank.

That said thinker already doesn't build tubes anyway, so it doesn't matter and with all gameplay changes already implemented you could reenable tubes for AIs even without this feature and it'd already help them. Because each base assault costs many lost units now, and repairing damaged ones takes few turns, so unless you have few times units more then enemy, it's already impossible to take too many bases in a single turn and tubes would help AI to retaliate before you can repair your invading forces.

Thinker AI doesn't build tubes????

Do you suggest to not implement this "no roads on enemy territory stuff" as no longer critical? I say I tend to agree. First strike is not decisive factor against prepared defense anymore. You still may take 1-2 bases by surprise but that's it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on January 21, 2020, 10:34:25 PM
No roads would be overkill imo, I've argued only for no tubes on enemy territory, I'd say if it wouldn't be problematic to implement, no tubes on enemy territory would be definitely worth trying.
Tubes is an infrastructure, that requires power, access to control systems and actual train squads to function, it doesn't make sense to be able to use such infrastructure on enemy territory.
Nothing can prevent you from riding on the roads. From game balance point of view, without roads assault would be too tedious, too long and too difficult, with tubes it's too easy.

Yes, thinker AI on purpose doesn't build tubes, to prevent player from overtaking most of the bases in a single turn of coordinated assault, which I think would no longer be possible in your mod.

Edit:
When I think about it now, way more essential for preventing blitzkrieg, would be to make tubes cost 1/6 movement point, instead of free.
Since after you conquer a base, it's your territory and you could still ride tubes to the border of the next base for free.

As for no roads, if you implement one, you could easily implement both and make it configurable I guess.
But it would be an overkill imo, you would decimate approaching AI forces with artillery, before they could reach your bases.
Maybe make enemy road cost 1/2 movement point ?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 22, 2020, 12:19:42 AM
make tubes cost 1/6 movement point, instead of free.

Interesting solution. I thought about this too. I don't like units traveling from coast to coast in one turn. I anticipate a lot of problems on this path, though. 3 is a magic number that is hard coded everywhere. Including decrease in strength for rush attack.
So 1/3 is a whole number in game mind whereas 1/6 is fractional.
 :D
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 22, 2020, 07:51:00 PM
Found another active Alpha Centauri forum: https://www.reddit.com/r/alphacentauri/
It's not that detailed as this one. However, it has some activity. I'll be posting there too.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 24, 2020, 12:31:40 AM
https://www.reddit.com/r/alphacentauri/comments/et2ccg/homeland_defense_bonus/
New idea: homeland defense bonus.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on January 24, 2020, 12:41:30 PM
There is no reason to stack more and more defense bonuses, you'll make it impossible to conquer anything.

In realistic strategy games you have things like 300% defense bonus on entrenched positions, if they model supply of munitions, so it's about making a breakthrough, pocketing enemies and starving them of supplies. If you get consistent 1:3 odds in SMAC, you'll make it impossible to conquer without 4:1 economy advantage, do you really want that ? Also homeland defense bonuses already exist, they're called sensor array and children creeche. You also need a lot of artillery to damage in the base and since you've made arty use defense rating in duels, attacking arty is at the same disadvantage during artillery duel as regular units during their base assault.

Just make AI mix in some decent proportion of arty units in later stages of the game, no extra bonuses required imo. The most important thing now, would be to make AI build enough units to dedicate around turn 40, something like 20-30% ( depending on AI fight ) of production to military support, even if not threatend and in later stages of the game it should be even more, also disband/upgrade obsolete units.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 24, 2020, 03:57:33 PM
There is no reason to stack more and more defense bonuses, you'll make it impossible to conquer anything.

I don't think I stack more an more bonuses. This is the first one I've introduced.

If you get consistent 1:3 odds in SMAC, you'll make it impossible to conquer without 4:1 economy advantage, do you really want that ?

I don't think I get consistent 1:3 odds. I think I get consistent 1:1 with artillery and 1:2 odds without artillery at best. That is why I am still concerned about defense. If I consistently get 1:3 I stop worrying already. Haven't you read my post?

Also homeland defense bonuses already exist, they're called sensor array and children creeche.

Yes. Sensors are sort of homeland bonus. However, they need to be built and they are easy to destroy. They do not work on water. They are nice addition but unreliable and inconsistent between land/sea. The sudden border change may flip its ownership. Sensors built next to a border extend their influence 2 tiles into enemy territory which is kinda defeats their initial idea. That is why I reverted their bonus back to 25% to decrease discrepancy between land/sea combat and due to their unreliability and difficulty to control. Otherwise, sudden on/off jumps of 50% bonus would create much frustration. Such a small bonus does not turn odds upside down. The random difference in weapon and armor is much more volatile especially in early game.

Homeland bonus is free of all the above problems. It is free, persistent, consistent, logical (does not extend beyond borders). It is easy to understand and visualize since borders are already drawn on a map. It is there to help defenders from day 1 making it more difficult to catch anyone unprepared. I agree that combined with sensors 50% may be too much. Well we can lower it down to 25% then.

Children Creche is controversial thing.
I turned its morale effects off completely.

You also need a lot of artillery to damage in the base and since you've made arty use defense rating in duels, attacking arty is at the same disadvantage during artillery duel as regular units during their base assault.

One artillery piece is enough. As long as it is unchallenged by enemy artillery it can halve health of all comparable defense strength units in base in ~10 turns. More pieces will just do it faster.

I didn't implement armor use for artillery duel yet. Duel has little to do with base bombardment. As soon as all duels are done only one side retains artillery and continues bombarding.
You are right that attacking heavily armored artillery is tough. Again this has nothing to do with the duel and using armor in duel. One could just armor their artillery pieces to make them more difficult to be knocked out by opponent counter strikes.

Besides, how all this relevant to homeland bonus? With artillery attacker increases their odds to 1:1. Without it it is somewhere 1:2. All these numbers are very rough estimate. What I am leading at is that even 1:2 is not enough protection against twice more economically stronger opponent. And 2 times fluctuations in economical power between factions is a completely common case. I don't want defense to be completely impenetrable but I want it to be at least twice as more effective as assault in any case. So in my understanding attacker's odds should not in any case be better than 1:1.5-2.

Just make AI mix in some decent proportion of arty units in later stages of the game, no extra bonuses required imo. The most important thing now, would be to make AI build enough units to dedicate around turn 40, something like 20-30% ( depending on AI fight ) of production to military support, even if not threatend and in later stages of the game it should be even more, also disband/upgrade obsolete units.

You already proposed it and it is on my TODO list. I like the idea but implementation may take some time. Have patience. For now let's work with simpler changes. If after implementing your idea they prove to be redundant we'll get rid of them. Piece of cake. For now they are not.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on January 25, 2020, 09:44:31 AM
Thank you for a comprehensive answer and sorry for the tone of my post.

I've usually post on a gaming forum where people are edgy and annoying all the time for fun and needlesly carried some of this attitude here.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 25, 2020, 03:23:09 PM
Don't worry about it. Tone or no tone - I am soliciting opinions here to see myself from others points of view. I could be preoccupied or fixated on my ideas and this may cloud my judgement. The dialog and exchange of arguments here is not to shut down the opponent. This is more to roll them out, try out from different angles and use cases, uncover some details others may overlooked, etc. In other words this is sort of pre play testing.
:)

Don't hesitate to express your opinion even weird ones. Everything counts.

Reiterating the same, I am do not pretend this mod is the best mod of all times. ;)
Different people are seeking different experience. This one is for those seeking same as I do: highlighting existing but obscure strategies and features. Along the way I also try to fix logical bugs just to minimize frustration with the game. That is things should work the way the regular user would expect, how they are advertised in datalinks. They should also be overly complicated so it is impossible to memorize and use them.
Of course, things like "complicated" is highly subjective. That's why I am running my thoughts through people on this and other forums. Thank you for staying with me. I appreciate it.
:)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on January 25, 2020, 03:26:31 PM
I've usually post on a gaming forum where people are edgy and annoying all the time for fun and needlesly carried some of this attitude here.

What are these forums? Do they discuss SMACX? Would it be beneficial to cover this audience for my mod too?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on January 25, 2020, 10:58:11 PM
RPG Codex, I wouldn't go as far as posting updates there, but you could advertise your mod there I guess.
I'm pretty sure every SMACer from the codex knows about alphacentauri2.info, so not sure if there would be a point to that, though.

Kyrub was engaging with this crowd, when he was working on his SMAC 444 AI mod: https://rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/smac-444-ai-patch-updated-p.56203/

Here is a general SMAC thread: https://rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/the-unsurpassed-brian-reynolds-alpha-centauri-thread.101751/

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on February 04, 2020, 08:12:03 PM
I've started posting more small staff at https://www.reddit.com/r/alphacentauri/ as well.
Strange thing with voting there, though. I usually up-vote things I like and just skip things I don't. I don't down-vote. However, I noticed considerable amount of down-votes on my posts. Even those with relatively neutral (as I think) stuff. Like my last play test review post here: https://www.reddit.com/r/alphacentauri/comments/exth7d/smax_the_will_to_power_mod_release_43_play_testing/. In my mind I do not tell people what to do - just expressing my good and bad feelings to help other to get some overview on my mod. I understand that there are a lot of features and it would take many games to just understand what is it there. So I compress it for those who don't have time serving the community.
;)
Yet. There are people who are compelled to down-vote the review. I would love to understand the reason. Maybe it is wording or something?

UPDATE
Never mind. I think it is just a obfuscation algorithm there that randomly varies exact numbers. So it could show 0 or 1 down-vote or something like that. At least for this post it seems like it. Still some of my posts were considerably down-voted for real.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on February 06, 2020, 09:24:19 AM
Pacisfism drone rules feature from Ytzii's patch would be a great feature to port, I personally got rid of below --POLICE ratings in my games because of air force drones.

As for tubes, an obvious solution, which you've surely already thought about, but just in case: double all movement costs and points, make tubes cost one point.

Eventually, you could quadruple everything instead, but make tubes cost 1/12th of total movement points of a unit. This way you could ride max 12 tiles on tubes, but that would be independent from unit speed since it's transported, so tubes would still be something else than just better roads. If you coupled it with tubes not working on enemy territory it would be pretty satisfactory solution imo, but I get this idea is a bit too crazy to implement just in assembler, as you like it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on February 06, 2020, 12:50:10 PM
Regarding homeland security bonus it doesn't sit well with me, the main advantage of homeland is better logistics and there is already sensors array bonus.

So, I'd rather give 0,8 Attack disadvantage everywhere outside owned territory, due to supply difficulties.
As for defense, I'd introduce 1,25 Defense entrenchment bonus, to each defender that still has all its movement points ( was not moving, or attacking during its turn ).
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on February 06, 2020, 06:57:30 PM
Regarding homeland security bonus it doesn't sit well with me, the main advantage of homeland is better logistics and there is already sensors array bonus.

Why it should be better logistic?
Logistics is a minor thing. It makes things faster/slower but unit movement speed never troubled me in scope of attacker/defender advantage. I agree that it can be adjusted here and there and we can have a dedicated discussion on it but it does not replace a discussion on combat bonuses.

I've already expressed my view on sensors. They sound cool but the they are easily destroyed as terrain improvements and are unreliable as such. The stronger bonus you give the more the urge of human player to target them first before engaging in actual hand-to-hand combat. AI doesn't recognize destroying them as a necessary preparation for assault. This becomes a stupid grinding step in a war which is advantageous to human only. Again we can discuss sensors too to see if we can make them indestructible, etc. But for now disabling their defensive bonus is a simplest thing to do.

So, I'd rather give 0,8 Attack disadvantage everywhere outside owned territory, due to supply difficulties.
As for defense, I'd introduce 1,25 Defense entrenchment bonus, to each defender that still has all its movement points ( was not moving, or attacking during its turn ).

You proposed attack disadvantage is same territory bonus conceptually. Even if you use not own territory it is still territory related. In my eyes your version is even more complicated. Your penalty also applies to fighting non-owner outside of your territory. That includes neutral territory. So you say somehow when two units fights somewhere far from their territories attacker should have disadvantage? Doesn't sound as easy rule to absorb.
Binding bonus to own territory confines it to quite local, marked, and visible location on a map.

I don't get your entrenchment bonus either. What is it for? What problem it solves?


Let me reiterate it again. Building a good game is a hard work. People think if they just throw myriads of weird rules into the game it'll be a super fun. Maybe probably to try them all out and then put the game back on a shelf. I've seen tons of such games in my life. It is not individual rules what makes the game. It is interdependence = how well they work together. You may modify one and then you have to modify another to compensate and so on. Sometimes you may trigger domino effect by that. Caution is required. I follow bv's advice to do conservative changes only. Meaning I change anything only if I can formulate a problem for player. The reason could be anything (convenience, ease, logic) as long as I act upon the reason and not my impulse.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on February 06, 2020, 08:25:30 PM
As far as I'm concerned you've fixed the combat already, we are just exchanging loose ideas about minutae details, mostly for the fun of it, at this point.
So I'm not bothering you with trying to implement them, if they don't resonate with you.

As for attack bonus, you are right, it was a brain fart on my part, I was thinking about something that would help defender more effectively when attacker has tech advantage. I've forgot that this bonus wouldn't be additive, but multiplicative with other bonuses, so it doesn't matter, same result as homeland bonus indeed, which as you said is applied to a clearly marked area of the map.

Civ games have entrenchment, it solves the same issue as all other defense increases you've implemented, but in more interesting way, that adds some new tactical consideration, with one simple rule. But you are right again, because generally defenders on homeland territory would be entrenched, except for fresh reinforcements and with increased armor in this mod, it'd be still effective to sit in a base and let enemy entrench while he awaits his reinforcements and strike him back only after surviving his assault, so the end result would be very close to your more abstract homeland bonus and not worth the hassle of implementing. It would also probably benefit player more than AIs.

I have to stop trying to be contrarian this much, but at least thanks to this exchange, I've warmed up to the idea of homeland bonus, because I've realised it serves the same main purpose as entrenchement bonus, which I always liked in Civ games.

***
Supply production and logistics is probably one of the most important things in a modern war and requirement to constantly sustain extensive supply lines, was the reason why there were frontlines in both World Wars, instead of stacks of doom confrontations like during older days. I'd love Civ like game, where units consume additional resources when fight, or move and require uninterrupted supply line to be fully effective.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on February 06, 2020, 09:10:11 PM
As far as I'm concerned you've fixed the combat already, we are just exchanging loose ideas about minutae details, mostly for the fun of it, at this point.
So I'm not bothering you with trying to implement them, if they don't resonate with you.

I like ideas, man. Give it more to me!
 ;)
I don't really care who's it is. The authorship doesn't give it any preference in TODO's list. My mod already has few of yours and others' ideas implemented. The only condition I require is some explanation about what does it fix and why it is better than others. Such discussion is very useful. I even put my own idea to the judge of other pretty often as you noticed when I cannot prove to myself its validity.
I believe such preliminary discussion is very important as we cannot play test every random idea - it is too time expensive.

Civ games have entrenchment, it solves the same issue as all other defense increases you've implemented, but in more interesting way, that adds some new tactical consideration, with one simple rule. But you are right again, because generally defenders on homeland territory would be entrenched, except for fresh reinforcements and with increased armor in this mod, it'd be still effective to sit in a base and let enemy entrench while he awaits his reinforcements and strike him back only after surviving his assault, so the end result would be very close to your more abstract homeland bonus and not worth the hassle of implementing. It would also probably benefit player more than AIs.

I have to stop trying to be contrarian this much, but at least thanks to this exceange, I've warmed up the idea of homeland bonus, because I've realised it serves the same main purpose as entrenchement bonus, which I always liked in Civ games.

Yes. Fortification it called. I liked it too. It was a nice trade-off between mobility and defense. There is no such mechanism in SMACX, unfortunately. I miss it. From the other hand, Civ 1/2 didn't have territory, though. So maybe this is a pay off for this change.
They are slightly not the same, though. Fortification can be used by assault army as well to capture strategical spots on enemy territory and to withstand following counterattacks and such. This is by far more tactical usage feature.
I agree that territory bonus is passive in nature. I would love to replace it with something more dynamic but no other option was good enough so far. The main problem is as usual: AI has to be trained in using this new tactical advantage. So passive bonuses work best for AI.

Don't try to stop trying to be contrarian this much. That drives the discussion. And the fact that people change their opinion as it goes is valuable by itself as it shows the idea influence and acceptance (or opposite).
 :D
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on February 10, 2020, 09:44:17 PM
https://www.reddit.com/r/alphacentauri/comments/f1x4sl/early_naval_yard/
Thoughts about naval yard appearance time.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2020, 02:13:42 AM
Today I got double surprised, 2 things went wrong that I was not expecting.  I'm going to be doing a lot more "shelter in place" than I realized.  I recently kicked my own 1.41 out the door and I don't wanna play it anymore.  I've decided, I'm finally gonna take on your mod!  I'm gonna do a complete AAR.  "The Will to Power - Transcending COVID-19".  In honor of our current circumstances, I'm gonna end everything in a genetic warfare bloodbath.

Hmm... just had my 1st problem.  I was unable to task switch from the game to my web browser, or to the Snip & Sketch screen capture app.  Couldn't even switch to Task Manager.  It wouldn't stop me from playing, but it would stop me from writing an AAR, if I can't get this resolved.  There's a certain workflow I do when I write one of these things.  Well, I'll investigate if there's any difference of settings, or change in behavior starting again.  I consider this weird, as I can do it with the stock game just fine.

Interesting.  For reasons unknown to me, my SMACX AI Growth mod shortcut Properties are set to Run As Administrator.  Whereas, no such Properties for the terran_mod.exe shortcut I made.  And I see that the shortcut that was just installed for the squeaky new The Will to Power terranx.exe also is set to Run As Administrator.  It must be what GOG thinks should be done.  So I'll delete the shortcut I just made, and modify their shortcut to run terranx_mod.exe.

That worked.  Now I can do standard Windows 10 task switching with CTRL-ALT-TAB just fine.  Kind of a gotcha.  Is this a known behavior?

Aftermath: I had no clue how to deal with the new mindworms, particularly with a -1 PLANET rating for the Usurpers.  Fungal mazes are deadly.  I quit the game after it got too itchy from me doing so badly.  I don't think I'll do another AAR until I have a better idea what's basically going on.

Faction descriptions are buggy in some places.  They don't say how SE stuff was modified for them, and say things like free Recycling Tanks when those aren't given out.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on March 24, 2020, 08:30:55 PM
Dude, your mindworm combat system is broken.  It's impossible to pick an early game strategy that deals with mindworms.  They just walk up to bases and wipe stuff out.  Have to be harsh:

Further playtesting is suspended until this imbalance is addressed.  It is a dealbreaker.

Now having said that:

What happens when I drop my own SMACX AI Growth mod on top of The Will To Power?
[..]
So here goes: The Will to AI Growth mod.  Version 43 of Tim's, version 1.41 of mine.

Unfortunately I ran into:

consequence of the upgrade bit hack
consequence of the upgrade bit hack

My bogus ability bit hack, which is used to prevent game confusion for unit upgradeability, unfortunately makes a Clean Former ridiculously expensive.

Questions:
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on April 22, 2020, 10:46:04 AM
Hello, just made the account to give some support and feedback, been lurking and playing for awhile with thinker mod and now trying wtp. So with that out of the way, i decided to try this mod because i wanted more variety in strategy - with thinker AI being improved and all that borehole/forest spam player is forced into ics-like strategy with beelining to best techs and from there on its ton of micro and similar social policies and every game becomes similar. So thats an issue. Playing without thinker mode AI is wimp so its no challenge at all so thats out of the way. I found this mod very refreshing and fun so far so kudos on that.. gotta play more so expect more feedback. I am finishing my Gaian game - spent quite a number of hours in it.

Some notes about what makes thinker ai strong and interesting from what i can observe:
- primarily AI base spam - colony pods and close bases (obv they have more stuff and they defend better)
- huge terraforming effort (AIs without formers are quite pathetic.. Santiago seems particularly affected - and Weather Paradigm overpowerd SP)
- ai uses lots of probes, its quite a trouble for player
- and i guess many other things.. AI has more stuff and its vendetta all over the place so you have to deal with that

Still player can use few rovers and delay AI and once air units come.. its a bit of drag but AI dies pretty quickly and game is usually over soon. I usually play on max difficulty, played quite a few games with thinker mod.

That said.. WTP changes few of these base things
- colony pods are more expensive - i like that - it stops base spam race somewhat. What i don't like is Rover colony pod and AI building it early.. Its more expensive and does more harm than good. Also i see AI building rover pods in sea bases .. its dumb. Rover pods late.. maybe with level 3 reactor and when lots of bases are there already - if that can be done would be more sane
-  terraforming - i think the best thing for AI would be to just give Centauri ecology to everyone at start of the game - its that important it would made AI much better overall. In cases where AI somehow skips the tech - they are cripped forever. I really liked that you moved Weather paradigm later and made it more expensive - its game breaking.

Forests: didn't play much yet - but i found them mostly useless for Gaians. Double nerf might be too hard on them but we'll see. Energy nerf really hurts + its 12 turns to build them. Gotta play non-gaians tho.. forests spread like plague so it could be deserved nerf. I planted few forests and quickly realized i don't need them (being gaians).

Fungus: seems maybe overpowered (playing Map of panet.. there's lots of fungus there) with Gaians and Manifold harmonics. With forest terraforming slowed and weaker.. i found using 2-1-0 fungus very atractive.. then energy ramp up quickly and these are quite good tiles.. with 2-1-2, 2-1-3 early.. then 3-1-2, 3-1-3 progress (gaians have +1 fungus). You get lots of them for free - weakness being mineral production and "plant fungus"  action coming late. Thats good at this point its viable strategy. But then i saw Morgan building Manifold harmonics... and was surprised its that early - and its relatively cheap. Stole the tech and built it and its bonkers... Every tile is 4-2-5 (i'll see to add some screenshots later).. you can spam new bases in fungus areas and its quite awesome - that is once you switch to Green SE and +3 planet. Nice thing is Green has -2 Industry its quite a pain so it balances it somewhat. But anyway whole game my research is top and i have so much money i can buy fascilities all the time.
*Its plenty fun, but its broken a bit too early imo - i think Manifold Harmonics need to come later and needs to be a bit more expensive. Fungus also maybe gives too much energy too quickly. I like to see funguns usable.. so 2-1-2.. or 3-1-2 (with gaians) is good and fun.. but upgrades to 3-1-3, 3-1-4 should come a bit later - or better move later Manifold harmonics. Otherwise planet factions have no use for standard terraforming besides ocassional borehole or mine. I actually have big ecology problems with fungus bases only - and gotta spam centauri preserves.. (or tree farms without forests xD). Temple of planets is too expensive but i started building a few.. i probably should build tree farms they give nice bonuses anyway.

- unlocking resources techs at start - i think its a good move overall - its a bit unbalanced - i started near boreholes for example.. or Yang got into jungle areas. But AI without these techs is so crippled that it ruins the game. So i am good with that. Would be nice they start with formers as i said earlier.

- on probes - they might be too expensive early - it gets better with reactors a bit. AI starts using them more later and they are quite a pain. I actually built def infantry probes i n my bases.. otherwise AI mind-probe bases, steal techs and destroys stuff. Here i actually like that probe gets +50% def in base since it suits me : D. It would be interesting if probes could be modded that tech stealing is harder.. mind-probes also are often too cheap  in far-away bases.

Actually in your mod you kind of weaken early AI a bit. Its good and bad at the same time. Gives player more options besides strict colony spam - still likely best tactic. I also could snatch for example Virtual world and Empath song. AI goes nuts on special projects.. for example with thinker mode Drones built weather paradigm and HGP before i could start it. Once they get WP they spam boreholes and they are at pop 10 very quickly.. then they stole a bit. So in sense base game is quite unbalanced with thinker. Reminds me of Civilization crap - where on highest difficulties its impossible to get wonders - and everyone juts conquers them.

Some other stuff:

Special projects and fascilities:
Weather paradigm - good change.

Command nexus - looks way too expensive. Took ages in my game - Morgan completed it eventually. I was on it for awhile but i decided to pick up different wonders. Maritime control - don't mind that.. it comes late so production is better.. and relative value is less. It might be actually good to reduce cost of these fasciities to 60 and project to 600.. Considering also how much you buffed defense in the game. In my game i was most of the time in war - and i built command centers quite late due to how expensive they are. I also wanted Command nexus but found it too expensive. (I don't like crawlers to speed up projects - feels like exploit).

Virtual world - was always too strong project. I'd bump that from 600 to 800.. and really move it later to midgame. Should be on discover tech so Zakharov picks it up if possible. Its free fascilities SP and very strong once - Hologram theaters are not that expensive, but they are 3 maintenance which is important. Or nerf HT maintenance to 2..

Network nodes, Energy bank, Biology lab - I really liked that you reduced cost - looks appropriate. Energy bank - SP that gives energy bank in each base - i think you moved it way too far in tech. The problem is that player has Energy bank in every city - since build style is promoted in mode - so this SP comes late and its very expensive. I am in 2280 i think i might build it - just to scrap energy banks in base and get the money back.. and to deny AI. It would be way more interesting if this project came earlier so we can "calculate" to delay energy banks  and wait for completion of project. That said its very strong SP so it should not come too early.

The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm - this is totally broken SP. Good that you made it more expensive. It just ruins AI.. i am not sure if AI will build probes with Alg. Ench. i think it might - but AI just suicides very expensive armored probes on me now. In vanilla they at least suicide cheap 0-1-2 probes and don't build them much. This project would be much more sane if it would just reduce AI chances for probe actions to max 50%. Is that possible? That or it should be removed from the game - or put to level 10 tech very late.

Lab doubling SP - should be 600 instead of 400 minerals probably. I still didn't get to build very late SP so no comment on that yet. They are in general overpowered, but game is kind of done by that point. For example +50% mineral SP are very strong - but i already build fascilities and have lots of minerals that i have trouble  with eco damage and worm spam even with gaians and all fungus terraforming.

On combat

Its quite a long post so this is last for now. This is part where i have some issues.

- For one i like its hard to conquer AI - i know your goal was to make attacker invest 3x as much to defeat.. and i think you succeeded :).
- I also like that you made artillery useful, gj there. Looks in good place so far - i need to play more ofc.

- What i don't like is  too much randomness in combat. Attacking 1def former in enemy territory on forest with 10-1-14 needlejet feels like 50/50 :D. I lots plenty of 6-1-2, 8-1-2,  10-1-2 and 13-1-2 rovers attacking into formers, foils and supply crawlers. Crawlers are at least armored and on forests and mines. Attacking anything in enemy territory is pain, doubly if the unit is in the base.
I need to take a look at combat formula, but this doesn't feel intuitively ok. Non-combat unit with no armor destroying needlejets and high tech rovers. Maybe its for the better, but it feels weird. It doesn't help that most of my combat was banging into Hive perimeter defense. 0-1-1 Formers with PD and base bonus and territory bonus.. actually often kill or badly hurt Chaos or better units.

- Another grudge is worms - i am fine with 1-1 combat.. but then it really is weird that worms are way better at killing high tech units than former. Imagine my surprise when my highly experienced Worm bumped into 0-1-2 Hive rover COLONY POD... got them i thought. Next turn i attacked and got demolished due to territory bonus and randomness. Colony pod ZERO damage, my worm dead. I feel psi combat is broken there - Alpha centauri is wonky there with whats non-combat sadly.. but  native life should kill non-combat units, at least unarmored ones consistently. Its even worse when attacking into base.

It doesn't help that you actually made psi units more expensive - and brood pit comes late and reactors don't work on psi units. I learned to use cheap units to attack non-combat units and use worms to attack high-tech targets.. just not worth risking worms on non-combat units. If used like that it feels ok, but initial shock is.. well shock.

- I like that you removed those 3r, 3p armors. Good point there. Also it feels like there's too many armor and weapon techs - i felt forced to tech up all the time. Then its hard to build those units - Skunkworks - free prototype facilitie comes way too late. You might consider making prototypes 30% more expensive or just put this facility way earlier. Big issue here is that unit workshop and build screen becomes very convoluted and messy with all those variants of old and new units. Its bad for micro and quality of life. Once 64 unit designs are full you can't create new ones - so gotta cleanup and thats boring - and i am not sure if this will hurt what AI actually can build.

I guess thats enough for now.. I also like what you did with social policies.. its a bit of a mess at first, but i ended up using lots of them. Late onces also don't feel overpowered since they have significant drawbacks - and i still didn't get to SP that remove their drawbacks.

Great mod - having lots of fun, thanks for effort.




Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on April 23, 2020, 08:13:14 PM
Here's what i was saying about combat problem with worms and psi combat. The way PSI combat works it turns out that its really bad idea to attack anything non-combat in enemy land due to territory bonus. Worm is relatively expensive and it actually badly loses attacking cheap formers for example. On screenshot in attachment formers are in base.. and its double bonus - and they are unarmored. Foils are also problem.. probes probably - AI at least builds armored probes.

Territory bonus is kind of understandable for military units - they are "trained".. but it turns out that non-combat is real pain for PSI attack. I had quite a few situation where these units did way better than equivalent trained/experienced defensive units. I read about combat goals of the mod - and its ok i can see  how you want for example to have 8 str attacker die vs former on forest in his land (having 2 str total)... so its like 4:1 and say 20% of cases attacker dies.

Anyway, this forces player to game system around a bit.. gotta have both normal units and worms.. attack high-tech units with worms and then attack civilians with conventional units. Also feels stupod. It would be good if PSI combat could be changed in a way to ignore these bonuses and just uses morale vs  non-combat units (or something like that).

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on April 23, 2020, 08:22:28 PM
This is good feedback.  Now where has Tim gone off to, I wonder?  Haven't seen him lately.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 16, 2020, 10:09:15 PM
I'm back, everybody!
😉

Sorry, I had to step away for a, err ... , few months probably? Something was wrong with notifications. I didn't get any on my email. Therefore, I thought it is dead and never bothered to check it manually. Will try to adjust my settings. Meanwhile, you always welcome to shoot me a personal email for questions and suggestions.

lolada, welcome to the forum and to my humble thread! Look at you. Your post made a front page! Congratulations.
I like your interest in this mod. Just have read your detailed analysis in this thread and currently reading your own here: http://31.22.7.81/index.php?topic=21438.msg124407. Amazing and exceptional work, I should say. Keep up on criticism. I feed on it.
😄
Let me digest it and I'll replay in following posts.

Actually, I was busy all this time working on Might & Magic 6 mod here: https://www.celestialheavens.com/forum/10/17131.
I liked the mod myself and even played it few times to my own satisfaction. However, it didn't get much attention. As you can see almost zero activity on the thread. Lost interest for further evolution for such ungrateful auditory.
😪
I guess this is because adventure games do not require any balance to be enjoyable. At least not as much as strategical ones. There are plenty other fun experience mods out there attracting much more followers.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 12:38:33 AM
Answering previous questions/critics.

- colony pods are more expensive - i like that - it stops base spam race somewhat. What i don't like is Rover colony pod and AI building it early.. Its more expensive and does more harm than good.

What kind of harm? Does it harm you that AI build rover colonies???

I don't think they are good or bad. They are opportunity to use them right. In my games I used rule of thumb that it is time to use rover colonies when it takes >20 turns for them to reach destination. However, it is completely minor and each player will decide it for themselves.

AI tuning is possible but it is a very scrupulous work. Induktio has already done a lot of good work on that.

-  terraforming - i think the best thing for AI would be to just give Centauri ecology to everyone at start of the game - its that important it would made AI much better overall. In cases where AI somehow skips the tech - they are cripped forever.

Possible. Another option is to just give them Former at start. Thinker mod *has* this parameter already.

Forests: didn't play much yet - but i found them mostly useless for Gaians. Double nerf might be too hard on them but we'll see. Energy nerf really hurts + its 12 turns to build them. Gotta play non-gaians tho.. forests spread like plague so it could be deserved nerf. I planted few forests and quickly realized i don't need them (being gaians).

Here is my rationale about forest: https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer#forest
In short, forest should *not* be even close in effectiveness and yield to the best improvements (rocky mine, rainy farm-collector). It is a barren land alternative to reduce poor bases suffering.
I tried its slightly more effective alternative and every time found myself planting it over and over again like crazy. When eventually with 1-2-0 and 12 terrraforming turns I stopped doing that. So, I guess, this is where it should be. As always, I'm open for suggestions.

Fungus: seems maybe overpowered (playing Map of panet.. there's lots of fungus there) with Gaians and Manifold harmonics. With forest terraforming slowed and weaker.. i found using 2-1-0 fungus very atractive.. then energy ramp up quickly and these are quite good tiles.. with 2-1-2, 2-1-3 early.. then 3-1-2, 3-1-3 progress (gaians have +1 fungus). You get lots of them for free - weakness being mineral production and "plant fungus"  action coming late. Thats good at this point its viable strategy. But then i saw Morgan building Manifold harmonics... and was surprised its that early - and its relatively cheap. Stole the tech and built it and its bonkers... Every tile is 4-2-5 (i'll see to add some screenshots later).. you can spam new bases in fungus areas and its quite awesome - that is once you switch to Green SE and +3 planet. Nice thing is Green has -2 Industry its quite a pain so it balances it somewhat. But anyway whole game my research is top and i have so much money i can buy fascilities all the time.
*Its plenty fun, but its broken a bit too early imo - i think Manifold Harmonics need to come later and needs to be a bit more expensive. Fungus also maybe gives too much energy too quickly. I like to see funguns usable.. so 2-1-2.. or 3-1-2 (with gaians) is good and fun.. but upgrades to 3-1-3, 3-1-4 should come a bit later - or better move later Manifold harmonics. Otherwise planet factions have no use for standard terraforming besides ocassional borehole or mine. I actually have big ecology problems with fungus bases only - and gotta spam centauri preserves.. (or tree farms without forests xD). Temple of planets is too expensive but i started building a few.. i probably should build tree farms they give nice bonuses anyway.

It is pretty difficult to balance fungus with regular terraforming. They are completely opposite ways of harvesting resources. Even forest is not that opposite - it is still a terraforming. I agree it should have lower yield comparing to contemporary terraforming since it doesn't take investments. That is how I designed it to be. If you say it is still overpowered that means I miscalculated average game progress and we need to delay it back a little. Than you for observation.

Can you give me rough comparison of fungus vs. best terraforming production at different stages? Also your suggestions of what fungus production should at these stages comparing to regular terraforming.

Keep also in mind that negative PLANET reduces fungus output. For example, -2 PLANET subtracts 2 from *each* yield factor. So your 2-1-4 yield becomes 0-0-2. That is pretty devastating. That means that fungus relied faction is pretty much locked in positive PLANET rating rendering things like Free Market unavailable, etc. That is a huge impact too.

Yes, Manifold Harmonics makes fungus production booming. It was designed for that. If you think it is exceptionally overpowered we can make it more expensive to offset the benefit. Moving it for later just delays the inevitable.

- unlocking resources techs at start - i think its a good move overall - its a bit unbalanced - i started near boreholes for example.. or Yang got into jungle areas. But AI without these techs is so crippled that it ruins the game. So i am good with that. Would be nice they start with formers as i said earlier.

In my goals I state that I don't seek "balance". I enable feature usage. Which is exactly what I have achieved here. These native boreholes are going to be used immediately for full benefit. Instead of sitting idle for the 1/3 of the game. If you think Borehole Cluster landmark itself is too much we can remove it from the game. However, I don't think it makes too much impact. It is comparable to Crater and Volcano.

- on probes - they might be too expensive early - it gets better with reactors a bit. AI starts using them more later and they are quite a pain. I actually built def infantry probes i n my bases.. otherwise AI mind-probe bases, steal techs and destroys stuff. Here i actually like that probe gets +50% def in base since it suits me : D. It would be interesting if probes could be modded that tech stealing is harder.. mind-probes also are often too cheap  in far-away bases.

It is very-very difficult to balance non combat unit abilities and Probes are the worst. I never ever even saw a complete and integral concept of balanced Probe abilities. They will be unbalanced one way or another. As always, I am open for small fix suggestions here and there.

By the way, I don't think 60 minerals is at all expensive for Probe team. It is about same as Colony Pod. Do you want their cost to grow proportional to most expensive known weapon/armor?

Command nexus - looks way too expensive. Took ages in my game - Morgan completed it eventually. I was on it for awhile but i decided to pick up different wonders.
 Maritime control - don't mind that.. it comes late so production is better.. and relative value is less. It might be actually good to reduce cost of these fasciities to 60 and project to 600.. Considering also how much you buffed defense in the game. In my game i was most of the time in war - and i built command centers quite late due to how expensive they are. I also wanted Command nexus but found it too expensive. (I don't like crawlers to speed up projects - feels like exploit).

Facility replacement SP cost is very simple = ten times the facility cost. It's true for all such facilities and why it should be fair for some but not others? With that in mind I *do not* adjust SP cost to the stage of the game they appear in. Somebody just invest a lot of time/resources in them if they need it. You may be wise not to build it outright.

Now the cost of Command Center (and other morale boosting facilities) is another story. Change it and corresponding SP cost changes. See my rationale about it here https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer#facilities-costmaintenance. I don't feel that 80 for Command Center is at all expensive. You don't need them at every base - only high productive ones. With 40 it is no-brainer to build it before *any* military unit (beyond Scout Patrol). Therefore, it should be increased to present a weighed choice. The fact that you were in war but didn't build it right away confirms that they are on a right spot now.

Making them 60? Eh, I don't think it is such a big deal for facility that you don't want in every city. It is so minor that one needs to play few games to feel the difference. And even that they may not.
🤔

Anyway, if you feel it is too expensive that it is impossible to build it - let me know and I'll drop the price. I'm open for negotiations.

Virtual world - was always too strong project. I'd bump that from 600 to 800.. and really move it later to midgame. Should be on discover tech so Zakharov picks it up if possible. Its free fascilities SP and very strong once - Hologram theaters are not that expensive, but they are 3 maintenance which is important. Or nerf HT maintenance to 2..

Another facility replacing SP. Boring. However, I like you brought maintenance into equation. Maybe I should modify my facility replacing SP cost formula to account for that. Say 10 times the cost + 10 times * 20 turns the maintenance? That would bring Virtual World to: 10 * 60 + 10 * 20 * 3 / 2 = 900. Does it sound right?

Network nodes, Energy bank, Biology lab - I really liked that you reduced cost - looks appropriate. Energy bank - SP that gives energy bank in each base - i think you moved it way too far in tech. The problem is that player has Energy bank in every city - since build style is promoted in mode - so this SP comes late and its very expensive. I am in 2280 i think i might build it - just to scrap energy banks in base and get the money back.. and to deny AI. It would be way more interesting if this project came earlier so we can "calculate" to delay energy banks  and wait for completion of project. That said its very strong SP so it should not come too early.

Oops. Found a discrepancy in SP cost. The facility is 60 but SP is 800. Should be 600. And I also can move it earlier. Currently it is at 60% of the tech tree. Would 40% or 50% be good for you? Remember, it is also not early project in vanilla too.

The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm - this is totally broken SP. Good that you made it more expensive. It just ruins AI.. i am not sure if AI will build probes with Alg. Ench. i think it might - but AI just suicides very expensive armored probes on me now. In vanilla they at least suicide cheap 0-1-2 probes and don't build them much. This project would be much more sane if it would just reduce AI chances for probe actions to max 50%. Is that possible? That or it should be removed from the game - or put to level 10 tech very late.

Probes again. 😒
Everything is possible but not worth investments IMHO. The problem that everything probe related is not an isolate fix. It is all interrelated. Propose an integrated view on how you think Probes should works and we'll talk.

Lab doubling SP - should be 600 instead of 400 minerals probably.

You mean Lab doubling *in single base* SPs? They do not scale. Compare to The Network Backbone, for example.

It doesn't help that you actually made psi units more expensive - and brood pit comes late and reactors don't work on psi units. I learned to use cheap units to attack non-combat units and use worms to attack high-tech targets.. just not worth risking worms on non-combat units. If used like that it feels ok, but initial shock is.. well shock.

Yep. Was quite novel for me too at first. Got used to it and my strategy also adjusted to it. Now it feels fine.

- I like that you removed those 3r, 3p armors. Good point there. Also it feels like there's too many armor and weapon techs - i felt forced to tech up all the time. Then its hard to build those units - Skunkworks - free prototype facilitie comes way too late. You might consider making prototypes 30% more expensive or just put this facility way earlier.

Yep. I proposed to cut number of weapons from 12 to 8. Wanna try?

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 01:18:28 AM
Oops. Looks like some changes were sitting on my local unreleased. Releasing version 44 now.
Also changed The Planetary Energy Grid cost and timing by lolada request.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 02:36:45 AM
Here's what i was saying about combat problem with worms and psi combat. The way PSI combat works it turns out that its really bad idea to attack anything non-combat in enemy land due to territory bonus. Worm is relatively expensive and it actually badly loses attacking cheap formers for example. On screenshot in attachment formers are in base.. and its double bonus - and they are unarmored. Foils are also problem.. probes probably - AI at least builds armored probes.

You are substitute one problem with another. The psi is there for very specific purpose: to nullify weapon/armor. Thus, it is most useful against strong conventional units and least against others - especially non combat. I'm glad that you discovered this law. 😉 However, it has nothing to do with the mod. It will be exactly like that in vanilla or any other mod. Although, in vanilla it is unnoticeable just because 3:2 psi attack odds against half strength not combat unit turning to 3:1 + notorious vanilla multi-round-combat-always-win thing. By removing all these things my mod crystallized what always was there and should have been.

Territory bonus is kind of understandable for military units - they are "trained".. but it turns out that non-combat is real pain for PSI attack. I had quite a few situation where these units did way better than equivalent trained/experienced defensive units. I read about combat goals of the mod - and its ok i can see  how you want for example to have 8 str attacker die vs former on forest in his land (having 2 str total)... so its like 4:1 and say 20% of cases attacker dies.

This is a game and any resemblance with real world is just for resemblance. Not for transferring rules from one world to another. I believe there is no need to multiply entities without need. Vanilla nerfed non combat units for some unknown reason and I've got rid of this nonsense.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 17, 2020, 03:21:19 AM
10x the facility cost for an SP is quite high. You're often better off just building the facilities at that point. What's omitted is the opportunity cost. It takes one base longer to make the SP than individual ones. Ok, a human player can do mass crawlers to circumvent this but can the AI? The bigger opportunity cost for many SPs is all the labs spent. SPs should be a reward for investing in labs over other things like facilities or units. Otherwise there's not much advantage to being ahead of the curve, which leads to conquer being more of a dominant strategy over build. Or simply tech stealing because the SP race is so long.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 04:00:02 AM
10x the facility cost for an SP is quite high. You're often better off just building the facilities at that point. What's omitted is the opportunity cost. It takes one base longer to make the SP than individual ones. Ok, a human player can do mass crawlers to circumvent this but can the AI? The bigger opportunity cost for many SPs is all the labs spent. SPs should be a reward for investing in labs over other things like facilities or units. Otherwise there's not much advantage to being ahead of the curve, which leads to conquer being more of a dominant strategy over build. Or simply tech stealing because the SP race is so long.

At that point - yes. However, SP serves you for the rest of the game becoming more and more powerful as you build more bases. 10 times is just some estimate of the SP value at some point. I am not saying I picked right formula for SP cost. It is just very rough estimate. And this formula does not have a meaning behind it. Not that I actually tried to visualize the exact SP value or something.

You are theorizing about how SP cost changes the advantage? We can do that or we can play the game few times and get a feeling whether it cripples AI or not. In my games on highest difficulty it never feel like AI is at disadvantage. They keep slapping SPs left and right as usual. At slower rate, of course. But still I never can build more than 10-30% of SPs for myself. Thinker AI + Transcend bonuses = it is really a challenge to beat them even with crawler rush!
😜
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 04:13:37 AM
Command nexus - looks way too expensive.

Actually, you know what? I think you may be right. My 10 times the facility cost is a good estimate for a facility that is beneficial for each base. Whereas, morale and defense facilities are not. So the cost of corresponding SP should be proportionally lower. I don't think cutting it in half is reasonable but somewhere at 75%? What everyone thinks? With exception of The Cloudbase Academy. It is beneficial at every base.

So that changes it:
The Command Nexus = 800 -> 600
The Citizens' Defense Force = 500 -> 400
The Maritime Control Center = 800 -> 600
The Cloudbase Academy = 1200 -> 1200

I also agree to more reduce the cost of Command Center and corresponding The Command Nexus a little bit more with regards that it is just a single purpose facility comparing to dual purpose Naval Yard. But not too much. Something like 70 maybe. That'll make The Command Nexus cost somewhere 500.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 17, 2020, 04:19:37 AM
My empirical study is that having Command Centers everywhere is not a game changer.  Therefore, the Command Nexus should not be exorbitantly expensive.  Whereas, the Planetary Energy Grid is a game changer and should be expensive.  I also make it come a bit later so you have to work for it.  The Weather Paradigm is also a game changer, but it has to come earlier, otherwise it has no value compared to Build 5 Advanced Ecological Engineering.  So I make it cost a bit less and it comes earlier.  Secret Projects are supposed to be a race.  Rewards go to those who win the race first.  Not just "it's more valuable than building 20 or 30 Command Centers" or whatever.

I make SPs expensive enough, that it's generally not possible to win a race with all of them.  I've also diversified my tech tree weights enough, that you can't get the research in all branches of the tech tree all that easily.  You can steal techs from others, and indeed I often use that strategy, but on Huge maps it may not be so easy.  Sometimes you're on the opposite side of the map from the one who's churning out all the techs you don't have.  Sometimes the map is a damn maze and you can't just sail a ship over there.

You can see how much I think various SPs are game changers by how much I've weighted them and how late I've put them.  As of my mod version 1.43:

Code: [Select]
The Human Genome Project,     30, 0, Cyber,  Disable,  +1 Talent Each Base,            0, 0, 0, 0, 2,
The Command Nexus,            30, 0, Poly,  Disable,  Command Center Each Base,        1, 2, 0, 0, 0,
The Weather Paradigm,         40, 0, EcoEng, Disable,  Terraform Rate +50%,             0, 0, 0, 2, 2,
The Merchant Exchange,        30, 0, IndEcon,  Disable,  +1 Energy Each Square Here,      0, 0, 0, 2, 0,
The Empath Guild,             60, 0, HomoSup, Disable, 2x Votes; Infiltrate Every Faction,     0, 0, 0, 2, 0,
The Citizens' Defense Force,  30, 0, Subat,   Disable,  Perimeter Defense Each Base,     0, 1, 0, 0, 0,
The Virtual World,            30, 0, Brain, Disable,  Network Nodes Help Drones,       0, 0, 1, 0, 1,
The Planetary Transit System, 30, 0, EnvEcon, Disable,  New Bases Begin At Size 3,       0, 0, 0, 0, 1,
The Xenoempathy Dome,         50, 0, Eudaim, Disable,  Fungus Movement Bonus,           1, 2, 0, 0, 2,
The Neural Amplifier,         60, 0, WillPow,  Disable,  Psi Defense +50%,                0, 1, 0, 0, 2,
The Maritime Control Center,  40, 0, DocInit, Disable,  Naval Movement +2; Naval Bases,  1, 2, 0, 0, 2,
The Planetary Datalinks,      30, 0, OptComp,   Disable,  Any Tech Known To 3 Others,      0, 1, 1, 1, 1,
The Supercollider,            30, 0, E=Mc2,   Disable,  Labs +100% At This Base,         0, 0, 2, 0, 0,
The Ascetic Virtues,          30, 0, Magnets, Disable,  Pop. Limit Relaxed; +1 POLICE,   0, 0, 0, 0, 2,
The Longevity Vaccine,        40, 0, BioEng,  Disable,  Fewer Drones or More Profits,    0, 0, 0, 2, 2,
The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm,  50, 0, Algor,   Disable,  Immunity to Probe Teams,         1, 2, 0, 0, 0,
The Pholus Mutagen,           80, 0, AlphCen, Disable,  Ecology Bonus; Lifecycle Bonus,  1, 2, 0, 2, 2,
The Cyborg Factory,           80, 0, MindMac, Disable,  Bioenh. Center Every Base,       1, 2, 0, 0, 0,
The Theory of Everything,     40, 0, Unified, Disable,  Labs +100% At This Base,         0, 0, 2, 0, 0,
The Dream Twister,            100, 0, SentRes, Disable,  Psi Attack +50%,                 1, 2, 0, 0, 2,
The Universal Translator,     30, 0, Integ, Disable,  Two Free Techs,                  0, 0, 1, 0, 0,
The Network Backbone,         60, 0, DigSent, Disable,  +1 Lab Per Commerce/Net Node,    0, 0, 2, 0, 1,
The Nano Factory,             40, 0, IndAuto,  Disable,  Repair Units; Low Upgrade Costs, 1, 2, 0, 1, 0,
The Living Refinery,          60, 0, Metal,   Disable,  +2 SUPPORT (social),             0, 0, 0, 2, 0,
The Cloning Vats,             100, 0, BioMac,  Disable,  Population Boom At All Bases,    1, 2, 0, 2, 2,
The Self-Aware Colony,        60, 0, SentEco, Disable,  Maintenance Halved; Extra Police,0, 0, 0, 2, 2,
Clinical Immortality,           100, 0, NanEdit, Disable,  2x Votes; Extra Talent Every Base,         0, 0, 0, 2, 2,
The Space Elevator,            100, 0, IndRob,  Disable,  Energy +100%/Orbital Cost Halved,1, 2, 0, 2, 2,
The Singularity Inductor,     150, 0, ConSing, Disable,  Quantum Converter Every Base,    0, 0, 0, 2, 0,
The Bulk Matter Transmitter,  100, 0, Matter,  Disable,  +2 Minerals Every Base,          0, 0, 0, 2, 0,
The Telepathic Matrix,        150, 0, Thresh,  Disable,  No More Drone Riots; +2 PROBE,   1, 2, 0, 2, 2,
The Voice of Planet,          100, 0, Thresh,  Disable,  Begins Ascent To Transcendence,  0,-2, 2, 2, 2,
The Ascent to Transcendence, 300, 0, Thresh,  Disable,  End of Singular Sentience Era,   0, 0, 2, 2, 2,
The Manifold Harmonics,      100, 0, SecMani, Disable,  Bonus Resources In Fungus,      0, 0, 0, 2, 2,
The Nethack Terminus,         60, 0, HAL9000, Disable,  Stronger Probe Teams,            1, 2, 0, 0, 0,
The Cloudbase Academy,        80, 0, Gravity, Disable,  Faster/Stronger Air Units,       1, 2, 0, 2, 2,
The Planetary Energy Grid,   50, 0, PlaEcon, Disable,  Energy Bank At Every Base,      0, 0, 0, 2, 0,

Bear in mind that you don't get any supply crawlers or thermal boreholes until Tier 6 in my mod, which might be considered the beginning of the late game.  I generally buy my SPs with cash and Artifacts.  It would be nice if the stock AI knew how to do that, but it doesn't.


Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 04:29:41 AM
Makes sense. I think I need to review my valuations for them in regard whether it is massively useful or just marginally.

Didn't understand you race example, though. I think race is there because it is more valuable than just a bunch of individual facilities, isn't it?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 17, 2020, 04:45:17 AM
In the beginning of the game, there are lots of things you could be spending your productivity on.  300 minerals is a big hit in the early game.  There are SPs that are valuable to win at that time, but they're not so valuable that you can't live without them.  A Perimeter Defense, a Command Center, 1 more happiness, 2 more happiness if you built this other thing, more energy in your capitol, you can live without all of those things.  There's not really a good reason to make the early player pay through the nose for these advantages.  They're not game changers.

My only weighting that seems to cause controversy, is putting the Planetary Transit System on the lowest tier of SP cost.  I just don't see the value in starting bases at size 3.  Half the time they die to size 2 anyways.  If there is some strategy to superpower the game with this SP, I don't know what it is.  After awhile I think making more bases is a darned nuisance.  And based on all the things I've conquered and pacified, I don't think they pay very well.  Past a certain radius I either Punishment Sphere or genocide, I don't want / need to develop more bases.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 04:56:55 AM
# Version 45

* Command Center cost/maint is 6/2.
* The Command Nexus cost is 40.
* The Citizens' Defense Force cost is 40.
* The Maritime Control Center cost is 60.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 17, 2020, 06:15:14 AM
PTS is one of the strongest SPs if abused correctly. It's one of those that I felt was the most useless of all them for a long time. But now I think it might just be the third best SP in the game, only behind Weather Paradigm and Cloning Vats. Its value does depend a lot on how early you can get it.

I think there's a bit of a tendency to overrate SPs too. Yes they help all game but so do formers, crawlers, facilities. I had them actually decosted for awhile, though I put them mostly back to default prices with a bit of tweaking here and there. The point is that SPs are sort of the engine, the driver to focus on tech rather than expansion.

That's not to say free facilities aren't strong, they very much are. I designed my factions so that most get a free facility, because University's free network nodes were that good. Sparta gets free command centers as an example. It makes them fearsome but it's not so powerful they can't be beat. Because the other factions get an economic advantage.

One thing I wasn't sure about was why Empath, Clean, Hypnotic, and Non-Lethal had such high costs. They might as well be disabled in that case?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Induktio on May 17, 2020, 01:24:05 PM
<delete>
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 04:25:05 PM
One thing I wasn't sure about was why Empath, Clean, Hypnotic, and Non-Lethal had such high costs. They might as well be disabled in that case?

Hmm. You seem to be confused by my ability flat cost in mineral rows feature.
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer#unit-pricing-principles

Abilities now have both proportional (as in vanilla) and flat cost components. Since there is only one value for them in alphax.txt they are binary packed into it. To get flat cost you need to whole divide their alphax.txt value by 16.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 04:41:20 PM
If you're releasing a fork, you should update the MOD_VERSION #define accordingly. It's supposed to uniquely identify the version you are using while in game.

This one?
    #define MOD_VERSION "Thinker Mod v1.0"

What should I put there?

The tech cost formula in this mod is broken. It ignores the actual faction SE Research rating completely, m->rule_techcost does not refer to the same variable in social engineering. Actual variable Faction->SE_research is not included.

Let me clarify this from your formula.

m->rule_techcost - faction specific tech cost modifier in percents?
f->SE_research - faction RESEARCH rating - initial or current?
f->tech_ranking - ?
*tx_game_rules & RULES_TECH_STAGNATION - technology stagnation option from alphax.txt?
tx_basic->rules_tech_discovery_rate - global tech cost modifier in percents?
(owned > 0 ? (owned > 1 ? 0.75 : 0.85) : 1.0) - what is the meaning of this?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 17, 2020, 04:57:20 PM
Did you do anything about the combat odds? I think they are fine as they are. Maybe they give a slightly too large advantage to the side with higher strength. But for instance two Missile interceptors should be able to trade with one Chaos Interceptor. Another potential problem is Fusion reactor. It both makes units cheaper and gives them huge power boost.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 05:13:22 PM
Did you do anything about the combat odds? I think they are fine as they are. Maybe they give a slightly too large advantage to the side with higher strength.

Well, of course! This is a cornerstone of this mod. Check readme.
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer#combat-mechanics

I did this because I don't think they are fine as they are and there is quite a piece of reasoning on that in readme with charts and stuff. This advantage is not slight. It's immense.

But for instance two Missile interceptors should be able to trade with one Chaos Interceptor.

Don't follow you. How is this "trade" happens in the game?

Another potential problem is Fusion reactor. It both makes units cheaper and gives them huge power boost.

Yes. It is. I encourage you to check my readme and enormous amount of posts at this forum related to this problem and potential solutions. I can also answer any specific questions you may have.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 17, 2020, 05:24:09 PM
It doesn't appear to say what your combat formula really is. The example you give is a bit odd. A unit with 2-1 combat strength advantage should of course win with very high probability. However it should take damage in the process.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 06:19:39 PM
It doesn't appear to say what your combat formula really is. The example you give is a bit odd. A unit with 2-1 combat strength advantage should of course win with very high probability. However it should take damage in the process.


You mean multi-round combat calculations or just round odds? Round odds are just proportion of strengths as displayed in combat statistics window. The multi-round combat calculations with adjusted loss divisor is very complex. I don't put it in readme to not scare people. 🤣

There are sample charts visualizing different value of this parameter effect.
Vanilla: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21371.msg122835#msg122835
This mod: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21359.msg122935#msg122935
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 17, 2020, 06:40:19 PM
Hello Tim, glad to have you back. I'll try to leave as much feedback as i can - i played ton of hours ^^ but still its only a few games; AC is micro intensive.. at least i tend to play a bit slow.

I'll start with native units, PSI combat and Planet rating - as i already commented earlier as i  played a lot more with worms due to my AAR. Its mostly positive if not completely.. lets see where i get.

- Native lifeform is dangerous - thats great - but not too dangerous. Its really beneficial to have Trance units, and they rarely die. Think you got good balance there. It looks its hard to mod native units to be dangerous.

- Planet rating is valuable - it is in good spot. Its not too strong nor too weak - its also hard to stack. For example picking up Green is no joke with that -2 Industry penalty. I picked it up later in game just for that bonus attack and ended up picking Fundamentalism for 1 Industry to counter Green penalty.

- Its tough to attack into worms with negative Planet rating - thats cool. Positive in that sense helps a lot to reduce casualties. Someone like Miriam can have real trouble getting rid of worms as you can just attack them and hope for 3 vs 2. Artillery appears to be strong counter.. and empath units are valuable.

- Planet rating is also great for fungus resources. For example Miriam really suffers with -1 planet - in my game i was lucky to be near Manifold Nexus that moved Planet to 0 - so i could use fungus - its awesome for new bases once you have +2 food on it

- on combat worms seem to be well balanced - they were my best attackers in any tougher situation vs strong defenders or perim. defense. As they should be for planet based faction. I complained earlier, they are really not good for attacking non-combat units, but honestly, it looks like thats their main weakness. It keeps them in check - and its very wise to have conventional attack units to save worms from dying on formers or on low tech units. So they are not self-sufficient as they are quite expensive at 80 minerals. I suppose thats ok, i don't know how would i improve them without making them broken.

- i've seen ai building both empath and trance units - so they do counter worms. AI also spams probes and they can often kill worms in defense

- i also really like what you did with Biology Labs - great change

- i used ton of Spore Launchers - their cost is 4 minerals row.. so relatively cheap - they are great police unit for Cha Dawn. They are also quite good defenders.. in attack worm artillery is kinda meh, but they do a bit of damage sometimes. I much prefer conventional artillery for bombardment. Probably good move to leave them cheap - otherwise they wouldn't be really used. One might abuse them to ruin AI economy - but there's ton of ways to exploit AI i am not into that.

- Mindworms and Sealurks are 80 minerals, Isle of the Deep, Locusts are more expensive a bit - i'd say thats good - one can get them cheaper with industry rating; it restrict these units from being op. They are quite unique and with great abilities and for example they counter probe teams well

- That said - Brood Pit is awesome, but feels like it comes way too late - i think its E10 tech. Kind of sad that I can't use one of The Cult factions features until the end of the game. Its goal of the mod to make all features usable reasonably. Its very strong facility, especially for The Cult - but other factions would have to build those Brood Pits. With 25% Brood Pit discount i could really swarm enemies with worms this late in the game - they became unstoppable.
One suggestion could be to have Brood Pit earlier - maybe like tech 8, but nerf the facility with removing +lifecycle. I'd keep discount, that even could go to 10-15% or 20% instead of 25%. Or leave +lifecycle, but reduce discount a lot.. just bland +lifecycle without discount removes uniqueness from it. I could at this point produce Demon Boils (Elite) worms straight from some bases - thats kind of op - i had some special projects with +lifecycle.

I guess thats plenty for this post. The Manifold Nexus and fungus resource yields - i'll comment on that in separate post i think these could be changed somewhat, i am not sure how exactly yet.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 07:07:24 PM
Thank you, man. Great feedback. Mostly positive.
🤣

SMACX is a very feature reach game. A singe introduction of psi combat is huge addition. Unfortunately, when you have so many alternative ways to wage a war it is almost impossible to balance them nicely that no one is OP. I didn't do much about psi except 1:1 land odds and somewhat elevated native units cost. The rest is updated combat odds resolution that seemed to do the trick. Now no combat alternative seems to be a universal weapon. Which is good enough. However, it is still open field for experiments.

I like you liked Biology Labs. That's my pride. 😛
Previously it was completely neglected facility.

Brood Pit is a very powerful facility as you correctly pointed out. We can move it a little earlier with caution. One way to offset its earlier usage is to set exorbitant maintenance on it. Thus player would suffer economically to offset advanced benefits.
I wouldn't do other modification to its features like native unit cost discount, life-cycle, police rating. My rule of thumb is to stick to original game features as much as possible. I am not introducing new experience. Merely fixing existing one.
So if you are fine with offsetting it with high maintenance we can try it out.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 17, 2020, 07:15:26 PM
You still could have told me. From what I got from the other thread you do only two combat rounds and then randomly assign the damage of the victor within the window given by round wins. Is that correct? It seems extremely random.

Btw, I really do think vanilla combat has its upsides. It is very unique favoring sting operations and hit-and-run over normal combat since you essentially can't reasonably build a stack of more than 3-4 units.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 07:40:52 PM
You still could have told me. From what I got from the other thread you do only two combat rounds and then randomly assign the damage of the victor within the window given by round wins. Is that correct? It seems extremely random.

Vanilla combat works like that. There is a round odds that determine who wins the round randomly. Loser then incurs some damage. The battle then is the series of rounds with same odds repeated over and over again until one unit dies.

My modification is that after first round the round odds are changed so that last round winner has its losing probability decreased in fixed proportion. That proportion is a loss_divider and is exposed in thinker.ini. Obviously loss_divider = 1 does not change anything and, thus, works exactly as in vanilla.

Here is an example. Let's say two Scout Patrols fight. Their base round odds are 1:1. Meaning each unit has 50% winning chance and losing chance. Randomly first unit wins first round. If we set loss_divider = 2. Then victor losing chance in next round will be 50% / 2 = 25%. That makes its winning chance = 75%. This stays like that for as long as first unit keeps winning rounds. If at some round second unit wins the round it flips to second unit benefit and its winning chance becomes 75% and so on.

Don't try to find a logic in this. This is just formula we have come up with that keeps the same average damage proportion in large scales as in vanilla (that is important). At the same time it randomizes individual battle outcome a little bit more avoiding horrendous vanilla skews.

In other words, massive armies battle outcomes and average unit economical combat effectiveness stay the same as in vanilla with more randomized individual battle outcome.

Btw, I really do think vanilla combat has its upsides. It is very unique favoring sting operations and hit-and-run over normal combat since you essentially can't reasonably build a stack of more than 3-4 units.

Have you listened to Sid Meier's presentation on how they tune battle outcomes to satisfy players? Well, yea. This is kind of upside vanilla combat has. It has nothing to do with unique flavoring. The fact that you can use sting operations is just unplanned consequence of a massive cheating on all levels to give player sure advantage over AI and guaranteed win. Think about it. 100% first place out of 7 factions who have like triple economical advantage over you on toughest difficulty - what is it if not cheating on large scale?
Induktio and I worked on AI improvement. That also included removing all this "sting operations" stuff that AI is not taught to understand. Now game is much more fairer. You can easily lose on highest difficulty. And that is awesome for challenge oriented people like me. This increases game replay-ability 100-fold.

By the way, I removed collateral damage completely. Now you can stack infinite number of units without consequences and wage large scale war any way you like.
😎

Again. I am not discarding any opinions. Any suggestion is welcome. If you really think these sting operations are valuable addition to the game let's open a discussion and think how can we add them to the game without breaking human-AI balance. I'm up to it.
😉
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 17, 2020, 07:47:32 PM
No problem ^^

On changing PSI i guess its ok - its hard to tell whats right balance. Nexii i think for example said he left psi at 3:2 and gave worms Rover chasis ^^ quite interesting solution - native worms now attack first hehe. That might be too strong in player hands.. but everything has its ups and downs.

Just checked this Brood Pit thing: so i got Centauri Genetics E10 Brood Pits technology - in 2393, so that is 293 turns in the game :D. Its on tech stagnation, blind research so it plays a significant part. Zakharov was wiped relatively early so that slowed things a bit. Most AIs were also using Fundamentalism, including me, so research was slowed. On that topic - apparently AI really like industry and it really likes morale - from what i can see from forums discussions. You Fundamentalism has +1 Probe, +1 Morale, +1 Industry, -2 Research - it might be favorite AI pick. Both Aliens and Drones used it a lot.. Deirdre also likes to pick simply Frontier. Roze preferred Democratic. But thats another topic.

Anyway by this point i solved most issues i had in the game - so it was mostly nice finisher tech to make the faction op. Worm spam + Locusts to finish the job. I got other E10 tech (Secrets of Alpha Centauri) with Temple of Planet much earlier - at M.Y. 2358 - just took a look there. 30+ turns is huge difference this late in the game. Centauri Genetics is kinda hidden behind lots of discovery, build and conquer prerequisite techs so that delays it. Swap these two ^^. I don't know i might be completely off here - its just one game, maybe too early for any changes.

More data, in 2393 my research (Explore/Conquer focus whole game):

Explore 77%, Discover 70%, Build 66%, Conquer 93%. It might be my crap RNG luck as i almost completed every conquer tech - some were likely very expensive. I have the feeling game has more conquer technologies than any others.

Lastly on topic of costs and maintenance. This late Brood Pit is very cheap with only 80 minerals and 2 maintenance.. its the cost of one mindworm. It could easily be 150 minerals, 4 maintenance - but it doesn't really matter too much. Temple of Planet is for example 220 minerals, 3 maintenance. At this point i had +560 energy credits per turn on 50% economy.

- I forgot to comment on Dream Twister and Neural Amplifier - there are obviously great and strong, but not too op. I got one, missed other and  worms still die. They are ofcourse better but its no cakewalk - one must spam a lot of units to overrun AI.





Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 17, 2020, 07:57:25 PM
Do you still have stack damage? Did you change self destruct damage? Sorry for asking so many questions but your readme is not as detailed as I would like.

It seems Centauri Ecology removes restrictions? I like that. You may have nerfed forests a bit too much. I'm not sure they are worth it at all anymore.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 07:59:35 PM
@Hagen0

Here is another thing to think about for you. Look at this "sting operation" in this angle. What if we teach AI to recognize and use these "sting operation" properly. Now it will destroy your units left and right at any opportunity run back for healing and then return to the front line reinforced only to damage you even more without retaliation and losses at all? How would you like that? Would it be fun to play if AI would beat you into pulp even on lowest difficulty?
😜😝

AI is currently exceptionally dumb. We are trying to improve it and raise to some average human level to get ourselves a challenge. No more and no less. Fair conditions for all sides.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 08:04:41 PM
Do you still have stack damage? Did you change self destruct damage? Sorry for asking so many questions but your readme is not as detailed as I would like.

No. Stack damage is removed completely. However, this is configurable in ini file. You can revert it to vanilla if you like.

No problems with questions. I enjoy this game, forum, and talking to players. The more the merrier.
😁

It seems Centauri Ecology removes restrictions? I like that. You may have nerfed forests a bit too much. I'm not sure they are worth it at all anymore.

Correct about restrictions. Actually, skim my readme. There is a lot of reasoning why I did all these changes. You can find a lot of answers there. It is also a fun reading too.
😅

Forest is disputable thing as I said many times. Propose you way to modify it and add some reasoning and we'll go from there.
Even in this nerfed form forest is still usable quite a lot. You convert barren land into 1-2-0 in 12 turn. One factor of production per 4 terraforming turns. That is as good as building a farm. Besides, you have no better options in dunes. So it is far from being unusable.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 17, 2020, 08:17:10 PM
I did read parts of your readme. Chatting with you is more fun though. :) The problem with your logic is that you compare desert tiles with normal terrain. (In vanilla bad land doesn't matter that much. In your mod it does.) If you have a rolling rainy tile a farm (4 turns) makes it a 3-1 tile with the option of adding energy yield. A forest instead is 12 turns for a inferior tile. My point is that you would not forest desert tiles. You would avoid the area in the first place.

Did you change self-destruct damage? Also I didn't say that the hit-and-run style combat in vanilla did not have counterplay. Of course it had. There were overpowered ways to go about it (helicopters) though.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 08:20:17 PM
No problem ^^

No problems for Brood Pit maintenance? Please quote or mention what you are referring to. It is a flat forum without sub threads.

Anyway by this point i solved most issues i had in the game - so it was mostly nice finisher tech to make the faction op. Worm spam + Locusts to finish the job.

Are you saying native warfare is too OP at the end game? I would suspect so taking that conventional units become more expensive. However, didn't have a chance to test it much in end game.
From the other side it should be easily counterable by Hypnotic/Empath units along with AC. I believe AC does protect from Locust!

I got other E10 tech (Secrets of Alpha Centauri) with Temple of Planet much earlier - at M.Y. 2358 - just took a look there. 30+ turns is huge difference this late in the game. Centauri Genetics is kinda hidden behind lots of discovery, build and conquer prerequisite techs so that delays it. Swap these two ^^.

Secrets of Alpha Centauri and Centauri Genetics?
Centauri Genetics allows Locust - the most powerful native unit. I think level 10 is even too early for it. If anything it should be slightly delayed.

Explore 77%, Discover 70%, Build 66%, Conquer 93%. It might be my crap RNG luck as i almost completed every conquer tech - some were likely very expensive. I have the feeling game has more conquer technologies than any others.

That is completely normal. Conquer stays aside from others and many factions target it. Mostly your research focus is defined by Conquer or not Conquer. Therefore, if you focus on it 50% of the time it gets researched faster than other three.

Lastly on topic of costs and maintenance. This late Brood Pit is very cheap with only 80 minerals and 2 maintenance.. its the cost of one mindworm. It could easily be 150 minerals, 4 maintenance - but it doesn't really matter too much. Temple of Planet is for example 220 minerals, 3 maintenance. At this point i had +560 energy credits per turn on 50% economy.

Agree. Do you want to try it with 150/4?

- I forgot to comment on Dream Twister and Neural Amplifier - there are obviously great and strong, but not too op. I got one, missed other and  worms still die. They are ofcourse better but its no cakewalk - one must spam a lot of units to overrun AI.

Agree on that too. They are not a golden pill. That is why they are moderately priced. Just 800 each.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 08:36:32 PM
I did read parts of your readme. Chatting with you is more fun though. :) The problem with your logic is that you compare desert tiles with normal terrain. (In vanilla bad land doesn't matter that much. In your mod it does.) If you have a rolling rainy tile a farm (4 turns) makes it a 3-1 tile with the option of adding energy yield. A forest instead is 12 turns for a inferior tile. My point is that you would not forest desert tiles. You would avoid the area in the first place.

Don't quite get why vanilla and my mod are different in term of terrain yield? I din't change anything on that.
You still get good and bad spots in vanilla, right? And you still can place base on bad spot when all good ones are taken, right? And these poor bases still don't grow beyond size 2? You still would prefer to plant forest there regardless of the cost?
If you want to avoid placing base there it is your strategical choice. Forest is not that good on nutrients so its cost wouldn't change you mind about base in barren land anyway.

Forest primary purpose is mineral yield. It is a main competitor of the mine, not solar collector. As an alternative terraforming method it should be inferior to mine in general. You can build 0-4-0 rocky mine in 12 turns. Why 1-2-1 forest with its OP spreading capability should be any cheaper than that??? And its energy yield is clearly an additional bonus not related to its primary purpose that makes it even better.

Did you change self-destruct damage? Also I didn't say that the hit-and-run style combat in vanilla did not have counterplay. Of course it had. There were overpowered ways to go about it (helicopters) though.

What is self-destruct damage? Don't remember doing anything on that.

Let me reiterate it. The hit-and-run combat style does not have a counter play. Human can counter it. However, only human opponent is AI who is not aware of this exploit. It does not use it does not counter it on purpose.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 08:39:03 PM
By the way, guys. How do you like my Vader avatar? Is it too scary?
🤔
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 09:10:32 PM
Version 46.
Here you go with more expensive Brood pit. Didn't move it earlier yet. It is still L10 (78% in tech tree). Where do you want it? 50%, 60%?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 17, 2020, 09:22:37 PM
Self-destruct damage is one of the reasons you can't build a stack. Any unit can be self-destructed in the field (even worms I think :)) ). They damage any unit on that tile and adjacent tiles for weapon strength * reactor level/2 rounded down. Units in bases are not effected. So self-destructing two fusion needlejets or a conventional missile and a laser needlejet will wipe out anything on adjacent tiles provided same reactor level is used. This is from memory from years ago so I can't guarantee it is perfectly accurate but should be about right.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 17, 2020, 09:25:23 PM
This one?
    #define MOD_VERSION "Thinker Mod v1.0"

What should I put there?

Obviously, "The Will To Power mod v45" or whatever release number you're on.  Unless you're trying to simulate / fool / exercise GPL freedom and have it appear to be Thinker Mod.   ;lol

I don't have such difficulties, doing *.txt only modding of the stock binary.  A player did ask me about displaying a version number the other day.  I had to explain why I couldn't.  It's to your advantage if you can.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 09:44:01 PM
Self-destruct damage is one of the reasons you can't build a stack. Any unit can be self-destructed in the field (even worms I think :)) ). They damage any unit on that tile and adjacent tiles for weapon strength * reactor level/2 rounded down. Units in bases are not effected. So self-destructing two fusion needlejets or a conventional missile and a laser needlejet will wipe out anything on adjacent tiles provided same reactor level is used. This is from memory from years ago so I can't guarantee it is perfectly accurate but should be about right.

I never saw AI used this. Should we ban this self-destruction? It doesn't matter whether you stack them or just placed close to each other. Self-destruction should still splash them.

I never thought missile could be self-destructed. Would it be a much more powerful usage of it than just direct attack?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 09:44:53 PM
This one?
    #define MOD_VERSION "Thinker Mod v1.0"

What should I put there?

Obviously, "The Will To Power mod v45" or whatever release number you're on.  Unless you're trying to simulate / fool / exercise GPL freedom and have it appear to be Thinker Mod.   ;lol

I don't have such difficulties, doing *.txt only modding of the stock binary.  A player did ask me about displaying a version number the other day.  I had to explain why I couldn't.  It's to your advantage if you can.

Where it is displayed? Some credits or something?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 17, 2020, 09:50:55 PM
Version 46.
Here you go with more expensive Brood pit. Didn't move it earlier yet. It is still L10 (78% in tech tree). Where do you want it? 50%, 60%?

More expensive Brood Pit is logical and it pays for itself quite quickly anyway. I am fine with that. Now the main reason why would i want it earlier is due to The Cult of Planet faction. Its like one of their strength that get used very late. Thats the reasoning - now i am not sure on balancing side. For example if it comes earlier and its on 150/4 costs that balances it. Still Cultist get it for free!! So that cost change practically balances Gaians (or anyone using Mindworms) and changes nothing for The Cult of Planet.
Maybe you can try moving it one level earlier - to level 9 techs - i don't know how you get those % tech values -78% in tech tree. It E10 tech.. there is no E9 tech, E8 is Adv. Ecological Eng - Superformers. E7 are Isle of The Deep. Its definitely strong facility don't move it much if you decide to make the change.

Quote
Are you saying native warfare is too OP at the end game?
No its fine i wouldn't touch it. Its strong if +Planet is stacked and its hard to stack. One must eat -2 industry AND -3 growth from Green and for example pick Cybernetic and eat -3 Police rating. Now police rating can be overcome, but its not easy pick - Cha Dawn for example has good police bonus and its a shame to ruin it with Cybernetic. He does have +2 base Planet so he can actually skip Cybernetic and have strong worms. It also means not picking Knowledge for example. Its fine i think.

Brood Pit on its own is not game-breaking, but in every base is strong - once i got it i could spam experienced worms quite faster - thats op. Good reason not to move it too early.




Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 17, 2020, 09:52:57 PM
It depends on the circumstances a bit. If you just have the missile self-destructing it will narrowly not kill anything adjacent. Also if you want to eliminate defenders of a base the self-destruct won't do anything. However, if you have two missiles you can eliminate any number of stacked units (or merely close) units. That was my point. Due to this, the way air power works and stack damage conventional warfare like in other civ versions is impossible in vanilla Smac. If you did not change the mechanic this still holds for your mod once weapon power reaches a certain point (Missile/Chaos weapons).

It is useful to be able to disband units, but they should not deal any damage in the process. If you have access to the executable you could just change the behavior.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 17, 2020, 10:06:18 PM
Where it is displayed? Some credits or something?

From within a game, Menu.. Help.. Show Version Number.  Might help someone verify that they've installed their mods properly.  Not terribly important to me as I'm doing *.txt mods only.  Players do have questions anyways, and tend to overthink / not recognize or understand the difference between binary and *.txt mods.  I mean my installation procedure is "copy my files on top of your existing installation", that's it, not rocket science.  But it all feels fuddly and fidgety to some people and causes a little concern.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 10:19:34 PM
More expensive Brood Pit is logical and it pays for itself quite quickly anyway. I am fine with that. Now the main reason why would i want it earlier is due to The Cult of Planet faction. Its like one of their strength that get used very late. Thats the reasoning - now i am not sure on balancing side. For example if it comes earlier and its on 150/4 costs that balances it. Still Cultist get it for free!! So that cost change practically balances Gaians (or anyone using Mindworms) and changes nothing for The Cult of Planet.
Maybe you can try moving it one level earlier - to level 9 techs - i don't know how you get those % tech values -78% in tech tree. It E10 tech.. there is no E9 tech, E8 is Adv. Ecological Eng - Superformers. E7 are Isle of The Deep. Its definitely strong facility don't move it much if you decide to make the change.

Brood Pit on its own is not game-breaking, but in every base is strong - once i got it i could spam experienced worms quite faster - thats op. Good reason not to move it too early.

Sooooo, do you want it earlier or not? I don't think Cult is OP by itself. Some strong boost in the mid game won't necessarily let them win outright. Moreover, we can increase maintenance even more so that even if they got it free they still have to pay for it.

I would generally agree to move it earlier.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 10:58:05 PM
It depends on the circumstances a bit. If you just have the missile self-destructing it will narrowly not kill anything adjacent. Also if you want to eliminate defenders of a base the self-destruct won't do anything. However, if you have two missiles you can eliminate any number of stacked units (or merely close) units. That was my point. Due to this, the way air power works and stack damage conventional warfare like in other civ versions is impossible in vanilla Smac. If you did not change the mechanic this still holds for your mod once weapon power reaches a certain point (Missile/Chaos weapons).

It is useful to be able to disband units, but they should not deal any damage in the process. If you have access to the executable you could just change the behavior.

Yea. I guess this is OP feature. Strangely, I never used it.

Let's remove it? Everybody agrees?
I don't think it worth balancing as anything that is relates to weapon strength only and ignores opponents armor completely is just a can of worms about to break the game.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 17, 2020, 11:19:28 PM
Yeah The Cult could use the boost - they really don't have much going for them except relying on worm warfare and police. Move it earlier, just not too much - after Isles of the Deep, before Locusts. In that case 2 or 3 maintenance is plenty - 4 is a lot for every base. Somehow i thought Free means no maintenance.. silly me !? The cost can stay at 150 min, it gives +2 police + other goodies after all.

Btw on that missile or destruction thing - it looks stupid strong to kill stack that way. I wouldn't like being the victim there and i doubt AI knows how to use it. So that can be removed.
I actually played a bit with Conventional missiles in the mod and i was pleasantly surprised. They are useful lategame with ton of bases. I just placed several far-away bases on missile production and used them to bombard targets at will. Singularity missiles move 20 tiles away - its awesome - and they could straight-up kill full HP defenders in bases in some cases. If defender has tracking and base aerocomplex missiles appear ineffective. Base without Aeroxomplex is quite vulnerable if i remember well. I can post some screenshots tomorrow.
Also they were great for sniping any units outside of bases. They are even cost-effective in some cases - since defense is so strong in the mod - attacking unit is in real trouble of dying - it makes sense to smash a missile into defender if it will kill him or at least badly hurt him.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 17, 2020, 11:38:39 PM
Yeah The Cult could use the boost - they really don't have much going for them except relying on worm warfare and police. Move it earlier, just not too much - after Isles of the Deep, before Locusts. In that case 2 or 3 maintenance is plenty - 4 is a lot for every base. Somehow i thought Free means no maintenance.. silly me !? The cost can stay at 150 min, it gives +2 police + other goodies after all.

The higher the cost and the lower the maintenance the more Cult benefits from getting if free. 150 seems too much. Nobody else will build it this way. I prefer to crank maintenance for specialized facilities like this one. This way Cult will get it immediately free but incur strong maintenance cost in return.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 12:41:41 AM
Let's remove it? Everybody agrees?

I'm not going to miss it.  It could now be my candidate for most obscure feature of the game, since it's something I've almost never remembered to do in the real world.  I've drilled many Aquifers by comparison, and I almost always forget to do those.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 12:56:59 AM
150 seems too much.

I disagree.  The Brood Pit is a super giveaway.  I've now made it cost as much as a Nanoreplicator and as much to maintain.  360 minerals, 6 energy per turn.  And it comes at Tier 10 in my tech tree, same time as the overpowered Manifold Harmonics.

Quote
Nobody else will build it this way.

I don't let the Cult have it for free at all.  Aside from it being overpowered, the Cult was never going to get to it that late in the tech tree anyways.  It's the same kind of game design mentality as the later Civ series "custom units for nationalities".  So the Germans would get a special Panzer unit, and the Americans would get a F-16.  Late game bennies.  The difference is, that bonus regime is scaled across many nationalities for all time periods, so you can beat up your enemies with Aztec Jaguars, which are warriors that move 2, if you're so inclined.  It's just a question of when you're going to "burst" your empire.  I also think it's a kind of pointless gewgaw that merely adds flavor.  SMAC is not so regular as to what you can do, or when.  Like I said, the Cult never gets there, so this is only of benefit to a human player.  And they don't need that kind of power for cheap.

The Brood Pit is dumb stuff that was introduced in Alien Crossfire.  It's bad game design.  They basically took a Police Station from Civ II and dialed it up to Eleven.

My Cult AI is currently underperforming, but it never had a Brood Pit in the real world, so that's not the issue.  It tends to take up quite a bit of map space, and it's not easy to kill, but it never succeeds in the late game and it builds very few Secret Projects.  Maybe because I made it Aggressive?

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 01:15:07 AM
360/6 seems to be expensive. It grants 1/4 off the cost and 1/8 to lifecycle. So with 80 mineral cost worm it is roughly 30 minerals save per worm. Minus 6 energy (=3 minerals) per turn. Imagine you have 20 production and stamp a worm every 4 turns. BP generates you 30 / 4 - 3 = 4.5 mineral profit every turn. So you need 360/4.5 = 80 turns to just break even building worms exclusively! And then when you stop building them you start losing big. That seems too low of ROI.
Of course it increases POLICE but again you need to build police units to utilize that and it also cost maintenance. So 6 energy + 2 minerals (= 10 energy) just to quell 2 drones. For 10 energy you can quell 5+ drones easily. Of course, this is just rough estimate and there is "double police power" POLICE RATING, etc. However, this still seems like an overpricing.

Somehow I don't remember it becomes a game breaker in vanilla where it cost just 80/2.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 01:29:17 AM
360/6 seems to be expensive.

I don't want this thing in the game.  When I don't want something in the game, I "soft" retire it by pushing it very late in the game, and making it very expensive.  So that if someone wants to sandbox the game, it's still there to be used, but that players won't be making rational decisions about winning the game, with this facility as a factor.  Even when I had it not quite that expensive, it was "standard drill" for me to obsess in late game about putting the +2 POLICE facility in every single city.  It's pointless busywork.  It disrupts the careful requirements of making the player work for their Happiness.  Players can still do it, but it costs more than other stuff, so players are curbed of the tendency to build every single Happiness facility they can get their hands on.

As I said before, it was a stupid lazy game design on Firaxis' part, whoever did this part of the expansion.  It's not like the game needed mind-numbing numbers of mindworms to be produced, or they were terribly expensive units.  It's not like there aren't enough other kinds of factories to build, or minerals to crawl.  It shows a complete lack of interest in game balance, and is mainly just a gewgaw to try to tell a story about the Cult.

Clean Reactor Police units do not cost SUPPORT.  It is a false argument.  Also by the time the Brood Pit appeared in the game, SUPPORT is a non-issue.  As you know, I put Clean Reactor at the beginning of the game, available to everyone from Turn 1, because the beginning is the only time it can actually have a meaningful impact.

The Covert Ops Center is also stupid, just not as stupid as the Brood Pit.  The main reason I've left the COC alone is because it doesn't actually do much good and players can't remember to build it anyways.  I did get rid of every single "base probe team boost" flag for the techs, as I believe you did too.

This game has 3X more junk in it than any game would actually need to be a commercially viable game.  The ongoing act of shipping "expansion packs" results in pointless drivel like this.  At least it gives us modders something to do, 20 years later.  2 years worth of low hanging fruit due to crap like this.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 18, 2020, 01:37:21 AM
I used the self-destruct mechanic in a Pbem once. My opponent was very confused. Yes it should not exist. It's one of those ideas that sound cool in a brain-storm meeting but is not properly thought through.

As for the Broodpit 360/6 does sound wildly excessive.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 01:47:12 AM
The self-destruct is for narrative purposes.  It lets you understand what happened with Recon Rover Rick.  It is not well thought out as a game mechanic, and obviously they didn't write AI for it.  That's generally what happens when designers, artists, and writers sit around thinking stuff up for games.  Nobody considers whether the AI programmer is ever going to get around to handling that, and whether it will make the AI play piss poorly compared to a human.

Bunkers are another instance where obviously the AI has no brains at all.  That's why they're not allowed in my mod.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 18, 2020, 01:47:20 AM
Overnerfing things with inane costing is worse than letting them be overpowered. It takes choice/strategy away in a much less enjoyable way.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 01:48:48 AM
This is a game of features. As, essentially, any other game. You throw more features in it and it becomes more fun. Supposedly. 😅
In this regard it is not politically correct to just drop something from the game without it being clearly unusable. Other than that it is all very subjective. Similar way we can drop probes or psi. Will it make it less strategical? Not likely. However, it'll make it less feature reach and maybe less fun for some.

There are a lot of stupid features for sure. We cannot waste our time on each and every one of them without strong reason. I never thought that either BP or COC are of some threat to anyone. They never changed game much. At the point they are available the row economical power decides the win.

However, if we are moving it much earlier that may make a difference. Therefore this discussion.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 01:53:05 AM
Overnerfing things with inane costing is worse than letting them be overpowered. It takes choice/strategy away in a much less enjoyable way.

I'm the game designer.  I'm not personally interested in your "enjoyment" when it means a Happiness progression cannot be enforced.  This is a game, with rules, and victory conditions.  Not a sandbox.  People use it as a sandbox, but I don't design it for sandbox.  Nobody needs design for sandboxing, they just need a construction set of gewgaws to put in their virtual world.  This is why Minecraft Alpha was a lousy game, yet plenty of people loved it anyways.

As the game designer, I do know better than you do.  I wouldn't make a career out of it if I believed otherwise.  Just as I can have better judgment than you do, about painting, or writing.  Wouldn't do those things if I believed otherwise, if I thought the job should be outsourced to you the player.  I'm very much opposed to "player driven" game experience.  The designer is supposed to design, anticipate, and enforce these things.  Failing to do so is abdication of game designer responsibility.

Notice my icon to the left.  The choices are not an accident.  I'm the designer.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 02:23:31 AM
Overnerfing things with inane costing is worse than letting them be overpowered. It takes choice/strategy away in a much less enjoyable way.

Agreed. That is my rule of thumb. When I like to fix some irregularity I try to fix it with minimal changes so it doesn't not flip this problem to opposite side.

I tend to compare ROI and break even point for different facilities. Break even point in 20-40 turns is an acceptable range. Anything outside of this range is imbalanced to either direction. This is not an exact science but just a way of analysis.

Example for Brood pit original cost of 80/2. It has two benefits: native units building and POLICE. Let's say we have 20 mineral production and producing mind worm in 4 turns.
Native units bonus: +1/4 for cost +1/8 for lifecycle = 3/8 of production cost = 20 * 3/8 = 7.5 minerals per turn. But only while building natives.
Police bonus: -2 drones  (which saves about 4 energy = 2 minerals).
Total profit while building natives = 7.5 + 2 - 1 (2 energy maintenance) = 8.5 minerals / turn.
Break even point = 80 / 8.5 = 9.5 turns. Insane return. However this is only when we are building natives.
At the same time when we do not build them we get: 80 / 1 = 80 turns. Pretty dull.
So if we are building it for just in case and do not build natives all the time but say 25% of the time then we get it on average: (10 * 1 + 80 * 3) / 4 = 60. Which does not seem very excessive.

Of course, this if very-very rough attempt on estimate. However, in lack of other reasoning this seem to be an acceptable ballpark estimate.

Conclusion: it is not OP unless you keep building natives here to the end of the game which is unlikely.
Actually same type of consideration is applicable to other morale boosting facilities as you don't crank units all the time.

Disclaimer. This is just a description of my train of thoughts. I don't pretend it is in any way an ultimate truth nor I want to persuade anyone.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 18, 2020, 02:35:54 AM
BP and COC are decent, not amazing. I have them both at 10 rows, 2 maint and that feels a bit on the pricy side. BP does have a significant cost reduction, the higher your minerals the quicker the payback - it's much like a Genejack or Robotics this way. But it's not very flexible. Default native life is kind of just fodder for empath/trance. So a lot depends what other modding exists there. Cost of native life, cost of empath/trance, even the base cost of infantry all play in. Plus both come at around the time stronger economic facilities become available, like Tree Farm, Genejack, Fusion Lab. A BP or COC doesn't help you grow faster so in a sense military facilities have to have faster payback (due to their limited scope) than economic ones.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 03:02:03 AM
@lolada

As Nexii pointed out BP is exceptionally good to produce natives. However, natives are just subset of military which is a subset of production in general. So it has very limited applicability. It's +2 POLICE is also a nice addition that allows you to somehow easier maneuver on SE table. Yet, it should be built in each base for that benefit. So I doubt it is that overpowered even for original 80/2. I agree it is pretty useless to increase maintenance as you would need to dismantle it if you stop building worms. I propose something like 120/2.

As for moving it earlier I have following available options.
Centauri Genetics (L10) - current assignment
Secrets of Alpha Centauri (L9) - a little bit overloaded already but still possible
Bio-Engineering (L9)
Advanced Subatomic Theory (L8) - doesn't align with native techs but is pretty empty now
Eudaimonia (L7) - also almost empty
Gene Splicing (L6)
Centauri Meditation (L6) - nice match but overloaded already
Retroviral Engineering (L6) - could be thought as a more or less match
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 03:59:55 AM
It has two benefits: native units building and POLICE.

3.  Lifecycle bonus, cheaper native units, and POLICE.  It is also a late game facility coming after all sorts of other facilities for the same purposes have already been granted.  There's no point offering late game facilities that are cheap, it would just be "here's your new stuff" for having merely learned the tech.  The economy of the game is already overheated by the time it comes into play.  You don't tell rich people they only have to pay $5 for something.

There's no point having 4 levels of factory in this game either.  Yet it does.  In this respect, the game is poorly designed.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on May 18, 2020, 08:50:43 AM
I dislike a bit the concept of making everything super expensive to balance, makes early game super slow and things are still OP later. Better to nerf OP stuff a bit instead, imo.
So, below some alternative solutions, some may be too difficult to ever implement, but who knows... I'm just an idea man you know ( everybody hates those ).

Satellites:
Max bonus without Aero Complex 1/4 base size and 1/2 with Aero, rounded down, balances both satellites and Cludbase Academy.

Advanced terraforming:
1) Condensers only increase raininess, no 50% food bonus, already implemented in Ytzii's patch and 4,4 Boreholes,
2) 1,1,2 forests -  wood is not a useful material in s-f setting, but can be burned for energy ( or you could nerf it even further to 1,1,1 but it'd be too much imo ).
3) Remove a mining platform bonus from EcoEng and give it as aquatic faction bonus from the start instead of the current OP one, it'd balance both sea minerals in general and aquatic factions.

Crawlers:
1) Gather resourcess with 1 point penalty, already in Ytzii's patch.
2) No disbanding for 100% minerals to rush SP, but make one crawler transport 4 resource points between bases  ( or 6 ).

With these nerfs beelining toward BUILD techs from the beginning would not be absolutely essential anymore and a factions that beelined military techs instead would remain a significant threat for a long period of time. Would make for a much more interesting and varied games. It would also significantly slow down late game.

Probe teams:
1) Add energy cost to tech stealing ( like half the cost to research +/- probe modifiers ), hijack base mind control function and dialogue window for that.
2) Give tech stealing/mindcontrol bases cost adjustable multipliers.
3) Do not grant a free prototype from stealing a unit, unless stealing faction has the required tech.

Natives:
Make each additional lifecycle granted by facilities ( biology lab and brood pit ) cost one additional mineral row for worms, spore launchers and sealurks and 2 additional rows for locust and isles.
Add 1 more row for each two "free" lifecycle bonuses granted by SP, SE, or faction bonuses for spore, sealurks and 1 row for every "free" lifecycle for isles and locust.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 18, 2020, 09:03:47 AM
Brood Pits and Cover Ops Centers

I think cost should be no more than 3-4 turns in that stage for a good base - otherwise it won't be built. Its ok to build Command center 6-7 turn early on.. but on turn 200 there's no way i am using 6-7 turns in many bases building those facilities and still having to wait to build worms afterward. I can spam ton of worms instead from every base in those 12 turns and just finish the job. Police rating is not that valuable this late in the game - especially when you need to build police units as well.

So, that said, good bases in my last game at a time i got brood pits had around 50 minerals - i think i had one at 68 it was eco-damage cap at time.. many other weaker ones were 20 - 30. If you price BP between 100-150 minerals then it will get between 3-6 turns thats roughly ok - very best bases might get in in 2, weaker don't have to build it. You can probably go with 120 minerals if you find that ok, and no more than 3 maintenance. Its excessive to go over. Bvanevery wanted to move the facility out of use - i kind of don't like that argument, I'd like to see it used.

@tnevolin Maybe try putting it in Secrets of Alpha Centauri (L9) for start. It would be an upgrade and won't risk much being op.

I wouldn't put CoC in same bracket with BP. I built two in that game just to have stronger probes to win combat. Two bases can spam ton of probes and they don't cost support - worms do and you can't have them on fungus all the time. There's also no point to have CoC in many bases. One can have more expensive CoC in both minerals and maintenance.

Overpricing

About overpricing in the mods - there's no much point to it - you are both probably hurting AI. For example i find Aerocomplexes overpriced at 120/3 (for the time they appear) and just don't build them - or build them in 2-3 best bases eventually. AI wastes ton of time building them in most bases. Then i try to snatch Cloudbase or if i don't get it i don't really care. Its not that hard to spam more Food satellites or planes instead. I think its actually benefical for AI to have them cheaper as they are good defensive facility for them. Same goes for Naval Yard as they work as Perimeter Defenses.

For example overpriced special projects. The only really good reason to overprice something is that if you allow it early - but don't want to have it built early - like Command Nexus. If you put The Command Nexus at 1000 minerals and its so good - than the player will get it if he really wants it. I can just spam Crawlers and get any expensive special project - yes you made me invest in Crawlers but i get the op thing. But poor AI will waste tons of time on it and lose progress - Bvanevery said AI uses Crawlers to rush - but in any case they are not nearly as effective as player. For example Cloudbase Academy is expensive - that just means its easier to get for a player :D.

Special projects i can't get are actually cheaper ones - that AI builds before me. Thats important.
Or one could teach AI to use multiple supply crawlers to rush very expensive projects. In that sense, 50 min base building special projects shouldn't take more than 15-20 turns. I wouldn't price later special projects more than 1000 minerals unless they are very best. The later project appear the faster it should be built. If its broken - then ok - but move it anyway to tech 10+. Very late best bases top 100 minerals.. and you won't be playing much with such power - its game over.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 18, 2020, 09:59:14 AM
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I dislike a bit the concept of making everything super expensive to balance, makes early game super slow and things are still OP later. Better to nerf OP stuff a bit instead, imo.
I agree with this - but examples below are mostly not relevat to this mod ^^.

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Max bonus without Aero Complex 1/4 base size rounded down and 1/2 rounded up with Aero, balances both satellites and Cludbase Academy.
No need for this in will to power mod. Satellites come late and bases are big already - its just more needless drag of spamming satelites. For vanilla it would be logical.

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1) Condensers only increase raininess, no 50% food bonus, already implemented in Ytzii's patch and 4,4 Boreholes,

Condenser are quite unique in its working if used normally - on bonus resources. A base ends up having one good nutrient tile and it can grow more and faster. I've seen people abusing it making rows of condensers. T-Hawk really exploited it well in his games. Now i hate ruining feature because someone exploits it. I'd just leave it as it is or maybe try experimenting with 8 eco damage like borehole - that would stop the spam. It might screw up AI ?!
1 condenser, 1 borehole per base being the goal - more and ecology is in trouble. I find it hard to use or place 2 borehole per base. If people still want to abuse terraforming let them do it.

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2) 1,1,2 forests -  wood is not a useful material in s-f setting, but can be burned for energy ( or you could nerf it even further to 1,1,1 but it'd be too much imo ).

Forests as 1-2-0 are fine early mineral source. With Tree farm its 2-2-0 thats something but not great. It really makes you want have that borehole for energy. It also makes mines more interesting; solar collectors are actually much more interesting when forests are not strong - gotta move that research somehow. Then choice between 3-1-2 tile or 2-2-0.. You can use one for growth and then switch to more minerals when you don't want growth or energy. Anyway, making it 1-1-1 tile is kind of crap its good for nothing.

Fungus is also alternative to forests - keeping some for energy (fungus become 2-1-2 midgame and then 2-1-3). It leads to some tradeoffs - do you want minerals or energy, its hard to get both. Forests in vanilla give both and are basically the ultimate improvement. I'd like to play more with these forests - i kind of randomed twice in psi/fungus factions.

What could be maybe done is make Tree Farms and Hybrid forests somewhat cheaper. Hybrid forests come a bit late so its not smart idea to forest everything in the mod.

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3) Remove a mining platform bonus from EcoEng and give it as aquatic faction bonus from the start instead of the current OP one, it'd balance both sea minerals in general and aquatic factions.

- AI uses lots of sea bases it would be a shame to nerf minerals there.

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Crawlers:
1) Gather resourcess with 1 point penalty, already in Ytzii's patch.
2) No disbanding for 100% minerals to rush SP, but make one crawler transport 4 resource points between bases  ( or 6 ).

No need for 1. Making Crawlers expensive solves this (they are 120 min). Noone will really build crawlers on anything except mines/condensers. Boreholes i consider best for base otherwise you lose 6 resources.
2) Yeah i would like this changed if possible - or if AI could learn to rush projects. That could be maybe obnoxious ^^. Anyway making projects too expensive is not good solution. I usually play with self-made rules.. like no crawler rushing. But when projects are that expensive there's no other way. If AI don't rush then its free taking for the player. Btw if projects are made  cheaper - then one could place 6-8 energy credits for rush on them to stop abusing that. AI can't rush buy secret projects apparently.

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Probe teams:
1) Add energy cost to tech stealing ( like half the cost to research +/- probe modifiers ), hijack mind control function and dialogue window for that.
2) Give tech stealing/mindcontrol bases adjustable multipliers.
3) Do not grant a free prototype from stealing a unit, unless stealing faction has the required tech.

It would be interesting to nerf tech stealing - its op. At least AI is doing good work with probes, they defend and attack well. I would really nerf mind-probing bases its so obnoxious when you lose entire base + units in and around it.  AI could actually spam less attacking probes - they seem crazy with it.

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Natives:
Make each additional lifecycle granted by facilities ( biology lab and brood pit ) cost one additional mineral row for worms, spore launchers and sealurks and 2 additional rows for locust and isles.
I don't like this one. Isle of the Deep are very expensive - i think they are 120 min, Locusts as well. Sealurks are offensive unit at 80 minerals - and thats expensive as well. Sea/coastal bases are not exactly mineral rich. They die to stupid thing like formers and foils and probes, especially in enemy territory. And they often die vs combat units as well - if they get hurt AI counterattacks and wipes them with sometimes much cheaper ships (due to reactors). I had Drones spamming tons of cheap 3-3-4 ruining expensive Sealurks - you just can't get numbers to win naval war. Its dumb to tisk Isle of the Deep in combat - they have one purpose here and thats transport in dangerous waters.

Locusts don't really get extra combat advantage and they are expensive. They are good due to their movement/felxibility but thats about it - mindoworms are better and cheaper attacking unit. Locusts also get somewhat countered by AAA and interceptors.. mindworms don't - AI don't really spam trance units that much. By this time you also have magtubes for movement issues. If i spam locusts thats for micro convenience - i am too lazy to transport worms.






Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 18, 2020, 10:26:25 AM
@tnevolin

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So that changes it:
The Citizens' Defense Force = 500 -> 400
The Maritime Control Center = 800 -> 600
The Cloudbase Academy = 1200 -> 1200
* Command Center cost/maint is 6/2.
* The Command Nexus cost is 40.
* The Citizens' Defense Force cost is 40.

I like these changes. I would consider nerfing Command centers to +1 morale. It makes SE choices stronger and goes with logic of making morale valuable in your mod. As for Naval Yards and Aerospace complexes they act as defensive facilites for AI. Player is not dumb enough to spam them - making them cheaper would help AI i think.

What are your thoughts on expensive projects - doesn't it make it just easier for player to get projects? That logic i mentioned in posts above - it gives more time to player to use supply crawlers.

What do you think about:

a) making projects cheap enough that first who gets it has best chance to build it. that would often mean AI gets it - not the player. projects are all over the place so presumably zakharov would not build every project. he's a wimp anyway. and i think AI can be told not to build more than n projects at a time?
b) disable supply crawlers project rushing completely (and make projects reasonably priced for building
c) is it possible to teach AI to plan/use multiple supply crawlers to rush secret project?
d) is it possible to teach AI to rush secret projects with energy credits?

The goal of all of these would be to level the playing field. The thing is that player can pick up any secret projects at will in late midgame. Making projects more expensive is counter productive - it just makes it certain that player will get it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on May 18, 2020, 11:03:54 AM
> I agree with this - but examples below are mostly not relevat to this mod

It's very relevant since the primary tool it uses to deal with issues is to increase mineral cost. And exe modding is also very within tnevolin's capabilities.
Some of my "revolutionary" ideas became a staple of this mod for me, like no collateral damage for example.

It's also relevant to me, since I use mostly exe tweaks and increased armors from this mod and play something very close to vanilla otherwise.
I suspect that a very low popularity of this mod is caused by wild changes to vanilla tech tree and few other aspects and most fans would rather play more familliar SMAC but with more challenge.
Early game is awful with all these huge costs for everything and make people bounce, less brute force approach and more subtlety would make this excellent mod good imo.

As discussed in a thinker thread, nerfing advanced terraforming and crawlers would help AI compared to the human player who can alway abuse it better.
I want less minerals and other resources at play in late game which would slow down late game without issues in early game, like increased costs generate, or without the need to move interesting toys into a very late game tech tree levels. The ultimate goal is to make AI competent with the same rules as player, without heavy cheats, ideally to the point that it is competent at one level below transcend.

> Forests as 1-2-0 are fine early mineral source.

Mines on rolling are already fine early 1,2,0 mineral resource, but ridiculous 2 mineral forest is so good that it's absolutely pointless to build mines, especially on rolling.
It's a leftover from civ games, that didn't had boreholes and mining platforms, or that many rocky tiles for a good mine, to generate minerals.
It's secondary, but from a versimilitude perspective wood is not a viable production material in a s-f setting, unlike in medieval times, but energy rich plants can be burned for energy.
So I'd imagine forests here as mostly fast growing energetic plants plantations and I think 1,1,2 with 8 turns cost would be perfect.

- AI uses lots of sea bases it would be a shame to nerf minerals there.

Removing EcoEng platform bonus is suggested to balance proposed land advanced terraforming nerfs.

> No need for 1. Making Crawlers expensive solves this (they are 120 min).

No need for expensive crawlers with gathering penalty and 1 mineral forest and it would hurt human player way more than AI.
Super expensive crawlers can be abused by human sniping, or stealing them from AI's making them waste resources this way.
And most importantly, huge costs for basic things are a true blight of early game in this mod.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 18, 2020, 12:34:21 PM
In these kind of the discussions goal needs to be formed otherwise we talk past each other. For example i am for .exe modding if modder can do it - sure it helps solve some big issues.

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I suspect that a very low popularity of this mod is caused by wild changes to vanilla tech tree and few other aspects and most fans would rather play more familliar SMAC but with more challenge.
Early game is awful with all these huge costs for everything and make people bounce, less brute force approach and more subtlety would make this excellent mod good imo.

I don't think you are right about reasons for low popularity thing at all. My impression is that Alpha Centauri is kind of forgotten game with little audience. Even less people use mods and even less can install the mod thats not simple double click on .exe. Then even less want any kind of challenge or change to rules - its certainly hard to guess their wishes. Most players want it different a bit but not hard at all. Modders maybe know how many people use the mods - but i bet its very little. Each mod would get a fraction of players anyway.. there are several mods out there. And not like this mod is marketed around much - bvanevery for example did much better job at  it - and good for him - thats how its done. Still its a bit said that such a good game don't have more players - remake would be cool.

    
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As discussed in a thinker thread, nerfing advanced terraforming and crawlers would help AI compared to the human player who can alway abuse it better.
Its not exactly that simple with Thinker AI I believe. The AI is so good with borehole, condenser spam that player has to use it -_-. AI also spams lots of forests. Induktio really did a good job there. AI also spams supply crawler a lot and uses them even better than player.
How? Well to match AI's fanaticism for this spam you have to spam as well and it gets tiresome - every game you need to spam boreholes, condensers and supply crawlers and every game is kind of similar and micro intensive and it gets tedious. That said not having to micro ton of crawler - its a huge plus imo. Because it really gets tedious to move them around to optimal tiles as bases grow. In my opionon, Crawlers that are rarely and strategically used are much better for the game than 30 mineral vanilla spam versions. Bvanevery sad that he also moved them very late in tree.
On topic of nerfing condensers, boreholes for example - its just a feature.. you have to rebalance everything. Now modders do this already, Tim made things more expensive. If you nerf adv. terraforming then you have to make everything cheaper. Its same thing, two different solutions.

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Forest 2 minerals are ridiculous, it's better than mine on a rolling terrain and it's a leftover from civ games, that didn't had boreholes and mining platforms, or that many rocky tiles for a good mine, to generate minerals. I think 1,1,2 would be perfect.

For example i don't like this in this mod and here's the reasoning. Idea is we want terraforming to be used (all of it including mines and solar collector) and fungus to be used a bit as well. So thats starting point.

What goes wrong? In vanilla forests are so good with tree farms (2-2-1) that there's no point using Farm-Mine ever, and Farm-Solar is usually worse as mineral > energy. Once you get hybrid forest, you can remove all these for op 3-2-2 tiles. People like it - so there's vanilla for that. Its actually playable to just spam forest all and tech for tree farms and not bother with terraforming besides adv. terraforming.

Now forest need their place - you propose 1-1-2. But that competes out a lot of use of solar collectors. It also competes with fungus tiles. Fungus in the mod is 1-1-1 and 1-1-2 for quite some time. Then it gets to 2-1-2 its pretty sweet.. your forest would be 2-1-2 with Tree farms. Tree farms have other great bonus - can be upgraded and gives eco, psych and can remove eco damage. Its one solution ok - its not bad. One can use mines and boreholes for minerals.

If you have forest as 1-2-0 then they have obvious weakness; no energy and its not easily fixed. So you need to mix it up - and start to really like that farm + solar collector. Fungus is also really nice to use for energy. Later depending on terrain, if crap you may want to forest everything and have strong mineral, low energy forest base. It kinda leads to base diversity better than 1-1-2. Vanilla forests are op and kill diversity - they are 1 ultimate solution.

Quote
I want less minerals and other resources at play in late game which would slow down late game without issues in early game, like increased costs generate, or without the need to move interesting toys into a very late game tech tree levels.

I see this - its two things actually. One - tech is too fast and i agree - every freakin civ game had this issue. I play with tech stagnation and blind research for that reason - i want to play lategame more, its cool. So thats my solution. Modders did make tech way more expensive than vanilla - but its still snowball without tech stag. Games are plenty long with tech stag and you can try everything - thats my recommendation. Now if modders try to make every game like that - other people might hate it - many like faster games.
Other thing is - less minerals is crap - i wouldn't want that nerfed. I keep wanting more minerals in Will to power. First you can't get much it takes time and then you are restricted by ecology and population as well. Mineral boosting facilities come a bit late and are expensive to produce.
Costs also prohibit you from building those sweet 16-10-1 units and its such a shame. I really like that these are made cheaper in mods. In vanilla its totally dumb to build these units.. way better to buld 16-1-1 and 1-10-1 or just 1-1-1 and upgrade. Thats gamey. Anyway it needs a balance, too cheap and its way too much micro and war.. too expensive and its a drag.
On units side will to power might be slightly too expensive at times - but they can be rushed - later there is so much money available that you don't know what to do with it. As for secret projects - i don't like that they are so expensive - it doesn't make sense. I don't think that fulfills reasonable purpose.












Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on May 18, 2020, 12:53:30 PM
Less late game minerals, less builder micro, does it realy improve your game experience to have 20 - 30 units per base, as opposed to 10 - 15 ?
Also tons of minerals makes building facilities, a no brainer late game when you can build anything in 1-3 turns.
Balancing costs for mid-late game mineral surplus and stalling early game is the major issue for me with WtP.

1,1,2 forests are different from fungus, since they don't require planet rating and can be exploited while running free market.
And with 2 minerals forests, mines are completely pointless, you want an early  game 1,2,0 tile ? You have it already, a mine on rolling.
1,2,0 forest is still way superior to mine, with potential future upgrade, and borehole is superior to mine on rocky, why keep mines completely useless ?
Thinker with few lines edited in the source code can be easily adjusted to build less forests and more mines to facilliate changes.
For exmple flat non rainy - forest, otherwise either farm+mine, or farm+collectors.

Thinker also already generates way more nutrients than it can utilise, crawled 4,0,0 condensers won't hurt it and it should just be adjusted to build them only when most nearby tiles are non rainy.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 18, 2020, 01:21:34 PM
I feel we are playing different game ^^. We are talking about Will to power mod, right? You said you are modding the game for you needs and using .exe from wtp ?! - basically we are talking different things if you don't use half of this mod. No offense, just if we talk about different stuff.. there's no much point.

It takes time to produce units - AI spams them - and units die A LOT if you try to attack in will to power. You don't have tons of units.. ever except in very end maybe. I was lacking units most of the game - mod is designed to favor defense, build style and infrastructure.. not units.  Even rushing units in mod is doubly more expensive than facilities. I don't love too much micro and don't want too many units. I also don't want too few units otherwise you can't progress since defense is so strong.

Yes - early game is slower - but every vanilla game is same spam. T-Hawk did it perfectly. Here with these costs there's incentive to build some infrastructure before colony pod spam. And expansion gets easier with early fusion reactor.

Mines are not pointless. Mines are better source of minerals, they are best source besides boreholes. And you can't really use two boreholes often (eco damage) and they are not simple to setup due to terrain and build time. You can't place adjacent boreholes or build them on slopes. Even if you don't use them by base citizen mines are great for crawler usage (unlike boreholes where you waste 1/2 resources).  And base use them when you don't want to grow - which is all the time on transcend because drones. Its often better to work mine than forest.

Forest are for growth + minerals and fit that scenario when you must have that +1 food to stop starving or simply want slow growth. And forests can turn barren land into 2-2-0 tiles and make nice military base for example. Btw Plant Fungus is quite late terraform option - its somewhere in midgame.. you can't just plant fungus like that. And it doesn't spread like forest.

I don't see the reasoning to use forests as energy producer? It even clashes with sea bases. Or you can Place one condenser and farm/solar terrain and it will have that similar yield. Another thing is that teching is too fast - i think you agree there. Why allow even more energy in the game and make things worse?





Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 02:01:59 PM
Good suggestions, dino. Although it feels like sometimes you going too far. There could not be that many equally powerful things in game. There are just few on the tip of the mountain those we should focus on.

I dislike a bit the concept of making everything super expensive to balance, makes early game super slow and things are still OP later. Better to nerf OP stuff a bit instead, imo.

It depends. Some things could be easily and naturally offset this way. Not everything, though, I agree.

Quote
Satellites:
Max bonus without Aero Complex 1/4 base size and 1/2 with Aero, rounded down, balances both satellites and Cludbase Academy.

They are already capped at base size. For base size 20 your improvement just reduces income of each resource by 10 (from 20 to 10). The excess resource production is different at the end game. The base size 20 produces like +20 nutrients, +60 minerals, +200 energy. Nutrient satellite is the most impacting one. Other two are no big deal with or without your restriction.
Would it be more logical to limit by current resource excess production, not by base size? Say 1/4 of it? In this case whatever satellite impact will never exceed any other means of production increase. Therefore, it never be OP.

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1) Condensers only increase raininess, no 50% food bonus, already implemented in Ytzii's patch and 4,4 Boreholes,

Agree with Condensers. Their proportional bonus forces me to place them on nutrient resources and I don't think game should force their placement. Although, I'd still give them some bonus to compensate for inability to build solar there. Like +1 nutrient.

Quote
2) 1,1,2 forests -  wood is not a useful material in s-f setting, but can be burned for energy ( or you could nerf it even further to 1,1,1 but it'd be too much imo ).

You defy its minerals focus. Would be a shock for many players. 😆
I think 1-2-0 in my mod is nerfing enough. Especially with longer terraforming time.

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3) Remove a mining platform bonus from EcoEng and give it as aquatic faction bonus from the start instead of the current OP one, it'd balance both sea minerals in general and aquatic factions.

I don't feel this bonus it at all OP. It comes later in the game and is a replacement for land boreholes and mines. Sea bases are exceptionally pathetic in production field. This is their price for excessive nutrient/energy production. However, I wouldn't go too far in depriving them minerals even more. With this bonus (and trunkline) base size 10 with platforms on half of its squares produces only 3*5 = 15 minerals. I don't think it is too much for past mid game. You need to produce there too. Not only facilities but sea units.

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Crawlers:
1) Gather resourcess with 1 point penalty, already in Ytzii's patch.
2) No disbanding for 100% minerals to rush SP, but make one crawler transport 4 resource points between bases  ( or 6 ).

1)

Crawlers are similar to mineral multiplier facilities. You invest in them once and then get return forever. The problem with crawlers is that the return from them is not limited comparing to facilities (which you have limited number). Reducing individual input won't cancel crawler rush as long as they are profitable at all. Same type of solution is to make them more expensive - thus increasing initial investment and reducing profit/investment ratio as I did in my mod.

The more cardinal solution would be just restrict total crawler yield for base same way as for satellites. This would put a stop on their unlimited spawning.

2)

Don't get why you don't want rush SP with them. It'll make you build everything in a single productive base which will be vulnerable to PB later on. Besides on highest difficulty you probably lose the race to AI 99% of the time.

Transporting resources between bases is useless. It is much more effective just to build crawler in highly productive base, then assign it to poor base, and then crawl resources for it.

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3) Do not grant a free prototype from stealing a unit, unless stealing faction has the required tech.

Unit should have prototype. And you can reverse engineer from it. This is how game is made. What's the problem with stealing unit tech when you steal the unit? I think that is the most fun part. 😝

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Natives:
Make each additional lifecycle granted by facilities ( biology lab and brood pit ) cost one additional mineral row for worms, spore launchers and sealurks and 2 additional rows for locust and isles.
Add 1 more row for each two "free" lifecycle bonuses granted by SP, SE, or faction bonuses for spore, sealurks and 1 row for every "free" lifecycle for isles and locust.

Again, why is that OP? These facilities are similar to conventional units morale boosting ones. Do you propose to increase conventional unit cost too because of morale boost? 😕

Morale/lifecylce boost is essentially an equivalent to more units. You either have lesser casualties due to morale or produce more low morale units. By making them cost more you effectively negate this feature. I don't think 1/8 improvement is a game breaking thing.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 02:22:16 PM
Brood Pits and Cover Ops Centers

I think cost should be no more than 3-4 turns in that stage for a good base - otherwise it won't be built. Its ok to build Command center 6-7 turn early on.. but on turn 200 there's no way i am using 6-7 turns in many bases building those facilities and still having to wait to build worms afterward. I can spam ton of worms instead from every base in those 12 turns and just finish the job. Police rating is not that valuable this late in the game - especially when you need to build police units as well.

So, that said, good bases in my last game at a time i got brood pits had around 50 minerals - i think i had one at 68 it was eco-damage cap at time.. many other weaker ones were 20 - 30. If you price BP between 100-150 minerals then it will get between 3-6 turns thats roughly ok - very best bases might get in in 2, weaker don't have to build it. You can probably go with 120 minerals if you find that ok, and no more than 3 maintenance. Its excessive to go over. Bvanevery wanted to move the facility out of use - i kind of don't like that argument, I'd like to see it used.

@tnevolin Maybe try putting it in Secrets of Alpha Centauri (L9) for start. It would be an upgrade and won't risk much being op.

I wouldn't put CoC in same bracket with BP. I built two in that game just to have stronger probes to win combat. Two bases can spam ton of probes and they don't cost support - worms do and you can't have them on fungus all the time. There's also no point to have CoC in many bases. One can have more expensive CoC in both minerals and maintenance.

Good points about it. I priced it 120/4 which is close to your suggestion.

I do think BP and CoC are exactly the same type of facility in term of unit improvement. BP gives 3/8 to natives (1/4 cost + 1/8 morale) and CoC gives 2/8 (morale only). They are affecting different unit types so it is not easy to say which one should be costlier.

About overpricing in the mods - there's no much point to it - you are both probably hurting AI. For example i find Aerocomplexes overpriced at 120/3 (for the time they appear) and just don't build them - or build them in 2-3 best bases eventually. AI wastes ton of time building them in most bases. Then i try to snatch Cloudbase or if i don't get it i don't really care. Its not that hard to spam more Food satellites or planes instead. I think its actually benefical for AI to have them cheaper as they are good defensive facility for them. Same goes for Naval Yard as they work as Perimeter Defenses.

The AI is dumb. That is why it is giving production edge on highest levels. We should not play with facility prices just to aid AI. I don't think there is a way around it besides actually tuning the AI to do smart things.

For example overpriced special projects. The only really good reason to overprice something is that if you allow it early - but don't want to have it built early - like Command Nexus. If you put The Command Nexus at 1000 minerals and its so good - than the player will get it if he really wants it. I can just spam Crawlers and get any expensive special project - yes you made me invest in Crawlers but i get the op thing. But poor AI will waste tons of time on it and lose progress - Bvanevery said AI uses Crawlers to rush - but in any case they are not nearly as effective as player. For example Cloudbase Academy is expensive - that just means its easier to get for a player :D.

Special projects i can't get are actually cheaper ones - that AI builds before me. Thats important.
Or one could teach AI to use multiple supply crawlers to rush very expensive projects. In that sense, 50 min base building special projects shouldn't take more than 15-20 turns. I wouldn't price later special projects more than 1000 minerals unless they are very best. The later project appear the faster it should be built. If its broken - then ok - but move it anyway to tech 10+. Very late best bases top 100 minerals.. and you won't be playing much with such power - its game over.

Good point. I should adjust their prices toward end game. However, I generally tried them to be build in 20-40 turns up to mid game at least. So that race condition could last longer.
With crawler rush it can always be built instantly regardless of the cost.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 02:48:50 PM
Quote
Probe teams:
1) Add energy cost to tech stealing ( like half the cost to research +/- probe modifiers ), hijack mind control function and dialogue window for that.
2) Give tech stealing/mindcontrol bases adjustable multipliers.
3) Do not grant a free prototype from stealing a unit, unless stealing faction has the required tech.

It would be interesting to nerf tech stealing - its op. At least AI is doing good work with probes, they defend and attack well. I would really nerf mind-probing bases its so obnoxious when you lose entire base + units in and around it.  AI could actually spam less attacking probes - they seem crazy with it.

There is one single response on complaining about how probes are OP: Build more defensive probes (and COC)! They are for that purpose exactly!
😜

Quote
Natives:
Make each additional lifecycle granted by facilities ( biology lab and brood pit ) cost one additional mineral row for worms, spore launchers and sealurks and 2 additional rows for locust and isles.
I don't like this one. Isle of the Deep are very expensive - i think they are 120 min, Locusts as well. Sealurks are offensive unit at 80 minerals - and thats expensive as well. Sea/coastal bases are not exactly mineral rich. They die to stupid thing like formers and foils and probes, especially in enemy territory. And they often die vs combat units as well - if they get hurt AI counterattacks and wipes them with sometimes much cheaper ships (due to reactors). I had Drones spamming tons of cheap 3-3-4 ruining expensive Sealurks - you just can't get numbers to win naval war. Its dumb to tisk Isle of the Deep in combat - they have one purpose here and thats transport in dangerous waters.

Locusts don't really get extra combat advantage and they are expensive. They are good due to their movement/felxibility but thats about it - mindoworms are better and cheaper attacking unit. Locusts also get somewhat countered by AAA and interceptors.. mindworms don't - AI don't really spam trance units that much. By this time you also have magtubes for movement issues. If i spam locusts thats for micro convenience - i am too lazy to transport worms.

Good point about how not exceptionally effective natives are in this mod. My rule of thumb for their pricing was in comparison between their cost and cost of units they are fighting against. Of course, one would love to send only cheapest units with psi abilities against them (Scout Patrol + psi counter = 30 minerals). This makes worms/sealurks about twice as ineffective against them. However, owner of natives would try to attack high end conventional units those cost 100-200-300 minerals depending on game stage. They are exceptionally effective against them! If we make them cheaper then native factions would use nothing but them with unchecked effectiveness. Next time try to compare how much mineral worth units you killed with them and compare with your mineral worth losses. I don't think it is even a waste to use them against colonies (60-90 minerals) or formers (40-80 minerals). The only worthy adversary for them are cheapest units like Scout Patrol (even without psi counters!!!). However, it is quite impossible to shield all of units in a field with counter-psi sentinels. Most of the time natives will be at least moderately effective (more with positive PLANET or against negative PLANET). This changes even more drastically toward the end of the game with costlier high end conventional units. Locust can kill needlejets in flight acting like interceptors. This is very well rounded multipurpose attacker/defender units. I don't think they need to be even cheaper.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 03:08:01 PM
I would consider nerfing Command centers to +1 morale. It makes SE choices stronger and goes with logic of making morale valuable in your mod.

You are forgetting about negative MORALE that halves effectiveness of these facilities. With just +1 morale there won't be anything to halve.
😂

As for Naval Yards and Aerospace complexes they act as defensive facilites for AI. Player is not dumb enough to spam them - making them cheaper would help AI i think.

Could be but they are both morale and defense even if AI build them for defense it get morale boost on top of it. 80 is not that expensive for these benefits at the time sea battles begin. I don't think fiddling with +-1 mineral row makes big difference.

What are your thoughts on expensive projects - doesn't it make it just easier for player to get projects? That logic i mentioned in posts above - it gives more time to player to use supply crawlers.

There is no way around it. If player managed to get far ahead they will get most of the rest of the projects anyway. Actually in my games even when I was ahead I could not get more than 50% of them. Just because they are too costly I couldn't amass enough crawlers to speed them up all at once! And even if I could steal them from AI they just switched to other available and still get something. With 7 of them keep building around they manage to get quite a significant chunk of them.
I'll review SP costs anyway.

a) making projects cheap enough that first who gets it has best chance to build it. that would often mean AI gets it - not the player. projects are all over the place so presumably zakharov would not build every project. he's a wimp anyway. and i think AI can be told not to build more than n projects at a time?

My idea was to give them longer time to build to instigate race. Meaning the one discovering it first not necessarily jut got it for free. At least some more other competitors may try to steal it.
Moreover, with short build time their supply will end very quick and other racers will just lose their production on unfinished project. Whereas, with longer build time there will be quite large selection of them at any given time. So even those lost the race to first can switch to next one and get it instead. This is what I've observed all the time. Each faction eventually get some project maybe not the one they started to build. This make it harder for human to get 100% of them.

b) disable supply crawlers project rushing completely (and make projects reasonably priced for building

That's a big-big discussion. All SP costs should be reconsidered. I recommend you start a separate thread for that and there we can gather opinions.

c) is it possible to teach AI to plan/use multiple supply crawlers to rush secret project?

Everything is possible! Isn't it already done in Thinker?

d) is it possible to teach AI to rush secret projects with energy credits?

I would guess so. Isn't it already done in Thinker?

The goal of all of these would be to level the playing field. The thing is that player can pick up any secret projects at will in late midgame. Making projects more expensive is counter productive - it just makes it certain that player will get it.

Again, I don't understand why you feel this way. I played my mod multiple times and it is NOT easy to grab any project of your liking in whatever stage of the game. Especially with blind research. Even with tons of crawlers waiting to rush it in one turn I not always can get myself what I want. Play it out few times and tell me if you feel different.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 18, 2020, 03:18:51 PM
Oh i built tons of probes - i actually think i build hundreds in single game :D. CoC is good i like that - its really worth it. One has to build ton of probes or you are dead on transcend. I actually think AI is doing itself a bit of disfavor by building too many armored probes - but thats hard to change. AI is using tons of probes to attack mine - they use expensive armored cruiser probes and suicide into 0-1-1 cheap infantry probes. Defending probe has +50% territory bonus. So in that sense it hurts them badly but the do apply constant pressure.
But i must say armor probes come great against other units - and AI is bated to attack probes so they work great AI vs AI.

Note: armored probes have one great stupid weaknes - if they are under another unit - and they are not main defender. If unit dies probes are dead. I killed multiple times 2-3-4 neutronium armored probes this way - its ton of minerals wasted. Poor AI.

Btw i have a question:

Why does AI can subvert my bases when i have +4 Probe rating? I understood you have Scient patch in your mod - and its supposed to fix this issue - as i understand it. I checked AI did not have ench. probes (yet) - they should not be able to do that. They had Hunter-Seeker but thats irrelevant as far as i know. Its quite a big pain not to be able to use +Probe rating to stop mind-probes. (i have save games i could double check this if its needed)

ps. I'll try to make my case about secret projects - i see the logic in your reasoning - it has pluses and minuses. I will describe what happens in my games in new thread and why i think that super expensive projects beat the purpose. There's no need to change anything quickly we can discuss and see where it ends.




Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 03:42:46 PM
It's very relevant since the primary tool it uses to deal with issues is to increase mineral cost. And exe modding is also very within tnevolin's capabilities.
Some of my "revolutionary" ideas became a staple of this mod for me, like no collateral damage for example.

You are right. This is a primary tool because it is an easiest one and alphax.txt based. However, I don't mind exe modding providing this cannot be done with pricing alone.

Kudo to you, man. You made to my credits. 😍
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer#credits

I suspect that a very low popularity of this mod is caused by wild changes to vanilla tech tree and few other aspects and most fans would rather play more familliar SMAC but with more challenge.

I don't think it is completely unpopular. I believe it is comparable to Thinker. So it has its share of challenge liking players. I check GitHub traffic and it is pretty steady. Like 1-3 views daily with occasional spikes.

Early game is awful with all these huge costs for everything and make people bounce, less brute force approach and more subtlety would make this excellent mod good imo.

Do you refer to vanilla or this mod huge costs?

As discussed in a thinker thread, nerfing advanced terraforming and crawlers would help AI compared to the human player who can alway abuse it better.

I would agree to that but that is a huge designer work. Don't want to start thinking about this first.

I want less minerals and other resources at play in late game which would slow down late game without issues in early game, like increased costs generate, or without the need to move interesting toys into a very late game tech tree levels. The ultimate goal is to make AI competent with the same rules as player, without heavy cheats, ideally to the point that it is competent at one level below transcend.

That is reasonable about late game. For me Civ2 used already too much of multiplier facilities and SMACX is even more. Yield skyrockets in the end game it is just flood.

Mines on rolling are already fine early 1,2,0 mineral resource, but ridiculous 2 mineral forest is so good that it's absolutely pointless to build mines, especially on rolling.
It's a leftover from civ games, that didn't had boreholes and mining platforms, or that many rocky tiles for a good mine, to generate minerals.
It's secondary, but from a versimilitude perspective wood is not a viable production material in a s-f setting, unlike in medieval times, but energy rich plants can be burned for energy.
So I'd imagine forests here as mostly fast growing energetic plants plantations and I think 1,1,2 with 8 turns cost would be perfect.

First of all, mine need to be on a rainy square to get 1-2-0. Otherwise it is 0-2-0. Besides, nobody builds them on not rocky tile anymore in my mod where restrictions are lifted.

Let's not argue whether wood is good s-f material. This is a game of alternatives so let make them alternatives.
Forest and fungus should be inferior to normal terraforming as they require less investment and produce less eco-damage. That is a trade-off. The 1-2-0 forest is already inferior to rocky mine 0-4-0. Three rainy farms (3-1-1) + three forests (1-2-0) = 12-6-3. Whereas four rainy farms + two bad rocky mines = 12-12-4. Second option is clearly superior.

I also do not absolutely mind to use forest for energy. However, then I need to review my fungus progression as it focuses energy too. Do you mind fungus to be more on a nutrient-minerals side?

Removing EcoEng platform bonus is suggested to balance proposed land advanced terraforming nerfs.

In this case it may work but it needs to be a complex well rounded design. I suggest to start a separate thread on this question alone.

No need for expensive crawlers with gathering penalty and 1 mineral forest and it would hurt human player way more than AI.
Super expensive crawlers can be abused by human sniping, or stealing them from AI's making them waste resources this way.
And most importantly, huge costs for basic things are a true blight of early game in this mod.

Gathering penalty doesn't solve it. You just make each individual crawler less lucrative. Whereas the crawler problem is in their unlimited usage. You can spawn 100 crawlers per base and place them out of the borders. Makes no difference whether they gather 4 or 3 resources. It is still abuse.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 03:54:33 PM
On units side will to power might be slightly too expensive at times - but they can be rushed - later there is so much money available that you don't know what to do with it.

I don't think they are expensive. The very high end mixed and naval units at the end of the game are 200-300 which is a piece of cake for end game bases.

Do not compare them to vanilla no armor infantry units. They are 60 minerals for 30-1-1*4. This is just ridiculously broken formula. My naval and mixed weapon/armor units are actually cheaper than in vanilla!

As for secret projects - i don't like that they are so expensive - it doesn't make sense. I don't think that fulfills reasonable purpose.

Been said many times. 😁
Start a new thread and propose your cost for all of them. Then we can have productive discussion.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on May 18, 2020, 04:02:55 PM
Crawlers:
Quote
1) Gather resourcess with 1 point penalty, already in Ytzii's patch.
2) No disbanding for 100% minerals to rush SP, but make one crawler transport 4 resource points between bases  ( or 6 ).

1)
Crawlers are similar to mineral multiplier facilities. You invest in them once and then get return forever. The problem with crawlers is that the return from them is not limited comparing to facilities (which you have limited number). Reducing individual input won't cancel crawler rush as long as they are profitable at all. Same type of solution is to make them more expensive - thus increasing initial investment and reducing profit/investment ratio as I did in my mod.

The more cardinal solution would be just restrict total crawler yield for base same way as for satellites. This would put a stop on their unlimited spawning.

2)
Don't get why you don't want rush SP with them. It'll make you build everything in a single productive base which will be vulnerable to PB later on. Besides on highest difficulty you probably lose the race to AI 99% of the time.

Transporting resources between bases is useless. It is much more effective just to build crawler in highly productive base, then assign it to poor base, and then crawl resources for it.

With 1 mineral forest an 1 point penalty and even moderate cost of 3-5 mineral rows, economically viable crwalers usage would be limited to a smaller number of condensers condensers, rainy flat low elevation farms and rocky mines. So it'd naturally limit the amount of crawlers on the map without artificial hard limits.

If the amount of reasonable crawling spots was very limited this way and crawler could transport 6 minerals between bases like it can from special resource rocky mine, then crawling resources between bases to speed up something would be viable and less micro intensive than building, moving and disbanding them. Penalty feature is for the taking from Ytzii's patch, the rest would be difficult.

Agree with Condensers. Their proportional bonus forces me to place them on nutrient resources and I don't think game should force their placement. Although, I'd still give them some bonus to compensate for inability to build solar there. Like +1 nutrient.

Then it would change them from 6,0,0 to 5,0,0 what is the point in even making such insignificant change. They increase rainniness and count as soil enritcher before you can build them, that is already powerful enough and the feature is for the taking from Ytzii's patch, so shouldn't be much work.

You defy its minerals focus. Would be a shock for many players. 😆
I think 1-2-0 in my mod is nerfing enough. Especially with longer terraforming time.

Why the forest should have mineral focus and be superior than mining in that to boot ? You have mines on rolling for 1,2,0 in early game, why change forest into something it's already there ?
You don't have the issue with mines being useless in this game ? 2 energy is not too much, it's average of what solar gives at the cost of nutrients, which in early game is no joke.

And I have a new idea: benefits of normal facilities are limited to the base, but with most SPs it's RoI grow with the number of bases. Maybe make the cost of them scale with a map size ?

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 04:18:29 PM
Less late game minerals, less builder micro, does it realy improve your game experience to have 20 - 30 units per base, as opposed to 10 - 15 ?
Also tons of minerals makes building facilities, a no brainer late game when you can build anything in 1-3 turns.
Balancing costs for mid-late game mineral surplus and stalling early game is the major issue for me with WtP.

I don't think WtP is different from vanilla in this regard. All the terraforming and multiplying facilities are in place. What gives?

1,1,2 forests are different from fungus, since they don't require planet rating and can be exploited while running free market.
And with 2 minerals forests, mines are completely pointless, you want an early  game 1,2,0 tile ? You have it already, a mine on rolling.
1,2,0 forest is still way superior to mine, with potential future upgrade, and borehole is superior to mine on rocky, why keep mines completely useless ?
Thinker with few lines edited in the source code can be easily adjusted to build less forests and more mines to facilliate changes.
For exmple flat non rainy - forest, otherwise either farm+mine, or farm+collectors.

Man, you keep mentioning rolling mine. Are you talking about WtP??? Nobody build rolling mines there due to lifted restrictions.
🤣

Thinker also already generates way more nutrients than it can utilise, crawled 4,0,0 condensers won't hurt it and it should just be adjusted to build them only when most nearby tiles are non rainy.

Thinker? How?

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 04:44:13 PM
With 1 mineral forest an 1 point penalty and even moderate cost of 3-5 mineral rows, economically viable crwalers usage would be limited to a smaller number of condensers condensers, rainy flat low elevation farms and rocky mines. So it'd naturally limit the amount of crawlers on the map without artificial hard limits.

If the amount of reasonable crawling spots was very limited this way and crawler could transport 6 minerals between bases like it can from special resource rocky mine, then crawling resources between bases to speed up something would be viable and less micro intensive than building, moving and disbanding them. Penalty feature is for the taking from Ytzii's patch, the rest would be difficult.

You decrease forest crawling this way but not rocky mines. They are plenty of rocky squares too. You can mine and harvest them all you like. lowering their yield from 4 to 3 is some impact but not enough to stop the rush. It does help to reduce it but I believe it is a half measure.

Agree with Condensers. Their proportional bonus forces me to place them on nutrient resources and I don't think game should force their placement. Although, I'd still give them some bonus to compensate for inability to build solar there. Like +1 nutrient.

Then it would change them from 6,0,0 to 5,0,0 what is the point in even making such insignificant change. They increase rainniness and count as soil enritcher before you can build them, that is already powerful enough and the feature is for the taking from Ytzii's patch, so shouldn't be much work.
[/quote]

You are forgetting your own initial point, man. The point is they are not multiplying yield anymore! Therefore, it is irrelevant where exactly to put them - the absolute benefit doesn't change. How did you get 6,0,0? Raininess is limited by 2 nutrients + 1 from farm = 3 at most.

I agree that adding 1 nutrient to condenser square is not important anyway.

Why the forest should have mineral focus and be superior than mining in that to boot ? You have mines on rolling for 1,2,0 in early game, why change forest into something it's already there ?
You don't have the issue with mines being useless in this game ? 2 energy is not too much, it's average of what solar gives at the cost of nutrients, which in early game is no joke.

Forest SHOULD NOT have mineral focus. But it is how it is in vanilla! Any change will shock players to extent. It is preferable not to change rules without an absolutely compelling reason. That is what I meant.

And I have a new idea: benefits of normal facilities are limited to the base, but with most SPs it's RoI grow with the number of bases. Maybe make the cost of them scale with a map size ?

Makes sense. However, there are other considerations about their too high cost. See other posts.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: dino on May 18, 2020, 04:51:34 PM
They still would count as soil enritcher, so it's 2+2 and that is where vanilla 6 comes from, +50%

I mostly compare my proposals to vanilla, as in what could be changed from vanilla and put into the WtP, instead of what is currently there ( which is cost increases mostly ).
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 05:01:35 PM
They still count as soil enritcher so it's 2+2 and that is where vanilla 6 comes from, 4 +50%

https://alphacentauri.gamepedia.com/Condenser
They do not count as farm or enricher. You need to build farm + enricher to get them there.
So rainy farm + condenser = 3 * 1.5 = 4.
Rainy farm on resources = 5 * 1.5 = 7.

I mostly compare my proposals to vanilla, as in what could be changed from vanilla and put into the WtP, insted of what is currently there ( which is cost increases mostly ).

Well then keep in mind there is not point discussing isolated features. They are all highly interconnected. Most problems can be solved one way or another and you don't want to duplicate solutions, etc. WtP is already quite finely balanced version. You are probably better off by looking at it and proposing changes rather than looking at vanilla and proposing changes for other mod.
😝
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 05:41:46 PM
# Version 47

* Brood Pit cost/maint is 12/3.
* Brood Pit is assigned to Secrets of Alpha Centauri.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 06:49:02 PM
Natives:
Make each additional lifecycle granted by facilities ( biology lab and brood pit ) cost one additional mineral row for worms, spore launchers and sealurks and 2 additional rows for locust and isles.
Add 1 more row for each two "free" lifecycle bonuses granted by SP, SE, or faction bonuses for spore, sealurks and 1 row for every "free" lifecycle for isles and locust.

Are you also going to do that for conventional units with Command Centers, Naval Yards, Bioenhancement Centers, and Covert Ops Centers?  Because having more experienced units, is exactly the same play mechanic.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 07:11:12 PM
I suspect that a very low popularity of this mod is caused by wild changes to vanilla tech tree and few other aspects and most fans would rather play more familliar SMAC but with more challenge.


I think it's way simpler than that.  Tim hasn't been advertizing his work on r/4Xgaming very long.  And he hasn't finished it, despite saying he thinks he has.  And he disappeared for 3 months, which means he wasn't pushing his product for 3 months.  There's a reason I consistently release every month, it's to provide assurance and set a pattern for uptake.  Even then, uptake is slow.

Quote
Early game is awful with all these huge costs for everything


I have to admit, I did not like that.  This feeling of everything being extremely constrained and hard to get ahead.  By itself though, I could have accepted the challenge and continued onwards, doing what I can.  After all, I restrict things too in my mod, just not as severely.  Restrictions are necessary to force an experienced player to think of other ways to do things.  Nobody needs to do a clever pillaging strategy of maneuver if they can just storm the front gate and have everything.

For me the dealbreaker is the mindworm combat.  It doesn't work.  There's no consistency in what's happening, it's random.  Mindworms just march up to my early bases and destroy them, even when I build Sensor Arrays, train my units, and equip them with Hypnotic Trance.  There's no basic contract in the game as to what I'm supposed to do to defend myself from them.  I don't feel like being randomly abused despite having made preparations.  I did an AAR and stopped (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21409.msg123575#msg123575) at the point of this abuse.  If Tim thinks this version of mindworms is good, well I don't, and won't be playing.  He can put that forth in the marketplace of ideas and see if other players think it's good.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 07:45:57 PM
The more cardinal solution would be just restrict total crawler yield for base same way as for satellites. This would put a stop on their unlimited spawning.

If you wanted to do lots of programming work... in a real industry, the utility of raw materials is restricted by the factories that can process them into manufactured goods.  You could tie the number of crawlers that can be used, to the various facilities that have been built in a city.  To process more mineral crawlers, you would need more factories.  To process more energy, you'd need more energy bonus facilities, such as Energy Banks, Tree Farms, Hybrid Forests.  I admit the game fiction goes a little haywire for energy, as you have to imagine some kind of biological processing, not just extracting oil from an ocean well.  So maybe it's just better to tie it to factories and be done with it.

Food, I guess a city's size is the implicit storage.  Tree farms again don't make much sense for that.  So perhaps your cap idea is best there.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 08:03:07 PM
Forest SHOULD NOT have mineral focus. But it is how it is in vanilla!

Is it really the problem that forests give 2 minerals at the beginning of the game, or that Tree Farms and Hybrid Forests provide way too many benefits later on.  You could work on the latter problem, since you're a binary modder.  I mean, why give +1 nutrient every forest square?  Why not a +25% or +10% food bonus?  Like "you're growing more walnuts" along with the killer fungal vines.

And why does a Tree Farm or Hybrid Forest have to give a +50% ECONOMY yield?  "Fungal coffee is a lucrative cash crop" ?

 ;hippy ;eek

NERF THE EFFIN' TREES

You have the power.  Do it, do it, do it...

I'll be honest: in my mod, I solved all the minerals problems by pushing all the "minerals abuse" facilities later.  Like factories, crawlers, and boreholes.  This left me with Tree Farm and Hybrid Forest as the absolutely best things to do.  I'm not 100% fond of that, but I've accepted that, because I'm not a binary modder.  Progressions have to be kept under control or the game is a mess.  This is what I ended up with.

And I think trees look pretty on the map.  So I'm down with tree spam.  I keep my existing trees even if I have the Manifold Harmonics and +3 PLANET.  Sometimes I even plant new ones at that point.


Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 08:18:18 PM
Go into discussion thread and contribute ideas there.
http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21451.msg125136#msg125136
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 18, 2020, 08:56:34 PM
I "did", but time synch doesn't change how I responded above.  Tree Farms are not late game.  They are the beginning of the midgame.  Unless you worked them out very differently.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: scient on May 18, 2020, 10:00:44 PM
Oh i built tons of probes - i actually think i build hundreds in single game :D. CoC is good i like that - its really worth it. One has to build ton of probes or you are dead on transcend. I actually think AI is doing itself a bit of disfavor by building too many armored probes - but thats hard to change. AI is using tons of probes to attack mine - they use expensive armored cruiser probes and suicide into 0-1-1 cheap infantry probes. Defending probe has +50% territory bonus. So in that sense it hurts them badly but the do apply constant pressure.
But i must say armor probes come great against other units - and AI is bated to attack probes so they work great AI vs AI.

Note: armored probes have one great stupid weaknes - if they are under another unit - and they are not main defender. If unit dies probes are dead. I killed multiple times 2-3-4 neutronium armored probes this way - its ton of minerals wasted. Poor AI.

Btw i have a question:

Why does AI can subvert my bases when i have +4 Probe rating? I understood you have Scient patch in your mod - and its supposed to fix this issue - as i understand it. I checked AI did not have ench. probes (yet) - they should not be able to do that. They had Hunter-Seeker but thats irrelevant as far as i know. Its quite a big pain not to be able to use +Probe rating to stop mind-probes. (i have save games i could double check this if its needed)

ps. I'll try to make my case about secret projects - i see the logic in your reasoning - it has pluses and minuses. I will describe what happens in my games in new thread and why i think that super expensive projects beat the purpose. There's no need to change anything quickly we can discuss and see where it ends.

Could you attach the saved games with a couple notes about which base(s) get subverted by who? Doesn't have to be anything detailed. I'll have a look and see if there was something faulty with my patch or something else at play. Thanks!
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 18, 2020, 11:13:36 PM
Oh i built tons of probes - i actually think i build hundreds in single game :D. CoC is good i like that - its really worth it. One has to build ton of probes or you are dead on transcend. I actually think AI is doing itself a bit of disfavor by building too many armored probes - but thats hard to change. AI is using tons of probes to attack mine - they use expensive armored cruiser probes and suicide into 0-1-1 cheap infantry probes. Defending probe has +50% territory bonus. So in that sense it hurts them badly but the do apply constant pressure.
But i must say armor probes come great against other units - and AI is bated to attack probes so they work great AI vs AI.

Note: armored probes have one great stupid weaknes - if they are under another unit - and they are not main defender. If unit dies probes are dead. I killed multiple times 2-3-4 neutronium armored probes this way - its ton of minerals wasted. Poor AI.

Btw i have a question:

Why does AI can subvert my bases when i have +4 Probe rating? I understood you have Scient patch in your mod - and its supposed to fix this issue - as i understand it. I checked AI did not have ench. probes (yet) - they should not be able to do that. They had Hunter-Seeker but thats irrelevant as far as i know. Its quite a big pain not to be able to use +Probe rating to stop mind-probes. (i have save games i could double check this if its needed)

ps. I'll try to make my case about secret projects - i see the logic in your reasoning - it has pluses and minuses. I will describe what happens in my games in new thread and why i think that super expensive projects beat the purpose. There's no need to change anything quickly we can discuss and see where it ends.

Could you attach the saved games with a couple notes about which base(s) get subverted by who? Doesn't have to be anything detailed. I'll have a look and see if there was something faulty with my patch or something else at play. Thanks!

Here i think i got it - its bugged on same turn when changed. Probe rating upgrades turn later. If you change SE to +3 or +4 and disband probes in my seabases AI will mindropbe them on turn end. Looks like its working ok if you defend the bases 1 turn, then rating kicks in. Shame i didnt know
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 18, 2020, 11:41:38 PM
Most SEs don't technically update until your next turn. It's a bit confusing because POLICE, ECON show their effects in your cities right away. I guess it's more manageable that way. Still it's much less harsh than Civ2 with its Anarchy period of no government
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 18, 2020, 11:43:43 PM
Most SEs don't technically update until your next turn. It's a bit confusing because POLICE, ECON show their effects in your cities right away. I guess it's more manageable that way. Still it's much less harsh than Civ2 with its Anarchy period of no government

Not most but all. POLICE, ECON show their effect right away but they contribute to effect in the beginning of next turn.
Essentially, what you see in your bases now is going to applied on next turn.
It is confusion, I agree.
😕
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 19, 2020, 12:15:48 AM
It's a bit funny because I had the same thing occur when I was testing COC and MC immunity. I set Data Angels to get +2 PROBE using the campaign editor free switch. Apparently even changing it that way doesn't take effect until the following turn. Something I came to learn is that if you look at a faction's SEs in social engineering (next turn) it can differ from the diplomacy screen (current)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 19, 2020, 01:59:49 AM
It's a bit funny because I had the same thing occur when I was testing COC and MC immunity. I set Data Angels to get +2 PROBE using the campaign editor free switch. Apparently even changing it that way doesn't take effect until the following turn. Something I came to learn is that if you look at a faction's SEs in social engineering (next turn) it can differ from the diplomacy screen (current)

Whatever you see on SE screen for yourself or for whoever else using editor as if they are looking at their SE screen. That shows what will be applied next turn.
Whatever you see for others on their SE info like diplomatic screen shows their current effect (the one that was applied at the beginning of their turn).
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 19, 2020, 04:15:56 AM
# Version 49

* Condenser does not multiply nutrient yield.
* Soil Enricher does not multiply nutrient yield and instead adds 1.
* Borehole yield is 0-4-4.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 19, 2020, 08:54:29 AM
Yeah i felt stupid first i tried to reproduce the bug then i couldn't. But i knew i was startled when AI took my base - i was reloading 15-20 mins last night before i figured out what happened. I lost one base due to bad RNG.. said screw it base is ruined anyway it doesn't matter. Then i decided to turn probe rating on to +4 to avoid this probe torture for a few turns at least and then again I lost the base. Wth moment.. so i said screw it its bugged (as i read somewhere +4 probe is bugged) and just replayed few turns from last save and placed 2+ probes from then on in every base. Been doing that since. I didn't realize Scient patch was in at a time and later i thought it wasn't working lel. In few of my last games I got Hunter-Seeker so i never cared for details. My bad.

Anyway this maybe doesn't even need fix, once you know how it works its easy to play around; it may be obnoxious to try to change it. I've also noticed Planet rating doesn't upgrade combat odds on same turn. I saw food and minerals change display on same turn - but i guess that applies afterwards.

Quote
# Version 49

* Condenser does not multiply nutrient yield.
* Soil Enricher does not multiply nutrient yield and instead adds 1.
* Borehole yield is 0-4-4.

I can update my current v. 47 game i presume and continue with save? I was gonna test a bit forests and morgan and some other stuff. Gonna be interesting to see how this nutrient and borehole thing affects the ai and game pace.

Btw you have now couple of errors in readme file - I noticed Command Center is 60/1 in game, Brood Pit is 120/3 (like that more than 120/4).. you wrote here and in readme its 60/2.. you also have mistakes in readme with new special projects saying its 60 x 10 bases = and right side is 800.. there are 3-4 of these typos now.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 19, 2020, 12:39:18 PM
I can update my current v. 47 game i presume and continue with save? I was gonna test a bit forests and morgan and some other stuff. Gonna be interesting to see how this nutrient and borehole thing affects the ai and game pace.

I can update my current v. 47 game i presume and continue with save? I was gonna test a bit forests and morgan and some other stuff. Gonna be interesting to see how this nutrient and borehole thing affects the ai and game pace.

I am changing functionality only. It is supposed to be save compatible. I myself keep updating versions and then continue from the save without problems. However, keep in mind that problems are still possible. Due to change in functionality you may end up with some impossible state that will never happen under new rules and then game wouldn't know how to handle it, etc. This is infinitesimal probability, though.
Anyway, store you previous game folder completely (save included) just in case.

Btw you have now couple of errors in readme file - I noticed Command Center is 60/1 in game, Brood Pit is 120/3 (like that more than 120/4).. you wrote here and in readme its 60/2.. you also have mistakes in readme with new special projects saying its 60 x 10 bases = and right side is 800.. there are 3-4 of these typos now.

Yep. Multiple hasty updates. Thank you for catching them.
You also may miss few updates. I slapped a lot of them in past days. Readme should match the latest.

Version 50
* Command Center cost/maint is 6/1. Don't know why I made it 6/2 before. It actually adjusted in game automatically to the level of reactor.

# Version 47
* Brood Pit cost/maint is 12/3. Updated in readme too.

Fixed SP costs to be in mineral rows.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 20, 2020, 02:08:25 AM
Here you go!

# Version 51

* Default unit morale is Very Green.
* Forest terraforming time is 8 turns.
* Hologram Theatre cost/maint is 6/2.
* AI rushes SP when they can.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 21, 2020, 07:04:45 PM
# Version 53

* Removed dialog option for self-destruct.
* Accumulated nutrients and minerals are adjusted after GROWTH and INDUSTRY SE change to maintain the same completion percentage.

Thus eliminated the exploit of switching to higher INDUSTRY at the very end to build it faster.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 21, 2020, 11:48:31 PM
# Version 54

* Set borehole to 0-6-4.
* Fixed Condenser and Enricher calculation and display.

Be careful about this one. I did a lot of patching. Highly experimental.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 08:06:37 AM
# Version 55

* Tube movement rate is a multiplier of road movement rate.

In addition to AI now started to build tubes, their movement rate is restricted also.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 22, 2020, 09:04:54 AM
Quote
Thus eliminated the exploit of switching to higher INDUSTRY at the very end to build it faster.
I didn't count mineral boxes its kind of hard - i presume it works. But rushing edge/exploit is still there that i checked. If you switch to +Industry - and rush it then its way cheaper. Switching is -40 energy and rushing saves much more.

Quote
Tube movement rate is a multiplier of road movement rate

What does that mean? ^^ Good to have tubes.

Quote
* Set borehole to 0-6-4.
* Fixed Condenser and Enricher calculation and display.

Good borehole change - like that one. I'll check condensers and enricher. I was looking a bit at it last night AI really spams them a lot everywhere. They will certainly influence AI growth significantly.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 12:53:09 PM
I didn't count mineral boxes its kind of hard - i presume it works. But rushing edge/exploit is still there that i checked. If you switch to +Industry - and rush it then its way cheaper. Switching is -40 energy and rushing saves much more.

This is a feature, not exploit. When item is cheaper in minerals it is also cheaper in hurry credits. Direct proportionality. You can think of it as another benefit of INDUSTRY.

Quote
Tube movement rate is a multiplier of road movement rate

What does that mean? ^^ Good to have tubes.

Look at last option in thinker.ini. This is how faster movement on tubes comparing to roads. Play with it if you like.

Quote
* Set borehole to 0-6-4.
* Fixed Condenser and Enricher calculation and display.

Good borehole change - like that one. I'll check condensers and enricher. I was looking a bit at it last night AI really spams them a lot everywhere. They will certainly influence AI growth significantly.

Yea. As I said I don't have any preference on boreholes. This is more of fans suggested change.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 01:25:46 PM
Other pending changes.

I thought to let artillery duel uses armor as well. However, I don't think it is too relevant. Making artillery armored is still important to protect from direct counter-strikes from air and helicopter, for example.

Same for interceptor duel. No need.

* Make ECM to affect sea units as well.
Interesting feature but too stupid. One can add it to all sea units thus increasing defense against all opponents.

* Cloning Vats should not grant impunities.
That could be fruitful.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 22, 2020, 03:09:22 PM
Quote
You can think of it as another benefit of INDUSTRY.
This is what i call mental gymnastics ^^. Ah well ok I suppose i can stop myself from switching to industry just to exploit that - it should be self-rule.

Quote
I thought to let artillery duel uses armor as well. However, I don't think it is too relevant. Making artillery armored is still important to protect from direct counter-strikes from air and helicopter, for example.
Same for interceptor duel. No need.

I've seen these in your todo list, but didn't think much about it - on first look it looks cool.. But it makes some sense to have these units unarmored - they are supposed to be vulnerable to damage. So I don't know would it be good to make them armored.. maybe better not.

Quote
* Make ECM to affect sea units as well.
I was thinking at first ECM works vs ship.. btw tooltip said somewhere it works against missile attacks? I thought it affects Missile weapons (there's weapon called like that). Anyway... EMC working vs ships is just yet another way to make player better than AI as AI won't be able to use it as well. So we might be better without this one.

I am also not sure that i like idea of armored formers (AI don't build them), Crawlers (AI builds them) and Probes (AI spams them).

Why?
- these units are non-combat but actually quite strong if armored.... looks stupid
- you get more often than you should spearman kill tank scenario.. Needlejet (or any strong attacking unit for that matter) should have 90% chance to kill Crawler.. not 50% or 30%..
* I think its not issue on transcend WTP - you can't just raid trascend AI in his land (Copters maybe being somewhat exception) you get killed if you stay in their land due to 50% territory malus. Copters also get killed by interceptors btw.. but they are much more deadly than other units when there's no interceptor defense. One can more easily raid weaker AIs.. It would be actually interesting to limit  possible armor on NON-combat units to some lower level. Is it even possible?

- probes... its gamey and it takes some getting used to and it mifgt hurt AI a lot in the end

How do you play against mass probe spam? Took me a bit to figure it. AI likes to attack with  0-10-2 probes in midgame. You don't attack with military units - this is stupid units die. You bombard them a bit and attack with your 0-1-1 or 0-1-2 probe and kill it. If its in your lands you get +50%.. one can just let them attack you - you get 50% def. In their land its harder, but one can bombard more. Also Probe dies when military unit on same tile (or in base dies). There's risk unit will attack probe.. one can attack with probes to remove that 0-10-2 defender and then attack with normal units afterward.
What AI does is attacks them in panic - I've seen multiple times AI emptying his base suiciding into 0-10-2 probe on rough terrain. It would be often much better to have these units defend the base instead of attack.. but there's risk of mind-probe. I did not actually try this tactic - but usually when you have probe under strong defender AI suicides into defender trying to kill the probe. Its not that bad because due to +50% they often manage to kill defender in  few attacks and probe beneath dies. But one can, i think, just bring unarmored probes and bait AI into attacking. I might experiment with this more.

So anyway once player gets used to it - you have to spam ton of probes - and one can just trade probes and kill AI probes with huge efficiency.
Basically it hurts AI in the end. It also hurts AI badly to create ton of 0-10-6 cruiser probes that die to 0-1-1 defenders. These probes are protected from unit attacks - that works AI vs AI mostly.. and it helps them on sea.. player would need to build expensive foil probes - but its just easier to spam 0-1-1 defenders and ignore probes on open waters.

So.. armored probes have one advantage - they are not easily countered by units. But they are huge drain on AI and once player figures it out - they are easily countered with unarmored probes. Armored probes likely do more harm than good to AI.

Same goes for example for that Rover Colony Pod - AI just builds more expensive colony pod when cheap is good enough. AI can't reason when is better to build more expensive one. I suggest removing that design - player can create it if he wants.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 03:46:19 PM
I've seen these in your todo list, but didn't think much about it - on first look it looks cool.. But it makes some sense to have these units unarmored - they are supposed to be vulnerable to damage. So I don't know would it be good to make them armored.. maybe better not.

That a strange way to word it. They are not supposed to be unarmored. Player can either armor them for +50% in cost or save on this. I was just thinking to give them incentive to use armor on artillery/interceptors/needlejets by factoring armor into combat advantage. However, it is not really that important. They already have incentive of protecting them from random retaliation. I think this is enough.

Factoring armor into combat calculation is an interesting idea but it flattens strategical combat. With that there won't be attack and defense anymore. Unit strength would be just sum of weapon and armor strength, always. This is how latest Civ games are made.

Naming them weapon and armor becomes kind of confusing. In Civ it was named attack and defense. Meaning that unit behaves differently in attack and defense which makes sense. In SMACX the weapon/armor (unit component) strength implicitly translates to attack/defense (tactical ability) strength. However, this implicitness is often forgotten and people start arguing about how stronger armor is able to defeat assailant???
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 04:15:17 PM
I am also not sure that i like idea of armored formers (AI don't build them), Crawlers (AI builds them) and Probes (AI spams them).

Why?
- these units are non-combat but actually quite strong if armored.... looks stupid
- you get more often than you should spearman kill tank scenario.. Needlejet (or any strong attacking unit for that matter) should have 90% chance to kill Crawler.. not 50% or 30%..
* I think its not issue on transcend WTP - you can't just raid trascend AI in his land (Copters maybe being somewhat exception) you get killed if you stay in their land due to 50% territory malus. Copters also get killed by interceptors btw.. but they are much more deadly than other units when there's no interceptor defense. One can more easily raid weaker AIs.. It would be actually interesting to limit  possible armor on NON-combat units to some lower level. Is it even possible?

I think so but why? They already had this "non combat units defend at half strength modifier" that I mercilessly removed.
This sounds like one of those "players" requests Sid unsuccessfully tried to please with more and more quirked game behavior. They want game to do what they want. Like they are in a movie theater or something. They are not players, they are spectators.

I'm sure you'll be able to overcome it with advanced strategy and have fun learning it.
😉

Keep in mind that there is nothing unexpected in game. It should not resemble anything else. Not the life nor any other game. Why is it stupid when pawn kills the queen?

I don't see any problem in armoring non combat units for protection. Why on earth one would not??? That absolutely makes sense to invest into armored and Trance crawler and save on rebuilding and repositioning it over and over again.

If you need real life explanation imagine former squad transport not in truck but in refitted tank with all heavy weapon dismantled and only some light weapon left. Then in case of attack they can jump inside and sustain some not so heavy fire and maybe even damage enemy with their light weapon. Yes, it sounds silly to spend extra on protection in peace time but not at all when you work next to enemy line. Again some extra investment may save you other bigger investment in terraforming machinery, etc.

😉

- probes... its gamey and it takes some getting used to and it mifgt hurt AI a lot in the end

How do you play against mass probe spam? Took me a bit to figure it. AI likes to attack with  0-10-2 probes in midgame. You don't attack with military units - this is stupid units die. You bombard them a bit and attack with your 0-1-1 or 0-1-2 probe and kill it. If its in your lands you get +50%.. one can just let them attack you - you get 50% def. In their land its harder, but one can bombard more. Also Probe dies when military unit on same tile (or in base dies). There's risk unit will attack probe.. one can attack with probes to remove that 0-10-2 defender and then attack with normal units afterward.
What AI does is attacks them in panic - I've seen multiple times AI emptying his base suiciding into 0-10-2 probe on rough terrain. It would be often much better to have these units defend the base instead of attack.. but there's risk of mind-probe. I did not actually try this tactic - but usually when you have probe under strong defender AI suicides into defender trying to kill the probe. Its not that bad because due to +50% they often manage to kill defender in  few attacks and probe beneath dies. But one can, i think, just bring unarmored probes and bait AI into attacking. I might experiment with this more.

Exactly, man. You started to figure it out. It is fine to play 5-10 games to get better and better. It is like that sacred moment when you just unpacked you first time SMAC disk!
😝

Yes: bombardment, counter-probes, elevated security, COC, blocking them with air and double stacked units along the roads to slow down their movement and bombard them even more. All the above allows to tilt your probes to enemy probes mortality rate to your favor probably somewhere 2-3 times. Which is the idea of more advantageous defense in this mod.

Basically it hurts AI in the end. It also hurts AI badly to create ton of 0-10-6 cruiser probes that die to 0-1-1 defenders. These probes are protected from unit attacks - that works AI vs AI mostly.. and it helps them on sea.. player would need to build expensive foil probes - but its just easier to spam 0-1-1 defenders and ignore probes on open waters.

Yep. AI is always less efficient. Use it wisely.

So.. armored probes have one advantage - they are not easily countered by units. But they are huge drain on AI and once player figures it out - they are easily countered with unarmored probes. Armored probes likely do more harm than good to AI.

Same goes for example for that Rover Colony Pod - AI just builds more expensive colony pod when cheap is good enough. AI can't reason when is better to build more expensive one. I suggest removing that design - player can create it if he wants.

That's that for AI algorithms. Thinker algorithms are noticeably better but still far from perfection. If you learn to constantly beat them all at Transcend every time - let me know and I'll work on AI to make it even more challenging.
😎
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 22, 2020, 06:27:37 PM
I started the game with Morgan. After some turns my bases somehow got a Talent each. I have no idea where those are coming from. (Also I am not sure how I would have managed happiness without those Talents on Transcend.) Do you know why they are there? I build Recycling Tanks and researched Progenitor Psych around the time they appeared.

The start with Morgan is quite slow. It is difficult to build Formers, guards and those expensive colony pods, Morgan's -1 support makes it worse. I nearly lost a base to wildlife for cutting corners. Managing the early game was however quite fun which is a good sign.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 22, 2020, 06:48:30 PM
@tnevolin haha well said : ) well if AI started to mix unarmored and armored human would found a whole in attacking stack and dismantle it anyway.. we need real artificial intelligence from 2100 : )) imagine smac ai beating you like chess engine beats you :D wouldn't be much fun when you know you can't win

Quote
I started the game with Morgan. After some turns my bases somehow got a Talent each. I have no idea where those are coming from. (Also I am not sure how I would have managed happiness without those Talents on Transcend.) Do you know why they are there? I build Recycling Tanks and researched Progenitor Psych around the time they appeared.

The start with Morgan is quite slow. It is difficult to build Formers, guards and those expensive colony pods, Morgan's -1 support makes it worse. I nearly lost a base to wildlife for cutting corners. Managing the early game was however quite fun which is a good sign.

I picked up police state for awhile with morgan. And you have 0-4-0 mines from beginning in the mod to help with support. Then i got Living Refinery : ). I actually lost a colony pod in my game darn worms ^^ It gets easier when you get Fusion reactor - should be able to get to it quickly - its important to meet AI for trading.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 07:05:35 PM
I started the game with Morgan. After some turns my bases somehow got a Talent each. I have no idea where those are coming from. (Also I am not sure how I would have managed happiness without those Talents on Transcend.) Do you know why they are there? I build Recycling Tanks and researched Progenitor Psych around the time they appeared.

What SE you are using?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 22, 2020, 07:06:47 PM
Planned, everything else on default. I also installed Pracx over the mod executable.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 07:18:10 PM
I picked up police state for awhile with morgan. And you have 0-4-0 mines from beginning in the mod to help with support. Then i got Living Refinery : ). I actually lost a colony pod in my game darn worms ^^ It gets easier when you get Fusion reactor - should be able to get to it quickly - its important to meet AI for trading.

Hmm. It is strange to hear complaints about worms danger to colonies in WtP. How long ago did you play vanilla? All non-combat units have about 50% survival chance against worms in WtP and 0% in vanilla. They are just dead meat in a water there. Whereas in WtP I regularly see colonies, formers, and transports survive natives attacks.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 07:20:08 PM
Planned, everything else on default. I also installed Pracx over the mod executable.

It's "Planned +" in WtP. 😁
Everything with "+" has hidden +1 TALENT. Unfortunately, it is not visible on SE screen. Therefore I added this sign to name.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 22, 2020, 07:25:06 PM
Yea. As I said I don't have any preference on boreholes. This is more of fans suggested change.

Frankly though, I have to wonder about the wisdom of nerfing the energy bit, when it's called a thermal borehole.  It's not called a lava flow.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 22, 2020, 07:28:54 PM
I thought to let artillery duel uses armor as well. However, I don't think it is too relevant. Making artillery armored is still important to protect from direct counter-strikes from air and helicopter, for example.

The problem with armoring artillery in the stock binary, is that another artillery piece bypasses it.  This is totally unrealistic.  Armored artillery pieces have been a thing at least as far back as WW II.  They were generally called "Self-Propelled Guns", and their big distinction compared to a tank is they don't have a turret to adjust their firing.  So with this unrealistic and expensive weapon, you just get clobbered for no good reason.  This discourages putting any armor on it at all, due to the magical way of bypassing the armor.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 22, 2020, 07:40:51 PM
Planned + seems very strong. +1 Industry and +1 Growth are already quite powerful.

Regarding the worms, making them weaker during base attacks is a good change. I almost lost a base because it was empty. With Morgan (really with any faction) it is often optimal play to forego base defenders and leave them empty on size 1. Of course that has its downsides
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 22, 2020, 07:43:11 PM
- these units are non-combat but actually quite strong if armored.... looks stupid
In the stock game, a unit that is armored is a combat unit.  It does not suffer the non-combat defense penalty.  There's nothing stupid about such units.  In WW II for instance there were armored mine flayers that were used on the beaches of Normandy.  They had a job to do in combat and they did it.  Laying down roads or land bridges to kill your enemy can easily be a front line siege activity.  And if you're still allowing your game to build Bunkers, that's something a Former does for you.  I don't allow it because the AI is so stupid about building them, but if you do, that's something that Formers do under fire.  Formers get attacked by mindworms and that's another reason to armor them, if you're so inclined.  Sea Formers get attacked by enemy ships all the time.

If you literally mean such units "look" stupid, well that's an art direction issue, not a game mechanical issue.  I think armored Former units look just fine.

Quote
Needlejet (or any strong attacking unit for that matter) should have 90% chance to kill Crawler.. not 50% or 30%..

This is a problem with the 1) silly attack vs. defense system, which is an inherent flaw of SMAC.  For instance AAA units have their armor leap out to shoot back at you, by some kind of magical woo.  2) Possibly compounded by what Tim's trying to do with combat odds and perception of danger.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 07:45:59 PM
Planned + seems very strong. +1 Industry and +1 Growth are already quite powerful.

Could be. There are multitude ways to shuffle SE models. We can discuss this too. List your opinion about each one of them in current WtP and then we can see about tweaking.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 22, 2020, 07:49:13 PM
Frankly though, I have to wonder about the wisdom of nerfing the energy bit, when it's called a thermal borehole.  It's not called a lava flow.

Yea this is why at one point I had boreholes only giving energy and zero minerals. Realistically you're only getting heat out. Though it did seem a little weird that they didn't pollute at all with Tree Farm / Hybrid Forest. Theme wise I liked it, but it also highlighted how much better energy was than minerals. And it also made mineral facilities a lot less useful than they already were. Perhaps just cost decreasing them would suffice
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 22, 2020, 07:58:07 PM
If I were inclined to change thermal boreholes, I would make them 5-5, 4-4, or 4-5, or 3-5, or 3-6.  To always emphasize they are a source of energy.  Doesn't a borehole itself do eco-damage, quite beyond the minerals it adds to your unclean minerals pile?  I forget.  If true, then shouldn't worry about minerals needing to carry the burden of eco-damage.  It's still a borehole.

In my own mod, I didn't care to change their output.  I just put them late in the game, and made them take more turns to make.  I like the outrageous "double sixes" appearing on the city screen.  Aesthetically it indicates they're powerful and damaging as all get.

And I never build them anymore.  I may harness the 3 existing ones, but new ones?  I've got better things to do.  I hand terraform every square, and a flood just wipes out all my hard work.  I don't want them.


Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 22, 2020, 08:14:36 PM
There is terraforming ecodamage. But a worked borehole only gets about 1.25M more of ecodamage from it. And that 1.25M goes away with Hybrid Forest. Most of the ecodamage is from minerals.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 22, 2020, 08:38:35 PM
- I wouldn't mind too much about real-world explanation - gameplay effect is more important. For example if one would make them only produce energy then some bases would simply have no enough minerals without crawlers. There's lots of energy around - minerals are usually lacking.. People get around this by just forest (almost) everything tactic.

Its kind of tempting to have good and bad bases.. but thats what Civilization series has - and it has big downsides. If civilization loses its capital and 1-2 big important cities its game over. In Alpha Centauri AI can make 10 equaly strong cities and you don't even care which one is capital. Even crap terrain can be turned to good one with some forests and adv. terraforming - a borehole being important.

- I actually build some artillery with armor - arty is important in the mod - and after some time armor doesn't make it more expensive - base builds it in same number of turns anyway. Its useful when arty gets attacked - it happens sometimes.. unarmored arty is very vulnerable to needlejets for example.

- About worms.. they are fine.. fungal pops are dangerous.. single worms aren't really.. it happens that they kill units sometimes - unescorted colony pod is always at some risk
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 22, 2020, 09:22:33 PM
Changed free market is also very good. Similar powerlevel to Planned+. I don't quite see the point of Green though. Seems only useful for a worm war.

I was able to stay in Police State with without Efficiency being much of an issue. Is there a effective second drone control (or Psyche facility) next to Recreation Commons? Do Children's Creches still increase effiency? From what I read they don't give Morale bonuses anymore, right?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 09:32:12 PM
Changed free market is also very good. Similar powerlevel to Planned+. I don't quite see the point of Green though. Seems only useful for a worm war.

I was able to stay in Police State with without Efficiency being much of an issue. Is there a effective second drone control (or Psyche facility) next to Recreation Commons? Do Children's Creches still increase effiency? From what I read they don't give Morale bonuses anymore, right?

They have their up and downs and this varies depending on game situation and game stage. There is no single preferable choice. As I said, state your thoughts about all of them and we will discuss.

Keep in mind that SE compete in single category. So it is a relative comparison of PS vs. Democracy vs. Fundamentalism.

Yes, Creches increases efficiency and growth but not morale.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 22, 2020, 09:50:00 PM
I was comparing Green with Planned+ and Free Market which are in the same category. Planned+ and Free Market both have their place depending on the situation. Green, however, is +2 Planet +2 Effiency -3 Growth -2 Industry. So some very pedestrian advantages and utterly horrific downsides. I can see two situations when Green might be useful. If you attack someone with worms or when knocking out the last few techs before trancendence. In any other situation, switching to Green is approximately equal to retiring. :)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 22, 2020, 10:06:13 PM
Green is only for The Manifold Harmonics i think and for combat its great. Without these penalties are too harsh. I used it a lot in my AAR - basically late when growth doesn't matter as much.. and I picked something (Fundamentalism) to counter -2 Industry.

I really really don't like Power.. 2 Supp, 2 Mor, 1 Probe, -2 Industry everything is ruined by industry.. 1 Supp, 2 Mor, 1 probe, -1 Industry; .. or +2 Supp, +2 Mor, -1 Ind..: or something like that would be much more interesting.. What's the point in picking it when it makes producing everything so hard.. i'd rather have more units.

I wanted to post this from my current game. This is real issue - AI is going crazy on ecological damage and fungus pops a lot. I myself also went same strategy to increase clean minerals to test it.. and with high eco damage in few bases its worms and fungus popping often.. Anyway worms kill formers, break base defenses if you are not prepared. And if you don't have good planet you can screw yourself. Base yields are terrible in factions with negative planet. (They use crawlers.. but that +3 +4 food was before nerf +5 +6)

Conqueror Marr is really crap AI - it seems so. Angels are here doing bad also. Drones have positive planet and is saving them. (Zakharov died again - he's awful - he really needs a buff.. i think -2 Probe is huge nerf to him.. he needs help.. drones every 4 also are terrible).

(https://i.imgur.com/IXWQYj7.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/TCyKXMj.png)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 10:31:14 PM
I was comparing Green with Planned+ and Free Market which are in the same category. Planned+ and Free Market both have their place depending on the situation. Green, however, is +2 Planet +2 Effiency -3 Growth -2 Industry. So some very pedestrian advantages and utterly horrific downsides. I can see two situations when Green might be useful. If you attack someone with worms or when knocking out the last few techs before trancendence. In any other situation, switching to Green is approximately equal to retiring. :)

I believe you underestimate the value of EFFICIENCY. It grows directly proportional your empire size and even faster as it also reduce b-drones. It has almost zero value on 10 bases but on 50 it is enormous. Especially later in the game when total cash flow growth as well. It is the most uneven effect. I'd say it is impossible to live without positive efficiency past mid game. Otherwise, you will just won't have money to pay maintenance. That is how important it is. Of course, there are other ways to increase it. Children Creche is one. ECONOMY also may compensate for it. However, no other model has +2 EFFICIENCY alone.

-3 GROWTH is also a huge penalty since it stops bases from increasing population. However, anything above it is perfectly fine. Even -20% growth speed is no biggie for base with extra 2 nutrients surplus. On top of it you have Children Creche that guarantees you won't stop growing with Green.

-2 INDUSTRY is a huge penalty, though, throughout the game. So maybe I should give Green a slack here.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 22, 2020, 10:37:56 PM
EFFIC is more of a nice to have IMO. Unless you're playing on very large maps then it gets more valuable

It's only 3 less drones in your empire per 2 EFFIC on a normal map. On a huge map, about 5 less drones.

It has fairly quick diminishing returns, as it's a 1/x function. Creche gives +2 getting you over the worst part of the curve.

However being at negative EFFIC is crippling for the same reason, how the function curves.

EFFIC means less in the late game because specialists contribute directly to econ/labs/psych

Overall the first +2 EFFIC is good to have but it's nothing compared to +2 ECON or +2 GROWTH
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 10:38:35 PM
I really really don't like Power.. 2 Supp, 2 Mor, 1 Probe, -2 Industry everything is ruined by industry.. 1 Supp, 2 Mor, 1 probe, -1 Industry; .. or +2 Supp, +2 Mor, -1 Ind..: or something like that would be much more interesting.. What's the point in picking it when it makes producing everything so hard.. i'd rather have more units.

SUPPORT is 2-3 times better than INDUSTRY at the very beginning. Each level of SUPPORT saves you 1 mineral. Whereas each level of INDUSTRY saves you 10% of ... 2-4 minerals early bases produce, which is ... 0.2-0.4 minerals. Figure it out yourself. SUPPORT declines quickly as average production grows but it stays on par with INDUSTRY until bases reach 10 minerals production in about early mid game. If you managed to grab faction with bonus SUPPORT or if you crank it up by some other means (SE, project) you will have an extreme boost in first 100 turns. That is big impact. However, I can go with 1 Supp, 2 Mor, 1 probe, -1 Industry; Should be no biggie.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 22, 2020, 10:38:39 PM
It's true I haven't been in a late game situation yet. However, then you also have stuff like Cybernetic and Eudamonia. Moreover, there is Democracy for effiency. There is also the option of going specialist-heavy.

As lolada pointed out, the planet going to hell in a handbasket is another situation where Green is good.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 10:45:26 PM
EFFIC is more of a nice to have IMO. Unless you're playing on very large maps then it gets more valuable

It's only 3 less drones in your empire per 2 EFFIC on a normal map. On a huge map, about 5 less drones.

It has fairly quick diminishing returns, as it's a 1/x function. Creche gives +2 getting you over the worst part of the curve.

However being at negative EFFIC is crippling for the same reason, how the function curves.

EFFIC means less in the late game because specialists contribute directly to econ/labs/psych

Overall the first +2 EFFIC is good to have but it's nothing compared to +2 ECON or +2 GROWTH

Yes, its effect depends on empire size and, therefore, map size. It's difficult to balance all maps across. And yes, it is diminishing return. -4 EFFICIENCY is just appalling economy, -3 is about 10 times better than that but +4 is just 5-10% better than +3.

Agree on that. I may give it less value and reduce INDUSTRY penalty for Green.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 10:48:14 PM
It's true I haven't been in a late game situation yet. However, then you also have stuff like Cybernetic and Eudamonia. Moreover, there is Democracy for effiency. There is also the option of going specialist-heavy.

As lolada pointed out, the planet going to hell in a handbasket is another situation where Green is good.

Reducing Green INDUSTRY penalty in next version.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 22, 2020, 10:55:43 PM
I really really don't like Power.. 2 Supp, 2 Mor, 1 Probe, -2 Industry everything is ruined by industry.. 1 Supp, 2 Mor, 1 probe, -1 Industry; .. or +2 Supp, +2 Mor, -1 Ind..: or something like that would be much more interesting.. What's the point in picking it when it makes producing everything so hard.. i'd rather have more units.

SUPPORT is 2-3 times better than INDUSTRY at the very beginning. Each level of SUPPORT saves you 1 mineral. Whereas each level of INDUSTRY saves you 10% of ... 2-4 minerals early bases produce, which is ... 0.2-0.4 minerals. Figure it out yourself. SUPPORT declines quickly as average production grows but it stays on par with INDUSTRY until bases reach 10 minerals production in about early mid game. If you managed to grab faction with bonus SUPPORT or if you crank it up by some other means (SE, project) you will have an extreme boost in first 100 turns. That is big impact. However, I can go with 1 Supp, 2 Mor, 1 probe, -1 Industry; Should be no biggie.

It doesn't quite work like that. Industry reduces the cost in a linear fashion. +1 industry is close to 10% more production but +2 industry is already +25% production, 3 industry is a 42% production increase and after that it gets crazy.

More importantly perhaps, early game you can make do with two free units if you don't build many scout patrols. Two formers, or a former and a scout patrol per base is OK. Later on support matter more but you mineral output should be higher then too.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 22, 2020, 11:23:07 PM
That's right but still SUPPORT is better than INDUSTRY for very small bases.
Best +3 SUPPORT frees you 4 minerals. Whereas, best +5 INDUSTRY doubles your 2-4 mineral production (= 2-4 extra) which is barely comparable to SUPPORT benefit. So it is better. Even if INDUSTRY bonus grows like crazy. That just means SUPPORT is even more crazy bonus.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 22, 2020, 11:29:28 PM
Green
Its really harsh i support that -1 industry change.

Btw PLANET rating - its really bad in the mod to have negative rating due to fungus. And positive is ok.. its great for combat to stack. Only free market has -2.

Power
The thing is its not used early... you don't want to war early in your mod - you can't really vs transcend AI - its way better to defend and develop. Miriam can - but you don't need Power.. and Power is not really available that early. So you want to use power later when you are ready to fight and infrastructure is up.. but then -2 industry really hurts.. I will easily pick Fundamentalism over it, thought control is also better. You also want to build up infrastructure in 1/2 bases and it hurts.

+2 SUPP +2 MOR -1 IND -1 ECO  // +2 SUPP +2 MOR -1 IND -1 GRO

This could be interesting for power push, its not hard to pick.. its possible to tank ECO and GROWTH
Thought control differs now more from Power => it has +2 Probe thats important and -3 support.. that matters. It may be hard to pick if you have low support.

ps. Support is good but i don't want to build units for quite some time.. 1 unit 1 former works well for lots of time. Then if i have +SUPP more and build up i really don't want to switch back and tank minerals. One must/should stick to it for quite some time. Mod is builder oriented, not war oriented.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 22, 2020, 11:51:43 PM
+2 SUPP +2 MOR  -1 ECO -1 GRO would be my pick, maybe

One former per base is not enough but you can support two in some. Terraforming costs are really high compared to the base game. (Or rather with the mod it is worthwhile to actually use the expensive early options. Mine + Road on a rocky tile is 12 turns, Farm + Solar is 10 turns and neither of those spreads by itself.)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 23, 2020, 12:12:14 AM
and after some time armor doesn't make it more expensive

I think in my mod, that's never ever true.  My Infantry Speeder Hovertank chasses are on a 2 3 4 cost progression, so it is never possible to get a cheap unarmored powerful weapon unit.  You pay through the nose for your weapons, if they're good weapons.  Armor pretty much follows the same cost regimen.  Getting both armor and weapon at the same time is expensive.  Only ships seem to have reduced armor costs, which makes some hand wavy sense as they float in the water.

Quote
- base builds it in same number of turns anyway.

To date I haven't been building big minerals bases.  Too scared of floods.  And my units cost. TANSTAAFL in my mod.

Quote
Its useful when arty gets attacked - it happens sometimes.. unarmored arty is very vulnerable to needlejets for example.

Wonder how Air Superiority artillery holds up?  It's very useful on offense, against stacks of Locusts.  Haven't had much call for it on defense.  I have build 3-Res Trance Artillery to deal with Locusts attacking.  Not sure how it performed.  Locusts were finally thinning out, round about when I designed it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 12:20:29 AM
ECONOMY and GROWTH are very strong effect by themselves. They are stronger than INDUSTRY. All of the below is really worse than original IMHO.

+2 SUPP +2 MOR -1 ECO -1 GRO
+2 SUPP +2 MOR -1 IND -1 ECO
+2 SUPP +2 MOR -1 IND -1 GRO

If you want to strengthen it significantly then I would just decrease INDUSTRY penalty. That's it. It is also makes sense to keep PROBE as it is only war oriented SE.

+2 SUPP +2 MOR +1 PRO -1 IND

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 12:36:41 AM
I think Power is decent with your last proposal.

The reason I was suggesting other downsides is that unlike -IND, -ECO and -GRO do not directly hinder the war effort.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 23, 2020, 12:38:55 AM
Yea I've usually put -ECON or -GROWTH with Power. -EFFIC can work too but the AI can do dumb things with that.

My most recent version for Power is +2 SUP +1 MOR -2 ECO
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 23, 2020, 09:53:59 AM
I find -1 ECO no problem unless you are at 2 already.. -1 energy per base is not bad. Growth as well -1 is not bad => presumably you go to war once you established your bases so growth is anyway stopped by drones. I really don't like -1 EFF AI ruins itself with stacking minus eff.
Quote
+2 SUPP +2 MOR +1 PRO -1 IND
This could be good.. I would definitely like to keep +2 Morale and i hate -2 Industry.. Probe can be gotten from other sources as well so I didn't mind losing it if Power proves strong. Power has another issue its coupled vs Wealth (great in peace-time) and Knowledge (3! RESEARCH 1 EFFICIENCY -1 ECO -2 PROBE.. great always.. Probes are weakness but that can be dealt with.. and ECO is often no big deal.

I think Knowledge is too good. Having EFF and RESEARCH in same slot and 4 points of its - its too good - especially with this downside. +2 Res +1 EFF is more sane. When picking Power one basically has to give up +3 Res +1 Eff or that nice Eco from Wealth and thats really hard to do.


Green is like Power for planet factions.. you gave it -3 growth -2 industry and i really didn't want to pick it for a long time ^^. Basically when i grew bases to 7+ and had enough production.. then i don't mind them not growing much more. Still Industry penalty made everything build longer and i went in and Picked Fundamentalism (+1 Ind) to counter it.. morale and probe help in right direction there.
Once you have good +Planet cheap Spore Launcher is better defense than any armored defender - it even cancels bombardments. And worms are better attackers eventually especially through Perimeter Defenses - so Green becomes viable pick. AI use both artillery and some empath attackers - so Spore Launchers are not all in one solution. I don't see myself picking Green unless I would go very heavy on war with native life.




Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 23, 2020, 10:18:47 AM
This is with +4 Eco -1 Planet. I got lucky and spawned near Manifold Nexus so i have that +1 Planet source. Fungus yields would be worse with Free Market.. but even now its good idea to remove them all. Some other bases have 8+ at base tile.
(https://i.imgur.com/1NFzpAW.png)

It looks interesting to place tactical Condensers (there's no point spamming them too much they don't produce on its own tile as much food) to paint everything green and then insert Echelon Mirrors to boost all those tiles around. Thats in hilly terrain. Forests on flat terrain should eventually be better. I'll see if i can terraform nicely.. Some Aquifers on the way as well.
(https://i.imgur.com/khCEZUo.png)

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 10:48:17 AM
-1 Eco on Knowledge makes it borderline unusable until future societies. Of course, Morgan can still use it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 23, 2020, 11:08:47 AM
-1 Eco on Knowledge makes it borderline unusable until future societies. Of course, Morgan can still use it.

Why - i think thats not correct? -1 energy in HQ at -1 ECO is nothing.. -2 ECO is not bad either its only -1 energy per base.. thats a small penalty. Unless you play every game with +2 Eco so you would lose that -1 energy per tile.. This basically means you pick up Free Market in every game - and then you don't want pick up Knowledge because you lose that energy.

@tnevolin Movement is bugged in last patch with magtube changes Infantry can move more than 3 tiles.. movement points state 9/9 and it decreases by 2.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 12:19:04 PM
Of course, you want to be in Free Market if you are running Knowledge. I can tr it out later but I'd guess Free Market + Wealth gains tech as fast or nearly as fast as Free Market + Knowledge and you will get ahead mid term due to the cash you are making.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 02:22:55 PM
I think Knowledge is too good.

It is. If you consider it in isolation. In theory. It gives you technological advantage and you beat everybody else. In practice, though, everybody else steal and trade technologies. So it is absolutely irrelevant how fast you researching it. Others will be just slightly behind.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 02:34:46 PM
Why - i think thats not correct? -1 energy in HQ at -1 ECO is nothing.. -2 ECO is not bad either its only -1 energy per base.. thats a small penalty. Unless you play every game with +2 Eco so you would lose that -1 energy per tile.. This basically means you pick up Free Market in every game - and then you don't want pick up Knowledge because you lose that energy.

Unfortunately, you don't know that when you design SE models. You cannot possible know when the change will take place. How high ECONOMY you already have at the moment. So one has to go on average - weighting different possibilities. With some assumptions, of course. It is not exact science. I did this and concluded that ECONOMY is about 2-3 times as good as INDUSTRY, for example. Taking that former is exceptionally jumpy, as you correctly said. The most uneven effect of them all. Some steps on rating scale are just tiny, some are enormous. It is difficult to average. And we can have an argue endless. My calculated average may be rough approximation. However, it is a ballpark of it. So, maybe, it is slightly off but I doubt it is significantly beyond this range. I can vouch ECONOMY is better than INDUSTRY at every point in the game. The ration may vary, though.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 02:35:51 PM
@tnevolin Movement is bugged in last patch with magtube changes Infantry can move more than 3 tiles.. movement points state 9/9 and it decreases by 2.

It could be. Highly experimental feature. Send me the save and description.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 02:39:49 PM
Is there a way to disable techtrading? I have started to make a diagram showing the tech paths in the mod since I had a hard time making informed tech choices. Does anything like that still exist? I don't want to duplicate effort. The tech paths really make no sense anymore from a lore perspective. I understand that gameplay is more important but that is a bit of a bummer.

I still fundamentally disagree about Knowledge. I think it is quite weak in its current form.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 03:07:06 PM
Is there a way to disable techtrading? I have started to make a diagram showing the tech paths in the mod since I had a hard time making informed tech choices. Does anything like that still exist? I don't want to duplicate effort. The tech paths really make no sense anymore from a lore perspective. I understand that gameplay is more important but that is a bit of a bummer.

Don't know if you can disable it by game configuration but I can disable it in mod if needed.

Are you asking about mod tech tree? Of course, I have it. How otherwise I would code it back in the game? In fact it is all in alphax.txt - all prerequisites are written there.

You also can consult in game help. It shows you only part of the tree for a single technology but you can track it up and down for couple of levels. This usually sufficient enough for short term decisions.

Yes, it does not make sense from a lore perspective. However, why do you care? Vanilla tech tree does not make sense too. Yet nobody bothered. How do you explain Nanometallurgy being dependent on Probability Mechanics? What the hell is Probability Mechanics anyway?

As I said before, I welcome any help with tech tree. This is a huge work, though.

I still fundamentally disagree about Knowledge. I think it is quite weak in its current form.

I hope you don't disagree with me. Because I think the same.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 03:22:25 PM
What I was talking about is a chart showing all the techs. Trawling through the data links works to an extent. But I keep forgetting prerequisites for some things and about the existence of others which I might want if I remembered they existed.

Touché about the tech paths. I remember the original tech paths to be somewhat less implausible though. As an example, you reassigned the Engineer specialist to Conquer tech Superstring Theory which is perfectly reasonable from a flavour perspective but strengthens Conquer techs over economy techs. This is a great way to balance but, say, Environmental Economics being dependent on Silksteel Alloys is really, really odd.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 03:33:47 PM
An example: level 1 Conquer techs Applied Physics and Industrial Base are prerequisites for level 3 techs Industrial Economics and Field Modulation, respectively. That would immedialy make much more sense if you swich them around.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 23, 2020, 03:51:31 PM
Yea Knowledge always tends to pair with FM, but it can't with -1 ECON. That being said I think FM > Planned > Green in your set. With knowledge boosted then probably the other economics need boosted.

It's hard for me to compare my version of knowledge because Wealth is much more powerful, it had to be boosted even more.

Yea before redoing the whole tech tree I'd have a goal. Either lore based or gameplay. Mostly it made sense to me lore wise, though in a few spots it sort of didn't. The biggest flaw I had right now was that weapons overtake armor in the midgame. 13-3 units are rather common. Then there's kind of a weapons stagnation as armor goes up to 8. The silksteel-photon-probability armors probably need some side economic benefits. Mag tubes are nice but the AI is probably right Drop is better a lot of the time

A tree completely (or almost completely) split into the 4 priorities might be interesting too. I don't know if it would work.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 04:05:29 PM
I found the tech tree in it's current form jarring flavourwise. There is a progression of armor and weapons techs but otherwise prerequisites that make some intuitive sense are the exception. Most prerequisites appear completely random.

On another note, armor should not be as strong as weapons of the same tech tree depths. You have better modifiers for defense. Having unkillable units can be extremely unfun.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 23, 2020, 04:20:54 PM
Yea my sort-of solution was to make armor more or less free on units. Weapons and chassis determine the cost. And I guess reactor now too that I've moved over to scient's patch.

I think the starting point would be to come up with themes, techs that are similar to one another. The Centauri techs are probably the most obvious. Those had a progression that made sense to me. Although there were maybe some flaws.

Some themes might be
Terraforming
Weapons/Armor
Genetics/Pop Growth
Economics
Research

One thing to note is that about half the tree is military techs. So military could be subdivided. Movement, Weapons, Armor, and Abilities perhaps.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 23, 2020, 04:36:11 PM
Yeah it feels like there's way too many conquer techs.. but i don't know if that affects anything. Maybe factions with conquer focus have it harder to get non-conquer techs.

My first impression was there's too many weapons/armors but i got used to it quickly. One doesn't have to build latest variant, especially not the armor. Equality means its hard to conquer anything - I played Miriam and overrun Deirdre with 10 bases with Particle, Missile and Chaos weapons - all early. I didn't play Yang, Santiago or usurper Aliens i presume they can go to war early. Other factions look to me to be better at builder style. Once you go builder style it seems to me its hard to conquer anything before Fusion laser (10) or Shard Weaponry (13). Worms are no solution also because its hard to amass them. This is ok in general - different playstyle and its fun to play in lategame or endgame.

About SE choices - i must admit i am surprised by your logic, i rated 30% science + 1 EFF highly  and Free Market lower partly because it goes into negative planet. So one can't use fungus - power of all these vary with time tho. I'll go experiment a bit and revisit my choices. Maybe i am taking some wrong things for granted. Gonna also see if i can crunch some numbers in few of my saves and see how it turns out in real game.

ps. i reverted to v.54 but i'll see to reproduce that road movement bug
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 04:50:34 PM
Having the the Conquer techs interleaved with builder techs would be fine for me. But they should make just a tad more sense. A fig leaf like Industrial Automation having Silksteel Alloys as a prerequisite would be OK already. Most of the current ones do not even make as much sense as that.

+2 Eco is substantially superior to having high effiency and research. Now, +3 research is a lot and I can see Knowledge teching slightly faster then Wealth/Free Market (but then maybe not). However, with all the cash from Free Market your development is much stronger. Mid and long term Knowledge can't keep up. The negative Planet rating means that Spore Launchers and Fungus Towers are a pain as you can't attack them. But Fungus squares are not tiles I would use anyway. Maybe I'm wrong about the latter. I haven't played enough to know how strong Fungus can get.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 05:38:07 PM
Environmental Economics being dependent on Silksteel Alloys is really, really odd.

Let me repeat in hundredth time. There are so many different technology flavors that is impossible to make all prerequisites sensible. Besides it almost never sensible for one color to be dependent on other color. Yet you have to do it. Otherwise, your color threes will never cross pollinate each other.
🙁

Think about it. It is like 80 technologies and 150 prerequisite dependencies. Were all dependencies absolutely crystal clear for you in vanilla? Were you able to quickly memorize whole tree? I never was and it never bothered me. Were you able to memorize Civ 1/2 tech tree even if it was supposedly reflecting a real technological progress? Was everything sensible to you then? How the hell you can develop Medicine from Trade + Philosophy? 😲
How the hell Space Flight was possible without Plastics in Civ 1? Oh well.


There are few solutions to it.

For one we can just darn rename them all and repaint tech tree from scratch!

Second one could be a finer tuning. Probably trying to preserve vanilla prerequisites because somehow people think they make sense. Ugh. Whatever.

Third one is a mix. Fine tuning + renaming where you see fit to smoother some big discrepancies.


As it doesn't affect game play I don't pay attention to it much. You are welcome to team up with me on it. I hear a lot of critics on this specifically but nobody volunteered yet.
😉
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 05:54:28 PM
An example: level 1 Conquer techs Applied Physics and Industrial Base are prerequisites for level 3 techs Industrial Economics and Field Modulation, respectively. That would immedialy make much more sense if you swich them around.

Good suggestion. Let me try it.

Perfect. It worked. Meaning nothing else is broken. Will be in version 56.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 05:55:25 PM
I already made a suggestion. I will think on it some more. Do you value the system where each technology has one prerequisite from the previous tier and one prerequisite from the tier before that?

What do you say about the weapon armor balance? Weapons should be a bit ahead of armor, not as much as in vanilla maybe.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 06:11:16 PM
That being said I think FM > Planned > Green in your set.

That could be. However, there is no use to compare them in absolute value. The question is: how often did you prefer FM to Planned? If the answer is 95% of the cases then Planned sure need some review. If it's like 50%, 30%, and 20% for them, correspondingly, then it is fine.

It's hard for me to compare my version of knowledge because Wealth is much more powerful, it had to be boosted even more.

Sorry. This eluded me. What do you mean?

The biggest flaw I had right now was that weapons overtake armor in the midgame. 13-3 units are rather common. Then there's kind of a weapons stagnation as armor goes up to 8. The silksteel-photon-probability armors probably need some side economic benefits. Mag tubes are nice but the AI is probably right Drop is better a lot of the time

I take you are talking about vanilla here? Because I think I worked on evening it out specifically.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 06:19:00 PM
I found the tech tree in it's current form jarring flavourwise. There is a progression of armor and weapons techs but otherwise prerequisites that make some intuitive sense are the exception. Most prerequisites appear completely random.

That is correct. Weapon and armor are linked explicitly. I've also linked alien/psi/native related techs whenever I could. Everything else is just random. Meaning I didn't bother. The problem being that adjusting feature timing requires moving tech up and down the tree. So that these arbitrary links keeps breaking. It would be a nightmare to support them. However, now, when most feature timings are more or less settled, we can try to add some lore in it.

On another note, armor should not be as strong as weapons of the same tech tree depths. You have better modifiers for defense. Having unkillable units can be extremely unfun.

These defense modifiers were calculated in assumption equal weapon and armor strength. When you ask to weaken armor you are asking for tilting balance in favor of attack. There was a huge discussion on a topic. Feel free to review it. You are welcome to renew it if you think you have some new arguments. I will be glad to listen. However, keep in mind that there were so many arguing and it is more or less settled for this mod now. So you need really strong and thought through new arguments to shake it.
😛
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 06:36:45 PM
I think the starting point would be to come up with themes, techs that are similar to one another. The Centauri techs are probably the most obvious. Those had a progression that made sense to me. Although there were maybe some flaws.

Some themes might be
Terraforming
Weapons/Armor
Genetics/Pop Growth
Economics
Research

One thing to note is that about half the tree is military techs. So military could be subdivided. Movement, Weapons, Armor, and Abilities perhaps.

Excellent suggestion. It is actually somehow done in vanilla by coloring them and linking similar techs. We can sure do the same maybe with refined approach. They also should be color subsets to not cross color boundaries. Something like that.

Red
Weapon and conventional attack favoring features
Armor and conventional defense favoring features
Chassis (some of them)
Yellow
Infrastructure and minerals
Drones
Blue
Research
(no need for finer granularity - there are not much of research features at all)
Green
Native warfare units and related features (including native related attack and defense abilities)
Terraforming
Growth
Exploration (foil chassis)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 06:44:27 PM
Yeah it feels like there's way too many conquer techs.. but i don't know if that affects anything. Maybe factions with conquer focus have it harder to get non-conquer techs.

Yes. There are 27 out of 85 (32%) of them in WtP.
No. it doesn't affect anything. The technology color is just the one value with the highest priority. Industrial Base
 is 3222 so it becomes conquer. However, it is equally good for everything else too.

My first impression was there's too many weapons/armors but i got used to it quickly. One doesn't have to build latest variant, especially not the armor. Equality means its hard to conquer anything - I played Miriam and overrun Deirdre with 10 bases with Particle, Missile and Chaos weapons - all early. I didn't play Yang, Santiago or usurper Aliens i presume they can go to war early. Other factions look to me to be better at builder style. Once you go builder style it seems to me its hard to conquer anything before Fusion laser (10) or Shard Weaponry (13). Worms are no solution also because its hard to amass them. This is ok in general - different playstyle and its fun to play in lategame or endgame.

Agree. I have the same impression too. It doesn't matter whether you play vanilla or any other mod. 20 weapon/armor components is just too much for 350 turn game. You essentially need to discover, design, prototype, and then upgrade entire army every 15 turns. That is impossible unless you play to do just that. 😂

I always proposed to decrease number of weapons from 12 to 8 at least. Didn't do it, though, as I was scared people start complaining immediately. This time for lacking of their preferred weapon. 🙄

About SE choices - i must admit i am surprised by your logic, i rated 30% science + 1 EFF highly  and Free Market lower partly because it goes into negative planet. So one can't use fungus - power of all these vary with time tho. I'll go experiment a bit and revisit my choices. Maybe i am taking some wrong things for granted. Gonna also see if i can crunch some numbers in few of my saves and see how it turns out in real game.

Please be patient with this. Effect are so variate and circumstantial that nobody can just point a finger and say what is better and by how much exactly.
Even if you feel like it there are still two problems with it. First, you may be just wrong. Happens to everybody including me. I had to review my SE effect values few times along the road. Second, how to you even prove your judgement to others? I mean not the kind of reasoning with random wording to defend your point of view but the one that other people will accept. I tried to build a hard mathematical base under that and even posted some article on the net but nobody cares.
It takes some intellectual discipline and patience for such dialog. 😕

For now I suggest we don't dive into it but just vote. Propose some change and if others support it - I'll just introduce it. It is not such a big deal anyway.

ps. i reverted to v.54 but i'll see to reproduce that road movement bug

Is there something else in 55 that breaks you game play besides it? Send me your 55 problem save in PM.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 06:59:58 PM
Having the the Conquer techs interleaved with builder techs would be fine for me. But they should make just a tad more sense. A fig leaf like Industrial Automation having Silksteel Alloys as a prerequisite would be OK already. Most of the current ones do not even make as much sense as that.

They had to. You cannot make both prerequisites from the same group. You need to cross pollinate. When we are talking about themes these are just single chain of similar techs. Each one of them takes some random prerequisite as well.

+2 Eco is substantially superior to having high effiency and research.

Friend, I understand you feel this way. Can you prove it? Not to yourself but to others? I am not saying your understanding is incorrect but without proof the dialog is impossible.

Just propose the change instead and we'll vote.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 07:12:32 PM
Having the the Conquer techs interleaved with builder techs would be fine for me. But they should make just a tad more sense. A fig leaf like Industrial Automation having Silksteel Alloys as a prerequisite would be OK already. Most of the current ones do not even make as much sense as that.

They had to. You cannot make both prerequisites from the same group. You need to cross pollinate. When we are talking about themes these are just single chain of similar techs. Each one of them takes some random prerequisite as well.

What do you mean by same group? Is this a requirement in the game or a rule you set for the mod? How important is the position of a tech in the tech tree (type of prerequisites, type of following techs) vs level of that tech for you?

+2 Eco is substantially superior to having high effiency and research.

Friend, I understand you feel this way. Can you prove it? Not to yourself but to others? I am not saying your understanding is incorrect but without proof the dialog is impossible.

Just propose the change instead and we'll vote.


I was just discussing SE effects with lolada. I didn't propose or intend to propose a change.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 07:33:29 PM
I already made a suggestion. I will think on it some more.


Do you refer to this?
http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21359.msg125498#msg125498

Sorry, I didn't get what model you want to change and how.

Do you value the system where each technology has one prerequisite from the previous tier and one prerequisite from the tier before that?


Yes. That is exactly how my whole tree is built. Such consistency makes it easy to understand the tech placement in a tree. With 14 levels you get level 7 somewhere mid game. Or in other words if you researched most of the level 7 techs than you are past mid point. 😀

Vanilla is not like that. It is complete mess where higher level tech may be easier to reach than some lower one in some cases.

What do you say about the weapon armor balance? Weapons should be a bit ahead of armor, not as much as in vanilla maybe.


Why?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 07:40:46 PM
What do you mean by same group? Is this a requirement in the game or a rule you set for the mod? How important is the position of a tech in the tech tree (type of prerequisites, type of following techs) vs level of that tech for you?

Neither. Me personally I don't care. However, others propose linking similar technologies. I am just pointing out that even then you cannot both prerequisites to be from similar group otherwise this group will not connect to anything outside it. So with best efforts one still ends up with some meaningless prerequisites here and there. There is no escape of it.

I was just discussing SE effects with lolada. I didn't propose or intend to propose a change.

Oh. Sorry. Never mind then. Somehow I compelled to answer each and every post here. 🙄
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 23, 2020, 07:46:29 PM
Here movement bug in v.55. - you can move that infantry 9 tiles in gaia start thanks to river.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 07:47:00 PM
I already made a suggestion. I will think on it some more.


Do you refer to this?
http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21359.msg125498#msg125498

Sorry, I didn't get what model you want to change and how.


No, I meant the Applied Physics + Industrial Base switch.

What do you say about the weapon armor balance? Weapons should be a bit ahead of armor, not as much as in vanilla maybe.


Why?



Disregard this for the moment. I don't really have enough experience to say for sure. (Purely from calculation there seems to be no reasonable way to get a entreched defender out of a fungus field near your base or out of a base with perimeter defense. As I understand it, the combat power of units weakens when they get damaged. But I'd guess a defender behind a perimeter defense can easily kill several attackers in a row which means that combat becomes a fairly static affair.)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 08:43:40 PM
No, I meant the Applied Physics + Industrial Base switch.

Ah. This is in 56 already.

No, I meant the Applied Physics + Industrial Base switch.

What do you say about the weapon armor balance? Weapons should be a bit ahead of armor, not as much as in vanilla maybe.

Why?


Disregard this for the moment. I don't really have enough experience to say for sure. (Purely from calculation there seems to be no reasonable way to get a entreched defender out of a fungus field near your base or out of a base with perimeter defense. As I understand it, the combat power of units weakens when they get damaged. But I'd guess a defender behind a perimeter defense can easily kill several attackers in a row which means that combat becomes a fairly static affair.)

From which calculation? I'd like to know it too! 😀

How the defender is entrenched if there are no bunkers anymore? Is it just staying on fungus? If so then it is about 2.25 times stronger than attacker with equal weapon strength. So? It'll take one artillery and one attacker. No casualties.
In base with PD it is about 3 times stronger than equal equipped attackers. This is little bit more challenging. One artillery to wear it down to 1.5 and then two attackers, one dies. So 1:1 losses. Not bad for defended base attack.

Or course, smart opponent won't let you just bombard the city and approach it without counterattacks. So attacker would probably lose 2-3 times more units capturing the base. This is the prize price. Do you find it too high?
From my experience when it is lower than 2 conquest becomes a single most lucrative enterprise which bored me in vanilla. Therefore, this mod. In WtP it is not the single successful strategy.

Yes, it means there are some stalemate zone when neither side is powerful enough to crush neighbor. And? Why is this so exceptionally bad? Do you prefer ever advancing front line? Vanilla had it and game effectively ended in 100-150 turns, every time. Unless human player hold it off on purpose. That is kind of waste of undiscovered techs in my opinion. I like to try them and use them and feel how they change game play, you know. Therefore, this mod.

I can assure you. Three times overpowering happens very often from game start and more and more as it develops. Think about that. The mere alliance of three factions against one in mid game and faction starts loosing bases. You don't even need that. Any fluctuation in unit concentration, recent conflict somewhere and faction cannot transport them to the new front line quickly enough and suffers consequences. Happens every time.

From the feeling of it. In vanilla someone always captures bases in conflict. In WtP it happens like 50% of the time which is pretty acceptable. There are no trench wars as other tries to picture it. Play on scenario editor and observe AI.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 08:52:04 PM
Here movement bug in v.55. - you can move that infantry 9 tiles in gaia start thanks to river.

Fixed in 56. Forgot about rivers. 🙄
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 23, 2020, 08:55:51 PM
Let me repeat in hundredth time. There are so many different technology flavors that is impossible to make all prerequisites sensible.

I think I managed it in my latest mod version 1.43 tech shuffle.  I definitely had some trouble in the vicinity of Self-Aware Machines, but I eventually found a solution.  There are basically 2 kinds of continuity: research continuity and narrative continuity.  I prefer research continuity, the respecting of Explore Discover Build Conquer categories.  I don't like it when I've come up with only a narrative continuity, and the research categories don't basically make any sense one after the other.

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Besides it almost never sensible for one color to be dependent on other color.

This is false.  Techs can be legitimately cross-listed in multiple categories.  This requires a clear and consistent criteria for what different color categories represent.  For instance in my mod, Explore green color represents happiness, growth, exploration, and indigenous life techs.  This is quite overloaded, but it's not my fault.  It's what the original game implemented.  The only controversial change is putting happiness in with Explore.  I think it's an obvious consequence of growth, you can't grow if you don't have people happy.  I decided that Build is going to be about minerals and energy, wealth only.  You can be happy and poor.  You can be rich and miserable.

Over time, I decided that strict separation between Explore and Build is not generally valid.  For instance if you have more workers, you're always going to make more money or minerals.  Yet I don't want every research category to mean or imply every other research category.  So I adopted a "half as much influence" doctrine.  For instance my Social Psych gives the Recreation Commons.  I assign it growth=4 because it's making people happy.  I assign it wealth=2 because having more happy workers does make one more money or minerals.  And because I want happiness facilities to be primarily in Explore, not Build.

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Yet you have to do it.

Generally speaking that's not true.  However, I do make abrupt "cliff" transitions when I actually don't want it to be easy to get from one tech to the next.  It is possible to delay and semi-hide techs from being researched that way.  I used to treat fusion reactors and genetic warfare that way.  Lately, I'm not sure what's happening.  I've had to change the categorical continuities around for other reasons.

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Were you able to quickly memorize whole tree?

Some orderings and transitions make it easier or harder to remember than others.

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I never was and it never bothered me.

That doesn't speak to the point of whether or not it bothers others.  Being aware of one's own biases, is important when designing.  It's not essential that you take other people's point of view into account, but failure to do so, can affect adoption rates.

For instance, the author of Dwarf Fortress is known to be autistic.  He likes the ASCII text, labyrinthine menus, and extensive keyboard chord sequences to do things just fine.  Although the game has had design influence, and has some notoriety, and even a sustainable business model, it's clearly not as popular as it could have been.  This is because of the author's blind spots about what doesn't bother him, vs. what does actually bother a lot of other people.  And apparently, RimWorld (https://rimworldgame.com/) has subsequently become the better title?  I haven't really played either TBH.

"There's no issue" is a very different argument from "there's an issue, but I don't want to work on that, because I think it's too expensive for me to do."

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Were you able to memorize Civ 1/2 tech tree even if it was supposedly reflecting a real technological progress?

Yes.  But it took time, perhaps measured over a timespan of like 3 months of seriously incessant full time play.  I had just quit my job...

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Was everything sensible to you then?

Pretty much.  The tree was grounded in when historical inventions actually appeared, more or less.

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How the hell you can develop Medicine from Trade + Philosophy? 😲

This was one of the weak spots, as it didn't respect any kind of indigenous practices of "medicine".  Everyone's had some kind of medicine, and some of it worked better for some things than Western medicine.

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How the hell Space Flight was possible without Plastics in Civ 1? Oh well.

Not sure I understand why you think plastics are essential to space flight.  But this is going sideways into a discussion of our knowledge of real tech history.  SMAC of course isn't real tech history.

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For one we can just darn rename them all and repaint tech tree from scratch!

I rarely do this to techs, but I have done this in a few instances.

For instance, I changed "Frictionless Surfaces" to "Single-Sided Surfaces" at one point, because I was trying to figure out a valid fiction for a Clean Reactor.  I was moving things around in the tech tree and trying to repurpose the techs, without violating the quotes and voice acting that were inherently stuck with the tech.  I decided that these lines were vague enough that they could be about something other than friction, this idea of "hiding a surface from itself".  That a Clean Reactor could be some kind of conceptual Mobius Strip.  It held up reasonably well at the time.

Well, my tech tree changed over time.   :D  The Clean Reactor went elsewhere.  I decided the Single-Sided Surface was going to be my hand wavy explanation for how the 3-Pulse armor works.  It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but hey, it's tech!  The real reason I kept it, is because I'd put my "personal stamp of style" into the game.  I didn't feel like taking it out.  It's one of the ways you can tell I modded this.

I have Phasers instead of Fusion Lasers.  Having Fusion as a name for both a weapon and a reactor is damn confusing for automatic unit names, so I abolished it.  It is obviously a nod to Star Trek.

I have Chronoton Guns instead of Quantum Lasers.  Again, having a weapon and a reactor sharing a name is confusing.  This is a nod to a Star Trek Voyager episode about "temporal incursions".  The weapon is given by Temporal Mechanics.  The next tech gives Graviton Guns, so there's a phonetic continuity.

Most recently, I have renamed "Orbital Spaceflight" to "Orbital Construction".  Also "Advanced Spaceflight" is now "Orbital Supremacy".  They're also both much later in the tech tree.  This is to better explain what a Sky Hydroponics Lab is about.  It's required to be the 1st available satellite if you want the satellite UI to work properly.  Planet Busters and the missile chassis are not required to have that UI work, so AFAIAC now, those missiles no longer have anything to do with space flight.  We can launch terrestrial missiles just fine without going into space.  Such things are generally called cruise missiles.  Indeed, they got called that in later Civ games.  Orbital Supremacy gets my Orbital Defense Pods and Geosynchronous Survey Pods.  The choice of name is a nod to the old board game [Supremacy](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supremacy_(board_game)).  It is also something that militaries actually try to achieve, i.e. Air Parity, Air Superiority, Air Supremacy.

The challenge in all of this, is to try to utilize and respect the quotes, narratives, and world building that are already in place.

Sometimes I've welded a tech and a Secret Project together, because the right character was talking about stuff.  For instance, Chairman Yang yabbering on and on about how to overcome yin yang dualism.  He does it for Monopole Magnets.  I decided that's a good place to weld the Ascetic Virtues.  It's not a perfect tech relationship, but it's a good narrative relationship.  I happened to want those things to come at about the same time, in the beginning of the midgame at my Tier 3.  They were floating around each other, and they helped me solve some narrative and tech fitting problems at the time.  I don't plan to take them apart again.

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As it doesn't affect game play I don't pay attention to it much. You are welcome to team up with me on it. I hear a lot of critics on this specifically but nobody volunteered yet.
😉

Well as you know, I'm not teaming up with anyone to solve such problems.  I do my own mod to toot my own horn as a game designer.   Being deft at such rearrangements, respecting the previous quality of SMAC as a narrative work, is part of what I do well as a designer.  I have my own specific tech tree results.  I merely suggest looking at what I did in my tree, when contemplating such problems.  Because frankly, I've done a better job of it, by far, than anyone else's work that I'm aware of.  If someone did some bangup job of this sort of thing back in the stone ages of SMAC modding, well their work hasn't survived in anyone's mind in the present day.  I suspect that I'm the only person who has put 2+ years into these kinds of "narrative and technical and balance" rearrangements.

Direct lifting of my tech tree, requires attribution per my CC-BY-NC license.  Inspiration of course requires nothing.  I hope to at least inspire.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 09:06:04 PM
Specialists modification proposal as suggested. Now each top level specialist produces 4 units of production and stays highly specialized. Thinker is not replaced by Transcend.

Doctor, +2 Psych
Empath, +1 Economy, +2 Psych
Transcend, +1 Economy, +2 Psych, +1 Labs

Technician, +3 Economy
Engineer, +3 Economy, +1 Labs

Librarian, +3 Labs
Thinker, +1 Psych, +3 Labs
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 09:09:07 PM
Let me repeat in hundredth time. There are so many different technology flavors that is impossible to make all prerequisites sensible.

I think I managed it in my latest mod version 1.43 tech shuffle.

Is it published?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 09:15:22 PM
Let me also give an example. I still remember the way to Air Power in Smac although I hadn't played it in many years. Part of the reason is that High Energy Chemistry -> Synthetic Fossil Fuels -> Air Power is intuitively understandable. There is some value to make this consistent. The game also loses a bit of casual/SP appeal if the tech progression makes no sense.

Regarding artillery. Did you change that too? Artillery damage on an equal tech level on a unit in Fungus should be 0.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 23, 2020, 09:28:24 PM
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How the defender is entrenched if there are no bunkers anymore? Is it just staying on fungus? If so then it is about 2.25 times stronger than attacker with equal weapon strength. So? It'll take one artillery and one attacker. No casualties.
In base with PD it is about 3 times stronger than equal equipped attackers. This is little bit more challenging. One artillery to wear it down to 1.5 and then two attackers, one dies. So 1:1 losses. Not bad for defended base attack.

Tim is right here - i just broke  Drones Neutron (10) defenses - behind Perimeter Defense - with mostly 13-1-1 / I have also some 16-1-1 attackers (protected by some armored units). I bombarded them 2-3 turns and just smacked infantry in - out of 4 attackers only 2 died.. sometimes 3-4 die, but its still about equal and you get the base. Without bombardments its tougher. First few bases can be tough to take, but it eventually snowballs. I'll post save in attachment if anyone is interested to take a look - terraforming is interesting too. Its M.Y. 2367 so you can have fun with lategame wars - i recently became Planetary Governor and passed double trade agreement - its money galore now.

I don't think even Tree/Hybrid forest need cost reduced.. unless they get nerfed in effect - they are just awesome with +2 Eco. At this stage minerals are just to juicy i am using more and more forests. Tempting to forest everything again...

I even used Power + Thought Control during the war turned all units to very high morale level. Morgan don't really have too much problems with -2 Industry. One can prebuild lots of units and then switch to power for high morale...

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Regarding artillery. Did you change that too? Artillery damage on an equal tech level on a unit in Fungus should be 0.
Yes its changed - artillery has a chance to deal damage even when weaker - its in readme file. I suggest highly  to keep artillery at max weapon it really helps. 2-3 units are enough usually - 2-3 turns of bombardment and then attack.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 23, 2020, 09:30:57 PM
Let me repeat in hundredth time. There are so many different technology flavors that is impossible to make all prerequisites sensible.

I think I managed it in my latest mod version 1.43 tech shuffle.

Is it published?

No, but I think it is feature complete and I am beta testing it.  If you want early access, I can make it so.  I will publish before the end of the month anyways, unless I run into an unexpected disaster.  Like separating Planet Busters from spaceflight somehow being deeply bugged.  I don't think there's a reason to expect that, but it's the sort of thing that does require a playtest before final release.  I suppose I could run an AI vs. AI game to speed up my confidence in that.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 23, 2020, 09:36:51 PM
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Doctor, +2 Psych
Empath, +1 Economy, +2 Psych
Transcend, +1 Economy, +2 Psych, +1 Labs

Technician, +3 Economy
Engineer, +3 Economy, +1 Labs

Librarian, +3 Labs
Thinker, +1 Psych, +3 Labs

I'd like to see Transcend being strongest. Its lore thing, so most point to transcends, 4 total. Or at least 1 more then other best specialist.
Empath and Transcend are like advanced beings ^^. Their benefits are spread out so one might still prefer Engineer or Thinker.. bur if you doubt it i would move Transcend anyway to late game - later then now.

Empath, +1 Economy, +2 Psych =
Transcend, +1 Economy, +2 Psych, +1 Labs

Technician, +2 Economy
Engineer, +2 Economy, +1 Labs

Librarian, +2 Labs
Thinker, +1 Psych, +2 Labs
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 09:40:25 PM
Regarding artillery. Did you change that too? Artillery damage on an equal tech level on a unit in Fungus should be 0.

Yes. Artillery now does a attack/defense proportional damage. Even if this ratio is less than 1 there is a proportional probability for 1 damage.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 09:46:18 PM
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How the defender is entrenched if there are no bunkers anymore? Is it just staying on fungus? If so then it is about 2.25 times stronger than attacker with equal weapon strength. So? It'll take one artillery and one attacker. No casualties.
In base with PD it is about 3 times stronger than equal equipped attackers. This is little bit more challenging. One artillery to wear it down to 1.5 and then two attackers, one dies. So 1:1 losses. Not bad for defended base attack.

Tim is right here - i just broke  Drones Neutron (10) defenses - behind Perimeter Defense - with mostly 13-1-1 / I have also some 16-1-1 attackers (protected by some armored units). I bombarded them 2-3 turns and just smacked infantry in - out of 4 attackers only 2 died.. sometimes 3-4 die, but its still about equal and you get the base. Without bombardments its tougher. First few bases can be tough to take, but it eventually snowballs. I'll post save in attachment if anyone is interested to take a look - terraforming is interesting too. Its M.Y. 2367 so you can have fun with lategame wars - i recently became Planetary Governor and passed double trade agreement - its money galore now.

Nice report, lolada!
😎
That is what I noticed too. It is not that expensive to penetrate the defense with prepared attack. However, I don't want to increase defense even more. People will not like it. I better work on AI.

Yes. Whatever we do it'll snowball sooner or later as you kill all front line defenders. In WtP it just happens later and requires some technological and economical preparations.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 09:47:53 PM
Let me repeat in hundredth time. There are so many different technology flavors that is impossible to make all prerequisites sensible.

I think I managed it in my latest mod version 1.43 tech shuffle.

Is it published?

No, but I think it is feature complete and I am beta testing it.  If you want early access, I can make it so.  I will publish before the end of the month anyways, unless I run into an unexpected disaster.  Like separating Planet Busters from spaceflight somehow being deeply bugged.  I don't think there's a reason to expect that, but it's the sort of thing that does require a playtest before final release.  I suppose I could run an AI vs. AI game to speed up my confidence in that.

I just want to look at your fixed tech tree if you have it completed already.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 09:59:43 PM
Empath, +1 Economy, +2 Psych =
Transcend, +1 Economy, +2 Psych, +1 Labs

Technician, +2 Economy
Engineer, +2 Economy, +1 Labs

Librarian, +2 Labs
Thinker, +1 Psych, +2 Labs

Doesn't it make Engineer and Thinker too weak? Their revenue is nothing comparing to working a tile. Nobody would like to use them.

Empath is currently at L6 which is fine.
I can move Transcend to L11-12
Engineer is L5.
Librarian is L4.
Thinker is L7.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 23, 2020, 10:23:15 PM
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Doesn't it make Engineer and Thinker too weak? Their revenue is nothing comparing to working a tile. Nobody would like to use them.

Hm whats the goal? I don't consider using specialists in general unless the base is working really weak tiles like 1-1-0 or 2-0-0 then i choose one thats good. If we want them to be used instead of tiles then we should determine some yield and balance around that.

I am fine with your numbers as well if you think mine were too weak. I presumed you wanted to nerf Transcens (they are op). Just then place Transcends at Tech11 thats enough to have them used to some effect - but keep them as superhuman  ;cha;.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 23, 2020, 10:40:52 PM
Part of the reason is that High Energy Chemistry -> Synthetic Fossil Fuels -> Air Power is intuitively understandable.

I have noticed that many techs do seem related, or at least can be seen as related.  Which one should precede the other though, varies!  In my work, it has varied with what I needed to get done in the tree.  So for instance, I have C5 Doctrine: Air Power --> C6 Synthetic Fossil Fuels.  I have the latter giving the Missile Launcher.  That's a strength 6 weapon, and my weapons and armors are pretty strictly slaved to their tech tier.

I can't always maintain strict relationships and sometimes I have to hand wave.  For instance C6 Synthetic Fossil Fuels + C6 Photon/Wave Mechanics --> C7 Probability Mechanics.  I can't tell you why synthetic fossil fuels or missile launchers would have a damn thing to do with this, only that it does.   :D 

There's really no helping it.  I demand a strict weapon and armor progression in my mod, to control offense and defense and why you'd bother to invest in anything.  But the original game skipped all over the place with the tech basis of subsequent weapons, as far as their power rating goes.  Moreover, the numerical strengths of the weapons are slaved to the artwork for the weapons.  Thankfully the same is not true for armor, but for weapons, you're hosed.  If it's strength 6 or 7, it's drawn like a Missile Launcher.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 23, 2020, 10:43:49 PM
I just want to look at your fixed tech tree if you have it completed already.

That's easiest to do by installing a clean copy of the game, then installing my mod on the clean copy.  Then you can hit Datalinks in the game, and see how things actually appear to the player.

I mean, if you're some of brainiac that can instantly remember all the dependencies just by reading the text... most people including myself are not.

I'm about to eat dinner.  I'll zip it up when I'm done.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 11:09:33 PM
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Doesn't it make Engineer and Thinker too weak? Their revenue is nothing comparing to working a tile. Nobody would like to use them.

Hm whats the goal? I don't consider using specialists in general unless the base is working really weak tiles like 1-1-0 or 2-0-0 then i choose one thats good. If we want them to be used instead of tiles then we should determine some yield and balance around that.

I am fine with your numbers as well if you think mine were too weak. I presumed you wanted to nerf Transcens (they are op). Just then place Transcends at Tech11 thats enough to have them used to some effect - but keep them as superhuman  ;cha;.

The goal is to make them less OP conservatively with as less as possible people being insulted by that change. 🤣
I don't use them too but others do. As well as AI who may not be aware of our change and continue turn them to specialists hurting itself.

I'll be more conservative with them then but move them to later. Less people will notice that. Anyway, I don't see much harm in giving them 4-5 eco/lab/psi past mid game. Any decent terraformed square is better than that.

Empath, +2 Economy, +2 Psych (L6) - seems fine
Transcend, +2 Economy, +2 Psych, +2 Labs (L9) - will be moved to L12. This is almost end of the game.

Technician, +3 Economy
Engineer, +3 Economy, +2 Labs (L5) - probably makes sense to move it to L9 somewhere

Librarian, +3 Labs (L4) - fine
Thinker, +1 Psych, +4 Labs (L7) - kinda fine too but may move it a little bit later too.

Slight improvement for Thinker as it feels kinda weak comparing to Engineer.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 23, 2020, 11:28:03 PM
Specialists are a fine choice for factions that have problems with Energy/Research from tiles (like Yang). They need to be decently strong to remain an option.

Attached is the WTP tech tree.
Observations:
- I like a lot of the early tech progression from a gameplay perspective.
- Tech progression is consistently illogical from a flavour perspective, the late game in particular is a hot mess.  ;)
- The alien technologies serve no purpose, make techprogression illogical (ie. Field Modulation grants Aqua Farms for some reason, it also makes no sense as an early tech) and worsen the problem that advances are spread out a bit too thin. (That's an issue with Smax not the mod.)
- A lot of overpowered advances seem to have been nerfed out of existence by placing them two seconds before Transcendence.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 11:51:04 PM
Version 57 with specialists change.
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer/blob/master/wtp_changelog.md#version-57
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 23, 2020, 11:54:10 PM
Specialists are a fine choice for factions that have problems with Energy/Research from tiles (like Yang). They need to be decently strong to remain an option.

That's why I didn't dance on them too much. Just moved to later in 57. I guess this is a lesser evil.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 12:03:41 AM
Attached is the WTP tech tree.
Observations:
- I like a lot of the early tech progression from a gameplay perspective.
- Tech progression is consistently illogical from a flavour perspective, the late game in particular is a hot mess.  ;)
- The alien technologies serve no purpose, make techprogression illogical (ie. Field Modulation grants Aqua Farms for some reason, it also makes no sense as an early tech) and worsen the problem that advances are spread out a bit too thin. (That's an issue with Smax not the mod.)

OMG. How did you generate it? Nice work. Thank you. I probably may include it with the distribution. However, it is ever changing target. Would be difficult to support.

Yes, if you look at tech names and not features they uncover then it is completely illogical. Building completely concise and perfectly linked list of technologies is a hard work by itself even without regard to their features.

Vanilla is not better. It is just nobody criticized it taking it for granted as holy scripture that cannot be wrong.
How Progenitor Psych granting Aquafarm is at all different in making sense? I just moved it from one alien tech to another. These water facilities seem to be tied to alien tech in SMAX for some reason.

- A lot of overpowered advances seem to have been nerfed out of existence by placing them two seconds before Transcendence.

Yeah. That is how it was planned. Actually big part of it is user requests which makes sense.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 24, 2020, 12:43:33 AM
Yeah, that was my point. I'm not criticizing the mod here. Aqua Farms should be granted by some Former or Centauri tech. The were put with Progenitor Psych because Progenitor Psych needed something not because it made any sense. Progenitor Psych is a completely superfluous doubling of Social Psych and the game would be better without it. Almost all of the alien technologies are like that.

I wonder if some of the overpowered mechanics can be salvaged.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 02:22:26 AM
Yeah, that was my point. I'm not criticizing the mod here. Aqua Farms should be granted by some Former or Centauri tech. The were put with Progenitor Psych because Progenitor Psych needed something not because it made any sense. Progenitor Psych is a completely superfluous doubling of Social Psych and the game would be better without it. Almost all of the alien technologies are like that.

Somebody may make an excellent argument that all these water facilities came in SMAX. Ergo they were brought by aliens. Therefore, sitting in alien tech makes perfect sense. See. One can absolutely build irrefutable chain of conclusions and explain anything! 😜

I wonder if some of the overpowered mechanics can be salvaged.

Huh?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 02:40:05 AM
I have now posted a .zip of my mod 1.43 beta (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=20959.msg125539#msg125539) for those interested in my tech tree, or other aspects of my mod.

Attached is the WTP tech tree.

I guess you have an automated way of generating that.  Does the tool have a public repository?

Do you have a way of making it fit more readably on a conceptual sheet of paper?  When I look at it in a web browser, I have to jack it to 200% to make it legible.  That by itself is not so troublesome, but I also have to scroll to see the whole thing.  I believe I would be scrolling less if it was more fitted to the dimensions of a monitor screen.

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(ie. Field Modulation grants Aqua Farms for some reason, it also makes no sense as an early tech)


Aquafarm originally came with Progenitor Psych.  Also an alien tech, and also doesn't make any sense.  The reason it doesn't make any sense and the "Aliens brought it" argument is bogus, is there's nothing exotic sounding about an Aquafarm at all.  Sounds like something we do on Earth.   Furthermore Svensgaard gets the completion lines about it, not the Aliens.  There's no Alien lore to go with its inclusion in an Alien tech.  It's pretty much just lame expansion pack stuff, obviously there because they wanted to shove it in somehow, and didn't want to disrupt existing techs.

Also turned out to be overpowered and not something one should just give away as a Tier 1 tech.  I recently moved it to Tier 5, same as Soil Enrichers.  Only recently have I started to learn how to exploit an Aquafarm, because I wasn't getting my Tree Farms in the timeframe I was used to.  I got so much food, that I started questioning why anyone would build Tree Farms, at least in a coastal city.  I re-homed Aquafarm to B5 Advanced Ecological Engineering, where I also give Soil Enricher, Hybrid Forest, and Super Formers.

Field Modulation has given 3-Res armor, but I think WTP doesn't give that armor at all, and I don't give it to the Aliens gratis for free at the start of the game.  I nerfed them.  They still have to get Field Modulation and Progenitor Psych to be aliens, that can't be avoided, short of not giving the techs at all.  I've decided to give them the Cloaking Field (slightly renamed) and Hypnotic Trance, respectively.  Cloaks are useless in practice.  The AI just ignores them.  They can allow one to avoid zones of control and that's not a completely useless ability, but it's not particularly worth paying extra for in most cases.  Hypnotic Trance, well it's just my flavor that the Aliens figured this out, not the humans.  I think both choices are lore fits.

I have Field Modulation as a Conquer 2 tech.  I have Progenitor Psych as Explore 3.  I'm making it a bit more difficult to get Trance in my mod, if you're not an Alien.  This is to increase the early challenge value of dealing with mindworms.  Trance is not a free ability in my mod, it costs 1, so even Aliens don't typically build Trance units at the beginning of the game.

Making PrPsych a Tier 3 tech, has the interesting play mechanical consequence that Aliens decide to talk to you, and not vice versa.  Unless of course you're playing an Alien, in which case you decide how long you want to delay Rec Commons to avoid talking to the pesky humans.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 03:49:46 AM
I have now posted a .zip of my mod 1.43 beta (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=20959.msg125539#msg125539) for those interested in my tech tree, or other aspects of my mod.


Thank you, man. Just reviewed it.

I don't want to offend you with criticism. However, since you claimed to polished your tech tree and tied all the ends with lore, I'll allow myself few cautious notes.

First of all, do you have your lore explained somewhere or you just feel it is right? If latter, then I would refrain from arguing about it as, obviously, everybody has their own feeling what is right. Especially, in the field of futuristic science fiction where everything is theoretically possible.

One example of that could be the very second tech in your list.
Industrial Base,            Indust,  0, 0, 4, 3, Ecology, DocFlex, 000000000
I cannot yet absorb how anything industrial may stem from ecology. That is by definition a force opposing any industrialization. Flexibility, in its turn, is a military doctrine. There is kinda far leap from military operations to industrialization. I mean, anybody can build a conclusion chain between them saying something like: "ecology forced industry to be clean and thus improving on quality" or "military operations require advance in industry". Which may sound well for some and not well for some others.

Let me reiterate that I don't tell that your tree design is bad or good. I just illustrate how any design can be seen from either side. There is no definitive say whether some connection is good or bad.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 24, 2020, 04:03:51 AM
I'd have to give more thought to a tech tree rework. Specialisations that don't cross over enough can lead to strange illogical results. It'd be like as said, having Flight in Civ2 before discovering The Wheel. Which I think might have actually been possible as I recall. Or in SMAC equivalent perhaps something like having Fusion Power before Laser weapons. As most early fusion reactors we're working on now are laser triggered.

The progression from say Centauri Ecology > Centauri Empathy > Centauri Meditation > Centauri Genetics > Centauri PSI > Secrets of Alpha Centauri is kind of obvious. But the secondary techs that each one should require is less obvious. There probably does need to be interweaving between the 'tech groups', for balance reasons and lore. Though maybe not as much as in the stock tech trees. I'd have to think about it.

I could see weapons and armor interweaving
research a bit with everything
native life, genetics, & nutrient terraforming
economics, industry, & mineral/energy terraforming
SE techs are harder to place. They probably should be scattered according to their benefits
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 04:22:27 AM
First of all, do you have your lore explained somewhere or you just feel it is right? If latter, then I would refrain from arguing about it as, obviously, everybody has their own feeling what is right.

Well obviously I'm right and you're not.   ;lol  More seriously, I will argue such things, and have a firm basis for everything.

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I cannot yet absorb how anything industrial may stem from ecology.

I have assumed that my mod will be played by people who have already played SMAC.  This might not be strictly true, there might be a few people who skip straight to my mod without bothering with SMAC much.   I generally advise people to play SMAC first, to understand the original.  Among other things, that's the only way they're going to know that I actually improved anything.  Now a very experienced 4X TBS player, however, might want to just get on with "a better challenge and play experience" more quickly.  So I've advised them to start with SMAC, but move on quickly.  They might move on before they've mastered the tech tree, and that is the only corner case where I can see your point of view having any merit at all.

This is SMAC.  Players know what Centauri Ecology is and that it gives Formers.  Moreover, I made it a Yellow Build tech.  It's obvious as rocks that Industrial Base is the next Yellow Build tech.  You really should refrain from reading only text files, and instead crank up the game in a new installation like I suggested.  So you are experiencing what a player sees.  Not what you personally have come to internalize as a game designer and modder.  You've got biases and blind spots.

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That is by definition a force opposing any industrialization.

Complain to Brian Reynolds.  He gaveth usth teh Former, which ravageth The Land.
 :adore:
:doh

Look seriously, it's not my agenda to completely redesign the experience of SMAC.  Far from it.  I preserve the experience where I can.  You're supposed to know what a Former does already.  It's not an organic permaculture tool.  I'm not going to rename Centauri Ecology, there's no valid reason to do that.  And who says I'm going to study its ecology to harmonize and sing kumbaya with it?  I might want to rape the minerals out of it and strip the land.  In fact, that's exactly what I had in mind, so I changed it to Yellow Build.

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Flexibility, in its turn, is a military doctrine.

It's actually a Green Explore tech in the original game.  I've had it as a Red Conquer tech a lot of the time in my mod.  Eventually I needed a Tier 1 Explore tech, so I changed it back.  It is cross-listed as Conquer, moreso than the original game actually.

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There is kinda far leap from military operations to industrialization.

We've already established that you're wrong about DocFlex and you need to drop your personal preconception of it.  It is Explore first, Conquer second.  Always has been, except when modders did something to it.  And we were wrong.   ;lol

Experienced players know that Industrial Base gives the Recycling Tank.  I didn't change that.  My change to Industrial Base, was putting Synthmetal Armor somewhere else, in its own distinct Conquer tech.  "Explore" in my mod is always about colonization, growth, exploration, mindworms, and making people happy.  Only the last aspect is different in my mod, from the original game.  The Recycling Tank gives food, minerals, and energy, and that's all Industrial Base does for you now.  So an Explore + Build tech --> a Build tech that's also giving you a little food.  There's no problem here.  You don't have to figure this out instantly, but my use of "what research categories are for" is consistent throughout my tree.  I challenge you to find any instance where it isn't.  You're going to be looking rather hard for awhile.  There may not be any warts nowadays.

When / if you take tech tree transition design seriously, you are going to find that you have to satisfy a lot of constraints and you can't always meet them.  You will run out of techs, for places you might like to have them in the tree.  I'm currently working in a system with 6 Tier 1 techs.  This has structural consequences.  I've had more at Tier 1, and I've had less.  The lowest was 5, and that was pretty cramped and dodgy.

Ha ha, the crossed out bit above, it seems I did change that.  I just did it so long ago, that I forgot.  In stock it comes with D1 Biogenetics.  Not wrong in terms of narrative, sure you might come up with better ways to recycle that way.  But it's wrong in terms of research focus.  A Recyling Tank doesn't give you more research or LABS effectiveness.  It does give you more food, minerals, and money, that's why I have it as a Build tech.

My D1 Biogenetics gives a Biology Lab.  Which does give you more LABS effectiveness.  See, I fixed what they did wrong.

Second strike-through.  For got my B2 Industrial Base gives Capitalist economic model.  How could I forget that??   ;morganercise

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There is no definitive say whether some connection is good or bad.

What the original game did, adds some weight to the decisionmaking.  Except of course where they completely screwed it up.

Also, I differ from the original game on 2 basic policies.  We've already covered where Happiness goes, I've made a different choice that I think is logical.  The other is where do weapons and armors go.  Unlike the original game, I do not sprinkle or toss any faction a bone.  You want weapons or armor?  You study Conquer.  Period.  The End.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 24, 2020, 04:32:25 AM
It depends where you start, my initial thought was to just look at the tech names in isolation. What priorities (explore, discover, build, conquer) come to mind looking at the tech without consideration of what benefits it traditionally gave. As I went through the list it was about 1/4 of each split, a few were hard to place in a single priority. Example: Environmental Economics, is 50% explore 50% build. Of course an even split may not be practical in purpose due to the wide range of weapons, armors, unit chassis, and abilities in game. So either some non-conquer techs need to give military benefits OR we accept conquer having the most techs.

So with that approach Centauri Ecology felt "explore" to me knowing nothing else about what it does. However you're right, formers aren't "explore" in their function. They're definitely build foremost. So perhaps Centauri Ecology shouldn't be the tech to get formers. Maybe then it should be the most simple sounding "build" tech. Which would be Industrial Base. So something as simple as the very first techs can be debated
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 04:52:51 AM
So either some non-conquer techs need to give military benefits OR we accept conquer having the most techs.

I took the latter as "the high road" of game design.  The biggest one that bugged me in the original game, was E6 Synthetic Fossil Fuels.  WTF is Deidre getting a Missile Launcher for?  What did she ever do to earn such a thing?  Nothing.  In terms of lore or rational progress it's a joke, a travesty.  And Deirdre doesn't even get the lines for the quote.  Morgan does!  So I was like, this is totally stupid, and this has gotta go.  No "sprinkling" weapons and armors, just because we feel sorry for somebody.

My choice has had long term consequences.  You might argue that my regime in 1.43, is the final resolution and logical conclusion to the problem.  Now every faction has a unique combo of 1, 2, or 3 research foci.  This is because a pure Conquer focus doesn't basically work, in my mod.  I think the Spartans can pull it off sometimes, if they have good enough land to start with.  And the Usurpers did ok with it, probably because of Directed Research.  But nobody else has done well with it.  So now there's a new Sheriff in town, and its name is Combo Research.

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So with that approach Centauri Ecology felt "explore" to me knowing nothing else about what it does. However you're right, formers aren't "explore" in their function. They're definitely build foremost. So perhaps Centauri Ecology shouldn't be the tech to get formers.

Yes making it all "Deirdre Green" was off in the original.  But the name has recognizability for veteran players.  There also aren't enough techs to just get new techs for everything, when you pursue all "warts" to their logical conclusions.  You have to assign things, and as a default, it's better to stick to things players are a bit familiar with.  My compromise was to change it from Explore to Build, based on function, not name.  And that has been my consistent policy.  I can only satisfy so many constraints at once.

I don't think I'd write a brand new game like this.  It takes a lot of upheaval to move things around in the tech tree.

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Maybe then it should be the most simple sounding "build" tech. Which would be Industrial Base.

I've done that before.  It's gone back and forth between Build 1 and Build 2.  I've also left Centauri Ecology at Tier 1.  The difficulty you run into, is needing to have prereqs for Tier 2 techs, and then Tier 3, etc.  It's a lot of Tetris-like puzzle fitting.  The result at Tier 1 may not be so much what's "ideally best" for techs at Tier 1, but because there are constraints being "felt" all the way up in Tier 3.  You only have so many techs to work with.  And they've all got hardwired quotes and voice acting, that you might ideally like to respect as well.

One of my constraints is I don't allow any SPs until Tier 3.  So I have B3 Industrial Economics, giving the Energy Bank and the Merchant Exchange.  I gotta have Build techs that lead in tiers up to that.  This is pretty much why my Industrial Base is Tier 2.

I will think about whether you have proposed enough logic, that I could actually free up and repurpose Centauri Ecology for something else.  Whether that would be beneficial.  Freeing up a tech this "late" in my tech tree maturity, is always an interesting discovery.  Logic pushes it to be "higher up the Explore tree" though, and I'm not sure I really need any techs there.  Plus it still has to be fairly early, in terms of name transitions.  Ecology before Empathy, certainly.

Hmm, playing "mental Tetris" in my own mod, I'm not seeing a basis for improvement that way.  I have my B2 Industrial Base giving Capitalist, and that's a good government fit.  I give out Politics and Economics on Tier 2.  If Industrial Base went to Tier 1, Industrial Economics would have to slide down to Tier 2 and give Capitalist.  I'd now need a B3 tech that gives the Merchant Exchange, and I don't have one.  In the original game, Adaptive Economics might have filled that hole, but it's in use for my Socialist.  That's the best narrative fit there is, the Aliens are clearly talking about Socialism.  I have important Build stuff on Tier 4 and they're not moving anywhere.

So although I could comment on tech transition desires in WTP, I can't actually make use of such a suggestion myself.  I have some constraints.

Ok this has caused me to stare at my early tech tree pretty hard.  I'm not really happy with my E3 Cyberethics.  Functionally it's fine, but as a tech name, it's a wart.  More Tetris...
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 24, 2020, 05:18:15 AM
When using the stock tech tree, I found I had more the opposite feeling. That there were more techs than useful things to give them. Especially in the back half of the game. I guess I can see how pushing SPs later might reverse that.

Also, I liked to pair every free facility SP with its facility. The ones that didn't felt odd to me. It was the feeling of your new tech being negated by the possibility of a future SP that you couldn't even start yet. Which didn't even make sense, if you can build it individually in each base, why is more tech required to build a superproject for all bases? The only place this strictly can't be done is Virtual World. But as long as VW's tech allows holo theatres, and NN comes before, I have less issue with it
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 05:31:00 AM
So with that approach Centauri Ecology felt "explore" to me knowing nothing else about what it does. However you're right, formers aren't "explore" in their function. They're definitely build foremost. So perhaps Centauri Ecology shouldn't be the tech to get formers. Maybe then it should be the most simple sounding "build" tech. Which would be Industrial Base. So something as simple as the very first techs can be debated

A lot of it can be fixed with renaming. Say if we want the tech to unlock formers and we perceive terraforming as this tech major feature then why don't we just call it something like Basic Terraforming or Terraforming Base for simplicity sake?

I guess one group of designers came up with a set of cool names and then others just shove features in them as they see fit. Or it could be the same person on different days. 😅
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 05:38:43 AM
Also, I liked to pair every free facility SP with its facility.

I've often done that, but it hasn't always been a good idea for the stock AI.  Although Thinker Mod code might have more brains, I would assume stock behavior until proven otherwise.

For instance, if you give Hologram Theaters and the Virtual World in the same tech, the AI will uselessly build HTs when it doesn't need to, before the VW is completed.  That's how I ended up with my E3 Cyberethics wart.  It gives the HT on a parallel path, so that if you're Discover focused you build the VW, but if you're Explore focused you build HTs.  The fallout of that kludge is Cyberethics is not a very good name for much.  It does give the Human Genome Project and I'm hand waving that editing human genetics might be a sketchy idea.  I actually wanted it to be paired with Research Hospital, but I decided that needed to be moved to Tier 4.

And this is the sort of thing you get into, over 2 years of modding.

Another example would be, I think Command Centers need to come a lot earlier than Tier 3 in my mod.  I've got the Command Nexus at Tier 3.  Even a Tier 2 tech can take a long time to get in my mod, because there are a bunch of them.  Sure they are freely traded, but who says you ran into a willing trading partner?

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why is more tech required to build a superproject for all bases?

In the case of the Planetary Energy Grid, because it is too damn powerful to let it go that cheaply.  And players may very well need an Energy Bank before it's appropriate to let them have an Energy Bank everywhere.  I've fretted back and forth about the issue you raised though.  I didn't like that I was not building Energy Banks, just in case I might finish the Grid.  I often found myself building Tree Farms before Energy Banks, because there's no "Tree Farms everywhere" SP.  My current compromise is that the Grid "lags" the Energy Banks.  Tier 4 vs. Tier 3.  And it's not so easy to climb up one of my tiers.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 05:40:42 AM
When using the stock tech tree, I found I had more the opposite feeling. That there were more techs than useful things to give them. Especially in the back half of the game. I guess I can see how pushing SPs later might reverse that.

Also, I liked to pair every free facility SP with its facility. The ones that didn't felt odd to me. It was the feeling of your new tech being negated by the possibility of a future SP that you couldn't even start yet. Which didn't even make sense, if you can build it individually in each base, why is more tech required to build a superproject for all bases? The only place this strictly can't be done is Virtual World. But as long as VW's tech allows holo theatres, and NN comes before, I have less issue with it

First of all, facility giving SPs is a lack of designers imagination. Indeed, there is not point in negating buildings. Besides, replacing the facility it is not unique. Others may just build them. Maybe for bigger cost/maintenance but still. Such SPs give just pure economical advantage. And there are like 10 of them. So you get more and more same exactly economical advantage. Boring.
So there is no point in perfecting them. We sure can place it together with facility. It won't change much. One can as well build it and then sell already built facility - again for economical advantage. Nothing changes much.

Second, well it is more tech required to build a superproject for all bases. At least this sentence sounds like that. It is nice to see you using a clearly opposing argument to you benefit. 🤣
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 06:42:16 AM
Such SPs give just pure economical advantage.

Some give logistical or military advantage, when building or conquering a base.  For instance if I have the Command Nexus, and I build a sea base, I don't have to worry about building a Command Center there, before rushing a defensive unit with some training.  A Perimeter Defense upon conquest is definitely useful.  Naval Yard and Aerospace Complex give defense bonuses, so having them everywhere automatically is useful.  I don't have to spend extra turns rushing a defensive building.

Ok who's gonna hack up the Punishment Sphere Every Base SP?   ;lol :whip:
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 24, 2020, 01:01:18 PM
I think you are bit defensive about this, Tim. ;) Of course, there will always be tech progression that makes little sense or is hand-wavy at best. The original tech tree is, however, much more reasonable than the current one of the mod. The majority of the prerequisites is plausible in vanilla.

Would you be OK with a counterexample? I don't want to presume. It's your mod. What I noticed when thinking about it was that interleaving the early combat techs with builder techs has its downsides. The consequence is that you can can pursue builder techs as usual and get up-to-date military capability also because it is required.

One could require Conquer techs have their own path like bvanevery has it. Or you could give Conquer factions access to earlier stronger weapons in their tech path and add some weaker and later options for builder. For instance level 3 Superconductor for 4 power weapons in the red path and level 4/5 Nonlinear Maths in the builder path for 3 power weapons.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 24, 2020, 02:45:52 PM
I considered making the armor techs and defensive unit ability techs DISCOVER. CONQUER would get the weapons techs, chassis aside from Foil, and the offensive abilities. EXPLORE and BUILD have a lot more units/facilities/etc.

I suppose the next step is to look at all the facilities, SPs, SEs, and unit options and categorize them similarly.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 24, 2020, 02:54:24 PM
This is nice talk in theory, but in practice we want AI to be good and for that AI needs access to good facilities and weapons. If its so directed that one AI goes for explore and almost never gets any weapons.. it could be piss poor AI that dies.
Also these conquer aggressive AIs are already quite terrible at infrastructure building.. or teching economy..

So the tree should be somehow setup to help AI get good performance.. player can manage.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 03:51:01 PM
I considered making the armor techs and defensive unit ability techs DISCOVER. CONQUER would get the weapons techs, chassis aside from Foil, and the offensive abilities. EXPLORE and BUILD have a lot more units/facilities/etc.

Armor is both for conquest and protection from it. So is weapon. The defender should use a lot of attacks, bombardments, espionage, etc. to have effective active defense. And, therefore, attacker should armor their units, etc. Maybe the ratio could be slightly different. Like assailant could weapon/armor 50/50. Whereas, defender may emphasize on armored defenders in base for 60-80%. However, they need both weapon and armor. It is kinda difficult to conquer with contemporary weapon and shitty armor.

Again, don't be bought by the color/designation of the tech. Each has 4 values for each priority. The 4333 one could be conquer but it is practically everything. It is more explore than 0001.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 04:02:07 PM
I think you are bit defensive about this, Tim. ;) Of course, there will always be tech progression that makes little sense or is hand-wavy at best. The original tech tree is, however, much more reasonable than the current one of the mod. The majority of the prerequisites is plausible in vanilla.

Not at all. I don't think in term of paths. Practical gaming shows there is no isolated development. Everybody trades about half of techs. Plus high randomness with blind research. So one would research about 30-40% of what they like and the rest of it will be traded or randomly picked by blind research functionality.
The research priority let you research certain techs somewhat earlier but they do not let you run away researching only certain color. Probably only 1-2 levels ahead.

I would yet to see a tree designed with paths in mind. It would be interesting to study it.

My tree also links weapons and armor but I don't consider them a "path". It is just a prerequisites to make sure one don't get military items in order. Your path theory would predict pure conquest oriented factions run away in weapon and armor tech far far ahead of others then. That doesn't happen in practice. They are ahead by 1-2 levels comparing to other non-conquest faction with equal number of discoveries. And this gap stays the same throughout the game.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 04:08:12 PM
This is nice talk in theory, but in practice we want AI to be good and for that AI needs access to good facilities and weapons. If its so directed that one AI goes for explore and almost never gets any weapons.. it could be piss poor AI that dies.
Also these conquer aggressive AIs are already quite terrible at infrastructure building.. or teching economy..

So the tree should be somehow setup to help AI get good performance.. player can manage.

Exactemundo, my friend!
Everybody needs everything or almost everything. Some faction may skip on some features here and there but majority of it are equally useful for all. People talk about research paths as if they want to give one player all weapons and another all facilities. The difference in factions is their behavior not the tool-set. You need pretty much everything for assault as for protection. There are just few things needed for specific purpose. Like PD is for protection only. Everything else is needed for everybody else: formers, weapons, armor, almost all abilities, 95% of facilities, etc.

I would encourage everybody to not look at tech single designation (color) but on its weights (4 numbers). The higher numbers in certain area will make this tech a desirable pick for some factions with corresponding priority. I have already adjusted them to aid AI who stick with their priorities for the whole game. Human can maneuver.

So just because human changes their priority often there is no point in having set paths in tree spanning from beginning to the end. Human will just jump between them as needed. The biggest problem of balancing the tree is to help rigid AI with research. The difficult part is not to give AI what they want according to their research priorities but to give them what they do not want! 🤣

Indeed I've observed this in almost every game. AI it fine pursuing their path. They never can run too far ahead in it but they constantly have some small advantage edge. At the same time they can seriously fall behind in essential stuff outside of their focus. And here is where we need to help them. Make some essential features accessible to everyone.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 04:22:05 PM
I have computer model to see how different research priorities affect the development path and to make sure they are not too much skewed. Feel free to propose any improvement in this regard.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 24, 2020, 04:42:52 PM
Interleaving the builder and military techs is fine with me. I was just asking about the priorities.

Designing a tech tree is really hard with your requirement that each tech is prerequisite for one tech in the next tier and one in the tier after that. Each tier of techs has a one-to-one relation to 4 other tiers. That is amazingly restrictive. Perhaps you could relax the requirement for each tech in tier n to have a prerequisite in tier (n-1) and another in one of tier (n-1), (n-2), (n-3) with n-2 strongly prefferred?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 06:07:49 PM
Or you could give Conquer factions access to earlier stronger weapons in their tech path and add some weaker and later options for builder.

It's not a bad idea.  What I found outrageous in the original game, was that the Gaians were getting one of the most powerful early weapons from E6 Synthetic Fossil Fuels.  Like are you kidding me, Gaians??  FFS why?

I did not object nearly as much to the Morganites gaining strength 4 armor.  I think sprinkling a modest defensive improvement is not nearly as much of a sin as sprinkling a powerful weapon.

The University getting a Chaos gun kinda bugged me, but at least it's in character for mad scientists to get powerful weapons.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 24, 2020, 06:16:33 PM
I considered making the 2nd prereq always n-2. I'd have to map it out and see what implications that has, if it's too restrictive. It would mean the T2 techs only have one prereq which is probably ok.

The idea for discover getting armor was more that I don't want 50% of the tree to be red techs. And yea it wouldn't mean they aren't a priority for conquer. They could be like 3,4,3,3 or the like. It's not too much of a stretch, you aren't going to conquer the world with high armor alone. Whereas with weapons and speed you could.

So I started from the other direction as well. For everything a tech can make available, categorizing as conquer, discover, build, or explore. Not surprisingly conquer had the most at 57, discover 46, build 50, and explore 51. This with the view that terraforming is build, defense is discover, anything growth/drone control is explore. This isn't so far off that a tech tree couldn't be a quarter of each. Just means putting a few more benefits in each conquer tech.

Roughly 204 tech grantable abilities and 86 techs means on average a tech will give the ability to do 2 new things. With some granting 3. This I found a bit interesting since it felt like many conquer techs in the stock tree only allowed one thing like a weapon upgrade.

And yes Synthetic Fossil Fuels is definitely a red tech :)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 06:26:02 PM
This is nice talk in theory, but in practice we want AI to be good and for that AI needs access to good facilities and weapons.

You are risking genericizing all factions to playing exactly the same way.  This is already a problem in straight Thinker Mod.  The AI abuses boreholes and condensers, forcing a human player to fight fire with fire to keep up.  You might not complain about the fiction of most factions, but for Gaians it's completely tone deaf.  They're supposed to be able to compete by having a viable alternative asymmetric tech tree.  This takes careful design.  In the original game, giving the Gaians an easy strength 6 Missile Launcher was a design cop-out.  Whatever they had imagined they were going to do with AI mindworm play, it clearly didn't work in practice.  So they activated an escape hatch where the Gaians get a more powerful weapon than they deserve.

My own tech tree isn't just for continuity of narrative and lore.  It has been subjected to lots of playtesting over 2 years.  Things are as they are because the power of factions and AI performance in stock is mostly working. 

Playtesting is in fact why development has taken 2 years and not all gotten done sooner.  There has to be a certain amount of time lag of playing games to see what happens, getting the occasional player feedback, and making design adjustments accordingly.  So many of my mod releases, I thought I was done and had covered everything!  Somehow, I've kept finding dusty details to squeeze yet more performance out of the game.  I keep thinking I'm really a lot closer to done now.  Yet, 1.43 is a more substantial revision than usual.  Well if I've calculated right, at least I'll have finally put "the satellite problem" to bed.

The biggest AI performance problem I've noticed lately is that indeed, for 2 factions a pure Conquer focus was not working.  In 1.43 I'm making a big change of diversifying faction research thus:

Explore - Cult
Discover - University
Build - Morganites
Conquer - Spartans

Explore, Discover - Gaians
Explore, Build - Pirates
Explore, Conquer - Caretakers
Discover, Build - Angels
Discover, Conquer - Usurpers
Build, Conquer - Drones

Explore, Discover, Build - Peacekeepers
Explore, Discover, Conquer - Hive
Explore, Build, Conquer - Believers
Discover, Build, Conquer - Cyborgs

This does risk genericizing AI play.  However it's a more sophisticated take than having all of them implement exactly the same strategy.  When facing random opponents, there is now likely to be a coverage of different strategies.  One immediate observable effect is there's more Discover research in general, which heats up the rate of tech research.  I don't know yet whether I'll have to rebalance anything in the Discover tree to compensate.  It could take several releases to reach a verdict or maturity on that.

The only reason these strategies have any diversity in my mod, is because I've been working towards more and more strongly separating Explore Discover Build Conquer in my mod.  If they actually did very similar things, then diversity wouldn't matter nearly so much.  How much diversity to implement, is a matter of design.  I have a strict pure Conquer policy on weapons and armor, and I will never change that, having pursued that kind of design to its logical conclusion.  I do concede now, that it's not the only valid weapons and armor design.  The original game was goofy though and did many things wrong with weapons and armors, such as giving away powerful stuff inappropriately.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 24, 2020, 06:37:31 PM
Yea it's pick your poison. Thinker with ICS/Adv terraforming. Which really I'm not a big fan of that style either. Or base AI that honestly plays quite bad with any sort of Conquer focus. You have to give it 2 other priorities with Conquer to make it build any infrastructure, and even then :/. I found that once I fixed the AI from tanking energy, builder factions win almost all of the games. Conquer often get a continent or so but they aren't co-ordinated enough to break a fortress most of the time. Sometimes with lots of drop troops they can. Single continent maps I give conquer factions much better odds, as long as they aren't huge maps.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 06:46:36 PM
It is kinda difficult to conquer with contemporary weapon and shitty armor.
For the human player it's trivial.  Build rails.  The AI doesn't know how to do rails based conquest, so it's at a disadvantage.  Rails is a tried and true method as far back as Civ 1.

Some humans do the exploit of building a Truck unit, to drop off unarmored units that are going to fire.  I'm not into that kind of abuse.  Again, the AI doesn't know how to do it.  I did try implementing a Truck predefined unit, but the AI had no clue.

I have been known to use armored Drop Transports once I have orbital insertion capability.  Technically they could be used much earlier in the game as a kind of paratrooper, just at a much more limited range.  Range could in principle be extended with Carriers, but I almost never do Carrier based combat.  Yet another area the AI doesn't understand, too exploity for me.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 06:59:47 PM
Practical gaming shows there is no isolated development. Everybody trades about half of techs.

An unfinished SP can be used to block the AI from trading a tech with anyone.  My tree is designed around this.  SPs block the most important techs.  All the players can trade everything just fine on Tiers 1 and 2, so everyone gets their basics and Politics and Economics choices in a pretty reasonable period of time, even if separated by great distances.  But Tier 3, the tech trading door slams shut.  You simply aren't going to get "stuff" anymore.  You may say "half" of techs get traded, but it matters very much which half.  Techs are not all created equal, and SPs are the means to block them from spreading too fast.

Quote
I would yet to see a tree designed with paths in mind. It would be interesting to study it.

This is of course my mod, since forever, since the very beginning.  In 2 years you really haven't checked it out in any great detail?  The differentiation between paths has only gotten stronger in the past year.

If you mean you're looking for a mod that separates tech tree portions even more strongly than I did, well I don't think that's real world.  There's only so many techs.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 07:12:26 PM
People talk about research paths as if they want to give one player all weapons and another all facilities.

This is inherent to the game having different victory conditions.  There's supposed to be a faction that can sit back and Transcend.  There's supposed to be one that can sit back and make money.  There's supposed to be one that can sit back and grow population to the nines.  The AI has trouble with some of these things in practice, and could stand improvement of its code.  The human player still has all these choices though, and does not have to play Conquest Victory every single game.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 07:21:36 PM
Designing a tech tree is really hard with your requirement that each tech is prerequisite for one tech in the next tier and one in the tier after that. Each tier of techs has a one-to-one relation to 4 other tiers. That is amazingly restrictive.

I doubt there's any actual problem.  A game designer simply has to do the work.  My regime is 2 techs on Tier N, are prereqs for 1 tech on Tier N+1.  All techs must be completed in my tree to Transcend.  There are no dead ends.  Yes, if I decide a tech has to be moved somewhere else, I end up having to move a bunch of techs around to accommodate that.  It's work.  But it's not "amazingly" restrictive, I do the work as a game designer just fine.  After 2 years of this drill, I'm of course rather good at it.  It may look intimidating to someone who hasn't committed to such a rigid design premise, but it isn't rocket science impossible stuff.  I think of it as "playing Tetris" with the techs.

I've kept a CHANGELOG of every such shuffle I've made for 2 years.  Except I usually don't detail dependency changes, only the Tier movements.  You'd have to run a diff tool to see dependency changes, if you cared.  Rarely will anyone care.  Even if they do, it's too much work to talk about dependency changes in a CHANGELOG.  Detailing the Tier movements is enough documentation.

So if you want to get an idea exactly how much mental work is involved, the record is all there.  It's doable; I did it.  I proved it can be done, at X amount of development cost over time.

I wouldn't design a brand new game from scratch with this kind of tech + narrative regime.  It does impose a substantial production burden that I'd rather not be paying the time cost of.  How to completely reconceptualize tech advancement, in a way that more easily fits with narrative development and changes, is an exercise for another time.  This game has to be done something like this way.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 07:42:23 PM
defense is discover,

Wat?  That's a completely arbitrary decision.  Discover is about increasing your LABS output.  I don't get why scientists would be the only ones interested in defense.

I could see Conquer primarily being concerned with offense.  And all the other 3 categories being sprinkled with their own various defenses.  The stock game sorta did this anyways.  It's the sprinkling of offense in the stock game that greatly offended me, not so much the sprinkling of defense.

Whether sprinkling around defense would be a good idea in the real world, would be a matter of design and testing.  In my own mod, I simply evolved towards offense having very limited capability over defense.  I've got Sensor Arrays giving +50% defense bonus, not +25%.  I don't give a +25% attack bonus on bases to infantry.  I don't give ships any kind of "in port" defense penalty.  Sometimes that's made ships into super-defenders.  However it hasn't been enough of a problem when the AI does it, for me to revisit it yet.  If a playtester actually complained, maybe I'd act on it.  Gotta leave a few "rough edges" to do for some minor monthly release in the future.   ;lol

Seriously, it's important to have a long term advertizing campaign where releases are regular.  "Monthly" seems to be the quickest non-burdensome doesn't cause people to gnash teeth schema on Reddit.  Any more than that and they'll turn against you as a shameless self-promoter / spammer / community non-participant / drive-by guy.

The point of release cycles and advertizement, is so for all this game design effort you do, someone actually plays it.  Otherwise, what's the point?  I could put this much effort into perfecting a personal painting or sculpture maybe, as I'd have the physical object afterwards, to admire myself.  But I can't sit around admiring my version of SMAC so easily.  In fact, after 2 years quite the opposite.  Always at risk of being completely burned out!
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 08:27:31 PM
This is of course my mod, since forever, since the very beginning.  In 2 years you really haven't checked it out in any great detail?  The differentiation between paths has only gotten stronger in the past year.

I looked at it but didn't study. Can you tell me some of your paths besides weapon and armor?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 24, 2020, 08:40:01 PM
I think it is enough of preliminary discussing. Here is what I plan to do.

Currently I stick to paradigm when each tech has one major feature from vanilla that is mentally best associated with it. Other features can be reassigned arbitrarily to deal with conflicting priorities when features from same vanilla tech need to be placed in different levels. It seems that even having just a single feature association doesn't let building tree at will. So I like to review my primary associations and leave only those making perfect bond like Air Power and Needlejet. Thus releasing bunch of other tech and making them absolutely free of any locking for ease of manipulation.

Step 2.
Rename some techs for better sense. Like Centauri Ecology to Basic Terraforming.

Step 3.
Rearrange free techs in tree for aesthetic.

Step 4.
Reassign features back to techs to keep their place in history.


Here is the current list of all primary (hard) association those I don't break no matter what. This list is about to be substantially reduced. Feel free to vote.

type   feature   a   d   technolgy
1 unit types   Foil chassis
Troop transport, Pressure dome         Doctrine: Flexibility
1 unit types   Speeder chassis         Doctrine: Mobility
3 terraforming   basic terraforming, Terraform unit, restrictions lifted         Centauri Ecology
4b facility - drones   Recreation commons         Social Psych
4d facility - energy   Biology lab         Progenitor Psych
7 weapon   Laser   1      Applied Physics
8 armor   Synthmetal armor      1   Industrial Base
1 unit types   Heavy artillery         Polymorphic Software
2 ability   Hypnotic trance         Secrets of the Human Brain
4a facility - military   Perimeter defense         Doctrine: Loyalty
4b facility - drones   Hologram theatre         Polymorphic Software
4c facility - misc   Recycling tanks         Biogenetics
4c facility - misc   Children's creche         Ethical Calculus
7 weapon   Particle impactor   2      Nonlinear Mathematics
8 armor   Plasma steel armor      2   High Energy Chemistry
1 unit types   Mind Worms         Centauri Empathy
4d facility - energy   Network node         Information Networks
4d facility - energy   Energy bank         Industrial Economics
7 weapon   Gatling Laser   3      Superconductor
8 armor   Silksteel armor      3   Silksteel Alloys
1 unit types   Spore Launcher         Bioadaptive Resonance
4a facility - military   Naval Yard         Doctrine: Initiative
4j facility - size limit   Hab complex         Industrial Automation
5 reactor   Fusion Reactor         Fusion Power
6 secret project   The Virtual World         Planetary Networks
7 weapon   Missile launcher   4      Synthetic Fossil Fuels
8 armor   Photon wall      4   Photon/Wave Mechanics
1 unit types   AAA Tracking         Advanced Military Algorithms
1 unit types   Sealurk         Centauri Psi
3 terraforming   Thermocline transducer         Adaptive Economics
4e facility - ecodamage   Tree farm         Environmental Economics
6 secret project   The Planetary Datalinks         Cyberethics
7 weapon   Chaos gun   5      Superstring Theory
8 armor   Probability sheath      5   Probability Mechanics
3 terraforming   advanced terraforming         Ecological Engineering
4d facility - energy   Research hospital         Gene Splicing
4e facility - ecodamage   Centauri preserve         Centauri Meditation
4f facility - minerals   Genejack factory         Retroviral Engineering
6 secret project   The Citizens' Defense Force         Intellectual Integrity
6 secret project   The Supercollider         Applied Relativity
7 weapon   Fusion laser   6      Organic Superlubricant
1 unit types   Needlejet chassis, Air base         Doctrine: Air Power
4e facility - ecodamage   Hybrid forest         Planetary Economics
4j facility - size limit   Habitation dome         Super Tensile Solids
5 reactor   Quantum Chamber         Quantum Power
7 weapon   Tachyon bolt   7      Unified Field Theory
8 armor   Neutronium armor      6   Matter Compression
9 social enginering 42   Eudaimonic         Eudaimonia
1 unit types   Hovertank chassis         Nanominiaturization
2 ability   Marine detachment         Adaptive Doctrine
2 ability   Carrier deck         Nanometallurgy
3 terraforming   Mag tube         Monopole Magnets
4f facility - minerals   Robotic assembly plant         Industrial Nanorobotics
4h facility - prototypes   Skunkworks         Advanced Subatomic Theory
6 secret project   The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm         Pre-Sentient Algorithms
1 unit types   Copter chassis         Mind/Machine Interface
2 ability   Clean reactor         Bio-Engineering
4b facility - drones   Brood pit         Secrets of Alpha Centauri
4d facility - energy   Nanohospital         Homo Superior
4e facility - ecodamage   Temple of Planet         Secrets of Alpha Centauri
7 weapon   Quantum laser   9      Quantum Machinery
8 armor   Antimatter plate      7   Matter Editation
1 unit types   Locusts of Chiron         Centauri Genetics
4a facility - military   Bioenhancement center         Neural Grafting
4a facility - military   Flechette defense system         N-Space Compression
5 reactor   Singularity Engine         Singularity Mechanics
6 secret project   The Dream Twister         The Will to Power
7 weapon   Graviton gun   10      Applied Gravitonics
1 unit types   Gravship chassis         Graviton Theory
4b facility - drones   Paradise garden         Sentient Econometrics
4g facility - space station   Sky hydroponics lab         Orbital Spaceflight
4i facility - movement   Psi gate         Matter Transmission
7 weapon   Singularity laser   11      Controlled Singularity
8 armor   Stasis generator      8   Temporal Mechanics
4g facility - space station   Orbital power transmitter         Advanced Spaceflight
6 secret project   The Network Backbone         Digital Sentience
6 secret project   The Self-Aware Colony         Self-Aware Machines
7 weapon   String disruptor   12      String Resonance
4c facility - misc   Subspace Generator         Secrets of the Manifolds
6 secret project   The Cloning Vats         Biomachinery
6 secret project   The Voice of Planet, The Ascent to Transcendence         Threshold of Transcendence
            Transcendent Thought
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 24, 2020, 09:03:48 PM
Your associations are mostly fine. What I don't like about the tech tree is the sequencing.

Weapon and armor techs are clustered too much in the early game. The consequence is that you have something advanced like Probability Mechanics too early in the tech tree. They could also gain from being spread out a bit. The initial place of Synthetic Fossil Fuels among the green techs (maybe after Gene Splicing like in vanilla tech tree) was better. I would add an requirement to a high level conquer tech so that you can't skip the previous weapon techs that way.

The other flavour problem is that you stacked many problematic techs into the endgame where they also don't fit narratively. Orbital Spaceflight is not such a high level concept for example. If satellites should remain out of consideration they could be assigned to some late game tech instead.

You mentioned that these things were discussed.Can you link a thread? I am curious why Bio-Engineering and Non-Lethal methods are so late among other things.

Since there are armor techs missing in the midgame it would be possible to make Photon/Wave mechanic armor 6 strength, push Probability Mechanics back and make the corresponding armor 8 or 9 strength. Neutronium Plate could be 12. That also comes too early narravitely atm.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 24, 2020, 09:37:46 PM
I looked at it but didn't study. Can you tell me some of your paths besides weapon and armor?
For instance nowadays there's a pretty strongly differentiated "indigenous life forms only combat" section of the tree.  If you're not studying Explore, you're not getting up it.  It's long.  It goes all the way from E3 Centauri Genetics to E8 The Will To Power.  Then continues with D9 Secrets of Alpha Centauri and D10 Secrets of the Manifolds.

Some of the Conquer sections of the tree are on their own "isolated eddies" to make it only rewarding for a pure Conquer researcher.  Like the C7 Mind/Machine Interface, C8 Self-Aware Machines sequence.  This is possible because there are so many Conquer techs.  The main trunk of Conquer, where you now get your Planet Busters, is now more pure lately.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 24, 2020, 11:14:13 PM
My observation about armor and weapons:

Looks like progression is really quick up to level 2-3-4-5-6.. then it stalls a bit. 8 comes later and 10 a bit behind .. armor seem to go quick 2-3-4.. then some pause and 5-6- thats for awhile but not much and then comes armor 10 (neutronium). Bulk of war happens to be at armor 10.. weapons go up to 13 - 16 and quite later 20? 24 vs armor10.. when finally comes armor 16 which is really strong..

Its my observation from few games.. just feeling nothing exact. Feels to me i never build any weapons at lvl2-3.. then if i get in war build 2-3 units of level 4 and before real fighting begines.. its at 5 or 6 weapons.. and armor is 3-4.. Then depending on RNG one can get armors very quickly i had siutation with weapon 6 armor 6 for quite some time. Equality is intended i get it - but it feels like due to trading and transcend these techs and weapons get researched very quickly.

Early weapons look like they could be spaced more - or maybe 1-2 removed but its not necessary in any case.. spacing a bit would work.. armor the same. Then one could add maybe armor 12 to fill the gap a bit.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 25, 2020, 12:30:31 AM
Weapon and armor techs are clustered too much in the early game. The consequence is that you have something advanced like Probability Mechanics too early in the tech tree.

What's the problem with Probability Mechanics? Did it really appear too early in your games? If so just let me know and I'll move it couple levels up.

Orbital Spaceflight is not such a high level concept for example. If satellites should remain out of consideration they could be assigned to some late game tech instead.

What level do you like Orbital Spaceflight to be?

You mentioned that these things were discussed.Can you link a thread? I am curious why Bio-Engineering and Non-Lethal methods are so late among other things.

Check all topics I've started. They are all about different problems regarding this mod.

Bio-Engineering is a tech - a placeholder for features. It really doesn't matter where it is in the tree except aesthetically looking tree that it. Non-Lethal methods double police power for zero maintenance. It's an incredible ability. There is no counter or price to pay to compensate it. That is why it is late in the tree.

Since there are armor techs missing in the midgame it would be possible to make Photon/Wave mechanic armor 6 strength, push Probability Mechanics back and make the corresponding armor 8 or 9 strength. Neutronium Plate could be 12. That also comes too early narravitely atm.

armor techs missing in the midgame??? 😲
Are you talking about WtP?

I didn't understand how you propose to reshuffle them. Can you just list them names-levels?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 25, 2020, 12:39:49 AM
Early weapons look like they could be spaced more - or maybe 1-2 removed but its not necessary in any case.. spacing a bit would work.. armor the same. Then one could add maybe armor 12 to fill the gap a bit.

There are 12 weapons and 8 armors. Weapon will always change little bit faster. Yes, we can drop 4 weapons and space them more even. I personally don't see problem in having them in the game. You don't need to use each and every.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 25, 2020, 01:01:16 AM
You could make some armors prereqs for weapons and vice versa. That might solve the "armor too far ahead" or "weapon too far ahead" problems
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2020, 01:02:57 AM
So here's a lot of food for thought.

4d facility - energy   Biology lab         Progenitor Psych

I don't buy this one at all.  Xenobiology is not the Alien's story.  It's Deirdre's.  I can understand using it here if you wish, but to declare it an ironclad hard association, that's just wrong.  Doesn't fit with the game's lore.

Myself, I've ended up assigning this to Biogenetics.  It's biology.  However, I've also at times used Biogenetics as my Police State technology.  It has a relevant quote / voice acting from Chairman Yang.  "We hold life to be sacred..."  Over time, using Biogenetics as my Discover 1 tech with a Biology Lab, won out.

Quote
2 ability   Hypnotic trance         Secrets of the Human Brain

It's of course not wrong to do that, but there are other places you could do it.  I've done it in Progenitor Psych and Centauri Empathy.  Currently I've welded the Virtual World to Secrets in the Human Brain.  I think that's a good lore fit.  I've done the Virtual World elsewhere though, like Optical Computers.

Quote
4a facility - military   Perimeter defense         Doctrine: Loyalty

This is one of those cases of "familiarity with the stock game".  There's no inherent relationship between between loyalty and a defensive wall.  One could imagine a relationship, such as keeping people inside, but that's not really what a Perimeter Defense implies.  I decided a Perimeter Defense is a kind of armor, for cities, and gave it at the same time as I give Plasma armor.

Quote
4b facility - drones   Hologram theatre         Polymorphic Software

I don't see any inherent relationship between these ideas at all.

Quote
4c facility - misc   Children's creche         Ethical Calculus

Another "familiarity with the stock game", not inherent.

Quote
1 unit types   Mind Worms         Centauri Empathy

Not wrong, but I repurposed Centauri Genetics from later on.

Quote
1 unit types   Spore Launcher         Bioadaptive Resonance

I guess you don't have 3-Res armor.  I do, so I just gave Spore Launcher at the same time as mindworm.  I don't see a good reason to give them out in different techs.

Quote
4j facility - size limit   Hab complex         Industrial Automation

This is stock game familiarity, and not inherent.

Quote
6 secret project   The Virtual World         Planetary Networks

A reasonable idea, and I've probably done it.  However, I use this for probe teams and Police State.  Chairman Yang is watching you!

Quote
1 unit types   AAA Tracking         Advanced Military Algorithms

I put it in Doctrine: Air Power.  I don't believe that anyone should get "a chance" to prepare for Needlejets.  That chassis is substantially more expensive in my mod anyways.  The AI doesn't send them out like flies.

Quote
3 terraforming   Thermocline transducer         Adaptive Economics

Although there can be a relationship, I just don't see it as inherent or exclusive.  I want Adaptive Economics for my Socialist.  I think it's the obvious place for Planned as well.

Quote
6 secret project   The Planetary Datalinks         Cyberethics

It's stock game familiarity.  It doesn't actually make any sense at all.  Hasn't made sense in my mod lately either.  Cyberethics doesn't have much to do with anything!

Quote
4f facility - minerals   Genejack factory         Retroviral Engineering

Not wrong, but I did Bio-Engineering.

Quote
6 secret project   The Citizens' Defense Force         Intellectual Integrity

More stock game familiarity.  Makes no actual sense at all.  The quote / voice acting is Zhakarov talking about what people prefer to be true, rather than what the evidence shows to be likely or possible.  Just isn't relevant to survival militias patrolling perimeters.  I repurposed I.I. as a Discover tech.  Like I'm guessing it probably was at some point in their development.  There are some clues that they had some rebalancing troubles, like Optical Computers not doing anything.

Quote
7 weapon   Fusion laser   6      Organic Superlubricant

Familiarity; doesn't actually make any basic sense.  I repurposed it as the basis for hovertanks.

Quote
4e facility - ecodamage   Hybrid forest         Planetary Economics

Ask yourself why this would really have anything to do with trees.

Quote
1 unit types   Hovertank chassis         Nanominiaturization

Again, why.  Nanites magically float things because...?

Quote
2 ability   Carrier deck         Nanometallurgy

Never made a damn lick of sense, and was clearly mapping a Civ II military progression into SMAC.  Totally inappropriate, we're not making a transition from battleships to aircraft carriers.  I put it in Doctrine: Air Power, even though it makes that tech a bit overloaded.

Quote
4h facility - prototypes   Skunkworks         Advanced Subatomic Theory

Doesn't matter that much where you put this.  I put it with Neural Grafting, which is still when you get 2 abilities in my mod.

Quote
1 unit types   Copter chassis         Mind/Machine Interface

Never made one lick of sense.  It's just a military progression.

Quote
4a facility - military   Flechette defense system         N-Space Compression

Flechettes are small darts.  Doesn't have anything to do with compressing anything.

Quote
4b facility - drones   Paradise garden         Sentient Econometrics

Why?  Is the garden made out of robots or artificial intelligences?  Out of money and businesspeople?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 25, 2020, 01:09:28 AM
You could make some armors prereqs for weapons and vice versa. That might solve the "armor too far ahead" or "weapon too far ahead" problems

We are talking about one faction weapon against another faction armor. So if the first one is up to date with both weapon and armor it doesn't help the other a bit.
😆

I don't see "armor too far ahead" or "weapon too far ahead" as problems. This is a game with the free flow of information and that is what you get. You cannot just prescribe everybody a narrow technological path.

Why are you compelled to solve these problems at all? You don't get enough fun from the game? Something bothering you or you get bored? What is your problem statement?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2020, 01:20:18 AM
I don't see "armor too far ahead" or "weapon too far ahead" as problems.

Weapon too far ahead leads to a cakewalk, a colonial style slaughter.

Armor too far ahead doesn't lead to much of anything.  Territory remains more static.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 25, 2020, 01:25:49 AM
I don't see "armor too far ahead" or "weapon too far ahead" as problems.

Weapon too far ahead leads to a cakewalk, a colonial style slaughter.

Armor too far ahead doesn't lead to much of anything.  Territory remains more static.

You lost the context. We were talking about weapon to far ahead comparing to armor in discoveries in general. It is not that one faction is too far ahead in weapon that other is in armor. They both will have strong weapon and weak armor. Not necessarily one will kill another.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 25, 2020, 01:30:54 AM
I went through all the techs and re-read their quotes. I think a big reason the tree is confusing is that for many techs, their quote/speaker doesn't really match the priority (conquer, build, discover, explore) it had been assigned. Prime example is Superconductor. Has Morgan as a speaker about the economic criticality of superconductors. But it's somehow a conquer tech? I ended up re-categorizing a lot of techs into different priorities. Only problem was a few too many ended up in the discover pile. So a couple have to be moved over.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 25, 2020, 01:37:46 AM
Weapon too far ahead leads to a cakewalk, a colonial style slaughter.

Armor too far ahead doesn't lead to much of anything.  Territory remains more static.

Yea this. I found that in the stock tech tree, you'd get Plasma-3 early enough. Which works fine against Impact-4 and Missile-6. The problem arose when weapon tech would rise up to Shard-13 before any more armor upgrades. I think because that branch had Advanced Spaceflight, Fusion Power and the like. Going for Photon-6 defense just wasn't as effective. It was a reason many people considered air units "OP" when often what was going on was that armor just wasn't keeping up.

I'm not saying they have to always be 2:1 exactly all game or anything. Or 1:1 if that's what your mod is built around. But it is a consideration

The other thing is if armor lags behind it becomes even less valuable as a tech to pursue. As well as any defensive modifier techs. If you're going to get smashed by 3:1 weapons anyways what's the point in AAA for example.

If weapons are hopelessly low, then it diminishes the value of morale facilities/SEs and faster chassis. If there's nothing to pick off then you might as well just build lots of defensive infantry, and then go economic
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2020, 02:18:53 AM
They both will have strong weapon and weak armor.

In AI vs. AI combat this leads to volatile warfare where 1 faction can totally tip over and overrun the other.  Particularly on smaller maps where combatants fight at close range.  This arises because even though factions may have similar offensive weapons, they do not have similar productivity.  Big offense and no defense basically leads to "time to die" conditions for someone.

It is not desirable from the standpoint of challenging the human player.  It tends to result in maps where the AI factions have wiped each other out, making it easier for the human player to sweep in and clean up.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 25, 2020, 02:34:04 AM
Here is substantially reduced list. Only 50 techs out of 85. The rest are completely free of any rigid association. I picked only irrefutable association with either common word (Monopole Magnets -> Mag tube) or something directly related (Retroviral Engineering -> Genejack factory, supposedly they engineer viruses to jack genes) or some very common association (Doctrine: Flexibility -> Foil) or some very important milestone features (Ecological Engineering -> advanced terraforming).

type   feature   a   d   technolgy   pri
1 unit types   Foil chassis
Troop transport, Pressure dome         Doctrine: Flexibility   1
1 unit types   Speeder chassis         Doctrine: Mobility   1
1 unit types   Cruiser chassis         Doctrine: Initiative   1
1 unit types   Needlejet chassis, Air base         Doctrine: Air Power   1
1 unit types   Gravship chassis         Graviton Theory   1
2 ability   Hypnotic trance         Secrets of the Human Brain   1
2 ability   Empath song         Centauri Empathy   1
3 terraforming   basic terraforming, Terraform unit, restrictions lifted         Centauri Ecology   1
3 terraforming   advanced terraforming         Ecological Engineering   1
3 terraforming   Mag tube         Monopole Magnets   1
3 terraforming   Soil enricher         Adv. Ecological Engineering   1
4a facility - military   Perimeter defense         Doctrine: Loyalty   1
4d facility - energy   Network node         Information Networks   1
4e facility - ecodamage   Centauri preserve         Centauri Meditation   1
4f facility - minerals   Genejack factory         Retroviral Engineering   1
4g facility - space station   Sky hydroponics lab         Orbital Spaceflight   1
4g facility - space station   Orbital power transmitter         Advanced Spaceflight   1
4i facility - movement   Psi gate         Matter Transmission   1
5 reactor   Fusion Reactor         Fusion Power   1
5 reactor   Quantum Chamber         Quantum Power   1
5 reactor   Singularity Engine         Singularity Mechanics   1
6 secret project   The Human Genome Project         Biogenetics   1
6 secret project   The Planetary Datalinks         Cyberethics   1
6 secret project   The Supercollider         Applied Relativity   1
6 secret project   The Planetary Energy Grid         Adaptive Economics   1
6 secret project   The Theory of Everything         Unified Field Theory   1
6 secret project   The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm         Pre-Sentient Algorithms   1
6 secret project   The Nano Factory         Industrial Nanorobotics   1
6 secret project   The Longevity Vaccine         Bio-Engineering   1
6 secret project   The Neural Amplifier         Neural Grafting   1
6 secret project   The Pholus Mutagen         Centauri Genetics   1
6 secret project   The Cyborg Factory         Mind/Machine Interface   1
6 secret project   The Network Backbone         Digital Sentience   1
6 secret project   The Self-Aware Colony         Self-Aware Machines   1
6 secret project   The Bulk Matter Transmitter         Matter Transmission   1
6 secret project   The Cloning Vats         Biomachinery   1
6 secret project   The Voice of Planet, The Ascent to Transcendence         Threshold of Transcendence   1
7 weapon   Laser   1      Applied Physics   1
7 weapon   Quantum laser   9      Quantum Machinery   1
7 weapon   Graviton gun   10      Applied Gravitonics   1
7 weapon   Singularity laser   11      Controlled Singularity   1
7 weapon   String disruptor   12      String Resonance   1
8 armor   Silksteel armor      3   Silksteel Alloys   1
8 armor   Photon wall      4   Photon/Wave Mechanics   1
8 armor   Probability sheath      5   Probability Mechanics   1
8 armor   Stasis generator      8   Temporal Mechanics   1
9 social enginering 42   Eudaimonic         Eudaimonia   1
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 25, 2020, 02:38:42 AM
I went through all the techs and re-read their quotes. I think a big reason the tree is confusing is that for many techs, their quote/speaker doesn't really match the priority (conquer, build, discover, explore) it had been assigned. Prime example is Superconductor. Has Morgan as a speaker about the economic criticality of superconductors. But it's somehow a conquer tech? I ended up re-categorizing a lot of techs into different priorities. Only problem was a few too many ended up in the discover pile. So a couple have to be moved over.

Technology is a box to place features. It means nothing by itself. Superconductor enables weapon. Thus it is a conquer technology so conquest oriented faction can get to this weapon. It doesn't matter what Morgan said about it. This is just a scenery.

I agree it does sound more scientific or maybe science-industry application related. So we can repurpose it for some other feature and keep research instead. That's all.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 25, 2020, 02:51:05 AM
Thank you everybody for valuable notes. I think I understand what to do. Will postpone the actual implementation, though, as I am currently working on terraforming AI. Cannot do two things at once.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 25, 2020, 03:00:26 AM
The next step I'm taking is to rank each tech on how high of tech it seems from 1-5. Obviously these will expand out to 2-3 tiers each.

Yes, there are some like Silksteel Alloys as a good example. It has to be Discover since armor is discover in my model, and there's no other tech to match Silksteel armor with. I was able to slot an equal amount of techs into each priority with a little bit of tweaking.

I feel like there's much less than 50 of these 'hard-associations' in the game. Maybe 25 or so but I'll see as I go through. There might actually be more since there's so many benefits. I think it's best to first categorize every tech and every benefit as conquer, discover, build, explore. That helps with matching techs to benefits. An explore tech should give only explore benefits for example.

It's definitely a lot of work to redo a whole tech tree. I'll pass mine on when I'm done. It will probably make a lot of sense to me but perhaps not others. Sometimes writing up a bit of 'how' techs are categorized can help too.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 25, 2020, 03:02:33 AM

Technology is a box to place features. It means nothing by itself. Superconductor enables weapon. Thus it is a conquer technology so conquest oriented faction can get to this weapon. It doesn't matter what Morgan said about it. This is just a scenery.

I agree it does sound more scientific or maybe science-industry application related. So we can repurpose it for some other feature and keep research instead. That's all.

Yea my point is that the weapon would then be placed on a tech that sounds more conquer. There's no 'reason' that Superconductor has to grant Gatling Laser unless I'm missing something in the lore? Techs do have meaning as they have quotes. Quotes by Morgan should lean build, war quotes from Sparta should lean conquer, theoretical ones from Zak should lean discover. And so on.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2020, 03:04:52 AM
Before getting into anything else...

(Retroviral Engineering -> Genejack factory, supposedly they engineer viruses to jack genes)

To be pedantic, the "GENEtically enGineered worker, or GENEJack" is Chairman Yang's gift to industry.   He explains it as a contraction, not necessarily as a mechanism.  I suppose you could infer the method is retroviral, based on when the Genejack Factory appears.  But, the preceding tech is Bio-Engineering, and that's when Yang gives his big pitch about "Why do you insist the human genetic code is sacred or taboo?  It is a chemical process and nothing more."  Retroviral Engineering just has some spokesperson for the University lying through his teeth to a commission of inquiry.  Since it's Yang's baby, and some kind of genetic engineering, I felt perfectly comfortable giving it with Bio-Engineering.

And I thought it was dumb that Clean Reactor was given with Bio-Engineering.  Like, wat?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2020, 03:08:21 AM
There's no 'reason' that Superconductor has to grant Gatling Laser unless I'm missing something in the lore?

In fact, the quote / voice acting is Morgan going on about how "superconducting fiber alone makes our present economy possible".  It could be repurposed as a Build tech.  I'm not sure this observation is of use to me, as I'd need to put the Gatling Laser somewhere else, but it might bear some contemplation.
;morganercise

Synthetic Fossil Fuels is also Morganic quote / voice acting.  Again, not sure how it helps me, because I need to give the Missile Launcher somewhere.  "More fuel = more missiles" is an ok hand wave.  I've had it under Doctrine: Air Power at times, but that tech gets too crowded.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2020, 03:28:32 AM
It will probably make a lot of sense to me but perhaps not others.
A lot of your Discover techs are not going to make sense.  It's not about armor, it's about faster research.  There's no more reason for Discover to be about armor, than for Explore or Build to be about armor.  Why should I be forced to study Discover to have a viable defense in the game?

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 25, 2020, 03:42:48 AM
Discover is the most scant priority. That's the main reason. Otherwise I end up with 2x more conquer techs than other priorities which I don't want. Also conquer factions should be focusing more on speed and weapons, offensive military. Armor should be only a moderate priority when you have to smash base defenses. Conquer factions never have the infrastructure to realistically pursue every 'conquer' tech. It's better that they focus.

Plus Discover has a problem that Explore and Build don't. Explore gets a big population, and Build gets higher productivity per population. Both of these give them a chance against Conquer. Whereas Discover gets nothing to increase its chances. At least not directly. Being a bit ahead in pure techs won't in practice give it enough staying power. That's how I see it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2020, 05:10:47 AM
Discover is supposed to get all the other techs faster.  If it isn't doing that, then it may need adjustment.  I am not certain about Discover rate in my own mod right now.  There have been times when I felt like various combos of factions in my mod, were behaving like a tech stagnation game.  I greatly shortened my Discover tech tree to try to compensate.  Then Bearu revealed the Pre-Sentient Algorithms AI "cheat / pull" and I had to retool some things.  I started to get the feeling that maybe I'd overdone it.  I took the free Biology Labs away from the University because I no longer though they needed the boost.  Now with my new faction research foci regime, there are going to be more factions with Discover as part of their research.  That's probably going to inject more tech into the trading economy.

I think if you don't want Conquer to be about defense, it makes far more sense to sprinkle the defensive techs evenly through Explore, Discover, and Build.  Of course, you could determine what works out in practice.  If your Explore and Build factions get slaughtered, you'll have your answer.
 
Incidentally I'm in the middle of implementing your "Industrial Base should be for Formers" idea.  If it works out, and I've got the attribution correct (I do), I'll acknowledge you in my readme_mod.txt.  I'm repurposing Superconductor as a Build tech.  I put the Gatling Laser in Conquer 5 Doctrine: Air Power.  Totally reasonable for planes to have gatling guns.  Not too much point to flying them around without some armament, and they are directly on my weapons sequence to Missile Launchers anyways.  Weapons and Needlejets are expensive in my mod, so it's not a given you'll want to arm them with Gatling Lasers, even if you can.

Generally speaking, recycling Conquer techs where possible, by consolidating them, might be a good strategy for cutting down their sheer bulk in the tree.  I don't think it's going to disrupt this stage of my game.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 25, 2020, 07:39:12 AM
With only 21-22 conquer techs I'm finding many of them will need to give both a chassis and a weapon. Or a weapon and 1-2 abilities. I suppose that's alright.

The resonance weapons might end up being explore, but requiring more tech to get than their conquer equivalents.

Have to start matching most techs with what they will give. Then the order will kind of fall out of that. At least I hope. A complete tech tree rebuild is definitely a lot of work.

The ecological engineering techs are tricky to place. Even the stock game wasn't sure. Ecological engineering was explore but advanced ecological engineering was build. Same with environmental economics. A lot could go either way. Probably it'll be Tree Farm, Hybrid Forest, Aquafarm = explore (main benefit is nutrients). Whereas terraforming improvements will fall into build, aside from maybe Condensor/Enricher. Even those might end up as build.

And yea some facilities are tough to place. Bio Lab is about 50% discover and 50% explore.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 25, 2020, 08:32:16 AM
I generally give both the weapon and the armor in the higher tech tiers.

I don't usually give a vehicle and a weapon.  It's what I needed to do to free up Superconductor, and I don't think it will "hurt".

I have flip-flopped on Ecological Engineering many times.  Currently I've got it as the thing that lifts nutrient restrictions, so it's Explore.  But it's like wealth=3, growth=4.

You can make something tech=4, growth=3, like the Biology Lab.  I also give all the indigenous life form stuff power=1, because you can kick someone's ass with a mindworm.  I just mainly want it to be Explore with only a small chance of being picked up by Conquer.  I have a lot of 1, x, x, 4 techs in the Explore part of my tree.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 26, 2020, 06:37:18 PM
I have made a tech tree up to level 6 with your restrictions. Some techs had to be shifted by one level. I also spread out weapons and armor a bit more on purpose.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 06:49:07 PM
My tree also ended up being 7 per level (up to level 11) and n-1 / n-2 prereqs. It has to narrow a bit at the end with more n-1 prereqs and less techs at level 12 and onward

Did a similar thing too so that I wouldn't hit the same branch for the second prereq.

A lot of additional work in matching up the techs logically to all the benefits. I think it's in a pretty good place although the order might only make sense to me lol. It's going to feel like playing a new game I think. It was very hard to place some technologies especially closer to the end. I used the lore and tech shorts to some extent as well.

My categories ended up being:
Explore: anything PSI, pop growth, pop control
Build: terraforming, energy, minerals
Discover: armor, defensive abilities, labs/research
Conquer: weapons, offensive abilities, chassis
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 26, 2020, 07:24:59 PM
Do you have a graphical representation?

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 07:32:24 PM
Unfortunately no, I did all the planning in Excel. There is the in-game graph you can click through but it doesn't really give a 'big picture'. I changed what many techs grant also, not just the ordering.

I wish there was a way to programatically graph the tree. Drawing it out would be a lot of manual effort.

Best bet to view it probably is in-game, just have to back your alphax.txt up first
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 26, 2020, 07:34:38 PM
If you have an Excel work sheet that would work.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 26, 2020, 07:56:18 PM
@tnevoling
Movement is still bugged in v.58

first save:
Unit seems to be able to move diagonally on river tiles for < 1 movement point. In std game it can go so along the river, no shortcuts.

second save:
Somehow that Colony Pod in Halls of discipline can move 4+ tiles. Its weird like its rounding ?! on some tiles it spend 2/9 on other 3/9 points.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 08:30:02 PM
Ok. Where there's just a # that's for n-2. For n-1 I wrote it out.

Had to redo it but your way was better for visualization.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 26, 2020, 08:52:04 PM
I like a lot of it. Some things are hard to reassign like Eudaimonic and Needlejets. Currently, they are both tier 7 techs. In your version they are at 10 and 5, respectively which might be a bit much. Do youhave formers at a level 2 tech now or did you reassign them?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 09:00:59 PM
Formers are B1 Industrial Base

Yea I have Eudaimonic late, after Cyber and TC. It's also very powerful (+2 grow, +2 planet, +2 econ, +2 research) with no downsides. It's either make future societies powerful and late or more tempered and earlier. I like the design of them being more powerful for now. I know a lot of people want them earlier, that's understandable too.

Air comes earlier but in general the armor techs come a little before the weapon techs now rather than after. That is to say it's hard to maintain 2:1... 3:2 or so seems more typical. I may also boost up AAA to 150% or 200%. Though I do have air units costing more that's negated by fusion reactors. With Yitzi costing I had it such that air was a lot more expensive at any reactor level, but that's gone now
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 26, 2020, 09:12:57 PM
One key aspect of balancing out Needlejets is to put Air Superiority well before Doctrine: Air Power so that factions without Air Power can fight Needlejets. 3:2 or 4:3 is what I'd like too for weapon:armor but Tim wants 1:1 and it's his call.

Edit: I wonder if it would be a good idea to make Formers available from the start. You sort of can't play the game without them. Would help Miriam a good deal.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 09:21:11 PM
Yea I have to do some tweaking. Technically synthetic fossil fuels shouldn't get AAA, it should be on a discover tech (probably Optical Computers).
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 26, 2020, 09:35:04 PM
Not talking about AAA tracking. You need that too and it would be excellent on Optical Computers. I meant the SAM ability needed to attack flying targets. If you do not have that you just die vs needlejets even with AAA tracking mainly because you can't attack land units under a needlejet so they can just walk up to your bases with infantry or probes and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 26, 2020, 10:00:25 PM
I have made a tech tree up to level 6 with your restrictions. Some techs had to be shifted by one level. I also spread out weapons and armor a bit more on purpose.

Looks nice!

Keep in mind, though, that this is not a generic requirement for tree building. You can use whatever rule or no rules at all. I picked this one just because it is simple to follow and it allows me to keep fixed number of nodes per level. It is also quite simple to track from tree point of view as both of your prerequisites are as near as possible.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 26, 2020, 10:04:04 PM
My tree also ended up being 7 per level (up to level 11) and n-1 / n-2 prereqs. It has to narrow a bit at the end with more n-1 prereqs and less techs at level 12 and onward

Did a similar thing too so that I wouldn't hit the same branch for the second prereq.

A lot of additional work in matching up the techs logically to all the benefits. I think it's in a pretty good place although the order might only make sense to me lol. It's going to feel like playing a new game I think. It was very hard to place some technologies especially closer to the end. I used the lore and tech shorts to some extent as well.

My categories ended up being:
Explore: anything PSI, pop growth, pop control
Build: terraforming, energy, minerals
Discover: armor, defensive abilities, labs/research
Conquer: weapons, offensive abilities, chassis

This is nice division. Pretty close to what I was thinking some time ago.

What is pop control? Drones control?

How do you actually assign technology to group. What parameter do you set for it to get into Explore or any other priority?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 26, 2020, 10:10:26 PM
Unfortunately no, I did all the planning in Excel. There is the in-game graph you can click through but it doesn't really give a 'big picture'. I changed what many techs grant also, not just the ordering.

I wish there was a way to programatically graph the tree. Drawing it out would be a lot of manual effort.

Best bet to view it probably is in-game, just have to back your alphax.txt up first

I agree this is a lot of work. Especially, when you keep changing versions. I don't think there is a need. What one can get from this "big picture"? I use it to track a development to a single target technology. And, to be frank, it is not really such a big help in it. I always can check immediate prerequisites in game and 99% of the time this is what I only need. When I plan the tree I only need to know which level each tech is to make sure I place them right. Plus I make sure they are do not cluster too much. I.e. there is no easy way for some high level tech. However, the latter is impossible to catch visually, anyway. So I have a program for that.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 10:11:39 PM
It's set in #TECHNOLOGY section of alphax.txt

Biogenetics,                Biogen,  0, 0, 0, 1, None,    None,    000100000

The highest numbered priority of the 4 will be what kind of tech it is considered. I believe if you set equal priorities it takes the last. The order is conquer, discover, build, explore. The numbers can be greater than 0 or 1 to fine tune beelines or make the AI prefer key techs more.

Yea pop control is drones control. Although I do have punishment sphere and police state as conquer exceptions.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 10:20:27 PM
I agree this is a lot of work. Especially, when you keep changing versions. I don't think there is a need. What one can get from this "big picture"? I use it to track a development to a single target technology. And, to be frank, it is not really such a big help in it. I always can check immediate prerequisites in game and 99% of the time this is what I only need. When I plan the tree I only need to know which level each tech is to make sure I place them right. Plus I make sure they are do not cluster too much. I.e. there is no easy way for some high level tech. However, the latter is impossible to catch visually, anyway. So I have a program for that.

Yea if you're really worried tech diving/beelines you can do both prereqs at n-1. Meaning for example a level 7 tech takes 2 level 6s.

I did n-1, n-2 for the tree up until the end. So a level 7 tech takes a level 6 and a level 5. So you can never get too far ahead down one path, but there is the option to dive a little. As long as you don't continually alternate the same branch it's pretty hard to get way ahead in any one category. It will be kind of obvious you'll see a lot of the same number as the +# as you go across
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 26, 2020, 10:22:13 PM
If I could relax the n-1/n-2 to sometimes allow n-2/n-2 or n-1/n-1 (all techs still retain 2 prerequisites) that would already help a lot.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 10:25:23 PM
Not talking about AAA tracking. You need that too and it would be excellent on Optical Computers. I meant the SAM ability needed to attack flying targets. If you do not have that you just die vs needlejets even with AAA tracking mainly because you can't attack land units under a needlejet so they can just walk up to your bases with infantry or probes and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Yea I have SAM one tech before DocAir. That's more lenient than the stock tech tree which requires DocAir. If that's not enough for you, you could move it back to AdapDoc at C3
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 10:28:00 PM
If I could relax the n-1/n-2 to sometimes allow n-2/n-2 or n-1/n-1 (all techs still retain 2 prerequisites) that would already help a lot.

I'm not sure if n-2, n-2 will always work if intermixed. It should I think but it might mean some levels will have more techs than others
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 26, 2020, 10:37:05 PM
I see what you mean. It would need to be n-1/n-1 and n-3/n-1 one level above as a variant to keep the structure.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 26, 2020, 10:41:38 PM
I see what you mean. It would need to be n-1/n-1 and n-3/n-1 one level above as a variant to keep the structure.

Yea on second thought it always pushes the parent tech down. So n-2, n-2 would become n-1, n-1
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 26, 2020, 11:15:22 PM
@tnevoling
Movement is still bugged in v.58

first save:
Unit seems to be able to move diagonally on river tiles for < 1 movement point. In std game it can go so along the river, no shortcuts.

second save:
Somehow that Colony Pod in Halls of discipline can move 4+ tiles. Its weird like its rounding ?! on some tiles it spend 2/9 on other 3/9 points.

Excellent catch! Thank you for being on top of that. That was an experimental feature and we uncovered few more game quirks (or my omissions) with your help. 😉

Apparently, I forgot that river flows only straight on Alpha Centauri, never diagonal. So I didn't check the direction and only source and destination squares have river.
For the second one I didn't check for base in square. Apparently, game does not mark base square as having road/tube but it does count it as having one.
Both fixed now.

# Version 59

* Fixed advanced movement on river. River direction is always straight across tile edge - never diagonally.
* Fixed advanced movement when leaving or entering a base. Previously base didn't count as having road.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 26, 2020, 11:19:13 PM
Ok. Where there's just a # that's for n-2. For n-1 I wrote it out.

Had to redo it but your way was better for visualization.

Looks pretty colorful. I assume this straight line of red techs in the middle is the weapon path?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 26, 2020, 11:23:17 PM
One key aspect of balancing out Needlejets is to put Air Superiority well before Doctrine: Air Power so that factions without Air Power can fight Needlejets.

I would also give them AAA too for early protection.

Oops. Hagen0 just replied the same few messages below. Just saw it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 26, 2020, 11:29:41 PM
It's set in #TECHNOLOGY section of alphax.txt

Biogenetics,                Biogen,  0, 0, 0, 1, None,    None,    000100000

The highest numbered priority of the 4 will be what kind of tech it is considered. I believe if you set equal priorities it takes the last. The order is conquer, discover, build, explore. The numbers can be greater than 0 or 1 to fine tune beelines or make the AI prefer key techs more.


Yea. I know how it works. I am curious how you specifically divided them in groups? Did you set yourself a rule to use certain gap between different values to make sure it is well aligned with the color like if you set Discover value to be 4 other values cannot go near it to not spoil the grouping? Or it is completely arbitrary? Meaning in conquer you can have equally any of 4333 or 4000 or 1000, etc.?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 26, 2020, 11:31:53 PM
If I could relax the n-1/n-2 to sometimes allow n-2/n-2 or n-1/n-1 (all techs still retain 2 prerequisites) that would already help a lot.

You cannot have n-2/n-2, unfortunately. At least one of them should be n-1. 🤣

Darn. Again I am reading too slow. Nexii has already answered that.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 26, 2020, 11:49:31 PM
Thank you for all your tech tree suggestions. I've already collection some action points for me. However, I have to postpone the corresponding release it as I am currently working on terraforming AI. Will do tech tree after that.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 27, 2020, 12:07:29 AM
Yea. I know how it works. I am curious how you specifically divided them in groups? Did you set yourself a rule to use certain gap between different values to make sure it is well aligned with the color like if you set Discover value to be 4 other values cannot go near it to not spoil the grouping? Or it is completely arbitrary? Meaning in conquer you can have equally any of 4333 or 4000 or 1000, etc.?

I have them all with one 1 and rest zeros, except Biogenetics and Industrial Base, which are 1112 and 1121. Haven't gotten too fancy yet with it. You can't get too far ahead in any one area so even a single focused faction will pick up techs outside their priority.

But yes, 4333 and 4000 and 1000 would all be considered conquer. The first would get more priority by non-conquer factions and blind research. The second would get more priority for conquer factions over say other 1000 techs.

Tech tree is a ton of work. I recommend doing what Hagen0 did in Excel if you ever do. I used a similar method but simplifying it helped as a double check in the end
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 27, 2020, 12:20:05 AM
Looks pretty colorful. I assume this straight line of red techs in the middle is the weapon path?

Yea more or less, up to weapon 8. orbital spaceflight is 10, advanced spaceflight 12.

Though you can't go directly down that line, each one has the n-2 prereq. It's kind of an aggresive line since it's mostly armor prereqs
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 27, 2020, 06:18:24 AM
One key aspect of balancing out Needlejets is to put Air Superiority well before Doctrine: Air Power so that factions without Air Power can fight Needlejets.

What's so important about that?  I'm very unsympathetic, I really don't care.  I'm perfectly good with you playing the role of the Spanish Communists being bombed into oblivion by the German Luftwaffe doing their weapons tests on you.  Why should you get this big early leg up?  At least when it's the AI attacking, they do like what, kill a few Formers?  Who cares?

If it's multiplayer, well I'd fully expect you to steal a tech.  And if you can't do that, you should die.

I balanced my Needlejets by making the chassis more expensive.  My weapons aren't cheap either.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 27, 2020, 02:48:55 PM
In WTP i find needlejets more like support - "pick-off stragglers" units. In vanilla they could be used to eradicate whole factions; compared to that they are much weaker and cheap infantry is way better for attacking bases now. 
Thing is that defenders having territory and base bonuses means needlejets have hard time attacking armored units. Even if they kill armored unit they need to heal few turns afterwards.. and AAA generaly stops them in tracks. Tim recently made Aerospace Complexes cheaper (120 => 100 minerals) that might help somewhat.

Air units (Copters included) seem good for sniping  lightly armored units or ships mainly, but risk dying to interceptors vs advanced AIs.They can snipe armored units in the open in general, but will likely need to heal.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 27, 2020, 03:39:28 PM
That's right. Actually, now, after some amount of play testing by myself and others, it seems that air force is severely crippled by Aerospace Complex and AAA and overall defense bonuses in general. I am thinking to reduce the cost of air unit to make them at least somehow economically effective on far range and as air support for land and naval assaults. Otherwise, they will be quite unusable which contradicts WtP paradigm.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 27, 2020, 06:16:29 PM
Here the proposal.
Air chassis cost same as speeder. That makes them cost same as unarmored speeder units.
AAA bonus is 50%. It is plenty enough with AC and air/land interceptors in play.
Even with these changes air inits will be still slightly less effective in direct assault but they will keep their use in reconnaissance and early response. Also in disputing enemy supply lines and land improvements add usual.

For example, one can sacrifice few stained aircrafts to destroy a single strong boat next to weak base to win time for reinforcement.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 27, 2020, 06:18:00 PM
Air units, in particular helicopters are the primary way to lay waste to a faction by destroying formers, crawlers and infrastucture. They also defend your territory from raids and probes. There is no need to attack a base with them.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 27, 2020, 06:22:37 PM
Here the proposal.
Air chassis cost same as speeder.

I don't get why anyone would ever embrace a paradigm where a plane is as cheap as a ground unit to make.  It makes no real world sense at all.  Seems to me to be totally a game mechanical fiat, that someone wants to shift the game around to pew pew pew lotsa lotsa Needlejets.  It should be a military simulation, not a bunch of Real Time Strategy toys.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 27, 2020, 07:52:42 PM
They could certainly use a buff. I wouldn't mind having them +25% attack in the open like speeders. Cost reduction is ok as well, but I am not sure how much they should be buffed.

They are currently ineffiient at attacking for example armored crawlers or probes. AI Probes are heavily armored and hard to kill. Crawlers are armored as well - but usually not with latest variant - but they are often placed on rough terrain. Formers tend to be easy targets - but there's risk of interception.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: bvanevery on May 27, 2020, 08:42:14 PM
Interception is things working as designed.  I don't see any problem with that.  If someone's managed to get Doctrine: Air Power same as you, and can now build Air Superiority and Air Defense units, well power to them.  And maybe they can produce enough planes, even if they're godawful expensive, to wipe your own air force out.  That's called playing a game / winning a war.

I admittedly haven't been playing WTP since I consider the early mindworm fighting to be broken.  I don't know if your comment is arising out of Formers winning combats against planes way too easily.  I would consider that a problem.

The other major problem with planes is they provide near perfect cover for advancing ground units.  I don't know if Thinker Mod or WTP "fixed" that.  You could win the game by spamming Gun Needlejets if you were so inclined, to cover for other ground troops.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 27, 2020, 09:27:07 PM
Yea the cover issue and related zone of control issues are just part of the engine dating back to Civ2. The ground units under an air unit should always be attackable, although the air unit shouldn't suffer collateral damage. Similarly it's silly that air units exert zone of control. It's bad enough you can't go under them
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 27, 2020, 09:44:39 PM
Yeah bvanevery has nice points. I don't mind interceptions, AI is doing ok job - actually my recent two games i am having trouble maintaining any air control : D Drones AI is spammer i basically gave up trying to hurt them with Needlejets and just focused on countering their units.

The problem is basically Needlejets can hardly kill anything - attacking bases is most often a suicide. They can pick of units but as you said they get hurt even by formers - early weapons more, later they do clear them nicely once you get for example fusion laser (10). They still have trouble killing anything at latest armor - even in open ground - speeders for example are better with +25% and cost less - speeders can kill 2 units per turn. They are better in killing formers for example - but they lack range. For base attacks cheap infantry 10-1-1 or something like that is way better - AI tends to spam aerocomplexes and there are AAA units. Its likely good idea to nerf AAA to 50%-

Even with buff they won't be good at base attacks - so they seem to be mostly harass unit - they should be at least decent at that role. Even many ships have AAA..
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 27, 2020, 10:28:17 PM
This is a consequence of the odd armor/weapon equality. A armored former sitting on forest with a sensor beats any combat unit in the game unless you are willing to commit atrocities. The implementation of planes in Smac is fundamentally overpowered. If they are merely useful as harrassing unit that is just fine. (Also note that war in Smax is rarely profitable anyway.)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 27, 2020, 10:36:20 PM
Could try allowing artillery ability on air units ;P
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 27, 2020, 10:43:32 PM
Also note that war in Smax is rarely profitable anyway.

If you are referring to vanilla SMAX then I beg to differ. I found it the most profitable endeavor specifically because attacking is very economically effective. Even in WtP it is still profitable against weak or unprepared opponent. Even if you managed to conquer only 1/3 of neighbor territory by throwing everything you had on them and then forged a piece with them you already have twice more bases and will overpower them sooner or later. The problem is that it spoils your relations with others. So you likely won't meet any other unprepared faction.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 27, 2020, 10:46:59 PM
Could try allowing artillery ability on air units ;P
I actually tried to create one but couldn't  :( Overpowered?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 27, 2020, 10:56:08 PM
Also note that war in Smax is rarely profitable anyway.

If you are referring to vanilla SMAX then I beg to differ. I found it the most profitable endeavor specifically because attacking is very economically effective. Even in WtP it is still profitable against weak or unprepared opponent. Even if you managed to conquer only 1/3 of neighbor territory by throwing everything you had on them and then forged a piece with them you already have twice more bases and will overpower them sooner or later. The problem is that it spoils your relations with others. So you likely won't meet any other unprepared faction.

It's a matter of opportunity cost. Even if you can win a war your situation would almost always be better if you had developed peacefully instead.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 27, 2020, 11:09:58 PM
I actually tried to create one but couldn't  :( Overpowered?

They're buildable if you enable in alphax.txt but they don't work unfortunately
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 27, 2020, 11:20:54 PM
# Version 60

* AAA Tracking cost is 2.

Changing effect requires code patch. So being lazy I've changed the cost instead. I believe it pretty much does the same.

Neddlejet 6-1-? vs. armored infantry 6-6-1 in open = 1:1 both in combat odds and economical losses
Neddlejet 6-1-? vs. armored AAA infantry 6-6-1 in open = 1:2 in combat odds and 1.5:2 in economical losses
Neddlejet 6-1-? vs. armored foil 6-6-4 = 1:1 in combat odds and 1.5:1 in economical losses
Neddlejet 6-1-? vs. armored foil 6-6-4 = 1:2 in combat odds and 2.25:2 in economical losses

So AAA still makes units slightly more effectively protected against air attacks. However, not that significantly that one should slap it on each and every of them. There is a high chance such unit will fight in non air combat and then this ability will be just a waste of minerals. So it is beneficial to use it but only under heavy air pressure.
At the same time using air superiority is still a best way to deal with enemy air fleet.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 29, 2020, 04:00:49 PM
# Version 61

* Fixed adavanced movement cost again. This time everything that is treated as road movement is corrected to have road movement cost.

I think I'm done with fixing this. 🙄
Apparently, there are many other movements treated as roads. For example, natives in fungus, etc. This time I just let game calculate movement cost and if it believes unit is moving along road (cost = 1) I change it to correct road movement cost except when it moves along tubes. That should fix all available road like movements!

Please take this update if you already have # Version 55 of above.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 30, 2020, 02:09:08 PM
Some feedback! Movement seems to work fine now. Power is nice and usable - Support is really nice bonus and -1 industry is tankable - much more pleasant to play with it, AI is likely better as well. I presume Green will be the same.

Some observations - this is Pirates at -2 efficiency ruining lots of their lead ^^. Did you maybe consider modding a bit efficiency formula so its not that evil on negative side?

(https://i.imgur.com/fbGjC3c.png)

Here is much closer city to HQ.. quite inefficient, but we know that i guess. Here Pirates are ruining themselves with - Support. I looked at other bases as well - their production is really crap. AI with good support is much better, like Miriam - guys in SE choices are discussing this. Going light with support minuses would improve AI a lot (Thought Control is -3, Democracy -2).

(https://i.imgur.com/pfrWXfZ.png)

I also posted this screenshot due to AI using 1-0-0 tiles or 0-1-0, 1-1-0, this would be nice to improve if possible. Its maybe for Induktio? AI could use specialist - Engineers are quite nice and available now for example and they are using these crap tiles.

Gonna see to try to finish this game to see lategame changes.

Some terraforming - looks cool. Seems that condenser nerf is real nice thing - its not worth to spam them mindlessly as before - i went on and place more echelon mirrors because the land was already green. Forests are useful as well and quite nice with +2 Economy.

(https://i.imgur.com/gO2OXqW.png)
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 30, 2020, 02:39:21 PM
Some observations - this is Pirates at -2 efficiency ruining lots of their lead ^^. Did you maybe consider modding a bit efficiency formula so its not that evil on negative side?

Definitely, I am up to it. However, first we need to understand what is going on here. Why they are 100% corruption with only -2 EFFICIENCY???
Do they have HQ? How far is this base from it? Please send me a save.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 30, 2020, 02:46:26 PM
Here is much closer city to HQ.. quite inefficient, but we know that i guess. Here Pirates are ruining themselves with - Support. I looked at other bases as well - their production is really crap. AI with good support is much better, like Miriam - guys in SE choices are discussing this. Going light with support minuses would improve AI a lot (Thought Control is -3, Democracy -2).

That is true too. However, keep in mind that SUPPORT is strong but its increments are just +1 unit support at a time. So it doesn't matter if faction has +1 SUPPORT bonus. It does help very little comparing to good terrafoming, for exampe, that can easily give you +4 minerals or something like that.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 30, 2020, 02:51:29 PM
I also posted this screenshot due to AI using 1-0-0 tiles or 0-1-0, 1-1-0, this would be nice to improve if possible. Its maybe for Induktio? AI could use specialist - Engineers are quite nice and available now for example and they are using these crap tiles.

Yes. I replied there. The thing is that AI may not be taught to prefer engineer (+3 eco) to 1 mineral as it didn't hurry production in vanilla. Also hurrying in vanilla is not always flat. So all in all 1 min could be better or equal to 3 eco. In WtP it is somewhat relaxed so 3 eco could be slightly better all the time.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 30, 2020, 03:22:32 PM
Here saves.. posted two if you want to have some fun trying to win war vs Miriam ^^ she's  brutal, but its quite fun. In later save i have  pact with pirates so you can peak into their bases.

Basically its just that -2 efficiency is strong - you could come up with some formula/function that scales linearly in negative values, current one is very punishing. Aliens do the same they like to pick Planned and they tend to lag a lot in tech by late midgame. You SE choices are fine, imo, you have at two places -1 efficiency its nothing.

Same with Support - its great stat to have - the thing is that dumb AI does not know when to stop producing useless units. Go through Pirate bases their production is sad - three bases next to my continent have 9/10/11 pop and total of 4 usable minerals eghm.. its hard to balance them - pirates are leading the game from beginning. Looks like they could use some +support..
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 30, 2020, 03:23:28 PM
Specialists are great if you have drone or efficency issues. Otherwise working tiles is better. It would be preferable to fix AI working bad tiles by improving its terraforming.

Same thing with support. The core issue with the Pirate base in the picture is not support cost but that the resource input is low.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 30, 2020, 03:44:18 PM
Basically its just that -2 efficiency is strong - you could come up with some formula/function that scales linearly in negative values, current one is very punishing. Aliens do the same they like to pick Planned and they tend to lag a lot in tech by late midgame. You SE choices are fine, imo, you have at two places -1 efficiency its nothing.

It may be feasible to implement but first we need to decide how exactly to change it. It is quite convoluted currently and affects *many* things. Any change to it is unpredictable.

Same with Support - its great stat to have - the thing is that dumb AI does not know when to stop producing useless units. Go through Pirate bases their production is sad - three bases next to my continent have 9/10/11 pop and total of 4 usable minerals eghm.. its hard to balance them - pirates are leading the game from beginning. Looks like they could use some +support..

That is a different story - to make AI not producing useless units. I don't know how to do it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 30, 2020, 04:07:57 PM
Specialists are great if you have drone or efficency issues. Otherwise working tiles is better. It would be preferable to fix AI working bad tiles by improving its terraforming.

Same thing with support. The core issue with the Pirate base in the picture is not support cost but that the resource input is low.

Golden words, man. Terraforming beats everything. It worth to improve it first then thing about everything else.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 30, 2020, 06:55:44 PM
Negative EFFIC has always been that way. It's why I got rid of it as a SE penalty. If you played Civ2 the equivalents are roughly
-1 EFFIC -> Anarchy
0 EFFIC -> Despotism
1 EFFIC -> Monarchy
2 EFFIC -> Fundamentalism
3 EFFIC -> Republic
Infinite EFFIC -> Democracy, Communism

So as you can see -4, -3, -2 are completely off the scale. Unmodded Police State and Planned were not good for anyone but Yang. I suppose other factions could do Demo+Planned just to boom, but Planned on its own wasn't very good.

I had a better EFFIC formula in mind in the Thinker thread. There's other issues. EFFIC was meant to prevent ICS through B-drones but that mechanic wasn't sufficient.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 30, 2020, 07:01:06 PM
That's not true. You could do Police State with most factions early on as long as your faction is very compact.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 30, 2020, 07:40:04 PM
I had a better EFFIC formula in mind in the Thinker thread.

Can you share a link? I am lazy to read it all over again.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 30, 2020, 07:52:51 PM
Here saves.. posted two if you want to have some fun trying to win war vs Miriam ^^ she's  brutal, but its quite fun. In later save i have  pact with pirates so you can peak into their bases.

Basically its just that -2 efficiency is strong - you could come up with some formula/function that scales linearly in negative values, current one is very punishing. Aliens do the same they like to pick Planned and they tend to lag a lot in tech by late midgame. You SE choices are fine, imo, you have at two places -1 efficiency its nothing.

Answer on your first question is: the calculation is correct. Look up inefficiency formula in advanced concepts. It is often quite possible to lose all energy to an inefficiency when you are far from HQ.

Another thing is that this formula is quite stupid and doesn't account for map size. But this is a different topic.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 30, 2020, 08:25:24 PM

Can you share a link? I am lazy to read it all over again.

Yea it was more the idea. I hadn't put the actual formula. It would basically replace B-drones but work on a similar concept. Each base beyond your EFFIC cap would get inefficiency applied at an increasing rate.

The B-drone formula is BASE LIMIT = (8 - DIFFICULTY) * (4 + EFFIC) * MAPROOT / 2
As an example this is 6 bases on transcend (5) at 0 EFFIC on a normal map (1)

The idea was that each base beyond the cap would suffer inefficiency. In this case the 7th furthest base from the HQ would be the first affected. It would go down quite quickly for each base beyond that. Something like 5% per base on large maps, 10% on normal maps, 20% on small maps. So a base beyond the 16th on a normal map would produce no energy. Tying it to MAPROOT would make the most sense.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 30, 2020, 10:55:40 PM
This is really ugly system - reminds me of civ 3 corruption, nobody wants useless bases. Yeah player can use specialists and AI has no clue about that and that then makes the game even worse. The game is much more enjoyable if AI is good - so efficiency system that does not punish faction so harsh would be way better for AI.

I know how the formula works so I have no issue with it - just avoid getting -2 or worse.. -1 is somewhat tankable, but obviously bad. One could chart those functions formula is not complicated. I was experimenting a bit at some points in my AAR game to see how it affects game practically: at -1 EFF loss was about 12% of energy thats ok-ish, -2 around 45%+ lel, didn't try -3... and we know -4 is total loss.

Btw @tnevolin Pirates are really awful with production - you should give them back that +1 mineral on sea at some point earlier. It takes ages for them to get that tech for +1 mineral platforms, they still don't have it.  They have strong start, but midgame and later they are terrible. I'll submit the save if you want to take a look. This is first save where I have Zakharov playing good ^^.

ps. Zakharov is using Green.. Power was also used thats going good. Lal is using fundamentalist and thought control ^^.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 31, 2020, 12:54:38 AM
Yea that's another aside. Econ and labs from specialists shouldn't avoid EFFIC penalties. Psych I suppose has to avoid it or bases could riot forever.

Perhaps going to 0% energy is a little much. Creches could get you back to some given %. And those far bases would still produce minerals. IMO it's the only way to curb ICS.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 31, 2020, 02:43:35 AM
Btw @tnevolin Pirates are really awful with production - you should give them back that +1 mineral on sea at some point earlier. It takes ages for them to get that tech for +1 mineral platforms, they still don't have it.  They have strong start, but midgame and later they are terrible. I'll submit the save if you want to take a look.

It is either that or they are unstoppable with + 1 mineral. When I play with them as AI they *always* were about twice as strong as others. Now they are comparable. It makes them much worse OP than absence of it makes them weaker. Currently, without this bonus, it is difficult to compare their development path with land factions. It is completely different world. Water world. 😂

Seriously, though. I believe early game sea bases are just above the medium level. Terraforming is exceptionally easy and fast. In 10 turns you convert **any** tile into 3-0-3. Tough to buy units initially but if you hurry facilities (2 energy -> 1 mineral) this yield is about equivalent to 3-1-1. Which is comparable to terraformed rainy rolling land tile. You can run out of rainy rolling tiles on land but not on sea. So with smart management you get fast growing rich infrastructure bases. Plus you start getting mineral production just because of sheer population - directing some of them to platforms. The fact that AI is not tuned well to play aquatic is another story.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 31, 2020, 02:46:44 AM
Yea that's another aside. Econ and labs from specialists shouldn't avoid EFFIC penalties. Psych I suppose has to avoid it or bases could riot forever.

Perhaps going to 0% energy is a little much. Creches could get you back to some given %. And those far bases would still produce minerals. IMO it's the only way to curb ICS.

Econ and labs from specialists does not avoid EFFIC penalties. It is just these penalties are not for eco/psy/lab. It is for raw energy intake. So the game is correct in its calculations.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 31, 2020, 02:50:13 AM
This is really ugly system - reminds me of civ 3 corruption, nobody wants useless bases.

The corruption was specifically introduced to hurt big empires and penalize city spamming and conquest. It seems it did the trick. Again the fact that human would exploit spamming and conquest much better than AI is a different story. If we teach it - people would stop complaining that corruption makes their life harder. They would turn opposite and start complaining to make corruption worse to stop AI in its unlimited spamming and conquest.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on May 31, 2020, 04:17:04 AM
I suppose it's a subjective thing. I don't really feel that effic/b-drones really slow down ICS all that much. Between minerals and specialists being exempt. Plus most bases don't suffer that much inefficiency since it's by distance. As long as you don't run low EFFIC
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 31, 2020, 04:17:09 PM
I suppose it's a subjective thing. I don't really feel that effic/b-drones really slow down ICS all that much. Between minerals and specialists being exempt. Plus most bases don't suffer that much inefficiency since it's by distance. As long as you don't run low EFFIC
Yes I agree it does not really slow down ICS that much / it nerfs it ofcourse, after a while even pop 1 cities start with a drone. It kind of forces player to keep EFF in positives. Thinker AI for example spams bases similar to player - but is not as smart to keep away from -2, -3 EFF. In that sense changing negative EFF effects to be not too punishing is a good idea.
I kind of like Alpha Centauri EFF system and drones - its not too restricting - its way better then what some Civilization games did. This talk is just about helping AI, player can do perfectly fine.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on May 31, 2020, 09:16:25 PM
Proposal for corruption modification. I don't plan to immediate implementation but since people complained about it being too harsh on lower levels.

I change terms and instead of corruption use usage. Meaning the effective energy usage produces more of it. Energy intake is split in three chunks.

1. Everybody gets 50% of energy regardless of EFFICIENCY rating. This is just to pay maintenance. Otherwise big negative values cause economical loss which is completely devastating to AI.
2. EFFICIENCY rating adds up to 25% from -4 to +4 linearly. I.e. one level gives 1/4/8 = 1/32 of total.
3. HQ adds up to 25% based on the distance from it. 25% in HQ, 0% at distance of 30 from it. This is about half way each side from the center of the normal map. Adjusted by mapsquare for different map sizes.

That achieves the following.
The worst rating still let you pay maintenance maybe just barely.
Large empires equally benefit from each EFFICIENCY level.
Compact empires are protected from bad ratings. HQ has 75% at -4 and 100% at 0 as well as all nearby bases.

Chunk split is subject for discussion.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 31, 2020, 09:26:18 PM
Interesting idea, +1. I'll gladly test that. It would be also easy to tweak a bit if we want to make efficiency more powerful.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on May 31, 2020, 10:23:28 PM
I reallly dislike the added randomness in the combat system. The armor/weapon equality in early game had the effect I anticipated. I had Roze's heavily armored units sitting next to my forest/sensor for 10+ turns. Neither side could attack so we were just staring at each other.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on May 31, 2020, 11:32:59 PM
Brr lol ^^ Ok this is a bit crap haha..

So The Ascent to Trascendance cost 3000 minerals and Pirates are building it in base with 11 mineral per turn.. And rush it 106 turns to completion.. for approx. 4000 gold.
I had it way more completed and it costed 14000 to rush..

Looks like it would be a good idea to somehow limit AI rushing ^^. Would it be possible to limit SP rushing only when project is 50% complete with minerals..? So one cant rush like this. AI transcend has big discounts - that could be changed as well if first suggestion doesnt work?

(https://i.imgur.com/YqeavAb.png)

AI rushing SP works quite well for other projects its cool they can get them. But this one eghmmmm.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 01, 2020, 05:13:55 AM
Hmm, 3% energy per effic isn't too bad. It might need a little more than that. Not much though any more than 5% would be overkill

It would fix the EFFIC scale. Right now my SE set doesn't allow for lower than 0 for that reason.

Though I think it doesn't do much to slow down ICS. 75% efficiency at any distance from the HQ at +4 EFFIC is a lot. I do think Thinker AI and various speedruns demonstrate how strong ICS is. That horizontal development (base count) is more to blame for the energy/research explosion than vertical (facilities, SPs).

Rather than hammer far bases with terrible energy or mineral production, I do wonder if dynamic colony pod costs would work. That is the cost of a pod goes up by some amount of minerals for every base & colony pod you have...to match how citizen costs go up in nutrients
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 01, 2020, 12:43:11 PM
I reallly dislike the added randomness in the combat system. The armor/weapon equality in early game had the effect I anticipated. I had Roze's heavily armored units sitting next to my forest/sensor for 10+ turns. Neither side could attack so we were just staring at each other.

Sorry, man. Cannot understand how randomness relates to heavy armored unit not attacking you. 😕
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 01, 2020, 12:49:03 PM
So The Ascent to Trascendance cost 3000 minerals and Pirates are building it in base with 11 mineral per turn.. And rush it 106 turns to completion.. for approx. 4000 gold.
I had it way more completed and it costed 14000 to rush.

Looks like it would be a good idea to somehow limit AI rushing ^^. Would it be possible to limit SP rushing only when project is 50% complete with minerals..? So one cant rush like this. AI transcend has big discounts - that could be changed as well if first suggestion doesnt work?

Amazing. Looks like we found a last ingredient for challenging AI. Thank you for idea and congratulation on solving this. 😄
We probably just need to remove whatever AI restriction left to let human win and this should do the trick.

Based on numbers above it seems that they rushed it way past 50% completion. Did they?

I don't understand why you want to limit this again after you just proposed it. This is the last project. You should be able to overtake AI by far by this point as you did in previous games.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on June 01, 2020, 12:58:31 PM
Those are two different observations. I didn't express that well.

Combat outcomes felt completely arbitrary. (I understand they aren't really.) By giving the winner of each combat round a bonus you inreased the volatility of combat. You can easily see the same moderately close fight won by each side taking hardly any damage. It also has the effect that you have a hard time wearing down units. I lost 2 Empath rovers vs the same 1 HP fungus tower since my planet rating was low.

The armor issue is a matter of taste. I don't like the way you can't remove units sitting in your territory. On the other hand, it does give a boost to Morale as experienced units are worth more than in vanilla and it forced me to build more units.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 01, 2020, 01:08:06 PM
Hmm, 3% energy per effic isn't too bad. It might need a little more than that. Not much though any more than 5% would be overkill

Corrected numbers. I didn't think straight before.

1. Fixed guaranteed income: 25%.
2. 0-50% for EFFICIENCY, 1/2/8 = 1/16 = 6.25% per level.
3. 0-50% for HQ proximity.

This way HQ has 100% at 0 EFFICIENCY. So no energy loss at the game beginning. At the same time the worst case (far base, -4 EFFICIENCY) is dropped from 50% to 25%, which I believe is more modest.

It would fix the EFFIC scale. Right now my SE set doesn't allow for lower than 0 for that reason.

What do you mean? You cannot physically set it lower?

75% efficiency at any distance from the HQ at +4 EFFIC is a lot. I do think Thinker AI and various speedruns demonstrate how strong ICS is. That horizontal development (base count) is more to blame for the energy/research explosion than vertical (facilities, SPs).

It may change overall pace of the game one way or another but what more important is relative change per each level of effect. In vanilla change from -3 to -4 was just absolutely unbearable. Whereas the one from +3 to +4 was just unnoticeable. I hope this new system will level them up a little.

75% at each base with +4 EFFICIENCY may be a lot but try to get to it. One would need to sacrifice a lot of everything else. So it's a fair price.

Rather than hammer far bases with terrible energy or mineral production, I do wonder if dynamic colony pod costs would work. That is the cost of a pod goes up by some amount of minerals for every base & colony pod you have...to match how citizen costs go up in nutrients

Yes, that is a good suggestion. I always thought reducing the price of non combat units with reactors is uncompensated. Why do so if overall production grows?
How do you suggest it should happen? Just proportionally to game time? Like double in 100 turn, triple in 200, ... ? Wouldn't it effectively stop further expansion especially on large maps?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 01, 2020, 01:23:48 PM
Combat outcomes felt completely arbitrary. (I understand they aren't really.) By giving the winner of each combat round a bonus you inreased the volatility of combat. You can easily see the same moderately close fight won by each side taking hardly any damage. It also has the effect that you have a hard time wearing down units. I lost 2 Empath rovers vs the same 1 HP fungus tower since my planet rating was low.

Yes it should feel less predictable with added randomness. That what randomness is for. I can assure you that it doesn't impact you on a large scale. Meaning if you attack fungal towers 10 times in a game you average losses stay the same. Whereas, PLANET rating **does** affect your average losses.

I am sorry if you feel frustrated about losing units in appeared sure cases more than you get happy when your units win in impossible cases. You can crank my randomness configuration parameters in thinker.ini to make it look more like vanilla.

The armor issue is a matter of taste. I don't like the way you can't remove units sitting in your territory. On the other hand, it does give a boost to Morale as experienced units are worth more than in vanilla and it forced me to build more units.

Are they enemies? Can you bombard them? If they are friends - ask them to leave politely. 😉
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 01, 2020, 01:47:06 PM
Quote
We probably just need to remove whatever AI restriction left to let human win and this should do the trick.

Based on numbers above it seems that they rushed it way past 50% completion. Did they?

I don't understand why you want to limit this again after you just proposed it. This is the last project. You should be able to overtake AI by far by this point as you did in previous games.
Not appreciated you need to take comments more seriously. Ok maybe its me - i need to better explain it - i presumed you would know what i mean.

This is about the argument bvanevery used - players have expectations. This is violating it ***heavily***, you can only go so far.  Now there's some tolerance, we get used to something, so it takes a while to accept change, and we get used to that and its ok. This is for example your combat.. its more random. but for example i got used to it after 2-3 games and its good.

Now... Do you want to force player to always insta rush The Ascent to Trascendence or risk losing the game? I presume no.
Do you want players to delay and bank 15-20k ducats before completing Voice of Planet.. so they can insta rush The Ascent on turn 1 to deal with insta loss?
Is it ok to expect from player to have to rush last project? Personally i really don't like it.. its like saying to win you need last tech +20k gold or you lose.

Some backwards AI with pathetic production instantly completes the game winning project for 4k gold. That is not good design... there are many things wrong here, here's some:

- AI gets access to project it shouldn't have (vanilla allows everyone to build this project once Voice of Planet is done)
- AI heavily cheats with rushing.. like i sad he rushed 90+% production with 4k gold... while the player needs many times more
- its the ultimate project - what is allowed for other special projects should not be allowed for this one - and there is good reasons for that i hope i don't have to explain that

Now don't confuse this with AI rushing projects - its a great change - it makes the game better, AI is competitive. Player rushes the projects, so can AI. Its a fair game, player rush one, AI other. One can't get them all - and its fun to fight strong AIs.. 

There are reasons why this works, there are restrictions:
- faction must have a technology!!! Its a big thing.
- faction must have energy.. and energy is limited during most game duration! (even if AI cheats)
- it has consequence! (spent energy means no energy for rushing other things.. can't rush units of followin secret projects)

The Ascent to Trascendence breaks these rules:
- no tech requirement: anyone can build it.... eghm its ok for vanilla for its terribad AI
- yeah AI needs to have energy but it cheats its ass of.. and at late endgame there's ton of energy
- no consequences.. insta win button

So The Ascent to Trascendence needs to be somehow dealt with differently to be reasonable thing. Some suggestions:
- require tech to build it.. then its fair game if player wants to risk AI rushing it.. (fine by me.. its easy solution)
- disable rushing it completely (its 30 ish turns or less fine by me)
- limit rushing it (fine also..)
- or limit rushing every project if you want.. (my original suggestion, fine by me..)
- nerf transcendence AI rushing cheat _significantly_ (i wouldn't do this.. AI needs help for getting lategame projects)
- you can leave it be - but thats lazy thing (i really wouldn't like this)

Why not fix it properly when so much other things were already improved?

ps. no harsh feelings haha ^^



Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 01, 2020, 01:58:28 PM
Yea that would be about right with the corrected numbers. -4 EFFIC is about half the energy output of +4 EFFIC. Which is roughly in line for the same range in SEs like INDUSTRY, RESEARCH. What I meant is that my SE choices don't currently give -EFFIC. Any more than -1 EFFIC is devastating and I used it as a faction penalty.

Colony pod cost would be something like
30 + X * MAPFACTOR * (# of bases + # of colony pods)

X would be some constant. Yea there is the issue of higher reactors reducing the cost a lot. It's a similar issue with crawlers and in some ways it's why I preferred Yitzi's cost formulas. Also unit costs can't grow too much due to native life always having constant cost

Re: Ascent. It was always kind of broken but few games went so long due to imbalances that it was never a huge concern.

I think it's more fitting with the lore to have no tech requirement. As essentially all factions 'ascend' you just become a less dominant part of the ascended entity if you don't win the race. So probably no rush for Ascent makes the most sense. VoP IMO should have granted some bonus to Ascent production - Space Elevator/satellites kind of idea.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on June 01, 2020, 02:00:49 PM
In the current form of the game of course you buy the Ascent to Trancendence in one turn. I appreciate why you don't like it but that is true for all Secret Projects. The way you can use your whole faction to pre-build them is somewhat silly.

Regarding the combat. I don't mind unpredictable combat winners that much. It's the way the winner often takes low or no damage that I really dislike. As I said you can for the same battle have the attacker win and take no damage or the defender win and take no damage. It's very hard to plan for and early game with few units it can screw you over. Overall, the current combat implementation is worse than the vanilla one.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 01, 2020, 02:12:43 PM
Quote
In the current form of the game of course you buy the Ascent to Trancendence in one turn. I appreciate why you don't like it but that is true for all Secret Projects. The way you can use your whole faction to pre-build them is somewhat silly.

Regarding the combat. I don't mind unpredictable combat winners that much. It's the way the winner often takes low or no damage that I really dislike. As I said you can for the same battle have the attacker win and take no damage or the defender win and take no damage. It's very hard to plan for and early game with few units it can screw you over. Overall, the current combat implementation is worse than the vanilla one.

No its not the same - there's big difference between regular secret project and game-winning project. If its the same why then allow everyone to build it without tech  ??? It can't be treated the same.. it should not.

Tim is right about combat from what i can observe - in average you win.. he has formula you can't argue math and win really. You can sometimes lose unexpectedly or win unexpectedly - thats randomness, but with proper preparation you will consistently win. If you want to take base with one 1-3-1 defender bring in 3 attackers you will take it like 95%+ of time. Yeah it will fail sometimes.. if you are unluck and deal zero damage on first attack - smart thing is to retreat or risk losing all of them. Take note that healing is nerfed heavily - if you bring enough units they will break through anything. I bet several 4-1-1 units can break though 1-24-1 defender due to chance.. and he can't heal quickly. Then smart solution is to bring 1-2 artillery units - really helps reducing casualties.

Vanilla taught us often one xp 4-1-2 is enough to take early bases.. with 5-6 of these experienced player can conquer the map. In WTP just to random chance you will lose them all in 20+ fights. And its  a good thing.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 01, 2020, 03:47:03 PM
Voice of Planet creates fungus, increases ecodamage and gives lifecycle bonus. I don't think the devs really had instant Ascent in mind considering those mechanics. It was supposed to be more of a race
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on June 01, 2020, 05:00:39 PM
I'm sorry but you really don't understand the problem I have with the combat. It's not that you can win or lose unexpectedly. It's the way the damage dealt to the victor is so volatile. The bonus for winner of the last combat round makes combat outcomes more extreme, making results that should be extreme outliers (like the weaker unit winning without taking damage) commonplace. If you are attacking with weaker units this is particularly problematic. If you attack say with 2 vs 3 odds you can easily lose 3 units in a row without making a dent or the first one can win without problem. It's too much.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 01, 2020, 06:06:59 PM
Yeah you are right - what you expect is model that simulates consecutive battles. If defender wins 1st combat in 2nd he should be weaker... ie. tired. Its more complicated but realistic
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 01, 2020, 11:48:47 PM
Not appreciated you need to take comments more seriously. Ok maybe its me - i need to better explain it - i presumed you would know what i mean.

What are you talking about? I was genuinely excited by your test results. No sarcasm was intended. It is sad if you understood it differently. I hope your feelings are not hurt.

For long time few modders me included tried to make AI more competitive and still didn't reach the level where it beats the human consistently. This one was an amazing discovery that was overlooked by others. Thank you for your idea!

This is about the argument bvanevery used - players have expectations. This is violating it ***heavily***, you can only go so far.  Now there's some tolerance, we get used to something, so it takes a while to accept change, and we get used to that and its ok.

This is the same argument Sid explained in his video about modern game design. Actually pleasing customer is not a modern concept at all but it seems Sid, being mathematician and slightly out of this world, discovered it for himself in quite late age. Everybody else in the industry knew that all along.

I know what is customer expectations. Throughout my career I used to collect them and formalize them into a business requirement documentation all the time. I should note that, with all proper respect to you and other users, you won't find there words like "violating" or "heavily" or "tolerance" or any other emotional colored words. Just because it is impossible to convert them into code. This may sound Star Wars episode I - ish but it literally "does not compute".

I would definitely like to hear your and others opinions. That is why I asked these questions. Let me repeat them move formally.

1. Generally speaking, do you expect to certainly win on highest difficulty all the time? If not all the time then what percentage?
2. If not at highest level, then what is the difficulty level you expect to win all the time?
3. Do you expect win the race for The Ascent to Transcendence all the time? If not all the time then percentage or times?
4. Do you expect AI to get to the level when it competes for AtT? Do you prefer it to compete but still get it to yourself?

Now... Do you want to force player to always insta rush The Ascent to Trascendence or risk losing the game? I presume no.
Do you want players to delay and bank 15-20k ducats before completing Voice of Planet.. so they can insta rush The Ascent on turn 1 to deal with insta loss?
Is it ok to expect from player to have to rush last project? Personally i really don't like it.. its like saying to win you need last tech +20k gold or you lose.

Some backwards AI with pathetic production instantly completes the game winning project for 4k gold. That is not good design... there are many things wrong here, here's some:

Come on, man! It was just first try of new feature. I didn't even know what could happen and neither did you. That is what play testing is for. Now when we know it we can sit and think if this is something we want. You are immediately attacking it as if I designed and tested whole game and you bought it and now you are not satisfied. I believe we are both designers in this case.

- AI gets access to project it shouldn't have (vanilla allows everyone to build this project once Voice of Planet is done)

What do you mean? AI built AtT before Voice of Planet is done? Then this definitely a bug and need to be looked into. Please send me a save.

- AI heavily cheats with rushing.. like i sad he rushed 90+% production with 4k gold... while the player needs many times more

This looks like another bug. I didn't understand first the completion percentage. However, you said 11 production * 101 turns to completion = about 1100 minerals. So it should cost about 4k credits. Please send me a save to look into it.

The Ascent to Trascendence breaks these rules:
- no tech requirement: anyone can build it.... eghm its ok for vanilla for its terribad AI
- yeah AI needs to have energy but it cheats its ass of.. and at late endgame there's ton of energy
- no consequences.. insta win button

So The Ascent to Trascendence needs to be somehow dealt with differently to be reasonable thing. Some suggestions:
- require tech to build it.. then its fair game if player wants to risk AI rushing it.. (fine by me.. its easy solution)
- disable rushing it completely (its 30 ish turns or less fine by me)
- limit rushing it (fine also..)
- or limit rushing every project if you want.. (my original suggestion, fine by me..)
- nerf transcendence AI rushing cheat _significantly_ (i wouldn't do this.. AI needs help for getting lategame projects)
- you can leave it be - but thats lazy thing (i really wouldn't like this)

Why not fix it properly when so much other things were already improved?

You think this is vanilla bug? I never experienced AI to build it out of order but this need to be checked.

Everything can be fixed we just need time and testing and post analysis. Don't expect it in a single iteration. A little patience. 😉
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 01, 2020, 11:59:56 PM
Colony pod cost would be something like
30 + X * MAPFACTOR * (# of bases + # of colony pods)

Didn't get your MAPFACTOR. I though you proposed to make them more expensive with time. Which is a great idea in my opinion.

Re: Ascent. It was always kind of broken but few games went so long due to imbalances that it was never a huge concern.

I think it's more fitting with the lore to have no tech requirement. As essentially all factions 'ascend' you just become a less dominant part of the ascended entity if you don't win the race. So probably no rush for Ascent makes the most sense. VoP IMO should have granted some bonus to Ascent production - Space Elevator/satellites kind of idea.

I think this is by design and intended to help **human** player in first place. So they don't feel behind the race and can compete for this project with all the crawlers they can build. Since vanilla AI does not hurry SP with credits and uses crawlers poorly, human had all the chances to beat it even if being greatly behind in development and technology!
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 12:27:26 AM
In the current form of the game of course you buy the Ascent to Trancendence in one turn. I appreciate why you don't like it but that is true for all Secret Projects. The way you can use your whole faction to pre-build them is somewhat silly.

I agree that pre building them is silly. However, I believe putting all your faction efforts into it makes sense.
I don't know how to disallow prebuilding (either with crawlers or cash). It seems to be a big embedded game feature.

Regarding the combat. I don't mind unpredictable combat winners that much. It's the way the winner often takes low or no damage that I really dislike. As I said you can for the same battle have the attacker win and take no damage or the defender win and take no damage. It's very hard to plan for and early game with few units it can screw you over. Overall, the current combat implementation is worse than the vanilla one.

Unfortunately it is how probability and multi round combat work. Damage (un)predictability is mathematically equivalent to winning (un)predictability. The more unpredictable the damage to victor the more unpredictable who wins.

Let's say two units with relative strength 2 and 1 are fighting. How badly do you want weaker unit to be damaged if it wins? 80-90% all the time? What if they both have 1 HP left?

I'm sorry but you really don't understand the problem I have with the combat. It's not that you can win or lose unexpectedly. It's the way the damage dealt to the victor is so volatile. The bonus for winner of the last combat round makes combat outcomes more extreme, making results that should be extreme outliers (like the weaker unit winning without taking damage) commonplace. If you are attacking with weaker units this is particularly problematic. If you attack say with 2 vs 3 odds you can easily lose 3 units in a row without making a dent or the first one can win without problem. It's too much.

Here also replying to your similar claim in another post.

You are absolutely right that my formula increases combat outcome volatility. This is what it is for and this is an intended effect. 😜
Before you start criticizing this let me tell you that this was done specifically to counter vanilla extremely low combat outcome volatility. Yes, vanilla designers did this on purpose to implement the same exactly functionality you advocate in your posts. They solved their "phalanx cannot beat the tank" Civ1 problem but opened can of other worms.
Well, some of WTP mod players thought that it did it too much probably to an abusive level making combat exceptionally not volatile. So there was a huge-huge discussion about how much of that stolen volatility should be re-introduced back into WTP. It is very difficult to tell where the sweet point is. So I left it as an adjustable parameter. And you will notice that many people there play WTP with their own setting of this parameter. So WTP is somewhere in between Civ1 and vanilla in this regard. You don't need to criticize the idea itself but you can propose a sweeter point on a Civ1-Civ2 scale if you don't like the current one. Remember, you can always switch it off completely.

Better yet, review all what have been said on the matter to not repeat same questions.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 02, 2020, 08:34:29 AM
Quote
What do you mean? AI built AtT before Voice of Planet is done? Then this definitely a bug and need to be looked into. Please send me a save.
No I mean i built it.. AI doesn't even the tech. But it then happened that AI rushed complete AtT at 90+% for cheap (i am not sure anymore) and won the game. What this mean is that if player wants to win - you delay Voice.. prepare crawlers.. money and have to rush it on turn 1.. or you really risk losing the game.

Quote
I was genuinely excited by your test results. No sarcasm was intended
Haha well i considered that.. shortly lol. My bad.. i thought you just glanced over it like its nothing. its kind of important imo.

Quote
This looks like another bug. I didn't understand first the completion percentage. However, you said 11 production * 101 turns to completion = about 1100 minerals. So it should cost about 4k credits. Please send me a save to look into it.
Now I am confused  ??? Ah I'll see later to check saves again and i'll upload them. The project is 3000 minerals.. I don't remember what Pirates Industry was... they might have used several crawlers and then rushed with energy.. maybe they rushed it multilpe times -_- weird. I don't understand now how they could even get to 1000 mins to completion their production was so crap. I though Transcend AI can rush cheaper?! Oh crap.. gonna take another look at saves.. something doesn't add up here.

Quote
What do you mean? AI built AtT before Voice of Planet is done?
- No.. I meant now in your mod it is not ok anymore to give AI access to AtT, like in Vanilla. But maybe scratch that.. need to check saves again.. i thought AI can rush-buy SP for cheap. If AI pays 4 gold per mineral its a fair game..
Still its a bit weird.. for example 3000 minerals with 40% discount is 1800x4 = 7200 energy to fully rush AtT - thats all you need. Its cheap for insta win lel ^^ i had 7k gold just AI just caught me sleeping.

Quote
1. Generally speaking, do you expect to certainly win on highest difficulty all the time? If not all the time then what percentage?
2. If not at highest level, then what is the difficulty level you expect to win all the time?
3. Do you expect win the race for The Ascent to Transcendence all the time? If not all the time then percentage or times?
4. Do you expect AI to get to the level when it competes for AtT? Do you prefer it to compete but still get it to yourself?

1. No not ^^ actually its really reasonable to lose early game if spawned close to AI. I had a few close calls. I almost lost diplomatic victory - AI got double vote SP. Once player has enough space its hard to lose - maybe due to this transcendence rushing thing. It surprised me.
2. I feel i can win 90+% on Thinker and below  :danc:. Thinker seems way easier than Trascend. Its possible to lose real bad early start.
3. Actually this trashed my expectations. I think player can win AtT race every time once it knows AI can insta rush it. Basically you just prepare crawlers and money and win instantly.
4. Well I somehow expected that 11 production city can't complete AtT.. my bad. I would actually prefer to have to build AtT completely manually without Crawlers and energy rush, that would be real race. But AI would need to know to use the best city and industry settings for that feat.. i guess thats out of scope.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 02, 2020, 08:55:27 AM
Quote
Let's say two units with relative strength 2 and 1 are fighting. How badly do you want weaker unit to be damaged if it wins? 80-90% all the time? What if they both have 1 HP left?

In general i like combat and got used to it. it happens sometimes, very rarely, that for example 16-1-2 just dies to 0-1-1 former dealing zero damage  ;lol There is so many fights.. even if it is 1/200 its kind of notably since disparity is so big. i just take it for granted i know it can happen.. i played Diablo 2 ^^. Every few months you get that 1 in a million item or rune. Lottery.

-One could use trickery to check damage levels and guarantee that Former gets hurt certain %.. but i don't know if thats good idea or would introduce bugs or predictability.
1. Something reasonable - tweaking formula a bit:

Say that former (rough terrain+territory) has 10% chance to damage 16 attack rover and it hits it actually.. So Rover is damaged 10%. Next round former odds are reduced to 5%.. It hits it again..- unlikely but it will happen. Rover is damaged 20%. Next round 2.5%... next 1.25 .. and then if odds<1 round to zero. So even in very unlikely scenario Former will get 4 hits and damage Rover to 40% and at that point Rover is guaranteed to hit the Fomer. So its 40% to 10% atm.. Once this happens just restart loop and goes same to starting 10% odds again. In this case Former can kill Rover.. very unlikely.. but it has to take at least 20% damage.. Also implicates that 90% already hurt former must lose vs healthy rover. In that sense combat would be predictable.
 Ie. 1% HP Worm in WTP combat could not really kill healthy attacker like ever with this combat logic... it can now, i've seen Morgan smashing 5 needlejets into my 50% damaged locust and losing all of them before finally killiing it in 6th attack. I also lost 2 full hp rovers with miriam at (-10%) attacking 10% hp worm - and thus losing freshly settled base.

Basically one could eliminate the chance completely that Former 0-1-1 can kill 16 dmg Rover without taking damage. Similarly this would lead to things like that 4-1-2 attacking 1-3-1 defender guarantees some % of damage. That looks interesting and fun. I bet there is some downside to this :).

2. Or some mix... take your combat now - if one units wins n in a row (say 3..) reduce odds 50%.. so you actually get a scenario where one unit cant cleanly kill the other under certain odds. This would mean that superior units will pretty much always be at least 10% damaged on iteration 4, 5, or 6 of combat before it resets.. But it would be more realistic to see unit hurt a bit after every combat.

3. Alternative idea is to give attacking/defender units penalty for fighting multiple times in same turn. Say 1-3-1 unit gets attacked and kills attacker taking zero damage. On following attack (on same turn) it gets 10-20% penalty.. so it gets weaker. On 3rd attack is 20-40% weaker. This should lead to guaranteed damage - death if attacked multiple times. Attackers like Rovers and Copters then likely should be nerfed similarly. This is probably way more complicated than suggestion 1. But I think hagen0 expects something like this.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 01:55:04 PM
No I mean i built it.. AI doesn't even the tech. But it then happened that AI rushed complete AtT at 90+% for cheap (i am not sure anymore) and won the game. What this mean is that if player wants to win - you delay Voice.. prepare crawlers.. money and have to rush it on turn 1.. or you really risk losing the game.

Share the save, please.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 02:51:25 PM
RE: combat volatility

This could be an endless discussion. With all my respect to your feelings and appreciation for your participation in discussion I believe this is not worth worrying about.

Yes. There is some randomization in games to represent a chance. Usually nobody ever complains about the degree of randomization or the specific shape of probability distribution function but only about fairness to all players. People can as well play roulette, black jack, or any board game like monopoly with a pretty archaic cubic random number generator and I never heard anybody complained about too much or too little randomization. Or requests to replace 6 side dice to 12 side dice because the former is not random enough. 😕 DnD uses latter not because they seek some special type of randomness but because they need more granularity in options per turn.

Random effects do affect the game outcome but they nullify itself on a larger scale. Sometimes it takes few turns, sometimes few games. Monopoly and poker, for example, are heavily random games. It takes few games to let more skilled one win more often. The combat in turn based games is not like that. It equalizes own randomness on a course of few turns. Civ1 has a highest possible combat volatility with each unit either live or die. Yet million of gamers enjoyed it for decade and nobody even noted that you can lose a well built empire in the middle of the game due to combat volatility. Randomness becomes already irrelevant after about 20 battles and one usually conducts like 1000 of them during the game.

There are also plenty of other random factors in a game those much, much, much more impactful due to their unique nature and strong effect. Take an initial placement for one. It could directly lead to misery or prosperity - no matter how good your play skills are! That is what worth worrying about if one is so concerned about amount of randomness.

Let me reiterate once more. Did you enjoy playing Civ1 for years? Did you complain about combat volatility back then? Probably not. New system introduced in Civ2/SMACX changed the combat significantly to the level that new combat tactics appears. Unusual at start but we got used to it and enjoyed it again for decades. WtP combat is just somewhere in the middle of Civ1-Civ2 scale. No new principles at all. I feel like most of the complaints are because it does not feel like vanilla combat. Yes, it feels different and maybe shocking at start. It took me like 5-10 WtP games just to get used to it and adjust my play style and strategy to it. Now it's organic. I love it. I love my new strategy. And I don't want to go back! 😝
Try it out. You may love it too.

Civ1, Civ2, and WtP combat formulas produce same exactly results on large scale after 20+ combats or so. New formula was devised to counter worm hunt abuse mostly (kill and heal). Now when weapon/armor is equalized, defense got their bonuses, healing rate is lowered and land psi attack advantage is removed it is not that important anymore to keep it. You are free to dial it down to vanilla version or something in between for your liking. I don't think it is really worth to spend time on proving (😕) which value is good or how exactly we should change combat outcome. It's minor.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 03:48:40 PM
# Version 62

* Changed default value of alternative_combat_mechanics_loss_divider=2.0.

Here you go. I've changed the default value for alternative combat so it should feel less volatile now. I believe lolada or dino just set it like that for themselves already so it should be good sweet spot.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 02, 2020, 04:46:56 PM
Didn't get your MAPFACTOR. I though you proposed to make them more expensive with time. Which is a great idea in my opinion.

mapfactor is just scaling by the size of the map. By # of bases+colony pods makes more sense than time. Time means they get expensive whether you have a large empire or not. And it would force players to do all their expanding early on.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 04:57:24 PM
RE: borehole build restrictions

I don't feel these restrictions are good because it is difficult to enforce them and they are actually can be easily broken. One can start building them on adjacent squares and get adjacent boreholes. Slope restriction is also easy to break with raising and lowering land to get borehole sitting on slope after that. So I don't think I'll bother restricting AI terraforming with them. I can also remove them for human if community so desire. However, this is minor thing either way even if human has them and AI don't. This effectively doesn't restrict their quantity.

The more important thing about boreholes is that they are really effective. For twice longer construction time one get 1.5 more minerals that mine produces plus 6 energy. Obviously, AI would spam them in large quantities instead of mines given the opportunity. We cannot blame it because it is a right thing to do and sure path to victory. They need to be either nerfed or somehow restricted in quantities.
Condensers and echelon mirrors are free of this problem. They are really nicely designed supportive structures. They do not replace farms and solar but act in symbiosis with them increasing their yield.
Boreholes are not symbiote but a competitor of mine. Poor poor mine - it has so many competitors like forest and borehole. 😢
I believe this is not easily fixable. Whatever borehole yield will be it will either replace mine completely if it is more profitable or won't be used at all if not. The only sufficient solution I see now is to make it less mineral producing but more of energy. Something like 0-2-4. This way all previous improvement combinations will have their unique attractiveness.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 02, 2020, 05:03:58 PM
Here - thats 1 turn before they rush Att. 106 turns to go.. 11 minerals per turn. Pirates are at +1 industry (fund + planned + power + thought police). If you click next turn they will fully rush it.

Something is bugged in my save i think ?! it says 14k to rush my project.. but it can't be.. Project cost is 2400 minerals with my discount.. that should be 9600 energy? I noticed this rush change during game some point but ignored it.. a bug? maybe i could hunt down what caused it.

Here for example save in 2320 - i can rush Dream Twister for cca 2800 energy (720 mins).

M.Y. 2367 save is me working halfway on Voice of Planet.

p.s map is weirdly terraforormed due to global warming

re: on combat - well i didn't change any factors - i guess i can try with 2.0 and see if it "feels" less volatile.. i got used to 3.0
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 02, 2020, 05:11:24 PM
I saw boreholes as more as a replacement for mines. Mines only get a production increases with tech on sea tiles.

One thing about making boreholes more E focused is that it doesn't really leave much improvements that give M. Mines aren't that great by the midgame at 0-4-0. Forests end up being more for N than M or E. Fungus was redesigned to be N and E. I think 0-5-5 or so is ok for boreholes. They just need to require more tech. A lot of terraforming improvements just come way too early. To use a Civ2 analogy, it's like getting Supermarkets and Superhighways while still in the medieval era.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 02, 2020, 05:16:14 PM
Quote
borehole = nutrient/energy. Also unique yield combination. In its 0-2-4 form it is not completely superior neither to forest nor mine nor farm-solar. It is still comparable to mine if we convert energy to minerals 2:1. They both will be equivalent to 4 minerals. So borehole will be better if you want to shift focus from minerals to energy.

Did you forget ecological impact? And river impact - they ruin river flow. Boreholes are awful for eco damage, take long time to build, have restrictions that work well. They are not available early. If someone wants to cheat/exploit boreholes with terraform up down.. i wouldnt bother trying to prevent it.. if someone wants to have fun that waz with their game they are free to do so.

Yeah they are competitor of mines, but you can for example take a look at my saves there and see i have lots of mines and basically 1 borehole per base. There's not even 1 borehole in new bases. Whats the problem with borehole > mine as long as there are restrictions and eco damage?

btw. if you take a look at save - AI is really having trouble with eco damage and fungus - that is a big problem imo. AI does not control eco damage well - it ruins its land with fungus and does not remove it aggressively. Take a look at Lal's land he's using ton of 2-0-1 tiles at endgame. Zakharov has Manifold sp.. but who knows he might have ruined himself the same - i presumed he planted fungus. I've seen the same with usurper aliens - AI is really heavily affected if having negative planet - it can't easily get rid of worms and eco damage is higher so their development is even worse... with negative planet fungus gives low res.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 05:24:42 PM
mapfactor is just scaling by the size of the map. By # of bases+colony pods makes more sense than time. Time means they get expensive whether you have a large empire or not. And it would force players to do all their expanding early on.

Scaling by the size of the map and by the # of bases+colony are two completely different things. Do you want them both contribute to the effect or these are just two options?

I think scaling by faction achievement makes less sense then by time. It penalizes factions achieved more. Why? Just to equalize everybody regardless of their efforts/skills/luck? There are quite a lot of such penalties in the game already.

ICS is the worst at the very beginning of the game. Later on everybody becomes preoccupied with other things and it naturally fades down. It still going on but not in explosive exponential way.

The purpose of making colonies and other non combat units more expensive with time is to model combat unit getting more expensive with their better weapon/armor. Non combat units do not get upgraded like that. So you may end up producing more than one former/colony/probe a turn after mid game especial with reactor decreased cost. This is not a big deal per se as everybody will be on same page. Just a mere inconvenience and unmatch with other contemporary units/facilities. Therefore, simple increase in cost with time should do it.

I was actually thinking to increase all non combat modules cost with time to make it more fairer and to not break cost balance with combat units. Something like gradual increase by approximately 50% every 100 turns. Combined with 20% reactor cost drop every 75-100 turns it will give about 30% factual increase per 100 turns or so.

Here sample progression for turns 0-100-200-300-400.
Colony: 6-8-10-13-17
Former: 4-5-7-9-11
Transport: same as former
Speder Probe: same as colony
Supply: 12-16-20-26-34

With that in mind some non combat unit cost could be lowered down a little to make them bearable at the beginning. Like supply can start from 8 or 10 instead and then grow up.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 05:28:14 PM
re: on combat - well i didn't change any factors - i guess i can try with 2.0 and see if it "feels" less volatile.. i got used to 3.0

Ah. That was probably dino then.
No worries. I've already set it to 2.0 by default in last version. It is still adjustable by users, though.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 05:32:44 PM
I saw boreholes as more as a replacement for mines.

Yep. Agree on that. See my notes in some previous post.
Along with nerfing boreholes we could also increase output of mines with tech same way as for platforms to make them more relevant in later game. Maybe even couple times with two techs: 4-5-6. However, the amount of minerals with all multiplier facilities is already quite large in late game. I would prefer to nerf borehole rather than beaf mine.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 02, 2020, 05:37:22 PM
Quote
Here sample progression for turns 0-100-200-300-400.
Colony: 6-8-10-13-17
Former: 4-5-7-9-11
Transport: same as former
Speeder Probe: same as colony
Supply: 12-16-20-26-34

With that in mind some non combat unit cost could be lowered down a little to make them bearable at the beginning. Like supply can start from 8 or 10 instead and then grow up.

I'll put up stop sign here  ;stupid :D What do we want to gain with these changes?? ICS stop? Why not just let players colonize finish with it and proceed the game.. i am not sure that colonizing something whole game is better. If you want to stop ICS why don't just restrict base distance to 4+ tiles or something?!

Colony pods more expensive - i don't know is there a point to it?? i mean its natural to expand early on and then you want to build infrastructure and units. If I continue expanding i delegate colony pod building to fringe weak bases - i want my main strong bases to work on more important things.

You may even make things worse - if you made it that expensive later - then player will just rush it to colonize early while its cheap. And AI will be way worse since they don't know the difference.

Formers - basically i build better formers - speeders so its expensive.. or one can armor them to protect them from air attack. AI builds grav formers.. They die more and AI is having trouble terraforming fungus for example - they need formers. Making them more expensive doesn't help.

Transport - thats a nerf to AI as well imo --- player will build up 2-3 transports.. AI spams them.

Speeder Probe - AI LOVES to spam them and they spam really expensive variants like neutronium probes. Making them more expensive is bad idea.. It would be good idea to actually teach AI not to build them so much!

Supply - AI builds armored variants.. they do pay off faster later, but there's less turn in game.. i don't see the point. It would also affect rushing?!

I think making these units more expensive is likely worse for the game overall.

Making units slightly cheaper at start ... maybe.. At this point it is worth it to rush Recycling centers for example i think.. Maybe even Rec Commons. If you make Colony pods too cheap then it will be vanilla colony spam again. Making formers slightly cheaper might be good idea - since they are hard to rush (4 energy.. per min).

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 05:47:28 PM
And river impact - they ruin river flow.

Hmm. Just tested this in scenario. Placed bore on a river - it doesn't change it a bit.

Yeah they are competitor of mines, but you can for example take a look at my saves there and see i have lots of mines and basically 1 borehole per base. There's not even 1 borehole in new bases. Whats the problem with borehole > mine as long as there are restrictions and eco damage?

The problem is that these restrictions are only in human mind. They are not physical restrictions. AI will spam them as it sees fit disregarding ecodamage and causing global warming for everybody. However, I agree with you on that fungal pops destroy improvements boreholes included. So maybe I was too harsh on them. 0-4-4 would be more on target. And we should teach it to regard ecodamage.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 05:52:28 PM
Quote
Here sample progression for turns 0-100-200-300-400.
Colony: 6-8-10-13-17
Former: 4-5-7-9-11
Transport: same as former
Speeder Probe: same as colony
Supply: 12-16-20-26-34

With that in mind some non combat unit cost could be lowered down a little to make them bearable at the beginning. Like supply can start from 8 or 10 instead and then grow up.

I'll put up stop sign here  ;stupid :D What do we want to gain with these changes??

Whew. Thank you man. I was afraid I had to implement these changes to satisfy users. 😌
I agree there is no real need for that. At least nothing major.

Now I will remove myself from this discussion hoping you'll forge some agreement with Nexii.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 02, 2020, 06:00:08 PM
Just tried it - in this case borehole eats river. I know it can it rivers ^^ it may be wonky. I remember seeing T-Hawk screenshot of many short rivers.. he spammed boreholes and condensers in optimal grid.
Anyway.. quick experiment on one of my save.. right side is with river.. i removed old borehole and placed new one directly on river.
(https://i.imgur.com/MLAPeq5.png)

+1 for teaching AI to control eco damage
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 02, 2020, 06:15:22 PM
Quote
Now I will remove myself from this discussion hoping you'll forge some agreement with Nexii.

Moving them later - since they are quite op - might be good idea. Not too late tho.. There is The Weather Paradigm - its way too strong if it unlocks Boreholes too early only for 1 faction. On plain Thinker AI mod - The weather paradigm is like the best wonder in game. The Weather Paradigm loses lots of value if its not available early - its already tech level 3 in your mod and 600 minerals. Or one could remove boreholes from weather paradigm and just unlock it at some later tech.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 06:19:27 PM
Hmm. Maybe it happens in normal way terraforming but scenario editor allows it to ovrelap? Need to test.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 02, 2020, 07:14:46 PM
Restricting bases by distance would work too, and it's probably better than scaling costs. Maybe it's just a preference, but there's way too many bases to manage given the UI functionality available. In the end it's kind of the same whether factions have 20 cities or 100. EFFIC and b-drones reduce ICS a bit but I'd argue things like support, ecodamage favor it. Smaller bases pollute much less due to CM mechanics. I suppose I like fewer better bases more, it's less about colony pod spam and more about improving the existing bases.

Re: boreholes, their ecodamage from terraforming isn't really all that much. It's 2/8 from working an improvement and 8/8 for the borehole itself. So only 1.25 minerals of ecodamage. Then you have tree farm which cuts terraforming ecodamage in half and hybrid forest which reduces all of it. It all counts I suppose but the vast majority of ecodamage is from mineral production. And that's probably fine really, given how little the UI explains ecodamage mechanics.

Yea WP was always among the very best SPs in game. Only Cloning Vats compared in terms of power.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on June 02, 2020, 10:17:51 PM
Thanks for adjusting the combat formula. I will finish my current game and then give the version a whirl.

Are you able to fundamentally change mechanics like support and eco-damage to make them less ICS-friendly? Sounds tricky.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 10:34:28 PM
Thanks for adjusting the combat formula. I will finish my current game and then give the version a whirl.

No need to wait. You can change this parameter in your current version as well. This is only computational change so save backward compatible. Besides, as I pointed out before, it won't change the tide on big scale only your experience in isolated combat. So no harm to try it in the middle of the game.

Are you able to fundamentally change mechanics like support and eco-damage to make them less ICS-friendly? Sounds tricky.

Absolutely. However, it costs time, which I don't have much. Therefore, I tend to ponder about all potential future changes before implementation, as you probably already noticed on this thread. So come up with some well rounded solution and we will give it a thought.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 02, 2020, 11:05:44 PM
Well forcing a bigger space between bases does solve a lot of the ICS. And it makes EFFIC more relevant

I think a 100% distance formula could be fine to retain for EFFIC. Here's idea #2 for a simplified efficiency:

EFFIC = 1 - (4 - EFFIC) * HQ DISTANCE / 200, min of 25% max of 100%

-4 EFFIC would lose 4% efficiency per 1 distance (8/200) from the HQ
0 EFFIC would lose 2% efficiency per 1 distance from the HQ
+4 EFFIC would have 100% efficiency at any distance

The 200 factor could be adjusted by map size, but it's probably roughly what it should be for a normal sized map.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 11:07:29 PM
Here - thats 1 turn before they rush Att. 106 turns to go.. 11 minerals per turn. Pirates are at +1 industry (fund + planned + power + thought police). If you click next turn they will fully rush it.

Amazing work, man. You did a great service to community as I discovered another undocumented quirk which I wasn't aware of and, I believe, nobody else as well. At least Induktio missed it in its hurry cost calculation too.

About AI first. They have a special code that cuts 1 mineral from row if human is leading. Then they also get -1 if some other special condition happens. Then they also get -1 or -2 if other special condition happens. That is all in addition to INDUSTRY effect so it overpass its -5 maximal benefit. That is how your Pirates got 4 minerals per row. Cheaters. 😁
Correspondingly, their AtT cost is 300 * 4 = 1200. This leaves them 1200 - 41 = 1159 minerals to go and 1159 * 4 = ~4636 credits to hurry it. They had 6k on turn before so this all adds up.

Now to the fun part. Apparently, when VoP is built in any base it additionally doubles all hurry costs! Projects, facilities, units - everything. Looks like designers also understood the abundance of credits at end game and tried to slow down natural unstoppable hurrying at finish line. That is why your hurry cost is double of normal if you calculate it. Whereas Thinker hurry code does not account for it and mistakenly calculates AI hurry cost without this VoP factor.

I tested this VoP effect in base UI screen for both human and AI factions. It works for both. I am not sure if this also accounted for in AI base upkeep code that does not use UI. However, I tend to believe it does. Otherwise, it would be a huge discrepancy between AI hurrying it itself and scenario editor hurrying it on behalf of AI which should mimic AI abilities 1:1.

With that being said it becomes obvious that hurrying projects in late game is much much easier than building them with minerals due to overwhelming cash flow. In this regard it would be logical to increase project hurrying cost even more. They are too valuable to just buy them as units. Say facilities are x2, units are x4, and projects are x8. And, of course, VoT doubles all the above numbers. What do you think?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 02, 2020, 11:13:12 PM
Well it's hard to stop rushing by asymmetric costs because then you'd just rush units and crawlers and turn those in. Unless they get an according penalty I suppose

Then theres other considerations, like that you can rush a facility and swap to SP. Again an additional penalty has to be applied...

Granted SPs are always the best to rush so I'm kind of mixed on it. It's not like 8E:1M is all that efficient... my custom PKs have 2x rush costs so I have a bit of a feel for it.

Minerals should be the best for something whether it's units or SPs
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 11:15:47 PM
Well forcing a bigger space between bases does solve a lot of the ICS. And it makes EFFIC more relevant

I don't see how it restricts human who usually place bases quite far apart comparing AI who often put 3 bases on a crater. At the same time human is biggest ICS abuser.

I think a 100% distance formula could be fine to retain for EFFIC. Here's idea #2 for a simplified efficiency:

EFFIC = 1 - (4 - EFFIC) * HQ DISTANCE / 200, min of 25% max of 100%

-4 EFFIC would lose 4% efficiency per 1 distance (8/200) from the HQ
0 EFFIC would lose 2% efficiency per 1 distance from the HQ
+4 EFFIC would have 100% efficiency at any distance

The 200 factor could be adjusted by map size, but it's probably roughly what it should be for a normal sized map.

-4 EFFIC would lose 4% efficiency per 1 distance (8/200) from the HQ - you mean lose 4% energy intake?
If so then it makes sense.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 02, 2020, 11:25:15 PM
Yes, 4% inefficiency per 1 distance. So at 25 distance, 0% energy but then the 25% minimum kicks in.

I'd say Thinker AI uses ICS quite well, it puts bases 3 distance apart from what I've seen. More extreme ICS can do 2 distance apart I suppose but I think its debated some what's ideal. Forcing 4 tiles apart might feel a bit overkill but it would stop it hard.

Perhaps for SPs they can't be rushed with anything till 25% complete with minerals. I do think that was sort of their intent with the 4x rush cost till 4 rows are complete thing. Only problem was it still allowed rushing the early part, and it didn't really scale up for the more expensive SPs.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 11:36:05 PM
# Version 63

* VoP doubles hurry cost. This is now correctly calculated in AI hurry code.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 11:40:37 PM
Perhaps for SPs they can't be rushed with anything till 25% complete with minerals. I do think that was sort of their intent with the 4x rush cost till 4 rows are complete thing. Only problem was it still allowed rushing the early part, and it didn't really scale up for the more expensive SPs.

Any restriction for minimal hurrying threshold is unclear. Why it is 10 in vanilla? Why not 20, 50? What difference does it make? I never understood the significance of this number but I had to remember it to exploit it properly.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 02, 2020, 11:43:16 PM
Not sure I understand. I was talking about rushing SPs not colony costs.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 02, 2020, 11:53:09 PM
Sorry. It is all mixed up in my head. The same question about hurrying SP. What difference does it make if you restrict it to 25% built?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 02, 2020, 11:56:48 PM
Having to build part of it with raw production ensures that the SP race lasts at least a few turns.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 03:00:01 AM
Something I never paid attention to. It is not reflected in help but it turns out rocky tile does not produce nutrients from rainfall at all regardless of rainfall. Unimproved rainy rocky square is 0-1-0. Help says farm cannot be built there but it is irrelevant. Even if you place a farm there in editor it won't produce a single nutrient. They only way to get it from rocks is nutrient resources. However, mine, the only viable improvement in rocks, reduces nutrient output by 1. So rocky mine on nutrient resources still produces just 1-4-0. That sucks. Borehole and forest (two other mineral resources) do not have this restriction. Such injustice. I am thinking on doing something on that.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 03, 2020, 08:23:55 AM
Rushing
Quote
Say facilities are x2, units are x4, and projects are x8. And, of course, VoT doubles all the above numbers. What do you think?

What a mess ^^ i've seen they had only 4 mins in a row.. cheaters :D. I don't know how its calculated but sure they needed it their production was awful. I was also thinking about 8 E per mineral for SP - i'd say do it and we can test it. If it turns about bad i'll complain :). The thing is player can hurry important project with crawlers and then rush the rest with energy. AI is in general too dumb for that. But AI gets these ridiculous production discounts so they hurry it 100% with way less energy. This 8E might level the fields somewhat.

On topic of requiring x% amount of minerals before being able to rush SP. It makes some sense since it guarantees one can't snipe them in single turn and the faction with better production can win the race. For example this AtT thing would not happen. And there would be a race - 1 turn rush is not a race; with current system Morgan is the king.
There's Crawler rush thing - but it is for most of the game quite an investment to dump crawlers into SP. I'd ban crawlers from rushing SP just because i find it unfair to AI. But its not too bad, in current implementation player can snipe some important SPs with crawler+energy, but there's enough projects and tech disparity that AI gets lots of them and thats quite nice.

Terraforming
I'd say it should be #1 priority to improve AI terraforming - they need to have enough minerals or they are really really bad. Got to teach them to remove fungus and terraform if they don't have PLANET > 0. Even then AI should know that each base needs at least x amount of minerals. For example 5 - 10 - 20 early, mid, late.. thats the way i think about it at least - in general each base needs to have a minimum amount to complete facilities in reasonable time. Then AI needs to know when things get worse to re-terraform terrain.. once fungus pop everywhere i don't see them removing it. Fixing eco-damage would help them a lot, i've seen them doing 60+ eco-damage thats worm-pop every turn until the base is ruined.

Mines: if mine would not reduce output of food by 1 it could be decent on rolling tiles for some bases. Civ3 had that.. AI still needs to know not to build mine on every tile ^^. Low altitude Rainy rolling tile could be 3-2-0 or 4-2-0 later.. solar would add just 1 or 2 energy (with economy or mirror).. while on hill tiles one could build solar collectors. You can maybe teach AI to prefer solar collectors on higher altitudes, mines on lower rolling tiles.

ICS

I must say i don't really see the issue. I simply don't ICS because its anti-fun and tedious and AI does not do it either. Recently i played on small maps because even on normal maps its easy to get 30 cities 4-tiles-apart and it becomes tedious to play. Basically i tend to match AI in cities and add a few more and just stop. If i add new ones to fill the space i space them more apart, later often 5-6 tiles because it really doesn't matter much once you have 30+ of them.
I don't use governors they are just awful - Induktio said that code is not reversed yet.. until its rewritten i think they are useless. You can force bases 4 tiles apart i won't mind.. i turned off monsoon jungle in maps anyway the thing is unabalanced.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 12:57:32 PM
Rushing
On topic of requiring x% amount of minerals before being able to rush SP. It makes some sense since it guarantees one can't snipe them in single turn and the faction with better production can win the race. For example this AtT thing would not happen. And there would be a race - 1 turn rush is not a race.

It's a healing of a dead. If one can hurry projects easily for x8 cash this is clearly the problems of too much cash or too small project cost or both. Project is supposed to be expensive to be not rushed in one turn no matter with crawlers or cash. Restructuring the payment scheme is just hiding it under the carpet.

There's Crawler rush thing - but it is for most of the game quite an investment to dump crawlers into SP. I'd ban crawlers from rushing SP just because i find it unfair to AI. But its not too bad, in current implementation player can snipe some important SPs with crawler+energy, but there's enough projects and tech disparity that AI gets lots of them and thats quite nice.

Same thought here. I believe project should be built by whole faction but crawlers are bad implementation of it.

I think the problem of buying projects with cash is that it is collected from all bases into a single pool. Whereas, mineral production stays with bases. It doesn't matter when hurrying common production as all bases would build it anyway. Helping some bases with common pool of money is fine as this happens in small increments to bases here and there which is a good way to partially channel combined income to help the neediest. Project is a different story. One want to channel a big part of empire production for a single building into a single base. It should be so huge than theoretically even common cash income pool should not be able to cover it.

Here is what I came up with. When faction starts building a project all bases contribute some percentage of minerals to it. No need to build and relocate tons of crawlers for that. Easy, automatic, and natural for both human and AI. Now it is really whole community who erects it.

With that in mind we can easily price them proportional to whole empire strength and to not be afraid anymore they are not affordable for AI to build it in a single base.
1. We can make it back expensive again. Especially late game ones.
2. We can scale late game project proportional to map size.
3. With two above in mind we should probably rearrange them in time/cost so that cost corresponds appearance time.


Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 01:00:19 PM
Terraforming
I'd say it should be #1 priority to improve AI terraforming - they need to have enough minerals or they are really really bad. Got to teach them to remove fungus and terraform if they don't have PLANET > 0. Even then AI should know that each base needs at least x amount of minerals. For example 5 - 10 - 20 early, mid, late.. thats the way i think about it at least - in general each base needs to have a minimum amount to complete facilities in reasonable time. Then AI needs to know when things get worse to re-terraform terrain.. once fungus pop everywhere i don't see them removing it. Fixing eco-damage would help them a lot, i've seen them doing 60+ eco-damage thats worm-pop every turn until the base is ruined.

Mines: if mine would not reduce output of food by 1 it could be decent on rolling tiles for some bases. Civ3 had that.. AI still needs to know not to build mine on every tile ^^. Low altitude Rainy rolling tile could be 3-2-0 or 4-2-0 later.. solar would add just 1 or 2 energy (with economy or mirror).. while on hill tiles one could build solar collectors. You can maybe teach AI to prefer solar collectors on higher altitudes, mines on lower rolling tiles.

Yeah. It's all makes sense. The only thing that rocky tiles do not harvest any nutrients and on top of that mine reduces the nutrient output confuses me. What is the purpose of it? Some historical reason from Civ1? Well now it makes rocky mines pretty pathetic comparing to forest and boreholes. Don't know what to do with it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 03, 2020, 02:15:53 PM
Quote
Yeah. It's all makes sense. The only thing that rocky tiles do not harvest any nutrients and on top of that mine reduces the nutrient output confuses me. What is the purpose of it? Some historical reason from Civ1? Well now it makes rocky mines pretty pathetic comparing to forest and boreholes. Don't know what to do with it.

I always imagined the mine to be destructive.. if you take plain grassland and smack a mine on it you destroy lots of that land.. crops can't grow, polution etc - and thats why it goes -1 food. And its a balance thing also.

Civ games do not have production blocks like eco-damage so what they did is simply control amount of minerals available. Now Alpha Centauri can uniquely break this by using crawlers or spaming something like 4 boreholes. Thats hard to balance - so they likely run away from these concepts in later games.

Anyway.. i don't know why you consider mines less valuable that much? They are ok for long time in my book. Eventually you may want to replace them all but i don't see the problem there as long as they are useful for a long time. In AC new inventions replace old ones.. its natural.

Take a look chronologically.
1. they build fast and are better source of minerals then forest, its double 4 vs 2
- forest has only 1 food and that is slow.. if you want production badly mine is better
- then other scenario is that you don't want to grow at all.. base would starve.. or go in drone territory - i switch and use mine because i don't want food at that time - when i want to grow i switch back to forest
2. Crawlers come... its way better to crawl mine than forest..
3. Boreholes come - yeah borehole > mine but its way harder to build and has restrictions. So some mines will go away but they are still useful. Nexii surprised me a bit saying that borehole only adds 1.25 of minerals eco-dmg.. but its felt anyway..
4. Mineral production % boosters (like Genejack).. Mine > forest.. it adds 2 minerals instead of 1..
5. Tree farms - its a big investment.. but this 2-2-0 tile is usually better than 0-4-0 so one might want to remove mines. Provided that you can grow which is not easy. Lategame yo u can so eventually you may want to remove all mines. But its quite a job to remove them - one has to level the rocky tile (8 turn default) and plant forest.
5a) special case - green/fungus factions (The Cult and gaians) will likely want to have mines and borehole whole game due to lack of minerals..
6. Eventually by the endgame one might remove all mines from land and use Hybrid forests but thats trading raw production for science/energy and specialists.. which is ok i guess.. its time of star trek replicators

#
On case of farm/mines combination, if mine -1 nutrient effect is removed.. rainy rolling tile can go 4-2-0 with soil enricher.. while hybrid forest is 3-2-1. One could prefer that and work extra tile or specialist.  Actually way earlier rainy farm/mine is 3/2/0 and that is > tree forest 2-2-0 yield. But it causes small amount of eco-damage. One can and likely should use the mix as there's usually a number of flat 0 mineral tiles around the base so there's space for both mines and forests.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 02:56:40 PM
I agree mine is quite balanced with other basic improvements: both rocky and rolling.

Forest also seem to be fine now with 1-2-0. Somewhat weaker than other combinations like rolling rainy farm-mine 2-2-0 (that is kinda neat, actually).

This is borehole that is not.

Let's look at advanced terminating from extended features point of view. We'll consider how each option is a) unique and complementary to others, 2) naturally limited by itself so there is no need to restrict it somehow with additional weird rules, and maybe 3) engage strategical thinking.

aquifer

Awesome feature. Unique. Does not replace any other improvement but complement them by adding extra moisture and energy. Self restricted. You can have only so many of them and bonus is minimal. Strategical placement is important.

condenser

Another awesome and super balanced one. Unique for artificial moisturizing. Only river does the same but in very limited and unpredictable manner. Complements farm/enricher. Self restricted as rainfall has a limit. It is also quite strategical as there is no need to place it everywhere especially in totally arid areas. Forest is better there.

mirror

Unique and complementary to solar. Strategical in a way to require right placement around other solars. Slightly off in self restricting area. Surrounding single collector with mirrors adds 8 energy to it or +3 on average per tile for large energy fields of collectors+mirrors. In addition to +4 possible energy from altitude it's a big source of energy overflow past mid-game.

Probably we should restrict the total combined bonus from altitude and mirrors by +3. This way mirror will be sort of artificial high-tech substitute for taking collector at higher altitude and there won't be much need to raise all the terrain all over the place out of golden fever.

borehole

Not unique or complimentary. Same singe tile improvement replacing mine. Not too much strategy in placement either except to put it on most unusable tiles. So it works similar to forest completely disregarding terrain. Bad, OP, and hard to balance feature. I guess designers wanted three advanced options and were out of cool ideas. 😞

As you see, borehole is the only not harmonic thing out there. That is why it is so much discussion around it and pain to balance it. I am really thinking to just remove this abomination from the face of earth.
I am testing it now as 0-2-6. With such yield and longer construction time my AI formers seem to prefer it to mine sometimes but not always.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 03, 2020, 03:22:24 PM
Aquifiers and condensers seem in good place. AI maybe spams condensers wrongly now - that should be checked - they are not good anymore for food on its own tile.

Mirrors are ok-ish, i build them for fun mostly, i don't see them as op at all. Not like there's space for solar/mirror farms and if someone wants to do it its nice to have the option. When talking about restrictions, i like to go on relaxed side. There's literally no case where one can surround mirror with solar collectors.. there's always flat tile or rocky tile i'd rathe have mine or forest on it. So Mirror usually adds few points of energy and thats nothing spectaculura.. its like maybe a bit stronger mine tile. Often condenser > mirror.. so there's that. If the land is already green enough mirror can come into place.

On topic of boreholes.. they are in weird place. One thing to note - they are awesome solution for flatland bases with no rocky tiles.. coastal ones especially. Easy quick 6 minerals.. energy doesn't even matter, its just nice. In that sense they compete away for example mineral sea platforms. So if you remove boreholes you will give way more space to forests certainly - otherwises bases can't get minerals. Not sure if its possible to make sea tiles useful for minerals. So here - boreholes are op certainly. Farm/mines combos might be used here if you remove that -1 nutrient.

Another thing is that this will certainly weaken mineral production of lots of bases - it might be good idea.. might be reeeealy bad for AI.. possibly. The thing with AC is that many bases are strong so losing 1-2 of capital ones is not terrible. If most bases turn to crap then taking someone cap and production base might be game over. AI also handles production badly - they go into big support problem so they really need raw minerals.

- Borehole with 0-2-6  yield hm seems quite awful to me honestly ^^. Not sure i would build them.
- Removing boreholes completely would help with eco-damage.
- Another idea is - since they are cool - just moving them to something like tech 10. So lategame one can use them a bit its fun.

- btw what about giving base tile an extra mineral to help AI?








Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 03:34:00 PM
Looks like opinions are more or less around 1) nerfing borehole and focus it on more of minerals/energy but not both, 2) nerfing energy flow past mid game.

Short term plan.

Solar collector energy yield limit is 4, including altitude and mirror effects, excluding bonus resources and SE effects. This wont affect tidal harness as its max energy output is 4 already. This will render combining land raising and building mirror fields useless. They still will be useful separately. Preferably mirrors will be cheaper option.

Borehole is 0-2-6. This is kinda artificial attempt to balance them instead of completely removing it. This way they are formally not superior to rocky mines and not inferior to farm-solar combo.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 03, 2020, 04:24:41 PM
Well you can remove the -1 N for mines in alphax.txt. I have for awhile as sea mining platforms were very bad compared to tidal harnesses. Let's see, 1 M and -1 N, or 3 E...not a hard decision. I even gave mining platforms +1M. But I also reduced kelp by 1N. I might go back on this one yet, sea has to be considered for mines I guess is all I'm saying. I've also tried 3-0-2 and 3-2-0 for sea tiles. Right now I have sea at 2-3-0 and 2-0-3 (plus any facilities).

Echelons were never that OP because they took more former turns than condensor+borehole and produced less. Add up the turns for farm+enricher+raise+solar/mirror, it's like 4+8+12+(12+4)/2. 32 turns plus the EC cost to raise. Solar raise is somewhere around 4-0-6 and borehole is 0-6-6. Though often borehole fills in extra land with forest, so that has to be averaged in.

Solar seems a little stronger than it is because a lot of the surplus N ends up wasted. Kind of like with sea bases. It's mostly borehole and condensor that need nerfing down. Condensor probably doesn't need any N boost at all on the condensor tile. Borehole should probably be 0-4-4 or 0-5-5, somewhere around there. I think boreholes do need to produce M, otherwise M ends up being very scarce. Alternatives could be to boost the M of forests, mines, or fungus.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 04:55:40 PM
On topic of boreholes.. they are in weird place. One thing to note - they are awesome solution for flatland bases with no rocky tiles.. coastal ones especially. Easy quick 6 minerals.. energy doesn't even matter, its just nice. In that sense they compete away for example mineral sea platforms. So if you remove boreholes you will give way more space to forests certainly - otherwises bases can't get minerals. Not sure if its possible to make sea tiles useful for minerals. So here - boreholes are op certainly. Farm/mines combos might be used here if you remove that -1 nutrient.

Yeah. That is the problem with forest and boreholes. They are both new additions and they are both mineral focused. Together with mine this is three mineral oriented improvements. Forest is also adding nutrients so it is somewhat complementary and unique comparing to mine or borehole. While two of them is easy to balance three of them is too much to handle. There are no other group of competing improvements like that.

Nutrient penalty for mine is fine. This is payment for minerals. I understand this. What I don't understand is that rocky tile does not produce nutrients at all. Why? This is a complete waste of rainfall.

- Borehole with 0-2-6  yield hm seems quite awful to me honestly ^^. Not sure i would build them.

They are still good for energy. Better than average tidal harness or solar collector. Best high altitude collector-mirror field can get up to 7 energy but this is rare and costly to raise everything. So they will be an excellent energy source.

- Removing boreholes completely would help with eco-damage.

Not by much with their reduced output. Nobody will spam them. Besides terraforming ecodamage is completely curable.

- Another idea is - since they are cool - just moving them to something like tech 10. So lategame one can use them a bit its fun.

Eh. Not a solution IMHO. Just swiping it under the carpet. It doesn't matter when you undergo complete terraforming replacement it is still bad design.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nexii on June 03, 2020, 05:13:50 PM
I mean there's 3 sources for each resource
For N: condensor/farm, kelp, forests
For E: borehole, tidal, echelon/solar
For M: mines, borehole, forest

Plus fungus but that's kind of a wildcard
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 05:16:16 PM
Well you can remove the -1 N for mines in alphax.txt. I have for awhile as sea mining platforms were very bad compared to tidal harnesses. Let's see, 1 M and -1 N, or 3 E...not a hard decision. I even gave mining platforms +1M. But I also reduced kelp by 1N. I might go back on this one yet, sea has to be considered for mines I guess is all I'm saying. I've also tried 3-0-2 and 3-2-0 for sea tiles. Right now I have sea at 2-3-0 and 2-0-3 (plus any facilities).

I wouldn't bring sea bases into mineral discussion. They are mineral poor and energy reach for reason.

I think boreholes do need to produce M, otherwise M ends up being very scarce. Alternatives could be to boost the M of forests, mines, or fungus.

I don't think they are scarce on land even without advanced terraforming. It depends on how many you need. About every third tile is rocky so building a rocky mine per every two farms gives 20 minerals for 12 population base. 40 with two factories. And even that may already produce high ecodamage. This is what stops people from borehole spamming, not the scarcity by itself.

If you think bases need more minerals we can just move multiplying facilities somewhat earlier. They were originally placed late because of boreholes and mineral abundance to curb ecodamage! Now with nerfed boreholes moving them earlier won't harm.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 05:27:05 PM
Looks like opinions are more or less around 1) nerfing borehole and focus it on more of minerals/energy but not both, 2) nerfing energy flow past mid game.

Short term plan.

Solar collector energy yield limit is 4, including altitude and mirror effects, excluding bonus resources and SE effects. This wont affect tidal harness as its max energy output is 4 already. This will render combining land raising and building mirror fields useless. They still will be useful separately. Preferably mirrors will be cheaper option.

Borehole is 0-2-6. This is kinda artificial attempt to balance them instead of completely removing it. This way they are formally not superior to rocky mines and not inferior to farm-solar combo.

Update.
1. Borehole stay nerfed like that.
2. No touching collectors/mirrors.
3. Moving mineral multiplying facilities a little bit earlier to give players a chance to beef up mineral intake in case they found it insufficient. They are still expensive so no use to build them everywhere. Also there is still ecodamage that strikes back early production centers.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 03, 2020, 05:38:29 PM
Fine by me boreholes are op they cause a lot of imbalance and unit spam. Gonna be intetesting to playtest.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on June 03, 2020, 07:01:37 PM
Looks like opinions are more or less around 1) nerfing borehole and focus it on more of minerals/energy but not both, 2) nerfing energy flow past mid game.

Short term plan.

Solar collector energy yield limit is 4, including altitude and mirror effects, excluding bonus resources and SE effects. This wont affect tidal harness as its max energy output is 4 already. This will render combining land raising and building mirror fields useless. They still will be useful separately. Preferably mirrors will be cheaper option.

Borehole is 0-2-6. This is kinda artificial attempt to balance them instead of completely removing it. This way they are formally not superior to rocky mines and not inferior to farm-solar combo.

Update.
1. Borehole stay nerfed like that.
2. No touching collectors/mirrors.
3. Moving mineral multiplying facilities a little bit earlier to give players a chance to beef up mineral intake in case they found it insufficient. They are still expensive so no use to build them everywhere. Also there is still ecodamage that strikes back early production centers.

Sounds good to me. I'd not even make them so expensive. The opportunity cost of building a facility over formers/colony pods is always considerable. I would hardly build any in the early game if they were not so cheap to rush-build.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 07:36:34 PM
# Version 64

* Borehole Square,  0, 2, 6, 0.
* Retroviral Engineering is level 5.
* Advanced Military Algorithms is level 6.
* Industrial Nanorobotics is level 7.
* Planetary Economics is level 8.
* Power SE model is reassigned to Superstring Theory (L5).

In essence - nerfed boreholes minerals and moved factories a little bit earlier.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 07:39:55 PM
Sounds good to me. I'd not even make them so expensive. The opportunity cost of building a facility over formers/colony pods is always considerable. I would hardly build any in the early game if they were not so cheap to rush-build.

Any production multiplying facility should be somewhat expensive by definition.
Genejack Factory is just 10/2 - very cheap comparing to benefits.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on June 03, 2020, 08:31:07 PM
I'm playing an older version. However, when I researched Quantum Power the game asked me to upgrade my units. The upgrade costs were negative and I made a ton of money, almost 1000 credits. Is this intended?   :)

Hit end turn on the save file to replay it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 03, 2020, 08:45:45 PM
I'm playing an older version. However, when I researched Quantum Power the game asked me to upgrade my units. The upgrade costs were negative and I made a ton of money, almost 1000 credits. Is this intended?   :)

Hit end turn on the save file to replay it.

Very intended! 😀
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer#unit-hurry-cost-and-unit-upgrade-cost

Feel free to scan readme. It is big I admit it. However, I tried to explain all key features there as clear as possible.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 05, 2020, 04:05:25 AM
# Version 65

* Merged with Thinker 2.0.

A lot of changes. Proceed with caution.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 05, 2020, 07:53:12 AM
Quote
# Version 65

* Merged with Thinker 2.0.

A lot of changes. Proceed with caution.

 ;b; ;b; ;b; ;b; :danc: :danc: :danc: ;b; ;b; ;b;
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 07, 2020, 10:26:01 PM
Terraroming AI

I have started to work on terraforming AI to give computer some boost. Induktio has already done a lot on unit movement in Thinker. I hope to extend this a little in terraforming part only for now.

I use the computer worked tile placement algorithm to determine which changes will be accepted by base. For that I actually change map modeling future improved state and then recompute base to let it use these new improvements. Whether modification will be accepted or not depends greatly on base needs and governors settings. In this regards this algorithm lets AI decide which improvements they need based on their current model and base settings. Of course, it may accept more than one possible improvement options. In this case I weight them by each resource. Currently I set nutrients = 1.0, minerals = 1.0 and energy = 0.5. For nutrients and minerals I count additional surplus. For energy I summarize total economy, labs, and psych. This approach allows to automatically account for any multiplying factors as well as corruption. So essentially I project the net worth of given improvement.

I bundle some terraforming action into options so they correctly compare with other options. For example, farm/enricher + mine or farm/enricher + collector or rocky mine + road. I think this makes it fairer to compare them with a single purpose improvements like forest or borehole.

One best option for each tile is determined they are ranked by their benefit for nearest base (or the one that benefits from it). Then they are distributed among the available former in this region. Highest ranked target are distributed first then second, etc. This way all bases have a chance to claim some work to be done for their benefit and no base is left behind (providing there are enough former for that. Also bases with ongoing terraforming have their requests lowered to more or less distribute number of construction sites per base.

roads

That is a real pain and weak point of algorithm. It is impossible to weight them as resources since they serve different purpose. Thank you for lolada whi proposed some dynamical adjustment to road weight. Current approach is like that.
First, there is just a flat value for road/tube. Meaning if the best yield improvement mineral worth value is no better than road value - the road is prefered.
Second, there is an additional value for base connection network. So if potential road connects bases it has an increased value and likely will be build much sooner. Now how to determine where this connecting path goes is a big problem. I didn't want to overload computer with some super algorithm calculating this. I'll appreciate if someone can provide a cheap workable solution. Currently I did it in pretty sloppy way. Each base has four roads sticking out of it in four cardinal directions (N,S,W,E) 2 tiles long. I hope that these roads will somehow intersect with similar roads from other bases thus connecting them. Pretty pathetic. 🤣
On top of that I also try to connect unconnected roads on opposite side of the tile. This is all heavily untested now. Need to see how it works out.

condensers

That one is easy. I just explicitly increase moisture around it and base tells me how beneficial it is.

echelon mirrors

That one is easy too as yield calculation automatically account for any collector nearby.

rivers

That one is kinda hard to model mostly because it flows unpredictable. To lessen my pain I just add 2,4,6,8 additional rivers around aquifer depending on aquifer altitude. Not too exact but I don't think it requires super precision.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: vonbach on June 07, 2020, 10:57:10 PM
How do you get the ai to actually terraform properly? When I let the AI do it the AI always does stupid things like build farms and no solar collectors.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 08, 2020, 01:36:07 AM
Are you asking about computer enemy AI or human player automation helper (like "fully automated former")? They are two completely different things.

I am working on computer enemy AI. And I make it to do right things by completely overriding its decisions the way I just described in post above.

If you meant human player automation helper then I didn't touch it and probably never will and probably no other modder ever will.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 08, 2020, 04:31:45 PM
Separated distance penalty from building time penalty in terraforming AI. Building time is an investment. Whereas traveling is a complete waste. Therefore, they should be treated differently. Traveling distance penalty is harsher then build time one. With this formers seem to travel less but still doing sane things.

There are still some erratic behavior when nearby bases change their immediate needs by changing workers placement, growing in size, etc. I don't know if it makes sense to build for future. Meaning still build something even if it is currently not accepted by base due to not enough workers.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 08, 2020, 07:18:27 PM
Yes thats a really good idea separating those two times. Player kind of do this automatically even without realizing.

We do plan ahead a bit - so if i see that former can't improve specific tile that base is working atm i go and check if the base will grow soon. In that case i improve the best tile i can ahead of time. Its ok for base to have one extra tile improved than it can work. It can be used for micromanaging production/growth.
I presume AI will improve more food likely - while player will maybe go and improve mine - because its important to check if the base can grow more due to drone problem and Hab Complex limitation. If base can grow improved tile is usually one with the food.
Typical situation where i go and prepare base ahead of time is usually capital/production base - to ensure i have max production and growth so i can snipe secret projects.

Anyway, only if base can't grow or grow very slowly - i go and send former to other base to travel 1-2 turns.. rarely more than that - maybe in lategame. I build bases close so there's no need to travel much. Later i use more of speeder formers so they can travel far quickly.

Another thing is when former does not have good tile to work - say mid to lategame - i go and team them up to build smth like boreholes faster. Or they go build roads towards enemies or clear fungus. This is the time to build sensors or raise terrain for example.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 08, 2020, 07:41:59 PM
Yes. I was thinking about planning ahead but this is gray area where easy to make mistakes and waste time even more. Will cautiously think about it.

Even with 3 formers per land base they never ran out of tasks for me. If they have nothing to do I do aquifers, mirrors, raise land on shores to get more territory, etc. Never ends. Water ones are different story. One probably need one water former per two bases and even then they will eventually sit idle.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Induktio on June 09, 2020, 12:30:49 PM
Terraroming AI

I have started to work on terraforming AI to give computer some boost. Induktio has already done a lot on unit movement in Thinker. I hope to extend this a little in terraforming part only for now.

I use the computer worked tile placement algorithm to determine which changes will be accepted by base. For that I actually change map modeling future improved state and then recompute base to let it use these new improvements. Whether modification will be accepted or not depends greatly on base needs and governors settings. In this regards this algorithm lets AI decide which improvements they need based on their current model and base settings. Of course, it may accept more than one possible improvement options. In this case I weight them by each resource. Currently I set nutrients = 1.0, minerals = 1.0 and energy = 0.5. For nutrients and minerals I count additional surplus. For energy I summarize total economy, labs, and psych. This approach allows to automatically account for any multiplying factors as well as corruption. So essentially I project the net worth of given improvement.

I'm not sure the changes you're describing here will result in meaningfully better AI behaviour. Maybe it's necessary if you drastically changed the cost benefit for some terraforming improvements in this mod. Though implementing cost benefit calculations is something really tedious to do in this kind of situation. Some of the changes might duplicate behaviour that is already implemented in Thinker's former logic (can't be sure based on the description).

I've been testing a lot of different approaches when it comes to build order and terraforming strategies implemented in Thinker. To get any meaningful results it basically requires A/B testing of both versions simultaneously. I think the way to do it is to have two similar AIs play against each other on a symmetrical map (disable secret projects etc) and then watch which one of them will grow the fastest. Then you might get quite a good idea which approach is clearly better or worse. You could also run a regular game with all AIs but that is so random it's basically meaningless without a large sample size. But then again, I won't be developing stuff for forked versions only.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 09, 2020, 11:36:13 PM
Continue to working on terraforming. This is a huge task so it'll be an incremental process.

* Fixed the bug when there are more formers than tasks. Apparently that actually happens sometimes.

* Devised simplified road network algorithm. It seems to work fine. The balance between improvements and roads can be tuned with parameters and it is the best that could be done, I guess. It is pretty difficult to compare and evaluate them.

* Properly calculated water regions accessibility. Now sea formers can get out of bases and cross through own bases connecting different water regions. Neat!

* Tuned construction and traveling time parameters a little. Now they seem to travel less and do sane things 90% of the time.

Observed that they build farms a lot and but not always second improvement on it. Maybe it is just not enough formers and they got distracted on other priorities or bases grow fast due to lot of farms?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 10, 2020, 08:32:52 AM
Quote
Observed that they build farms a lot and but not always second improvement on it. Maybe it is just not enough formers and they got distracted on other priorities or bases grow fast due to lot of farms?

Basically they value food a lot - maybe they should though. Its hard to tell what is the best approach. Take this scenario: base is working two 1-1-0 tiles:
a) Do you farm + solar first one for 2-1-2? Do you build a road before moving away?
b) Do you farm - move a tile or two - farm other? No roads for example. And then solar those farms when there's no good food tiles.

So you lose on energy but get more food 6+ turns faster. Its a trade of cca 6+ food for 12+ energy - and if city grows with that food then advantage snowballs. Energy could boost up research/rushing so that could turn out better - but in general its likely that food is better choice. I hate moving formers through rough terrain so i at least want roads so i can move back quickly - but thats maybe not optimal.

*Roads tend to grow in value the more cities and units there are around. If AI meets another AI it should really have its road network so it can reinforce during wars.

- I think AI spams a lot of formers - they have eventually a ton - maybe early they don't have enough so they go and for awhile spam farms, but that is how it goes i suppose
- They do grow quickly and AI cities can grow more than player's so they tend to spam farms way more

*one thing you can do is value energy slightly more - then they build solars more often on good tiles (+2/+3 energy) before moving to another food tile - not sure if it is a good idea overall - but it makes them move less work more

*food is hard to balance: AI likes to grow and then use the doctor or psych slider. And then they realize they have drone so they build Rec Commons. Player predicts this - so he doesn't focus food - no reason to grow - until he can build Rec Common and once base can actually grow - focus more back on food. Its interesting optimization - maybe some kind of it can be done for AI.
For example i like to have at least 2+ food if base can grow.. usually I don't go more then +4 +5 (lategame is different). Instead of boosting more food i boost production or energy. For minerals i like to have min 5-6 once base gets to size 3-4 so it can build facilities. AI too often ruins its bases with low min production and - support.

I am not sure how valid/good is using slider early on for drone issues - i think its bad idea in general, at least before Holo Theatres. AI likes to grow and uses slider more. I use it only if i have to to work extra mine for secret project. Slider for psych later on looks much more interesting because there are psych boosting facilities (like Holo Theatre) in play.




Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 10, 2020, 01:15:19 PM
*one thing you can do is value energy slightly more - then they build solars more often on good tiles (+2/+3 energy) before moving to another food tile - not sure if it is a good idea overall - but it makes them move less work more

You mean value energy more comparing to nutrients not minerals? Yes, I thought about it. Current weights are 1.0, 1.0 ,0.5. So if we don't touch minerals/energy ratio but want to value energy more comparing to nutrients we need to lower them like 0.8, 1.0, 0.5. I need to try it and see, you can try it too.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 10, 2020, 01:17:33 PM
I am also thinking to take base needs for example and emphasize on preventing disasters. For example, start valuing nutrients more when it is close to starvation, minerals - when it is close to support limit, energy - when it is close to maintenance limit. I don't know if AI does this too but anyway algorithm can help it.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 10, 2020, 02:45:15 PM
Yeah these resources need to vary in value over time if you want competent AI over game duration, but its tough to actually code that in.
Some tweaks are appreciated, doesn't have to be perfect. Can you mod what tiles governor choose to work?

Weighting over time.. thats my main issue with roads :
- roads early do not matter much - roads later are really important; magtubes are really important for example;
- roads matter for empire - so i don't care much if level one base can get 1 food or min, if i have 15 bases.. but i really want it to be connected to road network - i want road connections way more for protection and quick improvement of the base

Quote
I am also thinking to take base needs for example and emphasize on preventing disasters. For example, start valuing nutrients more when it is close to starvation, minerals - when it is close to support limit, energy - when it is close to maintenance limit. I don't know if AI does this too but anyway algorithm can help it.

That would be helpful. As i mentioned - i really want like 2+ minerals very early, 5+ minerals for base size 3-4 usually or base just stalls with production. This is really hurting AI - it focuses food and then ruins production with - support. So this is nice area to improve if possible.
(if you can teach AI to rush buy more in lower production bases - that would good tweak; high prod. bases can build on its own). Maybe its possible to code these weights in somehow..)

- food needs to go 2+ - if the base does not have 2+ food i try to build farms; 0 food is only ok if base can't grow due to drones or using doctors already. "using doctor (or empath)" might be good metric for AI - if base is using it then there's no much need to spam more food. I also like to have some food in food box to prevent starvation.. being at 0 food is disaster waiting to happen. But that's governor micro.. not terraforming

- energy i pick up what i can from tiles - its the least important - i tend to want some +energy for rushing, but i usually look at SE settings and tweak that rather than tiles/terraforming

I tried 0.6 for energy and it seemed enough to me to make formers build more of those solars on +2/+3 tiles - thats like breakpoint. 2 energy > 1 min or 1f (if you value 1f = 1m) in that case. From what i observed formers often built farm+solar and them moved.. on 0.5 they tend to farm/farm/farm. They still built farms before solars as they should on 0.6.  Setting it to 0.7, i presume, would for example make them really like those 2-1-3 tiles. It would be interesting to test at what point they build solars before farms - thats one scenario i would try to avoid.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 10, 2020, 03:41:13 PM
Can you mod what tiles governor choose to work?

Probably. However, The logic is more or less good already and it is so complex that I am afraid I won't be able to do anything better in observable lifetime. Do you have a specific complaint against vanilla governor?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 11, 2020, 08:59:50 AM
Quote
Probably. However, The logic is more or less good already and it is so complex that I am afraid I won't be able to do anything better in observable lifetime. Do you have a specific complaint against vanilla governor?

Then you can teach AI governor some of these tricks/tweaks. To work minimum x minerals if possible, or to avoid/reduce growing if using doctors/empath and focus more energy/production instead.  And terraforming AI can improve tiles according to base needs. These two things are quite connected.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 11, 2020, 01:54:15 PM
Then you can teach AI governor some of these tricks/tweaks. To work minimum x minerals if possible, or to avoid/reduce growing if using doctors/empath and focus more energy/production instead.  And terraforming AI can improve tiles according to base needs. These two things are quite connected.

They are interdependent for sure but they not connected in direct way. It's not like governor tells formers what to do. They have their own AI. 😉

IMHO vanilla terraforming is bad but vanilla governor is good. Like "To work minimum x minerals if possible" thing is actually executed by them. If you give them range of different yield combination tiles they will never pick everything but minerals. They'll pick quite a reasonable mix. Sometimes they emphasize more of one or the other but never avoid one of the resources completely. You can test this in scenario editor.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 11, 2020, 07:06:49 PM
Discover one more problem with Aquatic faction. They supposed to be allowed to improve ocean squares with discovery of Adv. Eco Eng. However, the message about that is missing from Script.txt. Moreover this tech id is hardcoded so it is not exposed in alphax.txt. Hasty add-on. 😞

I am thinking to allow everybody to build in ocean squares without restrictions. Don't see point in them. Really, with EcoEng2 one can also raise ocean floor to make it a shelf. Another quite useless restriction.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 12, 2020, 10:20:27 PM
Net iteration of terraforming AI. This time it seems to at least do sane things with both improvements and roads. It seems to connect new bases rather quickly. At the same time it improves most advantageous squares. Also does not travel too much, doesn't not clump at a single base - more or less distributed across land.

Also quite good mix of mines, collectors, and forests. Didn't test advanced TF yet.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 14, 2020, 11:09:33 PM
Advanced terraforming - spreading out a bit on time scale?

I always found myself terraformed everything before EcoEng. Then just long wait with this huge formers fleet that becomes a burden. As soon as advanced terraforming options open I have to immediately double and triple my former fleet just to place these new improvements around. Huge work. Human may understand the fluctuation in formers demand but AI may not. So I am thinking - would it be better and more smooth transition to introduce these new terraforming options gradually and not all at once? This way both human and AI will have something to work on for the whole game without pauses and surges in demand.

I am thinking this sequence

aquifer
Introduce it quite early. It doesn't compete with other resources, serves as more roads, adds a little bit of energy that may be needed for early-mid game tech progress. It also introduces a little bit moisture here and there - good as a preparation for later condenser placement planning.

borehole
In WTP 0-2-6 version they are not incredible source of minerals but quite good for energy. They would serve as a third normal single tile terraforming option along with farm-collector (N+E), forest (N+M), mine (M). It'll give some minerals + energy for bases with already good nutrient supply. Nice but not overpowered option. Maybe just slightly better than rocky mine but not absolutely superior. They are also good early because collector-mirror fields are not yet established.

condenser
Base are growing and land has better coverage with worked squares. Time for mass area effects. In first quarter of the game they would just not work to their max power. Besides, extra nutrient in 9 squares is a very powerful tool. About close to mid game ocean colonies start to significantly outgrow land ones and this should help latter to keep on growth race. Moreover, bases become noticeably populated and growth slows down. So at this time nutrients are not that impacting but still good.

mirror
Bases grow even more and large middle part of your empire become almost covered with collectors. This is a time to use mirrors for their full potential.

raise/lower terrain
Don't know. I don't feel like it is super powered tool at any stage in the game. Slow and costs money. If anyone wants to build a bridge to other continent why stop them? Why wait for the 2/3 of the game and amass military to suddenly poor it unrestricted on other continent? If players want conflict - let them have it early and built it up gradually without all this suddenness. It is also useful to reshape landmass: close unwanted small lakes, adjust shoreline, create channels if one lacks access to other water region, etc.



Update

I think condensers and mirrors can be allowed at the same time. There is no much sense in separating them. They are both area affecting tools.
Terrain raise/lower can be offered quite early, though.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 14, 2020, 11:14:24 PM
I just tested new terraforming AI and noticed it eagerly build condensers, mirrors, aquifers but almost no boreholes. With their long build time and reduced mineral output in WTP (0-2-6) they are not that lucrative comparing to these mass area effect improvement. More reason to allow them early.

Of course, with different yield (like the one in vanilla) they may be very very attractive.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 17, 2020, 02:19:03 PM
Stumbled across another SMACX but/problem that was always there: incorrect path computation around ZOC. Due to that vehicle sent to destination across ZOC fields sometimes just stuck and cannot move. This is not directly related to terraforming. However, it needs to be fixed for formers to be able to get to their destination. It is especially relevant with a lot of fungal towers and alien units around.

Wrote a path calculating function that accounts for ZOC. Now it correctly sends formers to destination even if it requires circling around bunch of fungal towers to reach it. Of course, quite often terraforming needs change. So former got redirected to another location. However, it is still usable to let them not stuck in ZOC. In case a destination is completely unreachable due to ZOC coverage algorithm sends them to next best terraforming site. Tested it out and it works great.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 19, 2020, 11:18:32 PM
Borehole construction time is now does not match its reduced output (0-2-6). I am thinking to either cut the construction time or increase energy output a little like to 0-2-8 or 0-2-10. It should be still relatively strong improvement for that time investment but should not compete with rocky mine in minerals.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: lolada on June 21, 2020, 08:29:08 AM
Borehole construction time is now does not match its reduced output (0-2-6). I am thinking to either cut the construction time or increase energy output a little like to 0-2-8 or 0-2-10. It should be still relatively strong improvement for that time investment but should not compete with rocky mine in minerals.

That was my first reaction as well. I though Boreholes would be ruined, but there's still usually a crappy tile for them so they are quite useful. That said due to how multipliers work I wouldn't go over 6 energy, its quite unbalanced. Once you have 8 or 10 yield with energy bank/ network nodes for example the faction that gets a tech runs away quickly.

On the other side terraforming time is really long, its as long as secret project build! I'd reduce that number maybe even to 16. Other improvements are built much faster except Aquifier i think. That one could be shortened as well.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 21, 2020, 02:43:59 PM
That was my first reaction as well. I though Boreholes would be ruined, but there's still usually a crappy tile for them so they are quite useful. That said due to how multipliers work I wouldn't go over 6 energy, its quite unbalanced. Once you have 8 or 10 yield with energy bank/ network nodes for example the faction that gets a tech runs away quickly.

On the other side terraforming time is really long, its as long as secret project build! I'd reduce that number maybe even to 16. Other improvements are built much faster except Aquifier i think. That one could be shortened as well.

It is incorrect to compare terraforming time to project build time. Yes, building one borehole takes long. However, with large former fleet you assign some part of them to boreholes and in 24 turns you get 20 of them. So the average game time you spend per terraforming item is quite small.

Energy overflow everybody talks about happens only at the very end of the game. Before that it is surprisingly not abundant. At least for AI factions. They build more mines and forests than collectors and even less collectors-mirrors fields and they do not massively raise land to improve energy output. Some of computer factions also has quite a small former fleet. So I don't think extra 2 energy (=1 raw lab = ~2 labs after multiplication) per borehole per 24 turn terraforming is going to push their research forward uncontrollably. Even if this happens we can adjust research cost to account for that but I don't think we'll ever notice that.

Borehole was only distinctive in vanilla as an overpowered item for long terraforming time. Other than that it is pretty unimaginative because there were already huge number of other pretty cool and innovative terraforming actions like fungus and forest. Reducing its mineral output made it not OP comparing to mine/condenser/mirror. Therefore, it is no longer remarkable in any way. I propose to move it slightly (just slightly) to OP side keeping it somehow remarkable.

If we cannot figure out how to make it remarkable I'd even return to its original output to keep it imbalanced but restrict construction location to some special places like specifically arid at lowest elevation (to be closer to mantle probably) instead of stupid no slope restriction. That would make game interesting as player constantly tries to convert them to high wet tiles to increase farm-collector output. With that restriction there will be need to place bases near such land and preserve it and making it so by lowering terrain!!! That would be interesting. 😉
In vanilla there is absolutely no need for lowering terrain anywhere on land or ocean! Waste.

As for aquifer I don't think its construction time is too long. It is super feature that adds extra output to the land without removing any existing items. Pretty OP already in my mind.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 21, 2020, 03:06:54 PM
Many confuse balance with equalization. Whereas, if anything, they are opposite things. Working on balance means working on game attractiveness to as many players as possible. Introducing as much distinct and unique and cool features so they do not shadow each other.

I like SMACX because it has tons or cool features already. The only problem is that just because of such diversity they quite often shadow each other producing inferior options. I just try to revive these underdogs to multiply game attractiveness tenfold. That is why it is easy to work with it as imagination part is already done before my time. 😄

Take aquifer/condenser/mirror, for example. They are very distinct/unique/unmatched features. They do not shadow any other improvement but complement them. It would be nice to have all of them like that. Even forest and fungus are pretty nice. They do not override conventional terraforming completely just complement it for barren terrain.

Borehole is not like that in this sense. It overrides rocky mine completely making it obsolete. I am trying to decouple them and keep their flavor intact at the same way. Borehole is already unique in output composition. No other improvement focuses on minerals+energy together.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 21, 2020, 05:41:12 PM
Finally. I am happy to include the work of few past weeks into main release. It is still relatively new and it is huge work. That is why I cautiously disabled it by default. Feel free to try it out.
I will keep improving it in future. However, it feels mature enough for first production iteration.


# Version 67

* New AI terraforming algorithm. See readme for notable changes. Off by default. Set ai_useWTPAlgorithms=1 to enable it.

# AI Terraforming

New AI terraforming algorithm replacing Thinker's. These are few notable changes among many.

* Works best tiles first.
* Properly selects best basic improvement option between rocky mine, farm-mine, farm-collector, forest.
* Quickly connects new bases to road network.
* Tries to prevent population loss by emphasizing nutrient development around poorly fed bases.
* Tends not to build forest/kelp and not to remove fungus next to existing forest/kelp due to its potential spreading.
* Properly places aquifer 2 squares from existing rivers to maximize river coverage.
* Properly places condenser to match existing rainfall pattern to maximize rainfall coverage.
* Properly evaluates additional benefit of condenser/mirror to be used by nearby bases.
* Prefers better improvement with equal completion time (construction + travel).
* Prefers quicker improvement with equal benefit (shorter construction time + less travel).
* Redistributes former orders to minimize construction + travel time. Takes former abilities (fungicide, super) and speed into account.
* Checks existing improvements and don't build more of them if equal of better one is still unused around base.

* Doesn't plant fungus.
* Doesn't raise/lower terrain.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 24, 2020, 04:09:51 PM
Question about sensors.

I removed their defensive bonus just because human obviously destroy them first before base assault. They are relatively short range and easy to destroy with either artillery or just direct infiltration on enemy territory with help of probes or even with air units. Lame. Therefore they became quite useless without defense bonus and with their short sight range.
The territory defense bonus I've introduced replaces sensor defense bonus. So we are covered in defense bonus area. However, sensors are still there to build and we may as well give this feature some mean.

Defense bonus can be returned to it to make them valuable again if we can fix their flaw somehow else. Some thoughts on this. Feel free to express yours.

One thing can be done is to keep it as is without defense bonus but increase their sight range to turn it to great detector (what it should be based on its name). Like 10-20 range sight. This way they can be placed close to border and can see far out of own territory and inform about converging enemy forces. This allows organizing countermeasures which is much better than 25% defense bonus. This would be especially useful in ocean to detect fast approaching enemy vessels.

Another way to protect them from destruction is just to make them indestructible. End of story. 🤣
When land ownership changes they are automatically destroyed so conqueror doesn't get defense benefit from counter attacks.

Another way to protect them somehow is to don't let air unit destroying improvements at all. That makes penetrating enemy territory behind the base before attacking it problematic.

Another way is to make them long range and give them defense bonus. This way sensors deep in the territory will benefit border bases as well.


Out of these the option with extended range and no defense appeals to me most. Least amount of changes. There is no need to destroy them on approach anymore. The bonus is quite good too - they will reveal all units even those hiding in fungus. It will also be a great way to uncover the map early on. Especially over the impassable obstacles like channels or beyond non pact borders, etc.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Tayta Malikai on June 25, 2020, 08:10:27 AM
Hi there.

A friend and I are thinking of playing a PBEM game using this mod. Such a game would no doubt take weeks or months to come to fruition; however, I understand that this mod is still in development and new versions are coming out quite frequently.

Would you say that the current version is stable and complete enough to play a game with?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 25, 2020, 12:59:39 PM
The mod main idea was completed long ago. In this regard all combat related things were done in Version 47. I keep adding features just because original game is a bottomless pit of bugs and because people keep talking/asking about some illogical things to change. Check the changelog.

I believe Version 64 should be stable. After that I merged with Thinker 2.0 and then modified terraforming. Both are pretty big changes. Both do not directly affect game play experience. So you can safely skip them.

Also lolada is playing it now. Look at his post: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21438.msg124407#msg124407. Confirm with him which version is he playing and how stable it is.

I understand PBEM but how do you play SMACX this way? Do you enter editor more and reproduce your opponent faction state? This could be pain to control every base and reposition every unit.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Tayta Malikai on June 25, 2020, 01:26:52 PM
Hmm, I do like some of the features that Thinker 2.0 added, so we might end up playing a version past 64 depending on what my friend thinks. Thanks for the response anyway, sounds like it should work just fine with regards to the main features.

The game actually does have a PBEM mode; I believe it was added in one of the later official patches. You set up the game like you would a single-player, adding the requisite number of human players (the rest will be AIs). Then you play your turn as normal, and when you finish, the game prompts you to save and exit, at which point you can send the save file to the next player, who loads up the game and plays their turn, and so on.

It's a little rough in some places (you can't trade bases with other players, Council votes are a bit quirky, probe teams are bugged in that the attacker gets to choose whether to provoke vendetta or not, and actually eliminating players requires them to commit suicide by obliterating their bases), and it relies on a degree of house rules and honour system to run well, but it does run pretty well, all things considered!
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 25, 2020, 03:46:29 PM
Interesting. Never knew that. It would be fun to play all 7 human players, I guess. 😂
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 25, 2020, 07:53:19 PM
# Version 69

* Bases contribute about 50% of their production to secret project construction. Contribution proportion is configurable.
* Every turn the popup shows project completion percentage for each project that was using bases contribution. Neat!

Finally! A long awaited feature (by myself too).
All factions (human included) bases contribute some proportion of their production to the project. For multiple projects only the one in the oldest base get this contribution. Proportion is configurable and can be turned back to zero to disable it completely. Now AI with their appalling unit handling does not need to rush them with crawlers. Project get help from all bases across all continents. Great help to AI. This also helps human in the same way. However, the option of helping project with crawlers is there too if human wants to rush them even faster.

Since project progress may be quite fast with such contribution I display a popup with exact percentage of project completion every turn. I found it very nice and informative. Much more useful than vanilla last minute warning. I don't consider this a cheat as anyone with infiltration still sees completion progress. It is a matter of convenience reminder.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 25, 2020, 07:54:37 PM
I plan to work now on major tech tree redesign. That'll take long. So if anyone want to squeeze a small last minute fix - tell now.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 26, 2020, 02:02:02 AM
Based on feedback people value meaningful connections in tech tree more than keeping well known tech-feature associations. So I plan to keep most sane vanilla connection in the tree and then assign feature to technologies as I see fit. This will break a lot of associations but this is what people want, I guess.

I will keep only meaningful connection. Plus I may introduce new ones between relevant technologies. I also can swap the order if there is a reason. Here is the list below. Let me know if it makes sense.

doctrines

Doctrine: Flexibility - Doctrine: Mobility - Doctrine: Loyalty - Doctrine: Initiative - Adaptive Doctrine - Doctrine: Air Power

Flexibility goes first as ocean exploration is critical while fast land units is not.

centauri and alien

Centauri Ecology - Progenitor Psych - Field Modulation - Centauri Empathy - Bioadaptive Resonance - Centauri Meditation - Centauri Genetics - Centauri Psi - Sentient Resonance - Secrets of Alpha Centauri - Secrets of the Manifolds - String Resonance

I am mixing them because they are sort of interconnected in vanilla already. It is like a mix of what human race learn about planet sentient life and what aliens already know about it. Let me know if someone feel like they should not be connected at all.

computers

Information Networks - Planetary Networks - Polymorphic Software - Cyberethics - Optical Computers - Pre-Sentient Algorithms - Digital Sentience - Self-Aware Machines

I could move some of them if needed to reposition some features.

industry/economics

Industrial Base - Industrial Economics - Adaptive Economics - Industrial Automation - Environmental Economics - Planetary Economics - Industrial Nanorobotics

biology

Biogenetics - Gene Splicing - Neural Grafting - Bio-Engineering - Biomachinery - Retroviral Engineering

science

Applied Physics
Nonlinear Mathematics
High Energy Chemistry
Synthetic Fossil Fuels
Superconductor
Fusion Power
Advanced Subatomic Theory
Applied Relativity
Unified Field Theory
Superstring Theory
Graviton Theory
Applied Gravitonics
Photon/Wave Mechanics
Quantum Power
Quantum Machinery
Singularity Mechanics
Temporal Mechanics
Probability Mechanics
Super Tensile Solids

There are too many of them. Most likely they won't be in that specific line. I can also split it on "pure science" and "applications".

psychology

Social Psych - Secrets of the Human Brain - Homo Superior - The Will to Power

nanotech

Nanominiaturization - Industrial Nanorobotics - Matter Editation - Matter Compression - N-Space Compression

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Tayta Malikai on June 29, 2020, 01:23:52 AM
We started playing the PBEM game using version 69, and I'd like to report a pretty major bug in versions 67 and above.

For no explicable reason, I keep losing money every turn. The SE and F3 screens claim I should make ~6 credits a turn, but when it's my turn I don't get any. Last turn I got a nice windfall of 20 credits for selling a comm frequency, and this turn it was gone again.

Shame on me for not taking the advice to play with an earlier version, I guess, but I've no idea how a bug like this could arise from editing the AI terraforming algorithms.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 29, 2020, 02:53:08 AM
No worries. First send me your save. I'll check it out.

This is most likely not terraforiming AI as it applies to AI factions only. I believe it is new hurry production feature that I introduced recently. I'll let you know after save analyze.

I also believe all features are runtime so they should be save compatible. You can save game and stash whole directory aside just to be extra safe. Then install earlier version. It should continue working without problems. That is in theory. I tried this few times during debugging and didn't notice any problems. However, anything can happen in first time.

Another thing is multiplayer. I believe you are first to test it out in this mode. Nobody did this before. Thank you for testing it and I will try to fix whatever problems you discover. Just send them over.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Tayta Malikai on June 29, 2020, 03:49:11 AM
Sure, here are the relevant save files. I started noticing this bug around 2130, but it might be apparent earlier.

I'll PM you my password, since the game is ongoing. Note to open multiplayer saves, you need to go through the multiplayer menu and select PBEM mode.

I've since installed version 66 and so far the bug is not present.

And no worries, like I said, I understand the mod's still in development and bugs can happen. :)

I'll open a new thread soon to document how the game goes.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 29, 2020, 02:07:16 PM
Fix version 69.1.

Thank you for opening the multiplayer for me. I never knew it existed. It stares at me from the main menu but my eyes slip over it for 20 years. It would be fun to play. 😊
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 29, 2020, 02:37:54 PM
I swapped appearance time of Sealurk and Isle of the Deep (in this order). Previously I kept their technology associations and swapped technology positions in the tree. In this release I do the opposite: keep technologies in the order they appeared in vanilla but rearranged associations: Field Modulation
 -> Mind Worms, Centauri Meditation -> Sealurk, Centauri Genetics -> Isle of the Deep, Centauri Psi -> Locusts of Chiron.
Hope this is fine too.
 
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Tayta Malikai on June 29, 2020, 03:40:21 PM
Fix version 69.1.

Thank you for opening the multiplayer for me. I never knew it existed. It stares at me from the main menu but my eyes slip over it for 20 years. It would be fun to play. 😊
Kudos for coming up with a fix so quickly!

And heh, no worries. Maybe we could try to round up some other players on this forum. I'd offer to play a 1v1, but I'm already playing one and it's occupying me enough for now. Maybe when the turns start to slow down, I'd be open to starting another one.

I would not recommend playing such a game with Will to Power, though. Simply put, it's one thing to spend 20 turns building a colony pod by yourself, it's another thing to spend 20 turns building a colony pod while having to bounce saves back and forth.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 29, 2020, 03:48:36 PM
I agree that Thinker-WTP are designed for better human vs. AI experience. However, I'd say vanilla is also slow game from the mid game on. So either way it'll be a 400 turns bouncing back and forth.

We should probably design a specialized fast game mod for multiplayer. Everything is cheap. Terraforming is short. Units move far. Total probable 50-100 turns whole game.
Although it will be a challenge to balance it. With far moving units one can bite a big piece of neighbor before they can retaliate.

Wait a minute. I know such fast paced game - chess!
🤣
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 29, 2020, 04:08:31 PM
# Version 70

Update

I renamed it to version "techtree" as it is not yet tested by myself. Any help in finalizing it is greatly appreciated. Also I started another topic on some more tree revamping and stripping toward purer lore.
http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21485.0

* Large technology tree redo for more sensible dependencies.
* Research Hospital: 8/2. Decreased cost/maint a little bit more to aid with drone quellying.
* Aquafarm: 16/4. Also moved later as it is a most OP out of aqua facilities.
* The Citizens' Defense Force cost is 60.

Not backward compatible due to technology tree change!

Here is the big tech tree revamp in response to it being not sensible in lore way. In this version I tried to link technologies in a more or less understandable way. I also tried to keep topic progressions like centauri, industry, economics, nanotech, genetics, etc. I also tried to associate features to more or less matching tech. I hope it now looks more sensible way. Please check it out and let me know. I planned it to be a first draft. Then I planned to tune it according to player comments.

Keep in mind, though, that it is physically impossible to make every technology connection and every association perfect. Technology topics should cross pollinate each other to avoid silos of completely separated topics. Therefore, every now and then some Photon Mechanics would depend on Social Psychology. I tried to minimize such cases but there is no complete avoiding them. There are too many topics and sometimes they stretch thin in some level so I had to play with what I have.

Some changes I found better matching than in vanilla.

Probe teams         Optical Computers
Faster and more compact computers allow mobile probe teams.

Heavy artillery         High Energy Chemistry
Vanilla software->artillery didn't make any sense. Now artillery depends on advanced chemistry to send projectiles farther.

Comm jammer         Applied Physics
First, it appears quite early to counter fast units. Second, radio communication technology now depends on banal physics. That makes more sense than Advanced Subatomic Theory.

Amphibious pods         Adaptive Doctrine
The Maritime Control Center   Adaptive Doctrine
Adaptive Doctrine seems to be an enhanced version of Doctrine: Initiative and makes The Maritime Control Center to appear later than corresponding replaced facility.

The Space Elevator         Advanced Spaceflight
Makes perfect sense, not like in vanilla.

Polymorphic encryption         Polymorphic Software
Just cool name matching. I always wondered why they didn't in vanilla. Two different designers came up with same adjective and didn't tell each other?

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Tayta Malikai on June 29, 2020, 04:17:54 PM
I agree that Thinker-WTP are designed for better human vs. AI experience. However, I'd say vanilla is also slow game from the mid game on. So either way it'll be a 400 turns bouncing back and forth.

We should probably design a specialized fast game mod for multiplayer. Everything is cheap. Terraforming is short. Units move far. Total probable 50-100 turns whole game.
Although it will be a challenge to balance it. With far moving units one can bite a big piece of neighbor before they can retaliate.

Wait a minute. I know such fast paced game - chess!
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Eh, not really. From what I've seen, most multiplayer games end well before 2300. Once you unlock cruisers and air units, you can really seize the initiative and start rolling over people. The challenge lies in getting to that point without being rolled over yourself.

A fast game mod would still be an interesting project, mind. I wonder how it would work in terms of game flow. The key phases in a game I'd say are early game, where things are chaotic and anything can happen; the middle game, where you've pretty much built most if not all of your key bases and facilities; and the late game, where either you're trashing your opponents' key bases and facilities, or they're trashing yours.

Nevill wrote a nice mod that was more geared towards multiplayer, which I found reasonably balanced. Part of the reason we started playing WtP was actually to see if we could combine the two somehow. Maybe he'd have something to say about such a project.

EDIT: There is also the question of distribution of techs. In most games, you're very unlikely to see anything past level 9. Granted, this is an issue in singleplayer too; dunno yet whether WtP addresses this. The other question here is how much a faster base and territory development will contribute to faster techs.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 29, 2020, 04:58:01 PM
Eh, not really. From what I've seen, most multiplayer games end well before 2300. Once you unlock cruisers and air units, you can really seize the initiative and start rolling over people. The challenge lies in getting to that point without being rolled over yourself.

Yes. 400 turns is an exaggeration even for single player. I just meant that WTP or not the number of turns is about the same. Although faster expansion makes game faster, I agree.

Nevill wrote a nice mod that was more geared towards multiplayer, which I found reasonably balanced. Part of the reason we started playing WtP was actually to see if we could combine the two somehow. Maybe he'd have something to say about such a project.

Definitely. Direct me to this mod and we'll see about it.

EDIT: There is also the question of distribution of techs. In most games, you're very unlikely to see anything past level 9. Granted, this is an issue in singleplayer too; dunno yet whether WtP addresses this. The other question here is how much a faster base and territory development will contribute to faster techs.

That is a problem of all strategic games regardless of vanilla/mod. The development is exponential. It is immensely difficult to balance it such that no one can overcome any one until all techs are discovered. Usually it happens earlier. I'm opening a new thread on tech tree redesign. One of the topic it to cut it significantly.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on June 29, 2020, 06:30:32 PM
I'm playing Civ4 as my other 4x game and it has fairly efficient mechanics for avoiding snowballing. One is a (very) roughly quadratic increase in city maintenance, the other is an enormous defenders advantage in warfare.

As for vanilla Smac multiplayer, the only serious MP game with reasonable settings I played ended by resignation of all other factions in turn 121 due to overwhlming military and economic dominance of the leading facction (he was Morgan with Cloning Vats, Helicopters, Monopole Magnets, probably also Satellites (would have to look that one up)). The serious MP game with unreasonable settings ended by resignation in turn 67. I would be very surprised if MP games between competent players last past 150-170 turns. WTP probably increases turn count by delaying the broken stuff way deep in the tech tree.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 29, 2020, 07:12:41 PM
I'm playing Civ4 as my other 4x game and it has fairly efficient mechanics for avoiding snowballing. One is a (very) roughly quadratic increase in city maintenance, the other is an enormous defenders advantage in warfare.

"an enormous defenders advantage" - that should effectively prevent invasion efficiency. However, it plays toward snowballing, not against. There is no invasion stopping once assailant crossed threshold to efficiently overcome resistance. That what snowballing is. It is not that the conquest is easy. It is that the conquest becomes easier as it goes.

The second one probably does work against snowballing. However, I cannot understand how this is mathematically done. Does the city/empire has overall maintenance which is not the sum for each facility?

Did you actually feel it prevents it? There are a lot of constraining factors in all Civ/SMACX games specially designed to prevent snowballing but they fail.

As for vanilla Smac multiplayer, the only serious MP game with reasonable settings I played ended by resignation of all other factions in turn 121 due to overwhlming military and economic dominance of the leading facction (he was Morgan with Cloning Vats, Helicopters, Monopole Magnets, probably also Satellites (would have to look that one up)). The serious MP game with unreasonable settings ended by resignation in turn 67. I would be very surprised if MP games between competent players last past 150-170 turns. WTP probably increases turn count by delaying the broken stuff way deep in the tech tree.

I believe so with all the anti snowballing fixes it has.

Although Civ like games were not designed with multiplier in mind. Starcraft is much better in it as it is dedicated multiplayer game. I believe these two niches do not intersect well. SMACX multiplayer will always be far from perfect experience.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on June 29, 2020, 07:37:50 PM
Smac MP is quite a lot of fun. It is an enormous time commitment though.

In Civ4 the primary means of snowballing is conquering additional territory with a lead in military techs. The defenders advantage enables to fight a technologically superior force to a certain extent and thus slows leading civs down. In Smac you can grow very quickly without increasing your territory with certain key techs. Of course, powerful economic techs also exist in Civ4 but they are not anywhere near in power to advanced terraforming/pop-booming/satellites. Moreover, there is far more available space on a Smac map (with sea bases, raise land and the ability to make use of marginal land).

The maintenance system in Civ4 works like as follows: each city pays a maintenance cost in Gold which scales with total population, numbers of cities and distance to the capital. Settling into financial ruin is a real possibility. At some point expansion must be curtailed until key economic techs are researched. On higher difficulties this point comes quickly (4-10 cities depending on a range of factors). Smaller empires can keep up with bigger ones in research due to lower costs for a while. Eventually they will have to expand though. Facilities/buildings do not have any maintenance cost.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 30, 2020, 02:53:56 AM
Thank you all participant of this topic I now have two new mod ideas.
http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21481.0

Redo base growth rate

Vanilla rule requires 10 * (pop + 1) nutrients to grow another worker. Due to this the growth rate decelerates with base size rapidly. That naturally discourages growing bases. If it would accelerate or, at least, stay constant faction would have incentive to invest into bigger bases. The nutrient surplus per worker is a function of terraforming era. In the beginning it is from -1 (arid farm) to +1 (rainy farm) which is zero in average. So nutrient surplus per base stays more or less constant. Therefore it does not make sense for early, new, or undeveloped bases to increase nutrient box size proportional to population. From the other hand, the late game (condensers and enrichers) surplus per worker is about 2 and later 3 with satellites. Then it does make sense to increase box proportionally to population size.

From the experience, small bases in early game grow quick then stagnate exhausting all nutrient rich spots then skyrocket in late game again to to advanced terraforming.

I propose to keep nutrient box constant until certain base size then start adding rows.
4 until size 7 then +1 per population

Another option is to just grow it much slower than population size for small bases.
4 for size 1 then add 1 row per 2 population until size 7 then +1 per population

Another option is to increase box size faster with population.
4 for size 1 to 7 then +1/pop to size 13 then +2/pop

PTS fix

Planetary transit system is supposed to easily transit people across globe. So that people from older bases can travel to new bases to populate them quickly. So let them! 😉
Each founded base attracts up to 2 more citizens from other bases (could be home base or just most populated bases). That helps to establish new colonies for the cost of existing ones. This project will still be quite beneficial helping to distribute population to empire outskirts and supporting expansion. However, in this case more citizens in new bases are actually born somewhere before get there and not magically created from thin air as in vanilla.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on June 30, 2020, 07:06:26 PM
I need to reiterate this. The best strategy with most factions is to found a moderate amount of bases early and then pop-boom. (Probably followed by more expansion -> boom cycles). As long as this is the case the nutrient requirements for growing are irrelevant except for those at levels 1 and maybe 2. You need to first decide whether you want pop-booming in the game or not. This changes everything.

My take on the nutrient requirements for growth is that your numbers are still way to high. I would revert growth to level 2 to 2 rows of nutrients and keep it at 2 rows until size 3 or 4 and then increase it to 3 rows for the next 3 (or 4) levels of growth , then 4 rows and so on. The decrease in early development speed your mod introduces is fundamentally a bad idea. It bogs down the early game without addressing the real causes of snowballing which is not early expansion speed but rather a bunch of broken mechanics (pop-booming, Satellites, +2 Eco kinda) and secret projects (Weather Paradigm, Planetary Transit System, Cloning Vats).

To change the balance of horizontal growth vs vertical growth it is sufficient to increase the efficiency of facilities, especially drone control facilities.

I guess my ideas are fairly fundamentally opposed to what you have been doing.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on June 30, 2020, 09:19:50 PM
The decrease in early development speed your mod introduces is fundamentally a bad idea.

You seriously feel my mod is slower than vanilla??? I don't even know how to respond. 😲
Check the readme. Almost every modification is there for faster and smoother game progression, removing stagnation and hindrances. Faster technology progression, removed resource limits, earlier and cheaper facilities, less maintenance, etc. You probably didn't play vanilla for long time and forgot how painfully it stagnates between turns 50-100 with all resource restrictions still there and 40 turns per research breakthrough.

The elevated cost of colony pod is there for reason to add economical development as expansion prerequisite as well and don't fuel it by mean of sole nutrient intake. And even that elevated cost is practically just correction on accelerated development. Bases grow fast in size and mineral output with immediately available rainy farms and rocky mines. Minimally terraformed WTP base builds 60 cost colony as fast as pathetic vanilla one builds 30 cost one.

My take on the nutrient requirements for growth is that your numbers are still way to high. I would revert growth to level 2 to 2 rows of nutrients and keep it at 2 rows until size 3 or 4 and then increase it to 3 rows for the next 3 (or 4) levels of growth , then 4 rows and so on.

Could be. This is still idea in discussion. We need to try it out and see.

without addressing the real causes of snowballing which is not early expansion speed but rather a bunch of broken mechanics (pop-booming, Satellites, +2 Eco kinda) and secret projects (Weather Paradigm, Planetary Transit System, Cloning Vats).

We will fix everything. One thing at a time. With community help everything is possible. Stay on channel and contribute ideas and play testing feedback! 😎

To change the balance of horizontal growth vs vertical growth it is sufficient to increase the efficiency of facilities, especially drone control facilities.

There are more factors to it. Keep in mind I don't want to force anybody to grow vertically or horizontally. Let them if they like to. I am just fixing some OP aspects so they do not shadow other interesting aspects of the game.

Early facility cost/bonus is not a show stopper for base growth. You can build Scout Patrol, Recycling Tanks, Recreation Commons, and Hologram Theater in 40 turns. That is pretty much everything young base needs to grow up to size 6. Yet, this alone does not make it a size 6 base. And it also does not turn it into production center. Terraforming does. It beats everything. With WTP terraforming bases do not have problems building their facilities in between units.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 01, 2020, 12:08:17 AM
Yes your mod is slower than vanilla Smac. A lot. Among the speed ups you mentioned only the early restriction lifting matters. I really like that feature of your mod but it does not make up for +100% nutrient and mineral costs of colony pods. Moreover, you nerfed the most efficient early terraforming option into the ground which leads to lower energy intake and higher terraforming times  (a rocky mine + road is 12 turns with movement, a vanilla forest 5 turns with movement).

There is no turn 50-100 stagnation in vanilla Smac if you can follow a builder beeline. If you get attacked and need particle weapons and/or plasma armor you get delayed substantially but resource lifting techs should still be done before turn 80.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 01, 2020, 01:51:09 AM
Hmm. Would it help to revert colony cost back? Do you think it'll make it more interesting to play?

I need to recall my arguments due to probably wrong wording. There is no point to discuss how fast anything happens in a game. It it would be the ultimate point then we should resort to dice/crap/roulette one turn games.

Let me rephrase it.
Which mod features you find interesting and which not?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 01, 2020, 02:29:54 AM
The starting phase is needlessly slow. Even in vanilla it can be consist of moving 2 units and clicking end turn a good deal. This is annoying in Pbem, less so in SP.

What I personally would like from your mod is balancing out some of the overpowered options. It's what I had hoped to find here. Interesting trade offs between a variety of options in terms of base development and social engineering would be even better. Sorry for being so vague. Some of your solutions for unblanced vanilla items are good (like Fusion, resource restrictions). I don't like how some options are just delayed until the end of the game. That is not fun.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 01, 2020, 03:35:35 AM
You didn't answer about colony cost. 😊

There are a lot of OP things delayed to the end of game until they are fixed. One thing at a time. Feel free to propose a next one to fix.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Tayta Malikai on July 01, 2020, 04:09:21 AM
I'm not sure that early lifting of resources caps even has that big of an effect. How much terraforming are you doing in the first 50 turns? That early in the game, one mostly relies on bonus tiles to fuel their growth. And with how expensive colony pods are now, one has to choose their base sites more carefully - and there are usually enough bonuses to go around.

Will get back to you later RE: Nevill's mod and multiplayer balance, it's been a busy work week.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 01, 2020, 09:11:49 AM
Yes, I would like to see Colony Pods reverted to 3 rows and early base growth to 2 rows as well. I think formers at 2 rows is also better.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 01, 2020, 12:31:17 PM
What I personally would like from your mod is balancing out some of the overpowered options.

Do you consider ICS an overpowered option?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 01, 2020, 12:32:34 PM
Interesting trade offs between a variety of options in terms of base development and social engineering would be even better.

What are they? Can you give an idea or at least an example of some?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 01, 2020, 02:03:04 PM
Yes, I would like to see Colony Pods reverted to 3 rows and early base growth to 2 rows as well. I think formers at 2 rows is also better.

Thank you.
I may try to do this just. However, I would love to understand what are you looking for in general. Please help me understand. Obviously, different people have different preferences. Some like blue shade of SMAC and despise green one of SMAX. Others are absolute opposite. If you can tie your proposals with how game gets better or worse in general for everybody somehow - that would be an awesome start.

Regarding the speed. This is not real-time shooter. I don't believe the number of event per turn matters at all. The number of event per unit of playing time - maybe. This is not a Starcraft type RTS where you build 10% of the time and then fight other 90%. This is classical 4X where expansion, growth, and development happens throughout the game. It is quite natural that number of bases/units/events per turn increase with progress. You have 2 bases and 2 units at start and then 50 bases and 200 units sometimes later. The duration of a turn increases over time as it takes longer to manage stuff. That is pretty normal way of things. There is no wasted time where you just stare at the screen waiting for something to be built. Player keeps doing things and this is all that matters.

Is number of event a turn a concern really? If so then let's say we speed up development to make more events happening within a turn. Start with 10 units, 10 bases of size 10 with infrastructure already built, etc. Discoveries happening 4 times a turn, there is great choice to select from facilities/units/SP in each base, they are all have decent production, etc. Would that make you happy? After all there is an accelerated start option that does just that. This is not a sarcasm. I am seriously asking whether you find this type of game start interesting.

Keep in mind, though, that this is a development game. So you throughout the game one either progresses 2 bases, 2 units -> 50 bases, 200 units or 20 bases, 20 units -> 500 bases, 2000 units with accelerated start. The development slope doesn't change and if you have more at the beginning you'll end up with proportionally more at the end. Faction grows from tiny to huge. The whole game time and development speed is balanced to make manageable at the end. The small initial size is the logical consequence of that.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 01, 2020, 06:45:32 PM
I already mentioned that high turn count is bad for Pbems. It is also annoying in SP for me as it focuses more time on pushing explorers around early game which I find much less interesting than faction management. Speaking of which lower costs of formers and colony pods change the balance of warfare vs civilian development. The difference in quality of land between factions arguably matters more if formers are more expensive. Also clearly, the devlopment speed of 2->50 bases would be quite different to 20->500 bases as this is largely a function of technological level which would be higher in the later case. You are really go overboard with these reductive and extreme comparisons.

I don't find accelerated starts appealing at all. However, I'd be in favor of starting with a former, 2 colony pods and 2 scout patrols as in IP games.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 01, 2020, 07:35:00 PM
It's already 2 colonies and scout at start. Would extra former or two compensate for more expensive former/colony for you? Or you still want them cheaper even with free start formers?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 01, 2020, 10:54:01 PM
On top of the lower costs. This change also has balance implications. It massively buffs factions with early research issues like Miriam and Yang.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 02, 2020, 04:34:01 AM
Here you go then. Everything you asked for. Read changelog.
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer/raw/fastgame/releases/TheWillToPower-fastgame.zip

Its your time now to test balance implications. Enjoy it but please also do these to compose a comprehensive feedback.

1. Check all features are working as described in changelog. Especially, please thoroughly test base growth formula. It should take all things into account: base size, Children Creche, GROWTH rating, golden age, and everything else that affects nutrient row size. I'm sorry, I just slapped staff together and didn't test all possible cases.

2. Play test it with different factions. It would be nice if you can play through the whole game or at least until the late game past advanced terraforming. That is to make sure these changes do not make later game worse.

Watch Morganites in every game too. You can play them or just observe AI. They should suffer growth restriction while other faction bases skyroket. That is another balance implication for them.
I did move Hab Complex much earlier especially to help them out. You may play with it and reassign Hab Complex back to Industrial Automation to see how much this throw them back comparing to other factions.

Unfortunately, I've already started working on tech tree revamping. So this version is built on top of new tech tree. It should not matter much for your particular purpose. However, be aware of this too. Let me know if it doesn't work well.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 02, 2020, 05:05:11 AM
I tried it myself just to get a feeling on it and it reminded me the perpetual vanilla problem. Cheap colony pod is easy to build. That exhausts base population at immense rate. Sometimes with good mineral resources it even cannot produce colony until it grows to size 2. Even without mineral resources bases are still fluctuating around size 1-2. It is so fast that game design cannot handle it well.

I understand you want to speed it up. However, all game engine and design was around the whole game play time in mind. Everything is tailored to that. To make it faster we need to revamp the whole fabric of the game universe to fit it into say 200 turns if we want to double the speed. It is too much work with high chance to break things even more. I'd say we should work with what we have with minimal non too invasive changes.

Anyway. You have your tool now and we are anticipating your game report. You may feel it different. 😉
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 02, 2020, 06:38:49 AM
# Version 70

* Both human and AI get extra colony and former as controlled by free_formers, free_colony_pods in thinker.ini.
* techtree version changes included.
* The Planetary Transit System fixed. See Readme for details.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 02, 2020, 08:04:15 AM
I will probably finish a game not before the weekend.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 02, 2020, 12:38:13 PM
No rush. Take as long as you need.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 02, 2020, 01:28:50 PM
Population boom and The Cloning Vats fix proposal

Give bases 5 extra nutrients each turn instead of instant growth. This is an awesome bonus at the beginning but it diminishes with base size and terraforming development. It'll grow early game base size 1 in 5 turns but for late game base size 20 with 40-50 nutrients surplus won't benefit of it much.

This makes population boom and The Cloning Vats not that OP anymore. Now we can move project back in its place in technology tree and don't worry about triggering population boom anymore. It still is beneficial especially in early game but it is equally harder to trigger it in early game too. By the time it could be routinely triggered by CC + GROWTH + golden age it is averagely beneficial.

Update

I am thinking to keep population boom mechanics as above. At the same time let's decouple The Cloning Vats effect from population boom so they can have cumulative effect. That'll be fun to use both. 😄

CV is perceived as a population producing machinery. Let it convert part of production power into additional nutrient surplus (which in game terms equals to growth). Same way population boom adds nutrients but independent effect so they both can be active at the same time.

I am thinking the base should convert some percentage of its surplus minerals into nutrients. Say 20%. This way base with 20 mineral production makes 4 extra nutrients. I think this is fare for SP without maintenance comparing to golden age that requires some investment to be induced.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 02, 2020, 04:49:05 PM
# Version 71

* Population boom fixed. See Readme for details.
* The Cloning Vats fixed. See Readme for details.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 03, 2020, 12:47:16 PM
I will probably finish a game not before the weekend.

I think I found an easy and elegant solution for your perceived slowness problem. This is base square producing 4 nutrients. It approximately makes early bases grow about twice as fast. Especially those on not so good land. For very green land and for later game with advanced terraforming it won't be a big addition anyway. So it makes early game faster but doesn't affect mid-late game much. I've tried it and it indeed makes early development faster. It is also somewhat equalizes different starting locations by giving this to everybody.

Another thing I did is disabled modules discount with reactor. Only weapon and armor now get discount. That allowed me to lower cost for colony to 4 without the fear that it becomes overly cheap with future reactors.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 03, 2020, 04:45:04 PM
# Version 74

* Base Square produces 4 nutrients;
* Reactor does not discount module cost.
* Foil chassis cost = 2 (same as infantry).
* Cruiser chassis cost = 3 (same as speeder).
* Colony Module cost = 4.
* The Cloning Vats does not grant impunities.
* The Cloning Vats help entry is updated.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 03, 2020, 05:06:52 PM
That's interesting. Did you leave growth at 4 rows then?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 03, 2020, 05:26:13 PM
That's interesting. Did you leave growth at 4 rows then?

No. I didn't change nutrient box. It is hardcoded everywhere and I don't want to mess with this mechanics. The fact that it is increases requirement with population makes perfect sense. More workers (theoretically) bring more food surplus. So increasing requirements counter increasing surplus. This doesn't work only at the very beginning and for new undeveloped bases when average food surplus per worked square is zero so the nutrient accumulation is defined by base square yield only and is constant. By doubling this yield we effectively double growth speed for early and new bases solving your development speed problem but this bonus dilutes when base growth and get land developed around it later on. So no breaking game in general. Neat! Isn't it? 😉

Try it out. It is already released.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 03, 2020, 09:40:11 PM
Playing as Lal. Expanded to 8 bases. I met the Pirates and Aki. Currently rover-rushing Aki because I don't want to deal with her drones. Even against scout patrols the larger defense bonuses means the weaker Impact weapons sometimes lose. My first impact rover lost to a defending former.

Start with extra nutrients is pretty smooth with Lal but I'd guess it's a Nightmare with Morgan or Zak and annoying for most others. Since you reduced the food needed for growing to size 2 I'm not sure the extra base food is necessary. Formers and Colony Pods are still a bit expensive.

New tech tree looks pretty good but I'd have to play some more to form a deeper understanding.

Also there was an odd psych breakdown in one of my bases. This is Lal (so +2 psych from his ability) past the first bureaucracy limit (so should be at most -2 psych from that).
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 03, 2020, 11:22:35 PM
Cannot say anything by picture only. Please send a save.

You are mixing two different approaches: reduced growth requirement and extra food at base. Former is specially for your testing. It is not included into any other release. Latter is what I myself introduced to the latest release as an alternative to reduced growth requirement. They should not be in the same version together. Please check.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 03, 2020, 11:32:23 PM
I downloaded version 74. Startting growth requires 2 rows and bases have 4 base nutrients.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 04, 2020, 12:17:05 AM
I assume you are on highest difficulty level? If so then your breakdown is correct. +1 talent from Lal and +1 b-drone negate each other so your first citizen is content. The rest of them are drones as they should be.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 04, 2020, 12:21:29 AM
It is correct on the first screen. The second is weird.

Edit: I think I understand what is going on there. The +2 psych from Lal's faction ability turns one drone into a citizen. Then that citizen is made into a doctor and I end up with the doctor, one drone and and a citizen due to the +2 psych from the doctor. This is really unintuitive behaviour. I should have +4 psych total but due to the way the layers of the drone control mechanic work I only get 2.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 04, 2020, 01:53:21 PM
The second one is the same as first one except you turned one worker to doctor. It generates 2 psych and quell one drone. So you end up having 2-1 = 1 drone. What is exactly you see.

Why do you say it is not intuitive? When you transition from first screen to second you get plus one doctor and minus one drone as expected.

You do have +4 psych from Lal + doctor and -2 psych from bureaucracy = +2 which quells one drone. Now you have only one. Everything adds up.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Hagen0 on July 04, 2020, 02:32:07 PM
It doesn't add up. I have +2 psych which should lead to 2 citizens, one default on Transcend, one from the +2 psych. I get what is going on there but the +2 psych from Lal's ability is wasted in this situation.

Did you change tech costs to be fixed, or dependent on tech level in some way?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 04, 2020, 04:18:49 PM
It doesn't add up. I have +2 psych which should lead to 2 citizens, one default on Transcend, one from the +2 psych. I get what is going on there but the +2 psych from Lal's ability is wasted in this situation.

I see where is your source of confusion. Transcend doesn't give you 1 default citizen. The correct formula is: base on Transcend produces p-1 drones. That may sound exactly the same but it is not in case with specialists as on your second screen. Turning worker in specialist does not eliminate drone by itself! You can test it out yourself and turn this doctor to engineer and you'll end up with two drones as on screen 1.

So you 3 base produces 2 drones. Lal turns first citizen to talent. Then bureaucracy adds another drone to the base to make it total 3 drones.

On a first screen one drone turns talent back to content. So you see one content and two drones.

On a second screen doctor generates 2 psych those quell one drone. So you see just one.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 04, 2020, 04:19:49 PM
Did you change tech costs to be fixed, or dependent on tech level in some way?

It's fixed by level.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 04, 2020, 04:32:41 PM
# Version 75

* The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm prevents regular probe action but don't destroy it.
* Human probes cannot sabotage defensive facilities either by targetting them or by random sabotage.

Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 04, 2020, 08:38:41 PM
Anybody has a problem with too many weapons in the game and wants to reduce it?
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nevill on July 05, 2020, 03:35:56 PM
Hello there. Nevill here.

I've been playing a WTP PBEM game with Tayta, and so far my experience is... a very mixed bag. There are mechanics changes I applaud, there are some choices I can understand that are clearly a matter of taste even though I am sceptical about them, and there are some design decisions that make me squint really hard at them when viewed through the prism of Player vs Player games. But all in due time.

Today's post was caused by a... bug, I think? We are using a version 66 of the mod due to another bug introduced in v67 and up. Not sure if it got fixed yet.

Zakharov suddenly got a minerals boost in his bases that I can't really explain by anything.

Here are his bases on turn 2211:
https://i.postimg.cc/QMnCxRQs/Zack-1.jpg (https://i.postimg.cc/QMnCxRQs/Zack-1.jpg)
https://i.postimg.cc/xCwdLMp4/Zack-2.jpg (https://i.postimg.cc/xCwdLMp4/Zack-2.jpg)
And here are the same bases on turn 2212:
https://i.postimg.cc/xddqQ0bt/Zack-3.jpg (https://i.postimg.cc/xddqQ0bt/Zack-3.jpg)
https://i.postimg.cc/ydgdJvjR/Zack-4.jpg (https://i.postimg.cc/ydgdJvjR/Zack-4.jpg)

You can clearly see he has 6 mineral rows instead of 8. His SE settings are the same though (PS+FM+P)...
https://i.postimg.cc/sXhjf1f9/Zack-5.jpg (https://i.postimg.cc/sXhjf1f9/Zack-5.jpg)
...and even if they weren't, INDUSTRY changes should no longer work that way. They certainly don't for me.

Needless to say, with him getting a speedbump of 10 turns on every project, he wipes his shoes all over my long-term plans.

...not that he is making much use of his production. He doesn't even upgrade his defenders, which is how most of his bases are protected by 1-2+-1 ECM infantry. If it weren't for "don't touch AI bases" homerule, he'd have long fallen by now, and the new territory rules would mean he'd have no way of getting them back. But AI behavior is perhaps for another post.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Alpha Centauri Bear on July 05, 2020, 04:06:40 PM
Thank you for feedback. It matters!

Please send me your saves.

Number of minerals per row is calculated by original code. WTP has nothing to do with this. Keep in mind that AI cheats on you in many places. Like this one, for example. On turn 2211 he has correct number of minerals per row if you are playing on highest difficulty: 7 + 1 for -1 INDUSTRY = 8. On next turn some cheating started. I cannot tell you exactly when and how they cheat but I did see a lot of related code.
It is easy to check. Just load the 2212 turn in the unmodded version and observe. You can probably run terranx.exe (not modded exe) or better yet just run clean vanilla install.

Also feel free to mention whatever good or bad things you noticed in the mod before you forget. It is also easier to discuss them one by one. People do have different taste and preferences so discussing it matters. Keep also in mind that some of the later additions are inspired by other players. So you may just experience a clash of preferences.
Title: Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
Post by: Nevill on July 05, 2020, 06:05:30 PM
Here are my two saves. My password is "worm". I do not know Tayta's password, he'll have to chime in if you want to play those turns yourself.

I don't know where the cheating occured, but I've never seen this kind of cheating before. And I tend to keep an eye on AI opponents and what they are building, because you have a lot of time during PBEM. I've not looked at the code though.


Right, the good and the bad. Where do I even start.

I should probably preclude everything I write below with a warning that I've been playing SMAX for a long time, and always with Multiplayer in mind. It is probable that I use and/or abuse some features of the mod in a way they weren't intended to.

The game is slow as molasses compared to vanilla. I can't decide whether it is a bad or a good thing. It's different, that much is certain. Perhaps too different from the original to comfort. Colony pods priced at 60 put a dampener on expansion, and they are easy to lose, so you need to build and support escorts overloading the already low support.

On one hand, I feel your pain about how much ICS poisons the well and skews the gameplay towards it. On another, I think it went too far in a different direction as of v66. I haven't started expansion until I reached Fusion tech, and that was because the price of CPs got lowered to 50 and the formers to 30 which I think are the sweet spot for the kind of changes you intended. You reverting the cost of CPs back to 40 seems to support the notion, although I have not played later versions of the mod.

The problem with ICS is that the game incentivises low-pop bases. A high population base has no benefits over a bunch of low-pop ones early in the game. And it can't even build Colony Pods very efficiently because the time needed to reach high pop gets higher the more pop you already have. The fastest way to pump CPs is still a 2-pop base sitting on 2 rocky mines and switching to a 3-food tile (Nutrient+forest) every other turn.

I can't say I have a solution ready for this; will have to see what you are proposing with alternate growth formulas. In absense of those, though, I think capping CPs at 50 would be a decent move.

Formers at 40 is a much more drastic change. We have less bases resulting in lousy support and meaning we have much less minerals to play with with every new former. I don't know what your design philosophy on them was supposed to be. If you wanted to reduce their number to 8-10 when before we had 50, then congratulations, you did it. I am just not sure why. It... reduces the micromanagement I guess?

Losing a former can set a faction back by ages, and it slows an already slow game to a crawl.

Also, the mine decreasing food production by 1 in a tile is one of the original's design decisions I could never understand. Farm+mine take 12 turns to terraform, and the result is still hideous. Why build a mine anywhere but on a rocky tile?

The decision to move EcoEng to a tier 6 tech and tie all of the advanced terraforming options to it means that for half the game you can't even do anything interesting with terraformers.

Reducing energy in forests... while I understand how it came to be (hybrids are really overpowered), now they are a weak choice. I played Gaia, and I produced my first forest in 2160s. I think delaying the Hybrid forests could be a better solution.

Absense of condensers means that population growth is very hard in absense of pop-booming, meaning the factions that lack it (Morgan, Hive) are gimped.

Absense of Echelon Mirrors (never thought I'd say anything good about them) and raise/lower terrain options means that energy production options are really limited. Boreholes are not available until later... and when they become available they instantly obsolete all other options. I settled a borehole cluster halfway across the map and the base at 3 pop produced 27 energy (~8 lost) with all the trade. My 7-pop HQ produced 15.

Sea bases are gimped. Well, they were gimped in original, no big surprise there, but here they are crippled extra hard. How do you produce minerals in them? Subsea Trunklines are 6 level tech, cost a ton (and you don't have minerals to build them), and mines giving -1 to food production means that you have to build an aquafarm to make them semi-viable. In essense, sea bases leech resources off land ones, because it is impossible to build anything in them. Maybe very late in the game things change due to additional +1 mineral, I don't know. For now they are just a tool to deny enemy territory and cheat your way into victory at sea with subpar units. Just build a base where you want to win your battles. Cheaper than building up the military.

Fungal production is... lacking. From the readme:
Quote
Get it to at least 1-1-0 yield relatively early in the game to allow minimal support for barren land and sea bases.
Focus on energy yield in the mid game to compliment forest instead of competing with it.
Use green/alien technologies for fungus production to streamline research priorities for green/PLANET factions.

Technology | Fungus production effect | Comment
---------- | ------------------------ | -------
Centauri Ecology | +1 nutrient |
Progenitor Psych | +1 mineral | reassigned
Field Modulation | +1 energy | reassigned
Bioadaptive Resonance | +1 energy | reassigned
Centauri Psi | +1 nutrient |
Centauri Meditation | +1 energy |
Secrets of Alpha Centauri | +1 energy |
Centauri Genetics | +1 mineral |
Well, this is false. No tech gives fungus +1 minerals, they give it +food or +energy instead.

Since I am playing Gaia I can say that a good fifth of my worked tiles are fungus since it produces 3-0-2 (at Bioadaptive Resonance ATM), and there are no better options for food available, since there are no condensers. Sea bases definitely aren't getting anything out of it.

Maniford Harmonics is going to be OP, I can tell. It's why Zakharov's cheating prompted me to post, I was so incensed.

Projects and their evaluation from a MP standpoint is another matter, for another long-winded post.

Also, a design choice I don't really get is the balancing of POLICE around -1 as a new center. With the explanation given that... Brood Pits will give you +2 later? When are those Brood Pits due? And while we are at it, shouldn't it mean that Broodpits are the ones that need fixing, not factions?

As it is, it just looks more than a bit ugly... and unnecessary, I think? Look at what it means for SE... you get +1 Police with Police state, -2 Police with Wealth, and 0 Police with them both. No other changes for other SE (up until Cybernetics/Thought Control).

Well, why not give Police State +1 POLICE, and Wealth -2 POLICE, and have essentially the same result but without every faction looking same-ish? Then you can mod Brood Pits to only give +1 POLICE and have everything work just as it does in v66?

SE changes is another big topic I want to touch on later. I think I found them very questionable. I am Gaian, and I can't think of the circumstances when I'd run Green. Maybe (maybe) with Manifold Harmonics, but I wouldn't count on it. It is a SE for lategame energy production, and your mod doesn't have nearly enough options to produce energy up until mid-game and boreholes. Kinda a weird combination, boreholes with Green economy. :D

What else, what else. Oh, the slowing down really got some areas harder than others. I miss Non-lethal methods, but I understand your reasoning, even though I am running Wealth and can't make use of them anyway. I think of police units in original as an alternative to facility-based drone handling, and suffice is to say, 1 unit quelling 1 drone doesn't really compare to Rec Commons + Holo Theater. The drawback of police is that it is hard to switch to another method once you are using it, and it really precludes SE switching. In your mod I hardly use police at all.

But I find myself missing some of the things I really got used to in the original. Research Hospitals were too close at Gene Splicing, which was only nominally a Tier 3 tech as it only required 2 tier-1 and 1 tier-2 as prereqs. 120 minerals was too much investment for too little gain at that point. You have reduced its cost... and then moved Gene Splicing to tier 6 tech, removing facility out of the player's grasp. As it is, I can build Genejack Factories sooner than Researh Hospitals. I pop-boomed to 7 pop before I reached there. And... one can get used to that, but then why did you reduce the cost if you consider them mid-game tech?

Cost of units would be a reason for another rant. Generally, I find war to be impossible to wage now. Oh, I can steamroll an AI just fine, it can't really do anything. But investing 100 minerals into a cruiser only to see it die against a +50% territory-enhanced bonus out of nowhere? It is more expensive than most structures.

I know the game was ridiculously skewed towards overwhelming offense, but this swings it too far in the opposite direction. I kinda want the balance to be in favor of defenders at a base, and a parity in the field if one utilizes the terrain correctly. Meaning a 3-to-2 att-over-def advantage, brought to 3-to-3 with the help of terrain and/or abilities (ECM, forests, fungus, rocky tiles), and 3-to-4/5 at bases with Perimeter Defences and sensors. As it is, war is all but impossible in the early game without crippling yourself... and midgame against a human who has even halfway decent scouts it will fail as they can resupply much faster and can catch enemy units in their territory with a flat +50% bonus. Losing a state of the art 6-armor unit to a much cheaper horde of 4-weapon ones is not very fun.

Native life. You wanted to make it more dangerous, but now that I can't hunt them down they are more annoying than anything. They still can't get past trance units, so what they do is eat an occasional former which sucks because losing formers sucks that much harder now. Native life for players... yeah, no. No one uses NL in multiplayer (with the exception of Locusts as an air unit that can capture bases with no ground support) precisely because they get countered by a trance scout and an empath rover. Dependence on Life Cycle facilities which are few and far between, not to mention expensive, makes them a really situational choice when others pump out cheap units with +2 Morale upgrades. Sure an IotD can both attack and transport troops, but attacking with 1:1 odds is a good way to lose those troops, and even if you win you are slowed down by damage, so the next cheap ship will pick you off. I've found the worms' price point to be decent at 4 mineral rows, and I gave them ECM to protect them from rover harass. I still don't use them as anything but guerilla fighters since once the enemy wises up to it artillery makes them go splat really easily. Conventional units are oftentimes better. But then military is generally more expensive in your mod.

I can't think of why I'd use anything other than locusts with the way you priced them.

There are some changes I can't do anything but laud, though. The INDUSTRY exploit has finally, FINALLY, been fixed. I don't even begrudge it that I found it out the hard way by switching to +INDUSTRY civics and failing to complete the project I wanted. Or the reactors not giving additional HP, or the combat not being centered on a per-round model that takes the attacker's advantage and whack a defender over the head with it.


Ok, to to summarize the contents of this post for ease of replying.
1) Slow game speed caused by high cost of CPs and formers. Early game was just us passing turns back and forth.
1a) Some techs come in well past the time when you could make use of them. Research Hospital is one, but advanced terraforming, Subsea Trunkline and others come to mind.
2) Not enough variance in terraforming caused by moving EcoEng to midgame. Could be spread out better among different techs.
2a) Not enough options for energy production. Boreholes still superior to everything.
2b) Minerals are hard to get in general. If you don't have a lot of rocky tiles, you are out of luck as forests are your best bet.
2c) Not enough minerals in fungus. This even contradicts the readme?
2d) Default -1 food on mines exacerbates this. Sure I can change it on my end, but I wonder about your reasons.
3) Sea bases are useless for early to mid game. No minerals, high cost of improving facilities.
4) POLICE rating centered at -1 clogging faction displays when the same effect can be