Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire > After Action Reports

shall I write more AARs or are we done here?

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I took great umbrage to the following post by site owner BUncle:

--- Quote from: BUncle on February 25, 2018, 05:19:07 AM ---I have to hit a button and then go to the admin panel to promote a post to front page - and I stopped after I realized you always quit before the game's finished.

[shrugs] I appreciate the effort you put in and the value it has to the community -especially since you started with the screenshots- but I don't think we'd be keeping any eyes we drew if new people feel let-down by the lack of an ending. Waiting to see if it concludes before I promote doesn't seem quite right, but two minutes devoted to promoting "Svensgaard is a douchebag" to the Front Page is two minutes spent making AC2 look bad.  Pushing something on Facebook and other places can eat hours. 

I mean, yo - it's wintertime, and I haven't crawled out of my winter mood.  I simply cannot get myself motived to go to a lot of trouble -and believe me, pimping whatever around the nets, you could almost train a chimp to do, but it's still a lot of work- without more confidence in what I'm selling.  I care how much trouble you go to, but NerdX don't.  NerdX leaves AC2 forever feeling cheated if I try to sell him AARs that always get abandoned. [/shrug]

--- End quote ---

What's the background on this?  For reasons not of my own making, my AARs were occupying the lion's share of this website's HOME page for a long time.  Many, many months of top billing.  I never asked for that or suggested it in any way.  I figured the site had some kind of RSS feed for recent forum traffic.  Since I was often the only one posting, I figured my long posts had naturally risen to the top of the site.  What disturbed me, is an old post of mine seemed to stay there forever.  It's still there, a year later, although now there's this huge Civ VI splash above it.  I figured, must have been some kind of technical difficulty.  RSS feed broken.  Didn't ask about it, because self-promotion and site promotion were never previously my goals.

That has changed.  My work includes screenshots and is of higher quality now.  As has happened on other sites in the past - like writing fanfics for The Hobbit on Reddit, for instance - my level of output has risen to the point, where it requires an audience to justify the number of hours I put into it.

So I'm quite angry to learn the truth about why my work was "up" or "not up" like that, all this time.  No technical malfunction at all.  BUncle decides there's something he personally doesn't like about the work, and sidelines it.

Who has done AARs this past year on this site?  Me.  Who is consistent with the output?  Who actually went to the trouble to improve the output, when someone asked for screenshots?  And how does my work stack up against the rest of the archive?  Frankly, my recent work is better and more consistent than the vast majority of the archive, such as I've perused it.  That doesn't mean I'm getting any hits for it, compared to historical norms.  The reason is simple: the community has shrunk drastically.

The idea that a "rage quitting NerdX" should be a barrier to showing my work, because the work isn't "finished", is absurd.  In the other thread, I've already detailed some of the ways it's absurd.  Like that a popular poster got 14K views on his unfinished epic AAR in the past.  Wasn't any kind of barrier on driving eyeballs.  How many views am I getting in contrast?  What you'd expect from a mostly dead subforum, that's what.  I write volumes, crickets mostly chirp.

For posterity, I just finished putting "Epilogues" on all of my recent AARs that have screenshots.  They're acerbic and take digs at this preposterous notion.  Especially at people who "think they should leave now" because all this unpaid writing work didn't satisfy their every whim.  I have a long and sordid track record in Open Source communities.  I've given quite a lot of my own sweat and blood in the past, and frankly such an attitude deeply offends me.  You want MOAR?  Well consider paying me, or thanking me, or showcasing what I did do for you.

In this post, I have new metrics for just how absurd this attitude is about "finishing".  I've reviewed whether I won, lost, or blew off my recent games.  Those were the only 3 results.  I have also tabulated the amount of webpage content for each category. 


* "won" = 99.9% of the game finished, in terms of real wall clock time spent.  Only a fool would claim I didn't win those games.
* "lost" = actually stomped by the AI.  Only a masochist would continue.
* "blew off" = quit playing a perfectly viable game, because I wasn't enjoying it.
These definitions do not include, reaching a victory screen, formally and officially pushing the buttons to have the game tell me I won.  Or lost.  I am not a Formalist.  If you are winning at chess, you can tell your opponent "mate in 2 moves" and he can concede.  The AI is too stupid to do that.  Even playing another 5 turns in late game on a Huge map can consume hours of your Real Life.  Why the !@$! should I?  I'm not a paid gaming journalist, I'm a conscientious provider of Free Stuff.

The recent screenshotted games, in "thread name - outcome, web pages" format:

slow transporting - won, 2
Miriam makes me shiver - won, 4
Zhakarov is killed by aliens - lost, 1
boring small island start - blew off, 1
Aki vs. Yitzi and PRACX - blew off, 1
Cha Dawn braves the unknown - blew off, 2
Svensgaard is a douchebag - blew off, 1
Santiago the Builder - blew off, 3

Total Complete Games, won or lost, in webpages: 7
Total Incomplete Games, in webpages: 8

My batting average regarding BUncle's absurd objection, is on the order of 50%.

All of which will be eclipsed by "Does Miriam Suck?" if I have a reason to continue it.  It's already 9 pages.  It can easily go to 15.  It is massive.  It is the level at which I'm writing now.

Anything after that is likely to be on a similar scale, although improvements may make it shorter.  In any event it'll be better.  But the goose doesn't lay golden eggs unless the goose has a reason to.  I didn't write another Hobbit interlude either.  Drowned by too much other /r/writingprompts content, there's no visibility.

Meanwhile, what AARs has BUncle offered us recently?  NONE.  I'm sure he has plenty of other responsibilities running the site, but can someone be a little more thankless and judgmental about good work put in front of him?  "Would hurt our eyeballs counts".  Puh-leeze.  Like the excruciating tactical and strategic discussions I've provided, have no value on their own.  It's not like I fake games or play badly.

So here's what I want.

I want a top spot on the homepage for my recent screenshotted work.  It is of the highest quality you've got around here.  I may be equalled, but I am Unsurpassed.  You think someone did a better job in the past, show me the work!  I'll believe it when I see it.  I haven't seen it so far, but I haven't been poring every last post for obvious reasons.  Too busy writing good work.

"Top spot" means someone doesn't have to scroll to see the post, i.e. no giant Civ VI splash hogging everything.  I would recommend you ditch that thing.  Put it on a diet at least.  This is supposed to be a SMAC site.  If you think you should be in the business of Civ VI traffic instead, well I can go find a bigger Civ VI forum and post my puny SMAC AARs there.  I don't personally need you for promoting Civ VI, and I have a low opinion of the franchise in general.  SMAC is the best that was produced, that's why I'm here.

I can stomach appearing alongside Civ VI.  I'm not going to be underbilled by it though.

I don't expect anything from anyone "overnight".  Only a good faith statement that yes, you were wrong BUncle about the caliber of my recent work, and this really should be done for the betterment of the site.  And that in general, anything that betters the site, should be getting the top billing, whatever forms they come in.

What I'm asking for, is no more than I had in the past, by accident, by no design of my own.  I'm asking now because I do require exposure to put this level of effort into things, and because it will rationally help this SMAC community. 

I do not expect to stay in a top spot.  Frankly I was alarmed at being that way for so long.  Made it smell like a dead site, and that wasn't wrong.  I would love to see other people's work be showcased in a top spot, even if it's only some yuk yuk forum post that's particularly amusing on the subject of SMAC.  I'm not picky.  My own work was up there once, and it wasn't even intended for mass consumption.

But that has changed.  I can either provide you with high quality AARs about SMAC, or I can get on with what I really should be doing with my Life.  Which is either authoring my own SMAC-like game and making my own website to drive traffic to, or finding some lesser effort way to get a bigger audience for my AAR skills.  Which I clearly have now.

If anyone has any opinion on this other than BUncle, that would be welcome.  But I don't expect anyone to wade into this drama.  If this post receives no responses, I won't be surprised.  Feel free to PM me if you'd like.

But the die is cast.  If my recent work cannot be recognized for what it is, I am so outta here.


I have no relation to the administration of this site, save for being under their, well, patronage - such as it is, with no one to set up new multiplayer games (cannot be bothered to give links, games that failed to start for the lack ofCMN can be found easily in corresponding part of the forum)

I am no great player. I would say that i still do not know how to play well, and until recently, i haven't been able to beat AI consistently.
However, now i am able, partly from experience, and partly from learning insights into the game from good patrons of this site. That includes you,  bvanevery in no small part, seeing as you actually commented on and answered questions i asked, and your AAR were quite informative.
Not that i have read them all. Only some )

I found them interesting, as much as far as that's worth.

Now, to answer the question you have posited. To be frank, i find the effort you are putting in unjustifiable. if you play for fun, spending at most a night or two, and cutting it off when it is no longer fun - then putting that much effort into documenting it may (and now had!) lead to disappointment and burning out. You do not get commented much (mea culpa as well) - and you know site is barely just alive. Although it is doing better then expected, given the veritable age of the game
My suggestion is: do not force yourself. You are producing excellent content, and it may serve just as well as tutorials for those who will want to become new players (strange people, why would they? wait, i am one of them....), and i will ask you not to delete them in any case. Pretty please. But do not let,  even for a second, be tied down with obligations such as "must finish this game, must make a write-up, mustconvert sll screenshots" etc. Game should be played at their own leisure (multiplayer courtesies aside) - unless one is getting paid for them. Which you are not. So ti is better to let go

And another thing

--- Quote ---authoring my own SMAC-like game
--- End quote ---
Some really global catastrophes would be nice. Massive quakes that erase scores of cities with mines/boreholes. Fissures terrain (which is nearly impassable), burning one (chich actually damages units) etc. Tsunamis, that drown colonies in their wave, nad damage/smash even those with big domes. Massive rebellions that have actual faction splits, navy going rogue (yarr!). Economic crisises that make massive nerve stapling to contain unhappiness a very tempting proposal (than: see faction splits! yay!)
Variety is a spice of life, and that would drive singleplayer difficulty up - or interest in it/ Maybe

And yet another thing
Personally, i see your approach to games as reasonable (although sometimes leading to anticlimatic results). The thing to keep in mind, not many things in AC are actually climatic. And victories is not often one of them.
Winning a war long in making, some probe ops that go well, Secret project racing, first nuke going off - those are frankly often more interesting then holding yet another election after spawning lots of cities, fast-clicking 20 turns after setting Economy to 100% or actual long, long research towards Transcedence techs and construction. So i understand you. My sin is the opposite - "ok, i can win as governor now, let us see if i can win military" or "wonder if cashing allthose artefacts into Universal Translator will get me transcedence?" which leads to dragging my games on...

I want to write the same. Can you tell me? I have to write it.


--- Quote from: Delgadonut on April 17, 2018, 04:49:20 AM ---I want to write the same. Can you tell me? I have to write it.

--- End quote ---

Write what, an After Action Report?  There's not too much to know about how to do it, but there are a few things.  On Windows I use CTRL-ALT-TAB to switch between a fullscreen game and other tasks, like my web browser or a photo editor.  I use Fn-WINDOWS-PrintScreen to take a screenshot under Windows 10.  That only puts the image in the clipboard, so you have to have a photo or image editing program to paste it into.  In Windows 10 I use Paint3D, which comes with it.

You can crop if you like but that's optional.  It's much faster to just slap an image in there and call it good.  If you do decide to crop, the 1st important dimension is 1200 pixels.  If any dimension of an image is larger than 1200 pixels, this website will downfilter the image so that the dimension is only 1200 pixels.  So for instance my 1440x900 widescreen screenshots will turn into 1200x750.  If I crop, then I can get images that are 1200x900.

The 2nd important dimensions are 800x800 pixels.  If you can get your image down to that size, it pops up faster when clicked on.  It just sort of immediately inlines.  However for the time spent, I don't think it's worth the effort anymore.  What I really need is a plugin for some program that automatically provides me an 800x800 clipping box so that I don't have to futz with it over and over again.  There's probably a way to do it in the Gimp but I haven't gotten around to learning.  I haven't done a fullblown AAR since mid-March since that one was 80 hours of production time.

Buster's Uncle:
...Something with pasting the screenie into an 800x800 box/canvas size and moving the paste around before you deselect would do it nice and easy...


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