Author Topic: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map  (Read 7297 times)

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Offline bvanevery

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Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« on: March 11, 2018, 03:47:34 AM »
by Brandon Van Every, long term SMAC addict
cybernetic consciousness
cybernetic consciousness

Questions and comments about this game are welcome in this thread.

In my last game I played a similarly large map as the Pirates.  I was trying to give the AI lots of room to spread out and be effective.  But, freakish world generation caused all other factions to start on small islands.  I started next to one of 2 giant continents and played an un-Pirate-like game, mostly on land.  This game, I fiddled with the world generation in alphax.txt to ensure "proper" continental land masses.  I changed: Continental base = 48, Continental modifier = 96, Islands = 1.  These settings generate large land masses while still leaving vast oceans.  If a Pirate ends up in the game, he'll be happy.

planetfall
planetfall

Hopefully with some squinting you can see the large continental shapes of this world.  Even with these settings, it still took me 3 restarts to get a proper starting position.  On my 1st start, I was given a degenerate 3 square island in open ocean!  I've got a good start now, and I hope everyone else does, or this will be an awfully short writeup.  I've seen plenty of games where factions were stillborn / DOA, the telltale sign being their bar on the faction histogram is completely flat.  One time I was given a 1 square island with no boat!  Can't even give me a boat??  I tried to play anyways but, uh, that didn't work out.

near nutrients
near nutrients

This is a non-terrible start, on some ok land near some good nutrients.  That spot of water might lead to open ocean, although it could also just be a tiny lake.  I don't think I will prioritize settling it now.  I'll just head for the nutrients.

Last game, I found the Pirates were slow to get started, due to the extra overheads of getting a life at sea up and running.  Even heading for land as quickly as I did, it was a slow affair.  It put me behind and many early Secret Projects went right by me.  I'm endeavoring not to have that happen to me this game.  The Cybernetic Consciousness has a +2 Research advantage and should be able to get the techs needed for Secret Projects.  Thus they can start early and dominate all those races.  Her main concern is getting the minerals to build them.  Some games I have bad luck and there are simply no minerals to be had, but nutrients + forests do count as minerals in my book.  I'm seeing no problem here.

Those nutrients are going to help my -1 Growth penalty quite a bit.  That can really bite the Consciousness.  For instance, they cannot afford to go Green Police State early on, as -3 Growth is strategically deadly.  You have to wait until you're already huge or have The Cloning Vats, both of which are late game concerns.

I've played the Consciousness a lot in recent months, so I do not expect to make any faction specific mistakes.  I know them well, and I think they may be the best overall human faction to play with.  It's either her or Chairman Yang.  The latter is a great Builder faction but suffers from a lack of Efficiency.  Not Aki Zeta-5's problem, she's got Efficiency in spades.  She's flexible about what she can do, unlike Yang who is a one trick pony.  Being flexible tends to make would-be allies declare war on you though.

Note that this map has no Supply Pods on it.  They are a crutch.  I guarantee that if they were in the game, I would win easily.  Because I know how to "Pac-Man" the supply pods and the AI doesn't.  So, no Artifacts to goose this along.  I have to find or make minerals.

I have also opted for No Random Events this game.  2 Energy Market Crashes last game cost me thousands of credits and that gets old.  I'm disappointed that I won't ever get sunspots, as amusing things can be done during those, but the game is a lot better without the negative random events.  I've learned, the hard way, that you'd better like how a long game is treating you, or you're gonna lose motivation to play it!

So yes, the Consciousness is gonna treat me nice.  Prepare the slaughter!
« Last Edit: April 08, 2018, 05:14:02 AM by bvanevery »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2018, 04:10:03 AM »
jungle
jungle

Ho-lee @#@!  I'm next to the Monsoon Jungle.  On a Giant planet, there's a pretty good chance I have it all to myself as well.  Talk about a blessed start.  I sure hope the other factions aren't stillborn, as I'd hate to restart this game now.  Any AI that gets the Jungle, dominates the early game.  A human can of course do better.  It also happens to be the antidote for Aki Zeta-5's growth problem.

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2018, 04:52:18 AM »
weather paradigm race
weather paradigm race

Only Cha Dawn is struggling, and he's not strictly DOA.  I'm not restarting the game for him.  The Caretakers dominate and are the only Alien faction in the game.

I chose Discover, Build focus which already gave me Social Psych.  That is fortunate, because I will surely need it in the Jungle.  With luck maybe I'll get Secrets of the Human Brain first?  Unfortunately I researched Ethical Calculus, not really wanted right now.

To spread, each of my cities built a Former, built a road on flat terrain, planted a forest on it, then built roads all the way to the Jungle.  Forest is a good "second square" to have when making Colonists at the beginning of the game.  It doesn't pump your population unnecessarily, as size 2 is the cheapest food you can make a Colonist with.  It gives you a minerals boost when you reach size 2.

I got this far spreading, then Brother Lal started The Weather Paradigm this turn.  Now I must race viciously to complete multiple Secret Projects, because he starts with Biogenetics as well.  I've researched it myself, so that's at least 2 SPs I need to start now.  My cash will go towards rushing Recycling Tanks and Recreation Commons to get "Builder" cities up and running.  A good trick for Jungle productivity, is to plant Forests on all of the Flat Rainy squares.  That turns them into 2-2-1 squares, like having a Tree Farm without the tech!  That minerals desposit at the center of the Jungle is also going to be helpful.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2018, 05:18:36 AM »
planned
planned

On this turn I go Planned.  I researched it several turns ago but didn't have the money to make the change.  Roze has entered the Secret Project races, so I need every bit of advantage I can get.  Due to my faction's +2 Efficiency advantage, with Planned I now have +0 Efficiency.  Deirdre beat me to Secrets of the Human Brain, so I stopped focusing on Discover.  Instead I'm doing Build, Conquer, hoping to pick up The Merchant Exchange or The Command Nexus.  Experience has shown it can take a very long time to learn Doctrine:Loyalty though.

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2018, 05:45:19 AM »
peacekeepers win
peacekeepers win

The Peacekeepers built The Weather Paradigm and The Merchant Exchange on the same turn and there was nothing I could do about it.  I'm glad they built the latter though, as they've left The Human Genome free for me to complete.  I've only got 4 more turns and hopefully I will get it.  Getting The Virtual World may be stiff as I need 17 turns for that.  I hope the other factions aren't as robust at pursuing that as Lal was.

If I wanted to improve the AI's chances, arguably I did a good job.  I've switched to Conquer only focus as The Merchant Exchange is toast and I'd like to get The Command Nexus if I can get it.  Maybe it's not so useful in a game where everyone's too far away to fight, but old habits of mine die hard.  I must not be a very good conqueror though, as my last breakthrough was Progenitor Psych.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2018, 05:57:22 AM »
genome
genome

I complete The Human Genome Project with 60 credits, taking no chances on the last 2 turns.  The Caretakers and the Data Angels are still in the race for The Virtual World with 2 copies each.  I need 12 turns to complete.  As this used to be my Weather Paradigm city, I think the odds are in my favor.  In 3 years I get a new tech, at which time I'll decide whether to start a copy Secret Project in another city, in anticipation of getting The Command Nexus.  Problem is, if one doesn't get a SP, one's city goes into what I call a "climb".  That's when it's stuck building the SP forever and can't do anything else.  It can be mitigated by turning it into a support city, for Formers and the like, so that eventually its productivity slows down to 1 mineral/turn.  I call that "parking" the city.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2018, 06:17:20 AM »
virtually winning
virtually winning

I spend 100 credits to complete my last 3 turns of The Virtual World.  I knock everyone out of the Secret Project races doing so.  I declined to get a copy SP started earlier, because I only managed to research Industrial Base, nothing closer to Doctrine:Loyalty.  With my rapid growth in pretty much every city, I feared a "climb".  I will continue with my Conquer focus, even though The Empath Guild would be more valuable.  Deirdre's in the game and often I cannot out-Explore the Explorer.  There is no particularly strong Builder faction in the game though, so I might be able to out-Build everybody.

I relocated my capitol to the center of the Monsoon Jungle for greater efficiency.  Everyone is building Network Nodes.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2018, 06:50:34 AM »
killer deirdre
killer deirdre

This year Deirdre starts 3 copies of The Command Nexus.  How did she manage it?  Her research focus is Explore, so I'm tempted to say she's cheating.  However maybe she got in touch with a faction that gave it away to her.  Can't imagine who that would be.  I haven't mentioned that the Believers are in the game, and doing ok as the graph tells it, but they wouldn't give away that tech.  Could they be fighting and Deirdre stole it?  But I would have expected Miriam to have started it as well.  Unless they started close to each other and are locked in a deadly embrace, no time to build Secret Projects.  Well, this is all speculation.  I like the idea that Deirdre is cheating.

I have nothing to build.  I'm making massive numbers of Probe Teams, which don't cost me any support and can be cashed in as a "poor woman's Supply Crawler" if I do get Doctrine:Loyalty in time.  2 years until my next tech.  I was right about how I would have gotten stuck in a "climb".  Well I've got Impact weapons if anyone bothers me, which they won't.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2018, 07:17:03 AM »
surprising neighbor
surprising neighbor

Wow, this is totally and utterly weird.  Cha Dawn is my neighbor.  I guess this is what happens when you spend all your time building Secret Projects and very little time exploring.  I've had only 1 or 2 Scouts walking around, taking in what I though was pretty much "my island", although it might be connected to a continent to the south.  I only just found what looks like a land bridge down that way.  Maybe Cha Dawn took a slow boat from very far away and just happened to land here.  I am at dead center of the world map, with ocean on 3 sides, so that's not improbable.

Even more amusing is he's met the Caretakers.  I bought the comm frequency, wonder what they have to say?  I am Planned and the faction info says she's Solicitous, so maybe this won't be awful.  Here goes.  Brrring!  Brring!  "Hey,  ;caretake;.  You're  ;uno and  :stickpoke:  ;lol".  She says, " :tada:  :doh wanna trade?"  My Nonlinear Mathematics for your Field Modulation, sure.  She'll also sell me Doctrine:Flexibility for 125 credits if I come up with the cash.  She likes a Planned woman, mmmm.  Won't sign a Treaty with me though.  "Ok,  :hunter: :dunno: :whip: :clickme:;lol

I wonder how a game where you have to negotiate using emoticons would go?

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2018, 07:40:37 AM »
deirdre races miriam
deirdre races miriam

Deirdre adds The Citizen's Defense Force to her extensive portfolio of Secret Projects in progress.  Miriam starts on The Command Nexus, making me wonder if I wasn't wrong about them fighting.  Meanwhile my inventory of Probe Teams is getting ridiculous.  66 active, 10 in production.  I'm pretty sure that's enough to instantly build anything, twice.  Just gimme a tech already!  I'm faffing around with Doctrine:Flexibility which I researched on my own.  The Caretakers are already Ambivalent towards me, perhaps because my empire of Scouts doesn't look like strength.  But what's Cha Dawn gonna do, spit at me?  My production is so high, I could crush her in seconds.

I have 1 "finished" port city which will soon start radiating Skimship Probe Teams to see what the rest of the world looks like.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2018, 08:19:47 AM »
isnt it ironic
isnt it ironic

This is irritating.  Deirdre just finished The Command Nexus this turn.  1 more turn and it would have been instantly mine.  Well at least I have an alternate possible government model now if I want it.  Lots of factions were trying to get it at the end.  Seemed like everyone had this tech but me.  I can't say I'm entirely shocked, because I've played a lot of games where Aki has a rather difficult time acquiring this tech.  Don't know why.  Certainly isn't for lack of Network Nodes and big cities in this game.  I suppose if I wanted to empower the AIs with land masses, I've done a good job.

H'minee dialed me up and said, " :dunno: ;v ;no :writer: ;spock".  Yeah she didn't trade a thing or sign a Treaty.  Complete waste of time.  At least she's Noncommittal, guess my Planned economy still turns her on.

Shifting to Build focus on the premise that Deirdre will out-Explore me.  Also I really could use some energy.  I've got nothing to build.  All these Probe Teams are pretty useless without a SP to complete.  Hmm guess I can build at least 1 Command Center now.

I'm remembering the trick with Colonists, that I can make cities larger than size 7 by adding them to bases, even if I don't have a Hab Complex yet.  However, I don't seem to have the happiness infrastructure to make that obviously a wise choice.  This despite having both The Human Genome Project and The Virtual World.  Hrm, puzzling.  Not Efficient enough maybe?

In my outlying settlements, I've started to build more Formers to service new cities.  My policy is not to go lower than 8 minerals, and to keep my interior Jungle cities free of support burdens.  Perhaps it's time to go Democratic.

Know what?  Forget it.  I'm tired of making Probe Teams.  I'm still settling things and I like free minerals when I start a base.  Gonna start making Formers.  I've got a ridiculous reserve of Probe Teams and no Secret Project to spend them on.  90 active!
« Last Edit: March 11, 2018, 09:03:47 AM by bvanevery »

Offline Geo

Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2018, 09:06:58 AM »
planetfall
planetfall

That's a beautiful looking contour map.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2018, 09:07:50 AM »
Beauty!  Yes, this is a closeup of the beautiful center of the world.

formative years
formative years

At 4 AM, this is the state of my world.  5 AM if you count Daylight Savings Time coming into effect.  It's reminding me a lot of my last game, just less finished.  No research yielding Secret Projects anywhere in sight.  I just got Polymorphic Software.  Tomorrow, sometime, I shall resume.

Roze has already started The Planetary Energy Grid, making me realize I'm behind in the Build races.  Perhaps going for Doctrine:Loyalty was a major strategic error.  Maybe the AI gets so many research bonuses on Transcend, that I really shouldn't regard all my Network Nodes and +2 Research bonus as meaning all that much.  Anyways I contacted H'minee to see if she'd trade or sell me Industrial Economics.  Yes, but she wants 300 credits for it.  Pretty much all I have and a pretty outrageous price.  I have 9 years until my next tech, so some time to try again with her.  Maybe her price will come down.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2018, 02:47:40 PM by bvanevery »

Offline Geo

Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2018, 11:29:51 AM »
The Monsoon jungle with the Cybernetics? Lucky you.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2018, 03:03:32 PM »
Lucky, yes, but this game is demonstrating that even a perfect start doesn't make it a cakewalk on Transcend on a Giant map.  The AI definitely seems to know what to do with its (typically) +4 Industry advantage on this difficulty level.  I must have succeeded in my objective of allowing the AI factions to grow.

secret project copies
secret project copies

H'minee begins The Empath Guild.  I was right that I couldn't out-Explore the Explorer, but I thought that was Deirdre.  Usually the Aliens go Fundamentalist by midgame and their research slows to a crawl.  I don't know if I can count on that this game though.  The Giant map is skewing some otherwise expected phenomenon.  Currently H'minee is Democratic Planned, will she have any reason to change her tune?

The AI factions are making lots of copies of Secret Projects, so I hope they don't get more than 1 at a time to work on.  I wonder if H'minee's new project, will make her uninclined to sell me Industrial Economics at all?  Well, I'm feeling a bit petty about it.  I've never liked the various ways the AI tries to extort me; for instance, I almost never pay tribute.



 

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