Author Topic: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map  (Read 3087 times)

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Online Buster's Uncle

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Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
« Reply #120 on: March 19, 2018, 04:03:01 PM »
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  • You wouldn't think a game designed so long ago to run on systems with so much less everything would still get slow noticably as the complexity and maths ramped up - but it still totally does.  I suspect there's some bad code in there doing it, as my early 90s D&D games had the battles going by way too fast to read on a low-end system a decade ago.

    Teacher gives this game and AAR a full A. ;b; Well-done, sir.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #121 on: March 19, 2018, 04:19:28 PM »
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  • Thanks for the grade.  Definitely my best work, and a year of learning curve in the making.

    I actually didn't notice anything about the game itself slowing down.  Only that last replay screen.  I do wonder about designing games so that they can be played 20 years later.  For instance, a 256x128 map is 15 bits worth of squares.  Why push higher?  Even this game needs a better control paradigm than what I'm doing.  This is pretty much the outer limit of what is fesasible to push around by hand.

    The irony is now I want to try Miriam, having no tech advantage, and just terraforming everyone into oblivion under fungus.  But I'm not going to do a blow-by-blow writeup of it.  Maybe not any writeup at all, although if I come up with a particularly interesting screenshot, I reserve the right to change my mind.

    The problem is, there is no point in me publishing another AAR for quite some time.  This was a huge pile of work, easily an 80 hour project.  I need to see some views for having done the work, and it makes no sense to bury what I just did, under yet more AARs.  I imagine that TV productions have the same problem, there's just no point in producing too many episodes for people.  And if an episode is going to be produced every day, then the production needs to be correspondingly cheap.

    Online Buster's Uncle

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    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #122 on: March 19, 2018, 05:23:57 PM »
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  • I'm considering doing Facebook and other forums and all that with this, now that I know for sure you finished the game.  I wish my buncle powers had told me so when it started -I'd somehow rather promote one at the beginning than one complete, because the suspense factor, I guess- but they don't work that way.

    I'd venture that those D&D games were bad code of another kind at the time of release.  Surely even in 89-90 or whatever, timing relying on the speed of the system must have had a very noticeable different between high-end and low-end systems, and that's leaving out the obsolete low-end systems, where the battles musta been hella-slow.

    -Still, Curse of the Azure Bonds FTW, baby.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #123 on: March 19, 2018, 06:00:10 PM »
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  • I figure in the case of the game replay, someone wrote O(n) code and that's the rate at which I saw performance decrease.  Time spent displaying, seemed roughly proportional to the number of the year.  I can't think of a good reason for that to be true, but programmers can definitely invent buggy crappy lazy reasons for it.  The simplest one would be itereating through every previous year for some dumb reason to get some data.

    Algorithms can be written in the fast, that can choke any machine in the future, if they have a sufficiently egregious O().  This was a historical problem with voxel displays and voxel based virtual worlds for instance.  There's a reason Minecraft came along as late as it did, and Notch wrote the 1st version in Java of all things.

    Offline Fibonacci

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #124 on: March 19, 2018, 06:22:09 PM »
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  •  ;b; a fun read overall.


    There's one thing I didn't see, and my input as someone who prefers playing  ;morgan;:

    There's a unit I think of as the "truck". I read about them as being especially useful as the pirates for making landfall from sea bases cheap.  It's just a transport on an infantry chassis. With a little creativity though, one truck can give your choice of about a city worth of space wherein a unit gets your choice of: one extra move or the normal move and then an action (build/terraform/attack without hasty penalty). Terraforming without the Weather Paradigm is much more tolerable with one or two trucks.

    They're even better if you can dope them into elite status via society morale and facility boosts (I'm looking at Santiago and Miriam, stints of Power and Fundamentalism can make infantry units as mobile as speeders). Or make them military-esque civilian units with some resonance armor and trance and shove them into harm's way do some off-roading and survive some attacks by worms or uppity neighbors.

    Being able to move into a rocky / forest / fungus square and perform a terraform action that same turn in the Doctrine: Flexibility era makes it's easier to prepare mines for the removal mineral cap that should either now or coming up shortly.

    Popping pods and see one on rocky / forest / fungus? Carry an empath unit to investigate the pod, in case of mind worms, and the unit is in place to snag some energy credits in case of a whammy.

    Later game pod popping and the might get multiple worms? Give your truck a coating of resonance armor and polish it into a trance and carry that empath unit in for investigations.

    Want to re-home or cash in a supply crawler this turn instead of next turn? A truck can give you three extra road moves and then press 'O' to get your crawler's action.

    Needed to upgrade a single unit rather than all via the workshop (you're strapped for cash, the unit would benefit more from repairing way over there in that city with the complete repair facility, it's unity pod unit that doesn't qualify for immediate workshop upgrades and you'd rather not just disband it toward the production of something else)? Perform the single upgrade, target the unit again so you can press 'L' to get it to sleep/wait for the next transport, and have the truck haul it where you would prefer to have it. Or haul the poor limping unit in for a tuneup.

    Suppose you're starting see bureaucracy drones. You've got a base churning out elite shell units (just itching to be upgraded to non-lethal methods via the workshop) so you can deploy them 9 road moves from your police academy (or 12 if you do the same on a speeder chassis).

    Long story short (too late :-[) I think one or two trucks could have boosted your already impressive job terraforming, allowing you to treat land more like ocean thanks to Doctrine: Flexibility in the long period from roads until mag-tubes.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #125 on: March 19, 2018, 07:27:31 PM »
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  • I think at the beginning of the game, that would be a tradeoff.  You do have to pay minerals support on those trucks, you don't get them for free.  By the time I could make Clean units, nothing would have mattered anymore.  I made vast quantities of stuff that didn't get used very well, truck or no truck.  I already had cheap Rover Former units by then, due to Fusion Power.

    In my current game as Miriam, I've started making fission Rover Former units even though they're expensive.  Even with Miriam's +2 Support, I'm at the limit of my support and now am motivated to economize on the number of support minerals I pay.  Generally speaking, Rover Formers lay roads on flat or rolling ground, as they can move and lay in 1 turn.  Ordinarly 1-movement Formers come in behind them to do the terraforming.

    A similar issue occurs at sea.  When does one start making Cruiser Formers?  Sometimes, before one has Fusion Power, because one has the productivity and needs the faster unit movement.  Some coasts don't need Cruiser Formers to get to them, others do.  On a Giant map, it's far more likely that some coast will be remote from centers of production and then Cruiser Formers are helpful.

    Another penalty to consider when using trucks, or air cargo, or drop transports, is all the extra mouseclicking you have to do.  Putting stuff on Transports and taking them off again isn't basically fun.  Pandora, notably, "solved" the problem by making all units amphibious.  I don't think I like that idea either, but I sure could use a way to move units around that doesn't require me manually loading and unloading them.  At a small scale, it may not seem like a big deal to you.  At the scale of units I finally ended up with in this game, that's a drag.

    I'm not seeing why trucks are especially helpful for the Pirates.  Transports are necessary to get units out of sea bases onto land.  Am I going to put something inside a truck, then put the truck on a Transport?  I'm wondering if that can even be done.  At any rate, more unit support, and a Matryoshka doll creates more mouseclicks.

    I don't really "prepare for" Ecological Engineering by making Mines.  I do Mines when I've completely run out of other things to do with my Formers.  Similarly, I make Supply Crawlers when I've completely run out of things to make in my cities.  There's often something better to do.  Tree Farms and Hybrid Forests come along soon enough and then I don't need to crawl anything.  I just work the Mines as they exist around the cities.  It's easy on the mouseclicks, and I've never seen one of my games "skyrocket" for having crawled minerals.  More likely I get eco-damage, fungal pops, and spend all this time repairing the damage.  Why bother?

    Finally I will note that half of the scenarios you mentioned are for pod popping.  There were no pods to pop in this game.  If I did have pods, to be honest I wouldn't need any help popping them.  The AI is bad at grabbing all the pods, I'm extremely good at it, and victory is a foregone conclusion if I've got access to pods.  Typically what happens is midgame I reach "tech parity" and then I jump 10..20 techs ahead all at once by popping numerous Artifacts.  Who is supposed to compete with that?  It's fun, it's amusing, but it's also a game breaker.

    If I come up with a situation where "a truck would be useful here", then I'll try it.  But for terraforming, I've probably got it solved well enough by massive numbers of Rover Formers.

    The single biggest thing that would have sped Terraforming along, would have been to build The Weather Paradigm instead of letting others get it.  But I was limited in my choices as I needed to colonize the Monsoon Jungle fast.  Other factions did rather well at cranking out Secret Projects early.  In my current game, they're not doing nearly as well.  So Miriam has got The Weather Paradigm and The Human Genome Project.  She may not be able to get much else for awhile, although I think I've got good odds on The Empath Guild.  I wonder if the Caretakers and Usurpers are close enough to be fighting each other?  It would explain their relative lack of performance.


    Offline bvanevery

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #126 on: April 22, 2018, 02:22:28 AM »
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  • A month later, I'm in the middle of a massive reshuffling of the tech tree.  I've redundantly disgorged a lot of stuff about what I'm up to in other posts, so I'll refrain from doing it again here.  This is an excuse to bump my epic AAR to the top of the heap again.   8)  But to be conscientious in response, I am trying to put a predefined Truck unit into the mod.  I've made the Transport "weapon" dependent on Doctrine:Mobility, not Doctrine:Flexibility.  I have not playtested the mod yet.  It remains to be seen if the AI will try to make use of a Truck, or become terribly confused and dysfunctional because of Trucks.

    Or other weird units.  Someone said if I predefine a Foil Probe Team, the AI will use them, so I'll try that out.  Much as I hate the idea, as Probe Teams are overpowered and I enjoyed not having to worry about them at sea.

    Someone also wrote about Air Colony Pods, which I think I've never used.  Guess I'll have to try that out too.

    Air Transports, I did try once upon a time.  Because they move so slowly, they are useless except in exceptional circumstances (redundant much?) like a particularly vicious "English Channel" situation where the water is impassable to ships.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #127 on: April 22, 2018, 05:02:05 PM »
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  • Well you know, given that I've conquered zir, there might be very little reason to talk about zir anymore.  I wonder what "Cha Dawn transgendered" reveals on the internet?  Looking... err, nothing.  I did find it listed as an example of the trope, Viewer Gender Confusion.   Looking to see if SMACX has any canon materials, like books.  Seems Mike Ely wrote Centauri: Arrival and Cha Dawn is "he" in there.  I guess I have to concede defeat.  He has ambiguous portrait art and a horrible choice for a voice actor.  Totally sounds like a girl or woman.


    While modding, I had to concede defeat on a point all the more obvious.  The Cult of Planet's faction file is FUNGBOY.TXT.

    Offline spacedust

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #128 on: April 26, 2018, 09:24:10 PM »
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  • Just wanted to say that I enjoyed this AAR a lot!

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #129 on: April 27, 2018, 01:08:00 AM »
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  • Cool, glad someone did.  I'm likely to write another "epic" one to test the extensive tech tree mod I'm making.  Do you have any preferred factions to see tested?  A few of them, I probably want to see how the computer handles them, but I'm open to suggestions.

    Offline jroussey

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #130 on: May 01, 2018, 12:32:55 PM »
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  • I also enjoyed this AAR (and your others) very much. To answer your question, I personally think that, since you are so extensively modifying many elements of the game, while still trying to stay true to the core principles of the game and storyline, it might be fun to see this played out for the first time with the original 7 factions, possibly on the (huge) map of Planet.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #131 on: May 01, 2018, 06:47:57 PM »
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  • Hmm I agree with you on the factions.  As it turned out I changed most of the original factions slightly, making them less extreme in their handicaps, and nerfing some of their advantages.  For instance, nobody's getting +2 Support out the gate, it's way overpowered.  Nor is Morgan going to be crippled with -1 Support, that's just a death sentence.  Spartans don't get +1 Police anymore, that's Yang's turf, and I will not have the Spartans with better police than Yang.  Spartans don't get an industry penalty anymore either though.  Believers are now a Growth faction, with population boom as their big weapon, not probe teams.  Police State becomes the slightly better way to do probe teams.  They aren't as crippled at research.  Generally speaking nobody gets +2 anything unless it's a late, powerful social engineering choice, and often not even then.  A +1 in anything becomes much more significant, and there aren't anywhere near as many disruptive -2 things.

    I'm going to skip The Map of Planet though.  I believe in playing on random maps, and also I want to playtest my extensive world building settings on an Enormous map.  The mod is ready for beta testing now, I just don't have the energy right now to start playing.  I'm thinking of taking the Fusion Power Is Now challenge 1st, although I might play both simultaneously, on different laptops.  Got more battery power that way.


    Offline jroussey

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #132 on: May 01, 2018, 07:02:33 PM »
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  • Hmm I agree with you on the factions.  As it turned out I changed most of the original factions slightly, making them less extreme in their handicaps, and nerfing some of their advantages.  For instance, nobody's getting +2 Support out the gate, it's way overpowered.  Nor is Morgan going to be crippled with -1 Support, that's just a death sentence.  Spartans don't get +1 Police anymore, that's Yang's turf, and I will not have the Spartans with better police than Yang.  Spartans don't get an industry penalty anymore either though.  Believers are now a Growth faction, with population boom as their big weapon, not probe teams.  Police State becomes the slightly better way to do probe teams.  They aren't as crippled at research.  Generally speaking nobody gets +2 anything unless it's a late, powerful social engineering choice, and often not even then.  A +1 in anything becomes much more significant, and there aren't anywhere near as many disruptive -2 things.

    I'm going to skip The Map of Planet though.  I believe in playing on random maps, and also I want to playtest my extensive world building settings on an Enormous map.  The mod is ready for beta testing now, I just don't have the energy right now to start playing.  I'm thinking of taking the Fusion Power Is Now challenge 1st, although I might play both simultaneously, on different laptops.  Got more battery power that way.

    I like a lot of the changes you're making. The original 7, while balanced well against one-another politically, need some work in terms of game play. I've toyed with changing their faction bonuses a few times myself but never really did any extensive testing. Sounds like you're approaching the re-balancing similarly to how I did, though - generally more well-rounded factions altogether.

    Regarding the Spartans, the Industry penalty combined with the preference for Power always irked me. Seemed like a poor game design to essentially default them to -30% Industry (with proper techs, of course). I always figured that this was the major reason why the Spartans tend to stagnate mid-game. Have you considered using the 'Robust' social engineering option so they only receive 1/2 of the penalty for using Power? Essentially -1 Industry instead of the usual -2.

    I'd love to see a clear breakdown of your revamped factions if/when you have time (once done with your changes).

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: Continental Consciousness - 256x128 map
    « Reply #133 on: May 01, 2018, 07:16:11 PM »
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  • I did better than that, I got rid of the -2 Industry penalty for Power.  It's really annoying when you want to build Secret Projects.  Now it is -1 Industry -1 Economy.  That's generally how I've solved a lot of -2 Whatever problems.  I've split the penalty into 2 different categories so that it's not as horrid to take the hit on any 1 category.

    Spartans are actually pretty boring on the faction abilities now.  +2 Morale, that's it.  They're warriors, they aren't anything else.

     

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