Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 55567 times)

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Offline Rocky

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #780 on: August 01, 2019, 07:22:39 PM »
Finally was able to finish my Caretaker game. Went for a Subspace victory. I always used to wonder what would happen to the humans when the aliens would win this victory, but after all the trouble they've given me in this game I can't bring myself to care.

This was one of the longest games I had so far and one I really enjoyed. It was a great experience finding out about all the fun changes and trying to adapt to them.

I'm planning to start a new game, but this one I want to do a little different. Thinker AI has an option to mix the standard AI and Thinker AI together in one game (Like for example 4 standard and 3 Thinker) I'm curious to see how this will work out.

I'm really enjoying your mod and I'm definitely liking the new 1.33 changes. One thing I wonder: Green doesn't have any negative penalties in the recent version (Maybe it was already the case before but I didn't notice it) Was this intended?


Thank you so much for all your hard work and for sharing it with us!

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #781 on: August 02, 2019, 08:30:54 PM »
Mixed AIs.  I don't have much to say about that, because I don't have any questions about Thinker Mod AI that I want answered.  But one could definitely formulate questions that way.

My only advice would be, I think 2 of my factions may still be inherently weak.  I tried to beef up the Cybernetic Consciousness a few releases ago, but it may not have been enough.  My jury is out about the University.  Recently I did see them start to do well one game, but I've also seen them get slaughtered.  I have my eye on them.

No penalties for Green is, sadly, deliberate.  From my DESIGN DETAILS:

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

Offline Rocky

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #782 on: August 02, 2019, 10:07:32 PM »
Cyborgs and University aren't in my new game unfortunately, otherwise I would have kept an eye on them.

In the previous game the Consciousness ended up in the middle, but that was mostly because they were continuously attacked by the Hive as their neighbor. After that they became a tech leader even with only being half the size of the largest faction. They at the very least seem to have a strong tech focus.

Why do you think the Cyborgs and University are inherently weak? Is it something with the AI?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 10:36:27 PM by Rocky »

Offline Geo

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #783 on: August 03, 2019, 11:11:22 AM »
Standard Cyborg? Negative growth of course.
Perhaps the extra drones for the University. It does translate to lost turns.

Offline bvanevery

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Re:Neith SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #784 on: August 03, 2019, 07:34:34 PM »
Neither of those are in my mod.  In general, faction penalties were removed long ago.

I suspect that a Discover research focus, negatively affects the colonization AI.  And that faster research isn't enough of an advantage for the AIs, compared to other kinds of advantages one could have.  I really can't beef up the Discover tree any more though.  I gave out a lot of advanced research facilities earlier than they come in the stock game.  I'm not sure if the AI even uses them.

All I know is the Cyborgs seem to get their asses kicked.

The Hive was a tough enough faction in my recent releases.  Now that I totally changed how Police State works, the Hive won't be getting that +2 SUPPORT anymore.  So we'll see how they do now.  They didn't seem to do badly in my AI vs. AI test games, but I haven't watched them a whole lot.

Offline Geo

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #785 on: August 04, 2019, 09:07:07 AM »
I can imagine a faction in the standard game needs either the Growth or Conquer focus to make it expand reliably.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #786 on: August 04, 2019, 07:16:42 PM »
Explore (aka ai-growth=1) has been a reliable stimulant for early colonization in my mod.  Conquer (aka ai-power=1) has not been.  There have been releases of my mod where it seemed like Conquer only would cripple factions.  Except the Usurpers, which have always been able to reliably use Conquer only.  Only very recently, did Build (aka ai-wealth=1) seem to become a viable alternative for some factions.

I'm not sure what has changed.  My early tech tree is broader now.  There are more Explore and build techs in the early tree than before.  The fungal nutrient stuff got moved slightly later, as did 3+ nutrients.  I added a lot of predefined units in 1.33, and it is conceivable that this has fundamentally changed the production patterns of the AIs.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #787 on: August 07, 2019, 01:46:08 AM »
MY 2165.  I complete the last Punishment Sphere.  I've made lots of Sea Formers in an effort to boost my population.  However, 3+ food and Aquafarm are now given by E3 Centauri Genetics and I don't have it.  ...

I don't have an offensive weapon yet, and to my knowledge, neither does anyone else.

I gave up on that game.  Building Punishment Spheres early was clearly of no benefit at all, it was a complete liability.  My tech research completely stagnated.  One needs at least the minimal ability to make war.  One also needs a way to grow.  I've deliberately restricted early game growth, it's not easy to do.  A Punishment Sphere is really only valuable if you're talking about a high population, otherwise you're fine slapping a Recreation Commons and a Police unit on the city and calling it good.  In real, previous games, I've generally only used Punishment Spheres for distant conquered cities that would never yield any research anyways.  And depending on circumstances and legalities, I've often preferred to obliterate such cities.  Doing this to your core cities doesn't basically make any sense, as you'll probably need things like a Tree Farm to grow more anyways.  They come with a happiness bonus, long as you spend some budget on it.

I started a new game.  Happened to get the Free Drones.  This made it clear to me that certain factions are going to be even less interested in building Punishment Spheres for their own citizens, because they have happiness bonuses.  I'm keeping the use of a Sphere as an option "if it comes up", but I don't expect it to happen anytime soon.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #788 on: August 08, 2019, 06:48:27 PM »
I played that Free Drones game for awhile.  After a long time I built a rail across the map to get to the Caretakers.  They had been sitting on the Monsoon Jungle.  I conquered their continent without much difficulty.  I put Punishment Spheres in every city.  Eventually I researched Eudaimonia and then I started a pop boom.  By that point in the game it was in the low 2300s.  That's an awfully long time for Punishment Spheres to become vaguely useful, and I'm not even sure they were.  I could have just thrown a Recreation Commons on all the various cities, then done Tree Farms to get more growth.  I had thought that by conquering Jungle cities, I'd eventually have a large population and would be able to secure a Diplomatic Victory.  But even with the Empath Guild, I think I'd need double my empire wide population to pull that off.  I quit that game.

I'm going to try taking the ECONOMY bonus out of Democratic, putting it in Eudaimonic, and cutting Eudaimonic's GROWTH to +1.  This would remove "unhappy" pop booming from the game.  You'd need +2 GROWTH from SE choices, a Children's Creche for another +2, and +2 from triggering a Golden Age.  Aside from controlling growth, it will take easy money out of the game.  I think it's an enormous advantage for human players to be able to get to +2 ECONOMY easily.  If it isn't so easy, then Morgan and Miriam should have a bigger relative advantage from their faction abilities.

I'm also going to try declaring more predefined units as 2=Defensive.  I'm starting to think it's the "obsess about this" flag.  Perhaps I can get the AI to obsess about a more productive force mix.

Actually when I remove the ECONOMY bonus from Democratic and replace it with GROWTH, it looks boring.  Like a copy of Socialist.  I don't want that.  Instead I'm going to try reducing Morgan to +1 ECONOMY, giving him a SUPPORT bonus, and a -1 PLANET penalty.  Then I can remove the PLANET penalty from Wealth.  Most factions will do -2 PLANET eco-damage and he'll do -3.

I'll take away the Believers' ECONOMY bonus and try MORALE.  Will try them as a pure Conquer faction while I'm at it.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 07:16:09 PM by bvanevery »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #789 on: August 10, 2019, 08:01:59 PM »
I didn't change the Believers after all.  I've added some minor tech and probe tweaks to the Cyborgs, and minor tech tweaks to the University.  The Morganites, I've been trying with a SUPPORT bonus, and reducing their ECONOMY bonus to +1.  Haven't gotten into 2=Defensive predefined units yet.

I played a game as the Hive through MY 2316, then I quit.  I had Spartans as enemy neighbors and they were surprisingly spammy.  At any given point, I felt like I could have beaten them, but I didn't want to get deeply involved in trampling them.  Getting tired of moving around troops, and wanting to concentrate on my own infrastructure buildup, I took various Cease Fires.  They routinely betrayed those overtures and kept fighting.  I had a city sticking out into the middle of their territory, back from when I was more determined to conquer them.  I was quite surprised that they surrounded the city and pinned off the rail I typically used to reinforce it.  They also kept hitting it with probe teams, and someone else got the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm because Secret Projects are so expensive.  I just wasn't willing to reinforce this.  I had Missile technology and never prototyped it, because I wanted to build my Children's Creches and Tree Farms.

The Morganites resisted the Monsoon Jungle powered Usurpers for a time, but then collapsed.  That was clear on the other side of the board.  The Usurpers ultimately got the HSA.  I used up all kinds of Artifacts to get just about everything else, including the Planetary Energy Grid.  SPs are expensive and it's generally not possible to get every single one of them.  If I had kept going, this game would have eventually been a big 2 power showdown between myself and the Usurpers.  But I was irritated that I had allowed the Spartans to be a "slide along" for so long.  I thought about all that troop movement I'd done over and over again, and how it was so wasteful.

It's also more valuable to play a game where I see how the Believers, Cyborgs, University, or Morganites do with my changes.  The Believers were in my last game, but they got a bad start.  I think they got one of their original colonists killed, and then they were stuck near the Free Drones who crushed them.

prototype 1.34 choices
prototype 1.34 choices

I don't like the +3 GROWTH bonus in version 1.33.  It looks stupid on the table.  I'm going to require a Golden Age for pop booming.  Unless you're the Hive, in which case you could pick Socialist and Eudaimonic.  Combined with their faction's +1 GROWTH bonus, they'd have the +4 GROWTH necessary to pop boom without making anyone happy.

I thought the PLANET penalty for Wealth was unfair to the Gaians.  Now only the Morganites and the Usurpers will experience -3 PLANET.

Morgan or the Believers would pick Democratic Capitalist Wealth Eudaimonic to reach +5 ECONOMY. 

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #790 on: August 13, 2019, 05:14:20 AM »
I played a game as the Cult of Planet until MY 2263.  I started with the Monsoon Jungle on the other side of a continent from me.  I just did my darndest to grow linearly towards it, basically a beeline.  Then I settled it, developed it, and relocated my capitol.  The Usurpers were my neighbor but not a real threat.  The Hive had grown powerful and sent troops to fight me, but I held him off easily due to the great distances he had to travel.  Eventually I built massive rails and destroyed the Hive with piles of mindworms.  My game was pretty low tech, and was mostly an exhibit of production. 

The +2 SUPPORT from Extremist definitely helped earlier on.  Later I started to wonder if it was useful, but Cha Dawn can only choose Extremist or Police State.  The latter has -1 JUSTICE and I had substantial problems in that regard, since my empire was so large.  The JUSTICE economy is pretty tight right now, and it definitely has an effect.  Eventually I did get the Virtual World, which took a long time because nobody was researching Discover.  It's not so easy to get Hologram Theaters anymore for the same reason.  The tradeoff is it's much easier to get and use police units, so I don't see any problem.

I had more mindworms than I knew what to do with.  I started making lots of Formers instead and driving a rail all the way across the board to reach the Believers.  They weren't at war with me, but with my tech research fairly slow, I figured the game would have to end in total conquest.  Even waiting to get Orbital Spaceflight so I could get a Diplomatic Victory, would probably take way longer than I'd want.

I got in a fight with the Gaians because they wanted to march troops across my land.  They were too uppity about it and I slaughtered them.  It would not have been hard to completely take them over.  When I quit, I felt my victory was academic, and something I'd seen many times before.  Better to spend the time testing something else.

Declaring victory over the Synthmetal Sentinels overproduction problem, I think was a bit optimistic.  It still seems to happen.  I may have lessened it, particularly in the case of the Pirates.  It was hard to say in that game, because I got such a production advantage from the Monsoon Jungle.  I will now experiment with more predefined units, which I will gratuitously assign "2=Defense" in the hope it fools the AI into doing something better.  Hmm, what if I tell it a Synthmetal Sentinel is an "Offensive" unit?  Will it believe me?

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #791 on: August 14, 2019, 08:48:07 PM »
The 1.33 social engineering changes are interesting. Overall the changes look good. The renaming of Fundamentalism to extremist is interesting.
Extremist, Capitalist , and Power all look a little underpowered but nothing in the mod is especially overpowered. All in all it looks pretty balanced.
I haven't actually played in awhile. I was taking a break but I think I'll start a new game.
 
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 09:32:41 PM by vonbach »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #792 on: August 14, 2019, 09:52:12 PM »
Good to see you again!  You may be happy to know that I seriously beat the crap out of someone on /r/4Xgaming recently, on the subject of removing the anti-Christian stuff.  Guy was going on about what a malevolent travesty I'd committed and how I hadn't "disclosed" what I did.  Which is false.  I declared it in when I posted the versions that had the changes, and I took plenty of guff when I did so.  And it's all in my design notes, on both my web page and the readme_mod.txt.  People have to actually read it, if they want to know all the stuff I changed.  The guy acted like taking away anti-Christian stuff, was the first and foremost thing I personally owed him, as to how I advertize and promote my work.  He even went as far as to say I should rename my mod, to be the "Narrative Change Experiment" mod or some such.  Like he was on my naming committee 15 months ago!  Whatever.  Well that argument is long since over, it's just the sort of thing that happens from time to time.

You are the semi-anonymous celebrity who was instrumental in the basic change of tone.  And I think generalizing to "Extremist" is the logical conclusion of that change of tone.  Lal, the Caretakers, the Usurpers, the Spartans, the Free Drones, the Data Angels, the Gaians, and the Pirates are all capable of being Extremist, and not a single one of them is religious.

The Politics and Economics choices are deliberately low impact.  I want the players to have to deal with the early to mid game without any big governmental boosts.  That seems to be working.  I find that some factions do eventually choose Extremist, liking to combine it with Power to get +3 SUPPORT.  That's free units up to the base size.  Can be a rational plan if you intend to overrun everything with high MORALE troops.

I'm playing another test game as the Free Drones.  I expanded like crazy on ok land with a lot of Nutrient bonuses.  The Caretakers are equivalent to me and started on the Monsoon Jungle.  Other factions are mediocre to pathetic.  I think the combo of +1 INDUSTRY and going to size 3 without Drone Riots may be overpowered.  When the AI is playing them, they do a Build, Conquer focus now, and they seem to be mostly wiping out the whole map that way.  They did it to the University in the last game I played, totally crushing them.  The University just can't stand up to that.  Granted, that was a big land mass game, which I think favors the Free Drones.

I haven't figured out any new predefined unit tricks yet.  Still hoping for revelation.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #793 on: August 14, 2019, 10:08:32 PM »
Quote
Good to see you again!
Thanks :)
Quote
You may be happy to know that I seriously beat the crap out of someone on /r/4Xgaming recently, on the subject of removing the anti-Christian stuff.  Guy was going on about what a malevolent travesty I'd committed and how I hadn't "disclosed" what I did.  Which is false.  I declared it in when I posted the versions that had the changes, and I took plenty of guff when I did so.  And it's all in my design notes, on both my web page and the readme_mod.txt.  People have to actually read it, if they want to know all the stuff I changed.  The guy acted like taking away anti-Christian stuff, was the first and foremost thing I personally owed him, as to how I advertize and promote my work.  He even went as far as to say I should rename my mod, to be the "Narrative Change Experiment" mod or some such.  Like he was on my naming committee 15 months ago!  Whatever.  Well that argument is long since over, it's just the sort of thing that happens from time to tim

Interesting. We disagree on many things but we try and respect on another and be civil. Besides its your mod you don't owe him an explanation.
Quote
You are the semi-anonymous celebrity who was instrumental in the basic change of tone.  And I think generalizing to "Extremist" is the logical conclusion of that change of tone.  Lal, the Caretakers, the Usurpers, the Spartans, the Free Drones, the Data Angels, the Gaians, and the Pirates are all capable of being Extremist, and not a single one of them is religious.
This is the one of the biggest problems I have with the game. You cant build civilizations like this.
 
Quote
The Politics and Economics choices are deliberately low impact.  I want the players to have to deal with the early to mid game without any big governmental boosts.  That seems to be working.  I find that some factions do eventually choose Extremist, liking to combine it with Power to get +3 SUPPORT.  That's free units up to the base size.  Can be a rational plan if you intend to overrun everything with high MORALE troops.
So long as all of the choices are low impact nothing is unbalanced. The only thing I would do is give Capitalism another +bonus of some kind and remove a - growth from Power.
Quote
I'm playing another test game as the Free Drones.  I expanded like crazy on ok land with a lot of Nutrient bonuses.  The Caretakers are equivalent to me and started on the Monsoon Jungle.  Other factions are mediocre to pathetic.  I think the combo of +1 INDUSTRY and going to size 3 without Drone Riots may be overpowered.  When the AI is playing them, they do a Build, Conquer focus now, and they seem to be mostly wiping out the whole map that way.  They did it to the University in the last game I played, totally crushing them.  The University just can't stand up to that.  Granted, that was a big land mass game, which I think favors the Free Drones.

The free Drones have always been one of my favorite factions. Played right they are obscenely powerful. The AI never did well with them though. Mostly because of the passive AI choices they had. The more they expand and the more aggressive they are the better they'll perform.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 10:25:03 PM by vonbach »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #794 on: August 15, 2019, 04:03:15 AM »
Well, /r/4Xgaming can be a cranky place.  Someone's always getting cranky about something.  I think 4X as a genre attracts details obsessed people, and when the details aren't their details, they can get very upset.

I do understand that Miriam is a "beloved" character.  However I'm firm in my analysis of the dissonance of her portrayal.  A screenwriter wrote her Secret Project video dialogue, and you'd never know from that, that she's supposed to be some kind of warmongering [complaint or disagreeable woman].  It's simply not how she's portrayed, at all.  Meanwhile, most of the cookie cutter faction dialogue was written by amateurs.  It really shows, and that's where all the "warmongering [complaint or disagreeable woman]" stuff comes from.

It would be interesting to find out if the same writer wrote all of it.  That would say something, I think, about what point in the project the diplomatic dialogue was written.  I say early.  They didn't start with the "considered Miriam" and then trash it with bitchy diplomatic dialogue later.  No, they clearly started with the bitchy Church Chat lady and someone turned her into an actual character later.  I suppose there are more project variables that could cause that to happen, than "amateur writer".  Could have been politics pressing for the original bitchy version, for all I know.

Per previous discussions, I'm not going to give Capitalist a JUSTICE or a GROWTH bonus.  I don't want it to have +2 ECONOMY, a lot of changes have been made to spread ECONOMY out over the social engineering choices.  Giving an INDUSTRY bonus would in my opinion be overpowered.  I don't really believe in TALENT bonuses, because they have no visual representation, and I don't see any particular reason why Capitalist would result in that anyways.  The basic philosophy of my ECONOMY arrangement, is that piling up money is worth a lot.  It's pretty much how I buy all my Secret Projects.  So I'm going to stay with Capitalist just being one contribution out of several.

Power, yes I could reduce it to -1 GROWTH, but getting +2 MORALE and +1 SUPPORT is really powerful.  There needs to be a tradeoff, and I don't believe -1 GROWTH stings enough.  If there were other GROWTH penalties somewhere, then -1 would be more appropriate, but there are no other GROWTH penalties.  Nor can there be, as far as getting the AI to accept various choices and not fixate on GROWTH penalties and bonuses.  If you're going for Power you should be trashing everyone else in the game.  I wouldn't say my opinion on this is set in stone, but I'm definitely in a "wait and see what playtesting says" mode about it. 

Wealth is going to have the PLANET penalty removed in 1.34.  Instead, Morgan will get +1 SUPPORT and -1 PLANET, so that he and the Usurpers can still suffer the indignity of -3 PLANET.  Everyone else will manage -2 PLANET at worst.

Eudaimonia will be reduced to +2 GROWTH, and will gain +1 ECONOMY, making it more similar to the original game.  Due to the ECONOMY bonus, JUSTICE will be lowered to +1.  Almost all factions will need to make people happy in a Golden Age to trigger a pop boom.  The exception is the Hive, which could do Socialist Eudaimonic along with its factional +1 GROWTH bonus.

My Free Drones are Erratic.  They definitely seem to be violent enough.  I'm not entirely opposed to having them exhibit a sort of superpower cleanup of the map, but I need other factions to be capable of that also.  Otherwise it sorta becomes the Free Drone game.

 

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