Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 69802 times)

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Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #960 on: March 23, 2020, 12:28:00 PM »
I haven't played with your mod in any way other than to add factions. Most of the factions I play with are added ones though.
The Gaians aren't so much  overpowered as they have early advantages. They're good builders and good at tech and
they get free units from having Planet bonuses. This will usually put them in the top rankings until I pull ahead.
Of course she's on the largest continent and has conquered most of it and that helps.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #961 on: March 23, 2020, 03:20:16 PM »
They shouldn't be particularly good builders compared to anyone else nowadays.  All factions are benefiting from Clean Formers.  I used to think that differences between Explore and Build faction focused mattered for early expansion, but sometime in my last 10 releases, it ceased to matter for some reason. Maybe my tech tree changed in some way I never fully understood, removing some bottleneck.  Maybe there's magic code somewhere in the binary that does strange things I wouldn't expect, like the way it cheats to get to the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm.  But I stopped thinking "Explore has to be used to get expansion and growth" and made a number of factions into Build, Conquer instead, or just Conquer.

They are good at research.  A free Biology Lab is useful.

Free mindworms are good for rankings, but not for actually conquering someone.  I can understand if you're saying the Gaians sit on the other side of Planet and look strong on the graph.  I see that all the time.  For some reason they do almost as well as the Morganites and Pirates, they seem to do just fine as a "grow at a distance" faction.  But if you were to put the Gaians vs. the Spartans into a close border conflict with equal resources, I'd put my money on the Spartans.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #962 on: March 23, 2020, 05:23:04 PM »
Quote
Free mindworms are good for rankings, but not for actually conquering someone.  I can understand if you're saying the Gaians sit on the other side of Planet and look strong on the graph.  I see that all the time.  For some reason they do almost as well as the Morganites and Pirates, they seem to do just fine as a "grow at a distance" faction.  But if you were to put the Gaians vs. the Spartans into a close border conflict with equal resources, I'd put my money on the Spartans.

Its not so much that mindworms are good for conquering its more that they are helpful. Basically they are free units to throw into the grinder and every little bit helps. Also there are little effects like formers not lost or colony pods not lost. That combined with her good research helps a lot. Starting
location also helps.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #963 on: March 24, 2020, 01:02:31 AM »
I suppose it is true that PLANET friendly factions may not get killed as much by mindworms during initial colonization.  However, I've also wondered if it has made such factions a bit overconfident.  Like walking across River fungus is not a good idea, you're gonna get a mindworm.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #964 on: March 25, 2020, 07:56:39 PM »
Did you play with mindworms at all? They seem less effective now.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #965 on: March 26, 2020, 01:30:12 AM »
Hmm effective compared to when?  Their cost is now like the original game, I think, because I judged them too effective.  I've never messed with the PLANET Psi combat bonus though, it's still +10% per plus of PLANET.  Is the AI doing a better job of producing Trance units lately?  I haven't really noticed.  I think my last endgame was me trashing everyone with the Neural Amplifier, despite it being waaaay up the end of the tech tree now.  That is different in 1.41 at least, the mindworm oriented SPs come later.  So yes, if you're used to easily having the Xenoempathy Dome, the Neural Amplifier, and the Pholus Mutagen, they're not readily available and that's a substantial difference in 1.41.  I wanted it to be more exclusively an Explore research and combat methodology, not something that Morgan easily gets.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #966 on: March 26, 2020, 02:50:24 AM »
Has the base defense been altered?

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #967 on: March 26, 2020, 05:29:16 AM »
No, but Sensor Arrays give +50% not +25%. Also infantry does not get a bonus for attacking a base.  Those changes were made a long time ago.  You've probably experienced it before.


Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #968 on: March 26, 2020, 11:32:18 AM »
It has been awhile. If infantry doesn't get a bonus then why not just use rovers? Oh and the last few games I was playing with slower research and didn't realize it.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #969 on: March 26, 2020, 08:20:35 PM »
Because the Speeder chassis costs more than the Infantry chassis.  Also, the defenders might have 3-Pulse or ECM.  But if you can afford a Speeder chassis, and you're not facing specialized armors, then by all means use Speeders.  That's part of why I made the change, so that you don't have to futz so hard about what units to bring to bear.  If you can afford a big sweeping roadless circular flanking action with Hovertanks, you should do so.

Weapons have a very strict expense progression in recent mod versions.  You cannot get a bargain with an unarmed infantry chassis anymore.  If you want an 8-1-1 Chaos infantry, it's going to be expensive because it's a powerful Chaos gun.  It'll be more if it's a Speeder, and more still if it's a Hovertank.  No bargains, no free lunch.  The chassis cost progression is now 2 3 4, instead of the stock game's 1 2 3.

I actually think mindworms are too much of a bargain compared to this weapons cost regime.  But I can't see any obvious antidote to that, without sacrificing core sensibility of what SMAC was about.  I definitely think any changes in this area should be subject to long term playtesting, and I just don't have the playtesting feedback to know if anything should be done one way or another.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #970 on: March 26, 2020, 10:24:10 PM »
The infantry bonus to cities was one of the main reason I used them. Oh well. I actually liked using something other than the speeders.
I never had any issues with the expense of weapons systems. Or the expense of the chassis themselves.
Mindworms aren't especially effective really. Even at higher levels. They are also slow.

It's been some time since I've played your mod. The Social engineering is interesting.
Extremist seems very underpowered. Power is likewise too expensive for what you get. Wealth seems like the penalties are
too weak in my opinion.
The only issue with the mod I have is the clean reactor at the beginning of the game. It basically removes the need for SUPPORT at all.
I will admit the clean formers are nice.
One problem is the AI likes to spam units usually weak ones it also never upgrades.



Offline Nexii

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #971 on: March 26, 2020, 10:49:19 PM »
Clean is a bit less broken if dual ability units come later. I found dual ability units were really what hosed native life strategies. Empath+Trance on the same unit just is too hard of a counter. Plus having to pick Clean vs Fungicidal / Super is a bit more of a choice on formers

I mod similarly, infantry chassis 4, rover 6, hovertank 8 (same ratio diff cost formula)

I like the modding to differentiate foils and cruisers a bit more. Might try that out, make cruisers super fast and more expensive. Base move speed of sea units is kinda sad and they get demolished by air because of it

Feel like Power has too much a downside most of the time, Capitalist too. Could see just sticking in Democratic/Wealth even in war. I've had similar problems modding too, Free Market in my current mod is like that. ECON is about the toughest to balance around

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #972 on: March 26, 2020, 11:29:14 PM »
I never had any issues with the expense of weapons systems. Or the expense of the chassis themselves.

Well the "fission class" weapons, basically everything through Missiles, are pretty similar in cost to the original game.  If you can win the game in the Fission era, then yeah you wouldn't notice anything.  Chaos Gun is the beginning of the Fusion era and it's quite expensive if you only have Fission.  The same thing is done again for the Quantum era, I think with the Chronoton gun.  Then again with the Singularity era.  Graviton guns are transitional, and Singularity weapons are godawful expensive.

But in my view, all those advanced weapons are pretty much sandboxing, or for people who aren't experts at the game for some reason.  An experienced player should be winning at roughly "midgame".  Don't really need all those toys to win, it's pointless.

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Mindworms aren't especially effective really. Even at higher levels.

Hmm.  I've thought otherwise, but who knows what biases I have about how to perform a conquest?

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They are also slow.

True dat.  But rails aren't.   :D

 ;hippy

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Extremist seems very underpowered.

As I've gone over before, that's entirely deliberate.  I do not want the AI to choose it for the most part, because -2 RESEARCH cripples the AI.  It's deliberately unattractive with few exceptions.  The core game dynamic is the choice between Police State and Democratic, and IMO that's plenty.

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Power is likewise too expensive for what you get.

I've debated whether -2 GROWTH is too much, but so far the play balance evidence is fine.  The bonuses are very powerful.

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Wealth seems like the penalties are too weak in my opinion.

It is rather difficult to survive wild mindworm attacks with -2 MORALE.  I don't want the penalty to be that onerous, especially since Capitalist imposes -2 PLANET and is already a steep mindworm attack advantage.  If someone wants to fry themselves with both Wealth and Eudaimonic, I'm ok with that.  Less excuse for not being prepared later in the game, when you have the productivity to make choices about what kinds of units you want to produce.

I'm not putting a PLANET penalty in with Wealth.  I've done that in previous releases, and it's a bad idea.  The core ECONOMY tradeoffs are what penalty you're going to accept in exchange for more money.  POLICE, PLANET, or MORALE?  Democratic, Capitalist, or Wealth.  I'm not going to have them span multiple categories of penalty.  This gives the player control over their tradeoffs, on the assumption that what they want is a +2 ECONOMY for the 1 energy per square bonus.

Thus, I run out of rational penalties for Wealth, even if I thought -1 MORALE was slightly too light.  An INDUSTRY penalty would be dumb.  A GROWTH penalty is already the schtick with Power.  Although I could impose a JUSTICE penalty on either Capitalism or Wealth, I think you were in favor of me not doing so.  And I prefer to stay neutral on those subjects, not seeing them as either especially helpful or harmful to JUSTICE.

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The only issue with the mod I have is the clean reactor at the beginning of the game. It basically removes the need for SUPPORT at all.

This is false.  Factions with better SUPPORT have an advantage because they can crank out more unclean units faster.

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I will admit the clean formers are nice.

They clearly improve AI terraforming.  And Clean Synth units clearly improve early AI defense.  Whatever objections you may have to Clean, the benefits clearly outweigh them.  That's why I did it.  It's hack to help the AI more than it helps you.  If I were mucking about with the binary code, I would do something else.  Like teach the AI not to run itself out of SUPPORT and keep some kind of reserve.

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One problem is the AI likes to spam units usually weak ones it also never upgrades.

Not upgrading isn't as much of an issue if the spam is Clean.  The problem is really when the AI fixates on some unit, spamming it when it should be doing something more important with the productivity.  I've tried many predefined units, and subsequently removed them, for that reason.  There are still problems, like the Pirates spamming Transports.  But generally the Pirates do well enough lately, that I can't say they're not performing well as a faction.  And they've spammed every other kind of unit I've tried to get them to fixate on instead, so there's not really a win for that, AFAICT.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #973 on: March 26, 2020, 11:41:55 PM »
Clean is a bit less broken if dual ability units come later.

I have dual ability coming fairly early, albeit along a specific tech development path.  I've got it as a Conquer Build hybrid tech.  I don't see the point in making players strain about whether they're putting Deep Radar on Cruisers or Needlejets.  It should be available.  Having to redo your designs "because now free Deep Radar is available" is boring.

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I found dual ability units were really what hosed native life strategies.

Well, at least Trance actually costs something in my mod.  It's not free.

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Empath+Trance on the same unit just is too hard of a counter.

I've seen the AI design lots of Empath units over the years, and I was always unimpressed with that.  I'd typically steamroller the AI if it was doing that.  Getting the AI to use Trance is far more worthwhile, because I'm usually the one assaulting the AI, not the other way around.  Also, mindworm combat is an assault thing.  Only Tim Nevolin's The Will to Power mod turns it into a defense thing, and right now IMO his mindworm combat is broken.  Mindworms just walk up to you in the beginning of the game and kill you, no matter what you do, even if you had Trance.  That's not right.

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Plus having to pick Clean vs Fungicidal / Super is a bit more of a choice on formers

Minerals are increasing by then.  It doesn't matter as much as people think.  I find that either choice often ends up being 2 turns to produce.  I usually go with Clean, because I don't generally need to remove fungus by then.

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I mod similarly, infantry chassis 4, rover 6, hovertank 8 (same ratio diff cost formula)

Yeah those higher number sequences change the dynamic range of your weapon cost specifications around.  Has to do with the underlying formulas.  I believe I did experiment with higher multiplier ratios, but found 2 3 4 to be necessary to keep weapon costs within a window of specifiability.  You can't go past 255 or it wraps around.  That's my Black Hole Gun.

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I like the modding to differentiate foils and cruisers a bit more. Might try that out, make cruisers super fast and more expensive. Base move speed of sea units is kinda sad and they get demolished by air because of it

Huge maps are my >>RECOMMENDED<< choice.  I'm never going back to Standard, and somewhat faster Foils, Cruisers, and Needlejets are far more civilized on larger maps.  I also got rid of the Slow Unity Transport mechanic.  If you get one of those, it moves at the same speed as Transports generally do, which is already penalized by 1.

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Feel like Power has too much a downside most of the time,

But does it actually stop you from overrunning opponents?  Perception is not important.  People always feel that "getting a penalty" isn't as much fun for them.  What's the reality of the impact on your empire?  It's like the inverse of the Clean Reactors.  People think they're some big deal, some huge bonus, but they're not.  At the time they appeared in the stock game, they never actually mattered, because minerals productivity was abundant by then.

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Capitalist too.

My Capitalist is far milder than the original game's Free Market.  You've got -2 PLANET instead of -3, and no POLICE penalty at all.  I'm not apologizing for, or going to change, Capitalist.  There's nothing broken about it at all.  Unless you really believe that PLANET penalties and global warming increases shouldn't be a part of the game, and I'm sorry, I'm not nerfing that any more than I did.

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Could see just sticking in Democratic/Wealth even in war.

I do it.  It's viable, particularly if you have a weapons tech advantage.  -1 MORALE isn't that bad, and easily compensated for if you keep your units alive and level them up.

It's also the preferred combat method of a Green faction.  That's what Wealth is for IMO, to shift the combat burdens onto the mindworms where MORALE doesn't matter.  Of course, since I gave +1 PLANET to Knowledge, a Green is likely to do that instead.  At least there's a choice.

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I've had similar problems modding too, Free Market in my current mod is like that. ECON is about the toughest to balance around

I had to make Economic Victory only available with Global Energy Theory.  The way I had it before, the Morganite AI was cornering the market with only 1000 credits spent!  I'm not sure if that's the correct decision lately, but it was correct the last time I looked.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #974 on: March 26, 2020, 11:56:42 PM »
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As I've gone over before, that's entirely deliberate.  I do not want the AI to choose it for the most part, because -2 RESEARCH cripples the AI.  It's deliberately unattractive with few exceptions.  The core game dynamic is the choice between Police State and Democratic, and IMO that's plenty.
The problem is theres is literally no reason to take it at all. I like the idea of extremist getting growth bonuses at the cost of research.
Police State for order. Democracy for money. Extremist for Growth.
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True dat.  But rails aren't.

Neither are decent morale bonuses. :)

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This is false.  Factions with better SUPPORT have an advantage because they can crank out more unclean units faster.
Theres no reason to build units without clean reactors at all. One of the main reasons I don't like the early clean reactors is it makes the game too easy for me in some ways. The clean formers are the one part I really like. The computer actually terraforms with them.
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Thus, I run out of rational penalties for Wealth, even if I thought -1 MORALE was slightly too light.  An INDUSTRY penalty would be dumb.  A GROWTH penalty is already the schtick with Power.  Although I could impose a JUSTICE penalty on either Capitalism or Wealth, I think you were in favor of me not doing so.  And I prefer to stay neutral on those subjects, not seeing them as either especially helpful or harmful to JUSTICE.

Growth would be a better penalty for Wealth than for Power. It actually firs in real life. Just as it would as a penalty for Planned.
Both actually decrease growth rates. If anything Power should increase growth because of the increased confidence and security of the people.

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My Capitalist is far milder than the original game's Free Market.  You've got -2 PLANET instead of -3, and no POLICE penalty at all.  I'm not apologizing for, or going to change, Capitalist.  There's nothing broken about it at all.  Unless you really believe that PLANET penalties and global warming increases shouldn't be a part of the game, and I'm sorry, I'm not nerfing that any more than I did.
I like this versions capitalist. It feels like a real choice. I still pick Green most of the time though.

 

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