Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 319 times)

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Offline bvanevery

SMACX AI Growth mod
« on: May 11, 2018, 07:27:10 PM »
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    From the included readme_mod.txt:

    SMACX AI Growth mod
    Copyright 2018 by Brandon Van Every
    Version 1.3, May 25, 2018
    see CHANGELOG in readme_mod.txt, or in this thread

    This mod has taken more than a solid PERSON MONTH of full time work to produce.  As in, in some other universe where I made money as a game designer, I could have gotten more than a month's pay for the time spent.  Ergo I hope someone will try it, and possibly even enjoy it.  I have playtested the early game a fair amount now, to ensure that factions are basically competent at opening strategies.  I have not played any full games yet, as it takes much longer to playtest those.  I believe my mod has no obvious bugs or omissions, but please let me know if you find any.

    This mod requires SMAC Alien Crossfire.  alphax.txt and all 14 of the standard faction *.txt files have been changed.  To install, simply drop these files on top of an existing Alien Crossfire installation.  If you don't want to lose anything or get confused, I recommend making a clean installation of the game in a new directory first, using custom installation options to name the directory something other than the default.  SMACX takes up very little room on a modern computer, so you can afford to have many SMAC installations, each with a different mod.

    "Explore" techs, I decided, are fundamentally misnamed.  Internally, the game files actually talk about "colonization and growth".  Consequently, anything that makes citizens happy, or raises population limits, or increases GROWTH rate, is now considered an "Explore" tech.  The Gaian's love of mindworms, notably, is NOT considered "Explore" anymore, they are a means of Conquering.  That said, indigenous lifeforms do happen to show up in the usual sequence, for narrative rather than gameplay reasons.  In my opinion the "Explore" category should really be called EXPAND, but I don't think I can rename it.  Almost all factions focus on Explore now, to encourage their empires to grow properly.  The exceptions are the Morganites, who focus on Build, and the Usurpers, who are so aggressive they only need to focus on Conquer.

    The assignment of various techs to Explore, Discover, Build, or Conquer has been completely gutted, with no respect paid to the original divisions of the game.  Conquer techs are strictly for conquering, and they comprise the vast majority of techs in the tree.  This is the proportion of gewgaws that Firaxis provided when they made the game, regardless of any narrative or marketing layer they applied on top of that.  For instance, Secret Projects that award 2x votes are now considered tools of Conquest, as in practice, Diplomatic Victory is merely an abbreviated form of Conquest Victory.  Discover techs attempt to be "pure", awarding either new lab facilities, Secret Projects that double lab output in a city, or a free tech to the 1st discoverer.  Build techs increase either energy or minerals output.  Notably, they do not make people happy; in the future you can be happy and poor.

    Due to the predominance of Conquer techs, no factions are Pacifist now, and almost all of them research Conquer techs.  The exceptions are Discover focused factions with faster research rates, as they seem to discover enough Conquer techs anyways.  It is hoped that this change increases the AI competency and challenges experienced players more.

    Also to facilitate the AI's chances against humans, an ENORMOUS map size of 80x160, and a GIANT map size of 128x256 are included.  The world generator options have been tweaked so that an ENORMOUS map with 30%..50% land mass, will produce plenty of room for AI factions to grow in, plenty of ocean if the Pirates are in the game, and will not bottleneck the factions on degenerate 1x1 islands.  The same cannot be said of GIANT maps; you may have problems, or not.  The faction placement algorithm starts showing bugs when going past ENORMOUS size and I can't change it.  I determined this crossover point empirically, trying many sizes of maps.  Strictly speaking you could get away with a 160x160 map but the aspect ratio looks terrible in the minimap.  I recommend ENORMOUS maps if you want the largest, yet trouble free playing experience.

    This mod started as an attempt to model "realistic" growth in the social engineering choices.  In the real world, according to United Nations data, the population growth rate DECREASES in industrial democracies.  This is likely due to education, birth control, longer training times for jobs, and more career opportunities for women.  In the game, this is modeled as when ECONOMY increases, GROWTH decreases.  Simple economies have +1 GROWTH to start with, as is seen in Third World agricultural societies.  However Frontier societies have -1 GROWTH due to lack of infrastructure and safety, resulting in a net +0 GROWTH at the beginning of the game.  Reasearching and choosing some kind of Politics is a way to get a little growth, by removing the Frontier penalty.  Democracy is no longer the political choice for GROWTH.  Fundamentalism has that role, and population booming is now the intended weapon of Fundamentalist societies.

    I never believed that religious people should be particularly better at Probe Team operations either, so they no longer get PROBE bonuses.  Police State only gets +1 SUPPORT now, as does Planned, so that it is easier for other factions to mix and match to gain SUPPORT.  -2 penalties are atypical in the choices now, preferring instead to have -1 in 2 different categories.  -1 ECONOMY -1 EFFICIENCY is typical, for instance.

    Green is no longer about capturing the most mindworms, it's about a sustainable economic model in the modern day sense of a "green economy".  The Free Market POLICE penalties are no longer draconian, instead being broken up between Democratic, Free Market, and Wealth.  If you choose all of those things, you won't be using police and your citizens will hate your Needlejets.

    Wealth no longer affects Morale: look at the USA, where's the problem with being militant and wealthy?  Knowledge doesn't provide as much of a research boost, nor as much of a PROBE penalty.  Power doesn't cripple industry as much.  Also, Survival societies get +1 MORALE, reflecting the gun-toting mindworm-apocalypse realities that Survival societies live with anyways. 

    Advanced Societies are now readily attainable in midgame and are not overpowered.  In general there is really no point in attaining various capabilities at the very end of the game, where one only spends a few turns experiencing the benefit.  This is a nod to modern European style board games, where OVERPRODUCING your empire / faction / whatever, is a real risk.  You really shouldn't produce more stuff than you're actually going to be able to use before the end of the game.  Consequently, "interesting" gewgaws like cloaking devices and hovertanks are moved earlier in the tech tree, and "boring" gewgas like bigger guns, armor, and engines are moved later.  I mean really, so much of original SMAC is based on sitting around WAITING for stuff.  Why should we?  It's not fun to wait hours and hours and hours for things.  There should be delays in getting initial capabilities, then the game should be a wide open field, with the best player winning.

    All factions have been adjusted to be better rounded and have less egregious penalties.  Morgan's -1 SUPPORT, for instance, is gone.  It should no longer be a crippled faction.  The Hive has an inherent +1 POLICE and nobody else does.  The Spartans get a +2 MORALE bonus and no other modifiers.  The Believers only get -1 Research; frankly, Isaac Newton was a devout Christian.  But they are also no longer a PROBE faction; only the Data Angels have that bonus now.  And so forth.  The faction Help entries have been modified appropriately, so you can look up the various changes in the Datalinks.

    The tech tree has been majorly reshuffled.  Any given technology or facility, you cannot count on it being where you expect, or following a sequence you're used to.  I tried to make various guns come later, in sequence, and not be so pointless.  I packed the tree quite densely, so that for instance, a Level 5 technology is always preceded by 2 Level 4 technologies.  All technologies lead to another technology, and completing the entire tree is required to Transcend.

    (Misnamed) "Explore" techs are for colonization and GROWTH.  They either make citizens happy, increase population limits, increase GROWTH rate, or help colonists get to their destinations faster.  Notably, Doctrine: Flexibility is now an E1 level tech with no prerequisites.  I've played too many games getting stuck on a darned island, falling behind everyone else technologically as I struggle to free myself from the trap.  There's nothing about human history that justifies ships coming AFTER land vehicles.  Historically, ships came first, and so will you.  Also important, mag tubes are available very early in the game.  This is not Civilization II, these are spacefarers who already know how to build some kind of railroad.  Hovertanks come earlier in the game, because it's annoying to wait so long for them.  My hovertanks are based on GREASE, sliding a mere inch above the ground!

    Early Secret Projects now cost 300 minerals to build and they are all moved later in the tech tree.  Some projects that some people consider overpowered, like the Empath Guild, the Virtual World, The Planetary Energy Grid, the Cyborg Factory, and the Cloudbase Academy, are moved substantially later.  Nobody starts the game with the ability to build a Secret Project.  Nor does anyone start with bonus technologies, except the University who gets Information Networks, and the Pirates who get Doctrine: Flexibility.  This is to discourage early and rapid tech trading between the factions.

    Missiles can now hit anywhere on the planet, up to 297 squares away.  This is accomplished by giving the missiles a speed of 99 and a refueling range of 3.  The intention is to model Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and make Mutual Assured Destruction a reality.  There is no safety from a Planet Buster in the early days of orbital spaceflight.  Unfortunately I don't know how to add new Chassis types to create missiles with different ranges, so Conventional Missiles are probably not worth using now.  I won't mind if the AI stops bothering me with them though.  Anti-missile technologies come earlier.  Food, energy, and minerals satellites come later, as these are extensive orbital and logistical facilities compared to shooting down a missile.

    Several predesigned units are included, as I've found certain useful types come up over and over again in my games.  I have to specify various Trance garrisons every game and there's no reason to always be bothering with that.  Some land transports are included, because someone I talked to thought they were useful.  I doubt the AI can use them properly, but they're included anyways.  Importantly, the AI gains the use of Foil Probe Teams, Cruiser Probe Teams, and Hovertank Probe Teams.  I really would like to mod Probe Teams so that they're not so overpowered, but it's never been fair that I can grief the AI by sea, and it can't return the favor. 

    Fusion, Quantum, and Singularity engines are moved to the very end of the tech tree.  Yep, you're going to play most of the game in the fission era.  My opinion is these bigger engines are overpowered game breakers.  Rather than remove them from the game entirely, I put them at the end of the tech tree.  You will have already pretty much won the game anyways and probably won't care about using them.  That's how I've always found Quantum and Singularity engines to be anyways.  The corresponding research facilities, however, are put earlier in the tree and renamed to "Industrial Labs" and "Corporate Labs".  Notice that they do exactly the same thing, one is just inherently more expensive than the other.  Personally I like to envision a bunch of Morganite Dilberts sitting at gold leafed mahogany desks, shuffling the research papers of scientists who do actual work!

    And now for my own act of game research, signing off.  Hope It Helps.

    - Brandon Van Every
    « Last Edit: Yesterday at 10:48:37 PM by bvanevery »

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 03:46:49 PM »
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  • I found a minor bug: Gene Splicing is lacking a 2nd prereq.

    I'm going to take 3-Res armor away from the Aliens in the next version.  They will finally be de-fanged and more comparable to other factions.

    The Explore / ai-growth settings aren't working out as well as I thought they would.  I'm adding Conquer to everyone.  Except Zhakarov, who is just stomping everyone with his tech advantages, now that he doesn't have extra drones to hold him back anymore.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 04:25:21 PM »
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  • CHANGELOG

    Changed from version 1.0 to 1.1:

    - All factions except the Morganites, the Usurpers, and the Pirates focus on Explore to promote empire growth.  The Morganites, unlike any other faction, focus on Build to make the most use of their energy credits.  The Usurpers are so aggressive and dominant that they do fine as a pure Conquer faction.  The Pirates, with the ocean at their back, seem to do fine as a more laid back pure Conquer faction.
    - All factions except the University and the Cybernetic Consciousness focus on Conquer.  Conquer techs comprise the bulk of the tech tree and are needed to survive in a rough world.  The exceptions are 2 Discover focused factions with faster research rates.  They seem to discover enough Conquer techs anyways.
    - Morganites: removed MORALE penalty.  Now he's Erratic, not Pacifist.
    - Cybernetic Conciousness: removed GROWTH penalty.  They were doing doing poorly against other factions.  Made them Aggressive since they can steal techs by conquering bases.
    - The Free Drones: removed RESEARCH penalty.  They were doing poorly against other factions.
    - The Hive: removed INDUSTRY bonus.  Added +1 SUPPORT instead.  Without Police State available at the beginning, they were colonizing very poorly.  They often founded their first 2 cities, built a lot of Scouts, and then ran out of minerals.  It's as though they expected to start with more SUPPORT than they had.
    - Data Angels: 2 Probe Teams given at start, to make up for not yet knowing how to make new ones.
    - Aliens: no longer get a free Recycling Tank.  They were having too easy a time growing bases and then killing humans.  Many things can't be taken away from them because specifying "ALIEN" hardwires a lot of stuff, but this one was removeable.
    - Gene Splicing: was missing a 2nd prerequisite.  Now also requires Ethical Calculus.

    - Aliens: they are hardwired to have Progenitor Psych and Field Modulation at the start of the game.  It is unmoddabe.  Reshuffled the tech tree to compensate:
    --> Progenitor Psych: now a C2 tech, with no useful attribute other than talking to the Aliens.  It is deliberately made a Conquer tech so that an Explore focus doesn't automatically trigger Alien interaction.  Social Psych and Doctrine: Flexibility are prereqs. 
    --> Field Modulation: now a C3 level tech, and a prereq for Adaptive Doctrine.
    --> Moved Hypnotic Trance ability from Progenitor Psych to Field Modulation.
    --> 3-Res armor, Trance Plasma Garrison, Trance 3-Res Garrison: moved to Adaptive Doctrine, so aliens can't have them at beginning of the game.  Aliens have so many other advantages they don't need armor as well.
    --> Changed various prereqs to make up for hole left by moving Field Modulation.

    - Social Psych: set wealth=3 to make it discoverable by Build factions.  It is difficult to create wealth when stuck at size 2.
    - Industrial Base: made Social Psych a prereq instead of Doctrine: Flexibility, since Social Psych is now partly a Build tech.
    - Centauri Empathy: now Doctrine: Flexibility is a prereq instead of Social Psych.
    - Doctrine: Loyalty: set power=4 making it a Conquer tech.  set growth=3 as Fundamentalism greatly increases population growth.
    - Planetary Networks: set power=4 making it a Conquer tech.  set growth=3 as Police State increases police, making people happier.
    - Adaptive Economics: set power=3 f to make it discoverable by Conquer factions.  Increase in SUPPORT is useful for militaries.
    - Adaptive Economics: set wealth=2 to make it discoverable by Build factions.  WEALTH and EFFICIENCY go down, but INDUSTRY and SUPPORT go up.  The latter are effectively an increase in minerals, which is a kind of wealth production.
    - High Energy Chemistry: made it a C1 tech with no prereqs.  The AI was obsessing about building Scouts and Trance Scouts at the beginning of the game.  Having Synthmetal armor available sooner slows it down.
    - changed various prereqs to make up for hole left by moving High Energy Chemistry.

    - Trance Scout: when specified as a Defensive unit, AI builds them obsessively and runs out of minerals.  AI doesn't understand the idea of building 1 such unit to fend off mindworms early in the game.  Now specified as a Reconnaisance unit.
    - Troop Crawler: incorrectly specified as a Naval Transport unit.  This caused the AI to build obsessive numbers of them in sea bases.  Now specified as a Reconnaisance unit.
    - Troop Crawler: now available with Doctrine: Flexibility since that's when Troop Transport becomes available.  It's not particularly mobile anyways, so Doctrine: Mobility seemed inappropriate.  It remains to be seen whether the unit is useful to anyone.  It was put in by someone's request, but the AI doesn't know what to do with it.
    - Heavy Artillery: AI was building 2-1-1 artillery units obsessively at the beginning of the game.  Moved it from C1 Applied Physics to C3 Nonlinear Mathematics to slow the AI down.

    - Telepathic Matrix: Changed ai-fight interest from Aggressive to Erratic.  It's mainly about making people permanently happy, which is useful to more than just Aggressive / Conquest factions.  Also made it of interest to ai-growth factions.
    - The Cloudbase Academy: set ai-infra=2 and ai-colonize=2 since free Aerospace Complex allows for full resource bonuses from satellites.
    - The Space Elevator: set ai-colonize=2 since cheaper Sky Hydroponics Labs grow colonies faster.
    - Clinical Immortality: set ai-colonize=2 since it makes people happy.  Set ai-mil=2 since it doubles votes.  Set ai-infra=0 as it doesn't produce wealth.
    - The Self-Aware Colony: set ai-colonize=2 since it makes people happy if police are available.
    - The Cloning Vats: set ai-colonize=2 as it produces lots of people.
    - The Nano Factory: set ai-mil=2 as in-field repairs are for conquest.
    - The Dream Twister: set ai-fight=1 and ai-mil=2 as psi attacks are for conquest.  set ai-growth=0, it does nothing for growth.
    - The Longevity Vaccine: set ai-colonize=2 because Planned and Green choices make people happy.
    - The Ascetic Virtues: set ai-mil=1 because increased police allows more conquest with fewer consequences.  set ai-infra=0 because it does not produce wealth.  set ai-colonize=2 because population limit increases, and increased police make people happier.
    - The Planetary Datalinks: set ai-mil=1, ai-tech=1, ai-infra=1, ai-colonize=1 because old techs are of mild interest to all factions.  ai-tech is only 1 because a Discover faction is probably in the tech lead and won't increase that lead by building The Planetary Datalinks.
    - The Neural Amplifier: set ai-mil=1 because Trance is of mild interest to conquerors.
    - The Xenoempathy Dome: set ai-mil=2 because quick fungus movement is of major interest to conquerors.  Set ai-colonize=1 because it's only mildly helpful for colonization.
    - The Planetary Transit System: set ai-infra=0 and ai-colonize=2 since it's about bigger colonies and making them happier, not wealth.
    - The Virtual World: set ai-infra=0 and ai-colonize=2 since it's about making people happier, not wealthier.
    - The Empath Guild: set ai-mil=2 since it doubles votes and infiltrates factions.  set ai-infra=0 since it does not produce wealth.
    - The Weather Paradigm: set ai-colonize=2 since faster farms and earlier Condensers allow more growth.
    - The Human Genome Project: set ai-infra=0 and ai-colonize=2 since it's about happier people, not wealthier people.
    « Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 05:00:15 PM by bvanevery »

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #3 on: May 21, 2018, 06:13:02 PM »
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  • I will release a version 1.2 soon, but I need to do some more playtesting, to make sure I haven't overlooked more things.  Morgan's city size penalty is going away, because Hab Complexes are an E5 tech in my mod.  It's just too long to expect him to wait.  Social Engineering choices need a little tweaking.  Copters are getting slightly nerfed, I think by reducing speed from 8 to 6.  That's all I've seen so far.  I still haven't made it through a complete game yet.  Now I tend to get to midgame before finding something that needs changing.

    Offline Green1

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #4 on: May 21, 2018, 07:51:43 PM »
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  • I found a minor bug: Gene Splicing is lacking a 2nd prereq.

    I'm going to take 3-Res armor away from the Aliens in the next version.  They will finally be de-fanged and more comparable to other factions.

    The Explore / ai-growth settings aren't working out as well as I thought they would.  I'm adding Conquer to everyone.  Except Zhakarov, who is just stomping everyone with his tech advantages, now that he doesn't have extra drones to hold him back anymore.


    The Aliens were never supposed to be balanced.

    When you play a game with an alien in it, you are signing up for a play style. An unstoppable monster is on the loose. Can you do something about it? Tech up and fight back? Form a temporary alliance to stop it? Try to survive? Hope you do not have "Do or Die" checked off in the rules panel if you start next to them?

    When you defang and declaw monster and paint it's nails it ceases to be a monster.

    I'd say keep their 3-res armor and recycle tanks.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #5 on: May 22, 2018, 01:37:26 AM »
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  • The Aliens were never supposed to be balanced.

    I don't really care what things were ever supposed to be in SMACX.  I am making them into what I think they should be.  You could argue that Morgan was supposed to be a crippled faction, just as easily as the Aliens were supposed to be overpowered.  I'm having neither!

    Quote
    When you play a game with an alien in it, you are signing up for a play style.

    Perhaps you are.  Perhaps you will hate this more "centrist" mod.  I still think the Aliens are powerful, because they have Directed Research and nobody else does.  They seem to be doing just fine and still dominant in all the short test games I've played with them so far. 

    Quote
    When you defang and declaw monster and paint it's nails it ceases to be a monster.

    Yep.  And for the record, I am not now, nor have I ever been, interested in "monster" faction mods.  You can of course figure out how to load any custom faction into whatever game you wish.  That sort of thing won't be in anything I ship or support.

    Quote
    I'd say keep their 3-res armor and recycle tanks.

    And I wouldn't.  The Aliens are interesting because they are allowed Directed Research, and have advantages and disadvantages compared to other factions.  They do not operate the same way as a human faction - no UN, no Commerce, they have an Energy Grid, they hate each other permanently, human and alien bases have mutually exclusive populations.  They have a tremendous vulnerability to nerve gas, because there's no punishment for using it against them.  Although they start slightly later than other factions, they get 3 colony pods and a Battle Ogre.  These are reasons to keep the Aliens in the game, and have them interact with other factions.  I am sure you are aware that some players would like the Aliens out of the game completely.

    BTW also for the record, I think anyone who plays with the Directed Research option turned on for all the factions, is cheating.  Full stop.  Nobody gets my sympathy if that's how they want to play the game.  So in my universe, an Alien faction with Directed Research is a huge advantage.

    « Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 02:23:06 AM by bvanevery »

    Offline Green1

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #6 on: May 22, 2018, 03:27:47 AM »
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  • Merely a suggestion. Carry on.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #7 on: May 22, 2018, 04:10:51 PM »
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  • Have you played it yet?  My suggestion is that you do so, before worrying about things in the Changelog.  AFAIAC the Aliens aren't Monsters anymore, but they're clearly dominant.  Anyways wait 5 minutes, I'm releasing version 1.2.


    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #8 on: May 22, 2018, 04:15:18 PM »
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  • CHANGELOG
    Changed from version 1.1 to 1.2:

    - Morganites: removed city size penalty.  In this mod, Hab Complexes are obtained substantially later in the game.  It's an E5 tech, comparable in difficulty to obtaining Hybrid Forests.  Morgan simply cannot make a beeline for it to solve his problem.  Having a reduced base size for that long is far too harsh a penalty.
    - Believers: gave Social Psych back to them as a starting tech.  They often flounder badly at the beginning to the point of dropping dead, and it's not easy to research Social Psych even with a normal research rate.
    - Hive: gave IMPUNITY to Planned economy.  Changed incorrect Datalink entry from INDUSTRY bonus to SUPPORT bonus.
    - Police State: removed Economy penalty because it hurts a lot, and other bonuses don't make up for it.  In an unmodded game, people are made a lot happier with Police State.  Now you only get a little bit happier.
    - Free Market: added +1 Efficiency.  It had too many penalties and not enough benefits compared to other economies.
    - Green Economy: reduced Efficiency from +2 to +1.  It had too many benefits compared to other economies, and it is not realistic anyways.
    - Progenitor Energy Grid: added description back to Caretaker and Usurper HELP entries.  I had incorrectly deleted them as I thought it was flavor text about Recycling Tanks.  Changed the description because it is poor, and added a hyperlink to the HELP entry for "Energy Grid".
    - Copter chassis: reduced speed from 8 to 6.  They get way too many attacks in the standard game.
    - Command Center: moved to C2 Planetary Networks.
    - Perimeter Defense: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.  When it was a C1 tech, Believers obsessed about building them early, crippling their growth.
    - The Citizens' Defense Force: moved to C4 Adaptive Doctrine.
    - The Command Nexus: moved to C4 Advanced Military Algorithms.
    - The Empath Guild: moved to C6 Homo Superior.
    - The Neural Amplifier: moved to C5 Neural Grafting.
    - The Human Genome Project: moved to D3 Gene Splicing.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 12:19:39 AM »
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  • I played a somewhat longer test game today to the Advanced Military Algorithms era.  I played the Pirates, intending to nuke everyone eventually, but I never got that far.  I was off the coast of the Monsoon Jungle.  I ran into the Spartans immediately, who settled the north of the Jungle.  The Believers settled the south.  Between these new "balanced" factions, the Spartans completely wiped the floor with the Believers.  The Believers mostly killed the Morganites, although they escaped.  The Spartans also killed the Cybernetic Consciousness, who seemed stillborn.  I've been playing on Standard sized maps with my customized "more land, but keep oceans" settings.  I think they are not large enough for everyone to survive and thrive, as there always seems to be at least 1 faction that's a complete runt.  The Planet Cult also did poorly, but didn't get wiped by the time I quit.

    Why quit?  Well, I just didn't seem to have the right force mix to make effective incursions against the Spartans.  They couldn't, or didn't, do anything to me, but I didn't do much to them.  Took 1 city in their far north.  Soon lost it, as it wasn't that easy for me to reinforce.  My productivity rate seemed relatively low, so choosing the right force mix is important, and I didn't do that well.  I, uh, don't know how to play my own mod!  Spartans go Elite and that kinda hurts.

    Technology also went slooooowly.  I kept the Pirates' default "Conquer only" focus.  I find that various Explore (Growth) technologies never get discovered that way.  Nor did anyone else discover them, because Sparta was too busy warring with the Believers.  Sooo for instance no Hologram Theaters, ever.  There's something about the density at which I've packed the tech tree, and the preponderance of Conquer techs, that can prevent Explore (Growth) techs from being discovered.  You keep getting new weapons and armor, which is fine, as that's what you said you wanted... but it has consequences.  Like not having enough money to afford more Command Centers.  Well, uh, yeah, I went for Power.  New version of Power penalizes Economy.  Granted just a HQ penalty, but it means I wasn't making money either.

    Guess Morgan could have provided relief from those problems.  But he got killed.

    I think next time I try Huge maps.  Just not enough land area for everyone to survive and thrive.  The world settings were originally designed with Enormous 80x160 maps in mind.

    Yes I spent time defanging the Caretakers and Usurpers.  I'm not currently playing test games with them.  I'm wondering if I've created new monsters, changing the faction settings.  Are the Spartans going to be overpowered now?  Or are they just overpowered if they get the Monsoon Jungle?  What about the Hive?  I wonder if they don't have enough penalties anymore.  Time will tell.  I should probably put the 2 of them in a game together to see who dominates.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 10:49:43 PM »
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  • CHANGELOG
    Changed from version 1.2 to 1.3:

    - Police State: is back to giving +2 POLICE.  -1 ECONOMY is reinstated to offset the happiness gained from POLICE.  The PROBE bonus is removed.  The idea of a "lighter weight" Police State that would be easier for other factions to choose, didn't work.  A Police State needs to keep a certain number of people happy or it's just not worth choosing as a government.  There is no Political choice for PROBE bonuses now.  If you want more PROBE, you'll need Power or Thought Control. 
    - Democratic: changed POLICE penalty from -2 to -1.  -2 doesn't allow the use of police, it is too harsh for early factions.  -1 merely doesn't allow the use of nerve stapling.
    - Hive: removed +1 POLICE bonus, as when combined with Police State it would be overpowered.
    - Pirates, Peacekeepers: removed -1 EFFICIENCY penalty.  It creates a lot of difficultly picking an early government.  Most other factions had one of their penalties removed, and these factions didn't.
    - Gaians: changed back to +2 EFFICIENCY.  Making it +1 wasn't a good idea; the Gaians aren't especially strong and don't need to be weakened.

    Offline Green1

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #11 on: Today at 05:47:17 AM »
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  • I will be honest.

    I am not wanting to post feedback or play test data I feel my suggestions would be cast aside or marginalized.

    You say not to list changelogs.. just "try", but like Yitzi, you fail to know the reasons why...

    I am a patient man and will go through it with you if you if you would like.. A community service really. You pissed off the MPers, but to be honest, you are not a pure MPer of any game unless you are pissed and elitist in some form. BU SLANDER!!!At least the 4x guys are merely passive aggressive. Hell, the MOBA guys would tell you to asphyxiate yourself with a lap top cord...




    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #12 on: Today at 02:50:18 PM »
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  • I am not wanting to post feedback or play test data I feel my suggestions would be cast aside or marginalized.

    When you give feedback to someone who has designed a game, or a mod, you have to accept the fact that their design priorities might be different from your own.  Things you don't like, might be deliberate on the designer's part, and very much intended to give a different experience.  A designer might not act on a particular piece of advice you give.  Indeed, much of designing is ignoring things that people have to say, as well as listening.  The designer is the Keeper of the Vision and has to use his / her judgment about what that vision is.  It's not mob rule.

    Quote
    You say not to list changelogs.. just "try",

    I said not to worry about changelogs without actually trying the changes 1st.  Specifically I would say, don't complain about the Aliens until you've fought them.  From where I sit, they seem to spam an awful lot of 4-2-1's.  Now, as we discussed before, if you think the point of having Aliens is to have this godawful, painful, "Monster" faction to fight, as a designer I don't agree with you and I'm not going to do it.  Such pleas fall on deaf ears.  You can of course make any mod you like if you want "Monster" factions.  There are large archives of such things available; don't get me started on issues of curation.

    I would also note, when interacting with designers of any game: if you start off not playing something, and with a complaint, designers don't like that.  Unless it's some bug or egregious oversight or gross imbalance where they were half asleep, when you've really saved them from some unnoticed foible.  Whereas, if your 1st reaction to their stated design intent is "negative, and I haven't even played it!" well guess how much consideration that buys you?  I'd say it buys patient reiteration of design intent, and no more.  I've put a month into this; your complaint took you what, 10 minutes?  You get out what you put in.  If you had playtested my mod and then complained, I'd take it more seriously.  You'd probably also have better feedback about how the Aliens have been "weakened".

    Quote
    I am a patient man and will go through it with you if you if you would like..

    You need to do what you like, what you believe in.  I'm not here to twist your arm.

    This mod changes a lot of stuff.  Mostly when things happen, that's 90% of it.  What, usually stays the same, although there are some exceptions like the Social Engineering Choices, lessening faction penalties, and how (I hope) the AI works.  I've written extensively about what has changed, it's like it says in the readme_mod.txt.  I don't expect anyone to play this mod "blind", with no idea what has changed.  Now if you read all of that, and you aren't actually inspired to try, because the changes aren't speaking to your needs as a SMAC player, well maybe it's not the mod for you.  Why play something you think is likely to be a drag?  If you think "SMAC is great as is" then you wouldn't need any mod.  Or if you think "what SMAC really needs is more uber difficult Monster factions" well you can download those, it's not this mod.

    Quote
    Hell, the MOBA guys would tell you to asphyxiate yourself with a lap top cord...

    I have wondered about the tenor of modding communities, especially when $0 is transacted.  So far, here's what I've seen.  Some people on Reddit have thanked me for even working on this, for such an old game.  Some people have downloaded my mod, that's a good sign.  Each new version has been downloaded, so interest hasn't dropped to zero.  I do not know if anyone has played it other than myself, because nobody has commented to say they did so.

    You opened up with a complaint, without playing it.  Now you are talking about "MOBA guys" being extremely rude to some hypothetical designer who gives away their work for free.  Frankly at this point, I think anyone who thought they had a right to express such hostility about "free beer", doesn't have a leg to stand on.  I've chewed people out after playing their mod / campaign / whatever.  Then I ended up joining some guy's campaign team and dumping 4 months of my life into polishing up his work. I got out what I put in.  Too much in that case; long time since I've done a campaign or mod at this scale, because it doesn't help me put food on the table.
    « Last Edit: Today at 03:13:14 PM by bvanevery »

     

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