Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 1012 times)

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Offline bvanevery

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2018, 04:19:45 AM »
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  • Hello there! Very nice mod indeed! But any chance to make it compatible with Yitzi's unofficial SMAX patch?

    I'm not willing to do that unless there's an automated, scripted way to do it.  I'm not going to develop 2 versions of this mod.

    If you yourself came up with an automated script to make it work, I'd be willing to test your script as part of my release cycle.  Assuming you have it properly in a GIT repository or otherwise readily released, available, and maintained.

    If you wanted me to come up with such a script, well unfortunately, I haven't seen any indication of substantial value add from the Yitzi patch, for my purposes.  The bottom line is it doesn't improve AI performance at all.  The main modding features I noticed, are adding lots of options for controlling eco-damage.  My own mod doesn't deal with that.  It's about trying to improve the AI, different Social Engineering choices, more well rounded factions, and trying to make the pacing of the tech tree "better" with respect to how soon or late you get stuff.  My version of "better". 

    In various threads we've debated the merits and demerits of Yitzi patch.  I honestly haven't been bitten by any standard SMAC bugs lately.  So for what I've been doing, I don't really need a patch.  Some people have commented that Yitzi may fix some bugs, at the cost of making other things unstable, in essence giving you new bugs.  Since I'm doing just fine with the old bugs, I'm inclined to avoid fixing what isn't broken from my standpoint.

    YMMV.  I'm sure Yitzi had his reasons for pursuing such an extensive effort, but the visibility of the "fixes" just hasn't been apparent to me personally.

    Bear in mind that if you do try to make an automated scripter, Yitzi actually changed the encodings for a few of the game's values.  I've actually wondered about "unpatching" these and releasing a Yitzi patch 3.5e.  However, Yitzi anything isn't currently worth me doing the work.  I've just gotten as far as noting, he created a minor problem for standardized modding.

    I am curious, and should ask, why do you personally want Yitzi patch?  Is it for abstract feel-good reasons of thinking it's a "good" patch?  Or is there something very specific that it's doing for you, that you can't get any other way?

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #31 on: June 04, 2018, 04:54:58 AM »
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  • Starting last night, and concluding this evening, I played my longest partial game so far.  It was on an Enormous 80x160 map and I played as the Pirates.   My changes for 1.6 did make the laboratory experience much more reasonable.  I made it to the Doctrine: Air Power era before quitting.  I stole that tech from others, and I did not actually finish building a plane.  Pushing the logistics across an Enormous map is pretty darned dull!  I got Doctrine: Initiative but there was so much land in the way, that Marines weren't actually useful for anything.

    I had trouble with growth and cash flow.  The various -1 Economy penalties I've added to the game, really do end up hurting you after awhile.  I'm wondering whether or not I should tone it down, but for now, I'll continue to playtest.  I'd be interested to hear about other people's experiences with running low on money.  On the positive side, it's a kind of challenge.

    As for AI performance, the Hive stomped the University pretty early.  The latter survived, but was a crippled sea based weakling that never recovered.  The Drones started near or in the Monsoon Jungle and were the dominant power of the game for awhile.  They made a long distance land campaign against the Cult of Planet.  Who also annoyed me, and so was summarily invaded on 2 fronts.  The Cult still sucks, they always get trounced and don't build anything any good, so in 1.7 I will be removing their -1 Economy penalty.  They need all the help they can get.

    The Believers started on a modestly sized island.  They should not have had any trouble getting off the island, as Doctrine: Flexibility is an E1 tech now.  The whole "Believers are gonna grow" thing, that this mod basically started out trying to implement, simply doesn't work!  The Believers suck at growth.  I'm going to have to do things to try to fix this.  First is abandoning the idea that "population booming" is even useful to the AI, it isn't, it doesn't understand how to do it.  I'm going to try to make the Believers go after SUPPORT instead of GROWTH.   Maybe Miriam can make a horde?  We'll see.

    The other problem is it's too hard to get Economic social engineering choices in 1.6.  The Believers never learned how to do a Planned economy, for instance.  Because of all these Conquer techs in the tree now, it can take a surprisingly long time to get anything else.  For 1.7 I'm going to make all the Political and Economic social engineering choices into Level 2 techs, with no Secret Projects blocking access to them.  So hopefully, Miriam will figure out how to do a Planned economy.  Or Green, whatever, anything other than just stagnating.

    I myself never learned how to do a Free Market.  Granted, I was in violent war a lot of the game and didn't want a Free Market, so my technologies did reflect my intents.  But when you're running out of money you start thinking hey, where's Free Market??!  Keeping the 4 research foci "fairly pure" and separated from each other, has the ultimate effect of making everything take far longer to get, if you weren't explicitly looking for it.  That's really hard on any faction with stunted technology, or a bad start on the map.

    At midgame, it was 3 ways between the Drones, the Hive, and myself as the Pirates.  All equal in power on the graph.  I was trying to build a rail to get to the Hive, but it was taking forever.  My bloated navy arrived first and shelled the crap out of the abundant Hive forests.  Sort of fun to watch things get torn up, but after awhile, I start feeling it's a waste of mouseclicks and doesn't really matter.  Probably had something to do with why I quit.  I was slowly taking the Cultist bases that the Drones took over, emphasis on slowly.  I'd have to send these Speeders all the way across the map, fortunately with a rail for half of it, but then across some water with sped up Isles of the Deep, then through Cultist / Drone territory.  The Drones of course were really spammy, and I had trouble getting enough Speeders together to do the jobs.  I did eventually do them but it was slow.

    Clearly, I could have used a big boost in minerals output.  But I deliberately made Supply Crawlers a Level 5 technology, which means you ain't gettin' 'em for a long time.  And you don't get Fusion engines either, until nearly the end of the tech tree.  So units are expensive and decisions have to be made.  I don't think this is bad per se... but it did wear me out this game.  Maybe the Pirates aren't that enjoyable a faction to play on an Enormous map after all.

    I intended to nuke everybody, and be waterborne when the flooding started.  But I had to take land bases to conquer the Cultists, and I wanted some nice rails on my coastlines as well.  I had a few inland bases to make my land claims, back when I was at peace with the Cultists.  The bottom line is, I got somewhat committed to terraforming projects on land, and I didn't see myself wanting to sink them.  Assuming I would have even had the minerals capacity for the nukes, which I very much doubt.  I think by the time I could crank out nukes readily, I would have been able to conquer by other means.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #32 on: June 05, 2018, 01:41:09 AM »
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  • The question is to what degree the Believers are completely delusional about what Planet actually is. 

    I had a night to sleep on it.  I decided, in this mod the Believers are not fools.  Nor cartoon cutouts, to the extent I've been willing to change their story and dialogue, which admittedly hasn't been all that much.  So the -1 PLANET, and the throwaway line about thinking this is Eden, are going away.  The narrative will not miss it and that's the bottom line, narrative consistency.

    There's also the subtext that "Planet friendliness" is treated as a proxy for Environmentalism in this game.  The idea that Christians are generally opposed to environmental stuff, is wrong, and smells rather 1990s dated to be honest.  Living in the Bible Belt next to the Pisgah National Forest, I know better.  Republicans generally speaking have been anti-environment, but this is driven by big corporate interests in fossil fuels, not religion.  The various potential differences between Republicans, Conservatives, and Christians are left as an exercise to the reader.

    Offline vonbach

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #33 on: June 05, 2018, 01:30:24 PM »
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  • I'm going to try out your government and economy choices in my game and see how they work out. :)

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #34 on: June 05, 2018, 03:06:43 PM »
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  • I'm playing again as the Drones.  The Believers are my next door neighbors, and I ended up with an alliance with them against the Spartans and the Pirates.  Both of those factions have done well for themselves.  The new SUPPORT and earlier economic techs have benefitted the Believers and are a step in the right direction.  So far the Believers have lost 1 city to the sprawling Spartan empire.  It's too soon to say whether they will lose more.  Myself, I'm dealing with Pirate spam on the southern flank.

    Roze is puny on a smallish island at some distance to the east.  She seems to have no enemies though, and might have the time to grow into something worthwhile.

    The Hive has wiped out the Cult of Planet.  I haven't met either faction, despite having 1 Foil Probe Team probing the vast oceans of the Enormous 80x160 map.  I'm not ready to reveal the map to see what the starting conditions were.  My own situation hasn't become boring yet.  I'm tempted to say the AI has no idea how to play the Cult of Planet and needs an intervention somehow.  Maybe being a cult, it could use some SUPPORT.

    I'm wondering about rails and hab complexes taking too long to acquire.  I might make them earlier.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #35 on: June 05, 2018, 05:35:17 PM »
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  • CHANGELOG
    Changed from version 1.6 to 1.7:

    - Split this readme_mod.txt into INSTALLATION, DESIGN SUMMARY, and DESIGN DETAILS sections.
    - Green economy: moved to Centauri Empathy, which is an E2 tech and not associated with a Secret Project.  When economic choices are associated with Level 3 techs and Secret Projects, factions with bad research or a bad start will never discover them.  The new plan is to make all Political and Economic social choices accessible as Level 2 techs and not have any Secret Projects obstruct them from being traded.
    - Free Market: moved to Industrial Base, which is an E2 tech and not associated with a Secret Project. 
    - Adaptive Economics: changed it from an E3 to an E2 tech.  It allows a Planned economy.
    - Monopole Magnets: changed it from an E4 to an E3 tech.
    - The Planetary Transit System: moved from Adaptive Economics to Monopole Magnets.
    - Unified Field Theory: set wealth=4 because Corporate Lab increases energy.
    - Changed various dependencies to fill holes in the tech tree and keep research foci more pure.
    - Cult of Planet: changed their Social Priority from PLANET to SUPPORT.  They already choose a Green economy, which already gives them a total of +3 PLANET, the maximum that provides any benefit.
    - Cult of Planet: removed ECONOMY penalty.  Added +1 SUPPORT.  Cha Dawn keeps getting killed by other factions, especially the Hive.  The Cult needs to be stronger.
    - Believers: changed their Social Priority from GROWTH to SUPPORT.  Population booming was intended to be the "new" weapon of the Believer faction, but in the hands of the incapable AI, it basically doesn't work.  Instead, try to make the Believers a teeming horde.
    - Believers: removed -1 PLANET penalty, and removed +1 PROBE bonus.  A strongly Christian playtester pointed out that the PLANET penalty is nonsensical and merely an anti-Christian bias.  I have to admit, when I first played the Believers, it didn't make a lot of sense to me either.  Could they really be that dense?  I also had trouble remembering that they have a PLANET penalty because there's nothing else in the story of SMAC to support it.  Miriam talks about false gods and being ruled by nanorobots, not Planet.  The Planet penalty is really not core to the narrative and pretty much a throwaway.  Removed the PROBE bonus to compensate, so that the Believers don't become a faction of too many bonuses.
    - Fundamentalist: reduced GROWTH bonus from +2 to +1, and added +1 PROBE bonus.  The AI simply doesn't understand early population booming and the extra growth is not that useful.  Even a human player is going to have trouble making use of early population booming, due to the amount of time it takes to build the necessary infrastructure.  It's more of a mid to late game concern and by then, one could use Eudaimonia for growth, or the Cloning Vats.  As for PROBE, the Believers will go Fundamentalist, at least when the AI is playing them.  They will thereby still have a +1 PROBE advantage, it's just not an inherent factional advantage.  I don't want the Believers to have +2, that's reserved for the Data Angels.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #36 on: June 07, 2018, 02:54:20 AM »
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  • I may have made the Hive overpowered, with too much SUPPORT.  He has IMPUNITY to Police State and to Planned, both of which give +1 SUPPORT.  Plus he has an inherent +1 SUPPORT for his faction.  That means with only Level 2 techs, the Hive can get +3 SUPPORT, as much as the size of his bases!  Some other factions can do that too, but they typically have to acquire C4 Advanced Military Algorithms and choose POWER to get the +1 SUPPORT among other things.

    The problem I was trying to solve, is the Hive seemed to be getting killed awfully early.  I thought giving extra SUPPORT would fix that.  Well, I'm noticing that any faction that starts too close to me, performs very poorly completely stupid at initial colonial spread.  Like they'll found their 1st city, then wander excessively far away for their 2nd city, with tons of turns of lost productivity.  Possibly also, if they go to war with anyone immediately, they forget to expand.  I think this might happen any time factions start too close to each other.  Unfortunately I already modded the heck out of the world generator, maximized the land available to factions, greatly increased the odds that factions are "seeded" somewhere appropriate.  I don't think I can do any more from alphax.txt.

    The randomness of the faction placement algorithm, probably guarantees that some AI faction will die somewhere, a stunted runt.  But by that some token, some other AI faction will be completely left alone and unmolested.  For instance, in the last game I played, Cha Dawn got a continent to himself.  I guess adding that +1 SUPPORT helped his cause some.  He didn't die; he sure sprawled!  Bases were ridiculously far apart.  I see that a lot with the Spartans too, and they don't have any SUPPORT bonus.  They seem to always end up with a "main" enclave and then a "satellite" enclave.  Maybe that's what happens when that 2nd colonist is sent a super long distance away.  If it runs into an enemy soon, that faction is toast.  But if it doesn't, then it develops a good number of cities in 2 separate places.  From an EFFICIENCY standpoint I think that's a really bad plan, but I'm not sure if the AI has to care about EFFICIENCY the way a human player on Transcend does.

    Anyways I can only do so much to boost factions, before they become overpowered toys.  Maybe also the Hive doesn't need as much help now, since all of the Political and Economic choices are now much easier to get.  I will play some more against the Hive before deciding whether they need a downgrade.  I didn't fight them very long in my last game before quitting, as I hadn't really geared up properly for it, but they seemed awfully spammy.


    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #37 on: June 09, 2018, 07:57:07 PM »
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  • As I playtest, technologies are remaining stable.  However, social engineering choices are going through upheaval.  A lot of factions are getting changes.  I'm finishing the campaign of removing "gratuitous" penalties, as they just annoy players and harm the AI.  I'm experimenting with Passive factions again, and changing priorities away from Explore, Conquer.  It could be that all the other changes I made, have had a sufficient positive effect on the AI, so that adjusting research focus is no longer necessary.  This needs to be subjected to some playtesting though.  So although I've made all the changes that are likely to go into 1.8, it's not ready for release.


    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #38 on: June 10, 2018, 10:04:33 PM »
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  • CHANGELOG
    Changed from version 1.7 to 1.8:

    - Democratic: added +1 ECONOMY.  Increased POLICE penalty to -2, bringing the number of bonuses and penalties in line with other Politics choices.
    - Fundamentalist: removed PROBE bonus.  Added +1 POLICE bonus.  I believe that *all* fundamentalist societies are police states.  It's only a question of flavor.
    - Simple economy: increased GROWTH bonus to +2.  The system had too much GROWTH removed from it, noticeably slowing down the game.  This is the easiest fix.  A starting faction now has a net +1 GROWTH, due to the -1 GROWTH penalty from Frontier politics.
    - Free Market: reduced POLICE penalty to -1.  Reduced PLANET penalty from -3 to -2.  Free Market simply had way too many penalties compared to other economic choices.
    - Green: reduced GROWTH penalty to -1.  Added -1 SUPPORT penalty.  Really shouldn't have so much stuff if you're recycling.
    - Knowledge: reinstated +2 RESEARCH bonus.  Added -1 POLICE penalty.  Free flow of information, right?
    - Wealth: removed POLICE penalty.  Reinstated -1 MORALE penalty.  Added +1 EFFIC.  Wealth didn't have enough bonuses compared to other Value choices.
    - Power: removed PROBE bonus.  Power had too many bonuses compared to other Values choices. 
    - Cybernetic: reduced POLICE penalty to -1.  Added -1 PLANET penalty.  A machine orientation is not conducive to gardening.

    - Drones: set ai-power=0, and ai-wealth=1, making them an Explore, Build faction.
    - Believers: removed GROWTH bonus.  Added +1 PROBE bonus.
    - Hive: set ai-fight=0, ai-growth=0, and ai-build=1, making them an Erratic, Build, Conquer faction.  Removed SUPPORT bonus.  It was too easy for them to get support equal to base size with only Level 2 techs.
    - Usurpers: changed social priority from {Economics, Planned, MORALE} to {Values, Power, nil}.  Marr is a Conquerer, not an economist.  The MORALE granted by Power should be enough for their purposes.  Instead of slavishly chasing more MORALE, maybe the AI will make more useful choices.
    - Caretakers: changed social priority from {Economics, Planned, PLANET} to {Economisc, Planned, nil}.  This will hopefully give the AI more flexibility about what to do.  Also I've noticed when playing the Caretakers myself, I can acquire truly vast numbers of mindworms with only +1 PLANET.  I'm not certain there's much benefit to getting more than that.
    - Morganites: set ai-fight=-1, ai-power=0, ai-tech=1, and ai-growth=1, making them a Passive, Explore, Build faction.  So many factions focus on Conquer techs, that the market for those is saturated.  It shouldn't be difficult for Morgan to acquire them through trade.
    - Gaians: removed POLICE penalty.  Set ai-fight=-1, ai-power=0, and ai-wealth=1, making them a Passive, Explore, Build faction.  When playtesting, any faction that isn't provably overpowered is getting penalties removed, unless there's a strong thematic reason for a penalty.  Otherwise, stronger AI performance is more important than "flavor" penalties.
    - University: set ai-fight=-1, making them Passive.  Reduced PROBE penalty to -1. 
    - Data Angels: removed POLICE penalty.  Changed social priority from {Politics, Democratic, PROBE} to {Future Society, Thought Control, nil}.  Now allowed to make Power social choice.  Set ai-wealth=1 and ai-grow=0, making them a Build, Conquer faction.  This is a darker version of Roze that is corrupted by her ability to take over people's minds and gadgets.  PROBE is redundant because Thought Control is the only thing that gives more PROBE.
    - Cult of Planet: changed social priority from {Economics, Green, SUPPORT} to {Politics, Fundamentalist, nil}.  May now choose Wealth; may not choose Free Market.  In this mod, Green is about an economic model, not recruiting the most mindworms possible.  Deirdre can be expected to be quite strident about economic policy, but it is out of character for Cha Dawn.  He is a cult leader and an aggressive conqueror, not an economic policy wonk.
    - Spartans: changed social priority from {Values, Power, MORALE} to {Values, Power, nil}.  As long as the Spartans obtain Power, they will have +4 Morale for most of the game.  That's the maximum MORALE boost that one can have, so there's no need for them to chase additional MORALE.  Hopefully by not tying the AI's hands, it will make more useful choices.
    - Pirates: removed GROWTH penalty.  Changed social priority from {Values, Power, MORALE} to {Values, Wealth, nil}.  Set ai-fight=-1, ai-power=0, ai-wealth=1, and ai-growth=1, making them a Passive, Explore, Build faction.  Like true pirates, they are more inclined to steal than fight.  The ocean gives them a solid defense against early enemies, so they really don't need to conquer anyone.  They can probably get all the conquer techs they need through trade or theft.  Their mineral bonus on the water actually makes them a very good Build faction in the hands of a human player, so we'll see if the AI can do likewise.  They don't particularly care about being a planetary mogul like Morgan, personal aggrandizement is fine for them.  So they're free to have an unstructured and haphazard approach to getting rich, but they do think people should fixate on wealth, so that's what they go to war over.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #39 on: June 15, 2018, 06:02:05 PM »
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  • I am continuing with a global thermonuclear struggle, pretty much a field test of 1.8.  The only change I've made so far is to move fungical tanks earlier, otherwise I haven't found any defects yet.  So far my nuclear war is unilateral.  I have picked on the Spartans, who were far away from me, uninfiltrated, and didn't have nukes yet.  Good reasons to completely obliterate them with this mod's version of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.  Hitting the whole planet works pretty well, and I haven't had to leave a missile "vulnerable in flight" yet.

    My own Morganic civilization is completely underwater now.  A fair number of foreign bases have drowned, although not enough to seriously knock anyone out of the game.  It has definitely spared me the effort of nukeing more Spartan cities though.  Mindworm assaults on my territory were horrific for awhile.  I did fend them off, with substantial losses in a couple of cities, but didn't completely lose any cities.  Going Green and building Centauri Preserves ended the mindworm attacks.  Due to drastically declining minerals production, I have not been able to launch nearly as many nukes in my 2nd and 3rd waves.  I'm in a slow process of building up sea minerals to regain my former hybrid forest based productivity.

    Meanwhile Deirdre, who is as far away as the Spartans and I chose to leave alone, has advanced and built a substantial number of Secret Projects.  The Data Angels and Pirates are nearby and also powerful, if backwards.  I've been trying to get Advanced Spaceflight forever, which in my mod, confers Orbital Defense Pods.  There are so many Conquer techs in the tree though, that even with a Conquer focus, and Knowledge, and Industrial Labs, and having fulfilled the prereqs eons ago, I just can't seem to get that tech.  I need a nuclear shield, because it's been a long time and the Data Angels have Orbital Spaceflight now.  Maybe Deirdre as well.

    It should be noted that Supply Crawlers come late in this mod, and I still haven't discovered them.  Similarly, sky hydroponics labs, orbital power transmitters, and Nessus mining stations come very late.  There is no superpowered fast track to whizz through this stuff.  You're working with fission engines, and so far AFAIAC, that's been a correct modding choice.  I actually have to think about unit designs and their expense, rather than just being granted piles of new toys.


    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #40 on: June 16, 2018, 02:51:42 AM »
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  • I have quit the nuke test.  It's definitely survivable, but it's a real slow PITA if you don't know what the consequences are going to be like.  The main problem is your land based minerals output will completely go away.  You will need sea based minerals to take up the slack.  If I had made sea mines in the 1st place and built sub trunklines, I wouldn't have had any problem.  But my usual "peacetime" habit is to build lots of tidal harnesses for the abundant energy, and only those, because I'm going to get plenty of minerals from my hybrid forests.  Doesn't work so well when the whole world drowns.  Yes I had a few ocean bases that did fine anyways, because they had The Ruins to make the production transition with.  All my other cities were reduced to ~3 minerals after all my support burdens though.  It was taking a long time to recover and I was being harassed also.  Nothing I couldn't handle, but it also wasn't basically enjoyable.  So I figured I'd start over with lessons learned.

    I suppose I could have gone the "support to the size of the base" route.  That might have been a good idea.  Generally that sacrifices money though, and I was playing the Morganites.  However I'm realizing they're not ideal for a nuclear confrontation, because everybody hates and goes to war with you, and you get no Commerce.  Morgan's main advantage is being able to jack the Commerce ratings up.  He's really more designed for peaceful trade and perhaps mind controlling bases, not hurling nukes.  Not that anyone is necessarily designed for nukes, but I'd say it isn't Morgan.

    I found some minor bugs and am kicking a new version out the door, so the exercise was not a total loss.  I do have an awful lot of "nuke porn" you're not going to see though.

    Another odd thing revealed in testing, is it can take forever to get from Orbital Spaceflight to Advanced Spaceflight.  Even when you've had the prereqs forever!  There are just so many Conquer techs to research, that you can spend your time discovering everything else and never getting Advanced Spaceflight.  Which is really important in this mod because that's what gives you Orbital Defense Pods.  In short, I never got a nuke shield, and I eventually realized that I probably wasn't going to.

    It's probably better to build up enough nukes to completely destroy your victim faction in 1 turn, rather than "building and launching what I could", as I could.  Some cities did sink due to the drowning though, so I didn't have to nuke those.  That was mildly satisfying.  It would be better if I could count on it to completely wipe a faction out, rather than just weaken them.


     

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #41 on: June 16, 2018, 02:57:05 AM »
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  • CHANGELOG
    Changed from version 1.8 to 1.9:

    - Synthetic Fossil Fuels: changed from an E4 to an E2 tech.  Shouldn't take so long just to wipe out fungus.
    - Centauri Genetics: removed D2 Information Networks as a dependency, instead using E2 Synthetic Fossil Fuels.  Information Networks is a "pure" Discover tech, and thus really hard for factions not focused on Discover to obtain.
    - Changed various dependencies to fill holes in tech tree.
    - The Neural Amplifier: actually moved it to C5 Neural Grafting.  Was supposed to be done in version 1.2!
    - Removed many convenience units from the game.  They were making it unnecessary to prototype, which can matter a great deal.  Changed the order of the few remaining convenience units.  In total, this will mess up old saved games going from 1.8 to 1.9.  Be sure to start fresh.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #42 on: June 16, 2018, 06:58:05 PM »
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  • I've begun another test game, this time without any explicit intent or goal to nuke anyone, although I leave it as a perfectly viable possibility with previous lessons learned.  Rather, this time I intend to test what it's like to play with the most technologically retarded faction, the Believers.  My Believers aren't as slow as stock Believers, but I have chosen Fundamentalism so far, which definitely does slow their tech rate down.  I went for quite awhile in isolation, then suddenly met everyone in a 5-way election.  I had piled up a whole bunch of cash from popping pods, so managed to buy lotsa techs from the Cyborgs before they stopped selling so readily.  They had to complete their Secret Projects, then they did sell me some techs again.  So it seems that trading with a high research faction is one way out of the Believer slow tech dilemma.  I could also pop the Artifacts I've piled up, but first I'd have to build Network Nodes, which I don't care to do right now.

    I'm in a major land war with Sparta.  We started far enough apart that I was able to build a substantial empire before we made contact and Santiago became hostile.  We've also got a huge lake between us that has only seen minor skirmishing action, as neither of us has many seaside bases.  The Spartans have generally been the heaviest hitters in my mod so far, at least when AIs fight other AIs.  They go Elite awfully easily, it seems, and they don't have the stock production impediments.  I've also got the Hive, the Pirates, the Caretakers, and the Usurpers in the game.  In short I wanted to mostly test all the most violent factions at once, with the Cyborgs thrown in to see if they could handle it.  So far they're doing fine.  I'm not sure they've got an active front with anybody, they may just be sitting back and collecting buckets of research unimpeded.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #43 on: June 16, 2018, 07:07:01 PM »
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  • My initial release of 1.9 had a showstopper bug in it, wouldn't even run.  To the 5 people who downloaded it, sorry!  It's fixed now, just redownload.

    Offline bvanevery

    Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
    « Reply #44 on: June 17, 2018, 01:16:34 AM »
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  • I'm in a major land war with Sparta.  We started far enough apart that I was able to build a substantial empire before we made contact and Santiago became hostile.

    Sparta arrived in force, but I had built a decent empire and there was a lot of land and fungus between us.  I took some unit losses, which the Believers can certainly afford, and never really had my cities seriously threatened.  This was however contingent upon playing correctly, and also gaining Advanced Military Algorithms from the Cyborgs.  Sopoforic gas pods are awfully useful against the Spartans.  I cut down some of the initial assault with 4-1-1 gas units.  They also brought a lot of artillery though, which took longer to clear, and was almost a threat.  Eventually I got smart and countered with a lot of cheap Recon Rovers.

    While Sparta was attacking me, it lost at least one base to the Hive, maybe more.  In fact, it was the one sea port they had on our lake, so I got to infiltrate and steal from the Hive.  I'm glad the Hive did ok against Sparta, because I was worried that they wouldn't.  It seems that Sparta is not the supreme land force after all, at least if a human player is well prepared and using up some of Sparta's productivity.

    The Cyborgs took some Usurper bases, proving that at least in some circumstances, they can be their equal.  That is good as well.  I was intending for the Alien factions to be closer in power to normal factions, and I may have succeeded.  I never bothered to reveal the map to find out exactly what everyone started with.  I honestly don't exactly care, as long as it isn't always the same factions trouncing everyone else.  Bad starts equal out for all, I figure.

    After beating off the big Spartan assault, I came to a point of internal stagnation though.  The Cyborg largess for selling me techs dried up, and they went to war with me.  They were sufficiently far away that pushing foil probe teams to them was a PITA.  In fact I never managed it before I quit.  That was a historical weakness of the classical Believer faction: they were supposed to steal things.  Not much of a plan on an Enormous map, where it's often going to be too tedious for a human player to even get to another faction.

    I thought the Believers had a really straightforward and useful strategy until bases get to be about size 5 or 6.  Garrison everything, lotsa Formers, work the land.  Problem is, then the land becomes sufficiently worked, assuming you don't have advanced terraforming options.  Which you aren't likely to have, because other factions research techs long before you do.  The Believers aren't that great on an Enormous map if you don't have someone next door to trounce.  The Spartans were near enough to me for the AI to be willing to attack, but trying to return the favor, there was quite a bit of land and fungus in the way.  It's almost like one-way access of tedium; the AI doesn't get tired as easily as I do.  I mean, I'd already hand worked a large land empire with a bunch of tiles, now I"ve gotta get through fungus and light enemy resistance just to invade?  It was a groaner.

    Buttoning up and developing internally would have been a good idea.  Except the Believers aren't really suited for it.  They've got the support for all the terraforming, but that was done already.  With the +1 Police for Fundamentalism, it's tempting to slide along with that path of development.  The problem is, you arrive at a point where you feel you need the +2 for Police State.  And then your economy suffers.  Yeah sure so you go Free Market, but then your Police suffers.  Then you go Democratic and forget that it toasts your Police, so you end up having to play that turn over.  It all felt pretty uncomfortable with no clear way to go.  So I quit.

    In a future game, I'd probably know more in advance how all the social engineering choices work, and what kind of techs are going to be key to me surviving in isolation.  Just setting it to Conquer and forgetting about it isn't good enough with the Believers.

    I'm questioning my treatment of the Cultists, making them Fundamentalist "like the Believers".  I'm not entirely convinced that factions can handle being Fundamentalists, and I've yet to see the Cultists do a good job no matter what settings I give them.  It's just not clear to me what they should be doing to survive and thrive.  I don't think marching mindworms all over the map really helps a faction.  Deirde seems to prosper just fine, because she builds lotsa useful things and does research.  I'm not sure if the Cultists have an AI specific to it, but it plays pretty poorly.

     

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