Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 38385 times)

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Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #165 on: October 18, 2018, 02:03:14 AM »
The game is significantly harder, at least it seems to be.

That of course was intended, but it's good to hear it's actually happening for someone else, and isn't just my own perceptual bias from having slogged at the thing.

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The Moraganites are now a very powerful faction.

Yes, maybe not among the strongest factions in the game, but strong in the 2nd tier.  They aren't crippled by any lack of SUPPORT anymore, they don't have base size restrictions, and they get +2 ECONOMY not just +1.  Also, Free Market doesn't tie anyone's hands just by itself, so Morgan is perfectly free to make war if he wants.  Although, he is still Passive so it's not the 1st thing he goes for.  I think the only downside is the AI for the most part doesn't know how to use spare cash.

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Probe teams are very annoying and the AI seems to be better with their use.

Hm, I actually think there's a lot less probe team activity than there used to be.  I took out all of the probe SE bonuses except for Thought Control.  I believe the AI decides that probe teams aren't superpowered, so doesn't make nearly so many of them, or use them as much.  On the other hand, I habitually play on Huge maps or larger, so it could be an artifact of my map choice.  What size map are you playing on?

I did of course give the AI foil probe teams, and those get used.  Yes, you'll lose a few sea bases, even at great distances on an Enormous map, because the AI is pesky that way.  But it's also an opportunity to infiltrate and steal from a distant enemy that otherwise you wouldn't get to on an Enormous map so easily.

The intent of the ECM 3-Pulse probe team is for the AI to use them defensively, but I'm not yet sure if they really get used that way or not.  The Cruiser Submarine probe teams do get used, but I'm not sure how much because they haven't been around all that long.

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The early game actually feels early and feels like I'm going something other than waiting
to the same old techs. Overall I like the changes so far its a new fresh take on an old game.

Happy to oblige!  I made it a policy to push any "feature" earlier in the tech tree that wasn't obviously and compellingly advantageous.  So, you don't have to wait around forever to get Fungicidal Tanks, or mag tubes, things like that.  The open question is whether earlier Hovertanks breaks the game or not.  I haven't played enough games to know yet.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #166 on: October 18, 2018, 01:15:44 PM »
I'm probably going to play with the Drones next or try Gaian's. One thing I've never tried is fungus farming.
I typically play on my own maps either Earth or Venus. Large or huge I believe. I stopped playing on non custom maps because I got
sick of seeing factions with three bases sitting on a tiny island. I noticed the AI seems to have no difficulties there
it simply builds sea bases. The probe teams aren't spammed like they used to be but the AI seems smarter with their
use. The sea probes they seem to enjoy playing with.
The Government and economy choices is one of the best features. It actually seems far more balanced.
Just as an aside if you were going to give an equivalent bonus to the + fugal nutrient what would it be?
I like to make my own factions and modify some others.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 01:56:02 PM by vonbach »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #167 on: October 18, 2018, 02:36:28 PM »
I stopped playing on non custom maps because I got sick of seeing factions with three bases sitting on a tiny island.

I fixed the pathological 1x1 island starts up through Enormous map size.  Giant maps could still have that problem.

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I noticed the AI seems to have no difficulties there it simply builds sea bases.

I wouldn't say "no" difficulties, in that an island start can still put an AI behind the growth curve.  But it's far less of an impediment because Doctrine: Flexibility is a C1 tech.  The only way I could do better than that, would be to give away ships at the beginning of the game.  Due to Workshop abuse I don't think it's possible to give away non-combat ships and not give combat ships. 

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The probe teams aren't spammed like they used to be but the AI seems smarter with their
use. The sea probes they seem to enjoy playing with.

Heh, whatever makes the AI happy. 

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The Government and economy choices is one of the best features. It actually seems far more balanced.

Yeah, after all those design iterations, I think that one's a big win!  The ultimate principles ended up being "give the same number of bonuses and penalties for nearly everything," "give +1 instead of +2 whenever reasonable", "penalize -1 and -1 in 2 categories instead of -2 in 1 category," "SUPPORT is earned", "PROBE sucks", and "Police State and Fundamentalist have been nearly the same thing in all real world governments."

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Just as an aside if you were going to give an equivalent bonus to the + fugal nutrient what would it be?
I like to make my own factions and modify some others.

I'm confused.  The only thing equivalent to the FUNGNUTRIENT, 1 that the Gaians get, is exactly that.  Yes you can give FUNGMINERALS or FUNGENERGY, but I predict those will be severely unbalancing.  My evidence is the new Passive, Wealth focused Pirates are arguably the strongest faction in the game now, and that's largely due to their +1 Minerals on every sea square bonus.  I never found a need to give the Pirates any bonuses, I merely removed their penalties and changed their AI behavior and politics.  When they make good use of what they've got, which is pretty much an infinite ocean of defense, they do ridiculously well!

It should be noted that everyone unlocks additional fungal nutrients in the course of any game, even the original unmodded.  In my mod however, this happens fairly early.  E2 Centauri Empathy and E3 Centauri Genetics are the techs that give more fungal food.  Whereas in the original game it's E3 Centauri Empathy and E8 Centauri Psi.  I unlocked the food earlier on the basis that fungal food is not all that exciting.  AFAICT it's not basically useful and is no substitute for proper land development, it'll just keep you from starving in some cases.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #168 on: October 18, 2018, 07:25:05 PM »
Quote
I'm confused.  The only thing equivalent to the FUNGNUTRIENT, 1 that the Gaians get, is exactly that.  Yes you can give FUNGMINERALS or FUNGENERGY, but I predict those will be severely unbalancing.  My evidence is the new Passive, Wealth focused Pirates are arguably the strongest faction in the game now, and that's largely due to their +1 Minerals on every sea square bonus.  I never found a need to give the Pirates any bonuses, I merely removed their penalties and changed their AI behavior and politics.  When they make good use of what they've got, which is pretty much an infinite ocean of defense, they do ridiculously well!

It should be noted that everyone unlocks additional fungal nutrients in the course of any game, even the original unmodded.  In my mod however, this happens fairly early.  E2 Centauri Empathy and E3 Centauri Genetics are the techs that give more fungal food.  Whereas in the original game it's E3 Centauri Empathy and E8 Centauri Psi.  I unlocked the food earlier on the basis that fungal food is not all that exciting.  AFAICT it's not basically useful and is no substitute for proper land development, it'll just keep you from starving in some cases.

I was more curious what you thought an equivalent tier bonus would be. Like maybe giving them something else instead.
The pirates always were very strong simply because of the ocean start. I'd like to go and rename their cities just because
I always found their base names stupid.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #169 on: October 19, 2018, 03:24:51 AM »
I was more curious what you thought an equivalent tier bonus would be. Like maybe giving them something else instead.

I think the Gaian FUNGNUTRIENT bonus is probably inconsequential.  That said, I've never played the Gaians with "farming the fungus" in mind.  I'm not convinced that growing and food is particularly important, aside from the obvious act of spreading enough at the beginning to have enough cities.  Eventually you get enough tech to make enough food and enough people happy.  Before then, you settle where the best resources are, and not elsewhere.  Fungus really doesn't start to do anyone any good until mid to late game, when there might be some minerals and energy for the trouble.  Any empire worth its salt will long have since settled into a pattern of land profitability before then.  I'm not even sure it's icing on a cake, I think the cake is elsewhere and wholly different.

So in short, I'm cynical enough to think an equivalent bonus, would be to give someone nothing at all.  But if someone has managed to invent a very specific play style to somehow exploit Gaian food in a way I haven't thought of, well ok, I guess school on that.  For the rest of us, I think this is pointless thematic stuff.

You could experiment with giving large FUNGNUTRIENT bonuses, to see what happens.  Like perhaps an Alien faction that finds the fungus quite tasty?

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The pirates always were very strong simply because of the ocean start. I'd like to go and rename their cities just because I always found their base names stupid.

I hate Svensgaard; in particular, his voice acting is awful.  He sounds like a pretty boy wearing a sweater.  Not a pirate, and not like an intellectual Captain Nemo character either.  Also his lines aren't all that good, the subject matter is ok, but the lines are a bit dumb.

It remains to be seen if I ever have the energy to redo any of that.  I have to be careful about what I spend my energy on now.  For instance, I work on two 10 year old laptops.  One of them blew up 2 days ago, something wrong with the screen hardware I think.  I've ordered a used ccfl inverter for a pittance on ebay, hoping that might be the problem, and only out a few bucks if it isn't.  I've got stupid things in my life to contend with like that.  Gotta prioritize.

But Svensgaard and Cha Dawn totally bug me.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #170 on: October 19, 2018, 12:54:38 PM »
Quote
I think the Gaian FUNGNUTRIENT bonus is probably inconsequential. 
There is a specific strategy involved but I've never tried it. The problem is it takes place even later than full forest.
Forests and farms are just easier. Not to mention they look better.
I like the idea of using mind worms but its almost easier to simply build your own. The problem is leveling them.
I'm not sure you even need to have +planet at all.
I've thought about making an alternate base list for the pirates but have never gotten around to it.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #171 on: October 19, 2018, 01:29:26 PM »
+PLANET gives Psi combat bonus though, something I only clued into and applied recently.  If you intend to make war with mindworms as your primary weapons, you want to be pro-PLANET, preferably +3. 

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #172 on: October 19, 2018, 01:37:22 PM »
Thanks for that one.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #173 on: October 19, 2018, 07:02:36 PM »
I just realized that the Pirates have a longstanding bug in their documentation.  Says they get +1 PROBE and -1 GROWTH, when they get neither.  So there will be a 1.23 release, but I won't do it until Oct. 23rd, to keep from driving people nuts.  See if anything pops up between now and then.

I could do the Fission, Fusion, Quantum, Singularity engine scaling idea.  They would be sized 3, 4, 5, and 6, so that a Singularity engine is merely double the power of a Fission engine.  All sorts of armor and weapon costs would have to be redone to make this work.  Oops, just realized a fatal flaw: the blast radius of a nuke would become as large as the reactor size!  Darn, it otherwise seems like a good idea.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #174 on: October 20, 2018, 03:30:30 AM »
Maybe I could think up some new base names for you. Maybe some generic sea military ones?
Or maybe some Viking and Norwegian themed ones.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #175 on: October 20, 2018, 04:08:32 AM »
Actually these new Pirates are oriented towards Wealth, not conquest.  I'm not the only one who thought it was sorta pointless to have them as "the Spartans of the sea".  Svensgaard isn't even slightly convincing as a military leader.  Not that Santiago is all that great shakes either, but at least she has lines that make you think she could be a military leader, with a lot of hand waving.

I'm not in favor of riffing on Svensgaard being Nordic, because this is the far future, such distinctions don't matter that much to the human race anymore, and factions in SMAC are separated by ideology not nationality.  What I would like, is for the Pirates to come across as the kind of people who like a big freaking treasure chest of gold.  They like easy targets, not warfare.  They are indifferent to Economics, they care about Wealth.




Offline Vidsek

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #176 on: October 20, 2018, 06:39:19 PM »
    I'm with you both on the base names and other "color" aspects of the factions.  In the files I actually use in my games I've done quite a bit of renaming, as well as changing titles, terms, comments that come up in diplomacy, and so on.
The original ones were thought up by (I assume) tech nerds somewhat lacking in the fields of history, sociology, anthropology, (and English studies), who relied overmuch on the topics and stereotypes current in the 1990's.

  I'd be happy to share the few I'm sorta pleased with, and explain the guiding concepts and attempts at humor.

  It's a fun pastime for when it's raining outside and you're bored with the usual distractions.  Plus, getting a good take on modeling, say, Yang's 'color' on North Korea/Mao's China or the Drones' on the labor/union struggles of the early 1900's, can lead you into researching some interesting parts of history that have real value in understanding our world as it is today.

   Oh yeh, a while ago there was some talk about voice acting for custom factions in these forums.  I don't know where that stands as of today or what it would take to do it yourself.  Another fun diversion for a rainy day, perhaps.
All this talk of fungus and worms makes me hungry...

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #177 on: October 20, 2018, 08:12:38 PM »
   Oh yeh, a while ago there was some talk about voice acting for custom factions in these forums.

It wasn't that long ago.  But I have a serious money barrier for buying decent recording equipment.  Consequently, I'm currently trying to get a simple mono Logitech USB mike into shape.  With that, I can at least work on the acting part of voice acting.  But it may not be adequate for producing a final cut of acceptable quality.

Aside from other fires of Life I find myself putting out, my laptop speakers are buzzing when certain sounds are played.  It might be a problem precipitated by a Windows 10 update.  I am investigating.
 

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #178 on: October 22, 2018, 11:27:52 AM »
Reverting to an earlier Windows 10 fixed the buzzing, thereby proving that Microsoft's April 2018 release was at fault.  I will wait another 6 months before trying to deal with that again.  Maybe by then the October 2018 release will be stable, and will have fixed what they broke in April.

I played a game as the Hive against random opponents.  I kept the default Explore, Conquer focus to see how it goes.  I played on a Huge map and made a big empire.  I eventually colonized a distant, fungus infested Monsoon Jungle.  I made it to midgame before getting utterly bored with all the administration.  I quit at 6 AM.  I don't think I need to worry about Hovertanks breaking anything, because I didn't manage to research them.  My opponents had only gotten Secrets of the Human Brain, which in my mod is done instead of Cyberethics.  It was a really slow research game.

I did Police State Free Market for quite awhile.  Once I got Industrial Economics, I switched to Police State Green Wealth, so as not to take a POLICE penalty.  Both of these resulted in +2 ECONOMY.  I ended up occupying the "Morganite" niche of the game, because there weren't any strong economic factions.  The Drones could have been, but they got a lackluster start and got bottled up by the Peacekeepers.  Maybe they shouldn't be Passive.

The Aliens got creamed.  The Caretakers had a stillborn start, got stuck behind Cha Dawn and never really expanded.  The Usurpers expanded fine, but surprisingly, Cha Dawn was beating on them when I quit.  Cities were changing hands but I think the Cultists were giving better than they got.  I guess they're tough!

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #179 on: October 22, 2018, 04:05:49 PM »
Merged yours with Yutzi's. Works without errors so far. Analyzing your weapon and armor progression. Here are my thoughts.

Overall much better than vanilla but still curious why you don't use a smooth numeric progression when you could. Like in weapons you have 2,4. It's a 100% jump. You could use smoother progression 2,3,4. For the same purpose you could modify values for special weapons like R-Laser and R-Bolt to occupy free spots instead of just repeating same values. It would add some variability. Like you may give them weaker basic rating in lieu of special power that makes them stronger against psi. Same story with armor. Look at 5,8,10 progression. Your second step is smaller than first one. Not that such small differences are critical but still.
Regarding keeping 1:1 ratio. I've analyzed technology research index and your progression seems more or less keeping to that on all path except first quarter of the research path when you have armor 3 for quite a long time while you already have weapon 5 and it takes some time until armor catches with weapon at 8 both.

Regarding accelerating progression. This is a mistake they did in Civ 2 and repeated in SMAC. With increasing reactor strength and number of HPs the winning odds tilt to the stronger unit even stronger. With the same rate of proportional difference in faction developments their absolute difference grow bigger and so is the technological difference. With increasing reactor power and accelerated weapon progression this technological race gives stronger faction relatively more and more powerful units. That pretty soon makes stronger army unstoppable regardless of all possible defensive measure weaker side can apply. Game turns into cakewalk. I guessed this is what you are trying to avoid. Vanilla game breaks around 50-100 turn. With your adjusted weapon to armor ratio it breaks around 200-250. That is an improvement but you can do better.
How to fix this inevitable breakage? I see these possibilities.
# Disable healing.
# Disable reactor progression.
# Decelerate weapon and armor progression.
# Make armor progress faster than weapon.
Out of these former two are pretty difficult exe modding. Latter two are easily implementable in txt. It seems kinda counter intuitive from RPG game style where you need to accelerate your growth to fight tougher and tougher monster. In strategical game it is fine. Especially if you remember that by decelerating the progression you are actually compensate for reactor boost. Reactors alone increase unit strength 4-fold to the end of the game. If you despise decelerating progression you can keep it more or less linear. That's fine as long as you also make armor grow a little bit faster. That account for the fact that more advanced faction tend to attack. So this reversed ratio will keep it in check. Besides, SMAC somehow manage to increase overall level of aggression toward the end of the game turning it into total war. Reversed weapon to armor ratio will keep weaker factions from quick total annihilation maintaining overall game power balance.

See attachment chart on your weapon-armor progression by average technology sequence index. That is how soon it is expected to be discovered providing you have no research preferences and you discover technologies at about same speed all the time.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 05:41:35 PM by tnevolin »
Tim

 

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