Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 38387 times)

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Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #225 on: November 20, 2018, 11:24:45 PM »
I would just ditch the Believer research penalty and put her compulsion to fundamentalist back. Its -1 Research not -2 and its not that bad.
I buffed Fundamentalist by removing the support for growth. If you need to get rid of one of Miriam's buffs just get rid of the probe it never made any sense anyway.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #226 on: November 21, 2018, 02:11:48 AM »
Nah, I'm going for the Christian, not Fundamentalist interpretation of the Believers.  No more compulsion to be Fundamentalist at all.  I'm removing their Fanatic attack bonus.  I'm changing their personality from Aggressive to Erratic.  NODRONE, 1 bonus because faith in God makes people happy.  And of course, no more RESEARCH penalty.

I'm changing dialogue in believe.txt that describes them as inherently fanatic or fundamentalist, to something else.  Some of the insults will still have that flavor, just as Deidre gets called a nature loony.  But Miriam's designation will no longer be "The Fundamentalist".  It will be "The Christian".

Let everyone who plays the game, contemplate what it means to believe in God in this future.  Isn't it interesting, that if you take the "Church Chat Lady" dialogue away from the .txt files, that Miriam is actually a rather nuanced character?  None of the Secret Project videos communicate basic hostility, lack of sympathy, or one-dimensionality to a Christian point of view.  A person may not believe or agree with what Miriam says, but it isn't put on any lesser footing than, say, Yang's or Zhakarov's atheism.  The Christian philosophy is one of the philosophies thrown into the big hat of this universe.

The game starts with Miriam.  She friggin' teaches you High Energy Chemistry.

In general, I've noticed the diplomatic dialgoue has cartoonishness for various factions.  One-dimensionality, shrillness.  Consider Santiago's "right wing lunacy" for instance.  I wonder if all that stuff was done earlier in development?  The writing may have become more nuanced as time went on, but they may not have wanted to change what that had already written.  The Believers may not be the only dialogue I edit.

It may also be, Miriam's role was simply positional.  In the original game, there were 7 factions.  In the expanded game, there were 14.  Cha Dawn wasn't interpreted as a Fundamentalist religious leader, even though he obviously is one.  So now, I have the Cult of Planet taking up the role that the Believers had.  That leaves the Believers room to be something else.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #227 on: November 21, 2018, 01:01:35 PM »
So Growth, Economy and NoDrone. Interesting. Make it so she expands her territory like crazy. "Be fruitful and multiply."
Honestly I always thought Miriam was the wisest out of all the faction leaders. Now that you mention it.
The polarization of all the factions was done on purpose I think. Just to make all the factions despise one another most of the time.
Just on another note I sometimes like to relabel Fundamentalism something else. I was thinking "Traditionalist" something that could mean
many things but basically growth and stability at the cost of slower progress. Without a police state. Something in between Democracy and Police state.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #228 on: November 21, 2018, 02:42:40 PM »
The Believers still retain their Explore, Conquer focus.  Explore does seem to cause the AI to expand more than other options do.

I can't think of a better term than Fundamentalist, so much better that it's worth changing what an experienced player is familiar with.  I didn't come up with any greatly new category of what it's supposed to mean.  I did create a near equivalence, that Police State and Fundamentalist are very similar to each other.  Other games have used the term Theocratic, but that's less inclusive than Fundamentalist.  I've always figured that Lal is Fundamentalist about obeying U.N. bureaucratese, not that the Peacekeepers get a religion if they go Fundamentalist.  The Aliens don't worship a god either if they go that way, they're just even more wound up about the ideologies their factions already have.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #229 on: November 22, 2018, 03:30:53 AM »
The Problem is the Believers without thier fanatic bonus will probably get destroyed.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #230 on: November 22, 2018, 05:18:59 AM »
The Problem is the Believers without thier fanatic bonus will probably get destroyed.

Gonna quote my own release notes in response to that.

Quote
I began this mod in mid-April of 2018.  Its design, and all the playtesting needed to improve it, have taken 4 PERSON MONTHS of full time work to produce.  In some other universe where I made money, that could have been a third of a year's salary!  This mod aspires to professionalism, to be substantially better than the original game.

The next release will be 1.26.  That's twenty seven releases, and a month of work before I even made the 1st release.  This is a verified and tested act of game development, not some random crapshoot about what will or won't work.  Every single faction has what it has at this point, because it works.  At least, it works in my testing, under the conditions I designed things for.

Even with the changes I've made for 1.26, the AI may choose Fundamentalist for the Believers.  I've found that my version of Fundamentalist is a very popular choice for the AI.  Many factions do it at some point.  I'm not clear on what the effects will be on the Believers, as I haven't done the testing yet.  But the main key to Believer strength is probably the Explore focus.  It's possible that Aggressive might prove more important than I thought, but neither of these have anything to do with choosing Fundamentalist.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #231 on: November 22, 2018, 09:42:22 AM »
I meant no offense. I must admit I am impressed with your mod. I think the biggest factor in the success of a faction is how aggressive it is honestly.
One thing I noticed is if you start out on a continent by yourself the AI goes nuts. As in start playing like its iron man or a level higher at least.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #232 on: November 22, 2018, 12:45:44 PM »
I've only ever tested on Transcend, so there is no level higher than that.  I'm not sure I've ever played Iron Man.  Does it do anything other than limit your ability to save and reload the game?  Anyways I could not design around that.  Changes have to be in accord with the usual way people play the game.

I've seen some factions improve for being made Aggressive.  I think it's appropriate when a faction should be making war, like the Spartans or the Usurpers.  When the Believers had a fanatic attack bonus, it made sense for them too.  However I've also seen Aggressive not be helpful for a faction, not playing to its developmental strengths.

It can also be damn annoying for a player.  For instance, I'd never give Aggressive to a prolific RESEARCH faction because they're gonna get Planet Busters and use them on you.  Had the Cybernetic Consciousness as Aggressive at one point in my modding and that's exactly what they did to me.  Hadn't committed any atrocities on them!  Aggressive factions are nuke hurlers.

Explore focus is a big factor in how well factions do.  They tend to make much bigger empires.  It's as though that research focus has code that triggers empire expansion, and other foci don't.  For instance, the University performs much better with an Explore, Discover focus than just a pure Discover focus.  Even though I have their personality as Passive.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #233 on: November 22, 2018, 04:50:40 PM »
I think it was the base game and not your mod actually. Its just one of those quirks in Alpha Centauri.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #234 on: November 24, 2018, 08:00:41 AM »
Played a test game on a Huge map with myself as the Gaians.  Had the new Believers as a neighbor.  At first it was weird not having them be so violent, or in my face about my politics.  However they spread like the Dickens.  I noticed they went Fundamentalist at first.  They got around to threatening me, but I immediately trashed 2 of their cities with mindworms.  I agreed to a Truce even though I could get more stuff from them, and then signed a Treaty.  A bit later I noticed they had switched to Democratic Simple Wealth.  The Believers were rated as the most powerful faction in the game on the graph.  However if I had gotten serious with a mindworm offensive, I think I would have completely trashed them.  I almost wonder if the Gaian +20% PSI bonus is too strong.

The Morganites were the other neighbor on the main continent.  They were my ally, although they kept complaining because I went Green.  The Believers did attack them, but I asked the Believers to call off the offensive.  The Believers didn't have animosity with the Hive or the Peacekeepers, because they don't insist on any particular Politics.  Neither of those factions was as powerful because they didn't get as good a land start as the Believers and the Morganites did.  Still, I think they were geographically positioned to survive for awhile.

I didn't bother to find out, I'd had enough of that game.  Provisionally, the new Believers seem to be ok.  I won't kick 1.26 out the door yet though, because people are still downloading 1.25.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #235 on: November 24, 2018, 08:19:59 AM »
The Gaian's are probably the second most powerful faction behind the Morganites in my opinion. I think the Psi attack bonus is unnecessary.
Heres a silly question what exactly does the tree farm actually do? Does it just buff forests? Or does it have some other effect?
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 12:03:53 PM by vonbach »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #236 on: November 24, 2018, 03:37:05 PM »
The Gaian's are probably the second most powerful faction behind the Morganites in my opinion.

Well neither of these have ever won the AI wars!  Usually the Usurpers destroy everyone on land.  The Spartans were also doing that for awhile but I'm not sure about lately.  Meanwhile, my version of the Pirates are clearly better than either the Gaians or the Morganites, as far as getting into the future is concerned.

Quote
I think the Psi attack bonus is unnecessary.

I didn't want them to always be inferior to the Cult of Planet.

Quote
Heres a silly question what exactly does the tree farm actually do? Does it just buff forests? Or does it have some other effect?

It increases food production in forests, lowers eco-damage, and provides a 50% PSYCH bonus to the base.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #237 on: November 24, 2018, 05:18:49 PM »
Quote
Well neither of these have ever won the AI wars!  Usually the Usurpers destroy everyone on land.  The Spartans were also doing that for awhile but I'm not sure about lately.  Meanwhile, my version of the Pirates are clearly better than either the Gaians or the Morganites, as far as getting into the future is concerned.
The Pirates will always dominate just because of water starts. I avoid playing them just because its too easy.
Quote
I didn't want them to always be inferior to the Cult of Planet.

Interesting. I would think the efficiency alone would make them superior. The problem is the psi bonus is either too much or would get them in trouble if removed. Maybe dropping it might be in order. It seemed overpowered in my hands and the Gaian's always do well in my games. The cult of planet or aliens is one thing i never play with. I always mod out the aliens.

Quote
It increases food production in forests, lowers eco-damage, and provides a 50% PSYCH bonus to the base.
Thanks! I've experimented with giving factions a Tree Farms just so i can do my "forest and forget" terraforming from the start sometimes.
I'm playing my first long game right now with a personal faction +2 efficiency +1 research and fanatic.  Doing the land bridge of doom right now.
One thing I do like a lot about your mod is short of modding in immunities (something I dislike doing) there are no easy choices in the social engineering tree.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #238 on: November 24, 2018, 09:13:16 PM »
Quote
I didn't want them to always be inferior to the Cult of Planet.

Interesting. I would think the efficiency alone would make them superior.

Nope.  Efficiency isn't a significant attribute for who's going to dominate.  All that Efficiency did in the original game, is enable a faction to pay for things that are inefficient.  Like the Gaians or the Cyborgs paying to have a Police State.  In my mod there are no -2 EFFIC penalties, it's always -1 EFFIC -1 ECONOMY, so having a pile of Efficiency isn't even that helpful.  I think the AI probably doesn't even suffer all that much from EFFIC penalties anyways, since they're so jacked up with bonuses from Transcend.

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The problem is the psi bonus is either too much or would get them in trouble if removed. Maybe dropping it might be in order. It seemed overpowered in my hands and the Gaian's always do well in my games. The cult of planet or aliens is one thing i never play with. I always mod out the aliens.

A human player can always do well with pretty much any faction.  The question is what the AI can do well with.  I'm not sure if the Gaian PSI bonus is helpful in that regard or not.  I used to think so, but I don't know about now.  Changing settings around tends to change who's dominant or not.  I suppose now I should test with the Gaians played by the AI to see how they do.  Perhaps turn the PSI bonus off and see what happens.

Actually, I know what I'm going to do.  Ditch the PSI bonus.  Give them free Biology Labs instead.

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Thanks! I've experimented with giving factions a Tree Farms just so i can do my "forest and forget" terraforming from the start sometimes.

All factions or just 1 faction?  All factions would be similar to modding the terrain so that forests output 2 food.  Which would pretty much make it the One True Terrain Type, whoever has the most forest wins.  1 faction, well I certainly wouldn't give them any other bonuses if they got a free Tree Farm, and they might need some penalties.

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Doing the land bridge of doom right now.

How many of those have I built...

Quote
One thing I do like a lot about your mod is short of modding in immunities (something I dislike doing) there are no easy choices in the social engineering tree.

Yeah that's mostly a consequence of the uniform "3 benefits, 2 penalties" regime plus some balancing over time.

I've found there's a negative consequence to making the Believers have no Politics preference.  You never hear Miriam's Bible thumping dialogue.  I find I don't like that.  It makes her character more bland.

I do, however, however, favor the idea of the Believers having no inherent RESEARCH penalty just for being Christian.  And I like my removal of references to assumed extremism.  I'm going to make it so that you get "Believers as usual" if they go Fundamentalist, but not otherwise.  Fundamentalist will carry a -2 RESEARCH penalty instead of -1 RESEARCH -1 ECONOMY.  As you said, no easy choices.  I'm going to take away their Fanatic attack bonus, and also make them Erratic rather than Aggressive.  They will get a NODRONE, 1 bonus.  So if a human player wants to go Democratic, they can, and all the dialogue will be in character for that.  I prefer the message that you choose what to do with religion, that religion isn't inherently one dimensional.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 09:29:14 PM by bvanevery »

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #239 on: November 24, 2018, 09:25:45 PM »
Quote
All factions or just 1 faction?  All factions would be similar to modding the terrain so that forests output 2 food.  Which would pretty much make it the One True Terrain Type, whoever has the most forest wins.  1 faction, well I certainly wouldn't give them any other bonuses if they got a free Tree Farm, and they might need some penalties.

Just mine. Honestly I just like to plant forests everywhere. Even with the free tree farm it wasn't that bad. It might help with food and production but not with energy.

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How many of those have I built...

I've been playing on my slightly modified planet map. I subdued the Gaian's and invaded the continent to the right and forced a pact with the Feminine Union (Brittany Spears faction) and have a treaty with the Valhallans for now. The peacekeepers are untouched for now.

Quote
I've found there's a negative consequence to making the Believers have no Politics preference.  You never hear Miriam's Bible thumping dialogue.  I find I don't like that.  It makes her character more bland.

Thats the one problem, I'm so used to the Believers being so aggressive I cant imagine them any other way.

 

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