Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 38573 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #285 on: December 14, 2018, 09:26:37 PM »
Quote
So, what is your play style when this occurs?  Faction, tendencies in your strategy, what the competition is up to, etc.

Same as it always is be fruitful and multiply.  I build cities until I can fill the map. I'm playing on mid tier difficulty until as I test/play with the mod.
The factions generally don't do that bad. But I'm always quite a bit ahead of the AI factions as far as power. Oddly enough It was the same city.

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Librarian
  • *
  • Posts: 3624
  • €3014
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #286 on: December 15, 2018, 06:01:40 AM »
I build cities until I can fill the map.

Well that's a big difference between your play style and my current play style.  Back when I was getting asteroid hits, I was playing on much bigger maps and probably building a lot more cities.  I suspect that if you've got cities in excess of some number, the game decides you can afford to have one blasted to smithereens.  Which personally I don't think is much fun, as the new Crater minerals bonuses are usually not worth as much as the facilities destroyed.

Lately I just tend to follow a combo of Bureaucracy and technology curves.  When I get a Bureaucracy warning, I go more vertical.  I get my cities up to some point of happiness.  Then I go for some social choice that gives me more EFFICiency.  Then I expand until I get a Bureaucracy warning again.  Tech keeps going and typically I've got a bunch of things to build in that regard by then.  I'm usually ahead of the AIs but not always.  If I get big enough, my next expansion is going to be by conquering a neighbor, not by building any of my own cities.  And I don't like to conquer neighbors unless they have bases that are "worth something", like they have a Secret Project in them.


Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #287 on: December 15, 2018, 11:07:27 AM »
Thanks. I tried a smaller map and the AI is much better behaved. The AI apparently doesn't react well to me playing on my extra large Inverted earth map.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #288 on: December 22, 2018, 04:48:04 PM »
Sigh, this mod is just becoming too hard. Every time I try to attack a base its always "the odds are strongly against this attack."
You either have to go pure research just to get the tech or go pure war just to have a chance.
Trying the pirates this time.

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Librarian
  • *
  • Posts: 3624
  • €3014
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #289 on: December 22, 2018, 06:30:42 PM »
If your difficulties stem from the AI spreading better and building more cities to produce more stuff, that's by design.  It's called "AI Growth mod".  If that's not the difficulty, then here are some thoughts.

Remember that Huge is the recommended map size, not Standard.  The AIs need the room to become an effective challenge, and you often need the room as well.  If you're "locked in a small room" with a deadly enemy at the beginning, unable to expand, you're likely to have a miserable time.  Unless you're rather good at every single detail of this game and don't really need any kind of advice on how to fight in any situation ever.  I think that kind of "crippled start, behind the 8-ball" is tedious as all get, so I tell people to play on Huge maps.  You're really not supposed to be forced into conflict on a Huge map.  Worst case, you might need to garrison some border cities so the enemy bounces.  Set up kill zones to wipe out hordes of incoming units all at once, that sort of thing.

You are going to need to destroy enemy Sensor Arrays now.  You can blame Tim for that one, although I took his idea and ran with it.  Sensor Arrays have serious value for defense.  I have tested this a lot and I think it's a good improvement to the game.  I'll put a note in the Design Summary about this new reality.  Don't know that people read the top of this thread, or my readme_mod.txt, but at least it'll be there if someone starts digging.

"Defense is too strong" is possible, but I haven't observed it lately.  My typical play style is to invade by rails, building them right up to the door of a victim city in 1 turn, then hitting it with unarmored infantry, which gets the +25% vs. base bonus.  If you are insisting on building armored infantry for your assaults, then this style of combat may be too expensive for you, and thus ineffective.  I usually don't have a problem gaining enough of an offensive advantage to making this sort of thing work.  I don't rely on any kind of pure research approach to do it.

Remember that at some point, Soporific Gas Pods become available.  These can help you crack open a city that's garrisoned with trained defenders.  Sufficiently large artillery, done often enough, can also weaken a base's defenders.

Finally if you are really stuck, consider chemical weapons.  If you're worried about the mindworms punishing you, go to the Planetary Council and legalize the chemical weapons 1st.  There are no mindworm consequences when the UN Charter has been repealed.  Planet cares so much for the ways of humans!

I actually think mindworms are possibly overpowered in my mod now.  I find offense with them to be rather easy, and I'm wondering if I need to adjust it somehow.

Speeders are going to bounce on city walls.  That's by design.  You simply cannot rush well defended bases with speeders.  That only works against bases without a Perimeter Defense.  Probe teams can be used to destroy walls first.

When it is not possible to actually penetrate a city, making lots of cheap units, pillaging and shelling the enemy, and killing whatever they send into the open against you, are useful strategies.

I do not believe in taking over every base out there.  All that does is invite Bureaucracy penalties and create a mouseclicking burden for me, dealing with all the unhappness.  Distant conquered cities aren't worth anything compared to cities I build myself close to my capitol.  I take enemy cities when there's profit in it, like it contains a Secret Project.  I often only take 1 city form an enemy, then ask them for a Truce.  That's to get their attention so they leave me alone.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 06:51:08 PM by bvanevery »

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #290 on: December 22, 2018, 07:08:15 PM »
Infantry is my go to thing to crack open cities. The problem is that you need to be quite a bit ahead to be able to do so.
Especially if you play with random research as I always do. You end up with equal defense and attack strength and it simply becomes pointless.
Mindworms are nice but the AI builds trance units all over the place. Thats not good because worms  are often the only solution.
I'm trying an aquatic faction right now and its just an exercise in frustration.
I'm going back to normal factions.

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Librarian
  • *
  • Posts: 3624
  • €3014
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #291 on: December 22, 2018, 07:57:30 PM »
Infantry is my go to thing to crack open cities. The problem is that you need to be quite a bit ahead to be able to do so.

I don't agree.  If you're at parity, then you need artillery to soften the base up, and probe teams to destroy the Perimeter Defenses.  If you are slightly above parity, you don't need to do as much of that.  I've provided rails as a Tier 2 tech, so getting right up next to the base without getting wounded is not an issue.  Similarly, mindworms can attack a fungus connected base without issue.

If you don't have a good victim base in front of you, if the enemy has a strongpoint due to garrisoning and terrain, bypass it.  That's what real armies have to do, go tear the enemy up somewhere where they actually can.  I learned how to bypass in Freeciv, because that game was full of bitter little pills.    Walled cities on hilltops that you can't reduce until you get Cannons.  Building Catapults to take those out was economic suicide even if you could do it, and you often couldn't.

Quote
Especially if you play with random research as I always do.

For human factions, I consider turning on directed research to be cheating.  In my mental universe if you want to direct your research, play an Alien and take their disadvantages along with it.  If I were writing a game like this from scratch, I wouldn't even give the players an option to have such a baby choice.  I'd rebalance the tech tree, I'd make the blind aspects of research more balanced or whatever, but I wouldn't give the players the ability to say I want this, and this, and this and this and this.  This is not Oprah Winfrey.

Quote
Mindworms are nice but the AI builds trance units all over the place.

Trance or 3-Res?  3-Res are not tough enough to stop +PLANET mindworms.  Trance are though.  I made Trance 3-Res Garrisons as a predefined unit in 1.26 because I thought it was getting too easy to steamroller the AI when I have a +3 PLANET rating.  I didn't see the AI producing excessive numbers of the things.  Trance ability is not free in my mod, it costs 1.  Now Trance Scouts are pretty much getting it for free, but I haven't seen excessive numbers of Trance Scouts.  It used to be standard drill for the Aliens, but then I gave them Cloaking Device instead of Hypnotic Trance, so they don't do Trance Scouts much now.

Well if you are actually finding using mindworms to be a challenge, it tells me I should think twice about trying to nerf them again in 1.27.  I guess that's what playtesting is for!  My playtesting says they're overpowered, your playtesting is saying they're weak.  You do crank your PLANET high when going on a mindworm offensive, right?

It also makes me think that writing an AAR on how to crack bases in 1.27, might be a good idea.

Quote
I'm trying an aquatic faction right now and its just an exercise in frustration.
I'm going back to normal factions.

Ummm an Aquatic faction should be cake under any circumstances.  You've got this huge Minerals advantage over everyone else, on top of abundant food and energy.  You've got a moat, nobody is likely to make their life on the water the way you do.  My Pirates sit back and pursue Wealth when the AI is playing them, they have no inherent need to conquer anybody.  They become a huge threat that way, because it's not easy to dislodge them at all.  They spread out everywhere and are pretty much like "map cancer".  It's not worth taking their bases, because you won't gain the Minerals advantage that they do.

Please reveal to me why you're having problems with Pirates.  They're pretty easy even in the stock game, and my version of the Pirates doesn't have any faction penalties. making it even easier.  On top of that, I also made Foil and Cruiser chasses substantially cheaper than the base game.  It sounds like there's something way different about your play style or habits than what I would expect.

I can think of one serious weakness regarding life on the water nowadays.  The Foil Probe Teams.  Best plan is a solid Probe defense.  You can build Sensor Arrays on water too.  Sometimes you have to accept "easy come, easy go" with sea bases.  If they've mind controlled your base, well at least now they've made themselves easy to infiltrate and steal from.  They might have even done you a favor that way, if they were otherwise all the way across the map, too tedious to reach.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 08:14:40 PM by bvanevery »

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #292 on: December 22, 2018, 10:58:08 PM »
Quote
For human factions, I consider turning on directed research to be cheating.
Honestly so do I.

Quote
Trance or 3-Res?  3-Res are not tough enough to stop +PLANET mindworms.  Trance are though.  I made Trance 3-Res Garrisons as a predefined unit in 1.26 because I thought it was getting too easy to steamroller the AI when I have a +3 PLANET rating.
Both actually. I don't mind that much it makes it something of a challenge.
Quote
Ummm an Aquatic faction should be cake under any circumstances.  You've got this huge Minerals advantage over everyone else, on top of abundant food and energy.
Yes they should but for some reason I find the opposite. I get unlimited room to expand and for all that I can't get anywhere.

Quote
Please reveal to me why you're having problems with Pirates.  They're pretty easy even in the stock game, and my version of the Pirates doesn't have any faction penalties. making it even easier.  On top of that, I also made Foil and Cruiser chasses substantially cheaper than the base game.  It sounds like there's something way different about your play style or habits than what I would expect.
Honestly I'm not sure. Its like the game decides I'm playing with too much of an advantage and just throws stumbling blocks in my way.
The only thing I can think of is maybe the AI thinks I'm expanding too fast. I gave up in frustration twice early in the game.

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Librarian
  • *
  • Posts: 3624
  • €3014
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #293 on: December 23, 2018, 12:41:50 AM »
I get unlimited room to expand and for all that I can't get anywhere.

Let's assume you made a civ of sufficiently centralized density, that inefficiency and bloat in your empire is not a problem.

When I'm "not getting anywhere", I have usually suspected that the game itself is filled with a lot of base facility gewgaws, that are ultimately pointless.  That it's all a charade, that doling out all these seeming benefits to you as a human player, is just a smokescreen to keep you invested in the game.  Thinking you got "40 hours of entertainment" out of your game purchase or some such rubbish.

In the modern game development context, you would be right to suspect that games are deliberately designed this way.  There are known methods, and they generally fall under the rubric of "Skinner boxes".  It's a bit of a pushbutton moral issue in the game industry right now.  20 years ago though, I don't know that they deliberately designed anything this way, or sorta accidentally empirically arrived at it.  Could have been what titles were doing well, what game production and art delivery processes teams went though, etc.  More of an evolutionary walk, feeling their way towards "player investment, profits, and sales", rather than a deeply sinister application of human psychology.

I think playing on Transcend, on Huge maps or larger, makes these patterns of utter uselessness much more apparent.  I play a game like that, I do all the right things building my Tree Farms, Hybrid Forests, various Labs, etc.  And still it seems like I make no great profit, I don't get anywhere, other civs just get bigger.  Then I start to wonder how many egregious bonuses the AI gets, how artificial it all is.  I may scrap the game, start another one, and vow to be a lot more violent this time.  Because clearly, sitting back and building all the gewgaws you're supposed to, doesn't seem to work.

I have likened it to a giant game of Whack-A-Mole.  The idea that you should be building stuff in your cities, could be one big distraction.  You do that, the AI does that, the AI simply gets bigger and it just gets worse.

Very few people have ever tried cut down a 4X game.  Instead, each generation, more bloat is added.  It's the same logic as putting more check boxes on the back of a box, more marketing / publisher "tick points".  Oh, there are 80 facilities you can add, or whatever it actually is, goody!  Must be a better game!  Firaxis went the way of bloat in Civ IV.  They added 6 religions.  I knew then that they would never attempt to solve the problems of the genre.  They were the problem, and they'd continue to keep making these problems, in the name of most profits.  After playing Civ IV extensively, I destroyed my copy in anger.  I played the demo of Civ V and said, more of the same, not buying.

The short course on Skinner boxes is, make the payoff for player effort random.  A random reward, maximizes the amount of work that an organism will perform to get the award.  First demonstrated with B. F. Skinner's chickens.  A good example of such design in action, was item drops in Diablo II.  Every once in awhile, you get a rare, powerful item.  So players drive themselves nuts trying to get item drops over and over again.  Every single crate or jar will be smashed open.

Quote
Honestly I'm not sure. Its like the game decides I'm playing with too much of an advantage and just throws stumbling blocks in my way.

What specific forms do they take?  I have suspected that the AI might market crash you, or Planet Blight you, or the worst one, asteroid hit you, based on how well you're doing.  If those are the problem, turning random events OFF is an answer.  I don't consider that cheating, because I think the game design for these events is unfun and egregiously bad.  I have played many games where I was quite sure, that the abuse the game dishes out via random events, never ever remotely equaled the few paltry random rewards it would offer in compensation.  For some reason this hasn't been a problem for me as much recently, so I've left the random events turned on.  I went through about a year of play with it turned off though, before I started modding.  Energy market crashes were the biggest offender, just wiping out thousands of credits of accumulated advantage, 'cuz, game designers.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #294 on: December 23, 2018, 03:47:00 AM »
I tried on a random map and the game was much better behaved. I cant think why that would be. The other game on one of my usual maps the AI was just being really, really annoying.
Every single pod a mind worm the AI getting stupid buffs like just the tech it would need to stymy any attack that sort of thing. This in the beginning of the game. Basically playing like it was two levels higher at least or Im playing Iron man or something.
I'm going to try again on that map and see if it does the same thing.

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Librarian
  • *
  • Posts: 3624
  • €3014
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #295 on: December 23, 2018, 05:53:05 AM »
I tried on a random map and the game was much better behaved. I cant think why that would be.

I can.  My randomly generated land masses may be much larger than yours.  My continents more shapely and continental than yours.  There are no 1x1 islands on maps that I generate, and no tiny islands.  All this has the effect of giving everyone more room, including you.

Quote
Every single pod a mind worm

After a time, you do mostly pop mindworms.  That's just the game, nothing I did.  Now if you're using mindworms yourself to pop the pods on land, it doesn't matter because they're not going to attack you.

If you're sufficiently savvy and skillful at sea, you can avoid being hit by the Isle when it surfaces.  My early game drill is plain movement 3 Transports.  Park next to a pod that's not on sea fungus.  Next turn, move onto the pod.  You will have 1 move to pull away from an Isle.  You can often predict which way the Isle is going to go, it's generally towards the nearest city with a pulse.  Sometimes you guess wrong, or you just don't have enough room, and then you die.  Well it was a cheap Transport, the loss is affordable.  I used to use Trance Transports, but ever since I made Trance cost something, I've preferred the cheap ones.

Quote
the AI getting stupid buffs like just the tech it would need to stymy any attack that sort of thing. This in the beginning of the game. Basically playing like it was two levels higher at least or Im playing Iron man or something.
I'm going to try again on that map and see if it does the same thing.

Hmm, that sounds weird.  If you're fighting an Alien, they could indeed do that, but I don't know that they do.

Anyone else... any chance it's selective observation?  What may really be happening, is they may be getting the early Tier 1 and Tier 2 techs rapidly.  Especially the Data Angels, will get them very fast because they have the equivalent of the Planetary Datalinks built into their faction now.  They don't have to infiltrate anymore, they get everything that 3 factions have.  So they go craaazy with tech at the beginning.  The University will also go crazy with early tech, just bang bang bang bang bang with the AI playing it.  The Cyborgs and the Gaians can go pretty fast early on as well, if not quite that ridiculously fast.  If there are enough of these "lit up tech" players early in the game, they could superheat the early tech economy, pretty much putting the early techs in the hands of everyone who wants them.

Tier 3, the AIs stop trading because many of those are guarded by Secret Projects.  When an AI has a SP in progress, they may trade a lesser tech with you, or they may refuse to trade anything at all until their SP is done.  Maybe it applies to other AI factions as well.  I wouldn't be surprised to see the door slam shut on tech trading around Tier 3.

Tier 3 and later, the AI really shouldn't be going very fast at tech at all.  Doesn't seem to, in the games I've played.  YMMV if you're facing off against the University on Transcend.  Also the AI often likes to choose Fundamentalist, which nowadays slows down tech.


Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #296 on: December 23, 2018, 12:26:59 PM »
I tried it again and the game seems to have mellowed out. The default thing the governor does when it has nothing to do is build sea colony pods
so I think hat might be the issue.

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Librarian
  • *
  • Posts: 3624
  • €3014
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #297 on: December 23, 2018, 10:58:28 PM »
You use governors?  If so, I have no idea how that would change a game.  I don't think I've ever played a game using them.  I've used automated Formers, that's about it.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #298 on: December 24, 2018, 02:41:49 AM »
I use governors but I have to be careful of what  I let them build. Generally it's a tool to keep the mousclicks down.
Theres a gap early in the game where the AI has nothing to build but colony pods and formers so it'll spam those
endlessly. I think that was the issue. I never automate formers though unless its sea formers.

Offline davcapoccia

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #299 on: December 28, 2018, 10:02:18 PM »
I really like this mod and appreciate all the work put into it.

On my recent playthrough on version 1.26, however (on huge map of Planet with CX factions on Librarian), I noticed after datalink infiltration that the AI is spamming transport ships. Cha Dwan, Svensgaard, and Rose have many sea bases and are at war but just keep on building transport ships. I noticed an older version of the mod had the same problem reported on reddit. Was the issue never fixed?

 

* User

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?


Login with username, password and session length

Select language:

* Community poll

SMAC v.4 SMAX v.2 (or previous versions)
-=-
17 (6%)
XP Compatibility patch
-=-
8 (3%)
Gog version for Windows
-=-
69 (27%)
Scient (unofficial) patch
-=-
25 (10%)
Kyrub's latest patch
-=-
14 (5%)
Yitzi's latest patch
-=-
85 (34%)
AC for Mac
-=-
2 (0%)
AC for Linux
-=-
5 (2%)
Gog version for Mac
-=-
10 (4%)
No patch
-=-
12 (4%)
Total Members Voted: 247
AC2 Wiki Logo

* Random quote

Time travel in the classic sense has no place in rational theory, but temporal distortion does exist on the quantum level, and more importantly it can be controlled.
~Academician Prokhor Zakharov 'For I Have Tasted the Fruit'

* Select your theme

*