Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 38253 times)

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Online bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #375 on: March 27, 2019, 04:16:33 PM »
To most people, Technocracy would imply that you do better research.  I have no interest in giving research buffs for a Politics choice.  The current game mechanics are the opposite: with Fundamentalist you can make more war, and get a little bit more social control, but at the expense of your research.  People have to wait for Knowledge and Cybernetic to get research buffs.  A Discover research focus will get you to Knowledge by midgame.

I'm not sure there is a middle ground between oppressive Police States and Democracy.  What would be a modern day example of such?  For instance, Russia.  It's simply not a Democracy, it's the Vladimir Putin state.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant and doesn't know Russian history.  A Putin state is not as bad as a Stalinist state.  It might not even be as bad as a Khruschev or Brezhnev state, but it's in a similar category of government behavior.  If you say the wrong thing about Putin, you get a grenade tossed in your apartment.

I suppose a sequence could be Democracy, Autocracy, Totalitarian.  However this interferes with game lore.  It's correct to talk about the Hive as being Totalitarian, but the narrative emphasis is about all his "Taoist ascetic woo" stuff.  Turning your mind off from the stimulus of pain and so forth.  I don't think Totalitarian as a buzzword helps that at all. 

Also, other factions do typically go Police State.  Notably the Gaians, because in the stock game they have the Efficiency to afford it.  In my mod, they do it because they're a strong research faction, Fundamentalist harms research, and they don't need a MORALE buff to make mindworms effective.  Police State is located in the Explore part of the tech tree because it makes more people "happy".  Anything that makes people happy, is "Explore" in my mod.

The Cybernetic Consciousness often goes Police State in the stock game, because they have the Efficiency to pay for it.  When I changed EFFICIENCY to JUSTICE, I lowered the Cyborgs to +1 JUSTICE.  I'm not willing to regard them as "categorically better at everything".  I think we've all watched enough Star Trek to know that a logician's world view has some limitations and downsides.  It might be logical that the individual "has to" die for the good of the many, for instance.

Mainly though, I wanted to make Domai's "Freedom Workers Party" or whatever it's called, the faction with the most JUSTICE.  And I wanted that to be at most +2.

The Gaians got demoted as well.  You can argue back and forth about whether a Green economy is more efficient, but whether it's more just for the individual, that's a "yes and no" sort of thing.  The planet is deemed more important than you are, at least in this game.  And in real life, the needs of poor people in the developing world are often pitted against environmental concerns.

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Perhaps instead of Fundamentalist you could call it a traditionalist system.

Police State, Democratic, Traditionalist wouldn't mean anything.  The political tradition of what?  In the USA, the tradition is Democratic.  In Russia, the tradition is a Police State.

I'm still stuck at Democratic, Police State, Some Other Kind Of Police State.

One of the contrasts between Police State and Fundamentalist is the latter is a bit more militaristic.  I think it's a false distinction made for game mechanical reasons.  It's like, which choice are you going to give the MORALE bonus to?  I suppose, the one that doesn't flog people as much, so not Police State.  But doesn't ISIS flog people?  So does the Taliban.  Why do people get charged up to fight, vs. being dejected and moving along at the front of a punishment batallion?  If you try to retreat, we shoot you...

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #376 on: March 27, 2019, 05:57:43 PM »
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To most people, Technocracy would imply that you do better research.
Not necessarily, it means a government run in an efficient, scientific manner. Not that it gives better research.

Traditionalist could cover a  lot of things. But the general idea is a government system that sacrifices progress for stability.
Less repressive than a police state but more stable than a democracy. This could cover many systems but its more the attitude
behind the system thats important. Possibly a Republic, Corporate or an oligarchic system or even a neo feudal system.

Basically the idea with any of these is to make a "middle tier" something thats not as good at growth as a democracy and not as good a
police state at keeping order but can do either. Just not as well.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #377 on: March 27, 2019, 09:46:24 PM »
Not necessarily, it means a government run in an efficient, scientific manner. Not that it gives better research.

If scientists are running the government, you're going to get better research.

If the government is going to be run "scientifically", well just whose science are you talking about?  Is this like Tobacco Lobby science or Clean Coal science?  I can see the research grant papers now: The Perils of Unionization on the Human Genome.  Yeah, uh, the Nazis had "science" for how the government and society should be organized.

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Traditionalist could cover a  lot of things. But the general idea is a government system that sacrifices progress for stability.

In SMAC, RESEARCH is the metric of "progress".  It doesn't really have a metric of stability.  It has things that make people happier or unhappier, including forced happiness.

Galactic Civilizations II had the concept of a Mercantilist government, that focuses on industrial production, not research.  Very similar to Domai and the Free Drones, who have -2 RESEARCH in the original game.  I got rid of that in my mod, and I also downgraded his INDUSTRY bonus from +2 to +1.

Game mechanically I don't need a Mercantilist government in my mod though.  You already have the Values tradeoff between Wealth, Knowledge, and Power.  Additionally, in my mod Capitalist is production oriented.  I think that's realistic.  You get more money, and you get better industry, by frying the planet.  You don't get any social justice.

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Less repressive than a police state but more stable than a democracy.

What's a modern real world example of that?  Personally I can't think of any such thing.  I can think of political parties within Democracies that want to believe in such a thing, but they do not control the polls.

In Civ II you had Monarchy.  But Civ II also deals with ancient to early modern human history.  I think it's worth noting that when WW I began, many people in the U.K. still couldn't vote!  Says a lot about who you can conscript.  SMAC is quite beyond all of that.

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Possibly a Republic,

The Civ II game mechanic of a "Republic" happens when your POLICE rating is at -3.  You can have 1 military unit per city out on campaign without getting any unrest.

I don't think trying to contrast the labels "Democratic" and "Republican" government would mean anything when trying to describe government systems.  It also risks sounding like US political parties.  Which is historically pretty goofy anyways, as the Republican party platform has completely switched since Lincoln's time.  The Southern Democrats of the 1960s also have nothing to do with the Democrats of today, they were segregationists.  The party labels have pretty much completely flipped!

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Corporate or an oligarchic system

Don't need this.  Already covered by Capitalist, Wealth, and JUSTICE.

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or even a neo feudal system.

What would it mean in a 22nd century space game?  What would it be called?  "Police State, Democratic, Feudalist / Neo-Feudalist" sounds dumb in a science fiction game.

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Basically the idea with any of these is to make a "middle tier" something thats not as good at growth as a democracy and not as good a
police state at keeping order but can do either. Just not as well.

Well game mechanically I already have that.  +1 MORALE +1 SUPPORT +1 POLICE -2 RESEARCH.  It is called "Fundamentalist" for legacy reasons of game lore.  I'm not going to mess up the lore unless I can come up with a much better, more appropriate term for "halfway between a Democracy and a Police State".

You are of course aware that referring to the Believers as "Fundamentalist" has been banished in my mod.  The AI does not have it as a compulsion anymore, and does not insist that anyone be anything.  It's the only AI faction in the game with complete free will that way.  I plan to reinstate the FANATIC attack bonus, but the Believer description text doesn't say that it's for Fanatics.  It says it comes from "the strength of their convictions".  Well I could have Mel Gibson style convictions in that movie of his, "The Patriot", couldn't I? 

Militarism and cults are things to think about when trying to find a label.

I think the term "Nationalist" has too many racial negatives associated with it, for me to want to use it in the game.  It also doesn't make all that much sense in a 22nd sci-fi game that very deliberately states the factions are separated not by nationality, but ideology.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #378 on: March 28, 2019, 12:51:12 AM »
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If scientists are running the government, you're going to get better research.
No its bureaucrats trying to run a government in a efficient "scientific" manner. There is a difference.

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What's a modern real world example of that?

A Republic for example. Almost anything is more stable than a Democracy. Theres a reason the founding fathers wanted a Constitutional Republic and not a Democracy. Universal suffrage democracies don't work.
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I'm not going to mess up the lore unless I can come up with a much better, more appropriate term for "halfway between a Democracy and a Police State".

Fundamentalist was a relic from civ 2 I just thought it might be refreshing to change it to something else.
I'm not trying to argue with you just hopefully give you a little inspiration.
I figured Technocracy might be good because frankly it fits in the lore and its never been tried.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #379 on: March 28, 2019, 02:09:05 AM »
No its bureaucrats trying to run a government in a efficient "scientific" manner. There is a difference.

Bureaucrats don't know jack !#$$ about science.  Nor do police officers.  They will tell you they know all about science though, to make themselves sound good.  So that they have authority, so that they can be in charge, stay in charge, and collect more money.  Same for bureaucrats and police officers.  What their behavior actually is, in the eyes of scientists who actually spend their careers dealing honestly with peer reviewed journals, is pseudoscience.  Aka witchcraft, witch hunts, and woo.  More charitably, "their biases" as to how they see the world, how they think it works.

I remember the words of my Russian fighting instructor back in Seattle, after some bureaucrat at the front desk of the gym gave him a hard time for some reason.  About the potential deadliness of things in his pockets or some such.  He said, "We must never help such people."

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A Republic for example. Almost anything is more stable than a Democracy.

Pick a real government.  A real country that has this government, whose recent political experience we can look at.  Not an idea about what could or should be.  Where is this example of a government that's "more stable", that isn't a police state, that isn't just different parties coming into power and then going away in a typical industrial democracy?  When you've got some guy running a "democracy" that has been "elected" for 20+ years, that's a police state.  May not be as nasty as a Stalinist state but it's still one.

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Universal suffrage democracies don't work.

You'd have to define what "works" means.  "I want other people to shut up" doesn't mean you have a defensible notion of what "works", it just means you want to have more power than some other group does.

Some people don't seem to appreciate that a modern democracy such as we have in the USA, is a power sharing arrangement.  Power sharing means you don't get your way all the time.  People oppose you.  Things slow down and grind to a halt.  That's by design.  The Founding Fathers knew about sharing power, that's why we have the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial branches.  This is grade school civics stuff.  We should never, ever be interested in a government where these arms of government move in unrestricted lock step with each other.  That is the road to dictatorship.   

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Fundamentalist was a relic from civ 2 I just thought it might be refreshing to change it to something else.

It's not completely a relic.  The Believers were shipped in SMAC as the poster children for the Fundamentalist way of doing business.  You and I just happen to think that a one dimensional representation of Christianity isn't interesting.  It's not even true to the game lore as portrayed in the Secret Project movies.  It's more true of the canned caricatures that pervade all of the faction diplomatic dialogue, on all kinds of subjects.

Like Santiago being a "right wing nut job" because she's pro guns and armament.  Guess what kind of news segment I heard on NPR this afternoon?  It was about with all the violence escalating in Portland Oregon, between the far left ANTIFA movement and the far right white supremacist movement, that leftists are going the shooting range and arming up.  People like the transgendered are doing things I've said was a good idea for a long time.  If you are a minority group of some kind, capable of having a hate crime perpetrated on you, you should be armed to the teeth.  Don't be even slightly afraid or apologetic about shooting someone for your own valid self-defense.  That's half of the reason the guns are available to us, that's half of our right under the Second Amendment.  So say fairly recently decided case laws in the USA.

People don't seem to understand that historically in the South, a lot of the anti-gun rhetoric was about disarming blacks.  So that lynchings would go the way that various white people thought they should go.  The South is a region where otherwise, lotsa people have guns.  It's more rural and agrarian and people shoot deer and stuff.

Anyways I got rid of Santiago's stupid dialogue on that point.  Well, the dialogue said about her.  One dimensional 1990's political drivel is not something I cherish about the game, or think important to preserve.

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I'm not trying to argue with you just hopefully give you a little inspiration.

Well if only we could think of a better word than we've come up with.  So far, nothing is good enough to replace Fundamentalist.  I'm happy to replace it with the right word, but it hasn't occurred to me what that word would be.

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I figured Technocracy might be good because frankly it fits in the lore and its never been tried.

Technocracy offers no explanation for +1 MORALE.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #380 on: March 28, 2019, 02:34:16 AM »
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Bureaucrats don't know jack !#$$ about science.

Hence the word trying. Basically its a didfferent philosophy of government. Honestly I just thought it sounded interesting.
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Pick a real government.

A republic is a real form of government such as the USA prior to the civil war.
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You'd have to define what "works" means.

Democracy is a farce just take a look at Brexit. You can vote as many times as you want so long as you vote the right way.
Or in the USA we have the courts deciding for us what we need in our country. Like abortion.
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Well if only we could think of a better word than we've come up with.

Republic or Nationalist? Found this on google.
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Some examples of fundamentalism are; Fascism, Nazism, Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Fundamentalism is not limited to a theistic belief, but references any form of belief that mandates a strict obedience to a particular set of beliefs.
What are examples of religious fundamentalism? - Quora
https://www.quora.com/What-are-examples-of-religious-fundamentalism

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #381 on: March 28, 2019, 04:49:32 AM »
A republic is a real form of government such as the USA prior to the civil war.

But that's not modern.  It's not terribly helpful to coming up with terms for a 22nd century space game.  Also it's not clear to me off the top of my head, how one would distinguish between a Republic and a Democracy in that era anyways.  Sounds like variations on a democratic theme.

There's also very much the risk and danger, for us old timers with long memories, of confusing the issue with the Civ II notions of a Republic vs. a Democracy.  The former is "what the Romans did", the latter is "what the USA did".  They are modeled as having increasingly strict attitudes towards warmongering, as compared to a Monarchy.  One really has to wonder, in historical and game design hindsight, what crack they were smoking about the Romans?  Those guys went out and killed people, they didn't have protesters.  I think us old timers swallowed a complete game mechanical fiction because we didn't know any better.  The real contrast is between Monarchy and Democracy.  Much like we are struggling to come up with a term for "something in the middle" right now, they invented "Republic" as a fictional halfway house.

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Democracy is a farce just take a look at Brexit. You can vote as many times as you want so long as you vote the right way.

I've heard a lot on NPR lately about British politicans "making sausage".  It's not clear to anyone at this point where their political spinners are going to land.  A few more days or even a week may provide more clarity.  There are clearly people in Parliament who are resisting the idea that the previous public vote should count.  I think that kind of resistance is inevitable when the vote was close and the consequences are high.  This is further compounded by the many "slight variations" of how they could be doing the Brexit.  It seems that different contractual things happen if they agree to stuff with the EU vs. just exit without various agreements.  And of course the possibility of calling the whole thing off.  But I'm under the impression there are at least 3, maybe even 4, major scenarios in play right now.  With who knows how much wrangling over minor scenarios.

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Or in the USA we have the courts deciding for us what we need in our country. Like abortion.

Or health care.  Trump now wants to abolish all the Obamacare stuff.  That wasn't quite his position before, but it's his position, or at least rhetoric, now.  So the Courts can change stuff, the Executive can change stuff, and the Legislature can change stuff.  One party does something, then another party gets into power and tries to sabotage the whole thing.  Look at the farce we've had in the EPA under Trump for instance.

This squabbling doesn't mean Democracy is broken though.  It means that Democracy is about squabbling.    It's frustrating, but whaddya gonna do?  Line everybody up that you don't agree with and shoot them?  That's actually what the Romans did, in the Senate.  If you dislike the opposition enough, you murder them in cold blood.

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Some examples of fundamentalism are; Fascism,

Fascism was a Civ I term.  It was not used in Civ II.  It has historically been associated with the Nazis even though Italian Fascism arose earlier and provided a model for the Nazis.  As a term, it is too strongly associated with the Nazis to be used casually or loosely.  It is not topical to SMAC, there are no space Nazis in the game.  The Fascist movement mostly got crushed in WW II, which is why we don't have additional decades of political discourse about it.  Communism of course survived and thrived for awhile, and is still going in China and some other countries, so we still talk about it.

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Fundamentalism is not limited to a theistic belief, but references any form of belief that mandates a strict obedience to a particular set of beliefs.

This idea is fine, and was always thematic to SMAC.  For instance, Lal can become a Fundamentalist about the Sacred UN Charter.  I imagine a sort of Sacred Bureaucracy where forms must be signed the right ways to retain people's "freedom".

The Cult of Planet is a cult, 'nuff said.  In my mod they've taken over the ecological niche of being horrible religious freaks.  Christianity is debatable, but these guys, they clearly throw people to mindworms.  In my mod they are not allowed to choose Democratic, it's not in them to let anyone have a choice about lovin' on the mindworms.  They're like ISIS, they'd throw people off of tall buildings to see a horde of mindworms devour them below.  I also envision them as being pretty much liars, TV evangelist types on steroids.  They can choose Capitalist, they'll turn a buck and poison Planet in the name of Cult revenues!  Compare Scientology.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #382 on: March 28, 2019, 05:08:45 AM »
BTW a term that the Nazis used to use to describe the USA, was Plutocratic.  Fits what you were looking for earlier, very similar to Oligarchy.  I don't need that concept in my mod though, I've got it covered already.

I'm playing the game of looking for synonyms of various things and so far, nothing is leaping out.  Lotsa stuff means the same thing as Police State.  Synonyms for Authoritarian for instance are Tyrannical, Despotic, Totalitarian....

As synonyms to Fundamentalist, I've found the terms Dogmatic and Fanatical.  However nothing about such terms is exclusive of Police State.  And they're not particularly catchy terms.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 05:48:49 AM by bvanevery »

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #383 on: March 28, 2019, 12:15:59 PM »
Fascism and National Socialism are two separate things by the way. National Socialism is a state where the state exists to
serve the people in it. Where Fascism is better termed as a merger of state and corporate power.

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I'm playing the game of looking for synonyms of various things and so far, nothing is leaping out.  Lotsa stuff means the same thing as Police State.  Synonyms for Authoritarian for instance are Tyrannical, Despotic, Totalitarian....

As synonyms to Fundamentalist, I've found the terms Dogmatic and Fanatical.  However nothing about such terms is exclusive of Police State.  And they're not particularly catchy terms.

Nothing really does does it? Authoritarian might be a better name for police state though. I cant think of any alternatives right now for fundamentalist. I'm off to bed. Thanks.

Before I go Theres always the term Ecclesiarchy. But its not especially catchy.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #384 on: March 28, 2019, 12:50:29 PM »
Authoritarian might be a better name for police state though.

I believe one of the Civs used that term.  However it's not really "better" as far as SMAC's lore and history go.  We've had Police State and POLICE for 20 years.  Now the betterness of a term can be a matter of taste: I think Capitalist is better than Free Market, and Socialist is better than Planned, and that both terms are true to the original material.

Random terms that come to mind that might be interesting to make a SE choice about, but don't help with the present problem: Anarchist, Gynarchist.  There's also the somewhat obscure Syndicalist movement.

The hand that will rule the world
The hand that will rule the world

It occurs to me that Militarist wouldn't be a wrong description for part of the game mechanics.  But it's not exclusive of a Police State, and doesn't explain a RESEARCH penalty.

Demagogic could be useful, but again isn't exclusive of a Police State.  It's often what a demagogue implements.

Perhaps we are forgetting the historical importance of Islamic Fundamentalism to Civ II's game design.  Civ II's Fanatics unit animations unapologetically lambasted Islamic Fundamentalists.  Arguably it was even racist, in the Civ II: Test of Time version of the game at least.  Little guys out in the sand with scimitars make that Arabic (?) trilling noise when they attack, then summarily die!   It's pretty funny to watch, they're basically cartoons of killing themselves.

The contrast was never about democracy, totalitarianism, and something in between those two.  It was about world religious movements taking on the role of government.  This was readily seen in the power vacuum that arose after the end of the Cold War, with the USA and USSR no longer exerting firm control over Radical Islamic regional interests.  2 years after SMAC gets written, we get 9/11!

So yeah, uh, you could understand SMAC's 1999 political voice as "Christians are just as bad as Muslims".  Or at least they have been in the past, and could be again in space.  Whatever.  The point is they were trying to talk about Theocracies, a term that later Civ games adopted I think.  Fundamentalist is a slightly broader term than that, able to encompass stuff that's not strictly religion.

Well I might invest a little more energy in looking for a different word. But all this research is reinforcing my stance of "a distinction without much difference" between Police State and Fundamentalist.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 01:48:47 PM by bvanevery »

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #385 on: March 28, 2019, 07:12:26 PM »
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So yeah, uh, you could understand SMAC's 1999 political voice as "Christians are just as bad as Muslims".  Or at least they have been in the past, and could be again in space.  Whatever.  The point is they were trying to talk about Theocracies, a term that later Civ games adopted I think.  Fundamentalist is a slightly broader term than that, able to encompass stuff that's not strictly religion.

The only reason they had Miriam in the game is so that they could make fun of Christians and pretend we're as bad as Muslims.
Miriam is basically the church lady from saturday night live.

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The contrast was never about democracy, totalitarianism, and something in between those two.

I usually just changed it to something else entirely. Something like republic, nationalist or even autocratic. I usually ditch the research penalty as well. I usually added a plus probe to police state because it weak to begin with.
Militarist might be a good term I suppose. I also liked traditionalist. Looking to preserve order at the expense of progress while not simply opressing its people. It doesn't matter if its a republic with a religious bent or a neo-feudal system.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #386 on: March 28, 2019, 08:45:14 PM »
Miriam is basically the church lady from saturday night live.

Her diplomatic dialogue definitely is.  She's one dimensional in that.  I think it was an earlier round of writing, before they got a "real writer" involved.  The medium also limits what can be said. They wanted all diplomatic dialogue to be partly generic and easily modded on a per faction basis.  This menas they typically only give half a sentence for saying some faction specific catch phrase or buzzword.  Factions are going to sound equally stupid when such strict limitations are imposed, with rare exceptions.  For instance I think Santiago "polishing her beloved artillery pieces" is a great line.

I think once they got a "real writer" and did the quotes and Secret Project video scripting, they gave Miriam an actually nuanced world view and complex character.  Miraim does not suck.  The Believers suck, as far as narrative goes.

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I usually just changed it to something else entirely. Something like republic, nationalist or even autocratic. I usually ditch the research penalty as well.

In trying to produce "better SMAC than SMAC", it is incumbent upon me to preserve sensibilities of the original game, and not just ditch them without very good reasons.  I did rearrange Fundamentalist, in particular I got rid of it being "that PROBE thing".  That's because I think probing is stupid, overpowered, and not critical to the lore of most factions.  What's so important about the Believers being super spies?  Seemed like a game mechanical contrivance to me, not something narratively credible.  Heck I eventually got rid of the Believers being research retards.  But the idea that you can make yourself into a research retard, I kept.

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I usually added a plus probe to police state because it weak to begin with.

I went down that road early on, making Police State into "the probe team faction" but it didn't work in the real world.  I couldn't very well buff them up with PROBE and also let them keep all their other stuff.  But I found that running a Police State without at least +2 POLICE is painful and pointless.  You don't keep people happy enough for the negatives you suffer.  So at that point I got rid of PROBE entirely, except for Thought Control.  And the AI probe teams have been mercifully quieter ever since.  I think when the AI can't jack things up to +2 or +3 PROBE, it's not as enthused about spamming probe teams.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #387 on: March 28, 2019, 08:49:05 PM »
I also added Probe to Power in the past. It makes sense that a government concerned with power might want to keep secrets or steal others.
The only problem is Power comes a bit late.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #388 on: March 28, 2019, 09:29:39 PM »
Version 1.28 of my mod went with +1 MORALE +1 SUPPORT +1 PROBE for Power.  Less of a cakewalk for the Spartans, but better for everyone else.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #389 on: March 28, 2019, 09:44:10 PM »
I always viewed Probe as weak. I just gave it to Power or Police State as a freebie.
Heres a question how does the AI get immunity to probe teams or just make the cost
of subverting a city prohibitive without +Probe?

 

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