Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 38381 times)

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Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #465 on: April 06, 2019, 01:23:45 AM »
I would remove all government and economic penalties from the game just to make things easier for the computer.
Besides if everything is overpowered nothing is.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #466 on: April 06, 2019, 03:36:12 AM »
I'm not willing to do that, because there have to be tradeoffs for the human player.  For instance, I'm not willing to make Capitalist a free lunch.  Planet should get damaged.  In the limit of what you suggest, if there are literally no negative consequences to anything, then troops always fight well, mindworms don't get terribly upset when a city has lots of minerals, research is never slowed down, and police can always be used.  You're throwing out a lot of the core game mechanics, in the name of making things easier for the AI.

a paucity of JUSTICE
a paucity of JUSTICE

In this version I have Green providing very little benefit, although it's a rather important benefit.  Capitalist becomes the moneymaker.  Democratic becomes easier to accept as you can use police, you just can't nerve staple.  The anti-police burden is taken by Knowledge and Cybernetic, which unfortunately are boring as they repeat each other. 

I've realized that I can afford to insert +3 GROWTH into the early economy with triggering any pop booms.  Democratic and Socialist are differentiated by how much GROWTH you can get out of them.  Paying -1 POLICE for Democratic is cheap, it doesn't even hurt you.  Paying -2 ECONOMY for Socialist is spendy.  You'll lose -1 energy per base and you won't be going Capitalist.  If you also choose Wealth then you can avoid -1 per base, but you won't be making any money.

Power is made easier to swallow, although the supply of JUSTICE is tightened so you are likely to experience JUSTICE penalties.  The idea of a Police State whose troops have bad MORALE is explored.  Fundamentalist goes back to being a lighter weight version of PROBE than the original game.  This lets the Data Angels go to +3 PROBE rather quickly.

<sigh> The AI for the Hive won't accept -MORALE.  It avoids Police State when I do that, even if -MORALE is the only penalty.  Well I guess I can live without that idea.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2019, 04:22:49 AM by bvanevery »

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #467 on: April 06, 2019, 09:25:17 AM »
Quote
I'm not willing to do that, because there have to be tradeoffs for the human player.  For instance, I'm not willing to make Capitalist a free lunch.  Planet should get damaged.  In the limit of what you suggest, if there are literally no negative consequences to anything, then troops always fight well, mindworms don't get terribly upset when a city has lots of minerals, research is never slowed down, and police can always be used.  You're throwing out a lot of the core game mechanics, in the name of making things easier for the AI.
Like I said if everything is overpowered nothing is. The other option I've used is to halve the penalties for the negative effects.
Also Free market societies don't have that bad of a record on environmentalism. Nor are they simply about making mass amounts of money is about freedom of money and property. Wealth is about making money and where those penalties should be.
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In this version I have Green providing very little benefit, although it's a rather important benefit.
The best version of Green was the one that had +economy and +effic along with it.
 
Quote
Fundamentalist goes back to being a lighter weight version of PROBE than the original game.
Probe is pretty much useless and morale is not much better. Besides societies like that tend to be worse at spying.

One thing I wish this game had is more values choices. I wish there more spaces for things like Eugenics values and Prosperity.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2019, 10:02:47 AM by vonbach »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #468 on: April 06, 2019, 03:58:26 PM »
Well the good news from last night's testing is so far, the AI factions are swallowing it.  They'll do my new Fundamentalist, my new Socialist, and my new Green.  Don't know about my new Power yet.

Also Free market societies don't have that bad of a record on environmentalism.

Deep Water Horizon <cough> Exxon Valdez <cough> Three Mile Island <cough> Trump's appointments to the EPA, are you kidding me?  In NC the Governor just ordered Duke Energy to dig up all the coal leftovers they've had in unlined ponds and put them into lined storage.  Finally, although I personally haven't quite figured out anthropogenic global warming to my satisfaction, I know there's definitely a difference between myself and a climate denier.  The extraction industries spend all this time astroturfing a bunch of FUD so they can do business as usual.  I'm not entirely sure if carbon dioxide is bad, but I know sulfur dioxide is bad.  Acid rain and groundwater contamination are reasons enough to shut down a coal plant.

Did you know that historical pollution in Montana from mining operations is so bad, that delegations from other countries come to that state to study what not to do environmentally?

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Quote
In this version I have Green providing very little benefit, although it's a rather important benefit.
The best version of Green was the one that had +economy and +effic along with it.

Narratively it is better, but it cannot be balanced when no penalties are available.  I'm not going to rewrite the whole SE table with no penalties. I don't believe in your approach to the design, because it sacrifices too many important tradeoffs and too much dynamic range of game behavior.  Having all those different stages of POLICE is an important play mechanic.  So is having your factories getting eaten by mindworms.

Quote
One thing I wish this game had is more values choices. I wish there more spaces for things like Eugenics values and Prosperity.

Prosperity would inevitably be a derivative of other factors.  You might think about what kind of prosperity, i.e. Wealth, Workerism, Technocracy, etc.

I'd probably model Eugenics as +1 TALENT +1 GROWTH -2 JUSTICE.  In the real world it would basically be the Nazis or the Klan running things.  Poor women of color were being forcibly sterilized in North Carolina as late as the 1970s.  If genocide were an explicit factor in the game, with a range of genocidal options, then historical Eugenics movements could be readily modeled.

But as you say, only got room for 3 things in Values.

In other news, I was able to free up Synthetic Fossil Fuels.  It's going to be a C6 tech and have Missile Launchers again!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2019, 04:37:58 PM by bvanevery »

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #469 on: April 06, 2019, 09:42:26 PM »
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Deep Water Horizon <cough> Exxon Valdez <cough> Three Mile Island <cough> Trump's appointments to the EPA, are you kidding me?

Go take a look at the damage the USSR did to the environment and get back to me. The worst thing you can do for the environment or most anything else really is get the government involved.  The EPA needs to be gutted. They have people getting arrested for digging holes to collect rainwater on their own land.  The problem with the EPA is they simply have no foundation in reality then they make up stupid regulations on a whim and they have no checks at all. With a socialist government its even worse. Just take a look at Chernobyl.


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Prosperity would inevitably be a derivative of other factors.  You might think about what kind of prosperity, i.e. Wealth, Workerism, Technocracy, etc.
Growth and happiness as opposed to simple wealth. Technocracy is something I'd like to add just because.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #470 on: April 06, 2019, 10:03:56 PM »
Go take a look at the damage the USSR did to the environment and get back to me.

Damage done under historical Communist regimes, doesn't absolve Capitalists of damage they have done and continue to do.  Meanwhile you have modern China, which is both Communist and Capitalist, really more of a Single Party State system for mostly Capitalist activities.  Workers are treated like crap, and pollution is so bad there are places where people hand pollenate their crops.  No bees to do it! 

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The EPA needs to be gutted.

The EPA keeps you from getting cancer, from heavy metals and other toxins in your drinking water etc.  Without it, you'd basically have Victorian England.  That's Capitalist in action, everything covered in soot.  Or you could have modern China, can't breathe, lotsa people with respiration problems and wearing masks.  Environmental regulation is pretty important to our survival, sorry if you don't see or understand that.

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With a socialist government its even worse. Just take a look at Chernobyl.

And Japan has Fukushima, in a country that's fairly Capitalist.  And the USA had Three Mile Island.  Communist countries don't "uniquely own" environmental damage.  Perhaps you need a reminder of the USA's various Superfund cleanup sites.

A map of Superfund sites as of October 2013. Red indicates currently on final National Priority List, yellow is proposed, green is deleted (usually meaning having been cleaned up).
A map of Superfund sites as of October 2013. Red indicates currently on final National Priority List, yellow is proposed, green is deleted (usually meaning having been cleaned up).
By skew-t - Own work
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5573221

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Growth and happiness as opposed to simple wealth.

That's my Explore tree.  Unfortunately it is also compounded with Psi combat techs.  Anything that creates happiness or growth goes under Explore, because it really means "colonization and growth" to the AI.  Expand would have been a more accurate term.  The original game collapses eXplore, eXpand, and fight-with-mindworms into the same category.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #471 on: April 07, 2019, 02:48:56 AM »
In the USSR they'd just leave reactor vessels sitting on the shore. The truth is western countries have by far the best environmental track records.
The EPA basically is a unelected federal bureaucracy that gets to tell you what you can do on your own land.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #472 on: April 07, 2019, 06:37:17 AM »
You seem to have forgotten all these eras before conservationists really got litigious, when we had smog, acid rain, black lung in coal mines, strip mining, unrestricted dumping in rivers, asbestos on ships, etc.  The only reason we have a better track record now is because of regulatory agencies like the EPA.  You have a very narrow view of your concerns, "your backyard".  Nobody likes "cops" when the cops are after them for some small thing.  Does that mean you don't want any cops?  Figure you're just going to arm up, shoot anything that comes near you, and let the world burn?  An organized society doesn't work like that.  There are "cops" and they're going to annoy you some.  Not getting cancer from ground water is more important than your hole in your backyard.

Offline Vidsek

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #473 on: April 07, 2019, 08:17:21 AM »
    At this point, I'm afraid I have to say bvanerery's last post seems well based. 

  My observations: pretty much any and all economic systems have been associated with environmental
     destruction.
     This includes fairly early ones like the Maya, SW US pueblo ancestors (ie. Anasazi), peoples in the 'Middle
     East', South Asia, East Asia, and Europe.   Most of their damage was deforestation and overhunting.
  The reasons for it occuring with them vary.  Early societies may have simply been ignorant of the consequences
     of their actions in some cases.  Greed can explain a lot.  Desire for control and power over other people is also
     a factor and no doubt other things as well.
  My point is that these causal factors for environmental damage are universal human characteristics and not
     intrinsically tied to any particular economic system.
     What is tied to the damage is lack of controls to curb people's excesses and selfishness, plus corruption
     reducing the benefits of existing controls.

  So: With economic systems, -PLANET should be a result of how prevalent corruption and selfishness are with
     each system. (At least as we are imagining them to be in our future-history game).

  Also to keep in mind is that many countries that have been called "Socialist" or "Communist" never fell under those categories as they were originally defined.   I've seen the USSR/CCCP described as "State Capitalism" in several works, basicly a country being run like a vast corporation or such.  It was also a Kleptocracy, and I don't see any reason the two can't occur together.

  Just to complicate and confuse the issue further, a given country can (and many modern ones do) function with a blend of Capitalistic and Socialistic parts.  The USA is actually one example, with much of the EU, China, and many others as well.
All this talk of fungus and worms makes me hungry...

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #474 on: April 07, 2019, 03:29:56 PM »
I think all this points out that in a brand new game design, one could have a lot more range of behavior in government.  For instance, we could have Capitalist government that's pre-EPA and post-EPA.  We could have the EPA strengthened or weakened by various administrations.

Not all dictatorships are created equal in that regard either.  The island of Hispaniola has both the Dominican Republic and Haiti on it.  The former was at one time run by a dictator with a serious Green thumb.  The latter by people with no clue.  Photos of the border between the two countries are stark, with incredible eco-damage on the Haitian side.  This was commented upon in Jared Diamond's book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

SMAC has the virtue of offering a relatively simple, limited set of social engineering choices to contemplate.  It's an open question whether a lot more choices, or greater dynamic range of choice, can be done well.

Offline Vidsek

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #475 on: April 07, 2019, 07:29:31 PM »
    What is certainly clear, is that SMAC(X) is not, and cannot be, a realistic model of social or physical reality.  That it superficially resembles subjects we are familiar with and like is it's appeal and charm. Preserving whatever we can of that resemblance is more of an esthetic issue, and while important (it's what keeps us from constantly realizing we are actually reassigning set Q to coordinates (x,y,z) and setting flag b to 1), the code will only allow us to do so to a limited degree.  Beyond that it's just interesting discussion for it's own sake.

   Has anyone swallowed your power yet?  Um, that doesn't sound right....perhaps a quote will help:
Well the good news from last night's testing is so far, the AI factions are swallowing it.  They'll do my new Fundamentalist, my new Socialist, and my new Green.  Don't know about my new Power yet.

  You've probably looked into this already, but can you make Green with a penalty appealing by making Simple even more onerous with, say, -GROWTH or -ECONOMY?  Does that simply drive Dierdre to become a Robber Baron or Pinko?

  I'm currently marking time in my "testing" by manicuring a map or two (I'm such a picky cartographer...).
If you happen to be happy with your current Tech tree changes, would you toss a copy of alphax with them to me so I can play with it while the Social dust settles?
All this talk of fungus and worms makes me hungry...

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #476 on: April 07, 2019, 10:39:33 PM »
   Has anyone swallowed your power yet?  Um, that doesn't sound right....perhaps a quote will help:

Tune in next week to the latest Gaian saga, "Behind the Green Door"...

Yep, the Hive fully embraced Police State, Socialist, and Power!  They swallowed -3 JUSTICE and just use their +3 POLICE to overcome resistance, as intended.  They're trashing the Usurpers, which is a double success as it means giving the Hive back their +1 GROWTH was effective.  The Hive is going to win on land pretty soon

The Data Angels embraced Fundamentalist, Socialist, and Power.  That raises them to +3 PROBE, and they've accepted -3 JUSTICE.  However they had a really weird start with cities scattered and disconnected between both the Hive and the Usurpers, including Data DeCentral.  They lost all of those cities and I'm not sure what they've got left.  I see 4 cities far to the east, but I don't have a complete map.  I don't know if their start was bad luck, or if their new Conquer only research focus interfered with early colonization.  From a research standpoint it makes sense, because they're going to get other techs for free anyways, and they should try to beeline to Covert Ops Center.  Further games will reveal whether they have an early settlement problem.

Quote
  You've probably looked into this already, but can you make Green with a penalty appealing by making Simple even more onerous with, say, -GROWTH or -ECONOMY?  Does that simply drive Dierdre to become a Robber Baron or Pinko?

Hmm I actually never thought about that, especially since it's exactly the opposite of the kind of simulation I originally tried to do with SMACX AI Growth mod.  Whether that would work, depends on whether aversion in Green is comparative or absolute.  I don't know if the code says "if Simple is a better option than Green in such-and-such-way, then choose Simple" or if the code says "If Green has a penalty, barf."  I can try and see.

A problem with -GROWTH as a penalty in the "None" options, is it'll require +GROWTH to balance it out somewhere else.  That could become the new thing the AI fixates upon.  Could be same problem with any penalty I think of.

Quote
  I'm currently marking time in my "testing" by manicuring a map or two (I'm such a picky cartographer...).
If you happen to be happy with your current Tech tree changes, would you toss a copy of alphax with them to me so I can play with it while the Social dust settles?

Sure.  Actually I'm quite happy with how I've repositioned the techs.  I've got Ethical Calculus at Tier 2 and doing Democratic again.  Monopole Magnets is now Tier 3 and has the Planetary Transit System.  I find I can't usually get around to building a serious rail network any earlier than that anyways.  I've increased the cost of many Secret Projects.   AAA defense is dropped to +50%, although I don't have an opinion on that as I've had no air wars.  I've changed 3 factions.  The Gaians had a bug where they were supposed to be at +1 JUSTICE awhile ago.

After I posted, I made Graviton Theory a Conquer 9 tech and re-uploaded 2 files.  Looks like I did it before anyone downloaded anything.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 01:03:57 AM by bvanevery »

Offline Vidsek

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #477 on: April 08, 2019, 03:50:23 AM »
    Thank you for the data!   I was out in the yard going OCD on the weeds and winter debris till just now.
All this talk of fungus and worms makes me hungry...

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #478 on: April 08, 2019, 08:28:08 PM »
I had some time to contemplate the "negative in None" idea.  It doesn't solve any problem.  It just moves the problem to a different line in the table.  The AI will fixate on wherever the counterbalancing +GROWTH shows up.

I also thought about putting a negative in the table, and a positive in every faction.txt file.  That would in effect give a positive for every SE choice that doesn't have a negative on it.  Capitalist, for instance, would end up with an effective +1 GROWTH, which I don't want.  So this doesn't solve the problem either.  I can't really escape the fact that a negative in Green is a negative in Green.

industry bonuses removed
industry bonuses removed

In my playtesting I find I like the more expensive Socialist, but I dislike not having a choice about how to get my INDUSTRY up to +2.  I also don't think it's important to make +3 GROWTH available before Eudaimonic.  I can solve the balancing problem by getting rid of INDUSTRY bonuses.  Too bad not to use a spiffy icon, but I think INDUSTRY has always been a game ruiner anyways.  The price for balance has to be paid somewhere.

Offline Vidsek

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #479 on: April 09, 2019, 10:40:07 AM »
    Your reasoning on not putting a negative in the Frontier, Simple, etc. slots is sound.  Same with the faction texts.

    A negative in GREEN is what is needed, and lacking that, your Socials seem a decent workaround.

   With no negative in GREEN, you've reduced the positive to a minimum to compensate.  Would giving it +2 to PLANET, or +PLANET, +JUSTICE be excessive?

   From recent examples (in the EU, mostly) I don't see Socialism as being quite so terrible to the economy or resulting in large population growth.
 If it didn't unbalance the gameplay, would setting SOCIALIST to +GROWTH, +JUSTICE, -INDUSTRY work?  It's rather bland, without the strong contrasts, but then, so is GREEN now.
 What is it you like about the contrasty version in your testing?  I'll squash my RL objections for better gameplay.

   INDUSTRY's icon is a nice one, isn't it?
All this talk of fungus and worms makes me hungry...

 

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