Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 48869 times)

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Offline Nexii

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #975 on: March 27, 2020, 12:03:18 AM »
The infantry bonus to cities was one of the main reason I used them. Oh well. I actually liked using something other than the speeders.
I never had any issues with the expense of weapons systems. Or the expense of the chassis themselves.
Mindworms aren't especially effective really. Even at higher levels. They are also slow.

It's been some time since I've played your mod. The Social engineering is interesting.
Extremist seems very underpowered. Power is likewise too expensive for what you get. Wealth seems like the penalties are
too weak in my opinion.
The only issue with the mod I have is the clean reactor at the beginning of the game. It basically removes the need for SUPPORT at all.
I will admit the clean formers are nice.
One problem is the AI likes to spam units usually weak ones it also never upgrades.

Re Mind worms I found they really needed to get defense from PLANET SE. With them being slow and having no defensive abilities and all. Also delaying dual ability units, Empath and Trance on the same is just so good vs Native

Offline Nexii

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #976 on: March 27, 2020, 12:26:01 AM »
Yea I just meant, +2 ECON is really the big breakpoint. Demo/Wealth is what I'd take over running Capitalist in that SE set, -1 POL and -1 MORALE aren't as harmful as -2 PLANET. Plus Demo also gets +JUSTICE

I get the paradigm, its sort of a pick 2 out of 3. Which is a fine model it just makes all the other picks much less desirable. Hence the comments about Extremist and Power. On their own maybe ok but I can't see taking them over Demo/Green/Wealth

FWIW I think they are close to being balanced, +2 ECON is super hard to balance around, it drives me crazy too. The devs knew this and really overdid the penalties. But they also overcosted facilities to where you pretty much need +2 ECON to fuel the maintenance. This is an aside topic, if +2 ECON wasn't so crucial/powerful then it'd really change the game


Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #977 on: March 27, 2020, 02:17:16 AM »
Police State for order. Democracy for money. Extremist for Growth.

I place an absolute priority on increasing AI performance in practice.  RESEARCH penalties heavily inhibit the AI.  This as far as I'm concerned is proven, incontrovertible fact, and overrides all other concerns.

There are only so many play mechanics for penalties available.  If not a RESEARCH penalty, then what?  And where would one ever have a RESEARCH penalty, if not that?  I've got one for Thought Control.  I find that to be pretty irrelevant as the AI rarely makes it to Thought Control, at least when I'm kicking its butt.

Meanwhile, I do not want to make good growth available to the human player early in the game.  It's on a very strict diet now, to prevent pop booming until you've got Eudaimonia.  Or if you're the Hive.  That's a special ability for a human player, if they're paying attention to the details.  Although I doubt they can put it into practice, since it requires Golden Ages.  Maybe I should play a game where I test whether that idea even works.

The AI also fixates on anything that gives a GROWTH bonus.  It has an overwhelming tendency to choose it.  That's why Socialist is at +1 GROWTH now instead of +2.  +2 was overpowered, and the AI wouldn't choose anything but Socialist.  Now it will choose other things in the real world, and that's what I want.  Everything is tuned by what the AI will actually do, not what you the human player would ideally like.

If I were mucking about with binary patching, I could solve these problems other ways.  But I won't do it.  I will put that kind of development energy, into a new 4X title with "better" tradeoffs for everything.   I haven't decided what my equivalent of a Social Engineering Table would be.  Graphically, the table idea is pretty good.  Game mechanically though, seems like a system might be better with continuous dials and sliders, rather than integer based "choice cliffs".  Maybe, maybe not, there's something to be said about the perceptibility of integer increments.  Anyways there's a lot of design stuff to thing about, and the effort is better spent there, than me mucking about with the binary.

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Theres no reason to build units without clean reactors at all.

Yes there is, they take substantially longer to build.  You haven't played my mod enough, if you haven't seen that.  It certainly matters at the very beginning of the game, it's a clear tradeoff.

The difference may start to erode later on for some things.  I definitely build lots of Clean Formers.  If I didn't think the tradeoff was harsh enough, I could make the Terraforming Unit more expensive, as is done in The Will to Power mod.  But I like the relatively cheap Clean Formers just fine right now, and so does the AI.  I will wait for long term playtester verdicts on this one.

For military units, I think the tradeoff always matters through midgame.  I'll be thinking I'm going to build Clean Synth units, then I'll realize I have an enemy breathing down my neck at close quarters.  I need to switch to plain Synth, it's 20 minerals vs. 30!  That's a big difference when you're talking about not many cities, your life actually depends on it, and it's early game and you simply don't have Mines Boreholes Factories Forests etc.  None of that.  The cost difference matters.

If it didn't matter enough, I could jack it to +100%, instead of +50% where it is now.  I don't presently see the need, and I'll definitely await playtester feedback on this point.

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Growth would be a better penalty for Wealth than for Power. It actually firs in real life.

Power is about wars.  Wars kill people.  GROWTH penalty is totally realistic.  How many Russian males do you think were available after WW II?  Granted, you don't actually need that many males to reproduce.  Guess the ones that survived, were lucky for awhile.

AI might also hate additional penalties.  If AI won't accept -1 GROWTH, that's overrides all other considerations.  My Pirates have to choose Wealth.  If they aren't doing so, then what I've done is broken.  I think lately they are doing what they are supposed to do, but I'll have to remember to pay good attention next time I see them as opponents.

AI opponents are swallowing -1 JUSTICE -2 GROWTH as a Power penalty.  Mission accomplished.  AI knows the bonuses are overwhelmingly beneficial.

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Just as it would as a penalty for Planned.

As you know, I don't have Planned.  I have Socialist.  We've argued about what it all means politically before.  Think "Swedish Socialist", not commies putting you up against a wall.

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Both actually decrease growth rates.

This whole mod started with me trying to "realistically" simulate growth.  Play mechanically, it didn't work out.  Gameplay is king.

And narratively, why should I pick on Wealth, when I'm not even picking on Green anymore?  I had to remove Green penalties to get Deirdre AI to take it.  I wasn't happy about that, but I did what had to be done.  To hack it into submission.  Wealth gets a GROWTH penalty, when Green doesn't, is silly.  I'll take imperfect over silly any day.

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If anything Power should increase growth because of the increased confidence and security of the people.

Power is the declaration of martial law, and the mobilization of all citizens into a war economy.  Civil liberties suspended.  It's not going to make people feel confident and secure.  It terrorizes people.  Secret tribunals, Patriot Acts, military juntas.  People are "disappeared".  Power is very similar to a Police State.  No, a Democratic government that's into Power, is not particularly Just.  Think National Guard firing on civilians to keep them under control.

I could probably make this concept more explicit with a POLICE bonus, but there's only so much scope for such bonuses.  +3 POLICE is as high as is worthwhile, and man, is it worthwhile!

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I still pick Green most of the time though.

Green has huge efficacy early in the game.  If I choose Capitalist early on, I'm actually scared of mindworms blowing me up.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #978 on: March 27, 2020, 03:58:51 AM »
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Yes there is, they take substantially longer to build.
Im my experience theres little difference. It takes maybe an extra turn to build a clean unit.

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Power is about wars.  Wars kill people.  GROWTH penalty is totally realistic.  How many Russian males do you think were available after WW II?  Granted, you don't actually need that many males to reproduce.  Guess the ones that survived, were lucky for awhile.

Power is about the ability to wage wars. It's also not just logistical support or training. It's about morale and pride. A research penalty might be better for a buffed power.
 Also soviet Russia is not a very good example. If not for US support from the Bolshevik revolution to its dissolution it never would've survived at all.
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As you know, I don't have Planned.  I have Socialist.  We've argued about what it all means politically before.  Think "Swedish Socialist", not commies putting you up against a wall.
Swedish socialism means not having kids in the first place. Theres clear evidence that European socialism
decreases growth not increases it. The more resources that women in particular get from the state the less they feel they have to have families in the first place.
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Power is the declaration of martial law, and the mobilization of all citizens into a war economy.  Civil liberties suspended.  It's not going to make people feel confident and secure.  It terrorizes people.  Secret tribunals, Patriot Acts, military juntas.  People are "disappeared".  Power is very similar to a Police State.  No, a Democratic government that's into Power, is not particularly Just.  Think National Guard firing on civilians to keep them under control.

No that is a police state not Power. Power is the ability and the will to wage war. Not oppression.
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Green has huge efficacy early in the game.  If I choose Capitalist early on, I'm actually scared of mindworms blowing me up.
The main reason to pick Green in your mod is there are no penalties. Its still weak though.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #979 on: March 27, 2020, 07:36:01 AM »
Im my experience theres little difference. It takes maybe an extra turn to build a clean unit.

At the beginning of the game, that is simply false.  As bases get more and more minerals, that finally becomes true.  But by then, you didn't need the SUPPORT anyways.  You only thought you did, because the game conditioned you to believe that Clean Reactor is a benefit.  The benefit actually only matters at the beginning of the game, when minerals are scarce.  That's why I put it there.  It helps the AI more than it helps you.

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Power is about the ability to wage wars. It's also not just logistical support or training. It's about morale and pride.

It's about drafts, or keeping people poor so that they'll volunteer as soldiers for lack of better economic opportunities.  Feel free to write "Pro Military Industrial Complex mod".  It's not this one.  This game doesn't have a good way to model actual war casualties anyways, their effects upon society.  Something I'll think about for a 4X game.

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A research penalty might be better for a buffed power.

That's silly.  War has always driven technical progress.

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Also soviet Russia is not a very good example. If not for US support from the Bolshevik revolution to its dissolution it never would've survived at all.

I'm reasonably sure that the USA was a belligerent to the Bolsheviks in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, as were several Western powers.  Yes, my memory is good, I'm 100% totally right.  Your comment is not basically defensible.  You could talk about Lend-Lease, and maybe trading some grain, that's about it.

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Swedish socialism means not having kids in the first place. Theres clear evidence that European socialism
decreases growth not increases it.

Ok, for sake of argument, let's say Extremist has +1 GROWTH and Socialist does not.  What benefit does Socialist bring?  An INDUSTRY bonus is silly.  Socialism and Communism have never done any such thing.  A TALENT bonus?  The problem with TALENT bonuses is, they don't visually show up in the SE Table.  That makes me look stupid as a modder, and I never do anything that makes me look stupid.  Can't have people complaining that I wrote "bugs".  Jack the JUSTICE bonus to +2 ?  Well that vs. -1 ECONOMY doesn't sound like a very good trade, why do it?

I don't think Socialist magically creates any more SUPPORT for anything in society.  Like free tanks driving around.  Pretty silly idea really.  We deal with SUPPORT because it's a game mechanic in SMAC, not because it's a good model for anything.  In later Civ games, things just cost money to maintain.

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No that is a police state not Power. Power is the ability and the will to wage war. Not oppression.

So you fundamentally believe that Santiago isn't the leader of a Banana Republic, a warlord?  That she doesn't just send people to die, because she gets off on militarization and battle?  That she has higher ideals that polishing her beloved artillery pieces?

How about Marr?  In my mod he does Power too.  He's a conqueror, why shouldn't he be into Power?

What Would Julius Caesar do?  And what would the other Senators do with him?

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The main reason to pick Green in your mod is there are no penalties. Its still weak though.

I have made far too much money popping supply pods on a Huge map, and have collected far too many mindworms with merely +1 PLANET, to believe that!

Offline Nexii

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #980 on: March 27, 2020, 04:14:58 PM »
-GROWTH for power made sense to me. Conscription usually means lower birth rates. Or the social darwinian type of power, killing or neglecting the weak

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #981 on: March 27, 2020, 05:49:30 PM »
It occurs to me furthermore that Power, Knowledge, and Wealth are historically false choices.  Consider the USA before WW II.  It was in the middle of the Great Depression.  You could lay the door of that at the pursuit of Wealth.  Pursuing something, doesn't have to get you it, because the most powerful people who pursue wealth are mostly irresponsible.  We've seen this again during our own lifetimes in the USA, when the housing bubble burst and we got the Great Recession.

Marxists claim that these wild swings are inherent to Capitalism.  It's an engine of exploiting whatever can be exploited.  There comes a point at which the greed is just too much, it's not based in transactional reality, and a major correction has to happen.  They hurt people who don't have much money.

Now I don't honestly know if some imagined Marxist system could do much better.  I think that greed is a fundamentally human tendency, borne of natural selection to propagate one's own genetic code.  Genes can be somewhat cooperative, but selfishness is there as an evolutionary force and strategy.  Societies can design cultures and try to restrain their individual actors, but there are many ways to cheat, and to succeed at doing so. 

Anyways, the USA gets into WW II.  The pursuit of Power then creates wealth and knowledge!

The trichotomy of Power, Knowledge, Wealth is a narrative about these factions in the game.  They are not historical realities.  This might explain why vonbach and I fight about politics as much as we do.  We are arguing about history, but the game is often narrative, not history.

Even in academia, what is the purity of the pursuit of Knowledge?  Some academics do it, some academics have big fat contracts with corporations for their funding.  Morgan yabbers on about the ivory tower intellectuals and the concrete and profitable applications as well.  A corporation gave us the iPhone, not academia.  XEROX PARC gave us the mouse.  Some things come from academic research and other things come from corporate research.  Different research groups have different priorities and capabilities.  Nowadays the style at companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, is to pay a lot of money to retain those PhD researchers, because none of the companies want to be caught with their pants down if one of the PhDs happens to invent The Next Big Thing.  Academics are thus a sort of generalized munition, that corporations fight to have control or ownership of.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #982 on: March 27, 2020, 07:12:19 PM »
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That's silly.  War has always driven technical progress.

A society that values Power is frequently Jingoistic. Think modern Russia.Or the USA during the cold war.
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I'm reasonably sure that the USA was a belligerent to the Bolsheviks in the immediate aftermath of the revolution, as were several Western powers.  Yes, my memory is good, I'm 100% totally right.  Your comment is not basically defensible.  You could talk about Lend-Lease, and maybe trading some grain, that's about it.
The USA was trading and giving the USSR food aid all throughout the cold war.  The USSR was never able to feed itself.

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It's about drafts, or keeping people poor so that they'll volunteer as soldiers for lack of better economic opportunities.  Feel free to write "Pro Military Industrial Complex mod".  It's not this one.  This game doesn't have a good way to model actual war casualties anyways, their effects upon society.  Something I'll think about for a 4X game.
No Power isn't about keeping people poor. Once again you confuse oppression with the pursuit of strength.
Just because someone has guns or training does not mean they want to kill everyone else.

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Ok, for sake of argument, let's say Extremist has +1 GROWTH and Socialist does not.  What benefit does Socialist bring?  An INDUSTRY bonus is silly.  Socialism and Communism have never done any such thing.  A TALENT bonus?  The problem with TALENT bonuses is, they don't visually show up in the SE Table.  That makes me look stupid as a modder, and I never do anything that makes me look stupid.  Can't have people complaining that I wrote "bugs".  Jack the JUSTICE bonus to +2 ?  Well that vs. -1 ECONOMY doesn't sound like a very good trade, why do it?

Socialism and communism were and are about keeping people under control. Basically modern Swedish style Socialism is about buying people off and propagandizing people. Its an early form of Thought Control. At least its modern version.
A Socialist system designed around the welfare of its population is essentially an Autarky the best term for a green economy. A closed self sufficient economy.
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I don't think Socialist magically creates any more SUPPORT for anything in society.  Like free tanks driving around.  Pretty silly idea really.  We deal with SUPPORT because it's a game mechanic in SMAC, not because it's a good model for anything.  In later Civ games, things just cost money to maintain.

There really aren't that many benefits. Socialism works until you run out of other peoples money. Swedish style socialism only works because the USA pays for Europes defense budget. The closest thing would be a police or Talent bonus representing the people being bought off with social programs.
Both Socialism and Wealth if you want to be realistic should have Growth penalties. At least their modern versions.
 

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So you fundamentally believe that Santiago isn't the leader of a Banana Republic, a warlord?  That she doesn't just send people to die, because she gets off on militarization and battle?  That she has higher ideals that polishing her beloved artillery pieces?
She's attempting to recreate ancient Sparta. Its not just about conquering everyone else. Its about personal betterment, strength and the ability to defend you and your family against outside threats. Like the planet they are currently on for example. Pacifists have this idea that soldiers are warmongers and nothing could be further from the truth. Usually the opposite is the case since they know the real costs of war in the first place while pacifists don't.

Both Extremist and Power are weak and both need to be buffed. More than that Conquer techs take way too long to appear it simply slows the game to a crawl. Once again on random research I haven't got anything more than lasers and I've gotten a half dozen wonders already.
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Marxists claim that these wild swings are inherent to Capitalism.  It's an engine of exploiting whatever can be exploited.  There comes a point at which the greed is just too much, it's not based in transactional reality, and a major correction has to happen.  They hurt people who don't have much money.

Marxists are typically people that have money in the first place. Usually they've never had to a real days work in their lives. The modern usury capitalist economy is an abortion and isn't what a proper economy is supposed to be like. The USA had a Free Market economy before the Federal Reserve and it worked just fine.
Wild swings are inherit to usury economies because thats how the system is set up. When the bubble pops thats when the banker class makes thier money. It's when they shear the sheep.
In a Marxist economy you never get any of the money in the first place.


Politics aside my biggest issue with the Mod as it is now is how long it takes to get weapons beyond lasers.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2020, 09:20:12 PM by vonbach »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #983 on: March 28, 2020, 12:42:25 AM »
The USSR was never able to feed itself.

That doesn't appear to be accurate.  But they definitely had a use for additional grain.

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She's attempting to recreate ancient Sparta. Its not just about conquering everyone else. Its about personal betterment, strength and the ability to defend you and your family against outside threats. Like the planet they are currently on for example.

Against your claims about her character, here is the following quote from blurbs.txt:
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##Advanced Military Algorithms
#TECH17
Man has killed man from the beginning of time, and each new frontier
has brought new ways and new places to die. Why should the future
be different?
^
^        -- Col. Corazon Santiago,
^           "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide"

Doesn't sound like any kind of high minded noble defense orientation.  Sounds like bloodletting is just part of the human condition in her world view.  She believes in the law of the jungle, predators and prey.

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Both Extremist and Power are weak and both need to be buffed.

On the subject of Extremist, I don't think you're listening to the part about AI performance being the most important objective.  It doesn't matter to me if you only have 2 "good" Politics choices, if it makes the AI play better.  Extremist exists as a viable choice for the Cult of Planet only.

Power seems plenty powerful to me, and the penalties don't seem that bad in the scheme of things.  If I succeed in overrunning other empires, then Power is working.  I'll await other people's input on the matter.

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More than that Conquer techs take way too long to appear it simply slows the game to a crawl. Once again on random research I haven't got anything more than lasers and I've gotten a half dozen wonders already.

I'm playing a game as Conqueror Marr right now.  With directed research, I actually chose to focus on weapons and of course got them.  Meanwhile, as of turn 150 Santiago's got Gatling Lasers as well, so it's definitely possible for a Conquer only AI faction to get weapons.  The Cyborgs are distant across the water and I haven't managed to infiltrate them, because they keep sinking my Foil and Cruiser Probe Teams with Gatling Foils.  They're a Discover + Conquer faction.  The Cult of Planet is actually strongest on the graph, and I couldn't even possibly tell you why, considering that I'm sitting on the Monsoon Jungle.  They're kinda remote from me and I have no infiltration.  We've exchanged mindworm unpleasantries in a vast hinterland.

The Morganites are my local puppet ally.  I've gone Socialist.  I did it to offset the liabilities of Power, but I'm done with the Power surge now, I'm back to Survival for lack of another option.  I'm keeping it for the nominal JUSTICE improvement and to tick Morgan off.  If he acts up, I'll take a city that he unwisely put on my Monsoon Jungle, back when he was silently caught in the crossfire of our alien jungle war.  In the interim, he's a buffer state taking the brunt of Santiago's attacks.  Actually a recent missive said he was beating them, although I don't quite get how.  I don't think he's buying them out, because they took Morgan Solarflex quite some time ago and he hasn't liberated it.  The Spartans have made no progress past that though.  Morgan Solarflex is of no value to me, it's far enough from my core empire to simply be a liability.  I'll wait for the Spartans to punch through the Morganite lines before I bother to take anything, if they ever manage it.

I've completed 4 Secret Projects.  Surprisingly, the Cult of Planet completed 2.  My purification of the Explore tech tree, seems to have worked.  I never even got a chance to try for those.

I've generally not seen any weapons problems in my games, and I'm wondering what's different about our play styles, that you're having noticeable problems.  Are you playing on Huge maps?

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #984 on: March 28, 2020, 01:31:36 AM »
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Against your claims about her character, here is the following quote from blurbs.txt:
Frankly I always thought that the idea of Santiago being in charge of anything was frankly laughable.
She's as bad as Miraim who's pretty much supposed to be the church lady from Saturday night live.
She's basically a parody of militarism. This games politics always have been ultra left.
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On the subject of Extremist, I don't think you're listening to the part about AI performance being the most important objective.  It doesn't matter to me if you only have 2 "good" Politics choices, if it makes the AI play better.  Extremist exists as a viable choice for the Cult of Planet only.
Every choice should be good for something.

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Power seems plenty powerful to me, and the penalties don't seem that bad in the scheme of things.  If I succeed in overrunning other empires, then Power is working.  I'll await other people's input on the matter.
Power is very weak for what you get. As is extremist. With clean reactors from the start Support is almost meaningless. Both have to be good for something and not just one AI faction.
In my mods I try and make every choice good for something.

In the games i play on in huge maps lasers are all that typically appear and for ages. I typically play on the map of Planet with no jungle.
The AI typically never gets anything beyond them. So its just lasers against synthmetal. Meaning I'm stuck using mindworms. That gets old really fast. The AI just declares war and either loses units or does nothing.
It makes the game into one big stalemate.

I like the clean formers those are a boon to the AI. Those are awesome. But I'd get rid of the starting clean reactors.
Growth is hard to come by. The AI has the habit of sitting on size 2 cities forever. Extremist needs a buff. I'd give them a Growth bonus.
Green seems a little weak but it has no penalties. I'd add either effic or planet. Power  either needs a buff or its penalties reduced drastically.



« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 02:01:10 AM by vonbach »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #985 on: March 28, 2020, 02:58:35 AM »
Frankly I always thought that the idea of Santiago being in charge of anything was frankly laughable.

I agree that her character is not credible.  Going by the quotes and videos, she's never given an order or conquered a damn thing.  The basic problem is the writer(s?) had her philosophize, like some of the other characters, and that's not credible for a military general / junta.  Such a character should be a person of action, winning battles and wars. 

Structurally, she's an afterthought.  There are 6 obvious characters that matter: Lal vs. Yang for humanitarian issues, Morgan vs. Deirdre for environmental, and Miriam vs. Zhakarov for religion.  Santiago is introduced to create imbalance in the system, 7 instead of 6.  And she's a "diversity hire", without that actually being well thought out.

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She's as bad as Miraim who's pretty much supposed to be the church lady from Saturday night live.

Miriam's treatment in the videos is fine.  It's the diplomatic dialogue that's silly.  I got rid of it.

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She's basically a parody of militarism. This games politics always have been ultra left.

I think her diplomatic dialogue was actually a parody of right wing militia movements.  I did eliminate some of that.

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Every choice should be good for something.

Not if you're working with play mechanics and AI code that's broken.  RESEARCH penalties kill AI factions, that's a fact.  The options are either to keep RESEARCH penalties as a play mechanic somewhere and prevent the AI from choosing them, or to get rid of RESEARCH penalties entirely.  I think the latter renders Extremist or Fundamentalist narratively meaningless.  If I could think of something else Political to replace it with, that was still in keeping with the original game somehow, I would.  But there isn't anything, as there are only so many play mechanics to toy with.  I'm not going to reach into the binary to fix this, nor am I going to rewrite the narratives in any large portion.  I accept that the original game is limited and flawed, and that my modding can only do so much to address it.  It was not a perfect game and there are limits to what I can do to improve it.

My "serious" efforts on such matters will go into a brand new game.  Such as not making Miriam or Santiago's character mistakes.

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In my mods I try and make every choice good for something.

But I don't know if you are succeeding, because I have not played your mod.  I could take an educated guess if you published your SE table.

My table is the result of a very long process of trying various things out, and seeing how the AI did with them.  There were consequences.

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In the games i play on in huge maps lasers are all that typically appear and for ages. I typically play on the map of Planet with no jungle.
The AI typically never gets anything beyond them. So its just lasers against synthmetal. Meaning I'm stuck using mindworms. That gets old really fast. The AI just declares war and either loses units or does nothing.
It makes the game into one big stalemate.

By what turn would you say it's "gotten old" ?  In my current game, I'm pretty sure the Spartans have had Gatling Lasers since Turn 140, and the Cyborgs since Turn 130 or earlier.

The Caretakers never got Particle Impactors.  I succeeded at stunting, runting, and trashing them.   They were a relatively close quarters enemy so that's to be expected.  We both went searching for good lands and both found the Monsoon Jungle roughly between us at about the same time.  We had some serious initial Scout skirmishes that were actually a bit threatening to me, but I'm tactically better than the AI and kept my foothold on my part of the Jungle.  I brought up my Battle Ogre to wound one of their cities.  It exhibited not-so-great performance against the Synthmetal defenders, only killing 2 and not beating the rest out, but it bought time for me to complete and bring Recon Rovers up.  With their superior Morale, they did the real work.  After that it was an exercise in consolidating and expanding my hold over the Jungle as I pleased.  I killed many Caretaker incursions on my front line while building a solid mag tube system to connect my whole empire.  Then I hit them with one fist, all the fingers together.  No isolated city stands up to a unified rail network.  I invaded or destroyed their few front line cities, pushing them out of the Jungle, building my rail forwards to do it.  Morgan interfered with their rear, cutting off any possibility of reinforcement.  Then I just marched down over a small amount of land, not doing anything special, and finished off the final defenders with my Infantry units.  They're gone.  I got Power towards the end of all of this, and now it is turned off.

That's 150 years of play for me.  How about you?

Are you sure you didn't accidentally play a Tech Stagnation game?

Do you build Biology Labs and Children's Creches?  I never did do Network Nodes.  I could have, Morgan knew the tech, but I didn't see a need to bother.

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I like the clean formers those are a boon to the AI. Those are awesome. But I'd get rid of the starting clean reactors.

Clean Synth is essential to AI garrisoning, to stop you from overrunning them with Recon Rovers.

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Growth is hard to come by.

That's deliberate.  I'm not changing it.  You have been put on a diet.  Same reason minerals are on a diet.

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The AI has the habit of sitting on size 2 cities forever.

Depends on local conditions.  Some cities get plenty big.  Some factions tend to get bigger than others, like the Free Drones.

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Green seems a little weak but it has no penalties.

You may not remember, but we've had this conversation a few times before.  Removing penalties is necessary to get Deirdre to go Green in a reasonable timeframe.  Even in the stock game, she won't.  It's a bug.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 03:15:25 AM by bvanevery »

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #986 on: March 28, 2020, 06:00:39 AM »
Quote
Not if you're working with play mechanics and AI code that's broken.  RESEARCH penalties kill AI factions, that's a fact.  The options are either to keep RESEARCH penalties as a play mechanic somewhere and prevent the AI from choosing them, or to get rid of RESEARCH penalties entirely.  I think the latter renders Extremist or Fundamentalist narratively meaningless.  If I could think of something else Political to replace it with, that was still in keeping with the original game somehow, I would.  But there isn't anything, as there are only so many play mechanics to toy with.  I'm not going to reach into the binary to fix this, nor am I going to rewrite the narratives in any large portion.  I accept that the original game is limited and flawed, and that my modding can only do so much to address it.  It was not a perfect game and there are limits to what I can do to improve it.

Thats why I like to go with something like Traditionalist or some such thing.
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But I don't know if you are succeeding, because I have not played your mod.  I could take an educated guess if you published your SE table.

I change it often actually. Normally what I do is remove most if not all of the penalties. Fundamentalist usually gets renamed and gets Growth and morale or some such thing. Planned I like to play with giving it Support and Police or something like that. My vision of Green is much like your vision
of Socialism. Power gets buffed but also has a research penalty.

Quote
My table is the result of a very long process of trying various things out, and seeing how the AI did with them.  There were consequences.
I actually like your table with the two exceptions. I was thinking of altering mine actually.

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By what turn would you say it's "gotten old" ?  In my current game, I'm pretty sure the Spartans have had Gatling Lasers since Turn 140, and the Cyborgs since Turn 130 or earlier.
I honestly don't remember what turn but I normally build everything reserch related but I play on random research and pick all four research categories.
Quote
You may not remember, but we've had this conversation a few times before.  Removing penalties is necessary to get Deirdre to go Green in a reasonable timeframe.  Even in the stock game, she won't.  It's a bug.

I do actually. It's a weird bug. I actually like to remove most of the penalties. I'd just add an extra +effic.
Quote
Clean Synth is essential to AI garrisoning, to stop you from overrunning them with Recon Rovers.
The clean synth isn't that bad. Its just having the clean reactor available outside of the set units.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 06:38:45 AM by vonbach »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #987 on: March 28, 2020, 06:36:46 AM »
I honestly don't remember what turn but I normally build everything reserch related but I play on random research and pick all four research categories.

Ok, this is not a tested scenario.  I've never played a game, ever in my life, when I've done this.

If you want weapons and armors in my mod, you have to study Conquer.  Period, The End.  Weapons and armors are not sprinkled all over the tech tree like in the stock game, so that you'd always eventually run into something.  You will never run into something if you're avoiding Conquer.  I think I can probably assure you, that you'll never get weapons and armor, if you pick Explore Discover Build as your research foci.  You might learn Bioadaptive Resonance because it's also an Explore tech, for the anti-mindworm defenses and ordinance, but that's it.  Almost every single weapon and armor in my tech tree is a pure Conquer tech, no cross-listing.  I think the only other exception is Sentient Resonance, for the same reason as Bioadaptive Resonance.

When you really study what Firaxis provided, they had a lot of techs directly related to combat.  I made all of them Conquer techs.  There are more Conquer techs than any other kind of tech, by a wide margin.  I'd say Explore comes after that, because there was a fair amount of happiness stuff and I decided that's for Growth.  There's some Build and then Discover has the least, a very thin line going up the tree.

Lots of the Conquer techs aren't weapons or armors.  They give you battlefield capabilities, like a new chassis or 2 abilities or probe teams or Power or cloaks or Marines or whatever, and you can certainly use them to invent strategies if you're not getting what you're usually used to.  For instance, you could use X Recon Rovers and just rock on.  You could smother your enemies with Clean Synth units, starving their cities to death.  "I don't have a bigger gun" doesn't mean you can't fight.  You could sabotage any Perimeter Defenses and bring truly mind numbing numbers of Recon Rovers to the fight.  They'll probably work, especially if you've got Power and have monolithed them, maybe even made them High Morale.

If you're just randomly gaining techs from the tree, the odds of you getting a weapon or armor are definitely lower.  If you actually want weapons and armors, you need to change your research focus to Conquer.  It would be most effective to change it to Conquer only.  It is totally normal in SMAC to change your focus to something you actually want.  If you don't say what you want, it's not actually my fault that you don't get what you want.

The only reason I stick to faction default research foci, is to see what the game is like from the AI's perspective.  If I was playing to seriously win, I would switch to whatever focus I thought was most effective to do that.  I certainly wouldn't just take random stuff from the tree.  In fact, I've never heard of anyone playing this way before.  It's definitely not what the original game was designed for.  You were supposed to say what you wanted next.

The difference is, the stock game doles out weapons and armors everywhere, sprinkling them around, and I don't.  You must study Conquer.

Another difference is, if you've selected all research categories, then cross-listed categories are probably going to have a more valuable weight to them.  The Conquer categories aren't going to be as valuable, because they are often not cross-listed.  Weapons and armors almost never are.  Chasses are always cross-listed with Explore.

You might choose to spread yourself thin in your research.  But Santiago, Marr, Yang, and Roze will not.  They're all pure Conquer factions.  They'll be getting the weapons, the armors, the Command Nexus, and the Citizens' Defense Force.  You won't be.

Offline vonbach

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #988 on: March 28, 2020, 06:41:13 AM »
Quote
Ok, this is not a tested scenario.  I've never played a game, ever in my life, when I've done this.
That actually surprises me. I always play like this.
Thats probably the issue. I nearly always pick all four and just let it go. I'll try another test game and see the results.
One thing I do miss though is the bonus to attacking bases with infantry units. I loved using them.
It was something different than the rover rush.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #989 on: March 28, 2020, 06:49:54 AM »
Infantry units are still cheaper than Speeders, and not subject to ECM or 3-Pulse interference.  They work great when combined with rail heads.  That's why rails are fairly early in my mod.  It's the primary way I kill everyone.  They're also way easier on unit pushing, you can move faster on the map with rails than any other method.  Even orbital insertion has more futzing in practice, because of being denied drop zones, having to build airbases, and having to jump up and down to heal.

Because my tech curve with Marr was a bit weird, I tried a Drop Pod strategy.  Started making airbases 8 squares from my empire.  Wanted to continent hop to take over the Cult of Planet, who was claimed to be doing best on the graph.  Built a fair number of Drop Formers to make strings of airbases.  First time I've done that in the Doctrine: Air Power era.  I usually don't bother with Drop units until orbital insertions.

Well, it was boring!  Too much unit pushing.  Too much mouse clicking effort.  I got bored with the game and I guess I quit, seeing as how I don't want to play it anymore.  I should have just built a rail to Cha Dawn's front door.  That's the "traditional" way of ending everyone's miserable life.  It works.  You need a metric ton of Clean Formers but it works.


 

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