Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 65149 times)

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Offline zoneplate

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1050 on: June 24, 2020, 02:40:47 AM »
This game has taught me that mindworms are seriously overpowered.  All that great expense progression I've made for conventional units, it doesn't even matter, because mindworms can trash anything.  I'm thinking the whole "mindworms ignore reactor size" thing is actually a pretty bad idea.

Yeah, I tried playing a game in which I went for conquest victory as Gaians and generally for land conquest found the best solution through the game to be just pouring waves of mindworms on everything - I guess that's helped by gaians having a leg up w/ natives also though (until I got tired and just PBed everyone else, and in the process learned that probe teams can apparently destroy planet busters, which I'd never seen before). Also the AI in almost all the games I've played seems to near-exclusively use native units past the midgame. This being said though, high-morale elite psi infantry seem to be better than mindworms generally, if your SE allows em to be commando or elite on production and you've got the industry to churn em out quick enough.

Also re: SoAC tech, I suppose that makes sense yeah. I never considered that you could use a missile unit as a scout, aha.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1051 on: June 25, 2020, 07:25:24 AM »
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.43 to 1.44:

SOCIAL ENGINEERING

- Socialist economics: removed GROWTH bonus.  Increased JUSTICE bonus to +2.  This is no longer going to be the category that provides early game growth.  It was a pretty useless tradeoff anyways, taking such a big money penalty to get a tiny amount of growth.  I've wanted to represent Socialism as being more just than Green anyways, and now with the reconditioning of the 3rd Politics choice, I have the opportunity to do it.
- Extremist politics: renamed to Theocratic.  Removed SUPPORT bonus.  Added +1 GROWTH bonus.  Removed RESEARCH penalty.  This category was deliberately designed to be useless for a long time, so that the AI factions would not pick a RESEARCH penalty.  This play mechanic is extremely harmful to AI performance.  I have decided it's so harmful, it's worth eliminating entirely.  With that gone, the category can be useful again, but I don't want the AI getting too excited about this choice.  I want the AI to pick Democratic or Police State as well and not "lock on" to this category as an obviously best choice.  Lacking options for a penalty, I choose to have none.  I minimize bonuses in order to compensate.  This has been a reasonably successful AI conditioning strategy in the case of Green economics.
  All of the diplomatic dialogue for this category talks about God.  I hate hearing AI factions talk about God when it has nothing to do with them.  I also miss the old Believer godly warpath dialogue.  Due to copyright and licensing issues, I'm never going to change the dialogue, as I only mod what is unquestionably 100% legal for me to redistribute.  Since I'm stuck with God, it's time to make this category what it always was.  I just want to reduce the anti-Christian tonality of it.  'Theocratic' has a slightly less American and negative connotation than 'Fundamentalist'.
  The RESEARCH penalty will not be coming back.  I'm opposed to the trope of "religions do inferior scientific research".  Historically it's simply not true all the time, as Muslims used to do the best research, Isaac Newton was strongly Christian, and Gregor Mendel was a monk.  And despite contemporary Evolution debates, denying Evolution is not an inherent tenet of many Christians or churches.

FACTIONS

- Believers: now have Theocratic as their primary compulsion.  This is is to restore all of the original game's diplomatic dialogue about God.
- Caretakers: now have Socialist as their primary compulsion.  This is to restore the original game's Alien dialogue for social engineering choices.  They only implemented such dialogue for the Planned / Socialist category.  It is sufficiently appropriate and in character for the Caretakers.  I cannot abide a similar restoration for the Usurpers though.  Marr is a conqueror, and there's no reason for Caretakers and Usurpers to share ideological convictions at all.  Having Marr utter human dialogue about Power is a wart, but I still think it's better than both Aliens prattling on about Planned / Socialist.
- Cult of Planet: made Eudiamonic future society their primary compulsion.  Removed IMPUNITY to Extremist politics.  Added explanation for why Democratic politics cannot be used.  Eudaimonic has evolved to be the Planet-friendly endgame.  Although the diplomatic dialogue occasionally mentions a "worker's paradise", Cha Dawn himself will never actually utter those lines.  Rather, those lines are uttered by a compulsively Cybernetic or Thought control AI faction, at a human player who has chosen Eudaimonic.  That wart won't go away, because Eudaimonic being Planet-friendly is a good play mechanical contrast with the other options.  Cha Dawn's dialogue won't be perfect, but it's much less objectionable than hearing him prattle on about God and the Lord's Salvation.
- Cyborgs: may not choose Theocratic politics.  The category was renamed.  Added explanation for why it can't be used.  I'm keeping the restriction because the choice would be grossly out of character.
- Gaians: added explanation for why they can't choose Capitalist.  I'm keeping the restriction because it's way too out of character to imagine Deirdre as anything but a nature looney.
- Hive: set secondary compulsion to nil.  Added explanation for why they can't choose Democratic.  I'm keeping the restriction because it's way too out of character to imagine Yang as anything but a despot.  Previously they had GROWTH as a secondary compulsion.  Now that +1 GROWTH has moved from Socialist to Theocratic, it's not possible for the Hive AI to get an early game pop boom going.
- Morganites: may now use Socialist economics.  *Compulsions* restrict AI behavior.  An AI Morgan will always choose Capitalist or Simple economy, and will never choose Socialist or Green economy.  *Aversions* restrict the human player.  They should be implemented for important play mechanical reasons, or because the choice would be ridiculously out of character.  Socialist in my mod is not a valubable social engineering choice, unlike Planned in the original game, which provided a big GROWTH bonus and the overpowered INDUSTRY bonus.  If a human player is perfectly free to play Morgan as a Green, I see no particular reason why he couldn't also be played as a Socialist.  Neither one is supposed to be "good for business" from a Capitalist's point of view, yet real companies have done such things and turned profits from it.  Maybe such a Morgan is the CEO of a non-profit corporation, or a benefits corporation.
  Also, SMACX is not played with just the original 7 factions.  Any 7 out of 14 could be chosen.  Many of the original restrictions were to keep an equal level of animosity between the original 7 factions.  That's simply not relevant to a game with 7 random opponents.  If a player wants to hand pick 7 factions so that they "don't have alliance preferences", they can do so.
- Peacekeepers: added explanation for why they can't choose Police State.  I'm keeping the restriction because although it's tempting to imagine Lal turning the UN into some kind of New World Order, I think such conspirational thinking does a disservice to the original narrative material.  The adversarial dynamic between Lal and Yang will be maintained.
- Spartans: restored the original dialogue about private armies, as my versions weren't actually better.  Added explanation for why they can't choose Wealth.  I'm keeping the restriction because Wealth has a -2 MORALE penalty.  It's completely out of character to imagine the Spartans choosing this.  I abandoned the Spartan Warhawk Legion idea, replacing it with just the Spartan Legion.  I objected to the original term, Spartan Paramilitary Legion, because in my view they're military, not paramilitary.  The latter is pretty much 1990s clowning of militia survival movements, rather than a narrative about what the Spartans logically are on Planet. 
- University: may not choose Theocratic politics.  The category was renamed.  Added explanation for why it can't be used.  I'm keeping the restriction because the choice would be grossly out of character.
- Usurpers: added explanation for why they can't choose Democratic.  I'm keeping the restriction because Democratic is actually a rather valuable social engineering choice in my mod.  It's a basic key to making money.

PREDEFINED UNITS

- Battle Ogre MK1, M2K, MK3: now all cost 50 minerals.  When their cost was autocalculated, they were worth 260 minerals!  When an old, nearly dead unit was disbanded, it would contribute 130 minerals to a Secret Project.  That's almost as good as 3 Artifacts.  Now they only contribute 25 minerals, equal to half an Artifact.  Since they can never heal and tend to end up 90% dead, I don't think they should be worth much.  I also don't want the player to get any major minerals benefits other than from Artifacts.  They should have to cash those if they want to hurry Secret Projects along.
- Unity Lifter: now costs 50 minerals.  Autocalculate made it worth 200 minerals!  It would add 100 minerals when disbanded.


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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1052 on: June 26, 2020, 03:13:21 AM »
threats that work
threats that work

My 1st game after releasing version 1.44.  I haven't completed a game yet.  This one, the Peacekeepers started off unusually close to me.  I've never been quite sure what to do if I want to keep a Noble reputation.  Couldn't shake Lal down for tech as he didn't indicate having anything.  This is only MY 2113.  I popped Social Psych from a pod.  Otherwise, who's got tech?

I demanded his city, and told him I'd crush him like a bug if he didn't comply.  He gave it up!  Now I've probably got a 3 to 1 city advantage over him.  Neato, it's like the game gave me something, instead of it being just a cramped colonial mess.

I'm taking advantage of the new penalties-free Theocratic, as so many AI factions now like to do.  The good news is, most of them do move on to Democratic or Police State eventually.  Religion is like a phase, which is actually subtle if serendipitous commentary on my part.  Pretty easy to yak about God when you're in a survival situation, right?  See if it holds up when the society is more organized.

Cha Dawn's schtick isn't Extremist or Theocratic anymore.  Now it's Eudaimonic!  That's evolved to be the Planet-friendly choice, so it's gameplay correct.  The dialogue is generic enough that it almost works too.  Domai went Socialist, since that's always what he really was.  So my opportunistically Godly politics aren't totally out of character for me anymore, I'm just lying to the masses any way that will work for now.  This is gonna tick Lal off though.  I don't currently consider that to be a problem.  After all, he can provide me with more free cities.

With my city growth advantage, it may not even be necessary.  This one action may have completely crippled him.  Hm, that said, I'm still not allowed to go Democratic.  Can't have self-determination getting in the way of The Prophecy!  So yeah, he's gonna be my vassal or else die.  I'll wait until turn 101 until I actually kill him.  Why let someone escape, especially if they're a natural enemy?  They'll just be ticked and make trouble from afar.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1053 on: June 26, 2020, 04:57:42 AM »
usurping pests
usurping pests

MY 2156.  It's not been the cakewalk I thought it would be.  The Peacekeepers eventually 'surprise' attacked an almost dead mindworm larva that I was wandering through their territory.  I was hoping to heal at a Monolith right next to one of their bases.  I don't exactly blame them, but it did start a war that I wasn't planning on having anytime soon.  They made a few forays with Scouts that have bounced.  I've built up my cities with Recycling Tanks and eventually garrisoned them with untrained Synthmetal units.  No big deal except...

...there were Usurpers to the southeast of me.  They didn't turn up peaceful.  Despite some attempts at battlefield precaution, they flanked me and wiped out my units and an Artifact I was trying to bring home.  They just had too many Scouts running around.  I'm not that powerful if I don't have mindworms and they've really limited my ability to rustle up new ones for awhile.  That's often a problem with captured mindworms, they're often not where you need them to be.  I was trying to bring my 1 mindworm and 1 spore launcher home when like I said, they got flanked.

I see now that Marr has not got just 1, but rather 2 Battle Ogres to bother me with.  Fortunately I'm garrisoning this city pretty well.  Unfortunately I still don't know Doctrine: Loyalty, so no Command Centers.  I hope my bodies will wear them out.  I do have 1 mindworm larva coming, that arrived when an Isle came to my shore.  I'm trying to make Synthmetal Foils to go get Isles and mindworms.  Marr has got Applied Physics and I can reasonably expect a trained Recon Rover threat soon.  That kinda sucks.  I'm already being shelled.

I'm being very stubborn and sticking to my default Explore research focus.  I want to see how bad this is from the AI's standpoint.  I think an AI Cha Dawn would probably get wiped out.  I might yet prevail, if I can just get some mindworms and Command Centers in here.

I might also meet some others who can trade me what I need.  I met Yang and got a little bit of stuff from him, but he doesn't have the needed stuff.  He's not too pleased with my Theocratic politics.  I'm not married to it, but I don't yet have a better option.

MY 2157.   Crap, the Recon Rovers are already here.  At least they're untrained, which for Marr is Disciplined.  I do have 4 Synthmetal Sentinenls and a Sensor Array to oppose them.  Marr failed to bring up his Ogres for some reason, so I'm ok this turn.  Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll attack foolishly.  I've brought in 2 Scouts for defense this turn, so if the Ogres haven't advanced next year, I can counterattack.  1 more Scout coming in after that.  Got a Transport to move units past the fungus that's in the way, but nothing to move up.  Hope my base holds.  At least it looks intimidating to a stupid AI.

MY 2158.  The Ogres advanced.  2 Recon Rovers died.  1 did some wounds, 1 just outright died doing no damage.  So, that's good.  I may take casualties next year but I think I'm going to hold.  Kids, don't ever forget your Sensor Arrays.  The life they save, may be your own!

Also conveniently captured a Spore Launcher larva while moving my mindworm larva towards the combat zone.  Got 2 supply pods to pop in the middle of that lake.

MY 2159.  Lost a Synth, but the Ogres are at 30% and 40% wounds.  They can't pound indefinitely, and I do have some help coming.

MY 2160.  I've researched E2 Centauri Empathy and have gone Green.  Next year when my larvae attacks, it'll have +30% bonus!  The Spore Launcher is also close enough to pop off a round.  This might be enough to wipe out an Ogre.  They didn't attack this year, instead they consolidated onto 1 square, which seems a bit dumb.

MY 2161.  Interestingly, the Recon Rovers are merely bouncing, and thereby training my Synth Garrisons.  One of the Ogres is leaving, and the other is just sitting.  So I'm just going to sit back and shell them.  I've realized that Centauri Empathy lets me build roads through fungus, so I'll soon have my resupply problem solved.

MY 2162.  I captures an Isle and a mindworm on the lake.  I also fished out an Artifact.

MY 2163.  I trained my mindworm larva on a 2-2-1 that got too close.  I also brought in another Synth by transport, and garrisoned my flank against a Recon Rover trying to advance.  If I had been a little more careful in my movements, I probably could have transported the 2nd mindworm larva for attack this turn.  I've also discovered that the Manifold Nexus is nearby in Lal's territory.  Aside from being a desirable conquest, it means Lal could in principle attack me with mindworms.

MY 2165.  A massive Spore Launcher hit severely weakens one of the Ogres, and I destroy it with a mindworm larvae.  I rush forward to attack the 2nd Ogre with my wounded pre-boil, but it's going to be an even fight so I beg off.  I pop Doctrine: Loyalty from a supply pod at sea!  I've got tons of money for building Command Centers rapidly, so I'd say my enemies are officially in trouble.  Lal offered a Truce and I blew him off, because I want the Manifold Nexus.

MY 2167.  I finally wipe out the 2nd Ogre, and all the Recon Rovers have died.  I'm in the clear for now!  That only took 11 years.  I'll beg off the reportage until / unless something interesting happens again.  That was an unusually close proximity opening for my mod.  Now it'll be a process of pushing past the Usurpers, and coming up around underneath the Peacekeepers.  I want to capture the Manifold Nexus, then make them surrender.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 06:00:23 AM by bvanevery »

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1054 on: June 26, 2020, 06:42:05 AM »
the quick fix
the quick fix

MY 2176.  Rather than the elaborate plan I imagined, I just wiped out UN Headquarters.  This triggered the surrender of the Peacekeepers and I accepted it.  Then I told Lal he must cede control of one of his bases.  He wanted to be paid for it.  He sold me the Manifold Nexus base for a mere 225 credits!  So that's a good trick I can't say I remember using in the past.  Just buying cities from your vassal for not much money.

I was already starting to go nuts in the ocean capturing Isles.  Now I'm at +4 PLANET!  I'd have to go Eudaimonic to do any better than that.  That'll be awhile.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1055 on: June 27, 2020, 06:49:42 AM »
I was going to wipe out the Usurpers, and brought my mindworms back home for the task.  Circumstances made me decide to accept a Truce instead.  Instead I went after the Caretakers, using chemical weapons on speeders and foils.  I was rather successful at completely devastating their eastern coastline.  However my X R-Laser Speeders suffered a fair amount of attrition to their Cloaked Recon Rovers, and it took a lot of effort to push units across the ocean.  That's a basic problem with this game, the human gets bored with rote tasks and the computer doesn't.  I finally got some rails together and started working on the Caretakers from the other direction.  Having to manually shift my navy around at that point proved to be a drag though, and I quit, even though I had a perfectly viable game.  I'd say I was even in the lead, were it not for the wildcard of isolated Gaians sitting up north getting ahead on tech.

I started a new game and got the Morganites. I ended up with the Caretakers right next to my first 2 cities.  This is happening more often than I think is reasonable for a Huge map.  Once again I'm facing a Battle Ogre, and I just wasn't going to put up with exactly the same kind of game I just played.  I quit.  It's late anyways.

I think I'm about ready to nerf the Ogre again.  A Particle Impactor may not be that big a deal against Synthmetal and Sensor Arrays.  You can put cannon fodder in the way and wear them down.  But they're absolutely devastating against Scouts and more often than not, this is all I've had in a First Contact situation.

Couldn't believe that one game where my 2nd colonist got immediately wiped by someone's Ogre.  That totally crippled me and although I kept going as an experiment, the experience was lame and didn't result in a game I wanted to invest further effort in.

I think dropping it to a R-Laser would be appropriate.  That would help a little with the AI's suicide missions in the bush.  I think I'd also remove some of the special abilities, and make it more of a weak scouting unit.  I say I nerfed the Aliens, but they keep screwing with me inappropriately.  I think it's time to retire the "Aliens get a superweapon to start with" idea.

I don't feel nearly as negative about the Battle Ogre MK2.  I've gotten a few of those lately.  As in games I remember from a long time ago, they tend to stand around devastating unit after unit after unit in an enemy base.  But the AI just keeps spamming more units.  If the MK2 is unaided, it just can't destroy enough of them, and eventually it runs out of gas and dies.  It can sure tie up a lot of units until then though.

For the Scout version, I could give it Deep Radar.  That would be a unique early game land capability.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1056 on: June 29, 2020, 04:26:14 AM »
Morgan used 2 supply crawlers
Morgan used 2 supply crawlers

MY 2280 in a new game, where I'm the University and I'm fighting the Morganites.  They are dominant on the graph by 2x.  I've been working on the Network Backbone and recently they started on it.  In MY 2278 they were at 17 turns to go, and had a Supply Crawler in the city.  In MY 2279 they had 11 turns to go, and a Supply Crawler in the city!  Now they're at 6 turns to go.  Fortunately they don't have any more Supply Crawlers active.  They have 1 in production with 2 turns to go.  It can meet Morgan Industries immediately when it's done.  I find it interesting that the AI is using these 100 mineral Fission Supply Crawlers effectively.  It doesn't know how to design a Fusion version, but for this purpose, it doesn't matter.  In fact it can be kind of a rude shock for a crawler to make such a big jump in Secret Project progress.  This is a 600 mineral project.

I'm in danger of coming up short, so I switched from Green to Capitalist.  This doubles my money, as I previously only had +1 ECONOMY from Democratic.  However now instead of being spiffy with mindworms, I'm weak.  I've got a siege line against the Spartans far to the east that I haven't made any progress with.  It's just a holding pattern, a stalemate.  I had thought I'd wipe somebody out with a horde of mindworms "soon enough", but I really need the money.

I totally forgot that Cybernetic is now a moneymaking option.  I'd been waiting to complete the Network Backbone in order to avoid the disadvantages.  I probably should have switched a long time ago.  Well I think I will pull it off, with just cash.  I'm awfully close to having the money I need.  I can switch back to Green after I go Cybernetic.

MY 2282.  The Morganite supply crawler got interrupted by unhappiness.  He switched to making a Hologram Theater, and started production on 3 supply crawlers elsewhere.  I rushed the Network Backbone with cash.  So it was a threat, but not insurmountable.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 04:41:30 AM by bvanevery »

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1057 on: July 01, 2020, 07:01:02 AM »
University secret projects
University secret projects

MY 2340.  I finally quit that game.  Rather than invade the Morganites, I invaded the weaker Spartans that were more nearly adjacent to me by land.  I did not build any combat units to do it, I used the bare minimum.  I was determined to keep building all kinds of lab facilities all the time.  As I had extremely weak base defenders, often no more than Synth Police, Morgan would occasionally lob missiles at me and leave one of my bases empty.  I just plodded along covering them with next to nothing, and building no new Formers.  All the money went into labs, facilities, and secret projects.  I definitely pulled ahead of Morgan in that regard, although we stayed even on the graph.

I let Morgan do his thing for so long, that he built factories that triggered global warming.  I tried to Launch Solar Shade but the Council voted against it.  The floods started slightly disrupting my nice rail network.  This triggered immense feelings of boredom, that I'd played the game in basically a non-productive way for far too long.  I believe I could have stomped everyone eons ago and that all this labs stuff represented a massive and unnecessary stall.  It just doesn't seem to be worth it to bother, even with Corporate Labs and Nanohospitals available relatively early.

One of these days I'm going to flood the world with mindworms, like I said I would.  They're the best weapons in the game and all this other stuff is probably superfluous.  I got Quantum reactors, but I built very few garrison units with them.  I never built factories at all, because I kept thinking I wanted to avoid unhappiness from Genejacks.  I even kept my budget at 50-10-40 like forever, being super cheap about making anyone happy.  This was also probably dumb after awhile.  I was about to buy the Cloning Vats outright when I quit, around 2 AM.  Mild fatigue was another trigger.

I played as Democratic Green Knowledge Cybernetic, achieving the maximum RESEARCH of +6.  Eh, whatever!  It's not that fast.  Least not how I did it.

Seems like, if you spend all this effort avoiding eco-damage, someone else is just going to do all the damage.  Maybe not just anyone, as Morgan is compulsively Capitalist.  But Capitalist is popular with the AI, so it's likely someone has a big mega-polluting empire after awhile.  I've definitely seen the Pirates do it, although they could go Green.

I just wanted to note that research seems to be a slow, dull path through the game.  A big waste, even with the best research faction.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1058 on: July 02, 2020, 03:42:15 AM »
Starting another random game, I drew the Cult of Planet.  Good encouragement for finally bathing the world in mindworms.  But...

yet another early Ogre
yet another early Ogre

I've had just about enough of this!  I just founded that 2nd city, I haven't even walked anywhere yet.  Even on a Huge map, even with land area of continents rather much increased to make them more "continentally", this "close quarters with the Ogres" stuff is happening a lot.  I don't think the faction placement algorithm is making much effort to spread everyone out.  It's pretty common to have someone breathing right down your neck.  And when they start with an armored Particle Impactor and you don't, it's a problem.  They may not attack, but if they want to wipe out 50% of my civilization, they certainly can.

I guess there's really going to be a version 1.45 after all.  I only announced version 1.44 on Reddit today, even though I kicked it out the door some days ago.  I just didn't feel like blah blah blahing about it.  Well, at least for a 1.45, there won't be much to say or do.  This is going to turn into a scouting unit, not an offensive unit.  Time to nerf.

Gonna leave the MK2 and MK3 alone.  MK2 didn't seem overpowered last time I got one, compared to all the spam my enemy put out.  I caused them many years of grief, but ultimately, they killed me.  And I hardly ever see a MK3.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1059 on: July 07, 2020, 08:37:41 PM »
After a long buildup, I gave Deirdre a thorough drubbing.  Then I tried growing my population, but found people rather reticent to go into a Golden Age.  This jogged my memory that Economic Victory was the more traditional way for Morgan to win.  It used to cost northwards of 100k credits in my mod, but now, somehow...

cheap economic victory
cheap economic victory

How did it fall so low?  It's hard to imagine Morgan's COMMERCE bonus being that big a deal.  At what point in the game was it that low?  Could I have won upon discovering Fusion Power and didn't even know it?

the final budget
the final budget

Choosing Capitalist made me less money due to a lack of JUSTICE, but it increased the COMMERCE bonus by 1.  The cost of victory didn't get that much cheaper.  I think this proves that other factions could have gotten this rate for Economic Victory, that Morgan's COMMERCE bonus isn't the problem.  I am wondering if the time it takes to corner the energy market, is actually an input into the cost formula.  In a previous release I changed it from 20 turns to 5.  From a waiting around standpoint I don't regret it at all, it was time to win that bloody game!  But if it has a major impact on cost then I'd have to reconsider.

the valiant opposition
the valiant opposition

Nobody's remotely as profitable as I am though, so maybe I really did just economically crush everyone.  I did start on the Monsoon Jungle and made good early use of it.  I just find the numerical expression of this to be quite odd, for it to require such a pittance.  I clearly need to get into the gory details of how the cost formula actually works.  Something's off.

capitulation
capitulation

Capitalists get people to capitulate.  It's factual.   ;morganercise

Now after typing this up, I'm realizing there's a factor in play that hardly ever is, when I play.  Because I usually forget to think of it.  I have a Global Trade Pact.  This could have blown the dynamic range off of the COMMERCE bonus.  Oh crap, the plain description is "Commerce rates doubled".  I wonder what that actually means in the formula.  It it literally means the COMMERCE bonus doubles for everybody, that could be a really serious problem.


Offline Douglas

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1060 on: July 07, 2020, 10:19:55 PM »
Now after typing this up, I'm realizing there's a factor in play that hardly ever is, when I play.  Because I usually forget to think of it.  I have a Global Trade Pact.  This could have blown the dynamic range off of the COMMERCE bonus.  Oh crap, the plain description is "Commerce rates doubled".  I wonder what that actually means in the formula.  It it literally means the COMMERCE bonus doubles for everybody, that could be a really serious problem.
It means that the energy bonuses you get from commerce at your bases get doubled. If Morgan Industries without a Global Trade Pact has:
  • UNIVERSITY: +3 Treaty
  • PEACEKEEPERS: +4 Pact (They get +2)
And you then get Global Trade Pact approved, Morgan Industries then has:
  • UNIVERSITY: +6 Treaty
  • PEACEKEEPERS: +8 Pact (They get +4)

Datalinks says economic victory is supposed to cost roughly the total price to mind control every enemy base on the planet. I'm not sure whether and how treaties and pacts affect that, but other factions having few and weak bases would definitely make it cheaper. This combined with your probe cost increase might be why you've seen such high prices for econ victory before in this mod.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1061 on: July 26, 2020, 05:09:11 AM »
I spaced out this problem for 2.5 weeks.  But seeking to end a game, I was reminded.

another cheap victory
another cheap victory

Playing as the Data Angels, some sunspots goaded me into a chemical war.  I was intending to wipe out my far neighbor the Cyborgs, and drilled a rail through my near neighbor the University to achieve this.  Just as I was about to launch my offensive, the sunspots lifted.   :dunno:  The University was a complete weenie and declared war on me, so I had to slaughter them wholesale.  And then the Cyborgs per my original objective.

Meanwhile the Cult of Planet did a good job of trashing the Gaians and the Peacekeepers.  The Cyborgs had previously trashed the Free Drones.  In the endgame, I had built a massive core economic empire, the Cult had done nothing, and everyone else was completely wrecked.  So it wasn't exactly wrong to think I could buy them cheap, but this seems a little too cheap.  Even the Cult alone should be worth more than 2.7k.

I did establish a Global Trade Pact earlier, which must have goosed the victory requirements along.  After I wiped the Cyborgs, I started plotting and scheming what to do about the Cult.  They weren't near neighbors, they were all over the map, so it would be this senseless unit pushing exercise.  I decided I didn't want any more chemical slaughter, so I Reinstated the U.N. Charter.  Getting it repealed initially cost me something like 3k in bribes!  Yeah I had a lot of money.  Maybe I could have won with Economic Victory even back then and didn't notice.

I accidentally got the Cult elected Governor near the end of the game.  I assumed my ally Lal would back me in my bid for Governor, but he didn't like the Police State I was running for awhile and Abstained.  So that gave the Cult the Governorship bonuses.  Didn't seem to matter for my cheap victory though.  In the end I was Democratic Capitalist Wealth Cybernetic with a +2 Commerce bonus.  That's the max that a non-Morganic faction could achieve.

I wonder if my +2 PROBE bonus was helpful in the buyout equation?  I'll need to endeavor to understand it somewhere.

If the formula is just off, perhaps I could give every faction -1 Commerce.  Except the Morganites, because they have a bonus.  Although, perhaps I should nerf that and just have them rely on being able to reach +5 ECONOMY when no one else can.

Reading Victory (Economic)
and Commerce (Advanced)
I see that my CommerceTech rating is very high compared to the Cult.  The discrepancy is amplified by squaring the ratings!

I am thinking there are way too many techs with the "Increase commerce income" flag set on them.  You already get the benefit of facilities that generate more money, so why also give a path to victory that advances with a square law?  It's a bit crazy.  Perhaps I should get rid of all these flags, just as I got rid of the "Improves Probe Team base morale" flags.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 02:52:16 PM by bvanevery »

Offline Douglas

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1062 on: July 26, 2020, 07:07:17 AM »
Removing commerce rating from a bunch of techs would just increase the power of faction and economy bonuses to commerce.

For energy production, what matters is the fraction of commerce technologies in the game that you have. For econ victory, your commerce rating and your opponents' commerce ratings are applied in directly opposite ways, so what matters is the ratio of your commerce rating to theirs. In both cases, the maximum effect from technologies is the same regardless of how many technologies it is distributed among.

Each point of commerce bonus from faction or economy is equivalent to one commerce technology, so having fewer commerce techs in the game makes each point of bonus count as a larger fraction of the normal maximum.

An alternative approach that might help would be to front-load a lot of commerce bonuses at the bottom of the tech tree. If everyone reaches 15 commerce rating early on, then getting 5 more is a much smaller advantage - 20/15 instead of, say, 7/2.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1063 on: July 26, 2020, 03:06:02 PM »
My links were dead earlier, some kind of parsing of parentheses error.  Calling attention again to Victory (Economic):

Removing commerce rating from a bunch of techs would just increase the power of faction and economy bonuses to commerce.


If that wiki page is accurate, CommerceTech disparities are a ratio of squares.
Consider factions at 6 vs. 5 commerce, assuming 6 is the aggressor:
(5^2 + 1) / (6^2 + 1) = 26 / 37 = 0.702 of buying price
Consider factions at 3 vs. 2 commerce:
(2^2 + 1) / (3^2 + 1) = 5 / 10 = 0.5 of buying price

More to think about, brb.


Consider even the case of 6^2 - 5^2 = 11, versus 4^2 - 3^2 = 7.  Even getting 1 step above everyone else is a huge advantage, once many CommerceTechs have been accumulated. 


For energy production, what matters is the fraction of commerce technologies in the game that you have. For econ victory, your commerce rating and your opponents' commerce ratings are applied in directly opposite ways, so what matters is the ratio of your commerce rating to theirs. In both cases, the maximum effect from technologies is the same regardless of how many technologies it is distributed among.

Each point of commerce bonus from faction or economy is equivalent to one commerce technology, so having fewer commerce techs in the game makes each point of bonus count as a larger fraction of the normal maximum.

An alternative approach that might help would be to front-load a lot of commerce bonuses at the bottom of the tech tree. If everyone reaches 15 commerce rating early on, then getting 5 more is a much smaller advantage - 20/15 instead of, say, 7/2.
[/quote]

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1064 on: July 26, 2020, 03:07:13 PM »
My links were dead earlier, some kind of parsing of parentheses error.  Calling attention again to Victory (Economic):

Removing commerce rating from a bunch of techs would just increase the power of faction and economy bonuses to commerce.


If that wiki page is accurate, CommerceTech disparities are a ratio of squares.
Consider factions at 6 vs. 5 commerce, assuming 6 is the aggressor:
(5^2 + 1) / (6^2 + 1) = 26 / 37 = 0.702 of buying price
Consider factions at 3 vs. 2 commerce:
(2^2 + 1) / (3^2 + 1) = 5 / 10 = 0.5 of buying price

More to think about, brb.

The CommerceTechs are: Industrial Economics, Industrial Automation, Environmental Economics, Planetary Economics, Industrial Nanorobotics, and Sentient Econometrics.  So that's +6 Commerce gained from techs.  At a minimum, I'll have to do something with Superconductor and Global Energy Theory in my mod, if I keep any of these bonuses.

Morgan has a +1 Commerce bonus, and can get to +5 ECONOMY, which yields another +3 Commerce.  So the maximum Commerce is 10.

Looking at Commerce (Advanced) I see the linear (CommerceTech+1)/(TotalCommerceTech+1) ratio.  Note that this is about making money in the game, and not about calculating Economic Victory!  The latter is a ratio of squares, if that wiki entry is correct.

It also seems that a Global Trade Pact is irrelevant to Cornering The Energy Market.  It doesn't make it cheaper.  Of course you may be making a lot more money with that in place.  Ditto the Governorship.

I'm willing to assume that I can whip most of the world's butt by late midgame, as happened in my recent game with the Data Angels.  I didn't gain Sentient Econometrics but I got all the other techs, as they are a Discover Build faction and I kept the research focus defaults.  I'm not Morgan so +4 ECONOMY is the best I can do, which yields +2 Commerce.  At game's end (technically, when I quit to write this up) I had +7 Commerce.

At the end of my game in MY 2299, the Cult of Planet knew Industrial Economics and Planetary Economics.  They probably stole the latter.  Environmental Economics eluded them, probably from killing their victims too rapidly.  They had conquered half the map, and I do not want to penalize them for achieving this.  I've worked hard to try to bring up the military prowess of factions to something viable without being overpowered like the Aliens of old.  There shouldn't be some parallel race that the AI doesn't even know about, where even though you think you're winning militarily, you're grossly losing economically.  That's a human level of balancing concern and the AI is just not smart enough to juggle like that.

The Cult was Police State Socialist Survival.  ECONOMY penalties do not seem to result in Commerce being lowered, at least judging by the text in alphax.txt.  So their Commerce was +2.

(2^2 +1) / (7^2 + 1) = 5 / 50 = 0.1 cost multiplier to buy their bases!  I don't think they wanted revenge against me, as I deliberately avoided interacting with them, preferring to trash my land adjacent neighbors instead.  I didn't commit any atrocities.  So I was probably paying 10% on the cost of their bases.  Apparently my PROBE rating doesn't matter for Economic Victory. 
« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 06:19:59 PM by bvanevery »

 

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