Author Topic: SMACX Thinker Mod  (Read 43187 times)

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Offline MercantileInterest

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #450 on: February 26, 2020, 08:56:21 PM »
Induktio, will Scient's open source mod work with Thinker?

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #451 on: February 27, 2020, 11:58:00 AM »
> will Scient's open source mod work with Thinker?

I think it would require some more development to get them working simultaneously. I haven't monitored closely what changes have been made in OpenSMACX so it's hard to say exactly. The difficulty here comes from the fact that both mods have to patch the binary in their own ways, so I'm not sure about the incompabilities at the moment.

Offline EmpathCrawler

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #452 on: March 07, 2020, 07:42:51 PM »
Hey just wanted to say your mod rocks. I recently reinstalled SMAX on a whim from my original CDs and Thinker has really been keeping things fresh and interesting.

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #453 on: March 10, 2020, 06:26:25 PM »
Nice to know! You're welcome to post on this forum any stories or screenshots about the gameplay too.

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Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #454 on: March 10, 2020, 06:50:59 PM »
The Management enthusiastically agrees...

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #455 on: March 22, 2020, 05:51:23 AM »
Hi there.

My friend Nevill and I have been playing another PBEM game with the Thinker AI over the past few months, testing out some custom factions, tech trees, and SE settings. Almost everyone ended up on their own island, so the AI hasn't really been given a chance to shine. Ah well.

We've had a few strange occurrences with techcosts. The first one occurred in 2150, when I was researching Doctrine:Loyalty (C2), and the techcost suddenly jumped from 143 to 367.

The second one happened just now, around 2208. Both of us were researching Planetary Econ (B6), but my techcost was 683 and Nevill's was 1215. This is somewhat unbalancing to say the least.

We're not really sure what could possibly cause this. The only factors which come to mind are my +5 EFFIC and +4 RESEARCH score, and my faction having +1 labs per base (the RESEARCH rule in Faction.txt).

Saves and custom files are available if needed.

Offline Hans Lemurson

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #456 on: March 23, 2020, 05:54:31 AM »
I've been playing a game on Transcend as the Morganites, and have been enjoying the challenge of the other AI's actually developing past me (with one exception).  I got lucky starting out with a large continent to myself, with a nearby Manifold that allowed me to capture enough mindworms to survive.  I've had to avoid Free-Market because I can't risk the wrath of the nearby Gaians who have taken much of my coastline, so I may have to stay Green this run.

The one AI that has done very poorly this game was the Free Drones.  They started on their own small island, but have stopped settling it after two cities (it could hold 4), and haven't set foot on another continent or even made any sea-settlements.


The University has similarly given up settling their land.  After losing a city to a mind-worm attack, the northern half of their land has just been left alone as a wasteland of fungus while they churn out sea-colonies.  Their many sea-colonies and their lucky city built in the middle of the Monolith Ring have prevented them from falling into obscurity, but they have a big chunk of un-used land.  Even the Pirates have more land colonies than they do!

I've attached my save-game if you're interested in taking a look at the world.  I'm playing with Thinker_v1.0 and PracX 1.11 (in case that matters)
Termination of specimen advised.

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #457 on: March 24, 2020, 10:01:38 AM »
> My friend Nevill and I have been playing another PBEM game with the Thinker AI over the past few months, testing out some custom factions, tech trees, and SE settings. Almost everyone ended up on their own island, so the AI hasn't really been given a chance to shine. Ah well.

Very good to hear reports about PBEM play too. It's one of the least tested game modes here I think.

> We've had a few strange occurrences with techcosts. The first one occurred in 2150, when I was researching Doctrine:Loyalty (C2), and the techcost suddenly jumped from 143 to 367.
> The second one happened just now, around 2208. Both of us were researching Planetary Econ (B6), but my techcost was 683 and Nevill's was 1215. This is somewhat unbalancing to say the least.
> We're not really sure what could possibly cause this. The only factors which come to mind are my +5 EFFIC and +4 RESEARCH score, and my faction having +1 labs per base (the RESEARCH rule in Faction.txt).

As far as I know, the formula that I've presented in Details.md should accurately reflect the new tech cost code. You didn't mention what SE RESEARCH modifier Nevill had. Having +4 SE RESEARCH applies a 40% discount over the default cost, per original game rules. The difference in that modifier doesn't fully explain 683 and 1215 costs, so there's some additional modifier at work here, but I'm not sure which one.

Personally I think research modifier is overpowered especially when combined high efficiency. It could have been easily nerfed to a 7% discount per point or similar, but I didn't want to go on overwriting original game rules to such an extent. I only refer here to the social engineering research variable, not this one:

> RESEARCH    = Free research points per base per turn.

Free research points should not have any kind of impact in the tech costs in this new formula. Neither does the EFFIC rating.

When you say "the techcost suddenly jumped from 143 to 367" what was the tech you were trying to research previously? Just remember that all the modifiers in Details.md are multiplicative, so sometimes there might be large jumps in tech costs. But then again, the cost should immediately be updated if you decide to switch research target (directed research only?)


Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #458 on: March 24, 2020, 10:20:44 AM »
I've been playing a game on Transcend as the Morganites, and have been enjoying the challenge of the other AI's actually developing past me (with one exception).  I got lucky starting out with a large continent to myself, with a nearby Manifold that allowed me to capture enough mindworms to survive.  I've had to avoid Free-Market because I can't risk the wrath of the nearby Gaians who have taken much of my coastline, so I may have to stay Green this run.

The one AI that has done very poorly this game was the Free Drones.  They started on their own small island, but have stopped settling it after two cities (it could hold 4), and haven't set foot on another continent or even made any sea-settlements.

Nice to see a couple of the AIs developing so well that they can match the player in research speed too. Even though Pirates start on the ocean, this game display their amphibious colonization ability as well. Needless to say, stock AI doesn't understand that strategy AT ALL.

Overall I think this is about the expected level of AI performance on this map size. Standard 40x80 maps are relatively small, so some AIs almost always get stuck in a corner and cannot expand properly. Faction placement can't do much there, since there's only so many valid locations to choose from.

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #459 on: March 24, 2020, 11:30:29 AM »
> You didn't mention what SE RESEARCH modifier Nevill had.

He's running Fundie in 2208 with no faction modifiers, so that should be -2 RESEARCH.
Still doesn't fully explain the difference, as you said. It does put things into perspective, though - one would expect a delta of 6 RESEARCH to have a significant effect.

> When you say "the techcost suddenly jumped from 143 to 367" what was the tech you were trying to research previously?

I should've phrased that more clearly: the cost of the tech jumped while I was in the middle of researching it. As in, it went from 6 years to research to 16 between turns. Quite a surprise.
Unless that's what you were referring to and I misunderstood, that is.

And yes, we are playing directed research only.

That said, I went back a few saves and found that in 2147 I was researching EcoEng (E4), and the stated cost for that tech was in fact 367. Then I switched to researching C2 in 2148, and the cost updated immediately to 143.
I'm not sure what this means, but it's probably worth noting.


We actually had some other AI-related questions / curiosities too, now that I remember:

1: The mod we're using nerfs boreholes down to 0-2-6. As far as we can tell, the AI hasn't built a single one. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (since boreholes were so epic before), but I wonder how this affects the AI's terraforming decision-making?

2: Could you possibly elaborate a little on how the AI makes SE choices? In our mod, Police State was changed to +2 SUPPORT +2 POLICE -2 TALENT, and Planned changed to +2 GROWTH +1 INDUSTRY -2 ECONOMY. All but one AI (whose faction is banned from running PS) has been running PS+Planned for the whole game, and this hasn't changed even when at war. Again, not necessarily bad (I myself ran Police State for most of the game), but kind of interesting.
None of the AI factions have any political or economic preferences, if that affects things.

Table of SE settings we are using:
Code: [Select]
Frontier,        None,   
Police State,    DocLoy,  ++SUPPORT, ++POLICE,   --TALENT
Democratic,      EthCalc, ++EFFIC,   ++GROWTH,   --SUPPORT
Fundamentalist,  Brain,   ++PROBE,   +MORALE,    +INDUSTRY,  --RESEARCH     
Simple,          None,
Free Market,     IndEcon, ++ECONOMY, ----POLICE, --PLANET,   -INDUSTRY
Planned,         PlaNets, ++GROWTH,  +INDUSTRY,  --ECONOMY
Green,           CentEmp, ++EFFIC,   ++PLANET,   --GROWTH,   +TALENT
Survival,        None,   
Power,           MilAlg,  ++SUPPORT, ++MORALE,   -INDUSTRY,  +TALENT
Knowledge,       Cyber,   +EFFIC,    ++RESEARCH, --PROBE,    -POLICE
Wealth,          AdapEco, +ECONOMY,  +INDUSTRY,  --MORALE,   -PLANET
None,            None,
Cybernetic,      DigSent, ++EFFIC,   ++RESEARCH, +PLANET,    ---POLICE
Eudaimonic,      Eudaim,  ++ECONOMY, ++GROWTH,   +SUPPORT,   ---MORALE
Thought Control, WillPow, ++POLICE,  ++INDUSTRY, +MORALE,    ---SUPPORT

In more general commentary, it seems that the AI has done the best it can considering the challenges of dealing with islands and water. The ones that started on decently-sized landmasses are quite powerful on paper, with many bases and competitive research (at Transcend difficulty). In fact, one of them has more council votes than me, and I have the Empath Guild giving me more votes!
(I do have a -2 GROWTH penalty on my faction, though, so perhaps this isn't that surprising after all.)

Nevill still overran his neighbour in a few turns once he had an actual military on hand, but that was to be expected.

Here is a picture of what the map looks like a century in. I am the white player in the top left, and he is the yellow player in the bottom right.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 11:59:05 AM by Tayta Malikai »

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #460 on: March 24, 2020, 12:57:06 PM »
> Still doesn't fully explain the difference, as you said. It does put things into perspective, though - one would expect a delta of 6 RESEARCH to have a significant effect.

Yeah that is a very large difference, could say almost unbalancing. The numbers still don't match exactly given that one faction is +4 research and the other is -2. Could it be that the other faction also receives the 15% discount when the target tech is also known by some AI faction with a commlink frequency?

> That said, I went back a few saves and found that in 2147 I was researching EcoEng (E4), and the stated cost for that tech was in fact 367. Then I switched to researching C2 in 2148, and the cost updated immediately to 143.
> I'm not sure what this means, but it's probably worth noting.

Those numbers are exactly what the costs should be according to the new formula. If you plug levels 2 and 4 to the formula given in Details.md you can also see that the cost jump from level 2 to 4 is a factor of 2.56, as can be seen from those numbers.

> 1: The mod we're using nerfs boreholes down to 0-2-6. As far as we can tell, the AI hasn't built a single one. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (since boreholes were so epic before), but I wonder how this affects the AI's terraforming decision-making?

I'm kinda surprised if they didn't build any boreholes. It's important to note here the AI doesn't do any cost-benefit calculations for most of the terrain improvement items, they just build them whenever they are available. The one exception to this rule is plant/remove fungus actions. The AI actually compares fungus yield to forest tiles when deciding which one to use. Just watch out if they ever get the Manifold Harmonics...

> 2: Could you possibly elaborate a little on how the AI makes SE choices? In our mod, Police State was changed to +2 SUPPORT +2 POLICE -2 TALENT, and Planned changed to +2 GROWTH +1 INDUSTRY -2 ECONOMY. All but one AI (whose faction is banned from running PS) has been running PS+Planned for the whole game, and this hasn't changed even when at war. Again, not necessarily bad (I myself ran Police State for most of the game), but kind of interesting.

Also here's one undocumented behaviour: the social engineering AI ignores TALENT modifier when deciding which model to choose. In this case they would see Police State as having only positive modifiers, so naturally it would tend to override other choices for most of the time. User interface doesn't display this modifier correctly and none of the default choices utilize it, so that's why I didn't program it there. It could be added in some kind of an update, but I haven't given any thought on how it should be weighted against other modifiers.


Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #461 on: March 24, 2020, 01:28:22 PM »
> Could it be that the other faction also receives the 15% discount when the target tech is also known by some AI faction with a commlink frequency?

Hmm, well, I see in my save that 2 AI factions already know that tech (B6), and we obviously both have commlink with them by this time. I would expect that would affect both of us though, no?

Not sure if the AI plays by the same rules (playing at Transcend with default multipliers, i.e. cost_factor=7), but those two factions are currently researching level 6 techs with costs of 885 and 797. Neither should have any RESEARCH modifier, though one is PS+Planned and the other Demo+Green.

> Those numbers are exactly what the costs should be according to the new formula. If you plug levels 2 and 4 to the formula given in Details.md you can also see that the cost jump from level 2 to 4 is a factor of 2.56, as can be seen from those numbers.

Interesting. So the new formula is at least giving consistent jumps between levels.

>  In this case they would see Police State as having only positive modifiers, so naturally it would tend to override other choices for most of the time.

Yeah, I suspected this was the case tbh. I suppose it's a bit of a niche thing, since only mods mess with TALENT. We could always just adjust the penalties and see if the AI picks other choices more.

Of course, I wouldn't object if you did feel like adding support for it in an update! I suppose TALENT most closely compares to POLICE, since both affect the number of drones per base - however, POLICE requires you to invest in actual police, while TALENT is passive. This might benefit the AI a bit more, since it tends not to use police very well.

Offline Hans Lemurson

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #462 on: March 24, 2020, 07:42:45 PM »
I ran across two strange bugs, but I don't know if they are related to this Mod.

#1 is a text bug in the message about losing minerals when I switch projects.  When I first noticed it it said "Switching between Believers carries a 50% retooling penalty..."
When I closed the program and reloaded the game, the same message said:
"Switching between Mission Year 2211 carries a 50% retooling penalty..."

#2 seems to be the "Ghost Drone" bug, from what I've been able to track down.  Super-drones that are pacified by police appear as content in the Psych window, and do not cause drone-riots, but display as super-drones in the population display.

I bring these up here because this is the mod I was playing when I noticed the bugs.  Do you know if these issues have come up or been addressed elsewhere before?
Termination of specimen advised.

Offline Induktio

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #463 on: March 26, 2020, 07:22:07 PM »
> Hmm, well, I see in my save that 2 AI factions already know that tech (B6), and we obviously both have commlink with them by this time. I would expect that would affect both of us though, no?

If you both have the both commlinks, then the 25% discount should apply equally.

> Not sure if the AI plays by the same rules (playing at Transcend with default multipliers, i.e. cost_factor=7), but those two factions are currently researching level 6 techs with costs of 885 and 797. Neither should have any RESEARCH modifier, though one is PS+Planned and the other Demo+Green.

Just a guess, the faction with the cost of 797 has Manifold Nexus on their territory? It applies a +1 research modifier, so the cost would be 885 * 0.9 = 797. Edit: probably it's something else, since +1 research bonus applies only on alien factions when they have it inside their borders.

> I bring these up here because this is the mod I was playing when I noticed the bugs.  Do you know if these issues have come up or been addressed elsewhere before?

I'm not sure at the moment if Scient's patch adjusted something related to those features. I recall people reporting some kind of bugs with super drones in the vanilla game. Can you open the save with the standard terranx.exe binary and see if those problems persist?
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 07:39:04 PM by Induktio »

Offline Hans Lemurson

Re: SMACX Thinker Mod
« Reply #464 on: March 27, 2020, 12:58:44 AM »
The standard terranx.exe will not open with the modified alphax.txt, I'll need to find the original version.

...Ugh, Windows 10 won't even let me delete or rename my original folder because applications are using the arialn.ttf file inside there as a font source!

....
Ok, got it running.  Started with a clean install of Alpha Centauri. 
With the original terranx.exe, the "ghost drones" DO appear, but there is no error in the retooling message dialog.
...
When I install PracX, same thing (super-drones yes, retooling message fine)
...
When I install Thinker, I see no change.

A clean install seems to have fixed all of the problems.  Interesting.  Good to know!
I did notice that the message was not just without errors, but actually different:
Quote
Switching production in mid-course carries a 50% retooling penalty for all but the first 10 minerals.  4 minerals would be lost.
as opposed to the previous message that had the error:
Quote
Switching production between Mission Year 2211 carries a 50% retooling penalty for all but the first 10 minerals.  4 minerals would be lost.

Now, interestingly, when I contacted the Hive (and left them seething after I refused their demands, and so remained at vendetta with me), the retooling message was as follows:
Quote
Switching production between monopolistic grasping carries a 50% retooling penalty for all but the first 10 minerals.  4 minerals would be lost.
The message seems to be trying to access memory that holds data which was never properly set.  Maybe it was somehow displaying the message for switching away from a Secret Project, but since no such project existed it read from old memory.

But anyways, the problem was clearly at my end, not yours.  Thanks for all the good work!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2020, 06:15:33 AM by Hans Lemurson »
Termination of specimen advised.

 

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