Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire > After Action Reports

Morgan Biochemical - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.37

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Detailsthe tougher Morganitesthe tougher Morganites
It has been 15 months and 20 releases of my SMACX AI Growth mod, since I last tried to win the game while committing massive atrocities.  Back then, I made the horrific mistake of simultaneously inflicting atrocities on several factions at once.  Planet took vengeance, the seas rose, bases became hard to reach, and that kept my enemies from dying.  As I struggled to recover, eventually they got around to nuking me.  At which point I resigned, situation hopeless.

The moral of that story is, you wipe out one faction at a time.

I've learned other things since then.  Like that Aliens can gas anybody and can themselves be gassed without consequences, because they are not part of the Planetary Council.  Like that it's fairly easy to legalize chemical warfare.  You just need a little luck at a Planetary Council meeting.  And that you can nuke everyone without consequences, if you do it in one turn.  I've done these things, and I've even written up a nuking.

But that's not what we're doing here!  We're doing it when it's illegal, and when Planet deeply cares about the illegality.  In a way they clearly don't care, when the Planetary Council approves.  Aren't you impressed that Planet has such "heart" ?  And that they're such an important party to the political discussion?

Well, my explanation is they designed the game badly.  Planet should always take vengeance, if chemicals and nukes irritate its delicate onion skin so much.  We're going to play the game as though it was correct, logical, and consistent.  No weasling out of Planet's vengeance!

I've never won that scenario, and I question whether it's winnable at all.  It would definitely help to wait as long as possible before triggering the vengeance, to get helpful techs and Secret Projects like the Neural Amplifier.

But we're not going to do that!  We're going to play as though Morgan is impatient to get on with executing some enemy of his.  He will need to build up some techs to do that, like C3 Applied Physics at a minimum, to make viable X Recon Rovers.  Other games have taught me that X Scouts don't do anything, you gotta have at least a strength 2 armament to do substantial nerve gas damage.

And to make things more Morganic, I'm never going to change his research focus.  His default is pure Build.  In principle, the AI could do what I'm about to do.  If it had the brains to do it, which it doesn't.

Furthermore I'm probably going to utilize the relatively new Extremist choice, once he's got the core world ending tech he needs, i.e. an X Recon Rover.  This isn't your grandpappy's Morgan, this is a tougher Morgan that has +1 SUPPORT, not -1.  Think more Halliburton than fatcat.  Extremist will put him to +3, which could give him some serious hordes if I can get his base sizes high enough.  Which admittedly, could be rather difficult on a flooding planet.  We shall see!

And we're going to go Capitalist, to do as much eco-damage to Planet as possible.  Which admittedly is less in my mod, only -2 PLANET.  It's still going to be a horror show.

We're not going to put any Aliens in this game, because it's too easy to gas them without consequences.  I've done it dozens of times now.  It's not even worth a writeup.

We're going to put the Pirates into the game.  Also a pure Build faction, and the most likely to inherit Planet when it floods.  My Pirates have potential political compatibility, as they fixate on Wealth.  However the Pirates are likely to become scary in such circumstances.  If Planet can't kill me, they might.  Especially because, if you commit enough atrocities, everyone reviles you and tries to kill you.

In short if I can win this one, I can probably win anything.  There's a slight possibility I may not have perfected my Pirate AI tweaks, and that's the real reason I want to include them.  Otherwise I'm happy with random human opponents, on a Huge map, that always has plenty of water in my mod.  Average settings and Transcend difficulty, of course.

Luckily it only takes me 1 restart to get all human factions.  In play are: myself as the Morganites, the Pirates, the Gaians, the Hive, the Cyborgs, the Data Angels, and the Believers.  Of these, only the Cyborgs has shown questionable performance in my mod lately.  They could however turn out to be a research powerhouse, it's possible for them.  The Gaians are always a research powerhouse in my mod, unless they get a bad start condition.

I have a new After Action Report writing tool at my disposal: the Windows 10 "Snip & Sketch" tool.  It's way faster at taking cropped screenshots than other methods.  You simply set a timer to activate in 3 seconds, switch your context to the fullscreen game, and then wait for it to activate.  When it does, you can capture the full screen or just draw a rectangle around whatever you want to snip.  The benefit to reader is my screenshots are now the full resolution of the game and have no downfiltering.  If I'm cropping.  Sometimes I'll still want to show the whole screen.

Detailsyour starting minigame concernyour starting minigame concern
I've started inland near the top of the map.

Detailsthe radar at highest zoomthe radar at highest zoom
I am on a large island-shaped mass.   I bet you the Pirates will start in the equatorial southern waters somewhere.  They could be close to me or far away from me.

Detailspart of the northern supercontinentpart of the northern supercontinent
My land mass is part of the northern supercontinent.  It is clearly linked by land to the southwest.  It may also be linked to the southeast, or there may be a water channel.  A supply pod could trigger an earthquake and make a link if there isn't one already.  I am certain to have a land enemy coming from the southwest direction.  I may have one from the southeast.

Detailsperfunctory capitolperfunctory capitol
I started on Flat Moist land, and none of the land around me looks particularly wetter or better.  I'm next to fungus but I'm not supposed to be afraid of that this game anyways.  I just took the square as my base, to get on with it.  I send my Colony Pod down river, as if nothing else it'll move faster, provided it isn't a fungus covered river.  Mindworms have an awfully high chance of showing up on fungal river squares in my experience.  I'll pop the pod once I've got an expendable Scout to throw at it, coming next turn.  I do have +1 SUPPORT so can spam Scouts better than other factions can at the beginning.

Detailsdo like I dodo like I do
I crossed one of those nasty fungal river squares without incident.  My reasoning was, I had the moves to retreat if need be.  My base site is awful but I'm going to take it rather than going back.

I may need to add E3 Ecological Engineering and Fungicidal Tanks to my list of "required" techs for facing these adversities.  This makes me realize that I'd prefer Fungicidal Tanks to be part of the Build Tree, not the Explore tree.  Recently I changed Ecological Engineering to Explore although it's still heavily weighted in Build as well.  It lifts the nutrient restriction rather than the minerals restriction and also provides Aquafarm.  The minerals restriction is lifted by B3 Industrial Economics.  Well, we'll see if I have any problem getting Ecological Engineering in practice.  I may not.  That's the real reason for restricting myself to Build only research, to see what kinds of hangups the AI would run into.

Detailsit's no Nileit's no Nile
The supply pod changed the course of the river.  Big wow.  No helpful Monolith, just ruining my land worse than it was.  My 2nd base now has complete garbage around it, near as I can tell.  I'll walk this fungus laden river just to be peevish about it.

Since it's early in the game, I'm going to win.  Not that many turns from now, this would be a death sentence.  I forget whether the threshold is 10 or 15 turns, or something else.

Detailsrockin' resourcesrockin' resources
Mission Year 2110.  We're about to find out.  MY 2111, survived that hit just fine with hardly a scratch.

Detailsthe first truly helpful supply popthe first truly helpful supply pop
MY 2120.  I've gotten a fair amount of annoying stuff like fungal pops out of the supply pods.  My home territory is fairly resource poor.  At least now I've got a boat.  In my mod they move a bit faster, and they all have Clean Reactors and Deep Radar on them.  Clean Reactors are also available from the beginning of the game, to help the AI out with SUPPORT problems.  They are more expensive to build though, so it's not a free lunch.  One of my early pod popping tricks, is to switch production to an expensive production like a unit with a Clean Reactor and armor on it, then pop the pod nearest a city, hoping that it will complete the production.  So far that trick hasn't worked, so I'm still just toodling along with 7 Scouts.  I haven't even produced my 1st Colony Pod yet, and I've not had the food to do it much sooner anyways.   I started the game with more money than other factions, but I didn't see a point in rushing to produce Scouts.

Maybe I make him my 1st victim instead of my last?  In fairness I don't know how far away he is.  He could have slow boated himself a long ways across the map.  The AI is prone to do that.  We sign a Treaty.  He doesn't want a Pact.  I buy Doctrine: Flexibility and Doctrine: Mobility from him for 200 credits.  Maybe it won't be so hard to get to my chemical weapons threshold.  A little exploration and I might be able to just buy the techs from various people.

My capitol has finally grown to size 2, so I rush the Colony Pod.

He really does want to die, doesn't he?  Ideally I'd use X Marines for this sort of thing, but that requires 2 Tier 3 Conquer techs.  I suppose an X Laser Skimship would work fine.  At least he won't get any use of my land.

Detailsthe purpose of clean unitsthe purpose of clean units
This is what having Clean Reactors available at the beginning of the game is good for.  This base won't be able to produce another Colony Pod for 21 turns.  I'm supporting 3 Scouts and that's the max I can do for free.  The Clean Scout is the cheapest unit I can make that doesn't cost support and is useful for something.  This sort of thing helps me, and it also helps the AI.  The AI has a very bad habit of running itself out of SUPPORT in various cities.  Getting it to build Clean Formers, especially, alleviates this.  Clean is really not something you need midgame, despite its appearance as some kind of "big reward" in the original game, for having researched a lot of tech.  By then, you're getting factories and forests and have built Mines and have a lot of minerals.  It's the beginning of the game when a Clean Reactor can do the most good, especially for the AI.

MY 2124.  I rush my 2nd colony pod.

Detailsa hazarda hazard
MY 2126.  I was right about earthquakes going off, but I doubt this bridged any new land.

MY 2128.  I found the Ruins, which I suspected was there because I'd walked all around it.  However I had to retreat, because I was near death from a previous mindworm encounter.  One of those infamous river mindworms.

MY 2129.  I found my first Unity Rover at sea.  This can solve the mindworm problem in the Ruins.  I think I'll let my near dead unit stand still and heal, while the Rover does all the work.

Detailsintroducing the Unity Lifterintroducing the Unity Lifter
MY 2130.  I've found the Hive, and they may have found the Unity crash site.  Although, they could have possibly popped a Unity Lifter from a supply pod.  This is my replacement for a Unity Scout Chopper in version 1.37 of my mod.  It's much faster than a regular chopper.  It moves 12 even with a Transport module on it.  It has a Range of 2, so it doesn't take damage the 1st time it lands somewhere.  However it's the only Copter chassis unit available in the game.  You have to pull these things out of supply pods or the Unity crash site.  I wanted to prevent anyone using the copter chassis' multi-fire capability, as it is seriously overpowered.  This was the only way to make sure that no one could design a unit with a weapon.

Detailsdivide and conquerdivide and conquer
MY 2131.  Mindworms from 1 Isle land in 2 different places next to my base, making it impossible to defend myself.  This is unusual, to the point that nobody would ever plan for such a thing this early in the game.  What am I to do?  I save the game and consider save scumming it.  The start of my game was fairly bad and I don't think having 1/3rd of my cities eliminated is fair.  I don't think rushing the unit production ever works for a human player.  It seems to work for the AI, but I will just spend resources and still have my city wiped out before the new unit comes online.

After seeing the results of an attack, I load the save game and do choose to rush the unit.  For some reason although my defender dies, the base doesn't get wiped out along with it.  I would have expected a size 1 base to depopulate and die, but it didn't happen.  This maneuver costs me 11 credits.  Oddly enough, the 2nd time the mindworms don't manage to kill my defender anyways.  Well, I'm not really invested in the details of this, as it was basically an unfair move on the part of the game anyways.

Now that I know this can happen in this geographic configuration, I suppose I will just leave that new Clean Scout right where it is, instead of marching it off to garrison a new city as I'd originally intended.

Detailswhat makes them pirateswhat makes them pirates
MY 2132.  The Pirates sign a Pact.  I find out where they came from.  Looks like I'm not connected to the supercontinent to the southeast, and the Pirates desired to move up the sea channel there.  I'm barely connected to the southwest and I expect Yang is that way.


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