Author Topic: SMACX AI Growth mod  (Read 66115 times)

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Offline Douglas

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1065 on: July 26, 2020, 05:19:03 PM »
Considering some extremes for examples, Morgan at +5 economy vs someone else with normal economy. If there are no commerce technologies in the game, Morgan gets:
Commerce multiplier: (4 + 1) / (0 + 1) = 5
Econ victory price multiplier: (0 * 0 + 1) / (4 * 4 + 1) = 1 / 15 = 0.06666...

If there are 50 commerce technologies and everyone has them all, Morgan gets:
Commerce multiplier: (54 + 1) / (50 + 1) = 55 / 51 = 1.078
Econ victory price multiplier: (50 * 50 + 1) / (54 * 54 + 1) = 2501 / 2917 = 0.857

Morgan's advantage is a hell of a lot smaller when everyone has a lot of commerce techs than when everyone has none, and that's a trend that never reverses. The more commerce technologies there are, and the more of them that everyone has, the less each one of them matters.

If you want to reduce the power of faction, economy, and late game tech bonuses to commerce, you need to load up everyone with a high baseline that everyone will practically always have by the time it matters. You could do that by giving all factions a large commerce bonus instead, but that would also greatly increase commerce energy production.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1066 on: July 27, 2020, 12:59:57 AM »
and that's a trend that never reverses.

I think this may be the graph of a hyperbola on X Y.  It's been too long since my high school math to remember what the graph looks like, but I suspect asymptotic convergence where further increments don't matter.  Similarly, you'll see profound jumps in lower numbers, which is not desirable.  Let's compare Morgan at +5 using different base commerce levels.  For example:

(45^2 +1)/(50^2 +1) = 2026 / 2501 = 0.81
(40^2 +1)/(45^2 +1) = 1601 / 2026 = 0.79
(35^2 +1)/(40^2 +1) = 1226 / 1601 = 0.765
(30^2 +1)/(35^2 +1) = 901 / 1226 = 0.734
(25^2 +1)/(30^2 +1) = 626 / 901 = 0.694
(20^2 +1)/(25^2 +1) = 401 / 626 = 0.64
(15^2 +1)/(20^2 +1) = 226 / 401 = 0.56
(10^2 +1)/(15^2 +1) = 101 / 226 = 0.446
(5^2 +1)/(10^2 +1) = 26 / 101 = 0.257
(0^2 +1)/(5^2 +1) = 1 / 26 = 0.038

Notice that in the lower number inputs, the differentials are huge, whereas in higher regions they're more similar and stable.  It's simply not desirable to have +5 vs. +0 when square functions are involved.

One way to clip Morgan's wings is to remove his Commerce bonus.  In my mod he's already got a +1 ECONOMY bonus that nobody else has got, and that can make him reach +3 Commerce on the SE table, which nobody else can do.  Everyone else would achieve at most +2 Commerce from SE.

The highest Build tech the Cult learned in my game, was B3 Superconductor.  That's my tech that gives the Energy Bank and Merchant Exchange.  It has a great quote from Morgan about how superconducting fiber alone makes our present economy possible.  So if I made Industrial Base, Industrial Economics, and Superconductor all contribute +1 Commerce, and had no more Commerce bonuses, then a generic faction like the Data Angels could achieve a +2 Commerce advantage from SE.  That would yield:

(3^2 +1)/(5^2 +1) = 10 / 26 = 0.38

That's not good, but it's a little better than the 0.1 I actually saw in my game.  Another problem with my game, is that the Cult ended up with a massive, sprawling empire, most of it quite a distance from Dawn of Planet.  DoP was also coastal near an ocean, so it had no potential to develop a "perfect radial core" like I built for myself.  In fact some of the sea bases it put near me, were actually closer to their capitol than most of the rest of their empire.  I never tried to buy them out since they had no productive benefit and were just outside of the "natural circle" I'd been establishing by that point in the game.  They might have turned out to be annoying and troublesome that way.

Police State Socialist gave them +1 JUSTICE.  Although that doesn't suck rocks, I think with a sprawling empire on a Huge map, with so many bases distant from their capitol, a lot of their cities would probably be easily bought.  At least by the Economic Victory calculation method, where PROBE is ignored.  If it wasn't ignored, well at least they had +1 PROBE from Police State.

I guess I really would have to front load the tech tree with a lot of low tier Commerce techs, to move the differential up to something more reasonable.  Or start every faction with higher Commerce, which would amount to the same thing.  This does have the tradeoff of bases making more money from Commerce.  It could have the effect of making Treaties silly lucrative.  You also get major discounts on the Economic Victory calculation for Treaties and Pacts, so I wonder if this really helps.  It could turn into just a new way to exploit things.

My earlier solution to the "too cheap Economic Victory" problem was to time limit it.  I used to require B9 Global Energy Theory.  At the rate I was going, that wouldn't have been too long for me, and I could have easily coasted in to that.  It really wouldn't have made it difficult to buy out the Cult, they would still have been an economic pushover.  They were also a military pushover in the scheme of things, I could definitely have crushed them with conventional weapons.  Particularly if I had not Reinstated the U.N. Charter and kept doing my destructive thing.

I'll come up with a candidate list of low level techs, to imagine what my minimum base Commerce could realistically be.  The problem with "have more Commerce techs" as any kind of solution, is that a non-Build faction isn't going to learn them!  They're too busy conquering.  And on a Huge map, it's not a guarantee that they can actually reach you to harm you.  Particularly since the AI does not exhibit competence fighting across oceans.  And let's face it, I terminated all my land neighbors with extreme prejudice.

Maybe I just have to trust in the linear Commerce ratio for computing Commerce income.  If everyone has the same base Commerce, then maybe cities don't get rich.

If I stuck to early Build techs, I'd have Industrial Base, Industrial Economics, Ethical Calculus, Superconductor, and Ecological Engineering.  The Cult did learn all of those, and that's 5 techs.  If I added cross-listed techs with wealth=3, then I'd also have Centauri Ecology and Optical Computers.  So that's 7 techs, safely as a base within Tier 3.

If I added techs in Tier 4, I could have Environmental Economics, Planetary Economics, and Neural Grafting.  However the Cult only learned 2 of these.  If I added Tier 5, I could have Applied Relativity, Bio-engineering, and Advanced Ecological Engineering.  However the Cult only learned 1 of these.

They didn't learn any Tier 6 techs at all.  That would include Digital Sentience, Industrial Automation, Fusion Power, and Eudaimonia.  I could blow off Eudaimonia giving a Commerce bonus, as it's really the Empath Guild giving more votes for the Governorship, as to why I've got it cross-listed with Build techs.  Fusion Power is currently my requirement for Economic Victory, so I can't very well blow that off if this tier is included.  It's another 3 points worth of Commerce bonuses.

I pretty much crushed the crap out of everything that game.  I was gifted the Manifold Nexus at the beginning of the game and played "pseudo-Gaian", popping numerous supply pods and Artifacts.  Using my shorter timeframe for Cornering The Energy Market, I would have won by MY 2304.  That's a pretty fast game for me.  I was disappointed that the Cult didn't represent any actual challenge at that point, despite them having conquered half the map.

If I only give Commerce through Tier 3, then a generic faction could have this advantage:
(7^2 +1) / (9^2 +1) = 50 / 82 = 0.609
If I gave them through Tier 4, then the Cult would slip by 1 place:
(9^2 +1) / (12^2 +1) = 82 / 145 = 0.565
If I gave them through Tier 5, then the Cult would slip by 3 places:
(10^2 +1) / (15^2 +1) = 101 / 226 = 0.446
If I gave them through Tier 6, then the Cult would slip by 6 places:
(10^2 +1) / (18^2 +1) = 101 /  325 = 0.31

If I nerfed Morgan, at Tier 3 he'd have a +3 differential:
(7^2 + 1) / (10^2 +1) = 50 / 101 = 0.495
At Tier 4, he'd have a +4 differential:
(9^2 +1) / (13^2 +1) = 82 / 170 = 0.482
At Tier 5, he'd have a +6 differential:
(10^2 +1) / (16^2 +1) = 101 / 257 = 0.392
At Tier 6, he'd have a +9 differential:
(10^2 +1) / (19^2 +1) = 101 / 362 = 0.279

I think this suggests giving Commerce bonuses through Tier 4, then calling it quits.  I'd be willing to give a bonus for B9 Global Energy Theory, as pretty much a benchmark of "completing" the Economic Victory part of the tech tree.  Or then again, maybe not!  I mean if you can't win the game with Orbital Power Transmitters...

Ok I have now implemented a prototype Tiers 1 through 4 slew of Commerce bonuses.  It's somewhat working.  Loading the new alphax.txt into my test game, it now costs 15.4k credits to buy out the Cult of Planet.  That's hardly difficult to do, as with a 50-10-40 budget I make 990 credits/turn.  But at least it's a 6-fold increase over what it was costing before.  And perhaps with an actual economic faction still left in the game, and a lack of chemical denuding, Economic Victory might actually turn out to be a slight challenge.  We'll see.

I'll playtest with the Morganites.  I'm also making Economic Victory available with Planetary Economics to see how it goes now.  Morgan has been nerfed, no more Commerce bonus for him.

Douglas, I've given you a modder acknowledgement in my readme_mod.txt.  I already had you listed as a playtester.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 04:12:52 AM by bvanevery »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1067 on: August 01, 2020, 04:34:13 AM »
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.44 to 1.45:

LOYALTY

- Command Center: moved to C1 Doctrine: Mobility.  It's not actually a great lore fit for Doctrine: Loyalty, as the Machiavelli quote is about running a government, not about running the military.  I don't actually need more C1 techs, the dependencies aren't that compressed.  It hasn't made any game mechanical difference having a Command Center as a separate C1 tech, as Tier 1 techs are easy to obtain.  I might as well use Doctrine: Loyalty for something else.
- Children's Creche: moved to E2 Doctrine: Loyalty.  E2 Adaptive Economics was too crowded with too many giveaways.  Upon finishing a Children's Creche, Santiago's quote about parents defending their homes to the death, is spot on topical to the Machiavelli quote.  Brainwashing children is also a main means of securing a regime, such as in the case of the Hitler Youth.
- Doctrine: Loyalty: now an E2 tech.  Set power=3, wealth=2, and growth=4.  The Children's Creche gives defense and JUSTICE bonuses.
- Theocratic politics: moved to E2 Doctrine: Loyalty.  The lore fit is merely so-so, as the Machiaveli quote is not talking about religion.  However it's been annoying having a lot of factions gratuitously believe in God, just because they got Social Psych.  Moving Theocratic a bit later, lowers the odds of that happening.  It also reinforces the "be fruitful and multiply" religious trope.
- Social Psych: set wealth=2.  It no longer gives Theocratic, so the wealth value should only be that of a Rec Commons making people happier.
- Adaptive Economics: set power=0 and wealth=1.  It no longer gives the Children's Creche, so no defense bonuses.  Socialist gives a JUSTICE bonus but also an ECONOMY penalty.  At the beginning of the game, this is unlikely to result in an increase in money.  In midgame a hab complex allows for more workers which could make some more money.

ECONOMIC VICTORY

- Technology for economic victory: now B4 Planetary Economics as in the original game.  With the following Commerce corrections, it shouldn't be trivial to Corner The Energy Market anymore.
- Morganites: removed Commerce bonus.  They already have a +1 ECONOMY bonus that nobody else has, which enables them to reach +5 ECONOMY in the SE table when no one else can.  That yields +3 Commerce instead of +2 like everyone else would get.  I don't want Economic Victory to be a cakewalk for them.  If they want the most advantage, then they should commit to Democratic Capitalist Wealth Cybernetic.
- Industrial Base: set "Increases commerce income" flag.  In the calculation for Cornering The Energy Market, the cost of buying out a base is computed as a ratio of squares of Commerce ratings.  Many techs increase Commerce rating, resulting in huge differentials of Commerce between Build and non-Build faction.  It is possible for a more militant faction to conquer half of a huge map, only to thereby create an empire that is "economically worthless" and in essence be losing the game instead of winning.  The distinction is obscure enough for a human to understand, and probably impossible for the AI, so it is not a good play mechanic.
  To correct this, modder Douglas suggested pushing many Commerce techs to the beginning of the tech tree.  That way, even militant factions are likely to obtain them by late midgame.  The cutoff for Commerce bonuses shall be Tier 4, after which no more shall be given.  At that point, only bonuses from high ECONOMY can increase Commerce.  Morgan can gain +3 this way, and all other factions can gain +2.
- Centauri Ecology: set "Increases commerce income" flag.  Techs with wealth=3 are considered to be cross-listed with Build.  Any cross-listed techs in Tiers 1 through 4 will have the flag set.
- Ethical Calculus: set "Increases commerce income" flag.  It has wealth=3.
- Superconductor: set "Increases commerce income" flag.  It has wealth=4.
- Ecological Engineering: set "Increases commerce income" flag.  It has wealth=3.
- Optical Computers: set "Increases commerce income" flag.  It has wealth=3.
- Neural Grafting: set "Increases commerce income" flag.  It has wealth=3.
- Industrial Automation: removed "Increases commerce income" flag.  No techs past Tier 4 will give a Commerce bonus.
- Industrial Nanorobotics: removed "Increases commerce income" flag.  No techs past Tier 4 will give a Commerce bonus.
- Sentient Econometrics: set tech=4 and wealth=3, making it a D8 tech.  Removed "Increases commerce income" flag.  No techs past Tier 4 will give a Commerce bonus.  With the Commerce bonus removed, it didn't have any ordinary benefit to offer, only the Self-Aware Colony.  Now it gives the Corporate Lab.
- Corporate Lab: moved to D8 Sentient Econometrics.  I feel it is coming too soon after the Fusion Lab becomes available. 
- Unified Field Theory: set wealth=0.  It no longer gives the Corporate Lab.  It is now a pure Discover tech and will be a bit of a difficult barrier to cross.  This is going to make the Corporate Lab and then the Orbital Power Transmitter more difficult to gain.
- Retroviral Engineering: set wealth=2.  Earlier I established that Advanced Military Algorithms gives Power, and that its SUPPORT bonus is only worth wealth=1, due to the JUSTICE penalty.  Thought Control doesn't have a JUSTICE penalty, but SUPPORT is not worth much later in the game.  It should not be weath=3.

FACTION RESEARCH FOCI

- Data Angels: changed to Discover, Build, Conquer foci.  I made a mistake in not making them Conquer oriented.  Their core compulsion, Thought Control, is a Conquer tech.  It doesn't make any sense to have them not working towards it.
- Cybernetic Consciousness: changed to Discover, Build foci.  I forgot that Cybernetic is now a moneymaker, so this is more of a fit than making them violent.  In the real world, they're never going to steal a tech from attacking a base.  They're going to be out-researching other factions and coming up with their own techs.

FLOWERS

- Xenoempathy Dome: now costs 600.  It got moved to Tier 6 a few releases ago.  Cost should be comparable to other SPs in that Tier.

OGRES

- Battle Ogre MK1: reduced weapon to a strength 3 R-Laser.  Changed AI plan to "3=Reconaissance".  Removed Empath Song and High Morale abilities.  Added Deep Radar ability.  At the very start of the game, this unit was overpowered.  Starting right next to an Alien faction brandishing this weapon, when you've only founded your first 2 cities, is actually a fairly common occurrence.  This happens even on Huge maps with my tweaks to make bigger continents.  The faction placement algorithm just doesn't try very hard to spread factions out.  An R-Laser is still a tough weapon at the beginning of the game, but it's not as tough as a Particle Impactor.  With the High Morale buff removed, it should get fewer shots off before dying.  The R-Laser is thematically appropriate for the way the AI actually uses it, typically scouting the fungus until the Ogre is dead.  Deep Radar is added to make it more useful for scouting.
- Battle Ogre MK2: added Deep Radar ability, to make it more useful for scouting.
- Battle Ogre MK3: added Deep Radar ability, to make it more useful for scouting.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1068 on: August 19, 2020, 08:12:44 AM »
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.45 to 1.46:

- Believers: changed to Explore, Conquer foci.  Added +1 GROWTH bonus.  They need to learn Theocratic quickly, and having Build as part of their focus dilutes that.  Theocratic only gives +1 GROWTH which is not that useful.  This is deliberate so that the other AI factions won't obsess over it.  Other factions generally pick better politics when they can, but the Believers don't have that option.  So, this raises their total to +2 GROWTH, enough for an early game pop boom if they can get a Children's Creche and Golden Age together.
- Caretakers: changed to Explore, Build foci.  This is because I want the Pirates to do something else, and someone has to take these foci.  If they get enough of a land buffer, they do ok with this.
- Free Drones: changed to Explore, Build, Conquer foci.  Without an Explore component, they were never learning Socialist.
- Hive: changed to Discover, Conquer foci.  Removed GROWTH bonus.  Once they've got Police State, they don't need happiness, and there's no narrative reason for them to be interested in mindworms.  GROWTH has become a Theocratic / Believer play mechanic, and I don't want that "brand identity" to be watered down.
- Pirates: changed to Build, Conquer foci.  Without a Conquer focus, they were not learning Doctrine: Initiative and Adaptive Doctrine.
- Usurpers: changed to Explore, Discover, Conquer foci.  Changed primary compulsion to Socialist.  Giving them the same mindset as the Caretakers annoys me, but Socialist / Planned is the only dialogue available for the Aliens.  When Marr pursues Power, he speaks like a human and that's annoying.  I could give him no compulsion at all, so that he wouldn't speak any diplomatic dialogue.  However Socialist is a practical choice for him, since he can't choose Democratic and therefore won't have a good ECONOMY.  He will always choose Police State eventually, and Socialist offsets its JUSTICE penalty.  Marr also gives the quote for Adaptive Economics, basically explaining something like Socialism to the humans.  An Explore component is necessary to learn Socialist, and Discover reflects his desire to Transcend.

Offline WeMustConsentAI

Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1069 on: September 01, 2020, 01:57:30 AM »
 ;stupid

 :danc:

 :mad:

 ???

 :(

 :-\

 :'(

 ;lol

You forgot to edit ALL of the in-game “help” files in order to PROPERLY log ALL of the changes that you’ve made to the game. And also, I’m absolutely sick and tired of just not being able to get “Secrets of the Human Brain” first. Now obviously, the latter is something that LITERALLY ANYONE could EASILY fix (I.e. rename it altogether and simply make it a “non-secrets” discovery), assuming THAT they had simply ADEQUATE competence in computer/video coding. But doing the former myself would just take WAY too long for me.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1070 on: September 01, 2020, 04:31:33 AM »
Thanks for the feedback.  It definitely takes some effort to make an account to give it, and I appreciate that.  Let's see if I can pull apart the issues.

You forgot to edit ALL of the in-game “help” files

Actually I did not forget.  Most Datalinks entries are automated and simply read values straight from alphax.txt.  Sometimes the correct values, say for a unit's stats, are at the bottom of the Datalinks page instead of in the text.  You have to look for that, and accept that it's a limitation of this style of modding.

Some few entries will indeed be wrong, and I'm not going to change them.  Why?  Because it's illegal.  My mod is unusual compared to the various binary hacker mods, in that the 14 faction *.txt and alphax.txt file are 100% legal to change and redistribute.  Firaxis put notices to that effect at the top of those files.  They didn't do that for every file in the game, so I have to assume it's illegal.  Why do I care what's legal or not?  Because unlike the binary hacker modders, I'm an aspiring indie game developer.  If Firaxis or Electronic Arts wanted to send me a cease-and-desist letter someday "down the road", I don't want any legal exposure.  With my current approach, I don't think there's anything they can do to me, or would want to do to me.

I did license my work under CC-BY-NC.  Someone could take it and "correct" it in any way they deem necessary.  I will only do what suits my purposes, which includes keeping things legal.  Others may not be so encumbered.

Quote
in order to PROPERLY log ALL of the changes that you’ve made to the game.

It is not important to tell a player what's changed in the Datalinks.  It's only important to have the information be correct.  I agree that it is not all 100% correct, per above.  But knowing what's changed is a separate issue.

If you want to know about changes, the CHANGELOG section of readme_mod.txt is extensive and gory.  2.5 years' worth of changes.  I guarantee you there's way more changes than you're ever going to be able to keep in your head at once.  So there's no point saying, "You have to tell me what's changed, in the Datalinks themselves."  You simply have to learn the game all over again, that's the only way.  It's that extensive of a mod.  If you're experienced at the game, that won't take you too long.

Quote
And also, I’m absolutely sick and tired of just not being able to get “Secrets of the Human Brain” first.

Meaning, you want it to give you Hypnotic Trance like in the original game, and it doesn't?  And so you have to wait a long time to get Hypnotic Trance from E3 Progenitor Psych?  That's a valid criticism, and I wondered if any players would object to it coming more like midgame.  My response is, I don't find mindworms difficult to fight in the early game, so why care about Trance units?  Also in my mod, Trance is not a free ability.  You have to pay for it.  In the early game when production is limited, I'd much rather crank out more armored units, than more expensive anti-mindworm units.

Or, do you mean you want it to give Theocratic / Fundamentalist politics like in the original game, and it doesn't?  Theocratic is given by E2 Doctrine: Loyalty.  That's a Tier 2 tech, the same tier as Secrets of the Human Brain in the original game.  Granted, my Tier 2 has more techs in it, which can make it much longer to get any particular Tier 2 tech.  However there are no Secret Projects until Tier 3, so other factions will freely trade anything in Tier 2 to you.

Theocratic is on the Explore tech tree path, not Discover.  Everything about population growth and happiness is under Explore in my mod.  Theocratic is only worth +1 GROWTH.  It's an early game freebie with no penalties, and is of no long term use to anyone but the Believers.  Unfortunately I ran out of play mechanics.  I don't want big MORALE bonuses in the early game, and PROBE became a Police State thing.  I considered adding a SUPPORT bonus but the AI thinks +1 GROWTH and +1 SUPPORT is way too good a deal.  It obsesses about it, and I don't want that.  So in version 1.46, after testing the alternative I stuck with only +1 GROWTH.

If you meant you want Secrets of the Human Brain so you can get a free tech very quickly, well, my opinion is that's not important.  If you focus your research on Discover, you should get SotHB soon enough, and you'll get your tech jump.

If you meant you want to get the Virtual World faster, well sorry.  Nobody gets any Secret Projects until Tier 3.  That's bedrock design, non-negotiable.  Go study Discover if you want it that badly.  Be advised that Hologram Theaters aren't that expensive in my mod anyways, either to buy or maintain.  So the Virtual World isn't that amazing a thing to get.  You can afford to build Hologram Theaters everywhere, manually, if you don't manage the Virtual World.  The Human Genome Project is way more valuable because it doesn't replace a facility, it gives you a bonus you can't otherwise have.

Also be advised: the University does not have a "drone every 4 citizens, due to lack of ethics" penalty in my mod.  In fact he's got a lack of ethics BONUS in my mod to his POLICE rating.  You don't strictly need the Virtual World to get the University chugging along with its free Network Nodes.  It is useful, you should try to build it, and you should be able to finish it before others.  But it's not the end of the world if it doesn't work out for some reason.  Also note that the University has no PROBE penalty.  They're tougher than the original game.

Quote
Now obviously, the latter is something that LITERALLY ANYONE could EASILY fix (I.e. rename it altogether and simply make it a “non-secrets” discovery), assuming THAT they had simply ADEQUATE competence in computer/video coding. But doing the former myself would just take WAY too long for me.

Before discussing a "fix", please verify which of the issues with SotHB is important to you.

If it were made into a tech that doesn't give you a free tech upon discovery, the art assets would still have the big "Circle X" logo that indicates it's supposed to.  I never change art assets, that's not my thing.  So someone else would come along and complain that I messed up that.  Thus, I won't do that.  Not without a super duper good reason, and presently I'm not seeing one.  It might as well be a "Secrets..." because it's got the art assets for it.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1071 on: September 15, 2020, 06:12:25 AM »
CHANGELOG
Changed from version 1.46 to 1.47:

TRANCE

- Progenitor Psych: now an E2 tech.  This makes Hypnotic Trance easier to get.  My opinion is that mindworms are overpowered, especially because they ignore a Perimeter Defense when attacking a base.  To balance this, anti-mindworm defenses need to be easier to get, not harder.  This also ends the diplomatic silence between humans and Aliens sooner.  When playing an Alien, I've abused diplomatic silence by avoiding E1 Social Psych as long as possible.  Previously I was managing that for almost 100 years!
- Field Modulation: now a C3 tech.  This is to preserve Alien tech as a more independent branch, somewhat harder for humans to get.
- Neural Grafting: set growth=3.  It gives Deep Radar, which is quite useful for exploring the oceans.  It's also a prereq for C5 Doctrine: Air Power and C5 Doctrine: Initiative, so Explore continuity is appropriate.

PREDEFINED UNITS

- Clean Plasma Garrison, Plasma Police: moved to C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.  This makes a Plasma armor prototype instantly available.  Previously the AI was making Synthmetal units for rather a long time.  It really needs the defensive assistance.  I've decided it's ok to give early game biases towards defense, as I previously did with the Synth Police unit.  Offensive units still require all players to struggle with prototype creation.
- Probe Wall, Foil Probe Wall: new units available with C3 Advanced Subatomic Theory.  Like their Firewall counterparts, but they only have Plasma armor.  They don't cost any more than the Synthmetal based Probe Defense and Foil Probe Defense units.
- Cloaked Recon Rover: moved to E4 Bioadaptive Resonance.  This is 1 tech after C3 Field Modulation.
- Cloaked Impact Squad: removed.  When it was created in version 1.35, it only cost 30 minerals.  Infantry chasis cost was revised in version 1.39, making this unit cost 40 minerals.  It is not as cost effective as a Cloaked Recon Rover, which still only costs 30 minerals.  The AI is probably better off focusing on the cheaper, faster unit.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1072 on: September 19, 2020, 08:30:22 AM »
I just tried combining my mod with Thinker mod 2.0.  It seems to work.  In particular, I didn't notice any outrageous unit cost problems due to my mod's fake ability flag hack.  Whereas, I did have that problem with Will To Power a few versions ago.  Haven't tried WTP again yet.

I installed a clean copy of SMAC, then dropped Thinker on top of it, then dropped my mod + my Alpha Centauri.ini on top of that.  So it's my alphax.txt and faction.txt files being used.

I set tech_balance=0 as it shouldn't be necessary or desirable for the AI to chase the cap lifting techs.  They're only Tier 3, they're not that hard to get.  Otherwise I kept the defaults in thinker.ini.

My mod doesn't allow Condensers, Thermal Boreholes, or Supply Crawlers until later.  That was all done quite awhile ago to kneecap Thinker mod, as well as any players looking for these exploits as a golden path through the game.  I also doubled the time it takes to build that stuff.  I made SCs hugely expensive to penalize the strategy of making oodles of them to harvest resources.  This doesn't affect Secret Project completion much, as a more expensive denomination of SC is still cashable at its full value.

There's still the Weather Paradigm somewhat early in my mod.  Morgan got it.  I was playing the Cyborgs.  So, Morgan probably did some bangup job getting ahead.  I didn't really see because he was halfway across the map.  I was allied with him and Domai at the beginning.  However in my mod, Domai is compulsively Socialist, so I couldn't make everyone happy if I wanted to make an Economics choice.  For awhile I didn't make one.  Then sunspots came up, and I went Socialist because Domai was next to me.  Domai and Morgan eventually went to war.  Domai eventually asked me to join the war.  The moment I did, Morgan hit a base at the edge of my empire with a Fusion Gatling Speeder!  I had like, uh, a Scout.  I quit.

I actually did reasonably ok on the Secret Project races.  I got a few things, and my position was fairly viable.  The Scout thing just made me feel stupid and imperfect.

The main threat is that the AI is really spammy about settling cities.  I often don't care to be, and it did hurt me.  I was isolated enough not to have any big military problems, just some incursions from the Pirates.  Eventually though I seemed to be falling behind on the production wars, culminating in that Scout incident.  It could be remedied by being equally aggressive about spamming early cities.  I think that's probably necessary when playing with Thinker mod.

I did an odd strategy with Socialist.  I got up to +5 JUSTICE; at +4, you can adjust your budget to anything you want without penalty.  So I set it to 80-10-10.  Even without +1 energy per square, I made money pretty fast.  I did a way better job spending it on Secret Projects than the AI seemed to do.  Because I really wasn't doing much tech, and I had allies, I'd just buy a lot of techs from them for very cheap.  I hardly stole anything or even went anywhere.

I don't think the early to mid game is all that different than without Thinker mod.  The AI is better at establishing an empire, but it doesn't matter so much early on, as nobody's really in fighting contact yet.  I definitely saw that things were going to heat up with Morgan.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1073 on: September 26, 2020, 06:51:04 AM »
I have continued playing with the Thinker mod combo.  However I find I generally only care to do a few hours in an evening, before I get bored and quit.  Generally at the beginning of the midgame.  So at this point I only have a sense of what early colonization spread is like.

One thing I notice is that the faction placement algorithm is far more distant, and fairly consistent in putting factions much more equally apart.  Although that results in a fairer game, it's also often a slower game, on the Huge maps I'm used to.

The other is I sure keep getting a lot of fungus.  I'm not sure if this is a change in the map generator, or I'm just having consistent bad luck.  My alphax.txt is being used, so it's my world generation settings.  I've been choosing the "normal" level of fungus like I always do.  The fungal mazes are a big factor in my quitting.  It's not fun to have to spend a lot of time wandering colonists around without really being able to settle safely.  And it is important to settle safely, because things like the Cult of Planet will show up to bother you.

My last game, my empire was pretty much split in half at the beginning, due to all the fungus.  Although my position was plenty viable, it also felt inelegant and boring, so I quit.  There's a point at which, if the game isn't going so well or doesn't "feel good", I'd rather either get sleep or do some internet chore or something.  Something better than continuing with a blah game.  A few hours of unit pushing and road laying tends to refresh my brain enough to do something more productive.  I do have a lot I need to get done right now, and I can't really justify a mediocre play experience, when it consumes many hours.

Burnout from 2.5 years of modding may also be a factor.  It is too soon to tell.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1074 on: September 26, 2020, 03:47:02 PM »
I could be wrong, but I don't think Thinker does anything to the fungus placement. Then again I like fungus.

To speed things up on a huge map you could give them more starter resources in thinker.ini. The extra nutrients really give them a goose.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1075 on: September 26, 2020, 05:04:07 PM »
Maybe it's not more or less fungus on the map, but a consequence of a different faction placement algorithm.  Like it calls some land "good" that isn't?  In addition to fungus, I also find myself in a lot drier, scratchier land than usual.  If the fungus problem continues, then after awhile I could try setting faction_placement=0 and see if things get better.

I'm not concerned about the growth rate of the AI factions.  They will get obnoxiously spammy soon enough.  The different faction placement algorithm simply makes it a lot less likely that we'll come into fighting contact in the early game.  Although one can be totally isolated in my mod + the stock binary, I'd say that's no more than a 50% chance.  The stock binary does tend to start a fair number of factions right next to each other, no matter what the map size is.  Whereas with Thinker, great distances between capitols are guaranteed on a Huge map.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1076 on: September 28, 2020, 07:39:41 PM »
I am only playing with faction_placement=0 now.  I don't think Thinker's algorithm takes land quality into account.  One game I played with 0, I got way better land.  It's a little too soon to say and selective observation may be a problem.

I definitely started closer to an enemy as well.  As the Peacekeepers, got into early fisticuffs with the Morganites.  I quit that game though.

I am finding the spamminess of the Thinker AI deeply irritating.  It really throws off the progressions of the game and it might be determining the game.  It's hard for me to say for sure, because I just become too aesthetically irritated and game mechanically bored to continue past midgame.  It's like what's the point of continuing to play with all this mildew growing all over the map?  I actually make roads and decent sized cities.  The AI plays like a viral infection, like chickenpox.  I don't feel like I'm playing against a civilized enemy, I feel like I'm fighting a natural phenomenon.  I know it's somehow been handed way too many resources, and I'm not sure a dumb and spammy resource challenge is what I want out of the game.

I make beautiful civilizations.  Every square hand cultivated, every road and rail thought about.  The AI makes incredibly ugly civilizations.  No style.

I am wondering if the frequency of fungal blooms when popping supply pods has been cranked up.  I know I'm the Cult of Planet, and this again could be selective observation.  But this is irritating:

awful lotta fungus
awful lotta fungus

That river used to be clear.  Sure I'm the Cult, but I actually need to eat and grow in the beginning of the game, same as anyone else.  Also, I walked towards this land, since I was out on the peninsula.  It wasn't great land, and it wasn't a central location for putting a capitol.  Dawn of Planet was settled late after I popped a Monolith and a nutrient special.  My 2nd pod, kept trying to go north, and ok river land kept turning into crap.

Ridiculous amounts of early fungus is possible in the stock binary.   I remember some AAR with Miriam where I got something truly heinous.  I seem to get it a lot lately and I don't know why.

Come to think of it, the feeling that I'm getting a lot of early obstructive BS late starts, like the first 10 moves of the game are seriously putting me behind schedule, is a lot of why I end up quitting by midgame.  It just doesn't seem valuable to continue a spammy substandard game, as compared to getting sleep or doing something productive.  It's like those random events in the first few turns, have seriously determined things and set me up to waste a lot of time.  So if this particular game goes meh, I seriously doubt I'm going to hold onto it.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1077 on: September 28, 2020, 08:43:03 PM »
more amusing
more amusing

MY 2143.  The game started the Peacekeepers too close to me, and they paid the price!  That can't happen with Thinker mod faction placement on a Huge map.  Now we'll see if owning an AI faction makes up for the spam coming from the other ones.  2 other factions summarily declared war on me when I got their commlink frequencies from supply pods.  The Spartans are nearby, and I have no idea where the Free Drones are.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1078 on: September 29, 2020, 08:07:15 AM »
Recon Rover spam
Recon Rover spam

MY 2197.  Santiago wiped out pretty much all the wild caught mindworms I sent against Fort Liberty.  I took it once before, but she took it back with enormous numbers of Recon Rovers.  It's possible to win against a close quarters opponent early in the game, but against a distant opponent, mindworms can only harass.  They're just too fragile.

Amusingly, I do keep capturing more of them, due to my world network of Isles and other mindworms sweeping Planet.  I managed to build the Planetary Datalinks and the Virtual World, with all the money and Artifacts I gained.  No other faction has managed to build anything yet, although Zhakarov did try to start the Datalinks.  Also since my captured mindworms were doing all the work, I managed to build a lot of Biology Labs and Network Nodes.

The Thinker mod faction placement may be "fair" in the sense of distance, but assuring distance also gives the advantage to the player with superior production.  That would be the Thinker AI opponents, as they do have all the traditional Transcend advantages.  It might be ok on a Standard map, but my mod is balanced for Huge and stock AI.  Huge and Thinker AI and guaranteed distances is too much of an advantage.  So I'm pretty settled on faction_placement=0.

This game went better, and suggests that the combo of mods might be playable.  However the misadventure with the mindworm war, doesn't make me feel like continuing the game past 3 AM.  Sleep sounds more worthwhile to me.

The only thing Lal contributed to my empire, was the votes to make me Governor.  Spammy allies and vassals also ruin your borders.  Imagine if the USA invaded Mexico in the 19th century and actually conquered it.  Then in the 20th century, Mexico gets to have parts of the USA ???  Nonsensical.

The game needs a firmer border system.  Didn't they solve that in Civ III ?  Borders don't just "melt", you hold onto what you've already taken.  Unless your Culture becomes a lot weaker than their Culture.  Not sure that's a 100% solution now that I think about it.  The USA and Mexico aren't flipping borders just because of cultural dominance.  The right solution would be a better system of treaties and wars.

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Re: SMACX AI Growth mod
« Reply #1079 on: Yesterday at 08:58:26 AM »
Well, I've had enough.  It's really spammy, to the point of being unpleasant.  Did ok in a game as the Usurpers.  Delayed Social Psych for a long time so I could steal stuff.  Got the Planetary Datalinks completed.  Got surrounded by Pirate, Morganite, and Cyborg spam.  Went Police State Capitalist Wealth to placate them.  Morgan surprise attacked me anyways, using every single probe team in the universe.  Then sunspots came, giving me no chance to negotiate with him.  I set about the business of making counter probe teams, and he didn't really scratch my defenses, but he did just buy 1 city.  3:30 AM rolled around and it just wasn't a basically pleasant or balanced experience.  The map was craptastic filled with spam as usual.  I choose sleep.

I'm deleting my combo installation.  I get the idea what it's like.  It's mildly interesting to know that the combo works.  Like, doesn't crash or anything.

This just isn't what I'd want an AI to do.  I'd like it to play with a sense of "grace".  Instead of spam tedium.

 

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