Author Topic: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod  (Read 7178 times)

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Offline tnevolin

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #120 on: February 04, 2020, 08:12:03 PM »
I've started posting more small staff at https://www.reddit.com/r/alphacentauri/ as well.
Strange thing with voting there, though. I usually up-vote things I like and just skip things I don't. I don't down-vote. However, I noticed considerable amount of down-votes on my posts. Even those with relatively neutral (as I think) stuff. Like my last play test review post here: https://www.reddit.com/r/alphacentauri/comments/exth7d/smax_the_will_to_power_mod_release_43_play_testing/. In my mind I do not tell people what to do - just expressing my good and bad feelings to help other to get some overview on my mod. I understand that there are a lot of features and it would take many games to just understand what is it there. So I compress it for those who don't have time serving the community.
;)
Yet. There are people who are compelled to down-vote the review. I would love to understand the reason. Maybe it is wording or something?

UPDATE
Never mind. I think it is just a obfuscation algorithm there that randomly varies exact numbers. So it could show 0 or 1 down-vote or something like that. At least for this post it seems like it. Still some of my posts were considerably down-voted for real.
Tim

Offline dino

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #121 on: February 06, 2020, 09:24:19 AM »
Pacisfism drone rules feature from Ytzii's patch would be a great feature to port, I personally got rid of below --POLICE ratings in my games because of air force drones.

As for tubes, an obvious solution, which you've surely already thought about, but just in case: double all movement costs and points, make tubes cost one point.

Eventually, you could quadruple everything instead, but make tubes cost 1/12th of total movement points of a unit. This way you could ride max 12 tiles on tubes, but that would be independent from unit speed since it's transported, so tubes would still be something else than just better roads. If you coupled it with tubes not working on enemy territory it would be pretty satisfactory solution imo, but I get this idea is a bit too crazy to implement just in assembler, as you like it.

Offline dino

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #122 on: February 06, 2020, 12:50:10 PM »
Regarding homeland security bonus it doesn't sit well with me, the main advantage of homeland is better logistics and there is already sensors array bonus.

So, I'd rather give 0,8 Attack disadvantage everywhere outside owned territory, due to supply difficulties.
As for defense, I'd introduce 1,25 Defense entrenchment bonus, to each defender that still has all its movement points ( was not moving, or attacking during its turn ).
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 04:04:12 PM by dino »

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #123 on: February 06, 2020, 06:57:30 PM »
Regarding homeland security bonus it doesn't sit well with me, the main advantage of homeland is better logistics and there is already sensors array bonus.

Why it should be better logistic?
Logistics is a minor thing. It makes things faster/slower but unit movement speed never troubled me in scope of attacker/defender advantage. I agree that it can be adjusted here and there and we can have a dedicated discussion on it but it does not replace a discussion on combat bonuses.

I've already expressed my view on sensors. They sound cool but the they are easily destroyed as terrain improvements and are unreliable as such. The stronger bonus you give the more the urge of human player to target them first before engaging in actual hand-to-hand combat. AI doesn't recognize destroying them as a necessary preparation for assault. This becomes a stupid grinding step in a war which is advantageous to human only. Again we can discuss sensors too to see if we can make them indestructible, etc. But for now disabling their defensive bonus is a simplest thing to do.

So, I'd rather give 0,8 Attack disadvantage everywhere outside owned territory, due to supply difficulties.
As for defense, I'd introduce 1,25 Defense entrenchment bonus, to each defender that still has all its movement points ( was not moving, or attacking during its turn ).

You proposed attack disadvantage is same territory bonus conceptually. Even if you use not own territory it is still territory related. In my eyes your version is even more complicated. Your penalty also applies to fighting non-owner outside of your territory. That includes neutral territory. So you say somehow when two units fights somewhere far from their territories attacker should have disadvantage? Doesn't sound as easy rule to absorb.
Binding bonus to own territory confines it to quite local, marked, and visible location on a map.

I don't get your entrenchment bonus either. What is it for? What problem it solves?


Let me reiterate it again. Building a good game is a hard work. People think if they just throw myriads of weird rules into the game it'll be a super fun. Maybe probably to try them all out and then put the game back on a shelf. I've seen tons of such games in my life. It is not individual rules what makes the game. It is interdependence = how well they work together. You may modify one and then you have to modify another to compensate and so on. Sometimes you may trigger domino effect by that. Caution is required. I follow bv's advice to do conservative changes only. Meaning I change anything only if I can formulate a problem for player. The reason could be anything (convenience, ease, logic) as long as I act upon the reason and not my impulse.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 08:30:02 PM by tnevolin »
Tim

Offline dino

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #124 on: February 06, 2020, 08:25:30 PM »
As far as I'm concerned you've fixed the combat already, we are just exchanging loose ideas about minutae details, mostly for the fun of it, at this point.
So I'm not bothering you with trying to implement them, if they don't resonate with you.

As for attack bonus, you are right, it was a brain fart on my part, I was thinking about something that would help defender more effectively when attacker has tech advantage. I've forgot that this bonus wouldn't be additive, but multiplicative with other bonuses, so it doesn't matter, same result as homeland bonus indeed, which as you said is applied to a clearly marked area of the map.

Civ games have entrenchment, it solves the same issue as all other defense increases you've implemented, but in more interesting way, that adds some new tactical consideration, with one simple rule. But you are right again, because generally defenders on homeland territory would be entrenched, except for fresh reinforcements and with increased armor in this mod, it'd be still effective to sit in a base and let enemy entrench while he awaits his reinforcements and strike him back only after surviving his assault, so the end result would be very close to your more abstract homeland bonus and not worth the hassle of implementing. It would also probably benefit player more than AIs.

I have to stop trying to be contrarian this much, but at least thanks to this exchange, I've warmed up to the idea of homeland bonus, because I've realised it serves the same main purpose as entrenchement bonus, which I always liked in Civ games.

***
Supply production and logistics is probably one of the most important things in a modern war and requirement to constantly sustain extensive supply lines, was the reason why there were frontlines in both World Wars, instead of stacks of doom confrontations like during older days. I'd love Civ like game, where units consume additional resources when fight, or move and require uninterrupted supply line to be fully effective.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 10:07:02 PM by dino »

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #125 on: February 06, 2020, 09:10:11 PM »
As far as I'm concerned you've fixed the combat already, we are just exchanging loose ideas about minutae details, mostly for the fun of it, at this point.
So I'm not bothering you with trying to implement them, if they don't resonate with you.

I like ideas, man. Give it more to me!
 ;)
I don't really care who's it is. The authorship doesn't give it any preference in TODO's list. My mod already has few of yours and others' ideas implemented. The only condition I require is some explanation about what does it fix and why it is better than others. Such discussion is very useful. I even put my own idea to the judge of other pretty often as you noticed when I cannot prove to myself its validity.
I believe such preliminary discussion is very important as we cannot play test every random idea - it is too time expensive.

Civ games have entrenchment, it solves the same issue as all other defense increases you've implemented, but in more interesting way, that adds some new tactical consideration, with one simple rule. But you are right again, because generally defenders on homeland territory would be entrenched, except for fresh reinforcements and with increased armor in this mod, it'd be still effective to sit in a base and let enemy entrench while he awaits his reinforcements and strike him back only after surviving his assault, so the end result would be very close to your more abstract homeland bonus and not worth the hassle of implementing. It would also probably benefit player more than AIs.

I have to stop trying to be contrarian this much, but at least thanks to this exceange, I've warmed up the idea of homeland bonus, because I've realised it serves the same main purpose as entrenchement bonus, which I always liked in Civ games.

Yes. Fortification it called. I liked it too. It was a nice trade-off between mobility and defense. There is no such mechanism in SMACX, unfortunately. I miss it. From the other hand, Civ 1/2 didn't have territory, though. So maybe this is a pay off for this change.
They are slightly not the same, though. Fortification can be used by assault army as well to capture strategical spots on enemy territory and to withstand following counterattacks and such. This is by far more tactical usage feature.
I agree that territory bonus is passive in nature. I would love to replace it with something more dynamic but no other option was good enough so far. The main problem is as usual: AI has to be trained in using this new tactical advantage. So passive bonuses work best for AI.

Don't try to stop trying to be contrarian this much. That drives the discussion. And the fact that people change their opinion as it goes is valuable by itself as it shows the idea influence and acceptance (or opposite).
 :D
Tim

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #126 on: February 10, 2020, 09:44:17 PM »
Tim

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #127 on: March 24, 2020, 02:13:42 AM »
Today I got double surprised, 2 things went wrong that I was not expecting.  I'm going to be doing a lot more "shelter in place" than I realized.  I recently kicked my own 1.41 out the door and I don't wanna play it anymore.  I've decided, I'm finally gonna take on your mod!  I'm gonna do a complete AAR.  "The Will to Power - Transcending COVID-19".  In honor of our current circumstances, I'm gonna end everything in a genetic warfare bloodbath.

Hmm... just had my 1st problem.  I was unable to task switch from the game to my web browser, or to the Snip & Sketch screen capture app.  Couldn't even switch to Task Manager.  It wouldn't stop me from playing, but it would stop me from writing an AAR, if I can't get this resolved.  There's a certain workflow I do when I write one of these things.  Well, I'll investigate if there's any difference of settings, or change in behavior starting again.  I consider this weird, as I can do it with the stock game just fine.

Interesting.  For reasons unknown to me, my SMACX AI Growth mod shortcut Properties are set to Run As Administrator.  Whereas, no such Properties for the terran_mod.exe shortcut I made.  And I see that the shortcut that was just installed for the squeaky new The Will to Power terranx.exe also is set to Run As Administrator.  It must be what GOG thinks should be done.  So I'll delete the shortcut I just made, and modify their shortcut to run terranx_mod.exe.

That worked.  Now I can do standard Windows 10 task switching with CTRL-ALT-TAB just fine.  Kind of a gotcha.  Is this a known behavior?

Aftermath: I had no clue how to deal with the new mindworms, particularly with a -1 PLANET rating for the Usurpers.  Fungal mazes are deadly.  I quit the game after it got too itchy from me doing so badly.  I don't think I'll do another AAR until I have a better idea what's basically going on.

Faction descriptions are buggy in some places.  They don't say how SE stuff was modified for them, and say things like free Recycling Tanks when those aren't given out.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 07:32:43 AM by bvanevery »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #128 on: March 24, 2020, 08:30:55 PM »
Dude, your mindworm combat system is broken.  It's impossible to pick an early game strategy that deals with mindworms.  They just walk up to bases and wipe stuff out.  Have to be harsh:

Further playtesting is suspended until this imbalance is addressed.  It is a dealbreaker.

Now having said that:

What happens when I drop my own SMACX AI Growth mod on top of The Will To Power?
[..]
So here goes: The Will to AI Growth mod.  Version 43 of Tim's, version 1.41 of mine.

Unfortunately I ran into:

consequence of the upgrade bit hack
consequence of the upgrade bit hack

My bogus ability bit hack, which is used to prevent game confusion for unit upgradeability, unfortunately makes a Clean Former ridiculously expensive.

Questions:
  • Are the high ability bits past Algorithmic Enhancement actually used for something in Thinker or Will to Power?  It's weird that it introduces a big cost, when the stock binary just ignores it.
  • Has the cost of a Terraforming Unit non-combat package been jacked up / hardwired in the binary?  I see higher than expected cost even when I remove the bogus bit.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2020, 02:36:48 AM by bvanevery »

Offline lolada

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #129 on: April 22, 2020, 10:46:04 AM »
Hello, just made the account to give some support and feedback, been lurking and playing for awhile with thinker mod and now trying wtp. So with that out of the way, i decided to try this mod because i wanted more variety in strategy - with thinker AI being improved and all that borehole/forest spam player is forced into ics-like strategy with beelining to best techs and from there on its ton of micro and similar social policies and every game becomes similar. So thats an issue. Playing without thinker mode AI is wimp so its no challenge at all so thats out of the way. I found this mod very refreshing and fun so far so kudos on that.. gotta play more so expect more feedback. I am finishing my Gaian game - spent quite a number of hours in it.

Some notes about what makes thinker ai strong and interesting from what i can observe:
- primarily AI base spam - colony pods and close bases (obv they have more stuff and they defend better)
- huge terraforming effort (AIs without formers are quite pathetic.. Santiago seems particularly affected - and Weather Paradigm overpowerd SP)
- ai uses lots of probes, its quite a trouble for player
- and i guess many other things.. AI has more stuff and its vendetta all over the place so you have to deal with that

Still player can use few rovers and delay AI and once air units come.. its a bit of drag but AI dies pretty quickly and game is usually over soon. I usually play on max difficulty, played quite a few games with thinker mod.

That said.. WTP changes few of these base things
- colony pods are more expensive - i like that - it stops base spam race somewhat. What i don't like is Rover colony pod and AI building it early.. Its more expensive and does more harm than good. Also i see AI building rover pods in sea bases .. its dumb. Rover pods late.. maybe with level 3 reactor and when lots of bases are there already - if that can be done would be more sane
-  terraforming - i think the best thing for AI would be to just give Centauri ecology to everyone at start of the game - its that important it would made AI much better overall. In cases where AI somehow skips the tech - they are cripped forever. I really liked that you moved Weather paradigm later and made it more expensive - its game breaking.

Forests: didn't play much yet - but i found them mostly useless for Gaians. Double nerf might be too hard on them but we'll see. Energy nerf really hurts + its 12 turns to build them. Gotta play non-gaians tho.. forests spread like plague so it could be deserved nerf. I planted few forests and quickly realized i don't need them (being gaians).

Fungus: seems maybe overpowered (playing Map of panet.. there's lots of fungus there) with Gaians and Manifold harmonics. With forest terraforming slowed and weaker.. i found using 2-1-0 fungus very atractive.. then energy ramp up quickly and these are quite good tiles.. with 2-1-2, 2-1-3 early.. then 3-1-2, 3-1-3 progress (gaians have +1 fungus). You get lots of them for free - weakness being mineral production and "plant fungus"  action coming late. Thats good at this point its viable strategy. But then i saw Morgan building Manifold harmonics... and was surprised its that early - and its relatively cheap. Stole the tech and built it and its bonkers... Every tile is 4-2-5 (i'll see to add some screenshots later).. you can spam new bases in fungus areas and its quite awesome - that is once you switch to Green SE and +3 planet. Nice thing is Green has -2 Industry its quite a pain so it balances it somewhat. But anyway whole game my research is top and i have so much money i can buy fascilities all the time.
*Its plenty fun, but its broken a bit too early imo - i think Manifold Harmonics need to come later and needs to be a bit more expensive. Fungus also maybe gives too much energy too quickly. I like to see funguns usable.. so 2-1-2.. or 3-1-2 (with gaians) is good and fun.. but upgrades to 3-1-3, 3-1-4 should come a bit later - or better move later Manifold harmonics. Otherwise planet factions have no use for standard terraforming besides ocassional borehole or mine. I actually have big ecology problems with fungus bases only - and gotta spam centauri preserves.. (or tree farms without forests xD). Temple of planets is too expensive but i started building a few.. i probably should build tree farms they give nice bonuses anyway.

- unlocking resources techs at start - i think its a good move overall - its a bit unbalanced - i started near boreholes for example.. or Yang got into jungle areas. But AI without these techs is so crippled that it ruins the game. So i am good with that. Would be nice they start with formers as i said earlier.

- on probes - they might be too expensive early - it gets better with reactors a bit. AI starts using them more later and they are quite a pain. I actually built def infantry probes i n my bases.. otherwise AI mind-probe bases, steal techs and destroys stuff. Here i actually like that probe gets +50% def in base since it suits me : D. It would be interesting if probes could be modded that tech stealing is harder.. mind-probes also are often too cheap  in far-away bases.

Actually in your mod you kind of weaken early AI a bit. Its good and bad at the same time. Gives player more options besides strict colony spam - still likely best tactic. I also could snatch for example Virtual world and Empath song. AI goes nuts on special projects.. for example with thinker mode Drones built weather paradigm and HGP before i could start it. Once they get WP they spam boreholes and they are at pop 10 very quickly.. then they stole a bit. So in sense base game is quite unbalanced with thinker. Reminds me of Civilization crap - where on highest difficulties its impossible to get wonders - and everyone juts conquers them.

Some other stuff:

Special projects and fascilities:
Weather paradigm - good change.

Command nexus - looks way too expensive. Took ages in my game - Morgan completed it eventually. I was on it for awhile but i decided to pick up different wonders. Maritime control - don't mind that.. it comes late so production is better.. and relative value is less. It might be actually good to reduce cost of these fasciities to 60 and project to 600.. Considering also how much you buffed defense in the game. In my game i was most of the time in war - and i built command centers quite late due to how expensive they are. I also wanted Command nexus but found it too expensive. (I don't like crawlers to speed up projects - feels like exploit).

Virtual world - was always too strong project. I'd bump that from 600 to 800.. and really move it later to midgame. Should be on discover tech so Zakharov picks it up if possible. Its free fascilities SP and very strong once - Hologram theaters are not that expensive, but they are 3 maintenance which is important. Or nerf HT maintenance to 2..

Network nodes, Energy bank, Biology lab - I really liked that you reduced cost - looks appropriate. Energy bank - SP that gives energy bank in each base - i think you moved it way too far in tech. The problem is that player has Energy bank in every city - since build style is promoted in mode - so this SP comes late and its very expensive. I am in 2280 i think i might build it - just to scrap energy banks in base and get the money back.. and to deny AI. It would be way more interesting if this project came earlier so we can "calculate" to delay energy banks  and wait for completion of project. That said its very strong SP so it should not come too early.

The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm - this is totally broken SP. Good that you made it more expensive. It just ruins AI.. i am not sure if AI will build probes with Alg. Ench. i think it might - but AI just suicides very expensive armored probes on me now. In vanilla they at least suicide cheap 0-1-2 probes and don't build them much. This project would be much more sane if it would just reduce AI chances for probe actions to max 50%. Is that possible? That or it should be removed from the game - or put to level 10 tech very late.

Lab doubling SP - should be 600 instead of 400 minerals probably. I still didn't get to build very late SP so no comment on that yet. They are in general overpowered, but game is kind of done by that point. For example +50% mineral SP are very strong - but i already build fascilities and have lots of minerals that i have trouble  with eco damage and worm spam even with gaians and all fungus terraforming.

On combat

Its quite a long post so this is last for now. This is part where i have some issues.

- For one i like its hard to conquer AI - i know your goal was to make attacker invest 3x as much to defeat.. and i think you succeeded :).
- I also like that you made artillery useful, gj there. Looks in good place so far - i need to play more ofc.

- What i don't like is  too much randomness in combat. Attacking 1def former in enemy territory on forest with 10-1-14 needlejet feels like 50/50 :D. I lots plenty of 6-1-2, 8-1-2,  10-1-2 and 13-1-2 rovers attacking into formers, foils and supply crawlers. Crawlers are at least armored and on forests and mines. Attacking anything in enemy territory is pain, doubly if the unit is in the base.
I need to take a look at combat formula, but this doesn't feel intuitively ok. Non-combat unit with no armor destroying needlejets and high tech rovers. Maybe its for the better, but it feels weird. It doesn't help that most of my combat was banging into Hive perimeter defense. 0-1-1 Formers with PD and base bonus and territory bonus.. actually often kill or badly hurt Chaos or better units.

- Another grudge is worms - i am fine with 1-1 combat.. but then it really is weird that worms are way better at killing high tech units than former. Imagine my surprise when my highly experienced Worm bumped into 0-1-2 Hive rover COLONY POD... got them i thought. Next turn i attacked and got demolished due to territory bonus and randomness. Colony pod ZERO damage, my worm dead. I feel psi combat is broken there - Alpha centauri is wonky there with whats non-combat sadly.. but  native life should kill non-combat units, at least unarmored ones consistently. Its even worse when attacking into base.

It doesn't help that you actually made psi units more expensive - and brood pit comes late and reactors don't work on psi units. I learned to use cheap units to attack non-combat units and use worms to attack high-tech targets.. just not worth risking worms on non-combat units. If used like that it feels ok, but initial shock is.. well shock.

- I like that you removed those 3r, 3p armors. Good point there. Also it feels like there's too many armor and weapon techs - i felt forced to tech up all the time. Then its hard to build those units - Skunkworks - free prototype facilitie comes way too late. You might consider making prototypes 30% more expensive or just put this facility way earlier. Big issue here is that unit workshop and build screen becomes very convoluted and messy with all those variants of old and new units. Its bad for micro and quality of life. Once 64 unit designs are full you can't create new ones - so gotta cleanup and thats boring - and i am not sure if this will hurt what AI actually can build.

I guess thats enough for now.. I also like what you did with social policies.. its a bit of a mess at first, but i ended up using lots of them. Late onces also don't feel overpowered since they have significant drawbacks - and i still didn't get to SP that remove their drawbacks.

Great mod - having lots of fun, thanks for effort.





Offline lolada

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #130 on: April 23, 2020, 08:13:14 PM »
Here's what i was saying about combat problem with worms and psi combat. The way PSI combat works it turns out that its really bad idea to attack anything non-combat in enemy land due to territory bonus. Worm is relatively expensive and it actually badly loses attacking cheap formers for example. On screenshot in attachment formers are in base.. and its double bonus - and they are unarmored. Foils are also problem.. probes probably - AI at least builds armored probes.

Territory bonus is kind of understandable for military units - they are "trained".. but it turns out that non-combat is real pain for PSI attack. I had quite a few situation where these units did way better than equivalent trained/experienced defensive units. I read about combat goals of the mod - and its ok i can see  how you want for example to have 8 str attacker die vs former on forest in his land (having 2 str total)... so its like 4:1 and say 20% of cases attacker dies.

Anyway, this forces player to game system around a bit.. gotta have both normal units and worms.. attack high-tech units with worms and then attack civilians with conventional units. Also feels stupod. It would be good if PSI combat could be changed in a way to ignore these bonuses and just uses morale vs  non-combat units (or something like that).


Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #131 on: April 23, 2020, 08:22:28 PM »
This is good feedback.  Now where has Tim gone off to, I wonder?  Haven't seen him lately.

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #132 on: May 16, 2020, 10:09:15 PM »
I'm back, everybody!
😉

Sorry, I had to step away for a, err ... , few months probably? Something was wrong with notifications. I didn't get any on my email. Therefore, I thought it is dead and never bothered to check it manually. Will try to adjust my settings. Meanwhile, you always welcome to shoot me a personal email for questions and suggestions.

lolada, welcome to the forum and to my humble thread! Look at you. Your post made a front page! Congratulations.
I like your interest in this mod. Just have read your detailed analysis in this thread and currently reading your own here: http://31.22.7.81/index.php?topic=21438.msg124407. Amazing and exceptional work, I should say. Keep up on criticism. I feed on it.
😄
Let me digest it and I'll replay in following posts.

Actually, I was busy all this time working on Might & Magic 6 mod here: https://www.celestialheavens.com/forum/10/17131.
I liked the mod myself and even played it few times to my own satisfaction. However, it didn't get much attention. As you can see almost zero activity on the thread. Lost interest for further evolution for such ungrateful auditory.
😪
I guess this is because adventure games do not require any balance to be enjoyable. At least not as much as strategical ones. There are plenty other fun experience mods out there attracting much more followers.
Tim

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #133 on: May 17, 2020, 12:38:33 AM »
Answering previous questions/critics.

- colony pods are more expensive - i like that - it stops base spam race somewhat. What i don't like is Rover colony pod and AI building it early.. Its more expensive and does more harm than good.

What kind of harm? Does it harm you that AI build rover colonies???

I don't think they are good or bad. They are opportunity to use them right. In my games I used rule of thumb that it is time to use rover colonies when it takes >20 turns for them to reach destination. However, it is completely minor and each player will decide it for themselves.

AI tuning is possible but it is a very scrupulous work. Induktio has already done a lot of good work on that.

-  terraforming - i think the best thing for AI would be to just give Centauri ecology to everyone at start of the game - its that important it would made AI much better overall. In cases where AI somehow skips the tech - they are cripped forever.

Possible. Another option is to just give them Former at start. Thinker mod *has* this parameter already.

Forests: didn't play much yet - but i found them mostly useless for Gaians. Double nerf might be too hard on them but we'll see. Energy nerf really hurts + its 12 turns to build them. Gotta play non-gaians tho.. forests spread like plague so it could be deserved nerf. I planted few forests and quickly realized i don't need them (being gaians).

Here is my rationale about forest: https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer#forest
In short, forest should *not* be even close in effectiveness and yield to the best improvements (rocky mine, rainy farm-collector). It is a barren land alternative to reduce poor bases suffering.
I tried its slightly more effective alternative and every time found myself planting it over and over again like crazy. When eventually with 1-2-0 and 12 terrraforming turns I stopped doing that. So, I guess, this is where it should be. As always, I'm open for suggestions.

Fungus: seems maybe overpowered (playing Map of panet.. there's lots of fungus there) with Gaians and Manifold harmonics. With forest terraforming slowed and weaker.. i found using 2-1-0 fungus very atractive.. then energy ramp up quickly and these are quite good tiles.. with 2-1-2, 2-1-3 early.. then 3-1-2, 3-1-3 progress (gaians have +1 fungus). You get lots of them for free - weakness being mineral production and "plant fungus"  action coming late. Thats good at this point its viable strategy. But then i saw Morgan building Manifold harmonics... and was surprised its that early - and its relatively cheap. Stole the tech and built it and its bonkers... Every tile is 4-2-5 (i'll see to add some screenshots later).. you can spam new bases in fungus areas and its quite awesome - that is once you switch to Green SE and +3 planet. Nice thing is Green has -2 Industry its quite a pain so it balances it somewhat. But anyway whole game my research is top and i have so much money i can buy fascilities all the time.
*Its plenty fun, but its broken a bit too early imo - i think Manifold Harmonics need to come later and needs to be a bit more expensive. Fungus also maybe gives too much energy too quickly. I like to see funguns usable.. so 2-1-2.. or 3-1-2 (with gaians) is good and fun.. but upgrades to 3-1-3, 3-1-4 should come a bit later - or better move later Manifold harmonics. Otherwise planet factions have no use for standard terraforming besides ocassional borehole or mine. I actually have big ecology problems with fungus bases only - and gotta spam centauri preserves.. (or tree farms without forests xD). Temple of planets is too expensive but i started building a few.. i probably should build tree farms they give nice bonuses anyway.

It is pretty difficult to balance fungus with regular terraforming. They are completely opposite ways of harvesting resources. Even forest is not that opposite - it is still a terraforming. I agree it should have lower yield comparing to contemporary terraforming since it doesn't take investments. That is how I designed it to be. If you say it is still overpowered that means I miscalculated average game progress and we need to delay it back a little. Than you for observation.

Can you give me rough comparison of fungus vs. best terraforming production at different stages? Also your suggestions of what fungus production should at these stages comparing to regular terraforming.

Keep also in mind that negative PLANET reduces fungus output. For example, -2 PLANET subtracts 2 from *each* yield factor. So your 2-1-4 yield becomes 0-0-2. That is pretty devastating. That means that fungus relied faction is pretty much locked in positive PLANET rating rendering things like Free Market unavailable, etc. That is a huge impact too.

Yes, Manifold Harmonics makes fungus production booming. It was designed for that. If you think it is exceptionally overpowered we can make it more expensive to offset the benefit. Moving it for later just delays the inevitable.

- unlocking resources techs at start - i think its a good move overall - its a bit unbalanced - i started near boreholes for example.. or Yang got into jungle areas. But AI without these techs is so crippled that it ruins the game. So i am good with that. Would be nice they start with formers as i said earlier.

In my goals I state that I don't seek "balance". I enable feature usage. Which is exactly what I have achieved here. These native boreholes are going to be used immediately for full benefit. Instead of sitting idle for the 1/3 of the game. If you think Borehole Cluster landmark itself is too much we can remove it from the game. However, I don't think it makes too much impact. It is comparable to Crater and Volcano.

- on probes - they might be too expensive early - it gets better with reactors a bit. AI starts using them more later and they are quite a pain. I actually built def infantry probes i n my bases.. otherwise AI mind-probe bases, steal techs and destroys stuff. Here i actually like that probe gets +50% def in base since it suits me : D. It would be interesting if probes could be modded that tech stealing is harder.. mind-probes also are often too cheap  in far-away bases.

It is very-very difficult to balance non combat unit abilities and Probes are the worst. I never ever even saw a complete and integral concept of balanced Probe abilities. They will be unbalanced one way or another. As always, I am open for small fix suggestions here and there.

By the way, I don't think 60 minerals is at all expensive for Probe team. It is about same as Colony Pod. Do you want their cost to grow proportional to most expensive known weapon/armor?

Command nexus - looks way too expensive. Took ages in my game - Morgan completed it eventually. I was on it for awhile but i decided to pick up different wonders.
 Maritime control - don't mind that.. it comes late so production is better.. and relative value is less. It might be actually good to reduce cost of these fasciities to 60 and project to 600.. Considering also how much you buffed defense in the game. In my game i was most of the time in war - and i built command centers quite late due to how expensive they are. I also wanted Command nexus but found it too expensive. (I don't like crawlers to speed up projects - feels like exploit).

Facility replacement SP cost is very simple = ten times the facility cost. It's true for all such facilities and why it should be fair for some but not others? With that in mind I *do not* adjust SP cost to the stage of the game they appear in. Somebody just invest a lot of time/resources in them if they need it. You may be wise not to build it outright.

Now the cost of Command Center (and other morale boosting facilities) is another story. Change it and corresponding SP cost changes. See my rationale about it here https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer#facilities-costmaintenance. I don't feel that 80 for Command Center is at all expensive. You don't need them at every base - only high productive ones. With 40 it is no-brainer to build it before *any* military unit (beyond Scout Patrol). Therefore, it should be increased to present a weighed choice. The fact that you were in war but didn't build it right away confirms that they are on a right spot now.

Making them 60? Eh, I don't think it is such a big deal for facility that you don't want in every city. It is so minor that one needs to play few games to feel the difference. And even that they may not.
🤔

Anyway, if you feel it is too expensive that it is impossible to build it - let me know and I'll drop the price. I'm open for negotiations.

Virtual world - was always too strong project. I'd bump that from 600 to 800.. and really move it later to midgame. Should be on discover tech so Zakharov picks it up if possible. Its free fascilities SP and very strong once - Hologram theaters are not that expensive, but they are 3 maintenance which is important. Or nerf HT maintenance to 2..

Another facility replacing SP. Boring. However, I like you brought maintenance into equation. Maybe I should modify my facility replacing SP cost formula to account for that. Say 10 times the cost + 10 times * 20 turns the maintenance? That would bring Virtual World to: 10 * 60 + 10 * 20 * 3 / 2 = 900. Does it sound right?

Network nodes, Energy bank, Biology lab - I really liked that you reduced cost - looks appropriate. Energy bank - SP that gives energy bank in each base - i think you moved it way too far in tech. The problem is that player has Energy bank in every city - since build style is promoted in mode - so this SP comes late and its very expensive. I am in 2280 i think i might build it - just to scrap energy banks in base and get the money back.. and to deny AI. It would be way more interesting if this project came earlier so we can "calculate" to delay energy banks  and wait for completion of project. That said its very strong SP so it should not come too early.

Oops. Found a discrepancy in SP cost. The facility is 60 but SP is 800. Should be 600. And I also can move it earlier. Currently it is at 60% of the tech tree. Would 40% or 50% be good for you? Remember, it is also not early project in vanilla too.

The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm - this is totally broken SP. Good that you made it more expensive. It just ruins AI.. i am not sure if AI will build probes with Alg. Ench. i think it might - but AI just suicides very expensive armored probes on me now. In vanilla they at least suicide cheap 0-1-2 probes and don't build them much. This project would be much more sane if it would just reduce AI chances for probe actions to max 50%. Is that possible? That or it should be removed from the game - or put to level 10 tech very late.

Probes again. 😒
Everything is possible but not worth investments IMHO. The problem that everything probe related is not an isolate fix. It is all interrelated. Propose an integrated view on how you think Probes should works and we'll talk.

Lab doubling SP - should be 600 instead of 400 minerals probably.

You mean Lab doubling *in single base* SPs? They do not scale. Compare to The Network Backbone, for example.

It doesn't help that you actually made psi units more expensive - and brood pit comes late and reactors don't work on psi units. I learned to use cheap units to attack non-combat units and use worms to attack high-tech targets.. just not worth risking worms on non-combat units. If used like that it feels ok, but initial shock is.. well shock.

Yep. Was quite novel for me too at first. Got used to it and my strategy also adjusted to it. Now it feels fine.

- I like that you removed those 3r, 3p armors. Good point there. Also it feels like there's too many armor and weapon techs - i felt forced to tech up all the time. Then its hard to build those units - Skunkworks - free prototype facilitie comes way too late. You might consider making prototypes 30% more expensive or just put this facility way earlier.

Yep. I proposed to cut number of weapons from 12 to 8. Wanna try?

Tim

Offline tnevolin

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #134 on: May 17, 2020, 01:18:28 AM »
Oops. Looks like some changes were sitting on my local unreleased. Releasing version 44 now.
Also changed The Planetary Energy Grid cost and timing by lolada request.
Tim

 

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