Author Topic: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod  (Read 11428 times)

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Offline dino

Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
« Reply #90 on: January 06, 2020, 10:25:54 AM »
> What are you talking about?

I didn't want to suggest, that they are undercooked, but that my interest in playing the game is limited.
In the past every time I went into binge playing SMAC it lasted about 3-4 weeks and then I was done for few years.

So each time you've annunced working on something of interest to me, I was like, "ok I'll wait untill it's done".
I just didn't want to get bored on just testing the game, before you were done with the combat engine.

So, the "issue" wasn't that releases were "undercooked" on their own, but that there was new interesting stuff still coming.
The last release, I consider to be a milestone which I really want to both test and have fun with just playing and artillery stuff is not essential enough to stop me.
I think you were expressing the same excitement, regarding this particular release.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 10:42:08 AM by dino »

Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
« Reply #91 on: January 06, 2020, 01:28:50 PM »
Makes sense. Yes, I feel this is a milestone too. I didn't set a default collateral damage to 0 in last release. Feel free to set it yourself. Actually in current unreleased version that I am testing now it is disabled already.
Tim

Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
« Reply #92 on: January 06, 2020, 03:30:19 PM »
I'll package and release with my current parameters even if I am still testing them. It makes sense to synchronize testing experience as well.

There are no engine change. I just play with parameters.

Namely I've set collateral damage = 0 and combat probably divisor = 3.

The latter is new change. I played with divisor = 2 before but 3 seems more on a target.
Tim

Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
« Reply #93 on: January 06, 2020, 04:17:59 PM »
TheWillToPower-34
Remember that now you need to overwrite Script.txt as well to reflect dialog text changes. The file is bundled with release.
Tim

Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
« Reply #94 on: January 06, 2020, 07:15:44 PM »
Few things I've noticed playing version 34. I could be biased, of course.
Close strength battles are now produce close outcomes. Strength ratio of 3:2 and 2:1 give you somewhere 70-75% which is acceptable. No jumping from 0% to 100% as in vanilla.
Fighting significantly weaker or damaged opponents delivers 85-95% winning chances. Which is pretty acceptable too. As I mentioned before we can introduce some guaranteed winning threshold for 90-95% or so if anyone desires.
Native life is now relatively threatening as it should be. Previously the abundance of native life didn't require countermeasures investment. Now it does. When I send my patrol on exploration and encounter a worm with 75% chances to win I am thinking whether I want to go for easy money risking my unit or I get more by uninterrupted exploring. Same story with worms attacking bases. Worm base attack are half strength prior turn 50 -> 3:6 strength ratio against regular defender -> 100% immunity against such attacks in vanilla. Now there is about 25% chance to lose a defender in such attack. Player has to chose whether they want to build and maintain second defender or risk worm running over a base reducing population and production. Natives have even better chances fighting trance defender after turn 50: 2:3 = 35%. So having second defender becomes important. It could be a plain unit (not trance) to retaliate after trance unit is killed. When worm stopped next to base I do not always attack it if I have only one unit there. I usually prefer to convert my current production into second unit while current defender sacrifice buys me time to build it.
Morale now plays a tremendous role in improving my chances thus cutting on loses and achieving faster/wider conquest. At the same time even highly promoted units do die occasionally ensuring rotation and eliminating never-die-elite unit phenomena. It does pay off to build morale structures. It also pays off to build such structures to double repair rate in bases even if it is not instant anymore.
The flip side of smooth distribution is that my formers and transports occasionally survive natives attacks. Even if they still usually die I may use them to block natives path or protect bases to improve my chances especially with help of terrain and base defense bonuses. It is not futile anymore.

On non combat related features.
Map population is more gradual now, not as explosive as in vanilla. Expanding does takes resources. So faction either fights or develops or expands. It is difficult to do all at once now. Waging a war usually causes expansion delay. Makes faction leader to weigh options.
Technology does not stagnate around turn 50 anymore. It is steadily flowing. The range of building options is quite satisfactory at all stages of the game. Of course, one can have more or less depending on research inclination and investments and that is noticeable too. Research investment gives an advantage.
SP building feels like longer endeavor As SP should be. When I manage to get myself a high production bases I can easily compete for subset of SPs in early game even if I don't discover them first. If I don't - pity me. Artifacts still help but there are not enough of them to build first 4 projects for free as in vanilla.

I am playing Cult of Planet now. It has biggest inherent +2 PLANET rating which allows harvesting worms like crazy. Even Gaians with +1 PLANET could harvest quite a large native army in vanilla. In this mod this is put in check. Player still can go for work harvesting but due to adjusted battle odds they will incur some amount of losses. Survived worms will spread around harming improvements and bases requiring deployment of new troops to deal with them. Overall +1 PLANET doesn't allow building up an army quickly as 25% capture chance is negated by 33% battle lose chance. Gaians will lose units faster than acquire them. Of course, they can still build Scout Patrols to hunt for worms but that is an investment not a free stuff.
Cult with their +2 PLANET is still good for building native army but it won't grow tremendously fast. Still 10 worms/launchers by the turn 50 is a significant threat to neighbors which Cha Dawn can use.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 03:31:46 PM by tnevolin »
Tim

Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
« Reply #95 on: January 07, 2020, 04:18:26 PM »
I am redoing documentation now. It's huge. I missed the point when simple weapon-armor balance idea turned into so many features mod. Will take some time to work on this. No functional releases for a while.
Tim

Re: SMAX The Will to Power mod
« Reply #96 on: January 08, 2020, 05:27:57 PM »
Everybody can see this or should I post in some other public place?
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer/blob/master/wtp_readme.md
Tim

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #97 on: January 10, 2020, 04:28:04 PM »
Further modification ideas.

* Land and sea borders should be 8 and not restricted by shore.
Treating land and sea territories as completely unconnected realms is good for Civ type of games where sea was uninhabitable. SMACX is remarkable in the way that everything is suitable for base. Why then somebody builds a sea base next to my border two tiles away from my coastal base and takes my resources for free? I don't like it and I believe borders should expand equally across land and sea alike. Maybe we can make them smaller like 7 or 6 instead of 8 but they have to protect at least base radius and then a little bit some. Three tiles around sea bases and one (!) tile around coastal base over sea are just ridiculous distances.

* Artillery damage rework.

* Artillery duel uses armor as well.
This is just to encourage players to use armored artillery. Otherwise, they will always carry no armor.
From game lore point of view it makes complete sense. Artillery damage depends on attack/defense ratio. Meaning armor reduces artillery damage. Artillery duel is nothing more as mutual bombardment. So more heavily armored unit should sustain less damage from enemy fire and more likely to survive.
The only problem could be that AI won't understand the great idea and won't add armor on artillery.

* Interceptor fight uses armor as well.
Same idea as above. However, I am not sure how much applicable it is. Even if it has same perfect sense the air-air combat is rare and usually they attack ground units. Adding armor specifically to withstand interceptor attack? Not sure.

* Remove planet pearls.
That is actually done already. I don't like this Mario style hitting monsters for money thing. Natives should be a threat not the money source.

* Get morale by losing HPs.
The more HP unit lost in battle the higher chance of promotion. Probably something like -5HP = 20%,,, -9HP = 100%. Or whatever other scale - doesn't really matter. The point is there should not be a freebies promotions when you ended up with tons of elites running over the map. The promotion should be tied to the chance to die. This way you still get elite units but in proportionally lesser numbers. Probably 5-10% of your units will be elite and this is how it should be.
Also with such setup morale facilities and MORALE SE rating becomes of great importance as it was not in vanilla.

* Remove a permanent morale boost from building unit in a base with Children Creche.
Eh. It's too many morale boosting facilities already. All of them combined provide +5 morale = enough to convert Green to Elite. What the hell?

* Set basic morale to Very Green.
Same idea. Too many morale boosting in this game. Let's start from the bottom and work our way up. Keep in mind that the transition from Very Green to Green is a biggest proportional bump in a game: 16%! Whereas Commando to Elite is only 9%. Why lose that important stage? Again this way morale boosting facilities and MORALE SE become extremely important.

* Set PLANET combat bonus to 20%.
* Set PLANET combat bonus applicable on both attack and defense.
* Set land native combat odds to 1:1.
Currently native warfare is kind of everybody's weapon. I recall myself to switch to worms when I get them and then to locusts. In vanilla this seems to be prevalent war forces. That is not fair for PLANET inclined factions. They should have some kind of a bonus comparable to INDUSTRY/RESEARCH that other factions have. Above changes will do just that. Still anyone dedicated enough can build native forces and fight natives all they like but +2 PLANET faction would have quite significant advantage over -2 PLANET one now. I think this is only fair because INDUSTRY/RESEARCH work every turn war or peace. While PLANET only at war time and only for natives and only when worms appear. The benefit should be strong enough to compensate occasional application nature of this effect.

* Increase morale facilities cost.
The seem to be very cheap for the 30% boost in unit strength. Building them before amassing an army is kind of must. Now after I fix quick promotion they will become an important source of army strength and, therefore, army economical effectiveness. 30% more strength = 30% bigger army = 30% INDUSTRY (for combat unit building purpose). I am thinking high maintenance too so they do not sit idle when not needed. The problem is that sea and air facilities are two in one. Raise their cost would affect ability to build defense against sea and air attacks.
I am thinking this:
Command center: 8/4. This makes it slightly difficult to build early in a game but not by much. Just two prices of Recycling Tanks. Well one should earn 30% army strength boost. And if army is not big maybe it is not worth to build this facility.
Naval yard: 8/4. Slightly less demand in sea unit upgrade but it gives defensive bonus too so sea defenders at this base are both morale upgraded and double protected!
Aerospace complex: 16/8. This is a exceptionally useful facility by itself. AAA tracking gives good enough initial anti-air defense. Building this facility not only gives morale bonus but also quadruples anti-air defense together with AAA tracking.

Few more sea upgrades.
* Introduce sea sensors.
They do not give combat bonus but they add visibility which is extremely important to track fact invaders.
* Make ECM to affect sea units as well.
Sea bases do not benefit from sensors and they are extremely difficult to defend. It is impossible to build front line without ZOC on sea. So every base is vulnerable and every need protection. ECM against ships gives them extra chance to survive massive attack from out of the blue. Or, at least, to resist longer to let defender scramble for counter measures.

* Increase morale level bonus to 25%.
Very experimental. Not sure if I want it. The morale system is not too broken now with fixed promotion. Still 12.5% is kinda measly bonus now when combat system is fixed.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2020, 09:03:19 PM by tnevolin »
Tim

Offline dino

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #98 on: January 10, 2020, 08:09:23 PM »
> * Land and sea borders should be 8 and not restricted by shore.

Just make coastal bases count as both, sea and land bases for the purpose of border spread, I think inland bases shouldn't be able to project influence over sea tiles and vice versa.



Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #99 on: January 10, 2020, 08:18:53 PM »
> * Land and sea borders should be 8 and not restricted by shore.

That also always annoyed me, but the soultion is simple:

Just make coastal bases count as both, sea and land bases for the purpose of border spread, done. Inland bases shouldn't be able project influence over sea tiles imo.

Somewhere deep in theory you might be right. However, it is too fine grain distinction that will be difficult for AI to recognize. By AI I mean AI code that somebody need to alter to help AI place their bases on a coast. Let's make the rule simple. After all borders are just area of influence. The 8 tile radius is there to help out not to leave gaps in territory when bases are slightly scattered at the beginning.
You can see that sea radius of 3 is not enough for that. Different factions manage to stick their bases in between existing ones quite easily. Such mix should not happen even on sea. There should be some notion of territory you claim.
Tim

Offline dino

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #100 on: January 10, 2020, 08:44:51 PM »
Oh sure, I agree the radius on sea should be increased to 8, but as far as connecting the realms, coastal bases should be the bridge imo.

As for AI, the vanilla code already favors *very heavily* placement of coastall bases and it's already a part of the thinker source.
Except thinker currently uses it only to give an initial goto order for a colony pod and then overrides this code the moment the pod leaves the base radius, to pop a new base as soon as possible.

I, for a long time think, that this is a mistake, the original code for base placement could be improved and then allowed to guide pods to a bit more distant, but better destinations and the gaps of empty arid terrain should be filled last. Benefits could be numerous: faster growth, faster land grab denying human player terrain to spread on without conflict and plenty of coastal bases like in vanilla.

In fact it's on the top of my list of things I wanted to work on, but unfortunately I was too lazy to start ;)

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #101 on: January 10, 2020, 08:56:09 PM »
Oh sure, I agree the radius on sea should be increased to 8, but as far as connecting the realms, coastal bases should be the bridge imo.

As I said I am completely agree with reasoning but it may be difficult to implement right. I propose to simplify it at least for first try and see.

As for AI, the vanilla code already favors *very heavily* placement of coastall bases and it's already a part of the thinker source.
Except thinker currently uses it only to give an initial goto order for a colony pod and then overrides this code the moment the pod leaves the base radius, to pop a new base as soon as possible.

I, for a long time think, that this is a mistake, the original code for base placement could be improved and then allowed to guide pods to a bit more distant, but better destinations and the gaps of empty arid terrain should be filled last. Benefits could be numerous: faster growth, faster land grab denying human player terrain to spread on without conflict and plenty of coastal bases like in vanilla.

In fact it's on the top of my list of things I wanted to work on, but unfortunately I am too lazy to start ;)

I think it does well already in Thinker. Even if the placement may not be impeccable the sheer number does the trick. After all you just need to cover all the ground with base radii to let workers in bases to chose best work tile. As for grabbing territory the Thinker AI on Transcend is amazing. They always squeeze me from every direction possible and even from sea. They go for landmarks first thing. They spread over ocean like plague. That is partially why I want territory to spread over sea: to protect human domain, not the AI.
:)
Tim

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #102 on: January 12, 2020, 12:23:59 AM »
It seems that the promotion probability formula is not that bad. See here my reverse engineering of it:
http://alphacentauri2.info/wiki/Treatise_on_Morale#Reverse_engineered_Battle_Upgrade_formula

I just need to remove these immediate promotion for two lowest levels.
Tim

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #103 on: January 16, 2020, 07:47:12 PM »
Release 37.
I think I am going to release it even if it wasn't heavily play tested yet. There are few cool features there and I'd like it to be a milestone even if I need to modify it later in other releases.

Among most exciting things are:

* Unified promotion probability for all levels.
Removes micro exploit when player may jerk their MORALE rating to get easy promotions.

* Removed Very Green morale level defense bonus and its (+) display.
Yet another example how game engine thinks that anyone having too little of something automatically deserves a bonus. Ugh.

* PLANET combat bonus can now be applied on defense as well.
* 15,      ; Combat % -> Psi attack bonus/penalty per +PLANET
* 1,1,     ; Psi combat offense-to-defense ratio (LAND unit defending)
Specially for bv and others. These number may not be final. I am going to test how it works with PLANET offense/defense modification.

* Territory extends from sea base by same distance as from land bases!
* Territory extends from coastal base into the adjacent sea by same distance as from sea bases!
That is a real milestone!
:)
Tim

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #104 on: January 20, 2020, 02:55:34 AM »
I believe I said it before but now I am staring at the screen and am positively out of improvement ideas. Which means there is no more super annoying issues anymore. Which means I can roll out to user maintenance stage and listen to vox populi.
Tim

 

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