Author Topic: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod  (Read 21975 times)

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Offline MercantileInterest

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #795 on: July 27, 2020, 11:21:45 PM »
Good to know. Have traditionally ignored flat terrain, aside from forests.

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #796 on: July 28, 2020, 04:40:29 AM »
# Version 103

* Further modification to native life formulas.
   * Native life generation frequency is configurable.
   * Sea creatures generation frequency is configurable.
   * Native sudden death is configurable.



I think it needs more elaborated explanation.

First of all, I think I figured out why people are talking about ICS and what is the main problem here. Expansion is a good thing. Actually, it is one of the X-s in 4X 😊. It complements base growth not contradicts/competes with it. Indeed, for better development one needs to increase population by both expanding number of bases and grow them at the same time. Moreover, expansion does not stop at any point in the game until all planet surface is occupied. Of course, the cost/value of expanding changes over time depending on how easy is to grab the next available land spot and how good is it and how difficult is the conquest, etc.

So why ISC term and why people see it's an exploit? I'll tell you why. The exploit is not in colony cost but in the unchecked early expansion. To understand why it is unchecked try to compare it with mid game with likely non stop war. Would it be wise to send a colony toward the enemy line to claim the nice land spot? Nope. This would be a complete suicide and, thus, complete waste of invested resources. Then why colonies travel long distance unprotected and bases thrive happily with only one defender (or even without one)? Obviously, because the pressure from natives is so small that it is much cheaper just spam colonies unprotected. About 5% of them die. Another 5% of newly established bases die as well. This is still economically better than over protect each colony and base. That is why it is called spamming. It is essentially an undisturbed pregame bases distribution. They one who spams them quicker claims more land and advantage for following war stage. Human players exploit this since they know how weak native threat is. AI does not as they use same algorithm and keep building protective units even on early stage. This pregame - game switch is easy to notice when human player faction existed quite a long time with bare protection and then suddenly they need to beef up their defense with more units and defensive structures against their aggressive neighbors. At this moment expansion suddenly stops completely and most bases are refitted to combat units. Economy takes a drastic turn.

I am all for expansion. However, this transition from "take free land as fast as possible at all cost disregarding defense" to "protect your bases at all cost - everything to defense" seems too sharp for me. As I said, it is like a pregame and game and each has its own strategy. Something is not right here. Then I realized that native life is there to substitute peer pressure in absence of peers. It essentially should play this role and checks everybody's expansion into wilderness until such check is transitioned to opposing factions. The only problem is that it does not play that role well. It is too weak and does not force player for pay extra attention to defense. I believe by turning number of native units up we can close the gap between wimpy vanilla native pressure and real enemy faction. I believe it would help AI a lot as it is already prepared for that with their algorithms while forcing the human player to match their defense to that of the AI against more frequent worm attacks.

I have tested it a little on maximal settings when land natives is created every turn and didn't see any problems for AI to expand. They successfully keep building new bases while fighting natives at the same time. Rarely bases got wiped but not at noticeable rate. So, I guess, it is pretty much fine from the strategy point of view and doesn't just block expansion completely.



About parameters.

I have reverted it back to be dependent on native life level rather than difficulty level. I think it makes perfect sense as native life level does modify the score significantly! So it should control the native life abundance.

Vanilla tries to create natives N times per turn. There are certain criteria as where native unit can appear. If all of these tries are unsuccessful unit is not created. Apparently, the more tries the more often units are created. Vanilla scale is 2-4-6 for each level of native life. I've changed it to 4-7-10 which is about 1.5-2.0 times higher. Now even the average level should present at least some challenge.

Keep in mind that this is all nonlinear dependencies. Needs some play testing and play feeling to get the right amount. Please do not complain that game becomes harder at the beginning. This change is supposed to make it so. The question is whether you feel any difference between native life levels and whether these differences match the ultimate native life final score modifiers: 0.75-1.00-1.25, correspondingly. 25% is are big modifier so game should become significantly more difficult with abundant native life.
Tim

Offline MercantileInterest

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #797 on: July 28, 2020, 06:59:29 PM »
When playing multiplayer some time ago (before your mod), my group noticed that transports and isles of the deep have a very high chance of fishing alien artifacts out of sea pods. Irritating little bug.

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #798 on: August 01, 2020, 01:34:28 AM »
# Version 109

* [fix] Late starting factions (aliens and Planet Cult) never got their extra colony). Now they do.

That was the secret why Cult most of the time.
Tim

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #799 on: August 01, 2020, 01:34:40 AM »
# Version 108

* Alternative inefficiency formula.\
https://github.com/tnevolin/thinker-doer#inefficiency

Tim

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #800 on: August 10, 2020, 12:14:30 AM »
More combat randomization was introduced mostly to randomize rare native encounters. Now with more abundant native life and with more frequent encounters this seems not that crucial anymore. That may sound strange but statistically more encounters smooths individual random combat outcome. Single occurrence of good/bad luck does not seal the fate of faction future development.

In this regard I think we could reduce combat randomization if there is still high demand for it. We could roll it down to 1.5-2.0 or even disable it completely and use pure vanilla multi-round combat calculation with highly predicted outcome. Make your vote.

Clarification for those late to the party. The average amount of HP each unit loses is a reciprocal of their corresponding strengths. For example, two units fighting at 2:1 odds. Second unit will keep losing 2 HPs per each 1 HP first unit loses. If both players keep stamping similar units and send them to battle with same odds above second player needs twice as more units to sustain the pressure without front line advancing in either direction. The resulting economical impact is depends on relative cost of each unit as well.
The bigger or smaller randomization of each combat mentioned above does not change that said economical combat effectiveness. It just makes individual combat outcome less predictable. That's all.
Massive faction to faction battles were never affected by this randomness anyway.
Tim

Offline Nevill

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #801 on: August 12, 2020, 02:21:48 PM »
Okay, I want to give my 2 cents about this:
# Version 70

* The Planetary Transit System fixed. See Readme for details.
This was a cool idea on paper, however it turns the SP into a net detriment for the player.

First, it is much easier/faster to grow a base from size 1 to size 3 than it is to grow a base from size 3 to size 5. Taking two citizens away from developed bases is taking away 8+ rows of food to save time collecting 5 rows of food. Developing vertically instead of horizontally already is a pain than leads to a bunch of size-2 bases, there is hardly a need to make it more difficult.

Second, the biggest bases are likely your Project bases. The ones you are building a Secret Project in, and where you can't easily adjust or fix production. Taking citizens from there and causing a massive delay without you having a say in it is rage inducing.

If the intention was to demonstrate how it becomes easy for people to move around... how about new bases starting with the average number of citizens across all bases, but no greater than 3? That way if your bases are underdeveloped, you will gain no new colonists, but if you have a solid backbone of size-4 and size-5, then a fraction of these people bands together to settle a new size-3 base. You don't have to take pop away from any single base, but there still has to be some extra pop in the empire to take advantage of the project.

The biggest exploit of the project in vanilla is giving pop out of nowhere, and allowing a faction to quantiple in size near instantly. And I have the games to prove it (going from 27 to 150 pop in 20 turns). Requiring your Empire to have some meat on its bones should limit this behavior. Of course, you can probably game that by growing your bases to size-3 and then settling a bunch of base which would also be size-3, but getting there won't be quick and by that time you might be focused on developing existing bases rather than settling new ones.

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #802 on: August 12, 2020, 02:29:01 PM »
I'd also like to restate my idea of just making PTS give a faction-wide +1 GROWTH bonus, similar to what Cloning Vats does now.

Sure, it's a bit boring, but it's also a decently balanced benefit for an early game Secret Project that isn't going to break the game while still being worth pursuing. It also means more now that the bar for pop-booming got raised even higher.

Offline Nevill

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #803 on: August 12, 2020, 02:35:47 PM »
I like that the existing fix tracks what happens at other bases, and that the Project retains the unique feel.

I just wanted to point out a problem with its current implementation (sabotaging projects), and offer an alternative which should be consistent with what the project is stated to do, and which I can see no effortless way of exploiting, at least at first glance.

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #804 on: August 12, 2020, 02:43:40 PM »
That's a fair point too. Projects having unique effects is not to be sneezed at.

Ultimately, as long as you can't simply spam CPs to turn 1 pop into 3 at exponential rates anymore, it should be fine. You've won enough games on the back of that project already. :P

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #805 on: August 12, 2020, 04:00:18 PM »
Okay, I want to give my 2 cents about this:
# Version 70

* The Planetary Transit System fixed. See Readme for details.
This was a cool idea on paper, however it turns the SP into a net detriment for the player.

First, it is much easier/faster to grow a base from size 1 to size 3 than it is to grow a base from size 3 to size 5. Taking two citizens away from developed bases is taking away 8+ rows of food to save time collecting 5 rows of food. Developing vertically instead of horizontally already is a pain than leads to a bunch of size-2 bases, there is hardly a need to make it more difficult.

Second, the biggest bases are likely your Project bases. The ones you are building a Secret Project in, and where you can't easily adjust or fix production. Taking citizens from there and causing a massive delay without you having a say in it is rage inducing.

If the intention was to demonstrate how it becomes easy for people to move around... how about new bases starting with the average number of citizens across all bases, but no greater than 3? That way if your bases are underdeveloped, you will gain no new colonists, but if you have a solid backbone of size-4 and size-5, then a fraction of these people bands together to settle a new size-3 base. You don't have to take pop away from any single base, but there still has to be some extra pop in the empire to take advantage of the project.

The biggest exploit of the project in vanilla is giving pop out of nowhere, and allowing a faction to quantiple in size near instantly. And I have the games to prove it (going from 27 to 150 pop in 20 turns). Requiring your Empire to have some meat on its bones should limit this behavior. Of course, you can probably game that by growing your bases to size-3 and then settling a bunch of base which would also be size-3, but getting there won't be quick and by that time you might be focused on developing existing bases rather than settling new ones.

I agree it is too harsh fix that makes it detrimental now. There is a fine line between it is being overpowered and detrimental. Even with your proposition empire can grow very fast when you have a lot of 5+ size bases. Meaning it'll have the same effect as in vanilla somewhere after past mid game. Which is still OP even if triggered only after some point in time.

I don't really know how to fix it. I agree that arbitrary taking citizens from already developed bases is not a good idea especially for human but what else can be done?

Any fiddling with citizen is bound to be either OP or UP. Take one citizen from existing base to make two in new one? Generate two citizen in new base but do not quell a drone? Quell drones but don't generate citizens? Maybe quell drone regardless of size but not generate citizen?
Tim

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #806 on: August 12, 2020, 04:01:11 PM »
I'd also like to restate my idea of just making PTS give a faction-wide +1 GROWTH bonus, similar to what Cloning Vats does now.

Sure, it's a bit boring, but it's also a decently balanced benefit for an early game Secret Project that isn't going to break the game while still being worth pursuing. It also means more now that the bar for pop-booming got raised even higher.

Nice Idea. So PTS = 1/2 of CV.
Tim

Offline Nevill

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #807 on: August 12, 2020, 04:17:10 PM »
Quote
Meaning it'll have the same effect as in vanilla somewhere after past mid game.
And that is not a problem.

The problem with this project is going from 30 pop to 150 pop in the blink of an eye relatively early in the game, but that is just going from 30 size-1 bases to 50 size-3 bases. 30 +120pop.
Past midgame the same 20 extra bases (are there enough places for them past mid-game?) would give you +60 to your 200+ pop. Nothing groundbreaking.

Plus, the value of new bases decreases sharply as time goes by. In 2230s you want an already developed base churning out units and buildings fast; it takes too long to catch up the new one to the same point as the game speeds up significantly. Nor do you want to build Colony Pods on your developed bases that take a long time to grow.

The timing of the effect matters.

One other project that I felt was mistimed as of v66 (don't remember where it is now) is the Universal Translator. 2 techs are worthless in the beginning when you can steal/trade them from other factions, or research them in just 20 years. They are absolutely priceless when those techs are tier-8/tier-9, as having a few years on your opponent can give you a big advantage in the mid-late game, giving access to another reactor, or a high-tier Future Society, or some important facility, or letting you get a headstart on a project.

20 years in early game is ~60-100 minerals; 20 years in midgame is 600-1000 minerals, and you could do a lot more with those, which is why the project is only meaningful in that phase of the game - that's when you can take advantage from it.

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #808 on: August 12, 2020, 04:20:45 PM »
I have a wild idea. What if we pursue the idea of free citizens traveling across the empire at any time? Not necessarily at the base creation time. For example, let disgruntles citizen those otherwise turn into drones travel to better places in other bases those have excess of happiness and where extra citizen does not become a drone yet?

That may turn it backward when young undeveloped bases would quickly feed big developed ones with extra citizens those they capable to grow quickly. However, it still require these bigger bases to build happiness infrastructure to support such grow. Another restriction we can add to avoid this is to allow citizen to travel from bigger to smaller bases only to not exploit difference in grow citizen cost. This way the -1 drone in small bases would naturally attract unsatisfied employees from struggling bases. Moving drone to another base is a positive effect since this drone is not only useless but it is also a burden requiring forking resources to deal with it somehow. So it will be a benefit at least in short term.

Still not absolutely ideal as maybe one would want to keep drones at big bases anyway hoping to quell them relatively quickly but for small price of this project this seems like an acceptable effect.

Moreover, we will more likely move drones from bases with most drones in them which are difficult to deal with in near time anyway.

Another condition could be to more drones only after certain number of turns, like 2 to make sure these drones are more or less permanent, etc.
Tim

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #809 on: August 12, 2020, 04:26:01 PM »
Quote
Meaning it'll have the same effect as in vanilla somewhere after past mid game.
And that is not a problem.

The problem with this project is going from 30 pop to 150 pop in the blink of an eye relatively early in the game, but that is just going from 30 size-1 bases to 50 size-3 bases. 30 +120pop.
Past midgame the same 20 extra bases (are there enough places for them past mid-game?) would give you +60 to your 200+ pop. Nothing groundbreaking.

Plus, the value of new bases decreases sharply as time goes by. In 2230s you want an already developed base churning out units and buildings fast; it takes too long to catch up the new one to the same point as the game speeds up significantly. Nor do you want to build Colony Pods on your developed bases that take a long time to grow.

The timing of the effect matters.


A valid point. I guess we should try it out.
Tim

 

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