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

Mind Controlling Worms - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.37

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Detailsbuying victorybuying victory
When humans commit atrocities on humans, Planet takes vengeance!  It cares so much.  Until one legalizes the atrocities in the Planetary Council.  Then Planet cares not at all.  Which makes game designers sad, and baffled, to experience.  It is so trivial to wipe everyone out with a legalized chemical weapon.

But we're not going to do that!  We're going to commit atrocities early and often.  We're going to keep it a heinous Crime against Humanity!  We'll take the Sanctions for doing it; how dare anyone trade with us and make money.  We'll deal with our Infamous reputation, and the inevitable Vendettas.  Many mindworms will come.  Many Isles, and many Locusts.  We will slaughter them all with the One True Weapons Platform: Air Superiority.

At least, once we get it.  Getting there could be a rough ride.

The Data Angels have the deck stacked in their favor.  In my mod, they have essentially a built-in Planetary Datalinks ability.  They get any tech that 3 factions already have, and they don't have to infiltrate anyone to get it.  A long time ago, I noticed the AI was pretty hopeless at infiltrating on Huge maps.  So I dropped that requirement, to make it easier on the AI.

Also in my mod the Data Angels have a pure Conquer research focus.  I will stick to that, to test what the game is like from the AI's perspective.  Hopefully I will get C5 Doctrine: Air Power real soon now.

In my last atrocity driven mindworm apocalypse, I did prevail.  But I had no idea what to do with the vast quantities of cash I made from killing mindworms.  I refrained from Mind Controlling enemy bases because it was excessively expensive for what I got.  I've cranked up the cost of Mind Control in my mod, quite deliberately, because probe teams in the original game are overpowered.  In my mod, the Data Angels "bonus" is just getting the base cost in the unmodded game.  The Hive and the Cyborgs are a little bit nerfed, that's their "bonus".  Everyone else gets kneecapped, and this regime makes those last minute AI takeovers of all your hard conquest work, pretty much a thing of the past!

Anyways the point is the Data Angels are now the best case for buying bases.  This game will be somewhat a test of whether those costs are "good enough", or whether I've broken the Datatech playstyle.

I'm putting the Pirates into the game 1) because someone deserves to do well in a waterworld, and 2) I'm testing whether I should remove the Clean Transport predefined unit from the game.  The Pirate AI obsesses about that, to the tune of hundreds built.  I want them to obsess about something else.  I hope they don't just obsess about building regular Transports, as paying SUPPORT on those would be failure.

Otherwise, there will be 5 other random human factions in the game.  No Aliens, as I don't want any "inconsequential" atrocities in the game.  Unlike my last game, I will try to get on the stick and inflict them early and often, rather than fearing the mindworm debacle.  However once Planet starts attacking, if I don't have enough tech, I may have to beg off until my situation stabilizes.  I don't think I have to commit suicide to prove a point.

I have done enough "nuke porn" in 2 previous After Action Reports to last me, well, forever.  Or at least quite a long time.  I'm going to refrain from obsessively documenting every nuke I drop.  The screenshots are fun, and the art of capturing them requires some manual finger dexterity in real time, but everyone's seen it all by now.  I will hardly refrain from using nukes, as my last game taught me that one can definitely get away with it.  If one has Air Superiority and enough units.  But I hope for more variety of operations this game, and less documenting of what has gotten old.

Detailsthe human factionsthe human factions
The Random Number Generator is kind to me, and I get all human factions on my 1st try.  I've attached a save of my initial game for posterity.

This reminds me that I didn't turn off Random Events for this game.  Last game, that was a real problem in a couple of instances, some really outrageous research losses and energy market crashes in late game.  I resorted to the Scenario Editor to suppress those totally irrational, unfair, and deeply irritating events.  Like a far flung lab in a remote corner of my empire can crash my whole research network, when I have such a strong economic core.  Like anyone could amass 200k credits for Economic Victory when it gets 'reset' to 2k credits.  Atrocious game design!  Unfortunately no one is around to eXterminate about this, and binary modding just isn't my bag.  So I get called a Cheater if these things come up, if it's too ridiculous to put up with.  I was so bored when my tech got dropped last game, I almost quit right then.

Mission Year 2101.  I'm sitting on unremarkable land.

Detailsthe vast oceanthe vast ocean
The highest level of zoom, shows that I'm probably on a peninsula, protruding into part of a Planetwide ocean.  I could be on an island.  The Pirates are likely to be on the vast ocean, in which case we will be in contact, sooner or later.  They could also be caught in the maze of smaller lakes and fijords in the supercontinental land mass of Planet.  I've seen a Pirate faction be stillborn that way, and totally not a threat.  Time will tell.  I am unlikely to have to deal with any land based enemy.  In fact, it may be difficult to come into military contact with anyone.

This game is likely to be hyper-research and hyper-economic.  The 3 biggest research factions and the 2 biggest economic factions are all in the game!  Who's gonna get C5 Doctrine: Air Power first?  And also of importance, who will get nukes first?  I am the only pure Conquer faction of the game, so the honor could very well fall to me.

Detailsmy arch rivalmy arch rival
At least on paper, the Cyborgs are likely to be my nemesis.  They have a hybrid Discover and Conquer research focus, making it possible for them to gain 'my' military techs first.  In my mod their units all have Polymorphic Encryption, so I'm unlikely to be able to subvert them.  I'm not sure how the Mind Control cost formulas work on defense, but they are on the 2nd tier of Mind Control ability after myself.  They share that honor with the Hive, who is not in the game.

And finally, they were my actual nemesis in my last game.  Left alone on the other side of the map, their research gets 'scary', even with an island start!  Last game, they were producing new techs even as I was orbital inserting and infecting their bases with genetic plagues.  Half their empire was dead and still they kept at it.  They can get Nanohospitals fairly early, and those have a pretty noticeable effect on research speed.  They also somewhat protect against plagues.

Of course the University and the Gaians are also tech scary.  It's the combination of abilities, immunities, and threats that make it well advised to dispose of the Cyborgs first, with chemical attacks and Obliterations.  Logistics willing.  Thriving and evading destruction because a faction is on the exact opposite side of the map, is definitely a strategic pattern I've observed in many games.  SMAC could almost be described as a giant game of Whack-A-Mole, where the biggest mole always lives on the opposite side of the map from you.

Detailsopening gambitopening gambit
I take a chance using a Colony Pod to pop the supply pod to the southwest.  I get a Nutrient Resource on Rocky terrain.  It's a little risky using a Colony Pod for this job, as one could get a mindworm.  However there's a grace period at the very beginning of the game, I think maybe 10 turns, where mindworms have almost no strength.  Usually they can't kill Colony Pods, they can only wound them.  That isn't a problem as long as you don't get attacked again.  You just settle a base somewhere and it doesn't matter if you were wounded when you do that.  Sometimes, however, a mindworm has managed to kill a Colonist though.  Maybe it depends on what terrain one is sitting on.  Rocky Terrain would have been in my favor, if one had come out.

I am not concerned about having immediate ocean access.  This peninsula looks well within the radius of my early spread, and I am unlikely to have land competition for sites.  I didn't think the depression north of me was likely to be ocean anyways, just an inland puddle.  Scouting with the Probe Team seemed to confirm this.  I move the 2nd colonist onto Flat Moist land.  That's where I'll put my capitol, to improve the mineral content of the land, and not waste it on a Rolling square that already had +1 mineral.  This is the same drill I use for planting Forests at the beginning of the game.  They always go on Flat Moist or Flat Arid land, to improve the minerals of the land.

The Scout prepares to pop a pod next year.  I often just keep it to defend my capitol, as a unit that doesn't require any SUPPORT is valuable at the beginning of the game.  But I feel some need to get these pods popped and get things underway.  The Scout can circle back once the closest pods are popped.

The real value of the Datatech's free Probe Team unit at the beginning of the game, is scouting.  It can do tons of scouting if one is careful with it.  Popping pods with it is a risk, and best refrained from.  It's better suited to finding the lay of the land, so that Scouts may be more accurately and efficiently sent to pop the pods.

The free Probe Team could be used for covert ops if I had a sufficiently close enemy, or for infiltration of a distant enemy if I was careful about walking the distance.  However, Probe Teams tend to die doing ops no matter how good they are, so one should seriously consider such use.

The free Probe Team is meant to tide the Data Angels over until they learn how to make their own Probe Teams.  They don't start with this ability.  They have to learn C2 Polymorphic Software just like everyone else.  It's a pure Conquer tech, so as it happens in this game, only the Cyborgs have any realistic chance of researching it.  It won't come through the Data Angels' tech acquisition ability.  Probably I'll have to research it myself.  Fortunately, with a pure Conquer focus it shouldn't take all that long, but I've noticed that it can often take longer than is comfortable.

Detailsdry as bonedry as bone
MY 2105.  My 2nd base site isn't some great location.  It's just the first viable spot in that direction, that doesn't overlap with my capitol's radius.  I believe I could wander quite a ways and not do any better.  These portions of continents tend to have dry interiors like that.  Working on more Scouts to do the scouting is a better plan in this case.


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