Author Topic: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]  (Read 2036 times)

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Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2020, 04:10:06 PM »
It gets a lot of bonuses that give it a headstart, but the player can maximize their economic performance and be assured of overtaking them. Ultimately, once various tools become available in game, the player is just able to use them a lot better than the AI ever could.

That is right. Thinker makes AI smarter in AI way but it still doesn't make it human smart. What I meant is that if in vanilla human can achieve economical superiority by the turn say 100 it happens at turn 150 or so in Thinker. Not drastic change in engine but some.

Also, being willing to use atrocities helps a lot if you aren't interested in trying to force a surrender. You'd be amazed at the sorts of obstacles nerve gas and gene warfare let you overcome. Otherwise, you probably will have to use at least some tactics to speed things along.

Yep. Looks like we need to teach AI to use atrocities. What's up with gene warfare? I thought it just decreases the population in base and has no direct implication on combat tactics. Meaning it doesn't harm units or anything like that.

Part of the reason I never got around to releasing my own pet custom faction pack was that I wanted to playtest them thoroughly before putting them out there to the world, but eventually I found it tedious to go through the motions of defeating the AIs over and over again to gauge the balance.

I admire your responsibility. Most of the time people modify factions based on their perception on how they performed in their past games and don't bother play testing it much.
As you correctly pointed out AI faction balance and human faction balance are two big different things. So there won't be an elegant solution for faction power anyway as it can be played but either AI or human, which changes everything.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 05:50:21 PM by Alpha Centauri Bear »

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2020, 10:59:29 AM »
That is right. Thinker makes AI smarter in AI way but it still doesn't make it human smart. What I meant is that if in vanilla human can achieve economical superiority by the turn say 100 it happens at turn 150 or so in Thinker. Not drastic change in engine but some.
It does force the player to play more aggressively to stop the AIs from running away with the game, which is already a great improvement.

Yep. Looks like we need to teach AI to use atrocities. What's up with gene warfare? I thought it just decreases the population in base and has no direct implication on combat tactics. Meaning it doesn't harm units or anything like that.
An AI that learned how to use nerve gas and gene warfare effectively would be a terrifying thing.

Gene warfare does, in fact, cause massive HP loss to units inside the base, usually inflicting 50-90% damage. This makes it trivial to neutralize almost any level of base defenses if the base doesn't have any probes of its own to defend it. The AC2 wiki claims that Research Hospitals and Nanohospitals can reduce this effect, but I haven't confirmed that.

The AI is actually capable of building units with nerve gas and using them in combat... it just doesn't do it very well. This is because it doesn't even consider building the units while the Charter is still in effect, and it doesn't upgrade existing units to carry nerve gas either, so it can't capitalize on the Charter being repealed. It also doesn't realize that it should stop using nerve gas if the Charter gets reinstated, so it effectively sanctions itself into oblivion. Being incapable of long-term planning, it can't build a strategy around repealing the Charter and going all-out with atrocities either, like human players frequently do.

I once suggested to Induktio that AIs consider selectively nerve-stapling drones at the beginning of the game, when sanctions are meaningless, but he considered that too gamey. I think leaving bases empty in order to expand faster isn't something you approve of anyway.

As you correctly pointed out AI faction balance and human faction balance are two big different things. So there won't be an elegant solution for faction power anyway as it ca be played but either AI or human, which changes everything.
I think this is most exemplified by my favourite pet custom faction, whose special power is getting a free Psi Gate in every base. This opens up a lot of possibilities for creative thinking by humans, and was in fact how I beat Nevill in our second game... but the AI can't use it at all, while still getting lumbered with the faction penalties. It's very sad, but I don't see that changing anytime soon.

For a vanilla example, there is Morgan, where the AI struggles to deal with -1 SUPPORT and -3 pop limit while humans hit the ground running with CP spam to capitalize on +7 energy per base.

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2020, 05:52:27 PM »
Gene warfare does, in fact, cause massive HP loss to units inside the base, usually inflicting 50-90% damage.

Incredible! Never knew that. Always something new with this game.
😊


A genetic warfare probe action has the following effects:

The base loses population. The amount lost depends on a few factors, defensive technologies, defensive structures, and if the faction and base have been targeted before.
Each unit in the bases loses health. A random amount between one hp left, and half the hp of the unit. Defensive structures, and security interlocks can prevent this damage. But not technologies.

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2020, 05:58:05 PM »
It also doesn't realize that it should stop using nerve gas if the Charter gets reinstated, so it effectively sanctions itself into oblivion.

Is it really matter if all AIs sanction each other into oblivion? I don't think they care much. And neither does human player about inter-AI relationships. I mean not too much. Or, in other words, that doesn't make AI less challenging for human to beat.

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2020, 12:33:01 AM »
Is it really matter if all AIs sanction each other into oblivion? I don't think they care much. And neither does human player about inter-AI relationships. I mean not too much. Or, in other words, that doesn't make AI less challenging for human to beat.
Sanctions are irrelevant to diplomatic relations, they are automatically and compulsorily applied if you commit atrocities without repealing the Charter.

Given that sanctions prevent all commerce from happening, and commerce starts to make up a not-insignificant portion of a faction's income after turn 100 or so, I'd say that it does matter a lot.

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2020, 01:08:42 AM »
Do they automatically end after some period of time?
Do they respond to cumulative atrocities? Meaning if one commits more of them during sanctions they are proportionally extended, etc.
Are there any other consequences beside sanctions? Like relations impact. Maybe long term one?

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2020, 01:32:28 AM »
Do they automatically end after some period of time?
Do they respond to cumulative atrocities? Meaning if one commits more of them during sanctions they are proportionally extended, etc.
Are there any other consequences beside sanctions? Like relations impact. Maybe long term one?
Someone did research on how sanctions are applied here. Not sure how accurate it is.

Each atrocity you commit with the Charter enabled slaps you with X years of sanctions. The sanctions automatically end after that time. You can see how many years are left in the F3 screen.
X starts at 10 and increases in increments of 10 depending on how many atrocities you have committed. Nerve stapling doesn't increment the number, so if you stick to nerve stapling your own bases, you will only get 10 years for each stapling.
This means it is entirely possible for a particularly unrepentant player to end up with hundreds or thousands of years of sanctions.

Committing atrocities against an AI faction will result in them becoming permanently and irreversibly hostile towards you. They will refuse to make peace and only threaten you in the diplo screen. Note that this happens even if you repeal the Charter.
Other AIs will complain to you in the diplo screen if you commit atrocities, but I don't believe this has any tangible consequence on relations. Supposedly they will all declare vendetta if you commit too many atrocities (with the Charter enabled?), but I haven't seen it happen yet.

Committing atrocities with the Charter enabled lowers the clean mineral limit, which can cause increased eco-damage and worm spawns at your bases. This does not happen if the Charter is repealed - Planetmind only cares about you violating the Charter, and not the atrocities themselves.

Offline Nevill

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #37 on: August 12, 2020, 11:02:29 AM »
ZAKHAROV WINS GOVERNORSHIP
Meanwhile in Gaia
It's been a while since Lady Nevill got the frequencies of all the remaining factions. Ever since one of Yang's slave galleys washed ashore on the Verdant Island, in fact; some mere years after her own explorers made it to the mainland.

(click to show/hide)

Truth be told, she was often tempted to call for a Council meeting herself, and she would long have done so, were it not for certain circumstances making such a meeting a rather awkward affair.

 ;miriam; - What do you mean there are others!? I have it on Lord's authority that this is our Promised Land, and no one else should have a claim to it!

Ah, yes, that. As much as she wished Zakharov didn't poke that particular can of mindworms, she was also glad she wasn't the one dealing with it.

Truth be told, she found the good Sister's radio frequency while scavenging the remains of the Unity escape pod. Miriam and her followers found themselves marooned on an island much like her own, but long isolation coupled with exposure to hallucinogenic spores led the already loopy congregation to believe they all died and were taken to Eden for their righteousness. A disembodied voice with no prior sightings of survivors was taken as nothing short of a divine miracle, and Lady Nevill played along, not having the heart to tell them otherwise. And if she used the Sunday sermons to spy on gleam a few insights into the lives of the faithful, no one was hurting for it.

(click to show/hide)

But that was something to worry about later. For now the Lady's thoughts turned to the war perpetuated by the Peacekeepers. A misnomer if she ever heard one. She made contact with two of their neighbours, Yang and Santiago, and both were asking her to intervene on their behalf, promising their undying friendship and more besides. They have been so warm and accomodating; surely the fault for the conflict must lie with the warmongering faction who came out of nowhere to harass her people. Not being one for hasty retribution, Lady Nevill set up patrols to watch the Peacekeeping shoreline out of the safety of the fungal jungle. It was then when reports came in about another war party sneaking out of U.N. Disaster Relief under the cover of the night. She ordered to not let them out of sight until their ill intent could be proven without doubt.

(click to show/hide)

Being a pacifist at heart, Lady Nevill had a welcoming committee ready for when the ship reached her territorial waters, hoping to persuade the pirates to abandon their vile goals and adopt the ways of love and peace. They even put up a banner to greet them where the ship was supposed to pass. And yet when time came, it did not, even though it was on a direct course the turn before. What fate could have befallen it!?

(click to show/hide)

It was only years later that Lady Nevill learned the ship took a detour to pillage some of the Spartan Kelp Farms and also to regroup with a nearby probe vessel which the Lady's scouts did not spot. Having no idea where the enemy was caused quite a panic, forcing the Lady to try a gambit by putting her own boat in jeopardy just to lure the hostile ship out so they could be brainwashed persuaded to see reason. Fortunately for her, it didn't come to that; the boat she used as a bait survived the initial assault, and the enemy probe was located and sunk shortly afterwards.

The Lady's emissaries were on their way to U.N. Criminal Tribunal, and nothing dared stand in their way anymore. Soon she would see the truth of just what agenda the Peacekeepers were hiding behind their U.N. mandate.

(click to show/hide)

***

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« Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 02:07:41 PM by Nevill »

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #38 on: August 15, 2020, 01:04:34 PM »
;miriam; - What do you mean there are others!? I have it on Lord's authority that this is our Promised Land, and no one else should have a claim to it!

Ah, yes, that. As much as she wished Zakharov didn't poke that particular can of mindworms, she was also glad she wasn't the one dealing with it.

Truth be told, she found the good Sister's radio frequency while scavenging the remains of the Unity escape pod. Miriam and her followers found themselves marooned on an island much like her own, but long isolation coupled with exposure to hallucinogenic spores led the already loopy congregation to believe they all died and were taken to Eden for their righteousness. A disembodied voice with no prior sightings of survivors was taken as nothing short of a divine miracle, and Lady Nevill played along, not having the heart to tell them otherwise. And if she used the Sunday sermons to spy on gleam a few insights into the lives of the faithful, no one was hurting for it.

(click to show/hide)

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #39 on: August 15, 2020, 01:21:52 PM »
HUMANITY CELEBRATES 100 YEARS ON PLANET

One hundred years after the United Nations first touched down on Planet, all citizens of the UN can justifiably look back on themselves with pride. From the chaotic early years immediately following Planetfall, to the steady pushing back of frontiers and taming of new lands, the efforts of each and every citizen have been vital to human development on Planet. While in a real sense the hard work has only just begun, what we have so far accomplished is more than sufficient grounds for us to look to the future with optimism.

Celebrations began early today in UN Data Acquisition, UN Settlement Agency, UN Social Council, and UN Amnesty Town, all of which have played an extraordinary role in our organization over the century. Gathering information on the challenges facing us; building the tools with which to address them; ensuring that all stakeholders wield them with a unity of purpose; and providing understanding for those inclined otherwise. With a resume like this, it is no wonder that UNDA surveys regularly report the highest job satisfaction ratings here out of all the UN’s agencies and sub-agencies.



The mood is more sombre, though no less positive, at the very heart of our organization. The men and women at UN Headquarters have been working tirelessly day and night on an as-yet undisclosed project that spokesmen say has the potential to rival the unlocking of the human genetic code, of which the monopolization by Gaia’s Stepdaughters was a source of deep frustration amongst Planet’s research community. Details are scarce, but scattered statements by UN researchers suggest that the project is expected to bear fruit within the next decade.

Secretive research projects might stoke citizens’ imaginations, but making an impact on their lives today are the UN’s ongoing development programs. From recycling facilities and recreational spaces to childcare centres and research laboratories, everything we’ve accomplished would not have been possible without the UN’s commitment to building infrastructure for the future.

The first hundred years have brought light to Planet; may the next hundred years shine even more brightly.

----------

U.N. INFORMATION AGENCY RELEASES 2200 BUDGET FIGURES
CAPEX TO RISE, CUTS TO MILEX

Amidst all the centennial celebration, the UN Information Agency quietly published the latest revised figures for the Mission Year 2200 Annual Budget.

The new budget confirms recent speculation that the more settled political environment on Planet would embolden the UN to pursue a new economic direction. Most significant amongst its proposals are plans to transform the UN Peacekeeping Forces into a public-private partnership, with investors from Morgan Industries planned to take a 49% stake in the new arrangement. This is the first of many investments expected to take place, as cuts to the UNPF law enforcement budget will be matched with deregulation of Planet’s nascent financial sector. These changes would free substantial funding to be reallocated to increased capital expenditures, particularly in infrastructure and R&D. Overall, these cumulative proposals are expected to raise GDP by approximately 16% over the next 5 years, with a concomitant rise in the UN’s Human Development Index.



Small business owners were overheard rejoicing at the decision. “The UN’s red tape has been stifling progress on Planet for more than half a century,” Shomari Anenih, owner of the recreational tourism company MY2420 which does frequent business with Gaia’s Stepdaughters, spoke to reporters. “With the loosening of export restrictions, I’ll be able to service the entire Gaian market for my goods. Even Lady Nevill herself will have one of my bongs in her office!”

The UNPF was incensed by the news. “Certain members in our organization seem to have forgotten who exactly was responsible for the peace that we all now benefit from,” UNPF Commissioner Naito Takeo castigated at a press conference. “It was less than a decade ago that we faced the threat of invasion from all sides. Any who would sacrifice fundamental security for temporary prosperity deserve neither security nor prosperity.”

(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: August 29, 2020, 12:17:35 PM by Tayta Malikai »

Offline MercantileInterest

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2020, 05:05:35 AM »
good larp

Thoughts on your favorite features introduced by the mod?

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2020, 12:42:41 PM »
Mission Year 2210

TERRORISTS HIJACK U.N. OCEAN AUTHORITY

 
Terrorists belonging to an unidentified organization have hijacked UN Ocean Authority and taken the crew hostage, sparking a crisis that threatens to shatter the fragile peace on Planet.

Deployed only last year, UN Ocean Authority is a free-floating oceanic survey platform, equipped with facilities to conduct a comprehensive hydrographic analysis of the seabed along the coastline of Continent A. It is hoped that this will uncover undersea deposits of valuable minerals suitable for processing by Planet’s burgeoning manufacturing base.

While UNOA’s mission calls for it to follow a course that remains in clearly delineated international waters, the Spartan Federation nonetheless raised objections, claiming that its projected course will encroach on Spartan kelp farms and risk jeopardizing the yearly harvest. The UN Planetary Trust denied that there was any environmental or agricultural risk associated with the operating of UN Ocean Authority.

The ringleader of the terrorists, a hitherto unknown figure known only as “the Fatman”, made a televised statement following the platform’s seizure. “The waters of this Planet are a gift from God that belongs to all of mankind, and we will not stand by as they fall victim to plundering and exploitation by globalist servants of the New World Order,” he thundered to the camera, in between sipping from a glass of fungal juice.



Apart from demanding the immediate withdrawal of all UN presence from international waters, the Fatman also demanded to be provided with obscure technical data related to the refractive field technology recently developed by researchers working under Provost Prokhor Zakharov. It is unclear how the UN is expected to fulfil this demand, given that UNDA does not and has never run scientific espionage operations within the University of Planet.

“It is distressing to see that nearly two decades of peace on Planet have been blackened by a group of self-aggrandizing fringe radicals who engage in violence and intimidation to oppose peaceful scientific and developmental efforts,” UN High Commissioner Tayta spoke at a press conference called to address the crisis. “While of course we hope that there can be a peaceful resolution to this crisis, I remind you all that the United Nations does not negotiate with terrorists, and that we are fully prepared to commit to enforcing peace by more coercive means if necessary.”

No further transmissions have been detected from UN Ocean Authority, leading the UN Peacekeeping Forces to believe that the terrorists have begun fortifying the facility with communication jammers and other electronic warfare equipment, in an attempt to deter UN surveillance ahead of an assault.

The Spartan Federation denied that it was in any way involved in the crisis taking place aboard UN Ocean Authority.

More on this story as it develops.

(click to show/hide)


Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #42 on: August 29, 2020, 01:18:08 PM »
I actually already had the next few updates written up, but wasn't in the right frame of mind to put the images together and post them.

good larp

Thoughts on your favorite features introduced by the mod?
Nevill and I gave some more detailed feedback in the mod's thread, with regards to balance and from the perspective of playing multiplayer.

In terms of actual mechanics changes made by the mod (as opposed to alphax changes), off the top of my head, I think the best ones were:
  • Changes to combat mechanics, including randomness setting, make offense no longer quite as dominant as it was before.
  • Costs to upgrade units are more intuitive now (works strictly off the difference in mineral cost between models).
  • Upgraded reactors now do not increase unit HP. Probably the biggest game-changer by far, Fusion Power isn't an absolute must-have anymore.
  • Hurry mechanics were streamlined greatly: the 10-mineral threshold was removed, and units now cost a flat 4 energy per mineral while facilities cost 2. Now you can see at a glance how much energy you need to hurry something.
  • Coastal and sea bases exerting as much territory as land bases probably isn't as important for MP, since players will still (dis)respect it anyway, but it makes sense and just looks a lot better.
  • Rates of repair for units damaged in combat are configurable now, which could be a nice tool for rebalancing. I'm personally not a fan of the way the mod did it (it just takes too damn long to repair things, might as well scrap and rebuild), but something like 10%/turn in the field, 20%/turn in a base, and 40%/turn in a base with the appropriate repair facility might be good. Or, if you wanted to try something different, 0%/turn in the field but 10%/turn in a bunker or airfield. Would hurt early exploration but reward building those improvements. (Need to confirm whether sea bunkers also heal naval units.)
  • The exploit where you change INDUSTRY rating to get a big discount off a project has been fixed. I'm not sure if people actively exploit this, but the fact that they can't anymore is a weight off my mind.
  • Units are Very Green by default in this mod. I'm not sure it's the best change: it means there's no real penalty for going into negative MORALE, and makes early combat a serious pain in the butt. Thankfully this can be reverted in the config.
  • Territorial combat bonuses, probably the defining feature of this mod. Defense was sorely in need of a buff, there's no denying that, but I think +50% is too much and makes things silly. I'd say +25% would be more appropriate for MP.

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #43 on: August 29, 2020, 09:40:43 PM »
Thank you for feedback, Tayta, as always!

    [li$i]Rates of repair for units damaged in combat are configurable now, which could be a nice tool for rebalancing. I'm personally not a fan of the way the mod did it (it just takes too damn long to repair things, might as well scrap and rebuild), but something like 10%/turn in the field, 20%/turn in a base, and 40%/turn in a base with the appropriate repair facility might be good. Or, if you wanted to try something different, 0%/turn in the field but 10%/turn in a bunker or airfield. Would hurt early exploration but reward building those improvements. (Need to confirm whether sea bunkers also heal naval units.)[/li][/list]

    I didn't care much about repair rates in the field. This feature was introduced to slow down one turn full repair in base with facility. This makes attacking AI wasting too many units in their under-powered and badly coordinated base assault waves. Five turns repair (+20%) in base with facility gives next wave AI units chance to avenge their first wave brothers-in-arm sacrifice in base storming. I don't think this could be reduced any more without losing the effect as 5 turns is the max and some defenders may be not damaged that badly. So even +30% rate would make very quick repair in between waves.
    The exceptionally slow field repair rate is just a consequence of the above as it bound to be even slower.
    I don't see other good solution to this problem but am open to suggestions.

      [li$i]Units are Very Green by default in this mod. I'm not sure it's the best change: it means there's no real penalty for going into negative MORALE, and makes early combat a serious pain in the butt. Thankfully this can be reverted in the config.[/li][/list]

      Yea. This is definitely not a cornerstone of the mod so I'm perfectly fine if people turn it off.
      From the other side, I don't see it making a huge difference even in the early game. All early native are very green too. Also CC is level 1 tech and one can build just one of them to get +2 morale advantage early (+3 with monolith). Doesn't seem like unsolvable problem. Probably just an annoyance for those who does not bother to solve it.
      😉

        [li$i]Territorial combat bonuses, probably the defining feature of this mod. Defense was sorely in need of a buff, there's no denying that, but I think +50% is too much and makes things silly. I'd say +25% would be more appropriate for MP.[/li][/list]

        I don't mind this as well. It is also configurable. The exact value of each bonus is an endless discussion topic. This one essentially was inspired by bunker (+50%) and sensor (+25%) bonuses those are no longer there because AI cannot use bunkers to defend a territory. Imagine we can teach AI to build and use bunkers properly. Then it would be quite difficult to circumvent strategically placed bunker line. Unfortunately, no one experienced proper AI territorial defense. So there is nothing to compare to. I bet if you did you wouldn't perceive territory bonus as too high.
        Territorial bonus essentially turns whole territory into a bunker relieving AI from special defense planning. Numerically it is even weaker than vanilla bunker+sensor combination and it also does not protect against bombardment as bunker does. I really doubt there is need to weaken it even more.

        Offline Tayta Malikai

        Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
        « Reply #44 on: August 29, 2020, 10:27:17 PM »
        The quote formatting was not kind to the list formatting. :P

        Honestly, I think a lot of what we're talking just comes down to differences in the pace and particulars of how singleplayer and multiplayer are played. Obviously, things are very different when it's player vs player - one lets loose with a strike force coordinated to cause maximum damage in a single turn, the other tries to resist by designing their territory appropriately (or, ideally, forestalls the attack by attacking first). Such things don't really exist where AIs are concerned.

        We sort of touched on this when I was first starting to talk about the mod, but I really do think the easiest solution is just to maintain separate versions for SP and MP play. Thankfully, it looks like Merc is stepping up with the latter. Nevill and I might post our own too, once we've a few more test games under our belts.

        Yea. This is definitely not a cornerstone of the mod so I'm perfectly fine if people turn it off.
        From the other side, I don't see it making a huge difference even in the early game. All early native are very green too. Also CC is level 1 tech and one can build just one of them to get +2 morale advantage early (+3 with monolith). Doesn't seem like unsolvable problem. Probably just an annoyance for those who does not bother to solve it.
        😉
        Heh, touche. It clearly is not unsolvable given how Nevill and I both conquered the AIs while running Wealth the whole time. :V

        It might be more impactful now that you've turned up the rate of worm spawns in newer versions of the mod. We'll see.

         

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