Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire > The Theory of Everything
Kody's builder perspective as the Hive
How to stay even with tech while playing the Hive from a builder perspective in the early to mid game.
There are two main ways to stay up in tech from my perspective. Diplomancy/techpath and Resource Managing.
The techs you choose are fairly important. My preference for the Hive were three main targets Ecology->Planned->IA. Use MinuteMirage's tech sheet to figure out the path that requires the least number of offshoot techs, then try to get the order as closely as possible. After that decide the order depending on the game.
If you can form a good alliance with a human player you can get some very good advantages with the way to trade tech. That's right, not what techs you trade for, but the way you trade tech is the biggest advantage you can get via Diplomancy.
Skipping techs is very important. For example if you manage to skip industrial base through trading, then it will keep every following tech cost down.
I've figured that the chassis weapons and armor techs don't always need to be shared. Mobility and flexibility only needs to be researched by one faction. Then it is simply a matter of gifting a foil chassis and a rover chassis to the other team for a turn. This inserts the chassis into the design workshop and the design can easily be adjusted by the other team without having the tech.
The same applies to weapons and armor, the design workshop easily allows for the units to be built without the required tech.
If we play the cards right we may be able to trade the important benefits of military techs while still keeping low tech costs.
Try and figure out how fast you and your ally are gaining techs and when, then do your best to plan out a tech path that allows you both to skip as many techs as possible. Again use MinuteMirage's tech availability sheet.
If someone already has the tech you're currently researching you can get it and switch the research to the next tech without losing lab points.
Sometimes when trading for the prerequisite techs it's better to get the prerequisite tech after finishing the current research. I found that by getting the prerequisite beforehand it could increase the research cost by about 200labs. While choosing a random tech, getting the prerequisite, then changing the tech to the tech you got the prerequisite for, would lose you only half the accumulated lab points. In one case I lost about 50 labs points out of 100lab points when doing this, but the next tech cost about 200lab points less so I saved a turn and a half in tech research with that little stunt.
A few general notes:[*] There is a quirk with the Hive's early game, since the Hive tends to have minimal energy, I found out that setting 30% energy, 10% pysch and 60% labs, seemed to have minimal effect on inefficiency for the first 30 years...
[*] Whenever a tech finishes researching, any additional lab points from the base that finished the research are lost. I tried once arranging workers in bases and energy settings to adjust energy levels so that these lost lab points would be reduced. It?s really not worth it unless you?re losing more than 10% of a tech?s lab points to this effect, mainly because it?s too much trouble calculating trade income and if you balance it too finely then something your treaty/pact mate does can stop you can delay your next tech.
[*] For the Hive you have an unused forest and are able to build crawlers, aren?t currently pop booming then, don?t build the recycling tank first. Build the crawler instead. I think recycling tanks are somewhat overrated in Vel?s strategy guide. The reason for that was because the recycling tanks took longer to build and had slower returns. 2 minerals per turn gives faster returns than the recycling tank does. Also as it cost less to build you get more stockpile energy as you?re finishing builds more often. Also food and energy have slower returns when you?re still building up your crawler fleet, minerals give faster returns in stockpile and more crawlers. Later, after the crawlers start to fill up all the forests, energy will become fairly plentiful from all the stockpiling. This means that you could rush buy recycling tanks the same turn I started building them (10 mineral carryover due to mineral balancing), or just some crawler rehoming. I usually aime to build all the facilities in a single turn and managed to do that with about 70% of them.[/list]
With this game it?s possible to exchange one kind of resource to another kind. So when dealing with the Hive I took the approach of exchanging minerals for lab points. There are two main methods that I figured out would assist with tech. Either exchanging minerals for crawlers that would crawl energy to a super science city or exchanging minerals for nutrients, which then were used to create librarians and hence tech.
You can neglect the direct path from minerals to crawlers to energy to lab points if you manage to get the Secret Projects that would allow you to easily pop boom (HGP, VW, PTS - see bellow). If things are going this way, then I suppose the Merchant Exchange (ME) should be built, with the capital moved to where the ME is and most of the nearby bases will start making crawlers to crawl minerals to the capital while the capital builds facilities to increase the yield of energy.
The Planetary Transit System is fairly important and if you get the Human Genome Project at the same time, drones won?t be a problem. These two SPs are fairly important for increasing your population and ultimately research. Virtual World is also useful as it assists in pop booming.
In almost every game, technology is going to be the deciding factor. So this should be the main goal after getting as many Secret Projects you could get your hands on. Analysing the energy approach for the Hive, revealed that specialists is the main way to go with the faction. This is because energy inefficiency would take a large toll on directly gathered energy.
Originally my strategy was to create a city by the sea move the capital there and trawl energy to that. Then I realised, from a lab perspective, it was better to get kelp and go specialist and it meant that the capital wouldn?t have to be moved. Then I realised the sea crawlers were a fair bit more expensive than land crawlers (until the next reactor upgrade). This meant that it was far better to go hunting for nutrient bonuses on the land early on and condenser them all.
So you should go after nutrient restriction lifting so you can build condensers, while at the same time preparations should be made for 'Golden Age pop booming'. It was found that you need to build the children?s creche first (one turn before), as the growth bonus doesn?t work for Golden Age booming the turn it?s built. However, the children?s creche can work instantly to produce growth by cutting 2 columns from the nutrient bars.
The trick for fast, efficient growth, from size 3 to size 7 for the Hive
When base is size 3 and has enough food stored that if a children?s creche is built it grows immediately to size 4 then start the following procedure (assuming you have VW and HGP):
Turn -1:[*] shuffle crawlers/rush buy a little so 10 mineral carry over.[/list]
[*] base has enough nutrients that if children?s creche is built it will grow to size 4.
[*] rush children?s creche, add crawlers so 10 mineral carry over next turn.
[*] set 2 doctors
[*] base size currently 3 (No food is required as the base doesn?t eat when growing this way)[/list]
Turn 1:[*] children?s creche is built, base grows to size 4 as a result
[*] 2 doctors causes 2 talents, Golden Age growth happens before psych calculation, base enters Golden Age. (important as 1 turn lag in golden age booming)
[*] rush buy network node
[*] base size currently 4 (needs +2 food)[/list]
Turn 2:[*] Golden Age growth to size 5, (2 doctors, 2 talents, 1 worker)
[*] network node is built, VW causes 50% more psych due to the network node (and VW), (2 doctors 3 talents)
[*] base stays in Golden Age
[*] set 3 doctors, 2 talents
[*] base size currently 5 (need +2 food)[/list]
Turn 3:[*] base grows again
[*] stays in Golden Age as 3 doctors 3 talents
[*] unset all doctors, use specialists to gain labs.
[*] base size currently 6 (need +2 food)[/list]
Turn 4:[*] base grows again to size 7
[*] drops out of Golden Age[/list]
You should chose the bases for pop booming according to the way b-drones would appear. You see, you don?t want to delay base planting while pop booming. So, you have to figure out exactly where the b-drones would appear and plan for bases to finish booming to size 7 when b-drones would appear from your next base plant.
Note: B-drones are only important for a faction that is using pysch or wants to delay drone control up to the very last minute. If you intend to use golden age then yes, it will be useful to look into it. Otherwise it's not worth the headache while playing the Hive.
Predicting b-drones (beauracy drones)
I believe I figured out how the B-drones work. There's a gobal list of cities, depending on where your base is in the list the cities gets a drone.
The list works as follows.
If the first beaucracy limit is 7,
* Then on the 8th base, the bases 7,14,21,28,35 in the list will get drones.
* When the 9th base is planted bases 6,13,20,27,34 in the list will get drones.
* When the 10th base is planted bases 5,12,19,26,33 in the list will get drones.
As you see the pattern continues until we get 14 bases. Then I assume on the 15th base we get the 2nd set of beauracy drones.
So technically it's possible to build 13 bases that are free of beauracy drones. However that would require that your 13 bases are in the base order of 8,16,24,32,40,48.... etc in the gobal list of bases.
BDrone level 1 - A Bdrone is generated on the 14th base.
BDrone level 2 - A Bdrone is generated on the 13th base.
BDrone level 3 - A Bdrone is generated on the 12th base.
BDrone level 4 - A Bdrone is generated on the 11th base.
BDrone level 5 - A Bdrone is generated on the 10th base.
BDrone level 6 - A Bdrone is generated on the 9th base.
BDrone level 7 - A Bdrone is generated on the 8th base.
If 'Golden Age booming' gives you enough of an advantage, you can switch to war production. If this is not the case, there's always the 'PTS-pod booming ' wich is mainly used for generating colony pods that go to create new bases.
Options for pop-booming available
1. Normal pop booming via Golden Age. This means building treefarm, network node, children's creche, and then allocating 50-80% of the energy to psych. All your bases will boom up to size 7 fairly rapidly. The problem with this is, pop booming is disabled for 14+ bases and hence you have to delay planting 7 of your bases until after you have completed the population booming.
This will only be possible to implement after you have already gotten tree farms. Also you may become short of energy as the due to the upkeep of the facilities.
2. PTS (Planetary Transit System) pod booming. Build 3 colony pods, plant one, get 2 extra population points back. The two extra pods are moved into another base.
You will need a few crawlers to convoy minerals into the base.
3. Golden Age with doctors only.
Golden Age is very possible with the HGP at size 4 and with 0 psych allocation. Two doctors can be set to make the city go into Golden Age, if a network node is built. Combine this with a children's creche and the city can boom up to size 5.
For size 6 cities it is possible to pop boom if the 3rd efficiency limit hasn't been reached.
3 doctors are required, a network node, a tree farm, and a children's creche.
One good point of this is that the +2 nutrients only need to be available after the Golden Age has been initiated. This mean it is possible to have insufficient food while the doctors are causing the golden age. In the next turn when the doctors are workers again the city will grow from the pop boom.
4. Golden Age with doctors only in an unlimited colony pod builder base.
It has been discovered that if a colony pod production is timed correctly, a size 4 base can be in perpetual pop-boom with two doctors, children's creche, network node, and some crawlers for food. Add enough minerals to build a colony pod every turn and we have an unlimited colony pod builder base.
When the children's creches and network nodes are in place pop booming with occur in size 4 bases with emphasis on timing the Golden Age pop booms such that most of the food has already been queued for a short wait to size 6. The golden age pod factory will be used to bump up size 3 and size 5 bases, putting them in position to pop boom up to size 5 or 7 respectively.
It is believed that a combination of the tactics above will be able to keep you on par with the other factions with respect to population at least until you hit the expected 7 limit. If your spacing is designed up to size 9 cities, stringent population planning shouldn't be required after that.
After describing the PTS pop booming with dual feeder base system, I realised that it costs less per population point to implement that than it does to Golden Age. The only problem should be having enough land to implement the strategy. The cost of the colony pods is offset by not having to build all the facilities in many bases. In fact, just the cost of the creche, that doesn't have to be paid, will offset the cost of the construction of the colony pods.
Overall it pushes the tech rate far faster. The mircomanagement is actually more localised and hence easier to calculate. Also the upkeep of facilities in many places would recoup any losses even assuming non-optimised PTS pop booming.
Once you get the bases up to size 7, you can take use of this strategy for faster tech rate. Basically, I forgot to mention that you can starve your city when you set specialists and, as long as there is at least 1 food left in the nutrient box, the city won?t lose population. That means as well as alternating the minerals every turn, you can alternate the food, switching between +1 food overall to a negative food amount on alternative turns. This method also allows you to have less condensers than you otherwise would have, as you can share a condenser between two cities. The bad thing is it requires horrible micromanagement and if you fail to keep your eye on it, then your city starves.
Apparently, the effect of cities switching to a different faction only happens after consecutive turns of rioting, so you won?t lose cities this way.
Now, considering how drone riots only affect production, I believe it's possible to alternate between using workers and using specialists in a base, when you're strapped for cash and can't afford drone control facilties.
Basically one turn you set all your citizens to workers. In the following turn production occurs and you accumulate minerals etc. Drone riots will start, but they only affect the following turn's production.
You then change all your workers to specialists. Assuming you have recycling tank you'll only have 2 minerals coming from the base square (and this can be used up with support). So, technically, you will lose no production whatsoever.
In the following turn your city being full of specialists will stop rioting and you can switch them all back to workers.
Keep repeating until you can afford the drone control facilities.
(originally posted by Kody at Apolyton - the thread was located in the Archives section and is no longer available)
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