Author Topic: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness  (Read 4973 times)

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Offline Green1

AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness

EDIT: This is a discussion of the characters. Actual gameplay is here: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=3750.0

It has been a while since I have shared a game with the community at AC2, and I think it is a time put up another AAR.

Last AAR, Lal Must Suffer, sadly was not finished. I had a computer problem that required reinstalling the operating system. Worse, I ended up having to buy Alpha Centauri again because the Planetary Pack disks were scratched to the point of uselessness. Also, being busy does not help. Playing an AAR takes 10 times the time of just playing a regular game because you have to stop at critical points, upload, and comment. So, a game that would take a day or so can go on for a week unless I just stay up for 15 hours on my day off and only post AAR posts! Sorry, can not do that for you guys. So this will be ongoing for a while.

This particular AAR is going to deviate a bit. A while back, the powers that be over here managed to get supposedly ALL the custom factions from a defunct site known as the Network Node. The Network Node was dedicated to creating custom factions. Now, like all "unofficial" works, some of these factions are VERY high quality. Others are half-ass wastes of hard drive space. In this AAR, I have some of the more tolerable ones and, one I think is a REAL gem!

In addition, I also want to pay homage to two Total Conversion Modders. One of them is long time poster and AC2 member Kilkalon who has the "Lost Eden Mod". The other is Chuft who resides on WPC and created the Lazy Mythos. I will discuss each when I get to the "character" set up. For this AAR, before we get to actual playing, I need to comment on each faction and some history. Sadly, there is one famous TCM from AC history I could not get stuff on. There was a very early TCM called SMANIAC by Civ Fanatic poster and occasional visitor to AC2 named Maniac. Maniac is also responsible for the Civ 4 mod "Planetfall", which in my opinion, has been the ONLY semi-successful attempt to recreate Alpha Centauri. The only faction I could find from that era was the Bree, an aquatic progenitor faction that the AI could not really do properly in test runs. Maybe next time.

Once again, feel free to comment/ whatever. I am no thread Nazi. I actually enjoy strategy talks, talking, or even scolded if I start playing stupidly.

That said, let's meet the characters for this soap opera!
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 03:03:42 PM by Green1 »

Offline Green1

Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 10:11:54 PM »
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  • OBLIVION's  FALLEN (Lost Eden TCM)

    Let's start with the creation of Lost Eden creator, Kilkalon.

    Oblivion is one of characters on Lost Eden. Now, our buddy Kilk caught a whole bunch of crap on Civ Fanatics forums a while back about the whole "nekkid pokemon" issue. BUT - to ignorantly dismiss a creative work like that misses the point. The whole mod is actually a well crafted thing of beauty. EVERYTHING is custom. Think a paradise world with pokemon creatures but steeped deep in Christian mythos straight almost out of Jack Chick. All the factions each have real world analogues as seen through a fundamentalist lens. The whole tech tree and graphics have been totally reworked to bring this world to you. Plus, if pokeman parts are just a little too immersive into a Garden of Eden style world which has no issue with flesh being shown, he does have a less -erhm- revealing version. I will be using that.

    Oblivion is a male bulbasaur who is into almost an Anne Rynd sort of objectivist view. He is very much a "do anything you want" kind of thing and perhaps the Yang of the Lost Eden world. Now, unfortunately, because Lost Eden also has it's own custom social engineering choices, I have worked with Kilkalon to closely approximate Oblivion into this AAR.

    This is what he has:

    Quote
    #DATALINKS1
    ^LEADER: {Oblivion, the Prince of Darkness}
    ^SPECIES: {Male Bulbasaur}
    ^AGENDA: {Perverted pleasures; establishing demonic rule}
    ^TECH: {Information Networks}
    ^

    #DATALINKS2
    ^+3 GROWTH: {Procreation encouraged}
    ^+1 RESEARCH: {Keen to try all sorts of new... things}
    ^-1 EFFIC: {Corruption a way of life for followers}
    ^-1 PROBE: {Vulnerable and afraid of the Light}
    ^-1 PLANET: {Apathy towards clean operation}
    ^Free RECREATION COMMONS in every city.
    ^Need HAB COMPLEX for bases to exceed size 5: {Perverted activities poison water supplies}
    ^Immunity to negative SUPPORT penalties: {Somebody... or something... is helping him?}
    ^{May not embrace Cybernetics.}

    The + growth could make Oblivion fairly rough. He does have an okay research. The big thing, though is the immunity to SUPPORT penalties and free rec commons.  With the right social choices and left alone, Oblivion could be a powerhouse.

    Offline Green1

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 10:34:47 PM »
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  • STEPHANIE'S LAZYTOWN (Chuft's Lazymod TCM)

    There used to be a show out of Iceland called Lazytown. Of course, that show got a bit popular with the kids who all grew up admiring (er.. lusting) after the main character of that show. There is also my suspicion that Lazytown ad revenue combined with Eve Online probably contributed to 70 percent of the GNP of Iceland, but that is another story...

    Lazymod also had Cylons and a unique progenitor race called the Cthullu Cult. Chuft also attempted to solve air power imbalance by reducing movement ranges.

    Now, all weirdness of Pink Haired jailbait aside, I believe Chuft may have unwittingly come up with a missing idealogue from Alpha Centauri. Lately, we have had talk in certain circles about celebrities in space. Heck, there is also some talk lately of a "Mars colonist survival" reality show that may or (probably) not become reality. Who is to say that some young celebrity could not give huge boosting in sponserships and funding to colonize another place? Now, I plan on wiping the floor with Steph and I am no fanboy, but who is to say if we do not have an AC FOREVER type reboot, a celebrity faction would not be realistic?

    This is her stats:
    Quote
    #DATALINKS1
    ^LEADER: {Cutie Stephanie}
    ^BACKGROUND: {Iceland, Unity Television Star}
    ^AGENDA: {Learning, growing, and making things fair for everyone}
    ^TECH: {Centauri Ecology - she likes growing Good Stuff}
    ^

    #DATALINKS2
    ^+1 PROBE:  {Everyone likes to watch LazyTown}
    ^+2 SUPPORT: {Citizens eager to defend Steph}
    ^-1 POLICE: {Doesn't like being mean to people}
    ^-1 INDUSTRY {Would rather play than work}
    ^50% reduction in EFFICIENCY penalties: {She motivates people}
    ^Free HOLOGRAM THEATER when discovery of Planetary Networks {LazyTown filmed in HD}
    ^{May not use Free Market economics in Social Engineering - people should share.}

    SUPPORT means she can probably pump out troops. The reduction in Efficiency penalties could mean rapid expansion or ICS. Free Hologram Theater is pretty nasty, too. Like a free Virtual World. No free market is no penalty for an AI as SMAX AI does not handle market well, anyways.

    Online BUncle

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    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 10:37:36 PM »
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  • I don't think Kilkakon has an awful lot in common with Jack Chick - the latter is all about apocalypse and hellfire, the former is all about hugs.

    Offline Green1

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 10:50:13 PM »
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  • Jack Chick as not in the hellfire and brimstone, but a world in which there are supernatural powers and opposing forces. Funny thing was, there was an attempt many years back to create a Jack Chick mythos Dungeons and Dragons world. Only thing was, the Chick inspired Christians were overpowered! But, our buddy Kilk does do balance :)


    Speaking of time, I have a little meeting to go to. When I return, we will talk about the other "characters" that will take part in this bizarre little play.

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    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 11:02:59 PM »
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  •  ;excite;

    Offline Green1

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #6 on: June 17, 2013, 02:33:13 AM »
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  • The ANTIMIND (Network Node)

    Hidden amongst obvious Hive reskins, things that make your game crash immediately, and lame ideas you occasionally get something rather cool. The Antimind is one of those ideas. A progenitor faction, the premise is that somehow the fungus combined DNA with progenitors to create an unstoppable monster. Combine that with a healthy dose of cybernetics, you get the picture.

    The Antimind is literally a beast. Not overpowered to the point of being unfair, but a challenge and joy to try to overcome. Much like what the designers of the Alien Crossfire expansion hoped to convey.

    Let's look at what we are up against:

    Quote
    ^LEADER: {AntiMind}
    ^BACKGROUND: {Mindworm/Progenitor Cyborg Hybrid}
    ^AGENDA: {Mindworm Freedom}
    ^TECH: {Centauri Ecology}
    ^

    #DATALINKS2
    ^+4 PLANET: {Able to tap into Planetmind's neural net to capture mindworms}
    ^-3 INDUSTRY: {AntiMind experiences pain when pollution enters its "body"}
    ^-2 GROWTH: {Human slaves are restricted from reproducing to maintain worm majority}
    ^Free Ability: {Hypnotic Trance: Can turn psi powers against user}
    ^+2 Nutrients and Energy in fungus squares
    ^Immune to PLANET penalties
    ^Receives free Mindworm unit at start
    ^{May not use Free Market economics.}

    Oh yeah, and did I mention I typically only play on heavy fungus maps? That +4 PLANET is a biggie. Prog defenses make this more fearsome.  This means swarms of powerful ninja mindworms crushing anything in it's path. This, like ganddad used to say, is going to be a tough row to hoe.

    Offline Green1

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #7 on: June 17, 2013, 02:55:20 AM »
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  • THE BORG (Buster's Uncle et. al, Hickory Chess Club)

    Back in the day, the Borg was cool. An unstoppable, cold force that assimilated everything in it's path including entire worlds. Early episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that featured these monsters are all considered classic (well, at least if you do not consider TNG "faux trek"..lol). For those involved in a sci-fi game like Alpha Centauri, it was only natural to try to include the Borg as a faction. Now, there have been SEVERAL attempts from my reading to do this. I personally have found 3. Who knows, there could be more out there lurking on someone's hard drive. One just seemed to be just another Hive reskin. This one that I found on BU's site seems to be okay. I could do without the "cube city" and I also think that the Borg should NEVER pact folks OR be on council, but this one seems to be okay.

    Here is this iteration's take on the famous Borg:

    Quote
    ^LEADER: {Central Communications Node}
    ^BACKGROUND: {A powerful civilization of enhanced humanoids from the Delta Quadrant.}
    ^AGENDA: {Perfection via total biological, mechanical, and technological integration.}
    ^TECH: {Planetary Networks, Biogenetics}
    ^

    #DATALINKS2
    ^+3 PROBE: {"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."}
    ^+2 EFFICIENCY: {A collective government and an advanced comprehensive adaptability}
    ^-4 PLANET: {"Planet is an irrelevant species. It cannot be assimilated, only exploited and used for our purposes."}
    ^-2 GROWTH: {Little innate reproductive capability. Relies on assimilation of other species for growth.}
    ^-2 RESEARCH: {Must accomplish research objectives through assimilation}
    ^{Bases immune to mind control}
    ^{May not chose Democratic politics}

    Central Communications Node is going to hope Antimind does not run into it with that -4 PLANET! However, immunity to mind control and decent +probe rating could be nasty under some situations.


    Offline Green1

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #8 on: June 17, 2013, 03:16:35 AM »
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  • PLANET'S LAW (Network Node- JURID)

    A random Network Node Faction. Basically, this is a society of lawyers. You know, I figured, hell, I got a demonic pokemon, a pick haired jailbait child star from Iceland, a monstrous mindworm/progenitor from hell what would be the icing on the cake? Yep, Lawyers!

    Actually, the graphics are decently done. They have "Perry Mason, Jr." as the leader and all the cities look like law buildings. It makes me wonder if the Antimind or Oblivion is the "true" evil here :)


    Quote
    ^LEADER: {Perry Mason Jr}
    ^BACKGROUND: {United States Supreme Court, Unity's Lawful Consultant}
    ^AGENDA: {The True Respect of the Law}
    ^TECH: {Information Networks, Social Psych}

    #DATALINKS2
    ^+1 ECONOMY: {High Fees}
    ^+1 PROBE: {Professional Secret}
    ^-1 EFFIC: {Individualistic methods}
    ^-1 MORAL: {Lack of ethics}
    ^+50% Votes: {Gifted speackers}
    ^Extra DRONE each 4 citizen {Lack of ethics}
    ^Robust Police: (Citizens fear the Lawyers)
    ^May not use Eudaimonic Future Society
    ^

    Not sure what to make of this. They seem almost to be a hybrid Morgan/ Lal? I definitely will have to watch council with that Lal bonus.


    Offline Yitzi

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #9 on: June 17, 2013, 03:35:42 AM »
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  • -Also, it's not in the datalinks, but Antimind also gets +50% to psi combat on top of its PLANET bonus.

    -Planet's Law actually isn't very Lal-like.  They've got half of Lal's council bonus, but instead of Lal's talents they get Zak's drones. 

    Where they really could do well, though, is commerce.  The robust POLICE means that even when running free market they won't have pacifism drones (no police, but no pacifism), and they start with +1 ECONOMY, meaning that they can (and generally will, by the way the AI is programmed) go Dem/Market/Wealth for +4 ECONOMY (granting +2 COMMERCE, on top of what they get for being governor if they manage that via their bonus votes) and still be able to explore.  (Fight too, but they're fairly weak militarily due to the -1 MORALE.)

    Offline Green1

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #10 on: June 17, 2013, 04:55:13 AM »
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  • -Also, it's not in the datalinks, but Antimind also gets +50% to psi combat on top of its PLANET bonus.

    -Planet's Law actually isn't very Lal-like.  They've got half of Lal's council bonus, but instead of Lal's talents they get Zak's drones. 

    Where they really could do well, though, is commerce.  The robust POLICE means that even when running free market they won't have pacifism drones (no police, but no pacifism), and they start with +1 ECONOMY, meaning that they can (and generally will, by the way the AI is programmed) go Dem/Market/Wealth for +4 ECONOMY (granting +2 COMMERCE, on top of what they get for being governor if they manage that via their bonus votes) and still be able to explore.  (Fight too, but they're fairly weak militarily due to the -1 MORALE.)

    So THAT's why Antimind is such a beast. Goodness....

    Interesting take on the lawyers, too.

    Offline Green1

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #11 on: June 17, 2013, 05:20:58 AM »
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  • THE LORD'S BELIEVERS (SMAC original 7)

    I am going to skip ahead to who I will be playing for this scenario.

    Our favorite nut whose orange borders have been known to cause panic, Sister Miriam Godwinson.

    Yeah, I know she is not a custom faction, but in this game, I think she will fit in nicely as our protagonist. All the other characters here fit into some kind of "hell". Who better to bring the light to this chaos?

    Now most of us know what the good sister is all about. But, for the "noobs", I will go over what this faction leader is and why I think she made the original 7. You see, Alpha Centauri was put out during the late 90s right after there was a great "moral panic" amongst folks about gaming. While this mostly extended to role playing games, war gamers were not immune to this in those days. Books were burned. Gamers were shunned as "being part of a cult" and aiding and abetting evil hackers, badly influencing youth, etc. in many parts of the world. Even Steve Jackson Game's (writers of GURPS ALPHA CENTAURI) offices were actually RAIDED for an RPG called Cyberpunk much in probably influenced somewhat by the anti-gaming atmosphere of the day. (Remember, there was no real internet to dispel BS. It was all BBSes and expensive subscription services)

    Sister Miriam is a vision of what the US would have come to if the US never deviated from the fundamentalism of the 1990s and became "The Christian States of America". I think Reynolds put her in as a statement. Ironically, though, towards the end, Miriam is actually one of the more rational leaders despite her bad rep.

    Anyways, let's recap the good Sister:

    Quote
    ^LEADER: {Sister Miriam Godwinson}
    ^BACKGROUND: {Christian States of America, Unity Psych Chaplain}
    ^AGENDA: {Life of Religious Worship}
    ^TECH: {Social Psych}
    ^

    #DATALINKS2
    ^+25% Bonus when attacking enemies, from strength of convictions.
    ^+1 PROBE:  {Devout believers difficult to brainwash}
    ^+2 SUPPORT: {Citizens eager to defend faith}
    ^-2 RESEARCH:  {Suspicious of secular science}
    ^-1 PLANET:  {Believe Planet is their promised land}
    ^Accumulates NO research points until MY 2110.
    ^{May not use Knowledge value in Social Engineering.}

    Awful researcher. But, her bonuses to attack and support means she is master of an aggressive game. She can probe with the best of them as well. -1 PLANET may be a disadvantage against Antimind.

    Offline Green1

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #12 on: June 17, 2013, 05:42:51 AM »
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  • Working NOT (too) OP faction of alphacentauri2.info's choice ( ? )

    For the LAST.... I think I will let you guys decide.

    We can put any of the original 7 in.

    We can also put any of the Alien Crossfire factions in.

    You can go to BU's site and dig up something there.

    You can maybe get me a gem I may have missed from the Network Node (available at AC2!)

    OR...If You Dare send me a faction of your own creation.

    AND NO! NO Supahnoobs/Scotsnoobs. Give Miriam a slight chance will ya?

    Offline Yitzi

    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #13 on: June 17, 2013, 04:55:30 PM »
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  • So THAT's why Antimind is such a beast. Goodness....

    There's also the fact that you have to take them out fairly early; in the late game, their fungus bonus is extremely powerful, and if they get the Manifold Nexus you'll have real problems.

    That said, I'd think they're actually not that strong if you know how to handle them.  Their growth and industry penalties mean they need to rely on their native advantage to have any chance, so by making the bulk of your forces be cheap empath and trance troops and pumping MORALE and PLANET you should do well.  Spartans in particular should do well; running Fundie/Green and sending command-center boosted troops through a monolith they can be more than a match for the antimind's troops at a third of the cost.  Fungus would make it harder (both for defense and mobility), but they should still be able to pull it off.

    You're playing Miriam, though, which will be quite a bit tougher...still, grabbing Centauri Empathy and getting Empath and Trance units should help a lot against antimind (especially if you decide to run Fundie).

    Offline Kilkakon

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    Re: AAR 4: Something a bit Different. Custom Faction Madness
    « Reply #14 on: June 18, 2013, 04:29:08 PM »
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  • I'll look forward to reading this. :D Keep it up, and thanks for the glowing character reference~ *blush* Even if I don't know who Jack Chick is. I know Jack Black though, and he's an actor, so clearly this means I can put on a good performance.

    As for factions, well there's obviously my own which I think are interesting in their own way (Gaian Acolytes). Out of the NN ones that you haven't picked, I like the theme of Children's Alliance and Anarchists, although they probably need considerable reworking. Neveral Order as well, although they need a few nerfs.

    I agree on the whole entertainment faction idea though. I think Showbiz tried to do that, although it was a bit too gimmicky from memory.

     

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