Author Topic: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod  (Read 40209 times)

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Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #1500 on: April 25, 2021, 04:57:15 AM »
Played the Cult until MY 2238, knocking off at 11:38 PM.  Relatively early for me, but I'm fatigued, possibly from playing yesterday.

Played a "minerals first" strategy, on the premise that the game is minerals poor and pretty much determined by minerals output.  Only had 4 cities for a long time.  I now suspect that this isn't optimal.  Maybe fewer cities and not spreading out too much is the right idea for getting minerals going, but not quite that few.

Didn't learn Recycling Tanks until MY 2206 I think.  Finally stole it from the Believers after they stole from me first.  Had long distance mindworm skirmishes with the Believers and the University.  Had sunspots for awhile, during which time I saw the Hive and the Usurpers fighting on my border.  Once they lifted, the Hive declared war on me.  Not much happened but their artillery bothered me, and that's pretty much when I quit.  It was a viable game, but felt like a drag where I didn't have any particular advantage.

My Chaos Silksteel Cruiser ships were expensive and ineffective against the Believers.  They countered with a Chaos Plasma Foil, which smoked my ship about as fast as I smoked their Scout defender.  Actually they killed my almost dead ship as it was trying to retreat.  Pretty good defense for a Scout.  The economics of this are clearly awful and I don't see the point of waging naval war against crappy ocean bases.

On the bright side, I see the AI actually using some troops.  I can't tell if anyone was a real threat or not.  The Hive and the Usurpers were keeping each other busy for the moment, and the Believers were too far away to matter.

I did no SE choice for quite some time.  Eventually I went Democratic Planned, as I had a lot of developed land and hadn't really grown my bases to match.  Some bases were at size 7 and building Hab Complexes when I quit.  I'm not used to pop boom mechanics because I severely limit them in the early game in my mod.

I managed to build the Universal Translator, the Merchant Exchange, and the Human Genome Project.  That pretty much exhausted the Artifacts I picked up.

I brought a lot of independent mindworms and spore launchers back to my empire, which then were useful as worm police.  Sometimes that was involuntary, as when my diplomatic relations with an ally fell through.  Sorry I don't give chump change to snivelers.  Especially when they're holding out on me on tech and could jolly well sell it if they want money.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #1501 on: April 26, 2021, 01:09:40 AM »
I played to 2173 as the Gaians.  This pretty much proves that my previous "4 cities, build minerals" idea was suboptimal.  I may have had better starting conditions this time, but I also did much better spread.  Basically I "followed the minerals", including getting pushy with the Caretakers on their frontier about some minerals they popped.  Just rushed east and grabbed 'em for myself.  After the initial burst this was driven by the output of just 1 high food, low minerals city.  I'd add yet another city every so often to round things out.

4 useless Command Centers
4 useless Command Centers

I thought I was going to get in a shooting war with the Caretakers pretty early on.  Then we had sunspots.  When they lifted, the Caretakers got bored enough with me to sign a Treaty.  So, crisis was averted.  Only then did I realize that the 4 Command Centers I'd painstakingly built up, did me no good at all.  The Gaians in WTP have a -2 MORALE penalty.  Without a Command Center, units start as Very Green.  With a Command Center, units start as Very Green.

This is untenable and a dealbreaker.  I'm not playing WTP with this faction until it's fixed.  IMO that's totally broken because mindworms aren't any kind of wonder weapon in WTP anymore, if they ever were.  They're pretty nerfed.  I filed an Issue about this Gaian stuff.

I'll go do a "decent minerals output" empire with some other faction.  Start conditions permitting.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #1502 on: April 26, 2021, 03:25:21 AM »
Here by contrast is how it goes when you don't get nearly as good land to start on, and you're crippled by -1 SUPPORT.  I'm done with the Morganites in WTP until that's changed.  Filing an Issue about it.  This isn't the 1st time I've played them, not by a longshot.  It's gotten real old.

death of a Morganite colonist
death of a Morganite colonist

Morgan Industries was the square I started on and an ok place to settle, so I took it.  I saw the outline of the Garland Crater so I headed my 2nd colonist for it.  When I got there, I found it covered with fungus and dry as bone.  I was going to abandon the area when I popped a Monolith.  I figured my base square would have adequate food and the Monolith would make it enough for the early game.

The extra Garland Crater mineral did prove helpful.  I succeeded at an early rash of Formers using Completion Scumming.  This however, rapidly ran me out of SUPPORT.  I had to reassign units and manage the timing of my Colonist completion at Morgan Industries, to avoid a disbanding. I also had to avoid picking up the Unity Chopper and the Mining Laser from the crash site, because they would have added to my SUPPORT burden.

I scouted a reasonable search area but was beholden to my Scouts still taking up SUPPORT while I was in the field.  Unlike the Gaians or other +PLANET factions who get some free units for scouting, for the Morganites it's a major liability.  That's a lot of early game money that they don't have as good an access to.  I patted myself on the back that I managed to patrol this much around me anyways, before things went south.

The point at which mindworms just start exploding around you, killed off my Scouts.  Well ok, at least I could get on with making my empire.  But I hadn't learned Social Psych.  I kept the game's default research settings, to see things as the AI does.  I don't know if AI Morgan has the same problem, if it has a way to cheat around it, but I was certainly harmed by not being able to make any Rec Commons.  My 5 bases were all I had been able to manage, given the SUPPORT poverty.  Many of them had access to better resources in total, but it would take more than 2 population to do it.

The last straw was when I sent my 6th colonist to an intended nearby beneficial nutrient site, and it was summarily killed by an unseen mindworm.  I didn't explode anything down there myself.  It's just the stage of the early game where they start wandering around a lot.

Quit at MY 2150, 10:30 PM.  This basically isn't any fun, it's a drag.  I don't consider it a challenge when the odds are stacked so heavily against the Morganites, I just think it's me being jerked around.  The Morganites were the most pathetic faction of the original game too, for the same reason, the SUPPORT problem.  Also like the original game, they have no real advantage.  +1 ECONOMY doesn't do much.  If you want +2 ECONOMY, you still have to pick Free Market to get it.  Wealth doesn't come until a lot later.  That's a long time to be playing without any real advantage, plus the SUPPORT liability, plus the Hab liability.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 03:48:14 AM by bvanevery »

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #1503 on: April 26, 2021, 04:31:54 AM »
Responding to your factions proposal in general.
Faction balance is not this mod (my) specialty. It requires a lot of thinking and a lot of testing which I don't have time for, unfortunately.
😒

Honestly, I don't think they are seriously broken now after I removed aquatic minerals. I don't see any faction that is constantly on a lead or in the tail.

Let's look at Morgan's -1 SUPPORT that you mentioned, for example. I am not defending my position here. This could be one point of view. Not necessarily mine.
This is definitely a serious penalty. I don't think it is completely fatal to them, though. Sure they can support one unit less per base but this can be played around easily. Morgan should lean toward expansion thus creating more bases and sufficient unit presence by that. Their cash flow bonuses can be used to rush colonies and increase psych at bases to negate b-drones. Their population size restriction also suggest wider spread. So all their bonuses/penalties are playing relative well together.
Besides, somebody has to have this penalty. It would be quite dull to grant only positive bonuses to everyone. If not Morgan with his wealth than who?

Above passage illustrates that it is difficult to prove that certain faction bonuses combination is an absolute evil. There could be multitude opinions and point of views. They all are subjective. It is almost impossible to mathematically relate SE effects to each other. I have tried once and did the very rough approximation at best with tons of assumptions. Only million AI-AI simulations can gather sufficient statistics.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 05:03:03 AM by Alpha Centauri Bear »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #1504 on: April 26, 2021, 05:10:06 AM »
Factions cannot be balanced in a vacuum.  The vanilla game is not the same as Thinker, which is not the same as WTP, which is not the same as SMACX AI Growth mod.  Factions can only be balanced in the face of a consistent set of systems.  And, we're all different.

Case in point: My Morganites +1 ECONOMY is very powerful, because I don't force factions to choose Free Market to make money.  In my mod, in the early to mid game, you have to choose 2 of {Democratic | Capitalist | Wealth} to get to +2 ECONOMY, to make your money.  Morgan only has to choose one of those.  That's a big advantage.  He could go Democratic Green, he could go Theocratic Capitalist (The Almighty Dollar!!!)
 ;morganercise ;worship

And my Capitalist isn't some onerous pain to choose, like in your mod, or the original game.  It's only -2 PLANET.  Of course it's also only +1 ECONOMY.  I split it up.

Besides, somebody has to have this penalty.

No they don't.  For instance, I have no PROBE penalties in my SE table or my factions.  I don't believe in it as a mechanic, because stock binary mind control balance is crap.  So I got rid of it.

Similarly, I have no INDUSTRY bonus or penalty anywhere in my SE table.  No faction has an INDUSTRY penalty.  Only the Free Drones have a bonus.

Quote
It would be quite dull to grant only positive bonuses to everyone.

False.  That's my mod you're talking about.  You actually played it?

Only million AI-AI simulations can gather sufficient statistics.

False.  I've done dozens upon dozens of AI vs. AI simulations, and that's a big part of why my factions are balanced.  I can only stand to play so many games manually.  When I have my suspicions, I fire up the AI vs. AI games and see who gets killed.  Consistently underperforming factions get adjustments.  That's why my Morganites are +1 SUPPORT, not -1.  It works in my mod, my actual game balance.

My AI players don't get benefits like settling fungal patches either.  Another way that you can't assume equality between mods and factions.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 05:28:46 AM by bvanevery »

Re: SMAX - The Will to Power - mod
« Reply #1505 on: May 09, 2021, 11:06:50 PM »
Changed release model in GitHub. Now using inbuilt Release mechanism instead of adding zips to the code. This should reduce the volume of clone.
Don't know what to do with old releases yet. Some people still use them. It would be unwise to just wipe them out. From the other side it would take quite long time to transition them all into released tags. Maybe create an uber zip with all zips and put it as "Old releases" release?

 

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