Author Topic: Where would you put SMAX additions into the SMAC tech tree?  (Read 559 times)

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Offline EmpathCrawler

Where would you put SMAX additions into the SMAC tech tree?
« on: September 15, 2020, 03:55:54 AM »
I exclusively play the SMAC in SMAX mod, but I kind of want to play games with the SMAX native life. That has me thinking of if it's worth also incorporating some of the non-alien related content into the original tech tree structure. I definitely don't want the SMAX techs. Here are my thoughts.

Units:

Spore Launchers (Bioadaptive Resonance C4): Doesn't really naturally fit onto other 4-level techs. I'm thinking either Centauri Empathy or Centauri Meditation but neither are Conquer techs. Big deal?

Sealurks (Centauri Psi E8): Already a SMAC tech. Probably fine.

Unit parts:

Resonance and Pulse equipment: No, too gimmicky and alien.

String Disruptor (String Resonance C16): Already comes so late that I don't see the point in cramming it into the end of the tech tree.

Tectonic Payload (N-Space Compression C8): Kind of goofy. Not really interested in it.

Fungal Payload (N-Space Compression C8): This one I like because it feels like a plausible weaponization of xenofungus. Again, no suitable Conquer tech at that level. Matter Compression is C9.

Unit abilities:

Soporific Gas Pods (Bioadaptive Resonance C4): Similar to Spore Launchers as there isn't a great 4-level tech for it. Thoughts?

Dissociative Wave (Centauri Psi E8): Already a SMAC tech.

Marine Detachment (Adaptive Doctrine C3): I kind of don't want this one since it can let you capture entire boat loads of troops as a wacky side effect. If it needed a new home, the obvious choice is Doctrine: Initiative.

Fuel Nanocells (Matter Compression C9): Already a SMAC tech. Is this worth incorporating when there are already Antigrav Struts?

Algorithmic Enhancement (Nanominiaturization B8): Already a SMAC tech. Should I make this easier to obtain for the AI? I was considering adding a prototyped Enhanced Probe Team or even making it free.

Facilities:

This area I'm really unsure about because it has been so long since I played with them.

Aquafarm (Progenitor Psych E1): Seems OP since kelp provides so much food already and grows on its own. Delay? Omit?

Brood Pit (Centauri Genetics E7): Already a SMAC tech. Also OP and tempting to omit entirely. Really don't like the Police boost since it makes the Gaians a breeze on top of making their armies cheap.

Covert Ops Center (Pre-Sentient Algorithms D5): Seems fine to me? Probe Teams get a ton of morale upgrades anyway and I like how it lets you harden your bases from Probe attack. Probably good for the AI to build.

Flechette Defense System (N-Space Compression C8): Another one I like, but probably because I'm a peaceful player. Move it up to Matter Compression?

Geosynchronous Survey Pod (N-Space Compression C8): And another one I like. Move it up to Matter Compression?

Subsea Trunkline (Planetary Economics B6): Already a SMAC tech. Seems fine. Sea bases tend to want for minerals.

Thermocline Transducer (Adaptive Economic Systems B3): OP? Every base can practically have its own Merchant Exchange...

Secret Projects:

Cloudbase Academy: No.

Manifold Harmonics (Secrets of the Manifolds D13): I don't remember using this one. It sounds really cool and does seem to come late enough where it's not OP. Am I wrong? Would fit easily at Secrets of Alpha Centauri.

Nethack Terminus: If I'm going to give away Algorithmic Enhancement away for free, this is pointless.

Planetary Energy Grid: I don't want to give away Energy Banks.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Where would you put SMAX additions into the SMAC tech tree?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2020, 05:36:42 AM »
Spore launchers are Explore techs, not Conquer.  Same as mindworms.  In the original game you get them with E3 Centauri Empathy.  In my mod, the weights I've generally put on Explore violence items is growth=4, power=1.  So there's a little bit of a chance that if you're focusing on Conquer, you'll get these interesting weapons systems.  But if you actually are serious about getting them, you have to focus on Explore.  Same as Deirdre does in the original game.  It's her bag.

Fungal Missiles are Explore techs.  When you want to give them is up to you.

Do not include Soporific Gas Pods.  They totally unbalance the game.  I dealt with this by making them cost 4 and putting them fairly late.  I wasn't quite willing to ban them from the game entirely, the way I banned the Copter chassis.  I do expect that people playing my mod, want a basis in familiarity with how SMACX was originally played.  So I handle things that are overpowered, by making them come late and be too expensive to be worth it.  If someone wants to sandbox their game, the capabilities are still there.  But if you're serious about winning the game, you won't be bothering with these, because they'll be irrelevant by the time you can get them.  I call this "soft retirement" of techs.

I felt it necessary to pull the same sort of thing with Dissociative Wave.  The game can go on long enough for those to appear, and it's really not a good idea to put stackable bennies on top of already powerful weapons.

The stock binary doesn't have a way to specify predefined units with a Fusion reactor.  Algorithmic Enhancement is a late game tech and such units should have Fusion reactors.  For this reason, I blew off worrying about it, as I target the stock binary.  At a minimum you would need to require Scient's patch to do a proper job of Algorithmically Enhanced probe teams.

In my playtesting I finally came to appreciate how overpowered an Aquafarm is.  I don't give it away until B5 Advanced Ecological Engineering.

Subsea Trunklines and Thermocline Transducers are overpowered.  I make them come later.

Basically if you want to know what I think, install my mod and look at its tech tree, conveniently within the Datalinks of the game.  I've considered all these balancing issues to death for 2.5 years.


Offline EmpathCrawler

Re: Where would you put SMAX additions into the SMAC tech tree?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 06:33:49 PM »
Thank you, that was very helpful. I copied the explore/build/conquer/discover designations from the Alien Crossfire manual so I'm going to blame any confusion on Firaxis's copyeditor. Hadn't thought of the reactor, thanks, though I did intend to play with Scient's patch.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Where would you put SMAX additions into the SMAC tech tree?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2020, 02:03:29 AM »
Actually when I said "spore launchers are Explore techs, not Conquer" I will not swear to it in court, as to what the original game did.  Spore launchers clearly should be Explore techs, same as mindworms.  I give them out at the same time, in the same tech.


 

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