Author Topic: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46  (Read 1072 times)

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Offline bvanevery

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The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« on: August 20, 2020, 08:03:28 PM »
I haven't done an After Action Report in awhile.  Version 1.46 of my mod is a pretty stable release, involving only minimal changes from the previous version.  It's had a fair amount of playtesting, so is a good basis for showcasing "how to play the game".

A spammer recently caused an ancient 3.5 year old AAR to rise to the top of the stack.  Although its author never completed it, it contained at least one interesting idea.  Giving bases to other players, in the middle of your own empire.  The Aztecs kept the Tlaxcalans in this way, using them as a ready source of "flowery war" and ritual human sacrifices.  This worked out pretty well until the Spanish showed up!

Tlaxcala surrounded
Tlaxcala surrounded

I'm going to similarly invite disaster.  Uncharacteristically of me, I will pursue an "amoebic" or "swiss cheese" spread strategy.  Grow towards enemies, put tendrils into them, take over some bases and not others.  Fully integrate the materials of enemies into some kind of massive host structure.  It might look like the growth of a biological pathogen, or a fungus.  The former is COVID-19 inspired, and the latter is a yeast infection I've been fighting in my dog's feet for over a year.

So this is my source of inspiration!  And I will perform this feat with a RANDOM faction, against random opponents.   Let's see how easy or hard it turns out to be.

Global flooding would likely seriously disrupt my plans, so I will avoid that.  No gratuitous chemical attacks leading to planetary meltdown.  I've got other AARs for that sort of thing.  This is all about "benevolent suffocation" and displacement of local populations.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2020, 08:30:14 PM by bvanevery »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2020, 09:31:37 PM »
Huge map, 30%..50% land mass with my mod's continent generation tweaks, average settings.  Transcend difficulty.

the charming cast
the charming cast

I draw the Morganites, who in my mod are not helpless slouches.  Notice that unlike the original game, my Morganites have +1 SUPPORT, do not get a Commerce bonus, and have no restrictions on what economic model they can choose.  I can be Socialist if I want to.  The main reason I allow this is it's not usually a good choice, and it's conceptually no crazier than Morgan going Green.  When the AI plays Morgan it will never do it, it'll always go Capitalist.  As a human player, I am not so restricted.  Think of it like an employee owned co-op, a Non-Profit, or a Benefits Corporation.  In this particular game, the extra JUSTICE afforded by Socialism might prove useful, as it would allow me more empire sprawl before I get unrest.  This game is going to be all about the sprawl!

unusual poppage
unusual poppage

I start on dry, fungus ridden land without good access to the prevailing land mass.  I was going to migrate elsewhere, but my Scout popped a pod that gave me instant farms.  That makes this land actually worth settling, so I accept my capitol here for now.

doing like the AI would do
doing like the AI would do

I take the default research focus that the AI would have.  There's no necessity in this, but I prefer to playtest my mod according to what the AI would experience as a strategy.  This helps me find out if I've crippled a faction in some way.  All of my factions have a unique combo of research foci.  The Morganites are the "pure Build" faction and there is no such other in the game.  The Cybernetic Consciousness is Discover, Build and unfortunately the one consistently weak performing faction in my mod, possibly due to this combination.  So this game will be a good test whether that's true.  The Data Angels are Discover, Build, Conquer.  The Free Drones are Explore, Build, Conquer.  Otherwise there are no Build factions.  I am not likely to have much competition in this tech area.  I can probably build the Merchant Exchange etc. without much issue.  And perhaps the Planetary Transit System will be more useful than I usually consider it to be.

possible island
possible island

I pop a minerals deposit but also a mindworm, interfering with my settlement.  It's not a great location anyways, as I very much prefer to settle on Flat terrain to improve its mineral quality with my base.  I proceed onwards and gain an Artifact for my effort.  I will settle near the minerals later.  I didn't entirely explore the north, but it looks like there's ocean up there.  I can't quite tell from the radar readout if land connects to the south.   If I'm not actually part of a land mass, this could complicate my amoebic strategy.  However it's nothing the Weather Paradigm couldn't fix, assuming I get it done first.

rising fortune
rising fortune

I trigger an earthquake!  The game knows I'm on a small land mass.  I wonder if it connected anything that wasn't previously?

Clean Reactors are available in my mod from the beginning of the game.  This helps the AI not run out of SUPPORT.  I can take advantage of it too: there's always a way to reinvest in your empire, even if you don't have any new facilities to build.  Here I was trying to set up a "Completion Exploit" with that pod I popped.  You often get Completion events when popping a pod, whatever the nearest city is.  Rather than completing a mere Scout, which isn't valuable, I was hoping to get a Clean Scout.  That's the most expensive unit I can complete right now.  A Colonist is more expensive, but can't be completed with a size 1 base.  When the base is size 2 I'd try to complete those.  When I learn more techs, I'll deliberately design the most expensive units possible, hoping to complete them.  Sometimes this will give you, for instance, a Clean Synthmetal Rover Former.  Completion Exploits are also extremely useful for finishing Recycling Tanks.  The basic idea is that as long as your minerals are 10 or under, you can switch your production back and forth without penalty.  So I'll set up the completion, pop the pod, then return the production to a simple Scout when I'm through.

I first started heavily using Completion Exploits to get Pirate sea bases built in a hurry.  From this I realized it's also useful on land.

fast construction
fast construction

I learned B1 Industrial Base, and I've got +1 SUPPORT, so it's time to rush some Formers.  The Morganites start with some extra money so it's good to use this up on judicious rushes as quickly as possible.  I also may not need any more Scouts at the rate I'm going.  I can hope for a land connection to the south but it's just not certain.

seaworthy
seaworthy

It's official, there's no land bridge to the north.  I've rushed Formers and am at the limit of my SUPPORT.  I learned Recycling Tanks so it's now good to rush those.  I've got enough money and 10 minerals in to do 1 this turn.

crap start
crap start

Mission Year 2118.  No land bridge to the south.  The east is certain ocean, a very large one.  I'm on a small island.  Getting E1 Doctrine: Flexibility isn't that difficult in my mod as it's only a Tier 1 tech, but it doesn't have any Build component to it and I am a pure Build faction.  So this will be a good test of whether I have a difficulty getting off the island.  Another major loss from a small island, is the gravy train of easy supply pods is over.  Clean Reactors will save my bacon though.  In the worst case, I will make a massive number of Clean Formers and remove all of this fungus.  I can also save up Clean Colony Pods if I end up with more population than I keep happy.  As a special exception, again to help the AI with SUPPORT, Clean Reactors don't cost extra on them.  So this is a mitigable mini-crisis, not any kind of dealbreaker.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2020, 10:00:46 PM »
recycling tradeoff
recycling tradeoff

Completing a Recycling Tank in my capitol has caused a mild delay in making a Colonist.  I switch one of my workers to a Medic, preventing the disruption of a Drone Riot next year.  Usually I just obliviously wait for such problems to show up, then pay for solutions like a Rec Commons or whatever.  But at the very beginning of the game, anticipatory micromanagement is warranted.  Small decisions early on have large effects on the midgame.  I'm not going to be in some great position, with this small island start.  In fact, if one of the other factions takes root in the Monsoon Jungle, they could threaten to make the various Secret Projects that I thought would be easy for me to complete first.

scaling up
scaling up

In my new cities I invest in Recycling Tanks first, because those can't be built in some other city.  Whereas, Formers can always be built in another city and then re-homed.  I've done a little shuffling of that already.  Once my "mature" cities are nearing size 2 and ready to make Colonists, I put them to that task.  Sadly, I'm only going to get 7 cities out of this island.  I'm a "big pox" player and refuse to smallpox, especially in the vicinity of my capitol.  This island may be my vital economic core someday.  Of course, conditions on the mainland could change everything.

The power graph says I'm still doing better than 2 other factions, which I find a bit surprising.  I know my early spread strategy is good, but it would seem to be indicative of the Free Drones and the Cult of Planet having some bad initial luck.  Meanwhile the Cybernetic Consciousness, the expected weakest faction of the game, is doing substantially better than the rest.  Did they get the Monsoon Jungle?  If so, goodbye Secret Projects.  Their RESEARCH bonus will let them get started early, and their Build focus may help them finish them.  If they turn out to be far away from me on the map, I'll have a devil of a time ever catching them.  Then again, the Believers could smash them up, so who knows.

easy street
easy street

MY 2138.  Now I've got no issues.  With an entire ocean to the east, and no Pirates competing to fish for the sea supply pods, this is going to be cake!  Doesn't even matter what's on the land.  Watch Morgan get rich.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2020, 10:24:16 PM »
flurry of speech
flurry of speech

I fish Roze's comm frequency out of the water.  She offers Domai's.  She's Solicitous but won't ally.  I ask about the Gaians before remembering I should focus on trading techs with her.  I get C1 Doctrine: Mobility in exchange for my map.  It's a small map, although of course it does reveal my location.  Why should I care, I've got a moat.

Socialists
Socialists

Domai signs a Treaty, but is otherwise of no use.  No techs, and I don't manage to get any comm frequencies out of him.

Happy Thoughts Police
Happy Thoughts Police

MY 2145.  I fish 100 credits out of the water, which could buy a tech from the Data Angels.  Unlike the original game, they don't have to infiltrate factions to gain techs that 3 factions have.  It just wasn't realistic for the AI to have to cross Huge maps to get all that done, it's not bright enough.   Unexpectedly, they're in the mood for an alliance.  I don't think I even asked them for that?  Can't remember.  Well, it's done.  I buy C1 High Energy Chemistry from them.

My Tlaxcalans!
My Tlaxcalans!

We're neighbors.  Gosh I wasn't quite expecting that.  Taking bases off their hands is going to be, um, a bit weird.  Well let's see what the rest of the world is like before jumping to conclusions.

industrial monsters
industrial monsters

Weird to see someone occupying the Monsoon Jungle, doing the poorest on the graph.  Wonder what caused that?  Scient added a nifty feature recently, permanent autosave every 10 turns.  I can go back and look at the causes eventually.  Right now I'm playing.  Anyways if they take proper root, they can definitely build all the Secret Projects rather fast.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2020, 11:48:23 PM »
splitting the Angels
splitting the Angels

MY 2150.  I'm naming my "infectious" cities after the small places of Old Earth.  This is a dangerous game to be playing with the Data Angels, and I'd lose heart if they were my enemy.  At this distance from my capitol, they could mind control my city in a heartbeat!  Depending on where the critical mass of settlements really turns out to be, I may have to relocate my capitol.  I'm also going to have to be very nice to the Data Angels for quite awhile, even if they steal techs from me.  I might have to swallow all sorts of guff I usually wouldn't, just to make this strategy work!

useful idiot
useful idiot

Somehow Domai changed his attitude towards me to Magnanimous.  He signs a Pact.  Now I'll have to be nice to him too, as I infiltrate his lands.  Socialist may be in my future, because I'm going to need pretty high JUSTICE to keep this far flung empire together.  Also, he goes to war with pretty much anybody that doesn't tow the Workers' party line.  Better with me than against me.  When I imagined this scenario, I was expecting enemies next to me, that I'd put lots of Clean Synthmetal Garrisons around and so forth.  Really didn't anticipate having to swiss cheese my allies.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2020, 12:01:44 AM »
completion exploited!
completion exploited!

Finally one of my Completion setups paid off!  This will be useful for driving roads rapidly through my frenemies' heartlands.  I also complete a Speeder prototype.  Prototypes are very expensive in my mod, so when to go through the effort of completing them, is a bit of a decision.  A Skunkworks won't be available until I learn Optical Computers and it's an expensive facility, as much as a Research Hospital.  Completion Exploits are one of the tried and true ways of getting a prototype done.  Another way is sometimes a predefined unit will become available 1 tech after the current tech.  That doesn't happen to be true for a Speeder chassis though.  One would be waiting all the way until C4 Nonlinear Mathematics to get a Cloaked Recon Rover predefined unit.  In my case, that means I'd never get it.

My mod also doesn't do Rover Probe Teams by default, you have to design them yourself.  Instead, all the default probe teams are armored.  They move slowly, but also surely.  Especially in the case of the Data Angels with their +2 PROBE, they have a big Morale bonus that will keep them from being easily killed.  Foil Probe Teams also come with Synthmetal armor on them, at not much additional cost compared to "bare" units.  In the early game, enemy ships tend to just sacrifice themselves trying to take them out, bouncing against the armor.

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2020, 12:30:22 AM »
Angel wedge
Angel wedge

MY 2157.  I establish my next Old Earth style exploitation.  If the AIs were only historically literate, they'd have an idea what I had in store for them!  My capitol island is unlikely to provide me any economy, as I simply won't develop it until I know where the center of my empire is really going to be.  But at least I have the +1 SUPPORT to make moving units to my new holdings pretty easy.

feisty Deirdre
feisty Deirdre

MY 2161.  The north holds nothing of value.  However, I've run into one of Deirdre's mindworms.  Ordinarily I'd blow off her threats and kill her, but I'm determined to pursue this "amoebic" strategy.  I need to see what her disposition is, before deciding how to infiltrate her.  For now the peace shall be kept.  However I'm realizing I can't please the Free Drones and the Gaians at the same time.  Meanwhile, neither the Free Drones nor the Data Angels like me as much as they used to.  The Gaians have the Cybernetic Consciousness comm frequency, but they won't sell it to me.

well bleh
well bleh

MY 2162.  The Data Angels tell me to take a hike!  And here I am with cities exposed to their depredations.  This is going to me more work than I expected.  I don't even have C2 Planetary Networks yet, no probe teams to defend myself with.  I might have to really snivel.

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2020, 01:02:37 AM »
still useful idiot
still useful idiot

I sell Deidre's comm frequency to Domai.  Hopefully this will get them into a war eventually, but I don't think either has learned Socialist or Green yet.  In the short term, it gets me a map.  Turns out there's lots of "Deirdre stuff" north of me.  It was just invisible to my initial shore surveys.  My island is more central than I expected.  I will dutifully colonize into the middle of them, just like I'm doing with the Data Angels.  And just as dangerous to me, if I had the temerity to go Capitalist.  I might be having to play it Deidre's way.

tech friends
tech friends

MY 2164.  I encounter Aki Zeta5 wandering around in Deirdre's territory.  She's friendly, and even signs a Pact with me.  She has the C2 Planetary Networks I need!  I try to ask her about it, but thinking me primitive, she gifts me with B2 Ethical Calculus.  Well I guess I can wait a little on the probe team defenses.  For now I'll make some Democratic money.  I suppose I could please Domai and Deidre at the same time, if I stuck to Simple economics.  I'm now at +2 ECONOMY, so it could work.

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2020, 01:19:38 AM »
small places of Europe
small places of Europe

MY 2168.  The Gaian tendril shall be named after principalities, not colonies.  The postage stamp countries!

look who's in the bush
look who's in the bush

Cha Dawn isn't useful, but in my mod he pursues Eudaimonia, so he'll probably be non-conflictual for awhile.  The one I'm going to have a problem with, is the Believers.  No evidence of them yet.  Maybe they vanished in a puff of faith?

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2020, 01:34:02 AM »
fungal inroads
fungal inroads

Aki Zeta5 keeps giving me tech, and avoiding giving me C2 Planetary Networks.  She handed me E2 Centauri Empathy.  I think it's rational to go Green.  I can butter up Deidre as an ally, and make inroads into Domai's territory through conquest.

here she is Ms. America
here she is Ms. America

How well could I reasonably expect this to go?  Surprisingly, I got a Treaty and Lasers out of it.  She's Seething.  Won't talk to her again for awhile!

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2020, 01:49:29 AM »
linkage
linkage

MY 2170.  Well I was right after all.  Not that much competition for Build techs.  I can probably get the Weather Paradigm done before anyone else.  Fungicidal Tanks will also be immediately useful in my new settlements.

fickle frenemy
fickle frenemy

I go looking to sell my commlink frequencies to my allies, before contemplating a run at the Governorship.  I'll wait until all my colonies are settled.  Surprisingly, Roze wants to be an ally again.  She also sells me the sorely needed C2 Planetary Networks.  I'm probe team capable now.  Of course I'm too busy right now to build any, moving all my Artifacts to one spot to get the Weather Paradigm started and completed quickly.  Secret Projects are expensive in my mod, and this one is a 400 minerals project.

the New Riviera
the New Riviera

Morgan Industries turns out to be more centrally located than I expected.  Still not sure it's optimal.


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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2020, 01:57:44 AM »
thickest slate evah!
thickest slate evah!

MY 2171.  Deidre calls an election and surprisingly, votes for me.  Guess that Green decision paid off!  I've never seen a 4-way election before.

be my cheese
be my cheese

This is not going to be that easy of a position to hold onto.  I need to grow and consolidate what I've got.

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2020, 02:27:14 AM »
Domai blows me off
Domai blows me off

MY 2175.  He wanted money.  Does he think I'm made of money??  I've got a Weather Paradigm to rush.

like so
like so

This will take all my Artifacts, but it's gonna work!  Land bridge begins next year.

bridge over the river why
bridge over the river why

MY 2176.  Slight fib, building "a" land bridge this year instead of "the" bridge, but it'll all get done soon enough.

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2020, 03:32:06 AM »
shakedown
shakedown

MY 2184.  I really don't want my Transports sunk.  They're out doing important Artifact scooping work.  I suppose I am rich.  Ordinarily I would never tolerate this kind of guff from any faction, but I have my strategy to implement.

I don't know why she swallowed the fly
I don't know why she swallowed the fly

MY 2185.  She was useful while she lasted.

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Re: The Tlaxcalan Hegemony - SMACX AI Growth mod version 1.46
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2020, 03:43:08 AM »
eat it Cyborgs
eat it Cyborgs

MY 2188.  I complete the Planetary Datalinks, which the Cyborgs were working on.  Unfortunately they just switch to the Merchant Exchange, which I was also working on.  Possibly I can make money faster than them, and complete them both.  In which case they'll just switch to the Virtual World.

no such luck
no such luck

MY 2189.  They complete it and start working on the Planetary Transit System.  They're doing well!  I thought the Planetary Datalinks was more important though.

 

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SMAC v.4 SMAX v.2 (or previous versions)
-=-
19 (7%)
XP Compatibility patch
-=-
9 (3%)
Gog version for Windows
-=-
78 (29%)
Scient (unofficial) patch
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30 (11%)
Kyrub's latest patch
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14 (5%)
Yitzi's latest patch
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86 (32%)
AC for Mac
-=-
2 (0%)
AC for Linux
-=-
5 (1%)
Gog version for Mac
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10 (3%)
No patch
-=-
13 (4%)
Total Members Voted: 266
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* Random quote

The Academician's private residences shall remain off-limits to the Genetic Inspectors. We possess no retroviral capability, we are not researching retroviral engineering, and we shall not allow this Council to violate faction privileges in the name of this ridiculous witch hunt!
~Fedor Petrov (Vice Provost for University Affairs)

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