New alphax variables in Yitzi's patch

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One of the primary features added in the various versions of Yitzi's patch is a collection of new features that can be modified through the alphax.txt file. The new options are as follows:

1. Many existing variables have a greatly increased range of acceptable values.
2. There is a "Drone rules code" setting (first working in version 2.1), allowing the rules controlling drones and talents to be tweaked:
  • A value of 32 means that Lal's bonus talents are multiplied by facilities in the same manner that Psych is, allowing these bonus talents to be powerful even once talents are fairly "cheap" due to multiplier facilities.
  • A value of 16 means that the University's bonus drones and conquest-based drones can create "superdrones", making the University significantly harder to play on higher difficulty levels (or when using a substantial number of specialists) and increasing the value of Police State when warmongering (or digesting recent conquests) in such cases.
  • A value of 8 implements a number of changes meant to limit drone control to the methods designed for it (making all factions harder on higher difficulty levels, though the Peacekeepers and Hive less than most): Firstly, if drones are turned into specialists with no talents in the base, other drones will be turned into "superdrones" to compensate. If all non-specialists are "superdrones" and there are supposed to be even more drones than that, it will make "phantom drones" that will not appear but will offset new talents before superdrones do; "phantom drones" can be removed by offsetting them with talents, or via police/facilities/projects if there are no drones (regular drones or superdrones) remaining. If drones are reduced by facilities, and then added again by pacifism, each "phantom drone" will combine with a pacifism drone to make a superdrone. Thirdly, superdrones count double, and "phantom drones" once, when counting drones to determine whether there will be a golden age or drone riots. (It will thus be possible to have drone riots even in an all-specialist base.) Finally (as the flip side to "phantom drones"), it will be possible to have "phantom talents", allowing golden ages even in bases where specialists outnumber non-specialists.
  • A value of 4 means that the non-lethal methods special ability and punishment spheres will not work at -1 or lower POLICE rating.
  • A value of 2 means that drone-suppressing facilities and projects are less effective at suppressing "superdrones" than regular drones (effectively taking one point of drone control to turn the superdrone into a regular drone before using another point to remove it), and will suppress "phantom drones" first. Police are unaffected by this setting, and will control superdrones just as well as normal drones.
  • A value of 1 means that drone-suppressing facilities can suppress pacifism drones.
  • To use more than one rule, the values for the desired rules can be added to get the desired value for the setting.
3. Condensers can be set to give a fixed amount of nutrients (or none at all) rather than the current +50%.
4. It is now possible to set a combat bonus when attacking projectile armor with energy weapons or vice versa.
5. It is now possible to give the native player a PLANET bonus for combat calculations.
6. It is now possible to have the PLANET bonus to psi combat apply on defense as well.
7. The percentage penalty and exempt minerals when changing production can now be set separately in each of ten categories based on the types of production involved, as well as a separate category to be used (if better) when switching within a category with a skunkworks present.
8. There is an option to have a chosen technology allow crawlers to crawl all 3 resources inside the base radius, and another allow multiresource crawling even outside the base radius.
9. There is the option to have a technology double the effectiveness of the ECM and AAA defensive abilities.
10. The ecodamage formula is substantially more customizable. In particular, the following modding options exist:
  • The bonus ecological damage provided by condensers, boreholes, and echelon mirrors can be set (as a multiple of the damage caused by a normal unworked terraforming improvement.)
  • The borehole count per base can be set to be squared when calculating ecological damage; this allows heavy borehole use to be heavily penalized (at least until the availability of hybrid forests) without making lesser amounts of boreholes too problematic.
  • The bonus ecological damage provided by condensers, boreholes, and echelon mirrors can be set to not be affected by PLANET rating; this can be useful if ecological damage is to be a major balancing factor for these types of terraforming without giving "green" factions an overly high ability to use them.
  • The number of "clean minerals" at the beginning of the game, as well as those gained per fungal pop and per facility, can be modified. Note that as of patch version 2.0, the facility-based ones are dependent on facilities owned, not facilities built.
  • The number of "virtual minerals" caused per major atrocity or tectonic missile can be modified; in addition, the game can be set to count Planet Buster use instead of major atrocities (so the umpteenth use of nerve gas will not cause extra ecological damage, but using Planet Busters with the U.N. charter repealed will.) Note that if this is set to 0, atrocities and missiles will affect neither ecological damage nor native life aggressiveness.
  • Alternatively, fungal pops can be set to reduce the extra ecological damage caused by major atrocities (or Planet Busters with the appropriate mod) and Tectonic Missiles, but not create extra "clean minerals" of their own. Note that if this reduces the ecological damage down to 0, that faction will have a "clean slate" as far as Planet is concerned, and past atrocities/missiles will not increase native life aggressiveness.
  • The total minerals produced can be set to be divided by a fixed amount (rounded down) before being added to terraforming-based ecological damage; this allows the relative significance of minerals and terraforming to be tweaked.
  • Normally, ecological damage is proportional to (3-PLANET), with a maximum of 6 and minimum of 1. All three of these numbers can be changed.
  • Normally, ecological damage is proportional to techs known. This effect can be removed.
  • Normally, the last step in calculating ecological damage is dividing by 300; this divisor can be changed.
  • An extra amount of ecological damage per base can be added (or subtracted) after all other calculations are complete.
10. The formula for how many worms are spawned when ecological damage occurs can also now be customized.
  • Normally, there is one worm for every three fungal "pops" that have occurred for this faction (including the current pop). Both the numerator and denominator can be changed.
  • Instead of being proportional to the number of "pops", the number of worms can instead be proportional to the difference between the base's ecodamage chance and the minimum chance at which it would have had ecodamage this turn. (Thus, ecodamage affects not only the chance of a pop, but also its intensity). It is also possible to have contribution from both of these factors.
  • The result can also be made proportional by the number of techs known (it actually multiplies by techs known/120, in order to ensure that compensatory adjustments to the rest of the formula will be possible without being outside the allowed values).
  • Instead of having a single denominator, it is possible to have up to seven "costs" for worms, which will be applied randomly.
  • Normally, the number of worms cannot exceed the size of the base producing the ecodamage; this limitation can be disabled.
  • Normally, any "pop" that produces worms will produce a minimum of one in the "pop" square and one in each adjacent fungus square (with a reduced chance for isles and locusts). This minimum can be disabled.
11. The effects of the nearest base's ecological damage on the chance of capturing native life can be modified; the minimum ecological damage to reduce the chance and the minimum to completely prevent capture can both be customized, with values in between following a linear extrapolation regarding capture chance.
12. The cost of upgrading a unit can be modified. Not only can the cost per point of difference between the costs of the old and new weapon and armor values now be modified (and they need not be the same), and likewise for the upgrade cost per row of minerals cost by the new unit, but there can also be a portion of the upgrade cost proportional to the square of the cost of the new unit, and there can likewise be a discount for the cost of the old unit (either proportional to the row cost or proportional to its square, or some combination of the two.)
13. The energy credits gained as Planetpearls can be increased or decreased from its current value of 10 per lifecycle.
14. The extra speed gained by air units for each level of reactor can be modified, and can be different for needlejets (anything that has more than one turn of fuel and is not destroyed when attacking), copters (anything that has exactly one turn of fuel and is not destroyed when attacking, and therefore can attack more than once per turn), gravships (anything that requires no fuel and is not destroyed when attacking), and missiles (anything that is destroyed when attacking).
15. A penalty can be added to all resources brought in by crawlers.
16. There is the option to choose one of a number of formulae for calculating unit cost:
  • 0 is the default, as before the patch, but without adding 2*reactor to the chassis cost of air units and reactor to the chassis cost of sea units. As a variant, 16 is the same but does not add on cost for armored noncombat units.
  • 1 reduces the minimum weapon cost to armor cost/3, rounded up and to a maximum of 4 (note that weapon cost due to the actual weapon cost is not capped at 4; only the armor-dependent minimum is capped at 4), and instead of dividing by 2^(reactor+1) instead multiplies by (6-reactor)/20. In addition, the minimum cost for non-scout patrol units is reduced from 1.5Xreactor rounded up to reactor+1, and the cost reduction for infantry occurs after applying the minimum cost for reactor, and the total cost is capped at 250 rows. 17 is the variant of this, which again does not add cost for armored noncombat units.
  • 2 has a cost of (weapon cost+armor cost)*chassis cost/4. The variant is 18, which adds 33% extra to the cost to everything with a reactor greater than 1. In either case, none of the other modifiers apply. The result is rounded down, so if the chassis costs are low, it is possible to have a unit cost of 0; this will tend to result in crashes and/or freezes.
  • 3 is similar to 1, but instead of multiplying by (6-reactor)/20, divides by 4 for reactor 1 and by 3 for reactor greater than 1. The variant, which again does not add cost for armored noncombat units, is 19.
  • 4 is similar to 2, but instead of adding the weapon cost and armor cost, simply takes the higher of the two. The variant setting is 20, which again adds a 33% increase to the cost of higher reactors.
  • 5 and 6 are similar to 1 and 3 respectively, but the minimum weapon cost is armor-1 rather than armor/3. (This is still capped at 4.)
  • 7 currently acts the same as 0, and 23 likewise acts the same as 16, but these may be changed in the future.
  • For all formulae, adding 8 will instruct the game to add the reactor to the chassis cost of sea units, and the bonus speed gained based on reactor to the chassis cost of air units, as in the unpatched version of the game.
17. The game can be set to not recalculate base properties after growing or building; this prevents nasty surprises such as drone riots due to population growth or ecodamage due to building a production-enhancing facility.
18. By default, fungus squares never receive bonus resources from bonus resource squares or landmarks; this can now be changed to enable bonus resources in squares that would otherwise produce at least one of that resource.
19. There is greater control of what units produce pacifism drones under what circumstances. There are four entries, for units in your territory or in bases, units in a pact brother's territory, units in neutral territory or that of a faction with no pact and no vendetta, and units in the territory of a faction with vendetta. Each entry has 16 options, numbered 0 to 15:
  • 0.No units produce pacifism drones.
  • 1.Only air units with 2 or more attack produce pacifism drones; interceptors are exempt.
  • 2.Only air units with 2 or more attack produce pacifism drones; interceptors are not exempt.
  • 3.Air units produce pacifism drones, unless they are noncombat (i.e. have no attack) or scout units (i.e. those with 1 attack, 1 defense, and 1 reactor) or interceptors.
  • 4.Air units produce pacifism drones, unless they are noncombat (i.e. have no attack) or scout units (i.e. those with 1 attack, 1 defense, and 1 reactor).
  • 5.Only combat air units produce pacifism drones;interceptors are exempt.
  • 6.Only combat air units produce pacifism drones;interceptors are not exempt.
  • 7.Only units with 2 or more attack produce pacifism drones.
  • 8.Only unarmored units with 1 or 0 attack do not produce pacifism drones.
  • 9.Only noncombat units and scout units do not produce pacifism drones.
  • 10.Only unarmored noncombat units and scout units do not produce pacifism drones.
  • 11.Only noncombat units do not produce pacifism drones.
  • 12.Only unarmored noncombat units do not produce pacifism drones.
  • 13.All combat units, as well as probe teams, produce pacifism drones.
  • 14.All combat units and armored noncombat units, as well as unarmored probe teams, produce pacifism drones.
  • 15.All units produce pacifism drones.
20. There are several options to control how conventional missiles scale with reactor:
  • 1.No scaling; cost and power are as the values described in #WEAPONS.
  • 2.Power is multiplied by reactor; cost is unchanged.
  • 3.Power and weapon cost are both multiplied by reactor.
  • 4.Power is multiplied by 2^reactor; cost is unchanged.
  • 5.Power and weapon cost are both multiplied by 2^reactor.
  • 6.Power and weapon cost are both multiplied by 2^reactor, after which weapon cost is further increased by the (unmultiplied) power.
  • 7.Power is multiplied by 2^reactor; weapon cost is multiplied by reactor.
21. The maximum amount of minerals carried over when finishing an item can now be set independently of the amount of minerals exempt from retool penalties.
22. The game can now be set to allow a base to build more than one item in a single turn, if it has sufficient minerals. This applies to queued items, or to units or satellites with nothing in the queue (in which case the same item is simply built again), but does NOT apply to Stockpile Energy that is the result of finishing a project or facility with nothing in the queue. (Queuing Stockpile Energy will cause it to be "built" with any remaining minerals as normal.)
23. It is now possible to set the support divisor; support costs for a unit are then equal to the unit's cost (in rows) divided by the support divisor, rounded up, and doubled at -4 SUPPORT.
24. There is now the option to have enhanced information. This has three effects. Firstly, any unit being supported by minerals from its home base will display an appropriate message (from labels.txt) on the unit panel. Secondly, in the base screen after "SUPPORT", it will display how many more units the base can support for free. Thirdly, in the base screen after "PSYCH", it will display the total net psych value, that is talents (including phantom talents) minus drones (including phantom drones, and counting superdrones double.) Because this option does not affect gameplay and provides useful information, it is on by default, but can be disabled in alphax.txt.
25. The minerals gained by a new base, except at low SUPPORT levels, can be modded independently of retool exemptions.
26. The thresholds used to determine when hurry costs are doubled for a low amount of production completed can now be modded.
27. The number of talents granted by a Paradise Garden can now be modded, and can be set to either a fixed number or a proportion of population (similar to Lal's bonus talents.)
28. Certain techs give resistance to population loss from genetic warfare; this resistance can now be extended to protect military units as well.
29. Many changes from SMACSid Meier's Alpha Centauri to SMAXSid Meier's Alien Crossfire (Cross = X) can now be disabled. The various settings in the "expansion features code" are as follows:
  • A value of 1 will use the expansion intro movie; leaving it out will use the original. (By default, it is absent, so the original's movie will play.)
  • A value of 2 will use the expansion's graphics for the out-of-game main menu; without it, the original's graphics are used.
  • A value of 8 or 12 will use the expansion's faction selection screen, a value of 4 will use the original's screen but with expansion factions, and leaving all of these out will use the original faction selection screen with the original factions.
  • A value of 16 will allow native-owned spore launchers and sealurks to be created. Without it, only the original's mobile native life will appear, though in order to prevent player-built spore launchers and sealurks the #UNITS section must be modified to disable them.
  • A value of 32 will allow fungal towers to appear; without this, fungal towers are disabled.
  • A value of 64 will allow battle ogres to be found in pods. Note that progenitor factions' starting battle ogres are not affected by this.
  • A value of 128 enables the "Free Faction Leader" probe team action.
  • As in the case of drone rules, multiple values can be added together to get the desired value for the setting.
30. The Ascent to Transcendence now can be assigned a technology prerequisite in addition to requiring the Voice of Planet to have been built; this prerequisite is placed at the usual location for the prerequisite of a project.
31. The exchange rate of minerals to energy for stockpile energy can now be changed; it is equal to the cost listed for the Stockpile Energy item.
32. Each natural landmark under #NATURAL now has a third entry, determining whether it is created while creating a random map. By default (as before the patch), all are on with the exception of Nessus Canyon. Note that some landmarks, most notably the Freshwater Sea, may fail to be created even if active, depending on the map. Also, note that while automatic creation of Nessus Canyon can be turned on, it is not guaranteed to be created at high altitude, and is therefore highly likely to look far less impressive than intended.

There are also increased options for faction design:

1. The IMPUNITY and PENALTY abilities can be applied to social engineering values (e.g. PLANET) as well as social engineering choices (e.g. Free Market). If there are multiple IMPUNITY and/or PENALTY effects applicable to a given setting, each will apply to the base value (so, for instance, two IMPUNITY abilities will reverse negative effects, and an IMPUNITY and PENALTY will cancel each other out).
2 There is a new ability, IGNOREPREREQ, which allows technological prerequisites to be ignored. IGNOREPREREQ, UNITS3 will allow transport foils(the same unit given by UNIT, 3) to be built without needing the relevant tech, and similarly for something like IGNOREPREREQ, FACILITIES2. (Unlike the FACILITY ability, IGNOREPREREQ can be used for satellites and secret projects.) Non-technological prerequisites, such as needing to be next to water to build sea units, are unaffected.

See also