View Full Version : RBMoo SG1 - Oh the Humanity - Team A

Mar 04, 2003, 10:19 PM
Scenario Information:

Difficulty: Normal
Race: Humans
Galaxy: Large, 2-arm
Starlanes: Short, Few
Random Events: Normal
Specials: Average
Computer Players: 8
Combat and Turn timers: Off
Victory Conditions: All


Jaffa Tamarin


* The first player will play twenty turns to open the game. Thereafter, all players play exactly ten turns.

* Since games can only be saved at the beginning of a turn, all games will be saved on a turn ending in 1. So the team captain plays from T1 to T20, saving the game at the start of T21. Next player plays from T21 through T30, saving at the start of T31. Etc.

* Reports must include notice of any vital SitRep items from the last turn, as this info will not be preserved in the saved game. Important items include military encounters, tech breakthroughs, colonization notices, senate bills, unrest news, espionage news. The rest can be ignored.

Additional rules involving procedure are posted at RBMoo forum.

Additional teams will be playing also, in separate threads, although each team will have its own unique game to play, using the same scenario parameters.

In addition to playing the game here, I also intend to establish some conventions to use in standardizing the naming of ships and task forces, so that SG players can glean at least some accurate information about fleets and ships at a glance.

I'll post my report from the first turn next.

- Sirian

Mar 04, 2003, 11:22 PM
About senate membership: I originally intended to start in the senate. However, you have to customize your race to guarantee a senate start. When I generated a start, we did NOT start in the senate, but the situation looked too interesting to waste, so we're sticking with it.

Here's part of why this start looks interesting:

Turn 1: We get a splinter colony in our home system! We have two worlds!

My first activity is to pull up the Empire tab and change Regional Zoning to "Specialized". This will allow us to maximize effective use of our worlds and also set the viceroys to try to do the same, for any regions we leave blank for them to plan. This efficiency comes at the cost of increasing interdependency between worlds, vulnerability to blockades, and need for player attention to empire-wide supply and demand, but we're going to try that out in this game. Future games or other teams in this SG might try another approach.

Next I zoom our homeworld, Balren 7, and assign four new DEA's to the economic plan. Three mining zones and one industrial zone have been requested by Imperial leadership (me).

Next I survey our home system. There are seven planets. To my complete astonishment, four of these are in our habilitability range! I have never seen such a thing. We have our homeworld, the splinter colony, and there are also two uncontrolled sweet spot planets, besides these two. What a bonanza!

Because of this, I decide that our first construction projects should be two system colony ships. They are cheaper than colony starships, because they don't need warp drives. We'll grab these two worlds in the home system before my round ends! So I make applicable changes to our military build queue (MBQ).

Now it's time to take a look around the interstellar neighborhood. We have three starlanes leading out of our home system. A red star 4 to the northeast, a gold star 3 to the south, a red star 3 to the southwest. I send the colony ship to the gold star, which is most likely to have a hospitable world.

That completes the first turn.

Turn 2: It is time to plan the economy for the splinter colony. This world is mineral poor and somewhat hardscrabble. I elect to assign all the DEA's:

2 Farming (the one fertile region)
2 Industry
2 Mining (in the mountains, of course)
6 Research
1 Government
1 Recreation

Homeworld has no unrest reduction DEA's, but DEA effects do overlap and accumulate, so I will probably assign a second recreation DEA to one of the two unsettled worlds. I will also slip one or two military DEA's in there. If we end up with more unrest reduction than we really need, we can later raise taxes only in this system and thus get full use of the happiness surplus, if any.

The local mining is in a mountainous region, and is intended to fuel the local industry, which is needed to construct all the other DEA's, their eventual improvements, planetary defenses and add-ons. The research emphasis is to try to use our faster research to get a jump on the competition. We have another mineral poor world in the system as well, which will also not be worth mining, and without mines, industry won't function. That leaves farming and research, and if the land isn't fertile enough to farm, research makes a good "fall back". That fits nicely with our racial strengths of economy, research and spying. The sooner we research improvements like hydroponic farms, deep mining, spying upgrades and economic support, the more we can make of our empire. Lacking a rich world as yet for heavy mining, heavy industry (for more shipbuilding) is out of reach. At least by setting up these research facilities in the home system, they will be secure, and we'll have wiggle room with other systems to emphasize mining and industry later.

I leave migration turned off for the moment, to let homeworld build its base pop a little higher. I'll turn it on, to increase the population at Balren 1, in a few turns.

Turn 3: An industry DEA completes on homeworld.

Turn 4: A mining DEA completes on homeworld. Our colony ship and one of our scouts arrive at their destinations.

Turns out the gold star (where I sent the colony ship) has only hostile worlds, while there's a very rich, small G2 planet in the red system.

OK, convention time. Planetary classifications:

Par - Paradise - Perfect conditions
SS - Sweet Spot - just like homeworld
G1 - Green 1 - highly desirable
G2 - Green 2 - habitable
Y1 - Yellow 1 - requires life support, farming possible
Y2 - Yellow 2 - requires life support, farming not possible
R1 - Red 1 - hostile planet, but within terraforming range
R2 - Red 2 - covers everything else, extremely hostile worlds.

G+ - Refers to worlds of Green 2 or better - habitable.
F+ - Refers to worlds of Yellow 1 or better - farmable.
Y+ - Refers to worlds of Yellow 2 or better - inert/habitable.
X - (Skull and crossbones) Refers to red zone worlds - all hostile.

Note, some R2 may be way WAY out of our habitable range. Note the big sea of dark red surrounding the brighter colors in the Environment panel, on the planet control screen. Different races have different habitability ranges, so these worlds might be good for friends, allies, or magnate citizens, but would only be useful to us after about TL30, when we have multiple terraforming advances. Y1's are farmable, so if they meet other conditions (gravity in the right range, rich minerals, fertile lands) they might be worth grabbing, probably with an outpost and migration.

OK so where was I? We've spotted a G2 at the red star. It's a rich world! We'll have mining! I send the colony ship over there, it will arrive in two turns via a convenient shortcut lane and take one turn after that to settle. Also, a rescued leader special was found.

Turn 5: Another mining DEA completes on homeworld. NE red star explored, no G+ worlds. As shown in the SitRep, we also discovered a weapon tech here. There's been an incident on the splinter colony which affects mining output. No mines are operating yet, but I wonder how long this event lasts?

Turn 6: Industry DEA completes on homeworld. I increase the Military slider for the first time, emphasizing production on our system colony ships, as the last unfinished DEA on homeworld is due next turn, and does not need the entire budget.

Turn 7: We locate a colony of Darloks. Their world is red to us, but that may be a good thing. Our homeworld now has all of its DEA's constructed. Spending on colony ship production increased.

Note that our colony ship has settled the rich G2. I turn on migration for the first time, to both the G2 and the splinter colony.

Turn 8: No significant activity. Here's a shot of our rescued leader, a Eoladi spying expert with ties to the Darloks.

Turn 9: Our southern scout encounters an Ithkul scout! They actually attack our scout vessel!

To Be Continued...

Mar 05, 2003, 12:39 AM
Turn 9: Our southern scout encounters an Ithkul scout. They actually attack us! I opt not to retreat, as I want to scout this system, not be forced to turn back. The scouts fight to a draw.

This is in a system next door to the Darlok system. Could... be... interesting...

The system itself has two Y1 worlds. Normally, these would be ignored, but one of them is very rich. That may be worth pursuing, once we've grabbed all the nearby G+

The gravity at the rich Y1 is "High", which is in the yellow range for us. That's not good. Gravity is a MAJOR factor affecting DEA efficiency. Gravity in the yellow range means only "major" loss of efficiency/production. Gravity in the red range for your race is "truly crippling" -- not enough to chase you away from G+, but certainly should be accounted for in evaluating colonial priorities. Another key factor, of course, is strategic location, and this system (Talitha) looks to be a strategic location perhaps halfway between our home system and an Ithkul home system. If you follow me. We might want to consider setting a blockade fleet here to prevent any of their colony ships from moving past this point. Too early to tell yet, but something to ponder, as this decision may need to be made before my next turn comes around. (MOO3 games move faster in the early going than the typical Civ3 game, or even MOO1/MOO2 games).

So, after finding five G+ in the first two systems, we've found none in the next four. Only this rich Y1 and the Darlok magnate world appear desirable enough to pursue.

Turn 10: A second leader joins our cause!

Also note that the first colony system ship was produced, and we'll settle the better of the two SS worlds remaining in the home system. (Better as defined by green gravity range and average minerals, vs low gravity - yellow range - and poor minerals on the other one).

Here's our new Meklar pal:

He's not the most effective leader I've seen, might even be hurting us short term, but I don't know that we want to reject him. At the very least, he provides a second target for assassins, which may spare the life of our more valuable Eoladi hireling.

Speaking of assassins, I order up a Political Spy to help protect the life of our two leaders if/when we establish official channels with the Ithkul.

Turns 11-13: The first few DEA's complete at the splinter colony in our home system. I take the time to obsolete most of our ship designs, replacing a few of them with new ones. Let's talk about ship designs a bit.

First, here's our new troop ship design.

Now, perhaps you look at that and wonder what I'm smoking. An expensive Light Cruiser just for troop transport?? However, each troop pod carries only four units. You don't invade with single divisions and expect to win vs all but the newest, smallest colonies. Troops are easy to train. (Just go in and compare the cost of even a small starship to the cost of a TEN PACK of infantry or even marines. You'll see what I mean). So... rather than build four small troop ships to carry four divisions, at a total cost of 1900AU, I've designed this single, larger ship, which costs less than 1200AU and can transport a whole Corps. Thus, we save 700AU on the cost of being able to transport up to 16 gropos, money which can be used to do other things. The only thing we don't have is the flexibility to send a single division, but I don't expect to do much of that. When it comes to troops, they are so cheap, it's better to send too many than too few. In fact, I'm going to queue up a couple batches of infantry at the splinter colony (10packs) so that they will be hanging around training, gaining experience, and we'll have them ready to go on short notice if we want to take over someone's colony. It's not like we're going to make friends with the Ithkul.

Convention Time:

When it comes to naming ship designs, I believe the most indispensible information is the warp speed. Starship engines come in various levels, with Retro Engines being Warp 1. Nuclear Engines are Warp 2, Sub-Light Drives are Warp 3. We need a reference list of the engine names and their speeds, because the game only shows the names.

EVERY ship design ought to have its warp speed number in the design name. This allows any player to identify at a glance the speed of any design, including designs made by others, so as to be able to group ships of like speeds. You don't want a sluggish design bringing a speedy task force to a crawl. The fleet moves only as fast as the slowest ship.

No other information is as vital as the warp speed. Sucky ships and obsolete designs may still have SOME value, when grouped with the right partners. They have NEGATIVE value if they bring modern TF's to a crawl.

So the number one naming convention for ship designs is to always put the warp number in the design name, and to use numbers ONLY to identify warp speeds.

Note the name of my transport ship design: Corps Trans1. This is a sterile sounding name. If they ever give us more characters to make longer names, we can improve on this, but even then the conventions remain the same. The design name should provide as much vital info about the function of the ship as possible. In this case, the ship is designed to transport a Corps size ground unit, and it has warp one engines. You get all that info in the name, at a glance, if you know how to read the convention.

If I were to design another similar transport, still with warp one engines, I should NOT name it Corps Trans2. That would indicate a warp two speed vessel, and that's not correct. So it would be named Corps Trans1A, to differentiate it from the older design.

What do you put in the name? Depends on the design and its intended use. That will be up to each designer, but for SG play at least, ship names need to convey information and reminders, so players can work together effectively. Save your flashier, role playing ship names for non-SG play.

Now here's a new scout design:

I've replaced the laser with a fighter squadron. This reduces the cost of the vessel (cheaper scouts are better scouts), while the ship may see more use long term (if scouting duties are finished) as a warp one picket offering fighter support to fleets.

NOTE: because of piracy, you never want to scrap old starships. Obsolete fleets make for great service to the empire in backwater or frontier worlds to combat piracy with permanent starship garrisons. Piracy often causes a lot of unrest on new and especially newly captured worlds, especially later in the game when population increases from heavier migration outstrip production of DEA's and facilities that combat piracy or unrest.

There's good blurb in the MOO3 readme about piracy that everyone should read.

As for the name of this design, "Ftr Recon 1" indicates that this ship carries fighters as its weapon, its mission is recon (picket is another good word for this function), and its speed is warp 1.

This IS the current scout design, so build these (they're cheap) if you want extra scouting or some cheap escort units for a possible blockade vs the Ithkul.

Finally, I designed a frigate-class carrier with more fighter squadrons, and especially with fighters that do more damage (so they aren't obsoleted as much by the advent of shield techs). This small vessel replaces the Eagle Attack as our early combat starship of choice. Again, even after its lifespan has come and gone, any of these we build can run light piracy duty, so don't be afraid to build a few IF the Ithkul give us reason to want or need some space superiority, short term.

Note the name. MiniCarrier indicates that this is a small ship, as compared to "Carrier" or "Car", which will tend to be used for our largest class super carriers of the day. And of course, the warp speed is shown in all my design names.

Humans with our research bonus and my early focus on research in our home system, should reach new ship techs faster than usual, so we may end up redesigning these vessels before we field very many of them. Don't worry about that. As far as I know, there's no limit to the number of old designs we can have. If a new tech can give us an edge, go ahead and try to get it into play faster. Just stick to the ship-naming convention, and remember to obsolete any old designs you replace, so they stop being built.

I currently have no system ship designs in place. Next player or two may want or need to change that, but at this point we can only build ships off the homeworld anyway, so I took system design all out of circulation, to have colonies focus on bases or shipyard upgrades, or gropos.

Turn 14: Our scout locates an Ithkul outpost.

Turn 15: We encounter the homeworld of a new race, at Thok, the orange star north of Rotan. Their system ships chased our scout away. We had to retreat, without making contact. This is in the opposite direction from our encounters with the harvesters.

Turn 16: The fourth good planet in our home system has been settled. Both it and the Splinter colony are Mineral Poor, so I have set them up to be research planets (mainly). This new colony is low gravity, but it has lots of fertile regions, so I set it to do a good bit of farming. Since we are strongest on research and on spying, I believe we should focus some on these strengths.

I decided to set up the DEA's for all five of our worlds.

Here's the arrangement for Balren 5 (std gravity):

2 Farming (Alluvial mtns)
2 Industry
4 Mining (mountains, average minerals)
1 Military
1 Government
2 Research (these are in Arable plains, could be replaced with farms if needed -- depends on whether we find other fertile worlds to farm)

Here's what I did for Balren 4 (poor gravity):

4 Farming (all Alluvial mtns)
1 Industry
1 Recreation
1 Government
5 Research

With poor gravity and poor minerals, mining would be a waste.

Nitzer 7 (std gravity, very rich minerals):

6 Mining (4 mtns, 2 mixed)
2 Industry
1 Government
1 Military

Obviously, this world is vulnerable to blockades at the moment.

Turn 17: We have located the Ithkul homeworld. It's at Saak, the red star south of Corona. Also, one of their scouts is coming toward our homeworld.

Turn 18: I've built a new ship: "Ftr Recon 1". This is a scout vessel.

Turn 19: That Ithkul scout blockades our only colony outside the homeworld, Nitzer 7.

Turn 20: The Ithkul ship has moved on. I built another new scout.

OK, the first MOO3 SG turn is in the books. :)

Galaxy map and final thoughts up next.

Mar 05, 2003, 12:53 AM
Pink Dot: our home system.
Green Dot: Ithkul home system, 6 lanes away.
Light Blue Dot: Home system of unknown race, 4 lanes away.
Yellow Dot: halfway point to the Ithkul system, contains two Y1, including one very rich with our favored gravity.

The two systems between home and yellow dot contain our mining colony and the Darlok Magnate world. I have two scouts flying east to investigate rimward.

After the biggest bonanza start I've yet seen, with a splinter colony, four G+ worlds, all in the home system, and a G2 very rich fav grav next door, we have not found a single G+ since. Not one. At best, an X magnate and a couple of F+

So what looked like a great start has turned into the most barren, infertile, inhospitable start I've yet seen! If we don't turn up some G+ to the east, we're in dire straits.

I love it! :)

Oh, and of course not being in the senate increases our risks of losing by senate vote. We'll want to make friends with somebody in the senate and try to get in. We need contacts to take advantage of our spying abilities.

Next player or two need to focus on scouting, on colonizing any G+ we find, on sending colonies or outposts to the magnate civ and the rich Y1, training spies, and setting up a blockade of the Ithkul at Yellow dot. Other than that, not enough intel yet to make plans, so have fun forging our destiny. :)


Jaffa Tamarin << UP NOW
Jester <<<<<< On Deck

RBMoo1 - Team A - T21 (

- Sirian

Mar 05, 2003, 10:56 AM
A possible good solution to the barrenness of your start: Colonize the darlok magnate immediately. They like large worlds that will be Red to you, and apparently breed like rabbits. Plus it will give you a big pop boost immediately for a possible high-production world similar to your homeworld. 4 colony ships are expensive, but it's probably worth it, especially since there's nothing else around nearby to colonize... :)

EDIT: You'll probably need some blockaders first to cordon off some space for your empire...

Another point, it's going to be a long while before you have a significant amount of pop at your mineral rich world. Your pop is going to be much more interested in migrating to nicer in-system worlds than it is going to be interested in migrating to a yellow planet outside the system, compounded by the fact that there are several insystem worlds to migrate to. Minerals are probably going to be a problem for a good while.

Jaffa Tamarin
Mar 05, 2003, 12:25 PM
How does one get elected into the senate if you start outside it?

My first game, playing the Sakkra in a large 2-arm spiral, ended around turn 200 when some unidentified other race was voted to senate president. 200 turns isn't a lot of time to make much impact playing a "we don't need no stinkin senate, let's just go out and conquer the galaxy" strategy, so I think getting elected into the senate is the best option.

Also, warp speed governs time between stars, and system speed is the speed ships move in combat, right? I think it's at least (if not more) important to have ships grouped with the same system speed, for maximum combat manoeuverability, and not care so much if they take a bit longer to reach the target system because one of them has a slightly substandard warp engine. Especially since they all get free instantaneous travel to mobilization centers.

Also also, will get it when I get home from work today.

Mar 05, 2003, 12:30 PM
Ack! Your start sounds ridiculous- I'm working on my first game, and so far, at 20 turns in, I have yet to

a) see a single leader offer to join

b) find one world above "average" mineral status

c) find one world at or above"hard scrabble" environment besides my home world

d) find one world in the "green" range outside of my home system

e) get a splinter colony

I have explored 6 systems beyond my home system, not one of them had a planet that was a) worth a damn either in minerals or in farm production, or b) was in the green for habitating.

Your start, on the other hand, sounds incredible- are you running any mods in your game? I'm just stunned because I felt the start-up in MOO3 was obnoxiously slow, and now I'm seeing your starting options so far beyond mine that it seems beyond the likelyhood of the RNG. I'm curious whether you would consider what I'm seeing more typical of a MOO3 game, or what you're seeing more common?


Mar 05, 2003, 02:41 PM
No, you just got a bad start. :) I've seen as good/better starts as this before in MOO3.

Mar 05, 2003, 02:42 PM
Jaffa: If you don't start in the senate, you CAN be voted into the Senate if you become buddy/buddy with someone currently on the senate. (in other words, kick your enemies off, bring your friends on)

Ikarus: Sirian start was extremely good. Your start sounds extremely poor. So a 'typical' start is somewhere in the middle. And no, there aren't any mods being used.

Good luck in your game. :)

Mar 05, 2003, 02:52 PM
Edit: Trying to remove double post ;)

Mar 05, 2003, 04:13 PM
How does one get elected into the senate if you start outside it?

What Brackard said. :) I don't know exactly how that goes, but we do have to make very nice nice with a senate member, to get them to nominate us over and over. We may have to make nice with a second member to get them to second the vote, and we may (or may not) have to wait until the members can outvote the NO's, which could be dangerous.

Turn 200 is NOT a lot of time, I agree. If there are bugs or gasbags, we may have to move quickly. If not, or if there are TWO of these that can balance vs one another, we may have more time. To lose an early senate vote, one race has to jump out in front of the others, as I did playing Klackons.

My first game, playing the Sakkra in a large 2-arm spiral, ended around turn 200 when some unidentified other race was voted to senate president. 200 turns isn't a lot of time to make much impact playing a "we don't need no stinkin senate, let's just go out and conquer the galaxy" strategy, so I think getting elected into the senate is the best option.

At the very least, getting into the senate would allow us to keep track of the voting and gather intel on our rivals. If someone gets close to victory, we could try to go after them or line others up against them.

Also, warp speed governs time between stars, and system speed is the speed ships move in combat, right? I think it's at least (if not more) important to have ships grouped with the same system speed, for maximum combat manoeuverability, and not care so much if they take a bit longer to reach the target system because one of them has a slightly substandard warp engine. Especially since they all get free instantaneous travel to mobilization centers.

Upgrades to both engine types will tend to go hand in hand. Only two cases where you'd see warp engines upgrading without system engines also upgrading:

1) If your system engine tech options have a "gap", where the choices given to you this game are missing several consecutive engine classes, you may be stuck with one engine type across a couple of warp drive advances.

2) If you redesign your ships often, may have different versions of the same warp engine number, with early versions having a slower system drive than later versions.

In case one, JT, your point would not matter, because all the ships in that window of no-system-drive upgrades would have the same system drives, different warp drives. In case two, the difference in system drive speed would probably be minor, and there would be information in the design names to differentiate the early designs from the later ones (eg: "HvyCarrier5" vs "HvyCarrier5A" - you'd see that the A group would be the ones with the faster system drives, so you'd still be able to group them by system drive if you wanted).

There's one other case, and that's point one above in reverse: if you get a gap in your warp engine speeds that lasts a while, but system drives continue to improve, you'd have a long period of time where ALL your ships would be stuck at that one warp level. This is the only case where you'd see a wide gap in system drives (over time) while having the same warp speed. In this case, again, using a secondary indication for "batches" of designs (HvyCarrier5, HvyCarrier5A, HvyCarrier5B, HvyCarrier5C, etc) would still show the later designs vs the earlier ones, and they could be grouped accordingly.

The importance of combat maneuverability of capital ships is not yet clear. Most fighting takes place before ships close to gun range, with packs of fighters and missiles, with the guns mainly used to shoot down incoming enemy fighters and missiles. There can be exceptions to this principle, but if you have overwhelming fleet strength vs the target, then the maneuverability won't matter at all in these cases. While warp speed will almost always matter, since whole turns can be "lost" to the fleet if being a warp speed or two (or more) slower gets them to a destination one turn later. If we end up fighting senate members to stop them from being able to win a vote, fleet turns could be important.

And again, there should still be info in the design names to convey additional information about designs. Designs should mostly be done in groups, making a whole new fleet design when enough upgrades have come in to warrant it, and obsoleting the previous batch of designs in one move, rather than adding designs piecemeal every few turns. Most of the time, the system engine speeds and the warp drives will both be upgraded.

- Sirian

Mar 05, 2003, 04:25 PM
Ikarius: in my experience, MOO3 seems to average about three green worlds for every four systems, or about .75 G+ for each system. This MAY vary for some races, I don't know.

I've had a start where there was my homeworld, and only one other green world in the first eight systems I explored. There turned out to be a goodly number of green worlds beyond this "barren patch" though.

Finding five G+ in the first three systems is way above that curve, but then we didn't find any more, so this start is averaging out to what I see normally.

Sounds like you just got a dud start.

Zed: our mineral rich world is a G2g. The one at yellow dot is a Y1g, that's a second rich world. We're OK on minerals for the level of industry I ordered up in DEA's planned so far. I'm more worried about food! We may end up settling a number of yellow worlds just to claim systems, and none of these will be able to feed themselves. Most won't be able to grow anything at all.

The Darloks may indeed help out. And since they make good spies, they are a nice magnate for us to have on hand.

As for stock humans being the weakest race in the game... that remains to be seen. They aren't the strongest, that's for sure: those high pop races seem strongest to me, so far.

- Sirian

Jaffa Tamarin
Mar 05, 2003, 10:39 PM

First executive decision of the incoming supreme lord and absolute ruler of the RBMoo empire. We become a democracy. Some citizens might question how a democracy can have a supreme lord and absolute ruler, but those citizens are rounded up and summarily executed.

(Sirian didn't say anything about government type, so I'm guessing he left us on the default -- parliamentary -- by default and not by design. I was looking for a government type with a bonus to research, so we could play our research advantage to the max, but none of the representative governments offer a research bonus. Or maybe they do, but it's not mentioned in the skimpy one-line description of the in-game effects.)

Second executive decision. To boost early-game expansion, I put all of our discretionary imperial spending into planetary grants.

Third, I set up an "All Planets" development plan. Research primary, manufacture secondary, morale tertiary (I want unrest reduction -- not sure if this should be morale or recreation or military). I don't know how much attention the viceroys pay to the "All Planets" plan, but it can't hurt. I hope :)

Not much else to do. The economics screen claims Balren VII is running at a loss, so I reduce the military budget a tad.

Inter-turn. At Tegmen, our scout finds a planet belonging to the Kraakta empire which we blockade (since we're not given the option to just fly peacefully by :P )


Balren I builds Hydroponic Farms. Balren V builds Industry DEA.

Tegmen has three planets. Tegmen II is already claimed by the Kraakta (insects). The other two are both R2 and of little interest.

Our scout continues west.


Our people protest against Titanium. Maybe they don't like the color? Anyway, it slows our research by eight turns. Balren I builds Research DEA.

The economics screen still claims Balren VII is running at a loss, but the bank balance is increasing each turn. Go figure. I increase the military budget a tad :)

I randomly look at the budget screen, and find we have a deficit in the imperial treasury. Umm. Oops? Why wasn't I told about that?


Protests against Titanium continue. Far more reasonably, the people also protest development of Armor Penetrating Fighter Mass Driver. Bio DEA completes on Balren V, Mining DEA on Nitzer VII. Scout arrives at Tewaz.

Tewaz IV is G2 (high gravity) with a pharmacopoeia special (which is one of the good ones, iirc). Tewaz I-III are all red.


New spy (Spectre) trained. Colony ship constructed and dispatched towards the magnates on Cebalrai V. Scout explores Nagar. Some stuff was built, but I'm not going to keep listing everything :)

Nagar has one R2 planet.


Scouts arrive at Fahd and Karaken.

Fahd has one planet, but it's G2 with moderate (green) gravity. And it has Rare Aphrodisiac and Ancient Battle Damage specials. It also has a wormhole, leading west.

Karaken has:

Karaken I: Y1, toxic, low gravity, no specials.

Karaken II: G1, moderate gravity, Thriving Ecosystem (but is barren!) and Eccentric Orbit (no idea what that does). Very poor minerals.

Karaken III: R2, toxic, low gravity, no specials.

Karaken IV: G1, moderate gravity, Elerian Labor and Stratosphere Ring (ditto). Poor minerals, subsistence fertility.

Karaken V: G2, low gravity, no specials. Poor and barren.


Scouts arrive at Tyr and Mu Aquilae.

Mu Aquilae is at the end of the wormhole. Four planets, all red, but Mu Aquilae IV has Rare Metals and Rare Gems.

Tyr has eight planets. Tyr I is sweet spot, with Rare Aphrodisiac. Tyr VI is G2, others are varying shades of yellow and red. Tyr also has a wormhole.


Protests against Continuous Laser. Scout arrives at Seki (at the end of the Tyr wormhole).

Seki has six planets, two of which are G2. Seki IV is the more interesting, with rich minerals and subsistence fertility.


New technology -- Titanium, Armor Penetrating Fighter Mass Driver, and Armor Penetrating Laser. Titanium and APFMD both had positive overrun. Yay!

I'm not quite sure what happened to the nine-turn delay on Titanium that happened five turns ago.


New spy (Mikal) trained. Colony ship lands at Cebalrai V. Laser Miniaturization I complete. Colony established at Tilimas I. Colony established at Tilimas IV. Colony established at Laan II.

Ummm. What??

Okay. We just found three Splinter Colony specials!!! [party]

Tilimas I is G2, low gravity, Splinter Colony and Thriving Ecosystem. It claims to be barren, but the Thriving Ecosystem special is in an arable plains area. I assign Bio DEAs to take advantage of the special, and one military DEA. There's an industry DEA already in progress. I leave the other two regions blank for the viceroy or later rulers to fill in.

Tilimas IV is G1, low gravity, Splinter Colony and Random Technology. It gets Mining DEAs in all the mountain areas, and a Government DEA. One blank region.

Tilimas has three more planets, one of which (III) has a Silicoid Labor special.

Laan II is G2, low gravity, Splinter Colony and Hostile Flora. Bio DEAs allocated to arable plains, Mining in the mountains, Government and Military in the region with Hostile Flora.

There are two more green planets (I and V) in the Laan system. Laan I also has Random Technology.

We also had a scout reach the Alar system. Four planets, two of which (III and IV) are green. Alar III is G1, moderate gravity, and has Natural Wonders.

I order Ftr Recon 1 ships in the military queues of all three new colonies, since I think we need more scouts (never seen such an open galaxy layout before), and we're definitely going to need something for piracy suppression soon.

I turn off migration to Balren V and Balren I (both at size 6), and turn it on for the three new colonies. I'm not sure how migration works, but having too many migration targets would seem like a bad idea -- either each target gets less and it takes longer to build up the small worlds which need it most, or it's going to cause more depletion of the more developed worlds (which still aren't particularly developed -- Balren VII is up to size 14).

31 (sitrep)

We get our free techs from the Random Technology specials found last turn. Fusion Gun and Interchangeable Policy Structures. We also finish research on Continuous Laser.

Diplomatic channels with the Kraakta are now available.

Another colony ship completed on Balren VII and dispatched towards Cebalrai V. I think we need four ships to colonize a red planet -- maybe less if we turn on migration, which I forgot to do.

Minor unrest on Balren V.

Turn 31 (

Jaffa Tamarin
Mar 05, 2003, 10:40 PM

Mar 05, 2003, 11:08 PM
Sounds good. More splinter colonies, wow. That's four this game! Incredible. Now that we have found some G+ worlds, we can do more colonization planning, too.

Changing governments adds to unrest, for ten or so turns, so you can't do it successfully too quickly. Jester may need to add to Unrest spending under finances, if unrest levels are climbing.

Frankly, the descriptions of what the various governments do are, like so many other things in the game, too vague.

Good luck, Jester. Sounds like we have some interesting gaming ahead.

- Sirian

Mar 06, 2003, 12:07 AM
Eccentric Orbit - IIRC, it cost much more to terraform and difficult for biohavesting too.

What happened to the nine-turn delay on Titanium that happened five turns ago. - AFAIK, the game calculates the penalty (in this case) relative to the funding available on that turn. A 2 percent on the slider, for example, can mean 100 AU this turn and 200 the next if your income, or allocated spending, increase by 200%

Gosh how do you guy find time to play, read and report!?


Mar 06, 2003, 01:20 AM
Okay, I'll admit it up front; I'm a bit of a micromanager, and it drives me nuts the way they tweak small, almost irrelevant things for no reason. So, inheriting my empire, one might find that there are a lot more "100%" and a lot less "98%/2%" splits.

Anyway, onto the report.

Very nice, very open. This is a sweet start, sweeter than any of my single player starts except for one really smooth aphrodisiac-laden one.

Turn 31

I immediately dove under the hood, and tinkered with nearly every planet, shaving turns off things, resetting sliders, stopping "due in 408 turns" scout ships, things like that. I don't know how helpful it will be, but I figure every bit of savings helps for an investor race, whereas I know for a fact a lv. 1 scout 408 turns from now isn't going to make much difference. :crazyeye:

First thing I notice is that our spies rule the world. I mean, I've seen Psilon spies before, and they're good. Same with Cynoid. But for rock-bottom tech tree spies? These guys are killer. I didn't use any in my turn, but I think I found us a pretty good target for some of them. :p

I send off a TA: research "reason" proposal to the tachidi. After much deliberation, I take my turn.

Turn 32

Lv 3 social science comes in. Balren V is still in unrest, and is complaining of pirates. Bloody 'ell. They've got the biggest ships we have, all three! What do they want, their own personal guardian? Sheesh. I notch the unrest spending to 100 Au.

Turn 33

Tachidi accept Research. I offer Econ.

Kled: 2 Xs, 1 G2 with high grav.
Kuaa: SS, G2, Y2 and a Y1 with... HUNAM SLAVE LABOUR! OPRESS THE HUNAMS! :whipped:

Turn 34

I run into a Guardian at Altair, which is west of Tilarmas and Fahd. I defeat it handily, and any claims I just ran like a coward are simply the viscious lies from the worthless Hunams of the Kuaa system. Oh, and don't send any more ships there. :D

Lv. 3 Econ and Math come in. Horus is trained, and he pretty much sucks compared to our other spies. I ask the Tachidi about improving our TA research.

Turn 35

The Tachidi accept our TA: Econ. Lv. 3 energy comes in.

Unrest is becoming a major problem. I crank spending to 150.

Turn 36

We get contact with the Ithkul, who are in 10th place. :lol: Our relations start at -149. Scary stuff. The Tachidi accept our TA:Res+, and offer a non-aggression pact. Why we would fight the next-largest-power, I don't know, so I accept.

The colony at Cebalrai V comes under our control. The Darloks are ours, yippy skippy. Cloaks are coming back in fashion this summer. I very tenatively give this HUGE planet the division of 4 bio, 4 mining, 1 mil, 1 gov, 1 rec, and 7 research. Anyone who wants to change that, feel free. It's heavy on the research, but it's not very fertile, and I mined all the mountains already. (Looking at that list, I see no industry... either I didn't write it down, or that needs some :smoke: removal. Check on it, would ya, Charis?)

Oh, and lv. 3 bio and phys come in.

Turn 37

We get attacked at Tilamas, having nothing to defend it with. They've only got a scout, I don't think it matters, but there you are.

The Ithkul impose sanctions. Wow, how threatening.

Aba: Totally empty!
Meilas: Y2, moderate grav., natural wonders and pollution. Yecch.

Lv. 4 social comes in.

Turn 38

I turn off migration to one of the Baldrens (looks like I wrote II, but it could be a warped 4). I ask the Tachidi about a TA:Econ+. I send a scout back to baldren, having few places to send it. I figure it is pirate control, if it works that way. Feel free to redirect him.

I send a colony ship to Tyr 1. Sweet spot with natural aphrodisiacs? What else, an open bar and hula dancers? We should have been on this planet yesterday! :cool:

Turn 39

The Ithkul declare war. Cheerfully.

The Tachidi ask us if we'd trade phaser rifle for Spinal Mount and Class 1 shield. I'm kind of an amateur diplomat, but that seemed like a pretty smooth deal to me. I take it.

I crank the unrest spending up again... this is getting vaguely disturbing.

Lv. 4 econ comes in, as does nuclear engines. I make upgrades for pretty much everything we have. Feel free to redesign or obsolete the old ones.

Turn 40

The Tachidi accept our TA:Econ+. I offer them an Open Border treaty.

L5 social comes in, as does L4 energy and math.

Sitrep, turn 41

Hand Blaster positive overrun
Research DEA on Balren IV
Ind. DEA on Cebalrai V
Bio. DEA on Tilamas I
Exploration of Munsee complete (hint: it's a rathole)
Lots of irrelevant immigration messages
Lv. 4 bio comes in
Automated Biocare becomes visible

And that's all she wrote. Give my empire a quick :scan:, there may be residual :smoke:.


Ah, fercryinoutloud... the file, even zipped, is still twice too big to post. What should I do about that? E-mail it? Find a different zip program?

There, see if this works...

Turn 41 (

Mar 06, 2003, 01:25 AM
A comment from a lurker about getting into the Senate...

As far as getting into the Senate... if at all possible, make friends with two Senate members, even if it means making distant outposts to do so. The New Orions usually don't like letting people in, as it means more votes potentially cast against them in an election, and you need two races to even get a vote: a nomination and a second. Either that, or you can give a small, out-of-the-way, terrain-hostile colony to the NOs, and they will love you. I'm not sure if this works all the time, but it did once when I wasn't in the Senate and needed to make it in immediately- apparently the NOs at least didn't vote against me.

Also, as unmodded Humans... get at least one Social and one Diplomatic spy before you make official contact, as the Ithkul have excellent spies and will cause your unrest to skyrocket- either by Social means or by destroying your Seats of Government.

Apologies for butting in if you didn't want to hear it, but I didn't find the RBMOO forum for a few days, and missed out on the initial SG teams. If I'm mistaken about some things feel free to correct me if you want to take the time. :)

Mar 06, 2003, 01:50 AM
Jester, are you using the file upload server, per the instructions in the organizational thread at RBMoo? The file server takes large files, the forum does not. We don't want to attach anything to the forum anyway, though. ALL files to the file server.

No Industry on the Darlok world? Yeah, that needs fixing. :)

Nice turn.

- Sirian

Jaffa Tamarin
Mar 06, 2003, 05:56 AM
Originally posted by Iester
I don't know how helpful it will be, but I figure every bit of savings helps for an investor race, whereas I know for a fact a lv. 1 scout 408 turns from now isn't going to make much difference.

Afaik, there's no real benefit to having savings, even for an investor race. It seems to be always better to spend the money now rather than waiting and spending it less efficiently later.

And you can't actually trust the turns-to-completion estimate for any project, least of all on new planets, since it ignores the impact of imperial grants that will, for a new planet, dwarf the local economy.

(You expected the viceroys to give you useful and accurate information. Hah! What were you smoking? :smoke: :lol: )

Mar 06, 2003, 07:45 AM
How many colony ships were ultimately needed for colonizing the Darlok world? I'm building colshipx5 in the RBMoo1C since I thought we needed 4 ships to claim the planet, and I didn't think that sending an outpost or single colony ships there for migration would help since it's a Red planet to us. If you do actually get some useful growth on a Red planet, or don't need a full pop point to claim a magnate, that would be useful to know.

Mar 06, 2003, 09:59 AM
One colony plus migration will do it, eventually. If you have colony ships to spare, for a magnate it may be worth the extra ones to get it sooner if the world is red to you. However, if the world is yellow, your population may grow before you can build a second colony ship!

The reason is that the planet is farther on toward the top of the bell curve of max pop growth rate. It doesn't separate the species on an integrated world, so... the total pop is counted for the growth rate, then each race gets a straight ratio share of the growth. So yes, population from an outpost on a magnate world DOES grow faster. (Whether it logically should or not is beside the point). A new outpost on an empty world is at the slowest growth rate. So... just having the magnates around boosts your growth rate. You CAN quite well just send one ship, plus migration. Maybe a second ship on a red world.

By the by, it's not only magnates who reach out to found their own free outposts in your name. ANY conquered race besides your own will do this. So... say you train two ten-packs of infantry in the early game and build one corps-trans. You sail off and invade an AI world, land your troops and take over, THOSE people will start founding outposts in your name, too. The only thing is, those AI-founded colonies tend to want migration of their own species, since the worlds they choose are green to them, but usually hostile to you. In a role playing sense, this might not be as desirable as it looks, the conquered subjects setting up their own colonies and not really inviting you along. :)

If your race is weak on gropo effectiveness (slow, blind, or has a glass jaw) then one of the best things you can do if there are no magnates around is invade someone's colony very very early.

Now as to whether these "free outposts" are properly balanced or not, I don't know. Your race starts to lose its unique flavor if the "best" strategy game in and game out is to find some surrogate race to grow up into a major vassal that plugs all your own weaknesses. It's got a very high "cool factor" at first, but I'm leery of what it may do to the game long term, since the magnates are literally all over the place and you can also get the same effect off any conquered neighbor.

- Sirian

Mar 06, 2003, 11:59 AM
Jaffa: I know it's chump change, but then so is a scout ship that's only building by totally trivial increments until industry is completed. I figured it's better to just wait, save up a little bit of money (which will allow ever so slightly more overspending later) and not bother with the scout until there's at least one industry DEA done. Maybe it's not a good idea, but it's nickles and dimes anyway.

Zed-F: It took one more than whatever it started at on my turn. I just let the ship that had already been ordered there go there, and it all turned out fine. I think that brings the total to two.


Mar 06, 2003, 01:32 PM
Sirian, I found that any setting higher than "Fewer" for planetary specials makes them loose their meaning. With too many specials all over the place, well they are not so special anymore. I tried one game with an "Average" setting and quickly ended it to start with few. I can't even imagine what the "More" setting would look like.

As for the migrating captured population, this seems broken to me. In my stand alone game, my Ithkul empire found a Mrrshan magnate, a Darlok magnate, and took over a neighboring human empire. Each of these races settled more worlds on their own than I ever did. My empire now has 40 worlds, many of them well developped. I built a total of 4 colony ships and captured 3 human planets. When I want to expand, I explore more system to give more targets to all my slaves.

So, yes, the "best strategy" seems to be capture your close neighbors early and give them room to grow. If you are lucky enough to start near a Sakkra or an Etherean, you'll be all set to get the most population without much effort.

Mar 07, 2003, 12:43 PM
Jaxom: the planetary specials are a mixed bag. More of them also means more Rapid Rot and Entrapping Ecosystem and Hostile Gases and Active Volcanoes worlds, too. Many of the specials apply to only one region, and often you get a pathetic one: farm-boosting special in a toxic mountain zone; research special in the only fertile farming region, stuff like that. More specials may make them less special, but they also add more variance to your worlds: especially on the side of adding more crappy worlds with the bad specials. Some of those negative ones are serious penalties. Most of the positive ones are temporary or regional or minor.

Admittedly, it looks excessive this game, with multiple splinter colonies, but I've played this setting and not gotten anything like that before. The AI could have hit those and gotten the free worlds (I've certainly seen that), we just got a little lucky.

Anyway, that's my view. "More" might be too many, but I like "Average". "Few"'s OK by me, too, but I don't see it as better, just less varied. (Odd, since I normally despise luck factors, but in this case they do add a little extra personality to the planets).

Charis <<< UP NOW
Griselda < On Deck

- Sirian

Mar 08, 2003, 12:11 AM
The time has come to break out the hose and head for the desert!!
Admiral Charis I was elected for a term at the helm of the fledgling
Human empire. He follows a micromanager by the name of Iester, which
is probably a very good thing. With luck I won't do worse than a
blind viceroy would do, at least not over a 10 turn period :P

Plans, if you can call them that:
- Keep making spies and stay strong on that front
- Remember there's a Guardian at Altair, stay away
- I probably won't redesign any ships
- Check the Cebalrai V colony that it has an industrial DEA
- Make sure our colony ship sets up at Tyr 1 "Sweet spot with natural aphrodisiacs?"
- I wonder if colonizing or blockading Talitha or Noamex would make sense to hem in
the Ithkul? Perhaps we're strengthening Cebalrai first...

[41] I start off just getting acclimated, feeling like the mayor of Podunk
arriving in Washington to assume his role as Senate Majority leader...

- Tick up mil slider on Cebalrai V to cut a few turns off getting some defense
- Likewise on Balren IV
- An idle scout at Munsee is sent nearby to recon
- Tyr is not marked with 'Send Colony'? Since a colony ship is heading to
the Tyr system, I'm not sure if that will cost us a turn. So I click "Send Colony"
- The G2 in Tyr 6 also seems to want us to colonize it? :P
- I noticed FLU is 'allowed' - isn't it better to let them live free and colonize
on your behalf? Unsure, I leave that setting alone.

Cebalrai V has TWO industry DEA's, so not to worry.

[42] Sitrep:
- A scout at Nazin runs into a Guardian. :eek: I try a retreat but die.
Not only do I not see 'Nazin' on the map, but I can't see where a TF is
missing, so I have no idea where this threat is. 8-\
(Even worse, I load turn 41 up again to look, and still can't see what died where)
- Kraaktka accept our offer (TA Open Border I soon see)
- Lvl 4 Phys Sci
- Four migrations reported

Nothing 'much' happened and nothing arrived, anything else to do but hit next turn?

[43] Sitrep:
- We encounter a new race! (Sounds good) Omarasis - Grendarl. (4,16)
- Two more DEA's finish
- Exploration of Andurfin is complete (?)
- L5 Econ and Business

I 'state' a request for NAP with the lizard lookin' new guy.
We seem to have met him near Munsee, and his 6 worlds are W and SW of there.
Hey, Andurfin V is a sweet spot with low grav. There is a G2 in that system too,
and several R2. Sounds like And-V is a good spot for a colony. Once Tyr 1 arrives
I'll ask one to be sent here.

[44] Sitrep:
- New spy Argos is rdy (political)
- Alansis in the SE is now explored
- L6 Social arts, L5 Energy, L5 Math
- Diplo msg

The new grendarl counters with a TA Economic, pathetically moaning and calling
us powerful. I accept politely.

With the Kraaktka I reason that a TA Intel would do us both good.

Alansis is seen to have just one planet, an R2 with a special of polution.
There is a lane (wormhole??) leading out of Alanis of 1 turn taking us rather far
away, to a M2V Red Dwarf. I'll head there with the scout.

[45] Mid turn our two scouts enter their two systems. One is Wolf, the other Orion (!?)
The Orions maul our poor scout ship, retreat failing.
At Wolf, Larchug Lulaga had a recon ship that went against ours. The battle took six
minutes to complete as we nickel and dimed either other. I seemed to have no laser,
while he did. But we had a figher. First 'matched' space combat I've seen actually.
Alas, I've now seen a total of three scouts go down on my watch already.

Orion is the yellow planet directly NE of Andurfin. Orion 1 has about 10 planetary
forces. The system has five worlds, mostly toxic.

Larchug and Lularga ships were at the end of that large jump. Beware. Wolf has 7 planets.

- Omarasis refused our offer. *VERY* politely I might add. The NAP intriqued him.

- Balren 7 completes its colony ship, it's tasked and immediately sets off for Tyr 1
(Showing of course, that I should have reset the Send Colony else where. At least it's
in a TF. I'll send it towards Andurfin V. That's 24 turns away, so it can be vetoed)

[46] Sitrep:
- Space combat? Defend planet "Timarsis" vs the Omarasis? Eep! No, it's No combat.
- L5 Bio, L5 Phys Sci

I look at Timarsis for it's defense. A FtrRecon2 is in the queue. I speed it up.

The Tyr ship is there, ETA 0. It takes yet another turn to land and colonize, eh?

[47] Sitrep:
- The colony ship lands on Tyr I.
- L7 Social, L6 Econ

I get to assign my first DEA's manually on Tyr I. The viceroy started us off
with one Industrial which is ok. The Aphrodesiac will increase the pop growth
rate 'for a while', so food seems good. Two fertile regions each get two Bioharv.
I add a Govt and a recreational DEA. Add in one Mil DEA. Mining and Research get
one each to round out the mix. Viceroy chose to MBQ a fighter base and a basic
space module (seems ok).

Our power rank is 2 btw, Omar 6, Ithkul 9, Kraaktka insects 3 (not senate).

[48] Sitrep:
- Inductance, our new spy is rdy.
- Infantry x10 completes on Balren I :hammer:

[49] Sitrep:
- Our war with the Ithkul ends. (for now!)
- Lots of techs complete and ready to use: Quark Cannon, Plasma Projector,
and Autofire Fighter Laser.
- L6 energy and math

[50] Sitrep:
- The Ith redeclare war. Well they wasted no time there :P
- Our spy Xentax is no longer available to us
- L8 Social

[51] Sitrep is:
- Tilamis IV FtrRecon2 is now rdy (Task him up)
- A new colony Cebalrai 4 has been created. Y1y(12) (hmmm.... I didn't do that)
Looking closer, the population there is Darlok. (ah)
- L6 Phys, L7 Econ

That's it. Good luck to our next leader.
(I must say, I felt altogehter useless this round. No real clue of what's
going on, not much that I am cognizant of needing to do, and watching half of
our scouts get wiped out. For a newb, at what point does Moo3 become fun?)

Save File Turn 51 RBMoo1A (


PS to KingOfPain - welcome to da CF SG board :hammer:

Mar 08, 2003, 01:02 PM
Good turn!

The scouts... meh. Doesn't matter. If the Guardian or the Orions spawn too close on the combat map, it's kumbaya for your scout, no fault of yours. I think our scout design was made for utility with other ships, not for scout-to-scout combat. So you may have been outmatched.

As for feeling newbiesh, I've played a lot of this game since it came out, and I still feel :confused:. That's not good, because I know that, generally, I'm not. It just feels that way, like I'm treading water even when I'm :smoke: the competition (or when I'm just plain :smoke: ).

I blame the lack of offense. In Civ 3, if you were playing like a newbie, Xerxes would come and :spank: you. No questions asked. You knew that was bad, and why it happened. Your strategic imperative was to prevent that from happening. So two strategies quickly evolved, builder (stop it from happening barely) and conqueror (make it happen to them instead), and off we went. The AI taught you how not to suck very quickly.

Here, even if you're making the stupidest moves in the book, the AI won't so much as breathe heavily on you. So, the stupid moves stay in the playbook, and you lose the feeling that your game is getting better. At best, you learn to overmaster it with cheap moves relying on their passivity. At worst, you get constantly smacked down without having any idea of how to prevent it.

This is a very small problem. Crank the AI, stop with the troop ships, give them some SoDs, and we're off to the races. This game will be Civ 3 in no time. Until then, though, it's just :wallbash:, even if it is worth playing.

Not that I'm going to stop or anything.


Red Reb
Mar 08, 2003, 01:49 PM
At least until they work out the kinks, you can learn completely how to play.

Mar 08, 2003, 02:22 PM
A scout at Nazin runs into a Guardian. I try a retreat but die.
Not only do I not see 'Nazin' on the map, but I can't see where a TF is
missing, so I have no idea where this threat is. 8-\

Are you sure your scout is dead? When you retreat (at least before your enemy, guardian in this case, has a chance to fire), the game always report a defeat. AFAIK, the game only has 2 screens, defeat and victory.

It suppose have a 100% success rate when running from a Guardian. Look around and click on your scout ships. You will find a TF next to a system (where the Guardian was found) but won't let you issuse any order until its safely out of harms way.


Mar 08, 2003, 03:03 PM
AS KingofPain points out, you should have a retreating scout somewhere, if you did push the general retreat button. I have never lost a scout to a guardian in well over 20 encounters. But perharps you only watched the battle? In that case, you will always loose your scout as the AI General doesn't believe guardians are real. ;)

Mar 08, 2003, 03:08 PM

I am not sure if this is stepping into spoiler category so I will try to be vague.

Notice to Gris: read at your own risk


I loaded up Charis' save file to see if I can find the missing scouts. You will find an encounter with a Guardian the very next turn. This is unavoidable anyway since you are exploring and would not know to retreat until the combat screen. So here's a hint how to locate the Guardian, therefore your scout. You will have no idea where the system is by name, but take note of the System's classification (also available on the SitRep screen), it will say something like M2X (White Drawf), or K8V (Orange Dwarf), etc. This will make a faster search when you know what color to look for. Hope this helps.


Mar 08, 2003, 03:29 PM
Oh, that's logical. How could I have missed that? Only two screens, won't tell you there was a successful retreat.

Thanks!! I think that's it. I think I watched, I'm not sure. In any case, I ended up with a ship in the SE corner for whom I could not reissue an order. He was heading back to the nearest star. As I wasn't real sure where he was headed in the first place, I sent him to the nearest unexplored star. It should get there for Gris's turn. Guess who will be there? I suppose she can retreat and have the scout retreat to the identical star mine did. That pilot is going to have major deja vu, let me tell you!


Mar 08, 2003, 06:30 PM
After reading the "when does it become fun" line, I got off my rear and finished the "starter guide" Charis had sent me, editing or adding the bits that were missing, incomplete, or inaccurate.

Jester's right: the lack of feedback, in the form of in-game information and AI's who smack you around when you mess up, is part of the problem. Really, though, the main problem in my view is the User Interface. It took me about three whole pages of text to explain how to colonize effectively. The colonization method is beyond awkward: it's the most convoluted, illogical, "deliberately obstinate" design I've ever seen.

The second review over at Quarter to Three, talking about how the game was originally designed to play with the "IFP" concept limiting player's "imperial intervention" into a world of "intelligently recalcitrant" local AI's, is spot on. Originally, these AI's were intended to be recalcitrant, up to a point. They were intended to do things logically, but with a local-level logic that would sometimes conflict with empire-wide interests and player's imperial plans. The idea was to simulate a real empire, with the larger you grew, the less direct control you had over everything, and the more you had to prioritize. So the strategy would not have been just about playing well, but prioritizing effectively, and making your interventions count.

This concept was ambitious, but apparently they did not pull it off, and pulled it out instead. Unfortuneately, many of the game elements left behind did not get enough of a re-engineering to stamp out the deliberate awkwardnesses. Here's some of the game elements left in limbo, that no longer make sense without the IFP's in place:

* The entire tech tree. The overruns, the lack of player choice on research, the AI fiddling with the sliders according to local needs, and more. The whole thing was designed for IFPs. Without the IFPs, there's just not much you can do here, except observe what you have, what's coming, and plan accordingly. You can try to trade for key techs your tree in a given game does not hold, but that's about it.

* Colonization. They could not have made it more awkward and confusing if they tried. Literally, this is the one area of the game where unless you are willing to FIGHT the AI for control, and figure out over time how to take control, you sit there dazed and frustrated.

* For all the information overload the game suffers from, the real problem is a LACK of information: lack of information about what is going on diplomatically, lack of information about what the techs do, lack of information about why the automation decides what it decides, and especially lack of information about exactly what impact the dev plans have on the automation.

* Lack of an effective tutorial to lead you through and SHOW YOU how to play. Show you how to make a dev plan that does something specific. Show you how to colonize, show you how to wage a battle, show you how to decide between your fight or flight options, and on and on.

Personally, I enjoy the empire building. I enjoy selecting which worlds to colonize, which DEA's to lay out, designing my ships. I enjoy the space combat, the ground combat, the logistics.

What I don't enjoy is some of the tedium in the interface which makes the game drag as time passes. What I don't enjoy is having to micromanage my military queues constantly, all game long, to get anything useful built. What I don't enjoy is coming to the realization that I've outgrown all the competition, sit at number one on the power graph, and that even combined, the AI's can't put up a fight against me.

From the first patch, I would like to see:

* UI improvements that reduce some of the most tedious game elements: fixes to the space combat queue that would better allow me to move through it quickly, instead of demanding my attention to every encounter every turn, even when most of them are repeats of things that have been happening over and over; fixes to the colonization that make it less of a hassle; fixes most especially to the military queue. All of these involve the game ALLOWING MY CHOICES TO STICK, instead of requiring me to come back to make the same choice over and over and over and over, with endless tedious micromanagement. (Whoever thought a "repeat build" option in the military queues would not be needed ought to be flogged!)

* AI improvements that give us an opponent. Frankly, just fix the passivity aspect: get the AI to stop mindlessly sending ships to their deaths. Make them evaluate a situation, such as a flag to stop sending colony ships to a given world where they have lost two or more such ships until they send in a fleet that takes and holds space superiority. Just one example. The "trickle of ships" must stop, in general. The AI must be given a mechanism to evaluate how much force it needs to get something done and at least TRY to assemble that kind of force.

I get the feeling the community will have to mod a "beyond impossible" difficulty level, on the order of Civ3 Deity, to put the player into enough of a hole to make the game entertaining when trying to climb out. That's what's missing here. The notion that they could program an AI that would compete with human players is ambitious, but also pie in the sky. No, don't give the AI cheats and shortcuts, but do give it production bonuses, cost discounts, free fleet maintenance, etc etc. At least these are things we can mod in ourselves, so many thanks to QS for deliberately making the game mod-friendly. That decision may save their arse, by allowing the community to try tweaks and patch some elements of the game ourselves.

The fact that I enjoy the empire-building, fleet building and the space combat keep me interested in this game's future potential. Even so, at this point it remains only "potential", so I wouldn't blame anyone (Cy, for example) who said "Hey, when does the fun start?" If it hasn't started yet, maybe it never will. For me, the fun HAS started, but there are a lot of little things that eat away at the fun factor, and some very big items that MUST be addressed.

Charis, let me know if the prep guide I sent back to you helps, and if there are any questions you have that aren't answered there. Perhaps we should assemble a full-blown FAQ.

- Sirian

Mar 08, 2003, 06:42 PM
One more thing about retreating scouts.

You can use the "F" key to browse through your task force. You should find a scout retreating to the closest star, that will show you where was the guardian.

Mar 09, 2003, 10:39 AM
Just a quick post to say: "Yeah for MOO3 SG!" Just reading this thread has given me some ideas to try and reduce the frustration level of this game. Hopefully I can join in with you guys on a future game, if we don't all give up...

I hope QS listens to well thought out suggestions like Sirian's here but I fear they may suffer from a bit of Blizzardness. From my reading of Rantz's comments they aren't going to make micromanaging any easier because its not "what they are trying to do with their game". Reminded me of Blizzards refusal to add a no PK game switch to Diablo II. Hope I'm wrong.

Oh, and not to completely hijack this thread but a consistent use of the CLOSE button would be nice. Is there some reason the Foreign Office and Planets screen don't have a close button. At least ESC works on all screens. And speaking of UI inconsistency, why does the SitRep behave differently depending on what link type you click on? You click on a new spy link, fiddle with your spies, and close that screen out the SitRep is gone forcing an additional click to get it back. You click on something relating to a planet, fiddle, close it out and the SitRep returns. If I'm actually going to use the SitRep please bring it back when I'm done.

Mar 09, 2003, 11:25 AM
Quick Note: You close all the menus at the bottom the same way you open them: by clicking the buttons. Open Planet list with the planet button. Close planet list with the planet button.

As far as "not making micromanagement any easier", that's fine, except for the military build queue and space combat decision queue. The former MUST BE managed by the player because the AI is COMPLETELY INCOMPETENT (endless troop ships anybody?). The latter is simply awkward/tedious. They need to implement a few simple things to make it smoother, so that you don't have to micromanage as much!

- Sirian

Mar 09, 2003, 10:03 PM
Good link to the Qtr to Three rebuttal. That one made a ton more sense than the original review :P

And Jester, a very astute observation on lack of feedback. You're right.

Thanks for the guide edit Sirian, that helps with several of the technical questions. I'll get that up soon (been having some ftp trouble)

There's *still* something I don't get on colonization. When does a ship 'pick up' the order to 'Send Colony'? If a ship has been made and dispatched toward one system that had 'Send Colony' active. Will it switch direction if a closer system hits Send Colony? Will it stop if the destination cancels its send? If one is about to arrive at a target and another colony ship is due to complete next turn, do you cancel the send colony? To redirect a colony ship, it sounds like you must first cancel it's existing order, then will a Send Colony order direct it there, or must you send it to the new target and go through the turn waste of letting it get in system first? (It's a bad sign for how badly they've implemented this when you wrote 4 nice paragraphs to describe colonization and I still have the above questions!)

However, knowing these technical answers doesn't begin to address the question of what am I supposed to be doing (at a high lvl), and what is fun about the game? Let me muse 'outloud' for a minute here...

With Diablo and a D&D background I knew immediately what I was doing and it was intensely fun from day one, even though I die repeatedly to skeletons on lvl 1 while in a newbie stage. What was fun about it? Seeing "my" character, with his persona and ideals, grow stronger, face challenges and overcome them, and learn continuously how to do things better.

With D2 lag introduced a big disconnect between what I asked a character to do and what really happened. The lack of 'tiles' too meant that smallest lvl tactics were virtually gone. It seemed to require far less skill to fight. Add spells that couldn't hurt teammates and it did take the skill requirement way down. Throw in WWhirly bird maneuvers with a lance... hrmpf. Then D2X added 'artificial difficulty' in the most mind numbingly bad way the appeal died off. Bottom line: having characters you cared about, getting stronger and the skill trees making for very individual characters were the strong point, while broken balance and difficulty issues, penalties for things beyond your control, and broken elements like spell timers were poor.

Civ2, and Civ3. Both were *outrageously* addictive from almost the get go. You may not know full details of what you were doing, but you knew where you stood and if you were strong or weak, very quickly. The game was very very 'rich' in terms of strategic choices, effectiveness of good tactics, and in differing personalities between the civs. There was no 'best opening' sequence but everything truly was situation dependent.

WC2 I loved from a single player perspective. The fun was primarily the novelty of RTS at the time. I very much prefer their fantasy setting over C&C of the same era. The units had 'personality', were decently balanced, and there were a large number of ways to play or things to build that it had high replay. Plus the 'rush' of seeing bloodlusted ogres rushing at your peon line was something else. WC3 in some ways should have been as good or better, but it failed badly on balance, had set sequences that anyone used and could crush the AI with, and with the heroes especially, was a 'clickfest' where fast fingers ruled the day.

X-wing. Now that one is not like the others on my list, but I loved this one. It had enough controls that it beat the stay-on-the-tracks feeling of rebel assault, but you could hop in a B-wing and go kill things without a 4 month learning curve like some flying simulaters. The game was 'visceral'. It reached out and grabbed you, and the missions were very carefully designed so that i) you progressed at just the right rate where you did well enough to be excited but poorly enough to know there was a lot more to master, and ii) there was a great 'variety' of mission types, and the differences in the ships helped out a lot.

HOMM series was also a blast, combining characters, epic stories, and great variety yet balance among the city types. All were fun to play.

NWN. Boy that was one I desperately wanted to work. It has a lot of very, very good elements. And there was a lot I liked about it. But... it's a game that lives or dies by the coop experience, and the huge impact lag has (since your arrows and spells hurt each other) and the horrible pain of losing all progress in an evening if you dropped out of the game were crushing blows. And for some inexplicable reason, I had time liking my characters as much as my D2 ones. In the latter, options were so limited that I had to wrap them up in their own persona. In NWN, items weren't random, and there were definite 'ideal setups' to have, and with a decent amount of playing you could 'buy' most of these items. A properly DM'd world would probably have solved most issues, but the game just plain didn't "grab" us. It teased us, led us to think things would get better, but in the end it lacked addiction.

EU2 was my most recent 'dud'. Everything I read suggested I would love the game. But after playing the tutorial, which taught the UI mechanics, my first game left me an overwhelming sense of "what am I supposed to be doing here?" A dreadful number of popup messages did not help, some where probably of no consequence at all, and others could have been huge announcements but it was all a blur. It was a very odd mixture of 'you set very high lvl strategy decisions with sliders' but yet required fast decisions, and low lvl control of troops. And despite having like 400 nations in the game, it was hard to know anything about them. That game was just plain "no fun", I didn't "grok it" and it just didn't leave my any hope that I would have fun when I did figure it out.

This isn't a rant or a vote for what's the best game of all time, I'm just thinking as I write what it is that I've liked about my best games and what has led others to abandonment. Now to think about these in the context of Moo3.

Races. There seems to be a wonderful assortment of *very* different races that should provide much replay and very different strategies for how to win the game. At the same time, the extreme oddness of the AI phrases and decisions at the diplo screen, makes it hard not to think they're ALL insane.

Undeclared wars. You can fight other civs without declaring war. Wow, now that's different from civ 3. But... I'm having a tough time coming to grips with that. And they play by different rules? The fact that the player giving an early threat got another RBMoo1 game kicked out of the senate was painful to see. Being forthright enough to give an AI warning gets you booted, while slaughtering a colony ship of another race without being at war is ok? This and the HUGE role that spying activities play goes against my style.

Exploration and no single best opening sequence. From other games, this should be a good thing. Once I know what I want to get out of an opening, this will probably be good. Lack of feedback however is a temporary problem here.

Character development. While it's not required for a game to be good, it's not part of Moo (or Civ).

I've always been into variants, but never 'modding'. I want to play one and only one *version* of the game, and adjust my actions, not the rules of the game. The fact that we may be able to 'fix' Moo with proper modding is not at all a plus for me, but a big waving red flag.

I'm very picky about the UI. (Hey, I'm a Mac lover at heart :P ) The *extreme* awkwardness about some of the most vital tasks in the game, MBQ and colonization, and the smudged fonts, are a very big concern.

Anyway, I didn't come up with any answers, but I would like to know:
- for those who like Moo3 a lot... why do you like it? I've listed a number of games about and what I liked/disliked so that if it helps some comparisons can be made.
- are there any who have never played Moo before, had a rough phase at the start of Moo3, and have overcome it, so that now they've come to like it alot?

Sorry for rambling... :D

Mar 09, 2003, 11:48 PM
I am one of those who likes MOO in general and still have hopes for MOO 3. To me, the most interesting aspect of the serie has always been the diplomactic game. Figuring out who is your friend, who is your enemy and who is on the fence. Figuring out how to make your friends like you more and how to bring the ones on the fence to your side. MOO 3 offers many tools and has a lot of potential in that regard.

Sure, we were booted out of the Senate in Team B and it is annoying. But in a stand alone game I managed to get my senate enemy booted out and reduced to a non-entity by having the senate declare total war on them, all without firing a single shot, that was very rewarding. I hope both of these events occured because of something I did, if so MOO 3 will be a great game to me. If it turns out it was only a matter of how the dice fell, then the game will be huge disappointement.

Another aspect is the strategic AI. Modding can make the game more challenging, but that is at the expense of the diplomatic game as it requires turning all the AI into warmongers. QS have a more dangerous AI in their hands, I really hope it is more than a more aggressive AI and that you can still play on the diplomatic level with their AI. In team B game, we should be scared of being one starlane away of an Ithkul empire, we should be scared of angering the Sakkra, we should be glad the Trilarian are our friends.

About modding. Although it can fix some of game elements ad make for an improved single-player experience, it is quite useless in SG or Epic context as the modifications are not in the save game. It is also quite difficult to have multiple, and possibly conflicting, mods active on your machine. The game seems to have the basic structure to have multiple root directories for the game data, but I can't find a way to have the game select a dirrent root directoty. That should be an easy thing to select the base root directory when you start a game, and the game should insist on using the original root every time you load a save game. If these things happen through a patch, then modding will become useful to setup fun SG with interesting variants.

I currently consider attacking a world without a war declaration to be exploitative, it's kind off like the ROP rape, only worst since you can keep doing it for the whole game. Shooting down ships in neutral territory without a war declaration should be allowed, but it should have an impact on your relations with that empire, if it doesn't, then it is another broken element.

To conclude, I know I will play many single-player games of MOO 3 an have some fun. But a lot depends on the first patch and what direction they take about fixing the broken elements. If it doesn't go in the right way, I will probably forget about MOO and go back to Civ, which would be a first as I have never made the switch that way.

Somehat off topic, but I am a little surprise you didn't like EU2, Charis. Maybe you have the wrong pespective on the game. If you give it another try, pick a country you know something about its history and try to make it different. The ultimate goal in EU2 needs not be to conquer the whole world, you can set your own winning condition in your mind. For instance, play as Eire and try to get rid of the british oppression. :) Or play as Sicily and try to turn Italy into a sicilian province. After about 10 tries, I managed to have my Iroquois strive and build the largest empire in the world with no european possessions in North America. That was my winning condition and I was quite pleased when I achieved it. :)

Mar 10, 2003, 03:16 AM
- for those who like Moo3 a lot... why do you like it?

This question really misses the mark. MOO3 is still a work in progress. We don't have a finished game here yet, so there is no way to give you an answer the way you phrased it.

The question in my mind is not what I like about MOO3, but what I expect from it, hope to find inside it, and whether or not it is realistic (likely) enough that these items will show up once the game is completed (done being patched).

As much as we want games to be ready out of the box, they have grown too large and intricate to allow it. Game makers cannot field the costs of proper testing, so all games that are released are released as beta software, at least for PC games. Console games have to test more. PC games can patch, so... they rely on the patches. Maybe they don't intend to, but console games also dumb down a bit in exchange for shipping finished products. PC games go the extra mile on strategic possibility, and that requires post-release user feedback (beta testing) and then patches.

Frankly, I had higher expectations for the game than where it stands now. It's not just the AI, there are some serious structural faults at hand. If they do not improve upon the mechanism of the MBQ's, the game won't be worth playing long term. It just isn't fun to sift through all my planets every three turns, manually ordering up what is to be built. I realize that's what is done in Civ3, I have to manually direct what each city builds ALL the time. They don't want us to do that in MOO3, yet the automation that is supposed to do it for us doesn't work well enough in that area, and their efforts to "discourage" us from micromanaging by deliberately making it awkward kind of wreck the game.

That still doesn't address your issues, though, Charis. Your issues seem to revolve mainly around the lack of feedback. You can't tell what effects your actions have, so there's no sensible way for you to figure out how to play, or what is fun about playing. If your actions don't do anything, or you can't tell what they do, you might as well be a monkey at the keyboard randomly hitting keys.

For me, it is different. Having played the previous MOO's, and knowing what I liked and disliked about each, I already understand the core game concept. I already understand that the diplomatic model is based on the player actions, yet for me the lack of feedback is also problematic, since I can't tell whether what's wrong is my doing or a bug/flaw in the diplomacy.

Now that I've played more, I've found there ARE some really bad elements to the diplomacy. For one, there's no method by which to make peace. In Civ3, the AI's have an "automatic urge" to make peace after you inflict a certain amount of pain on them, or a certain amount of time passes without them making gains. In MOO1, AI's did tend not to want to make peace, but relations improved IN A HURRY and by a huge margin if you started making war on a third party who was enemy to you both. Then the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" principle applied, and so you could turn enemies into friends, or at least cordial partners, by ganging up on a third party. There was a lot you could DO to affect the diplomacy. I expected to find these elements in MOO3 diplomacy and so far I can't. Either they aren't there, or lack of feedback prevents me from making effective use of them. And worst of all, the RACE PICK dominates the diplomatic game. If you have "strong" diplomacy, it's WAY TOO DAMN STRONG. You can do no wrong for some of these races, they just beeline up through the progression of relations in a hurry. Even races that don't like them make deals with them. By contrast, playing a race with "poor" diplomacy, you almost neednt bother. No amount of gifts and goodwill gestures and positive actions matter. You can't persuade them. Only later, after you advance up the tech tree to get some of the diplomatic techs, can you even climb out of out the pit you are cast into and forge a few non aggression pacts.

The racial impact of diplomatic picks is simply way too strong, in both directions.

Finally, they really must bring back "enemy of my enemy" diplomacy. When you attack or oppose the enemy of your enemies, there ought to be mechanisms that start to improve relations, as you work toward the same interests. Maybe not MOO1 "insta-friend" E of my E relations changes, but something in that department. That this is NOT PRESENT in MOO3 just astounds me. It's like they took the lobotomized MOO2 "nothing you do matters" style of diplomacy and used all the same code.

For diplomacy to matter, the player's actions must count. If your diplomacy is predestined by your racial selection or customized race picks, there's no point in playing. That was, above all else, what ruined MOO2 for me: the race picks were WAY TOO STRONG in all directions. MOO1 was successful by offering just one minor strength for each race, plus different tech weightings and starting likes/dislikes of other races. That's it. Three items. One unique set of STARTING race relation values. One racial strength. One unique set of research bonuses or penalties spread out across the six tech trees (weighted by role playing elements: the machines sad on ecology techs, the spies good at computer techs, the efficient insects strong on construction, the cat-warriors strong on weapons, the bird-warriors strong on flight and propulsion techs but weak on force fields, etc).

The starting race relations were just that: starting values. These were fixed, they never changed. In MOO3, the Casus Belli appears to be a similar thing, only... they allow it to shift through the game? WHY? This is broken. That ought to be the anchor, and the farther you get away from it, the more force you should have to exert to hold your ground or gain ground. Thus, if you want to make friends with your racial enemies, you could. There were some ways in which you could even become allies, mainly by needing each other vs a third, more immediately dangerous enemy. Rather than forcing your hand into "always war" with your racial enemy, the game only exerted extra pressure on you there. Yes, you'd most likely end up in war, but you could avoid it if you worked at it hard enough or got into a situation where you were both threatened by a third party. That sort of ability to PLAY THE GAME, with your choices making the difference, seems missing in parts of MOO3. Why? I don't know. Will they fix it? Can they fix it? I don't yet know. If they don't fix it, this game won't be worthy of the franchise, and I will stop playing it.

I stopped playing MOO2 because not enough of my choices mattered. You were destined to go to war with any race that had the Repulsive racial pick. Diplomacy with them was not an option. WAY WAY too much of the game was decided by the racial picks, instead of player choices. Instead of racial traits coloring the game like they do in Civ3, like they did in MOO1, these picks totally dominated the game in MOO2. I'm sorry to say, they seem to have a pretty wide swing in MOO3, too. Diplomacy picks, population growth picks... the races that are endemic to higher gravity have a huge advantage, drawing the larger worlds on which to grow and expand. The races with faster population growth have a civ3-deity-like bonus, in net effect, since population equals power. I'd like to see them tone down the effects of the racial picks and abilities a little more. Make the bonuses less great, the penalties less harsh, the gap a less wide.

In MOO1, ground combat modifiers mattered a lot. You had to USE YOUR POPULATION, forming up armies out of your raw population, to invade another world. There was none of this "ground combat unit" stuff. You had to send your people en masse. It was a serious commitment to go on the attack with an invasion. The alternative was to bomb enemy planets to oblivion, and this had huge negative diplomatic effects on all neutrally aligned parties. (E of my E would see relations GO UP when you bombed the mutual enemy, though). Plus, if you bombed a planet, all the planet infrastructure would be gone. You could resettle, but it was like starting from scratch, and it would take too long to build the planet back up to strength. It would be useless, just a place sitting vulnerable for a long time, sucking your assets to try to defend it. If you invaded with ground forces, you could capture the factories intact and replace the local population with your people, and have an operational world, or at least one that you could make something of reasonably quickly.

In other words, IT MATTERED to your strategy, whether you'd go bomb everything or invade with ground troops. It cost you something big to do ground troops.

Now you don't have to dedicate any population. You only have to dedicate some production: to build gropo units. That's not the same. There's no sacrifice to it. There's no give and take. I don't think in terms of gameplay that the MOO3 way is as interesting. It may be more realistic, more tactical, but it is less strategic.

MOO3 seems to be missing the "E of my E" element, and that's to its greater detriment. The diplomacy here DOES NOT currently match up to MOO1 standards. There may be more under the hood, but in terms of player choices MATTERING to the outcome, it's not as sophisticated. And I don't just mean lack of feedback. I look and see what effects my relations with the AI, and by far the overwhelming factor, like on a scale of 50 to 1, is the racial pick on diplomacy. That's just wrong. If you want a diplomatic cake walk, take a race strong on diplomacy. If you want to be told "No No No No No", regardless of what you do, then take a race with weak diplomatic skills. The "strategy" lies in which race you pick, not how you conduct your diplomacy, and that is abysmally short of what I expected to find here. How hard is it, really, to produce a diplomatic model where the PLAYER'S ACTIONS count? They did it ten years ago for MOO1. They must patch in a better job of it for MOO3 if they want this game to receive a passing grade.

- Sirian

Mar 10, 2003, 03:34 AM
I like the fact that MOO3 is a very Epic game. I like that you can assemble all of your empire's production capacity quickly into 1 point via the Mobilization Centers, and send armadas of ships to crush your enemies. I like having a lot of planets, a lot of races populating those planets, each with specialties. I like seeing 60 on 60 or more ship to ship battles -- they are truly awesome and fun to watch. I like figuring out and tweaking the economic model that powers the game -- it seems somewhat involved, and seems to be a bit of a feedback loop -- you make a change, and don't really know its full impact for a few turns / years, much like a real economy. I like the ground combat -- when you want it to be fun and involved, it can be, and when you just want it to be over quickly, you can do that, too.

However, I tend to agree that the game is missing a big "fun" factor. Playing it does not reach out, grab me, and suck me in. It is interesting and I like building the empire, but it seems a lot like alternatively pushing through mud (very, very slow tedious progress) or like I'm just a spectator (my actions don't always seem to directly impact gameplay). Conquering advanced planets is sheer torture -- each one has like 8-15 orbitals that simply shred my 60-90 ship fleets. So I build up a huge fleet, see it get crushed but conquer 3-5 planets in the system, and repeat. About 80 times. This is definitely not very fun hour to hour, but can be satisfying when viewed week to week (well, last week the Etherians had 120 planets. They're down to just 50 this week. Maybe I'll eliminate them in another 2 weeks). The interface is not terrible, but isn't great, either. I read where they were going for a "1, no more than 2 click" design. I think they achieved a "3 or 4, sometimes 2" click design. It seems like I have to struggle against the interface to play the game, which is Not Good.

Finally, there just isn't a sense of urgency. With either of the other 2 MOO games, or with Civ3, you have a real sense of urgency. It really comes down to AI aggressiveness. You have seen yourself get crushed by the enemy. You know roughly where you need to be in a game or else the enemy will come and crush you again. With MOO3, that just doesn't happen. I'm not sure if it is a bad AI or that the game is just massively tilted towards the defense with Orbitals, or both. Mounting any kind of concerted attack (for a human or for an AI) is a real exercise in patience and discipline.

I will definitely play 2-4 full, conquest only games, and then another 4-6 quicker Senate based games, in addition to a few SGs. But if Quicksilver doesn't release a patch that ups the fun factor between now and the end of my "trial run", I'm with Jaxom -- I'm going back to Civ3 (actually, while waiting for MOO3 to come out I busted out Sword of Aragon, which is totally Old School but is still a lot of fun. It is a straight DOS game, that doesn't even use a mouse !)

Ummm ... sorry for hijacking your game thread. But Charis started it ! :rolleyes:


Mar 10, 2003, 04:26 AM
Sorry for the delay; we discovered a new special, chicken pox, in our local system, and it turns out to have a negative effect on the Entertainment DEA. ;)

Griselda, a city councilor from West Podunk, assumes command of the empire.

My main concern for this round was that I didn't fiddle with the build orders much, which, considering the criticism of the viceroy's choices, sounds like a very bar thing. Basically, we were researching a *lot*, and most of this round was spent building stuff like decomposition centers. The descriptions were a bit vague, but it seemed like it was worth it to spend a few turns just getting stuff like that done. So, we didn't build a lot of ships.

After poking around a bit, I headed off to the task force creation screen. I have a FtrRecon2 and a FtrRecon1 ship available, and I notice in that screen that they *appear* to have the same speed. But, according to the designs the FtrRecon2 does indeed have a nuclear engine, so they should have a different speed. Is the task force speed just the "local" speed? Boo! In any case, I make each into a separate task force.

I unclick "send colony" on Tyr VI, and add a system colony to the orders at Tyr1. I still keep building infra at Tyr 1, though, so hopefully I didn't lag too long getting that built.

Time to prioritize my colonization, so I'll know what to do when I have ships ready. The ship to Andurfin seems like a good idea, so I leave that one on course.

Other priorities-
Knaa- SS and a G2
Alar G1 with good gravity and natural wonders
Karaken - 3 G+
Fahd - Just one planet, but it seems nice

I fiddle with all the sliders to get the most moey out of each turn to complete (ditto for all turns).

I deploy 2 infantry at Cebalrai V. The rest I leave in the reserves, thinking they could get on carriers in a few.

(52) Say hi to that nice Guardian again, and retreat! For future reference, the star he's at is the "orange dwarf K8V".

There are protests of deep extraction mining and the mobilization center.

Laan II completes government DEA.

We killed a Kraaktha spy.
Cebalroi IV sees minor unrest.

I send the new scouts off, but it takes them a while to get anywhere from our homeworld. The closer in ones will probably need new orders as the farther out ones explore stuff.

The Cebalroi IV unrest is mainly due to tax rates. Those ingrates get 266 AU in planet grants, and they're only paying 5AU in taxes! Well, since they're not paying much, it won't hurt me to lower their tax rate for the time being. I take taxes down to 5%. I'd like to fix the problem long-term as well, so I order up a recreation DEA (seems to make more sense than gevernment here). It won't quite be ready to start by the end of my turn, though, but it's planned.

Between turns - The attack screen comes up! :eek: It says that the Lularga are attacking us at Laan, where we have 0 strength. I hit "defend planet", since I didn't know what else to do, but the next screen says no combat. The Lularga didn't want to fight.

Protests- deep extraction mining, cultural districting offices

Colony done Balren VII
Infantry X 10 Balren 1
MiniCarrier2 Balren V
MC2 Nitzar VII
Research DEA Cebalroi V
More unrest Cebalroi IV

Energy, math, and computers level 7

53 - I wonder who the Lularga are? They seem nice enough.

I task force the colony ship.

I also notice that the minicarriers don't carry anything at all, guess I needed to read the fine print. I make separate TF's for each MC, and distribute the infantry to defend various planets around our empire. I leave a few in the reserves, but not many. Priority goes to planets that seem "front lines" types.

BT - protests- cruiser, mass driver miniaturization

Cebalroi V - research DEA
Tilamus IV - mining DEA

55- We're contacted by Grendarl Empire Osmarsis. They angrily want a non-aggression pact. That sounds kind of silly, because I think they refused a NA pact when Charis offered it. In any case, since we'd offered the same thing recently, it seems like we should take this one, so we accept politely.

Colony ship to Knaa. No planets are marked for colonization atm, they're still too far off.

MiniCarriers to Cebalroi.
Cebalroi IV is now content (didn't change anything since turn 53, but it took an extra turn to kick in)

BT - Absentia the spy is ready. I noticed that none of our spies are inserted anywhere. I don't change this, since I have no idea why not. But, I don't order another spy, since we're spending upkeep on the uninserted ones we have.

Cebalroi V - bioharvest DEA
Tilamus I - industry DEA
Tilamus IV - Mining DEA

unrest - Balren I and VII

Level 9 arts and sciences.

56 - Kraaktha wants mutual trade/econ agreement. Our policy so far seems to be to play nice to the two who like us, so I accept politely.

I raise the empire unrest spending since it is hitting our core now. We have to lower planetary grants a bit to afford it.

BT - Grendarl want TA research. I'm not sure this is a good idea, since we're strong in science, but we already have another TA research, and it still seems to fit, so I accept.

Cebalroi V - research DEA
Laan II - industry DEA

We explore Klystron. It has 2 planets, and one is Kraatka controlled. Neither looks good for us anyway.

57 - Klystom scout on to next star.
Everyone seems content, so I lower the unrest spending a tad, and raise grants.

BT - Completed cruiser, deep extraction mines, and mass driver miniaturazation, the first two with positive overrun.

Balren VII - MiniCar2
Cebalroi V - research DEA
Balren VII - unrest

58 - Inch that empire unrest spending up a bit again.

MiniCarrier2's arrive at Cebalroi.

TF the new carrier.

BT - complete sub-light drives w/ over run

Enakramiruz end the war.

Complete fighter fusion cannon and continuous fusion cannon.

Laan II - research DEA
Tyr I - industry DEA

Cultural Districting on Balren I is destroyed? I have no idea why this happened or what to do about it.

Some more unrest empire-wide. I'd hate to see what these wimps would do with real oppression!

59 - I send the new MiniCar2 towards Tilamus. It seems like we should have something out there.

I decide to leave the unrest meter, since we still *seem* OK civ-wide, despite the siterep.

BT - advanced research labs complete.

Cebalroi V - research DEA
Cebalroi IV - industry DEA
Tilamas 1 - FtrRecon2
Tyrl - rec DEA
Balren V - minor unrest

Level 8 energy

60 - Click up unrest spending a bit.

BT - Enakranmiruz declare war. :crazyeye:

Complete anti-redundancy structuring

Cebalroi V - bioharvest DEA
Cebalroi IV - mining DEA
Tilamus IV - FtrRecon2
Tyr I - Bioharvest DEA

Level 10 arts/sciences
Unrest Balren V

Our rivals are using hitmen vs. our scientists.

Hope I wasn't doing too much :smoke: !


I couldn't even connect to the upload server a while ago. I'll try again after I post this.

Mar 10, 2003, 05:11 AM
Gris: when stuff is destroyed, it's sabotage. Enemy spies. The only counter is train your own spy and leave them unassigned, thus working at homeland counterspying, or to increase the oppressometer. I generally run my oppressometer pretty high and add extra recreation DEA's to cover the unhappiness. If you already have a spy in the area where you suffered damage, you can train additional spies for more defense.

For example, if you have multiple political leaders, it's a good idea to have multiple political spies, or your leaders will be assassinated.

For us here, in the long run, we're probably better off to crank up the oppressometer and use our spies offensively, since we have expert spies. That will be part of what we end up testing here.

Another issue is that Sub-Light Drives were discovered. Those are new warp engines. I'll end up designing new colony and outpost ships on my round, and depending on what other techs are coming down the pike, likely also a new generation of warships.

Overall, sounds like you had a good round. I'll probably be able to offer some more critiques on your results and others' results, after I play my own round and see what sorts of issues need attention.

Sorry about the chicken pox. Nasty thing to have visit your family.

- Sirian

Mar 10, 2003, 09:45 AM
Sorry to butt into your thread here, but some interesting points have been raised!

The thing I hate MOST about this game is that you spend all that time upgrading your ships to have better engines; then you build you Superdreadnaught at your home world--and then you put it in a task force half-a-galaxy away next turn! (What happened to the speed of light limit?)

This means that then your enemy could respond to your attack the next turn with all of his forces! ARRRGH!!! (Railroads in the sky, anyone?)

The second most frustrating thing is the 'delay box' and how certain elements get there. I did not find it bad that the systems kept building grunts and troop ships since I started using them to take over enemy worlds. But when you make a transport fleet and it successfully takes over a world--the ENTIRE fleet is put into the 'delay box'.

Right when you need the BBs and CVs that you had in the transport fleet for support to stick around and defend the new system--they're gone! Taking 6 turns to get back to your homeworld where you can then magically send them (almost) anywhere the next turn. When you start to take planets, remember to make a bare-bones transport fleet and put your capital ships in a separate fleet to keep this from happening!

It's not bulding the grunts and troop ships that's annoying; it's that your BEST producing shipyards insist on building the smallest ships! I mean, I make sure I leave Friagtes and Corvettes and even Lancers in the ship list so the small yards can build those to fill out fleets--yet the big boys capable of building Titans crank them out too!

I'm not TOO down on when they crank out orbitals--I've had enemies come up against otherwise undefended systems and was glad they were put there when I didn't notice, but you have to sort your planets by shipyard capacity and PPs to make sure the top few are doing what you need.

As for colonization, it's fairly easy to deal with--once you know the secret! If a ship is getting sent somewhere you don't want it to go, stop the AI orders and direct it to a new star. As long as you have a system at that star flagged for colonization it will do its thing there. Unless there are enemy ships...

I HAVE influenced tech simply by changing the sliders to almost stop one branch while jacking up the branch I wanted--the 'locks' here are really hard to see to know what you're changing...

Civ III was the first in the civ series I bought, MOO3 is the first in the MOO series I've bought--really waiting for that first patch! So far, Civ III has won the initail impression hands down! I'm trying to give MOO3 the benefit of the doubt...

Mar 10, 2003, 12:31 PM
It seems like there is too much stuff here that's not well implemented for QS to be able to fix it all with just patches. QS can't afford to have a huge amount of their design resources working on patches that don't provide an income stream, especially since they just ate a big financial hit from MOO3 development running well beyond schedule. Sure, they'll be able to fix some of the more glaring problems, but there will remain an awful lot of work that remains undone for a long time.

In order to really do a credible job fixing the game up, they are going to need to get the funding to do an x-pack, and devote a large portion of that x-pack to refining the UI and feedback, rebalancing the picks and races, and generally improving the play experience -- further smoothing those problems that resulted from the over-ambitious design they started out with. Bliz has been able to do this successfully with Starcraft (and seemingly, with WC3 as well, if the beta testers are to be believed.) It remains to be seen whether QS will have the opportunity to do so, and what will ultimately happen if they do.

Not that this is any one person's fault at QS. Alan Emrich was told by the initial publisher to shoot for the moon when designing the game. Just goes to show, sometimes you should be careful what you wish for...

Mar 10, 2003, 01:18 PM
I am really enjoying following the progress of this succesion game. In response to recent posts I would like to bring up a couple thoughts on MOOIII.

First off I am enjoying the game. I do for the most part agree with Sirian though. There is a need for a patch to solve some of the problems that the game has. The biggest problem is with the AI aggressiveness level. In a single player game there really is no challenge from the AI's. They will send fleets to attack and blockade your systems, but they tend to be more of a nuisance, rather than a threat to your Empire.

Regarding the interface, I must agree it is clunky and awkward when it comes to colonization, and fleet creation. With practice you can unlock the mysteries of this process, but it definitely should have been more intuitive. Diplomacy is also a bit wacky with civilizations offering NAP's one turn then declaring war the next for no paticular reason, but I believe I have found a pattern concerning this erratic behavior. In games involving many races where I am on the senate, and the senate victory is available, I find that the AI's on the senate behave for the most part. There will be one or two races who will declare war on me, but they will hardly even harass me with their usual tactics of small fleets and blockades. Those races not on the senate however, are much more aggressive, and no matter how nice I try to play with them, will look for any reason to go to war. I say again, that the most extreme measures they will ever take is to send a token flotilla at me to blokade one of my sattelite systems, and little more. I noticed an extreme height in aggression from all the AI's when I set victory conditions to sole survivor whether they are on the senate or not. Like before, though even in this situation , they will not send invasion forces but may send larger task forces.
When it comes to Troop Transports, I tend to leave these grouped together in one force and have them follow my war fleet around. I will bring my main strike fleet to the system I wish to invade first. Clear the enemy fleets and defenses and then send the transports after them. This is somewhat frustrating, but I noticed that the AI is very smart when it comes to picking it's targets, and even if I group warships with my Transports, it seems that the Transports are the first ships to get destroyed. I agree with Pterrok that I do hate the fact that once I use my armies to invade they go into the "penalty box" along with their transports forcing me to once again group them into another task force that must start at my closest mobilization center which is often times, still far from the front. The only way around this is to have multiple Transport task forces waiting in the wings.

I have tested and am enjoying a multiplayer game with a friend. It runs really well on my low end machine, even with Roger Wilco running in the background. I think that the real strength of this game is it's multiplayer mode. The, problem would come in finding quality players to play with (those who won't quit if the game doesn't go their way). I think that you guys from RB would do a great job of organizing these types of games, and I would love to play in a multiplayer game with all of you. I would also like to help set something like this up. I also was able to test the resume feature, and it worked fine. There is a slight delay for those joining the host as their system will need to load the save game file. Unfortunately there is no indicator or message telling the other players that the file is loading on their system, but after several minutes they will eventually come to the galactic map screen and continue where they left off. I would also probably have someone with a better system host the game for anything more than three players, as even though me and my friend were able to play for several hours, he eventually did lock up. Against Human opponents, I think diplomacy would take on much more importance and there would be the cold calculating reason of a Human opponent on the other end of the Diplomatic screen.

Mar 11, 2003, 08:28 AM
Turn 61: We seem to be in pretty good shape here. We have a goodly number of systems and planets. We have armed forces in place to deal with the war the Ithkul have just declared. We have some FtrRecon2 in reserve, and we have more ships being built. We have a couple of colony ships floating around on manual control. We have sufficient amounts of food, minerals, and happiness. We have good relations with two of our three neighbors, and the third being Harvesters are an auto-war situation anyway. Our budget appears to be in good shape, too, and on the tech front we have mobilization centers available, deep mining coming online, spaceports about to come in, and we have a goodly number of scouts on the loose.

Nice work, team! :goodjob:

OK, now to my plans for this turn. We have a lot of multi-planet systems with Y+ worlds in them, and plenty of surplus food, so I am going to prioritize system-outposts to pull in the yellow-ring worlds.

We are short on only one major factor: industry! We don't have any high industry, high production worlds for ship building. We are especially poor on Industry out at our distant, isolated double-splinter colony system, and that's dangerous. We have no warships in the area, no system defenses, no planetary defenses, and we don't even have food on both worlds to slow starvation if we get blockaded. We also have one of these worlds with 8 mining DEA's on it, when it's a mineral poor world? :smoke: That's the only thing I see in our situation that leaves me wondering how that got decided or allowed to happen.

We have new engine techs, and no system-ship designs. Our entire fleet needs a refit.

The Ithkul have a world on our side of the choke point. I intend to isolate it, and perhaps see if we can manage to invade. Apparently nobody built us any troop ships yet, though? I may have to set up the next player for this activity.

Finally, I'd LIKE to advance our position to Yellow Dot and set up that rich Y1 as our border fortress, but I don't know that I'll be able to do that on my turn. I'll have to wait and see.

OK, now to my actions on the first turn.

I scrap three mining DEA's out at double-splinter. I run through and check DEA plans, and where there are items we can afford to do without that are still in the planning stage, I swap some over to industry. We're about to get Deep Extraction Mining online, which will give us an enormous mineral surplus. It would be a good idea to set up a couple of these Y1g's (optimal gravity) as industrial powerhouse worlds, especially any that are mineral poor. That is, put a government DEA, applicable happy DEA's, farming only on fertile+ regions, and pile on the industry. A planet with 8+ industry is a capital ship factory for later in the game, and right now we are sorely lacking that sort of world.

I generally find it better to concentrate industrial worlds on ideal gravity planets, where possible, and do research worlds on yellow or red range gravity. Ship COSTS as well as industrial output appear to be affected by the gravity of the constructing world? Not 100% sure on that, but that seems to be the case. Certainly industrual output is affected, so eight industry on good gravity is certainly stronger output than eight industry on poor gravity.

As for the colony ships, both are headed to the far north. I change the rear one to stop at Seki next turn, where we will share the system with our Tachidi friends by nabbing a large G2y that is mineral rich.

I obsolete all our current ship designs, especially colony ship. I design a warp3 colony ship, and a new smaller system outpost ship to replace the less-than-ideal design I did on my first turn. The default colony and outpost starship designs fit into smaller frames by using smaller (slower) system engines, and for ships that you don't intend to fight with, that's a good way to make them cheaper.

We sorely need an effective system ship design. I considered making a "Nukem" design with nuke warheads, but I see that we have anionic warheads being researched. I'll wait for those to come in. In the mean time, our navy is too carrier-heavy. We need some gunships. I check our gun techs, looking for "autofire" improvements. These cause the guns to fire three times faster, making them IDEAL for shooting down enemy incoming, as well as giving you more damage bang for the buck. I note that we have autofire mass driver tech, as well as both miniaturization techs. There is also armor piercing, but that's not worth the space it takes up in the early game, when designs are all still light on armor. (Whether armor piercing is ever worth the space it takes up is another question, which I can't answer at this time). So... I'm going to design a mass driver gunship. Here we go:

Note that the listed damage is 70. If I used quark guns, the listed damage is well over 100, but those would not be autofire. The autofire improvement basically triples the damage output, so I can get more total damage (vs unshielded, low armor targets) with the autofire, miniaturized mass driver guns. Plus autofire is immensely helpful for shooting down enemy incoming, which is the main use of gunships later in the game. I'm designing these ships to be useful even after the design is obsolete.

The mass drivers are standard mount, not spinal. I have found the spinal mount to be too inefficient. The notion that gunships "suck" is based on the idea that they can't close with the enemy, that enemy fighters and missiles shoot them down first. I have not found this to be true. Properly designed gunships emphasize faster firing ratios, and these are able to fend off the enemy incoming. In this regard the autodesign option makes poor gunships, since it prefers the spinal and point defense mounts. These are the two least efficient mounts! Heavy mounts are the best, standard and light mounts are also good. Our MassDriver3 design should rule the battlefields, at least for a while, especially in combination with our own carriers. I made this design the largest hull we can currently build, so that we get more total firepower into the field at less cost.

Finally, note that I added one light mount quark gun, to fill up the extra space. This put us over the design limit, but I only had to shave the system engine speed from 1500 down to 1490 to gain the extra space needed to squeeze in that last gun. You do this by clicking on Engine tab, typing in a lower speed and hitting confirm. I didn't want to lose much speed, as this design is meant to be a hunter-killer, but 10 units ought to be worth an extra gun.

Now that I've done some redesigning, it is time to run through the military build queues, remove obsolete designs, add in more system outpost ships, change colony ships to the new faster design, and see about getting some of the new MD cruisers into production.

I check the espionage front. We have a lot of spies, and being a strong spying race, and having figured out just how to spy finally (more details to come), I select four of our better looking spies and insert them into the Tachidi empire. Let's see what we can accomplish.

Finally, I see that we lack open border trade with the Grendarl. I dial them up, ask for it. I ask for an upgrade to our current TA from the Tachidi. Then I dial up the Ithkul just to give them a good raspberry. :lol:

Turn 62: Eek! :eek: Two of our four spies were KILLED trying to insert. A third was captured, and only one made it through. The Tachidi must have their oppressometer ratcheted up to fend off heavy spying. We also have spy troubles of our own and I will have to ratchet up our O-meter just to deal with them. Good thing we have a decent amount of happy in place, though in a couple spots we could use a little more.

Nostrum explored, two R2. Not a friendly place. Dead end star, so I sent the ship on into Tachidi space to explore. Won't get any more results from him on my turn.

I slide our O-meter up to 5! That's considered beyond "High", but I want to catch some of these current spies the next turn, then I'll lower it back to 4 or maybe even back to 3.

Also, us being a strong economic race, we get extra interest on our treasury. What that means is that we save now, the interest income will give us more to spend later. If the spending now brings in a big return, it might be worth spending now, but I look and see we have food and mineral surpluses, heavy ones, so I cut grant funding and also increase taxes 2%. That ups our surplus to almost 1k per turn! I'll see if I can hold on to that and get our treasury up over 10k from 2k where it's at now. That would give us about 1k per turn in extra interest income (no joke), as far as I understand it. That could be worthwhile!

Also, spaceport tech came in. I expect much of my turn to be spent with our planets focusing most of their resources on constructing spaceports and deep extraction mining improvements, at the whims of the viceroys, and I'm not going to fight them on that. These improvements will help our economy a lot!

Turn 63: We caught one of the enemy spies! Go O-meter! Unrest is on the rise, though. I decide to lower the tax back to what it was, we can't afford it at the moment. Still one spy left out there. I lower the O-meter to 4, which is still "High". Note that we DID catch a spy by increasing it, though, and you may only have to increase it temporarily... until the next enemy spies show up.

New colony founded at Seki. I order up a system outpost to grab a Y2g, then MobCenter, then a base. I assign the DEA's, including seven of them to industry. We'll want a strong world in this system, as it will represent a major border with our Tachidi friends.

By the way, they killed our fourth spy, so we got nothing out of them! Yikes. Well at least we know whom not to target with future spy efforts. I'll try the Grendarl a little later and see what I get. So much for "I think I know what I'm doing with the spies now". :lol:

I assemble our two new-produced MiniC2's and the two FtrRecon2's into a four-carrier TF. This will be our "main force" for some time to come. Use it to keep any Ithkul ships away from our planets by keeping it in the Darlok system, or else the Yellow Dot.

With the new missile tech available, I design us a functional system ship. Note, these ships really chince on the engine speed, to get a third missile rack in there. They are basically weapons platforms, note the damage they pack. If the enemy shoots down all their missiles, though, they've got nothing else.

Both my diplo proposals were accepted.

In combat, we lose a scout in the east as the nebula red star to an Ithkul gunship. Yikes, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? One, Two, Three. Three! (There, maybe Charis will feel better. :crazyeye: Apparently, it's a dangerous world out there if you are in a scout ship, as I thought I'd be fighting another scout and stuck around too long. By the time I saw the first shot eat 45% of our hull value, it was too late to get away).

Turn 64: We caught the other spy! I lower the O-meter to an incredibly celebratory level of 1, for this turn. Will put it back to three after that for general spy protection.

Our new 4-ship carrier TF moves toward the frontier.

Turn 65: An Ithkul gunship is heading for the Darlok System. Our main fleet won't be there, but we do have two carriers. We trained a new spy and I inserted him into the Grendarl empire. They were the ones spying on us, by the by.

OUCH! :eek: The Ithkul gunship had no problems shooting down our fighters. I tried to move the carriers out of range, and stay ahead of their ship, to launch more fighters, as we did get some damage in there. Not good enough, however. Their ship was faster, and once again before I realized the magnitude of the danger, our ships have been destroyed! Here's hoping our larger fleet will be enough to stop this menace! They now have space superiority in Celebrai!


Mar 11, 2003, 08:29 AM
Turn 66: More diplomatic deals accepted by our two friends. I make yet more proposals.

The Ithkul ship has moved on? Why are they advancing to the rear? Chased off by the one planetary defense base I had managed to complete building on the Darlok world? Or busy with other orders and just stopping by to inform us of our naval inferiority?

Turn 67: A new outpost established in home system. Also, the Darloks have established two auto-outposts for us, including one at Yellow Dot!

Oh, and finally some spy action, successful missions in the Grendarl empire!

Spying note: The "Luck" rating seems to be roughly equal to "hit points" or "karma". Spies may fail a luck roll and be killed, but short of that, they seem to last as long as their luck holds out. Therefore, you want to insert spies very soon after they are trained, if possible, to get the most value out of them, as luck dissipates over time. Luck is also used up during missions, escaping enemy detection, pulling off missions, escaping from prison, getting in and out of rival territory. If a spy has been successful, but his luck starts to run low, retire him. If the whole lot of spies that are inserted start running low, recall the whole batch.

The spy game is better than I first thought, but the O-meter levels of the target are the biggest factor. No sense beating your head on the wall vs an empire running theirs high. Go for softer targets. Using spies on the defense is probably NOT worth it after all, except to add extra layers of protection around leaders (political spies). Just pump up the O-meter, like I did in this round, to clear out a nest of spies and drop it back down once they are cleared out or unrest gets too high. That method worked in MOO1, too: just run through every now and then and max the Oppresometer, clear the whole lot out in one round, then go back to low security. That's what the AI's would do, which is how I learned to do it. The MOO1 Psilons in particular were notorious for maxing (and I mean maxing) their O-meter on a regular basis, catching your entire spying contingent in one swoop, time after time after time. Note how this worked out. I didn't mention the massive rise in unrest after the one high round. Basically, that level is not maintainable. Crack down quickly, then relax again, seems to be the best plan if you are hit with a lot of successful enemy spies.

Turn 68: Enemy spies are back! Arg. I bump up the O-meter to 5 (very high) for one turn. See what we can gather into our net. Another Ithkul ship approaching Celebrai. Our fleet is in place.

Hmm, THREE ships in the Ithkul fleet. I opt to "Defend Planet", where we would have assistance from the planetary defense base. The Ithkul decide to blockade. This is actually NOT a problem, since even though we can't import from outside the system, apparently intrasystem trade is still active, and food is tansported from planet 5 to planet 4, which currently has no operational farming. (Note the yellow, not red, food number).

Turn 69: We get another new outpost in home system. We caught one enemy spy but others got through and did damage. I have to drop the O-meter to 4.

I took the time throughout my turn to implement some dev plans. Here's a look.

The unrest plan will help us deal with high unrest locations faster by getting the viceroys to prioritize happy DEAs. The starvation plan helps prioritize food and items that may help vs a blockade. Some of the other plans tell the Viceroys to focus a good bit on adding planetary infrastructure (DEA upgrades, planetary facilities) to make our economy stronger. Manufacturing (factories) get some strong emphasis, too.

Also, we had a hostile encounter with Silicoid ships. Our scout barely managed to fleet their squadron. (I'm learning to reach for that General Retreat button faster now).

Turn 70: Caught another spy, plus no successful enemy missions this turn. We settle at Andurfin. Good thing we are making our way toward the center of the galaxy, as we don't even know any senate races yet.

Bad news, our scout escaped the Silicoids only to run into a harverster missile boat that BLEW US AWAY! I mean, insta-100 damage(TM). We are going to have to go on a fleet-building campaign, as incredibly enough, the AI is mounting the most credible early attack I've seen it do yet! In any game. That Ithkul fleet is still blockading the Darlok System. We have a comfy stalemate. Our ships cower under the umbrella of planetary defenses, while theirs cower out in space, good old Mexican Standoff.

We also have more new outposts. We have six total and some more yet on the way.

Turn 71 SitRep: Andurfin is right next to Orion! We gain contact with the NO's (first senate race we've met) and also with a Cynoid race not in the senate. Humans and Cybernetiks don't get along very well, so our relations with them are rather poor!

In a cruel twist of fate, we get an event where a translator goes haywire and our relations with other races suffer, just as we're meeting new races!

We have caught two more spies! Including one killed by one of our defensive operatives, so maybe they aren't completely useless. Another spy is on the loose still, though, and did some damage this turn.

Finally, Mobile ground units tech came in this turn. That's nice! We won't have to train only infantry. Apparently we didn't get the tech for Marines this game.

Advice: Continue the defensive standoff at Celebrai. I think we'd lose if we intercepted their fleet. Our carriers have proven completely ineffective vs their gunships.

Because this was such a heavy-infrastructure round, with many DEA upgrades needed (mining add-ons, research add-ons, space ports, and the need for more industry) we didn't get ANYWHERE on fleet production. In fact, I lost two carriers and all but one of our scouts in hostile Ithkul encounters.

We only have two systems ready to build our Mass Driver cruisers: Nitzer 7 and Balren 7. That's our oldest two worlds, heh. And Nitzer is locked up in building a few cheap system outposts first, since we don't seem to be in Dire Emergency mode just yet, holding them off at Celebrai. And Balren had to upgrade shipyard first, in fact it's still doing that and will be ready to start cruiser construction next turn. (I have some infantry in there as a placeholder. They are very cheap.)

Since we lack for ANY strong industrial worlds, we frankly aren't in much position to take it to the enemy.

If the situation worsens, perhaps design a modern Frigate class missile starship that can be built anywhere, and upgrade our status to Peace Through Strength and increase military grants. If we maintain status quo, a bit more time will be all we'll need, as infrastructure finishes and populations grow and more factories come online.

This map shot was taken at the time of my first scout defeat. See the Ithkul ship at the red star on the right, east of the orange dot.

Orange Dot = guardian location.
Pink Dot = Our homeworld.
Yellow Dot = halfway point to Ithkul home system.
Light Blue Dot = Orion
Green Dot = the shared System with the Tachidi, on the other side of that wormhole.

RBMoo Team A - Turn 71 (

Good luck, Jaffa.

- Sirian

Mar 11, 2003, 01:02 PM
Posts I've read on spying seem to suggest that having one of each spy defensively is a good deal, that raising the oppressometer is not the best approach. It's not just the cost in happiness, the oppressometer has a deleterious effect on finance and on HFOG as well.

These same people suggest that you can maintain a continuous umbrella of protection if you send your LOW luck spies into enemy territory, rather than your high luck ones. Even sitting around at home, luck will decrease (more slowly) over time, so your low luck spies are your oldest spies and the ones most likely to retire anyway.

I suppose it depends on whether you are playing defensively with spies or offensively. With low-cunning races, you don't really expect your spies to do much to the enemy anyway, so you might as well keep them home for defense and only send the old, expendable ones out. As humans, in RBMoo1 we're playing a race where one of its few strengths is spying, so we ought to take advantage of that offensively. The fact that top-cunning spies get an extra +10 luck helps with the longevity too. Still, posts I've seen regarding humans in particular doing spying seem to have a lot of success with keeping a spy of each type home on the defense, and sending the remainder on offense. Whether you keep the less lucky ones home or the more lucky ones probably doesn't matter in the end so much as making sure you are able to maintain your defensive coverage by training the right replacements at the right times. There's also the matter of considering cloak/dagger as well as luck when inserting spies.

Jaffa Tamarin
Mar 11, 2003, 11:05 PM
Also, us being a strong economic race, we get extra interest on our treasury. What that means is that we save now, the interest income will give us more to spend later.

According to the manual, you only get interest on your account balance if you're playing a game with timed turns and finish a turn early. Of course, this may not be how the game actually works. (The manual also says that you only pay interest on imperial debt in games with timed turns, which is definitely not true.)


Fiddled a bit with the development plans. Democracies get a big boost to unrest reduction from government DEAs, and a big hit to unrest reduction from military DEAs, so I swapped these in the Unrest plan.

[Edit] Ummm. I did. I know I did. But the game appears to have lost my changes :confused:

We don't appear to have any "Primary" planets. We have "Core" and then jump immediately to "Secondary". I copy the Primary plan to Secondary. (I read on IGMoo that Primary was the first planet colonized in any system, but that doesn't appear to be true.)

Also added Frontier and Yellow Ring plans.

I ordered our scoutship at Knaa to head to Deilas to explore the Kraakta empire.

Combat: stand-off continues at Cebalrai (and continues throughout my turn).


The Omarasis rejected our offer to them (TA: Intelligence).

Nitzer VII completes an outpost system ship. Two more to go, and then we can start building MassDriver3. Whoohoo!

Spying: killed a Kraaktka spy. Production sabotaged on Balren IV.


Event: outbreak of agricultural pests on Cebalrai IV. Agricultural production was reduced from, umm, 0 to 0.

New techs: Planetary Shield Generator, Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Continuous Quark Cannon.

Balren VII finishes Matter Conversion Module. I start on a couple of colony ships since we have a couple of systems needing them.

Our carrier (?) exploring Waghi finds one G2 planet (out of 4). And a random technology (which apparently has already been used, since we don't get anything from it).

Talitha IV grows to full colony status.

Spying: production sabotaged on Seki IV.


The harvesters have colonized a planet at Tilamas. We now share a system with our sworn enemies. How .. interesting. (Good reason for building at least one system ship asap in new systems, perhaps.)

The Kraakta want to swap a load of our best techs for some random junk. (Laser Miniaturization I and II and Continuous Fusion Cannon for Command Center, Quark Cannon Miniaturization I and Holistic Planning. Okay, so Quark Cannon Miniaturization isn't quite random junk, but still...) We decline, politely.

We propose, reasonably, improved trade agreements with both friendly empires. I consider going for defensive alliance, but I'm not sure what this does, exactly. And I don't want to get too cosy with either of these guys in case we need to ditch them later to suck up to senate members.

Spying: foreign agents infiltrated our repair yards and damaged some ships. Does that have any real in-game effect?

Combat: our colony at Laan II is attacked by the Aquial empire. Ummm. Who?


Laan II starts emergency build of an Anionic Defn ship. ETA: 7 turns. I discover, which I didn't know before, that you don't need to scrap a partially completed build if you want to start something else in a hurry -- you can move the new item to the front of the queue, and leave the part-built item in the queue to be finished later. Probably everybody else already knew this :)

New techs: Netizenship, Quark Cannon Miniaturization I.

Spying: Kraaktka spy killed. "Our citizens cower in fear of enemy terror tactics." New spy Miletos finishes training.

I'm not sure paying our spies to sit around at home twiddling their thumbs is doing us much good, so I insert a couple of spies (the luckiest two) into the Kraaktka empire.

Combat: continuing stand-off at Cebalrai. The Aquial have left, apparently.


Both our allies agree to improved economic TA. We propose more improval. How do we tell what level we're at, and does it make any difference?

New techs: Broader Usage (that's a tech?), Planetary Commodities Market.

Both our spies were killed :P

Our citizens our still being terrorized by foreign agents, so we try for a turn of increased oppressometer.

Combat: we encounter a ship of the Lularga empire at Balren, but they don't attack us. Harvesters attack our undefended colony on Tilamas IV.


New colonies formed at Balren III and Cebalrai III.

New techs: Holistic Planning, Materials Processor, Automated Biocare, Magazine.

Spying: we kill spies from the harvesters and the NOs. Yay for government oppression!


Our allies agree again to improved TAs. We appear to have reached the limit for economic TA with the insects, so try proposing an intelligence TA.

Minor unrest in various places. We reduce local taxes on the affected planets, and bump imperial spending on unrest reduction.

Spying: Spectre retires. No enemy agent activity :)

Combat: harvesters continue to attack Tilamas IV.


The machines have contacted us and want an economic TA (spitefully!). Well, okay.

New tech: Deep Loyalty Indoctrination.

Combat: harvesters are still at Cebalrai, but have left Tilamas.


Allies again agree to our diplomatic offers.

New colonies at Balren VI, Nitzer V, Laan I.

New techs: ECM II, Cross-cultural Reference Library, Thetaplex Scanning Array.

Combat: harvesters back at Tilamas, but don't attack.


Diplomacy messages incoming from machines and insects.

Spying: hostile agents have tampered with our freighters.

Nothing else of note. Unrest appears to have been successfully contained.

Turn 81 (

Mar 12, 2003, 06:47 AM
Dev Plan changes work like DEA changes. You have to tell it to clear out the existing, wait a turn for that to happen, then you can insert different items into the applicable slots. Awkward? With the dev plans, surely. I don't understand why they make the MACROmanagement tools awkward! The micro-tools, they have the excuse that "we don't want you to micromanage". This... is just nonsensical. But... at least now you know how to make the changes.

Also, we need to produce some of those MassDriver3 ships, to regain control of our own space. Balren 7 and Nitzer 7 are the only sites we have with the shipyard capacity at this point. Jester, please see that we get some new warships going, especially out of the capital at Balren 7. We need to halt attacks and blockades, and also want to look toward invading and taking over some of the weaker Ithkul planets before they grow strong, so some of our smaller planets might want to train 5-packs or 10-packs of mobile units and support.

Any of the new colonies that are on poor mineral worlds might be good for maxing industry (manually laid out-DEA's, with only fertile land farmed, and one gov+rec zone) and concentrating on shipyard items, to get a couple of fleet-producing industrial worlds online within 50 turns.

- Sirian

Jaffa Tamarin
Mar 12, 2003, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by Sirian
Dev Plan changes work like DEA changes. You have to tell it to clear out the existing, wait a turn for that to happen, then you can insert different items into the applicable slots. Awkward? With the dev plans, surely. I don't understand why they make the MACROmanagement tools awkward! The micro-tools, they have the excuse that "we don't want you to micromanage". This... is just nonsensical. But... at least now you know how to make the changes.

*falls over*

Okay, there's some logic to it working that way for DEAs, which represent actual physical structures on the planet. You have to go and send in the bulldozers, which takes some amount of time, before you can start construction on a new DEA.

But for dev plans? That's just stupid. And what's worse, the game gives no indication at all that changes made are not going to stick. At least with the DEAs it's somewhat obvious how it works since the game won't let you put in a new zone immediately.

Mar 12, 2003, 11:24 AM
... it's coming to the Ithkul.

I'll devote my turn to massing a fleet to kick some harvester butt.

I'll play it as soon as I get back from school today.


Mar 12, 2003, 12:42 PM
Originally posted by Sirian
Dev Plan changes work like DEA changes. You have to tell it to clear out the existing, wait a turn for that to happen, then you can insert different items into the applicable slots. Awkward? With the dev plans, surely. I don't understand why they make the MACROmanagement tools awkward! The micro-tools, they have the excuse that "we don't want you to micromanage". This... is just nonsensical. But... at least now you know how to make the changes.

Actually Sirian, You just need to clear out the existing plans you want to change and close the panel. Go back into the panel and it'll be cleared. You can add in the replacements on the same turn.

Jaffa, I didn't know you could keep production on the current ship. So thanks, you helped me out at least.:goodjob:

Mar 12, 2003, 05:17 PM
For whatever reason, I can't download the file. I'll check back later.


Good to go now. Empire looks to be in ship shape, but it can always be better! :lol:

Mar 14, 2003, 02:19 AM

Turn 81: Relations go up with tachidi, down with Cynoid. Whoop dee doo. I propose a +research to cynoid, and an intelligence to the grendarl.

I also tweak stuff. Lots of stuff. Mostly build cues.

Turn 82: Cebalrai- NC
Grendarl accept +economic.
NO spy bites the dust.
A cultural district office blows up. (This happens regularly, so I'll stop listing it... I've tried to get rid of the bugger for 10 turns, and you can see the disastrous result of my latest attempt on turn 91...)
Balren II and Nizer I established.
Xi Scorpii explored, 1Y worth checking out.
Scout stuck, set to return through Ithkul territory.

Turn 83: Tilamas- NC
Cebalrai - Total victory. We spanked the Ithkul, and control the system absolutely. :hammer:
Lv. 12 econ.
Balren II: 6 industry, 3 "usual mix" (gov, mil, rec)
Nizer I: 2 mining, 3 ind, 3 usual
Migration off at seki IV

Turn 84: Lv 11 physical, rail gun discovered.
Cynoid and Grendarl accept earlier pacts, Econ and Intel.
Event: Heavy foot of gov't reduced.
Colony bound for Knaa III.
Set O-Meter to 5.

Turn 85: Allowed to bombard Tilamas III, so I do. Minimal damage.
Our sweet spy leader dies. Argentine Mafia involvement suspected.
Set O-Meter back to 3.
Pirates raise unrest at Nizer I.
Quark cannon miniaturization II comes in, as does lv. 11 biology.
Balren VI: 3 min, 6 ind, 3 usual.
Offer open border to Cynoid (they later take it)
Offer +research to Grendarl (so do they)

Turn 86: Bombard Tilamas again.
ECCM II comes in.
NO spy chows some drano soup.
Slow news day generally... :sleep:

Turn 87: Continue bombardment.
Nizer 3: 7 ind, 3 usual.
Lv. 14 social, lv. 12 math.
Also slow.

Turn 88: Tilamas turns to "no combat". Maybe I should have pressed? I didn't bother, but feel free.
Bulk freight comes in, as does lv. 12 energy.
1st Mass Driver 3 complete.
Colony sent to laan 5.

Turn 89: Tilamas-NC
Sanitation infrastructure and automated factories come in. (Builder city today!)
The tachidi sit down, relax, have a smoke, and threaten us. :smoke::lol:
Laan 5: 4 bio, 5 ind, 3 usual.
Send outpost to tilamas II.
I send +econ to everyone (except NO and Ithkul)
I balance the tech sliders a little to emphasize social science less, and energy more.

Turn 90: Event- computer crashes upset ambassadors.
Battle Cruisers come in.
O-Meter set to 5 ( :mad: )
I turn migration off Talitha IV.
I ask the Tachidi for a +research.

Sitrep turn 91:

Tilamas- No combat
Armour piercing anionic warhead positive overrun
Impulse engine delayed 1 turn
Everyone accepts +econ
Medium armour comes in
2nd mass driver 3 done on balren VII
FtrRecon2 complete on Laan II
SysCol done on Tyr I
Lv. 12 phys science complete

And, now for the kicker...

Balren I, Talithan IV, Nizer IV, Nizer V, Cebalrai V and Laan I are all in unrest. That teaches me to abuse the O-meter. :(

Well, there ya go, Charis. Sorry to leave you with so few ships, and yes, the peasants are revolting. But there are ships coming, I guarantee it. Just be sure to keep them coming. Oh, and a couple 10X mobiles, just in case we need them.

JesterTurn 91 (

Mar 15, 2003, 04:37 PM
Had some trouble getting to the download folder, but now I have it...


Mar 15, 2003, 10:11 PM
Admiral Charis comes back for a second reign, facing major unrest,
as the people yearn to live unoppressed.

[91] Earlier sitrep mentioned: Balren I, Talithan IV, Nizer IV, Nizer V,
Cebalrai V and Laan I are all in unrest. Other reports were minor.

We're number 1 in power rank, ahead of the NO? Their Rules of Engagement toward us
is total war, but we're not at war, diplomatic channels open? They have 0 naval forces?

I kick back the O-meter to 3 for now. No agents in the field, and a less-than-full
supply at home. I'll be working on that.

On the half dozen planets with unrest I cut tax rates by 3% on each.

Something I'm curious about - so far this game we've never blockaded star lanes
as far as I can see, ie have a ship at 'chokepoints' to our empire. Isn't this
a good thing, or is simply a matter of too few ships to do that AND colonize and fight.

Hit next turn and there is a space combat screen in Tilamis system. Are we
being invaded or doing the invading? We can intercept fleet, defend planet or
assault planet. Hrmm... our last leader did mostly NC on that world and some
bombardment of planet 3. Let's try assault on 3? I'll watch.

That's a fight with the Ithkul, and it looks like our missiles whacked their
ships immediately. Then a fighter swarm of theirs tango'd with our ships, taking
out one, but we killed the nest, so overall.... Victory.

[92] Sitrep: Kraatka empire accepted our offer (which was Improved TA Research)
That assault was successful with 33% allied casualties. (Yes, but I suppose
that means we defeated some ships only and with no troops could not takeover
the planet?) If that's true, I shouldn't have assaulted planet, but intercepted
fleet (if I wanted to fight at all), as I opened myself up to planetary defenses??

- Several minor things complete, also a MobileX10 on Cebalrai IV.
- On the spy front, we killed one from Kraatka, but had a bldg blow up somewhere
- Three new worlds start minor unrest: Balren III, Talitha IV, Cebalrai V.

A scout reaches Ogka. Ogka IV is G2, looks decent, I ask for a Send Colony here.

A carrier fleet of ours shows up at Cebalrai. What is it supposed to do when it
gets there? There's another mini-carrier fleet on the way. Same question... ?

Tueadass is a system controlled by the Ithkul, with no ships in it, on a planet
that is a sweet spot to us. The mini-carrier fleet will go right past this system.

I'm afraid I have no idea what we're trying to do here. Sirian's write-ups not only
give what happened, but things to look out for or strategic elements. In others
before me though, they're reading like automated dumps of the sitrep log. (Mine
read that way because I have no strategic goals or plan :P ) If you guys are
forming plans and carrying them out on your turns, let us know. "Going to amass
a huge fleet to crush the Ithkul" is a start, but... where is the fleet, where
is it heading, what systems are are on our conquest path, what planets key to
assault? What types of ships should I be adding to the MBQ to support these
strategic objectives? As it stands it's like all our military units are on
'long goto' moves to places and for reasons I don't understand, and our cities
have 'queues' that take long enough to finish that: i) I can ignore the MBQ and
let my predecessor or someone who knows what we're doing build the 'right units',
ii) anything I just 'add to the queue' I'll never see on my turn -- it would have
to be a replacement. But I'm too new to cancel other peep's orders.

One thing I wanted to do - maybe looking over the empires plans in progress would
help me figure this out. There is no global 'show me what's being built' screen,
is there? To get this info I would have to go to every planet, then popup the econ
window and see how many turns to the top unit in the queue? (And wonder along the
way why some planets like Balren 1 have 0% set on both MBQ and Planetary? Is this a
good thing? Does that go to 'normal developement' and infrastructure building, or
is that just adding to our gold income, and ignoring the planet since if you want
infrastructure you slide up that slider?)

[93] SR: NC in Tilarmas and in Tyr systems.
- Needle gun is complete.
- Another factory blown up, and our spy Horas died.
- Balren III goes into unrest.

Wondering about some troops to assault Tilamis, I remember those MobileX10 in
Cebalrai. Let's Task them up for an assault. Hmmm... no can do. We can make
an army, for system defense, but not a Ground TF to head to Tilarmas. I look
around the Cebalrai planets, and see that C V has a Mobilization Center in the
build queue, after another Mobile x10. That's what we need. I push up the
military slider to get these done quicker.

[94] SR: Impulse engine has completed. A new spy is available.
- Diplo msg: Ithkul increase trade sanctions to embargo? Uh, ok, we're at total war.
- Diplo msg: Kraatka wants to exchange items. Us: Armor piercing anionic warhead,
them: Autofire laser, Cataylist design, and Genetic mutagen. Uh, ok. Accept politely
- Improved laster tech is done,
- Another factory blows up.
- Balren III, Nitzer III join the list of unrest cities. Our income is suffering.

[95] SR: The three techs we traded for now show up as complete and ready to use.
- Not much else. A lot of techs 'become visible'

[96] SR: THREE space combat events. In Tilamis, after two NC's, this round led to
victory (I ceded control expecting a NC but we won). Then on Tyr, I saw a ship
coming and we had a bigger force blocking, so I watch our 7 go against the Ithkul
invader. One missle volley smoked him. Finally, in Tyr, Aquials. I defend and cede, NC.
- Colony ship landed at Knaa III.
- Another factory blows up
- Heavy Mount tech is complete, Improved Mass Driver is in prototype.

At Knaa III, I manually assign a set of DEAs, a broad mix. Also, with another
G2 in the system, plus a Kraakta world there, I MBQ a System Colony and a MOB.

[97] SR: At Tilamis, NC.
- That Improved Driver is now complete (quick prototype? Or is that normal?)
- Another factory blows up (is it *that* easy to sneak something as ugly
as a Harvester into a major city and have him do this over and over??)
- Lvl 15 Social Arts and Sci is reached

[98] SR: Ouch, at Andurfin, 3 to 1 odds let the Aquial defeat us.
- The SR report is more blunt. At Andurfin V they attacked us and we had nothing
to defend with. (If so, why is the planet still ours? No AI ground troops?)
- Another factory blows up
- Something is sabortaged.

It is time to crank up the O-meter again? It seemed to backfire for Jester,
but we're getting hammered each round. I leave it for now.

I increased Andurfin V's military slider.

[99] SR: Another defeat at Andurfin. Another NC at Tilamis.
- Diplo msg from Cynoid: "Listen carefully bub!!... Our relations are improving,
so watch it!" :rolleyes: Nice "improving relations" msg. Can I decline?! :P
- Amok, a mil spy is finished, I start another one.
- Another sabotage, but also, first time in a while...
- Our forces are putting the squeeze on spies

[100] SR: Idential defeat at Andurfin and NC at Tilarmis space combat results.
- Class III shield is complete and rdy to use
- Another factory goes ka-boom
- Our citizens all over the empire start to feel terrorized
- Exploration of Pi Mensae now complete.

I look over Pi Mensae. Y2g, Y2y, R2, G2y. Pi Mensae IV looks decent, also with
a special- rare gems and ancient battle dmg. This system is to the east,
near Pi Caneri. I send the scout ship North to G7V yellow dwarf.

[101] SR: Space phase same as last several turns. Then, Phooey...
- Spies have poisoned our leader, he's not expected to survive the night.
- Spies have assasinated a military leader
- Diplo msg from Kraaktka, wanted to exchange items: Personal deflector for
fighter armor and marine
- Our people cower in fear of terror. Unrest is rising.
- Hostile agents have interfered with our freighters, and trade econ is suffering
- Level 13 Phys Sci complete.

Good luck to our next leader, especially controlling spies against us, and unrest.
The Cebalrai mobilization center just now finished, so you should be able, if you
deem it good, to easily put together enough forces to takeover the Tilamis system
once and for all, beating the Ithkul there. It's one star system away.

Save File Turn 101 RBMoo1A (


Mar 16, 2003, 03:12 AM
What an intense round! Go Charis, go. :)

I got a good belly laugh out of "our relations improve, so watch it bub!". :lol: It's true, the diplomacy needs more work.

More comments tomorrow. Its 4AM. Must... sleep...

- Sirian

Mar 16, 2003, 05:08 AM
Player turns - Maybe the turns need to be longer at least in the early game because not much is coming off the production line in a hurry and confrontation with other civs are fewer as well as less consequential. The number of turns will have to be balanced and adjusted according to stages of the game. It will help each player to feel more involved when they have more turns (early on), when they can actually see something they queue up come off the production line and perhaps put to use.

Unrest and spies - Since your spies at home are not doing their job raising the Opp meter is one of the few options, but then you will have to face the chance of unrest like the last 2 successions. However, I think the populous are pretty tolerant to the Opp meter in general, within the meters range. So you might want to look to see if there are other factors involved. The 2 most common causes are, first and most likely piracy, then high tax rate (which doesnt seem likely in this game).

In case anyone forgot how to look up unrest causes... double click on the star to go to system view, then go to planet view from there. Hidden in the bottom and center is your demographic info tab, then the Unrest tab inside it will tell you what is causing the unrest.


Mar 16, 2003, 11:48 AM
I wrote that up almost verbatim from my shorthand notes at some god-awful hour of the morning, since I wanted to get the ball back into play after sitting on it (involuntarily) for almost two days. Sorry for how succinct-yet-uninformative it is. You say it reads like the Sitrep, and that's only half true; I ignore about half the Sitrep, and report the rest. :p

As for broad tactical ideas, the reason you didn't hear about any was that I didn't have any. That carrier fleet... I noticed it, but I didn't really know what on earth to do with it. So I left it alone. The 100% infrastructure planets are just a habit of mine... as I said before, it seems wasteful to me to have something building by totally worthless increments while the infrastructure slider isn't completely maxed. I think Balren 1 was one of those planets; if not, I blame the viceroy. :rolleyes:

My turn was supposed to build us a couple ships, and get some ground troops. I cued the troops, and some of the ships. I didn't make a task force out of the 2 ships finished by the end of my reign, since I thought we maybe wanted a fleet, not a raiding party. The rest of the turn was all about infrastructure.

About ground troops: Don't they just go into a common pool? I've never seen anything about them being system-specific...


Mar 16, 2003, 07:51 PM
I think the idea is that you guys don't have any troop ships on which to put the gropos. Don't know if that's true but that's what I uderstood Charis meant by the comment.

Mar 16, 2003, 08:07 PM
Yes, I know the troops themselves go into the pool, but I was hoping to launch the gropo force from the closest star system. Then I noticed I couldn't because there was no mobilization center there. (Now there is, I just built one :P )

I originally wanted to build a troop transport / assault force from there (Cebalrai) because they had just built a ten pack of troops, and I forgot that they don't stick around the planet, but poof into the reserve pool. Odd - you can fill that reserve pool instantly and send troops made on the planet there right away, but can't draw them out of that reserve pool without the MOB.

I didn't mean to pick you Jester, you just so happened to be the one before me - lack of strategic comments or 'why' behind actions is in general lacking. And even that's just because there are 1 or more 'total newbs' in game.


Mar 17, 2003, 12:24 AM
That report WAS a rush job. I'll try to give more strategic weight to my reports as we get into deeper waters. Part of the problem was that I played the turns late and quickly, since the first time I got to play them was already almost two days from the handoff.

I see what you mean about the mobilization centers. My bad.


Mar 17, 2003, 01:59 AM
I ended up being "up" in two games at once, and neither game is at a point where I can play though quickly.

It's Monday already, so Sirian, if you want to go ahead of me in this one while I finish up the inf2 turn, that would be fine. I can take this one when you're done with your turn.

Just let me know, I'm flexible. :)


Mar 17, 2003, 06:38 AM
As for troop invasions, keep plenty of troops and transport ships around... In my last game I did a low-violence invasion on a planet using all my troops. I had built exactly 1 troop force. To my dismay I notice my overwhelming armour army fails to defeat the very last marine. And then my ground force gets disbanded :mad: :eek: :cry: ??? That's 5 turns waiting and another 10 turns travel ?

Reload game, switch to mayhem, burn planet. Ithkul dead, planet mine.

Mar 20, 2003, 07:29 PM
I know I'm not really one to be talkin', but... who's got the ball here? Sirian, are you picking this one up? Are we waiting for Griz?

I'm cool with whatever. We've just been idling for a couple days, so I thought I'd check in.



Mar 21, 2003, 05:28 PM
Gris is still Up Now. Since she just posted her INF2 turn, I hope she has time to slip this one in here shortly.

Between the war news and playing a lot of MOO3 mods, figuring out what is working and what's broken with the game and involving myself heavily in feedback to QS at the IGMoo board, I have been content to let this one idle. I have been keeping an eye on it, and perhaps have been lax in pushing it forward. My apologies.

Please read my reply to Ozy at RBMoo for more information.

If Gris isn't able to play her turn here fairly shortly, I'll pick it up and get it, erm, MOOving again. :crazyeye: :lol:

- Sirian

Jaffa Tamarin
Mar 21, 2003, 09:51 PM
If it gets round to being my turn, I'm moving house and will be out of action for at least all of this weekend. Feel free to skip me :)

Mar 22, 2003, 11:52 AM
I haven't started my turn yet, sorry, but I will be able to start on it later today.


Mar 23, 2003, 06:15 PM
(101) Change Tilamas so military and econ are due in 2.

I'd like to take it to the harvesters, but, as Charis has noticed, we don't seem to be able to conquer a planet without ground troops in the task force. I note that we still don't have any transport ships, so I try my hand at designing one. At this point, I couldn't see anything wrong with the auto-suggestion, so I accept it, and TroopTrn3 is born. It doesn't have any weapons, but i'm figuring they could go well in a task force with those MassDriver3's. So, I don't TF up any of those ships either, waiting for the transports.

I set some planets to build a few TroopTrn3's, and wait. I don't think the harvesters can really hurt us in the meantime.

I'll try to Oppressometer trick again, since everyone's content except for Cebalroi III, and that one looks like it would be content next turn. O-meter to 5.

Between turns, I get the combat screen @ Tilamas, but for my whole round I just hit defend planet, because I'm waiting for the gropo's to attack. There's always no combat when I do that. I also get a combat screen @Andurfin, with the Aquials, but there's no combat there either (that also continues all turn).

(102) Balren VI - automated mine, Balren II - automated factories, Cebalrai IV - gov't DEV. Lots of Sanitation Infrastructure. We kill a FP-876-DEYS spy. :)

There's unrest at Balren III, Balren VII, Nitzer IV, Cebalroi III, and Laan I.

Level 13 bioscience.

The Omarasis want a TA research. We accept formally.

Opressometer to 2.

(103) Hellfire cannon complete with positive overrun. We have trained Avalon, a political spy. Balren VII - bulk freight module. Lots more Sanitation Infrastructures. Cebalroi III and Laan V - Bioharvest DEA. Tyr I - Basic Systems Module. Unrest at Nitzer IV, Cebalroi III, Laan V.

Kraaktha declares us powerful, and prayerfully entreats us for mutual trade/econ agreement, cringing! We accept politely.

Mostly just waiting for stuff to build.

(104) Boo! A Scath'lok hive is uncovered on Balren II, and destroys some buildings. Laan V is in unrest. I check- it's level 3, due to piracy! I TF up our extra FtrRecon2 to go to Laan V for some piracy reduction.

A spy from New Orions escapes capture. Some unrest in the Nitzer system.

Fusion Drives are ready. Is my new design obsolete already? I obsolete MassDriver3 and make MassDriver4. I keep most everything the same, just because of costs. The Hellfire cannons are tempting, but right now we really need quantity over quality, I think. Going to a Warp4 engine alone doesn't cost much.

I also design TroopTrn4, obsoleting TroopTrn3.

Sirian might want to doublecheck my designs; I've never done stuff like that before!

(105) Laan III - space port. Cebalroi IV - mobile (Shoot! Did I let it build just one?). Laan II securities board destroyed. Empire wide unrest increases due to enemy terror, boo. Unrest at Nitzer IV and Laans. I turn off migration to Laan planets for now so at least it won't get worse.

Since unrest is mostly piracy, and heavy foot of gov't seems low compared to other civs, I try turning o-meter to 5 again. I start work on some shield generators in systems with piracy and unrest.

BT- Combat screen at Ungal vs. Lularga. Our choices are assault or blockade, so I blockade - no combat.

(106) Protests vs. Bioorganic Monitoring Station. Tyr I - beam base. Seki IV - System Seat of Government. Cebalroi V - missile base.

Minor unrest - the Balrens, Talitha IV, the Nitzers. Bad unrest (2-3) at the Laans.

We've explored Ungal. There's a Y1/G, a G2/G, a Y2 controlled by the Lularga, and two reds. I have no idea why we still don't know the Lularga.

I keep the o-meter at 5, hoping we'll catch somebody next turn.

(107) Laan 1 unrest. We get a warning that Laan V could revolt. Spies blow up Tyr I's System Seat of Government. Shoot, we're getting it from both sides now! Someone us terrorizing our citizens, also causing unrest. :P Unrest at the Balrens and Nitzers.

Level 16 social arts and science.

Naturally, we caught no spies. :( The o-meter is going to have to stay at 3 until we get shields done in those high-piracy systems. I do prioritize the shield heavily, turning off research there (we can already barely keep up with techs!), and putting some partial projects on the back burner for the time being. Hey, it's just for a few turns- shields are cheap! The trick is just to make sure to remember to go back in to the planet screen as a planet completes it's shields, and turn back on research and infra.

We *still* don't know the Lularga. I really don't know what I'd need to do that would be considered "contact".

(108) Our spy Underdog is ready. Our other leader is poisoned, leaving us with none. Shoot!

Unrest at Balrens, Laans, Nitzers.

Laan II - Mobilization center

Empire-wide unrest increases again due to terror tactics. I'm really looking forward to taking care of that piracy!

I start an economic spy, since out other one is getting old. I try to insert an agent in the FP-876-DEYS. I choose military, since we have two military spies now.

Keep MM stuff to get shields built.

Ack! I notice that starvation is causing the unrest at the Nitzers! Why aren't they importing? The Kraaktha have a ship there, but they're not blockading, are they? I can't figure it out at all. I turn off migration there, at least so it doesn't get worse.

I can't do much to improve food in the system, but I can plan a bioharvest DEA on Nitzer V, so I do. I still prioritize shields at NItzer, because that will at least help with the piracy aspects of the unrest.

(109) Autofire railgun completes with overrun. Railgun Miniaturization II will be another turn due to protests.

Unrest at Laan I , the Balrens, and the nitzers. Knaa III completes industry DEA.

Our first shields are done at Balren I, Balren III, Nitzer IV, Laan V, and Talitha IV. :party:

I MM all planets that completed shields. I notice that piracy is still listed as a cause of unrest there- does it take a turn to go away? (everything else takes a turn, sigh) The Nitzer system is no longer starving- yellow food, not red. The only thing that's changed, that I can see, is that one of the Kraaktha TF's has moved off, but there's still one there. What's going on?

I notice that we have no spies inserted, but I didn't see the failure notice. I try to reinsert.

(110) Railgun miniaturization II, bioorganic monitoring station, and tritanium are complete with positive overrun.

Balren III unrest.

Fighter cannon I and armor piercing rail gun complete. Also, my notes read that we completed something called "envelop fusion", but I can't read my own handwriting.

Shields complete Balren II, Laan II. Tyr I and Balren VII - automated factories. Nitzer III - gov't DEA.

Our spy doesn't get in.

We kill a NO spy- hey, we're having better luck with o-meter of 3 than we ever did at 5! :)

Then a messenger message comes through and crashes the game, and I successfully use ctrl-alt-esc to get it back (that sure is a neat trick, this is the first time I've tried it).

Laan I , the Balrens unrest. Nitzer IV and Talitha IV unrest.

We've explored Alsciaukat. It has a Y2/G with magnate, a R2/G, and a Y1/R.

Level 14 biosciences and level 15 energy.

OK, I note that piracy is no longer an aspect on those first planets that built shields, but some of them are still in unrest with "human" as the only factor. Does it take another full turn after piracy ceases to be a factor for the unrest to adjust?

Note that we have 2 turns left on our new economic spy, then we should probably retire that old one.

(111) Unrest at Balrens, Nitzers, Cebalrois, and Laans.

We have a diplomacy message - Check for that Omarasis proposal!

Shields complete at Balren V, Laan I, and Balren VI. They will need some MM attention this turn.

Nitzer VII completes mobile X 10. We still haven't finished any troop transports, mostly because the Balrens would be the main ones building them, but they needed shields badly.

Nitzer IV - Space ship fighter base. Bioharvest DEA complete at Nitzer V, Knaa III, and Laan V. Government DEA at Andurfin V.

Someone is terrorizing our citizens and causing unrest. Phooey!

We kill a Harvester spy!

When checking into the unrest, I note that some of the planets that built shields first have piracy once again listed as a cuase of unrest. Hopefully Sirian can figure out how to deal with that. :(

Good luck! :)

-Griselda (note they've created "uploads4" but not marked it)

Mar 24, 2003, 01:57 PM
Just an FYI, to establish contact with another race, you need to have a colony (or outpost? Not sure on that detail) within 2 star lanes of a colony (or outpost?) of theirs. Just meeting them is not enough. Heck, you can shoot their ships out of the sky and burn all their planets into the ground (in theory) without ever making official diplomatic contact.

Hope that helps.

Mar 24, 2003, 02:35 PM
Think it has to be a full colony. I've had outposts that close to their colonies & not have diplo contact.

Mar 24, 2003, 02:38 PM
So the "explored the same star" thing in the encyclopedia is all a lie? :(


Mar 26, 2003, 03:39 AM
Gris, very nice report. I plan to take the time to answer your various questions, comment on your choices, etc. I'll also see what I can do about Zed's idea for transforming MOO3 SG turn reports. I liked his focus-based idea, compared to the awkwardness the Civ3-style turn-based reports seem to bring, so I plan to give that a shot, see how it works out.

Oh, and I've Got It. :)

- Sirian

Mar 28, 2003, 01:30 AM
TroopTrn3 is born. It doesn't have any weapons, but i'm figuring they could go well in a task force with those MassDriver3's. So, I don't TF up any of those ships either, waiting for the transports.

Your transports look pretty good, G. The autobuild gave them five pods (number of pods the most critical, need at least four, preferably five, to transport a whole Corps size gropo unit) and that's the main thing. The ships do have some space left over, though, which should be used either for sensors, jammers, faster engines or light weapons for defensive fire.

By contrast, the MassDriver4 design, erm, leaves MUCH to be desired. So now might be a good time to go over ship design in more detail.

Ships have two components: hull space and armor. The hull space is the interior of the ship and must account for crew, engines, weapons, shield generators, and electronics. The armor goes on the outside, and is NOT limited by space nor does it affect what you can put inside. Improving armor adds cost only. Armor does not come as a tradeoff to other items. So if your ships are going into combat, if their mission types will see them coming under fire, you pretty much want the best, thickest armor your technology will allow. The only times you might want to go with cheaper armor is to reduce costs on ships that you do not intend to allow the enemy to get close to or, preferably, even to fire on at all. Armor is thus a cost/benefit item. If you figure that the cost of better armor means that you can produce fewer of the ships in the same time, armor DOES come at the expense of other items, in the form of producing fewer, more expensive but better armored ships vs producing more ships not as well protected.

Some good rules of thumb about armor:

* Never use "No Armor" (except on colony and outpost ships) if you have an alternative.
* Never use "Very Light" armor if you have a better alternative.
* "Light" armor is a good solid armor for the price. This is the "cheap" armor. It gives some protection at little cost, and is still worth using even into the late game for some mission types.
* "Medium" and better armor must be researched. Any gunships you design for combat duty should have the best armor you can put on them. IF ships and Carriers can go lighter on armor if you protect them by keeping them in the rear while gunship TF's close and absorb the enemy's attention.
* Ships designed specifically as point defense and escort for IF and Carrier ships can go lighter on armor, just as the ships they guard, but you need to be clear about keeping these types of TF's in the rear and preferably minimizing their exposure to enemy fire.
* As far as armor TYPE, you pretty much always want to use the best available. In MOO1, better armor types were more expensive, so there was a cost tradeoff. Here there seems to be only a cost tradeoff on armor thickness. Better armor type seems to be cheaper, so as soon as a new type of ship armor is researched, all your new designs should use the best.

Now inside the hulls of the ships, the crew and such are automatic. (The designers should have just abstracted these elements). The starships engines, you always want the fastest available. The system engines, you always want the best type available, since like armor, improved tech seems to be improved all-around, with no tradeoffs to make. The only tradeoff is with system engine speed.

System Engine speed is critical. Since ALL your system ships are bunched in one TF, no matter how large it may grow, this TF will be as slow as your slowest ship. Arrgh. This means if you have System Ships from early in the game that you don't scrap, they will make sure all your system defense fleets are stuck at the slowest speed. For this reason, I have come to conclude that 1500 is the best speed for system defense ships, ALL of them. That's the fastest speed you can muster in the early game, and keeping all your system defense ships at this speed all game does render them slower than some enemy types, but gives you more space in the later game for weapons, space that would be wasted on faster engines that you won't get to put to use anyway.

By contrast, for starships, you have to be careful about the system engine speeds. The autobuild will build slower engines into certain mission types: missile ships, carriers, troopships. Yet you do not want your TF's with different engine speeds. So optimal ship design needs to factor in not just the ship type you are building, but the type of TF you want to build and which designs you intend to put into which TF's.

Short Range, Long Range TF's always want the fastest engines. Gunships need speed for closing with the enemy, for chasing down enemy fleets that are trying to maintain distance, and for maneuvering to protect your slower forces. Carrier fleets and missile fleets may want slower engines to pack more firepower, but if so, their escorts may also want to use the same engine speeds so they can also pack more firepower. Yet you don't then want these slower escorts to end up in with the gunship TF's, so you really have to be careful. If escort ships are given smaller engines, they need to be identified as escorts for slow TFs.

Now, what kind of ships you want to build depends largely on two things. The foremost is your available techs, the second is upcoming techs vs current techs vs obsolete techs. This starts to get more complex, where players need experience in interacting with the tech tree. I don't want to get into that too much yet. You do at least want to open up the tech panel and see what's currently being researched in the lower left box. These are techs you are actually researching, which are due in soon. And for example, looking there in the save I've inherited from Gris, I see two missile techs upcoming: Missile Shields and a new warhead type. This means I do NOT want to design any new missile ships until these techs come in. If we need more ships or new designs, I want to focus for now on some other type of ship, then build a new missile design as soon as key new missile techs come in, using the latest techs to build a design that will, I hope, not be rendered obsolete too quickly.

It is looking ahead to what techs are coming up soon, as well as what we're currently short on, that I can decide how best to focus the military on my round.

Now, in terms of designing ships, let's start with a gunship.

There are four considerations here.

1) Strategic needs and priorities.
2) Mission type, TF purpose.
3) Available guns.
4) Available gun upgrades.

Gris completely missed step four in her MassDriver4 design. She's got no upgrades at all on the guns! That's not always bad, but it is only acceptable if using state of the art guns that are so new, you don't HAVE any upgrades for them yet.

Also, it seems that Griselda built her design by modifying the MassDriver3 design. That's not a good idea. You can end up with all kinds of obsolete tech on a ship.

* We want the thickest available armor on a front line gunship. MD4 has "light" armor, while medium is available. Not good.

* We want the best type of armor available on a front line gunship. MD4 has Zortium, which is the worst armor type. Since it's our only available armor type, however, that is the best we can do, so that's a thumbs-up. :goodjob:

* We want the strongest shield type on a front line ship. MD4 has Class 1 shields, while Class 3 have recently been researched. :smoke:

* We want the strongest shield generator on a heavy gunship. (Carriers or escort might go with weaker shields to save space/cost, but any ship taking a point position wants the best defense you can muster). MD4 has "small" shield generator, which is only half as strong as the "Standard" generator. That's not good either.

* We want the strongest overall gun for our front line ships. This will be either the latest guns, OR slightly obsolete guns fully decked out with upgrades. MD4 is sporting ancient guns rejected by the Homeworld Museum as too weak/old to be put on display. :p

* We want our Ships of the Line to bristle with firepower. MD4 has 20% of its space unused. (Perhaps the crews are playing zero-g volleyball in the unused areas). Not good. That space could be used for more items, or the ship hull size could be reduced if these are all the items we want.

The best way to make a new design is from scratch, with the aid of the autobuild. That is, forget existing designs and start over. Once you know what to do, it goes quickly -- in fact, more quickly than all the checking and messing around you have to do to ensure an effective upgrade from an existing design.

You select the desired hull size (colony ships are always destroyer class, gunships of the line and carrier/missile ships should invariably be made from your largest available hulls, while escorts or raiders may call out for being made in larger quantity from smaller hulls, and defense ships may need to be specific sizes to accomodate newer planets who lack for shipyard capacity). Then you select the appropriate ship type: orbital, system, starship. Then the most urgent, you select the correct mission.

* Gunships of the line should be Short Range Attack. You want them to close and destroy.

* Support-fire gunships intended to nibble at the enemy from a distance should be set to Long Range Attack. These ships will try to maintain distance from the enemy, closing to the outside edge of their attack range. They should have your longest available guns and mounts. Since the AI prefers this type of ship, however, there are few times when you can nibble at the enemy like this. It's only highly effective when you outrange the enemy, and more so if your engines are also faster. Thus, if you can fire with impunity because you can remain out of their range, these types of ships can be main line units. Otherwise, at best, they can provide rear guard fire support for the Line ships.

* Missile Ships should be Indirect Fire. These will mill around in the back lines.

* Carrier ships should be Carrier. These will seek a range behind the Long and Short range TFs, but not try to run/hide as dilligently as the missile ships.

* Escorts for IF and Carrier fleets should, in fact, be designated as Point Defense. This gives them an improved AI to understand that their only mission is to sit back and guard the heavy distance hitters. These ships can be made with ligher armor and shields, and short range weapons, since they are more likely to need to engage enemy fighters than anything else.

* Escorts for Line fleets should be programmed the same as the core ships: Short Range Attack for front line, Long Range for harassment and support fleets.

* Planet Busters (if we advance that far in tech) should be designated as such.

* Transports/Colony/Outpost should be designated as such.

* Large task forces require "Picket" ships which must be given the Recon mission, to go into the outermost ring of the formation. These ships can vary in design. You can add sensors, if you wish, or fighters, or guns, or electronics, you name it. You can even design core ships and assign them the Recon mission if you want to produce the heaviest, baddest task forces late in the game.

When assembling large Task Forces, an appropriate number of escort and picket ships must be avilable in applicable ratios. These are shown in the task force assembly panel.

OK, so you select the correct items from the three pull down menus (size, type, mission) and then click Autobuild. This is the START of your ship design. Next you want to modify what the shipyard viceroy has suggested. It helps to know what the autobuild will put on ships, not only for your own use, but in recognizing what the AI's will be putting onto their ships.

* For ALL combat ships, the autobuild selects the best armor "type", the latest shield "class", the latest starship engine (for starships; for system ships it leaves out the stardrive), the latest system engine, selects specials to add to certain mission types, selects armor thickness, shield generator size, and system engine speed according to mission type, then fills up the rest of the hull space with applicable weapons.

* Short Range Attack: the autobuild selects gun types of shorter range but bigger damage, and mounts them on spinal mounts. It fills up all the weapon space with such guns, then fills the remainder of the space (that last little bit) with point defense guns (or light mounts, if you don't have PD mounts). Short range attack ships are autodesigned with the thickest armor and heaviest shields, and given full speed on engines.

* Long Range Attack: the autobuild selects gun types of the longest available range and mounts them on spinal mounts. It fills up all the weapon space with such guns, then fills the remainder of the space with point defense guns. Long range attack ships are autodesigned with the thickest armor and heaviest shields, and given full speed on engines.

* Indirect Fire: the autobuild selects SMALL shields, LIGHT armor, slows down system engines considerably, then fills the hull space with your biggest, baddest, best missile racks: strongest warheads, largest delivery systems, and stocks all racks with five shots apiece. Any remainder of space will be filled with Point Defense Nuclear Missiles, also with five shots apiece. (I have found this general design to be highly competent, though I may increase the armor load and dump the nukes for a gun or a special).

* Carrier: the autobuild selects SMALL shields, LIGHT armor, but installs full speed system engines. It fills the combat space with your best available fighters with all available upgrades, with Space Control chassis. Any remainder of space is filled with sqauds of unimproved Laser Interceptors.

* Point Defense: the autobuild selects your best shields, armor, and engine speed, then fills the space with your best gun mounted on Point Defense mounts, or Light mounts if you don't have PD mounts.

* Recon: the autobuild selects SMALL shields, LIGHT armor, full speed engines, and fills the ship with electronics. (Not good. This could stand some improvement).

* Transport: the autobuild selects SMALL shields, LIGHT armor, slashes the system engine speed, and fills the space with troop pods.


Mar 28, 2003, 02:35 AM
Now knowing what the autobuild will do, and understanding the general pattern of its "thinking", you will be equipped to move quickly. You select the three pulldown menu items, click autobuild, then tinker only with the items you want to change, name the ship, and bang, you're done. I can design ships in seconds, now. The only thing that ever takes me time is if there is an odd bit of "remainder" space into which nothing good seems to fit. I may spend seconds on the whole design, then minutes tinkering around looking for ways to make good use of the last ten or so units of space.

* Short Range Attack: You can trust the weapons, shields, and engines. The only thing you need to change is the guns. You do NOT want the spinal mounts it suggests. Also, the autobuild never makes use of the "Autofire" gun upgrade, which is actually
the best and most desirable gun upgrade there is. Tsk tsk on the AI, but I suppose if the game actually made the perfect ships, it wouldn't leave the player room to compete. Since Short Range Attack fleets are the bread and butter of my game plans, I usually load up on the best overall gun package I have. This may mean the latest guns, or it may mean recently obsolete guns with upgrades. It usually means Heavy Mounts, if I have them. Standard, if I do not. I may add some Light Mounts, too, and tinker with the numbers to get an ideal "fit" in the space I have, as close to the limit as I can get without going over, and without slowing engine speed. Finally, for a minority of capital ship designs (the biggest core ships) I may add some electronics.

* Long Range Attack: Frankly, I don't use these ships much any more. As time goes on, I have become a bigger and bigger fan of Short Range, heavily armored and shielded, "linebacker" designs that blitz the QB on every down. Nevertheless, if I do design Long Range attack ships, I will still want to dump the guns the autobuild suggests, in favor of Heavy or Spinal mounts with the best gun package: upgrades, etc. I may also add electronics. The biggest downside to Long Range Attack ships is that they deliberately stay out at the longer range, where most beam weapons are "diffused" and do less damage. The short range ships get as close as they can, and up close is where beam weapons savage the enemy.

* Indirect Fire: I trust the missile selection. This design is probably the autobuild's best layout. I may increase engine speed to max in some instances, though, and I will tend to change "Very Light" armor to "Light" or "Medium". I may also stick one gun on there, or one electronic.

* Carrier: I usually have to redo these. I like them to have more armor and shields, and I may scrap fighters with "armor penetrating" or "enveloping" upgrades in some cases, just to get more total fighters onto the ship. Sometimes I also prefer interceptors, IF my intent is just to create a diversion. If the fighters are intended to do actual damage, and especially if I have fighter armor and fighter shield techs, I prefer the space control fighters, as they CAN take multiple hits and they pack a bigger punch and can really harass the daylights out of some enemy types.

* Point Defense: I usually redo the guns, mainly because the autobuild doesn't choose the combo of gun upgrades I prefer. I may also add some heavier mounts for longer range.

* Recon: I scrap the stack of electronics and add whatever my fleets may be lacking in. Sometimes it's fighters (I've built SWARMS of destroyer-size "Recon" carriers in some games) and it may be electronics or guns. I don't tend to use missiles on recon ships because I need a lot of recon ships and missiles are much more pricey than the other two weapon classes.

Now... all of that may sound like a mouthful, but so does Civ3 dotmap strategy or trading strategy until you learn it. Once you know it, understand what you want out of a task force, what you want out of the task force components, and what you want out of your ship, the design process is fairly well painless. Since a LOT of the game strategy comes in with your ship designs and use of the various techs and components, being comfortable with the shipyard is crucial to playing the game.

Here is a comparison between Gris's design and the design I made to replace it. First, let's examine the guns and the currently available upgrade options.

Here is our latest gun tech. There are no upgrades available:

Now here is the gun tech that Gris was using. Note that this is with my selection of preferred upgrades. Without upgrades, the weapon is even weaker:

Now here is the gun I decided to use:

First note that all of these are stats for the Heavy Mount version of these guns. I'm designing a SOTL, or Ship of The Line: a vanguard gunship, the heavy hitter who charges into battle at top speed.

Let's compare the range. The Hellfire range and Railgun range are about equal. The MassDriver range is... shorter.

Let's compare the damage. Now keep this in mind: the game does not factor rate of fire into the damage. Using different mount sizes (different rates of fire) affects damage, not per shot, but damage-over-time, which is the critical element. The autofire upgrade doubles the gun size but triples the fire rate, yet that is not listed in these stats. So you need to think in terms of tripling the listed damage for autofire weapons to calculate the "real" damage they will do. On that score, the Mass Driver is not as far behind as it may first appear. We get 100 damage out of the HF, we get 32x3 or 96 damage out of the MD, and we get 45x3 or 135 out of the Railgun. Since all these mounted on the same size mounts, the fire rates are the same (and we've already accounted for the autofire).

Next up is comparing the Size of the weapons. This limits how many we can fit on the ship. Despite two miniaturization upgrades that reduce the MD size by 40%, it is still a hog, at 49 space per gun. We've got 36 space per gun for the Rail, 33 per for the HF. Also consider that the MD has "Improved" upgrade, which adds 50% to the damage (that is correctly shown, so without that the damage would be 21 per shot). The "improved" upgrade comes way late, only after a gun is truly obsolete, but may in some cases add enough extra punch to ancient gun techs to make them desirable in some instances.

Finally, there's one more consideration you can't see here: that's beam vs projectile weaponry. Hellfire is a beam weapon. Beam weapons diffuse over range, doing more damage up close and less at long range. Projectiles do a fixed amount of damage (and thus make for some of the best items to use for Long Range Attack fleets). The "Mass Driver family" are the projectile weapons, and the rail gun is the next in line in that family. Thus you also need to factor in that MD and Rail guns will do their full damage as soon as you are in range, while the HF gun, being a beam weapon, will not, but will do more damage as you get closer and bonus damage at "point blank" range. (This is the sort of subtlety you can't see at a glance, but can pick up on and enjoy as you become experienced with the game, much like you can pick up on and enjoy finer points of Civ3 or other games the more you play them).

Now let's compare Gris's MD4 design...

...with my Rail HvyC4 design:

Note that she's got five Light Mount mass drivers with no upgrades. These have a range under 5000. My design is on a Battle Cruiser hull, which IS larger, so keep that in mind. I've got extra space to use, and she didn't use all of her space. The Rail cruiser has size autofire rail guns on Heavy Mounts, with one miniaturization upgrade. Instead of the 55 damage her gun rack lists, mine lists 270 damage and with autofire fires three times as fast (well, almost. My mounts fire slower, so the total is twice as fast as her shots). So twice as fast, in the time her design would do 55 damage, mine would do 540. That's almost ten times as much! Also note that my ship has about two and a half times the range of her guns.

Finally, note the cost per ship. My cost is 2200, hers is 1400. In general, it pays to build ALL your capital ships (the core of your TF's) on the biggest hulls you have available. Escort ships may be built on the biggest hulls if you have enough production to do it, or you may want to build escort ships two to four hull sizes smaller than your largest available hull, and build some of these at less industrialized worlds. (You don't want ships taking too long to build even one, or they are obsolete before they come out of the shipyard, so it may pay to have one design with medium or small hulls that can be built almost anywhere). I hope that once the Military Build Queue (MBQ) gets revised in the patch, the micromanagement horror of controlling what ships get built will be relieved.

Let's also consider armor and shields. First, the armor on the MD4:

Now the armor on the Rail HvyC4:

For a cost difference of 60AU vs 20AU, on a ship that costs over 2200 AU regardless of the armor, it seems vital to me that the extra be paid and our navy guys be better protected. Note the protection is doubled on Medium vs Light armor!

Now the shields. First the MD4 shield:

Then the Rail shield:

Note that protection is 2.5 times better, AND the recharge rate is comparably improved as well, meaning that if damage is taken more slowly enough to allow some shield recharging, the better shield is MORE than 2.5 times as good.

Finally, there is a mission I have that the game doesn't have a mission for, that's a Jammer ship. I will, in the late game, usually design one ship that is all or almost all electronics. The ECM 3 and 4 items are really big space hogs. I will usually load my jammer up with one of each of my best ECM and ECCM, my best sensor, a cloak if I have it, and maybe additional electronics or maybe not. I prefer fighters if I'm going to stick any weapons on them, usually I don't bother. I assign them as Short Range Attack and stick them in the core of the TF where they are better protected, and usually stick one of each of these in every large TF I make, rather than filling up my other designs with electronics. Seems to work out well.

OK. I've got another big "lesson" planned for this round, too. But that's all for tonight. I've completed one whole turn on my round as I write this. There was a lot to adjust on the planetary front and some bits at the empire level. I need to go over the big strategic picture, too, as well as play out my round.

- Sirian

Mar 28, 2003, 02:50 AM
I almost forgot. Shipyard Capacity! Each shipyard upgrade improves your "largest buildable hull size" by one level. There is no difference in the shipyards, so if you skip the cheap "basic" facility and build the pricey high tech ones first, there is no benefit. The shipyards are all the same, in effect, but you need to accumulate more of these upgrades at a planet to qualify to build larger and larger hulls.

Each planet starts with "Frigate" capacity. Your homeworld starts the game with the two low-tech shipyard facilities already built, so it can build Minimum+2, which is up to Light Cruiser.

We do have Frig+4 Hull size: Destroyers, LC's, Cruisers, and HvyC's (or Battle Cruisers). The next size up is Battleship, which we don't have yet.

We also have four shipyard types, or up to Min+4 SYC (Ship Yard Capacity). This means we can build our largest hulls, the HvyC's, but only at planets with all of our available shipyard facilities in place, and right now, that ain't very many locations!

You can click on the shipyard possibilities in a planet list. Build the cheaper ones first, but if you get them mixed up it doesn't matter.

The order of the four cheapest upgrades are:

* Basic Systems
* Space Environement
* Matter Conversion
* Materials Processor

I think the next one may be Auto-Assembly, though don't quote me on that. :)

One thing of note is that our shipyard capacity was very poor on my last round and it hasn't been improved much since. That will be one of my top priorities, at least at our biggest industry planets and largest population centers. We will be better off to build fewer, larger, stronger ships and keep them alive than we will to build lots of cheap ships. In the same way that I showed how it is cheaper to build a cruiser with four troop pods than it is to build four tiny ships with one pod each, so it is with warships. You get more firepower for the dollar with larger ships, as well as making TF's that are tougher and take fewer casualties. Takes longer to amass a high number of ships, but quality beats quantity in almost every instance in MOO. It was true in MOO1, and it is true again in MOO3.

The PD bug is the one thing that really rubs quality ships the wrong way, since it doesn't care if the ship is a husk or a pricey state of the art warship. That's a separate issue, though.

- Sirian

Mar 28, 2003, 09:19 AM
Good gosh Sirian. This needs to be reposted over on RBMoo as part of your guide for beginners. I know I'm printing it out and putting it on my wall for reference. Thanks for putting in the time for this!

Mar 28, 2003, 11:48 AM
Sirian, you went exactly the opposite way that I've settled on in ship-building strategy now!

First, let me second your step-by-step ship-building instructions, however, since that's the same way I do it; I also find I can make ships in very little time. The thing that slows me down the most is that the last step is changing the name and then having to go and click on the Confirm button instead of being able to hit 'Enter' and have that confirm the design...

Anyway, I auto-build a hull but then I set the engine speed down to 600 on all the ships. On the larger hulls it's AMAZING how much more stuff you can pack into a ship when the engines are 'underpowered.' I can't run away, but I can sure get to a planet; if you're running you WILL get away but the system will be blockaded.

I always put at LEAST one ECM (more when an Exchange Items shows me that the likely enemy has ECCM) of the best type in every ship, since--if it's working as advertised <g>--it will keep the enemy from targeting me, be it fighters, missiles or beams.

So what we would have in a head-to-head between our current styles is that you'd be closing like a madman while I'd be pounding you with a LOT of mass-drivers or fighters or missiles, and then when you got in range, hopefully, my ECM would kick-in to make your short range beams less effective. (Since the early ECM is ONLY effective at short range.)

At least that's the theory. As usual, it DOES all depend on the tech levels you're both at...but coming up with these differing strategies, dare I say it, is what makes it a game? <g>

Mar 28, 2003, 11:23 PM
Doh! CFC File Server is not responding, not showing pics, etc. How am I supposed to illustrate my explanations about technology and tech-related strategy without the file server? :)

- Sirian

Mar 29, 2003, 07:54 AM
Although my initial assessment of the tech tree was highly unfavorable, I have since come to understand this game mechanism better, and there are many elements I do like. Part of the problem with the tech tree in the standard game is that the tech pace moves way too fast. The techs blur past in an endless march, and by the time you can put a tech to use, you've already researched a better one. This "tech blur" prevents the player from having the chance to evaluate individual techs, and thus prevents the player from interacting with the tech in any meaningful way and also shuts down interaction with what is the most vital aspect of the strategy.

I have come to see things a little differently. In MOO1, you could skip over certain techs entirely. This gave the player the chance to speed ahead to specific techs of interest to the strategy. That remains lost to MOO3, but all the other elements of MOO1 tech are here. The techs do matter. They matter a lot. They matter so much, that until you gain familiarity with them on the whole, in general for starters, and in detail eventually, you aren't actually playing the game yet.

Until you realize the difference a single tech can make, you won't understand the depth of strategy the game can offer. Once you do understand, then the "randomized" elements of the tech tree you draw in any given game start to mean something.

With a fresh perspective after a lot of mod play, I came to my turn this round with a fresh eye, ready to inspect our tech tree and tech situation and forge some long term strategy. Well, was I in for a shock or what. WOW. In all my games, I've not see a worse tech tree than this one. We're missing some of the most important techs in the game, and lots of them. I made it one of my priorities to see what, if anything, I might be able to get in trade from our friends. More on that later.

First up, an overview. The tech Matrix is your friend. Check it, see what we've got, see what's coming up soon, see what's coming up eventually. (None of this matters when you don't have a clue about individual techs, but this is what you do once you do know). You can also see what tech other races have, and what they may have that is missing from your tree. You can see this in the tech screen by checking the matrix from their view, but you can get a faster sense by offering to Exchange Items and then looking down a list of items they have to offer, none of which you possess. The only danger of this is determining what they have that you can't get via research (because it's absent from your tree this game) vs what you can get but aren't up to yet.

Tech Icons! These are how to identify techs quickly. Almost all the icons make sense. A few don't, but we'll come back to that. You can tell the general application of a given tech by its icon.

Here is a shot of our entire Economics matrix to date.

Normally this is one of the thinner trees anyway, but in this game we seem to be even thinner.

The Greco-Roman columns icon indicates a Government DEA Upgrade tech. Both Securities Board and Lending Associations are government DEA upgrades. These can extend the reach of a given government, and also extend the degree of effect, which means (I believe) more tax income available and more unrest reduction.

The yellow icon for Anti-Redundancy is an HFOG reduction tech. These help slow the growth of the Heavy Foot of Government. You don't do anything with them, but the more of them you have, the slower the pace of inflation on production costs.

The pink icon showing a drill is a Mining DEA upgrade. Get this tech, your viceroys will construct these at your mines (on their schedule, and no more than one per turn) IF you have some resources being spent on the Economic slider (as opposed to the MBQ, PBQ, Terraform slider, and Tech slider). More minerals you can support either more industry DEA's or more industry upgrades.

There are passive techs and active techs. The yellow-icon HFOG techs are all passive. So are techs like Broader Usage and Holistic Planning. These increase productivity slightly in ways hard to gauge until you have to play without them because they aren't in your tech tree! Then you'll miss them, and understand what they really do. That will take time, though. In the mean time, there's little to say about them.

The bar-chart icon represents financial or infrastructure tech. The Commodoties Market is a planetary upgrade, meaning you build one per planet and it's built in the PBQ.

All planetary items are built in the PBQ while regional items are handled by the viceroys and built with the Economic slider. The economic slider has a queue three items long, just like the MBQ and PBQ, but since the regional-level items are supposed to be handled by locals, the viceroys, and not by you, you can't see what's in the Regional Queue. You do need to understand that the Regional queue works the same way as the MBQ and PBQ, though. You can be doing three items at a time, and the economic queue will only finish one item per turn. That includes DEA's, DEA upgrades, and regional facilities (like the Hydroponic farm). You can open up the regional panel at any time to check on your DEA's, upgrades, and regional facilities.

ONE PROBLEM: the viceroys do not build regional facilities based on need. They do it strictly by the numbers. They will start at the bottom of the list of DEA's and work their way up. In this regard, the "more important" DEA's are the ones at the bottom, since those will always be the first to get new facilities, even if there are no DEA's there. (Yes, that's stupid, but at least for now, that is how it works).

In terms of players complaining that sometimes they can't get DEA's built... often that is because the viceroy is in love with regional facilities and keeps filling the econ queue with more and more of them. In my view, QS ought to ditch their "you aren't meant to micromanage" philosophy and grant the player access to the economic/regional queue. Not that the player should HAVE to run this queue, any more than the PBQ, but the option frankly should be there, now that I realize what is going on. And the reason the option should be there is what I just listed: the complete and utter STUPIDITY of the viceroys when it comes to regional facilities. At times when you are being starved out and the viceroy ignores your DevPlan that says to prioritize food at starving planets, you should be able to go in there and override its stupidity and insist it finish that Bio DEA or Hydroponic Farm next. At the moment, though, you can't do that.

Finally, from the above graphic, the Bulk Freight Module. That space icon does double duty. That's the icon for Space Ports and their upgrades, and also the icon for Planetary Terraforming techs. These are some of the most important techs in the game.

The first/cheapest Terraforming tech is called "Sunlight Redirection". It's a Physical Sciences tech, about TL10, so it comes fairly quickly. Each terraforming tech allows you to improve a planet by one habilitability ring. They also reduce your losses at outposts in hostile environments. As soon as you have one Terraforming tech, you can turn Y1's into G2's, which vastly increases max pop for the planet and also growth rate. You can turn Y2's into Y1's, which allows farming. And you can settle those R1's and turn them into Y2's, which are worth bothering with.

Frankly, this is the first game I've noticed where the player did not draw Sunlight Redirection. Ouch! We're still without any terraforming tech, though by the time my round ends, we do have one finally being researched. It will come in on Jaffa's round.

I have a lot more to say about tech, but that's all I can say for now. Got to run.

- Sirian

Mar 31, 2003, 09:00 AM
I'm using Grey's mod-pack to slow down tech development and 'strengthen' the AI, and ironically, it's made the AI WORSE. This is because with the tech pace slowed down, I have time to look at all the tech trees and see what is upcoming; then I can put 25% in the tree that I want most urgently.

Once I get it, I get its benefits, be they better mining, reduced pollution or better research...which then usually increases my ability to get the next one that I decide to focus on. The AI doesn't do this and so ends up being worse off than when we all got a slew of techs in no time...

I've found that all branches of the tech tree have some very useful things in it and so I'm not just climbing the same two or three branches anymore. In fact, above I mentioned the things that I used to put behind warp engines and better weapons simply because you CAN defend your home system with older military tech if the AI comes looking for you. (NO excepted! <g>)

I especially like the pollution reduction techs now since I had no idea that pollution could consume over 50% of the AUs you put in a queue. With each of these techs multiplying the pollution rate by .67, it goes 67%, 44%, 30%, 20% for savings of 33%, 56%, 70% and 80%

In my latest game I was out at the edge of the galaxy and so my scouts were alive for a LONG time. I THINK what I observed happening was that I would have a bit of a tree 'revealed' and then a scout would find a random tech on a new world that was higher in a tree than what was already revealed. When that happened, the tree was 'frozen' below that point except for techs marked as 'must be in tree' and so I missed some techs which I was used to having.

However, I recruited some Scientific spies to steal them from my neighbors! But I wonder if I made a trade or stole something higher in a tree if the same freeze effect would happen. (Of course, since it was only one game, it could have been coincidence.)

Mar 31, 2003, 10:12 AM
OK, found some time for more reporting. :) Where was I?

Here's a shot of part of our Tech Matrix, from the Energy branch:

Remember, the icons are your key. You may eventually get enough experience that you'll remember what each tech does (like most of you do for Civ3 at this point) but until then, rely on the tech icons to help clue you in.

The level 3 techs above are all Laser techs. I explained the difference between projective weapons and beam weapons. Well, actually, there are a couple of classes of beam weapons, too. (I'm not certain, two or three). In MOO1, there were three kinds of guns: beam, projectile, and field. Field weapons had a shorter range and less punch, but more chance to hit. Beam weapons had the most punch but least chance to hit. Projectiles were sort of in the middle, and did not diffuse over distance. I know MOO3 has followed this general sort of pattern, but frankly, at this point the only thing I'm clear on is the projectiles. I've seen the way they behave in combat and I "get" it, when it comes to them. That's why I explained them in the last post. The rest of these gun techs, the subtles are still unknown.

We've got three laser upgrades to start that last picture. What do the upgrades do? When are they worth using?

* Autofire: This upgrade triples the fire rate, while doubling the amount of space the gun requires. That's the equivalent of adding three guns for the price of two. There is no down side!

* Continuous: This upgrade improves targetting. Your guns will miss less often. Hitting more often means more total damage, so this upgrade is also a pure winner. Use it!

* Miniaturization: The upgrade reduces gun size by 20%. You can have two levels of this. They add minor costs, which are negligible. These are sure winners, too. Always use them. The only reason not to use them is to go with a better base gun. (Sometimes the latest guns, even without upgrades, beat earlier guns with upgrades. Sometimes not. All part of the fun. I would think Charis would like this aspect, but... guess we'll see).

* Improved: Adds 50% more damage at no size increase. Huge winner, but the upgrade comes late, so you only get this one for obsolete guns. Can make for interesting choices, though, lengthening the useful life of some old gun types.

* Armor Piercing: Improves damage vs armored ships. That is, rather than peeling off all the armor, you may be able to do hull damage sooner. This, in effect, improves total damage. Problem is, the upgrade takes up a lot of space. Vs unarmored or lightly armored targets, you get little or no benefit.

* Enveloping: Improves damage vs shielded ships. Similar net effect to Armor Piercing.

The AP and Enveloping upgrades are a real decision you need to make on the strategic level. Later in the game, they probably represent more of a no-brainer. I don't have enough late-game combat experience to know for sure. Early in the game, though, nobody really has thick armor or powerful shields yet. The real tradeoff on these upgrades, if available, is whether to forego the upgrade so you get more total guns (which is better in the short term) or to go with the upgrades (which means less guns, not as good short term, but the guns will continue to have some effect as enemy targets start showing up with shields and armor). So it depends on the mission of the ship. Starships, I tend to avoid these two upgrades. I need them to be at max effectiveness NOW, and tomorrow will take care of itself. System ships are another story. You may want to go with these items on system ships, so that the ships retain more value in the distant future. It really is an interesting choice.

The Class I shield has an electronics icon. I've only seen that used on shield techs, thus far, although you hardly need an icon to inform you that Shield Class IV is a shield tech.

The Hand Blaster icon with two firearms held in the air on a red background is the Ground Forces icon. All techs with that icon apply to ground force upgrades, which are handled automatically the same as upgrades to planetary bases. Your forces will always have the latest/best gear. This also means complete obsolescence for old ground combat techs.

The fusion cannon and quark cannon are energy guns. Since the icons are different, that may mean the guns are different classes of energy weapons, but... that's just a guess based on MOO1.

The Matter Conversion Module is a shipyard upgrade, and all techs with that icon are shipyard facilities (that I've seen). And as I said, there is no difference between them except cost, so build the cheaper ones first.

Here's more of our Energy branch:

The planetary defense icon, most of you now recognize from building bases.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells is a higher speed System Engine. These let ships go faster on the combat map, although you can still choose to slow down the engine speed to save some space. I talked about managing that in the last post.

Our latest Energy techs:

You may recognize the System Drives icon first. Then the shields icon, twice, and some energy weapon icons.

Note that Class II shield tech is missing! Each game, some of the techs will be missing from your tree. The "creative" racial setting affects this. Races with high creativity have fewer missing techs, while those who have low creativity will have more techs missing from their trees. The game is designed in this regard to give you a random set of missing techs, and a random set of headaches as a result, requiring you to adapt your strategy. Some techs (like Space Ports and Shipyard facilities) are "pivotal" and will always be present.

I was initially wary of the missing tech game aspect, thinking it came up short of MOO1, in that none of the techs seemed to matter, so it didn't matter which ones were missing. I've since changed my mind. The missing techs play a very significant role in affecting player strategy, needs, and priorities. One could invest a lot into scientific spies to try to acquire key missing techs. If one has allies, tech trades are also possible, but difficult to secure. Post-patch, the MOO1 game element of finding techs on planets conquered by your ground troops will make a return, as well. Short of these solutions, you simply have to do without! The game is designed such that while some techs are key, none are indispensible. I'm happy with the way that's been done. You will always have enough techs to compete, though there will likely be some keen shortages for parts of the game in some areas, which will vary depending on the hand you're dealt.

Now, about fighter weapon upgrades: depends on your mission for the fighters. If you intend them to be only gnats, to occupy enemy firepower only briefly, then clearly you don't want to add weapon upgrades to your fighters, since that means you have fewer fighters. On the other hand, if you intend the fighters to do actual damage, to use lots of them and rely on them to put real hurtin on the enemy, fighters most of all benefit from the AP and Enveloping upgrades, since their weak weapons run afoul of deflection by enemy shields and armor more quickly.

Fighter and Missile shields/armor are no brainers. These take up no space and make your stuff harder to shoot down. Fighters with armor and shields, and space control chassis, can actually take a few shots, and I believe they autoupgrade to your latest shield and armor techs, though that's just a guess.

Now for a look ahead, to what's coming up for us in Energy research:

That green icon represents a Sensors tech. That tech is the "class 3" ship sensor, which improves your detection range in combat.

The cloaking device is a bit of a unique item, and I've never seen that icon on anything else, so that may be the cloaking icon.

You see another system engine upgrade in our future, some gropo techs (these are the least interesting techs in the game, at the moment, because by and large that whole aspect of the game is cloaked under a shroud and I have no sense for what the techs do. There's feedback in space combat. I can see the effects. Ground combat is just a blur).

You can also see some more energy weapon techs. The Ion Pulse Cannon is key. In MOO1, only one of the three energy weapons (Beams, specifically) could get the "Autofire" upgrade. I cannot tell you how many dozens if not hundreds of games of MOO1 I played, over the years, and how crucial the Ion Pulse Autofire guns were to me in so many of those games. Well, true to life, this gun is special in MOO3, too. The "laser family" beam weapons with the pink icons are the smallest guns. You can fit more of them onto your ships, which makes them more ideal for defense: for shooting down missiles and fighters. It takes a long time for a maxed out Ion Pulse gun (miniaturized, autofire, continuous, improved, etc) to fade into complete obscurity.

I do not yet know whether "autofire" is available on all guns in MOO3. It may not be. It's certainly available on the "laser" and "mass driver" families, which is at least half the guns. The other half, I'm not sure. In MOO1, the "continuous" upgrade had to do with damage being rolled over from one ship in a stack to another. These were thus ideal for massing against HORDES of tiny ships. In MOO2, ships no longer stacked in that "Heroes of Might and Magic" combat model, so they changed Continuous to do something else, and in MOO3 it may be available on all gun types, I do not know.

Now on to the Biology branch:

Here are our early techs. Arrgh. The same icon is pulling triple duty! This is one place where the icons are less useful. The same icon represents three different tech types!

* Hydroponic Farms is a regional facility. You can build one per region, and they are built in the Regional Build Queue, by the viceroys, on viceroy time. You get no access to that queue. (We probably should have access, but that's a leftover element from the initial game design, with the IFP's and so forth, where the player was supposed to have a limited ability to intervene in what the underlings were doing). Note that unlike DEA output, which increases with population (as more folks work there), the Hydro Farms and similar facilities produce a fixed amount of food. In effect, they offer you a bit of a crutch or buffer while waiting for more farming techs to come in, and they are more useful to races with poor bioharvest, since that does not affect their output. Note also that these farms can only be built on F+ worlds (Y1 or better)!

* Decomposition centers are a planetary pollution reduction facility, and are built in the PBQ, where the player has control. These are VITAL, and more so for races with poor Environmental race pick. Pollution eats directly into your manufacturing output. In effect, it works like corruption: the pollution portion of your budget goes up in smoke. Races with poor environment effectively have poorer production, since more of their resources are tied up in cleanup costs. The urgency of pollution reduction facilities is "high" for every race, and "game-breaker" for races with poor environmental, like the Humans (which we are playing!)

* Automated Biocare is a Bioharvest DEA upgrade, which increases farm output. It is the Level 2 upgrade, by the way. The level 1 upgrade, "Soil Enrichment", is missing from our tree!

OK, so counting Hydro Farms as a "type" of food tech, this green icon represents both farming techs and pollution reduction techs. You should be able to sort out which from the descriptions.

Now for the rest of our Bio branch:

The human with the magnifying glass is the Spy icon. All techs with this icon improve spies: adding luck, cloak/dagger, reducing training time or cost, or adding bonuses to various rolls like insertion odds, extraction, avoiding detection, etc etc. Some mods are set to give you the exact info. QS may patch that sort of info into the game, as well. We'll have to see.

The river icon represents a regional population/environment facility. This particular one (Bio Monitoring) will improve the "fertility" of a region by one level -- for example, turning Arable into Fertile. This improves farming output, obviously, but I think it also increases maximum habilitability of the region. Of course, this facility is part of the "you can't touch it" Regional Build Queue, so all you can do with it at the moment is to make empire-level strategic choices in knowing how this will impact your supply-demand situation. The viceroys are totally in love with this sort of regional facility. You can't stop them from building them short of turning off the viceroy and disallowing money to be spent on the RBQ slider (aka "Local Economic" slider).

The other two techs shown are another Bio DEA upgrade and another pollution facility. AFAIK, all of these stack with others of their ilk.

OK, there you go. Another tech-lesson installment. :) More to come...

- Sirian

Mar 31, 2003, 04:14 PM
Sheesh. I assumed people knew so much information. Always easier to assimilate to teach. Big high-five to you Sirian!

Apr 03, 2003, 07:03 PM
Here's a pic of our lower Mathematics branch:

Two gun upgrades, plus the first showing of the Star Drive icon. All the star drive techs are in this branch.

MOO3 by and large copies the MOO1 tech names, progression, and general function over wholesale, plus techs from MOO2, and some new ones. All the star drive techs are the same as the warp engine techs from MOO1, though with less drastic scale in the early upgrades. (MOO1 used the tech level as travel speed, so warp two was twice as fast as warp 1!)

These are off the top of my head (yes I played too much MOO1).

Retro Engines = Warp 1
Nuclear Engines = Warp 2
Sub-Light Drives = Warp 3
Fusion Drives = Warp 4
Impulse Drives = Warp 5
Ion Drives = Warp 6
Anti-Matter Drives = Warp 7
Interphased Drives = Warp 8
Hyper Drives = Warp 9

And new in MOO3, Warp 10 = Warp Factor X

I guess they couldn't think of a new name, eh. :lol:

The system drives use the old MOO1 "fuel cell range" progression and names. Thus, "Hydrogen Fuel Cells", which is the name of a fuel cell, in MOO3 is slapped onto a system drive. "Dotomite Crystals", another fuel cell tech name. Well, these tech names do not make sense as engine names, but they do make sense to MOO1 players, so too bad for all you newbies! Just keep track of the system drives icon and you'll be OK.

By the by, please note the Projectile Weapon icon attached to mass driver techs. That icon denotes all projectile weapon techs, so you can know which guns are which.

More from the Math branch:

The Catalyst Design tech is a passive industrial tech. That icon seems to appear only on such techs, so that may be of use. These techs reduce the amount of minerals needed to fuel your industry, so they are ultimately a resource tech, but you don't have to build anything new to take advantage.

ECM techs use the same "electronics" icon as shield techs.

Note one HFOG-reduction techs (think of these as manufacturing techs, since they reduce the rate of inflation on production costs). Also note a pack of gun techs.

Thetaplex Scanning Array is a sensor tech with Sensor Icon. This icon represents both ship sensors and planetary sensors. In this case, the sensor tech improves what you can see of enemy fleets on the galaxy map.

Our current Math research:

Hackers are a ground troop. Why don't ground troops have their own icon? No idea. They ought to, but they don't. Hackers and Command Centers and Commandos and Magazines are all gropo support units that "borrow" icons without any pattern to it. These are just some of those "don't make sense" icons I talked about.

The rest of these you can read by the icons. Yes, there it is, our first Terraforming Tech coming up soon. That is often the second such tech, but this time we got cut out of the first one. We might still trade for it or steal it with sci-spies, but... there you go.

Terraformed worlds not only cost money to terraform, but cost maintenance to keep them terraformed. Thus, in some instances, especially Rapid Rot worlds, it may not pay to terraform! Or it may pay to wait for additional terraform techs, which reduce the maintenance costs associated with "holding your ground" on already-terraformed progress. Terraforming increases max pop on planets, though, and speeds pop growth, and more. It is almost always worth it to terraform, but the timing may vary. The viceroys pretty much start on it as soon as they can, though. Your actual ability to manage what the viceroys do is quite limited. You either go through MM Hell to shepherd them along, or you accept that they will work inefficiently but eventually get the job done all the way, given enough time. (That is, the order they do things is usually not ideal, and occasionally very poor or disastrous, but if hit Next Turn enough times they will ultimately finish all possible projects and then you're good to go).

Coming Up in the Math branch:

Those are self-explanatory, if you understand the icons.

More to come...

- Sirian

Apr 04, 2003, 09:01 PM
An excellent explanation and summary thus far on both ship design theory and application and technology development.

I have a couple of questions and comments on your posted ship design theory:

1.) You (and many, many others) have noted that Spinal mounts are not effective. I find them not only effective, but perhaps optimal. It seems to me that we are not just optimizing for damage over time, but damage over time per space used (so damage / sec / space). If you do the math for this, spinal or improved spinal mounts consistently have the highest ratio. I would post this information, but I have no idea how to make this editor use a proportionally spaced font or tabs. My attempts at posting columns of numbers have looked disastrous. I could upload an Excel spreadsheet that shows this if there is interest.

2.) You noted that you prefer standard or large size shields. In theory, yes, these should work better. But again, they take up so much more space, I think that small shields are more efficient. I just don't see lots of blue (absorbed by shield) damage during battles with standard or large shields. I see lots of yellow (armor) damage and much too much red (hull) damage when missiles are involved. So to me, the larger damage capacity and higher refresh rate of larger shields does not make up for the increased size of shields.

3.) Ship size -- I've found that having smaller ship sizes (frigates in early to mid game, battle cruisers or less in late games) means that more and more planets can crank out ships. So I'm not sure that always building the biggest ship is the best strategy, because its all about bringing superior force to bear repeatedly against many different planets.

4.) Fleet composition -- I am a believer in having only 4 ship types: LR gun (with a missile or two and some PD), carrier (with some PD), recon (with a pd missile or three), and IF. These break down to create 2 different types of fleets (packs or armadas): 6 LR gun, 6 carrier, 2 recon or 6 LR gun, 6 IF, 2 recon. By having a simple fleet composition (i.e. only 4 ship types, but all being built in the 5-pack range in 4-6 turns over 20-80 planets) can you achieve repeatable and replaceable superior force, which seems to me what is needed to repeatedly assault and take over the many planets any enemy will accumulate. Although from what I have been reading recently about cloaking and ECM, perhaps putting a fleet of those in there every now and again may be extremely effective, too.

Finally, I found this link to be extremely useful in showing some of the numbers behind the words:

Weapons and Armor Number Crunching (

I'm not sure that this is the right forum for this discussion (and apologize if it isn't), but I haven't found a better one yet, either.


Apr 05, 2003, 11:49 AM
because its all about bringing superior force to bear repeatedly against many different planets.

This phrase leads me to believe you haven't been playing Colin's mod at all yet, DarkenRahl, because this is definitely NOT what it's all about once you have a real opponent in the AI.

QS is moving in the right direction with the patch. Their "data" patch, which should be released fairly soon (one would hope, since that was the idea behind it), has just confessed to making military AI changes "similar" to what has been done in the mods. I'd be willing to bet that that similarity is going to be closer to "identical" than not. In any event, under Colin's mod, the major threat is not enemy planets, but enemy fleets, both their SoD's and -- once you are pinned down by those -- also their small harassment forces, which can and will force you to defend every access point to your empire.

If you get around to attacking enemy planets in force, then either the enemy in question has other enemies who have their SoDs tied up, or you have already crushed their entire force. Certainly if an AI who is not at war with anybody else suddenly picks you as its target in the middle or late game, you'll get a wake up call in a hurry as they mobilize whatever portion of their entire reserve is applicable to their species and intended objectives. If you have your forces already committed to multiple fronts and don't have a massive reserve of your own (which you wouldn't, since your forces are committed), well... worrying about spreading your forces out to attack as many planets as you can will be the last thing on your mind.

My shipbuilding suggestions come within that context. I did not offer the best planet-busting TF configuration. Frankly, until the PD issue of ships sitting there like ducks on a pond for incoming missiles is addressed, we don't know what an effective assault force will look like. My advice is aimed at space superiority, since if you control the skies, time is on your side. If you don't, your production base could be degraded or you may even collapse and have to scramble to form up a new defensive position.

My SOTL fleets are brutal space superiority forces. My short range designs have taken out AI fleets of comparable tech levels with ships numbering three and four times their number, of smaller average hull size, with a range between 0% and 25% casualties. The casualty rate is important. I've had TF's go down as low as 30% strength but have taken no losses, since the enemy has been peeling off shields and armor, mostly, and as soon as my linebackers blitz them, their forces start to crumble pretty quickly. Massive enemy IF armadas that can slip their missile volleys in there with my ships not bothering to shoot back are the biggest danger, and as I said, that's a bug. I now view IF and Carrier forces as support, or in large enough quantity, as stand-off forces well eqipped to hit planets without coming under fire from the beams of planetary bases and orbitals. If I get to that stage, I'm already in a good position.

My current game, I'm trying one with senate disabled. I'm playing modified Humans who traded spying ability for diplomatic and trade ability, to make them more like the original Humans from MOO1. I've got three enemies: one Cynoid right next door, one irrelevant Silicoid who has yet to engage me a bit farther away, and one significant Silicoid who has just declared war and has a 56 ship 4-armada-TF's fleet hoving over my border system, one of my very best stars and has my best farm world. My best planet there has all three bases and is building orbitals, but it may fall. My other colonies there are dying rapidly, but buying me some time. ALL of my ships are pinned down defending against the highly productive machines. On one of my two fronts vs them, I have a force of eight light cruisers at the one choke point, backed by a planet with full bases. A second planet in that system is new, though, and as yet has no bases, and so my ships are defending on their own. I have killed over sixty enemy ships, coming at me one or two TF's at a time, and have taken five casualties there, including three of my starting ships: both starting Eagle Attack, and one starting scout. The other two casualties are two of my three "first design" MassDriver1 LC's, which lack shields. My ships with shields are clearly much sturdier, as well as better armed. On the other front, I have just seven ships, all LC, two of them an older design, four of them in a single sqaud being my best current design (autofire mass drivers, which I traded for with an ally), and the newest ship is my first IF cruiser with anionic warheads. I have lost one ship here, also an early design lacking shields, but killed some fifty or more attacking Cynoid ships that have come in packs and waves, one TF at a time.

With my best farm world blocked by the Silicoids, the rest of my empire is now actually SHORT on food, despite having traded for a bio DEA upgrade tech I didn't get in my starting tree. Without food surplus, my colony ships are sitting around waiting at destination planets in the back lines because if I do land them, they'll starve before I can get a farming DEA going. I've either got to free up my farm world pinned down by the rocks, or build up a surplus in the rest of the empire independent of that supply.

And I consider this a GOOD tactical situation, since I only have three fronts and all are stable for the moment. Yeah, three planets are gone, lost to the Silicoid SoD -- not cpmpletely dead yet, but all buildings wiped out and the populations taking huge hits turn after turn -- but if I can defend the fourth, the main planet, I can choke them up there and come at them with a force of state of the art SOTL's in another thirty turns or so. One good dose of that could clear the front, perhaps. Their deployed ships are going obsolete turn by turn, so if I can field a dozen next-generation gunships of the next larger hull size, I can retake space superiority in that system, despite being outnumbered four or five to one. Going to be dicey. Depends on how many new forces they send at me there over that period. I certainly have no interest in spreading my forces out any thinner until I can deal with their SoDs, because if they mass enough to overwhelm my main defense planet on that front, they can pour into my interior and wreak great havoc.

Fleet composition -- I am a believer in having only 4 ship types: LR gun

As I noted, Spinal or Heavy mounts, or your largest mounts if you have even bigger ones later in the game, are the way to go for Long Range TF's and designs. I also noted that I don't use these much any more. The closer my SOTLs get to the enemy, the better I like it. Close in, my guns fire faster, do more damage, and start thinning out their smaller hulls while my bulky ships and thicker armor absorb their feeble potshots. Enemy fighters are a complete non-issue, while even missiles are less of a threat if my guns will bother to target them. My forces can be overwhelmed, but I have won some pretty heroic fights with this approach.

As for the mount issue, Click Here ( to visit the thread where I posed the issue and had a debate about it with some who disagreed. Rather than rewrite or paste some of that, I refer you there, and you can see the discussion in its entirety. Included is a mathematical analysis that is aimed at helping to explain why I have found heavy mounts to be the most overall effective mount. Keep in mind, also, that my SOTL's are Short Range Attack, not Long Range. That is the key to their effectiveness. The issue is different for LR ships.

Finally, as to ship size, attrition and guns-per-cost ratio are the two main factors. Number of planets who can build the ships is not the issue. Note that I said I do build less-than-max-size escort ships in middle and late game. My capital ships are all the biggest hull size, though.

Attrition is a huge factor. As I pointed out, I have had battles where half my TF's are below half hit points but have taken few or no casualties. Ships repair completely after a battle, so if a ship survives, it will be back to full strength for the next fight.

The other issue is a matter of how much total firepower you can field. As I've shown with transports, you can field one cruiser to carry as many troop pods as it takes four lancers to carry, but the cruiser cost is 65% of the cost of four lancers. The same applies to guns. You can effectively field a lot more guns in the same production-cost output if you build larger ships. The real choice is not between one cruiser and four lancers, but between three cruisers and eight lancers, since that is how the costs bear out. There is no doubt that three cruisers beat eight lancers in a massed fight. The cruisers carry the firepower of twelve lancers, plus there is less attrition.

That is not to say that the player should never build smaller ships, but it depends on the mission. The SOTL mission type that I use to bust enemy fleets in space battles, ship to ship without engaging enemy ground and orbital defenses, is best served, in my experience, as I laid it out.

Finally, your point about shields is probably valid for your preference for small hull sizes. My shield advice goes hand in hand with my mission designs, so if you design your ships differently and use them differently, my advice may not apply.

For validation of my designs, though, I point back to my report about the current Human game in the mod. This is the first game in which my new ship design theories have been fully tested, and so far the casualty rate with an enemy who is equal to me in tech and greatly superior in production is over a hundred kills to six ships lost, and all my losses are the oldest, weakest and smallest designs. I'm still being sorely pressed, despite that, but my planets have been in an upgrade phase, so my production base will soon be ready to crank ships again, and then it will be my turn.

:satan: :lol: [plasma]

- Sirian

Apr 07, 2003, 08:38 AM
I wish the AI were truly competent, even with Colin's most recent AI mod. I am playing a game as the Cynoids -- on Impossible which he said he has fixed, and by turn 30, I was at war with 2 Imsaeis nations (Gas Gods, in Sirian's terminology) and an Ithkul race. It was never close....

Yes, I saw some semi-large fleets -- up to a couple armadas at once. 100 ships? I suppose I probably killed a lot more than that, but it was never a challenge. I had one colony starved....that was it -- from the main wars.

Now, I'm still at war with those races, plus a Sakkra race (plus a border feud with a second Sakkra race, who actually successfully invaded one of my planets)...and it's just a matter of time before they are eliminated.

I'm playing it for a while, hoping the AI will put together some sort of a fight, but it doesn't look good. I've been first in the victory panel for quite some time, despite my less-than-auspicious beginning.....

Oh, yeah, I should point out that the Imsaeis race who started two jumps from my home had a splinter colony and a magnate civ in their starting solar system. I have only acquired a couple magnates through conquest -- zero splinters, zero magnates settled.

The AI is still plain bad.

On the ship design issue, I use a lot of carriers and a few IFs. I'd use more IF because the damage ratio/space is so nice, even if PD worked, but I feel like it's abusive to use too much. If I can stand to get a game to late-game, the balance of power might change over to guns on ships, but I've not seen that yet. SR escort ships only, usually one size below max.


Apr 07, 2003, 04:01 PM
I had a game under Colin's mod as Trilarian in which I zoomed way way out in front in territory and power, and halted because I deemed the game a foregone conclusion. A few comments:

* There is a pretty wide swing between the races, much more than I would prefer. Time is on the side of the Gas Gods, most of all, as they just get stronger as time passes. Fishies have a strong tech angle and diplomacy. The machines have very strong production, which makes them the strongest race in the early game. Knowing your general tendencies, Arathorn, I would guess that Cynoids probably best fit your playstyle. If you want to evaluate the game from that perspective, that's your choice.

* MOO1 had such a thing as a blowout game. A poor start and/or a weak race was required for the player to lose. The game mechanisms were such that the senate victory option was a thing of beauty. If you had a truly dominant position, you could usually translate that into a quick senate win, claim your victory, and on to the next game, which might turn out to be harder. If you couldn't win the vote, you weren't in a winning position anyway. MOO3 senate does not yet do a good job duplicating this elegant effect. I am lobbying for changes. Unless and until the senate serves its intended function, we are stuck with either a senate that ends the game prematurely (win or loss, it hardly matters), or with turning off the senate. Neither of these provides the required competitive factor for balancing the military game aspects with the diplomacy.

* Diplomacy itself is broken.

* Unviability of offroad travel makes choke points a bit too easy to create. Whether this will ever be rebalanced, I don't know.

* This game is not going to be fixed in one patch.

* More bonuses may be required to create a "deity" difficulty level suitable to your preferences.

I've not had serious trouble from any race with whom I've been at war since the beginning, in any game. Like Civ3 Always War, that seems to lead the MOO3 AI to send its fleets in amounts it thinks ought to win based on ship ratios, but which do not win, because of superior designs and tactics and larger ships for the player. If they massed all those ships and sent them at once, it would be another story. Well... they DO that, if they declare on you later in the game. I don't see anything you've reported that would change my perspective on the current state of the game. Much like Civ3 AI's, it is possible to gas MOO3 AI. It is also possible for an ungassed AI to put up a good fight. Can they actually run over you and conquer you? I don't know. If the senate victory were working properly, that kind of defeat would not be necessary to cost you the game. Just hurting you enough could do it.

What exactly is the AI doing wrong? What would it have to do differently to get the Arathorn stamp of approval?

- Sirian

Apr 07, 2003, 04:54 PM
Sirian, in case you haven't checked at Infogrames ( (the official QSI patch thread) lately, they seem to say a couple of things about letting you go off-roading to travel to other stars. And without reading it too closely against what you had said in the link you hit us with a couple of posts ago, it may well be what you've asked for!

So keep hounding them! I 100% agree with the whole post you had over there about the Senate victory; I turned it off after a few unsatisfyingly quick games which really is kind of wrong...

I was going to find the diplomatic post to link to it above; I did a search on 'Sirian' to find it and found all the other posts you had made which detail all the problems in the game. (And I guess you DO know about the latest patch stuff. <g>)

For anyone who has NOT gone to the site I linked to above, do so and search for Sirian and read, read, READ! <g> I read most of them as they were posted without realizing it was you posting them--you sure are prolific!

Maybe I could prevail upon you to put together a list of things that are required right now to play the game in a 'Realms Beyond' fashion vs the computer, i.e. no switching governments, no 'B' toggles to deploy fleets instantly, no reducing engine speed below what the auto-build gives you, etc., etc., etc. or do you want to wait for the patch to come out and (hopefully) reduce the list? (Actually, wait until the patch comes out since with NHL playoffs starting Wednesday I won't have time to play MOO3!)

Somewhere in MOO3 there is a great game waiting to be born--you are helping it get there!

Apr 08, 2003, 08:46 AM
Not that anyone probably cares, but it's pretty simple.

The AI has to beat me. Pretty simple, straight-forward request. I want an AI to wipe me out at least once, so that I can fear it will do so again. Only then will I feel challenged. If/when I screw up on hard difficulty levels, it should be pointed out in a clear way -- by cleaning me off the face of the galaxy.

Civ3's AI will do that. After having played for years and having learned tricks from Sirian, T-hawk, Zed-F, Jaffa, Sullla, Charis, and a bunch of others, as well as perfecting some of my own, I have to limit myself before the AI challenge is enough....and I'm losing interest in Civ3. But for a long time, I wondered if the next game I started would be another one I lost....

I started at Regeant level and lost -- the middle difficulty level. I moved up the difficulty scale reasonably quickly and hit bumps along the way. As my play improved, I made better gambles and won more consistently.

MoO3's AI doesn't challenge. War early; war late. Peaceful building, super-expansion, it doesn't matter. The challenge is not there. The AI doesn't compete. At least, I've never seen it do so. I'm trying to give it the benefit of the doubt by playing out my current game under Colin's mod, but it doesn't look good.

MoO3 has some very cool game mechanics that I like very much -- the different value of worlds to different races, the tech tree (unique, holes, branches, theoretical vs. practical), and macromanagement. Unfortunately, they're all broken to some degree -- player can't choose which race's colony ship goes to what world (without EXTREME micromanagement), trading techs is too unresponsive, and the macromanager is still bad enough that I feel the need to micromanage.

Add in other painful elements -- military queue problems, instant mobilization (which helps the human more than the AI -- witness RRs in Civ3), bad admirals in ceding control in combat, poor design in other places, broken diplomacy, broken win conditions -- and MoO3 is still a game with absolutely no polish.

Now, I can deal with no polish if the challenge/excitement is there. I can wait for challenge/excitement, too, if the polish is there and the commitment is evident. With no challenge and no polish, it's a tough sell....

I'm not writing off MoO3 entirely. It's broken out of the box.... Much moreso than Civ3 was, in my opinion. It's so broken, it's hard to know what's broken and what's not (e.g. PD bug means nobody knows if missiles are overpowered, like some suspect. AU payment for PPs doesn't match the manual -- bug or design change? AI so bad that it's hard to pinpoint where diplomacy is broken, etc.). What matters to me now is whether they fix it well or not. And how long it takes.

Regarding pterrok's request for a list of variants to make the game's so bad at this point, I can't tell what's "strategy' and what's "exploit". The line is always blurry and at this point, it's beyond that. No building mobilization centers? No missiles on human ships? No building colony ships? Like I said above, the game is so broken at this point (vs. the AI) that it's hard to even identify what is broken.

That got a bit rambling, but the inherent goal of the AI is clear to me -- beat me when I screw up. Follow at least most of the rules I do and make clear what advantages the AI has. (I don't mind full map knowledge for the AIs, for example, as long as I know it's there.) Production bonuses, whatever. Just make it clear...and a challenge. A threat.


Apr 08, 2003, 07:29 PM
I admire the work Sirian has put into figuring this game out, and I read each of his articles. Suddenly, I began to realise, nobody should have to work this hard to figure out how to make a game that is broken out of the box, work. I mean you paid good money for this game, and you have had to study this game over and over to find out how everything works in minute detail. People like Grey shouldn't have to redesign the entire AI to make the game at least challenging. I mean we spent our hard earned money and we end up doing more work then the people who sold this too us. That doesn't sound right.

I respect the effort people have put into making this game right. It is the most beloved 4x pedigree out there. I really tried to like this game. Then I started thinking, why should I. I am the consumer. I bought Galactic Civilization and was amazed to see how well supported this game was. The game came out of the box with an extremely challenging AI. The development team promised to support the game for at least a year after its release and so far they have kept their word, with regular patches several times a week to fix minor issues and even add content and features to the game.

Now I know I sound like a fan boy, but I gave MOOIII every chance and it simply did not deliver on it's promise and for the price I paid that is simply not acceptable. If it were shareware, then maybe I would think differently. I waited years for this game, bought it as soon as it came out, spent hours trying to figure out the terrible interface without any help from the terrible documentation (thanks again Sirian, your observations and research helped tremendously to cover these shortcomings). It is my regret that I paid so much helped to inflate the sales numbers on such an unfinished and unpolished mess, that has become the norm these days with most games, and tells the big game producers that this is an acceptable practice. Alternatively, I see Stardock and Strategy First deliver a well tested game, GalCiv, that is well supported and works out of the box with no glaring problems. This is the type of game I feel good about buying, and I find it disappointing that this is so rare.

I am sorry for rambling, and I apologise in advance if this post is misplaced on this thread, but I would really like to see players like Sirian and Sulla, and Charis give Galactic Civilization a try and see what they think, and perhaps play a succesion game with them. I would love to hear what they think and could offer to a game like Galactic Civilization and it's community.

Thanks for reading this, and please don't flame me to bad, I mean well : )!

Apr 10, 2003, 09:20 PM
GalCiv certainly does sound more polished. Unfortunately, it also sounds a lot like Civ. That's not what I'm looking for, at this point. I went and checked out some reviews. I'm not unimpressed, but right now my appetite for MOO-style gameplay has been whetted, and I've been hip-deep in both playing the game and participating in effectively the post-release beta process. QS has been at least as responsive as Firaxis was, so for the moment, unfinished and unpolished game or not, they still have my attention.

MOO3 may be an unfinished and unpolished mess, but it is also much more ambitious. GalCiv is a different type of game. I will almost surely check it out eventually, but there's more to a game than how finished it is when it comes out of the box. Simpler games are easier to finish. There's just no way Firaxis could possibly have gotten Civ3 to the state it is in now through internal testing alone. You've got to get a game into the hands of skilled players to see how it holds up. The question about MOO3 is not how it is out of the box, but what it's like at the end of the beta process. Civ3 reached a state where it will be worth playing for years to come. MOO3 has similar potential. I bet you GalCiv has balance issues, too, which have not yet emerged because players have not yet poked and prodded it. These may or may not be anything on the scale of MOO3's problems, but MOO3 DOES in fact have the core MOO1 game concept buried in it, and that is the golden fleece I am still interesting in chasing. For now.

- Sirian

Apr 13, 2003, 01:13 PM
Here's the Social Science branch, all on one graphic:

The Psy Ops icon is unique in my experience. If there are any other techs that use that icon, they must be high level and I've not seen 'em.

Monuments and Media Outlets have the Govt DEA icon. Funny thing about these two techs, the game doesn't actually use them! They apply to "corruption reduction" and that game element got cut (probably a good thing). So these are sort of dead techs in the tree. Securities Board is a Govt DEA upgrade in the Economics branch that is actually used, but it applies to range and level of the DEA, not to corruption.

Cultural Districting Offices has the Entertainment Icon that shows Recreation DEA upgrades.

Advanced Research Labs shows the Research DEA upgrade icon.

Cross-Cultural References is a diplomatic tech, with the Diplo Icon. These techs improve your deal-making chances, so that there is a natural progression over time to improve your hopes on the diplo front.

We also see two spy techs and one HFOG reduction tech. One of the spy techs there adds to spy luck (spy life) and the other adds to starting loyalty, raising it from 95 to 100.

Upcoming we have two more spy techs in the social branch.

Finally, the largest of the six branches, with the most techs, the Physical Sciences branch:

Note that as of the Data Patch, and all future patches, the number of gropo techs has been reduced to something more sensible (and reduced enough to matter now if some of them are missing, so we may need to learn what these are worth, some time here soon).

Our early levels in the PS branch included three projectile weapon upgrades and a gropo tech.

Now a very busy picture:

The Mob Center icon is unique to my knowledge.

The Cruiser tech is a hull class technology, allowing larger vessels to be built. That icon is what I call the Ship/Armor Icon. All ship armor upgrades and new ship hull techs use this icon. So do a few of the gropo support units, such as the Magazine.

The Mobile tech is a ground forces tech, showing the Gropo Icon. All gropo combat units (as opposed to support units) have this icon, and these are the actual fighting units. The support units can add combat bonuses or remove bonuses from the enemy, but only modify what the main line units are doing. Support units do not actually fight. That's important to understand.

We see several other icons that have already been discussed: missile warhead, space port, gropo equipment, planetary defense, Mining DEA upgrade, and shipyard facility.

More from the PS branch:

We see the Heavy Mount, with the Gun Mount Icon.

Sanitation Infrastructure shows the Economic Facility icon. This is one of the key techs in the game. Sanitation is a regional facility that boosts the DEA output of all facilities in its region by a whopping 25%. This tech not only affects all your DEA types, but the increases also boost the productivity from which your tax revenues are drawn. A key thing to understand about these facilities is that they are built in the RBQ just like planetwide facilities are built in the PBQ. The game does not choose a region for the facility (at this point), but rather builds it in the highest numbered region first. Thus, the last region in the list always gets first dibs.

Because the RBQ only builds three items at a time, and most of these items have "minimum build times" that won't let you complete them in a single turn no matter how much cash you throw at them, the net effect is such that you only get one item built per turn, in most cases. For a planet with, say, seven regions, that means as much as ten to twelve turns dedicated solely to these upgrades (all money to the RBQ) to finish them, and maybe longer if the planet is weak on industry, has poor gravity or climate, etc etc. If you leave a few percent in the RBQ and continue spending on the MBQ and PBQ at the same time, it's going to take a lot longer to finish the upgrades.

This is why the game's default tech pace is so absurd, and why in the release version the tech seems so meaningless. When the techs come in faster than your planets can possibly do anything with them, and most of your worlds are half a dozen or more techs behind on building these upgrades, the whole mess blends into meaningless chaos, and the player gets the sense that the game prefers to play itself and keep you out of the loop. With the slower tech pace evident in Colin's mod, this chaos disappears, and the player is brought into the equation, with actual choices needing to be made as to when to push infra vs when to push military, and how to manage current techs vs techs you don't have in your tree vs upcoming techs.

The Automated Factories, shown above, have the Industry DEA upgrade icon. The rest of those icons should be familiar to you by now, or becoming so.

Our current PS area:

The Research Laboratory has the "supplemental" Research Icon. These techs affect research but not through Research DEA upgrades. The Science Guild tech (not shown, missing from our tree) improves the amount of research garnered from spending cash on added research, for example. And the research lab here is an upgrade to put on ships. These can be added to system ships being built in protectect back line areas to get anti-piracy effects from System Ships while gaining research points, too. The main application of the Research Lab for ships is to improve your speed and chances for Antaran X scavenger hunting missions.

Now get this. When you send out ships on missions to find Antarran X's, the game does not intelligently select the best ships. Rather (and much like RBQ regional facilities, which are built numerically instead of intelligently), the Antarran Expedition fleet is chosen ALPHABETICALLY from your reserves. :rolleyes: So you either need to know how to make sure that your expedition ships come up first in the alphabetical roster (which I do not yet know how, myself) or you need to empty your reserves of ships you don't want to send (by deploying them), leaving only the Antarran ships in the reserve, guaranteeing that when you send an expedition, it sends the right ships.

The Research Lab tech is hit or miss. You don't always get it, and yet it is crucial to your chances of securing an X victory. I hope to see some serious patch improvements to this side of the game, at some point, but don't yet have the experience with it to know what all is broken and how it might get fixed.

Mass Synthesizer is another game-making technology. That icon is what I call the Sensors Icon, because most techs with that icon are sensors techs for ships or for the galaxy map. Not this one. This is a Gravity Normalizer technology. This facility, when built on a planet, will improve the gravitational conditions there by one level. This tech is HUGE. I'm taking huge, people. Very very big. Quite large. Extremely significant. Poor gravity eats into your productivity, increases construction costs, maintenance, you name it. In some regards, gravity is the worst sort of penalty, and this facility can normalize gravity from yellow to green (for the whole planet) or reduce gravity severity from red to yellow. The resulting boost in productivity also boosts income. Any empire who gets its hands on this tech and gets it into place across its core will become an instant power. To top it all off, gravity also limits population potentials, so normalizing gravity can also affect the maximum population the planet can sustain, as well as the pop growth rate. Did I mention the word "huge"?

Extractor Assembly has one of those Passive Industry Icons. This is one of the techs that gives you benefits without you having to build anything new, which in game terms is "always nice".

The rest of those techs are more mundane, with icons that should clarify them for you, and names that should be starting to make some sense.

By the by, the little red beacon icons in the corner indicate that those techs require advancement in more than one branch. This has little or no impact on the typical game plan, but would very much hurt a gameplan that focuses chiefly or exclusively on certain branches at the expense of the rest.

Here's the last picture from our tech tree, the upcoming PS techs:

Housing Management is a regional population facility. Like all regional facilities, these take a long time to build up, because the RBQ only works on three things at time and some of the items can't be built in a single turn no matter how much you try to spend. Unlike DEA's in the queue, though, there is no visual indication that these are being built. All you can go by is, if the RBQ ALLOWS you to spend any money there, then there is SOMEthing in the queue that it's working on, and surely one of these regional facilities or else DEA upgrades. If the RBQ is empty because either there's nothing left to build, or the local viceroy has decided (for any number of reasons, including both legit and lobotomized reasons) not to queue up remaining items yet, then it will show the line-through-red-circle "no activity" icon next to the slider in the economic panel. That "no activity" icon is your only indication for management purposes. The slider setting is ignored if there is no activity (that is, no money is spent, regardless of what the slider may be showing).

Once you understand the mechanics of the RBQ (they really ought to open it up and let us have access), you can know when to continue spending there, or even dedicate most or all of your spending there. Once powerful new regional facilities become available (assuming Colin's mod, where tech slowdown is enough to lend these issues strategic importance), you may want to slow military spending (if you can afford to) to get them built sooner. You can also just leave it to the viceroys -- they WILL eventually "build everything there is to build", and you only have to tinker around in there if you want to increase efficiency. Whether you do that or not, though, you ought to understand what is going on "under the hood" so you can make wise decisions.

The Subterraneam Farms are the next generation of Hydroponic Farms, and work alongside those (they are not upgrades, but additional facilities). These provide some food without the need for bioharvesting DEA's, and these techs are especially important to any race with poor bioharvesting, since they are not affected by those penalties.

Disguised Freighters is an interesting spy tech. They improves your odds of inserting and extracting spies, which is the moment of greatest danger, getting in and out of enemy territory.

Honeycomb Warehousing is a Space Port upgrade. Space Ports are trade nodes. They have a "range", trading with other space ports on the same planet, in the same system, and up to a certain number of systems away. The larger your population, the more business these ports do, and the more other ports in range, both yours and any friendly neighbors, the more business the ports do. Upgrades can dramatically increase income by improving range and getting more traffic. And of course, the more business these ports do, the more taxes you collect. Also note that you can still be doing space port business with your enemies. Only if you "Impose Embargo" do your ports STOP doing business with the ports of the relevant empire, and vice versa. Imposing "Sanctions" limits the trade, not sure how much. I'm also not sure if one side can affect traffic both ways, or if each side affects only the other's income without hurting his own (requiring you to answer sanctions with sanctions of your own if you want to penalize them back -- wish I knew, but I don't).

OK, that's the end of the tech tree explanation, but not the end of the tech lesson just yet.

- Sirian

Apr 13, 2003, 02:25 PM
Finally, any discussion of tech tree must include the essential topic of "missing techs". Each game, some of the techs from the total tree will be missing from the tech tree of any given race. There are certain techs that are guaranteed to be there, such as shipyard facilities, space port, mob center, and more. Most of the techs, however, are variable, and some will not be there.

You do have the chance to trade for techs. In MOO1, you did not, you had to steal what you were missing or capture the tech from intact facilities via ground invasions. In MOO2, you could also get tech from captured enemy ships, but that is gone from MOO3, and overall, I'm glad of that. In MOO3, you can trade for techs, but unlike Civ3, these AI's won't part easily with tech. There is no "set value" in cash that you can pay. Trading is difficult, and poor diplomatic races or races with no friends can all but forget about it. Spies remain the key method of obtaining missing techs, and those take time to do their thing, as well, with no ability to target the tech you steal, which makes tech theft actually harder than in MOO1, where you could at least see what the options were and pick which branch of the tree you wanted to steal from, if you got a "hit".

Here is a shot of some of the techs we are missing, which our bug pals own:

Some of these are techs we can research, but haven't gotten to yet. Automated Assembly is clearly one of those, as that is an always-available shipyard facility. Missile Shields is another, and in fact, we researched that by the end of my round.

Fighter Armor is a key tech we simply missed out on. That's a one of a kind tech, too, unlikes some of these "layered" techs where it no longer matters if you had an earlier level once you get a later one. (Shields, for example. Once you have Class III shields, you probably won't ever use Class I again, and if you never had Class I, you won't miss it). If you don't get the Fighter Armor tech, your fighters will never have any armor. Ever. Without this tech, and if you never do acquire it, your whole strategy could be shifted away from using carriers and fighters because your fighters are so much easier to shoot down! And if you don't have a tech like this, all you can do is try to steal it or trade for it, and if stealing, well, as time goes on, stealing a particular tech becomes harder and harder as the probability for getting just the tech you want in a tech theft goes down down down the more other techs there are for the game to choose from.

Marines are a key Gropo mainline unit type we missed out on. We do now have Mobile infantry (mech inf), and those are stronger. We can do without the marines, at this point, but for a while there, all we had available was infantry!

Duranium is level 2 ship armor that we missed, and so our ships are still flying around with the starting armor type as our only option! Ugh. This keeps our space fleet weaker, but them's the breaks. We will eventually get level 3 or level 4 ship armor, and then it will stop mattering, but for now, this is a weak point, and it does affect our strategic situation and options.

Sunlight Redirection, as I mentioned before, is one of the terraforming techs, and all of those are very important. Since each one of these techs you get has cumulative effects (like the HFOG techs, and passive industry techs) you want to try to acquire them all eventually, if possible. Each tech adds one more habitability ring you can improve, as well as lowering the costs both of the initial terraforming and the maintenance needed to "hold your ground" at any given level of improvement. (The farther you take a planet away from its natural state, the more "pressure" it exerts to try to return to that state, which your viceroy must fend off with terraforming maintenance).

The Command Center is a useful Gropo Support unit. This unit can negate many of the bonuses of enemy support units, which is highly useful countersupport.

Here are some more missing techs, from our lizard pals' archives:

Soil Enrichment! Egads, man. That's a serious item to be missing! In the scheme of things, it is the weakest Bioharvest DEA upgrade of them all, but being the first one, you can really feel its absence in a slower tech game. In this game, we overcame it largely by way of getting to the second Bio DEA upgrade before we started to starve, but under Colin's mod, you'd really feel it if this tech were missing. As it is, we'd still like to get hold of it, as our food surplus is on the decline as our pop grows.

You see some gropo weapons techs we're missing. Some of those are gone from the game (consolidated to smaller numbers of these techs) as of the Data Patch.

Interorganizational Evolution, that's a HFOG reduction tech. Those are cumulative, so you want to try to get them all if you can.

Astro University! :eek: This is a huge hole in our tech tree! This planetary facility gives a 40% boost to production from population points (not DEA's). Much of the production of a planet comes from DEA's, but some comes just from the population, and these facilities boost those outputs. Not getting this tech leaves a significant hole in our productivity empire-wide.

Missile Armor! Yikes, and double yikes. Like Fighter Armor, this is a one of a kind tech. If you don't have it, your missiles all game long will be much easier to shoot down!

Add it all up, and there are more key techs missing from our tech tree this game than I have ever seen in any game of MOO3 to date. Wowsa, we drew a short hand.

OK, now for my actual turn report.

I found our empire in a sort of malaise when my round began. There was nothing bad happening, but we had mineral shortages, not much food surplus, undeployed ships, piracy problems, obsolete ship designs, and major issues with productivity. I looked around for a place to build some navy and found all of our worlds stuck in low productivity. In large part this is due to our pollution problems. We also seem to be missing a key pollution reduction facility tech, and that is especially painful to a race like us with poor Environmental pick. We're drowning in our own filth!

I spent the bulk of my turn on infrastructure. In particular, I concentrated on two things: Pollution Reduction facilities in the PBQ, and RBQ upgrades, chiefly Sanitation regional facilities and Mining DEA upgrades. I know it's hard to imagine "managing" the RBQ when you can't see what's in it, can't choose what to put in it, etc, but you CAN manage how much is spent there, to speed these items along at the expense of the MBQ, and that is what I did.

Here are the "before" and "after". Yes, I'm not only the president of the company, I'm also a client! :lol:

All four of the empire totals at the top are of import. I increased our food surplus from 50 units to 100. Our mineral shortage was abated, and now we have some surplus there, too. Note that our industry increased only a little, but the actually productivity increased by a whopping 35%. This is due to pollution reduction. The food and mineral increases come chiefly from building lots of Sanitation in our core. There's more yet to do, but our military concerns were less than dire, so I took the chance to work on productivity.

You can also see that we acquired Tewaz. That was an Ithkul world. I invaded with our ground forces and the war lasted FOUR turns before we took over. I used a Divide strategy the first two turns, to try to make sure we took some ground. (If you fail to take a region on the first turn of the invasion, your troops get cornered and slaughtered -- you lose them ALL -- likewise if you ever get pushed back to where you control zero regions). I used lower intensity Attrition strategies to finish the war off. After we captured Tewaz, the ticks (Ithkul) auto-migrated to found a new outpost for us in the Tyr system. Do NOT turn migration on, as that would only feed our human citizens to the ticks there.

We had military success on the space front, too. Our system ships up at the Splinter Colonies in the galaxy center near Orion fended off several detachments of Ithkul ships with no losses.

I managed to expand our planetary holdings slightly, with a couple of new outposts and one new colony. BAD NEWS, I screwed up one element. I sent our colony ship to a green world in the Karaken system, only for it to turn out to be a DARLOK colony ship from the magnate world. Major oops, as those folks are Red2 at the planet, and instead of a colony, we got an outpost along with some of the planet now perm-occupied by Darloks, who aren't well suited to that world. ARRGH! After this incident, I went and *****ed loudly at IGMoo, and in fact, this issue has now already been corrected for the code patch, to where the racial type present in a colony ship will be visible in future versions. In the mean time, I turned migration on and the world is slowly filling up with humans now, though at least one region will forever remain Darloks.

Please, don't build any more colony ships out of the Darloks worlds! :lol:

I built some efficient new designs, SOTL gunships. Next generation missile ships will be possible soon, as well. With the military fronts quiet, we can afford to build some more infra before going whole hog with navy, or... we can make the switch to shipbuilding as you guys decide. Right now, ALL of our ships are way obsolete and we are hurting a bit on the productivity front, needing more pollution controls, more sanitation, more population, and more shipyard facilities.

I tried some spying, but with poor results. I also perm-lowered our O-meter, having concluded now over time that it's best just to keep it lower, endure the odd setbacks, and keep chiefly diplomatic spies on the defensive, along with political spies to cover if we have any leaders. Scientific spies are the main thing for offense, to try to steal missing techs, along with perhaps the occasional political spy to try to clean out enemy leaders.

This SG probably doesn't have a lot of life left in it, with the Data Patch released. I'm now ready to start SG2, and intend to do so today. I'd have to "unpatch" to play SG1 again, or else move it over to the new patch, and that may not work out well. However, I would like each of you to play at least one more round, to get a little more experience under your belts in the wake of this round's massive "tech lesson". And of course, if any or all of you want to play this one out for any reason, there's no reason you can't, although I probably won't be there to the end, myself.

You may also want to grab this saved game here and have a look around, maybe compare it to the one I inherited and see the progressions. Maybe you can pick up some more from observation and hands-on inspection.

RBMoo SG1 Team A - T121 (

- Sirian

Apr 14, 2003, 01:05 PM
A few comments:
The ground campaign is merely an extended form of "Rock Paper Scissors" with a spreadsheet showing exactly how one attacker's tactic would fair against another.

Second, user-controlled ground battles can be ended prematurely by clicking "Done" before the automatic fighting takes place. This can be used to cut losses on a losing tactic or in case of misuse accidently delaying a planetary conquest victory.

Building ships on worlds starting race vs other race: We should all pay more attention to this =) It evens out with many many worlds eventually, but building darlok colony ships to settle those Red Gas Giants wouldn't be a bad idea early on.

SG1C is in a lull right now. Mostly my fault, but we're luckily in a transition point to the Data Patch. I'd like to know who's installed the patch by now--because it makes SG1 obsolete.

Apr 14, 2003, 02:13 PM
Second, user-controlled ground battles can be ended prematurely by clicking "Done" before the automatic fighting takes place.

Nope, that's not what happens. The combat is still fully resolved, you just shortcut the animation of it and skip the final report, too. I have done this quite a bit. The key indicator is the speed and direction of color change on the line-grid planet graphic. I have learned to tell whether my troops will advance, hold ground, lose ground, or even win the whole combat.

There IS also more to the combat than strict rock/scissors/paper. Intensity level trades more casualties for more damage, so an attacker should always use high intensity for the first battle, to minimize any chance of failing to take ground on the first day, as that means your whole force is wiped out! Also, collateral damage setting, NBC setting vs any race lacking Enviro Suits tech, gravity preferences of the units, support units present, total unit strengths, and your racial combat modifiers, all play a role in the total outcome. How much you can MANAGE these factors is limited chiefly in gauging how much force you need to win, but that is not an insignificant decision to make.

There are also some combat maneuvers that do well for different races, as there are some races who can fly, others who do well underwater, and toughness seems aimed at defense while accuracy is aimed at offense and reflexes aimed at "evasion" and maneuverability. It may all be a spreadsheet in the game, but the player does have options. The biggest problem, as with most of the rest of the game, is lack of feedback at any detailed level, leaving the player unable to discern which factors contributed in what amounts to success or failure.

- Sirian

Apr 14, 2003, 03:43 PM
That's not what happens? Combat is resolved? I need to replay my ground battles when possible then. I recall having a few battles where I had the normal momentum you'd see from winning, clicking done, only to see that there's a small bit of land left to conquer where I'd normally take the planet.

There is more yes. To me however, it feels mostly like rock-paper-scissors. It is again apparent I assumed people knew too much--

---To attack strongly on an opening move to gain a foothold
---Low intensity harassment and delay tactics wheh

My ground forces are usually mixed racial forces, and in overwhelming numbers whenever possible (since my production).

It also seems (note seems, not sure) that the enemy empire ground forces take notice of what tactics I use-- if I use them consistently. I like massed assaults (or attacker surprise), high intensity fighting, low collateral (I either want the planet intact or not at all---planetary bombardment it until crippled or nothing).

I agree very much with the lack of detailed feedback. To me it feels either a crap shoot, unless one wants to take the risk of "Rock-Paper-Scissors" model (I do).

We're blind. Minutae can sometimes be taken into account, but the overall effect is unknown. +reflex races may be good for low intensity harassment methods, but not as the opening manuever as the attacker or on a territory which the force isn't advantageous on.

--Even with knowledge of the major territory type, individual territories speed and slow combat momentum. There's no knowing that. The end result is that the player barely won't know what works or won't. You cannot directly see major terrain type on the planetary info screen as the attacker beforehand and prepare your ground forces to take advantage of it. Educated guesses can be made, and gravity can be taken into account.

I take overwhelming forces, preferring at least a 3-to-2 ratio of total ground force power. Most planets only require a Corp sized ground force to take. More developed planets definitely need Army sized forces ore more. I see controlling size of my forces is only easily observable feedback. Bigger is better. I hope newer players aren't as blind as I am... even if likely they're overwhelmed with information.

That's enough for now.

Apr 17, 2003, 06:48 PM
Jaffa is still up. Jester, if you or Charis want to take a poke at it, go ahead. If the team wants to collectively cash in the chips, I'd like to do so by choice and consensus, not default, so let us know your plans, please.

- Sirian

Apr 17, 2003, 07:06 PM
I consense that this game is toast.

Is that what everyone else's consensus tells them?

If anyone wants to pick it up, go for it. If more than one other person wants to pick it up, let's all have a go. But I'm playing with the new patch on, and I'm half waiting for the code patch before I get back on the wagon anyway.


Apr 18, 2003, 11:09 PM
I've been quiet, but checking back to make sure I wasn't holding things up waiting for a turn.

I have no objection to a "toast" call, though at some point I do need to go over (and over again!) the *excellent* material in this thread, especially Sirian's recent explanatory posts.

I think it would be best for the most enthusiastic to press on and get this game and patches figured out. If the developers do their job and the crowd goes wild cheering their progress and give a big thumbs up, I'll catch up in a future game :cool:


Apr 19, 2003, 04:36 AM

Over the past week, I have finally "played beyond" what would normally constitute a senate victory (or loss) to get into the later stages of the game. And I must admit, you're right. These AI's cannot put up a fight, even with Colin's mod or the data patch.

I have identified what I believe to be the number one game breaker, along with three other key elements, in a suggestion and poll thread at IGMoo. If you have any analysis to add, or just want to voice an echo, any contribution you make might help aid the cause of getting more difficulty into the program.

Crisis of Difficulty ( - Discussion Thread.

Anyone else interested should also feel free to participate.

Oh... and I'm now officially offering the eulogy for Team A on SG1. We came, we played, we talked, and we eXperienced. Here's hoping for enough changes in the code patch to make another pass at this SG thing worthwhile. Congrats to both Team B and C, and the leadership that has seen them through. Way to go, guys!

I would like to encourage participation in Imperium One. Comparisons there might turn up both strategy and issues/bugs that won't be uncovered by any single player. And I promise you a better time in terms of gameplay than these games under the release version had to offer.

- Sirian