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BE vs SMAC discussion

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by AriochIV, May 26, 2015.

  1. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    Yeah, though I think most of the time would come from making the art.

    Maybe a bigger image, so it takes most of the screen heightwise.
     
  2. Rubin

    Rubin King

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    Although I find the technology web extremely bland and reeking of missed opportunities, you raise a good conceptual point. However, there is no doubt that research in SMAC/X is really stupid.

    Firstly, you don't get to choose whatever technology your prerequisites unlock, because of some formula that exclude certain (seemingly--but not--random) technologies. Unless you use this formula to carefully choose technologies, you can become severely hampered--especially early game. Secondly, technology costs are not fixed, but scale with your technological progess; and combined with null or filler technologies like "Optical Computers" this gets out of control unless you focus heavily on research (which is, of course, entirely viable). But it basically punishes technological progress. It's rather poorly designed in that respect.

    From a pure gameplay perspective, progression through the technology tree works, but it's silly and lacks balance. There are clear optimal bee-lines, ignoring everything else. For specialized play styles, the technology tree works against you and can become a real chore to handle.
     
  3. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    The thing that bugged me most about the tech/affinity quote screens wasn't the writing or the voice acting. It was the way the sound cut off the moment you exited the screen, so you had to choose between staring at a screen you knew the content of for ten seconds, or cutting the audio off after one. It was far better in Civ 4 when you could just close the screen and the audio would carry on in the background, and likely a simple fix, too.
     
  4. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    Agreed, that would be a good simple fix.
     
  5. Jyrgunkarrd

    Jyrgunkarrd Chieftain

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    SMAC is an immortal title. Comparing it to BE is a bit of a joke; it's like comparing a Dean Koontz paperback to Tale of Two Cities.

    "Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is ours, chew and eat our fill."

    "It is every citizen's final duty to go into the tanks and become one with all the people."

    The artistic direction, excellent writing & theme of that title not only sticks with veterans of the franchise, but draws in new players all of the time - which says a lot for something whose interface & graphics haven't aged well, and which won't entirely play nice with modern systems.

    Not enough credit is given to SMAC's terraforming mechanics, either, which were a great big toy in their own right. They were totally unbalanced & one of the easiest ways to break the game, but if we're honest, the game was never really about the challenge so much as the experience (by the same token, BE is also terribly balanced, but you can't really make the same argument about the experience it provides).

    BE's writing is just terrible, leveraging mostly pop-culture references that will lose any relevance as the title ages. The jokes it attempts to make are rarely funny, and it tries way too hard to create soundbyte-appropriate phrases that it hopes will become successful memes (none have, of course). Nobody in 5 years will remember any of what few things Kozlov had to say, or grin at the idea of what it meant to build Deep Thought (but oh lol an Adams reference. How clever and original!).

    The only thing that BE really has going for it is that if you abstract it into just a fancy game of chess, it works better on that level than SMAC does. It still doesn't work very well on that level, especially if you're playing it single player, but SMAC does it worse. So, bravo, I guess?
     
  6. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    They should have had these for quests and stations too. Honestly, how rushed was their schedule?

    Well let's be fair, it has sprouted some notorious memes. One of my favorites being something like "As Adam Smith said, no gateway to the Protectorate has ever been ruined by saying trade is the lifeblood of nations."

    Thing is the AI sucks at 1UPT. SMAC actually had more challenging AI that could at least fall back on stacks.
     
  7. Jyrgunkarrd

    Jyrgunkarrd Chieftain

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    While this is certainly true, I will grant BE this: You actually have to move your units in an intelligent way across the terrain to defeat the AI. The AI will fall into choke point traps, but you do have to be able to recognize and exploit said traps.


    In SMAC, all you have to do is design a half decent unit and set them on auto-conquest mode. Your production will so badly outstrip the AI, and the AI will make such awful units in the workshop, that you'll just crush them with literally no thought or strategy. Of course, you CAN still decide to implement certain strategies anyway, but the game doesn't really reward or punish you either way.
     
  8. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    I think it also has to do with units just being so piss weak in the early game. In SMAC and Civ 5 you could realistically expect to take a city with a group of scout patrols or a few warrios and archers, etc. but that just isn't happening in BE. There is no fear of early aggression because those astronauts will get wiped if anything so much as sneezes at them. So it becomes a matter of which factions get to the overpowered affinity units before the others.
     
  9. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    "Overpowered affinity units"? ô.o Are you one of these Patch 1.0 guys?

    Other than that Affinity-2-Rushes work perfectly fine, which is about the equivalent of a Composite Bowman Rush, the first really reliable push you can do in Civ 5 (with the Exception of UU-Strategies)
     
  10. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    I'll check again, but I do remember bringing my artillery in to try to help weaken an enemy base before capturing it... and that base was basically one-shotting or two-shotting them as they were being rolled in.

    That's another thing by the way. How is it that we managed to get artillery that could fire from 3+ tiles away by the end of Civ 5... and suddenly by BE we're back to needing to be within two tiles, and that's if terrain doesn't get in the way?

    Right up until the late game. I mean come on.
     
  11. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    Agreed, it would be a nice aesthetic touch.

    Since its a new setting in the future rather than an alternate history, they should have made more of an effort to immerse players in the setting.
     
  12. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    Which is hilarious because they basically did the exact opposite. No more religions, luxuries, great persons, cultural victories, eras, unique buildings/units, world congresses, city-states, leader backdrops, strategic view, super weapons, citizens rioting when they're unhappy/unhealthy, chances to recover your workers when aliens nab them, and so on and so forth. And very little to take their place. Yay, an orbital layer I never use. Yay, a tech web that makes me miss the tech tree. And... and... excavation sites... I guess.

    And notice how workers stay the same "astronaut driving a forklift" throughout the entire game instead of changing their appearance with your affinity, even though in Civ 5 their model changes as you approach the modern era. Cities don't even show smoke after they've been attacked. They're just... blacker? Half the time I don't even think I see explosive effects.

    All minor things to be sure... but it really does add up in the end.
     
  13. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Affinity-Progress, Excavations, Building Quests, Real Quests, Victory Quests, Alien Opinion, Tech Web, Vertical Virtue Bonuses, Orbital Layer, Miasma, PlayerPerks (Invisible for the Player, but very useful system), Favors, New Trade Route System.. and there's probably stuff that I can't think of right now.

    They added a lot to make up for what they cut... it's just that that stuff doesn't really have the cool systems to support them yet. Which is a shame, but a different problem.
     
  14. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    That is a shame. Because most of those things are more superficial tack-ons than actual systems, and just make me miss that which was lost all the more. And all miasma does is make me miss the fungus from SMAC. Not harmful, but a nuisance and in far greater abundance, actually making the player feel like they were slugging it through dense and expanding alien overgrowth what with all those constant fungal blooms.

    As for "Real Quests"... I think you're being far too generous.

    That said, I'm not disagreeing... but as you said they lack the systems to support them and flesh them out.

    There's no synergy, no gestalt; the game just isn't more than the sum of its parts.
     
  15. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    Keep in mind that BE is set in a scifi future so a lot of these cannot be directly ported over without a lot of thought. Things like religions, luxuries, great persons, city-states are obvious in a historical setting. But you cannot just put present day religions in BE, it would seem tacked on. So, you need to invent plausible future religions. Same with great persons. In a historical game, you can just put in real world leaders. In a future scifi game, you have to make up future persons and give them backstories and context in order for the player to relate to them and even, they won't resonate as much as a historical leader. So directly adding these things into BE is not that simple.
     
  16. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    Obviously. Unfortunately the things they've been replaced with just aren't very compelling or fleshed-out. Even what little lore they've provided is mostly forgettable. I find it hard to believe this is the same company that gave us those incredible quotes and cutscenes in SMAC, with a wide array of voice over work and philosophical brain teasers.
     
  17. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    My biggest disappointment that could have easily been brought over from Civ V was Ideologies and the implementation of Affinities.

    Affinities are outright core to the game's theme, so I'd at very least expect them to have a perks system similar to Ideologies.

    Instead they barely change the game aside some military play.

    I have no idea how their designers went from Ideologies to Affinities - if anything Affinities should have a more elaborate and game warping system.
    _________________

    That said, I'm glad we don't have superweapons since I think they dumb the game down - and its good for the theme of settlement in the wake of the Great Mistake.
     
  18. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I wouldn't say Ideologies really rocked the boat either. It was a Social Policy tree that affected diplomatic relations and had small ties to the World Congress.

    Very similar to Affinities, but without any of the other systems that the Affinity system incorporates.
     
  19. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    I think that's in many ways the main problem: too many of the game's features are about the military. I mean I get why: it's the "cool stuff" and a way to prevent players from turtling too much. But, much like Civ5 at launch, this removes the empire play that is a major driver in Civ's addictiveness.

    In a way, military affinity progression is to Civ:BE what 1UPT was to vanilla Civ5: a good idea that became so big that it trampled on the rest of the game. That's why G+K worked so well, it not only added more systems, it focussed on non-military gameplay elements.

    RT... might or might not do that. Water cities definitely have a militaristic bend, but the artefact system and diplomacy don't do that.
     
  20. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    True, but compared to present affinity bonuses they are outright groundbreaking.

    Ideally I'd want affinities to radically change how the game plays, but at this point my expectations and standards for what would be a good change are quite low.

    Harmony could gain insane growth and expansion bonuses to truly thrive on the planet.

    Supremacy could start to phase out food for production and energy, becoming an industrial juggernaut.

    Purity could reward cultural play, converting virtues and culture output into other yields.
    _______________________________________

    I could definitely see immigration and other peaceful methods of competition working well, particularly with the fear/ respect diplomacy traits.
    ____________________

    Personally I'd like three main changes with the military:

    1. Make Aliens a real threat, and attacking them a risky but potentially rewarding tactic.

    I've always wanted to be able to kick the hornet's nest to weaken, offer protection schemes to, or even eliminate other colonies.

    If Aliens were more of a threat it would make early exploration and the decision to clear them much more interesting.

    If there were greater rewards for hunting Aliens, it could be an active way to get a head start.

    2. Tie Affinity progression to Culture as well as Science.

    Partially dethrone Science as the way to advance your military, helping cultural players to not fall behind as much.

    3. Reduce combat strength gains with unit tiers, focus them on unique traits.

    I've always disliked how unique units have interesting traits that they only gain when upgraded.

    I also like the idea of a less advanced military in BE having much more a chance than its Civ 5 equivalent - a guy with a club against a machine gun.

    Finally, it would be nice if Aliens weren't outscaled to the point of irrelevance so quickly.

    Tie all that together, and I'd like military progression based on gaining interesting options more than brute force.
     

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