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Best designed Orion 1 race

Discussion in 'Other Civ-Related Games' started by RaiddinnRZ, May 19, 2011.

  1. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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    I just wanted to hear people's opinions on what they thought was the best designed race, or perhaps the most average race in Orion 1.

    Psilons probably not because they are probably too strong, same for Humans, same for Klackons. Probably not Cats or Darloks because they are both IMHO far too weak.

    That leaves 5 races the Silicoids, Birds, Lizards, Meklars, or Bulrathi.

    The Bulrathi and Silicoids can probably go immediately for being the least and most powerful ones that remain.

    I have half a mind to vote Sakkra, because they don't have tech drawbacks that cancel out their tech advantages unlike all of the others. They do, however, have a pretty bad set of racial relationships.

    I also think that Planetology is probably the best field to be an expert in. Although Computers is really good too.

    I do like how the Birds have a good early game that drops off pretty quickly, though. Propulsion helps get planets in range quicker and get around better. Speed 2 vs 1 is a big advantage and 3 vs 2, but 4 vs 3 and 5 vs 4 not so much.

    Their ship dodge chance is also much stronger early than late. That helps to ensure the player survives the outset, yet guarantees nothing in the long game.

    I am still kinda thinking the Lizards, though, because they also have a pretty good advantage with their reproduction speed. That helps them get established in the early game as well, although it doesn't really help them not die in early ship combat.

    Meklars are probably out for being too weak early game when they don't have access to their own racial ability at a time when defense is the toughest.

    Anyway, between Lizards and Birds I think Lizards are probably the best designed.

    Anyone else have a different thought and different rationale?

    RaiddinnRZ
     
  2. vmxa

    vmxa Chieftain

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    Never gave it much thought. I only know that my least favored to play is the Coids.
     
  3. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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    I am not a big fan of the Silicoids either.

    They start with huge advantages that more or less quickly disappear entirely.

    In fact, I usually try to get 20% of their advantage as the first tech I research in every game. If not that then a slower 33% in Planetology, or perhaps both. The lack of the Soil Enrichment and Atmospheric Terraforming techs are probably the biggest drawback.

    That and the 20% penalty to research in every field except one is pretty painful too.

    I prefer ramping up more and more quickly rather than ramping down more and more quickly.

    Raid
     
  4. kyrub

    kyrub Chieftain

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    Best in what? That is the question. Most fun to play with? Hardest to win with? Most original? Allowing widest variety of strategies? My top 9, from best to worst:

    1. Silicoids.
    The only truly ground-breaking race conception in MoO. The nature of Coids forces you to play the game in a very different way, choosing colonization targets wisely, not overspreading, beelining for the right techs. And managing population is a daunting task. Most original race by far and one hard to master.

    2. Klackons
    The race is easy to play with, no real pluses here. It is just incredible, how one of the strongest races in the game is built around a minor production bonus. It is all about momentum. It also encourages you to invest in POP early, which is one of the most surprising discoveries you'll ever find in a computer game. Well, it was for me.

    3. Meklars
    OK, 3rd place is most probably unintentional from the part of the programmers. Meklars should have had a REFIT bonus (is missing, bug), they probably should have had cheaper factories (is true only later in the game, earlier they are paying more). Therefore, they are very slow out of the blocks and have to constantly weigh their big robotic bonus against ecology. A blessing in disguise, as it provides unique challenge. They can also survive with few worlds, so a Meklar start may translate into an epic game.

    4. Alkaris
    I love the way Moo operates big stacks of microships, as opposed to ship mammoths. The smaller seem to fade in the latter game, but Alkari race makes them shine a lot longer, offering a good number of new strategies elsewhere (see big initiative bonus!). And Alkari AI has some nice background... I simply love to play the birds.

    5. Mrrshans
    The ultimate outsiders. Unintentional, but they provide a great challenge for any player. Sadly, their bonus is so dry and lacks game appeal (does not create any specific strategical possibilities), that they have fallen down the ladder.

    6. Darloks
    Very nice background. They offer some sort of strategic variety in the game (invest in tech at all?), but the spying options are not very well diversified. You end up stealing techs from everyone, and everybody knows you do... Still, I keep going back to the Darlock side, often to roleplay games with preset rules.

    ---

    7. Sakkras
    We are getting to the "less good" part. Sakkras are too easy to win with. Worse than that, their bonus does not open any new, race specific strategies. Expand, expand, expand... everybody does it, Sakkras are just the most effective. Dry.

    8. Bulrathis
    Could be seen as a good challenge, but since they have very good research bonuses (Const, Weapons)... meh. Their +25 ground bonus could be good if it forced you to play in some specific way. Helas, while there are many ways to devastate a planet, all end up being too similar to each other. The bonus seems superfluous, you don't really need it. Gropo is not a very rich part of the game, Buls suffer for it.

    9. Psilons
    What should be said that was not said 1000x? No real originality, beginner race. They would be last if not for Humans.

    10. Humans
    The fact these guys got past Psilons in lack of appeal speaks for itself. Human races are notorious for being poorly designed in computer games. Moo Humans are as dry as ever. Diplomatic bonus feels like a cheat in hands of player, trade is poorly designed in Moo. No real face for the Moo Humans (apart from a strange Force field tech bonus). I am never attracted to play them.
     
  5. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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    IIRC in the last succession game on these boards using Silicoids and in pretty much all of Syrian's Silicoid replays the concept of spreading pretty much everywhere was used pretty heavily. The assumption was that maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the risky planets would be eventually lost, but that the players would still keep the balance and it would still be worth doing.

    I don't play Silicoids very often because I prefer to start weak and end strong rather than starting strong and ending weak, plus I am not a big fan of stretching really hard to try to colonize every possible location nor of getting a 20% tech penalty in pretty much every field.

    That being said, I do like how they play completely differently than every other race and how they are the least likely race in the game to be stuck with a one planet empire.


    Klackons, I still haven't made that population discovery myself yet. Their factory production quickly outpaces their population production, but I would rather split off the balance and use it on technology or something like that instead of cloning. I also don't know that I would call their bonus minor. On turn 1, their advantage is about 40% over pretty much all the other races.


    Meklars, not sure what you mean about weighing production against ecology. Every factory produces 1 per turn and has a much lower than 1 maximum for waste production. Subsequent techs reduce the waste production even further. One additional factory always results in a greater net production as an end result. The only real reason not to max factories is because it costs too much in the short run.

    As for surviving with less worlds, I wouldn't really want to try it. I usually only play on the two hardest difficulties and I haven't noticed I survive better on those with fewer planets regardless of race. If you aren't pretty much on par with the other races for planets in Impossible difficulty you have probably already lost, Meklars no exception.


    Darloks and Mrrshans, pretty much all disadvantages and no advantages with these races. Good for if you want to have a hard time winning. I would rather play a race with no advantages and no penalties than these races, if such a race existed. Better than having 2 drawbacks for every advantage.


    Sakkras, I don't think they are as good as you are making it sound. They certainly aren't close in power level to the top 4 (Psilon, Klackon, Human, Silicoid) although they might be a somewhat distant 5th.


    Psilon and Human, all advantages and no disadvantages with these.


    Bulrathi, IMHO, the bonus to weapons is negligible and the bonus to construction is not worth the penalty to computers. At least they can try to steal good computer techs from the AI in ground combat if they can beat their ships and missile bases though.


    By best designed race, I mostly meant the best mix of plusses and minuses and races with small bonuses that help you get situated early without providing an overwhelming advantage at any stage of the game.


    Raid
     
  6. kyrub

    kyrub Chieftain

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    Yeah, I know. It seems entertaining to me, because there's a lot of decision involved. Which posts you are going to defend, which points you will hold. I always think of Pop transports as a sort of investment, some planets are primary, some secondary targets, some are just refuelling stations.

    I read somewhere (reliable source?) that very early, it is better to invest in POP than factories. I play so in my games for the first Klackon planets. I'm lazy to do the math, though.

    You are right, it's more weighing factories against new colony ship (or whatever else, early range tech etc.). Very interesting kind of decision, IMO.

    Nobody says it is a good tactic. Just sometimes it's the only way - and the game becomes epic. Do you know "Holding on" game - http://www.garath.net/Sullla/MOO/holdingon1.html? Two Meklar planets.

    It depends on galaxy size. In Large or Huge, they are very powerful in human hands. In small, they suck. But overall, they seem to lack the originality other races have.
     
  7. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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    Simple test.

    I loaded up Klackons on Impossible and set them to do 100% population. The colony ship stayed home the whole time.

    It took 7 turns to hit population 79 and production of 100 (112).

    Then I restarted on the exact same game (saved on turn 1) and I left the settings for production exactly as they were. Colony ship stayed home.

    On turn 5, I had population of 53 and production of 102 (114).

    That is a straight up loss of more than 2 whole turns. Extremely important turns, I might add, being that they are all front loaded.

    At the same turn 7, I was at 59 population and production of 122 (135).

    For kicks, I restarted the test and sent the colony ship out this time. The closest habitable planet was a distance of 3 which is pretty common, so this set of tests should better reflect normal conditions.

    Leaving production at the usual settings, turn 5 I had the same 53 people but a production of 116 (116). Turn 7, I had the same 59 people and production 140 (140).

    Restarting and sending out colony ship with 100% of production on cloning. Turn 7, I was at 81 population and production of 114 (114).


    So

    Keeping the ship at home and leaving the settings as they were resulted in 22% more production by turn 7, and shaved off two whole turns as compared to 100% cloning.

    Sending the ship out and leaving the settings as they were resulted in 22.8% more production by turn 7 and again shaved off two whole turns compared to 100% cloning.

    Not only that, but going 100% population growth causes the player to exit the population growth "sweet spot" more quickly (population between 33% and 66% of max planet size).

    100% cloning causes you to leave the sweet spot at about turn 4 or 5, whereas you are still in it with regular settings. Thus in the turns immediately past turn 7, the regular settings will surge even farther ahead compared to cloning.

    Turn 7 will be the biggest gain yet in production for regular settings, with 100% cloning turn 7 may not even exceed the production growth of turn 4 or 5 when the cloning test is at the top of the sweet spot.

    I can't conceive of any way to alter the settings so that this trend is reversed. Maybe if you went poor on turn 1 or something. IIRC its not possible to be hit with a negative effect that early, so thats probably out too.

    Predicting much farther than that is pretty difficult because of the wide variance in possibilities.

    Repeating the test when sending out all colonists above 50 (half size) results in 56 people and production of 88 (88) on the main colony, 23 people and production of 23 (27) on the second colony and 12 in the air. We will count all the people in the air as their full production value (1 per) so that gives a total galactic production of 127.

    Repeating the test on the regular settings, the main colony has 52 population and production of 130 (130). That is already beyond the total galactic production of the other test. The new planet has population of 5 and production of 5, and there are 6 people in the air. That adds to a galactic production of 141.

    The difference is shaved to 11% benefit for the regular settings run, but its still there.

    A minimal 30 second planet wouldn't even reap that whole benefit because 23 on the colony and 12 in the air would be more than its max population and it would result in both colonies being past the sweet spot regardless how you slice it.

    At least with a Terran 105 or something the second planet would just be entering the sweet spot on turn 9 or 10 whereas the regular settings would still be well below that.

    With an average size 60 or 65, the 12 in the air would be enough to blow past the sweet spot on its own.

    On the other hand, with the regular settings, you have more production that you could devote to cloning more people to send over, if you wanted to, or you could just devote it to getting another colony ship more quickly, or things like that.

    All in all, I think that regular settings win out. More production is just plain more production.

    Repeating the test with regular settings

    I am not about to repeat all of this a bunch more times and extending it out to 20 turns and keep building new maps so I can test with different planet sizes, etc. Because at best it would take exceptional circumstances to reverse the trends I have shown above.

    I would challenge others to refute the math using longer tests in more conditions, but I think the further data would show that regular settings are at least pretty much even with 100% cloning and indeed in many cases it is much further ahead.

    I don't know about you guys, but I will stick with regular settings and be 11% to 22.8% farther ahead at the end of turn 7 for the time being.

    Mind you, these aren't simulated numbers, they were made in the actual game, so all variables have been accounted for.

    Another simple math proof would be 20 worth of factories buys 2 factories, which makes 2 production, Contrast with 20 production buying a maximum of 1 production from cloning. You would have to have over 50% of your factory production spent on upkeep to go south of the cloning results. Given that each new factory is only polluting at about 30%, it would be hard for the economies of scale to go in the wrong direction.

    As far as "Holding On" goes, I may have read it in the past and forgotten about it. I don't generally play on tiny maps myself because the AI is just too cheaty in the early game and because of that I don't find it very fun. I think the game is more balanced in huge galaxies.

    I suppose if you are going to play in a tiny map and if you are going to have only 2 planets, it might be better to have Meklar than most other races.

    RaiddinnRZ
     
  8. kyrub

    kyrub Chieftain

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    Hmm. Hopefully you got the counts right, I was unable to read through your results (really tried, but I get lost in all test branches, since they are not graphically separated).

    The results are more or less disapointing to me, I was wrong. I thought that Klackons investment in population is very useful in that early point in the game when you need to send a lot of transports to newly established colonies - and your homeworld or other developped planets are under danger of MAXing out factories. But maybe even that is better with factories early, cloning when hitting MAX.

    Klackons fall down the ladder... to 5th after Mrrshans. They are still cool in my opinion, just less interesting strategically.

    Balanced? Huge galaxies are a cake unless you lose on an unlucky council vote. In huge maps you have all the time in the world to build up and prevail. Plus, the AIs are ridden with a colonization bug, so eventually, you have 1/3 of the map for yourself. Average or small maps are the real challenge.
     
  9. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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    I don't know if its just me, but I haven't really experienced AI colonization bugs. I mean I have gotten 1/3 of the map all to myself when I have blocked enemy access to key jump off points, but I have had AIs be the first to 22 planets before, even faster than me. Usually there is at least one of them faster than me well into the teens for planets controlled.

    I have even had runaway Mrrshans AIs on huge maps.

    Maybe I have a patched version or something.




    How about this for graphical stuff, ending at turn 7 every time:
    Production Leaving colony ship at home
    |<---- Regular ---------->|
    |<---- 100% Clone ->|

    Production colonizing on turn 3
    |<----- Regular -------------->|
    |<----- 100% Clone ---->|

    Production sending all citizens past 50 to second planet
    |<----- Regular -------------->|
    |<----- 100% Clone ------->|

    Thats what I have always done, either that or just not cloning when I hit max and letting the planet pursue technology while the population grows organically.


    I would really like to hear about this ranking system. If its interesting enough, I might even try to put it on my Orion 1 StrategyWiki page (with credits).

    Raiddinn
     
  10. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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  11. kyrub

    kyrub Chieftain

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    Hehe, no need of graphic percentages (do I sound like a blockhead?). I actually found this quite convincing:
    ---------

    Don't you find that weird, that the AI is so often so far ahead of you in GNN news, and then it suddenly stops expanding? Have you ever seen a planet perfectly in range, but never colonized by AI? Whole parts of universe left untouched until the late mid-game? One planet empires in every game? The AI's bugged.

    http://realmsbeyond.net/forums/showthread.php?p=44457#post44457
     
  12. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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    I am not going to try to claim it is a perfect AI, by any stretch, but overall I do think it does pretty well.


    As for the one planet empires, it really is pretty random, I think. I have played twice from the exact same turn 1 and had the same exact everything and once a race was a one planet empire and the other time it was a runaway AI.

    The AIs send out a lot of scouts and stuff and if one race gets unlucky and keeps having its colony ships bounced its on the quick track to 1PE status.

    Artifact worlds can make a difference too. The AI can get Range 6 off a lucky artifact discovery which pretty much guarantees they aren't a 1PE. If they pull something like Hand Lasers instead, they get no advantage.



    As for the enemy being ahead of me in planets and they stop expanding, the game they were ahead of me into the 20s they quit expanding when pretty much all the planets were colonized. I had the SW corner, Bulrathi's the NW, Mrrshans the SE, Darloks the NE (22PE), and Sakkra had the center. The Sakkra never really had a chance with 15+ planet empires on every corner and them having maybe 8.

    That is just the luck of the dice, I guess.

    The Darloks got into wars with both the Bulrathi to the west and the Mrrshans to the south at the same time, I imagine that had something to do with them having a tough time getting more planets.

    Anyway, in the game in question I didn't really consider for a moment that the AI was flawed. Everything seemed to go as I would expect it to. All the tech free planets were gone quickly and every 10 or so turns an AI would develop the next higher environment tech and all those worlds would get colonized, etc.

    I can't honestly think of very many times I have ever seen a planet reachable and colonizable by an AI and the AI didn't colonize it unless access to it was being blocked.

    Like I said though, maybe its just me.

    Raid
     
  13. kyrub

    kyrub Chieftain

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    I am afraid I have to go back to this argument and ask you again. You somehow left out the waste effect from factories. 20BC buys you two factories which produce 2BC of production --- and 2BC of waste in surplus, which can be cleaned at a cost of 1BC. However, population produces no waste! So all your equations should take this factor in (if they had not already).


    I have searched through the RBO and CF forums to find out that old Klackon argumentation, with no success. I am pretty adamant I've read the analysis, probably from RefSteel or Sargon or another Moo ultra-veteran. Can't find it. :(
     
  14. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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    The proof is in the in game results.

    Regardless what the theoretical math says, it clearly does not bear out that way in the game.

    I see what you are saying, that Klackons SHOULD have double production (1) from a citizen and that factories SHOULD only be 50% efficient at the outset (2x = 1), but in the game its clearly not that way.

    Feel free to repeat my tests exactly as I have described them to verify.

    It is possible that Klackons make something less than 2x right away OR its possible that factories aren't only 50% efficient OR something else could be dragging down the results for population, but the results speak for themselves.

    The theory behind it just plain doesn't mesh with real results.

    Maybe factory production happens and then population growth happens, such that a certain percentage of the newly minted factories can be used to grow people in the same year, or something like that.

    Something interesting to me is that if you start a brand new Klackon game on impossible and then hit the planets tab, what you see is 40 population and 30 factories and a listing of 72 total production. If you do the same thing with Mrrshans, you get 51 total production.

    The difference between the two, ostensibly the Klackon Advantage, is 21.

    Theorycraft would say that 40 x 1 + 30 x 1 = 70 and that 40 / 2 + 30 x 1 = 50, not 72 and 51.

    There is an extra 2 and 1 in there. My guess is that it comes from having tech level 1 in every field instead of tech level 0 in every field at the start.

    If that is true, then the difference in why the Klackons can't keep up doing population instead of factories could be that tech level 1 in some field related to industry is worth more than tech level 1 in some field related to planetology's bonus to worker productivity.

    Regardless, its pretty clear to me that the theory is wrong on some level.

    - Edit - It could have been Sirian that did the analysis, since Warpcore.org shut down all operations at some point in the last year and AFAIK nothing was ever archived before that happened. If thats the case, you can probably kiss it goodbye. Although, it might be possible that Sirian himself still has a personal archive of it, if he could be contacted. Extremely slim chance (1% - 3%), but I might still have his email around somewhere.

    Raid
     
  15. kyrub

    kyrub Chieftain

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    Hey, genious, that's it! Child labour (as we called it at RBO) does the effect. That's half-a-bug in my book, but it certainly exists in classic MoO 1.31. This explains a lot. - Good catch, Raid.
     
  16. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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    Is it different after applying your patch to it?

    Raid
     
  17. kyrub

    kyrub Chieftain

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  18. RaiddinnRZ

    RaiddinnRZ Chieftain

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    I just lost a Mrrshan game on Impossible on a large map and it certainly seemed to me that the AIs were expanding as I would expect them to. All the basic planets were snapped up quickly and the tech planets were taken quickly after the first race researched the tech.

    I just wish I hadn't pulled 2 Ultra Poor's and a Poor as 3 of my first 5 colonies, front line ones too. If anything I lay my blame on that. That being said, at the end the Sakkra did have Advanced Planetology 3 researched along with Complete Terraforming + 120, Gaia, Controlled Radiated, Atmospheric Terraforming, and Factory Controls 5 while I had +40, Fertile, and only Factory Controls 2.

    Some of my tech fields were as low as level 20 in research when they were at about 50 in everything.

    I was parrying hits from 3 AIs the whole game, though. That kinda kept me from ever moving forward in the game. Maybe I would have done better just trying to ignore the Poor and Ultra Poor worlds and just having 3 less planets and then I wouldn't have had to waste so much resources defending them.

    Having Mrrshan relations could also have been what did the most to screw me over as well. The AIs were declaring war 2 and 3 turns after I met them. Plus the AIs were all Aggressive, Xenophobic, etc.

    Sometimes the game just goes like that.

    Did I ever mention that I hate the kitties? Oh right, its plastered all over the StrategyWiki how bad the kitties are.

    - Edit - New map, same size, difficulty, and race. This time the kitties are going to win! There are a good number of habitable planets in pretty close proximity to Prrsha and my first planet is an artifacts world that gave me Reduced Factory Costs 8. The biggest worry is that the Psilons are in the game. I pray they are a 1PE so that I might really have a chance this game.

    - Edit 2 - Both Alkaris (who are right next to me) and Silicoids (also right next to me) had 8 planets before I had 4 and now they have 12 each before I have 7. Doesn't seem like they are unable to colonize new worlds to me... At least with 31 worlds between the 3 of us there is less chance of a runaway Psilon AI.

    Raiddinn
     
  19. kyrub

    kyrub Chieftain

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    Look, I don't want to force your view on this topic. The game is challenging as it is. There's no problem playing in the "old way". I just insist on my point: that the CPs tends to have big "gaps" in expansion due to a bug. And, therefore, playing in huge maps is advantageous for HP (not only because of this bug). The colony ship creation is random, so that the bug appears irregularly, it may probably not be present/visible in every game.

    When you attack a one-planet empire and you see there 4 colony ships parked, you'll remember the problem.

    Finally, this is what someone wrote in the thread as a reaction:
     

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