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Continental Consciousness - 4 times Huge size map, After Action Report

Discussion in 'Alpha Centauri' started by bvanevery, Mar 24, 2018.

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  1. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

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    I played the Cybernetic Consciousness on a 128x256 map, a size I call "Giant". A Huge map is 64x128. I modded the world generation parameters in alphax.txt to produce big continents, so that the AI factions would have lots of room to grown in. It worked: even though I got a perfect start, they completed a lot of Secret Projects before I could even get the techs for them.

    Eventually I did win though. Diplomatic Victory, 4930 votes FOR, 1599 votes AGAINST. I could have Transcended and chose not to, as I'm morally opposed to it. I was a few turns away from Economic Victory as well. Final score 4195 points, 389% Alpha Centauri Rating. Sounds impressive, don't know what it means.

    So ended the 39th After Action Report I've written. It was by far the most epic, and it may be the last one of that size I ever write. I can think of play tactics I'd do differently, but I'm not sure I'd take quite so much time to write about them. The game took me eight days and I played more than full time. I could have collected 2 paychecks producing this AAR, not calculating overtime pay. If you have any interest I suggest you take a look, because you're not likely to see something this long again. It's the AAR equivalent of playing Space Invaders until you drop dead.
     
  2. Volcanon

    Volcanon Chieftain

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    Cool.

    Really enormous maps in Alpha Centauri seem to have a problem where the AI never really expands to fill out the planet. There's no real downside to infinite city spam in this game other than diplomatic penalties. Somehow I'm always stuck in a forever war with somebody in the game (usually Miriam) even if they are in the equivalent of Australia and I am in the equivalent of Scotland.
     
  3. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

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    Why would an AI or a human want to fill out an enormous planet? There are severe Bureaucracy and Waste penalties for doing so. I've played plenty of large planet games, to know that cities sufficiently far away from you, don't get any energy or research. That's why I used nerve gas on the Caretakers, so I wouldn't have to hold anything worthless.
     
  4. Volcanon

    Volcanon Chieftain

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    I skimmed the report, how did you get around the game crash bug? I've had that happen before and its really annoying. It seems to be keyed to automated units. Sometimes I'll automate flyers because they can "see" things that I can't, like enemy troops on fungus.
     
  5. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

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    I don't remember any "game crash bug" this game. I did have another game where one of my Interceptors would fly out to battle an enemy plane, and that would crash the game. Took a number of iterations and head scratchings to figure out that was the problem. I moved the plane away so that it couldn't intercept anything. Problem solved.
     
  6. Darsnan

    Darsnan Chieftain

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    And another great example of why SMACX is the best game ever: almost twenty years on and people are still doing in-depth AARs on the game! :thumbsup:

    So how much did you experiment around with the world generator, and what did you find were the optimal settings for your huge map? I've been playing around with the world builder parameters myself and am finding that reducing the number continents while adding a gloms of islands generates some really nicely contoured continents with lots of isthmus, bays, and peninsulas.

    D
     
  7. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

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    I described the settings I used for the game, but my experiments with the settings have been ongoing. Currently I'm playing on what I call "Enormous" sized maps, 80x160. They are 4 times larger than a Standard 40x80 map and a bit larger than a Huge 64x128 map. They don't generate faction placement bugs the way a "Giant" 128x256 map does. I actually got pretty lucky in that Consciousness game that only 1 faction, the Cultists, got a bad start. On Giant maps, having factions start on 1x1 islands or be dropped from the game entirely is rather common. On Enormous maps I'm currently using Continent base=30, Continent modifier=60, Islands=0 and no other settings changed, on a world with 30%..50% water and Average settings. I've tried lots of different settings which you can read about in that link, and this is the best I've been able to do so far.
     
  8. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

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    I just tried a lot of different continent ratio settings. The default settings are "3,6,12,18,24 ; Ratio (Continent size ratios)". Changing those didn't seem to have any impact on map generation at all. I tried making them lower, higher, fewer than 5 settings, more than 5 settings. No differences that I could discern. I even tried completely quitting the game and loading "cold" rather than just starting new games, in case alphax.txt was only being read once. No luck. So until I run into someone with alternate experiences, I'll leave them at their defaults.
     
  9. Darsnan

    Darsnan Chieftain

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    That is very good information - much thanx there! :thumbsup:

    So I just experimented around and concur with what you've already found out. However thinking about this a little more, is this parameter more about how the land is dispersed on a planet (i.e. whether it is all glommed together, or if it is dispersed out across the map)? So I tested this by first zeroing out the Land Base, Land Modifier, Continent Size, and Islands parameters, and I got pretty much just the Landmarks and that was it. Then I increased only the Continent Size to an outrageous number of 180, and that did give me a little more land associated with the Landmarks, but nothing else. Next I zeroed out the Continent Size again, then increased the Land Modifier to 250: this gave me lots of nice large islands (or small continents, depending on which you aesthetically prefer). I then changed the Continent Size ratio to 180, however I didn't see the expected increase in the lumping of the land together. :confused: Will have to think about this some more to figure out whats going on.

    D
     
  10. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

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    I've previously tried all kinds of settings for dispersion. That's how I ended up with the Continent base, Continent modifier, and Islands settings that I did. On a 30%..50% land world, these settings make "larger land masses, while still leaving substantial oceans for a Pirate". AFAICT the continent ratio settings have no effect on dispersion at all. I get exactly the same kinds of dispersion patterns with or without changes to them. I tried a lot of iterations last night, probably was at it for 2 hours.
     
  11. Darsnan

    Darsnan Chieftain

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    That is extremely commendable for you to pursue all the involved permutations to those lengths. One of the things which has continually delighted me over the years is the discoveries everyone makes about this game and then shares, either via scenarios or mods, or the very detailed AAR that you have put together. My apologies for slightly segueing off topic, but I was very curious about how you'd generated the map you performed your play-thru on.

    D
     
  12. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

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    My knowledge of map generation has advanced somewhat. Lately I've settled for playing on "Enormous" maps that are 80x160 squares. That's 4X a Standard size map, it doesn't usually generate faction placement problems, and it's large enough to present many of the challenges a "Giant" 128x256 map does. I'm in the middle of a huge mod of the tech tree and social engineering choices. When I'm finally ready to test, I'll do some kind of massive AAR about it on an Enormous map.
     

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