Features from SMAC which MUST make it in the new game

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I've been playing SMAC since the demo of the original game. I love this game and still carry it around on a flash drive, in case I have a free PC and time to kill. It is by far the most immersive of the civ games for me, because of the atmosphere just oozing from the game.

Here is a list of the features which were IMO unique to SMAC that must make it back in the game:

1. Believable futuristic tech

We already completed the Human Genome Project here in the real world and we are working on a supercollider. Yes, we are a long way from Monopole Magnets, let alone Controlled Singularity, but still it feels so right to look at the tech tree for SMAC.

2. Fleshed out leader personalities.

This is so prominent in SMAC. You know that Miriam will be a psycho. You know Deirde will whine about Planet. You know Morgan wants to trade and build up. Yeap. The leaders are fleshed out not only via comlink communication, but also through tech and SP quotes (see more below). We know the way Yang views humanity and the role of the individual. We see the lengths he will go, for example by creating the GENEJACK (his "gift" to society). We know Zach approaches taboo experiments, and how Morgan felt compelled to nerve staple some drones in regards to a protest against the implementation of research hospitals.

3. The design style of technologies, varied and immersive voice-acted quotes on technologies and secret project / wonder movies (NOT still images).

The graphic design is very peculiar and consistent. The profile of a man looking to the right. The basic shapes. It just fits so well. It brings atmosphere. I know many of the quotes by heart. Sometimes they pop into my head as I go about my day. Much better than the bible quotes in Civ 5 IMO.

Spoiler :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24OXzIRIiMQ#t=529
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMIxYbhWQMI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwqN3Ur-wP0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lva8L-J8x04
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdCB9yE9Hcc

4. The Workshop

The ability to combine arms, armour, chassi and two special abilities to tailor units to our needs and preferences is leaps and bounds ahead of anything else presented in a TBS game. We need this. We want it. We want the Deathsphere Mark II. We want the Laser Skimships, the Missile Rovers...

5. Mind Worms

You thought Civ 5 barbs are bad? At least they can never ever kill your city (realistically). In SMAC you can lose expansions to random wandering worms. You can lose a late game, size 30 city to worm rape because of eco damage. Yeap.

6. The Morale system

A rich, pacifist society will produce worse troops than an autocratic spartan like society. And so it does, and it counts. Especially when considering who can break psychic paralysis to fry the mind worm boil.

7. Probe Teams

These made the game much more varied and interesting. I miss them in Civ 5 though I do like the great people. It's just not the same however.

8. Terraforming

Raise/Lower ground. Make mountains to condense cloud cover and get more fertile lands. Raise plateaus to maximise solar collector yield. Drill boreholes. Plant forests. The economy of SMAC was much more complex and varied (bar one exception I will mention below) and that is because of the terraforming options.

9. Social Engineering

This was the proto variant of civ 5 social policies. It had flavour and I hope it returns and is expanded.

10. Transcend difficulty

The AI had bonuses, sure, but it wasn't in your face GL at turn 18 trololo like in Civ 5. I've never felt bored in SMAC because the AI knew how to make war or how to snag SPs. It shared tech so the player had to be careful.


Things that must be reimagined and rebalanced:

1. Get it or lose technologies/strategies

Supply crawlers ruin the game for me. They make most economic setups obsolete, and they remove the problem of city unhappiness because you are running only specialists and bore holes and you are crawling 50 nutrients to that city. This has to be severely limited or downright removed and replaced with something like the food/hammer caravans of Civ 5. Every SMAC strategy which doesn't involve "pick Miriam, kill everyone in 100 turns" instead involves "beeline to Industrial Automaton".

The same thing we have in Civ 5 with Philosophy/National College. Limiting strategy choices because one path is obviously vastly superior is poor game design and needs to go.

2. Insta buying secret projects: it's tempting, but it's unrealistic. So if you dump a million gigawatts of power you can construct the Maritime Control Center in one turn? How? Do you materialize the steel plating needed to build it out of electricity?! It doesn't make sense.

3. Unit stacking

Hey, I've played tons of SMAC that doesn't mean I look fondly at watching 50 Impact Rovers moving around. Still, it has to be considered, because natural unit spammers like Yang must have a way to "zerg rush" an opponent effectively.

I'll add more as people respond to the thread.
 

Seek

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Er, MUST?:crazyeye: This list seems to be saying "Firaxis MUST remake AC" which they are not going to do - they are making a separate game. And then - Or what? You won't buy it? "Must" is an odd word to use in this situation.:)

Also, perhaps you could have read up on the game before making the thread? It's well documented that a number of features you list are not going to be in BE.

Here is a list of the features which were IMO unique to SMAC that must make it back in the game:

1. Believable futuristic tech

From the previews it sounds like this will be the case, the designers certainly made a point to say that they attempted to make the techs believable.

2. Fleshed out leader personalities.

I expect the personalities to be similarly implemented to Civ V's leader personalities - so whether those seem "fleshed out" or not is up to you.

3. The design style of technologies, varied and immersive voice-acted quotes on technologies and secret project / wonder movies (NOT still images).

Currently unknown. We all hope for a return of wonder movies, I think, but it's possibly a large drain on developmental resources which may not be deemed a priority.

4. The Workshop

The workshop is out. For good reason imo (it becomes tedious once you figure out what the best unit types are, it makes for tech trees filled with rather bland effects like "+1 armor" or "+1 weapons", it diverts a lot of resources to code, and it makes each unit -ironically- feel less unique because there are only a few basic models on which units can be built).
You will be able to customize units based on your affinity as they level up (kind of like X-COM, it has been theorized).

5. Mind Worms

It seems the devs are definitely going to make the alien flora and fauna uninviting - whether on the level of SMAC remains to be seen. I doubt the specific unit Mind Worm will be in.

6. The Morale system

This would be great, but there have not been any details regarding this released. (I kind of doubt it will be in.)

7. Probe Teams

It sounds like there will be a robust espionage system, though along the lines of Civ V's (ie, not units on the map).

8. Terraforming

Terraforming is in. Don't know to what degree though. Raise/lower land is obviously out because there is no elevation in BE, unfortunately, but maybe raise flat land to hills or hills to mountains, etc will be in.

9. Social Engineering

Unknown.

10. Transcend difficulty

Not sure what you're getting at here - do you mean make the AI better than Civ V's? In that case, there is no one here who wishes otherwise, I'm sure.


Things that must be reimagined and rebalanced:

1. Get it or lose technologies/strategies

Supply crawlers ruin the game for me. They make most economic setups obsolete, and they remove the problem of city unhappiness because you are running only specialists and bore holes and you are crawling 50 nutrients to that city. This has to be severely limited or downright removed and replaced with something like the food/hammer caravans of Civ 5. Every SMAC strategy which doesn't involve "pick Miriam, kill everyone in 100 turns" instead involves "beeline to Industrial Automaton".

The same thing we have in Civ 5 with Philosophy/National College. Limiting strategy choices because one path is obviously vastly superior is poor game design and needs to go.

I think it's a little unrealistic to expect a fully balanced game on release. I wouldn't be surprised if the trade route system from Civ V was going to be implemented.

2. Insta buying secret projects

I am quite sure this will be out, buying wonders hasn't been an option in a Civ game for many years.

3. Unit stacking

It's going to be 1UPT.
 

KrikkitTwo

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4-probably out, they have a different method for "building your units"..they gain levels with technology, and at each level you decide what bonus they get.

5-They will have very interesting "barb wildlife" ie not just mindlessly attacking and potentially very dangerous

9- Well you will have Culture so you will have something to potentially spend on Social Engineering.. how they will do it is a big mystery though.

Not sure about the rest.
 

Fabio1701

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Planet busters. Not these wimpy nukes of civ5, but something which puts the fear of God in you.
 

poom3619

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I don't think your 2. is fleshed-out enough for me. It's very easy to make such shallow character like "Miriam is a psycho leading an army of fanatic" or "Yang is a monster" . It's not to make a character that have earlier description and "She also made Planetfall with a colony pod with people that left behind by other faction" and "She simply don't want humanity to mischievously play with what they don't actually know".

3. So you are like philosophical quote more than whatever Firaxis give in Civ5. As I consider "Beep, Beep, Beep" an easy quote to remember. :)

6. I take that you never played Civ4 and Civ5, right. Those game have "Experience" and having Barrack give some of it to built unit. I think "Order-ly" policy will boost it further.
 

lietkynes

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2. Fleshed out leader personalities.

This is so prominent in SMAC. You know that Miriam will be a psycho. You know Deirde will whine about Planet. You know Morgan wants to trade and build up. Yeap. The leaders are fleshed out not only via comlink communication, but also through tech and SP quotes (see more below). We know the way Yang views humanity and the role of the individual. We see the lengths he will go, for example by creating the GENEJACK (his "gift" to society). We know Zach approaches taboo experiments, and how Morgan felt compelled to nerve staple some drones in regards to a protest against the implementation of research hospitals.

It will be a real challenge for Firaxis to try to create leaders as good as the ones from SMAC. I am not optimistic on this.


4. The Workshop

The ability to combine arms, armour, chassi and two special abilities to tailor units to our needs and preferences is leaps and bounds ahead of anything else presented in a TBS game. We need this. We want it. We want the Deathsphere Mark II. We want the Laser Skimships, the Missile Rovers...

I loved the workshop but apparently it's out. Instead we get level ups and perks :(


9. Social Engineering

This was the proto variant of civ 5 social policies. It had flavour and I hope it returns and is expanded.

It was much better than social policies in my opinion, I hope it will be in the game.
 

kayser79

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Planet busters. Not these wimpy nukes of civ5, but something which puts the fear of God in you.

This was my favourite part of SMAC. I remember I was sitting with a friend when we aimed our first fusion planet buster at Morgan's capital and fired off. The game seemed to hang for a second or two. Then the massive explosion all over the screen. When the dust settled, all that remained was a crater in the continent, and a tiny lake at the center. The formation was clearly visible on the overview map too. We laughed together for quite some time. Then my friend said: -We have to make a SINGULARITY planet buster!

And we all know how those work...

Anyway - to add to the topic, I have one request:

  • Formulas in the help that explains how various stuff is calculated: Growth, Pollution, Research, etc.
 

KrikkitTwo

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Anyway - to add to the topic, I have one request:

  • Formulas in the help that explains how various stuff is calculated: Growth, Pollution, Research, etc.

YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!

This is something very annoying to miss out on. (and then wait for it to be reported in the forum)
 

sendos

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Another feature that made SMAC awesome was its reasonable warmonger penalty system. You could still annex the entire world and still be considered a "noble" leader.
 

Lancor

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Would love to have city-happines and health/pollution back from the previous games.
 

SammyKhalifa

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Another feature that made SMAC awesome was its reasonable warmonger penalty system. You could still annex the entire world and still be considered a "noble" leader.

To be honest I just considered that a product of a dumb AI.
 

Siopaos

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Just the general dark, grim future setting, such as the graphics, but also the possibility of creating a dystopia. This gave the game a sense of reality. Those leaders which followed dystopian ideologies (Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, Sister Miriam Godwinson, etc) provided an evil with realistic motives to fight.
I don't mind if the Civ:BE is made accessible for many different people and age groups, but I do hope that such darker concepts will still be left intact for those that can appreciate them.
 

Matthew.

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Just adding that your #1 will persist in same way. The sentiments come up in other posts (and indeed other games/systems). The truth is optimal = best choice, and there will always be a way of playing the game that is optimal over other ways. This isn't to say it shouldn't be acknowledged, planned around, or tweaked, only that there will be an optimal strategy in BE.

It is like saying the devs of Chess made opening with center pawns too strong, if you want to play a good game you open with center pawns, this needs to change.

Find me a strategy game which doesn't have an optimal way of playing that shines over other ways. Although I can't say I will be waiting for the answer, I'd be waiting forever :p
 

KrikkitTwo

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Just adding that your #1 will persist in same way. The sentiments come up in other posts (and indeed other games/systems). The truth is optimal = best choice, and there will always be a way of playing the game that is optimal over other ways. This isn't to say it shouldn't be acknowledged, planned around, or tweaked, only that there will be an optimal strategy in BE.

It is like saying the devs of Chess made opening with center pawns too strong, if you want to play a good game you open with center pawns, this needs to change.

Find me a strategy game which doesn't have an optimal way of playing that shines over other ways. Although I can't say I will be waiting for the answer, I'd be waiting forever :p

Because chess is nonrandom that is true.
However, with careful balancing in a civ game, the complexity can be enough so that there isn't a certain best strategy. (Also civ is easier to tweak than chess... You can't make pawns 10% weaker)
 
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