1. We have added the ability to collapse/expand forum categories and widgets on forum home.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. All Civ avatars are brought back and available for selection in the Avatar Gallery! There are 945 avatars total.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. To make the site more secure, we have installed SSL certificates and enabled HTTPS for both the main site and forums.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Civ6 is released! Order now! (Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR)
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Dismiss Notice
  6. Forum account upgrades are available for ad-free browsing.
    Dismiss Notice

Fusion Power is NOW! (April 2018 SMACX Game of the Month)

Discussion in 'Alpha Centauri' started by Buster's Uncle, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139




    * * *
    Sinder Roze awoke to the beeping on her nightstand. Sitting up in bed, saw it was 5:36a.m.

    Putting the headset on, she slapped the earpiece to activate. "This better be good."

    "Pwned, Datajack." Katt's voice began, "You wanted to know immediately - Tinker Junction reports the radiometric telltales. The Gaians have initiated the Ascent To Transcendence."

    God; this, finally. "Where?"

    "Seems to triangulate on Gaia's Landing, Datajack. Recon tried a few system probes already, but they'd sewed up the interlocks and the firewalls look tight. They were ready for us."

    Roze pushed up her visor to rub her eyes, thinking. "Have they tried the reactor control systems? That's going to suck a lot of juice, to power the link with Planet, or at least at the last stage they --- crap; I can't think straight yet."

    "No vulnerabilities found yet. -It's my regular duty shift tonight if you need to get back to sleep, ma'am, and our people are on the job probing. Watching won't help. I'll ping you again if anything happens."

    Roze considered, still groggy, "Yeah." She'd only been offline two hours, and tomorrow would need her sharp, organizing the countermeasures and making arrangements with any allies she could get. "Look in Contingencies folder of Protocols and open the Louis Armstrong file and review, okay? Password forthelulz.

    "But first, Katt, screen Free Drone Central now, make sure Domai knows - and that I'll definitely be talking to him tomorrow. Logout." Roze put the headset down and flopped back onto the bed.

    'The Group Mind,' she thought, looking up at nothing. 'All my life has been a war for freedom against groupthink and the human mob, dancing and scatting against something so vast and slow and oh, how it hates the independent mind, punishes style, and now that stupid, stupid Deirdre thinks she can suck us all into an alien plant making a Group Mind. Over my dead body, she will.'

    Mobs were vicious and stupid, to even call it mob psychology gave it too much credit for any thinking going on. The human herding instinct had been the bane of Roze's existence, social cues a self-contained girl hadn't caught, making it feel like everywhere she ever went there'd been a meeting held that she hadn't been invited to. Social rules and holoshows and fashions and turns of phrase and customs that didn't make sense and no one ever explained.

    She'd never been interested in any of that; she had her machines and her jazzy, elegant code. But an outsider noticed things insiders didn't - how on every systems analyst gig, every organization was full of people dressing alike, talking alike, telling her the same jokes, thinking alike, if you call that thought; how quickly and completely an outsider could become a pariah after a single quarrel with an incompetent IT worker or sysop.

    Mindless mobs and humans herding, everywhere. No original thought, no diversity in groupthink; no rhythm nor style, no jazz to it, just an empty white-noise hum. Group minds, bad enough how people graze together in a herd by instinct, not-thinking together in lockstep. Bad enough the natural way people always form group minds.

    And the Gaians thought it was a good idea to drive the human race extinct making the biggest group mind of all. A single life. One mind; one thought, a dull carrier hum the soundtrack of Hell Forever trapped in the alien Group Mind.

    'No, just NO,' she closed her sleepy eyes to get some rest, 'Never. Domai will accompany my trumpet playing, and Deirdre, have I ever got some free blowing that will blow your group mind...'

    * * *



    April 2018 Game of the Month

    Fusion Power is NOW!

    [Requires Yitzi patch 3.5d]
    Bringing late game into spotlight. This time, we start two centuries after planetfall in Mission Year 2300.

    Installation

    - Unpack the zip file ("extract here" command or similar) to scenario folder, so that GOTM1804 folder is inside "Scenarios" folder.

    - Start SMAX patched with Yitzi 3.5d, use:
    Scenario > Play Scenario
    and navigate to GOTM1804 folder.

    - Choose the scenario, that you wish to play, there 2 difficulty settings:
    1) Easier on Librarian difficulty: gotm18aprLIBRAR_2300.Sc
    2) Harder on Transcend difficulty: gotm18aprTRANSC_2300.Sc

    - After you open in MY 2300, confirm that you are playing with game ruleset, that is designed for this scenario:
    Open F1 screen and make sure that the first Secret Project on the list, Ascent to Transcendence costs 3000.

    - Do not change folder name of GOTM1804 to any other, or change the structure of the folders/files inside after you start the scenario, and
    - Do not remove the folder GOTM1804 from scenarios after you started to play. That would screw up the game.

    Scenario Objectives

    Roze wants to prevent Transcendence. She can do it, among other means, by sabotaging the project of Ascending to Planetmind, but in order to do it, she has to gain knowledge on transcendence. Therefore, the objective of this scenario is:
    A) Research, probe or trade the Transcendent Thought 1 (the first generic technology after all tech tree is discovered) in smallest possible number of turns, and prevent any other faction from Transcendence (Completing Ascent to Transcendence Secret Project).
    B) Prevent any other faction from other three victory conditions, that are enabled too: Diplomatic, Conquest, Economic.
    Note:
    - You do not have to build Voice of Planet or Ascent to Transcendence, just prevent any other faction from this victory.
    - Blind research is ON.
    - Native Life is Abundant.
    - Data Angels just traded Fusion Power from Morganites.
    - Deirdre won Planetary Governorship in the first elections in 2181, against Santiago. In 2220 the second elections were held, also Deirdre and Santiago were nominated, but this time, Santiago received almost twice as many votes as Deirdre. Santiago is Planetary Governor still in 2300.
    - Deirdre and Santiago united their factions and are not friendly towards Roze.
    - Data Angels developed very well for the first several decades after arrival to Chiron, but then, till Mission Year 2300, Rose did not have very good advisers. Now it is your chance!

    Contest

    If you wish to enter contest, submit your save with turn, in which you posses Transcendent Thought 1, linked below.
    [Edit - after player feedback, we ease the requirements for Contest]
    - It must be your first attempt in the game in order to be counted in standard competition.
    - Standings for Librarian and Transcendence difficulties will be held separately. You have to choose in which difficulty you want to participate for regular standings. If you play later the other difficulty, it can be only for Consolation Standings.
    - If you restart the scenario, because for example you lost the first attempt, even if changing difficulty, but still want to submit your game, you can enter consolation standings.

    - Achieved victory conditions are not objectives of this scenario. If you win by, for example Dimplomacy (get elected Supreme Leader) or conquer whole planet, then you need to play further until you obtain Transcendent Thought 1, and the turn you have it, would be your sav file submission.
    - Submissions after deadline are ranked in Consolation Standings.

    Submission Deadline:
    June 30, 2018.

    Scenario .zip here: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=20906.0

    BU note: PLAY!. Mart's GOOD, and this will be GOOD. -Note that there's ALSO an easy/librarian version for newbs, oldtimers who feel rusty, and anyone wanting a relaxing game.

    I offer by-request computer art -especially badge, avatar or other forum-goody- as prize for winners in each category, BTW.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
  2. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
  3. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    135
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    Well I'm morally opposed to Transcending, as to me it represents the death of the individual. I really don't get why people would be eager for this, and I'm inclined to chalk it up to what the Skeptics call "Woo". Related: somebody's always got some narrative about how wonderful Death is and how important for the human condition, as opposed to immortality. See for instance Zardoz. What a pile of baloney! Like Buddhist "getting off the cosmic wheel", it's a bunch of drivel. Yeah I'm pretty opposite of The Lord's Believers, just about the farthest away you can get from expecting any kind of "bliss state" to have any meaning or value to human existence at all.

    So yeah I'll take the challenge, although perhaps not immediately, as I warped my brain on other SMAC stuff earlier today.
     
  4. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
  5. UnOrthOdOx

    UnOrthOdOx Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    Messages:
    28
    Other than the few punctuations and editting comments, I can't say much on the story itself as I was never that deeply invested in the lore.

    The scenario though looks interesting. For those of us who haven't had SMAC/X on a modern windows machine in some time, perhaps instructions (or links thereto) on how to get it up and running might be in order?
     
    Buster's Uncle likes this.
  6. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
    Dunno if writing up that Petek stuff as a concise paragraph or two is even possible. I have a thread that covers a lot of it, but that would be silly right here in Petek' domain. -He's been the hands-down reigning king of SMACX install troubleshooting for longer than I've been around the community, and your best bet is to try to install and post here if it balks you, and he'll talk you through it. He's never failed that I know of...


    I'd be interested in proofing feedback - it's virtually a first draft written in one sitting, but I DID do a tweaking run, and bet you spotted mostly deliberate stylistic choices; I'd still hate to be wrong, though, and input very welcome...
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  7. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    135
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    Here's my instruction for getting SMACX running: go to Good Old Games and buy it for a few bucks. Install and run it. The only other thing you might want to do, is put DirectDraw=0 in the [Alpha Centauri] section of your Alpha Centauri.ini file, which lives in the directory you installed the game in. That will utilize the full resolution of your modern widescreen format monitor.

    Now, installing Yitzi patch 3.5d, that's more involved but not exceptionally hard. I think it's best to consult the usual sources of information on how to do that.

    As for the story, I will comment on some point when I have a full stomach. I'm in Asheville again now, and wifi is a more limited resource than it was for me this winter.
     
    Buster's Uncle likes this.
  8. UnOrthOdOx

    UnOrthOdOx Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    Messages:
    28
    I take it the GOG version has some updates included? I have ye olde planetary pack on disk.
     
  9. Petek

    Petek Alpha Centaurian Administrator Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Messages:
    3,411
    Location:
    Berkeley, Calif., USA
    Yes, the GOG version is essentially the Planetary Pack, but with some tweaks to make it compatible with newer versions of Windows. I installed it (GOG) on my new Windows 10 system and it worked fine.
     
  10. HEF

    HEF Chieftain

    Joined:
    May 31, 2016
    Messages:
    148
    In order for Sinder Roze to be a Jazz musician, she needs to play to a group to be heard & relate, yet...

    --- has a penchant to exclude groups or 'mobs'. Interesting.
     
  11. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
    [shrugs] Dunno if she actually plays music, but my Roze likes jazz, and that's no stretch even if the game quote was a metaphor; it could be a hacker-identity motif, for sure....

    The attitude towards groupthink was autobiography, yet I run a net community; there's no contradiction. :yup:

    I used to perform in Renfairs -albeit as a solo comedy act- you totally notice mob phychology, if you're any good, as you play the crowd and make them happy.
     
  12. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    135
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    Ok, story dissection.

    I don't think this puts us in the future, in the world of SMAC. It puts me in my Mom's guest room with her conventional alarm clock. If waking up is the important way to be informed, then I think more time should be put into the vexing thought experiment, "How do Data Angels wake up?" Alternately, have her notified doing some other life activity, where it is easier to set the scene of what it means to be a Data Angel.

    Frankly, I think people in the future have other means to stay awake. Even now we have coffee. I really can't take a hacker seriously who hasn't drowned herself in coffee, in some horrible all-nighter in a dismal undergrad basement with harsh fluorescent lighting.... Also, it is not credible that an underling would ask, essentially, "It's the end of the world, ma'am, are you going back to bed?" I think if you want to talk about sleeping, waking up, and stims in the future, rework all of this. Otherwise, get rid of all of this and find something else to bring "the setting" to the audience.

    Thematically, I understand the need to explore "what is the nature of a mob?" However, we have a bit of a problem, in trying to fill out Roze's character. We know very little about her from SMAC itself and frankly what we do know is one-dimensional. I appreciate trying to give her some kind of depth. Problem is, is this the depth of a leader? Here, she sounds vulnerable, like this is her 1st sysop gig in a toxic environment. That's not credible as some kind of faction leader. She has presumably exploited such behaviors numerous times to her own faction's advantage, maybe also to her personal advantage to stay on top of some "leadership heap". I don't know what kind of societal structure the Data Angels have; it is certainly not going to be some kind of centralized command and control authority like the Hive. I would suggest, think carefully about who Roze is, now. What does she do?
     
  13. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
    Most all of what you talk about here, for all the merits of your points, involves a different story, with different needs. I've written much longer GotM introduction stories before, some of them even with endings that wouldn't limit how the scenario played out - but I had a month for those. This, I had a week, and was lucky that Mart gave me the inspiration (having a sound idea to go from is harder than actually writing) early on of Transcendence=Group Mind, and if anything, what I put down would have benefitted from being leaner/denser. It wasn't about Roze or the Angels; it was about that idea that merging with the Planetmind wasn't such a good thing...

    What you suggest needs something a lot more like a novel; how does one function effectively as president of an anarchist's club? What would an independent culture made for, by and of hackers be like? Who sweeps and builds and brews the Mountain Dew, and what's their status in a Hacker civilization? How does Roze keep office hours and get anyone to make it to appointments anything like on time?

    -Plenty to play with, but a real challenge to make a hacker culture credible - and playing with would take much time and story-space; I just needed to get Roze looking at the ceiling thinking about Why We Fight, for the scenario...
     
  14. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    135
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    Hey you wanted feedback. I cut to the heart of what I would edit.

    No it doesn't. It just requires some idea in your mind of who Roze is, what she does. She's the character you used to represent the problem of Deirdre commencing the intergalactic hive mind. You don't have to tell her whole story, you just need some sense of what that story is. Otherwise, typically a character does not ring true, because the foundation is not solid.

    You don't need a novel to contemplate how one wakes up in the future either. Or what their version of coffee is. One solution is it's coffee.

    I don't even know. But for sake of argument, let's say she really is President of a democracy. She's not waking up with a beep on her nightstand. She's getting a polite but firm knock on the door from her version of the Secret Service. The Football may be brought in. Or the hacker's version of that, they probably don't start by nukeing things. But of course, "Roze as President" begs many questions about whether they'd have such a societal structure to begin with. What we do know, is that she is notified and she is some kind of final decisionmaker.

    Regardless, my comment on Roze's authority and power, stands. She won't be dwelling on the 1st time someone said mean things to her in a computer lab.

    In sci-fi, it's actually really hard to predict the distant future. So one of the ways out, is to forget about the future and talk about the present instead. Disguised with gadgets of course. In short, hackers drink coffee. They pull all-nighters.
     
  15. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
    -And I had her in bed for only two hours at 5:30. She's over 100 years old at the point the scenario starts, and maybe the immortality treatments don't make every little thing about the patient young, just enough things - likely the leader has to keep more regular hours than she'd rather on her own; dunno, but the story had a specific purpose and a tight deadline I had to meet - no time or room for any of that.

    -I'd also have her w/ a stimtab habit -or some sort of space coffee/jolt cola problem as better SF but a clear enough caffeine analogue for the audience - if I was writing something else/more of this. I think I could speak well enough to a weakness for tweaking, both the needs being self-medicated that way and the dangers/downside/price...

    These are great ideas and input, man, just, not addressing the needs of this special-purpose story... Do you write fanfic, b? Interested in taking it and running with it?
     
  16. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    135
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    I'm curious why you called your story a "draft", and wanted feedback, if you're actually done with it and don't intend to change it? My view is your story reads like it's 70% done. Strong basic concept but hasn't been taken to its logical conclusions. I think it needs about 4 sentences worth of fixes, but they need to be the right sentences.

    Yes I have done fan fiction, in particular for The Hobbit, but the term makes me cringe. I joined a writer's group in Asheville yesterday. 2 weeks from now they will meet again, and having a piece of "disposable work" handy that I'm not worried about anyone ripping off, would be a good thing to have in hand. I'm going to write something about Chairman Yang, trying to introduce him as a character to an audience that doesn't know anything about SMAC. I'm going to try to lay my hands on original writings by Chairman Mao for inspirational material. I've been trying to get through Mein Kampf for a long time but it's not really sufficient for this. Hitler and Yang don't go on about things in the same way.
     
  17. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
    Interesting - I'd like to see that when you're ready...



    b, I'm astonished to have to explain this to you, even knowing how stubborn you are - I did a thing I'm fairly proud of, and I'm eager to discuss the thing as a consequence - but wasn't looking to workshop it at CFC after publication. It's basically done.

    That I'm grateful to you for the courtesy -and I honestly take the criticism, effort put into, as far superior applause to "it's nice"- and find your suggestions to have considerable merit, is not the same as liking your ideas as well as you do. Some excellent springboards to bounce off if I ever want to write more of the story, but not persuaded at all that a word of it calls for a new draft of what's in place. It's not the right place for most of what you suggest, and sometimes in SF, you don't need to redesign beds, or human sleep, or use of the headset we've always seen Roze wearing...
     
  18. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
    And why I said draft?
     
  19. bvanevery

    bvanevery Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    135
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    I guess I have no idea what "proofing feedback" is supposed to imply.
     
  20. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,139
    I assume Uno disagrees about something like my comma placement - that's part of the creative craft, too, but proofreader stuff, for the most part. I like to think I've enough command of the written language to break the rules on purpose as a tonal thing -I do it in conversational posts constantly- but I'm aware that it can get in the way of clarity, so I'd be curious as to what he spotted...

    I used to have a brother in law possessed of the loathsome habit of asking your opinion about whatever and then holding it against you when he didn't like what he was told, and he did it to a lot of people; that's immoral on the face of it, and I hope I haven't come off as that sort of scrofulous ingrate at all.


    -And seriously; what's the deal with who picks up the trash in a hacker civ? Could a 'monback's status be any other than something like guest worker? And I bet it's an afternoon/evening sort of job; hackers would put a stop to 6am pickup in a hurry, not wanting to hear the backup beeper at bedtime...
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018

Share This Page

Ebates: Get Paid to Shop