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Has anyone ever come up with...

Discussion in 'Alpha Centauri' started by Timsup2nothin, May 28, 2020.

  1. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    ...a modification that improves on the AI's absolutely horrible misuse of air units? Short of just self regulating "I will not use air power myself" I find there is no way to not just crush all opposition once I reach the air power stage of the game.
     
  2. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    So I've taken two different approaches, as follows:

    1. Completely getting rid of helicopters and aircraft: I've changed the rules to simulate a low-gravity environment such as a planetoid or large asteroid. Since this is a much smaller heavenly body it therefore doesn't possess any real semblance of an atmosphere, and so without an atmosphere neither aircraft nor helicopters can fly. In their place I've moved both missiles and Drop Pods to Doc:Air (rationale: lower grav means less boost to get something into the sky);. Here is a link to a scenario I developed, and it also lays out all the rule tweaks for this environment and the rationales behind them: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/data-angels-smax-scenario-operation-cntl-esc-f8.614072/

    You can either play the scenario and see what you think, or just take the alphax.txt file and replace your existing one.

    2;. Since the AI really really really (and I mean REALLY) doesn't like to use offensive air power, then I've gone the complete opposite direction and introduced some defensive measures, as follows:

    - SP-88 (Self-Propelled 88mm): modeled after the German gun of the same name from WW2 this unit is available at Doc:AP and can shoot down aircraft (and the AI is very good with it).
    - Fighter Escort Mk1 and Mk2: the Mk1 is available at Doc:AP. The AI will build and utilize these, so no more just plinking AI units with your needlejets with impunity!
    - Attack Carrier Mk1 and Mk2: the Mk1 carrier is available at Doc:AP and can shoot down aircraft. The AI will also use its carrier ability and transport the Fighter Escort units, and these units will scramble and intercept your needlejets which try to sink nearby transports and other units.
    - Battletanks: I've pre-designed a couple of hovertank units which can shoot down aircraft.
    - Seawolf Mk2: submarine which can shoot down aircraft.

    I've attached the alphax.txt so you can try it out if you like.

    HTH,

    D
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    That's in line with what I was thinking, though I was working on the other side.Is there a way to attach a penalty to the air platforms? I'm figuring something like -40% against land and sea units, -20% against units in rough terrain, and -30% against bases. It's been a long time since I did any alphax editing though. Any tips? Okay, honestly asking if you can point me to exactly where I would need to make those edits if they are even possible.
     
  4. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    Now that is something I have never thought of! So I did a quick scan of the alphax.txt and here are the parameters that effect aircraft (I've got them broken out by their sections so they can be located easier):

    #RULES
    50, ; Extra percentage cost of prototype AIR unit
    1,1, ; Psi combat offense-to-defense ratio (AIR unit defending)
    50, ; Combat penalty % -> Air superiority unit vs. ground unit
    100, ; Combat % -> Air superiority unit vs. air unit
    100, ; Combat % -> AAA bonus vs. air units

    #CHASSIS
    Needlejet,M1, Penetrator,M1, Interceptor,M1, Tactical,M1, 8, 2, 2, 0, 1, 8, DocAir, Thunderbolt,M1, Sovereign,M1,
    Copter,M1, Chopper,M1, Rotor,M1, Lifter,M1, 8, 2, 1, 0, 1, 8, MindMac, Gunship,M1, Warbird,M1,
    Gravship,M1, Skybase,M1, Antigrav,M1, Skyfort,M1, 8, 2, 0, 0, 1, 8, Gravity, Deathsphere,M1, Doomwall,M1,

    #ABILITIES
    Air Superiority, 1, DocAir, SAM, 000000001111, Attacks air units
    AAA Tracking, 1, MilAlg, AAA, 000010001011, x2 vs. air attacks

    I've got to head out for the day but will give it some thought and see what makes sense in regards to what can be done here. I didn't specifically see what your driving at, but will go more in-depth when I get back.

    D
     
  5. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    I don't think I ever added to the rules section. Can I just shove extra lines in there?

    What I'm going for is that aircraft shouldn't really be able to just snuff out armored units on the ground. Assault aircraft with much superior weaponry, maybe. And even heavy assault aircraft should be pretty ineffective against a fortified target like a base. Weaponry on air units has to be lighter and smaller, so even though I have, say, plasma shard tech, getting hit by the air unit version should not be the same as getting hit by the ground unit version.

    If I limit myself to using interceptors instead of penetrators it feels more "realistic" and also makes the gameplay much better, but then my assault aircraft are immunized against enemy tactical aircraft because they are actually air superiority themselves. Ideally all air units should get a penalty (smaller weaponry), compounded by an additional penalty against fortified (in base) targets, and then the tactical units get their additional penalty piled on (which probably makes them totally ineffective against bases and even a decently armored ground unit, which is fine...fighter aircraft are not suited for ground assault anyway.
     
  6. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    So, looks like no. Values can be changed but the rules just are what they are. No adding penalties to air units.

    Plan B.

    What if I make all air units automatically air superiority units? The AI actually does okay with their interceptors, so it just takes away the units they are no good with anyway...
     
  7. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    So this is sort of the way I stumbled into with my "Fighter Escort" units. I noticed the AI will always build some of the units that are in the #UNITS section of the alpahx.txt, so I added a few interceptor units there, and as you mentioned the AIs then do build these units, and they utilize them well (to include embarking on aircraft carriers, which then scramble from the carriers to intercept - boo-yah!).

    D
     
  8. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    I can't seem to find a way to force air superiority onto all air units.

    Primarily I think I am back to a self enforced "I will only build air superiority units." Since I always do my own unit design it's not a big issue, but It would be cool to have it be "just part of the game" rather than "I must self impose limits to create challenge."

    Besides, when I don't play for a while I have to play one game before I remember that I had self imposed limits and why I had them. :shake:
     
  9. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    That's why I like scenarios: the game will follow the rules defined in the alphax.txt that is included with a scenario, and I've been designing SMACX scenarios for over 15 years now so of course can't remember the rules that I'd built into all these various scenarios, so its fun to go back and replay these in that its almost like a new game and trying to puzzle out the strategies in order to put together a winning strategy (i.e. this is my workaround for having to remember/follow self-imposed rules).

    D
     
  10. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    That makes sense. I just have never really been satisfied with scenarios. I like that "whole raw world and here we go" thing.

    However...maybe the truth is I just never really gave the scenario thing a chance. I treated the built in scenarios sort of like tutorials...meaning that I skipped them...and now I realize that in later Civ games I really enjoyed the scenarios. I am gonna download the scenario you linked and leave myself a reminder to play it next time I get the SMAX urge.
     
    Darsnan likes this.

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