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ICEMOD: mod design, race design, strategies

Discussion in 'Other Civ-Related Games' started by Rocco.40, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Rocco.40

    Rocco.40 King

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    ICE 10r is here. Quite a substantial update. Highlights-
    > Auto Fire mod +75% space and cost over base. [Carta Extremis is possible!]
    > Class III Shield no longer singled out.
    > Instead Evolutionary Mutation is a singleton.
    > Plasma Web damage below 5 is no longer rounded to 0, but persists until 0.
    > Structural Analyzer restored to +100% damage, but cost increased by 2 levels.
    > Warp Dissipator space decreased to 200 (250) and will fit in a DD (>L3 minia).
    > Quantum Detonator and Spatial Compressor are in the Tech Tree!
    > Kronos is available early again, like in classic moo2. Switched places with Torg.


    *****


    Using the OCL GUI, start with "Extract Game Info and Load Data File" after you have selected your WIN95.exe and have chosen a name for your new text file.
    That button will generate the text file and the GUI will save all data in that new file.
    Any next time you open the GUI, only use "Load Data File" and select that same text file.
     
  2. Markus Ramikin

    Markus Ramikin Justicar

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    Ahaha, you actually put that in the readme. I love you.

    Interesting. If you don't mind, what's the rationale behind all these?

    I thought the Class III shield singleton was a good idea.

    Ah, I get it. You were too proud to lower Cre cost further, but you want me happy anyway so you upped its value instead. It worked! :happy:

    BTW, hope you're planning to polish off one of those experimental tech trees and release it some time. (recall previous page) I think this is the last major way in which this game can be improved.
     
  3. Rocco.40

    Rocco.40 King

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    hehehh.
    in fact the analyzer was a balance done in the VDC patch, on which ice is built.
    cost me quite some effort to identify the code block where that change was made.

    yes, because it is important. :)
    It's just a cool end-game vessel design and have been playing around with it a good bit. :goodjob:

    This is many little ideas causing to reorganise the big puzzle that is 'tech tree' somehwat.
    I liked the CIII singleton and it has been that in ice for quite a while, but it also caused a quite expensive Electro Magnetic Refraction Field, which is now 1150RP cheaper = back to original cost. CIII no longer single is a blow for Uncreative, as it can now have a tech tree with Shield modding techs but no base shield. (and in reverse indeed some value for Creative) Not sure if ultimately the single CIII helped a.i. a lot in mid-game as they are usually so late in the Fields branch. Also I wanted to see how people like the new Biology field that causes a.i. to mutate in long play games and gives us puny human players Gaia+Evo. If given a choice, a.i. will almost never chose Evo. Mutation*. For now the whole a.i. 'tech tree choice' mechanic continues to elude me*. The inclusion of Q. Detonator and Compressor were inspired by vdc's tech tree and i just thought it could be fun to have these available at a reasonable RP level rather than only via Guardian or Antaran vessel scrap. They now get miniaturization.

    Have been playing around with some tree versions for a while now, but all only in excel not in real games yet. Can share if you like.

    * I have made some baby steps in being able to influence a.i. tech trading priorities, experimenting with Evo Mutation tech that a.i. always puts low on their ladder of prefered techs to trade. In any case I found that tech priorities are really linked to an a.i.'s 'production emphasis'. These are the 6 types of Expansionists, Industrialists, Ecologist, Technologist, Militarist and Diplomat. Of these, it is the Diplomat that values Ev. Mutation the highest. Each tech has a group number that cause a preference for certain a.i. types. I can change the numbers, but it does not seem to influence the way a.i. techs, only the value of techs in trading. Ongoing story...
     
  4. Markus Ramikin

    Markus Ramikin Justicar

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    So the 240 BC costs for a Research Lab breaks down into 10*6 + 5*24 + 2*30. Good to know how exactly it works.
     
  5. Markus Ramikin

    Markus Ramikin Justicar

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    I like, though I can't promise I'll do anything with them, life got busier lately (notice the lack of war reports).

    Any of them got the classic Moo1 "weapons" field?

    Re: Shield III vs Evo singletons, IF in the future you manage to get AIs to research what you want them to research more, then I think Shield III will be a lot more important for obvious reasons.
     
  6. Rocco.40

    Rocco.40 King

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    Agree!

    Yup, I got one that is inspired on the MOO1 lay-out, with all weapons in one branch.
    Loved how MOO1 had so many research levels, 50 levels in the weapons branch.
     
  7. Orionnut

    Orionnut Chieftain

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    I did that, but the .txt file it generated was around 12.8 GB. It was huge. I tried to edit it, it took at least for an hour for the program to respond and then after the contents in the .txt file have huge white spaces. I am not sure I had done it wrong, 12.8 GB is massive for a file to edit and I have tried many other .txt editors, it exhausted my PC. I only need to edit the internal Space allowance for an Interceptor when you included it in a ship, I want it to be reduced to 5 instead of 30, Bombers to 8 and Heavy Fighters to 7, and enable autofire again for the Ion Pulse Cannon, is it too hard to ask for the program to behave itself? Please comment if this is the norm, huge file sizes, if I am doing it wrong, could some one help me by forwarding a Win.exe of orion that has those editing I wish? From the latest official version, which I believe was 1.31 patch?
     
  8. Rocco.40

    Rocco.40 King

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    perhaps try it with command line instead of the GUI;

    type in prompt: ocl_improved.exe -ext -debug -win -exe:Orion95.exe -txt:Orionnut.txt
    it generates the text file 'Orionnut.txt'.
    writing back to the exe is:
    ocl_improved.exe -wrt -debug -win -exe:Orion95.exe -txt:Orionnut.txt
     
  9. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    Thank you for sharing this mod for anyone who loves MOOII. :dance:

    I've been playing a game with version n of the ICE-x Mod and it has been great fun. I like the extra challenge, especially things like better designed ships and star bases, and the AI size bonus for larger ships. I just don't have a whole lot of time to play and like to play huge galaxies, so I'm still finishing my first game with your mod.

    I have in the past also created my own mini-mini-mini-mod using one of the available editors to make the game more challenging, but nothing close to the work you've put into this mod. I just made the races a bit more challenging (everyone was creative and subterranean, next to their own personal traits, a bit boring). So I can appreciate the effort you put into it and the results you achieved.

    Some minor suggestions:

    I used to play with the /nohousing switch as it removes the option of the somewhat cheasy housing planets from the human player and levels the playing field a little. However (in version n), the /nohousing switch does remove the housing options, but doesn't give in return the +150% growth bonus. I haven't read anything in the changelog suggesting that this was a deliberate change, so I guess, it's a by-product of one of the other changes you did. Can you bring back the growth bonus when playing with the /nohousing switch. Without it, planets are extremely empty, cloning centers are overpowered and growth traits are overpowered.

    When talking about growth, I'm reminded that you've put a lot of value on the growth traits. I do agree that pop=power in MOOII, however natural growth isn't the prevalent way to get pop for most human players (without the /nohousing switch which I guess is seldomly used), so I think especially the negative pop growth which is valued equally to +2 production is overvalued as a negative trait. For the AI player, it is very valuable, but balancing AI players should in my opinion be done on a seperate valuation-basis than the valuation used for the human player. There is no reason to use the same valuation, as far as I can see. What was the reasoning to value it so highly?

    At the start of my game, I noticed something weird. My race had a +3 science bonus (artifacts and + 1 science), but I sometimes got 1 extra science. When using 4 or less scientists I'd get the right amount of science. However, when using 5 scientists I got 31 research, 6: 37 research, 7: 43 research. This was the research value from the planet without a leader, no AI contact yet, first game turn. When I place the 5 scientists in the planet screen, they'd read 30 science, but if I'd click on the science output to see the breakdown of the output, they'd read 31 science (15 from scientists, 10 from artifacts, 5 from human bonus, 31 total). It would also influence the actual research I'd perform in that turn (30 without clicking or 31 with clicking). Very weird.

    Last, the Warp Interdictor system can be build on every planet in a system while it's (usually) not very wise to do so. It's very costly in your mod and the benefits are limited to redundancy. For the human player, it means keeping track over whether you've already build it on another planet in the system. The AI might actually build it multiple times within a system (ouch). Couldn't it be designed similarly to the artificial planet or the artemis system net which can only be built once in a system and once chosen by a planet disappear from the build-list of other planets in the system. I'd guess there would be some building switch/boolean somewhere in the code which is used for the Artemis System Net and the Artificial Planet, but not for the warp Interdictor.

    Thanks again for the great mod which revitalised the game with some new challenge.
     
  10. gibbenzgob

    gibbenzgob Chieftain

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    First of all... thank you for the mod and I am really excited to try it!!! I am having trouble with your installation instructions. I have successfully done the first 4 steps. How do I "choose" an executable? When I double click on the application it says "The version of this file is not compatible with the version of windows you are running. Check your systems system information to see whether you need an x86 (32 bit) or x64 (64 bit) version of the program, and then contact the software publisher"... I am running windows 7. Also, FYI, I haven't used too many "mods" in my lifetime so I will probably need explicit directions. For step 6, what am I changing those files to? I am running a GOG version of MOO2. I am also assuming I am just changing the name inside the file folder and nowhere else. So it might help me to understand better if you type which file(s) and what to change them to (full name of the file). I just don't understand this "Change the name of the .exe in dosboxMOO2_single.conf, dosboxMOO2_client.conf and dosboxMOO2_server.conf." Thank you for any help you can give me.

    Gibbenzgob :)

    1. You need to have the English DOS version 1.31 or 1.40 of MOO2:
    > http://lordbrazen.blogspot.nl/2005/01/download.html
    > http://masteroforion2.blogspot.nl/2006/05/dosbox-guide.html

    2. Make a copy / backup of your existing MOO2 folder.

    3. Extract all files from 'ICEMOD_v10r.zip'.

    4. Copy all files into your MOO2 folder, overwriting existing files.

    5. Choose which executable you want to run:
    > ICEMOD.EXE for the standard mod.
    > ICEMODx.EXE for the ultimate impossible difficulty level.

    6. Update DOSBox configuration files:
    > GOG.COM INSTALL:
    Change the name of the .exe in dosboxMOO2_single.conf,
    dosboxMOO2_client.conf and dosboxMOO2_server.conf.
    > OWN INSTALL:
    Open your DOXBox config file via "DOSBox 0.74 Options.bat" in
    Program Files(x86)\DOSBox-0.74. Rename in section [autoexec]
    'ORION2.EXE' or 'M2v140.EXE' to the new .exe you want to play.

    7. When you start your game, check in lower right hand corner for "ICE..."
    If you see "Version 1.31", "Ver 1.40.b.." you are not running ICE.
     
  11. Markus Ramikin

    Markus Ramikin Justicar

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    Yeah.

    Although I don't mind if Rocco uses only one valuation, as long as it's understood some traits are not really meant to be used by players (growth, stealth) and their valuation is deliberately higher due to their usefulness to AI. That's okay, I think, as long as there is awareness of this, and AI-powerful traits are valued appropriately highly. Cough,stealth,cough.

    Yeah, that would be a good idea if possible; I presume it's been hard to figure out which bit to flip, though.

    ________________________________

    Yes, it will say that, because those are DOS files that won't run under Windows. That's why you're using Dosbox. You're just supposed to "choose" which mod version you want to play. Which brings us to...

    You have to find those files in your game installation folder. (Right-click your Master of Orion 2 shortcut, Properties, go to file location, then I think you might have to go into Dosbox folder? I forget what the GOG installation looks like exactly, but the files are somewhere in there, look around.)

    Open dosboxMOO2_single.conf, and if the system asks you to choose a program to open it with, select Notepad. This will let you edit the file.

    Presumably you will be able to find an [Autoexec] section which contains the name of the executable, perhaps orion2.exe or moo2.exe or whatever the GOG version executable is called.

    Replace that name with icemod.exe if you decided you want the basic mod, OR with icemodx.exe for the extra-hard Impossible difficulty level.

    Save your changes, close, then repeat for the other 2 .conf files.

    After that, running the game shortcut as usual should open icemod or icemodx instead of the standard executable, which is what you wanted. You should be able to see that in the version display inside the game, in the lower right corner. For instance, I see "ICE-X 10r" there right now.

    Again, I don't use the GOG version, so anyone who actually has that, feel free to correct the details. But I thought I'd offer some guidance seeing as there's been no reply yet.
     
  12. gibbenzgob

    gibbenzgob Chieftain

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    Thank you so much Markus, that worked perfectly. Excited to play and give feed back. Will do that after 2 games!

    Gibbenzgob
     
  13. Rocco.40

    Rocco.40 King

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    Markus thanks for helping gibbenzgob out with starting up ice!

    Thanks Roland Johansen for your feedback.
    The 150% bonus was removed in the VDC patch on which ICE has been built. I did not put the bonus back as I think it was a change for the better. However if you do want the 150% back, you'd need to do a HEX-hack. At offset 1EEB16 in the exe, change '00' to '96' for 150%, or you can choose any other number like '64' for a 100% bonus.

    Well, I don't usually get feedback that a negative brings too many picks to the table :)
    Even with housing, I think -pop is a pretty bad pick and I would rather take for example Repulsive, -GC than -pop. In any case all picks in the custom race screen are valued for the human player. I use a different valuation model for the a.i. and for them the -growth is valued even lower than -12. (a.i. only does occasional 1-turn housing in between build projects)

    This is a bug that already exists in classic moo2, is related to the artifacts bonus, and I don't know how to fix it atm. In any case what you see is real: if you do the click, you get extra science for one turn.

    About Warp Interdictor; yes it is more costly and agree that it is a micromgmt pain to track in which system you already have one if you have a sizeable empire. (have no solution for it unfort.) About the a.i.: it does many stupid things and building the Interdictor more than once in a star system is imo not that high on "the list of a.i. moronity." :crazyeye:
     
  14. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    Ah, it was already in VDC. Didn't know that.

    Why do you actually think it's a change for the better? I didn't see that one coming. I just thought it was an oversight.
    Don't you heavily use housing to expand your population in normal (non /nohousing) games? How do you suggest to create a significant population when you have normal housing rates and no housing ability? Even with the +150% growth rate, I out-expand my population growth (but not by much if I time stuff well and quicky build cloning centers).
    With no +150% growth bonus in a /nohousing game, the growth traits also instantly become extremely valuable for the human player. It's then hard to even play without them. And cloning centers become the most important building in the game.

    All of course, IMHO.

    Most of all: thanks for the hex-hack description.

    I like to play with the /nohousing switch because the AI can't do housing well. So when I use it, it always feels like I'm playing a different game than the AI.

    Hey, I also like to make stuff harder and better balanced. Of course, no two people will actually perfectly agree on this game's balance. ;)

    Didn't know that the AI actually incidentally uses housing.

    I must admit that I'm just playing my first game with ICE-x, but I don't feel the pain with using pop-50%. I surpassed everyone in pop in 3508 except the Sakkra, but that's why they're the Sakkra. ;) They also had a great start. Now, in 3523, I'm double the Sakkra size and at least quadrupple everyone else's without any conquest. With several housing planets, one can get a growth rate which is far far beyond the natural base 100% growth rate.
    '-50% pop' is of course a disadvantage, especially during the first few years when you colonise your starting system and start housing there.

    (I use a science path to develop production buildings to improve housing rates in 1-pop planets. I usually start developing automated factories first, then colony base, then research lab. The Robotic Factory is also great for housing rates. (Pre-warp start.) But I don't think that very unusual. )

    Maybe, you play very different and therefore have a different experience. :confused:

    Ah, I guessed as much. It's not important. I just don't do the click.

    Ah, Markus already feared it might not be that easy. It's of course far less influential on AI performance than say AI tech-path or AI non-ability to move pop or AI inability to quickly colonise a complete star system. I had just hoped, it would be fairly easy to fix and it would reduce some micro management. Maybe you'll find it someday. :)
     
  15. Markus Ramikin

    Markus Ramikin Justicar

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    Hm? You say that like this is not what you'd expect...
     
  16. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    What I meant to say (and maybe it wasn't clear) is that in a game with the /nohousing switch and normal natural growth rates (no +150% natural growth rate), the growth picks at the start of the game become extremely valuable. Far more valuable than in a normal game. IMHO, if you combine the /nohousing switch with a +150% growth rate, then the starting growth picks stay at a similar value as the normal game.

    But I value the growth picks apparently quite different then the designer of this mod, so I'll have to do some minor modding of my own. No problem. As I said before, no two people will perfectly agree on the best balance for this game. So I'm grateful that Rocco.40 was so helpful as to tell me exactly what I had to change to get to my personally desired balance. :)
     
  17. Rocco.40

    Rocco.40 King

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    ok, out of curiosity, how would you value the growth traits [all else equal in ice]?
     
  18. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    It's easy to say that I value a pick differently. It's hard to put an exact value on it.;)
    I had a playing experience value which wasn't that high but it's hard to give convincing arguments other than 'housing is far more important than natural growth rate'.

    So I tried to put a value on it using mathematics!

    Let's take +1 prod as a baseline. It offers a +33,3% production bonus at the start of the game, becoming less as the game advances once you get production or morale bonuses. It remains useful for starting planets.
    Let's say that on average 50% of your population are workers overall in your empire, then the value could be put at a +16,7% (= 50% * 33,3%) bonus for your custom race.

    What would be the bonus for a higher growth rate? I would say, the relative number of extra productive citizens that you have over the less fertile race. Similar to the production bonus, again this bonus diminishes with technological development. The growth bonuses from technology which are independent from the starting growth diminish the effects of the starting bonus, especially the cloning centre. Furthermore, housing becomes ever more important as the game advances.

    I tried to guestimate the starting game bonus in extra citizens from 0% growth compared to -50% growth and came at a value around +10-14% (see Excel Sheet). I used start of the game conditions to make it comparable to the +16,7% bonus from +1 production. The bonus will strongly diminish later in the game.
    Based on this percentage, you'd arrive at a value of -4 or -5 points compared to the value of +1 production.
    I'd value -50% growth at -6 points, equal to the +1 production bonus because there's also a bonus to gold income from a slightly larger population which I didn't consider in the comparison.

    It will of course be easy to find objections to this calculation as any model like this has to simplify to have any hope to do some form of calculation. I was however pleased that the calculated value didn't differ to far from what I would value the pick from play experience.

    View attachment Research Growth MOO II.7z
     
  19. Rocco.40

    Rocco.40 King

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    Yes, and as with all other picks, there is no '1 true value' because an abilities' value also depends on the starting conditions and strategy.
    Some examples; Poor HW is pretty bad, unless you are playing an Advanced Start game. Telepathic at 15 is way overpriced for a MP game, but necessary for a blitz game.

    The way I see this, is that negative picks should be compared with negative picks.
    Positives should be compared with other positives.
    Normally, the purpose of taking a negative is to be able to pick more positives to build a stronger race.
    Thus, the question is: What is better (or less bad) -pop, -prod, -0.5 tax, low-g, uncreative?
    When you value -pop at -6, then it means you give it the same value as -food, -SA, or -spy.
     
  20. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    I think we can certainly agree on that. It's really hard to arrive at a single value for a trait while combinations of traits and starting conditions can make or break a game. Still, you as a mod maker have the tough job to do so and no-one will ever completely agree with you.

    If someone through good arguments convinces you to change a value, you will undoubtedly disappoint someone else.

    Hmm, I don't know if I agree that one should price negative traits separately from positive ones. While negative traits often block positive traits, some negative traits and positive traits can also fully or partially negate each other. So, in my opinion rich home world and -1 production should have some relation to each other. Also aquatic and -1/2 food, -1 science and artifacts HW or poor HW and +1 production should have some relation.

    But if I had to compare it with a negative trait, then I'd pick -1 production for easy comparison. I'd value neutral production as a 50% bonus to -1 production at the start of the game for 50% of your population for a resulting 25% bonus (50% of 50%). Neutral growth gives a 10-14% bonus compared to -50% growth in my simulation. So -50% growth is about halve the penalty of -1 production. One can argue that extra population can be used more flexible than extra production and gives you some extra money, so maybe the growth penalty is a bit worse than halve the -12 penalty of -1 production. So maybe -7 or -8 points... (But I also do not think that -1 production is double the penalty compared to the bonus of +1 production, although it is a very harsh penalty. You'd need rich homeworld to get something of a reasonable start and quickly invent automated factories.)

    And yes, I agree that's a simplification. Any arguments presented will always be a simplification. However, I do think that running a (mathematical) simulation in Excel to get a feeling about the comparable strength of traits isn't the worst way to get a baseline idea. Of course, you'd still need to consider if some combination of traits and starting conditions should adjust your baseline idea.

    Getting a good value for spying bonuses compared to growth bonuses is far harder. Only gameplay experience remains, I think. I wouldn't be able to present arguments that would even seem somewhat objective on some level. It's an extremely subjective discussion topic.
     

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