ICEMOD: mod design, race design, strategies

Nelphine

Chieftain
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Messages
17
Continuing to my next game, again it's around 250, and the AI still hasn't finished things like colony base on the 4th planet of its home star system.
Further ai generally seem to focus a little too much on the combat tech trees; not one of my 7 opponents have got to astro university or terraforming/heightened intelligence. Strangely this game, none of them have reached robo miners either, although adamantium armor, galactic cybernets, and plasma sensors all have been found.

They just seem to go a little too heavily into construction and physics in general, and since they often miss important economic things in other tree's (like biosphere), the focus on armor/weapons means they get left behind in other tech.

But I don't have a vast range of experience with ice, so it's quite plausible I'm simply seeing patterns that I want to see (because the AI was bad at these things in 1.31) not because they actually exist.

Incidentally, I'm playing -1 research uncreative this game (restarting until I have automated factories), which has led to the unusual position that I have Gaia transformation but I don't have terraforming. So my planets aren't uniform! And it prevented me from a council win yet.

Also, is there anything built into ice to encourage you to like your own species? Specifically, the AI get such amazing starting picks, that going out and getting some of their races, and then just filling all your planets with aliens, is completely valid.

This game is a little extreme: I have uncreative, and unification. That's a huge amount not spent on my people, and then I conquered mrrshan with feudal (which doesn't impact me), subterranean, +2 industry, +2 food production, +50 pop growth.

Edit: huh, heightened intelligence doesn't apply to aliens, even if that alien also has heightened intelligence. That's one drawback I suppose.
 
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Nelphine

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Dec 9, 2017
Messages
17
Tractor beams can't be seperated into different groups. Is that intended? (I found why my transporters weren't working, I didn't realize damper fields killed 80% of such marines)
 

Rocco.40

King
Joined
Mar 2, 2015
Messages
645
Race Selection:
*High G is finally a very good trait thanks to staring with a huge HW. Shouldn't it be mutually exclusive with large HW? [...]

First of all thanks for all your feedback, glad to are enjoying the ice mod.
Ideally high-g and lhw should be mutually exclusive since if you now combine the two you waste the 2 LHW picks. Haven't got to it yet.

Command points: given the flexibility of modding would it be appropriate to have higher halls cost more and smaller cost less to make them more relevant? Modern moo does this
1-1-2-4-7-10?

something that for me is a random wish:
Frigates with their 1 command point cost are almost useless. Part of me wishes frigates are a variation of size 2 that is faster but has less space or structure.

I don't see a reason to make Titan's and Doom Stars more expensive than they are now, they already are very high-investment ships. Frigates and especially Destroyers are very useful ships and stay useful for a very long time.

Technology Construction:
*I continue neglecting anti-missile rockets unless their space cost is 10 or less.
*A bit of a concern grouping heavy armor with automated factories, but fits the theme of 'manufacturing' so I'm unsure how to separate automated factories that wouldn't involve moving heavy armor much later and requiring many tech shifts.
*Should megafluxers have a lower space percentage bonus or require a higher cost like battlepods? Should star fortresses grant more (+4) command points? Megafluxers are an obvious choice.

- anti-missile rockets are good against higher tier missiles, pulson and zeon, which are much harder to shoot down by PD beams.
- in an earlier version of ice I had auto.fact singled out and h. armor did come much later in tech tree. can't remember in which version i restored this back to classic-way. but something can be said for both implementations.
- actually, I am not entirely happy with current placement of fortress and fluxers in same tech field, but haven't found a better way. one of my struggles with ice is a shortage of available tech fields, given the fact that I don't want to set any tech for free at game start (I want all techs to be in the tree).

Technology Chemistry:
*I can see more interesting choices if the unlimited fuel tech replaces uridium (it does not deserve 15000rp) and move a +2 version of microlite construction to the 15000rp spot

good suggestion!

Technology Sociology:
*Astro University is underwhelming and chosen alone. It would be great if the bonuses were +2 to all as opposed to +1 to all. At the very least (if +1), its cost should be halved.

imo, university is ok as is, it became quite a bit stronger compared with classic due to ice's higher population limits.

Technology Biology:
*Bioterminator and death spores - can they kill ground troops as opposed to population? I find these useless the way they are (as your ships can bomb a planet in one turn)

These two techs suck and I actually wanted to remove them from ice completely, but kept them in after all for nostalgia-sake. I don't know what to do with them to make them useful atm.

Physics:
*The ground combat bonus from fusion rifle is underwhelming. Maybe laser could be +0 to make it more worthwhile.
*Still not sure what the bombs are for, other than bomber bays. With fairly underwhelming late-stage planet shields, torpedoes/missiles take care of planets from a distance.
*PD usually seems not worth it at 50% space or because of the higher range penalties.
*Beam 'angle' mod is quite expensive and rarely, if ever worth it. I'd suggest +30% for the 360 degree version.

- Yes, fusion rifle is 'meh' but I won't make laser rifle weaker because of it. There already is the pulse rifle at +0. One idea was to create a high tier disruptor rifle instead.
- bombs indeed have a limited role atm, and planet shields were very strong in very early versions of ice, but the AI had much problems coping with these buffed shields, so I nerfed them back.
- yes, PD at 50% is a bit expensive.
- fwd ext mod is very useful at 25% but 360 at 50% is indeed a bit expensive. I left it at classic because if you lower the 50% cost it very quickly results in fwd ext and 360 having the same nett effect on miniaturized weapons, which i don't like.

again, thanks for all feedback and sorry for belated reply!
 

Rocco.40

King
Joined
Mar 2, 2015
Messages
645
[...] Further ai generally seem to focus a little too much on the combat tech trees; not one of my 7 opponents have got to astro university or terraforming/heightened intelligence. Strangely this game, none of them have reached robo miners either, although adamantium armor, galactic cybernets, and plasma sensors all have been found.
They just seem to go a little too heavily into construction and physics in general, and since they often miss important economic things in other tree's (like biosphere), the focus on armor/weapons means they get left behind in other tech.

They way AI does research is for a large part detemined by their personality and objective. Also, AI likes to tech deep into 1 tech branch, ignoring other branches for a long time. I guess, the idea here was that tech trading should solve the resulting tech gaps.

[...] Also, is there anything built into ice to encourage you to like your own species? Specifically, the AI get such amazing starting picks, that going out and getting some of their races, and then just filling all your planets with aliens, is completely valid.
This game is a little extreme: I have uncreative, and unification. That's a huge amount not spent on my people, and then I conquered mrrshan with feudal (which doesn't impact me), subterranean, +2 industry, +2 food production, +50 pop growth.

Yes, this is a weakness of ice with it's buffed NPC's. I want to change this in some future version of ice, by giving AI more generic bonusses and take away some of these racial modifers.

Edit: huh, heightened intelligence doesn't apply to aliens, even if that alien also has heightened intelligence. That's one drawback I suppose.

Correct, h.i applies to your race only. it's a 'classic' mechanic.
 

Rocco.40

King
Joined
Mar 2, 2015
Messages
645
Tractor beams can't be seperated into different groups. Is that intended? (I found why my transporters weren't working, I didn't realize damper fields killed 80% of such marines)
That's indeed so intended by the original game developers...
 

zitro

Chieftain
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
11
I often find myself facing AIs with very limited 'chemistry' research level, finding titanium enemies or AI that can't reach me (fuels). Incentive for Zortium?
 

Rocco.40

King
Joined
Mar 2, 2015
Messages
645
I often find myself facing AIs with very limited 'chemistry' research level, finding titanium enemies or AI that can't reach me (fuels). Incentive for Zortium?
.. time to start playing multiplayer then .. :)
 

zitro

Chieftain
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
11
.. time to start playing multiplayer then .. :)

For gamers who do quick single-player games at their own pace, I was hoping that one of my biggest frustrations with MoO2 (advanced AIs with titanium) could get corrected given the otherwise improved AI choices. I did notice in my latest game that 2 AIs went the chemistry route but seemed to get everything but armor.
 

kwahraps

Chieftain
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
27
These two techs suck and I actually wanted to remove them from ice completely, but kept them in after all for nostalgia-sake. I don't know what to do with them to make them useful atm.

In regards to Bio-Terminator and/or Death Spore, is there any way to allow these weapons to reverse-terraform a planet and/or reduce the production value of a planet by 1?
It would be kind of the ultimate F U to use biological weapons to reduce an ultra rich gaia planet to an ultra poor toxic one.

Granted, if you have beaten the planet defenses, it's probably lights out for that planet regardless, but there may be situations where their big fleet is one turn away from defending and you want to do as much damage as possible if you cannot kill off every single colonist.
 

Rocco.40

King
Joined
Mar 2, 2015
Messages
645
In regards to Bio-Terminator and/or Death Spore, is there any way to allow these weapons to reverse-terraform a planet and/or reduce the production value of a planet by 1?
It would be kind of the ultimate F U to use biological weapons to reduce an ultra rich gaia planet to an ultra poor toxic one. (...)

interesting idea, something not as bad as a stellar converter but still harming the planet. however, such change requires extensive new coding to implement.
 

kwahraps

Chieftain
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
27
interesting idea, something not as bad as a stellar converter but still harming the planet. however, such change requires extensive new coding to implement.
Yeah, I was thinking it might have more impact early in the game if you can reduce the farming/production ability of another planet.
Similar to how the Space Ameoba can slime a world into toxic.

I'm sure the coding would be a nightmare, but it would be neat for every tech to have some kind of practical use.
 

sibeliuz

Chieftain
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
1
Hi! Thanks for the mod. Are there any strategies for killing space monsters without MIRVed nukes (they're not available) ? I mean earliest available strategies. Dragon and Hydra easily defeat 12 frigates with regular nukes. It's too long to wait for MIRVed merculites.
 

kwahraps

Chieftain
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
27
Hi! Thanks for the mod. Are there any strategies for killing space monsters without MIRVed nukes (they're not available) ? I mean earliest available strategies. Dragon and Hydra easily defeat 12 frigates with regular nukes. It's too long to wait for MIRVed merculites.

IMHO, by the time you research beam weapons (fusion or mass drivers) and get them to a point where they can actually kill a monster, you'll probably be right where you were if you had gone the Zortrium Armor route to get MIRV'd mercs.
 

kwahraps

Chieftain
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
27
In a game versus the AI on ICE-X, what's the hardest difficulty in which you can win with a Feudal government?
 

jestrada5

Chieftain
Joined
Feb 22, 2022
Messages
2
In a game versus the AI on ICE-X, what's the hardest difficulty in which you can win with a Feudal government?

I do impossible, Feudal and uncreative, but i always take the same setup. my win rate was 80% for a while, but now have not won the last 5 games in a row.
 
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dD_ShockTrooper

Chieftain
Joined
Sep 16, 2022
Messages
1
Got a bug report for ICE-X and some feedback. First is the bug report: my star bases and interceptors seem to prioritise point defence fusion beams over both point defence phasors and point defence neutron blasters (I don't recall this one being point defence before). The fusion beam is clearly inferior to both of these weapons. The same is true of some of the AI star bases. Everyone has all three techs. This does not appear to be by design as Psilon star bases still use point defence phasors correctly.

Next is some feedback regarding race picks. For the most part it's pretty legit with a couple exceptions; -1 research is massively overvalued at -12. For comparison artifacts is +4, and for many early game builds sacrificing research for artifacts is actually a benefit, not a detriment, even before considering the point costs. Next is spying bonuses are undervalued in general; I'm of the opinion that spying +20 is more than twice as good as +10 due to how the mechanic actually works since stacking the modifier to the moon drastically increases your spy value. That telepathic is also pretty cheap in this mod at 8, bringing you to +30, meaning you can pretty trivially overwhelm the AI's innate spying cheats on impossible provided they're not Darlock or Klackon. With how strong star bases are in this mod, you don't really need a good economic base to support this spying strategy, all you need is a neighbour who researched some fuel cells for you.

I'd also say that ground combat is highly underrated in general among the playerbase of this game, but it's all pretty appropriately costed in this mod after the nerf to frigate boarding rush on star bases, with the exception of High-G at 5 being insane value. Even with ICE map generation, I'm still getting high value high G worlds spawning in, and +1 infantry hp is so insanely huge a bonus it's pretty ridiculous. The ability to turn systems like transporters into an instant kill on a ship/base 2 size classes larger than you is pretty nutty. Tractor beaming or melee assault shuttling antarans reliably stealing half the fleet is also quite strong.

Thanks to the star bases being improperly equipped to PD the missile base volleys due to the aforementioned fusion beam bug, and the ground installations no longer focus firing captured star bases instead of your fleet, I won't say the telepathic + ground combat synergy is as strong as it used to be. That said the anti-synergy is basically gone now thanks to mind control requiring titans. You still get instant assimilation when you invade using transports.

Where is this going? The ground combat + spying package of +20 GC, +20 spying, High-G, & Telepathic costs only 25 points. It's a full game plan so cheap you can fit in other fun stuff too and not even pick up any nasty gamechanger negative traits. Not sure what the best build to run alongside this core is, but this set is nuts for how underpriced it is. Personally I just went for -1 research, artifacts, charismatic, and lucky, which I'm sure is not remotely optimal (from my experience playing it, trans-dimensional would've been huge, aug-engines often left me 2 tiles short of transporter range on the star base 1st turn). Just settle a couple rich planets (don't overextend and don't settle for abundant unless there's natives or something), bunker up (1 star base is enough lol) and spam spies while you research spying tech and GC tech. Steal tech to keep your star base and colony infrastructure up to date with your attackers, and win the game the instant you research transporters (grab neutron blasters and graviton bombs along the way; they both combo extremely well with this). The only counter to transporter cheese is ridiculously powerful shields or damper fields, by which time you should have tractor beams or better weapons. Troop pods and sec stations don't help when your marines are this overtuned and you also obviously run troop pods. Ship loadouts should be something like troop pods + ~10-20 neutron blasters (adjust to enemy as needed) + transporters + augmented engines + every defensive tech you got + fill with graviton bombs (leaving 1 space free for +1 move). Don't use battle pods; it's not worth it unless you're just flexing and you got nothing better to spend production on since you're supply capped. Manual fire the blasters on interceptors, and tank the missiles to the face; you don't need point defence weapons and you're probably going to be facing torps anyway.
 
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