Just got my first ever "Stairway to Transcendence" (thoughts and questions)

Jarek Noschese

Warlord
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
133
Location
Hancock Point, Maine
Mark Types (all scores got the best holo-book and/or played as Zak unless otherwise noted)…

The Map Of Planet: (empty)

Huge Map Of Planet: (empty)

Custom Maps [not recommended]: (empty)

1 City Challenge: My {4954} 184% [Deirdre's Lover], Agent Miles' 232% [For Dummies] {6208})

Average Native Life/Bell Curve & Diplomatic/Economic Victory: (empty)

Citizen Difficulty: My 431% (11,504)

Specialist Difficulty: (empty)

Talent Difficulty: (empty)

Librarian Difficulty: (empty)

Thinker Difficulty: (empty)

Transcend Difficulty: Stone-Cold-Bluff's 4240% (45,232)

At minimum, you MUST include the .sav file from just before you win the game. The file, in question, needs to be loadable in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri alone. I highly recommend that you include a .sav file from the start (M.Y. 2101) of your game as well, along with 1-3 others.

Here's the OBSCENE Transcend score I mentioned, as an example:

The fact that this guy managed to cram in all 200 cities (maximum allowed on a single map) is BAFFLING. Otherwise; the mark, in question, easily meets all of the qualifications. There's no hint of the player using the Time Warp setting under Custom Rules. Regular scoring parameters are used; and "CHEATED!" is UTTERLY ABSENT from his score. Iron Man & Abundant Native Life Forms are used. Nothing was mentioned of him modifying the alpha.txt file either. The base game alone was used; and he dared not claim that it was supposedly "safe" to get the game via any illegitimate means. The map was randomly generated; and it showed absolutely no signs of unfair tampering. The strategy used was very similar to mine. Green Economics and the Cybernetic Future were used for maximized PLANET & EFFICIENCY Scores. Knowledge Values are used for the same reason. Some bases still have extremely high Inefficiency however; since Democracy wasn't seen being selected. For comparison, any faction that's not the Believers can have +3 PLANET with either Green Economics or the Cybernetic Future and control of the Manifold Nexus. I used only Power Values, Green Economics & the Thought Control Future in wartime once I got both The Ascetic Virtues & The Living Refinery. This guarantees a maximum POLICE Score, and SUPPORT doesn't stack after +3 anyway. During times of peace; one should use both Democratic Politics, Wealth/Knowledge Values and a Planned Economy for population & industrial growth and scientific research. The Green Economy doesn't truly make sense until Chiron becomes too suspicious of the civilized world to really care. Also, both Power & Thought Control guarantee a maxed MORALE Score; even without playing as the Spartans. With that much Morale, your conventional troops can utterly decimate the enemies' conventional forces. Having The Cloning Vats on top of all that lets you wage wars without any penalties, negating the need to be a Police State. Just switch back to Frontier Politics before marching your troops out, and you win. The captured bases need Creches before they can really produce anything again, but +3 POLICE usually lets you just suppress Drones via "cops"; since not only can you have three of them, but their effect is now doubled (i.e. -2 Drones/+1 Cop, but not >3 "cops", instead of -1 Drone/+1 Cop, but not >3 "cops"). In other words, three of these "cops" now silence six Drones instead of just three.

On top of all that, having the +2 EFFICIENCY from the Green Economy and the +1 EFFICIENCY from the Creche gives +3 EFFICIENCY. This lets all but the most poorly-located cities produce further Energy for our empire during the wars. By not committing Atrocities, I CAN'T revoke the UN Charter. Therefore, I avoid Planet Busters; and keep my Integrity Score at Noble (0 "black marks").

Yes, I can have +2 SUPPORT (4 units freely) and +4/+5 EFFICIENCY as a Democracy; but I prefer to have as much SUPPORT as is helpful/possible during a time of war. This would let me have 0 GROWTH (default Nutrient Thresholds) instead of -2 (+20% Nutrient Thresholds). Drones make it better to take the hits to other areas. (RESEARCH doesn't stack after +5 anyway; and high INDUSTRY Scores only further aggravate Chiron: and at that point, a high PLANET Score only averts your doom rather than makes you some kind of "eco-tank"; another slight Gaian disadvantage. Besides, AFAIK; the Eco-Protections don't stack after +3 PLANET. GROWTH can't stack after +6 either; and Democracy, Planned & the Creche all give +2 GROWTH each; for the final +6 [Pop. boom] in total. Any faction that isn't either the Hive or the Morganites can achieve this no problem, even without the Eudemonic Future. The Chiron Ecosystem hates crazy-high populations with a passion anyway, making them a nasty liability.)

Also, The Map Of Planet is 40 wide by 80 tall (3200 square); and the Huge Map Of Planet is 64 wide by 128 tall (8192 square). Both have Average Native Life, so...

The Map Of Planet OCN...

Citizen: 30
Specialist: 27
Talent: 26
Librarian: 25
Thinker: 23
Transcend: 17

Huge Map Of Planet OCN...

Citizen: 45
Specialist: 42
Talent: 40
Librarian: 37
Thinker: 35
Transcend: 26

Also, smaller maps may require more ocean coverage (70%-90%) anyway. A Huge Map with the default setting (50%-70%) will easily have enough land to settle early to mid game. There's no sense in specifically trying to build more cities once you start conquering other nations. (I destroyed two, whereas Stone-Cold-Buff vanquished all but one [Morgan].) This makes the "normal" land mass total of 2458-4096 tiles on such a map basically more than necessary for reaching the Optimal City Number. Reaching the OCN Threshold in such a setting should be more than enough to give you control of roughly one-third to about one-half of the entire map outright. Again, that's likely more than you need in order to win the game outright anyway. Any attempts to get more cities/land beyond these numbers is a major liability, no matter how good you are at this game; and thusly, it's not recommended.

(All 1-City scores played on Citizen Difficulty unless otherwise noted: randomly-generated maps with Average Native Life Forms are highly recommended for One-City games; but either The Map Of Planet, Huge Map Of Planet or random maps with Abundant Native Life Forms work too. I used the "preferred" 1-City setting, whereas Miles used The Map Of Planet itself.)

To give you an idea of how meaningless it is to have such a high population, I would've had not >145,000,000 people in my empire at the time of my >+11,500 VPs mark. That's approximately the entire population of Russia itself in the present day.
 

Jarek Noschese

Warlord
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
133
Location
Hancock Point, Maine
Update: new rule...

The One City Challenge on Difficulty > 0 can now be played with Rare Native Life Forms until there's solid proof that keeping ahead in the tech race is otherwise achievable. Iron Man is still required.

As for "the proof"...

HARDCORE REQUIRED that your strategy, is achieved with-out the Scenario Editor; otherwise, I simply CAN'T TELL. The One City Empire Challenge on Difficulty = 0 still can't be played with Rare Native Life Forms, since tech thresholds for humans on that level are so low; that the Native Life Activity there, likely wouldn't make any real difference. I STILL REFUSE to allow; even out of RNG-hating desperation; ludicrous map sizes, map dimensions and map dimension discrepancies. Again, the game breaks other-WISE. Dimensions > 256 and Squares > 65,536 can make the game, and possibly your operating system, stop functioning properly outright. Nothing < Tiny/Small would ever make a difference anyway. Even then, we're only talking about lower overall growth costs for both you and the CPUs. < Tiny is forbidden unless you want to beat the game VERY quickly. Even then, it is not a legit One City Challenge; because 1) other factions might not even "spawn" altogether, and 2) I can't think of anything else, except that the new levels of Bureaucracy will, once again, break the game enough as it is.

Please note, that I'm not specifically banning Tiny & Small Maps outright. If the RNG/Thresholds make you want to break something on Difficulty > 0 for the One City Challenge, then go right on ahead and shrink the map. I highly suggest leaving Ocean Coverage, Erosion and Cloud Cover at their default settings; unless you can prove that changing them would actually make any real difference. For Difficulty = 0, all of the default map settings are required for the One City Challenge because your quest would likely just be too easy otherwise. I ONLY refuse to allow < Tiny for the One City Nation Challenge, due to those sizes falling outside of the INTENTED map sizes.
 

Jarek Noschese

Warlord
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
133
Location
Hancock Point, Maine
Q: But what if I'd rather pursue the Diplomatic/Economic Victory?

A: Then it's different. The VPs Bonus is now 1200 - (Current Turn*2). That's 3/5ths of the Science Win's Bonus. For this victory, it's better to play with less Native Life Activity anyway. Now even more cities is required. Therefore, we now adjust by a factor of 1&2/3rds...

Tiny Rare Citizen: 30
Small Rare Citizen: 31
Standard Rare Citizen: 60
Large Rare Citizen: 65
Huge Rare Citizen: 90

Also keep in mind that the game no longer comes up with automated "founded" city names after 58-59 or so cities; so please just keep that in mind. For the Diplomacy Run, the Peacekeepers are highly recommended; thanks to their improved HAB Score and x2 Votes Multiplier. For the Economic Quest, the Morganites are recommended due to their x2 Commerce/Loan Multiplier. You must now make as many friends as possible, no matter how you slice it. Vote-increasing Projects will now be crucial to your success as the Peacekeepers. The Morganites will now need Energy-upping Projects and Facilities more than ever. As always, The Longevity Vaccine and The Market Exchange must be built in your top Energy-producing Base. With as many friends & Pact Siblings as you can make, switch to both Free Market & Wealth for the much-needed +4 ECONOMY. Use Democracy so that the Energy doesn't keep getting lost to Inefficiency. Use the Cybernetic Future once you can get it, since ECONOMY doesn't stack after +5; whereas EFFICIENCY would continue to stack after +4. Avoid as many wars as you can, no matter what the cost. This is the only time that I can think of where running a Free Market Economy, particularly alongside Wealth Values, is actually a good idea. (You can't have a Planned Economy anyway.)

For the Peacekeepers Quest, use both Democracy & Planned whenever possible to get your Bases as tall as you can. Use Knowledge Values to keep up in the tech race. Unavertable wars will require Power Values no matter what. As the Peacekeepers, switch back to Frontier Politics; and possibly back to either Simple or Green Economics. As Morgan; use either the Green or Simple Economy. Police State Politics are now simply crucial. You must get The Cloning Vats, especially as the Peacekeepers!

Moving on...

Tiny Rare Specialist: 26
Small Rare Specialist: 30
Standard Rare Specialist: 51
Large Rare Specialist: 56
Huge Rare Specialist: 85

Tiny Rare Talent: 25
Small Rare Talent: 26
Standard Rare Talent: 51
Large Rare Talent: 56
Huge Rare Talent: 80

Tiny Rare Librarian: 25
Small Rare Librarian: 26
Standard Rare Librarian: 50
Large Rare Librarian: 55
Huge Rare Librarian: 75

Tiny Rare Thinker: 21
Small Rare Thinker: 25
Standard Rare Thinker: 46
Large Rare Thinker: 50
Huge Rare Thinker: 70

Tiny & Small Rare Transcend: 16
Standard Rare Transcend: 35
Large Rare Transcend: 36
Huge Rare Transcend: 51

Also, since the game can no longer come up with automatic city names after ~70 of them, its only inevitable that one will have to name them manually. For my case, I did the name of the first childhood cartoon star that came to me. I worked down the line until I no longer fought wars. My guess is that the surviving nations got so scared of me, that none of them could even think of challenging my empire. I barely recall the rest, and can no longer look back, since I don’t have the completed save file anymore (or at least I’m pretty sure that I don’t, I’ll have to check first…).
 

Jarek Noschese

Warlord
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
133
Location
Hancock Point, Maine
Also, since the game can no longer come up with automatic city names after ~70 of them, its only inevitable that one will have to name them manually. For my case, I did the name of the first childhood cartoon star that came to me. I worked down the line until I no longer fought wars. My guess is that the surviving nations got so scared of me, that none of them could even think of challenging my empire. I barely recall the rest, and can no longer look back, since I don’t have the completed save file anymore (or at least I’m pretty sure that I don’t, I’ll have to check first…).

Update: yep, just as I feared. I can’t find the finished file anymore, although I could check my computer to be sure…
 

Jarek Noschese

Warlord
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
133
Location
Hancock Point, Maine
Update: yep, just as I feared. I can’t find the finished file anymore, although I could check my computer to be sure…

update: here's the ecology% equation...

(10*1-2) * (DIFF) * (Techs) * (3 - PLANET) * (LIFE) / 300

DIFF = 5 if Thinker/Transcend, else 3

I'm still stuck on DIFF = 3, so we'll use that. Now it's...

(10*1-2) * 3 * (Techs) * (3 - PLANET) * (LIFE) / 300

LIFE = Native Life Activity under Custom Rules, 1 = Rare, 2 = Average, 3 = Abundant

Random Events never occur before M.Y. 2126-2176, adjusting for the in-game difficulty. After that, perihelion occurs every M.Y./80 as long as M.Y./80 /=/ a decimal (i.e. it's a whole number). Perihelion lasts for 20 turns each time it occurs. During Perihelion, use (10*2) or simply 20. Otherwise, use (10*1) or simply 10. Therefore, the Perihelion takes place in M.Y. 2160-2180, 2240-2260, 2340-2360 and 2440-2460 on the Transcend, Thinker and Librarian Levels. On Citizen, Specialist and Talent Level, Perihelion is M.Y. 2240-2260, 2340-2360, 2440-2460 and 2540-2560. In other words, there will always be four "Perihelion" eras no matter what the difficulty. The only difference is that it begins much earlier on the three highest in-game levels of difficulty (Turn 59) than it does on their lower equivalents (Turn 139), a multiplicative difference of ~2&1/3rd. As a whole, Perihelion, lasts for 80 in-game years out of 400-500 (16% to one fifth of the run), so 10*1.2 on Librarian, Thinker and Transcend Levels and 10*1.16 otherwise. That would be 11 (round down) on the Citizen, Specialist and Talent Levels and 12 on the Librarian, Thinker and Transcend Levels. I'm still on puny levels, so use 11. Now then...

11 * 3 * (Techs) * (3 - PLANET) * LIFE / 300

Or...

33 * (Techs) * (3 - PLANET) * LIFE / 300

I normally use Abundant Native Life Forms nowadays, so...

33 * (Techs) * (3 - PLANET) * 3 / 300

PLANET = Social Engineering PLANET Score (we'll assume that it does stack for this equation beyond the +3)

However, I usually recommend using the Green Economy and Cybernetic Future and playing as the University to win the Scientific Victory with a high score, so...

33 * (Techs) * (3 - 4) * 3 / 300

33 * (Techs) * (-1) * 3 / 300

There are 76 "regular" techs, so...

33 * 76 * -1 * 3 / 300

Or...

-7,524 / 300

Or...

-25.08% Ecology!

Now the OCN (rounded down) is...

Tiny Citizen and Tiny and Small Specialist: 9
Small Citizen: 10
Large Citizen: 20
Huge Citizen: 27

Standard Specialist: 17
Standard Citizen and Large Talent and Specialist: 18
Huge Specialist: 26

Tiny Talent and Librarian: 8
Small Talent and Librarian: 9
Standard Talent: 16
Huge Talent: 24

Standard Librarian: 15
Large Librarian: 17
Huge Librarian: 23
 
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