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One (University) City Challenge

Discussion in 'Alpha Centauri' started by Jarek Noschese, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Only succeeded at it once (otherwise, I quit out of frustration [i.e. actually dying, or else just losing too many key projects to those stupid ai factions])

    not that it matters, because even with the gog.com version, this game will still barely function on windows 10, so I just decided to use good old windows 7, instead. Yeah, I still cant figure out the broken ai, but at least the graphics are no longer so distorted, and the game hasn’t seemed to crash on me (yet).

    does anyone else however, have any suggestions for a one city challenge in this game (I.e. play as anyone else [other than Miriam, of course], try a more randomized map than the game’s default one/s?)
     
  2. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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  3. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I think the main problem with One City will be planet busters :mischief:
    I always play as University, btw.
     
  4. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    I've actually managed it as Morgan once too. I'm now thinking of doing it as the Peacekeepers also. Also, I choose to leave the city's name as the default, and I never use the Scenario Editor for the OCC. The one exception was a test run, where I tried to figure out just what exactly would need to be done in order to win. The test run, was done on the regular Map Of Planet in the Ruins region. My successful University runs were also done on the Planet Map, whereas my Morgan run was done on a random map. Economic and Scientific advantages, of course, are extremely important here, which makes both Zak and Morgan very powerful here. Rapid population growth, and avoiding Drone Riots, is also important, which makes the Peacekeepers quite good as well. For Morgan, drier and flatter worlds with less native life, for obvious reasons, are better. As Lal, wetter worlds with similar elevations and rockiness are good. As the University, you can do it any way you want, although less rainfall might be a good idea if you aren't prepared to deal with the extra Drones. Less rocks prevents the AI from producing key Projects as often, thanks to less Minerals.
     
  5. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    One of my failed runs actually saw me get Planet Busted by Miriam. Other key factors in the One City Challenge include a steady flow of Nutrients (Growth), Minerals (Industry) and Energy (Science, Psych and Bank Account). Forest squares with both a Tree Farm and a Hybrid Forest in the corresponding Base will easily do quite nicely here. If you manage to pull off a good start on Mount Planet (like I did with Morgan), then you can place either Solar Collectors+Roads or Farms+Solar Collectors+Roads depending upon the terrain's rockiness (there's no sense in using Terraform Level here because you can't actually plant Forests along the volcano's slopes [you can't even terraform the crater itself]).

    I'll mention key Projects later.
     
  6. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Ascent To Transcendence: This one's obvious.
    Ascetic Virtues: useful if you're playing as either Morgan or Zak, and possibly as Lal
    Bulk Matter Transmittor: This can be useful if you're playing as either Lal, or Zak. As Morgan however, you can likely just skip it.
    Citizens' Defense Force: Perimeter Defenses never cost anything to maintain. And besides, you have only one city (obviously). So this time around, you could just give this one a pass. And in the OCC, the extra points from your Secret Projects are likely to have only a minimal effect, since you'll need far more more cities in order to get a high/er score.
    Clinical Immortality: Even as Lal, a Diplomatic Victory in the One City Challenge is simply impossible, due to needing more cities in order to get a high enough population for the extra votes. The extra Talent however, can be nice to have, particularly as the University, thanks to their lack of ethics (extra Drones).
    Cloning Vats: The auto eternal popboom affects all of your bases, so the challenge waters down the effect somewhat. However, this project can be helpful if you need to fight a futuristic war with the Power+Thought Control combination, as the extra Morale will easily make your standard military units practically invincible.
    Command Nexus: Command Centers require no maintenance at Citizen level, so unless you're playing at a higher level, then it's better to just skip this. Morgan himself can easily make enough profits to cover the costs anyways with the right Engineering.
    Cyborg Factory: this can be nice to have if you can't properly cover the maintenance cost for a Bioenhacement Center, but otherwise, this one's entirely skippable.
    Dream Twister: this one's rather invaluable once you're so productive that the wild native life forms literally refuse to leave you alone. But if you have to lose it, then it's not the end of your faction, although it's still a bit of a loss.
    Empath Guild: useless once you have contact with everyone else and/or only two factions remain. And since the Diplomatic Victory's getting disabled in the One City Challenge, the extra votes are meaningless as well.
    Human Genome Project: for some reason, random events (i.e. promethean virus) don't seem to affect factions with only one city. The extra Talent however, can definitely help, particularly if you're the University.
    Hunter-Seeker Algorithim: this is pretty much too good if you're doing this challenge as the University. Otherwise, it's likely better to just give this one a skip if needed.
    Living Refinery: helpful if you're playing as either Morgan, or Lal. Otherwise, this one can just safely be skipped.
    Longevity Vaccine: combined with Morgan's economic bonuses, this one makes your profits completely off the charts.
    Maritime Control bCenter: this one's only good if your one city's right on the coast. Standard Naval Yards take 2 Energy for maintenance anyway. So really, this one's kinda useless.
    Merchant Exchange: in normal games, losing this one's not the end of the world. In the One City Challenge, losing this one is a possible restart, especially on large/r map sizes and/or high/er difficulty levels.
    Nano Factory: if you need to field a large standing army for a possible war, then this one becomes fairly good to have, since numbers are just not on your side.
    Network Backbone: good if you prefer the Cybernetic Future, if you really desire the extra science, then the global Network Node bonus will also become handy.
    Neural Amplifier: the exact reverse of the Dream Twister, and with plenty of Mag Tubes, you'll pretty much always be able to strike first in Psi Combat. And besides, Psi Combat basically requires that you strike first. So if you have to lose this, then go ahead.
    Pholus Mutagen: good if the ecodamage that you're producing is becoming too overwhelming (Forests, Centauri Preserves and the Temple Of Planet can also help out immensely here). If you'd like to use your own Mind Worms, then the Lifecycle bonus will definitely help out with that.
    Planetary Datalinks: this becomes a moot point once your science (and possibly cash, too) is on top of the world and/or there's only two of you left.
    Self-Aware Colony: if an Economic Victory is what you're going for, then reduced maintenance costs are pretty much vital. Although a Market Economy will pretty much ban the cuse of cops, you can still switch over to something else if you'd like.
    Singularity Inductor: OCC will very easily negate the "at all of your bases" effect. It's true lifespan isn't even that long, so really, this one's not of very much use.
    Space Elevator: units with Drop Pods can easily make first strikes, no matter where they are at the start of their turn. Being able to produce satelittes more quickly, Aerospace Complex or not, can help enormously with the late game.
    Supercollider: it's rare that losing this wil still leave room for completing the challenge. If you not only lose this one, but then someone also declares war on you, then it's better to just restart.
    Telepathic Matrix: at this point, you're powerful enough to make those pesky drones long since an issue of the past. The extra Probe Team Morale however, can help if Miriam's Probe Teams are stalking you.
    Theory Of Everything: same case as the Supercollider
    Universal Translator: at this point, you can literally just build this one for mere laughs, especially if you want more points from Transcendent Thought. Were you to soehow find a whole legion of Artifacts, then you'd also be able to cash them in for free Techs.
    Virtual World: no matter how you slice it, Hologram Theatres can be expensive to maintain, and already cost a good deal of Minerals on top of that. So in most cases, this one can be nice to have, but it's no longer as vital as it would otherwise be in normal play.
    Voice Of Planet: this one requires no explanation.
    Weather Paradigm: doesn't have the much needed fungal removing bonus, so this only becomes useful very early on, when you need to start creating the most basic terraforming improvements asap. So otherwise, this one's now entirely skippable.
    Xenoempathy Dome: the extra Lifecycle and movement through that (cheeky) fungus can really help, especially if the native life forms don't stop harassing you, despite your most valiant efforts.

    Up next: the victory types, and which ones either are, or aren't, possible in the One City Challenge, and why they now become what they do
     
  7. sendos

    sendos Immortal

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    Good luck with your one city challenge. In all my times playing this game, I never played a one city challenge before.

    I guess the strat would be opening up with scouts and formers, get recycling tanks early and for social engineering policies, it would be planned and democratic to maximise growth. You would hope you have enough minerals to maintain an army though. Getting clean reactors on your units would be a must.
     
  8. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Now for the victory conditions...



    Diplomatic: As I’ve said before, this one, is just not possible, due to always having such a low population. So remember to disable it before you start the challenge. Otherwise, you are just doomed.


    Conquest: This one, only makes sense, if, and only if, the UN Charter gets revoked. So that way, you can Obliterate and Planet Bust your enemies at will. You will also need as much MORALE, POLICE, GROWTH and SUPPORT as possible, since numbers are just not on your side. Clean Reactors and maximized Reactor Levels will be absolutely critical regardless. Psi becomes far more useful, since there’s no way to really produce a ton of ordinary military units in such a short time span. This makes Lifecycle all the more useful. High Weapon and Shield Levels in regular combat are simply no option. High INDUSTRY Scores will let you produce the needed units and facilities as quickly as possible. High PROBE Scores, as always, are an absolute must. Otherwise, your troops will be simply stolen. In the long run, your real best option, for a Conquest Victory, in the One City Challenge is definitely the Planet Buster. Oddly enough, an increased PLANET Score will make your troops even more ridiculously powerful.

    Scientific: This one is the most feasible, logical and rational choice, in not only casual play, but also, the One City Challenge, as well. It is one of the few victories which can be attained at a reasonable pace, without soiling your Integrity (>0 “black marks”), in both casual play and the various “challenge runs”, including the OCC. As always, maximizing your Engineering ECONOMY, GROWTH, PROBE, MORALE and PLANET scores will stop you from being eaten alive by both the Wild Native Life Forms, and the other factions. A high EFFICIENCY score is also helpful, but not required. This is slightly different from both, other “challenge games” and even casual play, where low EFFICIENCY scores are a severe liability, for larger and more prosperous empires. Golden Ages are truly an absolute must for the extra economic prowess. Pop-boom will also be quite helpful for that too. If a high RESEARCH Score, can be reasonably obtained, then, by all means, please, just go for it! Drone Riots must be avoided at any cost, so it’s better to suppress Drones directly (I.e. turn them back into Workers) than it is to suppress them indirectly (I.e. convert enough Workers into Talents, so as to rival/surpass the Drones in number). Remember, these problems must be attacked, directly, at their source! To convert Drones back into Workers, you must utilize one or more, of these following methods...

    1. Have a POLICE Score between -1 and +3. The higher your POLICE Score, the more and more “cops” that you can have, and the more and more effective that they’ll eventually be.
    2. If you have a low POLICE Score (or else just can’t hire anymore “cops”), then build Facilities that turn the extra Drones back into Workers. Examples of these, include the Recreation Commons, the Hologram Theatre, the Punishment Sphere, the Research Hospital and the Nano-hospital.
    3. If you have a POLICE Score of <-2, then don’t send your troops into any wars of attrition. (Actually, this would turn Workers, into Drones.)
    4. If the UN Charter is not in effect, and your POLICE Score is >-1, then you can use the Nerve Stapling option in the Base Management Window. Be warned however, that it only lasts for 10 turns, so you’ll want to come up with an idea to bring the Drones back into your work force, so that they don’t riot again. You’ll also have economic sanctions imposed upon you for the duration of the Nerve Staple, so beware!


    Economic: Technically, this has the exact same premise as the Scientific Victory. The only real difference however, is that, since you do not need as many technologies, it is much shorter.



    Up next: the various factions, and which ones to play, and which ones to not play (and the rationale behind such reasoning)
     
  9. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Now for the factions themselves...



    Recommended: University and Morganites

    Considerably Harder: Peacekeepers

    Very Difficult: Hive, Spartans and Gaians

    “Playable”(?!...): Believers


    Now for the reasons behind my rationale...


    University: These guys are obvious. Their extra RESEARCH, will never disappoint, especially in the One City Challenge, where it becomes so much more vital. Yes, there is a PROBE penalty, but countering that, can be done, even without Fundamentalist Politics (these guys’ Aversion). Yes, this makes Miriam almost impossible to appease, but hey, at least , you can, somewhat, keep Yang, off your back. And even if, war, against you, is declared, your truly superior, tactics and equipment, will just, make steam rolling, the enemy, an absolute breeze. So as always, these folks are still one of the best factions, if not the best faction, to play as especially, in the One City Challenge.

    Morganites: Energy powers your faction’s (anything), including its Labs, Psych and Bank Account; and these guys gain extra Commerce and Energy. Yes, they cant pop-boom in the early game (their default pop-limit sucks, and their Aversion is Planned Economics), but their extra economic power, will more than make up for that. The best part?: having only a single city for the duration of the game, will make Economic Inefficiency/Bureaucracy, a thing of the past! Yeah, they have a SUPPORT Penalty early on (followers have high expectations), but only remember to stay in Frontier Politics, in the early to mid game, and you’ll be totally safe. Yes, your signature Market Economy, will provoke, both the Gaians, and the Wild Mind Worms, but strike first, at the latter and appease the former, and you’ll be fine; and even if, Deirdre, does, declare war, on you, the fact, that, she, suffers, from, MORALE, and POLICE Penalties, will usually, make her relatively easy, to, deal, with. Yes, the Spartans and the University will become angry with you for selecting Wealth Values (in fact, Wealth Values, are Sparta’s Aversion), but usually, you can, just, throw some of your profits and/or technologies at them, in order to buy yourself some more time. And even if war gets declared against you, then the Spartans, have trouble producing, in high numbers, of their otherwise well trained forces, and your patently ridiculous Bank Card, lets you exploit the University’s vulnerability to Probe Teams, squarely, to your advantage, too. I highly recommended, these saps, just, for the sake, of, this very challenge.

    Peacekeepers: Your Workers, are literally the “salt of your faction”, whilst your Talents form the veritable “cream of the civilian crop”. And not only can these fellows pop-boom early on... they also have a rather high default pop-limit! Best of all, their supreme lack of restrictions on personal freedoms gives them an extra Talent for every four Workers (Civilian-Class Elite)! Yes, they suffer a slight Economic Efficiency Penalty at the start (U.N. Styled Bureaucracy). As always however, the One City Challenge makes this problem basically irrelevant. And yes, the extra Council Votes, mean nothing, in the One City Challenge. The Diplomatic Victory however, has been disabled, so this penalty, is also made, a non-issue. Yes, they can’t select the Police State Political System, so they can’t suppress Drones via extra “cops” until the days of Future Society. However, those, auto-extra Talents, will more than make up for that, very early on. Yes, Miriam and Yang will both be almost impossible to keep quiet, but throw your techs and profits at them, or else stay solely in Frontier Politics, if, need be, and, you should be OK. Overall, these fellas, are great for both newbies and pros alike, no matter what the play-style (OCC, “other challenge” or even casual).


    Recommended Victories in the OCC...


    University and Peacekeepers: Scientific

    Morganites: Economic and Scientific


    Theoretically Possible/Potential Alternative...


    University: Conquest


    Feasible(?)...


    Peacekeepers: Conquest


    Extremely Unlikely...


    Morganites: Conquest

    University and Peacekeepers: Economic


    Hive: Sadly, these fellers, suffer, from a penalty to ECONOMY (little to no personal freedoms) by default. They also can’t use the pop-boom tactic early on (they, utterly, abhor Democracy). However, they do get a free Perimeter Defense at the start, which can help if war gets declared against you. Yang’s suppression of the very worst of Bureaucracy, also lets him choose Police State Politics and/or Planned Economics without, any penalties. Yes, this provokes, both Morgan and Lal, as well as, both Deirdre and Miriam, to anger. However, Morgan suffers from an absolutely crippling POLICE Penalty from his beloved Market Economy, so he, can’t even, touch you, without, Probe Teams. His SUPPORT Penalty, does not help his silly case either. Deirdre’s MORALE Penalty, makes her relatively easy to deal with as well, as, can also her POLICE Penalty. Miriam, can only be a true threat, if, either 1) she strikes first, which, can typically, be, avoided, or 2) she, has, high, level Weapons, technology, which, BTW, she, never will. This, makes, only Case #1 an issue in ever having, to, deal, with, her. Meanwhile, Lal would be a threat if he was actually militarily inclined, which BTW, he isn’t. Yes, the Hive gets a bonus to INDUSTRY (serfdom), which lets them stack those much-needed Projects more easily. If Projects, are, your true biggest affinity, then, go ahead, and, select, Yang; but otherwise, please, do yourself a favor, and stay away from him, for, the One City Challenge.

    Spartans: This faction, has all, of the upsides that Miriam, has penalties in. They, can select anything, but, Wealth Values. They are, already well trained, and, well armed (MORALE and POLICE Bonuses). However, they, do, tend, to place, relatively, low, priority, on, extravagant weapons, and, tactics (INDUSTRY Penalty).
     
  10. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Spartans (continued): For them, “prototype” units, are, much, cheaper. So really, if you’re going to play the One City Challenge as these guys, then please, by all means, let your victory be, by Military Conquest; but hey, at least, it can, be, reasonably done. If that’s how, you’d like, to, do it, then, by all means, pick Santiago. Otherwise, please, do, the smart thing, and just stay away from her.

    BTW, I’m having a bit of trouble with keeping my fingers steady for this, so I’ll just cover the Gaians and the Believers, later.
     
  11. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Gaians: these folks have less trouble with Mind Worms, and can divert more of their Energy to their much needed Research. The biggest problems are 1) little Morale [peaceful], 2) a low POLICE Score [freedom-loving] and 3) no Market Economy

    This makes producing more Energy to begin with a problem, since the One City Challenge requires it. The One City Challenge also makes Economic Inefficiency a thing of the past. Those human-controlled factions with only a single city also have less land that they otherwise need to improve/defend. Technically however, a higher PLANET Score does help with Combat, especially Psi, but it’s not truly required here. This is different from both casual play and other challenge runs, since you have more land that you’ll need to improve/defend. In fact, you might just be able to destroy the others with Mind Worms as these guys, but you’ll need to have Abundant Wild Native Life Forms to do it. It’s also imperative that you get the signature Green Economy, and start taking the initiative against the pesky Wilderness Mind Worms ASAP. Facilities that increase Lifecycle become all the more important here, as does the search for as many Monoliths as possible. This lets you upgrade your Mind Worms with one Lifecycle upgrade per Mind Worm Boil. Personally, I’d rather use this faction for casual play, but technically, an OCC is doable as them too.

    Believers: for masochists only; even then, the Conquest Victory will be your only hope here (SUPPORT Bonus, since citizens are eager to fight for their beliefs, plus 25% extra attack strength due to Convictions). The RESEARCH Penalty (views secular science with suspicion) will absolutely require that you get both the Planetary Data-Links (Cyber-ethics) and Probe Teams (Planetary Networks) ASAP, so that your weaponry doesn’t start falling behind that of the other factions. If you don’t start with the University close by (but not too close), then it’s better to just restart. You also absolutely need to get Secrets Of The Human Brain (Fundamentalism) quickly [even if you don’t get it first, because you won’t] for those extra few PROBE Points, since you can’t even have Knowledge Values. Less Mind Worms are also preferred since the Believers have a PLANET Penalty (believes Chiron to be their “promised land”). If anyone has a guide for achieving this (plus proof of being able to do it with the Iron Man Setting, and no Scenarios or Scenario Editor), then please send it directly to jarekrn@live.com; thank you.

    Next: Custom Settings, and which ones that need to be either on or off
     
  12. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Now for what's required, and what's forbidden...


    Scenario Editor: This one's obvious. The Final Score will even say "CHEATED!" if one simply turns on, and then turns back off, this function. In other words, this one's forbidden. Even creating an OCC Scenario beforehand, and then adding so-called "objectives", just to then replay your creation, through the Scenario Selector isn't allowed. You absolutely have to allow for as much randomness as the game expects you to otherwise be tolerant of. Only regular scoring is allowed. (Note: sometimes, the game includes "no objectives" in your Final Score anyways [likely a bug], so please send me your near-completed save file to jarekrn@live.com, regardless of how you win. That way, I can examine it with the Scenario Editor to make sure that you didn't either 1) skip using Iron Man, 2) use the Editor, just to include scenario-exclusive nonsense (i.e. "no mind worms"), or 3) BOTH!! Scenario/Map Editing is only allowed for test runs in order to authenticate whether or not a certain strategy is feasibly effective.

    Iron Man: This setting MUST, I repeat, absolutely must be turned on! "Splicing"/save-reload abuse is LITERALLY THE BEST way to gain an unfair advantage in video/computer games! If I even SPOT the MERE absence of "Iron Man: +100%" in your Final Score, then your SO-CALLED "score" WILL, I repeat, be automatically DISQUALIFIED! There are absolutely no supposed "excuses" to break, or supposed "exceptions", for this rule!

    How I'm able to tell, you may ask?: Well, I simply use a single save file for all of my OCC games (I name it "onecitychallenge" so that it's easy to tell). However, foul play can come in many different forms. Thus, my rule is that you include multiple save files in your finished product. The minimum is to create at least two such files, one at the start (MY 2100), & ANOTHER RIGHT at the end, meaning just before your Victory (i.e. capture the last enemy Base, Corner The Global Economy, build the Ascent To Transcendence). However, I'd also prefer that you include plenty of save files from other points in your OCC game as well. To simplify this, a normal game of Civilization 2 always lasts for exactly 570 turns on Chieftain, 520-570 on Warlord, 470-570 on Prince, 420-520 on King, 420-470 on Emperor and 420 on Deity. The game always ends in the exact same year regardless of difficulty - 2020 AD. 1850 AD is the "crossing point" of every difficulty level in the game. In other words, you'll always have exactly 170 turns left before the game ends (i.e. "turns" will always be exactly one year long from that point onward). In Alpha Centauri, one turn always corresponds to exactly one "mission year" regardless (I don't remember how exactly it works in Civ2, so let me know in a reply if you do). On Citizen, Specialist and Talent Levels, you've got until MY 2600 (so 500 years/turns) to beat the game. On Librarian, Thinker and Transcend Levels, you've got until MY 2500 (so 400 years/turns) to complete the game. So my general recommendation would be that you include your third save file on the turn in which you have exactly 170 turns remaining (MY 2430 on the three lowest difficulty levels, and MY 2330 on the three highest difficulty levels). In Civilization 2, between the years 1750 AD and 1850 AD, a single turn is exactly two years long. In a 570-turn game, that corresponds to exactly Turn 300; if 520 Turns, then Turn 250; if 470 Turns, then Turn 200. if 420 Turns, then Turn 150. Therefore, your fourth validity/verification save file should be recorded from the exact moment that you have 270 turns/years left until the Mandatory Retirement Year. On the lower levels, that's MY 2330. On the higher levels, it's MY 2230. Record your fifth, and last, proof-of-authenticity file sometime between these "specific save points", just for lack of a better term.

    Time Warp: This one's not allowed either, since you might end up getting a 2nd city as well, thus ruining your OCC game. Always build your empire from the bottom-up, never the top-down!


    I'll cover the rest of the specifics later. For right now, I'm a little busy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  13. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Continuing on...


    Unmodded-gameplay, authentic copy of Alpha Centauri and regular factions only: No Alien Crossfire is permitted. The Faction Editor, and any illegal copies of the game aren’t permitted either. I use the GOG.com version, due to it’s fixing of the very worst of in-game flaws. As a matter of fact, I’d also recommended that others use that version too. Either way, your copy of Alpha Centauri must be absolutely unchanged in terms of AI/gameplay (interface improving mods are fine), and also a truly and really genuine, legal copy of the game. One of the less common, but still used nonetheless ways that cheaters try to gain an absolutely unfair advantage is to make illegal changes to the game. These are unauthorized by law, and thus, will get you disqualified from my territory as well. Another way that players try to gain an unfair advantage, or try to give themselves an excess challenge just to “overbuild” their skills against an AI which otherwise can’t actually “adapt” due to its incompetence, is to mix the regular and expansion pack nations together. Sometimes, these kinds of “game dopers”, for lack of a better term, will try to play as one of the expansion pack’s factions, as opposed to a standard one. Removing a default faction just to include the Firaxians in their place is also forbidden. Please note that such crazy “tooled editing”, for lack of a better term, only works in this game if you then play the Alien Crossfire. Otherwise, there’s no way to actually replicate these changes. Therefore, all of your files must be able to load squarely through the original game! Not one of them can be loadable in the Alien Crossfire! If this is not the case, then I will have no choice, but to automatically and utterly disregard your final score, no matter how high.

    Sadly, my phone’s battery is now beginning to die. So, I’m gonna have to cover the rest later (as I memorize it, that is).
     
  14. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Continuing on from where I left off...


    No Unity Survey: Experiment with this one at your own will. Personally, I always turn this one off, just to have a better idea of what’s what.

    Look First: Please turn this on. Otherwise, how do you know who’s where, or if your start is not optimal for a feasible One City Challenge run?

    No Unity Scattering: No, seriously. Scattering is actually what really and truly happened to the UNS Unity. Please don’t try to circumvent it. Wild Mind Worms will appear no matter what. Xenofungus will always exist on Chiron too. A common Scenario-Editing tactic is to edit which squares have fungus, and which ones do not. Most players however, will, naturally, try to get rid of as much fungus as possible via this crazy tactic. You are not allowed to either play on a custom-made map (in fact, you don’t need to) or to edit either a randomly-generated map, or the Map Of Planet, or even who’s where for that matter, just to suit your desires. Stick with whatever the game gives you (otherwise, just restart completely) and, suck it up! No futile loopholing! Besides, the AI itself only gets hindered even more without it. So the actual “gained advantage” doesn’t really make any true difference.

    No wanky Map Sizes!!!!!: Maps smaller than 24 wide by 48 tall, or vice-versa (1152^2), do not actually “hold back” science costs, let alone the spawning of other factions, very long, nor, very effectively. Also, maps larger than 64 wide by 128 tall, or vice-versa (8192^2), don’t actually “cancel out” warfare “altogether”. In fact, even the canonical “large/r maps” can only delay the moment that you meet/go to war with another faction by only a modest amount. As much as try to circumvent this, and the game will start getting wonky, in either one way or another. Custom map sizes are fine, as long as they fall within this “canonical range”, for lack of a better term. Map dimensions should also not be less than 24, nor greater than 128. Any attempts to go outside of this range will get your final score disqualified regardless of how high or low it is.

    Bell Curve: As strange as it sounds, Random Events never happen to those human players who possess only a single city. Therefore, this feature, will not make a difference. It also never ever removes “perihelion” (more Wild Native Life Forms once every 80 turns, lasting for 20 turns). So please, don’t turn this on. It will not actually help your case in the OCC.

    Tech Stagnation: I absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, recommended ever turning this on unless you specifically want to go for a Conquest Victory as fast as humanly possible.

    Notes about Cooperative Victory: this will only reduce your final score by a small amount, and is almost impossible due to how it works, so please do yourself a huge favor, and disable it.

    Intense Rivalry: Transcend-Mode-Levels Of AI Faction Hostility Towards Humans, no matter what; don’t use this unless you absolutely know exactly what you’re doing.

    Blind Research: for some reason, Citizen Level enables this by default. In the OCC Games however, you absolutely don’t want to waste any potential opportunities for gaining a Tech that you actually need. Please turn this one off.

    Spoils Of War: unless you’re planning to win by Conquest alone, then there’s no technology to steal, and thus, no reason to ever have this on. Once you lose your city, the game ends. You’ve failed.

    Do Or Die: Enabling this does not make sense unless your dead-set serious on winning by the Conquest path. So please choose accordingly!!

    No Special/Scenario Rules: just because you can’t build Colony Pods, doesn’t mean that the AI should be unable to. It has to anyway. And no, you can’t use any of that other nonsense either. This means that Technology Trading must remain a possibility, as must fully random Unity Pod Results, Project construction, terra forming (essential in the OCC), technological breakthroughs, Engineering, the UN Security Council (to the aforementioned extent), a real choice in your game’s difficulty and Wild Native Life Forms. You must also play with the default faction leaders’ agendas and personalities. You are never allowed to set Scenario Parameters. It is also forbidden to set any Scenario-Specific Victory Conditions. Victory must be achieved in the old-fashioned way; no setting “objectives”!!! World Conquest must be achieved, if the player chooses to do so, in the old-styled way! The other factions must be eliminated normally, not through the Scenario Editor! Pick them off one by one, not all at once! Enemy units are to be destroyed in the normal manner as well, via the traditional combat rules, not through the Editor! Diplomacy is to be resolved through only the old ways, not with the Scenario Editor! Don’t try to remove “blemishes” to your Integrity this way either! Don’t try to change the other factions’ strategies either! Don’t even try to edit their current breakthroughs! Units must be created in the standard way! Use only the default units and their default abilities and stats! Energy can only be accumulated in the traditional way!!!!!!!!
    Factions which are defeated can never, ever be restarted! The full map’s entire depth can never be seen until the appropriate technologies and facilities have been acquired! Don’t try to edit how much time you have left, or even attempt to change your difficulty level mid-game! Stick with the faction that you chose at game start!!!!!

    That’s all for the Custom Rules, and the most obvious of what is and isn’t allowed. I’ll go over the in-game details in my later replies. So for now, stay tuned!

    In fact, scratch that. My browser’s getting wanky too. I’m taking a break for the day.
     
  15. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    I have also banned the following (along with providing my reasoning and rationale behind my decision for doing so)...

    Edited alpha.txt files: this one’s a very common tactic in scenario design. So unless you’re just testing the feasibility of a certain strategy, then you must leave the alpha.txt file unchanged.

    Editing .PCX files: this one’s another common tactic for scenario design. As such, it’s banned for the same reason that I’ve banned any edits to the alpha.txt file as well.

    Regular pre-game text only!: in scenarios, one of the other many used tactics is the creation of a “scenario.txt” file in order to change the real dialogue that the human gets after selecting their faction at the start of a regular game. Only the original quotes and following speeches are ever allowed in the One City Challenge!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No edited “readme.txt” files, not even its name can be changed!!!!!: both the original game and the expansion pack come with their own Read Me files (unsurprisingly). In scenarios, the directory/folder that contains the scenario files may also contain an edited “readme.txt” file as well. I also need proof that you didn’t make any changes whatsoever to the standard Read Me file that comes with the game. Even the Read Me file that comes with Alien Crossfire (it’s known as “readme_ac.txt” for reference) is not allowed in your “proof-of-achievement” file grouping sent to me at jarekrn@live.com!

    Alpha Centauri.ini: the only authorized changes here are the following; DisableOpeningMovie=1 and DontResetBeginnerPrefs=1. These kinds of changes will specifically affect the gameplay. DirectDraw=0 is authorized if you prefer to play at your desktop’s resolution, as it’s only a visual change, rather than a gameplay-based one. All other changes are banned, due to 1) potential doping of the gameplay, and/or 2) potential of having an otherwise wonky game experience.

    Up next: in-game preferences and how the prefs change in the .ini file is tied to them.
     
  16. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Now for the in-game preferences...


    Autosave each turn: This feature MUST, I repeat, ABSOLUTELY MUST be turned off at ALL times!

    Design units automatically: Since you aren't allowed to design units yourself in a true One City Challenge, this option absolutely must be turned on.

    Auto-prune obsolete units (recommended to leave on regardless): This one is the exact same case as "design units automatically".

    Other options: Experiment with these at your own discretion in order to find out which ones suit your playstyle best.


    Taking a break (unrelated to in-game preferences): I'd much appreciate it if at least one person could find a way in order to do the entire challenge in only a single sitting without taking even one break. However, if you absolutely must take a break from the game during the course of your run, then you absolutely have to save your game FIRST!! One of the benefits of playing an Iron Man game is that saving your game will immediately quit the program as well. You are NOT allowed to quit the game with the normal "Exit" option, since it provides an opportunity for one to then reload their game from an earlier point, just to then get supposedly "better" results from (fill-in-the-blank). To do THAT would be CHEATING!!


    Last but not least: final verification of both your score, and your run, plus submitting them, for real proof of your achievement
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
  17. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Also, I forgot to mention something else. Like Civilization III (not fully related to this here thread, but still relevant nonetheless) is that the overall “power” of one’s empire is determined by everything that they possessed, unlike Civ4 which only included military strength, and Civ1 & Civ2, which counted only population, money and technologies (“objective” points if you were doing a scenario in Civ2)[!]. Another way of discouraging unskilled human players from getting too powerful in SMAC/X was the “gang tackle”. This never happened on the Citizen and Specialist Levels without the “Intense Rivalry” Custom Setting. In the OCC game however, falling behind in population, territory and military would cause your level of “might” to fall equivalently. This meant that the dreaded “gang tackles” didn’t happen regardless of the difficulty level and/or whether or not the Intense Rivalry setting was being used. Speaking of that, the first and second place factions are typically very jealous of one another, as they vied for the greater share of Planet’s treasures. Since however, you eventually fall into around third or fourth place, and stay there as long as you can produce the highest Labs score, this doesn’t happen to you either. This was also the only advantage of the One City Challenge that I forgot to mention earlier.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
  18. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Further notes about the possible Victories...


    Scientific and Conquest Victories: Gaians

    Conquest Only: Spartans, Human Hive and Lord’s Believers


    Strategy as the Spartans and the Hive: get to Power Values as fast as you can for higher SUPPORT and MORALE. You’ll also want the Police State for the increased SUPPORT and POLICE. A Planned Economy will improve your INDUSTRY, which is particularly important if you’re playing as the Spartans. With only a single city, Inefficiency is no longer of any relevance. Power Values would also work as the Believers thanks to the off-the-charts bonus to SUPPORT, plus the further boost in your MORALE from the Fundamentalist Politics. A Planned Economy can still bring your INDUSTRY back to acceptable levels. More Rocks are likely now required for the influx of supremely-trained, highly-equipped troops. With a Planned Economy, you’ll also have better GROWTH as long as you can produce enough Nutrients in order to reenforce it, since more Workers to harvest the surrounding resources will make you more productive to begin with. Higher Rainfall will also be likely required here as well therefore.


    Conquest Notes For Deirdre: With such a low MORALE Score, you’ll really want to have the Power Values as soon as you can get ‘em. Fundamentalist Politics can also help out. Mind Worms can’t be subverted by Probe Teams (as crazy as it even sounds), but the extra PROBE can really reduce the risk of losing your regular troops to the enemy factions via coercion.


    Scientific Gaian Notes: ECONOMY can only be improved via Eudaemonia and Wealth. Just make sure that the Spartans aren’t too close by. Green Economics are fine if you can’t get enough Nutrients for reasonable GROWTH.
    The EFFICIENCY Bonus can be reaped with no provocation of either Yang or Miriam. If however you can get enough Nutrients, then ensure that neither Yang nor Miriam are close by. Then switch over to Democratic Politics. A Planned Economy will produce less problems thanks to the Gaians’ bonuses to EFFICIENCY and PLANET. The same goes if you need to become a Police State in order to sustain a sizable field army. Knowledge Values can be used to increase RESEARCH if you can’t seem to otherwise produce a high enough Energy accumulation. For further benefits, consider having a Cybernetic Future once you can do so. A Thought Control Future can still be used if war becomes inevitable, which it likely will.


    Notes about capturing enemy Bases with the UN Charter still in effect: spared Bases can only produce one of the following; Stockpile Energy, more troops or Lifecycle/Morale based facilities. Even then, you’ll want to get in a Morale-improving building first before you go back to producing military forces. Stockpile Energy can only be produced if you run of extra Minerals to support your troops. It’s best if you convert the captured Workers into Specialists so that excess Workers can be starved out. If Wild Mind Worms approach the base, then it’s better to just let them fully consume it. If the fungus were to appear in the improved base squares, then all the better, just like with the Mind Worms destroying the improvements themselves! If the enemy recaptures a Size 1 Base, then the Base will just be destroyed. This trick can be very easily exploited here too!
     
  19. sendos

    sendos Immortal

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    You don't need high probe for your challenge. Just stack your troops together. Probe teams can only bribe lone units. The only times I fear probe teams are when they infiltrate my bases.

    Really? No manual design of troops? That is not fun at all.

    So what about starting location? No monsoon starts? :p
     
  20. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Chieftain

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    Starting off in the Monsoon Jungle is fine, as you’ll need the extra Nutrients for making your city as tall as possible. Honestly, I prefer to just stick with the regular/default unit designs. But if anyone else edits the unit designs in their OCC game without using the Scenario Editor, or even an attempted reload, then that’s fine too. I guess that I was just too vague on this topic. I also forgot to mention that Probe Teams can only bribe a single unit at a time. So yes, the unit stacking trick would work as well. For me however, it’s a little too powerful, so I almost always try to just make to do without it. Losing a hard earned tech to another faction via their Probe Team can be handled, but having to lose anything else to them (I.e. Facility, Current tech Progress, Population [Atrocity if the UN Charter is still in force], etc.) is definitely a problem. I usually end up just losing techs to them; no big deal, they’re just jealous of my superior lifestyle and merely want a share of the pie. You can just give them whatever of your Techs they ask for during negotiations, and then they’ll leave you alone again for like, ~99.9% of the time.
     

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