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Optimal Spaceship Construction?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Froggie818, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Froggie818

    Froggie818 Chieftain

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    I'm in a close space race with Joao in BtS, leading me to wonder: what space ship design will get to its destination fastest? Is it better to use the bare minimum just to get the thing launched before a competitor's potentially faster ship? Or is it worth the effort to build some extra thrusters or engines, maybe, to speed the ship's travel time? DO extra thrusters or engines affect the travel time? For that matter, do extra casings improve your travel time?

    Along a similar vein, after rocketry, what is the optimal tech path to follow to get the spaceship built asap?
     
  2. Alsn

    Alsn Warlord

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    I havent really thought of it that way as usually when I go for space race I'm in a huge tech lead and it doesnt really matter what I do(I've never played higher than monarch).

    What I suspect however is that what tech path you should pick depends alot on if you have a few very powerful production cities or alot of medium-good ones(since casings and thrusters are better built in medium production cities leaving the expensive parts for your better cities).
     
  3. Johnpecan

    Johnpecan Warlord

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    I'll hit a few of those topics.

    Optimal tech path: I have found that the optimal tech path involves beelining for computers (before artillery and rocketry). Having the internet allows you to beeline for fusion and backfill in other techs via the internet. This works as long as there's not one AI that is way ahead on techs than everyone else.

    Engines/Thrusters: On normal speed, if you have all parts, it takes 10 turns. If you're minus 1 engine it will take 12 turns. I'm not sure on how many turns thrusters take off. It's a rare scenario that I don't have all the thrusters built by the time I have the other parts.

    Casing: Each casing you lack gives you a 20% chance that the mission will fail. I suggest building all your casing!

    Another note: Using espionage to blow up key pieces (non casing/thrusters) will really screw up the AI and win a lot of close space races.
     
  4. IagoAlberto

    IagoAlberto Warlord

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    The casings affect the chance of success, so you should complete all of them so your ship gets there. As far as thrusters and engines go, adding more reduces travel time, so its a judgement call on how close the AI is.
     
  5. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    Extra thrusters and engines (beyond the minimum of one each needed to launch) will reduce your spaceship's travel time. Generally you can build all available components at the same time in different cities, so there's no real reason not to have a full set. Occasionally, if you have very weak production cities, it isn't worth building the second engine (i.e. if you have completed all necessary research, and one engine will be finished a few turns before the other).

    Casings are not really optional, as they affect your chance of success. A ship with only 1 casing only has a 20% chance of reaching its destination. 80% of the time it will fail after launch, and you'll have to start building from scratch. Each additional casing increases the chance of success by 20%, up to the 100% success rate with 5 casings. Again, you can probably build the casings in parallel, so it doesn't take significantly longer to build 5 than to build 1.

    In general research, not production, is the limiting factor in spaceship construction. Rocketry is therefore not the most important tech, despite it allowing the Apollo Program. Superconductors is generally the starting point, since it permits labs, speeding up the research. As a very rough order I'd go:

    1)Superconductors
    2)Rocketry
    3)Plastics
    4)Satellites
    5)Computers
    6)Fibre Optics
    7)Fusion
    8)Composites
    9)Genetics
    10)Ecology

    If you're using the religious wonders a lot you could swap Computers for The Laser.

    One last point - avoid the space elevator as it is worse than useless unless you have a tiny number of cities. The reason is that it requires a non-essential tech (robotics), which will take longer to research than the elevator will save on production time. Remember that its research that is the limiting factor, so the elevator is only saving turns on the launch date on the very last component (which would be the cheap Life support system in the suggested path above). If you can steal robotics from an AI, rather than researching it, you might be able to save a turn or so with the elevator.
     
  6. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    First of all, do you want a sooner launch or a smaller SS build time? They are not the same thing and they serve diferent proposes ( some AI try to capturate your capital if you launch, so making the ship in a smaller ammount of time may be in order ).

    Suposing that the objective is having a sooner launch date, you need to remember that there are some heavy SS parts that you need to have , like the Fusion and the Genetics ones. If you have 8+ cities ( empirical number, with no solid explanation behind ;) ), it is far better to beeline Fusion and genetics to assign those heavy SS parts ( that will take more time ) sooner, letting the other cities do the other lighter SS parts.

    My order would be:

    1)Superconductors
    2)Rocketry
    3)Plastics
    4)Computers
    5)Fibre Optics
    6)Fusion
    7)Genetics
    8)Satellites
    9)Composites
    10)Ecology ( sometimes # 8, when we have heavy :yuck: )

    My reasoning is simple in putting Composites so late: I prefer to choose between a faster and hasty ship now ( less casings, but with all the thrusters and engines ) and a slower but safe ship in some turns ( full ship ) than to choose between a slower ship now ( less engines, full thrusters and casings ) and a faster ship in some turns ( full ship ), like the AI do. In fact I already won a really hasty SS race by one turn because of this ( AI opted by making casings first and had to launch the SS with only one engine, I used a full ship launched 1 turn later.... 12 vs 10 +1 ;) ) it was one of my LHCs, don't recall now which one....

    P.S Space elevator normally doesn't pay the effort.
     
  7. unclethrill

    unclethrill Why am I up right now?

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    Even in a game, you can find everything you need on the internet!!!:)
     
  8. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    Not always.... if you only have one strong teching AI the internet is useless
     
  9. patagonia

    patagonia Emperor

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    You can always optimise the internet by gifting another (friendly) AI every tech you have to increase the chances of getting something useful for free. That increases competition in the space race, but as others have already pointed out, research is usually the bottleneck - it's easy to find the hammers to beat the AI.
     
  10. Mesix

    Mesix One of Porg

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    Let the AI build the Space Elevator and then take it by force. This strategy works with just about any wonder (provided you don't want the culture produced by that wonder).
     
  11. qwertz

    qwertz Prince

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    A stratgy I have been using lately for the SS victory is to pre-build all the spaceship parts, but stop when you have 1 turn left on them. This way you "compleate" your SS within very few turns, which gives the AI less time to attack you or to destroy a component.
     
  12. obsolete

    obsolete Deity

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    IIRC, space ship parts in a que are much cheaper to sabotage than completed parts.
     
  13. mystyfly

    mystyfly Knight of Cydonia

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    true but the AI has to see the queue first and afaik you can only sabotage the build on the top of the queue.
     
  14. Froggie818

    Froggie818 Chieftain

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    Well, it turned out I lost the Space Race by one turn. I got a spy in place on the turn he launched; if I had tried to sabotage then instead of waiting one...more...turn... I might have been able to stop him.

    I AM curious, though. When do you find out if your ship is successful? In this case, because I was just trying to get launched (and did so before reading the answers here), my ship only had one casing. Like I said, it was one turn away from reaching its goal when the game ended. So...does the spaceship usually fail on the turn it launches, the turn it reaches the destination, or anyu time in between??
     
  15. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    In the end of the voyage time.
     
  16. CivCorpse

    CivCorpse Supreme Overlord of All

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    The only time I find the space elevator useful is if I pop a GE late game. I usually do composites after Fusion so I can have my Ironworks city build 2 engines in the time it takes 5 other cities to build the casings. If I am the first to fusion, I will tech robotics after composites and use the 2 GE's to rush the space elevator. Or if I am in U.S. and have a stockpile of gold I will use the fusion GE and then buy the rest. Other than that it is not worth the hammers. Or the side trip down robatics avenue. Unless I need mech infantry.
    In short, don't plan your strategy with the Space elevator in mind. But if you have a mega hammer city and many not so mega ones, it may be worth it.
     
  17. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    At the end of the travel time, so even if the other civ's ship had been a turn slower you'd only have had a 20% chance of success with that ship. Economising on casings is really not a good idea (or likely to speed up the launch date with a good tech route and production base).
     
  18. Jivilov

    Jivilov Prince

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    A scream. Been playing this game sporadically for a decade with maybe 10 or 12 wins, all but one by Space Ship. And each time I'd go for the Space Elevator, even devoting one or two engineers to its construction. Talk about wasted effort!
     

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