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SMACX AI Growth mod

Discussion in 'Alpha Centauri' started by bvanevery, May 15, 2018.

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  1. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    More than 1 Monsoon Jungle? I don't know how that is done. Looking at alphax.txt, I see there's a #NATURAL section. Perhaps naming a landmark, then putting "Jungle" after it, would give another Jungle area. Not sure what I think of a 2 Jungle world. I guess it would super-goose at least 2 factions. I think I like the idea of Geothermal Shallows occuring more often. Seems awfully chinsy that they only occur in 1 spot. On an Enormous map, they're not usually where you'd like to have them.

    In my mod, if you've got Impact weapons you've also got artillery. That's a big advantage over other factions. Use it now!

    If you're only on Impact, I'd say it's too early to tell how well you're doing vs. anyone else. But it's good to know the AIs are behaving competitively, for now. In my own game, Yang just got Orbital Spaceflight and so did I. In principle we can nuke each other, anywhere on Planet. In practice I don't want a "flood the world" sceanrio, with all the hard work I've done on my hand terraformed land. I'm also on good terms with most factions at the moment, mainly because I'm stronger than them. I just wanna get my Industrial Labs built (renamed Fusion Labs, there are no Fusion engines until very late game) and do a pop boom. Then I'll send some Marines to the Hive.
     
  2. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    Sorry, I didn't mean I wanted more than one Monsoon Jungle. I only meant the Monsoon was in my territory, and that the Peacekeepers probably got a good start and grew fast and not because of the Monsoon.

    I'm looking forward to reach Orbital Spaceflight. I like the idea of Planetbusters being a threat anywhere on the planet. It adds an extra layer of tension.

    I'm currently third in the game. My basic infrastructure is in place and I'm rush-buying as much of my impact army as I can. The Hive still doesn't have Impacts. I'm getting the impression they're lagging in science, which is good news for me. They still have a lot of stuff though, I'm considering pushing into their territory and see how far I can get.

    The Morganites and Peacekeepers are at war with the Drones, which I guess explains why their military rating is so high and they keep switching places. I have contact with all three of them but still don't know their home territories, or how much trouble Domai really has. The Angels are now almost equal to the Peacekeepers. The Cyborgs are still happily teching away, but have to give away their lead to the Angels at times.

    The only factions I haven't met yet are the Cyborg and Angels.

    I'm really enjoying your mod! I can really tell you put a lot of thought and hard work into it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  3. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    Thanks! It's good to get some external confirmation that I did something right, as opposed to just doing what "I think" is right.
     
  4. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    I lost my first game. I'm not a great AC player but I definitely underestimated the Hive. I played the game too much in the mindset of vanilla AC. I'm not sure if you made changes to the AI but they seem more determined now. I had defeated all of Yang's Laser troops/rovers and thought I was safe for awhile. In the next few turns a wave of Impact units rolls into my territory and at least 4-6 Impact Foils defeated my small navy. The reinforcements kept coming and I was overwhelmed.

    It turned out the Hive had at least 10-12 cities. The Angels were the largest faction by far. They had expanded wherever they could across two continents.

    I'm going for another game. (Due to a barren starting position between Believers and Hive I re-rolled and got Peacekeepers this time - Thinker difficulty) I'm looking forward to it; hopefully this time I can make it to the mid-game, I would love to see all of the changes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  5. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    I might have made the Hive overpowered. In 1.12 I'm taking away their IMPUNITY to Planned Economy. They already have IMPUNITY to Police State in my mod, and having even 1 IMPUNITY turns out to be a pretty powerful ability. I'm thiking that no faction should have 2 of those. The Cult of Planet is awfully darned strong now too. In 1.12 all Fundamentalists will get +1 SUPPORT, and the Cult's specific +1 SUPPORT will be taken away. Same with the Believers.

    If it makes you feel any better, the Hive is quite strong in my own current test game as well. They built nukes and piles of Oribtal Defense Pods first! That's what made me think, hmm, these guys may have been given too many advantages.
     
  6. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    I like the Hive being strong, but I agree with you that two Impunities might be too much.

    I was wondering, in my current game as Peacekeepers I get a -1 growth in Free Market but isn't shown as a icon in social engineering. Planned Economics doesn't give +1 growth. (It stays at zero)

    I'm around 2180 in my current game as Peacekeepers. It seems I have a continent for myself and I'm happy with it, because now I can explore your mod and all the changes in peace. (At least for now, Svensgaard is already getting annoyed) Miriam is a powerhouse in this game. She has conquered the University and the Morganites. (They both fled in escape pods) Svensgaard is also doing very well, second to Miriam and current science leader.
     
  7. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    Are you sure you're looking at all areas of social engineering, to see where that -1 growth comes from? For instance, Frontier has been giving -1 growth for awhile now. I think I'll just release 1.12 in a half hour since you seem to be having some issues. I wanted to wait for the formality of finishing my current test game, but I've definitely accumulated enough changes for a release. Your difficulty may not be anything I did, maybe you've got bugs in your version of SMACX itself. But if you're using my "latest greatest" mod version, at least I'll know exactly where you stand.
     
  8. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    I'm sorry, my mistake. That was what I meant with being in the mindset of the original game. You're right, Frontier has -1 growth. Can I install 1.12 and still use my 1.11 saves?
     
  9. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    I have released version 1.12. Population boom returns to the game; Democrats make babies in celebration. Fundamentalist gets research penalty reduced and gains +1 SUPPORT, becoming a different kind of Police State. The Cult of Planet and the Believers, who both go Fundamentalist, get their SUPPORT bonuses taken away. Hive loses IMPUNITY to Planned economy, they were overpowered. Survival no longer gives MORALE bonus because it was overpowering the Spartans. Knowledge does less research, becomes Planet friendly. Cybernetic and Eudaimonic are now Planet neutral. Information Networks is no longer a barrier to tech progress, factions can and will research it. Citizen's Defense Force can be built sooner. Punishment Spheres done dirt cheap!

    Your 1.11 saves will work.
     
  10. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    I'm now around 2250 and I'm really enjoying it. The other factions mostly leave me alone (except for a Hive/Believer alliance but they are on the other side of the world) It's fun exploring all the changes and having to think with every new tech you get. The game feels slower and more steady, and I like it. Hab Complexes do feel they come a bit too late in the tech tree, although I didn't really miss them either as only a few bases had just reached seven pop.

    Monopole Magnets technology having Hab Complexes doesn't feel right for some reason.

    I'm looking forward to reach Orbital Spaceflight. I'm now third on the powerscale. Miriam is dominating and Svensgaard is second and still has the tech lead.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  11. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    I'm happy with Hab Complex timing now. Rails come deliberately earlier. They are a primary weapon of war, and this isn't a civilization that just invented the Steam Engine. I find that I generally have the capability to build rails, before I actually have enough spare Formers to do so. I tend to worry about farming and growth first. If someone wanted to abandon the vegetable garden and blaze a deadly trail to victory over a near neighbor, they could though. This is not so pressing on the Enormous maps I play on. It's like, when I'm done farming, then it's "ok let's connect all this stuff and make a railhead to someone's doom".
     
  12. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    For some reason, and I noticed it with the vanilla game as well, Deirdre is hesitant to run Green Economics. She's running it more often than in the vanilla game (which was never) but after reaching Wealth the AI disabled it. Before the Gaians got Wealth they actually ran Democracy/Green.
     
  13. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    I too have been puzzled why the AI often doesn't take the social engineering choices their faction is assigned to take, instead preferring Simple economics or Survival values. It's not just Deirdre, it's lots of factions.

    Factions don't tend to stick with Frontier though. I noticed that Fundamentalist was very popular, and that's the main reason I reduced the RESEARCH penalty to -1 in version 1.12. I was worried that everyone was addicted to religion who wasn't explicitly prevented from choosing it, and that this was driving AI faction research progress into the ground. So I unapologetically made the course correction: the whole "stupid Believers" mechanic had to go.

    Green always penalized GROWTH before, and my mod penalizes it substantially less, just -1 instead of -2. That said, it's hard to get positive GROWTH anywhere else now, so maybe in the AI's view it's a wash. Simple economy also gives +1 GROWTH, so maybe Deirdre likes to keep it simple?

    The AI might think my new version of Green is evil because it penalizes SUPPORT. -1 SUPPORT is nothing to sneeze at. However, factions choose Democratic with its -2 SUPPORT in the original game, and my Green isn't as bad as their Democratic, so who knows.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  14. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    I think you might be on to something about GROWTH. It's very possible the AI is coded to favor GROWTH as much as it can. I can't remember ever seeing the AI run Green in the vanilla game. I checked my current game, the Gaian AI had the economy boost and +2 Growth thanks to Democratic/Simple. They're doing well even without Green. The AI might only accept a negative hit in GROWTH if it gains a lot from it.

    I'm going to do a little test and remove the "GROWTH" penalty. I'm curious what the AI will do then.
     
  15. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    I'm sorry for the double post.

    When I removed the -GROWTH penalty in Green and replaced it with -1 INDUSTRY as a test the AI switched to Democracy/Green/Knowledge the next turn. It's not definitive proof, but it looks like the AI doesn't like negative GROWTH. However, when I re-instated the -1 GROWTH penalty the AI did not switch back to Democracy/Wealth.

    The other AI's in my game (Yang/Miriam/Morgan/Zakharov/Svensgaard are all running their preferred social engineering choices. It's kind of funny to see the Hive running Police State/Free Market/Wealth. (But it works for them as they have that sweet +2 economy bonus)

    It's possible the AI might activate Green again when it reaches the Future Society models.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  16. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    It worked it worked it worked! I've wanted the Hive to go Free Market forever! There was never any rational reason to do it in the straight game. Even in my mod, Free Market had -1 POLICE, a dealbreaker for the Hive. So I took away the Hive's secondary social compulsion to seek POLICE. He's already got a lot of POLICE, let the AI have the flexibility to decide if it works better or worse to lose a little POLICE to gain other things. It worked it worked it worked!

    Next up, I want to see Cha Dawn go Free Market, because he can. His primary compulsion is Fundamentalist, and he doesn't have a secondary PLANET compulsion anymore. His hangup, the thing he can't choose, is Democratic. Also, I honestly can't tell the difference between +1, +2, and +3 PLANET ratings as far as capturing mindworms goes. I've accumulated an awful lot of mindworms even with +1. It might matter for eco-damage thresholds, and it does matter for fungus or psi combat bonuses or something. But frankly, I just don't think it's all that great. Who needs it? I wouldn't even bother if it weren't for the fungal pops.

    Deirdre does have the secondary compulsion to increase PLANET, because she only has +1 PLANET to begin with, and it's in character for her to be an eco-Nazi. I've never changed it from the stock game. In 1.12 that means she should be consistently seeking Knowledge (+1 PLANET) and avoiding Wealth (-1 PLANET). If she's choosing Wealth, that's really really weird. It's had -1 PLANET since version 1.11. I wonder if there's a bug? Something never previously revealed, because nobody put -1 PLANET into Wealth before? The AI may not be capable of adapting to all possible social engineering combinations. What if it's flat out ignoring the secondary choice?

    Deirdre weirdness in my current game: she's Fundamentalist Simple Power None. She doesn't know any Future Societies. I think she stagnated under the 1.11 rules, as a -2 RESEARCH Fundamentalist. In the late midgame I changed to 1.12 rules, the ones that slightly nerfed the Hive among other things. The stagnation damage has probably already been done. This is why the Fundamentalist RESEARCH penalty is only -1 now, it's too alarming to see lots of factions going Fundamentalist and technologically stagnating. I hope a new, fresh game proves I made the right choice.

    For now, this current game needs to be finished, because the Pirates actually did great. They're a real threat, they could Transcend if I'm not diligent. I don't see a problem winning this, but my game is definitely on an expiry timer, where the Pirates will win by such-and-such a year if nothing else happens.

    Know what? Screw dat. I'm bored to death with this game, and I'm starting over from scratch with my in-progress 1.13 rules. Those are mostly about shaving off costs of some weapons, armors, and abilities. Basically almost all abilities cost 1 now. Trance and ECM aren't going to be free lunches anymore either. It's been interesting over the years trying to figure out how to keep those to 0 cost, but it's also tedious, resulting in many unit designs. Lack of Fusion engines means running out of unit designs is a real problem. Older unit designs are not clearly Obsolete because they can be cheaper at doing some job, like defending from the mindworms.

    I'm also realizing I didn't fix the Information Networks research bottleneck until 1.12. The stagnation damage was probably already long since done, to Deirdre and some others. All the more reason to start fresh.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  17. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    I haven't been able to play as much but I'm slowly making progress in the 1.12 game. One thing I absolutely love is how each of the research branches really feels different. The way you set up the tech progression really makes me think about the choices I have to make next. In the original game everything felt "diluted" in a way. You could get for example aircraft and missile weaponry in Explore and Planet Busters and Shards in Discover; in your version military technology truly is military tech that falls under Conquer. It makes more sense and discovering new technologies not only feels more rewarding but also leads to more choices.

    I usually like to focus my science on Discover and Build as Peacekeepers. I like having a strong economy so I can divert energy into improving science output. With the vanilla game, even when behind I usually felt safe enough to continue on my path. But in this 1.12 game I was forced to completely switch gears. I'm now directing all of my science towards Conquer techs. I'm really feeling threatened by both the Believers (strongest military) and the Pirates (science leader) it doesn't happen often but your mod actually forced me to turn around my game plan.

    We're the three superpowers on Chiron and the powergraphs have been identical for the last 20 turns. I'm rushing as much infrastructure as I can and still I can't seem to surpass them. I can tell the improvements of the AI in your mod. The AI really seems to feel at home.

    Even the Morganites and University (the two factions eliminated early on by Miriam) have been able to rebuild on a different continent. Even though they're small/medium empires, they're doing well with a respectable science output.

    Deirdre is somewhere in the middle. She has a compact empire but a good economy and science output. She was able to snatch a few juicy Secret projects for herself. She's doing well (and has somehow evaded Miriam's wrath even though they're neighbors) and has devoted herself to running Democratic/Green/Knowledge (even with the -1 GROWTH), which helps her to keep the technology gap with the leading factions small. I'm suspecting she's trading a lot with Svensgaard.

    One other thing I really like is the earlier access to future society models. This really gives the AI a solid foundation to survive through the mid-game and move into the late-game. The Pirates have gotten Eudaimonic and are now running Democratic/Green/Wealth/Eudaimonic. They were already a threat, but now they can cost me the game if I'm not careful.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  18. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    Yes; you got things you didn't deserve for your research efforts. Deirdre would research pure Explore, yet get an attack 6 Missile Launcher for having researched Synthetic Fossil Fuels. Morgan would research pure Build, yet get a defense 4 Silksteel Armor. Benefits were being farmed out to factions, in a way that made the research tracks not make much basic sense. Many techs also had multi-category weights that were inappropriate. I got rid of a lot of that, so that you really do have to pick an appropriate tech category if you want to research it. The exception to that rule is Information Networks, as it proved to be an egregiously hard barrier to overcome if I left it "pure". I didn't want literally the whole game being decided on when a faction got around to learning it. It was only supposed to be an "introductory" tech; the problem is, there aren't enough actual Discover oriented capabilities in the entire tech tree, to have it not be a bottleneck. I had to compromise and let everyone go easily through this particular bottleneck.

    I'm curious, what size map are you playing on? I've only been testing on Enormous, so I'm wondering if the AI does ok on smaller maps. Larger maps, give the AI more territory to establish a firm research and unit generating foothold, before a human player can get there to mess with them.

    Green, that's an interesting choice on their part. Maybe they want more violence and didn't want the -1 POLICE from Free Market. Maybe they wanted to offset the -1 PLANET from Wealth. They're taking a -1 SUPPORT hit from that choice, which isn't awful compared to what Democratic was like in the original game, but it's nothing to sneeze at either.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  19. JH24

    JH24 Chieftain

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    I'm playing on a 64x128 map in this game. I agree that a bigger map is more advantageous to the AI, but 64x128 is still a good size.

    One thing I should note is that before starting I set the Believers on "Erratic" instead of "Aggressive." This has nothing to do with your amazing mod but is just a personal preference. I often felt that aggressive AI's hurt themselves more with being in a constant state of war. In this game though it made no difference for Miriam, as she still took out the Morganites and University within the first 50-70 turns.

    This is what the AI's are currently using.

    Deirdre: Democratic/Green/Knowledge
    Yang: Police State/Free Market/Wealth
    Morgan: Democratic/Simple/Wealth. (Before Wealth it was Democratic/Free Market)
    Zakharov: Democratic/Free Market/Knowledge
    Svensgaard: Democratic/Green/Wealth/Eudaimonia

    EDIT: Miriam: Fundamentalist/Free Market/Wealth/Eudaimonia


    True, it is an interesting choice. They have lot of production in their core bases and some eco-damage, maybe that's why they didn't want the -1 PLANET.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  20. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

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    A Huge 64x128 map is still a fair amount of space for AIs. Since I changed the proportionality and likely shape of land to be more favorable to AIs, I'd expect them to do fine on Huge maps.

    I think AIs often work themselves into a lather even when they're Passive! Doesn't bug me what settings you change. I left the Believers Aggressive because they get a +25% attack bonus.
     

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