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SMAX - The Will to Power - mod

Discussion in 'Alpha Centauri' started by AlphaCentauriBear, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. AlphaCentauriBear

    AlphaCentauriBear Chieftain

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    Hello fellow players.

    I am old time Alpha Centauri: Alien Crossfire lover and I hope there are many others on this forum too. That was and still is a most amazing development in Civilization series in my opinion. That is why I kept playing it for many years even after Civ 3+ were released. There were so many features introduced in it that it took me few years of learning curve just to get to every details of it.

    After some time mastering it and learning best strategy I've started to predictably beaten AI on toughest level. I guess all seasoned players would agree that AI is not really competitive in this game. So after few dozen wins I lost interest and didn't play it for decades. Recently I tried out few mods to see if they make a difference. They do add some experience on the top. I've enjoyed checking them out for a while. Unfortunately, they do no modify the core problem with weak AI. So no much change in winning strategy.

    Then I've discovered a Thinker mod that specifically targets AI improvement. This one brings a new amazing experience of real competition. AI there does not cheat. Instead its choices are tuned up better to ensure its faster and progressive development. Now I am under constant pressure from my computer opponents to the end of the game. They expand and develop at accelerated speed. Human player needs to use each and every benefit it can get, think every turn, and select best option just to keep up with AI. It is so intense that the mere survival through the mid game is not guaranteed even for seasoned player. Infinitely exciting! I could never imagine myself playing this old dusty game over and over again without even sing of stopping any time soon. :D

    Along with trying out mods out there I was working on my own text mod to fix some imbalances in original game. You see, the amount of new features and concepts was so huge that it would take years just making all this stuff work together well. Apparently no one has that much time in game industry. We should thank them for rolling out such a great product and then some of us can keep carrying the torch trying to make it even better. At some point in my modding I realized that I am working on essentially same goal as Induktio with his Thinker mod: making game more competitive and variate and re-playable. I've teamed up with this mod and joined best of both worlds in the new The Will to Power mod. After about a year of work I believe it is in quite playable state now. Further modification and releases may follow but the core engine is as I want it to be.

    Feel free to try it out. Here is the readme and the alpha centauri 2 topic where you can download it.

    Readme

    Download

    The interesting thing about this mod is that I do not introduce any new experience of vision. My goal is to use the original game features developers left us and make them shine as they were designed to! Any comments and suggestions are exceptionally welcome. Play my mod and let me know if there is still some annoyance or imbalance that spoil the joy of experiencing this greatest game of all times! I'll try to make it happen time permitting.

    :)
     
  2. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    Yup! But it can be very fun experimenting around and finding (sometimes unexpectedly) some really cool features!

    I've just downloaded and taken a quick glance around the documents. First off many props to both Induktio and you for all of the work! :goodjob:

    Couple quick things hit me right off the bat:

    1. Chassis movement changes, specifically the Infantry and Speeder being bumped by +1: how does this impact (no pun intended) early game? Reason I"m asking is that when I tried it, it always ended up favoring the aggressor factions like the Hive and Believers, as they could more quickly (and were programmed to) start wars with their neighbors. Or is this change tied to the map modifications, as I believe the map generation updates which were made are going to create more isolated Factions, meaning the concern I detailed above is addressed. Also, what I found with the +1 movement was that I'd pop all the pods much more quickly, and then I'd have to wait around for things to happen (interactions with other Factions, waiting for techs to be researched, waiting for CPs to be build so I could expand, etc., etc.): this goes against Sid Meier's paradigm of "a game should be an interesting series of choices" - have you experienced this with your modifications where your waiting around after popping all of the pods?

    2. I see in your change log that in one revision you'd aquatized the Cult: I've made this a permanent change in my SMACX games, as the Cult is then much more competitive (and maybe overly so). Just curious, but why did you back this out?

    3. Artillery damage changed to 5,1: why?

    4. Re-balancing of the #Technology weighting. Wow! I can't recall anyone trying to tackle this before (Maybe Maniac in his SMANIAC mod?)! I Always though that would be a black hole for me to delve into timewise, and I'd never come out! How much time do you find yourself investing in this?

    5. And of course the holy grail: has anyone podded a Battle Ogre Mk3 with this mod? :lol:

    D
     
  3. AlphaCentauriBear

    AlphaCentauriBear Chieftain

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    Pardon the confusion. You probably are looking to the wrong field. Chassis speed did not change. Chassis cost is what changed to match new cost calculation algorithm. Try the game and you'll see infantry is moving with good old speed of one and speeder is two.

    Here look. First bold number is speed - unchanged. Second bold number is cost - changed to make speeder cost 50% proportionally higher than infantry.

    Infantry,M1, Squad,M1, Sentinels,M2, Garrison,M1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 2, None, Shock Troops,M2, Elite Guard,M1,
    Speeder,M1, Rover,M1, Defensive,M1, Skirmisher,M1,2, 0, 0, 0, 1, 3, Mobile, Dragon,M1, Enforcer,M1,

    Sorry, man. Are you sure you are looking into WtP changelog? There is also Thinker changelog in the same directory. I don't remember aquatizing anything. The only thing related to aquatic factions is removing their +1 mineral bonus.

    That is a temporary setting for the work in progress. See this message and further replies for artillery problem discussion.
    http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=21359.msg122956;topicseen#msg122956

    The problem with vanilla artillery that it has a threshold of a strongest defense it can penetrate. It does not even scratch units tougher than this threshold. Unfortunately, bombarding tough units under Perimeter Defense IS the primary artillery purpose that it doesn't fulfill with vanilla settings. Cranking up artillery damage is the only possibility to make it damage tough base defenders at least a little bit. I agree that 5/1 is probably too high. I guess we can lower it to 3/1 and even 2/1 to see how it goes.

    I plan to modify it soon so this problem goes away and we can return it to 3/2 vanilla setting.

    Couple of months initially probably. Then, when it settled, further changes is under an hour or so.
    A lot of modder out there work with tech tree and rebalancing technology weights. bvanevery with his AIGrowth mod is good example.

    What do you mean? Remove Battle Ogre from popping up from pods? No I didn't do that. Why? It's the only source of Battle Ogres. If I disable them you won't ever see them. Instead I tuned down first Battle Ogre weapon from 6 to 3. Now it is not that unstoppable even in early game.
     
  4. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    Hmm, maybe I should have waited till after I'd had my 5 cups of coffee this morning before I'd replied.

    Anyways, here's some follow-up:

    Yup - I jumped to the wrong conclusion on that one.

    And again my bad. What I should have referred to was your changelog version #21 where you gave the Cult DocFlex - this is what I should have referenced. An unmodified Cult can do very badly sometimes, specifically because they spawn 5 turns into the game and then try to pop adjacent pods with their CPs, which sometimes spawn worms which then kills the CPs (this isn't an issue for all the other human Factions because the first 5 turns of the game a worm can't kill a CP (or at least in the playtesting I'd done when I'd investigated this) ): this, coupled with the Cult's negative industrial rating makes it very hard for them to recover from losing an initial CP. But if I aquatized the Cult and their Sea Colony Pods popped adjacent pods which then spawned IoD's, the Sea Colony Pod did have a chance of moving away, or the scoutship the Cult started with was able to attack (and possibly capture) the IoD. Again, as I'd originally stated, maybe overpowered, but I do like playing with an aquatized Cult moreso.

    Gotcha. And I like your thought process on this regarding generating damage.

    Really!?! I would've thought that it would've taken much longer to vet, especially with all the environments, planet sizes, and Factions that need to be taken into account.

    So the segue a bit here, back 10-15 years ago the topic would come up in the various forums as to whether anyone had ever podded a Battle Ogre Mk3, and invariably the answer was no, no one ever had. So I guess my question is that no longer a thing - can someone pod a Battle Ogre Mk3? To this day I still have never podded one (and I've been playing Alpha Centauri since it came out).

    Anyways, sorry for the confusion, and thanx for the answers! When I get the urge to play SMACX again I'll see about installing your mod.

    D
     
  5. AlphaCentauriBear

    AlphaCentauriBear Chieftain

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    Regarding the aquatic Cult it may be a solution. I noticed it is usually perform pathetic too. I was playing with it and I think I removed its INDUSTRY penalty. I've also independently and indirectly increased PLANET effect on gameplay so, I hope, it'll perform much better now. Will see.

    Are we talking about same thing? Technology value weights help blind research generator to select next technology. Essentially it roughly defines a sequence of technologies faction gets with certain research priorities. And such sequence shouldn't be affected by environments and planet size.

    Do you meant technology cost?

    The further into the game the more chance to pop stronger Orge mark. Save few pods for turn 300 and try. This doesn't happen in real games as pods don't live that long.
     
  6. AlphaCentauriBear

    AlphaCentauriBear Chieftain

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