Explanation of changes and their strategic impact
Tired of the usual SMAC routine? You know the drill
+The long slow slog to set up a small empire and do some exploring and terraforming during the first 25-40 turns.
+Pop booms and exponentially climbing might graphs.
+Grabbing all the secret projects with upgraded crawlers.
+Beelining for Air Power and MMI, then racing to conquer the world with chop & drop before anyone else gets these techs, or stomping
all over pitiful AI, which never pop booms and never uses chop & drop.
+Buying the Ascent in a single turn.
None of these "standard" events happen in turbo-SMAC!
Very little happens for the first 20 moves or so. This is fine with single player, because you can
reach 2120 in a few minutes, but in PBEM it might take two months! We need faster development.
1. Half-price colony pods
This is the biggest factor. It will accelerate development, because earlier pods mean earlier
additional bases, all of which can be making new pods.
2. Nutrient rows shortened to 6
This will speed up growth early on. To avoid excessive exponential growth from pop booming, all factions will have -1
growth until Future SOciEties are researched in the endgame. Effectively, the base length of nutrient rows will be 8.
3. Research rate increased 33%
This will speed up research throughout the game.
4. Faster terraforming
The number of turns to complete terraforming has been cut in half or less for all operations except borehole contruction
and forest seeding.
5. Industry bonus
All factions have +2 industry throughout the game. This works better than shortening mineral rows to 8.
6. More resources.
Increased beNefit of ocean squares by +1 nutrient and +1 mineral. Doubled the benefit of farms and solar collectors. Increased
value of bonus squares from 2 to 3. Elminated nutrient penalty from mine. Added sea versions of all land improvements.
Can build monoliths after Centauri Meditation. Increased minerals from cutting forest from 5 to 10. Doubled benefit from
Recycling Tanks. Additional resources from fungus have been added and come earlier.
7. Cheaper facilities
Reduced the mineral cost and/or maintenance cost of most facilities, except for Tree Farm, Hybrid Tree Farm, Fusion Lab and
Quantum Lab. Reduced cost of least popular facilities by the greatest factor.
8. Starting energy
Increased from 10 to 50, to allow SE changes from the start.
II. Counter to over-used strategies and exploits
In the midgame, some factions grow rapidly and their relative might increases exponentially. After carefully designing an
empire and building it for 100 turns or more, it can vanish in a couple of turns through cheap "chop & drop" tactics.
These changes come under the heading of slowing the "the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker" tendency of this
game which is very strong.
1. Pop booming.
Pop booming is almost entirely removed by giving all factions -1 growth until Future Society SE's are reached. The only way
to pop boom is to achieve a Golden Age with Demo/Planned/Creche, which means little booming. This prevents easy wins by the
first faction to pop boom.
2. Infinite colony spread (ICS)
The ICS problem is actually made worse by the half-price colony pods. ICS is reduced by limiting pop booming and by
eliminating the mineral income from the base square.
3. Chop and drop
a. Airdrop range reduced from 8 to 6
b. Air unit range reduced from 8 to 6 (jet) or 5 ('copter).
c. Cost of air units doubled
d. Prototyping costs doubled for air units only
e. Attack penalty after air drop increased from 50% to 66%
f. Cost of drop ability now rises with increasing weapon or speed, but not with armor.
g. Cost of nerve gas pods now rises with increasing weapon
h. AAA bonus increased from 100% to 125%
i. Decreased cost of AAA ability, but increased its cost on offensive units
j. Decreased mineral cost of Aero Complex from 80 to 30
k. SAM ability now free
l. SAM probes can bribe air units
m. Instrinsic base defense bonus and sensor defense bonus both increased from 25% to 50%.
4. Increase usefulness of seldom-used chasses & units
5. Overuse of supply crawlers
Doubled cost of these units. Does not prevent exploits involving upgrades.
III. Restore balance between offense & conquer versus defense & build
1. Boost defenses
a. Instrinsic base defense bonus and sensor defense bonus both increased from 25% to 50%.
b. Defense bonus (+12%) against fast units for unit in rough or in base.
c. non combat unit penalty dropped.
d. AAA bonus increased from 100% to 125%
IV. Enhance cool components of the game that are seldom used due to minor flaws
1. Advanced chassis
Hovertank: Now comes with Superconductor and has 4 move points
Gravship: Now come with Nanometalurgy and has 16 move points
2. Breeding native life --much cheaper, and native units given special abilities and more move points:
Worms: Cost 2 rows of minerals, rover chassis, trance and deep radar abilities
Isles: Cost 3 rows of minerals, cruiser chassis, AAA and deep radar abilities
Locusts: Cost 4 rows of minerals, still have gravship chassis, blink and deep radar abilities
3. Artillery --effect enhanced, removed excess cost for mobile artillery.
4. Transports: Transport capacity increased for land and air units and cost decreased. heavy transport ability enabled.
5. Future Societies: These came too late in the game to have an impact. Thought Control is moved two
techs earlier (to Biomachinery), and the other two future soecieties are moved to their precedessor techs
(Sentient Econmetrics for Eudomonia and Industrial Robotics for Cybernetic).
6. Elevation effects on combat: 25% bonus for attacking downhill or defending uphill.
7. Fungus resources: These pose interesting trade-offs, but came much too late to impact strategy. Now you get more resources form fungus earlier.
V. Enhance social engenerring settings that are seldom used.
a) Fundamentalism is crippling and seldom used.
Remedy: BOOSTED MORALE BENEFIT (dedicated beleivers), MAINTAINED GROWTH BENEFIT OF DEMOCRACY (command to be fruitful and multiply), REDUCED RESEARCH PENALTY TO ONE, ADDED TALENT PENALTY INSTEAD (elite repulsed)
b) Police State is somewhat weak except for Spartans and Hive, because additional police units are required to see any effect.
Rememdy: NOW WITH ++TALENT (elite police), A MORE ORDERLY SOCIETY IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ADDING POLICE UNITS.
c) Democracy is unchanged. but you might want to consider alternatives!
NO CHANGES: FREE MARKET, PLANNED AND GREEN PERFECTLY BALANCED
a) Power is crippling and seldom used.
Remedy: SWITCHED PENALTY FROM INDUSTRY TO RESEARCH (power over knowledge) AND PLANET (power over ecology).
b) Knowledge is good, but not usually favored over wealth
Remedy: NOW WITH +TALENT (attracts intellectual elite), +PLANET (ecological and planetary understanding).
c) Wealth is overused
Remedy: NOW SLIGHTLY LESS ATTRACTIVE WITH ECOLOGICAL PENALTY (-PLANET, wealth over conservation).
4. Future Society. These are not actually changed, but "NONE" is given ++INDUSTRY and -GROWTH.
TRICK HERE IS TO HAVE +2 INDUSTRY FOR ALL FACTIONS THROUGHOUT GAME AND PREVENT NON-GOLDEN AGE POP BOOM BEFORE FUTURE SOCIETY. ADDED +TALENT TO EACH BECAUSE ANY FUTURISTIC SOCIETY WOULD ATTRACT AN ELITE FOLLOWING.