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Thread: SMAniaC

  1. #151
    MMC
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    Originally posted by The_Reckoning
    hey there, I was wondering how you managed to get the leader pictures to have that authentic monitor-sytle lined effect?
    I have a couple of Photoshop / GIMP plugins in the toolkit in my sig. They are designed specifically to create scanlines such as those found in SMAC. Thus I included them in the hope of getting decent 'authentic' scanlines over the C4:AC graphics.
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  2. #152
    Vaniver
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    I don't really see why free market economies would per definition be worse for the environment than planned economies.
    The reason why is because free market economies are often structured so that it's in someone's best interest to screw up the environment to get a quick buck. To use an example from classical economics, if I make money by running a coal furnace and don't have to pay for your worsened air-quality or blackening shirts, I will. It's only when the government taxes the soot I produce or the government mandates that everyone move to clean fuel that the soot starts to decrease.

    With regards to the Private/Tariff economy choice: while tariffs keep production in local hands (thus a + to industry could be justified), they only do so in the cases when local hands are strictly worse than foreign hands. If you look at Indian history, Gandhi wanted a return to cottage industry, where people manually spun clothes. That's hideously inefficient compared to machines doing it (-efficiency), not just in terms of capital loss but also in terms of production (-industry, which doesn't mesh well with the +industry suggested before). That's a general principle as well, not just related to that example- the producers of lasers will fight to stop particle impactors if they can't produce them (which might even suggest -research, although that may be going too far). The lack of foreign competition can dissuade growth and innovation, which are largely the things that boost economy (-economy, although when you factor in it being private the net would be +) and lends more credence to the previous -research. Finally, few people want to trade with someone who doesn't want to trade with them, so commerce would suffer (since I don't think you can affect commerce directly, the best way would be -economy).
    The other main problem with a "protectionist" economy in Alpha Centauri is that protectionism is already the default. You don't start trading until you manually contact someone else and begin to trade- perhaps it should replace subsistence? But that seems unnecessary.

    I would actually put Green back in economy. You can see a Green economy starting to unfold in the United States, where people are paying more for eco-friendly choices- but they can only afford to do so because of their natural affluence. Educated people are typically drawn towards environment-friendly policies because they tend towards long-term benefits among other reasons. It's obviously more expensive to manufacture a building in a way that minimizes its energy loss (although that tends to be economical, if you can fork over the initial cost) and emissions, and the best way of reducing pollutants, taxing, tends to hurt industry. So, something like +2 Planet, +2 Efficiency, +1 Talent, -1 Economy, -1 Industry would be realistic, and seems like a counterpoint to the other two economies.

    Now, that could just be my laissez-faire capitalist bias, but that tends to happen if you study economies enough.
    Last edited by Vaniver; June 27, 2006 at 17:50.
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  3. #153
    Maniac
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    Originally posted by Vaniver
    Now, that could just be my laissez-faire capitalist bias, but that tends to happen if you study economies enough.
    Indeed.
    (Just so you know, I'm a political scientist and have an anti-laissez-faire bias. )

    The reason why is because free market economies are often structured so that it's in someone's best interest to screw up the environment to get a quick buck. To use an example from classical economics, if I make money by running a coal furnace and don't have to pay for your worsened air-quality or blackening shirts, I will. It's only when the government taxes the soot I produce or the government mandates that everyone move to clean fuel that the soot starts to decrease.
    That' s a surprising thing to say for a self-proclaimed laissez-faire-ist.
    But what you say is exactly why green is on a seperate line, not with economics. Whether the government will enact green legislation is a political choice, and not inherent to a free market/private-owned economics. So you could run Private economics/Anthropocentric and pollute all you want, or run Private economics/Green and have a market with environmental regulations.
    Same reasoning with Planned. The central planning office can decide the environment is worth protecting, or it can decide not to give a damn about it. Again a political choice.

    With regards to the Private/Tariff economy choice: while tariffs keep production in local hands (thus a + to industry could be justified), they only do so in the cases when local hands are strictly worse than foreign hands.
    Not true. Protectionism can also be used to shield your infant industries from foreign competition, until they have developed themselves enough to compete on the world market, and don't need the extra help anymore. Japan is (or used to be) the perfect example here.

    So again, it's a political choice. You could decide to subsidize outdated industries, or you could decide to subsidize the industries of the future. Seeing that there aren't any laser or particle impactor industrialists to lobby and influence your policies (which would be kinda neat ), let's just abstract that away and assume the faction leader will use protectionism only the smart way.

    The lack of foreign competition can dissuade growth and innovation, which are largely the things that boost economy (-economy, although when you factor in it being private the net would be +) and lends more credence to the previous -research. Finally, few people want to trade with someone who doesn't want to trade with them, so commerce would suffer (since I don't think you can affect commerce directly, the best way would be -economy).
    Those effects are included. I haven't given Protectionism these extra penalties to keep it balanced compared to Planned economies. Instead you should compare Protectionism to the Private/Free Trade economics choice: +1 Research, +1 Economy (which increases commerce income), -1 Industry.

    The other main problem with a "protectionist" economy in Alpha Centauri is that protectionism is already the default. You don't start trading until you manually contact someone else and begin to trade- perhaps it should replace subsistence? But that seems unnecessary.
    Subsistence can indeed be considered protectionist. Then with some research you gain access to Planned and Private/Protectionist economies, also both mostly protectionist. It's only later with research of Planetary Economics you can switch to Free Trade.
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  4. #154
    The_Reckoning
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    Originally posted by Maniac


    All the "new" graphics are remixes of factions that are on www.networknode.org. It was described there how to do it IIRC. Unfortunately the site's bandwidth seems to be constantly exceeded the last couple months.
    Originally posted by vyeh
    Try accessing networknode at the beginning of the month. I was able to get on the site June 1.
    OK so I got onto the node today [July 1st ]

    The site they linked to for the scanlines tutorial was no longer being hosted, so I used the Wayback Internet Archive to retrieve it.. and viola, scanlines tutorial!


    http://web.archive.org/web/200503010...scanlines.html

    http://tinyurl.com/oo4nu

  5. #155
    Vaniver
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    That' s a surprising thing to say for a self-proclaimed laissez-faire-ist.
    Well, yeah :P I tend to have a long-term view which necessitates caring about environmental factors, and an economist's approach to how to safeguard those factors.

    But what you say is exactly why green is on a seperate line, not with economics.
    That's true.

    Not true. Protectionism can also be used to shield your infant industries from foreign competition, until they have developed themselves enough to compete on the world market, and don't need the extra help anymore.
    I'd still contend that the infant industries are worse than the foreign industries, and it's non-tariff investment that will make them improve. Building an Energy Bank of your own would improve your economy more than blocking investment from or in Morganite banks, and I think that's the mechanic through which the game represents the government supporting fledgling industries. Subsidizing the industries of the future is essentially putting net energy growth to research rather than to economy.
    There is no greater wealth than wisdom, no greater poverty than ignorance; no greater heritage than culture and no greater support than consultation. - Ali ibn Abi-Talib

  6. #156
    Xian
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    Excellent mod, I'll post my thoughts on it later but I just played through a 300 turn game on talent (I choose an easy setting just to get my bearings with the new secret projects and techs.) You did a great job overall. More on that after Ive got a chance to spend mroe time with it.

    Current discussion:

    The problem with all the games in the Civillization series (Civ, civ2, civ3, smac, smax civ4) is that they dont model economic units seperate from the state or nation. Its sort of like things were in the very early days of feudalism - "france" or "england" are one entity with particular industries all sharing the same leadership and goals.

    What the next game in the set of games should do is simulate independent and possibly international economic units like labor unions, religions, consumers associations, coporations, organized crime cartels, direct govt sponsored industries and any furture society sci-fi things (energy tribes, private supply crawlers, robot/cyborg unions that directly conflict with human workers, anything the designers can imagine)

    When this is done we can really talk about free-market economics versus planned economies, and intracacies of that nature. True, if its a game we will still probably be allowed to control everything (and thats not really a design flaw, just like if the political system was modeled we would still want to be able to play all 300 turns or so and have control over all units... imagine playing the entire game with all the governers turned on...EWW) but the actual class wars and internal intracacies will be much more clear when the game actually includes classes and internal economic units.

  7. #157
    redazncommieDXP
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    Is there any way we can get the whole mod, fully updated to the latest version, in just one link to click? I know I'm nitpicking, but it probably would get your file downloaded more if it weren't multiple downloads. Just putting it out there.

  8. #158
    Maniac
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    I didn't do this previously because it takes rather long to upload, and I was making changes rather frequently. So if something needs to be edited, it's shorter to only re-upload one of the three files than one whole big one every time.

    But since I'm not planning any more changes at the moment, here goes, SMAniaC Gold.
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  9. #159
    nik9000
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    I'd just like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who worked on this. You have breathed new life into my favorite game.

    Now to go convert people....

    Edit:

    Has anyone noticed that The Republic and The Drones can't run any Economies other than planned? Is something broken on my side?

    Edit 2:

    My current fix is to rename Private/Free Trade to Free Trade and Private/Protectionist to Protectionist in all files. Its a fix, but not a great one.
    Last edited by nik9000; August 6, 2006 at 10:03.

  10. #160
    Raion
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    Done already?

    That seemed quick.

    Have to download it and try it out.

  11. #161
    Maniac
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    Woops I didn't notice your edit earlier.

    Originally posted by nik9000
    Has anyone noticed that The Republic and The Drones can't run any Economies other than planned? Is something broken on my side?
    Weird. As intended I can't run Free Trade but can both Planned and Protectionist.

    Originally posted by Raion
    Done already?

    That seemed quick.
    How do you mean?


    Btw, how did you find SMAniaC? Via the Apolyton directory? I didn't know people actually used that!
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  12. #162
    Raion
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    No, I been watching it. But I think now I read where you need the game "Alpha Centauri" to play this Mod for Civ IV.

    I have it installed on the other OS (dual-boot system and it is in Windows 98SE).

    I have not tried it yet, as usually something else is taking up my time lately. (always it seems)

    But I thought this was going to be a full conversion to Civ IV of Alpha Centauri -- but doing all the graphics and such would require quite a bit of work.

    I still have both Alpha Centauri and SMACX.

    However, being in a hurry this summer after suffering an illness, I threw out an old CD-Rom drive that must of had X-COM first two games in the Collector's Edition I tossed out by accident.
    Duh!

    But, do you need the Alpha Centauri game to play this Mod for Civ IV?
    (It works better in Windows 98SE, then will in Win2K Prof - and lately with all the updates on security, I got rid of those in Windows 98SE, because my DVD player did not work in September with the Graphics Rendering and HTML Critical Updates from Microsoft, and Pirates! does not work either - but that my be my new video card for some reason -- which should not be all that different than my old video card - both Geforce cards.)

    Anyway, I downloaded this Mod, but it does seem small now, if the graphics and such are not included??

  13. #163
    Raion
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    Plus anymore it is hard to find this Thread - as the others do not give the download in this Forum.

  14. #164
    Raion
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    Plus, some new players to Civ IV were asking for a good Mod for Civ IV, and I thought I tell them about this Mod, but if the game Alpha Centauri is needed, I will have to mention that at the Gamespot's forum where the question was asked. Otherwise, other Mods for Civ IV will have to be given for an answer, unless they want to buy Alpha Centauri!

    http://www.firaxis.com/smac/

    (And my computer OS broke down, and everything had to be re-installed because of the DVD Player problem - ya, a back-up now, if they even work in Win2K Prof)

  15. #165
    ForesterSOF
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    It is at sourceforge.net.

    If you know of ppl that are willing and able to add to what we have feel free to send them this way.
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  16. #166
    Maniac
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    This mod has nothing to do with Civ4. It's purely Alpha Centauri.

    I can recommend Fall from Heaven as a good Civ4 mod. Much better than SMAniaC!
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  17. #167
    PlutonianEmpire
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    Question: Do I have to have SMACX for this mod, or is it good with regular SMAC too?
    Be nice or I'll nuke you. ;)

  18. #168
    Maniac
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    SMAX only I'm afraid.
    A SMAC version wouldn't really be possible, as I need eg the extra weapons and armours to make a nice tech tree.
    Contraria sunt Complementa. -- Niels Bohr
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  19. #169
    PlutonianEmpire
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    Darn, that sucks.

    Thanks
    Be nice or I'll nuke you. ;)

  20. #170
    Hydro
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    Maniac,

    Very well done. I loaded the mod without issue and, after a brief review of the nicely laid out documentation, dived right in. Although the mechanics are the same it definitely feels different Ė and that is after Iíve played SMAX for 7 years! I played Lady Dee, of course, and will try some of the other factions.

    A few items stand out as being particularly good:

    * A native strategy is now very do-able. In SMAX MWs are prohibitively expensive so I only build them if I am very desperate. The MWs are itty bitty, but thatís OK. Also, when reviewing the combat screen it looks like you eliminated the psi attack bonus of 50%, and if this is true then worms are OK for defense, too.

    * Reordering the SPs makes them both more useful (such as Universal Translator) and a bit more logical. The UT was nice but functionally irrelevant in old SMAX since by they time Iím there my tech rate is hugging 1/turn. Likewise for the linking. It is now early enough that I may not have many Nodes, so it is wonderful Ė if I can spare the resources.

    * Your Gaians are spot on. The Small is Beautiful with hab limits like the old Morgan works. That along with some SE that shoves efficiency to +5 (!!) early in the game makes for a bunch of small, compact Gaian cities. Getting Tree Farms free is a very nice touch, and it more than compensates for the hab limits, which I though would be crippling along with not being able to pop boom.

    * Youíve nicely limited pop boom, which can be used very easily against the AI to run away with the game.

    * SE Ė Iím still learning, but I have to say I like how youíve reordered the SE. I was surpized by the starting -1 Planet, but after whining about it for a while I decided I liked it. After all, it takes time to get into what Planet is all about. It also makes the Gaians work hard to get their early worms, and then appreciate them when they do. Moreover, when they do I go Green immediately and hang the growth penalty Ė which is exactly what at Gaian should do. If Iím lucky enough to get HGP I stand an excellent chance of having lots of size 3 or 4 bases in GA, and if I run Plutocracy then Iím getting that magic +1 energy/tile! Of course I lose this if build habs and get bigger, which is a big encouragement for me to stay small and thin.

    * AI factions Ė Iím not completely sold on the new AI factions from an ideological point of view, but so far they seem well crafted. I havenít unzipped the upgraded AIs, and so far the AIs in the two games Iíve had have been pushovers (running on Talent to get my bearings). Perhaps this will change when I move to higher difficulty or unleash the AI hordes of upgraded AIs.

    * Tech tree Ė although some of the names are just as opaque as SMAX I do like how youíve reordered them into lines and shuffled the abilities. This makes supreme sense so that one can go Green or standard technology, in particular. It also makes the Gaians the go-to folks for planet/eco tech, Zak for discover techs, Spartans for blood-makes-grass-grow techs Ė as it should be.

    For anyone who has gotten a bit board or thinks that SMAX is stale I highly recommend this mod. So again, very well done. I have a bit of free time (finally!) and Iíll experiment a bit more. And Iím sure Iíll have lots of fun!

    Hydro

  21. #171
    Maniac
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    Glad you're enjoying it! And thanks for your comments.

    Originally posted by Hydro
    The MWs are itty bitty, but thatís OK.
    What does itty bitty mean?

    Also, when reviewing the combat screen it looks like you eliminated the psi attack bonus of 50%, and if this is true then worms are OK for defense, too.
    Psi attack still gets a 50% bonus on attack IIRC. However I limited the empath and trance abilities to 40%. I also increased the Planet SE bonus to 15% per level. So it has become harder in general to counter psi units, especially under Anthropocentric (-3 Planet = -45% attack penalty).

    * Youíve nicely limited pop boom, which can be used very easily against the AI to run away with the game.
    Most factions other than the Gaians can still popboom as usual. However the super AIs all get +2 Growth, so then you'll see the AIs popboom as well.

    If Iím lucky enough to get HGP I stand an excellent chance of having lots of size 3 or 4 bases in GA, and if I run Plutocracy then Iím getting that magic +1 energy/tile! Of course I lose this if build habs and get bigger, which is a big encouragement for me to stay small and thin.[/quote]

    Just in case you didn't know, the Gaians can run Private-owned economies in SMAniaC. So even easier to get +1 energy/tile. Though of course the -1 talent per base hits them more than other factions.

    * AI factions Ė Iím not completely sold on the new AI factions from an ideological point of view, but so far they seem well crafted. I havenít unzipped the upgraded AIs, and so far the AIs in the two games Iíve had have been pushovers (running on Talent to get my bearings). Perhaps this will change when I move to higher difficulty or unleash the AI hordes of upgraded AIs.
    For the record, I've only played SMAniaC on Transcend. Can't say how things will work out on lower levels.
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  22. #172
    Hydro
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    Maniac,

    * 'Ity Bity' means larval, which is the status of newly brooded MWs w/o bio labs or other morale native improvements. Of course, they improve once they get a little combat under their belt! Interestingly, now that MWs are cheaper a faction can go native early and can have Ďcleaní units if they keep them in fungus, which is an ever better incentive to build an early native army.

    * Psi attack Ė I didnít notice the 50% attack bonus in the combat screen, but it may be there anyway. Thanks for the explanation on the +15% per Planet rating in attack. I was wondering where my +45% as Green SE Gaians came from! This does make psi combat more potent.

    * SE Ė I did notice that the Gaians now have more economy options, with penalties of course. For the Gaians, having 20 size 3 or 4 bases at +1 energy/tile makes a big difference even at Transcend difficultyÖ

    * Police rating Ė Iím warming to your negative police ratings for peaceful factions. My Gaians have a real hard time fielding any sort army due to their -1 police and the negative police ratings associated with Ďbuildingí SE choices. At -3 police my cities quickly go into drone riots if my MWs or naval units stray too far from home. Of course this makes independent units even more valuable for plowing through fungus outside of my empire. As much as I hate it, my Gaians may have to go Police State to field any army of significance **sigh**. Conversely, this means the Spartans +1 Police rating is very valuable if they want to wage war without suffering the penalties of a Police State SE.

    I was working through the faction abilities/penalties in Datalinks and noticed that some donít have a preferred SE or SE aversions. Is it buried somewhere (such as the faction text/script files), or was this done on purpose? The preferred/aversion SEs seem to be key to the antagonisms built into the game.

    Iíve also changed my mind on your factions, which seem reasonable and that they do have an ideological base (even if it isnít as direct as the SMAC factions).

    Anyway, Iím trying to get an old associate MasterBuilder to do a role playing MP with me with SMAniac Mod. Any recommendations on settings/factions?

    Hydro

  23. #173
    Maniac
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    Originally posted by Hydro
    * Police rating Ė Iím warming to your negative police ratings for peaceful factions. My Gaians have a real hard time fielding any sort army due to their -1 police and the negative police ratings associated with Ďbuildingí SE choices. At -3 police my cities quickly go into drone riots if my MWs or naval units stray too far from home. Of course this makes independent units even more valuable for plowing through fungus outside of my empire. As much as I hate it, my Gaians may have to go Police State to field any army of significance **sigh**. Conversely, this means the Spartans +1 Police rating is very valuable if they want to wage war without suffering the penalties of a Police State SE.
    You're in luck. Democracy gave -3 Police in an earlier version, but I changed that specially for the Gaians and Spartans.

    Yeah, IIRC in my Gaian game I too succumbed to the temptation of police state. If it's any consolidation, I'd prefer to rename police state to a more general 'authoritarian state' (which can also refer to a stricter morale and not necessarily a dictatorship), but that would fit even less in the small SE screen. Anyway, under -3 Police you can still send out one unit per base without pacifism drones. And of course the more bases, the more units you can send out, which further reinforces a Gaian ICS strategy. But of course this requires lots of micromanagement, which is an inevitable pain in SMAC.

    I was working through the faction abilities/penalties in Datalinks and noticed that some donít have a preferred SE or SE aversions. Is it buried somewhere (such as the faction text/script files), or was this done on purpose? The preferred/aversion SEs seem to be key to the antagonisms built into the game.
    There are several reasons for this. One thing I should say first though. Aversions only affect what SE choice you cannot run. They do not affect diplomatic relations with the AI. Eg in vanilla SMAC Miriam will hate you if you run Democracy or Police State, but not if you run Knowledge. So only preferences affect diplomacy.

    That being said, the University, Atlantis and Ghosts indeed do not have a preferred SE choice.

    For the University, thing is I'd like to have given them Technocracy as their Preference. But unfortunately the game doesn't recognize it when you set the first SE choice of a line as preference. However fortunately I don't think this creates big ideological problems for the University. Their ideology is one of research at all costs without regards for ethics, so it does make kinda sense they can have good relations and thus trade techs with anyone regardless of social engineering.

    Atlantis has the same problem: I'd like to set their Preference to Unitary Democracy, but that's one of the basic SE choices. But once again this doesn't cause any big problems IMO. Their ideological base is one of peaceful isolationism in the sea, so it wouldn't make sense for them to have bad relations with someone and as a consequence declare wars.

    For the Shadow Ghosts I do not have an excuse. Together with the Centauri Republic they're the weakest faction ideology wise. But of course, while they do not have a strong aversion, neither is it possible to get on their good side as they have no preference. Together with them being aggressive, this means you'll always have to fear an attack from them. In fact, in CMNed games I always set them to shamelessly betray humans.

    The Cyborgs don't have an aversion anymore. That's because I removed the Fundamentalist SE choice, and I don't think there's another aversion that would fit for them. But of course, they'll still like you less if you run Green or Anthropocentric.

    Iíve also changed my mind on your factions, which seem reasonable and that they do have an ideological base (even if it isnít as direct as the SMAC factions).
    I know the ideologies of the new set of seven aren't as strong as the old ones, but of course it's kinda impossible to think of 21 original factions. Main reason I added them was to create some new interesting playstyles.

    Anyway, Iím trying to get an old associate MasterBuilder to do a role playing MP with me with SMAniac Mod. Any recommendations on settings/factions?
    Don't know which difficulty level you play on of course.
    I usually play(ed) all average settings on a standard map . Re standard map, I don't like larger maps where you have to move units a decade to wage war on the other side of the globe. It's in my opinion also the map size where builder and warmonger strategies are balanced towards each other. Re average settings, know I already changed the worldbuilder to among other stuff create rainier lands (helps the AI), more elevated land, more shallow seas, more fungus etc.

    For factions to play... Depends on personal style of course, but if you want to have a new and different experience, I personally think the most interesting factions are:

    Gaia, Sparta, Cult (same as Gaians, but with an all-fungus instead of all-forest terraforming strategy), Genesis (popbooming!!) and Templar (very adaptable faction IMO).
    I also very much like playing all aquatic factions in SMAniaC, but I'm not sure if they would be balanced in a multiplayer game. Though of course you could both play an aquatic faction.

    To have the best guarantee the game won't lead to weird results, I wouldn't recommend choosing the Cult or Bree as AI opponents. They don't really play as I'd want them: I can't get the AI to learn to plant fungus early or use psi units a lot. This is especially the case for the Bree. With the Cult the problem is they sometimes remain very weak, but other times become ridiculously strong (I even lost a game once where the Cult started in the Jungle ).
    In SMAniaC the aquatic AIs tend to perform much better than land factions (creating a 'sea formers' basic unit type really did wonders), so only include them as if you want a good challenge (or if only one other player plays an aquatic faction - a human should have some competition in pod popping and not think he's immune from attack).
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  24. #174
    Darrell01
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    Authoritarian State --> Autocracy That will fit.

  25. #175
    Maniac
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    An autocracy is a form of government in which the political power is held by a single person.
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  26. #176
    Hydro
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    Maniac,

    Thanks for the insights! Iíve played 3 games as Gaian at lower levels and now Gaia, Uni and PK at transcend (SMAC factions only for comparison). A few trends seem to be emerging:

    SE: The AI almost always runs one of the police states. A few will stick with Unitary Demo for a while, but that may be because they lack the tech or that SE is disallowed. Iíll pay more attention now that Iíve noticed it to see if there are exceptions.

    ICS: The AI now tends to ICS more, probably due to running Police State and not being as crippled by B-drones and military units due to high police and support. Of course, the Hive does this very well and in all of the transcend games absorbed one or two other AIs.

    Tech: The time to get to fusion seems to be shorter, and Uni can get there in a frighteningly short amount of time. Also, armor 8 seems to show up very early and much before 3, 4, etc. This is very odd to jump so far so fast, and have all other armor become instantly obsolete. Of course, if you have it you have a huge advantage. The tech for lifting energy restrictions seems to come late, minerals lifting seems to come relatively early, and nutrient lifting in late early game.

    Tech factions (Uni, Cyborgs) seem to wiz through the tech tree. Does 80% and 70% tech rate they have (respectively) function differently than +1 or +2 research? Iím not sure.

    Map Features: Manifold Nexus is much reduced in value due to the -1 Planet factions start with in default SE Ė when you have the Manifold there is no MW capture in the early game when it counts. It would help the early Gaians get the bump to +1 Planet before they can go Green, though. Likewise, the Uranium Flats is less valuable since SE now allows for a relatively easy +1 energy/square for builders and the extra energy is wasted before Zero Pt Energy (which I think is where energy restrictions are lifted). The Jungle is a huge benefit, as always. Woe to any faction whoís enemy has the Jungle.

    Terraforming: Forests now seem to be much more common Ė the AI seems to actually plant them! Also not having mining at the start eliminates the crippling AI farm+mine combo. This is very good.

    AI units: nice touch with the AI formers, land probes, and foil probes. The AI actually builds all probes and I now have to defend myself vigorously. Iíve seen lots of nasty foil probes floating around looking for targets, and there are prolonged probe wars between the AIs (and also against me). The AI probes are also very difficult to kill (do they have something like psi armor?). Having AI formers from the start prevents the AI from being crippled by not getting Centauri Eco for a few decades (Miriam, Drones, Hive, in particular). The only detraction is that the AI will terrform every little bit of land when they run out of space so that the terrain a road/farm grid with some forest, which is very ugly. The AI (Centauri Republic) actually raised land to gain room to expand and created a land bridge to my Gaians, which caused me great concern since they didnít like my SE.

    Factions abilities: I dug into the txt files to ferret out the abilities of the factions. For instance, the Gaians are Robust Growth, meaning their growth penalties are halved. Interesting! This makes running Green less painful (although a growth penalty is meaningless when they reach their city size limit of 4 before hab domes). There were a few other nuggets in there too, such as the lack of preference/aversions you mentioned.

    Aggressive AIs: Based on the few games Iíve played the AI seems to be much more aggressive and more frequently conquers their neighbors. The victors were Believers (vs Gaians) and Hive (Spartans, PKs) and Uni (Spartans).This may be related to the Police SEs (bigger armies, bigger empires) and the world generation (larger more contiguous land masses, which favors conquerors). In the case of Uni the fact they had 10-8-1*2 units and Jungle vs the tech poor Spartans were the keys.

    Planet rating: the negative planet rating doesnít seem to slow down the Hive or Believers, who frequently run Anthro (-3 Planet). What is interesting against a player with Anthro is that any worm defenders can be great garrisons or sentinels since the AI will refrain from attacking them due to the penalty Ė until they get an empathy unit in the field. Then my worm/spoor launcher is toast. The main difference in my play is that my Gaians canít really start exploring until they can go Green, and the I have more cash then I know what to do with due to Planetpearls. My Gaian typical tactics of going aquatic (IoDs) to get artifacts still works like a charm unless one of those pesky aquatic factions has scoured the oceans first! The lure of Green is simply irresistible.

    A few MP questions:

    * I frequently use Time Warp in MP, which gifts one SP to each of the factions. This avoids having the humans hog all the very helpful early SPs. Have the time warp SPs been changed or are they still WP, HGP, VW, PTS, CN, ME, and CDF? Iíll have to experiment a bit.

    * AI units Ė I assume that the human players will just have to render the former completely obsolete until they get Centauri Eco, or is it better to gift all players this ability? If so, how might the Gaians be compensated for the loss of this advantage (which is considerable)?

    Thanks for the great mod. Iím still exploring, which is fun for a game after so many years!

    Hydro

  27. #177
    Maniac
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    Originally posted by Hydro
    SE: The AI almost always runs one of the police states. A few will stick with Unitary Demo for a while, but that may be because they lack the tech or that SE is disallowed. Iíll pay more attention now that Iíve noticed it to see if there are exceptions.
    Yup. As long as it improves AI performance, that's good no? Myself I consider Police State more attractive than Democracy as well - I ran it more often. Perhaps I should make Democracy a little bit more attractive, but I don't have an idea for how. Though of course it might not be so bad that Police State is a little better. After all, Police State requires you to b-line towards it, while Democracy is for free.

    ICS: The AI now tends to ICS more, probably due to running Police State and not being as crippled by B-drones and military units due to high police and support. Of course, the Hive does this very well and in all of the transcend games absorbed one or two other AIs.
    Which is good no?

    Tech: The time to get to fusion seems to be shorter, and Uni can get there in a frighteningly short amount of time. Also, armor 8 seems to show up very early and much before 3, 4, etc. This is very odd to jump so far so fast, and have all other armor become instantly obsolete. Of course, if you have it you have a huge advantage. The tech for lifting energy restrictions seems to come late, minerals lifting seems to come relatively early, and nutrient lifting in late early game.
    A few issues here.

    Re Fusion Power, I consciously redesigned the tech tree from vanilla where you have only a couple branches which gradually give better goodies (and most of the goodies are concentrated on only two branches...) to a tech tree which has a broader base and more branches. Of course this means that if you concentrate on one branch, you can get to the better stuff much sooner. So yes, you can get Fusion Power much sooner BUT this also means you won't have researched economic techs such as Gene Splicing, Eco-Engineering or Environmental Economics yet. There's always a pay-off. Of course for some factions such as the University and the Spartans a b-line to Fusion Power is very good, but unless this b-line is the way to go for all factions, I do not think this creates a balance problem.

    Re armour. I've spread out the weapons and armour over more branches, so you can get something decent militarywise no matter what you research. Of course this means your progress can be less linear and you can sometimes make big jumps. But again, in my experience this doesn't cause balance problems. Yes, if you research up the Discover-Conquer branches you get good military stuff sooner, but there's a payoff: IMO the best builder stuff is concentrated in the Explore-Build branches.

    Re restriction lifting techs, if you concentrate on one of them, you can actually get it much sooner than in vanilla. The reason why you think they come later is as mentioned above because there are many other juicy research paths to follow, while in vanilla SMAC the Gene Splicing->EcoEng->EnvEcon path is a no-brainer.

    Bottom line is: SMAniaC offers much more choice on how to plan your research.

    Tech factions (Uni, Cyborgs) seem to wiz through the tech tree. Does 80% and 70% tech rate they have (respectively) function differently than +1 or +2 research? Iím not sure.
    Hmm, I seemed to be having that impression as well. Can't really see why that would be though. Normally +2 research should more or less correspond with 80% techcost. In fact +2 research should be better as that also affected techcost.

    Map Features: Manifold Nexus is much reduced in value due to the -1 Planet factions start with in default SE Ė when you have the Manifold there is no MW capture in the early game when it counts. It would help the early Gaians get the bump to +1 Planet before they can go Green, though. Likewise, the Uranium Flats is less valuable since SE now allows for a relatively easy +1 energy/square for builders and the extra energy is wasted before Zero Pt Energy (which I think is where energy restrictions are lifted). The Jungle is a huge benefit, as always. Woe to any faction whoís enemy has the Jungle.
    True that I guess. But I can't really see what could be done about that. By giving -1 Planet I wanted to create a greater distinction between Green and not-so-Green strategies, and make Planet more dangerous. And removing the Police penalties from Private economy greatly improves AI performance. Personally I'd say that's more important than these landmarks. Btw, you could also look on the bright side: starting near the Uranium Flats means you can run Planned instead of Private.

    The AI probes are also very difficult to kill (do they have something like psi armor?).
    Yep. Making the AI create more probes would be pointless if they'd still remain easy target practice due to their suicide tactics of directly walking to enemy bases. So I gave them a little boost. I think this is only fair: if a human player would try to probe you, he would try to do it concealed, or at least stack the probes together with military units. A tip against probes btw: simply use cheap infantry probes (as you would do against sneaky humans) as defense or soften them up first with artillery. Psi armour defends really bad against that.

    Having AI formers from the start prevents the AI from being crippled by not getting Centauri Eco for a few decades (Miriam, Drones, Hive, in particular). The only detraction is that the AI will terrform every little bit of land when they run out of space so that the terrain a road/farm grid with some forest, which is very ugly.
    Yeah I know. But it's that or a bad AI.

    Factions abilities: I dug into the txt files to ferret out the abilities of the factions. For instance, the Gaians are Robust Growth, meaning their growth penalties are halved. Interesting! This makes running Green less painful (although a growth penalty is meaningless when they reach their city size limit of 4 before hab domes).
    Reason is I don't want the Gaians to be able to popboom, but neither do I want them to get stuck with -3 Growth. Took some complex changes.

    Aggressive AIs: Based on the few games Iíve played the AI seems to be much more aggressive and more frequently conquers their neighbors. The victors were Believers (vs Gaians) and Hive (Spartans, PKs) and Uni (Spartans).This may be related to the Police SEs (bigger armies, bigger empires) and the world generation (larger more contiguous land masses, which favors conquerors). In the case of Uni the fact they had 10-8-1*2 units and Jungle vs the tech poor Spartans were the keys.
    Normally in my games the Spartans performed really well too: they mostly follow the same tech path as the University btw. I guess the Jungle made the difference here. Against other AIs, the AIs who follow the Discover-Conquer branch definitely have a military advantage. This is because the AI doesn't use psi units and armour enough. Human players can use cheap psi units and psi armour against advanced conventional weaponry though, so I don't think that branch is overpowered, as far as I can tell in my experience. (In fact my impression is the Explore branch is a little overpowered )

    * I frequently use Time Warp in MP, which gifts one SP to each of the factions. This avoids having the humans hog all the very helpful early SPs. Have the time warp SPs been changed or are they still WP, HGP, VW, PTS, CN, ME, and CDF? Iíll have to experiment a bit.
    No idea.

    * AI units Ė I assume that the human players will just have to render the former completely obsolete until they get Centauri Eco, or is it better to gift all players this ability? If so, how might the Gaians be compensated for the loss of this advantage (which is considerable)?
    From the readmefirst.txt:

    Another thing worth mentioning just in case: four AI units (AI Probe, AI Probe Foil, AI Formers, AI Sea Formers) have been added to the basic units list. These units are meant to improve AI performance and are not supposed to be built by you, the human player. Iíd suggest to just make the designs obsolete, so they donít clutter up your build option list. Of course donít forget to design your own former now.
    In other words, using the AI former equals cheating!
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  28. #178
    Hydro
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    In my first game as Gaians I saw formers for 1 row of mins - whohoo! Boy, they worked great, too! Then I got suspicious and re-read the intro info. They were "AI formers". It even said so in the unit description, which I didnít pay any attention to. So it WAS too good to be true.

    Also, I just remembered another question. Resonance fields seem to function the same as Energy Sats. But they don't show up in the under Satellites in the F4 base control menu. Nor do ODSs. The area is grayed out with a message about having to wait for Secrets of Alpha Centauri - ????. Is there a place I can go to review how many of the 'resonance field' energy devices I have? I don't want to build any more than my base size, of course. Likewise for ODSs.

    I also discovered the Ďscoutí feature and built a move 2 non-elite infantry by accident. Neat! Iím not exactly sure how it works but Iíll dig into it again. This is very useful, of course Ė even if it is quite pricy.

    Hydro

  29. #179
    Maniac
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    Originally posted by Hydro
    Also, I just remembered another question. Resonance fields seem to function the same as Energy Sats. But they don't show up in the under Satellites in the F4 base control menu. Nor do ODSs. The area is grayed out with a message about having to wait for Secrets of Alpha Centauri - ????. Is there a place I can go to review how many of the 'resonance field' energy devices I have? I don't want to build any more than my base size, of course. Likewise for ODSs.
    I'm afraid the only way to know would be to get in the scenario editor and give yourself SoAC. Or you could set a landmark where you keep track of your "satellites".

    I also discovered the Ďscoutí feature and built a move 2 non-elite infantry by accident. Neat! Iím not exactly sure how it works but Iíll dig into it again. This is very useful, of course Ė even if it is quite pricy.
    Is it possible you retro-engineered the AI Probe, which has grav stuts? That would also be "cheating".
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  30. #180
    Darrell01
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    SMAniaC - Gets 4 bananamans out of 5 because I'm not sure what kind of game 5 would be.


    I tell you what, I was looking at the screenshots of the SE table and the wierd tech tree and all that and thought, man this is wierd. I just dove right in as the Conclave and I am completely lost on research, but that is what makes this game fun! There isn't some obvious b-line, benefits are spread out among the tech, just like people are saying in the thread, and what is there makes sense.

    The SE table is something else. Having effects for "no choice" societies makes for a more dynamic government system. Also when you choose your SE, there doesn't seem to be these "obvious" choices to do or not do. Each choice has a major up and a major down that makes sense and will make your faction feel the effects. Kudos to Maniac.

    Maniac Base - Size 29
    Last edited by Darrell01; May 6, 2007 at 05:07.

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