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  • Building infrastructure after Update 2.0

    Hello all!

    Now that I'm using Update 2.0 and paying correct infrastructure costs, I'm finding it hard to "do everything at once" like I'm used to when I don't have exceptionally favorable luck in gaining early-midgame income and artifacts. That is, first of all, getting RC's in place quick enough to get the WP and VW built quick enough to build population to at least drone size 4-5. Delaying the WP is meaning the arrival of an abundance of crawlable forests later, further delaying the VW. Delaying the VW is delaying growth, because I have always avoided building Hologram Theaters in favor of building the VW, but the delay in RC's is now causing a delay in building up enough crawlers for an early one-turn build. I have thus ended up with two games where I could even do a treefarm boom in theory, but haven't due to not having the VW (let alone the energy to rush-build NN's). I have also always avoided building energy banks in SMACX, preferring to build the PEG.

    Maybe I am just being too picky about how I am building SP's...

    The test games I've played have been with Miriam and with (don't laugh, I hardly ever play these guys but since I hardly play them, I took them for a spin now) the Usurpers and Caretakers. I find the latter two almost more energy-starved than humans, since they can't benefit from trade or the governorship, and can have trouble hitting up humans for loans or selling techs.

    In my first, Miriam game, I had the monsoon jungle to myself, but had major trouble taking advantage of it due to being on an extremely jaggy large island (the largest mass in an archipelago that, to make matters worse, contained a good part of the Jungle). The chart showed me running away with the game, I was crawling heavily, but the jagginess made it hard to concentrate my crawlers in one turn. In the phase where I quit, the power chart showed me as beginning to run away with the game, but in reality I felt weak. Everyone except my pactmate Aki and per-HAPS my enemy Santiago was too far away to vassalize easily without leaving FM. Despite my good tech rate, I was rapidly slipping to the Gaians due to having sold her tech early in the game to keep buying RC's fast enough to expand under FM without going doctor-crazy. We're currently at peace, and I dread the consequences of going to war just to probe her (and the huge travel time through the archipelago out to the southern powers makes even probing the unpleasantly tech-advanced Hive, who I'll doubtlessly be forced to fight sooner, a tough call). When I return to that game, I probably face a late-game showndown against a high-tech Deirdre with (already) the Xenoempathy dome and the WP, which she snagged :-(.

    In my Usurpers game, I actually wasn't doing too bad overall -- had oodles of bases and crawlers, but kept waiting for that one-turn VW build, so was paying toward the end up to 40% for psych so I could keep at least some bases droneless at size 3 by crawing forests for 2 energy a pop. Probably not a good idea, but I'd never done it before so I thought I'd test it out. Overall, I really was, despite my paranoia, running away with the game, having vassalized, though unfortunately also eradicated, the Gaians and Morganites early on). But I just hated having such small bases. I also couldn't decide how to handle an invasion of the large island right next to my huge continent where Santiago had landed after H'minee eradicated her (eradication MANIA that game!)... while it certainly promised great benefits, I hated the thought of doing it under FM without the acceleration provided by missile tech; meanwhile, without my old standby Demo/Planned and not yet having Green to use as part of a viable non-FM, non-Demo alternative, I didn't just want to throw impact units at the "problem". I also was dreading the decision between Fundy and Police (not that I had Police yet) and above all I was constantly researching techs I wanted NOW, like the restriction lifters, the missile branch, and Fundy and Police themselves.

    I think my insanely fast expansion in this game was part of my cashflow problems -- when you're building a rec commons or two every turn to get newfounded bases off to the right start, it really eats up the energy.

    Curious as to how the Caretakers would fare, I played them most recently... got handed a large but insanely jaggy continent with a snippet of jungle, a ridiculously close Aki, whom I quickly bullied for a tech and a base and then vassalized but also eradicated, the Pirates right next to the Monsoon Jungle and me (as yusual... sigh) and the Usurpers with a nice chunk of prime real estate on the other side of a strait. Once again the land-poor home area and overall jaggedness of the starting portion is slowing my artifact finds and crawler builds and thus my WP build; meanwhile I am running simple/planned/wealth and am so far able to reach size three. A lot may change soon - a bay to the SW of the Usurper subcontinent contains the Sargasso sea, and I have a

    UNITY SCOUT CHOPPER OH YEAH

    to defend the transport foil that is down there busily mining for artifacts, and to the W of that there are for some reason 4-5 huge fungal towers just waiting to make me money (which are a major reason why I'm not running FM yet).

    The Usurpers are so far bottled in, AFAICT, by their own hesitation to approach my probe team and 3r garrison at a key bottleneck, which is dumb but I'm not complaining, and I am starting to mine them for techs, while playing the dangerous game of colonizing their NE shore due to absence of other easily-reachable base sites for my core bases. I'm trying to decide whether to tackle the Pirates or the Usurpers first -- the former I could probably do without ever generating pacifism drones if I use missile foils; the latter would let me avoid fighting on two fronts and put an end to a war that can only end one way, but would be hard to fight under FM.

    But above all... slower to WP (don't have it yet IIRC, it was a 5 a.m. bedtime game...), slower to VW, slower to decent base sizes and of course tech than I'd like.

    Thoughts? I can attach any or all save files on request.

    USC
    "'Lingua franca' je latinsky vyraz s vyznamem "jazyk francouzsky", ktery dnes vetsinou odkazuje na anglictinu," rekl cesky.

  • #2
    I'd be interested in looking at your Caretaker game. Can you post it?

    Comment


    • #3
      Save games! Save games! It's much better than text.

      I know what you mean about the upkeep biting. I never used to build the VW, even before I found out out about the bug. The 3 energy per turn never seemed much of a problem, somehow. It was a real shock when my first facility got sold off.

      Anyway... I've recently started playing both aliens in a PBEM, and I've been finding FM pretty useless. Without wealth, it hardly does anything. By the time you get IA, you're already close to hitting the baselimit.

      The best solution is definitely to build the HGP. It should be basically the first thing you do with your crawlers, IMO. Upgrade 4 to trance and you're there.

      The only other decent option is to drop into planned and use police. That will, at least, keep you expanding.

      Rec commons slow you down too much, even without the upkeep. Unless you absolutely have no other choice, I wouldn't build them until you're ready to pop-boom.

      Comment


      • #4
        If you don't want facilities and dont get the SP's then use specialists, just crawl some nuts to feed the doctors (ack!), if that's what it takes.

        In general, it's mostly a matter of keeping the right balance between Nuts, Energy and Mins; once you get crawlers, you can pretty much have whichever you want, so I suppose that you are really about optimizing something or other rather than actually having real trouble.

        I didn't see any references to the PTS in there - it can be kind of useful in the sort of game it sounds like you're playing.

        Comment


        • #5
          HGP isn't a bad choice for fixing early drone problems, and if you're reliant on a Golden Age to Pop Boom, you'll need it later anyway. The problem is that to get it before you hit your first bureaucracy, you'll NEED an alien artifact, preferrably 2. If you're Lal or Domai, I wouldn't bother, get WP instead.

          If you haven't hit the baselimit by the time you've got IA, however, you're doing something greviously wrong. You need to have a lot of bases to get the most out of Free Market.

          I disagree about commons slowing you down, the trick is to only build them where you need them. If you've done your job right running FM, you should have Recycling Tanks in each base, and a good stockpile of ECs (a bit over 100 should do) banked up when you're ready to plant your base that will trigger the drone warning. Immediately after you plant your base, check your psych report on F4, and find out where your B-drones have cropped up. Change production and rush-build rec-commons in those bases only. If you can't afford to rush right away, get by with a doctor until you can.

          Comment


          • #6
            UnityScoutChopper said:
            Hello all!
            Now that I'm using Update 2.0 and paying correct infrastructure costs...
            Is that the XP Compatibility Patch? If so, relevant to that, I have a small request for something that might help a lot of people and save repeated answers. Would someone who knows the exact answer post in the FAQ thread (The SMAC/X FAQ: COMMON QUESTIONS and their ANSWERS) the answers to some questions:[list=1][*]Which patch is "Update 2.0"?[*]Which game is it for: Alpha Centauri or Alien Crossfire?[*]What exactly is corrected, both (a) in general and (b) specific to infrastructure costs?[*]Does the correction apply to any specific difficulty level or levels?[/list=1]An itemized reply is not necessary, as long as all points are covered.
            I put this request here because of Rules 1 and 3 of the FAQ thread:
            1) You must post a common question.
            3) You must also post the answer to it... don't post your question here.
            I am on a mission to see how much coffee it takes to actually achieve time travel. :frantic:

            Comment


            • #7
              Your request has been granted. I've re-worded some of the questions to better fit the answers I was prepared to give, but the essence of the questions above has been addressed:

              http://apolyton.net/forums/showthrea...22#post2202039

              Look it over and lemme know if that's what you need.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CEO Aaron
                If you haven't hit the baselimit by the time you've got IA, however, you're doing something greviously wrong.
                Hmm, really? Depends on the faction, sure - with Miriam you will, with Zak probably not - but when would you expect to hit IA/the baselimit? I'd normally get IA first with Deirdre, mostly with Morgan, and always with Zak.

                The trouble with Rec commons, I find, is that as you make the transition from 8 to 16 bases you will go from no psych problems, to having only 1-2 bases which don't need a commons. Since this tends to happen over the course of about 10 turns, the cash is hard to come by. Perhaps it's possible with Morgan... but then, if you don't get the HGP with Morgan, then times are going to be tough.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I guess it also depends on what mapsize you're accustomed to play on. I play Large maps, so a 0 efficiency faction will get 6 bases before b-drones. I'm very unlikely to have IA by that time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's about the same for me as with Curiosity, I get IA about the same speed. Do you ignore formers in the beginning?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CEO Aaron
                      Your request has been granted. I've re-worded some of the questions to better fit the answers I was prepared to give, but the essence of the questions above has been addressed:

                      http://apolyton.net/forums/showthrea...22#post2202039

                      Look it over and lemme know if that's what you need.
                      According to this post, there are actaully changes from v4.0 to v5.0, or the XP patch. Would the FAQ entry need to be updated?
                      Be good, and if at first you don't succeed, perhaps failure will be back in fashion soon. -- teh Spamski

                      Grapefruit Garden

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Okay, I've updated my FAQ post to reflect that information.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          CEO Aaron: I sent you a PM some time ago(!) and I just read your update. I'm not sure your information is correct, though. I also suggest that this particular discussion moves to the post HongHu refers to.

                          UnityScoutChopper: Still no attached save file?!?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Back from vacation, will post game tonight...

                            Curiosity wrote:
                            The best solution is definitely to build the HGP.
                            I traditionally worshipped the HGP, but I found it's rather in disfavor in relation to the WP here, and have been playing a lot with the latter as a goal instead, in order to form my opinion. Before SMACX 2.0, the arguments in favor of doing both the early WP AND early (pre-2170 for me, maybe "real men's" early FM is earlier) Free Market together (another favorite of forum public opinion) held OK. Now there seems to be even less reason for the double trouble -- choosing just one makes the whole affair more doable, assuming that you are like me and don't really see an advantage in FM if it turns your workers to doctors. So yes -- one solution seems to be to ignore an early WP in favor of an HGP-fueled FM; the other seems to be to ignore FM so that your first SP can be the WP.

                            It should be basically the first thing you do with your {trance-upgraded} crawlers, IMO.
                            There are many games where builder factions get lucky and I can build the HGP/WP before getting crawlers, or just not build them.) And if I'm building my first SP using crawlers, I may well not yet have SOTHB, due to beelining to IA. Also, I don't like the micromanagement involved in crawler-upgrade-based builds -- although if it tips things to the point where I can build my desired SP's more often, I guess it's worth it. Good point!

                            Anyway... I've recently started playing both aliens in a PBEM, and I've been finding FM pretty useless.
                            Having long been a fan of Planned, then Wealth, then Demo, then FM during the opening, I opened a discussion of "early FM" (which I'd define as pre-2170 or in the extreme case pre-2160) recently; although it is much broader than just the Aliens, you might find it interesting. I think the most recent post in the thread is about 3-5 weeks old.

                            My take: Miriam can handle FM well by going Demo early and thus hitting the base limit later, Domai and Lal can handle it well due to their free droneless population; a Zak lucky enough to get the VW early will mop up Planet with early FM; other factions need the HGP or plenty of RC's to make it work. Some shouldn't bother; I consider Morgan among these due to his ability to reach +2 Econ with Wealth and without the minus frickin' 5 police rating, but there are those who vehemently promote an FM Morgan. As for the Aliens... the Caretakers may well indeed not be suited for early FM since it would lose them the ability to move CP's through fungus easily, capture worms, etc. (loss of the +1 Planet rating), but the jury is still out for me on the Usurpers.

                            The only other decent option is to drop into planned and use police.
                            Science-poor options are in disfavor on these forums in general; as for me, I don't mind demo/planned, which trades some science for great, sufficiently-police-aided expansion, but I've really been trying to see things the forum's way in recent games. In any case, Police/Planned requires veering off the IA beeline, although one MIGHT try a
                            Planned-->
                            Police-->going former crazy and enjoying droneless growth-->
                            building energy in the home base and perhaps also the inner circle-->
                            researching II-->
                            Police Infrantry-->
                            Demo
                            tactic... I've not seen much written about that, and it's not applicable for the Usurpers anyway, but it might be worth a test game.

                            Rec commons slow you down too much, even without the upkeep. Unless you absolutely have no other choice, I wouldn't build them until you're ready to pop-boom.
                            I understand the point, and the mentioned games argue in that direction. Don't forget, however, that first-citizen doctors are far worse than RC's under FM until crawled CF's become possible , and under Planned, there also soon comes a point where RC's are not all that bad of a deal -- when REXing you soon reach the point where you need to quell two drones to pop a pod anyway. (Note: I realize that a second-citizen doctor is no great loss, but I HATE drone riots and I HATE WATCHING for growth-induced drone riots.) And if you're running Demo/Planned and/or building am early former in most new bases, the support gain of not building a garrison is a nice reward for having built the RC.

                            johndmuller:
                            If you don't want facilities and dont get the SP's then use specialists, just crawl some nuts to feed the doctors (ack!), if that's what it takes.
                            Good call for the games when IA arrives early, which is not all, but is some. Thanks.

                            I didn't see any references to the PTS in there - it can be kind of useful in the sort of game it sounds like you're playing.
                            The PTS is a second-pickings SP for me -- I take it if I can't take the VW, except in the rare game where I see that I need it for the governorship. The VW is a ticket to pain-free vertical growth and pain-free FM; the PTS is very nice, but requires expansion both former-supported and fast to milk it to the fullest.

                            CEO Aaron:
                            HGP isn't a bad choice for fixing early drone problems, and if you're reliant on a Golden Age to Pop Boom, you'll need it later anyway. The problem is that to get it before you hit your first bureaucracy, you'll NEED an alien artifact, preferrably 2. If you're Lal or Domai, I wouldn't bother, get WP instead.
                            Actually, it's not hitting the baselimit that is the problem -- it is exceeding it by about three or four bases (as the first extra drones tend to be easy to handle). And getting 2 AA's is not such a problem. It's more the unpleasant decision of giving up the WP, now that I understand its utility, that's tough. And those pesky lucky builders who can rob you even of both if you wait for crawlers... which perhaps I shouldn't be, as often. One small note on Lal/Domai: if you expand so fast that you soon hit the SECOND bureacracy limit as I often do, then the HGP can often still be relevant.

                            If you've done your job right running FM, you should have Recycling Tanks in each base, and a good stockpile of ECs (a bit over 100 should do) banked up when you're ready to plant your base that will trigger the drone warning.
                            WAY too much micromanagement and artificial delay of horizontal expansion for me--this is part of what I don't like about FM. Also, money spent is money earned -- I always have something worth spending EC's on, that will start earning interest on them immediately... I'm not going to go around "saving up" EC's; I'd rather save up minerals towards RC's in a large number of bases and spend them the moment a new base puts them in the red, which is in fact what I try to do.

                            Change production and rush-build rec-commons in those bases only. If you can't afford to rush right away, get by with a doctor until you can.
                            This, though, more or less matches what I do. One question: how many lost minerals are you willing to give up when such a base is over its first 10?

                            The trouble with Rec commons, I find, is that as you make the transition from 8 to 16 bases you will go from no psych problems, to having only 1-2 bases which don't need a commons. Since this tends to happen over the course of about 10 turns, the cash is hard to come by.
                            THAT is a great expression of the problem I'm running into. (I've gone down to Large maps, so the numbers are even 6/12 instead of 8/16!)

                            Sounds like in short some solutions are:
                            - choose only one of early FM or WP-instead-of-HGP, but not both, unless you see you're doing very well in the AA and/or crawling department or have tons of cash or are playing Lal/Domai/lucky-Zak/low-basecount demo-boosted Miriam
                            - use upgraded crawlers more
                            - micromanage RC's even more
                            - use CF crawling to enable doctors as an RC alternative ASAP if you've got it
                            - consider PTS/former-intensive fringes for nuts/single-doctoring as a solution (is that what you meant?)
                            - consider the above-sketched low-tech police/planned strategy (especially when vassalization is an option)

                            All for now
                            USC
                            "'Lingua franca' je latinsky vyraz s vyznamem "jazyk francouzsky", ktery dnes vetsinou odkazuje na anglictinu," rekl cesky.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              One comment on Morgan - he is wonderful for early FM/wealth since his small bases generate oodles of energy by comparison to pop. This makes up for small size, and lets him get critical tech and development until his can GA boom. Then I'm happy with dem/green/wealth or dem/green/knowl/GA. By this point size is not an issue since you've phased GA boomed to a nice and competative size.

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