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  • A Newbie question and more

    I just got the game yesterday,and it is even better than Civ2: MGE!
    But I have some questions: 1. How do you access information on the other factions (how do you see embassies)
    2.Is there any music in this game?

    Do you prefer
    Blind Research or not?

  • #2

    Originally posted by The Dark Lord on 04-22-2001 01:36 PM
    I just got the game yesterday,and it is even better than Civ2: MGE!
    But I have some questions: 1. How do you access information on the other factions (how do you see embassies)
    2.Is there any music in this game?

    Do you prefer
    Blind Research or not?

    1) In order to contact another faction, you must find it first. Once you spot a unit belonging to another faction, simply move your unit up next to it and they'll call you up on the commlink. You can also recieve a faction's commlink frequency via pod-popping...sometimes when you open a pod, it will say that it contains the commfrequency of "insert faction leader here". You can also ask for it, if another faction has it, but it'll usually cost you some energy credits.
    2) If you mean sound effects, then yes, but no true background music.
    3) If you are just starting, you should toggle blind research off, because by doing so, you will actually have to examine each tech. advance, and it will help you understand the game and it's many different components, which in turn will make you a stronger player. Once you get better, then use blind research to make the game more challenging.


    • #3
      Welcome to the SMAC community, Dark Lord!

      Here are the answers to your questions:
      1. You acces them via your report screens - there are miniature faction in the lower middle in each of them. Click on the apropriate logo to acces that factions intelligence data. However, to have acces information concerning a given faction, you must either:
      -be it's Pact Brother/Sister.
      -have infiltration to that faction - you gain infiltration by moving a Probe Team (the Probe Team is a SMAC equivalent of Diplomat/Spy) to an enemy city, and selecting "Infiltrate Datalinks" from the pop-up.

      2. Yes, of course - although it's composed of sequences of .wav files, not of a couple of mp3. Acces the Preferences menu, Audio-Visual tab, and check whether the Music volume is up.


      LoD - Owner/Webmaster of

      Chironian Guild's Discussion Forums
      [This message has been edited by LoD (edited April 22, 2001).]
      I love the tick of the Geiger counter in the morning. It's the sound of... victory! :D
      LoD - Owner/Webmaster of's Discussion Forums and Multiplayer System for SMAC and Civs 2-4


      • #4
        On embassies: Three ways.
        - Build the Empath Guild
        - Become Planetary Governor (Does not work with Aliens)
        - Infiltrate Datalinks using a probe team

        Blind Reasearch is a lot harder b/c experienced players tend to beline to Industrial Automation. (This tech gives crawlers, which the human player can use to boost production in many ways not utilized by the AI. As well, crawlers can be cashed to give their full mineral value in building SPs. This combined with the relatively low cost to upgrade crawlers, allows one to build SPs at a much reduced cost vis-a-vis the AI. This really is a cheat, but universally exploited.) arch+from+The+Empire+Strikes+Back.ogg&wiki=en


        • #5

          Originally posted by Ned on 04-22-2001 03:07 PM
          As well, crawlers can be cashed to give their full mineral value in building SPs. This combined with the relatively low cost to upgrade crawlers, allows one to build SPs at a much reduced cost vis-a-vis the AI. This really is a cheat, but universally exploited.)


          I don't do this, and I think there are others here who don't use the upgrade 'cheat' either. Playing single player, there aren't really any true cheats, though for bragging rights and challenges one should be clear about the circumstances and methods peculiar to their game.

          He's got the Midas touch.
          But he touched it too much!
          Hey Goldmember, Hey Goldmember!


          • #6
            1. Once you have their comm frequency, you can left-click the Council button, right-click the faction's name, then left-click "Faction Profile". It tells you their SE settings, current research, diplomatic status with the other factions, etc.
            2. Already covered very well.
            3. Absolutely NOT!!! If I wanted the game to run itself, I would find a way for the AI to completely run all seven factions, sit back, and go to sleep . I play the game so I can play the game, all of it, from the simplest, most basic functions to the deepest, most profound decision-making. I want it to be my game, and win or lose because of my decisions.

            [This message has been edited by gwillybj (edited April 23, 2001).]
            I am on a mission to see how much coffee it takes to actually achieve time travel.


            • #7
              1. As LoD reported, the best way is to use your HQ info screens (F2, F3, etc.) to access detailed information on factions you've infiltrated -- just bring up the screen and click on their faction symbol in the lower center of the screen. For instance, this reports how long until their next tech advance (F2), their bases' production/citizens/garrison (all F4), their overall military (F7), and other goodies.

              2. covered (the music is very mellow, contributing to the tendency to play for many hours past bedtime)

              3. Blind research is incredidbly fun for a challenging game but not recommended until you become more familiar with the tech tree and how to exploit it. Double-blind research is the most challenging, but is great for an opportunity to have to try a different playing style.


              • #8
                "This really is a cheat"... this really is Ned's quite personal OPINION...

                1. there is not even evidence or agreement that it's a bug
                2. the logic that I can apply to game mechanisms just shows that it is the most convenient end of a ladder of perfectly legal techniques
                3. I am open to discuss it, but when I had the occasion the only argument others could oppose was just "Damn! It's just incredibly convenient!"
                4. a "cheat" is nothing more than something commonly agreed upon by the players. I can't recall if that's *explicitly* denied by Apolyton's default pbem rules. For sure it's NOT forbidden in other thriving SMAC communities. If it's forbidden by local game rules and you organize a game here, then it's a cheat here. If you organize a game here and the players agree to override the default rules and allow it, then in that game it's NOT a cheat. Viceversa you can also organize a game in a community where it's not forbidden, and agree to forbid it, always on a single game basis
                5. So it's up to each specific game's players to decide how to hanlde it. Frankly I can't see a clear-cut *decent logic* way to forbid it.
                6. In conclusion, for sure it's not a cheat in itself, imho it's not even a bug, at most it could be said a flaw in the game design.
                7. for sure, unlike SE Quickies, it's NOT a costless and riskless technique. It's just a very smart application of game design concepts, usually adversed by those who couldn't think it by themselves first, and who believe for instance that switching projects or continue producing an already built one is a cheat...
                8. I learned it in Apolyton, and I think that it's one of the best contributions of this site to SMAC gameplay...

                Beware to free advices here, always think with your head...
                [This message has been edited by MariOne (edited April 28, 2001).]
                I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it (Holden Caulfield)


                • #9
                  Just to append a note to MariOne's comments, upgrading a crawler and cashing it in is not considered to be a cheat in the Apolyton tournament.

                  And, like MariOne, I do not consider upgrading crawlers to be a cheat. It comes with a cost, and with planning. If it is forbidden in a particular game then I would abide by that rule, but it is not a self-evident cheat - there are plenty of those in the game. This is a matter of personal taste.
                  Team 'Poly


                  • #10
                    MariOne, Regardless of labels, I think we can both agree that if the AI never uses a "feature" that can alter the game fundamentally, using that feature in playing a single-player game is like fighting a man with one hand tied behind his back. True, being clever is one thing. But taking advantage of the "handicapped" is another.

                    Play by the same rules as the AI.



                    • #11

                      Originally posted by Ned on 04-29-2001 11:03 PM
                      Play by the same rules as the AI.

                      I will. As soon as the AI stops peeking at my subs.

                      When you have shot and killed a man you have in some measure clarified your attitude toward him. You have given a definite answer to a definite problem. For better or worse you have acted decisively. In a way, the next move is up to him.
                      -- R. A. Lafferty
                      The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
                      -H. L. Mencken


                      • #12
                        I might consider playing the same rules as the AI's, as soon as I get my +2 industry, +2 growth and 2 less drones per base. I cheat, the AI cheats... I think we understand each other...

                        Btw, it is my opinion that the crawler upgrade is a cheat... but I still use it sometimes...


                        • #13
                          Ned, you're spot on THE issue where I have no point of contact with the Apolyton mainstream denizen.

                          I do not utterly care about what AI does. If it were just for that, I'd have stopped playing SMAC two years ago.
                          I still kick the odd half solo game from time to time, but just when I have to bide my time.

                          Sure, the average Apolyton player honed his skills in handling with the AI much better than I did.
                          I recognize that this can save your interest in a game where you can beat the AI at transcend level hands down, while talking on the phone with the girlfriend and picking your nose.
                          Probably I'd obtain a miserable reslut compared to yours in challenges such OCC, and I admit that they can be nevertheless a useful training ground to get to master the finest game details, WHERE you can transfer those skills to multiplayer.
                          But frankly tailoring the most penalized faction to play with, against superenhanced AI factions, in a severely restricitve rules frame does not add to my interest in the game, it only proves that all Brian's efforts in creating a decent AI are far from the optimal.

                          Beware, I have nothing personally against those who find interest in such challenges.
                          I have just little to discuss and share with them, especially when they spend big words and time to praise a given strategy only because it exploits the AI's weaknesses and habits. Like "I don't need to defend against that kind of unit because the AI never builds it"! I wanna see you then against a human player in a pbem!
                          In general, I do NOT think that we should take AI's behavior as a muster of what should be allowed in playing. On the contrary!!! That way you declare that your playing level will top at AI level. I HOPE that a human player is able to find smarter techniques, *legally* using the rules of the game, combining their effects in a way Brian and/or his automated sorry excuse of a player was not able to foresee!!!
                          Those should be declared bugs only if they evidently go against some game design principle explicitly stated, so much to constitute a show stopper or to take fun out of our challenges.

                          In the rare solo games I still play, of course I do not use Stockpile in the queue, nor do I upgrade cralwers, etc., but only because it's not needed at all against AI. In a pbem instead, IF those techniques are allowed in that particular game, I HAVE to use them, just to be on par with my opponents, which I suppose as skilled as me if not more.

                          In solo games, talking of cheats is utterly moot imho. Hey, if you like you can even decide for yourself that using crawlers altogether, or copters, is a "cheat"!!!

                          The concept of cheat only significantly applies to multiplayer, imho.
                          And there it's just a matter of agreeing about it, the set of players taking part in each particular game are free to set their own rules to be applied to their own match.

                          Of course it's interesting to discuss about principles in the global community, so that a "common" set of "defalut" rules can be defined for ease of setup (never forgetting that they can always be locally overriden), and so that better comprehension of how the game works can be shared to the benefit of everyone's enjoyment.

                          In conlclusion, when I post I ALWAYS make exclusivley reference to concepts to be applied in multiplayer games against HUMAN opponents.
                          With no offense ablsolutley intended agaisnt anyone, my quite personal opninion is that sinlge player is ok if you like it, but spending words and time to discuss in earnest about something which specifically applies to single player only and what AI does, is like wanking. And I'm entitled to my opinions as much as you're entitled to yours.

                          Thus the thing with wich I will always MOST disagree on this forum is indeed "Play by the same rules as the AI".
                          Me and those who think that, did not buy SMAC for the same purpose.
                          My quite personal opinion is that this is a very poor approach to any game in general. That is the lamest of the approaches, because you should always aim and refer to match the best opponent you can find, and so far an AI never proved such (even when the designers give in and make it abundantly cheat), at least in turn-base strategy games.

                          Made that clear, I think that your opinions and contributions are as worthy as anyone's else.
                          If we want to discuss the concept of upgrading crawlers in principle and in the practical context of smart human players playing for fun against smart human players trying to dodge and workaround the innumerable SMAC bugs, I'll be glad to heed you, as I hope to learn something from everybody.

                          MoSe aka MariOne
                          I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it (Holden Caulfield)


                          • #14
                            MariOne, In MP, not playing by the rules cheats others. In SP, taking advantage of bugs cheats only yourself.

                            I really enjoy playing SMACX single player. I typically try to vary the conditions and opponents so that every game is different. And it is, IMHO, fun!

                            Since I have been playing awhile, I can normally beat the AI. However, if one does not use the upgraded crawler trick, beating the AI is harder.

                            I assume, MariOne, that you have played both CIV and CIVII. SMACX is fundamentally changed from both those games in one respect: In those games you had no idea that the AI was about to complete a Wonder. As a practical matter, it was always a tight fisted, bare knuckle race to get a Wonder done before the AI. Since one had no crawler-upgrade capability, getting a Wonder built before the AI was not easy at all.

                            SMACX has made the game much easier by both notifying one that the AI is close, and then by giving you the Wonder in case of a tie. At first I liked this new feature. Now, I am not so sure. A lot of the former tension has been taken from the game.

                            Regardless, not using crawler upgrades makes it more difficult to complete an SP. This restores some of the game balance that CIV had.

                            In MP, allowing humans to use the crawler upgrade "feature" still cheats the AI.



                            • #15
                              Ned, I noted your points, allow me to write down just brief clarifications for now.

                              I also like to vary conditions, but frankly beating SMAC's AI is no challenge at all (regardlesss whether you use crawlers at all! as I said, figure that you can do it limiting yourself to one single base...). Many players have to invent circuitous ways to make the AI barley stand half a game.
                              At that point I say: that can't be fun for long, that is truly a way to upset the nature of the game.
                              Easy solution: match yourself with humans, that is a real challenge, and a much more enduring one.

                              Now please, tell me WHERE I stated that in MP I do not play by the rules, or I could get offended.

                              I would rather ask you: what do you think rules are?
                              For SURE, there is NO RULE stating that you can't upgrade and cash in crawlers, so you'd be served.
                              More, I can understand that this can be terrain of discussion, but I *believe* that this cannot even be called a bug.

                              About game balance, if all of the players agree that this technique is not to be forbidden, then using it you don't break any rule, and as all are allowed to do it, you don't break any balance....

                              In MP, if the AI is a concern to you, then we don't play the same game.
                              I think that you play MP exactly because you're interested in matching yourself against humans. The presence of the AI in a MP is a mere folkloristic and statistical presence, truly a non issue in terms of game significance. You talk like you're not human indeed
                              The only concern in a pbem where you didn't got rid of the AI factions is to avoid that the lucky player to get in contact with one first exploits it getting an undue advantage over the other human opponents. That's why for instance we forbid base trading with AIs in a pbem (btw, that's a better example where common sense and agreement has overriden a too stupid although legal mechanism).

                              BTW, to make clearer my previous comments about your statement.

                              I DO play by the same rules as the AI.
                              That is, I am restricted by the same game laws. That doesn't mean that I am restricted to "what the AI does". I am restricted to what the game rules stated in the manual and datalinks, and the way Firaxis very poorly implemented them, allow me to do.
                              The fact that within that set of game rules, the artificial player set up by Brian is not able to imagine and put in practice the best strategies and techniques that a human brain can figure, well that's a limit of the "computer player" skill, but in NO WAY it can be held as a further limitation of the game rules.
                              This just to get rid the field of misunderstandings about the basic game definitions.

                              Oh, I was forgetting: FYI, in CivII very often (although not everytime) you WERE warned when a civ *began* a Wonder. As well you were almost always warned the turn before a Civ was about to *complete* one. And if you were then able to buy your Wonder when you got that announcement, then you'd *always* win the tie, even if you should have come later in the round...

                              I wonder how many here played the first DOS CIV as I did... alas, I can't recall offhand how it was handled there
                              I remember tho that the unpredictability of the construction of Wonders from the AI was generally seen as a game limitation, and no one ever regretted it changing, as no one regrets the Battleships taken down by a Phalanx...

                              I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it (Holden Caulfield)