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  • #46
    (Can't post links yet. Need another post.)

    Pop Boom one:
    i.imgur.com/wgxmLK6.jpg

    This is what I used for the remainder of the game shown in the background. +4 Support without any real issues other than growth.
    i.imgur.com/eI8WtDe.jpg

    Good for +2 econ. Maybe I should have used Green. (Didn't use this model. Just for demonstration.)
    i.imgur.com/zX70l65.jpg

    Fundy Planned Knowledge.
    i.imgur.com/3PvpYdn.jpg
    i.imgur.com/EDDeBe0.jpg

    You are correct, 12 bases is a little small for production centres, but I usually play on Small maps because I don't like playing for three days straight on one map. (Gets boring, if I'm ahead of everybody else, and frustrating if I'm consistently behind.) The main problem I have with the +4 support image seen above is that it takes a llooooooong time to get there. If I was in MP, that would be enough time for some other builder faction to get a solid foundation and run away into the sunset: because I have to get Hab-domes, and that's Build 10 -- in the range of advanced spaceflight and nukes. On the other hand, pursuing a highly aggressive strategy as you say can be highly beneficial -- when you conquer bases, just move the support to the newly conquered base, freeing up your production centers to keep churning out new units, which is what I usually do. I don't give a hoot about the newly won bases other than temporary healing grounds (Command Nexus) and since they're usually badly terraformed and terribly located, I couldn't be bothered to fix such grievous errors.

    I like having elite units. Sometimes an elite unarmored rover can defend itself without the liberty of retreating against a poor morale Impact unit and still come out on top, if severely damaged. That's why I gun for the Cyborg Factory, Command Nexus and put Aerospace Complexes in the air unit production bases. Elite infantry is also nothing to sneeze at when bringing down bases stuffed to the gills with defenders -- which is why I like running Fundamentalism. The hit to Efficiency and Labs is generally not a big deal, but I do compare the breathroughs per turn and cash per turn when I decide whether to run either Democracy or Fundy. If the difference isn't much (30ec, 1 turn, something like that) then I default to Fundy because by the time I get SE choices I'm sizing up the next-to-be-conquered, and that is usually the Hive.

    Once I'm done with my little experiment on the current map I'm playing (huge map of Planet, two bases in the Freshwater Sea, gonna pump them up big, assuming the Hive who is #1 right now doesn't get out of control: I got most of the early SPs except for the HGP, which I don't care about) I'll try ICS as you say.

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    • #47
      Okay...

      Here's the results of my first "real" SSC. Should make a Builder proud, at least on the surface until he looks at the M.Y. figure.

      Before I go on, I should say that this game is Talent, I'm Spartan (as usual), in the early game SP rush I got nearly every single one I wanted except the HGP, which I don't care about anyways since it only takes care of >1< drone. Give me a choice of the HGP or the Virtual World and I'll take the latter every time, unless if I'm playing the PKs. I did actually manage to play the PKs one time and it can be sometimes a little fun to have every single base in a GA. Anyways yes the Hive had taken the far east with the Dunes, Monsoon Jungle and kicked the University off the map, but the University did get the HGP before then but stammered in his military capacity. The Believers stamped the Morganites and shortly thereafter trampled over the Gaians near the Uranium Flats (the Believers landed near the Garland Crater, the Morganites to the east. The University landed north of the Monsoon Jungle, not the usual island above that area). The PKs landed not far from Mount Planet and were a largely insignificant force throughout the game. I landed right near the south brim of the Freshwater Sea and had the whole area to myself. The Believers were vendetta for nearly the entire game but didn't really make an effective attack, same for the Hive. Moving on...

      The main subject of interest is the SSC - Energy Directive base. The idea was to make the base grow like nobody's business and stuff it full of Engineers. Size 16 comes easy, as I found out, but it takes forever to get Hab Domes (Build 10), and even with +6 Growth, a Children's Creche, 60+ free nutrients/turn and the Cloning Vats SP it seems to take a long time to grow. By the time I transcended the base was only like size 34 or something.

      I played this game mostly as an experiment to figure how the core principles of doing it, to determine how much labs would be needed to reach a "reasonable" tech/turn rate for a momentum/hybrid player. By this experience I feel that 3 turns per tech isn't that difficult to obtain, 2 is only a slight improvement (unless you're racing someone else to transcend) and 1 is rather difficult to achieve. As Vel mentions in his Guide it's a good thing to avoid the Chronic Researcher's Syndrome and thus too much tech too fast can hinder your military advances because it makes upgrading units in the field expensive. Obviously some upgrades can be skipped, for instance I have hardly ever built Fusion Laser weapons simply because by that time it's either All Quiet on the Western Front or I'm conquering so fast I can't stop, and secondly because Plasma Shard weapons are just around the corner and Shard is something you keep for a long time until *ahem* Quantum Lasers. I also don't build Gatling either, neither do I bother with Tachyon Bolts, for the same reason.



      This seems to be a reasonable SE model to follow. Usually however I stick to Fundamentalist / Planned / Knowledge (which only has one drawback, -1 Efficiency, which I don't care about anyways) for the extra morale. Eudamonia is nice but the morale penalty is not something I care for. The use of Power to counteract this is one option. But for Spartans, +3 Support as I have seen it before, is nice but then every base has to be size 16 for it to be effective, and secondly you can't run Democracy, which is fine by me. As CEO Aaron says, Support is really overrated, which it is, the only time it is important is if you have -4 Support, which is bad until you get Clean reactors, which are interesting because they add +50% to the cost of the units. Otherwise, if it's not +3, you don't have to really concern yourself with it much.



      (I do have the Living Refinery for +2 Support and Ascetic Virtues for +1 Police.) The +2 Industry is nice to have at this point in the game, if you're deadlocked with the Hive or someone like that.

      Back to the SSC subject, here's the bay view of the units in the area. I had pretty much over-produced on naval units but whatever. (This is post-transcend, post-total conquest...it took that long...) There are only two Orbital Power Transmitters and there are 18 ODPs. In this image, there are four trawlers bringing in 6 energy each (one is out of the picture): +3 for the tidal harness, +2 for the bonus square and +1 for the Merchant Exchange, which I was keen on getting for the SSC - Energy Directive base.



      And here is a view of the base in question. Each square in the Freshwater Sea when you have a kelp farm is +4 Nutrients, and if it's crawling a tidal harness, +4 Energy because of the Merchant Exchange.



      Tile enhancements (The Voice of Planet SP caused the usual fungal pops.) Because it took so long to get to Hab Domes (and I was researching at like 2 turns per tech), I had built the tidal harnesses so instead of bringing in way too many nutrients, which would have been wasted, +4 energy to help kick the labs up. SSC - Admiralty Base was intended to be like a supplemental, or "typical SSC sea base" for comparison purposes (it's just to the northeast of the size 56 base, in the same Freshwater Sea area).



      Now before we go further I want to talk about the Geothermal Shallows.

      As I said before, if it's nearby, go for it. Otherwise, it isn't worth it. Which is true, because you do have to spend a LOT of time building trawlers. I don't know how many mineral rows they are but I can built 1 every two turns on a decent base. Even with four bases kicking these things out it still takes a LONG time. Then there's the journey to get there. Because of hostile factions I had to have 1-3-4*2 AAA defense foils stacked as designated defenders to discourage sniping. Although it took the Believers an unbelievably long time to even get D: AP and same with the Hive, they were still around. By the time the Believers got D: AP I was already planning invasions with Plasma Shard troopers and probability sheathed defending units (1-6-1*2 AAA ECM, Elite). But that's beside the point.



      Most the cruisers and foils you see are there for show, because it just so happened to have them around to help beat the stuffing out of the Hive. Otherwise, it's not as busy as it actually looks. You can get an idea of how many trawlers you need, it's about 55 or something like that. Quite a lot, not to mention it takes like 5 or 6 turns for them to even get there.



      There's a lot of work to do for the formers, too. I was fortunate enough to be able afford 0-5-4*2 Deep Radar Clean sea formers (I upgraded them after they were done in the Freshwater Sea) to help discourage attacks.

      Here's SSC - Admiralty Base. "Okay" would be my rating.



      If you think about it, size 16 means you need a total of 32 nutrients, because each specialist consumes two nutrients. In the Freshwater Sea, that means you'd have four nutrients per square. Four nutrients divided by 32 means you need to work 8 squares, so 8 trawlers can handle that and the remaining 12 workable squares inside the base radius (add more if you have SMAC-X with the Aquafarm, for +1N, and +1E for the Thermocline Transducer) can be crawled for 36 energy. Not a great base, but ...



      ...this is better. Maybe. As I said before, it took quite some time to get that big, and I transcended when it was like size 34. While I had +6 Growth, a CC, Cloning Vats SP and 60+ nutrients per turn.

      Add the Geothermal Shallows, and POOOF...



      There's another problem with using big @$$ SSCs. I found out that I couldn't have more than 16 Engineers. Anything more than that was permanently assigned to Empaths. So that means the labs are lagging until you get Transcends. And that's quite far down the road before you get them.

      I don't know if anybody has made a chart showing the tech cost of each tech, because as you go farther up the tree the cost increases, meaning that if your labs are 2000/turn then your turns per tech will slowly decrease. I don't know how the other Builder games go but if you have 5K labs per turn at one base (I did neglect to get a certain SP at that base which would have increased the labs by 50%, I think it was the Network Backbone. Dunno.) and are kicking butt in the field that means you can afford to be extremely lax with facilities at other bases. Here's Advanced Spaceflight:



      The figure there says it costs 5528 labs, I don't know if that figure is adjusted by your Research figure on the SE table. By my scales of a "reasonable" 3 turns per tech, that means you'd have to be pulling in about 2000 labs per turn, so if just four bases at size 14 are bringing in 500 labs/turn, then you don't need to bother with building lab facilities at other bases simply because they aren't needed. By the time of Advanced Spaceflight, either the conquerers are running around like a pack of wild wolves or they are sidelined by the increasing empire might of the Builders.

      I'll have to do more investigation on this part because I don't like building facilities at bases that I don't need to. I don't like bases getting larger than size 7 (or 9) because that means there's less benefit to the ICS strategy. More bases = more production queues which means more military might. After all if each base is pulling in 25 minerals per turn at MY 2200 that's not anything to sneer at.

      While I have the floor I want to talk about two other things. The first is the Pholus Ridge.



      See the base Epsilon Sector? Just to the right of that crawler bringing in 6 minerals/turn is the curser. Note how there is no ridge bonus for that square, but I think there should be. This is the problem with the PR -- not every square on the ridge has the ridge bonus of +1E. So if you're thinking that it would be a good energy harvest area think again. Not only that, but if it's far from your HQ, you'll probably loose 50% or more of the energy input to inefficiency. The way around this is to simply specialize on mineral output for warmongering and use specialists for the econ or labs output. (There is one crawler which is getting the full benefit of the Ridge, it is on a square at 2000m, with a river, a energy bonus, a ridge bonus, an echelon mirror a solar collector for a total of 2+1+2+1+1 = 7 energy, and it's all going to the SSC - Energy Directive base with the Merchant Exchange, so that makes it 8 energy.)



      The Ruins. Again, if it's not close by, it's so far out of the way that it's simply not worth the bother. (I merely did this because I was getting bored by all the Building. I like the action, and the action for me is conquering and warfare.)

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      • #48
        SSC?
        AC2- the most active SMAC(X) community on the web.
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        • #49
          Super Science City.

          I don't like bases getting larger than size 7 (or 9) because that means there's less benefit to the ICS strategy.
          I'm not quite understanding that. Are you saying that building your hab-dome isn't worth it for your remote bases? Because I'm pretty sure it will pay for itself pretty swiftly with a good number of satellites aloft.

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          • #50
            Thanks. A familiar concept if not a familiar acronym.

            Does inefficiency go up with population?
            AC2- the most active SMAC(X) community on the web.
            JKStudio - Masks and other Art

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            • #51
              I didn't answer that acronymn very quickly because I wasn't sure if there was a tongue-in-cheek inside joke about that, slightly hinting that it probably wasn't a "real" SSC :P

              I do know that a good Builder can crawl in excess of 200 energy *per base*, so it's just a thing I guess.

              Originally posted by CEO Aaron View Post
              I'm not quite understanding that. Are you saying that building your hab-dome isn't worth it for your remote bases? Because I'm pretty sure it will pay for itself pretty swiftly with a good number of satellites aloft.
              I was hoping for some good analysis of what I did right and what I did wrong, as there aren't too many "expert class" players left here :P

              But I digress. The problem with satellites is they take awhile to build. I suppose if you had every base producing ten sky farms each, and you had the Space Elevator SP, then yeah it could make sense but I am not sure if building those should get in the way of producing military units.

              Why bother transcending or building a massive empire if you can just cut it short with conquest? Of course conquest is more of a horizontal growth than vertical. But vertical has limitations.

              Inefficiency as I know it doesn't increase with pop. But with increasing energy input, more is lost to inefficiency.

              I do however, note that echelon mirrors and condensors don't cause me any eco-damage. How is that so?

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              • #52
                Sorry about the miscommunication; I failed to place SSC, but I always try to build all the research and energy SPs in my headquarters, to take advantage of the zero inefficiency, and make a monster SSC.
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                • #53
                  Efficiency is a linear function of number of bases, distance and maproot, so no, population isn't a factor, except that larger bases collect more resources and the same percentage of a larger number results in more lost to inefficiency. But upshot, no, trimming population to reduce inefficiency is not a go-to move.

                  The problem with satellites is they take awhile to build.
                  Wait, you're building HOW many supply crawlers to crawl back to your SSC, but you don't want to build some satellites to support your ICS base sprawl? A single satellite costs the same as 4 crawlers, and produces one resource of its type, per base, up to the population of each base. So if you're crawling a square for 6 nutrients, the same yield can be had from only 24 bases, assuming each one is of sufficient size to collect the resource. For your trawlers, the conversion is even lower. Plus, the added advantage that the space on the map you're currently crawling can be used to build MORE BASES.

                  Why bother transcending or building a massive empire if you can just cut it short with conquest? Of course conquest is more of a horizontal growth than vertical. But vertical has limitations.
                  Well, if winning is your only goal, you need only get elected planetary leader and then blow up the few rival factions who defy your rule. That's probably the shortest distance between yourself and victory. But that's beside my point. My point is that a Super-Science City/Energy Park is great for getting raw lab income, but is not the best use for your territory and time.

                  I do however, note that echelon mirrors and condensors don't cause me any eco-damage. How is that so?
                  They do, they just don't do very much. I could go in depth, but I think it's better for everyone if you're simply pointed at the reference I read to understand how eco-damage works, here.

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                  • #54
                    You are correct that satellites can greatly boost the power of the empire, especially if you have something like 40+ Orbital Power Transmitters and +5 Efficiency. But if the efficiency isn't at least +3 with Children's Creches (makes the base +4 IIRC), then they're kind of a waste. Sky farms are something I usually only throw up one if I haven't explored the whole map yet just to get a world view. Nessus Mining Stations come so late that it's kind of a cost/benefit analysis problem again.

                    Like crawlers, satellites have their benefits, but crawlers can produced sooner, and thus the turn advantage is realized sooner. Probe Morgan early on for Industrial Automation, nab the Weather Paradigm, unlock the resource restrictions, and the rest is something we are familiar with.

                    I did to the PKs one time as I mentioned earlier, and the perks of the PKs are easy to see when you press F4 and every base is in a Golden Age. Gun for the Empath Guild and with a good army, you're set. It's also rather boring. When I play the PKs last time I made an effort to grab the Planetary Transit System to help build decent bases faster. Sure Santiago might explore sooner, the Hive can churn out pods like nobody's business, but with a starting base pop of 3, it's all that much easier to grow

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                    • #55
                      I noticed in you screen shots you had no commerce income. As Spartans you should have conquered and made submissive some faction by now. Judicious use of your submissive helps you and them as they help crank a techout every so often and you get the benefit of pacted commerce at your biggest (Read SSC) most infrastructured bases.
                      "Just puttin on the foil" - Jeff Hanson

                      “In a democracy, I realize you don’t need to talk to the top leader to know how the country feels. When I go to a dictatorship, I only have to talk to one person and that’s the dictator, because he speaks for all the people.” - Jimmy Carter

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by 551262 View Post
                        You are correct that satellites can greatly boost the power of the empire, especially if you have something like 40+ Orbital Power Transmitters and +5 Efficiency. But if the efficiency isn't at least +3 with Children's Creches (makes the base +4 IIRC), then they're kind of a waste. Sky farms are something I usually only throw up one if I haven't explored the whole map yet just to get a world view. Nessus Mining Stations come so late that it's kind of a cost/benefit analysis problem again.
                        Sky Farms are the key to a specialist-centric ICS strategy. Fact 1: Nutrients are immune to inefficiency. Fact 2: Specialist are immune to inefficiency. With 14-16 Skyfarms, you can support max-pop bases all over your empire on a very small land footprint. (7 squares per base is quite easy to do).

                        Like crawlers, satellites have their benefits, but crawlers can produced sooner, and thus the turn advantage is realized sooner. Probe Morgan early on for Industrial Automation, nab the Weather Paradigm, unlock the resource restrictions, and the rest is something we are familiar with.
                        Sure, and colony pods are available quite a bit earlier than crawlers, and offer a stupendously better ROI than crawlers. The most a crawler will ever really deliver is 8 or so of a particular resource. While your initial returns from a colony pod don't match that, they'll soon dwarf it. It's really all a question of land use. Crawlers tie up map squares to collect one resource. A base will collect all available resources in its footprint, plus from its population of specialists, plus facilities, etc.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Ogie Oglethorpe View Post
                          I noticed in you screen shots you had no commerce income. As Spartans you should have conquered and made submissive some faction by now. Judicious use of your submissive helps you and them as they help crank a techout every so often and you get the benefit of pacted commerce at your biggest (Read SSC) most infrastructured bases.
                          Morgans: I might have had a treaty with them but they were wiped out by the Believers.
                          Diedre: Same.
                          Believers: Vendetta for most of the game.
                          Hive: ibid.
                          Peacekeepers: Ugh...Might have had a treaty, I am pretty sure he broke it by a probe-action or an attack with a needlejet which one of my interceptors scrambled and he lost.
                          University: Might have had a treaty, I doubt it. The Hive dealt him in.

                          I do have a game going now that is Momentum. It is fun. Six Impact Rovers and probably the same number of probes and the University was done in. The Believers put a up a bit of a fight but with only two bases it simply wasn't enough, although she did take a lot of steam out of my attack with some good counter-attacks. (I attacked before Plasma Steel Armor was available, so I didn't have any defensive units around.) The Gaians just lost their HQ, which had the WP, HGP and ME. I didn't make any SPs, usually I gun for the WP, VW and CN, although I've started the CN. I'll deal with the Hive later. :P

                          I get bored with big maps and long games. That game above with the SSC experiment took me about a week. I can't play more than about two hours in a stretch because I get fed up with all the micromanagement. Usually I play on Small (Tiny is not big enough) maps for this reason.

                          If you think about it, Momentum play offers significant advantages, but really only if you have warmongering type neighbors or untrustworthy (PKs, who will play nice early on, then declare war for lame reasons) or on smaller maps. On Planet size or larger, the Hybrid style is probably better to play because there's a good chance that due to the larger map size, the attack will stall before the opposing empire is significantly damaged by the attack. Especially with Spartans, a failed attack can actually benefit the opposing target or weaken the core for a third party to swoop in. That, and Transport Foils are pretty lame troop transports. It's not until Clean Fusion Destroyer Transports that proper invasions can commence.
                          Last edited by 551262; August 6, 2013, 16:23.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by CEO Aaron View Post
                            Oh, on Morgan, a couple of things: First, the window where Free Market outperforms Green Economy for Morgan is actually pretty small when you're building a lot of bases with him. Second, during that window, just junk your needlejets and use interceptors. If you really need needles/choppers, switch to Fundy/Green/Wealth for your war footing. Creches completely negate a -1 morale penalty for units built there. Then kill who you need to, and switch back to Free Market.
                            Long time no see, CEO Aaron. I remember your Morgan gameplay and tips from back in the day and your posts taught me a lot! But I'm actually a bit surprised you recommend Green for Morgan so early. Isn't it better for him to run Demo/FM/Wealth for the entire early/midgame? With Vendettas conducted through the use of pop1 military purpose bases? My impression was that Morgan is the best builder/energy producer under such conditions.

                            Also, do you still stand by that Morgan should start with Biogenetics and rushbuy RecTanks everywhere?

                            When you recommend ICS - do you pay any attention to the B-limits at all? Do you pause for RecCommons/projects/whatever or just say 'meh' and push onwards? In my experience, B-drones may hamper the expansion since they appear in the just-built bases, especially when you run Demo/FM, have no free minerals and can't use the police.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by CEO Aaron View Post
                              My Spartan early tech picks are Centauri Ecology for the obligatory formers, biogenics for Recycling Tanks. They are immensely useful in an empire with a large number of bases, and rapidly accelerate thin expansion. Then I beeline directly for Intellectual Integrity, which gives access to non-lethal methods.
                              Wait a minute, so as Sparta you don't beeline to IA? Even without Wealth, you still need those crawlers in place. The only situation I would stray from IA is early rush. But even I'd like to get on the track as quickly as possible, i.e. after AppliedP or NLM.

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                              • #60
                                He's on track about running towards Intellectual Integrity, and with Spartans, 2 1-3-1*2 Police units can handle four drones quite nicely. I try to avoid rec commons. Nowadays I don't even build Network Nodes unless I have the VW, and don't bother with Children's Creches either.

                                The nice thing about gunning for I.I. is the close proximity to Chaos Guns. I love those. You do end up keeping them for awhile, and if I'm winning (or at least holding on) I'll hold on to them until Plasma Shard.

                                Although lately I've been reconsidering jumping for Synthetic Fossil Fuels. Makes D: AP right around the corner, although if I'm running towards Chaos Guns (Superstring Theory) and the University just so happens to be coming along nicely with D: AP and Fusion Power, then I'll be dropping by for a visit.

                                I've been making more efforts on making lots of probe teams. Sometimes a base which can turn out a probe team in 2 turns (isn't doing so well in the mineral game) will do nothing but just make probe teams. They don't cost support, same with crawlers and trawlers, so build build build. Such leaves the better bases kicking out 20+ minerals to produce other things like 8-3-1*2 troopers (very dangerous when Elite), 8-1-2*2 SAM rovers (again, when Elite, not something to shake a stick at), 1-3-1*2 AAA ECM frontline punching bags, and 8-1-1 Amphibious marines. Battery units (I don't put them on rover chassis) are likewise cheap.

                                AFAIK a couple of battery units (better when they have +50 Altitude bonuses) can knock out naval units.

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