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  • Buster's Uncle
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    SSC?

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  • 551262
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    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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  • 551262
    replied
    (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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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    First of all, I can't read/view your attachments. Second, as I said before, I'm not particularly impressed with making sacrifices to get +Support. The Living Refinery is all right, but Police State and Power aren't worth giving up the alternatives for anyone except possibly Yang. The Cloning Vats removes the industry hit from Power, but that brings up the other drawback of ultra-high support: You have to build units to fill it up. If you've got a standing 240 unit army and only 12 bases, you're not being aggressive enough, especially with Sparta. Sparta's +1 Police rating means there is NO upper limit on the number of bases you can support. This is HUGE. Infinite City Sprawl should be your goal. 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. Access to 1/1/1 police means you can expand FOREVER, creating a sprawling empire of bases, until all available lands are consumed. If you're in a secure position, you can follow this up with a beeline toward tree farms to unlock harvest caps, or if you're close to rivals, grab planetary networks to probe away tech and start on a military campaign to secure your borders. For SE choices, I get in Democracy/Planned/Knowledge when I unlock them, and stay there. If I'm REALLY in a pitched battle, I can swap for Fundamentalism for a brief time, but it's rarely necessary.

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  • 551262
    replied
    Continuing on the theme of Spartan faction society models...

    Certainly, Lady Sparta is flexible, if only just.

    This one yields a proper Pop Boom. (For all these photos, I've got the Ascetic Virtues, Living Refinery, Cloning Vats and Network Backbone SPs.) No real negatives, though.


    Here's that one for that lovely +4 Support. The only problem is that it comes rather late. Assuming a base size of 25, with 5 garrison (two 1-1-1 Police Clean, one 1-8-1*2 AAA ECM, one 1-1-2*2 Empath Trance rover, one 13-1-1*2 SAM rover and two 13-1-9*2 SAM Deep Radar Shard Rotors), you have twenty units you can support for FREE, multiplied by the number of production bases like that. If you have 12 of them, then you can support 240 units for free and they're still Elite, you have +4 Planet, which is a license to pollute if you need to, and a nice healthy efficiency rating. Can't sneeze at this one that much, other than the -2 Growth, which doesn't bother me since the pop boom is over and every base has a children's creche in it anyways.



    Maybe Green would be better?


    The next two are what I usually use: Fundy / Planned / Knowledge. Gives you elite troops without too much effort, but I suppose if the game lasted long enough, I might like that first one I showed with the +4 support.



    Your thoughts, CEO?

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  • Buster's Uncle
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    The fungus doesn't erase the bonuses, of course - it just overrides/replaces/covers them with fungus qualities for as long as fungus is there. Remove the fungus, and the terrain bonus is still there.

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  • 551262
    replied
    Probably so. Fungus negates all square bonuses (mineral, energy or nutrient), ignores river bonuses (+1 E), doesn't work with elevation (more energy at higher elevations as for solar collectors). The only two things I know of that "override fungus" are monoliths (2-2-2) and boreholes.

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  • Terraformer
    replied
    I tried terraforming the fossil ridge one game and I think the bonuses disappeared. Does planting fungus do the same?

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  • Buster's Uncle
    replied
    Originally posted by 551262 View Post
    Do note that raising or lowering terrain like the Monsoon Jungle or the Uranium Flats can wipe the "bonus" off the squares. Oops.
    I believe that applies to all the landmark bonuses.

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  • 551262
    replied
    I have a copy on PDF if you want it, although you can probably find it on google. Unless you're talking about the paper version...

    While we're at terraforming, here's a few landmarks that I thought I'd mention:

    • Freshwater Sea (+1N): Close by, use it either to churn out colony pods or better, SSC. Far away, ignore it.
    • Garland Crater (+1M): Close by, fight for it and use it to help grab early SPs. Far away, ignore it. Unlike the AI I put just one base in the centre.
    • Geothermal Shallows (+1E): Close by, crawl it. Far away, depends on the situation. If it's close to enemy territory, I'd ignore it. Isolated...probably not worth the effort to guard the crawlers. Don't bother plopping a base here especially if it's far away.
    • Monsoon Jungle (+1N): Close by, fight to the death for it. Far away, it's up to you, but it may not be worth it. For some reason or another the Hive seems to have a good possibility of starting near here and can grow like a disease. Pro tip: Beat him before he beats you.
    • Mount Planet (+1M & +1E): Crawl it. Far away, forget about it. If the nine squares surrounding the mouth are rocky, mine + road: if not, solar collector + drill a river and crawl it. Could put a mirror underneath, depending on if you're using it as part of base squares or not.
    • New Sargasso: I like to try to beat the AI to find it to pop pods. Also rather risky...
    • Pholus Ridge (+1E): If it's convenient, I put bases on alternating sides of the ridge to get a energy boost. Far away, just ignore it. You'll loose most of the energy to inefficiency anyways.
    • Sunny Mesa: Ehhh.
    • The Ruins: Good for warmongers and peace builders to help boost unit morale, if it's close by it's great to help with early SPs and what not. If not don't worry about it.
    • Uranium Flats (+1E): If close by, it'd be great to build the Merchant Exchange here as well. Assuming Tree Farms, you'd get 2-2-3 every square, not bad, with Hybrid Forests, 3-2-4, add rivers and +2 Economy on the SE table (3-2-5 if you don't have +2 Econ) and you're looking at 3-2-6 (and 3-2-8 if you get a energy bonus square). Pretty good, if you use boreholes then you're still looking at 0-6-9 if you have the ME here. Otherwise, not worth your time.
    • Borehole Cluster: Good in the early game, but you'll still have to unlock the restrictions to use them. I guess if you didn't nab the Weather Paradigm then it beats waiting 24 turns but still...if you adopt the Condensor+BoreHole strategy then you'll want the WP anyways.
    • Fossil Ridge (+1M, SMACX): Good for the Pirates to track down, but land is still more profitable. Otherwise, don't bother. You could crawl it if you were close by though.
    • Manifold Nexus (+1 Planet, SMACX): I would think if you were running Free Market this would help, or at least help you raise your ecodamage limit a bit. I don't play SMAC-X often (only a couple of times) so I wouldn't know for sure.
    • Unity Wreckage (Nothing SMAC, +1E SMACX): I'm not sure on this one. Probably not worth fighting over, like the Monsoon Jungle is.


    Do note that raising or lowering terrain like the Monsoon Jungle or the Uranium Flats can wipe the "bonus" off the squares. Oops.
    Last edited by 551262; July 16, 2013, 22:35.

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    Oh, yeah, how about that? My SMAX manual is gone to who knows where.

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  • Petek
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    Originally posted by CEO Aaron View Post
    Really? That's quite odd, but Planetbusters may be a separate thing, on account of the raw damage to Planet you're inflicting. Try saving your game and razing one of their bases.
    That's correct. According to the SMAX manual

    Using atrocities against the aliens causes no extra diplomatic penalty, except for Planet Busters,
    still considered a global atrocity for the environmental damage caused.

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    Really? That's quite odd, but Planetbusters may be a separate thing, on account of the raw damage to Planet you're inflicting. Try saving your game and razing one of their bases.

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  • Terraformer
    replied
    I read that somewhere that aliens were'n't covered. So I nuked one of their bases last game. All the factions declared war on me-even my conquered allies.

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    I'm a big fan of resettlement, it's the perfectionist in me. I bring out a supply crawler to speed evacuation (by providing mineral support), then scrap all the base facilities and crank out colony pods. If you're the impatient type, however, you can just hit 'B' and wipe the base out entirely. Apparently the Aliens aren't covered by the U.N. Charter. Sucks to be them.
    Last edited by CEO Aaron; July 15, 2013, 12:29.

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