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  • #76
    Originally posted by 551262 View Post
    Glad to be back.

    Haven't seen you active on alphacentauri2 forums, wondered if we might loose our dear CEO.

    Tell me, if you were gunning for an early SP rush before Industrial Automation, would you build scout patrols, transfer ownership to the target base and then disband them or would you try to buy it with energy credits?

    Also -- horizontal expansion -- yes, probably about the only thing you can do with Sparta when you don't have anybody nearby to bully. I'm not sure how many drones you can quell with two police garrisons in respect to the bureaucracy drones. A rec commons and two garrison units will handle six drones, sure, but what about the third or fourth warning? Two warnings isn't hard to get on Small maps when you get a nice landmass, but with the smaller maps, ICS really does make a difference.
    Welcome back.

    The only SPs I gun for in advance of IA are the Command Nexus (crucial) and Citizen's Defense Force (mainly to keep the enemy from getting it). For those, yes, I will build rovers and disband them, if I have to, but for the most part I'm happy just using an alien artifact to boost production. Rushing with money just doesn't work well because often you don't have much to spare.

    The beauty of police over psych is that they quell regardless of the type of the drone. So-called super-drones (the deep red faces) require double the psych to keep mollified, but one jackbooted thug doesn't care whether your malcontents are merely miserable or on the verge of outright armed rebellion. The same is true of drone-quelling facilities like holo-theatres or rec commons. So the upshot is that with NLM and +1 police rating, 2 1/1/1 police units will quell 4 drones. Add in a rec commons for 2 more. Everywhere. Third bureaucracy warning, fourth bureaucracy warning, tenth warning, it doesn't matter.

    Now you will lose some worked resources to inefficiency, even when running Demo/Green/Knowledge (+5 eff). But nutrients are immune to efficiency, as are resources from specialists. Yes, you'll lose some minerals and a fair chunk of energy from to the mafia, but the marginal gains are still immense, and only get more absurd as your population (and specialist count) grows.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by 551262 View Post
      Okay so the edit feature isn't working properly.

      The question then becomes if Sparta can grow horizontally better than Yang. I doubt it, by default the growth, industry and Police State works well to manage drones.

      But then what else can you do?
      Where Sparta beats Yang is making the transition from Horizontal to Vertical, and having a better economy. Yang will never get a positive efficiency. While they're protected from the worst effects of Planned/Police, they'll still never see a positive efficiency value. They also have a really hard time making a population boom, being unable to run Democracy and having -1 Econ. To say nothing of Sparta's morale bonus.

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      • #78
        Gotcha. But why rovers (Assuming 1-1-2*1 Scout Rovers) over Scout Patrols?

        I haven't found out how many minerals you get from cashing Alien Artifacts. In fact I usually cash them for tech, not sure if that's really a good idea or not. I suppose if you're way ahead of everyone else, then it probably doesn't matter.

        Super Drones are only found in SMAC-X? I don't think I've encountered them.

        Have you spent much time running Sparta in Free Market? The Wealth hit is there, sure, but is FM a pragmatic option for Sparta? I'm along the lines of either Dem/Planned/Knowledge or Fundy/Planned/Knowledge.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by 551262 View Post
          Gotcha. But why rovers (Assuming 1-1-2*1 Scout Rovers) over Scout Patrols?
          Less work, and less minerals paid from upkeep, since rovers can move over 6 road squares to arrive at my secret project.

          I haven't found out how many minerals you get from cashing Alien Artifacts. In fact I usually cash them for tech, not sure if that's really a good idea or not. I suppose if you're way ahead of everyone else, then it probably doesn't matter.
          It's 50 minerals, and I ALWAYS try to get SPs with them early on. Again, my outlook is that tech is coming one way (research) or another (probe actions).

          Super Drones are only found in SMAC-X? I don't think I've encountered them.
          Are you playing at Transcend? If you've passed the second bureaucracy limit, you can start getting them. In the base UI (I forget the exact menu buttons) you can look at the breakdown of how your facilities, garrisons and psych affect your population, and in the row showing the unmodified populace, you'll see a number of light red and dark red drone faces. The dark red ones are super-drones.

          Have you spent much time running Sparta in Free Market? The Wealth hit is there, sure, but is FM a pragmatic option for Sparta? I'm along the lines of either Dem/Planned/Knowledge or Fundy/Planned/Knowledge.
          -5 Police rating is what kills FM for Sparta, in my opinion. You can do it, but it's really playing against Sparta's strengths, imo. You go from a faction that can expand at will, explore far and wide, and farm the native life for planet-pearls to a faction that's still bottled up in its base footprint and worries about defending worm attacks. Basically, you're trying to beat the builders at their own game, but aren't well suited to do so. Early on, the industry and growth bonuses Planned offer are far more useful, and later, even my Morganites wind up going Green because the efficiency is better for my bottom line than raw energy.

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          • #80
            Hmm. A Scout Patrol is 8 minerals, a Scout Rover is 16. By disbanding, you get 4 for a Scout Patrol and 8 for a Scout Rover. Assuming you can crank out one Scout Patrol at a base with 12 minerals, 4 are carried over making the next one cost 8 and so on. Whereas a Scout Rover would take two turns to build, with 8 minerals carried over, making the next one and each one thereafter (assuming no mineral upkeep) cost 8 which can also be rushed for a total of 16EC but to keep up the mineral carry-over you'd have to spend 32 EC total.

            :/ Definitely worth a thought, especially considering the doubling of speed with the rover chassis.

            I played Transcend once. Didn't turn out very well. The most I play at is Librarian, but the usual is Talent. I think F4 brings up the base overview screen (with production, population and garrison).

            Your Morganites go Green once you get Wealth on a case-by-case basis? Obviously if you're running specialists, which I believe is not only easier (takes less effort and time) than monster terraforming (energy parks and boreholes all over the place), then I would think that yes efficiency is quite useful and you don't have the chronic Police problems as per Free Market.

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            • #81
              Build probes instead - they don't need support so they can be stockpiled.
              With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

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              • #82
                We're talking about before you have Probe Teams as an option. The Sparta opening I'm using gets Planetary Networks rather later than if you're beelining IA. Also, I find that stockpiling probes and crawlers is a great way to lose turn advantage. I'd rather get a unit out exploring, terraforming or founding new bases than building up a mountain of money to invest in SPs which are several turns off.

                Hmm. A Scout Patrol is 8 minerals, a Scout Rover is 16. By disbanding, you get 4 for a Scout Patrol and 8 for a Scout Rover. Assuming you can crank out one Scout Patrol at a base with 12 minerals, 4 are carried over making the next one cost 8 and so on. Whereas a Scout Rover would take two turns to build, with 8 minerals carried over, making the next one and each one thereafter (assuming no mineral upkeep) cost 8 which can also be rushed for a total of 16EC but to keep up the mineral carry-over you'd have to spend 32 EC total.
                Rush building ANYTHING under 10 minerals comes with a steep surcharge. The merit of rovers is that there's less unit orders to submit than a constant stream of 1/1/1. I don't generally rush rovers for cash, it doesn't compare favorably to just rush building the project itself. Rushing a military unit is 4x minerals, and you get back half of them when you disband it, making the per-mineral cost 8x minerals. Not a good plan, when the SP can be rushed for 4x minerals. The build/disband plan is quite inefficient, I only use it for a few choice projects (mainly ones that will help me conquer the other projects from their temporary custodians).

                I played Transcend once. Didn't turn out very well. The most I play at is Librarian, but the usual is Talent. I think F4 brings up the base overview screen (with production, population and garrison).
                I'm talking about the screen for an individual base. There's tabs at the top of the resource map where you assign workers, and one covers population happiness. I think it's labelled 'Psych'. That's the screen to which I'm referring.

                Your Morganites go Green once you get Wealth on a case-by-case basis? Obviously if you're running specialists, which I believe is not only easier (takes less effort and time) than monster terraforming (energy parks and boreholes all over the place), then I would think that yes efficiency is quite useful and you don't have the chronic Police problems as per Free Market.
                Yep. It's an easy check, just go in to the SE screen ('e' iirc), and switch from FM to Green, and compare your income and research rates. If you can match the income of FM with Green (not very hard if you've got a lot of bases), switch. You'll get the benefit of your police garrisons again, if you got the Longevity Vaccine you'll get some free drone quelling, and depending on your Psych output, you may even trip a base or two into a Golden Age. Especially because Morgan has +1 econ base, which, when combined with Wealth (always, always, ALWAYS run Wealth as Morgan), gives you the magic +1 energy per worked tile benefit. If you need to go to war with Morgan, make sure you've built Creches everywhere and go Fundy/Green/Wealth and you'll have a perfectly viable war footing. A children's creche can offset the morale penalty from being at -1 Morale SE, but not -2 or higher (halves the benefit from training structures like command centers).

                I don't call myself the CEO for nothing.

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by CEO Aaron View Post
                  Remember, technology is ephemeral. Tech parity is often just a few probe actions away, especially if your exploring units can make early contact and you can play tech broker among several factions. In a world where everyone's beelining to IA, it shouldn't be that hard to trade or probe to. And since you're not running FM, it's not really in your best interests to make nice to everyone. Need I remind you? This is SPARTA.
                  I need to give it a try. I remember a couple of years I tried to develop decent opening strategies for the factions I consider underdogs - Sparta, Pirates and Cult. My concept was that unless you have a bully-able neighbour, you need at least some economy to speak of - the bare minimum is NLM, D:F and PlanNet (for probes), hopefully before your enemy Zak grabs SFF or even D:AP. And if I recall correctly, Sparta under FM still has positive odds in worm farming, which is a considerable strategy for rushbuilds.

                  The beef I have with PS is that it's very addictive. No SE combination is better for energy than Demo/FM/Wealth (maybe Green sometimes) and once you use police under PS, it takes a while to transit to other drone-quelling strategies in order to move to Demo, if only for popboom purposes. All of a sudden you have riots everywhere and the support of now-unnecessary police kills your industry. Of course you disband it, but it's a cost.

                  As for inefficiency - sure I like specialists, but if you keep expanding and/or conquering, many of your bases, especially the distant ones are under pop5 and net you nothing in terms of energy. And the first specialist which is really worth its salt is the Engineer - your game is probably already decided by that time. Once you get to MMI, you need to focus on cranking out choppers not popbooming bases to host Engineers.

                  Which brings us to tech parity - I think sometimes even being a couple of turns late can be a big deal. Heavy probe use remains a theory if your enemy gets to D:AP first and sends out a few needlejets to patrol his borders. If he has but a fuzzy idea of your whereabouts, 2 planes are enough to prevent any serious probe operations.

                  This is why I avoid early Planned so much. If you have breakthroughs every 12 turns and your opponent every 6 turns (builder+FM), then there is simply nothing to talk about here. Sure you may have bonuses to combat, morale/fanatic or whatnot, but you'll be always bringing knives to gunfights. Your opponent is scared of you, he'll beeline to D:AP right after IA, and you don't have much time to make a decisive move.

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by CEO Aaron View Post
                    I don't call myself the CEO for nothing.
                    In the past months I've discovered Morgan as a very entertaining faction, both very demanding (probably the hardest) and potentially very powerful. I wanted to pick your brains some about Morganite gameplay, like opening strategies (do you still recommend starting with Biogenetics and RecTanks?), SE choices (I'm surprised you go Green so early rather than milk FM to the fullest), maybe some popboom tips etc.

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                    • #85
                      Well the good thing about the Spartans is that they can buckle down and build if need be, but they won't outgun a Builder at his own game, at least they won't be left in the Dark Ages a'la Believers. So I guess it could be worse.

                      So you don't have +3 or +4 Econ of the Morgans, +4 or +5 Efficiency and +4 Planet like the Gaians, neither +4 Support and +3 Probe of the Believers, nor +4 Industry and +3 Police of the Chairman, you're lacking pristine "golden age every base" like the UN Blue, you lack Zak's +4 Research, but you don't have their problems, either.

                      I suppose the best thing to do if you get stuck on a landmass with nobody to bully around, is to grow like a disease and then buckle up and start cranking out military units. In the beginning, the disparity in tech from str("Player Name") to str("Spartan Player") in the beginning can be noticable, yes, but as the game progresses the tech gap can widen significantly. The idea then is to attack with Synthetic Fossil Fuel weapons or the like, and try to cause as much damage as possible. You don't want to be stuck with Impact Infantry against his Chaos Choppers, so the best thing to do is expand, get the basic facilities (recycling tanks, tree farm, network nodes if you have the VW, maybe one other facility) and start cranking out hoards of military units.

                      Sure he might take half your units out, but if he has to switch from an optimal SE setting to deal with you, then he's not benefiting that much as he could be if you were not attacking, and it's better for you to be running around destroying enhancements (nerve gas?) and chewing up *his* formers rather than him doing the same to you, which is what he'll do anyways if he doesn't elect himself Supreme Leader, corner the energy market or transcend.

                      I mean, what else can you do?

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                      • #86
                        Test post - please ignore.
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                        • #87
                          So recently I wrapped up a game where I tried running multiple specialist SSCs and reported the results here at alphacentauri2.

                          I have obtained some input from that thread, but I'm really interested in the CEO's opinion. Basically, because I'm a warmonger and dislike Building, but I still need to research certain critical techs (or if I get in the lead, to stay in the lead tech-wise), is it better to have one specialist powerhouse SSC or multiple? Essentially, how little Building can I get away with to have a good tech front with a "reasonable" research rate?

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                          • #88
                            First, you're throwing away a lot of resources with your base layout and crawler distribution. Tight spacing is good from a defensive and land-use perspective, but I don't think you want to get tighter than a 2 space grid pattern (basically base, road, base on the vertical and horizontal tiles). Your SSC-1 screenshot shows only 3 worked squares. Crawling nutrients is good, but it's not /so/ good that you should ignore the full output of the squares under your base footprint.

                            Second, if you have Eudaimonia, why on earth are you crawling energy when you could crawl nutrients? With satellite support, four nuts feeds four transcends. That's sixteen efficiency-immune energy equivalent versus four energy, plus four raw energy from Orbital Power Transmitters, which doesn't include the 2 psych (which really stops being useful past a certain minimum in a specialist-centric strategy.

                            Finally, taking a snapshot this late in the game doesn't really accurately reflect the strength of the specialist, non-SSC strategy. That's because you're already past habitation limits, which are very late-game tech, and will otherwise constrain your base size to 16 citizens (with Aescetic Virtues). That's really where going broad, rather than tall, helps you.

                            I'll get together a game and try to get you a primer on my concepts put into action.

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                            • #89
                              If you wouldnt mind me barging in, 551262, i believe you should be focusing on bumping up the difficulty to transcend difficulty instead of thinking about SSCs. According to the mission statement of your thread;


                              I'm doing this thread for learning of me, and others, as SMAC is a highly ornate game.
                              There might be something to learn from playing the game past the point you have transcended but i think its largely a academic excercise at that point which has little relevance to do with early and midgame play.

                              You mentioned you dont build Children's Creches, but they are one of the very best buildings around;essential to hit +6 growth for popbooming. Crawling condensors and popbooming specialists is a easy method for a solid economy. If you dont want to use much crawlers and instead directly work many forest tiles from wider spread cities, you can combine this building with drone control and psych boosting facilities and more quickly get production going.

                              And if you want to go for a SCC, i dont do that myself but i would early on get the ME and mass produce crawlers rehomed only to that city and work a energy park(coastal or otherwise). If you wait until after hab domes and use high population to achieve a SCC, well most of the game is already over at that moment. You said it yourself, that the MY times are quite high. Whats the point of science when you have all the techs?
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                              • #90
                                CEO, how has the instruction map been going?

                                I like your words on tech parity with probe teams. This sounds ideal to my strategy of knocking out top factions before Doctrine: Air Power and Fusion Power because once those come out, the game takes a different twist. The A.I. rarely even makes choppers, but banking on its ineptitude in that department is folly in MP (not that I play MP in SMAC). Surely though, letting the University stay alive long enough to get Fusion Power and all that could be quite beneficial in the war practice...

                                Originally posted by Kataphraktoi View Post
                                If you wouldnt mind me barging in, 551262, i believe you should be focusing on bumping up the difficulty to transcend difficulty instead of thinking about SSCs. According to the mission statement of your thread;

                                You mentioned you dont build Children's Creches, but they are one of the very best buildings around;essential to hit +6 growth for popbooming.
                                I probably couldn't play very well in Transcend, it would get too stressful.

                                For CCs, I recognize their usefulness, but in the short term, are they really worth it? If I am conquering mightily in the field, how much effort do I need to devote to home facilities? A war monger has to conduct warfare. A Command Center or a Children's Creche? A Network Node or a Tree Farm (I find Tree Farms to be greatly beneficial to my war policy, because of 2-2-1 on any square, permitting me to focus less on home terraforming)? A Recreation Commons, or another 6-3-1 Commando infantry?

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