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  • franklinmaya
    replied
    will likely be on transcend difficulty for future games.

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  • 551262
    replied
    Aaaand I guess I should talk about it some more....

    Here's an overall view of the map in question:



    I roughly doubled the original size of the starting landmass and as a result, I did fairly well, I guess. Marr had pacted with Fungboy so they were a bit of a problem but I was biding my time waiting for Advanced Spaceflight, as you do end up holding onto Plasma Shard weapons for quite some time -- I think it's about a hundred turns or so.

    Funny because Marr once brought out fourteen needlejets to within striking distance of one of those little island things. It's the one to the northeast with three boreholes, two crawlers and two bases. While his noodles were investigating the local landscape I realized I didn't have enough interceptors on hand (I only had four or five) to respond and they were out of SAM rover range. But then I remembered I had about eight 13-4-6*2 AAA cruisers standing by to cut off any "dropoffs", so I quickly mustered them and took out the oceanic bases that were his launching pads. By the time the needlejets had to return to base there weren't any in range, so one of them attacked and the remainder crashed. I got a good laugh out of that. (Which reminds me, during one of my earlier Huge Map of Planet runs to experiment with the Geothermal Shallows, I boxed in a couple of needlejets belonging to another faction so he couldn't return to base. I wait like six turns and none of them crashed.)

    Anyways. Western view, center closer in, and eastern view:



    Headquarters. This is why I love the Garland Crater.


    Long ago I had steamed ahead far of every other faction. Most of the game in fact. I got nearly all the SPs except the Planetary Transit System (I only worry about that if I'm playing as Lal) and the Human Genome Project (bleh, again only if I'm Lal).

    Here's once again the model of a outlying bastion:



    I think it holds promise. Nothing to sneer at, and a great launching pad for needlejets, patrol center, naval port, etc.

    As I said last time, those perimeter lookout bases take FOREVER to get in place, get facilities, enough minerals to do stuff with, and are generally a hassle. Once they DO get to a useful size, then this is what they look like:



    The Pirates' +1 mineral for ocean shelf squares is moot in the deep ocean, but you can still get 3-3-0 in a kelp+mining platform+aquafarm+subsea trunkline+Advanced Ecological Engineering. A lot better than just 1-0-0 like everybody else gets. (Kelp+tidal harness+Aquafarm+Thermocline Transducer nets you 4-0-4, whereas a shelf square would have 4-1-4.) Bring lots of 0-3r-4 Super Clean sea formers (or better, 8r, but ...) The most you're going to get in terms of minerals in the ocean is 3-6-0, which is kelp+aquafarm+mining platform+subsea trunkline+mineral bonus+advanced ecological engineering.

    When I finally decided to upgrade my regular old boring probe teams to something kick-ass, I built them as 0-?-2*4 Enhanced Deep Radar. It turns out that having Psi Defense could be quite profitable if you have the Neural Amplifier because the unit gets a +50% defensive bonus...I also noticed quite an improvement in probe team effectiveness with the Algorithmic Enhancement. (I've never used the Polymorphic Encryption ability though. Easier to just stack units...as stacked units cannot be subverted. I don't know if a 1-4-1*2 AAA Secure garrison unit will enhance the PROBE resistance of a base like the Covert Ops Center will, though.) This meant directly targeting Perimeter Defenses was fairly profitable.

    I also got curious. What if I boxed in an alien base, so that no escape pods or colony pods could escape...



    Turns out that his units spawn on yours I guess, and get wiped out before they can do anything.



    Heh. I haven't seen some of the others I guess, as I've never played Fungboy, Marr, Roze, Prime Function, or the Foreman to completion, only the Pirates and Caretakers. Heck I don't think I've played Sister Miriam or Yang to completion either, so...

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  • 551262
    replied


    Well, I actually started another game just like it. This time I expanded the terrain from an L-shape (with the Garland Crater at the short leg) to more of an O-shape. It takes awhile to terraform up, then terraform as needed, but I think by the time Tree Farms start coming around, it pays well.

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  • 551262
    replied
    So today I finally wrapped up another long game. *yawn*

    Map: Huge
    Ocean Coverage: 70-90%
    Difficulty: Talent
    Game: SMAC-X (Mac)
    Playing as: Pirates
    Other factions present: Default SMAC-X factions
    Tries before I found a map worth playing: About 20-25

    In this game, it took me a little while to get a random map where I could be near a useful landmark. Garland Crater, Monsoon Jungle, or Mount Planet were all okay. Ended up with the Garland Crater, landing just a hair to the west of it so it took me an extra turn to get the colony pods in place. The idea was to experiment with the oceanic bases "sensor" model on just a casual basis. The Conciousness dropped off a colony pod near the GC and so she (it?) had to be kicked out with some impact infantry and a impact rover.

    I had steamed ahead in the early game and left everybody else behind. Fungboy (I love that word) had landed on a mediocre island and when I stopped by for a visit (he'd pronounced v'detta 50 turns earlier but was too far to do anything) with just a 1-4-6*2 transport cruiser with two Shard batteries (13-1-1*2), three SAM Shard Rovers (<13>-1-1*2 SAM), two probe teams and some other easily-repulsed crew and guess what? He's still on Laser Infantry. The Drones landed on a ...doable size of land but tech advance was glacial. Usurper Marr landed on a island with four squares of land on it and didn't go anywhere. Aki was wiped out by someone else long ago. Eventually once I finished my Building and kicked in to warmongering mode it was just a matter of bringing four cruiser transports, one with Shard Shock troops, one with SAM rovers, one with Marines and the last with four battery units and four 1-4-1*2 AAA ECM punching bags. The Consciousness was split up over two areas, one happened to be near the Ruins so one division made waste of her (its?) homeland while the other went for a Monolith Migration to get elite units. Then Domai was put out in two turns, leaving the Caretakers. Landing in two seperate areas and using the marine transports to finish off the sea bases, it didn't take 12 turns (he had spread out the most).

    There are two skyfarms up and about a dozen orbital power stations.

    Endgame, we are here. Here's the overall profile of my territory:



    Here's the leftside flank, showing the Sea Sensor Bases:



    Rightside. I think this deserves some additional chat:



    Interior:



    Headquarters, mineral powerhouse:



    One of the outlying bases:



    Faction settings for most of the game, in fact nearly all the game except the early game. Modifiers to the base profile: Ascetic Virtues SP, the Living Refinery SP and I have two bases on the Manifold Nexus to give me that +1 Planet aka License to Pollute.



    Just this turn, I finished the Cloning Vats SP so I would have switched to this model:



    And now for my thoughts:

    The Pirates are decent in the ocean, but the ocean really isn't a good place for regular living. Sure they can terraform deep ocean squares, but you have to wait for Advanced Ecological Engineering, which takes a long time, so once you build those warning bases, they sit around for 40 turns doing very little. Build the garrison and a sea former, and facilities, it's all you can do. Then once you do get AEE, you need the Subsea Trunkline with mining platforms to make it worthwhile. Energy -- forget it. A typical size 9 base might have 2-3-0 coming in from the mining platforms, so figure an average of 25 minerals coming in the door per turn. Decent, yes, but it takes a long time to get to a point where they are profitable.

    Let's have another look at this area:



    Those bases stuck on small landmasses with boreholes are the best, IMO. Get your food and energy from the kelp+tidal harnesses and bring in all the minerals with crawlers and boreholes. Easy 30 minerals without too much difficulty. Add a Subsea Trunkline to the base (which is usually near ocean shelf squares) and your 3-1-3 squares suddenly become 3-2-3, equivalent to a Hybrid Forest, not bad. I think they are good stopover areas for ill naval units and a hopping point for needlejets and choppers, as seen here:



    But back to the "early warning system" concept. Needlejets can be put on patrol. 8-1-12*2 Deep Radar needlejets aren't that expensive, so what you do is put their patrol radius equal to half their movement points. A Fusion powered non-interceptor, non-transport-equipped needlejet has 12 moves, so you put them in a search radius of 6. This lets them return to base in the same turn and take off again the next without having to wait one turn exposed to interceptors and marauding SAM foils, then having to wait ANOTHER turn to fuel up in a base. If you have Gravships then even better, but by that point in the game either it's you alone in the top ranks, you versus some top dog & 3 of his pactmates, or there are better things to do like corner the global energy market, dig in and protect your HQ.

    So yes, patrolling needlejets along with three or four kept back at the home base in case they stumble upon something, along with conventional missiles if you have those.

    As a concept, I think the early warning system has merits, but I'm not sure how to weigh the cost of building the sea colony pods, paying for network nodes and other facilities because there's a dismal amount of minerals coming in per turn on said sea bases is worth the cost. I suppose it depends on the map and the situation. If you expect to be hit up by transports packed with cheap elite marines (like 13-1-1*2 Amphibious, Elite) then tossing bases on those little surrounding mini-islands, plenty of patrolling needlejets and a force of marines of your own is probably a strategy worth considering. If you have lots of Independent IODs, particularly when they're at least Mature Boils, those can fit five each, so I guess you could park those in various strategic fungal squares, hidden -- and hope a empath foil doesn't discover you, then having your little parade hit up by a conventional missile.

    I also like to put coastal bases (and those little mini-island borehole-filled bases) with at least three, but not more than five top-weapon, no armour infantry battery units. Those can sink transports (better when they have no armour), sink foils and cruisers who are too close to the coast, and will prevent you from being blasted with ship-based artillery. They're cheap, too.

    CEO Aaron, how have you been developing?
    Last edited by 551262; December 28, 2013, 20:11.

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  • 551262
    replied
    One of these days we also need to work on a Very Early Game Tutorial....

    For instance, land, move colony pod(s) a square or two, then start building a colony pod while researching E1 (Centauri Ecology), then ...

    I've been spoiled I guess, playing too much Sparta. Worms are not a general problem early on and you have a starting rover which means you can cover more landmass exploring. I think my record on small map was four free rovers -- things get discovered quickly. (I think six on HMoP.) Otherwise, if you're a builder type and you spawn next to a momentum faction then ugh...talk about sweating bullets.

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  • 551262
    replied
    I heard that you're a fan of resettlement, which has a number of merits. On land, building colony pods and escorting them back to puff up bases back home is a valid technique. Sea bases are a bit of a problem because sea colony pods can't puff up land bases (coastal), only other sea bases. What I do for a cluster of A.I. sea bases is rush build them once they got their first row or two done, then disband them back into themselves or other ones to bring down the whole network.

    Land bridges can be expensive -- the farther you are from a base, the more it costs. You could of course set up campsites along the way. But I don't know how well that would work in MP. By raising a land bridge you've made it pretty clear which direction you are intending to attack, and some scouting for transports by the enemy could confirm that. And he could also sink the land bridge too -- although that's more of a military supremacy question because raising and lowering of land takes a long time (less with WP) and you need a good 8-10 formers (pre Super Formers) to get anything done in any real span of time.

    Generally, I like to attack in at least two directions. The last major invasion I made (the map was shown on the preceeding page, the one about a bunch of mini-SSCs in the Freshwater Sea) I landed in four directions. (Huge Map of Planet) Two landings near the Garland Crater and two just near the Uranium Flats. I love invasions, warfare and exploring (pod popping & exploring terrain, as I don't have the Unity Survey).

    SAM I have because it has numerous advantages on a rover. *One* can take out three marauding needlejets or choppers if it's Elite. If you have magtubes, it's very pragmatic for heavy Momentum based factions because you can pass on interceptors back home -- some AAA garrisons and SAM rovers, and the air is relatively safe with the Rover Defense model. Then, it can pay off to have it in case you need it in your attacking force. I always like to have at least one SAM rover in every base.

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    I don't sink bases, it's really a gimmick tactic that you use to prank a defeated foe. If I want to remove their base from the map, I'll roll in, park a few garrisons and start rush-building colony pods to disperse the inhabitants.

    I raise a land bridge and drive my guys over. My general military tactic is to use interceptors to establish unambiguous air supremacy by way of standby interceptors. I'm not a great consumer of SAM, except for shooting down SAM/Empath/Res rovers to take out Locusts. Instead I'll run a few flavors of defensive units: Comm Jammer, AAA, Trance if necessary, and fill up the ranks with infantry artillery and rovers. As I've mentioned before, I'm a HUGE fan of the X/1/1 artillery unit. Judicious peppering with artillery bombardment will ensure your force will suffer minimal losses. The defensive units will become my clean garrisons of newly conquered bases. The artillery and rovers will typically be decommissioned for minerals once hostilities have been concluded.

    The utility of air supremacy cannot be overstated. You can use it for area denial and reconnaissance, between that and probe infiltration, the enemy should have no surprises for you whatsoever. From that point, with strong production, you should be able to tailor your forces to the enemy's composition.

    I should also point out that my strategy generally avoids fighting engagements over long supply lines. If I'm not near enough to support a major invasion with my nearby bases (or sporting enough of a magtube network to cover the distances quickly), I'll just occupy myself with settling the intervening territory.

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  • 551262
    replied
    Does anybody know the procedure for guaranteed base sinking?

    I know that a sea former, for each [ terraform down, it lowers the nearby squares by ~1000m, but how do you establish the situation so you are guaranteed to sink the base without the case of an auto-pressure dome?

    How do y'all load up the transports for an invasion? Assuming Clean Fusion Destroyer Transports (1-6-5*2 Clean, sometimes with Carrier ability), I'm stumped a bit. Two transports gives me 16 slots, but I have to load up on SAM rovers, infantry (sometimes Invaders instead), defense units (1-6-1*2 AAA ECM), probe teams, and artillery units. I like Singularity transports because then I can pack four SAM rovers, four infantry, two defense, two probes and four battery units (Four battery units, sometimes five, six for sure, can sink IODs, enemy transports, naval units etc) for a multi-dimensional strike force. If I'm going up against the Believers, probes are a waste of time or anybody with the HSA so I won't bring them then, but against the Hive I really need them to help take down the Perimeter Defenses.

    How to truces expire? I like making them expire so I can attack without hurting my faction image, but I don't see that option very often. I know it has something to do with 20 years and faction contact.

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  • 551262
    replied
    Code:
    Gaian Shard Interceptor           Hive Gatling Squad
    <13>-1-9*2                        5-1-1
    Plasma Shard: 13                  No Armor: 1
    Commando (+): +62%                Disciplined (+): +0%
    Ground Strike: -50%               Strength: 1.00
    Strength: 10.56                   Power: 10
    Power: 20
    Probably a fluke. I don't have a regular penetrator on hand, although I'm WAY ahead of everybody else (a glance at the # of bases & landmass should tell you everything) in tech and haven't caught around to building them yet. Just packing 1-4-1*2 AAA ECM troopers in the front line bases and some interceptors until I finish Building. The Hive declared vendetta recently so it gives me a convenient excuse to try something else for a change. Everybody is treatied, I'm trying to gun for Supreme Leader. +7 Efficiency works wonders.

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    Oh, and no, I'm not getting your 'Waldo' quiz. What's the issue?

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    I'm not a fan of Mount Planet, it's a giant inflamed pimple that disrupts my base formation. But I also don't like lowering terran to smooth it over, that just seems.... cheap, somehow. Garland Crater, Uranium Flats and Fungus Jungle are the money terrain, of course.

    I use SMAX because I like the additions to the tech tree. I'm less of a fan of the factions. I typically force the SMAC factions and play with the SMAX rules. I use the Unity survey just out of my own sense of realism. This is a people who orbited the planet before they landed, they'd have to have a map and basic telemetry showing their location.

    For Fungal Towers, as for most wildlife, the solution is artillery. If you've having late-game worm issues (overpollution or bio-using rival), you might have use for Empath (Empath SAM Resonance Laser Rovers win), but for regular wildlife policing a couple 2/1/1 artillery will clear off any native infestations you'll face in the normal course of securing your perimeter.

    Hive and Mimi are the 2 factions that suits the zergish playstyle of the AI best, due to their outstanding support profile. The AI has a tendency to overbuild units and under-develop terraforming and infrastructure. The Hive comes apart under the weight of artillery and probe teams, and Miriam you just need to avoid until you've lapped her tech-wise a few times.

    My decision to build rec commons comes down to keeping some semblance of mineral production in my bases. I don't have the VW yet, and my nutrient focused terraforming and relatively poor industry does make for slow production much of the time. 2 EC =~ 1 mineral, so while the RC has a higher front-loaded cost, it will pay for itself over the long haul (in 60 turns, to be exact). But more importantly, when my net mineral income in most bases is in the ~6 range, saving that one mineral upkeep keeps the wheels of production moving smoothly. But, that's the price of running 2 formers in every base and a high nutrient strategy early on.

    I'll put some more time in this week, and we'll see how the build really gets rolling with the installation of condensers. My near term goals are to finish settling my starting continent and relocate my capital to a more centrally located base. From there, I'll start settling the nearby islands, and hopefully pick up some useful pods and engage in some cheap tech brokering on the way. Tech wise, my next goals are IA, Air Power and Fusion Power.

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  • 551262
    replied
    I'm going to go ahead and copy & paste your reply over to alphacentauri2.info, if you don't mind.

    Did you find Waldo? It could be found somewhere in a certain morale calculation...needless to say, I did notice it...

    My thoughts...Yeah, 6 turns/tech isn't too shabby for Sparta at that point in the game. I see that you are somewhat comparable to the University in might, which is good.

    As far as starting locations go, I also go with flexible starting locations, though I don't enable Unity Survey. But I can still scan the terrain looking for the Garland Crater (good SP centre) or Mount Planet. I see you've started not far away from MP, which is good because it's a boon to your production, and to energy -- solar collector + river on the flat & rolling squares and crawl it to your HQ for an easy 4 or 5e per square. Minerals is good because you get +6 per square -- good for early fungal pop pre-tree farms.

    I don't play SMAC-X on a regular basis but I found that Sparta is really good for tackling the worm problem early on with higher morale units versus everybody else that isn't Gaian/Cha Dawn. I found that attacking fungal towers is best delayed until you can build empath units because of their inherent +50% fungal tower bonus. What say you?

    As far as factions go, when I play Sparta, the two biggest threats are 1) the Hive, 2) Miriam and 3) the PKs if they get a good start. Given a choice I always go after the Hive because of his numerous advantages, while Miriam crumbles like the rest when you're heavy on the offensive.

    Tell me, why would you build Rec Commons in the interior if you have police units? Two police garrisons and the VW mean I never have drone problems -- the only time I build Rec Commons is when I build Hab Complexes.

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    Yeah, progress is definitely map dependent. I always play on Large maps. Smaller than that, and my 'empire' seems comically small, bigger and you can get spaceflight before you'll wind up near an opponent. Anyway, after much delay, here's my first 100 turns in my Sparta game:



    Starting position. No great shakes, decent size continent. As it turned out, no neighbors, lots of fungus (I play with abundant natives and ironman, transcend). Good setup do demonstrate a game where Sparta is somewhat isolated. My first few bases were forced out of grid for fungus. Early tech picks are formers, recycling tanks, then beelining for Intellectual Integrity, as per my recommendation. I may have grabbed Doctrine Flex on the way, I can't quite recall, but it's not that big a deal. I also think I got a pod drop or tech trade for Applied Physics. A free rover, a unity foil, and sent my guys around to pick up some easy pod pops, until a roving worm eats my boat. By turn 50, I've got 11 income, tech every 8 turns, and 7 bases. I grab the Command Nexus, a crucial SP for Sparta which will let me fight above my weight while I'm behind on tech early, and will let me have one turn repair in every base late-game, very nice for creating a artillery powered juggernaut.



    Once I've got II under my belt, the scouts all get upgraded to police, and I dip back to Planetary networks. From there, my general tech beeline is to head for Ecological Engineering for the ability to build Condensers. While I'm doing this, I see that nobody has taken the Virtual World, so I decided to build it. A fair number of minerals are wasted disbanding probe teams (still no IA yet), but in the long run it will be worth it, VW. Around this time I've run into Miriam, who evidently has settled on the island to my south. Typically, she plants a few totally non-viable bases off my coast, but I've got plenty of other places to spread out, and I'm trying to demonstrate the builder aspects of Sparta, so I refrain from cranking out a load of 2/2/4 foils and pinning her ears back.

    By this point I'm putting Children's Creches and recreation commons as my interior bases. I'm running planned/demo and therefore every base with a creche will boast single turn growth. Here's the turn 100 sitch:



    15 bases and more on the way. Condensers being built in the core areas to support the next stage of growth. My 5 pop bases are currently working 4 with a lone librarian, and I'm building network nodes on these bases for a nice jump in tech rate. Net income 20, tech every 6 turns. Some notes:
    I've built a fair number of mirrors, in lieu of forest and forget. This is to keep my nutrient income up early, while still delivering a decent tech rate. Yes, it's more former intensive than going FM/Forest, but affords me the privilege of ignoring the bureaucracy limit when planting new bases. So yeah, with the 10 mirrors I've built, I could have started a load more roads, cleared fungus or planted forests, but you do need /some/ lab income to get this strategy into the midgame. Two, I've kept my two rovers (1 starting, 1 unity from pod pop) busy farming the mushroom dunes. I've gotten a LOT of free money from planet pearls, which has helped fund my expansionist efforts. You can also see my nascent navy is starting to patrol the waters offshore, mostly looking to start harvesting pods and colonize the nearby islands. I'll still avoid the inevitable confrontation with Miriam while I've got room to spread out in other directions.

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  • 551262
    replied
    One of these days a veteran should make a post describing what tech advances should be *ideally* acquired at a certain time -- i.e. Fusion Power before MY 2200, Synthetic Fossil Fuels before MY 2170, etc. Only problem is that I *think* that tech advances get slower as time goes on with larger maps over smaller ones.

    Also -- today we get to play Where's Waldo...



    (Shown in reduced resolution. Playing as Deidre on ...I think it's a Small map, but sure feels like a Tiny one, Talent. I have the CN and CF SPs, among many others, because while I was in peril footing very early on, I expanded well and grabbed a huge mass of land, including the MJ. First time playing Deidre in a long time -- Democratic, Green, Knowledge.)

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    I'm not even getting into the morale benefits of the Creche, as when you're playing Sparta, it is not possible to get negative morale, and any case, the growth and economic benefits of the facility make it worth building for any faction.

    I put some time into the Sparta demo last night, I'm about 50 turns in. I'm just going to post it in 50 turn increments, so you can see how my progression works, with some commentary about tech choices and strategy. I'll get screenshots and saves posted tonight.

    Nearly at 100 turns in, I want to have at least 2 saves to post so you can see growth. It's going pretty well, I'm on a pretty heavily fungus-infested island, so I'm having to spend a lot of former time clearing off mushrooms, which definitely holds up the rate of expansion.
    Last edited by CEO Aaron; November 14, 2013, 15:13.

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