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  • Terraforming questions

    Hello i'm new here. I'm returning to this game recently and am looking for information on advanced terraforming options. I'm playing Librarian difficulty on SMAC. I've been mainly using forests with hybird forests, but i recently discovered soil enrichers. Are there any instances where tech forming has advantages over forest terraforming? I'm a little confused on how to use the mirrors and such. Also is it possible to alter depth of ocean squares, and when should I do this? I looked for a guide on this online and can't find anything answering these questions.

  • #2
    See this article in the CGN SMAC Academy for basic information and advice about terraforming. Please post again if you have any questions after reading the article.
    "The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."
    -- Kosh


    • #3

      Thanks- this is just what i was looking for!

      How can I see what factions are at war with each other? Yesterday I stopped a war too soon and made my pact brother mad and ended up messing up my rep.


      • #4
        In the Commlink, rightclick on a faction and you'll get a general oversight of it. Though, you'll need The Empath Guild to see war status.
        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.

        Steven Weinberg


        • #5
          Thanks BlackCat that helps alot. GOG has a deal going right now and I now have the expansion. Summer sale- got the original and the expansion for $3.00!

          Now I have to learn even more stuff. Since I'm running Linux hopefully it will install under wine without any problems....


          • #6
            Originally posted by Terraformer View Post
            Thanks BlackCat that helps alot. GOG has a deal going right now and I now have the expansion. Summer sale- got the original and the expansion for $3.00!

            Now I have to learn even more stuff. Since I'm running Linux hopefully it will install under wine without any problems....
            I just picked up smac the other day, too. It's been fun! I seem to favor the Spartans, but I always do well with university. I started my first game next to the jungle, managed to colonize it, but had to recon rover the peacekeepers who got its outskirts. Meanwhile the gains are building everything!


            I usually plant forest. Tech is all about rolling Rainy- otherwise, forest. Hi tech condenser farming is not feasible in my estimation unless you get the weather control paradigm to start early. I'm toying in mountaineering lately, though. On a 70-90 % water map I lifted mountains for land invasions of nearby continents, and noted that as long as I lifted peaks to the southeast of bases, they would get all rainy and good.

            The coolest thing, though, is the energy park. Alternate rows of mirrors and solar, dig rivers everywhere, and have one base cover every tile with crawlers(I drove crawlers in, set to support from here, then off to the park)
            It's disgusting how much money and labs that base can mass produce- a 6x8 park was generating thousands of labs late game with projects.


            • #7
              I've had SMAC for a long time. It's SMAX that I just bought. I played my first SMAX game recently. I tried it out on talent difficulty to get a feel for it- too easy. So now i'm going to try out a harder difficultly. I played the new Green faction (Cult of Planet)- went pod popping to get way ahead on tech and just wiped out the aliens with choppers and planes. Made my first gravship terraformers- didn't even know i could make those until now. I found a pdf copy of Vel's guide online and starting reading. Wow! Ton's of good info in there. Yeah and I made my first solar park too on SMAC and made a super research city with all the lab enhancing projects- insane research levels.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Petek View Post
                See this article in the CGN SMAC Academy for basic information and advice about terraforming. Please post again if you have any questions after reading the article.
                I hardly remember any of that stuff I wrote.
                "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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ogie Oglethorpe View Post
                  I hardly remember any of that stuff I wrote.
                  I'll tell ya what- I went through your builder's guide carefully the other day. I actually did the tech beeline you suggested towards crawlers, and it yielded a transformative start- unsurpassed power. I will likely be on transcend difficulty for future games.

                  To be honest, its this beelining business thats always bugged me about the direction of 4x games. Too much build order and not enough journey. Then again, I never played any civ game on deity despite starting with the series at the original.


                  • #10
                    I suspect that using crawlers to harvest condensors + farms + soil enrichers to feed bases packed with Librarians or better can be extremely beneficial. I was reading through the back pages of this forum and people were saying that using that arrangement is better than energy parks because 1) specialists can't riot neither can they be drones, 2) energy parks take loads of time to make and are really best suited to big landmasses and high (2000m+, 3000m is better) elevations, 3) specialists are immune to inefficiency, 4) the base can still crawl minerals and kick out the military units and 5) cheap choppers can ruin energy parks like you wouldn't believe.

                    Still, if you're running Morgan, there's nothing else to do, although when I "actually played Morgan" (it was on Citizen difficulty, couldn't do it on any other level) I was pulling 500+ cash per turn, allowing me to buy any clean military units I wanted. One major problem is the -5 Police of Free Market means you have to get the Ascetic Virtues SP for the +1 Police, unless you just want to use intercepters...

                    I'm playing the Spartans on Librarian right now, and trying to work on that Specialist base concept. I suppose if you had Hab-Domes and snotloads of food coming in you can feed an unholy number of specialists with +X Labs. As Spartan, which I prefer because I find it the easiest faction to play, I have to keep in the tech race to squash my arch-rivals. #1 is the Hive which is my SWORN ENEMY FOR ALL TIME. #2 is the Believers but once you get a solid offensive going on the Believers (especially if you beat them to Impact Rovers) then they are a pretty whimpy faction MAINLY because of their terrible research rates AND there's no research until 2010 meaning that they can't get formers quick enough to get the core bases going. Most the other factions like the Gaians are pretty much a push over because they're not really warmongers and the University, if you can keep ahead of him, is just a wash. I like warmongering because it solves all questions about economy, politics, __________ you name it: it doesn't matter anymore when they're trodden down to some distant corner.

                    EDIT: The Monsoon Jungle (especially when it's a huge mass of it) can be simple extraordinary for bases. +1 Nutrient every square means that even before Tree Farms, you've got 2-2-1 for squares, 2-2-2 if there's rivers all over the place. Add Tree Farms and you've got 3-2-2, 4-2-4 if they're Hybrid Forests. Can't really beat those squares. My favorite is the Garland Crater which is great in the early game for cranking out SPs because in the early game you're stuck with farm + solars which give you a "Okay" 2-1-1 or 2-1-2 (standard moist + rolling) mainly because you need the extra nutrient to feed the next pop so that the base will grow. But the Garland Crater has +1 min so you get 2-2-1 or 2-2-2s easily (drill rivers inside the rim so it flows in) and with forests, you get 1-3-1 or 1-3-2, with Tree farms they get bumped to 2-4-1 or 2-4-2s without much difficulty. Assuming you've got one base inside the crater then with a Hybrid Forest you have 3-4-4 without a lot of work. Not bad...and crawl extra minerals from the outside and it is a real good base to prototype/make your first nuke/secret project powerhouse/whatever. I also like Mount Planet but just crawl the minerals -- 6 minerals from one rocky square near the peak. For the Geothermal Shallows, don't plop bases near it -- crawl all the energy (and guard it with clean SAM foils and what not) to your HQ or other base that has low inefficiency, as it's easy to pull 75+ energy from that area.
                    Last edited by 551262; July 8, 2013, 16:21.


                    • #11
                      Crawlers are nice and all, but if you do the math, they're inferior to colony pods in almost every way, IF you can control the territory and keep your efficiency high. A supply crawler and a colony pod both cost 3 mineral rows, but all a supply crawler will ever harvest for you is one tile worth of resources. A base starts off collecting a bit less overall than a crawler can, but eventually will contribute SO much more to your faction's overall wealth and power.

                      That's the real power of a specialist strategy: It frees you from the shackles of efficiency, and unleashes the massive power of bases. Think about it this way: No matter what how many resources you're harvesting, each of your bases can only build one thing, each turn. This also applies to your research: When your base contributes its lab count to your current goal, any leftovers are discarded. So if you have 9,999/10,000 labs banked and the game collects 300 from your capital city, you just wasted 299 labs.

                      This concept also frees you pretty well from the stock 'crawler rush' build order. I've been playing Sparta with an early beeline for Intellectual Integrity, and it's proven profoundly effective. Early access to 1/1/1 police units means I can support infinite 4 population bases with just 1 garrison and a recreation commons. Once there you head over to grab Planetary Networks, and proceed to probe your neighbors for their every last tech, and run Demo/Planned/Knowledge for the rest of the game. With a second police garrison, you've got 6 quelled drones to work the land around your base, and everyone else can be a specialist, and there's no limit to the size of your empire, save your ambition and the capacity of the map. The only early project I bother to ensure I grab is the Command Nexus (which my initial beeline makes a pretty easy grab). The Citizen's Defense Force is also a good bargain, as it keeps it out of the hands of my future underlings. The rest I'll be acquiring later by means of military conquest, so I don't mind if the faction that built it enjoys its use in the meantime.

                      Do crawlers still play a role in my playstyle? Sure. I use them to harvest a single condenser farm near each base, so I can also run a thermal borehole for a big boost to mineral and energy income. But they're not the miracle unit some players seem to attest.


                      • #12

                        Good point. I think you might be able to answer my next question:

                        Any faction that has +4 Support can get 4 units free per base OR up to the base size. Here's the deal. Spartans don't have +2 support by a SE choice that is worth the damage in other departments other than running PS. Fund/Planned/Knowledge is my preferred choice once the pop boom age is over. But...the Cloning Vats SP removes the negative effects of running Power. I believe (I haven't tried it yet, although I'd love to) by having the CV SP and the Living Refinery SP means that you do get +4 support. If you have BIG size 30 bases packed with specialists working on the Labs and Econ, with crawlers running the edge of ecodamage (which if you do have a ton of bases all with Tree Farms, then 40+ mins is realistic, before the Robotic Assembly Plants start going around), then you're practically unstoppable because you don't have to run clean reactors yet still have a massive army.

                        Thoughts? I tried playing Miriam for the first time a bit back and was kind of put off by it. I don't know about Yang as I have rarely played him so I'm not sure how that would work. Most of my games end right about the time of Plasma Shard weapons as I like to take the full advantage of Chaos Guns versus Plasma Steel Armour which we know how good that works; as once the Silksteel armour comes out then the attack value starts to diminish (just like Impact versus Synthmetal).


                        • #13
                          In my experience, +support isn't really very important. Why? Because either you're using your troops to whomp your enemies' skulls, or you should be disbanding them down to sustainable levels into fruitful projects that increase your faction's power. And Democracy is just TOO GOOD to pass up, which means that to reach +4 support you need to actually have +6 to offset the -2 from Democracy, AND you can't use Police State. (The biggest drawback of running PS is not running Demo). So save clean reactor for garrisons and formers, and just pay upkeep on your troops when you need them.

                          Miriam, she's a challenge to get up and running because you're on the back foot early, but can be an epic powerhouse with good play. That +25% to attack is fiendishly strong. The support bonus isn't nearly as big a deal, because you still want to be running Democracy, so it's effectively one free mineral per base, meh. Sure, she researches slow, but probes will keep you at tech parity, letting you pound your enemies in the field.

                          Yang is actually worse off in the long run, with no good way to pop boom and a crummy economy. Being immune to the efficiency penalties of Planned/Police takes some of the sting out, as does the industry and growth bonuses. This is a faction that really NEEDS the Cloning Vats to shine, and it's going to have a really hard time reaching it. The one backhanded good bit is that since you're pretty much locked into Police State, you actually might get a look at +4 support, not that you'll want to build all those units to fill it up, though running 3+ formers per base certainly has possibilities. However, I've generally found Yang and Miriam both better suited for the dumb-as-a-sack-of-hot-doorknobs AI, who can't seem to stop building crummy units when they ought to be building infrastructure.

                          As for weapons, you can crush Silksteel with Impact weapons with the right tactics, especially vs. the AI. Just probe away their fortifications, and use artillery to shell them to half-health, and then mop up. Remember that infantry gets +25% attack vs. bases, and rovers get +25% attack into flat or rolling terrain.


                          • #14
                            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.


                            • #15
                              Hmm. See I have (been) building units with clean reactors because I have to field quite a few of them. I suppose I could probably gun for the specialist strategy and try to pump cash into my coffers to upgrade the non-clean units to clean. Dunno.

                              Particularly with naval based strikes, you really do need lots of units. The favorite attack unit I use on the sea is something like 13-1-4*2 SAM-Clean foils. I think destroyers and cruisers with best-weapon-best-armour-AAA-Clean are very expensive so I think I should standardize on using the previous attack foils coupled with 1-6-4*2 AAA-whatever for defense and just plop them on the same square. Naval units can get shredded pretty easily with needlejets...and air defense is warranted in any case because proper invasions are essential for warmongers. Say you have 1-6-6*2 Trance Clean Destroyer Transports, when they're packed with rovers, marines and infantry attack units they can be rather precious. So we stack AAA defense units on top of them to make sure they're covered and surround the whole shebang with cheap attack and defense foils so that conventional missiles have a harder time getting in. Add destroyer probe teams and destroyer carriers and you're set.

                              I dunno. Are clean reactors really worthwhile? They are essential to fielding large armies if you don't have +4 support.

                              Also, more questions: Is it better to have best-weapon-best-armour attack troops for taking down bases, or is it better to field something like best-weapon-no-armour troops stacked on something like 1-6-1*2 AAA-ECM defense troops? I suppose if you take the base down in a single turn you're fine, but you still need ready defenses against counter-attacks. I suppose if you were playing against MP players then adding 1-6-1*2 Secure-Trance for good measure wouldn't be too bad, but I don't know if Secure abilities make the base that much more resistant to probe subversion, as base probe defense is probably more of a SE thing.

                              Even more questions:

                              What is the practical "limit" to turns per tech? Zak might be able to get 1 tech every two turns but I'm not sure about everyone else. Is 4 turns per tech "good enough"?

                              How much cash can a "real" Morganite get per turn? 25,000?

                              When starting out, while we're waiting for former tech to come down the tube (rather slow if you don't have a starting monolith or what have you, assuming you're not Zak or Deidre) what should I do? I build scout patrols until the formers are ready, then I disband + rush to get it out as fast as possible. Should I be doing something else like working on a colony pod?