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Supply crawlers only good for sercret projects/prototypes?

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  • Supply crawlers only good for sercret projects/prototypes?

    I find supply crawlers very useful, yet some aspects don't seem worth the cost. Yes, using supply crawlers for a powerful secret project like cloudbase academy or cyborg factory works wonders. Yet, making a thermal borehole somewhere and using the supply crawler doesn't seem worth it. Here's why:

    1. Mindworms destroy the terraformer/borehole/supply crawler
    2. Spore launchers SMACX only destroys improvements like crazy, for SMACX I've basically given up on everything except roads/sensors/forests because of this. I find terraforming up/down/level more useful then say farms/solar collectors.
    3. Cost vs other production. I've often found its just easier to conqueror the AI than to build supply crawlers. Often a spore launcher on SMACX just cripples several AIs and its so easy just to swoop right in.
    4. AI sneak attacking with navy/air units destroying improvements/supply crawlers etc.

    It almost seems you have to have the game won before you can start terraforming. I mean it doesn't make sense when a thermal borehole takes 12-16 turns to build and can be destroyed by a rogue artillery in one round. Also on harder difficulties the AI is way more aggressive, to the point on transcend the Drones declared war on me despite being a lot weaker and can quickly wreck havoc on my improvements.

    Its hard enough to keep your sea formers alive, let alone supply crawlers. AI makes a sea colony real near you masses air and goes to town. Why, waste resources when you should be defending yourself. Yes, yes after you've won it can be fun to crank out 30+ terraformers and a few supply crawlers. I guess I'm puzzled because in theory supply crawlers should work, build a thermal borehole somewhere and blam +6 mineral for your army. Yet, your almost always better off building another colony pod or impact rover instead.

    Edit: Trying drones on easiest difficulty, but only one city. I got to supply crawlers fairly fast. Quickly got up to size 14 and the weather paragrim. I was able to trade a lot of techs. Problem is the planet Cult keep sending in weak units and destroying my supply crawlers. Its hard to guard each one. With condensors + farms its easy to get 3 nutrients from a tile. Somewhat fun, and I do see the merit in grabbing 30 or so minerals, lots of nutrients, and putting the rest in lots and lots of energy.

    I don't see raising the terrain to the max level as that useful. Forests + rivers seem the way to go for the tiles around base. Gives 1 2 2. The main problem is that just like in Civ 3 and 4 that the earliest and weakest combat unit can go in and destroy your key supply lines. Do you really want to guard each individual supply crawler? Also the fact that you can only produce one unit a turn per base. The center city square is so much easier to guard than the outlining farms and mines.

    I'm finding the closer the supply crawler is to the city square the easier. So have a ring of farm with supply crawlers harvesting around your bases. That way you get more specialists. One bonus is efficiency doesn't matter at all. On the flip size +2 efficiency Lady Diedre can build a lot of bases before inefficiency becomes a concern.

    Another update, played to around year 2350 with drones, then the AI got air power, guess what? It seems air forces are the ultimate against terraformers/crawlers. This is only on the easiest difficulty. Also my computer is lagging now. Seemed fine to the fungus started popping every turn. Anyways in short any type of strategy that relies heavily upon non-growing improvements like solar collectors can be easily thwarted with a good air force. Since on Transcend with tech trading the AI can get air power very early I conclude supply crawlers are mostly a waste.

    I could never get enough energy, thermal boreholes with merchant exchange and free market were only giving 8 energy, 9 with river.
    Last edited by ReconRoverRush; February 20, 2014, 21:18. Reason: didn't want to bump, additional info

  • #2
    Could you please post some game saves ? I'm quite puzzled by your problems.
    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


    • #3
      Originally posted by BlackCat View Post
      Could you please post some game saves ? I'm quite puzzled by your problems.
      I will I have my easiest diff drone game and my Hive diff 2 game, I just played and I basically beat the game before supply crawlers became available. Its just I don't know how lol. I know where the sav is located, but how do I attach the .sav to this post?

      Its not a valid file type. Smalldronesdiff1.SAV


      • #4
        I bet you could just rename it Smalldronesdiff1.txt and the guy who downloads it could put the .sav back.


        • #5
          Just zip it - that's a valid file type.

          Also makes it easier if posting more than one save.
          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


          • #6
            Sorry, now I can't figure out how to add attachments in the thread, wait I hit go advanced and that gave me what I wanted, silly quick reply.

            Should be 2 files, a hive and drone game. The hive game emphasis that you can win the game before supply crawlers become available. The drone game is a one city challenge and my struggle against aggressive AIs destroying my improvements/crawlers.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              First, I prefer to have "pause at end of turn" set - otherwise it's quite difficult to organise say an attack.
              Second, never set formers to autoimprove/automatic fungus removal. The program will gladly send a former from one end of the continent to the other for building a road that another former finishes in one turn. And no, the moving former will not stop moving just because the road is finished. If you want to use auto, then set them to "autoimprove base" (btw. you have several arid tiles, they can become pretty good with condensers).
              Third, why automate your war units ?
              Fourth, if you have governor on then don't allow them to build units - you know way better what you need.
              Fifth, you are way too nice - you have obviously been to war with several factions wich now sits on small pockets. Unfortunatedely they are now pacted with others so if you try to mop up one faction, youre fighting a two front war.
              Keep a couple of rovers ready for hunting spore launchers when they pop up.
              The easiest way to get rid of fungal towers is to bombard them with rover arty until they are decently weakned so a rover can kill them. Another, but more time wasting, is to remove fungus around them since it reduces their size, but that terraformaing capacity could be used better otherwise.

              In the OCC, AAA rovers are quite good to fend off air attacks (well, at least when you get fusion wich happend a couple of turns after your save).
              Raise terrain next to svensgaards bases - when they get land locked have sufficient probe teams ready to rape it for science, datalinks and enegy befor you take and destroy it. Interceptors are also giid to fend off air attacks. Then wait for clean reactor, upgrade and start making a rover army to get rid of the basterds.

              Hope I make sense
              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


              • #8
                I haven't looked at your items but I'm mostly replying to BlackCat's post...

                1) Seconded on the "Pause at end of turn". The reason is because without it, you'll never know when all your possible moves are up, neither will you be able to have a last look at your setup before the turn is handed over. Having it off will significantly impede your wartime attacks.
                2) Same with the auto-formers. Learn how to manage formers without auto, because auto formers don't know anything about terraforming. Basic terraforming I talked about here in this post.
                4) The Governer was intended to help new players, but you'll learn faster and better by controlling everything yourself. Instead of playing on larger maps with the Governer on, start on Tiny or Small maps with a lower difficulty. The reduced number of bases and units means you can spend more time on each, increasing your learning with each game. SMAC is not an easy game.

                To tackle fungal towers, I wait for the empath ability. Then I build two empath scout rovers to go out and meet the enemy. If I have a base that is bringing in lots of minerals per turn (usually the Garland Crater) then I build two 1-1-1*2 Trance Empath rovers (1-3r-1*2 Empath Trance if I'm playing SMAC-X) to defend and attack native life.


                • #9
                  I agree with that, except for the small maps. Larger maps are easier, if only because you will always build smarter than the AI, and a larger map will leverage that.
                  No, I did not steal that from somebody on Something Awful.


                  • #10
                    The thing with larger maps is there is more to process per any given turn.

                    Newbies shouldn't be hit with a gigantic wall of things to look at and do in the early learning period. The first game I ever played was Standard MoP with Lady Diedre. Had I known better, I would have used a Tiny map, large landmass and Sparta. Oh well. (Still have three saved turns from that game. In retrospect, it'd take 50 years to fix the mistakes like putting plasma steel armor on needlejets.)


                    • #11
                      1. Mindworms destroy the terraformer/borehole/supply crawler.
                      Put some armor on the terraformer/crawler. Use Trance ability and SMAX armor.
                      2. Spore launchers: use empath units and SMAX weapons.
                      3. Cost vs other production.
                      Use the crawler to get energy (help build rush) and minerals (build facilities, SP and other units faster, helps support too).
                      4. AI sneak attacking with navy/air units
                      Patrol the seas with your navy units. You can bomard ships with artillery and attack them with marines.
                      Use interceptors to defend your land. Use SAM rovers/hovers, ships and helicopters to sink enemy aircraft.