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  • Great post, ShroudedMist! Do you think you could join us with our little experiment were going to do? I hope so. Sounds like I could learn from you.
    I've been on these boards for a long time and I still don't know what to think when it comes to you -- FrantzX, December 21, 2001

    "Yin": Your friendly, neighborhood negative cosmic force.


    • By the way, I also turn off tech trades, and minors really are just a bank account for the hurting I limit them or turn them off, too. These are parts of the game that one hopes will get more tuning. I also agree that map size REALLY changes how you play the game, and that's pretty fun. Also, good point about the Special Abilities. I think it's pretty normal for several weeks of people talking about imbalances only to find that things are actually different from what they first thought. That is to say, the public will have to provide Stardock a lot of input on those abilities for the next patches, which no doubt should be great.
      I've been on these boards for a long time and I still don't know what to think when it comes to you -- FrantzX, December 21, 2001

      "Yin": Your friendly, neighborhood negative cosmic force.


      • damn all of you!
        i stopped in to lurk when solver released his review, and next thing i know i bought DA earlier this week...i have barely slept since then, there's so much wrong with the game, except it has this one more turn quality to it that has kept me up late many nights this week. and they fixed the trade vessel crash i had in 1.3 that made me stop playing DL


        • Ha! korn's been hooked - only good things can result from this!
          "Stuie has the right idea" - Japher
          "I trust Stuie and all involved." - SlowwHand
          "Stuie is right...." - Guynemer


          • My work here is done...
            I've been on these boards for a long time and I still don't know what to think when it comes to you -- FrantzX, December 21, 2001

            "Yin": Your friendly, neighborhood negative cosmic force.


            • Well, howdy korn! Seems like it was yesterday that we were working on Spartan Chronicles!

              I'm not nearly as much of a power player as you are, and I know I'd enjoy your thoughts on GC2: DA. Perhaps you'll grace us with your own review?

              I'll be posting the GC2: DA - Apolyton University by tomorrow. You are, of course, welcome to join!



              • ShroudedMist,

                Iíve noticed that I can buy very advanced weapons tech from a minor or even a major AI for the right price. Jumping directly to an advanced Plasma or even a Phaser in the early game is a huge advantage, although it is annoying that the earlier (and now thoroughly irrelevant) techs still show up on the tech tree. Of course, I have to pay through the nose, but itís worth every tech I pay. Diplomatically challenged but warmonger AIs (Korath, Drengin, Yor) are very good targetsÖerÖtrading partners. Even a minor race can give you a boost. I think a fix would be to have the AI consider the Ďvalueí of all the techs you are skipping in addition to the tech you are getting. Therefore, if I am able to jump from Laser 2 to Plasma 3 I should have to effectively pay for all the levels in between. Or at least the AI should know what it is trading away.

                I havenít played SuperHive, but Iíve seen the Thalians AI spam the galaxy with colonies. In fact, the Thalians seem to produce colonies so fast that the populations of their later colonies are very low, resulting in pop levels that are crippling long term. Also, their near infinite range of colony ships means they wander all over the galaxy, so trying to box them in a bit is next to useless. A limiting factor might be their economy, since factories are useless if are no resources to keep then running. That said, I donít recall seeing the Thalianís economy crash, which occasionally happens to other AIs.

                I donít use autoexplore anymore for the exact reason you mention. It is a pain to have to brute-force my exploration, because if I donít the stupid scouts or survey vessels will bunch up in a konga line and explore the same territory in a nice little row.

                Yikes, if you play on Crippling youíre way ahead of me! I seem to hold my own on Painful, and perhaps I should move up a notch. I havenít tried Gigantic, either.

                Iím a little afraid of enabling the Force AI to use Max CPU. My PC (which meets the recommended specs for GC2 with only a little to spare) is already struggling, and it occasionally locks up. Also, when my XP screen saver engages I have to soft boot (a bug?) since the PC is totally hosed. Iíve seriously thought about running out to Frys to get some more RAM or maybe a new video card, but that seems excessive. When Iíve ended GC2 Iíve occasionally gotten a message about virtual memory being low. Hmpth.

                I love super events, too. I just got the event that puts a bloody spy on every planet in my empire. Since I have 50 planets or so it is taking FOR EVER to produce enough agents to get rid of the blasted spies. On bigger planets this is more annoying, but on small planets the spy is on my single factory, which cripples their growth. There are also significant diminishing returns for cranking up espionage spending, too. I think, however, that this affects the AI more than me, though. Does Jagged Knife effect all races? Or just evil?



                • I bought GC 2 late and everyone had stopped playing or at least posting about it, so I almost had to buy the expansion, just so I could learn with you guys.

                  I suck at it so far.

                  Don't try to confuse the issue with half-truths and gorilla dust!


                  • Sir Sage,

                    Iím sure Stardock appreciates your purchase!

                    I think the general consensus is that we (or most of us) haveÖlimitations - hence, the interest in exchanging ideas with others. So, please post your observationsÖ



                    • Great comments Hydro.

                      Crippling seems to be a nice level for me presently with Tech Trading, Minor Races and Max CPU use enabled. It's enough of a difference in how things turn out after the colonization phase to start pushing me out of my comfort zone to start thinking about trade routes and taking the fight to the enemy sooner.

                      Just for the hell of it, I tried a game at the next level (Masochistic I think?) last night with Minor Races and Tech Trading OFF. It made me laugh to see how much real estate the AIs were able to grab during the colonization phase. I started out in a great corner position far from the other AIs. There were no minor civs in the game to steal resources from me either. Given how much space was between me and the other AIs, I made sure to research Impulse engines early as well.

                      My typcial strategy is to focus more on hunting down the quality PQ 11+ planets intially but I was still only able to put a stake down in maybe 50% of the amount of area as my neighbors if that. I was getting encroach on by rival AIs that weren't even neighbors! The Drath and Iconians were my immediate neighbors so I offered some economic treaties to some of the AIs behind them to keep them preoccupied while I researched up the Planet Invasion tree to Advanced Troop Modules.

                      The biggest kicker that made me laugh was as follows. I finally get some Adv Troop Modules to carry 1000 troops per ship easily. I also already had Warp engines so I could take the fight to the enemy at 10 parsecs/wk easily. I get hit with a megaevent THE TURN BEFORE I GET MY FIRST TROOP SHIP COMPLETED THAT CAPS ALL MOVEMENT AT 5 parsecs/wk!!! Now that sucks lol. The biggest annoyance for me when fighting the AI is all the stupid little PQ 4-5 planets they've spammed out that are now sitting around every system. It was interesting playing without tech trading or minor civs though. I had to sit down and research all the offensive techs myself before I could start dealing with their military.

                      One major drawback to not having tech trading enabled was that I had a lot less options for what to trade with the other AIs to increase my standing with them or to bribe them with. The Altarians were showing Cool towards me so I'm thinking I'll simply go trade them a tech or two, go into the diplomacy screen and slapped my virtual forehead when I saw that I was going to be unable to offer them some juicy bribes via techs I owned.

                      Masochistic was finally a level where the AIs beat me to the punch on a NUMBER of the Galactic Projects and Trade Goods too. I lost out on the Restaurant of Eternity (despite having it halfway built), Micro Repair Bots, Aphrodisiac and a few others which was interesting to see.

                      All in all it was a good game (at least how far I got into it since I looked at the clock and it was already 2am). I'm looking forward to playing a few games on Masochistic with Minors and Tech Trading enabled again to see how things turn out.

                      It still seems to me like the tipping point economically is Xeno Trade Centers when I start to get back into the green. Partly this is due to me not being diligent with establishing enough trade routes, devloping economic starbases that overlap these trade routes, and scouting out and developing economic resources fast enough.

                      I always forget to focus early enough on the Xeno Entertainment tree either. The morale boost would allow me to maintain higher tax rates while I research and build some of the later economic buildings and trade routes.

                      That's what is so great about 4X games though. There is always some other tech being ignored when you rush up a different tech tree.


                      • Shroudedmist,

                        Ah, yes Ė the special event that limits speed. Iíve had that happen GC2: DA and it is galling to get this after spending so much time getting your sub-light space canoes to speed 7 (whheeeeeeee!). As far as I can tell, the effect is permanent, so at least youíll be able to use the extra space for other purposes: troop modules, weapons, armor.

                        Youíre quite correct about bumping up your economic base. The two early eco techs bump your eco ability by 15% together, and add that to the added boost of your planet improvements and that can be a tipping point. Without them (like in my current AAR game with the Thalians) it is very hard to get up and running.

                        The entertainment line is critical. You get a nice morale boost and improved planet tiles to boot. This bumps your happiness, which means you can squeeze more taxes out of your citizens.

                        But as always there are trade offs. As you say, that is the fun thing about this 4x gameÖ



                        • Firstly, been a while since I was around this forum (or Apolyton generally; that's what happens when a new Total War game comes out from CA ). I know I've already forgotten the economic system in GC II but I don't know what else I've forgotten since I put GC II on the shelf last year.

                          Pre first impressions

                          I paid the extra to get a CD posted as well as downloading it. I just like having a CD and a hard copy manual I guess, waste of money the more I think of it but never mind. I really noticed a problem with graphics first of all. I have a decent 2 year old machine (2.6 GHz, 768 MB memory) but with a poor graphics card (Radeon 9250 256 MB memory). It just managed to cope with GC II set at 1280x1024, though when using the wheel to zoom in to the image level (as opposed to the icon level when zoomed out, hope that's clear) it got really jerky. Space battles still looked ok though.

                          Dark Avatar has changed that: now even at the icon level it is very jerky and space battles look poor (the ships leave tracks and missiles/beam/gun shots sometimes show up distorted). Reducing resolution down to 1024x768 makes the battles look better but the main map screen looks poorer (though a bit less jerky). I accept that the 9250 isn't a great gaming video card but am a little surprised that it is struggling so poorly with DA, when it can run Medieval 2 Total War (just, I admit). But the game is still perfectly playable; I can live with it.

                          First impressions

                          Very nice. I love the different planet types that need techs before you can colonize them. Really changes the initial colony rush and for the better. Super abilities seem like a nice idea too, hope they are balanced well. Slowing down ship speeds and increasing engine space requirements good: it used to be I would put 2 engines on most ships for a cost penalty but little space penalty, now there's a tradeoff in both categories. Ship range still a mystery to me: I have freighters that can't reach some civs, so I design one with extra life support modules. Its range is the same as the earlier version - just like in GC II. Obviously I'm misunderstanding the system but it just doesn't make sense to me. The new espionage system is one of the few things I've not taken to but it doesn't intrude too much so no problem.

                          Overall, looks very promising. We'll see.

                          Second impressions

                          Played two games:

                          Large galaxy, Challenging, 7 AIs, Terrans
                          Huge galaxy, Tough, 8 AIs, Thalans

                          both with Common for most settings and default VCs
                          both with +1 speed and the minimum PQ bonus chosen

                          Large galaxy, Challenging, 7 AIs, Terrans

                          The Large game I've stopped playing when a win seems likely, though I may go back to complete mop up. We got down to a 3 way ending, Drengins, Thalans and me, with me being ahead in tech and the Drengins ahead in Military and overall (we were level in population). I choose Good which seemed to annoy the Drengins, who declared war on me - the first war of the game for me. They were about double my military strength but the Thalans, with about the same strength as me, joined on my side and once I survived the initial exchanges, my better tech started churning out superior ships and the result was sure.

                          The final was fun for a little while but surprised no wars before. I had a good starting position and also 2 good and 1 decent PQ planets of the same type (Radioactive?)
                          around. I was able to research the relevant tech in time to take them and so had a good home area without needing to attack anyone else.

                          The Terran Super Diplomat ability looks strong,. It is easy to out-trade the AI with an average ability; with the Super ability I was able to run rings around it - about half way through the tech tree I was the only one researching Missile tech and I was up to date with the latest in Beam & Gun too just by trading for them. Looks like tech trading is still a tough thing for the AI to get right. One example: once most planets are colonised, the value of the colonizing-barren/aqua/radioactive/etc techs should drop. Yet the AI still gives them a high value and will pay an arm & a leg for them.

                          Looks like for a challenging game you still need to turn off tech trading, though as has already been mentioned in this thread, that takes away one of the un parts of a 4X game.

                          The lack of aggression is another worry. Mind you, I'm a turtle player by nature, so it suits me in a way, but too much peace is bad

                          Huge galaxy, Tough, 8 AIs, Thalans

                          A bit tougher. Started with a corner position and not many systems close but to make up for it had a minor race hemmed in right in the corner and a great home planet: a 100 manufacturing bonus tile and a holy-grail 700 research bonus tile.

                          Out colonising the minor race isn't tough of course - he gets none of the few planets in the area. I manage to grab planets of PQ 9, 7 and 6 in the first rush, and there are three extreme environment worlds of 11, 8, 5 too. The 11 & 8 are the same type, so manage to tech up to colonise them, in one case a few turns before the Iconian refuge clony ship arrives. Nice result but still left with just 6 planets on Huge and only the home world is a good one.

                          Tech up to Planetary invasion earlier than usual and take out the Minor race to get a 15 PQ which is pretty well developed. The AI seems better than GC II at using bonus tiles for the right buildings but still occasional stupid decisions, particularly for small planets with only 4 or 5 tiles.

                          My next target is thee Iconian Refuge, who only have 4 worlds and their home the only good one. Decide to turtle for a bit first, waiting for Advanced troop modules. I chose the Technology Party for this game which I though might suit the Thalans - those cheap factories seem to allow it to expand quickly at the start but I fell foul of spares planets in this game. Still a great ability for getting those new colonies with almost no production up to speed quickly. Asteroid belts can help here too if present.

                          Took out the Iconians easily enough with Medium hull ships with Missiles (about 5 x damage 3 for 15 with a 2
                          defence module against their Beams I think). From memory, have defences been nerfed a bit in DA? They seem a little more expensive than I remember - I've noticed that the AI doesn't seem to bother with them much, at least not early.

                          Finally I get attacked, while 3rd in population and 4th overall, though 1st in tech as usual. The tech lead is just too easy, even with a normal diplomatic ability to start. I get diplomatic techs and the Translators galactic achievement and away we go. I had expected the Drengin to attack me - my relations with them went quickly sour once I moved a little towards leaning Good and my military score dropped as I didn't produce any new ships after the kill-Iconia fleet. Military score was down to about 50-40 and this seemed like a red rag to a bull to the Evil races; my relations with them dropped quickly.

                          I was just about to start producing my next line of best-ships-around when a random event (the classic Dinner with the Alterian Ambassador and you insult his wife one, heh) caused the Alterians to declare war on me.
                          They were already at war with the Drengins so that kept them busy until I had produced some Large hulled killers.
                          Current state of the game is I have taken 6 Alterian planets and am heading for another victory. Still a bit of play in it though.

                          Final thoughts

                          Had fun so far. Some things improved, some problems still remain. The AIs still seem to all research the same weapons tech (usually beam) or two techs but leaves one alone (usually Gun). This makes it easy to research defences to their favourite and the weapon they ignore, since they won't have defences against it.

                          Worrying that with a bit of manipulation of your relations (keeping an eye open for problems) I could go for so long without wars. But only 2 games, maybe too early to tell.
                          If a man speaks in a forest and there is no woman to hear him... is he still wrong?


                          • Nice summary.

                            I was wondering if certain AIs like certain weapon types. The Drengin, for instance, seem to go for missiles. But then, Iíve seen them go beams, too.

                            Interesting choice with Thalian and tech party. I choose Industrialist, and with points to military and social spending found I quickly produced ships and infrastructure Ė and went quietly broke doing it. Technology party might be a nice compliment to the natural productivity of the Hive super ability.

                            There was one quirk with the Thalians, however. You can build a factory in one turn, but if you select a factory and then select BUY then youíll pay the rush price. Instead Iíd select and place the factory, then re-select and then BUY it for the much lower (by a factor of ~4) list price. Importantly, factories do not naturally build in one turn Ė you have the option of paying full (but not list) price and any point in the construction schedule. This, frankly, is a huge benefit and can rapidly increase your production ability. Of course, the flip side is you have to get your economy ramped up, too, or youíll have lots of idle factories. That is where I didnít do as well when I played Thalians.



                            • Yeah, Federalist is clearly the best party for Thalans. Hive + economy =

                              I would never do industrialist for Thalans. I mean why? I also made the mistake of choosing +PQ bonus with Thalans. Doesn't work. Thalans need money money money money.....
                              Fight chicken abortion! Boycott eggs!