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4X The Unsurpassed Brian Reynolds' Alpha Centauri thread

Discussion in 'Strategy and Simulation' started by The Brazilian Slaughter, Jul 30, 2015.

?

Favorite Faction?

  1. Gaia's Stepdaughters

    17.6%
  2. Human Hive

    11.8%
  3. University of Planet

    32.6%
  4. Morgan Industries

    17.1%
  5. Spartan Federation

    6.4%
  6. The Lord's Believers

    10.2%
  7. U.N Peacekeepers

    4.3%
  1. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    Considering how SMAC is all the rage lately on the Codex with all the PBEM gaming going and the fact that since kyrub's fantastic work on the AI, the game was pretty much reborn, its very much natural that we get a proper SMAC thread.

    It is time, men.
     
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  2. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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  3. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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  4. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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  5. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    Question: What's the usual settings you play with?

    Map settings: I used to play everything max, but today I play with Huge Map (hate playing with small maps in Strategy games), Average Erosion, Average Native Life, Average Cloud Cover, Transcend. Usually 50-70% water, but lately I have been getting a lot of annoying sea worlds composed of small islands or a few island-continents, which I consider boring, so I have started to play with 30-50% instead (also because Map of Planet is 50% water).

    Game Rules:
    - Higher Goal: Yes (although while its story-line fascinating, I think Transcendence is the most boring way of winning - its pretty much rush-building the Ascent to Transcendence with the ridiculous amounts of energy you have in the end)
    - Total War: Yes
    - Peace in Our Time: Yes
    - Mine, All Mine: Yes
    (never won a economic victory - anyone ever did?)
    - One For All: Yes
    - Do or Die: Nope (don't wanna lose players to worms or early-game rushes)
    - Look First: Used to play with this until I realized I was 'sperging and OCDing about the most optimal starting position, restarting over and over until I got THE PERFECT STARTING POSITIAN. Even today I still sperg a lot over optimal city placement - not a ICS sort of guy at all.
    - Tech Stagnation - Usually yes. Otherwise I think the game is over too quickly, by 2300s you're already transcending.
    - Spoils of War - Used to, but I realized it was a lame and made aggressive strategies too strong
    - Blind Research - Used to, but I think Blind Research, while a great and very logical idea, is sort of a raw mechanic.
    - Intense Rivalry - Used to (no idea why). I think its absolutely unnecessary unless you want to have Vendettas with almost everyone - The AI is very aggressive as it is, especially the aggressive trio (Yang, Miriam, Santiago). Even the less aggressive factions can be rather violent when they want to - its always surreal to meet Morgan and have him declare his hate of you instantly.
    - No Unity Survey - Does anybody plays with this? Seems to spoil all the fun imho.
    - No Unity Scattering - Never played with this, it does make sense on some levels, one might argue that Unity Pods unbalance the game towards the player because, unlike the AI, you're smart enough to start cranking transports once you're finished with all the pods on your continent. Result is you get dozens of alien artefacts and a lot of credits.
    - Bell Curve - Nah, I like random events (except the one that nukes your sattelites, that shit is just crap)
    - Time Warp - Never played with it, but I hear its actually a very balanced option, especially if you can easly surpass the AI with your starting strategy alone.
    - Iron Man - No.
    - Randomize faction leader personalities - Anyone ever did this? I wonder if it works well, partly because the personalities are very condutive to their playstyles. Pacifist Believers or Spartans would't do well, I think.
    - Randomize faction leader social agendas - I think I did this once, no idea what happened. Could be retarded fun, tho.

    Also, because I play on Huge maps with Tech stag, I change a few things on Alpha.txt: Diminish tech rate (anywhere between 50% and 80% - that's because of Kyrub's patch making the AI tech faster, which results in tech trade eventually bringing a early singularity), increase Secret Project price (3x on giga-maps, 2x or 2,5 on more normal maps), nerf Global Warming a bit. Would make cashed-in Alien Artifacts worth more at the same rate, but I could't find anything about it.
     
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  6. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Map settings: Random maps, everything standart. I prefer less watery maps since naval combat in the game is retarded, naval travel is made almost completely irrelevant by air units, and naval bases can't really compete with land ones and are a pain to defend, which ensures that colonizing water is a fool's errand. On the other hand, water limits the ICSing, and that might be a welcome change sometimes.

    Difficulty level is always Transcend, though it limits the successful strategies somewhat.

    I am into micro-management. My energy reserves are empty 99% of the time because of all the other stuff I hurry. And since I am an ICSer, too, I never run out of stuff to hurry.

    A victory of Transcendence is a necessity if one finds themselves in a stalemate with another superpower. On the other hand, there is no real 'Project race' to speak of, since the one to discover the final tech can usually build the Projects in 1 turn by that time with all the crawlers he has.

    Most of the games end this way.

    For those games where I am too lazy to conquer every last thing.

    I managed to try and corner the market once when playing Morgan and getting something like 1000 credits per turn. The opponent surrendered, so I couldn't actually verify how it works. :lol:

    Don't see why not.

    Depends. One shouldn't really lose early to worms (there are safeguards against that in-game and if you do lose, that's on you and your reckless style), and if you are wiped out by an early game rush you are so far behind that you might as well be dead anyway. But I still have this on as a method to keep computer players in game.

    Obligatory for me. Even though more often than not it does not make a difference, it really pays off when it does.

    Indifferent about it. By 2300s the game is over one way or the other.

    Lame. Espionage is gimped so that tech stealing and infiltration are the only viable options anyway, no need to make it completely redundant.

    The game is designed in a really stupid unfortunate way - some research paths give you power to tear the opposition down, and some give you squat. There are techs that don't give you anything except for a techpoint cost increase for the next research topic. The ones who make it first to Industrial Automation or Doctrine: Air Power gain an overwhelming advantage. This setting makes it worse.

    However, if you rebalance the research tree with a mod so that more research paths are viable, it doesn't look so terrible anymore. As it is, though, it is just a challenge option for playing against AI or for fun.

    It is a 'dogpile human player' option. Useful when you are playing a duel against another player and do not want AIs influencing the match too much.

    Tried it a few times, didn't like it.

    Obligatory for me. It was fun to 'check the huts' in single player, but in multi it often creates an unfair advantage for one player. One finds nutrient resourses and expands explosively, the other finds a can of worms.

    It gets even worse in the expansion where 6-3-1 Ogres can be found in Pods from Turn 1. One of my games was a ~Turn 20 6-Orge-rush. The opponent had 4 bases with 1-1-1 Scouts. :lol:

    I like them too, and they provide a small incentive to develop infrastructure.

    Don't really use it. Some AI choices are beyond ridiculous, like never bothering to learn Centauri Ecology by 2150. And I think you start with a staggering techcost for some reason, so there is a chance you won't be able to.

    No.

    House rules include not using Crawlers. Ever. I found my games much more interesting without them, be it against AI or human opponents.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
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  7. Monkeyfinger Augur

    Monkeyfinger
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    Seconded on no crawlers. Managing those things is so damn time consuming and boring that no matter how much of an advantage they offer I can never be bothered.
     
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  8. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Currently University Morgan
    Map settings:

    Huge Map, 50-70 water, no erosion but dense cloud cover. Huge Map of Planet

    Game Rules:
    - Higher Goal: Yes
    - Total War: Yes
    - Peace in Our Time: Yes
    - Mine, All Mine: Yes.
    - One For All: Yes
    - Do or Die: Nope.
    I dont want to lose customers and/or pawns.
    - Look First: Nope. To find better location I used restart, not this feature. need to have some fun exploring.
    - Tech Stagnation - Usually yes.
    - Spoils of War - Yes. It put heavy pressure on me to defend well, or pay for peace before loss.
    - Blind Research - No. Never like that kind of shitty feature.
    - Intense Rivalry - Yes. This will have strong effect on Morgan's trade policies which is unfortunate.
    - No Unity Survey - Yes.
    - No Unity Scattering - Cause the micromanagement of artifacts annoy me.
    - Bell Curve - I like random events.
    - Time Warp - Nope. Play a sucky position and sucky development just sucks~
    - Iron Man - No.
    - Randomize faction leader personalities - No. Cause it make for a consistent story.
    - Randomize faction leader social agendas -No. See above.

    Abandon the University game when my naval invasion captured Gaian Landings. Now it's a matter of moving infantry and calvary across the maps, ie logistic for that long campaign after a blitz. Meanwhile my feint upnorth tie up a lot of their jets and heli. That help my feint down south gained some real estates even though I dont plan for its success.
    This Morgan game has me shared a continent with Peacekeeper. Lal could be a good customer if he can stand me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
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  9. TripJack Prestigious Gentleman Hedonist

    TripJack
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    only homos turn off blind research
     
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  10. Grotesque ±¼ Patron

    Grotesque
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  11. The Great Deceiver Trickster Patron

    The Great Deceiver
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Absolutely amazing game with an unparalleled atmosphere. I still remember The Dream Catcher secret project video (and The Self-Aware Colony). Just how many strategy games have this wonderful, and often uneasy, feeling of exploring the unknown? And it's not just the Planet that's fascinating - it's also the possible direction of human progress. I loved the story intersections too (even though I know them by heart by now unfortunately).

    I remember enjoying the Journey to Centauri episodes a lot, even contemplated buying the books - did anyone read those?

    P.S. Blind research or bust, earthzakharov.
     
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  12. Renegen Arcane

    Renegen
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    RESERVED
     
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  13. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    My Morgan share a continent with Peacekeeper and that fucker press me right from the start with Recon Rover upto Chaos Marines.

    Thank God I keep him contain at the bottleneck, then taking his bottleneck city to rename approriately Toll Booth. This battlefield is bloody like WW1 with around 60+ dead units in total. Mostly Lal's because my Morganites aint gonna die stupidly like that.

    It illustrate perfectly the failure of single stack. Once a stack get damaged 3-4 times, they are gone. Poof. Bam~ There goes 30 other units in the stack! So you should keep units in a tile down to no more than 4.

    Transcend Difficulty and Stagnant Research is so slow, especially for a non-University.
     
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  14. Agesilaus Antiquity Studio Patron Developer

    Agesilaus
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Codex USB, 2014
    Never played it, should I bother? Or is this game cruising by on nostalgia alone at this point? It doesn't look all that interesting.
     
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  15. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    Still one of the best 4X there is.
    Play it now, patch it up, download Kyrub's patch as well for AI boost and ignore SMAX.
     
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  16. mastroego Arcane

    mastroego
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    I think the Codex might view it as "the Jagged Alliance 2" of 4x strategy games.
    (I never played JA2 but I know the Codex's consensus about it).

    It does a few things no other 4x game ever did, and it does other things with a depth no other 4x ever did - or did since, either.
    The UI is outdated, and that might be discouraging to new players.
    It is to me as well, sometimes.
    But there's no other 4x like SMAC, no matter how or where you go searching.
     
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  17. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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  18. Grotesque ±¼ Patron

    Grotesque
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    Oh, but please do educate us how the UI is outdated!
     
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  19. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    Query: Anyone knows a good balance mod for SMAC? I have looked at alphacentauri2 and saw TurboSMAC (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=20) by Dilithium Dad and SMAniaC Platinum by Maniac, but the latter is for SMAX.

    Also Alexander's Advanced Hydromechanics mod seems interesting: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=16

    Didn't like these mods much, so I have taken upon myself to do some homebrewing. I know, I know, SMAC is sacred, but does the sacred brook no improvement?


    Some things I wanted to do:
    - Anyone knows if you can give foils and cruisers the ability to retreat to a adjacent square, like rovers and hovertanks do?
    - Any idea on how to change mag tube's bonus? I think infinite movement rate is too cheesy (especially in a Pangea map, like the one I just downloaded and plan to play soon), I was thinking of 10 or 12.
    - Thinking about taking out the Hybrid Forest's bonus. Forests are too powerful. I think 3-3-2 is too powerful, 2-2-2 is already fantastic.
    - Thinking about putting fungus bonuses earlier, as it is by the time fungus becomes useful, you have scrubbed all that crap from your territory and put some nice forests in its place. May copy some mods.

    Thinking about buffing Spartans and Morganites a bit - I think they're the weakest factions in the game, Spartan AI usually becomes mega-powerful early on (early-game conquest spree or Moonsoon jungle) or remains a middling power, while Morganites have a rough start and I only saw them doing fantastic in a game, like, once (in the Naval Action map, Morganites were rich and pwning the Spartans in a never-ending war, lol. Probes, I think.).
     
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  20. lemon-lime Educated

    lemon-lime
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    No mouse-over tooltips. In-game datalinks tech tree is functional but very uncomfortable to navigate. Scrolling through your unit designs in the workshop ...

    If you like to play a Civilization style game in a sci-fi setting, then SMAC is still worth it. The setting is well thought out and the presentation is very atmospheric.
    Here is some beginner advise: In addition to The Brazilian Slaughter's tips (Kyrub's patch etc.) don't bother with the lower difficulty settings. The "Librarian" setting is where you should start. The lower difficulties tend to teach you to do dumb stuff. (They certainly did to me.)
    There is a better way to give you some edge for your first game. Play as Gaians on a customized map that plays to that factions strengths: Sparse cloud cover, abundant native life, sparse minerals. Those are basically the most hostile map conditions, making the game generally harder, for every faction that isn't the Gaians. It'll give you a head-start.
    If you play with Kyrub's patch (which you should), using the custom rule Tech Stagnation is also very advisable.

    It's generally a good idea to look through all the options in the preferences, turn on detailed menus, and the look through them to see what actions are at your disposal.
    Also important for your enjoyment of SMAC: Turn off the fucking annoyances! I used to hate SMAC's unit editor, until I disabled auto-designing new units in the preferences - you can keep auto-obsolete on. Design and update your handful of unit types by hand. It sounds like more hassle than the automatic way, but ultimately it isn't. Also turn off the in-game tutorial messages in the same preferences menu. Read the manual instead.
     
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  21. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    Because I have nothing better to do, I didn't like a Pangea map I downloaded so I decided to make my own based on Pangea Ultima hypothetical super-continent. SMAC really seems lacking in the map department, lots of scenarios but not many maps. Wish there was a bit more stuff in the map too - like impassable land (I had an idea for a map full of cliff-islands that can't be gotten off with ships - you need air units to settle in non-cliffed islands). Really feel like SMAC lacks world variety - can't do frozen worlds, at best something mid-way between Mars and Earth (cold, arid maps). Then again, Chiron was definitively meant to be within certain parameters.

    From what I know of supercontinents:
    - Lush coast (wet in equator, increasingly dry as it goes north?)
    - Arid and mountainous interior
    - Low sea levels. (good news for sea colonizers)

    So I'm thinking expansion follows those patterns:
    - Coastline driven: More nutrients, less minerals. Will probably run out of space eventually. Lacks the industrial powerhouse of the arid continent.
    - To the sea: Lots of nutrients and energy, low minerals, a few islands, much fungus
    - Continental oasis: Formed around a few isolated lakes and rivers, lots of minerals and some food surrounded by arid lands. Starting here sucks for expansion, but rocks for industry and energy.
    - Arid Continental Lands: Low on nutrients, high on rocky squares and elevation (energy!). Great mining area. Requires tech and terraforming to become really livable.

    I have to test with and without default forest nutrients, if forests won't make arid terrain useful it make the map a lot more harsh.

    I love the dynamic climate-terrain-elevation system of SMAC. Makes making maps so much easier and better.
     
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  22. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    One cool series of cool map concepts might be just taking the Map of Planet and just giving several treatments: Mash it into a Pangea (Panchiron?), or mash it then thrown the continents to other directions, etc.
     
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  23. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    I was going to make one. I still have the alphax file somewhere on my PC. It mostly amounts to juggling some values around and making the research in multiple directions viable.

    It doesn't change the game all that much, except for some of the more questionable alterations. I guess I can list some of those that I found working well.

    They already do. If you attack a cruiser with a foil (a slower unit), it will retreat. Not that it matters, as you can bombard it and it won't budge as per the retarded rules of artillery combat. :M

    No way that I am aware of.

    Hybrids are very expensive, as you would quickly find in multiplayer games. However, that's hardly a counter-argument, as it serves to make the ones that are already ahead climb the power graph up even faster. But maybe making forests 1-1-1 and removing the penalty from farming in a mine square would solve your problem?

    Mines and boreholes would still be your go-to strategy for minerals, and farm+condenser combos will be better for food. Late game (~Centauri Psi) you can use fungus to get ~2-2-2 without any buildings.

    Instead of taking away the bonus consider moving it farther up the research tree if you find it too strong. Many of the perceived imbalanses are due to you receiving the technology too early where there aren't comparable solutions in other tech branches.

    Yes. That is one of the changes I did, and though Green still does not compare with Free Market economically, it becomes a viable alternative.

    Centauri Ecology (+1 food) - Empathy (+1 mineral) - Meditation (+1 energy) - already as good as an unmodified forest.

    Genetics (+1 food) - Psi (+1 mineral) - 2-2-1 fungus with no modifiers, 3-2-1 for Gaians.

    One can add something to Ecological Engeneering or Advanced Ecological Engineering to make it even better.
     
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  24. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    This. Basically, native life and sparse cloud is designed for Gaia. Add in the option that make factions NOT aggressive will afford you a very long time of peace, enough to advance to powerful. That is basically the tutorial scenario for beginner.

    For storyfags, either play University or Gaia. gaia is more atmospheric, but University is more detailed~

    EDIT: On another note...

    I basically leave other factions in other continents alone to concentrate on Peacekeepers and internal development. My guesstimate is when I finally reduce Lal to a subordinate position I would occupy most of the central continent and develop them to a faretheewell.

    Morgan is certainly a different beast compared to Gaia or University. The enforced small size pre-habitation dome ensure that you really should build cities near each other, as we will play with max 11+2 peep/city for most of the game. It is certainly an anathema to others' big cities approach. The slow growth doesnt help either.

    It is so bad that I have to do this kind of trick: build a new city. Due to a secret project it up to 3 peep instantly. Use that kind of labour to build more pods and close up that city to finally rebuild it
     
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  25. Grotesque ±¼ Patron

    Grotesque
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    I recommend using the in-depth manual that this exquisite game comes with.
    Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, the game from a time where reading paper was considered cool!

    Also the game comes with a big ass tech paper map which you can use to tuck in bed our kids with, hide their bodies or cover up that prison escape tunnel entrance.


    [​IMG]
    finicalities!
    (obsolete button is king)


    P.S. : are you a douchebag pirate like me and you don't have access to all the memorabilia the gamebox came with??? :)
     
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