Brandon Van Every

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Brandon Van Every last won the day on February 28

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About Brandon Van Every

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  1. This After Action Report is played with version 1.25 of my SMACX AI Growth mod. Behold the mask of doom. It's time for midterm elections in the United States! In a bright dystopian future somewhere far away, Commissioner Pravin Lal is thinking similarly. How can I get the People to accept nerve gas? It is so useful, in so many ways. If only Planet understood that it's a human thing. We want to do this to each other, it's nothing personal. Please just grow your fungal stalks as always and leave us to our war. In version 1.25 of my SMACX AI Growth mod, nerve gas is available almost immediately at the start of the game. That's because the consequences of using nerve gas so early are horrific! Planet throws a fit. Deluges and mindworms everywhere. Low chance of survival, and even if you do, likely to be nuked by an angry faction midgame. My last attempt at this was a complete debacle. I am hoping this time to deploy a new secret weapon: voting. Will the human Hive agree with Lal's brutal like-mindedness? Will the Cult of Planet prove curiously immune to toxic effects? Will Miriam finally find something else to believe in? And what about the mindworms, the precious mindworms??! TUNE IN to find out all that transpires!
  2. My SMACX AI Growth mod has been extensively playtested for you to enjoy! Be the 1st kid on your block to embrace the coolest game changes since it came out 20 years ago. Grind up your enemies with a better vision of society than previously possible, thus: I began this mod in mid-April of 2018. Its design, and all the playtesting needed to improve it, have taken 4 PERSON MONTHS of full time work to produce. In some other universe where I made money, that could have been a third of a year's salary! This mod aspires to professionalism, to be substantially better than the original game. I hope people will try and enjoy it, as that validates the effort spent. Please let me know if you find any bugs or omissions. DESIGN SUMMARY - I've tried to make the AI play better. That's really important. - Factions are better rounded, and most don't have penalties. This helps the AI. - Aliens are no longer overpowered. They are no better than normal factions. - The world generator is tweaked to give the AI factions more land to grow in. - Enormous 80x160 and Giant 128x256 maps are defined. - Choosing 30%..50% land mass yields substantial continents, but still plenty of ocean for the Pirates. - This mod is designed for a Huge map with 30%..50% land mass. - On a Standard map, some AI factions will not have enough room to grow. - Techs, facilities, units, and abilities are completely reordered, for what I consider to be good pacing. - Armor has been strengthened to match weapons at the same tech level. - Secret Projects come later in the game and cost at least 300 minerals. - Overpowered Secret Projects come MUCH later. - Social Engineering choices are gradualist and incremental, to facilitate mixing and matching. - Future Society choices become available in late midgame and are not overpowered. - Completing the entire tech tree is required to Transcend. - Facilities, abilities, and units are assigned to Explore, Discover, Build, or Conquer according to what they actually do. - "Explore" really means "colonization and growth" to the AI. It doesn't mean exploring. - The AI uses Foil and Cruiser Probe Teams now. Watch your sea bases! - The AI uses armored Probe Teams now. Better have a weapon when they come! - Planet Busters and Conventional Missiles can hit anywhere on Planet. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, INSTALLATION, LICENSE, DESIGN DETAILS, CHANGELOG - see the included readme_mod.txt. Everything you ever wanted to know about 6 calendar months of work, but were afraid to ask!
  3. I played the Cybernetic Consciousness on a 128x256 map, a size I call "Giant". A Huge map is 64x128. I modded the world generation parameters in alphax.txt to produce big continents, so that the AI factions would have lots of room to grown in. It worked: even though I got a perfect start, they completed a lot of Secret Projects before I could even get the techs for them. Eventually I did win though. Diplomatic Victory, 4930 votes FOR, 1599 votes AGAINST. I could have Transcended and chose not to, as I'm morally opposed to it. I was a few turns away from Economic Victory as well. Final score 4195 points, 389% Alpha Centauri Rating. Sounds impressive, don't know what it means. So ended the 39th After Action Report I've written. It was by far the most epic, and it may be the last one of that size I ever write. I can think of play tactics I'd do differently, but I'm not sure I'd take quite so much time to write about them. The game took me eight days and I played more than full time. I could have collected 2 paychecks producing this AAR, not calculating overtime pay. If you have any interest I suggest you take a look, because you're not likely to see something this long again. It's the AAR equivalent of playing Space Invaders until you drop dead.
  4. I recently replayed SMAC, not SMACX. Didn't do aquatic anything, but I did have to go back up the learning curve of how to beat the AIs. I was surprised at the relative competence of the SMAC AI for an old game. It's better than the recent Freeciv I typically play. What about groveling? I didn't like it, but when playing certain weak factions I found it expedient to pay the aggressors off at the beginning. Like when I'm the Morganites. On my replay I tried every faction and play style. Some factions are too weak at the beginning to survive without paying the bullies off. Especially if you're plopped down in a hot zone with 4 other factions close by. Sun Tzu approved of groveling. Send him gifts. Let him grow weak with decadence, then take his cities.
  5. A science fiction franchise would simply put the powerful in with the weak. This was the basic plot premise of Stargate: SG-1 and it occurred plenty often in Star Trek: TOS as well. Modern day militaries have to deal with the problem of asymmetric warfare all the time. Look at the USA's difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite all the high tech, an Improvised Explosive Device does plenty of damage. Attention span applies just as much to real wars as to players on MMOs. Insurgents know that the USA will eventually tire of war; their strategy is to wait us out. Colonial era war dealt with asymmetry all the time. That's how the British kept control of the Indian subcontinent with only 60,000 troops. That's how the Zulu overran them at Isandlwana. There's nothing stopping the MMO developers from solving these problems. It remains to be seen whether they know how.