Random thoughts

Random thoughts

Joined: May 22nd, 2002, 7:37 am

November 13th, 2003, 11:22 am #1

Hi,

I have successfully completed some more maso games now, and have come across some situations and thoughts that I'd like to share/discuss.

* It looks like sometimes it's very hard or nigh impossible to befriend a certain race. In my last game, I suspected from the beginning that the Torians would be the Big Boys and tried to befriend them, but never succeeded to improve relations to better then warm. When later in the game the Arceans, Drengin and Yor were dead already, I had all of my ten trade routes to them - and relations oscillated between cool and neutral. I boosted the routes with trade bases - nothing changed. I built up my military to a rating of about 150 - no dice. I allied up with their allies, the Altarians - didn't help. I then paid them to attack the only minor race left, the Scottlingas, and the gave the Scottlingas my whole fleet of about 30 Excaliburs (and rebuilt them, of course). This reduced the Torian's military from strongest to weakest, and they even came to be asking for help because the Scottlingas with their one system would slowly destroy their civilization of about 12 systems (that was hilarious!) - but they remained neutral towards me. When later a random event brought the Altarians into a war against them, I became their sole trading partner - but that changed nothing either. Hrmpf.

One potential problem was that they turned out to be neutral while I was good, but that hadn't hindered me in past games from getting close so I'm not sure what the deciding factor was. Maybe it was their "strongest" economy, but when I later flipped their planets to me with cultural terror stars, they only improved to warm even with one system left. Strange!



* Above game also showed that I still don't understand exactly how the economy system works. When I had about a dozen systems all still growing, I could have been able to research "Evolution Control" in 11 turns with a spending rate of about 80%, making no deficit. But since The Terraformer had been built already, I switched off research for several years, concentrating on building bases, inducing wars and whatnot.

Later, I had about six more system in about the same state my other systems had been when I had shut down research, and my other system were now maxed out, at 100% morale and 1000000 pop. Without making a deficit, I was able to run 100$ spending on military, about 70% spending on social projects, but only 10% on research! And this would have gotten me Evolution Control in about 250 turns now! Huh?

I know that all my Galactic Research Centers and whatnot were wasted because they only increase the research potential (right?), and so I could spend a lower percentage of my income, but more absolute money than before. Especially with more systems, a higher population and a better economy, shouldn't it be easier or at least not harder for me to research now? I had higher maintainance costs than before (bases, military, buildings) but also a much better economy, and I actually was able to spend and produce more on military and social projects, but why research had gotten harder for me I have no idea.



* Because I had tried to befriend the Torians for so long, and because I had experimented with several other things as well, that game was extremely long - I finished in June 2297... But it was interesting to watch the AI over such a long period. What's up with them building empty star bases everywhere? And I mean *everywhere*, ten or more in every sector, most of them unimproved. First, upkeep cost should ruin their economy (but apparently didn't, as they also had a huge fleet), and second, why don't they obey to the new minimum distance between star bases rule? And it gets really ridiculous when war breaks out: Both opponents use the first months of war just to destroy all these empty bases, actually helping the enemy with this (reducing upkeep). That's silly!



* The AIs need serious improvement when it comes to invading planets! They have problems doing so in the early or middle game, but they are completely unable to inavde late-game planets with planetary defenses at 1000000 pop. For years, the Scottlingas had such a planet sitting there void of defenders, but all the Altarians and Torians managed was to send one combat transport per year. I needed about 50 combat transports using tidal disruptors to get that planet - the AI must be improved there. If I wanted to wage war, I could have let all my planets exposed because with their high pop they were invulnerable anyway.



* Military resources are overpowered in my opinion. I seldomly see balanced battles, because most of the time one civ has more military resources than the others and thus gets nearly impossible to beat unless their opponents manage to destroy the star bases mining the resources. I haven't done the exact math yet, but the way the combat system works, an increase of 100% in military power won't get you an advantage of 100% (a loss ratio of 1:2), but a lot more since attack and defense value get doubled, meaning you dish out more damage while receiving less. When I once had three fully mined resources, one of my overlords wiped out the entire fleet of one of my opponents.

And here's another field the AI needs serious improvement: Protecting resources. If you park warships or install cultural star bases near enemy planets, they will complain and declare war on you. But they won't get suspicious if you park an overlord and 20 constructors near their unguarded(!) resource? Come on, give me a break!



Despite this rant, I really like this game.

-Kylearan
Quote
Like
Share

Sirian
Sirian

November 13th, 2003, 11:06 pm #2

The tech estimate is buggy as all get out when you are fiddling with the sliders. I've learned pretty much when I can trust it and when I can't, but I still get fuzzied now and then.

If you go a turn, though, the estimate becomes reliable at the current slider setting. That is, it straightens out, until you change the sliders again.

Call it Stardock's homage to the Diablo II LYING CHARACTER SCREEN.

What you can do, first of all, is always sort your techs by cost. Keep an eye on your actual research spending number (in the upper right). That is the only reliable number you get, and even there, you need to "touch" the horizontal global budget slider (one tick left or right) every time after messing with the vertical sliders, to resort the actual spending. (Sound tedious yet?)

With your actual research spending, if you know about how much you need, you can adjust or do your own estimates. And you will learn to spot when the estimate is "a little off" or "way out in left field". I'd say the estimate you got for Evolution Control was the latter. Play one turn of full research and watch it correct itself back to what it should be.

Gosh. I have spent way too much time in Descent and Diablo "playing the lag". I have no problems ignoring false or misleading displays and following the parts of the feedback mechanism that are more reliable, but I sometimes forget that this is a hard-won skill most players don't have.

I hope they fix the bugs with the sliders, but until they do, there are ways to cope.


- Sirian

Quote
Share

Jaxom
Jaxom

November 14th, 2003, 11:34 am #3

Hello Sirian,

the actual research spending is not totally accurate, it doesn't account for the "free" research you get from various bonuses. Here is a simple test to do to prove it: start a game on a medium map using whatever party and picks gives you the most bonus to research. Now set your spending to 100%, 100% on research and check the figures on Earth versus the research spending, they won't match. Then do your normal expansion without doing any research. Once you have enough colonies to generate roughly 55-65 research points, try to research comm. theory in 1 turn.

If you look at the actual tech cost in the datafiles, you will find that comm. theory costs 50 points. Now that cost is true for a huge map, it is 40 on a large map and probably more than 50 on a gigantic map, which makes sense. Let's assume you are on a large map and calculate your research spending to get exactly 40 RP, the estimate will tell you that you will get the tech in 1 turn, which means 2 turns in galciv terms. If you set your spending to have 41 RP, it will still say the tech will be discovered in 1 turn. Save your game and hit next turn, you should receive the new tech. Now if you select another of the theory, the estimate will correctly states that you will discover it next turn. It looks like the game estimates wrong whenever you have research bonus on top of your regular spending because you will not see this kind of problems if you have no extra research picks.

I find that the estimate is mostly correct if you don't make drastic changes to your spending or research level. I can usually adjust my sliders to get a tech next turn and get it right, most of the time. Sometimes I still don't get the tech next turn, so now I put an extra 5% on top of whatever setting told me I would get it next turn if I absolutly want the tech next turn.

Now, here is another fun example of fuzzy maths in Galciv. When you load your first colony ship from Earth, take a careful look at the population on the planet. You will find that if you put 100 million colonist on the ship, the population will drop only by about 90 million. It seems the more colonists you put on the ship, the fewer population it will remove from the planet. I once loaded a colony ship with the whole 30 billion people of a world which flipped to me but had a morale of 0 due to all the improvements being destroyed. This left about 300 million people on the planet, which was still too many people for the tax rate I run at this stage of the game.

It works the other way too. If you load very few people on a colony ship, like 20 or 30 million out of 400 million, none are removed from the planet. If you merge the colony ship back on the planet, the population will indeed increase. That could be abused but it would require a lot of tedious work, not to mention the wasted ressources spent on the colonys ships, to make a real difference in your population growth.

So it seems there are quite a few little but annoying bugs in Galciv.
Quote
Share

Joined: May 22nd, 2002, 7:37 am

November 14th, 2003, 11:57 am #4

Hi,

I've noticed the "fuzzy math", too - for example, when I try to micromanage the spending ratio sliders to minimize spending for one category while still getting a tech/project next turn, I get different results depending on if I drag the slider up from 0% or down from 100%.

About colony ships: If I load 200 pop from a 1200 planet onto a colony ship, 1008 remain on the planet. Maybe that is not a bug but a feature: According to the manual, the reported number on a planet is only the number of tax payers, not of the whole population (like when you increase the tax slider too much, suddenly people begin to hide and you receive less money). So maybe on the colony ship are some black sheep that previously have not been accounted for.

-Kylearan
Quote
Like
Share

Jaxom
Jaxom

November 14th, 2003, 12:06 pm #5

That would make sense for the high pop 0 morale planets. But I have also noticed the behaviour on 100% morale planets when loading very few people on a ship. I have never tried removing the whole population of a system with 100% morale (why would anyone want to do that?) but my guess is the same number of black sheeps would show up.
Quote
Share