"Very Difficult Choice" Mod, irc channel: irc.quakenet.org/vdc

Information, How-to's, and discussion about mod'ing Master of Orion II.
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Overlord2
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Postby Overlord2 » Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:15 pm

Here is updated race costs file (food +1 for 3 points):
http://rapidshare.com/files/161308241/RACESTUF.LBX

The VDC 14.a distributive is also updated (now includes this file).

MadViper
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Postby MadViper » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:37 am

Until now i found no Balance Problems in this mod.
There are many improvements i really like.

This Mod is really great! At the moment i see no Reason to play the 1.40 original Version anymore.

There is one thing i want to ask:

I Read about an option to disable the "Housing" Functionality via startup command. But then there is a global Population Growth-Bons of 150% for all Players.

Is there any option, to disable the housing-functionality (i think housing is the reason, why unification / tolerant Racecombo is still too strong, because you can "produce" your population very easy) without automatically adding this growth bonus?
Maybe making 2 different slash-commands for diabling housing and adding the growth bonus?

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Overlord2
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Postby Overlord2 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:12 pm

Hi Viper,
Thanks for high appraisal of the mod. I tried to do my best to balance things out.
Yet, you can construct some races, which will do slightly better than others. Fortunately, the difference isn't significant and can be compensated by random map factor.
As for 'Housing' command and etc, these commands were hardcoded in 1.40 version by LordBrazen and my mod is based on the 1.40 executable. I'm not capable of programming new commands myself. As soon as the new patch for moo2 is issued with new commands available, I'll update the mod immediately.

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Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:48 pm

I like this mod so far. The Impossible AI is a lot stronger with it. They still make some junk ships and their growth curve is smaller, but not as bad as before. They can keep up in tech if I let them live long enough.

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Green_Knight
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Postby Green_Knight » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:28 pm

I decided to give this mod a try; here are some of my thoughts after playing it once:

PART I

Opted for a custom race; Humans with Demo, Warlord, Charismatic, and Lucky. 10 points total.

Demo - Because I like research! And at 5 points it seemed a bargain.
Warlord - Because I feel warlike :D No, seriously, the extra XP for ship crews is the main selling point. Extra marines/armor is also nice. As are the command points generated by colonies. 3 points is a lot - if compared to 5 for demo.
Charismatic - Because humans are charismatic, and at 1 point I really think its worth getting those good leaders.
Lucky - That left 1 point. Compared to Charismatic for 1 point...doesn't add up IMO, but what the heck.

Average, huge galaxy. Hard difficulty (could have gone impossible, but I'll leave that for next) and 8 empires. Only one human player - me. Starting system was good, including one large abundant swamp planet, and some other less desirable spot. Two orange systems within starting range. I've had worse starts.

More later.

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Green_Knight
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Postby Green_Knight » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:45 pm

PART 2

Start is pretty standard. I focus on research, switching to manufacturing when a new building is available, but always leaving at least one pop to do either research/building. It feels more right that way somehow (and takes care no to pollute too much).

I go for Research Labs first. Then I head for Auto Facs, picking up Hydro Farms on the way - I have no use for Armor Barracks, and neither Fighter Garrison (maybe if I had been fighting a human in a smaller galaxy) or Survival Pods seem that interesting. Then I start on Biology - to me Biospheres is a must over Food Replicators, so that choice is pretty easy.

I then drop by power, moving up so that I get freighters, before switching back to Bio. I pick Neural Scanner next - need that Spy bonus WAY more than I need Bio-terminators or Fungi. Had I been another race, the story might have been quite different (actually, I try a Tolerant race next time, to see how different that is). Next I pick Subt Farms - my first really hard choice. I know that Cloners are the 'normal' choice here, but with so many planets in my starting system I want to max out my food production, and leave pop growth to Housing. So I'll try something new :)

I gear down my research and focus on production, cranking out col bases and buying some basic buildings before putting the new planets on housing. I move SOME pop around, but try not to be too gamey and maximize my growth.

Charismatic pays of: I get Yota almost immediately, and his Famous skill is quite nice at this point. I get V'Larr at a discount shortly thereafter, with his Megawealth. And then Garron, with BOTH Megawealth AND Famous. Next is Sparky, which I hire almost for free for his Adv. Dam Control.

Lucky pays of: Right after I colonize the swamp planet it upgrades to Terran! Very nice indeed :lol:

By now I have all my home system planets settled, and scouts are on their way to Orange Aji - which turns out to have 5 pretty good planets! The other Orange one only has two poor radiated, but hey, I'm not complaining.

I also wrap up the other techs that have a low cost - I go Tritanium because of the nice system I found means I can wait with longer range, and Fusion Drive (I got Adv, Dam from Sparky) - here I find something odd; I got hold of Quantum Detonator somehow (it didn't show up in the TF). Anyone can explain that?

More later

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Green_Knight
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Postby Green_Knight » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:59 am

PART 3

I'm sticking with my two systems for now, I don't want to spread out and provoke attacks on exposed systems.

I've made contact with several races, and save for the Trilarian (who is repulsive) the combination of Charismatic and a leader with Diplomacy is enough to ensure good relations. I'm sure it would not have gone as well in MP!

Anyway, I keep teching up:

After AFacs and BPods I pick Robofacs, since I have no use for battleoids or missile racks. Finally Robo Miners; no hard choices at ALL so far. Next I pick Battlestation - GBs aren't that good IMO, but Powered Armor is; but I've decided to blow things apart rather than board them, so that settles it. Core Wast Dump is next, and solves my pollution (its too far down - makes other econ tech useless).

Power is uninteresting me thinks; why would I need Ion Drive when I have Fusion drive and A-M drive is a single next TF? I'm not using Ion Pulse Cannon, so that leaves Torpedoes - equally unappealing IMO (but then I'm a beam man!).

For Chemistry I went Tritanium, Merculite and Iridium. If I really need pollution techs I'll trade for them or steal them. Oh wait, I ended up with Core Wast Dumps, so problem solved.

Next is Sociology - Academy followed by Spaceport (even though I already have TONS of money it doesn't hurt to have more); why would anyone want Alien Control C. rather than Spaceport??? Stock Exchange is a single. My Money income is through the roof, even with 0% tax...I'm buying half-built things at an alarming rate.

Computers is next; and here there IS a slightly difficult choice. I'm being spied upon, so Telepathy sounds vaguely appealing, but the +5% bonus is too small even when I'm demo, so I go for Holos. Next is Supercomputer - extra morale COULD have been nice, but I have to keep both producing and teching, so I need the Supercomp as much as I do the Robo-Miners.

Biology was a bit more tricky, but I went Biospheres (no-brainer?), Neural Scanner (worth it at +10%) and Subt Farm (housing works well enough). Since I got Farms early on, even my small non-terraformed planets are producing 6 food each. Then I take Soil, which reduced my farmers to 3-4 pop on my homeworld and the non-terran swamp.

Next TF is more interesting, both Weather C (but my food situation si already good, and soon I'll conquer those Trilarians and have THEM farm for me) and Recyclotron (but I'm already producing things at an alarming rate) are good, but I'm demo and need more spying - I pick Psionics. Last is Terraforming; I have a lot of desert, barren and tundra worlds and production capacity to upgrade them; will let me continue developing my two systems even further.

In physics I go with Fusion BOMB. Fusion Rifle is weak compared to laser and I'm not going to use Fusion Beam at all. This turns out to be a good choice during the Trilarian war - Fusion bombs can WIPE an unshielded planet clean in no time. Next is Tachyon Comm (even if I'm Warlord); why would I want the other two??? Finally I pick A-M bomb; it looks like I need it to defeat Flux Shields. Ok, so maybe I could have skipped Fusion Bomb and taken the rifle...I would not gamble on a human player NOT taking the Flux Shield, since it seems a simple choice! A-Grav Harness adds some much-needed marine power; I'm using my trusty mass drivers, so I don't want gravitions and I have only 1 Hi-G world so that rules out Grav Generators. The next TF is just plain boring; I have enough command points for now...don't want to tractor anything...if my enemies have been using lots of missiles/fighters I might have picked compressor, but as it is I'm going for Jump gates, since my empire is getting stretched out (lots of Trilarian worlds under my rule by now!).

Fields was quite easy; I love the Mass Driver. Can't live without it! AF, built-in no rang dissipation AND Armor Piercing (and with Heavy Armor WAAAY up there in this mod, then AP is a KILLER!!!). next is Stabilizer, no question. Then Class IV shield (Trit armor and Reinf Hull served me well up until that). The next TF is among the most interesting; I go for Stealth Suit (because I'm spy paranoid), but had I been involved in a lot of ground combat or boarding I would have picked the +20% personal shield. Lighting field is also an option if facing lots missiles, but I'll manage without.

That concludes every TF up to 1500. A few semi-hard choices, but not a lot. A few choice were INTERESTING though, based as they were upon my choice of race (demo, need more spies), starting position (lots a small planets, go for hydro, subt farms and housing) and nearby enemy empires (Trilarian is pretty big, but HOPELESS in ground combat). In fact, the entire ting was HIGHLY enjoyable, it felt fresh and new, and I think that was thanks to the mod :D

Oh, and by now my Empire has five more ex-Trilarian systems, with fish population largely intact. I swap around some pop to maximise max pop and find myself with a grand food surplus; I could have disbanded my hydros/subt farms now, but the fact is I make so much money its not worth it.

One note about combat: Mass Drivers are too good. With Elec Comp and battles scanners (I got them at the same time), as well as warlord + charismatic (have a +6 instructor leader) + academies and fighting...my crews all have at least 3 stars...that means we're hitting EVERY time (and with Aug Engine we DO move first - EVERY time). And even class IV shield only halves that damage, and Heavy Armor is unavailable at this stage - meaning I rip apart my enemies much too easily. Those than don't have class IV shield are just dead meat...you can't board me or kill me with missiles if my Hv AF AP Mass Drivers have done max damage directly to structure and blown you to bits...

More later

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Green_Knight
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Postby Green_Knight » Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:04 am

Quick note - I'm enjoying myself immensely. Remember, this is SP, but still I'm having more fun than Ive had in years...so I don't try to be overly negative, just constructively critical :D

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Overlord2
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Postby Overlord2 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:14 am

Thanks for your review, Green Knight.
I want to comment on several points, which got me interested. First of all, yes, there isn’t much choice indeed in the tech fields where main economic techs are presented. Basically it was done so because economic techs dominate throughout the game, and in order not to cut other useful techs from the game, I don’t place them together with main economic techs.
Second point is Core Waste Dumps tech. This is really interesting choice – practically it is equivalent to combined use of pollution processor and atmospheric renewer, but from research point of view it is rather costly decision. You have to go up to Astro Engineering tech field (1150) and Advanced Manufacturing tech field (1500), whereas pollution processor research costs is only 650 points and atmospheric renewer cost is 1150 points, which is considerably cheaper. Especially the early pollution processor, the key point in expansion strategy, since you additionally get mirv mod for nuclear missiles at this level and ready to take out/colonize monsters. And finally researching ‘atmos’ and ‘pol proc’ is on the way to Zortrium Armor, which in its turn shouldn’t be underestimated.
The third point is about the beams, armor piercing effect and heavy armor. The problem with beams is that they are mostly uneffective until good computers are researched. The beam defense techs as augmented engines and inertial stabilizers reduce efficiency of beams so much that it is practically impossible to hit if you’re equipped with electronic computers & battle scanner only. And particularly massdrivers have -20 beam attack value due to autofire mod. Thus it becomes very difficult to hit with massdrivers unless you’re warlord or +beam attack race in the conditions described above. The corollary here is that you don’t need early heavy armor at all to stop armor piercing effect of massdrivers. But if, for example, I place heavy armor in the tech field with autofactory as in original moo, autofactory will be the choice in 99,9% of cases. Or if I place it somewhere above (not with robominers though), heavy armor will be the choice in 99,9% of cases :P. The placement of heavy armor was really a problem for me and finally I decided to place it the way it is now. I guess it’s placed too high though, and I may reconsider it.

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Green_Knight
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Postby Green_Knight » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:16 pm

I'll continue playing this game through until the end, and then play another single player game afterward - if you want more feedback I can even post the most important findings here.

Core Waste Dumps - Yes, it's quite costly to get there, but you do get a lot of good stuff along the way! I mean, construction and computers are highest priority to research anyway. Hyrdo Farms, AFacs, Battle Pods, Robo Miners...but I guess you have a good point regarding pollution.

Beam Weapons - I'll try more missiles/torpedoes next time. I do think, however, that early Mass Drivers are very deadly under the circumstances described above. As Warlord I have 3 star crews, Elec Comp and Battle Scanner. And with Charismatic I have good Officers to add to this. Could have done a Demo, Warlord, Ship Attack race for even more beam! Now, Positronic Computer at +75% would have made a very viable choice had I seen any (human) empires getting too high beam defense (that would have screwed my research though, so this TF really is a VDC). Combine that with the Mass Driver and you get a very deadly - and fairly easy to reach - combination.

I suggest moving Heavy Armor down a bit. If you reduce size bonus from BPods a bit it might fit in there. Also, Battle Scanner should not be auto - the DC6 compbo for Fast Racks/Scanner/Tachyon Comm is much better solution.

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Overlord2
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Postby Overlord2 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:33 pm

I suggest moving Heavy Armor down a bit. If you reduce size bonus from BPods a bit it might fit in there. Also, Battle Scanner should not be auto - the DC6 compbo for Fast Racks/Scanner/Tachyon Comm is much better solution.

I guessed you would mention this solution, realized in DC mod. As a DC player with large experience I can tell you that heavy armor wasn't chosen at this level in all games I've played (unless someone was creative or found heavy armor in the arti). The extra space from Battlepods is still more valuable. Besides if it was viable solution I wouldn't pass it in the first place as I was using as a basis the DC mod when creating my own :roll:
As for Battle Scanner it goes the same way as major economic techs - it is absolute must have in all games. The minimal reason you need battle scanner is for the ship's initiative even if you don't use beams at all. All other tech choices in the same tech field would be 'dead', so that was done on purpose.

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Green_Knight
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Postby Green_Knight » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:54 am

I suppose you're right...I will note down the Warlord/Beam race as a viable option then...or at least semi-viable. After playing some more turns and slowing down my research on purpose, I found that my Mass Drivers were becoming less and less useful. But they really did massacre my enemy during the first war. Still sort of like heavy armor though. I would appreciate it if you fond a space for it somewhere further down.

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Green_Knight
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Postby Green_Knight » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:46 am

Ok, I've finished my first VDC game. It was great fun, especially the first half. The AI empires managed to colonize and tech in a fairly skilled and challenging manner. If they only knew how to build ships and fight, it might actually have been challenging :-)

A few additional points:

Ship shields still feel sort of useless; they absorb slightly more damage, but weapons also do more damage, so shields are still not good. I'd consider beefing them a little more.

Planetary shields ARE highly useful though; w/o comparable bomb tech your ability to damage planets is very limited. Perhaps too much so, since missing a bomb tech makes it virtually impossible to fight a shielded opponent. But that fact DID make it tough choices - I ended up taking even the Neutronium bomb.

I felt phasor was a REAl simple choice for me; it was the next weapon for me after Mass Drivers. Phasor rifle is not good enough; I would rather rely on my armors and personal shield until I get the plasma rifle. And with shiep sheidls weak in the first place...multi-phased don't feel attractive at all.

I'll try it again now; this time with a Uni races so I won't have to bother with morale. Think I might even focus on marines and capturing. I'll make a report when I'm done.

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Green_Knight
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Postby Green_Knight » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:22 am

GAME No. 2

Single player, Impossible, Huge/Average Galaxy, 8 Empires, Pre Warp.

This time I wanted to test a production race. I made a custom one, based on the Klackon (one of my old favorites):

Uni, +2 prod, Subt, Large HW, Uncreative.

Yes, yes. Uncreative can be crippling vs. a human, but vs. the AI you can usually get enough key techs by stealing/trading/capturing to make it playable. But then again, I only need RLabs and Afacs (and later Robo-Miners) to get a flying start...so -10 points is probably a bit much? I suppose I could have done Repulsive (why so many points???), -10 Spy, -10 GC (or -20 Defense). Anyway, my main issue here is that you can get all of the above for 20 picks - sounds like a flying start to me.

My home system is good, but I'm stuck down in a corner and can only reach two more systems. Those systems are Ok, but not very good. So unless I can get better range (which I don't, since my UnCreativeness doesn't give me better fuel cells before Thorium!) I'm stuck down there...seems I have to build some outposts and hopefully find some other empires to steal from.

I churn out Colony bases, ships, freighters, Afacs, R Labs...and housing. My pop go through the roof, and soon I encounter the Meklar, the Human and the Elerian. THEY have better range than me. The human trades me Neural Scanner (for Robo-Miners...ouch!)...but soon I have 20 spies (each) stealing tech from the Meklar and Elerian. My spies aren't any good, but once I get Psionics from research (lucky with that one) techs start being stolen at a good rate.

I end up fighting a two-front war early, but with my researched and stolen techs I have fighter bases + missile base + rad shield. The enemy kills my star bases, but can't touch my planets. I then start pumping out battleships at an alarming rate. Sure, they get eaten by the enemy, but I can put out more battleships than my enemy can cruisers...the graph shows that I have more pop than the other 3 visible empires combined!

From there on everything breaks down. My pop goes up so fast my hand hurts from all the clicking, and those techs I can't research myself I steal or capture. Soon, I outpop, outbuild and outtech the rest of the galaxy. I play for a while more, but its become boring...I go Evo Mutation and pick Warlord & +10GC. I just pile on battleships and titans and capture every planet in my path with hordes of marines. Klackon rules :lol:

Conclusion: No VDC in tech this time, since I picked uncreative, but my main point was to check if prod races are still too strong. And IMO the 20 point combination of Uni, +2 prod, Subt, Large HW was simply too strong! I'll try another prod race next, so if I can do even better.

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Overlord2
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Postby Overlord2 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:42 am

Here are some answers to your assertions:
Ship shields still feel sort of useless; they absorb slightly more damage, but weapons also do more damage, so shields are still not good. I'd consider beefing them a little more

Currently shields look balanced to me (no one of the active players have complained about shields so far :roll:). On the other hand increasing shields strength further will decrease efficiency of the enveloping weapons considerably - you know that enveloping weapons deal equal damage to each side of the ship, while shields strength is actually 4 times more, 1X for each side of the ship, so getting through the shields for enveloping weapons would become very difficult. At the same time direct fire weapons especially with auto fire mod will receive extra advantage due to that fact.

Planetary shields ARE highly useful though; w/o comparable bomb tech your ability to damage planets is very limited.

Yes. Otherwise you can’t say they’d be useful, innit?

I felt phasor was a REAl simple choice for me; it was the next weapon for me after Mass Drivers. Phasor rifle is not good enough; I would rather rely on my armors and personal shield until I get the plasma rifle. And with ship sheilds weak in the first place...multi-phased don't feel attractive at all.

Multi-phased shields with class 10 is very attractive, I have chosen it many times myself :P

IMO the 20 point combination of Uni, +2 prod, Subt, Large HW was simply too strong! I'll try another prod race next, so if I can do even better.

The race balance was constructed proceeding from the multiplayer games. And in MP games all depends on the population you make. The current state of equilibrium is that you need 180 population by t100 with uni in order to compete with other races (unless you’re rushing of course). With the race above it’s not always possible to achieve that figure easily. On the other hand choosing subt instead of aqua you sacrifice possibility of teching faster. So it’s a fair balance…
Last edited by Overlord2 on Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:53 am, edited 2 times in total.


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