Member Since 24 Jan 2011
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When AI cheats and follows your stealthed units.

18 October 2018 - 06:20 PM

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Don't do that.

Frosty kiss of death

27 April 2018 - 11:05 PM

It's 1887, what day or month, I don't know. It all came suddenly, first it was just small amounts of snow. No one knew what happened, but then it started to be worse. The snowing never stopped. Scientists made a statement that the sun was dimming. With each passing day, it was colder and colder and soon cities just vanished, covered in snow. With the final act of desperation, engineers build massive steam heaters and massive arks. Their plan to move north. Why north? Well one of the rumors was, that there was cold storm coming from the south, freezing everything in seconds. The more obvious reason would be, that life up north was used to such cold. Plenty of food from animals that could survive temperatures way below freezing point of water. I was one of the last refugees from London. It was a very long journey almost 2000 miles. We've heared that earlier expeditions managed to establish some cities. Maybe there we will find new home.
The journey was hard, we lost many people, we also lost most of our supply, when suddenly we found this crater. Abandoned. Only this big steam generator stood, slowly freezing from inactivity. Exhausted from the trip, me and 80 other survivors decided that this will be our new home, and now we must survive the harsh conditions. The temperature right now is just 20C below 0, but the few scientists in hour group say that in few days the temparture will drop to -40. So we all there stood for a while. We all knew that if we don't work together, we will not surive. Everyone agreed and so their fight for survival begun.

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Our first priority was to gather nearby resources. Wood mainly. Though coal is also priority, we can survive for now without any heating. Additionally I'll be setting new laws, laws that will help those people survive. Not all the laws will be liked, but they have no choice. The first law was the enacting of emergency shift. If we will find ourselves in dire situation given workplace will work without a brake for 24 hours. Hopefully we will not be that desperate. Our standard workshifts are 10 hours. From 8 to 18. At the end of the first working day, we have gathered enough materials to create shelter for everyone. Let's hope it will be enough to keep them warm through the night. Unfortunately 8 people got sick from the cold. We have to help them get better. To remedy that 2 clinics where build. Additionally in order to succeed we need some bright minds to come up with new technology. In order to help the gatheres not freeze out there, a gathering posts were constructed.
With this setup we made first step to survival. However we must push ourselves even harder. Therefore 14h shifts law was enacted. Although now they do not realize it, but maybe later with time, they will understand that fight for survival deamnds sacrifices. It's better to sacrifice some tears and sweat than life.

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At the end of day 2, people begun to report of hunger. We have little to no food and what we have is raw. It will definitely not be enough for us all. So on day 3 we enacted 2 laws. First that for now our main meals will be soup. It will help save up on the raw food, while being eqaully fulfilling then standard meals. The second law was a hard choice. Although we all need as many hands as possible, I couldn't dare to force children to work, so a children shelter law was signed. We will build a shelter for kids where they can be safe. After the shelter was build we had to build a cookhouse where soup will be prepared.
On day 3 we finally had start gathering coal, because on next day a cold snap will hit us. Fortunately we have now heaters and the scientists are slowly working on improving the generator, because from what we know it, right now it won't be able to generate enough heat for those tents of ours. With that set we are missing one more thing. We need a source of food. Therefore we must return to the old ways: hunting. Although with our constant need of resources, we can only spare one group of hunters. They will not be able to provide enough food for all of us, but for now it must do.
On day 4, we started the generator. However with the incoming cold wave, we had to crank it into overdrive. It cannot go too long in that mode, but the scientists report that they will upgrade the power generation soon enough. So it came to me, that without new technology our chances of survival are slim. Therefore I decided that all chidlren living in shelters will now start to learn math and will help the engineers in workshops in new designs. It's race against time and I want to be ahead for as long as possible.
With heating problem behind us, we now need to start acquiring resources that cannot be picked by hand. We need proper sawmill for the frozen trees, we need coal mines and steel mills. Wood comes first then steel then finally coal. So on day 5 we built our first saw mill. On the same day I was approached by engineer. He was complaining that for few days in a row they were constatly working long shifts and wants a break. Although I feel him, I said that's it's not possible, they need to work hard. I knew that I can't keep them working like that, but they had to. To somewhat remedy that a fighting arena was constructed. There people could watch some fights and relax a little. Although not much it will help a little with their discontent.

On our way here a small group that was ahead of us separated. Some of the people think that they are still out there and we need to find them. We of course need more hands, so the scientists were ordered to make some kind of beacon, so we could send scouts and search the area for other survivors and for more materials.
With day 7 came a little respite. The temperature has risen but only to -30C. It will help us on saving some coal. With the beacon built on the same day a scouting party was created and they went looking for the lost expedition. Meanwhile I got another pleas for reducing working hours, which again I had to decline. To combat this a public house was built. After few hours of searching the scouts have found our missing people. We could have sent them on their own towards our city, but we can't afford to losing someone so the scouts lead them back home.

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Having more people we need to upgrade generator to provide heat in bigger radius. But our engineers are way ahead of our needs. And so on day 8 our group increases in number. But that creates a problem - we need more food. To get more food we need more hunters. In the group there were more engineers. So more workshops were built. With 4 workshops working 14h a day, we will be ahead with technology. To keep up high spirit of people, from day 9 for each meal a little dose of moonshine will be added.
When our scouts returned with the people they were immediately sent to explore further the same path. There is a rumor of a city nearby. We just need to find it. Our first trail, leads us to the nearby Sturdy Shelter. There scouts find a good amount of food, some wood and a working heating mechanism. They also found a note pointing into 2 directions: London 1934 miles, home 27 miles. So they move forward. A few hours later they come across a steel bridge. At the other side of the bridge they spot a big automaton. Those machines work constantly with only small breaks to refuel. And their fuel is heat. However it is strange that there is no operator nearby.

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We have 2 options now, either we send the automaton to our base, which will provide a huge boost in manpower, or we could dismantle it. While the first option provides short term solution, dismantling it, provides us with 2 steam cores, and to create new automaton we need only 1. So the choice is simple. We can get later 2 automatons for the price of 1. The scouts also have option to follow the path to the weather station, but in the distance they see a smoke, like if someone was there. We need more people, and the scouts are already carrying lots of usefull materials, so they head towards what it looks like to be a large convoy.
Meanwhile back in base our engineers make some adjustments to the beacon, and now we can send additional scouting party. The more people we will have out there the faster we will get more people and resources. This group was directed to cave where more life signs were spotted. Before day 10 begun, a new law was signed. This one addressing the sick. From now on we will try to heal even the gravely ill, even if it means performing amputation. Hopefully there will be no need for such drastic measures. The scouts also reached that convoy.

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45 more people. Let's escort them back to the city.

Bring it on Mars

30 March 2018 - 07:09 PM

Not so while ago, I've made a colony on Mars in Cydonia region. This was my first take on the game entirely. It went little OK, I had lots of issues somewhere near Sol 100, which I sort of couldn't get rid of them entirely. Having rethink what I did wrong, I've decided to go for another run, but this time it will be THE HARDEST SETTING the game has to offer. If you probably noticed the Cydonia run had difficulty setting of ~350% and it didn't felt too difficult. I only made it difficult for myself, because I was trying to save up resources where I should have been spending them to produce more resources. So with new knowledge let's start a new colony on Mars.

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First the settings. As you can see:

Sponsor: Paradox Interactive,
Commander: Futurist
Mystery: Marsgate.

Yes again Marsgate. From all mysteries this provide the highest difficulty setting from mysteries. So our base difficulty is 290%. The rest will come with landing site. Before however I show you the hardest point, I want to show a few curiosities. If you scan landing sites, you can find "famous" landing sites. There might be more but I found those:

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Pretty neat. And now our target:

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This area boosts difficulty level up to 535%. There are all disaster types, little minerals and the map is split into 5 regions.

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There is the pit in the middle, two upper levels on left and right, and two mountain levels on north and south. The mountain area is high enough that provides 100% bonus to wind turbines, so their base output is 10 power per hour. A little tempting to use, but remember that wind turbines use machine parts for maintenance and you won't be able to produce them in quite a while. The landing site game offers is pretty neat one. There is everything you need for a start. Concrete is a bit low though and there are cold areas. Other good spot in top left corner, but from what I have noticed it's area where meteor storm can bombard you, while I have not noticed meteors landing on the south spot. So let's land in the area where the game shows we should start.
Right as the rocket lands quickly build the Sensor Tower. The futurist commander makes the tower free of maintenance and power. Nearby there is anomaly that provides research points and I need this fast, because looking at the research tree, I have available Explorer AI tech that grants +100 reserach for Explorer Rover, and having 200 research from Sol 1 is better than 100.

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And speaking of research, we have few quite nice techs from the first tier. Farms, more cargo from rockets, $1.000M bonus cash, subsurface heater.
Having landed in cold area, subsurface heater is tempting, but it's sort of is a trap. It uses water and machine parts for maintenance, so before you know it you might be out of both in no time, and being reliable on it, creates additional danger. Better wait if you can sustain it. Probably wait until own production of machine parts and additional moist vaproizer to have steady supply of water + upgrade to have 50% efficiency bonus so you have spare water in case of dust storm.

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In the area of our landing site there are few anomalies like this. As our funding is pretty low, it's wiser to get the cash to deliver more parts in future. That is until you can mine rare metals for money.
So few Sols into the game, and our small base looks like this.

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And it will look like this for quite a while. To expand we need some drone hubs,  that need to be ordered from Earth and considering that we need 100 fuel instead of standard 60 it will take a little longer to do so. Also in the meantime first dust storm:

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Though dust storm spans over entire map, the main area of effect is on the lowest ground. During dust storm, MOXIEs and vaporizers don't work, solar panels only provide 2 out of 5 power, wind turbines generate additional 25% power and everything collects more dust therefore requiring maintenance at faster pace.
At Sol 14, Space Voyager rocket is fulled up and sent back to Earth. Since we are not sponsored by Russia, the travel time is so much faster and soon new materials will be brought back.
With new materials provided we can make steps to start building our first dome. And on Sol 28 we order first colonists.

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Fortunately no Samuel Hayden, Olivia Pierce or Dr. Betruger. We are safe from any Hell Spawns. The first colonists will of course start producing food, and providing additional research, because we need those points.

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Now also armed with the knowledge of the Sanity problem, we should not have problems with people going crazy. In fact they feel a little enthusiastic about this colony.

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So now we wait for the first evaluation. We will probably not get Martian born, as comfort is pretty average. It's enough no to make go people crazy. Once the evaluation is done, we need to start mining those rare minerals, as our funding is almost depleted.

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And here is our current tech tree. Near the end I've discovered the tech that increases sponsor research points so it will be grabbed ASAP.

Cydonia or Bust

17 March 2018 - 11:41 PM

So Paradox recently released a game about colonizing mars. I've sort of had this idea about it once it was released. With as little knowledge I had I tried to make this challenge of making a colony in the region of Cydonia - because where else would a X-COM fan plant a colony on Mars. And the only hint the game tell us where that base is, is the so called human face rock, that eventually turned out it was not a face - but we really know that it hides tychon gun to awaken The Sleeper.
I'm not sure how this will end up - both the challenge and this story, since I do not record it and just use some images as points of reference. Additionally I did not train very much before starting this challenge so I mostly don't know the tricks about this game and will just play with whatever the game will throw at me.

Right so before we hit the red planet, first we must configure who will sponsor us, commander profile, our logo, and a thing called mistery which is a little story twist thrown into the game.
From the sponsor list we have:

-International Mars Mission: basically setting for a wuss. Loads of money, loads of would be colonists, 5 rockets ready to be launched, rockets auto refuel and few more
-USA: And here we start with down to earth bonuses - 8,000M funding, 3 rockets, 300 research per cycle and we get more money as game continues
-Blue Sun Corporation: It's more about harvesting resources: 10000M grand, deep metal extraction tech, 2 rockets
-China: 8000M funding, rockets carry more people, and colonists wannabes are generated faster
-India: Starts with bigger domes, and buildings are 20% cheaper - 3 rockets
-Europe: 5 free techs at start and funding for research, 400 research points per cycle.
-SpaceY: Cheaper advanced materials, 5 rockets
-Church of the New Ark: Everyone is religous and people like to breed procreate more. No bonus research points from Earth - I guess you survive on prayer.
-Soviet UninonRussia: Bonus tech that allows to boost extractors with fuel and this upgrade is free. Rockets however take twice as long to reach Mars and Earth
-Paradox Interactive: Gives more breakthrough anomalies, and people like when we research those. Rockets however need 66% more fuel to lift off from Mars.

I'll be choosing Russia for this mission - it's the easiest of the hardest sponsors. Now for the Commander profile:

-Inventor: Drones will work faster and faster per sol up to sol 100. Also Drone hubs don't require maintenance and power - this save a lot of advanced resources.
-Oligarchy: 25% faster fuel production and Archology tech - residential spire for domes.
-Hydro Engineer: Nearest starting water deposit is revealed, domes use 25% less water and a tech that unlocks dome spire that reduces water consumption
-Doctor: Encourages colonist to make babies, bonus tech for longer life span
-Psychologist: +5 for sanity from sleeping. Technology that cures colonist flaws
-Politician: All fundings are increased by 20%. Starts with technology that grants money (repeatable)
-Futurist: Brakethrough research is faster by 30% and starts with tech that allows scanner towers to work without power and maintenance.
-Ecologist: Decorations are better by 10 and has Hanging gardens tech.
-Astrogeologist: Nearest rare mineral is discovered, extracting resources is 10% faster, has deep scanning tech.
-Rocket Scientist: Bonus Rocket, CO2 Jet Propulsion tech.

Generally all the bonus techs can be gained by anyone it's the matter of what you think would suit you better. Personally I think that only inventor is the best pick. Save resources on a building that you will have lots of, saves some power, and dronse will eventually bet better at building and repairing. All other bonuses are so little that you barely see them.
For the mission logo, we will of course use the one and only, and as for mysteries... They don't say a lot except some quote from famous person. For this mission I think that Marsgate sounds appropriate, which is described as:
"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science fiction gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom".

Having all set, let's prepare our rocket: The Space Voyager.

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From Prefabricated buildings, we will take fuel refinery and moisture vaporator. The first one will transform water into fuel and the second one will create 1 unit of water from atmosphere. This combo allows us to refuel the rocket. From other stuff we take RC Rover for mobile drone center, RC explorer for analysing anomalies, 4 additional drones, 15 units of polymers, machine parts and electronics. That completely fills 30000kg of rocket space and leaves us with 3.200M of funding that will be used for delivering more stuff when needed.

Once we've decided what will be taken on the first trip, now we select where to land. As you can see there are  predetermined locations, but we can land almost anywhere on mars. So by looking at wikipedia I believe that this is the spot closest to the "martian face" rock and closest to the alien base on Cydonia. The exact coordinates on wikipedia are 40,75°N 9,46°W, but in game we can only move 1 degree at a time so I figure the maps are strechting 50 minutes left/right/up/down. Sectors are not generated, if you chose same sector again and again, you will have same layout, same spots for resources, the only thing that is random is tech tree, disasters, anomalies and would be colonists.

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The place is chosen and we move to the region map.

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The game gives you I think predefined spot that is good for starting colonies and provides a scan, revealing nearby resources. Our basic construction materials are concrete and metal. The first resource you get from the ground sulfur patches, that you scrub from the ground. Metal you get from lots of debris scattered around the map and from ground deposits. At start deposits can only be harvested by colonists - but there is tech that can replace the usage of human workforce. In any case our landing spot has decent amount of concrete and metal. In order to advance to other sectors we need to scan them. We can queue up to 5 sectors, which will be scanned one by one. Scanning speed can be increased by building scanner antenna, but it's range is just few sectors.
Next let's look at our available technology. Technology is divided into 5 main areas and 6th special breakethrough area. Breakethroughs are only received from anomalies. The 5 main areas are as follow:


You can sort of guess which area will provide what type of research. The 5 starting techs game gave us are:

-Soil Adaptation - allows construction of farms. This is good as starting tech, without this you rely on meager Hydroponics farm, which produce very little food,
-Decommission Protocol - allows removal of salvaged/destroyed buildings.
-Low-G drive - faster drones and rovers by 25%
-Low-G turbines - Upgrade for wind turbines that increases production by 33%
-Productivity training - Engineers and Geologists work better.

Overall I find this pretty much decent starting tech tree. Decommission Protocal and Low-G turbines not that great at start but having this early on will help soon.
The best choice I think as first research would be Low-G drive - it will be quite a while since we get first colonists, so improving our drones that practically do everything - build, deliver materials, repair - so the faster they will deliver stuff, the faster everything will gets build.

Our starting location got an anomaly that granted 1000 research points, which means we almost instantly got those Low-G drives. This unlocked transport optimization, that improves our RC Transport, with faster load/unload and capacity.

But now for the basic base. First we need to gather some metals and build our first electricity buildings we have few choices.

-Small solar panel
-Large solar panel
-Wind turbine
-Sterling reactor.

Solar panels work only give power during day obviously they only require metal for production and metal for maintenance. Next is wind turbine - because it requires concrete you will probably never build it as first electricity generator unless you bring concrete from Earth on the first rocket. Wind turbines have elevation bonus and are more effective during sand storm. Our map is mostly above sea level and the majority of buildable area gives ~36% of bonus with base of 5 that gives almost 2 additional power - however maintenance requires machine parts, which we cannot produce so I think it's wise not to use wind turbines untill building a dome and puttting machine factory.
Sterling reactor is a little dome that hides sterling reactor - it can be deployed to provide 10 power, but is uses polymers as maintenance - another material that you will take from Earth for a while. Not only that, you can olny get them from prefabs or building after technology is gained. Solar panels also don't like dust storms.

So because most of the basic stuff requires 5 power, more than 1 large solar panel could be built. The final result of the first basic setup is like this:

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Few solar panels, concrete extractor, moisture vaporiser, fuel refinery, scanning antenna and a battery or two, to keep those machines working during the night. We've also maanged to scan neighboring region revealing another layer of concrete, some metal deposit and rare metals. Rare metals are used for selling back on Earth and for producing electronic parts. Looks like a good spot for first dome to get those rare metals and get some money. Now we only have to find a water source.