Author Topic: Alpha Experiment  (Read 1993 times)

Offline LordSloth

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Alpha Experiment
« on: May 27, 2013, 11:32:05 PM »
    Rather than repeating my last game exactly, I've decided to... punish myself and also see if I can humiliate myself with emergent cruelty.

    Game Version 6.034, with all expansions including the alpha for Vengeance of the Machine. The primary features I'll be trying out are Honeycomb (80 stars), Dual AI types, Showdown Devices, and the Hunter plot. I only have practical experience with the very very last one, so I'll be quite likely to regret this. I'm not choosing for fun here, but science.

    My opponents will be a mere 7 strength Special Forces Captain (primary)/Alarmist (secondary) and a 7 strength Bouncer/Bouncer (I'm curious whether doubling it up has any effect). To mitigate the grind and fleet loss I can expect, I've given myself a generous one hundred percent resource handicap.

    To offset my generous resource bonus, I've enabled the Dark Spire (4), Spire Civilian Leaders, Hunter(4) on both AIs, and both Avengers. To offset some of my masochism, I've enabled Broken and Botnet Golems on Easy, along with the Fallen Spire and Showdown Devices. To guarantee SOME progress I've decided to generously autosave and scum when necessary.

    I have no idea how this game is going to go, but I hope to answer a few questions, namely:
    • Is the Hunter plot affected by the special forces captain?
    • Will the Alarmist unleash hunter killers upon me?
    • Am I capable of learning how to kill a Hunter/Killer? I'm a bit skeptical
    • If you double up a Bouncer, do you get double the guard posts? If not, at least I should be spared a little grief.
    • What does the Showdown Device do? (No spoilers, please) and how will it interact with Dark Spire and Fallen Spire, and a galaxy full of hunter/killers?
    • Am I at all capable of setting up a coherent and effective defense when faced  the time pressure of Spire Civilians?
    • Am I going to have oodles of fun with the Zenith Devastator, or am I going to keep mistaking it for the Devourer and give myself a heart attack?

    Current Answers:
    • Currently, no.
    • Nope. I'm going to have to change bouncer out for something else. Bouncer/Peacekeeper

    I'm currently planning to run with this map, I'll do a thirty minute test run and see if I need to revise my plans/game setup.
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« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 10:10:05 AM by LordSloth »

Offline Toranth

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 04:33:16 AM »
If you double up a Bouncer, do you get double the guard posts? If not, at least I should be spared a little grief.
<...>
Nope. I'm going to have to change bouncer out for something else. Any Suggestions?
I think pairing Bouncer with Entrenched Homeworlder or one of the Turtles produces the most interesting results.

Offline Mick

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 05:36:02 AM »
I believe the tooltip says doubling the same type does nothing.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 10:08:55 AM »
I'm not choosing for fun here, but science.
They are but two sides of the same coin.

A coin menacing with spikes of adamantine.

Quote
  • Will the Alarmist unleash hunter killers upon me?
I believe so.  The SF alarm posts, that is.

This will probably be the operative factor in the upcoming loss ;)  Though with only intensity 4 Hunter you're at least only getting one H/K per AI (and a mkI at that; mkVs are waaaaaay nastier).

Quote
  • Am I capable of learning how to kill a Hunter/Killer? I'm a bit skeptical
Bear in mind that pretty much nothing in AIW is truly durable: if you have a full chokepoint's worth of mobile and immobile dps in your selection and within range of a given AI unit, and you right-click that AI unit, then that AI unit is going to die.  If that isn't enough, try Spirecraft Penetrators (oops, just checked, doesn't look like you have spirecraft on; try arty golems).

Whether you can do that for both H/Ks and still win the overall fight is harder to say.

Quote
  • Am I going to have oodles of fun with the Zenith Devastator, or am I going to keep mistaking it for the Devourer and give myself a heart attack?
Why would you confuse them?  The first 3 letters of the name?  Just checking that I didn't make some odd art asset mistake ;)
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Offline LordSloth

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2013, 11:11:28 AM »
Check tooltip, check.
Entrenched + Bouncer? Check.
Anything a particularly nasty combo with Grav Driller? Combine it with a Speed Racer? Probably slow in their systems, fast in ours.

And yes, it's just the first nine letters that confused me for a moment, but other things were probably impairing me for a moment.

Offline LordSloth

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2013, 09:22:16 PM »
New map, new bonus ship, new AI, natural resource income, one planet.

We regain freedom on Niunub, which will rename in honor of our national beast "Three-toes", having salvaged an experimental "Lightning Torpedo Frigate" from pre-war plans.

Primary objective: Discover immediate surroundings. Analyze threat, identify priority targets.

02:43
It appears our former military AIs have mutated beyond their initial specs... no wonder they turned on us.

The Minuteman class AI has been designated in red on our strategic map. Initially established to patrol our borders, a botched software upgrade linked it into our security network of Alarm posts with broken IFF, identifying all factions as Foe, not friend. Even worse, there are rumors that a "Last Stand Hunter" option was implemented.

Our strongholds were secured by the Maginot class AI, which unfortunately received Identification Friend or Foe from the Minuteman. We have colored the Maginot holdings in blue. Maginot was the pride of our defensive engineers. Every wormhole was secured with militarized guard posts, orbital mass drivers, and warhead interceptors designed to repel any strikeforce that penetrated our forward defenses.

The wormhole string to the south-east leads to our former headquarters, but unfortunately it was the first place we were driven from. The first system "Young Road" has an armor inhibitor in addition to the usual warhead interceptor and orbital mass driver. It was intended to take out any shielded elements. The second system "Mandrake" tamed the power of a black hole to hold intruders in place while Special Forces responded to the threat. We just barely made it out before the trap sprung shut. The next system after that featured an experimental "Translocator"-class Railgun Command protecting two ion cannons and the ruins of an ancient, cursed golem that the AI fortunately was not plugged into. Our data files for the remaining systems were damaged by an EMP blast during the escape, unfortunately.

Our immediate home sector was no pushover either. The southwestern jump string ended at the system "Arcen", which contained one of our AI's Data Centers, but access to that system was gated through "Adam Smith" and its Planetary Cloaker. Two hops westward was the AIs' superterminal, but I'm afraid the automated security systems might make shutting down the AI way too dangerous. We're fortunate that our immediate home cluster only includes one known Plasma Eye and two forts for security.

The chain off to the northwest is locked off behind a Data Center maintaining another Black Hole Generator, while the pass to the northeast contains a Data Center, Civilian Leader post, and a Zenith Power Generator. Securing that bottleneck is probably going to be my first priority, accounting for any security systems.

06:34
My initial mark one strikeforce is mostly completely. We'll be producing the first run of Lightning Torpedo Frigates soon. It's time to start laying out plans. The system of "Gene Simmons" to my northwest is both lightly defended and rich in natural resources. Best of all, there are no nearby remnants of our former ADT Security net, so we should be able to avoid triggering "Minuteman".

Fortunately, the in-cluster "Minuteman" systems only have local defense Alarm Posts, but that won't necessarily hold true for the secured chains hanging off our Home Territories. I should be able to expand with some care and secure every system  with an ingress to our Home Command, with no precautions beyond setting up traps for the incoming guardians. Unfortunately, we do not yet have intel on what guardians the AI has managed to bring online after going to full alert and rogue.

Most unfortunately of all, the "Minuteman" will be just as antagonized by the destruction of an alarm center as a warp gate, and was designed to double as an armed warp gate to launch strikes against any enemy footholds... which now unfortunately includes us. Funneling AI retaliation will be prohibitively expensive, and the sheer abundance of these posts means that preemptive strikes will cost us dearly as well. We must plan to repel guardians at every turn. Our former AI Technicians  (now demoted to Janitors) are speculating on the behavior of an Alarm post after the system has switched to full Human ownership. We will have answers soon.

While our AI Techs have been demoted, our material and weapons science division is in full force, though lacking the direction of former command. There is intense discussion of where to spend our eggheads (got advice?).

Offline LordSloth

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2013, 10:15:54 PM »
09:31. We've begun throwing up some tractor turrets and additional forcefields in preparation for the initial AI probes of our rebellion. The first pair of Lightning Torpedo Frigates have rolled off the production line and are eagerly awaiting testing. Troops have nicknamed them the "Manta" after some earth native marine life that none of them have ever actually seen.

11:48. Although the AI has designated us an enemy combatant, it hasn't disabled its security dispatch reporting, so we are notified of an incoming force of forty-six bombers, which we should be able to repel handily, and test our prototype "Mantas" on.

15:07. A full fleet of lightning warheads obliterated the bomber strikeforce in a matter of seconds. Impressive, though a bit limited in speed. More threatening is the plasma siege starship, which bypassed our tractor lines, though only made it halfway towards our command before dying horribly.

16:15. After a quick repair session, we're going to seize Gene Simmons, followed by a warp gate raid of all homeworld-adjacent systems. Our exodus fleet did manage to eliminate those alarm posts fortunately, and seizing those systems are part of our longer-term security plans, rendering that fifteen points on the Automated Imperial Protection scale irrelevant in the long run.

17:14. We've entered Gene Simmons. This system was under the control of Maginot, so contains the OMD and Warhead Interceptor, as well as an over-abundance of guard posts. Fortunately, our Manta frigates were too small to engage their tracking systems, although we did note the presence of foreign technology in the form of Spire Blade Spawners. Did the AI salvage abandoned tech, or is this a sign of alien sabotage of our AI systems?

We may need to develop countermeasures for these spawners, but initially brute force should suffice.

19:33. System cleared. Highest casualties encountered in the bomber contingent, courtesy of a Missile Guard Post. Updating tactical doctrine for future strikes. The Mantas were considerably less interesting against a sparsely reinforced system. Sending in the colonies. Another wave (fighters) due in one minute.

22:19. Force repelled, fighter striketeams of about twenty ships deployed to elimate warp gates, while the main fleet rebuilds.

24:51. Foundations for a military command laid in "Gene Simmons". Warp Gates for "Murder Road" and "Young Highway" eliminated, while neutralizing "Steve Jobs" requires a small amount of maneuvering to avoid a Fortress with busted maneuvering thrusters. This maneuvering leaves our fighter squadrons horribly exposed to blade spawner and MLRS guard post fire. Full military force may be required.

Our lazy general is calling it a night. Our home command is more secure, with only one point of ingress. Gene Simmons is poorly defended, with only a few tractor turrets, shield, and military command protecting against two active wormholes, but it should serve to take pressure off of Three-Toes.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2013, 11:00:03 PM »
Quote
Primary objective: Discover immediate surroundings. Analyze threat, identify priority targetsDie in the most hilarious way possible.
Well, maybe not, gotta work up to it, I suppose ;)

Blue liked the manta shape quite a bit, so I made sure it got used on one of the more prominent new units (bonus types being quite prominent compared to say, guardians or guard posts or special command stations, etc).  Glad to hear it's been useful :)  At least, I think that was the result ;)
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Offline LordSloth

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2013, 12:45:04 AM »
Well, work ran annoying long, so tonight I only have time for a "What if?" scenario.
Therinmas down to the south has a special forces alarm post. We're going to take that out and test one of Wingflier's observations over in the the current (6.035-6.037) update response thread.
We'll have to break through an armor inhibitor, then a black hole generator, and finally a translocator command. What that means is I'll unlock and build more fleetships, with a few raid starships once the OMDs are down.

Amusingly, Torpedo Frigates can outrun their own torpedoes.

Feature Request to accommodate Alarmist AI: Either (A) Alarm Posts [special] replace warp gates, so AIP isn't 25% higher per system (B)  Alarm Posts [special] for the alarmist do not increase AIP when killed, (C). Alarm Posts [special] are capturable, and do not increase AIP when scrapped, so if I'm willing to give up the 50% chance of not triggering, I avoid the extra AIP (D). Alarm Posts do not function as warp gates if the system is owned by the player. (E)Alarm Posts require supply.


While you're at it, maybe remove them alarm posts from the "hostile" counter, like spec ops force posts.

So, interesting situation we have here.
A Translocator Command station, flanked by two ion cannons and a pair of spider guardians. Raid starship can't get close. Translocator fires sixteen shots every two seconds, and the command station itself has 4x external invulnerability. One of the AI Command Station Shield posts is right *there*!  At least this system isn't a peacekeeper. I don't think I have a single ship immune to translocation. Perhaps cloaker starships can help? Yes, it can. I take down the command station shield post with a mere 40 mk2 bombers, as well as the two ion cannons. Then I notice the command station has 20 million health. I may need more than... 40 bombers. To my surprise, the system says I'll only need 171 shots to kill. Throw with my mark 1 bombers included, I have effectively 147 mk2 shots to a salvo, and cloaker 2s would set me back only 1k knowledge and 120k combined m/c each, for a grand total of 200 cloaked ships, so I could throw in some Flagships while I'm at it.


Somehow, I accidentally triggered the special forces alarm post fifteen minutes ago without noticing. Replacing screenshot with save file. Will throw up mantis issue tomorrow if I'm reminded to, and am told exactly what you'd like uploaded. (save before? save after? What logs?)
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 09:23:09 AM by LordSloth »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2013, 05:50:11 AM »
On the alarmist AIP thing I believe it gets more Data Centers to compensate.

Very interesting bit about the subcommander command station and layout :)  I wonder how it could have come up with that idea...

On the special forces alarm fail, a save before is all I need, thanks :)
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Offline LordSloth

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 08:52:04 PM »
Special Forces Alarm Post on Therinimas. Strike fleet about to destroy command at Mandrake. Alarm triggers, with klaxons, threat at galaxy is 13 after alarm goes off. Threat before? 12.

Game version 6.034 at time of test.
Updated to 6.039 and tested again. Results changed. 141 threat. I swear i didn't see anything related in patch notes.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 08:59:34 PM by LordSloth »

Offline LordSloth

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2013, 08:58:04 PM »
43:01 alternate history
9 blade spawners, 11 mk2 artillery guardians, and 10 starship disassembler guardians on my HW. Sadly, I don't think the H/Ks have spawned yet from the "You Have Lost" galaxy search. Well, too early I guess.

Sending your entire fleet to a black hole generator for !science! is not conducive to two-world system defense.

Offline Aklyon

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Re: Alpha Experiment
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2013, 11:00:50 PM »
Your alt-history 46 minutes isn't long enough for the H/Ks to spawn, those need at least an hour. (or an hour since you killed one)