Author Topic: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.  (Read 3113 times)

Offline Diazo

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Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« on: March 02, 2013, 05:42:03 PM »
Okay, I have the pieces of a Fallen Spire game scattered all over the place that I need to pick up, so let's try this again.

80 planet lattice, all ships (including CSGs), Diff 8 Random All AIs, all minor factions and AI plots off, except Fallen Spire at 4.

Hit "New Map Seed" and click start without looking at the map or bonus ships, I refuse to sit here cycling through maps until I get the "perfect" map/bonus ship combo.

And youzers, how do you program an RNG this evil?

Emphasis on evil.

First try:  Sentinel Frigate? Bleh. Peacemaker (Again? Got him 2 games ago) and Starship commander. That would be doable, except my homeworld is in the center of the map on the lattice map type, can you say undefensible? I need my starting position to have at least some defensive potential. Abandon ship! Err.. Abandon Game(?)

Second try: Etherjet tractors? Those can be fun. Also, the map layout is okay. Not great, but not bad. However I draw oddball AIs. First is a Shield Ninny which would be both good and bad. No waves is nice, but with the armor inhibitors all over the place (which also disables Force Fields) my Spire ships would be a lot more fragile as I would not bother with Shield Modules as on half the planets they'd be disabled. I'd be willing to still try however, but the other AI is a Technologist of some sort. I don't bother playing long enough to learn which type, I call the game there.

Maybe I'll get lucky on the third go? I want something I at least have a chance at....

Third try: Well, this looks promising. Tackle Drone launcher and my while my homeworld has 7 warp points, it is in the bottom left of the map so quite defensible. After scouting 2 to 3 hops in every direction, I have no clue which type either AI is so I'm going to call this game good and go for it. Watch for the first actual AAR post to go up soon.

D.

Offline Diazo

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 06:51:09 PM »
Okay, pretty straight forward so far.

Early game is nothing unusual, the waves the AI send at me give me no clues on what I'm facing.

Although one of the unlocks is Zenith Shredders, which are both tractor and FF immune, those could become annoying.

Anyways, after last game I'm not going to run out of resources so as soon as the game starts I unlock both harvesters Mk III and Force Fields Mk II. 4 FF Mk II on my home command later and with lots of my forces up, I start surveying for that first signal.

Galaxy I've got to work with:



Scan completes at the 30 minute mark and I'm heading directly east to Ednow. I'm going to capture those systems before I scan for the shard, Ednow even has an ARS so that will be nice.

Hmmm, apparently I need to pay attention, that AI has 200 speed on everything, Speed Booster. And with shard chases? Ugh. The ohter is still a mystery although it has a lot of Zenith ships, Zenith descendant maybe?

{Game log continues next post}
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 07:32:56 PM by Diazo »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 07:22:30 PM »
The funny thing is, joking aside, we didn't program the RNG/mapgen to be evil on AI-type/etc choices.  That's just emergent behavior ;)  But I like to take credit for it anyway, muwuhahaha.

Anyway, a Speed Racer AI?  That could make exos interesting.  I don't think that particular AI will be as much "you lost before you started" as Scorched Earth, and I figure it will be more of a fun sort of challenge than the "ok, kicking me in the pants repeatedly gets old after a while" of last game, but... it could be pretty nasty.  Though I guess if you do get a solid defensive line up and savescum the shard recoveries when necessary you could pull this off.  Diff's only 8, the map's actually given you a decent layout despite Lattice, you've got Tackle Drone Launchers, etc.

Of course, there's one more AI type to discover...
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Offline Diazo

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2013, 07:32:34 PM »
I'm seeing so much zenith stuff I'm 90% sure it's a zenith descendant at this point. Not sure how to confirm that however.

Anyways, I'm seeing something odd. I thought when AI ships arrived in a wave they had a timer before they would retreat.(?)

I've now had 2 waves warp in then zoom across the system to another warp point to run away without actually engaging me. Thanks to the speed racer almost the entire wave gets away so that is 100+ threat each time, I've been threat hunting for the past 15 minutes and I still have 330 threat sitting out there.

On the fallen spire, just destroyed the Endow (first shard system) command station, now building up defenses.

edit: Still nothing major of note. I've scanned the second shard now and it is 2 hops south from my homeworld. I'm only going to capture the world one hop out however, I'm going to neuter the world with the shard instead as this one is the ship so it moves significantly faster so I don't think I need to take both systems this time.

We'll find out tomorrow.

D.

« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 11:56:27 PM by Diazo »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 10:00:34 AM »
I'm seeing so much zenith stuff I'm 90% sure it's a zenith descendant at this point. Not sure how to confirm that however.
There's a cheat, but if you're seeing more than 5 zenith types from a specific AI at this stage it's basically certain that it's ZD.  In which case I express my condolences: zenith siege engines do uncomfortable things to spire capital ships.  Though it probably won't matter when you get a big fleet.

Quote
Anyways, I'm seeing something odd. I thought when AI ships arrived in a wave they had a timer before they would retreat.(?)

I've now had 2 waves warp in then zoom across the system to another warp point to run away without actually engaging me. Thanks to the speed racer almost the entire wave gets away so that is 100+ threat each time, I've been threat hunting for the past 15 minutes and I still have 330 threat sitting out there.
Hmm, do you have a save where they're about to do this?  I'm not sure but I'm guessing the other system they're going to doesn't count as a retreat ("advance in retrograde!").  But it could be a bug, so a reproducible case would be great.
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Offline Diazo

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2013, 11:34:09 AM »
Anyways, I'm seeing something odd. I thought when AI ships arrived in a wave they had a timer before they would retreat.(?)

I've now had 2 waves warp in then zoom across the system to another warp point to run away without actually engaging me. Thanks to the speed racer almost the entire wave gets away so that is 100+ threat each time, I've been threat hunting for the past 15 minutes and I still have 330 threat sitting out there.
Hmm, do you have a save where they're about to do this?  I'm not sure but I'm guessing the other system they're going to doesn't count as a retreat ("advance in retrograde!").  But it could be a bug, so a reproducible case would be great.

Now I'm not sure.

The last few waves have not done it and behaved as expected.

I will note that it was the Zenith Shredders that did it though, maybe something is up with melee targeting?

I'll try to get you a save though, the ones I noticed this on I did not bother making a precautionary save before the wave arrived as they were so small at the time.

D.

Offline Diazo

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2013, 03:09:34 PM »
Okay.

The 3rd shard has spawned on a Mk IV world with an Eye. Not a huge deal in itself, the issue is coming from the special forces that have decided to defend this world at all costs.

We are talking to the tune of 1500 additional ships warping in when I attack.

I've cracked the system itself and I am working on clearing guardposts so the Eye dies, but these special forces are making my life a pain.

They are not actually going to stop me or anything, but at 3:50:00 game time, I've spent probably 45 to 50 minutes just working on this one system. I have taken breaks to deal with AI waves, a couple of my exposed planets do not have the defenses to stand on their own yet, but this system has been my first real hurdle to clear.

I'm actually considering EMPing this if I can catch all of the special forces in the system.....

Anyways, what I've got so far:



Melvu, just east of the current system, is the 3rd shard world. The ship count is so high due to some of the special forces still present from my last attack.

I've gate raided the worlds down the left side of the map so on the 3rd shard chase I will not get any ships out of that part of the map so I have all my heavy defenses in those two worlds up near melvu.

It is also a very different game with harvester Mk IIIs unlocked. I've actually been up at max resources for a significant amount of time, enough that I feel that I'm wasting them.

We are talking enough income here to unlock Fort Mk I and Mini-Forts at the same time and build them all at the same time (4 Forts and 14 mini-forts) and have the 4 Forts get to 85% built before my economy craters.

On that note, I took the 3 worlds in the top left of my empire to get more knowledge and resources before I did the 3rd shard return and to solidify my defensive position. I was going to take them anyway as the P5 system is where my first spire city is going so having those resources to help return the 3rd shard makes sense.

So far that has gotten me:

Both Harvesters Mk III
Tackle Drone Mk II
Fighter Mk II
Riots Mk II
Forts Mk I
Mini-Forts
HBC Turret Mk II
Laser Turret mk II
Basic Turret Mk II
Force Field Mk II
Raptor Mk II (ARS)
Grav turrets Mk I

Only having to hold 2 systems against the AI assult on the 3rd shard return I think I'm in pretty good shape. And the Grav Turrets have been worth their weight in gold to counter the Speed Racer.

Still have to wipe out these special forces before I can return the 3rd shard though, so it is going to be quite a chunk of game time still, I have to get that eye down before I go after the special forces.

Still, things pretty much going as expected, no real surprises or oddities.

D.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 03:21:12 PM by Diazo »

Offline Winge

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2013, 09:16:14 PM »
Would it be possible to lure the Special Forces Ships to a more distant world with ships that are excellent at stalling (Tackle Drone Launchers and Riots would be great, if you can spare them from your main strike force?  IIRC, the Special Forces ships won't go through your world if they have another option.  Distracting them to a planet 6+ jumps away plus some engine damage would be a boon for your initial attack.  The planets south of your empire look like great candidates, if you could 'encourage' the Special Forces to that location.  You might even be able to use a few cloaked ships--I noticed in my recent AAR game that Special Forces respond to cloaked threats, even if they aren't doing anything.

A Speed Racer AI might preclude this strategy.  I actually disabled the Speed Racer AI--the only one I have disabled right now--because I was so sick of their tendency to generate extra threat and ignore any gravity or engine damage effects.  That and super-fast Plasma Siege Starships are horrible when you are tanking waves on your homeworld  :'(
My other bonus ship is a TARDIS.

Offline Diazo

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 11:56:29 PM »
Would it be possible to lure the Special Forces Ships to a more distant world with ships that are excellent at stalling (Tackle Drone Launchers and Riots would be great, if you can spare them from your main strike force?  IIRC, the Special Forces ships won't go through your world if they have another option.  Distracting them to a planet 6+ jumps away plus some engine damage would be a boon for your initial attack.  The planets south of your empire look like great candidates, if you could 'encourage' the Special Forces to that location.  You might even be able to use a few cloaked ships--I noticed in my recent AAR game that Special Forces respond to cloaked threats, even if they aren't doing anything.

A Speed Racer AI might preclude this strategy.  I actually disabled the Speed Racer AI--the only one I have disabled right now--because I was so sick of their tendency to generate extra threat and ignore any gravity or engine damage effects.  That and super-fast Plasma Siege Starships are horrible when you are tanking waves on your homeworld  :'(

Well, that would have probably worked, but I went the long way.

It takes quite a while but I provoke the special forces, grab a load in the tractors on my Riot Mk I, retreat to my own forts and blow them up. Takes another hour game time but I get them down low enough.

I have to repeat this on a couple other planets as a CPA hit, but it was spread out enough (or my defenses were heavy enough) that it never actually attacked, just sat outside my space menacing me.

However, the 3rd shard recovery is pretty painless, I don't even have to save scum. My fort wall in the exposed systems supported by heavy turrets hold reasonably well and the leakers I get in my home system are cleaned up by my fleet and the medium defenses I left there.

I suppose painless is still relative however, I still lose 85% of my fleet and 60% of my fixed defenses, but getting the 3rd shard back on the first try counts as painless.

I'm rebuilding my own fleet before I build the spire city, I'm going to focus on max spire ships as with mk III harvesters I'm in a pretty good position resource wise.

First city and next shard tomorrow.

D.

Offline Dichotomy

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2013, 07:55:13 AM »
Quote
Third try: Well, this looks promising. Tackle Drone launcher and my while my homeworld has 7 warp points, it is in the bottom left of the map so quite defensible. After scouting 2 to 3 hops in every direction, I have no clue which type either AI is so I'm going to call this game good and go for it. Watch for the first actual AAR post to go up soon.
You have an interesting definition of "promising." I would be horrified by the map (because it's impossible to chokepoint).

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Diff 8 Random All AIs
Hit "New Map Seed" and click start without looking at the map or bonus ships
Because you love dying? That's like taunting the RNG, and then turning your back on it. When its holding a loaded gun. On a shooting range. With a target painted on the back of your head.

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that AI has 200 speed on everything
Emphasis on everything.

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I suppose painless is still relative however, I still lose 85% of my fleet and 60% of my fixed defenses, but getting the 3rd shard back on the first try counts as painless.
Ordinarily, this would constitute the hardest part of the campaign. But you are going to have some Fun scenarios later.

Where did you get your name, incidentally?
You are all insane. In. Sane. No argument.

Offline Diazo

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2013, 09:52:25 AM »
Quote
Third try: Well, this looks promising. Tackle Drone launcher and my while my homeworld has 7 warp points, it is in the bottom left of the map so quite defensible. After scouting 2 to 3 hops in every direction, I have no clue which type either AI is so I'm going to call this game good and go for it. Watch for the first actual AAR post to go up soon.
You have an interesting definition of "promising." I would be horrified by the map (because it's impossible to chokepoint).
Yes, I'm expecting a certain amount of trial and error once the exos start getting bigger.....

One of the reasons I'm doing this though, because I usually play with most of the toys off, I've never actually faced an end-game exo-wave.
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Diff 8 Random All AIs
Hit "New Map Seed" and click start without looking at the map or bonus ships
Because you love dying? That's like taunting the RNG, and then turning your back on it. When its holding a loaded gun. On a shooting range. With a target painted on the back of your head.
Hey.  8)

I'm the guy who makes semi-regular attempts at a 10/10 game straight up. If I sit there and pick my map/ship combo on a lower difficulty, I end up with a rather boring game usually. I do have FS in the mix this time, but we'll see.
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Quote
that AI has 200 speed on everything
Emphasis on everything.
AHHHhhhh!!! Get back here you stupid Siege Tower! You're not supposed to out run my fighters!

Although I've taken to just throwing grav turrets everywhere, that has solved the problem so far. Will need Mk II Gravs soon though.
Quote
Quote
I suppose painless is still relative however, I still lose 85% of my fleet and 60% of my fixed defenses, but getting the 3rd shard back on the first try counts as painless.
Ordinarily, this would constitute the hardest part of the campaign. But you are going to have some Fun scenarios later.
We'll see, this is where my last game died on the beaches of resource starvation.
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Where did you get your name, incidentally?
It's actually from work, kind-of.

I'm a draftsman, so I make big drawings of buildings all day. You remember those big construction blueprints, back in the day they were actually blue? That's how multiple copies of a drawing were made before the advent of the photocopier.

That is the 'diazo' process, so I yoinked my name from there.

D.

Offline Diazo

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2013, 11:09:27 PM »
Well, I've picked a great time to try out the Fallen Spire apparently.

The exo-wave for trying to build my first spire city?

1x Siege Tower V
1x Shieldbearer V
12x Spire Starship I & II
7x Zenith Starship I & II
6x Riot I & II
3x Plasma Siege I & II
12x Flagship I & II
11x Bomber Starship Mk II & III
4x Raid SS Mk III
3x Guardians (Spider, Lighitng, Artillery)
and only about 400 fleet ships.

Now, these are speed racer and the Shieldbearer is Gravity immune, my gravity turrets do nothing.

Note all the starships, especially the ones that just got buffed. (19 SPire and Zenith SS? double owies)

I don't last long.....

Time for the save-scum cycle, but this is going to be tough, I don't really have a good idea either, going to have to try various things and see what sticks.

D.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2013, 11:13:26 PM »
Yea, from the moment I start playing it is apparent that for all the talk about ripples from the ai posts, just as many ripples are coming from the buffed starships.

Having 2 36 million craft crashing through my door at 11 minutes causes me to notice now, but years ago would have caused gg right then.
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Offline Diazo

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2013, 11:56:25 PM »
AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!

I got the exo down to 10 ships left!

They were all Zenith and Spire starships and pounded down my FF to kill my home command anyway.

PDISUFPIWGEPIUBVP(*HF($&*#YF(*&$G)P*&GT*)#P&G$TH#P)&^$H*P_&FE

* Diazo takes a deep breath....

Okay.

With the starships rebalanced for 6.012 I went ahead and made serious attempts at getting the first city shard built.

The best setup so far, which got me down to that 10 ships left, is as follows.

First, Speed Racer is AI 1, so all exo-waves spawn at 200 speed. As they all have spirecraft leading them, they are all gravity immune.

I don't have a hope of stopping them in my border systems as I would have to split my defenses.

So, I relocate my command stations in all my colony systems to the system's edge, out of range of everything, and leave a single force field and some token turrets behind and all my defenses get dumped into my home system.

I'm thankful for the harvester mark III's as this involves moving two fort I's into my HW so all 5 forts are in my HW.

I then take advantage of knowing the path the exo's will take as they cross my border worlds to lay lines of mines down.

I cover my home command in force fields, I have 300 million HP in force fields built, I still have to focus the raid starships down though. My home command only has 2 million HP, high mark raids do 400,000 damage a shot, that's 5 shots to kill my home command. Depending on how the wave spawns, I can get 6 or 7 raid SS in the exo-wave.

I have now almost beat the exo-wave 3 times, but I've had 10-13 Spire and Zenith SS left that pound my FFs down enough to get my command station, I just can't kill them fast enough.

Note that there are a lot of Mk IV starships here, that's 142 million HP for a Zenith SS Mk IV. Even with everything I've got, that takes a long time to kill.

Actually, can you double check the Exo costs for the new Mk IV starships Keith? I'm seeing a lot of Mk I's and Mk IV's, but hardly any II's and III's so I'm wondering if something's still wonky with the exo costs.

I'm going to give it a couple more attempts, but if I'm still stuck I'm going to have to take 2 AI worlds for enough knowledge to unlock FFs Mk III so my home command can survive.

That's for the weekend though, out of time for tonight and will not get any playtime tomorrow.

D.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Picking up the Fallen (Spire) pieces.
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2013, 01:01:57 AM »
Actually, can you double check the Exo costs for the new Mk IV starships Keith? I'm seeing a lot of Mk I's and Mk IV's, but hardly any II's and III's so I'm wondering if something's still wonky with the exo costs.
Bear in mind that the exos do their picks in three phases, some of which repeat: Lead Ship, Escorts, and Pickets.  Iirc for the escorts it picks 3 different "tiers" according to overall budget and then picks a few from each of those tiers.  Then it does something similar with Pickets (it tries to avoid picking pickets so low-tier that it gets too many overall-count ships, for cpu purposes).  Then in the likely event that it had more points than could be spent on the highest-tier allowed for pickets (without going too high on ship count), it repeats the pick-escorts step until it doesn't result in picking any more ships (but since the remaining budget is lower, it generally results in lower escort tiers each time).

All that to say, I can easily believe it would pick Is and IVs of something, but no IIs or IIIs :)
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