Author Topic: Stuck in purgatory? Or missed some required reading?  (Read 1828 times)

Offline imarriedyoung

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Stuck in purgatory? Or missed some required reading?
« on: November 29, 2014, 05:09:33 AM »
I'm playing my first real (serious) attempt at the game and have gotten stuck in a purgatory situation. The skylaxians have become a 'feared empire' and the Evuck's want to start a federation, but the skylaxians are a part of an anti-federation group so I can't seem to perform any federation forming acts and I'm not entirely clear on how I need to break their federation to get them to play nice. I somewhat foolishly overpowered them, and now I'm, not sure what to do besides wipe them out. These are the last two civilizations in the system. In fact, it got kind of boring, and I didn't want to repeat the tutorial, so I tried, countlessly, to kill myself off in some battle or another, but even with assasin's coming after me I somehow always warp out in time. What am I supposed to do? Is the tutorial keeping me alive to have me complete some task I'm not entirely aware of?

Offline x4000

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Re: Stuck in purgatory? Or missed some required reading?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2014, 07:46:29 AM »
Hey there, sorry about the confusion.

The fear empire should disappear when the skylaxian get down to just one planet, at which point you can form a Federation.

Hope that helps!
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Offline imarriedyoung

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Re: Stuck in purgatory? Or missed some required reading?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2014, 03:35:21 PM »
Thanks for the reply, really appreciate it! I think I'm still missing something when it comes to the game's mechanic, though.

It seems like the general victory condition for the game is for me to form an uncontested federation of planets. I do this by watching things unfurl and slowly, in the background, spend my influence and my 'credits' (kind of like social IOUs, but I know the game says its more nuanced than simply currency) to manipulate planets to certain ways;

A few questions:

i. Why are the dispatches for 'help local economy' without a time stamp? I notice that in the let's plays I watched, it used to be (in earlier versions I suppose) you could specify how many months you'd go on dispatch, and the cap for each RCI is much lower than my current cap of 2000 for each (or is it 200? not at my main computer right now). It seems like some dispatches really don't have an end, unless you run out of credits or the RCI maxes. Is there a reason for this?

ii. What, in this case, would it take to slowly trim the numbers of the Skylaxians down to zero? Would I just turn one of their planets into a mess of poverty, medical chaos, orbital strafe runs, and so on? Aren't some of the RCI's 'irreperable' as well? or are RCI's not the only way to take down a planet? Perhaps I'm thinking too directly, and maybe the aim is to get my other last civilization to recognize them as a threat, and temporarily go to war with them until I can patch things up later. I'm not sure; it sounds cool there are options, but I'm not sure what options work.

iii. If there is no dying on standard mode unless one is playing in ironman / permadeath mode, how does one 'lose' the game?

Offline Eternaly_Lost

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Re: Stuck in purgatory? Or missed some required reading?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2014, 03:46:03 PM »
iii. If there is no dying on standard mode unless one is playing in ironman / permadeath mode, how does one 'lose' the game?

As soon as Federation Formation is no longer possible, you lose.

Offline imarriedyoung

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Re: Stuck in purgatory? Or missed some required reading?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2014, 04:11:54 PM »
Ok, so there's hope yet! I suppose. I'll try to dive back in and see how this unfurls. Thanks again!

Offline x4000

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Re: Stuck in purgatory? Or missed some required reading?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2014, 03:23:29 PM »
Apologies for the slow response, it's the holiday over here.  To your questions:

i. There's no more timer because you can stop these at any time you wish.  Before there were arbitrary caps on how long you could do it, so people would just run it, then run it again, then run it again, which was frustrating.  Now you just run it until you need to do something else or have achieved the desired effect, and then you stop.  The functionality is identical to before (you could always stop at any time), except that it no longer MAKES you stop periodically.

ii. Well, you have the Evucks, and they have a number of nasty political deals that you can inflict on the Skylaxians to harm them.  The problem with that is you want them to later be friends, of course.  If you want to slow ship production, then harming the Skylaxian economic RCI is a good idea.  If you want to slow population growth, then medical or public order might work (might cause disease or unrest/wars, both of which would reduce population).  It's tough though, because if there are a ton of planets like that, and the Evucks are too weak to attack any of them... well, you might find you take one step forward (reducing one planet some) and two step backwards (other planets get that much stronger).  It's hard to say, and experimenting around is probably your best bet.

iii. If it becomes literally impossible to win, then yes, the game is over, as Eternaly_Lost notes.  If everyone was in a non-federation alliance, or if there's only one race left and it is non-federation, etc.  If everyone dies, which would be unlikely but could happen.

One trick, though, is recognizing when you are beaten even if it hasn't happened yet.  There are times in Chess where you're down to a king and a rook or something, and you're facing two bishops.  You can lead those guys on a merry chase for dozens of turns, and if your opponent is inexperienced, you might even theoretically win.  But against anyone competent, it's just a matter of time until they corner you and you're out.  Novices playing novices are advised to play out that endgame, since one might make an error.  Grandmasters in that situation probably will concede, knowing that they opponent won't and thus loss is inevitable despite the lack of actual checkmate (yet).

TLF is kind of the same way, where it detects checkmates but not when checkmate is unavoidable 30-some moves along the game.  There's always of course the chance of luck or mistakes, too -- maybe the Skylaxians get a terrible disease that spreads between planets, for instance.  Maybe you pull something really clever out of your hat.  So it's hard to say with authority whether or not a game is truly lost, if you see what I'm getting at.  You may find yourself in a "seeming-stalemate sliding steadily backwards" situation, though, and if that's the case then it's your option whether to concede or to pray for a lucky event to strike.
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Offline imarriedyoung

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Re: Stuck in purgatory? Or missed some required reading?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2014, 03:52:35 PM »
No worries about the holidays, same here. Definitely agree to the chess topic; maybe there should be some way to concede / surrender? As I haven't finished a game yet I don't know if there's a recap screen like other 4x / strategy titles or if it's less complex than that, but it sounds good. One thing I really appreciate about your games, as a fellow programmer and game enthusiast, is the attention to smart AI design. Watched an awesome little piece on youtube ages ago from another AI  game industry professional who talked about how little work had been done beyond simple tropes and that the mentality of 'it works, don't break it' has somewhat stagnated the developmental end of it all.

My only critique of TLF is the sheer cognitive load one has when going through the tutorial boxes, but alas, it's not a simple game to get under your belt (as my post stands testament to) which alludes to it needing to be a bit on the heftier side, and intelligently peppered with humor, to carry the concepts across. Also, like almost any strategy game (from RTS to Grand) there's always a need to play over and over again; chess is like that, Civilization is like that, Starcraft was like that, EU IV, et. al.

I may just start a new game. I've kind of blown the RCI's out of control and I feel I'll have to engage in needless battles to keep currying credits and favors just to try to tie up the endgame, but I am excited for the next bout! Maybe after this I can finally beat AI War... ;D