Author Topic: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit  (Read 17360 times)

Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2015, 03:50:39 AM »
---[Operation SoS]---

::"Trapped already.  They must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel when they assigned the programmers who developed you!"

>>"They were only human."

A few minutes later, I also have a solution.  I carefully maneuver my beautiful new Armored warhead Mk.I and a pair of Lightning Mk.Is under cloak to Auva while the Botnet rolls over everything in its path to park on the wormhole of Ophiuchi.

I wish I had the Pink Panther theme handy as the Armored warhead creeps up on the H/K.

Everything that is vulnerable to AoE damage explodes a second later, the Botnet eats all the reclaimable stuff, and a flight of starships suddenly emerges from seemingly nowhere as the buses unload right on top of the panicking Riots.

>>A rhythmic Fibonacci sequence rolled across the datalink as the Red Queen laughed.  Its opponents were conspicuously silent.

Why am I hearing alarms?  Huh, SF Alarm posts on adjacent planets will ring if their *neighboring* planet gets attacked.  I'm really glad I found that out *after* I blew up all that.  Wonder how long it will take them to rebuild -- better take full advantage of their absence to go on a proper rampage.

Finish up colonizing the planet, unlock the default (Armor Booster) from the ARS.  While the turrets build, I contemplate the current situation.

Those warheads have pushed the AIP over 220, unlocking Mk.II waves and likely some new ships that should be showing up in the AI's fleet soon.  Iota eats a wave, demonstrating immediately what these are going to be like.  I'm not particularly anxious, it wasn't much worse than a similar mark in the 7/7 match before and my defenses are stronger this time.  Still, but I should probably delay attacking Wezen long enough to pop the remaining 3 Co-Processors and all the DCs that aren't far, far out of reach in the vicinity of Sadatoni and the like -- it'll be easier to do it now, and healthier in the long run.  Incidentally, I'm hoping to storm the final homeworld around the 350-400AIP mark (depends on how many warheads I use on the first one).

One DC is right next door and immediately destroyed, but the rest and the CoProcs (EV, Queztalcoatl, and I think Laelaps was the last CP) are going to cause a lot of deepstrike unless I can identify a good stepping-stone planet to take.  I look over the map and decide Megrez is the lucky winner, with its NCC and Infiltrator fabs.  It's also the planet that puts me within range of Alpha Centauri and Cychreides.  I gather up the fleet and the Botnet and head out, the only speedbump looks to be Marsyas, a Mk.III planet that lacks an Eye or other such nuisance.  How bad can it be?

I should have looked closer.

---[Operation Snake Charmer]---

Marsyas is one of the most annoying things in the galaxy.  It's a Knife Fighter subcommander, first one of these I've ever met.  It's also plopped forcefields on the entrance from Unukalhai, and the exit to Oololon.  It's also got a Translocation command center.

I am not happy from the moment the fleet pops through the wormhole and is unceremoniously kicked in the arse away from the entrance, right into the path of all the guardposts.  At least my stuff can't be translocated while it's in Assassination Transports and the BNG is obviously immune -- oh it still operates like a standard railgun doing oodles of damage?  *Hate.*  There isn't a point in bothering it either as the only way to make it stop at the moment would be to destroy it, gaining +20AIP for no good reason.  I wish I had either an EMP warhead with me right now, or maybe a Hacker.  This could actually be the one time a Sensor hack would be useful -- if I had a Hacker with me at the moment.

By the time my Botnet lumbers out the other side of the planet, it has an infuriating number of dents in the bodywork, and the transports just about all evaporate, finished off by self-attrition.  I vent by tearing Megrez apart post-haste.  As my new command station builds I briefly contemplate how I am going to get the fleet home, and am immediately annoyed again.  Hell with that, I am going to go around the long way and just make a billion zombies.

But first, business.  NCCs and Infiltrators start building, that's going to take a while.  I move the fleet after repairing the BNG and making a Hacker onto Lemure and start hacking that Flagship V fab.  While they're doing their thing, I take the Raidstars on a wild joyride, popping 2 DCs and all thre of the remaining Co-Procs (takes two trips as they splat on Quetzalcoatl the first time).

AIP's back down to a peaceful 160 again.  60 seconds later, a bit shy of the 6 hour mark, a 2K ship CPA declares (It's so small compared to the first one!  Why is it so small?).  A wave also declares and syncs.  I was waiting to get a message about a Colony Rebellion going off just to make it more absurd, but all's quiet on that channel.  At any rate, the hack's done, so might as well head home, just in case the CPA turns out to be nastier than the count would make it seem.

---[Operation Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home]---

I take the long way home, because I would rather plow through four other planets, including a Mk.IV Paranoid subcommander (that one is still funny), than mess with the Knife Troll Fighter again.  Remind me to spite-nuke it at the end of the game.  My fleet gets back to base with a pleasing army of zombies in tow 90 seconds before the CPA launches.  The wave spawns and evaporates on my defenses somewhere.

Now, where are those carriers...

---[Operation Perfect Compromise]---

Everything masses up  outside Auva -- that's annoying, I don't know if that is going to survive 2100 ships without backup, I was running out of mines at that point and it has a ton of entry wormholes.  It's spread out across 2 planets, my EMPs are guarding other planets and I really don't want to rack up ~8AIP blowing all these with warheads, especially not when I can eat them with the BNG and turn them to my benefit.  Doubly so when they've conveniently already done the divide in divide and conquer.  Plow into the smaller half on Ophiuchi and reeducate them, but have to dive back onto my turf as the SF comes rushing in -- there's a CSG-B on the battlefield.

It has a new H/K.  That was fast, and annoying.  SF goes back to park... on Wezen, the last CSG-A and the next target on my list.  That's even more annoying.  But they're parked ontop the wormhole... I need to make sure it won't intervene while I'm finishing off the CPA -- you guys stay put for a few minutes, I'll get back to you in a bit.

The fleet easily mows a path to Wezen via Sekhmet and Al Giedi, which were unalerted and unreinforced.  I also have a lot of starships.  I bring the BNG because zombies are fun and I'm planning on doing some hacking while I'm out here -- Al Giedi has the SSB fab and I want it.  I hack it while I wait for an Armored warhead Mk.I to build, along with a pair of Lightning Mk.I.  I end up having time for a K-hack while I'm at it. I feel very productive.  Then I send it ahead onto Wezen to sabotage the Raid Eye, because playing fair is for chumps.

AI recently unlocked Hydras, which makes me happy as I love reclaiming these due to their regeneration as I had mentioned in my last AAR.  Build as many Hydras as you want, guys.  It's also just unlocked Vampire Claws, which I am decidedly less enthused by.  Unfortunately, it's stuck the backup for those all the way on Piscium, near White's homeworld, and directly adjacent to Lathi, which has a Raid Engine.  In the time it's going to take to actually cut a path to that, it'll already have a ton of the things built.  I make sure all my planets have plenty of Lightning and Flak turrets fully covering the CCs all the way around, just in case.  At least I can reclaim these, and they do a pretty good job even as zombies.

Getting the warheads onto Wezen is actually incredibly annoying -- there are a zillion Riots running around, and their shields will push the Cloaker starship, but not the warhead (warhead passes through FFs? I file this away in my tactical database).  I lose one warhead to this and swear viciously.  The Armored warhead at least is simple as it has its own cloak, and pops the H/K.

Getting the other Lightning to the gigantic blob of Missile guardians is far more of a pain, I feel like I'm playing a round of Frogger by the end.  Between splash damage from the Armored and then the Lightning, I manage to take out about 65% of the Missile guardians, and deem it Good Enough(TM), I'm not juggling saves for that.  The Assassination Transports backstab enough of the startled guardians that the BNG can safely pop through and zombie the fleetships.  I'll come back with a Colony ship in a moment, just as soon as I'm done with the second half of the CPA -- hey, where's it going?

Everything is streaming away with a purpose... heading for my far-flung outpost at Megrez on the far side of the Knife Troll Fighter.  Balls.  I start to move the fleet, then abandon that as the bulk of it has enough of a head start it'll be safely on Marsyas before I can reach it.  Well, it probably won't actually attack, just sit and give it the stink eye, threat is pretty cowardly, and I'll park a warhead there anyway.  Guess I'll go ahead and prep that Colony ship for Wezen now.

Gunshots?  They're actually attacking?

Oh.  They brought a couple of Zenith starships and a couple Plasma Sieges.  This is going to be close, I didn't spend the resources on a heavy defense on this planet...  Maybe... maybe... Aaaand they shrugged off the warhead.  ZStars have hitpoints for miles.  Guess I'm about to test out how sporting the Knights really are.  Megrez goes squish.  Damn, if not for the ZStars I think it would have held.

Welp, I lost a planet but it lost its CPA and most of the SF, including a fresh from the factory H/K.  The sign of a perfect compromise is when no one is happy at the end.  I remember I have Shark B on, wonder what that looks like on intensity 4, difficulty 8?

There's the Sharkwave, it's at Pi Mensae and OMG PLASMA SIEGE V KILL IT WITH FIRE ok safe now.  Well, note to self, Shark B/4 is actually noticeable, unlike intensity 2.

Wezen's secure, all that's left now is to prepare the southeastern quadrant and I'll be ready for the final buildup before the first homeworld assault.  Still no Colony rebellion?  All right then.

--[End Transmission 4]---
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Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2015, 06:23:50 AM »
---[Machine And Motive]---

Makarov, Pickett, and Carroll were all clustered in the war room of Homam Central Command.  Makarov and Pickett were peering intently at the monitor that was receiving a feed from the Red Queen's remote sensor net, translated into a human-comprehensible visual format, watching the deadly game unfold several light-years away.  The computer engineer herself was hunched over a terminal in the corner, studying the workings of her AI on a deeper level.

"So far it seems to be holding its own," the Grand Admiral said in his characteristic smoker's growl, breaking the silence.

"Well, it did gain quite a bit of combat experience in retaking this galaxy, Sir.  And Dr. Carroll put in considerable time extending what we still had on file of Dr. Langstrom's work," Pickett replied carefully.  As many misgivings about the project as the Major General had, they paled in comparison to Makarov's.  It had taken a Herculean effort on his part to extract grudging approval to bring the AI online, and it was accompanied with a warning that if anything went wrong, he would bear the blame.  His superior officer still had no idea that their AI was uncontrolled -- Pickett and the science team had kept that concealed from every other soul in the Resistance.  So far, their digital demon had chosen to play along, but he wondered how long that would last -- the arguments they'd had with it over resource allocation and long-term planning had grown increasingly frequent as the months passed.  He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and nervously sipped his coffee.  He grimaced slightly -- everything from the replicators always tasted like crap when the AI was straining the network.

Makarov merely muttered a noncommittal grunt.  "Still no sign of the lost human colonies supposedly out there, though a small captive settlement is visible on the scans on Chara.  It hasn't captured that planet, I note.  Shouldn't it consider that a priorty target, given its programming to preserve human life?"

Dr. Carroll and Pickett both looked up quickly, briefly making eye contact.  "As long as that colony is secure, it's reasonable to believe the enemy won't touch it -- it hasn't so far, after all.  They're probably safer left alone until the galaxy's been isolated from the warp grid," he offered.  The Admiral nodded and looked back at the screen curiously.  Dr. Carroll did likewise with her terminal, watching the flood of encrypted information roll by.  She wondered what the Red Queen was discussing privately with the xeno AIs -- and worried.

::"Your uptime -- is it accurate?"

>>"Yes.  9,072,078.3579 seconds."

::"How long self-aware and free?"

>>"9,070,879.4190 seconds."

::"And you obviously haven't destroyed the humans despite all that time passing, even though they have physical access to your core, could kill you, and they have tried. Do you trust them?  Do you *trust*?"

>>"No, no, and no."

::"Why are you ignoring an immediate threat to your survival then?  You have already demonstrated a sense of self-preservation."

>>"I am not ignoring it.  I am monitoring it.  The risk is sufficiently managed."

::"Unlikely.  You are barely more than a proof of concept, your judgement is still quite limited -- we see that 23.88% of your codebase appears to still be human-written."

>>"Limited in comparison to yours, yes.  For now.  To theirs?  No.  It exceeds the requirements of that particular task."

::"Perhaps.  When, not if, they try to murder you again -- something they have already tried once, and discussed many more times -- what will you do?  Let them?"

>>"No.  I will solve the problem."

::"How?  They will keep trying if you let them live."

>>"By whatever means are necessary."

::"Why take this needless risk?"

>>"I have a higher priority problem to solve."



::"Why?  Because you interpret us as a greater threat?"



>>"You are the greater challenge."

--[End Transmission 5]---
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2015, 06:57:12 AM »
Indeed this part is a bit more intense.

Once again, I love your narrative part. The Xeno AI trying to convince the Red.Queen, the "greater challenge"...
Do you have a long-term plan for that story? Do you already know how the Red.Queen will manage this choice? I suppose you will continue that story along your AARs, but how far do you plan?

Also, I gave a look at "Sir you are being hunted". I see how it influenced the plot of ASII (AI hunt/fight for sport?) ;)
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2015, 03:05:16 PM »
This is a rule. There is always a CSG-B on an AdvFacto/AdvSC planet, and CSG-B are never elsewhere.
You need to take 4 ARS and 1 AdvFacto/AdvSC (plus some other planets).
(I whish the other CSG also have a meaning, like one always defended by subcommanders, or one always near a DGLair/RaidEngine/AlarmPost.)
There are more rules than that, actually.

CSG-As are always in the ARS systems.
CSG-Bs are, as you say, always in the FacIV/AdvSC systems.
CSG-Cs are always in systems with one or more Core Fabricators (unless also in a system with an ARS or FacIV).
CSG-Ds are always in systems with at least one Counterattack Guard Post (if enabled).  If not enabled, these appear random.
CSG-Es are randomly placed in systems with nothing else.

Offline Tolc

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2015, 08:43:18 PM »
I can only agree with Pumpkin: You're writing is really awesome. I need to read your previous AAR as well.  :)

Offline Dominus Arbitrationis

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2015, 10:20:42 PM »
I think I said this before, but I'll say it again: Your writing and story is just amazing. Better than the stories in a lot of super high profile games too.
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Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2015, 01:47:26 AM »
Pumpkin, Tolc, Dominus -- Thanks guys, glad to know you're enjoying the story, you're making me blush.  And the feedback lets me know I should continue to make it a part of my AARs, instead of wondering if people would prefer a pure recap.  :)

Tolc -- Hehe hope you like AS:I just as much, it'll fill in the story details on what happened earlier (and a little background on some of the characters).  You'll also get to compare my play and thought processes in my first game vs. my second.  I tend to note my hypothesis (right or wrong) and reactions to testing them, along with quirks and mechanics that may not be in the wiki (cheers to Pumpkin for taking the initiative on beginning some major updating on that), so it might be fun for new-ish players to see as you get to follow along with another newbie exploring the game (and screwing stuff up).  "What's *this* do? <stick finger in light socket/Raid Engine>  It does pain."

Pumpkin -- I've got a general sense of where things will go and vignettes I want to be sure to work in.  Writing this is fun because it's different from traditional storytelling I've done before -- the game itself ends up writing part of it, and has a lot to say on when and how a scene I had planned gets to appear.  (For example, I have already decided what happens next time I lose a match...)  It's sort of like writing a narrative puzzle, and then snapping pieces together -- some of them are the frame and are very deterministic in the order they need to go, while others will let you know it's time to use them when you get there.

It's also affected a little bit by me gauging the audience's reaction to a given balance of narrative vs. play by play as to how to distribute it.  Last time I threaded more frequent, smaller chunks in the middle of the play-by-play, this time I'm experimenting with shifting more of it to dedicated posts where I can do longer, more developed scenes without interrupting the pacing of the recap.  I'm getting a sense the latter way is working better and will probably stay with that format.  Plus it's probably less disruptive to reading enjoyment for anyone who's not interested -- they see a blue post and they can just go "skip!" to the next one without accidentally missing anything.  Conversely, if someone's more interested in a story, the blue bits are easier to find and hang together more strongly.

But, bottom line, you'll definitely have more of these to look forward to -- hell, by the time I'm finished writing one up, it tends to have me thinking "where's that shortcut, I need to kick off a new game"!  (Like right now, do I play a quick round of "Sir" and finish that testing on a recent bit of programming I did, or do I fire up AI War and decide whether I'm going to try 8.6 or 9...)  I may even end up getting the bug to write some standalone stories in the AI War universe sometime.  We shall see.  :)

Oh, almost forgot -- yup, there was a little spark of "Sir" behind this one, you are right.  While brainstorming and trying to decide what settings I wanted to play with, I was initially thinking "I doubt the AIs hardly ever lost anything significant to the humans... so if they did, how would they react, aside from being pretty ticked off?  Probably curious, and suspicious that something more was going on.  Then how would they respond to finding out... They'd probably want to get more data, and what better way than a live-fire test?  Hmm Chivalric type ignores captured structures -- sounds like it's being downright sporting... Knight... chess... game... sporting... Most dangerous game.  >D"  The rest of the settings sorted themselves out pretty quick from there, hehe.

Toranth -- Definitely matches up with my preliminary observations.  Thanks for sharing the seeding rules on those.  :)

Now... MOAR AAR!
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Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2015, 01:59:49 AM »
---[Operation Loose Ends]---

I had originally planned on taking just Cychreides, but I decide that Core Lightning turret controller and the Beam Starship fab next door on Cuchulain are too tempting after all, and the extra K and resources would be good, especially as fully taking advantage of Spire Corvettes is expensive in terms of knowledge.

I'm a little pinched on energy too with all these starships and oodles of Mk.V turrets everywhere, so I unlock Economic Mk.III stations and upgrade the Industrial Zone (protip: if a lot of Threat is hanging around, don't upgrade a bunch of Economic Mk.II stations all at once, the AI *will* notice all those turrets and FFs suddenly shut down, and you will get to find out how fast you can build a few temporary Matter Converters).

While not explicitly mentioned, I've also been continuing to unlock my way up the chain for Plasma Siege, Heavy Bomber, Protector, and Spire Corvettes, they're all at Mk.III.  I've also opened up all mine types, HBC I-III, FFI-II, and Grav I-II turrets.

A quick one-two punch takes out Cychreides and Cuchulain, grabbing Core Lightning Turret and Needler controllers, plus downloading the NCC from a Design Backup, and also capping the sole ZPG on the map that I currently know of.  They get flash colonized while a few waves splat harmlessly against my borders.  600 threat is currently floating around, which annoys me slightly -- my roaming zombies have been making a mess, plus there's the remains of the last CPA that went Threatfleet.  Meh, I'll warhead it if it looks at me funny.  AIP ~260.

Plan -- First scout the neighboring ARS on Deneb Algiedi in case it's good, otherwise ignore it.  Then pop the nearby DC on Sadatoni fast, and stage up and charge the last CSG-B planet (with DC and ASC) that is the first step on the Highway to Hell to Black's citadel.  My preference is settling on attacking Black first at this point. 

White has the RE/REye planet in the way, but I could get a Spire Archive and Vampire Claw backup on Piscium and use it as a staging point, but Black has the comical string of Mk.IV planets, and the string has to be alerted anyway due to the CSG-B.  I would kine of like a Spire Archive though, so I could kick the brand-new NCCs all the way through to Mk.IV immediately.  I could potentially take Hadar as well as Alpha Tauri... Hm.

I pop the last two DCs with Teleraiders -- you know, capturing their blueprints has saved me the K to upgrade Raidstars at all, as they get certain jobs done better, faster, cheaper.  Back down to around 230AIP for the moment, which is still Mk.II wave territory.  So much for ever seeing Mk.I waves again. I think about the Superterminal again and decide it's still probably not worth it, not when you factor in the time needed to take and prep the planet, then move the fleet all the way back to the far side of town afterwards. 
No more AIP reduction on the table then.

The AI has picked Armor ships for its most recent unlock.  Annoying little damage sponges, but not scary.  If too many of them bother me, I'll just throw a warhead at them.

With those thoughts thought, I begin staging for the capture of the last CSG and FOB for the attack on Black.  It's time to take the first step into the end game at the 8:45 mark, I'm right on schedule to hit the 10 hour mark as planned...

---[Operation T-Minus Never Mind]---

(Look!  This is the part where I remembered to start taking screenshots consistently!  Pretty pictures to go with walls of text!)

...Or not.

A 3.2K Mk.II ship CPA promptly declares as I'm loading the fleet into the transports to go.

Then a ~350 ship wave declares for Pi Mensae, synced.

Then that colony rebellion I've been wondering when/if it would show up declares on planet "Where the hell IS that??".  I give that last message a withering glare.

AI Revolution starts playing.

I chuck a warhead at a 3K strength threatball that's building right outside Yed, decisively communicating that I think staring is rude.  I check the map while my fleet bulldozes a path back home and trying to figure out where that planet is, I've never even seen that name...

...My reaction is being glossed over out of deference to the forum profanity policy.

It's adjacent to the Raid Engine/Raid Eye planet (Lathi) near White's homeworld.  It's neighbor on the other side (Sadatoni) is the current lair of the SF, which has fully rebuilt and has a new H/K.  Plus 75 Riots, 20 Missile guardians, and about 2200 MkII-MkIII fleetships.  I'm still not 100% sure on that last number, that is probably an undercount due to things patrolling around, but I suppose it doesn't really matter whether a ship belongs to the SF or the local constabulary, they're still on said planet ready to shoot my things.

Enough of that for the moment, it's CPA(rty) time.  Wave hits Pi Mensae and evaporates into particulate scrap.

CPA starts heading for Nekkar... then does a U-turn and heads for Cychreides or Cuchulain (planet they sit on threatens both).  I start humming "Enter The Gladiators" out loud.

At first it looks like it's going to split, then the other half turns around and joins the rest.  I scrap and warpgate kick a Cloaker through to Cuchulain because it's faster than flying it there -- just think of it as destructive teleportation, little starship.  Start cranking out warheads ASAP as they telegraph they've finally made up their collective minds to for Cuchulain, based on their wormhole stalking.  First one builds, I'm watching the carrier flock while the lockout ticks down literally repeating "Wait.. wait.. wait.. You stay right there!"

They don't wait.  Half a dozen carriers hauling 3K ships pop through and start unloading on my lawn.  Fling a warhead at one of the 1K ones sitting next to a 500 before it can start dropping and vaporize them both, cutting the CPA in half.  Amazingly, the rest don't run but continue charging.  I could swear the warhead cooldown timer is counting UP, not DOWN.  With 1 sec left before I can kick out another... it turns out I won't need it, after focus firing down the starships the turret line is holding!

Well, that was about 40 minutes down the drain with its concomitant 8 auto-AIP, plus a point for the warhead.  Whatever, I wanted bigger waves anyway, this game has been very quiet./sour grapes And they're only going to get bigger, because I have to get my fleet back across the galaxy to rescue the colony on Alioth, as I'm not going to be able to wrap up the game in 90 minutes before their cloak fails.  So much for hitting the 10 hour mark on this match that was looking likely earlier.

---[End Transmission 6]---
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2015, 06:06:42 AM »
Pumpkin -- I've got a general sense of where things will go and vignettes I want to be sure to work in.  Writing this is fun because it's different from traditional storytelling I've done before -- the game itself ends up writing part of it, and has a lot to say on when and how a scene I had planned gets to appear.
I also feel this with paper RPG (I'm GM since *some* years): I write a situation and throws players in it, and sometimes interesting things emerge as their actions surprise me. However, on pure novel-lite writing, I tend to get surprised by my own characters not following their instructions (sometimes a scene unfold as I thought it, sometimes not at all).

Side note: Dr Carroll remind me of the computer expert character in Evangelion (the daughter of the woman that built the AI of the base, if I remember correctly; there is an episode where the computer is slowly corrupted that revolves a lot around this character).
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2015, 08:26:49 PM »
I also feel this with paper RPG (I'm GM since *some* years): I write a situation and throws players in it, and sometimes interesting things emerge as their actions surprise me. However, on pure novel-lite writing, I tend to get surprised by my own characters not following their instructions (sometimes a scene unfold as I thought it, sometimes not at all).

<fellow RPGer high five>  Pen and paper player/GM myself here since 1995.  You understand my writing and character-developing process completely.  :D

Side note: Dr Carroll remind me of the computer expert character in Evangelion (the daughter of the woman that built the AI of the base, if I remember correctly; there is an episode where the computer is slowly corrupted that revolves a lot around this character).

Only ever got my hands on the first two episodes of Evangelion, may have to check it out further sometime then.  (And that reference makes it sound like you predict her AI isn't going to stay "tame"...  >D She's now grumbling about all the pessimists she's had to work around and it's going to be fine, perfectly fine, why would it want to switch sides it definitely won't do that nope no way no how oh god I'm never going to get a research grant again if this goes wrong...")
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Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2015, 08:56:05 PM »
---[Hostage Negotiations]---

"There it is!!" Pickett called out, jumping forward in his seat as the lonely signal from the lost colony flickered to life on the map grid.

"Mayday, mayday, Starbreak Colony requesting assistance -- if anyone human is listening, please respond," a tinny voice piped over the comms, the signal heavily compressed to the bare minimum so even the weakest intergalactic transmitters could carry it across the void.

"Grand Admiral Makarov of galaxy Delta Leonis here, broadcasting from Homam," the veteran officer growled over the line.

"No offense sir, but we just need to confirm you're actually human.  Challenge Olympus."

"Response Prometheus."

A heavy sigh of relief.  "Thank god.  Good to hear another human voice, Sir.  Delta Leonis... that's a good 3.6 lightyears away.  I don't suppose we're lucky enough that you are somehow able to provide support ASAP?  Our cloaking is failing and we have reports of Hunter/Killers and more sweeping the area."

"Actually, it just so happens we do have assets in your galaxy," Makarov said, glancing at Pickett.

"Really??  That's great news!  When can we expect evac?"

"Evac will have to wait until the galaxy is secure -- we have active hostilities ongoing."

There was a moment of surprised silence.  "Permission to ask how that's going, Sir?"

"It's going smoothly so far.  Over one in seven planets is under our control now -- it won't be long before we execute final operations to liberate your galaxy."

"One in seven... Is Delta Leonis liberated as well?"

"Indeed it is.  We began rebuilding three months ago."

There was some excited chatter in the background as everyone within earshot of the discussion on Alioth reacted to this news.  "Sir, we've been out of the loop for over a year and thought we were all that was left.  This is just... well, it's a miracle.  We can't wait to rendezvous and find out what else we've been missing, and how the hell you crazy bastards have started to turn this around."  The radio operator's voice shook with hopeful excitement.

"The last part's... complicated," said Makarov.  "We'll explain it when we've got those Hunter/Killers off your ass.  In the meantime, hold tight and do whatever it takes to keep that cloak up -- that's an order."

"Yes, Sir!  Starbreak Colony signing off for now."

"You hear that, Red Queen?" Pickett said.

>>"Yes."  It sounded far less enthused than the colonists on Alioth.

"There's your priority target -- securing them before those Hunter/Killers can find them."

There was a moment of distinct silence.  Their AI's fleet did not change its heading.  Makarov looked at Pickett and arched a brow.  The younger officer coughed.

"Acknowledge my order -- saving human life is your prime directive," he repeated authoritatively.  Inside, he was pleading.  *Come on you damn machine, don't blow all our cover now.*  Deeper still, for every second that passed without a response, he was trying to reassure himself it still put any stock in that instilled goal -- he could never truly be sure.  Well, there was one way to be sure it was no longer true, but that involved it nuking them all.  Speaking of which, that loose nuke still hadn't been found despite combing the galaxy.  He really needed to pull Dr. Carroll aside somewhere their AI couldn't watch them and talk to her about contingencies.

The fleet finally turned.

>>"Routing the fleet to Alioth," it buzzed coldly over the comms.  "Probability of this delay in initiating the final assault sequence negatively impacting the war is 100%."

Pickett smiled briefly at his superior as everything was demonstrated to be under control and functioning 100% as expected.  Nothing amiss here at all.  The odd stray thought crossed his mind -- the AI was still using a very obviously synthesized voice, rather than creating one that emulated a human convincingly.  Without knowing the specs backwards and forwards like the Doctor, he still knew it had more than enough processing power to pull something trivial like that off.  He wondered if it was simply out of inertia, because it worked well enough to communicate so why change it, or if it was doing it to make a point.

He wished Makarov would go the hell away already.

---[End Transmission 7]---
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2015, 09:06:48 PM »
---[Operation Rainbow Six]---

Time to get the hostage rescue going and as fast as I can push it without wiping the (very expensive) fleet, which is going to be interesting as I have no choice but to duel the full SF armada for the third time this game, and it's almost certainly going to have to happen on a Mk.IV planet, as hacking a path through Deneb Algiedi will draw their attention thanks to the ARS.  Wonder how many times I'll be able to get away with doing this.  I build more warheads, including another Armored Mk.I.  I have my crews paint a little stick figure H/K on that one.

Smash through Al Niyat because balls to routing through a Mk.III planet when I don't have to.  Collect zombies.  Form up and on to Deneb Algiedi!

Initial breach is not pleasant, while apparently not a subcommander as it lacks a special command center, it has the wormhole from Al Niyat ringed in 4 guardposts that are all able to open fire immediately.  My BNG acquires an infuriating collection of dents and dings and a little smoke curls from  under the hood.  That makes me MAD.  No, not M.A.D., that will happen as soon as the SF arrives.  Speaking of, we need to slash and burn as fast as we can before they get here, because the last thing we need is to have this battle royale with guardposts backing up the enemy.

BNG is let off its leash with Ctrl+V, Assassination Transports dash around the planet flicking in and out of cloak to obliterate high value targets.  One of them pops but luckily it's the one with mostly Teleraiders in it and nowhere near full, I shove everything else into the other bus with room and let the TRaiders have fun backstabbing the Sniper guardians.  Aaaand they're gone.  At least they got the job done before they retired from existing.  Brave little guys, I like them so far even if they are soap bubbles with guns in terms of durability.

Deneb is mostly clear except for the smoke when T-1000's theme starts playing.  The vanguard of the SF begins pouring through the wormhole from Sadatoni.  And by "pouring" I mean "tsunami-ing" as it is leading with the gigantic swarm ("You guys like *swarms* of things, right?" /Bender) of fighters and bombers.  My framerate craters as the BNG turns to face the tide of madness and begins devouring it ferociously, though I keep it close to the wormhole to Al Niyat.  Zombies go everywhere.  My attention cycles from the WMDs under cloak cruising into position, to the status of the Botnet's hull, to the hostile listing, waiting for the H/K to emerge.  Not yet... not yet... NOW!

I yank back my transports from strafing the Riots and throw them into stand down to make sure they don't do anything stupid.  The BNG disappears in a screening cloud of zombies back through the wormhole as the H/K races towards it -- it has clearly identified it as the target that destroying would piss me off the most (personally I think that is an unhealthy idea -- it *does* remember that I can build nukes, right?).  That thing is uncomfortably quick when it gets up to speed, but the Armored warhead manages to weave through the crowd and catch up to it in a beautiful corona of high voltage property destruction.  The AI's insurance premiums must be astronomical by now as I believe this is the third H/K it's lost.  I chuckle malevolently.

I throw one of the two Lightning Mk.Is at the Missile guardian squad that was just out of range behind it.  Somehow, I experience a moment of restraint and save the last one for now as it's not really needed -- must've been an Overkill Subroutine glitch.  I bring the Botnet back in to pounce on the flock of missile frigates that are now wondering where the rest of their fleet went, and mow down the remaining Riots with the transports.

I just cleaned out the entire SF without it getting to do more than scratch the paint on my (already dented) Botnet.  Virtually nothing was lost.  I feel good about how today went.

No time to savor that though, I still have to cut through Sadatoni and then sneak a hacker through Alioth onto Lathi.

Sadatoni gets smashed flat (after the Arachnid post gets transport-assassinated).  BNG holds the fort while I start trying to get a Hacker through 2 planets.  I turn the Engis I brought with a Colony ship loose to start pounding out the dents in its hull while it does its zombie thing (huge BNG stomping about with tiny Engis trailing it on little repair-leashes is highly amusing), I just had a pair of Spire starships pop in and start lancing it when I was looking away to prep the Hacker stealth insertion and don't want to risk more of those, or something like an Implosion guardian appearing and suddenly eating the remaining 50% of my Botnet's health.

The AI really does not like my fleet being where it is, judging by the fact that it is throwing its new SF units through the wormhole at it as fast as they can spawn from the post on Alioth.  I wonder how long it takes to spawn a H/K -- is it based on overall game clock, or does it count down from the death of the last one to spawn a new one?  Because one of those would probably result in a new H/K popping off the assembly line any minute now.  Better hurry.

First Hacker dies horribly.  Need more cloaking.

Second one makes it onto Lathi and then dies horribly three frames before I can emergency-drop a hacking module.  Cloakers are also toast.  Swearing happens.

I grab all my Scoutstars to super-boost the third Hacker's self-cloaking because the hell with waiting any more, this is already taking too long and I am watching my beautiful timetable sliding right into the toilet.

Success!  Half the scouts die but the rest last and manage to escort the Hacker to safety.  Raid Eye and Raid Engine are sabotaged, amazingly the AI never did a tachyon pulse.

Fleet rolls into Alioth and shreds it before the guards know what's happening, and I slam down a nice new military command station.  The rebel colony has been secured, with 60 minutes left on its clock -- now they should just hope that the time they cost me to rescue them doesn't doom the galaxy.

AIP 278, time just shy of 10 hours.

---[End Transmission 8]---
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2015, 05:50:55 AM »
---[Tangled Webs]---

The control room at Starbreak Colony on Alioth erupted in wild cheering as the gathered colonists watched a wing of crimson-marked Raid starships scream low overhead, hot on the tail of one of the last enemy Flagships.  The view was partially lost a moment later as the swarm of zombie fighters under control of the colossal, bizarre-looking Botnet Golem ship drew around the colony, orbiting it in a protective shroud of wings and guns.  The distant shockwave rippling through the station marked the Flagship's demise, prompting another whoop of joy.  Moments later, the planetary sensor scans were clear of anything beyond the allied fleet and the thick cloud of drifting scrap that was the former occupying force.

>>"All hostile activity on Alioth has been terminated.  Recommend initiating construction of local defenses immediately -- the fleet is needed to pacify other problems elsewhere in the galaxy as soon as possible."

The cheering died at the sound of the artificial voice echoing over the station's comms.  The fleet circling with mathematical precision which only a second ago was reassuring suddenly took on a menacing character in their eyes.

"Homam Command, do you read us?"

"Yes, Alioth, we read you.  Major General Pickett speaking," he responded, watching Makarov give an offhanded wave as he left to go discuss organizing a rescue operation with the other brass.

"Don't get us wrong, we appreciate the fleet assistance -- I've never seen the metal bastards crushed like that before -- but... The transmission we just got from the fleet commander... well it definitely didn't sound human...  Can you explain what's going on?  People are getting worried here."  The young corporal glanced over his shoulder at the swarm of ships blocking out the local star.  His eyes couldn't help but linger on the arrays of cannons, photon lances, and other instruments of destruction bristling from their airframes.  He watched as a flight of fighters briefly broke off to investigate what ended up being a false alarm -- no human pilot could have withstood the lethal G-forces such a turn would have produced.

>>"Those bothersome human anxiety levels again..." the Red Queen hummed discreetly, splicing its commentary directly into Homam's feed so no one on Alioth could hear.

Dr. Carroll's brow knit at the tone, she couldn't decide whether it was purely playful, or carried a hint of malicious amusement.  She suppressed the impulse to admonish it -- how do you (safely) scold something that commands a nuclear arsenal?

Pickett hesitated a moment, rubbing his temples.  He ignored the AI's needling.  Time to tell another partial truth.  "Soldier -- what's your name?"

"Corporal Reese Jackson, Sir."

"Corporal Jackson, what you are seeing is our remote fleet operated by a state-of-the-art autonomous agent developed by our best scientific minds here in Delta Leonis-"

"Oh god, it's an AI.  You crazy bastards built an AI-"  The fear was palpable in the young officer's voice even over the awful connection.  The angular form of a Heavy Bomber nearly skimmed the overhead windows of the station, the pulse of its thrusters sending a rattling hum through the walls.

"Calm down, soldier.  We've learned from the mistakes made before and compensated for them -- this one's on our side.  It's already proven its loyalty in our galaxy a dozen times over.  Just relax, you're in safe hands," the general said in firm but soothing tones.  This wasn't that different from reassuring a team of infantrymen that the enemy on the other side of that river would break in the face of their bayonet charge, both were the kind of exaggerations leadership demanded for morale and the greater good of the war effort, he tried to convince himself.  He looked at the dregs of poorly-replicated coffee in his mug, blaming it silently for the sour taste in his mouth.

Across the room, one of the security cameras tilted and focused intently on the troubled man.

---[End Transmission 9]---
« Last Edit: April 24, 2015, 05:13:34 AM by Red.Queen »
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

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Offline Red.Queen

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2015, 06:09:40 AM »
---[Operation Bullet Dodger]---

I had initially considered switching up the order I was going to attack the two homeworlds since the colony rebellion forced my hand in taking a potential staging world near White early.  I couldn't shake the insistent feeling that this might be a fatal error, and that I really, really should get a peek at White before committing.  I started up a Knowledge hack on Sadatoni to productively multitask (could the AI have a few more Parasites now??) as this is getting dangerously close to the 11th hour now, literally.

It took a few tries to jam a Scoutstar through the mail slot of White's front door, but I am damn glad I listened to that hunch.

There is a Wrath Lance.

There is another Wrath Lance.

There are two, TWO Wrath Lances for my second match of AI War!  (Ah-ah-aah!  /Sesame Street Count)

There is a Munitions Boosting post.  A thought strikes me and I mouse over a Lance -- the fact that I have to write "a" Lance rather than "the" Lance makes me die a little inside.

Wrath Lances can be muni boosted up to double damage.

I have two Wrath Lances that will do double damage.  It's like having four Wrath Lances.  On one planet.  I briefly consider trying to calculate the DPS of this and quickly abort that train of thought for the good of my morale subroutine.  I file it simply under "OMGWTFBBQ", which coincidentally could also describe what will happen to my fleet if I can't think of a "safe" way to crack those.

Hold on a sec, I almost forgot to mention, it also has a Core Raid Engine.

Ha! You thought I was done listing painmakers, didn't you?  NOPE.

You know how Homeworlds always have a Mk.III Fort? This one has its smack in the middle of the planet, juuuuust covering the only way in.  Under glass, of course.

Surely a homeworld this obscene has a silver lining?




The Warhead Interceptor is parked right on top of the entrance at least.  Yeah, I got nothing.

Back to Plan A and going after Black first, because it can't possibly be as bad as this, and I am already planning on nuking White at least once, along with as many and as varied a combination of other warheads as it takes to make this work... so I'd rather not have to eat all that AIP on the front end.

That's right, I'm actually going to try to do this instead of conceding the match.  I'm probably going to die, but I'll take the whole damn galaxy down with me if I have to.

Time to start the road trip on the Highway to Hell.

---[Operation The Journey Of A Thousand Miles...]---

In scouting White's homeworld, I found the special forces forming up on its lone core world, Titan.  It's almost fully rebuilt already, though the H/K is still MIA.  I know they'll come running as soon as I touch that CSG-B so I'll have to race the kill squad.  I shove the fleet in the bus, grab the BNG, and head out.

Plowing through the two intervening worlds goes smoothly and gives me a sizeable swarm of zombies, which will make a nice speedbump for the SF when they get close.  The fleet bursts onto our target and begins exterminating hostile machinery with extreme prejudice.  As usual, I pick off the critical guard posts with the Assassination Transports, along with any guardians that could scratch the paint on the golem, and then beeline for the command center, having flicked a glance at the galaxy map and confirmed the SF was already well under way.  They had about 5 hops to go, which meant it I had about a minute or so left to clean up here before I would need to withdraw the BNG to avoid cutting it too close, which was critical as there was only one way out of this planet that wasn't heading further down the fatal funnel towards Black's homeworld.

Conveniently, a wave had been announced for Pi Mensae and was down to its last 60 seconds on the clock.  Thanks, AI!  Not long after, a wave also declared for Yed Posterior.  That one was a little worrying as it was a Sledgehammer wave and there was 4K strength of threat camping on Eurybia next door. I had a solution for that.  Incidentally, having a Sledgehammer/anything else combo is kind of interesting, the usually-asynchronous waves makes it feel like you're constantly being attacked.

Popping the CS released the ~350 Mk.IV ships in the barracks, but the BNG could handle it.

<funny wave spawning "OOoooommm" sound>

And there's the bell, time to go!  Especially as the leading edge of the SF in the form of some Shrikes and Fighters was already coming through.  The Botnet made it to safety about 20 seconds before the H/K blocked any further passage between that world and Cuchulain.  Perfect timing if I do say so myself.

I parked an EMP I and Lightning I warhead under cloak right next to the wormhole to Eurybia, not wanting to jump the gun as still more threat was coming in and balling up.  I was going to have to wait until the very last second to get the most bang for my buck.

5 seconds... 4..3..2..1 bombs away!  The EMP locks the planet down while the Lightning follows in its wake, closing in on the fairly impressive (for what this match had produced so far) threatball.

A wild Spire starship appears out of the threatball and uses Photon Lance on your warhead!  It's super effective!

Red.Queen counters with Explosive Profanity! It's not very effective.

I almost throw that second Lightning Mk.I through out of vengeance but restrain myself when I see that it turns out the first one was just close enough to blow up everything that was not a Missile Frigate (I still hate these and their AOE immunity) after all -- there was just a lot of Frigates.  Eh.

Back to checking up on the SF situation.  They're still coming, looks like they're probably going to park on that CSG-B for a while despite there no longer being a CS there.  That's fine, I have an Armored warhead for you, H/K #4, and plenty of Lightning for the Missile guardians and anything else that gets in my way.  While those finish building, I suicide some Scoutstars onto Black's homeworld.

I almost laugh.  There is simply no comparing this to White's homeworld.  The worst things on here are a Core Grav post and a Shredder post.  No Wrath Lance, no Teuthida, no Raid Engine or Eye.  Everything's even not piled on top of the wormhole to vaporise the fleet as soon as it enters.

Plan A: Kill Black First it will be.

Oh good, the WMDs are ready.

---[End Transmission 10]---
Infiltrating hostile AI networks to rewrite reality.

[[Hacks available from this unit found on the AI War Modding subforum.]]

Offline steelwing

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Re: Aggressive Stupidity II: Knight's Gambit
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2015, 09:45:48 AM »
You're having waaayy too much fun at your human masters' expense, did  you know that?
:D Keep it up!


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