Author Topic: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50  (Read 2922 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline pcangler

Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« on: June 12, 2021, 03:15:24 AM »
Please feel free to "interrupt" this thread to make comments or start discussions.

The link to bvanevery's phenomenal and interesting SMACX AI Growth mod is here: https://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=20959.0
The goal of this AAR is to win by diplomatic means. ;danc I’ve always played PKs in a more or less hybrid fashion and wondered what it would be like to semi-roleplay as Lal in the sense that we are trying to unite the factions. I’m going to aggressively try to pursue diplomatic solutions when they seem possible, including giving up obvious advantages, to make things interesting. Maybe I’ll even write some more creative passages to give insight into “Lal’s” inner situation. I’m playing on SMACX AI Growth v. 1.50, Transcend, Huge, 30-50% sea cover, average map settings. I’ve got all victory conditions on, flexible start, no random events, no survey, iron man, and directed research. Random factions, except for myself as the PKs. This is my second time playing the mod.





2101: A preliminary look at the map reveals that I may be on a small island all by myself. That isn’t so bad, seeing as I’m playing Lal. Will reduce border conflicts, I hope. I worry about falling behind in midgame with nowhere to expand. Luckily I’m Lal, and besides the mod gives Doc: Flex as a tier one tech.

I’ve drawn both alien factions, Morgan, Miriam, the Cyborgs, and the Drones. This is actually very pleasant. I can become friends with Morgan by running capitalist, something I already intended, and Theocratic isn’t so far-fetched. Morgan won’t get mad about your choices, the drones share an aversion with me, and Miriam’s aversion is a future society. If I run Theocratic, I’ll piss off the Cyborgs at the cost of gaining the Believer’s favor, but I have no way of pleasing the consciousness with SE choices until later...but I’m getting ahead of myself. The aliens mean that Lal will have to reckon the existence of an alien species with our own, needing to present a unified front to suss out their intentions.



I use the adjacent river to colonize faster, sending my scout to pick up the nearby pod and offer protection. I research Industrial Base (former tech), because I don’t have a +2 nut square at HQ. That’s just my pattern.



2103: The pod was a monolith! This is a good start so far. City will be founded in 2104.

2104: I swap out my original scout for the new base mins one so that I stand a lower chance of losing the independent unit.



2110: See what I'm saying? A pod north of U.N. Education Agency gives Doc: Flex. I may need to look into building a few ships in the future to explore for other factions. At this point, Lal hasn’t fully realized the consequences of the Unity mutiny crisis. He still thinks that he can bring the other groups to see things his way, so he feels the need to reassert his authority by communication with the other groups and eventual creation of a planetary political body, namely the Planetary Council.



2111: First contact! It seems we are not alone on this island...but we cannot communicate with the aliens. It’s Marr too...this may end up getting more violent than diplomatic, real fast.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lal stared on in disbelief as he received his debriefing, a young general dictating the report with a look that betrayed an awareness of the moment’s enormity. When it was over, he steeled himself with a politician’s skill to ignore his personal feelings on the matter and focus on his advisors’ discussion. How did he feel? To be honest, he felt a little afraid. He was likely the first of the human leaders to make contact with an intelligent alien species. The chief representative of the entire human race! This thought briefly broke his façade, forcing a small shiver to break the surface. Lal blinked twice, focusing on his advisor’s words. He was commenting on the interaction that occurred yesterday, between a Peacekeeping scout and some type of alien vessel, tentatively thought weaponless.

“...and because of that, I see no reason to pursue direct action towards these ‘aliens’, sir. Although it may appear vulnerable, we don’t know what it can or cannot do. And besides, they are more than likely just like us--looking for communication and cooperation in this harsh environment”.

“How can you say that?” another one chimed in, her tone that of aggression fueled by mild panic. “We have no way of discerning their biology, language, or capabilities, much--much less their intentions. Commissioner, I recommend avoiding these things and averting more resources towards military superiority until we understand our relationship more fully.”

Argument soon broke out in the room already filled with tension. Notably absent was Pravin Lal’s voice. Typically, Lal spoke with a quiet authority. If people silenced themselves to hear him, it was because they respected what he had to say. Lal could speak quietly, in other words, because he spoke thoughtfully. Right now, though, he said nothing, because he had nothing clear to say.

As arguments continued throughout the day, Lal found himself making very little concrete statements. He finally got around to general agreement to this effect: in the current case of very little knowledge about these aliens, gathering information about them is critical. Their policies would adapt when efforts to that end succeeded. Besides, they could violate human border precedents and find out how to challenge the aliens should the need arise...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



2114: The aliens have an artifact, so they are more than likely uncomfortably close. I continue attempting to explore their territory warily.

2115: I get my own battle ogre. Maybe I should beeline for probes instead of Demo + Capitalist, because I can use this diplo silence to steal things. Then again, they'll probably get E1 Social Psych first.



2117: [progeny of unmarried parents] blocked me in. Definitely getting war.



2126: View of the island as it currently stands. He has at least one other colony pod. Artifact in capital. There’s so little space here, I'm going to beeline for applied physics.



2131: My deep radar ogre finds another continent just below ours. That's going to make expanding past the island a lot easier. I go for Doc: Mob. In this mod applied physics is tier two, after C1 Doc: Mob (speeder but no command center) and C1 High Energy Chemistry (synth). I also expanded to four bases, and two of them have monoliths and a second +2 nut square. Nice!

Edit: C1 Doctrine: Mobility does in fact give Command Centers



2141: I ruthlessly forward-settle Marr by blocking his colony pod near Memories: Pain so that mine can block his expansion off. He tries to do the same with his ogre, but I get there first.
Not the best base, but it's got a rolling/moist/river square in the northeast.

2142: Marr said hi. I forgot to screenshot the interaction, but he was "seething" and stated in no uncertain terms that he, well, hates us, demanding tech and making threats.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lal marched out of the conference room with sweat on his palms. His gait reeked of stress and uncertainty, his movements fast, choppy. He had just adjourned a ten-hour long meeting, and was more than ready to go to return to the privacy of his quarters. Not that he’d be able to rest. He’d gotten off the phone with an alien dictator only hours ago, after all. The aliens, styling themselves ‘Progenitors’ and ‘Usurpers’, were led by ‘Conqueror’ Judaa Marr, a (man?) being with an aggressive voice and more aggressive interests. Apart from the names taken straight from a holovid, the Usurpers revealed their goals: to harness the power of the planet itself to ascend to godhood and eliminate their enemies, the ‘obstinate’ Caretakers. It fell to Lal to deal with Marr’s threats and decisively unpleasant manner of speech.

After the ‘diplomacy’ was over, Lal immediately initiated a discussion of the ramifications of the night’s developments. Armed with some new information from scouts, he now knew that the Usurpers probably did not have the might to stand up to the Peacekeeping Forces. Although the room was afraid of the consequences, consensus quickly formed surrounding the idea that military force against the aliens was a serious consideration.

And then there were the questions. Would the aliens follow through on their threats? How would this shake up politics? The alien situation had been leaked, then denied, then admitted to by Lal’s administration in a major fiasco only a year ago, after two alien craft were spotted outside of U.N. Equality Village. How could they hide it then? Opposition politicians had taken advantage of it to weaken his support in legislative assemblies, especially costing him support amongst populist parties. Those parties, luckily, were not the current established power base. That base of power continued to support him, but he could feel his grip on control loosen as support for the opposition increased. The situation had created political polarization as the Nationalist and Communist parties doubled in size seemingly overnight. How about WAR with ALIENS? What could that do for political unity and temperance? A feeling of besiegement couldn’t be good to base a stable government on. Lal sighed heavily. He took a deep breath, stopping in his tracks to divert his attention to his surroundings.

Like the Peacekeepers themselves, Lal was surrounded by architecture that adhered uncompromisingly to old Earth traditions. The mid-21st century influence of U.N. Headquarters was undeniable, with its glassy hard lines and replica marble floors. The designers had gone out of their way to recreate an environment reminiscent of Earth. This tendency was present throughout the Peacekeepers’ territories: the traditional political groupings, philosophies, and ideologies of Earth had followed them here. A sort of Puritan, Lal was the current representative of liberal democracy, and more broadly humanitarianism. It worked on Earth, and so it is the best here, he thought. As if that’s how politics works. Political ideologies aren’t axioms. They’re influenced by their situations.

The thought bothered him. He didn’t know what to call this. Would new political ideologies, ways of life, and philosophies develop to adapt to these conditions? Are his beliefs invalidated by certain physical facts? Doesn’t history dictate that the answer be ‘yes’? He had always tended to treat his essential truths as immutable laws of nature, unchanging, written in the universe by God. Isn’t that ridiculous? He tried to shake the idea. His whole life he’d been grappling with those same essential truths--human rights, the inherent value of democracy and liberty, and the necessity of free expression. What followed was a politician’s application of those ideas in the face of political difficulties. Are those things only valuable because of their consequences? He began walking again, quicker. You’re beginning to sound like Yang.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2143: After my next two colonists finish production, I'm planning to choke him with a lot of clean scouts. Things got tough real fast between us. He actually has two unused colony pods. I'm going to position troops immediately outside of his bases so that they can instantly kill him.



2154: Stupid AI. Defending his capital with an artifact against three scouts. His other base has one defender, and I have two attackers, one of which is an ogre. I'm going to wait two turns to attack, though. Marr probably won't recognize his error. I want more units to attack at memories: pain.



2155: Marr shot first, killing one of my clean scouts en route to his capital and following it up by losing one of his scouts trying to stop another invading scout.  ;lol I overprepared for a preemptive strike. He died in one go, without even any bases to his name. At least my surplus scouts are clean. I'll use them to explore the other continent.

On the world stage, I'm ostensibly tied for second with Domai, both of us behind the cyborgs. I was hoping that Miriam would do better than them, but she sucks. No Theocratic. Now, I'm mostly rooting for Morgan. And I'm secretly hoping that the Caretakers got the monsoon jungle so that they can be an interesting threat even with Marr out of the picture.

I save to go to bed. Wow, this AAR thing is really fun! I sure hope it doesn't get to be too much as the game goes on. As for now, my development is acceptable, but I'll need to pick up +2 econ fast if I want to keep up with the cyborgs. As for Lal, he'll also have something to deal with in the next installment...
« Last Edit: June 13, 2021, 01:24:39 AM by pcangler »
"Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder"

-Bertrand Russell                                    ;morganercise

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Thinker
  • *
  • Posts: 6290
  • €319
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  Premium environmentally-responsible coffee, grown with love and care by Gaian experts.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC2 Hall Of Fame AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2021, 09:17:21 PM »
Huh, wow, an AAR on SMACX AI Growth mod that I didn't do!  I think I could die happily in a mindworm flood now.   ;lol ;mindworm ;mindworm ;mindworm  Well I'll be reading.

Do you Reddit?  This is great material for r/4Xgaming, which is where / how I import all the new SMAC people to this site.  If you're not on Reddit, I'll make a post about it.

Offline pcangler

Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2021, 02:26:19 AM »
As he stepped out onto the magtube the stage, she thought he was looking a little pale. A seasoned reporter from Chiron News Network (CNN), Morgana Brown knew very little for sure about the topic of today's press conference. All they'd told them was that it was top secret information that had to be released to the public immediately. Very little information for sure, but rumors abounded surrounding the actions of the Peacekeeping Forces this year. Just a week ago, almost 210 years after the founding of the U.N., it was believed that the alien situation had escalated to war. Alternatively, many believed that this whole alien thing was an elaborate hoax by the government contrived to use the unfamiliar surroundings for political gain. For those that did believe it, few knew what to think. Many other mainstream theories had been formed, and accusations of misinformation and wackjob conspiracy theorism abounded.

Throughout all of this, Pravin Lal's juvenile government remained silent on such theories. Perhaps they had learned from the 2141 "aliens in the basement"  embarrassment. The people of the UN therefore lacked both information from the state and trust in that state. It fell to the press, then, to inform the citizens. And it was, well, it was fragmented. Her thoughts were broken by a shrill blast from the microphone. The Commissioner was speaking.

"Three days ago, on June 12, 2155, the so-called Manifold Usurpers brutally and unprovokedly attacked the armed forces of this U.N. government. In the months leading up to this attack, the public, the Peacekeeping people, were largely kept out of the know. Allow me, then, to fill you in. Contact with these aliens has not only been achieved, but communication as well has succeeded. After it had, relations with this Usurper government quickly broke down. They made unanswerable demands and unthinkable threats, being completely unamenable to rational diplomatic negotiations. Their leader, Judaa Marr, has made it clear since the beginning that relations between our two species would not be amicable. However, I doubted that it would escalate to armed conflict. Today, June 15, 2155, the Peacekeeping Forces have disabled and incapacitated the armed forces of the Manifold Usurpers. During the fighting, the intense conditions resulted in a complete depopulation and destruction of each of the two main Usurper bases of operations. The Usurper society promoted a policy of scorched earth, military rule, and heavy military service. As a result, very few of this alien race, referred to by our researchers as Progenitors, survived both recruitment and the firefight. Those individuals will have the choice to live in captivity among us or migrate to their mortal enemies, the Manifold Caretakers, to an uncertain fate."

Lal continued speaking. He told about the Caretakers, about their species' biology in relation to humans, and about the details of the conflict. He preemptively addressed concerns, including that the Progenitors would be lost to history, that the destruction of the Usurpers was unnecessary, and that retaliation wasn't the best course of action, or that it was unnecessary. Morgana could sense the tension and disagreement in the room. They had come here unprepared, and all with wildly different opinions on what was really happening out there. When he finished speaking, he declined the questions furiously and loudly thrown at him. He didn't appear to be stressed by this event. But perhaps he was. The public now knew that their government had almost eradicated an alien race--in three days, and without the people's knowledge. Further information would soon be directly released to the press in a brief. What media institutions would do with this information was up in the air. They had the power to destroy or protect this government.

As for our reporter, she felt that responsibility. Instability now would obliterate the legitimacy of the U.N. government and destroy all chances of reuniting the disparate factions out there. But her experience informed her that the news media weren't thinking about long-term goals for the nation. They were looking for popularity and honest reporting, regardless of how accurate that commentary was. Another major challenge for Lal's administration. In the back of her mind, she wondered how it would hold up, amid accusations that the faction's economy was falling behind the others. Whatever, she thought. Not my job. She began writing.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lal sat on his pavilion eating his microwaved "Veggie Lover's" lasagna. It was his favorite of the processed, artificial imitations of real food that populated his refrigerator. The status of Peacekeeping society had indeed been bare for many years. The struggle for survival in the early days, coupled with diversion of R&D towards military development during Marr's days, had resulted in a rather utilitarian living for many citizens. He was no exception, although he did have this stunning view. The sun was yellower than earth's here, but also brighter. Or was he misremembering? No matter.

In the days since he gave that fateful press conference, the public eye had been fiercely gazed at scrutinizing his actions. It wasn't pretty. But he'd seen worse. He even had his defenders, most notably Morgana Brown, who he hoped would sway public opinion away from the opposition. As elections to the U.N. legislative body approached in 2156, he realized the very possible threat of his dethroning. If you believe in democracy, you must be willing to accept its consequences, short of the people's rule itself being at threat. He didn't think that would happen anytime soon. For now, he'd just have to do the best he could to preserve it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



2162: After eliminating the Usurpers, I built two transports: one for pod popping and one for ferrying people across to the other continent. The pod next to U.N. Information Agency reveals an artifact, but the one popped by my dedicated pod transport is swallowed by an Isle of the Deep. I thought I had more moves, but I must have only had two, because I could only put one square between me and the Isle. Goodbye, Transport! You were pretty much useless.

You may have wondered why I used a transport for pod popping instead of a tougher unit like a gun foil or laser skimship. Well, not only does a transport do double duty for colonization efforts, it can pick up alien artifacts from pods. Regular foils can't do that, because the artifact just disappears below the waves.

After getting C2 Applied Physics, I go for B2 Ethical Calculus. In this mod it gives Democratic SE choice and punishment spheres. I think the punishment sphere makes surprisingly high sense, considering the naming of the tech. As if the colonists have found out how to justify their atrocities. For those who don't know, the punishment sphere facility prevents all drones but wrecks tech research at that base. The game's quotations on it always made me shiver:

"It is not uncommon to see patients undergo permanent psychological trauma in the presence of the Sphere, before the nerve stapler has even been strapped into position. Its effect on the general consciousness of the culture is profound: husbands have seen wives go inside, and mothers their children. Dr. Xynan left the surface of the sphere semitranslucent for a reason. You can hear them in there; you can see them. It is a thing of terrible beauty."

2163: I spoke too soon. The Isle deposited a spore launcher on that single island tile and then dropped a hatchling mind worm next to U.N. Information Agency. Will the spore launcher eventually "despawn", or is it going to continually bombard me? It would be a pain to kill right now, I'd want a laser skimship, probably.



2164: My transport seems to have proven that another area of this island remains unexplored and uncolonized. Perhaps was wrong in assuming I wouldn't have enough room. Turn 100 seems to be rapidly approaching.



2168: I found my first base on the new land, and my ogre stumbles upon our main rival, Prime Function Aki Zeta-5. So this is how she's gotten all that territory! I'll have to try and outcolonize her here, then move on to another area to finish colonization. Without +2 econ, though, I've fallen behind to fourth place. Given my military "might" in the form of scouts and need for Democratic + Capitalist (which give together +2 economy, +1 justice, -1 police, and -2 planet), I should try to begin a diplomatic dialogue with Seven of Nine Aki Zeta-5. Justice, btw, functions like efficiency in the base game. For any newbs out there, +2 econ is valued so much because it gives +1 energy per square harvested, effectively increasing a faction's energy output by their non-specialist population plus the number of bases owned, minus energy lost to inefficiency. For me, that number is 28. At 50% energy allocation for both labs and economy, that's 14 extra energy credits and labs points per turn.



I march my battle ogre up to the Consciousness base and get a call from Aki. We have a very fruitful conversation. I refuse to trade credits for Domai's commlink because I didn't want to help the game leader out, but that may have been a misstep. I need to reunite these leaders, not ignore them. I get B2 Ethical Calculus, E3 Cyberethics, and E2 Doctrine: Loyalty: for credits, my world map, and my data on C1 Doctrine: Mobility. With the carried over labs points from getting Ethical Calculus, the tech I was still researching, I then pick up B2 Industrial Economics, enabling me to choose Capitalist and start raking in that sweet sweet +2 econ. Unfortunately, I don't have the 40 credits to switch off of Simple economics, as I just finished trading with Aki. That conversation saw me rocket upwards from a far fourth to a close third. My new research goes into Planetary Networks; I have plans to probe the cyborgs.

Also, Aki signed a treaty. I was surprised by this, but it was probably my scouts and ogre so close by. It will enable me to be a little passive-aggressive with my colonization. I wonder if this diplomatic agreement will last. So far, we seem to be getting along; she is "magnanimous", the most friendly diplomatic condition.

2169: Nice.



2170: Just as I get ready to save and log off for the day, I notice that a sonar pod my transport picked up reveals a moderately sized landmass to my right. It's not too far. I begin producing another transport at U.N. Education Agency to get colony pods over there. I'll need to beef up (create, really) my road system, and being wary of the Consciousness also sounds wise. This start isn't bad at all!

Do let me know if you have any writing tips or strategy info. I'm wondering what story bits to hit as the AAR goes on.
"Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder"

-Bertrand Russell                                    ;morganercise

Offline pcangler

Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2021, 03:02:35 AM »
Quote
Huh, wow, an AAR on SMACX AI Growth mod that I didn't do!

Yeah, when I was preparing for this AAR I was reading some others to get a feel for them, and I had a hard time diversifying between authors. ;lol I think there is an unfinished one that was made in February 2020 by someone else, though.

I had the idea to do it with SMACX AI Growth when I, well, played the mod and realized that it fixed a LOT of the problems with the base game.

Quote
Do you Reddit?  This is great material for r/4Xgaming

No, I don't use Reddit. I'm surprised that the 4X gamers there would like this, though--it's kind of made with players that already understand the game's basic mechanics in mind, and I don't think many people have played this game enough to remember how it works. Perhaps I should try to appeal more to a totally newbie audience to bring in new followers?
"Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder"

-Bertrand Russell                                    ;morganercise

Online Buster's Uncle

  • Upon the escalator I
  • Ascend
  • *
  • Posts: 47599
  • €1390
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Because there are times when people just need a cute puppy  Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur  Someone thinks a Winrar is You!  
  • AC2 is my instrument, my heart, as I play my song.
  • Planet tales writer Smilie Artist Custom Faction Modder AC2 Wiki contributor Downloads Contributor
    • View Profile
    • My Custom Factions
    • Awards
Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2021, 03:17:40 AM »
Do what YOU like for long enough, and your natural audience will find you. ;nod

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Thinker
  • *
  • Posts: 6290
  • €319
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  Premium environmentally-responsible coffee, grown with love and care by Gaian experts.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC2 Hall Of Fame AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2021, 04:39:00 AM »
After getting C2 Applied Physics, I go for B2 Ethical Calculus. In this mod it gives Democratic SE choice and punishment spheres. I think the punishment sphere makes surprisingly high sense, considering the naming of the tech.

You noticed!  The Punishment Sphere has been in early places in my mod for quite some time, as torture is fundamentally a cost saving tactic, hardly an advanced technology in any way at all.  Sometime maybe a year ago, some tech tree dependency juggling caused me to put it in Ethical Calculus.  Along with Repeal UN Charter and Reinstate UN Charter.  Ya gonna do good or bad?

Quote
Do let me know if you have any writing tips or strategy info. I'm wondering what story bits to hit as the AAR goes on.

I actually find the occasional interspersal of story material interesting, as opposed to a continuous "always in character" narrative.  The latter can get convoluted and tiring, because the events of an ongoing game, are rarely in sync with the dramatic needs of a good narrative.  In my numerous AARs littering the forum, I abandoned "in character narratives" pretty early.  They were difficult to do well, or have anything really worth saying, in reaction to game events.

I soon evolved a writing style of "banging out the gameplay quick", which has its merits, as hey I did do a lot of AARs.  I never thought about combining the 2 approaches to the degree that either is warranted.  I'd never read anything like that before, so thank you for this example!  Maybe I'll do one myself, long after you're done with your epic.  Right now I need to make some popcorn...  ;popcorn

I'm downright shocked you got such a rockfight to start your game with, on a fairly small island.  It never happens.  Not like you were lacking land mass on your map, the radar (?) scan shows it's a pretty normal proportion of land.  It does seem much more "islandy" than is usually generated though.  Normally I'd expect lots of those bits to be fused into a supercontinent.  Well they may yet prove to be.

Anyways, you started on a modestly small island, and somehow got jumped by the Usurpers on that island.  That's unusual and probably can't happen any other way.  You and a late starting Alien menace, just carved out inconveniently next to you.

The goal of this AAR is to win by diplomatic means.

You do remember that you cannot win by Diplomatic Victory until the Aliens are gone, right?  I mean I have this great puff piece in mind for r/4Xgaming about pusillanimous wimp Lal going all genocidal on the "other than humans".  You already have chemical weapons capability and they're not part of your U.N., just sayin'.

Actually I'm not sure if you've actually learned C2 Applied Physics
, when nerve gas becomes available.  You were going to, but then you, uh, just beat 'em up properly with close range Scouts.  Well you'll probably have it by the time you see any more Aliens.

Gagh I can't even read.  Quoted it in my own post.  Yes you ken keel Aleeuns reel gewd naw!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2021, 05:15:12 AM by bvanevery »

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Thinker
  • *
  • Posts: 6290
  • €319
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  Premium environmentally-responsible coffee, grown with love and care by Gaian experts.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC2 Hall Of Fame AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2021, 05:04:17 AM »
Perhaps I should try to appeal more to a totally newbie audience to bring in new followers?
Do what YOU like for long enough, and your natural audience will find you. ;nod

Excellent advice.  Similarly is, don't make assumptions about who the audience is.  I expected seasoned veterans to be the ones interested in my mod, but there's been a steady business in noobs who have never played SMAC before.  They find their way to r/4Xgaming, and many others convince them to try SMAC.  The $6 or $1.50 price tag on GOG can't hurt either!  Every single one of my mod announces, I make the sales pitch that with all the modding going on, this is the best bang for the buck in 4X, bar none.  How can you possibly beat this level of quality for $1.50 ?

Generally, I tell noobs to play the base game first.  If only to establish what my mod did better.   ;lol  Generally I say, the time to move on is when you don't feel enough challenged by the original game, or you feel irritated by it.  Then it's time to try my mod.

Basically, I wouldn't worry about what level of player is reading your AAR.  Anything with your level of content development energy in it, pcangler, is going to attract some reader somewhere.  I mean, people watch / listen to podcast of games they don't even play.  I mean heck if someone wanted to know what SMAC was all about and didn't have any idea, your work is showcasing it as well as could be done.  And I say that as someone who's written a lot of AARs.  So some people watch, then maybe one finally tries the game.  For $1.50.

I'll make that Reddit post as soon as I get a feel for which way your narrative is going.  Ala the Alien issue.  ;caretake; ;danc ;marr;

Offline pcangler

Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2021, 06:20:25 AM »
Quote
I actually find the occasional interspersal of story material interesting, as opposed to a continuous "always in character" narrative.  The latter can get convoluted and tiring

Then I'm glad I chose this approach. My thought was to supplement the base game, with its tech, facility, etc dialogues that give brief screenshots into life on Chiron. Except this focuses on a single faction, and it's specific to this game. In fact, I may continue to add more of those original game quotations, if only because they are friggin' awesome.

Quote
Ya gonna do good or bad?

Well, I'm gonna do good--but that doesn't necessarily mean that Lal won't have his hand forced. I'm definitely going to retain Noble status, but declaring war and taking names may become necessary if peace is broken. Keeping the peace may not always imply pacifism.

Quote
You do remember that you cannot win by Diplomatic Victory until the Aliens are gone, right?  I mean I have this great puff piece in mind for r/4Xgaming about pusillanimous wimp Lal going all genocidal on the "other than humans".

It's funny that you'd mention this. I almost always play stock SMAC over SMACX. So my first game, testing this mod, I went for diplo victory, got the votes and was then prevented from doing so by the two aliens conspicuously still alive at the opposite end of the map. I had forgotten about this restriction, it'd been so long. The Datalinks have been my best friend; both SMACX and AI Growth are new to me! ;lol

As for whether I'm gonna go all Yang on the remaining alien progeny of unmarried parents, I'd really, really like to. I was afraid it messed with the vibe I'm going for. I'd have to rename the whole "Keeping the Peace" title to something like "Peace through Chemical Obliteration", since I'd be all "Ok, Aki, play nice with Miriam! Just because you can't have Theocracy, doesn't mean you have to destroy hers, OK? Am I gonna have to come over there and take away your capital?" with the humans, kissing Morgan's and Domai's feet hands to give me the votes for victory---and then BFG Division plays as I rearrange each alien's face. But at the same time, I just know that I want to. And besides, more people would probably enjoy the more straightforward use of chemical weapons to a slower more conciliatory strategy. It's more fun. I could probably separate the two AAR "strands" such that Lal is both a HUMANitarian crusader and a genocidal maniac.

So I think I like your idea. I'm gonna go for Peace through Chemical Obliteration. Lal has decided that the two species cannot coexist; the nonhumans must be exterminated. I could GIMP Lal onto Rambo and have him light up H'minee. As BFG Division plays. I'm sure I could come up with a convincing enough in-story explanation, and meanwhile my out-of-story commentary would be ruthlessly spoofing Lal's "pusillanimous" ways. This keeps the feeling of the story and gets to have a little bit of Yang-style fun. Just to be clear though, I won't get sanctions or piss off humans for using nerve gas pods? What about genetic warfare probes? As stated above, I play SMAC.

As for your promotional piece on r/4xgaming, you might want to wait until I actually meet H'minee, so that she doesn't get gobbled up by another faction. She is in fifth at the moment. If I do find her reasonably close to me, I should have an easy time ensuring that the story moves in the direction of genociding those alien beasts.

Also, I just found this smilie and I love it.  ;morganercise ;morganercise ;morganercise ;morganercise ;morganercise
"Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder"

-Bertrand Russell                                    ;morganercise

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Thinker
  • *
  • Posts: 6290
  • €319
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  Premium environmentally-responsible coffee, grown with love and care by Gaian experts.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC2 Hall Of Fame AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2021, 09:10:09 AM »
Just to be clear though, I won't get sanctions or piss off humans for using nerve gas pods? What about genetic warfare probes?

Oddly enough, nope.  Obliterating an Alien base is perfectly ok too.  The only thing that will piss the other humans off, is using nukes.

I wonder if you can get away with nerve stapling formerly Alien bases?  Bet not, but it would be sorta logical.

You could engage in long diplomatic maneuvers to get other factions to wipe the Aliens out.

Hmm I wonder what happens if I make a gift of chemical weapons to another faction?  Will they use them in anger?  Don't think I've ever tried it.

Offline pcangler

Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2021, 05:59:47 AM »
(Please don't read too far into this. I'm intending to write an AAR, not a political statement; any such statements in the following section are accidental.)

The political situation had only tightened since the Three Days' War. The opposition parties had recently crept up to a slim plurality in the main legislative body, and Lal needed something to quickly boost his support, get the economy back on track to defeat the other factions, and revive Peacekeeping research initiatives. Luckily, he and his allies had been working on just the trick.

"So, what were you thinking? A kind of common area, created by the state, to give citizens more recreational time? What ideas did you have?"

"I was thinking, maybe some somber reading rooms, sunny lovers' trysts, or feeding bays that give stark insight into the sleeping demons--"

"Wait, what?! That last one's...oddly specific, don't you think?"

"Yeah, I don't know why I thought of that."

This set of propositions, referred to in common speech as Pravinomics, involved several similar ideas, involving government-funded stimulation of industrial growth and personal freedoms. In particular, recreation commons were being erected at several larger cities throughout Lal's growing jurisdiction. Colonization growth had been slowed to allow for further development of such facilities. Additionally, with the rediscovery and widespread beginnings of an industrial economic system, Pravinomics dictated a return to Earth-style markets. In particular, it called for the creation of a central bank, a clause in the U.N. protecting private property rights, a U.N. Patent Board, and a Ministry of the Treasury for involvement in economic matters. It also called for massive government stimulus to various economic sectors, especially those which lent themselves to the rapid accumulation of capital. The taxation system, before following a progressive tax system, was revised to be flat across all income variations.

These proposals were met with varying levels of support. In particular, the flat tax proposal was spurned by many members of Lal's base as an example of trickle-down economics. Meanwhile, stimulus packages and government programs to build recreational facilities across the nation--all while employing young citizens to do it--saw broad acceptance.

Lal had another idea. It was a secret idea only his closest advisors were privy to. He feared the creation of a decadent society of indulgent fools, with institutions created and maintained by an oligarchical upper class. To this end, his secret project would involve the reintroduction of discipline and frugal decision-making to society despite his reintroduction of material wealth...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2171: I get the credits I need to switch to Capitalist. Somehow, it only increases my EC (energy credits) per turn from 20 to 24, and shaves off two turns of tech advancement (17 to 15). Not too impressive right now, but it'll add up, trust me.

Good old capitalism. It might not be as high on JUSTICE as a Socialist or Green economy, but it'll get us the innovation, consumer goods, and profit margins we need right now. I love the narrative elements of SE choices in this regard. And the traits of a Socialist economy (+1 SUPPORT, +2 JUSTICE, -1 ECONOMY) make perfect sense no matter what you're referring to. I read somewhere in bvanevery's design notes that Socialist was meant to represent a social democratic welfare state or market socialist situation, rather than a traditional centrally planned socialist economy, because the latter hasn't historically succeeded. If you ask me, in the future, information technology might solve the traditional problems with economic planning. I don't know. But considering that I don't, I'm going to treat Socialist as a catch-all instead. And it still makes sense! Economic planning distributes resources more equitably, but sacrifices the economic drive of a pure market system. And social democracy creates fairer outcomes with collective bargaining, welfare, redistribution, etc but costs a significant amount.

The switch from Fundamentalist to Theocratic (+2 GROWTH, -1 RESEARCH) also makes more sense. Not only because "Fundamentalist" isn't really a government type, but because getting higher MORALE and PROBE out of taking a religious doctrine at its word doesn't follow. Nor does the decreased research speed. Wouldn't the devout be likely to research a similar amount, since they believe they're discovering something equally as meaningful? It's not like they think they've got it all down. And that's ignoring research for application's sake. Whereas a Theocratic government would of course divert extra attention towards religious study over STEM education, and its naturally religious citizens are statistically more fertile. It also might ignore findings that conflict with its religious vision and thus threaten the government's legitimacy. (Although, from a purely personal interest standpoint, I wonder if the correlation between religiosity and Total Fertility Rate isn't significantly a causative relation).



2176: Aki Zeta-5, Morgan, and I all join in trying to beat each other out to Ascetic Virtues. Morgan can take Merchant Exchange. I'd like Virtual World, but there's no way I can get it now. We're just lucky Domai isn't in on this. He's the only way in this mod to get an INDUSTRY bonus, making all mineral costs decrease. I'm going all in on this one. Ascetic Virtues increases max population size by two, and gives a straight +1 police. Right now, the +1 police is useless as it allows the unthinkable nerve staple. Later, I can run Knowledge more easily. What I'm really interested in is the +2 to max population size; it will compound with Lal's identical natural ability to create +4, or size 11 before hab complexes and size 18 before hab domes. I'm hoping that this will allow me to outproduce my opponents with simple population. And it's great for votes...

2178: I get Biogenetics (biology lab) from a pod at sea. Found by the undead transport (the one that should've died to that isle).



2180: A lucky pod pop enables me to get 1/6 of this done for free: Alien artifacts add 50 minerals. Transports ftw. With my current +2 econ income, I'll have the EC to rush this project soon enough (something I'm pretty sure this mod is balanced around).



2181: I've gotten C2 Planetary Networks. I begin producing a foil probe team, anticipating the infiltration/tech thievery soon to come. Next tech to pick up is D2 Information Networks. I've got to start producing those network nodes!

2187: I prototype a recon rover. Prototype costs are higher in this mod, so that you have to consider your options more strategically.



2189: The Ascetic Virtues is completed, meaning my rivals wasted their time. Took all my EC to do it. There's no immediate advantage--but combined with Empath Guild, this SP should help me wrestle diplomatically with the others.

I call up Aki, hoping to get the comm frequency for Domai. She trades it for 40 credits, a little more expensive this time around.



Also this year: two mind worm swarms landed on me, both from Isles that I spawned in. Unfortunate. You can see one at the top left of the screen here. That colony pod is dead, I reckon, because of that one fungal square (it has no more moves). Darned planet. Anyways, that transport picked up a unity rover and alien artifact. I'm planning to drop the rover off at that continent near the bottom right to find some people, then come back home to deposit the artifact.



2190: Yep. Rest in Peace colonization pod, you will be forever in our hearts.  :'( That's why you protect your pods with scouts. All of mine are either garrisoning new bases (so that it can use extra mins on formers or recycling tanks), or ferrying formers into the fungus to un-fungus that area and connect it via road to the rest of the empire. I got lazy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the years following the implementation of Lal's new economic policy, a wealth of consumer goods and full employment supported his government through that era of political turmoil. Lal now presided over a prosperous empire, setting his sights on proving that he could lead a faction better than the others. Then, he would prove to be a sufficient Supreme Leader. To put it simply, times were calm and easy for Lal. He felt that he had escaped the desperation of the early days on Chiron. But all that was about to change.

Having procured the communications frequency for Foreman Domai last week, Lal had prepared for his first formal interaction with the leader of that empire. His goal: to establish a treaty with Domai, trade technology, and create rapport with the leader. In the hours preceding this event, he'd donned his finest clothes, including a highly popular artificial silk tunic and turban. He'd polished and sharpened the ceremonial knife he carried, trimmed his beard, and put on the most expensive cosmetics.

And then Domai had responded almost immediately, without procession, wearing overalls and covered head to toe in grease. His facial hair was overgrown, giving his face a grey, wiry tinge. Lal tried his best not to pay too much attention to the mismatch. They had partially expected this. Still, it was quite embarrassing.

Back aboard the Unity, Pravin and Domai had gotten along just fine. Their political views weren't so different, even though Domai thought Lal was a wimp who would never stray too far from mainstream discourse for fear of criticism, and Lal thought he was dangerously radical and utopian. One could have even called them friends, of a basic type. This compounded the shock Lal felt when Domai introduced himself in half a sentence, then proceeded to grill Lal on the immoral nature of his faction.

"...reminds me directly of the old neoliberalisms. Same ideology, different time. Same results, I reckon."

"What are you getting at?" Lal asked, genuinely wondering. What the hell was he trying to say?

"Well, exploitation o' the workers, 'specially in those rural parts of the world where governments are easy to corrupt with the promise of industrialization. But it always resulted in bourgeois exploitation of those nations, and increasing inequality in the exploiting nations as a result of capital accumulation. We both know this is a reason Earth collapsed. The way I understand it, capital accumulation is what you're after too, mate."

How did he know all this, and have the time to form an opinion on what I'm was doing with my government? "Listen, Domai, we'll have plenty of time to personally discuss political matters later on if you want, but please, can we focus on more pressing matters? In particular, I want you to sign a--"

"No, Pravin, I don't think you get it." He sniffed, then didn't say anything for a second as he stared at the floor. "We the Drones are on a path to liberating the working class. You are standing in the way. Either you join us, or you will be against us." He stared at Lal intently, lowering his head slightly.

Commissioner Pravin Lal leaned forward, craning his neck so that he could easily lift his hand to cradle his face, index finger on his upper lip. He had an idea of what this meant. "We too share this goal, Domai. We needn't be enemies. How can we help you?"

"He began, "Either you completely reform your economic system to our preferences--"

"Out of the question. We don't have the technology to mimic your socioeconomic model anyways."

"--or you give us your information, starting with Planetary Networks (C2). Else I will set my minions loose to seize it and more."

This isn't getting anywhere. How did he manage to say that parenthesis? "I can't do that, Domai. You and I both know that this is better resolved peacefully. We can be allies. Once planet is united and secure, we can begin thinking about these minutiae."

"They're not minutiae, Pravin. They can and must be fixed now. If they can't, then you have to help us now and reform later. Surrender the data."

Lal sat back in his chair, straight up against the back. He moved his hands into a steeple position, then crumpled them against his lap. "No. We won't be able to switch to your model until it's better for us, Domai. Wasting time on a useless conflict helps neither of us, when we should be close allies. As for the technology, I'm only willing to give that single tech up if you sign this Treaty. What do you say?

Domai sighed with the weight of a man who knew what he had to do. In fact, he'd planned this beforehand, as a matter of practicality, resolution of action. He was wary of Lal's politician smooth talking. "I can't allow that. As of tomorrow, a state of war exists between us. Domai...out."

Lal let out a rare curse. He had guessed that Domai was bluffing. It just didn't make sense. Of course he wasn't, he was too straightforward for that. And now Lal had another war, if nominal, on his hands...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





2190: I choose to call up Domai. Huge mistake. He hates me for some reason. I go to look it up and realize that I probably should've read up on this more. His preferred choice is now Socialist, not Eudaimonic. Makes sense. And I'm the greedy capitalist pig he wants to bring down. Meanwhile, the hypocrite won't even run his own agenda.

I refuse to give in to his demands, so the canine's offspring declares war in the name of the working class. Thanks, Domai. Very realistic of you. He's just angry that I've beaten him for third place (thanks to Pravinomics ;lol). The gap between us is widening. So much for diplomacy.

I then call Aki Zeta-5, hoping to get the typical AI maps deal once someone declares war on you. I get it.





Somebody got access to the Unity crash. I can see that Miriam is screwed: sandwiched between H'minee and Morgan. And based on Morgan's sudden leap to a close second, I'm going to assume that it is him who got Monsoon Jungle this game. I also spy H'minee has gotten a base in the center of the ruins. Energy Nexus is right. Meanwhile, Aki looks super easy to take down. If it were a different game I'd have been gunning for her already. H'minee and the Drones both like Socialist and they are close to one another...could Domai join H'minee? If so, Lal's quest to cleanse the alien filth might extend to him as well. That landmass is gonna make transporting over there a pain, though...I now seek an alliance with Morgan. I need to run over to him. That's where the rover/artifact transport is going, after dropping off the artifact at U.N. Settlement Agency. Hopefully we can be buds. I think that will succeed, considering that I'm ostensibly weaker than he is, but not that much weaker.

Also, the U.N.S. Unity is near Domai's jurisdiction, but I got the human locations from Aki. Did Domai give her his world map, or is the AI generating itself maps that are a perfect replica of the human's enemy's maps? I'm pretty sure the AI gives itself maps, and I know it cheats to find your units and bases, but I'm beginning to suspect that it literally just added Domai's maps to mine through the medium of Aki. Current plan: build up infrastructure, colonize third island, and explore to make contact with everyone. Maybe make some quick laser rovers to watch out for Domai, who is #1 in military right now.
"Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder"

-Bertrand Russell                                    ;morganercise

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Thinker
  • *
  • Posts: 6290
  • €319
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  Premium environmentally-responsible coffee, grown with love and care by Gaian experts.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC2 Hall Of Fame AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2021, 09:15:51 AM »
The AI factions do trade maps.  In fact, giving one of my AI allies a comm frequency, signing off, and immediately checking back with them to see if they've acquired a map, is standard drill for me.  Quite often they do.  I generally don't ask my allies to immediately go to war with anyone, so that I can get the maps this way.  Also, allies at war are kind of a lock in.  Someone else may declare peace and then it's just a pain reeling them in.

Aren't Socialists annoying?  "Conquest by grease."

I don't think Domai can do anything serious to you, due to that funny bit of land in the way.  However the AI has been pretty good at landing a couple of annoying Recon Rovers in my recent games.

Domai can definitely clobber others on his land mass though.  His research foci are Explore Build Conquer.  I guess he hasn't learned E2 Adaptive Economics yet, which makes Socialist available.  There are lots of early Explore techs, so it can take awhile to get any one in particular.

Offline pcangler

Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2021, 03:26:08 AM »
2191: I get D2 Information Networks. Slowly but surely, my path to keeping up in the tech game has begun. I begin work on B3 Superconductor, a prerequisite to two techs I'll need for that: B4 Environmental Economics (Tree Farm) and B4 Planetary Economics (Wealth). I'm not going for Planetary Energy Grid because, unfortunately, Aki has already almost snatched that one. I don't even have Planetary Economics yet.

2195: I send my probe team across to Aki's continent. She had no sea bases I could easily find, so I retooled production to an infantry probe team some years ago. I'm not sure if it will get past her formers, of which she has about seven blocking my path. Whether accidental or not, it's quite annoying.



2197: That transport with a Unity Rover finds Morgan, picking up another artifact on its way. We sign a treaty and he's "cooperative", but senses my ulterior motives when I try to sign a pact with him. As a businessman, he may even be more slippery than Lal, so he needs some more persuading. I get Miriam's comms from him.



Having met all the humans, I pull up the Planetary Council and vote myself governor. As expected, Morgan and Aki have more population than I do. I have one more than Domai. Using the Governor infiltration, I take a look at Domai's forces and their disposition (while the enemy is fragmented). He's got five laser units, which is four more than I have, and two transports. However, their location doesn't suggest that he's planning an invasion. Meanwhile, Morgan is 13 turns away from Weather Paradigm, and Aki is 6 from Planetary Energy Grid. She already has Virtual World and Planetary Datalinks.



I then call up Miriam. She offers an alliance to fight H'minee. In the spirit of this AAR, I decline. We're not getting into any wars on a whim, especially if we haven't met H'minee yet. We trade techs, and I ask for H'minee's communication frequency.



H'minee picks up and then immediately declares war. She then says goodbye, without letting me get a word in edgewise. I call Miriam back. We agree to that Pact, and she gives me maps data. She asks for some tech; I oblige. May as well help my newfound ally out. Besides, I gotta cleanse that alien scum by long-range means.

I look on the map to see H'minee and find out that her headquarters is actually not near Energy Nexus. That chunk of territory is actually not contiguous with her other territories. In fact, she's right on the southeastern corner of the map. I'm in the center-north. So the remaining alien menace is almost the farthest possible distance from me (since it's a globe). Sorry, bvanevery, looks like I won't be getting to her anytime soon. But I will be trying to help Miriam out. Never thought I'd type those words.

2198: I pick up B3 Superconductor and set my next research to D2 Secrets of the Human Brain, for D3 Intellectual Integrity (Knowledge) and D3 Gene Splicing (Research Hospitals). It also leads to D4 Pre-Sentient Algorithms. I NEED to get Hunter-Seeker before Aki does, and I know she's gunning for it. Luckily I'll have two artifacts up my sleeve.

I'm thinking about going Theocratic/Capitalist/Wealth in the future, so that I can use +2 econ to dope my citizens to a popboom. I don't even need Hab Complex tech, E2 Adaptive Economics (I think). It'll also make Miriam a closer ally. I think Aki won't get too flustered about it, but we'll see. If she does, I can put her in a submissive Pact and get two more buddies in Morgan and Miriam via SE choices. Hopefully my allies can then finish off H'minee with my technological and economic support and vote me Supreme Leader. That's the long-term plan. But it also requires that I beat out Morgan and Aki in might, and that I fend off the ever-looming Domai + H'minee combo.

Short post today. I'm working on my next Lal part coming out as a one-off tomorrow, so I only did ten turns. Still, a lot happened. Thanks for reading!
"Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder"

-Bertrand Russell                                    ;morganercise

Offline bvanevery

  • Emperor of the Tanks
  • Thinker
  • *
  • Posts: 6290
  • €319
  • View Inventory
  • Send /Gift
  • Allows access to AC2's quiz & chess sections for 144 hours from time of use.  You can't do without Leadship  Must. have. caffeine. -Ahhhhh; good.  Premium environmentally-responsible coffee, grown with love and care by Gaian experts.  
  • Planning for the next 20 years of SMACX.
  • AC2 Hall Of Fame AC Text modder Author of at least one AAR
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2021, 05:09:22 AM »
What an unprincipled sycophant!  Surely the makings of the greatest of pusillanimous wimps.   ;danc  Please do give Miriam some chemical weapons to see what she does with them.  Is she dumb enough to use them illegally?  Just call them "anti-Alien ordinance" and don't mention that they'll work just as well against Domai.


Offline pcangler

Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2021, 08:07:17 PM »
Man, don't you love being a slimy, greasy manipulator? I know I do. But don't tell the part of my mind that writes the literary sections.

Don't worry, I'm definitely going to equip her however possible. I'll tell her that the highest PK priests blessed the arsenal of X lasers to target aliens specifically. ;)
"Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder"

-Bertrand Russell                                    ;morganercise

Offline pcangler

Re: Keeping the Peace---SMACX AI Growth 1.50
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2021, 10:49:14 PM »
The following section features some weighty, controversial stuff, including suicide, the afterlife, grief, the self, and the value of death. Caveat emptor.

Link to main work discussed: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14988/14988-h/14988-h.htm

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today had been a good day for Pravin Lal.

Apart from the war occurring on the other side of the globe, everything had gone as planned. He'd even made it home on time to begin reading; a hobby of his in the old days of Earth. Among his favorites were Thomas More's Utopia, Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and the Daodejing, a work of Laozi's. Tonight, however, he pulled a completely unexplored book from the shelf. This one had been on deck for a while. It was Cicero's Tusculan Disputations, recommended by a close friend born after the Unity crash.

As he extracted it from the shelf, he swiped the dusty cover with the sleeve of his tunic.  Stowing it in one arm, he transported it to his rocking chair. The setting sun of Alpha Centauri A once again met his eyes as he walked out onto the pavilion. Sitting, he began to read, flipping through to get a feel for the book divided into six sections. He came back to the start.

"I. On The Contempt of Death".

Interesting, he thought. Death--and suicide--had always been one of Lal's preferred topics of meditation. "There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide"1.

As he began reading, Cicero explained his attempts to debate his students on various topics; wanting to continue the Socratic tradition, he created an academy in his villa. As was typical in the Socratic manner, he invited his students to orate on a topic of their choice and deliberate together on its truth or falsity. The first student began thusly: "To me, death seems to be an evil."

Cicero responded: "What, to those who are already dead? Or to those who must die?"

"Both."

Marcus Tullius Cicero chuckled. In mocking tone, he dismissed the first option.

"...are you afraid of the three-headed Cerberus in the shades below, and the roaring waves of Cocytus, and the passage over Acheron, and Tantalus expiring with thirst, while the water touches his chin; and Sisyphus, who sweats with arduous toil in vain the steepy summit of the mount to gain? Perhaps, too, you dread the inexorable judges, Minos and Rhadamanthus; before whom neither L. Crassus nor M. Antonius can defend you; and where, since the cause lies before Grecian judges, you will not even be able to employ Demosthenes; but you must plead for yourself before a very great assembly. These things perhaps you dread, and therefore look on death as an eternal evil."

The student vehemently denied such supposition, defending himself by depicting such beliefs as "monstrous inventions of the poets and painters".

Cicero continued: "If, then, there is no one miserable in the infernal regions, there can be no one there at all…Where, then, are those you call miserable? Or what place do they inhabit? For, if they exist at all, they must be somewhere."

The student tries to defend his idea. "I say, for instance, that Marcus Crassus is miserable in being deprived of such great riches as his by death; that Cn. Pompey is miserable in being taken from such glory and honor; and, in short, that all are miserable who are deprived of this light of life."

"You have returned to the same point, for to be miserable implies an existence; but you just now denied that the dead had any existence: if, then, they have not, they can be nothing; and if so, they are not even miserable."

"Perhaps I do not express what I mean, for I look upon this very circumstance, not to exist after having existed, to be very miserable."

Cicero was not swayed by this change of tact. "We ourselves, if we are to be miserable after death, were miserable before we were born: but I do not remember that I was miserable before I was born."

After a few minutes of circle-talking, the two agreed. Cicero summed it up with a quotation from Epicharmus: "I would not die, but yet / Am not concerned that I shall be dead".

After an admission of how simple it was to show that there was no evil after death, the student then inquired how Cicero could prove that it is not evil for those who must die to face that end.

"If there is no evil after death, then even death itself can be none; for that which immediately succeeds that is a state where you grant that there is no evil: so that even to be obliged to die can be no evil, for that is only the being obliged to arrive at a place where we allow that no evil is."

Lal slapped his forehead forcefully, astonished. Such simple logic! And yet he could not argue with Cicero. To have contempt for death as evil is akin to "a scepter of wooden iron"2--it's a contradiction. If it were true that nothing evil exists after death, and indeed that no people remain after death, then there is no evil after death. And how can the approach of something not evil ever be regarded as evil? Lal wondered whether fear of death could truly be whittled down to a superstitious presumption about an afterlife.

But he wasn't done. A stoic, he had greater things occupying him. "...death is not only no evil, but a good".

The student asked him to prove it, launching Cicero into his own monologue. The student had become the listener.

He pointed out that people disagree about what death in fact is, some saying that it is the departure of the soul from the body, others denying the existence of an immaterial soul. And views are diverse on what the soul--if it exists--actually is: consisting of three parts and nonphysical for Plato, whereas the Stoics assert that the life-giving soul is only a physical component of people.

"In all these opinions, there is nothing to affect any one after death; for all feeling is lost with life, and where there is no sensation, nothing can interfere to affect us...Who is there, then, that does not lament the loss of his friends, principally from imagining them deprived of the conveniences of life? Take away this opinion, and you remove with it all grief; for no one is afflicted merely on account of a loss sustained by himself. Perhaps we may be sorry, and grieve a little; but that bitter lamentation and those mournful tears have their origin in our apprehensions that he whom we loved is deprived of all the advantages of life, and is sensible of his loss."

Cicero concluded that it is therefore equally illogical to seek advantage for oneself after death, for example seeking fame or even doing good in order to be remembered. He says that even if these things are done with good results, the practitioner is not doing them for a correct reason, since there is no advantage to these actions after death. Therefore, such a man may not live his happiest life, since he is not acting out of virtue, rather superstition. He explains this common occurrence thus:

"...as our bodies fall to the ground, and are covered with earth (humus), from whence we derive the expression to be interred (humari), that has occasioned men to imagine that the dead continue, during the remainder of their existence, under ground; which opinion has drawn after it many errors".

He continued by clarifying his beliefs about the soul, staying in a neutral position of agnosticism on the subject, describing them as too "perplexing".

Finally, Cicero gets to his student's question: "Cato left this world in such a manner as if he were delighted that he had found an opportunity of dying; for that God who presides in us forbids our departure hence without his leave. But when God himself has given us a just cause, as formerly he did to Socrates, and lately to Cato, and often to many others--in such a case, certainly every man of sense would gladly exchange this darkness for that light … For the whole life of a philosopher is, as the same philosopher says, a meditation on death".

"But, notwithstanding this is the correct view of the case, we must use much persuasion, speak as if we were endued with some higher authority, in order to bring men to begin to wish to die, or cease to be afraid of death. For if that last day does not occasion an entire extinction, but a change of abode only, what can be more desirable? And if it, on the other hand, destroys, and absolutely puts an end to us, what can be preferable to the having a deep sleep fall on us, in the midst of the fatigues of life, and being thus overtaken, to sleep to eternity?"

Hmm. Maybe he wouldn't try to resurrect his rotting wife. Lal's eyes glazed down to the end of the page. He was getting a little tired. But...was that the end of the first section?! He hastily glanced at the clock on the table next to him. 2:24. He really needed to get to bed.

Lal couldn't sleep. It had been two hours since he'd put the Tusculan Disputations down. Initially, he'd decided to read it because of some flashy political metaphor his friend told him about. Sword of Damocles3, that was it. But he couldn't stop thinking about that last idea, in Cicero's perorations. If death were to become a good thing--if, as Cicero suggested, it were true that "God himself has given us a just cause...certainly every man of sense would gladly exchange this darkness for that light", then would it be better to allow the "deep sleep [to] fall on us, in the midst of the fatigues of life"? He kept reviewing Cicero's reasoning in his head, rehearsing possible responses and trying to find contradictions and reevaluate his thoughts. But he was exhausted. So eventually, he stopped thinking. He fell asleep, his consciousness not existing at that moment. In fact, at that point in time, his mind existed just as much as Cerberus or Jörmungandr--it was mythical, a product of superstition. His body would gain a new mind upon awakening, creating an illusion of self4.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1: This quotation is from Albert Camus's The Myth of Sisyphus, in which he argues that we should not commit suicide, whether physically or by nihilism, as an act of rebellion against the absurd. By "the absurd", Camus refers to a 20th century French existentialist concept highlighting the contradiction between a universe that essentially does not care particularly much about humans (i.e. Anthropic Principle) and our innate desire to find meaning and morality.

2: This quotation is from Arthur Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation. When criticizing Kant, he uses the phrase "a scepter of wooden iron" (that is, both totally wooden and totally iron) to describe a contradiction. Since then, the phrase "wooden iron" is common in philosophical discourse to rhetorically emphasize a contradiction.

3: The story of Damocles was popularized in the Tusculan Disputations, although Cicero did not write it. It describes a professional sycophant to a tyrannical King, who is offered to become the King for a day. He accepts, but the King Dionysius reminds him of the dangers of ruling by suspending an unsheathed sword above the throne by a horsehair, the proverbial Sword of Damocles, reflecting that the advantages of leading also come with bone-chilling risks.

4: In Buddhist philosophy, the "Illusion of the Self" refers to the supposedly false perception of continuity between past, present, and future versions of oneself which leads to people acting in self-interest rather than in moral ways. This leads to negative impulses and exacerbates dukkha (suffering). The reasoning behind the Buddhist rejection of self is because, from a phenomenological perspective, the only difference between a past and present (or present and future) self is that the self further in time has slightly different memories, and is experiencing different sensations (one of which is different sense of present based on said memories). However, this difference is also equally present, save that memories are similar, in other people. According to this view, similarity of memories is not a sufficient reason to believe in a singular or distinct "self-concept", nor is it sufficient to justify different treatment. Therefore, the self is an illusion, and we need to act moral instead of egocentrically. The rejection of this illusion is known as anatta (not self), and is one of the three Buddhist characteristics of existence. The other two are anicca (impermanence) and dukkha (suffering). Perception of these truths is referred to as "Right Understanding", a spoke on the eightfold path's wheel.

I hope you liked this section! I went super creative here, but BUncle did tell me to do what I like. This is it. And believe me, this will most likely be relevant to the plot of this AAR.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 01:42:47 AM by pcangler »
"Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder"

-Bertrand Russell                                    ;morganercise

 

* User

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?


Login with username, password and session length

Select language:

* Community poll

SMAC v.4 SMAX v.2 (or previous versions)
-=-
23 (7%)
XP Compatibility patch
-=-
9 (3%)
Gog version for Windows
-=-
90 (30%)
Scient (unofficial) patch
-=-
37 (12%)
Kyrub's latest patch
-=-
14 (4%)
Yitzi's latest patch
-=-
87 (29%)
AC for Mac
-=-
2 (0%)
AC for Linux
-=-
6 (2%)
Gog version for Mac
-=-
10 (3%)
No patch
-=-
15 (5%)
Total Members Voted: 293
AC2 Wiki Logo
-click pic for wik-

* Random quote

By creating a planetary network, mankind on Planet now has the ability to share information at light-speed. But by creating a single such network, each faction has brought themselves closer to discovery as well. At the speed of light, we will catch your information, tag it like an animal in the wild, and release it unharmed-if such should serve our purposes.
~Datatech Sinder Roze 'The Alpha Codex'

* Select your theme

*