Author Topic: Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries  (Read 542 times)

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Offline Sardaukar

Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries
« on: May 20, 2022, 05:01:23 AM »

Brutal Dawn is a mod that simulates a more plausible model for high-tech extra-planetary colonization. Vanilla SMAC derives from Civilization and Civilization II, which try to simulate real life population expansion patterns. Unfortunately, those patterns are the exact opposite of what would be found on Chiron.

Historically, every group from hunter-gatherers to early modern civilization suffered the same set of basic challenges. While it was easy for these groups to expand into new territory, they had difficulty extracting resources from the land they controlled. Roman technology, for example, could never support a population anywhere near as high as modern Italy. Also, earlier peoples tended to exist in a state of permanent population boom, with population curtailed by disease, warfare or starvation (resource failure.) However, it was easier for people to solve the problem of expansion than to solve the problems of disease or starvation. Europeans reached the Americas long before the Industrial Revolution.

Chiron colonists would suffer the opposite problems. With their efficient agriculture and advanced resource processing techs, their population wouldn't be constrained by food. Rather they would be constrained by the social factors which have lowered the birth rate in the modern centuries. In Planet's inimical environment, each new base would represent a major technical challenge. You can't just sail to Cape Cod and build a few wood cabins! You need life support, electricity, nutrient processing, mineral refining, etc.

All that to say, Brutal Dawn's main gimmick is vastly increasing both the growth rate and the cost of colony pods. You get fewer but much more powerful bases. The backbone of the mod is Alpha Centauri Bear's excellent Will to Power project.

Chapter 1:

We're using the standard sized Map of Planet. We land in the eastern continent south of the Mesa.

Each faction begins with four Unity Agri-Bots or rover formers, so you can get to work right away. They have the radar special ability, so you can rapidly get a sense of your surrounding. For reasons I don't understand, the AI somehow builds Agri-bots on occasion, even though they're a custom unit that don't occupy a space on the tech tree. Not a big deal.

Each faction also begins with four specialized colony pods with the drop pod feature, allowing rapid founding of your four initial bases.

We airdrop into key positions and found our faction. It doesn't affect gameplay but I've changed the value of 1 population from 10,000 citizens to 1,000 because it makes more sense to me. Thus, each faction lands with 4,000 colonists and the U.N.S.S. Unity carried a total of 32,000.

A key early tech. Centauri Agriculture allows formers to build forests and it lifts the nutrient cap. Very important!

You'll observe three major deviations from vanilla. First, a base square produces no resources by default. Due to default social engineering + Morgan we have +1 energy in every square but don't worry about that. Second, farmed squares produce +2 nutrients. You'll appreciate the need to lift caps quickly. Third, each citizen only consumes 1 nutrient per turn, rather than the vanilla 2.

You'll also note that formers cost 4 rows of minerals.

Sea squares produce 2 nutrients. However, kelp farms add only +1 nutrient.

Colony pods cost quite a bit. Usually, you'll have to spend 20-40 turns growing your 4 starting bases up to size 5 or so before you have sufficient minerals to attempt new colony pods. I wish there were a value to increase starting minerals but, sadly, there isn't. It would make democracy bite that much more.

A few other notes:

Scout patrols require no support. You can spam them early game to defend your bases or explore while you still have low mineral counts.

Each faction starts with a gimmicky crawler. I've disabled them in the txt, so they can never be built but they add a nice little boost at the game start.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2022, 09:23:29 PM by Sardaukar »

Offline Sardaukar

Re: Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2022, 09:20:14 PM »
Images fixed.

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2022, 10:05:09 AM »
Oh hey it's back!

Putting drop pods on the starting colony pods is a pretty neat innovation to speed up the start of the game.

I'm not sure anyone knows what affects number of the free minerals from founding a base, except that it was 10 in vanilla and is 20 in WtP (already a much more impactful number IMO).

Offline Sardaukar

Re: Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2022, 10:36:11 PM »
Drop colony pods work especially well if you already know the map. AI doesn't know how to use them.  :-\ Would probably be worthwhile to ditch the unity crawler and switch to a unity chopper, so people have an easier time setting their founding bases.

Offline Sardaukar

Re: Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2022, 11:50:38 PM »
Chapter 2: 2130-2140

Remember, these are all founding bases. No new bases built so far.

This is M.Y. 2140. Had a bizarre encounter with the Peacekeepers. While we were at war, I called them up on the comms channel. They demanded tech. I said "sure, if you send me your map." They agreed. Then they offered a truce. Can't remember anything like that ever happening. Also, a pod fungal bloom thwarted my expansion into the Monsoon Jungle.

Will to Power includes a really excellent option which resets research costs. Rather than being based on how many techs you've already discovered, research difficulty is based on tech tier. Researching Centauri Seafaring, for example, will be notably quicker than researching Xenobiology. Sometimes, you might need the more difficult tech sooner, so it makes for an interesting strategic choice.

You may recall that base tiles intrinsically provide nothing. Recycling tanks function a little differently in Brutal Dawn. Instead of 1-1-1, they generate 0-2-1. Much more helpful for small bases. The rest of the energy derives from higher econ rating.

Forgot to rush the rec commons in this base. Only solution is doctors.

Doctors only provide 1 psych point each, so have to cram them in there. Evidently, the 4,000 citizens of Morgan Distribution are unhappy with living in cramped tents with failing life support while sustaining themselves on nutrient paste. They should try to think on the bright side.

You'll note that this makes the base less productive at size 4 than at size three but the rec commons will fix that. The Spartans could fix the problem by using an extra scout patrol for police, and the Hive could do better with police state, but Morgan must suffer.

The default social engineering options. Most of them cancel out. Note "traditional." This means you don't have future society where everyone's brain is linked into central computer (or any of the other options.) That little icon represents +1 psych. Helps with early drone trouble.

The state of the world in 2150. Lal insolently completed his base the turn before I could found Morgan Trading Post but I built it anyway and he declared vendetta. Something about it unacceptable to found bases on Peacekeeper territory. Not a business friendly attitude.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2022, 07:11:08 PM by Sardaukar »

Offline Sardaukar

Re: Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2022, 07:25:39 PM »
Chapter 3: 2141-2231

After a short war, we subjugate the Peacekeepers. Expansion continues. Then the worms attack in force. They overwhelm the garrison of Morgan Solarfex and devour the base. Colony pods aren't cheap and we just rushed a recycling tanks. Substantial loss.

The worms continue to swarm. Harsher countermeasures prove necessary.

Scout patrols make a good early game defense, since they don't require support, but they're just not cutting it anymore. Forget what multisense armor is named in vanilla but it provides an additional bonus to psi defense and stacks nicely with hypnotic trance. These units prove a valuable component of the defense.

The board of directors demands a mobile unit to plug gaps in the defense line.

When we reach Wealth, can switch to democracy without losing that beautiful +2 ECON. It hurts morale but the Psychic Sentinels are resisting the onslaught and continue to do so even after the switch. This arrangement provides a total of +3 GROWTH, a necessary prerequisite of pop booming, which, in Brutal Dawn, requires one more GROWTH than in vanilla. So we need this ideal SE, creches and golden age. If you base is small enough, hab complexes will help too. At any rate, its too early to attempt a boom. Need to build hab complexes in all bases first, and they're expensive.

By 2231, we're ready to boom. Here we showcase Morgan United Fruit Co, which produces an astounding 34 net nutrients per turn, and we haven't even got to soil enrichers yet! One of the core concepts of this mod is to make normal growth stronger relative to pop booming. Admittedly, this base lies in the jungle but the results are evident on a lesser scale elsewhere.

Offline Sardaukar

Re: Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2022, 07:00:37 PM »
Chapter 4: 2231-2265

We are ready to begin serious population booming. Creches, hab complexes, democracy, simple economics (because Morgan) and 50% research reallocated to psych.

Since we need golden age to boom, is wise to check the base data sheet every turn to make sure the citizens are still happy.

The primary booming lasted ~15 years before I reallocated all that psych to science. At that point, the bases were running up against their upper limits. However, I did found a number of new bases and rushed creches with hab complexes. Even without golden ages, these bases could boom all the way up to size 11. Could conceivably be worth it to switch back to booms so these new bases can reach ~24 but they haven't sufficiently terraformed the land around them.

Worth noting we have Ascetic Virtues and Empath Guild.

At this stage of the game, the economy starts to roar. Ignorant AIs are left behind. Currently making more than a thousand credits per turn, so is not much trouble to spend 450 rushing a hab complex for a newly founded base. Still, the more advanced base facilities grow more expensive. You can rush one but it will use up half or a whole turn's worth of income.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2022, 06:21:19 PM by Sardaukar »

Offline Sardaukar

Re: Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2022, 06:55:14 PM »
Chapter 5: 2266-2299

We're aiming for the ascent to transcendence victory, so, mostly, we'll be content to sit on our continent, research, build and grow. A number of the AI factions have a problem with this, so I decided to purge their nearby sea bases.

Since base tiles don't produce any nutrients, it isn't hard to starve them to death. Not even an atrocity. I like the idea of paying energy credits to forcibly relocate the population of captured bases to other portions of your empire but we'll have to wait and see if that can be implemented.

Regardless, we scrub the seas around Morgan Continent clean.

Engineer specialists replace technicians, providing not only three energy but three labs as well, providing the faction with a substantial yet necessary boost to research. The same tech unlocks genejack factories, which now produce three drones.

Genejack Factory,             20, 2, HomoSup, Disable,  Minerals; More Drones
Robotic Assembly Plant,    30, 4, Metal,   Disable,  Minerals Bonus

A genejack factory is two-thirds the cost of a robotic assembly plant and half the maintenance. Of course, we procure both as soon as possible but, if you must choose to research one rather than the other, this forces a harder choice.

The space elevator has always been extremely powerful. Some modders accommodate this by pushing it farther back in the tech tree but making it very, very mineral intensive works much better. Despite my vast mineral output and vast energy stores, this base took a good ten turns to churn out the elevator. Could have done it faster but would have taken all the income from the rest of the empire, which I felt needed its own development.

Hab domes! Even with +5 growth, Morgan base growth stalls out at 29. Now we can begin to swell again but we haven't got to proper booming yet.

The AI attempts to usurp me. They'd have a chance if I lacked the empath guild.

The state of Morgan Industries in 2299. Almost two hundred turns. As usual, I neglect boreholes but, other than that, terraforming is complete. Sent a lot of my formers to build soil enrichers in Peacekeeper territory so Lal would grow quicker and increase commerce.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2022, 05:04:56 PM by Sardaukar »

Offline Sardaukar

Re: Brutal Dawn: Volume 1: Morgan Industries
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2022, 05:28:15 PM »
Chapter 6: 2300-2323

Hydro enricher is to kelp what soil enricher is to farm. Not in vanilla but you can add it in the txt. Implementation is a little buggy. Keyboard shortcuts don't recognize the hydro enricher. You have to open the terraform menu and manually click it.

This is a very late discovery for terraforming and not terribly useful at this stage in the game but perhaps I simply haven't found the correct application. Regardless, I start upgrading kelp.

We try out another social engineering arrangement. Dramatic improvement to morale. Police poses a problem with a number of pacifism drones created by my naval forces harassing other factions. That issue is resolved when we build the telepathic matrix, making drone riots impossible.

You can beeline for Threshold of Transcendence. It's not a top tier tech. There are a number of more difficult techs higher in the tree.

We'll snatch the voice of planet. All that's left is to rush the ascent to transcendence.

Slight problem though.

The ascent secret project comes with a tremendous price tag. As this is a single player game and we're in a secure position, our strategy is clear.

We switch every single specialist to transcend (+1 psych, +6 econ) and all our city production to stockpile energy. Then we switch our budget to 100% econ. This nets about 9k credits per turn. Takes six or so turns of shoveling every last joule into the project to complete it.

In multiplayer, would be much more complicated, as the other factions would hinder you.

And here's our situation in the final turn.


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