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Jul. 16th, 2018 @ 02:48 pm Stellaris - 2300-2310 more things
I don't know why I have the urge to write this up so thoroughly. How many people are still reading?

New colonies

I expanded a bit too quickly to start with, and took some time to catch up with myself. But about now I said, it would be worth having another world or two. It's a significant step, so I said to myself "...and go!" before I pushed the button :)

That builds a ship from one of your planets, which then drives to a new planet and establishes a colony there. In theory you have a choice of species, except that my morlocks won't leave their home world, so only my original Duckbills will go to a new world.

I do have one bonus from, um, one of my starting empire bonuses, that I can send out *private* colony ships that cost energy instead of minerals. And by now, I'm doing well on energy but still need minerals to expand... everything. So I'm not usually limited in building ships (even though by now the mineral cost wouldn't be a big hurdle anyway).

Exciting to have a whole new (big) world. And my various habitability perks make most worlds very attractive.

Also, a few of my pops migrated to the new world! They hadn't ever done that before even when I thought the new world was better than the other ones, I'm not sure if I'd forgotten a setting or got a perk more recently or something else. But now I'm pleased, because it builds up a new world faster and the old world was mostly full so the pop can be replaced by population growth quickly.

The migration is marked with an icon of the pop carrying a classic folded-bag-on-a-stick bindle over their shoulder!

No-one has yet migrated INTO my empire, despite me having some attractive worlds. Hopefully they will eventually.

Some pacifist pops emigrated away when the war happened, but hopefully now the war's over pacifism will take over again.

And after a long fallow period when my science was growing too slowly, I got a rush of "clear blocking terrain to open new tiles on planets for building" techs, which let me expand my existing planets better too.

Those two new planets brought me up to my new max core planets of seven. The base is three, but I got +2 for being pacifist, and +2 for something else, so I went quite a long time without having too many.

Like many things, it's a "soft" cap, but this soft cap is quite hard -- you lose 30% energy and 30% influence, which is quite a lot, so you can't usually bull through it.

After that, you need to delegate some planets to a sector, part of your empire, but under AI control.

Consolidation

As previously mentioned, I need to integrate the new fungus planets into my empire, probably by delegating them to a sector (or maybe delegating my already-developed worlds to a sector where there's not much to do, and hand-managing the newer larger worlds).

There's a few systems I want to make sure to absorb[1]. The one with the ringworld! One with a gateway and maybe another with a wormhole. Any pirate-friendly dead-ends. One or two off to the east side of the galactic spiral to treat with empires there more easily.

[1] I'm not sure what word to use for "add a new system to my empire by building an outpost station in it". "Claim", "conquer" etc all mean something else.

After the war, I got an isolationist faction. Ok, maybe I have too many factions :) I was quite happy with the first few, the pacifists, the faith, and the egalitarians. The military faction were understandable, what with three decade long wars in 100 years. But now it's getting out of hand :)

But I think I can just accept I won't get any benefit from some of them, I can still enjoy the diversity. Even though a more game-y tactic might be to have fewer factions I can actually please simultaneously :)

The game often has a mid-game crisis where, once the empires have mostly reached some sort of status quo in the second century, something big-ish happens to shake things up. But I think that's only in the expansions, not the base game? So I have a century to expand slowly and build my science and economy, before an end game crisis eats the entire galaxy :)

Misc

One of the fallen empire's fleet is called "punitive response flotilla" yes ok fallen empire I can take a hint ok I can't.

Save scumming the war a couple of times showed me which random events came up fairly repeatably and which didn't. I'm glad I didn't reload too often or the temptation to keep re-rolling the die would be a lot greater. (Also, it's useful for game design decide if random events should be predetermined so they always happen the same way in the same game as much as possible, or be as random as possible so if you play out a saved game twice you can't rely on the prior knowledge much.)

Prior to the big 2.0 rework, instead of the current system of hyperlanes connecting nearby systems (but not all of them) in the equivalent of a road network, each empire started with one of three different FTL techs: hyperlanes; jumps (jump to star proportional to straight-line distance regardless of layout of hyperlanes or anything else); or wormholes (each system connects to random systems all over the map).

That was really great flavour that each empire was *really different* and ended up colonising systems in a completely different pattern.

But it didn't really work for war, because geography made little sense when everyone travelled in a completely different way, so there was no notion of import systems, or of fortifying frontiers, etc, there was just "have one giant fleet, hit opposing fleet with it".

So they switched to hyperlanes by default, with the others as something that could come up sometimes but wasn't any empire's primary locomotion.

But I wonder if there'd be some compromise, maybe everyone uses hyperlanes, but some systems have wormholes available right from the start, connecting random different parts on the map, so the topology is more wacky and less flat. So you're more likely to encounter different empires in different ways, and not just "these ones are near me and these ones aren't".

Also, liv started playing stellaris (she has a lot of experience playing civ), and I'm really excited to see how her empire goes. We both really love the duckbill pacifists, but she chose quite a different race to experience a different sort of game and I'm really excited to see how it turns out. I realised how many little things with the interface had bothered me and how nice it was to be able to share that with someone else. And the excitement of finding unexpected space things!

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Jul. 16th, 2018 @ 11:24 am Stellaris - 2300-2310 other thinga
Federation

Inconveniently the federation leadership rotated just before the war so I couldn't directly use the federation fleet in the war. I was worried my allies wouldn't help at all, but they did obligingly turn up, even if I haven't mastered the trick of cajoling them into the most useful places.

I wasn't sure where the federation ships I'd build had gone. I think what happened is that when the federation leadership rotated, the next president recalled the fleet to their homeworld (annoyingly with fungus war iii building, but understandable with the banthurian reavers on *their* frontier). But the direct route was blocked by the funguses, so the recall turned into the "disappear off the map, dead reckon navigate off the usual lanes until you reappear at home" mechanic used to make sure your ships never get stranded (even if you can't usually use this to send ships out somewhere).

Ah, good! The Ick-Ick-Ick Bug Block, one of the friendlier non-pacifist empires, has a reasonably good opinion of me, but is too far away to be tempted by my offer of federation associate status. But they *did* accept an offer from my larger ally. That's very positive. I'm not sure if I want them in the federation or not -- once you incorporate species with a wider range of politics, it's excellent defensively, but very hard to do anything proactive.

But having the equivalent of a defensive pact is great, because they like me, aren't offended if I build up to their borders, and if they get attacked gives me the opportunity to prosecute a defensive war (i.e. I can gain systems not only forcibly convert governments to pacifism.)

Apparently they *won't* join the federation anyway because they have a lingering beef with one of my allies. I guess, a rivalry or claims left over from previous border skirmishes? But for whatever reason that didn't stop my ally inviting them to associate status or their agreeing.

Right now I'm happy with the status quo, if the galaxy is 60% my people and 40% empires who are happy to peacefully coexist, I feel like things turned out pretty well! But in the future, I hope things will eventually resolve themselves more positively - either I'll one day get runaway science advantage and be able to vassilise friendly-ish empires when I get sufficiently superior to them, or ongoing peace and trade will increase empires' opinion of each other (or shift other empires towards pacifism) to the point where they're willing to cooperate.

Other 'diplomacy'

On the other side, I've had some back and forth with the Centipomulans and the Ferengeagles. The Centipomulans used to like me, but got all bent out of shape when they wanted to expand and I was in the way, declared me a rival, and then started to hate me more and more.

I declared them a rival back to get some advantage from the situation. My main hope was that they wouldn't attack me until I'd resolved the fungus situation, as they were stronger than me and I probably couldn't face them head on, only by sneaking around their fleets to attack other things.

Fortunately they didn't, in fact, they changed their mind and UN-rivalled me. I've no idea why, unless joining a federation put the wind up them, militaristic-bullies-wise. And I just had to hastily un-rival them myself before I made matters worse!

However, despite all my resentment and worry about the situation, it turned out amazingly well. In fact, SO well I wonder if there were some sort of time travel shenanigans that arranged it, on top of my save-scumming :)

They basically hated me for ten years, then went back to liking me. But when they rivalled me, the Ferengeagles (militaristic fanatic authoritarians) who'd been having the shit kicked out of them by the less-vile-but-pretty-fierce Centipomulans and another similar empire on the other side of them, suddenly decided that maybe they liked me after all, now they were desperate and I was being rivalled by their enemies.

That let me pump up their opinion of me, which will hopefully survive the un-rivalling of the Centipomulans. They dithered about associating with the federation -- first they asked to join, then they withdrew, then they came crawling back...

But eventually I ended up with open borders from both which FINALLY let me find the last of six dangerous wildlife species from different planets all over the galaxy, which my scientists had been clamouring for me to research for ages.

Pirates

I blocked off my one remaining empire hole just in time to stave off pirates spawning there. Instead they spawned way off where I had a system with a couple of dead ends off it. If they confine themselves to systems where I have planets and starbases but no mining stations I guess I can mostly ignore them :) But now the war is over, I can deal with them easily enough, now they're weaker than my main fleet and there's only one set spawned so far.

In fact, I wonder if I should arrange to have a pirate-friendly system somewhere near where my fleet can blockade it, so I can easily destroy them when they appear.

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Jul. 16th, 2018 @ 10:56 am Stellaris - 2300-2310 victory!
The first 100 years, once we encountered each other, had a lot of back-and-forth war between me and the neighbouring militaristic fungusoid empire. The first war, I didn't know what I was doing and barely got out without worse losses. The second war, they declared on me and stomped over my home planets, but I managed to gain several key systems at the back of their empire, and issue diplomatic claims on their homeworld.

This time I wanted to do it right. I copied the save file so I could experiment before committing myself (may only work with non-cloud saves, not sure). I chose ironman with no saves because I didn't want the temptation to ALWAYS replay until I got a perfect result, and I think that helped because I do have that weakness. But with the war I felt like it wasn't so much that I wanted to save-scum the situation, as that I didn't really understand the mechanics of war.

Which, ok, is realistic, but I didn't want to lose several wars to just learn the mechanics, so I had a few goes at it.

First I made sure I COULD declare war, but apparently my federation allies agreed with my opinion of the fungusoids even though they weren't on their border. I almost chose "claims" war goal to try to claim the planets I'd already laid claims on, but that still leaves the funguses with their most-recently-colonised-planet, so I chose liberation, where if I get my claims leaves the rump of their empire politically converted to egalitarian pacifists, who I can then hopefully draw into federation membership or vassel-hood.

The first time I ignored winning and just bulled into their core systems even if I lost my fleet to check that their military strength was about what I expected. It turned out it was, they'd combined their two smaller fleets into one with 3k or 4k compbat power, and possibly had some small fleets too. And starbases about the same strength as mine, vulnerable to any serious fleet but enough to stand off a couple of isolated ships.

In fact, it seemed that 4k was about the fleet strength of my allies too, and also the federation fleet (currently controlled by my less-overwhelming ally).

I also discovered they tended to (understandably) start by attacking my systems I took from them last war. Or ones I'd already invaded this war, if there were. But because I was exploring a bit randomly, it took a few tries to understand exactly what they were prioritising, cos often they'd change their mind if I attacked from the other side at the same time.

But eventually I decided a simple strategy. Spend most of my minerals building up my fleet to exceed the biggest strength I'd seen from them. At the same time, slowly fill in other bits of empire construction and research I was overdue for if I had excess resources.

I actually hit my current max fleet size here, which I'd always struggled to do before as I had so many competing demands for resources. That's why I wasn't as militarily formidable as the AI empires, presumably :)

Then park myself on my starbase closest to them, where they would probably attack. First attack the system behind that to make sure to draw them out (and to hopefully cause my allies to start joining in). Ambush their fleet with my larger fleet and starbase.

Do I win? I tried this as one of my experiments and my fleet wasn't quite big enough, but I only did it "for real" once. I carefully saved the game every month during the war in case of disaster but didn't need any of them.

For real, I defeated their fleet, then flew into their core systems, taking each system as I passed through, with the aim of capturing their starbases and re-engaging their fleet before it could be repaired.

I forgot that I needed to attack their planets in order to progress further (if they have ftl inhibitor technology and build a stronghold on it). But fortunately, I was able to bombard the planet (using the "destroy military buildings, minimum damage to everything else" option) and destroy that fairly easily. My armies were too far behind -- I wanted to keep them out of ship combat but then I needed to wait too long before they took the planet, but fortunately bombardment worked ok.

Then I was able to roll through their core systems, and mustered some smaller fleets but none enough to challenge me.

I wasn't quite sure how the end of the war worked. I thought I needed to occupy all their planets in order to be able to keep them -- that's how it usually works in wars that end in armistice rather than surrender.

But when I conquered their last planetary system they straight-up surrendered, which makes sense, but I wasn't sure. I *think* they then automatically ceded all claims to me whether I occupied them or not, PLUS reformed their government to be fluffy rather than malicious.

Then I paused and saved the game and took a break. It also gave me some achievements, "win a war" and "conquer another empire's homeworld".

Next time I need to consolidate my gains -- see if I can vassalize the remnant of their empire, incorporate the conquered worlds into mine, make the populace happier, spin of a sector because that jumped me up by 50% more inhabited planets. Then conquer some of the interesting systems I see, and some of the empty space I've been saving.

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Jul. 13th, 2018 @ 11:34 am Friday Five: Fish or Bird and other questions
Ooh, friday five has very good blogging prompts. Thanks, somebody! (Probably Conuly?) https://thefridayfive.livejournal.com/164807.html

1) If you could be either a fish or a bird, which would you be, and why?

Bird! I loooove swimming, and being in the water. But flying has got to be *even better* and many birds can swim really well too.

Look at me answering a question in a simple spirit and not massively drilling down into painful details :)

2) Would you rather it be 10 degrees too hot or 10 degrees too cold? (Does your answer change if that’s indoors or outdoors?)

My temperature preference seems a bit weird. I seem to have a fairly wide range where I'm happy. if there's even a little bit of sun, I'm often walking around in a T-shirt at 10c, and if there's even a little bit of a breeze, the same in 30c in direct sun. So 10 degrees from my ideal temperature might often be equally good depending on circumstances.

But sometimes I tip just a bit outside my comfortable range and then I find it really hard to ignore it, I'm "must fix it".

But if you mean "10 degrees beyond where I'm comfortable", I'm probably safer and more productive at 10 too low, but happier and more comfortable at 10 degrees too high (especially if I can just lie there :))

3) What is the best thing that happened to you today?

Well, it's only about 11 am, but:

* feeling sufficiently optimistic about work to leave the house on time without having to push myself
* successfully dealing with a whole lot of important but nebulous fact-finding and feeling optimistic about the rest of the day
* being excited about playing stellaris

4) Is youth wasted on the young? (Follow-up: are you old or young?)

Ooh, controversial. My interpretation mainly focuses on life experience. Where I've got a lot more optimistic about this. I used to feel "I wish I knew then what I knew now" and like I was playing catch up. But now I feel like that's part of the process: I know it now BECAUSE I tried it then and muddled through badly. And it just doesn't make sense to try to put that maturity before those learning experiences.

But there's two other ways I might consider it. One is, the way our life is structured we often go through a lot of changes when we're young, and naturally have (for social or physiological reasons) a lot more impetus to try new things. I am trying to recapture that rapid growth, but if I knew then what I knew now, I would probably have taken better advantage of it.

The other is, would people benefit from/enjoy life more if their bodies were strongest/most resilient/most conventionally-attractive later on instead of early on? I'm really not sure.

I am, however, trying to take advantage of whatever is good about my life *now*, rather than dwelling on whether or not I'd done so earlier :)

Am I old or young? I think I'd have to say "somewhere in the middle" :)

5) Pasta salad or potato salad?

They fulfil a very similar niche for me. Starch with good flavouring. So I'd be happy with either. But I do admit, I like a wide range of pasta salads, even mediocre ones. Whereas *good* potato salad is great, but if not done well, I don't like the "hard lumps of potato" or "slimy lumps of mayonnaise" versions :)

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Jul. 12th, 2018 @ 12:51 pm New productivity planning plan
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For a year and a half I've been trying giving myself specific goals each month. Originally the idea was to take on a specific project I was excited about, but it slowly got diluted as my todo list filled up with overdue chores.

I know some people were surprised I was deliberately taking things on in that well, "but just do what I feel like" has never worked for me: I always used to panic that I'm not doing something else more urgent, or panic that I wasn't taking advantage of a rare opportunity to make significant progress on something I actually enjoyed, and usually ended up freezing up and not doing anything. And not just, not achieving significant projects -- often even not even achieving "reading a book I want to read instead of reading twitter".

The main benefit was getting stuff OFF my mental and actual todo list so I could do *some* things.

I had a few really satisfying months.

But now I'm reviewing the situation and decided to try something else.

I'm going to try to do some creative writing (a short story, a short chapter of a novel, or maybe a different creative project like board game design) in weeks 1 and 3 of the month. And weeks 2 and 4 will be "long-term chores", "day-to-day chores", "relax" or "some other project" depending how I feel.

I think I needed to go through the previous system to reach the point where this might work for me, but I think it makes more sense. I realise what helps me is some confidence that I'm *making progress* specifically. So having ANY time devoted to an ongoing project helps a lot -- in some ways even a tiny amount of time is good because it reassures me I'll achieve something *eventually*.

And hopefully that lets me relax in the other weeks, and do whatever seems appropriate without too much planning.

I was also ruthless at taking long-overdue chores, taking them off my month list, and putting them into a separate "kind of time sensitive but without a specific deadline" section.

Of course, I find myself revising my system every couple of years. In some way, I think a new system just helps by itself because the old system gets stale. But I also think, it is useful in finding what's most useful to me *now*.

I feel like I went a very very long way round to reach the point of being able to achieve steady reliable progress on, well, anything. Maybe because anything less than that didn't work for me at all -- inconsistent progress was basically the same as no progress, since I'd repeatedly lose faith in myself and preemptively give up. But that does mean that I sometimes reach unexpected plateaus of competence I hadn't expected to reach :)

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Jul. 11th, 2018 @ 05:22 pm Stellaris 229x, Part II
Federation

Building territory closer to the Theocratic Molluscfoxes suddenly made them that much more receptive to several of my diplomatic overtures. I don't know if I could have achieved the same by pumping their opinion with temporary advantageous trade deals or not.

Including the one I was most excited about, forming a federation!

That might or might not be sensible. It can make it harder to reach a winning condition if the other empires aren't interested in expanding enough. But it just sooooooo fit the concept of my species I just had to do it.

Just joining a federation was really cute. Now all of our combined territory went gold, not just mine. And their ships went from yellow neutral to blue allied. And I can see most of their territory. And they have a much greater positive opinion of me!

Apparently being next to them also let me have more reasons to declare war on them if I wanted, but I didn't.

Unfortunately, the twitchy friendly other-spiritualist-empire who had *originally* been explicitly federation builders, still weren't positive enough to join the federation. I wasn't sure if I'd need to repeat the moving-my-borders-closer trick.

Fortunately, a couple of years later, the Tardigrade-Foxes offered them membership and they accepted! They were a fair bit stronger than either of us at that point, so having both other empires on board made me feel a lot more secure. Even together we don't out-threaten the other major empires, but hopefully we're comparable enough the previously-friendly now-hostile Romulizards will not dare declare war on me.

Anyway, WOOO! GO US! WE FORMED A FEDERATION!

The Legion Eagles, who were especially xenophobic even by the standards of the other militaristic empires (but not as bad as the Banthurian Reavers who look harmless but want to kill everyone) then wanted to join with associate status. Then they resigned. Then they came crawling back. I'm not sure what was going on with them. I hope they make up their mind.

That also helps a little with one specific mission. My scientists particularly wanted to study specimens of fauna from six specific worlds round the galaxy. They were all incredibly dangerous, *obviously*. But not so dangerous they threatened a whole space ship. I was lucky half of them were in my borders, and the others could be reached from fairly friendly empires who had open borders to me. But one was in the Parroteagles' territory.

Previously that was unreachable as they really didn't like me (or anyone, other than stronger empires they could get something from). But when the Flatworm Lizards' resentment of my controlling any territory that they wanted outweighed their mild tolerance of me and they started a rivalry with me, that suddenly made the Death Parrots -- already in somewhat dire straights between two stronger empires -- like me a lot more.

So the good news is, whether they join the federation or not (and I'm not sure I want them as a full member, I don't trust them, whereas the other two and I seem to have more aligned interests), I can access their borders to complete this fauna research mission. The bad news is, they're completely blocked off on both sides by empires who won't let me through. Oh well, eventually there'll be a war, and if not, I'll eventually outpace everyone with research somehow.

The Furry Klingons now quite like me -- mostly because I'm closer, I think. Unfortunately, they have a long border with the Theocratic Foxes and they've rivalled each other, so I don't know if I can talk them into a federation. But at least they're not blocking *my* ships any more. Fingers crossed for more productive diplomacy in future.

Irassian Homeworld!

Also, I finally found enough relics to locate the Irassian homeworld. That came with a giant bonanza of resources (3k unity, after scaling for my current overhead, 2k minerals, and 500 physics research), and a system with several great resource deposits in.

A bit later in the game that might not be as overwhelming, but right now it's very very welcome :)

And science ships don't spend much resources researching that sort of thing -- just a lot of time. So it was probably good I pursued it, even if my main motivation was interest.

I'm not sure if there's anything more to discover or if that's the end of the story.

ETA: I discovered the Irassian homeworld right near my core worlds. Apparently some people have it spawn on the other side of the map. I'm not sure if they changed it to be more generous or if I was just pretty lucky.

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Jul. 11th, 2018 @ 04:40 pm Stellaris 229x, Part I
Pirates

My first priority, alongside building up my resource income again, was to get rid of the pirates who'd had a bit too much of a free hand while I'd been pursuing Fungus War II.

At first this was ok -- there was a fairly weak fleet I took care of immediately with my existing strength.

Then I spent some time building up a stronger fleet to be able to take on the stronger pirate fleets head on (which sort of a minimum to be a serious force against my neighbours).

And then a lot of panic happened. Another fleet, either the original one I'd just defeated repaired, or another one spawned from the same base, appeared heading for my homeworld.

I rushed my fleet over there, but spaceflight doesn't really do "rush". And built some more ships near there too. And I wasn't in time to stop them fly past, but they aimed for one of my systems down a dead end.

Fortunately I'd only rebuilt a small part of the mining stations there. The pirates fortunately don't seem to try to attack my planets, and if they attack my starbases they self-repair, but they totally destroy all the mining/research stations they fly past.

However, I *was* able to assemble a decent fleet on my home starbase and ambush them as they flew home. It was a bit touch and go -- my fleet was disabled when they still had a couple of ships left, but they then flew into one of my reinforcements and minor starbases on the way out. Problem solved, kapow.

Unfortunately, during the same time, I detached a couple of laggardly ships to deal with the *other* pirate base. One that sadly spawned right next to a primitive world I was trying to establish an orbital watch on[1] and destroyed that a few times in the inter-war period.

[1] Apparently talking to them is MORE unethical than secretly spying on them, who knew?

The bases are fairly ramshackle, so that was ok, but as soon as it was destroyed, another base spawned from the ashes! Along with another, larger fleet that totally stomped my few ships and started flying for the frontier end of my empire near the front of the fungus war.

Then as soon as the first battle was complete, I needed to heal all my ships, build reinforcements, and fly them all *back* again to try to head off the pirates.

I ended up with two major fleets and a variety of stragglers absorbed into one or the other. One was there in time but not strong enough to take on the pirates by themselves. But they blocked their approach at a starbase and fought valiantly, and incredibly fortunately, the other fleet arrived just in the nick of time before the battle was over and handily wiped out the remnants.

And then I *was* able to divert the healthy part of the fleet to mop up the pirate bases. I sent enough that if another fleet spawned I wouldn't just lose. Which leaves me with little defences, but just *having* the ships puts off the AI empires from attacking quite a bit.

That took quite a while because it meant flying the long way round twice, but while I was doing other stuff, they did get there eventually.

Territory

I'd made some bold territorial grabs to claim systems up against other empires to keep the systems between for my future expansion, and to claim any particularly interesting systems near my borders.

That left me with an original blob near my home world and a few adjacent systems with habitable planets. A small blob with my Gaia world about half way between that and the following. A forward base up against the funguses, along with an adjacent system or two for additional buffer and good resources, plus the three tasty systems I claimed in the war.

Also, two further single-system buffers up against the Romulizards who used to like me but changed their mind when they found that out.

And a blob in the middle, just about contiguous with my home systems where there were several interesting systems including a world with a pre-space civilisation. Particularly badly, that ended up with one unclaimed system in the middle completely surrounded, which is apparently a super-double piracy lure.

Whereas the single-system forward bases, while very expensive in influence to build and increasing the risk of pirate spawns, are themselves fairly pirate-proof, as they usually just have a starbase and no mining stations.

The first territorial expansion I made after the war was to build a forward base up near the Fox Tapir Theocracy, which staked a few more systems for my future expansion but more importantly increased my diplomatic options with them in several ways.

But after that, I filled in my earlier patchwork mess a lot, claiming the systems inbetween a few gaps, which even though (unlike the AI) I still had several separate blobs, reduced the piracy risk quite a bit once the bigger blobs were more self-contained and less swiss cheese.

At the same time, I made an effort to claim several systems with interesting things I'd wanted to claim earlier but hadn't got round to. Rare resources. A wormhole gateway (I'm hoping that gives me a chance to research the tech necessary to traverse it.)

And most notably, a ruined ringworld!

Only about 8 times bigger than a planet, rather than 3 million, but still very attractive if it could be repaired. The first fallen empire, the one who I haven't really interacted with at all, had two systems, the something of something, and a neighbouring system was named the same way. I hadn't even thought to look, but apparently their systems have ringworlds in, and so does this one!

I think what happened is, the map generator reduces their territory a bit so it doesn't completely block off anti-clockwise expansion through the galaxy. It nearly does already, and if they'd has both systems, I think there would have been only a single connection between clockwise and anticlockwise of them. But didn't remove the ringworld.

Building ringworlds is one of the expansion packs; I'm not sure if repairing one is possible without that or not.

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Jul. 11th, 2018 @ 04:14 pm Stellaris - Assorted observations from last session 229x
Before

It'd been a little while since I played, I felt like I'd done all the immediate things and was less excited by all the building up I needed to do next. But (spoilers) quite a lot happened!

I've been playing for almost a century, so mid-game crises could start happening. That feels about right, the empires have mostly abutted up against each other, so we're shaping up for a lot of "sticking in one place building up resources and research, with inconclusive border skirmishing" for a century if that didn't happen.

Although I always feel hungry to *control* my situation so I always feel like I'm denied my slow consolidation :)

During

Oh dear, one of my scientists found one of the anomalies indicative of the long-dead Irassians, possibly enough to be able to triangulate a location for their homeworld. However, she died half way through the research! Old age, not DUE to the research. I hired a fresh-faced replacement, but she had to start over.

Ooh! During the various worries about ground combat in the last war I hired a general. Now there's not been any ground combat since, he's mostly just idled his time away playing dice with my mothballed armies. But he ran for chairman and had a really nice platform (basically, a flat resource bonus to I can't remember, one of energy or minerals, which was most useful to me at that time), and won.

You may remember the morlock refugees, who fled to the surface of the utopian-but-so-utopian-the-atmosphere-has-hallucinogens Gaia planet from religious persecution. There was only enough of them to run one building, but they specialised in physics so it was useful. But they also supplied an army -- an unusually strong one. And now one became a prominent scientist and got promoted to run one of my main research branches -- my empire is finally getting integrated. (Although no-one's immigrated in from another empire yet.)

Woah, holy fuck, I zoomed in on a space battle between slightly more advanced ships and that was dramatic. Lasers and such everywhere.

Now I've a little slack in resource production, I'm tweaking what I've built on planets. Is it worth deliberately specialising to have an "energy planet" and a "mineral planet" as opposed to just building everything anywhere?

The starbase or two I captured from the funguses had an ftl anchor (that stops fleets from flying through the system without engaging the starbase). But apparently that doesn't mean I can dismantle it and learn how it works? :)

Bonus wishlist

I wish it wasn't so important "whether the direct route between hyperlanes leads directly through the middle of the system or not". I feel like, a heavily armed starbase in a system should present a *moderate* obstacle to ships just flying straight through, not basically none (if the starbase has no long range weapons and a human micromanages the ships' route to fly round the edge of the system) or make ftl inhibitors basically unnecessary (if the direct route passes through the middle of the system, any ships passing through just fly a direct line and engage the starbase anyway whether they need to or not).

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Jul. 11th, 2018 @ 11:17 am Stellaris - wishlist
Lots of the things I wished were possible turned out to actually be possible but it just hadn't immediately been obvious what the interface was.

I got a bit frustrated with sending science ships to research research projects before I realised that if you selected the science ship, you could right-click the orange box to order the ship to do the research (or shift-right-click to queue the research to do as soon as the ship completes its current order).

Probably at least one of the following are also already possible and I just don't know how.

I wish, if you'd previously visited a system, information like "number of potentially habitable planets and climate" or "number of celestial bodies" or "roughly what was on a settled planet" were available as "what you last saw" even if not in real time.

I wish the map showed you not just total resources, but showed the largest clump so you can prioritise building mining stations that gain 3 or more resources.

There's an alert that says when pirates settle in a system, can I please have a list of where that's happened? Usually it's obvious because I have eyes on a giant fleet coming towards me, but sometimes I want to make sure I know where all the original nests were and that I've got them all.

In fact, just a list of all the pop-ups and alerts I've dismissed would be good.

I wish it was easier to edit the action queue for a ship. (I was pleased to discover if you give a ship a new order, it cancels the pending actions but not the current action. IIRC "stop" cancels everything, and "shift-click" adds a new action at the end of a queue.)

It'd also be nice to be able to tell a ship "go here, wait till I have enough minerals, then build", but I understand why that's not as easy.

I wish it was easier to build a ship and designate it for a particular fleet. You can use the fleet "reinforce" option, but then I don't think you don't get to specify which ship is built or where.

These are all annoying but fairly small, since they're still developing, I think it's likely they will fix these eventually. I just felt better for writing it out :)

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Jul. 11th, 2018 @ 10:47 am Stellaris - Miscellanary
"Thuurgla Disseminute", "Gleggrot Disseminute", the names of these Fungus' navy fleets are very very them. As are some of the others. Including the pirates! :)

Pets

I found some alien pets! Alas they were on one of the fungus' core worlds, and for whatever reason the fungus' concentrated more on building warships than petting pets. I only found them when I flew through their home system in the post-war truce and conducted a little informal surveillance.

Liv immediately asked me to save them, but I had to admit, I was already trying as hard as I could to rescue the normal funguses from their own government, but it wasn't possible to speed up the processes without another war and maybe even planetary bombardment.

AI personalities

The characteristics of an empire (and I think, their ruler, and maybe a couple of other things) determine in their 'personality' according to a complex algorithm. Like, empires who are spiritualist and also militaristic usually get the "honourable warriors" personality. Many empires get the "hegemonic militaristic" which just means they want to conquer things. Etc.

Some are fairly specific, like the "assimilate everyone in the galaxy" and the "eat everyone in the galaxy" empires.

I think the personality is deterministically determined by those values. And the effects of the personality are mostly or completely determined by various modifiers like "chance of declaring war" and "positive/negative modifier to their opinion if you have a border with them" etc.

So it's a bit fiddly, but I quite like the concept, that you can (hopefully) just play by understanding that you can probably trade with the "spiritual seekers" especially if you're spiritualist yourself, you may or may not be able to form pacts with the hegemonic militarists depending on their political situation, and you might as well give up on some of the xenophobic personalities who mostly hate everyone.

But that because it's all run by an algorithm, it's all exposed to modders who can tweak it in various ways. And "never" is expressed as "modifier by -1000" so if there's some overwhelming pressure the other way, that might still happen.

Opinion, Trust, etc

It took me a while to get an idea how this works and I'm still not sure. There's a few relevant values, opinion, trust, and attitude, and I think a couple more under the hood.

Trust represents a relationship built up over time. Any ongoing diplomacy (trade deals, guaranteeing their independence, non-aggression pact, defensive pact, alliance, federation, etc) provides both a small monthly increase in trust, and a maximum value of trust, higher for more significant relationships. If you don't have an ongoing relationship it slowly decays to 0 again.

Opinion represents an instantaneous snapshot, which comprises (a) trust (b) various relevant modifiers, like sharing politics and philosophy gives a boost, xenophiles/xenophobes have a flat bonus/penalty to their opinion of everyone, etc. And (c) various short term effects, like breaking a treaty or making a favourable trade deal gives an instantaneous bonus/penalty to trust which slowly expires over some number of months.

So the general process of diplomacy where possible is, find empires who have at least somewhat positive base opinion of you. Build up trust by making a trade deal of guaranteeing their independence. Then combine increased trust and if necessary a temporary boost to opinion (say, a one-sided trade deal to just give them a temporary bribe), enough for them to accept a more significant diplomatic overture, which will hopefully have a higher trust cap etc.

This can see-saw back and forth based on various things -- if you're far away, diplomacy is more difficult, if your mutual border is too long, there's a penalty for needing to police it, if there's another empire mutually threatening, that's a positive to various pacts, etc.

There's also an "attitude": "wary", "cordial", "friendly", etc. This is partly due to opinion (and trust?) and partly due to relative empire strengths and to AI personality (?). I'm not sure if that's mostly just due to opinion and trust and obvious overall modifiers, or if there's a extra determinants behind the scenes.

Lots of diplomatic options have a default "no", so it can be a bit of a hurdle to get anyone to agree. You need to max out trust, but then you're left with some negatives if your empires are incompatible. And some empires will just never like you unless you're overwhelming in military force because you're naturally incompatible.

And as people helpfully clarified on the previous post, once you've got a bad diplomatic situation with someone, i.e. their opinion of you spiralled downward and they declared you a rival (or declared war or proclaimed a claim to some of your systems), it is nigh impossible to increase their opinion again because those all provide an ongoing negative modifier. You just have to hope an extra-dimensional threat spawns nearby :)

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