Hello & welcome
I'm no good at designing ships so I usually use the game generated ships.
Give it another try some day, the player can design so much better than what the game offers.
1. I seem to be able to trade influence points for Techs from Ai majors and minors, is this working as intended or am I 'cheating' by doing this? Another way to ask this is, are my influence points worth techs? I consider ip useless am I wrong?.
As you can see with just universal translator researched I can easily trade 433ip for 3 Techs! Am I supposed to be able to do that? Are the AI's trading ip for techs among themselves aswell?
It's an exploit based on one (or more) bugs. In DA/Tota the AI values IPs much more than in DL - if the amount is somewhere between the range of 1-999. Just start a game and see for yourself; offer the AI 900 IPs and note jow much money he gives you for them, then re-offer 1100 and you'll see he is going to give far less money than before, although you actually offer him more than before.
With a good diplomacy stat you can get as much as 1bc for 3 IPs, in essence, you can drain all AIs of all their money, most techs, and also alot of their ships (if the value of these assets fall under 1000 IPs in value - if not, you've got to throw in another tech, money etc essentially to bait him to agree with the deal while your offering the IPs are finishing tje deal)
Somewhere in DA/Tota influence generation got out of whack, that is why money from tourism also sometimes amounts to obscene levels (like, 100 bcs right on turn 1) and also, the zone-of-influence is also much bigger and tighter than it used to be in vanilla DL.
2. As a rule of thumb how many factories should you build/buy on a new colony before building recruitment centers/star port/econ? I setled on a hunch at 2 factories per new colony before anything else.
This is really dependant on your general strategy/game setup and the situation you're currently in. For example, me personally like to play with +50% military prod, +50 social prod, +20% research from technologists and thus, my base planet production is already enough, so I usually focus on pop growth, morale or economics on new planets. The goal is to keep the general spending slider always at 100% and not going broke from colonization - also not having to trade away techs to the AI (which will develop his game faster).
However, money is only important for 2 things: 1) keeping slider at 100% 2) being able to upgrade your ships to the latest design. Once you are meeting these criteria it is better to focus on production. As a rule of thumb, 1 production is worth 7 credits. Thus, a high production planet adds more to your game's strength than an economic world - although the latter are crucial to enable your production in the first place.
Of course, it also depends a bit on the type of game you want to play. For example, you could pick Korx and go full economics, basically buy anything you want. Going neutral with them will net you a +50% Interest Rates bonus in conjunction with their techtree - this will seriously increase the value of money in general.
3. Are PQ4-5 worth it? I never colonise them and just wait for the Ai to settle them then culture flip later. With all the terraform techs how high will a PQ4 rise? I have in mind a strategy of colonizing them and destroying them to denie them to the Ai is that pointless or wastefull?
They rise to quite some level, if you can cultureflip them I'd say leave them. The AI also doesn't terraform so much so these planets will not generate that much pop and can be taken militarily easily. If you're neutral, or build the orbital terraformer + plan to research the terraforming techs than it might be a good idea to colonize them as well. Also depends if you plan to play a heavy social game... ie. building up your worlds to max out production before declaring war. Still, these planets might be a better alternative than trying to get Extrem Worlds (takes longer and usually, nets less planets)
4. Do extra tech points get used after researching a tech?
Yes, they do. Even if you research a tech which is at the end of the branch the points are stored in the cache and will be used up. However, that cache isn't saved so if you reload a game it'll be empty + points lost.
. Shouldn't the Torians have racial grudge agains Korath? or Thalans with Terrans? Is there anyway to edit such things?
There's no way to edit this. I think the Thalans oftentimes show a "they don't trust us" versus the humans, but I'm not sure if this is more extreme in that particular case.
Note that the Yor have a completely hidden diplomatic penalty against all other faction as well.
7. Does giving gifts like 100bc to Ai increase relations? Also how often can I demand tribute from weaker races? It never seemes to work more than once per race.
You need to wait a longer time to do this, most likely until the rating got restored to better levels. IMO it's not worth it, having good relations is more important. I only become exploitative the turn before I declare war with the intent to conquer a civ entirely.
As for gifting money, it can increase your relation (the AI will tell you in response to the gift immediately), how much you'll have to gift depends on alot of factors, but mostly how big the size of the actual game is.
I find this useful if I want to ally with someone who currently is only "friendly". It's somewhat ineffective if you try to appease hostile factions - the diplo penalties in place do have a mucj stronger effect and constantly drain down relations, irrelevant if gifts - you are only supporting a likely enemy.
Note, if the AI asks you for help at least give him a single warship, it'll net you another positive rating in many occasions ("they appreciate our past help")
[quote]8. When can I ally and have treaties. I noticed that treaties between races pop up after the second UP ends is that a fixed minimum time to wait matter?
10. Is there any point in declaring war if you don't have yet planetary invasion?
Yep, fixed, and no way to circumvent that, ~~110 turns.
9. I tend to build star fury ships at the beginning to increase my mmight but set them to explore as to not be useless, later it becomes a choir to toggle explore off to 20-30 tiny ships all over the map is there anyway to turn off auto explore for all ships at once?
No, but there are a number of shortcuts that can help you selecting next ship, and turning of auto-explore.
You might wanna consider building additional Surveyors based on Cargo Hulls, with lots of speed, range & sensors early on. These will do the scouting as well and pick up alot of bonuses from anomalies, such as additional hitpoints etc. Later on, you can upgrade them to passable frigates if you have a hitpointmod at hand. Don't put weapons on them because then they'll cost you maintenance. Early on the AI don't declare war anyway.
You can deduce from the diplo screen once you need to militarize up. I found it best to get an early MMR by leaving those ships in orbit because of the extra weapon bonus they get there. A +1 attack will be +2, a +3 ship can be +5 if you have +34% weapons rating etc
10. Is there any point in declaring war if you don't have yet planetary invasion?
Yes, killing the AI's starting survey ship early on can make a difference in neting more anomalies. wjen playing with many anomalies in bigger maps these can be your #1 incoming source, and the increased racial stats will help in the long run also. Ofc you need additional Surveyors, too. The diplo rating will be recovered (if no additional penalites are there) until times are reached when the rating does really matter (after the colony rush, when the AIs are considering to go to war in order to expand their territory).
Also killing starbases or colony ships, freighter can throttle his development. You could build a fast Interceptor using a Cargo Hull, one basic weapon, lots of speed, range, sensors - and attack anything that is defenseless.
When playing with Drengin/SuperDominator declaring war can mean a constant flow of ships, which you could use for anything, but with enough AI in game you can easily win most games with this bonus if you use it early on. (essentially you declare war every turn, make peace, declare war etc in the end you'll get +100 ships from one war alone wjen the AI is still colonizing....)
11. Military and Econ starbase give their bonuses in full in all their range, I noticed that influence starbases need to be as close to the target planet as possible am I wrong?
If not how does the AI react to influence starbases 1pc from their planet? does building them 4pc away lessen the AI's anger?
You'll see in the diploscreen the penalty ("your threatening influence"). However, that penalty isn't based only on starbase-influence, but on all your current influence. So if that AI is closeby, your worlds are pop developed, your influence is just bigger than his', this penalty can pop up all the while. Also if he colonizes planets in your ZOI you'll get this penalty.
The games diplo evaluation mechanics essentially point the game to war, with many factors aggravating over time. There's not mucj what you could do about it. If your neigjbours are of mis-aligned ethics, consider to invade them. If you have a similar ethical faction at the other side of the map consider sending all your freighters to this one, it's the best shot for an ally.
12. When is it a good time to colonize extreme quality planets? I often play as the korath and can;t decide when should I colonize those nice looking toxic worlds.
Toxic worlds w/ Korath - as early as can be. As for other extreme worlds - don't bother. Korath are (together with Drengin) the best faction to enforce early conquest - your sporeships enable you to take worlds without loosing population on your planets. Do this as fast as you can! Build Dark Influence on your core worlds so that spored worlds don't fall due to foreign influence. If you don't mind the micro, build ferries and distribute population on these worlds so their pop can start to grow to reasonable levels. Otherwise transfer your core worlds to econ planets and the spored worlds to industry worlds (you'll need 100% toxic world support though)
13. Why can't I play against 11 Ai oponents + minors instead of just nine? It seemes...odd.
Because 9 was the maximum amount of stock factions the game had in vanilla DL. Krynn+Korath got added later in DA, but the game wasn't changed to reflect this.
14. Once a freighter has established a trade route does the mini freighter move at a preset min/max speed? Would giving them more engines increase speed of the trade route?
No, they will always move by 1. Personally the only thing I find usefull to give these freighters is addiitonal sensors & range. The longer that min-freighter is away from your world the more it will net you. With additional sensors you could sometimes see something interesting deep in other terrain. Speed would also a good tjing so the freighter will arrive sooner at its destination, but engines are expensive and the aaditional buildtime doesn't always justify it...
15. If I give a minor race a colony ship or a settled world will they be able to colonize on their own then? Is there anyway to make them expand like majors?
I remember that some modders pulled that off, but I don't know how that worked, maybe someone else can chime in on this.
16. What is a good map setting balance for playing against 9Ai's? Such as to let them have full use of their unique traits? I imagine that a small map with no extreme planets is a loss for races with extreme planets colonization start techs. Or a duel vs krox where they dont have anyone to trade with.
Large/Huge map, common planets/stars, if you play TOTA then abundant habitable planets. Techspeed low. Occasional extreme planets. Asteroids/anomalies like you want. Random events: Frequent
Disable: -Surrender, -techtrade (or, at least, brokering)
Enable: -Blind exploration, all victory conditions, megaevents, super abilities, tech stealing
17. I read in the manual that if you have a high enough espionage level you cand predit UP matters is that true? how? Also is there anyway to influence Ai voting or to predict it? Is it random?
Predict? - Not possible.
The AI will be more inclined to vote in your favour if he sympasizes with you. There's a (hidden) rating for this, but I can't say what the factors are that influence it. Not that it would be of much importance considering how irrelevant the UP votes are. Perhaps being aggressive, unhelpful, having troop ships around foreign territory etc