Wow, just began a new game, and I'm really impressed. The Iconians are very well characterized, starting abilities and techs are harmonized and very interesting; I have to say the starting planetary improvements are very powerful compared to the CU
Well, the Iconians in Twilight always had quite strong starting improvements so I thought I would expand that concept a little bit further. However, in order to compensate this I decided to nerf them in later stages of the game. For example, I've split the Research Coordination Center & the Omega Research Center away from their traditional technologies and made new techs for them - but the Iconians don't have those 2 - because they already have their 2 Precursor-Labs.
The factory-line saw quite some change - the usual Replicator-upgrades are now 1-per-planet factories and the only Replicator-upgrade is at the very end of their factory-line. The Torian industry is somewhat similar to this approach. 1pp buildings are very easy to use for the AI and to mod in because you can set their importance high without the risk that the AI goes overboard with it, which would happen if no limitation would be present. I currently work on a concept to the generic farming to use the 1pp approach to get all AI worlds into a region of 13-15b inhabitants and that, I hope, also limiting the danger of going beyond 20b food if bonus tiles are present - but it's not finished yet, got very little free time the next days.
especially the one that decreases colony maintenance by 10. Very very powerful during the colonization race, I hope not too much.
I just realized I cannot build a starport on colonized planets, I checked the tech tree and saw it'll not be easy to get it. This is going to make exploration much longer. I suppose it is intentional but why?
The "Custom Office" --> "Starport" - chain has been deliberately designed to help the AI to not go broke by the colonial rush - which may still happen (because many AIs simply spend all available money to quickbuy Colony Ships) but at least, they'll recover so much more faster than in any other version of the game. Well, at least, until they've researched the Starport.
The design manipulates the AI into this behaviour:
- Initially only Colony Ships from the starting homeworld will/can be released
- All of these ships will spawn colonies starting at a full 500m inhabitants. Precisely for this reason I've also turned the initial starting Colony Ship into a non-functional prototype (because this very ship hitherto has been used by the AI to spawn a only 100m colony --> which in turn will release another colony ship with only 10m people after a few turns --> these colonies take almost forever until becoming self-sufficient).
The rework of the stock Colony Ship-design does, however, prevent that design from appearing in your normal list, and I guess this is what tricked you into this error:
I also like that I need to research Hyperdrive before I can start building colony ships
You just need to make an own design using a Cargo Hull + the Colony Pod. But I'll add that to to my list of things to do, at one point I'll return all these traditional designs like "Paladin", "Battle Hammer" etc pp which have been blanked out in the CU because the auto-ship-designer seems to do a better job. But these designs still look nice when you right-click a technology in the techtree, but it'll require some work to get them right.
But to come back to the Starport-rework:
- The AI will initially build only Custom Offices at all his initial colonies - which nullifies the 10bc maint of the Initial Colony-building. They also get all money invested into Mil Prod refunded, and it'll slow their expansion speed a bit down. Which is not a problem because they have more planets at their disposal from the start of the game. The thing to realize is that the main throttle to any colonial rush is if the economic balance gets broken by a too-fast acquisition of new planets - and this change will help the AI to raise his population and build the Recruiting Center before being able to release ships from everywhere.
For the player the Custom Office opens up even a new level of play in midgame or endgame esp. on larger maps - for example if you don't wanna bother with ships being released on planets at your total backyard just build a Custom Office there: The increased economic level will then help you mustering/buying more ships at strategically important places or you'll be able to maintain a larger military.
I also like that I need to research Hyperdrive before I can start building colony ships, I hope Terrans are the only ones that start with Hyperdrive, is that so?
There are a few that have it because all Stock Races do get a certain package of starting technologies to make them unique and give them some starting strengths to varies fields of the techtree. However, because Cargo Hulls + capacity mods saw a complete rework the engines-branch isn't really much of an importance early on because you can only add 1 such mod to a Cargo Hull. It'll take some level of miniaturization to get to that point (or playing Yor). Yesterday I've worked on the propulsion branch and split ship-components and racial-bonuses into 2 separate branches - so you'll have the choice which way you prefer in a future release. (I'll expand this concept also to sensors, and perhaps, a few other branches as well....)
The original Lore states that HyperDrive technology was given to all Stock Races by the Humans so all races did already have this tech in their tree - I find this boring because it rendered the tech irrelevant. So only a few now have it, and maybe in future only the Terrans may have it, but I'll firstly need to make all techtrees more unique - then being able to distribute unique starting technologies to each race.
One question, I tried several starts and I never got a bonus tile in the homeworld. Just unlucky or you designed it like that? If it is by design, I think it's a very wise choice.
The occurence of bonus-tiles is set by mapsize, dependant on your planet setting you may get many or less on your homeworld. There's nothing I can do to influence that. However, bonus-tiles only appear on normal tiles - that is, all tiles which are there upon galaxy-creation. All tiles which are added later (for example, by Biosphere Modulator, Weather Control Zenith, or PQ-Bonuses) are always blank. The Iconians in FW have +30% PQ bonus and therefore, lots of their worlds will appear to have less density in bonustiles.
I think the only thing I didn't like is that my survey vessel had sensor radius 1. The problem with radius 1 is that you can only see what lies 1 tile from you in the four cardinal directions, anything that lies 1 tile south-east, or north-west (just as an example) is not visible. That makes the ship almost useless for exploration and usable for anomalies only in auto-survey.
I wanted to generally make exploration harder - and especially harder for the player (since the AI works quite differently). There's a cap of 15 sensor-radius and my rework of everything that's sensor-related will still ask the player to invest some resource into this or he will accept to have a bad vision.
The starting Survey Ship will be used by the AI to auto-survey - for nothing else (if all anomalies are gone, it'll just stay put). You can do the same without handicap - that's fair^^ If you want to use it for exploration - invest 2 points into Sensors and/or pick Explorers-Party - you'll gain +2+2 starting sensors. Stellar Cartography adds +1 and the Gravity Wave Array another +2. Eyes will magnify all sensorrange by 50% - ie. the more you pick starting bonuses the more you'll additionally gain by building it.
Last but not least you could also research the Sensor Buoys Hull - and outfit it with sensor mods. It's very cheap to build and has a base bonus to sensors. Refer to template to have a finished design.
And the starting Colony Ship-prototype actually has a base sensor vision of 8 - that is, it should be possible to pear into near-by systems. That is, you get enough planets to colonize giving you enough time to do something about the sensor-dilemma^^
have put the Space Trucker Guild in construction, saved, loaded, and the improvement was not in construction anymore and not available among the other buildings.
I've just made a few tests with that but I can't recreate the problem. Do you have any additional information on this?
After I have successfully built the Space Trucker Guild, the Space Miner design is not automatically updated with the decreased cost, I have to upgrade it and save it without modifying anything in order to use the free mining module.
It's a problem with the AltCost-tag, it has a certain weakness to not retro-actively update older or the current design: Luckily the AI will oftentimes update its designs, and it doesn't build that many Space Miners after all. The Truckers Guild is more or less an improvement for players that which to play a heavy-asteroid-mining game [let's see if you'll get to the Tier5-7 ones o.O ].
Another thing what you could do is to quicksave & reload - that should instantly update the shipcosts.
At some point I may also get the Stellar Forge to reduce the cost of the Constructor-module to 0 - because the Arceans originally had the "light"-construction-module - but they didn't use that. The cost-reduction will however, work for both AI & player.
Another thing on my list is to make an improvement to be able to reduce the cost of the Colony Module to 50% (or more) - most likely available to all races. That should be quite interesting for a game with lots of habitable planets.