Author Topic: Losing my mind  (Read 5644 times)

Roghain

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Losing my mind
« on: January 08, 2012, 04:28:17 PM »
gentlebeings,

I picked this up a while ago. Didn't manage it. Got my Bhind handd to me every single time.

Got annoyed this week - how stupid could I be? It's just a game, right? Thousands of people play it. So, I went through the forums, read a LOT about starting out, early game strategems, apparently economy breaking strategies.

I read how easy the pirates would be to defeat by just adding a planetary gun to each planet - or perhaps 4 capital ships straight out of the box.

Easy, hands down, sensible sounding advice. I made notes, made a sheet with tips and ideas.

Feeling thoroughly strengthend and able to manage this, I went back in.

I followed advice, I really, REALLY did.

50 stars, 1 AI of trivial difficulty, poor researcher. Standard pirates, standard everything else.

Colonize home system. Take it slow, don't spread out too fast. Build scouts.

ONce home system is fully decked out with all slots fuilled (and the galactic bank filled somewhat) and while researching general/Economic/Metal tech (as some suggested/advized) I went out and colonized one planet in four neighbouring stars.

Mind you, by now I had spent 45 minutes into the game.

At almost the same time, I meet the AI who for no apparent reason declares war (I have no warships or stations for defence) and three minutes later pirates show up at two planets in short succession.

The pirates leave (for no apparent reason - it's not like I could do anything to them) only to be followed by the AI who proceeds to wipe out my measly planets (as I did not have anything built to defend with).

In less than one our, I am defeated.

So, I figured that I still need to dumb down and start the next game with NO AI and NO Pirates.

Guess what? After I have colonised about 20 planets, all of a sudden all my freshly built colony ships die. Now warning, no popup - I just suddenly see dozens of grey icons floating about.

So, I figured, I might have run entirely out of fuel (beats me how though - I don't seem to have a fuel plant?). So, I redesign the colonisers with bussard engines and solar panels / needing no fuel whatsoever. Build five, they just sit there, in Orbit.

Okay, apparently I botched the AI setting which I didn´t change. So I hand out manual orders. You, go colonise THIS. Mind you, range is not an issue as there is nu fuel requirement or so I understand it. THEY REFUSE TO MOVE.

I am about this close to giving up. I am obviously missing something as you lot all seem to be able to beat the hardest AI with hands tied behind your back, whereas I cannot even colonize without opposition.

This isn´t fun, this is work. I have played dozens of games, be they 4X or whatnot. I chewed through the learning curve of War in the Pacific and Forge of Freedom. Those are not for the faint hearted yet this, while for all intents and purposes it should be playable, manages to beat be at even the most moronic AI levels.

If there is anything anyone could offer to prevent it from vanishing through the wires, then I appreciate that, but I mean, what can be said that hasn´t already been said on this forum...

pixelz

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2012, 10:17:28 PM »
When you are learning, try staying paused whenever you can.  Do your designs, issue your build instructions and flight orders, and only unpause when you need things to happen.  Pause whenever you notice something that needs attending to.

Against trivial AI, you can win with stock ships.  If the automation doesn't seem to be working, try "Refresh Automation."  For colony ships, you can clear the automation of the fetch fuel and fetch ammo orders.  All they need is colonize, and even that is only a convenience so that they chose the nearest world you've marked as auto-colonize.

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2012, 01:26:17 AM »
Thanks, but I really do all those things - I pause like nobody's business. I start with regular ships, nothing custom. I am just very anxious to know why I fail where all seem to be doing well.

I mean, 45 minutes into the game I barely own 20-25 planets. No idea if that's normal or if I overextended. Tech levels are around 3 each, general science is usually 1-2 levels ahead.

I use the bog standard governors.
Planets I try and keep all different ones in mind: tree metal to 2 electronics to one advanced should keep the economy running.
2-3 spaceports per producing planet (as the export stations are tech 6), 2-4 haulers per system depending on the number of colonies. I am yet to see haulers move from system to system and guessing they don't, ever.

Race picks I kept simple - slavery and rigid, nothing fancy. Figured the labour would be handy and the civil acts were just another instrument I failed to use as I am learning how to survive and need no intricacies, or so I thought.

As advised, I bould one planetary gun per colony to scare away the pirates - which didn't help at all. I mean, I fail to see how a pirate raid can be called just that - a mere raid. Without fail, 30-35 minutes into the game they arrive at usually my best systen with the most and best developed colonies. They arrive with numbers I dream of: 20-30 size 6 frigates, 5-10 size 20 marauders or so and 1-3 size 50 forgettheirnames. Those pesky planetary guns usually manage to take down 2-4 frigates, but then everything gets bombarded to smithereens.

In my above (1st post) game, the pirates in that fleet came, hung around for 3-5 minutes then left for no reason.
Then the AI came with an ever bigger fleet and wiped me out 2-3 systems at a time.

Now, I am not blaming the AI - seeing how so  many of you can beat the game, I must be doind something hideously wrong, but I really am at a loss. I want to enjoy the game - it has so much potential and the ship design is something interesting. The economic system appears to be balanced and not overly complicated. But I am apparently so bad at this that I will not enjoy it and I am buggered if I understand what I am doing wrong.

I am assuming the AI is using the same rules (when 'cheats' are disabled) and so, if it can field (space?) 150-200 ships size 6-50 in 45 minutes, I should be able to do more or less the same even if I am much slower - I have the power of pause and am suposed to be the more creative of the two - but I am not so sure of that anymore.

On the colonisers - I used the refresh AI option. Their fuel levels are maxed out, though I did not disable 'get fuel/ammo' which I might do next time. What stumpes me there is that the out-of-the-box design worked fine, then suddenly did not anymore. Range was not an issue - ships produced in system A set to colonize planets in system A did not move one iota.

Oh well - there is a week of gathering ideas here before I try again next weekend - or delete it from the HD. that would be the second time I delete a game without beating it at least one - the other time being Battlecruiser 3000AD for the other dinosaurs here.

And that was due to it being unplayable drivel, bugs and all.

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2012, 02:27:24 PM »
Tried again.

No AI, pirates at strength 0.5 and all other variables the same, 50 star galaxy. Easy enough one would think.

17 minutes into the game. I got:
Home system - 3 colonies. One balanced, one metal, one electronics. Three haulers.
System A - one colony, metal.
System B - one colony, metal.
System C - one colony, science.

Now, I did not choose anything - I let the selections entirely up to the automated governors and I let the governors build up and renovate. I only chose the research, built the ships and choose where to colonize next.

Science - I have general L4, metal L3, economics L3, all others (all open others obviously) L1.

Racial traits: slave labour, rigid.

After those mentioned 17 minutes into the game, all four of my systems got attacked by pirates. All four systems! Every pirate raid was:

1 scale 50
8 scale 10
12 scale 6

Now, I figured, I must be expanding too fast (though if this is too fast, this is going to be one tedious game). I reloaded - I saved at the start.

I only built up the three planets in the home system. With the lack of the science planet, my research lagged of course but as I never got around to researching any weapon stuff, that seems to be not the difference.
I assumed I need to build defences BEFORE expanding outside of my home system. In earlier games the planetary gun was useless, so this time I though (taking the size of the fleets I encountered earlier into account) to build my own fleet or two, leave one at home and send the other with the colony ship, and so on. devent enough plan or so I hoped.

I managed to build 4 capital ships, 8 dreadnaughts and 12 cruisers straight from the pre-suplied blueprints. not a minute to soon - at 19 minutes into the game I got attacked by pirates.

One scale 50, 12 scale 10 and 20 scale 6

My fleet managed to kill zero opponents.

I dunno folks. I read so many threads about how simple it is to defeat pirates.

Build one planetary gun, they said.
Build 4 CS per system, they advised.

Tried it - didn't work. I must be the dumbest player ever to get my Bhind handed to me every single game at the easiest of the easiest settings.

At this point, it is sheer stubbornnes that forces me to persevere - if so many people can play (and enjoy) this game, I surely must be doing something hideously wrong.

But what?

Elvang

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 03:04:55 PM »
I've had great success against AI's by following YAHG's guide and spyre2000's guide. You already seem to be following the research rule, which I've found to work wonderfully. Optimizing your planet slots will help with your economy. Both guides cover that (TLDR; Use only renovate governor, build with a 1:1 ratio of cities to factories/mines).

As for defending from pirates, I read somewhere that 9 bombers per system is all that's needed to make them consider someplace else. I've found this to be true, and it helps immensely. Nothing like trying to field a fleet strong enough to repel pirates only 20 minutes in to break your economy, and give the AI a nice big lead. If the pirates aren't attacking you, then they're attacking someone else.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 03:48:39 PM by Elvang »

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2012, 03:56:54 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion.

I immediately tried the '9 bomber' suggestion, but that's not working: the pirates just crush those tiny ships and continue to break my planets.

I did read both guides, but if I use that economic guide, I need to expand faster than I can - I can't even defend three planets, let alone 20 - that economic guide will only kick in once you ahve enpogh tech and enough ppanets to make the chain.

Sorry - I am trying to find it - what boggles me the most is that is is simply impossible for a game to be that difficult ion the easiest level - it should be abreeze, but i's not and that seems wrong - so, assuming (and judging) the design to be fione, I must be at fault. I just really think I ain't that dense - so what am I doin wrong?

Elvang

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2012, 04:03:18 PM »
The blockade from the Pirates, along with their other behaviors, are probably what's hurting you the most. They were my biggest hurdle, anyways. That blockade pretty much cripples the development of any planets in that system, and if you don't have farms on each planet, then the populations take a nose dive as well.

The presence of the bombers is meant only to make them pick a system with a smaller military presence than you. If the AI is consistently maintaining a military presence in all its systems at this point, maybe try colonizing a single planet in some system, and making sure every system but it has some sort of military (IE the 9 bombers). That should at least prevent the Pirates from crippling a key system.

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2012, 04:08:15 PM »
Since I was playing without any AIs (because I assumed I needed an easy game to learn what I needed to learn), I am always the lowest defender. Basically, what you are saying (and it's making sense) is that, since there is no other empire, the pirates will always attack my systems no matter what.

I am guessing the pirates do have tech levels roughly equivalent to mine, which means there is no point in updating ships designs?

Elvang

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2012, 04:15:33 PM »
Right, if there's no other AI's, then the '9 bomber' trick won't work.

Usually their strongest ships have twice as much hp as the vanilla capital ship during the first attack, in my experience (thus why it was my biggest hurdle, you'll grind your economy to a halt trying to field a comparable fleet at that point, especially if your trying to defend multiple systems). Their ships/waves also get stronger each time based on how much resources they made off with.

On the planets that had planetary cannons, did you have enough farms on them to maintain the pop+labor needed to operate them (no idea what the order is for facilities to go offline due to low pop, so cannons might go first, or after everything else)? The blockade means that there is no trade to or from the galactic bank, so populations tend to crash before the pirates even reach the planets.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 04:17:28 PM by Elvang »

YAHG

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2012, 12:32:47 AM »

If you are really failing that badly try something I call
'bomber shell'. Make sure you are using natural
terraformers racial trait, this will make the auto-governor
give you mostly balanced worlds. Expand in waves of 3 colony
ships. Let those colonies develop fully before making the
next wave. When you have around 15 planets fully developed
start going 4 colony ships at a time. At 20 or so up it to
5, and so on. Soon you can hit critical mass.

Go to blueprint window, take the default bomber design and
change two things. Set it to dock when no enemies are in the
system and to auto renovate. When you are ready to fight or
defend make 20-30 bombers per planet by right clicking on
the star or selecting by system and using (cntrl)+ build on
all. To attack or expand, use a system assault order to send
your standing bomber horde to the next system and build a
new one in the system that it left.

Expand by whole systems where possible as opposed to by
single planet per system. This strategy will get you at
least up to medium non cheating AI as per skill level. This
isn't going to work in multiplayer as you will be slow and
your bomber horde will be easily eaten by targeted lasers,
but at least it will give you something to grow your own
strategy out of.

This is a game of exponential growth, victory comes from
managing that growth better than your enemy. You need to be
able to hit critical mass, purposefully and reliably. Play
at 4x speed with no enemies, no pirates until you get a feel
for the mechanics of ramping up your empire.

When people talk about pirates getting owned by planetary
cannons, it is a matter of tech. Cannons do 40% more damage
per level of projectile weaponry (this is compounded on
itself for massive bonuses), so by lvl 4 or so they one shot
most pirate ships making short work of raiders.

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2012, 01:42:01 AM »
Thanks and thanks. I appreciate your efforts to help my efforts to come to grips with it. I have to admit this game has made me feel like a complete and utter twit. Never had so much trouble with a game at the easiest level and I been playing for a long time. It's not like I have no experience or nothing. 'Distant Worlds', 'Armada 2625', 'Sword of the stars', 'Galactic Civilizations', 'Light of Altair', 'AI Wars', 'Space Emires' - played them all to death and beaten most at reasonably high levels (not the highest though).

I will try your suggestions later on. I have to disagree with the planetary gun remark though. In one of my efforts I rushed projectile weapons to L6 in order to build better defences (like an scale 32 artillery base I read someplace about that was supposed to keep pirates away - it didn't).
I made sure they got updated to that L6. Ddidn't dent the pirates at all - destroyed maybe one or two ships if that.
Tried planetary lasers when I used the alien ship racial trait that grants you one L3 tech and lucked out on the beam weapons - no effect either.

This is why I assumed that pirates have a tech level mostly like the one of the player (or average of all players), like in Distant Worlds.

I tried building a huge fleet - I actually got a tech level 5 fleet of 20 size 24 capitals (I merely increased the size of those blueprints). They got wiped out in mere seconds by one scale 50, 8 scale 12 and a dozen scale 6. Those 20 scale 24 ships were backed up by five planets with each one planetary laser and planetary gun, all at tech level 5/6

I kinda sorta guessed (wrongly) that that would make short work - I had some hope there even, thinking I was on the right track. Turned out I was not. The pirates made very, very short work of my fleet.
From the moemnt the warning 'System X is under attack' popped up to the total destruction of those 20 ships took not 30 seconds, after which the pirates went on to devastated my planets.

I checked a few pirate ships. The size 12 had 671k HP... the size 50 3M+. I really don't think those planetary guns would ever one-shot them, judging from the damage done per shot.

All in all I was under the impression from all that info that I was way too slow on the tech front and that the pirates had somehow outclassed me, tech wise. How else could they manage that? Unfortunately from what I read on the forums, that isn't the case - the pirates don't develop tech like players/AI do, which led me to believe that my tech rate is irrelevant to the defeat of pirates. Right now, I am stumped on the pirtae front. Every single thread I read about them states that they are nothing more than a nuisance - yet in all my games they have consistantly outclassed all my defensive efforts to the point where they utterly cripple my economy to be in no state to oppose any AI that looks my way waving a half dozen fighters.

I dunno: I'll try that 20-30 bomber thing, but I doubt it will stop pirates. How could those measly scale 1 gnats stop those pirate fleets if 20 scale 24 CS did absolutely zilch?

GGLucas

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2012, 08:29:44 AM »
Try playing without pirates against just AI.

Quote
The size 12 had 671k HP... the size 50 3M+.

Quote
I actually got a tech level 5 fleet of 20 size 24 capitals (I merely increased the size of those blueprints). They got wiped out in mere seconds by one scale 50, 8 scale 12 and a dozen scale 6.

Both of these sound like bugs. Planetary cannons should be able to one-shot pirate ships for at least the first hour of the game, and those hitpoint levels are about ten times what they should be having early on.

In fact it sounds a lot like a bug fixed in one of the last few patches, where pirates would sometimes get unreasonably high starting tech levels.

Are you playing on the steam version? If not, what version are you playing on? I just checked the 1.1.0.0 files and that bug should no longer be present in that version. If it still is, you're the first to report it.

If you are on steam or 1.1.0.0+, could you post a savegame with the superpowered pirates?

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2012, 09:57:43 AM »
Sure thing. I will look when at home. I am sure to have an autosave left. Oh, and I got the Steam version.

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2012, 01:56:17 PM »
There we go.

This is my save of where you can see pirate strength.

Their scale 50 ship - 3.75M HP and scale 12 679K HP.
If I were to build a scale 50 ship with a standard hull, that would have 470K HP as the designer shows.
My tech level is 8/9 with exceptions to 11

If it needs to be pointed out: I lowered the pirate strength in the options game setup to 0.1

joebg

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2012, 05:00:24 PM »
I  have tried your save and did notice that it lagged my game as hell, it was unplayable. And I play bigger galaxies with more than 1k ships in my empire, 5 AIs, pirates and remnants with no such lag.
However this is not important.
I wanted to tell you what I do, as for me the standard game became too easy very fast, not to speak for mod "Galactic Armoury" , which I recommend you trying. I find this mod both more fun and easier to play and it may happen to be easier for you as well.
So to the main point of my reply.
First I want to say that I have never even noticed how much HP the pirates have when I play, as they never posed a challenge for me.
In the standard game (not modded, except with custom planet textures), what I use is traits like yours, nothing special, only I start with shields. I also use only rail/beam weapons, no rockets.
First thing I do, is to import/create some new starter designs - faster haulers; faster colony ships; no internal armour, minimized fuel tanks, stronger than default engines and strong main weapon for 10 size cruisers; the same plus laser for 50 size capitals and faster than default bombers.
My strategy is the following:
-First I colonize the main system, one balanced with goods focus, one mining and one economic world and for the main world I just add starport x 2 and shipyard;
-Then I make 20 scouts;
-Then I make 5x 5 size haulers;
-Then I wait a little as my main system develops and make 10-12 bombers for defence and some size 10 haulers, while researching general/economy/metallurgy up to lv 4-5 each;
-The I start expanding as I see fit, depending of systems around, but I always develop maximu of of 2 systems at once, as by doing that I tend to produce powerful systems very fast;
-For every new system, I first haul resources and make one strong planet, then using it I develop the resut using haulers;
-In every 2nd-3rd system I develop a shipyard world to spam units from;
-I follow the rule for keeping a dedicated system defence force and I have no problems with pirates (seldom I get some systems locked, but my ships always drive the pirates away, as by the time I get pirates I have inter system strike force/s available, consisting of something like 10-15 cruisers (10 size) , one two capitals (50 size) and several repair ships and ammo ships (10 size);
-So that is everything I do, by when my techs are like in your save, on harder/hardest difficulty, I am either being destroyed by the AI, because I have messed up with the economy or send an rush attack and failed or I defend around 10 systems and prepare one major star force and three diversions;
-Then I do attack, while trying to defend all fronts if possible, I drive system defenders out of the way by using fast diversion fleets and basically devastate the enemy planets with my main, destruction optimized fleet. Then I move to the next system.
+The AI gets extremely predictable, and If you have goods to trade them you can avoid war with all empires but one at a time;
+Really, I highly recommend you to try Galactic Armoury mod (if you haven't already). Even that it is easier to me personally, I just play it because it is so more fun. I think I know how you feel about the pirates situation you are in, as I was in the same with the remnants AI in Galactic Armory until I found the way to beat it.
+If you decide to try it, just do not get lured into making many research worlds in the beginning and disable one weapons tech and use only the other two, by selecting the specific traits for echanting their potential;



 
« Last Edit: January 10, 2012, 07:14:21 PM by joebg »

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2012, 01:08:46 AM »
Cheers for the ideas and outline, but for now I am awaiting a solution to the pirate problem.

From how I see it - either I am horribly unsuitable for this game as the pirates make short work of my civilization, or like GGLucas wrote, there might be a problem with the pirates with regards to their strength.

If for 'the populace at large' planetary guns do indeed one-shot pirate ships and mine don't, it has to be one of those two reasons. I can't come up with a better explanation.
'
If it turns out I do something wrong, I will try and learn, if it's the pirates excessive strength, then maybe it can get fixed. Once I can actually play a game to its logical conclusion, I'll consider mods and the like.

GGLucas

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2012, 12:50:58 PM »
I checked out your save, here's a couple things to note:

The pirate strength is not bugged. During game creation you set the "Research Cost Curve" to 1.5 instead of its original 2.0, so research is faster overall (for the pirates too), which explains why they are at 300k-500k hp at 1h30m (normally it should take them longer to get there). Pirate strength affects the amount of ships they spawn, not the tech levels they spawn with. Because you sped up research, pirates started getting tough enough to withstand planetary cannons much quicker than in default games.

Also, as for the lag issue, you set remnant strength to 100, which leads to about 500 ships in every remnant-controlled system causing the CPU to be taxed much more than is necessary for a normal game. If you're experiencing lag, try not spawning huge numbers of remnants :P

I also see you did not build any ships bigger than the default designs. The default designs become largely irrelevant after the first 15 minutes of the game. After that, you will need to start designing your own ships, keeping in mind that you should be making them bigger and bigger as the game goes on. At the tech level 9-10 you were at you should be able to churn out ships of at least 100-300 size with relative ease.

The pirates outleveled you by a few levels (they were at around 12 in that save), which is understandable considering you had only colonized 2 systems by 1h30m (you should have at least a few dozen by that time). However, you could easily have offset that tech advantage by building bigger ships and defense platforms than they have (pirates will always keep using small ships). 3M HP is not a lot at these tech levels.

In short: think bigger, expand faster. It might be a good idea to start yourself in the same team as an AI, so you can see the rate at which they expand and the size of ships they build during various stages of the game.

I hope that helps, and keep in mind that if you keep having trouble with the pirates, you can always turn them off and play in a game with just an AI ally to get the hang of expansion and economics: you don't have to play with enemies.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 12:53:58 PM by GGLucas »

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2012, 02:32:42 PM »
Thnaks. I appreciate any and all efforts to help me out here.

I was all but sure I raised the tech to 3 to have a more sedate pace. Must have botched that (too). As for the remnants - I was under the impression that it would provide a chalenge to expand as without an AI opponent, there needed to be some opposition. I thought it would make individual ships tougher, not increase their numbers - I never bothered turning that back.

I tried your suggestion - the default values. No luck.

Thirteen minuten into the game (after which I had two systems colonised with three planets each )and tech levels were L4 for the 'triangle' and 1 for everything else, the pirates showed up. 12 ships, 6 scale 10 and 6 scale 12. The scale 10 had 37k HP, the scale 12 40k+ HP

I really fail to see how a planetary gun could one-shot them - and the existing guns did absolutely nothing to stop them. Three planetary guns did not kill a single ship. Now, this can not be a design thing - the planetary guns are not changeable. So it has to be a tech thing. So I tried another game where I abandoned the triangle and leveled projectiles exclusively. Got to L5. Pirates ccame. three L5 planetary guns killed two ships.

I retried it and built 25 bombers (straight out of the box) of rather, I finished 25 bombers before they came knocking. Did not work one bit - though the bombers did kill three pirate ships before getting destroyed themselves so they did better than the planetary guns. I suppose I could retry and abandon planetary development to built as many bombers as I could, but that seems counter to everything I have been advised to do. it sure would hurt development something wicked.

I guess I am totally unsuitable for this game. I really have to say I am stumped. I never encountered a game that, especially given the amount of exhaustive and very friendly aid here, I was unable to play to at least midgame at the very lowest of difficulty. I don't think that this is my game then.

I am very sorry - both for having wasted your time and for having to abandon this. I kinda sorta hoped that I would be able to enjoy this, but this isn't enjoyable anymore. Any game that is unbeatable by the player at the lowest level is most certainly not a suitable game for said player.

I am not blaming the game: seeing how scores of people enjoy it and beat it at even the hardest difficulty, it is definitely me - I just wish I understood what I am doing wrong, because now I even didn't learn anything :(

Thank you all very much for trying.


YAHG

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2012, 04:55:25 PM »
lvl 4 at 14m mark isnt bad. If it makes you feel any better I do not even bother trying to repel pirates. Spreading out can help mitigate some of the pain, but if they come at you in their first few waves, you are likely to get blockaded until they decide to leave. I don't play and expect to be able to decimate that first wave of pirates.

I really don't know what you are doing that makes you either do so poorly or think you are doing so poorly. You might just suck, considering that you are new sucking at something is almost always a given. There are tons of game settings to make it much easier for the player.

Roghain

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2012, 01:14:18 AM »
You don't?

I dunno - I was under the impression that pirates got exponentially more powerful depending on the amount of opposition they find. If the player does not shoot them down, they will come back the next wave in much higher numbers?

If one were to ignore the first wave and take the hit of lost resources and devastated colonies (and this is the pirates attack one system and not four at the same time like in the first game I got crushed) they will start to outpace me (even more).

Of course you are right - I do suck :) which is why this entire topic was started, with the aim to make that less of an issue. Despite all your friendle and good advice, I still am unable to do much against the pirates.

Yes, I do understand I could disable them, but that kinda sorta feels like cheating. Me for one, I felt like pirates and remnant were the nuisances and the real challenge (beside multi player of course) would be facing the AI. If I can't even oppose the pirates, I dunno how I might fare against the AI.

Good thing is that the game allows for a few quick tries on an evening - after 30-45 minutes you will more or less know if the changed, chosen strategy will work or not. This allows for many attempt. I just don't know what to try anymore.

This evening I'll try what you state - ignore the first wave and concentrate on defeating the subsequent waves (that's  assuming that you meant just that).

LadenSwallow

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2012, 07:19:49 PM »
As a complete newbie myself I will off my start advice:

0. Update the game to the latest version if it isn't already. I also start with the default AI/level constraints.

1. I don't believe the slave labour and rigid traits are worthwhile:
a) Slave labour boosts labour, but initially you are (read I was) resource starved rather than labour starved, so the bonus labour would go to waste.
b) Rigid prevents you using the civil policy 'academics' (or similar off the top of my head), which gives a 10% boost to the production of metals, electronics and advanced parts at the cost of generating 50% less labour.

So that said, the traits that I chose:
'Green thumbs' so I could start with level 2 biology. The reason I chose to start with this is because it allows me to use biology as my hunch/guess technology to unlock all of chemistry, nanotechnology, computers and sociology, instead of having to guess off of other things first and potentially duplicating research. This also allows me to chose:
'Higher metabolic rate' so I consume double the food, but my population grows quicker. This results in starting colonies growing quicker, and I already have extra food from the other trait.
'2nd planet' (not the name but the effect), this allows me to start with 2 build queues.
'indebted' This penalises using the galactic bank in the first 20 minutes of the game. To get around this, I use the civil act of stockpiling so my planets need to be close to full before anything goes to the bank. I then redesign the starting hauler to scale 1, up the engine to maximum, cut the fuel cell size to enable 1-2 minutes of flight and build these on the second planet (after getting rid of 1 advanced parts factory to build another electronics factory on the second planet (15/15)).
'random technology to tech level 3' in the hopes of getting sociology so that my starting cities are bigger, however beam weapons, shields, sensors, mega construction are also all good. If you do get sociology, you will want to research another level of biology very quickly or you will start to starve.
'Eusocial' the one that gets rid of the requirement of goods and luxuries - I'm on the fence with this one, I'm unsure whether it counts as a bonus or a malus of the top of my head also.

I also adjust some of the starting ships:

Colony ship: increase size to 17.66, put 5 coloniser modules size <0.75 (actual size less than this doesn't matter), life support to match, engine to max, drop other components to minimum to maintain power/control etc. I also decrease the fuel size so it has about 1-2 minutes of fuel, this is a short lived blueprint.
Scout: Swap engine for 2 maxed bussard ramjet, then remove all other components. Can decrease scale too.
Dry dock: Remove bulkheads, increase number of construction bays, reduce cargo bays, reduce scale to 10.
Hauler: As described above. (reduce scale to 1, upscale the engine, reduce fuel storage, potentially increase cargo bay)

That's the pre-game sorted.

Start of game. Ideally you start the game in a homeworld system with a total of 4 planets.

Civil Acts: Academics on permanently and stockpiling on for the first 20 minutes. Use the focus/mandates as and when required which will usually be significantly later. Set 'park in orbit' on for new ships and I like to set the governor to balanced as it will by default build a planetary cannon, science labs and a 'balanced' mix of metal/electronics/advanced parts, a shipyard first to speed construction of all the other colony buildings and it won't get rid of the starting farm that this size coloniser gives your colonies. Your colonies will also start with a metal mining facility.
Research: Start with 1 of metallurgy and 1 of general science.
Homeworld: Build a shipyard, 2 science labs and a drydock. Once the drydock is complete, remove a shipyard and replace with a science lab, then remove the other and replace with yet another science lab. Set the local governor to renovate only. This way you won't have to worry about updating all the mines/factories/labs on the planet every time a tech level increases.
Drydock: Once complete, build enough of these first colony ships to colonise the homeworld system. After them put a batch (ctrl click) of 150 scouts or galaxy size, then upto 20 bombers.
Colony: Remove an advanced parts factory and replace with an electronics factory. build 4-5 haulers. Build more haulers gradually over the space of the next 10 minutes (perhaps 1 per minute). Set the local governor to renovate only.

Research: Once you have researched 1 in metallurgy and 1 in general science, I research up to 3 in engineering (+2) and 4 in ship construction (+3). This has a few benefits:

1. Shipyards are bigger on fledgling worlds.
2. Opens up the light hull - an extra subsystem slot and I think it is meant to be cheaper.
3. Opens up the external mount - as a modifier to a subsystem you can make subsystems able to be mounted externally so they only take up 1 space on the ship, this is useful for size 4 components. The downside is these components will be the first damaged when the ship takes damage. Not much of a disadvantage at this point!
4. Improves life support and several other components.

With these researched you will want to research metallurgy and general science alternating again up to about 4 each. Notice we aren't researching economics - we aren't using the space ports so much due to stockpiling and haulers moving the goods within the local system and this means the penalty of 'indebted' is avoided and we can delay researching economics until later - this has the benefit of allowing us to improve the research in the aforementioned areas without taking too big a hit to our economy.

You will now want to design a colony ship at scale 15 with 2 size 4 coloniser modules mounted externally and suitable life support and enough power/control/engines to allow a large amount of thrust (high acceleration) with enough fuel for maybe 5-10 minutes. This will make colony ships with 8 buildings: Which includes a metal mine, an electronics factory and an advanced parts factory - so your next colonies that are out of the home system will be able to grow at least a little without the need for a space port. Good job as your galactic bank will be empty due to 'indebted' and stockpiling.

As the first system to colonise, try to find the system that has a red star which is listed as being vulnerable to detonation due to elements at its core - by the time this would be a liability you should be able to defend it and have already gained an advantage from this system. The reason for trying to claim this system (which is hopefully close - I have started games with it right next door to my home system!) is that the planets in this system are particularly large, some in excess of 30 slots and there are usually 5 planets (your scouts will have long since told you how many colony ships to build). This will probably end up being the manufacturing centre for your empire when it is built up, aim to come back here when they finish completing colony buildings and build at least 1 dry dock per planet, or 2-3 around 1 or 2 planets and a fleet of 20-50 haulers to take resources from the other planets to the planets that have dry docks. Try to build at least 1 dry dock per completed system and a supporting fleet of haulers.

When your first new version of the colony ship is built, send ~7 bombers with this first colony ship, you should at this point be 1st in military, economics and research against the default AI, and perhaps 2nd/3rd in colonies depending on the number of planets in your home system.  When you have about 4 in metallurgy and 4 in research, research up to 5 in energy sciences (+4) and 5 in propulsion (+4).  Keep an eye on the timer - these will improve your engines, and open up the option for fusion power plants and ion thrusters which use less fuel at the cost of the fusion power plants being more expensive - ion thrusters are definitely worth it as your ships can be made cheaper with the same lifespan. When it reaches 20 minutes, if you aren't about to immediately finish researching something, quickly queue up at the start of the research queue about 4 levels of economics, this will level off your economics to about where it would be with 1 metal, 1 research and 1 economics alternating. Ideally you will be looking at having maybe 5-6 metallurgy, 5-6 general research and be about to start economics at the 20 minute mark, with some side research as mentioned earlier in the propulsion/ship construction/engineering/energy fields.

Once I hit 6 metal and 6 general research, I start performing the hunches/guesses in biology (starting with the one that is most unlocked already - typically one will start about one third done) and hope to unlock the 4 locked technologies off the first 4 links - if you do then you can cancel the 5th link as this will only give you a tech level in material sciences which isn't needed right now. Once you have unlocked these, research a few levels of sociology and biology to match to prevent starving, as these will increase the size of your cities which increases the size of the population level, which means either fewer cities (more factories sooner) or higher population level (multiplies the effectiveness of the factories). The next step is to research up to 8 metallurgy (+2) and 6 computers (+6 - which will actually take no time at all) and 6 economics (+~2). Then you may want to put a couple of levels into general science and go for 10 metallurgy (+2), 8 computers (+2) and 6 nanotechnology (+6). These each unlock a new economic module for your ships which can replace or at least augment production facilities on the planets surface.

With the electronic fabrication subsystem you can design a space station (I go for size 50 by this stage) that will take metal from the planets surface, and make it into electronics, then using the export dock send it to the galactic bank which by now should be filling up with metals. You will want to build quite a few of these so that your electronics (which I find to be the component in shortest supply) will start building up stockpiles. During this time you should be continuing to produce colony ships from the home world system and expand to the nearest non-remnant system that isn't already fully colonised, sending a few bombers to each new system to be colonised in advance. At this point you may find yourself slipping to maybe 2 or even 3 military but in position number 1 for the other 3. If you find the other empires are starting to get demanding and threatening war, you may want to see what their biggest warship is, and up scale the capital ship to a scale about 100 higher and start building these at all free dry docks. This should put you to number 1 in all fields and make the enemy empires less aggressive in demands to you, if they offer research for resources, I tend to take it, likewise if I feel they are giving lots of 1 particular resource for relatively little in return.

There will come a point where the enemy empires will attempt to make a big land grab, if you can anticipate this moment and push yourself to get a huge land grab before them (dry docks everywhere building 5 colony ships each using the sector menu and all dry docks, then with shift held double click the colony ship), then go around and mark all systems (at this point your starter colonies may be able to survive entering the smaller remnant systems and be able to build a shipyard and a planetary cannon) for auto-colonise and beat them all to the systems - this should put maybe half to two thirds of the galaxy under your control. You will have ideally wanted to have unlocked all technology fields (except maybe stealth, I haven't used that one) and be ready to use 'automate research' to grab about 7 or 8 levels in all the unleveled fields so that your planetary cannons will be big and everything about your ships is more capable than the enemies.

At this point you will need to test and see what works for you as you will now be at the point where you will have to take systems from other empires by force. I like using scale 300+ ships with large shields/chargers so that the enemy cannot easily penetrate, with the weapon of choice being the reverse inductor so that I can kill a lot of ships with 1 shot - if they require power. A second weapon is handy for killing stations - apparently a repulsor can be a good idea to just push them out of the system - they have no engines to come back.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 07:23:31 PM by LadenSwallow »

Constellation

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2012, 06:58:31 PM »
Roghain,

I'm a-gonna chime in with a few thoughts.  Select portions you're interested in.


Avoiding Pirates:
As you know, pirates attack the weakest, juiciest system.  If I understand correctly, any armed ship or base contributes its scale to perceived defense.  So, design a cheap but effective scale 1 ship, and build about 5 per planet (modify this later), after the planet is up and running.  This will almost ensure that the AIs suffer most of the pirate attacks.


Coping with Pirates:
I assume here that they've caught me with my pants down - no standing defences - and that I'm now blockaded  - ports now useless.
- First off, remember it's only one system; by the time the pirates attack, you should have several.
- Secondly, pirates aren't very good at actually destroying your colonies.  They're good at blockades, not so good at driving you out entirely.
- Remove AI governors - turn 'em off.
- Solve the food problem.  Have a farm (2 if needed) on each planet.
- Optimize production.  If a world has enough resources on hand, than make sure it has enough metal mining facilities to both build ships and supply any factories.  Have at least one electronics and advanced parts factory on each production world.   A ship yard is very helpful, but enough cities may suffice; monitor build progress.
- You can try planetary defences, but blockaded worlds will have trouble building enough, and you would have to build plenty.  Ships are normally the better option.
- Build ships on every world.  Only dedicated production planets with a ship yard, however, will make enough to matter. 
- Don't let ships run one at a time into the fight.  Build them in batches.  Keep them together until the biggest opponents are dead.
- Reinforce from other systems, using faster response ships, and make sure the cavalry arrives big or numerous enough to matter.



General early empire strategy:
There are four balancing acts that will come to your attention in roughly the order listed:
1.  Getting enough metals/electronics/adv parts into the Galactic Bank to permit construction on more and more colonies.
2.  Supplying the growing empire with food, general goods, and (when tech permits) luxuries.
3.  Advancing science.
4.  Optimizing shipbuilding sites.

- There are two major kinds of planets:  Those that need lots of cities to maximize resource production, and those that don't.  See following section on optimizing production. 
   A.  A world that isn't focused on metal/elec/adv production - all your pure shipbuilding centers, scientific worlds, goods and food and luxury worlds - doesn't need any more cities than are necessary to keep the structures on line.  Check the structures list to verify this.  It needs one port (but wants more to build and renovate faster), and usually no ship yards.
   B.  A world that is focused on resource production produces best when it has as many cities as mines, electronic factories, and adv. parts factories combined.  Such a world wants plenty of ports (keep an eye on resouce stockpiles to judge how many) or port-alternatives (some people use freighters or export stations, but ports are easier to manage).  It may or may not need a shipyard.

Keep an eye on the Galactic bank.  Don't hestitate to take command of important worlds, apply the "renovate only" governor, and revise the mix of structures to supply more of needed items - food, goods, luxuries, metals, electronics, or advanced parts.  Use Civil Acts to smooth out resource shortfalls, but only in combination with building more production structures.

Colonize planets as quickly as your Galactic Bank resources allow.  If you colonize too quickly, don't hesitate to pause production on selected worlds until a stockpile is again available.

Try to have at least a third of your worlds advancing science, but only after you have a healthy resource economy. 
- General Science is the most important early tech, and should be kept as high as any other tech.
- Metallurgy and Economics are vital for resource production, but Sociology (improves cities) is just as important and deserves some attention once your about level 4-5 and are getting ~4-5k of science/sec.
- Keep at least Projectile Weapons and perhaps Shipbuilding fairly current, because when a crisis hits, you'll need decent ships Right Now.
- Most other tech categories are worth unlocking,advancing, and then keeping current with.  Start unlocking stuff when your tech rate permits.

Build at least some mobile defences reasonably early, but don't go overboard.  An empire with healthy Galactic Bank stockpiles and enough ports on shipbuilding worlds can respond very quickly to crises.



Optimizing production and resource availability:
- If a world is making any building resources (metals, electronics, advanced parts), then it should be totally focused on this.  Why?  Because production is multiplied by population as well as number and tech of production sites, you'll want as many cities on a resource world as resource centers.
- Nothing else depends on population, past the minimum necessary to keep the structure on line.  So, either go all-out for resources or don't have any resource structures at all.  A non-resource world can have a mix of structures; there's no real need to specialize.
- There are two kinds of resource production worlds:  Those also responsible for shipbuilding, and those mostly tasked with exporting to the Galactic Bank.  Both want enough ports to maintain resource balance.  Shipbuilding sites should have few electronics and adv parts factories, because shipbuilding chews up metals and once they go, electronics and adv parts can't be built.  Either build more ports or pairs of mine+city.  Export worlds should produce a lot of electronics and (especially) advanced parts, both because shipbuilding worlds need them, and because they're made more slowly and therefore require fewer ports to export.



Ship design:
- Larger ships are very good value for money, as ship ships suffer from being easy to disable and kill individually and short range of weapons.
- However, as you scale up a design, you'll start to notice that resource cost eventually starts to skyrocket.  At every level of Megaconstruction tech, you'll find a "sweet spot" of scale that are as large as possible without running into exponential costs.  Build your capital ships at this scale.  Build fighters and stealth ships at whatever level the hull permits (then modify as seems best).

- Have a tiny capacitor in every design that uses power.  The game often allows multiple ticks of energy consumption before powering a ship again, which can cause ships to go dead without adequate power storage.  Have at least a tiny fuel cell in any ship that uses fuel, regardless of engines.
- All combat ships have Offense against their intended foes, Mobility to get the guns into action, Defense against expected threats, and Cost.  Use internal slots and external mounts to maximize your chosen mix of the first three and, where needed, control the fourth.
- Combat ships have a Primary Battery to defeat the intended target type.  They may or may not have a Secondary Battery to cover issues (such as rate of fire) that the Main Battery struggles with.  They may or may not have Defensive Weapons that grant Point Defence against missiles or attack an area (Flak).
- It is very often good practice to max out the Primary Battery, max out the shields, and have enough engines.
- It is normally (but not always) poor practice to stick in multiple primary batteries with varying ranges, use too much internal space on anything other than Offense/Mobility/Defense, include lots of small weapons with no modifiers, or pack on armor until the ship can't get its guns into action this century.

- What can kill a ship?  Having its hull destroyed.  Losing Power, Life Support, or Control.  Losing Fuel.  Probably, losing Crew Quarters.  These are called the ship's vitals.
- How does incoming fire damage a ship?  Incoming fire comes from a specific direction; most of the time this is bow or stern, but can be sides.  It must avoid Stealth (stealth hull) and/or Dodge (fighters only) miss chance.  It must ignore or wear down Shields.  It must wear down Externally mounted components.  It must ignore or wear down Armor.  And,finally, it must destroy one of two things:  Either the Hull (all hulls absorb a % of incoming fire, regardless of placement) OR any components placed between the direction it came from between it and the ship's vitals.  The design below include as many of these layers of protection as it can at its tech level.
- What's enough fuel?  At least 6 to 10 minutes worth, depending on design.
- What's enough ammo?  At least 2 minutes worth, preferably more.
- What's more important  - DPS, Alpha, or Range?  Depending on the combat mission and how long the ship is expected to survive in the presence of its intended target type, DPS or Alpha can be more important.  Range is always extremely helpful - don't ever forget it.
- What targets should a capital ship combat?  Normally peer opponents.  Sometimes smallcraft.  Most designs worry too much about the latter at the expense of the former.



A recommended early ship layout, with commentary:

- Combat mission:  Defeat multiple types of enemy ships within its home system at low cost.  Offense is primary, Defence and Cost are secondary, Mobility tertiary.
- Railguns are used instead of Muon Cannon; this can easily be changed, but it's a little tricky to supply enough power at low tech level.
- Guns are not modified, as tech is so low that we would struggle to supply enough ammo or power.
- A Thruster is used instead of a Bussard drive, as going with the latter would cut the acceleration in half - which means the pirates get twice as much time to burn and plunder.  Similar thoughts keep the armor relatively light.
- The hull is equpped with a large Bulkhead, as testing indicates that this ship normally dies only when the hull is destroyed.  See Ship Design above for more extended thoughts.
- Components are ordered so that the guns and engine almost always get knocked out first.  The vitals - fuel, command, crew quarters, life support, power - are seldom hit before the hull is destroyed.

It is recommended practice to either bump up the scale on these to capital ship size, or build them in large enough batches to defeat the largest pirates.


« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 07:01:05 PM by Constellation »

Constellation

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2012, 03:52:05 PM »
See thread "Ship design (for SR 1.1.0.0)" for an updated version of the ship posted in the previous thread.

Exa

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2012, 04:50:38 PM »
- Components are ordered so that the guns and engine almost always get knocked out first.  The vitals - fuel, command, crew quarters, life support, power - are seldom hit before the hull is destroyed.

I usually see enemy weapons hitting exactly the front or the rear of my ships (mostly because most of the time my ships are either moving towards or away from the enemy), so I would suggest moving the two railguns closer to each other, thus shielding the bridge and the (very weak) crew quarters from direct front hits.

Besides that, my early ship design is quite similar to Constellation's (except that I have gone for a single gun with a rack-mount and a large repair bay, see http://starruler.blind-mind.com/designs/view/339), so I can attest that this kind of ships do indeed work very well :)


Constellation

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2012, 06:09:25 PM »
I usually see enemy weapons hitting exactly the front or the rear of my ships (mostly because most of the time my ships are either moving towards or away from the enemy), so I would suggest moving the two railguns closer to each other, thus shielding the bridge and the (very weak) crew quarters from direct front hits.
Very true.  While testing indicated that the railguns were close enough to shield from frontal fire, the design above is vulnerable to attacks from the rear, as the engine doesn't have nearly as many HPs as both guns.  Hence the update made in the thread mentioned above.

pixelz

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2012, 10:46:33 PM »
my early ship design is quite similar to Constellation's (except that I have gone for a single gun with a rack-mount and a large repair bay, see http://starruler.blind-mind.com/designs/view/339)

Exa, why did you include a solar panel?

Exa

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2012, 09:58:01 AM »
It looks to me like solar panels help to stabilize energy (ie, without them, the energy bar fluctuates a lot), with the added benefit of giving a bit of extra flight time.

That said, if you want your ships to survive SR's sudden energy blackouts it's probably better to add a small capacitor, like Constellation did.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 10:47:38 AM by Exa »

Baleur

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2012, 08:48:08 AM »
"50 stars"

Well that's the problem right there.
It's like playing Civ 5 on a Tiny map and being surprised that the AI sends out overwhelming troops the first hour.

Sewerman

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2012, 10:38:39 PM »
Well, I can appreciate your difficulties -- one thing I noted in the discussion was the 3-2-1 planet ratio of Metal to Electronic to Advanced parts, I have found that ratio to be important at the planet level (factories) rather than planets of each type, as the planets then must rely on spaceports to manufacture their products (not metal of course).

Over time I have found/discovered several important pieces of advice - in the early stages -- create a colonizer everytime your homeworld is maxed out on metals -- using the empire setting create "renovate only" worlds as you expand -- you can individually decide later what type of planet you want but you can control the use of your limited resources by only "growing" a few colonies at a time -- move out to new systems as soon as you can even if only to place one colony - it will choose the largest planets automatically -- and finally, the one statement that really slapped me in the face was "This is a war game, not sim city" creating colonies, etc., is for the purpose of generating a mountain of vessels not to make an empire for show, as waiting for the barbarians to appear at your doorstep is often an invitation to disaster.  PS - I also play at a similar universe scale usually 10-15 systems per "player" -- size of universe seems to me more how long do you want to play (I regularly get to ringworld tech levels before the end game)

Bos187

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2012, 05:11:39 AM »
I mean, 45 minutes into the game I barely own 20-25 planets.
you should be having 20-25 systems by then, fully developed.

As stated before, try a game with no pirates and 3 AIs.
Ally with one, fight against the other two and watch closely what your ally is doing.

That's the best, most magical advice that could have been given.

SanderBuruma

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2012, 01:57:34 PM »
Bos187 You're wrong, by 45 minutes you should have 100% of the size 22+ planets in a galaxy size 10-100. If you don't your enemy is good, there are a lot of remnants or you are doing something wrong. I wrote a guide about this. Its a couple threads down.

Skye

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2012, 01:21:10 AM »
hey i have been reading what you guys have been saying and i generally crash my economy in every game i play, much to the amusement of my friends but i deal with it. i find that having 1of these: http://starruler.blind-mind.com/designs/view/81 , although not very effective late game, in each system you want protected tends to prevent pirates in the systems they are present in. this ships design is relatively simple but i would recomend modifying it before putting it out into battle.

i have nothing really to offer in terms of economy early game. but i tend to grab a small amount of systems and begin building larger and larger drydocks in my core worlds to produce larger and larger ships. that is just the way i play there are many other alternatives to this out there.

good luck and happy hunting
SpeedDaemon said: " The jump drive is the single most powerful system in the game. A big bad-ass ship/fleet is useless if it can't get to where it needs to be bad-ass AT before the situation requiring its bad-assery is resolved."

Panpiper

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Re: Losing my mind
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2012, 11:16:34 PM »
For anyone coming to this thread looking for advice, I stand by what I wrote in another earlier post.

http://forums.blind-mind.com/index.php?topic=3586.msg28128#msg28128