Part 8: UI Wrap-UpUI Wrap-Up
The last bottom-row button in the GCI is Fleet Ops. From here we can scrap/relocate - I think it's the only place in the game to do that from. We can also see details on the ships in the lower-left, and control where they move to in the upper-left. For some reason, when this Recon reached its current system (Phakt) it auto-decided to go back to Sol, 6 turns away. I've tried changing that but I can't - that's not related to this screen but I'm confused and annoyed by it.
Anyway, the arrows cycle between the fleets, we can filter by support/combat ships and connect to the leaders screen if we want to move personnel around, etc. Different layout, similar functionality to the MOO fleet screen. It's worth noting that this Recon has a Veteran crew, presumably due to all the places it's been and how long it's been flying around out there.
Our combat group, such as it is. The Cheetahs have much less skilled crews.
The general stuff under the GAME button at the top of the GCI. This here is basic and self-explanatory.
The Settings give more control over game flow. Most are fairly self-explanatory.
** End of Turn Wait being on ensures you are brought back into the game each turn. If it's off, the game will keep processing until something important happens, so you can get skip through sparse periods, esp. in the early-game, this way. I'm always afraid I'll miss something if I do that.
** Auto Select Colony skips the 'system' window and takes you directly to your colony in a system when you click on it. So that's a nice QoL option.
And now let's circle back to race customization since we've gotten through the major game features and systems on at least an introductory level. The left column is all racial economics stuff. Population growth is self-evident, the others are per-citizen production modifiers.
Combat and spying is in the middle, and then there are the governments which bear further explanation. You have a basic starting type and then can later research an advanced one - each advanced government is an improved version of what you started with.
** Feudal sucks. 20% morale malus unless you have a Barracks, 8 turns to assimilate any conquered population, populations will on the other hand instantly assimilate if conquered, anarchy which results in a 50% morale penalty will occur if you lose your capital, and ships cost a third less but research points are halved which is a massive penalty
** Dictatorship gains a 10% boost to defensive spies, has the same no-Barracks morale penalty and assimilation time - except that their populations don't auto-assimilate. The anarchy penalty is only 35% as well.
** Democracy has a 10% defensive spy penalty, but gains 50% to research and cash production. Democracies are forbidden the option of exterminating conquered populations, and only take 4 turns to assimilate them. The anarchy penalty for losing a capital is just 20%.
** Unification gives a 15% bonus to defensive spies. They also ignore morale and have 50% bonus to food and industry. Capitals are irrelevant to them so anarchy is not a thing, but they have a long assimilation time - 20 turns after conquering a hostile population.
The final column has a whole bunch of stuff, a few of which have come up already.
** Low-G World - -10 ground combat, gravity penalties on even 'normal' worlds.
** High-G World - No gravity penalties, +1 HP for all ground combat units.
** Aquatic - Boosts to food and max. population of 'water worlds'. Effectively this means Tundra/Swamp are treated as Terran, Terran/Ocean are treated as Gaia for those purposes.
** Subterranean - +10 ground combat when on the defensive, significantly increased maximum populations.
** Large/Rich/Poor/Artifacts homeworlds do what it says on the tin.
** Cybernetic - Along with the mentioned autorepair ship ability, they need only half the normal food, sustaining themselves with industry for the other half.
** Lithovore - Consume only industry, requiring no food whatsoever.
** Repulsive - Can't form diplomatic agreements, 50% increased hiring costs for leaders, doubled assimilation time for hostile populations.
** Charismatic - Diplomatic geniuses, doubling the effect of positive actions, halving the impact of negatives, 50% increased chance of any proposal being accepted. Assimilation rates are also doubled, leader hiring is half the normal price - they get a lot of stuff.
** Uncreative/Creative - Already discussed.
** Tolerant - All planets are considered Terran in terms of max. population, and they ignore pollution completely.
** Fantastic Traders - +25% trade income, doubled income from sales of surplus food and trade goods.
** Telepathic - +25% diplomacy, +10% to all spies ... oh, and they can mind control planets. Ethereals have nothing on these guys.
** Lucky - Increased chance of good events, never suffer from negative ones, and the Antarans tend to ignore them even.
** Omniscient - The entire galaxy is instantly explored at game start, and no fleet can avoid their gaze regardless of stealth tech etc.
** Trans Dimensional - These things 'fold the fabric of space with their minds'. Oh, is that all. +2 warp speed, +4 combat speed for their ships results.
** Warlord - More experienced ship crews, doubled amounts of ground troops, and +2 command points from every colony.
Yeah, we're not going to see all of these. But this is the menu to choose from.
I was going to go into a final MOO2 rant at this point, but I'll save that for another time. Clearly the race customization option gives a lot of different choices. Unfortunately it's sort of trying to do mutually exclusive things at once. The races were clearly built on their MOO counterparts and then the point values balanced based on that - each stock race has the same default Picks value of 0, 100% Score. The problem with that is it creates an inherently unbalanced system, since the original races are not equal and were never intended to be.
I have no issue with unbalanced races in general, but when you make a points system and attach scoring to it then it's kind of important to balance it - and this is not. At all. Lithovore, Subterranean, Creative and Tolerant just to name a few are absurdly OP. I wish MOO2 had picked one side of this or the other - if you want these kind of abilities, you really can't try to balance them. That just isn't going to happen. They've got to come with some inherent, major downside in and of themselves.
If I'm good enough, I'll eventually end up in the Hall of Fame. According to random breathless youtube videos, the Impossible record is 21-22k. The manual says your score is calculated thusly:
The quicker you win, the higher your score; each turn the game takes subtracts from your total score.
Playing in a larger galaxy results in a score increase.
As the number of races involved in the struggle for galactic domination goes up, so does your overall score.
Every research success adds to your point total. Hyper-Advanced technologies are worth more points than normal ones.
The total number of population units in all your colonies combined, including androids and captured colonists, is added to your score.
You also get a premium for captured population units. This premium is higher in smaller galaxies, since there are fewer opportunities to capture colonies when there are fewer stars.
Eliminating a race altogether results in a boost in your total.
The race that defeats the Guardian and captures Orion gets a big chunk of points.
If you win via a vote of the Galactic Council, it makes a substantial addition to your total score (not to mention, you win the game).
Also, you get a boost for doing the Antaran ending, which we'll get to later.