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Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 17, 2010 @ 7:15am

Cabin Boy samus_aran

Joined: Feb 17, 2010
Posts: 23

I started playing the game yesterday, and over about an hour I started playing and each time I was consistently beating the maps about 80% of the time, I switched to the next difficulty level.  This worked well until I beat Captain.  Upon trying out Admiral, the jump up in difficulty was immense, and I can only win about 10% of the time, presumably when I get lucky with the map.

Why is there such a huge jump in difficulty from Captain to Admiral?  It ruins the game for me.  Captain is so easy for me that it's boring, and Admiral is so hard for me that it makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration.

I just saw someone in another forum mention number keys, if those select percentages to send to another planet, I may have a chance of winning on Admiral, because not being able to control the game fast enough is the problem.

Would be nice if there were something between Captain and Admiral, or if Admiral was less difficult.
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 17, 2010 @ 11:11am

Ensign Nanno

Joined: Nov 30, 2006
Posts: 4424
Location: Colorado

The Queen Bee
Hmm... I just went back and played a ton of games in both Captain and Admiral difficulty and I am not experiencing this vast discrepancy in difficulty that you are describing. The enemy doesn't even begin redirecting ships until one-stripe Admiral level. 

I would suggest finding a map that you can beat at Admiral level and replaying it several times so you can watch the computer player, notice his fatal flaws, and try beating that same map faster or in different ways. I think you'll quickly learn how to beat the computer at Admiral level on any map.
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 17, 2010 @ 4:41pm

Cabin Boy samus_aran

Joined: Feb 17, 2010
Posts: 23

Well, it isn't too helpful for an expert to go back to a level they can already beat every time. That would be like me going back to a level below Captain, which I could beat with barely any strategy or thought.

I'm saying that I can beat Captain 8 or 9 times out of 10, but beat Admiral 1 or 2 times out of 10.  That's a rather major jump, as compared to each previous level where I'd spend roughly 10 minutes with it and then be beating the level consistently.  Getting to Admiral is a bigger jump than all the previous levels combined.

It's not really a problem with my strategy (I don't think), it's more a problem that the computer controls things way more efficiently than I possibly can. They have no screw-ups with their controls like I do.  At the start they send ships out in several directions before I have even clicked my home planet!  ...it goes downhill from there, heh. Especially when the mouse gets locked up where I can't click on things or unselect things.
post updated on Feb 17, 2010 @ 4:49pm
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 17, 2010 @ 10:16pm

Cabin Boy marky1991

Joined: Nov 8, 2009
Posts: 7156
Location: Douglasville, GA

Deputy
I tend to agree with nanno, I don't see this huge disparity in ability between the two. He's better, but not ridiculously so. I'd guess, (pure speculation), that admiral must be using some new strategy that your strategy doesn't currently address.
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 19, 2010 @ 12:30pm

Cabin Boy samus_aran

Joined: Feb 17, 2010
Posts: 23

I tend to agree with nanno, I don't see this huge disparity in ability between the two. He's better, but not ridiculously so. I'd guess, (pure speculation), that admiral must be using some new strategy that your strategy doesn't currently address.


That is perhaps correct, but without any sort of documentation or strategy guide, it's pretty hard to know what I'm doing wrong.
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 20, 2010 @ 8:24pm

Cabin Boy dorus

Joined: Nov 14, 2008
Posts: 35
Location: netherlands

The best way to learn how to defeat 1v1 is to play 1v1 in multi-player against a better player, and then get advice from this better player.

Some general advice on 1v1 (against the AI):

* Click speed. The faster you click, the better yours odds are. The computer never takes a rest (especially grand admiral). This also hold true in multi-player, might it be to a less extend.
* Early on, take all the cost efficient planets. The cost efficiency of a planet is the cost/production. A 10 production with 8 cost is better then a 50 production with 55 cost.
* Know when to attack and when to defend. If you outproduce the AI you can afford to defend, if you got less then him either attack him directly when you got more ships, or extend yourself when you are smaller.
* And again click speed, never stop moving, practice tricks like redirecting your fleets mid-air and focus on tactical points like big planets or clusters of planets that are easy to defend.
post updated on Feb 20, 2010 @ 8:24pm
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 21, 2010 @ 3:58am

Cabin Boy samus_aran

Joined: Feb 17, 2010
Posts: 23

Now that I understand the regeneration rates, I have modified my strategy completely, and can beat 1 Stripe Admiral 8 or 9 times out of 10.  Haven't tried 2 Stripe Admiral yet.

Now that I understand ship generation, I just wait for the computer to run itself thin by attacking neutral planets, and then sweep in and wipe them out.  Before I always thought you needed to build up a big army before attacking, when in reality all you need to do is let them diminish their own ships and steal all their planets back.

I have stopped playing panicked/frantic and now play very conservative/slow.

It's always useless to go after any planets that are over 10 cost anywhere near the start of the game, unless they're the largest planets and in a cluster directly beside your start point. Even then it's not always a good plan at the start of the game.

I have also discovered how useful it is to let the computer attack a neutral planet and only go in and attack the moment the planet is taken over by the enemy.  That way you just let them waste all their ships attacking the neutral planet, and take the spoils of their war.  Very convenient!  :-P
post updated on Feb 21, 2010 @ 4:00am
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 22, 2010 @ 7:41am

Cabin Boy marky1991

Joined: Nov 8, 2009
Posts: 7156
Location: Douglasville, GA

Deputy
There ya go, told you!  : )

"I have stopped playing panicked/frantic and now play very conservative[ly]/slow[ly]. "

Hmm, especially when playing bots, this isn't really necessary, unless you were previously playing as recklessly as the bots. Besides, slow = boring (usually)

"It's always useless to go after any planets that are over 10 cost anywhere near the start of the game, " 

I can't say that I agree with this. There isn't any distinct point when the planets stop being worth it. As long as you think you'll be able to keep it until its production overshadows its cost, (assuming you won't need the ships used to get the planet), getting any planet is worth it. The assumtion is especially true in human vs. human games, but it still is fairly applicable in bot games. As long as you don't overspend (have lots of planets, but no ships), you'll probably be fine and it was probably worth it.

The rest of your comments are very true and are very important parts of strategy. Good job learning them so quickly! (make sure to use them in real games (e.g. human games).
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 22, 2010 @ 8:26am

Cabin Boy maximb

Joined: Feb 13, 2010
Posts: 12

Hi samus_aran !

I am very happy that by a simple help request at the Linux IRC channel at Freenodes I've managed to bring you into this game.
Now you seems to be addicted even more then I am ;)

I hope you are also very happy about it.

It's a very 'simple' game (gameplay and graphics wise), but yet so addictive and good - it is well worth the price.

I also might right a review about it at my Linux Gaming News website : http://lgn.linux-hardcore.com
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 22, 2010 @ 4:57pm

Cabin Boy samus_aran

Joined: Feb 17, 2010
Posts: 23

There ya go, told you!  : )

"I have stopped playing panicked/frantic and now play very conservative[ly]/slow[ly]. "

Hmm, especially when playing bots, this isn't really necessary, unless you were previously playing as recklessly as the bots.


Which I was, as I only have their behaviour for comparison. I assumed they had the best strategy on Admiral, as they were beating me every time.  Turns out they have lousy strategy, and just move quickly.

Besides, slow = boring (usually)


My games end much more quickly now than they did before when I was emulating the strategy of the computer (to acquire the most planets as soon as possible).

"It's always useless to go after any planets that are over 10 cost anywhere near the start of the game, " 

I can't say that I agree with this. There isn't any distinct point when the planets stop being worth it. As long as you think you'll be able to keep it until its production overshadows its cost, (assuming you won't need the ships used to get the planet), getting any planet is worth it.


That's just it, the computer swarms every planet it can, thereby making the only opposing strategy to be sweeping in and wiping out their planets when there's only a few ships on them, not giving them time to produce enough ships on their new planets to be worth it. If I go and take a bunch of 25 planets at the start, then I have no ships left to counter the computer taking so many planets, and will always lose as they move too fast.

Against the computer, the first 5 or 6 moves almost always determines whether I win or lose the round.  So I always sit there before the round starts for 10 to 20 seconds, checking out the values of all the planets, determining where the computer will be going, and choosing the best counter-attack.

The rest of your comments are very true and are very important parts of strategy. Good job learning them so quickly! (make sure to use them in real games (e.g. human games).


I probably won't be buying the game, as it is a turn-off not having sound.
post updated on Feb 22, 2010 @ 4:57pm
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 22, 2010 @ 8:13pm

Cabin Boy marky1991

Joined: Nov 8, 2009
Posts: 7156
Location: Douglasville, GA

Deputy
"I probably won't be buying the game, as it is a turn-off not having sound."

That's disappointing. : _ ( Why do you care anyway? The music is mostly just sprinkles in Galcon, most people turn it off/ignore it anyway. The 1812 overture is MUCH more fitting for galactic domination than the default ambient music anyway. I do like the sound that ships make when they run into each other though, it's very satisfying. Anyway, I hope you change your mind.
Re: Single-player difficulty settings :: Feb 23, 2010 @ 7:30am

Cabin Boy samus_aran

Joined: Feb 17, 2010
Posts: 23

"I probably won't be buying the game, as it is a turn-off not having sound."

That's disappointing. : _ ( Why do you care anyway? The music is mostly just sprinkles in Galcon, most people turn it off/ignore it anyway. The 1812 overture is MUCH more fitting for galactic domination than the default ambient music anyway. I do like the sound that ships make when they run into each other though, it's very satisfying. Anyway, I hope you change your mind.


I tried using the ALSA emulation that OSS v4 provides, but for whatever reason the sound works fine but the game is reduced to approximately 3 FPS, it's a slide-show!  But while trying that out, I did like the sound of the ships attacking planets and so forth, as it's a useful audio clue in case you miss something going on in a part of the screen you're not looking at.

I also tried using Wine to run the Windows version, but it is unable to launch at all, giving the error in the terminal:

parse_assembly_elem wrong version for assembly manifest: 9.0.21022.8 / 9.0.30729.1
parse_manifest_buffer failed to parse manifest "C:\Program Files\Galcon Fusion\Microsoft.VC90.CRT.manifest"
parse_depend_manifests Could not find dependent assembly "Microsoft.VC90.CRT" (9.0.21022.8)
attach_process_dlls "MSVCR90.dll" failed to initialize, aborting


And this error in a pop-up box:

Runtime Error!
R6034
An application has made an attempt to load the C runtime library incorrectly.
Please contact the application's support team for more information.


I'm not really sure what that means, I've not seen that error before in 10 years of using Wine.

A bit of web searching suggests that the issue is that the incorrect version of the Microsoft Visual C Runtime Library is being loaded, but I'm not sure how to tell it to load the correct one.  I assume the proper one is in the Galcon folder, so it should be getting loaded.

Going back to using ALSA sound isn't really an option, as the maximum volume is so quiet it can barely be heard.
post updated on Feb 23, 2010 @ 7:38am

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