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Old November 29, 2000, 20:24   #1
hellrazor
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blind research vs directed
I fear I'm recycling another old topic yet again, but just out of curiousity, how many people use blind vs directed research? I almost always use blind...I think it adds some uncertainty and variability to the game. It also makes it more difficult to beeline to a specific tech thus forcing you to adapt your playing style. It seems most of the strategies I see here assume directed research.
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Old November 29, 2000, 20:29   #2
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I play direct, but I'll probably try blind sometime for the challenge. That comes after braving Transcend though - I always find some excuse not to play it. Most recently that excuse was SMACX - I'm still trying the new factions and rules.

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Old November 29, 2000, 20:53   #3
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HR,

I always play double blind research (setting the game to blind research, then selecting all or none of the research priorities). A year ago I exclusively played directed and had the major b-lines memorized. This made the game a little bland for me, since almost every game, regardless of which faction I played, was very similar. Double blind adds a little spice to SP. After all, it is a little frightening to think of no armor or weapon techs when Marr or Booger comes knocking, or when you can't get Environmental Economics (energy restrictions lifted and tree farms available) for 150 years!! Running around with chaos-fusion weapons while your economy and research are in the stone age is almost surreal. The analogy I use is that every tech is like cashing a artifact at a network node - pure chance!

In the end it comes down to personal preference. Since I role play my SP I'm not as concerned with how fast I can get to a certain level or technology. If you are into Challenges or MP then double blind might not be for you.

Hydro
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Old November 29, 2000, 21:20   #4
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I'm a "double blinder" myself, for many of the reasons given by Hydro. The game is just too easy even on transcend to keep the advantage of directed research.

Try double blind on an OCC, as the Believers and see what a tough game is (but still possible).

I've taken recently as well to randomizing faction agendas and personalities and, of course, while accelerated start can 'rob' you of the first up to 80 years (when a competent human player should know that he/she has the AI whipped anyway) it's a great leveller - 7 SP's not quite randomly allocated (as morgan you won't get the ME, as zak you won't get the VW, etc)

But back to your question:

The only time I play directed research now is in PBEM's, where you really want the randomizing effect nullified as much as possible.

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Old November 29, 2000, 23:44   #5
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I play blind, although it can be frustrating. Plus I just assume that's how you should play SMACX, since directed research is one of the aliens' faction advantages.

I play MP with a friend a lot, and we've noticed that the AI factions almost always get D:AP and the restriction-lifting techs way before the human factions. I doubt that this is coincidence, so in a way it's just another cheat to help the AI compete.
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Old November 30, 2000, 00:35   #6
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depends on why I loaded the game. If I'm looking to play for fun, then I will use double blind, and random -just about anything-, but if I am testing something out then I will go direct for the control.
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Old November 30, 2000, 06:00   #7
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I always play blind research (but not double blind) because it seems most realistic to me.
Blind research also makes diplomacy more important, because sometimes the AI has the tech You urgently need but You can't direct research for.
Additionally, blind research gives every new game a different direction.
But it is true, sometimes blind research can be frustrating, if You need some tech very urgently.
Ever played Morgan and tried to get hab complexes by blind research?
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Old November 30, 2000, 11:51   #8
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Past tense here, since I've not had a game in a while, but when playing for fun, I *always* love the blind or double blind approach, but if I'm working with a specific test or goal in my head (ie - how fast can I get to a specific tech or project), then I play directed.

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Old November 30, 2000, 12:56   #9
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It depends entirely what mood I'm in. If I'm in a raw strategy mood, I'll play directed. Blind research is for when I want that sense of uncertainty - I usually play with random events on when I play blind.

BTW, Googlie, I had a PBEM accelerated start in which the Gaians got the WP - I'm not sure whether this is regarded as a faction-specific SP, but there we have it....I was less than impressed, to say the least!
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Old November 30, 2000, 14:03   #10
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I normally played directed research but have gotten to the point where a greater (SP) challenge is needed. I actually started my first ever double-blind research game last night and can attest to the fact that it is both challenging and fun even as it frustrates you. I am currently stuck on a small landmass connected to the south pole and am praying/ begging for the tech to build a boat . It really changes things when you cannot simply decide to research that boat. I have changed my planned approach a couple of times already based simply on what is available to me.

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[This message has been edited by cbn (edited November 30, 2000).]
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Old November 30, 2000, 14:13   #11
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cbn,

That’s why I like double blind: just like life, you can’t always get what you want!

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Old November 30, 2000, 14:22   #12
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This consensus is so good and refreshing to see. I remember when I first started out on this board, those who were in favor of blind research were badly outnumbered, but I have to agree, it adds an element of uncertainty and realism in it that really cinches it for me.

When I first got the game, I can't tell you how many nights I sat up with most of the lights off, letting the whole room be lit up by those eerie colors and otherworldly music as the map was slowly revealed. That, plus the not knowing what tools I might have at my disposal at any given point in the game really added something to the replay value....

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Old November 30, 2000, 17:56   #13
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In a previous thread someone noted that the alpha.txt files give numbers for each tech in the explore/build/discover/conquer categories. So a certain tech, say TECH1, might be 1 0 3 2. This would be listed as a discover tech but has attributes in three categories. A second tech, say TECH2, might be 0 2 4 0.

I've found that by using two selections in the research categories you seem to get a better chance of getting the tech you want. For example, both TECH1 and TECH2 are discover techs, so if they are at the same level on the tree and you have all prereq's you might have an even chance of getting either one if you select DISCOVER (assuming you get a discover tech at all). OTOH, if you select both DISCOVER and CONQUER, you would have a better chance of getting TECH1.

Has anyone tried this, and have any experience with it? I think there are other factors involved, like how much techs of each type you have discovered and where on the tree you are, but this seems to work. I usually get the tech I want quicker by selecting two categories than by just selecting a single category.
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Old November 30, 2000, 19:55   #14
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hellrazor:

when we play double blind we select all four categories, so it truly is random within the permissible techs.

The only games I'm playing (game actually) where I am selecting within the four choices is RP1, where I have left the research preferences exactly as they were offerend for my faction (Morgan) when they first appeared (and I don't even remember what the two were - wealth and infrastructure was obviously one, but the other - explore?)

and cbn, I've had that too - playing once as Morgan on one of my humungus 800 x 800 maps, 90% water I started on an island that supported 3 bases each 3 tiles from the others. tech stag as well. Didn't get doc flex until around 2300, but did get the WP, so terraformed my island into a continent until I had a dozen or so bases. Half the precious techs i was getting were useless - polysoft when i didn't meet another faction until the late 2200's, so nothing to bombard.

The challenge definitely is different.

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Old November 30, 2000, 20:22   #15
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800x800. Now I would like to see that. Actually, on scond thoughts, I wouldn't - my poor p200 will probably seize up and refuse ever to play SMAC again....

I haven't ever tried double blind before - maybe I should have a quick go....I can imagine you would have to adjust your playing style even more so than 'single' blind....

BTW, Vel, that's another factor to throw into the UBC equation
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Old November 30, 2000, 20:31   #16
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I tend to be very resistant to change in my playing style. I've never played double blind...maybe I should. My problem is that this whole thing is an obsessive-compulsive exercise anyway and if I change my style I won't be able to properly compare my current game with the last one. Maybe I should get a life.
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Old November 30, 2000, 22:19   #17
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I tend to enjoy playing double blind games more than any others both for the increased challenge and for the (IMHO) heightened realism. In fact I've played like this so many times that I have only a vague memory of how the tech tree is organized and am basically playing double-blind even when I'm only playing single.
I recently had a game as the pirates when I just couldn't get "Environmental Economics" and the energy restrictions lifted which is soooo frustrating when you have 3 energy in every square and are building thermocline transducers.
(And the only way I even knew that "EE" was the "Energy restrictions off" tech came from checking hydro's post ).
It also makes it much harder to beeline for those few ever so popular SP's.
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Old December 1, 2000, 00:34   #18
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If playing for fun, single play, blind is fine. Stupid for multi or compare challenges.

I used to use tech stag, blind, no tech goodies, and go into the alpha and adjust the research rate so that it would take forever to get anything.

Then I would play Miriam.

Or I would edit the alpha and increase armor ratings and play a conquest scenario. Anything for a challenge.

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Old December 1, 2000, 12:42   #19
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Googlie

My first plan was to do exactly the same thing but I did NOT get the WP and have been regretting it ever since (in retrospect it would have even been worthwhile to disband formers and garrisons and even stockpile energy to get it). Things are looking up in my game now though (even though I am still 5th in the charts). Nutrient restrictions just got lifted but more importantly Zak landed on my island and after i gifted him some cash he pacted with me and traded techs-- giving me Doctrine : Flexibility. It was 2190 but I feel that I finally joined in the game. I have since stolen 3 techs from the Spartans and snagged the PTS. With sea formers to kelp sea energy specials and running Demo Planned with creches in place I am ready to boom. (couldn't boom earlier due to nut. restrictions and very few rainy squares and no nut. specials)

Also a nearby landmass has a large empty region (only 4 squares away by water but over 40 by land across the pole). I will ferry over some military and if it looks even marginally safe i will ferry over some CPs (instant size 3 cities). One last bonus -- One of the techs I stole was Ind. Auto so crawlers will start right after each city gets its sea former. Hopefully a come-from behind victory is possible.


Great news -- there is a blizzard here that is closing our office so I can actually go home and enjoy an afternoon of AC.


This double-blind stuff is great. I can't remember the last time I was actually behind the AI and the AI is even now building two SPs for which I do not have the tech. SEND MORE PROBES !!


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Old December 1, 2000, 14:07   #20
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quote:

Originally posted by Hydro on 12-01-2000 12:59 PM
HsFB,

More realistic? The US and other governments have been funding fusion research for many years, and what do we have? Cold fusion (Oops! Didn’t work? Call back in 20 years, maybe…). By contrast, the internet (like Planetary Networks) was kind of an accident that has more or less created itself.


Hydro



The Internet is the direct descendent of ARPANet, which was the result of directed research for the US Department of Defense.

IIRC, the original Cold Fusion "researchers" were not government-funded.

- Aaron Burr
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Old December 1, 2000, 22:00   #21
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AB,

Point granted on cold fusion. Still, fusion is far in the future and stymies all efforts at a solution, and practical fusion power always seems to be a few decades in the future. As for the internet, did the originator(s) (Al Gore?) intend to create what we now know as the internet? Absolutely not. My understanding is that it was created as a rather limited data transfer and commutation tool between government institutions and some select institutions of higher learning, presumably as a backup in the case of nuclear war. It has evolved way beyond that, and bares no resemblance to what was originally foreseen. That is the point - what you want isn't always what you get. Another excellent example is the global positioning system (GPS, also a US military program), which has evolved from a closely guarded tool of the US military to an indispensable tool worldwide for knowing exactly where you are for everyone from 474s over India to hunters in the back 40 of the Montana.

Hydro
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Old December 2, 2000, 01:09   #22
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I've only played two games, none of them finished, but did't think of turning blind research off. IMHO, it's more realistic.
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Old December 2, 2000, 01:59   #23
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HsFB,

More realistic? The US and other governments have been funding fusion research for many years, and what do we have? Cold fusion (Oops! Didn’t work? Call back in 20 years, maybe…). By contrast, the internet (like Planetary Networks) was kind of an accident that has more or less created itself.

For game play directed is terrific since it helps you understand what techs lead where, and what they do. Starting off I can fully appreciate how the ‘tech lotto’ would be frustrating, and I used partially directed and then directed before double-blind tech assimilated me.

I suggest experimenting with all three and see which you like best.

Hydro
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Old December 2, 2000, 02:07   #24
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Well Fusion can't be too far off. Al Gore still has to invent it. I think that Fusion reactors that may have to take up alot of space will be comming sometime next century (2001-2099). By that time fission reactors might become much more compact (Maybe not small enough to fit on a Unity Rover but we can hope)



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Old December 2, 2000, 02:10   #25
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Back on topic...

I love blind research because I used to use directed research like a warm blanket to hide under. Now I find it fun to not know what will come next (I use double blind.) It usually doesn't effect Zak too much though because if he pulls a good lead in tech than it doesn't matter what he researches, he will probably know all what the other factions know by then.

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Old December 4, 2000, 07:13   #26
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Double blind is my choice when doing SP.

And about the realistic or not issue, this is one of _the_ main issues of debate among historians of sciences. Sure it happens that the gov. points out some Vodoo-features they want in production line soon (WW II was full of such examples), and sometimes they got it too. Often enough they didn't get it but got something else instead (simulated by blind research IMO). Sometimes they got IT and the little extra unexpected discovery.

NASA, as an example, is actually organised as a project, when finished it should dissolve. The thing with NASA is that they invent new causes for their existence and is doing it rather well. It is a centre for blind research one could say, the goals (directed) they put up for themselfs is not the sole prime objective (some say that it is not prime at all). It is the spin off products you get which is the real prime goal.

On the other hand many of the great discoverys were made by people who was completely undirected and on the vegre of being considered dropouts. Newton for example was mostly keen om mystic and arcane litterature, his great discoverys on ligth and gravitation were all made when he was young.

Just my two dimes.
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Old December 4, 2000, 22:02   #27
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Double blind rocks

I lost the first time I played double-blind (game mentioned in other posts) opening my eyes to my reliance on specific beelines. This has revived SP play for me since its a whole new way to play when you can't just routinely win the same way.

Now on my second double-b attempt and this time should be a win. While many early special projects were lost to tech unavailability this simply is part of the challenge. This game is heading into the 2300s and the top parts of the tech tree, places not visited in many games. I hadn't looked at the relative merits of those future values SE choices inquite some time.

So a convert here-- love double blind for SP for the added challenge. For MP I would think that directed is the way to go since otherwise the luck of the tech tree could dominate the result between similarly skilled players

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Old December 4, 2000, 22:38   #28
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I think SMAC tries to simulate the effects of a simple scientific breakthrough by giving many of the techs multiple features (MMI really rocks!) and often numerous new tech possibilities. The somewhat unrealistic aspect of this is that usually many of these ancillary benefits are unknown before the fact. (Not to mention the whole tech tree!)

Technology is really as much an art as a science, because much if not most of what is produced is not due to a brand new scientific discovery, but instead the marriage of previously discovered ideas and methods in a new way. Thus technology is more dependent upon communication than on pure science, as one breakthrough can spawn an enormous number of related techs.

Getting back on topic a bit more, which sort of game do you think lasts longer (in real time), blind tech or directed? I am having real trouble finishing any of my games (unless I get wiped out immediately ) because of the immense amount of real time necessary to complete one. I have only played directed research thus far, but if a blind tech game lasts the same amount of time there is no reason why I wouldn't give it a try. My belief has been that blind tech would last longer.
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Old December 5, 2000, 14:09   #29
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Is it just me or does Double Blind refine your warring skills?

Seems to me every time I give double blind a go I'm either on a defensive front fighting to stay alive and once thats past looking to those bases that have stolen out from under me my rightful SPs.

The AI might as well just relabel each of those bases as Primary target 1, Primary target 2 etc.

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Old December 5, 2000, 14:36   #30
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Skiander

I believe you are right since Double blind is taking me far longer in terms of years than directed ever did. It can be a matter of luck but generally the fact that it takes much longer to:

1.get to Ind. Auto. and start crawlering
2. Lift restrictions (really limits terraforming advantages)
3 get airpower or MMI to begin conquest

In each case you may get the needed tech dozens of techs later than when playing directed. Add to that the fact that the AI has completed some of my favorite SPs before I even got the tech. "WHAT-- Someone else built the Virtual World?? how did that happen and what the heck is a holotheatre??"

My recommendation is to play directed until you can win routinely with any faction. Once thats done, you will ned something to keep single player interesting and double blind is an effective handicap. its not a killing handicap (I am winning a double-blind game on my second try using it)but it does make you think about other methods than your favorite beelines.

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