Henry J. Cobb's help for the UltraCorps help files

The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the UltraCorps system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.

The problem with the help files

While the help files for UltraCorps are in general quite helpful for new players, they do contain sections that are outdated or more aspirational than implemented. Evil Stevie has a lot on his plate (hence the delay in the official launch of UltraCorps(t.m.)), so delays in fixing this are understandable, if a bit tough on new players.

As just an ordinary player of the game, here are some of the sections in the help files where I've noticed some issues that players might want to think twice about.

The Turn and the Tick

This list is incorrect. The correct sequence can be seen during tick processing.

For example:

Lock GameComplete
Fleet MovementComplete
World ProductionRunning
Upgrade ShipsPending
Update World ResourcesPending
Run BattlesPending
Reload AutofleetsPending
Updating ScannersPending
Refresh World DataPending
Calculate EconomyPending
Calculate Player RankingsPending
Unlock GamePending

As you can see, Update World Resources happens before and not after Run Battles. This has a noticeable game effect for the Arachnons as it is very rare for a world to have no population immediately before they take it and quite common afterwards.

Subscribing to UltraCorps

Subscriptions not yet implemented.

Choosing a Race

The "Good for beginners" tag seems to have been randomly placed. Ectonians for example require much more finesse than a lot of the other choices listed.

My suggestion is to pick the Mah-Tog, purchase the Nozama Fighter license, buy 50 Nozama Fighters, and duplicate that order nine more times. (I.e., purchase 500 total fighters.) The advantage of this start is that you will not have to worry about combat transports, balanced fleets, the economy (or resources) for nine turns. In the meantime you can build transports on all the worlds your slow hordes roll over to feed more Ult back to your homeworld, for your next license.

Autobuilding

There does not currently seem to be any mechanism in the game for using only half the world's base fleet population for production. Therefore you should assume that autobuilding worlds will use all of the resources at their disposal. The only exception to this is that the start of autobuilding is the turn when the build order will be queued, not the turn production is started, and the server will not queue a second autobuilding order while the first one is in progress. (Which means that say a pair of fighter or even a single HEW might be the only units built on the last turn before the next order is queued.)

The Economy

"Getting a lock in" on a production queue requires that at least 1 Pop and 1 Ult be available in the base fleet, after purchasing the license (if needed).

Here's how it works: Each tick, the system looks at the production of each unit, and compares various factors with previous turns' production.

The only economic system we've seen in the past several years is that if around 2% of the total population engaged in production (i.e. those player owned or autobuilding worlds that have sufficient Ult to keep the population engaged) throughout the current game is devoted to the production of one given unit (and not any related units such as upgrades), then it's price will be the same next turn. If a greater percentage of the working population is engaged on a single unit then its price will go up next tick, and if much less production is devoted to a unit then its price will go down.

There is something of a herd mentality to the players and when autobuilding isn't a major factor then prices for popular units follow shark-fin curves. The price will be steady for a while (at even half off in some cases), but when it starts to go up a little bit then many players will jump in and lock it all at once. As their production orders work through the price will go up and up, until finally all the locks have expired and the price tumbles.

Economic reality does not seem to apply to autobuilding worlds. So in an autobuilding game you can expect that units "favored" by the system will just go to triple price and stay there for a long while. (Perhaps the Ectonian perk for SSF fixed prices ain't that lame after all?)

Because the prices for upgrade units are not related to the prices of the base units, v3 and v4 units can be both popular and affordable. For example the BRBv3 is the second best small ground unit in the game (behind v3+ Monks) and it is rarely over its base price. To top it off both the base and upgrade units have low CPX and very affordable licenses.

The exception to the affordable v3 units can be found in the Megabot and Zenrin monk, where the upgrade units are several times the CPX of the base unit. With these popular units everybody will want to upgrade their suddenly expensive v3 unit to a v4, pushing up the price of that upgrade. (The Zenrin racial perk is actually more useful than it may at first appear, but requires piling up many thousands of Pop units to justify.)

Firepower

After putting all the hate on Sentinels of Garsasso in this section, Evil Stevie went and lightened them up. Xirons should consider setting up a world next to their homeworld to produce these so that their cruisers can load up on fodder before jumping to the attack. (Also, but not quite as useful for the Orn, who start with so much excess carry that they could even attack with the big gun on turn one. Should they go insane of course.)

Quitting a Game

Several issues here. The worlds of quitting players (and their outbound fleets!) remain in play, but get assigned to Nobody. This is how Nobody can take a world. These worlds are then ordinary Nobody worlds from that point on, other than the existing build queues which will be executed.