The Crystal Assembly - Guide
The Crystal Assembly, also known as The Crystals, are a race of crystalline beings that thrive in hot temperatures. From the VGA Planets 4 RaceView: We are the union of thought, silicon, and energy. We are masters of time and space. Our enemies are thinking meat and ugly bags of mostly water. They seek to kill us by freezing our planets and spreading filthy carbon across the surface. Sometimes we find friendly ugly bags of mostly water that help us. We can not understand how to make ugly ships, we can fly them. Ugly bags can not build our ships. We can trick and confuse the silicon parts of machines on ugly ships.
The Crystals are able to modify their climate to the preferred climate very easily. The penalty for not being at or near the favored climate is loss of happiness, no growth in population, and in some situations death.
The Crystals can gain food, metals and ordnance quickly, but will eventually run out of production since it consumes hyperdimensional stress from the planets on the map. Thus the Crystals must constantly expand to be able to use up the stress of planets and find planets with high delta stress. This expansion will also serve to capture food from enemy bases. The Crystals can use several of their Crystal Light Ships to dampen the stress of a planet that may cause a scalar wave loopback, which sets the delta to a high level, which can be up to 100. This would allow production of food, metals and ordnance to continue at a good rate. See Tips and Tricks below.
There is no better minefield race than the Crystals. They are able to use their minefields as weapons and defense, even in leiu of putting weapons on their ships. All of their ships can lay minefields of every type (including Web Minefields, which are specific to the Crystals) in varying sizes. More information on minefields: http://www.furfur.demon.co.uk/geop/mines.htm.
Crystals are not attacked by Amorphous Worms natives that reside on a planet.
The Crystals have one of the highest colonist growth rates in the game; however, food can become scarce with too high of a population. They also have one of the fastest training rates. This is counteracted by the fact that the combat rating of their troops and high guard rangers is one of the lowest.
The Crystals high PSI rating allows them to gather contraband quickly.
The Crystals have a racial ability that makes it so that the shielding on their ships takes half damage from energy weapons, no damage from the boarding laser device, but triple damage from ordnance weapons. The act of absorbing energy weapons on Crystal shields helps charge the ship's weapons.
Siliconoid natives produce free ordnance for Crystals. If the Crystals manage to get an Ordnance Plant from an ally using the GBA (give base away) base command code, then 100,000 Siliconoid natives will also double the production of the Ordnance Plant like they normally do for other races. Every 50 Siliconoids on a Crystal owned planet will produce 1 new ordnance unit per turn. Siliconoid natives join Crystal bases faster than normal. Formula: (((PSI * 3) / 500) * 100)%
- Immune to the Cyborg Assimilation Beam.
- Immune to the Solar Gamma Ray.
- Immune to the small weapon Disrupter "extra kill bonus".
- Immune to the Robot's Insectoid Nest.
- Crystal ship hulls cannot be produced by non-Crystal races. Crystal ship hull plans cannot be owned by non-Crystal races.
- Crystal are the only race that can have Solorian hull without taking damage every turn. The reverse is not true, Solorian take damage when owning a Crystal hull. (Host 211)
- Powerful & cheap type 3 fighter, they have short travel range but can be moved in their Crystal Thunder Carrier (tested Host 211)
The double-edged sword of the Crystals is that they can gain resources quickly, but must expand to do so. If they can be confined to a small area, then any other race can pick them off at their leisure. That is until they gain enough Crystal Light ships to adjust the hyperdimensional delta of their planets to +100.
Crystals are vulnerable to Chupanoid natives, so detonating a native pod in their area will set them back. They have a high growth rate, so food becomes scarce quickly and can cause unhappiness & death if food is lacking.
The Crystals are not good at capturing prisoners. Their low combat rating of their troops and high guard rangers combined with their high dark powers guarantees a bloodbath almost every time.
The Crystals have a high PSI rating, so befriending Amorphous natives may happen around 1% of the time.
The Crystal ships are very fragile with low armor ratings and have small crew capacities making them both vulnerable to weapon fire and capturing. Their shielding may take less damage from energy weapons, but any ordnance weapon will strip the shielding right off of them. The Sand Caster large weapon is their worst enemy.
Cannot build alien hulls from hull plans.
 Starting Total Homeworld Ressources
With 2 000 000 starting pop, and 20k startting cash (including cargo in ships)
Megacredits:20 531, Supplies:3993, Ordnance:37 010, Med units:1483, Food:6858, Repair:16287
Every hull tech level will provide access to a new hull type. There are only 10 hull types. In my experience, the primary hull types to use are the Ruby Class Cruiser, Jade Class Support Ship, Onyx Class Fast Frigate and Crystal Light Ship. The Ruby is a good troop transport ship and minefield recharging ship. It is cheap and consumes very little fuel. It has 1 pod bay and 3000 guest capacity, which allows it to be a nice troop transport. The Jade is the main minelayer. It has 2 pod bays for carrying extra ordnance and a 10,000 ordnance capacity. The Onyx is fast (speed 190), has the Crystal X Field device, and can tow 8000 mass. Combining the Jade and Onyx together to capture ships using the X Field is a powerful combination. The Crystal Light is the only HYP ship that the Crystals own and it has the Scalar Wave Damper, Crystal X Field, Minefield Destabilizer (and more) as well as a scan range of 870. The Crystal Light Ship has the option for a Super Laser weapon. It's minefield creation has limited usefulness due to the limited ordnance capacity of the Crystal Light (1000). The Super Laser on this ship does not consume ordnance when firing. You can destroy planets with it.
The Diamond Flame Battleship has special shields that are different from all of the other Crystal ships. They will take absorbed ordnance fire from enemies and transform it into armor for the ship. This will increase the armor of the ship beyond its starting level. If you view the Damage Control screen of a Diamond after this affect has occurred, then you will see -2000 as the amount of repair needed to repair your armor. Don't bother repairing armor on this ship nor putting any armor on it when you build one. At the start of every combat that you are in with it, the armor will be set to 550 if it is below that value, and can grow to as much as 850 by absorbing ord-based weapon fire.
Per the analysis of the Type 3 fighter below, the strategic worth of the Crystal Thunder Carrier must be re-evaluated. A Crystal Thunder with 1200 Type 3 fighters towed by an Onyx can be a very effective battlegroup. In addition to the standard Crystal device set, both ships have a Minefield Destabilizer and the Crystal X Field. The Crystal Thunder has the second-best Crystal scanner with a range of 380, and 20 pod bays to resupply both ships and administer the colonies. Its mass of 550 also allows it to tow the Onyx should the pair need to barrel through enemy minefields. Lastly, the wing it carries holds a massive amount of cheap firepower should brute force become necessary. -- Sphere
The Opal Class Torpedo Boat makes a very effective late-game swarmer. Though it can be useful in mid-game armed with PTTs in sufficient numbers, it only really begins to shine once you have turned on all of the Battle Computer exotic techs. Once it achieves its full Attack Bonus of 160 it will reduce the PD odds of its PTTs down to 35, the same as standard PPCs. A PTT armed Opal with FTL-1's can be had for 1350 MCs and 159 minerals, or engineless for even less. -- Sphere
 Ship Devices
- Gravitonic Mine Dropper
- Barbitic Mine Dropper
- Laser Mine Dropper
- Web Mine Dropper
- Mine Sweeper Array
- Crystal Inferno Device
- The majority of the Crystal ships are equipped with a Crystal Inferno Device. It will use 1 hyperdimensional stress (HD stress must be greater than 0) from the planet that it is over and heat the planet by 20 points, which increases the climate of the planet by 20 points. The device will only operate when the climate is less than 90. The device will only operate if at least 1 fuel is on the ship. No fuel is used by the device, but it will not operate if there is 0 fuel.
- The Crystal X Field device is a versatile device that will:
- steal 500 repair from each ship, base, and planet within 50 LY. It can take as much as the ship can hold from pods. eg. The Onyx can take 5,000 repair units per turn from pods. (at the end of the turn) Any excess repair units are dumped into the vastness of space.
- stop base chunneling attempts within 200 LY
- stop ship chunneling attempts within 200 LY (100 LY for Cyborg)
- attempt (50% chance) to capture an enemy ship within 50 LY that has 100 engine damage or more (at the end of the turn)
- erase any ship plan that ships, bases, or pods have stored in the memory within 150 LY (at the end of the turn)
- damage ships using the Mobile Repair Plant and Mobile Ordnance Factory (at the end of the turn)
- cause a Solorian Stellar Matter shot energy feedback
- provide you with intelligence (ID, name and type) about ships and bases that you may not have detected (cloaked or non-scanned ships, bases, etc.)
- CoM wings loose 75% beam and missile accuracy when X-Field is active.
- This does not affect Web Minefields.
 Repair Limits
- Hyperdrive 30%
- Hull 20%
- Control Systems 80%
- Life Support 10%
- Shield Generator 40%
- Weapon Systems 60%
It seems to be a generally held opinion that Crystal fighters are worthless. However, with all of the recent changes to fighter behaviour as of Host 208, the Alum Spark is revealed as a hidden source of power for the Crystals. A Missile Power of 150, Missile Accuracy of 90, and Missile Range of 200 becomes a ship killing monster when it comes on a fighter that only costs 15MCs. Factors such as 0 armor and an Ord Load of 5 don't matter much in comparison to the physics of huge wings. A wing of 1200 Type 3s (the size that the Crystal Thunder can carry) set to Quick Strike has about a 40% chance of destroying an Annihilation Class Battleship armed with 2 Sandcasters and 6 Turbolasers, and it only costs 18000 MCs. Anything short of a dreadnought is generally destroyed on the first pass. And due to the new hosts strongly favoring large wings in dogfights, the 1200 Type 3s wing also proves very effective versus other fighters. There are few races that can field a fighter that can take out this wing on an MC-for-MC basis. -- Sphere
 Assault Craft
 Base Buildings
 Special Buildings
Converts one hyperdimensional stress into 20 climate points to heat the planet if the climate is less than 90. This functions the same as the ship device: Crystal Inferno Device. Only 1 Infernorator will function at a base. Even when your starting homeworld has 100 Infernorators, only the first one will function and heat up the planet.
| Ground Sweeper|
Sweeps all minefields over the base and recovers the ordnance.
Converts one hyperdimensional stress into 250 ordnance, 10 food, 3 MC, 1 supply, 5 molybdenum, 2 tritanium, 8 duranium, and 3 fuel if there is more than 0 stress points for that planet. Additionally, if the climate is less than 96 then the climate will be increased by 1 point.
 Missing Buildings
- Hyperlathes are the replacement. You can capture a base with these and use them or have an ally build them for you then GBA their base to you.
- Use your X Field to steal repair. You can capture a base with these and use them or have an ally build them for you then GBA their base to you.
- Hyperlathes are the replacement. You can capture a base with these and use them or have an ally build them for you then GBA their base to you.
- Infernorator does a better job, but uses hyperdimensional stress. You can capture a base with these and use them or have an ally build them for you then GBA their base to you.
- Use ship scanners instead. You can capture a base with these and use them or have an ally build them for you then GBA their base to you.
 Starting Out
You can pretty much start the game and stay at a tax level of Enslavement for the entire game. With a high dark forces rating, the people don't mind being slaves. You can get happiness from government centers, good climate ratings, and public space ports.
I'd recommend turning off your Med Lab and Ground Sweeper. The Ground Sweeper will cause frustration if you try to defend your homeworld with minefields.
Send your starting ships out with colonists, cash, supplies and food and set up some colonies with hyperlathes to begin sending food back to your homeworld. You can replace the starting engines on the Jades with your free starting FLT-5's to get them moving along. You may want to target planets with low hyperdimensional stress and less than 5 delta stress for 10,001 colonists so that you can take advantage of the "First 5 Turns" Tip & Trick below.
 Tech Level Priorities
You must get to planet tech level 3 right away. You cannot build any more Hyperlathes without this tech level. After you get to that tech level, find the right time in the game to throw as much money as you can into planet techs to get up to 13 for Undercities. They are great for counteracting the reduced growth effects of regular cities and even increase the growth rate if you have no cities.
Get to hull tech level 4 (Jade), then 7 (Onyx), then 10 (Crystal Light) as fast as possible. The Jade can start laying nice minefields and carrying pods of colonists and troops for colonization. The Onyx is cheaper to build than the Emerald, which is your first X Field ship, but it is better to wait for the Onyx. When you get the Crystal Light, you can start building empty hulls (or hulls with just a HYP on it) to start building up to 38 ships to perform the scalar wave dampening loopback.
You will eventually need to max out your engine & shield techs, so be sure to put as much money towards this as you can afford.
Increase your HYP tech as you can. It can wait until you get close to hull tech 10.
Increase your super weapon tech to 1 when you get close to hull tech 10.
Increase your large weapon tech when you get close to Onyx hull tech; first to 3 (Disruptor Cannons), then 4 (Blaster Cannons) then 10 (Pulsed Phasor Cannons). Disruptors have good crew kill ratings and can win you some battle against certain races. Blaster Cannons are good to put on the Onyx to run around destroying enemy bases. PPCs have good damage against engines, which helps your X Fields do their job.
Increase generator tech when you get close to large weapon tech 10.
Stay at tech level 2 for small weapons until you get enough central bank cash flow to turn on exotic techs, then max it out.
Stay at tech level 7 for point defense until you can afford putting 2 Intercepts on each ship.
 Ship Building Priorities
 Base Structure Priorities
- Build as many Hyperlathes as you can initially (between 10 and 25) and a single Infernorator if the climate is cold. You can usually start with just the hyperlathes and then build the Infernorator with the MC and supplies that the Hyperlathes produce.
- Build a Pod Launch Pad when you have the extra MC. This will be important for moving food, metals, colonists, and eventually MC around.
- You'll want to have a Government Center to give you a positive happiness increase and to allow you to transfer funds to the central bank.
- A Training Center can't hurt since it will provide protection for your base and with enough high guard rangers, troops and crew they will eventually begin increasing your growth rate (since HG generate troops, troops generate crew and crew generate colonists).
- With your Hyperlathes providing metals and a very poor race mining rate, building Mineral Mines isn't a priority. You could probably build 10 when you have the MC and supplies to spare. This changes once you flip a planet you want a full 50 on every fliped planet as it will produce a large amount of core minerals.
 Colonization Strategy
Food is the most important element of VGA Planets 4 (except for The Robotic Imperium). It is what allows for maximum growth, extra money making (from City and Undercity building structures), and creating High Guard Rangers. The Crystals are one of the races that can generate a large amount of food early in the game, but it quickly slows down below other races unless precautions are taken (see Tips and Tricks). The use of the Hyperlathe building structure can generate food faster than farms if you have enough of them.
One strategy that I use for colonization is to use my starting ships and any new Rubies or Jades to transport colonists, MC and supplies to new colonies. If you spend the money for these colonies early in the game, your long-term gain will be worth it. Send 1000 MC, 125 supplies, a few colonists (only 1 is necessary, but any extra tax income is worth it), 1 high guard ranger (if you can spare it; this is anti-spy attack protection), and a few food to sustain the colonists. This will allow you to build 25 Hyperlathes immediately and an Infernorator the next turn if necessary. Build a Pod Launch Pad as soon as you have the resources. In 4 turns you will have produced 1000 food that you should pod back to your homeworld. If you have a few of these colonies in place, you can quickly get thousands of food at your homeworld. The goal is to get around 40,000 food, which will maximize your growth up to 40 million colonists (this is dependant on the host settings of the game that you are playing). Once you reach 40 million colonists, you should start podding off colonists to colonies and build them up to feed your central bank and homeworld with MC. You can have 500 million colonists by turn 60 with this approach. Of course you will have to set yourself up to feed them all with the Scalar Wave loopback that is described in the Tips and Tricks section below.
 Moving Freight
I found that the Crystal Light ships with 2 pod bays did a great job at moving resources around, which mainly ended up being colonists and high guard. A Crystal Light with no engines and a hyperdrive can jump from base to base delivering its cargo. On pods, you can set the Boost and Drop targets as the destination base and the Dock target as the ship and find it delivered the next turn. You can set up a chain of these such that a set of Crystal Lights can transfer resources from Base A to Base B then another set will transfer between Base B and Base C. At its best, this moves resources 800 LY in 2 turns.
Any race that can affect hyperdimensional stress makes a good ally. The Solorians, Lizards and IMT are three races with this ability. A Solorian/Crystal alliance is probably the best in the game and can make the game that you are playing in boring. I'd recommend against it.
My experience is that a Lizard/Crystal or IMT/Crystal alliance is very overpowered. Through the Scalar Wave Amp you can raise the Delta up to +300 (on each planet). With a a high HD you get high numbers of new minerals on this planets, you can use Particle Fountain to raise the HD even more and additional Hyper Lathes can be used. So it will no Problem to have 500 working hyper Lathes on each planet. I'd strongly recommend against such alliance. Sheltem
Add the +300 stress with Hyperlathe's feature to work before Planet exploding check, and you will get to raise both delta and stress values to unlimmited ranges, turn by turn. Just build enough Hyperlathes each turn, while more and more Laser mining drills will raise the stress. This is why I suggested to limit Hyperlathes down to 300 per planet Myflowers
The United Enforcement Authority would be an interesting ally by offsetting the slow growth rate of the UEA by giving them Crystal prisoners to convert into troops, which would feed back into the colonist population, enhancing their weakness. Troops and Crew grow at the same growth rate as colonists, but their offspring are a category less, so that troops would create crew, which would create coloinsts. The UEA could make/buy food for both races to live comfortably.
The Robotic Imperium would be a good ally since their nests cannot affect you and when you find a high stress planet, you can keep it at that level so that it continues to produce free neutronium, which the Bot nests will produce lots of money and ordnance from. You can also create your own high stress planet using the Tips and Tricks section.
 Tips and Tricks
 Adjusting Stress
To achieve a high hyperdimensional delta you can use the Scalar Wave Damper ship device on the Crystal Light. Several of them performing dampening on the same planet at the same time can cause a scalar wave loop-back, which will cause the stress delta to jump to a high positive number (up to 100). My observation shows that the switch over from negative to positive stress delta occurs at -301 delta stress. This will give a message in the ship log of "HD transpahased pole shift!" For this to work best, you need to have enough ships to move the hyperdimensional delta to -301 in one turn. To determine how many ships you need to have the Damper device active on in one turn, take the current delta and add 301 to it then divide by 8, round up. If you dampen the delta farther below -300 than what is required then any excess ships will dampen the delta after it was changed to +100, so it will be some fraction of +100 - <# of extra ships> x 8.
It will take some time for you to gain from this (3 or 4 turns), so make sure that you use up all of the stress from the planet before using this tactic. If you are allied with a race with a device that increases the stress of the planet, you could use it here to get the stress to a positive level more quickly. Note that having this fleet of 38 ships is not cheap and just to move them around (only using the hyperdrive) will cost you a minimum of 27 fuel each, or 1026 for the entire fleet. I recommend using the fleet controls and sharing 28 fuel since the math for sharing is a little poor with rounding and will only give 26 fuel if you set it for 27. Another good thing might also be to put a Scalar Wave Thruster on each on those ships. It need only Duranium (as Crystal you usually have plenty of Duranium) and is damn cheap but you´ll be able to move to near planets with far less fuel than with hyperjump.
You can also adjust the delta by causing a "HD scalar wave feedback" by adjusting the hyperdimensional stress below -1000. The delta will be changed to it's current value + 20. The usefulness of this situation is limited, but the possibility is there.
 First 5 Turns
Since the game has to take into account different host settings whereas the players may not start with a homeworld; rather, a bunch a ships only to colonize with, the Crystals have the HD Delta of any planet that they have more than 10,000 colonists on changed to +5. When you start the game, find the HD Delta of all nearby planets and put 10,001 colonists on any of them that have less than +5. This will change the planet if you have a new base there by turn 5. The hyperdimensional stress will be adjusted also when its value is less than 300.
 Web Minefields
Ten minefield detonations on an enemy ship will usually put its engine damage to 100, which will allow ships with the Crystal X Field a chance to capture it. The X Field will steal 500 repair units per turn, so eventually this will happen. In addition, the detonation will keep the ship (or fleet of ships) in place for you to repeat the process since it disables their engines. The only ships that you cannot do this with are the fast-HYP ships: Privateer Meteor Class Blockade Runner and Rebel Falcon Class. Detonating a Web minefield will disable the Light Speed device on the Colonies of Man Virgo Class.
You can safely detonate your Web minefields with your ships inside them without having any ill effects. Any enemy Crystal players will also not be affected, Crystal hulls owned by non-Crystal races are not immune to webs. - Lord Owl. All other minefield types will harm your ships normally. Web minefield detonations will adversely affect your allies unless they are also Crystals.
The Onyx can tow just about any ship in the game (8000 mass or less), so if you are in a position where you can keep a fleet in place for a while with Web minefield detonations, then you can effectively run an Onyx in at speed 190, tow a single ship out and back to your fleet to take care of them one at a time before tick 50. Tick 50 is when the first ship combat can occur. The minimum radius of a Web minefield using 500 ordnance is 16. You can sit 16 LY away from a fleet that is stuck due to your repeated detonations and have your fun with them.
 Clearing Enemy Minefields
The Minefield Destabilizer device does not affect Web minefields, so you can safely lay Web minefields in the same area as enemy minefields and sweep them with your Onyx and Crystal Light ships.
When going against another Crystal or a very busy Robot/UEA player, then you may need to take drastic measures by using a cheap throw-away ship to tow another sweeper ship into their minefields to perform their duties. You could also use small wings or pods to run through their minefields to perform sweeping, but if they have a good setup of minefield rechargers, then this won't do much good.
 Defending Your Minefields
Your enemies may use the pod minesweeping trick against you. They will send stacks of pods through your minefields, with each pod hitting a minefield lowering its power by 1. When the minefields reach 0, they will be removed from the map (without any report telling you about it). To defend against this, make sure to have minefield tender ships with Attack Soft enabled. Your Web and Gravitonic minefields will not destroy pods, so you should have Laser and/or Barbitics mixed in with your minefields to help protect them. Minefields whose power has not reached 0 yet can be recharged by your ships. Simply tell a ship to lay a minefield and press the 'Recharge' Button, too.
ShipCalc is a utility that has many features, including a Minefield Calculator tool that will help you position your minefields for maximum coverage.
 See also
These are just a list of things to look into and get more detail on.
- Uses of the Groundsweeper building structure. One was suggested by Pepper in the newsgroup.
You have a planet with a large amount of ord and 5 crystal ships in orbit, each turn the crystal ships lay a minefield (repeat command) and have the "ORD" command code (beam up ORD from base).
The ground sweeper is left on:
Your minefield from your previous turn is swept (I don't know when in the turn seqeunce) and converts your fields back into ord. Your 5 vessels beam up the ord and convert it back into minefields.
Potentially if you have enough ord, you would always have a minefield over the planet, even if someone tried to come in and sweep them away.
No one has attacked me yet so I can't see how well this idea works but the final application is:
You have enough ships to lay gravitonic minefields (2500 ord) with 5 webmine fields (5000 ord) - even if someone tried jumping in to sweep them up - because your beaming up your ord from the base.
So hypothetically if someone were to jump into your base minesweeping and they didn't blow up your ships, by the time you recieve your RST a new minefield would be surrounding the enemy vessels. Which could then be detonated and with a crystal-x field, capture their ships.
This way every turn you have fresh minefields and its totally passive, a few cheap crystal ships with or without engines sits in orbit constantly laying minefields, being swept by the ground sweeper and beamed back aboard your vessels.
Laying mines comes after ground sweeper. Ergo, exsisting minefields are swept before new mines are made.
- When towing can fail.
- Determine the amount of damage caused by the X Field against Mobile Ordnance Plant and possibly Mobile Repair Plant.
A lot. Enough to make capture with X-Field possible. (Lord Owl)
- Verify that Crystals at war with each other are immune to each other's X Field.
At least they are immune vs X-Fields used by non-Crystal races. (Lord Owl)