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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 3:08 pm 
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This is not the most exciting topic, but it is an important one.

The system through which we generate our stars and planets will dictate the manner in which we can customize it and in which modders can extend it. Personally, I look for a manner to most effectively control a large number of variables through a relatively small number of switches and controls.

Our two contenders here are Nightfish and Drek, both of whom have gone to a lot of trouble to work on their proposals. They're fairly involved, but please read both of them completely before you vote or comment.

As always, this is not a thread to propose new systems. We had a DESIGN: thread about this on the old board, but since we don't have one here, if you desperately, absolutely must suggest another idea, PM me and I'll make a new design thread. But these are fairly comprehensive.

Drek's system: http://www.drektopia.com/startypes4.htm (note: the section on specials is not married to the rest of the proposal, and since we aren't making a final call on specials now, it's just food for thought.)

Nightfish's system: http://www.drektopia.com/NFGalaxy2.htm

I'll withhold commentary on either for a little while.

cheers,
Aquitaine

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 9:07 pm 
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hrm, this is about the level of interest I suspected people would have in this issue. heh.

Ok, here's the issues broken down:

1: The basic system: Should use simple pertentages (Nightfish) or a weighted table of bonuses (Drek).
Pros for Nightfish: Easier for ordinary mortals to modify and understand.

Pros for Drek: Easier to add catagories of options to each decision and easier to add new types of planets/stars/whatever. Both systems are fairly easy to code, i believe mine is a touch easier--speaking form the experience of implementing both kinds of systems in my spreadsheet.

2: Star Colors: should we have black holes and other wacky star types in addition to the main stage stars? What colors should the main stage stars have?

3: Distance of planets to star: A number of planet slots (Drek) or just planets in a list with no distance implied (Nightfish).
Pros Nightfish: Simpler
Pros Drek: Not at all complicated, makes for more logical distributions of planets (radiated worlds are closer to stars, tundras futher out). Doesn't really effect gameplay anyway, it's mostly just for looks. Plus there are intresting things we can do with slots, like allow the player to colonize empty slots with Starbases.

4: Planet types: Include gas giants/asteriod fields or no?

5: Planet Enviroments: Few enviroments (Drek) or more enviroments (Nightfish).
Pros for Nightfish: the assumption is that his system makes more sense; plus there's more degrees of graidation for terraforming and EP.

Pros for Drek: It's simpler. Fark realism.

I invite Nightfish to post his views on what the issues are and correct any mistakes I made in his positions.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 9:30 pm 
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I'll only reply to a few things now, I'm tired. I'll also take that as an excuse for lack of coherence, correct spelling and making sense :)

3. The slots: You gave my system a disadvantage it does not have. You claim that I do not have empty slots that could be populated with Starbases or whatever. Ah, but I do. The only real difference is, that I do not use the slot to determine the environment or the size of the planet. If there is no planet, my slot is just as empty as yours. The one thing that bothered me most about your system is how complicated it is to understand. I wanted something that's easier to modify if I want to play in a customised galaxy. But, in theory, my system would have as many possible orbits as yours.

5. One of the other pros of my EP wheel you forgot to mention is, that it gives us more planets to scale EP. Planets become less habitable gradually and that gives us just that many more settings for the population cap. I don't think it will create confusion, as I'm assuming we'll display the population cap in a way similar to MoO2 and you couldn't really miss it there. Also, there's just that much more variety if you have more planets. I'd say, now that we have decided to bring EP in our game, why not have a decent ammount of environments.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 9:42 pm 
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I like Nightfishes, if I'm thinking right, in that it uses that environmental preferences wheel idea. Plus simple is always good. I need more information, I think.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 9:49 pm 
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utilae wrote:
I like Nightfishes, if I'm thinking right, in that it uses that environmental preferences wheel idea. Plus simple is always good. I need more information, I think.


Drek's system uses the EP wheel, too. It's just the versions that are slightly different.

If you need more info feel free to ask. After reading our docs first, that is :wink: If we explained something poorly, we'll try to do better.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:07 am 
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NF--

Just couple of questions:

In your system in planet/star generation (percentages rather than weighted bonuses) how would you include the effects of options such as young/mature/ancient galaxy? Or maybe frequenct/infrequent/nonexistant Gaian worlds?

For the record, in my system it's just another row of weights on the spreadsheet.

How would you include new star types without redoing your tables? For example, adding in Blackholes in mine was just another couple of rows of weights. If the user wanted to play without blackholes (an option on the galaxy screen perhaps) would you have to have two or more tables, one for each option type?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 2:25 am 
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A star the size of our own sun puts an earth like planet (Terran) at the 3rd spot from the sun. However, if the star were bigger or hotter, the Terran planet will be further out, maybe the 6th spot from the sun. If the star were smaller or cooler, the terran planet would be closer to the sun.

So essentially you have:
Average star=hot, hot, hot, Terran, cold, cold, cold
Hot star=hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, Terran, cold
Cold star=hot, Terran, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold

Do any of your systems take this into account?


Last edited by utilae on Sun Jun 29, 2003 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 3:16 am 
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Mine takes star color/temperature and position of planet into account, as well as planet size. But really, screw realism. I do it that way just because it's easy to do so under my system.

The real question is wether we should have simple percentages (NF) or weighted bonuses (mine).


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 3:38 am 
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I think weighted bonuses.

Though maybe more people would participate in this discusion, if you guy's explained your systems in laymans terms, heh.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 3:43 am 
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With all due respect (and not to single Utilae out)--

We're not asking you guys to do math. Both systems are fairly easy to understand. The point of the public review is for everyone to say what they want to say, and then for someone (usually me) to go through and figure out what 'the community' wants. If people in the community aren't going to take the time to read the proposals or would rather spend their time on more exciting subjects than this, it reflects poorly on everyone. These guys spent a lot of time on these proposals, so please do them and the project the courtesy of....er, reading them. Thank you.

-Aquitaine

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 4:19 am 
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Well having read both proposals I would throw my support to Drek's calculating method but with some big reservations. The main reason I support it is that it its easier to expand in the future. But I realy reject the consept of the EP wheel. EP should be table based for each individual race so that additional planet types can be added later, something the wheel greatly discorages. Not to mention the wheel makes little sense and fails to include many know bodies for example Titan the largest moon of Saturn, it has oceans of liquid Methane ware dose that go on the wheel? Planets are diverse and unique, fitting them onto an assentialy linear scale is a bad idea.

Also in this principle I recomend that the effects of system and especialy Planetary specials (which by the way I realy liked) be on a races "special preference" table. Some specials can benifit one race but harm another.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 4:44 am 
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Ok, I vote Dreks.

Night Fishes EP have too many similar category's, Badlands could be removed and inferno as well.

Percentages dont really seem logical.

Plus if Dreks system takes distance from the sun into account, thats good.

I also dont like the idea of having to build starbases in an empty slot, can they not be built on a planet (orbiting that is)?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 7:07 am 
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I read both just after you posted but I didn't feel competent enough to give my opinion... Seems to me they'll both work just fine... Derk's does seem easier to play around with.

Impaler, I'd like many diverse types of planets, but EPs are a pain to implenment with that terraforming too. I too would like a more complicated planet type system, but that's what was descided.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 7:54 am 
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I think I stated in my proposal that where I used percentages you could just as easily use "normal" numbers and have freeorion calculate the percentages. It is not necessary for them to add up to 100. It's just easier to understand for guys like me.

Galaxy age would probably be incorporated by increasing the number of hot / cold stars by adding modifiers to the star colours table. The reason why I didn't add it is because I hear of galaxy age for the first time now.

Adding black holes is no problem, the numbers only add up to 100 because I find it easier to tell what I'll end up with if I have X% rather than just +X. Removing them is even more easy, you'd just have to disable one row. I most certainly would not need another table.

As for the comment regarding badlands and inferno. As I said in my document: We can easily take out these two, it's the system that's important not if there are two environments more or less, not if the chance to generate something is 5% or 5,5%.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 2:15 pm 
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When making these decisions, realism should be on the bottom of the scale of Important Things, if it's on there at all. I have a feeling that we'll be saying this in every public review thread. :)

The decision we're making is a gameplay one. It also affects modders. There are several things in both proposals that aren't a part of this issue (starbases, specials, etc.) that we won't be passing right now, so don't worry about them (but keep them in the back of your mind).

Personally, I favor Drek's system, because I like the 'tweak' element of control rather than the 'hammer' -- that is, I don't want to specify the exact percentage of things; I want to specify a reasonable number of parameters that gives me significant control over those percentages but still leaves me wondering exactly how things will turn out. I don't want to be over-precise in galaxy generation unless I'm making a specific mod, and in that case I'll probably be hand-generating most of the galaxy anyway. :)

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