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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 1:51 am 
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I am in favor of broad generic categories because I feel it is more organized. Here is a diagram of how the research tree can be structured:

...............| Theory |.......| Applied |.......| Refined |
...Your.....|...a,b,c...|.......|...xyz....|.......|..blah.....|
..Generic..|.............|......|.............|.......|.............|
Catagories|............|.......|............|.......|.............|
.....Here....|............|.......|............|.......|.............|

Then under your Theory column, you list your specific sub-categories, or as Impaler calls them specific fields. For example, you can list Light, Heavy, Super Capital Ships under a generic catagory called construction, which is a row on your tech grid.

Here is a wild idea for stucturing. You know when you pruchase these 4X games that you spend a few hours studying the quick reference tech map, why not scan the map into FO and use that for structuring. You have a big tree in your face.

Here is my crazy idea #2. The whole lifetime of the game is divided into any number or infinite number of time periods. In each period, say 10 turns depeding on how fast you research, you would only research a specific catagory like fighters; and in the next period, you would research corvettes and so on until you switch back fighters, which marks an era or cycle.



As for cross-category requirements, I'll bring three more options on the table: 1) We smuggle some of the techs into other catagories so we get the same effect of prerequisites. 2) Since prereq are really annoying, we can get around this problem by allowing the player to research a tone down version of the tech without the prereq and auto upgrade if he has the prereq techs. 3) following untilae's idea, if a player wants to focus on a specific catagory, you have to research half of the level into another catagory. We can make each generic category have a brother category that they have to research 1/2 levels on. I think we can easily remove the prereq bug associated with broad categories.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 3:41 pm 
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Thanks for all of the comments so far. A couple clarifications.

We have already passed the very basic structure of the tech tree; it does not preclude something like what skdiw suggests, but that's more of an interface discussion. HoI, for example, orders them like this:


.........Cat1........Cat2........Cat3
.........Thoery....Theory...Theory
...........Appl. 1...Appl. 1....Appl 1
.........Theory.....Appl 2.....Appl 2
...........Appl 1....Appl 3...Theory

..and so on. (sorry if that isn't clear). Exactly what a 'refinement' is and how it can be displayed is a subject for later debate; at first I didn't really like skdiw's layout (partially because I liked HoI's so much, and it's slightly but significantly different) but it is growing on me. This might be a discussion for the UI people, too, though. I do have some usability training from my day job, and I'll see what I can find out about whether or not it is easier to regard an ordered list as:

Item 1----------------->SubItem 1----------->SubSubItem 1
------------------------->SubItem 2----------->SubSubitem 2

Item 2----------------->Subitem 1
------------------------->SubItem 2----------->SubSubItem 1

OR:

Item 1
-- Sub Item 1
---- SubSubItem 1
---- SubSubItem 2
-- SubItem 2
Item 2
-- Sub Item 1
-- Sub Item 2
----- SubSubItem 2

Off the top of my head, I'd say that how we do this depends on how we implement refinements. If we have a great quantity of a third 'type' of refinement, such that we have a lot of stuff to put in that third column, then I think skdiw's might be better; but if, like HoI, we have mostly theories and applications with the odd refinement (such as weapon minituarization) then a vertical layout may be preferable.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 6:34 pm 
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Just to make shure we are on the same page when you refer to refinments. In my mind I defeine Refinment as

"An improvment in an already obtained decive/thing (aplied tecnologies only) that produces a purely linear enhancment to the things potency with no change in the items job or effect (laser leve 1 dose 5 damage, level 2 dose 7 but its still just a laser that dose damage). And whose only pre-requisite is possessing the basic device/thing."

Moo games have up till now had automated refinment that takes the form of cost and size reduction of ship components, I would like to see a a player initiated "extra" refinment process that can accelerate the automated process. Also their could be Refinment for things other then ship components.


Perhaps Skdiw misunderstood my aproatch. I dont realy see a need to organize Theoretical advances into broader catagories and sub-catagores/fields unless perhaps for the purposes of assigning Racial Bonuses (Idealy thouse bonuses would be aplied directly to the specific field), I would prefer making the broader catagories fully independent and group aplied tecnologies by a "cross polination" style (is this do-able under the currently bassed model, what adsactly is the currently passed model?).

For example the player currently has.

Mathamatics Theory level 5
Optroics Theory level level 2
NanoMetalurgy Theory level 1
Geology Theory level 1
Computer Theory level 4
Military Science Theory level 2
Political Science Theory level 2

Plus all of the Aplied devices they have already discoverd

The visual display here is of field of boxes each representing 1 level of a Theory with lines showing dependancies (its a very SMAC based aproatch). Inside the Boxes are all the Aplied tecnologeis that use that level of the theoretical field as a pre-requisite, as most Aplied devices would need 2 pre-requisite Theories they are duplicated in each place they have a dependancy (with a bracket refering to the other required theories).

Say the player is interested in "Nano Crystalin Armor" and this requires Level 2 NanoMetalurgy and Military Science Theory level 2. They need to first raise their NanoMetalurgy Theory an additional level and will thus gain access to Develop this Applied Tecnology and possibly others that are unlocked by the incresse in this particular Theoretical level. Once an aplied device/thing is reserached it can then be refined to produce a more potent effect.

Having new Theoretical feilds open up would be give the tec tree a good deal of "fuzzyness" and make things more interesting then keeping the same familiar "fields" all game. For example in the above senario lets say that once the player gets "Robotics level 4" and "Nano Metalurgy level 3" they gain access to a new Theoretical field "Nano robotics" which would contain its own unique aplied tecnologies which come in the same cross-polination style with pre-existing branches. By investing in this theoretical branch the player can open up still more new aplied tecnologies.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 7:29 pm 
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Aquitaine wrote:
HoI, for example, orders them like this:

.........Cat1........Cat2........Cat3
.........Thoery....Theory...Theory
...........Appl. 1...Appl. 1....Appl 1
.........Theory.....Appl 2.....Appl 2
...........Appl 1....Appl 3...Theory

The way it is ordered in HOI is messy.
I'll have a crack, at this:

____________________________________________________
|..Research Allocation (Categories):...........................................|
|..Cat 1............50%...................................................................|
|..Cat 2............20%...................................................................|
|..Cat 3............20%...................................................................|
|..Refinements..10%..................................................................|
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|......................Cat 1................|.Cat 2.....................|.Cat 3.........
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|...........Theory.........Theory.......Theory...........................Theory..
|................|..................|..............|....................................|.......
|................----------------..............|------------|....................|.......
|.........................|........................|...............|....................|......
|.....................Applied..............Applied......Applied..........Applied..
|.........................|........................|................|...................|......
|.........................---------------------................------------------.....
|......................................|.........................................|.............
|.................................Theory.................................Theory.........
|......................................|.........................................|.............
|.....................................-----------------------------------..............
|...........................................................|..................................
|.......................................................Applied.............................
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Firstly you need to be able to allocate research funds between the categories and also between into refinement. So you would be allocating cash into "Applied/Theory" research (represented by the categories) and into "Refinement" research.

The categories would be displayed along the top, with the techs falling into the right place under a category.

Techs would be displayed as a tech tree. Theory techs come before applied and refinements can be carried out on an applied tech. Multiple applied techs may also lead to more techs, which again start with the theory techs (ie trhe idea of applied tech 1 + applied tech 2 = applied tech 3). So there are more theory techs, with more applied techs under them.

Techs requiring techs from other categories are represented by a line to a tech in another category.

The basic idea is that there isa visual tech tree. And to get more info on a tech you put the mouse over the tech and the information is displayed.

Aquitaine wrote:
Exactly what a 'refinement' is and how it can be displayed is a subject for later debate.

Refinements have been undefined so far. In Moo2 they were automated based on how much you continued down a branch of the tech tree. In Moo3 you had laser cannon, advanced laser 1, advanced laser 2, etc.

I think it should be like Moo2, maybe a little different. I think techs should have a levels as follows:
Tech: Laser cannon
Level 0 (theory)
Level 1 (applied)
Level 2+ (refinements)

Each level would be an improvement over the previous level. So level 1 laser cannon would do 5 damage and level 2 laser cannon would do 7 damage. Only applied techs can be refined.

I don't think that the level should grow based on how far you go down the category (like Moo2), otherwise it would keep techs close to each other as you get new ones, eg you would have:
Laser Cannon 3
Fusion Cannon 2
Doom Cannon 1
<when you get plasma, they all increase a level again>

I think it would be better to refine techs automatically, based on funds allocated into refinement. If you choose to refine alot, then you are choosing not to advance in new techs as much, there is a trade off.

A tech could also have factors that affect refinement, ie how they are refined.
eg
Laser cannon
cheaper Miniturization (more likely to get smaller)
expensive Damage Improvement (less likely to improve damage)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 8:59 pm 
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Refinements are a discussion for later debate, as you quoted. Please, let's debate it later.

Check out the HoI Tech model thread regarding research allocation. There is no research allocation in our current model; only projects that are running or not.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:21 pm 
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Alright, here is my crazy #3 based on a confluence of many other ideas.

You start with your broad generic cat. As the game progress through different "eras" (more on that later) you get more specific cat. A board cat may merge with another broad cat to form another cat in the next era. So basically, you start with general stuff that every player needs and things start to diverge as players get more cat to choose from as the game progresses. As for racial benefits, it is simple to work into this model because you start with borad cats and you get a bonus for all other brother, corss-pollination cats, or whatever you want to call it for later eras.

An "era" marks an end of the tech tree where you cycle back through the tech from the beginning. So for example, after you finish researching ship mark IV (the final mark) you would research fighters of the next era which are just or more effective. The advantages of having era would make a better dynamic macro game, adds more control to modders as to how research impacts the game, adds graphical variety to combat and general UI, the research could go on indefintely, and you get same bite sized tree for each cat throughout the game.

In each cat, there are several theories to research, each with some character associated with its cat. For prereq. instead of having something like "tech lvl 3 in computer and tech lvl 5 optotronics to be able to research 'projection computation,'" you would need a total lvl of 8 to research "projection computation." So you could have lvl 4 in computation and lvl 4 in optotonics or other combo like lvl 1 in math and lvl 7 in optotronic. This way would allow specialization without being force to research across the board and more flexibilty to player without excessive hassle with cross-cat prereq. The tradeoff being spread aournd is having no significant strategic advantage over one area, but it is more cost effective so it's balanced.

As a requirement to go to the next era, we can say the player has to cumulate 100 lvls or something.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 12:34 am 
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Why not have 2 seperate research "trees". The first, applied/theory would have projects taht are stopped and started just like HoI, the second would be refinement. All your excess tech goes here. And you can decide certain fields you want to focus your "refinement". With check boxes or something. All rp in the refinement field would be spread out across all your categories, but you would be allowed to focus. Thus you could chose to focus refinment on "weapons" but not on "laser" or you could focus on "ship construciton" but not on "Cruiser construction" etc. This two tiered approach would allow for a place for excess RP to go to, and would help the research intensive races. As they researched more they would get the same techs at about the same time, but their stuff would be "better".

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 3:31 pm 
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Boy Aquitaine I bet you wish you had never said Refinment on this thread, perhaps its a reverese phcology thing, it might be wise to start a new thread on Refinments so they wont clutter this thread.

Lets talk numbers here for a bit. When yall speak of large Catagories "cats" are you talking of 6-8 Moo1/2 like catagores (Computers, Ecology, Weapons, Mathamatics) ect ect. These kinds of Catagories are so broad and long lasting that we would be filling them with stuff from the begining to the end of the game.

When we talk about "fields" were talking about more specific and often tecnologicaly oriented things (Gene Splicing, Nano-Machines, Lasers, Warp Drive). These would seem to be reserached only briefly, you figure a race can discover all their is to know about Gene Splicing in a portion of the game. Fields may still have levels and names and a focused theam but they dont last all game. The game could contain ~100 such fields.

Aplied Tecnologies are ofcorse the very specific "things" that the above theories give you access too. They are untimatly the point of all this, Theories unlock Aplied Tecs but Aplied Tecs are dead ends, they dont unlock other Theories or Aplied Tecs. The game would likly contain several hundred of these.

Is this what yall have been thinking along the lines of?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 7:15 pm 
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Board cat, yes. They are used to organize the theories so it's all pretty and stuff to the user.

I use the term specific cat for your "fields." And I would call your fields, theory, because theory don't last all game long and they help organizes applied tech. There is no point of using specific cat if theory and specific cat are almost interchangable.

Applied tech, yes. You research theory then applied. This is passed.

Now for actual numbers for a objective solution. I think we can appropriately fit in no more than 10 theory into a cat. If more than 10 fits, then we use more specific cat or "fields." For every theory, there shouln't be more than 3 or 4. This number also includes interdisciplinary techs. If we all can agree on the numbers which are most important, then we can easily figure out number of cat we need. Maybe we get a number somewhere in between broad cat and specific cat. With my crazy idea 3, cat are expandable so techs are presentable and got character throughout the game.

The other approach is figure the general character of each cat and organize the tech under those tech. So we obviously need or food so we might have one cat called agriculture for instance. We can figure the number of cat based the number of thing we want to influence the game.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:33 pm 
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Okay, let me see if I'm getting this right (new guy on the scene and kind of pumped about FO).

We've got our Broad Categorys (Computers, Weapons, Etc... or however we want to do them). Then, under each Broad Cat, you've got specific cat's, correct? So, let's say you've got something like
Code:
Computers
-->ShipBoard
-->Planetary
-->Medical
-->Combat
-->Something


Those would be the Broad Cat and specific Cats. Then, under each Spec Cat, you'd have your further breakdowns.
Code:
Computers
-->ShipBoard
------>Targeting
------>ECM
------>Navigation
-->Planetary
-->Medical
-->Combat
-->Something


From there, you'd be breaking down each one into Theories and Applications. Some of mine might be lacking names and I'll substitute Level 1 where I'm too fried to think of a name.
Code:
Computers
-->ShipBoard
------>Targeting
------------>Theory of Lock-On (Tar1)
------------>Targeting Computer (Tar1a)
------------>Refinement  (Tar1r)
------>ECM
------------>Theory of Electronic Counter Measure (Ecm1)
------------>Electronic Counter Measure (Ecm1a)
------------>Improved Electronic Counter Measure (Ecm1ar)
------>Navigation
-->Planetary
-->Medical
-->Combat
-->Something


Is that something like what you guys are getting at? I may have added an extra level, I'm not sure. However, if you are proposing in a manner similiar to that, I can see it being done with flat text files (especially if we give each tech an ID code).


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 12:58 am 
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Not quite. We are deciding how to organize our techs. Two obvious options are to use either broad cat or specific cat, but probably no both. We know for certain that there will be "Theory" and "Applied" since they are "passed" which means we all agree that it will be implemented. Applied is basically your tech that do stuff and theory basically unlocks techs for you to research and may have other effects. Right now, we want to somehow group the theory under a cat for presentation purposes. I don't think we will have that many techs to require multiple levels of cat because that will be too complicated for a game. In sum, we got two choices:

1. broad cat -> lots of theory -> applied
2. Specific cat -> some theory -> applied

We welcome other ideas.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 4:17 am 
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Here's my idea for tech tree layout that I think still honors the HOI model. I divide each category into four parts: Theory, Applied, Completed, Refinements.
Each one of these has a column below it. At start of game only theory is populated with researchable projects. Some races could have more theories available than others at start in some categories as a race special. Available projects are shown as yellow boxes with research cost in each column. Selecting a project turns box green. Upon completion of a theory, the box moves to the Applied column as a yellow box ready for application research. Again, selecting turns box green. Upon completion of Applied research, box moves to Completed column(can change color to say blue). Once here it is available to use. Possible refinements will show in the refinement column. Depending on application, there could be a simple level upgrade...i.e. Level one to Level two, Level two to Level three, or multible options for one application...i.e. application minaturation, application accuracy, application power. Depending on application, refinements can be randomly limited from 5 to 10 refinements. Completion in any column (including a certain level of refinement) can spawn new theories, across several categories (including several in one turn in single or multible categories). Research can occur in all columns, and multible boxes, at same time if player can afford to do so. I would set a limit of, say, 10 theory project boxes available over the least researched category. The lead researched category will have greyed out theory boxes until all other categories are caught up a level. This forces all categories to be researched to a minimum. I see the categories as along the lines of Weapons, Propulsion, Food, Energy, Construction, etc.

Category
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THEORY l APPLIED l COMPLETED l REFINEMENTS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Theory X l Empty l Empty l Empty
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Theory Completed
Category
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THEORY l APPLIED l COMPLETED l REFINEMENTS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Theory Y l Applied X l Empty l Empty
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Theory and Application Completed
Category
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THEORY l APPLIED l COMPLETED l REFINEMENTS
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Theory Z l Applied Y l Complete X l Options
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Theory A l Empty l Empty l Empty



Hope this makes sense!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 7:01 am 
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Cosmic Dragon
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The only problem with that model:
---------------------------------------

It represents:
Theory
.....|
Applied

But, what about:
Theory.............Theory
.....|.....................|
.....-------------------
................|
...........Applied

Or:
...............Theory
...................|
......--------------------
......|.......................|
..Applied..............Applied

Also, I think refinements should just be a level thing, but also be miniaturisation, etc. So any applied tech could be refined. Each tech could have a level for:
Damage, Size, Firerate, Power Use, Range, Armour Piercing, etc


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 7:14 pm 
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@ Utilae

My proposal includes all of your concerns.

I wrote:

" Completion in any column (including a certain level of refinement) can spawn new theories, across several categories (including several in one turn in single or multible categories)"

In addition to "spawn new theories", I should have put applications and refinements.

There is no reason that an Applied project box cannot be allowed to turn green (and thus start research on application) until two, three, or more Theory projects are completed. The yellow Applied box would say something like... Project cost 500 RP** Theories H, L, and P REQUIRED**. Applications and refinements also could be requirements. Note: if a paticular requirement has not been spawned yet, then put unknown...i.e. "Project costs 500 RP**Theories H, L, and UNKNOWN REQUIRED***"

So one project completion can led to one or more theories, one or more applications, or one or more refinements(and any combo thereof).

Consequently, a combination of theories, applications, and/or refinements , across any or all categories, can be required to advance one project (theory,applied, or refinement)


You wrote:

"Also, I think refinements should just be a level thing"

I wrote previously:

"Possible refinements will show in the refinement column. Depending on application, there could be a simple level upgrade...i.e. Level one to Level two, Level two to Level three"

I think we said the same thing?

You wrote:

"but also be miniaturisation, etc"

I wrote previously:

"or multible options for one application...i.e. application minaturation, application accuracy, application power"

I think we said the same thing, again?

And your last sentence depends on the application. We won't know that until techs are dicussed later in FO project. :) :)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 12:02 am 
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Space Dragon

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I personally don't understand like anything about the tech tree right now....so just make it ASAP (As Simple As Possible :P )


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