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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:06 am 
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Aq wrote:
The idea is that you have to specifically 'start' a project, which you cannot do without the required number of RP. If your RP # increases by 1 or 2 per turn, then we do have to answer the question of 'what do you do with just a handful of RP.' There are several possible solutions:


What happen to the option where you "refine" the theories or cat so all the related applications are cheaper. We can also implement level thing for tech prereqs.

For example, after you to research a tech paying x rp/ y turns, you can "refine" the theory level 1 to level 2 by paying one-time handful of rp. All the theory related application recieve an rp and turns discount. Prereqs for cross-disciplinary techs uses levels too--none of that mess with pre-define prereqs that end up confusing and frustrating players. A cross-disciplinary tech only requires x levels of this and that theroy/cat. So players can specialize in their paths or chose to generalize if they wanted to. It's also much cleaner than requiring a and b tech, which requires c tech to get the b tech...



About the shortfall problem, I think it's the simpliest to say that the player must have all the rp in stockpile before you can research. After the player clicks on a tech that he has the rp for, the whole tech cost of rp is locked-in as a deposit in which it gets deducted x rp/ y turns. The player just clicks on the tech to cancel it and he gets whatever remaining rp back from the deposit.

Going backwards on the method is to require the player to spend y turns on the tech. Upon completing the time requirement, the player pays the rp all at once. This way kind of deviates from the model, but it should get rid of the shortfall problem.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 9:00 am 
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skdiw wrote:
What happen to the option where you "refine" the theories or cat so all the related applications are cheaper.

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emrys wrote:
-allow it to be stockpiled and invested in improvements to the research rate.
I think.

skidw wrote:
Prereqs for cross-disciplinary techs uses levels too--none of that mess with pre-define prereqs that end up confusing and frustrating players. A cross-disciplinary tech only requires x levels of this and that theroy/cat. So players can specialize in their paths or chose to generalize if they wanted to. It's also much cleaner than requiring a and b tech, which requires c tech to get the b tech...


This is certainly an option we could choose. Personally I prefer the applications can have applications and theories(=levels) as prerequisites model as I think it would feel nicer, but I can see your argument as well. Since a system with only theories as prerequisites is a subset of one with (potentially) theories and applications, I'd suggest we get the programmers to code the latter, and then if we decide in practice we want only theories, it's just a matter of the data for the tree rather than code, which would be easy to change.

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About the shortfall problem, I think it's the simpliest to say that the player must have all the rp in stockpile before you can research. ..snip


The problem with this as I see it is that the player is just going to see it as an unjustified delay before they get the tech. I'm think we'd be better going with the gradual investment approach, and thinking of some good way of dealing with excess RP.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 9:13 am 
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Aquitaine wrote:
In HoI, if you fall short while a project is running, it gets suspended until you generate enough. You can re-prioritize your projects, as falling short is a fairly common occurance as your shipping lanes get raided, as the world market tumbles after you go to war.


I presume that once a project is suspended, it automatically reactivates once you generate enough? i.e. you can't choose to deliberately suspend a project (either through simple choice or by finessing your RP output) and start some other project you now want more, then come back to the suspended one later with all the investment still in tact.

a side point:
Under the model we have so far I don't think that 'stockpiling' RP makes much sense (since we're trying to convey the idea of a fairly directed research effort (basically engineering rather than pure science), so I think our solution to the excess RP problem will have to involve continuous investment too.

By which I mean that since you have to decide what to do with the bulk of your RP each turn, and invest it consistently over time for results, we probably shouldn't have the spare RP build up into a pile which you then decide "what do I now want to declare the spare effort of scientist over the last ten years has been for?", so if we have more than one choice, you should have to choose upfront, not after you've reached a total (hope everyone understood that really crap explanation). It won't in practice make much difference to the mechanism we choose to solve the problem, just it's presentation.

p.s. which practice/ise is which? I can never remember.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 2:12 pm 
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Daveybaby wrote:
* investing 20 RP per turn (the base investment level) will complete the project in 10 years.
* investing 5 RP per turn will complete the project in 20 years (linear relationship below the base investment level)
* investing 30 RP per turn would complete the project in (say) 9 years
* investing 50 RP per turn would complete the project in (say) 7 years
* investing 100 RP per turn would complete the project in (say) 5.5 years
* investing 1000000 RP per turn would complete the project in 5.001 years

This doesnt have to be decided by the player directly - it can be calculated based on the total RP generated and the number of projects running concurrently. All the player needs is the option to start a project, and possibly some way of weighting spending towards some projects more than others.


This violates the 'rule that could be calculated by a person for a boardgame rule.' This is not a reason in and of itself not to do it, but it makes me scrutinize the benefits - in this case, you're adding variety (presumably the good part) but you're making it so the player really has no idea when the project will be complete, which is one of the cornerstones of the HoI model.

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presume that once a project is suspended, it automatically reactivates once you generate enough? i.e. you can't choose to deliberately suspend a project (either through simple choice or by finessing your RP output) and start some other project you now want more, then come back to the suspended one later with all the investment still in tact.


You can effectively do this through prioritizing; if you're running 500 RP of projects and you have 400 RP, you 'move up' the projects you want to eat up that 400 RP. The UI for this could be done such that you can actively suspend projects, but otherwise, yes, it automatically reactivates once you generate enough.

I agree that stockpiling RP is not the best solution. I think some system in which you could gradually (or eventually) get some bonus in another part of the game would be good - for example, a pool of random things that you can get if you accumulate enough extra RP with a time limit so you can only get them every so often, such as a planetary governor, finding a derelict ship, a 'get ouf of jail free' card for some event -- effectively our version of the 'chance' pile in monopoly. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 2:16 pm 
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What happen to the option where you "refine" the theories or cat so all the related applications are cheaper. We can also implement level thing for tech prereqs.


This makes everything cheaper and/or take less time before you start, but you still need that number before you can start the project.

As for replacing a specific tech pre-req with a level pre-req, I think this would be okay in the code, especially with an easily-modded tech tree; however, I would still go through it and balance things for specific techs in most cases. I'm not sure I understand the 'pre-defined prereqs that end up confusing and frustrating players.'

Also, the things that make techs cheaper are themselves techs; not a one-time investment. One-time investments would be okay for the event engine (something happens in the game that allows you to get something through the application of RP) but I don't think we want any sort of tech that actually works this way.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 3:22 pm 
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o.k. so where have we got to in terms of requirements of the tech engine.
(comments not relevant to the coding in italics)

1) Tech comes in at some number per turn, this varies throughout the game based on some yet to be determined factors (i.e. your economy).

2) Each Research Project has a cost that is described as X RP a turn for Y turns.

3) If your surplus RP income this turn, i.e. income minus your current turnly commitments, is less than X, you can't start that research project.

4) If your income this turn is less than your total commitment (i.e. the sum of the X's for all projects you have started that haven't yet spent Y turns 'active') then the lower priority items get suspended (i.e. this turn doesn't count towards their Y turns) until . This requires a mechanism to set and change the relative priority of projects. It should also be possible to outright cancel a project, we have not yet decided whether to provide any compensation to the player for the loss on their investment in this situation.

A question, if a 100RP/turn project gets suspended, because you are short by 20Rp/turn, are you then allowed to start a 15RP/Turn project that turn? Or do you have to wait until you actually have 15Rp/turn more than your commitments? What if you're empire is shrinking (due to war or invasion) and the 100Rp/turn project is the only one going on and you are unlikely to ever get 100Rp/turn unless you can get some research done and start fighting back? Are you stuffed? Do you have to cancel the big project and lose your progress on it? Will this question solve itself when we decide what to do about canceled projects? Will the Lone Ranger rescue Tonto in time? tune in next week...


5) All research projects are assigned to one of a set of categories. These categories will be named to match different (and as seperate as possible) parts of the gameplay.

6) research projects may have prerequisites on which research must be completed before they can be started.

7) research projects come in (at least) two types.

"Theories" are projects which have limited practical benefits (i.e. no bonuses, no new unit types/buildings etc.) , and are primarily present to act as prerequisites to a group of other projects, they will mark the 'levels' of the tech tree. They will mostly only have the previous theory (theories if parallel paths through a category are wanted) as prerequisites.

"Applications" on the other hand are primarily to provide practical benefits (e.g. improved weapons, ship types, buildings, improvements in production rate etc.). They will generally require as a prerequisite at least the theory directly above them, and often other applications in the same category, or (less often?) in other categories.

The distinction between theories and applications may well be 'just' naming from the point of view of the code, since both(might, this should be a data choice) require prerequisites either type as a prerequisite. Though if we decide to report the tech level in a category based on the 'most advanced' theory researched irrespective of the level of applications researched then theories will be treated differently in this respect at least.

8) We are not yet sure quite what to do about any RP generated in a turn which is not allocated to a project.

9 ) we may want a way to eliminate some techs from the tree, chose at psuedo random. If needed this would require at least a mechanism to set some techs as 'un-removable', and probably to set 'groups' of techs that must be removed as a single unit, and probably also to set 'alternatives' i.e. at least one of these groups/techs must remain. It's quite likely we won't, but I think it'll be a lot easier to code a system where you can, and choose not to, than code one where you can't and then try and patch it up if we change our mind. Trust me, there is nothing more annoying as a dev than being told "you know that thing we specifically said we didn't want it to do, any chance it could?" :) Same goes for the next point

10) we may want a way to alter the values X and Y for (a given tech/ a group of techs/ a category of techs/ all techs) for (all empires/some empires/individual empires) at (game start/certain points/any turn) for (then on/ specific periods) based on (researching certain techs/ some investment model of surplus RP yet to be decided / racial bonuses / special events). I.e. values X and Y for a given tech are not guaranteed to remain constant throughout the game, nor are the relative values of X and Y between techs. That said, they probably won't be constantly be shifting about all over the place, because it'd make life difficult for players

11) We might possibly want a generic refinement level (just one or one per category or something similar) that improves various (related) stats gradualy as improvements are made in it (this is one of the possible uses for surplus RP being considered).

Other engine requirement's I've missed?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:26 pm 
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Ronald.


Last edited by noelte on Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:53 pm 
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Please read the rest of this thread, as that has already been discussed.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:36 pm 
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I think I'm not conveying my idea about level prereq and dicsout thing correctly. So I'll go over in more detail.

The techs will be organized into cat, theroy, and applications. With theories and applications, you pay x rp and y turn for it, but you don't do anything with the cat; the cat is merely for organization purposes. I'm saying that you make the cats have gameplay effects that gives player discounts if they "research" it. Instead of paying x rp and y turn like the theories and apps, you just pay x rp. After which the cat gains a level which not only gives a discount for all apps and theory under that cat, but it will also serve as a prereq mechanism. One of the annoying effects of using specific techs as prereqs is that player often get into the tangle where they reserched a "dreadnought hull tech" but no engines or shipyard techs to construct it. Instead of using specific techs as prereq, I suggest to use levels. So a theroy or app may require x levels in this and that cat. Since there won't be that many cat compared to all the individual techs, levels should help make researching simplier. Cat levels would also encourage players to play a specific path.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:10 pm 
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skdiw, the way you explained it now it actually seems like a real neat idea! I think you're onto something there. So, for the cats you only accumulate RP and they act as prereqs, also as you get more and more levels in them you get discounts on the theories and app that follow? I think I just had a revelation, great idea. Now you could ALSO get the apps and theories "feed" with some part of their RP the cat they are under when researched...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:17 pm 
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So what would be the point of theories under your proposal?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:29 pm 
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emrys wrote:
So what would be the point of theories under your proposal?


I imagine theories would still act as prereqs for apps, but most theories would require say another theory and a cat level. These cats seem to adress the wated RP problem well.


Last edited by krum on Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:30 pm 
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I like the efficiency of funneling RP that your idea proposes, but I think it would be confusing to have categories that are, in fact, not categories, but techs themselves.

The UI would be a little confusing since you'd have, say, under Small Capital Ships, a Level 3 theory called Light Cruiser. And yet your Small Capital Ships 'category' would also have its own level 3, totally independent but possibly affecting the level 3 theory.

Essentially, I think it is a solution, but an imperfect one, that muddles the system as much as it solves the problem; it DOES solve the problem, but at a little more expense than I would care to.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:45 pm 
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I might be not as messy as it seems... Say all 3rd level small capital ship theories require that you have 3rd level small capital ship cathegory researched, and each one of them one/two of the 2nd level techs. Some of the more special theories might require also a level from another cathegory.


Last edited by krum on Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:47 pm 
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Regarding category/Theory interaction:

I think that skdiws level idea is good, but that that applies much better to simple theories than techs

In any case rgarding the organization of categories.

I'd prefer an idea that rather than "specific application categories" ie to boost economy research here to boost beam weapons research here,

have categories based on strategic direction

so each strategy will have a particular 'tech tree'

so that a warmonger won't focus on physics+power or weapons+engines..they'll focus on the 'conquest' category. A defensive developer won't focus on chemistry and construction, they'll focus on the 'builder' category, etc.

(both the 'builder' and 'conquest' and all other categories would either
a) have all the types of techs just 'builder' terraforming techs would be better and 'conquest' ground troop techs would be better
OR
b) someone's strategy would be based on how many levels one category was above their average)

In this way the categories directly reflect the strategic variety of techs.

(the assumption being that the basic science everyone is researching is the same, its just you are focusing on different applications for it)

* A related possibility is to also have 'science' categories attached to techs so a certain race is better at Bio applications than computer applications (so they research the genetically engineered soldiers application rather than the robot soldiers application under 'conquest' category)


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