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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 1:00 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
Can someone please explain to me the advantage of having a per-project yes/no model for researching thoeries and applications, and having a semi-automated category-queue percentage-spending model for refinements? I have asked this several times now, and no one has responded.


I don't see the advantage in that combination, which seems rather over the top. I do see the advantage in the combination of

An ordered queue model for theories and applications (since I felt the ordering information would be required in order to decide what to do if you had a shortfall in RP income) which spends in discrete chunks (X RP/turn for Y turns), with a single figures number of simultaneous projects

and

An ordered queue for refinement which spends in units of 1RP and typically has low single figures of simultaneous projects.

I felt the benefits included:

An increase in realistic player options as to how, when and to what end to do research.

An elimination/minimisation of player perception of wastage or excesive opportunity costs resulting from the limitations on research spending flexibility imposed by the HOI model without requiring us to compromise either the benefits of that model (i.e. designer control over research pace making balancing easier, encouragement of strategic planning by players, natural and clear implementation of the diminishing returns of research) or impose limits on the economy system (i.e. requiring the conversion rate of RP to something else to be the same for all empires if we had straight return of RP into the economy as a solution to opportunity costs, or requiring Research buildings to have low or no maintenance costs to minimise wastage, or even disallowing research infrastructure investment at all.)

A nice aesthetic split between pure research and development.


That said, I'd be perfectly happy with this option:

Quote:
2) You can start one extra project that you can't quite afford, and every time you accumulate X RPs, one turn of progress is made on it. So in essence, you can partially fund one project to eat up the excess RPs. It will just take more than the usuall Y turns that it takes to research the project at full funding.


Since it's simple, solves the shortfall/surplus RP problem (with one proviso, see below) and if anyone desperately wants refinements we could always implement them simple as series of low cost application projects arising as a result of developing a parent application.

The only condition on this is that we will have to ensure that it is fairly rare for a reasonable player to be caught in a stituation of overcapacity (more RP income than you can spend on all available projects) for a short period. Overcapacity in the long term would obviously be an issue that the player should deal with, but if it were a common short term problem, they'd be back to minmaxing again, and it would be a game design issue.

This could reasonably be achieved with by ensuring a wide tree, so that you're only reseaching part of it at a time, and always have plenty of options, or many have smaller projects that players are likely to skip but leave on the end of their list as soak projects, or by other methods, but at least in this case the constraints are all within the research system.

One question, roughly how many projects are we envisaging players will typically have running and available at one time? i.e. about 3 and 5, or 3 and 20, or more like 10 and 30, what kind of scale?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 1:45 pm 
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Tyreth wrote:
Theory does not lead to a specific type of application. A single theory discovery may open up applications in multiple areas when using the specific categories. How do we decide whether a particular theory belongs in the ship research section, or if it belongs in social, if it produces an application to research that belongs to both fields?


Emrys wrote:
The way I thought HOI model we were following essentially worked was as follows:

Each category has a straight line path of theory through it. E.g. if we have a category called 'Physics' then Physics theory 1 opens up physics theory 2 , which opens up physics theory 3 etc. obviously with better names! (we might want to complicate this a little by having a 'mini tree' of theories within each category, but probably not)

A theory opens up one/many applications. If more applications are in a single different category than are in this one, then the theory is in the wrong place. It is quite possible for certain applications to require theories or applications from more than one category as a prerequisite, but it is rare for a theory to need much but the previous theory in the same category for it to open up, and if it did, these would likely to be items from several levels earlier in the other categories (limited interdependance).


At least with respect to what we've been discussing, Tyreth is mistaken on this, and emrys is right. A theory will lead to a series of related applications.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 1:52 pm 
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Somebody brought up a good point that may answer emrys' question about how many simultaneous projects we'd have at once.

In HoI, your total number of RP changes rarely. There are really only a few things that do it - taking more territory, researching industrial efficiency tech, or going to war (which typically reduces customer goods demand, allowing you to allocate more of your industry to RP).

Sometimes you will manually change it when you want to inrease production or military supply, but your overall amount tends to remain constant within a range of 10-20.

In FO, especially late-game, the number will be going up a great deal. Even if we assume a standard increase if only 1 RP per colony, if you have 50 planets, that's 50 new RP each turn. -Any- system we have to handle this will require frequent adjustment since we're breaking from past MOO games with the HoI model.

Consequently, we need some mechanism to limit the overall number of RP in the mix. A turn-by-turn increase of 50 points is just too much, unless we really want to be making projects that cost in the thousands of RPs per turn (which is certainly one solution). What do people think about this?

As for the discussion of refinements/spare RP - I'm leaning towards tzlaine's #2 now that I understand it a bit better. I need to get a consensus on this, so please post about the idea of having a 'semi-funded' project if you haven't. This idea actually game up in our DESIGN thread on this when we were talking about how our model would differ from HoI, and we said something like 'you can't over-fund a project, but you can under-fund one.'

I think some limit on this is reasonable so it doesn't seem as though you can stockpile RP, though - perhaps you can only 'save' your spare RP for two turns? So if you need 80 RP and you're generating 45 RP a turn, you're good and the project will take twice as long, but if you're only generating 35 RP, you just don't have the proper initial investment?

-Aq

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 3:21 pm 
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I was thinking about tzlaine's #2 today, and I think it's good.

Aquitaine wrote:
I think some limit on this is reasonable so it doesn't seem as though you can stockpile RP, though - perhaps you can only 'save' your spare RP for two turns? So if you need 80 RP and you're generating 45 RP a turn, you're good and the project will take twice as long, but if you're only generating 35 RP, you just don't have the proper initial investment?


I don't see better reasons the "save time" to be two turns over one or three turns. The exact number of turns is simply a matter of playbalancing, along with the RP and time costs of techs. Or introduce progressively bigger penalties for saving longer. But the penalty also has to be balanced, so whatever :) Longer saving, less wasted RP but anyone can research anything nomatter how expensive it is -- that might be a problem, or maybe not. In any case, two turns sound ok for now.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 3:49 pm 
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Aquitaine wrote:
Consequently, we need some mechanism to limit the overall number of RP in the mix. A turn-by-turn increase of 50 points is just too much, unless we really want to be making projects that cost in the thousands of RPs per turn (which is certainly one solution). What do people think about this?


I don't understand what you mean with turn-by-turn increase of 50 points.

I hope we will not have a limit of overall RP. I always had the impression that later research projects need more research points (divided into turns and rp/turn).

Going for research, i would like to be able to progress on research as quickly as possible (quicker than others). As HoI model sets a limit on how fast i can reseach a single project, i hope that i'm able to research many projects in parallel. If some research projects depends on more than one other project, i will get this project quicker than some race which has only enough rp's to research one project per time. (possible example: missiles needs warhead and propulsion) Clearly i'm for research project dependencies.

Ronald.

PS: I also hope we will have buildings (especially ones which affect research)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 4:48 pm 
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Aquitaine wrote:
As for the discussion of refinements/spare RP - I'm leaning towards tzlaine's #2 now that I understand it a bit better. I need to get a consensus on this, so please post about the idea of having a 'semi-funded' project if you haven't. This idea actually game up in our DESIGN thread on this when we were talking about how our model would differ from HoI, and we said something like 'you can't over-fund a project, but you can under-fund one.'
-Aq


I like this idea because it has a build cue feel to it unless I am misunderstanding the concept. This way since I know which direction I am going in research and I can set it up so FO can handle it. This was kind of the method that the game Stars used although you could not research more then one theory at a time. It has a very Kiss able feel to it. :D

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 7:55 pm 
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I’ve been meaning to post my idea for a while now, but every time I try the thread seems to have grown by a page. My idea involves encouraging players to have unallocated research.

It would work like this (these numbers are only tentative; they would have to be balanced): A player would typically be encouraged to keep about 80% of his research points allocated. As more are allocated the cost increases rapidly. I think the exact curve to be used would depend on game balancing.

As an example: My example player can produce 100 RP. They have one project that demands 40/turn, one that demands 20/turn, and 4 little ones that demand 5/turn each. This demands 80 RP/turn. In order to add another project that takes 15/turn the scientists would have to work long shifts, a strict organizational structure would have to be in place, ect. Making the total cost of research rise steeply (perhaps from 100 to 400).

If the player decided not to overdrive their research and the 20/turn project was completed (and nothing else was added) then the amount that empire wide research was costing would drop off following the same slope (so perhaps it would go from 100 down to 80.)

I can see several benefits of a system like this:
1) It offsets the reward that a micromanager would get since any time the research queue emptied out (from lack of management or other reasons) you would get a large boost to your monitory income.
2) It would allow players to overdrive their research without the need of more clutter to the UI. If someone wants to get that extra boost in tech they can just keep their research infrastructure near 100% of capacity.
3) Left over RP stops being an issue. In fact, it becomes an advantage rather then a problem.

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Last edited by Ablaze on Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 8:02 pm 
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Yes, option 2 does sound good. Though the player may need to know that a tech is being partially funded. They will wonder why it is taking longer than it would at full funding.

With that idea we need to be able to distribute rp between research and refinements (as tzlaines idea replaces the idea of having 'excess rp going to refinements').

I thought of a cool interface idea for this. You have a slider, but not as you think.
eg
Research...Refine
[][][][][][][][][][]
30%||..........70%

So, you move the slider (this || ) and the distribution of rp between research and refinements changes. Research = 30% of all rp, while Refine = 70% of all rp.


Last edited by utilae on Fri Mar 05, 2004 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 8:02 pm 
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arg.

Aquitaine wrote:
Please do not post entirely new submissions. These posts will be deleted. Every single review thread we've had so far ends up with me saying 'please don't do that I will really delete it NEXT TIME.' This is such a gargantuan topic, though, that we cannot afford to get side-tracked in this manner. On to the tech tree!


I hate to be a curmudgeon, but the public review is for ideas that were already floated in the design thread - to refine them, pick the ones we want, and finalize things. If we keep taking in new ideas we will never finish.

-Aq

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 8:03 pm 
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I think the whole point of tzlaine's option #2 is that refinements are just applications, that there is no seperate system, so no need to divide up research between them.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 8:09 pm 
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Aquitaine wrote:
I hate to be a curmudgeon, but the public review is for ideas that were already floated in the design thread - to refine them, pick the ones we want, and finalize things. If we keep taking in new ideas we will never finish.


I know.. I was just going to sit on it until Tyreth practically suggested it a page back (sans the curve which would make the whole thing work in my mind). It's really not much of a new idea, it's just returning the money to the economy with a curve added on.

Tyreth wrote:
I would be just as happy if excess RP is automatically converted straight into money (if we have money) or some other commodity. That seems the simplest solution. In the status bar for the empire wherever that's located we show number of RP's being generated, and the amount of money that is produced from excess. That way the player can view quickly every turn what's not being used. Then we have refinements as being projects just like anything else, using the same system.


Also, I think the fact that it solves the current problem elegantly is significant.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 8:57 pm 
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It does solve the problem, but it is an entirely new system.

I am going to revisit our procedure for design threads/public reviews, because just about everyone breaks this rule and I can't bring myself to flat-out delete posts that people obviously put thought into. I'm not saying anything good or bad about your idea specifically, but the point is, it makes it a nightmare to go through this thread and figure out what we actually decided if the discussion wavers every few pages to a totally different solution (which is what the design thread is for).

and Tyreth is guilty of this too. :shock:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 10:32 pm 
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Just so everyone knows,"tzlaine's idea #2" is actually noelte's idea, not mine. Mine was idea #1. Credit where credit is due.

Secondly, Ablaze's idea for research actually encourages micromanagement more than any other idea proposed so far. This is true because not only do micromanagers still will want to stay at the "sweet spot" of 80% usage, just as they did before when the sweet spot was 100%, but now there is a substantial penalty on the high side of the sweet spot, making a micromanager really bite his nails over the prospect of wasting resources. Not only that, but the people who are really bothered by wasted research production will be *really* bothered by a built-in, mandatory waste policy. The idea is also about as anti-KISS as it gets.

As for introducing new ideas in a features thread, I agree that we shouldn't do it. However, this time I did it, and so did a lot of others. But I think there's a good reason for this in this case. Before, we were always discussing the merits of options A, B, C, etc., for each issue. This time the thread began with "What should be done about issues X, Y, and Z?".

So in this case I think new ideas are appropriate, because they were asked for. Otherwise, Aq, I don't think you should be so bashful about deletions. I mean, how many warnings are enough? You've certainly given plenty. Have delete key, will moderate.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 11:12 pm 
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I don’t think you really understand what I’m saying, tzlaine.

You're right. The sweet spot should be rather broad. + or - 5% off the sweet spot should be almost inconsequential. I can’t really say what the optimal curve would be, but the idea is to make it so that in all but the extreme cases a drop in your research spending will give a boost to your income that offsets (more or less) the disadvantage that occurs from slower technology development. This disadvantage will never be linear, that’s why some sort of curve is a must. Ideally there wouldn’t be any sweet spot at all.. just differing opinions about how important research is.

I don’t think anyone would look at it as wasting 20% of their research unless the UI implied that. Something as simple as a slider that was blue at 50%, turned green as it approached 80%, and went to red as it approached 100% would give the impression of an optimal state rather then wasted research.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2004 11:49 pm 
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Ablaze wrote:
I don’t think anyone would look at it as wasting 20% of their research unless the UI implied that.

Hey, i'm still here. :wink:

But to be honest your idea sounds complicated. I reread you example several times, but i don't get it (by the way 30+10+4*5=60 != 80). The only thing i understand is that even if my empire produce 100 RPs i can't use them. At a level (about 80%) your research gets ineffectiv and you might convert your last 20 RPs into money/production. OK, if this is possible why can't i convert PP/Money into RP's? I think it clearly violates KISS.

Ronald.


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