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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:09 pm 
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Thought I'd make this thread before drek accomplishes everything this thread would otherwise be supposed to on the brainstorming board. :)

Some good discussion has already occurred here:

http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=634

What I'd like is for people to summarize their position, their arguments, their ideas, and then we can debate it (as usual). Of course, feel free to make any new suggestions, or argue for whatever you want. This is one of the most important things we have to decide for v0.3, so I want to be as thorough as possible.

The issue is: MOO games have traditionally had buildings. MOO2 and MOO3 had a lot of them. Some have suggested that we take a more EU2-style approach, with only a handful of significant structures; in the DD, we settled on the 'focus' approach with the idea in mind that some structures would require certain foci, so in the first part of the game, you could get away with most of what you need on a balanced world, but by late-game, your Empire would get pretty specialized.

I'm not sure we need to decide about shipyards just yet. However we handle buildings will definitely have an effect on shipyards (since they've traditionally been buildings) but how much of an effect is still up in the air. Let's try to avoid the shipyard discussion for now, just because it will definitely spiral into a 'reserves / mobilization center' discussion, which we definitely don't want just yet.

Many thanks to tzlaine, drek, emrys, and everyone else who have already pushed this discussion forward.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:34 pm 
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I would appreciate a similiar modell like EU2, because I think to deal with buildings is too much mircomanaging.
I mean if the planet has enough ressource it should build some structures automatically and you can not influnece it (just when the population grows the cites on the planet change thats enough I guess).
The only buildings you can buod with a great effort is special buildings (like wonders in civ) or shipyards, defense bases and so on.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 7:23 pm 
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I would miss buildings alot. They not only gave moo2/civ much more fun, but they also added some depth on making decisions.

Refering to moo2, i don't remember the correct numbers, but i try to show my point. There are for instance several building which increase research. research lab, super computer, autolab and so on. Placing a super computer onto a tiny world was mid game a bad decision because maintance/cost ration was realy bad, placing a super computer on a huge word was much better. same to research lab. Autolab could be placed everywhere, because research production was independed to population.

What i try to say is, if we cancel buildings we cut of depth at the decision-tree.

I would like to see many different buildings which has different impacts and force the player to decide, where and when to place them.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:02 pm 
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noelte wrote:
Placing a super computer onto a tiny world was mid game a bad decision because maintance/cost ration was realy bad, placing a super computer on a huge word was much better. same to research lab. Autolab could be placed everywhere, because research production was independed to population.


The decisions cited are all obvious ones, so long as you know the math behind the game. I'd like to cut all the obvious decisions.

I'd also like to cut all the redundant decisions. Focus system already handles resourcing....if there's a strong penalty for switching Focus on a planet with a built up (abstracted) infrastructure, then Aquitaine's dream of specialized planets becomes reality without having to force the player into making obvious, redundant decisions.

Do I want to place an UberFarm on a Farm world? Of course, so let it happen automatically.

With a little imagination, we can think up plenty of different kinds of Structures to build that don't involve resourcing. (Or defense. I think Defense/Security ought to be a Focus rather than a gadzillion different build decisions)

Quote:
What i try to say is, if we cancel buildings we cut of depth at the decision-tree.

I would like to see many different buildings which has different impacts and force the player to decide, where and when to place them.


Yes. But there shouldn't be so many decisions as to overwhelm the player. The game should play just as well late game as it does early. We've all suffered through enough late games in Civ, Moo2, SmaC to know that a: it's gets boring compared to early and mid game b: the viceroys don't really help.

I'd like to see one build decision every five to ten turns, on average.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:21 pm 
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I only fear that we are cutting to many things of, if i turns out to be a >press turn< game, it won't be fun anymore. Yes, i'm overstating this point, but anyway, i don't want a game which can easyly played by a computer (ai). I want a game, where the decision players make, are importend.

I like KISS, but i don't want a simulation.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:45 pm 
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I think we should have buildings, so there is no getting rid of them. We would have buildings that the player builds, special buildings, we would also have buildings that are automatically built based on foucs, resource/defense buildings.

So we should have it so that the player can change the focuse and then the planet will build resource buildings, such as farms, industry, etc. So you choose farm focus and it builds farms. Any farms destroyed in a war and it builds them back.

I agree that these resource type buildings are automatic and obvious, they should be built based on what focus you select. Defenses should also be a focus too, cause then you can say all systems build up defenses.

We can build the special buildings ourselves. Things like shipyards, that there are few of. Maybe some of these buildings can only be built at the sysytem level?

Basically, the buildings that you need alot of should be built using the focus system, while the buildings you need few of should be built manually.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 9:58 pm 
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Just a thought -- expanding on what drek said:

It's a pretty fair bet that, on a farming world, you're going to want all the best farming stuff (at least, all the stuff that can only be built on a farming world).

Where you might possibly want more control is over the 'generic' things - perhaps defense shields, missile bases, industry buildings that you can build on non-industrial worlds. These things are planet-specific, and I don't want to be dealing with them every turn. I like EU2's style where I only have to check in periodically and then it's very fast. But utilae's point is also well-taken -- sometimes I will want to interrupt the regular progression, or at least, define an alternate progression. I don't necessarily want my farm world to build ALL FARM ALL THE TIME.

One way of handling this is to say 'all non-focus-specific buildings are just infrastructure and get built over time,' and that does satisfy KISS; but I think there's a certain feeling of MOO that would be left out. There should be some things that can be built on most planets, and you should have the authority to decide if they should be built, and if so, when. But in MOO2, this was -every- structure, for -every- planet. I also share drek's goal of only wanting to do a build order every five turns or so.

I'll think more about this later, since I know that part of drek's approach is to simply keep the overall number of buildings down. I also agree with this - it makes the game harder to balance when you have 20 different buildings that inflate your '2 minerals a turn' to '200 minerals a turn' and you have to account for such a dramatic scale on every world. One of the simpler things about EU2 was that you had basic tax value, population, and the local export, and that pretty much determined the value of the province. The buildings enhanced that a little so you paid attention to them, but it wasn't all buildings all the time.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 10:34 pm 
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Aquitaine wrote:

One way of handling this is to say 'all non-focus-specific buildings are just infrastructure and get built over time,' .


In Powercrazy's orginal proposal, all Focus-specific buildings are abstracted as infrastructure. Farms, mines, factories, labs and anything that resembles them--any building that is covered by a Focus is infrastructure. If Trade and/or Security become Foci, same story.

I believe PC's thinking was that it's redundant to select "Farming" then build a bunch of farming buildings. The player has already made his choice. Anyway, that's the position I'm taking.

There may be certain "Wonders of the Galaxy" that improve Farming, etc. But they would be expensive, uncommonly built structures--like the wonders in Civ.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 10:43 pm 
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"Buildings are cool" ;)

I think we should have buildings, in general. Most people are familiar with buildings, and buildings add to immersion too. I alwas liked the planet/city view screen in games like MoO2 or Civilization. And I really missed that in MoO3.
They got boring especially in MoO2 in late game when every planet had nearly every building anyway, but that doesn't have to be the case in FO. That's why I think the amount of buildings should be limited somehow, by a number of slots for each planet size, by technology level, or by population count.

Good buildings, bad buildings

Buildings in general open up many development possibilities and choices. And add a lot of functionality you could expose for use in mods. And add lots of cool possibilities for the thech tree ;)
As long as there are really choices/trade offs to be made. So, as drek said, it's boring to have a "mega farm" that's always good on farming worlds, at least if you have to build it manually.

That could be considered when designing the actual buildings though, designing buildings with high maintenance so it's no use to have them on small/unimportant worlds. You could also design buildings with very high initial production cost, that take a very long time before they pay off.

A good example of how not to do it are buildings in MoO2 like automated factories: They make workers more efficient, which is ok. But they also add some automatic production, which is bad, because that is enough to justify their maintenance cost, so you just build them on any world. If they would only increase worker effectivity, you would probably build them on industrial worlds only. If their initial production costs were very high, you probably wouldn't build them on low population planets, or planets lacking good defense (because of the risk you could loose them to your enemy).

Choices to make

But I don't like automatic construction of focus buildings or infrastructure either. It cuts down the available choices.
For example, I may have a large, important world I use for ship construction, basically the backbone of my military industry. It will focus on industry, of course, and have lots of defense (or, if it's in, defense as secondary focus). But it might be a good choice to place a few basic farming/mining buildings there, so it stays functional to some degree when blockaded.

Building prerequisites

I like the idea that some buildings can only be built on planets with a certain focus. But it shouldn't be like this for the majority of buildings, just for the more advanced ones, so you could still place a few basic farming buildings on an industrial world, as in my example above. You could make this to be relative to your current tech level.

In general, I like the idea of having prerequisites for buildings. I can think of more applications for this than focus prerequisite, maybe some buildings for large/small planets only, buildings that require other buildings, or mabe some exclusions ("Building X" can't be built if there's already a "Building Y"). I don't have good examples now, but it would at least allow us to be very creative when it comes to designing buildings ;)

Micromanagement=bad?

All over the board people are condemning micromanagement, trying to get rid of it for FO. Micromanagement is bad when you have to do it all the time for a large number of worlds. But I think there should be the possibility to micromanage. So in general, I'd rather like to see a tool to handle micro effectively, than eliminating it completely.
The ability to issue a command like "[Enqueue on top] [automated fatories] on [large] [production colonies]" in MoO2 would have been sufficient for me.

Still drek convinced me that it's better to eliminate the tedious "no brainer" micromanagement completely instead of simplifying it. But that can be accomplished by limiting the number of buildings on a planet, good building design, and introducing building prerequisites. So there is micro management, but it's interesting and you don't do it all the time. The choices you make really do matter. No need to leave buildings out completely.


Last edited by Hexxium on Wed Apr 14, 2004 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 10:44 pm 
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I think we should be able to change a focus. So that you could make a farming world into an industry world. It would invlove alot of tearing down of builfings, but that's the sacrifice we have to make. :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 10:56 pm 
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utilae wrote:
I think we should be able to change a focus. So that you could make a farming world into an industry world. It would invlove alot of tearing down of builfings, but that's the sacrifice we have to make. :lol:


Sure, but without tearing down the buildings of the previous focus, you'd have another choice to make: Either scrap the old focus' buildings, lowering some maintenance costs, or keep paying for them, which makes your world more flexible, so you can more easily change focus back when needed.

I completely agree that there should be a penalty for changing focus, but that can be accomplished without buildings. A planet could start with -xx% effectivity on its new focus, which would increase to +xx% over time. Quickly at first, but very slowly in the end.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 11:44 pm 
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The original idea behind the focus was that some buildings wouldn't require one, but that the 'advanced' buildings in each category would force you to commit your world - and if you changed the focus later, you'd have to tear down the buildings (and incur a significant cost in doing so).

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 12:39 am 
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http://www.artclusta.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=631

As I said in the above thread, buildings should be kept to a minimum. I set the focus of my planet and go. The buildings that do exist should be wonders or small wonders or rare and expensive. A ship yard could be one of these. More would be developed as we filled out the tech tree. Defenses would have to be handled differently but we will wait til we have solidified this first.

With the amount of planets that we are goign to have I don't find it practical (or fun) to go to every planet all the time and tell each what to build.

Thus Drek and I are in agreement.

Also aquitaine as has already been decided a farming planet won't be building all farming all the time. It will also do some research, industy, mining etc. It just won't be as good at those as it is at farming. We will have to get nitty gritty to decide exactly how a no or few buildings game will work, but I already have some ideas that would alleviate that particular concern.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 12:48 am 
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OK resimplified building proposal.

Buildings a planet can have fall in to one of two groups
1. Special, only a few per empire (such as shipyards, Capital, etc.)

2. Repetitive (Infrastructure): Multiple per planet of the same kind includes the following

Factories: (Production Producers)
Labs: (Research Producers)
Farms: (Nutrient Producers)
Mines: (Mineral Producers)
Banks?: (Money Producers)
Defense Base 1: (single Weapon with Armor)
Defense Base 2: (single Weapon with Armor)
Defense Base 3: (single Weapon with Armor)
Defense Base 4: (single Weapon with Armor)
Defense Base 5: (single Weapon with Armor)
Shield Generator

The Economic (5 resource) Buildings would be Limited to a certain number of Useful buildings per population unit based on Technology and Focus, but they can't share that population among them ie the more population that is supporting the banks the less is available to support farms.

Shifting focus would result in a change in the desired number of the first 5 (so that all worlds would build some of each building, but most of their buildings would be in the other categories) as they built more of their New Focus type building, eventually they would begin to not have enough population to work all buildings and they would begin scrapping some of those that they had too many of (the Old Focus buildings)

So a player would build all of the Type 2 buildings by setting a Focus (ie Target Level) and then making sure some resources were allocated to building .

By limiting the maximum amount that a player can invest in Infrastructure of one type on a world to a % of the existing Infrastructure, the Infrastructure on a new colony will grow in a way so as to just keep up with the population.

The interesting choice that remains is how much to concentrate on growing the economy v. preparing to defend it.

Also this Model allows a smooth but still slow and costly movement between Foci, because the buildings don't get scrapped until they are more than the population can handle productively.


[Defensive Infrastructure would only be limited by how much you spent to support it.. so super-fortress worlds would be possible but very expensive to the rest of your empire, just like super fleets would be possible]


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:31 am 
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PowerCrazy wrote:
http://www.artclusta.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=631

As I said in the above thread, buildings should be kept to a minimum. I set the focus of my planet and go.


I agree that there shouldn't be many buildings, but I don't think we've already agreed on the exact number. For you, "keeping them to a minimum" is like 3 per planet, for me it's more like up to 8 or 10 on fully populated, huge worlds at high tech level.

Aquitaine wrote:
The original idea behind the focus was that some buildings wouldn't require one, but that the 'advanced' buildings in each category would force you to commit your world - and if you changed the focus later, you'd have to tear down the buildings (and incur a significant cost in doing so).


I like that too, and this is pretty independent from the other building design choices (no. of buildings etc.). But what buildings are "advanced" and bound to focus? I can think of two possibilities:

a) static: every building you research can have "bound to focus x" flag, or

b) dynamic, depending on tech level: you can build your most advanced buildings on specialized worlds only, while you can build stuff that's xx% below your maximum tech level anywhere.

Possibility b) sounds good, but which one is better depends on the actual buildings and their effects. There may be low tech buildings you don't want to have on non specialized worlds, ever.


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