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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 12:02 am 
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What Drek is saying about a industrial project can work with buildings. X PP for Y turns. However for Ships there should be no minimum build time. However Shipyards will be restricted to a maximum PP per turn. Thus you will need multiple shipyards in your empire. And each shipyard will build ships according to a priority order or some other method to be determined later. Thus vishnou00s concerns are unfounded. All ships will be built at shipyards once they are built at those shipyards your scanners will be able to pick them up. So unless the player is particularly clever and he built all his shipyards in a quadrant outside your sensor range you will never have to worry about an instant fleet, surprising you.

I'm still sticking with my original position on page 3.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 12:26 am 
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So, the "advantage" (relative to ship building) of your proposal is that you don't choose where you want the ships built. I fail to see an advantage in that.

It is nothing more than local ship building with the imperial build queue as a macromanagement tool.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 2:34 am 
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Tyreth wrote:

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Two issues I see with this review:
1. When choosing what to build and where, will we
a. more often know what we want to build rather than where it should be built (ie, is the building more important than the location) or
b. more often answer where something is going to be built at the very same time we answer the question of what is being built
Working out which of these is the common factor I think will help answer whether an empire queue is the best answer, and how such a queue would work.


I think what we need is an intermediate queue placement. I suggest we use the old idea of sectors (Obiwan's idea IIRC). When using the empire queue, the request is applied to a specific (user defined?) sector, instead of empire wide.

As stated above, some build items may not be important location wise, and can remain in a empire wide queue. But if you control, say, 200 systems in a game and you simply want to build one colony ship, the empire queue may produce it on the opposite side of the empire from where you want it.

If you subdivide the 200 systems into about 10 sectors of 20 systems each, you could select empire queue...select ships...select colony ship...drag and drop into sector of choice. The AI would then automatically select the most efficient available system/shipyard/slot (slot if building or wonder, also drag and drop) You also could provide a sector rally point for ship production. The sector could be restricted to only one shipyard if preferred. The said colony ship would be produced very near where you want it, with two clicks and a "drag and drop".

The sectors could be divided so "border" sectors could focus (reminds me, what about sector focus?) on defensive buildings. interior sectors could focus on farming, ship production, science, etc.

I would still allow direct system/shipyard queue selection if you wanted a speciific location.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 7:34 am 
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No. The ship placement won't be arbitray. It will simply be decided later. As right now a complicated and concise way of defining fleet location isn't important, as the system hasn't even been decided yet. However the concern vishnu00 has about a fleet(or any structure) being built only in a single star system is incorrect. That was my main concern about a imperial build queue as well. How do we prevent building a new colony up to a formidible force in a single turn even with the entire empires prodcution behind it (and secondarily how do we get the player to accept the restrictions we are forced, for game balance reasons, to put on him)?

The answer will be a combination of Dreks suggestion (X PP per turn for Y turns) as well as an additional restraint or two put on the player for fleets, as well as "being the biggest."

Also vishnou00 you are still incorrect. The advantage of an imperial build queue is that it will allow the player lots of flexibility in what he wants to build where, as well as what he wants to build it with. An additional advantage is it will force the palyer to create particular "strategic" ship building placements which will in turn add a dynamic to the game missign form all the other orions and virtually every other 4X game. Important planets and tactical targets.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 8:55 am 
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PowerCrazy wrote:
However Shipyards will be restricted to a maximum PP per turn. Thus you will need multiple shipyards in your empire. And each shipyard will build ships according to a priority order or some other method to be determined later. Thus vishnou00s concerns are unfounded. All ships will be built at shipyards once they are built at those shipyards your scanners will be able to pick them up. So unless the player is particularly clever and he built all his shipyards in a quadrant outside your sensor range you will never have to worry about an instant fleet, surprising you.


If you request a fleet to be built and rally at a specific location out of the enemy's scanner range, and these ships are all being built a lots of different shipyards around the empire, then how are the ships getting to the rally point?

Are they being build at the various shipayards and then magically transporting to the rally point? When is the opportunity to detect them then? Do they sit at the shipyard where they were built for a turn then suddenly jump to the rally point (but allowing detection during the intervening turn, but leaving no idea where they went after)?

Are they "built at" lots of different shipyards, but appear at the rally point when built? When is the opportunity to detect them then? What is the relevance of the location of a shipyard?

Why shouldn't a player, if so inclined, be able to specify at which shipyard a particular ship is built ( or not built if in scanner range of the enemy ) ? Having to not build any shipyards in scanner range of an enemy is silly. It would be much simpler to just limit the possible locations where this particular order for ships is filled.

Maybe planets don't need a build queue, but shipyard equipped systems do?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 9:03 am 
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We should probably move the ship stuff over to brainstorming.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 9:09 am 
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PowerCrazy wrote:
No. The ship placement won't be arbitray. It will simply be decided later. As right now a complicated and concise way of defining fleet location isn't important, as the system hasn't even been decided yet.


I don't understand what you're saying or replying to. Could you clarify?

PowerCrazy wrote:
However the concern vishnu00 has about a fleet(or any structure) being built only in a single star system is incorrect. That was my main concern about a imperial build queue as well. How do we prevent building a new colony up to a formidible force in a single turn even with the entire empires prodcution behind it (and secondarily how do we get the player to accept the restrictions we are forced, for game balance reasons, to put on him)?

The answer will be a combination of Dreks suggestion (X PP per turn for Y turns) as well as an additional restraint or two put on the player for fleets, as well as "being the biggest."


X PP / turn for Y turns would help, yes, but what are these additional restraints, and how will they work? I can't see any way that fully preserves the stragetic importance of distances and delays in travel / shipping. You seem to be dismissing major concens / flaws with a game mechanism on the basis that there's some simple obvious fix, but then not saying what that fix is because it hasn't been decided yet?

PowerCrazy wrote:
The advantage of an imperial build queue is that it will allow the player lots of flexibility in what he wants to build where, as well as what he wants to build it with.


If by flexibility, you mean the ability to put the industrial weight of many core worlds to bear on a single undeveloped remote world in order to produce at a rate much faster than the world itself could accomplish, without any time delay in doing so, then I can agree that that would be the case. But I don't agree that that's an advantage... it's a major flaw to me. It removes many important stragetic considerations.

PowerCrazy wrote:
An additional advantage is it will force the palyer to create particular "strategic" ship building placements which will in turn add a dynamic to the game missign form all the other orions and virtually every other 4X game. Important planets and tactical targets.


I don't understand this at all... it seems that the only consideration that would need to go into where to put a shipyard would be where you want some ships. Conversely, if production can only be done locally, then it's advantagous to have both a nearby stragetic target AND to have an easily developed or already developed world that can actually accomplished the necesary production. At most, there are the same number of strategic factors with your system, but how are there more?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 9:33 am 
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drek wrote:
I suggest that having a bunch of ships pop up all over the empire and having to move them to a single system in order to form the fleet is much more annoying than having a few expensive shipyard "rally points."


vishnou00 wrote:
you call up the micromanagement tool, selecy a rally point and all the production sites (planet or system) you want to use. Then you order your ships: the tool calculate ETA to rally point of all the ship types and then produce ships at every planets for (time_to_finished_production - ETA) turns.


Doesn't vishnou00's suggestion accomplish the same thing as having ships all appear at the desired rally point at the same time? Except this way, there's some interal logic to how these ships were produced and how they got where they are, as well as a logical and easily understood strategic importance to distance. (internal logic / coherency is not the same as a simple realism argument).

Sandlapper's regions might also assist in culling obviously too remote planets for a particular rally point. This could also be done automatically without regions (ie. you want as many ships as possible at the rally point in 10 turns, they take 5 turns to make, so any system more than 5 turns' travel away is excluded from the systems ordered to participate).


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 10:03 am 
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To tie my last few posts into the actual topic of the thread, building mechanisms, I'll add the following:

I prefer localized build queues, for planets or systems.

An imperial build "queue" should be made available, which functions to easily give build orders to multiple planets / systems for things which you need a lot of (ie. ships).

As in vishnu00's description, one would pull up the empire build queue, specify a rally point, a fleet composition and a completion date. The empire queue filter would find the shipyards in range, and determine if the order can be filled. If not, you are told and asked to change your order. If it can be filled, then the appropriate planet / systems with shipyards have appropriate numbers of ships inserted into their build queues.

When a ship is finished, it is automatically given orders to travel to the rally point for the whole order. When all ships have arrived, the player's sitrep is updated with the news.

Assuming a small number of strategically important buildings, then there's little need for an empire queue to deal with buildings. It's not a huge chore to manually insert a wonder or special project into a single planet's build queue once or twice per turn.

After a manually inserted building finishes, the queue is checked for anything else (ship, building. If there is nothing left, then the planet's full industrial output goes into improving the planet, by building facilities appropriate for the planet's focus settings.

An empire wide communal pot for excess production would be bad for various reasons I won't reiterate here. Planets should have plenty to spend their PP on in improving and maintaining their infrastructure, so that there's no need to ship PP away so thy're not lost without something to spend them on.

Facilities like mines / farms / factories / research labs should be quite numerous and individually insignificant. A planet not building a major project ( wonder / ship ) or with excess PP left over after reacdhing the project's per turn PP input limit should spend their PP on building facilities, or upgrading facilities or maintaining facilities. This would be done without player input, other than focus settings (won't go into details here).

I don't care so much whether there are a small number of slots on a planet for major wonders / projects buildings. I think that the upkeep, and more importantly, the negative side effects of major projects should limit the number that would be built in any one location.

The decision to build a major project on a planet / system should be like a social engineering choice in SMAC, not like the "choice" to build recycling tanks or some other building with no major negative side effects and minimal upkeep. Projects should require careful strategic consideration of their benefits and costs and their tradeoffs. (won't go into more detail here). Diminishing returns would also be helpful.

With sufficiently serious limitiations and downsides for each project, it wouldn't be necessary to have hard limits on the number one would be allowed to have in a system, or the number of each type one could have empire-wide.

That said, having hard limits would add another type of strategic choice, which might be equally valid, and make for a more attractive visual interface, rather than a list box of existing projects and effects in a system or on a planet.

If there are limited slots, generic defence structures like gun batteries or fighter wings could be treated like mines / farms / factories, and be quite numerous and not included in the slots, which are for *major* projects. Certain significant all-or-nothing defence structures might be included, like planetary shields or warp interdictors.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 2:39 pm 
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I'm going to have to be a little more forceful. Please stop using this thread to discuss what has already been discussed in the DESIGN thread. The proposals have been made and fleshed out. If you don't like them/don't agree with them/have a new idea, it's a bit late for it now.

If you've already given your two cents on this subject, please refrain from posting further. It just makes it that much harder to finish the review.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2004 1:25 pm 
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@Aq - I think the main reason we're seeing such a lot of discussion here, is that the options we are being invited to consider don't adequately separate people's opinions. For example both Tzlaine and I voted the same way. But what he voted for under 'empire level build queue' and what I voted for under 'empire level build queue' are entirely differnt objects. And I suspect both of us would rather have voted for local building and local queues (option 1?) than have voted for each other's vision of an empire lvel queue..

Essentially people don't want to find that as a result of this review, we get saddled with our least favourite option, because our vote was interpreted as supporting it. There seem to be two issues that are being roled into one; what is the level (local/system/empire) of the queue, and what is the level at which production occurs?

Edit; I've moved what was in this post into the design thread, to avoid stretching this deabte on further, so see there for what I think I'm voting for as an 'empire level queue'.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2004 1:14 am 
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I assume that in the design of FO we will have the need for a "refinement" phase. I also assume that in this phase we will hammer out the specifics for each position. The devil is in the details, we are simply saying "we want this" without saying how. The exact mechanisms for fleet deployment, and sharing of industrial capcities between planets is unimportant at this phase.

What is important is the role of buildings. Do we want an imperial queue? Local queus? Lots of buildings, few, slots? These are the questions to answer now. And I think the 3 options with a few sub options will be sufficent to decide where to drive our creative energies and will still leave lots of flexiblity to tweak each descion when that time comes.

Aqui: I think as we get more into the nitty gritty of game mechanics we should change our public review/game features method for you and tyreths sake. Its only going to get worse as far as wading through the threads and deciding everything. Perhaps some new sub-forums for the various specific details? Taskforces? Divide and Conquer :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2004 1:28 am 
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Just as a heads up, I'd been planning to run this one differently from the beginning, because the decisions involved are so broad (even more so than the Tech tree).

What I'm going to do is take the 'sub-proposal' stuff and essentially have a second round of this review in which I can (hopefully) discard some of the original stuff, and then we can get more specific in terms of precise implementation. But I need to do that refinement before we can have that discussion as part of this thread.

I'm very slow IRL these days (moving/changing jobs/etc) so I will probably not get to this until next weekend at the earliest.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 2:12 pm 
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I want to side with Daegal and against PowerCrazy's standpoint.

There was discussion if having lots of buildings that must be built on any planet makes sense, or if it just makes the micro harder. Well, imagine we only have a few "important" buildings, and the rest is abstract (someone suggested giving an "industrial" world an abstract bonus on production, rather than have it erect buildings like Automated Factories for that purpose). But what will our planets look like then? We settle on a new world, we get a "productiometer" that shows us how productive that world has already become (as the consequence of building up). That is no real colony feeling for me. Having lots of beautiful buildings each of which you researched (or stole from the enemy :-) ) makes your colonies way more individual. MoO2 even showed us these buildings in the nice background graphics in the planetary screen. Stuff like that is important. So I clearly vote for 1a.

The only question is how to prevent this from becoming excessive micromanagement like in MoO2. And Daegal gave the answer: Predefined build queues. Basically, the MoO2-idea of clicking on "Auto-Build" was not bad; the problem was only that the CPU made the choice for you, and it made idiotic choices. You want to make the choice, but you do not want to go through the hassle on every single planet, so let the player define his individual set of queues, and his planets will follow it.

Plan #2 will not do just as well, because while it allows you to define the direction, it does not allow you to set the build order. And that build order is highly important! In MoO2 you want an Automated Factory, a Robo Miner Plant, a research lab, and a Planetary Supercomputer on every of your colonies. But will you begin with the Supercomputer? It will take ages, because without the Factory your planet does not have the industrial power to get an advanced research building quickly. Defining intelligent build queues actually is where strategy begins, and optimal build queues may vary depending on the strengths and weaknesses of your particular race. Not allowing the player to intervene here (or not implementing lots of buildings at all) will give away this important strategic feature, a feature that contributed well to MoO2 being such a great game despite being so bugged. And I hate seeing the CPU-"viceroy" build up my new colony slower than necessary, just because it begins with those defensive installations that I do not yet need there and because it makes the wrong economic buildings before those that I need most on that particular planet. I hate seeing that and being unable to intervene. That is MoO3-feeling. Do we want it in FreeOrion?

I also vote against the Imperial Build queue. It just makes the game too primitive. Instead, I can imagine having a network of lead planets that are supported by subordinate planets. You define which of your planets are lead planets (those that have a good production capacity) and which are the subordinates (the weaker planets that are just not good enough to get a larger project done on their own). The subordinates will the automatically direct their production points to the lead planets (suffering a penalty for covering the distance. Greater distance, greater penalty). You the issue your orders to a handful of lead planets, which is not too much micromanagement, but preserves the feeling of conducting your individual empire, your individual network that you set up with your own hands. With an Imperial Build Queue, you just give your production order to "the empire", whatever the latter may look like. We need at all costs preserve the feeling that the player's empire is his personal baby, or the fun will be gone.

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