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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:51 am 
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pretty much my point and well explained.

KISS: keep it simple stupid! (Didn't you know?)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:57 am 
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I have to admit that's a pretty good post DeathAndPain. I plan on addressing your concerns on another thread, when I have some more time.

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What is KISS?


There's an episode of Star Trek: TOS where a dew eyed andriod asks Kirk the same question.

hehe.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 9:35 am 
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DeathAndPain wrote:
#1: Where should you make the decisions about the remaining things we want control over

Both at empire and planetary level, I suggest. Leave the decision to the player. In the early game, when you have only 2 or 3 planets, you want to squeeze the optimum out of them and full control on the micromanagement level (which is already reduced by the fact that we are degenerating buildings into a infrastructiometer). Later on with growing empire size, you will not be able to control every single planet, so you issue your orders on the imperial level and the CPU assigns them to planetary queues. You may, however, have a few "favourite" planets that you feel worthy of keeping your continued personal attention (e.g. your home world).

I'll just rehash the argument against that option (of both options simultaneously) : in a competitive context (multiplayer, overwhelming cheating AI), enabling micromanagement effectively force the player to do micromanagement, else he won't as efficient as he can be (hence being at a disadvantage).

So, while having both option may provide the most fun factor (empowering the player while not forcing him to do the chore of micromanagement), it is always a losing strategy to neglect micromanagement when you can do it.

DeathAndPain wrote:
Absolutely no!

A friendly advice, don't be so vindicative. Readers will assume you are upset and will stop reading carefully. Then they will "read between the lines" lots of things you never meant and give you a bad reputation. From there it will spiral up to the point where they won't even read you post, just reply to the sub-text they interpreted the last time they read what you wrote.

Try donning an affable composure, you will certainly be more successful than trying to shake those you don't agree with using short exclamations. Mind I'm not implying your post could be summed up with this short exclamation.

DeathAndPain wrote:
While avoiding excessive micromanagement is a noble goal, we should make sure we do not reduce the game to a primitive level. The game must have its complexity, particularly since only complexity allows different valid choices, so our goal must not be to take away complexity, but to make it manageable.

It is all a question of priority, preference and democracy. Right now, the abstration flavour is all the rage.

DeathAndPain wrote:
I think we should adopt a good idea from MoO2: "rally" lanes. Have your ships produced at a certain planet, and that is where it pops up when it is complete. You preset MoO2-type rally lanes that immediately send the new ship to a planet of your choice (so that you need not micro every new ship). You will normally direct most of your output to one planet where you rally your new ships in order to form a fleet. You can, however, decide to have two or three rally points in order to defend key spots or create multiple attacking armies.

I think this falls into my idea of macrotool that I'm currently pushing (this use case would use ship order before creation and maybe multiple destinations).
http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=733

DeathAndPain wrote:
Everything else does not make much sense anyway. A ship is not an abstract thing; it must be produced somewhere, even if distant planets help by supplying pre-mounted parts or sending workers and equipment. And I do not see why a ship that has been produced at the most distant edge of your empire should pop up at the other edge of your empire once it has been completed, but has to travel normally afterwards if for some reason it desires to fly back to its origin.

It seems to me that you definition of "making sense" rely on a realistic element. While I value reality as a coherent and intuitive system, here reality alone is deemed "irrelevant" (as Aquitaine put it, "the proper phrasing would be 'it's realistic, so it's irrelevant.'") There is surprising strategical consequences to global production, but throwing global production away may not be the only solution. Wait and see.

DeathAndPain wrote:
Rally paths will normally lead across your own systems. If your systems are torn apart by an invader attacking a system in-between, then it is time for manual intervention. It is the task of the imperator (that is you) to react to invasions appropiately. If your routes are attacked, it is an obvious reaction to redefine rally spots for isolated systems. If you want to automate that as well, then you can as well automate the whole game, in other words, players become superfluous.

Repeating myself: I'm wary that with an abstracted model, detection of such situations (empire thorn apart) will be up to more or less coherent detection algorithm. Then, the details of the situation (that the imperator should strive to resolve) will be determined by other more of less coherent algorithm.

DeathAndPain wrote:
A good interface can include the ability to select multiple systems with the mouse (dragging up a selection box similar to those you use when you want to scan an image and select the important part to scan from the preview), and then assign a safety classification to all selected systems at once. That will help you to update classifications as needed with only a few clicks.

It seems to me that classification and topology are closely related to groups

DeathAndPain wrote:
What is KISS?

Keep it simple, stupid. It's a rule of thumb to avoid overly complex system (complexity beyond what is required be interesting). IMO, it's become a mighty powerful stick around here, but it does keep risky and time/effort consuming features from creeping into the project.

EDIT: well, you should know about KISS now. I'm eager to see how drek will address your concerns, as I share a lot with you.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 4:19 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
I never "converted". I always thought of shipyards as having a certain, preferably upgradable, capacity. I defy you to find a post where I say otherwise. I assumed that was the part of the discussion for all of us, because until a couple of days ago, I never heard anyone explicitly say they thought shipyards should be infinite-capacity.


As usual, I am wrong. :( A quick bit of reseach showed me that After having misattributed your original idea of empire pre-placement to Drek, I've now attributed Drek and guiguibah's idea of infinite (Drek: parallel, gui: serial) build rate of ships in limbo to you. Sorry everyone. In fact it appears you have always been happy with the idea of limiting the number and hull size of ships that could be built simultaneously from a particular shipyard (though not the cost...), even when you were advocateing pre-placement (though I'm glad we now don't have to work out exactly how that could have worked...)

As usual it look like a lot of our disagreements have been from each of us opposing the worst parts of many peoples ideas, although no one ever advocated all the worst bits together.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 9:19 pm 
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noelte wrote:
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pretty much my point and well explained.


Yes, your standpoint has always been most convincing to me, and I wanted to give you backup.

drek wrote:
Quote:
I have to admit that's a pretty good post DeathAndPain.


Thank you!

drek wrote:
Quote:
There's an episode of Star Trek: TOS where a dew eyed andriod asks Kirk the same question.


Damn, I feel unmasked. But then again you are a racist not to allow androids to participate in the discussion!

vishnou00 wrote:
Quote:
in a competitive context (multiplayer, overwhelming cheating AI), enabling micromanagement effectively force the player to do micromanagement, else he won't as efficient as he can be (hence being at a disadvantage).


I know what you mean, but you forget one thing: There will be a time limit on turns. There must be a time limit in order to make our game reasonably playable over the internet (or you will have players that endlessly inspect their fleets and are happy how beautiful they are...).

As the consequence, efficient use of the time that you have will be strategically important. At first your three minutes per turn (or whatever you are given in a certain game) will suffice to conduct your few planets manually, and that will give you the feeling that they – being the early heart and origin of your later empire – are your personal babies. But sooner or later you will hit the point where you cannot micromanage all your planets, because they have grown to many in number, and your time does not suffice. Then it will be your strategical decision if you micromanage more of them, squeezing the optimum out, but in return live longer with your old ship design although you have new ship tech ready for action, or if you redesign your ships (or do something else that must be done, diplomacy or whatever) and leave more econ management to the AI.

I think there is nothing wrong with micromanaging a few planets. Even back in MoO2 that was fun to do. The boring part comes later when you have 100 planets and micromanage them all. That is what we do not want to do, and that is what you cannot do within your time limit. Setting priorities and caring for the important stuff will force you to leave the micro to the AI then. Faster players will have an advantage, which is not really desirable in a turn-based game, but this is an inevitable thing anyway if we set a time limit on turns (and as soon as you no longer play friends that you know, you will absolutely need that time limit or you will be cursed with having game delayers into most of your games).

vishnou00 wrote:
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A friendly advice, don't be so vindicative.


You got a good point there. I rarely like people criticising my style, but you did so in a reasonable manner, and I cannot deny you got a point. I will endeavor to pay attention to it in the future.

vishnou00 wrote:
Quote:
It seems to me that you definition of "making sense" rely on a realistic element. While I value reality as a coherent and intuitive system, here reality alone is deemed "irrelevant"


I read Aquitaine's statements concerning that and agree to them. But still I think truth lies in the middle.

If someone says that we should not have ships that travel faster than light because that is physically impossible, then I side with you: it is the freedom of a fantasy game to soften rules of that kind. But still our game concept should be logical and convincing, otherwise immersion will suffer ("this is all nonsense!"), and the game will be harder to understand (because its basic rules are shucks). For instance, it was not a good thing that in MoO2 you could work 50 turns on a death star, pooling up production points on the planet, and then change the build order, discard the death star and pump out several smaller ships at 1 ship/turn using the piled-up production points. This is no fantasy element and does not make sense. The same applies for ships that can travel in one turn from the dock that made them to their rally point, but need much longer to fly back later.

To put it in another way: We can bend reality if it makes our game more colorful. But ships having to travel to their destination if we want them there is a strategical element that we should not give up lightly, or our game will lose depth and immersion. Preserving such elements of realism actually makes our game better. Of course we can define technologies like star gates that allow instantaneous travel between our systems.

vishnou00 wrote:
Quote:
I'm wary that with an abstracted model, detection of such situations (empire thorn apart) will be up to more or less coherent detection algorithm. Then, the details of the situation (that the imperator should strive to resolve) will be determined by other more of less coherent algorithm.


We need no algorithm of whatever kind to detect such situations. It is up to the player to notice he is being attacked and to react appropiately, including giving the corresponding orders to his systems (changing rally lanes, modifying planet classifications etc.). Reacting to an enemy attack is not boring micromanagement. It is part of the core job of the player in a strategy game.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:19 pm 
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DeathAndPain wrote:
I know what you mean, but you forget one thing: There will be a time limit on turns.


Not a safe assumption to make.

Could be an option. Could be no limit.

-Aq

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:31 pm 
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There is no decision about that issue yet, but i would bet that we will have time limits (at least optional). :-)

I think using a turn time limit also takes care of people who try to mirco everything every other turn. The Moo3 developer had some kind of imperial focus points in mind. By this they also tried to limit what could be mirco within a single turn. But after all i think time limits are a better approach.

At the end i agree with DeathAndPain that doing micro was a lot of fun at the early MoO2 game. It was like taking care of your little baby ;-). It only got annoying mid/late game (around turn 150, where should be already the winner), because of missing scripts / tools / devplans which take over. I think MoO3 tried to adress this issue too, but introducing some ai to handle developemt plan was bad / not working. IMO, if they had used simple build plans without any ai , it would had worked much better.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:54 am 
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Aquitaine wrote:
Quote:
Not a safe assumption to make.

Could be an option. Could be no limit.


I am certain enough to base my arguments upon it. You simply have no other chance to stop players that delay the game. Some waiting time for players that have not yet ended their turn is inevitable with this type of game, but several additional minutes per turn can make the game a pain. 3 additional waiting minutes per turn sum up to one hour of pointlessly waiting in front of your computer after only 20 turns!

Every other approach (including Imperial Focus Points) is doomed to fail, because it will somehow penalize delayers, but not stop them. As the consequence, they and their empires will tend to be weaker. If the penalty is very grave, then slow players will be very weak, but they will still be there in your games. Still it will take you dozens of turns to build up your planets, assemble a fleet and crush them (particularly if they happen to be far apart from you). As long as you are playing your friends in a LAN, you can talk to them and somehow make sure they hurry up, but in the anonymous internet you cannot. Your opponent might just not care and be watching a football game on tv while playing you, with the corresponding impact on his speed. If we want the game to be fun, we need the limit. Of course there may be an option to disable it, but this option can only be used in exceptional cases - when playing with people you know very well. And deciding that everyone has as much time as he likes per turn already expresses the intention to allow him to micro as much stuff as he desires. An individual decision, but certainly not the usual case.

Needless to say that there may be a pause button that you can click when you need to go to the bathroom or something, but a paused game must not allow anybody to issue any orders to his empire.

But the discussion is detouring. We should stick to the subject. I just wanted to point out that my assumption of a time limit is justified.

noelte wrote:
Quote:
IMO, if they had used simple build plans without any ai , it would had worked much better.


IMHO, if they had just hardwired a reasonable default build order (something like Automated Factories, Pollution Processor, Research Lab, Robo Miner Plant, Athmosphere Renewer, Hydroponic Farms, Biospheres, Planetary Supercomputer, ... omitting any techs that the player does not have), then it would have already been much better. Late in the game with numberless planets under your control you would have been satisfied if you could just have clicked the (actually existing) "Auto-Build" button and have your planets developed like that. But the implemented Auto-Build appeared to erect your buildings in a more or less random order, often beginning with those that cost much production points before making the buildings that could provide these points, Automated Factories being the most important of them (because they are so cheap). The example build order I just named may not always be the best, but when you already have 100 planets and colonize another, it will definitely be good enough to go for it. On top of that, the programmers could have earned a bonus point for letting the Auto-Queue not erect buildings that the planet had no use for (like a weather controller on an entirely industrial world)...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:52 am 
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Gah! Spend few days away from these boards and it becomes impossible to catch up!

Since the same things seem to be being discussed in 2 places at the moment, i've posted something w.r.t. shipyards and pooled production over in the game design thread. So i'm gonna cross post it here too.

Daveybaby wrote:
Re: infinite capacity shipyards and pooled production

If i might blow my own trumpet for a moment (oooh! how rare!), i think the system i've developed for COW could be a solution.

Basically, instead of globally pooling PP, you locally pool it instead. What this means is : each shipyard pools PP from nearby systems (i.e. each system sends its PP to the shipyard closest to it).

How is this different from the current system? Well, you also factor in transport costs based on the distance to the shipyard. e.g. for each LY between a system and the closest shipyard, 1% PP are used up in transport costs. Thus a system 10 LY away will only contribute 90% of its PP, the other 10% will be lost as transport costs. A system 20 LY away would lose 20% of its PP, etc.

So it becomes inefficient to have one single shipyard serving the whole empire. Instead you will be encouraged to build a more efficient system with shipyards spread evenly throughout the empire.

Obviously there also needs to be a maintenance cost associated with each shipyard, otherwise the most efficient solution is to have a shipyard at every system, and we are right back where we started.

The ratio of shipyard maintenance cost to transport costs must be balanced so that the player is encouraged to have a 'reasonable' number of shipyards spread throughout their empire at each stage of the game. This can be accomplished via the tech tree, by including techs which reduce transport costs as the game progresses (or just use engine speed), so that the distances between shipyards can increase without becoming inefficient.

Linky here for the COW design documentation related to this. Dunno if this is actually suitable for FO due to some differences in the way some things work (i.e. cow is not starlane based, so distances might vary a lot more in FO) but possibly some variation on the theme might be the solution.


Basically, this seems to be a version of what emrys is proposing, i.e. a way of having a limited pooling of empire production.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:59 am 
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DeathAndPain wrote:
I am certain enough to base my arguments upon it. You simply have no other chance to stop players that delay the game. Some waiting time for players that have not yet ended their turn is inevitable with this type of game, but several additional minutes per turn can make the game a pain. 3 additional waiting minutes per turn sum up to one hour of pointlessly waiting in front of your computer after only 20 turns!

Its probably almost inevitable that there will be an optional time limit. However, i doubt very much that anyone would use it in SP. Thus you still need to avoid producing a micro-heavy game, because SP will become a very tedious experience as a result.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 12:26 pm 
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Daveybaby wrote:
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Its probably almost inevitable that there will be an optional time limit. However, i doubt very much that anyone would use it in SP. Thus you still need to avoid producing a micro-heavy game, because SP will become a very tedious experience as a result.


I see your point. Single player game was outside my focus when I wrote the above. Well, in multiplayer you need to max everything out, knowing that your opponent will definitely do the same, but there you have the time limit. In single player you only face the CPU and can play any style of your liking. It is up to you alone how you play your single player game. My proposition leaves you the option to do a lot of micro (some ppl enjoy it, including me up to a certain extent), or to use the Imperial Queue, just as you prefer. Pool production, among its other disadvantages that I described, forces you to use the Imperial Queue and takes away any micro fun that you might want to have. What is the better approach?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 12:57 pm 
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Quote:
Pool production, among its other disadvantages that I described, forces you to use the Imperial Queue and takes away any micro fun that you might want to have. What is the better approach?


I like to think that the build system is shaping up to be micromanagement on a macro scale. My hope is that a player will have to spend time thinking about each move, like in Chess or Magic: TG.

When I'm microing in Civ/Moo2, I find the process of min-maxing enjoyable when there's just a few cities/worlds. The idea here is to pull the camera back a step--the player doesn't micromanage indivdual worlds, but rather an entire empire. In this way, hopefully the fun aspects of figuring out how to best min-max the situation can be maintained through out the entire game, without dredging into the microhell quagmire of late game.

Factoring in a 1% demerit for each slider, EU2 gets it 80% right.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:55 pm 
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Daveybaby wrote:
each shipyard pools PP from nearby systems (i.e. each system sends its PP to the shipyard closest to it).
[...]
for each LY between a system and the closest shipyard, 1% PP are used up in transport costs.
[...]
So it becomes inefficient to have one single shipyard serving the whole empire. Instead you will be encouraged to build a more efficient system with shipyards spread evenly throughout the empire.
[...]
Obviously there also needs to be a maintenance cost
[...]
The ratio of shipyard maintenance cost to transport costs must be balanced
[..]
a 'reasonable' number of shipyards

My main concerns are that this would be too difficult for the player have an intuitive sense of where the "optimal" placement of shipyards for a given geometry of systems and production capacities... and that it's too complicated to easily calculate. I fear it would end up being a "guess and hope" or "ignore and suffer" for the less experienced players... like the "ring city placement" strategies that arose out of the corruption system in Civ3. The more you have to fight & fiddle to optimize your empire, the less time proportionally you spend destroying the other empires.

Would need to see it in practice to be sure though...

Edit: Sorry Aquatine, this probably should have been in Design or Brainstorming. (At least I didn't start it this time)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:34 pm 
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I've started writing this up in the DD, so I'm closing these threads.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:41 pm 
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The result of this review:

We will use globally-pooled production. Production items will have a fixed cost in number of turns. Rules for shipyards will wait until v0.4; v0.3 will not have shipyards.

-Aq

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